Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2018)

Director: Hiroshi Katagiri

Writer: Hiroshi Katagiri (Screenplay)

Starring: Doug Jones, Lance Henriksen, Patrick Gorman, Simon Phillips, Sean Sprawling, Matthew Edward Hegstrom, Eva Swan, Katherine Taylor, Justin Gordon

 

Plot: A group visits Saipan to search for locations for their company’s newest resort. As they find what they think is the perfect spot, they discover a hidden bunker on the property which they decide to explore. However, they soon find out that curiosity can kill. As each member faces their most private secrets and the secrets of the bunker itself, the results lead to a most shocking conclusion.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Claustrophobic Horror

 

Story: Gehenna: Where Death Lives starts when property developers Paulina (Swan), Tyler (Gordon) and Dave (Hegstrom) are shown their latest location by Alan (Phillips) and local Pepe (Sprawling) in Saipan, perfect for a view of the ocean. On the property they investigate a bunker which could cause problems for building.

Inside the bunker the five find themselves trapped after an encounter with an old man (Jones) who looks like thy have been dead for years. The five become trapped in the maze of corridors which are filled with spirits encouraging them to kill themselves just to make it out of the living hell.

 

Thoughts on Gehenna: Where Death Lives

 

Characters – Paulina is the lady leading the investment which would be a career maker for her, she wants every loose end tied up which leads the team to investigate the bunker, this is the ambitious businesswoman that isn’t selfish to her team but wants to achieve her goals. Tyler is the architect that helps locate problems that any construction could face, joining the team in the corridors he seems to be the only one without a past sin he must pay for. The Old Man is one of the victims in the bunker, he warns and haunts the five in the bunker. The fellow three members of the team fill in the generic characters, the young cameraman does is scared of his past, the local fills in the spiritual side of translations and the seedy property owner that wants to get rich quickly.

PerformancesThe performance are being sold on the special appearance from Lance Henriksen and the inclusion of the immensely talented Doug Jones, they are good with their roles. the main cast of Justin Gordon, Eva Swan and Simon Phillips are strong as they are dealing with the horror events in the bunker.

StoryThe story follows five people in a property deal that investigate a mysterious bunker on the land and soon find themselves battling to survive in what feels like a living hell. This does fall into the bunker horror story which is always good to watch because the reason behind what is going on is always interesting to unfold. We have a twist which does work even if you could see it coming. The story doesn’t offer too much to genre, but it works for everything it needs.

Horror/MysteryThe horror works for the claustrophobic feeling which has a mix of slow build and jump scares which is nice and the mystery keeps us guessing throughout to just what could happen.

SettingsThe film gives us a couple of beauty shots before we get into the bunker which keeps us confined for the horror.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well with the make up effects when it comes to the horror Doug Jones looks terrifying each time you see him.


Scene of the Movie –
The Old Man looks terrifying for his first appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Tyler’s reaction to what is in the dark, felt almost comical.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that uses the setting to its advantage to make us feel confined with how the story unfolds.

 

Overall: Bunker Horror for all.

Rating

 

 

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Day of the Dead: Bloodlines (2018)

Director: Hector Hernandez Vicens

Writer:  Mark Tonderai, Lars Jacobson (Screenplay)

Starring: Johnathon Schaech, Sophie Skelton, Marcus Vanco, Lillian Blankenship, Ulyana Chan, Shari Watson

 

Plot: A small group of military personnel and survivalists dwell in an underground bunker as they seek to find a cure in a world overrun by zombies.


Tagline – Join the undying war.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Awful All Around

 

Story: Day of the Dead: Bloodline starts as we see the zombie outbreak in full effect, now 4 hours earlier as we follow Zoe (Skelton) a medical student trying her hardest to get her grades, she does have a stalker in one of her patients Max (Schaech) and now it is time to party because medical students.

Well a 12-minute intro and a casual attempted rape scene, we randomly jump 5 years down the line with Zoe who is part of a group of survives that are in a refugee camp, where she searches for answers. Zoe joins a team in look for medical supplies, led by her boyfriend Baca (Vanco) otherwise an illness will sweep through their camp.

 

Thoughts on Day of the Dead: Bloodline

 

Characters – Zoe is the former medical student that is now the main doctor for a refugee base during a zombie outbreak. She does try to do the right thing to save a young girl in the camp, but otherwise she is just your generic girl in zombie film. Baca is the brother of the leader of the base and boyfriend of Zoe, well this is his character summed up. Max is a stalker that gets turned into zombie, but his blood is different which makes his zombie form knowledgeable of what it is doing.

PerformancesLet’s talk about the acting or the lack there off, not all the blame goes to the actors here though because the characters are so blandly written. Between them all we never fee the grief the characters are left to go through, Skelton struggles to convince in the leading role and having an actor play a stealth zombie is terrible choice.

StoryThe story plays into the idea of the original by going for something different in the form of the remake style. We fall into the same traps zombie movies go for, we have a comfortable location where everything seems safe, but the risk to go outside brings back fresh numbers of zombies which ruin the calm. We have the lacklustre leader of the facility which isn’t as obsessed with safety as in the original and to make matters worst we have one zombie that has a stealth mode.

HorrorWe are in a zombie filled world which should be scary, nope this just doesn’t feel like a horror on any level.

SettingsThe film is set in and around a bunker, we never truly see how big the scale of the facility is which disappoints.

Special EffectsThe effects are the only highlight of the film, we have solid use of zombie destruction scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
I’m Not yours.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A Stealth zombie.

Final ThoughtsThis is the reason why people get tired of zombie films, it offers nothing new or watchable for the fans of the zombie genre, it doesn’t reach the so bad it is funny level, it just stays in bland and boring throughout.

 

Overall: A zombie film to miss.

Rating

 

 

A Quiet Place (2018)

Director: John Krasinski

Writer: John Krasinski, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck (Screenplay)

Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, Leon Russom, Cade Woodward, Doris McCarthy

 

Plot: A family lives an isolated existence in utter silence, for fear of an unknown threat that follows and attacks at any sound.


Tagline – If they can hear you, they can hunt you.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nerve Shredding Horror

 

Story: A Quiet Place starts as we follow the Abbott family, 89 days into an apocalypse, father Lee (Krasinski), mother Evelyn (Blunt) and children Regan (Simmons), Marcus (Jupe), Beau (Woodward), they must stay silent or an unknown predator will come for them, we see how they get supplies and travel on created paths which won’t make noise. When Beau makes a noise with a toy he has taken, we learn the devastation of the predator.

About one year later we return to the family, living on a farm, still in as close to silence as they can get, we do have tension between Regan and Lee, while Evelyn is expecting a new baby. The new two days will show how sudden the threat can be as the predators are attracted by the additional noise and the battle to survive is on.

 

Thoughts on A Quiet Place

 

Characters – The characters focus on the family dynamics, we have the father Lee that is desperately trying to find a way to keep his family safe, while supporting them by hunting and building a defence, Evelyn that is holding everyone together, while preparing for her next child, Regan is the most interesting character, in a world of silence, her character being deaf adds a dimension to how she can cope better than the rest, she is filled with guilt because of what happened to her younger brother, believing her father blames her. Marcus is the youngest and the one Lee wants to prepare to take over the duties in case something ever happened to him. These are the characters we spend most of the film with and you do want to see what they are getting up to.

PerformancesJohn Krasinski took dual roles here, behind the camera too which he gets it perfectly correct, his acting performance is wonderful too and being opposite his real wife helps get that extra level of emotion be needs as a husband and father. Emily Blunt, the one that can do no wrong, she is brilliant too throughout the film. the two child stars are fantastic here, giving us a performance that makes us believe they are actually related too.

StoryThe story here is simple, a family trying to survive in a world where any noise will attract a predator that will kill you, you can’t run, you can try to hide and you will not beat it. The story is brave because it shows you the predator early on, which is what is needed because it shows you just how sudden death will be if you make a sound. Watching the family dynamics is interesting too because we are seeing a family dealing with grief and guilt for what happened, while also trying to survive in this world. How they go about it is interesting to see and apart from generic horror mistakes this story will keep you on the edge throughout the film.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror in this movie comes from knowing you will not survive an encounter with this predator that hunts through sound, we are kept on edge for the whole film which helps us believe the world we are entering.

SettingsThe world created seems simple, it does feel lived in because of the time the characters are meant to have been surviving in 400days+ and using the environment to survive shows us how the human knowledge could find a way.

Special EffectsThe effects are mostly used for the world around the predators, they look scary, they are terrifying and effects show us what they can do.


Scene of the Movie –
The whole night sequence is edge of your seat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is a strange moan, as this is meant to be selected to be at times. We sometimes hear what the deaf Regan hears, which adds something haunting to the movie, then we have music which works, I would have loved to have seen this whole film from what she hears, pure silence.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily a contender for horror film of the year, it is fantastic, edge of your seat and by the end you will need regain your breath.

 

Overall: Must see Horror movie of the year.

Rating

 

 

House on Elm Lake (2017)

Director: James Klass

Writer: Shannon Holiday, James Klass (Screenplay)

Starring: Becca Hirani, Andrew Hollingworth, Faye Goodwin, Lorena Andrea, Tara MacGowran, Oliver Ebsworth

 

Plot: A couple and their young daughter move into a lake house that remained unsold due to the brutal, ritualistic murder of a family years ago. Soon, they realize that a dormant evil has awakened, a possessive force that has preyed on unsuspecting families like theirs for centuries.


Tagline – Lucifer will rise.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Low Budget Horror

 

Story: House of Elm Lake starts as family Hayley (Hirani), Eric (Hollingworth) and daughter Penny (Goodwin) move into a new lake house in hopes of starting a fresh, they have had their own difficulties in the past and this will start things on the right path.

Well that is the hope, it turns out that the house has a history of murder with the previous owners having the story of a family that had the husband kill the rest of the family. Now after they move in Eric starts acting differently leaving Hayley to make sure her daughter is safe.

 

Thoughts on House of Elm Lake

 

Characters – Hayley is the mother of Penny and partner to Eric, she has been going through a tough time while trying to stay strong for Penny and keep the family together, this side of her character is created well, you understand her trust issues, my only question about her character is whether she has a job or not, because we know Eric doesn’t have one at the moment and this house doesn’t seem affordable for to unemployed people. Eric is the partner of Hayley, he is coming to get a caretaker like job around the lake, he has made a mistake in the past which bought strain on the relationship, he starts to change as he remains in the house. Penny is the daughter of the couple, she is enjoying the idea of moving to a new house becoming the target of the evil presence.

PerformancesBecca Hirani in the leading role is good through the film, we believe her terror and her trust issues we see her character go through. Andrew Hollingworth does well through the film where for a large part we see him balance two different sides to him. The rest of the cast do well, they know their roles in the film and never make themselves the centre of attention away from the leads.

StoryThe story here does bring us into the idea of a new house with a past which does have a paranormal side. This seems generic which is fine it works, where this one does something different, is that we do keep everything in the home, we see a different type of possession happening which doesn’t focus on the woman being the easy target for evil. We can’t help but see the flaws which come in horror moments we always know, we could have decisions to stop certain things happening, like just leaving as there would have been a place to go.

HorrorThe horror used in the film is good throughout, mostly because we know what to expect and we do get moments which shock.

SettingsThe film takes place in a lake house which gives our characters a harder chance to escape and having help coming for them.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed for me, the visual material are great, with the practical effects looking flawless, the sound editing gets annoying, because the demonic voice isn’t something you can see being believable for long enough.


Scene of the Movie –
The Babysitter’s night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cheesy sounding demonic voice.

Final ThoughtsFor a movie that is for £3000 this is very good, we get strong acting, great effects and good story that goes out of its way to be different. This film shows everything you want, the potential you can achieve with the budget, now lets see what this team can do with a bigger budget.

 

Overall: Horror fans enjoy this one.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Featdotcom (2002)

Director: William Malone

Writer: Josephine Coyle (Screenplay) Moshe Diamant (Story)

Starring: Stephen Dorff, Natascha McElhone, Stephen Rea, Udo Kier, Amelia Curtis, Jeffrey Combs

 

Plot: A New York City detective investigates mysterious deaths occurring 48 hours after users log onto a site named feardotcom.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fear Dot Wrong

 

Story: Feardotcom starts as New York detective Mike (Dorff) teams up with environmental health officer Terry (McElhone) to investigate a string of death which look like a viral outbreak but could just be murders, the first investigation takes them into a German metal couple fans that seem to have died mysteriously but soon the cases become more significate.

With three different victims, with three unrelated backgrounds the crime seems all unrelated until they look deeper into the computer history and that all three have visited a website called ‘feardotcom.com’ that blasts horrific images into the viewers face leaving the viewer 48 hours to live, but there is also a connection to serial killer Dr Alistair Pratt (Rea).

 

Thoughts on Feardotcom

 

Characters – Detective Mike is haunted by his failure to capture a serial killer, this doesn’t make him bad at his job but does show how he never gives up but he also can’t follow simple instructions. Terry, I believe worked for the environmental health and is called into be sure there isn’t a viral outbreak happening, she does seem to be the one that puts the pieces together within the puzzle. Dr Alistair Pratt is the serial killer Mike was never able to capture, he is still active tracking down new victims but just how much of a connection does he have to everything going on. In all honesty, the characters are written to be as dumb as they come, we have a lady working with the police who visits the site and just hides what has happened, and the main two characters both warn the other not to view the site and both run off within moments and watch the site.

PerformanceStephen Dorff is fine in this but he can’t do much with the character written, Natascha McElhone is also fine in this role and handles what she has better than the rest, Stephen Rea does pull of psychopathic well but we just don’t see us enough. Most of the performances are just ok without really doing anything special.

StoryThe story follows detectives needing to solve a mystery about a haunted website or a serial killer, I am not sure which as things just seem to get caught between the two. The idea of having the cops fail miserably to solve this or act rational only confuses things for the story, I could understand if it was a reporter like we had in The Ring but now this does just seem to be trying to rip that idea off using the internet over a video.

Crime/HorrorPeople are dying I guess that does offer up the crime mystery side of this story but in the end the that part turns into horror which is mostly just throwing images at the camera while shaking it a lot.

SettingsThe settings are mixed, we have the idea of New York having a serial killer so we get mixed cultures but otherwise we just have typical dark locations.

Special EffectsThe special effects do just feel like a lot of shaky cams being used to throw us around the horror happening. We do also have moments of dated CGI that don’t help.

Scene of the Movie – Dr Alistair’s first appearance because it adds the horror needed and is the only truly scary moment in this film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Decision making from the police officer characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy, hard to watch film that tries to capture the magic of horror that The Ring did, it grabbed itself 3 respected lead actors and tried to give us an investigation film but misses on nearly every single level.

 

Overall: Disappointing Horror Mystery.

Rating