Seventh Moon (2008)

Director: Eduardo Sanchez

Writer: Eduardo Sanchez, Jamie Nash (Screenplay)

Starring: Amy Smart, Tim Chiou, Dennis Chan

 

Plot: Melissa and Yul, Americans honeymooning in China, come across the exotic ‘Hungry Ghost’ festival. When night falls, the couple end up in a remote village, and soon realize the legend is all too real. Plunged into an ancient custom they cannot comprehend, the couple must find a way to survive the night of the Seventh Moon.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Camerawork Ruins the Film

 

Story: Seventh Moon starts as newlywed Melissa (Smart) and Yul (Chiou) are travelling around China for their honeymoon, we get the montage to show the best bits, before they take a trip with their trust guide Ping (Chan) who leaves them in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.

Getting concerned the two investigate only to learn not everything is as it seems and now they must battle to survive against the locals and their spirits that are visiting on the Seventh Moon,

 

Thoughts on Seventh Moon

 

Characters – We know horror movies don’t get the best character development and this movie shows why, we have American Melissa who would rather be swimming with dolphins than going to China the homeland of her husband, she is stronger when it comes to surviving horror, forcing her husband to do the manly thing. Yul is the Chinese American that married Melissa and is heading to his homeland for their honeymoon, she doesn’t speak fluent which shows during the non-English moments and needs to be pushed to do the right thing.

PerformancesDoes any remember when Amy Smart was shine in the teenage romantic comedies over the turn of the century, Road Trip and later Just Friends? Well this is where she ended up doing horrors which doesn’t involve too much actual acting. Tim Chiou doesn’t give the best of performances, again this is down to the material and awful camerawork.

StoryThe story wants to be something a lot bigger than what we got, in reality it is American tourist not understand culture and getting caught in the middle of a ritual they don’t understand, mostly running around the woods/forest screaming and hiding. When we watch horror, we don’t always need the best stories, granted but we do at least need something to care about, characters to root for an enemy we might understand. This gives us none of this and ends up feeling flat and boring throughout.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror in this film comes from what is in the woods/forest, it uses the myth of the Seventh Moon to say spirits will come out looking for fresh blood and these creatures are what we must see our character hide and fight against.

SettingsThe setting is the woods or forest, this is fine and works for the idea in the movie, we know that small communities will have different beliefs and while the settings are not used in the most terrifying way they suit the film we are watching.

Special EffectsThe effects are the confusing part of this film, this is because the make-up works very well for the creatures, but the camerawork makes this borderline unwatchable at times.


Scene of the Movie –
The creatures attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The camerawork is terrible.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid idea for a horror film, but the camerawork starts to make this feel unwatchable for the most part.

 

Overall: Camerawork ruins a smart idea that should work.

Rating

 

 

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I Trapped the Devil (2019)

Director: Josh Lobo

Writer: Josh Lobo (Screenplay)

Starring: AJ Bowen, Susan Burke, Scott Poythress, Chris Sullivan, Jocelin Donahue, John Marrott, Rowan Russell

 

Plot: A man descends into paranoia after trapping what he believes to be the devil in his basement, but things take a dark turn when his family unexpectedly arrive for Christmas.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intensely Atmospheric

 

Story: I Trapped the Devil starts when Matt (Bowen) and Karen (Burke) visit Steve (Poythress) who has been living in the family home alone for a long time. Steve has been off the radar for a reason though, which is to do with the mysterious man he has locked in his basement.

Steve believes he has trapped the devil and must convince his brother and Karen to believe this person is in fact the devil and this is for the greater good.

 

Thoughts on I Trapped the Devil

 

Characters – Steve is the man who has lived alone for too long, he has isolated himself from the world, with a man locked in his basement, one he believes is the devil. He believes he has evidence to prove this and must convince his brother this isn’t a stunt looking for attention. Matt is the brother who has returned with his wife to celebrate Christmas, he is caught in the middle as he doesn’t want to give up his brother, but knows if this is an innocent person, they can’t be kept in the basement. Karen is Matt’s wife that wanted to see the family at Christmas, she gets put in the same position, while looking at the reality that this could well be the devil.

PerformancesScott Poythress as the brother that has trapped the man, completely performs in this role, we feel his characters paranoid nature through each moment in the film, while believing he has done what he has said. AJ Bowen is great as the brother caught in the middle, we see the conflict going on in his head, while Susan Burke completes the main cast with a role that makes you see how people do believe what they can be told.

StoryThe story follows one man that believes he has captured and locked up the devil in his basement, when his brother and his wife visit, he must convince them that this is the devil, while they question whether he has lost his mind or not. This story does get to pose the questions of what if somebody had captured the devil, would you risk letting them out or not? Would you risk letting the devil back into the world or is there no such thing as the devil. We get plenty of questions on how you could react, while also hearing the voice calling for help. We do get moments that are designed for shock, while most of the story is designed to keep more away from us, leaving our imaginations to run wild. This does help build the atmosphere through the film, because you just don’t know what will happen next.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from seeing how each character reacts to what could be going on if this is in fact the devil, with Steve believing he is the one in the right.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we remain in the house for the whole film, this shows how the joint secret will need to be discussed, with the boundaries being drawn out.


Scene of the Movie –
The final shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have seen more of what caused the strain between Steve and Matt.

Final ThoughtsThis is an atmospheric horror that keeps us guessing by asking the difficult question about what would you do if you trapped the devil, even if it wasn’t the devil, could you risk letting them out?

 

Overall: Horror that makes you think.

Rating

 

 

Guardians of the Tomb (2018)

Director: Kimble Rendall

Writer: Kimble Rendall, Paul Staheli (Screenplay) Kimble Rendall, Jonathan Scanlon (Story)

Starring: Bingbing Li, Kellan Lutz, Kelsey Grammer, Chun Wu, Shane Jacobson, Stef Dawson, Jason Chong

 

Plot: An innocent discovery of a well-preserved mummified Chinese Emperor from 200 B.C. unearths a two-thousand-year-old nightmare, a secret that should have remained buried.


Tagline – Unearth the legend. Unleash the curse.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Terrible Adventure

 

Story: Guardians of the Tomb starts when pharmaceutical business man Mason (Grammer) turns to the daughter of his former partner Jia (Li) to search for her brother Luke (Wu) who went missing during the latest search for a cure that would put the company back on the map.

Jia joins Mason, survival expert Jack Ridley (Lutz), Gary (Jacobson), Milly (Dawson) and Chen (Chong) in search for the answers in the tomb, a tomb which is filled with deadly spiders that could bring a new cure for diseases.

 

Thoughts on Guardians of the Tomb

 

Characters – Jia is a specialist in venoms and dangerous animals from around the world, she knows how to remain calm around them if somebody is infected, she is forced into the field after her brother goes missing on his latest expedition, where she must use her own expert skills to keep the team alive and guide them out alive. Jack Ridley is bough in because of his skills in survival situations, he is here to keep the team safe. Mason is the co-founder of company, he has seen his partner killed and is always looking to push the boundaries in search new products which could help make him money in the pharmaceutical world, he leads the team after his own men go missing. Luke is the younger brother to Jia, he goes on the adventures, with his latest one seeing him go missing, he is working for Mason too.

PerformancesBingbing Li is easily the best of performers in this film, she does look like she is trying unlike most of the rest of the leading members of the cast. Kellan Lutz continues to fall into the generic soldier figure, offering nothing new, Kelsey Grammer does seem to be wasted in his role, he would have been better to not go on the adventure too. Chun Wu is solid enough in what is a smaller role, though it he could have done more with more screen time.

StoryThe story follows a rescue mission after a discovery mission goes wrong inside an ancient tomb in China. This is a story we have seen before, we know how ancient tombs tend to play out, with traps only this time we get spiders that are protecting a tomb. We have greed, family and memories planning out for the characters, even we do end up just going through the, spiders are coming lets run storyline way too often. This is simply enough without being anything original or enjoyable.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure involved in the film follows the characters as they go through the tomb. The horror in the film comes from the spiders being deadly.

SettingsThe film keeps us going through the tombs with each room offering a new problem for the team to face.

Special EffectsThe effects come from the spiders which at times are awful looking CGI, in a place where we could have had practical ones.


Scene of the Movie –
Couldn’t find one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The CGI spiders.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappoint adventure horror that could have been a lot of fun, only to become bland, predictable and just becomes forgettable quickly.

 

Overall: Forgettable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – O – Origin War (2016)

Director: Shane Abbess

Writer: Shane Abbess, Brian Cachia (Screenplay)

Starring: Kellan Lutz, Daniel MacPherson, Isabel Lucas, Luke Ford, Rachel Griffiths, Temuera Morrison

 

Plot: Set in the future in a time of interplanetary colonization, an unlikely pair race against an impending global crisis and are confronted by the monsters that live inside us all.


Tagline – A father on a mission, a convict on the run, must fight for the future. The countdown has begun

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sci-Fi Pilot Episode

 

Story: The Osiris Child starts in the future where colonization has become the normal. LT Kane Sommerville (MacPherson) was a once great pilot whose accident left many dead, now he works on one of these planets, split from his family, when his daughter Indi (Croft) visits, unable to take her to the base he leaves her in the big city.

When a virus outbreak happens on the surface, the base is on lockdown, only for this to be a cover up for a monster they created outbreak and he must escape to the surface, where he meets escaped prisoner Sy Lombrok (Lutz) as the two reluctantly work together to save Kane’s daughter.

 

Thoughts on The Osiris Child

 

Characters – Lt Kane Summerville is a disgraced pilot working on a remote planet, his career has cost him his family being away from his daughter. He will get a chance to redeem himself when his daughter is put in danger, he rushes against time to save her from the impending destruction of the planet. He sees this as his final chance to make up for his mistakes. Sy Lombrok is one of the prisoners on the planet, he reluctantly joins Kane on his journey giving him his chance for redemption. Gyp is one of the people that joins the men on the journey, she has lived on the surface of the planet and enjoys a drink or two General Lynex is the one planning the destroying the planet after her own experiment goes wrong, she doesn’t care how many people will die to cover up their mistake.

PerformancesDaniel MacPherson in the leading role is strong who is willing to do anything for his daughter, it isn’t the most difficult role though. Kellan Lutz as the brooding criminal with a secret for his imprisonment does well through the film. Isabel Lucas and Rachel Griffiths both struggle to deliver on the standards involved.

StoryThe story follows a military pilot teaming up with a prisoner to save his daughter before the newly colonized planet is destroyed to cover up the mistake by the military. We know this type of story and it does play out like a video game, with each stage becoming more difficult. This story does feel like it is just a set up for a bigger concept, with the story told in chapter form too helps that theory. The story does have plenty of sup-plots which could have been investigated in more depth, which a film couldn’t have offered, because they are interesting and get flown over without given that much time on.

Action/Fantasy/Horror/Sci-FiThe action in this film feels very safe with one plane chase, bit of driving then a few bullets flying at the monsters. The horror elements in the film comes from the origin of the monsters which will be killing machines. The sci-fi world is brilliant because we get to see just how going to new worlds could happen.

SettingsThe world building in the film is the highlight because the new planet system feels like we could see a massive scale behind everything which shows us just how prepared this film is for the story to open up for more too.

Special EffectsThe effects are simple enough, the monsters don’t always look that scary though.


Scene of the Movie –
The original sin.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels like a pilot.

Final ThoughtsSimple sci-fi action film that feels like it should be preparing for something much bigger.

 

Overall: Simple and effective.

Rating

 

 

Ron Perlman Weekend – Blade II (2002)

Director: Guillermo del Torro

Writer: David S Goyer (Screenplay) Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan (Characters)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kirstofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Thomas Kretschmann, Luke Goss, Donnie Yen

 

Plot: Blade forms an uneasy alliance with the vampire council in order to combat the Reapers, who are feeding on vampires.


Tagline – One Man Still Has The Edge

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Blood-Soaked Sequel

 

Story: Blade II starts as a new breed of vampire Nomak (Goss) hunts down vampires for feed, meanwhile Blade (Snipes) has unfinished business with the vampires, he wants Whistler (Krisofferson) back after he was turned and taken from him. Once Whistler is saved, Blade returns him to the human form with his new assistant Scud (Reedus).

When the Vampire council approach Blade to help them stop the Reaper strain Nomak is carrying, Blade must team up with the Blood Pack led by Nyssa (Varela) and including Reinhardt (Perlman), Snowman (Yen) and Chupa (Schulze) to put aside their difference to defeat the newest enemy to them both.

 

Thoughts on Blade II

 

Characters – Blade, daywalker, the half human, half vampire is continuing his battle against vampires, but this time he learns of a new threat the Reapers, who are deadlier than any vampire he has face, so he must unite with the vampires to defeat them. Still as deadly as before, with sword or guns, no vampire can just defeat him. Whistler returns only this time Blade must help him to recover, which leaves us wondering which side of the battle he will be on through the movie. Reinhardt is a member of the Bloodpack, he is the one that hates working with Blade, his sworn enemy for years. He shows his discontent while be one of the best soldiers in the unit. Nyssa is the daughter of Damaskinos, a pure blood vampire and leader of the Bloodpack, she becomes a Love interest for Blade in a strange turn of events. Scud has filled the Whistler role for Blade in his hunt, he creates the weapons needed to defeat the enemies while mostly being a slob for the most part. Damaskinos is the leader of the vampire council, he brings the rivals together to try and end the war. Nomak is the reaper terrorising the streets, he is the first of his creation and now deadly to anyone who he infects.

PerformancesWesley Snipes will always be remembered for this role, it is his most iconic and the one the fans enjoy watching. Here he does everything needed to continue making it people’s favourite. Kristofferson on the other hand does feel like he is mailing it in for the most part. Ron Perlman does the best to try and steal the spotlight bring the few moments of humour to the film. Leonor Varela is good as the only major female character in the film and does have a good opening fight sequence with Blade. Luke Goss is good as the villain showing us the sympathetic side and the brutal side of his character. The rest of the cast are good through the film.

StoryThe story puts our hero Blade needing to team up with his enemy to take on a new enemy, this does work because we didn’t need to see Blade just take on more normal vampires, we needed to up the stakes and the new breed does this. We also get the tension between the two sides with the common enemy, needing to trade secrets to make things happen. We must remember this is a comic book movie, so we need things to be farfetched at time too. We have the traditional twists you would come to expect at times too.

Action/HorrorThe action is fun, we have great fighting sequences, but certain moments feel like a video game. The horror uses the vampires for the blood filled violence moments in the film.

SettingsThe settings show us the dark underworld you would imagine vampires would live in, the new breed in the sewers shows us how they are starting at the bottom looking to raise to the top too.

Special EffectsThe effects for the kills are good throughout, the effects for the fight scenes are at times seems poor CGI.


Scene of the Movie –
Sewer invasion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Donnie Yen’s characters death, wasted opportunity.

Final ThoughtsThis was a fun comic book action horror, we get plenty of blood flying around with plenty of kills going on which will keep the fans happy.

 

Overall: Great sequel for an iconic character.

Rating