The Host (2020) Movie Review

Director: Andy Newbery

Writer: Finola Geraghty, Brendan Bishop, Laurence Lamers (Screenplay) Laurence Lamers, Zachary Weckstein (Story)

Starring: Mike Beckingham, Maryam Hassouni, Doughie Poynter, Nigel Barber, Suan-Li Ong, Togo Igawa, Tom Wu, Derek Jacobi

Plot: A opportunity arises for Robert Atkinson, a London banker who risks his bank’s money to leave the mundane behind to start a new life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Crime Horror 101

Story: The Host starts as we meet down on his luck Robert Atkinson (Beckingham) who has filled his life with bad decisions, including an affair with a married woman, stealing from his bank and gambling with money he doesn’t have, facing even more trouble, he gets offered a deal to make a delivery to Amsterdam.

Once in Amsterdam, Robert finds what seems like a simple delivery, taking a turn when DEA Agent Herbert Summers (Barber) picks him out and Robert is caught in the middle of completing the delivery or jail or something way worse.

Thoughts on The Host

Characters – Robert Atkinson is a banker that has spiralled out of control, he steals from work, gambles with money he doesn’t have and has cut ties with most people in his life. To get out of his problems, he is offered a delivery job, one that will clear most of his debts, it seems simple enough, but it does take a turn for the worse for him. Vera Tribbe runs the accommodation that Robert stays in, it is a giant house that is filled with secrets behind her welcoming nature. Steve is Robert’s brother that has tried to help him get back on the right track, no matter what he has done in the past, he will help him through the toughest time. Herbert Summers sees the delivery Robert is on and looks to use him to get what he needs in the battle against the gang running deliveries around the world.

PerformancesMike Beckingham takes the leading role, showing us just how desperate his character has become, Maryam Hassouni is the star performer in the film with her truly dark turn, where Dougie Poynter, Nigel Barber and Suan-Li Ong giving strong supporting performances too.

StoryThe story here follows a man who is down on his luck making a deal with a gang leader to make a delivery to clear his debts, only for this simple task to take a very dark turn. This does start out looking like it will be a routine crime thriller with somebody needing to clean up their debts, we get the mix Robert getting stuck in the middle of the criminals and the law. This story does take a big twist, which will surprise and go in a very different direction which is shocking to see. The story does try to blend the two together, but does struggle though because we focus on the crime side dragging us in, only for most of this to get forgotten through the horror side, which does take over the second half of the story.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThe crime side of the film does feel routine for the most part, only this takes the back burner once the horror side of the film is unleashed, which is surprising by what happens.

SettingsThe film is mostly set inside the mansion like house in Amsterdam, the house shows us the mystery with the size, the secret rooms and the eerie feel to it.


Scene of the Movie – Vera’s true nature.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The crime side of the story does seem to get forgotten once the horror comes out.

Final Thoughts This is a crime thriller that is covered with a big horror twist to everything going on which is nice, only it does seem to get stuck in the middle of both sides.

Overall: Killer Twist to the Crime Thriller.

THE HOST is available on demand from 17th April 2020 http://www.thehost.movie/

ABC Film Challenge – Action – C – Channeling (2013)

Director: Drew Thomas

Writer: Drew Thomas (Screenplay)

Starring: Taylor Handley, Kate French, Skyler Day, Dominic DeVore, Ryan Walker, Landon Ashworth, Alex Solowitz

Plot: A drama centered on people who seek validation by broadcasting their lives to as big an audience as possible.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Look at the Next Gen of Entertainment

Story: Channeling starts by taking us into a world where people can have a camera in their eye, with people watching their lives, Wyatt Maddox (Handley) is one of these people and after he is killed with his channel watching, his soldier brother Jonah (DeVore) returns home, here he learns that his brother was murdered with Wyatt’s girlfriend Tara (French) filling in the gaps of what happened.

As Jonah starts to investigate, he teams up with Tara to find the person that killed Wyatt, he enters the world of street racing from stolen cars, where he pretends to be his brother, which only draws the same criminals that killed him.

Thoughts on Channeling

Characters – Wyatt is the popular in the virtual world, with his followers in his illegal stolen street cars getting him killed, he has been recording his life, which gives his brother something to search through. Jonah is the soldier brother of Wyatt, he has returned to learn what happened to his brother only to go undercover with his brother’s girlfriend to learn the truth about who killed his brother. Tara is the girlfriend of Wyatt’s, she was with him just before he was killed and now, she wants learn the truth, by showing Jonah how to enter the world. Ashleigh is the younger sister of the brothers, she has become popular with her own recordings which is more about fashion and daily life.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we don’t get the best performances, this does work for the film because they are meant to be what we would consider YouTube stars in how they try to play to their audiences. The reality behind the acting is that it is simple enough and the characters are hard to see in the real world either.

StoryThe story here follows a brother that is trying to find out what happened to his brother after he is murdered during one of his special broadcasts, he goes undercover to learn more about the world, searching for answers. The most interesting way to look at this story, comes from seeing the world where the broadcasting has become so popular, this idea works very well because it reflects how the world is only interested in drama or crime, over any sort of real event. When we look at the actual story, it is a basic revenge like story and works as the surface of the film, it would have been nice to have felt like the villains were more threatening and the side story revolving around the little sister does seem just there to show a different side of the popularity of the equipment rather than adding anything to the main story.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does follow a couple of car chases which as basic enough, but shot through the eyes which makes them difficult to watch. The sci-fi element does build on what we have seen in Black Mirror before which is a recording of life, it is nice touch and something we see happening more and more.

SettingsThe film shows the criminal world that Jonah must enter for answers, we have rough bars, dark alleyways and a remote penthouse apartment where his brother lived.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, this is focused on how the viewers of the people see the lives they are following, it does feel like shaky cam at times which isn’t helpful as a viewer experience.


Scene of the Movie – Bar of popularity.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not seeing enough of the villain.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at how the popularity of social media has become easier to access and become key to these people’s lives.

Overall: Entertaining, though flawed.

Conspiracy Theory (1997) Movie Review

Director: Richard Donner

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, Cylk Cozart, Steve Kahan, Terry Alexander, Alex McArthur

Plot: A man obsessed with conspiracy theories becomes a target after one of his theories turns out to be true. Unfortunately, in order to save himself, he has to figure out which theory it is.


Tagline – Jerry Fletcher sees conspiracies everywhere. One has turned out to be true. Now his enemies want him dead. And she’s the only one he can trust.

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Excellent Mystery

Story: Conspiracy Theory starts as taxi driver and conspiracy theorist spends his day believing the government is out to get him always believing different events in the city are bigger than what the story is being told. He tries to turn to district attorney Alice Sutton (Roberts) about any story he gets, while also having a crush on her, before he is taken by a group of the government where Dr Jonas (Stewart) tries to get him to talk.

With Jerry needing to go on the run, Alice becomes a target too, as they must try to figure out why they have been targeted and which one of Jerry theories is the one that is trying to be covered up.

Thoughts on Conspiracy Theory

Characters – Jerry is a taxi driver in New York City, he also is a conspiracy theorist that believes everything is the government trying to cover something up, while most people to bat him off as crazy person who is just talking nonsense, one of his theories turns out to be true, as the government comes hunting for him, he every nightmare is coming true, only he doesn’t know which one of his ideas is the one that is true. Alice Sutton works in the district attorney office, she is the person Jerry brings his ideas too, while the rest of the office is scared of him, she will help him when he gets targeted, not believing everything she is being told, even after spending most of her time just listening to his ideas. Dr Jonas is the man trying to track down Jerry, he will use all the shady tactics to get his man even if he has the biggest secret about why he is hunting him down.

PerformancesMel Gibson is wonderful in the leading role here, he gets to play the full crazy without looking like he is completely out of his mind, just on edge about everything. Julia Roberts is great to trying to remain calm around the Gibson’s crazy side. Patrick Stewart as the villainous government agent is great to watch too, he knows how to make his character make a big impact on screen.

StoryThe story here follows one man who believes everything in his life is a giant conspiracy and has always gone to one person to tell his theories too, only now he has found out one is real and the government what him silenced, can he expose the truth before it is too late. When it comes to conspiracy theories we can see how people can believe in anything once they have enough information, with this one, we see somebody who does believe in way too many, he just doesn’t know which ones are real or just parts of his mind, seeing how the government wants to cover them up shows just how big the theories can be if people will kill to keep them secret. We do get to see how Alice reacts to the world she is caught up between, never knowing which side to believe through the story, which does add another level to the narrative.

Action/MysteryThe action in the film is a couple of pursuit sequences rather than full blown chases, everything feels calm, even though it is fast paced though, the mystery comes from why Jerry is being targeted this time, he just doesn’t know which one of his theories is being leaked.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which shows us just how many people will just let somebody get away with saying whatever they want and not be considered out of place.


Scene of the Movie – The pizza order.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It could be trimmed down about 20 minutes.

Final Thoughts This is a great mystery thriller that leaves plenty up there with conspiracy theories, showing how plenty can be talked about and the ones that are true could be the ones that cause the most problems.

Overall: Keeps You Guessing.

Rootwood (2018) Movie Review

Director: Marcel Walz

Writer: Mario von Czapiewski (Screenplay)

Starring: Tyler Gallant, Elissa Dowling, Sarah French, Felissa Rose, Tiffani Fest, Brandon Rhea, Kwame HEad

Plot: Two students are hired by a Hollywood film producer to shoot a horror documentary about the curse of The Wooden Devil.


Tagline – Welcome to the darkest place on earth.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Running in the Woods 101

Story: Rootwood starts when two podcasters William (Gallant) and Jessica (Dowling) get to meet a horror movie producer Laura Benott (Rose) to shoot a documentary about the curse of The Wooden Devil. The pair are joined by Erin (French) and into the forest they go.

The further the trio get into the woods, the stranger the events are, with them looking to document other disappearances, they start to unlock clues to what might be happening, or will they become the latest victims.

Thoughts on Rootwood

Characters – William and Jessica have been working on their supernatural podcast for years, they like to look into stories from a distance, only now William has made connection to get their first field job looking into the unexplained, he see this as his chance to make himself bigger in the community, willing to risk more than life itself, while Jess doesn’t care about becoming as big as her co-star. Erin does bring glamour to the documentary, with the idea of using her status to make the documentary look more appealing to sell. Laura Benott is the producer that hires the team to investigate the Wooden Devil.

PerformancesWhere this movie is part documentary and mockumentary, it is hard to judge the performances, because Tyler Gallant, Elissa Dowling and Sarah French are doing the lost in the woods being haunted by something outside side of the film well.

StoryThe story here follows three podcasters that look to investigate a local legend, only to find themselves experiencing the horror in the woods themselves. The story can easily be compared to the Blair Witch Project with the documentary filmmakers going into the woods for a story only to find themselves running around in from the danger. It doesn’t get enough to feel completely original, even if it does try to go in a different direction with the final act, it doesn’t seem to get enough to make the impact required.

Horror/MysteryThe horror does fall into the three people running around the woods screaming with noises causing problems for the characters. We don’t seem to get into the mystery behind everything either, which then falls into something that really gets solved.

SettingsThe film is set in the random locations within the woods, it could be anywhere without being anywhere we haven’t seen before.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film work for the film giving us everything we need for what might be in the costume.


Scene of the Movie – Race to escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too similar to Blair Witch Project.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does feel like it wants to try and give the Blair Witch Project, only to get caught up doing everything to similar, even with a fresh outcome.

Overall: The Blair Witch Project without the suspense.

Agatha and the Truth of Murder (2018) Movie Review

Director: Terry Loane

Writer: Tom Dalton (Screenplay)

Starring: Ruth Bradley, Ralph Ineson, Tim McInnerny, Pippa Haywood, Blake Harrison

Plot: In 1926, with her personal life in tatters and her writing in crisis, a young Agatha Christie decides to solve a real-life murder.


Tagline – Some people have a taste for murder..

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Murder Mystery

Story: Agatha and the Truth of Murder starts as the great Agatha Christie (Bradley) is struggling with her latest novel, with the readers being able to guess who the killer or killers are, going through a divorce, she isn’t willing to sign.

When one of her fans Mabel (Haywood) visits, she asks Agatha to try and solve a real crime on a train, one the police can’t figure out, seeing this as a way to get out of her writers block, she goes to attempt to solve this crime, with suspects that could come out of her own novels.

Thoughts on Agatha and the Truth of Murder

Characters – Agatha Christie is the great author, whose murder mystery novels have the large following, she is struggling to find motivation with her latest novel because her readers can guess the impossible killer. Her personal life is falling apart too, with an unlikely visit giving her a chance to experience solving a real murder. Mabel is the woman that comes to Agatha for help solving her friend’s murder, one that could have suspects from every angle of her real life, she gives her the information and joins in the trying to solve the crime. Detective Inspector Shore is the only real police involved in trying to solve the case, as other members of the gathering start getting killed, as the finger pointing increases.

PerformancesRuth Bradley in the leading role is great to watch, diving into the role of the legendary author. We have a host of British talent in here with Ralph Ineson, Tim McInnerny and Blake Harrison filling out the cast well showing the talent within the country.

StoryThe story here follows the mystery behind Agatha Christie missing 11 days, which have never been explained, showing how she escaped the troubles in her life, to solve a real murder. This does turn into a murder mystery that could have come out of the novels of the author, which will keep us guessing like the detective, in this case herself. We do get glimpses into the real life troubles Agatha was going through, it also shows that post-war life that does have people suffering in private and shows moments of heroism that they achieved in war. If you like a murder mystery, this story is an easy watch that could be enjoyed by all.

Crime/MysteryThe film sees Agatha Christie becoming the detective, like her creations to try and solve murder, with plenty of suspects to keep us guessing along with the mystery.

SettingsThe film here is set in a big house, which shows how the rich would be looking to get the money from the deceased, showing how they are more comfortable in the upper class of society.


Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel like any murder mystery that could be in any British murder mystery show.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable murder mystery that does keep us guessing while taking a fresh approach to how Agatha Christie might have gotten her inspirations.

Overall: Murder Mystery 101.