Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Director: David F Sandberg

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay)

Starring: Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Lulu Wilson, Anthony LaPaglia, Talitha Bateman, Alicia Vela-Bailey

 

Plot: Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Impressive Scare Filled Horror

 

Story: Annabelle: Creation starts as we meet a dollmaker Samuel Mullins (LaPaglia), his wife Esther (Otto) and their daughter Bee have a perfect religion filled life, but after it gets shattered with a tragic accident the family become silent. 12-years later Samuel opens the doors to Sister Charlotte (Sigman) and 6 orphan girls including Linda (Wilson), Janice (Bateman) and Nancy.

As night falls Linda hears noises coming from the daughter’s room, the room that is meant to be locked. Before long the other girls start experience strange occurrences until the truth about the Annabelle doll is unleashed searching for souls, can the girls survive this terror.

 

Thoughts on Annabelle: Creation

 

Characters – Esther is bed bound for the most part of this film, we only see her involvement when it comes to filling in the blanks about what is controlling the Annabelle doll. Samuel is clearly dealing with the depression but you wouldn’t expect anything else, he keeps to himself but as soon as he learns the terror has been released again. Linda is the disabled of the 6 girls who doesn’t get to enjoy the freedom they do making her a lonely potential victim for the demon. Sister Charlotte tries to be the mother figure for the girls and has a connection to the bigger Conjuring Universe. The only other characters we meet are the girls we have Janice who is the best friend of Linda that experience the most when it comes to the haunting with the other 4 barely getting named but some do experience hauntings which are at times confusing in my opinion.

PerformanceWhen you look at the performances you can see the bigger names like Otto and LaPaglia are used as a draw in the supporting role and do a good job throughout, Stephanie Sigman also does well through the film. It is the child actors that do shine in this film.

StoryThe Annabelle doll has been a part of two films now, it was a side haunting in the Conjuring and we learn more on the origin in the first Annabelle movie, now the Conjuring side is based on a true story, the others seem to not be. We did need a true origin story and we do get told what we already know about what is controlling the doll, now I do think we have plenty of scares going on with well created moments throughout, but the characters decisions will annoy horror fans at time. The story does end up being generic but it isn’t about the story here more about the scares.

Horror/MysteryThere are scares going on from the moment the girls arrive at the house, we get excellent use of camerawork to make us look in every single corner of the shot seeing if we are going to see something, the mystery isn’t the most difficult but if this is your first Annabelle experience you will enjoy them.

SettingsThe house in the middle of what feels like nowhere is great for the slow building atmosphere growing through the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are good for the most part, most are in darkness which saves on any weaknesses but there are a couple of moments that make you raise an eyebrow.

Scene of the Movie – The first Annabelle doll meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel this could have been avoided if they church people had said something before letting the girls just be nosey.

Final ThoughtsThis is another brilliant prequel to what was a disappointing film following in the footsteps of Ouija. The camerawork is brilliant and this is one of the horrors you will want to see every shot off.

 

Overall: A must watch horror prequel.

Rating

 

 

Anti Matter (2017)

Director: Keir Burrows

Writer: Keir Burrows (Screenplay)

Starring: Yaiza Figueroa, Philippa Carson, Tom Barber-Duffy, Noah Maxwell Clarke, James Farrar

 

Plot: Anti Matter (AKA Worm) is a sci-fi noir take on the Alice in Wonderland tale. Ana, an Oxford PhD student, finds herself unable to build new memories following an experiment to generate and travel through a wormhole. The story follows her increasingly desperate efforts to understand what happened, and to find out who – or what – is behind the rising horror in her life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Minding

 

Story: Anti Matter starts as we meet our three Oxford PhD students Ana (Figueroa), Liv (Carson) and Nate (Barber-Duffy) who have been working on wormhole to transfer matter, this is a complete success even with living subjects, but when their experiment is about to get closed down they jump to human trials with Ana going through the wormhole.

When Ana awakens the next day, it is clear something has changed, Ana no longer capable of making new memories, leaving us to figure out as she is just how long has passed since the experiment, what happed during the experiment and who seems to be after her.

 

Thoughts on Anti Matter

 

Characters – Ana is a PhD student at Oxford, her work has her working on transporting matter which she eventually uses to transport herself through a wormhole for her team. When something goes wrong Ana must put her life back together. Liv is one of the team working with Ana, she is the rebellious kind of student and easily ready to push Ana’s buttons. Nate is the third member of the team, he has worked with Ana for years and even offers us a potential love interest for Ana.

PerformanceYaiza Figueroa in the leading role where you believe her breakdown and desire to learn the truth through each scene and if I am not mistaken she is in every single scene. Philippa Carson and Tom Barber-Duffy both give us great supporting performances help Yaiza shine through the film.

StoryIf you want to see a sci-fi story that makes you think, look no further than this. To say this is difficult to explain would be an understatement, the story does ask the questions about what would happen if a wormhole was created and what happens when the person behind the experiment can’t remember what has been happening. When it comes of stories that make think and at times can feel confusing it is how they end which is important and this film does answer the questions it offers up.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery being offered up in this film does keep you guessing from the moment it starts to the final answer and the sci-fi side of the story comes from the experiment and consequences of the experiment.

SettingsThe settings show us in an underground lab which explains why we have this secret experiment going on through the film, but otherwise it is just mostly in and around the location of Oxford.

Special EffectsThe effects are only used when needed and the few times they are used they are great.

Scene of the Movie – The final reveal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels at times like the animal activists are just distractions.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the biggest brain teasing movies of the year, it makes you think and question the wormhole theory.

 

Overall: Brain testing, mind bending sci-fi gem.

Rating

 

 

Mark Strong Weekend – Mindscape (2013)

mindscapeDirector: Jorge Dorado

Writer:  Guy Holmes (Screenplay) Guy Holmes, Martha Holmes (Story)

Starring: Mark Strong, Taissa Farmiga, Brian Cox, Indira Varma, Noah Taylor

 

Plot: A man with the ability to enter peoples’ memories takes on the case of a brilliant, troubled sixteen-year-old girl to determine whether she is a sociopath or a victim of trauma.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mind Bending Thriller

 

Story: Mindscape starts by taking us to a world of memory Detectives who work for Mindscape run by Sebastian (Cox). The best detective is John Washington (Strong) who suffered a stroke on his last mission and suffering from the loss of his wife he wants to get back on the horse John takes the case of a troubled teenager Anna Greene (Farmiga).

John has to use the technology to go into the memories of Anna to try and unlock what is causing the decision to stop eating and acting the way she is. John has to work his way through Anna’s memories trying to figure out if she is a sociopath or a victim herself making this easy job one of the hardest of his career.

Mindscape is a film that does something we all like to see in a film, make us think as we have to watch the story unfold. We are led down different paths which does keep us guessing to just what is real or not with a final outcome that will leave you surprised. This is really a thinking film fans film which is well worth watching but not as a casual viewing.

 

Actor Review

 

Mark Strong: John Washington is a memory detective who has been struggling to keep his work separate from his personal memories and tragedies. He takes what looks like an easy job where he discovers the truth about Anna a troubled teenager. Mark is good in this leading role playing the good guy against his normal villainous role.

Taissa Farmiga: Anna Greene is the troubled teenager that is filled with stories, John is assigned to treat her but we are left to wonder which of her stories are real or just placed there to make John support her. Taissa is good in this role where we get to see her in a much more serious role that normal.

Brian Cox: Sebastian is the head of Mindscape who gives John this job knowing it should be an easier one for him to deal with. He has worked with John before knowing he is the best in the business he has also treated Anna in the past. Brian is solid in this supporting role but only in a couple of scenes.

Richard Dillane: Robert is the step-father of Anna who she believes is trying to get to the family money by putting her in a home, he is suspicious throughout but we are left to wonder what his try motives are. Richard is a solid supporting performance in this role.

Support Cast: Mindscape has a supporting cast that mostly leave us wondering what is going on with us wondering who is involved in what and fully keeping us guessing to the truth.

Director Review: Jorge DoradoJorge gives us a real mind twisting film that truly keeps you guessing.

 

Mystery: Mindscape is a film that throws us into a mystery leaving us to try and put the pieces together to find the truth.

Thriller: Mindscape sends us down different roads as we look for the truth behind the stories.

Settings: Mindscape keeps the settings simple with most being from inside the memories and where they take our characters.
Special Effects
: Mindscape has good effects when needed but tries to make more of the story about what might be going in the heads of the characters.

Suggestion: Mindscape is one that I would suggest the fans of the mystery genre to rally give a go. (Mystery Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Final act.

Worst Part: It can come off slightly too twist filled.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Once you enter her mind, there’s no escape.

 

Overall: Twist filled thriller that just keeps you guessing.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Soulmate (2013)

soulmateDirector: Axelle Carolyn

Writer: Axelle Carolyn (Screenplay)

Starring: Anna Walton, Tom Wisdom, Tanya Myers, Nick Brimble, Emma Cleasby, Guy Armitage

 

Plot: Widowed Audrey retreats to an isolated Welsh cabin after a failed suicide attempt, to recuperate. Still haunted by the tragic death of her husband and struggling with her psychosis, she begins to hear strange noises.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow

 

Story: Soulmate starts as we see widowed Audrey (Walton) move to a small Welsh town to escape her life and get over her own suicide attempt. Being welcomed in by the caretaker Theresa (Myers) we see how small this town really is.

When Audrey starts hearing sounds around the cottage she finds herself face to face with Douglas (Wisdom) a spirit living in the house after his own heartbreak led to his suicide. Audrey starts to try and learn more about what happened to Douglas as the two become friends through their nightly conversations.

Soulmate tells us a ghost story which looks at the two characters who have been through the same loss but have had different outcomes to their suicide attempts. The story starts by trying to build tension only for it just end up being friends chatting which is a huge disappoint. The problem with this film is that we get a build up for a suspenseful horror only to become friendship conversation between living and the dead.

 

Actor Review

 

Anna Walton: Audrey is a struggling widow who has tried to take her own life with her grief. She takes a trip away where she can deal with her own problems through her music, but when she meets the ghost of the former owner of the home who has dealt with similar issues. Anna is a solid lead that we can see the side effects of her loss throughout.

Tom Wisdom: Douglas is the ghost living in the house that has been desperate for contact with a living being which Audrey can give him. He turns into a dangerous spirit who doesn’t want to let Audrey leave. Tom is solid but because of the design of the character we lack that special moment for his character.

Tanya Myers: Theresa is a caretaker for the property who has a connection with the house and the spirit inside. Tanya is solid but I do feel we needed slightly more from the character.

Support Cast: Soulmate doesn’t have the biggest supporting cast with odd scenes from Tanya husband and otherwise mostly voices. This does work to the films advantage with the smaller cast.

Director Review: Axelle CarolynAxelle gives us a solid but not scary ghost story.

 

Horror: Soulmate doesn’t reach any real horror levels with the early jump scares not being anything before it just turns into conversations.

Mystery: Soulmate does make us wonder about what happened to Douglas in the house.

Settings: Soulmate keeps the settings within the country side or inside the cottage which shows us where the characters are in the bigger picture of the world.
Special Effects
: Soulmate has good effects when needed to show Douglas first appear.

Suggestion: Soulmate is one I think can be watched late night for a horror fix. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Not just being a ghost story.

Worst Part: No scares will disappoint people.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: She Thought She Was Alone

 

Overall: Slow moving ghost story without any scares.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Awaken the Shadowman (2017)

Director: J.S. Wilson

Writer: Skyler Caleb, Woodrow Wilson Hancock III, James Zimbardi (Screenplay)

Starring: James Zimbardi, Skyler Caleb, Jean Smart, Emily Somers, Andrea Hunt, Robert R Shafer

 

Plot: After the mysterious disappearance of their mother, estranged brothers reunite and discover an unknown supernatural force.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shock Filled Horror

 

Story: Awaken the Shadowman starts as Adam Morris (Zimbardi) and his wife Beth (Somers) get called back to the family home by his brother Jake (Caleb) after their mother Evette (Smart) has gone missing.

Returning home brings back bad memories for Adam and once he arrives things start to come off strange, we have a welcoming committee which Adam doesn’t know, blacked out eyed dolls known as watchers and a young charismatic preacher Lawrence (Weinfeld) for a group known as Getways as well as a mysterious shadow figure lurking around the house.

 

Thoughts on Awaken the Shadowman

 

Characters – Adam Morris is a hard-working family man, he has a hands-on job where he family struggle to make ends meet. He must put his past behind him to return home but now must put his family’s safety first. Jake is the brother of Adam that still lives in the same home town, he calls Adam back but you can sense the issues between the two as they try to bond once more. Evette is the estranged mother of the brothers, she has been involved in suicide attempts but now has disappeared. Beth is the wife (I think) of Adam that spends most of the film caring for the baby and being stalked around the house.

PerformanceJames Zimbardi does a good job in the leading role, we believe his characters struggle through the film, Skyler Caleb on the other hand does seem to struggle with his character, never getting normal or menacing believable through the film, Jean Smart is the biggest name in the movie but is mostly talk about her characters whereabouts.

StoryMan return home to find out things are not what they seem, that is the core of the story, we get the investigation into what has changed in this town and this offers a few twists and turns along the way as we learn just what is happening, this also does enough to surprise us by the end of the film too.

Horror/MysteryThe horror only comes into moments but they are effective with the Shadowman lurking in the shadows, like he should be. The mystery comes from Adam needing to figure out what is going on.

SettingsThe settings bring us to a home town for Adam which works because he feels like he knows the location but when it is your neighbours who have changed since you were last there it adds horror.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well only appearing when showing us the shadowman himself, that does feel creepy and original effects.

Scene of the Movie – The first image of the Shadowman.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I would say the opening sequences gives slightly too much away.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror movie that does leave us with a shocking ending.

 

Overall: Good horror movie for late night tv.

Rating