The Dam (2011)

damDirector: Sohan Roy

Writer: Sohan Roy (Screenplay)

Starring: Joushua Smith, Vimala Raman, Ashish Vidtarthi, Vinay Rai, Linda Arsenio, Thampy Anthony

 

Plot: After many years two mariners return to homeland with the hope of a new beginning, little did they know about a disaster that would change their destiny.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not What it Says on the Tin

 

Story: The Dam starts as Captain Frederick Brown (Smith) is selling his newest book Dam999 as we flashback to learn the story behind the book. On the cruise liner Captain Brown is with his wife Raziya (Burman) and close friend Vinay (Rai) and his son Samuel (Rath) who are all heading to Vinay home searching for a cure for Sam’s diabetes.

As we follow the idea of lost love between Vinay and Meera (Raman) everything takes place in a small town next to the Dam built by the ancestors of Captain Brown and Sandra (Arsenio) the wife of Vinay arrives in the town. The town is being run by a corrupt Mayor who has cheaped out on the new dam which upon opening becomes a threat to everyone in the town.

 

Thoughts on The Dam

 

StoryWhen you look at the story I can’t help but find this miss-sold because this is very much a love story about following fate or your heart what could have been or what could be with a disaster tagged on the end of the film. This is all fine but it does feel very long in places making us lose interest in wait for the disaster event to actually happy.

Adventure/Thriller The adventure side of the story doesn’t really come through until the disaster moments of the film and with that we get some tense final moments on the dam disaster idea, the problem is the early stages take too long to get going.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters all feel like they have been perfectly pick to deal with the situations of the love story going on and have all the different dynamics going on for the characters without the shock value. When you look at the performances well let’s just say they are not the best and keep it at that.

SettingsThe settings all work giving us the traditional location for the characters with the location next to the dam just part of the bigger story.

Special EffectsThis is subject that I can’t really say anything good about so I will be keeping away from the criticism of it all.

Final ThoughtsThis is mostly an endless love story of how love can never die with the disaster storyline is just tagged on really.

 

Overall: Be carefully what you go into this one looking for.

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The Answer (2017)

Director: Iqbal Ahmed

Writer: Iqbal Ahmed (Screenplay)

Starring: Austin Hebert, Alexis Carra, David S lee, Adam Shapiro, Mark Deklin

 

Plot: After being attacked, an introverted young man must follow clues left by his dead parents in order to figure out who is after him – and who he really is.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Sci-Fi Thriller

 

Story: The Answer starts as we meet Bridd Cole (Hebert) a mild-mannered office delivery man, he has the ability to see things happening before disaster strikes and an early moments romance with new office worker Charlotte (Carra) makes everything look like a simple romantic drama, but No.

Things take a turn when masked me attempt to attack Bridd leaving him and Charlotte needing to go on the run for their lives. Armed with only a technology left by his deceased mother Bridd and Charlotte must look for the answers to just what is happening to his life.

 

Thoughts on The Answer

 

Characters/PerformanceBridd is your everyday man, he has a routine job that he doesn’t enjoy as he just goes about being normal as possible. He must deal with the change in his life as he learns his true identity. Charlotte is the office temp that starts with a first date with Bridd but ends up having to go on the run with his. Leader is the one controlling the people after Bridd but we don’t learn much about him until late into the film.

Performance wise, Austin Hebert works very well in this role, he doesn’t have the full action man look which is what we need from it. Alexis Carra is good as the strong streetwise female lead with David S Lee doing well as the villainous leader.

StoryThe story of an everyday person learning their true identity is a film we have done before and it takes a lot to find something fresh in the genre. This does that very well as we are left wondering just where everything will go and how big the situation is. Sure we do borrow from other films in places but overall this does grab your attention with the story from start to finish.

Romance/Sci-FiThe romance side of this film puts our main two characters on the journey for answers which is fine as it is a tool used to create opposites working together. The sci-fi side of everything comes once we learn more about Bridd and just what his involvement in the bigger picture is.

SettingsThe locations used are what you would expect from the genre of film about people on the run, none of them define any moment in the story.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed but you can see the budget holding things back in places.

Final ThoughtsIf you like a god sci-fi mystery this one is for you to try.

 

Overall: Give it a go.

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Static (2012)

staticDirector: Todd Levin

Writer: Gabriel Cowan, Todd Levin, John Suits (Screenplay) Gabriel Cowan, Andrew Orci, John Suits (Story)

Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Sarah Shahi, William Mapother, Sara Paxton, Dominic Bogart, Oz Kalvan, Luke Barnett, Oz Kalvan

 

Plot: A couple facing marital problems after losing their child finds their life together further complicated by a mysterious visitor.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burning Final Twist Saving Film

 

Story: Static starts as we meet author Jonathan Dade (Ventimiglia) and his wife Addie (Shahi) who are grieving the loss of their son in their own way. Trying to work on their relationship they get interrupted by stranger Rachel (Paxton) who claims to be followed by some masked men.

Questioning her story only builds the tension between the couple until the lights go out and the intruders set their sights on getting into the house to take Jonathan and Addie too. Can they survive the night and what is the motives behind this invasion?

 

Thoughts on Static

 

StoryStatic goes down the home invasion angle for the story telling which is always going to be hard to top the big ones out there like The Strangers, The Purge or even Panic Room. This film clearly doesn’t reach these levels as it focuses on other trauma side to a couple’s relationship but I will say is saved by the final twist I didn’t see coming.

Horror/Mystery/ThrillerThe horror in this story comes from the idea behind everything the unknown home invasion which works in parts but when it comes to the horror rules they all get broken with bad decision making. The mystery comes from just not knowing what is going on and why first Rachel and then the couple have been targeted. The thrilling side of this story comes from the attempts to make us uneasy about what could happen next.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters put into this situation are generic ones as we see the grieving couple trying to make things work out which means this night could re-build their relationship while the intruders just come off very outsiderish which does help make us feel uneasy whenever they come onto the screen. The Rachel character does feel slightly out of place because why wouldn’t the couple know their neighbours. When it comes to the acting well this isn’t the highlight of the film and I am a fan of all the four leading actors (Mapother is barely even in the film) in this film but there just seems to be zero chemistry between the couple. Each character does make sense by the end of the film though.

SettingsThe film takes place in nearly the whole time in and around the house which makes it all feel isolated because the characters don’t have anywhere to run and adding in the darkness builds the atmosphere needed.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to special effects we don’t have or need many but the few we get all come off well enough for the final story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a home invasion film that has everything nicely put together for a good feel but due to poor acting and chemistry it just doesn’t come together to the level it should do. The twist on what the intruders want seem like it is waiting to happen from early on but ends up giving us a twist I didn’t see coming.

 

Overall: Saved by the final twist because getting there is very slow.

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The Survivalist (2015)

survDirector: Stephen Fingleton

Writer: Stephen Fingleton (Screenplay)

Starring: Mia Goth, Martin McCann, Barry Ward, Andrew Simpson, Olwen Fouere, Kieri Kennedy

 

Plot: In a time of starvation, a survivalist lives off a small plot of land hidden deep in forest. When two women seeking food and shelter discover his farm, he finds his existence threatened.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Driven Drama

 

Story: The Survivalist starts as we follow our lone survivalist (McCann) who after the world is suffering from a great starvation has built himself a small garden off the grid to live in. when his peace and quiet is shattered by Kathryn (Fouere) and her daughter Milja (Goth) they enter his life in search of food, offering him sex in return.

After an incident, the survivalist becomes injured and the women decide to stick around but with the food only designed to feed one we are left building the suspense to what might happen when it runs out or when they get discovered by others.

 

Thoughts on The Survivalist

 

StoryThe story is very simple, the world has come to the near end and our one survivalist just wants to survive alone but when other people turn up he gets a glimpse into a new happiness that will ultimately be his downfall. It is all slow moving but you do just want to see what happens next throughout which is a huge plus for the film.

Sci-Fi/ThrillerThe sci-fi side of the film comes from the end of the world and you are left just wanting to know what will happen next from the opening scene till the final moments.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all good all very much driven just to survive and always planning against the others to make sure they can. The performances of the three leads are all great because you are left hanging on their every word and action.

SettingsThe settings are all based within the woods showing how far away from the world out character wants to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is one tense thriller that will keep you on edge until the final outcome.

 

Overall: Thriller that is well worth watching for all the thriller fans out there.

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The Belko Experiment (2017)

Director: Greg McLean

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay)

Starring: John Gallagher Jr, Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona, John C McGinley, Melonie Diaz, Owain Yeoman, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker

 

Plot: In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Suspenseful Filled Thriller

 

Story: The Belko Experiment starts as we arrive in Bogota, Colombia where we meet a select few of our American business employees working in an isolated building, we have Mike (Gallagher Jr), Barry (Goldwyn), Leandra (Arjona), Wendell (McGinley), Dany (Diaz) and Bud (Rooker).

The normal office job for the America employees changes drastically when they notice all the locals have been sent home by the new guards and an announcement comes over the system that 2 employees need to be killed in 30 minutes as all the doors and windows lock down.

First believing this is a test the employees remain calm at first but when people’s heads start exploding from the trackers the employees have this turns into a life and death battle, the next message is that the employees have 2 hours to kill 30 of the remaining 76 people or the people holding them will randomly select 60, but the questions are why are they being tested like this? Who will turn on their friends? And when will they get out?

 

Thoughts on The Belko Experiment

 

Characters/PerformanceMike is a high-ranking supervisor in the office, he knows everyone having a good relationship with his boss Barry and his girlfriend Leandra. Barry is the CEO of the company, he is the highest ranked member of staff, he does the best he can to control the people through this panic. Leandra is another one of the supervisors, she knows she is beautiful and happy to flaunt it. Wendell is the older employee who clearly feels stuck in the cubical while seeing younger people being his boss, Dany is the newest employee, she deals with not knowing people but her past will help her through the conflict. Bud is the building maintenance that tries to find a place to get out of the enclosed building. It would be fair to say we only learn the characters nature during the situation rather than before it.

Performance wise, John Gallagher Jr steps up into a leading role after quality performances in supporting roles last year and he fits this role wonderfully. Tony Goldwyn is fantastic in this role being heartless through the situation. John C McGinley is great even if his role feels like all of the creepy of Dr Cox without the sarcasm. Adrian Arjona is good in this role where she is a strong leading woman. Michael Rooker is good for his role with Melonie Diaz doing a good job too. The truth is the whole cast is great through the film showing the panic required for the situation.

StoryThe story of an office block needing to kill or be killed to survive a test is one of the most intense thrillers we have seen in years. This completely keeps you on edge as you need to see just how far the office workers will go when pushed to the limits. This does have a lot borrowed from Battle Royale but so what it just changes the environment making it adults rather than kids going through the same test.

Action/Horror/ThrillerThe action side of the story is with how the people will be getting attack and killed which gets creative in places. The horror side of the story comes from seeing how people will react to everything going on as you get to see the worst in people. The thriller side of the film is the highlight because all you want is to see who will make it out alive.

SettingsThe whole film is set within the office complex in the middle of nowhere, the people are trapped inside with nowhere to run, no way of getting help making this tick all the boxes for a brilliant use of location.

Special EffectsFrom the first kill to the last each kill looks fantastic through the film showing us the just how to make effects work in film.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the thrillers of the year, it has moments of social commentary too which add a dark humour to what we are seeing and you actually feel like you are not sure who will survive the day.

 

Overall: Potential thriller of the year?

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