Pet (2016)

Director: Carles Torrens

Writer: Jeremy Slater (Screenplay)

Starring: Dominic Monaghan, Ksenia Solo, Jennette McCurdy, Da’Vone McDonald, Nathan Parsons, Janet Song, Gary J Tunnucliffe

 

Plot: A psychological thriller about a man who bumps into an old crush and subsequently becomes obsessed with her, leading him to hold her captive underneath the animal shelter where he works. But what will the victim have in store for her captor?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Horror Film with a Twist

 

Story: Pet starts as we meet social awkward animal control warden Seth (Monaghan), he works at the local animal shelter where he connects with the animals more than the people. When Seth sees an old crush Holly (Solo) on the bus he enters her life in a harmless at first stalker way, turning up at her work, her ex-boyfriends bar before her home.

After constantly getting rejected and treated like a freak Seth decides to take things to a new level, by building a cage under the animal shelter. Seth abducts Holly locking her in the cage where no one can hear her, making her his own pet, so he can have the relationship he believes they have in his head as things take a twist along the way.

 

Thoughts on Pet

 

Characters/PerformanceSeth is the social awkward animal control warden who has never been any good with women but when he meets old school crush Holly, he decides to take her and try and save her so they can be together. Holly is the quiet waitress that Seth has a crush on, she recently broke up with her boyfriend but once she is captured we see a darker side to her character which helps take the film in a new direction. Claire is the best friend of Holly that helps her through decisions even when she is trapped in the cage.

Performance wise, Dominic Monaghan is good in this leading role where it becomes clear he is following Elijah Wood’s decision making by going into horror, even if the accent is slightly off at times. Ksenia Solo is good through the film as the potential victim but does a good job in the twist on the story.

StoryThe story follows what seems to be an awkward young man who abducts a victim to force her to fall in love with him, but the story does take a massive twist that makes it a psychological thriller as the two try to gain control of the situation and we are left wondering just how far this will go.

Horror The horror element is clear, girl get taken locked in cage by man, but it takes a turn as we learn more about the characters involved which shows how far people will go for love.

SettingsThe cage is under an animal shelter which does make for a brilliant setting because no one could hear her scream but the way the story goes leaves us wondering about the location needing to be that important.

Special EffectsThe effects are good when needed but are not overly important to the story.

Scene of the Movie – The moment one of the other employees discovers the cage and Holly.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment – I would say the police are incredible naïve here, they are watching cameras and never search every single possible room in the shelter when looking for the missing employee, this seems like a must do if they don’t believe they ever left.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that gives us a good surprise with the twist, the lead acting is strong throughout even if the supporting cast don’t get enough screen time, it is one to watch and be left shocked by.

 

Overall: Twist filled horror gem.

Rating

 

 

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Happy Death Day (2017)

Director: Christopher Landon

Writer: Scott Lobdell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, Laura Clifton, Jason Bayle, Rob Mello

 

Plot: A college student relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity.


Tagline – Get Up. Live Your Day. Get Killed. Again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Watchable Slasher Repeat

 

Story: Happy Death Day starts as Tree (Rothe) wakes in Carter’s (Broussard) dorm room after a heavy night of drinking, completing the walk of shame she goes about her college day, turn up for a moment in class and getting ready to party, only she ends up getting murdered by a masked man.

This should be over right, no, Tree reawakens in Carter’s room being forced to repeat the day, including her death. After being killed a couple of times she gets the idea of trying to solve her murder which brings a series of different murders where she starts to learn what she must do to make it out of the loop.

 

Thoughts on Happy Death Day

 

Characters – Tree is the stuck up college student that believes she is above everyone, she treats people badly while having an affair with her professor. When she gets murdered she must re-live the day over and over, where she must learn to be a better person. This character is designed well because you are meant to hate her at the start because she needs to learn the lessons in life to make it out of her loop. Carter is the one guy that Tree turns to for help, he gives the help needed to make it through the day. The rest of the cast seem to be potential suspects who Tree has rubbed the wrong way.

PerformancesJessica Rothe is solid in the leading role, she is in every scene because it her character’s story is learning as we do too. Israel Broussard is solid in the supporting role as are the rest of the cast, no one really shines through.

StoryThe story follows one person who must repeat the murder day until they learn who is the one murdering them. The idea is basically Groundhog Day with a slasher twist which is fine to watch, but this is the beginning of the problems in the film, as the murder takes place in different locations which is a problem as it makes the film feel like the killer hadn’t been playing as well as first time, which once it is all set and done, the idea was that the killer had planned this day for a reason not making it random.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film is very tame slasher material without any blood or gore. The mystery is about trying to solve who is the one murdering them which is fun to watch unfold.

SettingsThe film is set in and around college campus which shows how Tree must use her location to solve who killed her believing the suspect is on campus.

Special EffectsThe effects are soft when it comes to the kills which disappoints.


Scene of the Movie –
The good day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The killer seems to be designed as planned but acts spontaneous.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple fun horror slasher, it is easy to watch but when you start thinking about everything more is becomes somewhat of a confusing story that doesn’t connect correctly.

 

Overall: Soft horror that missed a trick.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Writer: Sheldon Turner (Screenplay) Sheldon Turner, David J Schow (Story)

Starring: Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, Diora Baird, Matt Bomer, R Lee Ermey, Andrew Bryniarski, Lee Tergesen

 

Plot: Before being sent to serve in Vietnam, two brothers and their girlfriends take one last road trip, but when they get into an accident, a terrifying experience will take them to a secluded house of horrors, with a chainsaw-wielding killer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gore Over Substances

 

Story: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning starts as we learn more about the origin of Leatherface (Bryniarski), how he was a misunderstand young man with mental problems that loses his job at the slaughter house once it goes out of business. We learn how this becomes the turning point for his family. On the other side of the story we have Eric (Bomer) returning to the Vietnam war along with his brother Dean (Handley) who is reluctant to return. We also have their girlfriends Chrissie (Brewster) and Bailey (Baird) on a journey across America.

After an altercation with a robber, the friends find themselves targets of the Hewitt family as Uncle Charlie now pretending to be a Sheriff and Leatherface look to make sure they have enough food to survive, human flesh.

 

Thoughts on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

 

Characters/PerformanceChrissie is take her boyfriend across country to reenlist in the army. She ends up on her own most of this film as she searches for a way to save her friends, before we know she will be involved in the final chase. Dean is the younger brother of the two who doesn’t want to go to war but hasn’t told his brother until this trip. Eric is looking to return to war with his brother this time and is the one most likely to stand up against the evil.  Bailey is the other girlfriend, that is about as much of her character we get. Leatherface is still simple minded here with Uncle Hewitt being the major part of the bringing the victims to the home, we also learn his origin story as it is a twist in the last version.

Performance wise, Let’s all be honest here, the characters are written horrendously so most of the actors didn’t stand a chance of giving a good performance in this film.

StoryAn origin of Leatherface, did we need one, well we got one, so deal with it. The story is basically the same as the original just without interesting characters, any scares or tension. We have group of friends get captured must fight to survive against leatherface and his family. So here it is nothing new, nothing original.

Horror This is all about the gore, we get little to no shocks in this film and the iconic killer is reduced to subplot to a bigger picture of a family.

SettingsWe get the iconic house, sure but otherwise nothing of any note here in the settings.

Special EffectsThe gore and effects do work well for shock value but otherwise it just becomes about making them look good.

Final ThoughtsThis is one from the franchise that falls flat on its face, you get little tension through any scene and are left wondering why this got made.

 

Overall: Disappointing addition to a much loved franchise.

Rating

 

 

3 (2017)

Director: Lou Simon

Writer: Lou Simon (Screenplay)

Starring: Katie Carpenter, Todd Bruno, Aniela McGinness, Mike Stanley

 

Plot: A man and a woman kidnap her rapist in order to extract a confession, come hell or – hell.


Tagline – Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, hand for a hand, foot for a foot.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Twisted Thriller

 

Story: 3 Starts as He (Bruno) abducts It (Stanley) on the side of the road, tying him up in the basement so he can get a confession out of It about committing rape on She (McGuinness), (this is going to be hard to talk about with only He, She or It to describe). As the torturer prepares us for what he will do if he doesn’t get a confession, we learn about how the two come together to work on this plan, the two are from different worlds both looking to help each other through their own struggles, but how far will they go to get the confession?

 

Thoughts on 3

 

Characters – The characters are not named only know as He, She and It. He is the man behind trying to get the confession out of It, he is a former soldier suffering from PTSD which shows us he doesn’t seem to have limits to how far he will go. She is the victim of the rape, the night it happened is a nightmare in her memory, she wants the person responsible to pay or at least admit what he did, but her memories conflict the truth from coming out. It is the man that is being accused of the rape, he believes he didn’t rape this woman but is he innocent or not, this is the question we are left to see answer.

PerformancesThe is a three-person cast, Todd Bruno is our lead performer where he is great as the unstable man trying to learn the truth. Aniela McGuinness is the victim, she is great as the conflicted victim struggling to remember her nightmare. Mike Stanley is the good as the victim or rapist it is up to us to work out which he is.

StoryThe story follows a man and woman who look to get another man admit he raped her. We are left to see if the man will confess, or even if he is guilty at all. We see how the story unfolds and the truth comes out which is a story that does have twists coming out, while also dealing with a very real situation in the aftermath of rape.

Horror/MysteryThe horror from this story is a mix of what could get done to the potential rapist and what has happened to the victim with their nightmares of that night. The mystery comes from just what could be the truth about the connection with the potential rapist.

SettingsThe film is set in a house in the middle of nowhere, this gives our character the time he needs to learn the truth, he can get away with more extreme methods here too.

Special EffectsThe effects reflect the budget by for the most part choice to hide the doing only showing the aftermath of anything.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The one moment that didn’t get explained.

Final ThoughtsThis is a mystery thriller that does keep us on edge throughout, it deals with a sensitive subject in a direction that people wouldn’t imagine it going. We also get the horror side of the film for the fans out there too.

 

Overall: One to watch from 2017.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Hannibal Rising (2007)

Director: Peter Webber

Writer: Thomas Harris (Screenplay) Thomas Harris (Novel)

Starring: Gaspard Ulliel, Rhys Ifans, Li Gong, Dominic West, Kevin McKidd

 

Plot: After the death of his parents during World War II, young Hannibal Lecter moves in with his beautiful aunt and begins plotting revenge on the barbarians responsible for his sister’s death.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Prequel That Doesn’t Click

 

Story: Hannibal Rising starts when we meet a young Hannibal, his family live in a castle in Lithuania during World War II. When the war comes to their home they try to ride it out in the cabin in the woods but tragedy strikes and his parents are killed. Left to look after his younger sister Mischa, Hannibal finds himself trapped with evil soldier Vladis Grutas (Ifans) occupying their home and things will only get worse for him.

8 years later we see Hannibal (Ulliel) now a mute living in his castle but it is now an orphanage for the victims of war, tried of how he is being treated he escapes to find his Aunt Lady Murasaki (Gong) who takes him in, giving him a future. Hannibal studies to become a doctor and shines in that field but what he is really up to, is searching for the soldiers that are responsible for his sister’s death, so he can make them pay, which does grab the attention of war criminal inspector Popil (West) who is also wanting to make the evil pay.

 

Thoughts on Hannibal Rising

 

Characters/PerformanceHannibal is a character we all know from the Silence of the Lambs, one of the most iconic figures of film history. Now we get to learn why he was like this as we see the horrors of war leave him the lone survivor of his immediate family thanks to war horrors, he goes out to get revenge on the people responsible proving he was emotionless all along. Lady Murasaki is the Aunt that takes Hannibal in, she has lost her family through the war too and the two work together to get the revenge. Vladis Grutas is the evil soldier who used war for his own profit killing anyone who got in his way. Inspector Popil is tracking war criminals across Europe, slightly more legally than Hannibal.

Performance wise, Gaspard Ulliel is good as the emotionless killer, he shows a man with nothing left to live for. Li Gong is good but only in the smaller supporting role. Rhys Ifans always makes for a good villain and this time we get to see him in the lead villain role.

StoryThe story behind one of the great screen characters of all time will always be a test because we will be left wondering do we need to know his origin story? The answer here turns Hannibal into a full blown vigilante which could work for a fresh approach for a film but giving this to Hannibal come off feeling slightly short.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the story is all in the revenge side of film as we see how Hannibal sets out to avenge his sister’s murder. The thriller tries to keep us on edge but fails to achieve this on all levels.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different places war criminals could hide out in, we get to see just how main different places Hannibal must look to find those responsible.

Special EffectsAll the effects come off very well making us truly understand what just happened with the moment of horror.

Final ThoughtsThis is a prequel that just doesn’t seem to click the way you would like it all to, we didn’t need to learn more about Hannibal’s early days, but this could be a fantastic thriller for an original character.

 

Overall: A film we didn’t need but one that could have worked.

Rating