American Exorcism (2017)

Director: Tripp Weathers

Writer: Tripp Weathers (Screenplay)

Starring: Braxton Davis, Michael Filipowich, Sicily Fontaine, Kate Tumanova, William McKinney

 

Plot: Damon Richter thought he left the world of possessions, exorcisms, and evil behind until an old friend arrives with frightening information about his estranged daughter knowing that only his otherworldly skills can save her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brand New Look at the Exorcism Movie

 

Story: American Exorcism starts as we meet Damon (Filipowich) a possessed father of one that uses his possession to fight other possessions for Father Padre (McKinney) but as his daughter is growing his wife Janelle (Morris) pushes him to leave that world behind him but his own personal tragedy gives him a reason to leave.

10 years later, Damon forced to leave Caroline (Tumanova) to go through the foster system but with her 18th birthday coming up Padre returns to Damon since the tragedy to work together to make sure she doesn’t possess the same inner demons her father does.

Damon must use his abilities to save his daughter from the same demon that took his wife from him before she finds herself killing too many people.

 

Thoughts on American Exorcism

 

Characters/PerformanceDamon is a possessed man who can control the demon that lives inside him, he uses this to fight other demons that have possessed the innocent and now must fight against one that has made it personal. Padre is the former father that worked with Damon before the tragic events but now he has returned to save Damon’s daughter. Caroline is the daughter of Damon who is now becoming possessed but she doesn’t know that Damon is her father.

Performance wise, Michael Filipowich doesn’t have the look of the leading man, he isn’t clean cut and this works for the because it needs an edge, McKinney is good but doesn’t get the time Michael or Kate get. Kate is good in the rebellious possessed daughter.

StoryI can safely say I do find the ABC exorcism movies boring, because they never push the boundaries keeping everything inside one house but this story feels fresh all over. The biggest plus points here are that we have a battle between the demon which isn’t just a priest but a film that does into the darker side of the battle, much like what we have seen from werewolf or vampire movies.

HorrorThe horror side of this film is good as we do see a different look at exorcisms but doesn’t come off a true terror.

SettingsI usually like my horror all in one location but this film benefits from going outside the tight surrounds because it makes it feel fresh.

Special EffectsThe special effects are consistent through the film, with the first look coming off weak but then it does seem to add to the film in the way the effects are used to show the demons.

Final ThoughtsI did like the fresh approach to the exorcism movie, I know some people will not enjoy this style but it does feel like the first time we have a battle between demons who are possessing bodies rather than good versus evil.

 

Overall: Great, fresh addition to the exorcism genre.

Rating

 

 

Automata (2014)

automataDirector: Gabe Ibanez

Writer: Gabe Ibanez, Igor Legarreta, Javier Sanchez Donate (Screenplay)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Robert Forster, Tim McInnerny, Javier Bardem

 

Plot: Jacq Vaucan is an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation who investigates cases of robots violating their primary protocols against altering themselves. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Automata starts in the future in the aftermath of solar storms that have wiped 99.7% of the world’s population from the Earth. The protect the remaining one robots known as automata are created to build walls to stop the solar rays, they are built with two conditions, one they can’t harm anything living and two they can’t alter their protocols.

In this world, we meet Jacq Vaucan (Banderas) who investigates insurances claims against the robots. Jacq whose wife is pregnant about to give birth wants to take on the easy jobs but soon gets a new assignment to uncover why this one automata was smuggling parts and self-improving himself.

Jacq teams up with short tempered police officer Sean Wallace (McDermott) to learn that the world isn’t going the way he thought with human altering the automatas for their own benefits but just how deep has this gone?

 

Thoughts on Automata

 

StoryThe story puts us into a dystopian world where human numbers are low but they live side by side with robots. We have the ideas that robots are starting to become smarter and evolving to become a threat to mankind. I liked how this story talks about the fine line between science with humans learning more about robots and what could be the start of change in power without turning into a mindless action film.

Action/Sci-FiWhen it comes to the action it isn’t non-stop which is just what the movie needs, the sci-fi side of the story works very well as we see how the humans work with the robots but could be about to raise their intelligence above our own, this poses good sci-fi related questions throughout.

Characters/PerformanceWhen it comes to the performances Banderas shines in the leading role with the good supporting performance all around mostly because the film isn’t afraid to shock with certain names. The characters all suit the world we find ourselves in, Jacq a family man tired of his job, a hot heated cop, smart scientist hidden from the world the concerned wife and the emotionless killer.

SettingsThe settings work perfectly for the world created showing us how bleak our future could be after a solar storm as well as how we would still divide ourselves for safety. The city looks worn down with the desert looking like it has been left for years with no one able to go to.

Special EffectsThe special effects all look fantastic with the robots looking like they could easily be part of our own world which is the main usage of the special effects in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis does turn into a very smart sci-fi which is happily asking us morale questions throughout as well as concluding by asking the questions about our own existence and what might become of us once we are gone.

 

Overall: This is a smart sci-fi even with moments that come off slow at times.

Ratingcad

 

 

Asylum of Darkness (2017)

Director: Jay Woelfel

Writer: Jay Woelfel (Screenplay)

Starring: Tim Thomerson, Richard Hatch, Tiffany Shepis, Amanda Howell, Scott Summitt, Nick Baldasare

 

Plot: After awakening in a mental asylum, a patient plans an escape to freedom, but finds an even more disturbing, supernatural world on the outside, one that threatens to keep him trapped in madness forever.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slightly Too Confusing

 

Story: Asylum of Darkness starts as we meet Dwight (Baldasare) a patient inside the mental asylum who doesn’t believe he needs to be there. When he goes on his own mission to escape he discovers the cryptic truth from fellow patient Van Gogh (Jones Jr) which shows us not everything is as simple as it seems.

Once escaped Dwight finds himself meeting more faceless people before seeking shelter in a house of a man involved in a car crash, only his wife Ellen (Howell) knows who he is as it seems like he has swapped places with a famous author.

The longer Dwight keeps his new life the more Dr Shaker (Hatch) arrives to haunt him as Dwight finds people trying to take over this new body.

 

Thoughts on Asylum of Darkness

 

Characters/PerformanceDwight is in a mental asylum patient that is trying to escape only to find himself living someone else’s life, leading to him to question everything in the world he is now living in. Dr Shaker is treating Dwight and continues to follow him after his escape from the asylum. The rest of the characters all add to the puzzle going on through the film.

Performance wise, Nick does a solid job in this role having to be in nearly every scene with Richard Hatch doing a good job as the doctor who keeps appearing.

StoryWhen it comes to the story we must look at things in two ways, the first is that this does keep us guessing to what is actually going on, but this is also the flaw because it becomes difficult to keep up with each twist going on. While it is great to have a story that keeps you guessing and guessing I do feel this one is slightly too much at times.

HorrorThere are good horror moments but it would be fair to say that nothing comes off very scary just a lot of good practical gore effects.

SettingsEach setting is used to add to the mystery for Dwight to go through but they also add to moments of confusion in the story.

Special EffectsThe practical effects are all good gore based horror but when the film turns to CGI not everything looks as good.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that will keep you thinking from start to finish even if it is too often in places, the biggest problem I had with this film was the use of Dance Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens as it was used on my favourite comic mystery show Jonathan Creek, this made it difficult for me to take everything serious.

 

Overall: Solid horror that you will need to give your full attention.

Rating

 

 

Aftermath (2017)

Director: Elliott Lester

Writer: Javier Gullon (Screenplay)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maggie Grace, Kevin Zegers, Scoot McNairy, Hannah Ware, Mariana Klaveno, Glenn Morshower

 

Plot: Two strangers’ lives become inextricably bound together after a devastating plane crash.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotional Gut Punch of a Thriller

 

Story: Aftermath starts as construction worker Roman (Schwarzenegger) is looking forward to the arrival of his wife and pregnant daughter from Kiev for Christmas. Making himself extra smart with flowers at hand he arrives at the airport to find the flight delayed but there is no good news, the plane was involved in a tragic accident killing both his wife and daughter.

On the other side of the story flight controller Jake Bonaos (McNairy) leaves his wife and son to arrive at work that very same day, on a night shift where he finds the himself distracted trying to fix a phoneline as two planes collided mid-air, the same flights that had Roman’s family on.

Both men’s lives are completely shattered, Roman broken, alone and spending days and nights at the cemetery. While Jake is branded a murderer by the public finding it impossible to function or being the husband and father he needs to be.

With the airline company waving money in Roman’s face to stop them being sued and Jake on the verge of suicide brings us to one year later where both are still living in the tragedy but both are attempting to move on.

 

Thoughts on Aftermath

 

Characters/PerformanceRoman is a hard-working construction worker, he has work long hours to make sure his family can move to live with him in America, when he loses them his life is shattered but all he wants is an apologise not the airlines money. Jake is a flight controller who makes an honest mistake that cost the lives of everyone on the flights, his life is ruined, he loses his family, his job and must change his name and start again, living the rest of his life with regret.  

Performance wise, Schwarzenegger is brilliant in this role where is he no action hero, he is an everyday man that loses everything, this is by far one of his best acting performances of his career. Scoot McNairy is also fantastic in this role showing just how capable of an actor he is.

StoryThe story is based on a real incident that followed a mid-air collision but turned into an American story for it to unfold in. This story is very powerful because you are now left to wonder just what would happen if you were in either of these men’s shoes. The story also isn’t just a revenge film it follows these two men trying to rebuild their lives after what happened and mostly just wanting a human response from somebody involved.

ThrillerFrom the moment this film starts you are left to wonder from the edge of your seat to where this film will go.

SettingsThe settings used through the film focus on making both our main characters feel like everyday people whose lives have been ruined by the events which is all you need from the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best and most intense slow burning stories you will see this year. The performances are fantastic as well as being one of the most interesting stories out there.

 

Overall: One of the most powerful stories you will see this year.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Apartment 143 (2011)

apartmentDirector: Carles Torrens

Writer: Rodrigo Cortes (Screenplay)

Starring: Francesc Garrido, Fiona Glascott, Rick Gonzalez, Kai Lennox, Gia Mantegna, Michael O’Keefe

 

Plot: A team of parapsychologists try to figure out a strange phenomenon occurring in an apartment building.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nicely Done

 

Story: Apartment 143 starts as we meet our parapsychologist team of Dr Helzer (O’Keefe), Ellen Keegan (Glascott) and cameraman Paul Ortega (Gonzalez) as they head to the White residents of Alan (Lennox), Caitlin (Mantegna) and Benny (Roman) for their latest case. We hear the White’s story of their haunting which included moving house to escape it.

With the day together running smoothly with nothing going on the first night together the team get to experience the paranormal activity first hand as they start gathering evidence. As the nights pass the haunting become more dangerous as we learn the true identity of the ghost haunting the family.

Apartment 143 gives us something very different when it comes to the found footage horror, granted we only go down the same street we do get a more realistic look at paranormal. We get to look at how a scientist makes everything look like a human issue rather than just a ghost haunting which I did like but then we get plenty that went unexplained with the ghost encounters. I also liked how this ended up making us feel like it was just another episode of their show not about the actors. This isn’t great but better than a lot of the paranormal found footage films.

 

Actor Review

 

Michael O’Keefe: Dr Helzer is the scientist leading the team’s investigation, he always likes to see something before suggestion the paranormal making him the sceptic of the group. Michael is good but nothing stand-out in this role.

Fiona Glascott: Ellen Keegan is another member of the team, she takes the photos, conducts the interviews and works with Paul to look for any potential activity. Fiona is solid in this role coming off as part of the team well.

Rick Gonzalez: Paul Ortega is the technician on the team, he sets up the cameras while watches them and films each part of the investigation. He is the reason why we have to watch through the moments of shaky cam. Rick is solid without doing anything extra in this role.

Kai Lennox: Alan White is the father of the victim’s family, he is a widower that is trying to keep his two children safe but as the story unfolds we find out he might not be everything we believe he is. Kai is good again just not getting enough time to b memorable.

Support Cast: Apartment 143 only has a couple more cast members who do a good job with what they need to do.

Director Review: Carles TorrensCarles does a good job but I feel the final scene is extremely cheap scare tactic that takes away what the film has created.

 

Horror: Apartment 143 has good horror elements throughout that do achieve a few good scares.

Thriller: Apartment 143 does keep us wondering into where the story would go next.

Settings: Apartment 143 keeps nearly all of the story inside the apartment showing us how the problems have been hitting this family.
Special Effects
: Apartment 143 has good effects when needed but let’s most of the story play on our minds.

Suggestion: Apartment 143 is one for the horror fans to try but don’t expect the best. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Balancing the paranormal with human side to what is going on.

Worst Part: Final moment.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Tagline: The First Real Ghost Story

 

Overall: Solid horror that does a have a few ups and downs.

Ratingcard