Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – And Soon the Darkness (2010)

Director: Marcos Efron

Writer: Jennifer Derwingson, Marcos Efron (Screenplay) Brian Clemens, Terry Nation (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Amber Heard, Odette Annable, Karl Urban, Adriana Barraza, Cesar Vianco

 

Plot: When two American girls on a bike trip in a remote part of Argentina split up and one of them goes missing, the other must find her before her worst fears are realized.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid But Nothing Special Remake

 

Story: And Soon the Darkness starts as we meet our two American girls Stephanie (Heard) and Ellie (Annable) travelling through Argentina, they are on their last night there and decide to party. When Ellie hooks up with a local, Stephanie returns to the hotel alone even after a warning from another out of towner Michael (Urban).

With the morning arriving the girls miss the only bus out of town, meaning they must stay for one more day which they spend sunbathing and recovering from the hangover. After Ellie is abducted, Stephanie must work with Michael to locate her so they can leave but soon they will be left fighting for their lives.

 

Thoughts on And Soon the Darkness

 

Characters/PerformanceStephanie is one of the travellers who is using the trip to get over her cheating boyfriend, she wants to experience the sights while Ellie the supportive best friend would like to part her way through the holiday, leading herself to get into trouble. Michael is the mysterious stranger that keeps popping up in Stephanie’s day and we are left wondering just who and what he wants in this town.

Performance wise, Amber Heard shows that at this time she was solid enough choice for leading role but not the strongest, Odette Annable is also fine but her character does come off as annoying and naïve at times. Karl Urban is great as the mysterious stranger that grabs our attention whenever he is on screen.

StoryTwo American girls find themselves in a new country, a new town where nothing seems safe and soon they learn about what has been happening. The story is simple and with where the characters could end up going we get to learn the horror side of everything going on to our Americans. This isn’t the hardest to follow and is in fact a remake of a British film and sure it works in places but isn’t ground breaking.

Crime/Horror/Mystery The crime, horror and mystery all blend together nicely here as we learn what is going on which is crime based and this adds to the horror being unleashed in the film.

SettingsArgentina is a beautiful setting and heading to a remote smaller town where the events have been taking place in, this does work because of who is involved in everything going on.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed but we mostly used for the conflict between the characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough horror remake but does lack that punch that could make it feel edgy, gritty and terrifying like it could have been.

 

Overall: Solid remake in the horror world.

Rating

 

 

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Apocalypse Road (2017)

Director: Brett Bentman

Writer: Brett Bentman (Screenplay)

Starring: Katie Kohler, Ashlyn McEvers, Nellie Sciutto, Lance De Los Santon, Billy Blair, Tony Senzamici, Ben Rigsby Jr

 

Plot: Apocalypse Road follows the journey of two sisters while separated during a post apocalyptic depression.


Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Thriller

 

Story: Apocalypse Road starts as the world has been hit leaving the remaining survivors in the post-apocalyptic world, we follow two sisters Natalie (Kohler) and Sarah (McEvers) as they battle to survive, searching for supplies and avoiding the deadly enemies waiting to pick them off.

When the two become separated, Natalie is wounded and captured, while Sarah continues to fend for herself as they look to reunite together, never looking to trust anyone that offers to help them. Natalie works with Derek (Rigsby Jr) who shares the same pain from suffering the camps which are filled with horror stories, while Sarah ends up travelling reluctantly with a group of psychopaths who are happy to kill on command. The biggest threat comes from The General (Heath) who runs a community that is under a strict reign of terror.

 

Thoughts on Apocalypse Road

 

Characters – Natalie is one half of the sisters, she gets wounded early on and joins forces with Derek, from a larger group of survivors as she searches for her sister in this post-apocalyptic world, she is determined, strong and not willing to let anyone get the upper hand. Sarah is the other half of the sister, she gets captured by a trio of psychopaths who refuse to let her go, hoping to make her one of their own. She must play along or face death, where her character gets tested in these conditions. The rest of the characters we meet show us just who the sisters must deal with in this world, small time psychos, friendly guide, strict leader, lone assassin, they all fit the world we enter.

PerformancesKatie Kohler and Ashlyn McEvers are the two main stars of the movie, they give us characters that do want to keep their hands down, rather than being in anyway over the top. It is the supporting cast which get to enjoy being colourful because they are the ones that are enjoying the world and this shows in their performances.

StoryThe story follows the two sisters who end up on different journeys to the same location, we have the end of the world situation which shows how desperate the characters are to survive while others enjoy this environment too much. We never learn what caused the end of the world here, which will disappoint people, but it is also something you don’t need to know for the direction the story goes. The battle for survival is everything you would expect, which I was happy with because it is something you need to experience to enjoy.

ThrillerThe film does try to keep us on the edge of our seats, but I do feel we lack the peril in moments because you do feel the sisters are safe for the most part of the film even with a sniper after one of them.

SettingsThe film does take us to plenty of abandoned locations to create the world, we never touch any major cities, which does make sense but also shows the budget restrictions.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed without being turned too.


Scene of the Movie –
Through the woods escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have like to learn more about The General’s following.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that fits into the post-apocalyptic genre nicely.

 

Overall: Post-Apocalyptic thriller that entertains.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Director: Colin Strause, Greg Strause

Writer: Shane Salerno (Screenplay) Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Jim Thomas, John Thomas (Characters)

Starring: Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Ariel Gage, Kristen Hager, Sam Trammell, Robert Joy

 

Plot: Warring alien and predator races descend on a rural US town, where unsuspecting residents must band together for any chance of survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Some Positives

 

Story: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem starts by picking up where the last film ended with the alien causing havoc on the predator ship, forcing it into crashing into small town America. With the alien causing havoc killing everybody or anything that gets in its way, we get to meet the town’s people who we must care about, bad boy just returned to town Dallas (Pasquale), returning solider Kelly (Aylesworth), her family Tim (Trammell) daughter Molly (Gade) sheriff Morales (Ortiz), troubled teenager Ricky (Lewis) and his crush Jesse (Hager).

As the people of the town go about their daily lives, the predators are preparing to clean up the mess left in this small town but will they make it before the aliens cause too much damage or can they face a new threat in a predator-alien hybrid.

 

Thoughts on Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

 

Characters/PerformanceDallas is the bad boy rebel who just happens to return to town the same day the crash happens. Kelly is the returning solider who is dealing with the idea that her young daughter has lost her connection with her while she was away but now must use her skills to save her daughter. Morales is the sheriff and old running buddy of Dallas who has put his bad boy ways behind him. Ricky gives us the high school dynamics with his crush on the beautiful Jesse who has an arsehole boyfriend.

Performance wise, well this is one of the negatives, Pasquale does struggle in the leading role, while it is partly down to writing and performance because Reiko doesn’t reach the levels of an alien trend setting strong leading ladies. The rest of the performances are largely forgettable with Hager clearly hired for her look.

StoryThe pure story is in parts very interesting, we know how deadly the aliens are and after last time we know the predators place in the battle. We know aliens will kill anybody which this film isn’t afraid to play on and we also see the swarm mentality which is caused with the aliens spreading. With these parts all in place this film does still end up coming off messy in places though because the humans are written so badly with the final pay off feeling flat.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is mindless and a lot is in too darker location so you can’t see what is happening with the horror side working in places but not in all scenes it needs to, with the sci-fi elements coming from building for the next part of the franchise which never happened.

SettingsMoving the action to a small town ups the stakes in the film, which also gives us a chance to see how deadly the aliens can be spreading through a population. This gives us a chance to get a large body count but also characters we don’t know anything about.

Special EffectsMost of the effects are good it is the lighting which hinders this film in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great idea for a sequel but it has problems all over it, mostly coming from badly executed action sequences that have large jump cuts, no lighting for those scenes and horribly written human character.

 

Overall: A true mixed bag of a sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – AVP Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay) Jim Thomas, John Thomas, Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Characters)

Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner, Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan

 

Plot: During an archaeological expedition on Bouvetøya Island in Antarctica, a team of archaeologists and other scientists find themselves caught up in a battle between the two legends. Soon, the team realize that only one species can win.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not That Great

 

Story: AVP: Alien vs. Predator starts by taking us around the world fron Antarctica to space to Nebraska to Nepal where we meet the mountain climbing expert Alexa Woods (Lathan) onto Mexico where we meet the archaeologist Sebastian (Bova) who both get a visit from Maxwell Stafford (Salmon) who represents Charles Bishop Weyland (Henriksen).

Weyland has discovered an ancient pyramid buried under the ice of Bouvetoya Island in Antarctica and has built a team including Alexa, Sebastian, Miller (Bremner), Mark (Flanagan), Joe (Rye) and Adele (Boulaye) to mention a few. To travel to the island to enter into the pyramid for what could well be a massive discovery for whoever finds it.

What starts out as a simple exhibition turns into a nightmare when above ground the men get attacked by Predators but inside the pyramid they must battle aliens in a battle for survival stuck in the middle of these iconic villains.

 

Thoughts on AVP: Alien vs. Predator

 

Characters/PerformanceAlexa Woods is the expert climber hired to lead the team into the pyramid using her experience on climb ice surfaces, she reluctantly agrees knowing she is the only available person to do the job safely. Sebastian is the archaeologist that is an expert on many ancient cultures. Weyland is the man funding and seeking technology inside the pyramid. The rest of the characters get a proper introduction only to be killed off in about a ten-minute sequence.

Performance was Lathan is good and the highlight of the human characters with everyone else just coming off fine not getting the time to make an impact.

StoryWhen you look at this story you are left thinking this is Alien on Earth, just without any suspense, horror or interesting stuff going on. This sounds harsh because this is an easy watch and people are going to be happy to watch aliens and predators fight, the problem I have was the introducing us to countless humans only to be disposable for these villains. Certain elements of the story telling do work though, looking at the idea of ancient civilizations worshiping the predators in exchange for the pyramids I did like.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is all what you would come to expect, large body counts and alien or predator kills we have seen before. The horror is almost gone which disappoints with the sci-fi edge working on the level it needs to only.

SettingsAfter taking us around the world in the opening sequences we do settle down nicely for the setting inside the pyramid under the ice with little escape.

Special EffectsWe have good effects when we keep things small scale but bad effects when things get to the large scale.

Final ThoughtsThis is just fine nothing more, it is an easy watch and brings together icons of film, but this just isn’t as fun as Freddy v Jason.

 

Overall: Easy to watch all actioner horrorless movie.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Amer (2009)

Director: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani

Writer: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani (Screenplay)

Starring: Cassandra Foret, Charlotte Eugene Guilbeaud, Marie Bos, Biancamaria D’Amato, Harry Cleven, Jean-Michel Vovk

 

Plot: Three key moments, all of them sensual, define Ana’s life. Her carnal search sways between reality and colored fantasies becoming more and more oppressive. A black laced hand prevents her from screaming. The wind lifts her dress and caresses her thighs. A razor blade brushes her skin, where will this chaotic and carnivorous journey leave her?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Difficult but Fascinating

 

Story: Amer starts with the youngster age of Ana (Foret) who lives in a mansion filled with strange characters, this includes the mysterious Graziella and the body of her father, I am not going to lie, this was complicated to follow, but we look at a lot of imagery to try to shock us.

We move onto the adolescent age of Ana (Guibeaud) who has built the relationship with her mother now and is learning how to use her body to get what she wants. Nothing much happens here though.

In the final part of the film we meet the woman as an adult (Bos) who goes on a taxi ride that pulls on the sensual sexual fantasies she has, as she returns to her childhood home.

 

Thoughts on Amer

 

Final ThoughtsThis film is very hard to review like I would normally attempt to, we have three different moments of a young woman’s life, each filled with horror, sexual fantasy and sensual moments. The film uses a lot of imagery to achieve most of the films moments but you might feel slightly empty when looking for an actual story. this film is completely about what you see, hear but not what is going on.

 

Overall: One for the acquired taste in horror fans.

Rating