At the Devil’s Door (2014)

Director: Nicholas McCarthy

Writer: Nicholas McCarthy (Screenplay)

Starring: Ashley Rickards, Nick Eversman, Michael Massee, Mark Steger, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Naya Rivera

 

Plot: A real-estate agent finds herself caught up in something sinister when she has to sell a house with a dark past and meets the troubled teen who used to live there.


Tagline –  It’s looking for a home.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Messy & Confused

 

Story: At the Devil’s Door starts as we see teenage runaway Hannah (Rickards) planning to run away with her boyfriend, only to find herself in the middle cult like environment. Moving away from this situation Leigh (Moreno) an ambitious real-estate agent gets the chance to sale a house with a history, only to learn Hannah is haunting those hallways.

Hannah has been taken over by a dark force who has set her sights on her latest target, only this time it isn’t Leigh, it is her artist sister Vera (Rivera). What have they gotten themselves into, that is the question.

 

Thoughts on At the Devil’s Door

 

Characters – This was a hard film to figure out who the main character was until the end, so I will talk about the three biggest characters in no particular order. Hannah is the first one we meet, she is a runaway that finds herself in the middle of a demon worshiping cult, walking the halls of a house up for sale, she has a secret waiting to reveal. Leigh is the real-estate agent that is trying toe sale the house only to learn that there is a force in the house trying to control certain movements. Vera is the younger sister of Leigh, an artists that becomes the target of the presence that is haunting the land.

PerformancesWhile I don’t think the actors do a bad job in anyway in this film, the scorecard is being harsh on them, most of this complaint that the characters don’t become the main until late in the film which doesn’t give us enough time to get behind the actors. The three actresses do well with what they have without having that one moment that makes them stand out.

StoryThe story follows a potential demon being born into the world, I think, it would be fair to say this movie does put forward all the generic ideas that something is off with each scene, but as I was saying with the characters, we follow ones events only for the to mean nothing and these scenes go on for a healthy 20 odd minutes before we move onto the next character’s story, which only leaves us confused and feeling withdrawn from where the story is going.

HorrorThe horror is the normal, people walking around the empty houses following or running from noises, the only scene that stands out is involving the hospital.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a few houses that always seem to be empty, nothing is overly interesting with the locations being used.

Special EffectsThe effects are the strongest part of the film, it does have a couple of stand out moments which will make you look away but also make you want to watch.


Scene of the Movie –
Hospital time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing the main character early on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy confusing movie that does try to break the mould because of the source material of demon trying to be born, we skip over the been there scene that parts but it takes too long to get there.

 

Overall: Not good enough horror movie.

Rating

 

 

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A.M.I. (2019) Netflix Movie Review

Director: Rusty Nixon

Writer: James Clayton, Rusty Nixon (Screenplay) Evan Tylor (Story)

Starring: Debs Howard, Philip Granger, Sam Robert Muik, Havana Guppy, Donnie Hay, Veronica Hampson

Plot: A seventeen year old girl forms a co-dependent relationship with an artificial intelligence on her phone and goes on a murderous rampage.


Tagline – Evil has a new friend

Runtime: 1 Hour 17 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Very Odd Slasher

Story: A.M.I. starts as we meet school student Cassie (Howard) who is still grieving the loss of her mother, while her boyfriend Liam (Muik) doesn’t make too much time for her. Her father hasn’t taken long before trying to find somebody else, taking advantage of younger women, while Cassie’s friends seem to enjoy her house over her company.

When Cassie starts feeling lonelier than ever, she turns to an artificial intelligence on her phone called AMEE for comfort, even sounding like her mother. When the AMEE starts learning about Cassie’s life, she starts to make her fight back against the people that have wronged her, turning this quiet young lady into a killing machine.

Thoughts on A.M.I.

Characters – Cassie is a high school student that has been through a traumatic experience, being involved in a car crash that killed her mother, while others in her life have moved on, she still suffers daily, her boyfriend doesn’t give her time and always makes excuses, while her closest friends are more interested in her lifestyle and boyfriend than her. Cassie turns to an AI system on her phone, that starts guiding her on a killing spree against everyone that has done her wrong. Greg is Cassie’s father that has neglected her after her mother’s death drinking and trying to seduce younger women including one of Cassie’s friends. Liam is the asshole boyfriend that is more interested in a career in American football and sleeping around over being caring towards his own girlfriend, he is one of the most unsupportive people you will ever see in a film. Ruby and Sarah are the best friends that are not supportive in any way more interested in her boyfriend than her friendship.

PerformancesDebs Howard in the leading role is very interesting to watch, she has the image of a popular student, only holds the psychotic side back. Sam Robert Muik does give us one of the most unlikable characters of the year. Nobody else really gets any screen time to do much.

StoryThe story here follows a teenager girl that is struggling with her mother’s death only to turn to her phone artificial intelligence for a friend, which only turns her into a psychotic killer, taking out revenge on the people that are wronging her in life. This story could easily be one that could have addressed the real life problems Cassie would be experiencing with loss, but instead it just decides to show us that she has no friends or family that want to help her in anyway, despite the fact they should be stood next to her helping her. The speed of which she turns to the phone for friendship is worrying quick and how quickly she starts to kill, though it does have a glancing reference to her head injury, which could have been made more of a point about.

HorrorThe horror side of the film does follow Cassie on her slasher style killing spree, it isn’t scary and the kills happen way to quickly to have any tension.

SettingsThe film does use the everyday settings which shows how somebody could go lose it and go on a spree.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show injuries, while mostly are off camera too, they don’t need to show us anything if we are honesty.


Scene of the Movie – The slip and slide.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – In one scene Sarah is asked if she wants to call her mother, less than 10 minutes later, she talks about living alone in an apartment.

Final Thoughts This is an odd little slasher that does everything to make you support the killer over anybody in their life and does almost hit comical with the kills.

Overall: Fun little slasher.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – A – The Apparition (2012)

Director: Todd Lincoln

Writer: Todd Lincoln (Screenplay)

Starring: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton, Julianna Guill, Luke Pasqualino

 

Plot: A couple is haunted by a supernatural presence that is unleashed during a college experiment.


Tagline – Once You Believe You Die

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Horror

 

Story: The Apparition starts as we follow a college experiment where Patrick (Felton) and his team including Lydia (Guill) are trying to re-perform the Charles Experiments from the 70’s, but something goes wrong. We move onto meet young couple Kelly (Greene) and Ben (Stan) who are living in their parent’s investment.

When strange occurrences start happening around the home Kelly and Ben must look for answers, first believing it is the mould in the house, but then when Patrick gets hold of Ben we learn that they had summoned an entity in his house and it is still there haunting them. The couple must work with Patrick to stop it going entity before it becomes deadly.

 

Thoughts on The Apparition

 

Characters – Kelly is a trainee vet, she moves into one of her parent’s rental properties with her boyfriend where she starts experiencing the haunting events. Ben is the boyfriend of Kelly, he is a good handy man and searching for his career. It is his past that comes back to haunt them. Patrick is part of the team that did the experiment with Ben back in the college days and now he will help right the wrongs.

PerformancesThe performances, well this is fun and this is not just the actors performances that hold them back, the characters are written one dimension which gives the actors nothing to work with. If we look at the main three stars, they all struggle to make an impact and it shows through the film.

StoryThe story here follows an experiment gone wrong and now there is an entity haunting the people who released it from whether it came from, it plays into the idea that you shouldn’t mess with the dead because they will come to haunt you. Anyway this story is simple enough, it is a survival horror against a ghost figure that doesn’t have too much going on about it. We have plenty of just dark sequences that seem to go nowhere or lead to false jump scares and before long it is over, I think. I can’t say the story offers too much for the horror fans or just film fans and it feels like it is flat by the end of the film

Horror/ThrillerThe horror is mostly false scares which just frustrate throughout, you are now looking to be on the edge of your seats, well this doesn’t give you any of that.

SettingsThe settings just feel like they went and grabbed the Poltergeist location and thought this will do, nothing makes sense for the entity and the hauntings though.

Special EffectsThe effects look poor throughout, it all looks like CGI which is poor to see in a modern horror.


Scene of the Movie –
Credits were good.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Kelly criticising people who work in stores, these people work hard and deserve praise.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor lazy horror that just doesn’t do anything for the genre and becomes dull quickly.

 

Overall: Boring horror that has no scares.

Rating

 

 

Art of Deception (2019) Movie Review

Director: Richard Ryan

Writer: Richard Ryan, Michael Marcelin (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Ryan, Jackie Nova, Nicholas Talone, Leon van Waas, Prince Toe

Plot: After uncovering the CIA’s ruthless master plan for world domination by gaining complete mind control over the entire population, top scientist Joseph Markham is ultimately left with a choice: save the lives of billions…or the life of his wife, who has been kidnapped, interrogated, and brutally tortured as she viciously fights for her life. As a nationwide manhunt ensues, deadly assassins pursue, and one man’s decision will determine the fate of the world, Art of Deception is about a fight for life, love and world dominance,

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Late Night Action Treat

Story: Art of Deception starts as Joseph Markham (Ryan) and his wife Valentina (Nova) are planning their future, with Joseph’s work for the CIA coming to an end, he has been part of project which would redefine the world with the project leader Roland Smith (Waas) wanting to tie up all loose ends that worked on the project.

Joseph goes on the run after learning Roland wants to terminate both himself and Valentina, but Roland isn’t prepared for what is coming next, when he learns that both a highly skilled assassination that know how to survive against the odds, with Joseph needing to make a difficult decision on whether to stop the CIA plan or save his wife.

Thoughts on Art of Deception

Characters – Joseph Markham has been working for the CIA on a top-secret mind control project, it has reached the final stages with the final test being a success. He along with his wife soon become targets for the CIA who don’t want loose ends, which means Joseph will show his skills and training that his boss never knew he had, he will uses his training to stay alive and plan to expose the truth to the world. Valentina is the wife of Joseph, she is just as deadly, despite being held captive, she knows how the stay alive. Roland Smith is the project leader that wants to tie up any loose ends involved in the project, he doesn’t want anybody being able to spill the plans and puts all his effort into killing the Markham’s.

PerformancesRichard Ryan in the leading role and on directing duties handles everything very well, with he combat scenes, showing his character’s deadly ability along with using the brains to stay ahead of the game. Jackie Nova brings us the feisty character that is the highlight of her screen time. Leon van Waas makes for the fun over the top villain through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that become targets of the CIA after their work for them, where they show their skills to survive and expose the truth about the project. This does follow everything we know from a late night action story, we have a skilled killer that must come out of his retired decision to protect himself, his wife and the world, when the moment comes for him to shine. We do have a villain that does following everything we are expecting to see with his evil plan that does need to be stopped. We can easily sit back and relax through this film, with the feisty dialogue being used through the film too.

ActionThe action in the film is easy to watch, we deal with different fight scenes, with different fighting techniques being used to show skills behind the characters.

SettingsThe film does keep the settings simple, we do have the CIA offices which sees the tight corridors when it comes to dealing with the fights and the secret locations where kidnapped people will be held.


Scene of the Movie – The plan to save the day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have had more combat sequences from Valentina.

Final Thoughts This is a fun late night action film that could be enjoyed by all the action junkies, it keeps most things simple, without being down as plain.

Overall: Fun Action Film.

Ad Astra (2019) Movie Review

Director: James Gray

Writer: James Gray, Ethan Gross (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, Anne McDaniels, John Ortiz

Plot: Astronaut Roy McBride undertakes a mission across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father and his doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe.


Tagline – The Answers We Seek Are Just Outside Our Reach

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Mission Out of This World

Story: Ad Astra starts when astronaut Roy McBride (Pitt) survives a fatal power surge that destroyed more of his solar space station, Roy with the reputation of never having panicked during any situation in his life remained calm and has been selected for a top-secret mission.

Roy must travel into space to locate his long-lost father Clifford McBride (Jones) whose craft seems to be the source of the power surge before it disrupts everything back on Earth.

Thoughts on Ad Astra

Characters – Roy McBride followed in his father’s footsteps becoming an astronaut, his ability to remain calm with his heart rate makes him one of the best candidates for most missions even if this has made his rational thinking making him emotionless towards the world, including his own wife. When he learns his father might still be alive in the depths of space, he gets assigned to try and communicate with him, which sees him travelling across the solar system, where he must face his own emotions of being left at a young age by his father. This is his story, he is the character we learn the most about through the film. Eve is the wife of Roy, she hasn’t gotten as much love from her husband, which has seen her wanting to leave him because of his travelling decisions. Helen is one of the people that Roy meets on his mission, somebody that does show him a truth about the mission unlike anybody else. Clifford McBride is considered a world-wide hero for his mission into the depths of space, his mission did mean that he became distant from his son because of the fact he left him on Earth, he is thought to have gone missing until the power surge seems to come from his own ship, leading to the mission across the solar system.

PerformancesBrad Pitt is brilliant in this role, where he steps away from his cool persona which he bought us in ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ to give us a much straighter, distant, but brilliant character whose actions is what keeps us wanting to see more from him. While Brad Pitt might be fantastic, it is the supporting cast that are great without being fantastic, mostly due to most not having many scenes, with most being part of the journey, rather than on the journey.

StoryThe story here follows an astronaut that must travel across the solar system in an attempt to figure out what happened to his father’s mission and why there is a power surge that has become a threat to Earth coming from his last known location. This story is a tale about one man that gets a chance to communicate with his father after spending years believing he is dead, lost to space, only to learn of a bigger picture to his mission as he must learn to recontrol his emotionless character before he becomes a problem on the mission. The pace of the story does flow nicely as we learn things as Roy does, which does change his mindset along the way and it does show how big the mission is. There are a couple of issues with the story, with one being the length of the journeys, the second would be the fact that we do get a random side mission, which doesn’t need to be here. Overall the story is interesting to see, it keeps the science behind the story seeming not to distant, with the launches being like what we would see now, even if certain parts are meant to be commercial.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in this film comes from us and Roy wanting to know what Clifford discovered in the depths of space, which does play into the sci-fi side of the film, with the idea of the human race wanting to find life in the galaxy, expanding the position from just being on Earth, with the first steps with bases on the Moon and Mars, though most of the technology ideas are where we would see us going in real-life, none of this hyper sleep concept yet.

SettingsThe film does use the different locations through space to be what we would imagine, with the moon looking like the lifeless place, Mars being filled with the reds and the crafts looking like they would be the ones used to travel through space, we feel the empty vacuum of space.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are brilliant, they obey the rules or space, giving us some of the best visual backgrounds to the mission’s journey too.


Scene of the Movie – Moon Rovers.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain camera angles or point of views could have been better for the impact of the scene.

Final Thoughts This is one of the best and most visually pleasing movies of the year, it has a fantastic performance from Brad Pitt in the leading role and keeps the science of the space travel feeling a lot more grounded than many of the film from the past.

Overall: Out of this world.