Viggo Mortensen Weekend – Appaloosa (2008)

Director: Ed Harris

Writer: Robert Knott, Ed Harris (Screenplay) Robert B Parker (Novel)

Starring: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons, Renee Zellweger, Lance Henriksen

 

Plot: Two friends hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid but Slow Western

 

Story: Appaloosa starts as we see just how much control Randall Bragg (Irons) has over this small western town, he murders the current Marshall which brings a new Marshall to town. Virgil Cole (Harris) and his partner Deputy Everett Hitch (Mortensen) come to town with their own laws to clean up the Bragg gang.

When Cole & Hitch do find a way to arrest Randall the courts find him guilty of murdering the former Marshall but on route to the prison the rest of the gang force Cole’s hand by using Mrs French (Zellweger) to force Randall’s release, this leads to them needing to find a new way to eliminate Bragg’s gang.

 

Thoughts on Appaloosa

 

Characters/PerformanceVirgil Cole is the freelance Marshall, fast with a rifle and only killing the men who break the law. His reputation follows him as one of the scrictiest law men out there with a lot of his trust in Everett. Everett is the longtime partner of Virgil that always stands tall next him in battle, completes the long words and is the calm influence between the two. Randall Bragg is the rancher who has control over the town of Appaloosa him and his gang take what they want, kill who they want and reign terror over the town. Mrs French comes to town a widow becoming the love interest for Virgil and we learn what type of woman she is.

Performance wise, Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen both work well together showing good chemistry throughout the film and both play the lawman well through the film. Jeremy Irons always makes for a good villain through the any film and this is no exception. Renee is here but you do feel like her character is almost pointless to the main part of the film.

StoryThe story fills in just what you want from a western story, we have an enemy of the town that out numbers them all but two lawmen come into town to help clean it up in their own way, be it through legal or other means. This was meant to be a start of a series of films which is why you feel the threat wasn’t as big as it could have been but still enjoyable enough to watch.

Crime/Western/RomanceThis is a nice western film with perfect use of the setting for the crimes to take place, the romance side of film does feel tagged on in places though.

SettingsEach setting looks great for the film never taking us out of the time in question for the movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a western film which is fine, it isn’t bad but isn’t up there with the greatest.

 

Overall: Western fans will enjoy.

Rating

 

 

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A Dark Song (2016)

Director: Liam Gavin

Writer: Liam Gavin (Screenplay)

Starring: Steve Oram, Catherine Walker, Susan Loughnane, Mark Huberman, Nathan Vos

 

Plot: A determined young woman and a damaged occultist risk their lives and souls to perform a dangerous ritual that will grant them what they want.


Tagline – Not everything can be forgiven

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intense Ritual Horror

 

Story: A Dark Song starts as Sophia Howard (Walker) rents a remote house in the countryside, she hires occultist Joseph Solomon (Oram) to perform a yearlong ritual so Sophia can communicate with her late son, one more time.

With the rules set, the ritual begins leaving the two to need to be prepared for anything good or evil that they would summon from the other side.

 

Thoughts on A Dark Song

 

Characters – Sophia is the lady that wants to communicate with dead child, she has turned to an occultist to help her, she will go through as many different rituals to achieve her desired outcome. Joseph Solomon is the occultist that reluctant agrees to help Sophia with her ritual, he has plenty of experience and even when he knows she is lying he will help her.

PerformancesSteve Oram and Catherine Walker are the main two stars of this movie, their performances need to be strong for this movie to work. They both give us captivating performance where you are wondering where the characters will be going next.

StoryThe story dives into the idea of how far would you go to communicate with a dead loved one, would you turn to the occult knowing it wouldn’t be the best idea because of what else you could summon, or would you let the police punish the people responsible, these are the main questions being asked in this movie. When we follow the ritual side of the film doesn’t give us a full scale of the time the two are performing them, but then again the story doesn’t focus on the rituals that much, rather focusing on what would be the correct decision made by the Sophia.

HorrorThe horror involved in this movie is mostly about what could happen with rituals are performed, we only get a moment of actual horror late in the film.

SettingsThe settings keep the two in one house for up to a year which gives the characters the much-needed isolation for the rituals to happen.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the film are save the few moments that need them and seem to be great practical use of them too.


Scene of the Movie –
Cross the line.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While you are left waiting for something to happen, not much does happen.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that focuses more in the drama of what could happen and following to people that need to focus on letting the past lay over trying to scare us.

 

Overall: A horror that lacks the scares.

Rating

 

 

Angel Heart (1987)

Director: Alan Parker

Writer: Alan Parker (Screenplay) William Hjortsberg (Novel)

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Lisa Bonet, Charlotte Rampling, Stocker Fontelieu

 

Plot: Harry Angel is a private investigator. He is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer called Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn.


Tagline –  It will scare you to your very soul.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Mystery Horror

 

Story: Angel Heart starts as private investigator Harry Angel (Rourke) is hired by Louis Cyphre (De Niro) to locate a man Johnny, we follow Harry as he looks to track down this man using his skills along the way.

As the investigation continues Harry finds himself meeting Epiphany (Bonet) a lady that has a connection to the missing man and also deals in voodoo, taking Harry in a direction he never imagined he would go in, but can he solve the mystery before it is too late as everyone he seems to question ends up dead.

 

Thoughts on Angel Heart

 

Characters – Harry Angel is a private investigator, he gets the job done but is a shady in his methods, he gets hired to find a missing person but soon finds himself as the prime suspect in a string of murders with the people that have a connection to the missing man. Louis Cyphre is a mysterious man that hires Harry to search for the missing man but has an air of mystery about him. Epiphany is a young lady that has clues to the whereabouts of the missing man, but gets involved in a race hating state relationship with Harry while also practising voodoo.

PerformancesMickey Rourke does a great job as the private investigator showing the down and out figure needed for the desperate mindset his character ends up in. De Niro shines in the supporting role here giving a chilling performance where we only see him a few times but we are left haunted by his screen time. Lisa Bonet is great too as the young lady that knows some of the answers.

StoryThe story here does start with a standard looking investigation but it soon takes a twist involving different religious beliefs where one man must question his own sanity about what is happening. The investigation side of the film is what you would expect but the change it takes in the final act is the reward you get because things get built up nicely. This is a good mystery thriller that keeps us engaged from the start to the finish.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from the truth that comes out in the final act but the mystery we are watching unfold is what drives this film.

SettingsThe settings take us around America at times as we search with Harry about the truth.

Special EffectsThe effects come in the form of practical as we see just how the kills look once the killer has finished with the bodies.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I wanted more De Niro.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great mystery horror that does keep us guessing and taking us into a direction you wouldn’t see coming.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Mystery horror.

Rating

 

 

Apostle (2018)

Director: Gareth Evans

Writer: Gareth Evans (Screenplay)

Starring: Dan Stevens, Kristine Froseth, Lucy Boynton, Michael Sheen, Bill Milner, Mark Lewis Jones, Elen Rhys

 

Plot: A man attempts to rescue his sister who’s been kidnapped by a religious cult.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slower Than it Needs to Be

 

Story: Apostle starts as Thomas (Stevens) must travel to a remote island run by Prophet Malcolm (Sheen) who has created a religious cult community where everyone is equal to locate his sister who has had a bounty placed on her head by the cult for her safe release from the island.

Once Thomas becomes part of the community he must keep his head down with Malcolm trying to figure out who the person from the mainland that is meant to bringing him a ransom, the race is on to save his sister before becoming captured himself.

 

Thoughts on Apostle

 

Characters – Thomas Richardson has experienced the world, long though to be dead, he is pushed by his father to go in search of his sister whom has joined a religious cult. Thomas must use his skills to blend into the cult to learn the truth about his sister, which he can do with ease, his problems come from needing to sneak around a secretive community that don’t keep secrets from each other. Prophet Malcolm is the leader of the cult, he has the people believing the island will keep them safe from any harm from the mainland wars, he does make strict rules and must return to his life of crime to keep the community together. Andrea is the daughter of Malcolm one that does want to keep everyone calm through any problems, she does help Thomas once she learns he knows what the problems are around.

PerformancesDan Stevens in the leading role does give us a great performance, we know he needs to feel withdrawn with his character and keeps us believing this throughout the film. Michael Sheen shines as the leader of the cult because if any actor could be seen as a cult leader, he would be that guy with his smooth delivery of his words. Lucy Boynton is good in her role which is meant to be a woman figure before her time.

StoryThe story follows that must locate his sister who has become mixed up within a cult on a remote island during the early 1900’s. we are left to see just how he must become part of the cult just to learn the truth, where evil could be around nearly every corner because of the mindset of the cult. Where the story comes off most interesting is openly telling us that the cult leader is willing to turn to crime to get money because his religious beliefs are not working. The pace of the film does feel slow because we do spend more time that we need to on one of the side stories over the mystery about why the daughter was taken or her location. Once everything sets off we will be left entertained by just how weird things do get in this film.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from the way the cult and just what they are planning, we learn as Thomas does too. The mystery in the film circles around why Thomas’ sister is being put through the conditions she is and what the cults true ideas are.

SettingsThe film is set on a remote island, the idea is that we see a community away from the mainland trying to make it themselves not following the laws of the world.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film show the us the practical ones being used to product wounds which look as painful as they seem


Scene of the Movie –
Purification is the scene that will stick with you.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Everything feels overly drawn out when it doesn’t need to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that starts slow, but once it finds the top gear it doesn’t stop, to let you breath.

 

Overall: One of the better Netflix horrors

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – A – ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

Directors: Rodney Ascher, Julian Barratt, Robert Boocheck, Alejandro Brugues, Kristina Buozye, Alexandre Bustillo, Larry Fessenden, Julian Gilbey, Jim Hosking, Lanclot Oduwa Imasuen, E L Katz, Aharon Keshales, Steven Kostanski, Marvin Kren, Juan Martinez Moreno, Erik Matti, Wolfgang Matzl, Julien Mury, Robert Morgan, Chris Nash, Vincenzo Natali, Hajime Ohata, Navot Papushado, Bill Plympton, Dennison Ramalho, Todd Rohal, Jerome Sable, Bruno Samper, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, Soichi Umezawa

 

Plot: Another 26-chapter anthology that showcases death in all its vicious wonder and brutal beauty.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: A Lot of Fun

 

Thoughts on

 

Favourite Letters – A – Amateur I liked this because it pokes fun at the slick nature people believe hitmen going through vents can be showing the truth about what you will find.
D – Deloused this is a delightfully twists animated tale that is everything from disturbing to disgusting.
L – Legacy, I liked this one because it is bold, bloody and entertaining.
N – Nexus, this is a well built up moment where we follow all the people involved before the final moment.
O – Ochlocracy, this short gives us a fresh look at the zombie genre.
S – Split, this is a story that could be run of the mill but clearly has the best twist of any of the short stories here.
T- Torture Porn
, this is one that went in a direction you didn’t see coming which adds shock value to it.
U – Utopia, this sums up modern society nicely for shocking effect.
Y – Youth, this is plain weird but also feels heart breaking throughout the story.
Z – Zygote, well this is a short story that is seriously twisted and delightful ending to these horror tales.


Hardest to Watch
H – Head Games, I think this is because it is bigger than expected because you could read into it the most.
K – Knell, I have this one here because I didn’t understand the end it at all.


Worst Letters
G – Grandad, this one just didn’t click and felt like filler.
P – P-P-P-P – Scary, this just felt like it was part comedy to full weird and not the type I like.

Biggest Disappointments
B – Badger, most because this felt like there was still five minutes to go which could have been the blood bath we got teased for.
I – Invincible, this is here much like B as it is a film you would like to have seen more from.


Ones That I Would Like to See a Full Feature – F – Falling
, this story feels like it could be a brilliant thriller that over a 90 minute could build characters up nicely for the climax.
Q – Questionnaire, this is an interesting one and could be turned into a very interesting horror film.


That Moment That Annoyed Me
V – Vacation, one because it is shot badly and two because the guys assholes.


Final Thoughts
In all fairness this has a lot of good chapters which are fun, bloody, gore and everything you like, if you like short horror stories go and enjoy.

 

Overall: Full fun horror chapter.

Rating