Classic Franchise – Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Director: Ted Post

Writer: Paul Dehn, Mort Abrahams (Screenplay) Pierre Boulle (Characters)

Starring: James Franciscus, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, Linda Harrison, Paul Richards, Victor Buono, Charlton Heston


Plot: The sole survivor of an interplanetary rescue mission searches for the only survivor of the previous expedition. He discovers a planet ruled by apes and an underground city run by telepathic humans.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Continues Nicely


Story: Beneath the Planet of the Apes starts as we continue to see where Taylor (Heston) and Nova (Harrison) travels went after the shocking conclusion of the first movie, but something has split them up and Nova stumbles across the latest visitor Brent (Franciscus) the sole survivor of the rescue mission.

Nova takes Brent to the ape city where Zira (Hunter) continues her mission to show the humans are important, but Dr Zaius (Evans) must join the leader Ursus (Gregory) in a mission into the forbidden zone for answers. Brent learning answers from Zira and Cornelius risks his and Nova’s lives to find the answers that could be peace or safety for the planet of the apes and humans, but what he finds beneath the planet is even more shocking than he could imagine with humans that communicate through telepathic powers.


Thoughts on Beneath the Planet of the Apes


Characters/PerformanceBrent is one of the rescue team sent to rescue George but finds himself going through the same troubles but also dealing with what is hidden beneath the planet. He isn’t as strong as George though. Zira does have a smaller part but is still trying to create an equality on the planet. Dr Zaius does want the right thing now but doesn’t get enough time to build up this character change. Nova is there clearly for the eye candy with the new humans being a lot more interesting twist in the story.

Performance wise, James Franciscus does reach the levels we got from Heston in the leading role, Hunter and Evans suffer from less screen time but do well enough when they are on screen. The rest of the cast are all fine building the bigger picture within the film.

StoryThe story continues on where the last one finished, which is good, learning more about the planet brings the interest up within the story as we now know we could be heading into a bigger battle on a planet the apes don’t actually control completely. This is a good building part of the franchise.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is all good without being anything ground breaking, the world we are thrown into does help the sci-fi angle because we continue learning about the planet in the future.

SettingsWe continue to get the desert settings showing us how the world has changed in the future with the destruction that has happened in the past.

Special EffectsFor the time the special effects all work well, sure they have dated but they are all what you would expect from a film of the time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the franchise, sure it isn’t as good of a film as the original but it continues the story nicely to make us want to learn more about the planet.


Overall: Good franchise addition.





The Beguiled (2017)

Director: Sofia Coppola

Writer: Albert Maltz, Irene Kamp (Screenplay) Thomas Cullinan (Novel)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke


Plot: At a girls’ school in Virginia during the Civil War, where the young women have been sheltered from the outside world, a wounded Union soldier is taken in. Soon, the house is taken over with sexual tension, rivalries, and an unexpected turn of events.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Good Thriller


Story: The Beguiled starts as the injured Union soldier Corporal McBurney (Farrell) is taken into a girl’s school run by Miss Martha (Kidman), teacher Edwina (Dunst) and their students Alicia (Fanning), Amy (Laurence), Jane (Rice), Marie (Riecke) and Emily (Howard) as they look to treat his wounds before turning him over the confederation soldiers.

Working together the women decide against turning him and keep him around the house to help out while he finishes he recovery, but when there is a sexual tension between McBurney and the girl’s things take a turn that no one could imagine.


Thoughts on The Beguiled


Characters – Corporal McBurney is a soldier hiding from the civil war after he is injured. He has a speedy recovery in the school but grabs the attention of the women but this will only make his life being put in danger. Miss Martha runs a strict school, with no men around, she reluctantly helps McBurney being the doctor of the house. Edwina is the teacher that takes a shine to McBurney which ends up being the straw that breaks everything down. The students are all different ages showing the levels of innocence we could see broken.

PerformancesColin Farrell gives one of his best performances of his career here being kind one moment and the broken man the next. Nicole Kidman is great in her role too as the head mistress of the school, she shows the mentoring figure of films just how it is done. Kirsten Dunst also continues to give us the mature performances we like seeing from here now. The young actresses who have been giving us good work in other projects all do great here too.

StoryThe story follows how the women of the school must keep themselves safe during the Civil War from the men who might come into their lives, we only focus on one who disrupts their calm life leaving nothing the same once they are finished protecting themselves. It is a slow-paced story but it flows past quickly making us want to see where things will go next.

SettingsThe film is set inside the girls school, this takes us away from the battlefield the war has been creating make us see how distant these women have become from the world too.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that shows the effects of the Civil War on the innocence people while people were fighting.  


Overall: Thriller that is edge of your seat from start to finish.




Blair Witch (2016)

blairDirector: Adam Wingard

Writer: Simon Barrett (Screenplay)

Starring: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry


Plot: After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his vanished sister Heather, James and a group of friends head to the forest believed to be inhabited by the Blair Witch.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Prepare for Rant


Story: Blair Witch starts as we learn that James (McCune) preparing to continuing the search for his older sister who was the victim in the original Blair Witch Project. Now Lisa (Hernandez) is shooting a documentary with James and their friends Ashley (Reid), Peter (Scott), Lane (Robinson) and Talia (Curry) with the latest equipment to track and record from eye level.

As the journey into the woods starts it isn’t long before the witch of the woods starts playing games with them and the usual divide between continuing and giving up splits the group and they are going to become the latest victims of the witch in the woods.

Blair Witch is a sequel to one of the most popular horrors in the 90s that gave us an endless string of found footage films that really didn’t work. This is one of the films that I was never a true fan off because nothing really happens. Sadly, this ends up doing the same thing where we get plenty of running around screaming and shouting which ends up with shaky cam. This has all the potential to be one of the best sequels but in the end we learn very little extra and just get a draw a film which cash in for another horror franchise. I really wanted to see more because Adam Wingard is a great director with The Guest and You’re Next to his name but this film just fails to reach the levels of the two.


Overall: Disappointed sequel that just ends up being everything wrong with found footage films.




Be Afraid (2017)

Director: Drew Gabreski

Writer: Gerald Nott (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Krause, Jaimi Paige, Louis Herthum, Jared Abrahamson, Michelle Hurd, Michael Leone, Noell Coet


Plot: Not long after John Chambers and his family arrive at their new home in a small country town of Pennsylvania, John begins to experience sleep paralysis. Lying there paralyzed, trapped within his own nightmare, other-worldly beings visit John. They are entities which exist in the darkest shadows of the night and can only be seen out of the corner of one’s eye. These encounters begin to haunt John, transforming to complete terror as he discovers the entities’ sole purpose… the abduction of his seven year old son.


Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Solid but Not Scary Horror Film


Story: Be Afraid starts as the Chambers family moves into the small town, Dr John (Krause), Heather (Paige), and Nathan (Leone) who get joined by elder son returning home Ben (Abrahamson) where the family is looking to start a new life as the town’s doctor.

When the family gets visited by locals who all suffered their own losses which leads to Nathan the youngest family member believing he is being visited by a man at night as John starts suffering sleep paralysis.


Thoughts on Be Afraid


Characters – Dr John Chambers moves his family to the town and fills the investigating side of the story searching for the answer to what might be happening in the town. Heather is the wife John and mother of Nathan that spends most of the film telling John what to do, nothing much else. Chief Collins has been dealing with the previous missing child and with this latest case must help the doctor with the danger he might be facing. We also have the kid who getting the visions and the elder son needing to prove himself to his father. To be honest we do end up meeting too many characters in this film as each gets time but that takes away from the characters that need time.

PerformancesReturning to the biggest problems being the number of characters, this shows in the performances because we just don’t get enough time for the performers to give us the best performance to their abilities.

StoryThe story follow the traditional check marks for a horror, the family move to new town, strange things have happen in the past, true this works but the problem comes with too many characters to introduce into the story leaving us trying to keep up with all the characters through story unfolding, we also don’t get any proper answers to just what the creatures are that are doing in the haunting.

HorrorThe horror doesn’t start till later in the film, we do get a couple of good scenes which do increase the horror level but not understand the point of these moments doesn’t help.

SettingsThe small town setting gives us an idea that everyone knows what is going on in the town between the characters and our new family is like us entering the town with the mystery as to what is going on.

Special EffectsThe effects are interesting because the creatures look full practical which makes us respect the idea of a real monster over a CGI one.

Scene of the Movie –
Bath time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters to follow.

Chances of Sequel: It could have one but I hope it doesn’t.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that could have worked but having too many characters doesn’t help us support the family that are experiencing the horror, the creatures are good but are also left unanswered to their motives.


Overall: This is a weaker horror because it finds itself bogged down with too much going on.




The Blob (1958)

Director: Irvin S Yeaworth Jr, Russel S Doughten

Writer: Theodoree Simonson, Kay Linaker (Screenplay) Irvine H Millgate (Original Idea)

Starring: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Earl Rowe, Olin Howland, Stephen Chase, John Benson, George Karas, Lee Payton


Plot: An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Classic Slow Builder Horror


Story: The Blob starts when Steve Andrews (McQueen) is on his date with Jane (Corsaut) they witness something crash into the ground near them, investigating they find an old man who has found the collision which has a goo like substance inside.

As the goo grows is consumes the man the doctor also vanishes giving the police LT Dave (Rowe) a problem on his hands. Steve and Jane works with other kids in the town as they look to find the answers as the goo that has now turned into a mass blob is growing and consuming the neighbourhood.


Thoughts on The Blob


Characters/PerformanceSteve is the neighbourhood bad boy with a heart of gold, his night of romance is ruined when a strange blob starts consuming the town and he must convince the town that this is real but his reputation doesn’t do him any favours. Jane is your generic girlfriend love interest character, whose job is to put on a happy face and scream, I know that sounds shallow but that is all she does. LT Dave is a good officer willing to believes the kids are good just as long as they don’t hurt anyone.

Performance wise Steve McQueen shows that he was always going to be a big star carrying this film with his performance with the rest of cast all feeling like they were made for this style of film.

StoryThe idea that something came from space is the great idea for horror as for the time we knew the paranoia around at the time. There isn’t too much to the story as the events all happen over the one night and it almost plays into the idea of don’t cry wolf at times.

Horror/Sci-FiWhen you look at the horror side of this film we get to see the unknown invading with no real answers, the sci-fi side comes from the idea this has come from space.

SettingsThe film is set all in one town, which improves the horror side of the movie as we see how the people panic about what is happening.

Special EffectsLooking at the special effects that were great for the time and budget.

Final ThoughtsThis is a classic in the horror genre that should be watched by all the people wanting to make a difference in horror.


Overall: A classic in the genre that is a must watch.