ABC Film Challenge – Action – C – Channeling (2013)

Director: Drew Thomas

Writer: Drew Thomas (Screenplay)

Starring: Taylor Handley, Kate French, Skyler Day, Dominic DeVore, Ryan Walker, Landon Ashworth, Alex Solowitz

Plot: A drama centered on people who seek validation by broadcasting their lives to as big an audience as possible.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Look at the Next Gen of Entertainment

Story: Channeling starts by taking us into a world where people can have a camera in their eye, with people watching their lives, Wyatt Maddox (Handley) is one of these people and after he is killed with his channel watching, his soldier brother Jonah (DeVore) returns home, here he learns that his brother was murdered with Wyatt’s girlfriend Tara (French) filling in the gaps of what happened.

As Jonah starts to investigate, he teams up with Tara to find the person that killed Wyatt, he enters the world of street racing from stolen cars, where he pretends to be his brother, which only draws the same criminals that killed him.

Thoughts on Channeling

Characters – Wyatt is the popular in the virtual world, with his followers in his illegal stolen street cars getting him killed, he has been recording his life, which gives his brother something to search through. Jonah is the soldier brother of Wyatt, he has returned to learn what happened to his brother only to go undercover with his brother’s girlfriend to learn the truth about who killed his brother. Tara is the girlfriend of Wyatt’s, she was with him just before he was killed and now, she wants learn the truth, by showing Jonah how to enter the world. Ashleigh is the younger sister of the brothers, she has become popular with her own recordings which is more about fashion and daily life.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we don’t get the best performances, this does work for the film because they are meant to be what we would consider YouTube stars in how they try to play to their audiences. The reality behind the acting is that it is simple enough and the characters are hard to see in the real world either.

StoryThe story here follows a brother that is trying to find out what happened to his brother after he is murdered during one of his special broadcasts, he goes undercover to learn more about the world, searching for answers. The most interesting way to look at this story, comes from seeing the world where the broadcasting has become so popular, this idea works very well because it reflects how the world is only interested in drama or crime, over any sort of real event. When we look at the actual story, it is a basic revenge like story and works as the surface of the film, it would have been nice to have felt like the villains were more threatening and the side story revolving around the little sister does seem just there to show a different side of the popularity of the equipment rather than adding anything to the main story.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does follow a couple of car chases which as basic enough, but shot through the eyes which makes them difficult to watch. The sci-fi element does build on what we have seen in Black Mirror before which is a recording of life, it is nice touch and something we see happening more and more.

SettingsThe film shows the criminal world that Jonah must enter for answers, we have rough bars, dark alleyways and a remote penthouse apartment where his brother lived.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, this is focused on how the viewers of the people see the lives they are following, it does feel like shaky cam at times which isn’t helpful as a viewer experience.


Scene of the Movie – Bar of popularity.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not seeing enough of the villain.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at how the popularity of social media has become easier to access and become key to these people’s lives.

Overall: Entertaining, though flawed.

Conspiracy Theory (1997) Movie Review

Director: Richard Donner

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, Cylk Cozart, Steve Kahan, Terry Alexander, Alex McArthur

Plot: A man obsessed with conspiracy theories becomes a target after one of his theories turns out to be true. Unfortunately, in order to save himself, he has to figure out which theory it is.


Tagline – Jerry Fletcher sees conspiracies everywhere. One has turned out to be true. Now his enemies want him dead. And she’s the only one he can trust.

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Excellent Mystery

Story: Conspiracy Theory starts as taxi driver and conspiracy theorist spends his day believing the government is out to get him always believing different events in the city are bigger than what the story is being told. He tries to turn to district attorney Alice Sutton (Roberts) about any story he gets, while also having a crush on her, before he is taken by a group of the government where Dr Jonas (Stewart) tries to get him to talk.

With Jerry needing to go on the run, Alice becomes a target too, as they must try to figure out why they have been targeted and which one of Jerry theories is the one that is trying to be covered up.

Thoughts on Conspiracy Theory

Characters – Jerry is a taxi driver in New York City, he also is a conspiracy theorist that believes everything is the government trying to cover something up, while most people to bat him off as crazy person who is just talking nonsense, one of his theories turns out to be true, as the government comes hunting for him, he every nightmare is coming true, only he doesn’t know which one of his ideas is the one that is true. Alice Sutton works in the district attorney office, she is the person Jerry brings his ideas too, while the rest of the office is scared of him, she will help him when he gets targeted, not believing everything she is being told, even after spending most of her time just listening to his ideas. Dr Jonas is the man trying to track down Jerry, he will use all the shady tactics to get his man even if he has the biggest secret about why he is hunting him down.

PerformancesMel Gibson is wonderful in the leading role here, he gets to play the full crazy without looking like he is completely out of his mind, just on edge about everything. Julia Roberts is great to trying to remain calm around the Gibson’s crazy side. Patrick Stewart as the villainous government agent is great to watch too, he knows how to make his character make a big impact on screen.

StoryThe story here follows one man who believes everything in his life is a giant conspiracy and has always gone to one person to tell his theories too, only now he has found out one is real and the government what him silenced, can he expose the truth before it is too late. When it comes to conspiracy theories we can see how people can believe in anything once they have enough information, with this one, we see somebody who does believe in way too many, he just doesn’t know which ones are real or just parts of his mind, seeing how the government wants to cover them up shows just how big the theories can be if people will kill to keep them secret. We do get to see how Alice reacts to the world she is caught up between, never knowing which side to believe through the story, which does add another level to the narrative.

Action/MysteryThe action in the film is a couple of pursuit sequences rather than full blown chases, everything feels calm, even though it is fast paced though, the mystery comes from why Jerry is being targeted this time, he just doesn’t know which one of his theories is being leaked.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which shows us just how many people will just let somebody get away with saying whatever they want and not be considered out of place.


Scene of the Movie – The pizza order.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It could be trimmed down about 20 minutes.

Final Thoughts This is a great mystery thriller that leaves plenty up there with conspiracy theories, showing how plenty can be talked about and the ones that are true could be the ones that cause the most problems.

Overall: Keeps You Guessing.

The Complex (2020) Review

Director: Paul Raschid

Writer: Lunn Renee Maxcy (Screenplay)

Starring: Michelle Mylett, Kate Dickie, Al Weaver, Kim Adis, Akie Kotabe, Beau Fowler, Rachel Petladwala

Plot: After being tasked with saving the life of a potential bio-weapons terrorist, two London scientists find themselves in a locked-down laboratory with time – and air – running out.

Runtime: This is an interactive movie, the action you take will give you the length of your experience.

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Entertaining Experience

Story: The Complex starts as a nerve agent has inflicted two people with Dr Amy Tennant (Mylett) and Rees Wakefield (Weaver) are treating the patients, leaving the decision in our own hands, as the audience. This is here to help us understand the type of decisions we will be facing.

5 years later Amy is working under the great doctor Nathalie Kensington (Dickie) trying to get funding for the latest invention that could improve medical technology, until one of the team gets dangerously ill, leading to Amy needing to uncover what went wrong before it becomes a bigger problem.

Thoughts on The Complex

Final ThoughtsThis being an interactive movie does change some dynamics, first we will still look at the performances, Michelle Mylett, Kate Dickie, Al Weaver and Kim Adis are all wonderful to watch, they each have different directions their characters could go in, with them having to do plenty of different reactions depending on what we choice.

When we look into the story that is unfolding, it does target the idea that a medical enhancement being unleashed with us needing to figure out if it was an accident or for a greater reason. We get to decide the direction this story goes, with us needing to do Amy’s decision making along the way.

The big part of what makes The Complex different is the interactive style, because once you finish watching, you will get an assessment of you choices, with the potential of 9 different endings, meaning you will need to re-watch to try and get the different outcomes. I only did two different results, but you could easily go back through this to find the different branches to each story.

It will be easy to compare this to Black Mirror Bandersnatch, only that version went too deep into everything, sometimes losing direction, with The Complex, we contain the action within one building showing us, this concept works much better in the contained environment. This is a film that you can go through multiple times and still get something fresh out of it each time.

Overall: Experience You Need to Try.

THE COMPLEX a live action, interactive Sci-Fi thriller is released worldwide through PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on 31st March 2020

Vince Vaughn Weekend – The Cell (2000) Movie Review

Director: Tarsem Singh

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jake Weber, Dylan Baker, James Gammon

Plot: An F.B.I. Agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.


Tagline – This Summer… Enter The Mind Of A Killer

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Stunning

Story: The Cell starts as we meet Catherine Deane (Lopez) who works by going into the mind of people in comas to try and help them get out of the trauma, with her patient being a young boy, elsewhere serial killer Carl Stargher (D’Onofrio) who drowns his victims before performing sadomasochistic acts on the bodies, with FBI agents Gordon (Weber) and Peter Novak (Vaughn) trying to track him down.

When the FBI find Carl, they learn he has fallen into a coma, with little chance of waking up, he has taken another victim and they need the location, which leads them to Catherine, who is assigned to go into the mind of the serial killer to learn the location before the time runs out.

Thoughts on The Cell

Characters – Catherine is the doctor that goes into the minds of comatose people in hope of finding a cure that will let the victim get over the trauma that has locked them in. she experiences all sorts inside the minds of people, usually helping a young boy, now she gets to go into the mind of a serial killer who has a victim locked away somewhere. Peter Novak is an FBI agent leading the investigation into the serial killer, he turns to Catherine to help, being the one that explains just how difficult this case has become. Carl Stargher is the serial killer that has been racking up the kills with a method being as twisted as they come, he has started getting more regular and with the latest victim taken he falls into a coma, which sees him needing to have his mind visited to learn the truth about the location of the missing woman. We fill out the characters with fellow officers and the scientists that work with Catherine.

PerformancesJennifer Lopez is wonderfully in the lead role, she shows how calm her character needs to be even in the face of pure nightmares. Vincent D’Onofrio is disturbing as the serial killer, because he is so cold in how everything is delivered you don’t want to see what he does next. Vince Vaughn as the FBI agent is great, but doesn’t have the level of work that the lead two must get through during the film.

StoryThe story here follows a FBI agent that turns to a new form of science to get help from Catherine Deane to figure out where a comatose serial killer has left his latest victim. Where the serial killer hunting of this side does get trimmed off, so we can focus on the searching for the missing victim, by diving into the idea of explore the mind of a comatose person is where the film stands out. The world we enter is incredible and shows that serial killers could have been raised in a world of pure torture causing them to break, while the story is fantastic, it could easily be one that gets bought to today world to explore the mental side of serial killers even more. The race against time element also helps makes this story feel like we are in the real time frame to get everything done.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror in this film comes from what we see Catherine experience as well as seeing what Carl does to his victims, while the sci-fi of the film does look at the idea of being able go into the mind of somebody else without truly getting into the science of it.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to give us the routine FBI searching areas, but where the settings improve are the different environments Catherine finds herself going through during her trip into the mind, each one could be more shocking than the last.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are wonderful too, they really do push the boundaries for the time and don’t look like they have been dated.


Scene of the Movie – The first entry into Carl’s mind.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The cops do come off pretty routine.

Final Thoughts This is an amazing sci-fi film that takes the hunt for a serial killer in a new direction, one that has endless possibilities of horror.

Overall: Disturbing Thriller.

Come to Daddy (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ant Timpson

Writer: Toby Harvard (Screenplay)

Starring: Elijah Wood, Stephan McHattie, Garfield Wilson, Madeleine Sami, Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley

Plot: A man in his thirties travels to a remote cabin to reconnect with his estranged father.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Twist Filled

Story: Come to Daddy starts when Norval (Wood) goes to his estranged father’s Gordon (McHattie) remote cabin to visit for the first time in years, it doesn’t start off smooth, with Norval feeling unwelcomed, trying to figure out what is father wants with this visit.

When the two get into an argument, Norval finds himself needing to look more into the past of his father, which slowly uncovers a bigger mystery, one with terrifying truths he wasn’t ready for.

Thoughts on Come to Daddy

Characters – Norval is a 30-year-old man that has received a letter from his estranged father in his remote cabin, this doesn’t go well as he finds out he doesn’t have the same connection he had hoped, only when things take a dramatic turn, when he learns what is really going on in the cabin and must do anything to protect his mother. Gordon is the Norval’s father waiting to spend time with him, only he doesn’t show the compassion Norval has hoped, he is heartless towards him, which only ends up showing an even darker side to him. Jethro is a connection to Norval’s father, he will kill anybody who gets in his way. Brian is a man that is discovered by Norval, he has a bigger story that might add everything up more for Norval.

PerformancesElijah Wood is wonderful in the leading role of the film, he does show the innocent side to his action, who is pushed to new limits by the events, each proving to be more shocking than the last. Stephen McHattie and Martin Donovan in the support roles are strong in the supporting roles, with Michael Smiley getting plenty of the extra laughs.

StoryThe story here follows a 30-something year old that goes to visit his estranged father, only for this trip to take an unexpected twist along the way, one he couldn’t imagine happening. When we look at this story, we know with it being a horror comedy, we are going to get some twists along the way, this story doesn’t disappoint and takes us in directions we couldn’t have imagined, with each twist feeling genuinely surprising. We don’t want to get too involved with what happens, because it does leave plenty to surprise us with, though deep down we are getting into the ideas of dealing father son relationship with the father leaving the son early in his life.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy often comes from Norval’s reactions to everything, along with how Michael Smiley acts through the film, the horror does come from the twist into the story, which does put Norval into a world he never expected.

SettingsThe film does keep a lot of the film set in the remote cabin, only for secrets to be discovered the longer we are there, when we leave it does hold the film back at times.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong with most being injury infliction which looks as brutal as it is meant to.


Scene of the Movie – The kitchen fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The change in Norval seems too realistic, like he was waiting to be allowed to do this.

Final Thoughts This is a cool, horror comedy, which does show us how to keep a story twist a secret and surprise the audience when it is unleashed upon everyone.

Overall: Fun, Shock Filled Horror.