Dead Shack (2017)

Director: Peter Ricq

Writer: Phil Ivanusic, Davila LeBlanc, Peter Ricq (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew Nelson-Mahood, Lizzie Boys, Gabriel LaBelle, Lauren Holly, Donavon Stinson, Valerie Tian


Plot: While staying at a cabin in the woods during the weekend, three teenage kids discover their neighbor is ‘feeding’ guests to her zombie family. In short order, the battle is on as the kids fight to save themselves and their family.


Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Slow & Mundane


Story: Dead Shack starts when Roger (Stinson) is taking his kids Summer (Boys), Colin (LaBelle) and friend Jason (Nelson-Mahood) with his new girlfriend Lisa (Tian) to a camping trip in a forest cabin. As the kids goes exploring, they find the neighbouring house, which has lone woman (Holly) living in it, that brings back young men.

When the kids clear what she is up to they learn that she is collecting people to feed to her zombie family and now they have become her latest targets.


Thoughts on Dead Shack


Characters – Jason is the quiet teenager that joins the family on their camping trip, he clearly fancies Summer and is good friends with Colin. He needs to learn to step up when it comes to dealing with the neighbour if he is ever going to impress Summer too. Summer is the sister of Colin and I want to say older one at that, she doesn’t take anything from any body sticking up for herself whenever she is in trouble, she is the bravest of the group. Colin is the loud mouth brother and friend, he will always put his foot in it with his weak jokes and insults. The Neighbour is a woman that brings victims to her house to feed to her zombie family, when any escape she can hunt them just to keep her secret safe.

PerformancesThe three kids are the main part of the film, Matthew Nelson-Mahood is fine in the group with Lizzie Boys and Gabriel LaBelle just giving the average you would expect to see. Lauren Holly doesn’t make her character as menacing as she could do either.

StoryThe story is simple, it follows three teenagers that learn their neighbour is a killer that is feeding her zombie family, only to become the latest targets. Think Fright Night with zombies and elements of a weak Stranger Things union between the friends, though the problem comes from the being older acting around their dad, I could see how the friends could use the language together, but around a father it does seem unlikely. The idea of suiting up to fight is acceptable without being anything new, it could do with being lighter hearted for a comedy, but the tone just comes off average and plain through the whole film.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in the film doesn’t hit very often, it does juvenile for the most part. The horror misses to because we are going with a comedy attempt we don’t aim to make anything scary.

SettingsThe film does take us to an isolated location which does work for what the neighbour is getting up to, other than that even the forest doesn’t get used well enough to create atmosphere.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do work, they seem to be practical and while most are cuts or body horror, they do understand how to make us look twice.

Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Colin is mostly annoying throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror comedy that doesn’t seem to know which side of the fence is wants to settle on, it isn’t funny enough to be a comedy and isn’t scary enough to be a horror, which only makes it feel plain and forgettable.


Overall: Lost in the genre shuffle.





D-Railed (2019)

Director: Dale Fabrigar

Writer: Suzanne DeLaurentiis, Dale Fabrigar, Everette Wallin (Screenplay)

Starring: Lance Henriksen, Frank Lammers, Tonya Kay, Jack Betts, Shae Smolik, Gregg Christie, Daniel O’Reilly, Carter Scott

Plot: Passengers on a train that crashes into a river must decide whether to risk waiting for help in the wreckage or take their chances in the murky depths below.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliantly Surprising Story

Story: D-Railed starts when Abigail (Smolik) a young girl is joined by Everlyn (Scott) on a murder mystery train adventure, preparing for the big event, explained the rules by the Host (Lammers), the lights go out and the first murder occurs. Within a flash it has turned into a real heist seeing the criminals taking the actors and the guests jewellery, but this does leave the Conductor (Betts) injured and the train derails.

Thinking the worst is over Everlyn, Thomas (Wallin) and Abigail look to escape to shore for safety after it appears to be a flesh-eating creature from the deep waiting to feast on them.

Thoughts on D-Railed

Characters – Manny is the host of the mystery journey, he is meant to be the one to give the clues as he is the only one that isn’t meant to be in the room for the murder, he worries about the condition of the train and his actors, when the robbery starts up. Evelyn is one of the guests on the train, she is one of the few that get out of the wreck, trying to protect the young girl within the young girl looking to survive. Abigail is the young girl that is desperate to enjoy a murder mystery adventure, she has dragged an unwilling parental figure and is the one that everything is trying to save. Thomas is another one of the guests doing everything he can to survive and save the young girl. When it comes to characters it does feel rushed in places when it comes to meeting the number of guests or actors or robbers.

PerformancesCarter Scott takes the leading role in this film, she shows the desperation to survive through the night and doesn’t panic as much as the rest of the crew. Shae Smolik does a wonderful job for her character, showing a child in peril. The whole supporting cast are strong throughout the film, nobody seems to look out of place even if they don’t get the full amount of time on camera.

StoryThe story here follows a murder mystery train adventure that takes a nightmarish turn which sees the passengers getting hunted down by a creature from the deep. This is a story that goes in very different directions, it stays with what seems like a simple train journey, leaves us with a huge part of uncertainty, before turning into a B-movie creature feature, with an ending you simply won’t see coming. While we do have to keep guessing and we never get to feel comfortable knowing where things are going or what we are dealing with, we do jump onto the next stage way to quickly for us to keep up with what is happening to the number of characters we meet. For the pure surprise factor of what happens during the story, we must praise this story, because what better way to keep us invested, than keeping us guessing.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from creature that is picking off the passengers, it is bloody, creepy and doesn’t seem like a creature that could be stopped.

SettingsThe film is set mostly on the train, it makes the action feel contained and with the deadly creature waiting on the outside waiting to eat them. Having a trapped location adds tension involved because the people can start turning on them.

Special EffectsThe effects are brilliant when we get to practical, with the creature and kills, wonderful, there is a couple of CGI moments with bugs, that just looks cheap though.

Scene of the Movie – The create gets to eat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Characters don’t get introduced enough.

Final Thoughts This is a horror thriller that just keeps you guessing from start to finish will continue to surprise you until the end.

Overall: Creature Filled Horror.


Sylvester Stallone Weekend – Driven (2001)

Director: Renny Harlin

Writer: Sylvester Stallone (Screenplay) Jan Skrentny, Neal Tabachnick (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Kip Pardue, Stacey Edwards, Til Schweiger, Gina Gershon, Estella Warren, Robert Sean Leonard


Plot: A young hot shot driver is in the middle of a championship season and is coming apart at the seams. A former CART champion is called in to give him guidance.

Tagline – Get ready for the race of your life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Sports Drama


Story: Driven starts as we get to see how a racing season is going, Beau Brandenburg (Schweiger) the reigning champion starts shinning until rookie driver Jimmy Bly (Pardue) starts becoming competition for the title. When Jimmy starts to fade, team manager Carl Henry (Reynolds) brings back former champion Joe Tanto (Stallone) to help keep the head on straight of the rookie driver.

With Joe back to be used as an experienced blocker to help Jimmy, it is Jimmy that will need to make the difficult decisions and with his brother and manager Demille Bly (Leonard) who is trying to control the young drivers ever movement. Can he get the title won on his rookie season or will the pressure get to him?


Thoughts on Driven


Characters – Joe Tanto was the once great driver, former champion and past his prime, still considered one for the experience factor. He needs to help guide the rookie who is destining to become champion, while facing his own personal regrets. Carl Henry is the owner of the team, he knows Jimmy will become champion and will do anything to make sure his team brings the title back. Jimmy Bly is the rookie making big waves in the sport, controlled by his brother to avoid the pressure that comes with being at the top. He makes the rookie mistakes and need guidance to become champion. Beau Brandenburg is the champion, the best in the game right now even if he can come of arrogant at times. Sophia is the girlfriend of Beau, she has been for years now and after a disagreement she befriends Jimmy adding extra tension between the two potential champions. Demille Bly is the brother and manager of Jimmy, he is trying to control every decision of his career, he is the closest to being the villain in the film.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone is solid enough for this film he fills in the mentor role well enough. Burt Reynolds as the team manager works for the film, we needed an older figure in this role. Kip Pardue does suit the rookie driver well even certain parts of the script are poor. Til Schweiger, Estella Warren and Robert Sean Leonard are good in the supporting roles which give them a chance to have fun with their roles.

StoryThe story follows a rookie facing a champion for an unlike season in race car driving, we see the good and bad moments for the whole field, the pressures thrown on the young driver, with a friendly rivalry being created between the two. We have the older mentor role needed to keep the head on the straight for the younger driver. While being a Formula One fan I can enjoy a good rivalry film which this does give us even if the races have been intensified for the cinematic audience. We get lesson to be learnt by the drivers, team and managers which this season will give us.

Action/SportsThe action in this film comes from the races, while the special effects used have dated horrendously the flat out racing is a join to watch. The sport side of the film gives us a look into the racing industry and just how dangerous it can be when racing for victory.

SettingsThe film takes us around the world to different race tracks used in the sport in real life.

Scene of the Movie –
The accident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The special effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film the fans of racing will enjoy, it has good sequence even if the special effects are weak, it does feel like we are watch Cars the live action movie.


Overall: Racing fun film.




ABC Film Challenge – Crime – D – Dark Crimes (2016)

Director: Alexandros Avranas

Writer: Jeremy Brock (Screenplay) David Grann (Article)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Marton Csokas, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kati Outinen, Vlad Ivanov, Robert Wieckiewicz


Plot: A murder investigation of a slain businessman turns to clues found in an author’s book about an eerily similar crime.

Tagline – It takes a dark mind to solve a twisted crime.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Terribly Boring


Story: Dark Crimes starts when Tadek (Carrey) still investigating the murder of a police officer, gets a new lead when Kozlov (Csokas) writes a new book which has an eerily similarity to the murder, leading him to take a dangerous road investigating the murder, which includes challenge the former girlfriend Kasia (Gainsbourg).

The investigation has plenty of ties to the secret sex club known as the cage, where the men get to do whatever they want to the women, Tadek must put his professional and person life on the line to get to the bottom of this investigations.


Thoughts on Dark Crimes


Characters – Tadek is a police officer, he is preparing for retirement (I think) only he wants to solve one final case, which involves the murder of a fellow officer, he goes down dangerous paths which put his career on the line, his marriage on the line, hoping to find the answers. Kozlov is an author that has written a book that sounds too similar to the unsolved case, he becomes the target of the investigation because of his history with the known sex club. Kasia is a former worker in the club, she does have a connection to Kozlov and the victim.

PerformancesJim Carrey is an actor that I like seeing him doing serious roles, sadly, this is one of his worst performances in a long time, he can keep the accent up jumping around all over the place. Marton Csokas usually does well in film, but because the character isn’t very interesting, he struggles to keep our attention. Charlotte Gainsbourg disappoints too, she does everything we expect her to without making the impact.

StoryThe story follows a detective that is investigating the murder of a fellow officer that could have found the confession inside a novel, which leads him to target the author in search for the truth. The problem here is we get slow moving conversations which don’t go anywhere, we don’t get into the evidence of the case, it just seems to be watching one man starting to go too far in his search. The case doesn’t seem long enough to make feature film story either.

CrimeThe crime side of the film follows the investigation into the murder of a police officer which might be opened up again, it never feels urgent either.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how the club could be easily accessed without needing to be too far away.

Scene of the Movie –

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dragging story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the worst crime stories because it just never feels like the case is that important.


Overall: Just a drag.




Dolls (2019)

Director: Cuyle Carvin

Writer: Justin Hawkins, Josh Hawkins (Screenplay) Jeff Miller, Justin Hawkins (Story)

Starring: Thomas Downey, Dee Wallace, Trinity Simpson, Bret Green, Elise Muller, Melinda DeKay


Plot: A struggling children’s book author and his rebellious teenage daughter move into a house they’ve inherited and find mysterious dolls in the attic. The father and daughter soon learn that the dolls have a sinister – and deadly – past.

Tagline – When You Look Away They Play

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Creepy Dolls


Story: Dolls starts when alcoholic children’s book author Robert Holbrook (Downey) moves into his recently deceased mother’s home to start work on his latest work, when he is joined by his teenage daughter Sammey (Simpson) who wants to get away from her mother.

When Robert and Sammey discover three creepy dolls in the attic, Robert decides that he wants to use these characters to create his latest story, known as the Attic Dolls. When a sister of a former patient Margaret (Wallace) appears, she warns Sammey about the evil inside the dolls that come out to play when you look away.


Thoughts on Dolls


Characters – Robert is an alcoholic children’s author, he has made mistakes in his life which has left his family facing financial ruin, his daughter struggle to be able to face a college future, he has moved out to focus on his new book, which will see him being joined by his daughter. The latest book idea uses the creepy dolls found in the attic of his mother’s home, which will see him suffer nightmares as he looks to withdraw from his drinking problems. Sammey is his 17-year-old daughter who wants to live with him over her mother, she has been on certain medications, though it is unclear what is wrong with her to need them. She first gets scared by the dolls believing the story she hears about them, while trying to remain rebellious about her future. Margaret was the sister of one of the patient’s of Robert’s mother, she warns the family about the evil from the dolls which might be connected to the deaths.

PerformancesThomas Downey is strong through the film, we believe that he is going through troubles. Trinity Simpson is entertaining in her role, she brings the fear of what is going on to make us believe everything happening. Dee Wallace is the biggest name in the film, she is in a supporting role, which lets her bring the experience to the film.

StoryThe story here follows a family that move into a house of a deceased relative only to discover three creepy dolls in the attic, soon strange things start happening around the house as it appears the dolls come to life when people aren’t looking. This story does play into the creepy dolls genre of horror which does to use mental health and addiction to try and reflect the situation going on through the events of the film. It does start by going in one direction, but it does feel like it is going to target on a rampage, then throws another twist to them in and it does seem to rush a lot of the story going on through the film. it does end in a very confusing manor which could make most of the film feel almost redundant.

HorrorThe horror in this comes from the dolls which do feel creepy and make us feel uneasy wondering what they will be doing next.

SettingsThe film is set in the one location which is the house, it is filled with locations where the dolls could sneak around without being seen, only heard, which does play into the rules created.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are only used when they are needed, they are simply with certain small movements which does help the film unfold.

Scene of the Movie –
The dolls appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is a new creepy doll movie, which has been the it feature at the moment, with Child’s Play and Annabelle in the cinema, this one does have a creepy feel to it even if the story does seem to be rushed.


Overall: Creepy Fun horror.