The Darkest Dawn (2016)

Director: Drew Casson

Writer: Drew Casson, Jess Cleverly (Screenplay)

Starring: Bethan Mary Leadley, Cherry Wallis, Jess Cleverly, Sarah Perugia, Stuart Ashen, Drew Casson

 

Plot: The story of two sisters, as Britain descends into an alien apocalypse.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Invasion Movie

 

Story: The Darkest Dawn starts as 16-year-old Chloe (Leadley) gets a new camera for her birthday hoping one day that she could become a big director, she uses her camera like a reporter and when an alien outbreak happens in England Chloe and her older sister Sam (Wallis) must go into hiding.

The girls join forces with fellow survivors Cowen (Casson), Adam (Scareltt) and Kipper (Carter) in search for Adam’s sister, as they head to the surfaces in hopes of surviving, where the treats don’t just come from the aliens.

 

Thoughts on The Darkest Dawn

 

Characters – Chloe is the youngest of the two sisters, she dreams of being a director, which is why she is using the camera to document the events of the invasion hoping that her mother will see her story and follow them. Sam is the older sister and nurse, she keeps an eye out for Chloe while also seeing the change she is going through on the journey. Cowen is the leader of the people that is searching for his girlfriend to whom they thought they had lost in the first invasion.

PerformancesWhen we come to performances we must first look at the idea that this is found footage, so we know that we are not overly performance driven here. Bethan Mary Leadley is good in the leading role, we see enthusiasm in her performance through the horror. When it comes to the rest of the cast we do get good performances throughout where we understand the different decisions they are making.

StoryThe story is the end of normality when an alien invasion has take over England, maybe the world. we follow a group of survivors who see the different sides of humanity in the moments of panic and desperation to survive. The story is fresh for the Chloe and Sam characters, but the rest are part of a sequel, which from the title you would never know, this is disappointing to learn through the film because you would understand certain decisions at times. When follow the events of the story it is clear that we are going to be following the traditional trend when it comes to who are likely to meet along the way.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of the film brings us into the end of the world alien invasion, one we are losing and the weapons being used don’t give us a chance.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well to show how shelter is the only safety from the attacks, we see the big city destruction too.

Special EffectsThe effects are strange, I say this because they do seem good, but for a found footage film they seem too good. We believe the destructions we are witnessing.


Scene of the Movie –
The first attack and the panic.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing this is a sequel till part way through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good found footage film that can give us a real feel to an invasion which will leave you believing it was real.

 

Overall: Found Footage to be watched.

Rating

 

 

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Day of the Dead: Bloodlines (2018)

Director: Hector Hernandez Vicens

Writer:  Mark Tonderai, Lars Jacobson (Screenplay)

Starring: Johnathon Schaech, Sophie Skelton, Marcus Vanco, Lillian Blankenship, Ulyana Chan, Shari Watson

 

Plot: A small group of military personnel and survivalists dwell in an underground bunker as they seek to find a cure in a world overrun by zombies.


Tagline – Join the undying war.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Awful All Around

 

Story: Day of the Dead: Bloodline starts as we see the zombie outbreak in full effect, now 4 hours earlier as we follow Zoe (Skelton) a medical student trying her hardest to get her grades, she does have a stalker in one of her patients Max (Schaech) and now it is time to party because medical students.

Well a 12-minute intro and a casual attempted rape scene, we randomly jump 5 years down the line with Zoe who is part of a group of survives that are in a refugee camp, where she searches for answers. Zoe joins a team in look for medical supplies, led by her boyfriend Baca (Vanco) otherwise an illness will sweep through their camp.

 

Thoughts on Day of the Dead: Bloodline

 

Characters – Zoe is the former medical student that is now the main doctor for a refugee base during a zombie outbreak. She does try to do the right thing to save a young girl in the camp, but otherwise she is just your generic girl in zombie film. Baca is the brother of the leader of the base and boyfriend of Zoe, well this is his character summed up. Max is a stalker that gets turned into zombie, but his blood is different which makes his zombie form knowledgeable of what it is doing.

PerformancesLet’s talk about the acting or the lack there off, not all the blame goes to the actors here though because the characters are so blandly written. Between them all we never fee the grief the characters are left to go through, Skelton struggles to convince in the leading role and having an actor play a stealth zombie is terrible choice.

StoryThe story plays into the idea of the original by going for something different in the form of the remake style. We fall into the same traps zombie movies go for, we have a comfortable location where everything seems safe, but the risk to go outside brings back fresh numbers of zombies which ruin the calm. We have the lacklustre leader of the facility which isn’t as obsessed with safety as in the original and to make matters worst we have one zombie that has a stealth mode.

HorrorWe are in a zombie filled world which should be scary, nope this just doesn’t feel like a horror on any level.

SettingsThe film is set in and around a bunker, we never truly see how big the scale of the facility is which disappoints.

Special EffectsThe effects are the only highlight of the film, we have solid use of zombie destruction scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
I’m Not yours.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A Stealth zombie.

Final ThoughtsThis is the reason why people get tired of zombie films, it offers nothing new or watchable for the fans of the zombie genre, it doesn’t reach the so bad it is funny level, it just stays in bland and boring throughout.

 

Overall: A zombie film to miss.

Rating

 

 

Dead on Arrival (2017)

Director: Stephen C Sepher

Writer: Stephen C Sepher (Screenplay)

Starring: D.B. Sweeney, Lilo Brancato, Christa B Allen, Sottie Thompson, Chris Mulkey, Bill Flynn

 

Plot: A pharmaceutical sales rep visits a small town in Louisiana on business. He finds himself in a dark world of corruption and murder with 24 hours to live, running from the police, the mob and a sheriff that wants him dead.


Tagline – Noir Thriller. Ensemble Cast

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Twisted Filled Thriller

 

Story: Dead on Arrival starts as pharmaceutical sales rep Sam Collins (Flynn) who attending a big party hosted by a small town doctor in Louisiana to closer a deal, the morning after waking up next to a stripper Jessie (Allen), he looks to leave town only to learn that he has been infected with a poison that has left him 24-hours to live.

Teaming up with Jessie who go on the run from the people behind the poisoning, mob and the dirty cops that are trying to cover up their own mistakes.

 

Thoughts on Dead on Arrival

 

Characters – Sam Collins in a pharmaceutical sales rep, he travels across the country to support his children, he has closed a big deal and enjoyed a party. The next day he will learn that this is going to be his last day after he gets poisoned, with most of the town searching for him, he must use his charm to keep him ahead of the people that want him dead. Detective Spiro is investigating the murder of the Doctor, he is playing everything by the book and enjoys teasing his partner about his heritage. Hans Dunkel is the towns insurance broker, he will play on both sides of the law to keep his money rolling in. Jesse is the stripper that has been helping Sam learn the truth about what happened, she sees this as her ticket out of the life she is in.

PerformancesBilly Flynn in the leading role is good, he shows the weakness his character is facing when it comes to dealing with the effects of the poison and shows us the realization that he might not know his killer. D.B. Sweeney is good in his role even though his character feels generic for the most part. We do have good performance from the whole cast with the hitmen coming off funny for the most part.

StoryThe story follows just over a day as we are left to see just where the story will unfold, we see how one man can need to face the truth about his existence after becoming poisoned with only 24 hours to live and who is involved trying to track him down. This story does have plenty of twists and turns along the way, which both helps and hinders the story because we do deal with too many different characters at times, making it hard to keep up with at times too.

ThrillerThe film does play the thriller card well, we do have the race against time idea for Sam who is trying to figure out who tried to kill him.

SettingsThe Louisiana settings is nice backdrop for the movie which shows how different levels of criminals will be operating in.


Scene of the Movie –
Your chance Sam.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters to keep up with.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that does give us the options to who could be behind the poisoning of Sam, which is good, only it doesn’t hit the levels it needs to for making us understand different levels of motivation going on.

 

Overall: Thriller fans give this a try.

Rating

 

 

Dominion: The Last Star Warrior (2015)

Director: Richard Lowry

Writer: Richard Lowry (Screenplay) Erick Hansen (Story)

Starring: Barry Lynch, Travis Hammer, Christine Joelle, Booboo Stewart, Lisa Marie, Sasha Jackson

 

Plot: In just FIVE days the world we know will change forever with devastating results. Jaelen an observer from another planet searches to find and rescue the human woman he fell in love with before it all happens. Robert Casey a retired US Intelligence agent turned UFO investigator races to discover what the yet to be known DOMINION has in store for the Human race.


Tagline – In just five days human existence as we know it will change forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thinking Persons Invasion Movie

 

Story: Dominion: The Last Star Warrior starts with retired US Intelligence agent Robert Casey (Lynch) who is interviewing a stranger Jaelen (Hammer) in his UFO investigation about an impending attack on Earth that will end life as we know it. Jaelen is from a different world and normally his people would defend against the attack, but they are battling their own war, other peaceful aliens including Tonjura (Marie) offer advice on how to prepare before evacuating themselves.

Jaelan unwilling to leave before his human love Alyssa (Joelle) is safe and freed from the torture of the government that has been warned about the ending coming, Robert races against time to help Jaelen before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Dominion: The Last Star Warrior

 

Characters – Robert Casey is a former intelligence officer turn UFO hunter, he has a reputation for be honest in his hunt which has him welcomed into the community but hunted by his former employers. He helps Jaelen find his love while keeping the secret and accepting his fate. He has the smarts to stay ahead of the people in his field and understands that he can’t be the one to save anybody. Jaelen is the alien living among the humans, he has broken his own traditions by falling in love with a human and even though he knows the end is coming he won’t leave without her. Alyssa is the woman that Jaelen has fallen in love with, she is captured and being tortured in hope of locating Jaelen before he gives away the secret, she is the driving force for Jaelen and Robert to do the right thing.

PerformancesThe performances from the cast are good through the film, Barry Lynch gives us a truly believable character that is in search of the truth, both smart and ready to ask the difficult questions. Travis Hammer makes us believe his is from another planet through the film, Christine Joelle does well enough, she doesn’t have that much to do other than to have been in pain.

StoryThe story here follows the final days of Earth as we know it, we follow an UFO investigation and an alien as they race against time to locate a love and save as many humans as possible before the end date. The story does tell us from the opening that Earth did end and we follow the events leading up to this which is helpful because it changes the tone of the film, to be looking at where things could be going from an unknown invader. It shows love can cross any race and across the universe too. This isn’t all action, it plays into the idea of conspiracy which often get laughed off, while it turns out to be real, it does make this very interesting to see unfold.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is used few and far between, we have a couple of weak and basic car chases that seem very easy and have no peril. The sci-fi side of this is the highlight as we are left to see the idea of different species and races in the universe that have different ideas for Earth.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to place us where you would expect to see UFO investigators would be operating in.

Special EffectsThe effects are not used often, they are not the best but they work because we only have the inclusion of UFOs over fighting versions of them.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The UFOs do like generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thinking sci-fi film, it isn’t about the battle for survival, it is look at how it will end, which is a nice twist and does play into the ideas of both good and bad in the universe.

 

Overall: Sci-fi fans to try this one out.

Rating

 

 

Jessica Chastain Weekend – The Debt (2010)

Director: John Madden

Writer: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Assaf Bernstein, Ido Rosenblum (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciaran Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, Sam Worthington

 

Plot: In 1965, three Mossad agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the agents share come back to haunt them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Thriller

 

Story: The Debt starts in 1997 where Rachel Singer (Mirren), David Peretz (Hings) and Stephan Gold (Wilkinson) are about to have their life story about their time in the intelligence agency thirty years early helped take down a Nazi war criminal, but this event brings us David’s suicide.

We flashback to thirty years earlier where the younger version of the characters Rachel (Chastain), Stephan (Csokas) and David (Worthington) learn how they first meet and start to work together to take down the war criminal, but why is that effecting their lives in the modern day, well only time will tell.

 

Thoughts on The Debt

 

Characters – First we will look at the present-day versions of the characters, Rachel is now a grandmother and proud reason for her daughter’s book, Stephan is wheelchair bound that still on the job while David isn’t sure whether to trust Stephan anymore killing himself over just meeting with him.

In the past, we have junior agent Rachel that must first join her partners in the mission but learn about how the field works when it comes to taking on a war criminal. Stephan is the leader of the group, he pulls the strings in the mission as well as warning Rachel of any mistakes she makes. David is the quiet member of the group, he has taken things to a personal level and isn’t willing to let anyone into his life.

PerformanceWe have six great actors here, we have the two different generations which show us just how talented the newer generation are with Chastain, Huntington and Csokas compared to Mirren, Wilkinson and Hinds, they all give great performances throughout.

StoryThe story mixes the two times about the story, first we learn what is on the record about what happened in the 1960’s story, but then we learn the truth about the what happened. When you look at any secret mission going on we get to see how secretive it needed to be when being told about what really happened. We also see how things could be made to be true to cover up a mistake and how they will need to be fixed if things come to light.

ThrillerThis does keep us on the edge of our seat as we wait to see what happened to make this a difficult situation for the elder characters.

SettingsWe have the different times for each setting which shows us the different worlds our characters faced the same problem.

Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The love triangle does feel forced.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that does keep us on edge through the film, we are left to guess just where it will all go and what was the truth from the past.

 

Overall: Good intense thriller but lacking the final punch

Rating