Echoes of Fear (2019) Movie Review

Director: Brian Avenet-Bradley, Laurence Avenet-Bradley

Writer: Brian Avenet-Bradley (Screenplay)

Starring: Trista Robinson, Hannah Race, Paul Chirico, Marshal Hilton, Elif Savas, Danilo Di Julio, Ian Heath

Plot: After inheriting her grandfather’s house, a young woman must confront the mystery of his sudden death and the evil that hides inside.


Tagline – Evil hides inside

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wonderful Mystery Horror

Story: Echoes of Fear starts when Alisa (Robinson) inherits her grandfather’s house after his sudden death, she has little option than to prepare it for sale, which sees her move in to get his done, joined by her boyfriend Brandon (Chirico) the two start the preparations.

With Alisa only getting fleeting visits from Brandon and her friend Steph (Race) she starts to experiencing haunting, which sees her looking back through the diary of her grandfather to learn the truth about the house.

Thoughts on Echoes of Fear

Characters – Alisa sees her last family die suddenly, she must head back to the house where she was raised to decide what to do with it next in what seems like a routine, tidy up and sale plan. Her plans are thrown off when she starts hearing noises, suffering nightmares and experiencing visions, which leads to her wanting to learn the truth, going through the house to unlock the truth, which each clue becoming more disturbing for her. Steph is the best friend that can visit at times and will help her with the investigation. Brandon is the boyfriend who is happy to help plan the changes, looking for a quick sell and start of a new life. David is the neighbour that does offer a few answers and is willing to help Alisa with any problems.

PerformancesTrista Robinson is the star of the show, she is the one getting haunted, trying to solve the problems she is experiencing and you believe every moment she is going through. Nobody else is getting too much outside the simple to do, with none of them doing anything wrong through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a relative that inherits a home and soon starts getting haunted by the ghosts of the house, leading her to try and solve the situation. This is a story that does keep us wondering what is going on with us learning more just as Alisa does, which is why this story works so well, because it enters the most interesting sub-genre of horror, with the haunting helping unlock the mystery. We could have a couple of questionable moments including a bit of miss-direction when it comes to what could be going on, this doesn’t really add up, but is nice to guide us away from the truth. This story does try to break certain rules created and does a wonderful job at this too, but lets just ask, why is there a sniffer mouse?

HorrorThe horror side of the film does use a couple of ideas, with the haunting being the biggest moments, while others come off more disturbing by the end.

SettingsThe film does keep most of the action inside the house, being a location, that Alisa would know, but hasn’t been to in a while, with he changes adding to the horror of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to create certain moments of horror, which most coming in the haunting moments.


Scene of the Movie – The final 20 minutes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The sniffer mouse is very strange.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does keep us guessing, it has a disturbing outcome with the haunting being the highlight of the scares.

Overall: Horror with Plenty of Scares.

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Eli (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ciaran Foy

Writer: David Chirchirillo, Ian Goldberg, Richard Naing (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlie Shotwell, Kelly Reilly, Sadie Sink, Lili Taylor, Parker Lovein, Max Martini

Plot: A boy receiving treatment for his auto-immune disorder discovers that the house he’s living in isn’t as safe as he thought.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Excellent Horror

Story: Eli starts as we meet young boy Eli (Shotwell) who has an auto-immune disorder which leaves him living in a bubble like world, not being able to go outside, along with his parents Rose (Reilly) and Paul (Martini) are taking him across country to see Dr Isabella Horn (Taylor) that is offering an experimental treatment.

In the hospital like house that the family are staying in, Eli starts his treatment and starts suffering the hallucinations that are meant to be a side effect of the treatment, which get increasingly worse for the young boy as he believes he is being haunted by a ghostly figure.

Thoughts on Eli

Characters – Eli is the young boy with the auto-immune disease, he does suffer nightmares about what would happen if he was outside, he lives in a bubble, which is his only safety in life. He is going through an experimental procedure which is meant to cure him, only for him to start suffering haunting visions and attacks by ghosts, he must figure out if they are trying to harm him or help him before he reaches the latest procedure. Rose and Paul are the religious parents that have given up nearly everything to make their son’s life better, trying to remain strong for him throughout the events of the film. Dr Isabella Horn is the doctor that is trying to help Eli, only her methods don’t seem to get explained to the family, while they are left to just believe anything she says. Haley is a girl from the neighbourhood that visits Eli, hoping to find friendship, though she does know the fate of most of the people in the house.

PerformancesCharlie Shotwell does a wonderful job in the leading role, suffering through medical procedures, hauntings and emotional problems with ease through the film. Kelly Reilly, Max Martini and Lili Taylor are all strong through the film, which we don’t see much away from Charlie from any of them. Sadie Sink is solid without having much to do, other than being a friend to talk too.

StoryThe story here follows a young boy with a medical condition who gets taken to an experimental hospital for treatment, when he starts getting visits from ghosts, where he might learn the truth about the hospital. This is a story which does keep you on your toes, you will constantly be thrown through different sub-genres of horror and it is excellent to see how the film can keep you guessing and leave you surprised by the ending, because if anybody saw this coming, they would be a liar. This is a story where not learning too much going in is even better because it does start with what could be a routine horror, but will leave you shocked by the end.

HorrorThe horror here does seem to jump through so many sub-genres of horror it is a joy to watch, because the transition is seamless throughout.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the film inside the hospital, this is an excellent location for the film to be set, which sees everything unfold down the dark filled hallways.

Special EffectsThe effects do come off well too with how everything happens, be it the ghostly figures or the more practical ones too.


Scene of the Movie – The ghosts in the mirror.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The abusive people at the start of the film.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does truly keep you on your toes, it is great to see this too, we will get scares and surprises and you won’t believe how everything unfolds.

Overall: Surprising Throughout.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – E – Escape Room (2017)

Director: Peter Dukes

Writer: Peter Dukes (Screenplay)

Starring: Skeet Ulrich, Sean Young, Christine Donlon, Randy Wayne, Matt McVay, Ashley Gallegos, Hayley Goldstein

 

Plot: Six friends test their intelligence in a game that takes a dark turn.


Tagline – Four friends. One room. One hour. One killer.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Could be Better

 

Story: Escape Room starts as four friends Jess (Donlon), Jeff (Wayne), Ben (McVay) and Angie (Gallegos) are taking part in an escape room run by Brice (Ulrich), an experience which will revolve around horror.

As the hour long experience starts, it seems to be going well until the mysterious killer in the room turns out to be a real killer, leaving the friends needing to figure out how to escape before the time runs out.

 

Thoughts on Escape Room

 

Characters – Brice is the owner of the escape rooms, he has been struggling of recent times, but with this latest player he hopes to improve his rating. When the camera goes out he is left wondering what will happen to his reputation if he opens the door early or what is going on. Ramona is the owner of the mysterious box which opens the doors for the nightmare. Jess is one of the reluctant contestants in the game because of her boyfriend’s eagerness to play, she must use her own puzzle solving skills to make it out alive.

PerformancesSkeet Ulrich became a horror icon with his performance in Scream, here he just looked mostly lost in the leading role, because he is meant to be on edge and you never feel it. Sean Young is more of a cameo performance which could have been done by anyone. The younger stars do there best to make an impact and due to the basic characters we never see their performance skills.

StoryThe story here shows us what would happen is an escape room experience went terribly wrong, with possession being a key part of this. The problem here is that, this real-time experience doesn’t feel real time and having to watch someone on the outside just makes us think lawsuit. The supernatural side is never that believable and by the end this does feel like an easy escape room to get out off.

HorrorBeing locked in a room with a killer is always going to throw horror in our faces, this movie shines from that idea, but then it also holds back too much.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the one location, the escape room and if it was only set there I would say this is an excellent use of setting, but seeing events outside just drags us down.

Special EffectsThe effects are god enough for the film, we get the basic blood and gore working for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
First kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough focus on the real-time events.

Final ThoughtsThis would be a good enough late night movie, it is short and sweet which will feed the horror fans enough.

 

Overall: Late night movie

Rating

 

 

El Dorado (1967)

Director: Howard Hawks

Writer: Leigh Brackett (Screenplay) Harry Brown (Novel)

Starring: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Paul Fix, Arthur Hunnicutt, Michele Carey

 

Plot: Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.


Tagline – Range War! A lawless time when no man dares turn his back… even to a friend!

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Western

 

Story: El Dorado starts when Sheriff Harrah (Mitchum) turns to his former gunslinger partner Cole Thornton (Wayne) for assistance against a ruthless rancher Bart Jason (Asner) who wants to force another rancher off their land.

Cole meets a young man Mississippi (Caan) that proves he can handle himself in a fight, which sees him continue to build a team to take down Bart Jason once and for all.

 

Thoughts on El Dorado

 

Characters – Cole Thornton is the gunslinger for hire, he doesn’t mind which side of the law he works as long as he gets paid, his loyalty comes back to show that sometimes he doesn’t get bought, when his old friend comes asking for help, he will help people he does believe are getting into trouble for the right reasons and will fight for the people next to the people he trusts the most. Sheriff J.P. Harrah turns to his old friend for help, only to see him turn to the bottle after failing to help on the levels he most requires. Mississippi is the young bounty hunter that is deadly with a knife, he will need to use a gun if he is to work with Cole, who he wants to learn from.

PerformancesJohn Wayne is one of the most famous actors for westerns, he really is a commanding presence on screen even if he doesn’t always hit up the most realistic acting. Robert Mitchum gives us a performance that gets laughs at time and easily goes through the biggest arc through the film. James Caan does well when he gets his time to shine, though he does get overshadowed in places.

StoryThe story follows two men from either sides of the law that team up to take down a rancher and his men that are causing problems in the town. When it comes to westerns nearly every single story is the same, the law makers and reluctant gun for hire joins forces to take on a troublesome group of ranchers or outlaws or something, this is everything we have seen before without needing to offer anything new to the mix. We get a time jump which does come randomly which does disappoint too. We do have a mentor like position which ends up falling short in the way everything pans out.

Romance/WesternThere is meant to be a romance angle in this film which doesn’t seem very interesting in anyway, the western side of the film is everything you are expecting it to be without taking away any of the normal western traits.

SettingsThe film is set in the normal western towns which feels like the sets most likely were used in other films too.


Scene of the Movie –
Drunk J.P.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is just like every other western.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book western, it is easy to follow with stronger performances, but just offers nothing new to the genre.

 

Overall: Simple Western.

Rating

 

Empathy, Inc (2018) Movie Review

Director: Yedidya Gorsetman

Writer: Mark Leidner (Screenplay)

Starring: Zack Robidas, Kathy Searle, Jay Klaitz, Eric Berryman, AJ Cedeno, Charmain Reedy, Fenton Lawless

Plot: An investor in a VR startup discovers that the reality the company provides isn’t virtual.


Tagline – WARNING: Being someone else may result in dizziness, nausea, flashbacks, hallucinations, and permanent loss of self. Enjoy responsibly.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Black Mirror Level Sci-Fi Film

Story: Empathy, Inc starts as Joel (Robidas) finds himself exposed as the person behind a stock market scam, which sees him needing to live with his in-laws, he gets approached by Nicolaus (Berryman) who offers him a chance to invest in a VR start up idea known as XVR (Extreme Virtual Reality), like any businessman, he wants to see how the operations runs, before taking any money off anybody.

After trying the system, Joel gets a chance to understand the system of what has been created and soon becomes addicted to the experience, until he learns the truth.

Thoughts on Empathy, Inc

Characters – Joel was one of the top stockbrokers in his company until it turns out that he has been made the scapegoat for a deal which lost people millions, Joel needs to get back on his feet, build his client base once again, which sees him taking advantages of a new VR system that has come his way. He thinks this will put his life back together, though it soon only makes things more complicated, as he must learn the truth. Jessica is the wife of Joel, she has supported him through the struggles, while trying to make a name for herself as an actress, she does make the most logic when Joel learns the truth. Lester is the mastermind that has created the technology, he is somebody that is happy to be isolated from the main world. Nicolaus is the old friend to Joel that offers him a chance to invest in the company, he has a reputation for questionable deals, but Joel has no choice. He knows how to sweet talk a deal through, which makes him the man bringing the project money.

PerformancesZack Robidas is great in this leading role, he does show us just how his characters life can come crashing down around him, while trying to figure out make up for his mistakes. Outside of Zack, nobody gets that much time to shine, with Kathy Searle and Jay Klaitz doing everything you imagine their characters need to, without being challenged, while Eric Berryman is as smooth as he needs to be throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows an investor that loses his job and needs to rebuild his career, which sees him taking a chance on a new start up whose idea isn’t as sweet as he thought it would be. The story does show how one man must rebuild his reputation, this is all we need and everything that works in the story, where this story gets even more interesting, comes from the idea that a VR system could be created to do what this one does, XVR, this idea in the story is what will make this standout on new levels, because it does pose the ideas of what people would do with this technology. A story that makes you think, is what sci-fi is truly about, this could also easily be a welcome addition to the Black Mirror world.

Sci-Fi The sci-fi elements in the film do make you feel like you are watching an episode of Black Mirror, it is a concept that turns what seems like a smart idea, that takes a dark turn when the truth comes out, one that makes you think what would you do in this situation.

SettingsThe film does keep the settings looking like a start up business, which is all we need, we don’t need to see anything more or anything over the top either, the settings are handled perfectly for the tone of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects like the settings, don’t need to be anything more than we get, most are very simple, we don’t need anything fancy for this film though.


Scene of the Movie – The second visit on the machine.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have had more of a conversation about the moral side of the concept.

Final Thoughts This is a sci-fi film with a concept that stands out, it will ask the audience a question and will keep you wondering just how far the people will go in the name of science.

Overall: Sci-Fi seriously good.