The Final Wish (2018) Movie Review

Director: Timothy Woodward Jr

Writer: Jeffrey Reddick, William Halfon, Jonathon Doyle (Screenplay)

Starring: Lin Shaye, Michael Welch, Melissa Bolona, Spencer Locke, Tony Todd, Kaiwi Lyman, Jonathan Daniel Brown

Plot: After the death of his father, Aaron returns home to help his grief-stricken mother and to confront his past. Going through his dad’s belongings, he comes across a mysterious item that is more than it seems.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Struggles to Get Going

Story: The Final Wish starts when aspiring lawyer Aaron (Welch) has found himself struggling for money and when his father dies suddenly, he must return home to help his mother Kate (Shaye), even though they have become distant through the recent years.

After Aaron catches up with old friends, he is involved in an accident, but he starts to notice something strange about the people around him after the accident, with a series of things that he wants to solve before it is too late.

Thoughts on The Final Wish

Characters – Aaron has left his small town to try and become a lawyer, he has all the qualifications, only he got them from a weaker college, whose reputation is holding him back from jobs, he must return home after his father’s death and finds himself dealing with a whole new set of problems including dealing with events he simply can’t explain. Kate is Aaron’s mother that is going through the grieving process, she doesn’t want to lose any of the possession he has gathered through the years and is stuck trying to understand why her son never came back earlier. Lisa is a former childhood sweetheart of Aaron’s she has been supporting Kate through the struggles despite having her own problems to overcome, she does end up helping Aaron try to get to the bottom of the problems he is facing. Colin the expert that does fill in most of the blanks about what is happening to Aaron.

PerformancesLin Shaye brings everything you would expect from her in a horror film, even if she is more of a supporting part in the film. Michael Welch takes the leading role and ends filling the generic role without making his character more memorable that he should have, Melissa Bolona fills the supporting side with ease, while Tony Todd gives us a strong cameo, leaving us wanting to see more from.

StoryThe story here follows a young man struggling to make his way in his field of choice that must return home after a family death, only to learn that he has unwittingly connects with an evil item within the house. The story here does follow the routine of seeing a relative returning to a family after a death, meeting old friends and getting a chance to catch up on life. When it comes to the horror side of the story, it does take a while to get into everything, which by the time we get into what is happening, it does feel like a dark Aladdin. We also get a conclusion which does feel like kop out.

HorrorThe horror in the film is the weakest part, we do have an idea which could be very interesting, only it takes too long to get to the point of the horror, leaving us wondering more than giving us any scares.

SettingsThe film uses the small town setting to show what it would be like to return home after being in a big city, filled with memories, but doesn’t use anything for horror.

Scene of the Movie – The final wish.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Takes too long to get to the horror.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does have a very interesting idea, only it doesn’t manage to balance the idea with the build up, leaving us wanting more of the horror and less of the memory lane.

Overall: Slow starting horror.

Signature Entertainment presents The Final Wish on Digital HD from May 25th

For Jennifer (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jody Barton

Writer: Jody Barton (Screenplay) James Cullen Bressack (Characters)

Starring: Dominique Swain, Felissa Rose, Madeleine Wade, Meghan Deanna Smith, Lanett Tachel, Frankie Cullen, Tiffani Fest

Plot: Jennifer, Stefanie, and Joey are making a movie. But soon the lines between what is a movie and what is real begin to disappear. And when making a horror movie, that can be a difference between life and death.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bad Horror

Story: For Jennifer starts as horror blogger Jennifer (Fest) is sent a new horror movie which seems too real for her own taste, her boyfriend Joey (Finley) comes up with he idea of making a horror movie between himself, Jennifer and Stefanie (Tachel) along with other friends.

The more serious the friends take making the movie, the stranger the events around Jennifer are, with the friends looking to do the right thing to get the film made, they find themselves in a battle to survive.

Thoughts on For Jennifer

Characters – Jennifer is reluctantly agrees to help her boyfriend make a horror movie, being a horror blogger, this is a chance for her to make something that she always talks about. She does look to create the film the proper way, auditions and all, she is working on creating a great movie. Stefanie is the best friend that has agreed to help with the movie, she wants to remain behind the camera supporting the way Jennifer wants to make the movie. Joey is the man that is behind the camera, it is his idea to make the movie, which sees him needing to set up the cameras for the life to have everything recorded.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are not the strongest, it does help in places that we are in the found footage sub-genre, but it is never convincing from anybody involved.

StoryThe story follows a group of friends that want to make a horror movie and they start to make one, only to learn of another one being made along side, with a much deadlier side. This story struggles with the idea of you needing to know what has happened in the previous movies in the series, needing an understanding which we just don’t get from the opening descriptions. The way everything unfolds in the story does also feel messy for the most part and shows why found footage can have a reputation for being poorly made movies.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in the film seems to come from trying to be self-aware of the world of horror, though the horror is found footage and never manages use the style for scares.

SettingsThe film uses the home settings which shows how you could try to make a horror at home, only again it fails to be used for the horror side of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used off camera, with us only seeing the aftermath of any injuries.

Scene of the Movie – The social media stars reveal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The found footage style doesn’t work for what the film is trying to say.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that shows us the struggles of indie movies being made, only it ends up holding it all back with the lack of playing into the strengths of the genre we are being thrown into.

Overall: Disappointing Horror.

Finding Grace (2019) Movie Review

Director: Warren Fast

Writer: Warren Fast (Screenplay)

Starring: Erin Gray, David Keith, Bo Svenson, Paris Warner, Jasen Wade, London Grace, Lacy Hartselle

Plot: A struggling family, already on the verge of disintegration, faces new challenges that will test their faith in God and each other.

Tagline – There comes a time in each person’s life… to make a choice.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Touching Drama

Story: Finding Grace starts as 18-year-old Alaska Rose (Warner) finds herself facing a judge after breaking the law, giving community service or facing jail, her father Conner (Wade) wants Alaska to learn responsibility before it is too late, with her desire to party still coming through.

Alaska must do her community service at a nursing home with Amanda Wheeler (Davenport) watching over, here Alaska meets lonely resident Julianna Foster (Oglesby) who acts strangely around her, as the time in the home continues, Alaska learns she can help, she doesn’t want the shallow life her friends seem to b pushing her towards, all while dealing with her own pain of losing her mother, becoming the big sister her brother always needed.

Thoughts on Finding Grace

Characters – Alaska Rose has just turned 18, she has found herself in trouble with the law and given a suspended prison sentence with community service at a nursing home. Alaska starts of as a self-centred teenager, who is more interested in partying with friends, that facing the future coming her way, she needs to learn responsibility before it is too late. Alaska is also haunted by the death of mother when she was younger, which does show the strain in her relationship with her father. Alaska is the focal point of the arc in this story, her transformation through the film is excellent. Conner is Alaska’s father, he struggles with work with a business that isn’t as successful as he had hoped and he has become distant from his children in his own way of grieving for his wife, he looks to find God once again, in a hope to move on with his life. Julianna Foster is the elderly resident at the home that Alaska strikes up an unlikely friendship, she has lived a colourful life that not enough people have heard about until Alaska listens to her story and finally finds somebody to open up to.

PerformancesParis Warner is wonderful in the leading role, we see how she shows the change in her character over the two month spell, as well as showing the pain she carries with her. Jasen Wade does bring the distance required for his character through the film. Kisha Sharon Oglesby brings the heart needed for the film, her performance does everything to show Alaska how important change will be.

StoryThe story here follows an 18-year-old that is facing prison if she doesn’t clean up her act, where she does community services to hopefully turn her life around and learn to open up about her own pain in her life. This story does use the faith side of life to get the message across, while this might well be the key motivation for change, it does show, how the right people in life can put you on the right path, change you for the better and those around you. We do sometimes focus on Alaska’s father in a mix of either not enough or too much, where he does have arc to go through, though it doesn’t seem like it gets the attention desired, or whether we needed his complete arc running next to hers. This is a very touching drama that does show everything it needs too, to pull on the emotions.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how Alaska would find herself in places she wouldn’t have planned on being, with these being helpful in her change.

Scene of the Movie – Second court

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much focus on Conner’s arc.

Final Thoughts This is a drama that plays on the emotional chords that shows us that change can make lives better and finding the right path will always set you free.

Overall: Emotional Drama.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – F – Final Recall (2017) Movie Review

Director: Mauro Borrelli

Writer: Reggie Keyohara III, Sam Acton King (Screenplay) Mauro Borrelli (Story)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, RJ Mitte, Jedidiah Goodarce, Laura Bilgeri, Niko Pepaj, Hannah Rose May

Plot: When five friends vacation at a remote lake house they expect nothing less than a good time, unaware that planet Earth is under an alien invasion and mass-abduction.

Tagline – They’ve come to claim what’s theirs.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Weak Action Sci-Fi

Story: Final Recall starts as a group of friends, Brendan (Mitte), Charlie (Goodacre), Annie (Bilgeri), Rob (Pepaj) and Kara (May) head out of town to a lake house for a weekend away, they happen to clash with local Hunter (Snipes) who doesn’t welcome unwanted guests. With the group away from the world, there is a bigger issue in the world, an alien visit.

With a storm covering their arrival, it soon turns into a mass-abduction, where the five friends must turn to the Hunter to battle the aliens to survive, in a world that might not be there if they make it.

Thoughts on Final Recall

Characters – The Hunter was once an astronaut who is know living in the back woods, hunting for something unknown. He doesn’t take to the five friends, but has been planning for the visit of the aliens. He does fill in most of the holes in what is happening. The five friends are not given the deepest characters, with Brendan being the one that likes taking photos and uses the technology to see what is coming, Charlie is the broken young man that lost a girlfriend in the past, this is meant to be his grieving vacation, while maybe moving on with Annie who is here because of her best friend and has asthma (told you that don’t have much about them).

PerformancesWesley Snipes does play his character way over the top, this does make it hard to take him seriously. When it comes to the five young actors, they fill the generic side of the characters with ease.

StoryThe story here follows five friends that go to lake house only to find themselves clashing with a hunter, before finding themselves under attack from aliens, who have bigger plans for the species. This is a story that does try to play into one of the biggest alien conspiracies known to man, that aliens created man and will continue to experiment over the years visiting to check up on them, this is fine it works well through the story, only getting there is just a slug, we have such a basic idea behind the characters, that nothing really makes any sense before the attack and almost plays out like a parody of Predator at times. What seems like a story that just doesn’t get completed in the film, we could easily have seen this as an opening to television series that will offer even more answers.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film is weak, with mostly aimless chases through the woods, while any suspense filled moments finish instantly, which could be the same for the weak looking aliens used in the sci-fi elements of the film, along with the strange setting selected for the experiments.

SettingsThe film uses the random cabin in the woods locations, which doesn’t add anything to the film, in fact it makes it look like any other alien film, while the ship’s interior seems to big for what is meant to be going on within the walls.

Special EffectsThe effects are not good either, with most of the film looking very cheap when you think that we have an actor with a reputation of Snipes in the film.

Scene of the Movie – Wake up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The aliens look bad.

Final Thoughts This is a low budget action sci-fi film that shows how weak the budget is, even though we have an actor in Snipes that could easily sell a movie.

Overall: Cheap looking throughout.

Facing East (2019) Movie Review

Director: Tommy Baker

Plot: This story follows the history of the most over buried commercial cemetery in America. It comes full circle to present day and documents a non profit’s efforts to take care of the abandoned and abused burial ground.

Tagline – The True Story of The Most Grossly abused Cemetery in the Country

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

Story: Facing East starts as we see the investigation into the Eastern State Cemetery, a location in Louisville, where the owner had been burying people on top of other graves, which has been happening for decades, they didn’t hide it, they just kept taking the money from the families that wanted to bury their relatives.

We get to see how the federal investigation went through the grave to learn the shocking truth and how the owners were running the cemetery breaking nearly every law in the book, with it not sat abandoned with families needing to find their own way to their loved ones graves.

Thoughts on Facing East

Final Thoughts When it comes to a documentary, we always get the spotlight thrown onto a situation which is getting out of hand, this does show us the shocking behaviour being cemetery owners who took people’s money and just buried people on top of each other, following part of the criminal case against them after breaking the laws. We have a mix of archive footage showing the case, mixed with the interviews of former employees that opened up the case and victims of the operation. This is interesting to see, because it could have been happening for years in other location, while we do only focus on one place that has been exposed, it does pose the question about how many more could be out there.

Overall: Eye opening documentary.