Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

Director: Andrew Weiner

Writer: Vlady Pildysh, Andrew Weiner (Screenplay) Mary Shelley (Characters)

Starring: Kris Lemche, Roger W Morriessey, Timothy V Murphy, Heather Stephens, Christine Lakin, Luke Geissbuhler

 

Plot: What if the most chilling novel of all time was actually based on a true account of a horrific experiment gone awry? When he is suspended from his university job for his outlandish ideas, Professor John Venkenheim leads a documentary film crew to the rim of the Arctic Circle in a desperate effort to vindicate his academic reputation. His theory: Mary Shelley’s ghastly story, “Frankenstein,” is, in fact, a work of non-fiction disguised as fantasy. In the vast, frozen wilderness, Venkenheim and his team search for the legendary monster, a creature mired in mystery and drenched in blood. What they find is an unspeakable truth more terrifying than any fiction…a nightmare from which there is no waking.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Smart Idea, Generically Told

 

Story: The Frankenstein Theory starts as Jonathan Venkenhein (Lemche) is looking to lead a documentary film crew including Vicky Stephens (Stephens), Brian (Henderson), Eric (Zuckerman) and Luke Hill (Geissbuhler) to the Arctic in search for his grandfather research that claims that the story of Frankenstein is in fact real.

Joined by local guide Karl McCallion (Murphy) the team head in from Canada to the Arctic circle. As the group spend time together we learn more about the case they are investigating which could be just a bear that has been attacking people or could the creature be real and are these film makers ready for what they find?

 

Thoughts on The Frankenstein Theory

 

Characters/PerformanceJonathan Venkenhein believes his ancestor was the real-life creature of the Frankenstein’s creature and now he wants to head off with a team to learn the truth, he is fully committed to believing his story putting his professional and personal life on the line. Vicky is the one hosting the documentary hoping it will be her big break. Karl is the guide that is filled with the warning about being in the wilderness alone. The rest of the team is who would expect, the cameraman, sound man and co-producer.

Performance wise, The cast are all good in their roles without any being brilliant but nobody being bad.

StoryI must say this story comes off like a smart idea because we always can have somebody look into a work of fiction and dive into the truth behind the story. This time we look at the idea that Frankenstein’s story is real and the creature is still lurking in the Arctic. With the idea in place and being something that is interesting, we do end up going down the Blair Witch route of just having ideas borrowed from other found footage films and the Creature acting just like Bigfoot.

Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi The fantasy idea of this film comes from bring the fictional story into reality, the horror side comes from all the found footage material we have seen before, the sci-fi side comes from the idea that this once again isn’t just a fictional story.

SettingsBeing set in the Arctic is fine because our characters have nowhere to run with all the terror going on and it shows the environment the creature could be living in.

Special EffectsMost of the violence happens off came so we do get good use of effects on the remains but the film doesn’t need them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid addition to the found footage genre as the film does feel like it flows nicely.

 

Overall: Found Footage 101.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Director: Rob Hedden

Writer: Rob Hedden (Screenplay) Victor Miller (Characters)

Starring: Jensen Daggett, Kane Hodder, Todd Caldecott, Barbara Bingham, Alex Diakun, Scott Reeves

 

Plot: A boat of graduating high school students bound for Manhattan pulls Jason Voorhees along for the ride. Look out, New York – here comes Hell in a hockey mask.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Questionable Sequel

 

Story: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan starts as we follow two horny teenagers that give us the legend of Jason Voorhees (Hodder) before bringing him back from the dead once more with deadly consequences. Jason is back now and ready to build up his body count.

Moving onto the main characters which are the rest of the classmates going on a post-graduation cruise from Crystal Lake to New York City, teachers Colleen Van Deusen (Bingham) and Charles McCulloch (Richman) with students that include Rennie Wickham (Daggett) and Sean Robertson (Reeves), the cruise is a celebration but Jason tags along too.

When the bodies start piling up the students look to take on Jason heads on but Rennie’s connection to Crystal Lake and Jason proves to be a stumbling block for her and Jason. Arriving in New York things only get worse for the students but Jason gets to pile on the body count with fresh victims.

 

Thoughts on Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

 

Characters/PerformanceRennie is our leading lady that has been through a hard life but showing the promise of making it through with this trip being the final part of her therapy. Jason is the killing machine that gets to interact with his surroundings to find new ways of killing his victims. Sean is the potential love interest for Rennie that is also looking to prove himself to his father. The rest of the characters are all what you would have come to expect from the franchise.

Performance wise, Jensen is a good leading lady with the rest of the cast all doing the job they need to, it is Kane Hodder as the imposing Jason figure that dominates the screen.

StoryThe stories behind the Friday the 13th Films have been easy to follow even if slightly repetitive at times, Jason kills horny teenagers in Crystal Lake, this is all fine, but what if we took things away from the Lake, you know what sounds like a good idea, New York City where Jason only hunts down the few teenagers while ignore anybody else he could kill for fun. Where this film loses any creditability in the story is by having Jason walk by people like whatever only targeting the innocent students, it just doesn’t add up.

Horror/ThrillerSlasher fans will enjoy this because the body count is high but it also isn’t scary in any moments.

SettingsMost of the film is set on the boat heading to New York but once we are in New York you could easily forget it is the Big Apple.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag because the CGI is poor but the practical effects all come off great.

Final ThoughtsWhen you get to the 8th instalment of a film franchise you know you are not going to be having the strongest entry, this has plenty of kills without being one of the best but the boxing kill will be remembered as one of the more memorable ones.

 

Overall: Standard late franchise sequel.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Faith of Anna Waters (2016)

Director: Kelvin Tong

Writer: Kelvin Tong (Screenplay)

Starring: Elizabeth Rice, Colin Borgonon, Adina Herz, Sam Harris, Adrian Pang, Matthew Settle

 

Plot: When young and successful reporter Jamie finds out that her sister has died in mysterious circumstances, she travels to Singapore to uncover the truth. There, she discovers multiple deaths linked to her sister’s and must join forces with her sister’s husband in order to defeat a demonic entity that is using new technology to complete an ancient mission.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not Good Enough

 

Story: The Faith of Anna Waters starts when Jamie’s (Rice) sister is killed in what looks like a suicide to escape her Huntington’s disease she finds herself spending time with Anna’s husband Sam (Settle) and daughter Katie (Herz) as they all grieve together.

When Jamie a reporter starts looking into the case she gets a warning with the name as well as getting visit from ghostly figures that look just like her sister as does Katie. Good job she is a reporter and can go all investigation mode on us as she tries to get to the bottom of the haunting finding out that not everything is as simple as it seems.

 

Thoughts on The Faith of Anna Waters

 

Characters/PerformanceJamie is a reporter, which is very important for this movie because how else could we solve this, she also has the generics to be suffering from disease which runs through the family. Sam is the husband of the recently deceased woman and that is about all there is to his character. Katie is the daughter of the sister who believes her mother will return from beyond the grave. There is also a priest that wants redemption.

Performance wise, there wasn’t any impressive performances here, most are painful to watch as it just seems like actors reading their lines not acting them out.

StoryThe story seems to mix elements from the Ring, Exorcist and most investigation movies without settling down on anything. I do like a good investigation but the truth is the story just is filled with simple attempts at jump scares, while unwrapping the mystery. I do think the story had ideas it just needed more focus on the idea of the core factor involved.

Horror/Mystery Horror is very basic with simple attempts jump scares that feel lazy and predictable while the mystery doesn’t get enough focus.

SettingsThe film is meant to be set in Singapore but we don’t get any location that could make it iconic enough for this to make it important.

Special EffectsWe have effects you would expect form low budget that are good for what they are meant to be.

Final ThoughtsI liked the idea but I do feel the idea doesn’t reach the levels it could for what could be a very interesting horror film.

 

Overall: Good idea, bad execution.

Rating

 

 

Original v Remake – Flatliners (2017)

Director: Niels Arden Oplev

Writer: Ben Ripley (Screenplay) Peter Filardi (Story)

Starring: Nina Dobrev, Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Keifer Sutherland, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons, Beau Mirchoff

 

Plot: Five medical students, obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife.


Tagline – Cross the line. Death will follow you back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Full Blown Flatliner

 

Story: Flatliners starts as medical student Courtney (Page) wants to push the boundaries of science by seeing if there is an afterlife using fellow students Jamie (Norton) and Sophia (Clemons) to bring her back, but when it goes wrong Ray (Luna) and Marlo (Dobrev) get involved.

When Courtney seems to have increased memory pulling ability Jamie, Marlo and Sophia all go under the flatliner procedure. Soon after they have all gone under the start getting haunted by a previous mistake and must learn how to deal with their sin.

 

Thoughts on Flatliners

 

Characters – Courtney is the student that has planned the idea of flatlining, she has her own reasons for this which we learn in the opening sequences, as her haunting is her own sister that died in a car accident. Ray is the best doctor of the students, he has the experience to handle the emergency world of being a doctor but he never goes under the flatliner, he helps bring the others out and helping them solve their problems. Marlo comes off as the nervous student struggling to believe her own abilities which becomes clear when we see her mistake, where she must learn to make up for her errors. Jamie is the slacker rich boy student that gets by using other skills to keep him in school. Sophia comes from the hardest background, her mother has been pressure into this career by her mother meaning she will lose everything her mother has put into this career. The biggest problem with these characters is that they have zero chemistry between them.

PerformancesThe performances here are pretty bad, it doesn’t help that the characters are written terribly, we do have big names here but they just can’t capture the magic the original film performances had.

StoryThe story here focuses on trying to discover is there is an afterlife by flatliner for minutes to go on that journey, this is still an interesting concept because technology has come along way since the original and we still don’t know the answer. The problem is we rush the flatlining which seems to turn the characters into what feels like addicts on the rush of their lives. We then get the 4 characters that have done something wrong being haunted but we ruin the biggest question mark about Courtney’s in the opening sequence and the rest just seem too much ‘boo there is a spirit’ not using the reason of the sin as the haunting like the original. This is why remakes fail so badly.

Horror/Sci-fiThe horror is the most basic of jump scares you will see, none of them hit. The sci-fi side starts promising but then the film seems to forget there is a sci-fi element after the researching goes on.

SettingsWe are in a generic hospital which for some reason you can run the length of within a minute, you drive to anywhere within a minute and geographical doesn’t make sense, we also are filled with flaws surrounding the settings.

Special EffectsThe effects can look great in the flatlining stage of the film but soon end up being the same nonsense light effects.


Scene of the Movie –
First trip into the flatlining.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How do they get everywhere so quickly?

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Don’t think so.

Award Nominations: This could easily be a leading Razzie contender.

Final ThoughtsThis is an horrendous remake of a loved original, it turns into a basic poorly made exercise in how to not do jump scares with characters that have zero chemistry and a plot that is rushed together.

 

Overall: Failure in the remake world.

Rating

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – Flatliners (1990)

Director: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Peter Filardi (Screenplay)

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, Kimberly Scott

 

Plot: Five medical students experiment on “near death” experiences that involve past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives.


Tagline – Some lines shouldn’t be crossed.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Sci-Fi Horror

 

Story: Flatliners starts as medical student Nelson (Sutherland) brings together four other students, recently suspended David Labraccio (Bacon), Dr Rachel Mannus (Roberts) who is interested in what happens in the afterlife, Dr Hurley (Baldwin) an arrogant soon to be married womaniser and Randy Steckle (Platt) who is the most paranoid about the experiment. The five work on the idea of trying to figure out what happens in the afterlife by medically creating death for a moment in time.

When Nelson goes first he only goes for a minute and he starts having living nightmares, but the success of his trip leads to a bidding war between the others who dive into longer stretches on the other side but when they come back they also start suffering nightmares from their past, is this experiment immoral or are they really just losing their minds?

 

Thoughts on Flatliners

 

Characters – Nelson is the visionary medical student that believes he has found a way to search the afterlife with near death experiences, he brings the team of students together to work his experiment but isn’t ready for the side effects which haunt him. Dr Rachel Mannus has been working with her patience to understand and ease them into the next life but joins the study so she can experience it herself. David Labraccio is a best medical student but gets himself in trouble because of his actions, he joins the study as the sceptic to an afterlife but seems to be the smartest when dealing with any potential consequences. Joe is the womaniser that is due to get married, we don’t learn too much more from him other than that he isn’t the strongest moral compass. Randy is the one that doesn’t go under, he refuses to go under but will do the right thing to keep the team alive. The ones that go under must deal with their pasts which have come back to haunt them in a new deadly way.

PerformancesIn the performances we have three of the hottest actors of the late 80s and early 90s, Kiefer Sutherland is great in the leading role of this film being the questionable morale guy. Julia Roberts as the strong independent co-lead shows the skills she had while Kevin Bacon brings all the screen presence he had at that time for the good moral character. William Baldwin and Oliver Platt do both make great supporting performances too.

StoryThe story here offers up the question of is there life after death and if you were to come back how would that effect your life. This is a question that still gets asked today because there is no proven proof of what is on the other side which does make this film still stand the test of time. I am unsure of the medical accuracy of this film but that isn’t the most important because by the end it plays into the idea of people needing to learn about overcoming their sins to be able to pass over. The story does have a good pace about it even if Joe and Randy do fall out of the bigger picture for the second half of the film.

Horror/Sci-FiImagine your greatest sin come back to haunt you, it could be anything and this is where this film shines on the horror scale. The sci-fi elements come from the idea of being able to see into the afterlife.

SettingsThe settings show us the underworld like location for the experiment to take place in and the different backgrounds the students have all come from.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the movie did get an Oscar nomination and you can see why, they still do hold up today.


Scene of the Movie –
The first nightmare shows us what we are going to be getting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me What hospital lets this amount of equipment get borrowed or go missing.

Award Nominations: Nominated for One Oscar

Box Office: $61 Million

Budget: $26 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is one of my favourite films, it does give us a chance to experience moral questions about life and death as well as offering us the idea of what could happen if we don’t learn to forgive ourselves for our previous sins.

 

Overall: Horror film that horror fans must re-visit.

Rating