Groupers (2019) Movie Review

Director: Anderson Cowan

Writer: Anderson Cowan (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Dambro, Peter Mayer-Klepchick, Cameron Duckett, Jesse Pudles, Brian Ioakimedes, Max Reed III

Plot: A grad student kidnaps two homophobic high-school bullies to use as her subjects in an experiment performed at the bottom of an empty swimming pool.

Tagline – Homophobia is so totally gay!

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Funny Throughout

Story: Groupers starts when Meg (Dambro) kidnaps Brad (Mayer-Klepchick) and Dylan (Duckett) tying them up in an abandon neighbourhood, where she fills in why she has kidnapped them. Meg wants to perform an experiment which would prove the theory that the two homophobic bullies that made her brother Orin’s (Pudles) life a nightmare.

Meg wants to use the bullies who believe that homosexuality is a choice not natural, which see her plans on proving that the two could choose to have sex, if it meant freedom, to try and teach them a lesson.

Thoughts on Groupers

Characters – Meg is the mastermind behind the plan, she wants to use the experiment for her studies and to get revenge on the bullies from her brother’s school experience, she does remain in control of the situation for the most part, until we learn she isn’t alone in her plan. Brad is the typical high school jock, he thinks he is gods gift to women and will pick on anybody different, including pushing homosexuals to limits they shouldn’t, he isn’t willing to accept them in his world and does struggle to deal with the situation. Dylan is the other bully, he is the type of bully that just follows the leader and when put in the situation the pair find themselves in, seems to start showing his true nature, one that Brad doesn’t like. Orin is the brother that was the victim of the hate crime, what happened to him pushes Meg into her actions. We do also have a couple of groups of colourful characters that put a spanner in the works of the plan.

PerformancesWe have an excellent cast here, with Nicole Dambro taking centre stage on the more serious side of the film, while Cameron Duckett getting the most laughs from the main cast. Peter Mayer-Klepchick does a great job too and for the final act we do have everyone hitting the high points in the performance.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that wants to experiment on a couple of school bullies that treated her brother homophobically and wants to prove that you can’t choose whether to be homosexual or not. This does start by coming off like a twisted revenge styled movie, with the story coming off like that, it is the second half of the film where we get to put over the message that was wanted to put forward, even if it is done with the comical tone at times. The story does have the prospective rewind idea, which does give each scene a new light, which is good to see. This is a story that does go in a different direction that you would expect and will surprise you at times.

ComedyThe comedy does come in strong in the second half of the film, where everything adds up and gives us laugh in every line.

SettingsThe film is set entirely in one location, the pool in the abandoned neighbourhood, it does give the events a real-time feel too.

Scene of the Movie – Durant settles everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain moments do get repeated too much.

Final Thoughts This is a funny comedy that still manages to get the important message across too. It has great performance from the whole cast too.

Overall: Comedy that will make you laugh a lot.


ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – G – The Ghoul (2016)

Director: Gareth Tunley

Writer: Gareth Tunley (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Meeten, Alice Lowe, Rufus Jones, Niamh Cusack, Geoffrey McGivern, Paul Kaye


Plot: A homicide detective goes undercover as a patient to investigate a psychotherapist he believes is linked to a strange double murder. As his therapy sessions continue the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur.

Tagline – I Know Its Name

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Mind Bending


Story: The Ghoul starts as Chris (Meeten) a detective goes undercover after a strange double murder, he starts seeing a psychotherapist Fisher (Cusack) while trying to get access to the personal records, while catching up with a former university friend Kathleen (Lowe).

As the story unfolds we start to learn more about the back story to why Chris is in therapy he starts to tell the story of how he believes he is undercover and befriending fellow patient Coulson (Jones) they start seeing a new doctor in Morland (McGivern) that has a different approach, soon things start blending into one which leaves Chris not sure what to believe anymore.


Thoughts on The Ghoul


Characters – Chris is an undercover detective that starts seeing a psychotherapist to help solve the latest case, but the more time he spends in therapy the thinner the line between reality and the truth come from. Kathleen is an old friend from university that supports Chris, while also having him when she needs help. We have other characters that come into the life of Chris, the therapists trying to help him, the fellow patient trying to warn him, the film does keep the character numbers down with each posing a potential end of the investigation for Chris.

PerformancesTom Meeten appears in every scene and his performances needs to be great to carry the film, he is wonderful through the film as we feel his confusion through it all. Going into the supporting cast, we do have good performances for Tom to bounce off too.

StoryThe story is the hardest thing to describe, it will keep you guessing from start to finish as you wait to see where the film will go next. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, because you will need to give the film 100% attention to make sure you don’t miss anything and even if you blink you might miss an important clue.

ThrillerThis has tension driven through the film as we can see how thing could end up becoming something shocking.

SettingsThe film is set in London which helps us se the busy street feel to the busy lives that the people are living.

Scene of the Movie –
The final reveal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slightly too confusing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a real mind bender, I always enjoy seeing film makers push things to the limits even if I don’t personally enjoy the film as much as I should have.


Overall: Real mind bender for all.




The Great Hack (2019)

Director: Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim

Writer: Karim Amer, Erin Barnett, Pedro Kos (Screenplay)

Plot: The Cambridge Analytica scandal is examined through the roles of several affected persons.

Tagline – They Took Your Data. Then They Took Control

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Political Documentary

Story: The Great Hack starts by looking at a digital media professor that has studied how digital adverts are processed, how our data is being collected using the Trump campaign as a study which included a company known as Cambridge Analytica. We see how an investigative reporter looked into the information that was used to help with the Brexit campaign showing us just how valuable data has become in the world market.

We see the whistle-blowers that came forward to show how the information was collected and how it was used to push people into leaning in certain directions. We also get to dive into the idea of how data was collected, used to create adverts and how it was taken not just from you, but from your friends on Facebook.

Thoughts on The Great Hack

Final Thoughts This is a documentary does show the light of how one scandal shock the world in the social media world, with data being stolen to help create certain political situations including Trump becoming President and Brexit. Seeing how different people react, including the journalists that are looking to make a story that has enough evidence to not be a career destroyer, a former employee trying to right her wrongs and how the same formulas to create certain moments that will see the users believe whatever they read. This does get very political and shows how the movie ‘They Live’ is slowly becoming a reality. The only negative I truly found in this movie, comes from how Brittany Kaiser, one of the whistle blowers does just seem to be on a holiday all the time through the story.

Overall: Interesting look at the political data breach scandal.


ABC Film Challenge – Crime – G – The Gunman (2015)

Director: Pierre Morel

Writer: Don MacPherson, Peter Travis, Sean Penn (Screenplay) Jean-Patrick Manchette (Novel)

Starring: Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, Idris Elba


Plot: A sniper on a mercenary assassination team, kills the minister of mines of the Congo. Terrier’s successful kill shot forces him into hiding. Returning to the Congo years later, he becomes the target of a hit squad himself.

Tagline – Guard the truth.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Lacklustre


Story: The Gunman starts as we meet Terrier (Penn) a mercenary whose cover as a humanitarian working in Congo who assignment was to kill the new minster of mining whose new policy could bring the country to its knees again. With the mission being a success, Terrier is forced to flee the country for his own safety. Years past and Terrier believes he is being followed and turns to his old friends who worked on that last mission, Stanley (Winstone), Terrance (Rylance) and Felix (Bardem) to see if anyone leaked the information about the hit.

Not knowing who to trust Terrier must race against tie to figure out the truth with his own life and loved ones lives on the line as the past continues to come back and haunt him.


Thoughts on The Gunman


Characters – Terrier is a sniper mercenary who poses as a humanitarian, he knows how to make connections and uses them to complete jobs, though his latest job turns out to be his last as he goes into hiding. Learning his life is in danger he goes in search for answers about who is after him, giving him a chance to see his love once again. Annie is the woman that Terrier must leave when he goes into hiding, the woman he loved, she has moved on though she still does love Terrier even after all these years. Felix is one of the connections from the job, he had always been jealous of the relationship Terrier and Annie had, leaving him to make his move once Terrier is out of the picture. Stanley is the connection in London that is a good friend that will help out where needed. Terrance is the one of the group which continued his success and knows who is still in the loop.

PerformancesWhen it comes to performances we need to face the reality that Sean Penn is trying his luck at the Liam Neeson style of action film, he just doesn’t have the same levels of action in him and for the most part he doesn’t do anything to make us truly care about his character. When we look at the supporting cast on the male side we get four big-names we know do solid enough supporting roles, while Jasmine Trinca is solid enough as the love interest for Terrier.

StoryThe story follows a mercenary that finds his previous job exposed to the people it has effective, but soon needs to learn who released the information. The was sold to be a fast paced action thriller, though the story is slow burning political thriller which focuses on the ideas that have been put forward when the rich try to control countries for their own means. The slow pace takes us out of the story because things just become boring for the most part.

Action/CrimeFor an action film we get the very basic levels of shooting and combat which are covering up the bigger crime going on between the men.

SettingsThe film takes us from growing African country that the Europeans and Americans are looking to take advantage off, to Europe as we get the locations that are designed to show us the hiding places are in every city.

Special EffectsThe effects come from how the wounds look and that is about it, for the most part they are the strongest part of the film.

Scene of the Movie –
Sniper time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow burning action crime thriller that lacks any tension, suspicious about who the villain is and ends up playing out like a paint by numbers cliché.


Overall: Cliched and boring.




Ice Cube Weekend – Ghosts of Mars (2001) Revisited

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter, Larry Sulkis (Screenplay)

Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall, Pam Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Richard Cetrone


Plot: In 2176, a Martian police unit is sent to pick up a highly dangerous criminal at a remote mining post. Upon arrival, the cops find that the post has become a charnel house.

Tagline – Terror is the same on any planet

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Silly Fun Action Horror


Story: Ghosts of Mars starts when the lone survive of a prison transfer Melanie Ballard (Henstridge) is recount the events of her mission. The mission was for Melanie, Jericho (Statham), Bashira (DuVall), Commander Helena (Grier) going to an outpost on Mars in the year 2176 to transfer Desolation Williams (Cube).

When the team arrives, they find the outpost abandoned, bodies hanging from the ceiling and the only breath people seemed to have become infected by something. This forces the team to work with Desolation to battle the infected people coming after them.


Thoughts on Ghosts of Mars


Characters – Melanie Ballard is one of the police officers sent to the outpost to transfer the prisoner, she does use drugs to relax her, she is the one telling the story of the events, where she must take control of the situation trying to get the people out alive. Desolation Williams is the prisoner they are meant to be transferring, he has been accused and cleared of murder numerous times, he will have to work with Melanie to get out of this situation, where he skills will help the people fight to survive. Jericho Butler is one of the more experienced soldiers that is the go-to guy for weapons and fixing problems. Bashira is the rookie on the squad, who must learn quickly as the situation becomes deadlier. We do have too many characters, which will lead to many blink and you miss it deaths.

PerformancesNatasha Henstridge does a strong job as the reluctant hero, she handles the combat well, while trying to be the tough figure. Ice Cube brings the type of character that we know he will bring to most of his roles. With the large cast, most of the rest of the cast struggle to make any real impact on the story.

StoryThe story follows a group of military police on Mars looking to transfer a prisoner for a trial, only for them to find themselves coming face to face with a mysterious evil that has taken over the locals turning them into crazed killing machines. This is simple concept for a sci-fi horror, we get both sides of the law needing to work together to get the job of survival done, we do get the explanation about where the evil has come from. The problem with the story is that we have way too many characters, we have somebody telling the story, which sees them seeing the story through multiply viewpoints which does become frustrating because at times you hear a scene on the radio, only to cut back to the scene happening, which makes it feel like filler, rather than parts of the story.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action here is plenty of bullets flying around, hand to hand combat and weapons which can see body parts flying off. The horror isn’t as strong as it could be because we don’t get the blood shed the film hints at, the sci-fi side of the film shows us how the colonies on Mars would operate.

SettingsThe film is set mostly on an outpost on Mars, it is remote, we know how long the team will be there before the transport returns, leaving us waiting to see how they could escape the situation.

Special EffectsThe special effects used in the film mostly from the body horrors the evil have been doing to themselves, it is strong use of make up but never feels terrifying like it should do.

Scene of the Movie –
Who is in charge now?

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those silly fun action films in which you can enjoy without expecting anything to be overly serious, it might have plenty of flaws but watch with enjoyment you can laugh along.


Overall: Easy to watch action horror.