ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – G – Gallowwalkers (2014)

Director: Andrew Goth

Writer: Andrew Goth (Screenplay) Joanne Reay (Story)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kevin Howarth, Riley Smith, Tanit Pheonix Copley, Simona Roman, Steven Elder

 

Plot: A cursed gunman (Snipes) whose victims come back from the dead recruits a young warrior to help in the fight against a gang of zombies.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Misses the Targets

 

Story: Gallowwalkers starts as gunslinger Aman (Snipes) travels around the wild west in search for the dead, executed men and women that come back from beyond the grave with Kansa (Howarth) being the leader of the zombie like gang that he killed years before.

Kansa has built up an army but is still searching to find a way to bring his son back from the dead, killing people in hopes of being able to give him the ability his gang has. Aman recruits Fabulos (Smith) to help him battle the gang as both side wants to eliminate the other once and for all.

 

Thoughts on Gallowwalkers

 

Characters – Aman is the gunslinger roaming the wild west in search for the undead that have returned causing havoc across the land. He has a connection to the gang as he is the one who killed them in an act of revenge and is happy to spend his days killing them again. Kansa is trying to bring his son back from the dead, like he has been able to, he will kill people in search for the chance and has been waiting to showdown with the man that killed him for years. Fabulos is the young hero that Aman recruits to help him defeat the undead, he learns as the times goes on about his skills and reason to fight.

PerformanceWesley Snipes is here in name only, he gets to have a few fight scenes which you feel he enjoys more than he should because his delivery is sloppy throughout. Kevin Howarth does make a good villain without being as twisted as you think his character should be while Riley Smith looks lost at times out there.

StoryThis is a story that doesn’t seem to click, but you do have to respect the idea they didn’t want the traditional undead zombie problem rather focusing on resurrection. The problems with this story is that we only seem to focus on Aman or Kansa story and they were only meeting in the final act of the film. we have Aman just wondering around killing odd undead while Kansa looks to resurrect his son. It does feel like we needed more of a connection between the two storylines instead of just focusing on the captive’s boobs.

Action/Horror/WesternThe action is mostly lazy western styled action, a few gunshots here a few there while we also focus on a couple of by the book fights. The horror side of the film comes off weak too as we do want to see a lot more from the zombie figures.

SettingsThe western settings put us in the desert for most of the film which does work without being anything truly iconic like the best westerns.

Special EffectsThe effects are the highlight of this film because we do get to see plenty of head explosion through the film which is a lot of fun.

Scene of the Movie – The train meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lack of connection with the stories.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple to watch action horror that is basically a tame western, it has action scenes we have seen before, a story that doesn’t work but the head explosions are the highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Watchable but not great.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Ghost House (2017)

Director: Rich Ragsdale

Writer: Kevin O’Sullivan, Jason Chase Tyrrell (Screenplay) Rich Ragsdale, Kevin Ragsdale (Story)

Starring: Scout Taylor-Compton, James Landry Hebert, Mark Boone Junior, Russell Geoffrey Banks, Rich Lee Gray, Elana Krausz

 

Plot: A young couple go on an adventurous vacation to Thailand only to find themselves haunted by a malevolent spirit after naively disrespecting a Ghost House.


Tagline – She Will Never Let You Go

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Terrifying Horror

 

Story: Ghost House starts as our young American couple Julie (Taylor-Compton) and Jim (Hebert) arrive in Bangkok, Thailand for a romantic holiday with Jim planning to propose to her. With the holiday going well the newly engaged couple meet to British men Robert (Banks) and Bill (Gray) who enjoy a night partying before taking the couple to a remote Ghost House Graveyard to perform a ritual.

This ritual leaves Julie haunted by a malevolent spirit that haunts her dreams, her days and her nightmares, leaving Jim to figure out how to save her before her time is up and the local curse makes her the latest victim.

 

Thoughts on Ghost House

 

Characters – Julie is one half of the couple, she loves learning about new cultures and uses her camera to capture every moment possible, this does make her an easier victim to become cursed as she must battle the spirits to stay alive. Jim is the other half of the couple, he has planned to propose on this holiday and it all goes well for him. When the partying gets out of control he must show how committed he is to Julie to find a way to lift the curse that has been placed on her. Reno is the connection to the darker arts of the spirits, he offers to help, but for a price, this character here shows us what an outside can achieve when he gets to know the area.

PerformancesScout Taylor-Compton is most notably known for her work on the Halloween reboot, so she is no stranger to horror, she does a good job with her terrified reaction. James Landry Hebert is good to with the determination his character needs coming through strongly. The rest of the cast do work well with the film even if you will struggle to enjoy watching the English characters.

StoryThe story here plays into Thai culture, which is something horror movies love to do, playing into any culture outside the normal for the man characters. They get cursed and must lift it before becoming the latest victims, this all works well through the film and can’t be faulted one bit. The whole curse will bring us reminders to most Asian ghost/spirit movies because it is easier to get the scares on the audience. Making Jim much more involved is a slight spin on what we have seen before because usually it is the female character doing all the investigating side of the film. This story will tick the boxes for one of my favourite sub-genres of horror and it should keep the horror fans entertained throughout.

HorrorThe horror we get in the film does use the jump scares, something we have seen before and something that we know when scares are coming, but not always what they will be.

SettingsThailand makes for a wonderful setting because it is filled with spiritual culture which outsides always claim to understand and fail too often, the location helps the story.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to effects we do have a mixed bag, one of my favourite sayings, we get good ghost effects for the spirit which both look terrifying and creepy, but also are similar to what we have seen before.


Scene of the Movie –
Looking at the photos.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The English characters didn’t have the strongest acting to support them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good ghost horror movie, it has jump scares where needed, it plays into a countries culture and most importantly keeps the pace going on the scares.

 

Overall: Horror Fans Watch

Rating

 

 

Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2018)

Director: Hiroshi Katagiri

Writer: Hiroshi Katagiri (Screenplay)

Starring: Doug Jones, Lance Henriksen, Patrick Gorman, Simon Phillips, Sean Sprawling, Matthew Edward Hegstrom, Eva Swan, Katherine Taylor, Justin Gordon

 

Plot: A group visits Saipan to search for locations for their company’s newest resort. As they find what they think is the perfect spot, they discover a hidden bunker on the property which they decide to explore. However, they soon find out that curiosity can kill. As each member faces their most private secrets and the secrets of the bunker itself, the results lead to a most shocking conclusion.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Claustrophobic Horror

 

Story: Gehenna: Where Death Lives starts when property developers Paulina (Swan), Tyler (Gordon) and Dave (Hegstrom) are shown their latest location by Alan (Phillips) and local Pepe (Sprawling) in Saipan, perfect for a view of the ocean. On the property they investigate a bunker which could cause problems for building.

Inside the bunker the five find themselves trapped after an encounter with an old man (Jones) who looks like thy have been dead for years. The five become trapped in the maze of corridors which are filled with spirits encouraging them to kill themselves just to make it out of the living hell.

 

Thoughts on Gehenna: Where Death Lives

 

Characters – Paulina is the lady leading the investment which would be a career maker for her, she wants every loose end tied up which leads the team to investigate the bunker, this is the ambitious businesswoman that isn’t selfish to her team but wants to achieve her goals. Tyler is the architect that helps locate problems that any construction could face, joining the team in the corridors he seems to be the only one without a past sin he must pay for. The Old Man is one of the victims in the bunker, he warns and haunts the five in the bunker. The fellow three members of the team fill in the generic characters, the young cameraman does is scared of his past, the local fills in the spiritual side of translations and the seedy property owner that wants to get rich quickly.

PerformancesThe performance are being sold on the special appearance from Lance Henriksen and the inclusion of the immensely talented Doug Jones, they are good with their roles. the main cast of Justin Gordon, Eva Swan and Simon Phillips are strong as they are dealing with the horror events in the bunker.

StoryThe story follows five people in a property deal that investigate a mysterious bunker on the land and soon find themselves battling to survive in what feels like a living hell. This does fall into the bunker horror story which is always good to watch because the reason behind what is going on is always interesting to unfold. We have a twist which does work even if you could see it coming. The story doesn’t offer too much to genre, but it works for everything it needs.

Horror/MysteryThe horror works for the claustrophobic feeling which has a mix of slow build and jump scares which is nice and the mystery keeps us guessing throughout to just what could happen.

SettingsThe film gives us a couple of beauty shots before we get into the bunker which keeps us confined for the horror.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well with the make up effects when it comes to the horror Doug Jones looks terrifying each time you see him.


Scene of the Movie –
The Old Man looks terrifying for his first appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Tyler’s reaction to what is in the dark, felt almost comical.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that uses the setting to its advantage to make us feel confined with how the story unfolds.

 

Overall: Bunker Horror for all.

Rating

 

 

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Director: James Mangold

Writer: James Mangold, Lisa Loomer, Anna Hamilton Phelan (Screenplay) Susanna Kaysen (Book)

Starring: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy, Elisabeth Moss, Jared Leto, Jeffrey Tambor, Vanessa Redgrave

 

Plot: Based on writer Susanna Kaysen’s account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the 1960s.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Drama

 

Story: Girl, Interrupted starts as Susanna (Ryder) reluctantly accepts an offer to head to a mental hospital to help her deal with her drinking and drug problems which leave her in a depressive state in the 60s. In the hospital Susanna meets the fellow patients Lisa (Jolie), Georgina (DuVall), Daisy (Murphy), Polly (Moss) Janet (Bettis) and others each with their own problems.

Over her 18-months in the hospital, Susanna experiences the ups and downs she is struggling with but see that people have worse problems than she does and doing the right thing to help people can be a cure for anyone.

 

Thoughts on Girl, Interrupted

 

Characters – Susanna has recently tried to kill herself which has put her inside a mental hospital, she must deal with her own personal depression but finds hope in a place filled with people with their own problems. Lisa is the loud patient that always becomes the centre of attention in the ward as well as becoming Susanna’s closest friend through the time, she is a bad example but is always trying to help in the long run. Georgina is the roommate of Susanna that comes off the most normal of all the women in the ward. Valerie is the nurse that tries to give the time to all the girls knowing the struggle she had to overcome to be where she is in the 60s but will try to guide them all. We have the string of different patients in the ward with their own problems.

PerformanceWinona Ryder is brilliant in the leading role here showing us just how she was on top of her game at this time. Angelina Jolie showed the world just what she can do with a performance that won her an Oscar and you can see why. Whoopi Goldberg is great in her supporting role and looking through the cast you get great performances from the whole cast including Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy, Elisabeth Moss, Jared Leto and Jeffrey Tambor and many more.

StoryThe story follows how one woman struggles with her own mentality issues over an 18-month period. We see how she needs to learn about herself, her strengths and weaknesses as well as not wanting to follow the traditional go to college route the high school friends did, her own decisions must be made to escape the world she finds herself in. This is an important story for people who do suffer from their own depressive issues to see because it will show the strength you can get from yourself.

BiographyThis 18-months of Susanna’s life helped pave the way for this story, they are personal moments that show how important this story can be.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the mental home which is what you need to see for the best moments of the film.

Scene of the Movie – Last night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There was nothing told about what happened to the rest of the women.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily on the par with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, it shows the importance of understand mental illness.

 

Overall: A must watch for anyone that has suffered from mental illness.

Rating

 

 

Ghost Stories (2018)

Director: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman

Writer: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman (Screenplay)

Starring: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Paul Warren

 

Plot: Arch skeptic Professor Phillip Goodman embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable ‘hauntings’

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Creepy & Weird

 

Story: Ghost Stories starts as Professor Goodman (Nyman) a paranormal debunker shows what he does with his television show Psychic Cheat, we learn how his idol went missing, but when he receives a mysterious message to meet, he wants him to solve three cases that he could never explain.

Goodman meets the men Tony (Whiehouse) whose experience in an abandoned hospital has left his scared, Simon (Lawther) who has become obsessed with solving what happened to him on a drive home and Mike (Freeman) a wealthy man that can’t explain what happened to him.

 

Thoughts on Ghost Stories

 

Characters – Professor Goodman is a paranormal debunker, he has made a career out of proving there is no such thing as the supernatural, assigned to solve three unexplained cases which will tests his beliefs. Mike is a wealthy man that has his own story which will only leave him question his life. Tony is a night watchman that has been left shocked by the events of one night on the job. Simon is a young man that’s story has made him obsessed with finding out what happened on that night.

PerformancesAndy Nyman is good in this leading role where he gets through the stories, while also going through his own story that will leave you shocked. Martin Freeman is clearly the most talented of this cast because you are instantly interested in where his at times unlikable character can be. Paul Whitehouse is good but the weakest of the three, mostly because his story is the simplest. Alex Lawther gets the most laughs with his performance because his story has the funniest part of the movie in it.

StoryThe story is difficult to talk about without giving away spoilers, this is mostly because it isn’t just the three ghost stories being told, this side of the story is interesting and everything you would imagine, we have simple ghost stories that are not over the top and feel like true stories that may have affected real people. When you get to the final third of the movie it is nearly impossible to explain, it is weird and wonderful at same time, the only thing I will say is to watch the clues appear, as nothing goes in the direction you will be expecting it to go.

HorrorThe horror is the by the book scares through the stories, it is the final third that has the most unexpected moments in.

SettingsThe three stories are in different locations, while also being generic horror location for the most part, be it the abandoned hospital, middle of the woods or an isolated home.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, with most usage coming in the final third.


Scene of the Movie –
STAY!

That Moment That Annoyed Me Some of the clues are really thrown in your face.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film that I feel will divide the audience, because it almost feels like two different movies by the end, the final third is nearly impossible to predict which is good to watch, but it doesn’t fit the tone of the first two thirds at times.

 

Overall: Horror movie that makes you think weird thoughts.

Rating