Headhunters (2011)

headhunterDirector: Morten Tyldum

Writer: Ulf Ryberg, Lars Gudmestad (Screenplay) Jo Nesbo (Novel)

Starring: Aksel Henniee, Synnove Macody Lund, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Eivind Sander, Julie R Olgaard

 

Plot: An accomplished headhunter risks everything to obtain a valuable painting owned by a former mercenary.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Crime Thriller

 

Story: Headhunters starts as we meet Roger (Hennie) a strict thief that has survived with his rules even if he has been struggling to make ends meet for his beautiful wife Diana (Lund) a gallery manager. Roger’s style gets the job done clean, quick and from victims that would never notice.

When Roger meets one of the guests at Diana’s gallery opening Clas Greve (Coster-Waldau) he learns that he owns a painting worth potential hundreds of millions, the kind of job that can help him leave that profession for good and finally offer his wife the children she so desperately wants.

This job takes a turn when Roger learns about the military past of Clas and with plenty of twists along the way this job could easily be the hardest of Roger’s career as the two end up in a deadly cat and mouse chase across the country.

 

Thoughts on Headhunters

 

Characters/PerformanceRoger is strong leading character with his skills in his art of thievery, hidden from his business life and married life, he knows how to handle himself in all the situations he finds himself. Clas is a great ruthless killer that has plenty of secrets behind his action.

When you look at the performances Hennie and Coster-Waldau are both fantastic in these roles with Hennie having the desperate but confident look with Coster-Waldau looking deadly from the moment you first meet him.

StoryThe story here comes from what looks like a basic heist movie before taking a turn into a cat and mouse chase across the country for survival. This keeps you guessing from start to finish and you simply just don’t know the motivation Clas has for his action, as it could be a range of reasons. The story does bring you in and never let you go.

Crime/ThrillerThis is a true crime cat and mouse story following two men who are breaking laws but one as a thief the other as a hired killer, we have no idea where this film will go and the twists keep us guessing until the final conclusion.

SettingsWith our character on the run we get to see a mix of hidden locations and busy locations show how the difference between the hidden world of the crimes mix with the businessman who Roger is.

Final ThoughtsThis is the crime thriller that could easily be one of the best we have seen

 

Overall: A true great thriller that everyone should be watching and enjoying.

Rating90

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – The Hitcher (2007)

casting card

 

Plot: A serial killer pins his crimes on two college students who gave him a ride.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bad Remake

 

Story: The Hitcher starts as we follow college sweethearts Grace (Bush) and Jim (Zachary) traveling cross country for vacation. The trip gets interrupted when they clash with John Ryder (Bean) a hitchhiker that enjoys killing people, luckily they escape him for a while only to find themselves being chased across the dessert like environment.

When the two start getting framed by John they find themselves on the run not only from him but from the State Police run by Lt Esteridge (McDonough) who believes they are involved with killing all of the police officers. The game of cat and mouse leads to final showdown between the four.

The Hitcher is a remake that isn’t able to do anything original with the idea. It feels like it wanted just to do a shot for shot remake but then tried to do a fresh spin that didn’t create anything. The fact the film is incredibly short doesn’t help because nothing gets built up enough to make us care. I don’t understand the remake happening when he has an interesting sequel a few years before.

 

Actor Review

 

Sean Bean: John Ryder is the Hitcher looking for a ride, but what he really wants is to go on a killing spree. When Grace and Jim refuse to stop to help him he takes everything personally and starts targeting them and he just won’t give up. Sean is one of the good things in this movie as you believe he will be this crazy throughout the film.

Sophia Bush: Grace is our leading lady of the college student couple that always needs a pee break, she has to wait for instructions and is written to be plain as stupid. Sophia tries her best with such a badly written character.

Zachary Knighton: Jim is the boyfriend of Grace that is preparing to meet her friends on their cross country journey. He wants to help John but doesn’t get involved because Grace says no, he then has to try and keep her safe through the experience against John. Zachary is ok but you will soon forget about his character.

Neal McDonough: LT Esteridge is the state police officers trying to bring everything to an end, he doesn’t believe Grace and Jim are involved but has to follow the evidence. Neal is a standard police officer authority figure you will forget too.

Support Cast: The Hitcher has only a disposable supporting cast with barely any of the ones you meet actually making it to the end of the film.

Director Review: Dave MeyersDave gives us a simple horror film that has one brilliant scene but otherwise is forgettable.

 

Crime: The Hitcher puts us in a crime battle between good and evil as the couple battle the hitchhiker.

Horror: The Hitcher has easy horror elements that just don’t get the point over because of lack of tension aiming for just a body count.

Settings: The Hitcher keeps most of the film set in the dessert showing how alone the couple are but they always seem to find somewhere to hide.
Special Effects
: The Hitcher has a mix of good and bad effects, with the CGI coming off terrible but the truck scene look great.

Suggestion: The Hitcher is one I think you could easily just watch the original. (Watched Original)

 

Best Part: Truck scene.

Worst Part: Grace is written so badly.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

Overall: Poor remake that loses the horror elements needed.

Ratingcard

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – The Hitcher (1986)

Director: Robert Harmon

Writer: Eric Red (Screenplay)

Starring: Rutger Hauer, C Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn, John M Jackson

 

Plot: A young man who escaped the clutches of a murderous hitch-hiker is subsequently stalked by the hitcher and framed for his crimes.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Thrills

 

Story: The Hitcher starts as student Jim Halsey (Howell) travelling across America to San Diego. Against any warnings, he might have been given he decides to pick up a hitch-hiker John Ryder (Hauer), John promises to kill Jim in the most graphic possible way. Escaping Jim witnesses the path of destruction Ryder has been leaving, this leads to Jim trying to warn people only finding himself as the prime suspect.

Ryder continues leaving bodies including cops in his path as Jim teams up with plucky waitress Nash (Leigh) to clear his name, the problem is the police and Ryder are after Jim in this suspense driven thriller.

 

Thoughts on The Hitcher

 

Characters/PerformanceJim is a young man just looking to get across country to make a new start, he is naïve in how he acts but also desperate to prove his innocence. Ryder is a hitch-hiker with a lust for blood, well killing, it doesn’t matter who you are, your age, sex or reason to be travelling along this road, he will just kill you. His emotionless enjoyment of killing is what makes him stand out. Nash sees a chance to leave this dead-end life she is living by help Jim.

Performance wise, Rutger Hauer is brilliant in this leading role full of terror in every single look he gives us. Howell is good in his role as the determined young man with Leigh giving us a good supporting role.

StoryWhen it comes to the story, this film keeps it all very simple, a young man is chased around the open roads of America by the psychopathic killer as the young man tries his best to prove he is innocent. This is all the film needs to do, keeping everything simple for us the audience to enjoy, but if you want deep character development you need to look somewhere else.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror side of the film comes as we are left wondering how we would act if this happened to us, the thrilling side comes wondering just what Ryder will do next.

SettingsKeeping the film on the open roads shows us just how difficult the situation would be to escape for our character.

Special EffectsThe special effects are only used when needed and the truck tie up scene is brilliant use of them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple idea that reaches all the tension levels need for a thriller film, it keeps you on edge throughout the film and has a psychopath that is genuinely scary.

 

Overall: This is one of the best horror thrillers of the 80’s one that all can enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Hybrid (2010)

hybridDirector: Eric Valette

Writer: Neal Marshall Stevens (Screenplay)

Starring: Oded Fehr, Adrien Dorval, Ryan Kennedy, Melanie Papalia, John Reardon, Shannon Beckner

 

Plot: Late one night, a mysterious car is brought into the Chicago police impound garage after a deadly traffic accident. The on-call mechanics soon discover the car has a mind of its own. With hundreds of horsepower and two tons of reinforced steel at its command, it’s a seemingly unstoppable killing machine capable of outrunning — and outwitting — humans.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Horror

 

Story: Hybrid starts as a slick looking car drive to an ally to draw the attention of the couple of car thieves, who become the first victims of this car cruising the streets at night, but when the car is involved in an accident the Chicago Police Department have a new mystery on their hands.

The car gets taken to a local garage for the investigation where Ray (Fehr) runs the garage with Gordy (Dorval), Bobby (Kennedy) and Tilda (Beckner) all working there. When the car continues, its body count the survivors must fight to survive against the killer car and hybrid creature that lurks inside.

 

Thoughts on Hybrid

 

StoryWhen it comes to the story it does have good elements of original story telling, we do have parts borrowed from other films too though. We have the killer car which is obviously one of the more iconic killer objects in horror. Where this story becomes different is when we learn how the car can morph into any car it has seen making it turn into a deadlier predator.  When we look at what our characters aim to do the beat this creature it does become a power struggle of reluctant team work nothing outside the normal really. The story is smart and enjoyable throughout.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror elements used are the fact that we have a killer car and we find ourselves on edge as we wait to see what the car will become next.

Characters/PerformanceWhen it comes to the characters you know exactly what you are going to get from this film, we have the strong female lead, the asshole greedy boss, the kid, well the youngster one studying for more, the ‘dumb’ receptionist and the minority that gets killed off first. The characters are nothing special and as for the performances they are solid without exceling to the top level within the genre.

SettingsNearly the whole film takes place within the garage which our characters find themselves trapped inside creating the isolation from the outside world and having all the different cars it can pick from leads to the suspense being gained throughout.

Special EffectsThe special effects do have moments that leave you wondering but the budget does explain certain drawbacks when it comes to the creature animations.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable horror if you switch you mind of to what is logical in anyway, this is fun more than scary.

 

Overall: This is a strong and enjoyable horror but mostly fun.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Haunter (2013)

haunterDirector: Vincenzo Natali

Writer: Brian King (Screenplay)

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Peter Outerbridge, Michelle Nolden, Stephen McHattie, Peter DaCunha, Samantha Weinstein, Eleanor Zichy

 

Plot: A teenager is stuck in a time loop that is not quite the same each time. She must uncover the truth but her actions have consequences for herself and others.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Twist

 

Story: Haunter starts as we meet Lisa (Breslin) a fifteen-year-old girl who has to live through the same day over and over even explaining to her family Bruce (Outerbridge), Carol (Nolden) and Robbie (DaChunha) what is happening.

Wanting to breakout of this cycle Lisa starts seeing strange events happening around the house even though she keeps restarting her day. When Lisa also sees the day running differently it is the arrival of the Pale Man (McHattie) giving her a warning that pushes Lisa to look into uncovering the truth. Lisa knows she is dead and wants to communicate with the new inhabitants of the home as Lisa is only one of the victims of this killer.

Haunter brings a fresh approach to the ghost investigation sub-genre of horror because we are only used to seeing it on the living characters side but this time everything gets turned on its head as we follow the ghost trying to communicate with the living to help them. While this does take away any of the peril involved in the film it does make for a very interesting to follow mystery. I do also feel this is slightly lightweight for a horror film but still on that can be enjoyed.

 

Actor Review

 

Abigail Breslin: Lisa is our teenage girl that we follow living the same day over and over, she knows something isn’t right and when she figures out she is in fact dead she has to wonder why the living are communicating with her. Abigail is good in this leading role and the clear star of the show.

Peter Outerbridge: Bruce is Lisa’s father who is stuck inside this world where he has to constantly fix the family car. Peter is solid but really doesn’t develop the character enough.

Michelle Nolden: Carol is the mother of the family who is always has chores for Lisa to do. Michelle struggles like Peter to really make an impact in this role.

Stephen McHattie: Pale Man seems to be the man holding Lisa in this world even being the man that murdered the family. He is always staying one step ahead of Lisa being able to communicate between both worlds. Stephen does make for a good villain shining through this role.

Support Cast: Haunter has a small supporting cast which are mostly just the other victims that Lisa has to communicate with.

Director Review: Vincenzo NataliVincenzo gives us a lightweight horror with a really clever story that could easily be a one off television episode.

 

Horror: Haunter has very simple scares which do work but having our leading character being dead you just never feel any peril in the haunting side of the story.

Mystery: Haunter does use the mystery side of the story to its advantage making us truly wonder just what is going on within the household.

Settings: Haunter keeps us within the house for the whole story even if we arrive there at different times of crimes being committed.
Special Effects
: Haunter has strong use of effects to blend the time periods using the times style of filming to its advantage.

Suggestion: Haunter is one I do think the horror fans out there will be enjoying but only if you like a good investigation style ghost film. (Horror Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Old style filing for final showdown.

Worst Part: You never really feel the peril because she is dead.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

Overall: Nice twist on the ghost investigation film.

Ratingcard