ABC Film Challenge – Horror – H – The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (2013)

Director: Tom Elkins

Writer: David Coggeshall (Screenplay)

Starring: Abigail Spencer, Emily Alyn Lind, Chad Michael Murray, Grant James, Katee Sackoff, Morgana Shaw

 

Plot: A young family moves into a historic home in Georgia, only to learn they are not the house’s only inhabitants. Soon they find themselves in the presence of a secret rising from underground and threatening to bring down anyone in its path.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid, but Flawed Sequel

 

Story: The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia starts when the Wyrick family, Lisa (Spencer), Andy (Murray) and daughter Heidi (Lind) move into an historical home, Lisa like her sister Joyce (Sackhoff) has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts and as her daughter starts seeing them too, what is the message being sent?

Heidi befriends one of the spirits, one that previously lived in the home, but it is the history of the events of this house which will be the one that leads up to the true terror in this story.

 

Thoughts on The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia

 

Characters – Lisa is the wife and mother of the family, she does have an ability to see spirits with her mother helping her through these experiences. In her new home she starts to see more spirits that has trying to send her messages and must use her skills to figure out how to save her child. Andy is the husband and father, he is the only one that doesn’t have the ability to see the spirits which shows him taking on the situation as if there would need to be a logical reason behind it all. Heidi is the daughter of the family, that can also see the spirits and it is her visits which guide us to where the story goes this time, she is encouraged by her Auntie and discouraged by her mum. Joyce is the free-spirited Auntie that joins the family, she tries to embrace the idea of the spirits needing help and will guide Heide unlike her sister.

PerformancesThis is a sequel with no returning cast members, no connection to the original, so the cast is brand new. We do have a couple of known actors from television, Abigail Spencer, Chad  Michael Murray and Katee Sackhoff, they do what they can with the material, but the poor decisions they are forced to make doesn’t help. Emily Alyn Lind does well for a child star put in horror situation.

StoryThe story is based on real events or sold on this idea anyway. We have the events of the story taking place over short amount of time, as we see how everything seems to escalate, which is fine for a horror story. the idea the sisters and daughter can see spirits naturally is a good spin on the idea where only one can usually see the ghosts. The problems do some into this too as the one person who can’t see the spirits still sees them and most of the decisions being made are poor throughout. For the mystery behind everything it does keep us interested throughout and does give us shocks along the way.

Horror/Mystery When it comes to the horror in this film we get plenty of the normal jump scares, most of which just play out like you would imagine, the casual fan will jump along the way. The highlight is the mystery behind what is causing the hauntings because history is always filled with surprises.

SettingsThe setting for the film is good because it is an old house that is bound to be filled with history that could be a terrifying as what we learn as the film unfolds.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are mixed because the way the flashbacks are shot does look do and feels different to current events, the negatives come from how the injuries can look while inflicted to the modern characters.


Scene of the Movie –
Cut the cord.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The moments Andy saw a ghost.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel even though it has no connection to the actual first film, it does have smart ideas but terrible character decisions.

 

Overall: Horror fans should enjoy.

Rating

 

 

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Hotel Mumbai (2018) Movie Review

Director: Anthony Maras

Writer: John Collee, Anthony Maras (Screenplay)

Starring: Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher, Jason Isaacs

Plot: The true story of the Taj Hotel terrorist attack in Mumbai. Hotel staff risk their lives to keep everyone safe as people make unthinkable sacrifices to protect themselves and their families.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense, Emotional and Heart-Breaking

Story: Hotel Mumbai starts on what was a normal demanding day at the luxury Taj Hotel in Mumbai, Arjun (Patel) is trying his hardest to keep his job with his wife due to have a baby any day now, the guest on this fateful day include Iranian-British heiress Zahra (Boniadi) and her husband David (Hammer) along with their new-born baby, Russian businessman Vasili (Isaacs).

This night is something nobody involved with ever remember, when a group of terrorists start causing mayhem through Mumbai, before getting into the Taj, to continue their rampage, leading to the staff needing to make sacrifices to try and keep the guest safe from the horrific action.

Thoughts on Hotel Mumbai

The Events in this film are based on the true events, any description given is solely on how the film presents the real people whose lives were affected by this tragic and horrific event.

Characters – Arjun is married with one child and another on the way, he is one of the many employees at the Taj hotel, he is portrayed as being a man that will work for anything to keep his family fed and safe, but one that could not always play by the rules at work, he begs for this shift and shows every of his guests and co-workers just how much he will risk for the right thing. Zahra is an Iranian Heiress that is considered one of the most important guests one who could make or break the reputation of the hotel. She is one person that gets trapped, waiting for her husband David to find their baby which was left with a nanny in the room, David will risk more by going out into the battlefield in a hope to get to the baby, where he becomes one of the top picks for a hostage, an American. Oberoi is head chef in the hotel, he does everything he can to keep the guests safe, letting the employees decide if they want to help or be with their own families. Vasili is a Russian businessman that seems like he will be loud and rude for most of his stay. He however proves to be one of the most important men during the hostage situation. We do get to meet the terrorists, who are doing this in the name of their God, they are young naïve and don’t seem to have any understanding just what they are doing, performing the acts with completely heartless manor.

PerformancesDev Patel, Nazanin Boniadi, Armie Hammer, Anupam Kher and Jason Isaacs are the biggest names in this film, their performances are faultless, we have one of the best all around cast performances too, from everyone involved.

StoryThe story here shows the guests and staffs point of view of the terrorist attack on the Taj hotel in Mumbai in 2008, it shows what they did to survive, how heartless the terrorists were and gives the many people who risked their lives a chance to show their story. There is no easy way to describe this story, it was one of the worst ground level terrorists in attacks in recent history, seeing how calculated the terrorists were in their actions in hard to watch, seeing how helpless the victims were, is heart breaking. We can see how horrific their actions were and just how heroic the staff at the hotel were, when it comes to helping the helpless.

History/ThrillerThe moment in history will always be one that shocked the world, it is one that you should have heard about and now you can hear the stories of the people involved. It is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the film.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the walls of the Taj hotel, it showed us just how trapped the victims and survivors would have been.


Scene of the Movie – Lift sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – However hard this would be to portray everyone involved, it does feel like some of the characters and people don’t get enough of a story behind there events.

Final Thoughts This is easily one of the most intense films you will see and it shows just how horrific the events of the film were to the people involved.

Overall: Pure Intensity

Sam Neill Weekend – Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Director: Taika Waititi

Writer: Taika Waititi (Screenplay) Barry Crump (Novel)

Starring: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata, Rache House, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Oscar Knightley

 

Plot: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.


Tagline – Nature just got gangster

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable

 

Story: Hunt for the Wilderpeople starts as rebellious kid Ricky (Dennison) gets taken to his latest foster home to live with Hec (Neill) and Bella (Te Wiata) who open his eyes to farm life after years of street life. This life changes quickly when Bella passes away leaving Ricky facing the reality he will need to return to a foster home.

Ricky runs away into the wilderness with his dog Tupac only for Hec finding him and taking him on an adventure through the wilderness. The only problem is Ricky gets reported missing and the authorities believe Hec kidnapped with a manhunt searching for them both.

 

Thoughts on Hunt for the Wilderpeople

 

Characters – Ricky is a rebellious teenager that has bounced through the foster system, now he must go into farm life away from the street problems he has found himself in. when he goes off into the wilderness he wants to prove himself to everyone and Hec. Hec is the father figure that adopts Ricky only to take him under his wing after his wife died, he is a reluctant protector and guide who would rather be with at one with nature. Paula is the child welfare officer that is trying to find Ricky, she does want what is best for the children but can take things too far.

PerformancesSam Neill easily gives one of his best performances of his career here, showing the heart the character needs along with the determination to do the right thing too. Julian Dennison is fantastic in this role, he has the innocent side while also showing the front of toughness that the character requires.

StoryThe story is a coming of age tale, between a foster kid and his reluctant new father who wasn’t prepared for the responsibility placed upon him. The two go on an adventure through the wilderness which gathers national news and a nationwide manhunt. It shows how two different people from different backgrounds of different ages can work together, teaching each other important life lesson, in what is one of the most enjoyable stories you will see.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure takes us through the New Zealand wilderness, seeing sights of wonder along the way. The film is told in a comic tone that will make you laugh plenty of times along the journey.

SettingsThe wilderness of New Zealand makes for the stunning settings being used, nearly all the scenes have a breath-taking view.


Scene of the Movie –
The last run.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain slang turns can go over your head.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun coming of age movies I have ever seen, the adventure is fantastic, the comedy hits and the pairing works all day long.

 

Overall: Must watch cinema for the family.

Rating

 

 

Hellmington (2018) Movie Review

Director: Justin Hewitt-Drakulic, Alex Less Williams

Writer: Justin Hewitt-Drakulic, Alex Less Williams, Michelle Aseltine (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicola Correia-Damude, Michael Ironside, Yannick Bisson, Monica Parker, Gabe Grey, Allegra Fulton, Kyra Harper, Andelica Stirpe

Plot: A detective investigates her father’s dying words; the name of a girl who has been missing for 9 years.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Tense Investigation Film

Story: Hellmington starts when detective Samantha Woodhouse (Correia-Damude) returns home with her father on his death bed, gets one final message from him, a name of a missing girl, Samantha turns to her Uncle Rupert (Ironside) to try and unlock the case, which sees her start her own investigation.

The more Samantha investigates the more secrets of the town she must learn about, including her own past, all while being stalked by an unknown presence which seems to have targeted her.

Thoughts on Hellmington

Characters – Samantha Woodhouse is a detective from a big city, she returns home with her father being on his deathbed, to help plan for the next stage, she decides to stick around after learning about missing person that hasn’t ever been solved, where she must face her own connection of her past, while trying to understand what actually happened to the missing girl. Rupert is the Uncle to Samantha, he is the local sheriff that bought her back, only to wish for her to leave the case alone. Professor Freeborn is one of the locals experts that is helping Samantha understand the truth around what might be happening. We do meet a host of potential suspects, or residents that do have a chapter to say when it comes to unlocking the truth.

PerformancesThis movie revolves around the performance Nicola Correia-Damude gives, she is involved in every scene and you can understand the mindset of her character as she both learns truths and faces pasts through the film. Michael Ironside might well be the biggest name in the film and does everything we need him to do. The rest of the cast is strong through the film too.

StoryThe story follows a detective that returns home for her father’s funeral, only to find herself investigating a missing persons case, one that does mean she must face her own past to learn the truth. This is an interesting story because it does show us how your past can come back to haunt you and investigating a bigger case can only make you see the people in your life in a different light. We do follow just one character which will show us how they are learning about the case, just as we are, which is nice too be left in the dark about certain parts instead of being given all answers. We do get pushed down different ideas of what is happening which does keep us guessing and will leave shocked by the truth.

HorrorThe film does use horror elements which involve how the Samantha is experience strange events while trying to uncover the truth.

SettingsThe film is set in one locations which is the hometown of the Samantha which is filled with memories, some she liked, others she doesn’t want to.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong when needed, we don’t use them too often which isn’t needed.


Scene of the Movie – The first visit of the stranger.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Slightly rushed finished.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting horror that deals with the investigation into a missing person, it has a wonderful leading lady performance and does keep you guessing.

Overall: Strong horror investigation.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – H – Hellions (2015)

Director: Bruce McDonald

Writer: Pascal Trottier (Screenplay)

Starring: Chloe Rose, Rachel Wilson, Rossif Sutherland, Peter DaCunha, Luke Bilyk, Robert Patrick

 

Plot: A teenager must survive a Halloween night from Hell when malevolent trick-or-treaters come knocking at her door.


Tagline – Hell Comes Knocking

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shock Value Horror

 

Story: Hellions starts when teenager Dora Vogel (Rose) learns that she is pregnant on Halloween, she is meant to be graduating this year, she has the week to decide whether to keep her baby with the advice from Dr Gabe Henry (Sutherland). Dora decides to keep her pregnancy secret from her mother Kate (Wilson) as she prepares for her Halloween night.

This Halloween is going to go in a very different direction, when Dora, home alone gets visited by mysterious masked trick-or-treaters that are willing to kill, Dora must make a stand while her pregnancy isn’t going the way any normal one should.

 

Thoughts on Hellions

 

Characters – Dora is a teenager about to graduate high school, only she has become pregnant, which leaves her facing a difficult decision. Left alone on Halloween night she is left to think about her choice, which sees a string of masked trick-or-treaters come to invade her home, they want something from her and she will fight to keep it. Dora is the main character and involved in every scene of the film. Kate is the mother that has always pushed her daughter to achieve the most, while enjoying life, she takes her son Remi trick-or-treating. Dr Gabe Henry is the one that tells Dora about her pregnancy and offers to be there to help if she ever need help, standard doctor material here. Officer Corman is the first to come and try to help with the situation, only he knows more than he could which will offer Dora help while trying to make it through the night.

PerformancesChloe Rose is the leading lady and is the best performer in the film, she needs to be because of the amount of reaction her character must go through as she needs to keep our attention. When we come to the supporting cast we get the big name in Robert Patrick who does show his experience, while the rest of the cast are good with their limited involvement through the film.

StoryThe story is kept simple here, we have a teenager tormented by a group of masked figures in the form of children on Halloween night. She must fight them off to figure out their motivation for the attacks which will have a bigger impact on her pregnancy. We can clearly see the metaphor being used here on Dora as she must deal with the idea that could abort her pregnancy and this could be the haunting idea that she could become haunted by what she does for the rest of her life, giving her the chance to fight for her child’s life. If we want to dive deeper into the story, it becomes clear that the story can take the back burner for moments of shocking imagery which isn’t always needed for the film to move forward.

HorrorThe horror in this film reflects how Dora is feeling about hearing that she is pregnant, it comes with shocking images and demon child in masks which can work at times to make us feel uncomfortable through the film.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the action on the remote home of Dora’s, it does have weak phone signal, she doesn’t drive, giving this everything it needs to isolate her from the world.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong when it comes to practical effects which does include a melting scene which is something that is the standout through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The melting scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Over playing the shocking images over story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the typical late-night horrors you can put on, enjoy without becoming overly scared, because it turns to shocking images over scary moments.

 

Overall: Horror looking for shocks over substance.

Rating