The Nightingale (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jennifer Kent

Writer: Jennifer Kent (Screenplay)

Starring: Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Kaykali Ganambarr, Damon Herriman, Harry Greenwood, Ewen Leslie

Plot: Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.

Tagline – 1820’s Tasmania. A young Irish convict seeks revenge.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Shocking & Intense

Story: The Nightingale starts as an Irish convict Clare (Franciosi) is forced to work under British Officer Hawkins (Claflin) to pay off her debts, which usually involves cleaning and performing a song to the soldiers, until one day he goes too far by raping her, Clare is desperate to get out of her debt, to which she has paid off, but Hawkins won’t release her.

Confronting Hawkins with her husband Aidan (Sheasby), it leads to Hawkins not getting his promotion and Hawkins makings Clare pay with his men Ruse (Herriman) and Jago (Greenwood). Left completely broken Clare is put in contact with aboriginal tracker Billy (Ganambarr), as she goes in search for revenge on the men that took everything from him.

Thoughts on The Nightingale

Characters – Clare is an Irish convict, she has been released from jail to work off her time cleaning and using her beautiful singing voice to entertain the soldiers. She is coping with her time until Hawkins refuses her chance to have her freedom, being subjected to violence from the soldiers, with nothing left she is hellbent on revenge and isn’t in this journey to make any friends or want anybody’s sympathy, she just wants blood. Billy is an aboriginal tracker that reluctantly agrees to help Clare on her journey, he doesn’t want trouble, he is tired of how the white man has treated his kind, believing at first that Clare is just like the rest, until he learns the truth. The two have some true heart to heart moments as well as having moments which will give you a laugh too. Hawkins is a English officer that believes he should be given a promotion to a vacant captain role, he can’t control his soldiers and his aggression sees him leaving bodies in his path, making him have enemies coming from all directions, as he looks to arrive for his latest position. Ruse and Jago are the two soldiers that are also involved in the attack on Clare and her family, they are just as cowardly as Hawkins.

PerformancesAisling Franciosi gives us one of the most grounded and exceptional performances of recent years, she shows us the pure vengeance her character is going through, right next to the grief she would have experienced. Sam Claflin brings us one of the most horrendous humans to life with his performance, one that will leave almost wanting to hate the actors for his performance being so horrid. Baykali Ganambarr is wonderful too showing us the pain that a generation of people would have suffered through during the events of the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman that sees everything taken from her in an act of violence by military men and seeks her own form of revenge. Where this story steps up comes from breaking certain traditions, while the opening actions are always going to be hard to watch and give the motivation required for Clare determination for revenge. Once we get on the war path, this isn’t a calm calculated plan for revenge like we have seen before, this is a cold complete emptiness reaction to the horrors she experiences with her journey being the only time she properly starts to grieve what she has been through. This is a new level of revenge movie that isn’t just revenge on this one action, it feels like a moment that wants to show the people that the white English soldiers walked all over. Wonderful story telling throughout.

ThrillerThis is a tense thriller that shows the path of revenge that one lady and her tracker go on after being wronged by acts of violence by English soldiers.

SettingsThe film uses the settings amazingly to show the world that Clare goes into and how the trackers are the only way to get through the outback in Tasmanian wilderness safely.

Scene of the Movie – The last song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The English Soldiers.

Final Thoughts This is one of the best revenge films you will see, it has a different style to anything you have seen before with performances that are true heavyweight ones.

Overall: Brilliant.

Numb (2015)

Director: Jason R Goode

Writer: Andre Harden (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamie Bamber, Marie Avgeropoulos, Aleks Paunovic, Stefanie von Pfetten, Colin Cunningham, Paul McGillion


Plot: When a couple in financial distress discover GPS coordinates that promise to lead to stolen gold they must partner with a pair of mysterious hitchhikers to enter the remote winter wilderness to recover the coins.


Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Good Little Thriller


Story: Numb starts when down on their luck couple Will (Bamber) and Dawn (Pfetten) are travelling back home to Vancouver pick up hitchhikers Lee (Paunovic) and Cheryl (Avgeropoulos) and along the way they find a stranger with GPS coordinates to a missing loot.

The four reluctantly team up to locate the loot which could be $4 million and the strains of whether to trust each other becomes just as much of an enemy in the snow filled mountain range as the weather.


Thoughts on Numb


Characters – Will is the out of work man, desperately trying to get a job to keep his family home with his wife after financial hardships, he takes part in the search in a hope to keep the lack of job a secret and his skills come in to help against the elements in nature. Dawn is his wife that believes they are getting to the turning around their lives, she does overcome her fears to make it. Lee is one of the strangers met on the road, he talks everyone into completing the search while protecting his sister along the way. Cheryl is the sister of Lee, she is clearly a loose cannon of the four. These are our main characters, while I do understand Lee and Cheryl being the we will do anything for the money, it is the married couple which confused me because they seem to be leaving a life above their pay checks as it seems clear they should be able to afford the basics of a home with the jobs they could do.

PerformancesThe performances from the four leads are good through the film, they make each character feel individual from one another, we understand the struggles their characters are going through too.

StoryThe story here shows how four people can be driven by greed when it comes to getting rich quickly, we have an air of tension between the two couples as they don’t know who to trust when it comes to searching for the gold. The story does focus too much on Will’s side of things even though we learn in the opening scene that he survives, leaving us not having any belief in the peril he is in. the story keeps everything serious which is strange because of the decision-making process the characters are making.

MysteryThe movie does have a mystery about whether the gold is real and who can be trusted which does try to keep us guessing along the way.

SettingsThe film does keep the film in the wilderness of the Canadian snow covered mountain range as the search for the gold does one.

Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We know Will survives, so watching his solo peril adventure seems almost pointless.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good mystery thriller, it keeps everything against the weather which is good while the human nature takes over through the film too.


Overall: Solid thriller worth watching.




ABC Film Challenge – Horror – N – The Night Watchmen (2017)

Director: Mitchell Altieri

Writer: Ken Arnold, Dan DeLuca, Jamie Nash (Screenplay) Ken Arnold, Dan DeLuca, Jamie Nash (Story)

Starring: Ken Arnold, Dan DeLuca, Kevin Jiggetts, Kara Lutz, Max Gray Wilbur, James Remar


Plot: Three inept night watchmen, aided by a young rookie and a fearless tabloid journalist, fight an epic battle for their lives against a horde of hungry vampires.

Tagline – Let’s Go Kill Some Dead People!

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Bloody Horror Comedy


Story: The Night Watchmen starts when Justin (Wilbur) gets a new job as a security guard with Ken (Arnold), Luca (DeLuca) and Jiggetts (Jiggetts) putting him through the ringer on his first night. When a coffin is delivered by accident it has a body of an infected clown.

When the virus starts infecting the employees in the building the four hapless security guards must work together to save the company cutie Karen (Luiz) and escape from the undead vampires running riot in the building.


Thoughts on The Night Watchmen


Characters – Ken and Jiggetts are the two louder security guards, they test the new staff and go on the jobs leaving Luca behind, Ken is the closest to the smartest of the guys, while Jiggetts plays into the stereotype to black guy jokes. Luca is the mysterious guard that could be a seeing him in hiding, this is interesting to watch as we wonder what he will do next. Karen is the cutie the guys have a crush on, she is the one they try to rescue during the attack. Justin is the new guard on his first night which is going to be something he never saw coming.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast are good, the chemistry between Arnold and Jiggetts is the highlight of the film, while DeLuca keeps the mystery about his character throughout. Kara Luiz is good, though she isn’t the fearless warrior figure we could have seen.

StoryThe story here is simple, which we like, it follows four security guards and one employee that must work together to survive vampire zombies that have infested the building. This sees the hapless attempts they must try and escape, poking fun at certain traits of the genre along the way. It does bring us a comical idea of a villain, as we haven’t seen zombie vampires before, well I haven’t. this is a self-aware story that knows not to take anything too seriously and enjoy telling the audience the story.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in this film is happy to poke fun at the genre, it doesn’t want to take the film too seriously which is fun to watch. The horror side of the film comes from the countless number off vampire zombies that are killing anyone coming through to get them.

SettingsThe film takes place in the building which shows how the guards can’t leave because the threat is outside and can’t let the increasing number of vampire zombies escape either.

Special EffectsWhen we get to have practical effects, the film is good because it is buckets of blood, the CGI moments do miss but for the scale of them it was the only option.

Scene of the Movie –
Shot to the head.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The large CGI moment near the end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun horror comedy that gets the laughs right, never takes itself seriously and even brings us a new threat in a villainous set of vampire zombies to battle.


Overall: Funny, enjoyable and bloody.




Navy Seals vs Zombies (2015)

Director: Stanton Barrett

Writer: Matthew Carpenter (Screenplay) A.K. Waters (Story)

Starring: Ed Quinn, Michael Dudikoff, Rick Fox, Chad Lail, Molly Hagen, Mikal Vega, Kevin Kent, Lolo Jones


Plot: A team of highly skilled Navy SEALS find themselves embarking on the battle of their lives when they come face-to-face with the undead. After a deadly outbreak occurs in Baton Rouge, the SEALS must fight for their lives, and the city, against an army of zombies.


Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Very Basic Zombie Film.


Story: Navy Seals vs. Zombies starts when Vice President Bentley (Fox) is on a campaign trail in the city of Baton Rouge, the city comes under attack by rage filled zombies, forcing him into hiding. In response to the situation Commander Sher (Dudikoff) sends in a highly skilled Navy SEALS team led by LT Pete Cunningham (Quinn) with Carl (Lail), Billy (Vega), Travis (Kent) and new recruit AJ (Lipari) to rescue the VP.

With the plan for the VP underway, it won’t be the only mission for the SEALS need to go on, they must also save the scientists that could have a cure for the outbreak.


Thoughts on Navy Seals vs. Zombies


Characters – LT Pete Cunningham is leading the Navy SEALS, he must put his trust in the newest member of the team in AJ, while trying to get the team through the hordes of zombies to prove once again that his team in the elite military team. Commander Sheer is running the operations from the military base, he doesn’t want to see his men take any unnecessary risks. VP Bentley is the man the team are sent to rescue, he is in the running for the next presidential race. AJ is he newest member of the SEALS team, he is about to become a father and this is his first mission as part of the team, where he must prove himself to the rest of the unit.

PerformancesThe performances in the film suffer because of the lack of interesting non-generic characters. none of the actors get a chance to show their skills as performers, with large parts of the film just being headless running around.

StoryThe story here follows a Navy SEALS unit that must go into Baton Rouge to rescue the Vice president and the scientists behind the outbreak. This is everything a zombie story has given us before, we have a group of people running around a city trying to elude the zombies that outnumber them. We know the team will dwindle down as the film unfolds which is the normal. The starting point for the weaknesses comes from that fact this story is set in a world where zombie film don’t exist, which is clear by all the behaviour through the film. Most of the actual storytelling is saved for the closing of the film which fills in most of the blanks we don’t mention until then.

Action/HorrorThe action in the film is just shooting zombies, it is nothing new and becomes overly repetitive after a while. The horror side of the film gives us zombies that run, they never feel like a threat to the anybody.

SettingsThe film is set in Baton Rouge, which is considered a military area, I think, the truth is, it could have been any city without any major locations being shown.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are weak with even basic door explosion looking weak, the zombie look is acceptable for a low budget film.

Scene of the Movie –
The explaining.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The stupid decisions.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic zombie film that offers nothing new to the genre, it I filled with stupid decisions and generic action.


Overall: Basic zombie nonsense.




ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – N – Nightworld (2017)

Director: Patricio Valladares

Writer: Barry Keating, Milan Konjevic (Screenplay) Loris Curci (Story)

Starring: Jason London, Robert Englund, Gianni Capaldi, Lorina Kamburova, Diana Lyubenova, Atanas Srebrev


Plot: When former LAPD officer Brett Anderson takes a job as head of security at an old apartment building in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, he soon begins to experience a series of bizarre and terrifying events. Once he begins to delve deeper into the building’s sinister history and investigate its shadowy owners and past employees, Brett soon uncovers a malevolent force nestled deep in the bowels of the building that will do anything to be set free into our world.


Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Slow Start, Exciting Finish


Story: Nightworld starts when Brett Anderson (London) takes a job as a security officers in an elite Bulgarian apartment building to help him deal with the death of his wife. Given the grand tour by the manager Martin (Capaldi) Brett sees the strange side to the apartment, with the secret being kept in the basement.

When Brett starts seeing strange images on the cameras he must call Jacob (Englund) to help uncover the truth about the apartment, with local girl Zara (Kamburova) who fills in the rumours that the town has about the building.


Thoughts on Nightworld


Characters – Brett Anderson is a grief stricken for police officer, he retired from the force after his wife’s death, he takes a job as a security guard in an apartment in Bulgaria which leads him to get caught up in a mystery about the apartment which brings him past back to haunt him. Jacob is a former guard that lost his eye sight, he knows the mystery about the apartment and helps guide Brett through the strange events. Martin is the apartment manager and needs to find a new guard to watch over any problems in the apartment when he is away. Zara is the waitress at the local café that offer a romantic angle for Brett, while filling in the blanks about the history of the apartment.

PerformancesJason London is solid enough in the leading role, most of what he does is ask questions which is how the audience must learn what is going on. Robert Englund as the elderly figure that is trying to help works well because he is the biggest draw for the film. Gianna Capaldi and Lorina Kamburova are both fine they never get out of first gear for their performances though.

StoryThe story here follows a man that needs to rebuild his life, get given a job as a security guard for an apartment building that has secrets he can’t even imagine. The pace of the story is slow, because we have a lot of building up with little to no hints to what the big conclusion will be, the final third of the film lets everything go, making the early parts of the story more interesting, the time loss angle does feel tagged in for no reason and by the end you still won’t completely understand what just happened. The reveals in the film are big, though they could be considered overkill for what could have be a much more subtle story.

HorrorThe horror comes from the nightmares Brett suffers before the big reveal in the final act which shows us just what has been going on.

SettingsThe whole film is set in one building, it shows how the layers can hold secrets and the mystery about the building is key t the story being told.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used well when needed, we don’t go over the top with them and the best one are used for the final act.

Scene of the Movie –
Behind the door.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Starts too slow for the ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow burning horror thriller, it does reward us with a manic ending which is worth the wait for, only it does take too long to get there with little hints to help us understand the ending.


Overall: Slow though rewarding.