ABC Film Challenge – Horror – O – The Other Side of the Door (2016)

Director: Johannes Roberts

Writer: Johannes Roberts, Ernest Riera (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto, Sofia Rosinsky, Logan Creran, Suchitra Pillai

 

Plot: After her young son is killed in a tragic accident, a woman learns of a ritual which will bring him back to say goodbye, but when she disobeys a sacred warning, she upsets the balance between life and death.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average at Best

 

Story: The Other Side of the Door starts as our family Maria (Callies), Michael (Sisto) and children Oliver (Creran) and Lucy (Rosinsky) relocate to India for work, with things sounding almost perfect disaster strikes the family, Oliver the eldest son is killed in an accident, leaving Maria with nightmares of not being able to save him.

Learning of a ritual which would give Maria a chance to communicate deceased son she goes along with the idea. The ritual involves being able to talk through a door, but the rule is, you must never open the door.

Maria doesn’t follow this instruction and opens the door too early, upon returning home the Maria and daughter Lucy start believing Oliver has returned but with this comes consequences Maria hadn’t even began to imagine.

 

Thoughts on The Other Side of the Door

 

Characters/PerformanceMaria is a grieving mother still struggling with the idea that she couldn’t save her son from an accident, she even tries to kill herself but when she learns of a method to say goodbye she goes too far and releases the dead, now with a smile on her face she must face the consequences she has created. Michael is the husband but isn’t involved in too much of the events of the film. Lucy is the daughter that was saved in the accident and befriends the spirit Oliver.

Performance wise, Sarah is fine in the leading role but doesn’t go down as one of the better horror performances. Jeremy is fine but under used in the film while the rest of the cast don’t make much of an impact either.

StoryAmerican woman in a new country loses son and learns of a local ritual she could never understand that could give her one last conversation with her son but breaks the rules. This is ABC stuff with little to no twists along the way and tries to play into the idea that Indian culture can speak to the dead which I am not sure how actuate this is.

HorrorWe have simple scares that a horror fan will know are coming and end up just not hitting the marks it needs too.

SettingsThe film is set in India but apart from a couple of odd moments in the streets you could have guessed this would have been any location really.

Special EffectsThe effects are all fine, good when used and mostly practical.

Final ThoughtsThis horror misses the potential it could have had, the problem is trying to give us a new culture clashing with American making the mistakes but it just doesn’t click.

 

Overall: This horror mostly plain and not hitting the levels.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Franchise Weekend – Open Water 2: Adrift (2006)

Director: Hans Horn

Writer: Ada Kreutner, Collin McMahon, David Mitchell, Richard Speight Jr (Screenplay)

Starring: Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight Jr, Niklaus Lange, Ali Hillis, Cameron Richardson, Eric Dane

 

Plot: When a group of friends fail to lower the ladder of their boat, they find themselves stranded in the surrounding waters and struggle to survive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Thriller

 

Story: Adrift starts as Amy (Pratt) along with husband James (Speight Jr) as she reunites with old friends for Zach’s (Lange) birthday, we also are joined by Lauren (Hillis) on Dan’s (Dane) yacht with his new flame Michelle (Richardson) for a weekend at sea.

Amy has a fear of the water to which Dan tries to cure by taking her into the ocean, with the rest of the friends, but this brings back all the traumatic memories and to make things worse the friends forgot to put a ladder up. The friends must now figure out how to get back onto the boat where Amy’s baby is sleeping.

 

Thoughts on Adrift

 

Characters/PerformanceAmy is the new mother with a fear of the water thanks to a childhood incident, she goes on this trip to see old friends but must face her fears to survive and save her baby. James is the husband of Amy that is meeting most of these friends for the first time. Zach is the birthday boy that brings the friends together, we see how he has always had a crush on the other friend Lauren the daredevil of the group who has travelled the world. Michelle is the new flame of Dan’s who has never met the other people and is a party animal.  Dan is the owner of the boat and has been letting his money pay for the parties for the groups whole time.

Performance wise, it would be fair to say everybody in this film is fine, not great, not bad just fine because there isn’t too much acting to be done here.

StoryThe story is simple, six friend find themselves trapped off their boat in the middle of the ocean after forgetting the ladder. We have the struggle to find a way to get back on the boat and that is the story, sure, we do have a few weak emotional connections to what the guys could have achieved but nothing that strong here.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure breeds the nightmare that is the horror of potentially drowning while you are so close to safety, it does work because it doesn’t get to the full extremes.

SettingsThe middle of the ocean is always an easy and reliable setting for a film like this to unfold and easily the highlight of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is solid and does work for all the horror it tries to give us, the problem is while the peril is scary it is mostly just waiting to die.

 

Overall: Solid but not edge of your seat stuff here.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Open Water (2003)

Director: Chris Kentis

Writer: Chris Kentis (Screenplay)

Starring: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis

 

Plot: Based on the true story of two scuba divers accidentally stranded in shark infested waters after their tour boat has left.


Tagline – Who will save you?

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Little Thriller

 

Story: Open Water starts as we follow our young couple Susan (Ryan) and Daniel (Travis) who set off for a holiday in the Caribbean, filled with sun, sea and sand. One of their planned activities is a diving trip and heading off in this paradise dive we a healthy amount of people.

Their dream paradise trip takes a turn for the worse when during their dive, a miscalculation by the crew leaves the couple stranded in the ocean. The couple find themselves surrounded by different sea life, starting with jellyfish, but soon turns into hungry sharks, how long can they survive this.

 

Thoughts on Open Water

 

Characters – Susan and Daniel are just your everyday couple looking for a vacation, they have the same arguments and making up moments as you would imagine, even after being left stranded in the ocean, they try to remain calm using their knowledge of documentaries to survive. We must follow them for most of the film, so you will have to get used to their characters.

PerformancesDaniel and Blanchard do a good job holding our attention through the film, they must work and not being given the whole over panicking idea does help with their performances.

StoryThe story keeps everything simple, a couple head off on a diving trip only to be left behind in the open ocean, we follow as we see if they can survive as they wait for rescue with sharks starting to sense an easy meal. This does everything it needs to with the story, we don’t need to get overly invested in the supporting characters and just focus on the hopelessness the main characters must be feeling.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure takes our characters into the open ocean, the horror comes from being left there waiting for rescue, it is simple but effective.

SettingsThe setting is in the title, we have the couple in the middle of the ocean, no clue of direction which adds to the tension being felt through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The first shark appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me the reckless counting system.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller, it makes something people could be doing a leisure into a terrifying experience as the couple don’t do anything wrong to be left, they follow the ideas to survive and are left hoping someone could rescue them.

 

Overall: Simple and effective.

Rating

 

 

Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz (2013)

Director: Kieran Parker

Writer: Rae Brunton (Screenplay)

Starring: Bryan Larkin, Ivan Kamaras, Velibor Topic, Laurence Possa, Alec Utgoff, Johnny Meres, Michael McKell

 

Plot: In this third installment of the hit Nazi Zombie action horror movie, Outpost: Rise Of The Spetnaz, we discover the horrifying origins of these supernatural soldiers and see them in ferocious gladiatorial battle against the most ruthless and notorious of all military special forces: the Russian Spetsnaz.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sloppy and Poor Sequel

 

Story: Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz starts in 1945 as we follow a Russian special forces unit led by Dolokhov (Larkin) navigating the German forest looking for the secret base which has rumours of special experiments.

The plan doesn’t go the way they hoped, they find themselves captured or killed, waking in an underground bunker where they must find a way out joined by American spy Rogers (Lambert), they will learn the truth about the German experiments.

 

Thoughts on Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz

 

Characters – Dolokhov is the leader of the Russian military unit searching for the secrets to the German’s work during World War II, he is loyal to his men and when he starts seeing them killed he will fight back no matter what the odds. Captured he goes through the experiments proving to be the best candidate for the Germans. When we reach the rest of the characters, we hit the weaknesses here, we have the rest of the unit which gets picked off bit by bit, the German soldiers and scientist with only one standing out, that being the man running the outpost.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we must face the facts here, the characters are not that interesting which doesn’t give the actors must to work with, Bryan Larkin in the lead role is fine with the combat side of everything, but when it comes to the deep fake accent we see the weakness coming through too often. This is a problem for most of the stars of the film.

StoryThe story here tries to continue to build on the legacy behind this mysterious bunker which was the focal point of the very first Outpost movie, this time we follow Russians that are searching for the bunker only to become the latest victims. Now this has many problems early on, the first film we know this place is abandoned which makes the story interesting, this film tries to explain what happened in the bunker before the English unit finds the location, well I think that is what I saw. The idea that the German’s were doing experiments has been done too much which only leaves us thinking we have seen this before because of the lack of shock behind anything we see. This is a story which doesn’t give us enough investment in the characters to make us care about what is happening through the film.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is war based, with gun shots through the woods, fighting in the bunker and genre hordes of zombie fighting, certain scenes are shot badly with too many cuts and the action does feel clunky. The horror side of the film comes from seeing what the experiments were about and how the zombie like soldiers will not stop, this does play into the sci-fi elements of the film too as we see how far the Nazi’s were going in the war.

SettingsThe film mostly takes place in the bunker, or outpost if you like, it doesn’t feel as claustrophobic as the first film and the lighting makes this a harder watch too.

Special EffectsThe effects are basic and with the editing we lose the moments of gore we would like to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Unleash for the fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing is exciting.

Final ThoughtsThis feels more like a pointless sequel in a franchise which has already gone on too long for its own good.

 

Overall: Dull and lifeless.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Outpost: Black Sun (2012)

Director: Steve Barker

Writer: Steve Barker, Rae Brunton (Screenplay)

Starring: Catherine Steadman, Richard Coyle, Ali Craig, Nick Nevern, Daniel Caltagirone, Gary McDonald, Julian Wadham

 

 

 

 

Plot: The year is 1945, the closing stages of WW2, and a German scientist by the name of Klausener is working on a frightening new technology that has the power to create an immortal Nazi army. Flash forward to present day, and a NATO task force is hurriedly deployed to Eastern Europe, where a sinister enemy appears to be mercilessly killing everything in its path. But this is no ordinary foe. Only Helena, a gutsy investigator on the trail of the notorious war-criminal Klausener, accepts the reality of that they are facing a battalion of Nazi Storm-Troopers, a veritable zombie army on the march. With the help of Wallace, a man who’s been chasing Nazi secrets for years, the two of them team up with a Special Forces Unit to venture deep behind enemy lines. Their mission to fight their way back to the source of this evil army and prevent the seemingly inevitable rise of the 4th Reich.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Idea for the Sequel

 

Story: Outpost: Black Sun starts as we follow Lena (Steadman) in Paraguay searching for German war criminals with her main target being Klausener the man that was involved in the mission Hunt (Wadham) went on last time around. We also see how the effects of the first film have led to the new Third Reich spreading like a virus from the source.

Lena teams up with Wallace (Coyle) to build a team to get to Klausener’s machine to try and bring an end to the war that could be about to bring the promise of the Nazi’s invasion into a world problem.

 

Thoughts on Outpost: Black Sun

 

Characters/PerformanceLena is a strong leading lady, she has been tracking war criminals in the modern time but learning of the existence of Klausener draws her back to Eastern Europe to put an end to his terror. Wallace is an engineer stationed near the bunker who reluctantly helps Lena on her mission as he knows how to stop the machine. The rest of the characters are generic soldiers you barely learn the names of and the now Nazi zombies.

Performance wise, Catherine Steadman does a good job coming into a very male heavy film easily becoming the star performer, with most of the male cast all becoming forgettable by the end of the film.

StoryThe direction the story goes is interesting because it builds on how the last film finished. The idea that the experiment is spreading is a big plus, but the first film had a lot of a supernatural vibe to everything, this time we just get zombies and an elevated sci-fi feel to what is going on. I can understand why things went this way for franchise value but I do feel it takes away from the first film.

Action/HorrorThe action is much heavier in this film as we get to see plenty of fights between the humans and zombies. This increased action does take away from the horror side of the film as it doesn’t reach the horror needed for what is happening.

SettingsThe settings are also a part of this film which lose out by making this a bigger picture, we lose the idea of just one solo location for a bigger battle.

Special EffectsHere is another weaker point, sure the battles and fights all look great but trying to show the effects of a EMP just look cheap whenever they are used.

Final ThoughtsThis is difficult to make my mind up on, I liked the bigger picture going on, but I did find the random jump cuts to after something has happened frustrating, the fast pace also leaves a mixed feeling because it does work but takes away the horror. This is what I would like to think of as a good franchise builder, not saying it is bad but relies on having seen the first and wanting to see more.

 

Overall: Good franchise building horror film.

Rating