ABC Film Challenge – Horror – S – The Sand (2015)

Director: Isaac Gabaeff

Writer: Alex Greenfield, Ben Powell (Screenplay)

Starring: Brooke Butler, Cleo Berry, Cynthia Murell, Dean Geyer, Meagan Holder, Mitchel Musso

 

Plot: After an all-night graduation beach party, a group of hung-over twenty-somethings awake to a beating sun, and a seemingly carnivorous beach that devours anything with a heartbeat that touches the sand.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Idea, Terrible Script

 

Story: The Sand starts when graduates Kaylee (Butler), Gilbert (Berry), Ronnie (Murell), Jonah (Geyer), Chanda (Holder), Mitch (Musso) and others have an all-night beach party the hangover is going to be the least of their worries.

The friends find themselves trapped on the whatever they can to avoid the sand which devours anything with a heartbeat that touches it, now the friends must figure out how to get off the beach before they can become victims of whatever is in the sand.

 

Thoughts on The Sand

 

Characters – College students, well we love them being the characters in horror films because even with their education they shouldn’t make panic filled decisions. Kaylee is the smartest and most responsible of the students who is looking forward to her final exams, Gilbert the big guy who gets wedge in a trash can, that is about his character rounded up, Ronnie is the one that just shouts out what could be causing the sand to react the way it is, we don’t really learn too much about any of these characters to be honest.

PerformanceLooking at the performances you can’t help but laugh because due to the awfully written script the actors don’t stand a chance in this film, the reactions from all are terrible, one character says they are in 1000x more pain than a jellyfish sting and it sounds just like they kicked their toe. The performance all around are terrible and you can’t see a single good thing about them.

StoryAfter trashing the script and performances this part will be strange, I did like the idea of the group of friends trapped on the beach with something waiting to eat them in the most painful way possible. I feel this compares to the Creepshow short with the friends trapped on the wooden island with the blob dissolving anything that comes into the water. The problem with the story comes from the characters involved who don’t make normal decisions, the logical ones are clear here and nobody bothers to take any of them one.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror does come from the fate the students will face if they touch the sand which dissolves anyone that touches it. The sci-fi side comes from just what could be in the sand is not of this world.

SettingsThe beach does make for a wonderful setting for this film because it is a normal location people go to and the new threat adds to something people could experience there.

Special EffectsThis is a low budget film so the CGI isn’t going to be great and you can see it through ever scene it is used in.

Scene of the Movie – Barrel of laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dialogue between the characters is so bad, it is either you slept with my boyfriend or is X alright just after they are dissolved.

Final ThoughtsThis film does have a good concept but it fails to use this idea to the full extent due to awful performance and dialogue between the characters.

 

Overall: Fails to use what is has, to become great.

Rating

 

 

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Slaughterhouse Rulez (2018)

Director: Crispian Mills

Writer: Crispain Mills, Henry Fitzherbert (Screenplay) Luke Passmore, Crispain Mills, Henry Fitzherbert (Story)

Starring: Michael Sheen, Hermione Corfield, Simon Pegg, Asa Butterfield, Finn Cole, Nick Frost, Jo Hartley, Hanako Footman

 

Plot: An illustrious British boarding school becomes a bloody battleground when a mysterious sinkhole appears at a nearby fracking site unleashing unspeakable horror.


Tagline – Bloodius. Hellius. Maximus

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Enough Horror

 

Story: Slaughterhouse Rulez starts when Don Wallace (Cole) gets set to a illustrious British boarding school which has produced most of the world leaders a successful businesspeople, while Don is coming from a hardworking family, he is sharing a room with Willoughby Blake (Butterfield) who is the guy that fills in the gaps and knows the ins and outs of the school.

The school headmaster, The Bat (Sheen) has been taking money from a local fracking company who are working just outside the school grounds, which unleashes evil creatures to the school grounds, with the students that haven’t returned home for the weekend, needing to fight back.

 

Thoughts on Slaughterhouse Rulez

 

Characters – Don is the new student being sent to a boarding school, he comes from a common family where he has a close group of friends which he would prefer to be around, he does stick out around the rest of the students, easily breaking the rules around the school. Willoughby is the student that must show Don around the school, he fills in the blanks, has a secret and will be the one that helps Don be prepared for everything in the year. Meredith Houseman is one of teachers, he once attended the school, feeling the pride the school embodies, he will end up helping the students against the evil in the school grounds. The Bat is the headmaster, he has been taking bribes to let the fracking happen and isn’t willing to lose the money coming his way.

PerformancesMichael Sheen and Simon Pegg both look like they are having a lot of fun playing the stuck up British stereotypes which are here for the supporting roles. Finn Cole takes the lead in this film and he does all he can because this film does try to introduce too many different types of characters, not giving the lead enough time to shine, Asa Butterfield does well with his role too, getting to become a supporting character for once, instead of having the weight of the film put on him.

StoryThe story here follows the time at a private British boarding school which sees monsters unleashed on the students, who must fight to save themselves. The weirdest way to describe this film would be to say this is the British boarding school version of ‘Attack the Block’, I say this because we are trying to play into a lot of stereotypes for added comedy to the situation. When we break down this alone we get to see how the British private school system comes off, with the student classes, the students believing they are better than anybody else and how the teachers are trapped in their own illusions. Add in the monsters which is what they feel like, which again disappoints along with one serious side to the story which is almost played out for jokes.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy only works if you find taking the piss out of upper-class English funny, this is what the film is set around getting laughs from. The horror is what the monsters do to the people, it would have been nice to get more time with them, once we do it does work well for blood splatter.

SettingsThe film is set on the grounds of a private boarding school, this is put in an isolated location which does help make the film get added horror elements involved.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are mixed because it does feel like the thrown buckets of blood which for the budget isn’t what you want to see, though the creatures do look frightening at times.


Scene of the Movie –
Monsters unleashed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much upper-class British jokes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun enough horror comedy, it will get the laughs in places and has well created creatures.

 

Overall: British Ripped apart

Rating

 

 

St. Agatha (2018)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Andy Demetrio, Shaun Fletcher, Sara Sometti Michaels, Clint Sears (Screenplay)

Starring: Sabrina Kern, Carolyn Hennesy, Courtney Halverson, Seth Michaels, Trin Miller, Lindsay Seim, Shaun Fletcher

 

Plot: In the 1950s in small-town Georgia, a pregnant young woman named Agatha seeks refuge in a convent.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shock Filled Religious Horror

 

Story: St. Agatha starts in the 1950 Georgia, where young lady Mary (Kern) has become pregnant and goes to a convent for refuge to have her child, the convent is run by Mother Superior (Hennesy) that has strict rules in which the young woman must follow, while the other girls, including Catherine (Halverson) are planning on giving their child up for adoption.

While in the convent, Mary starts to get overly concerned about the behaviour of the rest of the convent, Mother Superior puts her through a gruelling test, renaming her Agatha until she learns her place within the walls.

 

Thoughts on St. Agatha

 

Characters – Mary is a pregnant young lady with a tragic past which saw her running from her abusive father, she seeks refuge to have her child, which sees her in a convent, only for this to be a worse hell than her previous life, she is stuck with the abusive religious nuns that want her baby, even renaming her Agatha. Mother Superior runs the convent, she has strict rules and expects the women to follow these rules or face punishment, she does however want the children to be born, which means the punishments won’t put the babies at risks, she has women under her control, but when it comes to Mary she must go to new extremes to keep her position of power in place. Catherine is one of the few women that offers Mary any help within the walls, she is also pregnant further along than Mary, meaning the two teaming up would mean more risk for her. We do have other girls that are under different levels of control, while we also have other nuns who are trying to prove their level of strictness to the Mother Superior.

PerformancesSabrina Kern in the leading role is great to watch, she brings the broken figure and shows us just how determined she is to make the most out of her life with her child. Carolyn Hennessy does bring us the strict figure required for her role which will show how capable to she to take control of the scenes through the film. the rest of the cast do a solid job throughout, they each get their moment to shine in the film’s story too.

StoryThe story follows a young woman who seeks refuge in a convent to help her have her child only to find the convent is being controlled by nuns that don’t always follow the bible when it comes to helping the young women that come to them for help. With this story we do get to give until the personal life of Mary that does have a tragic past and does show how far she has had to go to fix the problems in her life. The main focus is on the convent which does keep us guessing to what the Mother Superior will do next because they want the babies and can’t risk damaging them, but do need to punish the women. We do get elements of the theme around the idea of cults which does play an important factor in just where the film ends up going. We also have women at different stages of pregnancy which shows us and Mary just what will happen to her if she stays.

HorrorThe horror in the film follows the events in the convent, we get a mix of hauntings and torture, which are only making Mary look like she is losing her mind.

SettingsThe film is set in the convent, we get to see how the locked doors keep people in and just how they are going to be forcing the woman to follow the rules.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are used to show the injuries which aren’t as graphic as they could have been, though they imply horrific injuries given.


Scene of the Movie –
The baby is coming.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It could have gone a lot darker that is does go.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough horror that uses the themes of religious cults to make the horror seem more realistic and shocking.

 

Overall: Religious Cult 101

Rating

 

 

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

Director: Mark Waters

Writer: Karey Kirkpatrick, David Berenbaum, John Sayles (Screenplay) Tony DiTerlizzi, Holly Black (Book)

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Sarah Bolger, Andrew McCarthy, Joan Plowright, David Strathairn

 

Plot: Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures.


Tagline – Experience Their World In IMAX

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Fantasy Adventure

 

Story: The Spiderwick Chronicles starts when a family mother Helen (Parker) and children, Mallory (Bolger), twins Jared & Simon (Both played by Highmore) move to a remote Spiderwick estate. Not long after arriving in the home Jared to rebellious of the twins starts investigating the home only to discovery a mysterious book from the former owner.

Once Jared reads the book, he unleashes a goblin army that has been after the book for years and Mulgarath (Nolte) will do anything to get his hands on the book.

 

Thoughts on The Spiderwick Chronicles

 

Characters – Jared is the out going of the twins, he is the one that reads the book and must convince the rest to fight back against goblins, his nature means people are less likely to believe him through any of his decisions though. Simon is the quieter and smarter brother that must look for the solution to the problems being caused. Helen is the mother that is dealing with raising the three children after her marriage has fallen apart and she needs to start a new life, one she isn’t prepared for. Mallory is the older sister that must be the warrior for the twins. Mulgarath is the goblin king that wants the book to kill any species in the surrounding area.

PerformancesFreddie Highmore takes twin roles here and handles them both very well showing how he can be the smarter kid and the adventurous one too. Mary Louise Parker in the parental role works well as we need her to bring the serious side to the story now. Sarah Bolger is strong too needing to be the strongest member of the children.

StoryThe story takes three siblings into a battle with goblins with fantasy creatures being used to guide the way in this battle. This will bring the broken family back together, well back to the level they are going to need to get used too. The scale of the book doesn’t give the story enough credit because it feels like this book has created a massive world only for us to get a snippet into everything. this story doesn’t re-invent the wheel because we can see the formula unfold without needing to guess to much on just how thing go on. We do deal with a big family change which should be the focal point through the film too.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of the film takes the family into battle against the creatures of the forest which are invisible to most of the world, this plays into the fantasy side too because of the creatures we see at war.

SettingsThe film takes the family to a new house that is in the middle of the forest, which shows us the finical change the family must take, as well as the adventures waiting in the forest for people to experience.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong for the most part because we get to see the different creation looking like they would fit in the normal world.


Scene of the Movie –
Come with me.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not getting a full grasp of the scale of the fantasy world.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fantasy adventure that brings the characters into a world which will unite them as they deal with the biggest change of the children’s life.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

She’s Just a Shadow (2019) Movie Review

Director: Adam Sherman

Writer: Adam Sherman (Screenplay)

Starring: Tao Okamoto, Haruka Ade, Kihiro, Kentez Asaka, Mercedes Maxwell, Marcus Johnson, Haruna Ayane

Plot: A beautiful Japanese madam and her ladies. A deranged, drug-addled Tokyo gangster and his crew. A sadistic serial killer on the loose. The intersection of these stories, and the interior world of the characters, plays out against a dreamlike backdrop of ultraviolence and orgiastic sex, as everyone tries futilely to rewrite their futures and cheat death.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sex, Drugs, Repeat

Story: She’s Just a Shadow starts with Irene (Okamoto) a pimp in Tokyo that supplies the girls for the like gangsters drug addict Gaven (Kihiro) and his partner the ultra-aggressive Red Hot (Asaka), all in the back drop of a serial killer that pleasures himself to his victims while waiting for them to be run over by trains.

When the serial killer starts to target Irene next, he puts together his plan to get her alone, while Gaven fights for control of the whole city against his rival from the other side of town.

Thoughts on She’s Just a Shadow

Characters – Irene is the pimp for the gangsters, she supplies the girls as part of a family traditions, nobody dare touch her because of the connections she has, she does what she can to protect her girls, when the serial killer is picking off the local prostitutes. Gaven is the drug addict gangster, he is spiralling out of control with his actions. Red Hot is the aggressive gangster, if anybody starts a fight, he will finish it no matter how many people get killed in the situation.

PerformancesThis is a movie where it is hard for the main cast to perform, because of the excess pointless orgy scenes. When we get solo scenes, we do some strength, but not enough, Tao Okamoto is one of the few parts of the film you want to see more from, Kihiro becomes hard to watch as his drug addict side of things. Kentez Asaka does the loose cannon stuff well, but is basic for the most part of the film.

StoryThe story here follows pimps and gangsters who are in a battle for power, who are being picked off by a deranged serial killer and set out to stop him. When we break this story down, the side that involves the serial killer, is interesting and risky because of just how twisted the killer is. Whenever we get into the gangster and pimp side of the film, we are going through the same drug filled orgies that just don’t seem have have any point to them. We get more scenes that feel like music videos that don’t push the story forward in any way, than actual progression in taking on the serial killer.

CrimeThe crime side of the film puts us in the world most of these characters would operate in, filled with drugs and prostitution, it is the extremes of this world too.

SettingsThe film is set in Tokyo which takes us to the main locations the seedy underworld the criminals would operate in.


Scene of the Movie – The serial killer side of the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The pointless filler scenes of orgies and drugs, most serve no purpose for the story.

Final Thoughts This is a film that seems to forget how to tell a story and spends nearly all of the film just make music videos, while letting the interesting side of the film slip away from the audience.

Overall: Painfully experience.