ABC Film Challenge – Horror – T – The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) Movie Review

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Writer: Robeto Aguirre-Sacasa, Earl E Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Addison Timlin, Veronica Cartwright, Anthony Anderson, Travis Tope, Joshua Leonard, Andy Abele, Gary Cole

Plot: 65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the so-called ‘moonlight murders’ begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl, with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching him.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slasher 101

Story: The Town That Dreaded Sundown starts when Jami (Timlin) and her boyfriend Corey (Clark) are attending the drive-in-movie-theatre showing the movie based on the real murders set in Texarkana 65-years-ago, moving to lover’s lane the killer known as The Phantom catches them, murdering Corey, leaving Jami with a message and the town is thrown back into fear again.

When the Phantom strikes again, he leaves Jami with a warning that he stop until she gives up her own secret, with the town bringing in the Texas Rangers Lone Wolf Morales (Anderson) to hunt down the before more people are murdered, is this the original killer returning or a copycat.

Thoughts on The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Characters – Jami breaks the mould of the final girl, she is a survivor of the first attack being left with a message of trying to find Mary. Jami starts looking into the history of the town going in search of what happened 65 years ago, needing to decide about her own future in the town or going off to college. Jami isn’t a teenager that is going to be running, she is almost like the messenger for the killer. Lillian is the grandmother of Jami, she has raised her after her parent’s death, she wants what is best for her even though she might know something about the past. Lone Wolf Morales is a Texas Ranger that has come to the town in search of the answers, he has taken complete control of the investigation and will listen to any story which might uncover the truth about what is happening. Nick is the former classmate of Jami’s he works in the achieves where he helps Jami learn about the history of the town becoming a new love interest for her.

PerformancesAddison Timlin in the leading role makes for a great scream figure, while not just looking like a victim. Anthony Anderson does seem to bring a little bit of humour to the film, while the rest of the cast don’t put a foot wrong.

StoryThe story here follows a town which suffered from a serial killer spree 65-years ago, a film which bought back the memories and now a new killer has arrived killing mindlessly through town. This story might follow elements of the traditional stalker killer, which for the most part is an easy watch, when it jumps out to the next level of being a meta sequel, while also taking the story in a new direction, we get a nice mix of the three, with the idea that this is based on an unsolved murder spree, a reality check on a film that is about those murders and a potential copycat or supernatural killer, we are kept guessing. The story however is filled with weaknesses because we did get hints of people that would have been involved and they just seem to drop the potential of us having suspects, while the killer reveal is also largely disappointing by the end. This story does make us feel like we are watching a more serious version of Scream with how the world is created around us.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is a blood soaked slasher style, we get plenty of rules being broken for that genre too, with Jami not being killed in the opening attack, we also get to see how the killer isn’t slow and is predatory at times, with the mystery being around who the killer could be and why they have targeted certain people through the film.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town on the border of two states, this means we get the police arguing over who should lead the case, as well as being in a place with a history of a serial killer.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we know we are going to get plenty of blood with the kills that aren’t as bloody as they could have been, but show the brutality of the kill.


Scene of the Movie – The aerial field shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The killer reveal is weak.

Final Thoughts This is a slasher that is a joy to watch because it turns the rules of the genre on its head, even if the final reveal is the weak point of the film.

Overall: Slasher to Admire.

Tailgate (2019) Movie Review

Director: Lodewijk Crijns

Writer: Lodewijk Crijns (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeroen Spitzenberger, Anniek Pheifer, Roosmarijn van der Heok, Liz Vergeer, Willem de Wolf

Plot: A cocksure, road-raging family man finds himself pursued and terrorized by the vengeful van driver he chooses to tailgate.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Tailgate starts as we meet a family, Hans (Spitzenberger), Diana (Pheifer), Milou (Hoek) and Robine (Vergeer) that are travelling across Holland to spend time with a grandparent, Hans does have a problem with road rage, which will see him get caught up in problems on the road, until he gets caught behind a van in the fast lane.

When Hans lets his road rage get the best of him, he starts tailgating a van, the driver Ed (de Wolf) doesn’t take to kindly to being treated this way and looks to terrorise the family.

Thoughts on Tailgate

Characters – Hans is the father that does suffer from road rage, he doesn’t have much patience with things in life, which will see him getting involved in confrontations he doesn’t need too, his latest one, is one that will see him insight a serial killer, he must learn a lesson about how to treat people, while trying to keep his family safe. Diana is the wife who isn’t happy with Hans action when he speeds or gets involved when he doesn’t need to, while Milou and Robine are the two children that are like most kids, fighting between them, but together when they need to be. Ed is the van driver that uses his weapon of choice to hunt down people he believes wrongs him on the road, his is an imposing presence on screen, being the killer that could strike fear into his victims.

PerformancesJeroen Spitzenberger as the father with road rage does seem to have the most to do, with him being more of the target, Willem de Wolf does have a cold disturbing performance where his on screen presence is easily the most terrifying thing about the movie.

StoryThe story here follows a family that are travelling to see a relative, when they get involved in a moment of road rage, which will see a killer come hunting for them, in what will become a cat-n-mouse battle. This is a story that will look very similar to ‘Unhinged’ from earlier this year, obviously this one was made first, but it will see an unstable man looking to get revenge on someone who gave them road rage, it does show how Hans isn’t the cleanest cut person either, seeing him do thing which could upset over drivers. We don’t seem to get the motivation behind Ed’s actions which works in two ways, first he will become more of a threat and secondly you will feel like you want to understand more.

HorrorThe horror in this film comes from knowing what Ed would do to his potential victims, everything happens in daylight, which adds a different level of horror to everything we are watching unfold.

SettingsThe film takes place on the road, it shows how people can lose control behind the wheel, showing there isn’t safety if you feel the wrath of someone on the road.


Scene of the Movie – The chase through the housing area.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The lack of motivation.

Final Thoughts This is a fun cat-n-mouse style horror, that puts the family up against a killer who will do anything to get his own way back, it isn’t an intense as it could be, but the weapon of choice feels slow and methodical.

Signature Entertainment presents Tailgate on Digital HD 26th October

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Netflix Movie Review

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Writer: Aaron Sorkin (Screenplay)

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharp, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Plot: The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Trial of the Chicago 7 starts as we meet the defendants, Tom Hayden (Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Sharp), Abbie Hoffman (Cohen), Jerry Rubin (Strong), David Dellinger (Lynch), John Froines (Flaherty), Lee Weiner (Robbins) and Bobby Seal (Abdul-Mateen II) who are from different peaceful political protest, which has turned into an uprising.

Now FBI prosecutor Richard Schultz (Gordon-Levitt) is assigned to convict the eight with their lawyers William Kunstler (Rylance) and Leonard Weinglass (Skenkman), with Julius Hoffman (Langella) running the case, which slowly starts to spiral out of control.

Thoughts on The Trial of the Chicago 7

Characters – Tom Hayden and Rennie Davis are the leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society, who want to lead a peaceful, by the book protest, not for show, but to make a statement. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin are the leaders of the militant Yippies who have the same motivations, but are willing to turn to drugs to get their message across, they are more outspoken than the rest of the group, looking to turn the trial into the circus the press would eat up, continuing press conferences through the trial. Bobby Seale is a member of the Black Panthers, who went to Chicago for speecher, he isn’t given a lawyer or even give a chance to defend himself through the trial. David Dellinger is a family man that is willing to follow these men, along with John Froines and Lee Weiner. Richard Schultz is the FBI prosecutor that hired to make conviction against the seven, it is his first major trial, he might not personally believe the men are guilty, but he is forced into trying the same case. William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass are the two lawyers defending the seven, not Bobby Seale, they finding themselves looking to fight against judge who has already made his own mind up.

PerformancesThis is one of the most stacked casts you will ever see in film history, each member of the cast is flawless through the movie, we could easily see this film win the best Ensembled cast award.

StoryThe story here follows the trial of the Chicago 7 who have been accused of causing the Chicago riot during the Democratic National Convention, as we slowly see the events unfold through the trial, which is filled with twists and turns along the way. This is a story that plays into the courtroom drama that is brilliant to watch, filled with the serious matters, as well as having a lighter side through the case. This is a big moment in history and while we might not know the complete truth of the events, but how everything unfolds, highlights the horrors of the events. Having a large cast, we do have to see a large number of people get their side of the events, each leading to the biggest one, seeing how the seven were looking for the same outcome, with the different style of approach.

ThrillerLike most courtroom dramas, we are left on the edge of our seats watching this unfold through the film.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the courtroom, while we do see the building the case rooms and where the accused event was meant to have happened.


Scene of the Movie – Abbie takes the stand.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We miss large parts of the trial.

Final Thoughts The Trial of the Chicago 7 is one the most brilliant movies of the year, with an all-star cast that truly shine from the opening introduction to the final conclusion.



ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – T – Trading Places (1983)

Director: John Landis

Writer: Timothy Harris, Herschal Weingrod (Screenplay)

Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Ameche

 

Plot: A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.


Tagline – Some very funny business.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful, Though Dated

 

Story: Trading Places starts as we meet high flying investor Louis Winthorpe III (Aykroyd) who has made his bosses Randolph (Bellamy) and Mortimer (Ameche) millions of dollars, he is preparing to marry is long term girlfriend, life is good for him until he clashes with Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) a homeless wise cracker.

When the Duke brothers decide to make a wager, they decide to try and prove they can make Billy Ray as successful as Louis, but also show they can destroy Louis in the progress. We are left to see the two men adapt to their new lives trying to understand just what is happening.

 

Thoughts on Trading Places

 

Characters – Louis Winthorpe III has been living the life of with a silver spoon in his mouth his whole life, protected from any hardship as he rises up the ranks to be considered the very top employee. He is going to get married to the girl he was always going to be with until he must learn to live with nothing after being put in a bet. Billy Ray Valentine is a homeless street wise cracker that gets wrongfully accused of a crime only to be placed into a bet given a life with money, wealth and a job. He adapts to the new life like a fish to water. Randolph and Mortimer are two brothers that have too much money to know what to do with a resort to bets over people’s lives. Ophelia is a hooker that gets used as part of the bet to help ruin Louis’ life, she ends up teaching him about the right way to live with no money.

PerformancesDan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy are both wonderful with their comedy moments they both get to show different stage of their comedy from rich and poor situations. Ralph Bellamy and Dom Ameche are both good as the rich businessmen that work with money over anything else. Jamie Lee Curtis turned heads with her role here which people were not expecting to see.

StoryThe story here follows two rich businessmen that put a bet on that they can switch the lives of a successful businessman with a homeless street hustler. This is shows us just how rich people can have too much money for their own good and their aimless fun can ruin lives. See the swap between the two gives them both a chance to learn a lesson about acting different towards people who have their own stories. There are certain jokes which just don’t work for the modern times because they go into race related that wouldn’t stand up now. For the important message that the two learn is the highlight of the film.

ComedyThe comedy in the film shows how Aykroyd and Murphy were on the top of their game in this decade, we get both sides of their skills to rather than just sticking to a solo character.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in New York, for the 80s this was perfect because of the investment game that was going on at the time and still is.


Scene of the Movie –
Joining forces.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The racial comments wouldn’t work now.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great 80s comedy that hits nearly all the jokes, shows two performers at their best in the comedy world and teaches a good life lesson.

 

Overall: Classic 80s comedy.

Rating

 

 

The Tunnel (2019) Movie Review

Director: Pal Oie

Writer: Kjersti Helen Rasmussen (Screenplay)

Starring: Thorbjorn Harr, Ylva Fuglerud, Lisa Carlehed, Mikkel Bratt Silset, Peter Forde

Plot: When a truck crashes inside a tunnel, people on their way home for Christmas are brutally trapped in a deadly fire. With a blizzard raging outside, and the first responders struggling to get to the accident, it’s every man for himself.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Tunnel starts on Christmas Eve with a blizzard outside and the Norwegian tunnel system under control, families are looking to get home for Christmas, when a lorry gets involved in an accident inside one of the large tunnel systems, with people trapped inside the smoke fills the tunnels as Stein (Harr) leads the rescue crew, which includes trying to save his own daughter Elise (Fuglerud).

Thoughts on The Tunnel

Characters – Stein is a fire and rescue operator, one that has become distant from his daughter, which is always a strain on their relationship over Christmas, he leads the rescue which starts out like normal, until he learns his daughter is inside the tunnel, where he will risk everything to rescue her. Elise is the distant daughter that is trapped in the tunnel, she uses her own survival skills to try and keep the passengers of the bus alive, this will give her a chance to follow in her father footsteps when it comes to becoming a heroic figure to some. We do meet the rest of the rescue team that are put in the impossible position of not knowing what to do next, other victims that are trapped that need rescuing, which are here to add even more drama to the events of the film.

PerformancesThorbjorn Harr in the leading role shows us the determination to first make up his relationship with his daughter and secondly his strength to fight to save people. Ylva Fuglerud leads the supporting with ease, as the whole cast looks great through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the events of a disaster in a tunnel in Norway, which sees people trapped in the smoke-filled tunnel with a race against time to survive. When it comes to disaster movies, we are used to seeing a big over the top moment, while this one brings us a more realistic idea of what could happen, if an accident happened, it is a slow build that occurs, with the threat being smoke over explosions. This is based on a real event, which does make us wonder just how much was real, or was it just the idea a tunnel got filled with smoke.

ThrillerWe are kept on the edge of our seats through this film, left waiting to see what will happen next.

SettingsThe film keeps the action inside the tunnel, which improves the intensity going on through the film.


Scene of the Movie – The last call.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain things characters don’t seem to use common sense.

Final Thoughts This is a great realistic looking disaster film that brings the importance of needing to save a loved one, no matter what it takes.

Signature Entertainment presents The Tunnel on Digital HD 21st September