ABC Film Challenge – Horror – V – The Veil (2016)

Director: Phil Joanou

Writer: Robert Ben Garant (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica Alba, Lily Rabe, Thomas Jane, Aleksa Pallandino, Shannon Woodward, Reid Scott


Plot: Twenty-five years after members of a religious cult committed mass suicide, the lone survivor returns to the scene of the tragedy with a documentary crew in tow.


Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Nice Mystery


Story: The Veil starts as we learn about Jim Jacobs (Jane) and his religious cult that committed mass suicide at a place known as ‘The Veil’ only one person survived, a young girl. 25-years-later a documentary film maker Maggie Price (Alba) leads a team with the grown-up survivor Sarah (Rabe) back to ‘The Veil’ to learn what happened and why Sarah was spared.

Being back gives Sarah a few answers as she leads the team around the camp discovering a secret stash of videos which show what Jim Jacobs was up to in cult and not everything is what they were expecting as they start to find themselves haunted by the spirits of the cult.


Thoughts on The Veil


Characters – Jim Jacobs is the leader of the cult, he wants to prove the spirit can be separated from the body, did he die in the mass suicide or did he achieve his goal with the other members of the cult. Maggie the lead in the documentary team, she introduces the team and arranges for Sarah to return, she does also have a connection to what happened during the mass suicide. Sarah is the lone survivor from the suicide, she returns as a grown up even if she does seem to be happy to be back to learn the truth.

PerformancesThomas Jane is the highlight of this movie, his performance is filled with all the crazy needed for role. Jessica Alba on the other side of the coin is average to poor throughout, this role could have been played by anyone to a higher level. Lily Rabe does continue to make herself feel like she should be in horror films at all times.

StoryThe story follows the documentary team looking at new evidence which could explain what was happening on the site of a mass suicide. The idea of learning what happened through a mix of tapes which sadly don’t feel like found footage which is the biggest problem. The continuing idea works but the forced horror is the stumbling block here. The story does also have flaws including why didn’t the police investigate the property to find the tapes, I mean come on there was a mass suicide surely raiding every possible location is important in an investigation.

Horror/MysteryThe horror does feel forced for the most part and once we see the final scene feels almost unnecessary, this could easily have just stuck to the mystery thriller side of things and kept us on edge wondering where things will go next.

SettingsThe whole film is set on the Veil, it shows a place that has had mass suicides would be haunting to be around as well as have secrets people might have missed.

Special EffectsThe effects for the ‘found footage’ are way too high of a quality, this is mostly down to one moment feeling like it has the grainy effect but the next we are thrown into that time. The ghost activity is fine but nothing overly impressive.

Scene of the Movie –
The final moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I want to put a couple here, first why did the police not investigate the surrounding area? Why is Jessica Alba a lead actress? The horror is mostly plain old jump scares.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book horror mystery thriller which would have hit higher levels if it had remained just a mystery thriller without the pointless jump scares that miss most times. We also have a forgettable supporting crew in the documentary team.


Overall: Try but don’t buy in.





ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – V – Voice from the Stone (2017)

Director: Eric D Howell

Writer: Andrew Shaw (Screenplay) Silvio Raffo (Novel)

Starring: Emilia Clarke, Marton Csokas, Caterina Murino, Remo Girone, Lisa Gastoni, Edward Bring, Duccio Camerini


Plot: Set in 1950s Tuscany, Voice from the Stone is the haunting and suspenseful story of Verena, a solemn nurse drawn to aid a young boy who has fallen silent since the sudden passing of his mother.

Tagline – Silence is calling

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fizzles Out


Story: Voice from the Stone starts as we meet Verena (Clarke) a nurse that goes from house to house to try and help children that are struggling with problems, her latest job takes her to Tuscany to help Klaus (Csokas) with his son Jakob (Dring) who hasn’t spoken since his mother’s death.

When Verena learns that, Jakob believes he can still communicate with his mother, the case takes on a new direction for her, as she must learn to accept thinking outside of her believed reality for the answers to what is hold Jakob back.


Thoughts on Voice from the Stone


Characters – Verena is a nurse, she is an expert in helping children with problems, her latest job takes her to Tuscany to help a young boy who hasn’t spoken since the passing of his mother. She doesn’t believe in any of the afterlife but must now learn to accept it in this latest case. Klaus is the father of the boy, he an artist and grieving in his own way, hoping to get his son to talk once more. Malvina is the mother that has passed away, she hasn’t remained away though communicating with Jakob through the wall, holding him back, she must get pushed into the afterlife for the family to move on.

PerformancesEmilia Clarke is the biggest selling point of this movie, having one of the most beautiful women in the world, one of the most famous television characters, here she does get to show her serious side, but never reaches the levels we know she could. Marton Csokas is one of the good performers in the European mysterious men roles, here he is no different showing us why he is always picked.

StoryThe story here does get caught up in two minds, the first is just a young nurse trying to help a sick child get over the grieving process, this should be a good enough story, but we get thrown into a mystery about why his deceased mother is talking to him through a stone, while this does have a kicker of a twist and never reaches the true levels of mystery to make us satisfied with how it ended or how we got there either.

MysteryThe mystery does fall flat by the end of the film, because we get part of an answer but not the complete answer.

SettingsThe film does have beautiful settings outside of the house, we get to see moments of stunning scenery from the Tuscany location.

Scene of the Movie –
Pose for me?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ending doesn’t seem to make sense.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving mystery thriller that does make you want to see where things go, but in the end things don’t click to make sense to where it should all be.


Overall: Mystery that lacks the punch.




The Village in the Woods (2019) Movie Review

Director: Raine McCormack

Writer: John Hoernschemeyer, Raine McCormack (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Hope, Rebecca Johnson, Therese Bradley, Phill Martin, Robert Vernon, Sidney Kean, Beth Park,

Plot: Every village, every person, has a secret…none more so than the inhabitants of this isolated, murky village whose fate relies on the luring of two unsuspecting pawns to satisfy their appetite and determine their being.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Atmospheric Horror

Story: The Village in the Woods starts when a couple Nicky (Park) and Jason (Vernon) breakdown on a remote country road, as they search for the pub they are looking to move into as returning residents of the village , with the locals believing Nicky is actually an old resident Rebecca, Charles (Hope), Maddy (Bradley), Vince (Harker) and Emily (Johnson) welcome the couple in to their little village as the new pub landlords.

As the couple spend more time in the village, the locals start to question the identity of Rebecca, as Jason starts to learn more about the village and what they have been practising over the years.

Thoughts on The Village in the Woods

Characters – Nicky is the woman that is pretending to be the long lost daughter of the former pub landlord, she is seen as Rebecca to the locals, who start to question her own identity, she is uneasy being in the village and wants to get out before it is too late, but her partner is reluctant to leave. Jason is Nicky’s partner that is willing to go along with the idea of taking over the pub, he sees it as a new start to for the couple and easy money, he doesn’t see as much strange behaviour from the rest of the villagers. Charles is the head of the village, starting being welcoming to anybody coming to village, including Rebecca, he is somebody that will always be friendly to strangers, like his wife Maddy who will always be welcoming to the rest of the villagers.

PerformancesBeth Park does give us an innocent performance, which is needed for her role, walking into a location that is unknown to her, Robert Vernon does give us the strong performance as the partner that is not willing to believing everything else going on, while Richard Hope and Therese Bradley are the true scene stealers with their performances in the film.

StoryThe story follows a couple that inherit a remote country pub in a small village in the woods only to find that the villagers have their own plans for the new residents. This is a story that is willing to show how the main couple Nicky and Jason aren’t everything they are pretending to be to the villagers, which is important to everything going on. We do go in direction of not seeing everything early on, while everything does add up by the end, it will keep you feeling uneasy for the most part because you will be left guessing to just what will happen next and what the villagers big plan would be.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of the film does keep us wondering just what the villagers what with the new couple, we have moments of unease to help create the scary atmosphere, with the mystery adding to the horror in the film.

SettingsThe setting of the village in the woods is the absolute highlight of this film, by seeing the murky environment, the quiet which the villagers live in, reminds us of what location can be everything for a horror movie.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used to create the atmosphere, we get taken into the murky, fog covered woods, which only helps us feel uneasy.

Scene of the Movie – Escape to the woods.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Slightly too short.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderfully atmospheric horror that just gives you a feeling of unease throughout the duration, with creepy performances from Richard Hope and Therese Bradley.

Overall: Creepy & Atmospheric

The VelociPastor (2018)

Director: Brendan Steere

Writer: Brendan Steere (Screenplay)

Starring: Alyssa Kempinski, Gregory James Cohan, Daniel Steere, Yang Jiechang, Jesse Turtis, Fernando Pacheco de Castro

Plot: After losing his parents, a priest travels to China, where he inherits a mysterious ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first horrified by this new power, a hooker convinces him to use it to fight crime. And ninjas.

Tagline – A Man of the Claw.

Runtime: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Completely Self-Aware

Story: The VelociPastor starts when Doug Jones (Cohan) whose parents are murdered leading to him to loses his faith, Father Stewart (Steere) sends him of a self-discovery holiday, which sees him head to China, when he returns he finds himself having horrendous nightmares and after he meets a hooker Carol (Kempinski), he tries to put everything together.

Once Doug learns that he can turn into a dinosaur, he works with Carol to fight crime to clean up his own town, including the man that murdered his parents.

Thoughts on The VelociPastor

Characters – Doug Jones is a priest that has followed God for years until his parents are murdered outside his church, he goes on a voyage of self-discovery in China, which sees him infected with an illness. Doug have the ability to turn into a dinosaur, where he decides to use this new power to fight crime in his town, getting revenge on the person who murdered his parents and bring down the drug lord. Carol is a local hooker that meets Doug and sees first-hand just what he is capable off, she pushes him into fighting crime, while she can handle herself in combat too. Father Stewart is the mentor of Doug, he has always helped him keep the faith and is willing to let him discover his faith once more. Wei Chan is the local drug lord that has been controlling the crime in the town, along with his ninjas he will be the fight Doug must take on.

PerformancesThis movie does have the over the top performances which does only help make things more entertaining, Greg Cohan in the leading role knowns when to hold things back before going over the top, which helps the character. Alyssa Kempinski is fun in her role, which brings the change in our lead character through the film. The whole cast know exactly the tone of this film and it shows in the their performances.

StoryThe story here follows a priest that gets infected with something that turns him into a dinosaur and decides to go on to fight crime with this new ability. The first thing you must be prepared for is knowing that this film doesn’t take anything serious and is well aware that everything is as ridiculous as it sounds. The idea behind the film is truly original, it is purely fun and wildly over the top. If you do go into this story thinking you are getting something serious, you will be disappointed because this film is completely self-aware of what it is trying to tell.

Action/Comedy/Horror/Sci-FiThe action in the film does play into the comedy, which is silly and over the top, which does include the dinosaur fighting ninja, which helps with the horror and sci-fi elements in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town, this does help with the idea of how silly this film takes itself without needing to go into anything too serious once again.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are practical, this again plays into the self-aware side of the film, which does show with the dinosaur suit fighting ninja.

Scene of the Movie – Dinosaur v ninjas.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The random Father Stewart backstory.

Final Thoughts This is one if not the most self-aware movies you will see, it is so funny you can enjoy laughing through how ridiculous this film is.

Overall: Purely fun.


Villain (1971)

Director: Michael Tuchner

Writer: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais (Screenplay) James Barlow (Novel)

Starring: Richard Burton, Ian McShane, Nigel Davenport, Donald Sinden, Fiona Lewis, T.P. McKenna, Joss Ackland


Plot: In 1970s London, the Scotland Yard orchestrates the downfall of mob boss Vic Dakin after he crosses the line by blackmailing Members of Parliament.

Tagline – You are looking at the face of a Villain.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Basic British Gangster Film


Story: Villain starts as we see how gangster Vic Dakin (Burton) controls London, he has people that will grass on him to the cops with Inspector Bob Matthews (Davenport) trying to bring down the criminal.

Vic continues to use his business connections to stay ahead of the police, with Wolfe Lissner (McShane) being the latest person the inspectors are turning to try and give up Vic’s secrets.


Thoughts on Villain


Characters – Vic Dakin runs London with his criminal activities, he is feared by most people and if you cross him, you will get hurt if not killed. He has become over confident that he can get away with anything, making him one of the prime targets for everyone involved in law. Wolf Lissner works for Vic, he is one of the youngster members of the crew and the one that the police are trying to use to turn on him, even if he the one person that Vic will always turn to. Bob Matthews is the inspector that has been trying to bring down Vic for years, he has risen up the ranks, got the people in the gang, but never been able to get the conviction. Gerald Draycott is the politician that is being blackmailed to keep the business under wraps for Vic.

PerformancesWe do have two big names in his film, first Richard Burton that doesn’t get to show the skill he could bring to a film, while a younger Ian McShane shows us that he could be set for a career in this sidekick gangster role. The rest of the cast are doing all they need to without being in anyway stand out through the film.

StoryThe story follows a gangster that has the power over London, the police have been hunting him for years, but he always finds a way to get out of trouble. This time they get closer than ever before and could finally take down one of the biggest gangsters in London. When it comes to the gangster genre, we don’t really ever get much different when it comes to where the story goes, this one is based loosely on the Kray brother, but for some reason only one of the twins. It does feel like we have seen everything before, we don’t get drawn into support either side of the battle and end up feeling like it is just another gangster film.

CrimeThe crime world we enter shows us just where the criminals operate and just where the police will need to turn to, in any hope of bringing him down.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in London which see just how the criminals operate, where they can get away from crime.

Scene of the Movie –
The opening scene as we see just how Vic can operate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final shot.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical British gangster film that starts with an intense opening, only to become a drag as the film unfolds.


Overall: British Gangster 101.