Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – VooDoo (2017)

voodooDirector: Tom Costabile

Writer: Tom Costabile (Screenplay)

Starring: Samantha Stewart, Ruth Reynolds, Dominic Matteucci, Daniel Kozul, Ron Jeremy

 

Plot: When Dani, an innocent southern girl, vacations to Los Angeles to evade her increasingly complicated life, she learns that escaping her past isn’t as easy as she hoped.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Poor Man’s Baskin

 

Story: VooDoo starts when Dani (Stewart) arrives in LA to stay with her cousin Stacy (Reynolds) for a month to see what the Hollywood lifestyle is like, Dani is portrayed to be an innocent girl but that is wrong she is just like her cousin. Dani has escaped her home town to recover from a bad break up where she has been cursed by the wife of her ex-boyfriend who happens to be a Voodoo Priest.

Dani’s trip takes a turn for the worse when she discovers the wife of her former lover in also in LA and she can’t escape the past that has been cursed upon her with a demon following her every move, waiting to take her to hell.

 

Thoughts on VooDoo

 

Characters/PerformanceDani is portrayed to be from New Orleans, an innocent young woman who is happy to act like a party animal freshly out of a relationship with a married man, this character is very, very annoying because she is way too tourist to put up with. Stacy the cousin is the rocker who we never seen play any music so I guess she is just the tour guide for the first part of the movie.

Performance wise well, I hate saying bad things about actress just making their way in the business because they are only just starting their path, but I really can’t see Stewart or Reynolds getting many roles in mainstream films because Stewart just crying and screaming for the last half of this film just isn’t scary.stars

StoryThe story is based on watching a revenge of a woman whose husband cheated on her with our main character using all her voodoo gifts. The first half is all meeting Dani while the second half is all her time in hell paying for what happened. This is a very visual horror so the story doesn’t need to be too deep.

HorrorI can see a market in the horror world for this film, I really can this has a lot of visually hard to watch horror moments that some people will turn away from but for me this was just a horror that wanted to shock as much as possible but didn’t always get it correct, for a similar story I would say Baskin is far superior when looking at entering into hell.

SettingsThe LA setting is fine, we gets a tourist experience but the more interesting setting is the design of the hell Dani finds herself going through which is dark, disturbing and most of all shocking.

Special EffectsCertain moments of this film are CGI effects that you can see come through badly, while when the film turns to practical effects we are filled with shocks in what we see.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that is hard to watch movie, this is because the first half is all talking with the second all hell based, the director new what he wanted and will satisfy the horror corner that will like this style of horror.

 

Overall: This wasn’t for me but it does have shocking moments in the final half of the film.

Ratingrating

 

 

Short Film Review – VR

Short Film Review

VRvr

Directed byRob Ulitski

StarringBetty Waterhouse, Connor Knight, Matt Beaumont, Kyle Major, Mario Mortez, Emy Lee

Plot SynopsisThe latest virtual reality device is released Tom (Knight) purchases it giving him the chance to experience endless possibilities from the comfort of his home. Tom starts simple with trip to the arcade, a party with a love interest and exercise routine but when a virus comes over his unit, he finds himself haunted by a mysterious woman. We are left to wonder if his reality has become fragmented or is that just part of the system?

Thoughts on VR

There may be more spoilers in this part of the discussion

 

StoryWhen it comes to story telling you only need to able to get the clear points over in a short amount of time, this story accomplishes this by playing into the social or anti-social creation of virtual reality simulators. People can argue the good from virtual reality simulators but we need to go into the negative side of them with this film tackling the idea people could become confused between the two worlds and giving us a fresh look at one of the legends I have recently found and love the concept behind. The creep side of the story goes very well but if you don’t know about the urban legend you might not understand the reasoning behind the haunting figure.

Horror/Sci-Fi/ThrillerLegend of Kuchisake-Onna is a character in horror that is begging for their own film after hearing about it all earlier this year I do feel it will make people run and hide in pure terror, the horror story gives us the first glimpse at the character, while I do think everything works for the film, this is a character I want to see in a full feature on which can tackle the backstory of the character. We enter sci-fi when we deal idea of virtual reality simulator which is very real to the world we are entering now.

Characters/PerformanceWhen it comes to the characters we only get glimpses into their lives which is all we need it is the inclusion of the urban legend character Kuchisake-Onna that surprises and gets the horror needed for the film.

SettingsThe settings are all from inside the apartment with each other settings being inside the virtual reality world.

Final Thoughts This is a great short film that tackles the issue with virtual reality with a horror twist that all come together as a warning about how virtual reality can be to our own lives.

 

OverallThis is a horror thriller that not only introduces us to what could be a horror icon but warns us from virtual reality worlds.

 80

The Vatican Tapes (2015)

vaticanDirector: Mark Neveldine

Writer: Christopher Borrelli, Michael C Martin (Screenplay) Chris Morgan, Christopher Borrelli (Story)

Starring: Michael Pena, Olivia Dudley, Djimon Hounsou, Dougray Scott, Alison Lohman, Kathleen Robertson, John Patrick Amedori, Michael Pare

 

Plot: A priest and two Vatican exorcists must do battle with an ancient satanic force to save the soul of a young woman.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Different Twist to the Possession Film

 

Story: The Vatican Tapes starts as we learn Vicar Imani (Hounsou) is being assigned the latest case of a potential anti-Christ coming through Angela (Dudley), and we have to rewind 2 months to meet Angela a happy young lady from America. While celebrating her 25th birthday Angela suffers a cut to her hand and over the next few days he starts to act very different to how her boyfriend Pete (Amedori) and father Roger (Scott) are used to.

When Angela is involved in an accident she ends up in a coma and Father Lozano (Pena) is bought in to look for answers that could explain the non-medical problems she is suffering from. Angela finds herself in a mental home where the demon inside of her starts to take over bringing in the Vatican to solve the situation.

The Vatican Tapes comes off like a standard exorcism possession case as we follow from early stages to medical investigation, mental home before entering into the exorcism side which I will say is good. The final twist is excellent but for the negatives I have found this sub-genre something that is difficult to find a fresh approach and this ends up down the same road. Well about my favourite part I do think you get a reward with the final outcome though.

 

Actor Review

 

Michael Pena: Father Lozano is the local Priest that is looking over Angela, a former soldier turned Priest start suspecting something unusual but nothing prepared him for his first possession case. Michael is good and well restricted from his normal comic tone we get through his performances.

Olivia Dudley: Angela is the young lady that finds herself being possessed by a demon, it all starts with a small cut before she starts having powers unlike any human acting out of character but can she fight the demon inside her? Olivia is good as the victim in this film.

Djimon Hounsou: Vicar Imani is the man that learns about the Anti-Christ coming to the Earth and must find a way to stop him taking over. Djimon is barely in this film which is a huge disappointment really.

Dougray Scott: Roger Holmes is the father of Angela who has raised her himself and is still very protective of her even after she has started to live her own life. Dougray is very much a supporting character that I don’t understand why we have such a known actor in.

Support Cast: The Vatican Tapes has a supporting cast which are all about wondering what is happening and are trying to solve the problem.

Director Review: Mark NeveldineMark gives us a good couple of twists to the story we are used to seeing.

 

Horror: The Vatican Tapes has all the horror elements need for a possession based movie.

Thriller: The Vatican Tapes does try to keep us guessing throughout which works throughout.

Settings: The Vatican Tapes tries to keep the settings looking like an everyday location to try and show how easily it can happen.
Special Effects
: The Vatican Tapes has good effects to show what is happening with the possession side of the events.

Suggestion: The Vatican Tapes is one for the horror fans to try if you are a possession based fan this is good choice for you. (Horror Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Final twist.

Worst Part: We have seen most of this before.

 

Believability: It’s you want you want to believe

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $8,405,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Tagline:  For 2,000 years the Vatican has recorded evidence of evil. May God have mercy on their souls.

Trivia: The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2009 Blacklist, a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year.

 

Overall: One of the stronger possession based films.

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Vacancy (2007)

vacanyDirector: Nimrod Antal

Writer: Mark L Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Luke Wilson, Frank Whaley, Ethan Embry, Scott Anderson

 

Plot: A young married couple becomes stranded at an isolated motel and finds hidden video cameras in their room. They realize that unless they escape, they’ll be the next victims of a snuff film

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Thriller

 

Story: Vacancy starts as Amy (Beckinsale) and David (Wilson) travelling cross-country, we see early on their relationship has been tested before learning the truth about what has happened the loss of their child. The two find themselves lost in the middle of nowhere with car broken down. With no other options the two spend the night in a motel run by Mason (Whaley).

The night for Amy & David is only just beginning as they find out they are in the real danger as they discover snuff tapes taken from the room and now they find themselves being the next targets of the killers. The two have to uses their brains to make it out of the situation alive by outsmarting the killers.

Vacancy really bottles down to one of the simplest of all the horror genres. Put two characters in an isolated location with nowhere to run against a group of killers which all works for the genre. Having the organised crime being used shows that the killers know what they are doing and careful plan their kills. Saying this I find it extremely annoying that we have what would be consider the couple somehow outsmarting the experienced killers. The build-up leaves us in a non-stop position which works for us as the audience throughout the film without being too believable.

 

Actor Review

 

Kate Beckinsale: Amy Fox is the wife of the couple, she is struggling after the death of their child having to take a cocktail of pills just to get to sleep. She has become distant towards David but now has to turn to him to save her. Kate isn’t as strong as we are used to in this role.girl

Luke Wilson: David Fox is the husband who is trying to keep his marriage together after the death of their child. He is putting in a big effort to save their marriage but seems to being coming up short every time. He does everything he can to make sure she is safe during the events of the film. Luke is solid in this role in a genre we haven’t seen him in before.david

Frank Whaley: Mason is the hotel manager who has been running a snuff film racket, he offers his guests a certain room only to have his crew kill them off. Frank makes for a creepy character in the film.manager

Support Cast: Vacancy has a supporting cast that only includes the fellow killers or victims.

Director Review: Nimrod AntalNimrod does a solid job directing this by keeping us on edge from start to finish.

 

Horror: Vacancy has good horror elements with two people trying to escape human killers.

Thriller: Vacancy does keep us on edge as the film is set over one night.

Settings: Vacancy keeps the couple in one location stuck in the motel area for one night with nowhere to run too.
Special Effects
: Vacancy has good effects when needed but would rather give us the tension.

Suggestion: Vacancy is on for all the horror fans to enjoy. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Tension building.

Worst Part: One couple brings down the whole ring.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $19 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

Tagline: Once you’ve checked in… The terror begins.

 

Overall: Horror that is easy to watch that is filled with tension.

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The Verdict (1982)

verdictDirector: Sidney Lumet

Writer: David Mamet (Screenplay) Barry Reed (Novel)

Starring: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Mile O’Shea, Lindsay Crouse, Edward Binns, Julie Bovasso, Roxanne Hart

 

Plot: A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic

 

Story: The Verdict starts as we see how Frank Galvin (Newman) a lawyer who drinks himself through each day after finding his once promising career turned into ambulance chasing. When Frank gets given a medical malpractice case he could get an easy settlement against the hospital for the Doneghy family, but when he sees the condition the victim is in Frank decides to take the case to trial to redeem him career.

When the family learns that Frank turned down a brilliant financial deal they are furious but Frank having dug this hole must go ahead with his decision with the help of his former partner Mickey Morrissey (Warden) as they plan to go up against the most feared lawyer in the business Ed Concannon (Mason).

The Verdict is a courtroom drama that shows one man going into a court case that could redeem his career even if it is against the odds. The story is pretty simple to follow as the court case is easy to follow and there aren’t any twists involving the case. The story is everything you would like in the genre without every trying to be more.

 

Actor Review

 

Paul Newman: Frank Galvin is a former promising lawyer who has hit the drink as his practise has almost gone. When his former partner offers him an easy settlement case Frank takes things to the next level as he wants to take it on in court proving the full medical malpractice suit. Paul gives us a brilliant performance as the man on both sides of his life.

Charlotte Rampling: Laura Fischer comes into Frank’s life seeing that he is still a good man inside searching for the truth. She keeps his mind away from the drink, but her true nature could put the whole case up in the air. Charlotte is good in this role without getting the full screen time for the characters twist.

Jack Warden: Mickey Morrissey is the former partner and friend of Frank who gives him the case but when he learns that Frank wants to take it to trial he gets to work with the lawyer side of the Frank he has missed for years. Jack is good in this role being the important character for Frank.

James Mason: Ed Concannon is the opposing lawyer that is feared in the law community as he always gets the results. He is fair in the courtroom but will play the games outside of it. James is great in this role even if we don’t see all of his side of the case.

Support Cast: The Verdict has a supporting cast that deals with different sides of the story when it comes to dealing with the case, each member works for how the story unfolds.

Director Review: Sidney LumetSidney gives us a courtroom drama that tackles the sensitive subject for the time the film was made.

 

Drama: The Verdict shows one man trying to redeem himself by taking on the case that could easily change how this law was looked at.

Settings: The Verdict keeps everything in location in which we would see the case put together next to where the case would happen. This keeps everything simple throughout without adding any unrequired scenes.

Suggestion: The Verdict is one I do think all the true cinema fans over the casual fans, should see at least once. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Newman’s performance.

Worst Part: Might be slightly slow for the modern cinema audience.

 

Believability: This could have been a real court case.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 5 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Director.

Box Office: $54 Million

Budget: $16 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

Overall: Classic courtroom drama.

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