Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Hannibal Rising (2007)

Director: Peter Webber

Writer: Thomas Harris (Screenplay) Thomas Harris (Novel)

Starring: Gaspard Ulliel, Rhys Ifans, Li Gong, Dominic West, Kevin McKidd

 

Plot: After the death of his parents during World War II, young Hannibal Lecter moves in with his beautiful aunt and begins plotting revenge on the barbarians responsible for his sister’s death.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Prequel That Doesn’t Click

 

Story: Hannibal Rising starts when we meet a young Hannibal, his family live in a castle in Lithuania during World War II. When the war comes to their home they try to ride it out in the cabin in the woods but tragedy strikes and his parents are killed. Left to look after his younger sister Mischa, Hannibal finds himself trapped with evil soldier Vladis Grutas (Ifans) occupying their home and things will only get worse for him.

8 years later we see Hannibal (Ulliel) now a mute living in his castle but it is now an orphanage for the victims of war, tried of how he is being treated he escapes to find his Aunt Lady Murasaki (Gong) who takes him in, giving him a future. Hannibal studies to become a doctor and shines in that field but what he is really up to, is searching for the soldiers that are responsible for his sister’s death, so he can make them pay, which does grab the attention of war criminal inspector Popil (West) who is also wanting to make the evil pay.

 

Thoughts on Hannibal Rising

 

Characters/PerformanceHannibal is a character we all know from the Silence of the Lambs, one of the most iconic figures of film history. Now we get to learn why he was like this as we see the horrors of war leave him the lone survivor of his immediate family thanks to war horrors, he goes out to get revenge on the people responsible proving he was emotionless all along. Lady Murasaki is the Aunt that takes Hannibal in, she has lost her family through the war too and the two work together to get the revenge. Vladis Grutas is the evil soldier who used war for his own profit killing anyone who got in his way. Inspector Popil is tracking war criminals across Europe, slightly more legally than Hannibal.

Performance wise, Gaspard Ulliel is good as the emotionless killer, he shows a man with nothing left to live for. Li Gong is good but only in the smaller supporting role. Rhys Ifans always makes for a good villain and this time we get to see him in the lead villain role.

StoryThe story behind one of the great screen characters of all time will always be a test because we will be left wondering do we need to know his origin story? The answer here turns Hannibal into a full blown vigilante which could work for a fresh approach for a film but giving this to Hannibal come off feeling slightly short.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the story is all in the revenge side of film as we see how Hannibal sets out to avenge his sister’s murder. The thriller tries to keep us on edge but fails to achieve this on all levels.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different places war criminals could hide out in, we get to see just how main different places Hannibal must look to find those responsible.

Special EffectsAll the effects come off very well making us truly understand what just happened with the moment of horror.

Final ThoughtsThis is a prequel that just doesn’t seem to click the way you would like it all to, we didn’t need to learn more about Hannibal’s early days, but this could be a fantastic thriller for an original character.

 

Overall: A film we didn’t need but one that could have worked.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Tattooist (2007)

Director: Peter Burger

Writer: Matthew Grainger, Jonathan King (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Behr, Mia Blake, David Fane, Robbie Magasiva, Ian Vincent, Caroline Cheong, Nathaniel Lees, Michael Hurst

 

Plot: A young artist unknowingly plays a role in releasing a deadly spirit as he attempts to learn tatau, the Samoan tradition of tattooing.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Idea for Horror

 

Story: The Tattooist starts as we follow Jake Sawyer (Behr) a young tattoo artist who wants to learn the ways of the cultures behind tattooing, leaving Singapore he learns of an older way of printing a tattoo. Heading to New Zealand he wants to continue to learn about the Samoan technique.

When Jake accidentally touches a piece of equipment used in printing the tattoos he finds his hand infected by something that seems to spread and doesn’t clean off. Travelling around with his guide and friend Sina (Blake) he Jake gets embraced by some within the Samoan culture but others want him out, but he needs to learn what is causing the infection in his hand, as the people he has tattooed are being consumed by their tattoos.

 

Thoughts on The Tattooist

 

Characters/PerformanceJake is the young tattoo artist who wants to learn each and every culture behind the art of tattooing, he finds himself learning something he shouldn’t going against the culture he has been studying. Sina is the guide and love interest of Jake that takes Jake into the world of Samoan tattooing.

Performance wise, well this is the first of the negatives, I didn’t think anybody in this film shines to any level to show any fear or believable dialogue in the interaction the characters have.

StoryThe story is one that comes off very interesting, diving into the beliefs of culture behind the art of tattooing. The idea that we dive into the ancient beliefs is a huge plus, along with how the spirit comes for the victims. Where the story does fall short is within the inconsistencies with how the spirit acts toward finishing everything off. We also have issues with how certain people never truly follow what they believe when it comes to the tattooing.

HorrorCertain moments do come off horrific in places as we see how the people get consumed by the tattoo but otherwise it all comes off quite soft in the end.

SettingsThe settings show the different cultures Jake is learning about, which is all good but nothing becomes iconic for what is going on.

Special EffectsThe special effects also come off slightly weak as you can see the CGI going on through the killing scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice idea for horror as mixing the true culture behind a belief with horror can come off very effective, but other times I can miss when it comes to the final product.

 

Overall: Easy to watch but slightly weak horror film.

Rating

 

 

The Orphanage (2007)

orphanangeDirector: J.A. Bayona

Writer: Sergio G Sanchez (Screenplay)

Starring: Belen Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Princep, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla, Andres Gertrudix

 

Plot: A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Ghost Story

 

Story: The Orphanage starts as Laura (Rueda) Carlos (Cayo) and their son Simon (Princpe) return to the Orphanage where Laura grew up in to adopted other children with handicaps. While getting the house prepared we learn that Simon has a HIV but just like every child is happy to make new friends in the strangest of locations.

Simon’s new friend is Thomas who during the opening of the home turns up to be real but this leads to Simon going missing and we watch how Laura and Carlos go to all the lengths they can to find their own adopted son whose disappearance goes deeper into the history within the orphanage.

The Orphanage gives us one of the most beautiful ghost stories ever put to film, with such perfectly placed music and most importantly no unnecessary horror. We do get elements of a ghost mystery film which of course you all know is my favourite sub-genre of horror film but this more about the relationship between a mother and her adopted son. This film will break your heart but somehow leave you with a smile on your face with the final shot. There really isn’t a single bad thing to say about this film because it is a near perfect class on story telling.

 

Overall: One of the most perfect ghost stories ever put to film.

Rating90

 

 

The Golden Compass (2007)

Director: Chris Weitz

Writer: Chris Weitz (Screenplay) Philip Pullman (Novel)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Ben Walker, Freddie Highmore, Ian McKellen, Eva Green, Sam Elliott

 

Plot: In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Been Here Seen This

 

Story: The Golden Compass starts in a world with parallel universes where the human spirits can walk next to humans in animal form known as daemons, with a Golden Compass being the only way to find the different universes. We meet young Lyra (Richards) who lives with her Uncle Lord Asriel (Craig) who is an adventurer that is seeking the Dust which can travel between universes.

With the children getting taken by Goblers Lyra in her high life promises to search for poor boy Roger’s (Walker). Lyra is chosen by Mrs Coulter (Kidman) to help with her research in the North which just so happens to be where Lord Asriel is heading, in what looks like a battle for the dust.

Learning that Mrs Coulter is behind the missing children Lyra teams up with a host of other characters in the Gyptians as they search for the children and her Uncle before Coulter’s research is complete.

 

Thoughts on The Golden Compass

 

Characters/PerformanceLyra is the type of leading child you will need for this type of film, she comes from a rich background, she is curious and brave. Mrs Coulter comes along as the villainous character that believes in the cause she is fighting for with Lord Asriel is the explorer looking to change the future. The rest of the characters do their part well as Lyra goes on her adventure.

Performance wise, Kidman and Craig both do a good job in their roles, but it is Richards that really struggles in the lead role, she is meant to come off posh but too often comes off a common which takes away from the character.

StoryThe story is one I have come to believe was butchered from the book, which when you watch you can see, it gets the basics correct but anything which involved developing a character sadly gets forgotten as the film unfolds. The story ends up becoming slightly messy and focuses on just doing action to cover the lack of story.

Adventure/Family/FantasyThe adventure side of this film should be clear, but it just shows one person’s adventure, I don’t feel the family could enjoy this movie but the fantasy world we find ourselves in does work well.

SettingsThe settings all look good with their own fancy way of saying countries we all know in the world just having slight twists on them.

Special EffectsMost of the special effects all work well, but there are moments which look pretty bad for the CGI.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a cliff hanger that never gets complete, well here is the film for you.

 

Overall: This seems like a solid start to the franchise but we will never see the end.

Rating

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – The Hitcher (2007)

casting card

 

Plot: A serial killer pins his crimes on two college students who gave him a ride.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bad Remake

 

Story: The Hitcher starts as we follow college sweethearts Grace (Bush) and Jim (Zachary) traveling cross country for vacation. The trip gets interrupted when they clash with John Ryder (Bean) a hitchhiker that enjoys killing people, luckily they escape him for a while only to find themselves being chased across the dessert like environment.

When the two start getting framed by John they find themselves on the run not only from him but from the State Police run by Lt Esteridge (McDonough) who believes they are involved with killing all of the police officers. The game of cat and mouse leads to final showdown between the four.

The Hitcher is a remake that isn’t able to do anything original with the idea. It feels like it wanted just to do a shot for shot remake but then tried to do a fresh spin that didn’t create anything. The fact the film is incredibly short doesn’t help because nothing gets built up enough to make us care. I don’t understand the remake happening when he has an interesting sequel a few years before.

 

Actor Review

 

Sean Bean: John Ryder is the Hitcher looking for a ride, but what he really wants is to go on a killing spree. When Grace and Jim refuse to stop to help him he takes everything personally and starts targeting them and he just won’t give up. Sean is one of the good things in this movie as you believe he will be this crazy throughout the film.

Sophia Bush: Grace is our leading lady of the college student couple that always needs a pee break, she has to wait for instructions and is written to be plain as stupid. Sophia tries her best with such a badly written character.

Zachary Knighton: Jim is the boyfriend of Grace that is preparing to meet her friends on their cross country journey. He wants to help John but doesn’t get involved because Grace says no, he then has to try and keep her safe through the experience against John. Zachary is ok but you will soon forget about his character.

Neal McDonough: LT Esteridge is the state police officers trying to bring everything to an end, he doesn’t believe Grace and Jim are involved but has to follow the evidence. Neal is a standard police officer authority figure you will forget too.

Support Cast: The Hitcher has only a disposable supporting cast with barely any of the ones you meet actually making it to the end of the film.

Director Review: Dave MeyersDave gives us a simple horror film that has one brilliant scene but otherwise is forgettable.

 

Crime: The Hitcher puts us in a crime battle between good and evil as the couple battle the hitchhiker.

Horror: The Hitcher has easy horror elements that just don’t get the point over because of lack of tension aiming for just a body count.

Settings: The Hitcher keeps most of the film set in the dessert showing how alone the couple are but they always seem to find somewhere to hide.
Special Effects
: The Hitcher has a mix of good and bad effects, with the CGI coming off terrible but the truck scene look great.

Suggestion: The Hitcher is one I think you could easily just watch the original. (Watched Original)

 

Best Part: Truck scene.

Worst Part: Grace is written so badly.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

Overall: Poor remake that loses the horror elements needed.

Ratingcard