Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Prowl (2010)

 

prowlDirector: Patrick Syversen

Writer: Tim Tori (Screenplay)

Starring: Courtney Hope, Ruta Gedmintas, Josh Bowman, Perdita Weeks, Jamie Blackley, Saxon Trainor, Bruce Payne

 

Plot: Amber dreams of escaping her small town existence and persuades her friends to accompany her to find an apartment in the big city. When their transportation breaks down, she and her friends gratefully accept a ride in the back of a semi. But when the driver refuses to stop and they discover the cargo is hundreds of cartons of blood, they panic. Their panic turns to terror when the truck disgorges them into a dark, abandoned warehouse where blood-thirsty creatures learn to hunt human prey, which, the friends realize, is what they now are the human prey fighting to save their lives the realize they must work together but will they survive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Smart Little Horror

 

Story: Prowl starts with Amber (Hope) looking for a new start but having to spend time with the friends she is leaving Susie (Gedmintas), Peter (Bowman), Fiona (Weeks), Ray (Blackley) and Eric (Hawes). The small town is getting to be too much for Amber who knows her future is going to be in the big city.

Needing a ride to get to the big city the six friends see this is a chance to go on a road trip but metres after leaving the town they breakdown but they get a lift with a truck driver showing that Amber could finally make it out of her town.

Well this is a horror film which means this road trip is never going to run smoothly as Amber, Susie, Peter, Fiona and Ray find themselves trapped in the back of the truck that is transporting blood and Eric, well he is dead. The friends find themselves lambs to the slaughter for blood thirsty creatures in a battle to survive, who will make it out alive?

Prowl is a horror thriller that follows the very basic needs for a horror, group of disposable teenagers, remote location, blood thirsty creatures and darkness. With all these checked off we off course have the strong leading character usually the female and this is no different who can suddenly become a survival expert.

Courtney Hope is good in the leading role with the rest of the cast being nothing more than glorified body count never getting enough time in the horror side of the story to show their characters in the crisis. The creatures seem to be a mix of infected and vampire keeping very human form with added abilities to make them deadlier predators. Having this set up like a training exercise for the creatures works because it opens everything up to a future threat from these creatures.

 

Overall: Blood filled horror that never stops once the creatures are unleashed.

Ratingcard

 

 

World Cinema Weekend – King of Devil’s Island (2010)

kingDirector: Marius Holst

Writer: Dennis Magnusson, Eric Schmid (Screenplay) Mette M Bolstad, Lars Saabye Christensen (Story)

Starring: Benjamin Helstad, Trond Nilssen, Stellan Skarsgard, Kristoffer Joner, Magnus Langlete, Morten Lovstad

 

Plot: Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the boys home Bastoy, a new inmate leads the boys to a violent uprising against a brutal regime. How far is he willing to go to attain freedom?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Performance Heavy Drama

 

Story: King of Devil’s Island starts Erling C-19 (Helstad) and Ivar C-5 (Langlete) arrive on Devil’s Island a young offenders prison run by Bestyrer Hakon (Skarsgard). We see how both the boys learn to deal with the new surrounding C-5 the quiet, shy one gets taken advantage of as he can’t handle the physical work involved while C-19 fails to follow the rules as he looks desperately for an escape from the reign of Bestyrer and Husfar Brathen (Joner). With C-1 (Nilssen) trying to teach the rules it is only a matter of time before C-19 gets what he wants, his freedom by forcing the boys to up rise against the men running the prison.stellen

 

Thoughts on King of Devil’s Island

 

StoryThe story here is showing just how disciplining young men can be a fine line between putting them in their place or only driving them further away from the right path. We see how the boys have come from different worlds but must learn to work together to make the right choice and how these boys were made to suffer at the hands of the discipline heavy authority they found themselves under. This is a hard story to watch but it well worth seeing.

Action/DramaWhen it comes to the action it is mostly from the different levels of discipline our characters find themselves facing as well as the fighting, it all seems to be just what the film needs without being overly violent or just for the sake of it. The drama comes from seeing the situation the boys must go through with the consequences they face for what happens.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters are all brilliantly defined to show their pat present and future with our main five showing their weaknesses as well as their strengths. The performances are all wonderful with Skarsgard being powerful as ever, Joner showing all the shines his character represents. The younger cast also give powerful performances with Helstad, Nilssen and Langlete showing they will be names to follow in Nordic cinema.

SettingsWith the whole film being set on the island we get to see that these boys were prisoners we get to see just how extreme the weather condition are when it comes to the punishment these boys have to go through that is becomes it very own character in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very powerful film that has truly powerhouse performances from the lead stars that tells a very important true story.

 

Overall: Very intense and powerful drama that is a must for all fans of the prison uprising films.

Rating

 80

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Burning Bright (2010)

burningDirector: Carlos Brooks

Writer: Christine Coyle Johnson, Julie Prendiville Roux (Screenplay) David Higgins, Christine Coyle Johnson, Julie Prendiville Roux (Story)

Starring: Garret Dillahunt, Briana Evigan, Charlie Tahan, Peggy Sheffield, Mary Rachel Dudley

 

Plot: A thriller centered on a young woman and her autistic little brother who are trapped in a house with a ravenous tiger during a hurricane.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Best Trapped in a House with Tiger?

 

Story: Burning Bright starts as we see reckless spending step-father Johnny (Dillahunt) buy himself a tiger to start his own safari park. We also meet his step-daughter Kelly (Evigan) who is about to go off to college but first must find someone to care for her autistic brother Tom (Tahan) but her plan has gone out the window after Johnny spends all her money.

With an inbound hurricane Kelly is facing the reality of losing her scholarship to raise her brother but her day is only going to get worst when she finds herself boarded inside the house with her brother and the tiger. No escape available Kelly must do all she can to protect her brother for the night.

Burning Bright is one of those really easy to watch horror thrillers because it doesn’t get over complicated or bogged down on with too many characters. We have the traditional story of how far one person will have to go to survive which is important for the story. we get to see how difficult it is for Kelly because of her brother’s disability and we all know Briana Evigan has become a bit of a modern day horror actress this shows how far she has come.

 

Overall: Good Horror Thriller that is an easy watch for all the fans out there.

Rating65

 

 

Disaster Weekend – Aftershock (2010)

aftershockDirector: Xiaogang Feng

Writer: Wu Si (Screenplay) Ling Zhang (Novel)

Starring: Fan Xu, Jingchu Zhang, Chen Li, Ti Lu, Zi-feng Zhang, Jiajun Zhang, Zhong Lu

 

Plot: The epic story of a family separated as a result of the Great Tangshan Earthquake of 1976.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotional Charged Epic

 

Story: Aftershock starts as we meet the family of husband Daqiang (Guoqiang Zhang) wife Yuanni (Xu) and children Deng (Zi-feng Zhang) and Da (Jiajun Zhang) who live a normal happy life in the city of Tangshan, but one night their lives are shattered when a devastating earthquake destroys the city.

With Daqiang killed in the quake Yuanni begs everyone to help rescue her children from the concrete grave they find themselves under as she finds herself with the impossible decision of which one of her children she can save because saving one will kill the other. Saving her son Yuanni believes her daughter is dead leaving her with the dead bodies but somehow Deng survives and is rescued by a solider to start her new life. We also follow how Yuanni and Da (Li) start the next chapter of their life with Yuanni filled with the guilt about the decision she had to make.

Decades pass without either knowing the truth of the other’ lives as Deng (Jingchu Zhang) and Da have the impossible chance encounter at another earthquake and learn of the heartbreak the earthquake caused both sides of the family.

Aftershock is bar far and above the greatest disaster related film I have ever seen. The disaster is only the background to this story and the effects are incredible. The story is the most important part of this film and see the 32-year tragic story of the family divided by the disaster, this side of the story shows the decisions the family make because of what happened and each decision pulls of the heart strings. This film will bring a tear to the eye because of how powerful this film is and is an absolute must watch for all. Each performance is brilliant and you can feel the emotion the characters are feeling.

 

Overall: Heart-breaking, stunning, epic, emotional, powerful film that is simply the best in the genre.

Rating95

 

 

John Malkovich Weekend – Jonah Hex (2010)

jonahDirector: Jimmy Hayward

Writer: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor (Screenplay) Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor, William Farmer (Story)

Starring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, John Gallagher Jr, Michael Shannon, Wes Bentley

 

Plot: The U.S. military makes a scarred bounty hunter with warrants on his own head an offer he cannot refuse: in exchange for his freedom, he must stop a terrorist who is ready to unleash Hell on Earth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not as Bad as I Thought

 

Story: Jonah Hex starts as we see soldier Jonah Hex (Brolin) has to pay for killing Quentin Turnbull’s (Malkovich) son during the war, branded with a QT on his face Jonah witness his family burnt alive. Going on the rampage to find Turnbull he only discovers he has died and Jonah becomes a bounty hunter that can communicate with the dead.

When Turnbull returns from the grave or never got killed the President turns to Jonah Hex to stop Turnbull and his plan to build the deadly weapon that could become the biggest threat in American.

Jonah Hex is an adaptation from a comic book series which like most I have never read so I can’t judge how accurate the version is. The story is shot like it has been ripped from the pages of a comic because we get very little background story of any characters in more than quick flashbacks. The special effects do come off looking bad in places where you can clearly see the CGI being used throughout. The settings all come off looking like the time which isn’t a problem and potentially the highlight of the film. The action side of the film is all average without a truly memorable scene being used either and the inclusion of the fantasy elements where Jonah can talk to the dead comes off looking good and is something I would have liked to have seen more.

The cast is an interesting one because Brolin as Hex works well, Malkovich as the main villain is like finding a cheap version of Cyrus the Virus from Con Air, Megan Fox clearly brings the sex appeal but doesn’t get much of the actual acting done here. It is Michael Fassbender that stands out in this role where he goes full crazy with his character being the most memorable but I am not sure if it is for the right or wrong reasons. All the other supporting cast are almost wasted in small roles that barely get more than one scene.

 

Overall: I was expecting terrible but this is an easy watch without being great.

Ratingcard