All Hallows’ Eve (2013)

Director: Damien Leone

Writer: Damien Leone (Screenplay)

Starring: Katie Maguire, Catherine A Callahan, Kayla Lian, Sydney Freihofer, Cole Mathewson

 

Plot:  A babysitter finds a VHS tape which features various sinister murders performed by a psychotic clown.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Homage to 80s Horror

 

Story: All Hallows’ Eve starts as babysitter Sarah (Maguire) sees one of the children who she is babysitting for receive a video tape, forced into letting them watch it only to see that it is an amateur short horror film.

Forcing the children to bed, Sarah continues to watch the video to see more horror shorts before she starts hearing and seeing things around the house.

 

Thoughts on All Hallows’ Eve

 

Characters – Sarah is our babysitter that is watching these horror shorts, she is trying to be responsible to the children she is babysitting for, the other characters we meet are from the shorts which are horror made and our typical heroines that don’t stand much of a chance against their enemies. The clowns are a big part of the film too appearing in certain parts right along the way and soon are just as involved in the horror.

PerformancesThis is a low budget movie and most of the shorts that were used, were done with actors that were just getting started, you can see the talent there without them being truly standout. Katie Maguire does the most work and is good for her part in the film.

StoryWhen it comes to anthology films we always need variety in the horrors we are watching, we get that which is good, the style of the shorts feels like 80s too, so we get to play with the trademarks of the horror for that era. The story outside that connections the stories works well too because it brings the unexplained to the mix to why the video was given to a child. We clearly have stronger stories which i feel was the third one and as always the middle ones are often the weakest.

HorrorWhen it comes to horror we get to see different styles of horror with an 80s theme throughout, each one gets to play on what we have come to know about where things will go, but with the low budget effects we know just what we have gotten ourselves into.

SettingsThe film takes us to different locations which makes each story feel unique to what we are experiencing.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget which can make things look cheap, though they are used to make them have a grindhouse feeling which was nice to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Most of the third tape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I felt the first story is too short and I wanted to see more.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice solid horror anthology which goes mostly for gore over suspense, it works and I can see the horror fans enjoying this one.

 

Overall: Nice low budget horror anthology.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – H – The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (2013)

Director: Tom Elkins

Writer: David Coggeshall (Screenplay)

Starring: Abigail Spencer, Emily Alyn Lind, Chad Michael Murray, Grant James, Katee Sackoff, Morgana Shaw

 

Plot: A young family moves into a historic home in Georgia, only to learn they are not the house’s only inhabitants. Soon they find themselves in the presence of a secret rising from underground and threatening to bring down anyone in its path.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid, but Flawed Sequel

 

Story: The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia starts when the Wyrick family, Lisa (Spencer), Andy (Murray) and daughter Heidi (Lind) move into an historical home, Lisa like her sister Joyce (Sackhoff) has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts and as her daughter starts seeing them too, what is the message being sent?

Heidi befriends one of the spirits, one that previously lived in the home, but it is the history of the events of this house which will be the one that leads up to the true terror in this story.

 

Thoughts on The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia

 

Characters – Lisa is the wife and mother of the family, she does have an ability to see spirits with her mother helping her through these experiences. In her new home she starts to see more spirits that has trying to send her messages and must use her skills to figure out how to save her child. Andy is the husband and father, he is the only one that doesn’t have the ability to see the spirits which shows him taking on the situation as if there would need to be a logical reason behind it all. Heidi is the daughter of the family, that can also see the spirits and it is her visits which guide us to where the story goes this time, she is encouraged by her Auntie and discouraged by her mum. Joyce is the free-spirited Auntie that joins the family, she tries to embrace the idea of the spirits needing help and will guide Heide unlike her sister.

PerformancesThis is a sequel with no returning cast members, no connection to the original, so the cast is brand new. We do have a couple of known actors from television, Abigail Spencer, Chad  Michael Murray and Katee Sackhoff, they do what they can with the material, but the poor decisions they are forced to make doesn’t help. Emily Alyn Lind does well for a child star put in horror situation.

StoryThe story is based on real events or sold on this idea anyway. We have the events of the story taking place over short amount of time, as we see how everything seems to escalate, which is fine for a horror story. the idea the sisters and daughter can see spirits naturally is a good spin on the idea where only one can usually see the ghosts. The problems do some into this too as the one person who can’t see the spirits still sees them and most of the decisions being made are poor throughout. For the mystery behind everything it does keep us interested throughout and does give us shocks along the way.

Horror/Mystery When it comes to the horror in this film we get plenty of the normal jump scares, most of which just play out like you would imagine, the casual fan will jump along the way. The highlight is the mystery behind what is causing the hauntings because history is always filled with surprises.

SettingsThe setting for the film is good because it is an old house that is bound to be filled with history that could be a terrifying as what we learn as the film unfolds.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are mixed because the way the flashbacks are shot does look do and feels different to current events, the negatives come from how the injuries can look while inflicted to the modern characters.


Scene of the Movie –
Cut the cord.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The moments Andy saw a ghost.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel even though it has no connection to the actual first film, it does have smart ideas but terrible character decisions.

 

Overall: Horror fans should enjoy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – D – Dark Feed (2013)

Director: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen

Writer: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen (Screenplay)

Starring: Jonathan Thomson, Dayna Cousins, Andrew Rudick, Michael Scott Allen, Elise Couture, Jason Beaubien, Victoria Nugent

 

Plot: A film crew moves into an abandoned psychiatric hospital with a shadowy past to shoot a low budget horror movie.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusingly Messy

 

Story: Dark Feed starts as we see the early stages of filming of a horror movie being shot on location in an abandoned psychiatric hospital. We get to see the stars, director and the people working on the movie before the writer Chris (Rudick) joins the set to see how his creation comes out.

With Beth (Nugent) and Marissa (Cousins) assigned to keep Chris busy, the rest of the crew start experiencing strange occurrences which have a connection to the previous experiments that happened in the hospital.

 

Thoughts on Dark Feed

 

Characters – The characters are all designed to be different members of a film crew from actors to special effects guys, we just get to learn which part of the movie they are involved in without getting to see much else about the characters themselves. We don’t see to learn enough about any of the characters making it hard to figure out just who is meant to be the lead character.

PerformanceThe performances are not great which does reflect the idea of the film but by the end you are just left wondering if the lead character is going to take over the performing but no.

StoryThe story is film crew in former mental hospital that once did experiments on the patients is haunted and now they are about to become the latest victims of the hospital, this is fine but sadly it just doesn’t reach the levels it should do with scares which are mostly messing around between the crew and just something we have seen before.

HorrorThere is little to no scares going on through this movie, we have moments that build up but in the end most are false scares which just make you not care about later ones.

SettingsThe setting is the highlight of the film as we get to see the haunted abandoned location making for the scares.

Special EffectsThe effects are not that impressive either.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing who was the main character until too late into the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film with a good idea but sadly turns into something that gets confusing as we are left wondering who to root for and just if anything scary will happen.

 

Overall: Messy Horror Film

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – R – Refuge (2013)

Director: Andrew Robertson

Writer: Lilly Kanso, Andrew Robertson (Screenplay)

Starring: Carter Roy, Amy Rutberg, Eva Grave Kellner, Chris Kies, Sebastian Beacon, Travis Grant

 

Plot: Refuge is a suspense-thriller about a family struggling to survive in the wake of a great catastrophic event.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Thriller

 

Story: Refuge starts as we learn of the mysterious virus which has spread across America, there is no cure, you just need to survive away from people, we meet one family Jack (Roy) Nell (Rutberg), Birdie (Kellner) and Kyle (Kies) do what they can to survive, while giving Birdie some sort of childhood.

When the threat or marauders comes to the home, the family must make the rash decision to go in search of a new sanctuary through the woods which is where they will face a new amount of threats.

 

Thoughts on Refuge

 

Characters – The characters focus on a family, Jack the father, the man that will do everything to keep his family safe, even if it means taking risks by saving strangers, he doesn’t back down from enemies or threats, but is forced into decisions he doesn’t want to make. Nell is the wife and mother, we don’t really learn too much about her though, she falls in the woman being protected circle. Birdie is the daughter that doesn’t fully understand the world and wants to just be a child in this world. Kyle is one of the people that Jack has saved in the past.

PerformancesThe performances from the cast are great throughout, we feel their bleak outlook on the life they are living which is what we want to see, the final act shows them at their best too.

StoryThe story here follows a family in a post-apocalyptic world where the biggest threats marauders and the virus that has wiped out most of the world. This is a bleak story that helps show us just how desperate the world now is and not having any sort of zombie side to everything giving us the only enemy the human one. This keeps everything simple because it is all we need, even though it does follow the typical mistakes being made by the characters.

ThrillerThis does try to keep us on the edge of our seats about whether our characters will survive and what is next in line for them.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the bleak locations from start to finish, they show where people will survive and keeps us away from the big city.


Scene of the Movie –
The break in.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just shot them.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best looking bleak virus outbreak movies, it does have questionable character decisions but that does add to the drama.

 

Overall: Simple and effective.

Rating

 

 

Robert De Niro Weekend – The Family (2013)

Director: Luc Besson

Writer: Luc Besson, Michael Caleo (Screenplay) Tonino Benacquista (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo, Tommy Lee Jones, Jimmy Palumbo

 

Plot: The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the Witness Protection Program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging, as their old habits die hard.


Tagline – Some call it organized crime. Others call it family.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Twist on the Mafia Movie

 

Story: The Family starts when the Manzoni family head into witness protection in Normandy, France, under the names, Fred (De Niro), Maggie (Pfeiffer), Belle (Agron) and Warren (D’Leo) where they must start new lives. The problem the family have, is that they keep getting themselves into troubles with their violent behaviour, which sees Robert Stansfield (Jones) needing to keep moving them around.

The family are also being hunted down by Fred’s former boss, who is the reason why he has gone into hiding which will see the family needing to improve their behaviour just to survive.

 

Thoughts on The Family

 

Characters – Fred Blake is a former Mafia leader that has gone into hiding after taking a deal, he is trying to remain calm for the most part, but his violent tendencies take over whenever things are not going his way, while he tries to write his memoirs. Maggie is the wife that has gotten used to the lifestyle, now she has got just as a dark side towards people that upset her. She is turning to religion for answers in her life once again. Belle and Warren are the teenage children that use their skills to stay ahead in school even if it means they show their own violent side too. Robert Stansfield is the agent that is trying to keep the family away from the spotlight, finding it more difficult because of their actions.

PerformancesRobert De Niro gets to poke fun at the idea that he was famous for his gangster roles and now needs to be put in a retirement age, where he is strict, smart and able to stay ahead of the game. Michelle Pfeiffer brings us the frustrated housewife that wants more normality in her life. Both Dianna Agron and John D’Leo bring us strong teenage character performances. Tommy Lee Jones is great too as an FBI agent that is struggling to keep the lid on everything.

StoryThe story follows a former Mafia family that have gone into hiding after giving up other members of the family to the authorities, the problem with the family, is that they are too violent and often bring attention to themselves, as they are still being hunted down. The idea that a Mafia family is living in the shadows only they can’t stay out of trouble, does feel original in how everything is executed. The number of times we have seen a Mafia story end with ‘they are not in the witness protection program’ without following the life they end up living. This almost feels like the next chapter that we have never gotten before because they will still be wanted for their action. Each of the family members does get their own issues to deal with too which makes them feel like real people too.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film comes from just seeing how the criminal fan acts once they are meant to be out of the criminal life, it does create laughs through the film.

SettingsThe film is set in a small Normandy village which shows the new life the family must adapt to after the life in New York City.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The family must surely need to learn to act better with this world.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice spin on the Mafia film, it gets plenty of laughs when it needs it, while trying to show the world could still be looking for them.

 

Overall: Fun twist.

Rating