ABC Film Challenge – Horror – N – Nina Forever (2015)

Director: Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine

Writer: Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine (Screenplay)

Starring: Cian Barry, Abigail Hardingham, Fiona O’Shaughnessy Mandeep Dhillon, Katharine Bennett-Fox, Barry Castagnola

 

Plot: After his girlfriend Nina dies in a car crash, Rob unsuccessfully attempts suicide. As he begins to overcome his grief, he falls in love with a co-worker, Holly. Their relationship is complicated when Nina, unable to find rest in the afterlife, comes back to life to sarcastically torment them whenever they have sex.


Tagline – A fucked up fairy tale

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Return of the Dead Girlfriend Working Again

 

Story: Nina Forever starts as the employees of a store learn that Rob (Barry) tried to kill himself after the death of his girlfriend, where Holly (Hardingham) a student paramedic finds this to be a turn on wanting to get to know Rob unlike most of the other staff. The two do start hanging out together which does lead to a romantic story between the two.

When the two go to have their first night together things take a turn when Nina (O’Shaughnessy) appears from within the bed, but she is meant to be dead, why has she returned from the afterlife to stop Rob moving on?

 

Thoughts on Nina Forever

 

Characters – Rob is a grieving young man, working in a supermarket as he gets over his ex-girlfriend death, he has tried killing himself but didn’t get very far. He gets haunted by Nina once he tries to start dating again but must face the closure her spirit never got. Holly gets drawn to Rob and starts a relationship but it gets confusing for her once Nina arrive on the scene but it doesn’t scare her away. Nina is the deceased girlfriend of Rob’s who returns whenever he has sex with another woman, she doesn’t believe they are broken up believing they will be together forever.

PerformancesCian Barry is good in his role as the grieving young man trying to move on, he shows how difficult it could be for anyone in that situation. Abigail Hardingham is good in this role where she must show the support needed as well as the innocence for a young woman in her first relationship. Fiona O’Shaughnessy is also good throughout the film as the dead girlfriend that turns up during sex, being almost seductive at times.

StoryThe story enters into the idea of a loved one needing to deal with an undead version of their partner stopping them from starting a new relationship. It plays into a darker comical side rather than the light-hearted nature of other films such as Clinger, Life After Beth or Burying the Ex. This film does try to tackle the more serious effects of what could happen with dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.

Comedy/Horror/RomanceThe comedy comes from the darker side of the story because it takes things on a more serious side than it wants to. The romance side of everything comes from the idea of trying to move on with someone new you could love while still being haunted by the memories of the one that left you. The horror is there but mostly based on the undead being alive and lots of blood.

SettingsThe try to have everyday settings for the building of the relationship but it is the bedroom where the idea of Nina coming back comes from as we see her haunting the new couple.

Special EffectsWhen we look at the effects we will be diving into practical for the most part, we don’t get many either because we need to focus on the story over the effects.


Scene of the Movie –
Nina’s first appearance because it is a surprise for us to see how it comes about.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked an extra laugh or two.

Final ThoughtsThis is yet another good addition in this new little subgenre in horror, the dead partner haunting the old partners new love interest. It does work well because it is different enough from the others because this takes a darker tone for the most part.

 

Overall: Nice addition to the dead girlfriend haunting ex-partner.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror -L – Landmine Goes Click (2015)

Director: Levan Bakhia

Writer: Adrian Colussi (Screenplay) Levan Bakhia, Adrian Colussi, Lloyd S Wagner (Story)

Starring: Sterling Knight, Spencer Locke, Dean Geyer, Kote Tolordava, Giorgi Tsaava

 

Plot: Trapped standing on an armed landmine, an American tourist is forced to watch helplessly while his girlfriend is terrorized and brutally assaulted.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Horror

 

Story: Landmine goes Click starts as three friends Chris (Knight), Alicia (Locke) and Daniel (Geyer) head off into the Georgian wilderness for a weekend away before Daniel and Alicia’s wedding. When the three are having a photo taken Chris accidently stands on a landmine but this is just revenge plot by Daniel on his friends that have been having an affair behind his back.

Chris and Alicia must get help but this is just the beginning of the nightmare as Ilya (Tolordava) a local that puts Alicia through a sexual assault with Chris have no way of helping.

 

Thoughts on Landmine Goes Click

 

Characters – Chris starts as the third wheel on the trip but it soon turns out he has been involved with Alicia leading to the revenge where he finds himself trapped on a landmine helpless to help Alicia when she gets assaulted. Alicia is the fiancé of Daniel that has been cheating on him with Chris and in the revenge, must go through a brutal assault. Daniel is the friend that gets betrayed and sets up the revenge before abandoning his friends. Ilya is the main assaulter that takes advantage of Alicia but must face the reality of what he did in the future. The characters don’t feel overly original and the love triangle is an easy aspect to use in horror to create a divide.

PerformanceThe performances here are mixed because Locke must go through a lot but doesn’t convince to the levels needed, Sterling Knight does seem to struggle to be convincing in his role in both chapters of the story, at times it does just feel like he is on a film set over a real life situation which is needed for the role. The rest are both fine too through the film without being great.

StoryThe story can be broken into three parts, the first is the trapped on the landmine for revenge which seems to get skimmed over in places, then we have the assault side which does crank up the tension but does seem to go on slightly too long, the third side of the film is the revenge on the attacker which again doesn’t reach the tension levels. This mix tries to show us something new but in the end it does come off flat in places as we can predict where things will go.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe action is mostly down to the potential of what could happen to the characters with the crime being the ordeals that Alicia and Chris must go through. The film does try to keep us on edge but ends up either going on too long or not long enough.

SettingsThe film has two main settings, the first is where the landmine is which does work if it was the only location but the second location makes the film feel like it has dragged on at times.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just felt long when it didn’t need to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting thriller that could have reached new heights but gets the timings of the three main scenes all over the place.

 

Overall: A lot of potential just missed.

Rating

 

 

Cherry Tree (2015)

Director: David Keating

Writer: Brendan McCarthy (Screenplay)

Starring: Anna Walton, Naomi Battrick, Sam Hazeldine, Elva Trill, Patrick Gibson

 

Plot: Faith’s world is turned upside down after she finds out that her beloved father is dying. When the mysteriously alluring Sissy Young becomes her field hockey coach, Faith finds a compassionate spirit and much-needed mother figure. Little does she know that Sissy is the head of a centuries-old witches’ coven that uses the fruit of an ancient cherry tree in a secret ritual that restores life to the dead and dying.


Tagline –  A young woman makes a fateful pact with a witches’ coven that can save her dying father’s life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Horror

 

Story: Cherry Tree starts as we meet Faith Maguire (Battrick) a school girl that is considered somewhat of an outsider but continues to try out for the field hockey team, where her new coach Sissy Young (Walton) gives her a chance. in Faith’s personal life her father is losing his battle with cancer which would leave her alone in the world but he Sean (Hazeldine) stays strong for her.

Sissy is no ordinary woman though, she is an ancient witch that offers Faith a chance to cure her father, but this is nothing like Faith had imagined as she finds herself being involved in a secret ritual for her coven.

 

Thoughts on Cherry Tree

 

Characters – Sissy is the new field hockey coach at the school, but deep down she is an ancient witch searching for the next victim of the ritual she performs to keep life, she constantly appears in Faith’s life to make good on the deal they make. Faith is the school girl, she is about to lose her father to cancer and while never fitting in at school she is offered a deal by the new field hockey coach but it isn’t anything like she had prepared for. Sean is Faith’s father he has been battle his sickness but it doesn’t look good until Faith makes the deal. He is a good man who wants to make sure his daughter has everything she needs when he is gone.

PerformancesAnna Walton is good in the witch role, we have seen her in these types of roles before but her look and presence is felt throughout the film. Naomi Battirck is good as the confused, hopeless feeling teenager that would give up anything to save her father. Sam Hazeldine is solid but we don’t get to see enough form his character.

StoryThe story does have elements of Rosemary’s Baby to it, but I feel there is a much more desperate desire from Faith to go through with a deal which comes from the supernatural side of the things. She must decide whether to give up her family or make a deal which any school kid would do to save a parent. This does follow the route you would expect but it also does go into folk law which is something that always entertains in horror.

HorrorThe horror comes from the idea of witches looking to unleashes the underworld with the creature of choice being the centipede.

SettingsThe settings do the best to make it feel like this could be an everyday location for a normal average school girl.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, be it that most are practical effects that add to the gore beautifully.


Scene of the Movie –
Witch released.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There are moments which feel too dark to truly see what is going on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror, it has plenty of blood and gore as well as giving us a dark twist on a folk law which is a pleasure to see.

 

Overall: Good horror all around.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – B – Bite (2015)

Director: Chad Archibald

Writer: Jayme Laforest (Screenplay)

Starring: Elma Begovic, Annette Wozniak, Denise Yuen, Jordan Gray, Lawrence Denkers

 

Plot: While on her bachelorette party getaway, Casey, the bride to be, gets a seemingly harmless bite from an unknown insect. After the trip, Casey discovers that everything can change with a single bite.


Tagline – This may sting a little.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Body Horror Delight

 

Story: Bite starts as we follow the bachelorette party for Casey (Begovic) with her best friends Jill (Wozniak) and Kirsten (Yuen) who enjoy drinks and partying. While away Casey gets bitten, but doesn’t think too much about it.

Arriving home Casey must face her soon be husband Jared (Gray) who is wanting kids, something Casey isn’t looking to have. This is the least of the problems Casey is facing, because the bite she received is becoming infected, she is becoming sicker by the day and worst of all, she is now pregnant. As the infection spreads Casey sees everything change as she starts to change herself.

 

Thoughts on Bite

 

Characters – Casey is about to marry Jared, she has her bachelorette party with friends in Costa Rica where she gets bitten. She is having second thoughts about the wedding, but the bite starts to change her too as she goes through a transformation. Jill and Kirsten are your generic best friends, they both offer advice but don’t offer too much to the overall story.

PerformancesThis performance is all about Elma Begovic, who goes through the transformation and convinces through each stage she goes through. The other performances do the job well without being memorable in anyway.

StoryThe story focuses on one woman who goes through a body transformation after being bitten by a bug. We do have a side story that showing the pressure of an upcoming wedding, but otherwise there isn’t too much else going on. The way Casey acts is similar to Brundlefly from the Fly as she retreats while the transformation continues to get worse for her. If you want that style of movie you will enjoy the simple side of the story.

HorrorThis is body horror through and through, we see a body decay and transform into the new creature with each scene bringing the next level of gore.

SettingsThe settings start by showing the holiday where the bite happens, but most of the rest of the film takes place in the apartment which follows the transformation in darkness.

Special EffectsThe effects here are brilliant as we see practical one to show the transformation in all its horror.


Scene of the Movie –
Transformation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why didn’t she just go to the doctors to start with?

Final ThoughtsBody horror is a genre I find myself talking about a lot, this is why I can see people enjoying it because it does show the talented effects artists in the business and just how far they can take things.

 

Overall: Body Horror at its delightful twisted best.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – # – 45 Years (2015)

Director: Andrew Haigh

Writer: Andrew Haigh (Screenplay) David Constantine (Short Story)

Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James, Dolly Wells, David Sibley, Sam Alexander

 

Plot: A married couple preparing to celebrate their wedding anniversary receives shattering news that promises to forever change the course of their lives.


Tagline – Do we really know our loved ones?

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Drama

 

Story: 45 Years starts as we meet the Mercer’s, Kate (Rampling) Geoff (Courtenay) a married couple preparing for their 45th wedding anniversary, Kate does most of the planning and does extra caring for Geoff because of his memory starting to go. They are respected through the whole town with most of the people looking forward to the party.

When Geoff starts remembering the story of a woman he met before Kate, it puts Kate’s feelings in a frenzy and she wants to learn where she really stands in his life after all these years.

 

Thoughts on 45 Years

 

Characters – Kate is the former teacher (I think) who has been married for 45 years in what she believed was a perfect marriage, until she learns about a woman before they met, she goes through the questions of just where she stands in his life, even after all these years. Geoff is her husband, his memory isn’t what it used to be and it is his memory of his former love that puts the story on the rocks. Everyone else we meet are people from the town, friends who have known them for years.

PerformancesCharlotte Rampling got an Oscar nomination for this role, you can see why she is fantastic as we see how she must try to hold in her emotions through the struggle. Tom Courtenay is also fantastic as the elderly man that can’t keep everything together like he once did. The rest of the cast doesn’t get too much screen time which is fine because it is our couple story.

StoryThe story follows a couple of soon to be 45 years preparing for their anniversary, only for a moment to throw the years or marriage out the window through the eyes of one of the couple. We only follow the week leading up to the event which is great because we know how happy their marriage was before the events. It shows how one moment could change how everything seems which is reality many people would have in life and it also shows how important love can be for a couple even if at times things could be questioned.

RomanceThe romance in this film shows just what the two would have been through with the years of marriage, how they must learn to stay loyal to each other no matter what.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the singular town setting, it gives the film an authentic feeling of just where the couple have been for years and never look out of place here.


Scene of the Movie –
The party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is never fully explained is Geoff is just getting old or ill with his memory issues.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those dramas you can see why it got the Oscars attention, but it won’t be something for the casual film fans to be going to watch and it does show how a real long-term relationship goes.

 

Overall: True to how love is.

Rating