ABC Film Challenge – Horror – V – The Veil (2016)

Director: Phil Joanou

Writer: Robert Ben Garant (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica Alba, Lily Rabe, Thomas Jane, Aleksa Pallandino, Shannon Woodward, Reid Scott

 

Plot: Twenty-five years after members of a religious cult committed mass suicide, the lone survivor returns to the scene of the tragedy with a documentary crew in tow.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Mystery

 

Story: The Veil starts as we learn about Jim Jacobs (Jane) and his religious cult that committed mass suicide at a place known as ‘The Veil’ only one person survived, a young girl. 25-years-later a documentary film maker Maggie Price (Alba) leads a team with the grown-up survivor Sarah (Rabe) back to ‘The Veil’ to learn what happened and why Sarah was spared.

Being back gives Sarah a few answers as she leads the team around the camp discovering a secret stash of videos which show what Jim Jacobs was up to in cult and not everything is what they were expecting as they start to find themselves haunted by the spirits of the cult.

 

Thoughts on The Veil

 

Characters – Jim Jacobs is the leader of the cult, he wants to prove the spirit can be separated from the body, did he die in the mass suicide or did he achieve his goal with the other members of the cult. Maggie the lead in the documentary team, she introduces the team and arranges for Sarah to return, she does also have a connection to what happened during the mass suicide. Sarah is the lone survivor from the suicide, she returns as a grown up even if she does seem to be happy to be back to learn the truth.

PerformancesThomas Jane is the highlight of this movie, his performance is filled with all the crazy needed for role. Jessica Alba on the other side of the coin is average to poor throughout, this role could have been played by anyone to a higher level. Lily Rabe does continue to make herself feel like she should be in horror films at all times.

StoryThe story follows the documentary team looking at new evidence which could explain what was happening on the site of a mass suicide. The idea of learning what happened through a mix of tapes which sadly don’t feel like found footage which is the biggest problem. The continuing idea works but the forced horror is the stumbling block here. The story does also have flaws including why didn’t the police investigate the property to find the tapes, I mean come on there was a mass suicide surely raiding every possible location is important in an investigation.

Horror/MysteryThe horror does feel forced for the most part and once we see the final scene feels almost unnecessary, this could easily have just stuck to the mystery thriller side of things and kept us on edge wondering where things will go next.

SettingsThe whole film is set on the Veil, it shows a place that has had mass suicides would be haunting to be around as well as have secrets people might have missed.

Special EffectsThe effects for the ‘found footage’ are way too high of a quality, this is mostly down to one moment feeling like it has the grainy effect but the next we are thrown into that time. The ghost activity is fine but nothing overly impressive.


Scene of the Movie –
The final moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I want to put a couple here, first why did the police not investigate the surrounding area? Why is Jessica Alba a lead actress? The horror is mostly plain old jump scares.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book horror mystery thriller which would have hit higher levels if it had remained just a mystery thriller without the pointless jump scares that miss most times. We also have a forgettable supporting crew in the documentary team.

 

Overall: Try but don’t buy in.

Rating

 

 

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Patient Seven (2016)

Director: Danny Draven, Paul Davis, Omar Orn Hauksson, Dean Hewison, Joel Morgan, Johannes Persson, Nicholas Peterson, Erlingur Thoroddsen, Rasmus Wassberg

Writer: Paul Davis, Sam Dickson, Paul Fischer, Richard Falkner, Omar orn Hauksson, Jacey Heldrich, Dean Hewison, Barry Jay, Bran McAuley, Joel Morgan, Johannes Persson, Nicholas Peterson, David Steenhoek, Aidee Walker, Rasmus Wassberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Ironside, Jack Plotnick, Drew Fonteiro, Rane Jameson, Grace Van Dein

 

Plot: The film centers on Dr. Marcus, a renowned psychiatrist who has selected 6 severe mentally ill and dangerous patients from the Spring Valley Mental Hospital to interview as part of research for his new book. As Dr. Marcus interviews each patient, one by one the horrors theyve committed begin to unfold. However, Dr. Marcus soon learns that there is one patient who ties them all together – Sarah Pegram

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror Anthology

 

Story: Patient Seven starts as Dr Daniel Marcus (Ironside) visit a mental hospital to study six patients with their own different problems, we go through their stories one by one, first Jill who has killed her mother, who believed she saw something in their home, the second patient John Doe believed he was killed by a serial killer in London. The third is an Icelandic woman that claims to have been attacked by zombies.

As each story unfolds Dr Marcus starts to try and push the patient believing they are nothing more than just taking advantage of the system, either they are a killer or just trying to avoid a reality. The fourth patient is accused of killing her best friend even though she claims it was suicide. The fifth won’t talk because of an event with a haunting at a young age. The final patient believes vampires are real, with the stories together, just what is the connection with the seventh patient?

 

Thoughts on Patient Seven

 

Characters – Dr Daniel Marcus is the man trying to learn about six disturbed patients at a mental hospital, each story needs to be broken down in a different way, he is doing research for his book, but leaving us wondering what his motives are is the biggest mystery in this film. we do meet the different patients which all have different stories and we follow the events of their stories each different from the rest. We do meet the doctors, but as the film is an anthology we just don’t get enough time to look into their characters.

PerformancesMichael Ironside is the star of this film with his calming presence while interviewing the patients that can turn on them in a heartbeat. We have a couple of known names in the supporting cast with Alfie Allen in the second story being the highlight of the rest of the performances, while no one is bad in their roles here, they just don’t get the time they deserve.

StoryThe story here is told like an interview process to give us seven short horror stories, the fact each one goes in a different direction helps the audience find one they can enjoy even if the previous one isn’t for them. Vampires, ghost, spirits, serial killers and zombies are the main topics each one feels short enough to be entertaining, even if one did make me want to see a feature film about that character. For a horror anthology this does check the boxes well and is one that can be enjoyed.

HorrorThe horror in the story comes from the different stories, while we don’t always get the best build up to the horror moments, we do follow the horror guidelines well.

SettingsEach story does take us to a new setting which helps make the film feel fresh, though I don’t quiet understand how the crimes from England, New Zealand and Iceland ended up in an American mental home.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film across the different stories are great and make you feel like you are part of them.


Scene of the Movie –
The second story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Some of the stories are slightly too short though.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror anthology even if the ending feel slightly flat, we get plenty going on and can enjoy the different ideals of horror.

 

Overall: Horror anthology does correctly.

Rating

 

 

Fear, Inc (2016)

Director: Vincent Masciale

Writer: Luke Barnett (Screenplay)

Starring: Lucas Neff, Caitlin Stasey, Chris Marquette, Stephanie Drake, Mark Moses, Abigail Breslin

 

Plot: A horror junkie and his friends sign up with a company that brings their customer’s greatest fears to life.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Terrible Horror

 

Story: Fear, Inc starts as we meet our stoner slacker Joe (Neff) who lives with his hard-working girlfriend Lindsey (Stasey) (I have no idea how they are a couple), while trying to find a haunted house event to create scares Joe receives a card from a mysterious man claiming to give him the best experience in fear.

Joined by friends Ben (Marquette) and Ashleigh (Drake) for a Halloween get together with drinks and drugs, Joe unleashes a call, which brings their biggest fears to life.

 

Thoughts on Fear, Inc.

 

Characters – Joe is a stoner that has been promising to find a new job while living off his girlfriend, he loves horror movies and is looking for real fear from a horror event, which leads him to make the mistake to call Fear, Inc, this is easily one of the most unlikeable characters I have ever seen in the leading role in horror. Lindsey is his girlfriend, she seems to have a successful job which we never learn and has been putting up with Joe’s problems, the two have no chemistry and seem like complete opposites. Ben is the best friend that gives the warning to Joe about what will happen if they get involved with the game.

PerformancesLucas Neff in the leading role gives us one of the most annoying characters I have seen in horror. Caitlin Stasey is usually a good actress to watch, but in this film, it just doesn’t connect with what we are meant to see from them. Chris Martquette is solid enough in this role without doing anything truly memorable.

StoryThe story here follows one man that wants to experience fear in this life and decides to get involved with a shady company promising to give him an experience unlike anything he has had before, how far will they go to get the scare? This is the question asked in this movie which doesn’t reach the potential it could as the led is the most unlikeable character you will see in horror, he makes everything out to be a joke never making us believe anything that is going on, even with the film having a great twist which should save it.

Comedy/HorrorThe film tries to give us moments of comedy to mix with the horror, but the horror doesn’t hit the peril feeling moments you need from what could be going on.

SettingsThe film tries to keep us around the house which clearly looks out priced for the couple involved, once we escape the house the film does become more interesting.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good for what is created and could easily be the only highlight of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The final 30 minutes are the most interesting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Joe is annoying throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror comedy that fails to deliver on the levels it needs to, making us not care about the characters in this situation.

 

Overall: Terrible and boring.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – L – Let Her Out (2016)

Director: Cody Calahan

Writer: Adam Seybold (Screenplay) Cody Calahan, Adam Seybold (Story)

Starring: Alanna LeVierge, Nina Kiri, Adam Christie, Kate Fenton, Michael Lipka, Brooke Henderson

 

Plot: Let Her Out follows Helen, a bike courier who suffers a traumatic accident. As she recovers, she begins to experience strange episodic-black outs, hallucinations, and night terrors-that lead her to discover that she has a tumor, a benign growth that is the remnants of a “vanishing twin” absorbed in utero. Over time, the tumor manifests itself as the dark and demented version of a stranger. As Helen’s emotional and psychological state begins to deteriorate further and further, she begins to act out in psychotic episodes that are influenced by her evil twin – making her a danger to herself and her best friend, Molly.


Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror

 

Story: Let Her Out starts as we follow Helen (LeVierge) a bike messenger whose only knowledge of her mother is that she died, when Helen is involved in an accident her life is turned upside down, when she starts to see visions and loses time.

After going through scans, Helen learns that she is suffering from vanishing twin syndrome which is leading to the dark space in her mind growing causing all the side effects but just how long can she remain calm before being taken over by her former twin.

 

Thoughts on Let Her Out

 

Characters – Helen is a biker messenger that after being involved in an accident starts to lose her mind only to learn that she was one of a twin but now the former one is starting to take over her body and mind. This is a strong character that you can feel is losing her mind through the actions of the movie. Molly is the best friend and roommate that is trying her best to support her through the problems she facing. Ed is Molly’s boyfriend and an extra wedge between the friendship as the descent into madness continues.

PerformancesAlanna LeVierge gives us a real mixed bag of a performance, while her descent into the madness comes off good her interactions feel weak for the most part. Nina Kiri is good but doesn’t get enough time to shine. The rest of the cast are fine but don’t get much time either.

StoryThe story follows one woman who is about to lose her mind thanks to vanishing twin syndrome. The first half follows the simple idea that things could be going wrong, but the second half goes full blown into that idea where the transformation in character becomes clear. This is a solid idea for a story, while it has been done before this takes things to a bloodier level than before.

HorrorThe horror tries to be a mix between a couple of sub-genres, we have the moments of suspense which don’t get used very well at all, but the blood and gore side hits the marks with the final act being the highlight of the film.

SettingsWe do have a mix of settings for the film with the one target setting being the motel which is meant to symbolise something to the characters.

Special EffectsThe effects are mostly practical, with the final act giving us a wonderful pay off.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Some of the dialogue was poor.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film that gets saved by the final act which will shock, it is a slow burner but does have a strong pay off in the end, even if moments are weak in places.

 

Overall: Good shock saving horror.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – K – Killing Ground (2016)

Director: Damien Power

Writer: Damien Power (Screenplay)

Starring: Aaron Pedersen, Ian Meadows, Harriet Dyer, Aaron Glenane, Maya Stange, Julian Garner, Tiarnie Coupland

 

Plot: A couple’s camping trip turns into a frightening ordeal when they stumble across the scene of a horrific crime.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disturbing & Suspenseful

 

Story: Killing Ground starts when couple Ian (Meadows) and Samantha (Dyer) head off for a romantic camping trip, learning they are not the only couple on the grounds they look to stay out of the others way, only to never see them return to their grounds. Scotty (Pedersen) and Tood (Glenane) are two locals of the area that come off shady, also have had run ins with the law.

We know something happened to the family in the camp next door and when Ian and Samantha find their baby wandering around the area. Soon they will be fighting for their lives against the criminal psychopaths that enjoy hunting.

 

Thoughts on Killing Ground

 

Characters – Ian is a doctor who along with his girlfriend goes on the camping trip, he knows how to survive any injuries which makes him the one that could help survive the attack because o his logical decision making process. Samantha is the girlfriend that is using the trip for a big moment only to find herself needing to fight to survive. Scotty is the one of the two which seems to be the mastermind, well leader of the two who knows how to control the situation and Tood. Tood is the loose cannon, who comes off simple minded at times and other times he comes off like the psychopath he is meant to be.

PerformancesThe performances in this film do come off real, we believe the couple Ian Meadows & Harriet Dyer with each decision they must make, we also get scared of both the Aaron’s who gives us uneasy performances through the whole film.

StoryThe story here follows three lines to start with, we have the couple heading of to their romantic camping trip, the family on their camping trip, that we know something happens to and the two men who will be committing the crime. To start with this felt annoying, I won’t lie, but soon this just builds the tension through the film as we just want to know what happens, with each twist that connection the stories becoming unsettling. We see the aftermath of what has happened over just putting us through the events, which only continues to make everything extra disturbing. This is a type of story we have seen before, though the fresh approach to this only makes this more interesting to watch even if you want to look away.

HorrorThis is easily one of the most disturbing horror films you will see, when you stop to think about anything that happens, what you end up feeling is just uneasy because of what happens off camera, with the tension only making this harder to get through.

SettingsThe film takes place in a remote camping ground which gives us the feeling of isolation, with have no phone signal and the humans might not be the only danger here, this is a perfect use of setting.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to make each moment look more horrific, they are subtle and effective.


Scene of the Movie –
When the couple plan to leave, we have a wonderful shot of Samantha walking away with somebody desperately needing help behind her.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I didn’t like the opening moments of the three stories, it does work once we are get going.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most disturbing non-graphic films I have seen, being left to imagine just what happens is even worse than watching it.

 

Overall: Unsettling and disturbing.

Rating