ABC Film Challenge – Horror – O – The Other Side of the Door (2016)

Director: Johannes Roberts

Writer: Johannes Roberts, Ernest Riera (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto, Sofia Rosinsky, Logan Creran, Suchitra Pillai

 

Plot: After her young son is killed in a tragic accident, a woman learns of a ritual which will bring him back to say goodbye, but when she disobeys a sacred warning, she upsets the balance between life and death.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average at Best

 

Story: The Other Side of the Door starts as our family Maria (Callies), Michael (Sisto) and children Oliver (Creran) and Lucy (Rosinsky) relocate to India for work, with things sounding almost perfect disaster strikes the family, Oliver the eldest son is killed in an accident, leaving Maria with nightmares of not being able to save him.

Learning of a ritual which would give Maria a chance to communicate deceased son she goes along with the idea. The ritual involves being able to talk through a door, but the rule is, you must never open the door.

Maria doesn’t follow this instruction and opens the door too early, upon returning home the Maria and daughter Lucy start believing Oliver has returned but with this comes consequences Maria hadn’t even began to imagine.

 

Thoughts on The Other Side of the Door

 

Characters/PerformanceMaria is a grieving mother still struggling with the idea that she couldn’t save her son from an accident, she even tries to kill herself but when she learns of a method to say goodbye she goes too far and releases the dead, now with a smile on her face she must face the consequences she has created. Michael is the husband but isn’t involved in too much of the events of the film. Lucy is the daughter that was saved in the accident and befriends the spirit Oliver.

Performance wise, Sarah is fine in the leading role but doesn’t go down as one of the better horror performances. Jeremy is fine but under used in the film while the rest of the cast don’t make much of an impact either.

StoryAmerican woman in a new country loses son and learns of a local ritual she could never understand that could give her one last conversation with her son but breaks the rules. This is ABC stuff with little to no twists along the way and tries to play into the idea that Indian culture can speak to the dead which I am not sure how actuate this is.

HorrorWe have simple scares that a horror fan will know are coming and end up just not hitting the marks it needs too.

SettingsThe film is set in India but apart from a couple of odd moments in the streets you could have guessed this would have been any location really.

Special EffectsThe effects are all fine, good when used and mostly practical.

Final ThoughtsThis horror misses the potential it could have had, the problem is trying to give us a new culture clashing with American making the mistakes but it just doesn’t click.

 

Overall: This horror mostly plain and not hitting the levels.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge Horror – K – Knucklebones (2016)

Director: Mitch Wilson

Writer: Mitch Wilson (Screenplay)

Starring: Julin, Tom Zembrod, Katie Bosacki, Cameron Deane Stewart, Taylor Tippins, Justin Arnold, Mary Catherine Wells

 

Plot: A group of bored college students unleash a murderous demon while playing a dice game made from human knucklebones.


Tagline – Roll Them Bones

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gore Filled Horror

 

Story: Knucklebones starts as we see a Nazi experiment go horribly wrong, years later we meet Neesa (Julin) who gets dumped by her boyfriend where she attempts suicide, her best friend Samantha (Bosacki) invites her to hang out at an abandoned building.

In the building, Neesa, Samantha are joined by Kia (Tippins), Adam (Stewart) and Travis (Arnold) as they explore the abandoned building with drinks in tow. When the friends find a dice game they play the games that involves human knucklebones in a hope to summon the demon himself and soon they will race to survive as Knucklebones comes after them all.

 

Thoughts on Knucklebones

 

Characters – Well characters, this will be short and sweet, Neesa is our leading lady, she has been dumped by her boyfriend and tried to kill herself, to help recover she goes with her friends to get drunk and maybe laid, while summoning demons (as you do) she is against this last part, but must face the consequences. The rest of the groups are generically painful, and you learn nothing of any note about them. Knucklebones is the killer, relentless and unkillable, he will kill everyone.

PerformancesThe performances are you would imagine are not going to impress in this film, Julin is solid as our leading lady and Tom Zembrod does make for an imposing villain, but the rest, let’s just stay with they weren’t very good at all.

StoryThe story is five young adults that while on a drinking night end up releasing a demon and needing to survive to send it back to hell. There isn’t much more to go into here, we have seen it all before and we don’t really care where things go, we even get a random group of four people thrown into the story just for the women to get naked and the characters to be killed, not the most original either. There also doesn’t seem to be many rules to what they can or can’t do even though they play it out like the people can’t leave.

HorrorThe horror comes into the film with the killer just butchering the characters with plenty of blood and gore.

SettingsMost of the horror takes place in the abandon building, which is fine and works, but suddenly we can find ourselves outside this location which doesn’t make complete sense.

Special EffectsThe gore effects are the highlight of the film, we get plenty of moments of gore heavy which will keep people happy.


Scene of the Movie –
Knucklebones entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t learn anything about the characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard but forgettable horror movie, it follows the ABCs of horror not offering us characters we care about.

 

Overall: Forgettable horror

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – J – Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word (2016)

Director: Simon Rumley

Writer: Ben Katai, Marc Haimes (Screenplay) Tony Giglio, Ben Ketai (Story)

Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Erin Cummings, Mike Doyle, Dodge Prince, Mike Gassaway, Sue Rock

 

Plot: When a young man is executed for committing murder, he leaves behind a curse letter, promising vengeance for all those connected to his unfair trial.


Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Revenge Horror

 

Story: Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word starts with the trial of Johnny that leads to a guilty verdict, which leads to his execution, where his final words are ‘Kiss my ever-loving ass’.

Soon after his execution the people involved in the trial start getting visions, strange feelings and the feeling they are being watched by a spirit that seems to be out for revenge from beyond the grave. This leads Adam Redman (Doyle) one of the jurors to investigate what happened with the crime.

 

Thoughts on Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word

 

Characters – Adam Redman is one of the jurors on the trial, he is the only one that wasn’t going with an instant guilty verdict, but had to fold to the pressure of the rest of the jury. After the execution his son gets targeted by the spirit and he goes to investigate who really committed the crime. Danny Hill is the district attorney that took the case, getting the result, he wanted a guilty verdict.

PerformancesMike Doyle takes the leading role in this film, he is the best of the performers as you believe he descent into madness as he finds himself haunted. The rest of the cast are fine, but just don’t get a chance to shine on the levels they can reach.

StoryThe story follows a wrongfully committed man that is executed for a crime he never committed, coming back from the head to haunt the people who were involved in the trial to get his own revenge. Everything plays into the ideas that the execution might not be the best thing because not all crimes are as clear cut as they need to be to go through with it, but only following one man trying to solve the case doesn’t seem to be the most entertaining as we only see a couple of people from the trial face the wrath of Johnny.

Crime/HorrorThe idea behind the crime shows how the justice system can be flawed, the horror plays into the idea that a spirit can come back and get revenge for the crime he gets executed for.

SettingsThe settings show that certain states in America still use the death penalty in a time where it is no longer considered an option.

Special EffectsThe effects are fine when needed but never get overused when it comes to the scares.


Scene of the Movie –
Teacher time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We only follow a couple of potential victims when a lot more people were involved.

Final ThoughtsThis plays well into the idea of person coming back from dead to get revenge for a crime they never committed, it has by the book scares, jumpy vision sequences, but never reaches any peek levels of tension, suspense or conclusion.

 

Overall: Not strong enough.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – I – I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)

Director: Billy O’Brien

Writer: Billy O’Brien, Christopher Hyde (Screenplay) Dan Wells (Novel)

Starring: Max Records, Christopher Lloyd, Laura Fraser, Christina Baldwin, Karl Geary, Dee Noah

 

Plot: In a small Midwestern town, a troubled teen with homicidal tendencies must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer whilst keeping his own inner demons at bay.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling Horror Drama

 

Story: I Am Not a Serial Killer starts as we meet high school student and son of a coroner John Cleaver (Records) who does help with mother April’s (Fraser) work, but John is a troubled young man having being diagnosed as a psychopath by his doctor Neblin (Geary).

When his small town starts having a serial killer active and the bodies start adding up. When Max discovers who the killer is Mr Crowley (Lloyd) he starts to learn that not everything is as simple as him being a serial killer and the two end up getting involved in a game of cat and mouse.

 

Thoughts on I Am Not a Serial Killer

 

Characters – John Wayne Cleave is the young man with a troubled mind, he has been diagnosed as a psychopath but he isn’t going to give into his homicidal thoughts but when he learns about a serial killer he sets out to try and stop him. Mr Crowley is the serial killer in question, an old man from the neighbourhood who doesn’t look like he could overpower anyone but there is something different about him. April is John’s mother that also is the town’s coroner which gives John an understand of human anatomy.

PerformanceMax Records gives us a wonderful performance in the leading role for an actor so young and who has been away from the business for about five years. Christopher Lloyd gives us a chilling performance and one you wouldn’t have put him down for after his comedic turns through the years. Laura Fraser is good but doesn’t get too much time to do too much.

StoryThe story of a young man discovering a serial killer and trying to stay ahead of them has been seen before but this film takes things in a new direction as the young man is battling to stop his homicidal ways. The idea is smart and doesn’t go at a fast pace instead keeps us wanting to see where it will all unfold and just what is the killers secret.

Horror/ThrillerWe have a serial killer but not like one you would expect here, we have one that will kill in ways you wouldn’t expect their body to be able to, which does keep us on edge as we wait to see what will happen next.

SettingsThe small-town setting helps this film because it shows that not everyone you think you will know is just who they thought they would be.

Special EffectsThe effects are great, with most being from a distant until the final parts which look fantastic up close and personal.

Scene of the Movie – Discovering the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Can be slow in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart take on a serial killer/creature movie that does keep us guessing along the way and does have a dark and rewarding conclusion.

 

Overall: One for the horror fans

Rating

 

 

Don’t Kill It (2016)

Director: Mike Mendez

Writer: Dan Berk, Robert Olsen (Screenplay)

Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Kristina Klede, Tony Bentley, James Chalke, Miles Doleac, Toby Bronson

 

Plot: An ancient demon terrorizes a tiny Mississippi town.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Fantasy Horror

 

Story: Don’t Kill It starts as with number of domestic homicides start happening in a small Mississippi town, demon hunter Jebediah Woodley (Lundgren) heads to the town, just as FBI agent Evelyn Pierce (Klebe) returns to her home town to investigate the murders.

The two must team up to track down who the demon has possessed next because if you kill the host, you will become the demon, meaning they must capture the demon alive.

 

Thoughts on Don’t Kill It

 

Characters – Jebediah Woodley is a demon hunter, he has been hunting demons his whole life, he is used to being chased out of towns before being called back to rescue them. Agent Evelyn Pierce has returned to her home town to investigate the goings on, she must put a side her beliefs to help the demon hunter save the people. We have the generic town’s folk which include the sheriff and religious leader that don’t believe everything going on.

PerformancesDolph Lundgren is fun in this leading role, he gets to be the mysterious stranger turned demon hunter about everything he does in this film. Kristina Klebe is good too in her role which does show us how a returning figure would act.

StoryThe story follows a demon hunter trying to save a town from a demon that is terrorising the town, he does need to work with FBI agent who doesn’t believe and will need to learn to believe. This sounds by the book which is fine that is what we know works and this could easily be the start of a franchise around the demon hunter. This is fun to watch and wildly over the top giving us a tone which would work for any future films.

Action/Comedy/FantasyThe action is big because we have bodies flying everywhere in this film, there is a comic tone but it just doesn’t work that often, the fantasy side of things comes from the demon in the world.

SettingsWe are in a small Mississippi town which is fine, we could have been in any small town because it shows how shocked the people would be in the town if a murder happened.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag, we have good kills while also having bad one you can see are fake.


Scene of the Movie –
The meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Some effects you can see are models.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fantasy horror, you can enjoy this if you are a fan of the genre and should be looking forward to seeing the next adventure.

 

Overall: Fantasy Horror for al to enjoy, like My Name is Bruce

Rating