The Curse of La Llorona (2019) Movie Review

Director: Michael Chaves

Writer: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis (Screenplay)

Starring: Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas

Plot: Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker and her own small kids are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm.


Tagline – She Wants Your Children

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Jump Scare 101

Story: The Curse of La Llorona starts when widowed mother and social worker Anna (Cardellini) looks into one of her cases which has taken a sudden turn for the worst, taking the children away from the mother, the children end up getting killed, with the mother claiming it was La Llorona (Ramirez).

When Anna’s children Chris (Christou) and Samantha (Kinchen) get touched by La Llorona, they have been cursed, with Anna needing to investigate the myth of La Llorona, where she learns that the grieving widow will come for children to replace her own.

Thoughts on The Curse of La Llorona

Characters – Anna is the widowed social worker and mother who while doing her job, checking up on children that might be suffering abuse, trying to keep them with their parents, get involved in a curse, which puts her own children in danger. Baring in mind, she is a social work and was married to a cop, she doesn’t make the best decisions, we see how she struggles to communicate with her children, often leaves them alone and when they get injuries, she doesn’t demand answers, which remaining unanswered would mean she could be considered abusive. Chris and Samantha are the children, they are both dealing with the loss of their father, which would be difficult for any child, they become cursed by La Llorona who wants to take them, meaning they must first learn to communicate with their own mother, when the events start to happen. Rafael Olvera is one man that turned his back on the church in order to fight the evil in the world, he is the last resort for Anna, where he knows how to stop La Llorona from causing more pain in the lives of family.

PerformancesLinda Cardellini in the leading role does well through the film without doing anything you wouldn’t expect for a horror film. The child actors both do a solid job through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a widowed mother that ends up getting a cursed by an evil spirit that wants to take her children and she must figure out how to stop her before it is too late. This is a horror story that does do everything it needs to, to put a character in a position where everything they do know, can be turned on its head, when it comes to child protection. The story does however fall into the position of the start of the La Llorona appearance seeming quite random to the first victim, with not enough investigation into that side of the story, while the battle to protect is pretty much every sort of possession based film we have seen before.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film does work if you want jump scares, it does build some up very well, with an umbrella sequences which is the standout for me. The mystery behind the film comes from just why La Llorona has appeared in the first place, which never seems to get answered, only how to beat her.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the scares in and around the family home, it does make a point that it is the family that is haunted not the house, which is key to how the ghostly figure appears. Being haunted in your own home is always going to be a scary idea.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to make the figure of La Llorona look frightening, it will give the scary figure a look which would get a scream too.


Scene of the Movie – Umbrella.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is pretty routine for a horror film.

Final Thoughts This is a routine horror that does have a couple of good scares without hitting the heights of the rest of the universe it has come from.

Overall: Easy to watch horror.

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The Furnace (2019 Movie Review

Director: Darrell Roodt

Writer: Darrell Roodt, P.G. de Jonge (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamie Bernadette, Luthuli Dlamini, Laura Linn, Thandi Puren, Armand Aucamp

Plot: Newlyweds Mary and Matt celebrate Christmas, and their passion for running, with two honeymoon tickets to Africa’s ultimate footrace, The Furnace. Their excitement to race together across the biggest animal reserve in the world has them inspired. Then in a horrific flash, everything’s gone including Mary’s purpose for living. A year later, Mary is grieving. Struggling to breathe with an oxygen tank, she cries out her anger at God. Standing nearby, a man sees her suffering, and shares his own story of loss. Once a doctor in Africa, he fled to America when civil war annihilated his town. Now known by the nickname, Coffin, he digs graves after losing his practice. Coffin urges Mary to keep on believing, push through and recover, offering his help as a doctor and friend. Over time Coffin’s dedicated support and intense training helps Mary grow strong, and live to run again. But what will it take to let go of her pain .

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Inspiring Faith Based Drama

Story: The Furnace starts on the first Christmas days after Mary (Bernadette) and Matt’s (Aucamp) wedding, who have plans to challenge themselves to a race known as The Furnace 150km across African wild reserve, tragedy strikes though, leaving Mary needing an oxygen mask to get through the days.

Spending her time at her husband’s grave Mary meets the gravedigger Coffin (Dlamini) who consoles her, telling her his own story, offering to try and help her recover to the levels of fitness she is used to, so she can use her new found faith to complete the Furnace herself.

Thoughts on The Furnace

Characters – Mary starts this film married and about to go on a honeymoon the pair had been dreaming off, this goes in an instant, leaving her needing an oxygen tank to get through the day, with any hopes of running dashed. Angry at the world, she starts to close off, finding any attempts at returning to her passion ending in hospital trips, until she meets Coffin, here she learns about faith and new technology to overcome her odds to compete in the race that was her honeymoon plan, one that is a test for even the toughest runners in the world. Coffin is a gravedigger in America, even though he is trained as a doctor back in Africa, he offers to help Mary get back to her former self, teaching her to pace herself, preparing her for the impossible sounding race. He must watch from the side lines, with hope that she will make it through each stage of the race. Raphaella is a fellow runner that Mary meets along the way, one to help support her over the course of the journey.

PerformancesJamie Bernadette steps away from the action horror roles we have seen her in recently for a much more serious role, one that does play into her strengths, she deals with the athletic demand of the performance with ease, while bringing the emotional impact of her character’s journey through the film. Luthuli Dlamini does a wonderful job in his role too bringing the calmness to help make Mary strong through the film.

StoryThe story here follows one woman that loses everything she had a dreamt off until she finds her faith and pushes herself to get back on the track and complete the race she was meant to do with her husband. This is a story that shows the inspiration of wanting to overcome tragedy and finding a way to achieve this in a world you wouldn’t normal consider. We do get a normal montage of training, while a large part of the story follows the race being competed in. we do get to see just how much needed to be overcome, though it could have given us more of a time frame and just what the injury Mary had, like how likely it is to overcome, or would it be something she was meant to be living with for the rest of her life.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just how her life changes in America, while it does get the beauty shots of the African wild reserve seeing the different animals around area.


Scene of the Movie – The race final leg.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not getting a full look at the time frame.

Final Thoughts This is an inspiring story of overcoming tragedy to get back to the former strength, with powerful performances throughout.

Overall: Inspiring Throughout.

Transit 17 (2019) Movie Review

Director: Guy Bleyaert

Writer: Guy Bleyaert (Screenplay)

Starring: Guy Bleyaert, Zara Phythian, Lee Charles, Silvio Simac, Kimberly Stahl, Stefanie Joosten, John Flanders

Plot: After a virus infected France, Belgium and the Netherlands a team of resistance soldiers trying to safe a young girl who seems to be their last hope for a cure.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Escape from New York Meets The Last of Us

Story: Transit 17 starts when Tex (Bleyaert) and his team Eve (Phythian), Brad (Charles), Deena (Stahl) and Daniel get assigned to a rescue missing in Belgium, in a world where a virus has wiped out most of the population. The team knows the threats they will be facing, with infected hunting them down, but the mission is worth the risk, as it could lead to a cure to save the whole world from becoming completely wiped out.

Thoughts on Transit 17

Characters – Tex is leading the team on the mission, the rest of the crew will trust him to make the right decisions no matter what, he does have to make difficult decisions, but knows that this mission could change everything. Eve and Brad are both big parts of the team and feel like most soldiers we have seen in most film like this, the characters we do meet are soldiers and military people that are preparing for the operation and add in the 15-year-old they must try to save.

PerformancesThis is a film where the performances are not going to be seen as it strength, one of the problems here comes from nearly all the characters being portrayed as serious, which makes everybody too similar, not letting any of the actors make their character standout in anyway.

StoryThe story follows a group of soldiers who go on a mission to save a teenage girl in an infected virus world that could hold the cure for the world. The story does seem to borrow from the ideas behind Escape from New York, with the team needing to rescue somebody in danger and also the game The Last of Us, which focuses on the idea one person could be immune, which would be key to the survival of the rest of the humans. While the story flows well enough, the characters just feel under developed, with them being too similar and most situation being simple action that just ends up coming off like something that doesn’t want to risk anything.

ActionThe action doesn’t get to any level of intensity, which does leave us not getting excited about the bullets flying around.

SettingsThe film tells us we are going through parts of Belgium, only we don’t really get to see anything other than strongholds in the survival from the infected, using now iconic locations through the film.


Scene of the Movie – Look at the bite.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We just don’t get the level of intensity we could have.

Final Thoughts This is a simple action film that borrows from a couple of major properties, only it just doesn’t end up getting to the levels of intensity that it could have by the end of the film.

Overall: Simple Action.

Boonie Bears: to the Rescue (2019) Movie Review

Director: Leon Ding

Writer: Brian Bullock, Leon Ding (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Rick Jay Glen, Siobhan Lumsden Paul ‘Maxx’ Rinehart, Justin J Wheeler, Toni Thompson

Plot: Make way, all-the forest has an unexpected visitor. The Bear Brothers and Logger Vick are shocked to discover a tiny baby girl in their sprawling territory among the pines. But the long-time enemies instantly warm to this lost little angel and in order to care for her, agree to the unthinkable: They establish a truce. Yet even as these rough-and-tumble outdoor hombres undergo an uproarious crash-course in infant care, danger lurks on the edge of their paradise.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Monsters Inc Meets Yogi Bear

Story: Boonie Bears: To the Rescue starts as Logger Vick clashes once again with the bear brothers Briar and Bramble, who manage to steal his new tool case, leaving Vick with another case, which happens to contain a baby girl, one that has been missing for a week.

When Vick tries to do the right thing for the baby, he only finds himself on the run from the law and the original kidnappers, before he reluctantly teams up with his enemies Briar and Bramble to return the baby.

Thoughts on Boonie Bears: To the Rescue

Characters – Logger Vick has been working on cutting down the trees in the forest, which has seen him become rivals with a couple of bears, his rivalry has seen him spending more time trying to allude the bears, than dealing with his actual job, when his latest equipment is take by the bears, he learns a new responsibility when he must take care of a baby who has become lost in the forest. Briar is the smarter of the two bears, he always has a plan in mind and lets Bramble learn his correct place in the couple’s plans. Bramble does focus on getting most the laughs between the bears, he is meant to be the dumber of the two which comes off clear, with how he deals with keep Lola happy. Lola is the baby that ends up under the care of the unlikely partnerships between bitter rivals.

StoryThe story here follows the unlikely union of the television show character Logger Vick and the brother bears Briar and Bramble as they want to protect a little baby girl they find in the forest, who is being tracked down by criminals. If you have seen the TV show, you will enjoy seeing the unlikely union, think Bugs Bunny working with Elma Fudd. If you haven’t seen the TV show you will see how characters similar to Yogi Bear and Ranger Smith clash over certain things. Having this mixed together we do get a Monsters Inc environment, with the baby being thrown into the hands of people and animals with no idea how to raise them and them finding comical ways to make her happy. This is clearly marketed for a younger audience and you can see why they would be happy to sit and enjoy the characters adventures.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure side of this film shows us just how far the unlikely group will go to save a baby, it has plenty of references to other adventure films too, while this might be one that is targeted more for the younger members of the family, parents could enjoy watching with their single figured aged children.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to get an extra laugh here and there, as it shows us just how the three characters live with their own rivalry.

AnimationThe animation in the film does look like it has come from a TV show, which still makes it look fantastic throughout.


Scene of the Movie – The bonding between the three.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Being unsure what the rivalry between Logger Vick and the bears really is.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family comedy that will keep the younger audience happy throughout the film, it does have a big heart at the centre and could be compared to Monsters Inc and Yogi Bear with ease.

Overall: Fun family animation.

Rabid (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska

Writer: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, John Serge (Screenplay)

Starring: Laura Vandervoort, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Greg Bryk, Stephen McHattie, C.M. Punk, Hanneke Talbot

Plot: What happens when you realize that to achieve your dreams you have to live a nightmare? Rose is a quiet, demure, unassuming woman in her looks and actions. Her dream is to become a famous designer in the fashion world, but a terrible accident leaves Rose scarred beyond recognition. She seeks out a radical untested stem cell treatment. The treatment is nothing short of a miracle and wallflower Rose turns into the belle of the ball. It all seems to good to be true. She is now everything she wanted to be. But everything in life comes at a price and this new found perfect life is no exception.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Best Practical Effects in Horror 2019

Story: Rabid starts when we meet shy assistant to a fashion designer Rose (Vandervoort) gets invited to one of the fashion parties, only for her to learn the motivation behind going, running from the party, being involved in a horrific car crash, leaving her jaw wired shut, while her jaw is being rebuilt. Rose is taken in by her foster sister and model Chelsea (Talbot) who is there for her, helping her find solutions including an experimental procedure that could re-construct her face.

The procedure is a completely success, making her even more beautiful than she was before, though it has come with a side effect, visions she can’t control, horrific ones, that seems to be blending reality with nightmares.

Thoughts on Rabid

Characters – Rose is the quiet assistant to a fashion designer, she has her own ideas that she does want to see made, the girls come to her to get small adjustments, but the designer treats her like a carpet. She isn’t seen in the same light as the models and often keeps to herself. She gets involved in an accident which first sees her horribly disfigured and secondly lose her job, desperate to fix this, she turns to an experimental procedure which fixes everything, giving her a new lease for life and a taste for blood. Brad is one of the co-workers that does try to help Rose come out of her shell by inviting her to the party before the accident. Chelsea is the foster sister to Rose that has been working with her too, she is the one that opens up her home after the accident, helping her get back on her feet, supporting her through the treatment, not looking away like most the others in her life would.

PerformancesLaura Vandervoort does give us a strong performance throughout, being able to balance the losing her mind and determined personality. Hanneke Talbot is strong too and the supportive friend, that does get to show the pushy personality her character has around Rose. Benjamin Hollingsworth does show us a strong friend or potential love interest in the film, while big names like Stephen McHattie and C.M. Punk make entertaining supporting appearance.

StoryThe story here follows a young lady that sees her life turned upside down after an accident leaves her disfigured, only for an experiment procedure bringing out a new version of herself and an unwanted side effect along the way. This is a remake and one story that can remain similar is places, while bringing the social side of the film to new heights, the fashion world does make a wonderful backdrop for the story because it reflects the world that image needs to be fix with surgery. There are certain ways the story does feel weaker, that is mostly seeing how everything is spreading, which is important, but it doesn’t follow Rose, which is the important side of the story.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror side of the film comes from the real world situation that Rose goes through, with the accident before hitting the graphic violence of what is happening to Rose, which is also the sci-fi side of the film, the changes Rose goes through.

SettingsThe film uses the fashion world as the main settings backdrop, it shows us just how important image is to Rose and the people close to her.

Special EffectsThe complete highlight of this film comes from the practical effects, which look as graphic as they can, the injury suffered by Rose is one of the worst wounds you will see in this year’s horror films. We should give a shout out to the team (According to IMDB) Graham Chivers, Jeff Derushie, Anahita Loghmanifar, Emily O’Quinn and Omar Roessler


Scene of the Movie – The first reveal from the injury.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do move away from Rose, as the bigger problems spread around the city, we could have been given more fear from not seeing this, only hearing about it.

Final Thoughts This is a practical effects masterclass in horror, it will use some of the best you will see this year even if the story is a modernised look at a cult classic.

Overall: Bloody graphic horror.