ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – F – The Final Girls (2015) Movie Thoughts

The Final Girls (2015)

The Final Girls follows Max Cartwright (Taissa Farmiga) the daughter of a 80s slasher icon Amanda Cartwright (Malin Akerman) who died in a car crash. 3 years after the incident Duncan (Thomas Middleditch) has convinces Max to attend a celebration of the Camp Bloodbath Movies with her friends, Gertie (Alia Shawkat), Chris (Alexander Ludwig) and Vicki (Nina Dobrev). At the screening of the movie, a fire breaks out and the friends look to cut through the screen only to find themselves transported into the movie.

Inside the movie Max gets to meet her mother in character Nancy, along with the rest of the characters Kurt (Adam Devine), Tina (Angela Trimbur), Paula (Chloe Bridges) and Blake (Tory N Thompson) who have been placed to be the victims for the slasher Billy Murphy. The real people must work with the movie characters to fight Billy in an attempt to escape, while Max gets more time with her mother.

The Final girls does to horror movies what The Last Hero did to action movies, turning the characters and real-life people. This becomes a full blown meta comedy on the slasher genre. We get all the classic stereotypes from the slasher genre through two generations, who will be focusing on the different eras. If you are a fan of the slasher genre, you will get where each of the deaths has been taken from to work for the extra comedic value, knowing they are over the top and ridiculous. Angela Trimbur is by far the star of the comedic side of the film, playing the dumb girl perfectly through the film. The whole cast are fantastic to watch with Taissa Farmiga continuing her rampage in the horror world.

There is a much deeper message about trying to understand how a horror icon could struggle for work after certain movies build reputations, even if the star will end up with a cult following. Away from that, we get the idea of being able to spend time with a loved one, one more time after death, even if it is in a world of make believe.

Rating 4/5

Sisters (2015) Movie Review

Director: Jason Moore

Writer: Paula Pell (Screenplay)

Starring: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz, James Brolin, Dianne West, John Cena, John Leguizamo

Plot: Two sisters decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home.

Tagline – Big sisters don’t always know best. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Over the Top Comedy

Story: Sisters starts when Maura (Poehler) and Kate (Fey) learn that their parents are looking sell the family home, needing the two to return home to clean out their rooms and they decide to throw one last party before the house is sold, where Maura gets a chance to meet a new neighbour James (Barinholtz), while Kate looks to try and sort out her own life.

As the party unfolds both Maura and Kate get to learn a few life lessons, one about taking more chances, while the other must learn about finding her own place in life, after lacking the responsibility for the most part.

Thoughts on Sisters

Characters – Maura is a divorced nurse that is always trying to help people more, she keeps herself grounded and hasn’t ever let herself go wild, this party will let her unleash everything in one night, letting her become her own sister. Kate is the wild child who has struggled to hold down a job, which has seen her relationship with her daughter become strained, she doesn’t want to see the family home go to a stranger, which sees her arrange a party for Maura to let lose for once. Brinda is an old rival of Kate from school, one which has held the grudge since high school who wants to join the party. James is a neighbour who Maura takes a shine to, which sees them using the party as a chance to get to know each other.

PerformancesAmy Poehler and Tina Fey are both good together, they will always have chemistry on the big screen, though they end up forcing unrealistic comedy into the film, when it comes to the supporting cast, nobody does that good of a job, they play unrealistic characters for the most part.

StoryThe story here follows two sisters that come back to the house they grew up in only to find their parent’s have sold it and end up having one more wild party there. This is a story that is trying to show how life can become more difficult then people want it to be, be it from not taking chances or from being too wild, this does work in parts as we get to see just how important life can be for people. This does however fall into the unrealistic comedy that you wouldn’t find in life, which does drag the story down.

ComedyThe comedy mostly feels forced, it doesn’t feel as natural as everyday life, with most trying to show the routines of the leading actresses.

SettingsThe film is set in the singular location, which is where the party happens, it shows how things can get out of hand.

Scene of the Movie – Sink hole.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The stand-up moments, which just take us out the story.

Final Thoughts This is a comedy that just doesn’t get started or focus long enough on the serious story trying to be applied.

Overall: Disappointing Comedy.

Welcome to Happiness (2015) Movie Review

Director: Oliver Thompson

Writer: Oliver Thompson (Screenplay)

Starring: Kyle Gallner, Olivia Thirlby, Nick Offerman, Keegan-Michael Key, Brendan Sexton III, Josh Brener, Molly C Quinn

Plot: There’s a magical door in Woody’s closet that allows those who go through it to erase mistakes from their past. When he finds out where it goes, his life will be changed forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Strange and Quirky

Story: Welcome to Happiness starts as young man Woody (Gallner) a children’s author who welcomes strangers into his apartment to help them go through his erase their mistakes, this makes his life complicated when he starts becoming friendly with a fellow tenant Trudy (Thirlby). Meanwhile Nyles (Sexton III) a man that is cleaning up after his father’s death, learns that he has valuable baseball cards, which sees him getting drawn into a big adventure around the people who want in on the business.

When Woody sees the full effect of the visits, he starts to question why he can’t change moments from his past, which soon starts to put a strain on his relationship with Trudy, while his landlord Moses (Offerman) is encouraged with his work.

Thoughts on Welcome to Happiness

Characters – Woody is a children’s author that has just moved into an apartment which sees strangers visit, answer a string of questions before putting them in a closet where they vanish. He doesn’t know what happens next until he meets one of the visitors, which leaves him wondering why he can’t change his past, which only makes him out to be going crazy to his girlfriend. Trudy is the new neighbour to Woody who strikes up a relationship with him, she does question him about the visit and doesn’t believe him when he tells the story. Moses is the landlord that knows about the closet, he knows how it helps people and who should be the one that guides people through it. Nyles is a depressed man that learns about the treasure in his father’s attic, he ends up follow a string of instructions, which will sees him visiting the closet.

PerformancesKyle Gallner does well in the leading role, it shows us just how difficult being an author with pain in his life can be difficult to get through. This does have a big cast, with each actor doing their thing to make us understand figures they are playing.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that finds himself in the unusual position of having to deal with strangers looking to answer questions, which would see them disappear in his closet, over time he wants to know more, which will soon start to push him to his limits. This is an interesting little story, it does show us how difficult living in despair could be on the people in life, they will need to learn to move on, because once you break down everything, you never know what could have been in the world. We do have to meet a lot of characters, which do seem to have moments of randomness, though it does all make sense by the end of the film.

Comedy/FantasyThe comedy in the film comes from just how far out there certain ideas are, mixed in with certain characters too, the fantasy shows us how the closet works and just how life can be seen differently if people come into it.

SettingsThe settings for the film does try to put everything into a position of everyday, leading down the same plan as people you see in life will have stories you might not always get to know.

Scene of the Movie – Behind the door.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain characters don’t seem needed at times.

Final Thoughts This is a very strange movie, it does have an important message, that does need to help us reflect our own lives, even if it does lean away from it at times.

Overall: Interesting throughout.

A Christmas Horror Story (2015) Movie Review

Director: Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan

Writer: Jason Filiatrault, James Kee, Sarah Larsen, Doug Taylor, Pascal Trottier (Screenplay)

Starring: William Shatner, George Buza, Rob Archer, Zoe De Grand Maison, Alex Ozerov, Shannon Kook, Amy Forsyth

Plot: Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.

Tagline – You Better Watch Out

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Christmas Anthology 101

Story: A Christmas Horror Story starts when we see a family trying to rebuild a relationship with a distant relative, who has a secret of her own, three college students trying to unlock the secret of an abandon facility, while another family illegal cut down a Christmas Tree.

With the three stories taking place on Christmas Eve, Santa is dealing with his own problems in the North Pole after one of his elves unexpectedly dies, Santa must suit up to fight evil in an attempt to save Christmas.

Thoughts on A Christmas Horror Story

Characters – Dangerous Dan is the radio host that is telling the stories of last year, he treats each like a warning to anybody listening. Santa does have a unique look which sees him looking like an older man that has been doing the job for too long, he gets caught up needing to figure out what happened to his elves as they are dying and coming back like zombies. Krampus comes for a family in the woods after they are involved in trying to rebuild a relationship with a distant relative. Molly is one of the student filmmakers trying to make a documentary about an abandoned facility. We also have a family that are involved in stealing a tree, only they don’t come back the same way as they left.

PerformancesOne of the problems with this film comes from the performances not being given the best chance to succeed, this doesn’t mean anybody is bad, it is the way the film is shot, meaning we jump between the stories too much, instead of letting one short unfold, not giving us time to invest in the performers.

StoryThe story does tell four different stories of horror going on at Christmas. Unlike most anthologies, this one jumps between the stories instead of giving us one at a time, this doesn’t help because one at time will give us enough time to invest in what is about a 20 minutes story, instead of giving us 2-3 minute snippets before moving back to another. If we were to break down the stories, there is one very fun and interesting one, with Santa fighting zombie elves, the one with the tree and the Krampus ones are both entertaining, while the documentary one falls slightly flat.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy elements in the film come from the different Christmas creations, including Krampus, Santa and the Changelings figures. The horror is hard to get invested in because the lack of time spent on each story.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to give each film it own unique look, we can tell instantly from each set which story we are in too.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are blood filled which is all we want from a horror slasher styled film.

Scene of the Movie – True Krampus kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Santa’s final scene.

Final Thoughts This is a basic Christmas horror anthology which does give plenty of blood, only to struggle to make us care about the bigger story because of the jump between two.

Overall: Simple anthology.