ABC Film Challenge – Horror – F – Feral (2017) Movie Review

Director: Mark Young

Writer: Mark Young, Adam Frazier (Screenplay)

Starring: Scout Taylor-Compton, Olivia Luccardi, Lew Temple, Renee Olstead, Brock Kelly, Landry Allbright

Plot: A wild creature attacks six students on a weekend hike in the woods. One by one, they become infected with a “feral disease”, turning them into rabid, bloodthirsty creatures, and the vacation becomes a nightmare as they fight to survive each other.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Late Night Horror

Story: Feral starts as we meet six friends, Alice (Taylor-Compton), Jules (Luccardi), Brienne (Olstead), Jesse (Kelly), Gina (Allbright) and Matt (Finn) going on a weekend hike, which is filled with the drama of relationships, the first night takes a dramatic turn when Matt and Brienne are attacked by a creature, with Brienne left injured by the attack.

They seek shelter with Talbot (Temple) who has a cabin in the woods, but they are far from help, with the group needing to fight against the creatures that will turn them into rabid monsters.

Thoughts on Feral

Characters – Alice takes control of the situation, using her experience of animals to deal with attacks and try and hold the friends together, she has her own secrets from her father, which she needs to address on this weekend too. Jules is the girlfriend of Alice, she is the newest member of the group and wants Alice to speak to her father, while dealing as an outsider more. Talbot is the stranger in the woods, his cabin because the base for what happens, only he has his own reasons for being in the cabin. The rest of the cast complete the friends list which are more victims than any sort of character.

PerformancesScout Taylor-Compton is the big name from the horror community, she is the best of performers, with Lew Temple bringing the next most interesting character to life.

StoryThe story here follows six friends on a hiking trip that come under attack by a feral creature, which will turn them rabid if they are bitten, with the battle to survive being the most important thing. This survival story is one we have seen before, it is one that works and is easy to understand, we know that we will always shave one that can fight back better than the rest, while the rest usually just become the victims or make mistakes. The characters involved in the story are written quite weakly with the idea of romance that needs to be addressed being about as deep as we get here. It does make it an easy watch, with a story that never gets complicated.

Action/HorrorThe action in the film does rely on the fights with the creatures, which shows the intensity of the horror we are going through.

SettingsThe film creates the remote locations of a hike in the woods, it does show where the creatures could be getting kept and how difficult it would be to escape from.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used to show the damage the creatures can inflict, it does make them look more terrifying too which helps the fights seem more realistic.

Scene of the Movie – Sneaky, sneaky.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The characters a very thin.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that you could easily stick on one night, it is an easy watch, has the bloodbath you could enjoy and by the end it isn’t bad to watch.

Overall: Easy Watch.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – D – Devil’s Gate (2017) Movie Review

Director: Clay Staub

Writer: Peter Aperlo, Clay Staub (Screenplay)

Starring: Amanda Schull, Shawn Ashmore, Mile Ventimiglia, Bridget Regan, Jonathan Frakes, Sarah Constible

Plot: Seeking a missing woman in North Dakota, an FBI agent and a sheriff focus on her religious zealot husband but discover something far more sinister.

Tagline – Pray they are never found.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Alien Invasion with a Twist

Story: Devil’s Gate starts when FBI agent Daria Francis (Schull) arrives in the small town of Devil’s Gate, escorted by local cop Conrad ‘Colt’ Salter (Ashmore), she is here to investigate the disappearance of a woman. The easy clue points the finger at her husband Jackson Pritchard (Ventimiglia) who lives on his remote ranch, which is surrounded with traps and barbwire, with a secret in his basement.

What the two discover in the basement will leave them in shock, as Jackson has been holding a creature in his basement, the creature he believes took his family, holding it until he family is returned, seeing the three needing to work together to solve bigger problem they are going to be facing.

Thoughts on Devil’s Gate

Characters – Agent Daria Francis is an FBI agent with a troubled past, with her latest case leading to the death of a suspect, she has taken this case in hope of making up for her past, she doesn’t mean to step on toes, but does want to investigate correctly, with a fresh mind, which sees her trying to be the voice of reason. Conrad Salter is the local deputy that is always friendly with everyone around town, he is a nice guy cop, trying to balance the line between helping an outsider and remaining friends with the locals. Jackson Pritchard is the hot head farmer that has become the main suspect in the missing person case, only to show a darker secret to why he is holding his home to be like a prison, though he has motivation for doing what he wants to do.

PerformancesAmanda Schull as the FBI agent is great in the film, she shows the calm required for the role. Shawn Ashmore as the local cop is strong for the most part, the character does take a twist at times, but otherwise he works well as the nice guy. Milo Ventimiglia is fun to watch as the unhinged character in the film too.

StoryThe story follows what seems like a routine missing person investigation, only for everything to take a dramatic twist into why the missing person has gone. This does have plenty of twists in how everything is unfolding, it will keep us guessing as to watch is causing most of the changes to have an impact in where the story will go. It does enough to be original in the field too because with the core of the story, it could easily be something we have seen before.

Horror/Sci-fi The horror in this film comes from the events of the night, the isolation, darkness and invading threat to the people in the home, it all comes into effect through the film, with the sci-fi side adding to the horror with visits from space.

SettingsMost of the film takes place in one location, the farm, which is filled with traps, has secrets in each door and is waiting to give us more to the story in every scene.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film work well enough, we have a nice creature creation, while dealing with most weaknesses being covered with darkness.

Scene of the Movie – The first visitor.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – How the local cops are acting.

Final Thoughts This is a nice horror sci-fi that does have enough twists along the way to keep us guessing, while also being original enough to stand on its own.

Overall: Nice Spin on Alien Invasion.

Thank You for Your Service (2017) Movie Review

Director: Jason Hall

Writer: Jason Hall (Screenplay)

Starring: Miles Teller, Beulah Koale, Joe Cole, Scott Haze, Haley Bennett, Amy Schumer, Omar J Dorsey

Plot: A group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life, while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they’ve left the battlefield.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Thank You for Your Service starts when three soldiers Adam Schumann (Teller), Tausolo Aieti (Koale) and Billy Waller (Cole) return home from their latest deployment. Adam returns to his wife and kids, while holding in guilt for the events of the last mission, Tausolo learns that he isn’t going to be welcomed back due to head injuries on duty, while Billy returns to learn his fiancée has left him with nothing.

As the three look to adapt to civilian life, they find themselves struggling and in need of help, the help that isn’t being given to them, leading down destructive paths needing to accept help from their loved ones.

Thoughts on Thank You for Your Service

ThoughtsThank You for Your Service is a drama showing what happens to three young veterans after their time on duty. Showing us three different reactions to the traumas they suffered through in the line of duty. This is a story that will highlight just how poorly treated soldiers are when they return, with the pure number being too high to cover the pain they have been through. The three lives do go in every different directions, showing us just how they can spiral out of control. The performances from Miles Teller and Beulah Koale are fantastic, showing us just how hard the lives of their characters have become. This is one of the films that is important to show just how difficult life will be for veterans who have been through horrific events they just can’t recover from.

Final Thoughts Thank You for Your Service is a brilliantly acted and important story about the struggles veterans face.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – U – Austin Found (2017) Movie Review

We are under U because of the stars of the film Skeet Ulrich and Ursula Parker.

Director: Will Raee

Writer: Brenna Graziano (Screenplay) Will Raee (Story)

Starring: Linda Cardellini, Skeet Ulrich, Craig Robinson, Kristen Schaal, Ursula Parker, Patrick Warburton

Plot: A woman who is fed up with her mundane lifestyle hatches a scheme to make her family instant celebrities, but not everything goes as planned as her wild tempered ex-boyfriend starts to lose it.

Tagline – Some mothers will do whatever it takes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Silly Comedy

Story: Austin Found starts as Leanne Wilson (Cardellini) has been preparing her daughter Patty (Parker) for life in beauty pageants, only the money is running out, she loses her job and comes up with an idea from TV to have her daughter kidnapped and use the new fame to cash in.

Leanne turns to her ex-lover Billy (Ulrich) to get the job done, with him recruiting his friend Jebidiah (Robinson) to offer Patricia a luxury time away, while Leanne plays into the idea things are natural.

Thoughts on Austin Found

Characters – Leanne Wilson has been getting tired of the life she now has, the former beauty queen, is married and trying to do the same for her own daughter being over demanding. She is running out of money and plans to have her own daughter kidnapped in an attempt to create a name fame around the family. Billy is the former lover that Leanne arranges to have kidnap her daughter, he will do anything for love, getting increasingly jealous of the love Leanne has for own husband. Jebidiah is the friend of Billy, who gets drawn into the plan believe he is saving Patty from an abusive household and befriending her during the time away.

PerformancesLinda Cardellini in the leading role shows both sides of her character well through the film, while Skeet Ulrich gets to show his psychotic side we saw in Scream before, with Craig Robinson bring the most entertaining laughs.

StoryThe story here follows a former beauty queen that has been raising her daughter to follow in her footsteps, only to come up with a big scheme to jump start her popularity by having her kidnapped. This is a story that spotlights the desperation somebody could have for becoming a celebrity in the modern world. We see just how a plan can bring out the best and worst in people, leading to them making the decisions along the way. This does lead to everything not flowing as smoothly as it could, with it just becoming just like everything we have seen before.

ComedyThe comedy misses more often than it hits, with only Craig Robinson hitting the laughs.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the world of somebody in a desperate situation to try and make more of their life.

Scene of the Movie – The social time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The plot.

Final Thoughts This is a basic comedy that does show the lengths someone will go to for fame and what they are willing to sacrifice.

Overall: Simple Comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – R – Rough Night (2017) Movie Review

Director: Lucia Aniello

Writer: Lucia Aniello, Paul W Downs (Screenplay)

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon, Paul W Downs

Plot: Things go terribly wrong for a group of girlfriends who hire a male stripper for a bachelorette party in Miami.

Tagline – What’s Your Alibi?

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fails to Get Laughs

Story: Rough Night starts as politician Jess (Johansson) is going on her bachelorette party with her college friends Alice (Bell), Blair (Kravitz), Frankie (Glazer) and Pippa (McKinnon) in Miami, only for the first night everything goes horribly wrong when the stripper arrives.

The women need to decide what to do with the body before it get exposed which brings out the truth about how their lives haven’t gone the way they would have liked.

Thoughts on Rough Night

Characters – Jess is running for political office to help change the city for the better, only it is now her bachelorette party, she wants a quiet party, not wanting to disappointing her friends, she goes along with the flow. The events of the night make her questions her career, believing it could end this career. Alice is the bridesmaid who has arranged the whole weekend, she has been waiting for this weekend for weeks and always wants to be the centre of attention. Blair is the upper-class woman, a success on the outside, while having her own problems. Frankie is an activist that has been fighting for her causes, she secures drugs for the party and is the more street smart of the group. Pippa is the Australian friend that hasn’t met the group before, but is one of Jess’ closest friends from her time over there.

PerformancesScarlett Johansson does struggle to get the laughs involved in the film, well if we are in going to look at the laughs, nobody really hits many of the laughs, while they can show the real side to the problems they have in life.

StoryThe story here follows five friends on a bachelorette party in Miami when things don’t go to plan when they accidentally kill a stripper and learn about the changes they have made in their life. This is one of the typical pre-wedding story that ends up showing us the chaos which could happen during the night, while it does just become lazy in the way of just turning to the need for drugs to get through the night, while the heart of the story, being about changes they have gone through, to show how life has changed for them. The whole side story with the groom does feel overkill and more filler than anything else too.

ComedyThe comedy in the film misses more than anything else, the best part of the film does come from the more serious side of the film.

SettingsThe film uses the Miami setting, only we spend most of the time within the luxury home, instead of looking at the bigger side to the busy city.

Scene of the Movie – News flash.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The comedy.

Final Thoughts This is a comedy that misses most of the laughs and ends up being save with the heart about change.

Overall: Comedy Lacking the Laughs.