St. Agatha (2018)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Andy Demetrio, Shaun Fletcher, Sara Sometti Michaels, Clint Sears (Screenplay)

Starring: Sabrina Kern, Carolyn Hennesy, Courtney Halverson, Seth Michaels, Trin Miller, Lindsay Seim, Shaun Fletcher

 

Plot: In the 1950s in small-town Georgia, a pregnant young woman named Agatha seeks refuge in a convent.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shock Filled Religious Horror

 

Story: St. Agatha starts in the 1950 Georgia, where young lady Mary (Kern) has become pregnant and goes to a convent for refuge to have her child, the convent is run by Mother Superior (Hennesy) that has strict rules in which the young woman must follow, while the other girls, including Catherine (Halverson) are planning on giving their child up for adoption.

While in the convent, Mary starts to get overly concerned about the behaviour of the rest of the convent, Mother Superior puts her through a gruelling test, renaming her Agatha until she learns her place within the walls.

 

Thoughts on St. Agatha

 

Characters – Mary is a pregnant young lady with a tragic past which saw her running from her abusive father, she seeks refuge to have her child, which sees her in a convent, only for this to be a worse hell than her previous life, she is stuck with the abusive religious nuns that want her baby, even renaming her Agatha. Mother Superior runs the convent, she has strict rules and expects the women to follow these rules or face punishment, she does however want the children to be born, which means the punishments won’t put the babies at risks, she has women under her control, but when it comes to Mary she must go to new extremes to keep her position of power in place. Catherine is one of the few women that offers Mary any help within the walls, she is also pregnant further along than Mary, meaning the two teaming up would mean more risk for her. We do have other girls that are under different levels of control, while we also have other nuns who are trying to prove their level of strictness to the Mother Superior.

PerformancesSabrina Kern in the leading role is great to watch, she brings the broken figure and shows us just how determined she is to make the most out of her life with her child. Carolyn Hennessy does bring us the strict figure required for her role which will show how capable to she to take control of the scenes through the film. the rest of the cast do a solid job throughout, they each get their moment to shine in the film’s story too.

StoryThe story follows a young woman who seeks refuge in a convent to help her have her child only to find the convent is being controlled by nuns that don’t always follow the bible when it comes to helping the young women that come to them for help. With this story we do get to give until the personal life of Mary that does have a tragic past and does show how far she has had to go to fix the problems in her life. The main focus is on the convent which does keep us guessing to what the Mother Superior will do next because they want the babies and can’t risk damaging them, but do need to punish the women. We do get elements of the theme around the idea of cults which does play an important factor in just where the film ends up going. We also have women at different stages of pregnancy which shows us and Mary just what will happen to her if she stays.

HorrorThe horror in the film follows the events in the convent, we get a mix of hauntings and torture, which are only making Mary look like she is losing her mind.

SettingsThe film is set in the convent, we get to see how the locked doors keep people in and just how they are going to be forcing the woman to follow the rules.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are used to show the injuries which aren’t as graphic as they could have been, though they imply horrific injuries given.


Scene of the Movie –
The baby is coming.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It could have gone a lot darker that is does go.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough horror that uses the themes of religious cults to make the horror seem more realistic and shocking.

 

Overall: Religious Cult 101

Rating

 

 

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Hotel Mumbai (2018) Movie Review

Director: Anthony Maras

Writer: John Collee, Anthony Maras (Screenplay)

Starring: Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher, Jason Isaacs

Plot: The true story of the Taj Hotel terrorist attack in Mumbai. Hotel staff risk their lives to keep everyone safe as people make unthinkable sacrifices to protect themselves and their families.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense, Emotional and Heart-Breaking

Story: Hotel Mumbai starts on what was a normal demanding day at the luxury Taj Hotel in Mumbai, Arjun (Patel) is trying his hardest to keep his job with his wife due to have a baby any day now, the guest on this fateful day include Iranian-British heiress Zahra (Boniadi) and her husband David (Hammer) along with their new-born baby, Russian businessman Vasili (Isaacs).

This night is something nobody involved with ever remember, when a group of terrorists start causing mayhem through Mumbai, before getting into the Taj, to continue their rampage, leading to the staff needing to make sacrifices to try and keep the guest safe from the horrific action.

Thoughts on Hotel Mumbai

The Events in this film are based on the true events, any description given is solely on how the film presents the real people whose lives were affected by this tragic and horrific event.

Characters – Arjun is married with one child and another on the way, he is one of the many employees at the Taj hotel, he is portrayed as being a man that will work for anything to keep his family fed and safe, but one that could not always play by the rules at work, he begs for this shift and shows every of his guests and co-workers just how much he will risk for the right thing. Zahra is an Iranian Heiress that is considered one of the most important guests one who could make or break the reputation of the hotel. She is one person that gets trapped, waiting for her husband David to find their baby which was left with a nanny in the room, David will risk more by going out into the battlefield in a hope to get to the baby, where he becomes one of the top picks for a hostage, an American. Oberoi is head chef in the hotel, he does everything he can to keep the guests safe, letting the employees decide if they want to help or be with their own families. Vasili is a Russian businessman that seems like he will be loud and rude for most of his stay. He however proves to be one of the most important men during the hostage situation. We do get to meet the terrorists, who are doing this in the name of their God, they are young naïve and don’t seem to have any understanding just what they are doing, performing the acts with completely heartless manor.

PerformancesDev Patel, Nazanin Boniadi, Armie Hammer, Anupam Kher and Jason Isaacs are the biggest names in this film, their performances are faultless, we have one of the best all around cast performances too, from everyone involved.

StoryThe story here shows the guests and staffs point of view of the terrorist attack on the Taj hotel in Mumbai in 2008, it shows what they did to survive, how heartless the terrorists were and gives the many people who risked their lives a chance to show their story. There is no easy way to describe this story, it was one of the worst ground level terrorists in attacks in recent history, seeing how calculated the terrorists were in their actions in hard to watch, seeing how helpless the victims were, is heart breaking. We can see how horrific their actions were and just how heroic the staff at the hotel were, when it comes to helping the helpless.

History/ThrillerThe moment in history will always be one that shocked the world, it is one that you should have heard about and now you can hear the stories of the people involved. It is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the film.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the walls of the Taj hotel, it showed us just how trapped the victims and survivors would have been.


Scene of the Movie – Lift sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – However hard this would be to portray everyone involved, it does feel like some of the characters and people don’t get enough of a story behind there events.

Final Thoughts This is easily one of the most intense films you will see and it shows just how horrific the events of the film were to the people involved.

Overall: Pure Intensity

Isabelle (2018) Movie Review

Director: Robert Heydon

Writer: Donald Martin (Screenplay)

Starring: Amanda Crew, Adam Brody, Zoe Belkin, Sheila McCarthy, Krista Bridges, Alison Brooks, Booth Savage

Plot: A young couple’s dream of starting a family shatters as they descend into the depths of paranoia and must struggle to survive an evil presence that wants nothing more than their very own lives.


Tagline – Desire can get you past anything, even death.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Leaves You Feeling Empty

Story: Isabelle starts when the Kane couple Larissa (Crew) and Matt (Brody) suffer the tragedy of losing their unborn baby, Matt returns to work to help him through the events, while Larissa is left alone in their house, where she starts hearing the cries of a baby.

The more time Larissa stays in the house, the more she notices the eyes of the neighbour Isabelle (Belkin) watching over her, even visiting her, despite being wheelchair bound.

Thoughts on Isabelle

Characters – Larissa is the mother that loses her baby, she has experienced a personal trauma, one that is impossible to understand unless you have experienced, she does become paranoid after her neighbour starts watching her and seeing her around the house, leaving her wondering if she is being haunted or whether she is being haunted for real. Matt is the husband and lawyer that is starting a new job, he works to get over the loss, with it getting heavily teased that an intern is trying to seduce him. We could have seen him getting more stressed out at work, which does start to get hinted about. There is a lot we have had with Matt’s character that does seem to get forgotten in places. Isabelle is the neighbour who watches from the window, disabled being left wheelchair bound, she appears to be haunting Larissa despite her condition. Ann is the mother that is very quiet keeping to herself for the most part.

PerformancesAmanda Crew in the leading role is the best of the performers, she does make us understand just how much trauma she would have been through. Adam Brody does start the film well, but the less we see from the character the less he has to do, Zoe Belkin might bring the creepy look, but most of the actions are difficult to take seriously, mainly because of the CGI around it.

StoryThe story here follows a family that suffer the loss of an unborn child and the trauma they have been through sees the wife start to question whether their neighbour is haunting them or not. For the most part the story is a pretty routine horror, it would pass on the it is watchable even if you know where the story will go, the problem comes from the final act which just leaves you scratching your head more than feeling like we got an ending to the film. Certain side stories that get hinted at early on, just don’t seem to come to pass either which leave them feeling like we had a couple of needless scenes too.

HorrorThe horror does fall into the idea that there is nearly always something behind Larissa, we have elements of possession, but not enough to bring any true scares.

SettingsThe film does use the home settings for the film, which does see how Larissa is getting haunted in a place that should be safe.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do feel clunky too, most don’t look like they are on a strong level in anyway, looking like a stretch picture rather than actual effects.


Scene of the Movie – Meeting the priest.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The final act.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does follow a routine, only for it to become predictable and when it tries to take a risk, it only confuses.

Overall: Routine Horror.

ISABELLE will be available on Sky Store, iTunes and UK digital platforms from 30th September

Seeds (2018)

Director: Owen Long

Writer: Steven Weisman (Screenplay) Owen Long (Story)

Starring: Trevor Long, Andrea Chen, Garr Long, Kevin Breznahan, Chris McGarry, Michelle Liu Coughlin

Plot: When his increasingly depraved behavior spirals out of control, Marcus retreats to his family home along the New England coast. But instead of finding solace, Marcus is haunted by his darkest fears and deepest desires.


Tagline – A Story of Temptation and Monsters.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Unsettling Throughout

Story: Seeds starts as we meet Marcus (Long) a man with depraving behaviour, he returns to a family home to put his life back in order, where he starts seeing a spider like creature lurking in the shadows, as his spends time with his niece Lily (Chen) because of her struggles with her own parents and his brother Michael (McGarry).

Marcus is asked to look after Lily and her young brother Spencer (Long), while Michael deals with his personal problems, with the time spent together getting increasingly unsettling. As Marcus spends time with the two kids as it sees the creatures coming for the children too, while an unsettling relationship between Marcus and Lily unfolds.

Thoughts on Seeds

Characters – Marcus has a dark past that he is running from, he returns to his childhood home to escape everything that could cause him problems, this sees him needing to look after his niece and nephew, one of which he has feelings for, but has always pushed away from ever giving into them. He believes his house is haunted which sees him needing to figure out what is real or not. Lily is the 17-year-old niece that has a past close relationship with her uncle, now she has grown up she gets caught in the middle of wanting a new one that does cross the line however wrong she sees it being. Spencer is the younger nephew that needs taking care off, Lily does it most of the time, with his fascination with insects keeping him entertained.

PerformancesTrevor Long does give us a disturbing performance, where we see just how conflicted he is through the events of the film, Andrea Chen shines too which is important for her role in the film. Garr Long and the rest of the cast have all done well through the film without taking over from the two leads.

StoryThe story follows a man dealing with his past while looking after his niece and nephew, believing there is a creature living in his home. This story can be broken down into dealing with temptation and letting the evil in the world manifesting into a thing of nightmares. If we dive deeper, we will end up going full spoilers. The tone of story is unsettling and disturbing throughout, it almost feels like you want to turn away, but you want to know just what is happening at the same time.

HorrorThe horror comes from the visits from the long legged creature in the shadows, it only strikes at night, when Marcus is most vulnerable.

SettingsThe film is set in one location, a beach house which shows us just where one man will go for time away from the world to fix his mind.

Special EffectsThe effects used to create the creature are creepy and feel like they could come for the people being haunted by them.


Scene of the Movie – The first creature appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does get too deep in places.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that is looking at life and how it decisions can have different results for the people involved.

Overall: Deep horror.

Obey (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jamie Jones

Writer: Jamie Jones (Screenplay)

Starring: Marcus Rutherford, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Michael Quartey, Sam Gittins, T’Nia Miller, James Atwell, Taurean Steele

Plot: As London slides towards a time of violent social unrest, on the estates of East London, a young man’s life is torn apart by a love for a girl from a different place.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Eye-Opening Drama

Story: Obey starts as we meet Leon (Rutherford) a 19-year-old man living in London, he doesn’t have the education, he spends most of his time getting high and drinking with friends, while causing trouble with other gangs, Leon does train in boxing and is starting to wonder what his life is meant to be.

As the violence in the surrounding neighbourhood, Leon starts to question everything more, as he sees his friends acting out causing bigger problems, while he homelife isn’t getting any better with his alcoholic mother, stopping him from getting a chance to improve himself and the woman he meets Twiggy (Clark) only gives him mixed messages.

Thoughts on Obey

Characters – Leon is the 19-year-old man that was raised in the London, where he has become part of a gang, didn’t get a chance at an education and is left facing a life of uncertainty. Leon is feeling like life is going no where now and he wants to do something about it, this could see him go back into education or continue his training in boxing, but the reality comes with him that he just doesn’t want to get involved in criminal actions going on within London, it is a make or break time for the young man, that we completely understand his position in life. Twiggy is the woman that Leon meets, she has been squatting in London with her boyfriend, though she is a free spirit that isn’t looking for trouble, which makes her different to everybody else in Leon’s life. Anton is her boyfriend that we don’t learn to much about other than he is happy to hang out with whoever and fights for rights. We do get to meet most of the gang Leon is in, though the names are easy to forget, they represent a life of crime he could fall into, Leon’s alcoholic mother and her abusive boyfriend, each character does seem to reflect a life Leon could have.

PerformancesMarcus Rutherford easily gives us a standout performance in this film, he will make you understand every single situation his character is going through, which is a delight to watch. Sophie Kennedy Clark is everything she needs to be, with the whole supporting cast making you feel like you are part of this world that Leon is living through.

StoryThe story here follows a young man who grew up in London as part of a gang, who isn’t given a chance of a future, until he meets a stranger and is left to decide what he wants for his own future. This story is a true eye opener when it comes to showing us how the gang situation happens, is treated and how hopeless somebody could be if they are trapped within it. We do only follow one person, who is given a few outs, through support, a woman, but is also held back by his lack of education, his gang friends and caring for his addict mother. This does show us how hard the life can be, how the mentality can see the person making the wrong decisions, how the outsiders can see them as wrong, rather than not given a chance. This is an important story for the people of England to see and one that could open up more eyes to what the problems really are, not what they think they are.

SettingsThe film is set in London, this does show us just how difficult the life would be for Leon and other young people in this location, if they haven’t been given a chance.


Scene of the Movie – The journey.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough development of the supporting characters.

Final Thoughts This is one of the most important eye openers in the world of film, it doesn’t glorify anything, just keeps it feeling realistic throughout the film.

Overall: Important drama.