ABC Film Challenge – Horror – X – Extracurricular (2018) Movie Review

Director: Ray Xue

Writer: Matthew Abrams, Padgett Arango (Screenplay)

Starring: Keenan Tracey, Brittany Raymond, Spencer Macpherson, Brittany Teo, Stephen Bogaert, Emmanuel Kabogno, Luke Goss

Plot: Miriam, Derek, Ian, and Jenny are overachieving high school students doing everything by the book. Straight A’s, sports, yearbook, band, and – when coursework allows – planning and executing elaborate murders.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Extracurricular starts as the four high school students Derek (Tracey), Miriam (Raymond), Ian (Macpherson) and Jenny (Teo) go about their extracurricular activity of choice, murder, showing us just how deadly they are.

With their murders increasing, they look to jump straight back into the next one, as we see their careful planning to make this happen, believing they can get away with it, while Derek and Ian’s police officer father Alan (Goss) is investigating the string of murders.

Thoughts on Extracurricular

ThoughtsExtracurricular is a horror that follows four high school students that decide to go on a killing spree, planning the murders like an extra class a school, which will soon see the events start to spiral out of control. This is a horror that isn’t an easy watch because of the fact the students believe they are doing nothing wrong, but don’t seem to have a bigger goal for what they are doing, doesn’t help. The performances are fine, they work for the disturbed characters we are following through the film, with none of the performances looking out of place. This could have a lot more going on behind what we saw which will leave us feeling flat more than anything.

Final Thoughts Extracurricular is a horror film that seems to get left out on a missed opportunity with the lack of direction.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – P – Pledge (2018) Movie Thoughts

Director: Daniel Robbins

Writer: Zack Weiner (Screenplay)

Starring: Zachery Byrd, Phillip Andre Botello, Zack Weiner, Aaron Dalla Villa, Cameron Cowperthwaite

Plot: A group of college freshmen pledge an exclusive fraternity but soon realize there’s more at stake than they could have ever imagined.

Tagline – Few get in. None get out.

Runtime: 1 Hour 17 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Pledge starts when three freshman Justin (Byrd), Ethan (Botello) and David (Weiner) are trying to find a fraternity to become part of, which will see them rejected by all of them. The three end up getting invited to a special exclusive place run by Max (Villa), which seems like a great place for parties.

When the guys return believing they are part of a small hazing process, they find themselves dealing with Max, Ricky (Cowperthwaite) and Bret’s (Pimentel) twisted hazing process, one that will push them to the limits.

Thoughts on Pledge

ThoughtsPledge brings us the extreme of the hazing culture that could well run through America, we get the generic charcters, the geeky outsiders trying to find a place with the ‘cool’ kids on the compass. This offers very little to anything we have seen from hazing which has gone too far in the past before. Turning it a battle for survival over anything else, with a bigger picture that isn’t remotely hinted at early on. The performances in the film are fine, nobody does much to standout in the film. The film goes for shock value with the extremes it wants to put the kids through, but it seems to hold back from going as far as it could. This does seem to want to go in direction that gets caught up in trying to be edgy and not hitting the heights.

Final Thoughts Pledge is a horror that wants to be edgy and falls flat on its face with what it is trying to do.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – N – Nobody Leaves (2018) Movie Review

Director: Mitzi Peirone

Writer: Mitzi Peirone (Screenplay)

Starring: Madeline Brewer, Imogen Waterhouse, Sarah Hay, Scott Cohen, Clyde Baldo, Rob Leo Roy, Zack Calhoon

Plot: Two wanted women decide to rob their wealthy psychotic friend who lives in the fantasy world they created as children; to take the money they have to take part in a deadly perverse game of make believe.

Tagline – Everyone plays. Nobody leaves.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gets Lost in Motion

Story: Nobody Leaves starts as two thieves Petula (Waterhouse) and Tilda (Hay) are on the run and looking for one more big score, an old friend of the two Daphne (Brewer) who has suffered from a traumatic experience, to do so they must follow the three strict rules, 1, everybody plays, 2, no outsiders and 3, nobody leaves.

As the two spend time in the house, they find themselves drawn into even more dramatic situations, which they are unwilling to take part in, but anything to please Daphne and get what they want from the house.

Thoughts on Nobody Leaves

Characters – Daphne is the owner of her own private home, she has the set rules and is very much mental unstable, she has her own fantasies which need to be fulfilled if you want to visit and if you don’t, see will force you. Petula and Tilda are a couple of thieves on the run, they will use their skills to get away with more crimes and grew up with Daphne, playing her games, now they want to rob her, only them might have gotten more than they can handle. Detective Siegel has been searching for the girls for a while now and is always checking in on Daphne to make sure she doesn’t need help.

PerformancesMadeline Brewer, Imogen Waterhouse and Sarah Hay are all wonderful together on screen, they show just how out of control they can become, level headed and calculated when it comes to facing the truth.

StoryThe story here follows a couple of thieves that look to get one more score against an old friend to clear their own debts, only to find themselves facing more than they can handle. This does start off like any robbery film, with the light twist games the two must play along with, as they start to get more deadly as the film unfolds, it does show how the two will start to question what is real or not and how far they are willing to go, but does do this in a more complicated way than it needs to.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film comes from the idea of Daphne’s games becoming more deadly, different types of torture she is willing to put the girls through, with the mystery about where the safe could be, being the riddle that needs solving, as to what is going on in the head of Petula.

SettingsThe film is kept inside the mansion, which sees the two girls needing to follow the instructions for the game that Daphne has set up for them, it does take them away from the normal world, one where they are on the run from too.

Scene of the Movie – The colour high.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does end up trying to be more complicated than it starts showing us.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting film, it does take a strange turn half way through, which only ends up making things feel more complicated than it needs to.

Overall: Loses Direction.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – M – Matriarch (2018) Movie Review

Director: Scott Vickers

Writer: Scott Vickers (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlie Blackwood, Julie Hannan, Scott Vickers, Alan Cuthbert, Briony Monroe, Theron Ferguson

Plot: An expecting Mother (Rachel) and husband (Matt) crash their car in the countryside and are offered shelter by a farmer and his wife. Rachel soon realizes the farmer’s children are in fact stolen. Just as they try to escape from the farm Rachel goes into labor…..

Tagline – She Wants The Life You Give

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Matriarch starts when Rachel (Blackwood) and Matt (Vickers) are on a journey when they are involved in an accident, a heavily pregnant Rachel does need to return home, the couple find a small farm where Agnes (Hannan), Bob (Cuthbert) David (Ferguson) and Luke (Murphy) offer them shelter for the night.

When the couple start to believe the family aren’t as welcoming as they first thought, they try to escape, but the family has already set eyes on the baby to add to their family, another boy is their plan from God.

Thoughts on Matriarch

Characters – Rachel is the heavily pregnant woman travelling with her husband when they are involved in an accident, she isn’t comfortable with the farmhouse they find themselves in, she sees her baby taken from her and left to find her own way to fight back to survive. Matt the husband that is left helpless and left for dead by the farmers, he will do anything to protect his wife and baby. Agnes runs the family, she is a God worshiping woman who has complete control over her ‘family’ she is looking to add to it, with Rachel’s baby being her plan. She wants more boys with her two adopted children doing a lot of the dirty work for her. Bob is the partner of Agnes, he tries to keep people away, but will get the job done when it comes to keeping Agnes happy.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, we don’t get the strongest, this is held up with the reaction moments in the film, which always looks more stop start, rather than a natural flow.

StoryThe story follows a married couple expecting their first child, who break down and seek help, only to find the farm they turn to is after something more from them. This does turn into the story idea of people in need of help turning to a remote residence and things not going the way they had planned, needing to escape the terrors within the walls. While the religious side of the story does make for the terror, we never seem to get to the full conviction of everything happening in the farm, we also don’t get as dark as you would have imagined it could in this world, with an ending you can see coming a mile off.

HorrorThe horror is more about the situation Rachel is put in, having her baby taken and trapped in a world where she can’t escape.

SettingsThe film does use the remote farm setting to show how the family are off the grid and could get away with what they have for so long.

Scene of the Movie – The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The attacks don’t always look great.

Final Thoughts Matriarch is an easy watch horror that doesn’t hit the heights of the films in the same subject matter.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – J – The Black String (2018) Movie Review

This is under J because of the lead character Jonathan.

Director: Brian Hanson

Writer: Richard Handley, Brian Hanson (Screenplay) Andy Warrener (Story)

Starring: Frankie Muniz, Blake Webb, Chelsea Edmundson, Richard Handley, Cullen Douglas

Plot: After a one-night stand with a mysterious and beautiful woman, Jonathan falls ill and starts to believe that he’s the victim of a sinister supernatural plot.

Tagline – When Nightmares Become Reality

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Black String starts when lonely store worker Jonathan (Muniz) turns to a sexy singles hotline, ending up with a date with the beautiful Dena (Edmundson) leading to a one-night-stand, the morning after Jonathan notices a rash on his chest, before starting to see people react to him differently.

Jonathan is left to go on the run to unlock the truth, which will see him needing to turn to the supernatural, one that will look to escape from before it is too late.

Thoughts on The Black String

Characters – Jonathan is a troubled lonely young man who in an attempt to find some connection finds himself calling a singles hotline, meeting a beautiful woman and finding himself infected with something. After he becomes infected, he starts acting more paranoid to everything in his life, determined to prove something is out there to get him. Eric is the best friend that had given Jonathan a chance to work in his shop, he will listen to his concerns, even if he gets hurt along the way. We do get to see the different doctors that try to help along with the different people who might offer different advice.

PerformancesFrankie Muniz is left to try and carry this movie, which he does struggle with, with certain reactions being too over the top and not looking like he is part of the bigger picture. The supporting cast isn’t the strong either.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that finds himself questioning everything about his life after a one-night-stand leaves him with a rash, with him needing to seek medical help, supernatural help and try to figure out the truth before it is too late. This story does feel like a much weaker version of ‘Drag Me to Hell’ with the seemingly running down of time to see if Jonathan in this case can escape something happening to him, while people around him seem to think they are losing their mind. The story does however create an interesting look for what could be happening, which is one aspect of the film, which could be seen as something we needed to see a lot more.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film when used is the best part of the film, seeing what might be coming will add levels of fear throughout the film, while the mystery is more about what might be happening, we seem to get pushed down one path too heavily.

SettingsThe film puts us into the everyday life of a mentality unstable man, which will show us certain parts of isolation he suffers, how work can be his only interaction and how a story placed in his head could open up doors he never knew about.

Scene of the Movie – The creature idea.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Over top acting doesn’t help.

Final Thoughts This is a horror mystery that does have a great core idea which could put it on a par with ‘Drag Me to Hell’ only for the acting and storytelling process never connecting on the same levels of the idea.