Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Shrine (2010)

Director: Jon Knautz

Writer: Jon Knautz, Brendan Moore, Trevor Matthews (Screenplay) Jon Knautz, Brendon Moore (Story)

Starring: Aaron Ashmore, Cindy Sampson, Meghan Heffern, Trevor Matthews, Vieslav Krystyan, Laura de Carteret

 

Plot: Two female journalists and a photographer travel to Europe to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances, only to find themselves embroiled in a struggle against a kind of evil they never expected.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easy but not Shocking Horror

 

Story: The Shrine starts as young ambitious reporter Carmen (Sampson) learns of a string of missing people in a small town in Poland, going against her bosses wishes she takes her boyfriend Marcus (Ashmore) and her intern Sara (Heffern) to this Polish town.

Getting a less than warm welcome, the three find themselves pushed to leave, but Carmen’s determination to get a story puts their lives in danger once they enter a mysterious mist or fog surrounding one part of the forest. When their snooping gets them into trouble the three will learn what is really happening in this small town.

 

Thoughts on The Shrine

 

Characters/PerformanceMarcus is a photography boyfriend of Carmen who reluctantly agrees to go on the trip to help their relationship but does believe it’s all for work, he isn’t happy when he learns the truth but will fight to save Carmen’s life. Carmen is the ambitious reporter that brings her team to this small town in search of answers about disappearances through the years. She will do anything for the story. Sara is an intern working for Carmen that see this story as a chance to get ahead in her career but her naïve nature leaves her being designed as the disposable one of the three. The cult figures are all what you would expect in a film like this not coming off overly original in anyway.

Performance wise, Aaron Ashmore is fine without hitting the heights we know he can, the same goes for the whole cast, they are fine without being great.

StoryThe story is easily a by the book horror, group of Americans find themselves in a new country where they must fight to survive against the enemy there. It offers very little new to the world of storytelling and is easily an ABC into horror.

HorrorThis falls into the horror genre of being captured and needing to survive, the only scare comes from not knowing an easy way out of trouble they find themselves in.

SettingsThe remote town works on two fronts, it helps with the budget and shows us just how trapped our characters will be.

Special EffectsAll of the effects come off very basic, they are not needed too often and work when required.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple horror that can be enjoyed without being overly impressive but can be enjoyed by the horrors fans out there.

 

Overall: One for late night tv

Rating

 

 

Regression (2015)

regressionDirector: Alejandro Amenabar

Writer: Alejandro Amenabar (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Watson, Ethan Hawke, David Thewlis, Devon Bostick, Aaron Ashmore, Dale Dickey, David Dencik, Aaron Bruun

 

Plot: A father is accused of a crime he has no memory of committing.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Thriller

 

Story: Regression starts with the based on real events warning with it being around satanic ritual cults, great. In the action side of things, we see John Gray (Dencik) coming to the police station about his daughter Angela (Watson) claims he molested her, before detective Bruce Kenner (Hawke) starts the questioning process.

Bruce has to look into the case which takes a turn when Professor Raines (Thewlis) enters the investigation to try and discover the lost memories in John’s head point the fingers at a George Nesbitt (Ashmore). As Bruce continues to look deeper in the case he discovers the idea of devil worship going on in the house hold but the question remains what really happened?card

Regression is a very slow moving story as we watch the detective struggling with his own sanity while looking to uncover the truth about what has been really happening. We are left wondering where everything will go but by the end we are left to feel very flat. Throwing the based on true story doesn’t help because we end up having to wonder just how much is real or not. I can honestly say this was hard to watch because very little happen.

 

Actor Review

 

Emma Watson: Angela is the young lady who claims to have been molested by her father and devil worshiping cult, she has been branded with a cross. She starts trying to remember, regress is you like the memories of that night and her childhood, working with Detective Bruce Kenner to find out the truth. Emma really is wasted in this role where we would expect to see a lot more from her character.

Ethan Hawke: Bruce is the lead detective trying to find out the truth in this molestation case, he is the only one that Angela is willing to talk to being the only one she can trust, but when the cult learn he is involved they target him to, or is his mind just playing tricks on him. Ethan is the highlight of the film as we see how he deals with everything happening.

David Thewlis: Professor Kenneth Raines is the man of science bought in to use his skills that help people regress their memories from the darkest corners of their minds. He is important because we get a man of science to go against the religious side of the story. David fits this role well but doesn’t get enough time to evolve the character.

Devon Bostick: Roy is the older brother of Angela that left the family mysterious before the assaults starts, he claims they have been going on longer than Angela and we are left to wonder what he part in it all is. Devon gives us a very basic supporting role.

Support Cast: Regression has a big supporting cast that could all be suspect once Bruce goes through his process.

Director Review: Alejandro AmenabarAlejandro tries to give us a thriller but this one really does just fizzle out to nothing.

 

Horror: Regression uses the idea of satanic cults but doesn’t do enough to really scare us.

Mystery: Regression does keep us guessing as to what is happening.

Thriller: Regression tries to bring us into the story on for it all to become slow moving.

Settings: Regression uses the small town to show how close everyone would be if the cult was really going on.
Special Effects
: Regression has easy to pull off effects that don’t really do too much for the film.

Suggestion: Regression is one to try but don’t expect anything too impressive. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Hawke is good throughout.

Worst Part: Too Slow

 

Believability: This one is up to you to think what you want to believe.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Tagline: ear always finds its victim.

 

Overall: Disappointingly slow thriller that really goes nowhere fast.

Ratingreal card

 

The Thaw (2009)

logoDirector: Mark A Lewis

Writer: Mark A Lewis, Michael Lewis (Screenplay)

Starring: Val Kilmer, William B Davis, Garry Chalk, Peter Kelamis, Brenda Crichlow, Anne Marie DeLuise, Kyle Schmid, Steph Song, Aaron Ashmore, Martha MacIsaac, Viv Leacock,

 

Plot: A research expedition to the Arctic discovers that a melting polar ice cap has released a deadly prehistoric parasite.

 

Verdict: Poor Man’s The Thing

 

Story: We follow a renowned scientist and his team make a shock discovery on the edges of the Arctic Circle, one that could change the world, a virus. We also see a group of students who get to work with the scientist along with his daughter get bought up to the camp only to find it abandoned. What the team discover is a dead polar bear, but what is more disturbing is the fact the group find out there is some kind of bug with them that infects anyone they get in contact with.

With this story we do get to enter into the idea of cabin fever taking over with the infection spreading. It does turn into an eco-campaign/warning about how the world could be in danger with global warming. It looks at how an infection from a time past could be devastating on the world now and how we have to use knowledge to stop it spreading. It offers our student plenty of mystery to try and work through. After seeing this a couple of times it does show re-watch value but it does end up having a few main plots taken from larger know films. It is interesting, but never goes into enough details for the facts it tries to go for. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Val Kilmer: David scientist who has a difficult relationship with his daughter and his scientific celebrity status makes it hard to give up his research. He has discovered something terrible but in the end he is too late to stop his daughter joining them on the research site. Not sure why Val is in this film, he looks a little bit out of place. (4/10)

 val

Martha MacIsaac: Evelyn daughter of David who has been asked to join for the complete amount of money left by her mother. Even after being told not to go she goes and ends up having to be the brains of the act outsmarting all the students when it comes to the science. Good leadership performance but is that right for the story with student scientist. (6/10)

atom evelyn

Aaron Ashmore: Atom the first of the three students who is on the research team. He is the one who actually ends up taking control and realizes that they will need to make sacrifice to save humanity. Solid performance from Aaron. (6/10)

 

Steph Song: Ling Chen one of the students on the research team, she is the first to become infected after getting bitten by the bugs. Solid performance as the victim who has to go through the most. (5/10)

 

Kyle Schmid: Federico the last member of the team who ends up becoming the violent side of the cabin fever experience. He becomes threatened by the chance he might die after his girlfriend gets sick he panics and shoots first. Solid performance as the panicked member of the team. (6/10)

 kyle

Support Cast: With the supporting cast being other members of the team who have to deal with the problems, most are disposable characters.

 

Director Review: Mark A Lewis – Does a ok job creating a group isolation survival film but ends up getting caught up in an attempt to mix too many previous films. (6/10)

 

Horror: With the reality of what could happen makes for a good horror and with the cabin fever feeling all works out well. (7/10)

Sci-Fi: It is a look at what could happen in the future. (6/10)

Thriller: It keeps you guessing but never managers to pull you complete in. (6/10)

Settings: The isolation factor works really well for this film, it shows that if you were to get trapped you would need to do something to survive. (10/10)
Special Effects
: A lot of CGI effects to create the bug, but some good practical ones to make the effects on the people. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is one to try, it will feel like a cheaper version of other films but still has a few moments that shine. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The way the warning is made to be real.

Worst Part: Been here, seen that.

Believability: It could be a real chance of happening. (3/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Could have one, but unlikely

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: This spring, the sacrifice begins

 

Overall: Frost Bitten Thriller We Have Seen Before

Rating 60