Robert De Niro Weekend – Hide and Seek (2005)

Director: John Polson

Writer: Ari Schlossberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Irving, Dylan Baker, Melissa Leo

 

Plot: As a widower tries to piece together his life in the wake of his wife’s suicide, his daughter finds solace, at first, in her imaginary friend.


Tagline – If you want to know the secret, you have to play the game.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing Horror

 

Story: Hide and Seek starts when psychologist David (De Niro) loses his wife to a sudden suicide, to help his daughter Emily (Fanning) through the trauma he decides to move to a more remote location upstate of New York.

David is trying to settle in with Emily, who soon starts to have her own imagine friend named Charlie, David does turn to colleague Katherine (Janssen) for advice, while trying to move on with both their lives, only Charlie starts to show an evil side.

 

Thoughts on Hide and Seek

 

Characters – David is a psychologist in the big city of New York, he has a wife and daughter, only all his skills can’t help him see the depression his own wife is suffering through, needing to put his life back together with his daughter, he needs to  make sure Emily doesn’t fall into needing more help, while navigating learning to live in a new town. Emily is the daughter that became traumatised after the death of her mother, she uses her imaginary friend to get away with doing evil things around the house. Emily is a character that you can understand the acting against the normal because dealing with loss can be difficult for a child. Katherine is the colleague that specialises in helping children, she is the one that David turns to for added advice for helping his daughter. Elizabeth is a local divorced woman with a child the same age as Emily, David tries to build a friendship for both himself and Emily with her, Elizabeth shows that people can be patient when searching for new friendship.

PerformancesRobert De Niro stepping into the horror genre is something refreshing, he does show how difficult it could be for a father to keep everything together after losing a wife. Dakota Fanning as the traumatised daughter brings the fear required, while also being creepy through the film. Famke Janssen and Elisabeth Shue are both solid enough supporting the film, without needing to make that big of an impact in what is going on.

StoryThe story follows a recently widowed father taking his daughter to start a new life in a quieter neighbourhood, only for her to get a new imaginary friend that doesn’t like the people in her life. Now this story could and does start by showing the effects of a trauma on a young girl, after she witnesses her mother’s suicide, this could explain the actions she ends up causing through the film, the problem with the story comes from the fact the film sets this up, only to go in a direction which makes zero sense for anything we have seen in the first act. It also doesn’t help the fact we have five yes FIVE different endings too. This is a story that completely derails because of a simple choice and ends up just being difficult to watch.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film is confusing too, mostly because it is weak dream sequences before anything being remotely scary happening until the final third of the film which, does have strong moments, just doesn’t make sense to what we knew before. The mystery in the film comes from trying to figure out who Charlie is, because we get suggestions it could be a person with the number of people that get introduced around the new home, add in that it could be supernatural, we are left to figure out who they are.

SettingsThe film is set in upstate New York where the father and daughter are trying to start a new life away from the busy life that could have caused added stress in life. It does give the family an isolation factor which adds to the potential suspense in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Not interested in new friends.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The third act twist just confuses everything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that was going in a smooth direction to be interesting only to take a twist which makes it frustrating by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Weak ending horror.

Rating

 

 

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Unsane (2018)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Jonathan Bernstein, James Greer (Screenplay)

Starring: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple, Amy Irving, Aimee Mullins, Polly McKie

 

Plot: A young woman is involuntarily committed to a mental institution, where she is confronted by her greatest fear–but is it real or a product of her delusion?


Tagline – Is she or isn’t she?

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense an Disturbing

 

Story: Unsane starts as banker Sawyer Valentini (Foy) dealing with the consequences of being a victim of a stalker decides to go and see a doctor to talk through the problems, Sawyer signs the paperwork and finds herself being committed to the mental institution, trying to figure out how to get out of the institute.

As Sawyer tries to play by the rules to get out quickly, she starts to believe her stalker David (Leonard) works at the institute which doesn’t help her case about whether she is crazy or not.

 

Thoughts on Unsane

 

Characters – Sawyer is a banker that has recently moved to a new city to start a fresh life after keeping her stalker problems a secret from her mother. Just looking for help to talk to about the problem and the recovery process, she soon finds herself locked up in a mental institute where she must try and prove that she isn’t insane and to make matters worse, she believes one of the nurses is the stalker, with nobody believing her. David is going by the name George and works as a nurse in the institute, he has been following Sawyer for years now, willing to do anything to Sawyer, the biggest question mark about this character comes from the fact we don’t tease about what he is playing more into the maybe Sawyer jut being crazy. Nate and Violet are patients that are both supporting and against Sawyer and her action within the institute.

PerformancesClaire Foy is fantastic in the leading role, we believe how she is being treated needing to search for answers, while felling helpless to everything going on. Joshua Leonard is disturbing in his role too, he makes us feel uneasy whenever he is on the screen. As for the rest of the cast, they are given less to do and even feel natural in all their actions through the film.

StoryThe story shows how one woman’s life is turned upside down after dealing with a stalker situation, she has tried to move on with her life and looks for support from professionals only to find herself trapped in a mental institute with a man she believes to be her stalker. Now there are two ways to judge this film, first is the excellent way it portrays the victim stalker relationship, the effects it has on the victim and how silence has only made it difficult for anybody to believe the story. the weaker side of the story comes from telling us upfront that David is the stalker and watching his actions, the idea that the woman in the institute could be crazy would have only added an edge for the story which would have been nicer to see, though it could also be praised for showing us both sides of the victim/stalker relationship with the people around them not knowing the truth only dealing with what is appears to be on the outside.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film comes from an angle we don’t see often, we follow a victim of stalking that doesn’t have anybody in their life supporting them anymore, just as the stalker catches up with them, with the cause and effect putting her own life in danger. The mystery is a side story that would be easy to forget was being part of the film, it focuses on the idea of how the hospital is being run.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the mental institute, which shows how difficult it would be to get anybody to believe what is going on within the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Giving away that he is a stalker rather than playing of the ideas Sawyer could be crazy.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disturbing horror, that will make you think twice when somebody claims to have been a victim of a stalker, because unless you lived through it, you will never know the trauma it will cause the victim, and this shows what happens when nobody will listen.

 

Overall: Truly disturbing movie.

Rating

 

 

Halloween Kingathon – Carrie (1976)

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Director
: Brian DePalma

Writer: Lawrence D Cohen (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley

Plot: A young, abused and timid 17-year-old girl discovers she has telekinesis, and gets pushed to the limit on the night of her school’s prom by a humiliating prank.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: The Beginning of the Masters Work

Story: Carrie starts with an all girls gym class and we meet our social outcast Carrie White (Spacek) who ends up not understanding about her first period, leading to all the other girls taking a chance to bully her, but in this scene we get a first glimpse of what Carrie is capable of as she blows out the lights in the locker room.

Carrie is controlled by her high religious mother Margaret (Laurie) who believes that Carrie is constantly sinning and when she does she punishes her. Carrie is learning about her telekinesis while the other girls including the old friend Sue (Irving) and Chris (Allen) suffer through detention for what they had done to Carrie.

When Sue tries to make up for the prank she gets her boyfriend Tommy (Katt) to ask Carrie to the prom, but Chris ends up seeing this as a chance to work with her boyfriend Billy (Travolta) that ends up causing Carrie to finally break.

Carrie will always go down as one of the most shocking horrors of the time of releases, it starts slowly with very little horror elements but ends with one of the most dramatic horror final acts in horror film history. It shows how high school students can be cruel but also shows how a religious mother can control life too often. This could be considered part revenge film with the final act and will always be a stand out horror film. (8/10)

Actor Review

Sissy Spacek: Carrie is the social outcast of the school suffers her own misfortune at school, but when she suffers this she starts to learn about the telekinetic powers that she possess. All this with her over baring religious mother punishing her for anything that she doesn’t see in the bible. Carrie ends up getting invited to the prom where her true power will get unleashed in an act of revenge. Sissy gives a brilliant performance that gave her an Oscar nomination. (10/10)carrie

Piper Laurie: Margaret White is Carrie’s religious mother that punishs her when she doesn’t follow the bible and wants to control her ever moment. Piper gives a great performance but then I did feel we needed too see more about religious story. (8/10)margaret

Amy Irving: Sue Snell is an old friend who decides to try and do the right thing and asks her boyfriend to take Carrie to the prom, he action are true even if the others are not. Amy does a good job in a supporting role. (7/10)

William Katt: Tommy Ross is Sue’s boyfriend who has to ask Carrie to the prom, he does it and acts like a perfect gentleman while at the prom. William does a good job in the supporting role. (7/10)

Support Cast: Carrie has a supporting cast that includes the bullies who plan the final prank but ultimately pay the price for their actions.

Director Review: Brian DePalmaBrian gives us one of best films of his career that manages to give us a true horror classic. (9/10)

Horror: Carrie shows that you don’t need to have constant jump scares and builds the horror until the final act. (9/10)

Settings: Carrie puts all of the horror inside of a small town where a lot takes place in the high school. (8/10)

Suggestion: Carrie is one that all the horror fans should have watched at least once. (Watch)

Best Part: Final act.

Worst Part: There really isn’t one.

Oh My God Moment: Prom scene.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has one.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Nominated for two Oscars for Best Actress in Leading and Supporting Roles.

Budget: $1.8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Tagline: If The Exorcist made you shudder, Carrie will make you scream.

Overall: Classic horror film that put Stephen King one the map.

Rating 90

Hide and Seek (2005)

Director: John Polson

Writer: Ari Schlossberg

Starring: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Irving, Dylan Baker, Melissa Leo. Robert John Burke

Story David Callaway (De Niro) and his daughter Emily (Fanning) move to a quieter town after his wife’s (Irving) suicide. Emily witnesses the body being found and his in shock. Emily way to find an escape from what happened creates an imaginary friend Called Charlie.

David tries to move on with his life meeting all the different locals Elizabeth (Shue) Sheriff Hafferty (Baker), Laura (Leo) as well as keeping updates on Emily to Katherine (Janssen) back in the city.

Things take a turn for the worse when Charlie starts making things happen while David is sleeping. David thinks Emily is just reacting to her mother death but could there be a more surprising truth?

Verdict This horror thriller has a big name cast and it backs that up with some good jumps and a great tension story that will keep you guessing right up to the end. Even if you didn’t like the end the DVD offers a few alternative endings. The atmosphere created is very effective and De Niro as the concerned father comes of well after being used to his other roles through out the years.  As for horror thrillers this is a good addition to the recent collections and well worth a watch for all fans of the genre. 

Story Mark 8/10 Strong story with twists and surprise ending

Action Mark 7/10 nice fight and chase scenes

Horror Mark 8/10 good jump scenes and Charlie figure is effective

Star Performances Dakota Fanning as the traumatised daughter with a secret.

Best Part The surprise ending

Worst Part They should have picked one ending and stuck with it instead of so many different ones.

My Rating 76%