ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – T – Thoroughbreds (2017)

Director: Cory Finley

Writer: Cory Finley (Screenplay)

Starring: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, Francie Swift, Kaili Vernoff

 

Plot: Two upper-class teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. Together, they hatch a plan to solve both of their problems-no matter what the cost.


Tagline – Good Breeding Gone Bad

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strange Thriller

 

Story: Thoroughbreds starts when two former friends Amanda (Cooke) and Lily (Taylor-Joy) reunite to after years apart, as Lily is asked to help Amanda with her education. The reunion starts off by feeling awkward as it is known that Amanda has done something that as isolated from the upper-class neighbourhood they are from.

After Amanda notices how much Lily is struggling with her step-father Mark (Sparks) she suggests to kill him, the two put a plan together using local drug dealer Tim (Yelchin) to get the job done.

 

Thoughts on Thoroughbreds

 

Characters – Lily comes from one of the rich families in Connecticut, she ha be raised for boarding school away from the rest of the people her age in the neighbourhood, she opens up to her old friend with a troubled past, as she learns about getting a chance to escape this life she isn’t enjoying. Amanda is teenager that has done something horrific, she is struggling in school and sent to be tutored by her old friend to help with her college future, she is emotionally closed off from the world, though pushes Lily into doing the unthinkable. Tim is the local drug dealer that has a reputation of only dealing with minors which sees him be selected by the girls to complete the murder for them. Mark is the stepfather that Lily doesn’t get on with him, he is a control freak making the life of Lily more difficult.

PerformancesOlivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy in the leading roles gives us the standout performances in this film, they both show us the struggles they are feeling as we see how their plan starts to unfold. Anton Yelchin in the main supporting role showed us one again why he will be missed too.

StoryThe story here follows two upper class teenagers that have very different problems in their lives, they reconnect after years apart learning they could help solve each other problems. This is a heavily conversation lead movie that puts the main two characters through discussions of killing problems in their lives and just how they could get away with it. The big weakness with the film is that it doesn’t address the mental health problems that both the women are going through. This story tries to be quirky in what gets done, only for it to feel anti-climactic.

Comedy/CrimeThis must be classed as a dark comedy, because it didn’t seem to make me laugh once, the crime side of the film circles around the idea of what the two girls want to do and how they can get away with it.

SettingsThe film is set in the upper-class area of Connecticut, showing how the girls can easily look down on people that they can walk over, this is a big factor for the style of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Don’t drink that.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have looked at the mental health problems going on here more.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy crime thriller that doesn’t quite hit the marks it was aiming for and ends up just coming off strange.

 

Overall: Uniquely Styled

Rating

 

 

Glass (2019)

Director: M Night Shyamalan

Writer: M Night Shyamalan (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, James McAvoy, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Luke Kirby, Spencer Treat Clark

 

Plot: Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.


Tagline – You Cannot Contain What You Are.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Concept

 

Story: Glass starts not long after the events from Split where Kevin (McAvoy) and his multiple personalities on the run from the law, continuing his hunt for the Beast, David Dunn (Willis) branded the Overseer works with his son Joseph (Clark) to locate him. Once he locates him the fight, before becoming interrupted by Dr Ellie Staple (Paulson) and the authorities.

Ellie takes the two to a hospital to study their belief they are from comics, with Elijah (Jackson) joining them as they must learn the truth about what they are capable of and what is in the world.

 

Thoughts on Glass

 

Characters – Kevin being the first identity of the multiple personality man, he has mixed amount personalities, who are trying to gain control for moments as he is just trying to deal with his own personal problems, with The Beast being the most deadly of all of the personalities. David Dunn is now wanted by the authorities because of his vigilante behaviour, he works with his son now and they help people indeed, including the latest victims of Kevin. He remains super strong and becomes the first person the Beast can’t defeat instantly. Elijah or Mr Glass remains locked up for his actions, he is too intelligent to keep awake, but he is always planning, he puts everything into motion as he gets to play the puppet master once again. Dr Ellie Staple has bought the men together as she searches for the truth about their beliefs, she wants to help them and stop them believing they are form a comic book. Casey returns and it is her relationship with certain personalities of Kevin that helps us learn more about him.

PerformancesThe performance from James McAvoy does shine through, he does get to bring even more of the personalities out in this one, being able to switch between them all effortless. Bruce Willis gives one of his best modern day performances, with this character feeling like an older version of the one we saw in Unbreakable. Samuel L Jackson shines to with his character doing a lot of his acting through his facial expression, while get the cold delivery of his lines when it is his time. Sarah Paulson is a welcome addition to this universe and never looks out of place, though it does feel like Anya Taylor-Joy doesn’t get enough screen time in this film.

StoryThe story brings the three figures from Unbreakable and Split together in what is a superhero movie about not being superheroes, just being genetically different or it being in your head. The idea that we are trying to cure these men does seem to borrow heavily from X-Men and many of their storylines. One of the biggest problems with this story is that you HAVE to see the previous two films to truly understand everything that goes down, though it does seem to forget certain things that happened in the past too. The going through the could this be in their head is interesting, only for it to not be possible because we have seen what they are capable of, it feels like this aspect is a film behind. We do get the trademark from M Night which we know is coming, we are waiting for it and the question is can you figure it out? In a Superhero heavy market this does feel original enough bring a human touch to what has been happening.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in this film comes from just why have they been bought together, which does get solved, which will surprise, the sci-fi side of the film comes from just seeing how the world has reacted to these advanced people.

SettingsWe stay in Philadelphia for this story, which is great because it contains the action to one city through the films, we spend most of the film in the hospital as the world unfolds between them all.


Scene of the Movie –
Beast vs Overseer 2.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The over used of the comic book metaphor.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful competition of the trilogy that we didn’t know was coming, it ties everything together, has brilliant performance and keeps us guessing throughout.

 

Overall: Tense conclusion to the saga.

Rating

 

 

The Secret of Marrowbone (2018)

Director: Sergio G Sanchez

Writer: Sergio G Sanchez (Screenplay)

Starring: George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth, Matthew Stagg, Nicola Harrison, Kyle Soller

 

Plot: A young man and his three younger siblings, who have kept secret the death of their beloved mother in order to remain together, are plagued by a sinister presence in the sprawling manor in which they live.


Tagline – No One Will Ever Separate Us

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautifully Shot Horror Mystery

 

Story: Marrowbone starts as we meet the newly named Marrowbones, Mother (Harrison) and siblings Jack (MacKay), Billy (Heaton), Jane (Goth) and Sam (Stagg), they have escaped from England on the run from their father, they set up a home in the country away from anyone and look to stay in hiding.

When mother dies, Jack must take responsibility for the family, keeping them safe until he is 21, where he can now become the guardian, but things take a turn when an unexpected guest changes everything they want to keep secret.

 

Thoughts on Marrowbone

 

Characters – Jack is the eldest sibling, he will become the guardian to the rest once he hits 21, he does the jobs to keep food on their table, saving face about his mother and does everything he can to protect his siblings. Allie is the girl next door literally, she becomes friends with the family, but when Jack tells her mother is sick, she must stay away and the two keep their relationship secret from the rest of the town, she is very well educated for the time the film is set 1969 (we see the moon landing on a television) and she could leave the small town and achieve greatness. Billy is the hot-headed of the siblings, he will get the dirty work done, but is also get tired of being trapped in the home. Jane is the sister and does the general cleaning jobs around the house, she will also be Sam’s mother if anyone asked. Sam is the youngest of the siblings, bubbling bursting to enjoy his young life, everything is an adventure to him, but we learn early on he can mis-read shapes to be ghosts. Porter is the town’s lawyer that does have a crush on Allie, he works for the Marrowbone’s and starts getting nosier than he should have.

PerformancesThis movie has an impressive cast of young actors that are making names for themselves. George MacKay is the standout here, he shows incredible range and could easily have given one of the best male performances in horror this year. Anya Taylor-Joy continues to impress, while this character is more withdrawn from the horror side of things, she keeps us interested in her every action. Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth and Matthew Stagg complete the siblings list and each is great, when Stagg’s character is upset, you do complete feel with him too.

StoryTh story is one of the most interesting and fascinating ones to be watching this year, in the opening 5 or 10 minutes we learn where the characters have come from, what they are hiding from and just how much will change in a moment, all this before the title appears. We see how things unfold and how the secret needs to be kept, though nothing will prepare you for the direction this movie will end up going in. I just don’t want to get into any true details of this film, if loved the set up and you will spend the rest of the film trying to unravel the events of the opening sequence.

Horror/MysteryThis brings be to my only negative for the film, though it is surrounding in a positive, the horror in the film, while set up nicely is mostly predictable, though most of the horror in the early part of the film does try to get explained away as seen in the trailer, as a way to protect young Sam. The mystery is what we have come to see now, we are left guessing through nearly every scene and by the end, you will feel like you didn’t want to solve this mystery.

SettingsThe film puts our family in a remote mansion by the beach outside of a small town, we learn why they are off the grid and this gives us some of the most beautiful countryside shots you will see in a horror film.


Scene of the Movie –
Reading the Story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One part feels slightly off, but it is spoiler heavy so won’t mention it.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to horror films people will want different things, if you want blood and gore, this won’t work for you, if you want a beautiful story that has a horrific side to it, this one will be for you.

 

Overall: The most wonderfully shot horror of the year.

Rating

 

 

Morgan (2016)

morganDirector: Luke Scott

Writer: Seth W Owen (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie, Michael Yare, Toby Jones, Chris Sullivan, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Brian Cox, Paul Giamatti, Jennifer Jason Leigh

 

Plot: A corporate risk-management consultant must decide whether or not to terminate an artificially created humanoid being.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Start, Bad Finish

 

Story: Morgan starts as a secret project has a murderous side leading to Lee Weather (Mara) being set to investigate what happened on the project known as Morgan (Taylor-Joy), her investigation isn’t just into the subject but the staff involved to see if everything is still going on their plans.

The humanoid known as Morgan has been with the doctors her whole life with the doctors including Amy Menser (Leslie), Simon Ziegler (Jones), Darren Finch (Sullivan), Brenda Finch (Robinson) Lui Cheng (Yeoh) and Kathy Grieff (Leigh) each member of the team has worked on different parts of Morgan to make her understand each environment needed for training.

When Dr Alan Shapiro (Giamatti) arrives on the base the two must start their investigation and assessment into whether Morgan should be destroyed or to keep the project alive.

Morgan is a sci-fi horror thriller that builds on similar style films of creating life that could be smarter than the current humans, so think Splice but with higher intelligence. Well I say that because the first half of the film is very interesting because we start at the moment where the incident happens and the decision needs to be made, all this is fine and comes off fine. Where this film starts to fall apart is in final act of the film where it just becomes some form of lazy hack and slash story of an experiment gone wrong. This movie would have been a lot more interesting if it had stayed focusing on morale questions involved if the experiment had gone wrong.

Morgan has a very impressive cast with highly respected names including Giamatti, Yeoh, Cox, Leigh and Jones with years of great work under their belts and you can expect the performance from them on any film. We add in Mara trying to get to the levels of her sister Rooney giving one of her best performances as the cold hearted consultant and rising stars Boyd Holbrook, Rose Leslie both give good supporting performances. Anya Taylor-Joy has had a great year with her performance in The Witch and this shows her ability in the roles in question.

 

Overall: Such an interesting start before becoming a generic messy ending.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Split (2016)

splitDirector: M Night Shyamalan

Writer: M Night Shyamalan (Screenplay)

Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Betty Buckley

 

Plot: Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, and must try and escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: M Night is Back

 

Story: Split starts as we see outsider Casey (Taylor-Joy) being offered a lift home by her class mates Claire (Richardson) and Marcia (Sula) only to find Dennis (McAvoy) kidnapping them. Waking up they find themselves locked in a room only to find Dennis is just one of the personalities keeping them there.

The film follows how the darker personalities a waiting a beast figure to arrives keep the girls locked up while Barry is still seeing his therapist who has been helping his personality disorder for years. We are left to see just which personality we are going to meet each scene as we learn more about his past as well as learning Casey isn’t as helpless as she looks.

 

Thoughts on Split

 

StoryThe story here comes along to tackle the mental illness and the multiply personality disorder people can suffer from. We do have the kidnapping angle which we have seen many times before but somewhere along the line this film accepts that horror movies exist because the character decisions are based on seeing them. Where this story stands out is in the pure storytelling aspects because we get clues along the way and each scene builds the suspense for the final outcome of the film, which does have a killing twist.

Horror/ThrillerWe have the kidnapping side of the story which is the horror of the unknown purpose but this film really shines on the psychologic thriller side as we are left guessing through every single scene.

Characters/PerformanceI will look at the doctor who I do feel is professional questionable throughout this film and the girls are two basic kidnap victims while the third is the ever popular prepared for this scenario. Now the performances are all good here with Anya Taylor-Joy once against shining in the horror genre.

Now discussion James McAvoy is always going to be a mix of character and performance because he portrays each character with everything the personality requires, be it the intense level of Dennis, the childish mannerisms of Hedwig or the Barry character that seems to be in control. McAvoy gives a performance that could get people talking about why horror never gets considered for awards because this performance could well be in the top by any actor this year and he deserves all the praise he is getting.

SettingsThe film does seem to be set within just a few locations with the kidnapped arena if you like, the doctor’s office and Casey’s memories. This does help us understand the direction of the film and what leads to everything that goes on through the film.

Special EffectsWe only have a few moments of special effects but they all work for how the film unfolds and not turning to them for the important final act.

Final ThoughtsThe Visit bought M Night back in the right direction but this proves that this guy can give us a fantastic horror thriller that makes every single scene mean something once you know all the pieces.

 

Overall: This is a fantastic thriller that people are going to love and hate but I feel this is one we should be seeing if you are a fan of M Night more popular work.

Ratingcard