Lifechanger (2018)

Director: Justin McConnell

Writer: Justin McConnell (Screenplay)

Starring: Lora Burke, Jack Foley, Elitsa Bako, Rachel VanDuzer, Steve Kasan, Sam White, Bill Oberst Jr

 

Plot: A murderous shapeshifter sets out on a blood-soaked mission to make things right with the woman he loves.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shapeshifting Shocker

 

Story: Lifechanger starts as the murderous shapeshifter takes over the body of Emily (Bako) giving us the rules of how long they can be within each body, it won’t be long until it needs to find a new host. The shapeshifter Drew (voiced by Oberst Jr) is trying to get back to the woman he loved Julia (Burke).

As the story unfolds the shapeshifter finds himself visiting Julia in a different body on a daily basis, watching over her, trying to figure out how to explain the situation to her.

 

Thoughts on Lifechanger

 

Characters – Julia is the former wife of the shapeshifter, she spends most nights in a bar, she never knew what happened to her husband after the death of their child and little does she know that she is being watched over by her husband the shapeshifter. The shapeshifter Drew goes through a process, where it takes a body, disposes of any evidence before meeting with Julia, it knows how to adapt to each location, each body and each life and is doing everything it can to be with the woman it loves Julia.

PerformancesThe performances are hard to explain because all bar Lora Burke are playing versions of the Shapeshifter, needing to keep certain characteristics while also being unique because of their differences, in Jack Foley, Elitsa Bako, Rachel VanDuzer and more that is. When it comes to Lora Burke, we get to see a good performance of a woman that is lost in life, trying to remain strong after her own tragic moments.

StoryThe story follows a Shapeshifter jumping between bodies as it hopes to get back to the woman it loves only the bodies start piling up and soon it is running out of time to reveal its secret before its time runs out. This does seem like a smart idea because of the idea that it plays into, with love, though the final twist on takes everything we knew and throws it on its head leaving you shocked. It does pose the question about survival and even touches on the ideas that ‘Under the Skin’ did, only without going into the alien line.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from just how the shapeshifting occurs which we see more and more as the film continues on.

SettingsThe film is set in a city where Drew can visit his love every time he takes a new body, it shows how the manhunt starts when the bodies start getting discovered.

Special EffectsThe effects are practical which is a praise because we get to see how the changes happen ever increasing graphicness.


Scene of the Movie –
The hatching.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This could have been a lot gorier when it comes to the shapeshifting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart shapeshifting horror, it does want to get into the body horror levels, though it never reaches the shocking levels it could, even though it ends up focusing on a different side to it all.

 

Overall: Horror that focuses on the shapeshifters desire to survive.

Rating

 

 

At Granny’s House (2015)

Director: Les Mahoney

Writer: Les Mahoney (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Oberst Jr, Rachel Alig, Laura Lee, Les Mahoney, Glenda Morgan Brown, Charles A Baird

 

Plot: Marion Rogers (Granny), an elderly lady in the small town of Haley, reluctantly accepts the mysterious Rebecca Torrance as her live-in caregiver, but eventually the two form a strong friendship. Rebecca soon sells Granny on the idea of turning the house into a guest house for travelers looking for free accommodations., which, in turn, leads to revealing Rebecca’s dark and fatal secret. A strange love triangle forms when Rebecca and Ted, a guest at the house, fall in love. This leads to a violent confrontation that will forever change the lives of all the residents AT GRANNY’S HOUSE. A typical Midwest house. A sweet little old lady. When a caretaker moves in to help out, Granny’s House becomes a macabre place of death – and love.


Tagline – Love hurts.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Creepy Thriller

 

Story: At Granny’s House starts when Marion Rogers (Brown) is forced into having live in carer Rebecca (Alig), the house is big and Rebecca comes up with the idea of advertising on ‘My Free Bed’ a website which offers strangers a room for the night.

With the idea in motion, the ladies invite strangers into their homes, only for Rebecca to show her darker side. When the Steiner’s Linda (Lee) and Ted (Mahoney) stay things go up a notch as Rebecca gets involved in a romantic angle with Ted, giving her a partner in her crimes.

 

Thoughts on At Granny’s House

 

Characters – Marion Rogers is the older woman that gets forced into getting a carer to keep her company, while I feel she isn’t old enough to need a carer or sick enough, that is a different discussion. She is happy to have extra guests staying to add to her extra company. Rebecca is the new live-in carer for Marion, she comes off nice on the outside, but she does keep a secret inside when she doesn’t like the guests. Ted is the married man that falls in love with Rebecca and they start following her dark side together. Boarstag is an investigator searching for a missing person that’s last known location is in the house.

PerformancesGlenda Morgan Brown as the titular granny is great, while I do think she is too young to be playing a woman who needs a carer, she makes her characters seem sweet and innocent one moment before showing how twisted she could be the next. Rachel Alig is great in her role, she shows how her character can get what she wants and how she will do anything to keep it. Bill Oberst Jr is good in his role even if we would like to see more of his character. Les Mahoney takes up a couple of roles here, starring he is good and behind the camera he is even better, creating the atmosphere involved.

StoryThe story follows one woman that becomes a carer only to use this to fulfil her darker fantasies. Things soon get complicated when she falls in love and we are left to see how things unfold when everything get complicated. This is told well and does feel like it is something that could happen in small town America. I will say the love angle does come off strange because it seems to happen in a blink of an eye. Watching Rebecca plan everything is great to watch.

ThrillerThis does have great tension throughout the film as you wait to see where things will go next.

SettingsThe film takes place in one home which shows us just what could happen behind the walls of this house in small town America.


Scene of the Movie –
Final scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The falling in love seems hard to believe.

Final ThoughtsThis is a creepy thriller that laves us wondering just what will happen next, you won’t be prepared for where things go either.

 

Overall: Tension filled thriller.

Rating

 

 

Hunting Grounds (2017)

huntingDirector: John Portanova

Writer: John Portanova (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Oberst Jr, Jason Vail, David Saucedo, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, D’Angelo Midili

 

Plot: A father, his son and two old friends arrive at an isolated family cabin for a weekend of hunting. A trip deep into the forest looking for wild game uncovers a tribe of Sasquatch that are determined to protect their land.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Horror

 

Story: Hunting Grounds starts as we see just how deadly the sasquatch is as it takes its first victim before we meet our main characters. Roger Crew (Vail) and Michael (Joris-Peyrafitte) father and son whose have recent lost their wife and mother who have re-located to a small cabin in the woods to save money.

When Roger’s two friends Sergio (Saucedo) the loud arrogant best buddy and Will (Midili) the calm smart almost second father figure for Michael the trip turns into a hunting weekend. With Michael, reluctantly on the hunting trip he gets a potential out when Will offers a chance for the education he desires but before this can come out the men find themselves in a battle for survival against a tribe of sasquatches.

 

Thoughts on Hunting Grounds

 

StoryWhen you look at the story we get a father & son needing to rebuild their relationship after a tragic family death with both have different ideas for what they want and can achieve from life. This side of the story is all good and just what you need for a horror which revolves around being hunted down by bigfoots which is something we have seen before but it works for the idea behind the story which is all horror needs to be.

Horror/Thriller The threat of bigfoot is always good horror because no one knows the true power of a bigfoot which makes the threat have endless possibilities. I will say the horror isn’t going to leave you terrified but for a good bloody horror this checks the boxes well.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters are all what you would expect to see in a horror, you have the leads which are a family who need rebuilding, an asshole drunk, the friend who is a success but humble about it and finally the stranger who can fill in the gaps. When you look at the performances they are solid without being great but being all they need to be for horror.

SettingsThe settings are either the cabin in the middle of the woods or the woods themselves they both work for creating isolation for our characters against the bigfoot threat.

Special EffectsThe effects are all brilliant when it comes to the brutality of the kills when creating the blood and gore levels needed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good start to 2017 for horror showing us the threat of bigfoot could come in many different forms.

 

Overall: Easy to watch blood soaked horror film.

Ratingcard

 

 

Betrothed (2016)

betrothedDirector: Jim Lane

Writer: Jeff Rosenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Mikayla Gibson, Joey Bell, David Brown, Elizabeth Castillo, Jamie B Cline, Adam Dunnells, Letiia Farr, Trae Ireland, Bunny Gibson, Bill Oberst Jr, Omar Gooding

 

Plot: A trip to the store turns into a surreal nightmare when a college student is kidnapped by a deranged, dysfunctional family. Now Audra West finds herself trapped in the middle of the desert, and betrothed to Adam, the youngest son of the murderous clan. As a determined detective conducts a frantic search, Audra realizes the only way to survive is to escape. But even if she could get away, almost two hundred miles of desert lies between her and help.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: No Holds Barred Horror Thriller

 

Story: Betrothed starts as we meet the Cooper’s brothers Adam (Cline) & Nate (Dunnells) who along with their mother Ginnie (Bunny Gibson) kidnap woman to go through forced wedding and torture before killing them. Once we see what this family is capable of we move onto meet Audra (Gibson) who is spending time with her family as she gets on with her normal life but also becomes the latest target.

When Audra’s mother Joan (Lindsay) goes in search of help she has to work with Rob Gordon (Ireland) a cop who just happens to be in the area to pick up a suspect. Audra has to find a way to survive with this twisted family by following the rules while planning her own escape.

Betrothed is a horror thriller that dives straight into the action as we see just how deadly the family is. We get what you would call a typical innocent looking leading lady that has fight in her which is easy to make us route for her. When it comes to the supporting characters every single on is important to the final outcome of the story. we have elements of religious cult without being too much about it as the family tries to create their own family. The story never lets up with a twist around every corner that will keep you guessing from start to finish.

 

Actor Review

 

Mikayla Gibson: Audra West is the 19-year-old student who is visiting her family when she gets kidnapped by the Cooper family. Audra becomes the latest choice to become one of their wives leaving her having to find a way to defend herself while planning her own escape. Mikayla is great in this leading role showing herself to be a strong leading lady in horror thrillers for the future.

Trae Ireland: Rob Gordon is a police officers who finds himself in the middle of this town to pick up a suspect. He hears the desperate cry for help from Audra’s mother and starts to investigate only to uncover the real truth what he finds himself investigating. Trae is good in this role in which I think is one of the better written cops in horror in a long time.

Bunny Gibson: Ginnie Cooper is the mother of the household that makes the rules while planning her son’s wedding. We see just how religious that she really is and how discipline she is to the rules.  Bunny is great in this role where we see her snap between characters with ease.

Support Cast: Betrothed has a supporting cast that all have an important part to play in the eventual outcome of this movie, we don’t get any wasteful supporting characters.

Director Review: Jim LaneJim gives us a film that doesn’t hold back with any lulls in the story and most important no wasted characters.

 

Horror: Betrothed gives us a capture horror film where we see how the lone captive must survive against the enemies.

Thriller: Betrothed keeps us on edge as we wait to see what will happen next.

Settings: Betrothed creates the isolated location for Audra away from anyone who would know where she could be taken too.
Special Effects
: Betrothed does have a weakness and that is the special effects but clever camera does cover up large parts of this.

Suggestion: Betrothed is one I think all the horror fans should be trying. (Try it)

 

Best Part: Non-stop style.

Worst Part: Special effects can reflect the budget.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Could have one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $450,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: First Comes Abduction, Then Comes Marriage

 

Overall: Strong horror with well written characters that all come off strong throughout.

Ratingcard