The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)

Director: Johannes Roberts

Writer: Ben Ketai (Screenplay) Bryan Bertino (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson, Lewis Pullman, Emma Bellomy, Damian Maffei, Lea Enslin

 

Plot: A family of four staying at a secluded mobile home park for the night are stalked and then hunted by three masked psychopaths.


Tagline – Let us prey

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: What Not to Do in Horror Movies

 

Story: The Strangers: Prey at Night starts as a family mother Cindy (Hendricks), father Mike (Henderson) and teenage children Luke (Pullman) and Kinsey (Madison) are travelling across country because Kinsey is a trouble maker (we never learn what she does other than skipping a few classes) is being put in a boarding school, along the way they are stopping off at a secluded mobile home park with family.

Upon their arrival they notice the place is empty and it isn’t long before the iconic Strangers Dollface (Bellomy) Man in the Mask (Maffei) and Pin-Up Girl (Enslin) start stalking them around the park. Tonight, will be a battle to survive.

 

Thoughts on The Strangers: Prey at Night

 

Characters – Cindy is the disappointed mother and the end of her rope when it comes to dealing with Kinsey and she feels old, this is all we learn about her. Mike is the dad, that sums him up. Luke is the soon to be attending college baseball player, he does try to bridge the gap between himself and Kinsey, trying to be the big brother. Kinsey is the trouble maker apparently, she is being set to boarding school for something she did and is your typical rebellious teenage daughter character. The Strangers seem to have had a makeover too, they don’t seem as sadistic as I remember them, as usually they like to play with their victims more. When it comes to writing the characters, this film does a terrible job, as we see by ALL of the decisions they make in the film.

PerformancesThe bad characters does effect the acting because the four in the family have next to nothing to work with, other than run and scream, make as much noise as possible while trying to hide and having awful chemistry especially between the parent characters.

StoryThe story here follows a family which are going to be stalked by the returning Strangers, we have a bigger environment for them to play in, but this time it does seem harder to understand their plans because they seemed to like torture, but this time they are swinging for kills. This ends up turning the idea into a weak slasher film over any sort of psychological thriller, the decisions being made by the characters are hilarious and certain moments seem to have a character run 10 metres and forget where they just were. You will spend a lot of time rolling your eyes at the decisions being made in this film.

HorrorAs the original Strangers in one of the best home invasion style movies, making this horror expand didn’t seem to give the horror moments enough to go on, the trailer has also given away all of the best scares.

SettingsThe bigger setting does create an atmosphere at times, and the shots we are given do look great, which does get the best bit of the praise in the movie, the problem comes with this setting not suiting the Strangers MO.

Special EffectsThe effects are getting points because the attacks look brutal and this does have great camera work for creating the shots.


Scene of the Movie –
There are some brilliant looking shots around the park.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Decision making.

Final ThoughtsThis is a complete mixed bag of a horror, the visual creations are wonderful as are the music, but they just can’t save a film filled with the worst character decisions in most horror movies.

 

Overall: Well shot horror, terribly written characters.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

God’s Pocket (2014)

Director: John Slattery

Writer: Alex Metcalf, John Slattery (Screenplay) Peter Dexter (Novel)

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eddie Marsan, Caleb Landry Jones, Jack O’Connell, John Turturro, Richard Jenkins

 

Plot: A blue collar worker tries to cover things up when his stepson is killed in a suspicious accident, but a local reporter senses that something’s amiss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: God’s Pocket starts as we meet the different characters from this small town of God’s Pocket. We have Mickey (Hoffman) a meat salesman who works with Arthur (Turturro) stealing product before selling it as his own, his wife Jeanie (Hendricks) and her son Leon (Jones) along with reporter Richard Shellburn (Jenkins) who has been reporting on the town for 20 years.

When Leon is killed in a work accident the town surround the family with their sympathy. When Jeanie questions what happened it brings Richard to look deeper into the story as well as Mickey using his mob connection to try and learn the truth, but in this small town can secrets be kept?

 

Thoughts on God’s Pocket

 

Characters/PerformanceMickey is a man that finds a way to make ends meet either side of the law, when his step-son is killed he works on finding out the truth but must deal with his own problems with money. Jeanie is the grieving mother that demands the truth about her son’s death, she is also becoming distant from her husband Mickey. Richard is a journalist know all around the town, he has reported on the events of the town for years now and gets called into learn the truth of the events around the death. Arthur is Mickey’s connection to the underworld where the two work on robberies.

Performance wise, Hoffman is great in what was his final complete film, Hendricks is also good throughout the film with Jenkins giving us his best reporter like role. Turturro was also good throughout the film.

StoryThe story shows the three day events leading up to a funeral, we see everyday people dealing with a sudden death as they search for the truth, make their own mistakes and try to cover up their mistakes. This is a slow-moving film that tries to give us a real life series of events that follow the people involved but isn’t a casual watch.

CrimeThe crime side of the story comes from Mickey’s side along with the crime surround the accident. We have the crime world but otherwise this is more focused on the dramatic stories that characters live through.

SettingsWe like the small town setting which helps us see just how well the people of the town know each other.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama even if it is slightly slow in place, it is filled with good acting and a story that almost feels like it could come off as a comedy slightly better.

 

Overall: Good drama, good acting but nothing memorable.

Rating

 

 

The Neon Demon (2016)

neonDirector: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn, Mary Laws, Poly Stenham (Screenplay)

Starring: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves

 

Plot: When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: UMMMMM ZZZZZZ I Think

 

Story: The Neon Demon starts young naïve model Jesse (Fanning) who at the tender age of 16 moved the LA to make a name for herself, striking up a friendship with make-up artist Ruby (Malone) she finds her way to model agent Roberta Hoffman (Hendricks) who starts her on her trail to stardom.

As Jesse stars to rise up the ranks in the modelling world she meets all the other models that have all gone to their own lengths to get into the world, but will she let this new world consume her.

The Neon Demon is a film I can honestly say I really just didn’t understand or of the bits I did understand I feel it comes off like a poor version of Starry Eyes. The film is full blown artsy with lots of long shots of pretty much nothing happening other than music. In the end I found myself wanting this to be a lot shorter and have a more rounded story.

 

Overall: Artsy messy film really

Rating20

 

 

Anton Yelchin Weekend – From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

fromDirector: Goro Miyazaki

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa (Screenplay) Chizuru Takahashi, Tetsuro Sayama (Comic)

Starring: (American Voice Talents) Anton Yelchin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bruce Dern, Sarah Bolger, Isabelle Fuhrman, Christina Hendricks, Ron Howard

 

Plot: A group of Yokohama teens look to save their school’s clubhouse from the wrecking ball in preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Ghibli Story

 

Story: From Up on Poppy Hill starts as we meet Umi who lives on the Poppy Hills that overlook the bay in Tokyo as they have just been award the Olympics of 1964. Umi even as a school girl age runs the house with her parents away as we see how the locals are starting to campaign to save their town from change.

In the town where Umi is raised she learns of a Shun is her brother which changes all the romantic feelings she has been having as the campaign to stop change within their town continues.

From Up on Poppy Hill is a simple Ghibli film that does tell the important story of community within the small neighbourhood. There isn’t too much to make this film stand out above the more fantasy based projects which does disappoint. The film looks as fantastic as you would expect from any of the film from the studio but it does lack that punch that makes it one of the best.

 

Overall: Easy watch for the great study.

Rating60

 

 

Lost River (2015)

logoDirector: Ryan Gosling

Writer: Ryan Gosling (Screenplay)

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Rona, Matt Smith, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes, Reda Kateb, Barbara Steele, Landyn Stewart, Rob Zabrecky

Plot: A single mother is swept into a dark underworld, while her teenage son discovers a road that leads him to a secret underwater town.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow, Boring and Ordinary

Story: Lost River starts by showing our single mother Billy (Hendricks) who has two boys who live in a town that is slowly becoming empty of residence. Bones (De Caestecker) is one of the teenage sons who spends his time trying to take copper from the abandoned buildings in the city, but when he crosses paths with Bully (Smith) the man who claims to run the copper in the city. We see how Billy is struggling to keep the roof over her family’s heads.

Bones sees his family struggling and risks going back to steal from Bully hoping for one last pay day from the man he delivers too. Bones has a friend Rat (Ronan) who he lets out that he has found a road leading into the river. Billy get given a job offer which ends up being a lot different to what she bargained for inside a specialist club while Bones investigates the mystery lost town under the river. We continue to watch to see the friendship between Bones and Rat keep them together through all the problems the town in facing. Bones sees hw far his mother is being forced to go to make money and sets out for one final score to get the family out of the town once and for all.

Lost River really tries to throw the idea of a suffering family down our throats, we get to look at unemployment mixed with the effects of small towns losing the community feeling. All these effects are achieved very well because you do feel for the family but the crazed Bully seems out of place in this film. We really do get plenty of what just happened moments but in the end everything just seems very forced to make the family go through more than they need too. The over all feel of this movie comes off strange and you never get pulled in enough before getting stuck with a very sudden ending that doesn’t answer all the questions the film gave you. (5/10)

Actor Review

Christina Hendricks: Billy is the single mother trying to find a way to keep her family home standing, for her two sons. She ends up working in a specialist club where blood and gore is the name of the game or the illusion of gore. Christina gives a solid job as the mother pushed to her limits. (6/10)

Iain De Caestecker: Bones is the eldest son of Billy’s who is stripping abandoned houses for a chance to make extra money for his family. By doing this he ends up crossing paths with the dangerous Bully all while trying to start a romance with Rat. Iain comes from nowhere to stand next to this elite cast. (6/10)bones

Saoirse Ronan: Rat is the neighbour and friend of Bones who start looking into a way out of the town together, as they look for a new start on a life that really isn’t going anywhere. Saoirse seems to be wasted in this supporting role because she meant to be leading films now. (6/10)bully

Matt Smith: Bully is the man who believes he is the boss of the town, he is very dangerous and will hurt anyone who gets involved in his business. He starts targeting Bones and all the people he is close to after he steals from him. Matt breaks out of his good guy persona he has from Doctor Who to be the highlight of the film. (7/10)

Ben Mendelsohn: Dave is the bank manager who pushes Billy into a life that she doesn’t want to be involved in to make sure she keeps the family home. He manages to get his hold over Billy just so he can get what he wants. Ben gives a solid job as the creepy character but never gets enough time to show just how far he will go. (6/10)

Eva Mendes: Cat is the manager at the club, who has to look after the woman in the club. She also tests them to see how far they can push their performances. Eva does a solid job in this small supporting role. (6/10)

Support Cast: Lost River is a film that the support cast have to come off almost as the people’s actions rather than the main characters actually do anything bad.

Director Review: Ryan Gosling Ryan does try to give his own personal touch to the film because it is shot in a way I haven’t seen before but parts do get lost in the story where he is trying to hard with the visuals. (5/10)

Mystery: Lost River has a mystery side with how the town ended up under water but it got solved easily. (3/10)

Thriller: Lost River you do start to wonder what will happen but when nothing much does it falls slightly flat. (4/10)

Settings: Lost River creates a very real small town that is falling apart which comes off very effective for the film. (9/10)

Suggestion: Lost River is one to try, I do feel people will enjoy this more than I did but I am not sure how much. (Try It)

Best Part: Setting.

Worst Part: Very Slow.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Overall: Lost River is a very slow film that never really gets into gear.

Rating50