Halloween Midnight Franchise – Saw III (2006)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Leigh Whannell (Screenplay) James Wan, Leigh Whannell (Story)

Starring: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh, Donnie Wahlberg, Dina Meyer

 

Plot: Jigsaw kidnaps a doctor named Lynn denlon to keep him alive while he watches his new apprentice put an unlucky citizen named Jeff through a brutal test. Lynn has to keep jigsaw alive until Jeff completes the test or else Lynn will die


Tagline – Legends never die

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Starting to Slide

 

Story: Saw III starts right after the last film with Detective Eric Matthews (Wahlberg) needing to get out of the bathroom ankle lock, with the rest of his department still hunting down Jigsaw. The detectives are noticing something different with the latest games as we see the victims not getting a chance to survive the games, unlike anything John (Bell) has ever designed before.

For this game we follow doctor Lynn Denlon (Soomekh) who is struggling with her own depression and is abducted by Amanda (Smith) to perform surgery on John as he continues his battle with cancer, on the other side of the story we follow Jeff (Macfadyen) who has closed off from the world after his son is killed by a drink driver, who got off light, Jeff must perform a series of tests to help him get to face the killer.

 

Thoughts on Saw III

 

Characters – John Kramer is now on the verge of death with the cancer leaving him bed ridden through this movie, he has passed on his ideas to Amanda to carry on his work. Amanda is running this game, while watching over John’s surgery, she thanks him for everything while trying to put her own spin on the games. Jeff is being tested through the tasks as a man that has lost his child who could get revenge on the people that let the guy of lightly. He must learn to get over his loss to make it through the game. Doctor Lynn Denlon is abducted to perform the surgery on John, placed in a trapped she must perform brain surgery to help prolong his life and if she fails her life will end.

PerformancesTobin Bell continues to be the shining light in the film series, Shawnee Smith is good in her role where we see a candidate to replace Jigsaw being designed. Angus Macfadyen is solid as the man following the redemption and we see his desperation and emptiness he is feeling. Bahar Soomekh is strong as the doctor needing to stay in control while being in the game.

StoryThe story does continue to show how desperate John is to pass his message on to someone new, we do watch how the surgery is being performed to make sure John could have more time, while the game shows one man getting the moments he has dreamt of being able to get revenge on the people involved in his son’s death trial. This is the beginning of the story I don’t enjoy, it puts someone else in charge of whether people make it out alive, which seems to go against everything we have been taught. The side of the story I did like is watching how an apprentice is being created to John’s ideas, this is the beginning of me enjoying the bigger story over the tests.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is much higher than we have seen before, the games are more violent and this easily has the most gore of the franchise thus far. The mystery comes from the connections to everything but to be fair it just doesn’t click together like the previous two.

SettingsWe do continue our warehouse settings which helps us see the dirt the people are expected to make it out of to live.

Special EffectsThe effects here are again fantastic with most coming off practical with the cracking of bones echoing through every scene.


Scene of the Movie –
The Rack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Stepping into the idea of choosing if someone survives or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is where the series started to go downhill, we do get a better bigger picture but as the for games we see things going in the wrong direction for the franchise in quality.

 

Overall: It’s all downhill from here.

Rating

 

 

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Halloween Midnight Franchise – Saw II (2005)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Leigh Whannell, Darren Lynn Bousman (Screenplay)

Starring: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Donnie Wahlberg, Erik Enudsen, Franky G, Glenn Plummer, Emmanuelle Vaugier

 

Plot: A detective and his team must rescue 8 people trapped in a factory by the twisted serial killer known as Jigsaw.


Tagline – We Dare You Again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Sequel

 

Story: Saw II starts as we meet Detective Eric Matthews (Wahlberg), the lead investigator into Jigsaw now, he has been struggling with his parental duties with his son Daniel (Knudsen) but when he gets called out by Jigsaw, the team get their first lead. Closing in on Jigsaw or as we know now John Kramer (Bell) he finds himself watching over his son inside the latest game.

We follow Daniel with the other victims including drug dealer Xavier (G), returning victim Amanda (Smith) and Jonas (Plummer) as they must navigate their way through this game as Daniel watching on hopelessly learning the motivation behind all of John’s ideas.

 

Thoughts on Saw II

 

Characters – John Kramer is the man we know as Jigsaw now, he hosts the games and this time he brings the detective to him, knowing he hasn’t got long left to live, he mocks them as he explains his actions and choices. Detective Eric Matthews has been tracking Jigsaw for a while now taking over from the previous case, he finds his son in the latest game and must listen to the motives behind the games. Daniel is Eric’s son that is in the game, his true identity could be his undoing as he is put in the game with the criminals. The criminals in the game all have been involved in Eric’s cases and all have their own problems.

PerformancesTobin Bell fast became the face of this franchise and you can see why in his calm performance throughout. Donnie Wahlberg is good as the detective but you feel he doesn’t get to the same level as Glover did in the previous film. Erik Knudsen is good as is Shawnee Smith, we have good performance from the whole cast.

StoryThe story continues in the hunt for Jigsaw, we know who he is now but the police still don’t know his identity. We follow how one detective gets put to the test to learn who the selection of new victims are that are with his son while we also get the first steps into the backstory for Jigsaw and what his goals with the games are. This does build a bigger world picture by the time we are done and just leaves you wanting more.

Horror/MysteryThe horror once more from the games being played by our victims, we get more graphic games here but that is because of the style of battle to survive, the mystery isn’t on the same level but we do have one as we wonder why these people have been selected.

SettingsThe settings keep us in dark warehouse rooms which show how low the people need to go to make it out alive and how easy the traps could be to create.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well to create the kills and games which look practical for the most part too.


Scene of the Movie –
Final reveal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Some of the cut editing is too flashy.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sequel to the original, it continues to build the world and most importantly brings us a twist that is even bigger than before.

 

Overall: Good sequel, keep watching.

Rating

 

 

Halloween Kingathon – Dreamcatcher (2003)

Banner-1logoDirector: Lawrence Kasdan

Writer: William Goldman, Lawrence Kasdan (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis, Timothy Olyphant, Tom Sizemore, Donnie Wahlberg

Plot: Friends on a camping trip discover that the town they’re vacationing in is being plagued in an unusual fashion by parasitic aliens from outer space.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Alien Film King Style

Story: Dreamcatcher starts by introducing us to the four friends therapist Henry (Jane) who can read minds but is also suicidal, Jonesy (Lewis) a college teacher who can read body language. We have Pete (Olyphant) a car salesman with the ability to find things and finally Beaver (Lee) a family man who can send out warnings. The four live of the motto SSDD (Same shit different day) and look to spend a weekend away to see Duddits (Wahlberg). When Jonesy is involved in a freak car accident the group move their plans back 6 months.

The weekend is going as planned with memories of how they all meet Duddits but things take a turn when a sick hunter turns up at the cabin, with just Beaver and Jonesy there. To make things worse the animals all seem to be running from something before the army lead by Col Abraham Curtis (Freeman) inform the friends they are part of a quarantine zone.

When Rick dies something is left in the toilet something that Jonesy and Beaver have to fight but nothing had prepared them for what they would have to face as the four friends learn that their meeting with Duddits all those years ago was preparing them for this very moment and the battle against an alien race.

Dreamcatcher brings us King’s idea of an alien storyline, I like how the twist that the friendly looking aliens in just a cover to deal with the deadly side of their character. I also like how the four friends were all given gifts to help them in a battle when it comes. On the bad side we have the typical military look at what is going on which neither helps or hinders the story but almost feels like filler. When you look at how certain moment are filled with King’s style you will like this but as a stand alone alien film this is just very plain. (6/10)

Actor Review

Morgan Freeman: Col. Abraham Curtis is the leader of the military efforts against the alien invaders, he shots first because he knows he can’t let the contagion spread any further. He is on the verge of madness for the most part as he aims to win this war and doesn’t care how many people he kills to do so. Morgan gives us a standard performance that feels out of character for him to play. (5/10)col

Thomas Jane: Henry is the straight and narrow of the group of friends, he always wants to do the right thing even if he is questioning his own life. When his friends start getting picked off by the alien creatures and military force who are out to destroy everything inside the quarantine zone, Henry must fight for what is right using the skills he gained with his connection of Duddits. Thomas does a solid job showing he isn’t just an action star. (7/10)henry

Damian Lewis: Jonesy is the teacher of the group of friends who has his own memory bank but when an alien takes over his body, he must fight the force from inside his head where he keeps one step ahead of the alien. Damian gives us the best performance especially once he gets into the dual roles. (7/10)jonesy

Timothy Olyphant: Pete is the car salesman who has an ability to find things with the twist of his finger, he shows the skill early on and is also a much needed helper for the alien who took over Jonesy mind. Timothy does a good job in this role standing out as the cocky member of the group of friends. (7/10)pete

Support Cast: Dreamcatcher has solid supporting performances from Jason Lee, Tom Sizemore and Donnie Wahlberg who are involved in the final outcome of the story.

Director Review: Lawrence KasdanLawrence brings the King idea to screen in a way that brings King’s style of humour to certain parts of life which works very well but never feels like a true comedy. (6/10)

Horror: Dreamcatcher doesn’t reach the true levels of horror I think we would like to see when it comes to this genre of film. (4/10)

Sci-Fi: Dreamcatcher brings us the alien invasion idea but also brings us into a world where they have become common and we are prepared to fight back. (8/10)

Thriller: Dreamcatcher tries to keep you guessing but never pulls you to the edge of your seat. (5/10)

Settings: Dreamcatcher puts our characters in an isolated setting once the quarantine zone takes over but nothing about the settings becomes truly clear where they are. (4/10)
Special Effects: Dreamcatcher has a get bad marks for the special effects, you can see the CGI all the way through and even see it with fake snow. (2/10)

Suggestion: Dreamcatcher is one for the King fans to watch you can see his ideas through the whole way through but if your not a King fan you may struggle to enjoy this. (King Fans Watch)

Best Part: Damian Lewis steals the film.

Worst Part: CGI

Funniest Scene: Pete asking Jonesy why he sounds like James Bond as we know Damian Lewis is always in the mix for being the next Bond.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $33.6 Million

Budget: $68 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 16 Minutes

Tagline: Four friends hung a dreamcatcher in their cabin. It’s about to catch something it cannot stop.

Trivia: To portray Mr. Grey speaking through Jonesy, Damian Lewis did an impression of actor Malcolm McDowell.

Overall: A Stephen King stamped alien film

Rating 65

Righteous Kill (2008)

logoDirector: Jon Avnet

Writer: Russell Gewirtz (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Curtis Jackson, Carla Gugino, John Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg, Brian Dennehy

 

Plot: Two veteran New York City detectives work on a case of serial executions of criminals who escaped justice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Heavyweight Casting, Average Story

 

Story: Righteous Kill starts by introducing us to Turk (De Niro) and Rooster (Pacino) two cops who have been partners for years before showing how Turk is confessing how he had killed people on the force. We also see how the pair worked together to frame a man who was guilty but got off the crime. We continue to see how the pair takes out the trash as they see it.

The next case the partnership take is to take down drug dealer Spider (Jackson) but when their normal methods get the case thrown out the couple find themselves seeing shrinks. Learning that another couple of Detectives Perez (Leguizamo) and Riley (Wahlberg) are investigating the cards left at the crime scenes, which are the guilty men that Turk and Rooster are leaving. Fearing there is a serial killer Turk and Rooster end up becoming the leads case investigating themselves.

As the shrink sessions are showing the differences between the two starts to show, with Rooster coming off calm and collected but Turk is tightening up. Riley and Perez start to suspect that Turk could be behind the killings mostly because of their disagreements between them. As the story continues we learn that not everything is as it seems but all the clues point to Turk.

Righteous Kill is a film that took a lot of criticism which I think is unfair. The problem with this film was that it was sold as Pacino and De Niro together which on paper sounds great but if things don’t go well people turn around and says the film is bad. The positive about this film is that the story is actually quite good, it puts you in the position of knowing who the villain should be and watches how things get investigated, but the twist comes (though it is easy to work out) and makes you have to re-watch certain scenes to figure out the truth. I do think if this didn’t have the big names in it, we would have had a much more popular film but as a story alone this is very interesting. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Robert De Niro: Turk the man telling the story about how they killed people but his reasons is righteous. He starts to crack under the pressure starting to let everything get to him. Robert doesn’t give a star performance but still gives a solid one. (6/10)

 urk

Al Pacino: Rooster slick partner who always seem to be calm during ever situation, he keeps the hot headed Turk under control. Pacino gives a solid performance but not to the level you would expect to see from him. (6/10)

 rooster

Support Cast: Righteous Kill has the supporting cast of the fellow detectives trying to solve the case that starts to suspect Turk. It also has the victims of the killer who are all criminal in their own right.

 

Director Review: Jon Avnet – Jon does give us an interesting investigation film with good mystery and thrills but struggles to get the most out of the a-list cast. (6/10)

 

Action: Righteous Kill doesn’t have as much action as you would like to see in a film with this subject matter with nothing really sticking with me. (2/10)

Crime: Righteous Kill enters into the real crime world of potential police corruption. (7/10)

Mystery: Righteous Kill does manage to keep the mystery of who will be next alive well throughout. (7/10)

Thriller: Righteous Kill tries to keep you guessing but the twist seems clear from early on. (6/10)

Settings: Righteous Kill doesn’t really make a point of any settings being key to the story. (5/10)

Suggestion: Righteous Kill is one to try, it doesn’t deserve to be hated as much as it does. (Try It)

 

Best Part: De Niro and Pacino

Worst Part: De Niro and Pacino not at their best.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $78.5 Million

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: There’s nothing wrong with a little shooting as long as the right people get shot

 

Overall: Righteous Kill has such a heavyweight cast you would expect perfection, look past the mediocre performance and you get a very interesting film.

Rating 66

The Sixth Sense (1999)

logoDirector: M. Night Shyamalan

Writer: M. Night Shyamalan (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Trevor Morgan, Donnie Wahlberg

 

Plot: A boy who communicates with spirits that don’t know they’re dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best

 

Story: The Sixth Sense starts with married couple Dr Malcolm Crowe (Willis) and Anna (Williams) having a celebration over Malcolm’s work in child psychology. Their night is interrupted by a deranged man Vincent Grey (Wahlberg) a former patient of Malcolm’s. Vincent believes he was failed by Malcolm before shooting Malcolm then himself.

One year has passed and Malcolm is looking into Cole Sear (Osment) a young boy who is very disturbed. Malcolm tries to connect with Cole whose parents have gone through a divorce leaving him with glasses with no glass in, and his wrists with cut marks on. With the connection set up he returns home to find his wife ignoring him.

Strange thinks happen at Cole’s house including draws and cabinets opening but his mum Lynn (Collette) is very confused, returning from home Malcolm is waiting with his mum and we start to learn more about the problems that Cole is facing. Cole continues to push Malcolm away not believing he can help him. We continue to watch Cole and Malcolm’s discussion and learn that what Cole wants most is to be able to not be scared anymore.

We see just how lonely and isolated Cole is without the ability to talk to anyone about his problems, we see an episode at a birthday party which leaves Cole seeing Doctors but not answers. This is until Cole drops the bomb we have been waiting for to Malcolm, Cole sees dead people. It is now we get to see the true horror of a day in the life of Cole with the ghosts that appear with their graphic deaths almost replaying on front of him. Malcolm needing to put his personal life first wants to pass Cole onto another doctor but after listening to the tapes he had with Vincent Grey he sees this as a chance to make up for his mistakes and help a frightened little boy who sees dead people. Malcolm comes up with the idea for Cole to actually communicate with these ghosts to find out if he could help them.

Once Cole discovers what he is capable of with his gift, we end up seeing the ending people have been talking about ever since it first came out and one that shocked the audience to a new level.

The Sixth Sense is a film that is now reaching its 16th birthday and amazingly still stands the test of time, granted it may well have been ruined because of how talked about the ending is but let’s look at this without the ending. We have a doctor helping a patient understand his gift and learning how to live with them on a daily basis. Add into the mix that his gift is seeing dead people meaning that he needs to learn to talk to them and in the end he is just a messenger for the dead to the living. If you had never seen this film you would be enjoying everything up to the ending, now with the ending we get the shock that makes you need to re-watch to actually see if it was true, even though the hints are there early on. This is got to go down as good story telling because we have to think about what is going on, on the screen and look out for think rather than be spoon feed the answers and given silly amounts of jump scares. This will always go down as one of the greatest horrors ever made. (10/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Bruce Willis: Dr Malcolm Crowe child psychologist who upon wanting to make up for one of his own failings with a patient helps young Cole. Malcolm also has to deal with the idea of becoming distant with his wife but Cole’s secret is the thing that will change Malcolm forever. Bruce gives a great performance that for what he need was very calm and relaxed perfectly fitting the character. (9/10)

 malcolm

Haley Joel Osment: Cole Sear a young boy who is very troubled, he is lonely in the world and doesn’t want to communicate with anyone in it, After he spills the lines ‘I see dead people’ we learn what is really troubling him and that is having ghosts visit him. Cole has to learn why they are visiting him and help them send their final message. Haley gives the performance of his career here and rightly deserved his Oscar nomination. (10/10)

 cole

Support Cast: The Sixth Sense has a small supporting cast but compared to the interactions between Cole and Malcolm they are just there to add mystery to the story.

 

Director Review: M. Night Shyamalan – M. Night got his only Oscar nomination for this film and it is clear to see why, this is always going to be his masterpiece and he shows that he can both tell a story and honour the genre he was directing in. (10/10)

 

Mystery: The Sixth Sense as I expect everyone to know the basic idea of the film, if you didn’t this would be very interesting mystery to look into. (9/10)

Thriller: The Sixth Sense really does keep you guessing with all of the tension built up throughout the film. (10/10)

Settings: The Sixth Sense each setting tells a slightly different side story be it the marriage problems or the ghosts that visit Cole, they all help to make the film natural to the audience. (10/10)
Special Effects
: The Sixth Sense doesn’t rely on its effects but when it needs to use them for the ghosts it works very well indeed. (9/10)

Suggestion: The Sixth Sense is really one that has to be watch by all, it really is something you will only see once with its style and shock. (Watch)

 

Best Part: It is hard not to pick the twist ending but I like the first encounter with an unknown ghost.

Worst Part: The ending has been spoken about so many times, it ruins the surprise in the film.

Oh My God Moment: The twist.

Scariest Scene: The locked room as we just don’t know what happened in there.

Favourite Quote: Cole ‘I see dead people’

 

Believability: (/10)

Chances of Tears: (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

Box Office: $673 Million

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Discover the secret of ‘The Sixth Sense’!

Trivia: Haley Joel Osment got the role of Cole Sear for one of three reasons: First, he was best for it. Second, he was the only boy at auditions who wore a tie. Third, M. Night Shyamalan was surprised when he asked Haley Joel Osment if he read his part. Osment replied, “I read it three times last night.” Shyamalan was impressed saying, “Wow, you read your part three times?” To which Osment replied, “No, I read *the script* three times.”

 

Overall: When it comes to this genre we usually end up getting basic storylines with cheap scares, we got something that will always go down in the film history as one of the bet here.

Rating 94