Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2018)

Director: Hiroshi Katagiri

Writer: Hiroshi Katagiri (Screenplay)

Starring: Doug Jones, Lance Henriksen, Patrick Gorman, Simon Phillips, Sean Sprawling, Matthew Edward Hegstrom, Eva Swan, Katherine Taylor, Justin Gordon

 

Plot: A group visits Saipan to search for locations for their company’s newest resort. As they find what they think is the perfect spot, they discover a hidden bunker on the property which they decide to explore. However, they soon find out that curiosity can kill. As each member faces their most private secrets and the secrets of the bunker itself, the results lead to a most shocking conclusion.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Claustrophobic Horror

 

Story: Gehenna: Where Death Lives starts when property developers Paulina (Swan), Tyler (Gordon) and Dave (Hegstrom) are shown their latest location by Alan (Phillips) and local Pepe (Sprawling) in Saipan, perfect for a view of the ocean. On the property they investigate a bunker which could cause problems for building.

Inside the bunker the five find themselves trapped after an encounter with an old man (Jones) who looks like thy have been dead for years. The five become trapped in the maze of corridors which are filled with spirits encouraging them to kill themselves just to make it out of the living hell.

 

Thoughts on Gehenna: Where Death Lives

 

Characters – Paulina is the lady leading the investment which would be a career maker for her, she wants every loose end tied up which leads the team to investigate the bunker, this is the ambitious businesswoman that isn’t selfish to her team but wants to achieve her goals. Tyler is the architect that helps locate problems that any construction could face, joining the team in the corridors he seems to be the only one without a past sin he must pay for. The Old Man is one of the victims in the bunker, he warns and haunts the five in the bunker. The fellow three members of the team fill in the generic characters, the young cameraman does is scared of his past, the local fills in the spiritual side of translations and the seedy property owner that wants to get rich quickly.

PerformancesThe performance are being sold on the special appearance from Lance Henriksen and the inclusion of the immensely talented Doug Jones, they are good with their roles. the main cast of Justin Gordon, Eva Swan and Simon Phillips are strong as they are dealing with the horror events in the bunker.

StoryThe story follows five people in a property deal that investigate a mysterious bunker on the land and soon find themselves battling to survive in what feels like a living hell. This does fall into the bunker horror story which is always good to watch because the reason behind what is going on is always interesting to unfold. We have a twist which does work even if you could see it coming. The story doesn’t offer too much to genre, but it works for everything it needs.

Horror/MysteryThe horror works for the claustrophobic feeling which has a mix of slow build and jump scares which is nice and the mystery keeps us guessing throughout to just what could happen.

SettingsThe film gives us a couple of beauty shots before we get into the bunker which keeps us confined for the horror.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well with the make up effects when it comes to the horror Doug Jones looks terrifying each time you see him.


Scene of the Movie –
The Old Man looks terrifying for his first appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Tyler’s reaction to what is in the dark, felt almost comical.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that uses the setting to its advantage to make us feel confined with how the story unfolds.

 

Overall: Bunker Horror for all.

Rating

 

 

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The Shape of Water (2017)

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor (Screenplay) Guillermo del Toro (Story)

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones

 

Plot: At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.


Tagline – Based on an idea by Daniel Kraus And Guillermo del Toro

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacularly Beautiful

 

Story: The Shape of Water starts as we follow lonely mute woman Elisa (Hawkins) who works as a janitor in a secret government facility with her trusted friend Zelda Fuller (Spencer), Elisa’s silence helps the government know the secrets won’t get released with only her neighbour Giles (Jenkins) being anyone outside of work for her.

When a new creature Amphibian Man (Jones) is bought in with strict security officer Richard Strickland (Shannon) as the facility looks to experiment on the creature. When Elisa strikes up a friendship with the creature, she will do anything to make sure he stays alive and safe once the facility decides they want to examine his organs.

 

Thoughts on The Shape of Water

 

Characters – Elisa is a mute lonely woman that works as a janitor and only has one friend in her personal life. When a creature gets bought into her facility she sees the loneliness he is feeling and wants to save him, believing it to be her purpose. Amphibian Man is a creature taken from his home to be experimented on by the Americans, he is lonely and finds communication from Elisa comforting in his captivity, even though he is highly dangerous to anyone who gets too close. Richard Strickland is the man in charge of the operation with the creature, he wants to do harm and tries to intimidate the people who don’t want to follow his orders. Giles is the trusted neighbour that Elisa turns to for help, he is similar to him with his loneliness in the world too, while Zelda is the one co-worker that Elisa has to turn to and the one that translates her sign language. Dr Hoffstetler is the man that doesn’t want to see the creature hurt, for science and his true alliance in the world.

PerformancesSally Hawkins is fantastic in this role, her emotions are shown in every movement and expression on her face in a role with no words. Doug Jones has spent his career performing the odd roles being able to transform himself, this is his biggest and easily his best role to date. Michael Shannon in the villainous role shines just like we know he can every time. Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg complete the casting wonderfully playing the supporting roles just how they need to be.

StoryThe story follows unusual attraction, finding someone that accepts you to make you feel safe and how government will do anything to learn from an unknown creature. This is both magical, tragic and special from start to finish. Each side of the story shows how different people didn’t fit in during the early 60s and just how love truly works. This is an original story that plays on as many different emotions as it possible can.

Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThis is an adventure like never before, it shows the risk taken to do the right thing for love, which helps play into this unlikely love story that captures you from the first moment, showing just how love can change you in a second. The fantasy elements are full blown what you would have come to expect from a del Toro movie now, both magical and fantastical.

SettingsThe settings keep everything safe, we have a faceless city with a secret facility which works because we wouldn’t have this facility in a big city.

Special EffectsThe effects used through the film keep everything looking fantastic through the film, nothing seems to look out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Bathroom flood.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I actually think this is flawless.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most perfect movies I have ever seen, if has heart in every scene and just makes you feel on edge to just where it will go.

 

Overall: Brilliant, stunning and fantastic.

Rating

 

 

Hell’s Kitty (2018)

Director: Nicholas Tana

Writer: Nicholas Tana (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicholas Tana, Doug Jones, Michael Berryman, Nina Hartley, Dale Midkiff, Adrienne Barbeau, Barbara Nedeljakova, Ashley C Williams, Nina Kate

 

Plot: Hell’s Kitty is a comedy horror series based on the true life events of Nick, a Hollywood writer, and Angel, his possessed and very possessive pussycat.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Paying Respects to Horror

 

Story: Hell’s Kitty starts as we meet screenwriter Nick (Tana) that lives with his cat Angel, he hasn’t had work in a while and struggles to find a woman, with his latest date ending badly when Angel attacks the woman.

Searching for help he starts seeing psychologist Dr Laurie Strodes (Kate) and along with his neighbour Adam, the three must come to the bottom of whether the cat is evil or Nick is losing his mind.

 

Thoughts on Hell’s Kitty

 

Characters – Nick is an everyday struggling screenwriter, he lives with his cat and struggles to get into a relationship, when he tries he ends up needing to cover up the cat’s kills as she doesn’t want him to see other people. As the bodies pile up and the different resources come up short, we learn more about the truth behind the problems in Nick’s life. We get a host of supporting characters here, we have the neighbour who loves horror, the psychologist, the priests and many others each referencing’s a different horror movie.

PerformancesNick is in the leading role of the film, he does a good job with his reaction and storytelling, the cameo like performances from the icons of horror are good throughout the film, this does help with the comedy too.

StoryThe story puts us in a world where one man finds his life being thrown upside down by his cat that is killing people that she sees being friends with Nick. The idea is farfetched, but this is movie right? This plays into horror moments which are references from previous horror movies which is fine and gives us an acceptance to this story being tongue in cheek.

Comedy/HorrorIf you are a horror fan, you will get the comedy references going on the film, most hit, but it does takeaway from the horror limits in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in the apartment of Nick’s which works because it shows the different people that comes into the life that could become the next victim.

Special EffectsThe practical effects are done really well, it is the moments that require CGI that show the budget of the movie.


Scene of the Movie –
Detective Pluto’s appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The CGI effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that does pay a lot of respect to horror movies of the past, we have a story that works in the horror comedy genre only and it will keep you guessing.

 

Overall: Horror fans will get a kick out of this.

Rating

 

 

The Bye Bye Man (2017)

Director: Stacy Title

Writer: Jonathan Penner (Screenplay) Robert Damon Schneck (Book)

Starring: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, Doug Jones, Michael Trucco, Carrie-Anne Moss, Faye Dunaway, Jenna Kanell

 

Plot: Three friends stumble upon the horrific origins of a mysterious figure they discover is the root cause of the evil behind unspeakable acts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Well This Sucked

 

Story: The Bye Bye Man starts in 1969 as we see a man Larry (Whannell) going on a killing spree in a small neighbourhood asking each person who they told about something before someone arrives.

Move to modern day times we meet Elliot (Smith), John (Laviscount) and Sasha (Bonas) three students who find themselves getting a new house to stay in for their time in college. When noises happen, Sasha gets scared and calls for Kim (Kanell) a fellow student who claims to have psychic abilities, but what she witnesses in her visions strikes fear in her as she gives the three a warning about what Elliot had discovered earlier that night about the Bye Bye Man, Don’t Think it, Don’t Say It.

When the three friends start seeing strange events it becomes clear the Bye Bye Man (Jones) is haunting them, forcing them through horrific visions that make them all question themselves on everything they see or hear, can they figure it all out before it is too late?

 

Thoughts on The Bye Bye Man

 

Characters/PerformanceElliot is your typical leading character, he has had emotional trauma in his past but that doesn’t play into where the film goes, he does fit the paranoid boyfriend but we never learn what he is studying to be at this college, John is the best friend and that is all we learn about him. Sasha is the girlfriend who spends most of the film sick and nothing else. The figure of the Bye Bye Man looks creepy but doesn’t get used well. The rest of the character are also from the generic textbook of strange friend, family, person from the past and smart person that dies quickly.

Performance wise, well, there isn’t much to say here, Smith is solid without excelling with Lucien and Cressida also doing nothing fancy in this role. Faye Dunaway turns up, good for her same goes for Carrie Anne Moss. The only good performance in this film is in fact Doug Jones as the creepy looking Bye Bye Man.

StoryStory time, well you know how certain films do ‘the don’t read something’ but they do and spend the whole film getting haunted by a ghostly spirit or vision. That is this films story borrowing heavily from Nightmare on Elm Street and the Slender Man or Grim Reaper. This is nothing fresh and by the end you will not be surprised by what happened.

Horror/ThrillerThere are easy jump scares going on here but the most part comes from the creepy coat in the corner, doors slamming and the old favourite BOOM sound effects, we are also not kept guessing because the story doesn’t make us care enough.

SettingsThe film doesn’t offer any memorable settings for anything to take place that you will remember.

Special EffectsThe special effects are nearly all bad CGI which disappoints when we see them.

Final ThoughtsThis is just another bad horror film with lazy scares and poor character development.

 

Overall: Just a simple but boring horror film.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Raze (2013)

razeDirector: Josh C Waller

Writer: Robert Beaucage (Screenplay) Robert Beaucage, Kenny Gage, Josh C Waller (Story)

Starring: Zoe Bell, Rachel Nichols, Tracie Thomas, Bruce Thomas, Bailey Anne Borders, Rebecca Marshall, Allene Quincy, Doug Jones

 

Plot: Raze, a horror/action film, focuses on two abducted women & 50 other women who are forced to fight each other using their bare hands.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Messy Fighter Film

 

Story: Raze starts as we watch Sabrina (Bell) and Jamie (Nichols) kidnapped and taken to remote building along with 50 other women who have been whittled down to 22 to fight to the death by Joseph (Jones).

The women are forced to fight or their loved ones will pay the price and we are left to wonder who will make it out alive.

Raze comes off as a fight for survival film which goes along the lines of an Unleashed just without the passion behind any of the character’s decisions or making us care about anyone in the film. This comes from introducing too many characters and having no structure to when they fight. In the end this has no shocks and the twists come off as complete fails by the end of the film.

 

Actor Review

 

Zoe Bell: Sabrina is the tough silent woman who is easy to turn into a deadly weapon. As all the women are fighting for something Sabrina’s battle is to save her daughter from these people. Zoe is solid but doesn’t really carry the film enough for the lead in it.

Doug Jones: Joseph runs the fighting competition and is very proud of his work hosting it. He keeps his fighters in check while keeping his clients happy with the fights. Doug is good with his few scenes but needs to be a much more impactful character for the story.

Tracie Thomas: Teresa is the eldest of the fighters who tries to keep the others calm but she is just as deadly in the combat room. Tracie is good for a supporting role.

Support Cast: Raze has a string of supporting characters who are all disposable fighters with weak generic back story to hopefully make us care about what is going on.

Director Review: Josh C WallerJosh gives us a film that has more potential but really just ends up falling very flat with unlikable characters throughout.

 

Action: Raze has very basic fighting action with nothing really reaching the brutality it could have.

Horror: Raze doesn’t have the elements of horror to become scary in anyway.

Settings: Raze keeps the settings looking very raw throughout to show the conditions the women have to fight in.
Special Effects
: Raze has good effects when it comes to the kills even if a lot is camera work.

Suggestion: Raze is really one you could avoid because it really just comes off messy in places. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: The final act is good.

Worst Part: Fighting choices have no really decision about them.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

Tagline: No man could survive this.

 

Overall: Messy action horror that lacks any moment of real shocks.

Ratingcard