Bird Box (2018)

Director: Susanne Bier

Writer: Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) Josh Malerman (Novel)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Rose Salazar

 

Plot: A woman and a pair of children are blindfolded and make their way through a dystopian setting.


Tagline – Never Lose Sight of Survival

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Generic Survival Movie

 

Story: Bird Box starts with Malorie (Bullock) needing to make a difficult journey with two children, needing to remain blindfolded from whatever is in the air outside, the journey should offer them safety. Flashback five years to when an unknown even happens while Malorie is pregnant where people start acting psychotic and suicidal in their behaviour.

Malorie joins fellow survivors Tom (Rhodes), Douglas (Malkovich), Cheryl (Weaver) and Lucy (Salazar) to mention a few, where people need to remain inside or they will become infected. We go through the survival process as go through the essentials about needing food and supplies, let alone whether they can stand being around each other.

 

Thoughts on Bird Box

 

Characters – Malorie is the woman trying to get two children to safety, she is the mother of one of them as we see from her from the events where the disaster first breaks out, where she is dealing with the reality she might be raising her child alone or even giving it up, she loses a sister in the opening attack and is sudden the one voice of reason when it comes to the group of survivors. She doesn’t want to leave anyone behind which sees her clash with Douglas a lot. Tom is one of the fellow survivors, he does seem to be the most level headed of the group, he uses his military training to help prepare for the next stage of the survival. Douglas is the home owner that doesn’t want to help the survivors, he sees his wife die trying to help Malorie which sees him clash with her, he is the typical asshole needed for this type of movie. Jessica is the sister of Malorie who is preparing her for motherhood.

PerformancesSandra Bullock in the leading role is the highlight of the film, she easily the best performer in the film even if her character seems overly random. Trevante Rhodes does a solid enough job in the supporting role being the soldier figure, that doesn’t need to be over the top, while John Malkovich overacts his arse off chewing the scenery like only he could. Most of the rest of the performances are average at best mostly because we don’t get enough time to invest in the rest of the characters.

StoryThe story here follows a group of survivors mostly a woman and two children in a world where people can’t see because something will infect them if they see it in the open, what they will see anything they will become crazed and suicidal. Now this story should be interesting and for the way this is told it drags along, we follow the events in the house which just gives us a group of people that are going to be picked off at some point because we learn early on from the open sequence it is just Malorie and the children, this is the good part of the story, watching the journey down the river in an attempt to survive. The survival side of the story is easily the most engaging only it ends up losing all the tension because of the dragging scenes through the home. The random jumps between the time just seems random and makes no sense which doesn’t help the flow to the movie.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror side of the film comes from the unknown as the ‘creatures’ are trying to infect the people, sadly we never see them which feels like something we should have seen by the end, the film hides them like it will be a shock by the end, only to not show us. The sci-fi side of the film shows us what would happen if something like this was to happen, how the world would come to an end as we know it.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of settings, the house is just there to kill time and meet a group of pointless characters, when we are on the river, we are left wondering just what will come next for the characters while the woods are also filled with the void of the unknown.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we are treated to the less is more concept where we see rustles, but never see anything, when it comes to the injuries, we see the basics without it being blood filled like it could have been.


Scene of the Movie –
The Rapids.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the time in the house.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing movie because we did get a sense heavy horror movie earlier in the year with ‘A Quiet Place’ this film fails to use the full extent of this idea.

 

Overall: Disappointing horror.

Rating

 

 

Extinction (2018)

Director: Ben Young

Writer: Eric Heisserer, Spenser Cohen, Brad Kane (Screenplay)

Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Michael Pena, Mike Colter, Emma Booth, Israel Broussard, Tom Riley, Lilly Aspell

 

Plot: A father has a recurring dream of losing his family. His nightmare turns into reality when the planet is invaded by a force bent on destruction. Fighting for their lives, he comes to realize an unknown strength to keep them safe from harm.


Tagline – We were not here first.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sci-Fi With a Twist

 

Story: Extinction starts as we meet Peter (Pena) a happily married man to Alice (Caplan), with two daughters Hanna (Crouch) and Lucy (Tremblay), he is struggling with nightmares of an invasion which sees him needing to protect his family, the problem is they are starting to take over his life, putting his own personal life in danger.

With Alice about to give up on Peter, the attack from his dreams starts, now he must piece together his dreams like a puzzle to help his family get out alive.

 

Thoughts on Extinction

 

Characters – Peter has been suffering from nightmares of an alien invasion, his family are worried about him, his co-workers are too, he doesn’t know how to read his nightmares, until the attack starts. He uses the nightmares as a guide to survive against the alien invaders proving he can fight, kill and protect his family. Peter is the reluctant hero making decisions that are risky for the rest of the survivors. Alice is the wife of Peter, she sees him in trouble and is getting tired of seeing him suffer, she sees the problems but once the attack starts she will do everything to protect her children. The kids are your generic, we have the rebellious teenage daughter and the younger innocent one that is trapped in the middle. We do also have people that are helping with the survival, they are mostly guides not doing too much.

PerformancesMichael Pena in the leading role is strong throughout, he gives us an everyman action performance where he believes his kids are what is important. Lizzy Caplan is good in her role without needing to letting Pena take all of the spotlight. The rest of the cast are good enough for the film.

StoryThe story here follows one man who is suffering nightmares of an alien invasion which will see his family in danger. We tease the idea that this could just be in his head, until an attack starts. We get to follow the generic save the family from the attackers storyline which works enough. The story does have a third act twist which turns everything on its head and makes you re-think what you have seen so far.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi world created shows us being in the future with the technology, the attack shows future weapons too.

SettingsThe film is set in generic city in the future, it has tall building and surrounded by trees, this is all we see for location.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part were good, that was until the final shot which looked awful.


Scene of the Movie –
The twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That final shot nearly kills the movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sci-fi film that does work well for the and the twist in the third act does make it feel fresh.

 

Overall: Sci-fi film saved by its twist.

Rating

 

 

Arrival (2016)

arrDirector: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) Ted Chiang (Story)

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O‘Brien, Tzi Ma

 

Plot: When 12 mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: This is a Pure Wow

 

Story: Arrival starts meet Louise Banks (Adams) who is a linguistics professor when they arrive. They being 12 mysterious shape spacecrafts that have appeared around the world.

With the world growing with tension about the visitors Colonel Weber (Whitaker) brings in Louise and Ian Donnelly (Renner) to help translate the language the crafts are speaking. The months go past as they search for a way to communicate making baby steps along the way but can they finally get through to each other?

 

Thoughts on Arrival

 

StoryThis is one of the most fascinating stories in sci-fi from out of space in years, it avoids all the mindless destruction to look at a logical answer to what it would be like it we got a visit from space, the solving of the reasoning if you like. The film does also have a twist that just leaves you confused at first but fully understanding everything that happens.

Sci-Fi/Mystery/ThrillerThe sci-fi elements are easy to spot here with the alien introduction with the mystery being all about why they are here with the thrilling side of the story coming from which side of the fence you believe the humans will act, in peace or in violence.

Characters/PerformanceLouise is a very interesting, down to Earth character that can tackle the problem at hand with minimal fuss to make sure that the right thing is done. While Ian does makes for a good supporting character he is happy to take a step back for Louise to take the lead on the case.

SettingsThe settings give us a full look at what it will be like within these spacecrafts as well having the full military presence throughout the film.

Special EffectsThe special effects being used are all fantastic as we get to see a constant use of unease within the spacecraft with the mist while we see the spacecraft look completely as one with the locations we find them in.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far one of the greatest alien incoming movies you will ever see that makes you think about what might happen if we did get visited.

 

Overall: Brilliant story telling, brilliant performances and unbelievable out to this sci-fi thriller.

Ratingcard

 

 

Lights Out (2016)

lightsDirector: David F Sandberg

Writer: Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) David F Sandberg (Original Short Film)

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke, Maria Bello, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Andi Osho

 

Plot: When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror

 

Story: Lights Out starts as we meet Paul (Burke) a family man working late in a warehouse who finds himself haunted by something in the dark which eventually catches up with him killing him. We move on to meet Paul’s wife Sophie (Bello) who looks their child Martin (Bateman) but is talking to something within the dark.

His Step-daughter Rebecca (Palmer) has been living her own life all grown up that has to help look after Martin when Sophie starts acting strangely only to learn there is something trying to take their lives with a connection to her childhood.

Lights Out is one of the horror films that came around from a short horror that is quite frankly excellent but could it get extended into a full feature film? The answer is a kind of because the horror elements of the story work but the story around it all feels very forced and just doesn’t hit the original marks needed. The characters didn’t get developed well enough and in the end I felt most of the story side of the film were just taken from other films about a creature/ghost in the dark.

 

Overall: Good on the scares dull on the story.

Rating60

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

logoDirector: Samuel Bayer

Writer: Wesley Strick, Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) Wesley Strick (Story) Wes Craven (Characters)

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz, Clancy Brown, Connie Britton

 

Plot: The spectre of a dead child rapist haunts the children of the parents who murdered him, stalking and killing them in their dreams.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Remake Deserves Better Praise

 

Story: A Nightmare on Elm Street starts by taking us back to Springwood and puts us into a nightmare of Dean Russell (Lutz) where he meets Freddy Krueger (Haley) before waking up and introducing to all the characters, Nancy (Mara) working in the diner Kris (Cassidy), Quentin (Gallner) and Jesse (Dekker). Continuing the opening sequence we see Dean fall back asleep and it is here where Freddy takes his first victim.

We start to see the side effects of the death of Dean as Kris starts to try and learn about why she was in photos as a young girl with Dean and never remembers being friends with him at that age. The friends all start having the nightmares about Freddy and the friends have to try and find a way to stay alive. The truth about who Freddy is takes a different turn this time around which brings the connection to him a lot closer to home for our characters.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a re-imaging of what can only be put as a classic, people slammed this movie right left and centre. I have gone through all of the Elm Street films in a week and I can safely say this remake deserves higher praise that what it got. The film doesn’t waste too much time explaining about Freddy but instead looks into the idea that the children actually have a connection with Freddy before he is killed. I also liked the idea that the story teases the idea that Freddy could have been innocent. On the negative side of this we lose the serial killer side downgrading Freddy to child molester (which I know is still bad but he doesn’t have the same level of threat). We do end up having a couple of similar deaths which doesn’t seem to fit the idea of the re-creation, we also have re-hashed lines that don’t fit the situation. I also hated the final scene but both films use this to make us question everything we have seen. Overall the story does give us new ideas but it is the ideas of repeating older storylines ruining the idea of a re-imagination. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Jackie Earle Haley: Freddy Krueger is the serial killer from our teenager’s dreams he is darker than previous outing but still possess his sinister laugh. We learn what happened to Freddy but what is much more interesting in this outing is we get teased about his potential innocence. Jackie does a good job in the role bringing a new darker style to the icon. (7/10)

 freddy

Kyle Gallner: Quentin Smith is the fellow student who has a crush on Nancy and as Freddy starts taking his victims he ends up working with her to save themselves before it is too late. Kyle does a solid job in the role but doesn’t really shine to the level required. (5/10)

quentin

Rooney Mara: Nancy Holbrook is our leading lady who works with Quentin to try and save herself from Freddy, she digs into the past to learn the terrifying truth about who Freddy really is. Rooney has openly admitted she did this role for the money and you can see in her performance because we all know the potential she has. (5/10)

 nancy

Katie Cassidy: Kris Fowles is the false lead in the film much like the original had who starts getting visions of Freddy but most importantly starts putting together the connection between her and her friends at a younger age. Katie gives a solid performance continuing her horror trend as a victim. (6/10)

 kris

Thomas Dekker: Jesse Braun is the teenager who is left to be responsible for the killing of Kris even though we see he had nothing to do with it. Jesse helps pass on the message about what is happen to Nancy before being killed. Thomas does a solid job but never really gets enough time on screen to make an impact. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: A Nightmare on Elm Street has a supporting cast that includes the parents that are covering up the secret and for the most part that is all we have as extra cast members.

 

Director Review: Samuel Bayer – Samuel does a solid job directing bringing a new approach to a much loved film which works in places but not in others. (6/10)

 

Horror: A Nightmare on Elm Street brings a creepy darker side to the story but struggles to reach any real scare levels. (7/10)

Mystery: A Nightmare on Elm Street adds in a mystery angle about the connection between the children and Freddy. (9/10)

Thriller: A Nightmare on Elm Street keeps you guessing to what the connection is because it goes in a different direction that we have seen previously. (7/10)

Settings: A Nightmare on Elm Street keeps the settings similar to what we would expect to see and have seen before adding to the horror levels. (7/10)
Special Effects
: A Nightmare on Elm Street uses good effects to create the nightmare sequences and Freddy make up. (8/10)

Suggestion: A Nightmare on Elm Street is one to try, I know people love the original and will always compare it but as a stand-alone movie this is actually a solid horror film. (Horror Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Teasing the idea of the innocent Freddy.

Worst Part: Showing us he wasn’t innocent.

Kill Of The Film: Dean because it is the only original one.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $115 Million

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: Never Sleep Again.

Trivia: Johnny Depp accompanied his friend Jackie Earle Haley to auditions for A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Instead of Haley being chosen for a role, it was Depp who was spotted by director Wes Craven, who asked him if he would like to read for a part. Depp got a part in that film, Haley didn’t, but Haley would go on to play Freddy in this remake 26 years later.

 

Overall: A brave re-imagination that brings new ideas to the franchise while still using the older ones, better than people give it credit for but no classic.

Rating 75