ABC Film Challenge – Horror – X – Extracurricular (2018) Movie Review

Director: Ray Xue

Writer: Matthew Abrams, Padgett Arango (Screenplay)

Starring: Keenan Tracey, Brittany Raymond, Spencer Macpherson, Brittany Teo, Stephen Bogaert, Emmanuel Kabogno, Luke Goss

Plot: Miriam, Derek, Ian, and Jenny are overachieving high school students doing everything by the book. Straight A’s, sports, yearbook, band, and – when coursework allows – planning and executing elaborate murders.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Extracurricular starts as the four high school students Derek (Tracey), Miriam (Raymond), Ian (Macpherson) and Jenny (Teo) go about their extracurricular activity of choice, murder, showing us just how deadly they are.

With their murders increasing, they look to jump straight back into the next one, as we see their careful planning to make this happen, believing they can get away with it, while Derek and Ian’s police officer father Alan (Goss) is investigating the string of murders.

Thoughts on Extracurricular

ThoughtsExtracurricular is a horror that follows four high school students that decide to go on a killing spree, planning the murders like an extra class a school, which will soon see the events start to spiral out of control. This is a horror that isn’t an easy watch because of the fact the students believe they are doing nothing wrong, but don’t seem to have a bigger goal for what they are doing, doesn’t help. The performances are fine, they work for the disturbed characters we are following through the film, with none of the performances looking out of place. This could have a lot more going on behind what we saw which will leave us feeling flat more than anything.

Final Thoughts Extracurricular is a horror film that seems to get left out on a missed opportunity with the lack of direction.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – W – Wolves at the Door (2016) Movie Review

Director: John R Leonetti

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay)

Starring: Katie Cassidy, Elizabeth Henstridge, Adam Campbell, Miles Fisher, Chris Mulkey, Jane Kaczmarek, Spencer Daniels

Plot: Four friends are murdered in their home for no reason by four members of the Manson Family.

Tagline – When night falls….the wolves will hunt

Runtime: 1 Hour13 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Another Pointless Manson Film

Story: Wolves at the Door starts when four friends Sharon (Cassidy), Abigail (Henstridge), Wojciech (Campbell) and Jay (Fisher) return home from a early birthday party to continue the party at home, this night gets interrupted by some home invades for are part of a cult, looking to kill the four friends and we watch to see if the friends can survive.

Thoughts on Wolves at the Door

Characters – The characters here feel like they aren’t allowed to be based on the actual victims, even though Sharon is a pregnant actress, we don’t get the heavy proof this is actually Sharon Tate, needless to say the characters are so bland you won’t care about them, which is a true shame because if these are meant to be the real people, the script does them no justice, they are just friends, they have nothing about who they are or anything.

PerformancesThe performances here are not good either, this is mostly because of the pure lack of screen time for most of the stars, everything feels too rushed to let them become the characters they are meant to be playing.

StoryThe story here follows the Manson family attack on the Tate household. Now this is the fifth version of the Tate murder’s that I have seen in a year, the story is horrific, please can you stop exploiting it. The way this story unfolds is dull, we get no chance to meet the victims, the murders are a flash at it is over, we learn absolutely nothing about this horrendous attack and it just ends up exploiting it once again.

HorrorThe horror is mostly weak home invasion ideas, none really come off as scary as they should be.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the Tate house, which works for all it needs to, it doesn’t add anything to the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are basic, most violence happens off camera, leaving it to our own imagination about what is going on.

Scene of the Movie – None.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The pointlessness of doing another Tate murder film.

Final Thoughts This is a terrible film that just exploits the horrendous crime.

Overall: Dull and Uninspiring.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – V – Vanishing on 7th Street (2010) Movie Review

Director: Brad Anderson

Writer: Anthony Jaswinski (Screenplay)

Starring: Hayden Christensen, John Leguizamo, Thandie Newton, Jacob Latimore, Taylor Groothuis, Jordan Trovillion

Plot: The population of Detroit has almost completely disappeared, but a few remain. As daylight disappears they realize that the Dark is coming for them.

Tagline – Stay in the light

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Little Horror Mystery

Story: Vanishing on 7th Street starts on a normal day in Detroit, when a sudden power outage sees Paul (Leguizamo), Luke (Christensen), Rosemary (Newton) and James (Latimore) find themselves alone, using what little light they can find, while the rest of the city seems to have vanished within an instant in the darkness.

The four find themselves meeting in a bar running on a generator which sees them try to figure out what is happening and why they haven’t been taken by the darkness.

Thoughts on Vanishing on 7th Street

Characters – Luke is a reporter that moved to the city to start his own career, his partner is a weather girl, he wakes up and goes out in the day seeing everybody gone, he does seem to be one of the only ones that has been thinking of a plan, thought it does make him very blunt with his responses to anything the others think. Paul is working in a cinema when the incident happens, his headlight is the only thing that keeps him safe from the danger he could face. He is injured by the time the group gets together, where he offers an idea to what is happening. Rosemary is a mother that has lost her baby in the incident, she wants not more than to find him even if she does know the horrible truth. James is the youngest member of the survivors, he is waiting for his mum to return before deciding whether he wants safety or not.

PerformancesHayden Christensen continued to try and rebuild his career with this leading role performance, where he does everything with ease, without feeling like a true lead in the film, John Leguizamo and Thandie Newton does their roles well enough, while young Jacob Latimore is the highlight of the four stars.

StoryThe story here follows four strangers that find themselves as the only people alive after an unexplained sudden darkness which has made everybody vanish instantly. This does create an interesting world where darkness is pure evil and light will always become harder to hold onto to try and survive, it does play into a story of a boat which appeared after crossing the ocean with a message and nobody on board, which would and is something that could be studied and guess about too. The way the story unfolds is rather generic in how it all flows, with the people needing to do certain tasks which become more dangerous and let the darkness get closer.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from the darkness, which does show how it is slowly moving towards people who are losing the lights in the world, with everything looking like a figure approaching, while the mystery is more about why this is happening, though it never seems to lead to a true answer.

SettingsThe film is set in Detroit which sees most of the time being set in the bar trying to figure out what is happening, before we get the we get the haunting scenes of empty streets or stores.

Special EffectsThe film uses the effects well, to make the darkness feel like figures waiting for the light to go.

Scene of the Movie – Car light save.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – That plane moment.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting horror that brings a fresh sudden scare to it, with the darkness being waiting for a chance to finish taking the population.

Overall: Darkness Simmers

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – U – Uncle Peckerhead (2020) Movie Review

Director: Matthew John Lawrence

Writer: Matthew John Lawrence (Screenplay)

Starring: David Littleton, Chet Siegel, Ruby McCollister, Ruth Lolla, Maureen McGowan, Amir Khan, Jeff Riddle

Plot: When a punk band scores their first tour, life on the road proves tough when they are joined by a man-eating demon as a roadie.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Uncle Peckerhead starts when Judy (Siegel) looks to get her punk band Duh with Max (Riddle) and Mel (McCollister) a record deal, they head off on a one week road the country tour, only they lose their van, turning to the estranged Peckerhead (Littleton) for his van letting him become their roadie.

On the first night of the tour, Judy learns the truth about Peckerhead being a man-eating demon that must feed at midnight, leave the band unsure whether to keep him around or not, despite him helping the band’s finances on the trip.

Thoughts on Uncle Peckerhead

ThoughtsUncle Peckerhead is a horror comedy that will bring us a punk band trying to make a name for themselves, that learn their new roadie/driver is a man-eating demon that feeds every night at midnight, even though when not a demon, he has the heart of gold. This does give us the punk dream that the characters have, balancing what is evil in the demonic figure, not knowing which side they should follow, after believing they are only taking out the people holding them back. The journey sees them struggling to make ends meet, which is everything you would imagine from a small punk band, with each location being used to show the environment they must get used to playing in. the performances from the whole cast are great, with Chet Siegel being a brilliant lead, Ruby McCollister hitting the dead pan comedy and David Littleton being the demon with a kind heart. This is a fun little horror comedy that can get plenty of laughs along the way.

Final Thoughts Uncle Peckerhead is a fun enjoyable horror comedy being both bloody and funny.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – T – Tell Me How I Die (2016) Movie Review

Director: D.J. Viola

Writer: James Hibberd, Rob Warren Thomas, D.J. Viola (Screenplay)

Starring: Nathan Kress, Virginia Gardner, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Ryan Higa, Mark Furze, Ethan Peck

Plot: A9913 is a new drug improving memory – like being there again. Anna joins 17 others testing it for $2000. Some experience the near future including deaths.

Tagline – Knowing your fate is a real killer.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Drug Trial 101

Story: Tell Me How I Die starts when student Anna (Gardner) takes up an offer to be part of a drug trial, joined by fellow students Den (Kress), Kristen (Blanton) and regular Scratch (Higa) they are part of 20 person trial which sees them staying in a remote facility.

As the trial starts, the first side effects experienced, is replaying an incident, where the person sees, feels and experiences something, only to not have done it, only to do it and wonder why they have the feeling on déjà vu. Desperate to escape, the four are joined by Marcus (Furze) as they rush to try and escape the situation.

Thoughts on Tell Me How I Die

Characters – Anna is the student that is need of money, she takes the drug trial idea to make $2000 for a 30 days trial, she isn’t the most convinced by joining and soon becomes the person that can has the visions which could help the rest survive. Den had met Anna in a bar before the trial, needing the money for the same reason, he takes the trial in a plan to make money, while being the most decent person of the people trying to escape. Kristen is excited with the idea of the trial, she sees it as a chance to meet a guy, while becoming friends with Anna along the way. Scratch has been doing these trials for years now, he likes the pay day and the lack of work he needs to do, he does offer help when looking to escape.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are not the greatest, but they are also not the worst, we get a string of typical desperate young adults, who are slightly paranoid being filled in with the generic traits you would imagine to see.

StoryThe story here follows five main members of the 20 person drug trial, which sees them starting to experience the future, only to learn about a killer looking to pick of the members of the trial. This is a strange story, because you would have thought, we might have a couple of side effects from the drugs to start with, only for this to turn straight into the experiencing the future idea, which soon leads to the killer hunting people down. It seems to play out more like a slasher, over a psychological horror, which you would have imagined it being. In the end the story does most things to try and shock, rather than trying to have a complete story that makes full sense.

Horror/MysteryThis is a horror that circles around the slasher idea more than anything else, it tries to include a mystery, only it seems to come off flat while trying to unlock the truth.

SettingsThe film uses the big facility which is meant to help with the remote trial, it is filled with mystery about what is happening here and could have been used so much better.

Scene of the Movie – The first vision.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The fact the idea seems to go against itself by the end.

Final Thoughts This is a horror mystery thriller that seems to come up short with how everything unfolds, leaving us wanting more and not getting enough of what we needed.

Overall: Flat Thriller.