Animal Among Us (2019) Movie Review

Director: John Woodruff

Writer: Jonathan Murphy (Screenplay)

Starring: Larisa Oleynik, Erin Daniels, Heather Tom, Christian Oliver, Christine Donlon

Plot: Fifteen years ago, two teenage girls were murdered at Merrymaker Campgrounds. The case was filed an animal attack, the camp was condemned and the killer never found – but something horrific still waits in those woods.

Tagline – This is a story about a monster.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: You Will Never See This Coming

Story: Animal Among Us starts as two sisters Anita (Oleynik) and Poppy (Donlon) are preparing to reopen the Merrymaker Campground, one that had an incident before with an unsolved murder, one that author Roland Baumgarner (Oliver) made famous in his book. When a stranger turns up the girls must investigate her video which could explain her mindset.

The girls start to notice strange footsteps getting closer to the camp and with the opening coming closer, they start to wonder if they are alone or not.

Thoughts on Animal Among Us

Characters – Anita is the older of the two sisters, she has dedicated her life to preparing the camp that has been in her family for generations. She does know who she can trust to help make this happen and isn’t going to let any story of monsters stop this happening. Poppy is the younger sister, she wants to help Anita, even if she does have more belief in the stories than her sister, she is flirty and more open than her sister too. Roland Baumgarner wrote a book which was based on the same camp ground, he is invited to be there for the grand opening, which sees him needing to leave his wife and baby behind, he does have a reputation back home for not being faithful and easily seduced, he is also out of his depth when it comes to anything outdoorsy. Christine is the wife of Roland, who has suspected his unfaithful ways, but doesn’t have any proof, until he goes away.

PerformancesLarisa Oleynik in the leading role is great to watch, you can never put your finger on what her character is thinking through the film, while Christine Donlon does make her character seem more naïve without being as naïve in the film. Christian Oliver does well through the film however hard ti is to support his character.

StoryThe story here follows the reopening of a camp that has a history of a mysterious attack years before, an author who made his career’s only big hit is visiting for the opening, where the real monster is revealed to the world once more. This is a story which is filled with plenty of miss-direction which is a delight, what starts off looking like your typical bigfoot movie, plays along those lines well, until we take a different direction that spins everything on its head and turns into on of the most interesting stories of the year. We can’t get into everything that happens because it would spoil too much, though we can talk about certain pacing, which does leave you wondering more about most of the first half of the film, which ends up not being as big as it could be.

HorrorThe horror side of this film comes with just how the world sees this location which is filled with an event that doesn’t have everyone convinced. Which does show us that in America there are going to be locations which are covered in mystery.

Special EffectsThe effects are used when needed without being anything overly special because the film doesn’t turn to them.

Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Couple of random feeling characters.

Final Thoughts This is a movie that will keep you wondering what will be happening instead of just becoming a generic horror film and it will even play that out to the audience.

Overall: Twisted Filled Horror.


Midday Demons (2018) Movie Review

Director: Rossella De Venuto

Writer: Rossella De Venuto (Screenplay)

Starring: Fiona Glascott, Pietro Ragusa, Federico Castelluccio, Ray Lovelock, Antonella Carone, Federica Caroppa, Marcello Prayer, Salvatore Lazzaro

Plot: Megan, a successful Irish artist, lives in Dublin with her husband Leo, an Italian who emigrated there several years ago. After receiving the news of the death of Leo’s uncle, Monsignor Domenico, a powerful catholic priest whose death has prompted a campaign for his beatification, the couple travels to Apulia, in southern Italy, to handle Leo’s unexpected inheritance.

Tagline – A couple returns to their family’s ancient palazzo where sinister shadows from the past reappear.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Atmospheric

Story: Midday Demons starts when Megan (Glascott) and her husband Leo (Ragusa) head to Italy where they are coming to terms with the death an Leo’s Uncle, looking to sell the house to his brother Nicola (Castelluccio), deciding to stay and help clean up the house with memories Leo doesn’t remember.

With Leo catching up with his family, Megan starts spending time alone around the picturesque town with historical past, which soon starts visiting Megan, with unusual consequences for the family.

Thoughts on Midday Demons

Characters – Megan is an Irish artist that seeks inspiration wherever she goes, her latest trip with her husband takes them to his home in Italy. She doesn’t always agree with the culture being followed and spends time alone exploring the town, finding new ideas for herself, she starts seeing people that might not be there, with the ghosts of the house visiting her alone. Leo is the husband that gets to return to his family for the first time in years, he does seem distant from them and the past he might have had with them. He does want to keep any of the secrets quiet, but once Megan starts getting too involved, he starts to dig deeper himself. Nicola is Leo’s brother, he is going to be taking the house off their hands and he is much more committed to keeping the family’s secrets.

PerformancesFiona Glascott in the leading role goes through the range of emotions in the film and her performance will keep you engaged through the film too. Pietro Ragusa and Federico Castelluccio are both solid in their roles, but we just don’t get enough of them.

StoryThe story here follows a married couple that return to the husband’s homeland to deal with an inheritance only to find themselves learning more about the secrets of the family who have a dark past. This is a story that does the investigation with paranormal guidance which is always enjoyable to watch, this unfolds at the pace, where we learn little by little leaving us wondering who Megan could trust within the family. It does have an ending which might leave you thinking about what happened and trying to piece together the secrets, even if this might have been missed little parts of the story.

Horror The horror in the film does use the atmosphere to create everything that is involved with scares, the hallway sequence is beautiful to watch, while what happens only leaves you scared.

SettingsThe film uses the picturesque small Italian town, which has exterior narrow streets which give us a ‘Don’t Look Now’ vibe for the horror elements of the film, while interior we get a house that is covered in history waiting to be revealed.

Scene of the Movie – The street walk for Megan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – A random visit doesn’t seem to do much.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable paranormal ghost story that follows the formula the sub-genre is known well for, it has great shots and settings which add to the atmosphere created in the film.

Overall: Shimmering Horror.

MIDDAY DEMONS will be available on digital formats from 1844 Entertainment starting November 12.

Blood Vessel (2019) Movie Review

Director: Justin Dix

Writer: Justin Dix, Jordan Prosser (Screenplay)

Starring: Alyssa Sutherland, Robert Taylor, Christopher Kirby, Nathan Phillips, John Lloyd Fillingham, Mark Diaco, Alex Cooke

Plot: Somewhere in the North Atlantic, late 1945. A lift raft adrift at sea, and in it, the survivors of a torpedoed hospital ship: With no food, water, or shelter, all seems lost – until an abandoned German minesweeper drifts ominously towards them, giving them one last chance at survival.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Not Dead on Arrival

Story: Blood Vessel starts as the raft with Jane (Sutherland), Malone (Taylor), Jackson (Kirby), Sinclair (Phillips), Faraday (Fillingham), Bigelow (Diaco) and Teplov (Cooke) is drifting through the Atlantic Ocean during the closing days of World War II, with no food or water, they get approached by a German minesweeper, they board the ship only to find the ship is abandoned, with bodies lying around the ship.

As the group explore the ship more, they soon discover they are not alone and something evil is waiting for them on board.

Thoughts on Blood Vessel

Characters – Jane is the British survivor that is trying to protect Faraday, she like all have been a victim of the war and this will test her memories and ability to survive. Malone is the captain trying to find safety for the survivors. Sinclair is one of the men that was on the raft who is looking for a chance to fight after seeing the horrors of war. Teplov is the Russian prisoner that will help fight back, knowing they are all dealing with the same problems and can work together to survive.

PerformancesWhen we dive into the performance Nathan Phillips and Alex Cooke are the best of the performers making us believe they are going to be dealing with something they are going to be facing. Nobody is terrible, but some of them just don’t get enough time to do much.

StoryThe story follows a group of survivors that will need to find a way to survive out at sea, when they discover a German ship that just so happens to be abandoned, with an evil just waiting for them. This is a story that does us the horrors of war as the backdrop to the bigger events of the film, while it does start with a strong atmospheric feeling, it just dwindles into the action heavy idea which just seems to take away the mystery that could have been surrounding the events of the film. We get to deal into the side effects of war on the people as they must deal with their own pasts to get close to making it out alive.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the eerie feeling which does work very well, only for things to be left go when we get too into the action heavy side of the film.

SettingsThe film is set on the ship which does help the story have tension which is the highlight of the horror.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are simple enough, they work for the enemy and wounds which is all we need it for.

Scene of the Movie – The ship approaches.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The sudden switch to action just feels to much mayhem too quickly.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable horror that uses the wartime era well, even if the tone of the film does change too quickly from claim to action heavy.

Overall: Enjoyable horror.

Doctor Sleep (2019) Movie Review

Director: Mike Flanagan

Writer: Mike Flanagan (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Jacob Tremblay, Carel Struycken, Cliff Curtis, Emily Alyn Lind, Bruce Greenwood, Kyliegh Curran

Plot: Years following the events of “The Shining,” a now-adult Dan Torrance meets a young girl with similar powers as his and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.

Tagline – The World will Shine Again

Runtime: 2 Hours 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Best Horror of the Year

Story: Doctor Sleep starts as we meet an older Danny Torrance (McGregor) who has learnt to deal with the nightmares of the Overlook Hotel and overcome his drinking and drug problems, making a new friend in Abra (Curran) who can use the Shining too. Rose the Hate (Ferguson) leads a cult that track down anybody who has the Shining to either recruit them like Snakebite Andi (Lind) or kill the, sucking the last breaths out of them, giving them longer lives.

When Abra, witnesses one of these acts, she forces Danny to help her battle against Rose, in a battle which will see Danny needing to return to where all his nightmares began.

Thoughts on Doctor Sleep

Characters – Danny Torrance grew up to learn how to contain the nightmares of the Overlook Hotel, he has turned to alcohol and drugs to get him through adult life, until he looks to clean up his life and start fresh, using his ability to guide people to the afterlife. He does make a new friend that communicates through a wall, one that will force him into using his ability to a new fight, a new evil, where he must protect a teenage girl who is being targeted. Rose the Hat is the leader of the cult, she selects who to eat or who to turn, she is the strongest of her group and keeps them in line, she searches for the next targets, with her eyes set on Abra, only to learn just how strong she really is. Abra is a teenage girl that has the ability to look and see miles away from her location, feeling the pain of the victims, she communicates with Danny for years and now calls for his help to deal with Rose and her friends. Billy is the man that sees the good in Danny and wants to help him clean up his act, becoming his best friend. Snakebite Andi shows what it is like to be recruited by Rose, she is one character that you did want to learn more about, because it feels like certain parts of her arc are left in the editing room.

PerformancesEwan McGregor taking the leading role is wonderful in this film, showing how damaged his character’s life is. Rebecca Ferguson is a joy to watch in the villainous role. Kyliegh Curran gives a fantastic performance filled with fear, determination and aggression in the fight.

StoryThe story here brings us into the modern times as Danny Torrance is all grown up, dealing with most of the nightmares from his childhood, until he starts communicating with a teenage girl that has seen herself targeted by a cult that preys on the children with the shining abilities. This is a sequel to the much-loved The Shining and does bring us a brand-new story that does make complete sense. We do see certain ideas from other Stephen King novels come to light, with the idea of good and evil joining up before a battle, much like The Stand, while we get references of others through the film. The biggest and best part of the story comes from the idea that both sides can be dealt with the scarier moments in the story, making nobody feel safe.

HorrorThe horror is the most interesting and strongest part of the film, we get Danny having his nightmares and to impress more, Abra and Rose using their abilities to try and stay ahead of each other, not to mention one of the most disturbing sequences of the year.

SettingsThe film might be known for the iconic location of the Overlook Hotel, the rest of the locations see the gypsy characters travelling around showing how the powers are more than just a long time alone in a hotel.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film show just what will happen to the cult if they don’t receive the steam, while also managing to recreate iconic moments from the original.

Scene of the Movie – Rose visits Abra.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Snakebite Andi did seem to have more to her story.

Final Thoughts This is by far the best horror film of the year, it spins the horror ideas on its head by having both sides being put through the horror elements and does continue the legacy created by The Shining.

Overall: One of the Best Horrors Ever.

Blood Myth (2019) Movie Review

Director: Sean Brown, Luke Gosling

Writer: Sean Brown, Luke Gosling (Screenplay)

Starring: Jonathan McClean, Anna Dawson, Hannah Chalmers, Matt Ray Brown, Charlie Walker McClimens, Adrian Annis

Plot: A journalist desperately tries to find his missing fiancée and finally uncover the truth behind a sinister folklore, leading him down a dangerous road of discovery.

Tagline – Death has many faces.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Folklore Mystery

Story: Blood Myth starts as journalist James Lincoln (McClean) has been getting tired of exposing stories of the paranormal for his latest article, he does uncover a folklore about people disappearing every 30-years, which sees him taking his heavily pregnant fiancée Harriet (Dawson) on this investigation.

After Harriet disappears, James spends the day searching for her, getting no support from Sergeant Benedict Jarrett (Brown) or the rest of the town, with paranormal blogger Alexandra Priest (Chalmers) offering up some secrets to the mystery.

Thoughts on Blood Myth

Characters – James Lincoln is a journalist, his latest case involves in trying to debunk folklore which he is finding all too easy, until he learns about this newest one, which he decides to use as his final part of the article, he takes his fiancée who is pregnant and he has cheated on before to investigate. He spends time trying to find his missing fiancée learning that not everything is a myth. Harriet is the pregnant wife that joins James on his journey, she does disappear, being the mystery about what is going on. Alexandra is the local woman that has been studying the myth for years, being the only person that helps James out. We do meet plenty of locals, with most just dismissing James cries for help.

PerformancesJonathan McClean is the star of the show, he is involved in nearly every scene, it is his work dealing with being tired of the investigations, which is clear how he is dealing with this story. The rest of the cast don’t get much time to do anything more than the basics required, not given enough time to do much more.

StoryThe story follows a journalist that is investigating myths and folklores with the latest one being one that might have more truths behind it. The story is interesting because it does show how frustrated the journalist is doing this story, which is against the normal as we usually see overly enthusiastic ghost hunters trying to debunk them. The story flows as James learns more about everything, but just like him, we don’t learn much about what is happening until he does. We do get plenty of mystery, but like most films like this the story ends up going in the same direction.

HorrorThe horror in this film comes from the unknown, this does leave us wondering just what is going on, with the darkness and noise being used to the strongest effects.

SettingsThe film is set in a small British village, which does help play into the folklore because the small villages are always going to have them.

Special EffectsThe effects are saved for big moments in the film, they are kept hidden more than thrown onto the audience.

Scene of the Movie – The day after the first night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much searching though.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does ask plenty of questions, with what is going on, only to follow a simple instruction on how everything ends up unfolding.

Overall: Folklore horror 101