Hex (2017) Movie Review

Director: George Popov, Jonathan Russell

Writer: George Popov, Jonathan Russell (Screenplay)

Starring: Suzie Frances Garton, Daniel Oldroyd, William Young

Plot: During the English Civil War, two opposing soldiers find themselves trapped in a forest controlled by a Witch.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Uneasy Filled Tension Experience

Story: Hex starts as the English Civil War has seen another battle, two soldiers Richard (Oldroyd) and Thomas (Young) from different sides continue their pursuit of each other through a forest, where they try to stay ahead of each other, until they hear and see a strange figure wondering the forest.

As the two continue their pursuit, they come to the conclusion they must work together to get out of the forest, with the woman, a witch (Garton) holding them within the location and only putting aside their differences could give them a chance to escape.

Thoughts on Hex

Characters – Richard fights for King and Country, willing to use his sword until the end in battle, more in shock that he is the last man standing of his troopers from the battle, he will not believe in any supernatural within the forest. Thomas fights for God, opening with prayer after surviving the battle, would rather hide than fight, as well as understanding the evil that is holding the men in the forest. The Witch appears from a distant, she is controlling what the men see, hear and feel, with her motivations unknown to the soldiers who are desperate to escape.

PerformancesDaniel Oldroyd and William Young do have most of the screen time, they do show both the different backgrounds their characters are from, while also showing the growing paranoia growing within them as the film unfolds.

StoryThe story here follows two soldiers from rival sides of the English Civil War that find themselves trapped by mystical forces in a forest and have to put aside their differences to overcome them. When it comes to battle related stories, we have seen supernatural thrown into sides needing to work together before, mostly around the World Wars, using the Civil War, gives the same effect because we learn about how the soldiers are almost forced into the battle, while deep down they might have different beliefs, they just want to survive and live, this is once again shown in the story. When it comes to the haunting side of the story, we do get everything we would expect, with the past being the easiest thing for them to be haunted by. We do get plenty of slowly built up moments in the story, with some being more effective than others, we do get a lot of walking through the forest, over trying to unlock the truth.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from first the effects of the war, and secondly how the two soldiers are being controlled by the evil forces from a witch, we get a couple of slowly built up moments, which will have horror outcomes too.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the forest, it will keep the two men trapped, provide cover and double takes, to make sure they are seeing thing correctly, everything about the location only helps build the paranoia the two are suffering through.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are kept to the minimal, when they are needed, we get the shock moments in the film.

Scene of the Movie – Why haven’t you taken your shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do have too many just walking in silence moments.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that is easy to watch, it does try to build us up with unease and tension with some moments coming off very well, while others might well just fizzle out.

Overall: Nice Horror.

Savage Creatures (2019) Movie Review

Director: Richard Lowry

Writer: Richard Lowry (Screenplay)

Starring: Greg Travis, Cean Okada, Victoria Steadman, Ryan Quinn Adams, Kelly Brown

Plot: On the eve of Judgement Day, predatory cannibals abduct two young vagabond women harboring a shocking secret – they are ancient Vampires. Following a bloody clash, the Vampires are suddenly confronted with an apocalyptic crisis as soul-stealing alien creatures invade and attack humanity, turning their victims into flesh eating Zombies. The forces of evil collide in a cataclysmic battle for dominance.

Tagline – Vampires. Aliens. Cannibals. Rabid Zombies. Judgement Day just went off the rails.

Runtime: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Cult Classic in the Waiting

Story: Savage Creatures starts as we see the two predatory cannibals Liz (Okada) and Darby (Adams) complete their last kill, for their next meal, when they stumble upon two young women Rose (Brown) and Ursula (Steadman), bringing them back to their home to make them their next victims.

Things take a turn when the two women show their true selves, they are vampires that travel around the world, they have their latest dinner, until the world starts to come to an end for everybody left dead or alive.

Thoughts on Savage Creatures

Characters – Rose and Ursula are two ancient vampires that have been travelling the world for centuries, they have seen the worst of times in human history and are prepared for almost anything that comes their way, except for the aliens, where they must show their survival skills. Liz and Darby are religious cannibals that have been taking victims for years, which they believe is the lords work, with their latest victims being Ursula and Rose. Father Cooper is ready for the battle against the undead that are looking for more victims and gets even more feared, when he learns about the girls.

PerformancesKelly Brown and Victoria Steadman as the vampire couple are fun to watch, they get to poke fun at the vampire world too, while the rest of the cast do well with what they need to do in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a couple of cannibals that look to get their next victims, only for everything to get turned on its head when the world looks like it is about to end. This is a story that you think you know how it might go, only for it to keep going, bringing everything from the cannibals, vampires, aliens and zombies, that do work together in the film very well, without over staying the welcome. It does bring us an end of the world style film, that isn’t afraid to throw every potential horror villain or creature into the mix, in a fun way that just makes you want to laugh at how everything unfolds.

HorrorThe horror side of the film does include many different types of enemies we would get used to seeing the genre, cannibals, aliens, vampires, zombies, while they might not be put into scary versions, they do show us that we are going to be facing enemies that can’t be killed with ease.

SettingsThe film does give us a remote location, which does show us how every creature would be operating through the film, away from the view of people.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are low budget, they have a style which does work to help the film reach the cult status the film deserves.

Scene of the Movie – The Vampire turn.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have had more from the Father Cooper character.

Final Thoughts This is a fun horror that will have plenty going on and isn’t holding anything back from the audience and isn’t afraid to throw the blood at the screen.

Overall: Fun horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – J – The Hole in the Ground (2019) Movie Review

This is going under J because of the young star of the movie James Quinn Markey

Director: Lee Cronin

Writer: Le Cronin, Stephen Shields (Screenplay)

Starring: Seana Kerslake, James Quinn Markey, Kati Outinen, David Crowley, Simone Kirby, Steve Wall, Eoin Macken

Plot: A young mother living in the Irish countryside with her son suspects his increasingly disturbing behavior is linked to a mysterious sinkhole in the forest, and fears he may not be her son at all.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Suspenseful

Story: The Hole in the Ground starts as Sarah (Kerslake) and her son Chris (Markey) are getting used to their new home in the Irish countryside, they learn they have a disturbed neighbour Noreen Brady (Outinen) and a giant hole in the middle of a woodland area surrounding the house.

After losing her son in the woods one night, Sarah is trying to be more protective, but the disturbed neighbour Noreen, doesn’t believe that is her son anymore, similar to what she experienced herself, years before.

Thoughts on The Hole in the Ground

Characters – Sarah is the single mother who has moved away from her previous life, which does have hints of abuse, she has started a simpler life in a small village with her son and soon starts to learn about something strange that has happened to her son, with her needing to figure out the truth before it is too late. Chris is the son who isn’t happy trying to make new friends, he is terrified of spiders and after he goes missing one night, when he returns something has changed in him. Noreen Brady went through a similar experience to Sarah, which has seen her branded crazy by the locals, she can sense more being wrong, though it has haunted her whole life.

PerformancesSeana Kerslake in the leading role adds so much to this film, her performance shows the pain her character has been through, despite showing the strength she is carrying on with. James Quinn Markey is great for a young actor, showing the innocent side to his character and the change he has been through. The supporting cast don’t get many scenes but do a good job when called up.

StoryThe story here follows a single mother who starts to see a strange change in her son and must decide what has caused this and what she is going to do about it. The story does dive into one of the most famous horror myths, which is clear to see early on, though never directly uses the name, we won’t say just to stop any spoilers. We have the themes of an abuse victim trying to rebuild their own life, while remaining strong for her child. We only focus on the two characters, with any others only offer hints to what is happening. What the story offers, would be the slowly building moments that Sarah is going through, where she is torn about the truth, we focus on dread feeling over any shock value.

HorrorThe horror in this film does give us a clear look at dread and gloom, instead of playing of the jump scares, it so easily could have turned too.

SettingsThe film takes us to a small Irish countryside village, the house is outside the village surrounded by woodland, which only adds to the unknown coming from inside the woods.

Special EffectsThe effects being used in the film are kept to a minimum, which does help when we need to see them happening.

Scene of the Movie – What is Chris up to.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We only get the hints of the former life they lived.

Final Thoughts This is a dread filled horror that will keep us wondering what is happening, with strong performances from the lead actors.

Overall: Dread Filled Horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – E – Jacob’s Ladder (2019) Movie Review

This is under E because of star Michael Ealy

Director: David M Rosenthal

Writer: Jeff Buhler, Sarah Thorpe (Screenplay) Bruce Joel Rubin (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Ealy, Guy Burnett, Jesse Williams, Nicole Beharie, Joseph Sikora

Plot: After his brother returns home from war, Jacob Singer struggles to maintain his sanity. Plagued by hallucinations and flashbacks, Singer rapidly falls apart as the world and people around him morph and twist into disturbing images. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Another Pointless Remake

Story: Jacob’s Ladder starts as Jacob Singer (Ealy) returns home after a stint in the military, where his brother Isaac (Williams) is killed in action, with Jacob unable to save him, taking up his job in the local hospital as a trauma surgeon, starting a family with his wife Samantha (Beharie), he looks to get on with his life.

Jacob’s life is turned upside down, when he starts meeting deceased war veterans which leads him to find his brother, alive, bringing him home, only learning about the changes he has been through, not being the man, he once knew.

Thoughts on Jacob’s Ladder

Characters – Jacob is a military surgeon that saw traumas of war first hand, including what he thought was his brother’s death, back home he returns to the hospital for work as he starts his own family. It soon takes a twist for the worst when his brother isn’t dead and he starts seeing things that aren’t there, needing to piece together everything. Isaac is Jacob’s brother that he thought died in the war, he comes back dealing with his own problems, needing his brother’s support, being one of many survivors from the war. Samantha is the wife and mother that is always around the brother’s she wants to help them both sort out the problems they are dealing with. Louis is the doctor that has been treating Jacob and his return and wants to try and help Isaac too, being the closest to help they will face after leaving the military.

PerformancesMichael Ealy takes the leading role in this film, he struggles to make an impact here, which might be more because of the awful character twists he must try to go through. Jesse Williams and Nicole Beharie both do what they can with their supporting roles, which are mostly in the background.

StoryThe story here follows a war veteran who has returned from war believing his brother died only to learn his is still alive and he starts seeing his life unravel on front of his eyes. This is a remake of one of the most popular stories ever, we do try to see something different only to give us one of the most confusing stories of the year, where the film throws out a twist that makes zero sense. You will find yourself scratching your head more than often than not, which will only leave you disappointed with any directions we are given.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is more about the imagery that we are put through, rather than being anything that is scary, while the mystery is there, only not interesting enough to solve, seemingly having little to do with what we saw in the original.

SettingsThe film uses the modern-day settings which are meant to show how difficult it is meant to be for a war veteran to return home.

Special EffectsThe effects are not designed well, with most just being disjointed throughout.

Scene of the Movie – Nothing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – That different twist.

Final Thoughts This is a largely disappointing remake that just looks like a mess, doesn’t adding up in anyway through the film.

Overall: Poor and Pointless Remake.

Stalked (2019) Movie Review

Director: Justin Edgar

Writer: Justin Edgar (Screenplay)

Starring: Rebecca Rogers, Laurence Saunders, Stephen Uppal, Vanessa Donovan

Plot: A young woman wakes up in a deserted factory where she is hunted by an invisible force.

Tagline – Cat and mouse is a deadly game to play

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Strong Horror

Story: Stalked starts when a young single mother Sam (Rogers) is finally getting a weekend alone, leaving her 5-month old baby with the father, she plans drinks with her military service friend Berenice (Donovan), which just turns into a night in with wine, the next morning her ex dumps her daughter back on her ill. Needing to get to a pharmacy for medication, Sam heads out alone, only to find herself kidnapped and left in a deserted factory.

When Sam wakes up to explore, she finds another victim and learns about a mysterious invisible presence within the walls, playing a game with her, which turns into a battle of cat-n-mouse between the two.

Thoughts on Stalked

Characters – Sam is a military woman, single mother who is just starting to get ready to return to military service, she hasn’t been separated from her baby before this weekend and loses her chance of this because of her ex. Needing help for her baby, she ventures out alone, only to be kidnapped, now she must use all her training to take on an invisible killer and get back to her baby. IT is what has abducted the women, IT stalks them around the warehouse invisible to the naked eye, wanting to play games with them. We do only meet a couple of other characters, with a couple of other victims and small moments from people in Sam’s personal life.

PerformancesRebecca Rogers is the true star of the show here, this performance is a physical which she handles with ease. It really is on her shoulders to make this film work because nobody else gets much screen time.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman that gets abducted and locked in a factory where she must try and find a way out to get back to her baby, only for an invisible killer to be holding her in the factory. This story is an interesting one, the whole abducting and fighting back to survive is one that is always a good watch, but the way that Sam investigates the location, studies what she is facing is what makes this story standout. Finally, the story does keep everything feeling grounded, which is also nice to see from a horror film.

Action/HorrorThe action in the film comes from seeing how Sam is ready to fight back, being in the military, we know she is ready to fight back too, the horror is a mix of Sam being trapped and the reality that nobody is going to be able to get to her baby, if she doesn’t get out.

SettingsThe film is set in the factory, while it is isolated off the map, it does hold clues to the truth and a host of tools that could become weapons.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film work for everything that happens, while we won’t go into why they are needed, but they are important to everything that happens.

Scene of the Movie – The escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain character decisions seem strange.

Final Thoughts This is an action horror that does connect the dots well, brings out an original idea for an enemy that could easily be real, with a powerful leading performance from Rebecca Rogers.

Overall: Intense Horror.

STALKED is available On Demand from 30th December 2019