Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Director: Gary Dauberman

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay) James Wan (Story)

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Michael Cimino, Samara Lee

 

Plot: While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll.


Tagline – The Next Chapter In The Conjuring Universe

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Relentless Scares

 

Story: Annabelle Comes Home starts one year after the Warren’s Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine (Farmiga) bring the Annabelle doll home, knowing its power to control the other items inside their blessed room. With Ed and Lorraine going on a business trip, it leaves their daughter Judy (Grace) with girl next door babysitter Mary Ellen (Iseman), who has planned a little birthday surprise.

When Mary Ellen’s best friend Daniela (Sarife) decides to visit, with questions about the house, getting a moment alone, she sneaks into the blessed room, only to unleash a host of evil upon the three for a night of terror, all thanks to the dreaded Annabelle doll.

 

Thoughts on Annabelle Comes Home

 

Characters – Judy Warren is the daughter of the famous paranormal investigators, she is treated differently at school because of this, with some students being scared, while others just bully her, she does see spirits too and is a shy little girl, she just wants to make friends like any young girl and is struggling with the fact nobody will be her friend except her babysitter Mary Ellen. She does know how to handle herself when hauntings start happening around her house though. Mary Ellen is the girl next door babysitter, she might well be worried about who will take her to homecoming, but she is a friend that Judy needs. Daniela Rios is the best friend of Mary Ellen, she invites herself over to look around, in hopes that she could find a way to connect with her deceased father, whose death was an accident, but she believes was her fault, she unleashes all the evil items on the household, which would make her truly horrible, until you add in the reason why she is trying to find forgiveness. Ed and Lorraine are the familiar faces, only they are basically extended cameos in the film. Bob is the love interest of Mary Ellen and he does through the generic awkward moments of trying to ask her out, he is good for a laugh too.

PerformancesMcKenna Grace takes over the role of the daughter, she does make us believe that her character has become distant from the world around her, makes us believe she is feeling lonely and isolated too. Madison Iseman makes for an easy pick for the babysitter, she comes off friendly and gives the scream level required to show the fear. Katie Sarife is strong as friend who unleashes everything, somehow making a character we could hate feel sympathy towards. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson do seem to be here as a draw, only they are barely even in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a babysitter’s friend visiting the Warren’s house who unleashes all the evil from the safety, only for the three girls needing to put a halt to this before they can become the latest victims of the curses they have. This story does have a few positives and negatives, the first positive being see how the daughter of the Warren’s is struggling with making connections in life because of their work, we could have easily dived deeper with this, but it was nice to see a change in why somebody is isolated. The pure number of different evil figures we meet through the film is brilliant to see because this opens the doors to seemingly endless amounts of spin off movies now, which could be seen as a negative because, while this is an Annabelle movie, it does tend to focus on the other evil, instead of the main one attached to Annabelle. We could get into character decisions, which aren’t the smartest especially when it comes to knowing who the character of Judy is meant to be.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film, is an endless amounts of jump scares, this does work because each does have its own way of being effective, even if a lot if music goes silent and either a boom or something charging the screen. The mystery comes from each new evil that we get to see, we get glimpses into a few leading us to only want to know more.

SettingsThe film is set in one singular location, the Warren house, this has all the evil set up within it, which means once it comes out and traps them, they don’t know what will come next.

Special EffectsThe effect in the film are strong throughout, with each creation look different, with a couple of tricks for the Ferryman coming off nicely.


Scene of the Movie –
The circular shot, I am a fan of this shot even if it was the same as the Nun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I can’t help but think one of the rules for babysitting at the Warren’s, would be, anything slightly strange happens, get out until we come home.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice jump scare filled horror, it has plenty of references to the previous films and does leave us wanting more from this universe.

 

Overall: Jump scares for everyone.

Rating

 

 

Aquaman (2018)

Director: James Wan

Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall (Screenplay) Geoff John, James Wan, Will Beall, Mort Weisinger, Paul Norris (Story/Characters)

Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

 

Plot: Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.


Tagline – He’s not from around here.

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Blast

 

Story: Aquaman starts as we learn about Arthur’s (Momoa) parents, mother the Queen of Atlantis Atlanna (Kidman) and father a mortal lighthouse keeper Tom (Morrison), Atlanna had to leave Arthur on land after her failed attempt to escape the rulers of Atlantis. We see how Arthur is being pressured into going to Atlantis and claiming his throne by Mera (Heard) to stop his half-brother King Orm (Wilson) who wants a war with the land by uniting the armies underwater.

Arthur must go on the quest to unlock his own position in Atlantis to prevent a war which will have mass causalities, along the way he will learn the truth about the ways of the Atlanteans if he is going to take the throne.

 

Thoughts on Aquaman

 

Characters – Arthur is the Aquaman, not wanting to be a hero on either land or in the ocean, he has always been against Atlantis because of what they did to his mother, he does protect the water from the helpless, while not being as friendly as the other heroes in this universe. He must go on a quest to take on his half-brother and become the true king of Atlantis. He does try to give us plenty of one liners through all the film. Mera is the princess and daughter to King Nereus, she knows that Arthur is the right person for the throne, though she is arranged to marry King Orm, she does come off as the smarter of the two while on the quest. Vulko has trained both to be prepared for fights, he is the advisor to King Orm, even if he believes that Arthur is the rightful king. King Orm wants to go to war with the land, he believes and is tired of how the oceans are treated, he wants to unite the different factions even if it means by going with force. He will use both sides to his advantage to put himself in the position of power. Atlanna is the mother of both Arthur and Orm, killed for her actions, one of the few people that commanded respect from all kingdoms. We do have the kings from each kingdom being pushed into following King Orm and Manta who wants revenge for Arthur’s action, he is human and a pirate, even if he ends up looking like a Power Rangers villain.

PerformancesJason Momoa is great in the leading role, he looks like he is having fun at times, which feels important, while he can get serious when needed, he also looks the part too. Amber Heard is good in her role where she gets to fill in the gaps for the audience. Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman and Dolph Lundgren are good in the supporting roles which you could watch them play for days. Patrick Wilson deserves praise too because he is one of the best villains in the DC universe.

StoryThe story gives Aquaman his first solo adventure after his appearance in Justice League, where he must learn about Atlantis and take on his half-brother before a war between the land and the ocean starts. This is kind of an origin story, which seems to be the way DC are doing them, lets us meet them in a team up movie before moving into their own story, this is that movie. The idea that two half-brothers are fighting to power does seem to borrow from the Thor first movie, which does have a different game as Arthur is the one that doesn’t want to be king. The idea that one man must learn his place and stand up and be counted is a great hero story which is needed for Arthur.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action in this film is good with the battle in Sicily being the highlight for me, we get a unique use of camerawork too for shooting the action. The adventure does take Arthur around the world in search for answers above or below the ocean. The fantasy world plays into the idea that Atlantis has been living under the ocean to make their own technology which again plays into the sci-fi elements being used in the film.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well, with Sicily being a new fight location, though the underwater sequences look fantastic to be absorb within.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic for the ambitious scale of the world needed to be created, there are a couple of shots which do look weaker than the rest though.


Scene of the Movie –
Sicily fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story does feel safe for an origin story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a blast for an origin film, we can have a lot of fun with everything happening in the film and we now have a character in the DC universe to make us excited that we don’t only have Wonder Woman.

 

Overall: Great fun to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Halloween Midnight Franchise – Saw III (2006)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Leigh Whannell (Screenplay) James Wan, Leigh Whannell (Story)

Starring: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh, Donnie Wahlberg, Dina Meyer

 

Plot: Jigsaw kidnaps a doctor named Lynn denlon to keep him alive while he watches his new apprentice put an unlucky citizen named Jeff through a brutal test. Lynn has to keep jigsaw alive until Jeff completes the test or else Lynn will die


Tagline – Legends never die

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Starting to Slide

 

Story: Saw III starts right after the last film with Detective Eric Matthews (Wahlberg) needing to get out of the bathroom ankle lock, with the rest of his department still hunting down Jigsaw. The detectives are noticing something different with the latest games as we see the victims not getting a chance to survive the games, unlike anything John (Bell) has ever designed before.

For this game we follow doctor Lynn Denlon (Soomekh) who is struggling with her own depression and is abducted by Amanda (Smith) to perform surgery on John as he continues his battle with cancer, on the other side of the story we follow Jeff (Macfadyen) who has closed off from the world after his son is killed by a drink driver, who got off light, Jeff must perform a series of tests to help him get to face the killer.

 

Thoughts on Saw III

 

Characters – John Kramer is now on the verge of death with the cancer leaving him bed ridden through this movie, he has passed on his ideas to Amanda to carry on his work. Amanda is running this game, while watching over John’s surgery, she thanks him for everything while trying to put her own spin on the games. Jeff is being tested through the tasks as a man that has lost his child who could get revenge on the people that let the guy of lightly. He must learn to get over his loss to make it through the game. Doctor Lynn Denlon is abducted to perform the surgery on John, placed in a trapped she must perform brain surgery to help prolong his life and if she fails her life will end.

PerformancesTobin Bell continues to be the shining light in the film series, Shawnee Smith is good in her role where we see a candidate to replace Jigsaw being designed. Angus Macfadyen is solid as the man following the redemption and we see his desperation and emptiness he is feeling. Bahar Soomekh is strong as the doctor needing to stay in control while being in the game.

StoryThe story does continue to show how desperate John is to pass his message on to someone new, we do watch how the surgery is being performed to make sure John could have more time, while the game shows one man getting the moments he has dreamt of being able to get revenge on the people involved in his son’s death trial. This is the beginning of the story I don’t enjoy, it puts someone else in charge of whether people make it out alive, which seems to go against everything we have been taught. The side of the story I did like is watching how an apprentice is being created to John’s ideas, this is the beginning of me enjoying the bigger story over the tests.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is much higher than we have seen before, the games are more violent and this easily has the most gore of the franchise thus far. The mystery comes from the connections to everything but to be fair it just doesn’t click together like the previous two.

SettingsWe do continue our warehouse settings which helps us see the dirt the people are expected to make it out of to live.

Special EffectsThe effects here are again fantastic with most coming off practical with the cracking of bones echoing through every scene.


Scene of the Movie –
The Rack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Stepping into the idea of choosing if someone survives or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is where the series started to go downhill, we do get a better bigger picture but as the for games we see things going in the wrong direction for the franchise in quality.

 

Overall: It’s all downhill from here.

Rating

 

 

Halloween Midnight Franchise – Saw (2004)

Director: James Wan

Writer: Leigh Whannell (Screenplay) Leigh Whannell, James Wan (Story)

Starring: Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Michael Emerson, Monica Potter

 

Plot: Two strangers awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there or why, and soon discover they are pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.


Tagline – How do you solve a puzzle with pieces missing?

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Horror

 

Story: Saw starts as Adam (Whannell) and Dr Lawrence Gordon (Elwes) awaken in a bathroom, with their ankles chained and a dead body between them. They both have a tape from notorious murderer Jigsaw that wants to play a game with them.

Dr Gordon fills in who Jigsaw is to Adam and us, as we learn the Detectives David Tapp (Glover) and Steven Sing (Leung) who have been hunting Jigsaw and even suspect Dr Gordon at one stage. It becomes an obsession for Tapp who believe Dr Gordon is Jigsaw leaving him to watch his home, but as Adam and Lawrence get to know each other the twists on the true identity of Jigsaw come to light.

 

Thoughts on Saw

 

Characters – Dr Gordon is one of the latest victims of Jigsaw, a respected doctor why would he be selected is a mystery but his personal life isn’t as clean as his medical career. Dr Gordon plays the vital role of filling in the blanks to who Jigsaw could be as he has been considered a suspect. Adam is the other victim in the room, he seems clueless to everything going on but we learn his reason for being selected and his connection to Dr Gordon. Detective David Tapp has been hunting Jigsaw, it nearly cost him his life and has now become an obsession for him. Detective Sing is the partner of Tapp that has been working on the case with him.

PerformancesCary Elwes and Leigh Whannell are both great in the leading roles of the film both show the desperate position they find themselves one being calm the other panicked with their responses. Danny Glover wasn’t too old for this shit, in fact he is good throughout in the supporting role of the film.

StoryThe story is a mystery of why the two are being locked in bathroom, the film opens the door to the bigger picture to who and why Jigsaw does what he does, the selecting the victim process and the concept of keeping us guessing to just who Jigsaw is. We have a nice number of twists that keep us guessing from early on in the film which only gives us more when we look back on second viewing. This is a brilliant start to what became a Halloween tradition in cinema.

Horror/Mystery The horror is what has happened to previous victims of the Jigsaw murders, we also have the idea of what could happen to our leads in the bathroom. The mystery comes from the idea of just who is behind the crimes as we watch the investigation unfold before us.

SettingsThe settings for the film are used perfectly, we have the games which are mine fields for the victims with the bathroom being the biggest of all of them, which is what makes this the icon film we know.

Special EffectsThe effects are practical which is good to see, we are left in shock with moments even if some of the film is based more of what has happened over forcing us to watch.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act

That Moment That Annoyed Me Part of Tapp’s storyline seems tagged on.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most iconic horrors of modern time, it has everything and most importantly took the horror genre to a much needed new direction.

 

Overall: Must watch horror film.

Rating

 

 

The Nun (2018)

Director: Corin Hardy

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay) James Wan, Gary Dauberman (Story)

Starring: Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Ingrid Bisu, Charlotte Hope, Sandra Teles

 

Plot: A priest with a haunted past and a novice on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.


Tagline – Witness the Darkest Chapter in The Conjuring Universe

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Jump Scares 101

 

Story: The Nun starts after the mysterious death of a nun in an abbey in Romania, Father Burke (Bichir) and Sister Irene (Farmiga) are set to figure out if there was an unholy reason behind the death. joined by mostly outcast local and delivery man Frenchie (Bloquet) the three head off to the remote isolated abbey.

Once there it doesn’t take long before the three start suffering horrific visions of a ghost nun (Aarons) and moments from their own pasts, now they must work together to turn the once holy place, holy once again and rid the area of the demonic nun.

 

Thoughts on The Nun

 

Characters – Father Burke is the experience priest who has been the man to prove miracles or cure unexplainable events for the Vatican, he takes this job just like any other goes to investigate without needing to run from the horrors placed on front of him. Well he should be experienced enough not to make sloppy mistakes, not understanding certain abbey procedures, while he does talk a good game, he shouldn’t be as scared through what he is seeing. Sister Irene is preparing to become a nun, she is selected for this mission and the reason will become clear as the story unfolds. She is innocent with the world travelling, understand what is expected of her and tries to uncover the truth in the most sensible way possible, learning her true calling along the way. Frenchie is the delivery boy and womanizer of the local village, he reluctantly helps the two arrive at their destination only to help try to solve the goings on once her learns the evil has started to reach the town. The Nun figure is one we met first in the Conjuring 2, she stalks the hallways preying on people’s fears and now she has the latest victims. The demonic presence which will only add to the horrors the group will encounter.

PerformancesDemian Bichir as Father Burke is good for the most part, we believe his reactions when facing fear and he brings a calming nature to the story. Taissa Farmiga follows her sister into this franchise where she does a good job again with the fear side of the film, we get to see her show the innocence her character starts with too. Jonas Bloquet brings us a couple of laughs, while they are not needed they can lighten the mood at times. Bonnie Aarons as the nun is great, because we know how creepy this figure is and just what she will bring to the scares.

StoryThe story here brings us another back story to one of the stories of the Warren’s, this time we focus on the Nun and just where this demonic entity came from, first off we know this demon has a name from the previous encounters, so any studying up is not needed. We do go to the remote abbey to where the nun came from following the Vatican team set to try and solve the mystery and over a two-day period we watch how this mystery unravels. Now if we are to look at the story everything is simple, we arrive, its creepy, jump scares happen and the battle is on. The simplistic side of the story is also the weakness, Father Burke acts like he has battle this type of evil before, though he doesn’t seem to know anything to do with religion. The foreshadowing is too obvious through everything, we seem to lose a lot of the time, it is light, then dark and certain times it does feel like we are still watching the same events happening through the time change. If you are going just for the jump scares you will get what you want, because the story is sacrifice for the jump scares.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is following the new model of horror, hush the sounds, slow everything down before either crashing our ear drums with noise or throwing something at the camera, sure it works for a reaction stand point, but elsewhere it misses. The mystery should be a lot more interesting, the problems comes from focusing on jump scares over investigations.

SettingsThe setting, arguably the best part of the film, we have a beautiful remote gothic looking abbey that first puts our characters into the isolated location and secondly gives us all the chances we want to use the environment to add to the horror, with the chapel scene being a true highlight of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are great too, we get a mix of practical make up mostly which looks creepy, we do get CGI which is only used when needed without being anything overly fancy.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Time Scale felt confusing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the Conjuring Universe, it does use the jump scares a lot, and while I wasn’t a fan of the weak story, I also don’t need to learn too much about the back story to need to worry about not enjoying jumping.

 

Overall: Jump scares a plenty, story lacks words.

Rating