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

 

 

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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

 

 

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

conuringDirector: James Wan

Writer: James Wan, Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, David Leslie Johnson (Screenplay) James Wan, Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes (Story)

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, Lauren Esposito, Benjamin Haigh, Patrick McAuley, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente

 

Plot: Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Scary Film

 

Story: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case starts as we see how the Amityville Horror has had a negative effect on Lorraine Warren (Farmiga). The case has got the world taking about possession this leads us to Enfield where we meet the Hodgson family mother Peggy (O’Connor) and children Janet (Wolfe), Margaret (Esposito), Billy (Haigh) and Johnny (McAuley). The family live in a council house where they struggle to make ends meet but when Janet starts playing with a self-made spirit board their lives are about to change.

We see how the Warren’s Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine are dealing with a media backlash after the Amityville Horror that people are believing was fake and the Warren’s just helped the hype about it. We return to the Hodgson’s and see how they all start getting haunted by a spirit within their home.

With the Warren’s wanting to take a break from the paranormal it is the investigation into the Enfield hauntings which draws them out once more because of the media attention it has gathered and fellow experts Maurice Grosse (McBurney) and Anita Gregory (Potente) finding the force more dangerous than they could imagine.

The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case takes on another one of the many famous Warren’s cases and this time we see them in England. The case is an interesting one because it does balance the idea of whether it is real or fake because many people had been faking them around the time of the Amityville horror. This is a huge plus because while we do see the hauntings on the inside we can only look from the outside at the situation the family is in. the Warren side of the story is also very interesting as we get to see how the paranormal investigating is effecting them personally and how the American’s see them. The film also stays around the idea of whether this is real or fake throughout. The only down side I see in this film is the peril Ed is potentially meant to be in because we know that he continued to fight the paranormal for years to come.

 

Actor Review

 

Patrick Wilson: Ed Warren has been supporting Lorraine after the effects from the Amityville Horror. He still leads the investigations but as the two try to stay away from the spotlight he talks Lorraine into helping the Hodgson family. Patrick is great in this leading role staying calm through all the situations.

Vera Farmiga: Lorraine Warren finding a haunting figure within the Amityville continues to get haunted by a mysterious figure as well seeing Ed’s death at the hand of this demon. Lorraine is reluctant to take this latest case but soon can’t say no to helping a family in need. We get to see just how the hauntings are still taking a toll on her life. Vera continues to shine in this role as the troubled paranormal investigator.

Madison Wolfe: Janet Hodgson is the main target of the hauntings; the spirit communicates through her while terrorising her. Madison is great as the young girl being terrorised.

Frances O’Connor: Peggy Hodgson the single mother of the family who witnesses the hauntings first hand, she is a victim on both sides of this story because she believes everything is real but both sides the paranormal believe she is faking while the press think she is too. Frances is great through as the mother just trying to protect her family.

Support Cast: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case has a supporting cast that all help the story unfold be it the rest of the family or other experts trying to find the truth.

Director Review: James WanJames continues to hit the horrors out the park with yet another horror that can down as a classic.

 

Horror: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case is filled with tension filled moments and plenty of jump scares that will continue to shock you through the film.

Mystery: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case does give both sides of the argument on whether the events of this film could or were real.

Settings: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case keeps nearly all of the haunting side of the story within the house making us know just how effected the family is with what is happening.
Special Effects
: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case uses the special effects to increase the terror going on throughout the film because you will not be able to guess what is going to happen next.

Suggestion: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case is one for all the horror fans to go out and watch now. (Horror Fans Must Watch)

 

Best Part: Time to let the dog out.

Worst Part: We know the Warren’s are real so we know their characters are never in peril.

Scariest Scene: My House, first visit.

 

Believability: Depends what you want to believe.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Could have one continuing the Warren’s stories.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

Tagline: The next true story from the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren

 

Overall: Well this is one of the best suspenseful scare filled horrors this year.

Ratingcard

 

 

Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

logoDirector: James Wan

Writer: Chris Morgan (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Characters)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, Lucas Black, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou, Ronda Rousey

 

Plot: Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for the death of his brother.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action Packed Rollercoaster

 

Story: Furious 7 starts by firstly filling in between the end of Fast & Furious 6 and that telephone call between Dominic (Diesel) and Deckard Shaw (Statham). The opening scene shows Deckard in a hospital standing over his still alive brother Owen (Evans) before showing how many people he has taken out to see his brother. We get to see how Dom is still trying to help Letty (Rodriguez) find her memories. We also see Deckard pay Hobbs (Johnson) a visit finding out who nearly killed his brother leading to Hobbs ending up in hospital and the Toretto’s house being blown up.

Having everything in place we can say goodbye to Han with the whole family Brian (Walker) Mia (Brewster), Roman (Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) back together for the funeral. This leads to the first face to face meeting between Dominic and Deckard before the mysterious Mr Nobody (Russell) to get involved. Mr Nobody wants to retrieve a device created by hacker Ramsey (Emmanuel) but she has been kidnapped by a terrorist unit run by Jakande (Hounsou) with his second in command Kiet (Jaa). Ramsey has created a device called the God’s Eye which can locate anyone, anywhere in the world by hacking into camera.

Dominic’s crew is assigned to retrieve the device which Mr Nobody willing to allow him to use to find Deckard. The crew set out on their mission which includes plenty of action and travelling all over the world and each time everything looks under control Deckard turns up with things escalating once Deckard joins up with Jakande. This leads to an all-out assault with Dom and his crew having to outsmart the terrorists and retrieve the God’s Eye.

Furious 7 is a film I want to talk about in different sections, first I will look at the overall story and I will follow it up with how the franchise deals with Paul Walker’s exit. The story itself is what you would expect from the franchise, we get a bigger villain but one that is still connected to what happened much like what ‘Die Hard 3’ did the Gruber’s brother. Where this film gets extra points is by not making it a two way battle which we could have had with Deckard versus Dominic, we get two extra parties involved one on the good and one of the bad. These teams do actual have their own motives and when all four clash we get the chaos. Remember you will need to suspend your disbelief to a whole new level while watching this. One aspect I did enjoy was the Deckard is willing to go to war alone, no army of soldiers he wants to get everything done alone.

Paul Walker’s departure is always going to be one of the big talking points about this film. The whole film hints at the idea that Dominic wants Brian to stop risking his life and start raising his family. We get told this will be his last ride and after they finish we get a simple goodbye, we and Dom get to say goodbye with the haunting line from Brian ‘You think you could leave without saying goodbye?’ (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Vin Diesel: Dominic Toretto is our alpha who takes responsibility for his action after Deckard decides to come for revenge on everyone who took out his brother. Dominic makes deals with suits to make sure he can get to Deckard where he ends up having a showdown fans have wanted to see for years. Vin does a great job in this role showing that he isn’t just a fancy driver he is also bad ass when it comes to hand to hand combat. (8/10)

 dom

Paul Walker: Brian O’Connor is the family man struggling to adjust to his new life all while driving a minivan. Brian misses the action but ends up getting drawn back into it when his family gets put in danger by Deckard. This being Paul’s final role it is hard to say anything bad, we get what we expect from the character and we all get to say goodbye. (8/10)

brian

Jason Statham: Deckard Shaw is the brother of Owen, he wants to clean up the mess his brother has created and is unlike anybody the crew has come up against before. Deckard is a one man wrecking ball and doesn’t need men to get the job done, ex black ops we know that he has all the skills to kill anyone whenever he wants. Jason does a great job as the villain of the piece but he is really only fighting for his brother. (8/10)

 deckard

Michelle Rodriguez: Letty is still struggling with memory loss but with Dominic’s help she is trying to remember just who she once was. Letty goes on the mission getting some of the best driving scenes and fight scene against UFC Ronda Rousey. Michelle does a good job giving us what we expect from the character. (8/10)

 letty

Tyrese Gibson: Roman is clearly the comedy side of this story where he gets to have so many funny lines and scenes; he takes away all the serious side of the story. Tyrese does what you need him to do becoming comic relief. (7/10)

 roman

Ludacris: Tej is almost the double act with Roman but he does have skills the team needs, Tej is the hacker of the team who can make anything work to help the missions. Ludacris does a good job and works well with Gibson. (7/10)

 tej

Dwayne Johnson: Hobbs is the agent who gets first fight with Deckard before ending up in a hospital, he brings Dominic in to finish Deckard off and only turns back up in the film with the final act. Dwayne does a good job with the scenes he is in but it is disappoint just how little he really was used. (7/10)

hobbs

Kurt Russell: Mr Nobody is a mysterious government man who recruits Dominic to retrieve the God’s Eye with the promise of taking down Deckard; this is a very shady role that we don’t know how it will go through the film. Kurt does a good job and gets a glimpse of what he can do in an action film with his Snake memories. (8/10)

 nobody

Nathalie Emmanuel: Ramsey is the hacker and creator of God’s Eye, she is the one who needs to be rescued before working with Dominic and his crew as they use the God’s Eye to get Deckard. Nathalie does a good job joining the franchise which is always going to be hard but she fits in nicely. (7/10)

 ramswey

Tony Jaa: Kiet is the second in command to Jakande who leads the henchmen on the ground, he is also an expert in hand to hand combat leading to fights with Brian. I was disappointed with how little Tony was used because his fighting style is something very special to watch. (7/10)

 

Djimon Hounsou: Jakande is the leader of the terrorists who have Ramsey, but he ends up going up against Dominic and his crew to get the device even if it means teaming up with Deckard. Djimon does a good job in this role playing the role you would expect to see. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Furious 7 still has plenty more characters we could talk about, we have cameos from the cast Tokyo Drift which would have been nice to have a longer part. We also have many soldiers who offer good fights and many more familiar faces only in the odd scene here and there.

 

Director Review: James Wan – James steps out from the horror genre very well, we get to see how he uses his horror ideas on the action genre to give us one of the easiest films to watch in many years. (8/10)

 

Action: Furious 7 is filled with action, be it the skydiving planes, the tower to tower flying or the helicopter, cars and drone back on home turf. There are so many different types of over the top action going on here. (9/10)

Thriller: Furious 7 really keeps you guessing to what will happen to the characters next be it the good or bad. (8/10)

Settings: Furious 7 uses all the settings to make everything look like it has finally gone global but going to Tokyo, Adu Dhabi, London, Afghanistan or back in LA. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Furious 7 uses great effects to make every single mad looking scene look realistic. (9/10)

Suggestion: Furious 7 is one for all the action fans to watch, it will be one the franchise fans will have to watch too. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Mountain action scene.

Worst Part: The lack of the Tokyo casts involvement.

Action Scene Of The Film: Skydiving cars.

Funniest Scene: Most of Roman’s scenes.

Oh My God Moment: Ambulance versus the drone.

Favourite Quote:  Deckard ‘Dominic Toretto. You don’t know me, but you’re about to.’

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: Only with the goodbyes with Brian. (4/10)

Chances of Sequel: It could easily have another one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

Tagline: Vengeance hits home

 

Overall: Furious 7 is adrenaline fuelled action with a touching final tribute

Rating 82