Before I Wake (2016)

Director: Mike Flanagan

Writer: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, Jacob Tremblay, Annabeth Gish, Topher Bousquet, Dash Mihot

 

Plot: A young couple adopt an orphaned child whose dreams – and nightmares – manifest physically as he sleeps.


Tagline – Fear your dreams

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Surprising Horror

 

Story: Before I Wake starts when couple Jessie (Bosworth) and Mark (Jane) decide to adopt after losing their own son, they take in Cody (Tremblay) who seems like a pleasant young boy that there seems to be a mystery about why other families haven’t been able to care for him.

The days that follow show that Cody has an ability to bring his creation to life during his sleep, first with butterflies, then Sean but what comes from his dreams also comes from his nightmares in the form of the Canker Man.

 

Thoughts on Before I Wake

 

Characters – Jessie is the mother of the house, she is filled with guilt because of the death of their son, she doesn’t sleep much and gets addicted to the idea that Cody can give her time with her late son. Mark is the father of the house, he has grieved in his own way and is eager to become friends with Cody as quickly as possible to fill the void he has been left with. Cody is the young boy the couple adopt, he has been going through families even though he comes off pleasant, he isn’t a bad kid, he just has his dreams and nightmares come to life.

PerformancesKate Bosworth is good in this leading role being what we need for this film, it isn’t truly stand out but does everything it needs to, Thomas Jane works well too and Jacob Tremblay also goes a great job for the young actor who seems to be wonderful throughout.

StoryThe story follows a family that has lost their own child and now want to adopt to help move to the next stage of their life, the problem comes from the idea that the child’s dreams come to life when he is sleeping. We are in the horror world which does take the back burner to everything because we are dealing with personal loss and trying to move on. We do have horror moments too, the idea that a child could dream things that come to life which brings wonder and terror unlike anything the adults could imagine. We do get an investigation too which again is something we always see and works for these types of films.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy involved in this film plays into the idea that dreams and nightmare can come to life bringing new horror to the victims.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the activities in the home which makes sense because that is the main place you would sleep.

Special EffectsThe effects show us how what can be created in a child’s mind and just how it can bring joy and terror into the world, the moment he awakes if just vanishes.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth is wonderful to see unfold.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I got confused when Cody was attacked in his sleep.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that does bring us into a word that can be filled with wonder and terror without even realizing it.

 

Overall: Wonderful horror with beauty visuals.

Rating

 

 

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Gerald’s Game (2017)

Director: Mike Flanagan

Writer: Jeff Howard, Mike Flanagan (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Bruce Greenwood, Carel Struycken, Kate Siegel

 

Plot: While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Solo Thriller

 

Story: Gerald’s Game starts as married couple Jessie (Gugino) and Gerald (Greenwood) head off to a remote cabin for a weekend away from the world to rekindle their marriage, but when Gerald’s fantasy involves a sex game he handcuffs Jessie to the bed but suffers a heart attack, leaving Jessie handcuffed and alone.

What follows is Jessie needing to find a way out of the situation where she starts seeing her husband and other creations from her mind and even looking into her past with her relationship with Tom (Thomas) as she looks to survive until there is rescue for her.

 

Thoughts on Gerald’s Game

 

Characters – Jessie is the wife that gets handcuffed to the bed to try and spice her marriage up but when her husband dies she must figure out a way to escape before she dies, be it from natural causes, dog or unknown presence. She must deal with her past, present and future to escape alive. Gerald is the husband that wants to kink things up in the bedroom but he dies but stays around in the imagination of Jessie. Tom is her father that has a relationship with the younger Jessie that leads to the back story of what causes her life decisions.

PerformancesCarla Gugino does a great job carry the movie throughout the film and at times playing a double role at times. Bruce Greenwood and Henry Thomas are good through the film too but never taken the shine of Carla’s performance.

StoryThe story follows how a sex game marriage goes wrong leaving one woman handcuffed to the bed needing to survive, having her face her demons while trying to look for an escape which makes sense in what is a Stephen King story. we do get the plenty of false ideas of what is going on but by the end it makes sense, you just need to focus on every detail.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror elements of this film are from what Jessie is experiencing while tied up while the thriller side of the film keeps us guess to just where it will go.

SettingsNearly the whole fil is set within the bedroom as, well Jessie can’t go anywhere and it is here she must face her problem head on using life experiences to help her and these do take us away from this solo setting.

Special EffectsThe practical effects in this fil are amazing there is one scene that you will need to turn away just because of how real it looks.


Scene of the Movie –
Handcuff escaping.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel she would be in a lot more pain than we see near the end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great solo thriller that is a must watch for the Stephen King fans out there, great leading performance and one scene that will stay in your memory for years.

 

Overall: Must watch for Thriller fans

Rating

 

 

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

ouijaDirector: Mike Flanagan

Writer: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard (Screenplay)

Starring: Annalise Basso, Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Parker Mack, Halle Charlton

 

Plot: In 1965 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their seance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by a merciless spirit, the family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Huge Improvement

 

Story: Ouija: Origin of Evil starts as we see séance scam artists Alice (Reaser) and her daughters Lina (Basso) and Doris (Wilson) showing off all their skills at getting the most out of their clients. We see how Lina the elder sister is getting tired of the scam and wants to add in a new trick to their scam, introduce the Ouija board and of course we get the rules told to us in case we missed the first film.

Once the Ouija board is bought into the house Doris starts acting strange like she has become possessed by a spirit summoned by the Ouija board and the family start to have their own money issues solved before we get to see the real motives behind the spirit taking over Doris’ body.

Ouija: Origin of Evil is the prequel to the largely disappointing horror film from last year. So naturally I was going in with little to no expectation on this film. I liked how this horror kicked out the pointless slasher side to the story and made the family come off so desperate for the money they would believe anything that could offer them. The film only feels connected by the title and could easily by a stand-alone horror film. The film comes off very creepy without hitting to mindless horror moments which is a big plus.

The performances from the small cast all works with Lulu Wilson shining as the creepy child while the rest all go great jobs during the story unfolding. This really is a huge improvement on the first film take the story in the direction it should have always been going.

 

Overall: Major improvement on the first film, creepy and horror ridden throughout.

Ratingcard

 

 

Oculus (2013)

logoDirector: Mike Flanagan

Writer: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard (Screenplay)

Starring: Karen Gillian, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan, James Lafferty

 

Plot: Tim Russell (Thwaites) is being released from a mental home at the age of 21 due to something that happened while he was a young child. His sister Kaylie (Gillian) is waiting for him and plans to talk him into fulfilling a promise he made with her when they were children. She has got her hands on a mirror that she believes to be reasonable for the incident which left their parents Marie (Sackhoff) and Alan (Cochrane) dead. She plans to use the mirror to draw out whatever it is causing a string of deaths and finish it all once and for all.

 

Verdict: What Happened?

 

Story: I really didn’t follow what was happening here at all, the jumps between the past and present are awful, plus just figuring out what was real or a trick is just as confusing. The ending you could see coming a mile off and next to no jumps leaves this film giving us just talking, talking, a bit of shouting and screaming and finally more talking about what was real or what was made up to cover up what happened. (2/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Karen Gillian: Kaylie the sister determined to uncover the truth about what happened to her parents and stop it once and for all. She pushes her brother into helping but could it be that she is really the crazy one of the siblings? I can’t blame her for a terrible script and she does well with what little she has to work with. (6/10)

 karen

Brenton Thwaites: Tim freshly out the mental home he gets caught up in his sister’s plan to uncover a truth he believe he has come to deal with. This is another case where he does well without much to work with. (6/10)

brenton

Katee Sackhoff: Marie the mother who is slowly breaking down because of the suspicious her husband is having an affair, but is she being controlled by something more sinister? She plays the range on emotions well throughout. (6/10)

 katee

Rory Cochrane: Alan the husband who has started to act strangely ever since the family moved into a new house. Good performance playing the difference between good and bad well. (6/10)

 rory

Director Review: Mike Flanagan – Doesn’t do a very good job here, makes a very messy story with no scares no suspense just endless talking. (2/10)

 

Horror: No horror involved that offers anything scary. (2/10)

Settings: What should be a good setting really doesn’t add anything to the film even though it is good for the genre. (5/10)
Special Effects
: Poor special effects well when some are needed they fail to use them. (3/10)

Suggestion: This isn’t even worth trying to watch it really doesn’t do anything for a horror fan. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: Nothing

Worst Part: The jumping story.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Hopefully not

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $28,728,472

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Tagline: You see what it wants you to see.

 

Overall: Awful ‘Horror’ Film

Rating 20