Halloween Midnight Franchise – Saw V (2008)

Director: David Hackl

Writer: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan (Screenplay)

Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Betsy Russell, Julie Benz, Meagan Good, Mark Rolston

 

Plot: Following Jigsaw’s grisly demise, Mark Hoffman is commended as a hero, but Agent Strahm is suspicious, and delves into Hoffman’s past. Meanwhile, another group of people are put through a series of gruesome tests.


Tagline – In the end all the pieces will fit together

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Arc, Pointless Game

 

Story: Saw V starts where we finished the last film, Hoffman (Mandylor) locking Agent Strahm (Patterson) in the death room of John, Strahm must go on his own test to make it out of the warehouse where he ends up in a trap using his intelligence to survive the impossible to escape trap.

Hoffman considered a hero now gets a promotion and gets known as the man who stop Jigsaw, Jill Tuck (Russell) gets a message from John (Bell) following his death with a box that will have clues on what to do next. Hoffman is presenting his own game with five victims needing to escape the tasks they are placed in with Brit (Benz), Luba (Good), Charles, Mallick and Ashley being involved. Strahm taken off active duty starts looking into Hoffman himself, while Hoffman tries to lead Strahm replacement into believing it is him.

 

Thoughts on Saw V

 

Characters – John is long dead now, but in this film we learn how he recruit Hoffman to be part of his team, we see how he passes on the ideas believing Hoffman has better control than Amanda. Hoffman is now in control of the games, he is running his own while also trying to shift the suspicious surrounding him, placing it on Strahm. Agent Strahm survives one of the games to the surprise of Hoffman, now he is placed on leave but doesn’t want to rest until he can get his proof Hoffman is the man behind the traps. The people in the game include Jill as they all have a connection to what is the bigger picture.

PerformancesTobin Bell is the presence we all have come to know in the franchise and while only in a smaller role he is good, Costas Mandylor steps up to the starring role as we see the clogs turning through each scene he is in. Scott Patterson is also good in the desperate detective figure. It the rest of the cast which are fine with their roles but not to the level we believe they should be at.

StoryThe story is split into the bigger picture as we learn how Hoffman is involved with the Jigsaw murders and how he must keep on top of his true identity to stay in the game. The otherwise seems like a random game which doesn’t seem to have any connection to what is going on in the bigger picture which takes us away from the film. this is why I both enjoy and hate this franchise, I love the bigger picture side of the film but hate the pointless games we watch.

Horror/MysteryThe gore used is heavy for the film but it is strange that the horror side of the film only seems to come from the games which don’t involve the biggest and best part of the film, the mystery side to where things will go next.

SettingsThe settings continue to show us the warehouse feeling where the games need to make them feel like the characters are hitting rock bottom.

Special EffectsThe effects do looks great still with most coming off practical throughout the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Final game.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The five person game did feel almost pointless to the bigger story.

Final ThoughtsThis does continue to have a great bigger picture storyline but it does fill in the gaps with mindless gore.

 

Overall: Solid continuation of the Hoffman story.

Rating

 

 

Director: David Hackl

Writer: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan (Screenplay)

Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Betsy Russell, Julie Benz, Meagan Good, Mark Rolston

 

Plot: Following Jigsaw’s grisly demise, Mark Hoffman is commended as a hero, but Agent Strahm is suspicious, and delves into Hoffman’s past. Meanwhile, another group of people are put through a series of gruesome tests.


Tagline – In the end all the pieces will fit together

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Arc, Pointless Game

 

Story: Saw V starts where we finished the last film, Hoffman (Mandylor) locking Agent Strahm (Patterson) in the death room of John, Strahm must go on his own test to make it out of the warehouse where he ends up in a trap using his intelligence to survive the impossible to escape trap.

Hoffman considered a hero now gets a promotion and gets known as the man who stop Jigsaw, Jill Tuck (Russell) gets a message from John (Bell) following his death with a box that will have clues on what to do next. Hoffman is presenting his own game with five victims needing to escape the tasks they are placed in with Brit (Benz), Luba (Good), Charles, Mallick and Ashley being involved. Strahm taken off active duty starts looking into Hoffman himself, while Hoffman tries to lead Strahm replacement into believing it is him.

 

Thoughts on Saw V

 

Characters – John is long dead now, but in this film we learn how he recruit Hoffman to be part of his team, we see how he passes on the ideas believing Hoffman has better control than Amanda. Hoffman is now in control of the games, he is running his own while also trying to shift the suspicious surrounding him, placing it on Strahm. Agent Strahm survives one of the games to the surprise of Hoffman, now he is placed on leave but doesn’t want to rest until he can get his proof Hoffman is the man behind the traps. The people in the game include Jill as they all have a connection to what is the bigger picture.

PerformancesTobin Bell is the presence we all have come to know in the franchise and while only in a smaller role he is good, Costas Mandylor steps up to the starring role as we see the clogs turning through each scene he is in. Scott Patterson is also good in the desperate detective figure. It the rest of the cast which are fine with their roles but not to the level we believe they should be at.

StoryThe story is split into the bigger picture as we learn how Hoffman is involved with the Jigsaw murders and how he must keep on top of his true identity to stay in the game. The otherwise seems like a random game which doesn’t seem to have any connection to what is going on in the bigger picture which takes us away from the film. this is why I both enjoy and hate this franchise, I love the bigger picture side of the film but hate the pointless games we watch.

Horror/MysteryThe gore used is heavy for the film but it is strange that the horror side of the film only seems to come from the games which don’t involve the biggest and best part of the film, the mystery side to where things will go next.

SettingsThe settings continue to show us the warehouse feeling where the games need to make them feel like the characters are hitting rock bottom.

Special EffectsThe effects do looks great still with most coming off practical throughout the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Final game.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The five person game did feel almost pointless to the bigger story.

Final ThoughtsThis does continue to have a great bigger picture storyline but it does fill in the gaps with mindless gore.

 

Overall: Solid continuation of the Hoffman story.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Havenhurst (2017)

haevntDirector: Andrew C Erin

Writer: Andrew C Erin, Daniel Farrands (Screenplay)

Starring: Julie Benz, Belle Shouse, Josh Stamberg, Danielle Harris, Douglas Tait, Matt Lasky, Dendrie Taylor, Fionnula Flanagan

 

Plot: A troubled young woman takes up residence in a gothic apartment building where she must confront a terrifying evil.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: New Horror Franchise?

 

Story: Havenhurst starts when Jackie (Benz) is released from rehab for alcoholism where she gets a chance to move into the Havenhurst apartment for people needing a place to stay after rehab, a place where her good friend Danielle (Harris) had been staying. The one rule here is if you fall off the wagon your contract is terminated otherwise you can stay till you die thanks to the manager Eleanor (Flanagan).

When fellow residents start going missing Jackie befriends young girl Sarah (Shouse) who has been living in the building with her foster parents for a while now and with the help of Jackie’s police detective friend Tim (Stamberg) they investigate the goings on within the Havenhurst apartments.

 

Thoughts on Havenhurst

 

Characters/PerformanceJackie is a reforming alcoholic who has dealt with personal loss by her own hand which makes for a great leading character for this film. the innocent character of Sarah works for this film because it gives Jackie an extra reason to fight for in her redemption story. Eleanor makes for a great mother figure in this film with the killers being strength in the fight making them a difficult enemy to overcome.

Performances we have good leading lady performance from Julie Benz, with Flanagan being full of all the menace without getting her hands dirty in this film. I do question what feels like the wasted use of horror icon Danielle Harris though.star

StoryWith most of my breakdown going to be positive I have to question certain parts of the story, while I did like the idea of a giant apartment for people fresh out of rehab getting a chance to live unless they lapse making them the victims. What I didn’t like was the fact the film wants to set up for a sequel more than finish the story it was telling in the first place.

Horror/Mystery The horror elements of the film are where we get the mix of scares, blood and gore mixing together nicely, the mystery is all about what is going on within the apartment which does make for the questions we need to see unfolding through the film.

SettingsAll the horror elements of the film are from within this apartment complex which does make for a good setting with the gothic look and hidden passages. When the horror remains in the one location it is always better for the audience.

Special EffectsThe special effects all come off looking bloody and gory which is all we want when it comes to horror, this saves these moments up to not to go for the overkill too.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable horror that could easily be the beginning of a bigger franchise because it has opened doors to plenty of ideas for the future, be it through the kills or how easy it would be to collect victims, so I hope we see where this can go.

 

Overall: Short and sweet horror that can be enjoyed by the casual horror fans out there.

Ratingrating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – 8MM 2 (2005)

8mm 2Director: J.S. Cardone

Writer: Robert Sullivan (Screenplay) Dylan Tarason (Story)

Starring: Johnathon Schaech, Lori Heuring, Bruce Davison, Julie Benz, Valentine Pelka, Zita Gorog, Robert Cavanah

 

Plot: An American diplomat and his fiancée venture into the sordid underworld of sex and pornography in Budapest, Hungary to find out who is blackmailing them with a porno video taken of them with a prostitute.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sequel Only in Name

 

Story: 8MM 2 starts as we meet young lawyer David (Schaech and his future wife Tish (Heuring) in Budapest. While on their trip away the couple end up having a steamy threesome with Risa (Gorog) helping both of their needs in the bedroom. David finds himself having to impress Tish’s father Ambassador Harrington (Davison) while his other daughter Lynn (Benz) has already settled down.

When the couple receive photos of their threesome they try to figure out who took them leading them into the sexual underworld in Hungry. While trying to clean up the blackmailing the two find themselves being approached from all angles as they try to keep any political career undercover.

8MM 2 is a film with one of the most miss-leading titles in film history, it is advertised as a sequel to 8MM starring Nicolas Cage which is about going into the underworld of sex. This is a boring political drama cover up after a daughter and her fiancée end up in a sex tape and get blackmailed. Nothing about this makes any sense for it to be a sequel but only uses the name because of the standard below average story. to make matters worse this might as well just be a softcore film because you can pretty much guarantee there is more time when the women are naked more than actually clothed.

 

Actor Review

 

Johnathon Schaech: David is the young lawyer entering into a powerful family as he tries to rise up the ranks in the Hungarian Embassy. When he has a steamy threesome with his wife to be and a strange woman he finds himself having to go into the world of pornography to uncover the people trying to blackmail him. Johnathon is solid but basic in this role.

Lori Heuring: Tish is the wife to be for David, her father is the Ambassador making her have a high profile name in social circles. She ends up having to follow David into the underworld of the sex industry to find the tape from their night. Lori is solid in this role without being special.

Bruce Davison: Ambassador Harrington is the father of Tish he is highly respected and the night the two have together could find themselves being responsible for a problem in his career. Bruce gives us a very basic supporting performance that we just don’t see enough.

Julie Benz: Lynn is the sister of Tish that is the older one of the two who always wants to protect her younger sister. Julie is wasted in this supporting role.

Support Cast: 8MM 2 has a basic supporting cast where nearly all the female cast are naked with most not really having much going on.

Director Review: J.S. CardoneJ.S. really doesn’t give us a worthy sequel that lacks any of the important parts needed.

 

Mystery: 8MM 2 doesn’t really offer us a mystery because we don’t see what the big mystery is.

Thriller: 8MM 2 doesn’t keep us on edge at all.

Settings: 8MM 2 is set in Hungary without being anything special.
Special Effects
: 8MM 2 has basic effects when needed but nothing fancy.

Suggestion: 8MM 2 is one just to avoid really because it is terrible. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: Final Twist.

Worst Part: Pointless amount of nudity.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Tagline: From The Last Kiss To The Last Breath… From The First Kiss To The Last Breath.

Trivia: Much of the sex depicted is actual not simulated.

 

Overall: Dreadful sequel that really doesn’t work.

Ratingcard

 

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009)

logoDirector: Troy Duffy

Writer: Troy Duffy (Screenplay) Troy Duffy, Taylor Duffy (Story)

Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly, Clifton Collins Jr, Julie Benz, David Della Rocco, Brian Mahoney, Peter Fonda

 

Plot: For the last 8 years the brothers have been living with their father on a sheep farm deep in isolated Ireland. One day their uncle tells them that they have been framed for the murder of a Bostonian Catholic priest. The boys must return to Boston to not only clear their names but find the men who framed them.

 

Verdict: The Saints Are Back

 

Story: This time with the story we see how things have changed since the Saints have left, new crime bosses have raised up but the same cop are still there. The boys get tricked into returning to the city to avenge the murder of a priest in the style they used. The Saints return to clear their name and take down everyone involved. They have a new hot shot FBI agent after them and with her style the cops get worried they will be exposed for what happened in the first film. Everything comes together for a much bigger picture and the story is left open for another sequel. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Sean Patrick Flanery/Norman Reedus: Connor and Murphy MacManus the original saints who have returned to Boston to clear their names and make the people responsible for a priest’s murder to rest. It is hard to look at these two separate as they are near identical and both give great performances. (8/10)

 saints

Billy Connolly: Poppa the boy’s father who was a deadly assassin which we met in the first film, we learn more about his backstory this time around. Good supporting performance given an equally as good as performance from the first film. (8/10)

 

Clifton Collins Jr: Romeo a hot shot Mexican who joins the boys in the newest killing spree, using his connection to expose the criminal’s location. Good performance turning up as Rocco’s replacement with good standard. (7/10)

 romeo

Julie Benz: Special Agent Eunice the student of Paul the FBI agent from the first film, she is an equal to him with her style and ability to dissect a crime scene. Good performance and welcome addition to the cast. (7/10)

 benz

Director Review: Troy Duffy – Continuing his Saints storyline well here keeping everything similar but telling a bigger story. (7/10)

 

Action: Plenty of action used throughout the film. (8/10)

Thriller: You always want to know what will happen next and what the bigger picture really is. (9/10)

Settings: Good settings used but also very generic. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the action fans out there, I think if you like the first one you will enjoy this too. (Action Fan Watch)

 

Best Part: Introduction of a bigger story.

Worst Part: Bit similar to first one.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final Shoot out

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Left open to another one

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $10 Million

Budget: $8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

Overall: Solid Action With Likeable Leads

Rating 75