ABC Film Challenge – Horror – M – The Monkey’s Paw (2013)

Director: Brett Simmons

Writer: Macon Blair (Screenplay) W.W. Jacobs, Adam Meyer, Justin Smith (Story)

Starring: C.J. Thomason, Stephen Lang, Michelle Pierce, Corbin Bleu, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Charles S Dutton

 

Plot: Jake is given a Monkey’s Paw that grants 3 wishes. After the first 2 wishes leave his friend Cobb undead, Cobb pushes Jake to make a final wish.


Tagline – One Wish. A Thousand Regrets.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not What We Wished For

 

Story: The Monkey’s Paw starts when a group of mechanics Jake (Thomason), Cobb (Lang) and Catfish (Bleu) are dealing with the firing of one of their co-workers with a few drinks, Jake ends up receiving a monkey paw which will grant him three wishes, like any young person, his first wish is for a car, while after an accident he must use the second wish to bring Cobb back to life.

When Cobb does come back to life, he starts going on a killing spree, wanting to get the monkey paw off Jake to have his own final wish, while Jake needs to find a way to end the bloodshed.

 

Thoughts on The Monkey’s Paw

 

Characters – Jake Tilton is a mechanic that has seen his life become mundane, he supports his co-workers with one getting fired, he is having an affair with his boss’s wife and when he is given a monkey paw, he only asks for a car. This is just the beginning of his life-changing experiences, first his best friend is killed and after wishing he would return from the dead, he must stop him before it is too late for his loved ones. Tony Cobb is the best friend of Jake, he works with him and has done for years now, the two enjoy a drink or two, which sees him dying, he comes back from the dead to put his own life back together which along with a darker side which will see him kill anybody that gets in his way. Olivia is the woman Jake that is having an affair with, which after her husband disappears, makes him a suspect, she does love him though and is planning to leave her husband. Catfish is the fellow co-worker that tries to push Jake into lighter view on life.

PerformancesC.J. Thomason in the leading role as the everyday man struggling with the guilt a monkey paw’s consequences could have on his life does well enough, we see him slowly breakdown while being nervous in life early on. Stephen Lang is the highlight of the fil, with his performance as the psychotic figure being a joy to watch, carrying the film through the extremes his character goes through. Michelle Pierce leads the supporting cast that struggle to get any impact on the story.

StoryThe story here follows a man that is given a monkey paw which is meant to give them three wishes and soon he is left in a difficult position when it comes to what to do with the final wish to be after bringing his friend back from the dead. When it comes to film where we give a person a chance to wish for anything, we usually get moral dilemmas which this story does have moments where we should have them only to gloss over them not giving any thought to what is going on. We have a psychotic figure going on a killing spree which only confuses things more because he is acting like he has no soul, though his motivation is a human reason. In the end the story doesn’t give us enough time to process the wish making process, has dramatic character twists that don’t fit the tone of the film.

HorrorThe horror comes from the moments Cobb is terrorising people, we do get the blood level, but never the scary factor.

SettingsThe film is set in a small Florida town which sees everybody know each other, making the killing spree have an impact on the people of the town.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are solid when it comes to gore effects, with one standout moment being shocking, while the rest is often hidden off camera.


Scene of the Movie –
Don’t split up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not going through the consequences discussion.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wishes can go bad if you don’t think movie, with the deadly consequences showing us just how dangerous not thinking can be.

 

Overall: Long old slug.

Rating

 

 

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

Director: Macon Blair

Writer: Macon Blair (Screenplay)

Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, Michelle Moreno, Devon Graye, Jane Levy, Christine Woods,

 

Plot: When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quirky Fun Comedy

 

Story: I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore starts as we follow our lonely woman Ruth (Lynskey) who lives her normal routine and finds herself getting stepped on by people but not standing up for herself. When Ruth’s house gets burglarized she struggles to get help from the police.

Ruth recruits her neighbour Tony (Wood) to help her get her belongs back as the two enter underground crime world as Tony meets the man that stole from her Christian (Graye) and the gang he is part off with Dez (Levy) and Marshall (Yow).

 

Thoughts on I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

 

Characters – Ruth is a lonely depressed woman who does let people walk over her, keeps to herself until her comfy life is shattered when her home is broken into. We see her learn to stand up for herself to collect her belongings and accept people into her life. Tony is the obnoxious neighbour that likes loud music, keeping to himself and his dog Kevin, but learning about what happened to Ruth he steps up into the world showing he just wants to be part of someone else’s life. Christian is the waster who steals to get by with a gang of thieves, not caring who he steps on to get stuff to feed his habits.

PerformanceMelanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood are both fantastic in the leading roles showing both these stars are great and can continue to find success in smaller films. When you look the three main criminal roles we have good performances but none of them seem to offer much to the characters that we have seen before.

StoryThe story of feeling out of place in the world after a crime happen against you is one I feel people will understand, this does talk about how far people could go to get out of the rut by taking a chance on things but mostly it shows how the good people working together could stop the bad people in the world.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy comes from nearly all the scenes with Ruth and Tony together trying to enter the crime world, the crime world shows us the world the innocent side of the story enter.

SettingsWe get a small town setting showing how people’s lives would cross at some point.

Scene of the Movie – The first team outing looking for laptop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does get dark in final third of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is the gem people have talked about, it has all the quirkiness you would expect from the odd crime comedy that works.

 

Overall: Enjoyable and quirky crime comedy.

Rating

 

 

Blue Ruin (2013)

blieDirector: Jeremy Saulnier

Writer: Jeremy Saulnier (Screenplay)

Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, David W Thompson

 

Plot: A mysterious outsider’s quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Filled Thriller

 

Story: Blue Ruin starts as we see homeless outside Dwight (Blair) doing all he can to get by breaking into houses for baths and searching bins for food while sleeping in his abandoned car. Dwight’s life is turned upside down when he learns about Wade Cleland release from prison, the man who killed his parents.

Dwight turns everything he has into a method of transport in his car to travel to get vengeance on Wade for what he did, leaving him dead in a bar bathroom.

When the murder isn’t reported on any news outlets Dwight must get his sister Sam’s (Hargreaves) family to safety as he waits for the Cleland family to come for their own form of justice against him. Dwight must use all his connection to stop the people who are after him and it isn’t long before we learn that Dwight is just as deadly as the men after him.

 

Thoughts on Blue Ruin

 

StoryThe story of vengeance shines through here where we get such a simplistic tale of one man’s quest to kill the man responsible for killing his parents. Each scene is filled with tension as we must see the whole story coming from the expression and action of Dwight. The story shows that you can have a simple revenge story that draws you in from start to finish.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime in this film is the path that Dwight leaves for in his vengeance mission and this helps the thrilling side of the story which is just full blown tension filled throughout.

Characters/PerformancesDwight is the strongest written character here and we see him in every single scene as he tells the story with next to no words. The rest of the cast only have a couple of scenes which doesn’t give us enough time to see these characters develop.

SettingsEach setting shows the bleaker side of America as we see the darker side to the country even if none of the locations can be clashed as memorable but they all look amazing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most intense crime thrillers that is carried by one of the best performances of the year of release.

 

Overall: Brilliantly tense thriller that is a must for the fans of the genre.

Ratingcard