ABC Film Challenge – Action – A – Acts of Vengeance (2017)

Director: Isaac Florentine

Writer: Matt Venne (Screenplay)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Karl Urban, Paz Vega, Cristina Serafini, Atanas Srebrev


Plot: A fast-talking lawyer transforms his body and takes a vow of silence, not to be broken until he finds out who killed his wife and daughter and has his revenge.

Tagline – Payback Speaks Louder Than Words

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: By the Book Action


Story: Acts of Vengeance starts as fast-talking defence lawyer Frank (Banderas) misses his daughter’s talent show, that same night his wife Sue (Serafini) and daughter Olivia (Blankenship) are killed, with the police struggling to come up with the answers to who was behind it.

Frank teaches himself how to fight and defend himself as he continues to investigate the murders, being joined by a nurse Alma (Vega), he learns about the corruption coming from the streets, setting out to end the problem once and for all, while under a vow of silence.


Thoughts on Acts of Vengeance


Characters – Frank was a fast-talking defence lawyer, he made a career out of getting criminals off, this only put his personal life on the back burner though, leaving him to not be around when his wife and daughter are murdered. Taking a vow of silence, Frank decides to train and investigate the crime to seek the vengeance he requires to move on with his life. Strode is the one cop that offers Frank any advice while he searches for the truth. Alma is a nurse that has found herself under the fingers of a ruthless gang that want her to do work, she choses to help Frank when he becomes injured. While the end of the film does give the motivation for the killer, that does offer the question of who is in the right for the most part.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is the strongest part of the film, we know he can handle himself in a fight, making this easy for him to deliver on. The supporting cast do struggle to make the impact which would be required, which only disappoints with the talent we have on show.

StoryThe film follows a man that loses his wife and child, forcing him to go on a one man mission to learn the truth and taking on crime after making his career from defending criminals. When it comes to stories, this is the simplest kind, which is needed for action, when we get the reveal to who the killer was, it does make perfect sense, it is just the building up to this moment that is a waste, with endless amounts of time spend talking about the number of words a person say in a day.

ActionThe action is mostly the training before Frank gets into his fights, each fight is in a different location which the fighting seemingly being easy to shoot style never too difficult to pull off.

SettingsThe film is set in one city which sees just how different parts of the city can be the corrupt.

Scene of the Movie –
Killer’s motivation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The talking about using too many words.

Final ThoughtsThis is just another basic action movie, it offers little new material for the genre and if we are honest is nothing more than a late night movie.


Overall: Late Night action film.




Franchise Weekend – Fright Night 2 (2013)

freight-ngiht-2Director: Eduardo Rodriguez

Writer: Matt Venne (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Payne, Jaime Murray, Sean Power, Sacha Parkinson, Chris Waller


Plot: By day Gerri Dandridge is a sexy professor, but by night she transforms into a real-life vampire with an unquenchable thirst for human blood. So when a group of high school students travel abroad to study in Romania, they find themselves ensnared in Gerri’s chilling web of lust and terror. Charley and “Evil” Ed must stop Gerri from drinking and bathing in the blood of a “new moon virgin,” which just so happens to be Charley’s ex-girlfriend, Amy. They enlist help from Peter Vincent, the vampire hunting host of a reality show called “Fright Night,” to drive a stake through Gerri’s plan and save Amy from a fate far worse than death.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Awful Sequel


Story: Fright Night 2 starts with a vampire attack just to make sure we all know we are watching a vampire movie. We move to follow Charley (Payne) with Ed (Waller) and Amy (Parkinson) who are on a field trip in Romania. We also have Peter Vincent (Power) shooting his latest show in Romania, the students find themselves with a new sexy teacher in Gerri Dandridge (Murray) who grabs both Charley and Ed’s attention.

When Charley learns that Gerri is a vampire he must convince Ed and Amy that she is a vampire even after they both fought a vampire in the last film, with Peter Vincent who also apparently didn’t appear in the last film but this time the vampire has the home turf.


Thoughts on Fright Night 2


Characters – This is the beginning of a rant, warning. Charley, Peter, Ed and Amy were in the first Fright Night, Ed actually died but in this film these characters have never battled vampires and Charley has never met Peter Vincent, right following, no, I understand too. These characters should have been original or at least remembered the events of the first film, I am pretty confident in this. Gerri does have good qualities for this over sexualised idea behind a vampire and she does make for a great seductive vampire.

PerformanceThe acting here is terrible by nearly everyone with on Jaime Murray coming away creditable getting to have a lot of fun as the sexy seductive vampire.


StoryLooking at the story I did find parts of the story I wanted to follow, the idea that the vampire could end her own curse by finding the one person on the Earth that has midnight virgin blood but this gets overshadowed by the annoying pathetic characters that are meant to be returning.

Horror/ThrillerThis does try to have elements to make it scarier but doesn’t use them well enough and tries to keep us on edge with little suspense too.

SettingsRomania is the easy setting for a vampire movie and it does use certain gothic settings suiting the vampire genre nicely.

Special EffectsThe special effects take a huge step back from the last outing with everything be just a series of cuts to make you miss the effects going on.genre

Final ThoughtsThis has horrible acting, terrible camera usage jumping around between angles attempting to make bigger impact and is just a terrible, terrible sequel that forgets the first film even existed.


Overall: This could well be the worst sequel I have ever seen, because bringing back the original characters and forgetting the events of the first films is ridiculous.




Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Exorcism of Molly Hartley (2015)

Director: Steven R Monroe

Writer: Matt Venne (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Lind, Devon Sawa, Gina Holden, Peter MacNeill, Daina Leitold


Plot: Taking place years after The Haunting of Molly Hartley, who now, as an adult, has fallen under the possession of an evil spirit and must be exorcised by a fallen priest before the devil completely takes her.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Extreme Exorcism


Story: The Exorcism of Molly Hartley starts as we see how young priest Father John Barrow (Sawa) gets led astray during an exorcism, disgraced and banned from the practise. Moving onto meeting Molly Hartley (Lind) celebrating her 24th birthday with a promotion to partner with friends.

When the partying gets out of hand Molly wakes up to two dead bodies with the police ready to arrest her and Molly becoming possessed. Moly finds herself in a religious mental home, the same one where Father Barrow is trying to redeem himself.

Dr Laurie Hawthorne (Holden) tries to treat Molly which includes looking into her past and a previous possession, the only option Laurie can find is to turn to Father Barrow to perform an exorcism inside the mental asylum.


Thoughts on The Exorcism of Molly Hartley


Characters/PerformanceMolly is the over successful woman in business who finds herself possessed thanks to her past, that seems like all we learn about her. Father Barrow is a priest who wants to make up for his error in a previous exorcism.  Dr Hawthorne is just the doctor trying to get to the bottom of what could be wrong with Molly.

Performance wise, well this is going to be fun, first Sarah Lind just seems to follow every textbook on what an exorcism could look like and nothing more, Devon Sawa at least puts some effort in but doesn’t reach his Final Destination level. Gina Holden also seems to disappear part the way through this film.

StoryExorcism stories are always going to be hard because let’s face it The Exorcist is the granddaddy of them all, so everything just feels like it is trying to keep things up to that level without ever being able too. This story does keep the traditional exorcism routine while trying to balance the idea that she could just be an unstable woman, but sadly this does just fall into the mix of been here seen this, the main reason why I am not the biggest fan of the exorcism sub-genre.

HorrorDo you find exorcism scary, well if the answer is yes then you should get the horror elements out of this, if no you won’t get anything from the horror side of the film.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in a mental asylum which does give us a fresh idea of how to treat an exorcism but it doesn’t look into the doctor treatment with this location.

Special EffectsWe have basic special effects for horror but not much is needed for the film.

Final ThoughtsI personally don’t find many exorcism films scary so for me this just didn’t hit the horror marks for me


Overall: Simple exorcism film that isn’t memorable enough.




Halloween Kingathon – Bag of Bones (2011)

Banner-2logoDirector: Mick Garris

Writer: Stephen King, Matt Venne (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Melissa George, Annabeth Gish, Anika Noni Rose, Matt Frewer, Jason Priestley

Plot: After his wife’s sudden death, a best selling author returns to his cabin retreat where he receives paranormal visitations and becomes involved in a custody battle.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Fright Filled Mini Series

Story: Bag of Bones starts author Mike Noonan (Brosnan) who has given his wife Jo (Gish) the chance to write the final lines of his book which he always has for good luck. 4 months later at a book signing Jo is killed in a road traffic accident taking away Mike’s motivation, but leaving Mike with a big question about whether Jo had been having an affair because she was pregnant but he couldn’t have children.

Mike descends into mourning after his wife’s death that questions his writing abilities while have nightmares about his wife. Most of the visions include the couple’s holiday home on Dark Score Lake pushing Mike into spending time at the lake house.

When Mike discovers he isn’t alone in the cabin he communicates with Jo as they work together to unlock the mystery of Dark Score Lake. When Mike meets Mattie Devore (George) who is trying to keep custody of her little girl while her father in law the power Max Devore (Schallert) is stuck in a battle for her. When the ghost of Sara Tidwell (Rose) comes haunting Mike has to learn to balance the truth while doing the right thing in his wife’s final wishes.

Bag of Bones is a typical ghost investigation film which is my favourite type of horror film. It builds to show our main character Mike having to figure out why he is being haunted but it also doesn’t take long before he ends up getting involved in the story that has lead to the haunting by accident. I will say that at times it could be considered being slightly slow to start with but by the end you won’t believe how long it actually was. This won’t stand out as brilliant but it will kep you n the edge throughout the whole time. (7/10)

Actor Review

Pierce Brosnan: Mike Noonan is the recently widowed author who returns to his lake house for the first time in years, while there he gets haunted by his recently deceased wife along with a vengeful spirit. Mike also ends up in the middle of a custody battle between local rich man and his daughter in law. With all this going on Mike struggles to find a way to right his latest novel. Pierce gives a good performance having to go through all the horror emotions. (7/10)mike

Melissa George: Mattie Devore is the local lady trying to keep custody of her only child, she ends up offer a potential new romance for Mike but is grateful for all the help he gives in the case. Melissa goes a good job in the supporting role. (7/10)mattie

Annabeth Gish: Jo Noonan is Mike’s wife who died but has stayed with Mike in spirit to guide him through this latest situation. Annabeth does a solid job but due to her characters early death she doesn’t get much screen time. (6/10)jo

Anika Noni Rose: Sara Tidwell is the vengeful spirit haunting Mike as she looks for someone to help uncover her story, she was a brilliant singer in late 30’s and whenever her music plays she communicates to Mike. Anika does a good job in this role that we learn more about as the film unfolds. (7/10)sara

Support Cast: Bag of Bones has a supporting cast that all have their own agendas to what has been happening, but it is easy to work out who is on what side of the fence.

Director Review: Mick GarrisMick does what he does best and make a Stephen King novel into an interesting absorbing story. (8/10)

Horror: Bag of Bones has basic horror but because the story wants to focus on the mystery works for the film. (6/10)

Mystery: Bag of Bones gives us a mystery to try and solve along with the leading character Mike. (8/10)

Settings: Bag of Bones brings the action to a small lake community which works to show one places dirty little secret. (9/10)
Special Effects: Bag of Bones only uses a few special effects but doesn’t rely on them for anything. (8/10)

Suggestion: Bag of Bones is one for the Stephen King fans to enjoy, it was set up to be a two part story too which means you can split it up too. (King Fans Watch)

Best Part: Mystery created.

Worst Part: Slightly slow early on.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 37 Minutes

Tagline: Beware the lake.

Overall: A mini series that simply keeps you guessing from start to finish.

Rating 70

White Noise : The Light (2007)

logoDirector: Patrick Lussier

Writer: Matt Venne (Screenplay)

Starring: Nathan Fillion, Katee Sackhoff, Craig Fairbrass, Adrian Holmes, Kendall Cross, Teryl Rothery, William MacDonald


Plot: When Abe Dale’s (Fillion) family is murdered right in front of his eyes he starts to question his life. Abe tries to kill himself and see the white light but is bought back to life. He returns with a new gift, the ability to see when someone’s number is up. He decides to use this new gift to start trying to save people’s lives but it comes at a cost.


The light Abe sees around people

The light Abe sees around people

Verdict: Horror thriller that ups the level from the original

Story: This builds on the basic EVP ideas in the first film by taking what we see that character struggle to learn and give it instantly to our new hero. It keeps the idea of our hero suffering from a tragedy in their life. It also keeps the warning of not to mess with the supernatural as the consequences will be worse. (8/10)


Actor Review: Nathan Fillion – Abe who gains and uses the gift to see when people are about to die. Nathan packs up his loveable friendly character we are all very used to seeing and gives us a darker character who struggles with tough decisions in his life after what happens. (8/10)


Actor Review: Katee Sackhoff – Sherry a nurse whose life that Abe saves and has also had a loss of a loved one. Good supporting role help Abe show more emotion but in the end doesn’t get enough screen time to be as important to Abe as she should be. (7/10)


Director Review: Patrick Lussier – Creates some good jump scares which add to the story some we see coming some we don’t. (8/10)


Horror: Good horror uses more ghosts and jumps to give the audience something to be scared about. (8/10)

The ghosts haunting Abe

The ghosts haunting Abe

Thriller: More thrilling that the first and each build up is to what will happen all come off very well. (7/10)

Special Effects: Some good special effects, usually ghosts jumping out of nowhere to good effect. (8/10)

Believability: A bit more farfetched than the original by not just tapping into communicating with the dead it is more about controlling who might die. (3/10)

Chances of Tears: Some people may but it is unlikely. (2/10)

Settings: Like the original this one tries to keep all its events to an everyday setting which leads to a form of realism to the events what occur to the characters and add to the idea people could die with something as simple as the next step. (8/10)


Suggestion: I would suggest this film to the horror audience out there but gore fans need look somewhere else. The use of more jumps and ghosts may also take away the more casual non-horror fans out the picture. Sci-Fi favourites Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff should both add more viewers though. (Try It)


Best Part: The idea Abe could save people.

Worst Part: That saving people causes more damage.

Favourite Quote: Henry Caine ‘And on the third day.. Christ rose again… but what about the devil?’

Trivia: Abe and Sherry go to a bar called O’Malley’s which is the same name is as the one used in Nathan Fillion’s sitcom Two Guys and a Girl.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: Hasn’t had one yet, could be a good franchise but need another idea with this being a different story than the original.

Similar Too: White Noise


Overall: Great follow up adds more to the story and gives the film a better horror atmosphere.


Rating 81