Horror Franchise – Scream (1996) Revisited

 

 

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Kevin Williamson (Screenplay)

Starring: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore

 

Plot: A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.


Tagline – I’ll Be Right Back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Perfect Modern Slasher

 

Story: Scream starts when Casey Becker (Barrymore) who is getting ready to settle down to watch a scary movie, when she gets a phone call which soon turns nasty when a psychopath starts trying to test her horror movie knowledge and we get the first look at the killer for the film, Ghostface who claims his first victims.

The next day the talk of the school is the murder, Sidney (Campbell) is still holding Billy (Ulrich) from sex, Tatum (McGowan), Stuart (Lillard) and Randy (Kennedy) go through the reactions of losing a classmate, which is the worst crime in the town since the murder of Sidney’s mother.

It isn’t long before Ghostface starts staking the friends targeting Sidney, Deputy Dewey (Arquette) tries to help stop the killer, while ambitious reporter Gail Weathers (Cox) is trying to put her name on the map by getting the big break reporting the story. the question is who is Ghostface and what are their motives?

 

Thoughts on Scream

 

Characters – Sidney Prescott is our strong teenage lead, she is still recovering emotionally from her mother’s rape and murder one year ago. She has close friends, a boyfriend in Billy and knows how to handle herself in a tight corner. Sidney does fill the final girl traits while being the main target for the killer. Tatum is the best friend, she is the one that is more sexually active of the two girls not being afraid to drink and show affection in public. Billy is the boyfriend of Sidney, he is becoming frustrated being with her and not getting sex, he soon becomes a suspect because of his strange behaviour around the group of friends. Stuart is the loose cannon practical joker of the group he always goes too far with his jokes and plays on that. Deputy Dewey is the rookie cop and brother of Tatum, he seems to be the only one keeping an eye of the girls during the time the killer is on the loose. Gail Weathers is the ambitious reporter looking for her next big story after reporting on the murder the year before, she doesn’t give us any reason to like her as the film unfolds and treats her cameraman even worse.

PerformancesNeve Campbell taking the lead role is great, she fits the final girl perfectly with her innocence while showing the strength required. David Arquette in the cop role works very well because he gets to play on the idea that he might not be ready to deal with a killer. Courteney Cox breaks her nice character in Friends to be one of the characters you simply don’t like through the film. with Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard working as the boyfriends on edge who shine in the important moments in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a group high school students who have become the target of a deranged killer in a Ghostface mask. The slasher genre has been reborn with this idea because we get to see the rules of horror explained and of course we get references from horror films left right and centre. The story manages to almost parody the horror genre while remaining serious with how everything is told, it gets to poke fun at genre as only the audience could. We are kept guessing to who the killer is which is everything we want in the film with the big plus coming from the fact we are not dealing with supernatural forces.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of the film focuses on the idea of the slasher genre with a killer picking people off when they break the horror rules. The mystery is the highlight of the film because we are left guessing to who the killer is going to be.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the small-town setting with most of the horror taking place in a home or around a school. It brings everything back home for the victims giving it a personal feeling.

Special EffectsThe effects are good showing real body injuries through film over going full CGI like most do.


Scene of the Movie –
Referencing the horror movies so smoothly.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact the school kids are celebrating after a death of a classmate.

Final ThoughtsThis is the stand out horror of the 90’s it brings the slasher into the modern world accepting the idea that horror films exist, one that must be watched.

 

Overall: Must Watch Horror.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – D – The Descendants (2011)

Director: Alexander Payne

Writer: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash (Screenplay) Kaui Hart Hemmings (Novel)

Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Patricia Hastie, Matthew Lillard, Judy Greer

 

Plot: A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Drama

 

Story: The Descendants starts as Matt King (Clooney) a land baron and lawyer who has been distant from his wife Elizabeth and children Alexandra (Woodley) and Scottie (Miller), when Elizabeth (Hastie) is involved in an accident and left in a coma, Matt must become the lead parent, something he hasn’t done in year.

In the middle of a massive sale of his family’s land Matt learns the reality of what will be happening to Elizabeth, wishing he could give it all up for more time with his family. This takes a turn when Matt learns that Elizabeth was having an affair and that is why Alexandra no longer wanted to speak to her mother.

Matt must put his own problems a side to become the father he never was even when his own life is coming crashing down around him.

 

Thoughts on The Descendants

 

Characters/PerformanceMatt has spent his life working and not being the family man he is should have been, he must face reality after his wife’s accident becoming the father he never was, learning about the secrets his wife was keeping from him. Alexandra is the eldest daughter who knows about the affair but standing on her father’s side, she must become the big sister lil Scottie needs through the situation. Scottie is the youngest daughter who is lost because of the accident not quite understand the situation. The rest of the characters all help Matt make his decisions he needs to be making for the good of the family.

Performance wise, Clooney is brilliant and easily gives one of his performances of his career, this is also a big break out role for Woodley who showed the world her abilities. Miller does well as does the rest of the cast who make each scene enjoyable to watch.

StoryThe story shows us the difficult situations a family would go through if a parent got injured suddenly, we see the rebuilding of a family, secrets exposed that would bring strain on everything as well as how they got through it all. It shows how difficult it would be for a parent learning the truth who must stay strong for their children too. This is a beautiful told story that you can understand each and every decision any character make through the film.

SettingsHawaii as the backdrop for this film is beautiful but it is quick to tell us just how it isn’t only a tropical paradise, it has the same problems the rest of the world does.

Final ThoughtsA film about loss is always hard to get through but this one is almost a joy because it shows just how difficult learning about secrets would be.

 

Overall: This is a great drama I feel everyone should see.

Rating

 

 

Messages Deleted (2010)

logoDirector: Rob Cowan

Writer: Larry Cohen (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew Lillard, Deborah Kara Unger, Gina Holden, Serge Houde, Chiara Zanni, Michael Eklund

 

Plot: A screenwriting teacher is forced to live out the plot of a screenplay idea he stole from a student, who now seeks revenge.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One Too Many Twists

 

Story: Messages Deleted starts by showing a daring escape only for it to turn into the story one student has for a screenplay in Joel’s (Lillard) class. Joel is a loved teacher who the class all respond to. When he gets home he has a strange message on his phone, but shrugs it off. He is a trying to come up with his own screenplay but is struggling to find inspiration. After an incident happens he starts to find himself being targeted by a killer who keeps phoning him with the latest victim leaving a message. Joel finds himself falling deeper into trouble with the law as he tries to uncover who the killer is and why he is targeting Joel.

Messages Deleted plays out almost like a satire of itself telling us what we should be expecting from the first moment right up to the final outcome. It repeatedly tells us it’s not a movie its real life. Saying this, the thriller side of the story works really well it keeps you guessing about what happens next. It does end up trying to throw a few twists in and granted some work well but it does uses too many by the end of the film. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Matthew Lillard: Joel Brandt a screenplay writer and teacher that is trying to find his inspiration while struggling with everything in his life. When a killer targets him putting him through a game he was not ready for. Matthew gives a good lead performance putting the panic in everything he does. (7/10)

 matt

Deborah Kara Unger: Det. Lavery the lead detective trying to solve the murders that keep happening around Joel, she is very cold and keeps her job her main focus. Deborah gives an average performance mainly because her character doesn’t seem to have much of a clue. (5/10)

detective

Gina Holden: Millie a student in the class who has a lot to live up too while Joel tries to push her to her full potential. She does become the friend Joel turns to for help. Gina gives a solid performance but never convinces. (5/10)

 gina

Support Cast: Messages Deleted only has a small supporting cast with the dialogue seemingly only coming from a few that don’t help the story too much.

 

Director Review: Rob Cowan – Rob does a solid job directing keeping the thrill level up but tries too hard to be different. (6/10)

 

Mystery: Messages Deleted creates a good mystery to what is going on to the protagonist. (8/10)

Thriller: Messages Deleted is keeps us guessing to what is going on keeping the thrill levels up. (8/10)

Settings: Messages Deleted uses certain settings that all create a real locations for the protagonist to be in but all of them come off very clichéd. (5/10)

Suggestion: Messages Deleted is one to try for all the mystery fans out there. (Try It)

 

Best Part of Messages Deleted: Lillard’s performance comes off well.

Worst Part of Messages Deleted: Too many twists.

What Could Have Been Better? – Not having the extra twist because it kind of ruins the whole film.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

Overall: Clichéd thriller

Rating 59

Scooby Doo (2002)

logoDirector: Raja Gosnell

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) Craig Titley, James Gunn (Story) William Hanna, Joseph Barbera (Characters)

Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Rowan Atkinson, Isla Fisher

 

Plot: After an acrimonious break up, the Mystery Inc. gang are individually brought to an island resort to investigate strange goings on.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Memories

 

Story: Scooby Doo starts by showing the Mystery Inc. solving a case in the only way we are used too. After capturing the bad guy we see how the group is at breaking point before they go their separate ways. Two years pass and the group all get invited to Mondavarious (Atkinson) Spooky Island to solve a mystery. While Shaggy (Lillard) tries to play peace maker between the group the tension is still there. Fred (Prinze), Daphne (Gellar) and Velma (Cardellini) all try to prove they have what it takes to solve the mystery on their own, but it soon becomes apparent they need to put aside their differences to solve the most difficult mystery of their lives.group

Scooby Doo was always going to be difficult to adapt into a live action film, we are all used to seeing a short 20 minute or so show with a person in a mask. Extending this for the amount of time it has mixed with the real monsters works, it also uses the idea to create the characters more showing how after the length of time together the friendship is getting stretch. This is all good because it shows the human side of the solving mysteries. Where the film gets its negative points is in the idea of who the villain really is, but as it is such a disliked character people will be glad that thy will not have to see that character in later sequels. Its keeps most of the fun elements the cartoon created, but is always going to be difficult for everyone to like. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Freddie Prinze Jr: Fred the leader of the group who is more interested in himself than the team, he must learn that he needs the rest of the group and that the world doesn’t revolve around him. Freddie does a good job a Fred pulling of the self-cantered character well. (7/10)

 

Sarah Michelle Gellar: Daphne starting out as the damsel in distress but after the two years apart she has learnt to handle herself and has learnt that it is her time to solve the mystery. Sarah makes for a good Daphne as we are used to her looking like a damsel but turning into kick ass girl. (7/10)

 

Matthew Lillard: Shaggy the loveable misfit of the group who wants to keep them together at all costs, he never wants to turn his back on his friends but always finds himself in the getting caught up in the middle of a mystery. Matthew pulls of Shaggy perfectly, making him feel like the real version we always wanted to see. (9/10)

 shaggy

Linda Cardellini: Velma the brains of the act who wants to get the recognition for the work she does for the team. Linda does a good job because Velma was always going to be the hardest character to portray. (8/10)

 

Character Review: Scooby Doo – We all love the Scooby Doo and the creation might look a little bit iffy but character was all fun throughout. (8/10)

 scooby

Support Cast: Scooby Doo has an interesting selection of supporting characters where we see a group have romantic interests and a full range of potential suspects.

 

Director Review: Raja Gosnell – Raja does a good job to create a fun family film from a much loved television show. (7/10)

 

Adventure: Scooby Doo has a solid sense of adventure used throughout. (7/10)

Comedy: Scooby Doo uses the same level of comedy that we would like in the show but some is targeted too young and fart jokes are just lazy. (5/10)

Mystery: Scooby Doo creates a good mystery for the group to solve. (7/10)

Settings: Scooby Doo uses the typical location for a Scooby Doo where it can look innocent but turns into a mystery. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Scooby Doo has some poor effects used for the monster and Scooby Doo creation. (4/10)

Suggestion: Scooby Doo is one to be watch by fans and would be enjoyed by a family selection. (Family Time)

 

Best Part of Scooby Doo: The recreation of how the characters are seen.

Worst Part of Scooby Doo: The terrible and unfunny burping and farting contest between Shaggy and Scooby.

Favourite Quote: Shaggy ‘Friends don’t quit’

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has a sequel and a prequel.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $275 Million

Budget: $84 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

Tagline: Be Afraid. Be Kind of Afraid

 

Overall: Enjoyable but Not Great

Rating 65

Trailer Alert – Match

Plot – As a Juilliard professor is interviewed by a woman and her husband for her dissertation on the history of dance in 1960’s New York, it becomes increasingly clear that there are ulterior motives to the couple’s visit.

Release Date: Non set for UK

Questions:

Patrick Stewart looks to shine, will he?

Will this be a real outsider for an Oscar?

Will I Be Watching? Yes

Will You Be Watching?

My Anticipation Rating –70%

My Guess Rating – 90%

Will It Be Number One In UK? – No