ABC Film Challenge – Horror – I – The Invitation (2015)

Director: Karyn Kusama

Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi (Screenplay)

Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Aiden Lovekamp, Michelle Krusiec, Mike Doyle, Jordi Vilasuso, Jay Larson, Tammy Blanchard

 

Plot: While attending a dinner party at his former home, a man thinks his ex-wife and her new husband have sinister intentions for their guests.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Build, Nail Biting Conclusion

 

Story: The Invitation starts as Will (Marshall-Green) and his new girlfriend Kira (Corinealdi) get invited to Will’s ex-wife Eden’s (Blanchard) house for a mysterious gathering where Eden introduces her new partner David (Huisman), which soon turns into an invitation to join a cult for the guests.

As the night continues on Will becomes paranoid that there is an alternate meaning for the invitation but every time he believes he is about to prove the paranoia of the night, it all gets shut down and Will must start to face that he is grieving the loss of his son, or is he?

 

Thoughts on The Invitation

 

Characters – Will is the grieving former husband of Eden that attends a party hosted by his ex-wife which brings back the memories of his son, but he starts becoming paranoid about the reason for the party, he is the only one that thinks something strange is happening. Kira is Will’s new girlfriend that gets to meet his old friends at this party, she tries to be social even when his paranoia doesn’t help her get the welcome she desires. Eden is the host of the part, the ex-wife of Will’s that seems to have turned over a new leaf by joining the cult that she starts to recruit for with her new partner David.

PerformanceLogan Marshall-Green does a good job here because one moment in the film he is calm, then paranoid, then emotional and back to normal, this performance shows us a full range he must go through. Emayatzy is also good as the unknown element at the party. With Tammy Blanchard being the unhinged but at times calm host of the party.

StoryThe story circles around a party being held for old friends as the host has reinvented herself after the loss of her son, everything seems strange through the night until we learn about the cult she has become part of and wants the friends to become part of it but one man gets paranoid about what is happening during the night. It is easy to follow and you do spend most of the film waiting to see where it all ends up going which is rewarding by the end.

Horror/MysteryThe horror of this film comes from the idea that the characters are being recruited for a cult, while the mystery side of everything leaves us to figure out just what has been happening.

SettingsThe film takes place in one house that shows how a dinner party can turn sour as everything it not quite right.

Scene of the Movie – Not the drinks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a slow build up that does seem to give too many supporting characters screen time they don’t need.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror film, it does take time to build to the final act which is built through the tension that goes through the whole film.

 

Overall: Good horror that you get rewarded with by the end.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – J – Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word (2016)

Director: Simon Rumley

Writer: Ben Katai, Marc Haimes (Screenplay) Tony Giglio, Ben Ketai (Story)

Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Erin Cummings, Mike Doyle, Dodge Prince, Mike Gassaway, Sue Rock

 

Plot: When a young man is executed for committing murder, he leaves behind a curse letter, promising vengeance for all those connected to his unfair trial.


Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Revenge Horror

 

Story: Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word starts with the trial of Johnny that leads to a guilty verdict, which leads to his execution, where his final words are ‘Kiss my ever-loving ass’.

Soon after his execution the people involved in the trial start getting visions, strange feelings and the feeling they are being watched by a spirit that seems to be out for revenge from beyond the grave. This leads Adam Redman (Doyle) one of the jurors to investigate what happened with the crime.

 

Thoughts on Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word

 

Characters – Adam Redman is one of the jurors on the trial, he is the only one that wasn’t going with an instant guilty verdict, but had to fold to the pressure of the rest of the jury. After the execution his son gets targeted by the spirit and he goes to investigate who really committed the crime. Danny Hill is the district attorney that took the case, getting the result, he wanted a guilty verdict.

PerformancesMike Doyle takes the leading role in this film, he is the best of the performers as you believe he descent into madness as he finds himself haunted. The rest of the cast are fine, but just don’t get a chance to shine on the levels they can reach.

StoryThe story follows a wrongfully committed man that is executed for a crime he never committed, coming back from the head to haunt the people who were involved in the trial to get his own revenge. Everything plays into the ideas that the execution might not be the best thing because not all crimes are as clear cut as they need to be to go through with it, but only following one man trying to solve the case doesn’t seem to be the most entertaining as we only see a couple of people from the trial face the wrath of Johnny.

Crime/HorrorThe idea behind the crime shows how the justice system can be flawed, the horror plays into the idea that a spirit can come back and get revenge for the crime he gets executed for.

SettingsThe settings show that certain states in America still use the death penalty in a time where it is no longer considered an option.

Special EffectsThe effects are fine when needed but never get overused when it comes to the scares.


Scene of the Movie –
Teacher time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We only follow a couple of potential victims when a lot more people were involved.

Final ThoughtsThis plays well into the idea of person coming back from dead to get revenge for a crime they never committed, it has by the book scares, jumpy vision sequences, but never reaches any peek levels of tension, suspense or conclusion.

 

Overall: Not strong enough.

Rating