ABC Film Challenge – Horror – W – Within (2016)

Director: Phil Claydon

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Vartan, Erin Moriarty, Nadine Velazquez, Ronnie Gene Blevins, JoBeth Williams, Dorian Kingi


Plot: A thriller centered around a widower who moves into a seemingly perfect new home with his daughter and new wife.

Tagline – You can’t keep out what’s already inside

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Standard Creep Person Living in House Movie


Story: Within starts with the Alexander family, John (Vartan), Hannah (Moriarty) and Melanie (Velazquez) moving into a new home after the previous situation becoming a problem. Melanie is the new wife that is trying to build her relationship with Hannah, while John and Hannah still trying to make amends for their disagreement which led to the move.

After learning they are living in the ‘creepy’ house in the neighbourhood, Hannah starts to believe not everything is right and soon we learn the truth as the battle to survive in their home is on.


Thoughts on Within


Characters – John is the father of the house, we know he has been on hard times and this house is all he can afford for his family. He does love both his wife and daughter and is trying to teach his daughter a lesson after her mistakes have led them to this location. Hannah is his daughter of John that has been getting herself in trouble which caused the move, she is grounded and is the first one to notice the strange events around the house. Melanie is the new wife and step-mother to Hannah, she doesn’t do much beyond the normal, which is mostly trying to be the best friend in her time of need. Ray is the creepy neighbour that offers to help change the locks, less we say about him the better.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances in this film we must be praising Erin Moriarty as she is excellent in her role, the weaknesses come from the parental characters, Michael Vartan and Nadine Velazquez who both don’t seem to do much with their roles in the film.

StoryThe story here follows the family that move into a new home only to start seeing strange things happening and we fall in the, ‘creepy person living in the attic’ sub-genre, which is one that I feel is getting tiresome, there is only so much you can do while telling this story and if we are being honest we have seen it done on better levels before. The build up follows the checklist and by the end of the film the story just feels like it is trying to hard to be different, rather than good.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the idea that someone could be living in your house, it is an easy idea for because being haunted in your own home should be working, though this misses the tension required for the film.

SettingsThe film is set entirely inside the one house, which is all we need as this keeps the film contained for the maximum levels of horror, even if they don’t use it well.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part are good with the kills looking extra brutal when they hit.

Scene of the Movie –
The first meeting of David.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We have seen this too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the books horror that doesn’t test the audience enough, it has an easy out which doesn’t get used at all, though the killer does look creepy throughout.


Overall: Been here seen this.




ABC Film Challenge – Horror – G – The Ghost of Charnel House (2016)

Director: Craig Moss

Writer: Chad Israel, Emanuel Isler (Screenplay)

Starring: Callum Blue, Nadine Velazquez, Makenzie Moss, Erik LaRay Harvey, Alden Tab, Danielle Lauder


Plot: A long abandoned slaughterhouse is transformed into modern lofts in a re-gentrified urban neighborhood. Soon after tenants move in they are tormented by a dark secret that has been trapped in the building for over 30 years.


Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Simple Horror


Story: The Ghost of Charnel House starts with Alex (Blue) and his wife Charlotte (Velazquez) turning the once abandoned former slaughterhouse into a modern day luxury apartment building, with the soft opening underway and the first few tenants moving in including Devin (Harvey), Emily (Lauder) and Jackson (Davies) everything seems to be going well.

It doesn’t take long before the past ghosts of the build start visiting Mia (Moss) the daughter of Alex and Charlotte, before long the whole house starts to receive visits from a spirit with unfinished business.


Thoughts on The Ghost of Charnel House


Characters – Alex Reaves is the man behind the refurbishment of the building, he sees this as a fresh start for his family which will give them financial support for life, he starts having visions which will bring the connection back to the previous owner. Charlotte is the artist and designer (I think she did this too) who has help turn the building into the apartments and soon becomes the one that needs to fight to keep her family together. Mia is the daughter of the couple who starts seeing the little boy haunting the building, treated like the imaginary friend for the most part, she has behavioural problems and follows in her mother’s artistic nature. Devin Pyles is the man that has a connection to the previous use of the building, he is here to investigate just what happened here and knows about the darker side of the building.

PerformancesCallum Blue in the leading role is fine without ever standing out in the leading role, which is going to be a theme when looking at the performances, nobody does anything to make themselves feel stand out in the film.

StoryThe story here follows the re-opening of an old slaughterhouse as luxury apartments, but the ghosts of the old building are still there haunting the people that move in. this does give us the limited characters as the building isn’t officially opened, but will let people move into the property they have purchased early, this helps the story because an over crowded building would have only dragged the film down. The story is trying to be clever with certain connections only to fall mostly short with this side of the story telling. Once you do work out where the story wants to go you will work out the ending pretty easily which again disappoints and as for the supporting characters they seem to have no connection to the actual hauntings and are here just to give us a body count.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the ghost visits and the technology not following the rules it should be, again simple scares which don’t give us anything to be frightened off.

SettingsThe film is set in one house, we have an apartment building with history which gives us the haunting side of the film. it works well for the most part too.

Special EffectsThe effects are not over used, they are simple when needed but nothing that becomes clear to what is happening in the film.

Scene of the Movie –
Butch the Yorkie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pointless disposable supporting residents.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very simple horror, it does the basics right without ever being put in the position of being anything special or standout, nothing is terrible, it is just average throughout.


Overall: Average horror.




Snitch (2013)

logoDirector: Ric Roman Waugh

Writer: Justin Haythe, Ric Roman Waugh (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, Susan Sarandon, Michael K. Williams, Rafi Gavron, Melina Kanakaredes, Nadine Velazquez, Benjamin Bratt, Lela Loren


Plot: Construction company owner John Matthews (Johnson) learns that his estranged son, Jason (Gavron), has been arrested for drug trafficking. Facing an unjust prison sentence for a first time offender courtesy of mandatory minimum sentence laws, Jason has nothing to offer for leniency in good conscience. Desperately, John convinces the DEA and the opportunistic DA Joanne Keeghan (Sarandon) to let him go undercover to help make arrests big enough to free his son in return. With the unwitting help of an ex-con employee, John enters the narcotics underworld where every move could be his last in an operation that will demand all his resources, wits and courage to survive.


Verdict: Undercover job, well done


Story: Following one man as he risks everything to save his son, we see it isn’t just his life, his son’s life it also will risk his new wife’s life and daughter as he goes undercover. We get to see how a rookie drug mule ends up tricking some of the biggest names in drug dealing. It fails to offer anything new to the genre it does offer an insight to a based on true events. Everything turns out to be very simple to watch that plays out smart without challenging the audience too much. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


Dwayne Johnson: John small time truck transportation business owner who risks everything to make sure his son gets off prison after being wrongly framed as a distributor. Good performance from Dwayne showing that he can perform in a much more serious role. (8/10)


Barry Pepper: Agent Cooper the lead agent trying to take down the drug lords. Good performance from Pepper who creates an unrecognizable character. (7/10)


Jon Bernthal: Daniel the reluctant ex-con who helps John enters the criminal underworld. Trying to save himself from his past he ends up making everything more risky for himself by helping. Jon gives a good performance and makes a good reluctant hero. (8/10)


Susan Sarandon: Joanne the DEA who will help John but only when she gets what she wants. Good performance from Susan who never needed to push herself. (7/10)


Director Review: Ric Roman Waugh – Good direction putting together a well-paced film. (8/10)


Action: Simple action sequences that work well with the timing of the story. (7/10)

Thriller: Creates a tense build up to the final moments. (8/10)

Settings: The settings are the usual for the genre and don’t make any special memorable ones. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is something to try, it is a well-paced film that will entertain the thriller fans out there. (Try It)


Best Part: The final chase.

Worst Part: It is a bit slow.

Action Scene Of The Film: The final chase

Believability: Based on a true story. (8/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel:  No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $42,930,462

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

Tagline: How far would you go to save your son?


Overall: Good action thriller