Franchise Weekend – Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)

Director: John Ottman

Writer: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson (Screenplay) Silvio Horta (Characters)

Starring: Jennifer Morrison, Matthew Davis, Hart Bochner, Loretta Devine, Joey Lawrence, Anson Mount, Eva Mendes

 

Plot: A film school is the center of a fresh spate of killings based on urban legends.


Tagline – It was an urban legend that started it all. Now it continues on the Alpine University campus… 

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Late Night Movie

 

Story: Urban Legends: Final Cut starts as we head to a new university where the students are film students making a horror movie, Amy Mayfield (Morrison) comes from a line of famous film makers adding the pressure to excel, meeting Reese (Devine) the returning security guard that wouldn’t accept the silence after the events of the first movie, she give Amy the idea for her project, a serial killer using Urban Legends.

With Amy’s movie started it doesn’t take long before the cast start getting picked off, Amy must work with twin brother of highly regarded student Trevor Stark (Davis) and feisty security guard Reese to solve the murders and get her film done on time.

 

Thoughts on Urban Legends: Final Cut

 

Characters – Amy is the young filmmaker studying at university looking to find an idea for her project, she gets that idea from Reese, a horror film where the killer uses Urban Legends to kill the victims, she must deal with jealous students who feel she is stepping on their genre, young artists who want to make a name for themselves and soon a serial killer that wants to use the Urban Legends for their own killing spree. Sadly, she is the only character we truly get to know much about, we have the Stark twins, with the student one killing himself which draws his brother to learn why, the returning Reese who is the connection between the two movies, still the most entertaining character and many other students and professor who either work on or help plan the film Amy is making. This biggest problem with most of the supporting characters is that they don’t seem to understand horror movies, even though they are making one.

PerformancesJennifer Morrison takes her first leading role here, she is good for horror, as this role is the only one that seems to understand horror films. Matthew Davis in twin roles is solid enough as they are both in different mood settings through the film. Lorette Devine is the best character to watch once again. We have an early role from Eva Mendes here to which is a highlight.

StoryThe story here follows the events of the first film which have been swept under the carpet, now a film student learns of the idea and decides to make a movie based on an Urban Legend killer. This is understandable and should work because we like the idea of meta in movies, the problems arise when this film students that are making a horror movie don’t seem to understand the rules of horror movies, add in the fact that we only have certain kills in the film being based on urban legends while others are crimes of opportunity. When it comes to the slasher side of the film we don’t get as many suspects this time which does disappoints, but everything works well enough for the film if you want a late-night movie.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film does follow most of the same trends, we have the urban legends being the designs for most of the deaths, though the mystery in this film falls short because we don’t believe that any of the suspects could be guilty.

SettingsWe keep the university setting, with a lot of the sequences taking place in the created sets and giving us behind the look locations for horror movie production.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed because we do get to see a lot of cheats behind how effects can be made with a couple of characters, when it comes to the real kills things are good without being anything special.


Scene of the Movie –
Reese is excellent to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the characters don’t understand how horror movies work.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel, it gives us plenty to enjoy when it comes to late night horror which can always be enjoyed by the right audience.

 

Overall: Solid sequel.

Rating

 

 

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Doctor Strange (2016)

drDirector: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Stand Lee, Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C, Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stand Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning Origin Story

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as we see Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) stealing artefacts to help him with his next plan only with The Ancient One (Swinton) tries to stop him in what is an early sign of the reality these characters will be fighting within. We move on to meet the brilliant Doctor Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) who has his own style of performing surgery which always saves the lives of the people he is saving.

When Stephen is recklessly driving his fancy car, he is involved in a horrific car accident losing all the skills he has learned in his hands forcing him into drastic measure to regain his surgical skills. Stephen’s journey takes him in search of an impossible natural cure as he finds Mordo (Ejiofor) who guides him to what he searches for the Ancient One.

This is where his training begins as Dr Strange learns about the different realities we live in and how to make them work to his advantage as he learns nothing he once knew was what he thought it was. We the training continues Dr Strange has to join in the battle against former student Kaecilius who has turned to the dark side to prove his worth to the cause.

Doctor Strange gives us a visually stunning superhero origin story because we haven’t had one of these in about two weeks. The story plays into the bigger reality battle which is a big plus to make this slightly more unique only we have this already with the inclusion of the Thor and Guardians universe. I can see why people enjoyed this but in the end this is just going to have to be another addition to a universe which is already over saturated with characters.

Cumberbatch doesn’t seem to have charisma to play what I feel is meant to be sarcastic character, Mikkelsen is just another villain that we have seen before that never makes the impact on the story but is never meant to be that much for an origin film. Swinton does a good job in her role and Ejiofor is solid as the trainer figure.

 

Overall: Visually amazing but as for origin story we have seen this all before.

Ratingcard

 

 

Sinister 2 (2015)

logoDirector: Ciaran Foy

Writer: Scott Derrickson, C Robert Cargill (Screenplay)

Starring: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, Robert Daniel Sloan, Dartanian Sloan, Lea Coco, Tate Ellington, John Beasley

Plot: A young mother and her twin sons move into a rural house that’s marked for death.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Dull zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Fell Asleep on keyboard

Story: Sinister 2 starts Ex-Deputy So & So (Ransone) returning from the previous film turning to church for advice on how to stop the demon from striking again from a priest. Time to meet our new family the Collins mother Courtney (Sossamon) and twin boys Dylan (Robert Daniel Sloan) & Zach (Dartanian Sloan) who are on the run from somebody.

As we know the story goes video tapes are discovered only this time it is by the twins who both watch the family videos before the shock and scream murder image of what happens when Bughuul selects his latest family. The house they have moved into had one such incident happen years before and along with So & So who is investigating the string of murders search for answers to the latest of the hauntings on the Collins’ family, while dealing with an abusive ex-husband who wants to take the children away.

Sinister 2 brings us back into the world where a demon with children follows makes a new family become his latest victims while collecting a new child to join him. Well this is simple story how do you mess this up really? You have a single parent isn’t that against the blood lust of the demon? We have an idiot now ex-cop coming back to figure out what is going on well that doesn’t help does it and now he has some brains. I have to give the positives against these negatives, I liked how we had twins making it look like it could be either and I also like how the children were more involved. It doesn’t help that I wasn’t a fan of the first one but I feel this gets even worse and feels like an excuse to try and show an horrific set of murders.

Actor Review

James Ransone: Ex-Deputy So & So returns from the previous film as he is investigating the activity of Bughuul, this brings him into the lives of the Collins who have just moved into the house where one of the killings once took place. James becomes the lead in this film and looks very lost in this role throughout.dputy

Shannyn Sossamon: Courtney Collins is the mother of the boys who is on the run from her ex-husband, they have moved into the house where one of the crimes took place putting them all in danger. Shannyn gives her ‘ I’m in a horror movie’ performance.

Robert Daniel Sloan: Dylan Collins is the shy one of the twins who lets Zach push him into everything, he gets scared in the very presence of his father, he gets picked by the children to watch the videos and become the latest member. Robert gives standard performance with nothing stand out.

Dartanian Sloan: Zach Collins is the brave on of the twins who is happy to investigate what has been happy with the video tapes, but isn’t picked by the children to become their latest member. Dartanian like his brother gives a standard performance.

Support Cast: Sinister 2 has a small supporting cast with most being the dead children and the ex-husband.

Director Review: Ciaran Foy Ciaran doesn’t give us the best horror, bringing us a standard at best horror film that gets worse than the original.

Horror: Sinister 2 doesn’t have any original scares with most just being basic jump scares.

Settings: Sinister 2 uses the isolated looking house for the most part of the setting which works for creepiness in the story.
Special Effects: Sinister 2 has basic effects for the creations but you can see the CGI throughout.

Suggestion: Sinister 2 is one to avoid really because it is offering nothing new. (Avoid)

Best Part: Seeing it from the kids angle.

Worst Part: Same story.

Scariest Scene: Don’t look to close.

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Most likely

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Overall: Boring basic jump scares

Ratingcard

Deliver Us from Evil (2014)

logoDirector: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman (Screenplay) Ralph Sarchie, Lisa Collier Cool (Book)

Starring: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Chris Coy, Dorian Misssick, Sean Harris, Joel McHale, Mike Houston

 

Plot: New York police officer Ralph Sarchie investigates a series of crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rites of exorcism, to combat the possessions that are terrorizing their city.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Law & Order: Exorcism

 

Story: Deliver Us From Evil starts by telling us it is inspired by real accounts from Ralph Sarchie. We move to Iraq 2010 where we see a group of soldiers who discover something, we don’t see what. We are now back in 2013 and Officer Sarchie (Bana) who is on a case where he finds a dead baby. Things take a turn when Sarchie and his partner get a call about a domestic disturbance of a war veteran. Sarchie is in for an eventful night when he and his partner get called to the Bronx Zoo where they search for a lady who pushed her own baby into one of the habitats. Mendoza (Ramirez) a priest is helps with her potential issues with the lady at the zoo. Sarchie continues to have an interesting week where he takes the strange cases with his latest being noises from a family’s basement.

The case seems easy to wrap up but when it becomes apparent something outside the normal realm is occurring Sarchie and his partner have to look deeper into the case. Finding out the people are all connected and supernatural things happening around him he starts acting differently around his own family. What Sarchie finds is the occult might be involved in what is going on so he teams up with Mendoza to uncover what is going on.

Deliver Us From Evil first needs to be seen as a based on real accounts idea, so that means no over the top silly scares, we do have some well-constructed ones which could easily be real. I like how some of the situations do get explained while others do mix the supernatural, because a lot of horrors only go for the supernatural while this shows that certain things can be explained. In the most part we do have to watch a lot of people watching, searching and talking about what is going on, which does distract us from the lack of action on screen. It does come off very well as a story because you do get the feeling this guy just had a very bad week indeed. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Eric Bana: Sarchie Detective who starts getting a string of unusual cases that all add up, he has to face the truths of supernatural while he doesn’t believe in the supernatural. He teams up with priest to try and uncover the truth of what is going on. Eric does a good job as the non-religious cop who must learn to believe. (7/10)

 bana

Edgar Ramirez: Mendoza priest who studies demonology and along the way he has learnt plenty of things along the lines of the way learning about plenty of different religions. He has to teach Sarchie about different ideas about demonology. Edgar does a good job as the priest who speaks slowly and stays very calm through all the situations. (7/10)

preist

Olivia Munn: Jen is Sarchie’s wife, he doesn’t open up to her enough leaving them both feeling distant as the supernatural starts taking over his own house. Olivia does a solid job but doesn’t get enough screen time. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: Deliver Us From Evil has fellow officers who investigate the goings on, who all help the story flow. The main supporting cast is actually the possessed characters who keep us guessing to what they will be doing next.

 

Director Review: Scott Derrickson – Scott does a good job directing making this feel like a real investigation film mixed with a supernatural theme. (7/10)

 

Horror: Deliver Us From Evil uses the horror elements very nicely but doesn’t go for over the top scares, it shows you the horrors that could be a reality though. (8/10)

Thriller: Deliver Us From Evil does keep you guessing to what will happen next and final half of the film turns into very much edge of your seat. (8/10)

Settings: Deliver Us From Evil uses its settings very well to identify how it might not be the smooth cover of a normal life with the occult very much in the city. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Deliver Us From Evil uses his effects well with the possessions and during the exorcisms. (8/10)

Suggestion: Deliver Us From Evil is one for the horror fans to try, it might also appeal to fans of investigation films. (Horror or Investigation Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Exorcism

Worst Part: Slightly too long.

Scariest Scene: Sarchie little girl and her haunted bedroom.

 

Believability: Whether you want to believe or not, it is based on real accounts depends how much you think really happened. (7/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $88 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

Tagline: You haven’t seen true evil

 

Overall: Good Look at Exorcism

Rating 70

Devil’s Knot (2013)

devils knotDirector: Atom Egoyan

Writer: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson (Screenplay) Mara Leveritt (Book ‘Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three’)

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Alessandro Nivola, James Hamrick, Seth Meriwether, Kristopher Higgins, Amy Ryan, Robert Baker, Mireille Enos,  Dane DeHaan

 

Plot: Based on the true story of the West Memphis Three where three young boys were savagely murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993. Spurred on by the demand from a grieving town, the local police act quickly to bring three “devil-worshipping” teenagers to trial. With their lives hanging in the balance, investigator Ron Lax is trying to find the truth between the town’s need for justice and the guilt of the accused.

 

Verdict: Interesting

 

Story: We get to follow the final known steps of the three young children followed by the search for them. We then have to go through the who might have done it which leads to the three suspects. We get to meet the investigator who follows the case from a distance to start with but moves closer when he starts to think not everything is right. We go through the court case but much like real life we don’t get any answers.

Based on the real story of the tragic killings and how the case has never officially be solved (Which I didn’t know go into). Everything put together seems very real to how things sounded like they went rather against the law book through the court case. If that was how the case went it does seem really hard to believe an outcome was true. I do like how the story showed the faults in the handling of the case and offered potential suspects that never got looked into. I do think this could have just be a television special though, because of its lack of conclusion it makes the Hollywood treatment seem too much. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Reese Witherspoon: Pam Hobbs mother of one of the victims who has to deal with the loss of a child, the invading media asking her the same old questions and suffer through a court case. She does start to doubt the suspects during the court case and seems to have uncovered something. Good performance from Reese who plays the grieving mother perfectly. (8/10)

 reese

Colin Firth: Ron Lax private investigator who takes an interest in the case, he doesn’t want to see any more children killed with the potential outcome being tried for. He tries to uncover a potential larger story but always get shot down and anything he brings to the case seems to get dismissed. Great performance from Colin, who portrays the American accent to fit in perfect. (9/10)

colin

Alessandro Nivola: Terry Hobbs husband of Pam who is in grieving but just wants to see the people reasonable pay. Good performance in a role where he gets to add a bit of mystery to his character. (8/10)

 terry

James Hamrick, Seth Meriwether, Kristopher Higgins: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley the three suspects who go through a court case given no chance to be found no guilty. All three do a good job as three young men about to see their futures taken away from them (7/10)

 

 damienjasonjesse

 

 

 

 

Support Cast: With the support cast we have the Police force who start off looking very professional but as the court case unfolds seem to have missed important information. We have both sides of the lawyers who want to win but struggle as well as the other families and how they are struggling through. Each supporting cast member helps the story continue and does a good job with the time they get. (8/10)

 

Director Review: Atom Egoyan – Does a solid job to show how the story of the case is still incomplete and how it was treated so one sided. (8/10)

 

Crime: Looking at the real crime that never seemed to get solved. (9/10)

Drama: Solid drama showing the effect the crime had on the people and how they dealt with it. (8/10)

Thriller: Lacks the thrills it could have because we are not left to guess what will happen. (4/10)

Settings: The settings all look very authentic for the time and all play into the effects of how the story unfolds. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one to try, it is a real story about an unsolved crime so you will know it will leave you feeling slightly empty. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Colin Firth performance

Worst Part: Court Case was a shambles

Believability: Based on a real event. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Unlikley

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: They say the crimes were satanic. The truth may be scarier.

 

Overall: Solid Drama Based on Real Event

Rating 71