Pet Sematary (2019)

Director: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer

Writer: Matt Greenberg, Jeff Buhler (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, Jete Laurence, Naomi Frenette, Alyssa Brooke Levine, Maria Herrera

 

Plot: Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home.


Tagline – They don’t come back the Same. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fog Machine Screen Test

 

Story: Pet Sematary starts as the Creed family, Louis (Clarke), Rachel (Seimetz), Ellie (Laurence) and toddler Gage, move from Boston to a rural Maine town, to start a quieter life style. The family just so happen to have bought a property with its own pet cemetery, spelt wrong with the S and all. The neighbour Jud (Lithgow) is welcoming and after the family cat Church dies, Jud tells Louis of the powers, which sees Church return, only he isn’t the same.

When tragedy strikes the Creed family, it leaves them divided and Louis is drawn back to the power which could solve the pain, but he only unleashes the secrets of the hidden grounds.

 

Thoughts on Pet Sematary

 

Characters – Louis is a former ER-Doctor, he needed to get out of that life with his new role being a college campus doctor, this gives him more time with his kids as they grow, making his life more relax. He is the one that never believed or talked about the afterlife which is why it seems strange that he is the one that follows Jud through the secret cemetery. Rachel is the wife, she spends most of her time checking her phone, being the typical housewife, she does have a haunted past which still scares her to this day. Jud is the nice welcoming neighbour, he has lived in this house for his whole life and now, he wants to show the wisdom he has learnt from the cemetery. He is the catalyst to everything that unfolds. Ellie is the oldest child of the family, she likes to adventure which can get her in trouble, but what 9-year-old isn’t like this?

PerformancesThis discussion on the performances is going down like most in horror, the child star Jete Laurence doesn’t do anything wrong and is the star of the show. Jason Clarke as often been the go to guy for a reliable lead, doesn’t get tested, while Amy Seimetz gets no true character development, giving her little to work with. John Lithgow get a scene where we learn the cats name being after Winston Churchill, and the wink wink idea that he won awards for playing the leader.

StoryThe story follows a family that relocate to start a quieter life, they seem to have everything down perfectly until death starts coming into their lives, which only sees them needing to face ultimate decisions and figure out the power of the pet sematary in their back garden. This is obviously a remake of the Stephen King classic, so if you have seen the original or read the book, you will know the basics of this story. The story however seems to go off on wild side stories which don’t seem to have any connection to the pet semetery element of the story, it just gets confusing, there is such a large focus on Rachel’s past, which shouldn’t make sense in this film in anyway. Everything that returns from the original film works, it gets the required scare, but as I said the side stories just fill the empty space to make the film longer and get a scare from the audience.

HorrorThe horror in this film can be broken down, we have the jump scares, though they can be seen coming a mile off, we have a thinking horror side to something that happens, which over plays on the mind for no reason too.

SettingsThe film puts the family in a remote house, well one without many neighbours and a tight road that lorries steam down, this is effective for the first proper jump scare, which you would see in the original, for the rest of the settings the fog machine covers up the flaws here.

Special EffectsThe effects when practical look creepy and effective, we don’t get many, but much like the settings, the fog machine makes a big impact here covering up any true weaknesses in the special effects.


Scene of the Movie –
The lorry.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fog machine.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor remake of a classic Stephen King horror, we don’t seem to get anything scary like other remakes and end up relying on cheap jump scares to try and maximise the impact.

 

Overall: Simple lifeless remake.

Rating

 

 

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1922 (2017)

Director: Zak Hilditch

Writer: Zak Hilditch (Screenplay) Stephen King (Short Story)

Starring: Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Dylan Schmid, Kaitlyn Bernard, Brian D’Arcy James, Neal McDonough

 

Plot: A simple yet proud rancher in the year 1922 conspires to murder his wife for financial gain, convincing his teenage son to participate.


Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Plain & Boring

 

Story: 1922 starts as Wilfred James (Jane) is about to lose part of his property to his wife Arlette (Parker), Wilfred doesn’t want to lose the farmland he has raised his son Henry (Schmid) on and wants to come up with a way to keep all the land.

Wilfred’s plan is to get his son to help him murder Arlette, to get the financial gain of taking ownership of the property. The guilt of what he did only ends up driving Wilfred crazy here as the mental state start to unfold.

 

Thoughts on 1922

 

Characters – Wilfred is a farmer and father that doesn’t want to leave his farm, he designs a plan to get that as he looks to stay but soon his mind starts slipping into insanity. Arlette is the wife that wants to move away but has to overcome the husband’s decision not to, only to find herself murdered and visiting him in ghost form. Henry is the son that helps with the cover up, but soon goes out on his own to learn the harsh reality of the world.

PerformancesThomas Jane does give us a good performance in this film, but the rest of the cast are just ok, none of the performances drag us into the film in any way to see where it will end up going.

StoryThe story was hard to follow, I think the idea is that one man loses everything because of killing his wife, the problem is that this is an incredibly slow-moving film that doesn’t seem to go very far or have any redeemable qualities. Is gets caught in the middle of a breakdown and a supernatural movie without being set on one that could make either feel stronger.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThere was a crime as it leads to a cover up of a murder which leads to the horror involved in the story as the past comes to haunt Wilfred.

SettingsThe settings do fit the time in question which is fine but nothing stands out as the best of the best.

Special EffectsThe effects are good when used but the film doesn’t just turn to effects to make things happen.


Scene of the Movie –
Final Scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was so so so so slow.

Final ThoughtsWell this is one of the dullest movies of the year, it has nothing happening for the most part and for a Stephen King spin it only disappoints.

 

Overall: Boring is being polite.

Rating

 

 

Gerald’s Game (2017)

Director: Mike Flanagan

Writer: Jeff Howard, Mike Flanagan (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Bruce Greenwood, Carel Struycken, Kate Siegel

 

Plot: While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Solo Thriller

 

Story: Gerald’s Game starts as married couple Jessie (Gugino) and Gerald (Greenwood) head off to a remote cabin for a weekend away from the world to rekindle their marriage, but when Gerald’s fantasy involves a sex game he handcuffs Jessie to the bed but suffers a heart attack, leaving Jessie handcuffed and alone.

What follows is Jessie needing to find a way out of the situation where she starts seeing her husband and other creations from her mind and even looking into her past with her relationship with Tom (Thomas) as she looks to survive until there is rescue for her.

 

Thoughts on Gerald’s Game

 

Characters – Jessie is the wife that gets handcuffed to the bed to try and spice her marriage up but when her husband dies she must figure out a way to escape before she dies, be it from natural causes, dog or unknown presence. She must deal with her past, present and future to escape alive. Gerald is the husband that wants to kink things up in the bedroom but he dies but stays around in the imagination of Jessie. Tom is her father that has a relationship with the younger Jessie that leads to the back story of what causes her life decisions.

PerformancesCarla Gugino does a great job carry the movie throughout the film and at times playing a double role at times. Bruce Greenwood and Henry Thomas are good through the film too but never taken the shine of Carla’s performance.

StoryThe story follows how a sex game marriage goes wrong leaving one woman handcuffed to the bed needing to survive, having her face her demons while trying to look for an escape which makes sense in what is a Stephen King story. we do get the plenty of false ideas of what is going on but by the end it makes sense, you just need to focus on every detail.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror elements of this film are from what Jessie is experiencing while tied up while the thriller side of the film keeps us guess to just where it will go.

SettingsNearly the whole fil is set within the bedroom as, well Jessie can’t go anywhere and it is here she must face her problem head on using life experiences to help her and these do take us away from this solo setting.

Special EffectsThe practical effects in this fil are amazing there is one scene that you will need to turn away just because of how real it looks.


Scene of the Movie –
Handcuff escaping.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel she would be in a lot more pain than we see near the end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great solo thriller that is a must watch for the Stephen King fans out there, great leading performance and one scene that will stay in your memory for years.

 

Overall: Must watch for Thriller fans

Rating

 

 

IT (2017)

Director: Andy Muschietti

Writer: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Jaeden Leiberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgard

 

Plot: A group of bullied kids band together when a monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Non-Stop Scares

 

Story: It starts in the small town of Derry where children go missing on a frightening high amount of times, with Georgie being the latest victim in the town. When the next summer comes around Georgie’s brother Bill (Lieberher) is still hoping to find answer to what happened to his brother. With the summer vacation starting Bill is joined by the rest of the Loser’s Club Richie (Wolfhard), Eddie (Grazer) and Stanley (Oleff) to investigate.

As the investigate deepens the friends all start getting haunted by Pennywise (Skarsgard) and are joined by the new kid Ben (Taylor), the home schooled Mike (Jacobs) and outsider Beverly (Lillis) as the battle against Pennywise last the summer and the friends learn the value of friendship when trying to overcome their fears.

 

Thoughts on IT

 

Characters – Bill is the leader of the Loser’s Club who has lost his brother to the strange occurrences in the town. He has been trying to figure out the what happened to Georgie for a year and has the support from his friends. Ben is the new kid in town who has been left on the outside with no friends going into the summer but is welcomed into the Loser’s club with their mutual hatred to the school bully. Beverly has been branded a slut at school as rumours spiralled out of control, she has a terrifying home life when the Loser’s club offer her friendship she needed. Mike is home school living on a slaughter needing to learn the trade. I will say Mike is the character we learn the least about of the 7. Richie is the fast talking of the group who can’t help but spit the first words that come to mind out, often used for the comedy in the film. Eddie is member of the group who is paranoid about becoming ill and getting dirty, he is also used a lot for the comedy side of the film. Stanley is the Jewish member of the club that is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah which is going to be the most important part of his summer.

Pennywise is the clown haunting the children of Derry searching for fear in the children so he can feed on it, he knows the children’s biggest fears and becomes them in the most frightening way possible.

PerformanceAll seven of the children give us great performances and you fully believe the chemistry created between them as it could easily be on a par with the Goonies or Stand by Me. Bill Skarsgard has one of the hardest jobs in Hollywood this year and he does deliver as Pennywise bring fear from his character while not destroying the legacy of what Tim Curry brought to this role.

StoryThe story of a small town that seems to have a large number of children going missing and nobody is doing anything about it does seem strange. The kids joining together to solve this mystery is the core of the story though, this brings back the idea of the children needing to entertain themselves during the summer but this time it is a deadly adventure against an enemy that is waiting to kill them. The story bottles down to friendship being the answer to overcoming fears, learning to grow up and understanding the history of their town.

HorrorThis is easily one of the best horror movies of the year, it does feel like we have a scare nearly every 5 minutes and each one plays into a different fear for our characters. If you don’t enjoy a certain moment of fear the next will get you.

SettingsThe small town is a fantastic setting as it helps play into a legend of what happened in the town before to make the strange moments happen now.

Special EffectsThe effects add to the horror immensely here, each horrifying creation comes off legit because of the effects used.

Scene of the Movie – Slide show viewing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just why are the cops not doing more to investigate the missing children?

Tagline – You’ll Float Too.

Final ThoughtsWhen we look at horror remakes this could easily be up there as one of the best of all time, it brings new life to an already excellent horror that isn’t afraid to scare as often as possible.

 

Overall: Massively enjoyable horror that is a must watch.

Rating

 

 

The Dark Tower (2017)

Director: Nikolaj Arcel

Writer: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba, Tom Taylor, Dennis Haysbert, Claudia Kim, Jackie Earle Haley

Plot: The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Easy to Watch but Forgettable

Story: The Dark Tower starts with Jake (Taylor) a troubled young New York kid who has been suffering from nightmares of a mysterious Man in Black trying to destroy a tower by torturing children. We follow how Jake has suffered his personal loss which most people just see as an excuse for beliefs on the Man in Black and when his mother and step-father try to send him to a hospital for a weekend he escapes after learning about a house that could hold some answers for him.

Entering a forbidden portal Jake finds himself in a new world in search for the last Gunslinger Roland (Elba) who has been hunting the Man in Black Walter (McConaughey) a sorcerer that has been trying to bring down the Dark Tower that holds the universes together. As the adventure unfolds Jake will learn his place in the bigger picture in the universe.

Thoughts on The Dark Tower

Characters – Jake is your normal trouble boy that we need in a style of film like this, he has lost a parent, doesn’t like his step-father, has troubles at school and has been having dreams of a world far away from his reality, as his therapist says his dreams are just a reflection of his reality. He gets to go on the adventure to solve his nightmares but only ends up growing up along the way. Roland is the last Gunslinger that roams the desert in search for Walter who has killed the rest of the Gunslingers. He reluctantly takes Jake on his quest showing his gun skills to hopeful kill his oldest enemy. Walter is the sorcerer that has collecting children from different worlds that can destroy the Dark Tower bring pure evil across all the worlds. He his ruthless side where he kills anyone who gets in his way but for unknown reasons he likes to keep the Gunslinger around to torture him. The rest of the characters only seem to be nameless henchman or villagers that help along the quest.

PerformanceAs for the performances I did want to just watch McConaughey throughout the movie as he is the highlight of the film showing menace even though he is only saying all the cool villainous quotes. Idris Elba does seem to struggle in the leading role but the character of the Gunslinger isn’t developed like he would be able to from the books. Tom Taylor is fine but isn’t taking any awards for best child performance this year.

StoryThe story is an easy to follow as we get the trademark stereotype characters placed into the world, the trouble boy, the evil man in black, the lost hero that all come together for a showdown to save the universe, I feel there is a lot more to be told in this universe which is the biggest disappoint because you can’t get this much information into a 90-minute movie. This is a by the books action fantasy that will be forgotten within a couple of weeks.

Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/WesternThe action is all entertaining but now the most original by any means, the fantasy shows the different worlds but I feel we would have like more from this, the sci-fi sides the different worlds that could be out there but again doesn’t get enough time to come through, while the western just feels like the Gunslinger comes from that genre nothing else.

SettingsNew York and a desert are not normal two settings you would put side by side and in a film that could go anywhere this doesn’t offer enough on the visual settings being used.

Special EffectsCertain moments of the special effects do look very rushed and cheap rather than the high quality you would expect from a movie on Stephen King’s work.

Scene of the Movie – The farm invasion slow motion kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There is too much untold.

Final Thoughts This film doesn’t give the books enough time to tell the epic story, many scenes feel like the best quotes are taking from the books to make the scenes sound cool.

Overall: Disappointing but not awful.

Rating