ABC Film Challenge – Action – C – Channeling (2013)

Director: Drew Thomas

Writer: Drew Thomas (Screenplay)

Starring: Taylor Handley, Kate French, Skyler Day, Dominic DeVore, Ryan Walker, Landon Ashworth, Alex Solowitz

Plot: A drama centered on people who seek validation by broadcasting their lives to as big an audience as possible.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Look at the Next Gen of Entertainment

Story: Channeling starts by taking us into a world where people can have a camera in their eye, with people watching their lives, Wyatt Maddox (Handley) is one of these people and after he is killed with his channel watching, his soldier brother Jonah (DeVore) returns home, here he learns that his brother was murdered with Wyatt’s girlfriend Tara (French) filling in the gaps of what happened.

As Jonah starts to investigate, he teams up with Tara to find the person that killed Wyatt, he enters the world of street racing from stolen cars, where he pretends to be his brother, which only draws the same criminals that killed him.

Thoughts on Channeling

Characters – Wyatt is the popular in the virtual world, with his followers in his illegal stolen street cars getting him killed, he has been recording his life, which gives his brother something to search through. Jonah is the soldier brother of Wyatt, he has returned to learn what happened to his brother only to go undercover with his brother’s girlfriend to learn the truth about who killed his brother. Tara is the girlfriend of Wyatt’s, she was with him just before he was killed and now, she wants learn the truth, by showing Jonah how to enter the world. Ashleigh is the younger sister of the brothers, she has become popular with her own recordings which is more about fashion and daily life.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we don’t get the best performances, this does work for the film because they are meant to be what we would consider YouTube stars in how they try to play to their audiences. The reality behind the acting is that it is simple enough and the characters are hard to see in the real world either.

StoryThe story here follows a brother that is trying to find out what happened to his brother after he is murdered during one of his special broadcasts, he goes undercover to learn more about the world, searching for answers. The most interesting way to look at this story, comes from seeing the world where the broadcasting has become so popular, this idea works very well because it reflects how the world is only interested in drama or crime, over any sort of real event. When we look at the actual story, it is a basic revenge like story and works as the surface of the film, it would have been nice to have felt like the villains were more threatening and the side story revolving around the little sister does seem just there to show a different side of the popularity of the equipment rather than adding anything to the main story.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does follow a couple of car chases which as basic enough, but shot through the eyes which makes them difficult to watch. The sci-fi element does build on what we have seen in Black Mirror before which is a recording of life, it is nice touch and something we see happening more and more.

SettingsThe film shows the criminal world that Jonah must enter for answers, we have rough bars, dark alleyways and a remote penthouse apartment where his brother lived.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, this is focused on how the viewers of the people see the lives they are following, it does feel like shaky cam at times which isn’t helpful as a viewer experience.


Scene of the Movie – Bar of popularity.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not seeing enough of the villain.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at how the popularity of social media has become easier to access and become key to these people’s lives.

Overall: Entertaining, though flawed.

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Writer: Sheldon Turner (Screenplay) Sheldon Turner, David J Schow (Story)

Starring: Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, Diora Baird, Matt Bomer, R Lee Ermey, Andrew Bryniarski, Lee Tergesen

 

Plot: Before being sent to serve in Vietnam, two brothers and their girlfriends take one last road trip, but when they get into an accident, a terrifying experience will take them to a secluded house of horrors, with a chainsaw-wielding killer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gore Over Substances

 

Story: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning starts as we learn more about the origin of Leatherface (Bryniarski), how he was a misunderstand young man with mental problems that loses his job at the slaughter house once it goes out of business. We learn how this becomes the turning point for his family. On the other side of the story we have Eric (Bomer) returning to the Vietnam war along with his brother Dean (Handley) who is reluctant to return. We also have their girlfriends Chrissie (Brewster) and Bailey (Baird) on a journey across America.

After an altercation with a robber, the friends find themselves targets of the Hewitt family as Uncle Charlie now pretending to be a Sheriff and Leatherface look to make sure they have enough food to survive, human flesh.

 

Thoughts on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

 

Characters/PerformanceChrissie is take her boyfriend across country to reenlist in the army. She ends up on her own most of this film as she searches for a way to save her friends, before we know she will be involved in the final chase. Dean is the younger brother of the two who doesn’t want to go to war but hasn’t told his brother until this trip. Eric is looking to return to war with his brother this time and is the one most likely to stand up against the evil.  Bailey is the other girlfriend, that is about as much of her character we get. Leatherface is still simple minded here with Uncle Hewitt being the major part of the bringing the victims to the home, we also learn his origin story as it is a twist in the last version.

Performance wise, Let’s all be honest here, the characters are written horrendously so most of the actors didn’t stand a chance of giving a good performance in this film.

StoryAn origin of Leatherface, did we need one, well we got one, so deal with it. The story is basically the same as the original just without interesting characters, any scares or tension. We have group of friends get captured must fight to survive against leatherface and his family. So here it is nothing new, nothing original.

Horror This is all about the gore, we get little to no shocks in this film and the iconic killer is reduced to subplot to a bigger picture of a family.

SettingsWe get the iconic house, sure but otherwise nothing of any note here in the settings.

Special EffectsThe gore and effects do work well for shock value but otherwise it just becomes about making them look good.

Final ThoughtsThis is one from the franchise that falls flat on its face, you get little tension through any scene and are left wondering why this got made.

 

Overall: Disappointing addition to a much loved franchise.

Rating