ABC Film Challenge – Action – I – In a Valley of Violence (2016)

Director: Ti West

Writer: Ti West (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone, Karen Gillan, Toby Huss


Plot: A mysterious stranger and a random act of violence drag a town of misfits and nitwits into the bloody crosshairs of revenge.

Tagline – Keep Your Finger on the Trigger

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: John Wick the Western


Story: In a Valley of Violence starts when lone drifter Paul (Hawke) rides into a remote town with his trusty dog Abby, trying to keep to himself he gets the town drunk Gilly (Ransone) gets involved in a fight, which Paul wins with one punch. This grabs the attention of the Marshal (Travolta) and father of Gilly, who gives him a chance to walk away no questions asked, no more trouble.

When Gilly and his men comes for Paul in the dead of night, they leave him with nothing and now he swears to break his promise of no more killing, one last time.


Thoughts on In a Valley of Violence


Characters – Paul is the former soldier, he has lost everything while in battle and is heading to Mexico with his horse and dog. When this is taken from him, this former soldier will go on to show his skills by tracking down the men in an act of revenge. Marshal is trying to keep the peace in the town even after his son’s actions, he gets caught in the middle of follow the law and protecting his son. Mary-Anne is one of two sisters in this town, she is one of the few people in town that is vocal of her dislike to Gilly and offers Paul a reminder of his own daughter.

PerformancesEthan Hawke is wonderful in this leading role, he gives us a performance we can believe as the lone drifter with skills that can leave any town running red. John Travolta is strong in his scenes which are seem rare but are a major part of the film. Taissa Farmiga is good even if her character doesn’t get enough to do out of the typical girl in the west.

StoryThe story does bottle down to a simple revenge movie, think John Wick the western and you have the story set up. We have the lone trained killer that takes out the people that have don him wrong. This is a simple and enjoyable style of storytelling, the pace makes the film fly by and will leave you wanting more.

Action/Crime/WesternThe gun slinging action is all good and fits the western style the film is taking on, we get a simple crime story which works for the film.

SettingsThe film takes place in just one singular location in this remote town in the wild west which keeps things contained for the story.

Special EffectsThe effects are used with the kills and are done nicely without being over the top.

Scene of the Movie –
The main street shoot out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The women characters are written bland.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good, blood filled action western film that is well worth watching, this is a good watch and has a strong performance from Hawke.


Overall: Good addition to the western genre.




ABC Film Challenge – Horror – Y – You’re Next (2011) (Revisited Spoiler Talk)

This is a Re-visited review, it will contain more spoilers that the normal review, to read the non-spoiler review click here

: Adam Wingard

Writer: Simon Barrett (Screenplay)

Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Margaret Laney, Amy Seimetz, Ti West


Plot: When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of the victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.

Tagline – Don’t bother locking the doors. Animals don’t use doors.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes


There will be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: One of the Best Modern Slasher


Story: You’re Next starts as we follow a couple that get butchered in their remote woodland house, with the window painted with the words ‘You’re Next’ in blood.

We then get to meet our main family, the Davison’s who are celebrating the parents Paul (Moran) and Aubrey (Crampton) 35th wedding anniversary, bring their kids and partners together, Erin (Vinson), Felix (Tucci), Zee (Glenn), Crispian (Bowen), Drake (Swanberg), Kelly (Laney), Aimee (Seimetz) and Tariq (West).

What starts as a family dinner filled with conversations which soon turn into an argument, the family comes under attack, we see how the family comes together to think of a solution to escape, which only leads to the first deaths. Erin shows a different side to her, unlike anything her partner Crispian has seen before, prepared for an attack or at least to defend herself from attackers.

The family is now facing enemies, the number is unknown to them and we need to whittle the cast down a little bit more too, so bring us in the bad decision character, Kelly who runs out into the dark woods surrounding the house screaming for help, this moment feels designed to show us what the killers are capable off, not picking between the men or the women, just looking for the kills.

Continuing to show a darker side Erin sets up the remaining family members to defend themselves, while showing she can put up a fight by being the first to kill one of the killers after he breaks into the home.

We now know just what the killers and Erin are capable off, but a twist changes everything as one of the family members is behind the attack, the only one that is capable of fighting back is Erin and our new hero icon is born.


Thoughts on You’re Next


Characters – Erin comes off as the girl next door time, former TA to her boyfriend in her final year of her master’s degree, being an Australian actress, we keep this trait for her character too which brings in to the conversation at the dinner part of the film. when the attack starts, her training comes first nature as she looks to defend the family from the attacks, her skills for surviving were not known by anyone in the family before tonight.

Felix is one of the brother’s in the family he isn’t the best at combat and like all siblings argues with the others, he is the one that is behind the attack wanting the inheritance money from his family, Zee is the girlfriend of Felix, in on the plan, waiting for her time to get involved, we have her around a lot, but we don’t see her do much. Crispian is the boyfriend of Erin, the one that bought her to the party, seemingly the eldest brother and the one that disappears through the film, always feeling shady. The rest of the siblings and partners are used for the basic kills to show us just how the killers operate, as are the parents. The killers themselves in a Lamb, Tiger and Fox mask fill the menace required showing zero moments of hesitation when it comes to aiming for the kill.

PerformancesSharni Vinson is fantastic in this leading role, she takes over the mantel of the lone survivor in a horror film, kicks ass throughout the film, she is the true star of this film. when we start looking at the rest of the cast they all know exactly how to play their roles without taking away from the leading lady.

StoryThe story follows a family coming together for a wedding anniversary party only to come under attack from an unknown group of attacks them, it follows the panic and takes a twist which turns the tables on the attackers, with the deadliest threat being one of the members of the house. We do get the bad decisions which comes from the disposable characters which does give us the chance to see the kills impact and we do get a twist along the way about who the attackers are. For the slasher genre this breathed new life into the sub-genre and makes us want to see where the director/writer will go next.

HorrorThe horror elements of the film show us the killers getting the kills which are filled with blood and certain ones are original and will make you remember them, let talk the blender.

SettingsThe film is set in the simple location of one house in the middle of the woods, there is a walkable neighbour, though it does dispose of the people in that house in the opening sequence, which gives us the isolation needed for the attack to take place in.

Special EffectsThe effects used for the film are great, we have unique looking kills which will be ones that you do remember once the film has finished, see the blender again.

Scene of the Movie –
The blender, you will understand why.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The disposable characters while used to show the killers make the annoying mistakes.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best modern slasher movies out there, it can be enjoyed by horror fans, it has blood, gore and twist galore.


Overall: Must watch horror movie.




ABC Film Challenge – Romance – D – Drinking Buddies (2013)

Director: Joe Swanberg

Writer: Joe Swanberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston, Ti West, Jason Sudeikis


Plot: Luke and Kate are coworkers at a brewery who spend their nights drinking and flirting heavily. One weekend away together with their significant others proves who really belongs together and who doesn’t.

Tagline – A comedy about knowing when to say when.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Comedy Goes on Too Long


Story: Drinking Buddies starts as we meet the co-workers from the brewery Kate (Wilde) and Luke (Johnson) who get along in and out of work, they enjoy a drink together, but both have their own relationship, Luke with teacher Jill (Kendrick) and Kate with Chris (Livingston).

The two couple decide to go away for a weekend together where the relationships will be tested and we get to see just who has feelings for who between the four.


Thoughts on Drinking Buddies


Characters – Kate is the PR woman at the brewery, she hangs out with the guys drinking after work, she is in the early stages of a relationship but doesn’t have much planned from it. Luke is the co-worker that is closest to Kate, he has been in a long-term relationship but avoiding the marriage conversation. Jill is Luke’s partner, a teacher that doesn’t enjoy drinking as much as Luke and wonders what could have been from her life.

PerformancesOlivia Wilde is good in this role, she can play the free spirit that is needed well and work well with Jake Johnson that handles the comic moments well. Anna Kendrick is good as the girlfriend, you believe her in the more serious situation of the film.

StoryThe story focuses on two co-workers that enjoy drinking but have their own relationship, we see how when time goes by the relationships become strained and their own feelings become much clearer, there isn’t too much more in this story, it is trying to show us everyday problems that everyday people might have.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy comes off well for the most part, with most part being improv that relies on the actor’s abilities.

SettingsThe film keeps us looking in the everyday locations which shows us how lives can change so quickly.

Scene of the Movie –
Drinking on the beach

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does drag in the second half of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that uses the idea of everyday life with relationship both romantic and with co-workers, argument can cause problems, but friends will always find a way to make up.


Overall: Simple comedy that isn’t the most inspiring.




The Sacrament (2013)

logoDirector: Ti West

Writer: Ti West (Screenplay)

Starring: Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Kate Lyn Sheil, AJ Bowan, Shawn Parsons, Gene Jones, Kentucker Audley, Donna Biscoe, Derek Roberts


Plot: A news team trails a man as he travels to an undisclosed location to find his missing sister. Upon entering “Eden Parish” and meeting the community’s leader, it becomes apparent to the newcomers that this paradise may not be as it seems.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Cult, Bang, Wallop


Story: The Sacrament starts by tell us about a small new team who get a story about a missing sister Caroline (Seimetz). We get plenty of information that tells the basic outline of the missing person story as well as meeting the crew of journalists who will be joining Patrick (Audley) on the trip to the community to which she is now a part of. The group arrive at the mysterious Eden Parish to a hostile welcome before Caroline brings them all in.

The team start to try and interview people who are part of the community trying to understand what it is all about. They meet a range of different aged and ethnic backgrounds all praising the Father (Jones). While everyone seems to be enjoying their time at the community a few people leave the journalists questioning how good everything really is. They get to have an interview with the mysterious Father where the question got avoided and reflected back upon the journalists. When one of the members of the community gives the journalists a note asking them for help they discover what is really happening on the site and end up in a race against time to save their own lives.interview

The Sacrament takes the found footage film idea and shows you how to film it well. We do mix between found footage and normal footage too, but with the found footage there is a minimum shaky camera work going on as everything is set out to create an interview. We also have the cult film that we have seen plenty of times but this does end up taking that idea and turn in on its head again. This story builds up nicely and shows how easily people will join these type of communities but the highlight of the whole film is that it is film like it really happened with the information at the start and at the end. (8/10)


Actor Review


Joe Swanberg: Jake cameraman who is on the trip shooting most of it in the found footage feeling. He has to save his friend after he gets captured once everything goes down. Joe gives a solid performance with most of his time stuck behind the camera. (6/10)


Amy Seimetz: Caroline the girl they group have come to locate only to find she is a happy resident of the community. Amy gives a good performance as part of the cult who believes in everything she has heard. (8/10)


AJ Bowan: Sam journalist who is on front of the camera trying to ask the questions that will help them understand the community. AJ gives a good performance and convinces as an ambitious journalist. (8/10)


Gene Jones: Father the leader of community who seems to be able to get anybody to listen to them. Gene gives a good performance as anything he says makes everyone freeze and listen to him. (8/10)


Support Cast: The Sacrament’s support cast is members of the community some are happy while some are not, each one convinces and helps with the story.


Director Review: Ti West – Ti does a great job directing a film that ends up having a feel of a real life documentary that is very shocking, even through the ends credits. (9/10)


Horror: The Sacrament creates an interesting horror idea that shows the journalist trapped but as the story turns into a horrific race to survive. (7/10)

Thriller: The Sacrament builds up the tension to what will happen and then sends it into a direction we didn’t see. (8/10)

Settings: The Sacrament creates a brilliant horror isolation setting showing the community and the way they live very well. (10/10)

Suggestion: The Sacrament is one for all the horror fans out there to watch and enjoy. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: The whole idea that it is filmed like a complete story that doesn’t end once the credits starts.

Worst Part: The implosion of the community seems sudden.


Believability: This could well happen with communities like this. (6/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Awards: Ti West won Syfy Jury Prize at Gerardmer Film Festival

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: Live as one. Die as one.


Overall: Found Footage Done Well

Rating 79

You’re Next (2011)

logoDirector: Adam Wingard

Writer: Simon Barrett (Screenplay)

Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowan, Joe Swanberg, Amy Sienmetz, Ti West, Rob Moran


Plot: When the Davidson family go away on a wedding anniversary celebration the family comes under attack from a gang of mysterious killers. The killers are left surprised when it turns out one member of the family has a secret talent for fighting back.


The Family

The Family

Verdict: The return of the smart slasher?

Story: What seems like a typical home invasion film takes some very good twists and turns along the way. The family is great showing how even though they are together not everything is perfect. The invasion itself shows how panic can cause stupid choices while our heroine keeps everything and everyone together. With a string of different kills that, many will stick with you as memorable ones. This just goes to show that even though you know someone they care still capable of surprising you. (9/10)


Actor Review: Sharni Vinson – Erin the girlfriend of one of the brothers in the family, has a secret not even he knows about. This is a great performance that will be able to add herself to horror heroines with. Sharni has come a long way since her Home & Away days and with this we could have the next generations leading lady of horror. Star Performance Award, Breakout Performance Award, Kick Ass Award (10/10)


Director Review: Adam WingardFollowing up from V/H/S success this final get a release and much like Cabin in the Woods I don’t know why it got held up after all the awful horrors of recent years. This is great direction from start to finish and I do have to say I liked the inclusion of the shaky camera while the panic hit. (9/10)


Horror: This will go down as the best blood soaked horror of the year (10/10)

One of the Killers

One of the Killers

Thriller: Keeps you at the edge of your seat wonder who and how people will go. The highlight example of this is when Aimee is planning on running for help, you could cut the tension with a knife. (9/10)

Special Effects: A string of great effects used in the kills. (9/10)

Believability: The story itself about the home invasion could be very real but the twists and turns not so. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: (0/10)

Settings: Trapped in a house in the country creates a great setting for this film, filling in the isolation side of the genre. (10/10)

Suggestion: This is a must for all horror fans simple as that, the more non-horror fans will not enjoy this but in time this could end up being this generations Halloween, Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street, so don’t miss the chance to say you saw it. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: Erin’s first kill

Worst Part: The screaming during the first invasion gets annoying.

Action Scene Of The Film: The final fight

Kill Of The Film: Blender

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes the credits leave it open to what happens next.


Overall: Modern Horror that has to be seen

Rating 87