Franchise Weekend – Messengers 2: The Scarecrow (2009)

Director: Martin Barnewitz

Writer: Todd Farmer (Screenplay)

Starring: Norman Reedus, Heather Stephens, Claire Holt, Richard Riehle, Darcy Fowers

 

Plot: Doing what he believes must be done in order to save his family and livelihood, farmer John Rollins places an odd scarecrow among his crops and promptly reaps the benefits. The thing is, his luck probably won’t last for long.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Better Built In Story

 

Story: The Messengers 2: The Scarecrow starts by following the family that previously lived in the house, the Rollins, John (Reedus), Mary (Stephens) along with their children Lindsey (Holt) and Michael. We the family is struggling to make ends meet and to get the crop to flourish.

Searching for a way to rib the land of the crows, John finds an old scarecrow with a strange look and decides to use it on his field. When the scarecrow works killing all of the crows, John starts to change and his family notices these changes becoming scared of him.

 

Thoughts on The Messengers 2: The Scarecrow

 

Characters/PerformanceJohn finds his life crashing around him, his farm failing, his marriage falling apart and his money almost gone, but when he puts up a scarecrow his luck changes for the better, at first. Mary is the wife ready to walk away from John with the children. Lindsey is the daughter that clearly wants out of the town, that is about her character.

Performance wise, Normal Reedus does a solid job in the leading role without reaching the levels we know of him now in the Walking Dead, but it would be fair to say the women are written poorly which then shows in their bang average performances.

StoryThe story is a prequel to the first film but it also doesn’t have any real connection other than being set on the farm and the character names. Looking away from that problem, you will find this film having a much better story because it followers the struggling farmer that finds himself having his life controlled by a scarecrow. Sure, there is a human factor to this too as we see him deal with his own problems at home too. The story does feel a lot better and more engaging than the first film.

HorrorThe horror side of the film is slightly improved but we never find ourselves feeling terrified by any of the events in the film.

SettingsThe horror all happens on the farm which is good and all we need from the direction the story goes.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all simple and used to the effects required for the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good follow up but we kind of know how the film will end thanks to the original but the mythology behind it all comes off nicer.

 

Overall: Solid sequel but average film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Messengers (2007)

Director: Danny Pang, Oxide Chun Pang

Writer: Mark Wheaton (Screenplay) Todd Farmer (Story)

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, John Corbett, William B Davis

 

Plot: An ominous darkness invades a seemingly serene sunflower farm in North Dakota, and the Solomon family is torn apart by suspicion, mayhem and murder.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easily Forgettable

 

Story: The Messengers starts as Solomon family Roy (McDermott), Denise (Miller), daughter Jess (Stewart) and baby Ben move to a farm house which has been abandoned for years after a serious of horrific events.

It doesn’t take long before Jess discovers ghostly figures attracted to Ben but they are never around when her parents are around, turning to the farm hand Burwell (Corbett) she learns more about what could cause everything but just how much danger is the family in?

 

Thoughts on The Messengers

 

Characters/PerformanceRoy has struggled for work to supporting his family for a couple of years and will do everything to make this new home work for them, Denise is the wife that is struggling to connect with their daughter the way they once did. Jess is the teenage daughter that must live with an accident she caused but finds herself distant from her parents.

Performance wise, you can see here just how far Stewart has come because she does struggle in the leading role here but now she can give us powerhouse performances like Personal Shopper, the rest of the cast are fine but nothing more.

StoryThe story is simple, a family looking for fresh start must deal with their demons to bring the divide in the family back together while dealing with a supernatural presence in the new home. This isn’t very original and does get slightly stuck between supernatural and real events never giving us a reason why the supernatural side happens in the first place.

Horror/Mystery The horror is mostly stuff running around behind the characters and lazy jump scares, the mystery is mostly about what happened before and why is it happening again.

SettingsMost of the film or at least the horror elements take place on the farm house which I guess does work for the film.

Special EffectsThe special effects are mostly weak throughout leaving us to not believe too much of what we see.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple, easy to watch horror mystery, it doesn’t test you enough on the horror or mystery side of things though.

 

Overall: Lacklustre horror mystery.

Rating

 

 

Cheap Thrills (2013)

logoDirector: E.L. Katz

Writer: David Chirchirillo, Trent Haaga (Screenplay)

Starring: Pat Healy, Sara Paxton, Ethan Embry, David Koechner, Amanda Fuller, Laura Covelli, Todd Farmer

 

Plot: A scheming couple put a struggling family man and his old friend through a series of increasingly twisted dares over the course of an evening at a local bar.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: How Far Would You Go?

 

Story: Cheap Thrills starts by introducing us to one of our protagonist Craig (Healy) a man running low on money who is trying to keep his wife and baby happy with a roof over their heads. When his day doesn’t go as planned he loses his job he goes for a couple of drinks and has a chance meeting with an old friend Vince (Embry). The two have a catch up before joining couple Colin (Koechner) and Violet (Paxton) who flash around their money which leads to the start of a daring game for the money between the friends.

The game starts out harmless with dares to drink a shot first or slap a striper ass all seems like harmless fun. When the four ends up back and Craig and Violet’s apartment the games get upped to the next level. The two friends discover the couple have a planned to find two people desperate for money that they can make do anything for money for entertainment.

Cheap Thrills offers up the sort of question I love to see in films, how far would you go for the money? This is ultimately the point in this film the story really doesn’t push us to any limits past that, but it does have it deeper moments when you look at the different paths the two men who start off a friends have taken. The film only focuses on the four people which lets us develop them and seeing how far things go and with a shock ending which will stun this is a solid little story. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Pat Healy: Craig Daniels family man who is struggling with his money who loses his job and tries to drown is pain in some drinks, where he meets an old friend before finding a couple that make him an offer he can’t refuses for a little extra money. Pat does a good job as the desperate man. (7/10)

 craig

Sara Paxton: Violet it is her birthday that the couple are celebrating with their dare game for the old friends. She comes off quiet but she is really just like her husband. Sara does a solid job but with her character sometimes falling into the background I feel we could have seen more from her. (6/10)

paxton

Ethan Embry: Vince the old friend of Craig’s who is more into the idea of the game and shows the difference between the two friends. Ethan does a good job as the more streetwise of the two friends. (7/10)

 

David Koechner: Colin the ring leader of the game who keeps things fresh with each of his twisted ideas. David does a good job with his strong charisma. (7/10)

 colin

Support Cast: Cheap Thrills doesn’t really have too many supporting characters we have a couple of opening scenes in a bar and strip club along with Craig’s wife who really don’t offer anything to what they do.

 

Director Review: E.L. Katz – He does a good job creating an interesting question film that goes in a few different directions. (7/10)

 

Comedy: Cheap Thrills has a few laughs but isn’t laugh out loud funny. (4/10)

Thriller: Cheap Thrills starts of slowly with its thrills before getting intense when things take a slightly different direction when we learn how much is up for grabs. (7/10)

Settings: Cheap Thrills uses very few settings and they are used well because the bar shows them and where they are in life, while the house shows how money can change everything they have done. (10/10)

Suggestion: Cheap Thrills is worth giving a go, it is interesting and shows how far people could go. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The Finger scene.

Worst Part: The Dog Scene

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: It could

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Budget: $200,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: What doesn’t kill you makes you richer.

 

Overall: Money Talks to the Desperate

Rating 70

Jason X (2001)

logoDirector: Jim Isaac

Writer: Todd Farmer (Screenplay) Victor Miller (Characters)

Starring: Kane Hodder, Lexa Doig, Markus Potts, Jonathan Potts, Lisa Ryder, Peter Mensah

 

Plot: Jason Voorhees (Hodder) has been captured and put in Crystal Lake research facility run by Rowan (Doig). When he breaks free Jason and Rowan get put into cryogenic status. Fast forward 455 years and a scientific research team led by Professor Lowe (Potts) who find the room where they are frozen and bring both back on to the space ship. When Rowan is brought back to the land of the living it doesn’t take Jason long to wake up and go on a rampage on the spaceship before getting an upgrade.

 uber jason

Verdict: Space slasher but at least it is original

Story: Sometime horror film get slammed for not being original, this is one thing this can’t be slammed for. When it comes to story it is just Jason doing what he does best taking large body counts. The unique setting for a slasher does help in the story as we get to use technology ideas that can only be part of the imagination at this present time. Having an upgrade unstoppable Jason takes away his iconic status but also tries to create a new horror icon at the same time. (7/10)

 

Actor Review: Kane Hodder – Jason the unstoppable force is back but this time he gets an upgrade. Hodder is one of the most famous actors to play Jason and this is his last outing, he does a good job with his dominance on screen. Iconic Performance Award, Scariest Character Award (9/10)

 jason

Actor Review: Lexa Doig – Rowan the lady in charge of trying to kill Jason before getting frozen to the future. Good lead role showing good leadership which otherwise is lacking on the ship. (8/10)

rowan

Actor Review: Markus Potts – Greedy professor that would rather make money than look after his student’s safety. The performance is everything to the norm when it comes to being the greedy guy on a ship. (5/10)

 

Actor Review: Lisa Ryder – Kay-Em 14 a robot who takes down the original Jason after an upgrade of her own. Good performance has some very funny lines and is one character that kicks ass. (8/10)

 kay

Director Review: Jim Isaac – It would be fair to say this is his most successful film to date and he does create a fun take on a chilling franchise but makes too much fun happen. (7/10)

Horror: Not too scary but has a claustrophobic atmosphere. (6/10)

Sci-Fi: Basic use of sci-fi in a future world. (7/10)

Special Effects: Some good special effects including some well-played out kill scenes. (8/10)

Believability: Set in the future on a space ship could happen, but you never know. (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: spaceship in the middle of space with a killer good for a horror, but not what we are used too for Jason. (8/10)

 

Suggestion: Guilty pleasure time this is one film that you just have to watch for its outside the box thinking to a routine horror film. It is one that would come under the bracket, it is bad but you have to see how bad. Saying that if it was a stand-alone film it would be an interesting watch as it is slasher in space. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Jason gets an upgrade.

Worst Part: Too many cheesy one liners for a horror film.

Action Scene of the Film: Kay-Em 14 v Jason

Kill Of The Film: Adrienne, it is early but you will remember it.

Trivia: Jason X was the first Friday The 13th to be rated 15 in UK

Oscar Chances: None

Chances of Sequel: Franchise killer.

Similar Too: Leprechaun in Space

 

Overall: Easy to watch fun Friday the 13th film

 

Rating 79%

My Bloody Valentine (2009)

posterDirector: Patrick Lussier

Writer: Todd Farmer, Zane Smith (Screenplay)

John Beaird (1981 Screenplay)

Stephen A. Miller (1981 Story)

 

Starring: Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith, Betsy Rue, Edi Gathegi, Tom Atkins, Kevin Tighe.

Story: When Tom (Ackles From TVs Supernatural) returns to his home town tens years after a Valentine’s day massacre which claimed the lives of 22 people he finds himself in role of suspect. When people around town start to get killed by someone in a miners outfit similar to the original murderer tensions rise secrets revealed and a guessing game on who is now committing the crimes starts.

Verdict

Horror: When you see the term horror remake you usually start to think the worse (see Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th). This one comes off very well as the slasher horror genre had been struggling with the new found footage generation or torture porn fans take over the market. For a classic who is in the mask film this is a good watch for all horror fans. (8/10)

Special Effects: Some very good special effects using the 3D technology. Some of the kills are nicely done using some very good effects most notable one victim eats a shovel. (9/10)

Costume: An imposing villain wearing a miner’s outfit intimidating most of his victims (8/10)

Settings: Set in a small mining town adds a nice touch to a real story potential having come from it (8/10)

Suggestion: I would suggest this to all horror fans but it may not be the best for non-horror fans. (7/10)

Best Part: The opening killing spree is very good along with the reveal on who the miner is

Worst Part: Lack of development of characters who seem to get five minutes and killed off

Star Performance: Kerr Smith

Favourite Character: Tom

Least Favourite Character: Megan

Trivia: The first R-rated film projected in Real D technology

Similar Too: Halloween, Friday 13th

Overall: When it comes to good slashers this is one of them well worth a watch. It is good to see one of the Supernatural boys stepping out the show and making a role where he doesn’t know all about what going on. Some nice kills, good younger cast who make the situation believable.

Rating 78%