The Glass House (2001)

glassDirector: Daniel Sackheim

Writer: Wesley Strick (Screenplay)

Starring: Leelee Sobieski, Diane Lane, Stellan Skarsgard, Bruce Dern, Kathy Baker, Trevor Morgan, Chris North

 

Plot: An orphaned teenager is taken in by a Malibu couple but discovers they aren’t the caring friends they seemed to be.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Solid Thriller

 

Story: The Glass House starts as high school student Ruby Baker (Sobieski) and her younger brother Rhett (Morgan) lose their parents in a car accident they find themselves orphaned and having to move into the Glass household with Erin (Lane) and Terry (Skarsgard).

After spending time with the family Ruby starts to suspect something strange going on with the Glass family and that they have an alternative motive for wanting to take the orphaned children in.

The Glass House is a thriller that does follow the ABC ideas of most of these domestic thrillers where the eldest child has to prove their new guardians are not who they thought they could be even if they have trick the others into believe they are good and all the people that are important. The problem here is that this is nothing overly fresh, it also doesn’t push any of the boundaries needed for the thriller side of the story. it all just becomes extreme average as easily forgettable.

 

Overall: Basic thriller that just doesn’t hit any of the good marks needed in a true thriller.

Rating45

 

 

The Loft (2014)

loftDirector: Erik Van Looy

Writer: Wesley Strick (Screenplay) Bart De Pauw (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Isabel Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Rhone Mitra, Valerie Cruz, Kali Rocha, Elaine Cassidy

 

Plot: Five married guys conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city–a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Who Dun It?

 

Story: The Loft starts with Vincent (Urban) being questioned by the police where he has to explain the events from within the Loft. Luke (Miller) returns to the loft where he finds a dead body of a girl in the apartment. We continue to meet the rest of the friends who pay for the loft Chris (Marsden), Marty (Stonestreet) and Philip (Schoenaerts).  We flashback to a year ago when the men use the loft and the agreement they all end up being able to use the loft whenever they want.

We flash between the beginnings of the loft as the guys enjoy the idea of being able to cheat on their wives without having to get caught. The surprises they uncover from the loft about which one of them killed the girl in the loft and the police investigation about what really happened.guys

The Loft gives us a massive who dun it story going on between friends, saying this it is annoying having to jump between the time lines. Another part of this film that really disappoints is the final reveal as we have no idea while the characters involved know where the story is going. This story is a bad example for how to act while married with all the men just looking to cheat on their wives. The story does have plenty of twists for us the audience to watch unfold but I do feel the re-watch value is going to be weak.

 

Actor Review

 

Karl Urban: Vincent is the architect that has designed the building and came up with the idea between the friends to have the loft. He has been controlling what is happening with his rules, he can have any woman who gives him a glance but this time it is his flame that could expose all the men. Karl is good in this role which is full of his charm throughout.

James Marsden: Chris is a doctor who is one of the guys who owns a key to the loft, he falls for a woman while leaving his wife at home as well as having to deal with his aggressive step-brother who is also a member of the loft. James is good even if we would have liked to have seen slightly more from his character.

Wentworth Miller: Luke is a member of the exclusive group that can use the loft, he never wants to cheat on his while in the loft. He is the one that finds the body while has his own secret up his selves. Wentworth is good as we don’t fully know enough about his character but for a good reason.

Eric Stonestreet: Marty is the loud mouth of the group, he always ends up biting off more than he can chew and could easily be the one that spills the beans. Eric is good in this role because we see him as the bumbling character.

Matthias Schoenaerts: Philip is the aggressive step-brother of Chris who marries into a rich family but has a drug problem which could also expose the truth. Matthias brings the aggressive character to the table which works next to the calmer characters in the leading role.

Support Cast: The Loft has a supporting cast which mostly includes the wives and girlfriends of the characters involved in being part of the loft.

Director Review: Erik Van LooyErik gives us a good mystery thriller that keeps us guessing throughout.

 

Mystery: The Loft keeps us guessing throughout the film as we wonder who actually is responsible for the death.

Romance: The Loft shows the dark side of love with cheats on loved ones.

Thriller: The Loft makes you wonder what happened to the characters involved.

Settings: The Loft puts one part of the story in the loft as the group figure out what happened while the rest are involved with how the characters got to the stage we find them in.

Suggestion: The Loft is one to try it might be on to enjoy but it isn’t a classic. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Mystery

Worst Part: By the end you will question certain parts of the film.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $14 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Tagline: The right place to do wrong

 

Overall: Mystery thriller that keeps us wondering from start to finish even with a nap in the middle.

Ratingcard

Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

logoDirector: Samuel Bayer

Writer: Wesley Strick, Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) Wesley Strick (Story) Wes Craven (Characters)

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz, Clancy Brown, Connie Britton

 

Plot: The spectre of a dead child rapist haunts the children of the parents who murdered him, stalking and killing them in their dreams.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Remake Deserves Better Praise

 

Story: A Nightmare on Elm Street starts by taking us back to Springwood and puts us into a nightmare of Dean Russell (Lutz) where he meets Freddy Krueger (Haley) before waking up and introducing to all the characters, Nancy (Mara) working in the diner Kris (Cassidy), Quentin (Gallner) and Jesse (Dekker). Continuing the opening sequence we see Dean fall back asleep and it is here where Freddy takes his first victim.

We start to see the side effects of the death of Dean as Kris starts to try and learn about why she was in photos as a young girl with Dean and never remembers being friends with him at that age. The friends all start having the nightmares about Freddy and the friends have to try and find a way to stay alive. The truth about who Freddy is takes a different turn this time around which brings the connection to him a lot closer to home for our characters.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a re-imaging of what can only be put as a classic, people slammed this movie right left and centre. I have gone through all of the Elm Street films in a week and I can safely say this remake deserves higher praise that what it got. The film doesn’t waste too much time explaining about Freddy but instead looks into the idea that the children actually have a connection with Freddy before he is killed. I also liked the idea that the story teases the idea that Freddy could have been innocent. On the negative side of this we lose the serial killer side downgrading Freddy to child molester (which I know is still bad but he doesn’t have the same level of threat). We do end up having a couple of similar deaths which doesn’t seem to fit the idea of the re-creation, we also have re-hashed lines that don’t fit the situation. I also hated the final scene but both films use this to make us question everything we have seen. Overall the story does give us new ideas but it is the ideas of repeating older storylines ruining the idea of a re-imagination. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Jackie Earle Haley: Freddy Krueger is the serial killer from our teenager’s dreams he is darker than previous outing but still possess his sinister laugh. We learn what happened to Freddy but what is much more interesting in this outing is we get teased about his potential innocence. Jackie does a good job in the role bringing a new darker style to the icon. (7/10)

 freddy

Kyle Gallner: Quentin Smith is the fellow student who has a crush on Nancy and as Freddy starts taking his victims he ends up working with her to save themselves before it is too late. Kyle does a solid job in the role but doesn’t really shine to the level required. (5/10)

quentin

Rooney Mara: Nancy Holbrook is our leading lady who works with Quentin to try and save herself from Freddy, she digs into the past to learn the terrifying truth about who Freddy really is. Rooney has openly admitted she did this role for the money and you can see in her performance because we all know the potential she has. (5/10)

 nancy

Katie Cassidy: Kris Fowles is the false lead in the film much like the original had who starts getting visions of Freddy but most importantly starts putting together the connection between her and her friends at a younger age. Katie gives a solid performance continuing her horror trend as a victim. (6/10)

 kris

Thomas Dekker: Jesse Braun is the teenager who is left to be responsible for the killing of Kris even though we see he had nothing to do with it. Jesse helps pass on the message about what is happen to Nancy before being killed. Thomas does a solid job but never really gets enough time on screen to make an impact. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: A Nightmare on Elm Street has a supporting cast that includes the parents that are covering up the secret and for the most part that is all we have as extra cast members.

 

Director Review: Samuel Bayer – Samuel does a solid job directing bringing a new approach to a much loved film which works in places but not in others. (6/10)

 

Horror: A Nightmare on Elm Street brings a creepy darker side to the story but struggles to reach any real scare levels. (7/10)

Mystery: A Nightmare on Elm Street adds in a mystery angle about the connection between the children and Freddy. (9/10)

Thriller: A Nightmare on Elm Street keeps you guessing to what the connection is because it goes in a different direction that we have seen previously. (7/10)

Settings: A Nightmare on Elm Street keeps the settings similar to what we would expect to see and have seen before adding to the horror levels. (7/10)
Special Effects
: A Nightmare on Elm Street uses good effects to create the nightmare sequences and Freddy make up. (8/10)

Suggestion: A Nightmare on Elm Street is one to try, I know people love the original and will always compare it but as a stand-alone movie this is actually a solid horror film. (Horror Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Teasing the idea of the innocent Freddy.

Worst Part: Showing us he wasn’t innocent.

Kill Of The Film: Dean because it is the only original one.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $115 Million

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: Never Sleep Again.

Trivia: Johnny Depp accompanied his friend Jackie Earle Haley to auditions for A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Instead of Haley being chosen for a role, it was Depp who was spotted by director Wes Craven, who asked him if he would like to read for a part. Depp got a part in that film, Haley didn’t, but Haley would go on to play Freddy in this remake 26 years later.

 

Overall: A brave re-imagination that brings new ideas to the franchise while still using the older ones, better than people give it credit for but no classic.

Rating 75

Arachnophobia (1990)

logoDirector: Frank Marshall

Writer: Don Jakoby, Wesley Strick (Screenplay) Don Jakoby, Al Williams (Story)

Starring: Jeff Daniels, Harley Jane Kozak, John Goodman, Julian Sands, Stuart Pankin, Brian McNamara, Mark L Taylor

Plot: A species of South American killer spider hitches a lift to the U.S. in a coffin and starts to breed and kill.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Creature Feature

Story: Arachnophobia starts with Doctor Atherton (Sands) has he searches South America for a potential new species of bug or spider. When the expedition discovers a new spider it ends up being the photographer who gets bitten which the bite becomes deadly killing him instantly. The body just s happens to get flown back to America and this small town where one of the spiders catches a ride.

Next we meet the Jennings family Dr Ross (Daniels), Molly (Kozak) Tommy ad Shelly who are moving into a new house in the small town right next to where the spider gets lose. Dr Ross has moved down to get all the patients but the out going Doctor decides to postpone his retirement make the family move even more difficult. As time goes by the spider breeds with the local population and this small town starts to get over run with these killer spiders.

When one of the neighbours dies suddenly Ross’ time settling is has become difficult, with the out going doctor refuses to leave and even branding him for the death of his only patients. When the out going doctor dies of a spider bite Ross finally get the power he needs to investigate the mysterious deaths. Ross does his research getting Doctor Atherton to look into the deaths, exterminator Delbert McClintock (Goodman) could be the towns only hope from the problem.

Arachnophobia is what you always want to see when you hear the words creature features. It is filled with your generic characters that all make the story unfold easily, it fills the horror creature idea which is easy to do building the horror needed because everything comes off with the idea being simple with the addition of new species in a new environment. It is going to be 25 years old this year old and hasn’t aged a day. This will be a good story for any horror director to use that keeps everything simple showing how creature features should be done. (7/10)

Actor Review

Jeff Daniels: Dr Ross Jennings is the new doctor for the small town, he has a massive fear of spiders. He moves to the small town to take over the doctor surgery but when the out going doctor changes his mind, he ends up struggling to gain the patient list. After a couple of sudden deaths in the town he wants to investigate only to find out there is a new species of spider in the town and it is deadly. He must face his fears and win over the town from the deadly spiders. Jeff gives a good performance showing he has the comic ability without being a full comedy. (8/10)ross

Harley Jane Kozak: Molly Jennings is the wife of Ross who has given up her successful job to move to the country, she is the spider catcher in the house hold. Harley does a solid job in the supporting role but never seems to get enough screen time. (6/10)

John Goodman: Delbert McClintock is the town exterminator who gets bought into try and solve the problem, he is no nonsense and kind of enjoys killing any pests. John pretty much steals the show with his supporting role that is the funniest character in the film. (7/10)debert

Julian Sands: Doctor James Atherton is the scientist who discovers the spider in South America, he is studying the new species back home in America but unaware that one of the spiders escaped back with a dead body. He has to come to the small town to help figure out how to stop the spiders from taking over. Julian fills the smarter character role perfectly. (7/10)atherton

Support Cast: Arachnophobia is filled with the generic towns people that all add to the overall story.

Director Review: Frank MarshallFrank manages to give us a good creature feature that is filled with good tension. (7/10)

Comedy: Arachnophobia isn’t a full blown comedy but doesn’t take itself too serious. (7/10)

Horror: Arachnophobia puts our characters in a good horror situation where everything is coming up in everyday life. (7/10)

Thriller: Arachnophobia keeps us guessing about who will get killed next. (7/10)

Settings: Arachnophobia puts most of the action in a small town which helps show of the spread of the spiders will cause the problems. (9/10)

Suggestion: Arachnophobia is one for all the fans of the creature feature fans will enjoy. (Creature Feature Fans Watch)

Best Part: Final battle.

Worst Part: PG rating is the weakness.

Action Scene Of The Film: Ross v the King & Queen.

Funniest Scene: Most of Delbert’s scenes.

Believability: It could happen but not to this level. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $53 Million

Budget: $31 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

Tagline: Eight legs, two fangs and an attitude.

Overall: This is pure creature feature fun that will keep you entertained throughout.

Rating75

Wolf (1994)

logoDirector: Mike Nichols

Writer: Jim Harrison, Wesley Strick (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Kate Nelligan, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Plummer, Eileen Atkins, Om Puri, David Hyde Pierce

 

Plot: Will Randall (Nicholson) a senior publisher who is being pushed out of the company and replaced by a new young hungry Stewart Swinton (Spader). One night he gets bitten by a wolf and over time he starts to notice improvement in his sense. Will slowly turning into a werewolf must fight to keep his job.

 

Verdict: A serious werewolf film

Story: Blending the world of business with the dissention into the unknown this time turning into a werewolf together works to make a very interesting story. On the business side we get to see how cut throat certain parts of it are, while the werewolf side we get to see how it starts slowly with not knowing what happened until it turns into something very serious. (8/10)

 

Actor Review: Jack Nicholson – Will the senior publisher who gets bitten by a wolf. Jack does a great job here doing what he does best playing a role were he thinks he knows what is going on but something changes everything and leaves him questioning his own sanity. (9/10)

 jack

Actor Review: Michele Pfeiffer – Laura daughter of Will’s boss and love interest also tries to help Will with proving his sanity. Michelle does a good job in the role and with her devilish twist at the end completes her characters. (8/10)

michelle

Actor Review: James Spader – Stewart the young ambition publisher who takes Will’s job, before he starts to fight back for it. Good performance in what is a very genetic role. (7/10)

 spader

Director Review: Mike Nichols – With a string of hits to his names he shows how good a director he is here with one of the best werewolf films I have seen. (9/10)

 

Horror: It isn’t the scariest horror film that you will see. (7/10)

Romance: The romance feels a bit forced throughout but the end makes sense of it. (7/10)

Special Effects: Simple but good effects in the wolf creations. (8/10)

Believability: The business world side is believable while the wolf side is not. (2/10)

Chances of Tears: (0/10)

Settings: New York being the prime setting makes a good take on the werewolf story but being a much more serious version of American Werewolf In London. (9/10)

Suggestion: Werewolf films are few and far between and a good one is even rarer. This is a good one so you werewolf fans out there make sure you have seen this one. The story is actually a good drama that doesn’t offer any scares so the human aspect of the change is well worth a watch to. If you don’t have an interest in werewolf genre you won’t like this. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Werewolf fight at the end.

Worst Part: it may be considered slow for the now generation of horror.

Action Scene Of The Film: Werewolf fight

Kill Of The Film: Street thugs.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: No need to have one.

Similar Too: American Werewolf In London

 

Overall: A good werewolf film that is the first I have seen that is purely about the serious side of the outcome.

Rating 76