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Wednesday, June 13, 2018


When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry.

Starring: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, and Gabriel Byrne

Written and directed by: Ari Aster

  Alright, no messing around with recaps or sarcastic openings this time! I’m going to dive right into this review because apparently I’m in the minority on “Hereditary.” It seems like this movie is getting a lot of love, and I just don’t see it. No, it’s not a bad movie, but it just didn’t “wow” me like it has many others. 
  Let me get the obvious out of the way first, and something most of us can agree on. Toni Collette did an amazing job. Most people expected it, and got what they were looking for in her performance. Really she could have stood in the corner and said the same word for the entire film, and everyone would have said she was awesome. Regardless, she mastered the extreme emotions of her character, and it was definitely a tough role to play. The other thing I really enjoyed was the cinematography. Moving some of scenes in and out through the use of the doll houses was creative.
  Now to the rest of the movie. First, I heard some people say it was scary. Sorry at no point was I scared by anything. Shocked at some of the scenes…yes, but scared no way! Scares are different for many people, but the movie didn’t even come off as trying hard to scare like say an “Insidious” movie. If anything, creepy is a word I would use more than scary.
  The movie is a slow burn, which is usually a killer for me, especially the first half. The first half is used to put a few ideas in the audiences’ head, and then shock them with a tragic event. Yes, shocking, but clearly the most interesting thing that happens in the first half of the movie. To the movie’s credit, it also changes the focus from one character to another, which might throw off some as to guessing at what’s coming next.
  And what does come in the second half of the movie? Lets call it a lot of very strange and weird scenes. It originally seems like the movie might be about ghosts, but it’s really about mental illness. It ran in the family big time, and it eventually comes to a head (for those who still have heads!) There’s hints of what’s in their minds, but it didn’t appear that it would come true. However it does in full bizarre fashion!
  When walking out of the theater I had that same kind of feeling I did when leaving “Mother.” The feeling of “what the hell did I just watch.” No feeling of that was amazing, or scary. Just “what the hell just happened?” Yes, they did a great job of taking mental illness to a horrific level, but it just didn’t do anything for me. The acting was great, the mental illness aspect of the story was interesting, and the cinematography was fantastic. However, it just got too weird too quick, which ruined it for me. With that, I’ll be in the minority on “Hereditary” and give it 2.5 pools of blood.


Friday, June 1, 2018


Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. But when Grey, a self-identified technophobe, has his world turned upside down, his only hope for revenge is an experimental computer chip implant called Stem.

Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Richard Anastasios, and Rosco Campbell

Written and directed by: Leigh Whannell

  The summer is here and that means it’s summer movie time. There will be all kinds of movies from action to comedy, from horror to romance. Wouldn’t it be nice to kick off the summer movie season with a film that has a little bit of everything? Well, let me introduce you to “Upgrade.”
  Set in a tech heavy future, Grey (Logan Marshall-Green) is everything but a tech nerd. He prefers the hands on approach like repairing a car in the garage. His wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo), on the other hand, is definitely a tech nerd with a sweet car. On the way home from meeting Grey’s client Eron (Harrison Gilbertson), the couple shares a romantic moment before tragedy strikes. That sweet car malfunctions, crashes, and leaves the couple ambushed in a bad neighborhood. Grey ends up paralyzed, and with no wife.
  Grey is now depressed, suicidal, and left with machines mostly taking care of him. All he wants is revenge for his wife’s death, but obviously can’t do that in a wheelchair. Not until tech savvy Eron convinces him to have an experimental piece of technology named Stem placed inside of him. Stem remarkably restores his body, and allows him to function even better than before the accident.
  Cue the awesomeness of the movie! Grey starts confronting the men who killed his wife, and this produces some awesome fight scenes. Stem helps give Grey an advantage over his attackers. They do a great job combining his fight movements and the way the scenes are shot. There is also a little bit of humor in the way Grey responds during and after the fights. 
 Besides the exciting fight scenes, the film also keeps the audience engaged with the crime Grey is trying to solve. As he puts the pieces together, so will the audience. Seeing many of these kind of movies the audience might have their guesses, but there is a nice twist at the end. They do a good job of wrapping it up, and giving the audience one slight misdirection before the ultimate reveal. 
  “Upgrade” has all types of summer movies wrapped up in one (except maybe dinosaurs). It starts with a little comedy and romance, which quickly turns to tragedy. From there sci-fi makes an appearance, and turns the movie into murder mystery. The highlight without a doubt are the fantastic action, and fight scenes. The deaths should satisfy any horror fans with a thirst for a little blood. It all ends with a twist, and will leave audiences wondering if there will be a sequel! Any good summer movie also has a great performance by its lead, and Logan Marshall-Green nails his role. With that, this movie gets a solid upgrade to 3.5 pools of blood!


*Video interview with Leigh Whannell below and some pics from the screening*

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, and Millicent Simmonds

Directed by: John Krasinski

Written by: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski  

  It’s nice when a movie like “IT” approaches with lots of buzz, and it meets most of the high expectations. But do you know what’s even better? When a much lesser known movie premieres, creates lots of positive reviews, and horror fans flock to see what all the fuss is about. I was one of those horror fans, and here’s what I thought about “A Quiet Place.”
  The Abbott family is forced like many to live a quiet life. Any loud sounds and creatures, who hunt extremely well by sound, come quickly running in for the kill. This becomes clear in the opening scene, where the family loses one of their own. The opening scene gives the audience just a taste of what the family is up against, and sets a terrific tone what’s to come. 
  Around a year later the family seems to be better adapted to their new life. Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) have set up their home, and surrounding area to be as silent as possible. They cover the ground in sand, and mark safe places to step amongst many things. The parents are even looking forward to the future because Evelyn is pregnant. However their children are having issues of their own. Regan (Millicent Simmonds), who is deaf, has grown frustrated in their new living situation and the loss of her sibling, and Marcus (Noah Jupe) is terrified of the creatures. 
  Just as the audience gets sucked into the Abbott family’s life, all hell breaks loose when Evelyn’s water breaks. The birth of a child is a great thing, but not when you have to live in silence. The family members are in separate places, and all must race to rescue each other, but do it as quietly as possible. The tension couldn’t be any higher, as the audience braces themselves every time a noise is made. And in the middle of that, throw in an absolutely heartbreaking moment. 
  There’s more that could be said, but the important point here is that this story is so well written from beginning to end. It’s well thought out with great detail from how the family lives in the new environment, to the family members themselves, and even how they deal with the creatures. Speaking of the creatures, they’re just as amazing as the story. The way their heads are designed, and how they respond to sound is just another fabulous detail.
  Who knew this quiet little movie was going to make so much noise at the box office? Well deserved noise starting with the great writing, and detail. Making the family live in silence just creates tremendous tension with every sound that’s made. Lets not forget the terrific acting from everyone. They do a great job of bringing out the emotions of their characters, and striking at the hearts of the audience in key moments. On top of that, throw in some horrifying, and almost unstoppable creatures. With that, I give “A Quiet Place” a loud 4.5 pools of blood.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018


A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone - - or something - - begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare.

Starring: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, and Violett Beane

Directed by: Jeff Wadlow

Written by: Jillian Jacobs, Michael Reisz, Jeff Wadlow, and Christopher Roach

  I can’t say I’ve ever played Truth or Dare so how about a little test run. Dare: To watch “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare.” Done! Truth: Was the movie any good? The truth… well I’m going to have to dare you to read on for the truth!
  Olivia (Lucy Hale) and Markie (Violett Beane) are best friends, and that friendship gets tested after what is supposed to be a harmless game of Truth or Dare. However, this game comes with a curse, and they have now taken it home with them. Unknown to the two of them and their friends, they now have to answer truthfully, do the dare, or die. This tests the group because they know some damning secrets about each other. 
  When it’s someone’s turn, they will see the demon in the face of another person, or even their own face in the mirror. As you might have seen in the trailers, it kind of looks like something you would do on Snapchat. This is obviously one of the gimmicks the movie is built around, but there isn’t much scary about it. At best, it’s creepy, but it doesn't help create any big scares. 
  While short on scares, the most interesting thing becomes the secrets. There is a love triangle, and some secrets surrounding the death of Markie’s father. The demon continues to test the group by separating them with the hurtful secrets, but forcing them back together to try and save each other. In particular, Olivia knows too much about Markie, and has some really big secrets to reveal. The demon makes the most of pitting them against one another.
  The worse thing about the movie might be the ending. The final scene isn’t bad, and puts the survivors in a tough situation. However, how the game continues, or ends is just a cop out. Yes, it brings everything back to a question earlier in the movie, but please. With the creativity used with all the secrets, it would have been nice to find a better way to wrap things up.
  In the end, the truth hurts them emotionally, and the dares test them physically. The deaths are alright, but nothing new. The reveal of how the secrets play out really keeps the movie afloat, not the creepy faces. Actually the movie is more like “Final Destination” light. So the truth is “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare” gets an average 2.5 pools of blood!


Tuesday, March 13, 2018


(Spoiler alert)

A family staying in a secluded mobile home park for the night are visited by three masked psychopaths, to test their every limit.

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, and Martin Henderson

Directed by: Johannes Roberts

Written by: Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai

  After watching “The Strangers,” I was inspired to write horror because I thought they did such an excellent job with a simple idea. Well that was many years ago, and I’m obviously not a horror writer just horror reviewer. Regardless, I’ve always held “The Strangers” in high regard because of how it inspired me, and couldn’t be happier to finally get a sequel. Unfortunately, I can’t say “The Strangers: Prey at Night” inspired me in the same way, and here’s why. 
  The sequel starts off much like the original did introducing the audience to characters who are having a conflict amongst themselves. This time around Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and her husband Mike (Martin Henderson) have made a decision to send their troubled daughter, Kinsey (Bailee Madison), to boarding school. Kinsey isn’t thrilled with this decision, and gives her parents and brother, Luke (Lewis Pullman), a hard time while on their road trip. While this isn’t bad drama to build on, it just doesn’t pull on the heart strings the way the couple did in the original.
  The home and how the strangers were able to keep the couple inside it was something important to keeping the tension in the original. When the family arrives at the trailer, it quickly becomes apparent that the strangers won’t be keeping them contained there long. This creates some problems for this sequel, the first being that it isn’t as intense as the original. With the characters spread out, the movie goes back and forth, and this kills any tension that is created. On top of that, it creates a lot of coincidences of how the strangers seem to always be at the right place at the right time. A great example of that is the jack in the box scene, as fun as that was.
  Enough with the bad, how about some good? Not as creepy as the when the Man in the Mask is watching Kristen in the living room in “The Strangers,” but it’s definitely messed up when the Man in the Mask sits down next to Mike in the car. It’s crazy how he just takes his time, plays with the radio, stabs him, and just stares at Mike as he bleeds out. Another scene that is getting a lot of attention is the pool scene. The lights, the music, and the struggle between Luke and the Man in the Mask is pretty cool.
  However, this just leads to another complaint. It was so nice to see a horror film like “The Strangers” break from having at least one survivor, and kill off the couple. This time around, the strangers aren’t so lucky, and we get a standard horror movie ending. It’s shocking when Luke slices up Pin-Up Girl, and even more disappointing when Dollface is blown away. Kinsey and the Man in the Mask put on a good ending fight, even reminding some of us of a classic horror movie, but ultimately having Kinsey freak out in a hospital room is too standard. An argument can be made that the Man in the Mask and/or Pin-Up Girl survived for a part three, but that seems like a stretch. They aren’t Jason or Michael. Does it open the door for new killers…maybe but then it won't be THE Strangers!
  Overall, as with many sequels, “The Strangers: Prey at Night” just doesn’t live up to the original. It starts off with a similar formula of drama within the family and the strangers appearing in time to take advantage of that, but then what made “The Strangers” so great evaporates. Instead of creating a movie that is intense throughout, they take the time to give it some style and dramatics with how it’s shot jumping from character to character. They not only kill the tension, but also kill the strangers creating an all too familiar horror movie ending. No, this isn’t a bad movie, it just really fails to do what the original did. With that, I really wish I could give this more than than 3 pools of blood, of which 1 pool of blood basically comes from it being the freaking strangers!

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