When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie.
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, and Maria Bello
Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Written by: Eric Heisserer, and David F. Sandberg
For those who might not know, “Lights Out” was originally a short film. The short film went viral on the internet, the right people saw it (James Wan), and then production began on the feature film version. Being a promoter of horror, it’s awesome to see so much success for a short film. Being a horror movie reviewer, the question is if the feature film can be as successful.
To start, the short film basically introduces audiences to the entity, and how it behaves when the lights go on and off. The feature film expands on this, and gives the entity and the people it haunts a story. The entity, Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey), has become attached to Sophie (Maria Bello), a long troubled mother of two. Her older daughter Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) has escaped her mother’s trouble and lives alone while her young son Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is still at home with Diana and his mother. Fearing for the safety of his mother and himself, he asks for help from his sister.
The story sets up nicely giving audiences characters to care about particularly Martin. It also has a decent backstory for Diana and her attachment to Sophie. However, there are a couple of things about the story that slows down the film. One is the investigation that Rebecca and her boyfriend Bret (Alexander DePersia) do after realizing that Diana is real. Another is the family arguments over things like Sophie needing help, and where Martin should live. There’s even arguments between Rebecca and Bret over what’s best for Martin.
All the slowness takes away any momentum that the scares build. Diana proves to be a very creepy character not only cause of the whole light trick, but because of her figure and movements. The film starts with the now popular scene from the trailer where a woman is trying to turn off the lights at work, but sees a figure in the distance. It’s a good scene even though it would have been nice if they dragged it out a little longer. She provides some other decent scares, including a great scene of her chasing Bret.
Taking a short film which amounts to a small scene in a feature film, and turning that into a full length movie can’t be easy. “Lights Out” gives it a good try by providing a good story, and characters worth rooting for. It definitely creates a creepy entity who gives the audience some decent scares. Unfortunately the pace is too slow while building the backstory for Diana, and with some of the character interactions. Also, the ending is disappointingly predictable. While it will probably have some box office success, I have to give this movie 2 pools of blood.
Years after sparing the man who killed his son, former police sergeant Barnes has become head of security for Senator Charlie Roan, a Presidential candidate targeted for death on Purge night due to her vow to eliminate the Purge.
Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Mykelti Williamson
Directed and written by: James DeMonaco
“The Purge” ends up being just another home invasion type horror movie missing out on all of the chaos that’s happening in the streets. “The Purge: Anarchy” takes a hold of what the Purge really means, and lets the audience in on the chaos and violence in the streets. It almost seems like the two movies would have worked better in reverse order. With two movies down, where would “The Purge: Election Year” take this story?
Well early on it almost seems like the movie is going to follow the original. Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) has taken a hard stance against the annual Purge, and her opponents are looking to stop her one way or another. Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) is back, and this time he’s in charge of protecting the Senator. They hunker down in her house with as much protection as possible, but audiences can guess what happens next. Audiences are saved from a repeat of the original!
With that said, the story hits the streets where it truly belongs, and starts to feel more like the sequel. Instead of trying to purge, Leo is protecting the Senator from dangers around every corner, and running into different characters along the way. Also, the movie gets more into the storyline of the lunatics who support the Purge versus the people who want it to come to an end.
It’s nice that they continue this storyline, but the meat of the Purge is the chaos and violence in the streets. There are several decent moments of terror including a crazy bunch of girls. They try to terrorize a local store owner, who puts up a good fight with the help of some friends. Also, Leo and the Senator all run into to few interesting traps along the way. However, it’s hard not to feel like they could have done so much more to hit on the violence of the situation.
Here’s an example of a franchise that seems to get a better feel for what they’re trying to accomplish as the story goes on. They found a good lead character, and put in him in the middle of a political war that has taken to the streets. With that said, there’s still more they could do to please horror fans like focusing more on the violence instead of just getting quick moments of it. While the story seems to wrap up well, they do leave the door cracked for another movie. In the end, “The Purge: Election Year” does a good enough job of following up “The Purge: Anarchy,” so I give it 3 pools of blood. Oh, and don’t forget about this movie while you’re voting for Hilary or Trump!
A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills.
Starring: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, and Brett Cullen
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Written by: Anthony Jaswinski
For those who have a fear of the ocean, there’s nothing like a good shark movie. Enter “The Shallows,” where Nancy (Blake Lively), who is a surfer just looking to catch a few waves while on vacation, finds herself in the hunting ground of a great white shark. Poor Nancy ends up interrupting this giant shark, as it’s feasting on a whale carcass. Apparently the shark isn’t too happy about the interruption, and decides it wants to have Nancy as an appetizer. She quickly finds herself separated from her surf board, injured, and left on a rock that’s just above the water at low tide.
While most shark movies take place miles away from shore, this one takes place right off shore. This is a welcome change because it just adds to the desperation and frustration of the moment. Safety is so close, as she can clearly see the beach from where she’s at, but the shark is just waiting for her to make the wrong move. There’s also no sinking boat involved, or one that’s going to swoop in and save her.
Based on the how the trailer is presented, one of the concerns going into this movie was that it would focus too much on the emotional side of the situation. There is a lot of focus on that, but it doesn’t end up interfering in what’s happening in the moment too much. Apparently Nancy’s mother has recently passed away, and her death is still fresh in Nancy’s mind. She’s also concerned for how her father and sister might feel if she doesn’t make it out alive.
Getting past all of the emotional stuff, audiences really want to see the shark in action. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole a lot of deaths by the shark. It manages to sink its teeth into a few people, but the audience doesn’t get any juicy up close vantage points of these attacks. Instead the audience gets a decent look at the aftermath of one attack, and how one surfer feels the force of the shark.
It’s really the final showdown between human and shark that ultimately makes or breaks it in this type of movie. As high tide quickly approaches, Nancy must make her move to a buoy, while the shark becomes increasingly tired of waiting for Nancy to make a mistake. The shark goes on a relentless attack of the buoy leaving Nancy scrambling to find a way to kill the shark. No real spoilers here because the shark always dies, and this death isn’t too bad. They really take this battle down to the last second.
It might be hard for any shark movie to ever surpass “Jaws,” but “The Shallows” isn’t too bad. This doesn't seem like the typical role for Blake, but she holds her own. She easily handles the emotions of this kind of moment, but also handles what her character has to go through physically. The shark seems realistic enough, although it might have been a little better if the audience got to see more of it especially in its attacks. With that said, I give it 2.5 pools of blood.
August 14, 2009 will always be a special day for me.
It was when I went from being a just horror fan watching horror movies to a
participant in the world of horror. It was when I created HorrO’s Gory Reviews, and
formally introduced myself to the horror world as HorrO. Go figure my first
review wasn’t even a horror movie, but a sci-fi one (District 9). Hey, I was a
rookie, plus I got to see the movie before its official release. I’ve gone from
being a rookie to creating HorrO’s House of Horror, and couldn’t be happier
about it. Now if you will bear with me for a little self-promotion, and some
want to celebrate HorrO’s Gory Reviews’ 6-year anniversary by thanking all those who have taken the
time to read at least one review. It means something to know someone has read
your work. I certainly want to thank those who have been with me from the
beginning because without you there might not have been even a second or third
For those reading this at PromoteHorror.com and
aren’t aware of my review blog, please take a minute and check it out. Besides
reviews, it’s also a place for some other horror fun with pages like the
‘Horror on TV,’ ‘iPhone Horror Apps of the Month,’ and ‘Horror Item of the
Week.’ Please feel free to follow me on Twitter under @Horrosreviews, and “Like”
the Facebook page.
Not celebrating an anniversary is my
second site: The Dog Days in Zombieville. This is the story I wrote and decided to make a
Twitter story. The story was tweeted first, and then posted on the site. The Dog Days in Zombieville is the journal of Max Wagner, as he has documented
his fight for survival in Zombieville. Honestly, with my time spent on
promoting horror, I haven’t been able to finish the story. Max isn’t dead, and
the story will continue at some point. For those who want to check it out,
there are links on the site so that you can start reading from the beginning.
Also, there are some other zombie related pages such as, ‘Zombie Pics,’ ‘Zombie
iPhone Apps,’ and ‘Star Wars Zombies.’ If you want to follow the story on
Twitter, you can find it under @ddnzombieville, and
“Like” the Facebook page.
now for the big one: the 4-year anniversary of PromoteHorror.com. Yes, HorrO’s Gory
Reviews is older, but I say big one here because of the overwhelming support
for PromoteHorror.com. It has
been more than I could have ever imagined. With that said, I have to thank
everyone who has requested a promotion, or as I like to call you “creators of
horror.” The site wouldn’t exist without those requests. I continue to be
amazed at how many creators of horror there are out there. Every time I think
I’ve seen it all, someone gives me the opportunity to promote something I would
never have thought of.
I have to thank all of the horror fans out there. The creators of horror need
an audience, and you have provided that in a big way. Someone has to enjoy the
promotions after all. I hope you all have found something to your liking. It’s
truly an honor to see so many of you repeatedly visit the site, follow along on
Twitter under @PromoteHorror,
“Like” the Facebook page,
and follow on Instagram.
I never thought I would be here 4 years later. I also never thought PromoteHorror.com would help so many
people. I honestly feel that if I walked away from it now I know I had some
impact in the horror world even if it was small one. I don’t say that to be
arrogant, but to prove to myself that I haven’t wasted my time. I know I helped
someone make a movie. I know I helped someone sell a book. I know I helped
someone get their project funded. I know I helped someone get their artwork
seen. I know I helped get short films noticed. I know I helped podcasts get
heard. That’s what “Spread the Horror” means when I repeatedly mention it.
6 years of reviews and 4 years of promotions down, I’m eager to continue
reviewing, and spreading the horror. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I
will continue to do this as long as I can, and as long as the horror world will
have me. From a creator of horror and horror fan myself; I truly appreciate the
support, and all of the compliments that I’ve received. Like I said, this
wouldn’t be anything without all of you great creators of horror, and the
passionate horror fans out there. The compliments really go to you!