Blood of Dracula Review


Time for a very obscure vampire film. Part of why I chose this poster in particular is to show you how the vampire actually looks in the film. The effects aren’t great here but the film seemed to be proud of it since we get a recycled transformation sequence a few times. Now I doubt there are very many who have heard of the Blood of Dracula, I certainly hadn’t before now. With a title like that you may be expecting Dracula so I may as well let you down easy now and tell you that this isn’t the case. Dracula is going to be missing this adventure. There really isn’t any connection to him so that was just to sell tickets. This one’s more of a personal story as we find out the dangers of messing around with science.

Nancy is being taken to a private boarding school since her father just remarried and the step mom isn’t a big fan of Nancy. It’s one of those annoying elements where you realize the dad is just as guilty for not noticing this and remarrying so quickly. Apparently it hasn’t even been 2 months since Nancy’s mother died so this feels really quick. It’s all just to get the parents out of the way. The school seems normal at first even if all of the other girls are bullies but the real issue here is that Miss Branding, one of the teachers here is running some dangerous experiments to turn people into vampires. She has always wanted someone tough to experiment on and Nancy is that person. Can she get out of this school safely?

The plot may work well with a thriller context as the vampire starts bumping everyone off but the film’s actually a lot more low key than that. In a way it even makes for several climaxes as I thought the film was gearing up for the end a few times and then suddenly it would go back to some slice of life times until the next event. It’s an interesting attempt but in the end the film just ends up being a little more on the dull side. It doesn’t help that the case is rather weak.

Every girl in the school is against Nancy for basically no reason. It seems like they formed a clique right away and the newest member has to go through initiation. If she doesn’t submit then they will do their best to break her. Nancy is trying to act like the tough girl in some respects but then in other ways she isn’t so it makes her a frustrating lead and doesn’t do anything to make the other girls better characters. They all even take turns dating Eddie since he’s the only guy on campus which makes them look really desperate. I’m sure he loves the arrangement but they are cool with this?

None of them get a whole lot of development except to raise a death flag before they die. Myra is really the only one that really gets a decent sized role here as she knows about Branding’s experiments but looks the other way. As a student it makes sense she wouldn’t want to get in the teacher’s way but she really does nothing to help or alert Nancy. Ah that’s right, it’s because she is one of the bullies as well. So the school really had no likable characters to protect themselves.
As the “tough” character in the film, what Nancy could have done to have been more of a solid character is to have actually fought back. Where she effectively failed the test is when the girls jump her and rob her of all her belongings. That was absolutely the time to fight back and just show them what was up. By not doing that she set the stage for the bullying to proceed more and more. You have to take at least one of them down from the start to lay down the groundwork for their leaving you alone. Perhaps you can’t beat all of them but throw a few punches during the attack and the outcome’s a lot different.

Additionally Nancy just takes the blame for the noise and everything which didn’t make sense. Her worst scene is in the climax though. So presumably as a vampire you have a level of super strength and speed or durability right? During the various action scenes this seems to be the case although with how everyone falls down and looks shocked, this isn’t a guarantee. It was hard to believe when Branding is actually able to overpower Nancy’s vampire form though. That just shouldn’t happen in any context.

The ending is really a letdown on the film’s part. It really didn’t live up to the potential that the movie had although I wouldn’t say it was a ton of potential either way. This was never going to be a great title because vampire films just aren’t built that way but it could have been better is what I’m getting at. The climax is trying to be intense and give the final fight that we’ve been waiting for but it just doesn’t work.

By the end you’re also wondering on the point of these experiments. We may have needed some villain exposition for a change so we can understand the purpose. She says repeatedly that these experiments will help humanity but in what way? It’s very unclear as to how turning into a vampire will help humanity in any way. Is it only some chosen people whose dna is able to activate with her talisman or can anyone be picked? There are a lot of unknowns and at the end of the day we don’t even know if she has more talismans to hypnotize people with.

Also, as in all hypnotism films you just wish Nancy would look the other way or fight back against the control a bit. In all of these films the character is mind controlled so very easily. It’s like they have no self control or will power to defend themselves with. It also doesn’t make for the most riveting scenes as the characters just stare absentmindedly into the abyss. That said, mind control isn’t an excuse on why Nancy was so cold with her boyfriend though. She couldn’t give him a single straight answer and it just made their relationship strained for no real reason. Just tell him you need some space but will rejoin after the school term has ended if you want him away from the danger or ask to drive off with him if you want to get away from the evil school. Either option would have worked better than just being completely vague the whole time.

That guy gets credit for driving so far to check on her and make sure she was okay since he hadn’t received any word from her. He’s braver than Eddie who was scared to even be in the graveyard with one of the girls when everyone is used to hanging out there. That guy was doomed the instant we found out there was a vampire on campus. As a vampire film you have the usual amount of victims as their blood gets sucked away and you even have the police step in at one point but it isn’t as exciting as you might expect. The one police officer who believes in vampires is quickly laughed off in their first scene. You would think that after the first murder or two they would just shut the school down but that takes a while to even be considered. Even then it’s mostly in the background as the principal discusses the possibility of the parents making a move. (I like the level of dread that is felt whenever the “parents” are mentioned. The best conversation is between him and the lead teacher as they talk about the school’s reputation.

The film is a lot more tame than most vampire films so there isn’t a lot of blood sucking or anything like that. That’s a good thing at least but ultimately it can only help out a bit since the rest of the film is more on the mediocre side. It just doesn’t hit with the kind of power you need in any aspect. Throw in a likable character or give the police investigation more screen time and you could have something interesting here. As it is, there’s really no hook to the film.

Overall, Blood of Dracula is a film that really goes through all of the motions without a whole lot of emotion or feeling. There is no mystery here as you know Nancy is the vampire right away and the main drama is trying to figure out how she can break the hypnosis. The issue is that she just isn’t really able to even try since she doesn’t remember. Each time she has a feeling that something’s off but just goes back into the teacher’s office like nothing is wrong until the very end of the film. It felt like this movie wasn’t sure if it was a slice of life or a thriller at times and as a result just meekly walks through the adventure. The worst thing you can say about this one is that it would have been better off just being a normal slice of life flick. You’ll want to give this one a skip.

Overall 4/10

Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter 2: Inferno Review


It’s time to return to the world of Saint Seiya. The first OVA was a solid start to the Hades saga. I really liked the creative use of CGI which helped to mask the lack of animation at times. It also gave the OVA a very grand feel. Well, that is gone from this special but the animation is much better so it feels like we’re back to the original show in a good way. I would say this OVA improves on the first one even considering that the amazing clash of Athena Exclamations has already passed.

The OVA starts off with with the saints making it into the heart of the Underworld. Their mission is clear, they need to take Hades down and bring Athena back to the world of the living. It won’t be easy though as the Underworld has many castles and specters at the ready to foil their every move. Seiya and Shun are the characters in one plot while Shiryu and Andromeda work with Gemini Kanon in the other. Will the divide and conquer tactic work (Not like it’s really their choice though) or will they now be picked off. Also, where is the man known as Phoenix Ikki?

Maybe part of why this OVA feels like we’re going back to the roots of the show is because we’re going through the whole “Take down each Specter at each castle” routine that each arc of the show always went through. It’s nice and nostalgic to see the characters going through the motions. The big difference here is that we actually have a Gold Saint who can hold his own this time. Kanon really does well in each of the fights and reminds me why he is one of the best Saints in the show. The guy seems more reasonable than most and gets several fights in this OVA.

Before going further, I have to say that it’s still such a cool move when the heroes start taking their opponents down while keeping their eyes closed. It’s probably more of a stylistic approach then their literally closing their eyes at key moments but the animations have always kept this detail and I appreciate it. What’s more hype than letting a villain know that you don’t even have to keep your eyes open to win a fight right?

All right, so back to the plot. Most of the episodes are focused on the Seiya and Shun plot. They make quite a lot of progress through the temples. There is a time limit though so they have to beat these specters quickly. It’s just good nostalgic fun to see them going from place to place. They also make for a good duo with Shun as a support type while Seiya is all about offense. Meanwhile Shun and Shiryu are also on the case but are having trouble defeating any of the specters. It’s a rough stretch for them but up til now they’ve never seemed to be so out of their depth so it’s kind of interesting to see them like this. Then you have Athena and Shaka moving forward with their own plan to defeat Hades which takes a while for any pay off but it’s always fun to have their cameos.

As always Seiya is a great character here. He’s always the last one to give up and keeps on fighting until he gets the edge. It takes a lot of resolve to always be getting up with the ways that the opponents disrespect his Meteor Punch all the time. It never works the first time and yet Seiya keeps at it. You also see a lot more of his personality here as he trolls the judge specter who wanted everyone to keep it down. I haven’t seen Seiya like that since the pre arc.

He has a mischievous side to him after all but rarely gets to show this given that he is in nonstop fights all of the time. This arc actually have him a little time to slow down and have fun with this which was cool. Then there is Shun who still manages to lose all of the time but at least he gives Seiya a lot of moral support. His chains also do save him on more than one occasion so this is far from Shun’s worst appearance. I wish he could get some more clear cut wins but this OVA does throw him a bone so you can expect him to contribute.

Probably for the first time Shun actually does a lot more than Shiryu and Hyoga. I almost don’t need to mention them because these two get one shotted by one of the 3 Judges and then don’t do anything for the rest of the ova. Kanon hard carries them through this arc and they would have been dead many times otherwise. At this point it feels like the gap between them and Seiya is massive. Not so much in pure cosmos but in terms of drive as Seiya gets up while these two stay down. They will have to prove themselves in the next ova.

Ikki takes a while to appear but when he does show up it is certainly worth the wait. He comes in as if he is one of the most powerful Gold Saints. That’s the kind of ability he has and Ikki can really shake the whole battlefield to its core. He even has an expanded origin story that includes Pandora. It feels a bit out of the blue but makes for one of the more suspenseful flashbacks in the series. Ikki was really tough even as a kid.

Part of why Ikki is my favorite character in the series is due to his grand entrances and this one doesn’t disappoint either. He just seems to be a few steps ahead of the other Bronze Saints at all times and knew just when to show up. The villains get lucky that he is summoned away later on or the Specters would have kept taking some heavy hits. Additionally while Ikki is the tough member of the crew and makes the tough calls, he will always put Shun above everything else. Ultimately he makes the right decisions here and it’s a great moment.

The only Saint who deals out as much damage would be Kanon who steals the show as I mentioned earlier. He talks tough to all of the Specters including the 3 powerful Judges. He overpowers their techniques and is even able to fight without his armor. As someone who was not one of the original 12 Gold Saints, Kanon has to deal with not being given the same level of respect as the others and handled it well. It never feels like he will turn to the dark side again and has instead become one of Athena’s most reliable fighters. He has really come a long way here and while he may not do much more for the rest of the series, you can be really satisfied with his role. The guy beat up a whole army of Specters like it was nothing and the judges even have to tell them to leave Kanon alone.

Dohko is still around but he really doesn’t do as much as you would expect in this special. He provides some weapons which are useful during the climax which will have to do. All of the Gold Saints get one last hurrah here before leaving things to the bronze saints. Virgo Shaka’s is the most memorable though as the guy actually did well against Hades. I liked that he didn’t entertain the idea of stabbing Athena for an instant and just went straight for Hades. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t like breaking the rules so it’s a powerful moment.

Honestly this is why I still really don’t like Athena’s plan. It just seems like an awful way to waste most of her own men. Shaka would have done a lot better if Athena wasn’t getting in his way. Her plan to effectively beg for mercy is awful. What’s to stop Hades from claiming he will save the world before murdering her? By the time Athena realizes the flaw in this plan it’s too late because she’s already stabbed. From the start I had major reservations about this plan and this ova did not help matters at all. If anything it just makes every traitor gold saint and Athena look even worse. I’ll probably go more into this after the final ova since we’ll see her complete plan but it’s not looking promising.

Now as for the villains, first up we have Charon who may just be the guy that drives the boat but don’t let that fool you into thinking that he is weak because that is far from the case. He can fight really well and even gives Seiya some trouble. If not for some cheap shots I think the fight would have been over quicker but I give Charon some credit for being a little honorable. That’s more than you can say for most Specters and I thought he was really entertaining.

Then you have Rene who is mostly memorable for all the scenes with Seiya trolling him. It really was one of the funniest episodes in the franchise. The guy’s abilities are good too with how he can toss you around dimensions and use that whip of his. It ties into one of Kanon’s better scenes but without the illusion he may have even beaten Seiya and Shun. Never underestimate the powers of a good illusion.

Pandora is a memorable villain with how much hype she gets. She really does have the specters on a short leash but it seems more like a respect thing than actual power. Unlike Lost Canvass where she can really fight, here she seems to be the ultimate glass cannon. If she can hit you with the harp then she has the edge but otherwise even a normal attack from a Bronze saint can take her down. She spends a good chunk of this special looking shocked or trying to land a sneak attack.

Pandora is a nice change of pace within the villains and I like her well enough but I do think the series could have done more with her as the counterpart to Athena. She is ruthless though and has a lot more agency so that’s still an improvement. In any continuity Pandora is always better than Athena. I doubt Athena would have stabbed the suspicious package the way Pandora did. The tactic may not have worked but it was worth a shot.

A fairly minor villain was Sphinx who did have a good ability to rend the opponents unconscious. If not for Lyra being around he would have been difficult to defeat. You may not remember him for long but Sphinx was reasonable. I had more issues with Lyra in the end. The guy has a tragic backstory but you mean to tell me that he never suspected that the whole thing may not have been an accident? Basically he and his girlfriend had to leave the underworld without looking back but sure enough she did by mistake and turned into stone. This was due to a random bright light.

Naturally it was one of the villains but really Lyra? No suspicions on that? I feel like he should have realized and made a move a lot sooner. His plan was actually not that bad but ultimately it just didn’t work the way he wanted it to. As a silver saint the guy is really impressive, I dare say that he would beat some of the Gold Saints in a battle.

The final one of the normal specters is Valentine who gave Seiya a really good fight. Now granted that Seiya was super weakened and in enemy territory but I think it’s still worth mentioning. You have to have great physical stats to even do that much and you can see why Valentine is such a trusted fighter in the army.

That takes us to the big 3 Judges. Of the 3, Minos hasn’t gotten to do a whole lot yet but his puppet techniques are really lethal. Even Gold Saints are unable to break through his strings. Aiacos has his burning techniques like the Garuda wing and then Rhadamanthys really feels like the strongest member of the 3. He’s also the best one as the guy gets real development and even a true rivalry with Kanon. I like the idea of having a big 3 among the Specters because it really builds up the hype well.

Aiacos has his own rivalry with Ikki and it was a solid fight with a lot of back and forth. Unlike most Specters these guys won’t go down to a single counter attack. As for Rhadamanthys, I liked that he just wanted a good fight and he takes great offense to Kanon saying that the Gold Saints would have wrecked him if their powers weren’t limited. It’s the whole reason he wants to fight Kanon and that’s always a great motivation for me. I was absolutely on board with this.

Finally we have Hades who is the big bad of this saga. He finally shows himself in the second half of the special. I would say it’s worth the wait but he’s not particularly memorable just yet. The guy speaks in a very grand fashion and has a divine aura that forces opponents to back off but we haven’t seen him fight yet. As a god in the series he doesn’t really need to I suppose but he better keep his guard up. I just wish Athena would look tough like this since theoretically she should be about as powerful as he is.

Hades has a great fake out involving a dream which was cool. Ultimately he may get lucky on more than one occasion but you don’t get to be King without having some good luck at times right? I look forward to seeing more of him in the next special. He may not match the 3 Judges but it’s always good to finally meet the big bad and see what his plan is. An eclipse is a fairly original way to cause death and destruction.

There are some meanwhile scenes back on Earth but I haven’t mentioned them much because they don’t really add anything. It’s nice to see that they’re still alive and all but trust me, they won’t be impacting the story in any real way. They’re mainly just here to remind you that they’re around. The best scene on Earth is really the flashbacks with Ikki and Pandora. Those scenes are almost like something out of a horror with how dark the city was that night and how creepy Pandora can be. Ikki having to deal with such painful attacks as a kid is still something else, that kid had grit!

As mentioned earlier, the animation is much better here than last time. We finally have a lot of really good hand to hand battles like the old days and good movement with the energy blasts. It feels like the TV show has come back for real and that definitely feels good. The attacks look solid and the characters’ desperation is really illustrated well. Saint Seiya is a series that really relies on characters giving each other a lot of motivation and pep talks and so you can expect them here as well. They’re handled very effectively.

As for the soundtrack, it’s mostly a lot of classic tunes so they should sound familiar. The opening though really stands out. It’s incredibly high energy and works really well. In general this ova has a lot of energy and helps excel the series. When I say that this ova is near perfect it’s because it shines in all aspects. The Hades are really was quite excellent. Part of what makes it so great is again because it isn’t purely about the Bronze Saints this time. You’ve got the Gold Saints making moves, Athena, Hades, even the Specters get their own development and character moments. It makes this feel like a really complete adventure.

Overall, This will definitely leave you hyped for the third ova to conclude the Saint Seiya saga. I’m ready to see how exciting that one will be. You should probably watch the first ova to really get what is happening here. It won’t make Athena’s decisions look any better but at least you’ll have the context. The ending to this ova is quite striking, Athena’s last scene in particular may take you by surprise. Things aren’t looking great for the heroes but as long as they keep trying there’s always a chance. This ova is just a blast.

Overall 9/10

RWBY Review


RWBY may be the greatest TV show of all time but I hadn’t gotten around to checking out too many of its other media endeavors before now. I played a few of the games which were mostly all solid and have read the manga titles but not the comics yet. Well, it was time to check this one out from the library and it is definitely a fun read. It’s nice to see what the characters were up to around volumes 3-5 with a lot of stories spread in throughout different time frames. It’s a fun way to see more of Team RWBY.

So there are 14 issues in the comic, you’ve got the intro and epilogue, then each character gets 3 stories. The intro is really a quick catchup for people who may not be too familiar with the franchise. We get a recap of what happened in the first few volumes and where the characters are at currently. There’s not much to say about this story but I think it does cover all of the big events well enough where you should be able to follow along well enough.

The first RWBY story splits itself between present and past. It starts the collection off with a bang because it has my single favorite scene in the collection. In the present Ruby and team Jaune manage to defeat a bunch of Hollow wasps and we see how far she has come. It’s a good segment and I always like a good action scene. In the past segment Ruby is still torn up about losing Summer so Yang tries to cheer her up by lying about a lot of great things Summer has done.

It’s all well intentioned but the problem with stories that are fake is that it leads to Ruby being crushed when she finds this out. How does she find this out? Raven decided to fly over and start tearing these lies to shreds while also badmouthing Summer. This just comes out of nowhere to the point where it’s funny. It’s so exaggerated that you think Ruby is dreaming but it was all real. On a more serious note, it does show that Raven was watching over Yang at least to the point of being around the house on a regular basis which was cool. It adds a little development to their relationship and maybe Raven is more of a caring parent than she lets on.

The second Ruby story involves the team heading to a village that won’t let them in because the people believe that all huntsmen are evil after the events of volume 3. As a result they are isolated when fighting the grimm and it isn’t going well. Ruby and co. fend the grimm off and Ruby gives them a stern lecture. I remember her speech made a lot of waves because people said it was too harsh and seemed out of character. I think it seems harsh because of how the art makes Ruby look extremely angry at these people. The actual speech isn’t too bad, admittedly it is hard to picture Ruby lecturing them to this extent though. It’s another solid story though with good action and a realistic look at how some villages would have treated the heroes. It’s nice to see the call backs and references to volume 3 since the tournament was on tv so a lot of people would have seen it.

Ruby’s final story has her take a walk through a garden as she deals with all of the friends she has lost up til now. The bird gives her a pep talk and it all seems to just be an illusion caused by the magical garden. It’s the most low key of her stories. It’s a good way to wrap up her stories here and she had to deal with the feelings of loss at some point. It may not stand up to the other stories but it’s not really supposed to.

The first Yang story has her go help an old lady with her harden and other miscellaneous tasks. At first she resents this because she figures Tai only did this to patronize her. Later on she thinks that maybe there is a prize waiting for her and this was a test. Ultimately it was neither one of those things and Yang realizes that he is just treating her normally which is what she wanted. Yang may not look great here but she is coming off a traumatic incident so it makes sense. It’s low key but a decent story.

The second Yang story actually shows us the aftermath of Yang ditching Ruby in episode 2. It was nice to see Tai confront her about this because while it worked out and was more of a gag than anything else, it was a bit distressing for Ruby. The issue has Yang overcorrect the whole time by being really clingy to everyone until Blake helps to set her straight. It’s a fun issue and really shows how Yang can mean well and still go way too far the whole time. It’s probably the most light hearted comic in the bunch and fits her personality well.

The final Yang story has her thinking about the morals from the first two as she continues to search for Ruby and Raven. She’s confronted by a biker gang member which turns out to be a big mistake on his part. She beats him while also trying to teach him the lessons she learned but of course it’s hard to just get someone to learn that straight off the bat. It doesn’t work but the rest of the bandits know not to mess with her after that. It’s another fun story and while the bandit never stood a chance, it’s always fun to see Yang getting more wins.

The first Blake story deals with how she first met Adam…so you can probably sense some retroactive retcons coming in. Adam is one of those characters that is strongly disliked in universe as well as out of it. While he was a very nuanced character initially that is not the case in the present and this comic makes it seem like he was insane from the beginning. He cries and also revels in how many humans he murders. I’d say he was out of character the entire issue and it also makes Blake look worse because suddenly she knew he was crazy from the start but stayed with him anyway. This would have to be the weakest story in the collection because I have a hard time buying any of this. It’s nice to see more of Blake growing up since we don’t know as many details on her past but Adam just doesn’t seem consistent.

The second Blake story is about her finally confiding in her mother about why she was so nervous to come back home and how she ditched her friends. Her mom consoles her about this and reminds her that she’s always welcome there. It’s effectively an expansion to her coming home moments in the show. It’s a good emotional read but is probably the second weakest story in the bunch. What are the odds that Blake would have the weakest stories right? She’s always been my least favorite RWBY member (Although she started out great in the first two volumes) and her volume 4 plot didn’t help matters. I suppose even the comics couldn’t make this part more interesting.

The final Blake story has her and Sun save a group of travelers from some Grimm. That’s when she realizes that one family she recognizes from her days with Adam when he murdered one of them. She decides to come clean about this much to Sun’s horror and allows the mother a chance for revenge. The traveler decides not too since she doesn’t want to continue the cycle of violence. It’s another decent emotional story and I’d say it beats the first two. I do think Blake put herself in a tricky spot here since if the mom wanted vengeance then what? Blake has a lot of responsibilities at this point so she can’t just let herself die. Hopefully she would have split or volunteered to help out from time to time or something.

The first Weiss story takes place in early volume 1 as we see a bit of rivalry between her and Cardin. Cardin was basically insulting everyone as usual and showing off but this time he went after Weiss and she wasn’t having that. So she humiliates him in the next round and everyone is thrilled about it except for Blake who thinks it went too far. I was not on Blake’s side in this one though. Weiss didn’t cheat and simply beat Cardin. She used her abilities to trick him but it was all technique. I understand you don’t want to always go for revenge but Cardin really makes everyone’s lives miserable. Maybe he would think twice after this. It was super nostalgic seeing everyone back in their volume 1 costumes. I’d say this was one of the stronger stories.

The second Weiss story has her and Willow go on a hunt. It’s one of the rare times Weiss has to bond with her but then she gets stabbed in the back as Willow claims the credit. Willow’s personality here is certainly interesting. She is still drunk as always but instead of being hopeless she seems to have a very fake sense of happiness? Like she’s completely faking it but doing a decent job of it. I was not expecting her to betray Weiss like that either. It’s easy to see why Weiss does not trust her family at all after this. It was a good story as it leaves you just as confused as Weiss at why Willow acts the way that she does. Definitely makes for a toxic relationship.

The final Weiss story is one of the highlights of the collection. She decides to finally have a big act of defiance against the family before leaving and she does so by freeing a bunch of Faunus and animals from the estate. She even has to fight Willow to pull this off and naturally wins that battle. It was a good way to show how Weiss has developed and will defend herself now. She has come a very long way from her old self and the comic captures that. Seeing her summons in action is always cool.

The epilogue story is wholesome as we see each character gear up in the present and a few more moments from when they were kids. I think the scene of Willow finally standing up to Jacques may be a bit early since in the show she never takes a stand like that but the book probably wanted that to cinematically close out Weiss’ part. It’s not really a big deal either way and you close the book feeling good. It was a solid choice to end the collection with.

Really my only issue is that the artwork’s not very good and is even bad in some instances. Personally it just didn’t match the artstyle of the show very well and was going for more of a water paint kind of look that just isn’t as streamlined as it could have been otherwise. A smoother and more colorful artstyle would have been perfect for a RWBY adventure like this. It’s not awful or anything though with characters usually staying on model. The quality writing keeps this up anyway.

Overall, This was a fun collection. The scene with Raven badmouthing Summer has to stand out as the best in the whole thing. That was just a blast. The art may not really be my thing but the writing is solid enough where I can get past that. It’s just great to see the gang again and I look forward to checking out more RWBY comics in the future. There are a whole lot of stories you could tell in this universe that there wouldn’t be time to expand on in the show. Hopefully the franchise continues to expand.

Overall 7/10

Predators Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Next up in the Predator series is more of a classic survival film. The main characters are in unfamiliar territory fighting a powerful foe and so they just have to survive. In a lot of ways this film is like the original one and does a good job of hitting the same beats. It’s a considerable improvement from the second film, that’s for sure.

The movie starts with Royce awakening in free fall and he just barely manages to use his parachute to get down safely. Fortunately he has his gun at the ready and comes across a few more humans. The only common element is that they are all trained killers in different fields. Soldiers, Hunters, Hitmen, Yakuza, etc. The forest does not appear to be familiar to any of the people here and worse yet, they are being hunted by strange creatures. Can Royce and the team manage to fend these guys off or are they doomed?

This is the kind of intro that throws in a little mystery and suspense along with the thriller elements. It almost feels like a video game premise and it’s always a good one. It’s one of the reasons why Lost was so popular. When you’re in a strange environment with a lot of potential obstacles then it really raises the fear factor. The fact that everyone here is a trained fighter helps since they can defend themselves but on the other hand it also means they can’t trust each other either.

As the main character Royce is quite solid. I like how much of a loner the guy is. He doesn’t really fall in for the whole team spirit thing. He just does whatever he wants and the rest of the gang are welcome to follow him if they want or just hang back. Either way he isn’t going to switch his plans on account of them. As the film goes on he has a good character arc and even by the end of it his guard is as sharp as ever. He has a good speed moment at the end of the film and really stands out as the best character by far.

Then you have Isabelle who is quite skilled as well but a lot more merciful than Royce is. She is a soldier but doesn’t take as much joy in taking her opponents down as Royce does. She will stop to help someone who has fallen down while Royce would probably just steal any valuables. So Isabelle’s a nice character but in an environment like this that can also be a really risky thing. It gets her into trouble a few times.

Nikolai’s role isn’t as big as the others but he’s another solid character. He has a strong sense of honor and will go back to rescue someone if they have a bond. Then you have Hanzo who has sword skills as a Yakuza member. His showdown with the Predator will definitely remind you of the one on one sword fight from the first film. Definitely a lot of homages here and this was another one that was well executed.

Stans is more of a normal murderer so you definitely don’t want to loosen your guard around him. He’s one of the least likable members of the group. He’s just not a good guy at all and his dialogue is pretty cringe worthy. The less screen time he gets the better and you know that his tough talk will evaporate as soon as the Predators show up.

Mombasa had a bit of a rivalry with Stans and while he ultimately takes the high road each time, you feel like Stans gets off a bit easy at some points. Mombasa deserves credit for keeping his priorities straight though. Finally you have Edwin who is the worst character in the film. He’s the kind of guy who will beg for his life and ask someone to save him only to dash out afterwards when the situation is reversed.

Danger shows a person’s true colors and that is certainly true of Edwin. He just gets worse and worse throughout the film to the point where there is really no return for him. He’s more of a distraction from the Predators throughout the film and certainly doesn’t contribute in fighting them.

Aside from the main humans there is also another one on the island who has long since gone crazy while being in this forest. It’s impressive that the guy has survived for so long though even if he is absolutely batty. His plan was a bad one also because even if the rest of the characters were bumped off, creating a fire seems like a way to attract unwanted attention. Even without Royce and the gang making it more obvious, I feel like the Predators would have found out something was up.

Surprisingly the film doesn’t really have a twist like you would expect from most horror titles. It just ends after the big climax but the action scenes were solid so it works out well enough. As it is, the twist in itself happens early on as we meet the original Predator and see that he was defeated. Now this was the best moment of the film. I can only imagine the impact if you assumed this film would be all about the Predators only to see that it was taken down. I think the twist would have been even more effective if the replacements didn’t look so similar though. Imagine if the creatures hunting the humans looked nothing like Predators? It would be a bit of a bait and switch on the audience but one that would have been effective.

The scenes of the Predators hunting the humans are done well here. Now you do have to turn your mind off a bit though in the sense that the Predators could and should have won numerous times throughout the film. They have camouflage, the element of surprise, and homefield advantage. Now if they want this to be a fair hunt so they let the humans go a lot of the time that’s fine but then losing in the end still doesn’t make a lot of sense. It felt like the Predators just wouldn’t adapt no matter what.

From the 3 Predator films this one felt like the humans had the most plot armor. Even accounting for the fact that these humans know how to fight I just wasn’t really buying it. It’s not the kind of thing that hurts the score but it’s just hard to ignore. Score-wise, well the film has the usual amounts of extreme violence you would expect. The Predators make sure that the humans really feel it when they’re taken out.

With their super strength and bladed weapons, the Predators easily make short work out of the main characters or at least the ones that don’t survive. This time we even have little alien creatures that are getting blown up as well. It’s a jungle horror film after all so creatures are to be expected. Parts of the script can be a bit weak as well but nothing too crazy. Ultimately it’s just one of those films where if you scale back the violence a ton then this could jump way up since the premise is still intriguing enough on its own. I’m always up for a good survival title after all.

Overall, Predators brought the series back to where you would expect to see it. We got some super Predators which is a cool concept but I just wish they didn’t look so similar to the normal Predators. Take away the armor and they basically are the same since it’s such a slight evolution. It really would have been cool to have seen a whole new type of creature suddenly show up out of nowhere. If you’re a horror fan or like the Predators then this is a good film to check out. It’s like the Hunger Games except it’s humans vs aliens.

Overall 3/10

Predator 2 Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

All right, it’s time to re-enter the world of the Predator. Much like Halloween III, this one feels a lot different from the other Predator films. Well, as the second one there hadn’t been more than one at the time but knowing about the newer films, this one just doesn’t have that survival vibe that the others had. If anything the gangs take up a decent chunk of this film’s run time.

So there have been a lot of gang fights lately which isn’t really abnormal for the neighborhood. Harrigan is trying to keep the peace as always and breaks up fights when need be. Lately the murders have been a lot more violent though and Harrigan suspects that a new player is in town. The murder methods are very creative though so whoever is doing this should be feared. The problem is that a high ranking government official known as Peter shows up and seems to be trying to make sure that Harrigan doesn’t get any more info on the case. What is he hiding?

Whenever the government is hiding something in these films you can bet that it’s important. The most annoying thing for Harrigan is likely the knowledge that if his team had known about the true threat from the start then things could have gone differently. I’m sure the Predator would have still murdered a bunch of people but it’d be nice to know that you are fighting an alien right away than going after street thugs right?

I also feel like Peter just didn’t handle the situation well. He becomes useful by the end of the film but keeping secrets just really didn’t benefit the heroes in the long run. His squad was woefully unprepared for the Predator as it is. At least Harrigan knows how to fight and chase the villains down. Now granted, when we get the inevitable fight between the Predator and Harrigan it is a little hard to see how the human was doing so well. Granted, the Predator got injured and they aren’t as strong as Xenomorphs but I felt like Harrigan should have lost the fight.

As it is, in the first film the main character was mostly losing in the physical confrontations and that guy seemed way more powerful physically than this lead. Predators should be stronger than humans anyway, they have super armor and are just built different. They have camouflaged tech and can plan things out as well. In theory there is no way the Predator should lose even when vastly outnumbered.

This does give us an exciting climax though so that part’s good. It’s nice to see the Predator ship and we even a foreboding ending with Harrigan setting us up for film 3. Of course, with a planet as big as Earth, the Predators will probably pick a new location to hit up next time since they never seem to go to the same place twice.

The humans aren’t super memorable. Peter and Harrigan are really the main guys here. I still say Peter’s secrets weren’t very helpful in keeping people alive but Harrigan did well in staying on the case until he got his answers. Jerry was a solid newcomer to the group. He’s a hot shot and initially you figure the guy is all talk but he actually proves himself in every instance of the film. He tails the villain without their realizing it, he is quick on his feet and the scene where he takes on the reporter was really solid. I like how smoothly he took that guy down.

Where the film falters is really with the gang elements. Nobody really cares about all this in fighting with the gangs just murdering each other. We want to see the Predator and of course he does murder all of those guys with ease but you could really take out the whole gang plot and that would be even better. Have Predator be the only villain and his mere presence is scaring everyone. That level of terror would really establish the Predator as one of the big bads to watch out for. instead he’s sharing time and while the gangs are no threat to him, why even have them around?

The film is naturally rather violent as the characters tend to get ripped apart by the Predator. It’s not quite at the level of Halloween or something like that but it doesn’t make for a pretty sight. The only death that was more stylistic than violent was when the Predator takes out King Willy. Now that scene was effective because it showed that even the city’s greatest swordsman couldn’t take him down. I’m not sure exactly how skilled the guy was but he knew about the supernatural elements and at least faced off against the Predator. Even if he didn’t end up putting any kind of fight, at least he was ready for action which is more than you can say for a lot of the characters.

The idea of having the Predator attack a city isn’t a bad one but this movie just didn’t utilize the idea very well. This should be exciting and nerve wrecking as the cops have to step in and fight the Predator. Instead you can easily forget that this is a big down at times. It’s all quite dusty and you can almost feel the heat wave that is taking place in the film. Everything feels dusty and isolated. The town is also so far gone with all of the crime everywhere that it isn’t really the big city experience you would hope for. The writing isn’t impressive nor is the cast. A film can’t really win under those circumstances.

Overall, Predator 2 is definitely a step down from the first film. I also don’t really get the point of the Predator here. It makes sense that one would test his limits in the forest, but a random city? I suppose the idea is that by beating all of the mobsters the Predator will prove that he is the strongest in the land but the actions almost feel aimless at times. He’s also moving rather slowly with the kills so you wonder what he is doing to kill time every day. If the cast was more likable and the violence was toned down then maybe you would have something here. Instead this ends up being more of a forgettable horror title. We don’t even get a true twist ending here. It ends on a note where you know sequels are on the way but nothing that really pops out at you. If you want to check out a Predator adventure, just watch the first one instead.

Overall 2/10

The Client Review


The Client is one of those films where you have different factions who are both technically good guys but they’re at odds with each other so you have to choose who to root for. Meanwhile the real villains are still on the loose so you have to hope that the heroes can take them down in time. The Client is definitely a solid film, one that would have been even better if the main character was older but still good all the same.

The movie starts with Mark and his brother Rick out in the woods when they see a guy trying to destroy himself using fumes from his car. Mark decides to prevent this from happening but ends up being caught. Fortunately he is able to escape right as the guy is blown up but this traumatizes Rick so that he can no longer talk. This ends up being a big deal because the guy who destroyed himself had the big testimony that was going to seal the case for Reverend Roy. Roy figures that he may have told the kid the location of the missing body that would be the ultimate proof to convict one of the gang heads known as Muldano.

Mark is approached by the mob and told not to say anything though or they will destroy him and his family. As evidence of their sincerity they burn down his home but of course nobody can prove it. Mark figures that he will need an attorney and hires a lady named Reggie. She is nice enough to be doing this case for free but how much can she help Mark when the guy is keeping so many secrets from her? The trial is in a few days so everyone is on the clock.

The Mob and Roy both want to be the first ones to the body to destroy or salvage it and they each have a hurdle here. The Mob knows where the body is but have a hard time getting past security to find it. Roy wouldn’t have that trouble since he is security but doesn’t know where the body is. That’s why the whole situation with Mark keeping the secrets tends to be annoying. I’m often not a fan of kids being the main character in a film like this and this movie really reinforces why that is the case.

There are a lot of scenes here where if Mark was a grown up then the film would have ended early. Strike a deal with Roy to enter the witness protection program or something and then tell him about the body. That would have been the best way to do things and would have ended the film in minutes. The problem is that he won’t tell anyone including his own attorney. I thought Mark was very ungrateful to her considering that she doesn’t even need to be helping him. Reggie does everything that she can but Mark tends to storm off every other scene instead of actually helping.

Suffice to say, he was one of the worst characters in the film. Any scene with him was one where he was impeding the legal process and just putting everyone into more danger than they needed to be. Reggie would have wrapped this whole thing up a lot sooner otherwise. Maybe tell her that a member of the mob broke into the hospital so they could get some more security around the place? That would have been productive at least. His mother’s also rather mean to Reggie for no real reason either.

Reggie is really given a tough task here but she still does her best to get to the bottom of this in every scenario. She talks tough to Roy during each of their confrontations and usually comes out on top. Only time she is left on the defensive is when Mark withheld more crucial info from her that Roy was able to find. It’s tough to defend someone when they give you fake stories all the time. Ultimately she did go with him to the dangerous spot to find the body and really came in clutch each time.

As for Roy, he was a fun character. I like the levels of confidence he brought with him to each of the hearings. It’s easy to see why he is known as one of the best in the business. When he has an opening he takes it and just rides this all the way to the end. He does want to get more political power but it’s clear that he has earned the position that he has currently. He studied a lot to get to this point and it’s all paid off quite nicely. Even in his first questioning with Mark he was able to defeat the kid quite handily. A few more minutes and he would have won if not for Reggie showing up.

The villain Muldano is more on the forgettable side though. There’s not really a whole lot to him. He flies off the handle too much which is what gets him into these jams in the first place. When the alarm went off in the climax his only hope was to quickly charge the heroes since fleeing would confirm that they got the bodies. Ultimately he wasn’t quite brave enough for this and that’s why he’s not the top boss of the mob.

The Client is really solid because the writing is strong. Put the kids to the side and you can really focus on the solid banter between Reggie and Roy. They’re both professionals on opposite sides of the fence here so they really have to go at it. The court scenes with the judge were a lot of fun as well. These bits don’t take up most of the movie but the scenes that we do get are really presented well.

We also get a good amount of thriller elements and a reasonably tense atmosphere that works well here. I don’t really have any big negatives here aside from the main character who was just really grating the whole time. I would have written him out after the intro scene so most of the big scenes were with Reggie instead as the mob goes after her. It would switch the movie up a bit but also ensure that all of the characters are solid.

Overall, The Client is a good film and I’d recommend checking it out. You really get to see the dangers of being a witness and ensuring that you have a good deal set up before telling all that you know. If Reggie wasn’t there to make sure of that, it seems like Roy’s team would have left the witness off to dry. In a dangerous business like this you have to keep your guard up and wits about you at all time. I’m always up for a film that deals with the court room so this worked out nicely.

Overall 6/10

Tall Story Review


All right, it’s time for a Basketball movie of sorts. It’s not the main focus per say but it does play a part in what’s going on. This is a movie where I would say the first half beats the second as the comedic parts are good but once the film gets serious it starts to trip up a bit. Ultimately the moral here is that you need to stick to your studies!

The movie starts with Professor Leo getting ready for his first day of school. He’s going to be an ethics professor and he’s looking forward to getting these kids academically prepared for success. He’s given the school tour by Professor Charles who lets Leo know that this school is very dedicated to its Basketball program. This is to such a point that there is a huge statute in honor of the sport and it is the only thing that the papers care to publish.

Well, Leo can make ethics work into that. Then the professors are knocked over by the new student June. She lets them know that she is only attending this college to secure Ray’s hand in marriage. To do this she will have to get him to stop focusing all of his time on school and so she asks for their help in arranging this. She is steadfast in this goal but will Ray ultimately choose to go with her or will she end up being disappointed?

It’s also worth noting that a big part of the film’s drama is also about the Russian team coming over to do battle with the school. This team has defeated every school in their tracks under mysterious circumstances at times but the principal and teachers are confident that they can win as long as they have Ray. Ray’s never lost a battle and doesn’t intend to start now. Hopefully the romance doesn’t get in the way of this eh?

Most of the humor here is in how up front June is about all of this. She doesn’t mind anyone knowing about her plans aside from Ray. She isn’t beating around the bush either and systematically starts tearing down all of Ray’s barriers. You feel like the guy is doomed from the start with how he can barely resist her. By the time they’re babysitting together it’s all over. I will have more to say about that when I talk about him.

But for June, she gets a positive score here. She saw an opportunity and she seized it. You have to appreciate the hustle and June was also able to support Ray as best she could during the climax. There was a lot of planning from her end so she also gets top marks in strategy. As a main character she does her part in making sure that the movie is entertaining from start to finish.

Now for Ray, I was not a fan of his. First off, he lets the romance impact his play on the field. Whenever someone is playing a sport or doing any activity you don’t want to see any excuses. Ray starts stinking it up on the field and doesn’t seem to care because he is having such fun. The tournament is coming up so he needs his head in the game. Then when he gets his groove back, he gets a package of money from the Russians telling him to throw the game.

There’s a lot of ways to handle this like immediately giving it to the police, the Basketball coach, the teachers, etc. Instead he just holds onto it initially which is not a good idea since it’ll make him more suspicious down the road. Additionally he decides to flunk a test so he will miss the game but that will just ensure that the college loses. He kept on making the wrong choices over and over again when this really wasn’t that hard. Hand the money over to the cops and it all would have been squared away rather easily.

So while June had a strong will, I thought Ray’s was rather weak. The main antagonist Leo can also be dicey at times. I enjoyed most of his earlier scenes as Leo tries to make sense of this crazy situation but towards the end he seemed a bit exaggerated. Once he learned the truth about the whole thing he should have just let Ray go back on the team. If he wanted to do a make up exam then that’s fine as well but just give it instead of intentionally dragging out each question.

After a while it just seemed like he was being stubborn just to be stubborn. There was also no reason for him to out June near the end as it served no purpose other than to put her in trouble. So Leo really used up any good fortune he had earned up by then. I appreciate him sticking to his guns before learning the truth and keeping Ray in a failed state. That’s fine and as an Ethics professor it makes sense. After that though? There’s no real excuse there. Additionally giving a makeup exam doesn’t seem too far fetched.

Everyone was putting pressure on Leo including the principal. If the team had lost the game I have a feeling that Leo would have been fired on the spot. The principal doesn’t get a huge role here but whenever he appears the guy takes over the stage. You can tell that he is serious about the team winning this one. Charles is a solid professor as well and a lot more reasonable than Leo. He has a very laidback attitude and is just able to roll with all of the punches rather than making a big deal about everything. That’s the kind of guy you want to have on your side.

As the Basketball coach you can probably guess whose side Sandy was on. This is a game that especially means a lot to him and he made good on his word to put in as much pressure as possible. I definitely liked that guy. Finally there’s Myra who is June’s mother and she is also more reasonable than Leo. She even has a bit of a competitive side to her as she jumps in on the sport betting behind Leo’s back. You can see where June gets her personality from. Myra usually won’t go into the spotlight to throw in her support but she is always on the right side.

The film’s fairly quick and really breezes by. The only weak point I would say tends to come from the romance side of things. I won’t say that the romance between June and Ray is bad, it’s actually fairly decent for this kind of school story. No, it’s the inclusion of another couple who own a trailer that can be a bit much. They’re the kind of fake friends who won’t actually help you at all despite talking a great deal. I didn’t like that Ray and June actually bought the trailer because it feels like they were fleeced. The whole sequence of scenes were also the only parts that really felt like they dragged out.

This other couple wasn’t funny and the idea of moving in there and wasting so much money rather than getting a proper place just doesn’t make any sense. Ultimately it was Ray’s money so I’m going to have to give him another big L for even thinking about this. June also takes part of the blame for being excited about it so they’ll both take a hit there.

Overall, I would have liked to have seen more of the actual Basketball game but in the end this was a decently solid title. It’s a pleasant enough romantic comedy which hits the right notes on both angles. Hopefully Leo learned his lesson and will be a more reasonable person going forward. At the very least that’s what you would hope. If you’re looking for an old school title to watch then I’d recommend checking this one out.

Overall 6/10

Halloween III: Season of the Witch Review


This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
Halloween certainly took a different approach with this installment. No Myers this time and well it’s just nothing like the rest. It does manage to capture a tense atmosphere and you almost have a bit of a Twilight Zone kind of feel here but the film is very quickly not content for the slow burner approach and keeps on going back to being a normal slasher and wasting this tense feeling.

The movie starts with a guy getting attacked and barely managing to make it to the hospital. He tries to warn the staff that everybody is going to die but they quickly subdue him and get the guy into emergency care. Unfortunately the hospital was not quite protected well enough and he is murdered by one of the assailants. Doctor Daniel is disturbed by this so he heads out to get drunk out of his mind. That’s when the victim’s daughter Ellie shows up and declares that she is going to find out what happened. Her father shouldn’t have had any enemies so why would he be taken out like this? Daniel decides to help her out so the two travel to a nearly abandoned town with a mask making company that is their only lead. Have they just stumbled onto something bigger than themselves?

Okay so right off the bat the first scenes have one of the most vicious deaths in the movie as the guy’s head gets completely crushed. This movie really didn’t hold back on just how brutal the deaths were. It’s quite creative in a way as these may be even more devastating than the average slasher film murders. Each and every death here is like that as one person even takes an energy beam to the face and this isn’t Dragon Ball Z so lets just say that it leaves a lot of damage.

The film’s already dooming itself quite a bit with all the violence but even beyond that none of the characters are likable. Lets take Buddy first. He’s already having a lot of family issues because he is not reliable and always missing important days. Well, he’s about to miss a lot of others because he doesn’t even tell them that he’s trying to solve the murder of this latest victim.

Now, this is a pretty serious moment for Ellie and Buddy since murder is no joke. Yet 5 minutes after they get to the hotel they decide to mess around with each other. Okay….it’s probably not the best time to start an affair particularly as they are in enemy territory and believe there was some foul play. All they’re doing is making sure they are extra defenseless now.

Bobby also splits up with Ellie quite a bit considering how dangerous the situation is. Shouldn’t they at least stay together when walking around the town? Buddy just ends up being annoying the whole time and keep in mind that he is also flirting with a coworker the entire time even while he’s having an affair with Ellie. Just keep that in mind. This guy cannot keep his mind on the task at hand.

Then Ellie is just really not smart and handles everything in the worst way possible. She makes it obvious that the heroes suspect the villains like when she runs towards her father’s car or when she nearly bursts into tears after that. She’s super willing to go on the tour and everything to find the evidence but doesn’t really take any precautions. Now there’s probably not a whole lot they could do against the androids but I’d like to at least have seen her head be in the game.

The only person you’ll probably feel bad for here s Marge who just showed up to get some more masks. It’s tough having to go all the way to the factory direct but she did it because she needs those masks in time for Halloween and won’t miss out on the sales. It’s really a case of her being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong product.

Same with Buddy who really did a great job in selling as many masks as possible. Apparently there was nobody better at this which just makes the whole thing even more tragic. He seemed like a good guy too so you just feel bad for him. He probably should have taken down the snakes as they appeared so they didn’t build up but it was a high pressure situation and unfortunately he just wasn’t ready for it. Then you have Cochran who is the main villain here.

The guy is one of those team corporate members who just enjoys a good joke and reliving the old traditions. He has an origin story that explains the supernatural part of the story but it seems like his motivation was really just to play a joke on the whole world by selling these masks that melt into you and summon a bunch of insects. The fact that it only works when watching a commercial is fairly meta.

You won’t be remembering this villain very well after the movie but the one thing you can say for him is that he does have a lot of patience. He had to really build up the company to get it to this point and couldn’t make any slip ups in the meantime. Additionally the Halloween jingle for the commercials is rather catchy. I can definitely picture the characters getting tired of it when it plays numerously every day leading up to Halloween though.

The film ends in a way where you can decide how it plays out. Personally I think there’s no way the company is able to help Daniel out a third time. As it is, I was surprised they even listened on the first two attempts because with the commercials selling so well on the other days they probably wouldn’t dare shut it down. They don’t want to say goodbye to those $$$ after all. It works as a solid ending though and again goes for that Twilight Zone feeling where nothing is at it seems. A sequel would have been interesting assuming that the snakes keep spawning as we see what the government would want to do here.

The climax gives us some action but it was really convenient that throwing the emblems was able to perfectly link the TVs in a circle to burn everyone away and turn someone into a ghost. That was very convenient to be sure. The villain has a bunch of androids with him which explains how they were able to literally rip people apart. I don’t see how Daniel was able to defeat one of them though. It shouldn’t have broken down that quickly or been slow enough to be tagged like that. I had a hard time believing those bits because they just didn’t seem very likely. Low key it was kind of funny to see Daniel take out a napkin to clean his hand while Cochran was monologuing only for him to realize that the substance was too thick to actually be removed that way and he just tossed the napkin.

So I don’t have many good things to say about the film but the one thing I will give it is that the atmosphere was handled well. The scenes where they first drive into the village and we see how oddly everyone was acting is quite solid. You know that something isn’t right and the people here just don’t seem normal. It’s that 80s vibe that is really hard to recreate nowadays. So at least that’s something. Also, having the original Halloween exist in this continuity as a fictional movie is rather meta.

The climax was also decent in some respects. I like that we got several fake outs with the final robot that kept choking Daniel. It made for a decent back and forth fight even if once again I feel like Daniel should have been taken down. If a robot is strong enough to utterly crush someone’s skull with ease then it’s definitely strong enough to choke someone out way before they have time to push you off or grab some loose object on the ground.

Overall, Halloween took some risks but ultimately they did not pay off. It keeps all of the usual slasher elements like particularly gruesome deaths and then doubled down by making the main characters not be all that likable. The spooky atmosphere would have been more effective in a subtle movie where the violence isn’t so high and the tension slowly builds up. I dare say that this film would have been better off falling back on its usual formula if anything because this one just didn’t work. Definitely skip on checking this one out.

Overall 1/10

Candyman Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Candyman plays out exactly like the kind of slasher horror you would expect. I’m still not entirely sure why he is called Candyman but there’s got to be some slang or history in the term that would explain it. Now in the recent remake they make it quite clear by changing up his origin but in this film…yeah it’s a bit of a mystery. Not enough of one to save the movie though.

The movie starts with some guy getting ready to have a cheating affair with a girl. She randomly brings up the legend of Candyman, basically a guy who fell in love with a girl back in the day but this was back in the days of segregation and the town wasn’t going to abide by a mixed relationship. Candyman was tortured and murdered and now haunts people from beyond the grave. If you say his name 5 times into a mirror then he will appear and murder you. So at this point the guy should ask “Who starts a conversation like this?” Seriously they’re about to start the affair and she suddenly brings this up as a complete mood killer.

The guy says the name 4 times and then runs off but the girl says it a 5th time and gets murdered. We cut to the present where Helen is writing a paper on Candyman and needs to do a lot of research. Her friend Bernadette is helping with this but starts to think Helen is going too far. Helen wants to go to the seediest neighborhood in town for extra research and even wants to say Candyman’s name 5 times in the mirror to make sure the legend is false. Candyman doesn’t appreciate her trying to discredit his legacy so he makes his move.

Candyman is one of those spirits who is only powerful while people believe in him which should be a rather big weakness in the modern day. How many people actually believe in this guy right? His abilities are rather unique for one of these slasher villains. For starters, he has the powers of epilepsy which is not something to be taken lightly. He can flash crazy lights into your mind which prevents you from running away. This is something he used on Helen when she tries to escape in the parking lot at one point.

Among other abilities he seems to have illusions, super strength, regeneration, and a bunch of other powers. It does feel like defeating him might actually be possible compared to some opponents like the Grudge but it’s still super unlikely. There isn’t much to the Candyman in terms of motive and everything though as he only starts to deal damage when someone says his name 5 times. So if he really wanted to get revenge on everyone or restore his legacy you’d think that he would be more proactive about it.

Helen has a strong case of plot armor in this film though as he doesn’t murder her instantly the way that he does to everyone else. Now, he wants to use her to further his own legacy but in a way won’t this make it weaker? Everyone just thinks she is insane the whole time, not that Candyman is possessing her so it doesn’t do a lot to strengthen belief in him. The fact that he also goes to sleep and lowers his guard is something else too. Helen came quite close to taking him down at one point.

As with any slasher movie though, the film likes going overboard on the violence. Get ready for characters to be brutally murdered. The film also goes for a rather disturbing angle with the whole Bees thing though like Candyman forcing a marriage with Helen. That whole scene was really disturbing and quite gross with the bees coming out of him. I definitely could have done without that.

As for the characters there weren’t a lot of good ones here either way. For Helen, she really wasn’t smart with how she would do her investigating. You absolutely need to have a cop with you or a lot of friends if you’re going to go into some dangerous areas by yourself. She was lucky that she only got beaten up and wasn’t murdered on a few of her escapades. Even when Candyman first shows up with his incredibly loud voice and mysterious get up she is super slow to act. She just talks as if it’s a normal conversation instead of getting into the car and speeding away. This allows him to get close enough to use his seizure abilities on her.

Bernadette is the only reasonable character here as she tries to hold Helen back and stays in her corner. This does get more difficult for her when Helen is framed by the Candyman and it would be hard to blame her for walking away at that point since every bit of evidence was against the lead. The old “Candyman possessed me” argument wouldn’t really work in court.

Then you have Trevor for some relationship drama. He’s cheating on Helen with one of his students and it’s one of those plots that may not add anything to the film but I suspect it’s there for more motive on why she may have cracked. To the outside world is gives them more reason to suspect that Candyman isn’t real at the very least. Then you have Anne who is doing her best to raise her newborn kid but unfortunately gets roped into the whole candyman business thanks to Helen.

One thing about Candyman is that he really doesn’t mind collateral damage so her kid is put in danger just for being around. There’s one guy who is murdered without ever even uttering the name Candyman. In a way this is even more tragic for them because they aren’t even able to see him since they weren’t the summoner and as such have no real way of defending themselves.

As a horror film we do get a twist ending of course which is pretty solid. Lets just say that one character definitely didn’t make the smartest move. I don’t even know how you say someone’s name 5 times in a row without meaning to. How? Either way this character doesn’t last too long and we see the birth of a new legend. In theory this could be a good villain for the sequel or if Candyman is still around then it could be a vs movie. Of course that won’t happen but I think that would have been the best decision for a second film.

The only good thing I would say about the movie is that the soundtrack is rather intense. It goes for a very opera type feel at all times. Candyman likes his regal music and as the guy seems to think of his followers as being in a religion of sorts then it makes a lot of sense. The soundtrack was memorable which is always important for these kinds of things. It at least puts Candyman ahead of the curve in that respect.

Overall, There just doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of point to Candyman. He’s one of those delusional killers who doesn’t just want to leave a trail of bodies but also wants to make sure to break Helen first. He’s completely obsessed with her but it’s such a one way battle because he can knock her out or possess her at any point with no effort. So really the film is just about him toying with her and that kind of cat and mouse game certainly won’t end up being entertaining. Throw in all the extra violence, unlikable characters, and Candyman wanting to marry/merge with her and you’ve definitely got yourself a big miss here. Maybe the sequels can change things up but in the meantime you will want to skip this one.

Overall 1/10

Happy Death Day 2U Review


The sequel is now upon us. The first film had a cool concept but I didn’t think it lived up to the potential it had. This one does a much better job of handling the adventure. It may have mostly thrown away the horror elements from the first film but you’ve still got the various murders, there’s just much more things happening in this film. Maybe too many since one plot just vanishes.

The movie picks up right where the first film left off. Tree has escaped the loop and is finally together with Carter. Ryan isn’t thrilled about this since that means his room is still off limits but he heads to his lab to finish working on the time travel machine. Unfortunately the teacher doesn’t like this and shuts the project down. Ryan is promptly murdered by a guy in a baby mask and ends up going back to the start of the day. Looks like he is trapped in a time loop now and the only one who can possible help him here would be Tree since she has a lot of experience with this.

I would say that the decision to make Ryan the main character is an awful one since he was such a terrible character in the first movie but this title actually has a good fake out about this. So don’t worry Tree is still the main character here. Plus she still keeps the character development from the first film so she’s a much better character through and through. This time around she actually acts like a lead and does a good job of taking down the enemies.

The story goes in a few different directions from the plot I outlined above so get ready for some twists. In a way the movie has to try and make the scenario a bit harder on Tree because otherwise she would solo this experience on her second playthrough. She takes down one of the villains within minutes and with her gun she takes another one down rather quickly. It’s nice to see her just jumping into action here.

At the same time, I also feel like the movie doesn’t take that far enough. At one point the characters need to use a bunch of time loops to try different theories and suggest that Tree just destroys herself a bunch of times at the end of the day since it’ll be less painful than getting murdered. I was against this plan from the start. It’s used as a comedic montage where she keeps dying over and over again but half of those deaths seem just as painful if not more so than actually getting murdered. (Jumping into a tree shredder is such a gruesome way to die)

Jumping out of a plane is probably the easiest death but why do that when you can still just take down the murderer? So we need the machine to work in order to stop the time loop but at the same time, why not take the chance to try and take the murderer down a few more times? Alternately, shoot yourself with the gun since it would be instant but I think just using each attempt to take the murderer down would be more satisfying. Presumably Tree still has to die to reset the loop but if she’s wrong then this will help the timeline more.

Now there is a bit of a subplot where there’s a doppelganger of another character from a different dimension who is trying to murder Ryan. It feels the most random because nothing comes of it and that whole plot just vanishes early on in the movie. I think the movie probably should have just skipped this plot entirely and it would have not changed anything. The idea of multiple universes is explored in detail later on anyway and there are a lot of ways you could set up the machine being broken like the principal throwing something at it.

There is a scene after the credits though which sets up things for the next film. If the 3rd film actually follows this plot then things are about to go in a really different direction. I got some Dreamscape vibes from it with how large scale this may end up being. It’ll be interesting to see how that goes. in that case this would probably be a complete sci-fi thriller as opposed to any remnants of horror sticking around but we’ll see how that goes.

This time I thought the writing was greatly improved from the first film. Maybe it’s because the film is leaning more into being a full comedy this time but I’d also say that it’s really because the characters are more likable. I already spoke about Tree but it’s true for the rest as well. This time Ryan isn’t completely one note the way that he was in the first film. He actually gets some development this time around which is good. I’m still not a big fan but this is a world of difference.

His two assistants are okay, there’s not much to them but they have some okay banter. Carter still seems way too easy with how he has a girlfriend but is ready to have affairs with other people. So while Tree has gone away from her cheating habits, they seem to still be strong with Carter. Even Danielle ends up appearing as a much more reasonable character this time around. She ends up helping the team when it counts and is also more understanding of Tree with regards to missing meetings and such. She’s nice enough where you will feel bad for her by the end.

Lori also gets a brief appearance which may not make her look all that great morally but it’s still some extra development. The heroes and villains all get more to do this time around and that’s one of the benefits of being a sequel since you can go over events quicker with no intro to slow things down. Someone like Tombs is still just a crazy killer with no character but he’s more of a plot device than a character anyway. Even Gregory’s wife gets to do some things this time around, her character certainly went in a different direction than I had expected that’s for sure.

So with the writing being my main issue from the first film, this was an immediate jump. I also just like Tree taking a more active approach here and really taking it to the villains. Speed running through the loop scene from the first film was also nice. It’s almost nostalgic seeing some scenes from the old film before everything appears distorted. There aren’t really any memorable tracks here but you can’t win them all.

Overall, Happy Death Day 2U is a very different film from the first film and in all of the best ways. If you came for the horror then you’re out of luck because that is really gone. You only get horror vibes for maybe the first 15 minutes of the film when it’s giving you the fake plot. This is done really well though with the proper amount of scares and tension. I haven’t seen the trailers, but I think it would be a missed opportunity if they showed much footage beyond that. The idea of having Ryan as the main character is a scary one but it would make the whole story changing that much more effective. I feel confident in saying that the real movie here beats the fake out version from the intro. As more of a sci-fi fan I was cool with the changes here. We even have a lot of big emotional moments as well which can always be a bit hard to take seriously when you’re already filled to the brim with comedic, thriller, and sci-fi moments but the movie has a little of everything and makes for a good watch.

Overall 6/10