District 9 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

District 9 is one of those films that really did not live up to expectations. It’s not a big alien invasion film or a cool thriller with a lot of action scenes and explosions. Instead it’s going for a more “realistic” kind of vibe as humanity lets the aliens live in one district while running inhumane experiments on them the whole time. This movie is all about the grit and extra details while never allowing any of the characters to look all that heroic. It’s not a great look for humanity.

The movie starts with an alien ship appearing but for a while nothing happens. So the humans eventually cut themselves in and we see that the aliens are all very sick and can’t really fight at this point. So they are moved to Earth in a rather poor district and the humans who lived around there are not happy at all. The aliens have their own language which is translated in the subs and the humans can try to learn it to an extent. Wikus is one of the main guys going around handing out the eviction notices to some of these aliens so that they can be transported somewhere else. One of these operations goes wrong though as he it contaminated by a tube that one of the aliens was using and now Wikus is slowly turning into an alien. Humanity can’t allow an alien to be alive without advanced study so now everyone is hunting Wikus down to experiment with him until he dies from it all. Can Wikus escape?

The idea is that Wikus is effectively a fugitive on his own planet now. There is no real escape to be had so he has to try and fend for himself. At least for a while, eventually he meets up with Christopher again, one of the aliens. Christopher can cure Wikus if they can get off of the planet somehow in the spaceship and to do that they’re going to need a lot of fuel. At this point the humans can’t be reasoned with so Wikus is really on his own.

From the jump the movie doesn’t really give you any real likable characters to root for. Wikus is not the nicest guy to say the least and until he’s turned into an alien, he’s only marginally better than the other humans with how he interacts with the aliens. He grins gleefully as he destroys their babies and is having a lot of fun while this is serious business for the aliens. It’s all too late to feel sorry for him once he’s an alien and the film could have used a bit more nuance with the human characters. Make some of them a little nicer at least right?

Likewise I can’t say that the alien designs are all that good. Part of the point of the movie is that they’re all banged up and not exactly in fighting shape but that doesn’t make for an effective design. If anything you just feel like this is another aspect where the film dropped the ball because some nice visuals would have gone a long way. There is just nothing very nice to look at, the slums are breaking down and everything is rather desolate.

You have characters puking, you see cannibals eating aliens, and there is always a moment of shock value right around the corner. The movie paints a rather grim picture on the current state of affairs for everything and did I mention that this is documentary style? So you don’t even have great camera work because it’s always using the shaky cam style. I use the word shaky loosely as it’s filmed like a real documentary so they’re holding onto the camera tightly but a more traditional style would have greatly benefited the film.

A cynical film about how the government will always be messing with aliens behind the scenes can work well enough if you have one of the aliens as the main character and he is determined to save his comrades or something like that or it’s a big action movie where there’s a lot of fighting but otherwise the movie will just come across as rather mean spirited. The whole film is filled with extra details that you don’t need to know while also making sure that there is never any hope for the characters at any point in time. Certainly a big miss.

There’s just nothing particularly good to say about the movie. It doesn’t have good visuals, an impressive soundtrack, good characters, a solid story, or any fun moments that would make you cheer or laugh. It’s just a film that is determined to be as somber and depressing as possible. Now I do have some ways to fix it even while keeping to the same approach. If you want a film with a dialogue about how humans would treat aliens then you have to ditch the documentary style. We need a character who works for the news, someone in the resistance, and then the army characters from this title.

Give us some debates, some back and forth and different perspectives. The only way a film like this works is if there can be some meaningful dialogue and also a scenery shift so we can at least have some scenes with a happier touch. That would absolutely be the best way to handle this and it would really do wonders for the movie. You can also remove a lot of the grim dark scenes like the tortures and just blowing up aliens for no reason. Lets not make this so over the top.

Overall, Alas, this is not a winning film either way. I’d recommend just about any other alien film over this one. It’s certainly trying to do something new and different which can be applauded but ultimately it didn’t work. Sometimes being experimental doesn’t pay off even if that doesn’t mean that you should abandon being unique all together. It’s all about trial and error and eventually it could pay off. That said, I’d rather we not do a sequel to this film and focus on a reboot that is quite different instead.

Overall 1/10

Overlord Review

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

I had a bad feeling about this film from the start. It’s a dark and gritty zombie movie with world war II elements. None of those things sounds very appealing so when you mix it all together then you’re probably gonna be in for a rough time. Unfortunately I was right on the money with this one. It’s a film that never really lets up so you can have any fun scenes in there. Instead it just keeps on going but without any real hook to get to you.

The main character here is Boyce and he’s riding with a team that is being sent out to take out a tower so that aerial support can come in to help the troops take over one of the beaches. This is a significant battle for the allied nations so it is imperative that the tower goes down. If it does not then everyone’s doomed. The plane that Boyce is travelling in gets shot down so there are only a few survivors. They are now the last hope and must try to make it in time. This will be tougher than expected though as the Nazi have more troops here than expected. Clearly something else is going on that’s bigger than just the tower.

Right from the jump you can tell that this is the kind of film that’s going to be giving you the extra details that you don’t need. One character pukes after seeing someone get blown up and it sets the tone for the very gritty realistic vibe that the film is gunning for. Even the zombies in this film are handled in a way where it can be seen as a realistic byproduct of a serum that has been developed. I dare say if you’re going to do this plot then you should be as fantastical as possible but that’s just me.

The film is incredibly violent as you see dismembered people lying around and all sorts of shock imagery for the zombies. The heroes even go and torture one of the villains to show that they will fight as dirty as possible in order to win this. It makes the heroes seem rather unstable from the jump as well. Boyce is shown to be the only one that’s completely against stooping down to this level and he tries to get the others to calm down. Quite unsuccessfully I must say but at least the attempt was made. Nobody else really seemed to have a problem with this.

To get edgy in the other way, the film also has the main heroine getting blackmailed by a Nazi commander so they can have an affair in exchange for her safety. Evidently this has been going on for a while and while it’s finally stopped now that Boyce is here (While his teammate was quite willing to just let it all go down) it’s just another super dark plot that should have been excluded. We know that the Nazis are depraved and psychos, there is no reason to go super into depth with this and show every possible angle that this can be explored in. Ultimately it’s not like it adds to the story in any meaningful way. Everyone watching this film already knows that the Nazis are evil.

The fights are all made to be graphic and so there just isn’t any moment where you get to lighten up here. It’s just a really intensely dark film with a lot of casualties. The only really likable character here is Boyce. He keeps his humanity throughout the adventure and never crosses the line. I would say he did as much as humanly possible in trying to defy his teammates from crossing the line too. I think the rest of the characters would not have even made the attempt so that’s something that’s at least worth acknowledging there.

Now I will give the film this, it did have a good track or two during the movie. That was at least a good positive I could give to it. That’s really the only one though. The cast is not a good one and it’s hard to enjoy any scene because every second something violent or dark is going to happen. If you want to have a film about a group of troops behind enemy lines trying to do good, then you have to do something a little lighter and with more time to see the team bond and infiltrate. It needs to be done without making the heroes too unlikable either. One of them’s even a jerk to a kid the whole time for no good reason. He’s stressed out but don’t take it out on a kid.

Ford is the most unlikable out of all the heroes. He’s the one who tortures Wafner and keeps on telling Boyce that they have to ignore what’s happening in front of them and focus on the mission. He’s not the guy you want to have at your back. Following the mission is good and all but you still can’t let someone get attacked or die in front of you. The torture scene also wasn’t a good look for him. Heroes should definitely never resort to that kind of tactic. It eventually ends up with Ford and Wafner fighting to see who can dish out the most damage and make the film as gritty as possible. Their battle is probably the most violent one in the film.

Of course Wafner is an awful character. What more can be said about him, he’s a Nazi commander who abuses his power and gladly agrees with the administration. He’s a terrible person through and through. The main heroine Chloe did her best in the tough situation she was in and looked good during the movie at least. The only scene with her that was iffy was nearly getting tricked by a random soldier into entering a cell with a monster in it. Surely you would have the soldier go in first right or at least keep your gun trained on him?

Tibet is the guy who was mean to the kid for a while. By the end of the film he sees the error in his ways at least. He was the most entertaining of the group as he was always joking around and trying to have a good time but I still wouldn’t call him a great character in the end. He’s super jumpy and just doesn’t carry himself like a proper soldier. Finally you have Chase and he did well once he stopped worrying about the camera all the time. There are definitely bigger things to think about here than getting the right shots. That’s for sure.

Overall, Overlord is definitely a film that you’ll want to pass on. It’s really just nonstop grit as they fight off the enemy soldiers and occasional zombies here. The extra details are what really get you though as you have to see every action to remind us how tough the war is and how intense the villains are. Zombie films are typically a thumbs down all the way though so it’s not particularly surprising. If you really like this kind of film then by all means it’s time to jump in but otherwise you’ll want to give this one a really quick pass. It just doesn’t have anything to really salvage it and so the film feels like it’s extremely long.

Overall 1/10

Dark of the Sun Review

Dark of the Sun is a pretty terrible movie and you want to get that out in front as soon as possible. It goes for the ultra dark/gritty vibe right out of the gate and it succeeds but at the expense of being a solid movie. Early on you figure this could be a rather classic adventure film with a group of guys being recruited to do a solid job. There are some red flags but it seems all right. Then the film gradually begins to fall off of the rails before self destructing entirely.

The movie starts with President Ubi of the Congo hiring Bruce as a mercenary to get a bunch of diamonds that are currently stranded in a town behind enemy lines. Of course officially the mission is to save the people there but unofficially they all know that the diamonds are what is important. They need them in order to get more weapons and back-up to fight off the other side. This mission must be completed within 3 days or the Congo will fall. Bruce and his friend Ruffo will have to grab some of the best people for the job but options are limited. So they end up with a drunk doctor Wreid and the nazi Henlein. Will they be able to get the diamonds and save the town?

So remember I was talking about those red flags? Yeah the biggest one was the fact that a Nazi would be on the team. One who still proudly wears the insignia and all that so he is clearly evil and insane. Why even let this guy on? I feel like they should have taken him out early on or something because this could only possibly come back to haunt them. In no way would this ever end up working out and sure enough he causes a lot of problems down the road.

It certainly works as shock value to have a character like this in the mix but I’d rather they have just bypassed this guy altogether. As I mentioned though, the first half isn’t bad. It’s like the Magnificent Seven as Bruce rounds up his team only this time we only have a few real characters and the rest are mostly unnamed soldiers. They need a full battalion to fight off the enemy after all and even use a train to get to the town. It’s rather defenseless against planes though and they lose a lot of men just trying to fight one off. It seemed like a rather petty move by the UN since Bruce explained their mission but they wouldn’t hear of it.

There is some decent banter here and the characters keep it moving but then they run into a lady named Claire who is one of the only survivors from another attack. She is let on the ship so she can be safe there but naturally Henlein is still around and trying to make things difficult. He keeps on trying to attack her and fortunately Bruce was around to stop him but the guy still gets off easy.

Heinlein is actually the one who attacks Bruce and very nearly murders him but when Bruce finally turns the tables he is interrupted by his friend Ruffo right before he can finish the job. Of course murdering the guy is going too far but they should at least have arrested him or tied him to a tree until they got back. Not sure if they have handcuffs so tying him up would be best. We now know that he is willing to murder and assault his comrades so why keep him free at all? There’s no way he will actually be someone that you can trust and the argument that they need him is outweighed by these facts.

Every scene with Henlein is annoying and the characters just give him way too much freedom. This really comes back to bite them too. It’s not even a hindsight thing because even in the moment you feel like they’re making a massive mistake. This just ends up getting worse and worse as the film goes on. Sure none of these guys are big heroes but there’s a big difference between being rough around the edges and actually trying to murder everybody.

It’s too bad we didn’t focus more on the political part because President Ubi seemed like a quality character. A lot of the best dialogue was between him, Bruce, and the rich guy. I could have a lot of fun with that being the main plot and there’s a lot of ways to keep that interesting all the way through. Instead we cut to the adventure and all the grit. The film really goes overboard when the heroes are unable to save the village and we see them all get tormented to death. The whole scene is definitely very disturbing and goes on for quite a while. Some people off themselves to escape this before it happens while others don’t get off so quickly.

While you understand the gravity of being caught by the enemy side and the suffering that it entails, you never want to actually have that on screen. If anything you don’t want it to be implied either since you already know it. The film is all about its shock value and being rather violent but all it does is weaken the movie as a whole. Even to the end the final fights here are really brutal. You can definitely see why Bruce did what he did, but it could have been handled in a lot of ways to have been less savage.

Bruce is a solid lead for the most part who knows how to command a crew and stay alive but he definitely didn’t handle this situation as well as possible. Likewise Ruffo is a good friend and ally the whole time but he also should have handled the Henlein situation a lot better. Some things shouldn’t be waved away especially when you don’t know the context like how he handled Henlein. I didn’t care for the doctor much though. Wreid was always drunk and while his big moment helped try to make him heroic, it also felt like it was too little too late. Hopefully things worked out for him but he put himself in a rough spot too.

Claire is good and you feel bad for her because she went from one life threatening situation to another. She’s really had a rough time of it but does her best and doesn’t complain. There’s a bit of a romance that the film starts to set up there but there isn’t really any time for that so the movie puts it on hold. I would have actually preferred we get a romance plot instead of how it all unfolded. This could have been a classic adventure film which may have been a bit generic but still executed well.

Overall, This film is just way too gruesome the whole time. The second half destroys all the goodwill that the first half brought. The characters also aren’t smart at all in letting a Nazi join the group. Full stop. If they had not done that then the film could have been completely different so they only have themselves to blame for that one. Next time you command a team you want to make sure you don’t have any clearly evil guys on your squad from the start. Sure there could be traitors but at least reduce your odds of that being the case from the jump. Either way you definitely want to stay far away from this film. It’s got a lot going on, but a lot that you can afford to miss.

Overall 1/10

Jeepers Creepers 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

Oh nooooo, you know when you start a film and quickly figure it’s not going to be a winner? That’s this one in a nutshell. It has some interesting moments and doesn’t always go in the way you would expect but at the end of the day it’s just another horror slasher kind of film with a rather grotesque villain. The movie plays up the creep factor on this guy and ultimately you’re not expecting much of a happy ending here. It’s not ultimately a winner in my book.

The movie starts with Trish and her brother Danny driving home. It’s been a while since they were there so they’re looking forward to having a blast. Then a random truck shows up which tries to blow them off the road. They barely manage to escape but it just keeps appearing which is odd. Eventually they see the owner of the truck throwing some bodies down a tube so Danny decides that they absolutely have to check this out although Trish is against the idea. They head over and Danny falls into the tube of course. He’s got to find a way out and fast because this guy is coming back soon and he’s going to be dangerous.

The film references horror movie tropes quite a bit at the beginning to try and be clever but the characters make the same mistakes anyway so part of you wonders if it was even necessary. If I point out that it’s a bad idea to split up but still split up in the next scene is that smart writing or just trying too hard? I would argue it’s the latter personally but that’s just me. These characters do not make the best moves, particularly Danny though. Heading back to the long tube was not the right idea. Call the cops or something once you get to a phone but stopping there won’t really help anyone.

Lets imagine there were people who were alive down there. It’s not like the car is very big so you couldn’t take more then 3-4 people with you at best and it’s assuming a lot of things like getting back out of the tunnel safely. Now in this kind of movie it’s safe to say that nothing they do matters since the Creeper can reality warp and do whatever he wants but they have to at least try and give themselves a fighting chance. This is really just slowing them down.

Initially I thought the whole film would be inside the tube but Danny does get out pretty quick. For a little while he’s completely traumatized so that he can’t even speak. I figured this meant he had been turned evil or something but he ultimately snaps out of it even if he might wish that he didn’t. There aren’t really any winners in a film like this and the longer you survive, the more odds you have of having a painful death. You want to go out quickly but that’s not an option for most of the characters here.

So for the Creeper, he’s got a grotesque design as you would expect. The guy is rather twisted and likes disposing of his victims in as vicious a way as possible. He even leaves them alive sometimes to suffer even further. This is a villain you don’t want to be captured by, it’s better to be blown up if you think things are trending in that direction. The film definitely would have done well to tone down a lot of these scenes like the tongue part when he takes out one of his first victims. It’s definitely not needed at all and is there for shock value. That’s really it, there’s no other reason for that.

The movie relishes in its shock value all the time like when Danny unwraps one of the bodies. Definitely a very tragic way to die, no doubt about that. The ending doesn’t hold back either with being very dark. In the end there usually isn’t much point to these supernatural horror films because there is really nothing that you can possibly do to take down the villain. I want to say that’s even more true than usual here as the characters even run him over numerous times at one point. Danny naturally made another wrong call when he said that the Creeper had enough. No he hasn’t?

Of course this probably wouldn’t have stopped him for long but yeah just keep pummeling him in the hopes that you can take the guy out for good. Unfortunately the Creeper has a regeneration factor, flight, and seems to be bullet proof. That definitely makes him very hard to take down. We do have a scene where the entire police force shows up to try their luck though. That actually made for a rather decent action scene and it’s rare to see so many cops around at the same time like that. Naturally most of them are doomed for having slow reaction times and just watching.

The Creeper also seems to be fairly smart as he went around burning the evidence. Not sure why he would even bother though since it’s not like he has anything to fear. He always wins in the end anyway but I guess this would make the heroes despair a little more the whole time. Jezelle is the only real supporting character and she’s not very helpful. She can see the future but never enough to actually help the characters out. Take her out of the film and absolutely nothing changes at all.

The characters don’t even try to let her help them though. They just keep yelling and at some points actively go against her. Early on in the film she tells them to get out of the area if they hear the Jeepers Creepers song. Instead when they hear it, Danny cranks up the volume as we see the Creeper murder a bunch of people. So when she said that Danny is trapped in a room with the song they should definitely bolt out of there together. Sure, you’re just delaying the inevitable but you have to try something right?

There’s also a crazy cat lady who shows up at one point. I at least liked that she had the shotgun at the ready though. She even gets a few shots out at the creature but naturally that won’t end up doing anything. He’s just way too powerful for any of that so resistance is futile. As always I give props for effort at least, she got like 4-5 shots off which is more than most horror characters.

But yeah the film is definitely quite violent the whole time. The script also isn’t great, the dialogue between Danny and Trish is rough. They’re constantly bickering and acting real petty the whole time. I would not say that the dynamic worked very well at all and got old fast. This is the kind of film where there isn’t really much positive to say about it at all. It’s relentless in how dark and depressing the whole thing is. The situation keeps growing worse and worse for them.

Overall, Jeepers Creepers is a film you’ll want to stay far away from. It’s just going through the motions of all the horror movie moments without any soul to it. For a film like this it would always be nice if the heroes had some way to fight. At least throw them a bone of some hope that there is even a way to defeat this guy. Otherwise it feels like Creeper is just toying with them the whole time. If there’s no chance at victory or of doing anything else then that’s a good sign to the writers that he is simply too strong. Gotta balance him out just a bit to give the hero some kind of hope.

Overall 1/10

Doctor Sleep 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

While an improvement over the first film in the series, Doctor Sleep is still not a film that you’re really going to give much of a thumbs up to. It has some good ideas but really ends up wasting them and goes for way more grit than is needed. You will be engaged during any scene where the villains aren’t around but once they show up it becomes game over.

The story starts with a girl named Andi using her mental abilities to scar an evil predator when she is approached by another psychic named Rose. Unfortunately Rose is much more powerful and quickly subdues Andy and takes her to their cult. There she is brainwashed and forced to work for the villain group while also getting a big power up. See the villains have two goals. The first is to live and to do so they have to absorb the shine from people who have powers.

Effectively it’s like a person’s life force and only those with super powers have this. Then the other goal is to keep their ranks strong by turning others over to their faction. They have to keep a balance where the group isn’t too big and they also have enough prey left to absorb. It’s hard to say quite how many shiners there are in the world but if the villains are too successful they may start to run out of people to absorb and die anyway. After taking out a kid, the villain group sets their eyes in the main heroine Abra as they noticed her watching telepathically.

That takes us to the main character Dan. He has really been trying to keep a low profile after surviving the original events of the Shining and just wants a peaceful life. So even when Abra shows up and explains that there is a dangerous group out there, Dan refuses to help and goes back to hiding. Fortunately he is convinced to help by the ghost of his old mentor. This won’t be easy since he’s up against a complete group of fighters but Abra is tough in her own right so perhaps that will balance things out.

I was not a big fan of Dan though. The fact that he was so quickly going to abandon Abra was unfortunate. Sure he’s scared and all but when you know that a kid’s in trouble you’d think that you would try to help some more. At least teach her how to fight a bit or something. Instead he has to be guilt tripped into helping. He also doesn’t do very well with the willpower by the end of the film as the villains were just too much for him. Considering how much experience Dan has, I would have liked him to have been a bit more powerful here. Maybe walk into the room with a confident grin or something like that as he takes the villains down one at a time.

It would have been more satisfying than his having to be running all the time. At least at the end of the day he still does help out even if it was reluctantly at first. Abra’s a much more interesting character and it’s rare to have the heroes be more powerful than the villains. From the start we see that Abra is a lot more powerful than any of the villains. The only way they can keep up is to amplify their abilities with the magic drugs and even then they don’t last long.

Abra is a good guy so she doesn’t just go around murdering them but otherwise she may have been able to stop them in their tracks. She pull’s a good trick on Rose at one point where she lures her into the mind realm so Abra could then go into Rose’s mind and find out their plans. Rose is a fairly young kid but she has certainly learned how to do some creative things with her powers and illusion abilities.

If there were more films in the series I feel like there might be some foreshadowing for her going to the dark side soon though. She actively tells the villains that she hopes their death were painful several times and really relishes in her victories. Of course a large part of this is because she completely despises the villains for what they did to the kid at the start of the film so she wants them all to pay. Give her another year or two of training and she should really be completely unbeatable.

While the film has some action and they get to use their magical abilities, the film never quite goes into action territory. It’s unfortunate because I think this would have lent itself well to that kind of premise. The powers are easily weaponizable and then the villain group could have all gotten to have some fights with the heroes. Instead the only action scenes we get are very down ot Earth like fighting with a knife or something like that.

The battle with Dan and Rose is very anticlimactic for example. He played the matchup quite poorly and the scene of him getting drained just drags on for a long while. You know what they are building up to with Dan’s trump card but even that scene didn’t look quite as impressive as it should have.

Also, I was waiting for him to try the coffin technique on one of the villains. I figured this was foreshadowed with how close he was to using it on his old friend. If it only works on you once you’re dead then that’s a fair counterpoint to why he didn’t even try to use it but then he certainly needs more abilities at some point. Dan does well with crashing a car at one point though.

It’s nostalgic seeing the old mansion later on. While the Shining was pretty bad, the actual mansion was fun. I don’t think the house itself lives up to the hype at all though. For the most part all of the tricks are completely ineffective. In the end Dan really has to take things into his own hands because the house just wasn’t working. For instance there’s one scene where the river of blood shows up and the villain just smirks. The house is clearly not a threat to her at all and while I guess that almost feels like a twist I guess, you may as well have not had the mansion at all. You could almost call the mansion itself filler.

As mentioned earlier, any scene with the villains is awful though. They’re shown to be as demented as possible with their various ceremonies as they murder and brainwash everyone. The way they murder the child is particularly brutal as they mention the death has to be as painful as possible to absorb more shine. It’s definitely the kind of plot details that we did not need. I was not surprised that the kid dies since it seems like something this film would pull off but they went out of their way to make it as bad as possible.

Any scene with the villains trying to absorb the shine always drags on and on. The villains are not even remotely interesting and you just want them off the screen. Unfortunately for Abra she has to feel all of the pain as well thanks to her full synchro ability which is always something that you absolutely do not want to have. It ends up backfiring almost all the time.

Even from the start with Andi we quickly learn that her backstory is super grim dark. Even the scene of her taking down that one chump at the beginning can’t just be that she’s taking out a bad guy but we have to learn what kind. In general this is the kind of thing that can really hurt horror films in general. The more extra details you give to every scene, the more likely it is that you’re going to focus too much on the shock value and not get to the actual plot in time. This film certainly shows us that the world in which the Shiners live is a really depressing one and that just makes the film more depressing as well.

As Abra is the only really solid character here, I wouldn’t say that the writing or cast is all that good either. The film isn’t super violent all of the time at least but the kid scene certainly filled up the quota there. If the villains could have at least have had some semblance of a more interesting goal or character development then maybe things could have been different. As it stands, they really do their best to crush the film.

Overall, Doctor Sleep is a sequel that takes the series in a very different direction but still ends up failing. In a way that’s impressive. It beats the Shining as this film would at least have its interesting moments. If you cut the scenes with the Baseball kid out then that would help quite a bit. The score still wouldn’t be quite positive but it would win a few points. You just won’t have any fun in this film by the end of its run and for that reason you’ll want to give this one a big pass. If you want to watch a film involving super powers then it’s time to watch one of the Bleach films instead

Overall 1/10

Cube 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

Time for one of those death trap films where you have to survive until the end to win. Of course it won’t be very easy and if you know your genre well then it’s unlikely that more than 2 will survive. In fact, sometimes you can’t even expect 2 to make it. So as you watch the film you will be wondering just when these guys are gonna die. Unfortunately the film is pretty bad and doesn’t end up using the concept to its full potential.

The movie starts with all of the characters waking up in a mysterious Cube. Each room is lit up by the same 4-5 colors and it’s easy to get lost. The place seems to be endless as well which causes the characters to start cracking. Making matters even worse is the fact that many rooms have death traps installed within them. Can the heroes really find a way out of here or is it game over for them?

A movie like this is usually doomed as soon as you see the cast since the characters tend to be unlikable and this one is no exception. The characters always end up being either mean, evil, or complain a lot. They’re not ready for this kind of adventure and it’s why you always wish they would do a film with a group of trained professionals instead. For once it would be nice to see the characters not be panicking the whole time and actually just make the right calls when it counted. This isn’t that film though.

First you have Quentin who’s the worst character in the film. You know how his character arc is going to play out almost as soon as he starts talking. Maybe it’s an escape room type gimmick but you know that you’ve seen this character arc play out before. It’s a shame since the drama should really be focused on the literal death traps instead. Quentin’s scenes just get worse and worse as he film goes on which is a shame since it just drives the film lower and lower.

Granted, the film was always going to be a really low one. It’s a pretty violent film with the death traps everywhere and each death is always rather gruesome. One guy gets his face melted off, others are stabbed. There aren’t really any happy moments in the film. Since the characters started off already in the cube, we don’t even get a happy intro with the characters talking as they walked in an area for a test or something. The film is part mystery as they don’t even know why they are in the Cube in the first place.

Joan is effectively the main character here. She’s a math genius which really comes in handy here due to how the Cube works. The film throws a lot of twists about this but the key thing to remember is that as a trap/puzzle there is a right way to move around. If you find this method then you will end up going far and claiming victory. Of course it isn’t easy though. Joan definitely goes through quite a lot in the film. I wasn’t particularly a fan of hers either though. She complains a lot with the rest of the group and isn’t particularly nice to Kazan.

Nobody is safe from cracking in this film. Kazan is one of the biggest examples as the whole experience basically broke him completely. Unfortunately you feel like he’s just here to make everything more uncomfortable for the rest of the characters. One of the worst scenes is when he has to use the bathroom and it’s crude moments like that which will hold the film back even more. You don’t need anything like that in this film or any other.

David is the cynic of the group who thinks everyone is dead anyway so we may as well not try further. He is hiding some secrets which strengthen his case on why they shouldn’t do much but of course that’s not very helpful in trying to stay alive. He’s really not being helpful to the cast at all. Someone like this is just really annoying to have in the group spreading more negativity.

Helen also can’t stay focused as she talks about the government conspiracies and how someone is always watching. Her theories only serve to aggravate the rest of the characters even more. She seems nicer than most of the other characters at least even if she breaks down a lot. The only character who seemed likable was Wren. He wasn’t panicking and was at least making some moves in trying to get out of here. I can at least respect that.

But yeah this is the kind of film that’s just very mean spirited the whole time. It’s about throwing the cast into an unwinnable situation as you watch them all get bumped off and turn on each other. If the film had stayed about survival and didn’t go down the “Lord of the Flies” route then it would have been better. Likely not good of course but at least it would have been better. The death traps are all you need and everyone turning on each other is always one of the worst plot points.

In fighting is bad enough but the films always have to go way too far with it. If everyone was just upset at each other or snapping with insults that would be fine. It’s when they try to murder each other or go further that we have a problem. That’s most of the second half unfortunately because the characters figure out how to get around the traps reasonably early on and so after that the people are the real danger.

The ending is your classic horror ending so I won’t say how it goes but you aren’t expecting a happy ending here anyway. We get a few jump scares but the last one doesn’t even make any sense. I don’t see how this person would be here given what we just saw. That’s absolutely impossible, it’s just not going to happen and is here for pure shock value. The film simply couldn’t leave well enough alone and it makes the whole journey feel even more pointless.

Overall, This film is just pretty bad. There’s already not much to salvage within the sub genre when you take it to the horror extreme and this one lowers the bar further by adding all kinds of unnecessary plot elements. The only thing I would say for it is that the design of the Cube is rather solid. I liked the various colors and there were some decent background music tracks within. The mystery itself might compel you a bit but as the film goes on you get the sense that you’re not going to be getting any answers to it anyway. You will have your headcanon at least which will have to do. Of course with more films out you may get all of the answers there. I wouldn’t advise checking this film out or any of the sequels though.

Overall 1/10

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior Review

This 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

It’s no secret that I thought the first Mad Max was dreadfully awful. Well, unfortunately this one isn’t much of a step up. It’s still a film that is pointlessly bleak at all times with no corner of hope for any of the characters. You can survive in this future as best you can but you certainly can’t thrive here. The instant a dog showed up as one of the main characters I knew the film was doomed. It’s all downhill right from when the film starts so at least this isn’t a surprise. I will say that the poster is really good though, feels like a completely different movie!

The movie starts with a big flashback/narration explaining what happened in the first film. Considering that not a lot happened I think they could have sped this up but the film is really big on being as dramatic as possible. The opening and ending narrations are both very long and do well to lower your expectations. From there we see Max who is minding his own business with his beat up car when he’s attacked. He fends these guys off but then finds himself in the middle of a skirmish between two gangs.

One is a violent group that goes around terrorizing everyone. They’re all intent on causing as much terror and destruction as possible with no real goal beyond that. Their objective right now is to steal the fuel from the other group though so they can go back to committing mindless destruction against everyone else. The group on the defense seem nice enough but their group is split on fighting back or running off. Both options will lead to their ultimate destruction so they aren’t keen on either plan. Ma will end up being the deciding factor here. They manage to get his car and also have all of the fuel so if Max wants to go anywhere he will have to barter with them. Nobody can trust anybody around here so we’ll see how that goes.

It’s easy to see how so many people became crooks here though because there is absolutely nothing to do in this world. The entire planet is covered in sand and dust. It’s got to be one of the most depressing futures imaginable. Not only is there no sense of government or humanity so you’re surrounded by thugs everywhere you go, but there don’t even seem to be human essentials like stores and such. You’re stuck scavenging for your own things for the rest of your life which is as bleak as it gets. Seriously, it’s hard to have any fun in this place.

Max isn’t intending on having any fun though as he is still depressed from the events of the first film. I can’t say I blame him because the world has only gone south since then. At least in the first film it felt like there was still a civilization. Maybe it’s just the area that the second film takes place in but any civilization appears to be long gone at this point. There isn’t much to say about Max because he doesn’t say much and barely has any real character. He’s certainly not awful but he’s not that good either. The kind of character you forget even exists really.

None of the villains are any good. You’ve got Humungus as the leader of the group and the best thing I can say about the guy is that he is very strong. Nobody’s going to mess with him, that’s for sure and he chokes out the one villain who started to get out of line. Other than that, he’s just another thug trying to make a name for himself. Wez is much worse as the guy is one of those crazy types who only barely manages to get through his missions without going overboard.

The villains were just bad here because they had no real personality. The leader is the strong guy and Wez is the crazy guy. That’s the extent of their character here and I never got very interested in what was going to happen to them. This just isn’t that kind of film and that’s a shame. To make a good villain you’ve got to give them a solid goal or just make them generally charismatic. Some fun dialogue and a few good lines would have gone a really long way here.

As for the other group, well you have two main members. There’s Papagallo who could have been an action hero in a different movie. In this one the guy is still in the leadership role and makes the tough calls but he’s not all that likable. I’ll give him some points for being one of the most developed characters in the movie though, maybe even the most. You can at least see that he has some rationale behind his decisions and he certainly earned the unofficial title as leader. When the group needs a decision, then he comes through.

Then there’s the kid who can’t talk yet and acts like a wild animal. Well, he’s certainly savage enough and lands a lot of good blows so that’s impressive. His skills with a boomerang can’t be denied. Not really my kind of character but he proves helpful which is important. Then you have the gyro captain (I don’t think he ever got a name and this is what Wikipedia refers to him as so I’ll take their lead here) who goes from being Max’s fugitive for a while to actually helping out in the end. He definitely came in handy since aerial mobility is huge in a fight like this. In a car battle one wrong bump can take you out but in the air it’s hard to counter.
So those are the characters but I was less than impressed with them. As mentioned earlier, there is some animal violence here which really doomed the flick. You should not have a dog die in your film…ever. It’s just never going to end up being a good move and ends up backfiring horribly! Definitely a regrettable move. I mean, the film was going to get a low score regardless because I didn’t really like anything about it, but this ensured that it fell almost all the way down.

At the end of the day, the deck was really stacked against the film. I don’t care for the desert environment as it is. Then you’ve got a futuristic world with absolutely no high tech concepts which is missing the point of a future based film in the first place. I would also make the case that the film barely has a plot. Yes, we have to protect the fuel and Max just wants to get out of there but that’s a 20 minute plot, not a whole film’s worth.

Overall, I would give this film a hard thumbs down. Max Max is really not a film I would recommend. Even the newer films tend to not look very interesting but maybe it will eventually break out. The issue is that I feel the series would need a complete revamp in order to be good and that’s not likely happening anytime soon. If anything I’m sure that would be extremely controversial.

Overall 1/10

Night Moves 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

Oh boy, this is one of those films that starts out on a rather dicey note and then just gets worse and worse as it goes on. The movie is really going for pure shock value half the time and with nobody to root for you are in for a very grueling 99 minutes. I also wonder why they couldn’t just stretch this movie by one minute to be a perfect 100. If you’re that close…why not do it right? Not like it would have helped the movie or anything but you might as well.

So the movie is about a private investigator named Harry. He specializes in divorce cases and a lot of little cases like that which his wife Ellen mocks him about. Still, he enjoys the work but one day he finds out she is cheating with a guy named Marty. Does this matter to the plot? No….but did it shock you?? From there Harry heads back to his main case where Arlene asks him to find her daughter who has gone missing. Harry looks around and finds her fairly quick but it will be difficult to bring her back. She certainly doesn’t want to go home.

Right away we learn that Delly is quite the free spirit who goes around having affairs with everyone despite only being 16. Unfortunately, she has really gone off the wall crazy and everyone around her is the same way. She’s currently staying with her stepfather Tom and Paula. The less said about this part of the plot the better but needless to say, nobody here is a good person. They’re all engaged in very serious crimes and have no sense of moral decency anymore.

This is the kind of movie that is very jaded and believes that everyone is a villain or will turn to the dark side if given the chance. Harry isn’t exactly exempt from that as he makes his share of mistakes as well. He’s not a very nice guy which does make him a strong investigator as the guy won’t be pushed around. That said, it’s very difficult to have a candid conversation with him as a result and everyone takes shots at how hard he is trying to be an iconic investigator or like one out of the movies. In terms of investigating he does a good job though so I don’t think you can slam him too hard on that.

His personality and decision making? Sure that’s fair game. When he finds out that Ellen is cheating I don’t see why he was so desperate to get her back the whole time. Note that he catches her twice and he cheats on her with someone else later on. Perhaps he figures if they’re both cheating on each other then it doesn’t really matter. That just feels really twisted though. Ellen’s no better as her excuses don’t hold any weight. Being lonely is never an excuse to be cheating at all. Marty doesn’t have any personality except to be threatened by Harry every time.

As for Delly, well there’s not much to say about her. She is as immoral as can be and never makes the right life choices. Ultimately this doesn’t end well and I can’t even say that she has a happy ending. This was a really rough film for her. Her stepfather Tom is horrendous and you feel like he got off extremely easy here. With everyone dying left and right you’d have thought that he would be one of the prime targets to be bumped off. Where’s the justice in this film?

Paula feels bad for herself a lot as the world around her goes to oblivion but you feel like she needs to get out of this environment first thing. She’s just sticking around to see the violence and crimes being committed but only assists in this instead of doing anything about it. She’s as guilty as the rest of the characters. It’s clear that Arlene isn’t innocent either. She beats some of the other characters almost by default but I still would consider her to be a bad character. She’s just interested in herself and getting rich.

The atmosphere is suitably depressing and without a whole lot of color during the movie. It really has that classic 70s feel to it where everything is really grimy. You can make a good thriller or noir film our of that but you can’t rely on overt shock value. There are so many aspects of this film that really don’t need to be here. You can absolutely nail this plot without the extra aspects. Take away Delly’s character traits as constantly stripping, being desperate for men, etc. Remove all implications of her and Tom, lets remove the cheating subplot with Harry, lets remove his affair as well.

I suppose by this time you’ve got a completely different movie but it shows just how much of this film really needed to change. It’s just not a fun watch and you can’t be a good film without being enjoyable in some sense. Whether it’s having a good soundtrack, an engaging plot, or good characters; every movie needs to have something. If you have nothing then you’re really in a very tough spot that is hard to get out of.

Overall , Night Moves is a film I highly recommend avoiding at all costs. It’s just a terrible movie on all accounts. Any semblance of interest you may have had in the film is completely destroyed once Harry gets to the Florida Keyes and finds out just how depraved the whole situation is. This is a movie of shock value where terrible things keep on happening to everyone. There is really no way to save the film at that point so I would even say this should not get a remake. At that point you’re better off just making a whole new experience so lets just put this film back on the shelf and pretend it never existed.

Overall 1/10

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers 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 3 may have decided to let Myers off the ride but he’s back in business in this film. In a lot of ways Halloween 4 is really just about showing us how dangerous Michael Myers is and that the guy hasn’t lost his touch after 10 years. He certainly wastes no time in taking the heroes for a spin. They just can’t keep up with him in the slightest. There really isn’t anything more to this film than just being a classic slasher though so unless you’re a fan of the genre it’s probably game over.

The film starts off with Myers about to be transferred from his current asylum. It’s been 10 years and his muscles should have completely deteriorated at this point. Just look at how tough it was for Kirito to go through rehab and that was only 3 years. Well, the cops are satisfied that Myers won’t be any trouble and put him in the van. The issue is that in their overconfidence they didn’t really strap him in or keep a close watch so he takes them down for the count and escapes. His target is now his niece Jamie who is still just a little girl. Can the cops and good ole Loomis manage to stop him or is it going to be game over for them?

You definitely have to give Loomis credit for being so persistent over the years. To think that it has been 10 years and he still visits the asylum to check on Myers? That’s not bad and of course the only reason Myers escaped is because nobody took the old guy seriously. You’d think that they would after such a massacre but I guess that wasn’t in the cards. Being complacent is a must in these kind of things. I don’t blame them for doubting the supernatural element of this but you should still have the guy chained up when moving him.

Myers also seems to see Loomis as a rival of sorts given that he goes out of his way to have a few confrontations with the guy. Loomis is lucky that he lives through their encounters although on the other hand it could be that Myers intentionally spares him to ensure that the rivalry goes on. I wouldn’t doubt that this is the case since he usually murders everyone else on sight with no mercy. Loomis is a solid character and one of the most memorable ones in the movie. He may not always win but at least he is doing his best to make sure things go well.

Myers himself is really just a mindless monster at this point. I mean he plans things out and all but there isn’t any personality to him. He’s just a walking murder machine that will stop at nothing to take everyone down. He makes for a tough obstacle to overcome but there really isn’t anything interesting about him. The mask is iconic at least but that’s really all you can say about him. Given some of the horror villains that we do have maybe having one with no personality is better than giving him a bad one. I dunno, maybe that’s the case but it doesn’t make him very interesting.

As for the human characters, well they’re slasher protagonists so you can guess that most of them are not going to be very likable. First you have Rachel who is in charge of looking after Jamie but isn’t very happy about it. I’ll grant you this, at least she doesn’t try to ditch Jamie and sneak off to a party. Once the decision has been made she does stand by it and tries to be supportive. She can be rather petty during serious moments though like when she spills coffee on her rival. Keep in mind that at this point everyone is barricaded in the house since there is a crazy serial killer on the loose. Not the best time to be pulling stunts like this and she could have seriously burned her. 

There’s also one scene where Myers is coming up the stairs and she’s just distracting Brady the whole time as she yells and yells for him to run or something. He was telling her to run and she was just staying there. Either you stay and help for real or you run off but you really can’t have it both ways. Once she buys enough time for Myers to finish Brady off then she runs away. It definitely is not her best appearance.

It’s not a great look for Brady either. I don’t care if she started playing the drums in the background, he is face to face with a dangerous criminal who has already murdered many people. He should have had complete focus here as he loaded the gun. Instead he allows Myers to get within an arm’s distance of him which is a massive mistake on all fronts. You just can’t allow that to happen under any circumstances.

The Sheriff was solid though. He did a good enough job of looking after the community and did take Myers seriously by the end. (Not like he had much of a choice if we’re being perfectly honest here) He really did want to do right by his town and there wasn’t really anything to dislike about him. Then you have Jamie herself who doesn’t get a lot to do here. She’s just old enough where she can run and at least knows what is going on but is ultimately too young to actually fight back or really plan things out with the adults. That really makes her a character who has to be protected at all times but also one who can’t really fight back.

I wasn’t a big fan. She’s not too bad or anything and means well but just isn’t very interesting as the protagonist. Most of the jump scares here are really because Myers is toying with her since he knows he can win at any time. He’ll just jump out and do the equivalent of yelling “Boo!” and then vanish away when the grown ups appear. He could probably beat them as well especially since his durability is so high but I suppose he wants to draw the whole thing out.

The main thing I’ll give the film credit for is when we get a group of guys from town who decide to hunt Myers down themselves. That makes a lot of sense. It’s rare to ever see the town fighting back while everything is going on, they usually just stay home and get bumped off one by one.

Unfortunately the execution isn’t great as they end up just picking each other at one point and panic too easily. The idea was a good one though, if there’s ever a time to be a vigilante, it’s when there is a serial killer on the loose. By this point he had also taken out the police station so something had to be done. The scene where Myers inevitably takes them out is more annoying than anything because it just doesn’t make sense.

There’s not much else too it as the rest if just Myers murdering everybody. He certainly wants to make sure that nobody ever wants to move to this town again. Or at the very least, just take a vacation around Halloween so you’re not around when things get messy. The crazy thing is that Myers may not have even known who to target if not for the cops happening to mention Jamie’s name at the wrong time.

Overall, Halloween 4 is very much just going through the motions at this point. As soon as you see Myers being transported you can probably just close your eyes and still follow what’s happening in the movie very well. There’s just no escape from this guy and the whole movie is about him tracking everyone down. It’s as violent as you’d expect and the cast isn’t the best. You also feel like they should easily be crushing Myers in many cases if they weren’t all panicking the whole time. I will give the film credit for having the town actually fight back for a change. Now that’s rare to see.

Overall 1/10

The Devil’s Own Review

Get ready for a lot of rubbish with this film folks. Films about cults or ones where the villains turn out to be from a cult tend to either be suspenseful as thrillers or just plain bad as we have to sit through long sequences of what they do for fun. This one falls into the latter as the film completely falls off the rails and I would have preferred if something really supernatural was going on. Of course with a title like this you expect the villains to be rather loopy.

The movie starts with a teacher named Gwen being attacked by some of the natives at the village she was working with. They even burst into her house wearing masks and she ended up leaving to work at a small village instead. This at least seems like a reasonable place to work, however the place is not as it seems. Two kids are trying to have a romance but it is forbidden by the adults and supposedly one of them is even a witch. This may seem to just be some pesky adults at first but then one of the kids falls into a coma and it seems that anyone who defies the old lady may get punishments as well. Is there really a witch in town and if so…is Gwen safe?

While I think the film’s pretty awful from cover to cover, I will give it some points for pulling off a really surprising move. At one point in the film we get a several month time skip which is a crazy long period of time. It comes out of nowhere and you wonder what the villains were doing this whole time. One thing leads to another and Gwen gets temporary amnesia for a while. So keep this in mind….the villains waited months to plan out their big move.

I mean it’s part of the prophecy and they had to wait but that was really convenient for Gwen. It’s heroic of Gwen to head back to stop the cult considering how dangerous it was, but she really got lucky there. Gwen wants to be a good teacher so you are rooting for her the whole time. I would just be upset at Alan since he’s the guy who gave her the position. He really didn’t give her much of a heads up about how crazy this place is.

As the film goes on, the body count grows with Ronnie being knocked into a coma, his father getting taken out, and ultimately the mother has to flee town. You’d think people could stand up to one old lady but I guess witch abilities are just too much for everyone. There is a fairly small cast of notable characters as a result.

Of course you have Granny Riggs herself, the lady known to be a witch or at least suspected of it. She talks tough and is extremely stern with Linda. She is really set on the old ways and while I agree with her that Linda is far too young for any kind of romance, the method she uses to get this point across is obviously wrong. Never any excuse for being nasty to such a small child.

Linda appears to be suspicious the whole time. She does claim that nothing is wrong at home and does her best to de-escalate each situation but whether you believe her or not will be the real question. Then you have Stephanie who appears to be nice enough and is the one person Gwen can count on. On one hand there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with her but on the other hand, that alone is a bit odd eh?

The first half of the film is really more of a slow burner. Gwen walks through the town and gets to know everyone but it takes a while for things to take a turn. At first everyone just seems to be a little quirky and there’s nothing wrong with that. Where there’s smoke there is fire though and that’s usually a very tried and true lesson in these things. If the film kept it up like this then it really would have been quite all right.

The problem is the climax. Once we have the cult and we get to the usual human sacrifice angle, we have to sit through a very long procession with the characters acting like fools. They’re throwing mud at each other, babbling on about stuff, chanting, and doing everything you’d expect at a cult festival. It would seem that the whole town was under a spell so none of them had any strength of character here. The whole scene is so long though and incredibly gross.

It’s such a shocking departure from the rest of the film both in content and tone. It really comes out of nowhere and while it may underscore how depraved all of this is, the level of detail was wholly unnecessary. Cut that out of the film and this would at least jump up several points but with it the film was absolutely doomed to oblivion.

The film had such an easy out too. When Gwen got her amnesia and woke up at a happy little place, they could have hinted that it was all a dream. Perhaps her experience in the village during the opening scene just really messed her up and she imagined the rest. It may have felt like a bit of a cop out but at least then we wouldn’t have had to go back to the place. The townsfolk weren’t exactly grateful for her efforts either.

Ronnie’s mother is antagonistic to Gwen for no reason when the lead is trying to figure out what happened. She just seems to be jumping at shadows and is completely unreasonable. Then you have Alan who wants to convince people to leave the school but won’t clue Gwen in and gets upset at her for not picking up the nonexistent clues. If the people would talk more then this would be so much easier for Gwen. Of course this also depends on how much they actually know about the situation. They seem to know that the place isn’t a safe one to stay in at least so just tell this to Gwen straight up.

Overall, The Devil’s Own is definitely a very poorly made film. I’m still not totally sure why the name was switched from The Witches but I suppose this sounds like a more attention grabbing title? Both titles work for the film in different ways as the former describes the first half of the film while this one jumps you into the climax. Not like any version of the title would make the actual film any better though so I suppose it barely matters. The moral of the story here is to always watch out for cults no matter where you are or you may find yourself in trouble like the lead here.

Overall 1/10