The Shawshank Redemption 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

This is a movie where even if you haven’t seen it you’ve probably at least heard of the title. It was a really big movie after all. It’s a long epic about a tough stretch through prison and trying to get out of it in one piece. This is a powerful title but ultimately it’s far too mean spirited for me to ever call it a good movie. Getting through the initial prison chapter is rather rough and not even a solid ending could really save this movie.

We start things off with Andy being taken to court as he is accused of murdering his wife and the guy she was cheating with. He denies the charges but the circumstantial evidence is too strong and he is promptly locked up. He is then taken away to the most powerful jail in the world. Here the warden, Norton rules with an iron fist. The prisoners have no rights at this point so you either play ball or things are going to be very rough for you. The prison guards will beat you up at a moment’s notice and these are true beatings. You likely haven’t seen anything quite so intense in a while. Andy does meet some decent folks at the prison including a guy named Red who is good at getting any kind of materials from the outside. Andy will need some kind of a plan if he wants to escape this place but it definitely won’t be easy.

Right off the bat I can tell you that a big reason as to why the film is so bad for me is the villain group known as the Sisters. These guys are basically here to remind you why prison is such a tough place to be. They basically embody all of the classic horror stories about what happens in prisons and they make life really rough for Andy for a long time there. By the time that chapter of the movie is finished and that group is no more, it is quite late in the game without much of a way to get back up. The sheer amount of grit and violence here is something you may partially expect from a prison film but it doesn’t really make things any better either.

Of course people say the best thing to do is not to wind up in jail but that’s not always possible. For example Andy actually is innocent but he wasn’t able to prove that to the jurors and so he wound up here. Just about everyone in the movie claims that they are innocent as well but for the most part they all say this just to say it. You have to assume there are other innocent people here as well but it’s really tough to actually find out who qualifies and who doesn’t. It ultimately doesn’t matter once you’re stuck in there either.

After all you’re basically doomed at this point. If you don’t get taken out by one of the other prisoners or beaten up by the guards then you still have to deal with the Warden. Norton is one of the biggest crooks here and he is absolutely determined to keep all of his power. He isn’t even satisfied with being the King and also wants to be super rich. This works out well for Andy in a way because this gives him a little break as he helps the guy swindle lots of money.

It definitely pays to know your accounting and how to cook the books. At this point the books weren’t just cooked, but deep fried! It all ends up tying in to the end of the film and there are some good twists in there. One thing I can say about Shawshank Redemption is that there is always a lot going on. Some characters like Norton will alternate between being full fledged villains to guys that are actually helpful for a little while. The important thing to remember is just that you can’t really trust anybody though.

I actually liked one guy named Tommy who showed up later in the film but unfortunately he wasn’t ready for a prison quite like this one. Not everyone has a terrible time in Shawshank but I would wager that the vast majority do. Tommy’s stay didn’t seem that bad until the end but your luck just can’t hold out here. Meanwhile I have to give Andy a lot of credit for staying sane and not letting the place break him.

A good portion of the film is about hope and not giving in to despair. He definitely pulled that off and then some here. A lot of characters would have definitely broken well before he did and he had a lot of patience to keep up with his plans all the way through to the end. Meanwhile there is one more big player I hadn’t mentioned yet and that’s Red. He’s the realist of the group and gives a lot of the narration. He’s seen the worst that the prison has had to offer and has managed to navigate the place.

I’m sure it wasn’t easy to create so many connections across the jail and yet he pulled it off. He has a strong reputation in the place as well and it seems like nobody messes with him. In the jail your reputation is really the only thing that you have so you absolutely have to try and have a strong one at all times. If you don’t then you’re really as good as doomed. I liked Red and thought he had a good conclusion to his story. Ultimately the film may have been very grimdark most of the time but at least the ending is one with some hope rather than going for some kind of twisted ending.

Overall, The Shawshank Redemption is definitely not a film that I would recommend though. Prison is often not the ideal backdrop in any film for me because usually that’s a place that is going to be gritty. You can have really cool prison scenes like in one of the Fast & Furious films but when that’s the main location it’s almost always going to falter in the end and you don’t want to stick around for that. If the film could dial down the darker elements of the film then it would be a lot better and I’m sure you could do that while still making the prison an intimidating place. Instead though, watch Naruto: Blood Prison. It’s easily one of the weakest Naruto films out there but it still does the whole prison plot a lot better than this one could.

Overall 1/10

An American Werewolf in London Review

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

Not another Werewolf film! These tend to always be really bad and unfortunately this one is no exception. Put it this way, you’re going to see the usual scenes of the Werewolf running around and eating everyone but the film isn’t trying to be more than that. I give it some kudos for trying to throw in some humor. The comedic moments are when the film is at its best but once it gets back to the actual werewolf moments then that’s game over. There is just no avenue for victory.

The movie starts with David and Jack hiking in the middle of nowhere when they finally come across an inn. They desperately needed a place to rest so this is perfect but there is one issue. The people here are all rather mean and tell the guys to get lost. It doesn’t help that Jack can’t help himself and talks about the odd pentagram they had in the inn. So back outside they are attacked by a werewolf. Jack is quickly murdered while David is saved by the innfolk showing up to dispatch the creature rather easily. No need to be afraid of the monster when you can just blast it away right? Unfortunately the werewolf curse has gone over to David now.

The ghost of Jack appears and warns David to finish himself off before the full moon or he’s going to murder a ton of people. David doesn’t believe this initially plus he is also busy trying to pull the moves on Alex, his nurse from when he was in the hospital. They have a quick affair and it’s all going well for him until he does turn into a Wolf. Now he knows that it is possible but the time is ticking and it is nearly time to transform again. Does he have any options to remove the curse or is he doomed to be a Werewolf now?

As you can probably guess, Jack is the most annoying character here. A lot of the bad things that happen to them can be directly attributed to him. He shouldn’t have caused trouble at the inn when they badly needed to rest. Then as a ghost he does try to help a bit I suppose but he isn’t super clear about it. If he joked around a little less and had a heart to heart with David then maybe he could have gotten through to the guy a little sooner. It’s an idea at least and I do think that it would have had a reasonable shot at succeeding.

As for David, I can’t say that I liked him much either. He was flirting way too quickly and the romance was really weak. It was really fast without much development and while it’s all very lucky for the guy, he also appears a bit easy as a result. If not for being a Werewolf I suppose he was pretty well set off for the rest of his life. I guess he’s just that charismatic but he definitely isn’t well equipped to deal with the curse. By the time he does know that it’s real he doesn’t make a whole lot of headway on stopping himself from hurting people. I actually think he should have gone with Alex back to the doctor to see if sedating him would work. Running off wasn’t going to help anybody.

Alex isn’t the most believable character around since you’d think she would have found his advanced annoying while she was trying to work. It’s another reason why the romance doesn’t work but at least she is very loyal the whole time and was trying to help him. So she gets points for effort and having the right intent there. Then there is Dr. Hirsch who is a solid character. He doesn’t believe in any of this supernatural stuff but once the facts stop adding up he does actually look into things. He doesn’t just shut off his ears and run around, he’s proactive about doing something and that’s why I give him some credit here. Other doctors would have just stayed in the office the whole time.

Inspector Villiers doesn’t have as much to do though. He’s around as you always need an inspector in all Werewolf films but doesn’t do anything beyond his role. You’d forget that he was in the film half the time. It’s not like he is effective at stopping the Werewolf. There is quite the body count here. Even some of the murders are done in a bit of a comedic way but the film still doesn’t hold back on the violence. It’s one of those titles that is really violent while also keeping a chipper tone the whole time. I do think that’s a pretty solid way to do things but it’s only a small consolation in the end.

The transformation scene may be iconic but it is much too long. I would have definitely shortened it quite a bit so he just powers up into Werewolf mode. The actual form is also very different from most Werewolf forms. It’s more of a beast on 4 legs than your standard two legged Werewolf. As everyone is brutally murdered you’re just waiting for someone to take him out already. A few good bullets would do the trick but unfortunately most of his victims don’t really see the attacks coming so they aren’t quite prepared for this.

Outside of the violence the film also likes to go for rather gross imagery that doesn’t help matters either. Jack looks more and more disfigured as the film goes on. It’s not afraid to be as out there as possible and having him just be bones would have been preferable. There’s an interesting meeting where the victims meet together to tell David to bump himself off. It’s definitely a big moment of dark humor here as they are relentless but it works rather well. The backdrop just should have been anywhere but at the theater since the film that was playing was very sketchy. Not the kind of audio backdrop you want for such a big conversation.

Overall, An American Werewolf in London may have a little more fun with the premise but ultimately it still runs into all of the same old issues. It’s a little too violent for its own good and a Werewolf doesn’t make for a very imposing villain. I think you’d have done better with throwing in another Werewolf to fight or maybe add in some supernatural elements. Something to keep this from being just another Werewolf movie would have been ideal. I do think the genre is more or less doomed though as there is only so much that you can do with the premise. I think that’s something that this film is seeing the hard way. I’d definitely advise you to skip this one.

Overall 1/10

Jeepers Creepers 3 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

It is time for the return of Jeepers Creepers. I wasn’t exactly a big fan of the first two and I can’t say that anything has really changed with the third one. This time the Creeper actually gets to be outshined by his own truck though so that’s a bit of a twist. It does make for a very imposing threat since you can see how the heroes would have almost no shot of getting out of it. The movie doesn’t really do anything all that different from the first two though so there’s not much reason to check this one out.

The movie starts off with the Creeper messing everyone up as he escapes with his van from police headquarters. Dan arrives and informs the local police chief Davis that this is just the beginning. Apparently everyone has their big awakening where the Creeper is concerned where they decide to do something about this madness. He makes the case that Davis needs to help him track the Creeper down now before he gets away again. What can you do against something that can fly, regenerate, has super strength, speed, and a car of gadgets that would even impress Batman? Well they have another one of those spear gatling guns. These films seem to love this thing despite it never working for long but hey it’s better to try something as opposed to nothing right? Meanwhile there are a bunch of teenagers running around and you figure that they’re doomed.

The film doesn’t have many positives so lets go over those first. First off we have the ending of the film which does a nice job of tying all 3 movies together. Presumably the 4th movie would have been really solid if they had actually stuck to this plot. Okay…that’s probably giving it too much credit but I do think that it could have been rather decent compared to this one. The ending leaves things off on a hype note even if you figure that the characters don’t have much of a chance of really making a difference.

I also thought that the plot with Sheriff Dan was decent for a while. It’s certainly more engaging than the main one at least as everyone is very dramatic and they all talk a good game. The problem is that this doesn’t directly translate into wins. No matter how much planning they do, it’s not like they’re ever closer to actually securing the win. That’s probably the most annoying part of the movie, there is never a single moment where you think that they have a shot. The Creeper is just too powerful with no true weaknesses so the movie feels futile right out of the gate.

There is a whole subplot about finding out his past but it’s super pointless. Basically if you grab onto his hand you see things…presumably his origin story and stuff like that. At no point in the film does it ever become important or useful in the fight though so I don’t know what the writers were thinking. Gaylen grabs the hand first and is taken into a trance but for the rest of the film all she can do is talk cryptically. It would be nice if she could have hared the intel…you know so nobody else has to grab the hand? Since she does not then Dan has to do it next…and also doesn’t tell people anything useful. Sure we get a sign at the end taunting the Creeper but does it matter?

Sounds like they’re trying to hurl some insults by saying that they know about his past but why would he even care? Apparently he does but they really couldn’t have known that. A significant chunk of the movie is spent on this pointless mystery so that didn’t do the film any favors. Dan looks all the worse for it since he deserves a lot of blame on the planning. Davis at least did decent in covering him with the gun. I thought he meant well and while he didn’t stand a chance, he didn’t back away from danger.

Gaylen at least told Addison to leave so she wouldn’t be in danger but didn’t do much beyond that. She was just way too old for this kind of adventure. Addison has a little romance plot running around but her family is rather annoying which doesn’t help matters. Her brother is a juvenile delinquent who runs around putting animals in cages for no good reason so of course he gets bumped off. His friends aren’t much better and everyone takes years to take the animal out of the cage. Cmon now guys.

Addison and Buddy also handled one situation terribly. So they drive up to this ranch where everyone is hiding underneath their cars. You might figure this is a great chance to just drive on out of there, slowly back up, dial 9-11…or something. We know you wouldn’t get out of the car…right? Wrong! Buddy gets out and walks up to the guys asking why they’re hiding under a car. No matter what the answer is, it’s probably smarter to be in the car. Maybe it’s a guy with a gun running around, a bear, hornets, etc. Why get out of the car? He’s lucky he wasn’t taken out on the spot by the Creeper but that guy likes messing around to increase the level of fright since he still consumes that as energy. Addison and Buddy did not handle anything very well here so they could be annoying.

The film’s writing is bad for all the reasons I already listed above. It’s also about as violent as you would expect with this kind of slasher film. Everyone is getting bumped off left and right by the Creeper and are unable to do anything about it. The van makes for a very unique set of deaths for the heroes but ultimately this isn’t a movie that is used to showing a lot of restraint. It’s just going for the shock value and at the end of the day that isn’t going to really help it surpass the earlier films. The Creeper is also still such a bad villain, there’s nothing cool about him. The design is weak and while his powers are good, there’s just not much to him.

Overall, The only appeal to this movie would be the ending as the franchise starts to form something of a real story but since the sequel never came out there is no longer much reason to watch this film. It goes through all of the usual motions of a slasher film but the writers couldn’t figure out what kind of plot they wanted to tack onto it. As a result you’ve just got narrative dead ends that don’t do anyone any good. The movie just needed to be honest with itself about wanting to just have an excuse to get everyone bumped off.

Overall 1/10

Halloween: Resurrection 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 uncut version would be more negative

Halloween has returned and you can bet that it is just as gruesome as ever. It suffers from all of the usual issues such as a weak cast, over the top violence and characters making the worst decisions possible. I wouldn’t say that it is the worst film in the series as it still ends up beating two of the prior ones but it’s all relative in the race to the bottom. The movie’s quite short at least so it’s over in a flash.

The movie kicks off with explaining how the ending of the film didn’t have us watch Laurie destroy Michael and instead he tricked her by swapping masks. This may sound a little crazy because it is but I guess that’s just how it goes sometimes. A few years pass by and Myers attacks Laurie again but she handles herself well and defeats him. Unfortunately she decides to go in close to try and remove his mask as if this was Scooby Doo and so this allows him to turn the tables and destroy her. He’s now ready to go back home but it turns out that a group of teenagers are filming a spooky reality show in his house. Myers figures that it’s time to take them all down.

Right off the bat it is annoying that Laurie would make the mistake of underestimating Myers by getting too close like this. The film tries to blame it on her feeling guilt so she had to make sure that she got the right person but it didn’t matter in this instance. Whoever was behind the mask was clearly trying to murder her so take him out and then worry about whoever is behind the mask. That would have been the best way to handle this and then she would still be around. Definitely a shame.

The security here also seemed pretty bad. This is evidently a bit of an insane asylum with the patients behind bars so how is it so easy for the guy in the clown mask to keep escaping? It’s treated as if this was a normal thing and you’d think that they would be a lot more serious about it. The guy may seem harmless but is he really? He’s a little too interested in the murders so I have my doubts on that one.

Once we get to the main cast we’re reminded why nobody tends to like the horror casts all that much. While there are a few exceptions, the characters always seem to be super annoying and as a result as unprepared for the dangers ahead. They throw in so many fake jump scares and cry wolf to the point where nobody believes them when the danger is actually real. That’s on them when everyone is slow to react when things really happen. I’d also say that going to the Myers house is in really bad taste. I’d say the same is true of picking someone older, but someone who (seemingly) just died 3 years ago and the victims are still fresh in everyone’s memories? Yeah this is definitely going to be an exploitative scary show.

The guys here are only interested in booking up with the girls while the main girl’s friend just wants to be famous. The main heroine Sara is really here out of peer pressure which is a common factor as her pen pal Deckard goes to a party for the same reason. They need to learn to just say no to going places where they don’t want to be and it will absolutely help them out later in life. You can’t let peer pressure just toss you around like that. It’s not a good idea in the slightest!

As mentioned the film is fairly short at around an hour and a half and it feels short so I guess that’s good on the pacing. On the other hand, while usually you could at least expect to be engaged in the human scenes when Myers isn’t going around murdering everyone, that isn’t the case here since the characters are so bad. That puts you in a rather tough position because there is nobody to really root for here. I guess I would go with the head of the show Freddie.

The guy may be the head of this operation and so he’s really the one getting everyone into trouble but he can fight and gets some good lines against Myers. In fact I would go as far as to say he gets all of the best scenes. I liked seeing him glad Myers on and actually land some really good hits. Wishing him a Happy Halloween was really intense too. You just know that he better get as far out of the country as possible because if Myers gets back then he will absolutely be holding a grudge here. He’s not really the forgive and forget kind of guy.

If the film did something right here it’s that the characters actually fought back against Myers more. Laurie took him out early on, Freddie got multiple victories against him and that’s good because he is just a guy with super strength. You should be trying to push him around because of you can take him out at least for a little bit then you’re all set. It may backfire but it’s better to go down with a fight than not at all.

The death scenes aren’t quite as brutal as in a few other films as they don’t tend to be as prolonged but make no mistake, the film is still intensely violent and one of the reasons the movie won’t make it to the big time. There is still quite a body count here before the film is over as nobody is safe from his rampage. At least we still have a solid soundtrack as always. The Myers theme is iconic at this point and for good reason. It’s very distinctive and has that spooky kind of feel to it as well so it just works really well.

There’s just not much more to say about the film though because the writing is just that bad. Just think about it for a minute, it’s actually hard to make all of the characters this bad. Freddy is the only silver lining here as everyone else is absolutely out of their league and not doing much to make themselves likable characters. If they would quit it with the jump scares and all then maybe they would finally be better than average but that’s too much for the Halloween series.

Overall, At least the movie is short but this is one that you will want to skip. It really doesn’t do anything to add to the Halloween mythos and is instead a film that you will forget right away. It’s easy to see why people didn’t like this one although I can’t talk as much there since I haven’t liked any of them. At least we always have the iconic Halloween theme which is still a classic. That theme holds up well to this day which is quite impressive. You can’t say that about every theme.

Overall 1/10

Carrie 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

Carrie is a very well known movie. I’d wager that every horror fan has heard of it at some point or another and so you generally know the climax before actually watching it but the rest of the film is the adventure. Unfortunately I can safely say that this film is definitely not going to rank at all. Right from the start the movie begins on a low note and doesn’t really let up from there.

When a movie starts with an extended fanservice scene at the showers you know that you’re going to be in for a looooong ride. The whole first scene may introduce how Carrie was brought up in a way where she doesn’t know basic facts but it’s probably one of the worst ways to go about it. The bullies are everywhere and taking names as expected and you’re ready to move onto the next scene. Carrie was bullied so thoroughly here that she was traumatized and at home her abusive mother Margaret blames Carrie for this since Margaret has very crazy views on the world and sin.

Out of all the girls who messed with Carrie, the only one who feels bad about this is Sue and she wants to find a way to make it up to Carrie. So she has an idea, she’ll convince her boyfriend Tommy to take Carrie to the prom and pretend to like her. This will in theory get Carrie’s confidence up and allow her to make friends which will buffer the impact from Tommy leaving Carrie to go back to Sue afterwards. This plan is anything but full proof however it’s the best that she’s got and Tommy decides to roll with it. Little do they know that the main bully Christine also has plans of her own for the prom to try and wreck Carrie’s life once and for all.

The whole town is very mean spirited that’s for sure. The only two really decent characters here appear to be the teacher Miss Collins and Sue. Tommy’s okay as well I guess but very weak willed and probably should have said that the plan was not a good one. At the end of the day he just listens to Sue’s ideas without really throwing his own views into the mix and that was a big mistake. I didn’t think the plan was very well thought out at all because no matter what, someone is going to be feeling real bad by the time this is all over.

Lets dial it back though and first we’ll talk about what didn’t work for the film. Obviously the fanservice is the big issue right off the bat and destroys any momentum from the outset. Not to be stopped there though, the film even throws animal violence as the villains slaughter a bunch of pigs in order to get the blood they’ll need for the plan. It’s yet another edgy moment in what I would call a very edgy film. The movie didn’t even need to go that far because things were already really dire and a lot of other traps would have worked without the animal component.

Then we have the crazy mother where all of her scenes are definitely real sketchy. She’s always trying to drill fake lessons into Carrie’s head and mess with her further. It’s rough as Carrie is trying to do the right thing in not talking back to her but in the end that just results in her having to give in. Margaret’s just way too far gone at this point for anyone to help her out. Considering that Carrie has powers and is seemingly in control of them when she wants to be, Margaret is lucky that she’s still around at all.

We can’t forget about the bully Christine who is basically around just to try and make Carrie’s life as miserable as possible. I liked that the teacher actually stood up to her though. A lot of the time it seems like the bully gets away with everything but here Miss Collins actually took a swing at her and forces Christine to run off. It’s one of the rare times where the teacher actually got a complete victory over the student which is incredibly rare.

Billy is just as bad for going with the plan. I wouldn’t even say he was coerced into it, the guy was thrilled to help out. They had a very toxic relationship from the start that’s for sure. All of their scenes are painful as well and you’re waiting for them to get bumped off but they actually lasted a bit longer than you’d expect. In the end all of these bad characters and scenes add up to make for an awful movie though. You can’t really go back to back scenes without something bad happening. The film rarely gives you a chance to actually be happy.

Take Carrie for example, she is doing her best to have a fun life but you know that trouble is around every corner. I don’t blame her for saying no to the prom at first because in 99% of the cases she would be right that it was a trap. It actually wasn’t this time but it very well could have been and why put yourself in that position? Then Margaret was pressuring her from the other end so Carrie ended up going and the whole thing didn’t work out. Even in the brief moments in the party where she was having a good time, you knew that it couldn’t last.

Carrie was a good character though and I can see why she would blow up at the end though. After a while it was just too much. Too bad she couldn’t target only the villains though but by then her headspace was a little too cluttered. It’s ultimately what ended up turning her into more of a villain rather than ending things off with an anti-hero development. A part of me thought that Sue would end up turning into a traitor in the end so I’m glad that this didn’t happen. While I didn’t like the plan, at least she was trying to be helpful so I can give her that. Likewise for Tommy but then he loses all of those points when he actually does have an affair with Carrie.

He may be doing Sue a favor but cheating wasn’t included in that. He’s still her boyfriend after all so you can’t really cross that line without making things into an issue. Finally Miss Collins was definitely the best character here. She took charge and kept a level head. Considering that she was dealing with so many troublemakers, I’d say that she did a good job in keeping them all under control. By the end she may have made a mistake in how things were handled but from her pov it is easy to see how she would make that mistake. The party was really hectic and she couldn’t let any bullying go on over here. It was just game over there and she had a grisly end even though she tried being helpful.

They did a good job with the fire effects here. The climax felt like something out of a thriller film with explosions everywhere. The film also had a suitably ominous soundtrack going on for it. So on a technical level I can give the film some props there but at the end of the day it’s just too relentlessly depressing for all of the characters involved. The film would need a lot of clean up before I could say that it was ready to be a good film. Maybe throw in the government and some kind of subplot about tracking Carrie down and the origin of her powers. I wasn’t a big fan of the writing so you could also change large parts of the script and scale down Margaret’s scenes.

Overall, The cast here is very weak which mixed in with the rest of the film’s issues made this one an easy L. You’ll want to avoid it even if the film does have a fairly legendary reputation. There just isn’t a lot of fun to be had here. The whole town may not have been on Carrie’s side but ultimately there was nobody to rescue her from her home situation or help out at all so they may as well have been. Carrie really was all alone for most of the day and ultimately this ended up catching up to her.

Overall 1/10

Wander Darkly 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

Wander Darkly is one of those films that’s sorta part mystery to an extent as you try to find out exactly what was going on here but also much a drama film. The main two have to try and get past their differences to save their marriage before it’s too late. Unfortunately the movie stumbles out of the gate and keeps jumping from memory to memory without enough interesting elements to keep your attention.

The film starts with Adrienne and Matteo fighting as always. They went to a party and Matteo felt like Adrienne was flirting with one of the guys there while she thinks he’s being overly jealous. Well, they end up getting into a car crash and Adrienne dies. She then wakes up as a ghost that is doomed to travel across the cosmos on her own now. The worst part is she learns that Matteo ends up abandoning their kid and running off. So she goes back to the moment where she died and tries to talk things out with him. Matteo says she isn’t dead since they’re talking and all but Adrienne refuses to see anybody because doesn’t think it’s worth it since she’s absolutely positive that she’s dead. So they take this time to talk things out.

The majority of the film is the big talk between the two of them as they relive all of the major events of their lives. The film’s using a stylistic approach here as they aren’t literally transported back in time but are sort of doing image training like in DBZ. As a result that means that the supporting characters can also change the script up and talk according to their feelings. It’s an interesting approach so I’ll give the film some props there. They hop back and forth between the past and future a whole lot but of course the future is a possible one, not necessarily the real one.

The biggest issue with the film for me is how unlikable both of the main characters are. They were complaining a whole lot right from the instant the movie starts. Mainly you see this a lot from Adrienne initially as Matteo can’t do anything right in her eyes and he keeps getting slammed the whole time. Any suggestion is shot down and she pretty much says that they can’t have any fun no matter what he says.

So you figure she is probably bitter about something and as we look through the memories it’s a lot of somethings. Well, Matteo doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong, he’s just got a tough job to do and all that. Well…unfortunately we see that he did cheat on her in one of the memories. Sure it was “Just for an instant” and he snapped out of it but the damage was certainly done and it validated all of her fears. Matteo didn’t have to put himself in such a dangerous situation where that would happen so it’s all on him.

Now all of his scenes where he kept thinking she might be cheating on him loses a lot of its punch. For Adrienne we see that she didn’t get to cheat on him, however she basically admits to wanting to do so. Not a good look for her either and so both characters just look really bad. It would have been nice if their trip down memory lane had actually shown that both of them were innocent as it would have been a very wholesome way to end things. Instead they both look even worse than when the film had even started which is a shame.

Of course the romance here is very weak as a result. There’s just no way to root for any of the characters. Especially with how obviously that one girl was flirting with Matteo and how Adrienne was fine letting that guy flirt with her. Once you’ve made a choice then you’ve got to stick to it. Either you decide to live your whole life alone and just deal with it or you get a partner but there are no second choices there.

Given that this was the entire movie, it ended up failing entirely for me. The writing wasn’t very good and the story just wasn’t interesting. It’s just a ton of bickering until they re fall in love with each other through the memories but given what they have seen it’s hard to really get past that. The switching between memories and the real world is an interesting idea but it’s done so rapidly and constant that it ends up overstaying its welcome early on. You can probably guess where the ending is going eventually as the film goes on but I wouldn’t say it works very well.

It’s not a bad ending by any means but you’re pretty much checked out by this point. It would have needed a much bolder ending to really reel you back in. There’s a lot of ways you could do this from the ghost angle or maybe you could even do some time travel for an actual redo. It would have probably been a little too late though. The movie takes itself so seriously and also could have used some humor or something. For the most part the whole thing is just a lot of doom and gloom. Even the happy scenes are tarnished by the fact that you know it doesn’t end well. Also the twist does put into question how she could have seen the possible future but with the multiverse theory I suppose there’s a few ways you could swing that.

Overall, Wander Darkly is a movie that you will want to absolutely skip at all costs. It’s just not a good movie and I would struggle to find any good parts about it. At the end of the day there is no way to pull off a romantic drama if the two main characters aren’t likable. It’s just not happening and a potential remake would absolutely have to find some way to address that or it’ll be doomed from the start. It’s time to wander away from this one.

Overall 1/10

Graveyard Shift Review

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

So whenever you’ve got humans fighting against monsters movies seem to try and make the humans are unlikable as possible. Perhaps it’s so that you won’t feel so bad when the humans die but I find that it can also be a double edged sword in that the film itself can be made worse because there’s nobody to root for and you end up rooting for the monsters. Well, that’s pretty much what happens here. There’s one or two decent people here but for the most part you can see why the rats are staging a rebellion.

The movie starts off with one guy murdering a bunch of rats just because he can. It’s clear that this guy is the real villain of the film so the rats gang up on him and their leader throws that guy in the shredder. They now realize that they can fight for what’s right and seem to unionize. Well, the mill needs a new person to load up the cotton and that’s where John comes in. He’s desperate for a job and this is really the only game in town so he’s forced to jump into the mix even though his boss Warwick is suspect at best. The guy threatens his colleagues into having affairs with him and doesn’t have any morals.

When people die he just shrugs and moves on. The guy has no ethics at all but unfortunately he’s the boss. John will have to try and survive out here but it won’t be easy. The only food place for miles is not hygienic and he falls for the girl that has caught Warwick’s eye, Jane. Not it’s extra personal and the rest of the staff were already bullying John so it’s only going to get worse from here on out.

I guess the mean people just flock to this town. You’ve got bullies, a corrupt boss, and just about everyone is only looking for their own self interests. There is nobody to confide in or to trust. It’s a rather lonely experience for John which may be why he was desperate for romance but the whole romance plot doesn’t work. It’s another rebound scenario and John only just got here. The whole thing is fairly rushed. The only acceptable explanation is that he’s just desperate for any friend but even then that’s not good enough for me to give this a passing grade.

The film has a lot of issues but lets knock out the biggest one right out of the jump. There’s a lot of animal violence here as the characters are bumping off the rats. It was rather sadistic how the first guy would toss them into the shredder. From there on you can see why they’d need revenge but of course in the meantime the humans are fighting back. They throw bottles at them and lay all kinds of traps. That’s why a film where a big amount of emphasis is put on the animal is always going to end up failing. It’s unlikely to avoid animal violence in such a scenario and that’s what happened here.

While the score wouldn’t be as abysmal without the rats, I can’t say that the film would be good either way though. It’s just a very mean spirited title all the way through. John doesn’t really fall for all of their instigative actions as he just minds his business but the bullying is quite excessive. As I already mentioned, Warwick is just a bad guy all the way through. He’s not as omnipresent as most villains so the heroes can at least escape him for a while here and there but then they tend to trip and it’s game over as the rat pack shows up.

The only props I’ll give the film is that the creature was decent. They keep him in the shadows for nearly the entire film but at least he makes for a solid threat. Rats are intense in great numbers and all but it’s always nice to actually have a big villain to really unite against. It gives them all a common foe as opposed to just beating up on a bunch of minions. Also the latter would be even worse for the movie since that would mean a lot of rats would be injured.

I wouldn’t even know where to begin in trying to save this film. It just didn’t have potential right from the jump. It could have used some more action and maybe a subplot about John trying to make the town a little better. That could have been interesting and at least give the audience a little more reason to care about their ultimate survival. Otherwise for the most part you’re just waiting for them to get taken out. The characters are just so mean. Also what’s with the one guy and yelling whenever he launches his water cannon? He’s very overdramatic the whole time when he’s just shooting water.

One guy had the right idea in just walking out over the poor working conditions. Ultimately that’s a much safer option than just sticking around. Of course whether you make it out or not is always a different story since it can go either way but the rule of thumb is to never stay in a bad situation. It’s just very rarely going to work out and more times than not you’ll regret staying.

Overall, The Graveyard Shift would have been much better if it had been about ghosts or something like that. Make it a spooky kind of horror film instead of focusing on rats the whole time. The rats really didn’t help the movie’s case and it was really sub par at best. You’re definitely going to want to avoid this one. You can do better with almost any of the other creature feature films. They end up doing a lot more in terms of scares and likable characters than this one which fumbled the ball the whole time.

Overall 1/10

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