Se7en 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

When you’ve got a film with the heroes trying to stop a mass murderer you can often come up against the rather tricky dilemma of establishing this plot while trying not to let things get too dark. Having a psycho be the main villain usually makes this quite impossible though and this film was not able to survive it. It definitely gets twisted for all parties involved and with no real winners here you’re going to want to skip this one.

The movie starts with William getting ready for retirement. He’s had a good career on the force but it’s time to call it a day. Unfortunately his plans are slowed when a mass murderer shows up and starts creating headlines. William is paired with a younger detective known as David who is eager to prove himself here while William just wants out. They do not get along at all with William constantly pushing David. Still, the two will have to get their act together and quickly or this John Doe will continue his murder spree. The only pattern so far is that he’s murdering people along the line of the 7 Deadly Sin. Each of his murders are then stylized based on that.

You feel bad for William because of course something like this had to happen right when he was about to retire. Couldn’t have waited just a few more days right? Now in a way he can’t walk out because if he does it’ll be like he ran away from the case and he’ll probably also be living with a lot of guilt. William is incredibly jaded by this point as well since he’s been working in such a corrupt city for so long. He sees awful crimes every day and at this point doesn’t see a lot of hope left for humanity. There’s nothing left here for him if he stays on the job.

Unfortunately he’s also the best detective around and he knows this very well. Part of why he’s so antagonistic to David at first seems to be to try to get him out of here. He’s concerned why David specifically volunteered to enlist here and the guy never really gives him a straight answer which doesn’t help matters. Meanwhile David’s more of an optimist who thinks he can make the world better one case at a time. He’s got a lot of energy and definitely wants to prove himself. He means well and makes for a good main character. I actually thought he was a little better than William here.

Sure, William is more talented but the fact that he is so jaded means that he just isn’t enthusiastic about anything anymore. At least David is doing his best at all times to make sure that things go well. Then you have David’s wife Tracy who is not happy about being here at all. She would rather be in just about any city but came along because she wanted to be supportive at all times. She’s definitely well meaning in that respect but it would have been best to have a full conversation with him about it. Even their apartment is in rough shape and shakes whenever a train approaches. It would be very difficult to live like that for very long.

The actual villain “John” is your average psycho so there’s not a lot to say about him. He wants to see the world burn and to bring everyone to his level. He has a whole methodology on how he murders everyone but also enjoys it quite a lot and gets called out by the main characters. At the end of the day he’s just a criminal who has to be stopped. The guy has a lot of plans and certainly gets around but you’re just hoping he’ll be caught pretty soon.

One common issue with these kind of films is how much the villain gets away with before being taken down though. There are 7 deadly sins so you would hope the heroes could stop him after maybe 3 right? Really show how they prevented a tragedy but no, you quickly realize that he’s going to get all the way down the list so by the time he’s stopped, he’s already won in a sense. The film is definitely going for a very tragic ending with how this all plays out. There’s definitely no happiness to be found here that’s for sure.

The film takes a little time out to show how crazy parts of the legal system can be though with the villain admitting that he’ll just plead insanity if they actually try him in court. Since recordings outside of the court room don’t count he can blatantly admit to being the murderer as often as he wants but it won’t count. The whole thing definitely feels really crazy and I feel like the film was trying to point out how absurd the whole thing is. It’s unfortunately realistic in that sense. Sure, there’s a chance the heroes could win in court but it would all be a gamble so even by the end they’re playing to the villain’s tune.

Throughout the movie you’ve got a very heavy atmosphere since each of the deaths are so tragic. Each person is murdered in increasingly disturbing ways so it’s not like the murders were even quick or anything like that. Most of the murders aren’t on screen which is good at least but you do always see the aftermath and know what went down. It’s definitely not a film you’ll want to check out if you prefer to avoid the darker elements like that.

In the end that’s why the film can’t succeed. You ideally want a film where the heroes win and save the day on a fun adventure or if you’re going the darker route, have a villain who wins but has interesting ideals or the murders are quick and matter of fact. The more deranged you make the villain, the less likely the film is to succeed because it’s just going way too far the whole time. You don’t have time to enjoy the film because you’re constantly getting hit with these moments.

Overall, Se7en is a film you’ll want to avoid. It’s a rather gritty film where there are no winning battles. You can easily see why Williams is so jaded because every time he solves a case and sees these horrors, he has to know that more atrocities are being committed at the same time. After a while you just feel like giving up and that’s pretty much what happened to him. If you want to see a murder mystery film that reigns it in a lot more you’ll want to check out something like Clue instead. You’ve still got a lot of those themes and elements but without all the extra details that you’d rather not see.

Overall 3/10

The Sorcerers Review

This is definitely what I would consider to be one of the more mean spirited movies. It’s really just about someone getting absolutely crushed by another person’s mental abilities and you’re just thinking, “You have to fight!”. Whether that means talking into the mirror and saying the words fight over and over again or getting a pair of glasses since the lead is always grabbing his face, you have to find a way to resist the telepathic abilities of the enemy. If you don’t, then the game is already over before the match has even begun.

The movie starts off with Mike not being the nicest fellow as he ditches his girlfriend and best friend for no real reason. He decides to just hang around town to have a good time but gives up on this and ends up going to a bar. At this point he is approached by an old man named Marcus who guarantees he can give Mike a good time. Mike figures this doesn’t sound ominous at all and follows the guy to his flat where he is strapped into a chair and hypnotized. When he awakens from this he doesn’t feel any different and leaves but now it turns out that he can be mind controlled by Marcus and his wife Estelle. At first it’s innocent enough as they have him break an egg and they just enjoy feeling different sensations. Then things grow a little darker and Marcus starts to have second thoughts about this.

While Marcus seems like he would be the main antagonist here, he’s mostly just kicked around the whole time. He looks so weak in the film too that you have to shake your head. Like come on man, you can do much better than this can’t you? It feels like he is just not contributing much at all here. Surprisingly he still talks tough the whole time and while he ultimately makes a move at the very end, he just handled everything horribly. How do you get defeated so completely like this?

Meanwhile Estelle is definitely as cruel as can be. She isn’t afraid to push the envelope and do what she feels needs to be done. There’s nothing really interesting about her though. She gets drunk at one point and starts talking about making this a game so it seems like she just always wanted to prove that she was stronger than Marcus? Perhaps there is a good backstory in there somewhere but this film definitely didn’t have time for that.

As for Mike, like I said he’s basically got 0 agency in this film. He doesn’t remember what is happening to him while he is being mind controlled and has absolutely no way of stopping it. He has 0 defenses and just gets turned at the drop of a hat. Even when he isn’t being controlled he doesn’t seem like a nice character. The guy ditches his friends for no reason and is always very defensive. He’s not quite a murderer like what the villains turned him into but it’s clear that he’s not going to be much of a protagonist.

Alan and Nicole are the other two main characters I suppose but it’s not like they can do a whole lot about this. They suspect that something is going on with Mike but it doesn’t make sense since they’ve been friends for so long so they try to get more details. It does make sense why this whole thing does not make sense since of course mind control is involved but they would have no way of knowing that.

The only exciting part of the film is the climax where we get a whole car chase. The cops are mostly on the back foot here as they keep missing the turns but ultimately they still keep at it until the end. The heroes are really left with no answers but the ending is conclusive. It is just not a very satisfying fun. You’ll feel bad for the various victims who are attacked here. Ultimately they won’t get a whole lot of justice here with how things ended up.

It’s not at all rare to have a film like this where the villain has their fun until dying but the times it doesn’t work is when the heroes don’t get to do much. You can definitely say that this is true of this film because if you think about it, the heroes did almost nothing here. Ultimately the old man had to make a move himself and it certainly took him a long time to do this. The movie ends up dragging because you know how it’s going to end but the build up is just so crazy long. It feels like it never ends until the film is over.

At least I do still like the British way of speaking here. The various mannerisms like ending a sentence with “isn’t it?” as a rhetorical question is always nice. The script isn’t bad either and if the film was longer or the writing better then the movie could have capitalized on this with some strong dialogue. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be and so we didn’t get to fully experience this as much as we should have.

Overall, The Sorcerers is definitely a pretty weak film. It really just has the character get mind controlled over and over again without putting up any kind of defenses. That’s what really holds him back. I would have liked to have seen some restraint or at least being able to confront the villains in the end. It would be more interesting than just seeing him broken down over and over again. The whole film has a rather underground vibe to it as everything is dark and dreary even though it’s still day time. The idea of being able to share sensations is interesting enough but the downsides will always outweigh the positives. In a way you’re putting your life in someone else’s hands after all.

Overall 3/10

Leviathan 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’s time for a monster movie but unfortunately not one that comes close to topping a bunch of the classic ones. This plays out more like Alien than Godzilla after all. Some interesting ideas here for sure and I liked every moment with corporate but in the end this could not become a winner. Instead it is doomed to be forgotten as one of the titles that just couldn’t keep up in the end.

The movie Steven and his team of underwater miners getting ready to finally leave the submarine. They’ve been down here for months and are eager to get back to dry land. They just have to grab some more materials and then they are set. Their group is slowly starting to crack up too so this was really good timing but one of the guys gets greedy and brings up a treasure chest. It’s not just any old chest either and contains a drink that implants a monster. This creature will not stop at anything in its quest to destroy them all. Can Steven and his group stop this thing or are they about to be completely eliminated?

Now with a movie like this it’s not a huge surprise that the cast is unlikable but it’s still disappointing. There is only so much that you can do when the cast is unlikable after all. I’ll get into each crew member in a second here but Steven did not have a lot to work with. Steven could be a little naïve as well with how he thinks corporate is looking after them so he’s not perfect but I suppose he probably wouldn’t have taken the job if he hadn’t thought that to some extent. Who would really think that corporate is absolutely leaving you to dry right?

The film is not subtle about how corporate is corrupt here. Every time Martin appears on the phone it’s to tell the heroes that there are some delays or not to worry about things. She says it all in a very fake voice the whole time though so you know that she never means it. It makes for a very satisfying scene at the end of the movie while also making her not look very smart though. Lets just say that by the end of the film she shouldn’t be expecting a warm reception and should have some kind of backup plan at the ready. Otherwise she’s just not putting herself in a good spot here.

Okay so lets talk about the rest of the characters. Sixpack is the worst member by far. He just wants to mess around with one of the ladies on the ship and doesn’t think about anything else. He defies orders all of the time and puts the whole crew’s safety in jeopardy. He’s absolutely not the guy that you want to have your back because odds are that he won’t have it. Doc is one of the main characters and while he’s not as bad as Sixpack, he’s certainly not very responsible himself.

Picture this, you’re underwater and end up damaging your suit. This is serious but you know that you have a doctor watching you so it’ll be okay. That’s when you get the call that the doctor stepped out. Really? Doc does this kind of thing a lot based on how the characters discuss this and it’s basically because he wants to drink. A character very nearly dies in the opening minutes because he wasn’t there and Doc does not care.

Doc then makes some horrible moves at the end like trusting corporate one last time and backstabbing his allies. From there I knew that he had absolutely no chance of making a comeback for me. There’s just no excuse for any of this when you’re the ship’s doctor and the one that everyone is depending on. That’s just an awful look all the way around.

Bowman was rather reasonable so she’s one of the few crewmembers that wasn’t annoying. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a place to escape to on this ship and her role ends up being rather small. Ultimately the experience was too much for her and she probably didn’t suffer as much as most of the others ultimately would. Justin was probably the most helpful member of the crew and did a lot to support Steven here. That’s why the ending feels like a bit much because of how things play out. This guy really put in a lot of work.

The movie doesn’t seem to be too sure of what it even wants to do in the end though. There is happy music playing throughout the climax even when it should be a very somber tone at the time because of how things went down and you know….almost everyone is dead. Still the happy music goes on and then we get the big punch at the end. The punch was hype at least, that’s definitely the way to end things even if I think corporate could have played that a little smarter. You don’t want corporate to win per say but just make it an interesting fight and I think that makes for a more interesting climax.

Sadly the monster doesn’t have a great design for most of this. It’s more of a Blob than anything as it controls the human hosts. Think of it like a symbiote that’s running around but instead of a cool Venom design, it’s just undead. It makes the human hosts rather warped and isn’t super fast but makes up for that with power. If it catches you then it’s game over. The shark that appears for a second for no reason had more intensity to it than the monster.

Monsters reanimating a person’s body will never be as threatening or scary because that means it’s bound by how a person can move. Switch that out for a creature that can zip around at super speeds and now you’ve got something more dangerous. It also makes for more gross scenes like when we come close to the Alien chestburst scene and just in general the humans begging to die as the alien walks around a bunch. (It’s basically an alien after all) This film very much wanted to redo the Alien story while underwater and I gotta say that it did not work. Going for an actual underwater creature would have been a whole lot better.

Overall, Leviathan is not a winner here. It starts off on the wrong foot by having a really rough main cast of characters and doesn’t get any better with that underwhelming monster. When you mix it all together, you’ve got a thriller that isn’t ready for prime time. I would say the movie for once would be better without a monster. Have them stuck down there and they have to figure out how to get up without corporate stopping them. Then you could have a good thriller story with a lot of mind games. Not sure the writing would be up to it but the premise would work a whole lot better if you ask me.

Overall 3/10

Eyewitness 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

Eyewitness has a fairly interesting premise but it’s one that is bogged down by a very weak character cast and has a tough time getting to the point of it all. It also ended up introducing a dog character into the mix and you know how that tends to go. So on the whole you’re going to want to avoid this one, it’s just not the big win that you’ll have been hoping for.

The movie starts out with Daryll working on his janitor’s job as usual. He tries to convince the bosses to let his friend back onto the job but they say no as he was apparently disrespectful back in the day. It’s easy to believe this because his friend Joseph is not the nicest camper out there. The guy is always complaining and getting himself into trouble borrowing money from loansharks and things like that. One day he even breaks back into the building to talk with Daryll. The very next day Mr. Long is murdered and naturally Daryll figures that Joseph may have done it.

He does decide to hide the fact that Joseph was in the building to protect his friend but then he finds out that his favorite reporter Toni is involved in the mix. Daryll decides to pretend that he knows more than he does so that he can go out with her and Toni really wants a big scoop so she agrees to this. Meanwhile the killer is watching and planning their next move. Is Joseph really the culprit or is it someone else? Either way Daryll is now right in the crosshairs of danger.

Right from the start you can probably see how I had a problem with some of these characters. Lets start off with Daryll. So he is completely obsessed with Toni to the point where he flirts endlessly and makes a fool of himself. He messes up the interview as he keeps on talking about her and just strings her along for a while. Keep in mind that at the moment he’s in a relationship with Joseph’s sister as well. They don’t care for each other much but he should still wrap that up before starting anything else.

Daryll just feels incredibly desperate the whole time and it’s too much. I won’t blame him too much for withholding information about his friend to the detectives since it did look incriminating and he wasn’t sure if Joseph did anything but any scene with Toni was just bad for his character. Even by the end I can’t say that I ever warmed up to the character.

Likewise Toni doesn’t look good here for falling into this romance. Of course from her end she is just doing it for the story and doesn’t even like him initially but that’s barely even a consolation by that point. It doesn’t speak well to her morals to be willing to go this far for a scoop. I don’t care how good the story is, you just don’t want to be going that far for it. Then you have Joseph who isn’t likable at all. Lets even take him breaking back into the job away for a second. He didn’t have any malicious intent there.

Punching Daryll was completely uncalled for and same with his outbursts upon finding out that Daryll liked someone else. He then proceeded to borrow a ton of money from loansharks on some really suspect deals. That tells me he also isn’t very smart here. He creates a lot of trouble for himself the whole time and this ends up spilling over to Daryll as well. When you bring other people down with you that’s never a good thing.

The most interesting part of the film is the one that doesn’t get brought up a lot. So the villains are basically transporting people out of dangerous zones and into the U.S. They had been working with Long and a number of other gangs to do this. Effectively working with the enemy to get their own goals across. Typically they avoided having to murder anyone but Long’s group tried changing the bargain so they were dealt with quickly. So the main villains here had a pretty interesting goal and not one that was overtly sinister. There’s a lot that could have been built on this but it’s not a factor for most of the film and is just very brief.

Also, as mentioned earlier we do have some animal violence which is a big no no here. As soon as the dog appeared I got worried and clearly that was for good reason. it just rarely ends well when you have a dog in a thriller and there’s just no purpose to the scene. You could have had the effect of the villains showing Daryll they were serious by skipping to the part where the villain breaks into his house. That would have absolutely still gotten the message across without things going off the rails here. A dog dying will never enhance a film and can only hurt it. That’s the message more film makers need to hear.

Also, the film could have given the detectives more of a role. I thought they were actually interesting but then they miss out on almost the entire thing. By the time they act the film is basically ending so there was not a lot of time to do anything. They talked tough and had a decent dynamic going but the film really just wasted these characters. Could have been a really engaging subplot if they got more to do.

Overall, Eyewitness is a film that could have been a lot better at least from the general premise. You need the main character to be a lot better though. Have Daryll be someone who just wants to be famous which is why he’s dragging this out as opposed to it all being for romance. You also shouldn’t have included the dog in it at all. Without that then this film would really have potential. There were some interesting themes that could have been expanded on. Ah well, maybe for another film. If you want a thriller about crime, check out Clue instead.

Overall 3/10

Get Out 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

Get Out is a horror film that you must have heard of at some point or another because of big it was. The film was everywhere and got a pretty good reputation. I ended up seeing Us first and now I can finally compare the two of them. In a lot of ways Us is the more interesting and suspenseful film with all of the alternate universe rumblings and supernatural things going around but this one has stronger fundamentals and the characters at least have some battle tactics.

The film starts with Chris and Rose heading over to meet her family. He’s not thrilled about this but she says it’ll be fine. Unfortunately her family all seem to be a little nutty and Chris feels like the odd man out. He does his best to hang in there but the timing is very unfortunate. See, the family’s having a whole big reunion/birthday party so everyone’s in town and that’ll make it more difficult to leave. The whole setup seems rather odd so should Chris leave or try to stick it out?

You’ll get a Twilight Zone vibe right away here as everyone is just a bit off. You don’t have any way of knowing exactly what is wrong with them until the film goes into its twists but from the start something is off and that alone should be enough to get you intrigued into what’s going on. Now part of the setup here is that Chris is black and heading into an area that’s pretty much all white so he’s worried that everyone’s going to be racist. I think this aspect could have been toned down somewhat but it’s a major part of the film’s setup to the point where it can’t really be overlooked.

That’s part of what gives Chris a red flag about this whole thing. The film also opens with a cop randomly asking for his ID to just to ram that point home. Of course in the process Chris seems to reveal his own racial biases as one of the things that makes him suspicious is that the only other 2 black people around don’t talk or dress in a black way. There’s a bit of an irony throughout the film that the family all have racial assumptions towards him and Chris has them right back towards the white family members. His best friend Rod is usually the mouthpiece for these guesses so even when all of the characters are being polite on the surface they are all thinking their true thoughts when they’re separate.

Don’t want to get caught up in the weeds here for too long but I guess in a way the film’s trying to show a big divide here from both sides as everyone in the film seems to be thinking along those lines. Because it all ends up canceling out like that, that’s why this whole element could have been a more subtle one rather than being a big plot that doesn’t really go very far. Ironically only the big villain at the end seems to not care about all of that…or at least so he claims. I guess it’s hard to say from a very brief scene.

With all of this extra tension in the mix, Chris really never had a chance of getting along with the family. I don’t think he was particularly concerned about that either and just wants to go but unfortunately his phone goes dead early on. Too bad the charger wasn’t in the mix for a while. (Must have been on really low battery to go dead that quickly though) It’s a little convenient but I appreciate the film actually addressing this in a unique way so I’ll give it credit there. In the end Chris is a good character but I do think he gets taken out way too easily.

The scene where he sits down and gets crushed by Missy was a bit hard to buy though. I don’t believe in instant hypnosis like that and particularly not when you’re already prepared for it. We can allow for some supernatural elements here of course since this is a horror title but either way you may roll your eyes for an instant. Everything went down for Chris as soon as he went outside and got intimidated by the gardener, was spotted by the maid, and then ran inside to get beaten up (hypnotically) by Missy. Going outside definitely wasn’t worth it but I’m sure they would have come up with some excuse to get him even if he had stayed in his room.

The real hero here was Rod who really did his best to check up on Chris. He did not let that guy down and pursued every lead he could. Rod had a lot of determination here and really had to do a lot of research in order to find the place. I was glad that he wasn’t just all talk or anything like that and that’s why he was a stand out character for me. He is also quick on the uptake like when he told Chris that maybe there was some mind control going on here.

This was Chris’ worst scene as he immediately discarded the theory as a joke but this was after he had already been mind controlled once. Wait a minute…….why not believe this theory then? I remember that really stood out to me because it was a reasonable idea. Finally there’s Rose of course as the main heroine. Too bad she happened to pick the big family gathering day to bring Chris over but apparently it slipped her mind. She’s definitely a big presence in the film for sure.

Of course there’s not a lot more to say without getting into spoiler territory here. The film definitely goes all out with the twists and those really shake up the whole film. A good twist goes a long way and I thought this one was handled really well. It’s definitely not the twist I originally thought it was so they did good with the setup there and in hindsight this also makes sense and explains a lot of what happened earlier.

So when comparing it to Us how does this stack up? Well, Us has the more interesting storyline here. Parallel worlds and all of that? Easy slam dunk and of course it wins in the soundtrack and visuals department. We also have more fights there which is nice. Where Get Out has the advantage is it’s more of a subtle title with the violence. I thought Us was a bit gratuitous with how the neighbors were murdered. Get Out has its share of action but is considerably less violent because none of that really starts happening until the final 15 minutes. Until then it’s a horror where the threat is implied rather than shown. Us might have more replay value but Get Out makes for the better initial watch. I wouldn’t consider either one to be a particularly impressive horror title. They’re a little above average (Average horror film is closer to a 2) but that’s about it.

The ending of the movie’s definitely solid and a good way to close things out here. Get Out tells a complete story although you could definitely turn this into a whole franchise if you wanted to. After all if the twists are more widespread then we know, it could easily be the perfect setup to an action sequel. You could also do a prequel I suppose but I can’t say that would be super interesting. We already have the general understanding of how this all started after all so you want a new story after that. If they ever tie this in with the Us film then that could be a fun crossover. I feel like it should be possible too.

Overall, Get Out doesn’t really play out like a typical horror film but in the end that’s pretty much what it all boils down to in terms of quality. The character cast isn’t bad as the good guys are pretty decent although the villains are more on the “eh” side. There are some moments where Chris could have handled things better but I wouldn’t say he ever made a choice that was really bad. He was just in a tough situation from the jump. I think a sequel could be interesting but no matter how you slice it, this would probably be more of a thriller than a horror. If you want to check this kind of vibe out I would recommend the classic Twilight Zone episodes. Those really nailed down the creepy atmosphere this film is going for.

Overall 3/10

Burnt Offerings Review

Burnt Offerings is a film where the story was cooked a little too much and so it all drags on quite a bit. The characters have virtually no willpower so the house is able to give them the hands right away. At no point do you think the main characters stand any kind of a chance here and that’s an issue. How can you possibly root for the characters when they’re all so unlikable? The movie makes a lot of mistakes and barely stumbles to the end.

The movie starts with the main characters getting ready to rent out a house for a while. It’s summer and the time for relaxation and adventure. They find a large house that looks like a bit of a fixer upper but the owners are nice enough. They say cryptic stuff about the house looking after itself and that it’ll look good soon but the main characters don’t mind. The place is super cheap, even suspiciously so you could say. Still the owners say that it’s a deal and then vanish. Only one elderly lady will be staying with the family but she never leaves her room so she shouldn’t be much of a bother. Well the characters have their house but they all start acting rather oddly right away. Should they leave before it’s too late?

Now the haunted house genre isn’t anything new. We’ve had haunted houses for as long as I can remember. The real issue with this one is how fast is effects them. Usually it might take a few hours or something for this to go through but instead it’s nearly immediate. Ben goes crazy first as he tries to drown his son Davey but ends up being foiled before it’s too late. Then Marian gets really serious about this house to the point of yelling at Davey about it. Finally the grandmother starts feeling really tired all of the time. The only common element is the house and yet nobody really wants to leave it.

It’s all just way too fast. Do these guys not have a single oz of willpower within them at all? That would have solved this issue right off the bat since they could have escaped. You probably suspect how things will play out right from the jump but that doesn’t mean the series couldn’t have just thrown us a curve ball somewhere along the way. Instead they just get possessed as if this is the ghost busters and are overwhelmed at all times. As a result there is no time to find any of the characters likable since they all seem so unhinged.

Ben never recovers from the opening scene. He probably should have gone to greater lengths to make sure they all left the house. Maybe even burn it down as a last resort. The ending is frustrating in that sense as Marian ignores them all to dash in the house. Honestly at that point you probably just need to keep going. At the very least you need some semblance of reaction times. One thing that hurts Ben at the end is that he’s impossibly slow. Seriously the guy can’t move an inch when it counts and that really comes back to bite him. If he could move an inch then that would have helped him out a bit.

Meanwhile Marian is no better as she is quickly absorbed by the house. She never makes the right decisions as a result and yells at Davey for minor things. She also doesn’t stick up for the grandmother at all and just leaves her feeling underappreciated the whole time. Marian ends up allowing the danger to become real each time she strengthens the house. The grandmother is a little less responsible for the bad things that happen. She at least tries to resist the whole being sleepy thing but the other characters don’t exactly help her out in this. Anyone would have cracked eventually.

Davey is reasonable enough the whole time but probably should have also encouraged them to leave the house after the crazy events kept on happening. By the end, running for the hills would have been best. He’s rather young so he wouldn’t get far but that would have helped a bit to at least escape the immediate area. The only winners here are really the two owners of the house who knew what was going to happen but stayed quiet. They ended up being rather talented masterminds the whole time.

I do enjoy the idea of a house that feeds off of the owners in order to look great every Summer but the characters should have been able to resist a little better. At least make the house work for the victory instead of surrendering immediately and making everything so easy. That’s the worst part of it all, this is incredibly easy for the house. I doubt it even broke a sweat messing with these guys. The visions they get aren’t even that scary. Ben keeps seeing a guy with a cap driving around in a black limo? Okay….not too scary for him.

The context is a bit hard to follow and we have to assume he was being scared because of a previous inhabitant’s feelings but he should be able to overpower that, at least a little. The fact that he couldn’t do anything about it was the worst. Marian never even seemed to try with this either. For what it’s worth, Ben still got a few scenes where he was upset. Marian seemed positively thrilled the entire time. Nothing would dampen her mood at all and she didn’t even stop to think twice about why the phones wouldn’t work for Ben but worked when she grabbed it.

At best I can say that Burnt Offerings did have some decent visuals. I thought it illustrated how the house would visibly change really well. I wonder if they shot images of a different house or had to set everything up with physical props. Either way that was effective and the film does have a rather ominous atmosphere at times. So at the very least this did have that horror feeling and the writing was also decent. It may not have been out of this world but the characters all talked in reasonable ways and I liked this style of writing. It’s not enough to overcome the film’s flaws but at least it’s something.

Overall, Burnt Offerings really skips a whole part of the movie that should have existed where we see the main characters resisting the mansion’s influence. By not having that, it makes it seem like the heroes have no self control. They just joined the darkness immediately. None of them are pro active about changing the situation even though it’s clear that this has all happened after moving into the house. They should have left straight away. By not doing so, it can feel like the film has stalled out at times. Always a risk with a slow burner type like this one. I’d recommend checking out a different Haunted House film instead for a better experience.

Overall 3/10

Us 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

Us is a film about knowing how to play the matchups. Depending on your opponent you should absolutely be careful on if you attack or defend. The film has a pretty interesting premise which definitely has a lot more potential than most horror films although I wouldn’t say that it makes the most of this. Either way there’s a lot going on here with several points where you’d think it is the climax and the movie just keeps on going so you should get your fill of scares and intense moments.

The film starts off with a flashback where Addy ends up straying from the common path and goes to a mirror house by herself. She ends up being so scared that she could not talk for a long while and got fully traumatized. We then cut to the present where she is happily married and has a family with her husband Gabe and their two kids. Naturally Gabe is thrilled to be heading back to the summer house. It just so happens that this is the area where Addy had gone missing in the mirror house for a bit so she isn’t thrilled to be here. Weird things start to happen but it all comes to a head when a family appears in their front yard who appear to be alternate versions of the main 4. Who are these 4 and can Addy protect her family against them?

Like I said the film is more interesting than most horror titles so that is a plus here. The idea of a mirror world of doppelgangers running around is a classic for sure but you tend to see that more in a sci-fi or action setting. It’s more rare for a film like this and it makes the villains more interesting because in a way they are the main characters, just twisted versions of themselves.

I also thought the film had really good technical elements. The visuals during the flashback are very good as the storm is realistic and I liked the mirror house. I also thought that the music that played during the opening credits was really good. Throughout the movie there was a lot of fun music themes that had a very eerie feel to them. You knew that something was not quite right the whole time. I can’t say that all of the songs were a hit, typically the lyrical ones weren’t quite as solid but the spooky themes were on point.

So those are mainly the strengths of the film. For the weaknesses you do have the usual excessive violence that comes with the territory. You would not be out of place calling this one a slasher by the end. In particular the most violent scene here was definitely with the neighbors. Their deaths are the most violent by far and while they were meant to be rather annoying characters, it seemed a bit much. Particularly as the one who got it the worst off was the nicest one who at least tried talking to Addy normally.

If you cut that sequence of scenes out I would say the film would be noticeably less violent as a result. One technique that backfired was how course the main villain’s voice was. I guess it’s supposed to be spooky or creepy but it could just be a little hard to hear her and she also spoke so slowly that you would wait for her to get to the point. I also thought it was a missed opportunity that none of the others could talk since we could have had some interesting conversations otherwise.

The main characters do have quite a bit of plot armor though. You’ll quickly notice that the villains murder everyone else immediately but with the main characters they tend to just be beating up on them the whole time which ultimately tends to come back to bite them. Otherwise the main characters definitely should have died several times over in this film. Plot armor comes with the territory a lot of the time but it just felt more glaring here than in other titles.

Now lets talk about the biggest mistake the characters make and that’s that they don’t play the matchup well at all. So from the start we have the villains out in the front yard. I thought Gabe handled this well at first, warning them and then grabbing the baseball bat as the heroes called the cops. Where things did not go well is when he decides to try and keep the door shut while holding his baseball bat. A baseball bat is an offensive weapon so when you pick that up you have to be prepared to use it. Hide behind the door or on the other side and swing. You can’t be pushing while holding onto the bat because then you can’t use it. What ends up happening is you are now putting yourself in double danger here for no reason.

It backfires and Gave is injured for the rest of the film as a result. It gets worse once we have the face off with the 4 on 4 setup. While I liked the idea that they were setting up for a bunch of 1 on 1 fights as if this was a Shonen Jump or Comic Book movie, the heroes let the villains have the initiative all the way. For starters you should never let yourself get tied up. There’s no winning there so Addy should have refused and tried to fight. Then each hero is chased off by their evil counterpart for 1 on 1 fights where none of them seem to have a real chance of winning. Aside from plot armor they all should have died in those encounters.

We do get a random guy who looks pretty bad here as he approaches the alternate Zora though. Look if it’s the dead of night and there’s someone on your car with a giant knife you probably shouldn’t just walk over there right? You’d think he would have handled that a little better but he didn’t and got wrecked for it. So the whole time I was just thinking that the characters played the matchup horribly. They lost their homefield advantage and never took the initiative in the fight.

As the film goes on Addy gets more and more used to combat though and takes quite a few of the villains out. Ultimately she was quite impressive there. Addy works well as the main character. She grows more and more unhinged as the film goes on but never loses sight of her goal to protect the family and ends up being a really solid lead. Gabe is also a solid character. It’s a bit annoying with how he got injured early on and didn’t really get to fight despite talking so tough but he still takes out his share of enemies. He’s a fun guy and tends to see the bright side of things. I thought he did well as the other lead.

Zora may not be as impressive as the main 2 but she does ultimately join in on the action and realizes that everyone needs to help. She does well with her weapon and once she is armed she ends up being on guard for the whole film. Jason’s more on the annoying side. He gets his big moment and all but he’s just a little too young to help out in most of the scenes so I think it might have helped if they could have aged him up just a little.

As for the villains, most of them are mindless aside from the main one. The main villain is interesting and I thought she did well in her role. She wastes too much time gloating but of course that’s something that most villains do so I wouldn’t take a lot of points off for that or anything. She’s a solid fighter and did well to plan things out long-term. Ultimately that’s the kind of main villain you want to see.

The neighbors were mainly just annoying so not much to say about them. The wife at least seemed reasonable but the husband and the two kids were just jerks for no reason the whole time. The way the film ends you could definitely run it back with some sequels or just imagine how it plays out in your head. Each way works out well enough since there’s just so much you can do with this. Of course that goes back to what I was talking about with the film not reaching its full potential. I’d love to see how the rest of the world is handling this. The small scenes we get with the recording are some of the most interesting scenes in the film.

Now this might be a hot take but for horrors and mysteries the first half will usually always beat the climax. It’s more applicable for long running titles but the less you know, the more engaged you are. Once you start finding out the answers it inevitably won’t be able to match the suspense you were feeling in the first half or the theories you already had in mind. So if you were to have a bunch of sequels then Us may start to lose some of that mystery but there’s so much content that I think we can pull this off for a while. Lets see the big battles between the humans and the alternates and then play things out from there. Well, next it’s time to talk about some of the spoilers to give my take on all of this. Skip the next six paragraphs if you haven’t watched the film yet because it’s about to get real spoilery over here. The twist was also set up very well with a lot of moments that tie in to the outcome. Now I may have a few qualms with specific character moments relating to the twist but you can’t say that it came out of nowhere. It’s better to experience the twist normally which is why I gave this really long warning first.

Okay so it turns out that there are a whole bunch of clones that exist in the mirror dimension. A long time ago, someone tried creating clones of everyone with a new soul but they failed and so instead you had an empty body with half of a soul. This caused the clones to be tethered to the originals. They all live in an abandoned subway/facility looking place where they are forced to mimic the actions of the originals. The film does a great job of illustrating how this works with the clones bumping into walls and everything as they mindlessly follow the actions. They have no free will but do seem to have a conscious so they know what is happening but are powerless to stop it.

In a way it’s quite the dark fate for these guys. Well, one day someone cut the strings so to speak on one clone, the clone of Addy. She was then able to trade places with the real one and escaped back to the real world. At this point the human Addy had to pretend to still be doing the same things as a clone but of course she did have free will. Down the road she was able to break the curse on the others and they all went to enact revenge on the Earth which brings us to the current scenes. It’s a very interesting backstory here and one that should leave you with some more questions and interpretations.

So how I see it, the film is hinting at a higher power cutting the strings here. I’d say that a god created a second Earth effectively that’s in a different dimension which mirrors the first but for some reason this failed. He decided to give them one chance at a rebellion and did so by releasing reverse Addy. Throughout the film we see references to Jeremiah 11-11 which says: “Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.”. So the film seems to be implying that this is the evil that is coming upon the land to destroy the humans. Quite the dark twist of events.

It can always be a mixed feeling incorporating elements of the Bible into a film like this where it’s into the realms of fantasy and may end up trying to give people the wrong idea but I like to think of it as the film acknowledging that the Bible is still the most influential book of all time and that even those who don’t believe in it will recognize an element from it. It’s also a quick way to hint at what’s happening without launching into a whole lot of exposition.

So yeah that’s why I think in this film a god was behind reverse Abby’s ability to make a move. Otherwise it shouldn’t have been possible to capture Addy since she can only mirror moves and not do her own. From there I’m guessing the clones aim to destroy all of humanity so they will replace us as the originals. It’s an interesting idea but I like to think we wouldn’t go down without a fight so that’s where the sequel would come in. From what we saw the humans have been getting wrecked so I really would have liked to have seen some other humans as well. I can’t believe that every human lost to their counterpart, cmon now. That’s not happening.

Considering that the Addy we saw for most of the film was actually the other version I do think that in hindsight she should have reacted a little differently in the confrontations. As mentioned earlier, that’s my one small thing that pops out after the twist. The twist itself makes sense, no doubt about that but in that case would she really be surrendering so quickly and be afraid of these guys? Addy was determined enough to make a move back in the origins and would do anything to make sure she doesn’t go back to the mirror world so with that in mind I feel like it would play out differently. Of course, she was a kif at the time so this may just be her personality. It’s a lot to think about and you could even go in circles at times but that’s why the twist was so effective.

So that’s it for the spoilers. You’ll have fun theory crafting while watching the film for sure. In the end the only main issue I had with the film aside from the violence would be that it could be a little dragged out at times. Like I mentioned, the film covers a lot which is good but other times it feels like the movie’s being a little overdramatic and you’re just waiting for the next scene. One such moment is when the two kids go in the house to save Addy. The music starts so you’re ready to roll but then they walk up the stairs at an extremely slow pace, look back a few times, grab some objects, keep walking, etc. It feels like ages to get up the stairs and there are other scenes like that where it takes a little too long to build up the suspense. It’s probably worth the trade off as the long length lets you do a lot of other things including actually having a real climactic battle at the end but some scenes definitely could have been trimmed.

Overall, Us is very interesting and that’s why there’s so much to talk about here. It’s a film with a unique premise that you don’t typically see in horror. If you just toned down the violence then this would jump up quite a bit. I could also go with the alternate versions being a little more intelligent so we could have some conversations but to a point that would turn this into a completely different movie. If you’re up for an intense film then this one could be up your alley but ultimately I would have to recommend you check out Crisis on Two Earths instead for another look at how to deal with alternate versions. It always brings up a lot of interesting questions to think about for sure and while there is none planned that I know of, I hope the film does get a sequel.

Overall 3/10

The Intruder Review

The Intruder is almost like a return to form for horror titles. You’ve got the very unlikable main cast, the insane villain who just openly goes around taking people out, and nobody decides to just leave. What you end up with is a film that will have you annoyed at the main characters and it never gets to the point where you would call it a good movie. So this one ends up just losing out.

The movie starts out with Scott and Annie deciding to buy a house. They are fairly well off and could have stayed in the city but Annie just wanted somewhere quieter to start raising a family. While Scott isn’t too impressed with the first house they see, Annie likes it so they end up buying it. Unfortunately the previous owner Charlie doesn’t seem thrilled about this. He keeps on showing up unannounced and acts like it is still his house. He is openly antagonistic towards Scott and acts overly familiar to Annie. Initially this is just something that irritates Scott but then he starts to realize that this guy may actually be dangerous. Now what can he do about it?

It’s always rough when you don’t go with your gut because then you end up regretting everything. From the start Scott realized that this didn’t seem like a very good idea but he went with it because Annie really liked the place. Charlie started with the insults early on too but Scott figured he could power through it. The issue is that Charlie is always around while Scott is back in the city all day so he is rarely at home. This already puts Scott at a disadvantage in making sure Annie is okay.

Then unfortunately we find out that Scott has also made some massive mistakes in the past like cheating on Annie. You’d think he would really be on his best behavior now but then he also starts flirting with the cashier at the ice cream parlor. Why would you even do that? His excuses were really weak at this point in time because Annie was right that his dialogue was way over the top. Further, it seems like he was about to cheat on her again but fortunately she called him in time.

So the film goes out of its way to make Scott look bad here and naturally this ends up making it all the easier for Charlie to move in. It’s still no excuse for how oblivious Annie is though. She seems to not notice at all how Charlie is acting towards her and her excuses about it aren’t very good either. She says that he’s very lonely and everything so they should just let him keep showing up like this. Even if you feel bad for someone, that’s not an excuse to just have them be showing up all the time.

There are even some cases where she is the one making the situation worse like when he shows up with pizza or to talk about the lights. Charlie’s about to leave when she calls him back so they can hang out. I know she’s still in the “just being friendly” stage but it’s still a really bad idea no matter how you slice it. She doesn’t know him at all and Scott’s not around. Seems like an unnecessary risk to me. Both Scott and Annie can never have a reasonable discussion about any of this either since there is just too much ammo flying all over the place.

It’s why the movie has them making these mistakes in the first place since it evens out and then they can’t really talk about the other. I found that to be a bit lazy though. As for Charlie, he could have been better if they just focused on the “he’s insane!!” part. Have him initially start out as someone who is harmless and just wants his house but gradually gets more sinister as the main characters act more aggressively in banning him from the house. Then you have the intruder aspect and things get serious.

Instead the film starts to focus more on how Annie is Charlie’s goal and as soon as the villain’s motivation goes there you know that it’s all over. That kind of villain’s always going to be just plain awful in the end and Charlie’s no exception. The dynamic could have been so much better otherwise but they blew it when that happened.

The main characters have a friend named Mike but he’s just awful as well. Keep in mind that Scott and Annie just bought this place. It’s a super big house with tons of bathrooms and the guy still feels the need to go all over the backyard. That’s just completely unnecessary and the same goes for dropping cigarette butts all over the place and extinguishing the fire on nearby plants. It’s like Mike’s going out of his way to ruin the place. It’s portrayed more that he’s just not very smart and tends to be crude but it is so exaggerated. Any scene with him in it was pretty awful.

At least The Intruder does have a lot of jump scares though. Charlie is always running around inside of the thunder flashes so you know that he’s watching. The characters never notice but you like to think that they would if they were more on edge. Charlie is always a few steps ahead of them so the one time the heroes have him on the defensive you wish they could do more about it. For example, at one point they stab him and he hits the ground hard. You’ve got 3 options here, restrain him, keep stabbing him, or drop the weapon and tend to your wounds while giving the guy your back.

Naturally they choose option 3. Look, if someone’s broken into your house and he’s clearly dangerous and armed, option 2 is the best bet here. Make sure you’ve put him down for good and keep it moving. Instead in every horror film it feels like the characters think 1 stab will be enough somehow so they clearly haven’t watched the news enough. These characters really did not handle any of this very well and the examples will just keep coming as you watch the movie.

I won’t even bring up how Mike could have done better since we’ve established that he’s just not very bright. Would have been nice if he could have at least remembered to pick up his cell phone and dial as soon as he saw Charlie though instead of making a lot of noise and running. I also blame Scott for falling asleep. By this point he knows how big the danger is so he should be calling the cops and doing a number of things instead of leaving it all to Mike. Going even further back, why did Annie go home at all? By this point it’s patently obvious that Charlie’s out to get them so letting her go home alone while he will be stuck in the hospital for another day doesn’t make any sense.

Overall, The Intruder will show you how to mishandle a situation every step of the way. From buying the house where the owner runs around with a shotgun and insults you right away, to splitting up and not taking anything seriously, these characters don’t make it easy on themselves. With a better villain this could have ended up being a better film but it just wasn’t to be. Ultimately I would give a hard pass to this one. While the end credits have a very stylistic approach which is nice and the ending to Scott’s character arc was handled differently than what I would have expected, I wouldn’t say there is any reason to recommend this film. The only good part about it is that the atmospheric horror can be good at times. Lots of solid visuals and jump scare moments but that’s not enough to recommend an entire movie. Everything else holds it back.

Overall 3/10

Gaslight (1944) Review

Time for the next adaption of Gaslight. I was certainly not all that impressed with the first one and this title is only marginally better. Many of the same negatives from the first film reappear in this one. I’ll give this title credit for having what’s effectively a 30-40 minute prologue added in before we see the first scene of the original film readapted here. It adds some more context but also backfires. More on that later on.

Paula’s aunt was murdered one day which frightened everyone and so Paula was sent away for a while. We cut to the present where she has met up with a guy named Gregory and intends to marry him. It’s all going well until he says that he wants to move to London, the exact area where the aunt was murdered. Paula has done her best to get over this incident for many years and so she figures that she is ready to handle this. Unfortunately things begin to get misplaced and Gregory is always attacking her now that they are married. Will she be able to escape or will she fall for every trick over and over again?

So here’s why the whole extended origin fails here. We actually see how Paula’s life was quite happy and how she met Gregory. Right from the jump she should have said no to moving to the London squares…but fine she says that she’s over it so we can roll with that. Here’s where things get dicey. When she finds the letter with a mysterious name on it, Gregory snaps at her and immediately starts yelling and acting like the main villain. We’re still in the prologue here so the old film hasn’t started yet.

Right away Paula needed to have called him out here. She can’t just take that and let a bad precedence start. Then in the next scene we have Gregory casually mentioning that Paula tends to be a very forgetful person. Paula just accepts this for some reason when she should have quickly said no. The gaslighting here is so obvious and tactless that you’ll be shaking your head the whole time. It all happens so fast and since we’re actually seeing it this time, you have a hard time believing any of it. It just doesn’t make any kind of sense.

Paula isn’t nearly as broken as the first character by this point but it’s like her personality does a 180 as she was so confident and self assured but suddenly becomes extremely timid. It’s disappointing because she could have done so well and is instead faltering immediately. The rest of the movie gets worse and worse for her as Gregory just keeps on manipulating and humiliating her in front of everyone. If only she had signed the documents saying that she keeps all of the money because then she could have dashed out or something.

Regardless it would have been nice if she had gone outside more to talk to people and figure out what is going on. She’s rich to an extent and should easily be able to think of some things that can help. Hire some detectives or do something pro active to find out about the letter and why Gregory has changed so suddenly. She should have helped hire the maids and if anything she should have fired Nancy once she sensed how much antagonism was there.

One of the biggest problems with the film is that Paula’s barely a character. She just stands there and takes everything that Gregory throws at her. You wish she would do anything but instead she always ends up disappointing you. Finally there’s one area where she is worse than in the previous version. It’s near the end of the film when Brian is around to help her but everyone dashes off as Gregory shows up. In the first film she seems to actually think that it might have been a dream and starts to crack. In this one it seems like she panics at the thought of Gregory being against her and so she quickly tried to throw the other maid under the bus. I thought that was an extremely petty moment and it definitely made her look bad. That’s the kind of mistake that you can’t afford to make.

Of course Gregory’s a pretty awful villain too. The guy isn’t exactly subtle with all the noise he makes when trying to find the jewels. I wouldn’t even say that he’s a very smart villain because the whole plan revolves around Paula being easily manipulated and not able to do anything for herself. If Paula had talked to the nice next door neighbor or anyone then this could have all been avoided. Any scene with Gregory in it tends to be annoying for sure.

Nancy is also not a very nice maid. You’d think she would respect Paula as the head mistress more but unfortunately she is quickly able to sense the heroine’s weakness and pounces. The other maid was nice enough though and at least tried to look out for Paula. Then you have Brian who is doing his best to solve this case as soon as possible. The guy is dedicated and I’ll give him points for making a real effort here. In the end the guy took a very long time but he still helped save the day. The result is really what counts here.

The suspense for disbelief is just too much though. I like my main characters to be confident and self assured. Even if you are going to be a wallflower then I expect you to trust your own judgment and step up when the going gets tough. If Paula had gotten tough even once then that would have helped the film a great deal. The extended run time gives her more character but it almost doesn’t matter since it doesn’t change her actions later on. She still falls into all of the same holes so that whole intro may as well have not even happened at all.

Overall, Gaslight is a film that I have to give a full thumbs down too. The character cast isn’t quite interesting enough to counter all of the suspense for disbelief you have to go through. The old lady seemed nice enough but in the end she barely got to appear at all so I’m not even sure what the point of her character was. This adaption certainly added a whole lot of elements but since they didn’t change anything, they may as well have kept it the same. The movie beats the original but as I said earlier, it doesn’t do enough to make this a good movie. It’s still one that I would give a thumbs down to in the end. You’ll want to avoid this one for sure.

Overall 3/10

Picnic at Hanging Rock Review

Picnic at Hanging Rock takes the term “Slow Burner” to a whole new level. It feels like nothing is happening for the majority of the movie which does end up hurting the experience. Ultimately the biggest issue here is that the movie is quite boring for most of its run which is too bad since if it leaned more into the supernatural angle then this could have been a little more exciting. It doesn’t quite go in that direction though and the odd vibes the film gives off is not enough to keep it afloat.

The film starts off with the girls at a private school getting ready for their field trip. They are going to Hanging Rock this time and are instructed not to get too close or wander off from the group. Naturally they decide to go up there anyway or at least a group of them do. At first they make it fairly far up the mountain without an issue and are even dominating the mazes. One of them is complaining the whole time but the others pay no heed. Just as it’s almost time to go back, they appear to get brainwashed by some kind of supernatural entity which forces them up while one of the girls ends up running back home. There is no trace of the girls except for one who is found later on. What happened to them and how will the school stay running?

The film is definitely going for one of those unsolvable mystery type angles. Even as a concept I don’t think that will usually work out well for a film though. It pretty much guarantees that the film won’t have much of an ending which is concerning. It’s also going to rarely be very satisfying as is the case here. I wouldn’t say you’re necessarily too invested in the film as it is but it makes the whole thing feel even emptier. A huge part of the film is in trying to locate the missing girls and find out what happened but at the end of the day there were really no answers to be found here.

Of course I would say it was definitely supernatural and the mountain itself based on how it’s presented here. We get a lot of ominous shots with the mountain glaring at everyone and it explains why the girls suddenly got so dazed. There’s always a lot of ominous music as well which works well for the scenes. One thing I will say for the film is that it does a good job of making a lot of the scenes feel odd and sinister. That’s definitely pretty impressive of the film. The problem is that it’s hard to hold this kind of atmosphere for very long without something happening. The film pulls it off for the opening segments of the film but then that’s it. The rest of the film goes back into slice of life territory that just isn’t entertaining.

While it’s always debatable whether it’s worse to be boring or to be bad, everyone can agree that a film wants to avoid both of those options. If this movie had just been more entertaining that could have helped a lot. Mrs. Applewood is probably the most entertaining character because of how she is so transparent in how she only cares for the school. If there is any human antagonist in the film, it would have to be her. She’s even saddened when they find one of the girls because she thinks this will mean even more bad publicity. You don’t get a villain more obvious than that here but she really goes all in on the role. There’s never any doubt.

A lot of the characters here are the main kids who are hardly that entertaining. Albert is a kid who’s a bad influence to Michael and is just around to cause trouble. He just lazes about and doesn’t do anything except watch the girls. Michael may not do much for a while but at least once they disappear he does his best to find them. He even has a trippy dream of sorts and never loses hope that he will find them someday. I’ll give him credit there since that’s more effort than most of the characters were putting into this.

In general the town did their best though. We get quite a few scenes of the townsfolk all launching searches and investigations into what is happening and to find the girls. While none of them is successful you can’t fault those guys for a lack of trying. There were quite a few investigations but when the supernatural is at work it’s not like any of that ever could succeed. Even the girls who do return are hardly much help since they don’t seem to remember much of anything.

Edith for example is still complaining when the grownups bring her back up the mountain to try and describe what’s happening. It’s why Edith has to be my least favorite character here. Lives are at stake and she’s complaining about being tired and sleepy. That’s just super selfish on her part. She doesn’t seem to have any sympathy towards the other kids who are missing which is a shame.

Then you have Irma is found and she really seems to be in a daze the whole time too. She doesn’t know much of what happened and is really quiet even during her goodbye scene until the class tackle her. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s traumatized after the events on the mountain and has a much better reason to be stunned than Edith that’s for sure. Still, it would have been nice if she could have remembered more and clued the characters in. That would have at least given us something to go on.

Miss. Lumley is probably the only really nice character around. She does her best to instruct the kids and manage everyone’s sorrow. There’s only so much she can do in such a place though. With everyone being shifty and kids vanishing, it’s not exactly an easy environment to make the kids feel welcome in. I applaud her for her efforts but don’t blame her at all for leaving. There’s just no reason to stay in a place like this.

Overall, Picnic at Hanging Rock is a very dreary kind of film. It’s never really sunny over there and at all times the film feels rather grim. Even the ending is super dark and without a conclusion to the case the characters never had much hope. If the film had any hope, the ending would have destroyed it but it was already doomed by then. Nothing really happens for the whole middle act of the film which holds it back further. Throwing in some light hearted scenes or something would have helped a great deal. Instead the film just doesn’t move forward and the weirdness of it all isn’t enough to recommend it. This is one mystery you’ll want to stay far away from.

Overall 3/10