One Missed Call Review

It’s time for a retro horror film and One Missed Call definitely lives up to what you would expect there. It’s a horror film that plays it very by the numbers without a whole lot going for it beyond being…well a classic horror film. This one involves phones and a villain so powerful that it’s like you’re fighting against destiny itself. The film doesn’t have a particularly strong cast or memorable visuals to keep it afloat but at the same time it’s certainly not the worth horror film I’ve seen. I doubt I’ll even remember it too vividly several years from now.

The movie starts with the most intense scene in the film to be honest as a lady walks towards a pond when a giant hand emerges and drags her under. It also grabs the cat so the film decided to start off with an animal death for some bizarre reason. Leaving that aside for a moment though, the scene gave the villain a pretty intense design right off the gate and it was memorable. It reminded me of the Redead hands from the Legend of Zelda games. Unfortunately after this you will not see any memorable designs like that at all. In fact once we see the actual mastermind at the end of the film, the villain looks super unimpressive. Basically normal if you will and that’s no fun.

All right so back to the plot. Everyone is worried about the way the girl died and then another girl gets a voicemail from her number but it’s from a future date and has another girl’s voice. This girl promptly dies at the exact time of the voicemail and this “Phone curse” continues to spread. Each victim receives a call from the last victim with a voicemail dated at the exact time that the next victim will die. In essence the instant you receive this voicemail you are already dead which is a sobering thought unless you can escape destiny. Beth is the main heroine of the movie and she has a little time while all of her friends are bumped off. Once they are gone though then she will be next in the firing line. Oh I should also mention every victim gets a candy that they spit out after they die. Pretty random detail but its so random that it’s actually kind of interesting so I’ll give the film credit there. Of course it is explained later on but even if it wasn’t that’s the kind of randomness that can make the situation even scarier.

Fortunately she has the help of Officer Jack who believes there is something to this. Unfortunately the rest of the police don’t buy this so he’s on his own. Now it’s great that he believes since there is some evidence to support it at least but the guy is super sloppy. So the biggest potential evidence here are the phone calls right? Tangible calls that you could trace to see what is going on. Well…over halfway into the film he remembers that you can do this and looks them up but it was such a basic thing he could have tried from the start that it really stands out. You just think “Cmon man” because it would have been easier if the film just said all records mysteriously weren’t there. Really make this as supernatural as possible.

After all this is supernatural so why would it need to follow conventional rules anyway? Jack mainly does good here but I do have to say that one mistake so many characters make is putting their eye right next to the keyhole. Seriously even in real life you don’t want to do that because the door isn’t very well secured at all. Just being near it is a dangerously bad idea. Trust me on this, you do not want to do that! Just stay away from the door and he was probably doomed anyway but it didn’t help matters.

We do get the tragic backstory leading up to the origin of the curse later on and the film gets fairly dark with the lore as you’d expect. Again all fairly common for this kind of film but it also just feels rather forced. I think the movie should have actually not had a backstory for what was going on here. It’s way spookier for this to be happening for no real reason. Just give us a way to actually fight back and then you’re set. For example, that giant undead creature from the opening was super spooky so that’s all you need on the scares front. Have the team try to figure out a way to defeat it.

I knew the film would be cheating as soon as the Star Wars “Force Choke” scene happened. So one girl named Taylor had a really good idea. She allowed herself to be recruited by a supernatural TV show where they record people being possessed and try to save them. These guys may be crazy or scammers but now she’s surrounded at least right? Well the ghost/demon/mysterious villain shows up anyway and just chokes her using invisible intangible powers. There was nothing Taylor or anyone could do and that’s when I realized how futile this was going to be. The villain was too powerful.

In any horror film you have to try and balance out the villain being really powerful and imposing while also giving the heroes some kind of chance to fight back. There always has to be some hope or else why are you even watching right? If the only option is to wait around for your death then that’s inevitably going to get boring and so the film needed to introduce more of a weakness. Taylor’s death just felt unfair the whole time because unlike the other characters I actually thought her plan was as close to full proof as possible.

I haven’t talked much about Beth and in large part that’s because there isn’t a whole lot to say about her. She really stands for being your average everyday person just trying to get out of this situation but she doesn’t have much character beyond that. You’re hoping that she will get out of this in one piece but that’s definitely not a guarantee in a film like this.

Overall, I can see why One Missed Call wasn’t really a hit. The film wasn’t super balanced and didn’t always seem to know what it wanted to do. It’s a fairly serious film with an intense threat but the world wasn’t very fleshed out and there’s nothing to write home about here. While the film isn’t super violent, you definitely do have some intense deaths here. The dark backstory is also intense of course. I did like some of the spooky visuals like the Centipede and the hand in the opening scene but that was about it. The rest of the film just didn’t land and you should give this one a hard skip.

Overall 3/10

Konga Review

Konga is one of those films that ended up failing because it forgot the very premise it was supposed to execute. Why are you watching a film called Konga? Well…odds are that it’s because based on the title you want to see a really good giant creature film right? that makes the most sense but a super large chunk of this is about a super annoying scientist trying to have an affair with his student and this plot drags the whole film down. We don’t actually get the large Konga until the final minutes and it’s way too late by then.

The movie starts with the legendary researcher Charles finally getting back to the country after being presumed dead for a while. He has been living in the wilderness with a tribe learning more about animals and manipulating DNA. He figures that he finally has a way to turn Gorillas into giant monsters and this has a lot of possibilities for human evolution. His assistant Margaret was hoping he would finally be ready to settle down with her and they could start a family but it looks like that isn’t in the cards anymore. No, instead he is completely obsessed with only two things, his experiments and his student Sandra. Can Margaret put a stop to this guy?

I’ve got so many problems with this film but lets start off with Charles. He’s the main character but he’s such an unlikable villain that you are hoping he will be taken out soon. The guy wants to revolutionize science and yet he sets it back by murdering everyone else who were coming up with similar ideas. He claims to be completely focused on the job but then he tries to get with Sandra and makes that a priority. This guy doesn’t actually seem super serious/focused on his work so he becomes all talk by that point and it’s why you can’t respect him as a character. Even if he was a jerk you could at least understand what was going on if he was serious about his scientific advancements.

The instant he lost sight of that the guy was too far gone. Meanwhile I didn’t care for Margaret as the heroine either. For starters she didn’t jump in to protect Sandra when she was being attacked. Additionally Margaret allows herself to just be verbally attacked and ignored all the time. She likes Charles for some reason but you still have to stand up for yourself. She kept all of his affairs in order while he was gone and the guy never shows any gratitude. Instead he keeps making empty promises about how they will still get married some day and she believes them. She seems very naïve here throughout the movie.

Additionally Sandra is also rather oblivious the whole time. Charles isn’t very subtle about his flirting here and how he keeps trying to get her by herself. At first I figured she noticed and just didn’t mind but by the end we see that she hadn’t really considered this. Instead she thought her friend Bob was just being jealous when he tried to warn her multiple times. I don’t get how nobody sees the red flags on this character.

Bob at least decides to fight Charles and even has the upper hand during their skirmish. You can’t blame him as much for sparing Charles’ life because murdering someone is an absolute last resort and Bob wasn’t trying to go down that dark path. He was just put in a really dicey spot the whole time. He gets props for at least roughing the guy up a bit though. The other students were being too busy making fun of the guy to do anything productive.

All right, so what about Konga then? Well he’s stuck in the cage for over 90% of the film as Charles runs experiments on him and keeps saying how expendable the creature is. Naturally once Konga does break free he quickly makes sure to murder as many people as possible before being shot down but of course the issue here is that at the end of the day he’s an innocent animal being gunned down due to being put in the wrong place at the wrong time. It makes for a very somber ending right there and you really wonder what the point of the film really was. It fails as a creature feature film and the character cast was really weak.

The writing can be okay at times. I do still enjoy the old writing style and everyone sounds very polite and proper but you still can’t help but be annoyed. The film’s pacing is solid so it goes by quickly either way. There is definitely no reason to actually go ahead and watch this movie though. There are way better ones out there and there just isn’t anything in particular that would make this movie a must watch compared to others.

Overall, Konga may be a cool name for a film but this is not going to be the next Godzilla. Konga is a film that will likely be lost to the mysteries of time and that’s for the best. Definitely stay away from this film and remember that the main takeaway is to always be wary of announcing your secret research until it is ready. Otherwise you may get bumped off by a rival like what happened in this film and then that definitely would be a tragic way to go out.

Overall 3/10

The Gift 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 could be more negative

It’s time for one of those films about watching out for the next door neighbor. You never know who you’re going to be living next to when moving for the first time and so you always hope it’s a nice happy family. Sometimes that’s not the case though. Personally it’s rare that I really talk to or know my neighbors much at all but of course it’s a bit different in an apartment vs a house. The movie’s got an okay premise I suppose but ultimately this one’s definitely not much of a winner.

So the movie starts off with Simon and his wife Robyn getting a house and they’re looking forward to life going perfectly. Unfortunately that doesn’t quite happen as a man called Gordo appears and he claims to be Simon’s old classmate from school way back in the day. Simon doesn’t remember him at first but does afterwards and is puzzled because they weren’t friends. In the present Gordo keeps on bringing gifts and doing all kinds of favors for the main two but it quickly gets into weird territory. Simon quickly shuts this down as he’s as rude to Gordo as possible but now things have taken a turn from weird into dangerous when their pet dog goes missing. Is Gordo actually here to murder them?

Now this film is one of those titles where most of the characters are super unlikable. The only decent one here is Robyn and she’s going through a tough time with this since Simon keeps blowing up at her about Gordo now. He seems to be getting jealous quickly of the guy and is also hiding some secrets from his past. Robyn really wants him to be straight with her but when that’s not a possibility she can no longer trust him. Then Gordo can’t be trusted either because the guy is overstepping his bounds like breaking into the house while the main characters are away. No excuse is good enough for that to be warranted.

While Robyn means well I do think that she’s rather oblivious at times though. For example letting Gordo into the house while Simon isn’t there was not a great idea. Particularly since she barely knew him at all. I know you can’t be too paranoid when living out in the country since at that point you couldn’t even open up the door but she really seemed to be defenseless the whole time. At least have a can of pepper spray in your pocket. Even going for those long daily runs in the middle of nowhere every morning seemed a bit iffy. That said, at least she was polite the whole time.

Then you have Simon who immediately starts badmouthing Gordo behind his back and calling the guy names. This is before Gordo even started going too far. It’s like Simon was just being mean from the jump. Now this makes sense the more the film goes on as we see that he’s just not a good guy but it’s a good way not to root for him right away. Simon’s verbal attacks are never justified and even to the end you never feel like he has really changed as a person. He puts himself first above all else and really doesn’t give Robyn any thoughts during the climax. It’s all about him and well the guy is just a bully. There’s not much more that needs to be said than that and the guy is basically an antagonist by the end of the film.

Of course with all this said….Gordo is still a big villain here. No matter how mean to him Simon was, the guy is still terrorizing Robyn as well and kidnapping the dog was uncalled for. Fortunately nothing happened to the dog since that would have really torn the film apart but this guy loses his sympathy points real quick. I also get the feeling that he would have been messing with the main characters even if Simon did treat him well from the start. The guy was just acting very odd in a very intentional way. I believe he would have forced the confrontation at some point or another. At most Simon just sped it up but this guy was certainly looney.

We eventually learn why Gordo has this grudge against Simon and it definitely makes Simon and another character look really awful. You would just expect better and the film certainly wanted to go all out with having the gritty backstory. Fortunately there is a twist on the twist which is still awful but at least not as grim. The whole movie is really a race to the bottom between characters.

Now there is something that happens at the very end of the film which had the potential to drop this film down to a 0. Fortunately I don’t believe the “event” actually happened. To get into it too much would delve into spoilers but there are two main arguments I would say are on my side as to why this didn’t happen. The first is that this is a narrative callback to what happened in Gordo’s past. Just as something didn’t actually happen in his backstory, I would say that it didn’t in the present. It just serves as the ultimate revenge to have Simon think that this happened.

The other data point that supports me here is his last line to Robyn about how good things happen to good people. To me the only way he would use this line is to let her and the viewer know that this didn’t happen. At the end of the day his grudge was with Simon not her. He also got to hear her defending him from when he bugged the room. During the film at most he would just use her as ammo against Simon and this would be a fairly big jump from that. It’s still annoying that they didn’t definitively confirm my theory to be correct since it doesn’t take anything away from the revenge and if anything helps the movie. Keeping it even slightly ambiguous was just annoying.

Even with that the film wasn’t going to be very good though. The characters are just so unlikable between Simon and Gordo that it hurts a whole lot. Their dialogue is always pretty bad and in general the writing wasn’t very good here. At least the ending offers a tiny glimmer of hope for Robyn but even then it’s not the super happy ending you were waiting for. We got a few jump scares here and there but it’s not like this film is particularly scary either. The cops excuse for not going after Gordo felt rather weak though since it seems like it was really easy to find the guy.

Overall, The Gift just isn’t a very pleasant movie at the end of the day. Bad things keep happening to the characters and while Simon deserves it, you just feel bad for Robyn. At least she did take a stand by the end and I appreciate that. I also appreciate that the film didn’t do anything bad to the dog since that would have really been awful. You’re still just not going to have a very good time with this film. It delivers on having a ton of twists but for the evil neighbor angle it’s probably more effective to actually have the main characters be likable rather than doubling down and having both sides be antagonistic.

Overall 3/10

Deathtrap Review

It’s time for a film about a lot of murder planning. It definitely went quite a bit different than I was expecting though and particularly the poster gives you a very different vibe. More of a comedic touch with a lot of crazy shenanigans going on. I think that would have worked rather well but this one jumps the shark around midway and from there things just don’t end well. The main premise here had potential but ultimately it wasn’t to be this time.

The movie starts with Sidney’s new play starting but sadly it ends up bombing. He seems to have lost all of his talent at this point although his wife Myra believes he can still make a comeback. It’s just getting tougher and tougher the older he gets. One day his former pupil Clifford sends over a manuscript that is actually quite excellent. Sidney realizes that this could even be his ticket to stardom if he can just bump the guy off. Can he really do such a thing though? Myra thinks this is a bad idea and tells him not to do it but Sidney is determined. Clifford may be in trouble now!

So the story from this point is actually rather solid. Clifford shows up and there’s a bit of a whole cat and mouse thing going on. Sidney and Myra are acting strangely but Clifford doesn’t really know what’s going on. By the time he is starting to put the pieces together it’s a bit late for him to get away. After all Sidney drove him here and the house is in the middle of nowhere. So the whole thing is rather tense and you could absolutely build a whole film around this premise if you have the nerve for it. The dialogue would carry the film as both keep up the pretense that this is still friendly while Clifford makes the case for why he should live and Sidney makes the case of why he should die.

You would have a whole lot of epic conversations that way. Meanwhile Myra adds to it by trying to come up with positives for Clifford staying alive. She can be a bit overly dramatic in the film like with all the yelling but ultimately I thought she was a good character. I preferred her to the other two at least and while she could be very wishy washy about what she wanted to do, she had some kind of a moral compass at least. Unfortunately things don’t go great for her here. It’s a shame because you feel like the plan to get her had a very low probability of success but at the same time you knew it was going to work.

The cast here is very small as the only other character here is the fortune teller known as Helga. Her powers actually appear to be somewhat legit in this film as she has good instincts and knows things that she just shouldn’t know. She makes for an interesting character. She comes a bit out of nowhere mind you but I suppose she worked well enough. She’s mainly here to help increase the tension and to lead up to the ending.

Now unfortunately what crushes the film is the second half plot twist. It’s a big twist so in a way you should skip this paragraph if you haven’t seen the film but on the other hand it can be a big determiner on if you even watch the film or not so it’s hard to say. But here goes. Basically Clifford and Sidney hatched this plan together in order to bump off Myra and take her money. This is because it turns out that Clifford and Sidney are actually together and he never loved his wife. The whole thing screams shock value for sure and turns the plot on its head. It’s a shame they had to include this element into the movie and it basically takes up both of their dialogues from this moment on.

Their relationship becomes a focal point of the film so you’re just waiting for one of them to be bumped off. The issue is that neither will for a while because you now keep up the cat and mouse game but with both of them playing nice while waiting to make a move. So their scenes get hard to watch for a while there. It’s too bad because this does have a lot of potential but they should have gone with the original premise from the first half. Clifford trying to stay alive while Myra is on the fence and Sidney is the attacker was already a great dynamic that just got ruined there.

The movie knows how to build suspense so I’ll give it that. If it stayed away from shock value then it would have ultimately been better. For the first half the writing is on point as well and the effects throughout the movie are good. While I don’t really buy the whole Myra situation pretty much at all, the film did lay the groundwork for it so I’ll give the movie some credit there. Even if I didn’t buy it, it’s not like it was a plot hole or anything. Just treat it as a gamble that happened to pay off and that works well enough.

Overall, Ultimately I can’t really recommend this one. If you want a classic murder mystery then check out Clue or one of the old Hitchcock films. You can definitely pull off good plot twists in a film to shake things up but this just wasn’t one of them. It ends up overshadowing the rest of the film even though the movie had done some things well. Having weapons around due to the main character being a script writer actually made sense and was a good plot reason to have them around. The tactics were also good but ultimately that was just the end of the line. The ending of the movie is very satisfying at least so it ends on a decent note there.

Overall 3/10

Logan’s Run Review

Now I will say that the film has a good poster so lets start off with a solid positive here. Unfortunately that’s where things begin to fade really fast. This film has a very interesting premise though, it should have been a great movie but it really loses all its steam once the characters go outside when it really should have been the opposite. That’s the tragic part here and this is a film where I’d actually like a remake someday which I think could execute the premise better.

So the film takes place in the future where nobody is allowed to live past 30. Everyone has a click built into their hand in the form of a gemstone and that’s how people know when your time is up. The government pulled a fast one though and convinced people that they weren’t dying but were instead being reborn. When you see the bodies blowing up that’s just how the transfer goes. There is a full time job where you work as a “Sandman” and your role is to murder people who try to escape the merry go round of death. Unfortunately for the runners the Sandmen are very good at their job and so they do tend to crush just about everyone who gets in their way.

The main character here is Logan. I should note that every character has a number at the end of their name signifying how many times they have been renewed but just to keep things simple I’m going to bypass that for now all right? So Logan is a proud sandman but he does ask a lot of questions which annoys his partner Francis. Francis says they shouldn’t worry about the details and they just do what they’re told. Well one day Logan meets a girl named Jessica who has connections to the underground resistance and he starts to have more doubts. The government tasks Logan with going undercover into the resistance to snuff them out but instead he becomes a runner since the government fumbled the ball.

I think Logan would have gone all in as a traitor but they sped up the time on his gem so that he would be “renewed” sooner which messed Logan up and that led him to get a little desperate. Understandably the resistance doesn’t trust him much since Sandmen never become runners so Logan and Jessica are mainly on their own. Up to this point I wouldn’t say the film was great or anything but it did have some interesting ideas. It struggles a bit with some fanservice issues and Logan not being a very sympathetic character. (He was cackling and having a blast tormenting the first runner that he helped murder) Still this was living up to the premise and you were curious where things would go from here.

Well, from there they go to the “real world” outside the dome at least and it’s basically Earth except everyone is gone aside from an old man. This is where the pacing of the movie just dies and you are frozen in place. The old man talks to them about basic facts that of course Logan and Jessica wouldn’t know while they are astounded by everything. The scenes drag on for an eternity and the whole time you’re just waiting for something to happen but it never does. You’re just completely frozen in place the whole while. I understand that the movie was trying to show how different the world was but this is definitely a show don’t tell kind of scenario.

Because as the viewer we know everything being discussed, it’s really boring to see it all slowly broken down. It’s all so very slow and that’s the problem. The movie never recovers its steam after this. We get a quick fight with Francis which was a good way to end that plot but then it’s back to walking around with the old man. The movie ultimately just didn’t go in the direction I was expecting and in this case it ended up backfiring as a whole. I just don’t think the payoff worked well at all.

I did like the robot that showed up in the ice area though. It actually seemed to be rather effective considering how many people were stopped there. Give me more cool robots like that. It reminded me that this was a film taking place in the future as you could easily forget that once you were above ground. Now another area that the film could have improved on would have been to make the main character a little more likable. Make him not be such a big jerk at the beginning of the film. Have him question things including why they should murder runners. You could maybe have him still complete the mission but he shouldn’t be enjoying it or toying with the guy at all.

It’s a small but sizable difference that would make him better. The fact that he is using the futuristic version of Tinder didn’t help matters either since it shows the kind of guy he was. He may have grown up in a society without morals but it would have been nice if he was just a bit better. He was certainly way more grounded than Francis but that isn’t saying much. Meanwhile Jessica was a good heroine but even though things worked out in hindsight, I do think she believed Logan a little too quickly. As the viewer we see Logan changing but in universe there’s no way I’d believe him for a second.

Still at the end of the day the villains only lost because the computer really wasn’t very smart. If it just hadn’t done something as drastic as stealing years away from Logan then he may not have been so quick to truly become a runner. I guess it helps his cover story but why not just lie to him when he asks if he will get the time back? If the robot can’t lie then that is definitely a pretty big weakness for it.

Overall, The title is pretty fitting for this film but it should have stayed fast paced. If more of the movie was some kind of grand chase scene then that would have really helped with the momentum. You can absolutely still introduce an old human to help them see that you can grow past 30 but speed up the dialogue. Give the guy some real personality and I dare say that you could do a whole lot with that. Instead this ends up being a movie that lost its way and I would definitely say that you can give this one a full skip. There really isn’t much here for you.

Overall 3/10

A Room With A View Review

A Room With A View is one of those romance films that has so much drama you can only shake your head. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong and it’s mainly issues that the main characters bring about themselves. The romance here is definitely terrible all the way through and there is so much cheating going on that you forget who the protagonists are supposed to be. It really checks off all the wrong boxes all the way through.

So the movie starts with Lucy and her overprotective sister Charlotte trying to enjoy their hotel stay. Unfortunately they don’t have a room with a window and that causes a whole big fuss even though it really shouldn’t. A man named Mr. Emerson offers his room but Charlotte makes a big show of being rude to the guy because she figures that this is improper for some reason. Ultimately the heroines do get the room though and it turns out that Emerson’s son George likes Lucy. He makes a move on her in the fields which wasn’t very gentlemanly of him and Lucy puts some distance between them. There is a time skip and Lucy is now engaged to a disrespectful, condescending guy named Cecil but George figures he still has a chance. How will this play out?

There are a lot of issues here but first of all, George making a pass at Lucy while in the fields was definitely over the line. That was supposed to just be a chance for a normal conversation to get to know each other but he immediately went for the kiss. This is always one of the most annoying tropes. Yeah you probably want to show some initiative when you like someone but that means asking her out or throwing in some complements. Not immediately going for the kiss because 9 times out of 10 that’s going to end badly and even if it didn’t, it’s not the proper thing to do. There is no class involved with that.

It then gets worse when George pulls this stunt again while Lucy is engaged. At this point that is completely cheating and the problem is that George knows it. Basically George says that Cecil is wrong for her and so he is trying to break them up but that’s really not his place to say. You really have to stay your hand at this point because once someone is engaged then you have to respect that and George clearly doesn’t. This impacts the whole film because he is in a sense rewarded for this by winning in the end as you knew he would from the second the film started. That’s not a great moral and he is such a bad character that this is annoying.

Of course the film isn’t trying to be subtle here so Cecil is introduced as a really bad character too. For starters he is constantly insulting Lucy’s family and has total disdain for all of their family traditions and activities. He basically sneers at them all the time and you have to wonder how he and Lucy possibly got together. It would seem like she is only with him out of obligation and that’s not a good relationship either. So Cecil is awful and the film shows no attempts at hiding this but Lucy should have broken up with him first rather than cheating on the side.

So Lucy takes a lot of the blame here too for being too indecisive and letting others make decisions for her. Throughout the film one of the issues is that her sister Charlotte likes to make all of the decisions to “protect” Lucy but then she ends up betraying the heroine anyway. She tells Lucy’s darkest secrets to her writer friend to publish for the world and that’s not something that you can take back. It’s also why secrets are never worth it because if you tell one person then you may have just told everyone. You either hold it with you forever or it’s going to spill out and at that point it’s game over.

You couldn’t root for Lucy because she is a pushover the whole time. Then Charlotte is super unlikable the whole time too and just like that we’ve gone through virtually every character. I guess Mr. Emerson was okay but mainly because he was out of the loop the whole time and didn’t get to appear much. Otherwise he is trying to play matchmaker and it’s not for a great relationship pairing so that would have been really annoying otherwise.

The film loves its drama as the characters go across whole cities and states and somehow keep bumping into each other anyway. There is just no escape from this “destiny” or at least that’s what they would have you believe. That said, you cannot succeed if none of the characters are likable. Straight up it’s just going to be impossible to pull that off no matter how good or engaging the writing may try to be. At the end of the day you need a solid cast if you want to go far. Especially for a romance film since there is no fun soundtrack or dialogue to distract you.

I think a lot of movies also just miss the point of romance in general. A good romance should be one where it’s a relationship where both characters are happier than when they are alone. So if there’s always more drama, tension, and bickering then what’s really the point? There is not a single scene to show why Lucy even remotely liked Cecil. She can’t stand him and he just seems standoffish from the jump. You can tell he was created purely to get knocked down a peg by George and to lose the war so he’s just a waste of time.

Overall, A Room With A View is a film to avoid. The title along reminds me of how crazy it was to make a fuss about not having a window. Come on that’s not nearly as important as the characters were suggesting. I think Charlotte was just complaining to complain at that point or to get attention since she quickly tried to say no when the gentleman offered his room. It’s like there was just no winning at that point. Definitely a swing and a miss here.

Overall 3/10

Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice Review

The title probably reminds you of the Baby Jane film right away. That one was definitely no good and this one also isn’t very solid although I would say it’s better than the former. This one only works because none of the characters are very smart and put themselves in a position to lose the whole time. It feels bad because you know that the characters had potential to accomplish big things in their life but never could because this was the end of their journey.

The film starts off with Claire being saddened because after her husband’s untimely death he didn’t leave her anything. She mis timed the moment as he had already taken out his life insurance and so now she is super poor. Claire figures she will start murdering everyone to keep her funds up and so she starts hiring maids only to bump them off afterwards. One day a lady named Alice appears and confirms she has no family or anyone who would miss her. Claire decides to hire her after that so she can get more money eventually. Alice has a little more spirit than the first few maids but is she really ready to handle such a powerful fighter?

Now your main suspension for disbelief here will be how this old lady is casually defeating everyone. It’s not like she is Master Genkai or anything like that. This is an old lady who can barely fight so each time her trick is to get the lady to walk into the grave with her back turned while Alice takes her out with a shovel. It’s pretty sad how easy this all is but at the same time once you’re in that position it would be hard to win. The fact is that you wouldn’t expect to be hit in the back of the head with a shovel so you aren’t prepared for that.

There is no excuse for one of the victims though. So here’s the scenario, the victim already knows that Claire is evil and is being chased around the house. Finally she knocks the knife out of Claire’s hands and gets her to the ground. She has 3 real options from this point forward. The first is to quickly end this by taking Claire down with one more hit, the second is to simply run away and get as far away as you can. The third is to grab the knife and then call the cops while keeping your eye on the villain. The victim chooses option 3 but the dumb version of it as she lets Claire keep the knife and completely gives her back as she grabs the phone. Naturally Claire capitalizes on this and pulls off the biggest comeback victory since the Patriots beat the Falcons in the Super Bowl. This was insane.

You never turn your back to a serial killer like that, particularly when they are armed. What was she thinking here? It was a really bad look and it’s just hard to believe that things would end like that. It was super annoying to put it mildly. Claire does a whole lot here when she should have been taken down ages ago. Surely you would be able to poke holes in her alibi of saying that each caretaker ran off when they were never seen again. Of course these were the days before internet so it gets trickier but there had to be better ways of handling this.

Claire is definitely evil through and through so don’t expect any kind of big redemption arc for her. She stands by all of her crimes and had absolutely no intentions of doing anything different. That’s just how she rolls. There are much easier and better ways of making money but she was never interested in those from the start. Meanwhile Alice was a decent character but didn’t always make the right moves. I liked that she could have a bit of a temper at times but on the other hand she didn’t do much with that. I was hoping she would actively challenge Claire more instead of just having a quick moment and immediately backing off. That’s never as impressive as she seems to think it is.

Her lies start getting more sloppy by the end too and it’s clear that she isn’t used to planning things out on the longterm. The ending could have been a lot more satisfying than how it turned out. Meanwhile there is a whole subplot with Harriet and her kid Jim but it feels like the two plots don’t have a lot to do with each other for the most part. You’ve got a little romance going with Mike and there’s a lot of drama there. You have the characters deciding if they should get together or not but you’re just waiting to get back to the main plot already.

There is a dog that shows up there for some big jump scares. If anything happened there that would have been super rough but fortunately it’s all fakeouts the whole time. I just don’t think there was much point in including Harriet and all the characters in that subplot. Sure, Mike sort of tied both plots together and they got to see Claire being suspicious the whole time but they were still defeated in the end. They didn’t really get to see through the lies and suspense very well at all. Instead they just became more sacrifices to be taken down in short order. Not a good look for them. Also, apparently Harriet’s old husband died a while back and while I don’t think they’ve said how long it’s been, it seems like an odd detail to add before starting up a romance. Makes the whole thing feel like a rebound.

In the end the problem with this film is that you can’t take it seriously. An old lady taking everyone down one at a time like this? it’s really hard to believe but the worst offender is the final victim for not staying alert. The previous maids also looked really bad in not standing up for themselves and just letting Claire walk all over them. I get that they needed the money and all but it’s just annoying to watch in every scene as they are insulted and humiliated but don’t do anything about it. Claire has way too much power the whole time.

Overall, This is a fairly mean spirited film. Characters don’t really think things through and it’s just crazy watching the whole story unfold. It doesn’t play out like it should and they probably should have gone all out with the crazy premise instead of taking it so seriously. You’re just not going to successfully make her a villain to be feared, not like this at any rate. I would definitely recommend skipping this one. The idea of an old lady bumping everyone off is executed as uneventfully and slow paced as you would expect. You’ve got better things you can do with your time.

Overall 3/10

Kiss of the Vampire Review

Oh no, it’s a vampire film! Uh ohhhhhhhhh. Well this one mostly plays things straight with the main guy not being very smart and the main heroine being super susceptible to mind control. None of them play things very smart here and the local vampire expert has better things to do than try to keep the heroes safe. Fortunately the villains aren’t very brave either aside from the main vampire but there’s not much to salvage here. It’s just a B grade vampire movie and most are at that level by default so that’s saying something.

So the movie starts with Gerald and Marianne hitting a speed bump on their travel destination. They have just been married recently and were looking forward to a lot of fun but now that’s not going to happen. Gerald tells Marianne to stay in the carriage in this unknown place that they have never been before while he goes around and searches for help. Fortunately nothing happens her and they find a nearby inn of sorts. It’s kind of empty and the owner Bruno and his wife are a bit odd. Bruno seems happy enough but the place is empty and nobody wants to talk about it.

Ah well, they just need to be here for a day right? Well, apparently the damage to the carriage is extensive and it will take several days to fix but fortunately the rich Dr. Ravna has invited them over to his house. A cranky old guy named Zimmer warns them not to go but when asked why he basically shrugs and storms off. At Ravna’s house his son Carl overtly flirts with Marianne the whole time but Gerald barely reacts except for some half hearted remarks. Does he realize that they have just stepped foot into the vampire’s den?

I have a lot of problems with the film but it all starts with the main character. Now it’s good not to be too possessive. That’s a definite and jumping into action because Marianne is talking with Carl isn’t a big issue at first. Once Carl starts inviting Marianne to parties and such without including Gerald is where you have to draw the line. Instead he immediately lets a lady named Sabena get him drunk and while he says all the right things as she leads him up to her room you feel like it’s just bluster and he was already under her heel from the start. Not a good look for this guy….not a good look at all.

So yeah he’s a pretty bad main character and he spends the whole film getting absolutely devastated in every scene. Even when Marianne vanishes this guy can’t react properly because he’s so drunk and is slipping all over the place. Yeah the drink was spiked but that’s why you shouldn’t be drinking alcohol like that anyway. Especially when the situation seemed suspicious from the jump. Gerald still tries to help when he can but it’s often futile.

As for Marianne, my complaints are mainly the same as they are for Gerald. She lets herself be pushed around way too easily the whole time. She should have told Carl to back off after a while. Additionally the way she is tricked near the end is embarrassing. You’re telling me that she can mix up her husband just by having someone wear a mask? That doesn’t speak very well to their bond. It’s not like they look that alike and the whole being super silent thing should have raised some warning bells as well. The film doesn’t go over very well for her.

As for Ravna, well he’s less depraved than some of the other vampire villains that I’ve seen but there’s not much to him. He’s content to rub his victories in the face of the main character but what even are his goals beyond random destruction? He has a huge cult following him so why not just break into the inn and slaughter everyone at night? He goes through a lot of stealth and theatrics but when you have an army that all seems rather moot. Granted, his army was rather awful to be honest as they panicked about everything the whole time but the numbers advantage should still be enough. Instead he did not put himself in a position to win and squandered his super powers.

Carl and Sabena are basically just here to mess with the leads and none are particularly likable. If the main characters could stand up for themselves more then they’d be fine. Then there’s no way to like Bruno as the guy is so afraid of the vampires that he basically runs the inn as a way to get more sacrifices for them. Ever think about just driving away during the daytime when they can’t move? It’s really not that complicated here and taking a chance is better than being an executioner like this. In a way it makes him just as bad as the others.

Finally you have Zimmer and it’s great that he knows a whole lot but the guy couldn’t be more vague if he tried. Yeah he tells the heroes not to go but refuses to give any more info than that. He only finally helps a bit during the end of the film and it turns out that he knows magical ritual spells which is super handy. So it’s great to have him around as a result but really is that the best he can do? He waited until just about everyone was taken down so that was really late. There’s also a moment when the vampires visit the main duo in the daytime so Zimmer comes in to stir up trouble but why not just lock the front door or something? They only barely escaped with a few seconds left and that’s because Zimmer showed up and reminded them about the light. The whole scene was very questionable.

As always you have all the blood sucking and everything here too. Everyone is getting drained and the humans can’t do much to stop them. The film can be a little violent with the deaths as Hammer films like you to really see the stabs. The first scene while a bit funny with how everything played out definitely started the film out on a violent note with Zimmer taking one of the vampires down. The movie is quick paced and doesn’t waste a lot of time but the main characters being so unlikable in addition to the vampires not being very interesting made for a losing formula. I’d say to avoid this title.

Overall 3/10

The Leopard Man Review

I have to say that this movie would have been a bit more suspenseful with a different title. It sort of takes away from the mystery you know? Now in some ways maybe originally they weren’t sure what angle to take with the film but most of the film plays up the experience as a suspenseful mystery so calling it “The Leopard” would have been much more effective if you ask me.

So the movie starts with a leopard being brought in to spice up a rather boring nightclub scene. It certainly draws some attention but not what Jerry had planned as it ends up murdering a lady named Teresa and escapes into town. Now everyone is terrified that they could be next and the thing is…they could be. The bodies start piling up and so the heroes have to find this leopard but it’s proven to be difficult. It’s also odd that the leopard would hang around town for so long and not be seen.

So the mystery here of course is to find the leopard…but then that title is rather interesting now isn’t it? Hmm…really makes you think. Really….well yeah so there is a human villain running around too. It does stretch my disbelief a bit that each victim could be murdered in such a realistic way as to mimic a leopard without anyone noticing. Yes he would always wait until the women were alone but it seems like this would take time and cause a lot of noise so you’d think someone would be around. It’s pretty rough that there’s no night traffic in this city.

It’s definitely a rather grim movie with everyone getting bumped off by the serial killer. The leopard does work well as a solid red herring because he actually does claim a victim as well. If not for the title I don’t think you would assume that this is a human until rather deep in the film when one guy keeps on insisting that it wouldn’t be possible. This is where some characters start to get really annoying though.

First off is the leopard’s owner Charlie who defends his pet but then Dr. Galbraith starts to suggest that maybe Charlie is murdering people after he gets drunk at night. And Charlie actually starts to believe this. Look, if you’re drinking so much that you black out and seriously think you could be murdering people then that means you have drunk way too much. There’s just no way around that, it’s the only logical conclusion here. I would have preferred if Charlie was a little stronger than that.

Meanwhile Clo-Clo is warned by Maria that she is in danger and something dark is approaching. Considering that there have already been murders by this point you’d think this would be serious but instead she runs off in the dead of night to reclaim her $100 and things don’t go over very well. She wasn’t the nicest character so you were expecting her to die the whole time but it’s still really tragic. Cmon the fortune teller did her best!

Not that I would pay Maria much mind myself but I wouldn’t go out of my way to test out the fortunes either. Maria probably could have been more helpful instead of constantly hiding the results and asking for a redo but in the end it doesn’t seem like it would have done a whole lot of good. Jerry is okay I guess but kind of forgettable. I don’t blame him for bringing in the leopard since by all accounts this should have been fairly safe. I do blame him for pretending he doesn’t care much to keep up appearances while worrying later on. Just be frank with everyone that this is a pretty bad situation.

Kiki is the main heroine here and the whole thing is pretty rough on her as well. So much for being the next sensation at the disco club with everything going on. She does decide to take a bold approach in helping to find the murderer so that was brave of her. She seems like a good person all in all. As for the murderer, well he’s rather crazy so there isn’t a whole lot to say about him. He just went looney and used this as an excuse to start taking names. It feels like it’s inevitable that this would have happened at some point with how quickly he cracked though and he just would have had a different gimmick. You’re glad things don’t end up going well for him.

There’s really not a whole lot to this film being the murders. It’s really short so the film has to go fast and just start bumping everyone off. The most tragic murder is easily the first one since the girl’s family were just so over the top mean about the whole thing. You’d think they would open the door when she’s begging for her life and in clear terror. Even from the start sending her out in the dead of night when there is a beast on the loose is crazy. Yeah you don’t want to be in that household, that’s for sure.

I will say that the film has good writing though. I did enjoy the exchanges between all of the characters and the dialogue style is something that’s hard to recreate compared to these older films. They just had a very distinguished air about them that always worked really well. Mix that in with the short length and at least it is a silver lining here. It would be nice if the characters had more time to do some serious investigating as opposed to being spoonfed the information needed to solve the case though.

Overall, The Leopard Man is definitely a skip. It probably wouldn’t have gone much better if the leopard was the main villain either to be honest since the climax would probably get a bit sketchy in that case. This doesn’t make for a very fun film in large part due to how tragic the deaths are. They’re described in decent detail here and while it’s inevitable that a bunch of people will die in a film like this, there aren’t a lot of light moments to really help you enjoy the film despite them. It’s not super violent or anything but the villain gets away with a whole lot before being caught.

Overall 3/10

Soylent Green Review

It’s time for a depressing run through the dystopian future that is Soylent Green. It’s pretty cool that it takes place in 2022 though. The world ended up getting quite ugly with too many people everywhere and the planet finally running out of resources. I like the concept and all but this is the kind of film that gets rather gritty quickly and is more focused on shocking you than delivering a great story half the time. I’d like to see another writer take a shot at this idea but of course you probably need to push the year up for any remake to 2040 or something like that.

So that’s the setting of the movie. There are just so many people nowadays that there aren’t enough houses and most live on the streets. There are hundreds of squatters in every building just trying to find a place to rest and even climbing up the stairs is a hassle with everyone sleeping there. Only if you’re super rich will you have a place to stay and actual food. Otherwise everyone just has Soylent Green to live off of which doesn’t even have much of a taste. No food has taste except for the ultra rich. The houses come with “Furniture” which is unfortunately what the women are called now and you can probably tell all that you need to from the term itself.

The world is as bad as it can be and the film focuses on Robert who is doing his best to live through it. He is a detective investigating a recent assassination. While it may have seemed routine at first, Robert feels like there is more to it than that. The guy who got bumped off was a top executive for Soylent and he seemingly went down without a fight which was odd. The bosses also don’t want him focusing on this case for too long which is another red flag. These are starting to add up which is another thing to watch out for. Can he survive long enough to find out what is going on?

Robert may be the main character but calling him a hero would be a stretch. The film makes clear that all of the heroes are gone at this point since there really isn’t room for heroics when everyone is just trying to survive. Robert steals whatever he can when doing routine inspections and is quite shameless about it. He abuses his power to do so and of course nobody can really talk back to him. It’s probably the biggest perk of the job since he gets to have real food and use actual water to take a shower. Those are luxuries people don’t get otherwise at this point.

He’s also quick to have an affair with one of the ladies and in general comes across as a flirt a lot of the time. It seems to be more a way of passing the time than something he is usually serious about though. He is well accustomed to the world at this point and can talk tough to anyone, even the villains so Robert is never run over. He fits in with the setting and atmosphere quite smoothly. I just never found him all that likable. He’s much preferable to a more timid main character who wouldn’t be able to hold his own here but that’s about it. I wouldn’t give him too many consolation prizes beyond that.

He has a friend named Sol who is even older and vividly remembers the world as it used to be. Adapting has been really tough for him although he tries his best. Unfortunately as the film goes on it becomes way too much for him. It would have been better if he could have stayed strong even if you understand the temptation. As a result of conditions being so tough, there is now an assisted suicide facility where you get one real meal and they play you sounds/music/videos of your choosing as the drugs go in and you quickly die. It’s a painless death that is made to be as comfortable as possible.

Assisted suicide is always a super controversial topic without any doubt. Some will be against it on the premise alone while others would support it on the basis that it can be useful in some circumstances. In a situation like this movie where people literally can’t eat and everyone is dying of overpopulation, you can easily see how it would pass. It’s always just a slippery slope because where do you draw the line? Well, I don’t think that’s something the world will have to worry about for a long time unless we do enter a dystopia like this. It’s definitely a very eerie scene precisely because of how clean and shiny the place looks. It appears so out of place in this dark world that the whole thing feels ominous and almost like a trap. It works effectively as a way to show you how dangerous the place is.

There is a pretty big twist at the end of the film that is also quite disturbing. I thought this twist was very effective and it also makes a whole lot of sense in universe. The world is suffering from a ton of problems but almost all of them stem from the fact that there are too many people on Earth. Their numbers exceeded the resources so you would need to find a way to take care of that. Unfortunately I can absolutely see the ending being something considered in the real world but at the same time I could also see war being a way to take care of the issue much sooner. Regardless it does gives you a lot to think about.

So on a story perspective I thought the film was very interesting the whole time. There was just so much going on. That said, it really could have dropped some elements. First off, the whole “furniture” element needs to be tossed out immediately. Not only is it just an awful concept from the start but it also sours the romance entirely. When Robert is having a fling with one of the ladies who seems to be really attracted to him, there is always the undertone that she is doing this for protection. She basically has no rights at this point so getting close to a detective with his amount of power would be tactically smart. She even says that she is frightened at several points and ultimately it’s difficult because there isn’t a lot that he can do in the long term. Then you see how this is an issue for lots of people and the film gets way too dark there.

The movie is clearly trying to do a lot of worldbuilding which is effectively does as Robert digs into the case but some elements just weren’t good. No matter how bad the world got in 2022, it just doesn’t seem like that would have happened. In general it’s hard to see how the rich haven’t all been taken out by this point either with how the system is set up but I can maybe believe that a bit more. The movie just should have focused more on the murder case and the twist at the end instead of the romance angle and how disturbing life at the top is.

Overall, Soylent Green is a film that does work really well in visualizing a terrifying dystopia. You would not want to live in that world and it is a really scary prospect. It just should have stuck more to that terrifying atmosphere and mystery elements instead of going more for shock value and throwing in some grit. if you remove the furniture concept the film immediately jumps up a bit. I’m not saying it would be great as the doom and gloom backdrop doesn’t make for a lot of fun visuals but it would still capture your attention all the way through. So while I enjoy the concept I wouldn’t be recommending this one.

Overall 3/10