Fright Night (1985) Review

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

Time for a classic film about a vampire and they even throw in a werewolf and a zombie creature for good measure. As you may or may not know, I’m not typically fond of vampire films. The whole drinking blood aspect is always really iffy at best and they just aren’t my kind of villains. I wouldn’t say this film is really able to escape that. It has its moments to be sure but on the whole it really just devolves into a standard title in the genre. The main characters could have definitely handled some things a bit better as well.

The movie starts with Charley getting some next door neighbors. He’s initially excited about this but this turns into terror as he realizes that his next door neighbor is a vampire. See, people have been dying recently with their blood drained and as Jerry (the vampire) isn’t very subtle, he tends to take down his victims by the window. Additionally, Charley sees him store a body in the basement. He tries to tell the cops but this doesn’t work out and now Jerry is planning his revenge. Charley will need the help of his two school friends Amy and Ed as well as the TV vampire expert known as Peter to stop this guy. Will they be enough to stop Jerry or is it already too late for them?

I do have to say that while Charley started out decently with his explanation to the cop, he really fumbled towards the end. See, when you’re accusing someone of murder, it’s best not to start talking about vampires and such. Charley seemed to know that initially but Billy (Jerry’s right hand man) goads him into talking about the vampires. This makes Charley look crazy of course and so now all he has done is let the villains know that he is on to them. It’s not a great moment for Charley in the slightest.

In general the only thing I will give Charley credit for is believing his own lies and not being fooled into thinking that Jerry is normal. He knows Jerry is a vampire after all so it would have been crazy if someone had convinced him otherwise. There are limits to what he can do as a kid but he definitely should have warned his mother Judy ahead of time more about the neighbor. By the time he does, it’s far too late and the guy has broken in the house.

Charley’s romance with Amy is also rather sub par. I don’t think that element really needed to be in the film. Amy tends to get upset at the drop of a hat and Charley is way more interested in what’s going on outside than hanging out so it’s just not the right time for either of them. Amy’s loyal as she helps Charley out even when she doesn’t actually believe him. So at least she has that going for her there, but otherwise she’s a bit forgettable and she makes it too easy for Jerry to catch her at the party. Splitting up is never a good idea even if it wasn’t intentional there.

As for Jerry, well he talks tough but his abilities aren’t quite as tough as you would expect. Charley was able to wound him with ease and the guy has so many weaknesses that he would be doomed if not for Billy. Jerry’s motivations are also the kind that I don’t like for a villain in that he wants Amy as a bride. It’s not one of the more ambitious villain plots out there, that’s for sure.

He really gets outshined by Billy who ends up being the best character in the film. I like how completely sarcastic he is to Charley right from the first scene. He openly threatens the lead and always has a big grin on his face. Considering that Jerry has to hide throughout the night, Billy is really the one doing all the work. At one point the heroes get the upper hand on Jerry only for Billy to show up and toss them to the side. After all, he isn’t a vampire so the crosses and holy water don’t work on him. It was an intense moment to be sure and he even gets a plot twist by the end.

Then there’s Charley’s friend Ed but I use the term loosely. It doesn’t actually seem like they get along very well at all. Ed also seems really unhinged from the beginning. Finally, the guy makes one of the classic horror movie blunders when he decides to go into a dark alley by himself. Keep in mind that this is a bad idea under any circumstances. Even if Ed doesn’t believe in vampires, why go through this alley? It’s an incredibly long one due to how long he was walking so this was just a bad idea all around.

As for Peter, it takes longer for this guy to show up than I would have guessed. Initially he goes through the motions of not wanting to help the characters and being scared all of the time. Finally he steps up and does well once he gets into the swing of things. The guy is an adult so it makes sense that he could actually fight a bit. Peter was definitely a fun character and the best of the heroes but you do wish that he would have acted a bit sooner. The guy just hides in his house a lot until we get near the climax.

Finally you have Charley’s mother Judy who seemed like she would be a big character initially and then sort of vanished for the whole second half of the film. The reason was she had a late shift but because of that she misses out on the movie. Too bad since now she really won’t believe anything that went on. The film has a twist ending though so make sure you stick around. It ends things off on an epic note.

Fright Night isn’t really a film that you’ll find very memorable by the time you finish it. Billy was the most iconic part with how he changed up the usual vampire storyline. It’s rare to see a main villain that actually needs a bodyguard after all. The actual vampire scenes are still net negatives with the classic blood draining. Never was a fan of that. The final Werewolf transformation back into the human form was also way too drawn out pretty much as an excuse to make the whole thing even grittier. I’d prefer a streamlined transformation myself.

The characters also just aren’t that good which hurts. Even ignoring that the romance wasn’t handled well, Charley is easily distracted by a lady he sees through the window and it’s clear that he doesn’t think about Amy at all. This isn’t exactly the reliable guy you want to have by your side and that hurts him even more as the main character.

Overall, Fright Night is a title you’ll want to skip. I’ll give the film credit for snagging this title though, it’s catchy and memorable. The kind of title you figure must have a film at this point and so a lot of people will probably end up checking this out at some point or another. That being said, it just never grows out of the shadow of being a vampire flick.

Overall 3/10

Jacob’s Ladder Review

This review’s of the 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

Jacob’s Ladder is one of those films where you know something is off with the main character from the start and you have to decide exactly what is going on before the film starts to connect the dots. It’s a pretty interesting film with some fun ideas but one that is ultimately held back by the main character who is…sub par to say the least. Get ready for a lot of panicking!

The movie starts with Jacob and his team in Vietnam getting ready for their next mission when some kind of invisible weapon appears to hit them. His allies start having seizures and are seemingly destroyed by sound vibrations. The ones who escape are taken out by bombs and gunfire. Jacob is injured but seemingly lives as we cut to the present where he’s on a train. He must have fallen asleep and missed his stop but he’s seeing some rather odd things and when he leaves the train there is no exit. He’ll have to cross to get to the other side. Everything appears to be rather dim and the colors aren’t of this world. Fortunately he does make it home to his girlfriend Jezebel.

He works a normal job at the post office but his troubles aren’t over just yet. He begins to see more and more odd things like horns growing out of people, strange visions, dreams that keep on going, people that he thought he knew the other day are dead, etc. Jacob will need to get to the bottom of this quickly because there are also people trying to murder him in hit and run attempts but nobody will believe him. Something’s fishy about all of this.

I actually thought the opening scene where Jacob wakes up in the train was the most powerful moment in the entire film. Mainly because it does feel like a dystopian moment from a video game. Everything just feels off from how the train itself looked to the old lady that wouldn’t say anything, to even the color that the camera was using for the shot. It had an elseworlds feel to it and that worked really well. With the movie being called Jacob’s ladder and all, it also made sense that he likely died at Vietnam and was now in some kind of purgatory realm.

Depending on the rules of purgatory that the film would be following, this meant that it would be almost a complete replica of Earth, but with a few added twists to make Jacob’s life a real struggle by the end. The film slowly starts to show what is actually happening by the end of the film and it’s not exactly what I thought based on the opening scene but it was a great way to open things up. Unfortunately the film just couldn’t maintain that level of success.

It slows down a whole lot once Jacob gets back home. I wasn’t nearly as interested in the whole government conspiracy angle for once. I love that stuff ordinarily but I don’t see why Jacob assumes this is from the government. I mean, as the film plays out this does start to get more and more likely but it doesn’t really connect with what he’s seeing. Jacob literally sees people with no face, people growing tails, demonic imagery, horns on people’s heads, etc. How could the government be pulling all of that off?

I think his first guess should have been that something is wrong and he should also be connecting why he can’t remember how the Vietnam mission ended. Shouldn’t that start giving him some different conclusions? Well, no matter how he got to the result, he does make some headway but of course if the government is on this then you can bet that he won’t be able to get far.

My issue with Jacobs is that he’s really not a likable main character. You feel bad for him with all of the nightmares that he constantly has, but he doesn’t help his case either. For one thing, he has dreams where his first wife is alive and of course he starts bashing his new girlfriend and being happy it was all a dream. So does he really like her or is she truly a rebound only because his wife is dead? Seems to me like the film is heavily implying that this is the latter.

My issue with Jacobs here is that he’s perfectly content in either life, whether it be the “real world” or the dream world so no matter who he is married to, he’s cool with it. Seems to me like he’s a very indecisive main character in that respect and on the whole the romance here is extremely weak. Then he just doesn’t seem very grateful to Jezebel considering how much she is helping him out. When he’s sick she quickly runs to the neighbors and gets everyone ready to help him. She puts in a ton of work and never gets any real gratitude from Jacobs.

He’s just too busy sulking or being fixated on the whole conspiracy angle and he should really be including her in all of this instead of pushing her away. If he thinks she may have been replaced with one of the demons then just get out of the area entirely but you can’t be half on the fence and half out of it on something like this. Even by the end I would make the case that Jacobs makes the wrong call in the very final scene.

As mentioned, Jezebel is a solid heroine. She has to put up with a lot from Jacobs but always seems to make the best of it. She is at least trying her best through these tough circumstances and just seems like a likable person. Then you have Louis who is a good chiropractor whose techniques seem extremely painful. He seems to be one of the only guys that Jacob really trusts. Louis seems like a good man though and does help Jacob whenever he is in a pinch.

The final main character here is Michael who shows up out of nowhere to an extent to give all of the revelations on the conspiracy plot. Honestly Jacob got really lucky with this because when he got that random phone call to go meet with him one on one that seemed like a trap under any circumstance. I would even say Jacob wasn’t smart in going there since there’s no way that should have ended well. Jacob doesn’t tend to think ahead like that though.

The film is mainly a psychological thriller as opposed to a physical one but it does tend to get a little violent when we get the Vietnam flashbacks or Jacob’s tough venture in the hospital room. Lets just say that you don’t want to find yourself being operated on my some monsters. I could do without the romance scenes as well and really the film’s biggest drawback is that it didn’t live up to the full potential. Now while the film’s end result is different from what I imagined, it still could have used a little more activity. Cut some of the scenes where Jacob is convinced that he is still in a normal world and keep up the suspenseful atmosphere of the opening scene.

Okay spoilers time. I’m going to discuss what my theory was and then what I think the film went with. It’s a little subjective and open to interpretation but this is what I got out of it. Skip the next three paragraphs if you have not watched the film yet.

So after the opening scene my theory was that Jacob died in Vietnam. His soul was sent to purgatory and he has to hopefully find his way out instead of being dragged to hell. Louis was his guardian angel who went to Purgatory to save him. An unspoken agreement in most purgatory settings is that neither the angels nor demons can tell you that you’re in purgatory and the lead must ultimately come to that revelation by himself. It would explain why the world was so weird and of course Jezebel was one of the demons with the whole party scene. It would have been interesting if the film kept this up as opposed to a more grounded explanation and all of the set up was there.

Now as to what the film actually did. So at the end of the film we learn that Jacob hadn’t actually been dead yet and was just gravely injured. So instead of purgatory it seems like the whole film was just in his mind. It wasn’t so much a battle of angels and demons as it was a battle of Jacob’s will to live and will to die. Presumably the whole government conspiracy about the team getting injected and turning on each other may have been true although I don’t think we can say that for certain. It would explain his flashbacks though and honestly its a better explanation than not having it so I would include that. As to the demon heads and flashbacks, well that could just be the drugs invading his dreams or his soul was sent to purgatory prior to death. The first explanation still works but it’s just a lot messier. Honestly I would just cut out the scene of him dying to show that he was dead the whole time. It’s like the film missed an easy layup there. The plot works perfectly if he was already dead. Him dying at the end…I mean it’s not like it can’t work but it overcomplicates the example more than necessary.

Both sides fighting over a soul when he’s near death is an established concept so it’s not bad per say I just find it far less interesting. Of course by following the kid up the stairs that meant Jacob chose death over life. If he was already dead, it would be him choosing heaven over hell. A much more powerful choice and in that case going up the stairs would be the right choice. In this case, I think life is the right choice so he should have picked that. You could make the case that the choice wouldn’t have been life, but staying in purgatory but my pushback would be that the film showing he had been alive up to that point hints that he would have stayed alive. It’s an interesting scenario to ponder and maybe it doesn’t make a lot of difference in the end. The film just could and should have been a lot more exciting than how it turned out.

End spoilers

Overall, Jacob’s Ladder is a unique film. While the first half destroys the second, I wouldn’t say it completely falls down the stairs. It has to be the first time where a government conspiracy plot wasn’t one of the best parts of the film though. It just feels like filler here and almost unnecessary. I suppose Jacob would have had less to do otherwise but I would have just thrown in some more demons and chase scenes to keep things interesting. If you want to watch effectively a darker version of Inception then this would be the one to pick but I would just say to watch Inception again instead.

Overall 3/10

Eyes Without a Face Review


When you’ve got a title like this you know that something’s going to be happening to someone’s face. It certainly builds up the sense of dread as you wonder what’s going to happen next. The film is definitely going for an ominous feel as there are long stretches of silence but ultimately the film just doesn’t land and I would give this one a thumbs down.

The movie starts with Louise tossing a body into the river on behalf of Genessier so nobody will suspect a thing. See, Genessier’s daughter was in a bad accident a while back and so her face is quite disfigured. He has decided to try getting someone else’s face to use in her place but no luck yet. Each face just hasn’t worked and he aims to continue performing these experiments. The cops notice that girls are going missing but they have no leads at present. Can they figure out what is going on before more bodies continue to pile up?

It’s your classic evil scientist scenario here with Genessier trying to justify what he is doing in the name of science and helping his daughter but the guy’s just crazy. He doesn’t feel anything with murdering all of these innocent bystanders and was also running experiments on his dogs. Definitely checks off all the boxes for this kind of insane villain. You’re just hoping the heroes can put an end to him before too much goes on.

While this isn’t the kind of film that has a lot of deaths or anything like that, we do get a rather brutal surgical scene where someone’s face is removed. That almost seems out of place in what is otherwise a very tame film. It certainly sets the stage for how this guy is insane though. You’ll want to tune out for this moment but otherwise there aren’t many other intense moments like that. Someone does jump off of a building (Well more like pushed) at one point though and we see the aftermath.

It goes without saying that Genessier just doesn’t make for a great villain because we’ve seen a million evil scientists before and most of them were more interesting. The goal of wanting to help his daughter could have made him more interesting but that plot point isn’t played up as much as it could have been. If anything this seems more like an excuse and Genessier was going to do whatever he wanted anyway. This just gave him his justification for going the extra mile.

Christiane is the daughter in question and she’s had a rough time of it because her face was severely injured after the car crash. She seems to have lost a lot of her empathy over time though as she just watches Genessier murder these innocent women. She finally steps up near the end of the flick which was good but it was just so late into the game.

Meanwhile you have Jacques who was engaged to Christiane but believes her to be dead after Genessier framed that situation. He comes in handy since he is the one who starts to tip off the police but unfortunately he doesn’t have a lot of evidence and doesn’t investigate the situation as much as he should have. If not for Christiane taking the situation into her own hands then he ultimately wouldn’t have ended up helping out all that much.

Louise is Genessier’s right hand woman and she is certainly devoted to the cause of helping him out. No matter how corrupt he gets, she is willing to do the dirty work. We learn that he helped heal her face in the past but you’d like to think that she would have still stopped him once he became a mass murderer. Devotion being placed into the wrong person is always quite tragic. No excuses for her, she’s just as guilty as he is.

Finally you have Paulette who is used as bait by the police to try and see what’s going on here. Unfortunately they don’t do a very good job of this. It’s always a bit irritating when you use someone as bait but don’t actually have someone around to help if things go sideways. They didn’t think to have at least one officer outside to make sure that she got home all right? That seems like a really big oversight into the entire plan. By all accounts Paulette would have been dead if there wasn’t some outside help.

The Inspector loses some points there but otherwise he was a fun character. In a way he reminded me of Poirot, not just because their names were similar but he had those kinds of mannerisms too. The guy seemed to know what he was doing so the plan being so bad was an outlier I suppose. Ideally this would have made the doctor even more of a suspect later on but by then it would just be too late.

This film goes through the motions of being an evil scientist film and the pacing is decent, but ultimately I would not say that it was a good movie. The surgery scene is iffy and seeing the before and after pictures of the face can also be a bit disturbing. The Doctor gets away with a whole lot here and while it was nice to see him taken down by the dogs at the end, you feel like he got away with way too much before the film was over.

I will give the film credit in one area though which is that the soundtrack was actually rather decent. There’s a circus theme that plays several times during the film and it’s actually the villain theme. You wouldn’t really guess that at first since it seems so upbeat but maybe that’s to show just how shady these villains really are. That to them, murder and kidnapping is as normal a thing as going to a circus. Perhaps that is reading too much into it though.

Overall, Eyes Without a Face is one of those films that reiterates why you must not lower your guard too much around strangers. If someone asks to show you a possible place to live and then tells you to get into the car…it’s not a good idea. Going anywhere at the drop of a hat when nobody knows where you are going is not a good idea. It was a safer time in this era but at the same time it’s why so many crimes would happen. Based on how easily the characters would follow total strangers, it seems like people were too relaxed. Give this film a pass and check something else out instead.

Overall 3/10

The Hypnotic Eye Review


Well, it’s time for a film about hypnosis and as I always chuckle at the concept it means that I have a hard time taking the villain here seriously. Every hypnosis I’ve ever seen in real life has been woefully underwhelming and ineffective. So in a film I’m just trying to tell the characters to stand their ground but in the end they just end up getting wrecked all the same. Throw in the fact that all of the characters make a lot of iffy decisions here and things don’t end well for them.

The film starts with a lady effectively committing suicide by burning her head and we find out that she is just the latest in a string of victims like this. The only common element is that they were all women. All of them seemed to not know what they were doing until it was too late. Dave’s been on the case for a while but he just can’t figure out what is going on here. On a completely unrelated note, there is a new hypnotist in town who has been really impressing the masses with his skills.

He only performs tricks on women and can use hypnosis to have them perform fantastic feats. Dave doesn’t believe in this nonsense though so when his girlfriend Marcia has him take her to a show he is bored beyond belief. After Marcia’s friend Dodie is used for one of the tests and commits an act of terror against herself, Marcia is convinced that the hypnotist Desmond is to blame. The trick is that she will need to prove it and of course Dave isn’t buying into it. Will she be able to stop him?

There are a lot of things to be annoyed about in this film. One of those things is certainly that Dave isn’t piecing the puzzle together or even trying to. Now I get why he is skeptical of the hypnotism itself since I don’t buy into it but when the bodies start piling up then you have to make a move. Maybe he’s using some kind of trick or blackmail but it does seem obvious that Desmond is at the center of this. Instead Dave prefers to be rather passive about the whole thing.

He also doesn’t trust Marcia much at all. Her plan is to allow herself to get hypnotized (Or at least appear to be) while Dave and Philip watch over her from afar. The problem is that since Dave believes there is no chance she could be mind controlled, he just thinks she is cheating on him and quickly jumps to conclusions. He even wanted to abandon her in Desmond’s house because of this apparent betrayal and his friend Philip has to talk him out of this.

Later on Philip heads home to play the piano though and Dave leaves anyway. These two are absolutely the last people you would want to have your back because they really didn’t. Marcia easily could have died in the time it took to actually get serious about this and came very close to that point. It was more luck than anything that saved her in this film so Dave loses a tremendous amount of points. When your skepticism interferes with your job then you know it’s gone too far.

I also have to take points away from Philip. At least he believed Marcia a lot sooner but he wasn’t really doing anything about it. Again, the guy went home to play the piano so that tells you the level of determination that he had. Meanwhile Marcia’s friend Dodie gets the short end of the stick. It’s always rough being the friend to the main characters because your odds aren’t great of making it to the end. In this case she has to go through quite a lot. Dodie was a nice character so it’s a shame that things didn’t go better for her.

Then we have Marcia who is a decent heroine. I do like that she was proactive about trying to stop Desmond but her plan was extremely risky. Much like how I don’t like the ole plan of “Lets get captured on purpose” putting herself in a position to be mind controlled does not seem worth it. This guy has seemingly mind controlled a ton of people over the years so what would make her so special? I just don’t think she thought this one through quite as much as she should have and ultimately it came back to bite her. She very nearly didn’t make it this time.

As for the villains, well Desmond is not impressive at all. There are some twists for his character and they just make him look worse and worse. The guy just could not keep up with the other characters and he’s not much of a mastermind. At least he does get a quick action scene where he tries to use the eye on Dave and Philip but they’re able to power through. That was the closest the film got to actually having a Shonen moment of breaking through with pure willpower.

As for Justine she’s another one of the villains and her motivations are rather petty the whole time. I won’t say why she wants to get rid of all the ladies but lets just say that it’s not a whole get rich quick scheme or trying to rule the world. It’s a much more personal angle and one where you realize that her goal will never be complete because there are too many targets.

The Hypnotic Eye really just ends up failing because the heroes take way too long to confront Desmond and the characters are annoying. Dave really shouldn’t be getting so jealous when Marcia keeps trying to say that there is mind control at play. Any and all affairs with Desmond are rather cringeworthy due to the hypnosis in effect. The heroes should have broken that up a lot sooner if you ask me.

It’s hard to even say this film is in any genre. Thriller and horror don’t quite work for me because the film is more on the low key side. The only intense moments are when we see the victims and realize that once again there has been a whole lot of damage already. Suspense might be the best genre to pick here I suppose. The writing’s not bad but I think the story needed some more elements here to keep the film interesting as well as to give a plausible reason for why Desmond could keep practicing in the state. Not believing in hypnosis just isn’t enough of a reason if you ask me considering how many people were dying mysteriously. That alone should have cancelled the shows for a while.

Overall, The Hypnotic Eye is a film you can safely skip. It doesn’t really bring anything to the table so by sidestepping it you will actually be doing yourself a favor. Hypnosis just doesn’t tend to make for a great plot device and the whole time you’ll be shaking your head at how slowly the characters make any progress here. The scene of the heroes heading home to play the piano and sulk is probably one of the most surreal moments in a while.

Overall 3/10

The Dead Zone 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 likely be more negative.

With a title like Dead Zone you are probably thinking of another world or a haunted area kind of movie. Well this one’s more about the block of time that the lead has to change the future. Of course this is difficult when you have no other superpowers since you have to really hope that your persuasion skill is on point. Otherwise nobody will believe you and bad things may ensue.

The movie starts with introducing us to Johnny who is a teacher that enjoys his job. He has a good position and a nice girlfriend in Sarah so everything is going well. One day he walks her home in a downpour and she reminds him to drive safely. With all of these red flags at the ready, Johnny embarks on this car ride and sure enough it ends up being a rather dangerous one. He crashes and falls into a coma for 5 years. When he wakes, Johnny is under the care of Dr. Sam and the guy explains that Johnny should be able to walk again soon.

Unfortunately this won’t be such a simple adventure for him as we find out that Sarah ended up marrying somebody else in the meantime. Additionally, Johnny now has super powers which allow him to see into the memories of anyone he touches. So if he grabs someone’s hand he can see a part of their past or future. It’s an incredibly useful ability in the right hands and a dangerous one in others. Can Johnny manage to utilize this well?

In a way the film serves as an anthology as he tries to help different people out whether by seeing the future or seeing the past. It’s a very versatile skill of his but you have to hope that he knows whether he is watching the future or the past as otherwise that could get a little tricky for him. Fortunately in the film all of the visions are obvious in that they are the past or future based on what is seen in the vision so that part isn’t really an issue.

Unfortunately Johnny is the wrong person to get these abilities. He was already a little unstable after waking up and this just made the issues even more pronounced. For starters, he cracks very quickly so when one reporter starts asking the hard questions Johnny goes straight into threatening mode. Then you have the mass murderer on the loose and Johnny decides not to help for a while.

Now granted, this is more understandable than the earlier panic attack because as part of how the powers work, he effectively relives the memory as a third party which can be pretty traumatic since he knows how the victims died. At least he does make the right call in the end even if he probably did get too aggressive in following the police officer. If he had stayed at his post and kept the mom under control then he would have been in the clear as far as injuries go.

Johnny also has a hard time letting go of his old flame Sarah to the point where she pretty much has a one night pity stand with him. Both of them are massively to blame on this because she’s married and both of them know it. Johnny really needed to find someone else because the 5 years may have felt like a day to him but it really wasn’t. Sarah is no longer on the market and so he shouldn’t even be trying for her.

Of course for Sarah this is inexcusable as well. There’s no way she should have even gone to his house if she had these intentions and bringing the kid along makes it even worse. It’s fully acknowledging that she is in a family and she is still doing this. As a result I would definitely say that the romance in this film is quite lacking. That aspect definitely could and should have been cut out since it doesn’t serve any purpose in the film other than to make the characters more unlivable.

So Sarah was no good and as you’ve probably guessed I didn’t like Johnny either. He doesn’t handle any of the situations very well at all. The security officer was good though, he was willing to try anything to put the mass murderer to justice. I’m sure he got a lot of heat for trying to use a psychic but that’s just how much he wanted to put this guy behind bars. He gets a lot of credit here.

Dead Zone holds itself back with how it has to add unnecessarily dark details though. The perfect example of this is how the victims die. Just have them be murdered in a normal way. That would be standard and would still capture all of the themes that the movie was trying to convey. Instead we are told they died in an incredibly gruesome way and it’s just details that we didn’t need to know and that should not have been included. It’s the extra details that tend to trip up films like this so sometimes just keep your plots general and it’s for the best.

In general Dead Zone isn’t even a super dark film. The case with Johnny trying to help the piano kid has a dark end but there is a silver lining in that he was able to help the main kid. So I wouldn’t consider it to be a very dark plot but has more of an ominous feeling since Johnny now knows exactly what his powers can do. This leads up to the final arc where he really begins to use his powers more actively. He comes up with a whole plan and everything. The fact that he is completely untrained and nearly comes out on top shows how different security was back then. You’re not getting anywhere close to the area with a big shotgun nowadays.

As for Stillson he’s a decent final boss to the movie. He certainly has a lot of ambition and keeps the characters in check. The scenes with him suddenly switch the whole movie to more of a gangster/mob type film which is interesting. Stillson has a lot of presence and makes for a good villain. I wouldn’t have minded seeing some more of him because he was just that interesting. The vision of the future also shows just how far he would have ultimately gone for his ambitions.

Dead Zone isn’t very violent for the most part. The early case with the mass murderer is really the only one with violence like when they catch the villain and of course the victims. The rest of the film is rather mild in that respect. The soundtrack isn’t all that memorable but I did like the camera effects for when Johnny was in a vision. It was a good way to quickly tell if you were in the present or somewhere else.

Overall, Dead Zone has an interesting premise since who wouldn’t like to have telepathic abilities right? Pure future sight isn’t super handy in this case though since you can’t use it on yourself and the film makes a decent case for why you would really not want to have this ability. If you just cut out the first case then I would say this was actually a decent film. Throw that in as well as Johnny’s relationship with Sarah and the cracks not only show themselves within the film but they burst it wide open. As a result I wouldn’t recommend checking this film out. Go watch something else instead.

Overall 3/10

Predators Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 3/10

Happy Death Day Review


I remember seeing a lot of promotion for this film back when it came out. Everyone was talking about it and the idea of a time loop in a horror film is quite original. You definitely have to give the film a lot of credit there. That said, while the premise is a lot of fun I wouldn’t say the execution is great. The writing tends to be sub par and since many scenes get repeated over and over, get ready for some particularly cringe lines to happen over and over again.

The movie starts by introducing us to Tree who is one of the meanest girls on campus. She is basically speed running how fast she can make enemies out of everyone. The girls’ just a bully who gets drunk constantly and doesn’t like having any responsibility. Well, one night on her birthday, Tree is murdered by someone in a mask. The thing is, she wakes up back at the start of the day and this keeps on happening every time she is murdered. So what should she do now? To break the cycle she needs to figure out a way to not die but no matter where she goes or what she does, the masked man seems to still find her.

So as I said that’s a fun dynamic. You’d figure that if you have unlimited lives to find a way to live that it should be easy. There are a few catches to it though such as Tree keeping remnants of her injuries from the deaths as well as the fact that they all still hurt quite a lot. It’s not like these deaths are easy after all. Tree gets stabbed, drowned, etc. This kind of plot also makes it very easy to backseat drive though. Like why would Tree go down the same dark alley in the second playthrough? She didn’t go all the way through which is good but if the murderer is still around then she’s still given him a good indication of where she is.

She plays the 2nd playthrough way too close to the first but this seems to be a common thing in these kinds of films. She does get a lot more creative after that. The best plan was probably just driving out of town. I absolutely would have tried that because living is the most important thing right now. That would be the way to escape. Also, Tree does have a bad habit of landing a blow on the villain and then turning to run instead of winning the fight. She could have won several times otherwise.

That part reminded me a lot of Scream where the heroine always lands the first blow in. Now where the film falters greatly is that it feels like there was no real effort put into the writing or the characters. Often times it’s just trying to be as crude or crass as possible. The way the characters all talk can be rather obnoxious in a 2000s high school setting kind of way. As mentioned, Tree’s just a pretty bad main character. She’s completely unlikable and while that’s part of her character arc, it doesn’t make her scenes any better. Tree’s unnecessarily mean to everyone and doesn’t feel like a main character. Usually she would have definitely been the antagonist in a different movie.

Aside from the issues with her character, the script is also just bad. All of the students seem rather crude like the roommate who barges in on her every morning. Quite a lot of the characters are cheating on other people, Tree has affairs with multiple guys, etc. It’s hard to find a single character in the film who has a good moral compass. Keep in mind that even Carter who is portrayed as the nicest guy here was still ready to have an affair with a drunk person that he only just met at an iffy club. Even the teacher is in on the action.

You really just can’t trust anyone at this school. It certainly makes it more difficult to choose who the murderer is but at the expense of actually finding any of the characters to be likable. You can also probably guess but this extends to the mystery of who the murderer is. This may even be part of the comedy to an extent but no matter who the murderer is, you have a sneaking suspicion that this just won’t work out. The murderer is around every corner and moves like lightning. Nobody ever notices this person show up and the ones that are attacked go down like a broken trampoline.

You’d figure that they could do something but that’s just never the case. The film isn’t very long so since there are a ton of suspects that means that a lot of them don’t get a whole lot of development or anything. They typically just get their one scene aside from Carter not counting if they are the murderer of course. You’ve got the teacher Gregory who is cheating on his wife with Tree and of course his motive for murder could be to make sure that nobody finds out about this affair.

You have Lori who bakes Tree a cupcake but it’s usually thrown into the trash. She may have taken that very personally. There’s her ex who keeps asking why she won’t return the calls and maybe that’s turned him into a bitter murderer. There’s the head of the sorority or at least self proclaimed head who is mad at Tree for having affairs with all the guys that she likes. That could be another reason for murder. You’ve got Carter who may be upset that she’s usually very dismissive of him, etc.

The film has no shortage of suspects. That’s not even accounting for the girl that Tree intentionally doesn’t say hi too, the girl handing out flyers, etc. It probably goes back to why the film wanted to make Tree super unlikable which is really a contrast to how the main character tends to be in these things. The problem is that the film should have left everyone else as being likable rather than breaking them down too. I don’t see a benefit to making everyone else unlikable since they would already have a decent motive if they were nice people on the outside.

Also, there’s a missed opportunity of having Tree just really crack in one timeline and try to kidnap everyone to ensure that nobody’s the murderer. That would have been an interesting loop. Maybe just cut out the girl on the steps and the ex to make room for this extra loop. After all, we’re all really here for the fun time loops right? Adding in the fact that Tree keeps in part of the injuries is a good way to add in some tension since it means that she can’t just continue to do this infinitely.

Happy Death Day does do a good job on the tone though. It does properly balance the slasher elements with comedy. This is because both sides are played straight. The slasher elements wouldn’t be out of place in something like a Michael Myers film while the rest has a more Bring It On kind of vibe going for it. The movie’s not very violent compared to most slashers either so it does well on that account. Not all of the humor lands (That roommate’s still the worst character here and his scene did not need to be replayed over and over) but for the most part it’s good. Cut out the unnecessary scenes in the film like the ex’s dark secret and you’d have a much more streamlined experience.

As a final note, the film makes it a point to say that Tree doesn’t care for birthdays much. There’s some context to this involving her past and there’s a whole subplot with her father but it’s complete filler so I haven’t mentioned it previously. (That’s another subplot that could probably be cut) So why would Tree have a ringtone that loudly declares that it’s her Birthday? That seemed out of character and I found it odd that in none of the time loops did she ever decide to take the call. Try everything to get out of the loop right?

Overall, Happy Death Day is a fun experiment but I wish it was handled a bit better. I’ll give it some kudos like going more for stylized violence so it isn’t that gritty and I love time travel. It just loses those same points on the writing and very dicey script. If you’re in the mood for a horror that has some fun with itself then this is probably one to check out since there aren’t a whole lot of them like this. There are even two high energy songs that pop up out of nowhere and at one point we got a montage that felt like something out of Scooby Doo. That said, you can still do better so avoid this one for now.

Overall 3/10

Nightcrawler 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

This film is a cautionary tale showing that if you give a shady person an inch they’ll take a mile. A channel producer decides to start skirting the rules and ultimately it doesn’t go over well. You definitely feel like things go very conveniently for the main character that’s for sure. The blackmail part gets annoying because you feel like Lou doesn’t really have nearly as much leverage as he claims but lets dive in here.

The movie starts with Lou sneaking into a warehouse to steal some wires. A security guard tries to stop him but forgets that if someone is trespassing then he’s probably dangerous. The realization hits the guard too late as he’s knocked out and Lou escapes. Still, Lou wants to do something more with his life than all of these little side jobs. One day he comes across an accident and sees “Nightcrawlers” filming the accident and selling it to the channels. He has finally found his calling, Lou wants to do that. Can he become the best accident film recorder there ever was?

Lou’s a very obsessive person and once he has his goal he just latches onto it. Lou always seems to be in the right place at the right time for a big scoop and that’s not luck but his own training. He learns the police codes and buys a portable scanner so he can listen in on their reports. Slowly but surely he grows into being one of the more reliable recorders around and then decides to swing his influence. He wants Nina, the current host of the evening news program and decides to blackmail her. If she doesn’t agree to be with him then he’ll sell the news somewhere else. Meanwhile his partner Rick has to decide if this job is really worth his life.

For me the Nina plot is definitely a miss because I don’t see how she was taken in so quickly. Lou claims that if he leaves then Nina will almost certainly be fired because her ratings are low. Nina shouldn’t have bit on the bait and just let him walked out. She has already been job hopping a lot so what’s one more time? Additionally, if she gives him the high ground now then there is no escaping after this part. By the end Nina seems to genuinely like him or at least the fact that he gives her good ratings which is all she cares about. I definitely found her to be a pretty bad character.

Then you have Lou who is quite deranged and basically one of the big villains here even though he is the main character. Keep in mind that the film opens with him assaulting an officer and he also threatens Rick with violence a few times. Lou is constantly threatening everyone and while he says that he has been practicing to live a more peaceful life, it’s clear that he could snap at any second. He even says that he just doesn’t like people by the end of the film which explains why he acts the way that he does.

It’s not that he’s fearless but Lou is very detached from everything which allows him to get up close with the recordings and to tamper with active crime scenes. You’re hoping that he’ll walk into the wrong crime scene at one point and that will ultimately be what puts him in a tough position. The guy certainly gets away with a whole lot. He talks a good game but that’s really all he’s got since most of the villains here do have guns.

Rick means well and he’s a nice guy but I do have to blame him for not leaving earlier. He knows exactly the kinds of things that Lou is doing by the mid point of the film. Early on you can excuse him because he doesn’t know much about Lou and he desperately needed a job. By the end of the film though? That excuse no longer applies, Rick just goes with it because the money is getting better and he’s lasted this long. Rick just stays in the game too long and when you work for a villain that’s always going to be a big risk.

Then you have the detective Frontieri. She doesn’t get a really big role or anything like that but does turn up near the end for a pair of confrontations with Lou. It’s a tough situation because it’s clear that she’s good at her job but it’s hard to find proof or clues when you’re up against someone as clever as Lou. He knows to hide his tracks rather well and you suspect Rick is here as a patsy if needed.

The film is engaging for a while as you see just how far Lou will go in order to get the scoop. The main issue here is as I mentioned before, it seems like he gets away with way too much because nobody wants to stand up to him. Both Nina and Rick could and should have handled things way differently. Lou would also not have been in a position to do nearly as well without them so suddenly you’re looking at a very different film. The accident to his rival also seemed to come out of nowhere. I thought Lou was going to sabotage him or something but in the end it seems like it really was all just coincidence. Lucky eh?

Since Lou is filming various crimes and such, we do see quite a lot of bloodied bodies and the like as the film goes on. It’s not super graphic like this was a horror film or anything but it is filmed like real events which can make this just as intense. I think the actual footage could have been left off screen or hidden a bit which would have been a good move from the film. I did like how it showed the newscasters just saying whatever the producer wanted them to say though. It shows how effectively they’re given a script and they seamlessly introduce that into their speech. That was probably even the most effective scene in the film because it was really handled well. You could totally picture this being the case in real news reports, particularly volatile ones.

Overall, Nightcrawler is an interesting film and it has the hard job of trying to use the main villain as the main character. It’s tough for that to work for an entire film, particularly if the villain has no sympathetic goal or rationale to at least make you understand why he’s doing this. Lou’s just crazy which doesn’t work so well for the lead. Additionally due to the very nature of the film, you do see some rather graphic crimes. The movie feels like a real newscast which is impressive but at the same time works to its own detriment as well. With more likable characters this film could have gone far but without anyone to really root for aside from the detective who appears once or twice, the film was ultimately doomed.

Overall 3/10

Alien vs Predator Review


This is a movie I saw many years ago and I remember always being on team Aliens. I’ve always been partial to that group. Perhaps it’s because I’m more familiar with them, that they came first, or it’s just more fun to root for the monster. That hasn’t changed over the years either and after watching the movie I can really explain more why I prefer the aliens. See, while they are sentient, they are really just beasts at the core. They run on instinct and take everyone down. The Predators are actually an advanced alien race that really do whatever they please and tend to look rather corrupt. The whole film only exists because they like to hunt prey and use humans as sacrifices. Not exactly the group you would be rooting for.

Lets take a step back though. The movie starts with Charles locating a mysterious temple. It has details from various cultures and suggests that humanity actually united to create this a while back. He is older at this point and wants one last thing to be remembered by before he dies. So Charles assembles a group of the greatest scientific experts on the planet along with the ultimate guide in Alexa. She is skeptical at first but eventually decides to get on board. Little does this group realize that they won’t be the only sentient life in this area.

One thing that really separates this one from the average Alien and Predator titles is that the movie really leans into the cool sci-fi aesthetics. The scenes showing how the Predators are watching the temple, the alien ship, etc is all so much better than you would expect. This is a Sci-Fi film where you can see how advanced the technology is as opposed to us not seeing more of it. Usually it is fine to keep the Predators more secretive but in a vs film like this, I think this is the right approach.

So the visuals are unmatched and I thought the soundtrack was decent. I won’t say great since I don’t think you’ll even remember a bunch of the tunes by the end but they work well enough during the movie. The writing is good and the fights with the Aliens vs Predators will always raise your hype before they start just trying to get extra gritty.

Where the film falters is where most of these horror films falter. It tends to get excessively violent, particularly with the chest bursters that return from the Alien films. It seems like you can’t go through any alien film without having at least one of these scenes right? If you get rid of those entirely it would be a good move and just stick to the Xenmorphs. This is still a horror film at its core even with all of the in-fighting between groups but you don’t need the bursters for the scare scenes.

As the main character Alexa does well here. She points out that this is a very bad idea but ultimately ends up helping out because if she doesn’t then people will likely die. They may die anyway but at the very least if there weren’t any aliens she would have been able to keep everyone on the straight path. These guys also aren’t exactly the best at following orders so they need a tough commander.

I’m a bit iffy on her teaming up with the Predator so quickly after learning that they used humans as cattle but with the Aliens being mindless I suppose there wasn’t any chance of making peace with them either. Ultimately Alexa kept her wits about her and was fast to react. Alexa even manages to deal some real damage by the end so kudos there.

Charles is not nearly as likable. I get wanting to make a big discovery in the end but then once we find out that he’s sick, it’s a bit much. He’s putting everyone’s lives on the line just for the discovery? The guy’s rich, he could just wait until everyone has actually checked the rooms and made sure it’s safe before walking in. I’d say that would have been a whole lot better.

Maxwell’s his main right hand man and the guy can fight but I didn’t get why he was so antagonistic the whole time. It feels like that kind of comes out of nowhere and of course that never ends well for the humans in these things. It was good to have a gun at the ready though. We’ve got other characters here as well like the lady with a gun, the guy who just wants to go back home to his kids, etc. You’re mainly just wondering if any of these guys will survive aside from the main character or if it’s game over.

As for the battles, like I said I was rooting for the Aliens here. Effectively they are the underdogs as the Predators always plant them in positions where they should lose. When the Predators are on the losing side they just nuke the planet. Seems like they’re sore losers on that front eh? Fortunately for the Aliens they still have the advantage of berserker strength and their continued evolution. The Alien Queen looks really impressive in this movie to be sure.

Before the final battle we get a few skirmishes between the Aliens and Predators with each side taking some wins. Both sides also have a main fighter you could say. One alien in particular handles himself well as he gets up after being slashed and one of the predators takes a few of the aliens out as well. It helps build you up to the climax.

Then of course we do have a twist ending because those are absolutely necessary. Not just in horror but for any film, it’s just that horror tends to do them with the greatest effectiveness. Lets just say that it’s a really effective way to end the film as you understand the implications of this very well. Albeit it, you feel like it could potentially be a plot hole because the scanners should have sensed something. They would have to right? These scanners were shown to be extremely advanced throughout the movie and did notice an alien when it was inside of someone earlier. It should be the same concept but….maybe they got overconfident. I’ll chalk this up as a plot hole but a fairly small one at least.

Overall, Alien vs Predator definitely delivers on the kind of action that you would expect to see from two savage races fighting each other off. I’m also always a big fan of seeing crossovers come out. At the end of the day that makes for a lot of good fun when you get to the inevitable conclusion. It would be nice if it didn’t have to be so graphic though and of course the humans are stuck in the middle as well. If you can get past the violence then there’s definitely a solid film in here but it loses enough points where it ultimately isn’t able to sustain itself in the green. The best complement for the film though is that they really do nail the special effects. It’s the best that the franchise has ever looked.

Overall 3/10

The Girl on the Train 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

In this film you quickly see the dangers of meddling in foreign affairs. Things escalate quite a bit with lies snowballing and everyone seeming rather suspect at different points. The film keeps a fast pace going as a thriller but by the end everyone’s so morally bankrupt that the adventure doesn’t exactly end at the highest level.

The movie starts by introducing us to Rachel. She hasn’t had a happy time of things and so she always rides the train back and forth for fun. Rachel has no job and this is just a way for her to pass the time by, not that her roommate knows this. Rachel always watches a couple from the train window and thinks about them constantly. Well, one day it appears that the wife is cheating on the husband with another man and so Rachel wants to do something about it. When the girl vanishes Rachel takes this as her opportunity to get into the case. Will this ultimately end up causing a lot of trouble?

There’s a lot going on here because you have several main characters. Additionally, Rachel is one of those characters who blacks out a whole lot and the film jumps from present to past to future so you’re always figuring out new details. As part of the film is a mystery I’ll mainly be avoiding direct twists. That said, I can still say straight off the gate that I wasn’t a fan of just about any character in the film.

First off you have Rachel who is much too obsessed with these neighbors. She basically lives her life through them and that’s pretty depressing when you think about it. Rachel is also wasting a ton of money by riding the trains every day and not actually doing anything with herself. This would at least not be so bad if she wasn’t constantly drinking but because of that you can’t trust everything she says.

There is a twist near the end that’s pretty shocking but also ends up hurting her character quite a lot. Lets just say that this kind of twist is almost never a positive for a character because I have a hard time believing that someone could be tricked so badly. Not to the level of detail we see with various flashbacks and such. It just makes Rachel look bad even if she isn’t one of the main antagonists. She also did quite a bit of instigating with Scott by lying and providing extra details. Rachel ended up making a big mess of the situation.

As I said, everyone is rather fishy though. Then you have Scott who is portrayed as being incredibly unstable and possessive. He will check his wife’s phone and personal belongings at all times. The guy is incredibly threatening so you can also see why it’s possible that she would have ran off. Of course, a big chunk of the film is determining if she ran off or if this was murder. Scott just doesn’t do anything to make himself appear even remotely sympathetic.

Then you have Megan who seemed to be cheating with everyone in the film. Whenever there was a scandal she was around and so when she vanishes that means there are a ton of suspects. Especially with how quickly she dashed out from her babysitting job with no forewarning. Megan also doesn’t pick up on the clues very easily. Look, if you’re already committing criminal or at least immortal acts with someone then you know they probably don’t have a whole lot of moral qualms. You should never under any circumstances go with them to the woods in the middle of nowhere with bad news/potential blackmail. Not unless you’ve got a gun or something because otherwise you’re putting yourself in a really rough patch here.

Then we’ve got Tom and that guy’s definitely quite antagonistic. As the film goes on your opinion of him will keep on dropping more and more. His façade of being just a nice joe keeps on slipping. That’s just how it is with all of these characters, they start out reasonable but then you learn that they’re cheaters, drunks, violent, etc.

Finally you have Anna and the main issues with the other characters extend to her as well. She can’t take any kind of moral high ground because she never had it to begin with. She started out fairly low on that ladder and just never stopped. Now, there are definitely some times where you will be agreeing with her over Rachel like when she caught the lead with her baby in a rather ominous fashion or when Rachel started haunting the place. Then when you learn the backstory behind this you’ll be shaking your head.

So The Girl on the Train’s issue is really that the characters are all really unlikable. You’ve even got a psychiatrist running around who doesn’t seem entirely innocent to me either but the guy’s role is small and he isn’t super important to the plot. This is just a case of a bunch of characters all being linked by the skeletons in their closet and all of these bones are coming out at once. It certainly puts all of the characters in a rather rough position.

While this is more of a dialogue based thriller, we do have a fairly violent climax. It almost seems a bit like the Snowman’s ending. The weapon isn’t quite as unconventional but it’s a similar effect. Certainly a painful way to go out. You get the feeling that all of the characters will have been traumatized by the time this is all over.

I usually take this time to comment on the romance but it goes without saying that each and every one of the romances in the film were not very good. Either they were founded on dubious circumstances or they ended up being rebounds. No matter how you slice it, I wouldn’t say that any of these romances were actually healthy ones.

Overall, The Girl on the Train isn’t a thriller that I would recommend. The writing isn’t bad but since I find the whole climax plot twist to be rather unbelievable, it does weaken some aspects of it. After all, the entire film rides on that plot twist. If the characters were better that could have gone a long way to helping the film. You want at least one person to root for after all and that could have done the trick.

Overall 3/10