7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Old Dark House Review

I’ve had this review in the backburner for quite a while so it was finally time to write this review. It’s a pretty unique film as it’s going for that comedy/horror blend but at times you don’t know which it’s going for. That’s a good thing because it means the blend is working well. Some parts you can definitely tell are being a bit of a parody but other bits are played straight. I wouldn’t call this a great film, but it had some good moments and fun characters. The lead is a good example of a fun character with a lot of humorous moments.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Tom. He seems like a scam artist at first as he tries to get into a club by claiming that he is looking for a friend. He was actually telling the truth though and meets up with Casper. Casper invites Tom to come to his house but says they should travel there separately. His life is in danger and he needs Tom for support. Tom agrees to come, but by the time he arrives Casper is already dead. He is now surrounded by Casper’s rather odd family. All of them have some kind of quirk and nobody is allowed to leave the house. If any member is not present at a specific time every day then he/she will lose their portion of the inheritance. As a result tensions are constantly high and some of them think Tom is here to try and make a claim for it. Can Tom find out who the murderer is before the rest of the family gets bumped off and Tom finds himself 6 feet under?

I’ll give Tom this, he’s a pretty good friend. He goes into what is obviously a very dangerous house just because he wanted to help his friend. It was a long/boring ride all by himself as well and there were not any real upsides to this journey. He was just being a good guy and it ends up costing him his car right away. Tom does his best to tough it out though so the point where he can be a bit slow on the uptake. He was super close to burning himself in acid and just ended up getting lucky. He gets locked in Noah’s arc, gets threatened by just about everyone…..it’s going to be a long trip for him.

I have to deduct some points from Tom for trying to play the field though. Right away he likes Cecily. She tries to get him out of the house before things get dangerous but he is a little slow on the uptake so that doesn’t end up happening. From there Tom is pretty much doomed to stay in the house, but at least he has a friend now right? Well, then Morgana shows up and Tom immediately falls for her as well. You really shouldn’t be falling for two people so easily. You can have crushes on different people at different times, but on the same day? That just shows that Tom isn’t the most loyal guy around. He barely fights his feelings and most times has to get help from Cecily.

The writing was enjoyable and is part of what makes the film work. The characters are reasonable and the humor works pretty well with how absurd it can be at times. Noah’s Ark was definitely the craziest part of the film and probably the only one that will really make you do a double take though. At times it’s hard to believe just how large the estate is. These guys definitely are pretty rich I guess so it’s not a huge stretch but still a little crazy to say the least. Some gags like Tom falling down into the basement are definitely handled pretty well too.

The part about all of the family members needing to be in the room does raise some questions though. Why would they even bother forcing Tom to stay in the house? If they don’t want him to get the money then making sure he is outside makes way more sense. Additionally I don’t see why they always try to make sure everyone is around. The less people in the room the better right? Naturally characters don’t always make the decision that makes sense. It’s not a super serious film like that, but it’s still a fair question. Jasper and his mother look the worst in terms of logic since they know they are in danger and barely seem to care. They really don’t do a good job of trying to hide out or surviving this ordeal.

In comparison Roderick handles this the best. He actually has a gun and talks tough the whole time. He makes a lot of threats and isn’t afraid to call people out. You need that kind of gusto when you’re trapped in a house filled with crazed murderers who can turn on you at the drop of a hat. Meanwhile the least reasonable one was the Uncle who just went around trying to beat Tom up the whole time. Surely he could have picked a better time to do so right? Also he could see that Morgana was the one approaching Tom.

A big part of this film is being a murder mystery so you should try to see if you can guess who the murderer is. There are a good amount of suspects and you get to be introduced to all of them pretty early on in the film which lets you fairly try to guess who the villain is. The film gives you a fair chance to solve this so at the end of the day you’ll need to trust your instincts on this. Put yourself in the main character’s position and just remember that choosing the right answer is a matter of life and death.

Overall, The Old Dark House is an appropriate name for the film. All of the scenes take place in this house once Tom arrives after all and the place is pretty dark. If you are in the mood for a solid parody with a lot happening at all times then this is the film for you. The body count does begin to increase so there are real stakes at play here. There is a sense of danger because Tom can never really let his guard down. This is a strange film, but it surprisingly just ends up working out.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Please Murder Me Review

It’s time to look at an old noir film with a pretty interesting plot. Right from the title you can probably tell that this will be an interesting case though. You don’t really see titles like this much anymore and it does leave an impression. I was expecting the film to be good but I can safely say that it exceeded expectations. This will ultimately go down as one of the definitive Noir titles out there.

The movie starts with Craig heading to his office and beginning a recording. The actual recording is basically the rest of the film so lets head into the past. Craig heads to his best friend Joe’s office and lets him know that he is having an affair with the man’s wife. Well, Craig’s character is officially ruined. Craig wants Joe to have a divorce so he can marry Myra properly. Joe wants a day to think it over, but the next day he is murdered by Myra. She says it was in self defense and since Craig is a defense attorney he agrees to take over her case as she is being tried for murder. If Craig can prove her innocence then they can finally be married but will it be so simple?

So I have to tackle the romance part of this film right away. There is no way you can root for Craig or Myra here right from the jump because they were having a relationship while she was married. No matter how you slice it that is cheating and nothing should have happened until she was officially split. Craig tries to say that he didn’t mean for it to happen, but the reasoning doesn’t matter. You can never put yourself in a position where you may have an affair with a married person. It’s just not done and it’s even worse to the fact that it was Craig’s best friend. It’s the ultimate betrayal and it was a pretty tough way for Joe to get bumped off there.

Craig is a good attorney and pulls out all the tricks, but he still comes off as a bit of a sucker. Without getting into plot specifics he misses a lot of signs in the face of love and by the time he realizes what is going on it is pretty late. That’s why his plan is pretty clever and not one that you would expect to see. Usually the plot is completely reversed in terms of framing and paying for crimes you didn’t commit. This one flips that in a full 180 which was unexpected. The ending actually plays it straight and is a solid conclusion to a great film.

Meanwhile Myra is just as unsympathetic as Craig. She’s really just looking out for herself and in court the prosecutor (Ray) quickly drills down into what actually happened. He was definitely my favorite character in the film. He did a good job of connecting the dots and wasn’t falling for any traps. At the end of the film he does come across as possibly being a little naive but I like to think he was going to figure things out in a few moments. He was likely just trying to make sure that the others did not suspect what happened.

In general the film is a pretty good cautionary tale. You should always have a healthy amount of trust but when weird things happen left and right you do need to think about it a bit. Karma hits like a truck in movies like this where people get their just desserts right away but in real life it’s not always like that so you can’t afford to make the same mistakes as the characters in the film. Craig basically got what he deserved here along with the rest of the characters and if he had stopped to do the right thing in the beginning then none of this would have happened. Another character in the film is Carl who seems just as gullible in his short time of appearing.

The writing is quite good here with the characters all making quite a lot of threats as the film goes on while being subtle about it. I miss how everyone would always pretend to be quite polite back in these days with veiled threats behind every word. The film also does deliver on the noir aspect with a lot of narration from Craig and a bunch of dark scenes. He even works in the dark at times just like you would expect from this era. The film’s pacing is solid as things move quite quickly and I greatly enjoyed the court scenes as always. It’s all played pretty seriously with both sides looking competent in their arguments.

Joe could have played this whole thing a lot better though. Getting murdered aside since it would be hard to avoid that, he probably should have had some more details in his will or something to protect against what happened. Especially if you’re well off then putting extra contingents in your will or in various paperwork before getting married is just a good idea to cover your bases. It probably will put a strain on the relationship right from the start, but it’ll also ensure that you’re with someone who actually wants to be with you and isn’t just in it for other reasons.

Overall, Please Murder Me is a great film and I recommend it to anyone that likes a good thriller with some twists along the way. I believe a lot of viewers will suspect what happened right away but that’s fine because there is a good chunk of film left after the event happens. Technically in my plot summary I probably stopped a lot earlier than most summaries would because you could make the case that the twist is part of the plot and even on the poster. I’d argue that the film works even better if you don’t know this, but regardless you will like it. It’s just a very complete film with a compelling beginning and a satisfying ending.

Overall 8/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Kill Switch Review

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

It’s time to look at a fairly recent Sci-Fi thriller. The title’s pretty neat and the poster’s cool so this should be a hit right? I feel like the writers really messed up here. It’s actually got a pretty engaging start and a solid plot. The problem is that the plot doesn’t progress after the first 5 minutes so the rest of the film is the characters being confused the whole time. The characters never seem to act logically and there is a ton of plot hax throughout. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film that wasn’t thought out to this extent. It’s still way better than other films I’ve seen recently, but it’s not good enough to give a positive score.

The movie starts by introducing us to Will. He had a pretty solid job and clearly makes a lot of money. Still, he’s called in by a powerful company called Alterplex and they make him a deal that he can’t refuse. His family will be rich and the only catch is that he will be on call 24/7 for some kind of great experiment. The film cuts us between the past and the present quite a lot, but that’s the general plot of the past. In the present Will finds himself on another world and he must find out why exactly he is here and how to get back to his family.

I don’t really mind the jumping between the past and the present so much. It’s a pretty good way to jump us into the action right away and then find out why he did it. The only problem here is that the film overrates how confusing it is. It’s pretty easy to follow what’s happening, but the film gives us a few too many flashbacks to really try to give us all the details. I think a little less jumping in the second half would have helped because after a point you already get what the film is trying to go for so we don’t have to keep treading down that road.

Ironically the flashbacks were more interesting than the present scenes and I can’t think of another film where that happened. In part it helps that the flashbacks had better camerawork that was more like a traditional film. The graphics were good here and the characters were more interesting. I would have been fine staying in this plot although the drama with his sister and the kid wasn’t as interesting. Will did make the right move in deciding to go back to their old place. The kid was clearly not adjusting well even though he tried to be a good sport and it was clear that his sister wasn’t happy either. So even if it cost them a lot of money, Will was ready to leave. Things just didn’t work out so well for him there.

In the present, the problem is that Will should have died early on. We get a ton of scenes with SkyNet type drones flying around and blasting everyone. They have machine guns at the ready and are built like tanks so you really shouldn’t be knocking those out very easily. Despite this, we see humans blasting away at them and winning most battles. There are points where Will just runs up to them and start blasting. Somehow they miss every shot while Will knocks them down. It’s a common rule of action films that the villains will miss every shot while the heroes land theirs, but this one takes it to the extreme. The odds don’t matter to Will as he just runs through everything. It gets incredibly hard to take seriously.

Additionally there is no variety here. As soon as he exits one gunfight we are thrown into another one. Will doesn’t get any rest much like the viewer. I don’t mind nonstop action scenes for most films like car chases of Transformers throwing punches, but at least those have some kind of power scaling. These fights are just Will somehow being basically bulletproof as he takes down impossible odds. It’s really rare that you see action scenes so unbelievable. Will is a good character though. He makes the right choices here and I’m also glad that he didn’t even have to think about the final choice much. It is a bit of a no brainer on if you’re going to save your planet or a different one. It may sound selfish, but it’s not a decision I would think on much myself.

Abby is one of the main characters although we mostly just know Earth 2 Abby. Earth 1 version was fun enough and was certainly invested in her job. Earth 2 tended to panic a lot and seemed really in over her head the whole time. I really think the villains felt no real loyalty towards her even if she didn’t really seem to realize that. This is why you can’t trust villains, at the end of the day they will always betray you. Her final decisions make sense from her point of view of course, but I wouldn’t say that I was a fan either way. She’s just not my kind of character. Then you have Michael who also panics a lot. He comes in handy near the end, but you can’t help but feel a bit annoyed at him as well. His opening scene with Will is really just a compilation of the two characters yelling a lot.

One of the worst scenes in the film is definitely when Will meets up with the leader of the resistance. The guy asks him to say what is name is to which Will ignores him and starts panicking again. Both of them yell a lot but neither one is listening to what the other is saying. It leads us to another gunfight, but one that was super avoidable if Will had just answered the question. It was a simple question so I couldn’t take the scene seriously. This happens a lot in the film where characters will be talking, but nobody is listening to each other.

The writing is very weak. The characters rarely make decisions that are logical and panic way too much. Why did Will have to conveniently get partial amnesia for part of this? He also heals pretty quickly with a lot of the injuries he gets. He’s lucky that the world has a sci-fi healing equipment on hand for the final injury too since that would not have gone over very well for him. The film also randomly gets a bit violent with some of the medical stuff and you do see a lot of corpses on the ground.

Overall, Kill Switch is probably the biggest bundle of missed opportunity that I’ve seen in a very long time. It has a rock solid start and the atmosphere is pretty interesting all the way through. It’s impossible not to notice that nothing happens for a majority of the film though and eventually it gets to the point where it overwhelms the film. Everything is super convenient for Will. Getting more characters into the mix and perhaps identifying the Kill Switch earlier would have raised the stakes. If Will had gotten to meet his family from this side it would have made his choice a lot harder. As it stood, it really wasn’t a choice. It’s interesting, but I’d recommend watching a different Sci-Fi film over this one.

Overall 4/10

2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die Review

It’s time to look at an old film that is pretty bad right out of the gate. The plot itself will let you know that this is a movie that’s not going to be very good. If you don’t know the plot then I suppose you wouldn’t know what you’re getting yourself into since the title isn’t half bad. While the actual “wouldn’t die” part of the film is a little interesting, it’s too little too late to save this horrible movie.

The film starts off by introducing us to Raymond and his wife Ellen. Nobody seems to like Ellen. While she is a rich lady who has built a great empire, she did it by being rather ruthless. Her top worker Richard wants to destroy her, but he can’t think of a way to do it without going to jail. Meanwhile Raymond no longer likes Ellen all that much, but she’s rich so that’s reason enough for him to stick around. One day their niece Alice shows up and Raymond decides that he wants to be with her instead of Ellen. Looks like he’ll need to team up with Richard to bump her off. Ellen has mystical trances though so is it possible that her spirit will avenge her?

No matter how you slice it, the romance between Raymond and his niece Alice is trash. That’s the kind of plot we really never need to see in a film. It’s so far beyond the pale that it dooms the film to a low score immediately. There is literally nothing that can save the film from this. Even if they do some kind of twist where they are not related it doesn’t change the fact that he wouldn’t have known that so the film is finished. It puts a sour spin on the film and that’s not even counting the fact that Raymond is a terrible main character.

There can be no excuses for cheating on your wife. Once you marry and commit to the vows then that’s the end of that. If he has any regrets then too bad, but he’ll have to live with them. There is no way to root for Raymond and it’s always hard for a film to succeed with a main character like that. Any scene with him on screen is one scene too many. You’re just waiting for him to ideally get bumped off at the end of the movie. That being said, the way his character arc ends is incredibly convenient to the point where it isn’t even remotely believable. It’s the kind of thing that simply wouldn’t happen in real life. There’s just no way.

Meanwhile Alice is no saint either. Both parties are complicit when it comes to cheating particularly since she knows what is going on. She’s almost as bad as Raymond in that sense. It’s really showing that neither one of them had a lot of respect for Ellen. Ellen’s the only character to reasonably root for in this film. Everyone is ganging up on her so you hope that she’ll find some way to tip the scales. She is super old though which doesn’t help matters. Nor does the fact that she is constantly plagued by powerful pain spasms where she can’t even move. That’s very dangerous when you’re in a place where everyone wants to bump you off.

Then you have Richard who you know is a villain from the start when he casually talks about getting rid of Ellen. The fact that Raymond just sits there and lets him say all those things also shows how Raymond’s going to turn out. In general this is just a very mean spirited film the more you think about it. One example of this is the nice actress who ends up getting manipulated by the villains and then meets a fiery ending. She literally only appears to quickly get murdered here. All of the characters who are left are really bad and so there is nobody to root for. You certainly aren’t going to feel bad for the main characters when things go sideways. There’s no fun to be had in this film. The romance is just so bad that it can’t be overstated. Since that’s the main premise here it means that you’ll be cringing the whole time.

At least the movie isn’t particularly long. You’ll be done with it before long. If anything the tag-line/altered title ends up spoiling most of the film since the death takes quite a long while to happen. I always do wonder where people put the cut-off for spoilers. See, I’d consider the title to be a spoiler in this case. In general I never mind spoilers as you’ll see what happens sooner or later, but for people who don’t like to be spoiled I’d say that the title gives a whole lot away. Maybe it was the only way to sell tickets. In some cases you’ve just gotta do what you gotta do I suppose.

Overall, I highly recommend sticking away from this film. It’s a movie all about betrayal and deception but not handled in a good way at all. The ending happens in the one way that this plan could ever work which is extremely convenient and not believable in the slightest. At least the ending gives us some hope that the villains will end up paying for their crimes. It’s a very open ended kind of finale where you can really decide for yourself what happens. I’d make the case that there is enough evidence here for the cops to be able to claim the win, but different people will likely come up with different verdicts.

Overall 2/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Stop Me Before I Kill Review

It’s time to look at a mental thriller where one character fights with his sanity. These films are always going to be a little tricky because the whole thing would be over if the main character wouldn’t fall into all of the traps. This one’s a thriller that goes back and forth a little too long by the end which ends up slowing down the tempo, but will try to throw a few twists your way. The ending will be a bit more annoying than anything, but all’s well that ends well right?

The movie starts off by introducing us to Alan and his wife Denise. They were recently married but have had a rough start to their new life because Alan was in a big crash where someone died. He’s now been mentally shaken to the point where he keeps nearly murdering Denise before stopping himself in time. Denise grows increasingly worried about him, but then meets up with a doctor named Prade. Prade claims he can cure Alan if Denise can convince him to come in for treatments. These treatments are about telling Alan to murder Denise. Can the main character spot a phony a mile away or will he go through with these treatments and potentially wreck his life further?

The characters are all pretty annoying here. The most reasonable one is definitely Denise though. She’s quite patient with Alan and really does her best to help him get well. She is constantly supportive of him and always brushes off his various episodes. Denise tries to help him out herself and when that doesn’t work tries to find professionals to do it. Her heart is always in the right place and she is quite loyal so at least she doesn’t fall into any traps there. The only problem here is that she is too trusting to the point of being overly naive. It was pretty obvious from early on that Prade had a thing for her and she seemed to notice it initially. The guy isn’t exactly being subtle about it. Despite this she continues to trust him and listens to everything he says. While she never falters or comes close to betraying Alan, she keeps putting herself in a position where that could happen. Even Prade’s mother keeps talking about how she hopes things will change and Denise seems to disregard this as flattery. You should never stay in a place where you may make the wrong choice, keeping your distance is the only smart move.

All that being said though, as I mentioned Denise is still the best character. She’s doing whatever she can to help Alan and he isn’t really helping much at all. Denise is one of the best heroines I’ve seen in a long while. Quite possibly top 3 in non action films. Most of the blame here has to go with Alan for also being way too gullible. When he goes in for the treatments he should have immediately realized something was up. There’s no benefit in going through a hypothetical where he actually does murder Denise. No matter how Prade tries to put it that’s just not going to do any good and Alan should have known that. He has a few clever scenes like when he tricks Prade into admitting that he had a meeting with Denise. He needed more of that in the moments where it counted. He doubts himself a lot in part because of his low confidence. In the early stages of the film he is particularly rocky as everything seems to set him off and he attacks Denise more than once. I would have liked to have seen him show a little more will power during these moments.

Alan’s definitely not my kind of character. It’s always a shame to see such a nice character like Denise having to go through all of this. There’s really a big contrast between the two and I can put it simply. Denise is always quick to believe the best of Alan, that he is a good person going through recovery. She always sticks up for him and defends him because she’s a glass half full kind of girl. Then you have Alan who always believes the worst about Denise. He’s quick to accuse her of cheating on him over and over again despite being proven wrong each time. You can’t have a proper relationship without trust and he just doesn’t trust her at all. Time and time again he never has her back and that’s the real disappointing part of his character. It’s even worse than his various episodes because at least those are related to the accident. Not being able to trust her is something else entirely, although I do still blame him for his various moments against her. It’s fine to explode at the randoms, but at Denise? No that’s not going to fly.

Finally we have Prade who is the other character who is pretty obvious from the start. The guy’s just bad news. The instant he meets Denise he tries to buy her a drink which she wisely refuses. He also has a bad habit of spying on her from afar. (Again, Denise is a bit too trusting though as she goes swimming without anything on. This is a public beach at a crowded resort…….so that’s just not a good idea) Every scene with Prade is pretty bad but then it all gets even worse when he ends up murdering his cat. Did the film really have to throw in some animal violence here? It’s off screen but the fact that it’s so unnecessary is what makes it hurt the most. The film was soooooo close to making it out of this without such a scene.

Overall, Stop Me Before I Kill is definitely a flashy title. You aren’t likely to forget it anytime soon. The film is also pretty memorable but too much of it is way too convenient. Things have to work out perfectly for Prade to get anywhere in his plot. If Alan was smart and didn’t let himself breathe in a bunch of suspicious air then maybe he would have been thinking more clearly. It’s odd that Denise would just leave without telling him anything or that Alan would forget basic things like the fact that there shouldn’t be any pills around. A lot of little things add up to the point where this film really shouldn’t have happened. It’s not a particularly believable thriller and while that is fine, I’d say that the negatives outweigh the positives. Denise is the only good character in the film as she is able to survive being an extreme figure. Everyone else is a little too crazy for my liking.

Overall 4/10

0 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) Review

It’s time to look at the remake of Dr. Jekyll. It’s pretty much a point for point remake as opposed to some which try to take a little more liberties with the source material. This movie should have tried to do that because the first title was pretty awful so the more accurately you re-create that the less chance you have of actually making a good movie. This one is on the same level as the original and ends up falling to the same errors. You may as well be watching the same film when you think about it.

The movie starts with someone going crazy inside of a church. Dr. Jekyll has the man escorted to a hospital and wants to try a new drug on him that will separate his evil and good side. Nobody bothers to ask where they could be transporting the evil side and instead they all mock Jekyll for such an outlandish theory. Jekyll’s crazed attempts to defend himself don’t help matters. After cheating on his fiancee Jekyll gains the courage to test the serum on himself. Since his evil side is already overpowering him and makes for a convenient excuse to do whatever he wants, Jekyll takes the plunge. He is now the evil Mr. Hyde and will bring a lot of terror to the town.

Lets start with the obvious problems of the film. One is naturally the animal violence here as Jekyll tests on a lot of animals before going to human testing. A lot of rats end up dying due to his tests which shows how careless he is. Jekyll should have made a better serum before testing on innocent creatures. If anything testing on himself should have been the very first thing he did. These scenes are all pretty terrible and don’t help to start the film off on a good note. Then we also have Jekyll not being a sympathetic character from the start. We find out that he didn’t help the crazy guy out of the goodness of his heart, but just so he could run experiments. Additionally he is awfully quick to cheat on his fiancee. In the original film he at least pretended to resist for a bit while here he seemed to be the one making advances.

Then we’ve got the obnoxious plot with Mr. Hyde and Ivy that drags the film all the way down. It’s a pretty bad plot that’s just here for edge and grit. It makes the film a lot darker to be sure, but doesn’t add any actual substance to the movie. Ivy also makes all of the wrong choices here in not telling the cops or attempting to leave even when given many opportunities to do so. In this version she actually has a reasonable support group with her two friends, but still chooses to be alone and things don’t go very well. Hyde is also not an interesting villain in the slightest as he’s just evil to be evil.

Jekyll’s friend is also pretty terrible. Once he sees Hyde that should have been the end of the adventure. It’s no time to feel sympathetic to this guy. Even if the friend doesn’t shoot him right then and there he should have at least taken him to the cops. Hyde should be paying the price for his crimes in a cell, not being allowed to roam the streets any longer. As the bodies continue to pile up you can directly blame the friend for this. If you don’t make a move to stop a villain then you are absolutely an accomplice.

As with the last film the biggest plot hole here is Dr. Jekyll’s entire experiment. The concept is that you can isolate the good and evil sides of the soul, but to do that you have to have somewhere to put it. If you’re locking them both in the same body then that’s really not changing a thing. Maybe you could make one side a little stronger temporarily but it’s not solving anything. If he was trying to implant one part of the soul somewhere else then maybe that’s something to be looked into, but otherwise this doesn’t make any sense in the slightest. Jekyll doesn’t strike me as a particularly intelligent character so I
suppose that makes sense, but it still sounds like a plot hole to me. The cast of characters are bland and the writing is pretty bad. The film drags on for eternity as you go through it so the pacing wasn’t good either. I don’t think there’s a whole lot more to say beyond that.

Overall, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a pretty terrible film. There isn’t really anything redeemable about it much like the first film. That’s because it’s really the same film just with a fresh group of actors and actresses. With no real changes to differentiate the films it would be easy to mix them up. When watching them almost back to back the issues become even more apparent. If you’re planning to watch a horror film soon then this is one that I would advise you to skip. It’s hardly one of the better horror films out there and is lacking in any real positives to keep it afloat. I’d sooner recommend watching the Son of Dr. Jekyll which wasn’t that great but still beats this one.

Overall 0/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

47 Meters Down Uncaged Review

It’s time to look at the sequel to the original 47 Meters Down film. I can’t really say that it’s much different from the first film. In general I don’t think the plot leaves the movie a lot of room to be all that good. For starters there is almost guaranteed to be some kind of animal violence in a film with sharks all around. On another note the ocean setting just isn’t great. Give me the city any day. You more or less know what to expect in a film like this and I’d say that there are no surprises here so you really shouldn’t be surprised one way or the other after watching it.

The movie starts of by introducing us to Mia and Sasha. Mia was adopted into the family and doesn’t have a great relationship with her step sister Sasha. Mia gets bullied all the time in school such as being thrown into a pool and Sasha never steps in to help. Their parents decide to get them to spend time together by having them spend a day in one of those underwater shark tanks. Neither girl is excited about this, but orders are orders. Sasha’s friends end up appearing though and convince the two to ditch the plans and head to an abandoned underwater city. Despite being warned not to go anywhere near this place the 4 girls head down and promptly break the entrance so nobody can get back out. Now they are stuck underwater with some very large sharks and a dwindling air supply. Which girl(s) will make it out of this alive?

As per slasher film tradition you can more or less guess you will live through this film by the end. If you’ve seen enough of these films you’ll likely guess 100% correctly. The main thing to keep in mind for horror films like this is that karma hits really quickly and even an innocent mistake will be remembered and used against you. The main character typically has plot armor so the question is if the armor will expand to protect someone else or if everyone is doomed. I’ll let you make you guesses and think about it. This review isn’t for spoiler details like exactly who survives.

That being said, there isn’t a whole lot of fun to be had in this movie. I also think some parts randomly drag a bit. The intro is a good example of this. The film starts off with a nice atmosphere as we see a bunch of skulls and some good underwater visuals. Then…this scene keeps on playing. After a few minutes you’re waiting for the actual film to start. We then get a super slow shot of someone falling into the water before the film finally starts. The whole thing was way too long and destroyed the potential effectiveness of the scene. It was a little unfortunate because otherwise you do always want a suspenseful start like what the film was trying to go for.

Another thing hurting the film is the cast of characters. There aren’t really many likable ones to be found here. Sasha’s friends come across as rather fake as they clearly don’t like Mia but put up with her since they want to hang out with Sasha. They were quite willing to ditch Mia which would have left her alone with the bullies and no supervision. Those aren’t really the best friends to ave at the ready even if Mia seems oblivious at times or is just trying to make the best of the situation. It’s also hard for Sasha to recover from the opening scene. Even if she doesn’t like Mia all that much they are sisters so you’d expect her to at least help when the bullies are around. Letting Mia get pushed into the water like that was pretty bad.

The parents are good characters at least. There’s only so much they can do to get the two step sisters to get along, but they do their best. Their heart’s in the right place at least. Mia admittedly doesn’t make things any easier, but we can assume that this has been going on for quite a while so by now it’s easy to see why she’s pretty upset. You can only be bullied for so long before you start to feel pretty down all the time. Also the bullies do outnumber her 4-1 so it would be pretty hard to fight back as well.

As far as the writing goes, the film’s not great but I’ve seen worse. The characters are all pretty obnoxious and make all of the worst decisions so it’s hard to root for them. They are intentionally breaking as many rules as possible which isn’t great and one of them was mainly responsible for everything going wrong by swimming off by herself. Nicole is easily the worst character by the way. You’ll see why if you watch the film as she is directly responsible for just about everything that goes wrong here. The teenagers are the stereotypical ones you’d expect to see in a film like this. It’s a shame that teens have such a bad rep. No worries we also get the “teens always have earphones on” part so someone doesn’t notice people about to get eaten right in front of him. It’s all pretty tragic for all parties involved.

In terms of violence the film does get pretty intense so you’ll want to watch out for that. There is some shark violence as expected which is also a shame. This is why films like this should either go for Mummified Sharks which can’t bleed or robotic ones. That would go a long way to making the film a lot better. Otherwise you are guaranteed to hit this snag and that’s just not going to end up well for anyone. An underlining theme in the film is that you have to resist peer pressure or you may get eaten by a shark. It’s a pretty solid morale because while that may not be what literally happens to you in real life, peer pressure can often lead you into some pretty sticky situations. You really want to learn how to resist that early on.

Overall, 47 Meters Down Uncaged is not a film that I’d recommend. Having access to the rest of the ruins makes for a much more engaging backdrop than being stuck in a small cave, but being underwater was never great anyway. Having sharks as the main villain is a self defeating concept and the characters weren’t that good. Even Mia as the main heroine wasn’t all that solid. If you really like shark films then you should check it out. There’s a homage to Deep Blue Sea that you’re bound to recognize because it’s basically the exact scene copy and pasted into this film.

Overall 3/10

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The Son of Dr. Jekyll Review

It’s time to look at a film with one of the most unsympathetic characters I’ve seen in a while. The whole plot of the film barely feels like it makes sense if you ask me but that’s because the cast is quite suspect. Most of them also aren’t very good at thinking thing through which leads them all into pretty dangerous developments. It’s better than the first film and decent overall I suppose. Just get ready to watch the lead fall into every trap.

So the film starts with a recap of how Jekyll died in a burning building. He had a kid before he passed though and one character is guilt tripped into adopting him. John decides not to tell Edward that he is the son of Mr. Hyde and raised him up as he would any child. Ed quickly becomes a super genius anyway. Eventually it is time for him to inherit the estate so the father is forced to let him in on the secret. He has the local psychiatrist Lanyon tell him instead though and Edward starts obsessing over his father’s notes. He wants to prove that the murderer wasn’t just insane but that he perfected the formula which draws out his evil abilities. Due to this, the town begins frame and terrorize him. Lanyon  tells Edward he will be glad to take control of all of Edward’s money for the next few years to take the pressure off. It’s an insane offer but Edward turns it down for all of the wrong reasons, he just wants to run the experiments. Odd circumstances start to add up though and now people think Edward is insane. Can he prove that he has been framed or is he losing his marbles?

That was a pretty big plot write up but I wasn’t quite sure how to abbreviate it. So I’ve got a lot of problems here but Edward is at the top of the list so we should start with him. As soon as he learns about his father Edward begins concocting a plan to perfect the serum and try it out on himself. Why? If it works then he will be unlocking his evil side and committing murders like the original. If it fails then he will have proven that his father was crazy. Either way it’s a bad ending for him and the stakes are way too high to even attempt this. He has his fiancée/about to be wife to think about as well and she even tells him not to do this. I don’t get why Edward was so obsessive the whole time.

Then you’ve got the fact that he keeps on proving everyone right about inheriting the Hyde genes as he is quick to assault anyone who gets in his way. He tried to choke quite a few characters here and gets physical with the others. He even chokes his nice butler at one point when he had a bad dream. Edward seems quite unhinged throughout the film to the point where it wouldn’t be surprising if a lot of the scenes in the film actually didn’t happen.

Edward also isn’t the smartest character in the lot as every trap works on him. It’s quite easy for the reporters to frame him as Edward threatens the local paper boy and goes around swinging a cane. He also meets with the villains who he knows are trying to blackmail him at the time. That’s already a bad idea but then violently grabbing her is even worse. When it’s time to actually fight Edward tends to lose each time. He’s really not a good fighter as he loses to an old guy with a banjo and then to the main villain. All of this could have been avoided if he wasn’t trying to defend a convicted murderer who he didn’t even know until a few days ago.

Edward’s father also looks pretty bad the whole time in how easily he was believing the psychiatrist’s idea of extending the trusteeship. There isn’t much benefit to letting this guy claim the vast wealth of the Jekyll estate. How would that stop the mob from hounding Edward all over the place? He wouldn’t be rich anymore but he would still be trying the experiments so it wouldn’t make much difference. Also as close a friend as the guy may have been, you never give a friend your vast wealth. The temptation is far too powerful even if the guy wasn’t already evil.

This film isn’t exactly high energy, but at the same time I never got bored so I’ll give it a reasonable amount of credit for that. It’s a decent adventure and it doesn’t make the big mistakes that you see in some other titles. The villain is still murdering a bunch of people but the movie doesn’t go out of its way to make it gritty. A lot of these characters don’t really think things through though. When you make a deal with a villain you know what you’re getting into and yet a lot of them start having doubts and half heartedly giving out information, so they end up silenced. Others are just at the wrong place at the wrong time so there’s not much they could have done.

Overall, The Son of Dr. Jekyll is significantly better than the original even if there isn’t really much to do with the classic at all. It’s more of a legacy story dealing with a character who is being judged by the legend. You can’t go in expecting a lot of action scenes or anything like that or you are going to be disappointed. The story is interesting enough even if you will not like Edward by the end and you can see all of the twists coming a mile away. The ending is good at least and the actual film holds up well enough. If you’re going to see a film about Jekyll or Hyde then this is the one that you ought to check out. It may be purely middle of the road, but at least it’s not bad.

Overall 5/10

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Review

It’s time to look at a terrible film from back in the day. When you think of Jekyll and Hyde you already know it was one of the weakest horror classics from back in the day. There’s really just not much to the concept and it’s really just a classic horror slasher with no soul or personality. It ends up faltering pretty early on and there’s no real way to root for the main character. It may not be the longest film out there, but prepare for it to drag on quite a lot.

The film starts with introducing us to Jekyll who is currently engaged to a lady named Muriel. He wants to marry her, but her father believes that they should wait another 10 months so the wedding happens on one of the anniversaries of his wedding. Jekyll isn’t happy about this, but that’s how it’s got to be. He then cheats on Muriel in the meantime with a lady named Ivy and decides to create a serum that will release his evil side. He succeeds and then uses this as an excuse to go around committing murder and other such crimes. Can anyone stop this guy?

There’s no need to feel sympathetic with Jekyll right from the start because nobody was forcing him to do any of this. It was all of his own free will and no amount of whining later on can change that. Even before the whole Hyde plot he was cheating on Muriel with Ivy. When he is called out on it Jekyll gets defensive and tries to pull the “You’d do it too card.” That’s not even a defense as it’s just trying to say that anyone would make the same mistake, but not trying to say that it isn’t wrong. It’s really just a way for him to justify his own actions and he spends the entire film doing this. Nothing is ever his fault and he just blames everyone around it while feeling sorry for himself the whole time. These scenes drag on quite a lot.

Muriel’s father was right about Jekyll from the start and so he ends up being the most reasonable character around. If only Muriel had listened to him. Nothing much would have changed to be honest, but Jekyll had a ton of red flags all around him from day 1. He can’t keep on calling out sick every time there is a big function. After a while enough is just enough with that. Ivy is easily the most tragic character of the lot. True, she did convince Jekyll to cheat despite knowing that he was taken so she isn’t exactly a saint, but it doesn’t mean that she deserved the terror that was to come for the rest of the film. Hyde gets away with way too much in the film and the scenes are all in poor taste. It drags on and on as the film tries to be as gritty as possible.

There’s no real reason for the film to go down this road as we have already established that Hyde was the evil persona of Jekyll. This is where films make their big mistake as they don’t need to keep hitting us over the head with how dark the film can be. Since this is old knowledge it’s just a waste of screen time. Take away the whole Ivy plot and the film would be way better. Instead her scenes just add an extra layer of violence and grit not to mention fanservice that further seals the deal of the movie. Throughout this the character who doesn’t really have to own up to anything for most of the film is Jekyll himself. You’d think he would have had to put up with a little more as payback for all that happened, but he actually gets to mostly enjoy his victories until the very last scene. That doesn’t seem all that balanced.

The police also look pretty bad here. At one point around 20 of them are losing to Jekyll. Why didn’t anyone think to shoot him until the one guy took out his gun? This guy is already a confirmed murderer who is resisting arrest and assaulting other officers. I think that’s more than enough reason to take out your gun at this point. Otherwise you’re really just allowing yourself to become the next victim and at that point you’re really doomed. Jekyll’s one friend also made that mistake. He had the gun, he needed to at least have used it or grabbed the cops earlier. Playing it defensively the way he did didn’t really do anything except let Jekyll cause more terrors in the mean time.

Overall, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a terrible film. There are no real redeeming qualities about it and it just continues to sink further and further as the film goes on. You’re just hoping it’ll reach a speedy conclusion before long. The writing was poor, the characters were bad, and at that point there really isn’t much that can save it. If you’re going to watch an old horror film then you’re better off watching just about anything else. Check out the original Godzilla film or perhaps the Werewolf titles with Lon Chaney. Those films certainly have a lot more heart to them than this one.

Overall 0/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ghost Review

It’s time to look at a film dealing with the supernatural. It’s always interesting when the hero becomes a ghost as opposed to the villain for a change. Usually you see the villains messing with everyone like in the Grudge or something and the heroes are all bumped off. On the other hand, when a hero uses the power usually they aren’t quite as strong for some random reason so it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Ultimately I was glad Sam got some powers and it’s a reasonable movie, but there are things that hold it back a bit.

The movie starts with things going pretty well for Sam and Molly. Sam’s crunching the numbers at the bank and Molly’s doing pretty well with her pottery and sculpting. Sam’s noticed that some numbers aren’t adding up at his company, but he’ll figure out the issue soon. Time is on his side…or that’s what he thought until one day he is mugged in a dark alley and murdered. It all happened so suddenly that Sam’s soul is unable to move on and now he can only watch without interacting with anybody. That’s when he learns that the whole thing is a conspiracy. His murder wasn’t accidental and if he doesn’t do something quick then his wife Molly will be in trouble. Sam is forced to enlist the aid of a supernatural medium scammer named Oda. Can he convince her to work with him on this?

The concept here is pretty sound and a classic. The main character gets murdered so now he has to solve the case from beyond the grave and see to it that the villain doesn’t get away. It’s certainly frustrating for Sam at first since he can’t interact with anything, but gradually he gets used to his abilities which makes him more of a formidable threat to everyone involved. Sam’s power does go to his head a bit as he has a tendency to play with his food rather than finishing the job and goes for a quick hug even though it puts everyone in danger thanks to the side effects. He’s not perfect, but he’s still a pretty solid main character.

Unfortunately the heroine Molly ends up faltering here. She’s good at first and seems like a supportive character. Where she really ends up failing is when Sam’s friend Carl shows up and she rebounds with him even though Sam only died a few days ago. That’s so incredibly soon that it’s crazy. Even if you ignore the fact that she thought he may still be around as a ghost or that he was grisly murdered…it’s only been a few days since he was gone. No matter how sad she was there’s really no excuse for going with this guy. I thought that whole scene was pretty terrible and I have to say that it did end up hurting the score.

We had gotten quite a few romantic scenes with Sam and Molly earlier so it just made those feel hollow. In general the romance just wasn’t written well as a result and we could have just cut those scenes entirely and replaced with more supernatural hi-jinx. Maybe have Sam troll a bunch of people from beyond the grave by moving things around. It is entertaining to see him messing with Willie and Carl. He also annoys Oda quite a lot until she eventually agrees to help him. When you’ve got ghost abilities you may as well use them right?

Carl’s a pretty terrible character right away. The instant he starts going after Molly you know there’s no hope for him. It’s also fairly obvious where his character is going even before Sam dies with his line about how the numbers aren’t adding up after he gives away his account numbers. It’s definitely a good lesson on why you shouldn’t trust people too much. There are certain things you should never give someone else like your social security number or password to your office computer. Those are things that just always ring true and nobody ever needs to know those things either. The deadlines were quickly approaching but you’ve still got to not budge on this.

Oda is a pretty fun character. She’s definitely reluctant to help and has to be convinced quite a lot and at different points in the film. Oda also tends to mess up on things like writing out a check and pretending to be someone else, but at the end of the day at least she is an ally who is here to help Sam. Those were in short supply. Also, she’s just a lot of fun. All of her scenes are pretty entertaining and in part it’s because all of her reactions are pretty well justified and realistic. It’s incredibly hard for anyone to part with 4 million, especially when you’ve been taking life or death risks all day. You feel like you should at least get 1% of that which would still be a pretty good sum. Not everyone can get rich though and at least she kept the moral high ground.

One of the best scenes is when Sam goes into a train and is confronted by another ghost. It was cool because we hadn’t seen anyone else until then and it was also the first moment where Sam experienced real danger as a ghost because this guy could actually interact with him as if Sam was still alive. It was a shocking moment for the lead and he did his best to adjust. My issue with Sam here was just that he went down awfully quick without even landing a counter blow. I like to think that he would at least have done something.

Overall, Ghost is a decent movie. It’ll keep you entertained as you watch it even if you’ll question the characters at different points. Sam really should have been able to end things with the villains a lot sooner than he did. If anything the instant that one of them threatened to murder his wife at the end if Sam didn’t meet his demands, Sam should have taken him down. Waving a knife doesn’t do anything to someone who’s intangible and at the time Molly was still upstairs. Sam could have just reached over and ended the guy in many different ways. There are even hundreds of non lethal ways to take him down. My point here is really that Sam didn’t use his abilities nearly as well as he could have and was probably having too much fun with the villains when everyone could have already been safe by then. That was my main issue along with Molly not staying strong at least for a longer period of time, but even then if you go with anyone it should never be the best friend. If you want to see a movie with this interesting concept then I’d recommend checking it out. Otherwise I don’t think you’ll be missing a whole lot.

Overall 5/10