Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Amityville Horror Review

Disclaimer: This review is of the edited TV 14 version of the film. All thoughts written below should be addressed accordingly as a review of the unedited version would likely be even more negative.
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The Amityville Horror is a film that you could probably judge from the title and know what to expect. I came into the film with reasonably low expectations and it still managed to crash way below them. This title is filled with red herrings and uninteresting characters to distract you from the fact that not much really happens in this film. If you haven’t seen it, now’s your chance to quickly back away to spare yourself some time.

The plot involves George and Kathy as they decide to move to a new house. They are pretty strapped for cash, but they really want a new house. Unfortunately, that’s just how it is in the modern world. The house is really beat up and the previous occupants were participants in a gruesome act, but the new owners don’t mind. They quickly pay up and the real estate agent was probably thrilled that someone finally fell for her tricks. The heroes settle in with their 3 kids and things seem to be going smoothly. Then, mysterious things start to happen and the heroes realize that the house may be tougher than it looks.

Well, there are many placed to start with this film. Let’s talk about the characters first. George is a pretty terrible lead and his “strength of character” is nonexistent. All it takes is an artificial chill that the spirit produces to start corrupting him. He loses his temper constantly and yells at the dog just to provide him with some amount of “toughness” for his character. It really just makes him look petty and even worse. I wasn’t rooting for him almost from the second that he appeared. He is distracted by romance, but not enough so that he can resist the influence of the dark spirits. Feeling cold isn’t fun, but his mind deteriorates way too quickly through this feeling. He continues to crack as the film goes on. He gets a heroic scene towards the end to try and redeem his character, but that was basically impossible by that point. It helps his character to be sure, but it’s simply too late for him.

Kathy is the main heroine and she doesn’t really look much better. SHe keeps on telling George that they shouldn’t get the house, but then she relents and they move in. From then on, she basically just has to watch as George goes crazy and she can’t really do anything about it. In the climax, she decides to fight, but it’s one of the worst attempts of all time. She gives up after a few seconds and she really showed no combat experience. That’s all right, but anyone can throw a punch and I would expect a much better fight out of someone who’s fighting for several lives. That was pretty poor form and she never became likable as the film went on.

The film plays out as a reverse slasher in the sense that the spirit picks off everyone one by one, but it doesn’t typically finish them off. It just gives them a scare so they will leave the house. Failure to comply with it will result in a car crash or permanent paralysis. Sometimes both. It’s a unique approach I suppose, but you do have to wonder what the point of it all is. The spirit gets some character development towards the end, but it’s very slight.

The film also really wanted to push the “Even God can’t save you now” angle. I suppose that it can be seen as the ultimate scare since you would really be doomed. Ignoring that this scenario would never even be possible, it just goes very far to show this. The heroes put up a mini statue of the cross and the spirit makes sure to burn it. Later on, the Father at one of the churches comes over to bless the house and the spirit overwhelms him with a powerful curse. We see him try to leave a Bible, but the spirit forces him to pick it back up and run away. Later on, he tries to go back, but the spirit just takes out his car and essentially ends his life since he’s almost brain dead at this point. Most Hollywood/mainstream films like to point out that demons and spirits can be alive while the same isn’t true for Angels and God. It’s a film so they can always mess with the rules that way, but it makes the whole thing pretty lopsided. The film is also trying to claim that it’s from a true story although I suppose that we all knew better about 15 minutes into the film. Demons are real so some horror stories are probably real, but this is one of the tales that was probably just made up for a quick buck and their 5 minutes of fame.

Another negative would be the George getting corrupted part. It’s so overdone and it’s one of the worst horror plots. Give us a supernatural enemy who can’t be stopped (Which is bad enough) but let’s at least give the main characters some determination and a will to fight back. Seeing him turn on everyone is just not enjoyable and it’s an easy way out of using special effects or good writing. The hit towards the end was basically the cliff that the film went over since he was no longer redeemable although he may have already passed that part earlier.

The film is not the most violent horror film that you’ll encounter. There are only a handful of scenes, but one of them is particularly brutal as one of the main characters has a dream. It’s enough that you could instantly guess that this film was a little stronger than your average summer blockbuster and it didn’t do any wonders for the film. Violence against noncombatants always ends up appearing as a negative compared to fighting violence. See, a fighter getting injured is way different than a pedestrian getting hit since they are prepared for two vastly different roles.

The kids are also pretty bad characters. The girl has an imaginary friend once again who turns out to be the spirit of the house. It explains that it wants them to stay in the house forever so that’s basically why it wants George to destroy them all. Or, so it would seem. The spirit is evidently strong enough to destroy them all on his own, but I guess it wants things to end up just like how they did last time. It mostly seems to have power over the mind, but its abilities have a real impact on the human world so it’s not just simple telepathy. Most likely it has advanced reality warping abilities since that’s a favorite for most horror writers. You don’t have to do any work, just make it able to do literally anything and you can call it a day.

I’d say that the film is actually more grotesque than scary. The film came out decades ago so you can mostly anticipate everything that it’s going to do, which is why it can be tough to be scared. The grotesque part goes back to the flies, which were some of the worst scenes in the film. One thing that I’ve never liked are insect scares since it’s just about insects crawling all over somebody so you can imagine the worst. It was a painfully bad scene as they attack the Father and force him out of the house. The guy takes his time leaving even though an ordinary person would have dashed out. The spirit continues to torment the guy with boils and such since the guy keeps trying to warn the heroes of the imminent danger.

The other scary scene would likely be when the babysitter is trapped in the closet. You’re supposed to be extra worried for her since she already has braces so everything is a little tougher for her. It’s really more unpleasant and sad to watch than it is scary and the lights turn off, but we already know that the spirit refuses to destroy anyone. It just wants to scare them over and over again until George cracks and does the work for him. The Babysitter literally had no point in the story. She was just there to get taken down.

The heroes have a dog and he’s probably the only positive thing that I can say about the whole experience. There is a little dog violence unfortunately as he scratches at a wall so hard that his paws bleed. Luckily, the film redeemed itself by saving the dog at the end so he wouldn’t have to bring the film down even more. It’s a shame that the other characters wanted to leave him (Kathy did anyway) but I would expect no less from her. George went back, which was good since it shows that he could have been a good character if not for the mind control.

The soundtrack was better than your average horror film so I guess that’s another positive. Considering when it came out, it’s surprisingly fast paced at times and it’s decently memorable. A horror film having a soundtrack in the first place is pretty surprising and it being a good one even more so. If only we had some good scenes to go along with it.

The spirit’s true form is only shown twice, but he seems like a decently tough demon. He’s pretty large, but he can probably shape shift at will so he will likely look different each time. He would have been a little cooler if he had fought some more, but the budget probably wasn’t there yet unless they used a suit like in the old Godzilla films. That would have been pretty interesting.

Some plot lines never really get time to develop either since the film didn’t know where it was going. We have the Detective who tries to act tough and sneaks around for clues, but he never ends up doing anything. He just abruptly disappears and ends up playing no role in the story. He was just there for filler, nothing more. Another woman is possessed by the spirits and tells them that the well is a gateway to Hell. Okay…I think we could have guessed that when we saw the endless tar coming out of it. What does that have to do with anything? The heroes never decide to close the well and the info didn’t help anyone out. I’m guessing that the original climax would have had the heroes plug it up, but maybe it was written out due to time constraints and a rapidly falling budget.

Overall, The Amityville Horror is not a film that you’ll want to check out anytime soon. The monster design is pretty good and the soundtrack is good as well, but everything else about the film really hit rock bottom. There was only 1 or 2 jump scenes and neither of them worked since we weren’t watching the film in super 3D in the dead of night with speakers that make you shiver with loud noises. The gross scenes will just make you back up a little and George’s plot is extremely wince worthy. The film also gives the Father way too cruel of a fate just so it could make a point that wouldn’t help the film anyway. Burning the cross and effectively destroying the Father…we get the point. (We also can’t forget making the Nun so sick that she has to end up leaving the house almost immediately) It’s hard to tell which negatives pushed my buttons the most to deserve a 1 since there were so many of them and they just kept adding up and up and up. Ah well, at least it was a pretty easy decision. I had the rating set before the film had even ended. While you’re steering clear of this film, just play a scary game like Dirge of Cerberus or take the opposite effect and take this time to rent Megaman Battle Network 5. Either way, you’ll be better off as this film goes into Sucker Punch levels of terrible. If you do watch the film, you should try to make a list of plots and characters that ended up not adding anything to the film.

Overall 1/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

I Frankenstein Review

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This time, I actually had heard of I Frankenstein before watching it. The trailer was easily one of the best ones that I saw this year and the only one that gave it any real competition was the trailer for the new Spiderman film. The trailer reminded me of the Underworld films and apparently it is from the same crew. I definitely had some decently high expectations for the film as I went in and I can safely say that it exceeded them. Considering that this film isn’t part of a big franchise or based on something that I’m familiar with, it did great. I Frankenstein is easily one of the best stand alone films that I’ve seen in a while. (Losing to The One as far as action films go, but it can even match up to DC and Marvel films)

The plot starts off with the usual Frankenstein story. Dr. Frankenstein tries to murder his creation, but he fails miserably, which results in his own death + his wife’s. When the monster goes to bury the doctor; he gets attacked by vampires demons. (I’m just going to call the monster Frankenstein from here on out to make things a little easier to read and type) Frankenstein is saved by some Gargoyles and they take him to their castle base. They are in a war with the demons and the humans have no idea about what has been going on. It’s a supernatural war and the demons are a part of the 666 legions that Satan sent to plunge the world into darkness. The gargoyles were ordered by the angels to hold the fort. (It was either Angel Michael or Gabriel who gave them this mission) The Gargoyles defend the peace and their leader is the only one who can directly communicate to the angels so they strive to protect her at all costs.

Frankenstein decides that he stands alone and he leaves. They supply him with a holy weapon and Frankenstein disappears for well over 100 years. The demons attack him again and Frankenstein decides that he’s going to fight back this time. No more running away…he’s going to end this war and take them all down. Will the Gargoyles approve? Frankenstein has a lot of battles ahead of him and he’s going to need to keep his guard up at all times.

Frankenstein is a pretty decent main character and this is my favorite interpretation of this figure. No longer is Frankenstein the slow monster that we’ve known him to be. No, he now possesses a mild degree of super strength/speed and he’s a solid fighter. He fights pretty well against the demon hordes. He may not be the most heroic character out there, but the film hints that he has softened up a little. (He better have since he starts the film off with a murder. It’s hard to forget that part) He deals a lot of damage to both sides through the film.

Prince Naberius is the main villain of the film. He’s the big boss and he is assumed to be much more powerful than the other demons. We don’t really see this because he takes a more diplomatic approach. He’s the kind of villain who appears to be gentle and nice in public, but he’s secretly as vicious as they come. He does get to mildly fight at the end of the film, but he doesn’t get any satisfying form of closure. As far as main villains go; he can be a little on the generic side and I was a little underwhelmed by his true form. That being said, it was amusing to see him in his human guise. It reminded me a little of Lex Luther in his actions. Naberius was definitely an all right character.

Terra is the main heroine of the film, but she doesn’t appear until we’re pretty late into the film. She’s all right, but I wouldn’t say that she stands out in any way. She’s experiments on animals and that’s something that I never like from scientists. That automatically meant that I would not like her in the film and she was never able to climb back from that. She helps out towards the climax and she’s supposed to be a sympathetic character that we can relate too, but she really didn’t have a purpose in the film. She could have been cut out and nobody would really notice.

Gideon is one of the highest ranking Gargoyles and he really doesn’t like Frankenstein. He’s so antagonistic that one would almost expect him to descend after he is defeated. He’s definitely no hero and he may be a decent fighter, but there isn’t much to suggest that he’s stronger than the others aside from the hype that he is given. I definitely didn’t care for him and I was rooting for him to lose in his fights.

Leonore is the Queen of the Gargoyles and she does not act as holy as you may expect. She doesn’t mind lying and using someone as long as it furthers her ambitions and she does give a kill order at one point in the film. (Again…this is why I’m glad that they decided to make the heroes work under the Angels as Gargoyles. I would be pretty incredulous to see Angels lie and decides to destroy people) She very unlikable, but then again…I didn’t care for any of the Gargoyles by the end of the film. The very first pair of Gargoyles that found Frankenstein were okay, but that’s about it. Leonore looks bad right up to the very end as she stabs a defenseless villain. At that point, they had to get rid of thousands of demons, but while her allies were taking them down by the dozens…she only defeated one. That’s not going to win her any fans.

Zuriel is the right hand man of Naberius and he was easily the best villain. He was a lot stronger than I had guessed and he proved to be more than a match for Frankenstein in a fair fight. Zuriel’s demon form was a little generic, but I can let that slide since he was fun to watch. He doesn’t get a whole lot of screentime, but each scene proves that aside from being a fighter; Zuriel is also a tactician. He proved to be smarter than Naberius when it came to planning.

Now, I have to address the gargoyles. They were supposedly sent here by the Angels so they should be pretty good people right? Unfortunately, that doesn’t really appear to be the case. I’m sure that some of them are heroic, but I just expect a lot more from them. They may not be complete Angels, but when I finally meet an Angel; I expect them to be nothing like the Gargoyles in the film. One of these holy Gargoyles happy tells Frankenstein that he’s doomed to rot in hell for all eternity and he’s really thrilled about this. (He’s also a little sore since he’s being terminated)

One plot in the film is how Frankenstein doesn’t have a soul. The gargoyles are mad at him and also worried because they say that he shouldn’t exist and now God is not the only one who has created life. They act as if Satan will destroy everything with this knowledge and that the world is doomed. First of all, I don’t see how Frankenstein would not have a soul. Even though he was created by another human; Frankenstein has emotions and he can feel pain. He’s completely alive and I would say that this means that he automatically has a soul. An interesting part is that he does something during the final part of the film that proves that he doesn’t have a soul, which contradicts what happens a few minutes after that. Do souls really grow that quickly? I don’t know…that part felt sketchy. He should have had a soul from the beginning.

One scene that I didn’t care for was the scene with the rat as they tried to perfect the regeneration process. Testing on animals will always be wrong. Many say that it’s for the greater good so that humans will be okay, but that’s not okay in my book. If we want to be healthier, then we need to test on ourselves instead of innocent creatures. That scene was pretty awful, but luckily it was only once and we didn’t have any other forms of animal violence.

Another part that I took issue with was how weak the Gargoyles base was. The demons were basically able to take it over at any time. When they finally decided to attack the Gargoyles; it was a blowout. The demons outnumbered them over 100-1 and the heroes quickly started saying things like “It’s Over.” Why couldn’t they call for backup from the other bases that were previously mentioned? They said that Satan only has command over 666 legions so the Gargoyles should definitely outnumber them at this point. It’s definitely a little on the iffy side to see such a gap in power.

The soundtrack is a little on the forgettable side, but it was pretty good. The tunes tend to be a little generic, but it’s generic action mood that fits the tone. It’s pretty fast paced at times and the dramatic themes were also well placed. You likely won’t remember the music in your head after a few days, but they will help to enhance the fight scenes as you’re watching the film.

The fight scenes were very good and this is the kind of action that I want to see in a film. There were sword fights and we also had some monster action, but it was all done smoothly. The blowing up effects for the demons were pretty neat and likewise with the ascending effect for the Gargoyles. The scenes were intense without being gritty in an over the top way.

Overall, this was a pretty fun film. We got to mix religion with an old myth like Frankenstein. I’m glad that the Angels were not the ones fighting because I would never want to see them look so much like the villains, plus the Gargoyles were so weak. I do not believe that a demon would be able to defeat an Angel. Frankenstein was a good lead and Zuriel made for a good villain, but the rest of the characters were either decent or just unlikable. The soundtrack and fight scenes made the film very enjoyable and it’s fast paced. There aren’t many scenes that will really feel dragged out, which is always a plus. I definitely recommend this film to action fans. There may be one or two violent moments, but nothing over the top. If you’ve seen Jason Bourne, then you’ll be okay to see this one.

Overall 7/10