Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

The Hug Review


It’s time to look at a quick special known as The Hug. This was a pretty recent horror short from 2018 and it borrows from the 5 Nights at Freddy’s concept. What if there was an evil pizza place where the mascot goes around murdering people? In less than 5 minutes there is only so much that this special can do to show off the premise so you have to fill in the gaps yourself. There are definitely a lot of implications here not just for the worker but for the store in general.

The short has a kid celebrating his birthday party at a local pizza place. He finally won some ticket on one of the machines so he wants to have a shot performed for him by the animal robot. The store owner says the robot is out to lunch so the kid has to wait. The kid doesn’t listen and opens the curtain. The machine asks for a hug and it turns out to be a fatal one as the machine eats the kid. The pizza owner tries to investigate but gets scared off by the machine’s true face. That is ultimately how the special ends.

So…did the pizza owner know that the machine was evil? It’s pretty sketchy that they continue to power on the robot every day if that is the case. It also makes the owner a true accomplice. The owner’s phrasing here is also key as he said that the machine was eating. Machines don’t eat so that means the owner was feeding him something. We can only hope that he feeds it a steady diet of veggies and pizza but is that really the case? The owner was my favorite character on the surface as he seemed concerned and at least did try to help. It’s just that the more you think about it, the more likely it is that he is completely responsible for what happened. In that case it’s hard to like the guy.

The film makes the kid was unlikable as possible before he gets eaten. He disobeys the rules and just isn’t a very nice guy in general. It’s still pretty dark for the kid to get eaten like that though. Since the short ends so suddenly you can try to make the case that they got the kid out of it afterwards. I’m not sure how much weight that theory holds but the guests do outnumber the robot so perhaps they would be able to pull something like that off.

Overall, The Hug is definitely a fun little horror title. It reminds me of the classic Goosebumps adventures where the hero wouldn’t always win in the end. The film doesn’t last quite long enough for things to get too overly dark so it works out well enough. If you’re a big horror fan then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. It shows that you can do quite a lot in 4 minutes. The special introduces the characters, gives us some tension in the scenes, and even brings in a villain who has a very unique design. Be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart!

Overall 6/10

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

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Review


It’s time to look at a fairly recent horror film. You’ll probably remember hearing the name from a while back even if the film was pretty quiet once it came out. I remember thinking the trailer didn’t look so good and the film follows suit. It does its best to be pretty edgy and give you some stories that are both dark and gross, but the end result is a mess that I can’t recommend. It’s not the worst horror film that I’ve seen, but it’s about average for the genre. Average for a horror film is not very good overall.

The film starts with a group of teens deciding to get revenge on the school bully. For years he has tormented them quite a lot and so this Halloween they are going to load their treat bucket with things other than treats. When Tommy steals it they realize that they didn’t have much of a plan beyond that. They meet up with a guy named Ramon and then the whole crew gets locked by the bully inside a haunted house. There Stella finds a mysterious book that was written by the girl who used to live here before everyone got murdered. Now the book is writing a new story every night and the person whose name is on the page dies a gruesome death. Can Stella break the curse or are all of her friends about to be destroyed?

It’s a pretty standard horror plot. When you awaken an evil being from the past she always tries to murder everyone. The nice ghosts never come out to play, but I suppose it’s because they are always willing to move on. The main characters definitely aren’t the most sympathetic figures around though. Their whole intro is about getting revenge on Tommy and two wrongs never make a right. Additionally the film does its best to make each character as unlikable as possible. Auggie is always insulting his sister and Chuck can’t help but stare at her through the window. Stella is ultra goth and loves talking about all these gruesome murders that used to occur. Naturally the group would awaken a monster by breaking into a house and reading a book they shouldn’t have. The whole thing started because they broke the law and busted in the house after all.

The characters never really improve. Chuck is pretty bad from start to finish. He panics quite a lot and quickly makes all of the wrong moves possible. Ditching the other main characters to run on his own is one of the worst things you can do when someone is bumping people off one at a time. If you’re with someone else then usually you’re at least a little safer. I’d make the case that his death did break the rule of each character being murdered at night though, but why should villains follow the rules right? His murder is probably the most interesting one though and easily had the best visuals. The monster who got him looked like a legitimate video game character and was also one of the toughest dilemmas to get out of. Since this villain controlled space and time there isn’t much you can do. Certainly one of the scariest hugs I’ve seen in a while.

Then we have Auggie who is also pretty bad. He’s shown to be way too desperate the whole time and only slightly more mature than Chuck. His death was pretty awful in part because Auggie was given every opportunity to escape. It’s one of those scenes that exposes the film’s writing and nothing in the scene makes sense. Auggie knows that the story is about eating a toe and the heroes keep telling him not to eat the stew, but he does anyway. He doesn’t even look before taking a bite. The scene was terrible in every way possible and it’s just hard to have more sympathy for him at this point because it’s like he wanted the monster to show up. How do you still eat the stew even when everyone told you not to do so at least a dozen times? He hides under the bed and closes his eyes so afterwards he doesn’t know where the villain is. Great…

Stella at least has an origin story to explain why she is so into murder. Something happened with her Mom a while back which messed her up and with these murders being activated by her she is not taking things so well. Still, she’s just not much of a fun character and is hanging out with a pretty bad crowd. Getting knocked into the parallel dimension didn’t do wonders for her. By virtue of being the main character she does get a lot to do and is better than her two sidekicks but never really made it into the next tier of being a solid lead.

The best character in the film is easily Ramon. He’s actually a quality character who is trying to get out of the town without getting into trouble. He’s in the wrong town for that though and you feel bad for him when the characters jump into his car and get him into trouble. Ramon can take care of himself pretty well but there’s not much you can do against super powered monsters. He still lasts for quite a while on his own though. His backstory is also pretty sympathetic since it’s hard to do something when there’s a good chance you’ll be murdered. At least his decisions actually made a lot of sense from start to finish.

While this movie isn’t an anthology you could say that the murders follow that style. Each murder is pretty different as everyone faces a different kind of threat. The hug one was pretty cool and the Scarecrow was also intense. The guy probably could have handled the situation a little better but it was another reality warping kind of threat so ultimately it would all be futile. You still shouldn’t trip so often though. The guy was drunk which didn’t help matters for him. The monster under the bed was pretty hype as well.

The spiders was definitely the worst one though. That one’s more gross than scary with spiders that defy logic. I’d argue that it was probably the most vicious way to go with the hug being the easiest since it didn’t look particularly painful or anything. The film did seem to like its more gross plots though like the toe and the bag or stuff that the heroes used early on. The scenes are brief but don’t really help its case. The film couldn’t resist and gets quite dark by the end with the backstory of the villain who is murdering everyone. We get a pretty long torture scene which is always a quick way to lose a lot of points. I feel like almost every horror film has a backstory for how the villain became all powerful and it’s always completely unnecessary. Keeping that out of things would have been good. The film should have focused on the old lady and the dog more although of course that’s always risky. The film actually did good in not letting the dog get destroyed in this film. I was pretty worried about that for a while there.

The film tries to have an emotional subplot with Stella’s Dad. He doesn’t get to appear much but he seems like a good guy. He gives her a lot of good advice throughout the film like not going outside after dark but she never listens. It’s a pretty tough situation for him too. He’s not handling it perfectly but he’s trying. It’s a plot that largely gets pushed to the side though as the movie has no real time for it. In theory a sequel would explore this more based on the ending although that doesn’t seem like it’s likely to happen. I also think a sequel wouldn’t be needed if Stella had just written a few more lines. I can’t say much more than that for spoiler reasons but if you watch the film you’ll see what I mean.

Overall, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is basically your average horror film. I’d say that it has above average graphics as some of the monsters were pretty good. It’s still held back by the usual elements though like some overly dark details and terrible writing. The characters really could have played things out a lot better than they did to the point where it was almost like a parody at times. It’s all played deadly serious though so hopefully the writers were self-aware but it’s really hard to say. If you like horror films then you’ll probably enjoy this one, otherwise I’d recommend going back and watching some Scooby Doo features instead.

Overall 2/10

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

It’s Alive Review


It’s time to check out a film about a monster baby. This seems to have been quite the popular genre back in the day with a lot of terrible films that had a similar premise. I can’t say that this film is much better than those. It’s pretty much what you would expect as the monster slashes through everyone until eventually someone remembers how to fire a gun. The plot requires a lot of suspense of disbelief with how slow everyone is to react and how nobody acts realistically. It’s definitely a movie that you will want to avoid.

The movie starts with Frank and Lenore excited about their next baby. It’s about to show up so they head to the hospital. Unfortunately the baby jumps out and murders a bunch of people before escaping through the air ducts. The hospital asks Frank to keep this quiet so they can exterminate the monster in peace. Frank gives them his blessing and is promptly fired from his job as a PR guy. He takes Lenore home and they tell their kid Chris to stay at a different house while this all blows over. Unfortunately the hospital and the police have a hard time tracking down this baby so it goes on a murder spree as it gets closer and closer to where Frank lives. After it murders a few more people it is now ready to go home. Can Frank stop the monster and save the day or are they all about to get eaten?

There are a ton of problems with this film but lets start with the biggest one. The film squeezes in some animal violence for no discernible reason. The instant you see that Chris owns a cat you know that things are going to go south. It’s pretty much the film throwing in the white flag before it has even started. It naturally gets destroyed by the end of the film in a pretty gruesome fashion. It takes away from the film’s attempt to humanize the monster by the end by saying that it won’t murder family. The family pet is clearly family so I don’t think the writers were really looking at the right script. There’s no way to sympathize with the baby at this point.

It also makes Chris’ reaction feel rather off. He notices the cat right away, but then dismisses this as he tries to console the baby. That’s not really a proper reaction, it just makes you think Chris has gone nuts. Perhaps the experience broke his mind the way that it did for Lenore. She looks pretty bad the whole time too. At first she is pretty crazy when the experience first happens and seems to be on board with destroying the creature. Later on she grows attached to it after it’s already murdered tons of people. It’s simply too far gone by then and she should realize that storing it in the back will only delay the inevitable. Again I must also point out that the cat was taken down by this point which is no good.

Then the film is also quite violent. It’s one of those films where the director must have had many pots of paint at the ready because he tends to throw it at all of the characters right off the bat. Everyone dies as violently as possible. We rarely see the creature move so it’s hard to say how fast it is, but it’s the size of a baby. How is it destroying so many people? People never seem to use their guns in times and just stand there like sacks of potatoes as they get completely train wrecked. I’d have liked to see people at least put up some kind of fight. It’s like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. There’s no realistic way you should be losing to a tomato. This film’s all about shock value so that’s really the only point to all of this. I guess they figured it doesn’t have to make sense so long as it is entertaining. Unfortunately it wasn’t entertaining.

At least Frank is trying to end this although he also gets a little too obsessive on trying to put distance between himself and the creature. What he should have done was move out of town for the 3 weeks with Lenore and Chris and hope that the monster couldn’t follow them. It would allow them to get some new surroundings and hopefully help with the coping process. So long as that was accomplished perhaps they would all be able to move on. To be fair, he had no reason to assume the baby could follow him all the way home but in horror films like this the overall message is really that nobody is safe. Wherever you go there will always be the monster right around the corner.

One of the worst parts about the film is the fact that it’s just not interesting. An evil baby doesn’t make for a visually interesting villain nor are the characters good enough to keep you engaged. It’s a very bleak film the whole time where the heroes can’t trust anyone. Everyone seems to be out to get them and if you’re a remotely nice character then you’re gonna get bumped off. Ironically the nicest characters are the ones who end up paying the highest price. If you’re looking out for yourself then odds are that you’ll survive this experience which is pretty odd. That’s not exactly what you would have expected. The film could have been a little more decent if Lenore hadn’t gone crazy by the end but I don’t think the score could have been saved all that much if at all. This film was just beyond help.

Overall, It’s Alive is a pretty terrible film. There really isn’t anything redeemable about it as it checks off all the wrong boxes. The characters are pretty terrible and really make the worst decisions possible. The creature murders way too many people before being taken down to the point where you have to stretch your disbelief quite a lot because there is no way all of the humans should be losing like this. It’s just crazy to see everyone going down like dominoes. I’d highly recommend watching something a little more wholesome like Alvin and the Chipmunks. That one shows how you can bond with a nice creature as a child or sorts as opposed to an evil child in this film who doesn’t even appear to be human. Perhaps there was a good message here once but it’s all gone as the film goes on.

Overall 0/10

1 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Anaconda Review


It’s time to take a look at an old snake film. Whenever the main villain of a film is an animal that’s a pretty bad sign for the film since it’s going to be hard to defeat it without resorting to animal violence. Whether the animal is an antagonist or not, injuring an animal in a film will always lose you some points. At least if you’re a series like a comic strip of a television program you can have enough episodes to counter it. A single movie? That’s a tall order and this film wasn’t able to get around that. It’s a weak film with or without the animal element but it didn’t help matters.

The film starts with a quick murder. We then cut to Terri and her crew as they are filming a documentary about a tribe that lives nearby. Unfortunately none of them know where the tribe is so they’re basically just wandering aimlessly. Their boat runs across a man named Paul who says he used to be a pastor and now he’s a snake hunter. The heroes mostly find this guy suspicious but let him and his large bags come aboard without doing any kind of check. He then starts to give them a lot of directions and before they know it the group is now on a completely different course. Steven is injured so Paul has assumed control of the ship. Will he really take them to the nearest hospital or is he just leading them to their doom?

From the start you can tell this guy is probably a villain but you can understand why the heroes picked him up. What they should have done immediately after was check his bags though and at least held onto the guns. Why give a guy you just met 5 minutes ago access to all of your weapons and life supports? Seriously, they give this guy complete freedom on the ship after knowing him for a few hours. The guy can tell a catchy story but they really shouldn’t be so careless in the wild. The crew initially outnumbers him but slowly the crew starts shrinking and their odds grow worse and worse.

The most annoying part here is probably how many times Paul punks them as the film goes on. From heading to abandoned boats to getting others to leave for a bit, Paul plays everyone like a fiddle. He’s also pretty smug about it as he finds everyone’s deaths amusing and nobody even points a finger at him. By the time they give him the loaded gun you’re just shaking your heads at the leads. Even once they finally do have him down for the count you’ve always got that one crew member who manages to somehow lose a fight to a guy who is tied up and on the ground. The scene is hard to buy into. Surely you’d at least be able to stab the guy while you’re that close right? Paul gets way too much hype as a villain. The heroes probably should have beaten him up a bit more. Terri’s right that they shouldn’t murder him, but break the guy’s legs or something. At least tie him up better. In films I don’t get why they just tie the villain up with a quick strand of rope. Since their lives are in danger they should have used a ton of layers at the very least.

As for the characters, it’s not the strongest cast I’ve seen. Gary is annoying the whole time as he is quick to sell everyone out for some cash. You’d think he would have some more principals. Following a guy you just met isn’t a good idea. Meanwhile Denise means well but she looks terrible at the end of the film which destroys her character. She spends way too much time gloating and getting psyched out to be taken seriously. Steven does a good job of at least trusting his instincts over Paul’s, but he was one of the people who was quickest to believe Paul’s story so that loses him a bunch of points from me.

Mateo is a character who clearly had a past with Paul. He doesn’t bring it up and doesn’t clue anyone in. I can’t tell if it’s because he’s afraid of the guy or afraid that since he was illegally poaching the heroes would turn him in. Either way he makes the worst call of being the last one on the ship knowing that the place is super dangerous. He probably should have done….just about anything else. Warren’s got some character at least as he likes a good game of golf. Right away he threatens to murder Danny though and you realize why you would never want to go on a cruise with these guys. Warren was one of the most entertaining characters at least.

The best character was definitely Danny. He didn’t give up as quick as the others and was always ready for a fight. He comes up with some good plans at the end and steps up to the plate when the chips are down. He’s easily the highlight here. Terri’s the director of the film so she’s got a good amount of say as well. Unfortunately Paul definitely tricks her quite a bit as the film goes on and she usually makes the wrong decision. While her plan to nab Paul ended up working, it’s a plan I never like. I think you just need to go in and take him down. If Terri had let Danny go to finish off Paul early on then most of the film may not have even happened. That would have definitely been the easiest way to end things.

This film is pretty violent so definitely keep that in mind if you’re checking it out. The snakes aren’t playing around and there is a decent body count here. Since people are getting crunched it’s not quite as violent and the TV version I saw cut out most of the actual climaxes, but even so this can be an intense one. There is quite a bit of animal violence here as well with the snake taking a lot of hits and a monkey also being shot. As a result the film keeps on shooting itself in the foot. The writing is pretty terrible as well with a lot of plot convenience for things to get nearly as far as they did. Any reasonable crew would have bumped Paul off early on.

Overall, Anaconda is a film that drags on as it goes for a lot of quick thrills without much story to back it up. The characters are annoying and the pacing isn’t very good. The main Snake makes for some striking visuals as it busts through windows and doors while approaching its prey. It’s a good antagonist but at the same time there are only so many ways you can show off a snake so before long it gets into almost recycled footage territory. If the film had taken place in a city I think it would have been more interesting. Anaconda plays itself pretty straight so there’s no real humor or anything. I think it actually could have used some of that. As it stands, I’d recommend watching something else instead like Sonic The Hedgehog while it’s still in theaters.

Overall 1/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Attack on Titan: Before The Fall Review


It’s time to look at one of the Attack on Titan spinoffs. The manga really lasted for an incredibly long amount of time considering how short the novels were. Even then the first novel is skipped for the most part as we cut right to the Kuklo stuff although the manga eventually adapts the older material. It’s a little better than the main series, but significantly less engaging which may sound like a contradiction. Put it this way, the main title is a lot more interesting and will keep you at the edge of your seat. It has more hype scenes and a better cast of characters, but the guys in Before the Fall are less morally bankrupt. The series is also shorter so there are less opportunities to mess up, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t give this series a particularly high score.

So Kuklo is a kid who grew up in a tough situation because he is known as the Titan’s son. This isn’t actually true, but people say that because his mother was eaten by a titan but he survived since he wasn’t totally born yet. As a result he grew up in a cage where Xavi would beat him up daily for many years. Eventually Kuklo was able to escape and thanks to Sharle was able to learn what it means to be human. He has now dedicated his life to ending the Titans. He wants to shed his title as the Titan’s son and this will be one of the best ways to do it.

As this title takes place in the past the goal of beating a Titan is significantly more outlandish than it would be otherwise in the eyes of the masses. It’s almost scary how back in these days beating one titan was crazy while in the main title you have guys like Levi taking them down by the dozens. It shows how equipment and technology has improved so much since those days. I suppose one of the interesting parts of the manga is seeing the heroes develop the 3D gear that would later be used to strike down all of the Titans. It is definitely a really handy piece of technology that is a must have.

Part of what hurts the manga is the whole plot with Kuklo. Attack on Titan has always been a series that thrives on being gritty and grim throughout. Even for this title it was rather dark though as it’s basically a kid being tortured every day. It also makes Xavi too far gone for him to ever be sympathetic. The series tries to make him a bit of a redeemed character by the end, but it’s a hard pill to swallow. As it is, maybe you could have tried to pull this off if this was the only thing he did. The guy was a kid so he didn’t know any better or something like that. Well, even in the present he tries to murder Kuklo repeatedly. Even when they’re in the middle of a mission to end the Titans which has huge stakes for the whole world his only priority is to murder Kuklo. Xavi really has a one track mind. It’s a shame because otherwise he is probably the most engaging character in the series. Why couldn’t he have at least had an honor code or been more of a reasonable character? That’s all I wanted to know.

Meanwhile Kuklo is a good character. He can be a bit naive, but you have to give him credit for not holding a grudge with Xavi. That can’t have been easy, but Kuklo consistently proves to be the bigger man and doesn’t let these things bring him down. While he isn’t as intelligent as Eren, Kuklo also has some pretty good ideas and plans that come in handy. He’s resourceful and knows how to survive even in Titan infested areas. His super senses come in handy for that and physically he seems a little stronger than the average human. Maybe there is something to the whole titan child thing in that the fluids at least gave him abilities or something. Either way he works as a solid lead.

His best friend is Cardina and that guy has a big role for the majority of the series as well. While he isn’t quite heading to the front lines as much as Kuklo, his expertise with the machinery comes in handy. He has a wealthy upbringing, but that ultimately just got him into trouble which is how he ended up heading outside with Kuklo. Cardina was a good ally and it was nice for Kuklo to have someone else who could help give him support since Sharle wasn’t always around to help with that.

Sharle is a pretty solid heroine meanwhile. The manga gives her a lot more screen time in which she is able to contribute. It works out well as she gets Angel out of his shell and back into action from retirement. She learns a lot about the inner workings of the 3D gear and also stands up to Xavi in defense of Kuklo. A lot of the time she is kept in the dark on what’s going on, but is always looking for Kuklo and doing her best to help out. Sharle tries really hard to always be ready for action so I definitely have to give her some good credit there.

Then we have Gloria whose character arc is definitely a bit more tragic than some of the other characters. I think she should have played the ending a little better. She falls for the whole posturing trap where she talks a really good game throughout but still puts herself in some bad situations. I think she underestimated just how corrupt the city is, but at least had some contingency plans so she was able to take a lot of people down as well. It would have been nice if she could have kept on appearing. Then you have Jorge who is effectively the Erwin of this era. He’s a good planner and a solid general. He tends to make the right decisions throughout, but doesn’t really leave much of a mark on the series. You really just know him for being a good general and that’s about it.

As I mentioned Angel doesn’t get as big a role in the manga as in the light novel and it ends up hurting him. Most of the time when we see Angel he has already fallen into depression from retirement and has no more hope that the humans can win. It doesn’t really paint him in a god light as by the time Sharle has gotten him to think otherwise we are basically done with the series. I liked him in the original novel and he still looks good in the flashbacks, but I think having his worst scenes first ends up hurting the experience.

Finally we’ve got the Ogre who is responsible for Kuklo’s mother perishing at the start of the series. As a result there is a vendetta between the two of them. Ogre seems to be more intelligent than the average titan and is fairly powerful. He’s not an easy target and made for a pretty good end arc boss. A normal Titan just wouldn’t have been nearly as thrilling to fight. I suppose we couldn’t have a talking titan since that would have been too soon, but I admit that it would have made Before the Fall’s climax a little more exciting.

One of the themes in the main AOT series is whether the humans are the real monsters or not. This series doesn’t go quite so far, but the humans do look pretty terrible most of the time. Even when Titans are outside the gates they’re busy murdering each other for political position and power. The Titans wouldn’t be doing nearly as good without the humans constantly destroying each other and constantly getting in the way. Even by the end we find out there is a traitor in the Survey corps and this person came awfully close to murdering a member. I feel like the person got off rather easy although it could have been worse. There still was a punishment at least which is good, but every time you see a traitor like this you can’t help but shake your head.

The humans will never beat the Titans if they’re constantly fighting like this. You’ve got characters getting jealous of each other and all that. I’m fine with the fact that the survey members didn’t appear much here because whenever we see them most of the members are pretty bad. It was good character development to have Kuklo and Cardina become squad leaders though. They really did grow a lot as the series progressed and that’s one aspect where the longer run time ended up helping them out. By the end it’s hard to imagine that Kuklo was ever not the strategic captain that people look up to.

In regard to the art, I’d say that Before the Fall is pretty good. There’s a solid amount of detail here and the characters don’t look too similar or anything like that. The titans have the creepy designs you would expect. The human vs human fights are really where the title excels with a lot of good speed lines and dynamic angels. The series can get pretty violent as you would expect though. It’s got the usual Titans munching on poor humans who really don’t stand any kind of chance. People aren’t begging for their lives as much as in the original title but the Titan scenes still end up being some of the weaker parts of the manga. Give me the Kuklo vs Xavi fights anytime.

Overall, Before The Fall does a good job of maintaining the tone of the original series. That being said, the main series is one of the weaker manga that I have read so it didn’t bode well for this one. The character cast isn’t all that strong and it falls into most of the usual Titan negatives like excessive violence and everything being too grim the whole time. It’s hard to root for the humans when half of them are evil and when their whole mission seems futile. They are having a hard time dealing with 1 titan and there are hundreds of them beyond the borders. It just feels like the humans would never get past this and since we know this takes place way before the main series where things are pretty much the same…it all feels a little futile. You can’t help but think that nothing these guys does will matter in the end. It has no real effect on the main series. It’s a complaint you can have with any prequel, but most of them do a good job of at least making you feel like the characters are making a difference.

Overall 3/10