The Exorcist 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 even more negative…literally.
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It’s time to tackle one of the most well known horror films of all time. I’ve never liked horror films and watching the classics hasn’t worked out so well thus far. I had pretty low expectations heading into this film, but The Exorcist managed to surprise me. It delivered a product that was so below expectations that I was slightly taken aback, but quickly realized how I had to respond. This film is one that you’ll want to avoid at all costs and will remind you that shock value isn’t as good as jump scares.

Chris is a popular actress and everything is going right for her at the moment. Life can’t get much better than it already is at the moment. Unfortunately, that changes when her daughter Regan is possessed by a vengeful spirit. It claims to be Lucifer himself and she has been unable to break free. Chris goes to many experts, but they are all unsuccessful in their attempts. Finally, she is forced to call in a pastor/psychologist to try and perform an exorcism, but he has yet to break his drinking/smoking habits. The Church realizes that this guy is out of his league so they bring in another priest who is experienced, but already very exhausted from another exorcism that he performed. Can the two save the day or will the body count continue to rise?

Some films like this one are a little overwhelming as it’s hard to know where to start. I suppose there are so many negatives that I should start with the positives first. The soundtrack isn’t bad. The iconic theme is definitely fun even if it only shows up for a few seconds. It actually felt like a remix since I’m used to a more battle ready version of the song. Still, it’s definitely withstood the test of time. The visuals are pretty advanced for their time as well although they typically go for grotesque imagery as opposed to cool sci-fi elements. Poltergeist III has definitely got it beat in this area. The film puts out a lot of effort….yeah now lets go to the negatives.

The film paints a pretty bleak picture on our struggle against demons. First of all, I’d like to give it props for giving the Church some credibility and having them go up against the demon. However…it acts as if the demons are far more powerful than any of our counters. Our Exorcism (This film’s old, but just in case I’ll give out a warning. Spoilers ahead, spoilers ahead. Proceed at your own peril!) fails miserably as the demon just overpowers the two pastors. The two pastors/priests give it their all as they use a lot of verses from the Bible, Holy Water, A Cross, and more. None of it is effective as the demon breaks one of the guys anyway and then possesses the other as it knocks him off. The spirit is then free to go and possess someone else.

There is no happy ending here at all. The demon won and murdered quite a few people in the process. It also vandalized the Church in the process with no repercussions. It’s a pretty sad message from the film in the end. Evil’s not supposed to conquer all. Now, demons are certainly real and they are powerful. That’s certainly true, but they still cannot ultimately resist when called out in the name of Jesus and God. The counter argument could be that the priests simply weren’t skilled or didn’t have enough faith, but at least one of them was supposed to be the best of the best. It’s hard to say whether or not Regan was a Christian or not in the film. She was still pretty young, but maybe she had put the Cross under her pillow since nobody could figure out how it got there. I don’t believe a Christian can be possessed. One could get tempted or put through trials and tribulations like Job, but I believe that we are given an immunity. Playing with the Ouja board wasn’t a smart idea, but it’s not as if playing with a thing like that can suddenly make you free domain. Especially since Regan clearly didn’t really know the ramifications of that thing.

She definitely got the short end of the stick here as the rest of the film’s pretty painful for her. It’s a really violent horror film and while you could clearly tell where the film cut away in the TV version, there was enough where you can tell that this was an intense experience. Regan got a lot of injuries and had to go through many operations during this period. Quite a few people were murdered as well. The film also goes for gross moments like having characters vomit and have to use the bathroom in public. Those moments certainly didn’t help the film at all either. In case you couldn’t tell, this film’s getting a pretty easy 0.

The only reasonable characters here are the Expert Priest and Chris. Chris can be annoying though like when she went to the various doctors and put Regan through a bunch of experiments. She should have known that it’d do no good since it clearly wasn’t a mental issue. The Expert Priest was good, it’s a shame that he couldn’t win. The main priest, Damien was pretty weak willed. He fell for the mind games rather easily and his subplot didn’t add anything to the film. It added more dark themes and grit of course, but the film was so full of that already that you wouldn’t miss it if it was gone. There was a police chief who liked to subtly imply that various people were murderers and did his best to solve the case. It was naturally futile though since it wasn’t a human opponent who he was up against. I suppose he did his best, but bribery definitely isn’t a very legitimate tactic. There weren’t a whole lot of other characters in the film as it was a pretty small cast. We have the demon of course, but it’s only character is that it is a demon. It’s pretty clever as it makes the ordeal or proving that it’s a demon very tricky for the heroes.

Overall, This isn’t exactly a “Feel good” film. You’re not going to be laughing and taking shots of Pepsi and Doritos during this film as you discuss the current state of the movie industry and Twinkie flavors. It’s very somber from start to finish and you’ll be ready for it to end after 15-20 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s a very long film so that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If the whole film had just been about Chris and her acting career, I have a feeling that it would certainly be a lot more enjoyable. Even just removing all of the cuts and slashes on Regan would help the film at least be watchable. You’re averting your gaze for most of the film otherwise since it’s pretty distasteful to have a kid be so violently injured for such a long time after all. Better to just look at the ceiling in the film and wonder when it was last painted. If you want a quality horror film, check out Poltergeist III as it’s one of the only good horror films out there. I can see why this one earned its reputation as it is pretty gritty, but that’s all the more reason why you should stay away from it. It’s just not worth it!

Overall 0/10

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ATM 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
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Ah man…it’s time for a modern indie thriller. Now, I try not to have anything against indie films as it’s nice for people to make their own films and get them out into the market. The problem is that 90% of the indie films that I’ve seen have all been rather terrible. This film is no exception as its aggravating characters and poorly thought out plot leave much to be desired. You’ll probably spend most of the film correcting the writers or pointing out how unrealistic the characters are. Most of the film relies on the assumption that the heroes aren’t smart at all and that all of the background characters have no common sense. These assumptions don’t lead to a smart movie.

There aren’t a lot of characters here since just about the whole film takes place in a portable ATM shelter. David and his beer buddies were enjoying themselves at an office party when he decides to drive Emily home. It’s her final day at the job so this is their last chance to talk about the weather. Unfortunately, Corey had one too many beer bottles and decided to tag along just to embarass the other two and prevent them from saying anything important. He forces them to pull over at an abandoned gas station, but then forgets that his card doesn’t work. David and Emily follow him inside, but then they see a mysterious fellow show up outside of the shelter. The heroes are instantly petrified and can only watch as the guy murders anyone who tries to get to the ATM. If they leave, they may face the same threat. Rather than exploit the 3 vs 1 advantage on a guy who’s standing in the cold and getting frost bite, the heroes decide that it’s in their best interest to freeze inside of the ATM shelter which is actually just as cold as the outside world. Did I mention that they didn’t bother to bring their phones?

You can argue that the last line destroyed the film’s credibility. I don’t think it had any to begin with, but there’s no way you wouldn’t bring your phone when heading to an ATM. People take their phones with them everywhere and this is no different. It was a rather lazy excuse to have the heroes be unable to call for help. To make things worse, David’s car has a broken lock so anyone can just open it and do what they want. The villain’s a master at hacking cars and getting them to work even without the keys so he’s really all set on his end. The heroes can just grin and endure this experience until they freeze over.

None of the characters are likable here, which is really bad for a film like this. David just lets Corey take advantage of him the whole time. He’s not very smart and makes all of the wrong decisions each and every time. Just hanging out with such a toxic crowd the whole time starts him off on the wrong foot. Emily’s not an interesting character either and it sure was convenient that she happened to already like David since otherwise his random flirting on the last day of her job would have just been awkward. I doubt anyone wants to hear a confession from someone you’ve worked with for years and never said anything to you in all that time. David comes across as desperate.

Finally, there’s Corey. He’s the miller time character of the group. He doesn’t really have respect for anyone but himself. He trolls a Domino’s pizza delivery guy for no reason other than to just make a scene and he refers to his fellow colleagues with a certain insult as opposed to using their actual names. He’s as bad as it gets for the drunk “friend” category and continues to put the characters in a bad spot throughout the film. He’s certainly someone that you cannot count on and someone that you wouldn’t even want on your side. He talks a good game, but his confidence vanishes pretty quickly.

Then there’s the Villain. Thing is, he doesn’t get any lines and we never really get to see him to save the budget a little more money. He just stays in the hoodie the whole time except for the opening and closing scenes of the film. He has no character and is just portrayed as a generic serial killer. There’s nothing engaging about him at all. This guy does still manage to bring the film down though. For starters, the film’s ending cemented the fact that this movie was terrible. Ready to hear the ending?

Basically, the serial killer wins. He frames David for murdering everyone else despite this being logically impossible and then heads off to murder some other people. It’s just a very mean spirited ending and one that almost comes across as an inspirational message to villains watching this movie. It tries to show that he succeeded because of his careful planning and that he’ll just continue going on like this. The villain winning in an ending can work if it’s handled with extreme care, but this film didn’t have any of that delicacy. It’s not like a Xenomorph showing up at the end and destroying the last hero or Godzilla blowing up the planet. A serial killer just getting in the way at the end is simply a lot darker and the kind of ending that you don’t want to see. At the very least, it’s an ending that guarantees I’ll be giving the film a terrible score.

The film was already at a very low point anyway. It would have gotten a 1 tops, but the ending is what ultimately pushed it over the edge. The writing is as terrible as it gets with language being used so much that you have to wonder how small their vocabulary is. Whether intentional or not, it doesn’t change the fact that all of the characters were bad. Plot points happen artificially to continue the plot. For example, the main villain did let one guy go into the ATM machine so the heroes could murder him and further incriminate themselves. The guy happened to be wearing the same coat and didn’t get to say anything before they took him down. That’s really hard to swallow.

Naturally, the film also squeezes in the trope of having the cop show up, but get taken down immediately. Naturally, none of the characters told him to watch out for the murderer approaching him and the cop took his time looking from side to side. Stuff like this keeps on happening. The camera also conveniently goes dead right at the end to make David look as guilty as possible. It’s not even so much that the villain planned things out well, but that luck was on his side. The heroes were not quite so fortunate, but then again..they weren’t exactly heroes either.

The film’s also pretty violent as you would expect since the villain just beats everyone to death. Nobody puts up a fight either and they keep on getting hit long after they’re dead for extra impact. Over the top violence adds another check to the list of weak points that this film had and another reason for you to avoid it all together. At least the dog lived as I was a little worried that it would come back and get taken out. I’ll give the film some credit for that, but not enough credit to actually win it back a star.

Overall, ATM is a poorly conceived film and the execution was as bad as could be. The ending is terrible and not only does it send the wrong message but it drags on as well. I don’t think anyone wanted to re watch a large part of the film via flashbacks, but the ending did it anyway. There’s no one to root for here and the film’s never any fun. It’s just a dark, violent story where the villain gets all of the first and last laughs. It’s hard to see how anyone thought this would be a good idea. With superb writing I suppose this maybe could have been a decent idea, but it would need drastic changes. It’s just hard to play this out with any sense of realism. The villain gave the heroes dozens of opportunities to escape as he did some drilling in the back and kept on giving them a lot of room. He’s fortunate that none of them were very athletic or brave. I highly recommend watching something a little more classy like Mission Impossible. Those films will remind you of what true quality is.

Overall 0/10

Deadman Wonderland Review

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It’s time for a manga that’s so dark, it makes Black Butler look light at times. What makes this series even more extreme than Black Butler is that the dark plots never stop. There’s never a moment of happiness for any of the characters as they just move from tragedy to tragedy without a break. Plot twists continue to occur to make things even worse. You can’t trust anyone in the series and the only certainty is a world of pain for the characters. Lets get started.

The story starts with Ganta going to school as usual. Everything was nice until a man ran into the classroom and blew everyone up. He left Ganta alive on purpose to stick the crime on him and Ganta was sent to a max level prison where they store people with powers. Unfortunately, Ganta has no experience using his powers so he gets bullied all of the time. All powered individuals manipulate their blood in one way or another so they have to be careful not to let the fights drag on for too long or they’ll get dizzy. This prison is also run as an amusement park by night and they have prisoners fight each other to the death or just til limbs start flying. Ganta wants to get out of here, but it’ll be tough. The general public doesn’t even know that the prison exists and the cops have all been paid off. Everyone in this arena is evil for some reason or other so if Ganta wants to get out, he’ll have to get stronger.

One thing you’l notice about the series right away is that the deck is stacked against the main character. There is a plot twist by the end which explains this. The mastermind has a personal vendetta against Ganta so the kid is always placed in a rough spot. Usually you only have to survive seeing your friends get destroyed once right? it happens to Ganta twice and he still had to put up with a lot of trouble after that. His allies aren’t exactly the typical friends that you would expect. His team includes a liar, a delusional old man, a girl who likes inflicting pain, and a few other suspicious fellows. None of them are actually good guys and it just so happens that their goals coincide with Ganta’s at the moment. It’s not guaranteed that this status quo will stay either so Ganta has to always be careful.

Naturally, death isn’t the thing to fear in this series. The villains always opt for fates worse than death to make the whole thing even more dark than it already was. It’s just a very toxic atmosphere throughout the prison and while that may make some feel as if the series did a good job for making it so “realistic” it also means that the series is no fun to read through. It’s just incredibly violent and sinister all around with no light at the end of a tunnel. After a while, you can only read so many tragic backstories until you start wondering what’s for supper or when your next exercise coupon will come in the mail.

Ganta is the main character of this series. He starts out as an ordinary kid who is blown away by how crazy the world is. Gradually, Ganta “realizes” that he has to allow himself to be corrupted to an extent in order to survive. He becomes willing to murder and do what he has to in order to win. For the most part, he’s still considerably more heroic than the other characters though and at least tries to find a positive way out of the situation. He’s just placed into a lot of futile situations. You can’t help but feel bad for him most of the time because his adventures are extremely painful. He did somehow get a decently happy ending so that’s more than you can say for a good chunk of the cast. He’s still essentially broken by the end based on how many traumatizing events he went through though.

Shiro is the main heroine and she’s one of the most twisted characters in the series. The audience becomes aware of the twists right away even if Ganta doesn’t so I wouldn’t really consider this a spoiler. If you do, skip this paragraph as I am about to explain her true form. When Shiro was a kid, she hung out with Ganta a lot of the time. Unfortunately, she was then used for experiments and after a lot of gruesome operations, she developed a split personality and turned evil. She is now two people. One of them is still Ganta’s best friend and tries to protect him. The other one just wants to make his life as bad as possible. She destroys all of his friends twice and really makes the situation as bad as she possibly can. So, you have to decide whether she is truly evil or not. Shiro was clearly brought to this point by the scientists, but it doesn’t change the fact that she is now a person who hungers for violence. Shiro is completely insane by the end, but luckily we do have a big of friendship power left in the series. I know, it’s hard to imagine that in this title of all things, but it managed to survive.

Toto is the big boss of this series and his backstory is also very twisted. Needless to say, he enters into a twisted partnership with another villain. She’ll destroy him at some point so he can’t destroy her until she finished the job and he’ll destroy her some day. Needles to say, he gets the last laugh since he’s the main villain, but it was a very weird dynamic. It’s hard to call him the meanest villain in the series because after a while, they’re all so evil that it’s hard to say who is the worst. Regardless, he takes down as many characters as possible. He has quite a lot of abilities at his disposal so it’s very hard to defeat him. He’s memorable, but certainly not likable. I barely even need to add that last part though because none of the villains are likable since they’re so over the top insane. From all of the characters, the only one who is actually likable is Senji. Ganta’s on the brink of being likable I suppose. I just didn’t care much for him by the end. It didn’t help that in one of the twists, he knew what happened to Shiro and just blocked it out of his mind which caused him to forget. That’s convenient for Ganta since he can sleep well at night again, but it didn’t help Shiro get out of her jam.
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Senji is the closest you’ll get to a main rival in this series. He starts out as a mini boss and after Ganta beats him, he decides to be more heroic. It’s not as if he ever became a hero, but he does like fighting and doesn’t care for the plans that the villains have. Unfortunately, this is all after he already lost an eye so he is a little weakened for the rest of the series. Nonetheless, he is crucial in taking down the villains and it’s safe to say that Ganta would have been completely doomed without his help. Senji is very experienced in fighting and his blood abilities are well suited for combat. His eager personality is also perfect for a rival character. He’s still a little more intense than other rivals, but that comes with the territory. At least he aimed his aggression at the villains.

Then you have the rest of the peanut gallery. These guys talked a good game and were good at beating up Ganta, but didn’t do much besides that. Minatsuki uses sharp blood abilities to stab at her opponents for a while before finishing them off. She’s not all that powerful next to some of the other foes, but she makes up for that by being the most sarcastic member of the whole group. She is always ready with the insults and keeps it going for as long as she can. Her brother started out as a pretty corrupt guy who eventually realized that he was no match for the Deadmen and pretended to become a good guy. Everyone bought into it so that worked out for him.

I got to give a shout out to the Deadman wiki for being so terrible. It does a good job of being accurate to the series because it’s hard to navigate it at all. Seriously, you’re just going to wonder what’s happening the more you browse. Either way, those were most of the main characters. You’ve also got the old man who has an identity crisis, but he never really does much. There was the leader of the resistance, but he certainly didn’t last long. Ganta’s only friend met the same fate as she simply wasn’t going to last long in such a mean spirited series. Aside from the main boss, there was also the director, but he spent too much time rolling heads across the bowling alley and not enough time preparing himself for the inevitable threats.

This series is also one of those titles that tries to convince you that humanity as a race is inherently evil. Just about everyone can be bribed or corrupted in this series. As mentioned, there are no heroes. You can’t really trust anyone and the fact that nobody knows what is happening in this prison is pretty sketchy. It’s all to further the narrative that this author is going for

There is quite a bit of fanservice in the series as well. (As if the title needed any more negatives right?) One character’s design was made only with that purpose in mind and in case you don’t figure it out, the author has everyone comment on it nonstop. Another one has a costume that is made to look as if it’s just skin and other characters comment on that as well. Some of the sob stories involve pretty iffy plots and just picture the darkest plots you can think of. Since every character has a dark origin, they really start to add up by the end and the series covers all of the bases. It just gets darker and darker as the series goes on. I can’t stress enough just how over the top violent and dark this series is. You just want to avoid it at all costs. I don’t even remember if there is any animal violence here although almost definitely. I think at least a bird probably dies. The series is already at a 0 so it’s not as if it hurts it any more, but at least it throws some insult to injury.

The art isn’t all that bad although it can be really cluttered when the fights start. A lot of stuff is always happening on screen and the author just isn’t able to fully capture it on screen most of the time. You can follow what’s happening well enough though especially considering that most of the fights in the series are one sided massacres or have a lot of splash pages for shock value.
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Overall, This is pretty much the definition of a series that you want to avoid. Who wants to read a dark and dreary title like this when you can just pick up a volume of Dinosaur King or Prince of Tennis and be thrown into a world of excitement? It’s rare to have manga titles that are a 0, but it’s not completely unheard of. Black Bird certainly earned that rank and Skip Beat was the latest to achieve it after jumping the shark. Ideally Deadman will be the last series for a while to get a 0 because it is really hard to get that score. There was just nothing redeeming about this adventure though so it couldn’t go any higher. At least the volume covers and the title are pretty good giveaways that this title’s not going to be good though so I like to think that a lot of people never started in the first place. Avoid the series and you’re gonna be golden.

Overall 0/10

Dracula’s Daughter Review

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Now it’s time for the sequel to Dracula. I’ve never been much of a vampire fan to be honest, but you probably know that by now. Vampires just don’t make for good antagonists and the whole blood sucking thing doesn’t even work well conceptually. Luckily, this film mostly doesn’t bother with that. I mean, people do get drained, but basically off screen as this is more about will power and such. It’s not a bad sequel, but one that could and should have gone a different route.

Van Helsing successfully destroyed Dracula, but before he could escape the scene of the crime he was apprehended by a pair of cops. They arrested him and now Van Helsing is probably going to be found guilty with a punishment of murder unless he can prove that vampires exist. He’s not faring too well on this. Meanwhile, Marya has been cursed by Dracula and must continue to destroy people. She seeks the help of Doctor Jeffrey to help her, but he doesn’t believe in Vampires and is too busy with just about everything else to pay her any heed. Well, Marya doesn’t accept answers like that and quickly gets to work by kidnapping Jeffrey’s friend. Jeffrey better be quick on his feet or it’ll be game over.

The alternate route that I mentioned involves the beginning. We see Helsing dig his own grave deeper and deeper as the court date gets closer and I would have liked a nice little court scene. The trial of Helsing could have even been made the main plot if the writers handled it well. It was still amazing just how annoying and oblivious Helsing was. I probably would have been rooting against him in the court case because of how he was antagonizing everyone. It felt like he was just doing it on purpose after a while and I had to question his intelligence. Maybe Helsing finally just got too old and simply couldn’t take the pressure anymore. If so, it was rather tragic, but luckily the other characters ended up saving him in the end.

One unfortunate part of the film is that the moral at the end is rather negative. Marya does her best to fight her vampire genes as well as Dracula’s telepathy, but in the end she loses. Seriously…she just can’t overcome it despite Jeffrey’s half hearted advice. I was hoping she would be able to just use will power and overcome the curse. I didn’t actually think it would happen since this is a Dracula film though, but it was a little sad that all of her efforts were ultimately futile. I can’t say that Marya is a likable character anyway though. She should have fired her servant a long time ago since he kept egging her on and trying to keep her evil. She should have suspected something long before the end of the film and really sowed the seeds of her own demise.

Jeffrey is the main character and he’s certainly not that good. He’s always running all over the place so he has no time to properly talk with anyone. Not to mention that he is certainly an “Eye for an eye” kind of character who will accept your resignation but then force you back into the job if he needs you. His advice didn’t work anyway and there’s just not much to this guy. He doesn’t even know how to put on a tie despite having to use them for parties and other events for years. He has never really progressed, which is alarming. At least his secretary Janet is fun enough. She trolls Jeffrey by calling him and pretending to be from the Zoo and just generally lies to everyone. Why tell the truth can you can mess with someone? That seems to be her motto and it works pretty well until she runs into the vampires. At that point, she was probably doomed regardless of what tactic she used.

It would have been fun for this film to have added in Dracula in some capacity. I mean, that could have backfired just as easily, but it may have helped the plot a little. After all, most of the film didn’t really have a plot as Marva fought a futile battle against herself and defeated all of the Jims (Red Shirts) in the mean time. The characters who died off weren’t very smart either as one followed a sketchy fellow over to his mansion in the middle of the night. If someone asks you to come home with them for a “modeling job” I’d hope that you would say no. It doesn’t get more suspect and suspicious than that if you ask me. It’s not as if the film is boring for the most part, but I wanted more activity. The main plot with Jeffrey was actually more interesting than the Vampire one because at least the constant trolling back and forth was entertaining. The film should have stuck with that plot or Helsing’s instead of Marva’s.

Overall, Dracula’s Daughter is a decent film. It can move a little slowly at times and the characters aren’t particularly interesting as it is. The film can move a little slowly though and it’s not exactly a thrill a minute. While there is no animal violence to bring it down like The Invisible Man sequel, it is not quite as good as the former. Invisible Man is a lot more fun and the plot is more fast paced. So, if you like a slow burning horror film without too many scary moments then this is a good film for you. It’s more about being atmospheric and slightly unnerving which may or may not work. If you want a film that gets to the point a little quicker, then check out I Frankenstein. It gets right to the point with no delay.

Overall 5/10

Fright Night Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would likely be more negative.
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Oh no, it’s my worst fears realized. Lets look at the checklist. Gratuitous violence? ✔ Horrendous writing ✔ Lots of fanservice? ✔ Animal Violence X Vampires ✔ Terrible characters ✔ Well, it may not have been a perfect score on how bad a film could be, but it’s quite bad. It’s been a while since I saw a film quite like this one, but I can assure you that this holds its own against most of the other big horror films. I still think it’s really difficult to make a vampire film good and this helps my argument. There’s just not much in the way of positives here at all.

The film starts off with good ole Charley being one of the “cool” kids. He used to be a guy who was really into fantasy, play fighting, and other things that were deemed “uncool.” As a result, Charley dumped his best friend and started hanging out with the bullies so he could look cool for a girl. It worked quite easily and now they’re together. Charley is so cool that he doesn’t care about anyone else anymore. The bullies pick on his ex-friend, but that’s not Charley’s concern. Students start going missing and it seems as if a mass murderer is on the loose, but again…that’s not Charley’s problem. It gets to be an issue for him though once his ex friend is murdered and he finds out that the perpetrator lives next door. Okay…now it’s time to care. Can Charley take this guy down to save himself and his family or is it already too late?

It’s like the old saying, “First they came for the Johns, but I stayed quiet. Then they came for the Smiths, but I stayed quiet. Finally, they came for me and there was nobody left to help” It’s like that as Charley really couldn’t care less about the rest of the neighborhood until it was just him. He’s the main character and it’s a mainstream film so it’s not as if he has much to worry about, but it didn’t make him a likable character in the slightest. The film actually goes out of its way to make him a terrible character as he refuses to explain anything. Even once he learns that the guy next door is a vampire, he refuses to tell his Mom or Amy about it because he doesn’t want to look bad. This doesn’t work so well as it comes close to wrecking all of his relationships. Luckily, they’re better characters who don’t panic at everything and actually try to talk things out. Charley just gives them a hard time about absolutely everything. He never develops into a good character as you can’t forget that he is essentially a poser who betrays his ideals just to look cool.

Jerry makes for an imposing villain I suppose, but certainly not a good one. He spends a lot of time trying to make conversation with Charley. I guess he wants to get in the main character’s head to psych him out, but he drags on and on. He was so obvious as the villain that I was expecting a misdirect from the film, but it never happened. He certainly didn’t improve my view on vampires. Edward is supposed to be the sympathetic friend that you can root for. He was ditched by Charley and as a result his social life has completely fallen to pieces. Now there is no one to help him when he gets bullied and he also has to pass by the bully’s home every single night. It’s not very fun for him and then Charley refuses to acknowledge him and this finally leads to Edward being taken out by Jerry. So, he should have been sympathetic, but what doesn’t help his case is that he resorts to blackmail. Yes, he decides to blackmail Charley with old videos of them fighting together and the old hobbies that Charley had. It may have worked, but it’s certainly not a nice move. He also started unloading some pretty personal insults at Amy which just made him even more unlikable. I forgot another part of Edward that doesn’t help his case…he’s on drugs. He casually admits this to Charley during another one of those really terrible written conversations. Even the way he lets Charley know about the vampire next door is handled pretty unrealistically.

Amy was all right as I mentioned earlier. She helped out a little during the skirmish with the vampires and at least she didn’t get paralyzed with fear the way that many characters do. Amy played her part well. Peter is the professional vampire slayer who turns out to be a fraud at first, but then we learn that he has actually encountered Jerry in the past. He’s pretty unlikable and is supposed to be that way. He helps out quite a bit in the end, but mostly he is reluctant. By the time he jumps into action, it’s a little too late to care.

So, there are a lot of negatives here as mentioned in the intro. The writing is horrendous. Luckily, the edited version cut out all of the language with the nice air filters, but with how often they occurred you can see how bad the script was. Every character was constantly yelling strings of words that make you shake your head. Even when we get past the language, the rest of the writing isn’t much better. The boring conversations with Jerry come to mind and the forced tension between Charley and all of the other characters. His excuse in the computer room for why he ditched class is another awful moment as it shows he will go to great lengths to avoid telling people about vampires even if it hurts his reputation even more.

Next, there’s the gratuitous violence. This one’s pretty obvious. The vampires bite people just about all the way through the neck and it’s pretty violent. Every character has a habit of blowing up some blood even after they’re already dead or in vampire form. The blood sucking is as irritating as usual and I don’t think I’ll ever care for that aspect. I’m still pretty surprised that there was no animal violence so that’s a good thing. The “romance” here is of the usual Hollywood variety. It’s basically just the characters deciding to skip the formalities and just jump into the making love part. It’s mostly all they talk about at the beginning and the end of the film. At least they got over all of the gruesome murders really quickly eh? The film goes for a lot of excuses to have characters in pretty risque outfits as the heroes head to a night club (Where naturally nobody notices someone getting murdered right in front of them) and Peter has a secretary with benefits rooming with him. It’s definitely not a film that tries to take the high road.

I can’t really think of any plot holes surprisingly, but if there is any then it may be with Jerry being weak against sunlight. I could have sworn that when he was planting the garden the first time he showed up that it was still daylight out. Maybe it was dark enough where the sun wasn’t potent or something. Just something that I noticed, but at least it can be explained away so that helps it a lot.

If there is one good thing about the film, it’s that the soundtrack is actually pretty decent at times. The rock music that played when Charley went to get his gear was pretty good. His montage may not have been as epic as the music would have you believe, but it was a slight silver lining at the very least. The special effects weren’t half bad either. The classic Vampire blowing up to sunlight and weapons was handled decently well. The super agility was handled pretty badly though as the Vampires moved in impossible angles with very obvious Photoshop kind of effects. It definitely didn’t seem like something you’d expect from 2011, but maybe I was holding it to too high of a standard.

Overall, Fright Night is your average horror film. It’s not very fun to watch and the characters are all poorly written. Everyone is so bad that you have to wonder at some points whether horror writers can read their scripts with a straight face. Lets put this into perspective. The kid who got bullied and ostracized by the school along with being betrayed by his friend was murdered by the main character. The bully who went around objectifying people and making the friend miserable got to live in the end. That’s just the kind of film that this is and I’d recommend sticking away from it. It’s a pretty mean spirited film and Jerry ends up being a pretty bad villain by the end. He’s even willing to use fake romance to get a reaction out of Charley, but that’s not very effective since Charley was more interested in finally getting to use his hastily prepared plan at that point. I should mention that the plan should never have worked and involved quite a lot of plot hax. Lets just say that Jerry conveniently decided to stand still and have absolutely no reaction times in order for it to work. The film stacked the deck against itself too well (As expected) by giving Jerry a great amount of regenerative abilities and speed. The writers couldn’t think their way out of that one. If you want a good horror film, check out Poltergeist 3. It’s actually a lot better than you would expect.

Overall 1/10

House of Wax Review

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It’s time to look at a remake of a film that I saw not too long ago. Unfortunately, this is one of those remakes that decides to play it very by the books and doesn’t change much. I find this to be a waste since a remake/reboot should always make drastic changes so you have a reason to see it over another version. You’re basically watching the same film, but without the classic black and white effect that makes it more tense or the solid writing of the old days. Well…prepare yourself!

The film starts off with Jarrod in good spirits. He has finally found someone who is willing to buy his partner’s share of the business. Burke had been pretty mean lately and Jarrod would be glad to have him out. Unfortunately, the rich fellow couldn’t buy the place right away so Burke decided to burn the place to the ground. Jarrod resisted a little, but he was outmatched. Burke was simply too strong and burned the place down along with Jarrod for good measure. No worries though, Jarrod survived and quickly went over to murder Burke and his fiancee. He then decided to open a museum where he could show off his murders and nobody would be any the wiser. Jarrod gets a little too overconfident though and decides that he wants Sue as his masterpiece. Can he get away with it?

The whole film’s premise relies on the police being inept and no reporters existing at all. Lets look at the facts. This is a Wax Museum so the models are so realistic that nobody can tell that they were real. I find this to be a stretch personally, but lets run with it. It starts to get a little more dicey when Jarrod murders someone and then immediately puts her in the museum. This is where we can’t deny reality any longer. The cops know that a body has been snatched and they also know that the museum just got a new exhibit. In fact, Sue is able to tell that it is her friend immediately.

Now, the cops don’t chat with Sue all that much, but they should have been looking for the body in as many locations as possible. A suspicious new wax museum should be one of the first places that they look, especially with the sculptures being so realistic. Likewise, Sue probably should have said something to the cops herself instead of prowling around after hours and getting kidnapped. At the very least, she couldn’t depend on the male lead. All he did in this film was get knocked left and right by every villain in the book. He was actually losing quite badly to one of the henchmen and considering that her life was on the line, I think Sue would have wanted him to put up some more resistance.

So, I don’t buy into the plot. Moving past that, I don’t see how Jarrod was so powerful all of a sudden. Even though he was badly injured by the fire, he can move with great speed and has a lot of power as well. He’s able to fight off a good number of cops and is strong enough to throw people around. He even has a super mask that can allow him to take blows to the head with no real effect. That part makes sense since he had a disguise the whole time, but he should absolutely be in no shape to fight at all. He is sitting in his chair all day and barely moves around, he should be fiercely out of shape.

None of the characters are very interesting either, which doesn’t do the film any favors. Sue is about as generic as you can get and isn’t all that smart. When confronting the big villain, you should try to have some kind of plan right? The male lead is even worse as he’s so mild that I couldn’t be bothered to remember his name. He gets suckered by the whole cast and then doesn’t even get to save Sue. He should be pretty ashamed of himself to be honest. Jarrod’s a two dimensional villain who could have gotten away with the whole thing if he hadn’t become so greedy and gone after more people. He’s just your average serial killer and the film didn’t do anything to distinguish him from the others. His minions were also not interesting as one couldn’t even talk which didn’t help his character development.

The only characters who were good here were the cops. Even then it took them forever to put the simple pieces together and watching a bunch of them get wrecked by an old guy was so sad that it was almost funny. I can’t stress enough just how sad it is to get beat by a guy with multiple third degree burns who has rarely ever gotten up from his wheel chair. It should go down in infamy as one of the worst moments of the Police Force. They got the results though…..fatal ones.

Overall, House of Wax is a dreadfully boring film. Nothing really happens and the characters may as well be reading lines off of a script for all the emotion that they show. The plot doesn’t make sense which means that the writers weren’t even paying attention when they made this film. Whatever semblance of heart the first film had is gone here and the film doesn’t even serve its purpose as a good remake. If the original is better than the remake, that’s a problem. (It’s to be expected, but it’s still a problem) This film should have taken more risks and changed things up to make it more interesting. It needed to do something rather than just ripping off the original film and hoping to make a few dollars. I’d recommend sticking away from this film, the House of Wax is just not good and the premise limited its options from the get go. I’ve seen three murder films about hiding the victims in Wax and none of them were good. That proves that the plot just can’t work.

Overall 3/10

The Terror Review

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Prepare yourself for a very eccentric film. I know that I sometimes critique films for not having any real twists or turns, but this film takes that a little too literally. There are twists within twists and nothing that you see or hear can be trusted in this film until the very end. Even the atmosphere of the film is fairly mysterious and eery. One thing’s for sure, you may not remember the specifics of this film, but you won’t be forgetting the actual adventure.

Andre is a lost soldier who somehow got separated from the rest of his French regime. Luckily, he was saved by a fair maiden by the name of Helene. The girl vanishes, but Andrew asks around and figures out that she lives in the Baron’s castle. An old lady in a cottage told him this and while she seems to practice voodoo and has a Raven who can shape shift, she is clearly trust worthy. The Baron does not want to let Andrew in, but the “hero” threatens to bring down the full wrath of the French government if he is now allowed entry. (He is a high ranking officer so he can do this)

The Baron has no time for these games though. He is being haunted by the ghost of Ilsa. She wants him to destroy himself because he murdered her after finding out about the man that she kept around on the side when she thought he wasn’t looking. Meanwhile, his loyal butler Stefan murdered the side man (Eric) The Baron is reluctant to comply with the ghost for obvious reasons, but he starts to wonder if maybe he should. This Andre person is complicating things though because he can see the ghost too, but calls her by a different name and while she did try to murder him a few times, he never takes it personally.

All right, lets pause here before getting into the twists. Yes, there will be spoilers this time because you can’t not explain the twists here. It’s what makes the film so priceless. First off, Andre is clearly not the brightest bulb on the block because the murder attempts that Ilsa goes for are fairly obvious. Her ghost leads him to a marsh of quick sand, but he noticed in time because of a pebble that he kicked. She almost led him off a cliff as well, but he noticed on time. She tried to destroy him several times, but Andre is oblivious to all of this and just wants to find her anyway. The Baron acts as if he doesn’t know what Andre is talking about, but it’s a little too obvious to try and deflect. Moreover, acting tough and trying to talk back to Andre fails when he is shaking in his boots the whole time because of Ilsa.

All right, you may be wondering what happened to the old lady and the shape shifting Raven right? This is where the film slaps you silly with plot twists. First off, The Baron and Stefan never managed to murder Eric and Ilsa. See, we thought that Stefan murdered Eric while The Baron took care of Ilsa right? Wrong! Somehow, The Baron managed to get to Eric after taking down Ilsa, but Eric ended up murdering him instead. Eric then suffered a complete mental breakdown and began to really think that he was The Baron. Stefan knew about this, but played along for kicks so I guess he was never that loyal after all.

The old Witch was the mother of Ilsa and she blamed the Baron for her death. She couldn’t have known that Eric had actually beaten the Baron and assumed his identity. She was pretty clever and used her black magic to give a Raven the ability to turn into Ilsa, but with the ability of flight, super speed, and shape shifting so fast that it appeared as if she vanished into the fog each time. How did she manage to keep this up for 2 years while having Ilsa appear everywhere and nobody ever noticing that it was actually a raven? It’s magic! Thing is, the Raven began to have ideas of its own and somewhere along the way, Ilsa’s actual ghost decided to show up. Perhaps she was tired of watching “Amateur Hour” being played out by all of these second rate villains. Ilsa decided to finish everyone off once and for all by breaking the underwater dam that “Baron” kept around to drown them all. We get a pretty fierce fist fight between “Ilsa”, “Baron”, Andre, and Stefan.

Suffice it to say, Andre managed to get out of there alive with Ilsa, but then she decomposed since her mission was complete. Now Andre can go home and share this story with the other soldiers…if they’ll ever actually believe him. A lot happened in this film all right. It may take you a little bit to process just how crazy this film got. It may have gone overboard, but I salute the enthusiasm that the film showed and it was a good effort. It really kept you guessing the whole time…even if the plot twists didn’t always make a lot of sense. You really can’t trust anyone here.

This is the kind of film where everything is so strange that you wouldn’t be shocked if it was all just a dream of meta with some kind of deeper meaning. Regardless, the film did a good job with the tone. Between the mist, the empty backgrounds, and the creepy castle, this film always had a tense and mysterious atmosphere. It accomplished that part of the film pretty well. I can’t say that the film was all that good though. The main character is pretty annoying and the black mail may have been hardcore but it didn’t make him any easier to root for. The Baron was clearly unhinged and likewise with Eric. This film certainly shows you that rebounding never pays, but it’s not as if any of the characters got to live anyway.

Overall, This film is a tricky one to score. It’s a rare film where I didn’t even know what score I was going to give it as I was writing the review. It’s partially because the film wraps itself up in a haze so it’s hard to remember some of the specifics. I can’t remember a whole lot of negatives except I do remember a general recollection of not thinking the movie was all that good. I suppose it’s not that bad either so a solid 5 sounds about right. It’d definitely a strange little flick and I’d recommend checking it out if strange is what you’re looking for. You can think of it as a Twilight Zone episode of sorts, but the slightly modernized version. It’s not all that long and giving it at least one watch may be good for you. I won’t really recommend it, but I wouldn’t tell you to steer clear of it either. The film’s just around and it’s one that I won’t soon forget.

Overall 5/10

Son of Frankenstein Review

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After that last Frankenstein film it seemed that things were looking up for the series. Well, they head back down with this film although it is still significantly better than the first film. It’s problem is just that the plot ends up going nowhere and a large portion of the film is spent with boring dialogue and annoying main characters. The writing is good since this is an old film, but the lines just feel pointless at times with no actual plot progression to speak of.

It’s been a while since Frankenstein was taken down for good and now his son has returned to the land to claim his inheritance. I don’t think the timeline was very well thought out though since he meets up with a one armed police chief who was in the first film, but it’s apparently been at least 20-30 years so he shouldn’t be the same age. Also, he claims that his arm was ripped out as a child by the monster, but that can’t be true. So many questions and so few answers. Anyway, Baron wants to revive Frankenstein to prove that his father was correct in creating him, but is this smart?

First off, Baron is an extremely annoying character and having him as the lead can grow quite tiresome. I don’t see how he could possibly want to bring Frankenstein back or how he can really think it is a good idea. I think just about anyone can realize that this is not the smartest move you can make. Everyone in town already despises him and the guy does have a wife and a kid to look after. Putting them all in danger just for the sake of his reputation is quite bad. It also made for a very awkward carriage ride with his wife as he went on a long rant about how his father was right while she just looked confused and nervous. It’s probably a good time to start talking about how the house should be good rather than this. Baron just seems very on edge and shifty for the entire film and was definitely not likable in the slightest. I’d rather just have the normal Frankenstein back.

We’ve got Ygor as the main villain, but I don’t think I can take him seriously. He’s not exactly a character who screams “Main Villain” and he’s never been all that serious before so why start now? Furthermore, Baron should have taken him over to the cops right away after the guy tried to murder him. Not doing so was a rather large error in judgment and one that the Baron would continue to pay for over and over again. The Monster also returns for a rather large role of course, but he just seems like a shell of himself here. It definitely does feel like this film had a completely new staff since he seems to be based more on his legends than on the actual character from the previous two films. He’s back to being his usual unlikable self. While he does have some self control at times, it’s hardly enough to make him interesting in the slightest.

As for Krogh, he was solid. At least he actually gave Baron a chance unlike all of the others who wrote him off just because he was related to Frankenstein. It was certainly not the warmest welcome that the town gave the guy. At first, Krogh appeared to be antagonistic as he kept beating around the bush and talking about his past, but I suppose that was all misdirect or the writers weren’t sure what was happening at the time. It was definitely a tough ordeal for Krogh, but he stayed strong and was nice to have around. The townspeople were interesting as well as they seemed a little more petty than usual. They threw fruits at the main characters and just tried to act as mean as possible the whole time. I don’t think Baron cared as much as he implied though since he was too busy trying to become a mad scientist.

The film’s biggest mistake is certainly the fact that it’s very boring. Now, it’s interesting because you’d think that a horror film that’s mostly slice of life shouldn’t be all that boring right? After all, Nisekoi is a series about a guy trying to remember his days as a kid so he can remember a promise and involves a lot of happy days at school and it is never boring. By all accounts, Frankenstein stories should be more interesting right? I’d say that the issue is you expect Frankenstein to be a little more about horror and less about characters just talking around. If anything, getting rid of the Frankenstein angle could elevate the rest of the film since you’d be going into it with a Andy Griffith kind of expectation. By trying to attempt both genres, Son of Frankenstein ended up succeeding in neither of them.

What’s a real shame here is that the film’s setting had promise. The inside of the mansion that Baron inherited had a pretty interesting architecture and I wouldn’t have minded exploring it a little. The kid wasn’t overly annoying, but luckily he didn’t appear much so that was a good thing. Baron would have been a more compelling character if he either hadn’t believed in the monster or wanted nothing to do with it anyway. Then we could have had Frankenstein appear to avenge himself and they would have had some fights and mind games. It all wasn’t to be though and the film somehow manages to lose all of this potential to the winds. What could have helped was also a plot that made more sense because as I mentioned earlier, it just feels like plot holes are everywhere.

Overall, Son of Frankenstein is a pretty weak third film. It’s not nearly as bad as the first film so that’s a start at least. How I see it, the first film was just bad and super violent. The second film was interesting and had a decent mix of comedy and horror. The third film didn’t have much of a focus and became boring as a result. They all failed and succeeded in different ways so at least you can’t say that the series doesn’t try to experiment a little. If you’re a big fan of Frankenstein then you should probably check this film out just to add it to your collection. Otherwise, I’d advise you to just check out the Bride of Frankenstein instead and to leave this one to the history books. After all, it’s not as if you’ll miss much right?

Overall 3/10

Bride of Frankenstein Review

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Looks like it’s time to take a look at the original sequel to Frankenstein. I did not like the first film and I’m not a Frankenstein fan in general. I didn’t walk into this film with high expectations and I was not disappointed. That being said, it is a considerable improvement over the first film. It’s not nearly as violent or grotesque and handles itself rather maturely this time around. It can still be a bit of a tragic film at times even when it tries to be funny so it can be hard to tell when you’re supposed to be laughing or feeling sorry for the characters. I usually voted for the former.

The film starts off in the “real” world as Mary lets everyone know that the story isn’t over yet. We have some really over the top actors who yell about this and everyone gets excited so she tells them what happened. It turns out that Frankenstein’s monster didn’t die because he fell into the river and Frankenstein didn’t die because his body is very durable. This prompts Doctor Pretorius to arrive and tell Frankenstein that he wants to make a female version of the monster. Frankenstein halfheartedly refuses so Pretorius kidnaps his wife. Frankenstein now has to work against time in order to save her, but can he really duplicate the experiment?

The main improvements from the first film all stem from the reduced violence. The first film had a little kid drowned and we saw way too much brains and body parts for my liking. It was pretty distasteful and this one steers clear of all that. Even when they’re creating the bride, it’s never graphic. The film just isn’t violent in general and the victims are far fewer in number. We do have a few people die of course, but they’re casually thrown aside for the most part so it isn’t all that bad.

Frankenstein has changed a lot since the first film. He’s now incredibly timid and fears everyone. He’s always getting picked on and forced into doing things that he doesn’t want to do. However, he reverts back to his mad scientist phase whenever there is work to be done and it’s like he never changed at all. It would have been nice to have seen him have a little more will power. Naturally, he did have to go ahead with the project to save his wife, but he could have done it in a sane way instead of losing his mind once he was back in the lab.

Pretorius takes over Frankenstein’s role from the first film and I do certainly have to admit that he is smart. The first thing he does is to get the monster on his side and that was crucial since his plan would not have worked otherwise. His use of “Miller Time” and Cigars was a very potent combo. He always has the upper hand on the monster as he even drugs the poor guy later on. Pretorius fears nothing and is just very confident from start to finish. He was a pretty good villain and while it never felt as if he had much of a reason to do what he was doing…do mad scientists ever need a reason to do something? They just do whatever they want for kicks.

Minnie is the main comic relief character of the film and she does a good job in the role. She always talks a good game and is one of the only characters to insult Pretorius to his face. She is smart enough to actually run away from the monster and tries to warn the heroes even if they refused to listen to her. She certainly did a fine job if you ask me. As for the Bride, I guess she was fairly reasonable. Her reaction wasn’t all that bad when you consider that the heroes didn’t give her a chance to relax. Plus, who wants to be thrown into an arranged marriage the instant you are born into existence? Nah, the first thing you’d want to do is get out of there!

The Monster is all right I suppose, but he’s still not very smart and the monster noises can be annoying. I was glad that he finally learned how to talk a bit as the film went on. I figure that will make him a much better character in the sequels although it seems like I wasn’t on the same page as the writers. At least the monster tried to live a calm life at one point and was doing just fine with the blind guy in the hut. It’s a shame that the hunters had to wander in at that point and wrecked his one chance at a happy ending. He didn’t get burned this time and while he was captured at one point, he was able to break free pretty quickly. He certainly had a much more enjoyable adventure this time around.

Be warned that the title of this film is pure click bait. The Bride doesn’t appear until the final 5-10 minutes which is pretty disgraceful. She only gets roughly one line before the film has to end so if you were watching the movie to see her in action, prepare to be disappointed. It’s really just Frankenstein V2 as the film takes a lot of similar twists and turns. It seemed like it was meant to be a homage to the original in a lot of ways even though it had just come out. It was just handled far better than the first film and as a result, the film wasn’t half bad. I can’t say that it’s the kind of film that I’d want to watch again, but it wasn’t a chore to watch the way that I would have expected it to be.

Overall, If you’re looking for a horror comedy film, then this could be the right film for you. At the very least, it’s one of the best Frankenstein films that you can hope to see. That being said, it’s still not all that great and it’s short length ensures that the film has to run through the plot. The ending is pretty satisfying though and that’s always a good thing for these kind of films. Scooby Doo may still be your best bet when it comes to horror comedies, but this one gives it its best. Can the third film manage to defeat this one? I somehow doubt it, but we are getting closer to the Werewolf and that could certainly end up being another story.

Overall 5/10

Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City Review

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There are some series that can start out on a high note and keep that level of quality intact. Look at the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It has the super emotional song from the first film, but still managed to get by just fine in the sequels without it. That’s because the writing and characters were on point. Other titles like Skip Beat can start out decently interesting and go into the gutter. It’s not about how you start a race, but how you finish it. That’s true in life, cooking, platformers, pie eating contests, and anything else that is worth your while. This novel may have started out to be pretty good and a contender for best novel in the franchise, but crashed and burned in the second half. The title should have been a giveaway I suppose.

The plot of the book takes place in a small little town in the Titan World. The bridge collapsed so everyone is kinda sorta trapped in the town. They can go outside though so I guess they aren’t really trapped at all. I don’t know exactly how the layout is since it doesn’t make much sense, but essentially all of the other villages have left them for dead. All of Rita’s bosses end up getting bumped off so she is suddenly the leader of the military. She goes from being a really nice person to a corrupt dictator and decides that the only way to give the people peace is to murder them and anyone who falls out of line or looks at her the wrong way is subject to death. She will destroy anyone who defies her wish of a Utopia!

Meanwhile, Mathias is the other main character. He was a rich guy who never had to work for anything and was ignorant of the ways of the commoner. He was good friends with Rita, but he ended up murdering her other best friend so he had to go into hiding. He must now find a way to take her down and considers that he may have to use lethal methods. Friendship and camaraderie is thrown to the winds in this tale as everyone does what they feel they have too. Things get a lot worse before they get better and they never really get better so just focus on the first part.

This adventure is two novels long and the first one was actually pretty decent. It was a fun enough tale about Rita and Mathias and how they lived very different lives, but did their best to connect with each other. It wasn’t a bleak and gritty story the way that most Titan adventures were and it was cool to just have a happy scene for once. It figures that this wouldn’t last right? The story started to get a little more grim as Mathias made a deal with some bandits to rob his father in exchange for getting him to the town where Rita was trapped. It didn’t go very well so the bandits murder a bunch of soldiers and then Mathias panicked so he blew up one of the young workers who was helping Rita. He panicked again after that and ran off. This basically happened in the final pages of the first book so it was quite a downer.

The second novel is where it really goes off the rails though. Rita was apparently traumatized after seeing her best friend murder her other friend so she decided to go down a dark path. She forces people to get eaten by the Titan she planted in the city and tortures others until they get her some intel. Nobody is safe now and she murders her father and is prepared to do the same to Mathias if she can find him as well as her best friend Amanda. The novel shows us in great detail just how insane she has become. It gets about as bad as the main Titan series in that regard and there’s no way she can come back from this.

This is why the ending of the book is rather hard to swallow. The author suddenly tries to make her sympathetic as she was only trying to help and she’ll be a nicer person now. She has this 180 character development in the span of 2-3 pages as Titans attack the city and suddenly we’re supposed to see her as a nice person again. Mathias also forgives her for murdering everyone and putting the townspeople in jeopardy every day since it just doesn’t matter now. Never mind the fact that one of Mathias’ main allies was poisoned to death right in front of him on Rita’s orders. She may claim that it was for the greater good, but she stepped well over the line of vigilantism and became an evil villain during this book. It was far more extreme than the book and characters acknowledge afterwards and it was just puzzling the whole time. It was an even more drastic character arc than Shu’s from Guilty Crown and that’s pretty scary. It may not be in Black Butler levels quite yet, but Rita is easily one of the most evil main characters that I’ve ever seen.

It goes without saying that I didn’t like her. Regardless of how good she was in volume 1, she nullified it all in the sequel. I didn’t care for Mathias either as there is no way he should have panicked so much upon seeing the scout and he handled the situation as badly as possible. It was hard to take him seriously as the rebel leader since he was always terrified of everyone and got tricked so many times. He was just annoying to see. The rebels were also a bit much as they were all too overconfident and full of themselves even though they could never do all that much when it came time to fight. The super hyped leader of the Rebels went down in the worst way possible as his drinking habits finally got to him and poison ended his career. You’d think that he would have been a little smarter about something like that.

In the end, the only real good character was Amanda. Even she was a little fishy as she took forever to make a move and just allowed people to be tortured and eaten. At least she did something about it though. She also got a lot of hype as being the best fighter in the squad, but naturally once she turned good, Amanda was surpassed by Rita. So much for the hype eh? She still put up a good fight though and was probably the only character who actually stayed true to herself. Again, the book kind of glossed over the fact that Rita was so evil in the end as she gets Amanda back her gear and they team up again. It just shouldn’t be so smooth. If anything, I think the ending should have kept Rita as a villain, it certainly makes more sense than suddenly making her a hero again.

Even the ending doesn’t offer much hope though as the heroes lost their town to the Titans. Their plan is to head to the next town, but they already know for a fact that the Town doesn’t want them and will attempt to slay the group. It’ll come down to yet another fight and that should give the Titans an opening to move in and take them all down. It’s Attack on Titan though so you should never expect anything even remotely happy for the conclusion.

Overall, What started as potentially the best Titan novel ended up being the worst one. It’s why I always say that you can’t really tell these things ahead of time. A whole novel (or 2 in this case) is more than enough time for a story to turn rotten. You won’t even recognize the characters by the end as they could basically be other people. In the end, what really destroyed the book was that it was way too dark and violent. If you thought the other novels were gritty, this one is far more intense. The novel could have made Rita’s character transformation a little less drastic and it would have worked a lot better. There’s no good reason for her to become a full fledged mass murderer. She should have just gotten more obsessed about the rules and we could have had the town be under a curfew with a lot of punishments handed out every day. The situation didn’t need to jump all the way to 10 so suddenly. Had the book showed some restraint, it would have been a lot better and glossing it over so much at the end didn’t help either. If you want a good Attack on Titan novel, I suggest checking out Before The Fall. It’s the only good one at the moment and shows you what Titan novels should be like.

Overall 1/10