Insidious: Chapter 3 Review

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It’s time to step into the final part of the Insidious Trilogy. This prequel helps fill in the gaps from the first two and leads into the first one. It’s a pretty solid horror film and still sets a nice bar for others to follow. It’s a shame that most horror films still manage to mess it up and stumble down the finish line. As long as this series continues, there is hope for the genre though.

So, Quinn visits an old psychic’s house because she wants to talk to her mom. The psychic is named Elise and the old lady warns Quinn not to do this. Elise breaks down and decides a few minutes couldn’t hurt though. Unfortunately she was wrong and instead of the mother, a demon answers. Quinn is now being haunted by it. Unless the spirit is defeated quickly, it would appear that Quinn’s days are numbered.

Quinn is essentially the main character but you can also say that she shares the role with Elise. She seems like a nice enough person even if her plan to talk to her dead Mother is probably not a good idea. We do have the phrase “rest in peace” for a reason after all. Quinn does her best to help around the house as well while also making time for her singing career. Naturally once the spirit is after her this all gets a little tricky. I didn’t really have any qualms with her.

Her Dad Sean is also all right. He probably gives Quinn too many responsibilities which stresses her out, but I don’t feel like he was being malicious about it. He’s also being overwhelmed at the moment and trying to cope with raising two kids on his own. He certainly could do a better job of it and listen to Quinn more though. He has more faults than Quinn but at the end of the day he is a lot better than he could have been. I am glad that the film let him find out that the demon was real very quickly instead of just doubting Quinn the whole time since that gets old fast.

Elise has been a big character during all of the Insidious movies. Naturally this one was no exception but as it took place before the others she isn’t as powerful initially as you may expect. She is plagued by doubts and a lot of hesitation but gradually gets back to being on top of things. Re learning that being alive gives you a good advantage over the dead was definitely something that makes a lot of sense. While the fight scenes weren’t heavily stylized like an action film or anything, it was cool to see her throw some of the demons around.

You rarely see the humans do much of anything against the spirits so it is always satisfying. She uses trapdoors to her advantage and resists the choke hold that the demons have at their disposal. At this point Elise quickly became the strongest human in the series and basically feels untouchable. At least until the ending of course. As with most horror films this one has a twist ending. Let’s just say that one of the future villains decides to pay his respects and remind her of the pecking order. It was definitely a little unfortunate for Elise since she had just gone through a whole character arc of getting her confidence back along with a boost in strength but it was all negated in an instant. It’s good hype for the villain of course, but you can definitely see how it’s tragic for her.

The villains from the past films also completely overshadow the main one the instant that they appear. I really couldn’t take this villain too seriously because of his underwhelming design. He just doesn’t look like he can put up any kind of fight and the weak design prevents him from being scary as well. You just can’t imagine this guy taking anyone down in a fight, especially since he can barely breath without his mask. The guy just doesn’t stand a chance against any of the real opponents in his path. While I don’t like the old lady villain, it was interesting to see him make a cameo. He definitely got some hype since it didn’t really seem like Elise could take him down even in her prime here. She is definitely lucky that they didn’t have to fight. The Red Mask villain also looked pretty good in his appearance and it’s safe to say that she wouldn’t have been able to beat him either. It’s definitely impressive how formidable the series has made its villains.

As always, the effects for the spirit dimension are really solid. The rules that are established for the place are thought over pretty well. If I have any gripes, it’s that all of the normal ghosts seem pretty powerless while only the evil ones stay strong. Why can’t we have a hero who died and then decided to be a heroic ghost? That’d be a neat twist and even if the films suddenly became action thrillers instead, I could roll with that. As it stands, the idea of demons camping the spawn points of the humans for the rituals is a cool idea too though. Elise stayed away from it for years, but the instant she went back the villains were still ready. That’s definitely a lot of determination there.

There aren’t a bunch of jump scares or anything, but we get a reasonable amount. The only real weakness for the film would probably be some of the supporting characters. The random guy who waited until Quinn broke her leg to unleash his pun felt like filler. Quinn’s best friend also didn’t have much of a role. Giving these characters quick cameos instead of drawn out scenes is the best bet I suppose, but they didn’t really need to appear. All of the human scenes just don’t feel eventful next to the hype supernatural stuff.

The two comic relief supernatural experts are always interesting to have around. In a sense it’s impressive how they can suddenly make the whole atmosphere light and happy when it was super serious just a moment ago. It’s hard to feel scared when they’re around. After all, the guys may be incompetent, but at least they can still serve as shields if the demons come along. Moreover, it’s just hard to imagine the comic relief characters being destroyed so it lightens the atmosphere.

Overall, Insidious 3 was better than I thought it would be. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised since the series was always more memorable than other horror films and rarely went for the low hanging fruit. Give the film some extra credit for having a dog appear in various scenes, but nothing happens to him. Now that’s quality. This is a horror film that I would actually recommend and you know how rare that is so it says a lot about the film.

Overall 6/10

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The Haunting of Hill House Review

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The Haunting on Hill House is definitely a unique adventure. The characters are all rather calm about the situation but in a rather odd way. Every character seems to be crazy already which is probably why they were invited to begin with. Hill House definitely doesn’t pull any punches once night occurs.

The plot starts off with Montague deciding to head off to Hill House to run some experiments. He decides to invite a few people with supernatural experience since he could use some backup and perhaps they will sense something he could not. These characters are Eleanor and Theodora. Luke also comes since he owns the house while Montague is merely renting it. Is the house haunted or is it merely in the minds of the characters? That’s left for you to decide as things get a little crazy but one thing’s for sure, things will never be the same for these chaps once they leave.

So like I mentioned earlier, the dialogue is all very off. Likely an intentional decision so it’s not bad writing but it does make you wonder about the characters and how far from reality they are. For example, the maid has a tendency of repeating herself and telling the same things to everyone no matter who they are. She may have been the best character to be honest. As she said, supper is served on the dot and she leaves before dark. She has her iron clad rules and doesn’t deviate from them no matter what. You have to admire her dedication and the rest of the characters quickly learned how the system worked that way. Her husband wasn’t quite as fun and only showed up once so he definitely wasn’t meant to be a big character. His threats worked pretty well on the main character but no one else was going to be messed with.

That’s one thing I liked about Montague. Since he rented the house, he always talks about how the others need to know their place. That being said, he is all talk and never actually does anything about it. He does his best to keep the group together and might be the best character in the book. Luke is fairly good as well. He doesn’t believe in ghosts as much as the rest of them and never even gets scared by what is happening in the house. He takes it all in stride and seems to genuinely enjoy the experience. At least someone was having fun right?

Eleanor is the main character by unfortunately she is the worst one. She suffers from low confidence the whole time and doubts every move that she’s makes. Eleanor also basically goes crazy early on but you could make the case that she was already like that when the book began. It would explain her point of view for the book and everyone’s reactions to some of her antics. I imagine she didn’t act quite the same as she claims too. She really put up resistance to leaving the gang by the end and then her sudden finish seals the deal. She was amusing at least though. Definitely a creepy person to be around if you were actually in the house though.

Theodora was definitely the most intense character. She is very outgoing unlike the others and can be very morbid which is an interesting combination. She gets along with everyone even if she finds Eleanor to be too clingy. Towards the end the two do start to subtly insult each other a lot but I’m probably on Theodora’s side here since Eleanor was trying to invite herself over which is never the polite thing to do. Just because you meet a friend on a job doesn’t necessarily mean you suddenly want to have them around all the time. Eleanor did her best to get everyone against her.

I can’t speak for any possible adaptions but in the book at least I think it’s safe to say that the house was not haunted. Most of the tricks could be explained with science like how the building was slanted and that’s why the doors would close. Everything adds up this way. Any possible noises during the night were probably just Eleanor panicking and trying to scare everyone.

Honestly if I had been invited to the house, I probably would have had a blast. The main characters did very little investigating if you think about it and spent most of the time just having picnics and playing chess. Essentially it was like a vacation with free food. In a time without electronics that definitely seems like a fun experience since the things in town may have gotten old by that point.

Overall, The Haunting at Hill House is truly a unique book. I don’t think you will find a cast of characters quite like that one for a while. It’s an engaging atmosphere with how mysterious the air is and all of the strange dialogue being thrown around. I think I would have preferred for the book to have been shown through another character’s point of view although that would run the risk of changing the whole dynamic of the book. Anyway, I’d recommend checking out the book. It’s also pretty short so it won’t take you too long and the pacing is pretty tight. Whether you think the supernatural element is there or if it’s all in Eleanor’s head, it’s a fun story.

Overall 7/10

Dracula: Prince of Darkness Review

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Time for more Dracula! This film actually had the best beginning out of all the Dracula films which was quite impressive. For a little while there, I actually began to think that this film could actually be good. The second half falls back down the rails into terrible territory but at least it actually tried this time. If only the film had stuck to being a slice of life with a few jump scares instead of a nitty gritty vampire film. Don’t we have enough of those anyway?

The film starts off with a bunch of savages about to impale a girl who’s already dead. They want to make sure she stays that way. A passing preacher/evangelist stops them with his pocket gun and tough negotiating skills. He then heads to a cabin where we meet the Kents. 4 people are going on a big tour of the world and are having fun stopping at all of the various bars. He warns them not to go to a castle coming up since it’s evil. To their credit, half of the party listens. The 4 people are Alan, Helen, Charles, and Diana. Helen really doesn’t want to go inside and Diana isn’t fond of doing so either. Luckily a carriage comes along so Charles proposes that they get on it and head for the next town. Unfortunately the Horses are uncontrollable and quickly take the heroes to the castle. It appears to be empty, but a butler remains.

Helen continues to believe that something bad is going to happen and her fears are put to rest as Alan is destroyed and she goes next. Unlike Alan, she is at least given the pleasure of becoming a fellow vampire who will serve Dracula. Dracula wants Diana next, but Charles intends to put up a fight to save her. Charles and Diana head to the old guy from the intro and hide in his church, but the Church has a traitor who works for Dracula and the guy invites him in. It’s now a desperate battle for time, can Dracula be stopped!?

I really did like the intro. The first 30-40 minutes are basically the heroes bickering among themselves and just enjoying the hospitality once they get into the castle. You know that it’s not going to end well for them but at least they are having fun in the meantime. Charles is a pretty good character as he’s not a nervous wreck like the rest of the heroes and doesn’t mind taking charge. Diana may not be as brave, but she always stands by Charles. Alan and Helen aren’t quite as good. Helen is extremely nervous of everything to the point of paranoia which gets old fast and Alan just barely seems like a character. He’s just along for the ride for the most part. Still, it’s a fun group dynamic. These are actually characters that I can get behind and it’s just an entertaining intro.

Then Dracula shows up and things get messy. First of all, the film is quite violent. The Hammer films in general are always a little more intense and this one is no exception. One character basically bleeds to death which takes a while and it’s on screen. Another character gets impaled with a stake on screen. Ironically, Dracula’s death at the end is the least violent since he simply slips on some ice and freezes to his doom. Not exactly the way you’d imagine the famous Prince of Darkness to go out. I’m aware of the Garlic and the Cross as counters to Dracula even if the former never works. I never heard about Vampires drowning in clear water though. I never assumed they could breath underwater, but it’s actually a weakness now? The deck is really stacked against Dracula since he is quite slow and is weak to just about everything under the sun. Good luck beating any more humans at this rate count.

The traitor inside of the Church was annoying as well. He’s a prisoner as they even say to take him back to his cell, but people still take orders from him? Clearly the guy isn’t the only crazy in the place. It’s also awfully convenient how many empty rooms are in the Church so it’s easy for Dracula to sneak around. I was hoping there would be more people running around trying to stop him. It’s also annoying how quick the hypnosis works on Diana. It’s essentially instantaneous which isn’t surprising, but still not all that great. Where is the will power in all of this?

As a side note, this is probably the worst Dracula design. The red eyes just make him look super weak and then the actual movie certainly doesn’t do anything to dissuade you of that notion. Anyone can out run him and while he has super strength, he tends to let his opponents go. He’s also lucky that Alan was quite naive and not too smart as he otherwise wouldn’t have gotten resurrected in the first place. The heroes make a bunch of bad calls throughout the movie. In another scene they see the butler with a baseball bat or some kind of knife, but just shrug. All 4 of them agree that the butler seems crazy and likely dangerous, but they are still fine with sleeping in the manor. At worst they should have just overpowered him and then gone to sleep. They could have woke up the next day with a “Nothing personal” story and that would have worked. Well, I suppose at least some of them got the last laugh in the end so that’s a start.

Overall, This film is really just more of the same. Once Dracula shows up you can switch the footage with any other Dracula film and it’s basically the same. The film goes through the same beats as he takes the heroes down one by one but then plot armor comes to help the heroes. Dracula gets Charles in his grasp at one point, but then throws him away. He completely had the victory sealed up there, but lets him get away. Why would he do that? Seems like it was a bad move to me. Ah well, I’d recommend staying away from this film. You can watch other Dracula films that aren’t as over the top violent and at the end of the day, vampires are past their prime anyway. If you don’t mind stopping early, then the film is quite good if you just watch right up til Alan says he is going to check downstairs. Stop the film right there and it’s a solid 7/10 with a good cast and solid writing. If every film ended as well as it started, a lot of scores would be quite different in the horror genre.

Overall 2/10

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

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It’s time for a film based on a controversial case in Germany. Essentially there was a girl who was having visions and started acting crazy. Some believed she was possessed by a demon while others believed that she had psychosis and needed medication. She decided to go with the exorcism strategy instead, but it failed and so she ended up dying. The film focused on the court case which followed this while relying on flashbacks to fill in the gaps of the past.

It’s definitely not my kind of movie. Well, to address the case, I’m going to assume that she was simply very sick and not possessed. The topic of possession is always very complicated. I’m personally of the opinion that Christians cannot get possessed. At least not in the current age. It’s possible in the past that a Christian could get possessed as a test of faith or a way to illustrate God’s power to others. A child was possessed in the old testament after all, but there are two reasonings for it that wouldn’t necessarily go against my theory. One is that as she was a child, she had not yet become a born again Christian. As such she did not have any protection yet. Of course, even if she died while being possessed that wouldn’t doom her to Hell as another belief I have is that if you have not yet been given a chance to become a Christian before your death, then you still may if you would have become one. Since God knows the future, it’s conceivable (And probable) that he takes this into account. After all, it wouldn’t be very fair if you died in a bombing when you were 3 years old and must now go to Hell. It’s an exception depending on how you look at it or just simply a case of God knowing where you should be going and sending you there.

The other way the child could have been possessed is simply because Jesus had not yet died and so we weren’t given the Holy Spirit. I believe that our protection is a lot stronger now since through Jesus death on the cross we all received the Holy Spirit. Before that, times were certainly tougher even though you shouldn’t worry about the tribulations since it will all be worth it in the long run.

The girl was stated to be a devout Christian who was a Catholic. In this case that means she still believed in the death and resurrection of Jesus, but also believes the Pope and the Church to have greater power than the average person and can be a way to salvation. That gets a little murky since Jesus is the one and only way to Christ, but I’m not here to debate Catholic vs Christian beliefs and haven’t studied up on it enough to ensure I wouldn’t make mistakes. I’ll just say that all of this gives me plenty of reason to doubt that she was possessed. I personally think she was just suffering from psychosis and had a lot of bad hallucinations that caused her to believe this. The mind is pretty powerful so hallucinations can absolutely seem real to the individual who is being affected by them.

It’s definitely a sad story and a pretty awful way to go. I suppose the film does a good job of showing how bad the whole situation is. Naturally the flashbacks go for the “demon is real” route since if it went too ambiguous it wouldn’t be much of a movie and this can also make the scenes more intense. The dream of sacrificing yourself to help others see the light doesn’t really seem like something the Virgin Mary would say. I also don’t remember her becoming an angel…..but it made for an intriguing scene. I believe that self sacrifice and suffering is a big part of the Catholic religion but hopefully that doesn’t fall into the being saved by works as opposed to repentance but again I’m starting to digress. Lets move on from that.

Back to the film. The court scenes are handled pretty well with the lawyers getting sarcastic and the Judge being fed up with both of them. It leads to a lot of back and forth even if some of the witnesses do seem kind of eccentric themselves. I just like court room scenes and whether the witnesses bring up valid points or not, I just like the atmosphere. If the whole film had been the court scenes then I would have enjoyed it quite a bit more.

Overall, This film is based on a real event enough so that I won’t give it an actual score. If you want to learn more about the case I’d recommend watching a documentary or following along through online. After all, if you watch the film you’re simply getting a very dramatized enactment of the story where you can’t trust the facts quite as much. I suppose the theatrical visuals will make it more entertaining but if you really want to learn about the topic, odds are that you’ll want to go straight to the source. 90% of the time that’s the best way to go about it. It’s not a super violent film or anything, but it does go into detail and again, it is trying for shock value and gritty realism so bear that in mind. As for me, I’ll just keep being thankful that my court case wasn’t too graphic. It was kind of rigged…but that’s a story for another day.

Halloween 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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Uh oh, it’s time for Halloween. It’s one of those iconic films that always makes you feel bad. After all if it did not exist, there’s a chance that we wouldn’t have nearly as many slashers as we have today. I’m sure they would have found a way eventually but it would have bought humanity more time. As it stands, this film did happen and it’s about as terrible as you can imagine. It’s hard to see how the sequels get worse than this one, but where there is a will there’s a way.

The film starts off with two weak willed individuals driving a van into the asylum. The brave guy keeps cutting off his partner and dashes out of the van to use the phone to call the warden. He doesn’t want to park too close so they can drive off faster so it’s a bit of a journey. In the meantime, the other driver notices someone jump on the car. She panics and decides to open the window to let this possible psycho in the car. He obliges her and throws her out so he can have fun making a get away. He proceeds to drive it back home and that’s the opening to our film. The mass murderer who was put away for life got back…because the trained professionals didn’t realize that opening a car door when someone is on the car is not a good move. The asylum is also interesting since the patients have complete free reign to do whatever they want. I suppose the justification is that this place is far removed from humanity so if they try running away they’ll never make it to the next town, but I don’t buy that. It seems like a pretty dangerous idea either way. Try not to think about the opening too much as it’s just foreshadowing for how bad the writing is.

We cut away to the main character, Laurie. She has a few more morals than the rest of the kids in school which makes her an outcast. She has to decide if she wants to stay with the cool crowd or be on her own. Her friend helpfully asks someone to take her to a party at some point and puts Laurie on the spot. That’s when she notices that she’s being followed by someone. Nobody else seems to notice though so Laurie puts it in the back of her mind. Even when a kid tells her he saw someone she laughs it off and drops a few more IQ points. I blame the drugs. It’s a shame that Laurie got into drugs, but it just reminds you that there are no good characters in the film. Will Michael Myers destroy the whole town or just part of it before they catch him?

Where to start right? Well, how about Laurie taking drugs? That was just so random and sad that it made you wonder why the film would do this. Building off of this, the characters are just really bad. Basically they’re portrayed as “mainstream” teenagers who only care about scoring and being the bad kids the adults think they are. Pretty much all of their lines are bad and none of them put up a fight against Myers. They just go down without a fight and their deaths usually last quite a while for extra grit.

The film is definitely pretty violent. Almost every character is choked and stabbed and the deaths just go on and on and on. There is also animal violence here as a dog dies so that definitely didn’t help the film’s situation at all. Honestly it was just another nail in the coffin. The film would have gotten a 0 either way, but it helps it sink down amidst the other 0 titles. It would be interesting to add negative scores, but there wouldn’t be much point and I just do that as a meme once in a while. Why did the film have to pick on the dog? He didn’t ask for this!

It’s also hard to believe that Myers has a lot of super strength and stuff just because he’s a mean guy. The film plays it off as if he is possessed by a demon of sorts which is at least a better explanation than none. Still, the heroes should be able to take him and the guy constantly escaping gets old fast. The “professionals” do a bad job of finding him since he goes just about everywhere in the city and yet they don’t see him. The doctor’s reason for not allowing the main cop to call in backup was terrible as well. Quite a few characters died so would they still be alive if the whole police force had shown up? Given the film we’re talking about I’m sure they would have all been defeated but at least they would have been around. It would at least make sense unlike this scenario where the doctor is basically an accomplice for Myers.

Ugh, you’ll be shaking your head as you watch this film the whole time. There’s nothing fun about it since it’s dark and gritty the whole time. There are no characters to root for and the only good theme in the movie gets played out. It’s catchy and iconic the first time around. It’s passable the next two times it shows up. By the rest of the dozens of times the film uses the theme, you are definitely over it. You can tell that there was a very limited budget since it seems like the film’s whole soundtrack was just made up of that one single song. Pretty underwhelming if you ask me. Unless a theme is completely amazing and one of the best ever, you can’t spam it for every other scene.

Overall, skip this film as fast as possible. The plot is paper thin and you can tell that the writers just wanted to make a slasher film and built the plot around that. Every character is annoying the film takes itself so seriously with the constant dark tone that you just want it to take a break already. The film is quite long so you’ll be here for a while and that’s why it’s impressive that there are basically no good scenes. It’s just edge after edge after edge. Think of any kind of bad scene and this film has probably got it.

Overall 0/10

Ben Review

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It’s time for the sequel to Willard. As you can probably guess, this won’t really end well for the film. The first one had just about everything that you wouldn’t want to see in a film. While this film shows some marginal improvement with a better cast, it’s still so bad that it doesn’t really make a difference. There still aren’t any real positives to speak of so the film can’t really gain any ground. Furthermore, the concept was never good to begin with so it’s not like the film could fall back on its potential.

So, Ben escaped from the proper authorities last time. Now he is back and he has brought an army. The plan is for Ben and his friends to decimate the city and put all of the local grocery/supermarkets out of business. This plan hits a snag when Danny shows up. He’s a nice kid who always wanted to sing, but simply doesn’t have the talent. He has some kind of condition with his heart so it’s hard for him to breath or move all that much. Ben takes pity on him and decides to become friends, but he still has to defend himself from the cops. The cops suspect that something is up, but are too busy with their banter to give it too much extra thought at the moment.

At the very least, it’s nice to see the cops get more of a role. They talk and act with complete seriousness so you know that the threat is real. They arm themselves to the teeth with flame throwers, guns, sticks, and all sorts of weapons. These guys definitely didn’t come to play, they came to win! It’s all part of the plan, but alas it is not that easy. The Rats are smarter than they look and somehow can still compete. It’s almost funny when one guy runs out of the tunnel and informs the chief that they’re losing. By this point there are at least a dozen guys who ran into the sewers with their flame throwers and they’re still losing? I don’t know what to say about that. Once you have a fire weapon, the rats should not be able to break the line. Maybe the guys started to space out or something.

The rats definitely get a lot of hype so the humans are on the defensive for quite a while. At least they still manage to keep secrets from each other so none of them are on the same page. One of them even rubs in the fact that if the rats were a little bigger things would be dicier. Clearly these guys needed more grenades and such. While the climax is a lot more explosive and intense than the first one, it’s still built around animal violence so it’s no better.

As a whole the film was certainly less violent than the first one so that’s nice. It’s still violent enough to issue some warning bells though. Danny also doesn’t work well as a main character. First off, he’s pretty annoying like just about any other kid in a movie. Second, giving him the heart problem just felt like an excuse for some drama and it never added anything into the film. That subplot never should have made it past production. The sister’s insistence on Danny having an imaginary friend was also pretty dicey the whole time since he made it clear that it was real from the start. At first you just assume that she’s covering for him, but she actually ended up believing it. It was awful convenient for the kid that’s for sure.

As for Ben, he is now a family man which is an interesting twist. That being said, he’s not a particularly good one since he ditches his family every day to hang out with Danny. This plot point also felt out of place since it’s completely out of character and makes no sense. I believe the writers felt like it was the only way they could get Danny into the story, but then maybe they shouldn’t have gotten him involved at all. The rest of the film actually wouldn’t change at all and it would have helped a bit. Shorten the run time and increase the focus on the cops. Those are the first steps towards being a bad movie instead of a terrible one.

On a miscellaneous note, I still feel like people aren’t as scared of rats as the film series would have you believe. Sure, people find them kind of creepy and gross so they stay away, but you wouldn’t yell in terror at the mere sight of them. You certainly wouldn’t engage a few hundred of them, but you’d act with some dignity. Once they start biting you you’d run away instead of sitting down and just taking it. Honestly, the pain of getting dozens of bites in an instant should be enough to force you to move on pure instinct alone. I just don’t see a person freezing up even if it is more dramatic. At that point the fear is gone and only the pain remains. Much like when you start this film. You fear what’s going to happen and then once it plays the fear is gone and now you have to endure the terrible songs.

Overall, I’d say that Ben was unfocused. It tried having way too many plot lines and incorporating a bunch of characters even though there was no reason to do so. It should have just been Ben vs the World like you’d think from the posters. We don’t need happy human subplots. Maybe if they toned down the horror aspects it would work, but you shouldn’t do both. The writing isn’t good and there is still a lot of animal violence so at the end of the day you can be sure that this film didn’t fare well for me. It’s a title that you should forget and move on from as soon as possible.

Overall 0/10

Willard Review

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It’s time for one of those films that you know will be bad from the start. It has Rats in it which is a problem since it’ll lead to animal violence and the main character is super whiny. You can barely ask for a worse combination to start the film off with. Add in the gratuitous violence and you’ve got yourself another 0 to roll with. There are no redeeming factors in this movie so we may as well just jump in.

The film starts off with Willy heading home when he’s cornered by his boss (Al) and a co-worker. They mock Willy for a while because he forgot his papers once again and then they drive off. Willy is part of the sales department so he has to get the orders or the company can’t earn money. He doesn’t seem to care though because he only gives everything 10% of his effort. Any more than that and he would actually have to try. His father used to own the company but Al helped expedite his death with business pressure and took over the company. Willy’s family says that he should try to take the company back, but that doesn’t seem possible in his current state. If anything, it seems like he may be getting fired if he doesn’t clean up his act. Willy decides to start taking care of some rats in his spare time. Not out of any noble gestures, but so that he can satisfy his inferiority complex by being superior to something, in this case the rats. Willy goes on his power trips right away and edges closer to insanity. Will he live through this?

In case you couldn’t tell, I didn’t like Willard from the beginning. I never found him sympathetic because a lot of his failings on the job seem like his fault. Even if he has a lot of work I want to see him put an effort into finishing it. If he was truly overworked, I would have liked for the film to give some evidence on that. We know Al doesn’t like Willard, but we don’t know that the work was too much for the guy. He didn’t handle any of the situations well either. The party scene is a good example of this as he just leaves instead of talking things out with the guests. They didn’t seem all that reasonable, but Willard basically just lets everyone walk all over him until he snaps. He is all about extremes with no middle ground. Willard also takes his frustration out on the rats which essentially makes him no better than Al. It’d be nice if he could see that, but that wasn’t in the cards. Willy is essentially a bully as well so there’s no rooting for the guy. He murders and yells at rats just to satisfy his ego.

I was actively rooting against him, but the problem is that there aren’t really any characters to root for. The main heroine is the only decent character and even she can be a bit odd. Buying Willard a cat out of the blue is not something you do. I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people aren’t looking for a pet and couldn’t just accept such a responsibility out of the blue. Still, she meant well at least so I’m glad the film let her go without getting eaten or something.

Al’s the main villain and he’s a pretty mean guy. He likes humiliating Willard and getting the last laugh. He pushes the main character around for quite a while until plot hax sets in. Willard breaks in with his rat army which is cool and all, but Al could have just pushed through the door and ran off. The rats could chase him, but it would be tough to down the guy. Instead…he just stands still and begs for mercy. It works well if this was Willard’s big delusion as he finally gets his revenge on everyone, but it’s hard to see it all going so smoothly.

Then Willard’s neighbors turn out to be burglars who like stealing everything. It was a pretty intriguing subplot and she still beat a lot of the other characters. In another subplot, Willard wants to keep his mansion as a matter of pride even though he isn’t earning enough money to support it. Now this is just selfish as he goes around asking for money when there is no way he will be able to return it. He should have just gotten a smaller house and a lot of the issues here could have been resolved.

As for other factors that doomed the movie, there is a considerable amount of animal violence here. Rats are smashed, stabbed, and drowned. It’s unfortunate that Rats are always used for all of these vile experiments. Even in real life everything is tested on them and I somehow don’t think they were treated well in this film. I try not to think about those aspects while watching, but the actor does throw quite a few of them around at various points and since they were using live rats throughout the film, it just doesn’t bode well. The whole film is just very distasteful and mean spirited. Even the Rats banding together and murdering everyone by the end isn’t fun because it’s just continuing the mean cycle. Sure, they got their revenge through more violent scenes, but where’s the happy ending? I’m glad Willard didn’t get a happy ending since he didn’t deserve one, but after a while there’s just no high road for the film to take.

Overall, another issue is that this film also feels like it goes on forever. It just keeps on going and going. Since I didn’t like the characters, that only made the feeling even worse. I don’t know what else to say except that you should absolutely avoid this film. Even as far as horror films go, this one is quite terrible. It’s only good for taking a nap since it’ll put you to sleep. I suppose it can be good as a coaster, but then you’d have to see the cover every time you reach for your drink and that would get brutal very quickly. So, you’re better off just staying out of this film’s way and forgetting that it exists.

Overall 0/10

Tales of Terror Review

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It’s time for a horror anthology. If there are any two words that should strike fear into your heart, it’s those last two words. Horror films don’t have a good track record and the same can and will be said for anthologies. Merging the two results in a lot of opportunities for the film to get ruined. Unfortunately this one is no exception and you’ll find yourself wondering what the point of this film was. The first of the shorts is easily the best one, but that’s not saying a whole lot.

The first segment sees Lenora get home. She has visited her father to guilt trip him one last time before she moves away. He doesn’t want to see her because he blames her for the death of his wife. They argue quite a bit with Lenora constantly explaining how she never should have come here and her father insulting her. Eventually the ghost of her mother wakes up to murder Lenora and then take down the father. They all die together in the mansion. It’s a pretty somber ending to what was overall a somber special. The whole time you just have to wonder why Lenora would possibly want to come over. It’s well known from the start that her father had never even talked to her because he was so upset at what happened in the past so it all came off as rather strange. I couldn’t understand Lenora’s motivation here.

Even worse is the fact that she made sure to come after the last bus had left so she would be stuck there for the night. It’s almost as if she came over purely to start complaining and egging the father on into doing something he might regret. I thought the film was going to have him murder her which would have been super dark so I’m glad they didn’t go that route. It was the best special of the 3, but that’s really not saying much at all.

The 2nd segment is about a drunk guy named Montresor. He is always mean to his wife and cat (Points deducted instantly!) and keeps on stealing money from them. He doesn’t care if they starve as long as he gets his beer. He breaks into a wine testing convention and manages to snag 2nd place. Fortunato doesn’t like being humiliated so he quickly gets together with Montresor’s wife in secret. Montresor finds out and murders them, but luckily the cops come and put him away.

Another rather grim story and one that is completely unenjoyable from start to finish. I don’t want to see the cat getting threatened with murder and being thrown around the whole time. Those scenes are just terrible and the cast puts up with Montresor the whole time. Why isn’t the guy in jail yet? It’s all rather hard to watch as you are tempted to go and rent something a little classier at the special is playing. Sure, they caught Montresor but only after he murdered the two of them. Justice was a little late to say the least. The sad thing is that this wasn’t necessarily the weakest story as the third one also gets a little dicey.

The third story probably has the least intelligent characters of the bunch. An old guy is on his death bed and agreed to let a scientist hypnotize him at the very end. The experiment is to see if the hypnosis can prevent his death for a little while. The scientist quickly launches into his experiment and sure enough, the old man won’t die. Finally the living corpse begs for death, but the scientist merely laughs. Months pass and he is still forcing the corpse to live. So in this time…everyone just allowed that to happen? Geez, some friends.

The main heroine then decides to confront the scientist on her own even though she knows that he is dangerous and criminally insane. Her friend even comes along with his gun to protect her but she tells him to leave and then locks the door. In the most predictable move ever, the scientist then decides that he’ll take her by force and she’s only saved when the corpse wakes up and murders him. That still has to take the cake as one of the worst decisions out there. Why would you knowingly put yourself in such a terrible position. Going 1 on 1 with someone far stronger and confirmed to be dangerous? Clearly this heroine wasn’t very smart and the low quality attempt at creating tension in the film was just pitiful.

Overall, This film was pretty bad. I’m pretty confident now that Edgar Allan Poe’s stories are not nearly as good as you’d suspect from his reputation. I’ve now seen two anthologies based on his stories and they were both pretty dreadful. They’re just not good and while making good horror stories is difficult, it can be done. You just have to construct quality stories with no short cuts or characters making terrible decisions. It shouldn’t be a story about everyone dying just for kicks or to see the spirit slaughter them all. A good story should give the heroes a chance. Sad endings definitely can work as well so long as they have a purpose. This film just didn’t have one and comes across as incredibly mean spirited the whole time. So, like pretty much every other Roger Corman film, you’ll want to skip this one.

Overall 1/10

Flatliners Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. A review of the unedited version would be even more negative. All thoughts below should be addressed as such
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It’s time to look at a film that went under but never came back. It flatlined so early on into the film that I figured they had named it after watching their own film. This one’s pretty terrible so I’m just going to be direct and say that you should stay far away from it. You’ll find out why this is the case below so prepare yourself! Prepare for a journey that you’ll never forget..but not in a good way!

Nelson, Randy, Rachel, Joe, and David are scientists with morally dubious pasts and they are willing to cross any line in the name of science. Nelson has decided that for his latest trick he’s going to intentionally flatline so he can see what happens after death. After all, his mind will still be alive even if his body is temporarily dead. The other students forget to point out that there have been many people with near death experiences and they didn’t see anything so why would he? Instead they throw him onto the stretcher and destroy him. When Nelson comes out, he’s a changed man. He shows up to the base bruised every day but encourages them to give it a try. Gradually the rest of the characters try it out except for Randy. He’s a little smarter than the others and decides not to risk his life for absolutely no reason.

This is a very mean spirited film which is why it’s so bad. The main characters aren’t even remotely likable. Lets start with Nelson. When he was a kid he bullied someone to death with a bunch of his friends and even took care of the dog. In case you were wondering, this is basically the point where the film dropped to a 0. Don’t get me wrong, it was already at around a 2 or so by this point but this sealed the deal. Sure, he “didn’t mean” to destroy the two since he panicked afterwards, but if you’re throwing rocks at a kid who’s high up in a tree..what did you think was going to happen?

Each character is cursed by their past in this film so as a result he ends up getting bullied by the kid that he destroyed. It’s pretty interesting to see a little kid show up with a baseball bat each day to knock him around. It’s pretty surreal and clearly Nelson never learned how to fight. He gets the most violent curse from all of the main characters and only lives due to plot hax and bad writing.

Next up is David. When he was a kid he bullied a girl along with a bunch of his friends and essentially forced her to move away and restart her life. Again, there’s no sympathy to be had with this main character. It’s hard to call his past a mistake since he was definitely old enough to know better. Reminds me of A Silent Voice and that’s never a good thing. David’s also not that great in the present and he should have stuck to his “NO” answer at the beginning of the film. The instant he walked into the lab you knew it was curtains for him.

Joe’s another bad main character. Essentially he would flirt with everyone and they were so free that they’d follow him home. They wouldn’t notice the cameras he set up as he had his fun with them and recorded the whole scenario. As a result his curse is that these women show up at his house….and flirt with him. It’s such a weak curse that you have to wonder what the writers were doing. Joe never even gets to feel bad about this. He certainly doesn’t seem to regret it since he kept the tapes around for all of these years. Why couldn’t we have one nice teenager who flatlines and comes out with no side effects because he wasn’t a jerk? There should be at least one nice guy in the group, but granted….a nice person probably wouldn’t hang out with these lowlifes.

Finally there’s Rachel. Her curse is because she seemingly blames her father for destroying himself. I mean…it’s hard not to hold a bit of a grudge over such a selfish action. Her flashback was kind of all over the place though and she gets over the case by putting him to peace. Sure, you have to let go at some point, but it was definitely an odd plot line. Hey, she was never a bully at least so that’s a consolation.

The film also has downright terrible writing. All of the characters are constantly swearing so much that you have to wonder what a limited vocabulary they have. The writing is also limited by the fact that the main characters are so bad since naturally they aren’t going to have any good lines. You won’t be surprised to hear that the romance is absolutely terrible here as well. They’re certainly not conservative teens so you can imagine how they just skip the formalities and the important parts of romance. They don’t seem to care about that kind of stuff. The random fanservice scenes through the curse were also completely unnecessary and the film was certainly going for all of the low hanging fruit to try and get extra tickets.

Overall, Flatliners is an absolutely dreadful film. The cast of characters are terrible and they got off rather easily. Nelson in particular tried to murder David, he did murder a kid in the past, he murdered a dog, and what he got in return for this was being beaten up a few times. That’s it…he’s now good to go. It’s not all bad as that would have made the film even more mean spirited I guess so it’s a lose-lose, but the film put itself into that position. It’s just really hard to sit through this mess because there is nobody to root for and no positive aspect to cling too. It’s the definition of an annoying teen film. I can’t say that I have high hopes for the stand alone sequel either. With a title like this, you just knew that the film was going to stay down.

Overall 0/10

Diary of a Madman Review

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It’s time for a tale of Man vs Demon. Force of Will vs Temptation. Justice vs Vengeance. Unfortunately, the hero is a guy named Simon who doesn’t have a whole lot of will power to defend himself with. What follows is a painful adventure where Simon is wrecked at every corner and the Horla gets to have his way. It’s not as bad as it could have been, but I’m afraid that it’s not a good film regardless.

Simon is a judge but his life has been empty lately. His wife ended up destroying herself a while back and ever since he has thrown himself into his work. It’s just not enough anymore though and his possessions keep getting flipped around even though the butler claims innocence. Things come to a boil when Simon destroys one of the criminals who was going to be executed. The demon that was attached to the guy transfers over to Simon. He now wants Simon to murder everybody and follow his commands so that he can be provided with some entertainment. Simon struggles against him, but this seems to be futile.

I guess one of the main issues that a film like this one will have is that the hero’s lack of willpower gets to be annoying pretty quickly. Simon tries to resist, but then the Horla just takes physical control of his body and makes him murder people. The instant Simon lost the mental battle, you could say that the film lost as well. The demon is just stronger than Simon so clearly there can’t be a battle anymore. It’s not like Simon can take a do over. He’s already murdered someone. Naturally the film makes sure that the victim was cheating on her husband so you aren’t supposed to feel as bad for her, but it’s still a rather gruesome fate.

The scene is rather violent and the film definitely shows that it can be dark when it wants too. We also get some animal violence right on schedule when Simon is forced to destroy his own bird. Game Set and Match for the film. You’ll just be interested in seeing what form of plot hax the film will use to have Simon turn the tables on the Horla. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t even try to make it all that believable. So, the Horla is essentially the invisible man. The film doesn’t seem to be too confident on what his powers are. Can he teleport? Move really fast? I mean, you’d think that he can go through walls based on how he appears to be everywhere, but he can’t in the climax. So, we’ll go through this next paragraph assuming that he has no powers aside from hypnosis and invisibility.

The big plan is to douse the house in gasoline, lock all of the doors, and close the drapes. Once the Horla walks in the room, Simon will fling some fire bottles at him and take the whole house down. Now, here’s the problem with that scenario. Up til now the Horla has been spying on Simon 24/7. Even if we assume that he went out for a late night stroll for some reason…how long was he gone? Did he not notice that Simon had made all of these preparations before walking in? Was he not able to break through simple curtains or the locked door? The villain apparently panicked as he couldn’t even be bothered to destroy Simon first or grab the key. I get that he’s scared of fire, but I had some trouble believing that this trick would work. If anything, Simon’s strategy to take a train out of the country had a better chance of working since if he had gotten on the train he would have been out of reach for the Horla. Well, I suppose we’ll take this plan over nothing.

Technically you do know that Simon is doomed right from the start as the film opens with his funeral. The rest of the story is simply a long flashback as we learn how he went insane. Of course, he didn’t actually go insane, but since he let a spirit control him so easily he may as well have been. Meanwhile, he wasn’t a pleasant guy from the start either. He flirts with a married woman and even if he didn’t realize that she was taken at first, he made no attempt to stop being with her once he found out. The whole message of moving on past the wife’s death and straight into rebound territory was also a little tricky. He met with the lady for about an hour and that was all it took for him to fall for her. It all happens so fast in these films that you can see why so many rebounds are always happening.

This isn’t exactly a 0 star film though so there are some positives. The scene where the cross scares off the Horla was pretty good. It was nice to see that at least someone had power over him. Too bad Simon didn’t take the hint and instead of hiding out in the church or buying the cross….he went right back home. Another solid for the film is that the writing is fairly decent. Simon was a likable character for the first minutes of the film as he goes to the prison and tries to learn about the criminal mind. He goes downhill from there, but overall the writing wasn’t all that bad. It’s just the direction that the film went in which didn’t work out so well. Also, if someone ever asks you to model for them, it’s probably a good idea to say no. That job always seems to end badly in films.

Overall, Diary of a Madman is a pretty mean spirited film. There’s no real enjoyment to be had from it. Is it really fun to see a spirit tormenting the main character throughout the whole film as he forces him to murder people including his potential future wife? Then we have the animal violence and Simon giving into despair. The ending may give Simon the last laugh, but more literally than you’d expect. I have no problem with it, but just another example of how they couldn’t even grab a happy ending. I think you can definitely do much better than this film if you’re looking for a good thriller so I’d advise you to skip it. If you want a film where a character has to combat good and evil, check out Advent Children. Cloud finally realizes that he can hope again by the end and even while he was downcast he never did anything unforgivable and still always tried to help out. That’s just the kind of guy he is.

Overall 2/10