The Stepfather Review

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

This film plays out just like you would expect it to. It’s a dime a dozen horror/slasher kind of film where everyone is too oblivious for their own good. There was one scene which was an interesting subversion but on the other hand the whole scene felt really annoying and stretched my disbelief to the max so I’m not sure it was a great tradeoff. This film doesn’t do much right tbh, I suppose at least it reminds you on the dangers of rebounding. It can always get a little dangerous.

So the movie starts off with Jerry murdering a family and then running off to his next disguise. Basically his gimmick is that he will take on a new identity and marry a widow who has a kid. They’ll then live a normal life until he gets bored or upset and then he takes them out before repeating the process. What you have to understand is that for him to do this so often, a lot of people are just marrying him real quick. We don’t know how many times he’s pulled this off but it’s heavily implied that the scene we saw in the beginning of the film wasn’t the first time.

With the current family he is able to quickly get on Susan’s good side but her daughter Stephanie is a harder sell. She doesn’t like Jerry and isn’t happy about having to get used to him. Jerry needs to win her over quickly because he wants a perfect family and so if that doesn’t happen then she will have to go. Stephanie didn’t like Jerry from the start so unfortunately nobody takes her too seriously when she starts to say that he might be shady. After all that may just be sour bananas right?

It’s just a little hard to buy into the fact that all these widows are so desperate that they’d marry Jerry right away. During the film there’s a quick scene where he’s already starting to get his next life all set up and immediately after a few seconds of flirting it semes like he’s got his next victim all picked out. Cmon now, the film’s going to have to work a little harder to make that seem even slightly realistic. It’s an interesting gimmick for the main villain to have but it’s not too practical.

Now the whole film there is a guy named Jim who is on the case. This paragraph and the next 4 will have big spoilers so skip them if you haven’t seen the movie yet. I just have to dive in here because this character was just so bad. Whew……this guy was really bad. SO here’s what happens, he’s the brother of the last girl that Jerry took down for the count. He has follows the guy across the state and has narrowed his search down to a few people left. Finally he gets a definitive lead and knows exactly who he is looking for. So Jim goes to the house and yes he brought his gun with him. Jim sees that the door is open and everything is awful quiet. Okay that means Jim is ready right? He takes out his gun and just starts popping off??

No, Jim walks in and starts to look around. That’s when Jerry tries to sneak up on him but the door is so old that it makes a noise so Jim sees him. “Is that you sir???” Jim basically asks and Jerry just grins. “Long time no see Jim”…..and you figure Jerry is out of ideas and options because there’s nothing he can do. Jim has the gun and there is no element of surprise. There is absolutely nothing that Jerry can even hope to do in this situation. It’s all curtains, roll credits. Except…..that’s actually not what happens here.

See….Jim…..forgot to take his gun out of his pocket. Why…..I can’t even….what’s even worse is that Jim’s pocket is closed with a zipper and it gets jammed. Noooooooo

This is one of the most contrived moments I’ve seen in cinematic history. So Jim starts fumbling with the zipper while Jerry walks over and murders him. That’s just embarrassing. That’s not only awful writing in what was already a terrible movie but it makes no sense. Clearly the idea here was to subvert your expectations since the entire film has Jim running around looking for Jerry so you’re expecting the big payoff. No instead he gets neg diffed (Defeated with negative difficulty) and wastes his gun.

You need the full context here. Jim already knew what the guy looked like, he knew his address, and he knew that the guy just quit his job in the current alias which means he is about to murder his family. Jim’s the one who connected all of these dots earlier and even warned the cops. So he knows exactly what to expect and the door was open plus the house was eerily quiet. Why didn’t he already have his gun out? Why use a pocket with a zipper so you can’t take the gun out at a moment’s notice? Man………

Okay that’s it for spoilers. So back to the film, Jim’s a pretty awful character and I don’t need to talk about him much. Jerry’s bad which is pretty much automatic as one of those random serial killers. It’s not like there is any interesting motivations to his actions or anything like that. He’s just one of those lunatics so you’re waiting for him to get his at some point. He just tends to get lucky that his opponents are either not very smart, have 0 IQ, come in with no plan, or forget their own stories. He gets a lot of breaks here.

You’ve got the therapist Dr. Bondurant who seems decent at times but then tends to fumble. I appreciate that he’s proactive and tries to meet with Jerry but then he quickly starts making easy mistakes. Being obvious about his questions, forgetting his lies even though he just needs to bluff his way through 10 minutes, etc. This guy should have done way better and the way he goes out is just awful. Look, if you’re going to die anyway then at least try fighting back, jump out the window (They’re on the ground floor), tackle, do something. Instead he’s still trying to say that he’s not lying while he’s being stabbed. At that point nobody cares, certainly not the murderer. You need to fight back instead of hoping that he’ll stop.

As one of those films where you know Jerry is evil from the jump, it does always make for an interesting perspective. You get to really backseat drive the main characters here and their decisions feel even worse this way. I like the idea though even if it doesn’t do anything to save the film here. Stephanie is okay but unfortunately she did make it tough for anyone to believe her with how she never even gave Jerry a chance. I think she should have made a bigger deal about Jerry’s random episode in the basement but realistically almost anything she did would have had her get murdered anyway so I’m not sure it would have done much. At the end of the day when you’re a kid there’s not a whole lot you can do.

The film can be quite violent so you’ll want to give this one a pass if you’re not up for that. It definitely limits the film’s potential from the jump but in this case you also had to factor in the writing. Jerry also gets the family a dog and right away there were a lot of red flags. Now, the dog does escape initially when Stephanie gets home but I don’t recall the dog appearing after that in the ending. Did it survive or not? It’s hard to tell and at least from my recollection it didn’t feel definitive. I like to imagine that he did live for that result but the film was treading on very murky water there.

Overall, The Stepfather is a movie where the plot is hard to buy right from the start. Nobody is ever helpful in trying to take him down and if anything they’re just getting in each other’s way. There are no true standout characters and the film just doesn’t have much of a soul to it. If any of the characters were even remotely tough then you expect that they would have been able to do more here. It’s also why you probably want to really take your time in a relationship before you get serious. Not sure how much it would have helped in this case but to an extent I like to think the cracks in Jerry’s façade would have started to appear. It’s not like he’s the best actor with how he forgets who he is once in a while and even uses the wrong names in random conversations. He’s not all there so it’s not like he’s some kind of genius mastermind.

Overall 2/10

Overlord Review

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

I had a bad feeling about this film from the start. It’s a dark and gritty zombie movie with world war II elements. None of those things sounds very appealing so when you mix it all together then you’re probably gonna be in for a rough time. Unfortunately I was right on the money with this one. It’s a film that never really lets up so you can have any fun scenes in there. Instead it just keeps on going but without any real hook to get to you.

The main character here is Boyce and he’s riding with a team that is being sent out to take out a tower so that aerial support can come in to help the troops take over one of the beaches. This is a significant battle for the allied nations so it is imperative that the tower goes down. If it does not then everyone’s doomed. The plane that Boyce is travelling in gets shot down so there are only a few survivors. They are now the last hope and must try to make it in time. This will be tougher than expected though as the Nazi have more troops here than expected. Clearly something else is going on that’s bigger than just the tower.

Right from the jump you can tell that this is the kind of film that’s going to be giving you the extra details that you don’t need. One character pukes after seeing someone get blown up and it sets the tone for the very gritty realistic vibe that the film is gunning for. Even the zombies in this film are handled in a way where it can be seen as a realistic byproduct of a serum that has been developed. I dare say if you’re going to do this plot then you should be as fantastical as possible but that’s just me.

The film is incredibly violent as you see dismembered people lying around and all sorts of shock imagery for the zombies. The heroes even go and torture one of the villains to show that they will fight as dirty as possible in order to win this. It makes the heroes seem rather unstable from the jump as well. Boyce is shown to be the only one that’s completely against stooping down to this level and he tries to get the others to calm down. Quite unsuccessfully I must say but at least the attempt was made. Nobody else really seemed to have a problem with this.

To get edgy in the other way, the film also has the main heroine getting blackmailed by a Nazi commander so they can have an affair in exchange for her safety. Evidently this has been going on for a while and while it’s finally stopped now that Boyce is here (While his teammate was quite willing to just let it all go down) it’s just another super dark plot that should have been excluded. We know that the Nazis are depraved and psychos, there is no reason to go super into depth with this and show every possible angle that this can be explored in. Ultimately it’s not like it adds to the story in any meaningful way. Everyone watching this film already knows that the Nazis are evil.

The fights are all made to be graphic and so there just isn’t any moment where you get to lighten up here. It’s just a really intensely dark film with a lot of casualties. The only really likable character here is Boyce. He keeps his humanity throughout the adventure and never crosses the line. I would say he did as much as humanly possible in trying to defy his teammates from crossing the line too. I think the rest of the characters would not have even made the attempt so that’s something that’s at least worth acknowledging there.

Now I will give the film this, it did have a good track or two during the movie. That was at least a good positive I could give to it. That’s really the only one though. The cast is not a good one and it’s hard to enjoy any scene because every second something violent or dark is going to happen. If you want to have a film about a group of troops behind enemy lines trying to do good, then you have to do something a little lighter and with more time to see the team bond and infiltrate. It needs to be done without making the heroes too unlikable either. One of them’s even a jerk to a kid the whole time for no good reason. He’s stressed out but don’t take it out on a kid.

Ford is the most unlikable out of all the heroes. He’s the one who tortures Wafner and keeps on telling Boyce that they have to ignore what’s happening in front of them and focus on the mission. He’s not the guy you want to have at your back. Following the mission is good and all but you still can’t let someone get attacked or die in front of you. The torture scene also wasn’t a good look for him. Heroes should definitely never resort to that kind of tactic. It eventually ends up with Ford and Wafner fighting to see who can dish out the most damage and make the film as gritty as possible. Their battle is probably the most violent one in the film.

Of course Wafner is an awful character. What more can be said about him, he’s a Nazi commander who abuses his power and gladly agrees with the administration. He’s a terrible person through and through. The main heroine Chloe did her best in the tough situation she was in and looked good during the movie at least. The only scene with her that was iffy was nearly getting tricked by a random soldier into entering a cell with a monster in it. Surely you would have the soldier go in first right or at least keep your gun trained on him?

Tibet is the guy who was mean to the kid for a while. By the end of the film he sees the error in his ways at least. He was the most entertaining of the group as he was always joking around and trying to have a good time but I still wouldn’t call him a great character in the end. He’s super jumpy and just doesn’t carry himself like a proper soldier. Finally you have Chase and he did well once he stopped worrying about the camera all the time. There are definitely bigger things to think about here than getting the right shots. That’s for sure.

Overall, Overlord is definitely a film that you’ll want to pass on. It’s really just nonstop grit as they fight off the enemy soldiers and occasional zombies here. The extra details are what really get you though as you have to see every action to remind us how tough the war is and how intense the villains are. Zombie films are typically a thumbs down all the way though so it’s not particularly surprising. If you really like this kind of film then by all means it’s time to jump in but otherwise you’ll want to give this one a really quick pass. It just doesn’t have anything to really salvage it and so the film feels like it’s extremely long.

Overall 1/10

The Fury 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

When you mix in government conspiracies with cool sci-fi powers then you’ve got an interesting balance of things to work with. The Fury has a lot of interesting themes without a doubt but it also felt unfocused at the same time. I was often more interested in what the main guy was doing than in the kid who was trying to get used to her powers. The ending won’t leave anyone particularly satisfying which ends up hurting the film a lot in the end.

The movie starts with Peter enjoying a nice vacation with his son Robin. Robin is gifted with psychic abilities far beyond the realm of ordinary men. Peter thinks he should accept it as a gift which will take him to greatness while Robin isn’t too thrilled to have these abilities. The point quickly becomes moot as Peter is shot and Robin is kidnapped. Ben led this uprising as he wants to have all of the psychics for himself and takes Robin to his school for the gifted. This guy has a ton of power and influence so it won’t be easy for Peter to catch him which is why we fast forward a few months into the future.

The new main character now is Gillian and she has blood manipulation powers in addition to the usual telepathic type abilities. So if she makes any kind of physical contact with someone then they’ll start to bleed. Any old wounds will open up and they can die in moments. She hopes that going to this fancy school for psychics will help her but little does she know that the place is as corrupt as it gets. Will she be able to get out of this place safely or is she already in too deep?

The plots with Peter and Gillian do end up converging of course but until that happens her plot just feels rather uneventful next to his. When Peter is around you see him taking on armed guards, stopping pickpockets, having car chase scenes, etc. He’s on a very personal mission to save Robin and the stakes are high so you just naturally get invested. Since months have passed you can also understand why he is really stressed and rushing through this because the villains can do a whole lot of damage in that time. His fears are quite warranted as well from what we see.

Peter makes for a good main character. He’s always moving forward and has his guard up at all times. Even when the stakes aren’t in his favor like when he’s captured, Peter stays focused and even manages to get some jokes in. It’s tough to make him lose his cool and any scene with him was usually quite solid. His girlfriend Hester was also really solid. You know from the start that things probably aren’t going to go over too well for her since she’s infiltrated the villain’s base and is his spy on the inside. When you work with a secret agent your days are usually numbered since you’re not the lead.

Hester is always willing to take risks and help him out and deserves credit for that. Meanwhile I was not a fan of Robin. He’s in a tough spot so of course you do have to cut him a bit of slack but whenever he’s on screen you can see him making the wrong choices. It’s hard to say what he should have done without knowing the context, but with his psychic powers it would have been best if he just took them out. He has a whole lot of power so now’s the time to use it instead of allowing himself to be manipulated the whole time.

The group put him through a lot and effectively broke Robin so it’s tragic but that doesn’t make him a good character either. In the end he couldn’t get past this and was not a likable figure in the movie. His guardian Susan wasn’t good either. Basically her role in the group was to keep Robin preoccupied by having an affair with him even though her heart wasn’t in it. It was just a task for her and it worked for a while which is a strike against Robin for not really realizing. Can’t say I was a fan of hers either, it was certainly a super stressful task though.

Then there is the main villain Ben who is really not that smart sometimes. Sure, things have worked out for him so far so I guess he has some kind of a plan but I would say that he got lucky more times than not. His whole psychic school didn’t seem to have as many defenses as you would expect to keep these powerful fighters locked up. Then his decisions in the ending…man I don’t know what he was thinking. Did he really expect a happy embrace or full gratitude for what he had done? I feel like Ben was really not thinking clearly with how he approached the ending. It makes for a memorable send-off, but it just didn’t make any sense from his perspective.

Finally we have Gillian and as the main character she gets a lot to do but I never felt like she was a great character. She has valid reasons to be nervous about her powers so I understand why she wanted to go to the school (Even if I agree with the mother on the whole thing not sounding right from the start) but it felt like the plot would carry her along. She never seemed to proactively find things out. She gets the main guy into trouble by panicking about her telepathy but beyond that she rarely dives into the fray herself.

Part of the issue here is that it feels like the whole movie could have happened without her and not a whole lot would have changed. Her experiences within the school didn’t ultimately change anything that the film could have just worked around with more intel from Hester. At least Gillian gets to do things in the climax, but of course by then the film is already ending so it’s not like there’s a whole lot of time left by that point.

Also as I mentioned the ending is just bad on all accounts. It certainly goes for the horror vibe at the end as things randomly get super violent. One character’s death is quite over the top as she is spun to death after taking a lot of injuries. You get the big explosion at the end which is also a bit intense but certainly not on the same level. Then one character decides to take the easy way out…even though he knows this could doom another character. It felt so out of character and rushed. The whole climax just didn’t work and that whole thing should have been scrubbed. It’s like the movie decided to abruptly change gears here. If anything maybe it could have benefited from having a sequel.

The setting of the world itself is interesting because I’d like to see how other countries are handling the psychics and what’s going on here. This almost could work as a back-door pilot to the X-Men with the way that the powers were going. If the film had decided to become a full on action I think that would have worked really well too. You just need less experiments and a villain with a bigger goal to really make this work like with the film where kids could enter people’s dreams and were being used as weapons. Now there’s a grand goal and the film had a clearer picture on what it wanted to do. This one just doesn’t go into that level of detail and so the whole thing doesn’t have the full effort that it could have utilized to the max.

Overall, This movie was good for fairly large portions of the adventure but it all falls apart at the end. The ending is one of the biggest things you’ll remember so that was certainly unfortunate. The movie’s really all over the place with the tone as it’s happy sometimes, comedic, then dark and serious, then happy again, etc. A good chunk of this is because of the Gillian plot which would eat up a lot of time but didn’t really change things. I think if the movie picked either Gillian or Peter and stuck to that plot then it would have really worked out way better. You’ve then got one film which isn’t divided up so much. Ah well, maybe next time if they do a remake but in the meantime you can give this one a skip.

Overall 3/10

Dr. Phibes Rises Again Review

It’s time for Phibes to return once more to try and claim his victims. This film is fairly similar to the first. It starts off a little more traditional as one of those horror titles with a lot of quality dialogue and for a minute there I thought this one was going to shatter the original. Then Phibes actually shows up and this quickly becomes more of the same as the first. If push came to shove I would probably give this one the slight edge over the original but by no means is there a big gap or anything. They are very close to each other.

So of course last time Phibes sealed himself away but it turns out that he actually had a grand master plan all along. A mechanism automatically freed him after a certain amount of time and now he is free to start the murders again. His sidekick Vulnavia is back from the dead somehow but that isn’t really explored. She even feels like a completely different character as she seems to possibly like Phibes now but that’s really a doomed goal from the start since the whole point of his quest is revenge for his wife. He’s not going for the rebound now.

The main character this time is Biederbeck who is working in Egypt to find the river of life. He’s got a good start by grabbing the papyrus and all but now this has put him in the way of Phibes. Phibes will be arriving to take this back since he needs it to possibly bring his wife back. Biederbeck knows that someone dangerous is after him but doesn’t care. He knows that the prize at the end of the tunnel is all his and that’s all that he cares about. I appreciate how tough the guy acts at all times but he never seems to be all that smart in thinking about the big picture. Will Trout be able to keep Biederbeck alive or is this game over?

You can see the dark humor elements a bit more here though like in some of the murders. For example, at one point the villain starts to crush someone in one of those traps where the walls are closing in. As he yells for help, Phibes pulls out a giant fan out of nowhere and turns it on which makes everyone think a storm is brewing. As a result nobody gets up to help the poor guy and he is taken down for the count. The whole thing is rather tragic but there just isn’t anything Trout can do for him.

So you have Trout and his partner laughing about the storm and having comic relief scenes while this guy is taken out. So that was at least one effective use of the dark humor. For the most part I would say the other murders are still on the serious side though and it plays out very similarly to the first film. If you liked the first film then you’ll probably like this one and vice versa. The plot may be different but the story and characters are basically the same either way.

I would say Biederbeck probably isn’t as good as the lead in the first film. It’s close and there are some qualities of his that I appreciate more like not being afraid of Phibes but ultimately you know that he won’t be able to back up the tough talk. Diana was a solid heroine who certainly did her best to talk him down at times, but he just wouldn’t hear of it. Trout is still a fun comic relief character. He’s completely helpless the whole time even though he talks as if he is in control.

By this point the government does realize that Trout’s not doing so great but there just aren’t a lot of other people for the job. Trout’s sidekick gets a little more to do here but it’s not like he’s any more effective than Trout so that’s barely even a consolation by this point. Both of them will ultimately just be standing around while Phibes takes everyone out. That’s really all that they can do.

Because of how direct the film is, there isn’t a ton to say about this one. The first movie had more discussion points like the whole plague theme and everything. This one is just more by the numbers as he goes around bumping everyone off but in a very uninspired way. He’s taking everyone out effectively for sure, but it’s not like there is a big gimmick or anything this time around. To me the most memorable scene is still when he just pulled a giant fan out of nowhere to simulate tornadoes. It’s easy to forget but this guy was a genius after all so it makes sense that he could do stuff like this.

Perhaps leaning into that angle a bit more could have done the film some good. Have his murders all be related to really high tech items that he has created. The more odd and outlandish the better if you ask me. Pull that off and everything will really fall into place. Not sure if that would have actually made this film take the leap all the way towards being a good film but it could have at least given it a little boost. Something to help you remember the film and to differentiate it from the rest.

Overall, This is a sequel that isn’t exactly changing the game in any way. You can really skip it and you won’t miss anything and if you liked the original film then you may as well check it out. I really doubt that you will be remembering it for very long. It’s just not particularly memorable like that so it’ll become a vague memory before long. Maybe one day they’ll make a third film but I feel like this is the kind of movie that almost nobody remembers and for good reason. Horror titles like this were a dime a dozen back then and many more memorable ones have come out over the years.

Overall 3/10

The Abominable Dr. Phibes Review

I have to say that this film was not as good as I thought it would be. Now granted, it’s not like I was expecting a masterpiece or anything but for the most part you could say that I was getting my sights set on a decently fun horror flick. Instead it taps into that Hammers Productions kind of feel with the deaths being more on the disturbing side and the film’s dark comedy is so dark that it goes all the way around into being rather gritty.

The movie starts with Phibes nearly dying after finding out that his wife’s operation did not go well and she was taken out of the picture. He has now sworn revenge against all of the doctors who were in on this. He doesn’t care to hear if it was an accident or anything like that. He says they directly murdered his wife and so now he is going to get even by inflicting them with the 10 plagues from the Bible. No stone will be left unturned in his quest so can the cops stop him in time or is this going to be game over for everyone?

Detective Trout is on the case but if the name itself wasn’t a giveaway then I can safely say that you’ll deduce within a few minutes that he is out of his league. Don’t get me wrong, Trout means well and he seems like a good guy but Phibes is always a million steps ahead of him. Trout can’t plan more than one step at a time and even gets punched out by the guy he is guarding near the end of the film. It’s like if you had Watson without Sherlock Holmes. Sure, he means well but he probably is not going to take the win in the more difficult cases.

He shares the main character slot with Vesalius who was the head surgeon and naturally the one that Phibes leaves for last. It’s certainly handy to be last because you have more time to prep. Personally I think escaping the country may have been the best bet with his son. It may not stop Phibes but it will certainly delay him right? The guy is also rather old so you just have to stay ahead of him for a few years until he is too old to pursue. It’s an expensive plan but I think Vesalius can pull it off.

Either way Vesalius is a decent main character. He does his best to apologize for Phibes’ wife but of course it really was an accident and that’s hard to really convince Phibes of. The challenge of having to do the same surgery again with his son in the balance is an interesting way to end the film. I thought that was a good way to give Vesalius a fighting chance even if Phibes was fully prepared to rig the game. I liked the parallel there.

This is really where my positives start to fade though. I liked Trout and Vesalius plus the writing was fairly good. It’s got that old film charm which is always nice. The movie also isn’t that long so it ends quickly but what gets the film down is just how grim the deaths can be as I mentioned before. You’ve got Phibes mainly murdering with insects and such as that’s how a lot of the plagues worked. You’ve got tubes with them filled in so the victim has no escape and other such mechanics. Nobody has a peaceful death at all here. It’s a shame since most of them did seem like ordinary folks who didn’t mean any harm and were just in the worst spot possible.

Phibes also doesn’t make for a great villain. He’s fairly generic as one of those mad scientist types but additionally he can’t even talk normally anymore so you don’t get the usual Price dialogue that would have been a lot of fun here. It definitely limits what the film can really do which is a shame. I think that would have added something to the dynamic. It probably wouldn’t have saved the film to be honest but every bit helps right?

His assistant Vulnavia doesn’t have a lot to do but in a way just the fact that she is assisting him with all of this tells you all that you need to know. She’s completely complicit with all of the murders and is even eager to help him the whole time. In the second film she would go on to have more development but as it stands she is just a nameless minion for the most part.

The movie’s ending is suitably dramatic. I thought that was fairly good at least and things don’t end on a sour note. Ultimately the movie just should have leaned into the humor part more. Even though this is part dark humor, I thought all of the deaths were too grisly to really be funny at all. I would not have even guessed that this was part comedy. The sequel leans into it more but this one you would almost think just played it straight as a horror film where everyone is bumped off one by one. It’s surprisingly intense considering how old the film is as well.

Overall, You definitely want to avoid Dr. Phibes. He really makes sure to take care of each of the doctors so you feel bad as you see how futile their situation is. At least he can’t catch everyone but the characters all have good reason to be upset with Trout as well. Naturally you should blame the actual murderer first but Trout wasn’t super helpful. Some of the victims were skeptical of the whole thing and have themselves to blame too so there’s a lot to go around. It’s really quite something how someone super old and broken down like Phibes is able to take everyone out. Shows what a good plan along with the element of surprise can do to even up the score. I’ll have a review up for the sequel pretty soon and we’ll see how that one fared against this one.

Overall 2/10

Jeepers Creepers 2 Review

This is a review 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
Looks like the Creeper has returned! The first film was not exactly my kind of tea and I wouldn’t say that the sequel is much better. The setting of being trapped in a bus is better than being in the middle of nowhere but we don’t have the big police vs Creeper fight this time around. The Creeper also seems a little less durable with how easy it is to stab him here but I suppose he tends to resurrect quicker which maybe balances things out. Either way if you’re in the mood for a slasher title then this will fit the bill, but otherwise you may want to give it a timeout for now.

The movie starts with a family farming as they have some lighthearted bickering. This gets serious though when the Creeper shows up and kidnaps one of the kids, who ultimately ends up getting murdered. The father (Jack) decides to take vengeance and prepares himself for war. We then cut to the actual main characters with is comprised of a basketball team and some cheerleaders. Their standard trip home runs into trouble when the bus tires start giving way. The issue is that this doesn’t appear to be an accident as throwing stars pierced the two tires. Minxie gets thrown into the dream realm where she talks with the guy who died in the first film and the one from the intro. They explain that the Creeper is here to eat them all.

See, the Creeper vanishes for 23 years, then he comes back and has 23 days to murder as many people as possible before restarting the process. The good news is the heroes just have to make it to the next day and he’ll go away since this is the final day he has left, but the bad news is that they are only human while this guy has super strength, speed, regeneration, and flight. The team will have to try and band together to beat this guy, but they don’t have as much unity as they may have once thought.

Naturally with a film like this you can bet that the characters aren’t very smart or likable. They’re constantly bickering and fighting among themselves instead of actually focusing on the Creeper. This puts them in a really bad spot right from the jump. Also, there is one action they keep on doing which made me cringe because it is a textbook bad decision all around.

So the Creeper punches a hole through the top of the bus and he can now grab people through it. Sometimes he just pulls their head off or he’ll kidnap them entirely. So…don’t go under the hole right? I mean, he could probably punch more holes through but either way you should avoid the one that is already there. Well, that sounds logical but the characters don’t actually pull this off. One kid in particular constantly walks under the hole and gets caught twice as a result. The second time proves to be fatal, but what was he doing?

It’s pretty easy to make sure you’re not standing directly underneath the hole and yet that keeps on happening with various characters. The Creeper doesn’t always take them out, but regardless it’s not a good idea. It stands out the most because while the situation is pretty much unwinnable the whole time, that’s still got to be the absolute worst decision you could possibly make. Beyond that I don’t mind if you decide to stay in the bus or make a run for it. Both options have their weak points.

It’s more important about trying to stay with a partner as you make a decision so you can watch each other’s back. The Creeper seemingly can be overpowered to an extent if you have enough people but a lot of times the body being grabbed may not hold up anyway. Jack is the best character by far because he actually gives the Creeper a good run for his money. The guy came prepared with some really solid weapons and I thought the movie actually had some good effects here with how the shots played out. You see just how fast the hook fires and how it hits the Creeper before he has time to dodge. It may not have been fatal hits with the first two attacks, but it did show that Jack was able to catch him off guard and deal some serious damage.

The characters aren’t as opportunistic as in the first film though with kicking the Creeper while he was down. In the first film they kept running him over which I thought was a really good idea even if he ultimately regenerated but here when he seemingly dies on the roof they waste so much time bickering again. He just wakes up and by then it’s too late. This group really couldn’t get it together. While I didn’t like any of them all that much, I will give a special shoutout to the main jock for being the worst. I believe his name was Jake but basically he was jealous about not getting to play a lot and thinks he’s better than the other players around.

The reason he’s pretty bad is because he is the one to first suggest sacrificing some of the other kids. That’ always a really bad point to me because it escalates the tensions for no good reason. He’s basically turning the team against themselves. Jake puts a lot of stock into the dreams and prioritizing his own safety when they should just fight as a team. Look at how good Jack did against the Creeper. Surely the teens could do even better if they all paired up so betraying them all was an awful idea.

As for the Creeper, I still can’t say he’s a particularly interesting or good villain. The guy definitely goes for the creepy vibes as he even sticks his tongue out at the group but there’s nothing cool about him. Scenes like that just make you shake your head. In general this film wasn’t quite as out there and over the top gritty as the first one though. You don’t have as many body horror kind of scenes even if they are mentioned. The film still does get very violent for sure but it’s all a bit toned down from the first. It’s also not nearly as scary since the film is going more for thriller moments than horror ones at times so it balances out.

I was glad that we got very solid continuity nods to the first film. I always think a sequel needs to fully acknowledge the original because that’s how you build a strong continuity and I was satisfied with how that was handled here. I also thought the film really had a good ending here. It was really satisfying for one character at least. While the odds may not be in his favor going forward, you like to think that maybe he can secure the win at least for the next cycle. He’ll need a new plan for the one after that but fortunately there is plenty of time to do so.

Overall, Jeepers Creepers 2 is a step up from the first film but it’s in no way a good film or even approaching that level though. It still has a whole lot of weaknesses. The film deserves some credit for actually giving the Creeper some weaknesses so the heroes have a way to win. Even if you know a bunch of them are probably not going to make it, at least there is a path to victory so the whole adventure doesn’t feel pointless right from the jump. If anything it makes me think that the characters from the first film could have both survived if they kept running the Creeper over instead of the guy telling the main heroine to stop for some reason….he wasn’t very smart throughout the movie though so it lines up.

Overall 2/10

The Bone Collector Review

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

The Bone Collector is a film where you have a gut feeling that it won’t be very good from the jump. Films about solving mass murders can be interesting when they focus on the detective work of course but usually when it’s about one still in progress it can be shaky since the guy is still out there bumping everyone off in every other scene. This movie stays rather gritty throughout the film and never ultimately gets past that.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Lincoln who is in a rather tough state. He suffers from seizures and can no longer walk or move around. He is permanently trapped to his bed and so he has decided to end it all. Lincoln fears that another stroke could send him to a vegetative state and so he wants to end on his own terms but right before it’s time for that operation, a mass murderer appears and Lincoln may be the only one who can stop this guy. It’s hard to say what his motive is, but he’s going around murdering people in disturbing ways. Lincoln will have to solve this case quick and so he requests that the new agent Amelia be brought onto the case.

Naturally it’s a little irregular to be bringing someone new onto the front lines for a big case like this but Lincoln liked the way that she handled the crime scene. Throughout the movie there is a little tension with the other cops as the main boss in particular resents this. Ultimately Lincoln and Amelia are the two people best equipped to handle this though. Amelia will have to tackle darker parts of the job than she ever intended to though and may need to rethink her career path after this. Either way this will not be easy.

Making Lincoln unable to move is something that from the jump seemed to be added so you could be worried for when the villain finds him. I think that’s the entire point of the plot since it’s inevitable that they would come face to face but of course there would be no way for Lincoln to fight him. We do actually get a struggle at one point but it’s hard to buy into any of it playing out the way that it did. Remember that Lincoln can barely move at all so the villain really has to drop his guard for this to be an even fight.

It ends up being a rather gritty battle for sure and not a climax fight that ends the film on a great note. You definitely do feel bad for Lincoln the whole time though because that’s a really rough situation to be in. Apparently there is no cure for him and also no way to predict when the seizures will occur so in a way he’s always forced to live in fear. It’s hard to imagine going through the day like that and he did well to still stay focused and help out in the mission.

As for Amelia, she’s a solid main heroine. Naturally there are times when this gets to be a bit much for her since she has never had to deal with a big murder case like this before but it’s always understandable. Lincoln asks a whole lot out of her and while it’s because he believes in her potential, you don’t blame her for walking out several times. This is really not what she signed up for in the slightest.

The cast is fairly small though because there aren’t many other big characters here. You have the police chief who shows up to try and get in everybody’s way but there’s not much to him beyond that. You have Lincoln’s nurse Thelma who does a good job of watching over him. She does her best to keep the atmosphere light and prevent Lincoln from making any big mistakes. Then you’ve got the villain but he is hidden for almost the whole film. He’s just your average murderer though and there’s not a whole lot to his character when he does pop up.

Ultimately what holds this film back is that it just goes out of its way to be really dark the whole time. I wouldn’t even call it super violent although it certainly has its moments but the film makes sure that everything happens in the most disturbing ways possible. Nobody actually gets an ordinary death here, there’s always got to be a whole production around it. Sometimes keeping it simple is just the better way to go about it.

There also isn’t time for almost any happy scenes throughout the film either. It’s always very dreary and depressing in part because even when the heroes are not talking about the case they’re thinking about Lincoln and the fate he has chosen. There’s definitely a lot to digest there for the characters and at the same time it’s hard for them to tell him not to go through with the operation because they don’t really know what it’s like to live like that. The film at least has a happy ending though. For a while there you’re really not sure how that’s all going to play out. These films don’t always end on a nice note like that.

Overall, The Bone Collector is a film that you definitely want to stay far away from. There aren’t a lot of good things to say about it and I would struggle to find some serious reasons to actually recommend it to someone. You can definitely find better thrillers and mystery films if you really try. Titles that would absolutely destroy this one and so there’s no reason to check this title out. I could see a film about archaeologists collecting bones to have some potential though. Maybe it could have some Indiana Jones type traps or something.

Overall 3/10

The Sorcerers Review

This is definitely what I would consider to be one of the more mean spirited movies. It’s really just about someone getting absolutely crushed by another person’s mental abilities and you’re just thinking, “You have to fight!”. Whether that means talking into the mirror and saying the words fight over and over again or getting a pair of glasses since the lead is always grabbing his face, you have to find a way to resist the telepathic abilities of the enemy. If you don’t, then the game is already over before the match has even begun.

The movie starts off with Mike not being the nicest fellow as he ditches his girlfriend and best friend for no real reason. He decides to just hang around town to have a good time but gives up on this and ends up going to a bar. At this point he is approached by an old man named Marcus who guarantees he can give Mike a good time. Mike figures this doesn’t sound ominous at all and follows the guy to his flat where he is strapped into a chair and hypnotized. When he awakens from this he doesn’t feel any different and leaves but now it turns out that he can be mind controlled by Marcus and his wife Estelle. At first it’s innocent enough as they have him break an egg and they just enjoy feeling different sensations. Then things grow a little darker and Marcus starts to have second thoughts about this.

While Marcus seems like he would be the main antagonist here, he’s mostly just kicked around the whole time. He looks so weak in the film too that you have to shake your head. Like come on man, you can do much better than this can’t you? It feels like he is just not contributing much at all here. Surprisingly he still talks tough the whole time and while he ultimately makes a move at the very end, he just handled everything horribly. How do you get defeated so completely like this?

Meanwhile Estelle is definitely as cruel as can be. She isn’t afraid to push the envelope and do what she feels needs to be done. There’s nothing really interesting about her though. She gets drunk at one point and starts talking about making this a game so it seems like she just always wanted to prove that she was stronger than Marcus? Perhaps there is a good backstory in there somewhere but this film definitely didn’t have time for that.

As for Mike, like I said he’s basically got 0 agency in this film. He doesn’t remember what is happening to him while he is being mind controlled and has absolutely no way of stopping it. He has 0 defenses and just gets turned at the drop of a hat. Even when he isn’t being controlled he doesn’t seem like a nice character. The guy ditches his friends for no reason and is always very defensive. He’s not quite a murderer like what the villains turned him into but it’s clear that he’s not going to be much of a protagonist.

Alan and Nicole are the other two main characters I suppose but it’s not like they can do a whole lot about this. They suspect that something is going on with Mike but it doesn’t make sense since they’ve been friends for so long so they try to get more details. It does make sense why this whole thing does not make sense since of course mind control is involved but they would have no way of knowing that.

The only exciting part of the film is the climax where we get a whole car chase. The cops are mostly on the back foot here as they keep missing the turns but ultimately they still keep at it until the end. The heroes are really left with no answers but the ending is conclusive. It is just not a very satisfying fun. You’ll feel bad for the various victims who are attacked here. Ultimately they won’t get a whole lot of justice here with how things ended up.

It’s not at all rare to have a film like this where the villain has their fun until dying but the times it doesn’t work is when the heroes don’t get to do much. You can definitely say that this is true of this film because if you think about it, the heroes did almost nothing here. Ultimately the old man had to make a move himself and it certainly took him a long time to do this. The movie ends up dragging because you know how it’s going to end but the build up is just so crazy long. It feels like it never ends until the film is over.

At least I do still like the British way of speaking here. The various mannerisms like ending a sentence with “isn’t it?” as a rhetorical question is always nice. The script isn’t bad either and if the film was longer or the writing better then the movie could have capitalized on this with some strong dialogue. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be and so we didn’t get to fully experience this as much as we should have.

Overall, The Sorcerers is definitely a pretty weak film. It really just has the character get mind controlled over and over again without putting up any kind of defenses. That’s what really holds him back. I would have liked to have seen some restraint or at least being able to confront the villains in the end. It would be more interesting than just seeing him broken down over and over again. The whole film has a rather underground vibe to it as everything is dark and dreary even though it’s still day time. The idea of being able to share sensations is interesting enough but the downsides will always outweigh the positives. In a way you’re putting your life in someone else’s hands after all.

Overall 3/10

Jeepers Creepers 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

Oh nooooo, you know when you start a film and quickly figure it’s not going to be a winner? That’s this one in a nutshell. It has some interesting moments and doesn’t always go in the way you would expect but at the end of the day it’s just another horror slasher kind of film with a rather grotesque villain. The movie plays up the creep factor on this guy and ultimately you’re not expecting much of a happy ending here. It’s not ultimately a winner in my book.

The movie starts with Trish and her brother Danny driving home. It’s been a while since they were there so they’re looking forward to having a blast. Then a random truck shows up which tries to blow them off the road. They barely manage to escape but it just keeps appearing which is odd. Eventually they see the owner of the truck throwing some bodies down a tube so Danny decides that they absolutely have to check this out although Trish is against the idea. They head over and Danny falls into the tube of course. He’s got to find a way out and fast because this guy is coming back soon and he’s going to be dangerous.

The film references horror movie tropes quite a bit at the beginning to try and be clever but the characters make the same mistakes anyway so part of you wonders if it was even necessary. If I point out that it’s a bad idea to split up but still split up in the next scene is that smart writing or just trying too hard? I would argue it’s the latter personally but that’s just me. These characters do not make the best moves, particularly Danny though. Heading back to the long tube was not the right idea. Call the cops or something once you get to a phone but stopping there won’t really help anyone.

Lets imagine there were people who were alive down there. It’s not like the car is very big so you couldn’t take more then 3-4 people with you at best and it’s assuming a lot of things like getting back out of the tunnel safely. Now in this kind of movie it’s safe to say that nothing they do matters since the Creeper can reality warp and do whatever he wants but they have to at least try and give themselves a fighting chance. This is really just slowing them down.

Initially I thought the whole film would be inside the tube but Danny does get out pretty quick. For a little while he’s completely traumatized so that he can’t even speak. I figured this meant he had been turned evil or something but he ultimately snaps out of it even if he might wish that he didn’t. There aren’t really any winners in a film like this and the longer you survive, the more odds you have of having a painful death. You want to go out quickly but that’s not an option for most of the characters here.

So for the Creeper, he’s got a grotesque design as you would expect. The guy is rather twisted and likes disposing of his victims in as vicious a way as possible. He even leaves them alive sometimes to suffer even further. This is a villain you don’t want to be captured by, it’s better to be blown up if you think things are trending in that direction. The film definitely would have done well to tone down a lot of these scenes like the tongue part when he takes out one of his first victims. It’s definitely not needed at all and is there for shock value. That’s really it, there’s no other reason for that.

The movie relishes in its shock value all the time like when Danny unwraps one of the bodies. Definitely a very tragic way to die, no doubt about that. The ending doesn’t hold back either with being very dark. In the end there usually isn’t much point to these supernatural horror films because there is really nothing that you can possibly do to take down the villain. I want to say that’s even more true than usual here as the characters even run him over numerous times at one point. Danny naturally made another wrong call when he said that the Creeper had enough. No he hasn’t?

Of course this probably wouldn’t have stopped him for long but yeah just keep pummeling him in the hopes that you can take the guy out for good. Unfortunately the Creeper has a regeneration factor, flight, and seems to be bullet proof. That definitely makes him very hard to take down. We do have a scene where the entire police force shows up to try their luck though. That actually made for a rather decent action scene and it’s rare to see so many cops around at the same time like that. Naturally most of them are doomed for having slow reaction times and just watching.

The Creeper also seems to be fairly smart as he went around burning the evidence. Not sure why he would even bother though since it’s not like he has anything to fear. He always wins in the end anyway but I guess this would make the heroes despair a little more the whole time. Jezelle is the only real supporting character and she’s not very helpful. She can see the future but never enough to actually help the characters out. Take her out of the film and absolutely nothing changes at all.

The characters don’t even try to let her help them though. They just keep yelling and at some points actively go against her. Early on in the film she tells them to get out of the area if they hear the Jeepers Creepers song. Instead when they hear it, Danny cranks up the volume as we see the Creeper murder a bunch of people. So when she said that Danny is trapped in a room with the song they should definitely bolt out of there together. Sure, you’re just delaying the inevitable but you have to try something right?

There’s also a crazy cat lady who shows up at one point. I at least liked that she had the shotgun at the ready though. She even gets a few shots out at the creature but naturally that won’t end up doing anything. He’s just way too powerful for any of that so resistance is futile. As always I give props for effort at least, she got like 4-5 shots off which is more than most horror characters.

But yeah the film is definitely quite violent the whole time. The script also isn’t great, the dialogue between Danny and Trish is rough. They’re constantly bickering and acting real petty the whole time. I would not say that the dynamic worked very well at all and got old fast. This is the kind of film where there isn’t really much positive to say about it at all. It’s relentless in how dark and depressing the whole thing is. The situation keeps growing worse and worse for them.

Overall, Jeepers Creepers is a film you’ll want to stay far away from. It’s just going through the motions of all the horror movie moments without any soul to it. For a film like this it would always be nice if the heroes had some way to fight. At least throw them a bone of some hope that there is even a way to defeat this guy. Otherwise it feels like Creeper is just toying with them the whole time. If there’s no chance at victory or of doing anything else then that’s a good sign to the writers that he is simply too strong. Gotta balance him out just a bit to give the hero some kind of hope.

Overall 1/10

Nosferatu Review

It’s time for a silent movie and I have to say that those can definitely be tricky. Now what do I mean by that? Well, here’s the score. A silent movie has access to almost none of the things I really like about movies. Solid dialogue, great sound effects, etc. That’s all gone here and so the movie’s a bit of a chore to get through and ends up being dragged on for a whole lot. This is one of the few films that gets a lot score not because the film is awful but because it is dreadfully boring. Has to be one of the least entertaining films I’ve seen in a while.

The movie starts off with Thomas getting ready to head out because he has found someone to buy the house next to him. This will be the rich Count Orlok who is not very well liked by the locals. Thomas isn’t scared but weird things begin to happen at the castle like when Orlok tries to drink his blood. Is this guy just very quirky or is he an actual danger? Thomas isn’t sure and isn’t really the smartest character in the film. His wife Ellen may need to be the one to help out but even if she has visions, what can she actually do about them?

From the start the movie just couldn’t grab my attention. The music isn’t very interesting. It’s pretty much one main track that plays for the whole movie and just goes into different phases to shake things up. It’s not a theme that has particularly aged well in any respect and is just too low key. Perhaps it beats not having any music at all but it really could have been so much better. I won’t say much about the visuals because it’s all so old though.

Additionally, I thought Count Orlok’s design was actually not that bad. It’s aged pretty decently. What hasn’t aged decently is how all of the other characters also look sinister at times. I don’t think this was intentional but Ellen and even Thomas fall into that a bit. Thomas looks half crazy and doesn’t seem to understand the situation the whole time. He is extremely slow on the uptake. You’d think Orlok trying to suck up his blood when he cut his thumb would have been enough, but no not quite. It takes more than that to really get to Thomas and he should have tried to escape sooner. He put himself in the worst possible place and it shows. By the end things work out but I wouldn’t say due to any great contributions by Thomas. He was just along for the ride half the time.

If he was a more interesting main character that could have helped the film a great deal. Then you have Ellen as the heroine who is nice enough. Her strength of will may not have been amazing here but I’ll chalk that up as being more impressive for Orlok rather than being a shot against her. Something tells me that no character in this film would have done great in that moment. As for Orlok, he definitely needs to have a better handle on his strengths and weaknesses. If he did then he probably would have done a whole lot better in this film. As it is, I wouldn’t say he did awful but there’s really no reason why he shouldn’t defeat everyone. The weapons in this time were not super advanced nor were there security cameras so if he played things well he could keep winning for all of eternity.

The ending is definitely not a particularly happy one even with Orlok gone. Ultimately humanity lost this round big time. It was interesting how there was a whole plot about how the town thought a plague was going around initially. Now that’s an element that could be a little interesting so naturally the film doesn’t have too much time for it. Becoming a vampire is like a plague in a sense and getting bit by one can seem like that too. Now you start to go into zombie territory if this was to continue too much but it’s a different take for sure.

Ultimately Orlok never felt like a huge threat to me but it would be difficult for the film to pull that off without any talking out loud. I watch anime subbed sometimes so I can’t say that’s a big issue but the big issue here really comes down to you not being able to get in on the action. Reading is all well and good but without a soundtrack you don’t have a chance at an emotional appeal. Without true dialogue you don’t get a lot of depth. Without solid effects you are left wanting a whole lot more than what you got.

Part of why the film is scored so low is it’s hard for me to know where to even start to try and improve this one. Particularly if I try within the confines of a silent film and the limitations it would have had at the time. Similar to how I don’t think I would be nearly as big a video game fan as I am now if I grew up back in the day, I don’t think I would have been a big fan of the cinema in the silent era. It’s just hard to see how you can make these films all that interesting.

It’s probably early to judge a whole genre/style of film off of one installment but that’s how discouraging this one was. I suppose the first step is to either have no music if it was going to sound like this or to find a way to have some better tracks in there. Either one would help things a great deal. Throw in a better story with no vampires and that can help as well. I’ve never been a vampire fan and I wouldn’t say this did anything to change my mind.

Overall, Nosferatu is a movie that feels like it’s 3 hours long. It really drags and drags as you wait for something to happen but it never does. Even the climax is really low key if you think about it. There was no climactic fight or even a chance for the cops to throw in a bunch of guns and take this guy down. The ending is almost a bit sudden if you think about it and doesn’t make Orlok look great. I suppose that’s just the way it had to be but yeah that’s a thumbs down from me. Stay far away from this film. While it doesn’t have the long string of negatives you would expect a 2 star movie to have, it has one of the big ones which is just that it’s really boring the whole time.

Overall 2/10