Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers 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

Halloween 3 may have decided to let Myers off the ride but he’s back in business in this film. In a lot of ways Halloween 4 is really just about showing us how dangerous Michael Myers is and that the guy hasn’t lost his touch after 10 years. He certainly wastes no time in taking the heroes for a spin. They just can’t keep up with him in the slightest. There really isn’t anything more to this film than just being a classic slasher though so unless you’re a fan of the genre it’s probably game over.

The film starts off with Myers about to be transferred from his current asylum. It’s been 10 years and his muscles should have completely deteriorated at this point. Just look at how tough it was for Kirito to go through rehab and that was only 3 years. Well, the cops are satisfied that Myers won’t be any trouble and put him in the van. The issue is that in their overconfidence they didn’t really strap him in or keep a close watch so he takes them down for the count and escapes. His target is now his niece Jamie who is still just a little girl. Can the cops and good ole Loomis manage to stop him or is it going to be game over for them?

You definitely have to give Loomis credit for being so persistent over the years. To think that it has been 10 years and he still visits the asylum to check on Myers? That’s not bad and of course the only reason Myers escaped is because nobody took the old guy seriously. You’d think that they would after such a massacre but I guess that wasn’t in the cards. Being complacent is a must in these kind of things. I don’t blame them for doubting the supernatural element of this but you should still have the guy chained up when moving him.

Myers also seems to see Loomis as a rival of sorts given that he goes out of his way to have a few confrontations with the guy. Loomis is lucky that he lives through their encounters although on the other hand it could be that Myers intentionally spares him to ensure that the rivalry goes on. I wouldn’t doubt that this is the case since he usually murders everyone else on sight with no mercy. Loomis is a solid character and one of the most memorable ones in the movie. He may not always win but at least he is doing his best to make sure things go well.

Myers himself is really just a mindless monster at this point. I mean he plans things out and all but there isn’t any personality to him. He’s just a walking murder machine that will stop at nothing to take everyone down. He makes for a tough obstacle to overcome but there really isn’t anything interesting about him. The mask is iconic at least but that’s really all you can say about him. Given some of the horror villains that we do have maybe having one with no personality is better than giving him a bad one. I dunno, maybe that’s the case but it doesn’t make him very interesting.

As for the human characters, well they’re slasher protagonists so you can guess that most of them are not going to be very likable. First you have Rachel who is in charge of looking after Jamie but isn’t very happy about it. I’ll grant you this, at least she doesn’t try to ditch Jamie and sneak off to a party. Once the decision has been made she does stand by it and tries to be supportive. She can be rather petty during serious moments though like when she spills coffee on her rival. Keep in mind that at this point everyone is barricaded in the house since there is a crazy serial killer on the loose. Not the best time to be pulling stunts like this and she could have seriously burned her. 

There’s also one scene where Myers is coming up the stairs and she’s just distracting Brady the whole time as she yells and yells for him to run or something. He was telling her to run and she was just staying there. Either you stay and help for real or you run off but you really can’t have it both ways. Once she buys enough time for Myers to finish Brady off then she runs away. It definitely is not her best appearance.

It’s not a great look for Brady either. I don’t care if she started playing the drums in the background, he is face to face with a dangerous criminal who has already murdered many people. He should have had complete focus here as he loaded the gun. Instead he allows Myers to get within an arm’s distance of him which is a massive mistake on all fronts. You just can’t allow that to happen under any circumstances.

The Sheriff was solid though. He did a good enough job of looking after the community and did take Myers seriously by the end. (Not like he had much of a choice if we’re being perfectly honest here) He really did want to do right by his town and there wasn’t really anything to dislike about him. Then you have Jamie herself who doesn’t get a lot to do here. She’s just old enough where she can run and at least knows what is going on but is ultimately too young to actually fight back or really plan things out with the adults. That really makes her a character who has to be protected at all times but also one who can’t really fight back.

I wasn’t a big fan. She’s not too bad or anything and means well but just isn’t very interesting as the protagonist. Most of the jump scares here are really because Myers is toying with her since he knows he can win at any time. He’ll just jump out and do the equivalent of yelling “Boo!” and then vanish away when the grown ups appear. He could probably beat them as well especially since his durability is so high but I suppose he wants to draw the whole thing out.

The main thing I’ll give the film credit for is when we get a group of guys from town who decide to hunt Myers down themselves. That makes a lot of sense. It’s rare to ever see the town fighting back while everything is going on, they usually just stay home and get bumped off one by one.

Unfortunately the execution isn’t great as they end up just picking each other at one point and panic too easily. The idea was a good one though, if there’s ever a time to be a vigilante, it’s when there is a serial killer on the loose. By this point he had also taken out the police station so something had to be done. The scene where Myers inevitably takes them out is more annoying than anything because it just doesn’t make sense.

There’s not much else too it as the rest if just Myers murdering everybody. He certainly wants to make sure that nobody ever wants to move to this town again. Or at the very least, just take a vacation around Halloween so you’re not around when things get messy. The crazy thing is that Myers may not have even known who to target if not for the cops happening to mention Jamie’s name at the wrong time.

Overall, Halloween 4 is very much just going through the motions at this point. As soon as you see Myers being transported you can probably just close your eyes and still follow what’s happening in the movie very well. There’s just no escape from this guy and the whole movie is about him tracking everyone down. It’s as violent as you’d expect and the cast isn’t the best. You also feel like they should easily be crushing Myers in many cases if they weren’t all panicking the whole time. I will give the film credit for having the town actually fight back for a change. Now that’s rare to see.

Overall 1/10

Scream 4 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

Scream 4 brings the gang back for another survival adventure. Usually I’d wonder why the main character hasn’t moved out of town already but she actually did so I have to give her credit there. It’s just bad luck that she has to go back to the town once more and of course things don’t go very well. It’s nostalgic seeing the characters return once more and the series is definitely as meta as ever.

The movie starts with two different fakeouts as characters get bumped off left and right only for us to find out that they were movies within movies. It’s pretty interesting how this plays out and one reason I’m glad the first one was a movie is because otherwise opening the door made no sense. You’ve got a crazy guy calling you on the phone and then there’s a knock on the door. The girl asks who it is and there’s no response. Why would you possibly open the door at that point? It just doesn’t seem like a good idea in the slightest and I think that’s the point of the scene. If that was real then you’d be shaking your head the whole time.

Back to the real plot, it’s the 15th anniversary of all the deaths from the original Scream. A bunch of students decide to celebrate this for some reason and it’s basically become an entire holiday over there. Unfortunately a new Ghostface has appeared and has slowly started to bump everyone off. Unfortunately for Sidney this is happening right after she has returned for a minute. Now that she is here there is no way to leave since she is also a suspect in these killings.

Dewey is now the sheriff so at least she has a familiar face here. He orders Sidney to stay in the same house as Jill and a few of the other teens who could be the next victim. Some are happy to have Sidney on board while others are not since death tends to follow her around. Meanwhile Gale is being blocked out of the police investigation so she decides to try and find some clue on her own. Will she be able to solve this case in time?

One of Scream’s strongest elements has always been the character cast. The fact that the characters keep on returning is impressive because they keep their character development and as a result you have some characters that are actually likable which is extremely rare in the slasher genre. It might take out a bit of the tension since at this point you don’t see any of the big 3 dying, but it’s nice to have some core characters that you can follow around.

Sidney was at her best in the third film with how tired of this she was. It was nice seeing her be on the offensive with the Ghostface the whole time and this one picks up where she left off. She’s older but still ready to throw down with the villain and actually has a good win in their first confrontation. A bit of super speed is all that saved Ghostface from being taken down early on. Sidney isn’t telepathic and can’t be around constantly to save everyone, but she does really well and appears as the bravest character in the film.

Gale also looked really good as she quickly tried to wrap this case up. She goes undercover, finds the clues, and generally does a good job. She may not have Sidney’s fighting experience but she’s still always ready to help. Really the only member of the original 3 who doesn’t look very good here is Dewey. It’s hard to cut him as much slack this time. Being overpowered and outsmarted the whole time?

That’s fine, the issue is with Dewey suddenly trying to box Gale out of the case. Keep in mind that they’re married. Sure, she isn’t a police officer but there’s a mass murderer on the loose so you could really use everyone that you can get right? Not to mention that Gale isn’t some random expendable, she’s been through this before and would be really helpful.

Then you’ve got that new officer Judy who is flirting with him the whole time and he’s pretty much oblivious to the whole thing. Without being rude I think he could have taken a much tougher stance with her particularly when she’s trying to mess with Gale. Dewey shouldn’t be letting that slide. He looks awful in the climax but that’s more the Dewey you’ve come to expect so that part’s fine. He always was the weakest out of the 3 even if he means well.

For the new characters, well there’s Judy as I mentioned. She gives a few good jump scares and has a previous history with Sidney so that throws her onto the suspect list. As always with the Scream films you’ve got quite a few suspects to get through which is part of the fun. Can you guess who the killer is among these members? Judy certainly has the motive and resources to pull this off.

Jill gets a big role as the main teenager from the new generation. The whole Ghostface craze annoys her to the extreme and that makes this town a rather tough place to be. Her ex Trevor is also hounding her around but Jill is on bad terms with him since he cheated her. Don’t blame her for keeping him out since cheating destroys any trust in the relationship for good. Fortunately her friends are supportive. Of course, what better way to end the craze then to start it up again so the modern gen takes it seriously?

Then there’s Olivia who seems nice enough. While her role isn’t quite as large as the others, she lives right next door which is convenient and seems to be one of the most popular girls at school so she has a lot of contact. This location would allow her to get past the cops (Which don’t look very impressive to say the least) so it’s a good staging ground for Ghostface.

Kirby is the tough member of the crew who doesn’t let herself get intimidated by the murders. She still goes to murders as normal and basically does things at her own pace. On one hand that bravery is impressive even if it might be reckless but maybe she has good reason to be brave right? She seems to have the most fun out of all the characters, that’s for sure.

Trevor is the guy who is shown to be so ultra suspicious in every scene that it makes you wonder if the film is trying to be extra slick by actually having him be Ghostface. He jumps through the window of Jill’s house even when the place is supposed to be totally secured by the police and he is always finding the front doors “unlocked” so he just walks in whenever he wants. Not a likable guy to be sure and this makes him rather intimidating.

Finally you have Charlie and Robbie. They head up the school’s film club and are naturally very into the current situation. They watch the Stab series quite a lot and are the ones hosting the party so naturally it seems like they are blowing off the current situation. They’re both quite unlikable though with Charlie always hoping that Kirby will like him but in a really desperate way while Robbie is just focused on getting his life on film. They both seem a bit unhinged in different ways.

I would actually say this film felt a little less violent than the prior installments. It’s a bit relative as this is a slasher of course but most of the deaths are relatively straight forward. You don’t have people painlessly dying slowly or being ripped to shreds. Virtually every death here is just from being stabbed. I dunno, it felt more tame than usual as the focus was more on the investigation which is a nice change of pace. It might not change much in the long run but it continues to give Scream points for being a more thoughtful slasher series than the rest.

Scream 4’s writing is also unique. The characters are constantly discussing what it is like to be in a horror film and as a result they won’t fall for the usual tricks that get a lot of people. I like this part because if you are in the middle of a mass murder scenario in the real world you’ll be giving this a lot of thought. Even if you don’t watch films, you’ll know enough about them to avoid doing obvious things like entering the park late at night or keeping the front door unlocked. Parts of the meta vibe from the film may feel over the top but I do feel like a lot of the dialogue here really could work which is good. In the end the strongest part of the film is just that the characters are rather decent. They still have their iffy moments like when a character gets drunk and starts off a random affair but for the most part they keep their cool. As much as the characters talk about being horror pros though, they still end up being caught rather easily at times though.

Overall, Scream 4 works well as a sequel. Try to see if you can guess the correct murderer in time before the film ends. This movie certainly holds up with the original trilogy, even surpassing the original if you ask me. The original characters really got their respect here and the meta aspect of the series was handled well. Having two fake outs to start the movie is a really bold choice that I can respect. It’s hard to picture very many films pulling that off. The actual villain is also a step up from some of the other Ghostfaces that we’ve seen in the past. Not a great villain but the motivation was a lot more interesting than previous ones.

Overall 4/10

Candyman 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

Candyman plays out exactly like the kind of slasher horror you would expect. I’m still not entirely sure why he is called Candyman but there’s got to be some slang or history in the term that would explain it. Now in the recent remake they make it quite clear by changing up his origin but in this film…yeah it’s a bit of a mystery. Not enough of one to save the movie though.

The movie starts with some guy getting ready to have a cheating affair with a girl. She randomly brings up the legend of Candyman, basically a guy who fell in love with a girl back in the day but this was back in the days of segregation and the town wasn’t going to abide by a mixed relationship. Candyman was tortured and murdered and now haunts people from beyond the grave. If you say his name 5 times into a mirror then he will appear and murder you. So at this point the guy should ask “Who starts a conversation like this?” Seriously they’re about to start the affair and she suddenly brings this up as a complete mood killer.

The guy says the name 4 times and then runs off but the girl says it a 5th time and gets murdered. We cut to the present where Helen is writing a paper on Candyman and needs to do a lot of research. Her friend Bernadette is helping with this but starts to think Helen is going too far. Helen wants to go to the seediest neighborhood in town for extra research and even wants to say Candyman’s name 5 times in the mirror to make sure the legend is false. Candyman doesn’t appreciate her trying to discredit his legacy so he makes his move.

Candyman is one of those spirits who is only powerful while people believe in him which should be a rather big weakness in the modern day. How many people actually believe in this guy right? His abilities are rather unique for one of these slasher villains. For starters, he has the powers of epilepsy which is not something to be taken lightly. He can flash crazy lights into your mind which prevents you from running away. This is something he used on Helen when she tries to escape in the parking lot at one point.

Among other abilities he seems to have illusions, super strength, regeneration, and a bunch of other powers. It does feel like defeating him might actually be possible compared to some opponents like the Grudge but it’s still super unlikely. There isn’t much to the Candyman in terms of motive and everything though as he only starts to deal damage when someone says his name 5 times. So if he really wanted to get revenge on everyone or restore his legacy you’d think that he would be more proactive about it.

Helen has a strong case of plot armor in this film though as he doesn’t murder her instantly the way that he does to everyone else. Now, he wants to use her to further his own legacy but in a way won’t this make it weaker? Everyone just thinks she is insane the whole time, not that Candyman is possessing her so it doesn’t do a lot to strengthen belief in him. The fact that he also goes to sleep and lowers his guard is something else too. Helen came quite close to taking him down at one point.

As with any slasher movie though, the film likes going overboard on the violence. Get ready for characters to be brutally murdered. The film also goes for a rather disturbing angle with the whole Bees thing though like Candyman forcing a marriage with Helen. That whole scene was really disturbing and quite gross with the bees coming out of him. I definitely could have done without that.

As for the characters there weren’t a lot of good ones here either way. For Helen, she really wasn’t smart with how she would do her investigating. You absolutely need to have a cop with you or a lot of friends if you’re going to go into some dangerous areas by yourself. She was lucky that she only got beaten up and wasn’t murdered on a few of her escapades. Even when Candyman first shows up with his incredibly loud voice and mysterious get up she is super slow to act. She just talks as if it’s a normal conversation instead of getting into the car and speeding away. This allows him to get close enough to use his seizure abilities on her.

Bernadette is the only reasonable character here as she tries to hold Helen back and stays in her corner. This does get more difficult for her when Helen is framed by the Candyman and it would be hard to blame her for walking away at that point since every bit of evidence was against the lead. The old “Candyman possessed me” argument wouldn’t really work in court.

Then you have Trevor for some relationship drama. He’s cheating on Helen with one of his students and it’s one of those plots that may not add anything to the film but I suspect it’s there for more motive on why she may have cracked. To the outside world is gives them more reason to suspect that Candyman isn’t real at the very least. Then you have Anne who is doing her best to raise her newborn kid but unfortunately gets roped into the whole candyman business thanks to Helen.

One thing about Candyman is that he really doesn’t mind collateral damage so her kid is put in danger just for being around. There’s one guy who is murdered without ever even uttering the name Candyman. In a way this is even more tragic for them because they aren’t even able to see him since they weren’t the summoner and as such have no real way of defending themselves.

As a horror film we do get a twist ending of course which is pretty solid. Lets just say that one character definitely didn’t make the smartest move. I don’t even know how you say someone’s name 5 times in a row without meaning to. How? Either way this character doesn’t last too long and we see the birth of a new legend. In theory this could be a good villain for the sequel or if Candyman is still around then it could be a vs movie. Of course that won’t happen but I think that would have been the best decision for a second film.

The only good thing I would say about the movie is that the soundtrack is rather intense. It goes for a very opera type feel at all times. Candyman likes his regal music and as the guy seems to think of his followers as being in a religion of sorts then it makes a lot of sense. The soundtrack was memorable which is always important for these kinds of things. It at least puts Candyman ahead of the curve in that respect.

Overall, There just doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of point to Candyman. He’s one of those delusional killers who doesn’t just want to leave a trail of bodies but also wants to make sure to break Helen first. He’s completely obsessed with her but it’s such a one way battle because he can knock her out or possess her at any point with no effort. So really the film is just about him toying with her and that kind of cat and mouse game certainly won’t end up being entertaining. Throw in all the extra violence, unlikable characters, and Candyman wanting to marry/merge with her and you’ve definitely got yourself a big miss here. Maybe the sequels can change things up but in the meantime you will want to skip this one.

Overall 1/10

Black Christmas 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

It’s time to look at a true stinker. This film’s always had that reputation of being a pretty terrible film that has only shined a little more with the recent reboot coming out with the review I’ve seen. It definitely ends up even underperforming despite that. There’s really nothing positive to say about this film. The writing is terrible, the cast is awful, and the ending is sour. The whole thing just seals the deal as a film best left forgotten to history so I don’t see why it’s already been remade more than once. I can’t say I have high hopes for those films either.

The movie starts by introducing us to Jess and her friends. They are having a solid Christmas party and are just having a good end to the year in general. Or at least…that’s how it appears at first. Each of the characters are having their own share of issues. One of them is a chronic drunk, you’ve got Jess who ended up getting pregnant prematurely, and the main policeman who fields the calls doesn’t take them seriously if anything were to start happening. Well, one by one the girls are being bumped off and the murderer keeps calling in to gloat about this as he plays the deaths live. Will Jess be able to escape or is everyone in the house doomed?

When you’re making a bad film you’ve got to start with constructing a poor cast and this film accomplishes that with ease. The main villain never actually appears but he always calls himself Billy so we’ll go with that. He’s about as poor a villain as you can develop. The guy has no real motivation for destroying everyone beyond just causing chaos. He really relies on a lot of luck and all the characters handling things terribly in order to succeed. With a better cast he wouldn’t have lasted as long as he did. The ending is just insulting if anything because everyone was acting to half heartedly about checking the house.

Think about it, you know that there’s a murderer who was in the house and a bunch of fatalities resulted from this. There are still other people unaccounted for as well. Wouldn’t you actually check the attic or the other rooms in the house before leaving? Leaving the room unguarded is also very sloppy and I don’t know how the cop in the car at the front yard was taken down so easily. I’d also argue that staying in the car doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s good for making a quick communication but you’re barricading yourself inside a vehicle which limits your field of view.

The writing here is just terrible throughout. You’ll be rolling your eyes the whole time as you wait for the film to get interesting but it never happens. The TV broadcast had a field day having to censor everything because all of the characters are also obscene most of the time. Why would this house have paintings with people flashing the birdie? The characters look at dicey magazines and one of them coaxes a kid into drinking while he is under age. That scene is just painful because it goes on and on while someone else is on the phone. The movie goes out of its way to paint these characters as terrible role models and really as terrible people as they’re ruining Christmas for everyone else too.

Then the film also makes sure to be as gritty as possible as we learn that someone met with a cruel fate before being murdered in this town. Was that all really necessary? I suppose the idea is that if a Christmas movie is usually happy and well written then if you’re going to do the reverse it has to be very somber with poor writing throughout. The movie does succeed at this to be sure. It goes without saying that the rest of the film is also fairly violent anyway as each character is bumped off. All of the phone calls are pretty ugly as well and Jess is basically forced to listen to all of them so the cops can try to tap the phone. Even Jess who at least tries to be more responsible than some of the others does not seem to be since her affair with Peter went a little too far which leads to the drama of her wanting to abort the baby.

Peter looks terrible here as well as he quickly jumps into threatening her and really putting himself in a bad light. There’s no way to really get around the fact that he was seriously threatening her. Then at the police headquarters even after a kid is murdered and several girls vanish, the guy at the desk doesn’t take it seriously when Jess calls to report that they are being harassed by someone on the phone. After a while it just gets way too out of this world and not in a good sci-fi way. There’s just a whole lot of plot conveniences here in order to give the murderer a clean way to take everyone down.

Overall, Black Christmas is a movie that really drags on and on for the entirety of its run. Just when you think it’s going to end the film keeps on going. Horror films are basically required to have a twist ending but this one was pretty terrible. Aside from just being so obvious that it barely counts as a twist, it happens at the expense of every character’s ability to think rationally. There’s no replay value in this film and I would definitely recommend staying as far away from it as possible. I certainly wouldn’t consider it to be a true Christmas film and you’re better off checking out something like a Charlie Brown Christmas or the classic Jingle All The Way title.

Overall 0/10

Happy Birthday To Me 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

This movie definitely has one of the more disturbing posters you’re likely to see around that’s for sure. Right away you can probably tell that this film is not going to end well and you’d be right. It’s your classic slasher title as the villain takes everyone out one by one. The main draw here is figuring out who the murderer is as there are plenty of suspects. All of these guys feel like people who may be guilty so no character is innocent here. We’ll see if you can figure out who did it.

So the movie starts by introducing us to a nice little town. In this town there’s a school with the Big 10, the students who are destined for greatness. Some of them got this status through money…well just about all of them to be honest and a few with good ole fashioned hard work. They like to mess with people as a clique by harassing people and showing a general disregard for public safety. Someone clearly doesn’t like this because members of the Big 10 keep getting murdered one after another. Some of them start suspecting foul play while others treat it all like an elaborate joke. There’s a whole lot of plot convenience here as well I should add.

The main character here is Ginny. She’s a member of the group but is fairly new to the town and is still getting used to being a rebellious person. She has just recovered from a traumatic event involving the death of her Mother but is finally ready for society again. Unfortunately these murders are having a pretty bad effect on her psyche. In fact, Ginny believes that she may be the one doing these murders but can’t find a way to prove it. The whole thing is driving her insane and her “friends” only seem to care about how they can use this momentary weakness to get together with her as a rebound. With nobody to turn to and her father away on another business trip Ginny is definitely in a pretty bad spot here.

One of the big problems with the film is just how unlikable everyone is. Part of this is the film going out of its way to make everyone suspicious but because of that there is nobody to root for. One of the big 10 for example has a creepy fascination with wax modes as he even creates some based on the girl who just went missing and did it in a violent fashion. Not exactly the kind of guy you want as a friend right? Another guy is a player who gets together with everyone all the time. Everyone is constantly trying to manipulate the others or just hooking up with everyone one after another. Ginny isn’t exactly removed from that either and doesn’t look much better. These are all deeply flawed characters to the point where none of them are even remotely likable. It’s just unfortunate.

Ginny also doesn’t put herself in a great position to try and keep some distance from the murders. She keeps on meeting up with different guys by herself. Not exactly the best plan. Of course it’s not hard since all the guys seem to like her but she should be the one avoiding these scenarios. It’s one of those films where you feel like it may not have made a difference to be honest but it still would have been nice to see her trying. Even the scene where she runs into the graveyard by herself is kind of suspect. Why distance yourself from the group like that when it’s so late at night? The fact that she lives in the middle of the forest is also pretty crazy. I suppose it’s one of those things where it probably looks better when you’re not watching a horror film but it doesn’t help here.

It goes without saying that the movie is definitely very violent. Each of the characters are murdered in very violent ways. Nobody gets what you’d call a simple death here, they all have to really go through the wringer so you can tell that the murderer really doesn’t like these guys either. They just can’t catch a break. It does raise some questions later on when you actually know what’s going on though. It also reminds you why you need to keep your guard up at times. In the very first murder, I don’t care who it is but you were just being choked by someone with black gloves and then someone with the same pair appears to help you…..suspicious right? This character didn’t think so until it was too late unfortunately. Not every murder was careless like that but another one involving weights was pretty suspect. This character is literally not saying a word the entire time you’re talking. Isn’t that kind of odd?

So of course the writing is going for the classic moments like this. I’d have to give it a thumbs down though in large part to how bad the cast was. I think you can definitely try to make this kind of film without making the characters that unlikable. It was a bit excessive at times. The only good characters were some of the supporting characters like the headmaster. At least she was trying to get a handle on things and keep people out of trouble. She may not have been very successful but at least she tried.

The movie’s big reveal at the end will either be a genius move for you or you’ll roll your eyes. As I said, there are a lot of plot conveniences for this to work that’s for sure. The actual reveal I’m cool with because it’s a lot more interesting than the other routes but you do feel like the writing doesn’t hold up. One character looks pretty terrible the whole time though as he just panics and doesn’t do anything the whole time until it’s too late. It’s too bad because in the present he seemed good even if the flashbacks got tricky. Ultimately at least you don’t get the feeling that he was a bad person, it’s just that things would come up suddenly. The villain just took things way too intensely and ultimately there’s no excuse there. Villains will be villains I suppose.

Overall, I definitely wouldn’t recommend this. Happy Birthday to Me is really just your classic teen slasher. If I had to compare it to a film it’s probably most like I Know What You Did Last Summer in terms of how bad the main cast is. Whenever you have a film with no likable characters you know that things are not going to end well. You need some good characters or your film’s going to fall through just like this one did. No amount of shock value is really going to help to cover that up. As soon as members of the Big 10 were all getting bumped off though I would have moved away if I were the rest of the kids. We’ve already established that they’re rich so that’s the best thing to do. Just jet out of there! I’d also ask for Police Protection, the last thing I’ll do is head to the graveyard by myself again in the dead of night…..

Overall 1/10

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge 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

Well here’s the sequel to the first Elm Street. Naturally you can’t expect good things from this one. In fact, it’s even weaker than the first film. It makes pretty much all of the same mistakes only this time it also adds in some animal violence to keep things dicey. You’ll be shaking your head the whole time and once it’s over only then can you relax and hope that the next films will surpass this one. There’s only so far up you can go in this genre of course but the attempt is the important part right?

So the events of the first film are left rather ambiguously here but my headcanon is that the twist ending was real and then Freddy quickly managed to fudge the story a bit. Our new main character is a boy named Jesse who has been having nightmares of Freddy murdering him every night. That’s got to be pretty rough since it keeps happening. I do have some questions here though like why he isn’t actually dead yet. It’s not a plot hole though as you can easily explain it as Freddy choosing not to make the damage real since he wants Jesse as a host body. It’s definitely a different plan this time. Freddy wants access to the real world and this is the easiest way to do it. Can Jesse resist his influence or will be start going around murdering everyone in his path? Either way there is no easy way out for Jesse so he’s going to be in for a rough ride.

As always the film goes all in with the over the top violence. Freddy definitely isn’t playing around here as he murders a ton of people in the real world. More so than in the dreams this time. His powers have also improved now that he has a physical body to the point where he is able to manipulate reality such as when he created dogs with human faces or when he caused the birds to go crazy and attack the main characters. Of course this was just a cheap way to rope in some animal violence into the film. I knew the film was getting desperate to be edgier than the first film but I didn’t think it would go this far.

The idea of Jesse being possessed by Freddy here is also unfortunate since it means that his character goes down as well. At least he was able to stop himself from taking out the sister and the rest of his family though. That would have definitely been another step too far. As it is the film tries to give us the classic kiss of life near the end which is pretty gruesome to watch especially thanks to the design. It makes for a really painful climax on top of everything else going on. The film is certainly not opposed to having you cringe as things go on. You can probably guess that the characters weren’t very good here.

For starters, Jesse is not as good as Nancy from the first film. He panics and yells a whole lot but doesn’t actually do much of anything to try and stop Freddy. Panicking is really all that he does and he never accepts help from anybody. This leads to a cycle where he is just doomed from the jump. Then you have Lisa who likes Jesse but it’s all extremely sudden. Does she really know him enough to try and save him after watching the guy murder a bunch of people and lose control like this? She shows a whole lot of devotion at the end to the point where you’d figure that they had been together for many years. I dunno, I had a pretty hard time buying into any of this.

Then you’ve got Grady and I’m not 100% on what the film was going for with him. I suppose he’s just meant to be the more confident guy at school who loves teasing everyone but is actually a good guy deep down. He seems nicer than Jesse in some respects as the lead would usually be the one to panic. You also feel bad for him at the end because there really isn’t anything that he could have done to escape his fate. The whole Xenomorph type entrance for Freddy there was also pretty crazy. Of course in a film like this you’ll always be seeing a lot of tragic deaths. Then you’ve got the Coach who was almost cartoonishly mean to everyone. Especially the main two although he would always catch them slacking off.

The scene with him at the bar was so surreal I thought it was one of the dreams though. So, Jesse runs out of the house and goes a long distance til he suddenly finds himself at a shady bar in the middle of nowhere? From there he is forced to go to school where he runs a bunch of laps until Freddy shows up again. The whole ting was just really out there and the biggest twist was the fact that it was real. Well, I suppose that’s one advantage to being a film that goes into both worlds, after a while you can’t trust anything you see which is the big thing here.

Naturally there is a twist ending here as well. It’s not nearly as powerful as the first film’s ending though. I guess it’s still got the same kind of conclusion but the execution was off. Maybe it’s because the scene takes a while and since it’s obvious that something is going to happen it’s not as suspenseful as the film thinks it is. Still, it’s definitely a pretty crazy ending that’s for sure. I would make the case that the opening scene is a lot more powerful so instead of trying to use a similar type scene the movie should have gone in a different direction. That’s my take on it at the very least.

As for Freddy himself, he definitely talks a lot more here. It doesn’t do anything to make him a more likable character though. At the end of the day he’s still just a really twisted individual who only seems to care about dishing out a lot of pain to everyone. He’s widened the scope of opponents he wants to take out though so now he’s more of an indiscriminate murderer. I couldn’t believe that the heroes missed him at point blank range with the shotgun though. How do you miss at that range? To think that may have been it for Freddy’s host body. Realistically it wouldn’t even slow Freddy’s murders down as he would go back to dream land but still, it was a start at least. I don’t know what the one kid at the pool was thinking with slowly walking up to Freddy and pulling the whole “We don’t have to fight thing”. Was there any way that would end without him getting promptly murdered?

Overall, Freddy’s Revenge is pretty one note and basically the same as the first. Only with even weaker characters and some animal violence thrown in. The writing’s definitely no good and I wouldn’t say the pacing is solid either. The violence is so excessive that you’ll be taken out of the movie pretty quickly each time as well. There are just no real positives to say about the film. I don’t think there’s much you could do to save the franchise at this point so all I can say is better luck next time. If you want a spooky film with more of a memorable villain then I would recommend watching Mask of the Phantasm instead. Now that one will have all the thrills you are seeking!

Overall 1/10

A Nightmare on Elm Street 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.

This is definitely an iconic horror film. It’s quite possibly one of the 3 most well known slasher films of all time. It’s certainly had a wide amount of influence and people just don’t forget Freddy that’s for sure. Of course it’s pretty much doomed from the jump because slasher films like this make all of the big film mistakes. The violence is excessive and the characters range from annoying to terrible. Surprisingly this film doesn’t have any real animal violence although the sequel makes sure to fix that. Either way, this is definitely not a movie that I would recommend.

The movie starts with Tina on the run from Freddy and she manages to survive by waking up. She heads to school where her friends try their best to cheer her up. She then has a sleepover but unfortunately that is the last thing you want to try against Freddy so he destroys her and framed Rod. Nancy believes that he is now after her and the rest of her friends. The problem is that he is pretty much unstoppable in the world of dreams and getting him to the real world will be difficult. Nobody believes her so Nancy is effectively on her own. Can she outwit Freddy and put an end to his evil plans once and for all?

One thing that took some getting used to here was that everyone would just call him Fred. I’m always used to using the full name of Freddy Krueger but I suppose I’m just used to that from seeing it spelled out all the time. Beyond that the film really plays out exactly how you would expect. The characters even insult your intelligence the way you’d expect them to based on the stigma of horror characters not being very smart. I’ll definitely get into that in a second because they’re just really bad here. Lets get the obvious negatives of the film out of the way first though.

Naturally the film is incredibly violent. The characters die as violently as you would expect. Freddy takes them all out in different ways. Honestly Rod got off incredibly easy compared to the others. For the other characters Freddy likes to toy with them a lot before finishing the job as well. He even injures himself just to show the characters how insane he is. The self inflicted injuries definitely don’t help Freddy’s case as being an imposing villain either. Once he’s in the real world the characters land a lot of big shots on him. Parts of the climax I wasn’t sure were supposed to be serious or comedic. It’s a bit like Home Alone where Nancy had a bunch of traps laying around and would keep slamming Freddy with each one. It was pretty surreal to watch. The ending still gets tense once she runs out of traps though.

Then you’ve got a subpar character roster holding the film back as well. You’ve got Rod who really makes it easy for Freddy to frame him. He pulls a knife on his friends and even threatens to do things to them. It’s not exactly the best dynamic you could want. Of course you’re meant to know that he’s not a bad guy deep down…I guess. It doesn’t really work though. He and Tina are also pretty inconsiderate to Nancy and Glen who are just trying to have a good time downstairs. The nightly affairs are another slasher trope as it usually serves as a death flag to the characters. You have to stay strong and they did not. The characters are just really irresponsible. Only Nancy manages to hang in there.

Lets look at her parents for example. When the dreams get worse her mother takes her to a place to analyze them. We then see that the computer screens go haywire and she even manages to grab Freddy’s hat. So, in context Nancy just woke up from a dream with a bunch of cameras watching her as well as the main doctor and the Mom watching through the glass. They know that she didn’t get up or do anything beyond struggle there. When they see the new wounds appear out of nowhere and a hat generated from oblivion which belonged to someone the Mom personally murdered a while back…they don’t suspect anything? It’s got to be one of the craziest moments out there.

Usually you may be annoyed when the characters don’t believe the lead but at least they have decent reason to. Whenever there’s an alien invasion or a monster attack you may have someone not believe that it’s going on, but fine you have some excuses there. They didn’t see it, government conspiracy, etc. Here this is literally happening in front of their eyes and they aren’t doing anything. It’s hard to buy. Rod’s version of events was also pretty shifty as he saw Tina getting murdered in front of her by an invisible force but sticks with the “I didn’t get a good look at the guy” story.

Now my problems with Glen are different. His issue wasn’t that he didn’t believe Nancy. The problem is that he consistently lets her down every single time. He has one job, to stay up a few hours. That’s it. Nancy has had to stay up for several days in a row at this point and she’s still doing her best to get to the bottom of this. For her plan to work she needs Glen to wake her up at the right time. Instead he falls asleep on the job….2-3 times in a row. The worst time is the final moment because his Mom wakes him up and he sees that it’s only 10 minutes until he is supposed to go find Nancy. Instead…he goes back to sleep and is promptly murdered. He really didn’t do a single thing to help Nancy and you’d think that he really would if he cares about her as much as he said he would. Falling asleep that many times is inexcusable especially since her safety is a concern here. He fell asleep the first time she asked him to help, the second time, and then the third. If I were her that relationship would be over on the spot.

Nancy really has to do everything on her own but it’s just an issue that it got to that point. Freddy is a lot sloppier than most villains so he leave behind so many clues. It would have been nice if someone could have actually helped out. Nancy’s father also fails her at the end of the film when he gives her his assurance that he’ll be there and then promptly leaves because he didn’t mean it. It’s all pretty rough for her. It makes for a lot of tense moments since she’s really running for her life but it all just feels like a big betrayal.

Freddy Krueger gets a dark backstory as you would expect to cement the fact that he’s definitely a cheap villain. He only picks on the weak and that’s how he has built his whole empire. Think about this, the parents are the ones who murdered him and he’s still going after the kids. He’s definitely an awful villain no matter how you slice it. As always the film does have a twist ending so you’ll want to prepare yourself for that. It’s a staple of the horror genre and you really need one if you want to compete with the others. It was pretty fun I’d say. Definitely rather sudden so it comes out of nowhere and really leaves you hanging. The execution was absolutely on point.

Overall, Nightmare on Elm Street is exactly what you would expect. The plot plays out just like any slasher with the villain bumping everyone off until the lone heroine finally thinks up a plan to put an end to the madness. The violence is through the roof and you’ve got a very weak cast of characters. There aren’t any real positives to say about the film except that it does keep things pretty intense throughout so it fulfills its role as a thriller. Freddy’s design is certainly grotesque to make him scary but it’s not a design that I’m personally a fan of. Give me the Scream costume any day. If you want to watch a spooky film then I highly recommend checking out something like the House on Haunted Hill instead.

Overall 1/10

They Review


It’s time to look at a horror film from the early 2000s. This one is definitely a very by the books kind of horror film. It throws in all the usual elements like some quick jump scares and spooky visuals. Ultimately it doesn’t do much right though and between the poor characters, lackluster writing, and unimaginative villains; They is a film that you will quickly forget. Even the title doesn’t seem very inspired but it does very quickly give you that horror film kind of vibe so I’ll give the film some credit there.

The film starts with some monsters pulling a kid into there world like something out of Stranger Things. These monsters aren’t all that powerful though and the kid escapes back to the real world. Fast forward almost 20 years later and the monsters show up again. The guy decides to destroy himself to beat the monsters to the punch. He invited Julia over to see this though and now she is scarred for life. Two of the guy’s friends show up (Terry and Sam) and explain that these monsters are here to destroy everyone who has their mark one by one. See, these monsters claim their prey when they’re kids and show up to finish them off once they’re full grown. Julia thinks this is all messed up but eventually is unable to deny this possibility. Is she going to be the next to disappear?

So there are a lot of issues here. One of them is that the monsters don’t get to appear much. Maybe it’s because the director knew they wouldn’t be too fierce looking? They sort of look like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. They’re very frail and most only seem to be about the size of a kid. Sometimes they can be a bit larger though so it seems to vary quite rapidly. Without a monster to fight what about our fight scenes? Well, the issue is that there aren’t really any fights because the monsters are too powerful. I mean, they’re not strong enough to drag a grown person down until there’s a bunch of them but since they have unlimited numbers and cannot be defeated it’s ultimately pointless for the humans to fight back.

That’s why it’s always preferable if you have an opponent that you can really fight off. As powerful as Freddy and Jason are, at least you can theoretically get into a fist fight with them and hope for the best. With these guys they’ll overwhelm you with unlimited numbers. Their only weakness is the sun and since they can create large scale blackouts that won’t help much either. I feel like a sequel about them trying to take over the Earth would have had more potential. As it stands, it just seems like nobody has a shot here and that’s a shame.

Julia isn’t a great main character. She starts getting spooked by the monsters real quick but ultimately doesn’t do much about it. At most she plays along with the gang for a bit but still makes a lot of questionable decisions. At the very least I’d say that staying with Paul would have been better than running to an abandoned Subway station late at night. I’m wondering if the gates actually do shut off at that time. In the movie she gets locked in but if the trains are still running that would be odd. I’ll assume the gremlins were causing this as well. So Julia’s pretty standard for horror protagonists but if anything is a little slower on the ball than the others.

Then we have her boyfriend Paul. The guy seems reasonable for the most part but also way too soft. There’s no way he should be letting these two guys crash at his place without paying rent or anything for so long. Particularly since they break his one and only rule of barging into his room. Paul can definitely do a lot better than this. I’ll give him some points for standing by Julia in the end but that’s about all I can do for him. He’s still better than Terry and Sam though. Terry decides that even though she is going to be one of the next to go…she is going to head to a swimming pool where it gets fairly dark out. She should have made sure she was near the exit for when everyone else was leaving.

I just have a problem with her going at all. Now, it’s true that you can’t just live in fear and hide inside all day. I definitely agree with that logic for just about everything in the real world. That said, if a supernatural demon is after you and you know that it’s been bumping off people as soon as the lights go out, why would you head anywhere without a flashlight or something? Why put yourself in a position to be eaten so easily? It just wasn’t smart. Sam isn’t much better. I guess the guy was home but he’s drawing everything in black paint to make the room even darker. Why? It doesn’t make any sense and naturally the monsters close in on him as well. The guy was always pretty grim by nature so maybe he was taking it in stride. To an extent these aren’t massive details because the film assures us that they were doomed to die either way. Still, it would have been nice if they handled things a little better.

Beyond that the film forces in a lot of the typical romance scenes you would expect in a horror title. There’s quite a lot of fanservice here throughout that brings the film down and the scenes don’t actually add anything to the experience. It’s even used for humor once or twice. Once again I have to take a shot at Julia here. When she’s trying to figure out if she has the mark, it’s literally a life or death matter. Wouldn’t she be a bit more thorough? Later on she has a “whoops” kind of moment when she realizes where it is and you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t have noticed this earlier. When it comes to looking for a mark you had better be detailed. The scene where she tries to deactivate the beacon is pretty brutal but that would have been a little more helpful earlier. Either way I bet she was doomed though.

Overall, the whole movie is really just a lesson in futility for the characters. Nothing they do has any real effect and the monsters are just too strong. The film can be fairly violent and dark the whole time. It’s pretty much mandatory that the characters all have some kind of dark element in their background. The character shooting himself was certainly one way to start the film. There’s just not a whole lot of quality to be found here. It really underperforms in every area. At least it does throw in the token twist ending to the film so you should be ready for that. At the very least I feel like all the horror titles gotta end with that because at least it gives you something to remember the film by. Again, I think there could be potential for a sequel where the aliens wage war on Earth even if that might shift genres a bit. It’ll at least be a good way to shake things up. In the meantime I’d advise skipping this horror flick.

Overall 1/10

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 2/10

Anaconda Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 1/10