Summer of Fear Review

It’s time for an old horror film that has not aged well in any shape of form. “So what are we looking at Bob?” “Well, this film has your usual horror tropes. We have an animal death, rebound characters, a villain who is more interested in seducing than murdering people, no character acting sensible…etc” “Maybe we should say these tropes are just common in bad films then?” “Sounds about right. The film does have a big car chase at the end at least” “Bold move Phil…lets see how it plays out!”

The film starts off with our introduction to Rachel. Her life is pretty complete now as she’s together with the cool kid on campus, Mike, and is even going to enter the big horse competition. She’s got it made, but then news arrives that Julia is going to be staying with her family. Julia’s parents died in a car crash, but Julia managed to live. When she arrives, Rachel’s horse tries to murder her, but is quickly stopped. Something seems off about Julia. Rachel doesn’t know if its the occult possessions that she has around like the cursed marionettes, old horse manes, teeth, etc, or if it’s the fact that everyone seems to be strangely attracted too her. Rachel doesn’t care too much, but slowly Julia starts to take everything away from her. Can Rachel out Julia as a witch or will she simply be destroyed?

The film’s definitely a real slow burner, but it’s one that never feels like you’re building up to something hype. You’ll just be wondering where it all went wrong instead. First off, a teenage girl infiltrating the house as a witch doesn’t even sound all that scary on paper. The film doesn’t go for the scare factor until the final minutes either where Julia shows off her true form. It’s more grotesque than scary, but I guess I’ll give the film some kudos for trying. Julia also has some basic magic powers at her disposal. These include telekinesis, mild super strength, and attraction abilities. She’s just not too smart about using them and instead of holding the main characters in place or something, she drives after them. Since Julia never earned her driver’s license legitimately, she wasn’t prepared for the sharp turns on the mountain. Someone should have told her about the hand brakes.

I definitely couldn’t take her seriously as a villain and what was even her goal? It sounds like she planned to murder them all anyway, but why not do it immediately and then move on? She had dozens of opportunities to pull it off. If her goal was to simply make Rachel’s life miserable and then murder everyone, it’s an unnecessarily risky plan. Rachel could have done something drastic like try to murder Julia in her sleep or people may have found out and stopped her. As it is, Rachel’s Mom started to grow weary of the situation. She didn’t handle it well either, but more on that later. Julia’s just not a very smart antagonist, or even a particularly strong one.

I didn’t like Rachel either. Noticing that Julia had a picture of her with sores and then having it happen should have been the big tip off. The horse tooth/mane as well. Instead Rachel would go about it in the worst way possible like yelling about it in front of everyone so they think she’s crazy. Then letting Mike go off with Julia to the dance wasn’t a good move either. Finally, Rachel got a picture of Julia to prove that she was a witch, but instead of convincing the Mom to develop it she starts stating her accusations. Before calling someone a witch, you should probably think all of the angles through. It’s just worth a few extra moments to think of a more surefire plan if you ask me. She could have made a deal with the Mom like saying she’d try harder to bond with Julia if she had a picture. So much for that though.

The Dad looks pretty terrible since he falls for Julia’s charms and gets mind controlled. The same goes for Mike since mind controlled or not, he went for the rebound right away. Mind Control isn’t really an excuse that I buy into. The Mom notices that the Dad starts to be unfaithful, but she does absolutely nothing about it. At the very least you’d want her to get Julia out of there or to confront her. She just cries about it and leaves town for some shopping. Not the best way to handle the situation, but it’s a good way to leave Julia unsupervised in a house of potential targets.

As I mentioned earlier, to add injury to an already broken film, a horse dies. Julia got it out of the way because it knew the truth about her. If only Rachel had acted sooner this could have been avoided, but not this time since everyone was too slow. It’s definitely a pretty annoying scene. It’s reminiscent of the whole film though as you’ll be annoyed throughout the movie. None of the characters are on the same page and as a result Julia just walks all over them. It was also awfully convenient that nobody knew how Julia was supposed to look so they didn’t know she was actually someone else. I’ll assume there was no mind wipe here so it was just a plot device.

No worries, there is a twist ending here. I can’t say that it’s very thrilling and I suppose you’ll only get a kick out of it if you’re a big Julia fan. You just know that this next family isn’t going to fare too well against Julia either. You could argue that their best chance is to be totally oblivious to her, but she’ll still murder them anyway so it’s a lose-lose situation. At least the cops took the situation in stride so maybe one of them will recall the former case and attack Julia. More likely he’ll turn over his badge to her though so you can’t count on that.

Overall, This film was definitely a flop. It never even feels like a horror film and is instead like a very poorly written drama. There’s no intensity here, just bad characters and writing. I think the only character that seemed to be okay was Rachel’s best friend from the hospital. She was reasonable and much more likable than the others. It’s probably for the best that she didn’t appear much or things may not have ended well for her. We had the occult professor who knew about Julia’s tricks, but still didn’t do anything to stop her from defeating him. His only purpose in the film is to confirm Rachel’s fears, but we didn’t need him in the film. She would have been forced to accept the situation at some point anyway. There’s just not much to like about this film and I can’t see any reason why someone would want to check it out. I’d highly recommend you avoid this film as much as possible. It’s not good as a horror film or as a romance title. It’s just a film that you want to forget as quickly as possible.

Overall 2/10

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 Review

Well, I finally got to see the final Hunger Games film a while back (Saw it day 1, but I took my time writing the review) and it met my expectations. Unfortunately, that’s a bad thing in this case. The film is still very slow paced and way too dramatic to the point where you have to wonder what the point of the series is anymore. It had a plot in the first and second film. After that, it’s like we kept seeing the same old things over and over again. I’m definitely not sad to see this series go. Who knows, maybe the upcoming prequel/spinoff will end up beating this one.

Katniss is still mad at President Snow for being a mean person and trying to enslave the districts. She’s helping the uprising take over his city to restore law and order to the world. It’ll be tough though because his military might is very great and he has already brainwashed one of Katniss’ friends. It’s a bleak path to victory and just about everything that is worth fighting for is already tarnished, but Katniss must press on for victory and for glory!

Where to start with this film right? For starters, the film still isn’t any fun. It’s very bleak and it’s very overly dramatic. The characters are constantly whining and yelling in despair about how bleak everything is. I don’t think the sun really rises until the very last scenes of the film. Before that, it’s pretty much always cloudy with a gloomy backdrop. The characters are constantly injured or on the brink of tears so they can’t have any good discussions without wondering about moral boundaries. Katniss doesn’t want the heroes to become as bad as the villains, but nobody seems to be on her side with this. They’ll take Snow down however they can. No matter how many casualties and injuries occur in the process!

Katniss is also still a very unlikable character. Her only good plan in the film is when she says that she’ll escape on her own to take down Snow. The problem is that she doesn’t actually go through with it and waits until a few more members die to just take command of the operation for everyone. At that point she goes, but it dampens any epic impact that she could have had. At the end, she realizes the truth about one of the villains and quickly makes a bold move. At this point, her options were limited, but perhaps not voting to put the Hunger Games into place once more would have changed things a bit although it would have made getting the fatality a little more difficult. Essentially, it was a classic lose-lose situation, which you’ll see a lot of in these films.

I really did not like Peeta. Once he was brainwashed, that was the end for him. He could never be likable again as he just served to up the drama in the films. Sure, Snow had a lot of time to break him, but it doesn’t mean that I have to actually end up liking Peeta in the end. As far as I’m concerned, he’s just not my kind of character nor will he ever be. The film would have been better off without him. Likewise, his rival, Gale, was no better. Gale thinks that the ends justify the means so he’s already portrayed as a bit of a bad guy. He likes Katniss and isn’t afraid to remind the audience of that quite a few times, but you knew that he was doomed from the start. Of course, I was hoping that both characters would be doomed.

Most of the other characters are non factors here. Naturally, we do have the leader of the resistance. She wants to be the leader of the new world and she claims to have the people’s best interests at heart. Hopefully that’s true…but it seems a little far fetched. It’s a shame since she’s actually a decent character for the most part. Someone who actually stands up to Snow? That’s what we’ve needed all these years although the fake crying was a bit much. I liked the field commander who actually trusted Katniss and decided to defy the government. I’ll give him some props there.

Near the end, we’re reminded again why I don’t care for Katniss as a character. When she arrives home, the “hero” decides to start throwing things at her cat in a rage not unlike those seen on For Glory in the recent Super Smash bros game. It’s a terrible scene and I wish that the cat had simply left for greener passions. After something like that, I don’t think Katniss is worthy to be the owner, but we ahve to wonder whether she ever was. It’s a whole host of problems that plagued Katniss from start to finish, but scenes like this did not help.

All right, what did the film do right? Well, there was certainly a lot more action than in the first film. We had some machine guns, grenades, and even a large amount of tar water that attacked the heroes from all sides. It’s not much, but it’s something. The film’s certainly not lacking in action the same way that the previous installment was. Something is typically happening in this film, it’s just stretched out to the point where many scenes don’t have a point.

That was a slim positive, but I really can’t think of many more. I guess there’s a positive in the sense that it could have been worse. The characters could have been worse and the film could have been more dreary. It’s a matter of looking at the film as half full or half empty. No matter how you slice it though, the negatives do outweigh the positives. The random zombies were intriguing here though and the film did try to recreate the Alien scenes from the good ole days of film making. The zombies have no real character and they’re pretty slow, but at least it works as a tense scene. Honestly, it’s probably the film’s best action scene even if that’s not saying a whole lot at this point.

Finally, I have to take another shot at Katniss and her final plan. Her final plan basically involves committing suicide to avoid capture and an untimely fate. Not only does she still manage to mess this up somehow, but it’s not a great plan. I can acknowledge heroes who go on suicide missions to save their friends, but not when they just decide to destroy themselves like in the Ronin film. It’s a very big difference between those two actions. Whatever the outcome, Katniss needed to either think of an escape plan or another way to carry out the plan. Just grabbing the pill is a big cop out and unfortunately an accurate representation of her character.

Overall, This film was an improvement over part 1 as we at least had some action, but it’s not enough to actually make this a good film. It’s just not a fun ride and the series was never fun from start to finish. The films dragged on for as long as possible and I was just waiting for the film to end. The “happy” ending at the end is still pretty lackluster. For starters, the romance between the two characters definitely wasn’t all that good to begin with and the friend zone should have occurred. Instead of being inspiring, the ending just feels rushed and out of the blue. The Hunger Games is truly worthy of the title…overrated.

Overall 2/10