Stand by Me 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

Stand by Me is one of those films where I can’t say that I had high hopes for it from the jump. It’s a movie about a bunch of kids having a journey and that’s not the most interesting premise. I prefer the main characters to be a little bit older which always makes the banter and dialogue more fun. Throw in the fact that they’re in a fairly mean world and none of the kids are that likable and you have a recipe for disaster.

The movie kicks off with a kid dying so Gordie and his friends want to see the body. It’s a rather odd objective but for them nothing ever happens in this town so it’s the only thing they can do to get some excitement out of the day. The body is supposed to just be a few miles away from where they are at so the 4 kids (Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern) all head out. It will be a tough journey though and they don’t have much food so they really need to move quickly. That doesn’t stop them from having their share of fights and disagreements though. They just really want to make it all the way to the goal and so they will keep moving forward.

Perhaps with a better goal the journey would be more fun. Like if they all wanted to go to some kind of tournament or try out a pizza place. But running around to look at a dead body? It’s even worse that it’s another kid since no matter how the kid died that is rather tragic. It’s hard to get all that invested into the mission that the 4 boys have as a result. Do you even want them to succeed?

Then you have the fact that the world seems rather mean spirited. Just about everyone they run into is either an antagonist or just generally upset. The guy they run into at the car factory at least has some reason for this since they are the ones trespassing. They have fun making fun of him and his dog but then can’t take it when he starts hurling insults. Teddy in particular can’t take it as he gets upset when the guy insults his father. You really shouldn’t be hurling insults and acting like a delinquent if you can’t take it when the tables are turned.

Then you have the bullies who show up to make life tough on the main characters. They don’t have much of a grand mission beyond causing trouble and only seem to show interest in finding the body as well while they were there. It’s fortunate that the kids had some equipment because things could have really gone badly for them otherwise. These bullies seemed quite serious about possibly murdering these kids. At the very least you don’t doubt that they would do it.

To break away from the nonstop dangers we do get a quick story sequence about a kid who was teased for being overweight. It’s a story being told so you know it’s fake but we actually get to see it play out in real time. Basically the kid gets his revenge by having everyone start throwing up. It’s a rather gross scene to be honest and I would have cut out the story as well. Even if it was a lighter moment to try and keep the tone from being too down in the dumps, I wouldn’t say it was a good story so that limited how effective it could be.

As for the main kids, I wasn’t a big fan of any of them as I mentioned earlier. Teddy is always causing trouble and can’t really be trusted on the journey. He nearly caused all of the kid to die by deciding to play chicken with a train. It was a really dumb move. Then Vern is always getting picked on by Teddy and I wonder how the 4 of them are even friends anyway. It gets a bit mean spirited with how hard they ride the poor guy. You can have solid banter within a group without getting mean spirited but part of the problem is that the shots were always directed at Vern so it didn’t feel very balanced. If I was him then I would have definitely left a while back.

As for Gordie, he has less to do than the other characters as the true main character who gets the narration but he was okay I suppose. He did less to make him unlikable at least. Then there is Chris who is the most mature of the 4 main characters so at least he is doing his best in keeping everyone alive. Naturally that means that things don’t go so well for him in the epilogue and that’s a shame because he should have had the best ending of the group. In general the film’s ending isn’t very satisfying at all. Part of the point of the film is probably that it’s not supposed to be satisfying since part of the journey is knowing that completing it won’t change anything.

At the same time, intentional or not if an ending is not satisfying then it’s not a good ending. There just isn’t any point in the film where you get invested in what is going on. I don’t think this is a film that I would be able to finish on my own and that’s why it’s got a very low score here. With no hook or likable characters to root for then it was really doomed right out of the gate. I would stand by my theory that the film would be significantly better if the characters were grown up. A bunch of adults running around on an adventure is something that can and has worked for generations. There’s a whole lot that you can do with that and the story would naturally be more focused and interesting. Sure you still need good writing to execute on this premise but I would be confident that the movie could do it.

Overall, Stand by Me is a film that I would definitely recommend skipping. It just doesn’t work on an emotional level which is half of the film right there. Since you don’t care about the characters or the journey then there just isn’t much left for you by that point. This ends up just being a boring movie which is ultimately a really bad thing for it. If you want to see a solid coming of age story about a kid needing to come to terms with the future then watch Big Hero 6 instead. There the hero has to move on from the past but it’s done in a more engaging way.

Overall 2/10

The Shawshank Redemption 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 is a movie where even if you haven’t seen it you’ve probably at least heard of the title. It was a really big movie after all. It’s a long epic about a tough stretch through prison and trying to get out of it in one piece. This is a powerful title but ultimately it’s far too mean spirited for me to ever call it a good movie. Getting through the initial prison chapter is rather rough and not even a solid ending could really save this movie.

We start things off with Andy being taken to court as he is accused of murdering his wife and the guy she was cheating with. He denies the charges but the circumstantial evidence is too strong and he is promptly locked up. He is then taken away to the most powerful jail in the world. Here the warden, Norton rules with an iron fist. The prisoners have no rights at this point so you either play ball or things are going to be very rough for you. The prison guards will beat you up at a moment’s notice and these are true beatings. You likely haven’t seen anything quite so intense in a while. Andy does meet some decent folks at the prison including a guy named Red who is good at getting any kind of materials from the outside. Andy will need some kind of a plan if he wants to escape this place but it definitely won’t be easy.

Right off the bat I can tell you that a big reason as to why the film is so bad for me is the villain group known as the Sisters. These guys are basically here to remind you why prison is such a tough place to be. They basically embody all of the classic horror stories about what happens in prisons and they make life really rough for Andy for a long time there. By the time that chapter of the movie is finished and that group is no more, it is quite late in the game without much of a way to get back up. The sheer amount of grit and violence here is something you may partially expect from a prison film but it doesn’t really make things any better either.

Of course people say the best thing to do is not to wind up in jail but that’s not always possible. For example Andy actually is innocent but he wasn’t able to prove that to the jurors and so he wound up here. Just about everyone in the movie claims that they are innocent as well but for the most part they all say this just to say it. You have to assume there are other innocent people here as well but it’s really tough to actually find out who qualifies and who doesn’t. It ultimately doesn’t matter once you’re stuck in there either.

After all you’re basically doomed at this point. If you don’t get taken out by one of the other prisoners or beaten up by the guards then you still have to deal with the Warden. Norton is one of the biggest crooks here and he is absolutely determined to keep all of his power. He isn’t even satisfied with being the King and also wants to be super rich. This works out well for Andy in a way because this gives him a little break as he helps the guy swindle lots of money.

It definitely pays to know your accounting and how to cook the books. At this point the books weren’t just cooked, but deep fried! It all ends up tying in to the end of the film and there are some good twists in there. One thing I can say about Shawshank Redemption is that there is always a lot going on. Some characters like Norton will alternate between being full fledged villains to guys that are actually helpful for a little while. The important thing to remember is just that you can’t really trust anybody though.

I actually liked one guy named Tommy who showed up later in the film but unfortunately he wasn’t ready for a prison quite like this one. Not everyone has a terrible time in Shawshank but I would wager that the vast majority do. Tommy’s stay didn’t seem that bad until the end but your luck just can’t hold out here. Meanwhile I have to give Andy a lot of credit for staying sane and not letting the place break him.

A good portion of the film is about hope and not giving in to despair. He definitely pulled that off and then some here. A lot of characters would have definitely broken well before he did and he had a lot of patience to keep up with his plans all the way through to the end. Meanwhile there is one more big player I hadn’t mentioned yet and that’s Red. He’s the realist of the group and gives a lot of the narration. He’s seen the worst that the prison has had to offer and has managed to navigate the place.

I’m sure it wasn’t easy to create so many connections across the jail and yet he pulled it off. He has a strong reputation in the place as well and it seems like nobody messes with him. In the jail your reputation is really the only thing that you have so you absolutely have to try and have a strong one at all times. If you don’t then you’re really as good as doomed. I liked Red and thought he had a good conclusion to his story. Ultimately the film may have been very grimdark most of the time but at least the ending is one with some hope rather than going for some kind of twisted ending.

Overall, The Shawshank Redemption is definitely not a film that I would recommend though. Prison is often not the ideal backdrop in any film for me because usually that’s a place that is going to be gritty. You can have really cool prison scenes like in one of the Fast & Furious films but when that’s the main location it’s almost always going to falter in the end and you don’t want to stick around for that. If the film could dial down the darker elements of the film then it would be a lot better and I’m sure you could do that while still making the prison an intimidating place. Instead though, watch Naruto: Blood Prison. It’s easily one of the weakest Naruto films out there but it still does the whole prison plot a lot better than this one could.

Overall 1/10

The Mist Review

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

It’s time for a rather intense thriller with a title that sounds like the Fog but the plot is very different. It’s a very interesting movie and I like the idea of being stuck inside a supermarket but the film ultimately trades the idea of a very atmospheric horror for a more graphic adventure

The movie starts with David and his son Billy heading to the supermarket to pick up some supplies. There had been a really bad thunderstorm after all so they want to be prepared. Unfortunately a heavy mist rolls in and before the characters can leave the store, a guy runs in claiming that there is some kind of monster outside. Any who walk into the mist shall vanish quicker than a wish. Everyone is rather skeptical of course including a lady who decides to run out and take her chances. It’s all very silent outside. David gets a glimpse of one of the monsters when he goes to the back room but of course most people didn’t see this. As the film goes on the characters start to get more and more desperate. Are the people in this supermarket actually more dangerous than the monsters outside?

I mean the answer should be no but at least with the monster you can count on a quick death in theory. Inside the supermarket everyone is slowly turning insane so it’s hard to say what you can expect. The main antagonist here is Carmody as she is someone who is completely delusional and tries to start a religious cult within the market. At first everyone knows that she is crazy but as the movie goes on the more weak willed members begin to believe her. It’s evident that people are losing their minds and fortunately David as well as a few other characters actually see this coming right from the jump.

Sometimes characters can be slow on the uptake for this kind of thing so I was glad that this wasn’t the case this time. They were actually ready and actively plan for this. It goes without saying that I lost respect for any and all characters who ended up siding with Carmody. It’s just so apparent that she is crazy that it’s disheartening to see these characters follow her so readily. Clearly their minds are highly susceptible to being taken over which doesn’t speak too well of them. Some things do go Carmody’s way of course but they’re all coincidental at best.

I enjoyed the first half of the film the most as the situation slowly starts to set in for the main characters. There is no easy way to escape their predicament and the supplies at the market will only last so long. Additionally the defenses at play here won’t last forever here either so simply staying put isn’t an option. No matter what you do there is going to be a huge risk. Personally I’m of the camp that says to try to get into a car and just drive away as fast as you can. I think that’s the best way to at least give yourself a chance to escape while the other methods just feel like you are delaying the inevitable which isn’t really what you are hoping for.

The atmosphere is tense and the characters all sound reasonable aside from Carmody. One of the big antagonists here is Brent and it’s not like he’s evil or anything. He just thinks that the whole story about there being a monster in the Mist is fake and he figures that David is messing with him. The two of them never really got along much before now so it’s not even that far fetched. My main issue with him was just that even if it’s not a monster within the mist, it could easily be some kind of chemical weapon or something equally destructive for your health. So walking out there isn’t the best idea if you don’t have a plan.

I liked his confidence and he is good at getting people together but ultimately he was on the wrong side in this one. If he had just been willing to work with the main characters then I dare say that the film would have gone a lot better for the main characters. It still would have been tough of course but the situation wouldn’t have deteriorated nearly as fast. Billy isn’t able to help a whole lot since he’s way too young for any of this but David does good. He comes up with a lot of plans and is quick on his feet.

He particularly did good in the back room when everyone is trying to act really macho with how they aren’t afraid of the monsters. When they all froze up, David didn’t. He kept on trying to save the poor kid and did his best throughout. He certainly loses his cool a bit during the movie but at least it’s always fairly well justified with how everything is going at the moment. He makes for a good main character here. In general the cast is fairly large. You’ve got quite a lot of people in this supermarket and they range from being reasonable people trying to help the main cast out of ones who join up with Carmody. You see where each character’s true loyalty lies in the end.

Where the second half falters for me is it starts to get really violent as the creatures start to shred everyone. Each wave of attacks from the enemies starts to get worse and worse as they really don’t hold back. People are nearly burned alive or just straight up eaten at times. One death is like something out of Alien. It’s not quite the chest bursters but it’s surprisingly similar. The movie goes quite far once we get to the violent phase and it never lets up. It may help to underscore just how dangerous a predicament everyone is in but at the expense of the slow burn it had been doing so well with.

I would have liked it if the film had stayed more like the first half. In a way I wouldn’t mind if we never even saw the creatures but of course that’s only one route. Way I see it you play the film out like this which is still a great approach in concept as the enemy waves keep coming and people have to choose between defense and escape. Or you go the alternate route where people choose if they want to leave or not but every time they enter the mist it gets really quiet so you as the viewer have to decide if they got out or not. It would be more like a Twilight Zone episode with that kind of suspense throughout. Two very valid approaches that I think could really work out for this one.

Also the ending was really bad. It’s one of the least satisfying endings I’ve seen in a while and I would completely change it. The ending is an absolutely key part of the movie so when that doesn’t live up to expectations then things get really tricky. I also disagreed with the main character’s decision there. It’s a drastic move that you would only even think about taking at the last possible moment. Not when you think something is going to happen but when it’s actually starting to happen. It’s a key difference there and the ending certainly has a lot of shock value at the ready but I didn’t like it. Kind of ends the film with a whimper.

Overall, I like the concept of the Mist. Having a big survival film where the heroes have to try and survive without turning on themselves can be a lot of fun. I’d like for the humans not to crack at least once in these things though. You could absolutely still have a lot of issues and problems come up without having the humans turn on each other. It seems unlikely that a film will end up going this route but I do think there is a whole lot of potential there. Either way the film just decided to let loose a bit too much and went for the gritty route as opposed to keeping this very ominous. I’d say to give this one a skip and instead just think about the premise and play it out in your head because it is still a sound idea.

Overall 2/10

Christine 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

You may remember Christine as the bully from Carrie but the name is a coincidence. This car has been a demon for a very long time and is around to dish out the pain. The movie is about how corruption spreads fast and you have to be careful who you hang with or you could be in trouble. The main guy’s friend is annoying with how quickly he goes on the dark side though.

So the movie starts by introducing us to Arnie who has had a rough time of things. He gets picked on, has really strict parents, and just doesn’t have a high opinion of himself. Well, one day he finds a super beat up car that looks like it’s on its way to the scrapheap and decides to buy it from this shady old guy. His friend Dennis tries to convince Arnie not to do this but he does anyway. Miraculously Arnie is able to make this car look brand new and all of a sudden he has become an overconfident school delinquent. Dennis sees that Arnie is getting worse and worse but what can he do about it?

I’d say that Dennis is definitely put in a really tough spot here. There’s only so much that you can do as the best friend. He’s not family and it’s not like he’s an adult figure so his best bet is just trying to reason with Arnie as friends. Unfortunately that guy is so far off the deep end that it’s really tough to do so. Dennis is a stand-out character for trying so hard. Additionally, Dennis did risk his life in stepping in when the bullies had Arnie outnumbered 5 to 1 and disarmed the guy with the knife.

It was a great scene for him and he really didn’t lose faith in his friend until the end. Dennis really did everything he could. Meanwhile you can basically flip everything that I said for Dennis for Arnie. That guy was annoying on every front. Look, he definitely did have a tragic origin story, I can’t argue against that. The bullies scene was really rough and knowing that he has to go through things like that at school is tough. It’s also easy to see why he has so much self doubt.

The main issue is once he gets the car Christine and suddenly does a 180. If the car is going to mess with his mind, I’d like to see it be gradual so that we know Arnie is actually fighting. Instead the guy goes crazy almost immediately and starts taking this out on Leigh, his parents, and everyone around him. He stops being sympathetic real quick and at the end of the day he chose the car over everyone else. How much of that was mind control and how much of that was really him is the question that the film leaves you with.

It’s hard to say but I’m always big on willpower. If you didn’t produce then that’s game over. So Arnie letting himself be turned evil like that was just bad. Especially when he turns on Dennis who was always in his corner. Beating up on the bullies and taking them out? Yeah that’s rather intense but you definitely see how it could happen. Once he started driving crazy on the highway and acting hostile towards Dennis then things were really crazy. Likewise with taking such a hard stance with Leigh after she had nearly just died by choking in his car.

Arnie’s pretty bad but then I’d also say that Leigh should have completely cut ties with him after the first incident as well. Don’t go back to him after that no matter what he says. Following him into the garage led to another blow-up since the car was his top priority and even after that she’s trying to save him. Perhaps she was extra perceptive that it was the car messing him up but realistically that’s not the first thing that you would think of. She was rather easy on him.

Another character who suspected the car awful quickly was Rudolph. He’s a detective but a rather odd one. I don’t see how anybody could jump to the supernatural conclusion too quickly but this guy seemed to suspect it right away. He was asking a whole lot of questions about the car and how it was fixed so quickly but I’m not even sure what he was getting at. It felt like he had to be hinting that he knew the car was supernatural but that’s really a headscratcher. How he could possibly have jumped to that conclusion (Even if it was correct) is a bit beyond me there.

Props to him being a great detective I suppose. He was a nice character though and I would have liked to have seen more of him. As for Christine, well she’s evil from the jump so it’s not like you can reason with her. She gets jealous quickly and is always ready to exact lethal revenge. If she hadn’t gone after Leigh then you could have at least tried to paint her as a more sympathetic character trying to protect her owner but since she is possessive like that, then there’s no shot. Of course she did the same thing in the past to the previous owner’s family so she was just always like that. I’m cool with the film not going any further into the past because I think it actually makes things more scary to know that she was just randomly an evil, sentient car as opposed to some long backstory about how she turned out that way.

The film isn’t quite as violent as the average King title. The car does take some people out for sure but usually not in super gruesome ways. The violence at times is more implied than shown explicitly. One guy gets rammed to death for example but whereas in another film we would see every moment of that for a drawn out period of time, it’s not quite as intense here. Christine is in general a bit of a mean spirited film though with the average bullies running around and causing trouble. They really go all in by attacking a second time and then you have Arnie’s boss who is rude to everyone for no real reason.

The romance here is really on the weak side for obvious reasons. The relationship with Leigh and Arnie was never going to work out with him being on the dark side and all. I really hope the film wasn’t gunning towards a rebound later on but I’ll choose to believe it wasn’t since it ends pretty quick. I was expecting a different romance plot to continue but the other girl pretty much got completely written out after the opening scenes.

Overall, Christine isn’t really a fun film to watch but at least it’s fairly tame so I wouldn’t say that it’s too bad. There just aren’t very many happy moments and with Arnie being corrupted immediately, you can’t even root for him to really be saved by the end. If you really like evil cars then that might be enough to push it over the edge for you but otherwise I’d say to skip this one. Meanwhile one character nearly chokes to death here and it reminds me why I have to eat so slowly at Jumbo’s pizza. The cheese is so thick that I swear it’s a choking hazard so I always warn people about that when I recommend the place. Top 2 pizza in the whole world but definitely an intense one so don’t take big bites.

Overall 4/10

Carrie 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

Carrie is a very well known movie. I’d wager that every horror fan has heard of it at some point or another and so you generally know the climax before actually watching it but the rest of the film is the adventure. Unfortunately I can safely say that this film is definitely not going to rank at all. Right from the start the movie begins on a low note and doesn’t really let up from there.

When a movie starts with an extended fanservice scene at the showers you know that you’re going to be in for a looooong ride. The whole first scene may introduce how Carrie was brought up in a way where she doesn’t know basic facts but it’s probably one of the worst ways to go about it. The bullies are everywhere and taking names as expected and you’re ready to move onto the next scene. Carrie was bullied so thoroughly here that she was traumatized and at home her abusive mother Margaret blames Carrie for this since Margaret has very crazy views on the world and sin.

Out of all the girls who messed with Carrie, the only one who feels bad about this is Sue and she wants to find a way to make it up to Carrie. So she has an idea, she’ll convince her boyfriend Tommy to take Carrie to the prom and pretend to like her. This will in theory get Carrie’s confidence up and allow her to make friends which will buffer the impact from Tommy leaving Carrie to go back to Sue afterwards. This plan is anything but full proof however it’s the best that she’s got and Tommy decides to roll with it. Little do they know that the main bully Christine also has plans of her own for the prom to try and wreck Carrie’s life once and for all.

The whole town is very mean spirited that’s for sure. The only two really decent characters here appear to be the teacher Miss Collins and Sue. Tommy’s okay as well I guess but very weak willed and probably should have said that the plan was not a good one. At the end of the day he just listens to Sue’s ideas without really throwing his own views into the mix and that was a big mistake. I didn’t think the plan was very well thought out at all because no matter what, someone is going to be feeling real bad by the time this is all over.

Lets dial it back though and first we’ll talk about what didn’t work for the film. Obviously the fanservice is the big issue right off the bat and destroys any momentum from the outset. Not to be stopped there though, the film even throws animal violence as the villains slaughter a bunch of pigs in order to get the blood they’ll need for the plan. It’s yet another edgy moment in what I would call a very edgy film. The movie didn’t even need to go that far because things were already really dire and a lot of other traps would have worked without the animal component.

Then we have the crazy mother where all of her scenes are definitely real sketchy. She’s always trying to drill fake lessons into Carrie’s head and mess with her further. It’s rough as Carrie is trying to do the right thing in not talking back to her but in the end that just results in her having to give in. Margaret’s just way too far gone at this point for anyone to help her out. Considering that Carrie has powers and is seemingly in control of them when she wants to be, Margaret is lucky that she’s still around at all.

We can’t forget about the bully Christine who is basically around just to try and make Carrie’s life as miserable as possible. I liked that the teacher actually stood up to her though. A lot of the time it seems like the bully gets away with everything but here Miss Collins actually took a swing at her and forces Christine to run off. It’s one of the rare times where the teacher actually got a complete victory over the student which is incredibly rare.

Billy is just as bad for going with the plan. I wouldn’t even say he was coerced into it, the guy was thrilled to help out. They had a very toxic relationship from the start that’s for sure. All of their scenes are painful as well and you’re waiting for them to get bumped off but they actually lasted a bit longer than you’d expect. In the end all of these bad characters and scenes add up to make for an awful movie though. You can’t really go back to back scenes without something bad happening. The film rarely gives you a chance to actually be happy.

Take Carrie for example, she is doing her best to have a fun life but you know that trouble is around every corner. I don’t blame her for saying no to the prom at first because in 99% of the cases she would be right that it was a trap. It actually wasn’t this time but it very well could have been and why put yourself in that position? Then Margaret was pressuring her from the other end so Carrie ended up going and the whole thing didn’t work out. Even in the brief moments in the party where she was having a good time, you knew that it couldn’t last.

Carrie was a good character though and I can see why she would blow up at the end though. After a while it was just too much. Too bad she couldn’t target only the villains though but by then her headspace was a little too cluttered. It’s ultimately what ended up turning her into more of a villain rather than ending things off with an anti-hero development. A part of me thought that Sue would end up turning into a traitor in the end so I’m glad that this didn’t happen. While I didn’t like the plan, at least she was trying to be helpful so I can give her that. Likewise for Tommy but then he loses all of those points when he actually does have an affair with Carrie.

He may be doing Sue a favor but cheating wasn’t included in that. He’s still her boyfriend after all so you can’t really cross that line without making things into an issue. Finally Miss Collins was definitely the best character here. She took charge and kept a level head. Considering that she was dealing with so many troublemakers, I’d say that she did a good job in keeping them all under control. By the end she may have made a mistake in how things were handled but from her pov it is easy to see how she would make that mistake. The party was really hectic and she couldn’t let any bullying go on over here. It was just game over there and she had a grisly end even though she tried being helpful.

They did a good job with the fire effects here. The climax felt like something out of a thriller film with explosions everywhere. The film also had a suitably ominous soundtrack going on for it. So on a technical level I can give the film some props there but at the end of the day it’s just too relentlessly depressing for all of the characters involved. The film would need a lot of clean up before I could say that it was ready to be a good film. Maybe throw in the government and some kind of subplot about tracking Carrie down and the origin of her powers. I wasn’t a big fan of the writing so you could also change large parts of the script and scale down Margaret’s scenes.

Overall, The cast here is very weak which mixed in with the rest of the film’s issues made this one an easy L. You’ll want to avoid it even if the film does have a fairly legendary reputation. There just isn’t a lot of fun to be had here. The whole town may not have been on Carrie’s side but ultimately there was nobody to rescue her from her home situation or help out at all so they may as well have been. Carrie really was all alone for most of the day and ultimately this ended up catching up to her.

Overall 1/10

Misery 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

Nobody wants to be trapped and at the mercy of a stranger. It just feels dangerous even if the person at the other end isn’t absolutely bonkers. Of course for a horror type film you know that this will be even worse for the main guy. Misery is a film about a guy having an absolutely miserable time so you will certainly feel bad for him. There just aren’t too many avenues for escape.

The movie starts with Paul wrapping up the draft for a new book and heading back home. Unfortunately he is caught in a snow storm and nearly dies but is saved by a nearby resident known as Annie. Her house is in the middle of nowhere unfortunately and she claims that the phone lines are down but people will come eventually. We know this is a lie but Paul has no choice but to believe this for a while. It ultimately ends up getting more and more obvious that she is leading him on though as Annie begins to act rather insane the whole time and gets more and more drastic. Paul can’t walk so escape will be difficult. Can he survive this experience?

Now I think the film definitely does deliver on giving you a situation where you can see how Paul is rather helpless. A lot of times in horror films you can do a lot of backseat driving and keep wondering why the lead is making all of the wrong decisions all the time. It’s usually quite valid too I might add. For this film there is less to criticize the lead on because there just isn’t a whole lot that he can do. He literally can’t walk so that removes most of the escape options. You can either try to just do everything Annie says and hope she doesn’t do anything drastic or you can be hostile from the start and use everything at your disposal.

Paul mainly goes with the first option but Annie just keeps getting more and more crazy until this just won’t work. You can’t really please someone who is insane for very long. It’s just not going to work and that’s what he find out the hard way here. So he handled things reasonably well, perhaps he could have done some things differently but it’s hard to say if the outcome would have been better at all. For example, when Annie drove off maybe he could have just left the house entirely, but it’s risky and even if he did pull it off, he would be a sitting duck if he didn’t get far enough by the time she returned.

On the other hand, without being able to move or do much, the film also doesn’t give you a lot to watch as the viewer. Paul is trapped in the same room for most of the film and I wouldn’t say it’s very fun. Also, Annie goes quite far with breaking his ankles and really putting him through the wringer. The film doesn’t show a lot of violence beyond the one foot breaking scene which was rather disturbing but it’s all still rather painful.

Where the film falters for me is that this just isn’t a very fun movie. With Paul being rather helpless for most of it, you just have to watch Annie be super crazy as she keeps threatening Paul and forcing him to do things that he would rather not like burning his books or writing a sequel to Misery. Paul is eventually able to manipulate her but in the meantime it’s just annoying whenever she is on screen. You also know right off the bat that the sheriff isn’t going to be a match for her so you’re hoping that the film will just hurry to the end.

Annie isn’t a particularly likable villain. The film was certainly not trying to make her sympathetic anyway but because she dominates the screen time so much, that doesn’t help the movie either. The thriller aspect isn’t really able to get around that. So the film succeeds in making this a rather scary situation but not one that you’d find very enjoyable. For me the only silver lining here was the Sheriff because I liked that guy.

You just know that in horror/thrillers like this the sheriff is always doomed. No matter how earnest he is or how hard the guy tries, you figure he is still going to be taken out in short order as soon as he finally figures something out. Either way he’s still the best character but you wish he could have surpassed his limits and really made a difference. Done something to make his character arc hit a little harder at least.

As for the ending, it’s decent but not quite as bold as it could have been for a horror title like this. You see how the cycle could continue and all but it’s more left up to your imagination. You can also interpret it more like a gag. I do think that while Paul is keeping on a brave face, there’s nothing about the experience that you could call positive. At the end of the day this whole film was a traumatic experience for him and sometimes you just have to admit that things didn’t happen for the best.

Overall, Misery is a film that lives up to its name with how the whole thing is just a dreary experience for the guy. I don’t know what you could do to make the film a bit livelier within its premise but maybe making Annie a bit more reasonable would be a start. Have Paul be more of a jerk and gradually things start to get a little more drastic because of that. I don’t think the movie would ultimately have ever been great or anything but Annie being a little less crazy could have helped. Maybe have Paul’s legs/feet completely shattered from the accident so instead of her breaking it, it’s yet another thing that he has to worry about during this tense situation. Then with her trying to get him to write, it would be a little more on the unnerving side because he has nowhere to go and she is crazy, but perhaps not violently so.

Overall 3/10

Graveyard Shift Review

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

So whenever you’ve got humans fighting against monsters movies seem to try and make the humans are unlikable as possible. Perhaps it’s so that you won’t feel so bad when the humans die but I find that it can also be a double edged sword in that the film itself can be made worse because there’s nobody to root for and you end up rooting for the monsters. Well, that’s pretty much what happens here. There’s one or two decent people here but for the most part you can see why the rats are staging a rebellion.

The movie starts off with one guy murdering a bunch of rats just because he can. It’s clear that this guy is the real villain of the film so the rats gang up on him and their leader throws that guy in the shredder. They now realize that they can fight for what’s right and seem to unionize. Well, the mill needs a new person to load up the cotton and that’s where John comes in. He’s desperate for a job and this is really the only game in town so he’s forced to jump into the mix even though his boss Warwick is suspect at best. The guy threatens his colleagues into having affairs with him and doesn’t have any morals.

When people die he just shrugs and moves on. The guy has no ethics at all but unfortunately he’s the boss. John will have to try and survive out here but it won’t be easy. The only food place for miles is not hygienic and he falls for the girl that has caught Warwick’s eye, Jane. Not it’s extra personal and the rest of the staff were already bullying John so it’s only going to get worse from here on out.

I guess the mean people just flock to this town. You’ve got bullies, a corrupt boss, and just about everyone is only looking for their own self interests. There is nobody to confide in or to trust. It’s a rather lonely experience for John which may be why he was desperate for romance but the whole romance plot doesn’t work. It’s another rebound scenario and John only just got here. The whole thing is fairly rushed. The only acceptable explanation is that he’s just desperate for any friend but even then that’s not good enough for me to give this a passing grade.

The film has a lot of issues but lets knock out the biggest one right out of the jump. There’s a lot of animal violence here as the characters are bumping off the rats. It was rather sadistic how the first guy would toss them into the shredder. From there on you can see why they’d need revenge but of course in the meantime the humans are fighting back. They throw bottles at them and lay all kinds of traps. That’s why a film where a big amount of emphasis is put on the animal is always going to end up failing. It’s unlikely to avoid animal violence in such a scenario and that’s what happened here.

While the score wouldn’t be as abysmal without the rats, I can’t say that the film would be good either way though. It’s just a very mean spirited title all the way through. John doesn’t really fall for all of their instigative actions as he just minds his business but the bullying is quite excessive. As I already mentioned, Warwick is just a bad guy all the way through. He’s not as omnipresent as most villains so the heroes can at least escape him for a while here and there but then they tend to trip and it’s game over as the rat pack shows up.

The only props I’ll give the film is that the creature was decent. They keep him in the shadows for nearly the entire film but at least he makes for a solid threat. Rats are intense in great numbers and all but it’s always nice to actually have a big villain to really unite against. It gives them all a common foe as opposed to just beating up on a bunch of minions. Also the latter would be even worse for the movie since that would mean a lot of rats would be injured.

I wouldn’t even know where to begin in trying to save this film. It just didn’t have potential right from the jump. It could have used some more action and maybe a subplot about John trying to make the town a little better. That could have been interesting and at least give the audience a little more reason to care about their ultimate survival. Otherwise for the most part you’re just waiting for them to get taken out. The characters are just so mean. Also what’s with the one guy and yelling whenever he launches his water cannon? He’s very overdramatic the whole time when he’s just shooting water.

One guy had the right idea in just walking out over the poor working conditions. Ultimately that’s a much safer option than just sticking around. Of course whether you make it out or not is always a different story since it can go either way but the rule of thumb is to never stay in a bad situation. It’s just very rarely going to work out and more times than not you’ll regret staying.

Overall, The Graveyard Shift would have been much better if it had been about ghosts or something like that. Make it a spooky kind of horror film instead of focusing on rats the whole time. The rats really didn’t help the movie’s case and it was really sub par at best. You’re definitely going to want to avoid this one. You can do better with almost any of the other creature feature films. They end up doing a lot more in terms of scares and likable characters than this one which fumbled the ball the whole time.

Overall 1/10

Doctor Sleep 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

While an improvement over the first film in the series, Doctor Sleep is still not a film that you’re really going to give much of a thumbs up to. It has some good ideas but really ends up wasting them and goes for way more grit than is needed. You will be engaged during any scene where the villains aren’t around but once they show up it becomes game over.

The story starts with a girl named Andi using her mental abilities to scar an evil predator when she is approached by another psychic named Rose. Unfortunately Rose is much more powerful and quickly subdues Andy and takes her to their cult. There she is brainwashed and forced to work for the villain group while also getting a big power up. See the villains have two goals. The first is to live and to do so they have to absorb the shine from people who have powers.

Effectively it’s like a person’s life force and only those with super powers have this. Then the other goal is to keep their ranks strong by turning others over to their faction. They have to keep a balance where the group isn’t too big and they also have enough prey left to absorb. It’s hard to say quite how many shiners there are in the world but if the villains are too successful they may start to run out of people to absorb and die anyway. After taking out a kid, the villain group sets their eyes in the main heroine Abra as they noticed her watching telepathically.

That takes us to the main character Dan. He has really been trying to keep a low profile after surviving the original events of the Shining and just wants a peaceful life. So even when Abra shows up and explains that there is a dangerous group out there, Dan refuses to help and goes back to hiding. Fortunately he is convinced to help by the ghost of his old mentor. This won’t be easy since he’s up against a complete group of fighters but Abra is tough in her own right so perhaps that will balance things out.

I was not a big fan of Dan though. The fact that he was so quickly going to abandon Abra was unfortunate. Sure he’s scared and all but when you know that a kid’s in trouble you’d think that you would try to help some more. At least teach her how to fight a bit or something. Instead he has to be guilt tripped into helping. He also doesn’t do very well with the willpower by the end of the film as the villains were just too much for him. Considering how much experience Dan has, I would have liked him to have been a bit more powerful here. Maybe walk into the room with a confident grin or something like that as he takes the villains down one at a time.

It would have been more satisfying than his having to be running all the time. At least at the end of the day he still does help out even if it was reluctantly at first. Abra’s a much more interesting character and it’s rare to have the heroes be more powerful than the villains. From the start we see that Abra is a lot more powerful than any of the villains. The only way they can keep up is to amplify their abilities with the magic drugs and even then they don’t last long.

Abra is a good guy so she doesn’t just go around murdering them but otherwise she may have been able to stop them in their tracks. She pull’s a good trick on Rose at one point where she lures her into the mind realm so Abra could then go into Rose’s mind and find out their plans. Rose is a fairly young kid but she has certainly learned how to do some creative things with her powers and illusion abilities.

If there were more films in the series I feel like there might be some foreshadowing for her going to the dark side soon though. She actively tells the villains that she hopes their death were painful several times and really relishes in her victories. Of course a large part of this is because she completely despises the villains for what they did to the kid at the start of the film so she wants them all to pay. Give her another year or two of training and she should really be completely unbeatable.

While the film has some action and they get to use their magical abilities, the film never quite goes into action territory. It’s unfortunate because I think this would have lent itself well to that kind of premise. The powers are easily weaponizable and then the villain group could have all gotten to have some fights with the heroes. Instead the only action scenes we get are very down ot Earth like fighting with a knife or something like that.

The battle with Dan and Rose is very anticlimactic for example. He played the matchup quite poorly and the scene of him getting drained just drags on for a long while. You know what they are building up to with Dan’s trump card but even that scene didn’t look quite as impressive as it should have.

Also, I was waiting for him to try the coffin technique on one of the villains. I figured this was foreshadowed with how close he was to using it on his old friend. If it only works on you once you’re dead then that’s a fair counterpoint to why he didn’t even try to use it but then he certainly needs more abilities at some point. Dan does well with crashing a car at one point though.

It’s nostalgic seeing the old mansion later on. While the Shining was pretty bad, the actual mansion was fun. I don’t think the house itself lives up to the hype at all though. For the most part all of the tricks are completely ineffective. In the end Dan really has to take things into his own hands because the house just wasn’t working. For instance there’s one scene where the river of blood shows up and the villain just smirks. The house is clearly not a threat to her at all and while I guess that almost feels like a twist I guess, you may as well have not had the mansion at all. You could almost call the mansion itself filler.

As mentioned earlier, any scene with the villains is awful though. They’re shown to be as demented as possible with their various ceremonies as they murder and brainwash everyone. The way they murder the child is particularly brutal as they mention the death has to be as painful as possible to absorb more shine. It’s definitely the kind of plot details that we did not need. I was not surprised that the kid dies since it seems like something this film would pull off but they went out of their way to make it as bad as possible.

Any scene with the villains trying to absorb the shine always drags on and on. The villains are not even remotely interesting and you just want them off the screen. Unfortunately for Abra she has to feel all of the pain as well thanks to her full synchro ability which is always something that you absolutely do not want to have. It ends up backfiring almost all the time.

Even from the start with Andi we quickly learn that her backstory is super grim dark. Even the scene of her taking down that one chump at the beginning can’t just be that she’s taking out a bad guy but we have to learn what kind. In general this is the kind of thing that can really hurt horror films in general. The more extra details you give to every scene, the more likely it is that you’re going to focus too much on the shock value and not get to the actual plot in time. This film certainly shows us that the world in which the Shiners live is a really depressing one and that just makes the film more depressing as well.

As Abra is the only really solid character here, I wouldn’t say that the writing or cast is all that good either. The film isn’t super violent all of the time at least but the kid scene certainly filled up the quota there. If the villains could have at least have had some semblance of a more interesting goal or character development then maybe things could have been different. As it stands, they really do their best to crush the film.

Overall, Doctor Sleep is a sequel that takes the series in a very different direction but still ends up failing. In a way that’s impressive. It beats the Shining as this film would at least have its interesting moments. If you cut the scenes with the Baseball kid out then that would help quite a bit. The score still wouldn’t be quite positive but it would win a few points. You just won’t have any fun in this film by the end of its run and for that reason you’ll want to give this one a big pass. If you want to watch a film involving super powers then it’s time to watch one of the Bleach films instead

Overall 1/10

The Dead Zone Review

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

With a title like Dead Zone you are probably thinking of another world or a haunted area kind of movie. Well this one’s more about the block of time that the lead has to change the future. Of course this is difficult when you have no other superpowers since you have to really hope that your persuasion skill is on point. Otherwise nobody will believe you and bad things may ensue.

The movie starts with introducing us to Johnny who is a teacher that enjoys his job. He has a good position and a nice girlfriend in Sarah so everything is going well. One day he walks her home in a downpour and she reminds him to drive safely. With all of these red flags at the ready, Johnny embarks on this car ride and sure enough it ends up being a rather dangerous one. He crashes and falls into a coma for 5 years. When he wakes, Johnny is under the care of Dr. Sam and the guy explains that Johnny should be able to walk again soon.

Unfortunately this won’t be such a simple adventure for him as we find out that Sarah ended up marrying somebody else in the meantime. Additionally, Johnny now has super powers which allow him to see into the memories of anyone he touches. So if he grabs someone’s hand he can see a part of their past or future. It’s an incredibly useful ability in the right hands and a dangerous one in others. Can Johnny manage to utilize this well?

In a way the film serves as an anthology as he tries to help different people out whether by seeing the future or seeing the past. It’s a very versatile skill of his but you have to hope that he knows whether he is watching the future or the past as otherwise that could get a little tricky for him. Fortunately in the film all of the visions are obvious in that they are the past or future based on what is seen in the vision so that part isn’t really an issue.

Unfortunately Johnny is the wrong person to get these abilities. He was already a little unstable after waking up and this just made the issues even more pronounced. For starters, he cracks very quickly so when one reporter starts asking the hard questions Johnny goes straight into threatening mode. Then you have the mass murderer on the loose and Johnny decides not to help for a while.

Now granted, this is more understandable than the earlier panic attack because as part of how the powers work, he effectively relives the memory as a third party which can be pretty traumatic since he knows how the victims died. At least he does make the right call in the end even if he probably did get too aggressive in following the police officer. If he had stayed at his post and kept the mom under control then he would have been in the clear as far as injuries go.

Johnny also has a hard time letting go of his old flame Sarah to the point where she pretty much has a one night pity stand with him. Both of them are massively to blame on this because she’s married and both of them know it. Johnny really needed to find someone else because the 5 years may have felt like a day to him but it really wasn’t. Sarah is no longer on the market and so he shouldn’t even be trying for her.

Of course for Sarah this is inexcusable as well. There’s no way she should have even gone to his house if she had these intentions and bringing the kid along makes it even worse. It’s fully acknowledging that she is in a family and she is still doing this. As a result I would definitely say that the romance in this film is quite lacking. That aspect definitely could and should have been cut out since it doesn’t serve any purpose in the film other than to make the characters more unlivable.

So Sarah was no good and as you’ve probably guessed I didn’t like Johnny either. He doesn’t handle any of the situations very well at all. The security officer was good though, he was willing to try anything to put the mass murderer to justice. I’m sure he got a lot of heat for trying to use a psychic but that’s just how much he wanted to put this guy behind bars. He gets a lot of credit here.

Dead Zone holds itself back with how it has to add unnecessarily dark details though. The perfect example of this is how the victims die. Just have them be murdered in a normal way. That would be standard and would still capture all of the themes that the movie was trying to convey. Instead we are told they died in an incredibly gruesome way and it’s just details that we didn’t need to know and that should not have been included. It’s the extra details that tend to trip up films like this so sometimes just keep your plots general and it’s for the best.

In general Dead Zone isn’t even a super dark film. The case with Johnny trying to help the piano kid has a dark end but there is a silver lining in that he was able to help the main kid. So I wouldn’t consider it to be a very dark plot but has more of an ominous feeling since Johnny now knows exactly what his powers can do. This leads up to the final arc where he really begins to use his powers more actively. He comes up with a whole plan and everything. The fact that he is completely untrained and nearly comes out on top shows how different security was back then. You’re not getting anywhere close to the area with a big shotgun nowadays.

As for Stillson he’s a decent final boss to the movie. He certainly has a lot of ambition and keeps the characters in check. The scenes with him suddenly switch the whole movie to more of a gangster/mob type film which is interesting. Stillson has a lot of presence and makes for a good villain. I wouldn’t have minded seeing some more of him because he was just that interesting. The vision of the future also shows just how far he would have ultimately gone for his ambitions.

Dead Zone isn’t very violent for the most part. The early case with the mass murderer is really the only one with violence like when they catch the villain and of course the victims. The rest of the film is rather mild in that respect. The soundtrack isn’t all that memorable but I did like the camera effects for when Johnny was in a vision. It was a good way to quickly tell if you were in the present or somewhere else.

Overall, Dead Zone has an interesting premise since who wouldn’t like to have telepathic abilities right? Pure future sight isn’t super handy in this case though since you can’t use it on yourself and the film makes a decent case for why you would really not want to have this ability. If you just cut out the first case then I would say this was actually a decent film. Throw that in as well as Johnny’s relationship with Sarah and the cracks not only show themselves within the film but they burst it wide open. As a result I wouldn’t recommend checking this film out. Go watch something else instead.

Overall 3/10

The Cat’s Eye Review

It’s time to check out a horror anthology from a while back. This one has 3 stories so each one gets around 30 minutes to play around. Anthologies are one of the hardest genres to pull off because with the stories being so different it is more likely that one of them will make a mistake. The second story is definitely the best one but the other two don’t do enough to keep this film in the green. Now lets look at all of the stories in turn.

The first story is about a company that strives to help people get away from their smoking addiction. Morrison heads over to this place after having it be recommended to him by a friend. Unfortunately the place is a lot more extreme than he would have ever guessed. Vinnie is the head there and he informs Morrison that they have a 100% clear rate. Each time Morrison smokes a cigarette something bad will happen to his family. If he makes a mistake one too many times then they will all be destroyed. Vinnie seems to have agents everywhere and Morrison now must end his addiction instantly or it’s game over.

Of course addiction is extremely difficult and one of the toughest things to stop. It’s why around the world we have so many clinics and treatment centers. Many believe that can stop whenever they want to and there are a small subsection who can do it on their own. Fact of the matter is that many need some assistance to stop and that’s why Morrison has a tough time here. He was seeking help in the first place so now that he has to effectively end it on his own it’l be extra hard since he had admitted to himself that he couldn’t do it. All that said, it’s still tough to see him sneaking a smoke when he knows that his wife will be the one paying the price now. When someone else is in trouble I believe that gives you the extra motivation to get through.

Morrison does try to attack Vinnie once and comes close to grabbing the gun. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful and that was really the last attempt he would be able to make. The short has a grim ending since Vinnie effectively wins and now Morrison has directly endangered others by recommending his service. I don’t like how buddy buddy they are by the end. I suppose we can assume that Morrison has resigned himself to his fate and is trying his best to live with this, but there’s no reason why he has to be their friends and chatting like old buddies. There’s a twist at the end, but it shouldn’t have been a twist for Morrison unless he’s one of the most gullible guys around. It’s a tense special but with Vinnie continuing to endanger others with his unnecessarily grim punishments it does end on a sour note.

The second special introduces us to a rich man named Cressner. He finds out that his wife is cheating with a guy named Johnny and decides that both of them have to go. For Johnny he figures that it’s time to mess with the tennis pro first. He tells Johnny that he can survive this if he walks around the building. The exterior of the building has a ledge that is wide enough to walk through, but the building is very high up and there is a lot of wind. One misstep would mean instant death and Cressner is following the whole time from inside the building to make the walk even tougher by splashing water and firing off his gun. Can Johnny make it all the way around and will this give him some time to reflect on why cheating is wrong and will always catch up to you?

This one’s my favorite special as the plot is more fun and at least we get to see Johnny fight. One thing that does hurt right away though is the fact that Johnny was cheating with the guy’s wife. Two wrongs don’t make a right of course, but Johnny is really not in the right here. The guy shouldn’t be going after people who are taken and it ultimately ended up costing her as well. The ending is solid though as Johnny takes them both on and gets a gun at the ready. You can probably imagine how he will plan his comeback against Cressner. Then you’ve got a determined bird who shows up to make the walk even more difficult. It is hard to see why they don’t just try to kick it away sooner, but maybe they were worried that the motion would cause them to lose their balance. It’s probably a good risk though since the pecks would eventually have the same effect.

Then you’ve got the final story. So throughout these 3 stories there has been a cat around. His name is the General and he is trying to find a kid who has been calling to him on the Astral Plane. Her name is Amanda and she is being attacked by a monster under her bed. Naturally the parents don’t believe this and to their defense this monster is pretty smart. He seals the entrance to his world each time and through reality manipulation makes it so that the hole leads to nothing if the parents check. That’s why she needs a specialist. The monster frames General, but the cat isn’t quite ready to let that be the end. Can he stop this monster?

This story isn’t quite as solid. Amanda is too young to really hold her own as a main character here. She does her best to explain the situation, but naturally it doesn’t work too well. The Dad seems to suspect that something isn’t quite right, but he doesn’t speak up most of the time so he may as well not know. Then you have the Mom who really doesn’t like the cat and gets a lot of villainous music. I do feel bad for the bird so I can see why she got upset. Why did the bird have to be taken down like that, he was just an innocent little guy trying to survive day by day. Letting a cat in so close to the bird does feel pretty risky even if General turned out to be good. The monster is pretty intense and gives us as decent an action scene as you can try to have between a cat and a monster. It’s not really my cup of tea though and I’ll take the hand to hand fight from the second special.

Overall, The Cat’s Eye’s 3 stories all vary. If I were ranking the stories I’d give the first one a 3, the second a 6, and the third a 4. The first one’s just a little too grim with that ending and the third one’s mainly based around animals and kids which is not a recipe for success with the cat getting injured and the bird dying. The middle story is fun enough even if Johnny isn’t really a main character that you can reasonably root for. If you like short stories like this then this is a good movie for you to check out. There don’t seem to be many anthologies these days as I suppose TV shows handle that for you. If you want a quick 30 minute experience then you would watch a show. So unless you are a big short story fan then you should probably check out something like the original Ghostbusters instead.

Overall 4/10