Diary of a Madman Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 2/10

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Phoenix Forgotten Review

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Uh oh, it’s time for a found footage film. Honestly this is one of the worst genres out there. I already don’t like horror films, but found footage films tend to be even lower on the totem pole. The two genres do like to blend together as well although I think this would be considered more of a thriller than a horror. The film moves incredibly slow and by the end all you’ll be thinking is…”If I’m buying 4 slices and a drink from Little Caesars for 5, maybe I’m better off going to Little Italy and getting 2 slices but the infinite refills with it”

The story follows a reporter who is going around trying to find intel on 3 teenagers who went missing. Their names as Josh, Mark, and Ashley. The reporter has an interest in the case since Josh was her big brother. The problem is that the government keeps stiffing her and since this disappearance happened years ago, all of the trails have gone cold. Fortunately, Sophie is told that the school found a camcorder at a secluded facility in the middle of nowhere that actually still works. Sophie pops it in and finally learns the truth behind the mystery. She is stunned at the results!

So, that’s effectively the subplot as it takes place in the present, but most of the film is in the past. Since Sophie is making a documentary, naturally all of her scenes are filmed as if they’re found footage as well. We jump to the past where Josh decides that he wants to find some aliens. After all, he saw some strange lights a while back that seemed like UFOs. Mark and Ashley join him and the three decide to run through a bunch of mountains. They do this for a while and then get lost once it’s late. They do what any other mainstream teenager would do, they break open the beers and start panicking. Before long the aliens show up and take them down.

There are so many problems with this film that it’s quite tragic. For starters, we have the token animal violence. Why is there animal violence in this film? Well, apparently the aliens are still working on their tractor beams as they tend to burn the targets up instead of sending them into space. It’s also awfully fast since they burn parts of the animals but then leave them on the ground. The scenes are utterly pointless much like the film itself and you’ll wonder just how low this film will stoop before it finally ends.

The writing is terrible as you’d expect. All of the characters are really annoying and since the camera work is terrible on purpose, you’ll find yourself cringing the whole time. I don’t use the word lightly, but this is another reason why I don’t like the found footage genre. The zoom ins on all of the characters are much too close and the ametuer style in which they’re filmed is just not entertaining to look at. Honestly, I’m not even a big fan of the old family videos everyone made back when it was trendy but at least I was starring in those so it made them a little more fun. I don’t want to watch a video of strangers just hanging out and drinking beer. It’s just not cool.

The aliens don’t actually do anything for the first 60 minutes so that time is just the heroes chatting about nothing really and trying to be as unlikable as possible. The film never even tried to make them good characters if you ask me, but there were none in the whole film. Even the government turned out to be evil and corrupt as always. It’s sad that the government is almost always either incompetent or evil. It’s rare to find movies where they are portrayed as capable heroes but I’m always glad when I see that happen.

The film’s plot is also just barely held together. See, the writers needed the whole story to be filmed on camera, but this wasn’t even possible without plot holes. Towards the end of the film we see Josh taken up by the aliens as he drops his camera and it gets thrown around in the twister. Then….Josh somehow fights his way through the alien ship in a matter of seconds, escapes through the hatch, makes his way back and grabs the camera, runs to a bathroom…and is then kidnapped again. Then the camera is sucked up again, survives a vicious crash, and then someone mails it to the school. The whole thing was super convenient and also unbelievable. I don’t see how Josh could have gotten out of the tractor beam when nobody else could have. I don’t see how nobody would notice the aliens this time when they’re so bright and loud. People would definitely notice that kind of thing. I just couldn’t get past this ending.

The aliens also don’t really show up. We see a claw or a foot for a split second and that’s it. Clearly this film didn’t have much of a special effects budget so this turned into an alien film without the aliens. That’s just peachy. Back to the humans not being likable, the film maybe tries to hint that the aliens mess with your mind. I’m not too sure about that and prefer to just think that the humans are terrible. Mark constantly panics and drinks. He refuses to talk with the others even though it would make the whole process quicker and is the main reason everyone was talking in circles for a while. They could have stayed in the car where it was semi safe, but he wanted to run the 15 miles to the nearest gas station. Even then he got distracted within seconds. Ashley also panics at everything and keeps forcing the group to stop so she can tie her shoes or panic about her hair falling out. The only guy I almost felt sorry for was Josh because he would have escaped the aliens if he didn’t have to stop for the other two every 5 seconds. Clearly he should have gone on by himself. He wasn’t a cool character either though so I was cool with the aliens claiming the win here. They just need to take on the rest of the town n ext.

The film is super dramatic and tries to be emotional constantly. We have a divorce subplot and they really try to forcefeed you the “You have to be sad now” memo as we see the parents cry about the teens being gone and everyone assuming the worst. The home cam videos are supposed to really reinforce this. All it does is stretch the film out even more and completely destroy whatever pacing the film could have had. This film could have been shortened to 30 minutes and you wouldn’t have missed a thing.

Also, why was Sophie’s camera man never really shown until the end? I thought the film was gearing up for some kind of big twist like he was Josh or something and that’s why everyone kept looking at Sophie like she was crazy. The twist would have been terrible but at least it would have been something. Otherwise, the camera man is just another empty character whose existence is only to hold the camera so Sophie can get a good shot.

Overall, As you can guess I really didn’t like the film. It’s basically just 90 minutes of nothing happening. The alien “jump scare” scenes are pitifully bad and wouldn’t scare a kid. The repetition is annoying and since the aliens keep taunting the main characters instead of doing something to them, I have to assume that they’re just petty. They don’t seem to have any actual goals so I’ll assume that they are mindless as well. There’s really only negative things to say about the film so as you can tell I really didn’t like it. I’d say that Cloverfield was a better found footage film and even Paranormal Activity which by all accounts should be worse as it’s a full horror plus this genre, but was actually far superior. Next time you secretly want to make a film about teens just running around and just acting like terrible people with no extra plot…don’t. Instead of this film I recommend watching something a little more intense like the first Jumanji.

Overall 1/10

Seventh Son Review


It’s time to look at your classic fantasy adventure film. The chosen hero of legend who cannot be defeated has arrived to show the world his true power and end the reigning darkness. The story thinks it is a lot more emotional than it actually is and the problem here is that the main characters just don’t make for good leads. Ah well, I suppose the film tried its best, but it certainly won’t be surviving the test of time.

The film starts out with an evil Dragon witch by the name of Malkin wrecking everybody. She destroyed all of the famous knights and now Gregory is the only one left. He defeated her and she lay dormant for many years. Gregory used this time to go to his local bar and get drunk while his apprentice urged others not to fight him. Gregory has a history of murdering his opponents based on his apprentice’s desperation. A swordsman tries to get Gregory to save a little girl who is being possessed, but Gregory wants his beer instead and beats the guy up. It was definitely one of the saddest moments in the film since the guy was just trying to help. Gregory heads over and it turns out that Malkin is back. He defeats her again, but she murders his apprentice so Gregory heads over to a nearby shack and recruits Tom. Tom decides that he has to go since he’s been having dreams about this for a long time now and that means he can ignore logic. He heads out and is ready to take Malkin down.

Thing is, he meets up with another witch named Alice who claims that witches aren’t so bad. Tom agrees since he instantly sees the romantic implications of this and agrees to keep her a secret from Gregory. Knowing that this can’t go wrong and Gregory has been risking Tom’s life needlessly anyway, there’s no harm done. Will they be able to take Malkin and her army of hyped up generals down or is it all for naught? Time to find out!

So, as you can probably tell from the tone of the intro, I don’t like Gregory. He just comes off as a rather mean guy who is only a protagonist because he happens to be a decent fighter. He didn’t care about saving the girl and didn’t seem to care much when his old disciple died as his first line after that was to complain about the time he wasted on the kid. He’s also not very smart of just likes to lie as he constantly gives Tom the wrong advice (Like “Trolls are scared of water and won’t chase you to it”) throughout the movie. He’s also not even that strong as a classic net can beat him and once his scepter is gone he has no power. The guy is just very annoying throughout and also proves to be pretty gullible as he lets his feelings of love get in the way of his fighting. This works against him whenever Malkin shows up.

She likes to flirt with everyone and is quite successful at it. She ensnared Gregory and got his first disciple to lower his guard. Tom was too good for these tricks but since he was getting suckered by Alice the whole time, maybe the writers felt bad for him. I don’t really remember why Alice wants to rule the world, but I supose it’ll make things easier on witches since humans hunt them no matter where they go. She should have won the war pretty easily since the heroes can’t really fight and she can decimate whole cities. Her mistake was to recruit the only fighter capable of beating her as the 2nd in command and then targeting her daughter. I like to think that Malkin was trying to lose at this point. She had a cool costume and a pretty neat dragon form, but certainly lacked tactical awareness when on the battlefield. She should be overocnfident since she was supposed to be way stronger than the others, but I guess she wasn’t quite as powerful as we were all led to believe.

Tom isn’t a good main character. I knew this the second that he abandoned his family to join Gregory for no reason even after learning that all of Gregory’s understudies mysteriously die right after they join. Naturally, his Mom ended up dying after he left. She put up a pretty decent fight though and it was nice to see that she kept up her magical abilities. She actually took out the Kratos lookalike in one shot which was pretty impressive. A pity she couldn’t put up a better fight against the head honcho. Tom’s premonitions aren’t too useful either as they are always very vague and he ends up fainting after them. Even Gregory has to point this out. Tom has some basic skill with a sword, but he can’t hurt the villains with that so it’s all moot. His necklace is pretty handy since it can repel magical attacks and shoot out fire, but he never learns how to wield it. Honestly, he just can’t fight at this point so he’s very fortunate that the villains decide to destroy themselves.

Finally we have Alice, but she’s not a good heroine. Her romance with Tom is pretty bad from the start and despite all her tough bravado, she was almost murdered by random humans in her very first appearance. It wasn’t an impressive way to start out her career. She claimed to have visions as well but we never saw any so I’m not buying it. She is a littkle gullible as well to think that the villains would spare Tom if she asked nicely. She did good in grabbing the pendant back at one point when the villains were distracted, but quite a lot of luck had to be on her side to pull that off.

There were some other supporting characters like a troll that helped the main characters and Malkin’s army of monsters. The monster generals were actually pretty cool and had nice designs, but they were wasted. There was only about 30 minutes left in the film and they still hadn’t gotten to fight. As a result, most of them were effectively one shotted and the others lost to plot hax. One of them was a really powerful dragon hybrid who could use some good weapons, but he was goaded into turning human by Gregory and was then destroyed. Alice’s Mom was a pretty good villain, but the interactions between her and Alice felt weird the whole time. They didn’t interact like parent and child and more like strangers the whole time. The film tries to say that they are pretty close based on their actions and history though so it doesn’t add up. Alice’s Mom certainly came through when it counted though.

The fight scenes are definitely on point and hold up well. That’s one area where the film definitely doesn’t disappoint. I enjoyed Gregory’s fight with the Dragon and the clash of the two dragons as well. Mostly those were the only big fight scenes as the rest were chases and such. The special effects are pretty good. You can tell that the visual style is pretty engaging just from the posters. It’s quite telling that this film looked a whole lot more impressive than other titles like LOTR and World of Warcraft despite those being known as experts at the genre. I can’t say much for the soundtrack as it’s all fairly generic. I would have liked an extra good tune or two.

I think something that would have helped the film a lot would have been if the main characters were more likable. Gregory is consistently shown as borderline evil as he burns opponents alive and without remorse. He believes that you have to be as ruthless as they are to win and in the end he convinces Tom to follow suit. Tom even dresses in all black at the end to signify that he won’t show mercy anymore. It’s certainly not the typical message that you expect to see and it’s a tough world for all of the characters involved. If we ever got a sequel, I’m sure they would have to start reversing that a bit as I just don’t think it was the film’s intention to make Tom seem like a villain at the end. The lore around the film certainly has potential, it just needs to be crafted better.

The biggest negative here is certainly the romance. It’s pretty underdeveloped as expected and the characters just skip first base immediately. Fortunately, the film avoided animal violence, excessive violence/language, and the other tropes that you’d expect in a fantasy film. It did have one gross humor part where the characters eat some kind of squid thing, but it played it by the books for the most part. It’s because this film is more of a happy fantasy with lots of adventure than the more serious and dramatic style that others go for.

There aren’t any real deep messages about saving the environment or Oscar bait moments here. It’s just a classic fantasy adventure that tries to be a little cheesy and action packed throughout. I’d say that it succeeds for the most part. The characters all tend to act like jerks, but the fact that they’re so exaggerated just makes you want to root for the villains even more. It’s interesting how you find yourself rooting for the villains more in a film like this one than in those where the villains are the main characters. Either they’re just more convincing or since the film isn’t too violent, they don’t have a chance to go too far. The main villain destroys maybe 2 characters on screen. The body count isn’t as high as you’d expect despite the epic moment where all of the villains fly across the battlefield and attack Tom’s home. (Not it’s personal) The film just had enough epic moments like that to stay afloat. You can say that the film survives in spite of its characters as opposed to it being the other way around.

Overall, Seventh Son is one of those films that feels like it’s on 2X speed the whole time. The film rapidly goes from place to place and event to event without dwelling on the plot much. It seems like the writers wanted it to be a really long film, but were told they had a limited run time and then crammed everything in. Some scenes could have been explored more and we could have gotten more action scenes. Cutting out some of the romance would have definitely helped a great deal in that regard. The series borrows from pretty much every fantasy cliche in the book, but at least handles most of them reasonably well. It’s certainly an entertaining film as you’ll have fun mocking the characters quite a bit. It’s the kind of film you want to watch with friends to make wisecracks with. It had its faults, but I’d still call it a decently good film. It has a good degree of replay value since it avoided most of the usual negatives.

Overall 6/10

The Time of Their Lives Review

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Looks like it’s time for another Abbott and Costello film. I dare say that this one makes a case for being the best one yet as the characters take part in an ambitious ghost story. The Supernatural elements are handled well even if the rules surrounding them are a little muddy. The plot can also be a little confusing at times as you try to remember who the traitors were and why everyone is so gun happy. It all makes for one chaotically fun adventure that you won’t want to miss!

The film starts off with Horatio returning from a big mission. Nora greets him happily and brags to the world that he is actually is a pretty great guy who never slacks off. What she doesn’t realize is that Horatio has an iconically low IQ and can’t understand anything for beans. Still, they’re together and that’s what counts. This is stopped when Horatio’s old enemy Cuthbert shows up and locks Horatio in a chest. He is freed by Melody who warns Horatio that they need to get out and warn George Washington of his impending doom. They are shot on the way over and cursed to be trapped in the land forever until they are proven innocent of being traitors. Fast forward to the modern day and some people live in the mansion. Horatio and Melody decide to play tricks on them to make themselves feel better, but then realize that if they can get the new owners to find the letter…they’ll be free. How can they do that when they’re ghosts though?

It was pretty ambitious to actually have the main characters murdered in the beginning. Nora was possibly offed as well. I can safely say that I was not expecting that in the slightest so the shock value was handled well. There’s also a lot that you can do with the ghost gimmick so that was fun. The rules confused me a bit though. So, people can’t hear the ghosts, but they can feel them…sometimes. The ghosts can make contact with each other…sometimes. What’s the point of going invisible when nobody can see you? The ghosts do that a lot with a cool spin move (That was admittedly handled very well) but I wondered what the point of it was. Horatio could do the spin move sometimes and sometimes he couldn’t. I thought that the rules were a little convoluted, but I suppose that’s part of the point right?

The humor is basically the same as it always is so you either like it or you don’t. Horatio spends the majority of the film sputtering and stammering as he takes everything literally and is the but of every joke. You have to admire the fact that he never lets any of this get to him though and always gets right back on the saddle. The guy has heart and charisma. It is admittedly the same array of jokes in every Abbott and Costello film so I can see how some would get tired of it, but it always works well if you ask me. The style is pretty nice and Horatio isn’t a bad character. Even though he is stuck with Melody for almost 200 years, he resists all of the flirting attempts as he thinks about how to get back to Nora. Melody felt a little more fake on that note as she was willing to rebound with Horatio until she could move on and be reunited with her original partner.

Ralph takes himself seriously as always. He gets picked on by the ghosts quite a bit so in a way it’s like Costello is finally getting his revenge for all of the other films. It works pretty well, but you have to admit that there wouldn’t be much of a movie without Horatio. I mean, it would be a decently serious mystery I suppose, but the comedy is what makes the film. Horatio may make a lot of mistakes but the fact that he is so petty makes him more endearing. The human characters get a fairly big role yet they are largely forgettable. They are mainly here to get picked on and scared on many occasions by Horatio. While they may not have much of a personality of their own, it’s still fun to see them slowly believe in the ghosts one by one. Stealing poor Ralph’s whiskey may have been a bit much, but it showed that the ghosts meant business this time around.

And to think that I was actually worried that we’d be stuck in the past for a little while there. Trust me, that wouldn’t have been nearly as engaging. It was rather painful for the lead as well since he ended up falling on a giant pitch fork there. No, he’s definitely glad that they’re in the present now even if he was stuck there for quite a long time. He may not be even remotely smart, but he still knows enough to try and stay away from gunfire. Now if he can just learn the difference between a recording a live voice, then he’d be golden!

Finally, I think what helps this film is that it feels like it’s always moving in a straight line. The plot is simple so it is always the focus. Every minute of the film is essentially trying to get to that goal. Because of that, a large intro isn’t needed or a bunch of twists and turns. After all, this isn’t really a mystery, it’s more of an adventure. It’s a pretty big change from the other films and it’s one that works well. I’m also getting slightly closer to watching them all so that’s pretty fun.

Overall, This film was just a lot of fun. It’s fairly short so the pacing is tight as each scene keeps on moving with quite a lot of speed. Horatio and Melody make for a pair of charismatic main characters. It was fun to see them enjoying their time as a ghost for the most part since most ghosts end up falling into self pity mode. They ultimately did enjoy their freedom, but at least they had fun in the process. I do think they could have stopped the cops a lot easier tough like by hitting the wheels or something. I suppose that as long as their methods worked it all ended up for the best though. The surprise ending was pretty intense though and a fitting way for the film to close out. Washington always gets the last laugh after all. I’d definitely recommend checking the film out and then you can decide for yourself if it’s one of the best Abbott and Costello films or not.

Overall 8/10

Invasion of the Body Snatchers Review

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of those sentences that wouldn’t have much meaning without the iconic films. That being said, the idea is certainly an interesting one that has been used time and time again by several films. After all, what would you do if someone you knew was replaced by an alien and nobody else knew about it? It lends itself well to horror plots because of how frightening that can be. The film does a good job of keeping that tense atmosphere.

Here’s the plot in a nutshell. Elizabeth notices that Geoffrey has been acting strangely all of a sudden. It’s like he became a new person over night. The same thing starts to happen to a bunch of people outside and the few others who notice quickly change their tunes just as quickly. Elizabeth finally realizes that this is an alien invasion. She finds a few other people like Jack, Matthew, and Nancy who learn about this and have not been turned yet. The only issue is…what can they do about it? It’s not like they can defeat these aliens since they are just as strong as humans and all of the government and law detection forces have already been turned. Is it best to just submit and let themselves be taken?

From the start of the film there isn’t a lot of hope for the characters. What little bit there is gradually deteriorates as the film goes on. The worst part is that the characters can’t even sleep if they are next to any of the aliens. If they do, an alien copy is produced and sucks the life out of the person. The only way you can fall asleep is if you’re next to a friend, but what if that person has actually been turned? You can only trust your comrades so much in this kind of situation. The duplication is a long process but it might as well be instantaneous since it’s hard to awaken once you’ve been tagged.

Naturally, Matthew does just that. He walks to the backyard and decides to take a nap. I get that he’s sleep deprived, but did he have to make it so easy for the aliens? He even let his hand dangle to the ground so that the alien plants could grab him and start the transfer. Matthew had his moments, but I can’t say that he was a good character. He was a little slow on the uptake and not as resourceful as the others. His short romance with Elizabeth also hurt his chances of being likable.

Elizabeth is a reasonably good lead for the majority of the film. While it takes her a while to really do something about the situation, it isn’t a problem that can be solved easily. That being said, her rushed romance with Matthew was pretty bad. Her man may have been snatched, but moving on so quickly isn’t really in good taste. You can say that it was the stress of the situation or a moment of passion but I just see those as excuses. Both characters suffered from this moment. I’m inclined to say that Elizabeth is still the better character over Matthew, but it’s close.

The side characters range from being average horror characters to actual thinkers. Nancy in particular was surprisingly good as she got behind the idea of the plant being the problem right away. There wasn’t any doubt or a plan to go visit the alien head quarters for kicks. She was the first to figure out that the aliens could be fooled and just brought her A game the whole time. Jack was a lot slower as he would fall asleep or get tired every now and again. He did his best once he got serious, but Jack just wasn’t quite as prepared for this. There’s also the suspicious doctor, but he’s so obviously suspicious that I wouldn’t trust the guy with a 10 foot pole. Remember though, this invasion isn’t happening. He claims that it’s all in our heads.

Back to the “Surprisingly intelligent plans” section, the heroes even decide to board a boat to another country. Sure, it may not get them away from the problem entirely but it’ll buy them some time. Unfortunately, it’s too late by the time they get there, but it was a good plan. At that point, the only other thing to do would be to just try and live normally while feigning no emotion. It’s not too clear on how the aliens know if you’re sleeping. It’s possible that you’ll be okay if you sleep so long as there are no aliens around. The problem is that they are microbe sized and have infected just about everything. Your house would have to be germ free to escape their influence.

I have to give the film a lot of credit for the ending. It’s handled quite well and is pretty unexpected when it occurs. The moments building up to it are just as solid and the execution as a whole is what makes it work. Depending on how you look at it, this could make for a fun sequel. It would be a last stand kind of film with one character trying to take out an army. That being said, not having a sequel let’s you play out the various scenarios in your head.

I want to say that the film had a good soundtrack, but it’s been a while and I can’t remember the tunes. I’m sure they were reasonably good tracks that worked well with the visuals though. Speaking of which, the film definitely had some disturbing visuals. The plant monster/alien bodies looked real weird before they turned into human duplicates. The dog with the interesting face was also something else. At least the transition of being turned into an alien is painless so that’s nice on the humans. It’s a sad fate, but at least it could be worse.

Overall, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a horror film done right. The human characters don’t all talk like bad cliches. The plot was well thought out as well. While the film doesn’t have a bunch of “jump scares” the overall atmosphere is more effective anyway. The place is usually cloudy and even when the characters are in a sunny environment, it never really feels like they’re safe. It’s simply a break from the dangers that are all around. I’d recommend checking this movie out. It’s pretty fun and good survival stories are hard to come across so you want to pounce on the ones that turn out well.

Overall 6/10

Gargoyles Review

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It’s time to look at a really obscure horror film. This one’s fairly low budget and at times you’ll wonder when it’s supposed to actually get scary. Well, the good news is that while it lacks in scares, it is a fairly short film. It’s all over in a little above an hour. You won’t feel a whole lot of heart during that time and the film mainly goes through the motions, but it’s not that bad. It just needed a few scenes with a bit more of a kick to take it to the next level. This didn’t happen though so the film just puttered out in the end.

The film follows a guy named Mercer who writes books about the supernatural. He doesn’t believe any of them, but they sell very well. One day he gets a letter from a guy out in the middle of nowhere who claims to have some valuable intel for Mercer. Our confident main character doesn’t believe him, but free beer is offered so he decides to give the guy a chance. It wasn’t much of one though as Mercer basically mocks him during the entire visit and really gives the guy a hard time of it. The guy even shows Mercer a skeleton that he found, but Mercer says it’s fake. At that moment, a Gargoyle drops the house on them and the old man dies. Mercer and his daughter Diana escape and decide not to tell the cops what happened. They report the dead body, but act as if it was a natural disaster or something. The cops are one step ahead of them though and decide to pin it on a group of teenagers who are known for stealing around these parts. Can Diana save the kids from the life of a prisoner and can she escape the Gargoyles?

From the start it’s hard to really like any of the characters. Mercer comes across as a total fake who mocks what he writes about. I understand writing purely for the money, but the guy’s attitude was never great. The whole intro scene where he’s mocking this old guy was just mean and only staying for the beer was kind of petty. He’s also a little inconsiderate as he keeps on playing the tape with Diana screaming when the monster comes back. How many times does he have to play that thing? He goes through it about 5 times and never learns anything new. There’s no secret piece of the puzzle that’s suddenly going to show up there.

As for Diana, she likes taking pot shots about Mercer and implying that he let the teenagers get framed for money. As he pointed out, the cops would never believe them about Gargoyles invading the city and starting World War III so he needs proof first. They’d have a similar reaction to the skeleton. I suppose it’s good that she went to exonerate the teens, but she didn’t do a good job about it. She also didn’t do a great job of resisting the demons although I suppose there wasn’t much she could do. I think making a break for it would have helped though.

The Gargoyles make for pretty bad villains. The intro to the film talks about how they’ve been at war with humanity for centuries and lose every time. Luckily, there is always one that escapes and she hatches a bunch of others and they start all over again. Well, that’s the case here and this time they decide to lie low for a while while the eggs hatch. This plan would have worked…but they decided to burn a house down and get people interested again. The plan made no sense and they would have destroyed the world if not for this. I suppose they couldn’t help themselves as they wanted to kidnap Diana and steal a demon book, but both of these things were ultimately pointless to them. If they had waited and attacked with their army, things could have gone a little differently.

Still, this film isn’t exactly known for its masterful writing now is it? To an extent I suppose it’s to be expected that some things wouldn’t add up and this was likely not thought out a whole lot by the writers. They just needed to churn a film out ASAP. One big moment where you’ll notice this is when Mercer goes back to get reinforcements and takes his time, but still catches up to the leader by the cave. I guess they were moving in slow mo considering how long Mercer was gone. The stale mate at the end was also anticlimactic as the demon basically just yelled “I’ll be back in 100 years” and flew away. There was no final fight or anything like that, just more posturing and bewilderment from the people in the audience.

The teenagers never got likable either and the cops weren’t great either since they were quick to pin the blame without any proof. None of the cast was likable and that includes the really random owner of the motel who was flirting around and accusing the main characters of various stuff the whole time. There was no reason for her inclusion except possibly for humor (Which failed if so) or just to give us a quirky character. Films don’t need quirky characters, but it seems like they are always added anyway. The Gargoyles get a few fatalities along the way so the film had some stakes, but it still felt like this horror was just going through the motions.

Going back to plot holes or at least leaps in logic, there was another iffy scene. After Diana goes to the police station on her own and walks back, it seems like it’s a very long trek. This kind of makes sense since the heroes had to drive in a car for a while to get there. The Gargoyles then attack her while she is in the middle of nowhere and you think that hope is lost for her. Fortunately, this isn’t the case as Mercer appears and takes her back to the motel…which is only 5 steps away. Wait a moment, the place was deserted for miles a second ago and Diana was looking around as if she was lost. Did she not see the cabin? It was a scene that didn’t make any sense. The brief “fight” scene after that was interesting as the Gargoyles just broke in and messed everyone up. The suits weren’t half bad I suppose, but they don’t look as intimidating when they’re walking around like that.

Overall, There’s not much to the Gargoyles film. The enemies are fairly bland and generic while the main heroes are unlikable and not very sympathetic. The film doesn’t have a lot of direction. It’s a shame because it didn’t really make many mistakes. The film isn’t violent, there isn’t any real language, and there’s no animal violence. However, not making mistakes doesn’t make up for not getting anything right. The film still isn’t very interesting anyway and there’s no real reason to recommend it to anyone. If you want a really scary film, check out Madoka Magica: Rebellion. The ending in particular is truly frightening!

Overall 4/10

Noragami

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I’ve started a new series! Off to a decent start so far. I’m glad that the main character switched partners since the original one was pretty annoying. It’s at the point where the series can go in any direction so I’ll have to wait and see if a tournament starts or if it’s time to go to the demon world Either way, I’ll have a review for it when I finish the series to its completion.

Overall 6/10

Twin Star Exorcists

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Well, I’ve started another new series! This one comes off as a little generic at times, but the action scenes are good and the main character has his moments. I am slightly worried that this series will be one of those titles where the main characters are completely outranked throughout the entire series, but maybe their power ups are close. I’ll have a review for the series when it’s done.

Overall 7/10

World Trigger

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I’ve now started World Trigger! I’ve currently finished the first volume and it’s off to a decently good start. The series is fun and certainly has potential to be one of the big ones by the end of its run. I’m just hoping that the main neighbor’s facial expressions gimmick stops soon because it is pretty iffy. Aside from that, the action scenes are solid so far and I’m digging the cool costumes. I’ll have a review for this series when it finishes..someday.

Overall 7/10

The Lazarus Effect Review

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Gee…I wonder who the main villain of this film is. Even if you haven’t seen the trailer, there are only so many actresses on the poster who look like the character in the center right? You can guess between the two actresses listed and it should be easy to guess correctly. This is a modern horror film that I actually saw the trailer a while back. I knew that it would be terrible, but I saw it to see if I could at least drag some good feats out of this. I wasn’t disappointed!

A group of scientists decide that they will bring things back to life against the school’s orders. They succeed in bringing a dog back to life, but then some corporate white collars decide to shut down the project. The “heroes” laugh this off and try to make another experiment, but someone forgot to pay General Electric so a spark is sent off and destroys one of the characters. They bring her back to life, but…she seems different. She seems…evil!!!!!? (Shocker!)

My hunches are typically right when it comes to a film being good or bad. I can usually tell if I will like it or not based on a single trailer. Not a teaser, but the full thing. That being said, you still have to be careful to go in with an open mind, but this film makes it easy for you since there’s animal violence within seconds of minutes of the film starting so I was able to confirm my theory. It may sound strange to watch a film that you know will be terrible, but it’s actually not uncommon.

See, the best reason to watch a film is to enjoy it. After that, another very legitimate reason is to just watch the film for feats. This way, I can add the fighters to this site someday in the battle section. A final reason that I watch films for at times is just to appreciate the dialogue as well as the banter between characters. If a film’s script is really good, I can at least have a few chuckles as I get ready to write my negative review. I do the same thing for video games. (minus the third option since there is almost never any banter in video games) Based on the poster/dvd cover, I knew that the villain would have some good super powers. After all, villains in horror films are always overpowered and typically have a range of attacks like reality warping and teleportation.

One of the ways that this film went wrong was the fact that it has way too many jump scares. Seriously, when you show us a vague object in the background and start speeding up the music as the scene gets darker and darker, everyone and their pet bird knows that a jump scare is about to happen. You’re taking the scare out of the jump. Every jump scene here is utterly predictable and you’ll just be laughing. Actually, this is a Great film to watch in a group as you try to poke fun at it the whole time. Seeing the Mystery Theater 3000 tackle this would likely be very entertaining. There’s just so much material to work with here.

An obvious negative here is the animal violence issue. It feels like I have to mention this in every single horror movie and it must be a trope of some kind. Naturally, the dog dies. It’s so unnecessary and disturbing. The fact that the heroes are bringing things back to life also ensures that you see quite a few dead animals throughout the film and this movie was doomed from early on. However, it brings me to a nice topic of discussion that many philosophers and scientists still debate. As far as I’m concerned there is no debate, but I’ve seen this question asked several times in real life and the answers that other people give are always sad. They always seem to believe that the end justifies the means.

The characters are all fine with experimenting on animals. When the main character decides to finally try a human everyone immediately starts to back up. “Experimenting on animals is okay, but a human..humans are real!” is essentially what the characters try to say. For many people, animals don’t have rights and anything is fair game. If killing 10 animals means that you will save 100 humans, a lot of people would jump on board in an instant. If you were to rephrase the question so it’s 10 lives against 100, people would still go for it, but there would be many more who would simply find it preposterous. It’s a very sad train of logic that I’ve always disagreed with right from the start. The fact that all the characters believe this just makes it all the more sad.

The other topic to tackle relates to one of the final sane lines by the main villain. Zoe asks why she was sent to Hell over one mistake when she tried to make up for it by doing good things for her whole life. That’s an incredibly easy one to answer, good works are not enough to send you into Heaven. You can lead the nicest life imaginable. You can fight in wars and save hundreds of people or always put others first and help out whenever possible, but you still won’t go to Heaven if you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ into your life. It’s a concept that many people cannot wrap their heads around and the outcome is quite sad, but unavoidable. It’s tough to think that you could be a great person and it will not make a difference, but we are all sinners and don’t have the power to save ourselves. Zoe found this out the hard way and now she’s working on bringing as many people down as possible. Considering how all of the other main characters act, it shouldn’t be difficult.

To Zoe, Hell is essentially reliving her worst moment in life over and over again. I don’t see this being very far fetched as that could certainly be what Hell is like. Hell is simply unbearably bad. So, whatever hurts you the most emotionally and physically will be what happens there. It’s why Hell is a truly scary place and it’s never ending. Another difficult concept to grasp, but one that you must as it will really affect how you live each and every day. You will certainly treasure each day on Earth as you realize what a privilege it is to live in such a pleasant world even if it’s far from perfect.

It almost goes without saying that I couldn’t stand any of the characters by the way. We have the average teenager who smokes a lot and is constantly making crude and inappropriate comments. He was terrible. The main character believes that experimenting on animals is okay and he doesn’t seem to think too highly of the dog’s intelligence. His final scenes are also terrible and he’s unlikable. Zoe essentially cracks and we find out that Hell broke her and turned her evil. While that may not be her fault as she is insane for the final part of the film, it doesn’t help her become a good character although she is a threatening villain. The intern seemed out of her depth the whole time as she tried to fit in and the final member of the group didn’t really have any character.

The script is one of the things that prevented any of the characters from being likable as they were constantly swearing. It’s to be expected as horror films in general have some of the worst reputations when it comes to the script. The characters will swear whenever they are surprised, upset, or excited, which is constantly. While it’s not the worst writing that I’ve seen, it’s certainly down there and hurts the film once again.

At the very least, Zoe is a strong villain. She seems to have some reality warping skills as she can literally send you to Hell. She has high speed regeneration, possibly some kind of body snatching ability, super speed, telekinesis, super strength, and much more. As with most horror villains, she can essentially do whatever she wants including turning off the lights with her mind. How spooky right? For films like this, you’re essentially watching to see how she destroys everyone in whatever gruesome ways she can imagine. No worries though, all of the bodies are somehow kept intact for the twist ending.

You do know that there is a twist ending right? All horror films are basically required to have one and this is no exception. How one guy’s body survived being in a metal container that was crumpled up is beyond our wildest imagination, but I’m sure that Zoe has a power to help with that. She also has a large blood supply so that she can give some to everyone that wants to have powers without wearing herself out. Must come back to that high speed regeneration eh? As with most twist endings, we can assume that humanity was ultimately destroyed.

Overall, This was a pretty terrible movie, but at least it was predictable. It followed the horror stereotyped and formula to a T. You can probably guess just about everything ahead of time. “Will ____ die DReager?” “I’ll do you one better Bill, they’re all going to die and at least one of them will be in a Man of Steel way” “Right on Reager!” Now, just copy and paste that answer to every single horror film where there’s one villain up against a group of teenagers and you’ve got yourself the correct answer. If horror films where you get to see really unlikable characters destroyed by a villain that they cannot even begin to fight against are your thing, then you’ll love this film. Just try to get past the animal violence and the poor script. Meanwhile, I’d recommend watching Scooby Doo Zombie Island if you want a movie that has more heart. On the bright side, I did like the corporate agents who came in and owned the main characters without breaking a sweat.

Overall 1/10