Communion 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.

Whenever you have a film with aliens in it you are hoping that a lot of fun things are in store for you. Aliens should be fun and make for imposing villains. Unfortunately that was not the case here. The film is based on a book of pure fanfiction from an author who was delusional but you hope that the film can surpass this. That’s not the case though and the film is very weird from the start. This weirdness ultimately starts to crossover into just being an awful film and by the end you’ll be cringing so hard that this will hit rock bottom. The film was just reeeeally bad.

The movie starts with a guy named Whitley who is an aspiring author. The issue is that he can’t focus on anything for more than 5 minutes so instead of working on the book he’ll play pranks on his wife and kid. Whitley is always rambling on about random stuff but one night when a few friends are over there is a bright light that shines across the world. An alien shows up as well. Whitley doesn’t want to tell anyone about this though so he keeps quiet and continues to go more and more insane. Eventually the aliens come back to kidnap him and things get dicey for the guy. Can he cope with the experiences that he went through?

Part of the problem here is even before the abduction, Whitley already seems certifiably insane. He just never makes any possible sense. He’s always wearing a different costume while working on his book and never ends up making any progress on it either since he ends up throwing out what he had started on each time. Then once the aliens do appear he starts to grow worse as he sees them everywhere. Hypnosis only makes the visions grow even more and he can’t trust anyone even at the end so he fights on his own. One of the annoying things about Whitley is that he’s also really bad at explaining things. Often times he may make an attempt to talk about the aliens but he does it in such a round about way that it doesn’t get through.

Additionally, the aliens seem to have told him not to tell anyone. Throughout the film we eventually learn more about what happened. See, initially we only get the quick jump scare before going to the present but a lot more happened that night. By the end of the film we learn that they definitely did a number on him. So, you would expect that after this he would probably want revenge or something right? Well, this leads to the most insane part of the film where he tracks the aliens down and ends up dancing with them for kicks.

Never mind the fact that the aliens also attacked his wife and used psychic powers to murder his son once already (and vowed to return) but he still wants to dance with them. He takes the old approach of forgive and forget. His wife doesn’t seem to mind either when he tells the story to her. The whole thing is just off the walls. It’s clear that after a point Communion is intentionally trying to be as weird as possible. The characters just don’t make a whole lot of sense with their actions. If they should do something then they will do the other. I dare say the dancing scene had to be part comedy or something. How do you seriously do a scene like that? The music was also as happy as possible for ultimate contrast.

A better film could have handled this well as perhaps a parody of some sort but not this one. This film seems to actually be trying to have a horror vibe at times but I can tell you now that it doesn’t succeed in the slightest. The characters are all too ludicrous for that to work. They never act scared in a natural way so why should we be scared? Whitley has a panic attack at one point when a kid scares him using a costume and it’s so over the top that you’ll just be shaking your head. The writing isn’t any good either. You’ll lose count of how many times the wind has to silence Whitley as he goes off on a tangent. The actual story makes no sense either.

The film doesn’t exactly have any subtlety either. For example a big thing here is that Whitley is traumatized because the aliens physically ran experiments on him including some rather invasive maneuvers. Anyone can put the pieces together particularly because there are tons of memes about this and it’s the first question someone asks whenever anyone mentions being abducted by aliens. Communion doesn’t realize that though so we get a long flashback detailing this just for extra grit and edge. The movie tries to make this as tragic as possible with Whitley attempting to fight them off at first, then trying to joke around so they’d let him go but none of this works.

It makes the rest of the scenes with him and the aliens even worse. It seems like the film was trying to say Whitley had stockholm’s syndrome with the aliens to an extent and that’s why he likes them now but that’s a very disturbed way to end the title. You just know that by the end he has completely lost and that’s the real shame here. There isn’t a happy ending to be found as the aliens have won and you know that more and more humans will keep on being attacked. Since nobody believes that the aliens exist it’s not like anyone has begun to fight back against them either. That just means that the aliens have completely won.

The premise has some potential of course because alien invasions are fun. Maybe have the government find out about this and have them send over some heavy artillery. I think that would go a very long way to making this interesting. At the end of the day one of the big things holding this film back aside from all the other negatives like the endless flashbacks, slow pacing, extra grit, and characters making nonsensical choices the entire time is that the character cast is just really bad. They all come off as insane and it’s really hard to follow a group of characters like that.

Overall, Communion is definitely a disgrace. There aren’t any core positives to be found here. The movie wastes a whole lot of time in each plot so the story developments that are in the film could have easily been handled in half the time. I like to think a sequel could start to fix this film a bit by making it a total action thriller but the first step is to completely shift the focus from this film. Maybe even ignore this film entirely so in a way the sequel of this film would be starting from scratch. Kind of like a reboot. Regardless, I would highly recommend staying far away from this one.

Overall 0/10

Demon Slayer Review


It’s time to finally take a look at another review I’ve had on the backburner since 2020. With this one done I’ll finally have everything caught up to 2021 for the first time in well, I can’t even recall how long it’s been since I was caught up. Demon Slayer finished a while back with a pretty solid run of 200+ chapters. Whenever a big Shonen Jump title ends you can always look back at the series and appreciate how much it accomplished. Demon Slayer is definitely a solid title that I would definitely recommend.

The series begins with Tanjiro heading down the mountain on a pretty routine supply run. Unfortunately when he heads back up the mountain he finds out that his family have been murdered by demons. Only his sister Nezuko was able to survive and she has now been turned into a demon. She can no longer be out where there is sunlight and survives on humans. Fortunately she is an exception to the last part of the curse and is able to regain energy by sleeping. Unfortunately the Demon Corps don’t trust her and so Tanjiro has to take special care to protect her from all harm. His only chance is to find Muzan, the king of the Demons and get the cure from him. Can Tanjiro save Nezuko?

Along the way that does mean he will need to hone his skills and become a true Demon Slayer. The opening part of the series really doesn’t hold back with showing what a long process this is. He spends almost 2 years just training on using a sword and the opening breath techniques before going out there to fight with the demons. The opening storylines give us some opening battles and introduce Tanjiro into the grisly world of demons. From the start Tanjiro is a very likable main character. He’s determined to save Nezuko above all else.

He’s typically more of a peaceful guy but if anyone attacks her then he cuts loose. He’s also sympathetic to the people who have been turned into demons without hesitating at a crucial moment or doing anything that would put other people in danger which I think is important. It’s always pretty annoying if someone hesitates and then everyone gets injured as a result. Tanjiro never makes that mistake. His abilities continue to improve throughout the series and he always balances himself as a powerhouse who never forgets how he got there or his kind hearted nature. You can always count on him to be a solid lead.

Nezuko’s a very solid heroine. As Tanjiro’s sister she is always ready to step in and protect him. Her ability to resist the urge to eat people is also impressive especially considering how much a bunch of characters try to press the issue. As a demon her physical abilities are also very impressive and she comes in handy for a bunch of the fights. She may not be able to talk as a demon but she still has a lot of character just appears to be very heroic. She was always a lot of fun to have around.

Then we have the main villain Muzan. As the king of the demons you can imagine that he’s very powerful. He’s an interesting villain as he doesn’t tend to show malice towards humans as much as other demons. In a way you can say he’s always a lot harsher towards the demons as he destroys them with ease. For the humans he just does so automatically without thinking about it much. There’s a scene early on in the manga where he was even trying to walk away without destroying any humans but naturally they attacked him and kept bothering so eventually he just destroyed them. Muzan has a presence throughout the series and always looks very powerful right through to the end. He’s definitely a stand out character who has an intimidating presence.

The first really big battle I would say is with Susamaru, the soccer demon. She stands out with her superb strength. At the time it was pretty hard for anyone to stand against her. We also got to meet two demons who are actually good people in Yushiro and Tamayo. Tamayo was a solid healer and a good quality character. Yushiro may be a much meaner character but I do understand his life debt to Tamayo and why he is so dedicated to protecting her all the time. Susamaru’s partner is less memorable since the guy mainly didn’t do any up close battling but I do have to say that his ability to control movements through arrows is pretty great. If anything it’s almost a broken ability with how good it was. If the guy trained more then I think he would have done quite well here.

After that we get our first big arc with all 3 of the main characters. Tanjiro meets up with a scared soul named Zenitsu in the middle of the road and then heads into an ever changing mansion where a demon is going around murdering people. A fellow demon hunter named Inosuke has been trapped in here for a while as well. The three of them manage to beat the demons and we get to see all of their respective personalities. Inosuke is extremely into battles, Zenitsu avoids them like the plague, and Tanjiro fights because he has to, but not because he wants to. In that sense they all have a contrast there.

Inosuke is a fun character to have around. He’s always ready for a fight and is very confident in his own abilities. His unpredictable style also comes in clutch. He may not reach the heights that Tanjiro achieves and it’s rare for a rival to not be able to keep up from the start but he still fights well. He gets his share of hype battles and his final battle was also really solid. You can always root for this guy. The other main ally Zenitsu isn’t quite as spectacular. He’s always afraid of everything and can’t even fight until he’s asleep. He flirts with everyone and is the show’s main comic relief character so for the most part you can’t expect too much for him. He does get his moments by the end of course but he can’t keep up with most of the characters.

With the introductions out of the way the first big arc takes place in the forest. A group of spider demons have been causing general mayhem to the point where whole squads of demon hunters have gone to investigate but quickly vanished afterwards. It’s no surprise because these spiders are all pretty difficult. Effectively they form a very twisted family full of abuse and injury. Each character gets their own fight and we also get to see the Hashira fight seriously for the first time. You could say this definitely felt like the springboard to the rest of the series since we see what powers the heroes could hope to unlock in the future.

The Spider demons don’t seem to have names which is surprising with how big of a role they got, but they do leave an impact. They’re all quite twisted though. You’ll probably feel bad for the mother demon if anything since she seemed like the nicest one. I still get the feeling none of them could be trusted of course, but the son and father demons are definitely the most twisted of the batch. This was certainly the darkest arc at its time with all of these elements going on. I’m thinking it was to really contrast how different Tanjiro’s family dynamic is here. So I don’t like any of the Spider demons but their powers were solid.

Giyu is one of the Hashira and one of the best characters in the series. He suffers from low confidence at times despite his great skill but he consistently comes through when it counts. I appreciate that he is one of the only people to stick up for Tanjiro initially and always seemed a lot more heroic than the others. He also did really well in the final battles. I would rank him as one of the more powerful fighters. While I would say Rengoku is the strongest Hashira, Giyu has to be quite up there after him. He’s also my second favorite character in the series behind Rengoku. Giyu showed that the water breathing techniques are still very solid on their own since Tanjiro ultimately left the style.

Shinobu is another Hashira member. She’s far more ruthless than Giyu and goes all in with trying to murder every demon that she comes across. Ultimately this is the mission of the Demon Slayers of course and she has strong reasons to oppose them from her origin story. She was quite clever in deciding to use poisons to take down her opponents since her raw power was slightly under that of the other fighters. She has a lot of great moments throughout the series and with her steely resolve was also one of the better characters in the series.

From there we get to the next big arc involving a train. Technically there’s a little training arc before that which is good for development and such but no big fights there. Basically a lot of people have been vanishing from a train so Rengoku is sent along with the main 3 to put a stop to this. This demon won’t go down easy though as he’s one of the lower moons and can manipulate dreams. As solid as the main arc is, the ending part is definitely the highlight here as we see the first big upper moon fight with Akaza. Can the heroes stop him?

This arc is definitely a big standout one. For starters the Akaza vs Rengoku fight may very well be the best one in the series. It’s just an excellent fight between two of the best characters in the series. There’s a whole lot of back and forth here and it’s such a high level fight that nothing could compare with it for quite a bit with the skill levels here. Everyone got a part to play in the arc although Tanjiro was definitely a standout character for doing a ton of the legwork. Nezuko also has to take a lot of the credit because without her the heroes definitely would have been doomed.

Kyojirou Rengoku really made a name for himself in this arc. I would go as far as to say he became the best character in the series. His fire fighting style is epic and his personality is also very solid. He did everything he could for the Demon Corps and always handled his duty with pride. The guy was a tough fighter through and through. He had to go through quite
a lot of emotional battles in his origin but he always managed to pull through and also remain as a beacon of inspiration for everyone else.

After that Tengen gets his arc. Once again there are a lot of people vanishing. This time it’s at a nearby village so the 3 Demon Slayers go undercover to get to the bottom of this. The villain is another top member of the Upper 6 so the heroes will have to find a way to win this time around. Additionally the fact that the heroes have to go undercover will make things pretty difficult as well. While not nearly as good as the last arc we do get some solid fights here. I just remember thinking that I feel like going in disguise to the village seemed rather pointless. Was there really a reason they needed to do this to track intel instead of just rushing in there? I feel like that would be more efficient especially since we have a few members like Tanjiro and Inosuke who can sense demon’s presence when they are around. So that whole part felt like it was stalling for time and just putting people’s lives in danger. Fortunately they eventually see why this isn’t a good idea and jump into action.

So the arc got a lot better once the action went through. Daki was a powerful villain and easily one of the strongest at this part in the series. Her fighting style using clothing to block attacks was impressive. She has a prolonged battle with Tanjiro that also helped set the stage for Tanjiro to finally get on Hashiro level by using the fire arts. They really went back and forth a lot before Daki used her trump card of summoning her brother Gyutaro to help her out. It was nice to see a pair of demons with an actual bond this time around and this also gave the heroes multiple fighters to deal with. This also felt like one of the longer fights in the series for sure.

Tengen wasn’t one of the better Hashira though. He puts people into dangerous situations and just waits it out a while. His sheer strength also seemed to be on a lower level from Rengoku’s but to be fair it’s hard to reach that level. His resolve was lower than some of the others as well since he ultimately didn’t stick on the path. He’s a decent character and not the worst Hashira or anything like that but he definitely can’t compete with the best ones.

In the next arc we get some more training with Tanjiro as well as character development for Genya when the demons strike again. Hantengu is the next opponent and he has the ability to split himself into 6. Fortunately for the heroes they have several Hashira at the ready this time such as Muichiro and Mitsuri. Tanjiro has also improved his skills quite a bit so he is ready to help out as well which is good since this is certainly one of the more powerful demons.

I like that the arc really starts off quickly and from there the battles don’t cease. There is a ton of action in this one and all of the characters are pushed to the brink. It makes sense that the demons would take the offensive. If anything if they were to all attack at once then the Demon Slayers would have gone down really easily. They can’t hope to compete thanks to their limitations on stamina and such. By attacking all of the various swordsmen around the demons also did some lasting damage to the ability to summon backup. If anything it’s lucky for the heroes that the series was nearly over or else they would have really been feeling the pain. The arc essentially gets us over to the final one.

Genya got a lot of development here. He definitely wasn’t one of my favorite characters but I’ll say that he looked good here. He was certainly quite determined to help the Demon Corps out. So despite not having a lot of talent he found a way he could help through eating other demons. That’s definitely a lot of dedication and his backstory was certainly tragic as well. Kanao is another member who isn’t quite a Hashira yet but she does really well. From the start you can tell that her abilities are above that of an average fighter’s. She effectively trained Tanjiro and friends for a while after all.

She gets a full character arc to herself, a big battle in the final arc and even helps out in the climax. Kanao’s definitely a quality character so it’s always good to see her doing well here. By the end I would definitely rank her quite highly. Mitsuri also plays a role here. She’s decent but I would say she never really stands out. As a character Mitsuri is heroic and does her best to help out but doesn’t have a whole lot of depth beyond that. Her strength is also rather standard among the Hashira. She does have her moments to be sure but does end up getting outshined most of the others.

Muichirou also gets a big role here and he’s one character who had a solid arc. Initially he is more of a space case who can’t concentrate on anything going on but eventually Tanjiro helps to show him a more heroic path. From there he manages to reach enlightenment and becomes a real power hitter. He looks consistently good throughout the rest of the series and I would also say he proved himself to be one of the stronger members as he awoke before a lot of the others. The series does love to have its characters start out rather emotionlessly but in a world filled with despair and demons it’s easy to see why a lot of characters take that approach. Muichirou also has some memory loss as well so it makes sense that he wasn’t fully awakened for a while.

Then we make it to the final arc. Muzan finally unleashes a full assault against the Demon Corps. It’s him and the final members of the 12 Kizuki against Tanjiro’s crew and the remaining Hashira. The whole arc is essentially nonstop battles and I remember weekly liking the fact that it all started so suddenly. One second Muzan was just having a low key confrontation and the next second the whole cast was there ready to act. The stakes were high and of course the heroes know that if they take down Muzan the whole war is over. There’s no reason to wait. Of course Muzan is the strongest demon so they need the sunlight to beat him. Part of the tension is that they effectively have to fight all night.

The series does a good job of increasing the tension here as the heroes keep having to dig deeper and deeper to try and dredge up the strength to keep on fighting. It’s definitely difficult when your opponent can keep regenerating like this. That’s why poisons really came in handy here. In particular one character was instrumental in helping save the day. Sometimes brawn isn’t all you need to win in a fight after all.

Obanai is one of the Hashira who didn’t really get a full arc before now. He’s sort of like the one dragon slayer in Fairy Tail who didn’t get to do much. I wouldn’t say I particularly warmed up to this guy though. He’s one of the less impressive Hashira in general because he never really gets to show off his abilities. In the end it’s like he never ended up winning a really big battle. I was definitely glad when Gyu basically pushed him away from Tanjiro to show where that guy stands.

Then you have Sanemi who has to be the meanest of the Hashira. I’d put him as the worst one. He goes quite far. Now, I understand the case for destroying Nezuko since she is a demon but he goes as far as to try and murder Tanjiro as well as severely injure his brother Genya. By the end of the series he explains his rationale for this but it’s still way too drastic for you to buy into. He just takes things way too far. Still, the guy is undoubtedly a very strong member of the Hashira. He doesn’t get a whole lot of fight scenes but he makes his moments count to be sure.

Finally you have Gyomei. He is always crying which didn’t help him stand out for me. You can cry for emotional moments absolutely like Mega Man X or Naruto, but this guy is constantly tearing up which could be a bit much at times. I do like his unique fighting style though. Using the wrecking ball and scythe makes it difficult to predict his movements. He was even said to be the strongest Hashira. While I wouldn’t go that far, he does get a whole lot of hype during the battles which is well deserved.

One character who never gets to appear in the present but got a lot of hype was Yoriichi. It’s too bad because even by the end of the series it’s clear that he was the strongest character in the verse. He defied the very natures of reality and was able to take just about anyone down in a clean strike. You can see a lot of similarities between him and Tanjiro to be sure. He did get a proper flashback story and everything though so we learned all we needed to about him. He was definitely a fun character.

His story ties into Kokushibo’s. Koikushibo is one of the more impressive Kizuki members. His sheer swordplay and talent is quite crazy. While I would still say that Akaza was the most impressive fighter despite his lower rank, this guy would be my next pick for strongest. Not only was he holding back multiple Hashira members at once but he was doing so quite easily. I was definitely a big fan of this guy. He may have been one of those villains who ultimately ended up cracking but he definitely left an impact.

The second ranked fighter Doma is definitely a lot more on the twisted side. He doesn’t have an honor code like the others. In fact he has no emotions so he doesn’t even realize how twisted he is. I didn’t like the guy in the slightest. At least he did give us some pretty intense battles though. The guy was not an easy foe which makes sense since he got such a good rank. Then there’s Nakime. She isn’t really a fighter but her spatial abilities are so fierce that she still got a very good rank. She’s not someone you can hope to defeat very easily. I wasn’t a big fan but at least she was one villain so loyal to Muzan that he never even thought of destroying her. His whims change a lot though so I doubt she was ever truly safe.

Finally there is Kaigaku. He sort of comes out of nowhere but it made sense to have him so that every character would have an emotional matchup at the ready. His skills weren’t bad either but I have to say that he was easily the weakest from the upper Kizuki members. The fact that he could barely hold his own in a 1 on 1 fight definitely did not help his case. He had a great design though, certainly a memorable one.

Well, that takes care of most of the characters. There is quite a big cast here which is not surprising in the slightest. The series did last over 200 chapters after all. It’s a strong cast we got here. The writing is also on point and a really good thing is that the series really avoided fanservice pretty much entirely. There’s like one page out of the entire series which is exceptional. At the end of the day the series has really strong fundamentals.

I’d say the only thing holding it back from being in the upper echelons of Jump is that the series can get pretty over the top violent and dark with some of the backstories and events here. Because the series is about demons and demon hunters that means there is a lot of regeneration going on here so the wounds end up cutting pretty deep. Characters are constantly sliced to bits, even the humans tend to get pulled through the ringer. Some of these demons are quite demented as they behead each other for fun or go around ripping faces. Doma’s big entrance scene in the final arc for example is one of those disturbing moments along with his preference for eating. While the series is able to effectively create a very desperate environment for the heroes so you constantly feel the stakes, this is usually a side effect of that. A common theme here is you can win the day, but it will certainly come at a price.

Still, the overall epic nature of the series and quality fights keep the series at a solid level. You will have a blast reading through the arcs with all the battle scenes and wide range of characters. There’s a good amount of replay value here and it’s the kind of series you can definitely binge. It seems unlikely that we would get a sequel series unfortunately but at the same time I’d say there’s always a possibility for it. I’m sure Shonen Jump wasn’t happy to lose one of their big hitters that’s for sure.

The artwork is pretty solid here. The author isn’t afraid of having prolonged action scenes and keeping the quality of the art up. The characters are fairly distinct. The only times a character could be mistaken was Kanao with her two sisters but they are meant to look similar and they all have different head pieces to help distinguish them. The battles are top notch and the character designs are very memorable so the series did quite well here. The art for the humor scenes is also handled pretty well. The facial expressions the characters make is always memorable and distinct. The series is always able to shift gears rather quickly.

Overall, Demon Slayer was definitely a very intense title. It’s one of the few series where you really have a hard time knowing which characters will be safe by the end. Naturally you do expect a good chunk of them to live of course but where most characters might take out 1-2 big characters by the end this series wasn’t afraid to throw a few more in. At the very least I was surprised by 2 of the characters who didn’t make it out. With the whole regeneration angle the series is able to get a little more violent than a lot of the other big Jump titles and is closer to something like Titan than Bleach but a lot of times it is in a combat context. If you’re looking for a serious action title to read through with high stakes then this is definitely the one to check out.

Overall 7/10

Devil Survivor


The idea of being chosen in a demonic survival contest is definitely a pretty intimidating one but the main character is taking it in stride so far. The premise here is sound so with the execution being on point so far this title has good potential. We’ll see if the friends can shape up to match his skill soon. I’ll have a review up for the series when I finish it.

Overall 7/10

The Gate Review


Whenever you find a portal to the demon world in your backyard you know that something’s just not right. Well, that’s definitely the case here as the characters tamper with forces well beyond their comprehension. There are some fun ideas in this one but the film is ultimately held way back by the main characters. I’ll give the film some credit for having very unique visuals though.

The movie starts with Glen having some nightmares but at least the tree is finally taken down. Unfortunately there is now a huge hole there which leads to the demon world thanks to Glen’s friend Terry reciting an ancient chant. See, it turns out that some old records/music tapes actually contain real chants and summons for demons. Wouldn’t have expected that eh? Well, turns out that the battle against the demons has been going on for centuries. With the demons at the ready that means Glen and Terry will have to seal the portal but getting near it without dying will be tough. Also, Glen’s parents aren’t home so his older sister Alexandra will have to do.

In a way this film is sort of mixing Poltergeist with Home Alone. The parents leaving early on ensures that the kids are going to have to solve this on their own with no real backup. It makes sense as having parents around would likely have meant there would be a lot less tension the whole time. Most of the demons may have had some trouble there.

Going into the visuals though, the film goes all out with how the demons can appear. If you try to squash them then they can appear as tons of tiny little rodents. They can possess people, shape shift, and do all kinds of things. It’s pretty crazy. While the film is fairly tame for the most part, it can also get rather violent randomly at times. One such appearance is when Terry gets taken in or even when the parents show up in their deformed states.

The movie goes all in on being a true horror during these moments. The kids being fairly isolated also helps to up the danger feeling. Where the film really falters is with the characters. Kids have a hard time holding up their own film and this one is no exception. Glen tends to be fairly annoying a lot of the time. I’m also not sure why he got so emotional from levitating. It didn’t seem so scary and now at least he got to see some supernatural elements at work.

Glen spends a lot of time saying he wants to call his folks. I don’t blame him to an extent since Alexandra was shredding the rules instantly but it doesn’t help their case of not needing a babysitter. Then you have Terry who is always acting rather edgy. He hasn’t gotten over his mother’s death which is understandable but he definitely is not coping very well. Getting into all of this demon lore definitely cannot be good for him. He also has the weakest scene in the film when he throws the dog while being afraid. A very poor scene to be sure.

The film didn’t need any animal deaths for shock value here. I was like c’mon guys..at least it didn’t get murdered by the demons or anything like that. Then you have Alexandra who is supposed to be the reasonable member of the group and yet she was quick to host a party and just be very immature about the whole thing. She was even willing to leave Glen by himself even though her whole job was to watch over him. It’s not like it would have helped her out in the long run either since Glen would be sure to have said something. Ultimately Alexandra made the right decision and didn’t leave but this was not her best appearance. At least she did tell the friends to go away later on.

The friends in this film were pretty annoying the whole time. They definitely weren’t trying to help in the slightest and were just getting in the way. They didn’t really contribute anything to the story. You’d think that since one of the characters here is actually able to move things with her mind that maybe she would show up to really help out here. Well, I’m afraid that isn’t quite the case. In the end she still vanishes with most of the other characters while only 2 friends stay to act as comic relief and panic whenever the demons get close. The writing is decent although not the most engaging I’ve seen. Again, that’s mainly due to the main cast just being the kids. I think it would have worked out a lot better if the parents were there to keep them in line.

While some of the visuals are pretty inventive like the minis running around, others could just get pretty grotesque and violent like the eye appearing in someone’s fist and then having to be slashed away. Definitely pretty intense stuff to be sure. I definitely wouldn’t be able to give that one a thumbs up. In general while the plot is reasonably interesting, I don’t think there is anything that will really keep you tied to the film. Ultimately it still gets beat by many other films. I’d say to make this film better just age up the characters a bunch and cut away the dog from being part of the summoning ritual. While the ending helps to keep the movie from really going down, there are just too many things limiting it.

Overall, The Gate has some interesting ideas here. It’s certainly a title that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. It also does give you a nice sense of danger here as the demons are quite powerful and can take many different forms. That helps set them apart from your average supernatural villain. The characters just aren’t good enough to really support this premise and some of the horror visuals can be a bit more shock value than needed. It would definitely get quite out there at times. If you want to check out a horror film involving other dimensions then you can do better than this one.

Overall 3/10

Beyond Tomorrow Review


Time for a film that reminds you of how easily many people can be corrupted by a touch of fame. While the film is a pretty uplifting one for most of its run, it actually goes through what I’d consider to be a fairly dark second half. Things get pretty serious with James choking left and right at every corner. Let me tell you, it’s difficult to really feel bad for the guy after a while. He really didn’t make things easy on himself that’s for sure.

The movie starts with three guys finally finishing work for the day. They run a pretty successful business and have all known each other for quite a while. One of them is a bit of a grouch while the other two have more fun just enjoying the Christmas season. When all of the guests cancel their appearances at the party the main member of the trio, Michael decides to have a little wager. The three of them will throw a wallet with 10 bucks out the window to see if anyone brings it back. 2 people do. A lady named Jean and a guy named James. Michael invites them for a Christmas dinner and they all get along rather well. Eventually Jean and James get together and life looks pretty bright for them except that the 3 men die in a big plane crash. Now they are back as ghosts to try and keep these two together as James begins being tempted by another woman.

First off I gotta say that James is just a terrible character. The guy doesn’t last a minute before lusting after the famous music star he meets. As soon as he goes to the studio to record his song he can’t help but stare at her poster rather obsessively. From there he never looks back and dumps Jean like a sack of bricks. Thing is, he’s not even able to do that so instead he just ignores Jean for a while and hangs out with the new girl. Karma tends to strike rather fast in these films so things don’t go very well for him but it’s a shame just how deeply his character was wrecked. He seemed like a nice guy originally and then all of a sudden he just jumps off the bridge. Madame Tanya even tries to warn him but he ignores all advice given as he is eager to keep on digging his own grave.

It’s why the film seems to have such a tonal shift between the first and second half of the film. One second things are going dandy with everyone having a good ole time and then they’re not. In the first half of the film we have people enjoying their time with dinner, hanging out with the kids at school, going on a merry walk through the park, etc. It’s just a very happy film where everything is going well and all of the characters are wholesome. To go from that to suddenly all of the characters are corrupted was just something I had not been expecting in the slightest. It’s almost like watching an entirely different movie. It was an interesting development though, I just wish James could have stayed strong.

Meanwhile Jean was a good character throughout the story. I’m actually glad that in the end she just walked out. Now I know there are always 2 minds about this. 1 is that you should fight for your man. If you see him being stolen away by another girl then you try to use your own wiles to fight back. The other is that if he is tempted away so easily then you can never trust him again anyway so why bother fighting for him? Just leave and find someone better. I’m more inclined to go with the second option. I think it’s reasonable to confront the issue head on first of course but if you just jump to option 2 I wouldn’t blame you. The second the guy cheats then it’s all over. There’s no real way to come back from that. Jean gave him a chance and he blew it so that’s it.

It’s part of why I’m not a big fan of the ending of the film. Certainly it’s always nice to have a second chance but it’s framed in more of a way like James made a mistake when he didn’t. He knew exactly what he was doing throughout the film as well as the consequences of his actions. He just decided that he didn’t care and so I think the film should have just ended on that note. It’s a pretty intense way to end the film of course but I do think it made a lot of sense after everything he put Jean through.

I do think a missed opportunity here is the ghosts angle. My main issue with it is that the ghosts served no real purpose. Of the 3, only Michael stays around for most of the film. The problem is that he didn’t really do anything. For most of the film he’s just glares at the various characters. At most he’ll throw someone’s hat but that’s about it. He never actually contributes anything to the story after death. The 3 characters were great before that but they may as well have not returned. The ghost angle just wasn’t explored so it felt like a rather empty subplot. There’s a whole lot more they could and should have done with that but I suppose the film didn’t want to get too supernatural and lose sight of the main premise.

Overall, I definitely didn’t like James but I thought this was a well written movie. I would have switched up the ending a bit though. Regardless of if you sympathize with James or not (I certainly don’t) there are definitely people like that who will throw you away as soon as they get fame or status. It’s why you always got to be careful before you commit. I’d recommend checking this film out if you want a pretty serious drama to watch. It’s a Christmas film but not one that is all that happy after the halfway mark so you may want to watch another classic like Jingle All The Way first and then wait a bit on this one. It’s definitely still got the biggest tone shift I’ve seen in a very long time between the first and second acts but it’s handled pretty well. You certainly don’t expect everything that happens.

Overall 6/10

Casper: Spirit Dimensions Review


Casper is one of those characters that I don’t know nearly as well as I should. The ghost’s a bit of a mystery to be honest but I do know that he’s about as friendly a guy as you’ll ever meet. The game was sitting on my backlog for an incredibly long amount of time in part because the first few levels weren’t great and also because the old TV had a really hard time with loading up old graphics. Well, now I was finally ready to give this another go. The game isn’t very long at all and makes for a decent playthrough. I’d say the game still has some gameplay elements holding it back but you should still have a good time for a few hours until you complete it.

The game starts with Casper noticing that the house is rather empty. Wendy shows up and lets him know that a powerful being known as Kibosh has appeared and taken all of the ghosts down. Casper is the only ghost left who is not enslaved or now working for the villain. She pleads with Casper to help but the young hero is reluctant since he believes that a friendly ghost won’t be enough for this mission. He keeps bringing up the fact that he is a friendly ghost as if it was a weakness. If only he knew that this was what made him strong. Still, in the end he does decide to help. Can Casper take this guy down?

The game has 4 worlds. Most of the worlds are pretty quick. In general you can even beat the game in around 2 hours based on videos that I’ve seen. It took me considerably longer than that though, I want to say around 5 hours or so. Mainly it can always be tough to find some of the collectibles. This game is a 3D platformer but at its core a lot of emphasis is put on collecting things. Whether it’s buttons, cannons, or something like that you’ll always be trying to find something. Keep on searching long enough and eventually you will be able to get at it. Usually the final collectible is hidden in a rather unique place like through a tunnel or past a gate somewhere. So just don’t give up.

Each level has a similar formula like that. Someone will tell you to locate the 5 pieces and once you do then he’ll give you a piece of the next collectible. Once you get the rest of the items then you’ll be able to challenge the boss of that world. Most of the bosses are pretty straight forward. Just spam your energy blast and you’ll be okay. Alternately some bosses will have you focus on a weak spot first. That’s the case in the final boss. Make sure you blast at him so he drops some energy which will power Casper up and allow future blasts to hit him.

As Casper you have quite a few attacks. You can charge into enemies to deal some pretty solid damage that way. You can fire classic energy blasts, fire blasts, and ice moves. You can also use some energy to shoot a charged blast or an electric move. Then you’ve got the ability to turn intangible for a few seconds which will prevent enemies from hurting you. It’s pretty handy in the final boss but otherwise you’ll just be using this for puzzles and to find more collectibles. The fact that you can fly without any time limits is nice. It feels like a lot of games don’t let you do this so I’m glad Casper didn’t think of some crazy reason for why we wouldn’t be able to do this. It absolutely would have felt very forced, I can guarantee that.

The difficulty is pretty reasonable. I wouldn’t say the game is all that hard but you can’t be sloppy either. If you just fly into the opponents and start blasting at random then you will absolutely be defeated. You have to go in with a certain degree of caution. The best thing to do in the game is strafe around the opponents. Hold R as you move and you won’t get hit in a 1 on 1 battle. You’ll always be around the corner and that’s pretty key here. If you keep that in mind and also the bit about the collectibles then you’ll be good. Please note that if you fall into a portal during a mission then you have to start from scratch so don’t let that happen to you. I’m guessing it saves the game some memory doing this but it can be pretty easy to fall into one, that’s for sure. Slow and steady wins the race here.

There isn’t a lot of replay value though. I guess you could go back to try and gain some more gems to improve your overall completion% but I don’t see how it helps at all. There don’t appear to be any rewards for doing so which definitely seems like a mess. If you really enjoy the gameplay then it’s still something at least. The campaign is around 4-5 hours since I don’t think you’ll be able to crack all of the puzzles immediately. I certainly wasn’t able to at least. You can typically find this game for really cheap nowadays so that’s something to keep in mind.

Overall, Casper: Spirit Dimensions ended better than it began. I do think the gameplay was rather ambitious. It may not have been super polished and little things here and there like the collecting mechanics not being explained very well or the portals erasing progress can be pretty annoying but the core gameplay itself was good. Kibosh definitely made for a decent villain and I dare say that he may have been Casper’s deadliest opponent. It’s hard to top that guy at least. Make sure you stick around for the ending as well. It was definitely leading up to a sequel but I suppose we never quite got that one. Too bad, it could have been really interesting if you ask me. If you see this in stores I’d recommend checking it out if you want to play a nostalgic platformer.

Overall 6/10

Hand of Death Review


Sometimes when you turn a film on you know right away that things are going to get pretty deadly. The title itself can be a pretty good indicator of that after all. Well, this film’s definitely pretty solid and you’ll be glad to have checked it out. It can be a bit by the books at times of course, but at the end of the day it’s all executed well. The film’s pretty short though so it really breezes by. You really feel like they don’t make 1 hour movies like this anymore. Granted, I always think a movie should be as long as possible since it makes the experience even better but if you know ahead of time that the plot won’t hold then going short makes sense.

The movie starts with a driver noticing that something’s not right as there are a few sheep fast asleep inside of private property. He rushes inside and is promptly knocked out. When he wakes up a scientist named Alex lets the guy know that they’re running some secret experiments so he better not tell anyone. Alex is glad this happened though because it proves that the serum is safe on humans. He rushes home and explains to Ramsey that he has built the ultimate weapon for war. You can spray a whole country with this gas which will immobilizze them and also make them susceptible to hypnosis and all kinds of commands. Ramsey lets Alex know that their lab isn’t for war but Alex wants to proceed and Ramsey allows it. Alex is rather clumsy though and splashes himself with the mixture. He has now become a walking monster of death. Anyone he touches will surely perish. Alex threatens Ramsey that a cure must be made and soon or he’ll start murdering people. Can Ramsey make the cure in time or is the town already doomed?

One thing that was a bit surprising is how crazy Alex was. At first you expect that he’ll be your standard hero but the movie doesn’t really play out that way. Now, you can make the case that the mixture turned him crazy and he was actually a good guy otherwise. I have my doubts but it’s certainly a valid argument. The guy just dials it up to 11 though as he instantly threatens Ramsey and isn’t very reasonable about anything. I felt bad for the old guy because Ramsey did warn Alex that this was a risky endeavor. It’s hard to sympathize with Alex as much as you could have since he actively goes around murdering people. If it felt like he was a little more hesitant then that would help but I just did not get that vibe from him.

This does play into the interesting dynamic between him, Carol, and Tom. Technically Alex is with Carol but Tom seems to like her and she decides to mess with Alex to get him jealous. Mix that in with the fact that Alex is never around while Carol and Tom have to work together all the time and the whole thing already seemed dicey. It definitely put in some warning bells for Alex because the film had to do something to have one of them win. I think we know how that went now. Carol’s a reasonable character but I wouldn’t say she handles the situations all that well. She tends to panic quite a lot although at least she wasn’t really the fainting type. Then you have Tom who is pretty confident the whole time. I do feel like his sudden lunge at the end was all to bait Alex into charging to get shot. Maybe I’m reading too much into it but it seemed like it was all part of an elaborate plan.

Ramsey was the best character. It’s just a shame that there’s not a whole lot that he can do. The guy can’t really walk all that well as it is. His final scene was a bit odd though because it made no sense. It’s like he lunged at Alex which I’m sure was not the intention but it certainly came across that way. At least you hope that wasn’t what he was trying to do because it wouldn’t really make any sense. As the film goes on there is a pretty decent body count stockpiling up. Most of the characters were just trying to have a good day so it certainly didn’t work out for them.

The design for the monster isn’t bad but he definitely doesn’t look too intimidating. I’d say it’s sort of like a cross between the Thing and Swamp Thing. The fact that Alex can’t really talk all that well in this form doesn’t help matters for him. As expected the writing is pretty solid here. The characters are on point and it makes the whole experience pretty interesting. As I mentioned the film is pretty short so the pacing is also very fast. We even got to have the detectives and cops show up near the end which is always fun. Having the government get involved tends to bring any monster film to the next level and they looked pretty good here. They were definitely ready to deal with Alex and his super powers.

Overall, Hand of Death is a very accurate title. A single touch from this guy and that’s game over almost instantly. It’s a very lethal ability to the point where it could be very lethal in war as well. Of course you have to get close enough to touch someone so if you’re shot then I suppose this won’t be doing you a whole lot of good anyway. It’s a very basic movie with a small cast and a direct plot but I wouldn’t say that it has any weaknesses either. The fundamentals are very sound and that’s really all that you need. These retro horror films tend to be some of the best in the genre. They just don’t make them like they used to.

Overall 7/10

Plan 9 From Outer Space Review


If you ever thought that having a movie with aliens and zombies would be too overwhelming for a film then this is one you need to check out. Plan 9 From Outer Space reminds us that a film can be as ambitious as it wants to be and still succeed so long as the writing is on point. The movie is fairly short but really manages to deliver on a whole lot of content. It’s a fun ride from start to finish and Inspector Daniel really ends up showing everyone how to handle supernatural cases like this. It’s rare to see a detective with such poise under pressure.

The movie starts with some people seeing a UFO as it heads to Earth. It is somehow able to bring the dead back to life and the body count slowly begins to grow. The aliens are using Plan 9 to take over the Earth. Basically what this entails is bumping off the most competent humans and then turning them into Zombies. These zombies will then crush the rest of the humans. The process of turning people into zombies seems rather quick to be honest so you may question why they don’t just turn everyone into zombies and be done with it. With their advanced weapons maybe they could just blow the planet to kingdom come right? I assume they need the planet alive since they want to take it over of course but then at least using it to take out some of the key bases. Well, since they haven’t done that, Daniel has a chance to crack the case and foil this plot.

On the surface Daniel probably seems like he’s out of his league here. He’s a tough detective who has had a long history of finding any kind of clue, but what clues will help him stop Plan 9? At the very least he never really ponders this and just gets into the action which is admirable. Pretty much any scene he is in Daniel starts pointing out mistakes others have made. The others really aren’t of any use without him and it shows. Daniel’s got to be the best character here in part because of his overwhelming confidence the whole time. I always like when a lead is decisive like that.

Not all of the characters are quite as on the ball though and I should say that despite the long writeup…Daniel isn’t the main character. He doesn’t quite last as long as you would expect. No, our lead is Jeff and he’s a pretty earnest guy. He’s certainly seen more action in the field than Daniel as a pilot and quickly gets thrown into the thick of it. If you wanted to see a human actually fight with one of these aliens mano a mano then you’ll have your chance. There is one scene in particular that may stretch your imagination though as one of the zombies heads to Jeff’s house. Keep in mind that the zombies are rather obvious since they can’t move a whole lot and have a vacant expression on their face. At most you can maybe understand his kid not realizing that something was up but Jeff’s wife should have suspected something when the guy just kept grunting the whole time. Then Jeff himself didn’t notice until he went in the car and it was too late to get out. Not very observant eh?

There’s just so much going on with a bunch of characters at the ready. As a result one of the characters doesn’t even get to say anything and he just runs around with recycled footage the whole time. It’s definitely an interesting decision and shows that the cutting floor can really change the whole feel of a character arc. The movie is pretty short at only around an hour so it’s pretty impressive how many storylines and characters are juggled. What really sells this film is the solid writing. The characters talk like a really old movie with the witty banter and iconic one liners. They all seem like reasonable people who have to band together to stop a common enemy. You can’t really go wrong with that setup.

The aliens themselves are pretty fun as well even if they do get a bit nervous at times. It’s hard to forget the scene where they lose control of the zombie and it nearly chokes them all out. If you can’t beat your own creations that’s a bad sign. It did foreshadow that they would likely have trouble against ordinary humans though. After all, if you can’t beat a zombie then that means your strength is under theirs and probably fairly ordinary in nature. Their best bet was destroying us all with technology and as soon as they did not go with that plan I knew they were going to have a hard time of it.

One last strength that the film has is certainly all of the government scenes. We see them trying to shoot down the UFO with lasers and when that fails they fall back to pretending it never happened. I always like to see the government involved as it makes everything a little more tense and professional-like. They have a whole subplot here as they try to figure things out and it makes sense since Jeff is also intertwined in that. All we needed was a courtroom scene and this movie really would have had every strong scenario from these retro movies.

Overall, This is a really fun movie. You have a whole lot of themes and genres stuffed in here. You’ve got the mystery from the humans’ perspective of what’s going on, horror with the zombies running around, sci-fi thanks to the aliens, and maybe even some drama with people coping with the dead characters coming back although this isn’t really played up. We’ve also got a fantastic climax with quite a lot of action. On one hand you’ve got the 1 on 1 human vs alien battle and on the other you have a full army war scene of the heroes fighting off the zombies. I was definitely happy to see the army getting involved. Usually you don’t see that, but it makes sense with the invasion plans in motion.

Overall 7/10

Sinister Review

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

It’s time to look at a horror film that actually isn’t too old. I suppose the time is relative though, at this point maybe someone would consider 2012 to be forever ago. Sinister is definitely a pretty terrible horror film that plays out like you would expect. It’s certainly pretty grim and gets pretty dark right from the jump. It never really gets better from there but no worries, you do have your classic horror type ending here. That’s definitely a staple and Sinister made sure to abide by it so even if I wouldn’t give the movie a thumbs up, it does respect the traditions.

The movie starts with Edison and his family moving over to a new house. Edison writes books about grisly murders which were never solved. He figures that this will help bring justice to the victims who need it. After all, they died before they could do everything they wanted to do so at least now he could help put the villain away for good. This case looks like it’ll be a lot more difficult to crack than his last few though. The murders have some very occult elements to them and there really might be something supernatural in the works here. One thing’s for sure, Edison can’t lower his guard here if he wants to leave the place alive.

Well, Edison does everything he can to make sure you can’t root for him all that much. He literally takes out the beer bottles and starts drinking as soon as the first tape is in. He makes sure to mention quite a lot that he isn’t an alchoholic or anything like that but his actions don’t always match up. Edison also never seems to really follow what he is saying. For example, he says that writing books isn’t about the money or the fame and that he wants justice. Yet, all he can think of are the possible TV deals and such when discussing the book. He is actually quite obsessed with being famous to the point where it seems to matter more to him than the justice part.

He also lies to his wife right away when saying that their house isn’t related to the murderer’s one. Now, he words his response in a way where he later tries to say that it wasn’t a lie, but that’s a technicality at best. He knew exactly what she was asking and said the opposite anyway. Edison’s made life rather difficult for the rest of his family. His son suffers from night terrors which have gotten worse ever since they moved, his daughter had to part with all of her friends, and his wife is certainly not well liked by the neighbors thanks to all of the murders going around. It’s just not a pleasant environment. It’s one that Edison is certainly okay with but now that he has a family he has to include them in his considerations as well.

Edison also makes a lot of typical horror protagonist mistakes. For starters, while he doesn’t believe in the supernatural, he’s given a lot of opportunities to figure things out and escape. The kids start learning things they couldn’t possibly know, names they shouldn’t recognize, and his projector keeps turning on by itself at night. Shouldn’t this be enough for him to let the family know that something is up? “Best” case scenario is that someone just keeps breaking into the house and worst case is that the demons are around. Either way this is something that he needs to explain at least to his wife so that they will be ready. By not telling them anything then they’re just going to go down like all the rest.

The villain himself doesn’t really appear much. Based on what we learn from the lore and what not it’s basically a demon with quite a lot of power. While it isn’t able to possess adults very easily it can do so with a little practice. Beyond that it has the usual reality warping skills and slight of hand. Not the most imaginative villain out there but I will give him props for the costume. At the very least that one looks pretty decent whenever we actually get to see it appear which isn’t very often.

The Deputy was pretty neat though. He kept it 100 with Edison and was always trying his best to help. Edison might have actually had a shot to last longer if he had just listened to the guy instead of hitting ignore on his phone the whole time. Again, Edison really helped to wrap himself in all the trouble he caused. If he had listened to his wife earlier then nothing would have happened. Additionally once the supernatural stuff started to happen he should have clued everyone in. This is really just a case of Edison ignoring all of the signs until it was too late.

The whole gimmick of having to watch the tapes each time doesn’t do the film any favors either. Each tape is about a family getting bumped off in pretty violent ways. Whether it is by drowning or burning, they never quite survive. There’s no way they could have since the whole point is that the villain has been bumping everyone off for a long while now. In a way that makes the tapes worse since you know that they’re all doomed from the start so it’s not like watching them will change anything. Additionally, expect to see each tape several times as they cut to flashbacks quite often. You’ll know each of the tapes quite well by the climax because of that. With the kids dying in those tapes as well they’re definitely no good. There are a bunch of different jump scares in the film though so we’ll see if any of them land for you. I’ll say this at least, I was expecting the dog to die so when he didn’t I was happy about that. It sort of cancelled out though as a dog died in one of the videos…so there goes that. For every step the film took forward it took about 5 back.

Overall, Sinister is one of those films that’s pretty mean spirited and doesn’t really add anything to the cinematic world. Edison does the genre leads proud with how he misses every clue though. He is determined to crack this case and seems to think that he is tough enough to survive all of the scares. That is clearly not the case but I guess I’ll give him some points for bravery…or I would if he didn’t lose them all by running to the beer bottle and lying about it. This is the kind of movie where he probably would have been doomed either way but at least Edison could have given the others a chance. I also think it’s worth pointing out that the Deputy was able to notice things that the lead did not despite working on this case for a much shorter period of time. The Sheriff claimed that Edison was washed up and maybe he was right.

Overall 0/10