Predators 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

Next up in the Predator series is more of a classic survival film. The main characters are in unfamiliar territory fighting a powerful foe and so they just have to survive. In a lot of ways this film is like the original one and does a good job of hitting the same beats. It’s a considerable improvement from the second film, that’s for sure.

The movie starts with Royce awakening in free fall and he just barely manages to use his parachute to get down safely. Fortunately he has his gun at the ready and comes across a few more humans. The only common element is that they are all trained killers in different fields. Soldiers, Hunters, Hitmen, Yakuza, etc. The forest does not appear to be familiar to any of the people here and worse yet, they are being hunted by strange creatures. Can Royce and the team manage to fend these guys off or are they doomed?

This is the kind of intro that throws in a little mystery and suspense along with the thriller elements. It almost feels like a video game premise and it’s always a good one. It’s one of the reasons why Lost was so popular. When you’re in a strange environment with a lot of potential obstacles then it really raises the fear factor. The fact that everyone here is a trained fighter helps since they can defend themselves but on the other hand it also means they can’t trust each other either.

As the main character Royce is quite solid. I like how much of a loner the guy is. He doesn’t really fall in for the whole team spirit thing. He just does whatever he wants and the rest of the gang are welcome to follow him if they want or just hang back. Either way he isn’t going to switch his plans on account of them. As the film goes on he has a good character arc and even by the end of it his guard is as sharp as ever. He has a good speed moment at the end of the film and really stands out as the best character by far.

Then you have Isabelle who is quite skilled as well but a lot more merciful than Royce is. She is a soldier but doesn’t take as much joy in taking her opponents down as Royce does. She will stop to help someone who has fallen down while Royce would probably just steal any valuables. So Isabelle’s a nice character but in an environment like this that can also be a really risky thing. It gets her into trouble a few times.

Nikolai’s role isn’t as big as the others but he’s another solid character. He has a strong sense of honor and will go back to rescue someone if they have a bond. Then you have Hanzo who has sword skills as a Yakuza member. His showdown with the Predator will definitely remind you of the one on one sword fight from the first film. Definitely a lot of homages here and this was another one that was well executed.

Stans is more of a normal murderer so you definitely don’t want to loosen your guard around him. He’s one of the least likable members of the group. He’s just not a good guy at all and his dialogue is pretty cringe worthy. The less screen time he gets the better and you know that his tough talk will evaporate as soon as the Predators show up.

Mombasa had a bit of a rivalry with Stans and while he ultimately takes the high road each time, you feel like Stans gets off a bit easy at some points. Mombasa deserves credit for keeping his priorities straight though. Finally you have Edwin who is the worst character in the film. He’s the kind of guy who will beg for his life and ask someone to save him only to dash out afterwards when the situation is reversed.

Danger shows a person’s true colors and that is certainly true of Edwin. He just gets worse and worse throughout the film to the point where there is really no return for him. He’s more of a distraction from the Predators throughout the film and certainly doesn’t contribute in fighting them.

Aside from the main humans there is also another one on the island who has long since gone crazy while being in this forest. It’s impressive that the guy has survived for so long though even if he is absolutely batty. His plan was a bad one also because even if the rest of the characters were bumped off, creating a fire seems like a way to attract unwanted attention. Even without Royce and the gang making it more obvious, I feel like the Predators would have found out something was up.

Surprisingly the film doesn’t really have a twist like you would expect from most horror titles. It just ends after the big climax but the action scenes were solid so it works out well enough. As it is, the twist in itself happens early on as we meet the original Predator and see that he was defeated. Now this was the best moment of the film. I can only imagine the impact if you assumed this film would be all about the Predators only to see that it was taken down. I think the twist would have been even more effective if the replacements didn’t look so similar though. Imagine if the creatures hunting the humans looked nothing like Predators? It would be a bit of a bait and switch on the audience but one that would have been effective.

The scenes of the Predators hunting the humans are done well here. Now you do have to turn your mind off a bit though in the sense that the Predators could and should have won numerous times throughout the film. They have camouflage, the element of surprise, and homefield advantage. Now if they want this to be a fair hunt so they let the humans go a lot of the time that’s fine but then losing in the end still doesn’t make a lot of sense. It felt like the Predators just wouldn’t adapt no matter what.

From the 3 Predator films this one felt like the humans had the most plot armor. Even accounting for the fact that these humans know how to fight I just wasn’t really buying it. It’s not the kind of thing that hurts the score but it’s just hard to ignore. Score-wise, well the film has the usual amounts of extreme violence you would expect. The Predators make sure that the humans really feel it when they’re taken out.

With their super strength and bladed weapons, the Predators easily make short work out of the main characters or at least the ones that don’t survive. This time we even have little alien creatures that are getting blown up as well. It’s a jungle horror film after all so creatures are to be expected. Parts of the script can be a bit weak as well but nothing too crazy. Ultimately it’s just one of those films where if you scale back the violence a ton then this could jump way up since the premise is still intriguing enough on its own. I’m always up for a good survival title after all.

Overall, Predators brought the series back to where you would expect to see it. We got some super Predators which is a cool concept but I just wish they didn’t look so similar to the normal Predators. Take away the armor and they basically are the same since it’s such a slight evolution. It really would have been cool to have seen a whole new type of creature suddenly show up out of nowhere. If you’re a horror fan or like the Predators then this is a good film to check out. It’s like the Hunger Games except it’s humans vs aliens.

Overall 3/10

Predator 2 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

All right, it’s time to re-enter the world of the Predator. Much like Halloween III, this one feels a lot different from the other Predator films. Well, as the second one there hadn’t been more than one at the time but knowing about the newer films, this one just doesn’t have that survival vibe that the others had. If anything the gangs take up a decent chunk of this film’s run time.

So there have been a lot of gang fights lately which isn’t really abnormal for the neighborhood. Harrigan is trying to keep the peace as always and breaks up fights when need be. Lately the murders have been a lot more violent though and Harrigan suspects that a new player is in town. The murder methods are very creative though so whoever is doing this should be feared. The problem is that a high ranking government official known as Peter shows up and seems to be trying to make sure that Harrigan doesn’t get any more info on the case. What is he hiding?

Whenever the government is hiding something in these films you can bet that it’s important. The most annoying thing for Harrigan is likely the knowledge that if his team had known about the true threat from the start then things could have gone differently. I’m sure the Predator would have still murdered a bunch of people but it’d be nice to know that you are fighting an alien right away than going after street thugs right?

I also feel like Peter just didn’t handle the situation well. He becomes useful by the end of the film but keeping secrets just really didn’t benefit the heroes in the long run. His squad was woefully unprepared for the Predator as it is. At least Harrigan knows how to fight and chase the villains down. Now granted, when we get the inevitable fight between the Predator and Harrigan it is a little hard to see how the human was doing so well. Granted, the Predator got injured and they aren’t as strong as Xenomorphs but I felt like Harrigan should have lost the fight.

As it is, in the first film the main character was mostly losing in the physical confrontations and that guy seemed way more powerful physically than this lead. Predators should be stronger than humans anyway, they have super armor and are just built different. They have camouflaged tech and can plan things out as well. In theory there is no way the Predator should lose even when vastly outnumbered.

This does give us an exciting climax though so that part’s good. It’s nice to see the Predator ship and we even a foreboding ending with Harrigan setting us up for film 3. Of course, with a planet as big as Earth, the Predators will probably pick a new location to hit up next time since they never seem to go to the same place twice.

The humans aren’t super memorable. Peter and Harrigan are really the main guys here. I still say Peter’s secrets weren’t very helpful in keeping people alive but Harrigan did well in staying on the case until he got his answers. Jerry was a solid newcomer to the group. He’s a hot shot and initially you figure the guy is all talk but he actually proves himself in every instance of the film. He tails the villain without their realizing it, he is quick on his feet and the scene where he takes on the reporter was really solid. I like how smoothly he took that guy down.

Where the film falters is really with the gang elements. Nobody really cares about all this in fighting with the gangs just murdering each other. We want to see the Predator and of course he does murder all of those guys with ease but you could really take out the whole gang plot and that would be even better. Have Predator be the only villain and his mere presence is scaring everyone. That level of terror would really establish the Predator as one of the big bads to watch out for. instead he’s sharing time and while the gangs are no threat to him, why even have them around?

The film is naturally rather violent as the characters tend to get ripped apart by the Predator. It’s not quite at the level of Halloween or something like that but it doesn’t make for a pretty sight. The only death that was more stylistic than violent was when the Predator takes out King Willy. Now that scene was effective because it showed that even the city’s greatest swordsman couldn’t take him down. I’m not sure exactly how skilled the guy was but he knew about the supernatural elements and at least faced off against the Predator. Even if he didn’t end up putting any kind of fight, at least he was ready for action which is more than you can say for a lot of the characters.

The idea of having the Predator attack a city isn’t a bad one but this movie just didn’t utilize the idea very well. This should be exciting and nerve wrecking as the cops have to step in and fight the Predator. Instead you can easily forget that this is a big down at times. It’s all quite dusty and you can almost feel the heat wave that is taking place in the film. Everything feels dusty and isolated. The town is also so far gone with all of the crime everywhere that it isn’t really the big city experience you would hope for. The writing isn’t impressive nor is the cast. A film can’t really win under those circumstances.

Overall, Predator 2 is definitely a step down from the first film. I also don’t really get the point of the Predator here. It makes sense that one would test his limits in the forest, but a random city? I suppose the idea is that by beating all of the mobsters the Predator will prove that he is the strongest in the land but the actions almost feel aimless at times. He’s also moving rather slowly with the kills so you wonder what he is doing to kill time every day. If the cast was more likable and the violence was toned down then maybe you would have something here. Instead this ends up being more of a forgettable horror title. We don’t even get a true twist ending here. It ends on a note where you know sequels are on the way but nothing that really pops out at you. If you want to check out a Predator adventure, just watch the first one instead.

Overall 2/10

Buried 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
Being buried underground is definitely something that would be tough to deal with. In most situations if you’re stuck somewhere you figure that there has to be a way out. If you’re underground though then you’re really stuck. If you try punching your way out then the dirt will fall in and crush you. You have limited air so you can’t stay underground and going through the sides will have the same effect as going higher up. In a way your best bet is going down and hoping there’s some kind of tunnel but the odds of that are incredibly low. So…it’s a pretty tough situation to deal with.

The movie picks up with Paul waking up in a coffin underground. He is unable to escape and really has nowhere to go. The only items on him are a pen, glowstick, cell phone, knife, and a small carton of water. He will have to try and think of a way to get out here but it won’t be easy. He was a truck driver who went on a mission to Iraq in order to help people. Unfortunately his men were all shot and then he found himself here. The person holding him hostage says that he will only free Paul if he gets the guy millions of dollars by the end of the day. That’s going to be a hard sell but Paul will have to try and make some calls.

Now, usually in situations like this I say you can’t give in to the demands because they’re not going to save you anyway. Like in this film the guy tells Paul to make some videos and injure himself in the hopes of being let go. You feel like the guy is going to leave Paul to rot anyway so why give in to the demands right? If someone holds you at gun point and tells you to get into the car I’d say your best bet is to run. Worst thing that can happen is he shoots you like he was going to anyway after all.

This one is unique so Buried did a good job of limiting the options here. Paul is already buried when he wakes up so there is absolutely no escape for the reasons I mentioned in the intro. His only hope is making a phone call. To his credit, I can’t say that there are any things to really have been done differently. He calls a ton of people but he’s somewhere in Iraq and has no idea where. He’s underground as well so the odds of anyone finding him are pretty slim. His best chance is to keep on calling but that can get tiring.

The only thing I could call him out for was keeping his lighter on so much. That will definitely get rid of the air extremely quickly. It’s a high pressure situation of course but I’d like for him to have kept it off to at least buy himself some more time., He does tend to fly off the handle quite a bit as well. The people on the phone were usually not very helpful either.

This movie is very serious to be sure but there were a few callers that were so outlandish you almost felt like the film was trying to throw in a little humor. You had some people who couldn’t understand a fairly simple recount by Paul who was explaining how he got buried in here and then a lawyer calling him from Team Corporate with some bad news. There’s even a scene where as Paul is explaining things the screen keeps on zooming in on him. It felt like a parody moment but I suppose the idea was to show how many times he has to repeat the same exact story and each time nobody is very helpful. So that was definitely pretty intense.

Now, while I give the film points for originality and thinking of a new scenario, I have to take away points for almost the same reason. First of all, Paul is stuck in a coffin for the duration of the movie. That means there isn’t really anything happening for large portions of the story. It’s pitch black when he isn’t using the lighter or the phone. There’s a lot of time with him just rolling and trying to make a call to someone. As a result the film is very slow paced. It’s interesting but you can forget about it having any replay value.

Additionally, if I were the film I would have kept it as more of a suspense thriller and kept the hostage situation out of it. Things escalate once the calls start coming in and this becomes a much darker movie with the realization that Paul isn’t the only one in a predicament like this. The whole situation is out of his hands and just gets progressively worse and worse as the movie goes on.

Buried’s ending is also pretty awful. It was bad enough where the film nearly lost everything but I’ll keep it at a point for at least trying something new. I do think the idea is interesting but honestly it would be better with two people. They can be in separate coffins with walkie talkies or just a slightly bigger one but it would help for banter and dialogue. I don’t think you can really effectively have a film with just one person. The people on the phone help in terms of dialogue but it does get old very quickly.

With two people you can still have a whole lot of banter or at least the ability to bounce ideas off of each other. Otherwise you’re just too limited in what you can do and that’s something that happened to this film really quickly. If you threw Paul a bone like some kind of tangible hope he could grab onto that would be good but as you listen to the guys taking his calls you don’t expect he is in a great spot. If I were Paul I would have answered the corporate call very differently by the way. A bunch of well placed “No” answers would have really wrecked their plans at the very least.

As a main character Paul is good. He seems like a reasonable character who was just trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it ultimately ended up costing him big time. He really has to go through a lot during the movie and never really gets a chance to rest.

Overall, Buried has an interesting premise but I wasn’t a fan of the execution. The whole movie feels just like that…a slow execution. Paul is slowly watching as his time is running out with the air getting low and help always seeming so far away. Death by suffocation is definitely a really tough way to go. It’s not as bad as drowning in my list but it’s all relative once you get to the grisly deaths like that. He has to go through the whole movie with that fear in the back of his mind as he doesn’t know if he’ll live or not. Throw in the random snake, Terrorists, and having to watch other people die on the phone and you’ve pretty much got Paul under torture for the entire film. Buried isn’t a pleasant watch and I’d say to skip it until they announce some kind of reboot or remake which may be able to change things up and give you a better experience.

Overall 1/10

Open Water


Usually when you have a film based on true events you try to make the characters look pretty good but that’s not the case here. This film makes at least one of them look really suspect the whole time but it starts to make sense when you make it to the end of the story.

Daniel and Susan lead very busy lives so they have had a really difficult time trying to schedule any time to take a vacation with each other. Finally they are able to squeeze in a bit of time and decide to go scuba diving. They take a boat trip to the middle of the ocean since this is apparently something people like to do. I don’t get why all of these really dangerous activities became such big hobbies. Just look at mountain climbing, so many people die a year trying this but perhaps it’s the adrenaline that makes it seem worth it. Personally I’ll skip all of that and stick to my video games….

But they’re having a good time so it all seems good. Unfortunately when they come up for air the boat is gone. Unfortunately the main teacher miscounted so the boat ended up going back and there was no backup counter. Additionally when everyone disembarked nobody really paid any attention to the fact that there was still one box of supplies left. In fact, nobody even checked until the next day. There are no maintenance crews or anything since this whole set up isn’t the safest. Looks like the heroes are on their own.

It’s always tough to try and have a whole film in a really small space with no real movement. It’s incredibly tough to pull off and this film was not able to execute it. To do that you have to have top notch dialogue and incredible writing since otherwise it will get old fast. I would say this one probably got old halfway in. My main issue was really with Susan though.

She starts to panic almost immediately. From there on every single one of her lines is yelling about something or constantly being sharp with her responses to Daniel. At least he tries to think positively about what’s going on or take things in stride but she won’t have it. She just keeps on complaining for the entire length of the movie. The one time Daniel gets upset at their situation she immediately turns it on him. He put up with her antics the whole film so it felt rather petty. Then the blame game starts.

As I said, the film isn’t exactly trying to make these guys likable. Daniel was decent, at least he was taking things in stride which is a big thing for me in these thriller type films. The characters who panic just get annoying pretty fast. That’s really the extent of the film though. Not a whole lot happens as they just chat for a while as the film goes through its paces. I think you could have shortened this to around 40 minutes or so and still had the same impact.

For the debate between the characters on what to do, I do think they should have at least tried swimming in a direction. Logically I would argue your odds are slightly better than staying in place because hopefully you could at least reach some kind of object to grab onto. Whereas your odds of being spotted by a ship are the same whether you move or not. It’ll also give you something to do which can help you stay warm as opposed to being frozen in place.

Not doing anything just never seems like a good idea to me. Scientifically the odds may be close to the same but I’ll still take my chances moving. If anything they’re lucky that it wasn’t raining super hard the whole time or something. That would have definitely hurt their odds even more.

The beginning is rather slow before they get to the ocean and the actual ocean part doesn’t move the plot much so I wouldn’t give the pacing a thumbs up. In terms of action we don’t get any real shark action until near the end. That part can be a bit violent but for the most part the rest of the film is super tame. Once the sharks come up then you know you’re near the end of the film. In case you don’t know the story behind it I won’t say what the ending is.

Overall, Open Water isn’t really my kind of film. I think the only way you pull off a dialogue film like this with two characters talking to each other the whole time without moving is if it’s about some kind of very interesting topic or in an action setting with the characters strategizing. Look, I watch 10-15 hour streams of people debating One Piece power levels which is equivalent to some guys in a small room just chatting but it’s all very engaging because there’s a lot of energy in the room and everyone shouting over each other. For obvious reasons the characters don’t have that kind of energy here and aren’t even in a good mood like that either. For that reason I would say the very premise is doomed from the start. There is no way to make a film like this stay interesting for the duration of its run without some kind of extra hook. Not if you want to keep the serious tone. As a comedy…perhaps you have something here. I would say to read up on the events this film is based on instead.

Devil Survivor Review


A while back I saw the anime adaption of one of the Devil Survivor games. Now it’s time to check out the manga for the very first Devil Survivor title. It’s a pretty intense series to be sure and adapts the content rather well. The plot also ties in perfectly well with the title because it really does feel like a full survival story even more than the anime plot. I like the idea of everyone being trapped as they get more and more desperate.

The series starts with Kazuya and his friends enjoying a normal day at Shibuya. However, the day is about to be anything but normal. Kazuya’s cousin Naoya shows up with some rather cryptic words about the day of reckoning coming close. He gives Kazuya, Yuzu, and Atsuro a mini computer each and walks away. Suddenly the city goes into lockdown and demons start flooding the streets. The heroes are able to summon demons out of their computers to defend themselves but it’s a dangerous gamble since the demons can also attack you if your heart isn’t strong enough.

The heroes needs to find the answers to a few question. Why is the lockdown in place and how do the heroes escape the city. Is the city the only place being attacked or is the whole world under siege? Does Naoya hold the answers and why is the government shooting anyone who attempts to leave the city? There are a lot of mysteries and not a whole lot of time to solve them. Additionally, a message is received each day which predicts the future. The future usually involves some deaths but maybe the heroes can defy destiny.

So there’s a lot to take in right off the bat. I definitely enjoyed the whole mystery angle quite a bit since we don’t really know anything so you’re going in blind the whole time. You find out the answers along with the characters but there is always a lot of tension since being stuck in a city with a bunch of powerful demons isn’t exactly the most peaceful thing in the world. Additionally, the people in the city are quickly becoming more and more corrupt which is only making things worse.

As the main character Kazuya is pretty solid. By the end I would even call him a great character because he really makes all of the right decisions. You can always count on him to step in and save the day as needed. He has a lot of determination to get to the bottom of things and tends to keep himself together more than the rest. Most of the other characters tend to panic or crack a little as things go on but Kazuya rarely even bats an eye. He also has more natural talent than the others which certainly comes in handy. Kazuya slowly improves more and more as the series progresses.

Then you have the main heroine Yuzu. She’s a nice character but in a way may have been the least ready to deal with this. Yuzu tends to get stressed out a lot and also ends up worrying for Kazuya quite a bit. At times the characters even talk about trying to keep up a strong front when around her so as not to make her worry even more. She really needed a powerful monster to help her out which would have also made her braver.

Atsuro is the tech guy which does come in handy here since he may be able to crack Naoya’s computer codes and figure out what’s going on here. Naoya’s always been impressively difficult to defeat in anything but Atsuro won’t give up. Atsuro does encounter a lot of difficult emotional obstacles during the series though since he takes it pretty hard when other characters fall away.

Midori is a character who always believes in the goodness inside people’s hearts. As a result she uses her demon partner to fight off the evil ones and protect as many people as possible. The problem is with the demons attacking everyone, the tamers aren’t trusted a whole lot as it is. The main characters even warn Midori about how things are going to get a little dicey since one of the predictions said that she will be murdered by humans going forward. Midori is not someone who listens to such things all that much and ultimately can’t risk anyone getting hurt.

That said, I do think she didn’t look great in the final scenes. I always think you have to do things within reason. So she wants to be a great hero who always protects the humans? Fine that’s great, but you also have to defend yourself. Where you draw the line is when they’re attacking you but you still stand down. Her demon partner Jack Frost could have handled those guys but she told him not to fight back. It’s hard to applaud her as being super just and unwavering when she is being unrealistic like that. You do have a right to defend yourself after all and if anything it’s something you absolutely need to do since now there will be people that aren’t saved since she isn’t there.

Keisuke is another pretty interesting character. He’s very timid and isn’t as gung ho as the other characters. That said, the demon world absolutely takes its toll on him and he becomes a bit more extreme. A character who believes in absolute justice and punishes anyone who opposes him. The issue with this is of course the cycle of violence. Even the worst criminals have some allies somewhere and as they all line up to fight Keisuke, this eventually includes heroes as well.

It’s a rather difficult thing about trying to enact such measures when the whole city is in lockdown. It’s not like you can arrest any criminals but of course destroying them takes away any moral high ground you might have had. Ultimately this puts Keisuke at odds with the other characters. I thought his character was handled really well though.

Then you have Kaido who’s on the other side. He was a part of a gang but he always tells the characters they have to do things the right way. They’re not going to be a mob that goes around murdering everyone. Unfortunately his gang wasn’t full of the nicest guys in the first place so once they were all lined up in a tricky spot then things ended up getting messy. It’s always rough when you are allies with a villain because you may feel honor bound to avenge them but then are you going to even take on the good guys? Kaido is a man who evens up all his debts so it doesn’t matter what side you’re on.

Ultimately he was my favorite character in the series. There is no defending what his gang did though so it was hard to be with him on that one but of course he probably figures that the whole gang shouldn’t pay for one member’s demise which makes sense. It’s just too bad he wasn’t a part of a better group.

Yoshino is a singer whose songs are able to summon demons. It’s not exactly an ability you want to have when the demons are always around just waiting to spring into action. It also attracts a lot of unwanted attention which puts her in a tough spot. She’s a solid character but she probably should have stopped singing a lot earlier than when she actually did put this on pause. The bartender Gin does his best to assist her as needed too. He’s reasonably tough with his demon although his role is pretty small.

Mari is a local teacher who is possessed by an angel. Hey, if there are demons around then why not angels right? Unfortunately there is also a demon trying to take her over so her psyche is quite busy. She’s an interesting character to be sure as she has ties to just about every character in the series. she may not usually be a big fighter but she is useful in finding out more about what happened.

Amane is one of the chief members of a religious organization founded by Kuzuryu as they try to liberate the city from the demons. While that all sounds good, the organization is quite distorted. Amane uses her demon to help people out and convert them to the group but of course that isn’t necessarily a good thing. She’s definitely a quality character who is doing her best throughout all of this but it’s not like she has a ton of options. Additionally, Amane is constantly fighting with an angel/demon who her thoughts aren’t always her own. Her character arc has a good conclusion.

Kuzuryu is definitely crazy but he did a good job of building his organization up. Effectively he chooses to sacrifice his soul to the demons so they can wipe out the humans and angels. Definitely a bold play but it’s not like he’ll be around to see it even if it would work. So probably not the most satisfying plan out there.

Finally we have Naoya who is a very mysterious figure in the series. He’s fun and reminds me a lot of the brother in Spiral. This guy is always one step ahead of all the other characters in the series and clearly has big plans for everyone. He doesn’t appear much until the final volumes but still has a big influence the whole time.

The art for the series is really good although it can also be chaotic. It’s the kind of manga that takes you a bit longer to read than the average volume because you have to spend some time deciphering the panels. Still, it’s worth doing as the attacks are fun to watch. As the characters are based on famous myths and such you may even recognize all of the demons. It’s fun when you know who they’re talking about but if not, the series gives most of the notable demons a write up between chapters so you can learn about them.

Now based on the atmosphere of the series and with the demons around you may be surprised that there’s less of a body count than you might think. Personally I actually thought a few more characters were going to die along the way. I wonder if they died in the game or if it was more or less the same. I know there are quite a few different ways to end Devil Survivor after all. A lot of side characters still die of course like the poor old lady and other people running around. Either way the city certainly wasn’t save.

Now it’s time for some spoiler territory to talk about the climax of the series and a little more about the battles. If you haven’t read the series yet you can skip to the final paragraph since we’ve pretty much wrapped up all of the non spoiler items. If you like the concept then this is definitely a good one to pick up. All right, so lets talk about what the actual situation is then.

The Angels have enclosed the city supposedly on orders from their god that humanity needs to be tested. They allowed the demons to run rampant here and are giving the citizens 7 days to eradicate all of the demons. The governments have decided to take this place out entirely with some bombs if needed but the main characters will be given some time to clear things out before such drastic steps are needed.

Kazuya was chosen to participate in a tournament of sorts since he possesses one part of a legendary demon. Whoever gains all of the parts will have power comparable to the god and can potentially rewrite the universe. Kazuya isn’t thrilled about this but doesn’t really have a way out. Additionally, it turns out that Kazuya is the reincarnation of Abel while Naoya is actual Cain from the original days of humanity. Naoya was cursed to forever reincarnate along with Abel and now he wants to dethrone the current status quo as a result.

You can actually see why Naoya is frustrated because the angels are presented as being absolutely evil the whole time. They want to murder the humans just for kicks pretty much and don’t really seem to be helping anyone. The angels and demons are really presented as just being two sides of the same coin. It’s definitely a rather different interpretation of them to be sure. Neither side is really Kazuya’s ally so he has to be careful.

A lot of interesting angles here to be sure. Loki even steps in as part of the demon side while Kazuya summons Cu, the legendary spearman of legend who is a main character in most of the Fate titles. It’s part of what makes the title so ambitious. There is just so much happening in the city at all times as the heroes fend off the demons and now have to worry about the angels as well. It certainly gets really high tier by the end since Kazuya effectively becomes a god as well.

The ending was also very satisfying. There’s a lot of ways this could go after all but the route it choose was really satisfying. Not only is there some sequel bait but Kazuya really got to dictate his terms. A lot of times you have to accept a rather bittersweet ending as the main character couldn’t get things the way that he wanted them but this time it did work out at least for now. It may be hard to believe how the whole incident seems to have been swept aside but that’s just how it goes I suppose.

Overall, Devil Survivor was a very interesting series. It dabbled with a lot of cool concepts and the idea of everyone effectively being locked in a cage as they try to survive was executed very well. It’s easy to see how the franchise has gotten so big since the suspense is very impressive. It’s also easy to replicate this in sequels with different circumstances just due to the nature of the series. Either way if you like a good action title with a lot of tension and thriller aspects along with some undertones of horror then this is the title for you.

Overall 8/10

Subnautica Review


Time to check out another one of the PS Home free titles. Subnautica is a survival game and I haven’t played a whole lot of those. Unfortunately…that’s probably for good reason. Now, you can absolutely churn out some great titles for this genre, but this was not one of them. I think there is an ambitious game to be found here but it does leave you to your own devices a lot and it is maybe trying to be a little too realistic. More on that in a minute.

Your spaceship has crashed and now you are stuck in an escape pod. You are able to bust out but the main ship is infected with radiation so going there isn’t exactly an option. Additionally, you don’t have a lot of equipment. If you don’t rustle up some food and water soon then you will eventually die. Can you manage to survive in such a remote ocean or is it game over for you? There isn’t much of a plot beyond that but you’re not supposed to be playing the game for the story to be honest.

The gameplay is pretty smooth so that’s good. I was able to make a knife and a power up that let me swim faster so that was a good way to kick things off. I felt like I would do anything as I scooped up a bunch of mushrooms and equipment. The problem is that soon after I ran out of item space and couldn’t figure out how to clear my inventory. I put as much as I could in storage but even that filled up so then I was sunk. I needed to try and make some things to fix up a radiation suit or to at least fix my tech but I couldn’t find the elusive ingredients.

One thing is due to how large the game is, it can be very hard to find a specific item. It’s like digging for a needle in a haystack as they say. Along the way you can also meet a lot of fish and even some monsters. Watch out as some of the monsters can blast you out of existence with their spores or just eat you straight up. I wanted to see how far the ocean would stretch out so I made it a great distance before being eaten. I’m sure there is a limit to how far away you can go but it would take a while to get there.

The farther you go the more dangerous the Ocean gets as well which makes a lot of sense. That’s exactly how you would expect it to be right? Meanwhile you can’t go underwater for very long as you will drown so keep that in mind as well. In a way you have 4 different health meters now as you have to watch out for radiation, hunger, oxygen, and water. Fail to keep one of those meters up and you’ll die. As I mentioned the game goes very in depth. I could have done without some of that though like food which is probably the most annoying one. Dying of hunger’s kind of sad but at the same time I won’t want to waste item space on getting a lot of fruits or fish.

You’ll need to do it anyway but still, I think that’s where the game is getting a little too realistic. I’d be good with just hanging out in the ocean. The graphics are definitely really good though. The game’s visuals are sharp like the waves and the backdrops. It’s part of why you can be okay just swimming around for an hour or two. The soundtrack is pretty much nonexistent though so don’t expect to hear any big tunes like that. This isn’t exactly that kind of game after all.

Ultimately what keeps the game from going higher is that it’s just not a whole lot of fun outside of short spurts for me. It’s not really a very active game where you are doing a lot of things. You do have to plan things out and someone like Senku from Dr. Stone would probably appreciate the attention to detail. Outside of a scientific basis though, I wouldn’t be likely to go back to this game without some kind of extra story being added in or some cutscenes. Now that would be a lot of fun.

Overall, Subnautica is a game where you can tell they did put a lot of work into it. It didn’t quite click with me but if you’re really into the genre I can see how it could potentially work. The level is certainly huge so you can spend a lot of time in the game. The loading time may be a little long to start the game but considering how much has to be generated I can see why that is the case. It basically saves at any time as well so that’s cool. There are also some automatic events that play out the longer you play so that’s pretty neat. It’s free so you may as well give it a shot.

Overall 5/10

The Night of the Hunter Review


Whenever you watch a film where the kids are the main characters then you already know that the movie will be walking a tight rope. It can’t have the kids be too annoying but at the same time you know they aren’t tough enough to fight their way out of a situation so it means that you have to expect them to be sub par. Unfortunately the kids aren’t all that good although one of them is noticeably worse than the other. At the end of the day they hold the film back but there’s also a ton of plot conveniences around with all the characters making the worst decisions possible.

The movie starts with John’s father showing up and telling the kid where he hid a bunch of money. John is not supposed to ever tell anyone where it is including his mother. The cops then take this guy to jail. There he meets a villain named Harry who is really concerned with where the money is. The father is completely oblivious to life itself so even when Harry takes out his switchblade and makes obvious threats the guy decides to literally gag himself and close his eyes. Lets just say he doesn’t make it out of the cell alive. Harry manages to escape prison and heads over to John’s place.

Now I realize the film has barely begun but I do have some questions here. For starters I would say it is heavily implied that Harry at the very least tried using more extensive measures to make the Dad reveal where the money is. Apparently he didn’t crack since Harry doesn’t know but how would he get off for good behavior if there were signs of a struggle or if Harry flat out murdered the guy? Next I would assume he just escaped jail I guess but that’s iffy as well. I guess the easiest thing to accept is that he didn’t actually attack the father even though that is hard to buy.

So Harry goes into town and decides to quickly marry John’s mother Willa. Considering that her husband just died that rebound happened awfully fast. She quickly decides to believe everything he says even over her own kids. Now he’s in the catbird’s seat in terms of trying to get at the money. Can John really keep the secret of hwere the money is hidden? He’s a tough kid but the main problem is that his younger sister Pearl also knows where the money is and lets just say that she isn’t quite as subtle as he is. She has no real qualms with talking and spilling the beans.

Pearl definitely ends up being one of the most annoying characters in the film. She is constantly trying to break her promise to the father and threatening to say the secret just to spite John. Her worst scene though has to be in the climax after she knows for a fact that Harry is one of the villains. She still runs over to him and acts like he is the father. That was almost game over for John since Harry could have easily snatched them away. Pearl is young which is her main reason for being like this but that can only go so far.

Meanwhile John tries his best at least. I can’t say I’m a big fan of his either though. It’s hard to say exactly what he could have done differently for part of the film though. For the most part he made the right decision, it’s just that the villain is a lot more powerful than him. He does completely crack at the end of the film which is unfortunate though. just holding strong for a few more minutes would have been good. The imagery played up on his past traumas which is why he cracked.

So as much as I didn’t like the kids…they were kids so they have an excuse. Willa has no such excuses though. So this guy shows up at the town and she is ready to marry him in a day? She knows absolutely nothing about him so this is really suspicious. The guy mentions knowing her husband in jail so wouldn’t that be an even bigger red flag since everyone knows something happened to the money. Additionally John doesn’t like him from the start but Willa doesn’t pay him any heed and goes through with the whole thing anyway. That was pretty bad.

Her final scene has to be her worst moment though. I mean, there’s lots to choose from like Harry immediately treating her coldly and like a child during their honey moon. In this scene though she saw him yelling/threatening her kids and decides to dismiss this. She realizes now that for sure he is looking for money but she decides to close her eyes and tie herself up with the bed anyway. She talks about how she is sure he will help her get past this and naturally he has a lethal solution to the problem. The problem with Willa is you feel like nobody would actually act like this. She may as well have been wearing a sign that said to bump her off. She made the whole thing incredibly easy for Harry.

The rest of the town also act foolishly. So this random guy comes through and immediately he is able to radicalize all of them? Willa’s own parents are quick to believe him about Willa running off as if she was always betraying her responsibilities. Everyone trusts Harry immediately. It takes the whole concept of a naive town to a whole new level. They eat up everything he says without any kind of hesitation. It’s definitely unfortunate. Not a single character stays strong. Even the local fisherman who was John’s only hope ends up getting drunk.

Then you have Rachel who is the only good character in the film. While Harry is twisting the Bible and its meanings around to suit his purposes as a serial killer, Rachel is busy teaching her kids about true values. When Harry shows up at her place it does lead to an eventual confrontation. Rachel can handle herself at least and also has a gun which is incredibly handy here. Without it then things might have gotten a little difficult. Ultimately she held her own and defended the house. You can’t ask for anything more than that and she did it even with the kids making things more difficult.

The worst character there was definitely Ruby. Not only did she fall for his charms immediately but when Rachel was starting to take the lead in the fight Ruby quickly blinded her with a candle light. Really? Why would she even do that from the start. It was a terrible moment and made her sink even lower down the ranks. That’s just a core problem with most of the characters in this film. None of them seem particularly intelligent aside from Rachel. She really has to hold all of the heroes up on her own because nobody really gives her any real backup.

As for Harry, he’s not exactly a villain that I can get behind. He runs scared after a single gunshot and is only good at taking on opponents who can’t fight back. There’s nothing particularly impressive about him as well. I don’t get how his act was able to fool anyone, much less the whole village. Somehow everyone bought into him which I find pretty scary. Either way it’s good that John and Pearl escaped that town.

Overall, I would not recommend this film. Harry is only able to get so far because none of the characters show any real intelligence. They are all here just to get in the way. Pearl especially makes things as hard as possible on John. If she would at least not keep on offering so much extra information things might have been a little easier on them. Just a little bit since Harry would have been closing ground either way but why make things any easier on him right? As Harry is hunting defenseless children who can’t fight back I wouldn’t exactly call it a thrilling film. If you want a true thriller I recommend watching something like Independence Day instead. This one we can leave to the past.

Overall 3/10

Night of the Living Dead Review


Night of the Living Dead is quite the title right? I imagine that just about everyone has to have heard of this film. The zombies owe a whole lot to this one. It’s a pretty interesting look at the classic horror feeling of knowing that you’re surrounded and there’s no way out. The film does start to go into edgy territory towards the end though trying to be more gritty than necessary. It definitely fumbles the landing and while it will keep your attention, I wouldn’t say this is a good movie. One character in particular also gets pretty annoying very quickly.

The movie starts with Barbra and her brother visiting a grave. He’s trolling her as usual when a guy starts walking towards them. He jokes that the guy is here to murder Barbra and unfortunately he’s right. The brother is able to distract the guy long enough for Barbra to get away but is murdered in the process. She escapes to a house but unfortunately there are a lot of these zombies running around. A man named Ben shows up and he’s also been on the run from these guys. He tells her that they have to make a stand in the house for as long as possible and boards things up. They’re not along though as it turns out that you’ve got Harry, his wife Helen, Tom, and his wife Judy along with an injured kid who got bit by one of the zombies. If you’re familiar with your films on contagions and stuff, being bit is never a good sign. Can the heroes really make a stand here or are there just too many zombies?

The toughest part about these kind of scenarios is that you don’t know how many zombies there are or how long you have to hold out. These questions nag in the back of your mind the whole time. It’s part of what makes titles like The Walking Dead or Resident Evil so popular. It’s easy to get behind a survival story as you try your best to stay alive as long as possible. I’d argue that it’s part of the appeal of Fortnite as well. It’s just fun to test your limits. Where the film goes wrong is in the more shock value type scenes. We actually see the zombies eating people which can be pretty graphic. There are quite a few scenes where you see them chomping on limbs and such. It definitely makes you shake your head because it really wasn’t needed. The atmosphere is enough to really make you feel the fear of the zombies and why they are so intense. You don’t need to throw the violence on top of that, it’s just not necessary.

As for the characters, well Barbra definitely stands out in a bad way. After the opening scene where she does a good job of running for safety and doing what needs to be done, she freezes. Now, the adrenaline has run out by now so I do expect a little crash. The worst part is that the crash lasts for pretty much the entirety of the movie though. She never gets to a point where she is a fighter after that and has no good ideas. It’s a shame but she definitely doesn’t help matters as the main heroine. Then you’ve got Harry who just likes to argue about everything. His idea to stay in the shelter is pretty terrible.

Here’s why it’s an awful decision. When you go down there you have absolutely no exits. It’s blocked by a locked door..and that’s about it. The zombies will eventually punch through and you don’t have a lot of options after that. Ultimately you would have to go back into the house anyway but this way you don’t have any protections and the zombies can be anywhere. It’s obviously a smarter idea to lock up the house and do what you gotta do. If you do have to escape it’s much easier to do when you’re already up and about as opposed to hiding in the basement. So it’s no secret that I was completely against Harry’s plan. It just makes no sense. Then you’ve got Tom who was at least willing to help. It takes Tom a little while to actually pick a side but he ultimately does which is the important thing. He never goes traitor the way that Harry does. Then you have Helen and Judy although their roles aren’t huge. Judy sort of cracks while Helen does well although it takes her a while to make a move.

That leaves us with Ben who’s certainly the most experienced member of the group. He’s been taking down zombies for a while not and knows how to fight them. He’s definitely fed up with everyone right now though and feels like they’re holding him back. They definitely do slow him down quite a bit between Barbra freezing and Harry actively trying to murder Ben. Ben handles the zombies pretty well for most of the film although at the end I’d say that he got a bit sloppy. I suppose there’s not a whole lot he could have known about the situation though so I’ll give him some slack there. It made for a pretty intense ending that’s for sure.

I was glad that we actually got to see the government get involved. It feels like a lot of the time you don’t get to see a whole lot from them here. It makes sense that they would be gearing up to stop the zombies though. The scenes of the professionals discussing things and making plans was nice. It’s always good to see everyone banding together to stop a threat like this and humanity is united rather well. I do feel like they would be able to defeat the zombies rather easily when you think about it. A head shot is all you need and the zombies are incredibly slow. As it stands I feel like the main characters should have been a little less nervous about things at times as you could pick them off pretty easily. Honestly if Ben had one more fighter with him then they probably could have just taken them all down. With two people it’s a lot safer to actually go in and start bashing the opponents. With 1 you gotta be careful since they do have a little super strength so any good hit could turn the tables.

Overall, This is probably still a better film than most zombie titles. It’s not exactly one of the better horror genres if you ask me so for the most part this one was rather decent. If they would just tone down the cannabalism and the violence then this could even be a winner. You even have the horror twist type ending which is always classic. Throw in the brief Sci-Fi angle and the government part and there is definitely a whole lot to enjoy here. I get the feeling that this will end up beating the sequels as well. If you want a suspenseful film about trying to survive in the middle of nowhere then this is probably an appropriate one to check out. Otherwise there’s always the original Home Alone about defending yourself against powerful forces while all on your own.

Overall 3/10