Invisible Ghost Review


It’s time to look at a retro horror film from quite a while back. The title right away tells you that this is gonna be pretty good though. How can you go wrong with a ghost who can’t be seen? If you could see the ghost then I’d wager that it wouldn’t be nearly as spooky. That’s just me of course, but I think the logic of it is quite sound when you really think about it. The plot is nothing like what I expected but makes for a quality adventure nonetheless.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the rich Charles and his daughter Virginia. Tragedy struck this manor one day as Charles’ wife ran off with another man and died in a car wreck. He now has an annual dinner with her ghost but otherwise leads a normal life. There is one odd thing about the house he lives in though. A maid/butler tends to die every so often in this place. Over the years there have been a ton of deaths here but the cops are never able to figure out why people keep getting murdered. They’ve advised Charles to leave the house but he refuses since it means a lot to him since it’s where his wife used to live. Well, I suppose the cops can’t force him to leave. Still, the murders continue to strike at an alarming rate. Paul shows up to end this after his brother was framed for the murders and hanged. Can he really get to the bottom of this?

This is a very old school horror. You know who the guilty party is fairly early on so the tension is seeing if the cops can figure it out. It makes for a lot of entertaining scenes though since the villain is quite smug the whole time. Of course, whether or not he actually knows what he is doing may be slightly debatable due to the ending. Personally I would say he was aware. See, my theory is that he realized that the scales had to be balanced. Each visit required another sacrifice to keep the ritual going. It was all in a rather crazy set of circumstances and you’d have to stretch logic a whole lot for this to make sense but it’s not like he was a very balanced individual to start with.

The writing is very well done here. There’s quite a good amount of humor to be found here although the movie is still serious by nature. Characters just have a lot of fun with the facial expressions and quick jabs here and there. Evans for example was a very solid character. He took everything in stride and tried not to get involved in people’s affairs. Of course he still can’t help but notice all of the people getting bumped off and starts to keep his eye on everyone around. Evans doesn’t let his guard down the way that the others do. He even starts the day whistling as he tries to focus on his work. He’s rarely allowed to as things keep on happening in the manor but he does his best. He certainly steals the show.

Otherwise Charles is very solid as you would expect as well and would be another contender for the top spot. His accent is definitely iconic at this point and he has a way with words. Nothing phases Charles in the slightest and he always does what he can to help. Charles is to first one to start with the pleasantries and he always acts with a lot of empathy towards everyone. The guy appears to be as nice as can be on the outside and does his best to cope. Then you have Virginia who has a pretty rough time of it in this film. She has a fiance but things don’t go very well for him and otherwise her role isn’t huge here. She’s a fun character either way though.

As for Paul, I liked the guy’s confidence. He’s the kind of character you always gotta bring into the mix because you know that he’ll shake things up. He acts like a detective and does more sleuthing than the actual investigators. He quickly goes to find some hair and even thinks of bringing in the psychiatrist. I can’t say that the guy was of much help, but at least he was trying a lot of things. It’s hard to say if the cops were trying much of anything here. I suppose as the murders kept on going with no end in sight there came a point where they just threw in the towel. It’s pretty unfortunate when you think about it but that just seems to be how it went down.

There aren’t any supernatural elements to be found in this film but even without a ghost the film is able to keep your attention. That’s due in large part to how good the film’s writing and pacing were. There’s not much more to be said about the film though due to how direct it is. At the end of the day I didn’t really have any issues with the film. It accomplishes in what it sets out to do. There may not be any ambitious story behind the film or anything like that but sometimes you just need to nail down the fundamentals and the rest will follow. This is one of those cases.

Overall, Invisible Ghost is a very old school horror film with a rather basic plot. Someone is murdering a bunch of people and so we have to expose the culprit. You don’t really see stories quite like this nowadays as everything usually has big twists or a much larger plot. Still, you just can’t beat the basic bread and butters of the genre. I would recommend checking this one out whenever you have a chance. The movie has aged exceptionally well and is just a lot of fun. It can be pretty serious and there is a body count but the film sprinkles in just enough humor to give it that nice balance as you eagerly awaits what happens next.

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

The Vampire Bat Review


It’s time to look at a really old film about Vampires. This one definitely goes pretty bold with the premise of this vampire attacking while the main detective doesn’t believe in it. It’s always fun to see a lead who is super skeptical like this because it makes for a nice contrast to the rest of the townsfolk who have completely jumped head over heels for this superstition. They basically become hysterical in the very first scene. The movie may be short but I feel like it still captured a lot and was a pretty fun experience. It’s a good example of why you always gotta keep your guard up.

So as I mentioned the movie starts with the town telling Karl about the vampires running around. The reason why they believe that the vampire is running around bumping people off is because each of the victims have the classic 2 fangs mark on their neck. The villagers point out that only a vampire leaves this kind of mark, not to mention that all of the victims have been completely drained of their blood. Karl dismisses this theory and runs off. Unfortunately the bodies continue to pile up. There is currently only one suspect, a suspicious guy named Glieb who is completely obsessed with bats. Is this too obvious? The town is ready to condemn him but Karl doesn’t want to be too hasty. After all, a man’s life is at stake here.

A good chunk of the film is really about balancing the mystery angle of the movie along with watching people get bumped off one by one. There’s a decent body count here. As always it can be sad to see some of the heroes go down because they were handling things as best they could. Unfortunately it’s just hard for everyone to be able to walk away here. The villain is pretty tough after all. I won’t say if the villain actually turned out to be a vampire or not but I will say that the ending at least hints that something slightly supernatural was going on. That or someone had a very big change of heart which could be possible but I like to think that this was not something quite so explainable. The climax itself could be a little suspect at times though with how someone turned the tables.

Karl is definitely a solid lead. He really does a good job of not panicking like the others. Karl likes to look at things step by step until he gets to the right answer. It’s a slow but methodical approach that really helps him in not making any real mistakes. He may not have a ton of character but Karl has enough charisma to hold the film. He has a very solid scene at the end which really helped him as well. The heroine Ruth isn’t bad. She’s certainly a lot braver than Gussie who kept on fainting as the film went on. Ruth made sure to hold her own with the characters even if she didn’t really go to the front lines much. There’s just not a whole lot to say about her as a result.

Then you’ve got Dr. Otto who is here to try and make sure that justice is serves. He isn’t quite as dismissive of the supernatural element as Karl but still thinks it’s something practical as well. It’s always good to have a Doctor on board since things can get out of hand with how many people keep dying here. I do think his idea to keep the windows open doesn’t make a lot of sense when there is a murderer running around though. Seems like it’s better to just endure the stuffy air in that circumstance. Better than being bit right?

Then we have Glieb who is the big suspect. The guy doesn’t make things easy on himself. He always looks really suspicious and knows about the vampire rumors but still makes sure to run around playing with bats. He doesn’t have a whole lot of awareness here and going to each of the murder scenes wasn’t really a good look. The guy’s also not that subtle with how he was trying to steal the fruits away from the table. The worst part is that Gussie would have given him some so why try to steal them the whole time? I definitely wasn’t a fan of this guy but I suppose you always need the “obvious” suspect to keep us guessing.

The movie really flies by so all of the plot elements occur pretty seamlessly. There isn’t a whole lot of action as the final scene is the only real battle moment. Still, the mystery keeps you engaged. It’s a very simple story but one that is executed well so it all works out. The writing is on point and it doesn’t go for any real shock value type moments. It’s all just about the atmosphere and watching Karl try to piece things together while being ridiculed and distracted by Gussie. She certainly wasn’t making things easy on him.

Overall, The Vampire Bat is a pretty solid film. I suppose it’s probably one of the first big vampire type films since 1933 was so long ago. It definitely beats most vampire movies that I’ve seen. Of course it’s going for a pretty different feel than something like Dracula but I dare say that it nails this approach quite well so maybe more films should be like this. Mystery is a good genre that works well with most so it comes as no surprise that it would pair well with vampires as well. Right from the start you have to decide if you’re on Karl’s team or not and that will affect how you view the rest of the film. The important takeaway from the film is naturally that you should always lock the doors and definitely do not under any circumstances leave the windows open while a mass murderer is at large. Do those things correctly and you reduce the chance of being murdered. That or get a guard dog, the dog did very well in this movie. It only appeared for a scene but definitely took charge.

Overall 7/10

The Boy with the Striped Pajamas Review


It’s time to look at an old tragedy film and unfortunately this one did not manage to really get anything right. You get the feeling that it’s not going to be a very good movie early on when you learn that the main characters are Nazi’s. Two of the main characters are kids so the adults are trying to indoctrinate them into this. As you can probably guess the film tends to be quite mean spirited throughout and ultimately by the end of it you’ll feel like the experience was a waste of time. Any message the film was trying to get at was quickly washed away.

So the film starts with Ralf getting a promotion. He is to move closer to one of the concentration camps to oversee the atrocities being committed over there. Ralf is eager to get started and so the whole group moves in where they will now be accompanied by soldiers at all times. His wife Elsa didn’t realize just how close they would be to the farms but that seems to be more of a concern than what is actually taking place. Their children Bruno and Gretel aren’t quite old enough to understand this either although they have begone to be molded into future Nazi’s by their tutor. One day Bruno meets a kid in the camp named Shmuel and decides to be friends. Bruno is convinced that Shmuel is just enjoying a game on the other side even though Shmuel tries to explain what is happening. Can there possibly be a happy ending here?

So there are a ton of issues. One of the more basic ones is that it’s always been very hard for children to hold their own films. They just aren’t interesting enough to work as the lead and that ends up holding them back quite a bit. Bruno is portrayed as being so slow to understand the situation that it gets old pretty quick. At the very least seeing that Shmuel is behind a cage should make things pretty obvious. It’s not like he appeared to be in good condition either so the whole “game” idea didn’t make sense from the jump. Bruno also has enough knowledge of the situation to sell Shmuel out later on in the film.

The betrayal scene was definitely pretty bad as Bruno allowed Shmuel to be beaten for a lie that was entirely Bruno’s fault. Definitely not a good scene. Bruno also watches Ralf stand by as their house attendant was beaten to death for pretty much no reason. It’s a pretty toxic environment he was in and Bruno never put the pieces together. Gretel gets less of a role but she is very easily thrown into full mania over the cause so I wouldn’t say that she looked very good either. It was very easy to convert her.

Naturally when it comes to the adults they are even worse. The kids at least have the excuse of being children so not only is there not much that they could do, but they don’t have all of the information at hand. Ralf and Elsa certainly do. Elsa is portrayed as being a little more sympathetic than Ralf as she is not completely on board with the cause but she does go along with it enough to have gotten to this point. Ralf on the other hand is definitely one of the main villains here as he fully supports everything that’s being done. Part of the problem with having the Nazi’s as the main characters is that there is no way to sympathize with them so no matter what happens you’re left feeling that it is all due to what they have done. They’ve murdered numerous people already and likely even after this event there will be more to come.

Pretty much every other scene is something bad happening to someone. Someone’s being beaten or intimidated at all times. The ending keeps that mean spirited approach as well and you’ll probably understand what is about to happen as soon as the final scene starts to develop. I suppose it at least doesn’t leave much room for a sequel. The plot just never stood a chance from the start. It’s conceivable that you could try to have some kind of a decent film with a Nazi main character who learns the error of his ways and truly converts out of that. It would still have to be handled with the utmost care though and more times than not I would expect the attempt to fail. This film didn’t even try to go for that. The main characters are still Nazi’s by the end even if they are not pleased with what went on. I don’t really expect that to change in the end either. Maybe Elsa will put some distance but I’m not really sure about that.

In general if you’re going to have the main characters be on the villain’s side then there’s one of two ways to handle that. One is to make the villain fairly likable. The way to do that is by having a motive that you can understand and root for the villain to an extent or by having the villain be super charismatic so even while things are going on it’s not a tough watch. The other is to have the main character grow up on the villain’s side but realize it isn’t the right way and revolt. To do that the main character has to be old enough to make a difference though. So having a kid as a main character wasn’t going to work either way.

Overall, Even the name of the film will remind you of Bruno’s odd attempts to escape reality. It’s always tough when a film has no real redeemable qualities but I would have to say that this film fits the bill. There’s never a moment in the film where you will actually be enjoying it and that’s the problem. It tends to drag on for quite a long while and I would highly recommend skipping this film and going for something else instead. You’ve definitely got many better options for titles to check out.

Overall 0/10

Murder by Contract Review


It’s time to look at a thriller film from a while ago. It’s a pretty interesting hitman story and the writing/atmosphere keep this movie solid throughout its run. The dialogue is pretty solid and Claude plays a lot of mind games with the other characters. I do think his first boss should have probably been a little more prepared for what happened but I guess in his old age he started to drop his guard a bit more. It’s not exactly beyond the pale for that to happen so I could see it as being pretty reasonable. At most the ending just feels a bit on the lucky side for the character rather than a decisive victory. I would have made it a little different like letting a shot go through instead to stop things.

The movie starts with a guy named Claude deciding to get into the hitman business. The reason for this is that he wants to buy an expensive house and his day job will never get him enough money for it. He wants cash quick and the easiest way to do it is by bumping people off. He quickly manages to get hired into this job and proves to be a natural. Eventually he is given a big job which will really help him earn a ton of money at once. He has to bump off a witness before he can expose the main villain. What Claude didn’t realize is that the witness is actually a lady named Billie. He didn’t want to sign up for a job like this if it meant taking out a lady but there’s no way back. Claude decides to complete his mission but it definitely won’t be a simple one.

Whenever you have a villain as the main character the movie has to take a bit of a different approach. After all, we can’t possibly root for a character like that. So you’re rooting for the cops to stop him even though his target is hinted to not exactly be blameless either. The film has to be careful with the ending as well as the whole adventure so things don’t go too far. I thought this movie did a good job of handling all the points below. The ending is satisfying even if I would have played it differently and Claude’s character is handled well.

Claude seems a bit crazy at times and tends to ramble on about things but his speeches are always interesting to listen too. A quality villain should always be able to plan things out well and in an interesting way. He may be insane but at least he believes in his own ideals. The film has him try to offer up some philosophical takes as the movie goes on. He does have a point that it’s a lot harder to track a hitman than someone with a personal vendetta since there is no motive to be found in his case. This was in the era before smart phones and cameras so it’s also a lot easier for him to go into an area and leave undetected. He doesn’t use guns which also makes things tricky for him although he clearly trained in how to use them as well. When he needs to use a firearm briefly he is able to make a difficult shot with no real effort.

So Claude was a pretty fun villain. Meanwhile the two guys watching over him were pretty solid too. George is always trying to give Claude the benefit of the doubt while Marc plays hard ball with him. They get a lot of solid banter throughout the movie and do have some points about how Claude makes this harder than necessary. Either way it would have been difficult to stop Billie though. To her credit she takes a lot of solid precautions and the cops also look good in their protection. They do their best to really surround her with protection at all times. I do think that it got a bit dicey only having one guard at the end though. I would have liked for him to have looked a little better all things considered. Their only real loss against Claude was due to Billie’s demands. I do question how they didn’t have anyone patrolling the surroundings after the whole TV attempt though.

Part of what makes the film work is that it can also be fairly light hearted in its approach. It has an interesting tone blend there as you know something is going to happen soon but until then the film stays calm. It mirrors Claude’s disposition here as he doesn’t seem to get very invested in anything either. He does the job and then gets out as quickly as possible. Not all of his plans are perfect of course. There is one instance where he decides to act rather faint and realistically I don’t see how this would work. It’s probably the moment in the film where you will have to suspend the most disbelief. It does make for a pretty intense climax though. It reminds you why he became known as such a dangerous person to be up against. At the end of the day he can take anyone out in an instance.

Overall, Murder by Contract is an interesting film and a pretty solid one overall. The writing is solid and the cast of characters are good. There’s one character who is pretty annoying given that she talks about confidential matters with ease. I have to blame the guy who told her as well since they only needed to keep the secret for 1 day to save a life. Is that really so hard? It was a bit plot convenient there but I wouldn’t say unrealistic because this is exactly the kind of thing that could happen at any time. So, if you’re up for a solid action film from the villain’s point of view as they plan a murder this is a good one. I dare say it would be one of the best in its genre as it’s hard to get this one exactly right. It certainly never drags on.

Overall 7/10

The Third Day Review


It’s time to look at an old film that really starts to fall down towards the end. It’s a mystery film that tries to throw in a lot of twists and turns to the point where the red herrings start to not make any sense at all. The movie’s a little compelling at the start but gradually it gets less and less interesting which is really not a good thing for a mystery film. If anything it’s probably one of the worst things that could happen to a title in this genre. Quite unfortunate but not every mystery film is destined to be a winner.

The movie starts with Steve walking out of a car crash. It was a close shave for him but he’s alive which is what counts. Unfortunately he has no recollection of his life prior to waking up. The man has complete amnesia and that’s not good. It turns out that he’s rich and about to make a deal that will earn him and his company a ton of money but at the expense of all the jobs in the town. Effectively he is about to sell out to corporate and his wife is also upset at him. Nobody seems to like Steve and according to his mother in law it’s because Steve has been acting pretty terrible lately. His father in law is in a coma as well and Oliver despises Steve as well. Steve needs to find out what happened and also try to lead a better life, but is it too late?

Amnesia is definitely one of those things that is pretty scary to think about. Waking up and suddenly not knowing anything about yourself is intense. Even when people try to give you the full scoop there will always be some nagging doubts that they could be lying to you or something. This case of amnesia is pretty convenient as Steve remembers how to do everything. He has memories of everything not relating to his life, but I believe this does have some basis in fact as amnesia patients sometimes do remember lots of things due to muscle memory. It’s just the recollection that is gone. Films about amnesia can be pretty hit or miss. This one was handling the concept well until it wasn’t.

One random red herring is a scene with Alexandria and Oliver. Her dress was apparently a little too low so he helps her push it up. The whole scene seems way too familiar and at that point I figured perhaps they were both traitors and in on the conspiracy. I believe the film is actually trying to push that thought as well but in universe Alexandria has no reason to do this. At best you could say she is still upset at Steve and wanting to mess with him, but she also dislikes Oliver and so I can’t picture this chain of events happening at all. It’s a pure red herring.

Additionally what hurts the film is the annoying climax. So part of what was going on with Steve in the past had to due with Lester’s wife. The guy has sworn revenge and made this clear to Steve several times. He should definitely have let his wife know to watch out for him. The scene of him walking into the house and telling Alexandria to get in the car with him is pretty suspect. Most likely he would have just taken a gun out if she hadn’t gone with him, but going with the guy in the first place is a stretch. You just don’t hop into a car like that, even if this was the 60’s. Lester is also a character that we absolutely didn’t need. The film definitely wanted to have some kind of dramatic final showdown but it should have definitely skipped out on that. The whole climax is pretty bad and adds a darker layer to the film.

Unfortunately the flashbacks also hurt Steve quite a lot. He was definitely being pretty unfaithful there and the ole “he was feeling weak” excuse doesn’t cut it. Even in the present you can make the case that his moral compass isn’t great as he lets quite a few people kiss him. One of them does this multiple times and he just seems to find it amusing. Keep in mind that his wife is standing right next to him the entire time. No matter how you slice it Steve is just a pretty terrible character so I couldn’t even root for him. When you’ve got a film where the lead is bad like that it definitely hurts quite a bit.

Alexandria is a solid character. She definitely seems to have very valid reasons to be upset with him as the film goes on. If you ask me she appears to be totally justified and unlike Steve she wasn’t being unfaithful. Alexandria puts up with quite a lot throughout the film. Finally you have Oliver who gets a pretty big role in all of this. He certainly has a few twists. The guy definitely doesn’t like Steve but puts up with the lead so he can get his cut of the big pay day. The old Steve seemed to not have realized this although Oliver is pretty obvious about it from the start so it’s hard to see why.

One final issue I had with the film is how everyone is intentionally vague to prolong the plot. When Steve asks his mother-in-law to explain things she intentionally never says anything. She talks a lot without saying things of substance. Can’t she just quickly tell Steve what is going on? She’s cryptic and this is something that happens a lot in mysteries. People just don’t give you straight arrows and it’s particularly annoying in this film since the writing isn’t particularly amazing or anything like that. It’s decent writing I’d say, but not in a way that doesn’t make this feel forced. It’s probably the worst element you could do in an amnesia type film.

Overall, The Third Day isn’t a particularly good film. Usually you get more engaged as the mystery starts to be explained while this one did the opposite. At times the resolution of a mystery may not be as grand as you had hoped so I can see a slight dip, but this one just crashed. The film had a ton of potential and I feel like it was ultimately squandered here. The film could have been so much better but that was not to be. If you want to watch a good mystery film I recommend checking out one of the Sherlock Holmes films instead. Those are all much better than this one.

Overall 3/10

Death on the Nile Review


It’s time to look at a mystery film. Both versions of Murder on the Orient Express were quite great. I do tend to enjoy a good mystery after all and a boat is a decent setting. It’s definitely not as good as a train setting but it’s close enough. This is a solid film although it can’t really hold a candle to the Orient Express. It would have been hard for any film to follow that up though and I’d say that this one does give it a good shot. There are a good amount of suspects and the film is fair in letting you decide who the culprit is.

The movie starts off with Linnet finally heading back home after being away for a while. She is quickly introduced as a very rude person who flaunts her wealth with no remorse. Her friend Jackie convinces Linnet to hire Simon as the head of the estate because Jackie and Simon are engaged but both don’t really have any money. This is a pretty iffy request if you think about it and while it’s not personal, that’s why you don’t hire friends. Regardless, Linnet hires Simon, but turns the tables on Jackie by quickly stealing him away. The two of them get married and now Jackie stalks them wherever they go. Linnet and Simon decide to get on a cruise to get away from her but Linnet is quickly murdered. Fortunately, Poirot was on the cruise and now it’s up to him along with Colonel Race to get to the bottom of this. It’ll be tough though since everyone on the cruise has reason to murder Linnet.

One thing about this film is it does take a loooong time for the murder to happen to the point where I’d almost consider that to be a spoiler. Still, it’s technically the main plot so I included it in the summary but if you go in blind it’ll probably be extra fun although you would suspect it early on. I think parts of the opening could have definitely been trimmed to get to the murder and investigation a little earlier though. We need a lot of the scenes to establish motives and all, but parts still could have been trimmed up some. It wouldn’t be necessary depending on the cast but most of the suspects aren’t all that interesting here compared to the first film.

The film successfully shows Linnet to be a rather mean person. I do think that her reactions were a bit extra the whole time though. Just having Jackie show up everywhere shouldn’t freak Linnet out each time. Just take it in stride already. I do have to question how Jackie has enough money to follow them everywhere though. She apparently didn’t have much money earlier and I don’t recall any scenes saying she inherited a ton of money or anything like that. These details are minor in some respects, but in a way the whole case depends on these two details which is a bit iffy. There are a lot of other things Linnet could have done that would have changed everything. I think in part that’s what also makes this a weaker case than the first movie. Everything has to go absolutely perfectly for the murder to work out to the point where it’s less believable than the events of the first film.

Naturally I won’t say who the murderer is, but when the method of the murder is explained it’s rather hard to buy into. It seems as if everyone on the ship was deaf and didn’t have very good eyesight. I can’t say much more than that without it at least hinting as to who the murderer is, but I wasn’t sold. Even considering that though, the film does give you a fair chance at figuring out the murderer. You just have to decide whose motive is best and also how well each of their alibi’s stick. Since every character has an alibi you get to determine which one doesn’t hold true. It’s a pretty fun mental exercise as the film plays out. So even if the ending may be a bit tricky, the case itself is nice and engaging.

Poirot makes for a fun lead. He’s definitely very confident at all times which is really good for a detective. Who wants a detective who doesn’t believe in his skills and gives luck a lot of credit? Poirot also enjoys messing with the others quite a bit and also likes a nice meal. He doesn’t let a bunch of murders get in the way of his appetite. Race makes for a fun sidekick as he follows Poirot around. While he may not be quite as quick to figure things out as the sleuth, Race is definitely helpful here because without him Poirot wouldn’t be able to just run around everyone’s cabins so easily.

Lets take a look at all the suspects now. First up is Jackie who has threatened to murder Linnet quite a bit over the course of the film. She has a gun in her possession and the motive is naturally so that she can be back together with Simon. Simon’s motive is easy, the guy doesn’t have a dollar to his name and so if he murders Linnet then he gets everything. The guy is obviously flighty given how easily he leaves one engagement to the next so maybe he’s found someone else. You’ve got Louise who has worked for Linnet for many years. Unfortunately for her Linnet hasn’t given her any inheritance yet to go and be with a guy who’s already married. Linnet tried to explain why this would be foolhardy but Louise wants her married man and may do anything to get some money.

Then you have Andrew who has been stealing money from Linnet for years. Now that she’s married it will be a lot harder to do so without getting caught despite the husband admitting that he loves to sign things without reading them. If Linnet gets bumped off then nobody can ever prove that he swindled the money from her in the past and he will be home free. Schuyler is an old lady who loves precious gems like the ones Linnet owns. There’s no way Linnet would ever part with them so perhaps knocking her off would be the best way to grab them. That would settle the matter pretty quickly. Then you have Schuyler’s maid whose family was ruined by Linnet’s father. This forced the maid to lose everything and work as a maid to a cruel boss. The maid refuses to even talk to Linnet.

Salome writes a lot of romance books but she is being sued by Linnet for some similar characters. Salome doesn’t have a whole lot of money and wouldn’t survive this lawsuit so one way to end things would be to take Linnet down once and for all. Rosalie is Salome’s daughter and her motive is pretty similar. If she can take Linnet out of the picture then her mother won’t go bankrupt and their lives can resume as normal. Jim is a guy who doesn’t like rich people very much and especially not Linnet. He mentions several times that somebody should bump her off so perhaps he nominated himself for that role. If he were to take her out then the world would be closer to being balanced once more. Finally, we have Ludwig who has been taking a lot of heat by Linnet for various treatments he has given that did not work out. Several of his patients have even died and if this publicity keeps up then he will be destroyed. The only way to stop her from talking would be to silence her.

So those are all of the suspects and motives. As you can see there are a ton of suspects here. Part of why the film is so long is that it tries to develop all of them. Some of the characters look real similar too so it can be easy to mix a few of them up. Still, the more suspects the better because that gives you more options and makes picking the correct culprit a whole lot more difficult. One tough thing though can be that at times some of the accents are a little tough to follow. Race comments on that quite a few times since Poirot loves to troll him by speaking in French. It’s always suspicious when someone isn’t talking in English.

Overall, This is a pretty fun film. The first half is a bit on the slow side but once the murder happens then the film picks up as you would expect it to. The writing here is definitely pretty solid. While I do have some issues with how the death ultimately occurred I still wouldn’t say that it is totally impossible either. It just comes across as very convenient the whole time. I had no other real issues here. If you want to see a solid murder mystery with a lot of moving pieces then I definitely recommend checking this one out. You can’t really go wrong with a quality mystery after all.

Overall 6/10

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Review


It’s time to look at a fairly recent horror film. You’ll probably remember hearing the name from a while back even if the film was pretty quiet once it came out. I remember thinking the trailer didn’t look so good and the film follows suit. It does its best to be pretty edgy and give you some stories that are both dark and gross, but the end result is a mess that I can’t recommend. It’s not the worst horror film that I’ve seen, but it’s about average for the genre. Average for a horror film is not very good overall.

The film starts with a group of teens deciding to get revenge on the school bully. For years he has tormented them quite a lot and so this Halloween they are going to load their treat bucket with things other than treats. When Tommy steals it they realize that they didn’t have much of a plan beyond that. They meet up with a guy named Ramon and then the whole crew gets locked by the bully inside a haunted house. There Stella finds a mysterious book that was written by the girl who used to live here before everyone got murdered. Now the book is writing a new story every night and the person whose name is on the page dies a gruesome death. Can Stella break the curse or are all of her friends about to be destroyed?

It’s a pretty standard horror plot. When you awaken an evil being from the past she always tries to murder everyone. The nice ghosts never come out to play, but I suppose it’s because they are always willing to move on. The main characters definitely aren’t the most sympathetic figures around though. Their whole intro is about getting revenge on Tommy and two wrongs never make a right. Additionally the film does its best to make each character as unlikable as possible. Auggie is always insulting his sister and Chuck can’t help but stare at her through the window. Stella is ultra goth and loves talking about all these gruesome murders that used to occur. Naturally the group would awaken a monster by breaking into a house and reading a book they shouldn’t have. The whole thing started because they broke the law and busted in the house after all.

The characters never really improve. Chuck is pretty bad from start to finish. He panics quite a lot and quickly makes all of the wrong moves possible. Ditching the other main characters to run on his own is one of the worst things you can do when someone is bumping people off one at a time. If you’re with someone else then usually you’re at least a little safer. I’d make the case that his death did break the rule of each character being murdered at night though, but why should villains follow the rules right? His murder is probably the most interesting one though and easily had the best visuals. The monster who got him looked like a legitimate video game character and was also one of the toughest dilemmas to get out of. Since this villain controlled space and time there isn’t much you can do. Certainly one of the scariest hugs I’ve seen in a while.

Then we have Auggie who is also pretty bad. He’s shown to be way too desperate the whole time and only slightly more mature than Chuck. His death was pretty awful in part because Auggie was given every opportunity to escape. It’s one of those scenes that exposes the film’s writing and nothing in the scene makes sense. Auggie knows that the story is about eating a toe and the heroes keep telling him not to eat the stew, but he does anyway. He doesn’t even look before taking a bite. The scene was terrible in every way possible and it’s just hard to have more sympathy for him at this point because it’s like he wanted the monster to show up. How do you still eat the stew even when everyone told you not to do so at least a dozen times? He hides under the bed and closes his eyes so afterwards he doesn’t know where the villain is. Great…

Stella at least has an origin story to explain why she is so into murder. Something happened with her Mom a while back which messed her up and with these murders being activated by her she is not taking things so well. Still, she’s just not much of a fun character and is hanging out with a pretty bad crowd. Getting knocked into the parallel dimension didn’t do wonders for her. By virtue of being the main character she does get a lot to do and is better than her two sidekicks but never really made it into the next tier of being a solid lead.

The best character in the film is easily Ramon. He’s actually a quality character who is trying to get out of the town without getting into trouble. He’s in the wrong town for that though and you feel bad for him when the characters jump into his car and get him into trouble. Ramon can take care of himself pretty well but there’s not much you can do against super powered monsters. He still lasts for quite a while on his own though. His backstory is also pretty sympathetic since it’s hard to do something when there’s a good chance you’ll be murdered. At least his decisions actually made a lot of sense from start to finish.

While this movie isn’t an anthology you could say that the murders follow that style. Each murder is pretty different as everyone faces a different kind of threat. The hug one was pretty cool and the Scarecrow was also intense. The guy probably could have handled the situation a little better but it was another reality warping kind of threat so ultimately it would all be futile. You still shouldn’t trip so often though. The guy was drunk which didn’t help matters for him. The monster under the bed was pretty hype as well.

The spiders was definitely the worst one though. That one’s more gross than scary with spiders that defy logic. I’d argue that it was probably the most vicious way to go with the hug being the easiest since it didn’t look particularly painful or anything. The film did seem to like its more gross plots though like the toe and the bag or stuff that the heroes used early on. The scenes are brief but don’t really help its case. The film couldn’t resist and gets quite dark by the end with the backstory of the villain who is murdering everyone. We get a pretty long torture scene which is always a quick way to lose a lot of points. I feel like almost every horror film has a backstory for how the villain became all powerful and it’s always completely unnecessary. Keeping that out of things would have been good. The film should have focused on the old lady and the dog more although of course that’s always risky. The film actually did good in not letting the dog get destroyed in this film. I was pretty worried about that for a while there.

The film tries to have an emotional subplot with Stella’s Dad. He doesn’t get to appear much but he seems like a good guy. He gives her a lot of good advice throughout the film like not going outside after dark but she never listens. It’s a pretty tough situation for him too. He’s not handling it perfectly but he’s trying. It’s a plot that largely gets pushed to the side though as the movie has no real time for it. In theory a sequel would explore this more based on the ending although that doesn’t seem like it’s likely to happen. I also think a sequel wouldn’t be needed if Stella had just written a few more lines. I can’t say much more than that for spoiler reasons but if you watch the film you’ll see what I mean.

Overall, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is basically your average horror film. I’d say that it has above average graphics as some of the monsters were pretty good. It’s still held back by the usual elements though like some overly dark details and terrible writing. The characters really could have played things out a lot better than they did to the point where it was almost like a parody at times. It’s all played deadly serious though so hopefully the writers were self-aware but it’s really hard to say. If you like horror films then you’ll probably enjoy this one, otherwise I’d recommend going back and watching some Scooby Doo features instead.

Overall 2/10

Night Must Fall Review


It’s time to look at a pretty terrible film from way back in the day. The title isn’t half bad so you may have held out some hope for this movie being good. Well, hope no longer as this film takes that away pretty quick! All of the characters here are crazy and none of them ever make the right moves. The film drags on quite a bit and Danny gets away with quite a lot before they finally take him down. None of this would have flown over in NY as half the characters would have pounded him for all the disrespect he was throwing around.

The film starts off with Danny murdering someone and then running off. He decides that the best way to get past the murder is to begin working at the mansion near it. He and Dora are already together with a kid on the way and while there he begins to rebound with Olivia and even has a weird relationship with Olivia’s aunt Bramson. Everyone wants Danny and he uses this to his advantage as he manipulates all of them. It’s practically a harem setup only it’s not used well (It rarely is to be honest) and with the whole murder plot in the background you’re just hoping that the characters will hurry up and start to put the pieces together already. It all feels like it is just taking way too long the whole time.

Part of what makes the film so terrible is that Danny is an openly terrible guy. He doesn’t even try to pretend that he might be a good person and as such that makes you wonder why the characters don’t just report him. A good example of this is with Olivia. She wants nothing to do with him especially since she is already in a relationship. He doesn’t like that very much so he breaks into her room and intimidates her a lot verbally and physically. She responds to this by breaking down, but then getting together with him in almost the very next scene. It’s unknown why she fell for him and it’s a terrible romance setup either way. Likewise with Mrs. Bramson he starts off by threatening her and heavily implying that he’ll destroy her if she says something that he doesn’t like. She somehow takes this as being charming and quickly thinks of him as her new son.

I don’t know what the writers were thinking but the film just doesn’t make any sense. It’s like they had a basic plot in mind but no real plan on how to get from point A to B. It was a disaster all the way through. None of the film makes any sense and while a good cast can save a bad plot, there was none of that to be had here. I’ve already explained why Danny is a terrible character for the most part, but it’s also worth mentioning that he is totally crazy and continues to lose his grip on sanity as the movie progresses. Early on you can already tell that he’s pretty unbalanced though…he did murder someone after all.

The other characters are just unrealistic. We don’t know how Dora met up with Danny, but she definitely went too far too fast. The kind of guy who moves that quickly is probably not the most trustworthy so it’s no big shock that he chickened out at the end. Olivia falling for Danny at all is terrible and I have to blame her a lot here. She has little self-respect to allow Danny to treat her the way that he does and still hang out with him. It’s a pretty abusive situation the whole time. Then you have Bramson who also seems off her rocker for the same exact reasons as Olivia. She really didn’t think any of this through.

The film also doesn’t even work as a murder mystery since we know who the guilty guy is from the start. The cops go through the motions, but they really don’t do much of anything the whole time. It takes them forever and a day to finally get the right area as it is. With how unsubtle the guy is I feel like someone in town would have known that the dead person was last seen with Danny. That would at least draw some suspicion and ideally they could piece it together from there. Instead they chat it up with Danny for being such a lady’s man at one point.

So what could have saved this film? Well, having one sane character would have been good. Someone to keep Danny in check and to call out all the other characters. Imagine how good it would have been to have had one character just step in and end things. He could have been away on vacation or something and shows up 20 minutes into the film. He’d be shocked at how low everyone has fallen and would have quickly set things in order leading up to a climactic battle with Danny. Danny would probably die from the guy’s axe skills, but it would all be in self-defense. I doubt the film would have been all that good even with this, but it would have at least managed to score a few points.

Overall, Night Must Fall is definitely a film that I have to give a thumbs down. It isn’t interesting and the characters are simply painful to watch. It’s all handled so horribly and the romance here would have to be one of the weakest ones that I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s a film that feels like it goes on forever and the best thing you can do is to avoid watching it entirely. You’ll be glad that you skipped this one and there are many better horror films that you can check out in its stead. Come to think of it, almost all the scenes in this film take place during the day so even the title takes a while to happen. Only night scene I can think of is the coffee one which is terrible.

Overall 0/10

Young Man with a Horn


It’s time to look at an old movie based on an old novel which is based on a true story from a while ago. Naturally that means this review won’t have a score, but I will still dig into the movie. It’s one of those stories where it’s very hard to sympathize with the main character, at least with how he was depicted in the movie. They really make him an unbearable jerk the whole time and he makes so many wrong choices in a row that you figure he might as well be the villain. All right, lets jump in!

The movie starts off with Rick as a kid. He manages to get into a bar and watches Art play the Trumpet. Rick quickly realizes that this is the best instrument out there and decides to dedicate his life to it. He has a lot of ups and downs as the years go by since he likes to do his own thing. He’d rather play the wrong notes on purpose and get fired rather than do his job. Rick’s a free spirit who loves sabotaging himself. That’s when he finds the ultimate opportunity to do so. He currently has a great job with nice friends Smoke and Jo, as well as a good nightlife where he hangs out with his old friends. This all changes when Amy shows up and convinces Rick to throw it all away for her. She also forewarns him that she will destroy him much like she has destroyed everyone else who decided to have a fling with her. Rick accepts this challenge with a grin…and his life is quickly destroyed.

Whoops, that’s basically the whole film, but it’s hard to summarize that. See, Rick is one of those guys who has a lot of advantages in life. He’s a musical prodigy and he was in the right place at the right time often enough where he got a bunch of gigs. The problem is that he’s incredibly unlikable. He is quick to betray his friends for a girl that he literally just met. He then decides to marry her almost immediately because he has fallen for her so hard. After that he indirectly murders one of his old friends and it’s at this point that he finally realizes how Amy has changed him…and then gets into alcohol and falls further into despair.

Look, the film is trying to give Rick a big character redemption arc, but it’s way too late. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to turn back after murdering someone because such a redemption can happen, but the circumstances leading up to it and Rick’s actions afterwards just don’t work. He doesn’t show me any real signs that he will change. Even before Rick met Amy he had a lot of issues. There’s no reason why he needed to constantly rebel when on the job just so he could play what he wanted to. That’s simply being spoiled and entitled. If Rick had stuck to his job then none of this would have happened.

He also backstabs Art quite a lot in their final meeting. There’s absolutely no gratitude to the guy who saved his life and career many times. By the end when Rick goes to his funeral and picks up the Trumpet you want someone to slap it out of his hands. Imagine how disrespectful it would be for someone to walk up to a funeral and do that. Sure, nobody knows how he was involved in the accident, but it’s still annoying. That’s enough ranting on Rick, but I don’t have any sympathy for him because the guy knew what he was getting into and did it anyway. If you betray everyone for a stranger who loves twisting people, then that’s a choice you made.

Rick’s friends were good at least. As mentioned, Art was definitely solid. He was always around to help Rick whenever possible and really let him get a good start to his musical career. Smoke was a solid sidekick and someone that you could always count on. He’s definitely a solid guy and stuck by Rick the whole time. Jo was a good heroine as well. She’s not the most upfront person out there, but she meant well. One edge Amy has over Jo is that she’s a lot more direct. While it’s customary for the guy to approach the girl, if you really want someone you better make your feelings known or someone else will. Amy made her call while Jo held her tongue and ultimately it cost her. Still, at least Jo didn’t take it all that personally.

It’s a pretty small cast, but at the end of the day it’s not like you need a whole lot more characters than that. The film is able to tell a pretty complete story with just those guys. The writing is pretty solid with a lot of quick dialogue. It’s not quite as eloquent as some other titles, but it has that same atmosphere which is definitely important. The film’s pacing is also pretty good.

Overall, This is a pretty decent film, but one that is held back by Rick quite a lot. He’s just not a good character. He consistently makes the wrong calls and you almost wish all his friends had befriended someone else. They all would have been positive influences on each other. The ending’s a bit sudden so brace yourself for it, but I suppose the ending could have been a lot worse. If you want to see a film with a lot of Jazz music then this is your best bet. Jazz is always a fun style of music. You don’t hear it a whole lot in movies nowadays, but when it shows up it’s always pretty solid.