A Monster Calls Review

It’s time for one of those films that makes you take a step back. From the beginning you can tell that it’s going to be bad, but it just keeps on getting worse and worse as it goes on until it hits the dreaded 0 stars. In a sense, it does take talent to mess up on such a grand scale though so we have to give the film some props. Still, you’ll need to break out the Pepsi and Minute Maid for this film as it’ll drag on and on!

The film is about a jerk kid named Conor who’s not a nice guy. He only cares about himself and isn’t interested in the issues that everyone else is facing. His Mom is terminally ill which he uses as his excuse to vandalize his house and beat people up. He begins to have delusions about a monster visiting him and telling him twisted stories where everyone is evil and must be destroyed in the end. Conor agrees with this so he goes to an abandoned house and smashes it apart. Nobody tells him to stop because they all know about his Mother’s situation and don’t want to stress her out. Others just feel like it’s okay for Conor to vent and do whatever he wants in the meantime. It’s a toxic cycle, but who will end it?

This film is just so terrible that you need a breath of fresh air every few minutes or you’ll faint. So, lets start with Conor. There’s no way to feel sympathetic to this guy because he is just so extreme. Towards the end of the film, we learn that he actually wanted his Mom to die just so he wouldn’t have to deal with the tense situation anymore. That’s his big revelation in the film and naturally the Mom loses her will to live at around that point and passes away. Conor’s wish was not only selfish, but just plain despicable. If the film hadn’t already fallen to trash tier by then, this would have sealed the deal. He also gave his Aunt (Or was it the grandmother?) a tough time throughout the movie for no good reason. She was perfectly polite and a decent person, but Conor still destroyed all of her possessions and did his best to be a perfect nuisance the whole time around.

The Dad visited as well a few different times, but Conor decided to vent on him as well. We also get some plot hax at the end as Conor takes down the bully (Who decides not to fight back because…..reasons) and the guy’s henchmen just watch. It’s hard to believe that they’re nervous since it’s 3 on 1 and the fact that Conor is super weak. It’s just another painfully bad scene. The first bullying scene was just as bad though since it was made to be a little more violent and dark than it should have been. Bullying is always a pretty terrible plot to have in a film but the film still tried to go as far as it could there.

The “Monster” is obviously fake from the start and I felt like the film didn’t even try to make him seem real. It was such a clear indie “metaphorical” monster that I face palmed when he first showed up. His design isn’t any good as I just think about Groot when he shows up and he’s not all that powerful either. He’s clearly not a nice guy as he just does whatever he wants and his plot never really goes anywhere either. When all of the characters in a film are either unlikable or super minor, there’s just not much hope for the film at that point.

This film just has no fun scenes at all. There’s not a single happy scene in the whole film which is actually incredible. It’s just incredible in the worst way possible. The special effects were nothing special, nor the backgrounds that the film used. It all just contributes to the gray, hazy background that plagues every scene and destroys the tone of the film. Just as there are Indie games that remind me how they can still be good, Indie films like this one keep reminding me why I’m typically not a fan. You can make the case that this wasn’t an Indie film, but it sure felt and looked like one the whole time.

Part of the story revolves around the 3 imaginary tales that the “monster” tells Conor. Of course in actuality, it’s just Conor looking through his old notebook and telling himself the twisted stories that he created. None of the stories are any good as you’d expect. One of them has two kids die an unfortunate death so to spite the guy who let them die, someone else murders someone and the murders just keep coming. In the first story, everyone basically dies as well with enough plot twists to make you yawn. The stories are also dreadfully low budget as they look like really crude drawings.

If it’s any consolation, the film did avoid the animal violence issue. I was glad about that at the very least. Still, earning a 0 without that or gritty plots ala Sucker Punch shows just how bad this film is. I don’t even know how I’d go about making it a better film. You’d have to completely get rid of the main character and then it’s a different movie. It’s like Ryoma always says “You’ve got a ways to go”

Overall, A Monster Calls is a terrible film, but you could probably guess that from the plot summary. There just wasn’t any hope for the film as it started to show its true colors in the opening minutes. I doubt any of us could have suspected that it would continue to deteriorate as the film went on, but some films are just like that. They get gradually worse as they go on instead of getting better. Fortunately, that means this film would likely never get a sequel. There’d be no reason for one and it would just be rather cringe inducing. I’d recommend staying as far away from this film as possible. Go watch the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood marathon on Twitch if it’s still going or check out Yugioh Arc V instead. These options are huge improvements and also have a lot of content to sift through so they’ll keep you busy for a while.

Overall 0/10

Hide and Seek Review

Please note that this review is of the edited TV 14 version of the film. All of the writing below should only be addressed to this particular version as the uncut one would likely get an even lower score or the review would just be more negative.
hide and seek cover
It’s really no stretch to say that horror films are my least favorite genre. Even romance or comedy films tend to have more heart to them. Of course, there are likely some genres that could go under horror if we really went drastic. (Infinite categories out there. Kaiju films, Space Kaiju Films, Undergeround Kaiju films, etc.) War Documentaries would be pretty close to horror films, but I barely count documentaries as films as it is. A regular War film would still be applicable though and we can’t forget about Zombie films. (Even though they would likely count as horror) I can safely say that this film was even worse than the average horror and it goes to Sucker Punch levels of bad. Can you say a 1 for effort? Let’s see what it did wrong.

First, we need to try to remember the plot that all horror films have. A guy and his daughter decide to move to an abandoned area on the outskirts of New York after the mother dies. Unfortunately, strange things begin to happen. Is the House haunted? Is the Dad crazy? Is the Daughter Possessed? Are there Demons hanging around? Zombies? Ghosts? Plot Holes? Take your pick and then get ready to cringe through the background plot as you await the chills and thrills. The body count is pretty low for most of the film, but the ending decides to quickly change this as the film becomes your average slasher. I definitely got some “I know what you did Last Summer” vibes from the ending since it’s fairly similar. (Then again…I could say that about most horror films!) The main characters are certainly in trouble so this could get deadly.

Well, the cast is pretty small in this film. That’s probably a good thing since most of the characters would have been pretty bad anyway. The main character is Mr. Callaway. I dare say that he’s slightly worse than the average lead for a horror film and that’s saying something. He’s pretty unstable and you don’t know what to expect from him. One second he’s a professional on the mind so he can out psych the daughter through her issues and the next second he’s panicking and running away from her. He needs some more training to say the least. Once the murders begin, he decides to cover them up instead of reporting it to the proper authorities and he’s definitely outmatched against Charlie. There aren’t any likable qualities to Mr. Callaway, but he’s not the only terrible character.

Did I mention that Charlie gets a big role in the film. He’s just as unlikable as Mr. Callaway. He likes to play games and it’s heavily implied that he has super speed or invisibility. He probably has dozens of other powers since horror films like to make their villains unstoppable right? Well, Charlie definitely doesn’t have what it takes to be a cool villain. His character design is pretty awful and he’s also fairly weak so he has to rely on tricks and surprise attacks to win his fights. He certainly didn’t help the film.

Emily is the daughter and she doesn’t help the film. She spends most of it being pretty distant and refusing to talk until she meets Charlie. She did just go through a pretty traumatic accident so we can sympathize with her, but it still doesn’t make her an enjoyable character to see on screen. She’s typically a downer. We find out that Emily does try to help out at certain points and she does well during the ending, but she’s still not what I’d call a very good character. She did have some opportunities to quickly end things although I’m sure that it could have backfired since most of the other characters are slow on the uptake.

We have the Sheriff who looks pretty terrible throughout the film. He wanders into the house during the climax and he knows that there has already been a murder. (More than one, but he only knows about one) So, he goes into the room and the lights turn off. He panics and runs towards the basement…that doesn’t end well. Should I mention that he never even reaches for his gun? This guy must be super confident to be walking into closets and constantly giving his back to every direction.

Catherine is another major in psychology and she proves to be more proficient at it than the main character. She doesn’t get a huge role, but this is a slasher so she does make sure to grab a gun and get involved in the climax. She looks downright terrible during most of it, but she finally gets to land a good hit in the end. She’s easily the best character in the film and it’s too bad that she couldn’t have gotten involved sooner. At least we had one pretty good character right?

We also had some supporting characters that had no point in the film except to be red herrings. So that I don’t spoil which one is the red herring, I shall quickly name 4 side characters. Apologies if it’s obvious who the red herring is, but this isn’t exactly Inception! We have the neighbors Laura and her husband. Laura’s a little overly friendly and she constantly goes to the house while her husband hangs around outside and meets up with the daughter. There’s also another acquaintance who has a daughter and they decide to visit the house as well. It should be noted that both neighbors as well as the mother look pretty much identical and I was wondering if they decided to save the budget by having one actress portray all three. Let’s face it, this film didn’t get a big budget!

Well, that’s basically the cast. If this doesn’t sound like a 1 star film yet, then you have not seen Man of Steel! (Man of Steel’s awesomeness in comparison should show you that this is basically a one star film) One of the numerous negatives in this film is the classic animal violence. Every horror film has it so this one quickly includes it as well. Let’s just say that it’s a cat this time and it’s as sad as you may have expected.

This is a slasher so you can expect a lot of gratuitous violence as well. We get the blood bath tub that seems to be featured prominently in all of the 18 and up slashers. It’s really their calling card I suppose. Other people get slashed and we even have doll violence where the dolls are so grotesquely broken that you have to wonder if it’s even possible. One of the characters really crushes one of them in the span of a few seconds. Sort of like Attack on Titan, this film helps to show us that too much violence can just water down the story.

This next negative is probably a given, but the film is also a downer. There’s a happy ending at the end of course, but it only gets about a minute of screentime while the other events take up the rest of the film. You would have more fun watching the Broncos get blown out of the Super Bowl again and I have to say that the game was pretty painful. (I was rooting for the Broncos) There aren’t any scenes that will make you cheer or even any that will make you smile at all. The whole film is devoid of enjoyment or entertainment.

The final plot twist is pretty generic and not in a good way. Of course, I would have said that the twist was generic if it had ended up being one of the other twists that I had labeled in the beginning. All of those are just stale at this point so none of them are surprising. As expected, the film chose the worst one of the group since that is just continuing with the film’s history of bad choices. The only twist that could have been worse would have been if the red herring was the actual villain because of the plot holes and the idea of such a threat. Nonetheless, this is still a pretty awful second and it didn’t do the film any favors. I should also mention that the film tries to be deep and complex by having a subplot filled with flashbacks and a mysterious waking at 2:06 every morning, but that won’t stop you from snoozing throughout the film and checking your watch.

“Hey, you forgot the positives!” Actually..this film had no positives. It’s one of those films that doesn’t even need to exist. It just takes all the worst tropes of your average horror film and throws them together. On that note, you could say that the film is even worse than Sucker Punch since the other film at least had action scenes, but the worst scenes in Sucker Punch are probably worse than the worst ones here so it’s a dicey showdown. Either way, this is a film that you really just want to see panned by critics and smashed at the Box Office.

Overall, Hide and Seek is as bad as the title would suggest. You’d have a much better time playing Hide and Seek in a one room apartment during the afternoon. I usually give a quick recap of the positives and negatives in this paragraph, but the whole review is basically made up of the negatives so you probably still remember them. This goes without saying, but I strongly recommend staying away from this film. (and horrors/slashers in general) If you want a classy film that’s still pretty scary, I would recommend the 4th Bleach film or even playing a level in Luigi’s Mansion. In the meantime, you’ll be spared from watching this film. Thus, saving you at least 100 minutes of your life that you can use towards racking up trophies on your PS3.

Overall 1/10

Beneath The Planet of the Apes Review

I’ve never liked the Planet of the Apes franchise. It wasn’t terrible, but the films just weren’t for me. I mean, a series where the main villains are Apes? This will inevitably lead to humans shooting apes and apes shooting people so the films were doomed from the start. Even the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes looks pretty bad if you ask me. However, even I was not expecting this film to be quite as bad as it was. It actually ranks up there with Sucker Punch…and that’s definitely not a good thing!

The plot takes place shortly after the first film. Taylor and Nova are still aimlessly wandering about. One day, Taylor sees a big fire so he jumps into a mountain, but the mountain wasn’t actually there and he must have met a sad end. Nova moves on with her life and treks across the planet until she finds a guy by the name of Brent. Brent crash landed on this planet along with another guy, but the futureshock was too much for him. (That’s what Judge Dredd calls it anyway) He quickly dies so Brent decides to go with Nova to find out what’s going on. Unfortunately, the Apes still want to conquer the world so Brent runs away, but he’s quickly captures. His only chance is to get off of this planet or to find some more humans who have a mind. The sad thing is…Brent’s doomed either way!!

It’s hard to know where to begin describing this “film.” We may as well go in a semi chronological order. The first scene that you’ll have to wince at is when Brent’s partner wakes up. We get several minutes of Brent telling him to stay alive as he tries to help the poor guy. The guy won’t hear any of it and he loudly exclaims that everyone he knew is dead. That’s pretty obvious since they’ve time traveled 2000 years into the future and Brent doesn’t seem to care. The guy just dies and you have to wonder why he was so weak willed. He was a pretty sad character.

We aren’t given a break either as the next scene involves Nova coming to help. This scene was pretty terrible since it feels like 20 minutes of Brent trying to talk to her. The problem is that Nova doesn’t believe in showing emotion and since she can’t talk and only has limited hearing…it makes discussion difficult. The two of them just stare at each other in awe as they can’t communicate and Brent finally jumps on the horse. The horse looked exhausted after a few steps and I felt bad for him.

Things don’t really get any better as the Ape scenes were pretty boring. Skipping along, the next sad moment was when the Horses started to get shot. This occurs throughout the movie and it was pretty awful. Classic animal violence is something that is common in the Ape films and that’s just too bad. The Apes themselves look so fake that I don’t really count them for the most part, but the horses are definitely enough!

After that, SPOILER ALERT……………………………………………They find a human colony and some more wince worthy scenes follow. The humans have advanced ESP and they attempt to force Brent to drown Nova. After a terrible scene, Brent regains control and heads into the enemy base. They beat him up using their mind abilities while telling him that they are peaceful. In particular, a guy by the name of Ongaro seems to despise humans as he continues to blast Brent. They use their mind abilities to try and make Brent destroy Taylor as well and the two of them have a boring fight. The film wasn’t even two hours and it felt like a millenia.

Another factor of the film that didn’t help was the random violence that jumped out towards the end. It was pretty over the top towards the end as someone gets violently impaled and another one gets shot to death in a graphic fashion. We see live apes burning to death in one scene and even though it is an illusion, it is a realistic one. The statue also begins to bleed a lot and we can’t forget Brent and Taylor’s fight as they keep throwing each other into the spikes. (Well, Brent was getting pummeled the whole time so he didn’t really get a chance) I dare say that this film is much more violent than the two newest Ape films in theaters partially due to the effects. This amount of blood usually doesn’t pore out so quickly and it’s due to the difference in special effects.

Brent is the new main character of the film and I can’t say that he’s very likable. Maybe for the first few minutes, but he died once Nova came along. He is very weak willed as shown when the telepathy people came along. Brent isn’t much of a fighter as he got pummeled a lot and he just seems to be very rude whenever he talks to anyone.

Nova isn’t any better than the first film. It would be good if she could at least react when someone was talking to her or a sound was made, but she’s just lifeless the whole time. Her scenes just aren’t fun to watch and while she does get a big “hero” moment, it’s not very cool and it’s a little too expected.

Taylor is from the first film, but he doesn’t get a huge role and he basically goes out while begging for help. He made an interesting call as he fell down and that was cool, but I can’t really forget how he was weak against mind control as well. Jumping into the mountain was also pretty risky and he had a gun with him so he should have had the edge against any opponent.

Ongaro is the antagonistic human who likes to mess with the primitive humans. He blasts them with his mind for fun and he likes to watch them destroy each other. He claims to be a peaceful person, but you can tell that it’s all fake. He’s just lying to them because he finds it to be fun.

Dr. Zaius isn’t really likable either. He refuses to help the main characters because they cause a lot of destruction as he helps the Apes murder everyone in sight. He doesn’t like to oppose authority and he believes that everything should stay the same. He doesn’t have any ambition in him and he’s pretty weak willed.

Mendez is basically a joke the entire time. He has a nuclear weapon at his disposal and he’s ready to use it against the Apes. The problem is that he waits until they enter his room so they shoot him down before he has time to use it. That’s extremely sloppy and he basically died for no good reason. He didn’t really have a point in the story since he was just going to stand there and die.

Ursus is the leader of the Ape military and he doesn’t really have a point in this film as well. He talks tough and he wants to help end a famine before it begins so he goes into the forbidden zone. There was not any food to be found so you could say that it was a wasted effort anyway. He may be the leader, but he is very interchangeable. He only got a handful of lines and he bit the big one in a very quick fight.

Zira is mostly there to rebel against the government, but she never does anything about it. She’s really all talk and gets written out of the film very quickly. It’s good to talk to the government and try to change them, but she has absolutely no political power so her efforts were doomed from the start. Her husband tries to talk her out of her plans as well, but Zira does get a chance to be leader for a few hours so we’ll see what she does about it…or not.

The soundtrack is nonexistent in this film. It’s too bad since that could have ever so slightly helped the film, but we can’t even have that I suppose. The special effects are pretty bad as well, but this film is ancient so one can overlook that. The photoshopped fire…..it burrrrrns!

Another thing that hurts the film is the fact that the characters aren’t likable. It’s a classic tale of how everyone has been corrupted. The Apes worship their idols and the humans have forgotten God and they now worship a rocket. The humans are completely evil and likewise with the Apes so it’s a lose/lose situation. It’s why the ending was one of the only ways that could have helped the film. It was a good ending (Last 2 seconds anyway) but it couldn’t really help in the end. (Too bad this film got a sequel eh?) I can’t say that I expected the humans to look That bad. Their scenes are also pretty unnecessarily gross as their faces are rotted and they all look like a pile of veins. It’s not pretty and you almost have to exit the room when they appear on screen.

I’m also not crazy about the setting. It’s basically a big desert and the landscape is primitive. Because of this, the heroes don’t wear much and they’re barefoot. Personally, that kind of thing has always bothered me and the acting is horrendous for everyone as well. Every character is constantly grinning, but their face looks like they’re in pain. I’m guessing that the actors were told to grin and squint as if the sun was shining very brightly upon them. It definitely didn’t help from a viewer’s perspective as it just made the scenes that much harder to watch.

Overall, This is easily one of the worst films that I have ever seen. There is not a single redeemable quality about the film and it was painful from start to finish. None of the characters were likable, The Setting was bad, The action was boring, and the violence was really there for no reason. I highly recommend avoiding this film and don’t let the G rating fool you. This is easily PG-13 stuff by the end and the 90 or so minutes of the film actually ends up feeling like a Lord of The Rings movie. This is just one of those films that you should just take a pass on. If you want a good future story, then check out Yugioh 3D Bonds Beyond Time. That film has heart and passion…two qualities that this film could have used. At the very least, I’m sure that the rest of the Apes films cannot be as bad as this one.

Overall 1/10