6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Curse of the Cat People Review

It looks like I’m finally ready for the sequel to that last film about the Cat People. Don’t mix it up with the Black Cat film that I recently saw though. While this film isn’t as exciting as the Cat People and there is certainly less action/horror, the film makes less slip ups and actually ends up being the better movie. Don’t go in expecting anything other than a slice of life story about a girl and her imaginary friend though. You could be disappointed otherwise.

After getting entangled in affair and letting his wife know that he no longer loved her, Oliver went on to marry Alice. Alice didn’t mind the shady circumstances of this, but grows concerned as Oliver continues to see his old wife in their daughter Amy. Amy claims to have been visited by the dead ex wife several times and Oliver always flies off the handle at this. He can’t seem to get over the past and it’s making things tough for Amy. As Amy drifts off further and further into dream world, Alice needs to figure out a way to make things right. Can she do it?

In case you don’t realize this, I did not like Oliver. For starters, he was a real piece of work in the first film. He went to great lengths to get Irena to forget about the Cat People and to live as a normal person and the ditched her as soon as she had conquered her fears. He even had an affair while he was still married so Irena ultimately murdered someone, but got murdered after that. Despite all of the obvious evidence, Oliver doesn’t believe that Irena could actually turn into a cat and while he can’t get over her himself, he wants Amy to do so. Oliver is rather unfair the whole time and even blames her when the other kids won’t hang out with her. It’s hardly Amy’s fault if the rest of the kids aren’t being nice. He also gives her an ultimatum that she has to lie to his face or get punished. Naturally, Amy makes the right call and tells the truth, but Oliver punishes her anyway. He’s constantly losing his mind over everything and even keeping a picture of Irena after claiming that he would burn them all was rather fishy. It makes sense that Alice wouldn’t react much since she is the one who broke up his last marriage, but it should be a sign to her that Oliver can’t really be trusted.

I don’t like Alice on principle, but she is certainly a lot more reasonable. She is willing to be patient with Amy and never throws things out of proportion. It’s not as if the imaginary friend phase would last all that long anyhow right? Amy’s also a nice enough kid. She does have a problem staying focused as she’ll just forget what she was thinking and go around to play. It’s not her fault if she’s a little scatter brained though and she does consistently try to do the right thing. The circumstances are just always against her. There was really no better ways for Amy to act as she made the right call each time so I was definitely on her side. The family’s butler was rather annoying though and kept adding fuel to the flame. He would let Oliver know that Amy was playing by herself and even when told to escort Amy to a seedy part of town, he couldn’t be bothered since he was cleaning. He gets scared of an old lady and while he is supposed to be the nice character of the film, he just seemed inconsistent. The biggest strike against him was still letting Amy go to the house by herself, that was just inconsiderate.

There was a subplot that felt completely unnecessary to the film, but I suppose it gave us the only element of danger. There was an old lady and her daughter who lived in an abandoned old house in a seedy part of the neighborhood. The old lady believes that her daughter is dead for some reason and is always talking about how her current daughter is an impostor. Unfortunately, the stress of constantly lying to herself every day eventually got to her and she had a fatal heart attack. Her daughter kept trying to convince the Mom that she was real, but it was to no avail. They had the same conversation maybe 4-5 times and afterwards the daughter decided that she’d murder a little kid to get the Mom to notice her. That’s when Amy walks in of course and it gets pretty tense. The camera moves around a bit and we get to see the daughter glare at Amy for a while. Luckily the power of friendship ultimately prevailed and you were left to question once again why the plot was actually there? The tense scenes were handled well I suppose, but the drama with the old lady forgetting her daughter just came out of nowhere. I also didn’t get what the film was going for with her theatrics, maybe it was just proving that she was totally insane? The other unnecessary moment in the film was when a butterfly dies when one of the other kids catches it. This is why I don’t trust kids around animals and while it was meant to show how mean kids can be, it wasn’t needed. As expected, Oliver was on the kid’s side and said that Amy shouldn’t care about butterflies. It goes to show you why he’s not a very good role model and why he is off his rocker the whole time. The guy’s moral priorities are all out of whack.

The main disappointing thing about the film though was that the ghost of Irena wasn’t actually real. That part was underwhelming since I was fully expecting her to be real the whole time. I was anticipating a big fight at the end where she would defeat the Daughter and save Amy instead of just showing up for words of encouragement. She was definitely a good friend for Amy to have and even received a Christmas gift, but the film heavily implies that she really was fake. You could make a case for her being real since Amy even gave her a present and it vanished, but she could have just as easily hid it in the tree. My personal stance is that Irena was made up and Oliver just pretended to see her as part of his agreement to play along with Amy from now on. Better late than never right? It just would have given the film so much more tension and intensity if Irena had really showed up. I was expecting a very different portrayal and appearance from her, but her personality was accurate at least. She never really wanted to hurt anyone and was a very nice character in the first film. It’s good to see that dying didn’t really change any of that.

Overall, The Curse of the Cat People is a very misleading title to what is actually a decent film. There are no curses and there are no Cat People in this film. The movie tries to be intense as Alice says things like “Irena has cursed us!” but there is no real reason for her to feel like that. Oliver hasn’t gotten over her, but that’s because he’s a bad character and it’s certainly no her fault. Maybe it’s just Alice’s guilty conscience reminding her that she indirectly murdered Irena in the last film. In that sense, it’s odd to see her and Oliver get a happy ending since they were basically the villains in the last film. I can’t root for them and it is annoying to see them as the leads, but if you ignore the first film then at least Alice is reasonable enough. Amy was good at any rate and it’s a nice calm film. I don’t really mind slice of life flicks as long as they’re written well and there was nothing wrong with this one. I’d recommend checking it out and the film is fairly short so it’s not as if it’ll drag on or anything. If it ever gets a third film though, I expect to see action of some sort.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Black Cat Review

Have you ever seen a film that was very different from what you expected? That happened to me with this film as I just expected a completely different plot and the whole film was as radically different as any I’ve ever seen. Luckily, this was in a good way! As much as a horror film about a Black Cat knocking everyone would have been entertaining, a classic “Who Did It” murder mystery is infinitely better. Aside from one mistake, the film does quite well, but it is unfortunately a big mistake!

An old lady is near death so her family members quickly head to her mansion so that they can pick up their inheritance. If they don’t like what they receive, they are prepared to attack her if necessary. Luckily, they all receive a decent amount of money so they are pleased, but the lady announces that this only comes to pass once her maid is dead as the cats need to be taken care of. One of the family members doesn’t like this and quickly stabs her. With the old lady out of the way, the main characters must figure out who did it as the body count will only rise from here!

One difference in this film compared to the average murder mystery is that the body count isn’t actually that high. The suspense is mostly grabbed by near deaths and the ominous feeling that someone is always watching you. Also, it isn’t played completely serious as it is part comedy. Similar to another murder mystery film that I saw a while back, whose title escapes me. The light tone with the classic mystery make for a winning formula in terms of how interesting the film is.

As this film came out in the very early 1940’s, you can expect that the writing is quite good as well. That makes all the difference in any mystery title and I can almost certainly guarantee that a modern version would not be nearly as good in this area. Whether it be the subtle threats or the not to subtle ones, you just don’t see dialogue like this nowadays. The film is a little on the short side, but there’s still enough time to flesh out the characters and not have a rushed ending.

The film does a good job of making everyone look a little suspicious. There’s the main character who really reminded me of Bill Murray from Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. Seriously, the guy looks almost identical to him complete with the voice and a similar role. He was definitely one of the best parts of the film and I’d say that he earned the role of best character. As he’s the main character, most of what we see is from his side of the story, but you can never discount the lead as they sometimes don’t tell you everything. I was rooting for him to close the deal though!

The main character’s friend is here to break things to make them more valuable in the future. He’s extremely scatter brained to the point where he can never follow a sentence and it takes him hours to realize what people knew in seconds. He was a fun character as he constantly trolled the rest of the cast and found the secret passages before anyone else. He was in danger many times, but the good part about being oblivious is that fear won’t slow you down! Naturally, he’s suspicious because you have to wonder if it is all truly an act.

Next up, we have the family of three. There’s the step son who threatens his step father several times not to break his mother’s heart as he knows that the guy is cheating with someone else. Considering the threats and how much the money would help him, it’s obvious why this guy is a suspect. Likewise, if the father is willing to cheat on his elderly wife, we don’t know what he is capable of! He definitely wants the money from the will as he constantly yells about it. Maybe he wants it for sinister purposes!

His elderly wife is always in the background and prefers to let everyone else to the talking. She keeps up the pretense of liking the old lady even though everyone else constantly insults her and just waits for her inheritance. Is it possible that she actually cares or is she just playing along to throw away suspicion from herself? There’s the main heroine who believes that no murders took place and that her family are still decent people deep down who wouldn’t cross this line. She tries to distract the main character from this train of thought several times. Is it possible that she is right or does she just want us to think that?

Rounding up the list of suspects are out final members. We have the maid who threatened that the heroes would leave the house one way or the other. Wow, that’s pretty ominous right? A bit obvious, but perhaps that’s the point to lower our guard! There’s also the grounds servant, Eduwardo. He is always listening and watching from outside and he has free reign over the place. He would certainly have the time to commit the acts and the motive as well since he received almost nothing from the will in the end. Finally, we have the old lady. Maybe she cheated death somehow by using a fake poison right?

So, we definitely have a lot of suspects. I’m glad to say that the film doesn’t cheat with the final verdict. The culprit does have a good motive and was one of the suspects so that was good. Cop outs are the one thing that you don’t want in a mystery film! The opening of the film reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode. The mask party one where the relatives all wanted the old man to die and ultimately had their true faces exposed to everyone. The opening was definitely similar and I wouldn’t be surprised if one borrowed from the other.

This film would have been an easy 7, but there was one big mistake, which really hurt it. Unfortunately, one of the cats is poisoned and died. That was a really low blow and it definitely hurt the film. At least the cat wasn’t injured as that would have been even worse, but the death still ensured that I wouldn’t be giving this film any higher than a 5. It’s just hard to recommend a film with animal violence like this at times. For a show that has over 200 episodes or a long series like that, it’s much easier, but a single film….it’s just not happening. This was the one big mistake that the film made, but boy was it a big one!

The romance angle was surprisingly nonexistent for the most part. Of course, we have the main character and heroine who are polite to each other, but it never goes anywhere which is nice and realistic. There’s also the cheating subplot, but it also doesn’t really go anywhere. I’d say that this is a good thing as those plots weren’t needed to make the film be enjoyable anyway. As it stands, most of the character personalities were enjoyable, which really helped the film.

Overall, The Black Cat was much better than I anticipated. The score was lower due to the animal violence, but otherwise it was essentially the ideal mystery. It’s short, but there are no cop outs and the writing as done quite well. The film was pretty funny without going over the top in the comedy aspect. It wasn’t much of a problem back in the day though as the humor was almost always great or you would just miss the joke, but we never saw the kind of jokes that you see in something like Pixels. The horror aspects were also handled well as you would see an ominous hand reach out to take someone down or someone’s frightened expression as they realized that they were doomed. From the classics, this one easily takes down Frankenstein and Dracula without a doubt! In pure entertainment value, this would probably beat all of the other Universal classics.

Overall 5/10