The Conjuring 2 Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would likely be far more negative.
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It’s time to take a look at the next Conjuring film. As far as horror titles go the Conjuring usually gets a lot of praise for being a step above the genre. It avoids having dozens of random jump scares or throwing in random fanservice romances. It’s a horror film that tries to go about its story in a more intellectual way which is nice. While it’s still not an amazing film or anything like that it is reasonably enjoyable and shows that you can craft a pretty decent horror film if you’re willing to give it a try.

The film starts with Lorraine and Ed solving another case. This one was particularly difficult though and now Lorraine has decided that she doesn’t want to do it anymore. She wants to just retire. Ed wants to know why, but she refuses to tell him. The truth is that in one of her visions she saw a mysterious Nun murder Ed. As long as she doesn’t enter the spirit world there is a chance to prevent this, but every time she has a vision it gets closer and closer to happening. This Nun is quite powerful and since the heroes don’t know her true identity it makes defeating this villain quite difficult indeed. Ed is fine with retiring but then a new case comes to their attention and Ed feels that they are obligated to take it.

We then cut to the case in question. Janet, the second eldest of a 4 child family raised by a single mom begins to see an old man in their house. He wants the family to leave and until they do he has decided to start haunting them. At first it is minor things like moving tables around or cutting out the power but he begins to get violent and starts to possess Janet into hurting her family. Leaving the house doesn’t seem to work and the family even tries to live at a neighbor’s place. The problem is that the old man has a partner known as the Crooked Man who is also bent on making the families’ lives as difficult as possible. Just when it seems all hope is lost the main two characters show up. The problem is that the Nun has followed them. Have they only made the problem even worse?

Right off the bat I have to say that the film did a pretty good job of introducing 3 big villains and giving each of them a good amount of screen time. Naturally the one with the biggest role is the old man. He seems pretty unreasonable and evil the whole time, but there is a twist about it. Honestly it’s probably one that you’ll expect. You’ll be hard pressed on whether you should feel bad for the guy or if he should have made a move earlier and really just got what was coming to him. Either way it does make you wonder just how much power you get in this film’s afterlife. The villains seem to be quite powerful but what about all of the heroic ghosts?

Then we have the Crooked Man who gets the smallest role out of the 3. He has a pretty distinct design though and his claws certainly look like they’d make him a threat to any fighter. He’s reasonably quick as well so you definitely don’t want to underestimate this guy. Finally we have the Nun who is naturally the strongest of the 3. This character has been hinted at since the first film so you knew that she was getting ready to make a move. The film repeatedly hints at her past with Ed which will likely be looked at in her prequel film. Unfortunately Ed doesn’t remember her, but fortunately Lorraine is ready. The ending may be a bit of a stretch given how strong the Nun was, but I suppose knowing a ghost’s real name is incredibly powerful here. I liked the Nun’s design. It was sufficiently intimidating without looking gross.

While no horror film’s effects will likely ever look as good as Insidious, The Conjuring certainly holds up. As I mentioned the monsters look pretty good and the film’s always got some dark lighting while you are still able to see what is happening. The music also helps fill out the atmosphere. It’s definitely well made technically and certainly isn’t a cash-in sequel.

As for the main characters they’re still pretty good. You can certainly understand why Lorraine wanted to retire although I think she should have told Ed what she saw. Whether she thinks she can change the future or not, giving him a heads up would certainly be helpful. At the end of the day Lorraine still got involved in the case to ensure no innocents would be hurt so she did a good job there. She ended up doing a large chunk of the work in the climax. Meanwhile Ed is a pretty good character as well. He broke into the house without waiting at the end which was important even if he wasn’t really winning by that point. He did make one big mistake though and I think Lorraine will have to be partially guilty here as well.

So towards the end of the film the main characters decide to leave the family because they think that it was all a ruse. It’s a pretty tough scene to swallow because they already saw mountains of proof that suggests otherwise. Seriously, for Ed and Lorraine to believe for a minute that it was all a hoax is just terrible. The neighbors were a lot more supportive than these guys. It is enough to almost eliminate how nice the duo was before this point. After all, the family could have easily been murdered as soon as Ed and Lorraine had left. It was simply not their best moment in time. The Church also doesn’t look good as once again they are worried about their image. That seems to always be the case in these films.

As for the family who were being attacked by the ghosts I’d say that they were good characters. The kids weren’t overly annoying and at least they were willing to help each other out. While the whole teamwork thing was not as effective as Ed suggested it would be, they didn’t back down. The boy did go in after Janet to see if she was okay even if that almost proved to be fatal. The Mom also did her best to help out and once she believed Janet she did everything she could to stop the spirits. Reaching out to professionals and getting TV coverage definitely couldn’t have been easy since it would hurt her reputation as well. The family ultimately felt like what the average family should be. They weren’t exaggerated for the sake of the movie or anything like that.

Overall, The Conjuring 2 is actually a good movie. The horror elements work pretty well and the film is careful not to cross the line into super edgy territory. I do think that the Nun was pretty much the strongest villain that the series could come up with though so I’m wondering where the series will go from here. A third film will need to do something to make sure it isn’t a rehash of the previous two. Still, the series seems to be doing pretty well so far so I suppose there’s no reason to worry at the moment. I’d recommend checking this film out. The main characters may annoy you a bit but they ultimately make the right decision.

Overall 6/10

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Attack on Titan Season 3 Review

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Well, it’s time to quickly talk about season 3 of Attack on Titan. The season isn’t quite over as it’s on the mid-season break but my journey with it likely is. This season finally crossed the TV-14 threshold and Toonami bumped it up to TV-MA. Now, this might not be for all episodes, possibly just one or two here and there, but it was still a pretty solid jumping off point. TV ratings have always been a little all over the place as sometimes shows just keep whatever rating they got for a while even if the individual episodes don’t deserve it. You see this frequently with many shows on Toonami. There’s less effort put into the ratings than if it were a movie as I suppose they think the fans will just keep on watching anyway. If you know that lets say one episode of Black Clover coming up will be TV-14 you might as well give the rating to all of the episodes or a good chunk of them. Sometimes they’ll update the rating other times they won’t. So for Titan it may end up sticking to TV-14 most of the time or once they go to MA they may not bother switching it back for a while. The ratings can be a bit arbitrary but either way I don’t watch any TV-MA episodes on principle. It’s a guideline that I’ve always stuck to. Anyway I doubt I’m missing much since this show was never all that good.

From the few episodes I did see the show was off to a terrible start anyway. The heroes are torturing their prisoners now to get information. Their desperation to come out on top has ultimately made them into the villains they were trying to stop. That’s a common theme within the series as the characters constantly justify their actions or throw themselves a pity party. None of them stay heroic by the end so you probably end up rooting for the ones who are less corrupt than the others. As most of the characters know what the others are doing and still do nothing, there aren’t too many innocents around. It’s a shame but the character cast certainly isn’t going to be holding you on to the hype.

This arc deals with the political struggles within the walls for the majority of the season. The government is trying to regain control while the Survey Corps are starting to wonder if they should be in charge. Then of course you’ve got the Titan shifters who have some kind of plan in mind to recapture Eren once more and of course Kenny has been hired to help get Eren for the government. With nobody to trust and everyone showing up as villains it’s a pretty sticky situation for all parties involved. If you enjoyed the Titan battles of previous seasons then you’ll be disappointed as there isn’t much fighting here. You have the huge oversized titan but that’s barely even a fight. No worries as part 2 of season 3 will bring the action back if you’ve made it that long.

The negatives are basically the same as in all of the other seasons. The violence is still wildly over the top. The series thrives on being as depressing and dark as possible with everyone not wanting to die before they finally do. The characters are constantly whining and collateral damage to the civilians is always to be expected. Whole towns will be used as bait by the “heroes.” I don’t recall as much animal violence here as in season 2 which is nice even if it’s not enough to save the series. Historia’s backstory is definitely pretty dark and it makes her decision to listen to the father seem rather terrible even from the start. Sometimes it really does seem like Eren is the only reasonable character in the series.

I will give the series props for its tight animation and soundtrack as always though. A lot of budget is clearly put into this series and it always delivers time after time. It’s just a shame since the series could do so much more with itself. Put this creative team in front of another big title like a Black Cat reboot and it would be nice to see. On a technical level you just can’t fault this series. I dare say that they increased the speed even more on the zip lining through the city scenes like when Levi tries to escape the government agents. I’m sure those scenes took a lot of work to create.

Naturally this review is a little on the shorter side since I didn’t watch much. The episodes I did see didn’t have much going on so it’s not like there is too much new content to discuss. I do have to say that seeing Eren get kidnapped is always iffy since with his titan powers I’d like to see him be more prepared for these attempts. Summon a little armor at all times or something like that. I think with enough practice he would be able to use such a skill and then he’s really be nice and overpowered. The government agents would stop messing with him at that point.
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Overall, By this point you will likely know if you like Attack on Titan or not. It’s not as if the series has changed since season 1. It’s still the same characters fighting Titans even if their situations have grown more complicated. The writing style has not changed nor has the animation or the soundtrack. It’s a very familiar series that you’ll have nostalgia for as soon as you watch the first episode. Whether good or bad memories surface from this is another question entirely. I fully expect that we will get a season 4 once season 3 ends and the series isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. With the manga possibly ending relatively soon (2 years or so) the anime will probably have a finishing point by around season 5 but you really never know. In the meantime I’ll be content with my quality action shows like Dragon Ball Super and RWBY.

Overall 1/10

A Fistful of Dollars 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.
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It’s time to look at an old Wild West film. I’ve never been a fan of the genre. It’s just not my thing as the scenery isn’t all that engaging and everyone always seems to be pretty unlikable here. Fortunately this one was actually pretty decent all things considered and I may go as far as to say that this is my favorite Wild West film. It’s just more enjoyable than the average one and there is quite a lot of strategy going on here which is always nice.

The film starts off with our nameless hero wandering into a corrupt town. There are two factions here which are always battling for control. They are the Baxters and the Rojos. The Baxters are technically the Sheriff group so you’d think they would be the heroes here but considering that they’re all bullies who like shooting everyone up then I guess that isn’t true. The hero decides to take both families down by pitting them against each other. In the process perhaps he will be able to save a couple who has been separated by the warring factions. (Not that they each joined a squad but that the Roja’s have split them up for their own amusement.

A good chunk of the film is about the main character lying to both sides and getting them into trouble. Naturally there is no reason to feel bad for any of the people that he is tricking because they are all bad hombres from the start. He grabs two dead Mexican cops and plants them in a grave yard which causes both groups to want to reach them in time. I can understand the Rojos wanting to silence them but I don’t really see how this would help the Baxters. They are hopelessly outmatched against the Rojos anyway. Why wouldn’t the Baxters go to the next village to grab some cops if they really needed backup? I feel like that would have helped out a little unless they were worried about being undermanned at the village for any amount of time.

One scene near the end of the film is a pretty big stretch though. The hero frames the Baxters again so the final 4 Rojos decide to go to their base and murder them all. The Baxters are supposed to be decent fighters in their own right…right? Well, they manage to somehow lose a 20+ vs 4 battle which is just shameful. They keep running out of the house without their guns or at the very least without any kind of aiming skills. At most you can see the first few members falling for this but we’re talking dozens here and the scene lasts for a very long time. They just keep running out of the house and getting shot. At least take one or two guys down before you die. Going out like that is just embarrassing. It would be tragic if the Baxters weren’t such bad characters.

Naturally there is no reason to like the Rojos either. The main villain is pretty much your stereotypical gang leader who is only concerned with getting money and messing everyone up. At least he is able to plan better than the Baxters though. Still, the only 3 good characters here are the main character and his two pals. The more minor of the two is the coffin maker. He doesn’t do a whole lot but ends up playing a pivotal role towards the end of the film. Then you’ve got the bar owner who helps the hero out a lot. Naturally this ends up being a pretty painful experience for him which is always the case when you ally yourself with the main character. He stays strong throughout though and is also a pretty good shot with his gun.

Finally there’s the main character although I think I’ve already mentioned that he’s pretty solid. This guy knows how to plan and he’s a very quick shot. He manages to take down multiple opponents quite a few times. Without his gun he can still put up a fight although at that point trying to fight a 1 v 4 is basically impossible. He also gets put through the wringer here as the scene where he is beaten by the group is quite intense and certainly lasts for a long while. The film can get pretty gruesome although that’s to be expected. It’s another Wild West thing. Still, it could have been worse.

Aside from the violence the only other aspect of the film that can hurt it is essentially how the villains are winning for 99% of the film and by the time they are defeated there isn’t much left to save. It always takes a bit of the triumph out of the victory because the villains got away with so much before finally being taken down. That’s just how it is sometimes I suppose, but it’s also fun to see the hero swoop in and save the day before all of the damage has been done.

Overall, A Fistful of Dollars is a Wild West film that manages to tick off the usual boxes without making too many mistakes. The film doesn’t particularly drag on and having a good lead is certainly important. It can be annoying to see the entire town corrupt as it is said early on that basically everyone else has already been murdered. Without the main character around things would have definitely gotten a lot worse. By the time the police actually get ready to show up as the film is ending you know that they were just way too late for it to even matter. I’d recommend checking this film out. You’ll see how to properly do a quick draw.

Overall 6/10

Exorcist II: The Heretic 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 a lot more negative.
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Who here remembers the dumpster fire that was the Exorcist? Well it ended up getting a sequel. That’s pretty unfortunate in and of itself but then this film is so scattered and nonsensical that you have to wonder how it ever made it past the production phase. This film certainly didn’t do much right, but then again what would you expect? Lets take a look at the Heretic.

The film starts with Lamont getting ready for a new mission. The church wants him to check up on Regan to see what the situation is. However, they don’t want to be bothered with the specifics so if there’s anything wrong with her then Lamont needs to ignore that and give them the okay. Essentially sending him is just a formality and they want him to be aware of this. Lamont isn’t okay with this, but then demons possess him and tell him to destroy Regan. He can’t resist their influences. Can anyone live through this?

Well, one big issue here is a similar one from the first film. The priests look super weak here. The demons seem to have all of the power at their disposal while the heroes can’t do anything. If even the priest is getting mind controlled with ease then what hope do the other characters have? None, that’s what. The demons basically just toy with the main characters a lot until they grow bored and allow themselves to be destroyed. It doesn’t make for a particularly engaging synopsis I must say.

Regan actually seems to be doing a much better job of resisting the demons than the people who came in to help her. She only gets possessed when the heroes put her in the telepathy machine which allows her to see the past. How such an invention even came into being is quite suspect on its own so lets pretend that we didn’t see that. The scenes of them mind melding are pretty boring and every time the characters use this ability it ends up backfiring anyway. Why would they want to open a portal for the demons to come through?

Then you’ve got the annoying subplot where Lamont is going crazy. He starts losing his grip on reality such as when he imagines a scientist to be an old monk with some interesting powers. Naturally he dies by getting stabbed in this vision. Then he gets to ride through Africa where a swarm of locusts destroy everyone. That was in the past and it ends up tying into the film by the climax, but at that point you’ll have seen the same clip so many times that you will be bored out of your mind. If it’s one thing that this film loves, it’s stock motion. You’ll see the same recycled clips many, many times over.

The film shouldn’t have tried to keep going back to the past to explain the present. There’s just no point to it. Then you’ve got Regan’s psychiatrist who tries her best to help the kid, but naturally a demon is a little above her pay grade. Unfortunately she is travelling with an assistant who is highly susceptible to the demon mind control. Although as already pointed out the demons can mind control whoever they please so things wouldn’t have changed a whole lot otherwise. She was effectively just the fall person this time. Still makes for an annoying character though.

As you can probably expect the film is pretty violent as well. It’s not quite as gruesome as the first film where it was just hard to look at any of the characters, but this one’s still no good. You’d want to avoid it on this alone, much less everything else. None of the characters are any good with the exception of Regan who isn’t great either since she can be rather vague and scattered. It’s hard to trust her because of how she acts even if she does mean well.

Then we have the villain Pazuzu who isn’t particularly memorable. He’s basically just a very generic demon who is willing to do anything to get the last laugh even if it means degrading himself. There’s nothing interesting about him at all. The demon has absolutely no character and is basically just a waste of time. Couldn’t the writers have at least given him some kind of interesting sub-plot or character motivations? Nah…I guess I can’t say that I was surprised.

Overall, what I can glean from this movie is that it didn’t need to be made. There was no reason for an Exorcist sequel and the movie writers knew it. That’s why there is barely a plot here as the demon just wants to rise and fight but doesn’t even know why. All it does is try to make the Church look bad with how the cross and spells never work on the demons. They always just end up laughing. The film could have gone for an interesting Venom route where the original demon has grown attached to Regan and wants to protect her from other demons, but that’s too clever for this series. We also don’t need to humanize demons like that anyway so it may not have worked either way. That’s just more evidence that in general this film just should have been a reboot or something instead. Give the franchise a clean slate and maybe even improve on the original. It’s certainly possible and I think that would have been the optimal route. So, if you want to see a good horror film I’d suggest checking out something like Ghost Busters instead even if it’s basically more of a comedy film.

Overall 1/10

13 Ghosts Review

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It’s time to look at an old horror movie. This one’s definitely one of those flicks that may have been remotely scary back in the day but now you would just laugh. It’s very low key and the characters tend to get unnerved about rather small things. The ghosts themselves never really get to do anything and the film is riddled with recycled animation to try and save the budget. All in all that makes for a pretty mixed product here. It’s not one I would particularly recommend but I suppose it’s not one of the worst horror films out there.

The plot starts with Cyrus being rather down on his luck. The guy is really behind on his payments and as a result the tax people have been taking all of his furniture. They only leave behind the walls. Fortunately Cyrus then receives a large mansion from his dead uncle via will. The only catch is that he can only claim this if he lives in the mansion and that is certainly going to be rather tricky to say the least. That’s because there are a bunch of ghosts running around. Benjamin, the lawyer who told them about the will keeps trying to drive them away. He states that it just isn’t important enough to risk their lives over it and he’ll take it from here. Cyrus isn’t backing down though. Are these ghosts real or just more superstitions?

Naturally with a title like “13 Ghosts” you expect a lot of supernatural attacks. At the very least you’d expect the ghosts to have a large presence here, but that simply isn’t the case. Each of the ghosts has a gimmick like doing a chop or just yelling. That is all that they really get to do here and we see the same recycled animations for all of the ghosts each time they appear. There are only 12 ghosts for the majority of the film, but you can probably guess how a new one will be added before long. We hear stories of how the ghost utterly destroyed the uncle but it’s hard to buy into that from the start since they don’t do anything. As a result some twists may not land as hard as they could have.

The ghosts also do a terrible job of trying to explain the truth to the main characters. Surely they could have done something more to try and get their case across. At least at the very end of the film one of the ghosts finally made his move. I do have to question how he can overpower a real person since he’s basically see through, but it’s not a huge stretch to just assume that ghosts are given super strength. Again, if that is the case then they should have done something sooner though. What was stopping the ghosts can just axing the main villain right at the start?

It was interesting to see the Ouija board in a film this old though. Naturally it’s a whole lot less scary without all of the added special effects. If anything the game looks rather old and unimpressive. It also doesn’t seem to have as much of a taboo here compared to usual as the characters play it very nonchalantly. Of course once they get answers that they don’t want then they start to blame the board. Not playing it from the start is the only right response to this.

As always I have to say that the kid wasn’t great either. His name is Buck and he’s always insulting the hired help. There’s a maid who cleans up around the house and he insists on calling her a witch. By the end the film leaves it up to your imagination on if he was right or not, but either way he just comes across as rude. He’s also an incredibly deep sleeper as he doesn’t stir even when someone picks him up and puts him in a death trap. Come on…he should be more trusting. In general he shouldn’t be opening the front door to allow the lawyer in after hours either. There are just a lot of pitfalls here.

The other characters aren’t as bad, but they aren’t particularly great either. Cyrus and his wife are reasonable. They can be a little jumpy, but at the end of the day they are keeping the mansion. Then you’ve got the lawyer who is really scared of the ghosts. He constantly makes sure to remind the heroes that they could die any moment from the ghosts. I’m not sure if that is really who you want as your lawyer. I suppose he doesn’t have to be brave as long as he is experienced though.

Overall, 13 Ghosts is just very uneventful. The film doesn’t really do anything to try and be all that scary. For the most part it’s just a day in the lives of the main characters. They get a few scares, but for the most part they are just scaring themselves and it’s not even the ghosts doing it. At least they enjoyed their cash at the end though so the film had a happy ending. It’s just that the film really was unfocused. I still can’t get behind how bad the actual ghosts were. They just kept doing absolutely nothing for the entire film. If you cut them out of the film entirely then nothing would change as the single ghost at the end is not even related to the others. I mean, he is one of the 13 but you could have called it the Ghost instead and it would have been more accurate. Still a lifeless film, but at least not a misleading one. If you want a more intense film about ghosts then check out Scrooged.

Overall 3/10

The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb Review

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It’s time to look at an old Mummy film. Unfortunately this one isn’t particularly good, but I don’t think you will find this all that surprising. After all, the Mummy films are rarely all that good and this is the Hammer version. Hammer pretty much never gets anything right so why would they start now? Just think about it….these guys aren’t the ones you want to write your film. As a result we get a bunch of unlikable characters thrown into situations where it is hard to be sympathetic to them.

The film starts out with John and the gang digging up a mummy. The locals don’t like this since mummies bring a lot of curses with them so they try to murder the heroes. The main characters fight back and eventually with the help of the rich Alexander they get the Mummy out. Alexander is your typical rich CEO who wants to make even more money so he thinks that the curse will be a great way of attracting people over to his shows. Honestly….he’s not wrong. It’s working pretty well, but then the Mummy escapes and starts to murder people. John will have to figure out a way to stop the Mummy, but he also has to figure out a way to stop Adam from stealing his fiance Annette. Will he be focused enough to achieve both objectives or forfeit both?

Right away you can see one of the problems here…Annette. So, she is supposedly serious about John and yet the instant Adam shows up she quickly starts cheating on John and is ready to abandon him. This essentially means that she was fake all along or she was only in it for the money. I can’t imagine that John has that much cash so it’s a little iffy, but it’s all that I’ve got. So, this wrecks Annette’s character, but it also makes John look bad since he never even confronts her about this. He basically just watches and once Annette is ready to take him back he’s ready as well. The film ends before we can really see the fallout but I would have liked to see them break up before the film ends.

Also, before it got the far shouldn’t John have fought for her? It’s a debatable point since sometimes it’s best to just let someone go if they’re going to be tempted away that easily. At the same time, you gotta make some kind of move right? Leave or stay but just watching makes John look sooooo weak. Then we’ve got the villain Adam. Aside from the fact that he acts obviously evil from the start, his plan is just pretty bad. He is cursed with immortality and the only way he can die is if the Mummy murders him. I personally think he overrates his healing factor, but even if it is true, he has to go to an awful lot of work just to die a very painful death. There’s nothing particularly likable or interesting about Adam.

The only good character here is Alexander. As I mentioned he is a bit generic, but I really like the rich CEO angle. He wants to make a quick buck and is honest about how petty he is. You have to appreciate how straight forward the guy is. You know from the start that he is definitely going to die, but even with that I have to say that I was rooting for him. He isn’t scared of mummies and curses the way that everyone else is. Alexander holds his ground all the way to the end as a good character should. He should have been the main character and it would have been cool to see him take down the Mummy personally.

As for the Mummy, I’m afraid that he is also a disgrace here. The guy can barely move and hie design is just awful. It’s almost like the movie is doing its best to mock the guy here. The only way he hits anyone is when they trip or are being held back by another character. He is also weak against chanting, but is still able to back hand Adam so I’ll give him some props there. He also destroys his followers when they wish for it so you could argue that he is taking commands. This version of the Mummy is the closest we will get to a mindless monster.

The whole time you’re watching this film you’re going to be waiting for a character to make a sensible choice. Unfortunately it just never happens. The Mummy’s followers are both suicidal and end up letting him murder them. The heroes are either not courageous enough to do anything like John or they are easily swayed and can’t be trusted. In case you weren’t sure, I thought the writing in this film wasn’t particularly good either. At best I can at least say that the film’s pacing wasn’t bad. It’s a pretty quick adventure and isn’t given enough time to drag on.

Overall, The Mummy’s Tomb could and should have been a lot better. As it stands, it’s a fairly annoying film that just isn’t all that enjoyable. There’s really not much to see here and you’d be better off watching one of the other Mummy films. I don’t know why these companies have so much trouble with the Mummy. In theory it’s a concept that should work quite well. The Mummy got the short end of the stick on his first attempt at life and now he wants a re-do. Where’s the harm in that? Yet, the Mummy doesn’t get to appear for very long in some of these films. It’s a shame.

Overall 3/10

Strait-Jacket Review

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It’s time to look at an old horror film by the name of strait jacket and like the Tingler it is ready with a few twists and turn in the plot. It’s always good when a film throws in a few misdirects to keep you busy as long as they make sense and have some kind of purpose. I do think this film pulled off the twist but it still couldn’t save itself from falling into a few holes.

The basic plot is that Lucy was away from home on a business trip. During her absence the husband decided to cheat on her with someone else. What he didn’t realize was that Lucy had caught the early train back home so she arrived in time to see this. The guy didn’t notice her arrival until it was too late and she managed to destroy both of them. She was sent away for 30 years but now she is back and hoping to live a normal life once more. Her daughter, Carol, wants everything to go back to how they once were, but is that even possible?

There are a bunch of other characters wandering around and are ready to muddle the plot as well. This includes the fiance to the daughter who just so happens to be rich and his parents. They don’t want the main two to get married and are ready to stop this relationship in its tracks. Then you’ve got the nice maid who helps out around the house and a mean Gardner who makes it clear that he doesn’t take orders from anyone. People start to get axed just like how the mother got rid of the competition. Has Lucy descended into madness or is someone setting her up?

Now, how well the twist works may depend on how you feel about the mother’s opening scene. After all, she was betrayed and so she fought back. The context is a whole lot different than most other murderers in these kinds of films. She was never actually crazy and just wasn’t gonna let the guy get away with it. It will probably feel very far fetched to see her going back to getting anyone else. Of course, as a horror film that is always a possibility. Meanwhile you will be suspecting someone from the main cast. I’d say that there are only 3 reasonable suspects among them but I’ll stop there.

Unfortunately the film does make the big mistake of throwing in animal violence. See, the main character’s own a farm and they believe in caging their chickens. Naturally we also have to see them chop one and the whole thing is pretty bad. Cutting out that scene/pointless subplot would have really gone a long way. I suppose that all of this does help to tip you off to the fact that something definitely isn’t right here.

The final action scene is definitely pretty intense though as the villain has a cool design. The whole thing is basically perfect even if it’s a little plot convenient. Getting into the house is way too easy for all parties involved. I get that this was back in the old days where everyone was a friend, but just leaving your door open throughout the night is asking for trouble. In particular you will feel bad for the father who just wanted to drink his milk. Sure, the guy probably should have gotten a little more involved with the marriage situation but at least he wasn’t actively opposed to it. He should have been less of a target than the wife. Of course, if you’re planning on bumping them both off then I suppose it makes sense to take him out first.

We’ve also got the corrupt butcher guy who was hired on for some reason. I never get why the main characters hire some super shady guy and then put up with how he acts throughout. They are the ones with the power here, just fire the guy and be done with it. Instead he throws around some threats and the main characters basically just have to shake in their boots. The fiance character wasn’t much better honestly. That’s because he is treated like a normal main character and yet he comes very close to cheating on Carol which is what Lucy was afraid of. The guy has no self control at all.

While the film does perform some of the plot twists pretty well, there are also some obnoxious red herrings that don’t need to be here. The first of which is certainly the scene with Lucy trying to act younger. The music takes her over and suddenly she becomes a huge flirt who can’t control herself. That’s a very big 180. Couldn’t she have dressed younger while staying mature? It defeats the whole purpose of getting a second chance at youth if you also lose the knowledge of being older along with it. This plot never really plays into the film in a realistic way. At times she just acts a little too crazy…so maybe Lucy always was insane.

Then we have the psych guy show up to basically tell Lucy that she’s crazy and has got to go. He’s not the smartest guy for a plethora of reasons. One of which is that he should have his guard up since he is dealing with someone who has murdered in the past. Even if the rehabilitation is complete you’d think that he would at least be prepared for anything right? Well, that’s not the case here and it certainly ended up coming back to haunt him. Then we’ve got the brother Bill who doesn’t really get much of a role here. He’s mostly just around as a sound board for the other characters.

Overall, Strait Jacket is a pretty interesting thriller. It makes it share of mistakes so I won’t call it a good film, but I will say that it does put in an effort. The film at least goes through the motions of forcing you to think a little. I also did like the ending with how happy it got all of a sudden compared to the sad scene that had just played. It’s time to try to make things all right again and it’s good that the character isn’t going to take the situation too hard. Who knows, with a few years of patience and talking maybe they’ll all get their happily ever after. In the mean time I would recommend getting some tickets for the Broly film coming out this year (In Japan) if you want a spooky, but epic film. That one’s going to be intense!

Overall 3/10

Sometimes They Come Back 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.
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When you see a film from Stephen King you typically get the feeling that it’s not going to be good. The guy loves making his books as gritty and over the top as possible. Not saying that he can’t have a good book, but I get the feeling that the vast majority are pretty bad. This one definitely continues that streak and is just so dark and gruesome that you’ll want to take out a few hot pockets to make it through this film. Sometimes the Razzie nominations come back, but sometimes they don’t.

The film starts with Jim moving back to the town that almost ended his life many years ago when bullies destroyed his brother. He swore that he would never come back, but the cash lured him in. That’s how it always starts. You’ve got a nice life situation, decent pay and a good atmosphere. Then someone offers you extra money to do something dangerous and you take it…not knowing that it will be the end. Jim took this risk and as a result his family is now in danger. The teens who attacked those 20+ years ago and got hit by a train are now coming back to life. They are murdering kids in Jim’s class (Jim’s a teacher) and taking their place. Nobody can stop these guys since they have regeneration and super strength. Gradually they all come back and Jim is forced to have one last confrontation with them. Can he prove that he has grown stronger over the years or will he have to beg them for some help?

Well, where to start here? I guess lets talk about tired horror trope #78: Overpowered villains. As always the main characters can’t really do anything against these villains. They are stronger than humans and bullet proof. What can Jim reasonably do about all of this? He does try to defend himself at times but they just beat him with a single punch and call it a day. He’s just plain stumped at that point and it’s hard to even point the blame at him. Of course the moral is that he has to move on, but whether he does that or not students are going to keep on dying. It’s a lose-lose situation and the worst part is that the students had nothing to do with this, but are still defenseless. Jim is unable to prevent any of them from dying and even by the end of the film nobody will ever really know what went on there. Jim even drags one guy out of retirement only to let him be promptly murdered. None of these deaths are painless or peaceful at all either. The villains make sure that these guys really have it.

Then we also have the fact that Jim’s guilty conscience shouldn’t even be guilty. Basically, he stole the car keys from the bullies so after they murdered his brother he ensured that they would die as well. So..was he not supposed to have picked up the keys? The bullies made it clear that they were going to destroy Jim next. It’s also not as if it was pre-meditated, Jim just grabbed them in the heat of the moment. The whole thing makes you shake your head. Then, while the bullies got super powers and such the brother doesn’t get anything so when he comes back from the dead he promptly gets beat up again. Shouldn’t he have also been powered up to be able to match the others? Something just doesn’t seem right about all of this. The villains always get the props with this.

So, the film is super violent with literal dismemberments and overly dark/tragic. What else could go wrong? Well, that is about it. The rest of the movie just doesn’t help its case with its poor script and unlikable characters. The film can feel rather long at times and there isn’t much to like. That’s always the worst part for a film like this, there are no positives to be found. Without those then the film really has no hope of being good. No worries though, the film does squeeze in the annoying kid trope. So, the mother and the kid know that these teens are trying to destroy Jim. They naturally lock the doors. Then someone knocks on the front door so the kid runs up and opens the door. The Mom should have stopped him for starters and for seconds there should have been some common sense here. Why is this kid so terrible? It’s why I don’t like having kids in films. They make the worst possible mistakes constantly. The only consistent thing about them is that they will never make the right move. Leave fighting zombies to the professionals.

Overall, This is definitely not a film that I would recommend. It plays out like just about any other slasher with the zombie bullies just destroying everyone in their way. Jim can’t stop them and only a demonic train is able to help him out here. It ends up effectively being a time loop only in this version extra people die in order to power up the loop further. Definitely not something you want to see in such a loop. There’s nothing particularly charming or fun about this film to hold it together. We also get a ton of flashbacks so if you start to forget how the brother died, no worries you’ll see it a bunch. If you have to watch a horror/thriller about changing the past then watch Flashpoint instead. Still not a great movie, but it is an improvement.

Overall 0/10

The Tingler Review

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It’s time to look at an old film known as the Tingler. It’s a movie that will cause you to re-think everything you thought you knew about the notion of fear. At least, that’s what the film thinks. We even get an intro at the beginning where the writer is basically begging you to try and act scared during the film since the whole climax revolves around this. It’s a little rough since these films are hardly scary and you’d have to have a group of friends around to be bold enough to yell in the first place. All in all, it wasn’t the best film out there, but as far as horror titles go it could have been a whole lot worse.

So the movie starts off with Chapin figuring out that inside of every human is a giant worm known as the Tingler. It explains the back pains we get when we’re older. When people get super scared the worm gets huge and starts crushing us from the inside however as soon as you yell the noise vaporizes the creature. As such it is hard to capture the thing alive since this is the weakest monster in a very long time. Chapin tries to scare himself but he simply isn’t brave enough and ends up yelling. The effect also doesn’t work too well on his wife since she ends up passing out. No, he needs someone who can’t yell out. That’s where Martha comes in. She is mute and cannot let her fear out. She conveniently dies of fear and so Chapin gets a hold of the Tingler. Will this really make him rich and famous or has he done all of this for nothing?

Chapin is one of those eccentric main characters who wants to prevail in his scientific endeavors no matter the cost. Whatever it takes is what he will do, even if it means putting someone at gunpoint. He is rocky enough where the film is able to successfully pull off some misdirects with him. There are two times in the film where you think he is going to do one thing and he does the other. Both were unexpected and particularly the latter twist as it happens at the very end of the film. Even if these twists gave Chapin a little humanity I can’t say that he was a great character. Let’s step away from the moral ambiguities of even trying to capture a Tingler. Once he actually does have one he doesn’t even want to do anything with it. He decides that there are forces of nature beyond man. All I can say to that is it’s a little late for second thoughts at this stage in the game. At that point everyone suffered for nothing. Chapin is also rather naive.

In a subplot, his wife has been cheating on him for a while now and is trying to steal money from his employee’s fiancée. Chapin confronts her about this and then gets the gun ready. Later on she claims to have had a total change of heart and serves him a drink. He flips the cups thinking that he has outsmarted her but the plan was a little more intricate than that. What he should have done was not drink at all. How could he take such a big risk? The wife is naturally not a good character either. She’s basically just around to try and make everyone’s lives a lot tougher than they needed to be. The film never tries to make her sympathetic and that’s certainly for the best.

Then we have Oliver who seems a little unbalanced. He likes to drink a lot and just seems very off during the scene where he visits his brother’s body in the beginning. He wonders what it would feel like to be in the chair and stuff like that. Even Chapin has to cut him off a few times. Oliver never ends up becoming a decent character and if anything the lead was probably a little too polite to him by the end. At least Chapin is fearless I’ll give him that. Martha could be annoying at times since she would act very suspicious right from the start. She is clearly very connected to her money and didn’t want to let it out of her sight even for an instant. That being said, she is a little too rattled by basic things like a little cut. I suppose it can be unnerving, but all of this together just made her a little too eccentric.

As for the actual Tingler, it’s hard to the creature seriously. Essentially it’s just a big worm with pincirs. Once it has you in its grip then it’s all over. I can appreciate the threat that this would pose to most humans in this film, but he could have had a cooler design. At the end of the day it just didn’t seem that strong. The main characters seem to think that it cannot be destroyed, but they hardly even tried doing anything to prove that theory. As a result it is hard to really buy into that hypothesis. Where’s the proof?

The ending was certainly interesting with how we got a twist like in a modern horror film. Considering who was getting twisted you’ll be hard pressed to try and defend the guy. As they say, karma arrives awfully quick in most horror titles. Play the villain at your own risk there. I guess the film did a reasonable job of making most of the twists realistic throughout but it’s all still tragic for the victim. According to the villain the victim had tried similar deadly things on him off screen, but it’s hard to know if he was being legit or even if it matters.

Overall, The Tingler is a film that likes its plot twists. They actually did work rather well so I’ll give the film some props there. Still, the movie felt rather unfocused. I still can’t believe that Chapin would give up on his dream so quickly after being completely obsessed over the Tingler for many years. That is just too rushed. Most of the characters seem to be rather crazy as well so there’s no one to root for. Even Chapin’s employee is basically just going along with all of this for his paycheck even though he has a feeling that things just aren’t right at the moment. He may as well be an accomplice. He was also going to bring some animals to test the fear element on which is inhumane at best. No, the only character to root for here is the Tingler as it works to destroy all of humanity.

Overall 4/10

The Shallows Review

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It’s time to look at a pretty recent shark film. These films are super risky in general because sharks lead to animal violence which is something that you typically want to avoid in a film. They also tend to take place at a beach which results in a considerable amount of fanservice. It’s a losing combo if I ever saw one and this film was not able to escape. If anything it might be the weakest shark film.

The movie starts out with a teenage girl heading off to a beach by her lonesome. The original plan was to go with her friend but that plan tanked when the friend was a no show. Now Nancy will have to try and have fun alone. It’s going well for her at first until it gets late and the Shark shows up. She manages to escape to a little rock in the middle of the ocean but with the tide coming in soon it won’t be high enough to defend herself for long. If anything it already isn’t and the shark is just ignoring her for some reason except for when she goes back in the water. Nancy will have to think of something because if she doesn’t get back to land to warn the others, who will?

Well, let’s talk about why this film had issues. We’ll get the beach locale out of the way first. The film makes sure to remind you of its target audience by zooming in on the main character quite a lot. The film is certainly not being subtle here and you should always be able to make a good film without fanservice. All it does is distract from the plot which is typically what you do when the plot is no good.

Then the film can also be rather violent. A large chunk of the film is just the main character yelling and being in a lot of pain. The scenes are way too dragged out and most of them could and should have been cut. It also takes away from her battle with the shark if she is barely even strong enough to stand. Finally we have also got the animal violence angle. A Whale dies early on which was pretty tragic. Then we have the main character trying to hitch a ride on his body, scratching him up in the process. Throw in a bird who broke his wing (Going for some obvious connections here with the lead’s injury but the plot was still unnecessary. The bird lived at least which stopped this from being a 0) and the actual shark and you’ve got yourself a proper train wreck.

Unfortunately the main character was also not particularly likable. She comes across as rather naive and makes mountains out of molehills. Nancy’s conversation with her father at the beginning of the film just seems rather odd with the lead trying to pick a fight. It’s hard to judge with no context at that point but since the film didn’t want to go into it all that much I don’t have a real reason to root for the heroine there. Then she also isn’t particularly nice to the bird that is sharing the rock with her. She flicks water at him and also doesn’t offer him any food when given the chance. If anything it seems like she only helps him at the end because she had gotten rather bored. Not the most charitable reason to help. If she was a better character that could have at least helped the film a little bit, as it is there wasn’t much to help it’s case.

As far as special effects go I think the film did a pretty interesting job with how it showed the phone calls and various objects as if they were virtual reality. It’s a pretty strong effect that stands out so hopefully you like it since it will be impossible to avoid. I think it was a good effect and also gave the film something unique to do beyond the usual. The music also isn’t bad. You probably won’t remember it by the end but it fit well with the scenes.

Overall, The Shallows is definitely one of those films that you should avoid. That being said, it does play out just as you would expect it to. This means that you can effectively tell if you will like the film or not from the trailer. I’d certainly say that it is reason enough to skip the film. Shark films just aren’t particularly ready to make a positive name for themselves and until they take place in space with robot sharks I doubt they will be anytime soon.

Overall 1/10