Swamp Thing Review

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It’s time to look at an old school DC film. This movie doesn’t really feel like your average comic book film and could easily be mistaken for just being another horror film. That would probably be the best outcome for all parties involved since I doubt anyone wants to take credit for this movie. It just isn’t good and does so many things wrong that you’ll end up wondering what the film was thinking. The characters aren’t very smart and so it’s hard to root for anyone.

The film starts off with the main character, Alice heading over to the Swamp. She is here to fix some sensors, but the broken sensors were sabotaged by terrorists so she isn’t allowed to go near them. Since she has nothing else to do she hangs around the pair of scientists who are trying to make some breakthroughs and insults them the whole time. The main guy is married, but seems to forget this all the time so all scenes with him are cringe worthy. That’s when the villains come in and murder the two scientists in the hopes of getting their research. Alice managed to snatch one book though so their collection won’t be complete. The villains don’t like that and decide to give chase, but they have one more obstacle to try and get past, The Swamp Thing!

The film doesn’t exactly hide the Swamp Thing’s identity, but I won’t allude to it in case you need that reveal. Needless to say, The Swamp Thing is here to help. “This is My Swamp!” should have been his opening line but he’s a creature of action as opposed to words. As the film goes on he does start to get a little more chatty though so I guess that’s a good thing? Unfortunately, he isn’t quite as intimidating as the average creature. In most of these horror films you see the monsters just destroying everybody until they die in the end. Since the Swamp Thing is a heroic creature, he doesn’t get the same treatment. He gets captured and beaten by the crooks. He doesn’t do a good job of taking the villains out of the equation so they always pop right back up to give him some more grief. He isn’t opposed to murder as we see him do it several times, he is always in just too much of a hurry to get away. He’s just not a very likable character. His abilities also don’t seem all that impressive in this film. He was nerfed all the way into the ground.

Alice isn’t a bad main character although she can also be a little iffy at times. For the positives, she is a fighter. Alice does put up a struggle whenever she appears and even lands in some good hits. On the other hand, she is rather slow on the uptake. Even when seeing the Swamp Thing mowing down her opponents she keeps telling him to back off. She’s certainly safer with him than without. She also has an unfortunate tendency to trip over just about everything. She probably hit the ground at least ten times. Cmon Alice, you can do better than that!

Then I have to quickly rewind to the beginning of the film to explain why the normal joe characters always fall below expectations. So you have a guy running through the swamp when a few guys with guns walk up to him. He quickly lets them disarm him and then runs. What’s the point? They’ll just shoot him down. He’s dead either way so he may as well have held on to his gun and taken one of them down with him. This is preferable for many reasons. One of which is that by firing right away you at least have the slimmest of chances to survive. Second, at least they’ll be forced to gun you down right there which is a far less painful death than the alternative. Third, you get to die with some dignity. Trying to run away in a swamp when you’re outnumbered like that won’t work. Even if it was just one guy he could shoot you once your back was turned. These hostage situations always drive me batty.

This film is a little on the violent side with people getting snapped and crunched. The main villain’s transformation scene was also shown to be as grotesque and violent as possible which is a little on the rare side for transformations. Usually you expect those to at least be a little pleasant right? The violence isn’t extremely over the top but certainly is high enough that it’s noticeable. There isn’t really animal violence if you look at the film casually, but it’s there when you drill into the specifics. The unlikable main characters were running experiments on the animals which is a no go. These animals don’t care about the science so why should they have to be used like this? The animal certainly didn’t look like it was having fun being all wet like that.

Swamp Thing also goes out of its way to make the villains unlikable. A good villain should command respect but also be fun to root for/against. None of that is here with these villains. At the most the main villain isn’t bad. He’s one of those random rich guys who wants to see the world burn. The main villain is really one of his subordinates though who chases Alice around quite a lot. Naturally he is shown to be rather depraved and of course he couldn’t just be a professional trying to earn a paycheck. I get that guys like him will typically end up being the villains since it makes sense, but it doesn’t make any of his scenes work any better.

The best character in the film is definitely the kid who owned the gas station. He was on point and could sniff out danger a mile away. It’s a shame that his gun was defective but there’s no way he could have known that. Even though he was just a kid he did a lot of work and helped get Alice to a safe place. He brought the film a level of charm and wonder that it didn’t have previously. Not enough to save the film or anything like that, but it was still neat.

Overall, Swamp Thing is definitely not a film that I would recommend. The characters aren’t all that smart and Swamp Thing himself looks quite weak. I’m glad he kept in his healing powers, but being able to fight a little more would have been great too. The film drags on a bit and the only good character got a really small amount of screen time. This is definitely one of those movies that you should skip and I’d advise you to check out some of the classic Godzilla films instead if you want to see how a creature should be portrayed. I can guarantee you that at the very least he wouldn’t go down easy like the Swamp Thing.

Overall 3/10

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Phone Call from a Stranger Review

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It’s time to look at an old film that you may or may not be familiar with. It’s a story with the highest of stakes and the most personal of characters. A fun movie all around even if the mistakes that some of the characters make are too big to be easily overlooked. It’s got a good message at the end though and you’ve always got to hope for the best.

The film starts off with the main character running away from home because his wife cheated on him. She says that it was just a moment of weakness but Trask can’t live with that and takes a train far away. As he heads to the plane he runs into a few other characters dealing with their own hardships. They may be a bit loud or overzealous at times but they make the trip go smoother. That’s when the plane crash occurs and now it’s up to David to finalize everyone’s situations so they can move on. However, will the families want to hear anything that a stranger has to say?

The film is pretty long which is what helps it put in the first half purely so we can learn about the other characters. They’ve all got their own journeys and such going on which the main character learns gradually. You may not even suspect the second half’s plot if you didn’t know it beforehand. It’s a rather drastic change in the direction of the film but the fact that it happens so quickly is what helps it succeed. It’s a little tough to have things occur unexpectedly nowadays but this film pulled it off.

The writing is pretty solid as you would expect. The characters all sound reasonable and that’s part of how the film was able to be as engaging as it was. The pacing is also good so the film doesn’t drag on. The long length was definitely a good thing in this case since it allowed the movie to give us a few scenes with each of the characters before the second act. Had the film been shorter like most old movies, then they would have had to axe most of the first half.

For the characters, it’ll really depend on which ones you sympathize with. I certainly couldn’t root for the doctor as drunk or not, he went way too far off the deep end. Especially if it was a recurring issue with him then he should have not even let himself near a drink. His issue also affected a lot of other people besides himself so even after he apologized it was a little iffy. Better late than never though and at least he did regret it. His son definitely didn’t take any of it well though and was the biggest ingrate in the film.

Then we have the aspiring actress who was good at reading people. Her story was probably the most entertaining despite being tragic as her husband’s mother kept trying to sabotage her at every corner. We even get a flashback from the mother’s point of view where we see a twisted version of the past. I did like the heroic outfit she had on and the over the top theatrics of the scene are part of why it was so fun. If you’re going to show us a make believe story you may as well make it completely crazy to ensure that it’s super amusing. In this case, the husband has to be blamed for most of it since he comes across as incredibly gullible. He just looks so bad here and in the end the mother basically won. She may have been the antagonist with malicious intent, but the husband is still the worse character.

In the final plot we had the flirt who was always laughing. Some of those laughs felt so sudden that you could swear that the channel added them but I don’t suspect that TCM would do such a thing. They’re usually on the up and up to be honest. This guy always jokes around but apparently he is a devoted husband otherwise. Definitely not the best of tropes and I can’t say that I ever liked him. Then we have the wife who was cheating on him until the rebound guy ran away. It’s hard to sympathize with anyone here so it makes sense that their plot was left for last and seemed to be the shortest. If the guy hadn’t ducked out on her then the wife wouldn’t have even gone back to the guy. The guy still flirts behind her back as well so it just seems pretty bad for both parties involved.

As the film ends you’ll keep on waiting for a twist involving the 2 survivors, but it never comes up. I suppose in a way that in itself is a twist. After all, what are the odds that the other two survivors would be anyone important? Technically it makes sense that they would have nothing to do with the movie. I suppose it would have been nice to have seen them, but it certainly wasn’t of any real consequence. It’s not something that will likely hurt your enjoyment of the film at any rate. Only the flip side can possibly do that as some of the characters who die could have been more likable than the ones who lived in which case you, the viewer may not take it as well.

Overall, This was definitely an interesting movie. It had a lot of twists and turns within it. I definitely don’t think I’d be thrilled to have a random stranger show up to give some last words but it’s still a thoughtful gesture regardless. I’d recommend checking this film out. As long as you enjoy a good story I think you’ll like this movie. There aren’t any big explosions or danger in general, but it does a good job of being a drama film without having to rely on anything extra. It’s all about the dialogue and the film does a good job of selling itself.

Overall 7/10

A.I. Artificial Intelligence Review

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It’s time to look at a rather unique Sci-Fi film that balances a bunch of genres, but mainly focuses on the drama aspect. Unfortunately it suffers from being an overly long, melodramatic film that makes quite a few mistakes. It doesn’t make for a particularly engaging watch and the whole time you will just be wondering where Skynet is. When you watch films with humans worrying about the robots becoming a threat, you look forward to seeing the robots take over. Instead the film is mainly just the humans picking on the robots for a long while with no real payoff of any kind.

The film starts with a couple deciding to adopt a robot kid in place of their real son who is in a coma. This definitely didn’t seem like a reasonable move right from the start. At first you think that this might make sense because you presume their son is dead. (Still a terrible decision as the wife even mentions that it’s like trying to replace their original kid since they bought a robot that looks exactly like the son) but when you find out that he’s alive then the whole thing gets real messy. The worst part is that the husband is the one who decided to get him and once the son gets back he immediately turns on the robot. Breeding robotic kids already seems like a super sketchy business to be honest. Well, the family abandons David so he goes on a journey to find out how to return home, but it could be difficult.

In this world robots aren’t able to fight back against their human oppressors so the humans use this as an excuse to beat them up as much as possible. The robots hopefully can’t really feel pain, but it’s still pretty dark and gruesome to be honest, much like the rest of the film. The whole film just comes across as rather disturbing and very dreary. There is never really a moment where the film feels hopeful or even fun. It’s just a very dull experience where the characters are stuck in a dystopia that they can’t hope to escape. You’ll definitely feel bad for David, but the problem is that he isn’t even an enjoyable character.

David may be an A.I. but he still isn’t very smart. Since he was programmed to be a kid that may serve as an explanation for this, but he doesn’t even know his robotic limitations. He He attempts to eat food when dared to which causes him to shut down and then he doesn’t even know common sense. He shouldn’t even be able to lift a pair of scissors since you’d think that it would register as a weapon and his self defense mechanism doesn’t seem very great to be honest. He also comes across as very ungrateful at the end of the film as he is mean to the beings who find him and is always sulky. Kids can’t really hold their own film and I suppose this still applies even when the kid is robotic.

David meets up with another robot who helps him learn the ways of the world, but that guy isn’t great. His character gimmick is that he is a robot who provides pleasure for the Earthlings, but that doesn’t work out well either. Naturally some other humans don’t like this so they frame him for murder and send him to the robot circus where they are all blown up. David doesn’t even feel bad about ditching this guy which tells you all that you need to know about him. There are no good characters in this film, that’s something you’ll learn very quickly. If you count inanimate objects, which you probably should because once you go into robotics the distinction starts to get a little tricky, then the Teddy Bear is reasonable. He’s another rather dark character with a morbid sense of humor but at least he won’t be backstabbing anyone like the other characters. He seems like a really random character at the start, but by the end he fits in well enough.

The end of the film gets really crazy. I won’t go into detail, but the jump does take us 20K years in the future to see how the Earth ultimately turned out. It’s definitely the optimal timeline if you ask me even if it does seem like the inhabitants probably aren’t having too much fun at this point. I guess you can’t win em all right? At least there shouldn’t be much crime at all anymore. It’s not a great ending or anything, but I guess I can appreciate how out there it all is. Throw in some big fight scenes and maybe the film could have been saved.

At the end of the day, this movie could have been better if it wasn’t so disturbing and creepy the whole time. If you’re going to do a story about Androids and what it means to be human, you need to do it in a better way. I don’t think it works very well if the main android is a kid because then it isn’t able to really handle the themes properly. It just doesn’t work at all and the alternative is to have a film like Terminator where the robots decide to take over the world. Having a twist like that during the second half of the film would have been absolutely amazing. A shame that it didn’t go that way right?

Overall, I would not recommend A.I. While it is a step up from complete flops like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it reminds you why the Sci-Fi genre is best when it doesn’t try to hard to be super deep and emotional. Mixing those two genres just doesn’t work very well so you need to focus on the action aspect or just being a light hearted adventure in the future. Emotional films like this one would likely fail either way, with or without the Sci-Fi angle though. If you want to see a film that just tries to be a Debbie Downer at all times then by all means go for it. Otherwise, I’d suggest just watching Terminator Genysis instead and reminding yourself why these robots can be dangerous and will eventually wipe out humanity.

Overall 1/10

Two on a Guillotine Review

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It’s time to look at another old film from back in the day. This one is probably one of the oldest haunted house type films that I’ve seen not counting some comedies like the Abbot and Costello films. (If those were older) It’s not a particularly good one though as the film makes a few mistakes and I can’t say that Val makes for a very good main hero. He trolls Cassie quite a lot to the point where you sympathize with her a whole lot more than you do him. Val may have turned out to be a good guy, but from her point of view there’s no reason to trust him. Anyway I’m getting ahead of myself a little so lets talk about the plot.

A magician known as John used to be quite popular until one of his tricks went wrong and his wife ended up dying. John went crazy with grief and died as well. After everyone attended his burial and saw his body close up, his will was read and Cassie got his riches. The only condition was she had to stay in his manor for 7 days in a row without leaving. In his will he promised that his ghost would show up to meet her. Reporter Val decides to get the inside scoop and pretends to be a random guy looking to be friendly so Cassie will let him in. The two hit it off and now Val just needs to figure out what John’s trick is. After all, he doesn’t believe in ghosts!

The house does have a lot of tricks and such that keep on scaring Cassie out of her mind. Honestly she is way too jumpy all things considered. If she was by herself then I could understand that, but with Val she shouldn’t be so exaggerated the whole time. When you’re with someone you’re never quite as scared as when you’re by yourself. Val isn’t the most understanding guy either so he keeps trying to scare her as well. You’d think that since he wants to stay as her guest he would be a bit more tactful but that isn’t the case at all. Honestly during the entire film he just doesn’t act the way you would expect him to. I guess that’s because in part during this experience he started to grow attached to her and stopped being a reporter which caused his brain to melt. Only possible explanation I guess.

In case you haven’t guessed this I was not a big fan of Val at all. He was just really annoying the whole time. As I mentioned he kept on trolling Cassie for no real reason. Even at the end once he comes in to try and help her fight off the magician he fails quite epicly. Not only should he absolutely be winning this fight, but he should be well aware of where the switch for triggering the axe is. He literally triggers it himself which by all accounts should have destroyed Cassie. Fortunately she lived, but he came too close to destroying her himself and as far as I’m concerned she should tell him to pack his bags at that point.

Cassie isn’t all that good either though. As I mentioned she gets scared way too easily. Furthermore, I think she is way too easy on Val. Even after she finds out he has been lying to her she quickly takes him back since Cassie gets scared again. I suppose using him for that purpose is fine, but afterwards she should quickly distance herself again. Val just doesn’t seem like a great guy. Cassie also doesn’t put up any kind of struggle at the end of the film and just faints again so that didn’t help her either. The house maid had more grit and she was only around for 2-3 minutes. Dolly is one of the red herrings in the film who Val is suspicious of, but ultimately doesn’t do much in the film. She does try to hold Val back when the villain shows up so at least she is good for aiding the villain. Of course the characters don’t acknowledge that since they aren’t brave enough and Val should have just shoved her aside if he was really trying to protect Cassie.

All right, it’s spoiler time folks. Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know the ending. It involves the main villain. It’s a big plot hole that I can’t overlook since the film couldn’t be bothered to address it. As I mentioned earlier, the magician had a very public funeral where everyone saw the body. In that case, how can he have avoided his fate? At the end of the film we learn that he was alive the whole time and merely faked his death. He was living upstairs the whole time and must have brought a lot of snacks with him. I’m cool with him being able to hide for a few days because the mansion is big and he just locked the door he was in. The problem is that someone had to have noticed that the body was fake. This isn’t a CIA film where the villains have access to a bunch of duplicate bodies and this magician is hardly a criminal mastermind. I just don’t believe that he had another body at the ready to fool everyone. At best he murdered someone else, but then why didn’t the town know that someone was missing? The whole thing was just rather unbelievable and the writers clearly just wanted the twist without thinking about it too much.

Overall, I can’t say that this film was all that good. It’s not a terrible film or anything, but at the same time there isn’t much to keep you engaged either. As I mentioned it is very by the books without anything particularly strong to make it stand out. It’s just another film that will fade in your memory eventually. It probably would have gone a little better had the cast been better. At least I can say that the writing wasn’t bad. I mean, the twist was bad and that is a part of the writing, but the script was solid. I also liked the reporter’s friend who quickly showed up just to spoil his cover. The guy was so oblivious that he stole the movie in one scene.

Overall 4/10

The Deadly Bees Review

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It’s time to look at one of those films. I’m talking about the kind of film that will make you cringe and wonder what the point of all this is. It’s tough from the start to make a horror film about Bees since the writers will wonder how to make them a threat without using any animal violence or destroying a bunch of bees in the process. So what did the film do? It opted to go with both options and as a result this is one film that has not aged well. Of course, that implies that the film was ever good which would be a mistake.

The film starts with a famous actress having a bit of a melt down. She’s been under a lot of stress so her doctor recommends that she go live in the country for a while. He gets his old friend Ralph to take care of Vicki. At first she is content, but gradually notices that everyone is acting rather oddly. Ralph is a bee keeper so there are always bees around but they’ve started murdering people lately. Ralph’s neighbor Manfred lets Vicki know that Ralph is crazy. Apparently he just wants to murder everyone with his bees. Vicki decides to help Manfred find proof of this before she goes back home where it’s safe. She also decides not to question the fact that Manfred also has a bunch of bees. Who is guilty and will Vicki be able to live through this experience?

This is the kind of film where you can’t trust anyone because they all act suspiciously in one way or another. In Ralph’s case, he’s always rather rude to everyone. He tells Vicki to stop snooping around the Bees but doesn’t give her any reason. He quarrels with his wife constantly and doesn’t give you any reason to trust him. Then you have Manfred who is extremely shady and doesn’t get along with Ralph. He throws around a lot of accusations but only does so when Ralph isn’t around so the guy doesn’t come across as the bravest individual around. Perhaps he is just jealous of the other guy’s bee skills. Then you have Vicki who feels rather naive the whole time. She just believes whatever she is told and is convinced into doing the most dangerous tasks. She should have immediately tried leaving the island and letting the cops try to get to the bottom of this. Even though things work out pretty well for her, it felt more coincidental than anything else.

As mentioned earlier, there is some animal violence here which dooms the film. Ralph naturally has a dog and this doesn’t end well as the dog decides to go after the bees. Lets face it, the only reason why the dog was added in the first place was so we could get this scene which is rather mean spirited. The Dog just shouldn’t have been included in the film at all. We also have a lot of Bees dying which is certainly less emotional but it all ends up hurting in the end. Nobody wants to die on account of bee stings, it’s a rather brutal way to go out. As a result, each death just comes across as more painful and needless than it ought to have been. It’s a disadvantage of being a film about Bees so the instant you choose that as the film’s focus you have already dug a little hole for yourself.

I won’t say which person is actually the evil one, but I will say that it doesn’t matter for this next criticism. The innocent party knew that the other one was guilty so why did he not do anything about it? As a result multiple people die including Ralph’s wife, the Dog, and even the neighbor down the road who came over to help. Yeah, the girl seemed to be trying to get the title of mistress and seemed shady, but she still didn’t need to get such a violent end. The innocent guy decides to just copy the villain and starts breeding murderous bees of his own. Of course the villain finds out about that and decides to shut him up. The plan felt like it wasn’t thought out very well. Of course the police wouldn’t have believed him either way, but he should have just tried to burn down the neighbor’s bees when he had the chance. Both men live right next to each other so it should be a very easy feat. The innocent party just stayed very passive the whole time and would have certainly been bumped off at some point or another.

It’s too bad we didn’t see more of the Agent in this film. He seemed like he would have made for a more enjoyable character than any of the others. I like how he was only worried about the island because it meant that he wouldn’t be getting any more money from the actress for a little while. It may not be the most noble reason, but the guy was very straight forward and you have to admire his earnest nature if nothing else. A film taking place back in Hollywood with the rest of the cast scrambling for opportunities while the actress was gone would have also just been more entertaining than what we got.

Overall, Deadly Bees is definitely not a film that I would recommend very highly. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it at all and you should actively avoid it. There is nothing redeeming about the film. Bees don’t make for good antagonists and the film takes all of the bad routes that it can. There isn’t a single scene that feels inspired or well shot to the point where you would get a look of amazement. It just does everything by the book and does so in a way that will make you shake your head. Needless to say, this doesn’t bode well for any future Bee films either. Maybe what we need is a film about robot bees instead, that could work.

Overall 0/10

House of Horrors Review

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It’s time to look at a horror film that is very by the books. It follows the pattern of every other movie of this nature and doesn’t try to do anything different. I can applaud that resolve to an extent, but it’s not enough to earn this film a positive score. None of the characters act very realistically and the Creeper won more battles than he should have.

The film begins with a critic walking in and blasting the main character’s art. The critic points out that it is terrible and now he will end the lead’s career. Marcel isn’t happy about that and decides to do something about it. He runs off to go jump in the lake but finds a wanted serial killer named the Creeper. They decide to team up and destroy all of the critics out there along with any civilians who get in the way. The only things that can possibly get in their way…are more critics!

We’ve seen the Creeper type villain many times before. Perhaps at this point in time the villain felt a little more inspired compared to nowadays but I can’t say that he did anything for me to be honest. He is a very slow villain and the only thing going for him is his raw strength. While he may not look like the most pleasant fellow, it’s hard to see people literally being unable to talk or scream in fright when he approaches. That’s definitely one trope that has not been missed in the modern days.

I think one problem with these films is that by the time the heroes make a move pretty much every character is dead aside from the main pair. In particular it was annoying to see the critic who was acting as bait get murdered since the cops were right there at the time and should have been more prepared. Then you have the assistant who was kept waiting by the same cop until it was too late. They may have eventually gotten the Creeper but by then there weren’t too many characters to save.

The main guy is pretty annoying as well. Steven really goes out of his way to act as suspicious as possible. When the critic used himself as bait the lead couldn’t help but break into the guy’s room and assault him. The cops save the guy and then Steven quickly goes into damage control mode but it’s too late. This guy was actually choking the critic so I think it’s safe to say that he is just as unhinged as the villain. Is the film trying to provide some commentary on the state of the artist? It was interesting having the focus be on the main villain and main hero but you can’t have them both act like the villain. Also, as expected the lead doesn’t look very good in the climax as he keeps asking the villain to let him in. Good luck with that……

As for the heroine, she’s definitely very tough and sarcastic which is always a good thing. Joan doesn’t tend to think things through all that well at times though like when she stole the files from the villains desk and then returned them the next day. She figured that he wouldn’t notice them but how could he not? Also putting them right where they had been makes it even more suspicious. Still, mistakes aside at least she had a lot more character than the lead who was literally sitting at home and twiddling his thumbs.

There’s not much to say about the human main villain. Marcel tends to whine a lot which is why the Creeper ends up helping him since this brute just wants to eat his dinner in peace. The artist just complains about everything and is in denial about the fact that his artwork wasn’t actually that good. One critic may have been conspiring against him but even then it wasn’t personal since we learn that he went after all of the artists in the city. I’m assuming that the artist would have known that so it makes his overreaction look even worse.

Overall, The House of Horrors has a very retro feel to it. It has those writing elements that are always present in films of this era in both good and bad ways. The script is quite strong as always but everyone fainting in fear is the weak part of the writing. The pacing isn’t bad but there is nothing remarkable about this film at all. It just goes through the motions without thinking about it. I think if the heroes had been able to step in sooner and save a few more people the whole thing would have worked a lot better. If you want to see an old horror film then go check this one out but I’d highly recommend going with a different option like the Witch’s Ghost instead.

Overall 4/10

Stranger on the Third Floor Review

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It’s time to look at a really old noir film. This one deals with the court system which is always fun and the heroes have to wonder if the Jury is really paying attention. After being on the jury I can say that this film was actually super realistic both in how the jury absolutely doesn’t care in with the judge who has already made up his mind. The film is a pretty solid thriller throughout and while a certain character can be rather annoying, it’s a fun package overall.

The movie starts off with Mike finally getting his big break. He noticed someone talking tough about murdering another guy and shortly afterwards we find out that the person was stabbed. The suspect is taken into court and thanks to Mike’s testimony he is taken to prison to await the chair. Mike’s friend Jane isn’t thrilled about all of this and decides to guilt trip Mike. She basically says that he should have just pretended not to notice and then the guy would have been caught. She believes that he is innocent and this gives Mike nightmares. A similar situation occurs in his house and now the cops think he is the murderer of a different case. How will he get out of this one?

In case you didn’t guess, the character I didn’t like here was definitely Jane. I definitely don’t think she was in the right with guilt tripping Mike so much. Once he was on the stand he was obligated to tell the truth after all. If her issue was that he let the cops know in the first place she should have specified that a little more. Even so that would be morally dubious as well.Maybe it was the fact that Mike seemed to take a little joy in all of this for his promotion. Either way she just didn’t handle the situation well and then showing up in court only to make a scene and run off didn’t help either. She shouldn’t have gone if she was going to be that excitable. She just didn’t really contribute much until the very end. At that point her plan also could have sued some serious work as she needed to call the cops right away or force herself into the house. Walking around with a murderer just usually isn’t going to end well. She also looked bad in the dream, but I guess I won’t count that since it wasn’t technically her.

Mike is a reasonable main character even if he tends to overthink things quite a bit by the end. Especially after the whole gloves thing he probably shouldn’t have just grabbed the door so casually. Beginning to pack was also sketchy since he knows that it didn’t really help the other guy’s case all that much. Phoning it in to the cops was definitely the right move at least even if it came close to backfiring. Mike just didn’t really think these things through. He was a fun character for the first half, but he just wasn’t very smart and got maybe too distracted by romance as well. Then we see his flashbacks where he constantly flies off the handle and is tempted to murder someone multiple times so I think the guy was just unhinged. It would explain his dream sequence as well.

The dream was quite good though. Also, while I wasn’t a big fan of the main duo, this was still a very solid film. The writing is on point and the court scenes are fun. It’s a quality thriller that builds up the tension and doesn’t go for any crazy shock value. That’s the kind of film that you want in your corner. The pacing is on point and even though it seems to be made on a fairly small budget you never feel confined to any one backdrop. The core characters have enough personality to keep you entertained.

I was getting mixed signals from Jane the whole time though. The scene inside Mike’s apartment was just odd as she kept moving away from Mike and denying him the whole time. She would do that, but didn’t actually leave and came across as half flirting. I thought the film was going to have her admit that she didn’t actually like him, but the movie never goes there. It just feels like a random plot point.

This film made sure to make the neighbor rather unlikable, but he wasn’t too terrible I’d say. The guy was rather annoying, but not completely unreasonable in some areas. If the rule really is not to have any guests over then he’s not technically wrong. The type writer part is tricky but it did seem rather loud so maybe Mike could have done something to be quieter. I don’t think he was ever intended to be a sympathetic character though.

The dream sequence is rather long, but certainly well done. It’s a nice look at what could have happened and the whole situation almost came to pass. I have no doubt that Jane would take the stand against Mike and the Jury probably wouldn’t believe his story. Especially since Mike was intent on mentioning his dreams and pre-cog abilities. Since he is a reporter you’d think that Mike would realize how crazy that all sounded. Again, he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

As for the actual villain in this film, I can’t say that he was very smart. He was constantly tempting fate by staying near the scene of the crime. It’s hard to even say what his goal was here. I assume he is murdering people to get some money and he doesn’t want to go back to prison, but once he has the money what is he doing with it? You’d think that he would have skipped town or something. He also doesn’t even have a home despite robbing 2 people successfully. I think this guy wasn’t very good at budgeting.

Overall, The Stranger on the Third Floor was pretty interesting. The title is almost a little odd though as the stranger doesn’t show up for a very long time in the film and technically doesn’t even appear all that much. I guess it will help you stay alert for when he pops up though. If you haven’t seen a quality Noir film yet then this is the way to go. It’s basically the complete package so you can’t go wrong here.

Overall 7/10

A Quiet Place Review

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A Quiet Place is a film that got a reasonable amount of hype before coming out. After all, it’s premise was fairly original as most of the film is completely silent. The trailers hinted at the monsters but made sure not to show them. Well, I can’t say that it was a good film, but it was a pretty interesting one so I’ll give it that.

The film starts off by putting us at month 3 of the alien invasion. The humans have mainly been wiped out by this point but there are still pockets of survivors in the various cities. The humans have learned that the only way to resist destruction at the hands of these incredibly powerful creatures is not to make a sound. The aliens can’t really see so they only rely on sounds. It’s a good defensive strategy at least but the kids will make this a little tricky. Can the main characters survive until the end?

While you aren’t supposed to overthink these kinds of films because the background can be a bit of a stretch, I have to question multiple things about the setting. A prequel could hopefully address this but in the meantime it seems like a stretch. For starters, the newspapers say that these monsters are basically indestructible and cannot be stopped. This is theoretically what explains how the human race lose to these guys. That’s fine but we learn at the end that a single shotgun blast can take one down, albeit it that the monster opened its mouth because of its terribly impractical design. I don’t see how the humans could have lost to them. Granted, the shotgun is one of the best weapons in Fortnite, but even so I imagine that some other main guns would work as well. Sound aside, the creatures love roaring so getting the shot in wouldn’t be hard.

Meanwhile the main characters also come off as being very selfish. Near the beginning for maximum shock value one of the kids is murdered. This leads to the main characters deciding to have a kid. Naturally the process isn’t always the same amount of time so you could make the case that it was right before this happened rather than after, but either way it’s not a good idea. Why would you want to have a kid who is going to grow up in such a dangerous environment. How are they going to keep him from crying or making a ton of noise? It would be impossible, particularly with how sensitive the monsters are. Having a kid is basically inviting the end for them all. Let’s face it, this plot was just added to give this film a random birth scene to add to the tension but the writers didn’t stop to think if it made any sense or not. It’s definitely one of the more unbelievable moments.

The film does also love reminding you that it’s a horror film with random moments of violence. The scene where the heroine steps on a nail is already a terrible scene in the surface but it gets even worse when you think about how crazy it all is. Put it this way, the main guy crosses these steps all the time. I don’t see how he could not have noticed it. He would definitely have covered it up since stepping on it just once could tip off the monsters. Even if he didn’t expect anyone else to go down there for a while, it just makes sense. Then we also get the obligatory animal death as part of horror film tradition. All I can say is that as soon as I saw the raccoons I had a bad feeling about all of this. It’s definitely not something to help the film.

As a positive, the script isn’t half bad. Since there is very little dialogue throughout the movie this helps it avoid that land mine. It does come at the expense of a good soundtrack as well though since the film is so silent all the time. This film also avoids having any fanservice which is great and in general comes off as a little classier than other horror titles.

Back to the bad though, the kids were quite annoying. They are constantly making noise and getting the main characters in trouble. Whether it be through knocking down lanterns or playing with electronics it is easy to see why the main lead wouldn’t let them into the basement. The main lead did totally give up at the end though which is unfortunate. Leading the monster away from the family is good and all but at least don’t go down without a fight. Why make this even easier for the creature? If he ran then in theory it would also buy some time for the others.

The kids also make everything too dramatic at times. One of them thinks she is to blame for the kid dying so she decides to discourage the main character from trying to contact the rest of the world. I guess giving up is fun and all, but then what will they be doing for the rest of their days? Without a goal to strive towards they would probably just lose their will to live after a while. Even if it’s futile, working on some kind of plan is better than not having a goal. This is why kids don’t do well in survival stories.

At least the ending is pretty solid though. It’s a pretty nice cliffhanger type ending that doesn’t have to lead to a sequel. In your head canon you already know how this could end. It either succeeds or it doesn’t. Either way it makes for a nice visual. I do also have to say that considering she just gave birth, the heroine had quite a lot of energy left. She was certainly ready for this fight.

Overall, A Quiet Place is basically just the same ole horror film but in a new package. While it is slightly better than the average one, (Which is around a 2) it still doesn’t cross the border into becoming a good film. To accelerate to the next level it would need a better cast of characters. The silence gimmick is also unique but not one that really works after a while so that’s better for just part of the film. The monster designs prioritized being spooky over practicality and I can’t say that I liked them. They looked more demented than dangerous instead of it bring the other way around. On a final note, the main character roaring into a waterfall is another move that isn’t very smart as there is no guarantee that the monsters would not hear him and that would have put everyone at risk.

Overall 3/10

Dark Tide Review

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It’s time to look at a fairly recent Shark film. At the very least this film isn’t quite 10 years old yet. Unfortunately it has not aged well though as the very premise hinges around the fact that all of the characters are pretty unlikable. They all fight to be the worst character in the film and continually put themselves in a position where you are rooting for the sharks to win. The very premise of the film doesn’t help its case.

So, Kate and Jeff have decided to make a movie. Their film will be breath taking in how realistic it will be as they are actually going to make physical contact with the sharks. You may wonder how this could possibly go wrong, but they don’t and naturally one of their friends gets eaten alive. Kate retires from the film business since this all went so tragically wrong, but Jeff pulls her in once more. This time they are bringing a rich guy and his son along for the ride. Can Kate protect them or will the sharks claim another victim?

It’s hard to even know where to start here, but I think the premise is as good a place as any. My issue with it is that the humans want to make a film about the sharks so they decide to quickly invade their turf. That’s already not cool since they aren’t even trying to make the world a better place. They’re seriously just disturbing the sharks to make a quick profit so you’d think that these guys would be portrayed as the antagonists not the protagonists. It seems like an odd move. This is my complaint for many animal based plots like this one. At the end of the day it seems like the humans just want to be able to flex and reaffirm their position at the top of the food chain by pulling off stunts like this. It always makes me root for the animals here and eliminates any chance these characters had of being likable.

The dialogue already made that quite easy though. The opening scene with the characters is particularly brutal. Jeff is trying to film his movie but Kate keeps joking around and not taking anything seriously. They have to stop filming multiple times and none of the joking and playing around moments were humorous either. They all just seem to be very unlikable characters. That’s before the rich guy even shows up. Now, this is another dropped opportunity for the film as it could have tried to go for something interesting here or at least anything better than what we got. The point of the Dad is that he’s a very selfish guy who is a terrible person. At the same time the film lightly drops a bunch of hints that he has tried to connect with his son, the attempts have just been really misguided. So, is he genuinely trying to be good or is he really just consumed with money and it’s a convenient excuse? I choose the latter even if the film was maybe going for the former.

He just didn’t make any real effort and getting his son to go underwater with a bunch of sharks isn’t the way to connect with him. If he was trying to be a fun guy then it failed and no last minute heroic scenes can really do anything to try and stop that. The son wasn’t a particularly likable character either though as he constantly looked at the negative side of things and really made it clear that he didn’t want to be on the ship. Hey, I wouldn’t have wanted to be on either to be honest, but he could have put up a slightly better act. Their whole dynamic was just no good.

The same can unfortunately be said for Kate and Jeff. They are technically still married but after the first death on the ship they went their separate ways. Well, Jeff is low on money so he heads back to Kate to get her to go underwater again for money. She’s not thrilled about this of course, but goes along with the plan anyway. Naturally the two of them have a ton of arguments about everything in the meantime but still make room for flirting and such as well. The romance is absurdly terrible here by the way. Kate should never have even entertained the offer of going back into the water. Her business wasn’t doing too well that’s true, but getting back in the ocean isn’t the way to go. It’s just too dangerous. There isn’t much to be said about the rest of the crew as they’re just here to joke around and get in the way as well. Some of the accents did make it hard to hear the characters at times but I won’t blame that on the script, it just is what it is. The script was still terrible though.

As can be expected the underwater scenes were pretty painful as well. It’s super dark since filming underwater is pretty tough and it’s just dreadfully boring. It’s why I encourage all films to stick away from underwater scenes as it is very rarely worth the risk. For every film that does it well you probably have 100 that can’t pull it off. It’s one of the few things that you are usually just better off green screening entirely so you can at least make a fake ocean that is bright enough to see in. Since a large chunk of the film is underwater, that didn’t do it any favors.

Meanwhile the soundtrack was also not very good. The film did take itself pretty seriously at times with some very dramatic tunes, but I can’t say that they fit the scene all that well. Then we got silent scenes as well which meant that the budget ran out. I wouldn’t give the soundtrack a negative score though as it’s probably still a little more memorable than I would have figured it to be. Not really enough to help the film get back on its feet though.

Overall, This film wasn’t terrible. As far as shark films go it could have certainly been a lot worse. At the same time, the humans just need to leave these animals alone. Whenever they try something crazy like this it puts the film in a bit of a bind since it’s hard to redeem the characters. At no point in this film did I feel any kind of sympathy for the humans. They knew the risks and went in anyway so when they were eaten it’s hard to feel bad for them. At most you’ll feel bad for the first guy who died, but he should have stuck with his gut instinct not to go back into the water. That would have been his best option. If you want a shark film with a surprising lack of action then check this film out. If you want a Shark film that contains the shark quite a lot then you should probably watch Deep Blue Sea. If you want a quality film without sharks, check out the legendary Godzilla film which does have some water moments.

Overall 3/10

The Woman in the Window Review

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It’s time to look at an old school film that shows how one dangerous decision can put you on the path to ruin. I’ll give the credit for not making the main character be an obvious cheat who you can’t sympathize with as he stays classy for the most part. I would still argue that he knew how his decision was pretty iffy though by how many times he mentions that he really shouldn’t be here. At the very least he doesn’t actually do anything serious. It’s a fun movie overall even if you aren’t rooting for the lead.

The film starts off with Richard making small talk with two of his buddies. Richard is sad that he can’t be reckless anymore since he has gotten to be too old. His friends point out that this is true so Richard better not get any ideas. That’s when Richard notices a lady behind a portrait and she invites him to her place for drinks. It’s nearly midnight but Richard doesn’t care so they head upstairs. That’s when a guy runs in and attacks Richard. Richard quickly murders him and hides the body in a forest, but can he stay out of the papers? After all, his friend is a detective so this can get very messy.

While the film is played straight for the most part, I do think it had a little fun with Richard’s character during the early part. Richard is so oblivious to life that he keeps on tipping off the cops on how guilty he is. When the detective finds out that the culprit has a cut on his palm Richard quickly points out that he has an identical cut. I suppose being over the top like this could throw the cops off the trail…but it’s just such an unnecessary risk. Realistically nobody suspects him at all at this point so why put himself out there. There is literally nothing to trace him to the murder as far as he knows. Then he continually says things that he shouldn’t know and even walks over to the spot where the corpse was before the cops officially show him. He makes a ton of rookie mistakes. The film did say early on that he is usually scatterbrained but this is taking that to a bit of an extreme.

He also leaves his pen at the scene of the crime which the villain naturally gets his hands on. So, there was a bodyguard assigned to the victim and now he has decided to blackmail Richard and Alice. This is definitely the weakest aspect of the film as it wasn’t really needed and I would have preferred the tension to be that the cops are slowly zeroing in on the heroes. Instead this guy works well as the fall guy I guess, but naturally the plot turns into Alice having to use her charms to get him to lower his guard. That’s still one of the most tired film cliches out there and it makes the plot pretty bad. Still, the film doesn’t go too far with it which is good so it doesn’t hurt the movie all that much. At most it takes 1 star off. I’m also glad that Richard realized that paying the guy off wouldn’t solve anything since he would just return for another installment at some point. Calling his bluff would be best, but the guy would probably just end up murdering them.

Initially I figured that Alice intentionally set up the meeting with Richard and the other guy to bump him off, but the film never really goes in that angle. As far as I can tell it was just coincidence and the film doesn’t make Alice appear to be malicious. I do like the fact that she is also fairly smart though as she gets some extra insurance from Richard in case he ends up ditching her. That’s definitely the kind of thing you want to do in these films because you can’t trust anyone. She handled the situation much better than Richard in general as she got all of the hard jobs and didn’t panic the way that he did.

As I mentioned I wasn’t a big fan of Richard. He was a much better character than he could have been, but at the same time you still were never going to root for the guy. He also decided to take the easy way out at the end which is definitely never the right call. The ending can be seen as a bit of a cop out but you can also look at it in a more meta sense. It’s pretty clear that the film was not supposed to end the way that it did and since the movie is an indie you always look for the hidden meanings. You could make the case that the ending is actually the dream as he passes over to the next plain. It’s like the film has its direct ending and then the layered one that you can add on. Either way it doesn’t look good for the lead. I do appreciate that the ending gave the film a quick humor moment that actually worked though. In general I thought the film had a good balance of humor and mystery.

What the film could have improved on to be even better would have been to focus on the detective plot more. The scenes with the detective were some of the best in the film. I liked how Richard kept giving himself away and the detective would act as if he started to suspect something. His boss was also pretty solid in that regard with the constant banter. Seeing more of them would have been a lot of fun and that could have ended up being the main plot instead of the black mail guy. There will always be a lot of “Could have” moments in a film of course, but this would have been a pretty easy alteration with a good result. Maybe even throw in a court scene since those are always awesome.

Overall, The Woman in the Window was a solid film. The writing is on point and the cast is pretty good. The film is never too exaggerated and stays realistic without being dreary. You’re able to root for the cops without necessarily rooting against Richard because you can at least make the case that he was never going to cheat and he certainly didn’t expect things to go sideways the way that they did. I’d also say that he had to defend himself the way that he did because he definitely wouldn’t have lived through the night otherwise. As the film explains in the beginning, self defense is certainly way different from murder. This would definitely be the former. If you haven’t seen a good noir film yet then this is the one to watch. It’s not the best one out there or anything, but it’ll give you a good idea of what the genre is all about and holds up well for itself.

Overall 6/10