“Let’s Play A Game” Again. Piecing the Story In Place Of the Gore-Y

Jigsaw

 

“Let’s Play A Game”, those simple words haunted the theaters for years, signaling the start of yet another slasher movie in the Saw series.  What started out as a unique twist to the serial killer saga was only the start to a face cringing, spine tingling, sometimes nauseating saga that hooked people in until around the sixth-seventh iteration when it finally ended.  That was until this year, where the saga was to be reanimated in hopes of bringing more bucks to the theaters.  Will this eighth installment have the ability to defy death like it’s protagonist antihero, or is it dead like the poor victims of his games.  Only one way to find out and that is read my friends, so let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

 

Fast-Pace:  With all the slow movies I have been seeing, I give props to the Saw series maintaining their consistent pace.  From start to finish, the tale keeps moving, sparing no second for unnecessary details or attempts at prolonged character development. The mystery of figuring out the identity of the game master, mixed with the spread-out trials that promise a messy end are well-balanced to keep things going.

 

Decent Characters: A horror movie often has many brain-dead characters begging to be chainsaw fodder.  Fortunately, Saw movies continue to choose players who have a little more complexity and skills than many of the Spring Break teens favored. The tradition lives on, as each player has a little more buried within, still having a few obviously destined corpses, but others who have a shot at making it out.  And for those not in the game, but trying to solve the mystery, they too have some layers to them that may or may not be pertinent to the story.  It’s those engaging elements that are crafted in the story, making them more engaging to follow.

 

The Presentation:  Another component I still like is the presentation of the movie.  Many go for the kills, but the better component for me is how they separate the story into two settings.  One is still the players trying to escape the closes thing to hell’s torture chamber, while the other are the outside characters hunting down the “maniac” that continues to weave his traps. The ability to entangle these two components, balancing their timing to provide clues and hints to the story all while keeping you invested in the game.  Such a dynamic presentation provides those checks and balances necessary for a slasher movie, and keeping things as fresh as possible.

 

Twist:  As many of you know, Saw movies are all about the ability to throw that last wrench into the gears to blow your mind.  Despite my experience with predicting endings, this one got me.  The questions I asked were on the right path, but they were able to drop enough interfering factors to throw me off the trail.  Jigsaw once again impresses me with their storytelling, and their mastery of presentation.  I can’t say much more, but ask the right questions and you might get the answers.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Lazy Deaths:  Those first few movies were convoluted in their traps. They had designed devices that were an impressive display of imagination, horror, and engineering that gave everyone a kick in terms of design.  While Jigsaw still has the impressive connections and storytelling, it unfortunately fails in the terms of the traps themselves.  They are surprisingly simple for the most part, and a little more reserved than I expected in this modern era. Yes, there is still plenty of blood in this battle for moral consequences, but they didn’t involve quite as much skin crawling madness.

 

Acting a little cheesy:  Despite the engaging characters, there are times when there are a few inconsistencies in the character’s intelligence, or often the case their acting.  While decent for the most part, the writers hit some blocks in terms of dialogue or direction they wanted the characters to go.  There are those moments the “tension” overwhelms them into hysterical messes that are cheesy rather than believable. In addition, the dialogue sometimes gets lazy, just going into expletives than conducive dialog.  A weak dislike yes, but I’m drawing on straws.

 

The potential for a series:  Like the original series, I had hoped for an ending, but then this movie showed up.  While I did enjoy it, I am worried that the way this movie ends sets up the potential for a new series to start.  Sure, this means more Saw goodness, but it also means the potential to dilute this movie into another run of the mill series that will become a product of lazy producing.  Hopefully that won’t happen, but these days series are the prize most companies seek.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Jigsaw is the piece of the puzzle that brings quality back to the lovely massacre series. Going back to the roots, the writers were able to bring back a brilliant presentation and characters you can follow.  All the nostalgic qualities rush in with the deadly traps, bringing that fast-pace, twisting tale that captivated us all those years ago.  While still not the first movie, especially in terms of death design and potential to revive the series, it was a welcome addition to the series.  So, if you are looking for the horror movie of the month, Jigsaw is your answer for the theater my friends. 

 

My scores:

 

Crime/Horror/Mystery:  8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

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Boo 2 or Boo Hoo? Madea’s Familiar Tactics Will Treat Fans to Laughs, but Not To Plot

Madea 2

 

Hellur!  No, I’m not ill, it’s just a signature catchphrase of none other than Madea, the Mad Black Woman who brings her own sense of justice to so many.  Tyler Perry’s signature character has made her mark for so many years, teaching lessons in her own unique manner.  These movies have come in all sorts of scenarios, many being close carbon copies of the predecessors that laid the foundation.  This series continues to rope loyal fans into the theater though, never tiring of the gimmicks cooked up at Perry Studios.  Tonight, the sequel to Madea’s Halloween tale emerges, in hopes of mimicking the success it brought not long ago.  What’s the verdict?  Robbie K, here asking you to read on to find out his opinions.

 

LIKES:

 

Familiarity:  When it comes to Madea, you don’t expect much deviation from the formula, a comforting factor indeed.  Perry’s writing doesn’t try to be anything it’s not, and that nets some respect in bringing the laughs that make so many laugh.  And if you’re a fan of this series, you’ll have nothing to fear in regards to the comedy at hand (as evidenced by many people howling with laughter in my showing.)

 

Plenty of Madea:  Some Madea movies don’t do give the mad lady her adequate screen time, choosing instead to go for a more drama (soap opera like) plot. Boo 2 is more than happy to give you a Madea fix, with much of the 100-minute run time staying on our “protagonist.”  She leads much of the banter, and her insults are more than enough to keep things engaging alongside her older colleagues.  So, for a movie promising Madea, this film delivers on this aspect as well.

 

Fast Pace:  Another positive for Boo 2 is that the movie doesn’t dawdle when it comes to getting to the laughs.  A small, simplistic opening makes way to the comedy at hand, taking less than 20 minutes to get to the first bout of Madea running her mouth.  Once that first joke flies, the movie continues at a steady pace and creating the effect of time flying (seriously had no idea an hour had passed). This leads to an entertaining environment that is simply fun on many levels, that’s right no complicated thinking in this film.

 

Joe:  By far the best part of the movie for me is Madea’s brother Joe.  While his sexually harsh jokes, lack of respect for others, and intense focus on drugs are not my main source of humor, this character has some of the best comedic moments of the movie.  His timing is well-executed, and his lines are just harsh enough to offset the bickering this movie holds within.  The piece de resistance though, is how well Perry delivers that gruff edge in his humor to maximize the punch of the line and keep the laughs fresh.  I found myself laughing the most with his scenes and was glad to see more Joe in this film.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Unoriginal: Familiarity is fun and entertaining, but it is also lacking the original twist I like to see in the films.  Every Madea film has a slight twist to it, but this film is too much a copy of the first Halloween movie that the tactics are fairly stale. Had it not been for the comedic timing at some parts of the movie, the bantering would have gotten much staler as the old folks complained about the same things consistently.  This dislike also goes to the fact that Madea’s jokes are losing favor with me, especially when they drop the morals for incoherent babbling and arguing.

 

The College Kids:  If you read my last Madea review, you know the college kids didn’t impress me.  Sadly, this movie managed to make me loathe these characters even more.  Rather than giving the younger characters some admirable qualities, outside of superficial looks, Perry crafted them to be the same, shallow, annoying selves they were in the past, only much worse.  The fraternity brother are even hornier, stupid meatheads with little contribution to the movie.  Leah (Lexy Panterra) is reduced to a squabbling airhead, who does little, but flash off her own body with overacted gestures and a skin-tight leopard shirt.  Yet, the worst character goes to Tiffany (Diamond White) the arrogant brat who supposedly learned her lesson last time. After all the punishing blows, the hotheaded teen hasn’t learned a thing and has fallen back into the same annoying qualities I despised in the first film.  What’s even more pathetic, is that they don’t use her selfishness very well to drive a moral filled plot, but just as a tool for more jokes.  Sadly, this movie doesn’t give the satisfying punch that its predecessor accomplished.

 

No story:  Boo 2’s other major dislike for me is that lack of a story.  It’s true, the movie runs at a quick pace and is entertaining, but the trailers have tricked you into thinking there is a story.  This particular Madea story is the lamest story of the bunch, with only a hair thin plot to ground the comedy too. Past this skeletal frame, the movie is only about cramming the most jokes into the run time, which also took away from the Madea formula.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Boo 2 is a sequel that accomplishes the goal of making you laugh with the same familiar tactics Perry has capitalized on for the last decade.  It’s simple fun, fast paced humor will keep fans howling in delight, while also welcoming a new age in with its simplicity.  Yet, I found this movie to be the weakest of the installments, particularly due to the unbalanced characters and lack of story to guide the mischief better.  Safe to say this movie is meant for home viewing pleasure where you can enjoy the banter and insults with better snacks and bathroom privileges.

 

My scores:

 

Comedy/Horror: 7.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Ambiguity Comes At Night

It Comes At Night

 

Horror movies, they seem to be popping up at random times during the year.  Why June 9th called for one, I don’t know, but nevertheless… here I am writing another review on one.  Tonight, we hit It Comes At Dark, a movie starring Joel Edgerton.  Based on the trailer, I was expecting a thriller set out in the woods, as our main cast remained isolated in their proverbial fortress of solitude.  And with good reviews on other sites, my expectations further swelled.  What lies hidden in the house?  Robbie K will try to answer with another spoil free review.

 

LIKES:

 

Unique Twist: I use the word unique lightly as most stories have been told in the daunting flood of movies.  This film though treks away from the typical presentation of the horror genre, focusing a lot more on character development instead of just on the scares.  It comes at night takes a more artistic explanation, using the metaphorical devices to build up the suspense, story, and spook factor present in the film.  Such an “original” presentation is fun to watch, as the realistic atmosphere adds a little more edge to the movie.

 

Creepy:  If you’ve read my other horror reviews, you know I like a movie that balances jumps with creep factor. It comes at night doesn’t rely too much on the abrupt symphony blares that shatter the silence, but instead focuses on the creep factor to get under your skin.  The director brought three components that helped deliver the motive.  The first is the use of shadows, letting the unknown hijack your imagination and pain the picture of what lies n the dark.  Have a fear of the night, or at least night in the woods, then get ready for your worst nightmare, because that is what you are going to get. Second is the utilization of subtle sounds to further tease your imagination to create an image of what lurks in the dark. And finally, the realism factor.  It comes at night’s twist could certainly happen and realizing the fact spices up the terror.  That’s right, no over the top monsters, gratuitous maiming, or cheesy over dramatic stories about possession. It’s just straight up creep fest, using simple scare tactics.  Nice job guys.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Slow Pace: It Comes At Night does indeed have a unique twist, but it also opened the movie for a much slower presentation. After a rather tense opening, the pace drops to a snails run as you watched the family work to make a living in this post-apocalyptic world. Like one of the weaker episodes of the Walking Dead, much of the movie involves sequences of chores, upon chores, upon…yep you guessed it…more chores. And given the short run time, I wanted more bang for the buck.  Certainly it develops character (a plus), but without that exciting finish and tension to bring it full circle, the movie dragged and left me bored at times.  Artistic? Yes!  Realistic Yes! Needed all the time?  No!

 

Frustrating flashbacks:  This movie has plenty of weird dreams and semi-flashbacks trying to tell the story and do indeed build up the tension of the situation.  What is frustrating though is how incomplete these flashbacks are in the grand scheme.  The director had a brilliant idea to tease you with the unknown threats looming in this movie.  Unfortunately, the flashbacks, again, never get to the final answer, and all the extra flashbacks (while a great portrayal of thought and fear) frustrated me to know end at the constant interruption of the momentum and not providing the answer. I get it…that’s the point of this movie, but come on…give us something.

 

Ending:  The ending is certainly not the typical, run of the mill finish you expect in most spooky flicks.  So, this reviewer gives them props for that originality and significantly hard punch in the face.  Yet again, the director’s obsession with being artistic resulted in an ambiguous ending that drops to black just like that.  After bringing things to a full boil, the big finish fizzles out with a hasty wrapped up conclusion and a silent final scene where nothing happens.  No answers to what has happened to the world. No answers to the unknown factor that led to chaos (no clear one anyway). And no satisfying ending to complete the run.  So unless you just like dark, vague, finales where you are responsible for piecing things together, get ready for a disappointing ending.

 

The VERDICT:

 

It Comes At Night certainly defies the typical horror genre, and finally injects some uniqueness back into the mix.  A fantastic use of shadows and using the imagination to fill in the gaps amps up the scares and truly colors the unique “monster” looming in the woods.  Yet, they went a little too far with this gimmick and the incomplete ending just didn’t do it for me.  Abstract thoughts and artistic quality aside, I can’t recommend this one for the theaters except for those who like psychological analysis of a plot. 

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery:  6.0

Movie Overall:  5.0

Mehlien: The Tactics/Production Are Not Out Of This World

alien covenant

 

Alien… a franchise that has continued to take many forms over the last four decades. While some of its evolutions have been weaker and worthy of forgetting, there have been some forms that will forever hold throne in the realm of good science fiction horror.  Tonight, Alien Covenant launches in US theaters, unfortunately to a mixture of reviews slamming it enough to call it worse than its predecessor Prometheus. So, alongside my friend Jeff, we hit the theaters to see what it’s got after all the buildup and hype.  Robbie K back and as always, I’m here to share my thoughts.

 

LIKES:

  • Back to Alien tactics
  • Danny McBride isn’t a stoner
  • Science Fiction Elements
  • Loose ends somewhat tied up

 

Summary:  Low and behold, Covenant finally returns back to the elements we fell in love with years ago.  Nostalgia runs wild in this movie as Daniels and her colleagues work to survive the nightmare that dwells in this movie.  Narrow Hallways filled to the brim with shadows as the “perfect” organism seeks out its prey, amidst shrieks, acid blood, and that infamous lethal tongue? The gimmicks are all there, alongside the science fiction element this series is famous for.  Biology is certainly one of the topics they focused on this one, in hopes of adding some plausibility and “realism” to the series.  My buddy and I both agreed that this component did some nice damage control and added a unique twist to the mix.

A particular like for me was finally seeing McBride in a new role.  If you’re a fan of classic McBride acting like an idiot constantly on drugs and spouting nonsense, you won’t see that side of him in this film.  For me this is refreshing, and McBride finally crafted a character I didn’t want to punch in the face, but instead relished as he took a major role in the story. While I certainly would have liked a little more him in the film (not something I say often), McBride works on so many levels for me in this film.

Finally, the story element of the movie.  When last, we left the series, Prometheus left so many freaking questions and confusion that we needed another movie to explain the movie.  Good news, Covenant comes in to tie up those loose ends, helping bridge the gap between the new and old and answer some questions we have asked for a while.  In doing so it adds an…interesting element to the mix and doesn’t raise as many questions as Prometheus did…. Thank the lord for that.

DISLIKES:

  • Weak opening
  • Most characters practically worthless
  • Weird gimmicks
  • Overzealous gore
  • Inconsistent story line

Summary: Reading some of my fellow reviewers’ writings I have to agree with many of the dislikes in this movie.  Much has to do with the story, and it starts with the weak, almost pointless opening that causes all the trouble. It’s lazy writing, with a random element thrown in to get things going that barely makes sense other than some special effect firework display. Throw in the pointless cameo (again) and you are left with a bitter taste from the start.

Unfortunately, that’s only the start, for Alien Covenant continues to take hits in the plot development, primarily in the character story aspect. Much of the cast is pretty much pointless outside of being fodder for the aliens, with few having any backstory or an understandable name.  We get it, Aliens is all about nameless characters facing the elements, but the first two installments were successful in integrating some of them into plot and bestow significance. In addition, someone wasn’t paying attention to their details, because Alien Covenant offset some of the details Prometheus set.  While it may not be a big deal to the layman, most fans of the series though are going to notice…yeah, we nerds can be a pain in the butt. Still, I didn’t like some of these lack of attention to detail and will most likely do everything in my power to theorize a story to cover this gap.

Nope… instead this movie wanted to try out some new gimmicks in multiple departments including weird kissing scenes, that notorious black crud, obsessions with “love”, and of course new types of creatures.  I’ll give them points for some originality, but the gimmicks were a little off the wall even for me (who is pretty dang weird).  Even worse, the gimmicks are kind of unnecessary or neatly explained in a single sentence. Instead the new gimmicks, as well as much of the movie was all about the gore.  Alien Covenant keeps to the displays of blood, going strong for the insanely detailed displays of blood (both CGI and real) and people getting torn to bits, by a less impressive looking Xenomorph.

 

The VERDICT

            Aline Covenant is pretty much what you expect from the series since Alien 3 emerged out into the theaters.  It is all about the gore filled hunt, mediocre story, all wrapped in a science fiction exterior.  A plus side is again the Alien tactics and tying up loose ends, but unfortunately it still lacks a lot of story, relevant gimmicks, and balance the first two movies had. Perhaps, should a next one be made, they will tie up more loose ends and obtain a little more storytelling.  In addition, the insane obsession with death and gore might be diluted as well, though I highly doubt this given modern audiences obsession with killing.  Worth a trip to the theater?  For the fans of the series, yes, otherwise hold out until RedBox for this one folk.

 

My scores are:  

Horror/Sci-Fi/Thriller:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

A Ring Story, Without the Scares

rings

            Seven days!  A simple phrase that struck terror in our hearts oh so many years ago.  Certainly, you know I’m talking of The Ring, the horror movie about a death delivering video tape certain to scare you to death.  Samara’s tale has fallen on to the backburner for some time, but like the cursed video, the series has resurfaced to the modern world to once more have you cowering at your screens.  Will Rings live up to the potential?  Robbie K here, once more sharing his opinions on yet another film.  Let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

  • Decent acting
  • Nice blend into the modern era
  • Strong story for a horror

 

Summary: Okay, this movie is certainly not going to win awards for best performance, but Rings’ cast has some skill in their performances of college kids plagued by an evil spirit. Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz and Alex Roe are the leads of this tale, doing a great job of balancing romance and detective work, finally a power couple who wasn’t annoying.  And Johnny Galecki trades one nerd role for another, though this time his scientific qualities had a little darker twist to the mix.  Overall, the cast gets a pat on the back for establishing some good characters to hook on to.

Yet the major things this reviewer liked involved the story components of the movie.  Rings has jumped into the modern area, dropping the outdated VHS tapes for modern day MP4 files.  It will help bridge the generation gaps, and add a new element that the other installments were missing.  And the story was much stronger than I anticipated.  Rings has more mystery to it, trying to find the answers to the elusive mystery of Samara’s origins.  Where it fits in the grand scheme of things is a little up in the air, but at least there is some character development and drama to spice things up.  And as for the ending, it too is a little ambiguous, providing some delightfully dark closure, but still leaving it open for future installments.  Not the strongest finish, but also not bad.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Scare Factor at A Low
  • Some plot elements lackluster
  • Not the same Ring

 

Summary: Rings story may be on target, but the scare factor still didn’t reach the same levels that the first movie was able to achieve.  This installment resorted to jump out scare moments, mainly trying to make you jump with sudden loud noises and hallucinations appearing from out of nowhere.  Many of these moments weren’t well timed, and to be honest many of the objects just weren’t scary.  Think of the first film and how creepy everything was, the unknown always teasing you until something sprung out of nowhere. All that was very diluted in this installment.  Even though they finally show you how she kills her victims, the team didn’t quite make it as horrifying as I thought it would be (think ghost rider’s soul stare without the flashy fire).  Rings was lacking this element, and had more of a mystery theme to it than an actual horror.  In addition, there were also some plot elements that didn’t shine as much as they wanted. For this reviewer, there is still some questions they still haven’t fully answered that you have to draw yourself.  The bottom line of the dislikes is that Rings didn’t quite hit the same level the first movie had all those years ago.

 

The VERDICT:

 

In conclusion, Ring is not so much a horror movie in this round, but a mystery film about uncovering the origins of Samara.  While the cast is decent, the story is mostly thought out, and we have some answer, it still didn’t feel like the Ring series we’ve come to know. If you are looking for a movie to scare the pants off of you, sorry this isn’t the film to do it. And you can probably guess, but yours truly doesn’t recommend this one for the theater and implores you to wait until it hits home rental stands.  Only people who might enjoy this one in theater are those who care about the story element of the movie, but I still think you can wait for home (I mean we have been waiting twelve years for this one right?). 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Horror:  6.5

Movie Overall: 5.0

Shyamalan’s latest Movie Is Not A Splitting Headache

split

 

No please not that, anything but that!  This might be the screams you hear when another M. Night Shyamalan film rolls into theaters.  The man who started out so strong, only to fall so far has tried his luck at horror once more in the featured film Split starring James McAvoy.  Will a movie about split personalities kidnapping girls be the step he needs to climb back to top notch director, or will his movie be laughable at best?  Robbie K here with yet another review, and as always I appreciate your reads.  Let’s get started!

 

LIKE:

  • Creepy kind of horror
  • Decent plot to keep it interesting
  • Complex morals
  • James McAvoy

 

Summary:

Fans of my reviews know creepy horror is better for me than jump scares, and Split is a prime example of spine-tingling chills.  Shyamalan and his crew get incredible effects from such simple tactics, using isolation, subtle piano background music, and gradual information revelation to keep you in suspense.  By using a believable human as the monster instead of some cheesy creature, the creeps are only further amplified by how horrible such a thing can be.

 

But scares alone don’t make a movie and Split does a decent job of crafting a tale to keep you hooked into the movie.  While certainly not original, Split’s plot is a culmination of smaller stories that detail the background info of a majority of our characters, helping to develop them in the short run time.  All of these tales have a moral twist to it, but one story in particular raises an intriguing concept that may provide some food for thought, or at least an ethical dilemma for future talks.

 

However, the piece de resistance is the leading actor James McAvoy who carries much of the movie.  The man can play multiple personalities well, tweaking his mannerisms and dialogues in subtle ways to craft an entirely different identity. His talents, as well as the direction, kept all his characters in the realistic zone, which while creepy, also made engaging characters to grab on to. There are few actors to which I could see doing the spectacular job he did.

 

DISLIKE:

  • Predictable Story
  • Trailer has shown much
  • Don’t see all the personalities
  • Mixed on the ending

 

Summary:

Despite the story being very well-developed for a horror story, it also isn’t the most unique either. Outside of the twenty-three-personality quirk, you can guess much of the backstory of each character and where the film is going by about the 30-minute mark. Part of the predictability can be attributed to the trailer revealing a lot of key details in the short collection of scenes, including the big revelation at the end.

 

The trailer also harbors on the twenty-three personalities, but in reality, it’s more like four with a few cameos from the others.  While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (as too many personalities could be very sloppily done), it also was a wasted gimmick. What do I mean by this confusing statement?  I mean, why make twenty-three, instead of say ten, or even five? What was the significance of twenty-three outside of a nickname if you weren’t going to integrate all of them?  This dislike comes from the trailer’s focus on high number only to once again let it fizzle out.  And as for the ending, it’s a very open-ended finale that leaves a lot of questions up in the air.  Perhaps the potential sequel will answer these components, but only time will tell.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Split, to my surprise, was much better than I thought and was a horror movie worthy of the franchise.  If you are looking for realistic chills, a satisfying plot, and fantastic acting of someone with a mental health disorder then certainly check this movie out.  In fact, in regards to the horror genre I would warrant this movie earns a trip to the theater.  However, as a movie overall, it still has its shortcomings, especially in regards to the twenty-three-personality gimmick.  Yet one thing is for certain, if Shyamalan can continue this trend he may fall back into the favorable director field once more.

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Thriller: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

The Board Would Say Yes to this Movie Being Creepy and Better Than the First

origins

            You remember the movie Ouija? It was a stupid, boring film, with the only redeeming qualities being a short run time and a pretty cast (sorry if I have offended anyone).  However, there must have been enough interest in it to warrant Michael Bay to produce another movie about Mattel’s popular spirit connection game.  Based on the trailers though, it seems they might have learned their lesson when making this prequel and taken things back to the scary side.  Robbie K here, and tonight I’m reviewing Ouija: Origin of Evil. Let’s get to work.

 

LIKES:

  • Creepy
  • Well-developed story
  • A Halloween thriller

 

The last movie tried its best to scare us with corny jump scares, one spirit we barely got a glimpse of, and a too beautiful cast of spoiled teens to kill off.  Good news, they threw all of that out, only salvaging the forgotten names of spirit’s family and the creepy house it took place in.  Set in the 70s, the scare factor of this film comes in many forms, which will surely send tingles down your spine, or at least give you a disturbing feeling that something is lurking in the walls of your theater.  The creepy little girl will bear the brunt of load with raspy whispers, an innocent (but oh so sinister) smile, and that high pitched voice that always is disturbing in possessed kids. Origins also has plenty of things lurking in the dark, bodies distorting to the paranormal, and a few jump scares to balance the load. The directors build up the scares in this flick, while keeping your skin crawling.

Even more surprising is how the scares are integrated into a surprisingly decent story for a horror movie.  Origin’s plot starts out like most other films as a family struggling to make it after a life altering event.  Somehow they stumble into the Ouija board and, what do you know, bad things start to happen as they mess with the spirit world. It’s not original, but it is miles better than the original plot. The mystery behind Doris’ transformation is pretty messed up and can be described as a mashup of poltergeist meets malicious science.  While cheesy at times, the tale fits in well with the Halloween spirit, including an ending that will thrill you darker ending fans.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Hardly get to see the ghost
  • Not much suspense
  • Rather rushed at times

 

In a horror movie, less is often a good thing as the imagination can paint a much scarier picture than make up can.  Still with all the alliteration, I would have liked to have seen more of the malicious spirits that dwelled in the walls. Oh sure you get a decent, if not awkward scene of the black specter, but I had hoped the digital shroud of darkness would morph into something more gruesome.  Either that or at least more screen time that extend past milky white eyes.

The limited screen time of the ghost pales in comparison to the lack of suspense in the movie.  Much of this is due to the fact that the ghost just paraded around in the skin of a young girl, which while creepy wasn’t as threatening.  The spirit’s goal was also never really explained, and what little light was shed did little to impress or hype up the story.  A few bouts got the heart pumping, but they fizzled out like a Fourth of July firework in the rain.  And since we already know how the events will turn out, the only thing I looked forward to was seeing how everything came together.

As for the story, it has a good, malicious backbone, but needs some finessing to help bring it to the full potentialThey burn through much their plot at rapid speed, spending little time to draw out mystery or provide opportunities for the characters to develop. All so they can cram in more of the little girl defying physics and looking malformed .  While creepiness is what you are going for, the lackluster climax packs little punch and leaves you wondering just how many times can a character get thrown across the room without breaking a bone.  But despite the rushed plot and dull edge…Origins plot is still miles ahead of the game if not a little inconsistent should you remember the original’s plots.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Despite all its faults, Ouija origins is the creepy Halloween horror of this season.  The eerie atmosphere, insidious ghoul, and disturbing manipulations will get your skin crawling and the story isn’t half bad either.  Improvements aside, Origins still has some work to do in order to reach the greater heights it strive to achieve.  More plot development, a little more threat tagged on with the spirit, and some deeper suspense are required if they choose to make a sequel.  And if any developing directors read this review, make sure to cast the little girl again…she is a valuable asset.  Is this worthy of a theater visit?  I suggest you wait on this one, and revisit a classic this Halloween.

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Thriller: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.5