Floating Through Nearly 3 Hours With Fantastic Acting and Decent Plot

It Chapter Two Poster

 

Two years ago, the relaunch of yet another series started, taking modern day technology and using it to put a new face on it.  Stephen King’s legendary book titled IT came back in a new light that felt like a Stranger Things Episode with a little more demented/horror element added to it.  When the ending came and the credits finished, the promise of part 2 lingered in red, setting the stage for the second act of the book.  Two years later, the adventure arrives and the question is… will the movie live up to the potential or are we waiting for nothing. Robbie K coming in for another review of the latest film to hit the theater, hoping to give you some spoiler free insight on the film.  So let’s get set as we look into:

 

Movie: It: Chapter 2

 

Director:

Andy Muschietti

Writers:

Gary Dauberman (screenplay by), Stephen King (based on the novel by)

Stars:

Jessica ChastainJames McAvoyBill Hader

 

LIKES:

 

  • The Story Components
  • The Terrifying Forms
  • Decent Pace
  • Creep Factor
  • References
  • Acting

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Not Scary For Me
  • Plot Presentation At points
  • The Length Of The Film
  • The Stepped-Up Game
  • The Over Use of Cursing at Times
  • The Assistant

 

SUMMARY:

The genius of the film is that although a sequel it’s also a stand-alone film that manages to take the tale in a new light.  Chapter 2, at least this version, manages to make a multilayered story that holds part horror and part soul searching as our characters developed.  In a decently compact way, It 2 accomplishes the task of bridging the 27-year gap and keeping to the horror element all why pushing some heavy political issues and moral tasking topics in a classy way.  Not just a drama, the horror element still stands true in this film and Pennywise’s new tactics are a step up in the form of nightmare motivating images that will stay in minds for a long time.  Not the most realistic at times, IT’s new forms for the most part have enough skin tingling factor to them to make some squirm in their seats, especially given how they made Pennywise a much bigger threat than I anticipated. A small subtle component that I quite enjoy are the small references to the book or popular phrases about the book. It’s nice balanced humor and a clever ploy to sort of justify the decisions made in this film in regards to changing the story, which gets a nod of respect from this reviewer.  Hands down though, the best part is acting, which I can go on for hours about.  All the adult forms mirror the kids in many qualms, take the baseline characteristics and maximize them, and play off of each other so well that I can’t help but praise the casting direction.  As for the clown himself, Bill Skarsgårdagain redeems his role as Pennywise and takes the nightmare amalgam worthy as a legendary villain. He manages to add new levels of creepiness without trying too hard, achieving that skin crawling factor to new levels.

 

In regards of areas that are still working on improving for me, well the film did not quite scare me like I was hoping.  Again, I’m used to much of the scare tactics, but It Chapter 2’s use of computer effects and other designs did not quite scare me as much as disturb me at times (that scene at the Chinese restaurant). In addition the stepped-up game of Pennywise sometimes crossed levels that I wasn’t a fan of, primarily in some of the more torturous aspects that this film took.  Those that have a low tolerance for dragged out beatings or torture may want to avert their eyes at these points.  In regards to the plot much of the overall arc is wonderful, but the presentation at times comes off a little more convoluted than I had hoped.  During the middle of the film the constant intertwining of past and present did not quite make sense to me, until the end when the explanation came.  Not that it was not entertaining at times, I felt this approach sort of added fluff to the movie, almost as this was a director’s cut.  This brings me to the length of the film, while certainly not the slowest movie (Midsommar anyone), the nearly three hour run time did not quite feel necessary given that the first part was nearly an hour shorter.  Again it is entertaining for the most part, but it’s a commitment I don’t think was quite needed.  A small nuance again for most, the cursing sometimes goes down the avenues of being lazy writing, primarily in the overuse of the F bomb when there were better lines that the first film capitalized on.  My biggest beef is the assistant to the mad clown, to which I don’t want to ruin. A concept that starts to hold potential, the assistant is a wasted character in my eyes that serves for only a little bit of plot development and a few comedy moments.  So much could have been done with this character, but I think the squad found this character the one to cut out most of in favor of the other focus points of the film.

 

The VERDICT:

            Wrapping this up, two years gave the movie enough time to make a horror movie that is familiar, yet has enough flair to be its own. Sticking to horror roots, the movie focuses on the story and does a nice job integrating most characters into the film. It may not be scary to me, but Pennywise is still creepy and has upped his danger level with new forms and references that should have fans smiling.  Yet it’s the acting that holds the key to success and brings the movie to levels that are super entertaining and deep compared to most horror genre casts. Still, the movie is a little long winded, with a convoluted presentation at times that adds a little length, and a character that felt like a waste.  Otherwise, a semi-cheesy ending and some darker tactics are the only things that really didn’t impress me.  The summary though is that this film is definitely a worthy edition to the horror genre, and I believe it’s worth checking out in theaters.  My scores are:

 

Horror:  8.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

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Do You Hide From This Film Or Seek It Out

Ready or Not Poster

 

Robbie K back in the trenches for another movie review, this time looking at yet another horror movie to hopefully bring with a number of warped imaginations to life.  Some of them bring us into the disturbing zone and leave us scarred, others manage to be quirky cult thrillers that lead to endless sequels, and others are so bad they somehow stay good.  Tonight, the horror movie looks to be a hybrid of a thriller meeting said horror, with promise of being a romping good time.  Yet, the trailers can certainly be a mask for something else.  Read on to check out my thoughts on:

 

Movie:  Ready or Not (2019)

 

Directors:

Matt Bettinelli-OlpinTyler Gillett

Writers:

Guy BusickRyan Murphy

Stars:

Samara WeavingAdam BrodyMark O’Brien

 

 

LIKES:

  • Good Acting
  • Decent Suspense
  • Pace
  • Quirky
  • Funny
  • Lives Pretty Close To What The Trailer Promises

 

DISLIKES:

  • Predictable
  • Not Scary
  • A Little Too Silly
  • The Ending Sort Of
  • Focus On Blood at times

 

Summary:

We get that these types of movies often do not have the best acting, but in this film the cast actually brings some effort into making believable characters that aren’t too annoying.  My lead is Samara Weaving who has the comical role down, but Adam Brody is a solid second actor to craft the believable brother struggling to handle the situation before them.  As the rest of the cast plays essentially sadistic players in the mad games of chance, these carbon copy roles are all about trying to bring the suspense factor to the movie.  Ready Or Not achieves the suspense decently, keeping a nice pace to keep the action going and the horrors at least coming.  Thus, the thriller aspect is very well achieved in this movie.  Yet, another element that I liked was the quirkiness of this film, primarily in the form of the presentation.  Ready or Not is one of those movies that manages to find a stride with the cheesy gimmicks, putting a comedic spin on things without being too forced in your face.  Perhaps it’s the subtle comedy of the overzealous aunt, the clumsiness of the sister, or maybe just the reactions of the main character Grace, but there is something in the writing and presentation that makes it just fun.  As an added bonus, the film also manages to achieve pretty close what the trailer provides, leaving some surprises to enjoy, and yet still not diverging down the pathways it could have taken.

 

In regards to dislikes, the predictability of the movie is okay, some parts due to the trailers and other parts laid out in writing with heavy foreshadowing.  This predictability not only ruins some of the surprise, but it also diminished the horror element of the movie as well.  Ready Or Not’s thriller is the selling point, for the jump scares are few, the creep factor is low, and there are seldom any moments that had me on the edge of my seat.  This could also be due to the comical side of things and the fact they focused so much on the ridiculousness of the plot to help tone down the creep and scare factor. Maybe taking things the silly route wasn’t the best route for this one, especially giving the ending, which to me is a mixed like and dislike.  On the one hand the ending falls in line with the silliness of the movie and sort of just naturally occurs leaving you satisfied.  On the other hand, the movie’s ending led to not quite getting the hunt fest I had thought I was going to see.  Like the most dangerous game or a final destination I had kind of thought members of this household would have altercations that were do or die.  Yet as you will see, this in not quite the case and there is little more I can say without ruining anything so onward we move. My final component is the gore factor of this movie.  Certainly not the worst thing, Ready Or Not does sometimes get a little too fixated on the blood factor for my tastes.  Those who aren’t fans of seeing suffering, skin crawling spectacles of crimson colored chaos need to turn away, as there are some gut-wrenching moments that aren’t for the faint hearted.

 

Overall, the adventure of Ready Or Not is a fun little project that is campy, quirky, and still thrilling in the world of horror films.  With an engaging cast and concept, it’s a movie that will keep the audience hooked and perhaps make them laugh at the odd sense of comedy and justice that they brought in this film.  And though it matches the tone of the trailers, at times the comedy may have diluted the thriller anticipation you might have though.  For the hunt sort of gets caught up in the blood and comedy rather than delivering the full-on horror chills.  Still, the film is a fun watch and probably good for a small group to hit the theaters with or watch at home. 

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

Scary Stories To See In The Theater

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Poster

 

Growing up in the 90s, there were plenty of tales designed for kids to try and scare us without crossing the line.  Are you Afraid of the Dark, Goosebumps, Tales from the Crypt (both cartoon and regular), and even the Sci-Fi Channel held their own in bringing the horror to the modern-day audience.  As such, a good scary story in any form can really leave an impact that stays with someone for much of their lives.  Enter today’s review, where the theme is the impact that stories can have on us and a little extreme case involving bringing your darkest nightmares to life. Robbie K is back with the third review of the week and we bring you a look at:

 

Movie: Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (2019)

 

Director:

André Øvredal

Writers:

Dan Hageman (screenplay by), Kevin Hageman(screenplay by)

Stars:

Zoe Margaret CollettiMichael GarzaGabriel Rush

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Pace

The Comedy

The Creature Design

The Suspense At Times

The Acting

The Narrative Approach

 

DISLIKES:

Not Scary

Predictable

The Disturbing Moments At Times

Throw Away Characters

 

 

SUMMARY

 

With the flood of horror movies that come into the theaters, sometimes you find pacing and content issues replaced with gimmicks. Scary stories manages to take the anthology book and bind them together into a decent film, with a pace that feels very much like the classic shows that is fun, adventurous, and semi-engaging to craft a decent film.  It comes from a better balance, finding ways to integrate multiple entertainment qualities while always keeping its finger on the pulse of horror.  The comedy is corny, but natural, as it relieves some of the tension that is building up primarily from the character Chuck (Austin Zajur).  In regards to creature design, Scary Tales again adds some variety to their mix, picking new media to torture our main characters, which adds variety and doesn’t over utilize a gimmick (like the original Alien did).  Suspense is well placed in the movie, managing to make peaks and valleys of excitement the way an exercise program works.  By taking this approach it avoids the burnout some of these horror movies experience and manages to miss the mark of hasty finishes these films sometimes take.  As for the acting, well I’m good with it too. The kids do just fine playing scared students stumbling in to a new world and facing the consequences.  Like a weirder version of Stranger Things, the portrayal of weird, concern, and scared/terrified is a well-balanced performance that did not quite annoy me as some of them do.  Overall, these elements point to one thing, a narrative approach that feels like those kids books I loved, creepy and shocking, but never sacrificing the connecting spine to link all the sequences and creeps together.

 

Yet the movies does suffer a few things for this reviewer, but remember the volume of horror movies I see had desensitized me so I’ll do my best to factor that in.  First of all, the Scary Stories do not quite fit the originality bill in terms of story overall.  Originality is tough, but the movies formulaic approach and obvious foreshadowing would have been nice to break given the other walls it broke to focusing on plot then just gimmicks.  A second factor would have been to put more scare factor into it, treading closer to the R line could have brought the PG-13 film to the next level had they managed to craft some scarier moments.  The disturbing, creepy atmosphere and moments help, but they got lost to small gimmicks and cheesy CGI at times that diluted the scare factors. A few of my friends found the scare factor to be a little more than I did, so if you aren’t desensitized like me, you may find this dislike not the same.  Finally, a few characters held much potential, but many of them were throw away characters, merely sacrificial pawns to be sacrificed to the curse of horror movies.  Build up at the beginning held promise, but I would have liked to see these characters developed and battling a little more to actually care and connect instead of being left unfazed.  In addition, the story tie in could again have been developed more, primarily for the ghost they are chasing and the weird approach they took to tell her story, but hey more on that for the potential sequel to come.

 

Let’s finish this up.  Summarizing the review, Scary Stories certainly is a tale to tell in the dark, or the theater in this case.  It’s a good tale that tributes back to the 90s horror decade, with a narrative that binds so many things together to make you laugh and potentially jump.  I liked the balance a lot and the diversity of the creatures and means to which our “heroes” are trying to solve the legendary mystery.  Yet, the film still does not have quite the bite and scare factor for this reviewer (remember desensitized) and I would have liked a little more of it and the narrative put in and finding a way to break the mold on the predictability. Nevertheless, this is one of the better horror tales that I have seen in a long time, and as I said give it a shot in the theater.

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

Burning Bright In Unique Spins, But Not So Much In Terms Of Scares/Story

Brightburn Poster

            Horror, the genre that takes on many forms, disguises, and approaches to try and shock, disturb, and outright scare us to our core.  IN a genre overfilled with gimmicks and cliché approaches though, the saturation level these films have taken.  So seeing this next film I review puts me at a little bit of unease, and yet hope at an attempt to once again take a different approach in hopes of opening up a new potential to wow us.  Here we go, as Robbie K is back with another review in hopes of once again helping you with your movie choosing pleasures.  Let’s get started as we hit:

 

Movie:

 

Brightburn (2019)

 

Director:

David Yarovesky

Writers:

Brian GunnMark Gunn

Stars:

Elizabeth BanksDavid DenmanJackson A. Dunn

 

 

LIKES:

  • Good Acting
  • New Twist
  • Fast Pace
  • Creepy Parts That Are Worthy of Genre
  • Decent Plot

 

DISLIKES:

  • Simplistic
  • Unexplained/Lackluster Story components
  • Character Development is Okay
  • Gruesome At Times
  • Predictable/Anticlimactic

 

People who like these may like this Movie:

 

  • The Omen
  • Sinister
  • Comic Books With One Sided Arcs

Summary:

 

Brightburn is a movie that the trailers have given much information, but there are some things that I appreciate the movie attempting to do to spruce up the Horror genre. First off is the acting!  While not Oscar Worthy material or the most groundbreaking steps in acting, I give the actors props for working with the limited material.  Banks in particular manages to breathe some drama into the very linear characters, while Jackson Dunn is getting a nice start at playing creepy with his presentation and delivery of lines.  They sort of sell the film, alongside the extras who can act terrified at a whim’s pace.  Yet, the high selling points are the fact of a new twist and fast pace to provide the modernized entertainment the world loves these days.  Brightburn does not take long to begin getting into the creepy aspects, quickly evolving the plot into this dark, comic book like adventure that tries to be thrilling and suspenseful. As such, the movie moves at a decent pace and before you know it, you’ll be nearing the end.  Thus, short attention spans should be pleased with this movie.  Fortunately, there should be plenty of creepy moments, primarily due to two components: Creepy looks from the kid and Setting of isolation.  The latter in particular sort of robs you of your safety, the open land and woods making a setting where so many things can happen from so many angles.  That component is the most terrifying, while the rest go with the dark comic theme that provides the entertainment value.  All of this is put into a story that is simplistic, but ties all the chaos together into a nice package.

Yet, the movie has some areas that while entertaining are not the most ground breaking in terms of storytelling.  For one thing, the movie is very simplistic, doing little to build upon its characters or even suspense that would have been satisfying to see in the story department.  When it does start trying to build up some of the aspects, we get stuck with a lackluster story components that do-little explanation outside of some momentary dialogue to explain his “origins”.  Outside of that, it is just a simple gruesome tale that while fitting for the genre, soon becomes just a public display of power going wrong and dragging out some torturous finishes.  Brightburn seems to relish in the dark dealings of the genre more than the story. For the fan that loves this, the film is perfect, but for those looking for a little more, this tale is going to not be the crown jewel as thanks to the trailers and the concept, you can probably guess what the ending will be.  And when the full extent is unleashed there is little excitement in regards to just watching things unfold, so don’t get too excited about an epic finale. 

So what’s the verdict?  Brightburn gets points for putting a new face, or in this case mask, on the genre.  It’s that comic component that sort of sells this film, providing the entertaining, destructive force of the dark instead of developing the story.  Thus, despite the predictability, if you are looking for that ambiguous tale that merely focuses on the gimmicks this category of film’s thrives in… you’ve got your popcorn munching visit planned.  However, if you are hoping for something more to your tale, looking for that story that holds both creeps and purpose than hold out for something else.  Thus, this movie is more recommended for home viewing rather than theater in my opinion. 

 

My scores are:

Horror/Sci-Fi:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

 

Hannah’s Tale To Scale

The Possession of Hannah Grace Poster

            Wrapping up the month of November, comes a movie one might not expect with the holiday season.  Despite the season of giving, joy and family, Hollywood is ready to scare the pants off you with another shot at the horror ladder.  Under the guise of not a typical exorcist movie, tonight’s review is hoping that the unique twist will live up to the hype of the advertisements. Robbie K back with another film review as I take on:

 

Film:  The Possession Of Hannah Grace (2018)

Director:

Diederik Van Rooijen

Writer:

Brian Sieve

Stars:

Shay MitchellGrey DamonKirby Johnson

 

 

Likes:

 

Time Length:  A movie that can get the job done in fewer than 90-minutes gets my vote for bonus points.  Hanna grace’s story is done within 80 minutes, at a pace that does little to divert from the scares.

 

The Acting: For a film limited to practically one cast member, Hannah Grace’s film isn’t half bad. Mtichell dives full force into the character, managing to portray the multi-tiered roll quite well, in a balanced manner that was engaging to watch.  Her other cast members gets points for their respective roles, though there is little to springboard off of given the limited development.  Nevertheless, the acting works.

 

Special Effects/Make-up: To get the scares you’ve got to sometimes have a look to base your central character around.  In this film, the effects departments gets high fives for their work.  Grace’s body is crushing to the soul, an amalgam of twisted limbs, horrifying scars , and look that penetrates through the layers of your being, unwilling to give you any relief as her eyes follow you across the screen.  As more twists and turns occur appear, Grace’s movements become bone crunching bashes of disturbing symphonies that make one squirm in their seats. It’s creepy, it’s uncomforting… and it works well as the central scare tactic of the movie.

 

The Variety of Scares: Hannah Grace has decided to deploy all the scare types into the mix, managing to bring together jump scares, creepiness, and deadly all wrapped into one.  Utilization of these three leave one ready to be moved in so many ways, that one can’t help but get immersed into if you are a horror fan.

 

The Setting:  By far the most blood curdling components is the setting of this film.  A morgue is no place to play, and the worst part about this is… it’s real.  Unlike the films that have characters stupidly trekking into lands they should never find, Hannah Grace is about working in a morgue where the dead go to meet their end.  Very similar to the great horror films, they use this setting well, keeping things in the shadows and a sense of only revealing so much to allow your imagination to fill in the gap.  The setting of this film is certainly the biggest element that gave me the willies and proof that simplicity can go a long way in invoking nightmares.

 

 

Dislikes:

 

The Predictability:  While there are plenty of scare tactics utilize in this film, the problem with this film is how predictable they become.  Perhaps this is just me and my desensitization, but the film gave way too much to keep the scare factor going.  The stale presentation got a little old and by the midway mark I was searching for different means to get Hannah’s wrath out. If you are one that jumps at everything, this won’t be the case for you, but otherwise, get set for some lackluster tactics.

 

The Characters:  Outside of Megan (Shay Mitchell), the rest of the crew were there, characters that started introducing themselves, only to later not have much gusto behind them.  Possession of Hannah Grace had the opportunity to flesh out more of their characters to help extend out the players in this deadly game of whatever it is. It’s not the worst case I’ve seen, but there was room for improvement to give the movie a little more dimension.

 

The Story:  I get it, most people aren’t about a tale when it comes to a scary film, instead craving the scare you until you wet your pants moment. Still, the best horror movies utilize a story well to draw the suspense out, give purpose to the scares, and give you the investment into the film.  Hannah Grace’s tale had all the scraps of a story there, enough to culminate into a plot, but there is so much more needed to help improve upon the dislikes mentioned above.  Without the strong story, the movie soon becomes a desperate struggle to stay afloat as it crams as much of the scariness into the film to try to distract from the shallow film. Many subplots are dropped or reduced to hasty tie ups, others are simplistic dialogue that adds little to the film other than time. This brings me to the biggest dislike

 

The Ending:  Perhaps the studio ran out of money, perhaps it was always the plan, but the momentum Hannah Grace had at the beginning was lost for me. The opening did the role it sought out, which was to creep you out, get you on edge and show what the antagonist was capable of.  Then somewhere around the fifty-minute mark… the feel suddenly changed.  No longer the creepy, suspense building trek through the dark, the latter half soon became a very mashed together display of power, with stale scare tactics, grandiose roaring, and hasty wrapped up plots.  The big finale felt a little forced and the rushed plots did little to add much other than an over the top roar fest.  Outside of the cheese factor, it was fine and held some moral filled monologues to boot, but compared to the theme of the opening acts… it just doesn’t quite settle with me.

 

The VERDICT:

 

The Possession of Hannah Grace held potential and it delivered on some of it with that opening act.  It’s creepy, it’s disturbing and it works on levels to give you the fear factor you want at the end.  Yet, the movie has a long way to go to get to the great level others have achieved, utilizing that incredible make up and special effects to great heights and having a story to support it.  That ending was rushed and perhaps better planning and coordination may craft a film that we have been waiting some time for.  Still, not the worst movie and certainly worth checking out on streaming in the future.

 

 

My Scores Are:

 

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.0

Movie Overall; 5.5

Praying For This Film to Be Good? Read My Thoughts ON it

The Nun Poster

 

We have various universes we emerge ourselves in when it comes to the cinema world.  Star Wars, Marvel, Lord of the Rings are all series that have a massive following, so why not make an interconnected horror franchise to do the same. Enter the Conjuring who after a very successful opening, the paranormal world has roped many creatures in for its steady story presentation.  Tonight, the latest entry comes in full force,, hoping to bring many bucks in and continue the series.  Praying for a good movie?  Robbie K here to drop the next review in and get you set up for the weekend movie visits.

 

Movie:  The Nun (2018)

 

Director:

Corin Hardy

Writers:

Gary Dauberman (screenplay by), James Wan (story by)

Stars:

Demián BichirTaissa FarmigaJonas Bloquet

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Story:  The movie accomplishes the first goal of essentially setting up the main demon from Conjuring 2’s inclusion into the universe. Fans of the series will be pulled into the lore further with the Nun’s origins, learning more about how the demon emerged into our world, his goal for inhabiting our spiritual plane, and what his powers involves.  It’s got multiple layers, a few twists and turns, and some character development to go along with it, but all in focus of connecting the stories.

 

The Setting:  It’s an abbey, even more it’s a medieval abbey that has plenty of secrets in the shadows of the stone hallways.  The Nun utilizes these aspects so well, and that adds creepiness to the entire scene.  Most of the scares for me came from the unseen or passing glimpses in the shadows, while other moments come from the desolate feeling of isolation the hallowed halls provide.  It’s a great use of setting and imagination to deliver the thrills in very conservative ways.

 

The Makeup:  I give props to the department for being able to craft some awesome pieces to bring their imaginations to reality.  The Nun’s team craft a horrifying demon, utilizing a blend of computer, paint, prosthetics, and various other crafts to bring Valak to life.  Even the various forms of the demon’s tricks have a wonderful design to them, each holding that special blend of terror that it wants.

 

The Pace:  A movie like this needs to make sure to put a good pace to keep things going, and this film succeeds on that account.  It’s quick, engaging, and lacks slow parts, which is a plus for the horror series veterans who want scares. Speaking of which.

 

The Scares:  Nun’s tactics are very fitting of the franchise, a blend of jump scares with creeps to try and get you to jump in your seats. Mostly going for jump scares, the film holds plenty of the former, working hard to use loud sounds and sudden appearances to capitalize on the small cast that they have.  It works very well for fans of this tactic, and in this universe will continue to rope you into the nightmare inducing visuals at hand.

 

The Acting:  A limited cast means that the actors have more weight on their shoulders to make the story stay on point and come to life. The Nun’s three leads are successful in this endeavor, each having some overall contribution to piece this tale together.  Demian Bichir is the hard natured priest with the dark past, acting as the pillar to ground the suspense on.  Taissa Farmiga follows in her sister’s footsteps and brings more of the story driven component and doing a fine job adjusting to each situation at hand.  As for Jonas Bloquet, he’s the comedic relief, which is utilized quite well to not offset the horror tone they were going for.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Story…at points: The movie fits well into the craft, but there are parts that are eye rolling.  While I did expect the movie to go down the path to some extent, some of the plot points were a bit too much of a stretch to fit well into the horror tone. A bit too convenient at times, these sorts of plot points are okay at best, but they detracted from the story a bit for me and weren’t quite as fitting as the other solutions of previous films.  In addition, the back story of the three characters is not the strongest either, leaving only half finished characters to grapple on to.

 

The Speeches: Grandiose at times, the speeches sometimes go down the preachy route in some attempt to inspire and enlighten amidst the dark.  While words of wisdom and faith are well received, the delivery of some of these dialogues is more cheesy than effective for me, the sudden pauses in trekking down the demon just to get some morale boosting going.  The presentation is just off compared to other movies, and like the plot components felt out of place in this universe for me.

 

Valak’s powers:  The demon is strong, of this we have no doubt, and the soulless stare that it holds in the dark is bone chilling indeed. Yet, Valak’s powers were surprisingly limited and boring at times, resorting more to pushing telekinetically than anything else.  I guess I would have liked a little more variety in the monster, but the battle between creature and man is not the most impressive thing to creep in.

 

The Predictable Scares; Sadly, the edge of the movie was cut out by the mistakes made above, yet the worst is the predictable scare tactics. The Nun had little surprise to its scares, the camera work laying obvious groundwork for what was about to happen.  Having the music turn off is also a dead giveaway and as such I wasn’t too scared for when things were executed.  This installment doesn’t quite pack the punch of the first movie into the universe, and sadly they are starting to grow stale in their abilities to scare.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

The Nun is a fitting entry into the Conjuring universe that helps place more pieces into the puzzle and sets up to answer all the questions thrown in by the other films.  It’s story works on most levels, and will get the fans connected with the universe that has taken years to build.  In addition, all the special effects, setting, acting, and scares themselves grant you the familiarity of the series that will have you hooked. However, it doesn’t live up to other installments in the films, with predictable scares and underwhelming powers not painting the scariest creature from this universe.  Yet It’s the weaker plot moments and predictable scares that are acting as the true exorcism to quality.  It needs a little wrapping up and tightening to give it the full strength, but this movie still is a welcome addition to the Conjuring series.  Worth a trip to theater?  Hmm, I can say yes, but it’s not the biggest bang for your buck to be honest.

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

Little Stranger Presentation: Artistic and Elegant, But Not Exciting

The Little Stranger Poster

            Horror movies are difficult to balance story with scares, but nevertheless the monster madness reigns strong in all its forms. Tonight, one of those movies wants to try and break the mold of the milieu in hopes that it will remain a pleasant surprise in the flood of summer films.  Robbie K here, ready to bring another review and help you with your viewing pleasures as we cover:

 

The Little Stranger (2018)

 

Director:

Lenny Abrahamson

Writers:

Lucinda CoxonSarah Waters (novel)

Stars:

Domhnall GleesonRuth WilsonJosh Dylan

 

 

LIKES:

 

Thought Provoking:  Little Strangers is a very smart, elegant horror movie that uses a lot of unseen techniques to try and terrify you.  This psychological thriller drops lots of clues, leaving you scratching your head as they try to figure out what in the world is going on in this film.  This smart approach will engage conversation and have you constantly reviewing every scene to piece everything together.  Symbolism and artistic minds rejoice you have found your movie.

 

The Setting:  An 18thcentury mansion with wide echoing halls, dark rooms that house secrets, and silent halls that creak for no reason. This is the setting of the scares of this movie, the realistic mansion bringing that creepy edge that is sure to give one the creeps.  But outside of scares, Little Stranger brings the past back to the present, immersing you in the classic culture that was 20thcentury Europe. Throwing all of this together… one gets a chance to really immerse yourself in the adventure at hand.

 

The Acting;  A very character centric film, Little Strangers depends heavily on the cast to bring the psychological thriller to the forefront. Domhnall Gleesonhas much of the dialogue, a creepy sensation that does not feel directly threatening, but is cold, obsessive, and perhaps calculating enough to make you think twice. Ruth Wilsonis also a bit of enigma, more dynamic than the other characters, Wilson brings the sanity vs. experience to a great balance, continuing to have you question the truth of what she is experiencing.  As for the rest of the crew, they warrant a nod for their skills of bringing the culture to life, there was just more needed.

 

Short Run Time:  It’s only about 1 hour and 40 minutes and based on the dislikes below you can understand why I’m happy for the shorter time frame.

 

The Dance Scene:  It’s not the biggest, boldest, display of dance, but it at least breaks up the movie a bit to help potentially direct the film towards a new lead.  Might not be much, but I give them props for the cute display of etiquette and dancing.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Vague:  To thoroughly enjoy this movie, you have to be wanting a more symbolic vague ending than an actual conclusion.  Little Strangers will fulfill those symbolic loving fans, as it tries to keep you guessing.  I don’t mind thought provoking, but I’d like a little more closure than what I got, though I guess that is the topic discussion starter.  Still, the open-ended nature of the film didn’t quite work for me as well as they had hoped.

 

Not Scary:  A horror movie that isn’t thrilling or scary is hard for me to swallow.  The Little Stranger feels more like a political play or psycho thriller than true horror. As such, those looking for the popular, movie magic infused scares are going to be strongly disappointed at the grounded approach they took.

 

More Character Involvement: All the time they invested into this film, with all the characters placed in the little board of psycho/horror, they would have dived more into the psyche of them as well.  The movie strongly favored Faraday, dipping back to his past to hint at what is brewing in that quiet demeanor.  For the other denizens though, the backstories of them are reduced to dry dialogue and vague stories that one must pay massive attention to or miss a big clue.  Why the characters weren’t further elaborated, I don’t know, but perhaps their involvement could have gone to the next level.

 

Boring:  The movie is slowly paced, and without the novelty scares and creepiness, the articulated dialogue and elegant presentation are not the most engaging.  Outside of solving the mystery and vague symbolism, there was not enough to keep my attention or energy invested in the movie.  As such, it was difficult to concentrate and truly embrace what the movie had to offer.

 

Unnecessary Scenes: The movie has a number of scenes that are bloated displays of dialogue and dryer banter that is only semi-pertinent. I’ll stomach these moments designed for time all day, but unnecessary details (primarily those that strike my pet peeves) are not things I enjoy seeing.  One particular scene crosses into the heartless territory, with its inclusion reduced to only a few lines to explain why it all happened.  With the vague approach and symbolism though, I was ready to walk out once this detailed moment occurred.  Unnecessary and almost impractical moments like these, can stay buried in the minds of the authors and writers.

 

 

THE VERDICT:

 

            The Little Strangers feels much like a book into movie format, really focusing on the psyche and internal mind rather than the horror aspect.  I’ll admit, it’s artistic, more unique and better acted than many horror movies, but it lacks that hook to keep me invested in the movie.  It’s not scary, it’s not fun, and really has some editing and toning needed to give the answers and closure I wanted.  So, don’t go in there expecting a regular horror and you may just enjoy it, but otherwise, I didn’t feel this movie had all the elements it needed to warrant a trip to theater. 

 

My scores are:

 

Dram/Horror/Mystery: 4.0

Movie Overall: 3.0