A Genetic Twist To Horror That Is Semi-Gripping Until the End

Hereditary Poster

 

Robbie K here, ready to try and do another movie justice in his reviews and observations.  Tonight’s focus is on a horror movie that looked very disturbing, chilling to the bone, and potentially containing a high creep factor to really make you squirm in your seats.  Yes, assuming you read the title of the movie on your way into this review I’m giving you my thoughts and observations on…

 

Hereditary (2018)

 

Director:

Ari Aster

Writer:

Ari Aster

Stars:

Toni Collette,  Milly Shapiro,  Gabriel Byrne

 

LIKES:

Creepy:  The trailers didn’t lie, Hereditary is creepy as heck and not afraid to flaunt it in so many forms.  While not loaded with jump scares that many love, Hereditary is all about using shadows and the edge of your vision to make you see things. It uses subtle sounds to keep you on the edge, and reveals just enough to keep you further engrossed in the thrills. Hereditary also is not afraid to cross the line to really get a reaction going, sometimes to the point of intensely disturbing visuals that one does not expect to see.  Yet, my friends and I all agreed that the true creep factor comes from how realistic this movie is, at least at the beginning.  The questions of how much is true and how much potential psychosis is helps depict some of the more extreme cases of mental illness and how dangerous and intense this disease can be. 

 

The Setting:  A creepy movie requires a setting to bring it to life and this movie has got that going on for it too.  The house is classic, semi isolated from town, with enough nooks and crannies to generate shadows that hide in the light.  It’s not these random temples or abandoned houses, but an actual lived in home that brings that realism to light and immerses you into the movie.  And if you don’t care about the creepy shadows and lights the movie holds, then just enjoy the beauty of the house, especially if you were dragged to the movie to begin with.

 

 

Dynamic Story Changes: A fancy way of saying twisting transition, Hereditary’s writer certainly new how to adjust the script to bring a different atmosphere with the movie.  At first more of a psycho thriller with some potential horror elements, the movie manages to gradually fluctuate into other genres.  It evolves into different types of horrors, and with it brings more levels of disturbing twists to begin to connect semi-vague pieces together. It certainly a bit haphazard and mashed like a play, but I give props for a writer willing to switch gears from time to time. In addition, some of the lengths they go to shake things up are certainly risky, but with it generating some reaction you weren’t quite expecting. 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Long:  Heritage certainly does the job of tying up loose ends and making sure everything is explained (which of course is a like). Sadly, it takes a little too long to get to that point and in a very complex manner that is almost like going around your elbow to get to your thumb. The second act, and partially the third act, were very drawn out, boring to the point of trying to make these connections in a mask of coping mechanisms.  Again, it’s realism and portrayal are awesome, but as the direction of the movie starts to change, these weird transitions start to feel a bit too odd and not worth your time.

 

The Goofy Faces:  Some of the movie tried to bring some torturous reactions in the non-verbal acting.  Poor Toni Collette came off with some rather goofy, perhaps unintentional, faces that were funny and looked more like being stoned or maybe getting brain freeze. Her son Peter (Alex Wolff) didn’t turn out much better, as his own facial dynamics were, well goofy as well, primarily in that buck toothed, stoned look that was meant to be exhaustion.

 

The Acting:  Don’t get me wrong, the acting was mostly decent, if not good, primarily in the portrayal of mental illness and fear.  Yet there were times where hysterical crying, yelling, and blubbering were again a little too much and went down the wrong path.  I’m not trying to pick on Wolff, but his hysterical crying was a little too forced for me and seemed incredibly fake compared to the rest of his performance.  Why this gimmick was done more than once, not really known, but I can’t say that it was a direction I would have taken.

 

The Tongue Clicking: Not quite an as annoying as the trailers made it out, the use of the tongue clicking was decent at times, but a little over used.  Whether it was the amplification by the speakers, or maybe just the excessive/random moments, this device started to grow annoyingly humorous and needed to stop.  Thank goodness they got light of it and didn’t bombard us too much with it.

 

The Complexity:  A complex plot makes you think, makes you question, and more importantly keeps you engaged.  This movie accomplished those goals, but when the ending finally came through and the final transition happened, the complexity felt stupid and unneeded.  Again, it supports the ending, but because of how much I didn’t like the ending, this complexity just didn’t feel the right direction to me outside of extending the film. Complexity can be good with a real good finish, (which some may like), but for this reviewer the ends didn’t justify the means.

 

The Ending:  You saw this coming, but Hereditary’s ending wasn’t the one I had in mind from the trailers.  A surprise can be good, but to quote my friends, the ending had completely leaped over the gap to another movie altogether that didn’t quite fit all the way with the direction the first act did.  It was almost like two screenwriters wrote the two halves, came together and tried to paste them together (even though there was supposedly only one writer).  While the broad transitions will grip more people in, the movie’s grand finale wasn’t my cup of tea, though it may explain the disturbing steps this writer planned. And some of the end game decisions, rushed, pointless, and really not pleasant to look at (fans who see the movie will know what I’m talking about).

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The other reviews are right, this movie keeps you guessing, has a number of twists, is creepy and hard to stomach, and not afraid to go down the dark abyss to bring you shock.  So, bravo in thinking outside the box and crafting a rather original tale with a dynamic component to it.  Yet, this movie’s tinkering with the plot was unnecessarily complex, with a few gimmicks/deliveries not really keeping in tone with the genre and the ends not justifying the lengthy journey I took to get there.  If you like the Lords of Salem, you are going to enjoy the approach this movie takes, as it feels very similar in a lot of components. Yet, if you want a more linear, straightforward movie, hold your horses for later this year when other films are supposed to grace the silver screen.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Horror/Mystery: 8.0

 

Movie Overall:  7.0

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Breaking Into Drama More Than Thriller

Breaking In Poster

 

It’s Mother’s Day, a time for celebrating your maternal parental figure who cooked meals, did chores, and saved you from thieves.  Okay, maybe not that last one, but it is the theme of our movie review tonight.  In an attempt to capitalize on the holiday, tonight’s review hopes to bring the drama and thrills to entertain the masses, and potentially bring a new meaning to the Mama Bear title.  Robbie K here with another analysis on film, attempting to guide your movie viewing pleasures.  So, let’s get started on the review of:

 

Movie: Breaking In

 

Director:

James McTeigue

Writer:

Ryan Engle

Stars:

Gabrielle Union,  Billy Burke,  Richard Cabral

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  The movie is a very character centric tale, primarily attempting to portray a mother caught in a dire situation. Gabrielle Union accomplished this goal, managing to bring the heat and fire of a mother scorned, who is refusing to let these thieves harm her babies by any means.  The balance of emotion with deadly edge and vulnerability, led to a well-designed character who holds much of the movie on her shoulders.  The thieves led by Billy Burke, all play their roles well, each with a certain quirk to lean heavily on, as this modernized Harry and Marv attempt to claim their goals.  As for the kids, they do a decent job, just not the most integrated roles outside of crying and a few clever moves.

 

The Realism: Thrillers can sometimes bend reality too much, but Breaking In keeps its feet on the ground pretty well in the realism department.  While there are slight stretches at times, the writers managed to keep the superhuman feats to a minimum, and all injuries rather debilitating.  In addition, it’s very similar to the home team advantage, allowing knowledge of the property to contribute to her strengths of outwitting these dangerous men.  Say what you want about the mercy of the characters, but give it a round of applause for avoiding the super human magic movies love to cast.

 

The Time:  Not much to say here, other than the movie is around 90 minutes long so as not to be too long in your Mother’s Day plans.  So, hooray for condense story telling.

 

The Setting:  The coolest like for me in this film, is by far the setting this game of cat and mouse plays.  This house in the middle of the country is gorgeous and elaborate, lulling your sense of envy out to admire just how much one can do with real estate, interior design, and amazing technology and landscaping.  Yet, to use that house as a massive chess board weapon is even cooler in my opinion.  Breaking In is all about exploring the house and surrounding terrain, utilizing the knowledge of the manor to outwit the opponents and obtain the riches within.  It’s the shadows and interconnected twists that really bring the suspense out, and open up the possibilities of what can happen next.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Pacing:  The movie has issues with keeping a consistent pace for me in this movie, resulting in at times a sluggish speed that was difficult to stay awake for.  These moments are not entertaining, thrilling, and add little in terms of character development, which means it’s more a waste of time and editing than anything else.  And even when things are supposed to speed up, they only ramp up slightly and quickly fizzle out.

 

Lack of Character Development:  If its character centric, it needs to be character developing and this movie fails on that aspect for me.  While Union’s character (Shaun) is able to get some new levels of strength and love for family, the rest of the characters advance very little from their already limited group.  While the kids were most likely not going anywhere, the thieves really could have used some better backstory, deeper qualities, and perhaps a little more reasoning behind their actions. These shallow qualities reign supreme though and lead to one-dimensional characters that are flat, boring, and only creepy at times.

 

Predictable/Unmotivated Story:  Such hope filled me from the trailers, the small drops at a potential deeper story that could end up providing some twists and surprises that could be hiding in the dark halls.  Indeed, they dropped these lines in the movie, however they did not elaborate on them at all.  No more explanations about the dad outside a few cheap lines, no backstabbing politics that you couldn’t see coming.  And most notable, no real build up to make an attempt to wow.  The story is just so linear and simplified that it just left me feeling robbed of my money for an incomplete script.  If you want this safe route, you’ll love this plot the, but if those looking for edge… don’t hold your breath.

 

Thrilling?: This dislike is questionable depending on what you consider thrills.  If you like the straight up, low key threats, and mild running and hiding, this movie is for you Yet if you were expecting holding your breath moments, intense stand offs, close calls, and manners similar to Don’t Breathe… then you’ll be bummed like me. Breaking In is more an elaborate drama that feels like a heated, soap opera moment, and while things can get a little tense, it fizzles out at the empty threats of the thieves at hands.  While mothers will be ready to claw the guys eyes out and worry for the kids, other fans may just be waiting for the movie to end when they realize how low key the thrills are. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Breaking In held such potential, but like many films it just didn’t deliver on those promises that well edited trailer brought. While the setting is good, the acting is decent, and everything is presented concisely… the movie just could not deliver the thrills for me it wanted.  Much has to do with one-dimensional characters and an unmotivated pace, which makes it difficult to see this movie thriving outside of Lifetime or another local cable channel/streaming service.  Can’t say it’s worth a trip to the theater for me, so hold out for now and get ready for the bigger blockbusters to come into play next week. 

 

My scores are:

 

Thriller:  6.0

Movie Overall:  4.5

A Samaritan To The Crime Drama Formula

Bad Samaritan

 

With the success of the Avengers last weekend, it is hard for other movies to try and take follow such an impressive record. Still, another week comes with movies that are going to try and fight for their place in the silver screen.  My first movie of the week is the latest Horror/Thriller to try and keep you on edge.  Robbie K here with another round of writing to help you guys with your movie choices.  Sit back and read on as I review:

 

Movie:  Bad Samaritan

 

Director:

Dean Devlin

Writer:

Brandon Boyce (screenplay)

Stars:

Kerry Condon,  David Tennant,  Robert Sheehan

 

 

LIKES:

 

Decent Pacing:  If you’ve read my work, you know I like movies that movie, which Bad Samaritan does.  I’ll admit it takes a while to lift off in an attempt to set the stage, but as the robbery goes bad and the thrills start, things start to pick up.  From then on, it seems to move, only hitting rough patches of diverging slowness for small amounts before looping back to the story. 

 

Acting:  Another plus here, the cast has quite an art to helping keeps the audience invested in the story with performances that are quite believable and well developed.  The secondary characters are fine for their limited appearances, but the two leads are by far the pillars of strength keeping this movie up.  Sheehan as the protagonist plays the man at wits end quite well, a nice force of morale integrity with a drive to make changes his world needs.  It’s a nice puzzle of emotion and he was able to bring all the pieces together to make a protagonist you want to get behind.  Yet it’s David Tennant who will most likely grab your attention.  The former Barty Crouch Junior has taken his insanity up a level, still having that strategic genius of a serial killer, but this time being much louder and less subtle Seeing how deep his madness goes is probably the only mystery at hand, as one tries to figure out what caused such devoted madness.  The rivalry between these two is the relationship that drives the whole film, and certainly the thrilling component of the movie.

 

Thrilling at Times: The movie has a dark edge to it, and dark often brings thrills and suspense to the screen.  Bad Samaritan has those moments that are real on the seat sequences that you crime show lovers enjoy.  All of them attempt to make you jump and potentially look suspiciously over at your fellow audience member, but most of these moments are short lived. What does bring suspense though, is that feeling of unknown as to what Tennant’s character will do next.  That uneasiness is truly the source of the thrills in the movie and perhaps one of the more realistic scares of the year in movies.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable: What drowns the movie’s suspense is how linear and predictable this film is.  Bad Samaritan holds few surprises in this regard, much of the plot can be seen from a mile away and seldom surprising me outside of how short some of the suspense moments are.  It’s much of the same story that crime shows love to take full advantage of in their relentless need for repeats.

 

Lacking Villain Development: The extent of his madness is visible in this film, his back story, not so much.  Bad Samaritan’s villain is just shown as crazy, with only fleeting memories of animal torture (another thing I hate) to give you any sort of understanding. Eventually, the bomb is dropped into the incident that developed his psychopathic tendencies arose, but it’s only in the form of a three-sentence part to wrap it all up.  This lack of details and impasses to uncover his history means one thing… boring.  Part of the fun of a thriller is getting more insight to the monster at hand and it just didn’t deliver in this movie.

 

Underutilization of secondary characters:  Sigh, the protagonist had so many connections set up at the beginning, each an important cog to Sheehan’s character’s life, but also a valuable pawn in the killer’s game of chess.  Unfortunately, these pieces are super underdeveloped, dropped in for only small time talk before quickly being used for more life altering madness.  Most of these stints are just flown over, but a couple do try to bring that nasty bite to get you feeling the pain they want you to.  Had more of these guys been brought into the game, Bad Samaritan may have again developed the edge it needed.

 

The Stupidity/Mistakes: Bad Samaritan falls into the usual trepidations of characters making stupid decisions and paying heavily for it. These bad decisions are essentially the core of the movie, and while a few could be appreciated, some of these moments were sheer displays of how dumb the writing was at times.  How did this master of seduction/schmoozing screw up so much for this kid to best him?  Why would they be so stupid to leave obvious clues?  Why were the cops so ruthlessly dumb/ignorant?  It’s just those background noises they want you to annoy, but in this movie that is hard to do given the set up they make.  The inconsistencies are a tad annoying to me at times.

 

The Ending: Sigh, another movie that is left to tease and feel unfinished.  Bad Samaritan’s final moments are rushed display of mistakes, coincidental serendipity, and a sudden cut to black worthy of the Sopranos.  It opens the possibilities for another installment yet could provide lackluster closure to those who want it. Nevertheless, this film didn’t quite end as strongly as one would hope, leaving many questions unanswered, and many ties still unknotted.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Bad Samaritan is an okay movie, capable of finding ways to make you jump and trying to keep you engaged in this manhunt. With good acting and a good pace, the movie certainly feels like a crime show that has a film worthy budget.  Yet, the movie still holds some rather big deficits that rob it of the thriller aspect it wanted to bring.  More character development and suspense are going to be needed for further installments, but it at least sets the stage. Worth a trip to the movies?  Can’t say it is for me but give it a shot at home to not worry about being robbed of your money for an anticlimactic ending.

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Thriller:  7.0

Movie Overall:  6.5

Don’t Get Caught Up In Traffic

Traffik

 

Drama/crimes, a series on the rise in the television land, but still looking to solidify its place in the theaters.  Yet, this weekend, another film attempts to bait us into another mystery, one that promises violence, drama, and potentially uncover a hidden threat that has lurked beneath the service. Robbie K back to write another review this time on:

 

Movie: Traffik

 

Director:

Deon Taylor

Writer:

Deon Taylor

Stars:

Paula Patton,  William Fichtner,  Missi Pyle

 

 

LIKES:

 

Setting:  The beautiful wilderness of this movie is the shining jewel for this reviewer.  Gorgeous views of the forest and plains are only further offset by the breathtaking houses that dwell within.  The team behind the camera certainly deserve major props for the fantastic capturing of the natural splendor our characters are in. 

 

Cinematography: Past the setting, the cinema team is fantastic at capturing the adventure on film.  Traffik’s drama unfolds in full splendor, the audience feeling the torture bleeding off our “heroes” as they dive deeper into the mess.  In addition, all the action that unfolds is easy to follow, as the stable camera work keeps its focus on all the details at hand.  It’s edited smoothly and does a fantastic job of immersing you into the events at hand.  So well done on that.

 

Edge: Traffik keeps the current girl power movement alive and does so with an edge that is sure to get a few of the audience members hooting and hollering.  The edge contained within this movie is dark, granting it a bite more piercing that the knives the villains use.  In addition, the movie has a great balance of morals vs. safety looking to help potentially motivate you to make a change.  It certainly isn’t the worst in terms of violence, but it still hits you hard as the darker moments begin to come alive.

 

Acting:  I won’t go into too much detail, but the acting is good enough to make the film semi-raise to life. The leads feel like a couple plagued by problems, but in love enough to at least put those problems on hold to help them recover.  As for the bad guys, they look and act like scum, each having that sleazy, demon spawned, heathen quality that all protagonists have.  Deadly in regards to attitude and savagery, the cast has crafted an assortment of character to help draw you into the seedy underbelly that awaits.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Drawn Out Drama:  Thrillers prove to be successful when they provide you know thrills and chills to leave you in suspense until the big moment.  When Traffik finally gets to the exciting parts, it’s been nearly 60 minutes of the 100-minute run time, which doesn’t bode well.  The first part feels like a soap opera with better graphics, the drama very shallow, immature, and cheesy to the point of eye-rolling proportions.  It’s an attempt to add some heat to the four central figures, but this cheap background story development didn’t fit for me in the grand scheme and only the delayed the component I was there for.

 

Anti-Climactic Excitement:  It took us long enough to get to the faster, more intense parts, so now it’s time for you to be on the edge of your seat, right?  Wrong!  Traffik held potential, but it didn’t deliver on its promise of thrills and chills.  The action was short lived, the stunts rather minor, the pace felt off, and even worse… most of the guys were incredibly stupid/or had bad aim with whatever devices they had.  Outside of the yelling and intense orchestral score… these exciting parts were a little boring, with only the slightest hint of wonder left in how deep the rabbit hole went.  There was one scene with some bite, but the rest was a predictable mess that was unnecessarily drawn out.

 

Sheer Stupidity of The Characters:  It’s one thing to have teenagers make dumb decisions in these kinds of movie.  Adults on the other hand… need to have more common sense than the characters I watched on the screen.  The party of “heroes” made laughable, predictable choices that completely defied logic and offered no hope of nobility for much of the movie.  Any attempt to redeem their lower parts was simplistic and only a few heroic moves were capable of rising to the challenge.  Second, the villains were hormonal charged, sexually aggressive, nimrods who made a lot of weak mistakes that were out of character.  Given all the illegal activity they’ve been doing, these criminals surely have more brains than this right?  Worst of all, the main woman essentially caused all these problems by being too nosey, violating privacy in a world that was obviously bigger than it seemed.  No matter how many chances she had to bail herself out, she kept making the choices to drag her and her friends back in.  Very stupid development.

 

Predictable:  The movie tried to throw in twists to spice things up, but they did not come close to fooling me in this movie.  Much of this is due to our characters being completely stupid in their choices, but other things were ruined by the foreshadowing the movie blatantly threw into the mix.  Don’t hold your breath for surprises guys, for this movie didn’t have them.

 

THE VERDICT:

 

Traffik held potential, but in all honesty this thriller was more dramatic than anything else. This big budget soap opera was very slow in pace, drawn out relationship antics that held little to no originality as it tried to build tension.  When it all came to a boil, the movie still couldn’t deliver the full power it promised, leading to sloppy excursions with characters that became surprisingly dumb or over assuming.  Still, should you decide to catch this one in theaters, you have some nice settings and camera work to bring the movie up on the screen, and a little edge to get you through it.  My recommendations are to rent this bad boy at home and get yourselves ready for the movies of the summer. 

 

My scores:

 

Thriller:  5.0

Movie Overall: 4.0

Do You Dare See This Film

Truth Or Dare

 

Another weekend, another horror movie to arise in the dim lights of the theater.  This weekend, the big advertised thriller of young age adults versus the paranormal has reared its superficial prettiness in hopes of generating big bucks.  While the trailers have painted a very skeptical picture, but you never know what lies beneath the snippets edited in the trailers.  Robbie K here with the third review of the weekend, bringing some thoughts and observations on the latest films to hit the silver screen.  Let’s get started with this review of:

 

Film: Truth or Dare

 

Director:

Jeff Wadlow

 

Writers:

Jillian Jacobs (screenplay by),  Michael Reisz (screenplay by)

 

Stars:

Lucy Hale,  Tyler Posey,  Violett Beane

 

 

LIKES:

Good Pace:  Horror movies are a mixed bag of either being too slow or too fast.  Truth or Dare is fortunately one of those that seems to hit just the right speed to allow for everything to pan out as it should be.  This reviewer appreciated the brisk pace brought about by the pressure of the game, adding some slight edge and mystery as to when the next challenge would arise in a rather predictable plot.  Yet, the movie still took the time to allow their characters to semi-flesh out their issues and dive a little deeper than their superficial looks.  A nice balance is always nice to see.

 

Pretty Cast:  Pretty faces go a long way in this business, and Truth or Dare is chock full of attractive puppets set to potentially meet their doom.  This Abercrombie and Fitch models will be pleasing to many eyes, which does a lot of heavy lifting in the beginning to accommodate the typical montage.  And even throughout the drama, the looks will garnish more attention than the acting itself.  Still, the costume and casting get two thumbs up for fashioning a target audience relatable ensemble.

 

Decent Acting:  While the looks are certainly a big picture, the acting is still semi-decent alongside the directing.  Most of the cast actually deserves some props for fashioning characters that didn’t make me cringe or wish they would dieHale in particular was my favorite, using her talents to craft a very versatile character capable of being relatable to. Once more a portrayal of morals vs self-preservation, the lovely young woman more than delivered a stellar performance that evolved as her character adapted.

 

A Unique Concept:  The Truth or Dare game that is deadly might seem cheesy, but it wins points for originality in my book.  A simple child’s game (that can get out of control sometimes) as a device of death opened up creative avenues of potential fatality that kept things interesting.  While a little over the top at times, (though not as bad as Final Destination), it was cool to see this dynamic stay consistent and the strategy for how to get around the traps set forth.

 

DISLIKES:

Character Development:  The movie had a good start and a device to drive growth, but sadly that growth was fairly diluted for much of the characters.  Most of the cast were still shallow teens with drama that did nothing more than paint massive targets on their backs, falling into the slasher formula that many seem to enjoy.  While the game did drive some things to change for the two leads, the movie could have benefitted from a little more branching out.

Story Takes Some Dives:  The story actually held some gold nuggets in terms of quality, but that quickly dulled into fool’s gold as the plot elements dippedThe twist behind the games lethal forces, the other players who had the more sinister characteristics, and even the solutions were hinted at times only to be dropped.  More suspense and thrills could have been accomplished had they expanded on this category.  They started to clean it up at the end with the solution to the problem and the tension that came with it, leading to a rather engaging ending, but the middle of the movie could have used this treatment.

Rushed Deaths:  Some of the kills in this movie are intense bouts of our “heroes” racing against the clock to stop the game’s effects.  These kills are the more engaging, changing the odds to a more even split on their survival.  Others, are merely cheap wrap ups that the teenage group seem to drink up, which is a little disappointing at not delivering on the potential that was there.  Perhaps for the shorter attention span of the modern age, but still could have been better than what was presented.

Idiot Syndrome: Where A Quiet Place held realism, fear, and logic, Truth or Dare sadly falls victim to the famous idiot syndrome where the characters brains are absent after the first scene.  While this isn’t true for all characters, many of them seem to have their logic components absent during much of the film.  Why this annoying trait can’t be teased out a little more makes no sense to me, but the old stick continues to make for an annoying component that takes away from the characters, degrading them to MTV reality status.

 

The VERDICT:

            Truth or Dare falls victim to the cliché of teenage horror syndrome, in that is a gimmicky display of airheads going up against an unstoppable supernatural force.  True, it does have an original medium to terrorize our actors through, pretty cast with decent acting, and a good pace to entertain, it falls shy of being an epic horror.  It’s good for the teenage and young adults target audience, but for an audience as a whole this movie is better left for renting than anything else. If only the MTV syndrome could have been avoided, because this quality is what dilutes an otherwise engaging premise.

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Thriller:  6.0

Movie Overall:  5.0

Can’t Keep Quiet About This Great Horror Film

A queit place

 

Horror Movies continue to flood the theaters, each one hoping to stake its claim in the Hollywood world and actually get a decent rating.  One such candidate comes out this weekend, with a well-received preshowing, and a festival to support it, this movie holds high potential to accomplish the goal of a good horror movie.  Tonight, my second review hopes to bring good news on this movie and promote it for being a horror film that will leave you reeling.  Robbie K back again, as he reviews:

 

Title: A Quiet Place

Director:

John Krasinski

 

Writers:

Bryan Woods (screenplay by),  Scott Beck

 

Stars:

Emily Blunt,  John Krasinski,  Millicent Simmonds

 

 

LIKES:

Editing:  Horror movies miss the mark quite often in this category, usually adding unneeded details to increase the length of the movie.  A Quiet Place manages to really tighten this element up, with almost 100% of the movie holding pertinence to the movie’s storytelling.  The result, is an immersive horror tale that doesn’t dive too far down the hokey realm and instead towards the quality thriller tale we’ve been seeking.

 

Acting:  For a movie with few words, the small cast was able to maximize their screen time with their nonverbal acting.  Blunt and Krasinski (the actual married couple) play their roles to the T, unleashing all that primitive rage of protecting their offspring from the elements.  There is love, passion, and fear all rolled up into the mannerisms and facial acting.  As for the kids, again impressive openings as they portray kids stuck in a dangerous wilderness where life hangs in the very balance.  The family dynamic reigns strong in this small cast, including all the interpersonal dynamics and drama that comes with a close knit group.

 

Creepy:  The movie wins points in the scare department for being a realistic fear factory that delivered on two levels.  One is of course the good use of jump scares that had a number of people jumping in their seats, not over utilizing it as many films in this genre doHowever, the real chills come from the creepy atmosphere contained within the deadly frontier our world becomes in this reality.  The creatures themselves are horrific, mutated abominations that are the stuff of nightmares as these alpha predators hunt our heroes.  Even creepier though, is the feeling of isolation and being watch (or heard in this case) by the threat looming out there.  That delicate balance brings with it an inherent suspense that will keep you locked up until its all released in one giant flinch/scream depending on the audience member.  This energy carries on throughout the whole movie and is more than a welcome factor this genre needed.

 

DISLIKES:

A Few Unnecessary Scenes:  A small dislike, but there are a few scenes/ideas that didn’t pan out for me in the film.  Some of these scenes seem to be nothing but an opening for a death or to provide a passing glance of the creatures (which they tease for a lot in the first half of the film).  Others, I think try to add a little more tension to the scenario (such as an injured foot), only to not prove pertinent in the long run.

 

The Pregnancy/Baby Dynamic: On the one hand I liked this component because it helped add more to the family dynamic/character building this genre often fails at.  Past this symbolism of hope though, the whole dynamic adds a slight cheesy flavor to the tension more so at the speed, ridiculousness, and semi-cringe worthy handling of this factor.  I can’t say much without ruining the story, but the direction took a steep drop in believability for me when this gravid plot line came into play.

 

Trailers:  Given the only 90 minute run time, the other factor that provides enough glimpses to ruin the surprise are the trailers. Depending on how many times you have seen the trailers, you can see the twists have been ruined and the movie become predictable.  So be prepared my friends, because the more you watch advertising, the more you have revealed before the movie starts.

 

The VERDICT:

 

A Quiet Place has accomplished the goal of good storytelling meeting the thrills of a pending game of cat and mouse.  The movie has heart, character development and a number of the positives, but nothing is more important is how well the movie manages to ring in terms of tis advertising and how focused they were for a 90 minute scare fest.  While those who have seen the trailers a lot may be at risk of a so-so movie, A Quiet Place reigns high in my horror genre and is worth a viewing in the theater if you are looking for a movie to really drop you back in the creepy level.  If not, definitely check this one out in rentals

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Horror/Thriller:  8.5

Movie Overall:  8.5

Acrimony Bologna

Acrimony

 

Robbie K back with yet another movie review this weekend, this time on a more dramatic film that promises to get the audience screaming “Oh no she didn’t!”  The legendary writer/director Tyler Perry brings yet another piece to try to entertain, in hopes of making a dent in the box office.  Will it work?  Please read on to find out as I analyze:

 

Title: Tyler Perry’s Acrimony

 

Director:

Tyler Perry

Writer:

Tyler Perry

Stars:

Taraji P. Henson,  Lyriq Bent,  Crystle Stewart

 

 

LIKES:

Presentation:  Acrimony’s delivery is nothing super unique, but it is also a little off the beaten path from what I have seen in the past.  Told during the perspective of a meeting, Acrimony’s main tale is told through the voice of Henson while the scene plays out.  The voice over works, as it acts like an internal conscience describing the feelings of her character, adding comedy and a little heat to an already boiling situation.

 

Acting:  Tyler Perry’s plays require good acting to bring his… unique characters to life and fortunately the main cast does a great job of bringing those too life.  All the supporting cast play their part well in this soap opera, but the main cast are the ones who really make it shineHenson no doubt carries much of the film and portrays the mental breakdown of a scorned woman quite well in regards to delivering the lines, holding the bewildered eyes, and even the mannerisms.  Meanwhile, Lyriq Bent has a fantastic transition over the course of the movie, with a fantastic ability to play the complex Robert and spur the crowd on.  The chemistry between these two is very melodramatic, but it fits well with Perry’s work to illicit drama into the mix.

 

The Twist:  I went in expecting the movie to be yet another drama, that was all about overreacting, cheating, and insulting one another. Truth is it was, but the movie was much more different than what the trailer presented.  Perry’s twist on presentation had things a little more engaging, a deeper psychological thriller that made you wonder how far down the rabbit hole the cast was going to fall.  I can’t reveal much more, but let’s just say this movie is darker than you might get from the trailers… you’ve been warned.

 

DISLIKES:

The Pacing:  My fellow audience members agreed that the pacing of this movie was way off.  Acrimony gets applause for being detailed, however the initial opening was a little long winded, unnecessarily delaying the journey to the climactic drama at hand. Even worse, Perry sometimes goes into such painstakingly details one might think they were reading a Tolkien book. This slows the movie down considerably and adds unnecessary length to the movie that could have benefitted from other areas.

 

Ridiculous:  Perry’s dramas are often melodramatic, lust filled, journeys that feign the idea of true love.  However, they usually are grounded in reality and keep the coincidences to a minimum.  In this case, not so much, as Acrimony takes the ridiculous moments and amplifies them to levels that we see in Lifetime.  The over the top crying, the aggressive acts, and even the stunts of the bewildered characters are so out there that it destroyed the reality basis of this movie for cheap thrills.  And while I appreciate the twist…. Its central focus was a little too farfetched to hold my favor, again belonging as a made for television movie in regards to quality and stereotypical soap opera behavior.

 

The Writing/Production Quality: Acrimony is not the flashiest or most impressive visual work to grace the theater.  It’s rather simplistic shots, lack of music/sound editing, and even the design of all the sequences themselves are not the prettiest production.  Even worse is the semi-lazy writing contained within this film.  There are some funny, edgy lines that are perfectly designed to represent the frustration of the main character. Other times, it’s just mindless swearing, that feels like nothing but a giant rage fest that feels more like a temper tantrum than a respectable expression of frustration.  While this may be the closer representation of the real world, it isn’t the most engaging dialog I’ve ever seen…or the most original.

 

The VERDICT:

            Acrimony is not what you are expecting in terms of plot, but nevertheless it delivers the package of being the melodramatic, Tyler Perry adventures we’ve come to know.  Despite a strong acting and presentation though, the movie really doesn’t deliver the same punch his previous work does outside of a shock factor and sewing future seeds for GIF videos. Still, if you are looking for a movie this weekend to get your drama factor on, this movie will satisfy it, but otherwise, go to a better movie like Ready Player One to maximize your funds. 

 

My scores are:

 

Thriller:  5.5

Movie Overall:  4.0