Coming Home To New Scares and Stories

Annabelle Comes Home Poster

 

Another week, another chance to impress us with a horror movie.  This week, the Conjuring Universe continues its ride to the box office bucks in as much style as it can before the big films come.  Yet, like many extended universe movies, you have no idea whether the next installment will succeed, or just make your wallet bleed.  Welcome to another Robbie’s Movie Review and tonight we see if the latest spooky film will ride the ghost train to the bank.  As always, happy to share some opinions so let’s get out there and get it done!

 

Movie:  Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Director:

Gary Dauberman

Writers:

James Wan (story by), Gary Dauberman

Stars:

Vera FarmigaPatrick WilsonMckenna Grace

 

LIKES:

 

  • Acting
  • Creepy
  • New Types of Ghosts
  • More Looks Into The Haunted Room
  • Decent Pace
  • Some Surprising Story Elements

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Predictability
  • Story Is A Little Fractured
  • The Boyfriend Arc
  • Not As Scary As I Had Hoped
  • A Little Anticlimactic

 

SUMMARY:

 

The latest movie in the conjuring universe starts to go back to its roots and polish up things.  Annabelle’s latest story brings the creepy nature of the movies back to the home and that adds the realistic notion of scares that make fans like me love the series. In the sanctity of the home, one hopes to be harbored from ghosts, but Annabelle’s minions prove that not even the familiarity of a home can save you. Nevertheless, the movie manages to bring new types of ghosts and scares that potentially will become movies of their own as the forbidden treasures of the Warrens surface and hint at the secrets in store.  Surprisingly, the movie still manages to find some storytelling elements in it as well, but this time through the eyes of a new cast, whose younger members accomplish the goals of terror filled teenagers and adolescents trying to cover up their mistakes.  The backstory and character development can be touching, but never quite engulfs the main goal of scaring.

 

Sadly, the movie suffers from the usual horror trade of imbalance and predictability.  The use of foreshadowing, the same tactics for trying to build scares, and the trailers have spoiled much of the suspenseful parts for me and given the rushed component this sometimes blew through the scary parts too quickly to allow the audience to stew in the intensity of the moment.  In addition, the movie held too much in terms of story lines, primarily in the number of artifacts they tried to use.  Ambitious as it was to brings many guests to the party, Annabelle’s focus on all the spirits led a fractured story component that did not quite have the majesty of the origin story we got a few years back.  Ghosts aside, the story of the humans with more of a pulse did not come fully together, falling into some simplistic stories that did not quite have the bite I was hoping, especially in regards to the boyfriend arc, which while funny was not entirely necessary to the film.  As you can probably guess the movie as a whole not quite that climactic in its finish.

 

            Yet despite all the imbalances, Annabelle’s latest trek is about the middle runner for this reviewer.  With enough creeps in the realistic setting, one may find themselves afraid of what lies in the dark, becoming quite sensitive to sounds.  With new ghosts, some new tricks, and a few new spins on the formula it works for those looking for a good ghost story.  Yet, the movie sort of strayed from the story/scare balance of the first one and the characters don’t quite have the same drive some of the stronger series installments (Conjuring and Annabelle Creation) has in terms of characters to latch onto or a story to ground it all. Still, it’s got enough special effects to garnish a theater run, but only barely.  Instead, this one may be better reserved for home, where the setting can help add some horror in itself.

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0

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Femme Fatale Fashionista! Anna The Complex Spy

Anna Poster

 

Spy films!  A chance to tell engaging, deep, intense tales utilizing the most unexpected people.  For years Bond has sort of led this revolution, but other films attempt to get into their own secrets that are less flashy and more involved with the espionage component.  This weekend, the latest jab at the spy film comes in the form of a femme fatale, where fashion and lethality mix together in an attempt to make the latest thriller for people, perhaps the female population in particular, to enjoy. Robbie K here ready for another review, this time on:

 

Director:

Luc Besson

Writer:

Luc Besson (screenplay)

Stars:

Sasha LussHelen MirrenLuke Evans

 

 

LIKES:

  • The Acting
  • The Cast
  • The Character Development
  • A Few Action Scenes
  • The Costumes and Wardrobe

 

DISLIKES:

  • The Pace
  • The Convoluted Story and Means
  • The Lack of Action/Stiff Action
  • Emphasis of Sex
  • The awkward Love Triangle
  • The Politics Again

 

Summary:  Spy films are always about the character bringing the bang to the buck for me and that requires good acting.  Sasha Luss was a great front woman for this type of film, decent balance if dialogue, the carrying of the femme fatale energy, the suaveness, and the layered emotion were executed quite well over the course of the film.  Helen Mirren as sort of her mentor/boss, another fine display of the legend’s talents to bring so much to the film.  The cast of the characters works very well together, fashioning a convoluted band of spies who are complex and untrustworthy, perfect for a movie about spies.  Yet amidst the carbon copy roles of the arrogant and monotone spies, Anna actually has a little more to her character hidden in that façade of boredom and eternal calm.  As the story unfolds, Anna starts to reveal more of the dolls nestling in this KGB spy, each layer a different element that you weren’t expecting, until the grand finale reveals the inner desire nestling within.  Impressive to have that sort of buildup in a spy thriller, but welcomed for me.  Fortunately she also manages to have some stimulation thrown in to the mix, and Anna’s got an impressive amount of gunplay accuracy and some hand to hand combat that rivals Black Widows earlier days that helps liven up the movie.  To be honest though, I loved the costumes and wardrobe of the film, with the designers doing a fantastic job of bringing the emotion to the scene through the styles and aliases that Anna wore.  It’s slick, sexy, and stunning in all form that goes so well with the themes of the movie and the character they are building, plus a few members commented how they found the clothes stunning as well, so that aspect is good too.

Here is the problem though, the pace of this movie is not quite as thrilling as the trailers made it to be.  Anna’s presentation is slow, utilizing the ideas of executing acts and then going back in a set of flashbacks to explain how it got there.  It’s unique, but after the third time of doing it, it feels like the Lord of The Rings series of constantly retelling the same tale.  These multi-layered plot elements should engage those loving spy complexity, but the average audience might find themselves snoozing or walking out (the former I had to fight).  Now while the action I think shows off the girl power motif, the problem for me (no surprise) was the lack of action and more so how stiff the sequences became. Anna’s fights are very choreographed, lacking that element of raw action that great sequences hold, and that makes the attempt at injecting suspense a little lacking. Instead the raw passion went into the sexual moments, steamy bouts of animal passion that sort of display the art of seduction to the business at hand.  While parts make sense, I would have liked a redirecting of the energy to some other elements that I had hoped Anna could show off.  Yet, the attempt at character building puts an awkward love triangle into the mix as well, one that sort of elevates the underlying means of the a tale, but again could have been redirected in a better light.  This leads me to probably the source of my limitations, the politics.  Spy films are known for the political components they are trying to usurp, but this one took the modern-day political means into a new light and it did not work for me.  The blatant statements towards modern issues becomes the central focus and in taking time to craft a character that bluntly states it, the rest of the story components sort of faltered for me. 

 

Overall, Anna has the style and suaveness in the character, crafting someone who has the attitude of the girl power movement and a spy with a little more heart nested in the stone-cold shell.  While the movie has a lot of great acting to it, it cannot offset the pace and convoluted presentation, nor the stiff action/focus on sex that did little for me.  Anna’s espionage thriller may have a lot of visual appeal, but it does not quite have the same spy spark that I look for in my spy action thrillers.  The lack of bang, and the okay story make this difficult to recommend for a theater visit, but if you are looking to get your spy flick, or want to be impressed by costume visual prowess, then have a go at this one this weekend.

 

My scores are:

Action Thriller:  7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0

Octavia Spencer is the world

Ma Poster

 

Another weekend, another set of movies to review. Hi, Robbie K here and back with another round of observations to help guide you through your movie viewing pleasure.  Today’s first review starts with focusing on the latest “scary” flick to cross into the theaters.  Welcome to another Robbie Movie Reviews and today we take a look at:

 

Movie: Ma (2019)

 

Director:

Tate Taylor

Writer:

Scotty Landes

Stars:

Octavia SpencerDiana SilversJuliette Lewis

 

LIKES:

  • Star power
  • Good Acting
  • Surprisingly Deep Story
  • Realistic
  • Good Villain

 

DISLIKES

  • Not Scary
  • Predictable
  • Suspense of The Reality
  • Not Suspenseful
  • Rushed Ending

 

Those Who Like These May Like This Movie:

Life Time Movies

Greta

ABC family originals like Pretty Little Liars

 

SUMMARY:

Ma is surprising in many ways in terms of its story telling, focusing more on the characters than the actual scares.  Look closely and you will find this packed with a treasure trove of actors and actresses that will participate to varying degrees. For some it’s merely a small cameo or background scene, while others will have a more direct involvement with the story.  For those more integrated into the story, the acting is very good for a horror movie, crafting representative teenagers, concerned parents trying to recapture youth, and concerned parents well to make a believable ensemble.  Yet, it’s Octavia Spencer who brings everything together shaping Ma into a villain that is not so extreme to be laughable, and really capturing all the characteristics of the disturbed woman to the T. Bringing so much to the table in terms of energy, entertainment, and that pillar of strength the movie relies on, I loved the casting of this talented actress.  Still, Ma’s tale is also impressive based on how focused on the plot they were.  This tale has layers to it, managing to spread the story through three sections in the form of the kids, their parents, and Ma, interweaving them to give a complete story that feels much like a book or television series.  My friends and I agreed that the tale was realistic, which brought part of the fun experience, and in grounding it to the reality  it made for a good villain that was engaging to watch.

Yet with a great story the movie sort of falters in the scare factors that come with this genre.  We agreed that Ma is creepy, the realism and stalker obsession perfectly portrayed to make one feel uncomfortable.  Sadly the scares could not live up to the promise of the trailers, focusing a little more on the dramatic dynamics than the scare factors. Much of this comes from the predictability of the movie, thanks in part to the trailers, but Ma just needed that last-minute finesse to smooth out the scares.  In regards to the story elements, Ma plays well to its own rules, but at times begins to suspend the reality in regards to filling in the missing pieces.  Ma’s actions should have left some obvious clues for people to look, but those moments were ignored.  That small nitpick aside, the movie’s main drop off for me was the lack of suspenseful finish and the rushed ending that came with it.  After all the planning, build up, and moving pieces, the ending did not quite have the epic finish I expected of Ma’s insanity. Sure, much of it stuck to the character of Ma, but it just didn’t have that epic conclusion I expect in this genre.

  In regards to Ma, it’s a pretty decent drama and thriller, but not so much in terms of a horror.  Great character development and acting are the pinnacles of this movie with enough relevant issues to get many invested in the villain.  However, if looking for the scary film, you are not going to get quite the suspenseful thriller you have been looking for.  The movie is definitely more for the dramatic audience members who like the Freeform and Lifetime movies, but enjoy a little more grounded components to them.  Nevertheless, the movie still has quality, but probably could be visited on a latter note at home.  Thus my scores are:

 

Horror/Thriller:  7.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

Prepare For More All-Out Action Packed War

 

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum Poster

 

Savior, Stoner, Super assassin, these words are just some of the descriptions that come to mind for the star of our next film review.  Years ago, a little puppy unleashed the torrent of the Baba Yaga’s rage as millions of extras were taken out by coordinated destruction in some of the most adrenaline pumping films this decade. John Wick has become a cult phenomenon that has gotten guys like me revved up in all the high-octane fun that comes with the dark action flick.  A third installment has appeared this weekend, with our “hero” now being on the run from the very organization he has served for so long. Will the third installment be able to expand upon the universe, or is it just too much?  Robbie K here with another review on:

 

Movie: John Wick 3: Parabellum (2019)

 


Director:

Chad Stahelski

Writers:

Derek Kolstad (screenplay by), Shay Hatten (screenplay by)

Stars:

Keanu ReevesHalle BerryIan McShane

 

LIKES:

 

Comedy

Dogs

Use of Second Characters

Expanding The Story

Fast Pace

Action Sequences/Choreography

 

DISLIKES:

Excessive Violence

Some Underwhelming Story arcs

The Excessive Destruction

Unrealistic moments taken too far at times

The Ending

 

Similar Movies:

John Wick 1 and 2

Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2

Ninja Assassin

 

SUMMARY:

 

When it comes to John Wick you know what you are getting into and in terms of likes the movie just continues to expand upon the legacy of the Baba Yaga! The comedy is dark, much like the tone of the movie, managing to merge a variety of writing styles into the mix to somehow offset the edge this film has.  Even in the dogs there is comedy to a darker sense, but this brings up that the movie actually utilizes its character very well in this chapter.  Halle Berry, McShane, even the Concierge (Lance Reddick) are utilized well in this tale, with adequate screen time and action sequences that are all relevant. The results is an expansion of the story, utilizing the background information, these relationships, and some new characters to evolve the tale even more.  As such, it gives some slight relevance to the violence at hand. Yet, the biggest components to this film are the pace and the action sequences.  John Wick’s choreographed chaos only continues to expand, pushing past the gun play that was semi okay in chapter 2, and opens up some new styles to get your fists (and bloodlust) pumping. From nearly start to finish, there is not much down time from the carnage and if that’s a movie you want… you’ve got it.

Yet, the movie’s glorification of violence sometimes gets to levels that aren’t necessary outside of appeasing that gore craving some might have.  The excessive displays of death are a part of it, but this tactic is not my cup of tea without really needing it for story.  In addition, though there has been expansion of the tale, there were some leads laid out that didn’t quite add to anything other than what the ending sets up. It’s lackluster story telling that merely seems to extend the shelf life of this revenge tale as it sets up its players for the next acts.  Well either that or to provide more moments of destruction which again become a little too much at times.  Often use as a running joke, John Wick 3 sometimes goes to extensive rounds just to have our guys go through some form of breakable glass.  It’s mostly fine, but there are several extensive sequences of just unnecessary destruction to get a laugh and extend the unrealistic moments even further.  In regards, to the unrealistic moments, I understand how much fantasy there is in this series, but there are even limits in the universe that don’t seem to be followed consistently. Wick’s stamina and ability to bounce back from serious injuries is already incredible, but there are times where again the excessive punishment is unbelievable and the rules are redrawn for either a running joke or a god complex.

Let’s face it, John Wick 3 is all about continuing the trend of violence, action, and the dark edge that we have loved in the first two installments.  New fans and old fans should dive right into the adrenaline rush, happy with the guns and hand to hand combat sequences that inhabit this movie.  It’s true, it’s over the top and full of ridiculous moments that have made this series famous, but in this installment, they are going a little too far to push the envelope in regards to stunts, stamina, and death count.  While most won’t be affected, and perhaps love this component, the continued pushing of the edge is also starting to lose the balance that this once had, beginning to get to the levels that the Fast and Furious series are starting to take.  Still, I really enjoyed this film, the action it brought, and all the cinema worthy stunts and special effects make it worthy of a theater visit.

 

Overall my scores are:

 

Action/Crime Thriller: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

Intruding On New Takes Of Old Tales

 

 

The Intruder Poster

 

Dramas/Thrillers, the lifeblood of the very world of entertainment.  It’s within this genre that one finds some of the darkest tales, plunging into the fathoms of imagination that most dread to step into.  Yet, this genre sometimes gets a little too broad in spectrum, and tends to go to extremes that leaves the plots a little grandiose and run of the mill.  Hi Robbie K back with another review on the latest movie to hit the silver screen, hoping to shed some light and help you pick your movie poison.  I take a look at:

 

Movie: The Intruder (2019)

 

Director:

Deon Taylor

Writer:

David Loughery

Stars:

Meagan GoodDennis QuaidMichael Ealy

 

LIKES:

 

Soundtrack

Good Acting

Creepy Character Development

Beautiful Setting in many ways

Decent Evolution of Suspense

Character Centric Story:

 

Summary:

 

The soundtrack might be a rough way to open the review, but The Intruder is all about bringing cultures to the tale and part of that is music.  A fantastic selection of modern-day styles that represent the culture, the movie integrates the tracks into key scenes that sort of add ambience to the typical genre shots (making love and driving cars).  This added layer though is only a glazing to the acting that brings the characters to life on hand.  Meagan Good is well good at her work taking a common role and in some ways refreshing it to make it interesting, engaging and compassionate that you feel for the character. Michael Ealy dives a little more into the extreme role of hotheaded decisions and emotional moments that makes fans love the genre. Yet it’s Dennis Quaid who I think gets the nod for his performance in this movie.  His character is creepy, and he executes all the mannerisms and delivery needed to craft a thriller villain.  The smile that shows innocence yet insanity, the subtle laughs that get under your skin as they denote the edge about to be reached, and even more the temper that comes when these people do not get their way. It’s fantastic development that greatly spans the movie, taking months to achieve instead of days and seeing that evolution.  That is the making of a good casting for this genre for me.

But the characters need a setting to play in and The Intruder’s playground is one that is both aesthetically beautiful and haunting at the same time.  Again representing the themes of old vs. new, the house known as Foxglove holds stunning engineering work that ropes the modern society in, primarily for stunning view, gorgeous décor, and the atmosphere it brings.  Yet, the open floors, beautiful antiquated halls, and the multilevel house offers many shadows, sounds and ambiguity to get the tension going and drop the comfort level way down. In utilizing the characters, spreading the development over the story and utilizing such a playground, the Intruder is able to make an engaging level of suspense that keeps you into the series, much like a mini-series does.  Throw in the focus on characters and not scares, and again you begin to see a tale that finds its pace and keeps you interested in characters who extend past the one-dimensional outlook these characters often have.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable

Trailers ruin much

So Much More Potential

Some Character balancing

Not the Most Intense ending

Still Idiotic Decisions

 

SUMMARY:  Despite the good this movie accomplished, it still falls victim to some of the trademarks that come with the Soap Opera like approach. It’s predictable, with many of the “surprising” components deduced a mile away based on the cliché plot points they love to tell.  In regards to this movie, the two trailers I have seen give away much of the film and in seeing that you can piece together much of what will happen way before you get to the scene.  This predictability is a shame because the potential they were building was set to be a potential memorable moment in the drama/thriller history, primarily in some more tactics Quaid’s character could do and in the climactic chase to be had. But again this movie failed to deliver on that promise by sort of short sighting the ending.  Instead of thrilling games of survival in the very house they chose, the last bout is a bit more boasting and brutish combat that ends rather quickly and unimpressively.  That simplicity is emotionally fulfilling in the sense of justice, but given how they were building on two of the characters, I had hoped for a little more fulfillment in this final scene.  The other component that would have been nice, as agreed by at least two of my audience members comments, the smart characters we were seeing were quite idiotic in their approach.  Despite all the things available at their hands, the “stress” of the moment appeared to have robbed them of their brains to achieve the goal they were looking for. It won’t bother many, but for this reviewer it takes away from the character work they had done in this story.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Better than I had anticipated, the Intruder manages to turn back the drama/thriller to an age of character focus instead of scares. Quaid in particular manages to take a simple role and craft it into a villain that you get hooked on watching, while his “prey” are characters with more dimensions and personality proving they aren’t just meant for knife and ax fodder.  Utilizing the setting and characters well, it’s the drama that comes closer to balance than many of the films I review.  Yet, the full potential of the characters was not quite reached for this reviewer, falling victim to predictable plots, time restraints, and an ending that again is cliché and more attuned to those wanting to lead with their hearts than heads.  Still all in all, it’s a movie that at least shows potential for future movies of this category to have a chance at story telling.  Worth a trip to the theater?  My opinion is no, as this is still a Lifetime film pumped up on budget, but check it out at home viewing.

 

My scores:

Drama/Horror/Mystery: 7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0

Cursed To Mediocrity

The Curse of La Llorona Poster

 

Horror movies, they seem to come a dime a dozen these days, following a carbon copy formula that does not shy away from trying to appease the die-hard fans.  With the establishment of universe trends, various film franchises continue to work their hardest to match the success Marvel’s comic universe is currently pulling. And tonight’s review is a movie that barely finds a way into one of these universes, but still tries to make a claim on its own.  Yes, tonight yours truly takes a look at the haunted cries of:

 

The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

 

Director:

Michael Chaves

Writers:

Mikki DaughtryTobias Iaconis

Stars:

Linda CardelliniRaymond CruzPatricia Velasquez

 

LIKES:

  • Jumps into scares
  • Good Run Time
  • Good Use of Shadows
  • Decent Acting
  • Comedic Relief
  • Good Make Up

Summary:  A horror movie has to keep the speed going and get to the darker thrills that this genre brings.  The weeping woman’s journey does not hesitate to give its audience the chills it wants, hopping into the jumps and creepy tone within minutes of it starting. As such, the pace of the movie is very brisk, keeping in time to present as much of the scare fest as they could in the 90-minute run time. For yours truly, the jump scares don’t quite get me, but instead the creepy atmosphere is there to settle into the crevices of your mind La Llorona is all about utilizing the shadows to stoke the embers of your imagination to craft unspeakable horrors.  It’s those slight sounds and eerie music that were the scariest components for me and it worked well.  I’ll hand it to the cast in this film, for they sold the terror of the movie, as if they were being haunted.  From the kids to the adults, each one did a wonderful job with the limited roles they had in this film.  My favorite was Raymond Cruz, not because he was the star of the film but more so the comedic relief used in his role. Despite all the bone chilling screams, and various telekinetic pulls, the rogue priest makes for some laughs without it being too forced.  Finally, in regards to haunted make ups, La Llorona does a nice job of the pale pallor, dark lipstick, and gory liquids to satisfy most make up fans.  Nice execution, with some haunting special effects makes for an interesting antagonist.

 

 

DISLIKES:

  • Simplistic
  • Story Is Okay
  • Jump Scares not So much
  • Flat Characters
  • Trailers Revealed Much
  • Unoriginal Makeup
  • Not The Best Connection To The Universe

 

SUMMARY:  While scaring is the name of the game in these types of movies, the fact they are pumped out rapidly leads to some quality drops for this reviewer.  The simplistic nature of this film is a limitation for me, the potential decreased by just the simple presentation that they pulled out.  No twists, no original edge, and a story that held a lot of promise were all just mediocre for me and led to a story that was hard to grip onto for me.  Even the characters were only semi-there, flat one-dimensional people that weren’t the most engaging for me to hook onto.  Perhaps the scares would get you, but seasoned horror people like me won’t find much in originality from scares, nor the most suspenseful climax. 

Now part of this was due to me finding tricks of avoiding jumping, and others due to the trailers showing much of these scenes in their brief life on the television.  Yes, La Llorona falls victim to the trailer revealing too much, giving you much of the premise in the short two-minute commercials. And while I said the makeup was executed well, this universe is having trouble coming up with unique make ups that don’t follow the same template.  Because of this, the weeping woman may look good, but she’s another pale figure with black lines to emphasize death.  And finally, the connection to the Conjuring Universe is like a derivative line touching the main curve.  A brief exchange from a shared character it the only opening to the universe and without a teaser or much else to connect, the story telling continues to be lackluster at best. 

 

The VERDICT:

In truth, the movie about the legendary figure is okay for me.  It fills the void of a scary movie for the month, and has some of the traditional means to generate a few jumps.  Your best source of entertainment will be to bring those who scare easily to the film and watching them react.  Yet in terms of the movie, it’s just not the same dark magic that the Conjuring wielded a long time ago.  It’s got the superficial “charm” to it, and uses shadows well to terrorize the actors they have casted/  Fortunately, despite the limitations, the movie has a low run time, meaning you won’t be in the theater that long in case it’s not your particular cup of tea. Worth a trip to the theater?  Kind of, but I’d say this one leans more towards the home viewing in this reviewer’s opinion.  My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 6.5

Movie Overall 6.0

New Loop, New Twist: Happy Character Development 2u

Happy Death Day 2U Poster

            Sequels often get a bad rep because of never living up to the expectations of the original, and sometimes insulting the name of the franchise. Often a sequel is not needed, an obvious cash grab to try and extend the franchise just a little longer in hopes of keeping interest.  So tonight’s review is one of those cases where a sequel was not really needed, but nevertheless exists.  I’m talking about the sequel to last year’s campy slasher/comedy Happy Death Day, a film that surprised me in how much fun I had.  Will the second fill follow suit, or are we stuck in sequel limbo?  Robbie K back with another review on:

 

Movie: Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

Director:

Christopher Landon

Writers:

Christopher LandonScott Lobdell (characters)

Stars:

Jessica RotheIsrael BroussardPhi Vu

 

 

LIKES:

  • Jessica Rothe
  • Character Development
  • New Twist
  • Funny
  • Emotional

 

Summary:  Happy Death Day was all about Tree’s journey to being a better person and the sequel is no exception as it dives more into the former sorority girl’s life.  Rothe’s performance continues to amaze me as she brings Tree to life, expanding upon the character, as a good sequel does, and really bringing emotional twist to the mix. The second dive surprisingly brought some emotional punches into the fray and was very heartwarming (potentially tear jerking) in unexpected ways.  Secondary characters get a little more time to develop as well, moving past the superficial stereotypes and somehow remaining relative and pertinent to the story.

Yet the movie isn’t just about the lovely Tree going on a soul-searching journey of … death, but rather trying to find ways to bring a new twist to and outdated genre and still keep to its rules.  In regards to the story, Happy Death Day 2U manages to add a science fiction twist to the mix, that helps establish a new goal, story element, and connection to first film.  While not quite the slasher tale, the added dimension helps the movie stand out and avoid feeling like a carbon copy of the original that was only a year or so ago.  In addition, the comedy remains true to its gimmick of making you laugh as actors and writing blend together to become well-timed comedic antics.  It works beautifully and adds a fun pace to the film that energizes it all over again to reinvigorate the series.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Not as suspenseful
  • The beginning gimmick
  • Comedy a little overdone

 

Summary: The sequel’s two areas of improvement for me are going a little too far into the gimmick at the beginning and the overdone comedy.  The new twist works, but at first it didn’t impress me in the odd presentation/rule bending it did.  Fortunately, they were able to get a handle on it, but at the beginning the odd transition didn’t work outside of a messy transition.  The other component that did not quite work for me, was a few moments where the comedy was forced on the audience, a little too drawn out or grandiose for my liking.  They were minor ones, but limitations that took away from me.

I think the biggest limitation was how the suspense was taken away for me like the first one had.  The slasher component is mostly gone alongside the mystery, leaving it a fun adventure but missing that darker edge that the film was famous for.  Sure the humor got a little darker than anticipated, leading to some rather disturbing scenes, though these carried the attitude of the film.  Yet, the prolonged bouts, the squeezed in extra obstacles, and the hasty wrap up led to some shortcuts being taken and decisions to put the movie more in a comedy sort of mood.

 

 

The verdict: Regardless of the twists, the movie still has the fun adventure that makes it one of my favorite comedies of the last few years.  Rothe leads much of the fun, but the new twists, energy, and true to its roots presentation also help to make it a decent sequel that expands on the first film. Yes, it got a little carried away with the science fiction and comedy elements, leading to a diluted suspense factor. Still, it’s worth a check out into the theater for the fun movie of the weekend.  Definitely check this one out in the near future.

 

My scores are:

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.5

Comedy/Sci-Fi/Mystery:  8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0