Dive Down Into 47 Meters of Survival Terror

47 meters

 

It’s the beginning of summer and many people are storming to the beaches for a variety of activities. And of course, Hollywood is happy to release a shark movie to scare everyone back into the theaters, or at least try to.  My build up is of course on the latest suspense/thriller shark movie 47 meters down.  This “original” titled film looks interesting, so naturally I’ve been assigned to analyze, comment, and share with the public.  Robbie K here back again this weekend with yet another review. Let’s “dive” on in shall we?

 

LIKES:

 

Cute leads:  Many modern films are all about using that eye candy to reel you in, and 47 meters is no exception.  The lovely ladies Mandy Moore and Claire Holt take much of the screen time and as such are very pleasant to watch.  For one thing, they are certainly cute. Whether in stunning dresses or wet suits, they look fabulous to keep your attention to the big screen.  Looks aside though, the more important aspect is their acting.  While certainly not an Oscar performance, the girls have the part down pat of playing fear, scared to the point of either death or survival.  The kept the acting in check (for the most part) and sold me into their characters. Of course, they could have used a little more character development to further invest me into the girls’ lives.

 

Suspenseful:  When it comes to suspense/thrillers we want…well suspense.  Good news folks, 47 meters has you covered with this aspect.  The setting itself will get your muscles tense, the dark, foreboding depths filled with terror at what lurks in the shadows.  Yet that is just the surface of the thrills, as the ever-present threat of drowning looms over our heroines. This constant threat continues to amplify the fear, especially when the CGI sharks swim in and things get further heated. The team balanced the fear with brief rests to ease the tension, many times faking us out with foreshadowing before taking a different path.  Such dynamic antics, alongside great sound and music editing, resulted in a fantastic culmination that many shark movies have lacked in the past.

 

Surprises: As I mentioned up above, the directing team kept things dynamic through this movie.  While there is certainly a linear goal for the girls (survival), the path they pursue takes many detours to get there. Just as you think one goal is accomplished, another curveball is thrown to waylay their mission and keep things interesting.  Yet it’s the end that really churns up the water and will leave you in a daze that many horror movies fail to achieve.  So well done on that guys.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Pointless extras: You see the credits, you realize there are few names listed for the acting cast.  In all honesty, they could have left almost all those names off. One major dislike is the limited involvement with the other cast.  Yes they do a lot of background activity to help increase their chances of survival, but you just don’t see much involvement in them. As such, you can’t help but wonder what was the point of them (primarily their boy interests) being in the movie.

 

Miracle moments: Many films have those moments that are sheer coincidence or miracle moments.  In 47 meters down, those moments are quite frequent, throwing plenty of inconsistencies that are a bit eye-rolling at times. Prolonged bouts of struggle often fade fast and magically get solved.  These stretches do add suspense, but many of them are incredibly unlikely to end that way and takes away from the magic they were building up. If you can suspend these observations you will have no problem, otherwise get ready to laugh at some of these cheesy moments.

 

Few shark moments:  After all the advertising of shark attacks, one would think this movie would be filled with close encounters of the toothy sea beasts.  Not the case my friends.  Certainly, there are moments of intense jaw chomping action, but much of the 90 minute screen time is left in the dark.  Like Jaws, the threat of the unknown paints the picture of fear, but I had hoped for a little more engagement with the sharks. Instead, much of the movie focuses on the decreasing air supply and the girls trying to handle their fear.  When the sharks do finally come into play, it is exciting, but also the most overdramatic component of the film, especially that ending sequence.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The reviews say it is the first good shark movie since Jaws, and on some level I agree with that.  However, 47 meters down has a long way to go to master the epic tale of the shark attacks.  It certainly has suspense and uses some cool tricks to get you fired up at the fear the lies at the bottom of the ocean floor.  While the survival aspect is neat to see, I came for a shark movie and felt I only got about 1/3-1/2 of that with the limited shark involvement. And for many of those moments, the coincidental solution to their problems made for some eye-rolling, groan filled reactions.  Still it isn’t the worst shark movie to date and is miles above the “original” pictures from Sy-Fy!  Worth a trip to the theater?  Yeah I think it is on some level, but you can hold off for NetFlix as well. 

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Thriller:  7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0 

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

alien covenant

 

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

 

LIKES:

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

 

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

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

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

DISLIKES:

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

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

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

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

 

The VERDICT

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

 

My scores are:  

Horror/Sci-Fi/Thriller:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

It’s The Circle of Dull! Yet Politically Smashing

The circle

 

Robbie K back, after being off the grid for a week.  Tonight’s review is on the latest “dystopian” feature film called The Circle.  Former Hermione Granger, and more recently Belle, Emma Watson leads the film as she attempts to take us into the workings of a technological conglomerate who has knowledge as its key principle.  Yet the trailers paint a much darker secret hidden in its stony walls, one that promises to be a real nail biter.  Will this movie deliver those thrills, or are we stuck with another wash out?  I’ll do my best to answer that question, so sit back, and please read my latest thoughts.

 

LIKES:

 

  • Nice tool development
  • Emma Watson
  • Culturally Relevant Film
  • Solid Moral Lesson

 

Summary:  We all know technology is becoming the heart of the world, if not already the heart of this country.  And certainly, we all know that these technological marvels often require laborious development and maintenance to get the bugs out.  The Circle portrays this very well, helping to develop the very tool that we all love.  Throughout the journey, you’ll get to see the development of the two-faced beast that is technology, and how it requires tweaking to get just “right”.  Not the highest selling point for a movie, but pretty cool.

 

Of course, we all know many are going to go for the lovely Ms. Watson, to support the super actress they adore.  Good news, Watson does a solid job holding up most of the movie, as she is primary the only main character of the film. Watson brings her charm to the screen once more, portraying intelligence, fortitude and inspiration in a manner that many will latch on to. Her accent is pretty sound (though it fluctuates at times), but she manages to deliver her lines with a decent balance of emotion, to sell her points… most of the time.

 

Yet the biggest strength of these movies is how culturally relevant it is to the audience.  If you didn’t gleam it from the trailers, The Circle is essentially a modernized version of the novel 1984 that once more addresses the issues of control, life sharing, and privacy.  The film is certainly very political, but has a number of powerful lessons to teach about the place of technology and how easily it can be twisted. I myself liked the comments from Emma’s followers, a fantastic representation of the shallow, superficial, and often selfish focus that the internet provides.  The scenes are well developed to deliver the full emotional punch, which while not the most unique, can really shock you to the core at how true it can be.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Cheesy acting at times
  • Other actors diluted
  • Missed character development
  • Ignorant/Idiotic moments
  • Lack of Suspense

 

Summary:  Despite Watson’s strong performance, she is involved in some overly cheesy moments. On many of the emotionally heated moments, she loses her balance and stretches into the overdramatic region, losing her accent and dialogue forte in the process. But even her worst acting doesn’t hold a candle to some of the supporting characters who give either emotionally dull deliveries or lackluster performances.  These moments are noticeable enough to offset the momentum of the movie, and derailing it from the quality the trailers promised.

 

An even worse quality for me was how the other actors of the star-studded cast were reduced to simplistic roles.  Legends like Tom Hanks, Patton Oswalt and even the late Bill Paxton are reduced to very linear roles, with little character development or expansion beyond what you’ve seen in the trailer.  With such a strong cast, I can’t help but feel disappointed at the missed potential of this movie and how much this all-star cast could have done to amp up the quality of this movie.

 

Even worse, some of the characters, primarily Emma Watson’s character, become so blindly ignorant that the intelligence they worked so hard building is diluted to an idiotic level.  As a result, I found myself starting to loathe the character and how 180 they took the character. Yes, I understand the premise behind the movie, but it didn’t work for me. Other characters also fell into this mix as well, each built to have this incredible skill that was either not used or rapidly reversed to make the characters seem weak.

 

Yet the most disappointing aspect of this movie…is the lack of suspense. The trailer made this film out to be a mystery meeting dystopian policing. Not the case at all. The Circle has no mystery, laying all the facts on the table and leaving little to be uncovered.  You would think there would be intense moments of espionage, or policing by superiors to build up excitement, right? Sorry, this film doesn’t have that either, with the “exciting climax” not showing up until the last twenty minutes of the movie.  As such, the movie is pretty dull and lacks the entertainment quality you might have been seeking.

 

The VERDICT:

 

The Circle is indeed a “scary” film, but it’s mainly due to the reality check provides concerning the dangers technology can provide.  This strong message is certainly the strongest aspect of the movie and Emma Watson was a fantastic choice to deliver it.  Unfortunately, the weak characters, diluted roles, and lack of suspense took away from the entertainment quality of the movie.  Such a dull delivery, leaves me recommending this one for renting at home, or at least recommending you read the book (or books) it is based on.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Sci-Fi/Thriller:  6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Fate Smiles On Eight!

Fate of the furious

 

A couple of years ago, we had what we thought was the final chapter of the Fast and Furious legacy, ending with the montage of the fallen hero Paul Walker.  Sadly, it seems that the cinema world can’t let it go, and thus comes the subject of my latest review Fate of The Furious (or Fast 8 for short). After the fake, ridiculous of number 7 (minus the ending), I can’t say I was happy from the trailers for this film and how it looked even cheesier.  What is my verdict?  Read on to find out my friends.

 

LIKES:

  • Action more controlled
  • Comedy stays strong
  • Soundtrack
  • Story Is Much Better

 

Summary:  If you remember Furious 7, you remember how over the top the stunts were and the sheer ridiculous factor they had (e.g. superhuman feats, near invincibility, invulnerable cars). Fortunately, Fast 8 toned the action back to the baseline ridiculous of this action franchise, keeping things reeled in to a point of somewhat believability.  While this may tone down the action somewhat, this installment still packs plenty of punch with diverse sequences including: drag racing, gun play, martial arts, and of course car combat.  It’s suspenseful, it’s fun, and at times it is really funny, providing that popcorn flick entertainment value you like.  In addition, the stellar soundtrack contains both musical scores and music that fit well with the movie, (I myself enjoyed a few original R&B/rap songs near the end of the film).

Speaking of funny, Fast 8 doesn’t hold back on the comedic antics that the second film brought. Dwayne Johnson interjects his brand of corny insults and tough talk, establishing a banter rivalry with Jason Statham, who not only has a few clever quips, but finally redeems his pitiful character in this film.  Yet the main source of laughs comes from Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris. This comedic duo performs plenty of stunts, deliver plenty of well-written insults, and put their foots in their mouths so many times to keep you chuckling through the entire film. All of the laughs keep things light and relieve the tension to help ground the film into a PG-13 environment.

            Hands down though, is the improvement over the story.  Fast 8 reaches back into its roots for our plot, bringing back the character development and crime element of the film that started it all.  Dom’s tale of deceit throws plenty of nostalgic shade at our leading hero, including some unexpected twists that help tie together SOME of the loose ends. Fans will find plenty of emotion in this film, and hopefully will enjoy the action built around the plot (instead of the other way around). In addition, the fact that Statham’s character is released in this film (making the plot of seven almost useless) was a good thing for all the redemption they brought with his character.  I give the group applause for the improved story element, despite how bad it looked in the trailers (guess you can’t judge a movie by its trailer…sometimes).

 

DISLIKES:

  • Still ridiculous at times
  • Some Cameos not worth it
  • Editing Still needs some work
  • There is going to be a number 9

Summary: Let’s face it, this installment is famous for how ridiculous Hollywood special effects teams want to push the limits of cars.  Fast 8 does not escape this curse, for it is still filled with absolutely hilarious (though somewhat impressive) stunts.  I don’t wish to reveal too much, but let’s just say the submarine racing them isn’t the most ludicrous thing you’ll see, nor the biggest stretch (bad guys can’t seem to aim) of the imagination. Still it is an improvement over 7.

As I said earlier, Fast 8 has some twists you might not see coming, which leads to some unexpected cameos (unless you look at the cast list cheaters!). Some these moments are impressively, or spot on timed to maximize their appearance.  Yet there are others that were wasted and could have greatly been expanded upon to further amplify their involvement. I can’t say much, but I will admit that almost all the guest appearances held pertinence to the story, they just needed more time.

Yet the biggest flaw is still the editing of the films. Fast 8 may have lots of excitement to keep the movie going, but there are plenty of moments that could have been left for the directors’ cut.  A random cousin at the beginning for an almost pointless race, an overdramatic taunt that gets lost in the scheme of the movie, and even a few punch fests just weren’t needed.  In addition, some of the characters felt a little robbed, until that one factor comes in where they are needed.  These sloppy moments feel disjointed, unnecessary, and dilute the story into those eye-rolling moments that could have been so much better.  Perhaps these moments will be strengthened in the next movie, which is a strong hint to come (a shame compared to how well this movie could have tied things up).

 

The Verdict:

 

      Overall, this reviewer liked Fast 8 much better than Furious 7.  With a much better story (strengthening the limitations of its predecessor), toned down stunts, and an atmosphere that feels much like the earlier installments, this movie is a step in the right direction for the impending sequels to come.  Yet, it still doesn’t reach the balance some of the previous films have.  The editing and character balance still needs some work so that all the characters feel absolutely necessary instead of convenient.  Still, it is a worthy theater film, and will provide the aisle stomping entertainment you are looking for. Let’s hope “Fate” smiles on the next sequels to come from this series…and hope they can keep the momentum going.

 

Action/Crime/Thriller:  8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

 

 

Is There A Cure for Disturbing, Complex, Boredom?

wellness

            Horror movies continue to storm the theaters this month, and each is certainly its own unique twist on the genre.  This weekend, a fairly odd titled movie called A Cure for Wellness has snuck into the theaters. The trailers have painted this one an interesting tale to say the least, promising a mystery to be contained within the walls of former Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) the sanatorium? Robbie K back to present more thoughts on yet another movie to hit the theaters.  Let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

  • Creepy Atmosphere
  • Unique Twist
  • Detailed

 

Summary:  If you wished for a creepy movie, then consider it granted because A Cure for Wellness is the personification of creepy.  The setting itself is more than enough to give you chills, as you delve into an isolated manor on top of the hill where dark, empty hallways and broad smiling staff await to “treat” our characters.  As Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) delves further into the mystery, he finds more pieces to the ever-shifting puzzle that only further gives you goosebumps.  And within these halls is indeed a unique twist to the normal horror story.  A Cure for Wellness will certainly have some “twists” that you haven’t seen before (or haven’t seen in a while) that of course has to do with the water they magnify in the trailers.  While I can’t tell you all the connections that lie within the walls of this film, you should certainly expect it to be detailed.  Where many horror movies trade detailed plots for cheap scares, Cure for Wellness does the opposite by making a very complex story with fewer jump moments.  You’ll have to pay attention to connect the clues, but rest assured the writers did a decent job developing the story to avoid any gaps or loose ends.  Nice to see that art hasn’t been lost.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Boring
  • Long Run Time
  • A little too convoluted
  • Stretch of the imagination
  • Disturbing

 

Summary:  While I am impressed with their attention to detail, A Cure for Wellness has many limitations that took the magic away for me.  First thing for me was how boring it was. The mystery is intriguing, but all the setup, detective work, and excessive focus on dried out dialogue took away from my curiosity.  In addition, Lockhart’s treks through the facility have little suspense to them, partially due to the security being surprisingly lax, and the sense of urgency being rather diluted.  The overall pace of the film is slow and without anything to spice up the climax, the 150-minute runtime feels much longer.

Maybe if the ending had been more satisfying the wait would have been well worth it, but sadly Cure for Wellness failed in this regard for me.  While certainly unique, Cure for Wellness got a little too creative at times and stretched into the realm of extremely bizarre.  It was an attempt to blend science with magic, as two very different paths blended together into an awkward twist I didn’t quite comprehend at first.  And even the execution at the end wasn’t that impressive, as the cheesy theatrics came to a rushed ending.

But the biggest limitation is the number of disturbing scenes contained in this film.  Imagine, if you will, the traps of the Saw films.  Remember the gore and suffering portrayed in those moments, where our poor cast was forced to scream until they met their fates?  Well, this movie mimics those details again, only without Jigsaw’s cleverness or convoluted designs.  You’ll get to see some truly psychotic moments in this film, as Lockhart falls victim to the treatments and “pampering” that must have been born in Hell.  You can guess that this kind of stuff isn’t my particular cup of tea, and while certainly suspenseful at times, our team got excessive in drawing these moments out. Perhaps this is the reason they say you won’t sleep at night.

 

The VERDICT:

 

A Cure for Wellness looked to be the unique twist the genre has been lacking for some time.  While the mystery is very detailed and developed in this creepy asylum world, it still has some pitfalls that take away from the movie. I’ll agree this movie will join the ranks of the cult status films primarily due to the graphic bouts of psychosis and disturbing twists. Past this though, it’s not a movie I can recommend for the theater, unless you get certain thrills from this kind of torture. 

 

My scores are:

 

Mystery/Thriller: 6.0

Movie Overall: 4.0

Xander Returns To Thin Plot and Over The Top Stunts

xxx

 

Lights, Camera, Action!  The last statement in particular is what my next review is all about.  You may remember back in the day when Vin Diesel took the spotlight as Xander Cage, the action daredevil turned secret agent to take out terrorists.  The movie was about bringing extreme stunts into a spy world to create an action-packed spy thriller.  Despite releasing a failing sequel about ten years ago, Hollywood still hasn’t given up on this series. That’s right as you can read, my review is on XXX: The Return of Xander Cage.  What lies in store for this film?  Robbie K is happy to answer that question with another review.  So, let’s get started my friends!

 

LIKES:

  • Comedic at parts
  • Nostalgic references
  • Action Packed

 

I know, comedy is not what you expect in this film, but give me a break there isn’t much to this film.  Xander Cage brings his wise-guy quips back into the works from insulting authority to playing verbal assault tennis with terrorists.  Some of the dialogue is well timed and a great laugh to ease up the tension, which helps add some entertainment to the mix.  Past the minor comedic stunts though, this third installment has plenty of nostalgia to bring you longtime fans back into the series.  Whether it’s a simple line or a very familiar stunt, Xander Cage’s latest adventure will more than fill you in on everything leading up to this point, while providing more laughs.

However, the biggest selling point of the move (to no surprise) is the action of the film.  This film is all about the flashy bangs, choreographed fights, and over the top stunts that will rock any action junkie’s world. Much of these stunts are physics defying sequences that we fantasize about, but it doesn’t make the flashiness any less impressive.  Xander and his team will bring a little bit of everything into the mix, which is sure to entertain many who love Diesel’s franchises.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Predictable story/Dropped the Spy aspect
  • Pressured Comedy
  • Didn’t utilize the team aspect as much
  • Action crosses over into cheesiness

 

No surprise, the story of Xander Cage has not gotten any deeper.  The movie’s plot is very thin to say the least, and despite trying to add a few twists to the mix, there is very little one can’t see coming.  As an added (disappointing) bonus, the directors’ decision to substitute plot for action resulted in the spy aspect crashing like one of the stunt cars.  If you liked the intelligence gathering of the first movie, sorry, but that ship has sailed for poorly constructed villains and an equally cheesy plan.  Another let down pertaining to the plot, is how little the other characters were utilized.  Oh sure, there are a few of the elite team that get there moment in the sun (characters played by Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, and Ruby Rose), but the other “elite” warriors were reduced to very shallow roles of idiotic flipping, random stunt show offs, and forced comedy.  The latter in particular was hard to stomach, as the writers got a little zealous in trying to get a laugh that is become more annoying than entertaining.  Finally, despite the action being awesome at many points, it is also very unrealistic at the same time. Remember those incredibly cheesy stunts in Furious 7?  XXX amplifies that factor times ten, with mediocre animation and stunts that will make you roll your eyes.  But hey it still has the excitement you could be craving.

 

The Verdict:

 

Bottom line, XXX: Return of Xander Cage is a simplistic, unbalanced, high-adrenaline movie that will provide a good laugh and some thrills.  It is a shame they scrapped the spy aspect and essentially grated the story, but hey it gives you that action packed punch we’ve been craving.  So therefore, if you can swallow the ridiculous, sometimes ill-timed, stunt sequences, corny jokes, and forced action, then check this movie out for the theater worthy special effects.  However, in all reality, this review suggests skipping this film and catching something else instead. 

 

My scores:

 

Action/Adventure/Thriller: 6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Shyamalan’s latest Movie Is Not A Splitting Headache

split

 

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

 

LIKE:

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

 

Summary:

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

 

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

 

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

 

DISLIKE:

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

 

Summary:

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

 

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

 

The VERDICT:

 

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

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Thriller: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0