Groundhog Day Meets Massacre: Death Day Is Fun Halloween Movie

Death Day

            Halloween weekends are certainly a bag of tricks and treats themselves.  A variety of genres try to compete for the number one spot on the box office, and horror movies continue to try to prove their worth. My weekend reviews start with another film in the slasher collection that looks interesting to say the least.  Like all horror films, the truth behind the vague trailers can take a number of forms and levels of quality, so I wasn’t sure what I would get on this viewing.  What is the verdict?  As always read on to find out!

 

LIKES:

 

Surprisingly Deep Character:  Most slasher films fail in terms of a gripping character to follow the journey with, in order to provide fodder for our demented killer.  Surprisingly, Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) has depth hidden within her superficial looks and sorority attitude. Seeing her character evolve over the film changed my attitudes towards her, especially as her sorrows began to emerge onto the field. And even more impressive is how balanced her multiple aspects were balanced into the story, to maintain the development that was so nicely done.

 

Censored:  There are those slasher movies that go over the top to maximize the vomit inducing kills and dismemberments. Happy Death Day, fortunately, is not one of those movies.  For a movie about repeating the same day over with a “deadly” conclusion, it keeps things rather clean and to the point, avoiding the mind scarring scenes that will be famous on YouTube. The PG-13 rating should assure you that this is a rather mild horror and won’t leave you sleepless like some other films can.

 

The Mystery:  If you have seen the trailers, you have probably been allured/intrigued as to who is behind that freaky baby like mask.  That aspect carries on into the film as you try to piece the puzzle together and solve the Scooby Doo like case.  It was the adventure of seeking those answers that kept me invested in the movie, searching for any slight hint to give away the surprise. Keep your eyes open, your minds active, and your thoughts running and you’ll get it within 25 minutes, but otherwise enjoy the ride the director created.

 

It’s fun: Movies that involve repeating the same day over and over again gets stale fast, because of cheap editing tricks to make the scene seem fresh.  Fortunately, Death Day keeps things fun and fairly fresh in the 1.5 hour run time.  This movie has plenty of chuckles thrown into the mix, many poking fun at the horror movie genre.  Tree’s dialogue itself has that aggressive, sorority girl element to it, filled with passive-aggressive compliments and sarcasm that are well-timed.  Throw in some well-developed secondary comedy from secondary characters, and the fun just keeps on rolling with each passing day.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Not Scary:  My friend and I both agreed that this movie lacked any real bite in terms of the scare factor.  Oh sure, a creepy, knife wielding, baby face mascot wearing killer would have anyone afraid to walk a dark corridor in the real world.  With the silver screen barrier though, the movie’s horror element doesn’t do much to build suspense or make you shrivel in your seats. Aside from a few jump scare moments, the comedy aspect of the movie will take over more than the scare component.  Sorry you fear feeding fans, no dice on this one.

 

Little Over the Top:  Ridiculous factors are all in good fun when they are timed well and not overdone.  Happy Death Day sometimes lost its regulation with the overly ridiculous moments, leading to these eye-rolling proportions that were just eating up time.  Some of the death scenes themselves fall in this category, alongside a few repeat sequences of Tree’s journey across the quad.  The running jokes themselves also get a little stale, especially when it comes to the rival sorority sister who was directed to be a little too aggressive my taste to take seriously.  Oh well, got to love those superficial characters that are meant for comedy alone right.

 

Some unfinished story elements:  While I’m surprised with how much of a story this movie had, no matter how cliché it was, there were still some underdeveloped aspects to the tale.  One was a few of Tree’s character development arcs, that started to blossom, only to die out like her character does.  A few of these could have further expanded her character, bringing in other characters to help draw it out and adding that dynamic element I like to see.  In addition, a few other plot elements were squeezed into the film in a rushed manner, sometimes feeling out of place until they were able to draw it back in with a well-placed plot element.  Had the scares been better…this element would sting less, but the story element is a big part and could have used some fine tuning.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Happy Death Day is one of the more fun slasher films I have seen in a long time.  It’s a movie that will appeal to many with its fun pace, decent comedy, intriguing mystery, and character that keeps you invested in their life.  While this was much better than my expectations, the movie still suffers some from imbalanced comedy gestures, unfinished story elements, and most importantly lack of scares.  Therefore, go in there expecting a drama/comedy with a slasher twist and you’ve got the right approach to this movie.  Yet, if you are looking for the next psycho thriller… hold your horses for a Redbox rent to capitalize on your investment.

 

My scores:

 

Horror/Mystery/Thriller:  8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0

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Flat on Many Levels! Needs A Full Code To Bring To Life

Flatliners

            Death, the inevitable destination that we are constantly reminded of in the various forms of media.  We spend all our time trying to postpone it that sometimes we miss out on life itself.  This weekend’s remake though focuses on hastening to that endpoint all in the name of science.  I’m talking about Flatliners, a movie that many may be “deathly” afraid to see for one reason or another, however this reviewer is back in the theater to bring you some information on the latest silver screen picture.  Let’s go!

 

LIKES:

 

Pretty Cast:  You get this from the trailers, but Flatliners is another example of pretty faces taking full front in a movie.  Like MTV meets a horror film, this cast will make young and old hearts beat as the characters dress in either preppy fashion or tight clothing to get the blood pumping.  Made up faces sparkle in the light, despite the ever-pressing doom hanging over them, and even in their worst they still look incredible.  Very important qualities in a movie.

 

Morals Wrapped in HorrorA better reward of this movie is the impressive delivery of some important lessons, one of which was rather personal to me.  The first is not to play with the defibrillator to study death, a lesson we all thought we knew, but guess we could use a refresher. Second is to take responsibility for your actions, and make up for them in an honorable manner.  Third is all about forgiveness, something that everyone can use a reminder of in terms of accepting apologies of those that are sincere.  While a bit theatrical at times, Flatliners delivers its lessons solidly, integrating it into the plot and making it fit well into the story.  This gooey, moral driven center is the sweet reward of the movie and perhaps my favorite component of the movie.

 

Decent Characters: Horror movies often have idiots for characters, or so blatantly shallow you can’t help but root for them to meet their end.  Not the case in this film.  Flatliner’s crew, despite the stupid desire to meet death, actually feel like relatable characters.  Their friendship, their flaws, and their fears were relevant to me, and were well-acted by our beautiful cast. As such, these characters are little easier to latch onto and invest your time into, following them through the nightmare they unleashed. For me, it was Diego Luna I grasped on to the most, his character being a keystone into connecting the elements of the plot.

 

Short Run Time:  Always nice when a horror movie doesn’t drag out too long, lost in the unnecessary details that often aren’t needed. Flatliners did a decent job trimming the fat, keeping things concise (if a bit rushed) and essential to explaining our character’s backstory, while still keeping the plot moving.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Not Scary:  Perhaps it’s me seeing so many movies, but Flatliners again failed to shock me.  Outside of the looks they wear when they stop their own hearts (as well as the questionable medical techniques), the movie doesn’t remotely focus on scares of any sort.  There are few vivid images that start down the path, but these fizzle out and become lost in a rather vague concept.  Throw in the rather lax attacks of the entity and well… there isn’t much more to build on to explain the calm pace this movie takes.

 

Vague Creature:  The trailers portray something being unleashed, but Flatliners does a poor job explaining what it is.  A spirit?  A demon? Their minds breaking from all the stress?  The answer is left for you to decipher, but don’t expect much in terms of the evil taking any form. This not only robs the movie of potential scares, but also makes the story confusing and more towards a drama than anything else. While this gets points for making you think, I still would have liked a little more imagination into my monster, or whatever it was.

 

Rushed Elements:  While the characters are better than most horrors, they still are mere shadows to great story works. Flatliners’ dilemmas are hastened through on many levels, a rather pathetic climax with a resolution obtained more easily than the Hulk Smashing through a building.  Some characters got their just desserts on development, but others got off a little easier than expected.  But development would mean a longer movie, so I can’t be too upset.

 

Predictable:  It’s hard to throw surprises in these days, but Flatliners was a little too familiar for my tastes.  In addition to the scares, much of the tale was easy to see coming, and following that pathway just takes away from the originality factor.  With this gone, the special feeling of this movie is further reduced to just another weekend filler.

 

The VERDICT

 

            Flatliners is another example of modern, horror movies with superficial glimmer that is merely gold paint. A pretty cast and good morals don’t offset the fact that movie is just not scary enough, nor original enough, to garnish a theater visit.  The abstract monster that dwells within us all gets you thinking, but come on, we want something to make us lose sleep at night.  Therefore, this mediocre remake gets the following:

 

Drama/Horror/Sci-Fi:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

 

Oh Mother, Where Art Thou?

mother!

 

Horror movies continue to be a popular trend in Hollywood.  IT’s successful launch last weekend, surely inspires the trend to continue, so what the heck put out another one this weekend.   Jennifer Lawrence takes center stage in what looks to be a psychosocial thriller to usher in a new age. Will the artistic styles of Darren Aronofsky be a welcome change to the milieu, or does its odd premise promised in the trailers might dive too far down crazy town to enjoy?  Robbie K happy to fill in some gaps with another review.  Let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

 

Unique vision:  Call me crazy, as many people do, but originality is something difficult to come by these days.  Mother, certainly gets points for standing out, not only in the bizarre presentation and mind messing visuals, but also in the symbolism represented in the story.  Amidst the mystery, drama, and other oddities in the film, one will get their fill of morals in that artistic manor Hollywood loves. One certainly won’t forget this movie, or its…originality.

 

Acting: The chemistry between Javier Bardem and Lawrence is perhaps the biggest selling point of this movie.  Much of the mystery comes in the tension between the two protagonists, Bardem’s deceptive nature and double speak is on point to keep you wondering what is going on.  Lawrence’s curiosity and desperation kept me intrigued as to how far she could go, before breaking and challenging his words.  It’s a relationship dynamic brought out in spades, further leading you down the rabbit hole into the mind meddling to be had. In addition, Lawrence also knows how to sell psychotic with screams, tears, and just enough raspy voice to sell suffering.

 

Prosthetics/makeupGrasping for straws here, but the team did a nice job with the prosthetics at hand.  Injuries that arise look festering as if plagued by infection illustrated in text books. The degrading house seen in the trailers is only further detailed in the shots, black marks and degrading wood in all its glory. And Lawrence’s pregnant belly is flawlessly blended into her normal skin, creating the roll that she could pop at any point.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Slow: Forgive me, but horror movies often move quickly to get to the scares at hand, even though they sacrifice story.  While mother has a story…it moves dirt slow to the point of inducing sleep in the movieThe drama aspect takes more precedence than anything, and unfortunately it is dragged out relentlessly to the point of being annoying.  This snail’s pace doesn’t do much for the quality of the movie, despite building up suspense for something never to come.

 

Not Scary: Aren’t horror films  supposed to be scary, or at least try to get me to jump?  Mother failed on this aspect much of the time, resorting to a few loud noises and people sudden turning a corner as their fright factor.  The tactic grew old and soon became nothing more than a ploy to try to salvage scares.  For me, the creepiest factor was seeing humans devolve into selfish, unthinking cretins makes me fear for the future.  Outside of that though, not much got me on edge for this movie.

 

Editing:  I stated above the pace was slow, but that’s because there was too much unneeded details for most of the movie.  The drama was dragged out, the weird concepts were even longer, and there were a few scenes that I could have lived without and been just fine.  Editing needed to jump in and get rid of some of this fluff, because it didn’t work for me at all given the lack of scares. Yet, their hands were tied by the fact the writer was also the director.

 

The Story:  All the symbolism and artistic presentation doesn’t save the audience from an incoherent story. Mother has a lot of weird subplots in it, many of which held little relevance to the overall plotAdditionally, there are lots of gaps in the plot, unless you like theorizing and reflection on the plot, because that’s the only way to fill in the vague data points.  The writer got so centered on its uniqueness, it didn’t close the story the best I think they could do.  Questions are great for discussion, but I like my films with a little more explanation than what I got in this film.  And when you draw most of the conclusions…you can’t help but say, “Really?  That is what this is?” Which reminds me….

 

The Weirdness:  Mother started out artistically weird, but as the movie hit the halfway point it dove deep into the tortured artist route.  What didn’t make sense, quickly turned into a trippy, random display of negligence and rudeness, mocking the modern human while deterring from the mystery.  Soon rapid time progression and sequence changes led to even more head scratching moments, that continued to shock me further to the point of asking what I was watching. The obscene violence and darker phenomenon only grossed me out, and again seemed pointless in the grand scheme of things.

 

 

THE VERDICT:

 

Mother is artistic and unique, I’ll give it that, and certainly makes bold statements about a lot of cultural quarrels plaguing our world.  But outside of that, it’s not so much a horror movie as a though provoking, psychological thriller.  A slow pace, trippy visulas, and just overall weird atmosphere, does not make for the best horror movie.  So, if you had your hopes up for this one, do yourself a favor and skip this mind bender until it hits home theaters.  Go see IT again instead. 

 

Scores:

 

Drama/Mystery/Horror:  6.5

Movie Overall: 4.0

IT’s A Remake That Rocks!

IT

 

Remakes, remakes, remakes.  It seems every time you turn around, Hollywood is out once more make money by simply updating a previous hit.  Often these remakes pale in comparison, but every once in a while, you get a film worthy of social media blow up and hype. This weekend, the highly anticipated, and over-advertised, IT remake crawls out of the studio shadows and attempts to make us face our fears.  Can Hollywood bring King’s famous work into the modern century of film, or will it merely make us scream in fright at horrible it is.  Robbie K back from a two-week hiatus to bring you another review.  Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

 

Creepy:  Horror movies are supposed to be scary, and fans of my work know I love it when the studio crawls under my skin.  IT has plenty of moments that creeped me out, primarily the use of shadows, sound, and those small details that teased the audience to the scares.  A nice variety of tactics exists in this movie to make you squirm in your seat, all led by the deliciously evil Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) and all his pasty white glory. One may find another of disturbing scenes in this movie, primarily in that cold, seeking stare he loves to use so much.  Yes, It certainly mirrored the atmosphere portrayed in the book.

 

Acting:  Seldom do I say a horror film has good acting, but IT hit a home run with all the actors chosen to bring the characters to life. Instead of the usual airheaded, shallow characters who did nothing but scream and curse, this cast portrayed a much broader emotional role…while still cursing. This group did such a good job that I actually liked and invested energy into the characters, which isn’t usually the case in modern horror cinema. While I can’t give shout outs to each one, I certainly will give props to how much they sold the summer adventure to me, almost like Stranger Things meets the Goonies, with a little more demented atmosphere on top. Of course, the real props go to Skarsgard, whose portrayal as Pennywise is certainly a major part to the horror he brings.  His delivery is incredible, that shadowy, whisper like voice that mimics the element of the movie.  Throw the laugh and creepy body acting, to get the complete demonic nature of Pennywise.

 

The Story:  Stephen King knows how to write a story, and thank goodness, this director knew how to bring it to life.  IT finally proves you can have a scary movie with a plot worth investing in.  This version follows the book very well, managing to develop the characters, lay out the story, and still bring all the creepy parts into beautiful detail and length.  The result is a more engaging movie, increased suspense, and an emotional roller coaster as you live the adventure through these kids. This aspect is my favorite component of the movie and certainly worth the price of admission, including the little revelation at the end…which fans of the book will know.

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Suspense, Less Scares:  IT might be creepy, but I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be.  I, nor my friends, didn’t jump at all. Despite creepy build-ups and a setting that welcomes scares, IT still has the same predictable foreshadowing that is used a little too often that it dilutes the big revelation.  While it was certainly more suspenseful in regards to the adventure, I don’t foresee myself getting nightmares from this movie.

 

Unbalanced at times:  IT has a lot of things perfectly done in this movie, but there are a few moments where they seemed to drop the ball on their characters.  True, I haven’t read the book in a long time, but I seemed to remember each kid having almost equal involvement in fighting the shapeshifting embodiment of fear.  In this film though, I felt they dropped the characters at time to the backburner, choosing to focus on just three of the main characters.

 

The Computer Effects:  The past two dislikes are minor and just space filling, but the only major dislike was the CGI effects.  When IT conforms into the more realistic entities crafted by makeup and costumes, I would feel grossed out, sickened, and get goosebumps.  However, when the CGI moments came into play, the realism faded away to cheesy effects that were more humorous than terrifying. Sure, the creatures themselves would make anyone wet themselves, but their portrayal In this movie could have been maximized if they stuck to makeup effects.  In addition, some of the convulsing moments were funny to watch, again due to the semi-realistic effects.  While certainly not the worst visual effects, it could have used a little tune up to be honest.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            IT proves that you can make a remake that doesn’t stink and may actually be truer to the book.  While not the scariest movie to haunt the theater, it is fantastically creepy and will certainly get your skin crawling.  In addition, the acting and story are fully developed and bring about a wonderful tale that will keep you hooked into the movie wondering where the end of the adventure would be.  Yes, the computer effects need a little work, but otherwise a solid addition to the horror genre and a worthy trip to the theater.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Horror:  9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

A Doll of A prequel: Creation of a Better Movie


MV5BMjA1MzIwMjMxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQ3NTc2MjI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_

 

So many years ago, the Conjuring dropped into theaters and opened up a movie universe that would bestow nightmares to the audience members who saw it.  This weekend, the latest installment in this haunted world with Annabelle Creation.  A prequel to the last film, this possessed doll continues to be a popular figure head in the occult series to warrant another film.  Is this film a fitting addition to the franchise, or is it another money grabber fit to be lost in the horror archives?  Robbie K here to help answer those questions and share some thoughts.  Let’s get to work.

 

LIKES:

 

Answers Questions:  The first Annabelle gave the doll some basis and established her deadly legacy, but it lacked any true backstory of her creation.  The prequel, as so titled, helped fill in the creation story and establish the origin to its possession.  As the film progresses, more of the Annabelle’s journey is revealed, alongside a closer look at the creature that uses it as a puppet.  While not fully complete, we now have the connections needed to make sense of the first movie, and further engross us in the universe. Unfortunately, the name, the involvement, and other details of the demons still remain unanswered, but can be extrapolated with a dialogue hints.

 

The Pace:  Horror movies can have pacing issues at time depending on the story.  Fortunately, Annabelle Creation’s moves at a decent pace to maximize the movie.  Slow enough to provide build up for the scares, but fast enough to keep everything moving and on edge, the production team did a nice job keeping you invested in the movie.  There is little time between all the craziness, with just enough comedic relief to relieve the tension and keep things interesting.

 

Scares:  I guess we need to talk about the main element you go for these movies huh?  The scare factor is at an all-time high in this movie, continuing the Conjuring’s legacy of keeping things dynamic, fun, and suspenseful.  Annabelle’s creepy on so many levels, starting with the realistic setting to place the movie in.  That realism and the use of shadows has your imagination on fire trying to fill in the gaps of what lurks in the dark.  Once the subtle components are set, you can bet there a number of creepy tricks played in this film, alongside the fleeting glimpses of the demon that terrorizes the family in his cruel game. And of course, there is that doll. It’s soulless stare and deceiving smile continue to give me the willies, and had a number of audience members using colorful language before involuntary rising from their seats.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Character stories:  The movie had a lot of characters to play in our haunted setting.  The protagonists of the film held a lot of potential to develop as characters, and unfortunately, they failed on that level.  Sure, you can piece together the simple origins placed before you, but I would have liked more insight into the girls’ origins or perhaps a little more integration of Bee into the writing to help maximize scares.  With the conjuring able to unearth their demons and dreams in a quality manner, Annabelle should be able to mimic that magic.  Scares do not equal perfect horror movie.

 

Pointless characters:  Remember the big family in the Conjuring and how each sibling, parent, and exorcist were part of the tale in some way.  That’s gone too.  Annabelle Conjuring brought a large group into the home, but only about four-five of them have any real involvement in the plot.  The underutilization of these characters tripped up the plot, made for ridiculous scenes that didn’t have as much importance, and really left me asking, what was their point.  One girl has just one line and a few stares at the camera.  Why include them if you aren’t going to use them to develop the characters, or at least try to work together to escape the demon’s wrath. 

 

Predictability:  Scares are getting easier to predict in this day and age.  This is mostly due to the development team throwing their usual tactics into the mix to warn you of the impending jump scare. Annabelle Conjuring doesn’t escape this trend and much of the scares can be seen a mile away in some form or manner. While there are a few moments that were good tries, the tactics got repetitive and/or cheesy to be laughable rather than fearful.  Fortunately, some creepy special effects and the darkness offset this enough to still get under your skin… thanks religion nightmare inducing series.

 

The Verdict:

 

Overall, Annabelle Creation is one of the better horror movies of the summer and perhaps this year.  It is dark, creepy, and moves at that pace needed to keep you invested in the movie for the two-hour run time.  In addition, the filling in gaps and hints start to connect the world (a very popular trend), which will have you die hard horror fans screaming in delight at both scares and plot.  Yet, there are still elements of the story telling to clean up and utilizing your characters you bring in is a big step to improve on.  In addition, I hope the next installment forgoes the predictable moves and gives us that kick I haven’t seen yet.  Considering everything, this reviewer recommends a visit to the theater for this one, assuming you are disturbed by spiritual haunting movies. 

 

My scores:

Horror/Mystery/Thriller:   8.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

 

P.S. Stay for the end of the credits for some teasing.

I Wish For Better Execution

Wish

 

I wish I may, I wish I might, make a demand that might cost someone’s life?  That’s not the way the rhyme goes, but this parody is pretty representative of the theme of my latest review.  Robbie K here, this time covering Wish Upon the latest horror genre flick to flood the silver screens across the country.  The “disturbing” trailers paint the picture of the next spine tingling film, but the PG-13 rating suggests it could be a little timid.  What’s the verdict?  Hopefully I can fill in some answers to help answer that question. Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

 

Shorter Run Time:  I know what you’re thinking, not good if this is a like, but it’s nice to see a movie stick around the 90-minute run time when there isn’t sustenance to keep it running longer.  Wish Upon fills its short run-time purpose with the thrills you want, and keeps it concise, a sign of good directing and editing in an era what that so suffers.

 

Joey King: Singling out the actors in this rather new actor cast, Joey King reprises her horror acting in a “two thumbs up” manner.  King plays the role of a distressed teenager with class, bringing a delicate balance of drama, screaming, and shallow happiness to the character.  In many PG-13 or teenager focused films, the lead character often suffers from overacting or extreme tangents in directing.  For me, King was able to keep things in good proportions and didn’t have me rolling my eyes (a first in a long time.) While certainly not an award-winning performance, King gets props for carrying the load of the movie.

 

A Nice tangent:  Despite the common trend of demons, spirits, and ghosts… Wish Upon at least brings a slight twist to the themes of horror movies. The wishing factor is a nice gimmick to get sold onto and see what desires will tempt her to risk lives.  It set a nice pace for the movie to build upon, and made it a little dynamic in regards to whom would pay the blood price for Clare’s (King) decisions and selfishness. The wish factor also presented some character development, shallower but existing, that really worked in their favor.

 

Not overly graphic:  A PG-13 horror movie is often a lot lax in their grim depictions of death.  Wish Upon continues that trend, forgoing gross, exaggerated, drawn out torturous deaths in favor of ridiculous, and still horrible, deaths that are quickly executed. One can think of this as Final Destination meets Unfriended, which boils down to coincidental deaths with a filter.  Unfortunately, it means you have seen a majority of the executions via the commercials, but you will get a few sequences that have escaped the public eye up until now.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Very simplistic:  Despite the deaths being filtered and less intense, they were also very simplistic and not as impressive.  Yes, they were still awful (as death is), but the hype up of the trailers was sadly dropped with the simplicity of the deaths.  There was no extra edge factor to them, and the lack of suspense, which left the ridiculous nature of the deaths the eye-rolling component of the film.  If you want the mindless, over the top deaths without the blood… well your wish has been granted I guess.

Story:  Wish Upon’s tale has some decent character development in it to highlight the underlying theme of the horror movie.  It was great seeing Clare’s transitions and her attempt to find the solution to the curse kept in the box. However, outside of that, the story tanks.  It’s the same predictable mess that most of this genre is, with little sustenance so that they could cram more deaths into the movie.  The cool wish concept brought about a lot of potential to interact with the entity, as well as opportunities for a more suspenseful uncovering of the source of the evil.  I would have liked to see what the creature looked like, or at least more interaction with the invisible evil that dwelled within.  Other plot elements could have been a little more detailed in the delivery as well, to add the emotional impact I think they wanted.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Wish Upon isn’t the worst movie to grace the theaters.  This PG-13 movie brings a unique angle to a stale concept that is concise, decently acted, and not overly graphic. Unfortunately, the execution is still in need of work on a variety of areas.  A lackluster story that was underdeveloped and the lack of suspense are two key areas the potential sequel can bring to the table.  As for this film though, if you aren’t looking for a filtered death movie, you might skip this until haunts Netflix.  For those looking for a simplistic horror film though… you’ve got a ringer in the theaters this summer.  One thing is certain though…be careful what you wish for.

 

My scores:

 

Fantasy/Horror/Thriller:  6.0

Movie Overall: 4.0

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