What Lurks Beneath The Trailer Of Underwater

Underwater Poster

 

 

The realm of horror, as I have said before, is an avenue that allows the darkest fathoms of the imagination to come to life. Horrors and fears can take on many forms and in some cases the directors capture that terror in the perfect balance.  On the other hand, the modern cinema also ruins the genre when cheap gimmicks fail to scare and become the focus.  So what is tonight’s film all about?  Well Robbie K is here to offer some thoughts and insight as he makes spoiler free review of:

 

Movie:  Underwater (2019)

 

Director:

William Eubank

Writers:

Brian Duffield (screenplay by), Adam Cozad (screenplay by)  | 1 more credit »

Stars:

Kristen StewartT.J. MillerJessica Henwick

 

 

LIKES:

  • The Decent Comedy
  • Decent Acting/And Time Worthy Characters
  • Great Pace
  • Suspense Moments
  • Creature Design
  • The Atmosphere
  • The Story Is Okay

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • The Predictability
  • T.J. Miller Forced Some Times
  • The Chaotic Camera Work at Times
  • Suspension Of Disbelief At Times
  • The Worthlessness of Most Of the Crew

 

SUMMARY:

 

When it comes to a horror movie you can’t help but want to laugh through the movie.  Okay, I need to think of a better transition, but the film succeeds on throwing that comedic relief at just the right moments to help change the energy of the scene.  That aside, the real strength of the movie comes in the cohesiveness of all the little parts that this genre thrives on when done right.  First the acting!  While not award winning, I was very happy to have characters that had more layers than the typical creature fodder Sci Fi Channel has made famous.  Underwater’s crew is different though, as Steward leads the bunch in a thrilling adventure that puts science skills to the test.  Several members make logical decisions, there is great interaction amidst the crew, and the teamwork they show actually paints characters that are worth investing your time in.  And through this adventure, let’s just say there are a lot of things that will test your connection to them.  This film moves quickly, a brisk pace that never dwells long enough for boredom, and takes few detours in the quest to escape the denizens of the deep. Mixing well with the pace comes very suspenseful moments that utilize so many special effects to paint the terrifying canvas of the deep in new ways that will insight nightmares. Some of the moments are all about the setting itself, while others integrate the creatures and allow the use of imagination to paint the terror.  It works fantastically well, and when the revelation of the creatures finally arises, the design does not fail to impress.  Monsters are made of nightmares like this, and they are utilized to a fine degree that does not overshadow the rest of the tale, but still gives you plenty of creature love.  Yet what really ties everything for me is the atmosphere itself.  Underwater uses its name well, and helps blend the adventure into sections that together form a cataclysmic environment.  There are few safe havens in this movie, with the beasts lurking around every corner, and when they aren’t the environment itself is ready to douse the life out of them.  Throw in the use of shadows, fantastic sound editing, and again the tease with imagination that designs that environment. Finally, there is actually a point to all the chaos, with a logical connecting line that actually grants purpose to the antics at hand.  Underwater takes the familiar story, and changes the acts to help keep the adventure fresh and dynamic.

 

Amidst all the treasure, there are some rusted metals that tarnish the movie for this reviewer.  For one the story is pretty predictable, still following most of the rules and trends that the SyFy channel movies do.  A few twists do help stir the sediment up a bit, but you have an idea where it is going.  Thankfully, this predictability is lessened due to the intensity of the scenes themselvesAs mentioned above, there is comedic relief, and while enjoyable at times, there are other times where the awkward joke is too forced or beaten over the head for it to really work.  This works in movies like Deadpool, and while I think it’s curb to show how he is dealing with the stressful situation, there are times I would have liked to see a little more from this character other than another joke.

These are probably minor dislikes for me, so I’ll move on to a few of the things that were more bothersome for me.  As many of you know, I’m not the biggest fan of chaotic camera work when it comes to details.  While this added to the intensity of the scene, I felt Underwater went a little too crazy at times, using the swirling madness, and shadows a little too much to deprive the details I wanted to see.  This aspect improved near the ending, but the middle parts had a hard time finding the balance between stable and maddening angles.  Next, the suspension of disbelief sometimes is a little laughable for me in this film.  I know, in this genre one must be ready to do this, but hear me out a little.  Again with no spoilers, Underwater sort of does not play by its own rules it establishes at the beginning.  The creatures behavior is erratic, sometimes being aggressive and other times not, which is sort of explained at the times, but then overwritten for me.  Other times it’s about how convenient things work out or don’t work out, which though adds to the intensity of the scene, will in retrospective seem a bit cheesy at how things happen to play out.  If this does not bother you or take away from the suspense, no worries then, but near the end in particular is where I particularly found them stretching their convenience muscles a little too far.  Finally, though the movie is much better with crafting their characters than other creature features, it still has not quite put the finesse in everyone.  For a crew of scientists, drillers, and deep-sea explorers, only one or two really show off the scientific skills that were promised.  Kristen Stewart’s character is the most equipped to handle the job and maybe the Captain, but the rest well, they don’t quite hit the mark for epic battles or adventuring that i had anticipated.

 

THE VERDICT:

 

            Overall, the creature feature is one of the best to emerge from the depths of the Hollywood ocean. Underwater takes us back to the days of classic film storytelling, where a story is designed to tether the scares, special effects of scenery and modern computer work add for decent scare factors, and the intensity of the sequences help net your interest in characters that aren’t just shark fodder like a classic SyFy movie.  While there are still some predictability issues, and the suspension of disbelief starts cooking up things, there are not too many issues that most fans of this genre will be affected.  Again, I’m not particular fond of chaos swirling camera work, but I again admit it adds to the moments and at least gets balanced.  Give all the CGI work, the decent story, and performances, this guy encourages you to head to the theater for this one to enjoy to the most, but if not definitely check it out at home. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Drama/Horror:  7.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

A Grudge That Needs To Settle And Reset

 

The Grudge Poster

  It’s January, and that means it’s time for testing for things that may or may not work this year.  One genre that seems to love creeping in this time of year is the horror genre, in hopes of getting the fanbase flocking in.  Yet, the horror genre always fluctuates depending on the imagination, the risks, and the vision of those who helm the creative wheel of design.  This weekend, the solo film releasing this weekend is based on the popular series that has been retired in the America’s, in terms of mainstream, for some time.  I’m talking about the Grudge and today I review to determine if the latest malicious spirit adventure can reclaim its hold over the modern generation. Robbie K back with a look at:

 

Film: The Grudge (2019)

 

Director:

Nicolas Pesce

Writers:

Nicolas Pesce (screenplay by), Nicolas Pesce (story by)  | 2 more credits »

Stars:

Tara WestwoodJunko BaileyDavid Lawrence Brown

 

 

LIKES:

  • Short Run Time
  • Good Use Of Visuals
  • Creepy Aesthetic
  • Lin Shaye’s Acting
  • A Unique Presentation Style

 

DISLIKES:

  • Complicated Story Telling
  • Predictable Story Telling
  • Not Scary
  • Vicious Deaths
  • Boring
  • Not Quite Unique Enough

 

SUMMARY:

 

It’s not a good start when the first thing I mention is the short run time, but in this case it works to be at the 90-minute mark for the run time.  Grudge is all about visuals and the art of trying to scare you, and I was able to see a heavy focus on those superficial features instead of the movie’s presentation as a whole.  The Grudge’s visuals rock in terms of establishing the spooky atmosphere, with shadows, low lighting, and spooky sound effects to make the creepy aesthetic as life like as possible.  I felt the haunting atmosphere leave with me, the lack of safety in my home or with lights on as the curse goes wherever it chooses.  That creepy nature itself is the true scare factor of the movie, always keeping you wondering what disturbing visual is coming next in the hallowed halls of the home.  As for the cast who has to act in the setting, Tara Westwood was a fantastic actress to take point in the progressing role.  Not quite the most unique role, but it works given the direction this film took.  Yet, the leading lady of horror Lin Shaye still shows off her trade for the occult captivating the insanity, looming nature of the spirits around her, and the feisty bouts of dramatic flair that fits perfectly in this world. In terms of my final positive, well the story is told in a nontraditional manner, and for that originality gets points in the eyes of this reviewer, especially given the attempt at trying to establish a mystery at the same time.

 

Then come the things that took away from the experience from me.  Though original, the story telling is complicated, a piece meal of flashbacks that like a mosaic seem to fit together, but more so in a fractured manner that is a bit too artistic given what I go to these movies for.  The mystery that was trying to be put in did not pan out for me, because of how predictable the story was, and in the short run time, all the clues were laid out for you miles in advance that it was underwhelming to say the least.  Despite, the attempt at making a creepy atmosphere, the scares themselves are very lackluster, a similar tactic of trying to throw something in every corner to scare.  Sadly, the techniques don’t change much and by the third jump out, the technique is so stale you turn it into a game of counting how many attempts in 90 minutes.  Even more so, it was more about gruesome deaths than actual scaring, the unrelenting depictions of blood and maiming actions await those giving this movie a change.  Not scary again, just there to feed the beast of darker picture lovers.  All of these should be no surprise in the Grudge series, I get it, but in the past the newness of it allowed these components to be more enjoyable, while the constant storytelling and linear progression helped balance all the chaos.  In this unique telling though, the constant back and forth, cheap scares, and predictable ending just makes this film boring, missing any sense of danger, challenge, or even gripping action.  The film as a result feels rather bland, missing the same oomph that we always love to see in this genre.

 

THE VERDICT:

 

            The Grudge will always hold its unique nature and destructive force in the world of cinema.  However, this installment does not quite reach the goals set out by the series and directors long ago.  While unique story telling style and creepy aesthetic win in this movie, alongside some decent acting, the movie just is a bit too convoluted and boring to say it was the ride I was looking for.  Fans of the series are going to be the target audience, or for those just wanting complex tie ins of dark demises.  As for the rest, hold out until the streaming services pick it up, and event then it’s limited.  Instead, I encourage to try out some other films instead from the holiday season. 

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery:  5.5

Movie Overall:  4.5

I Don’t Think You Will Sleep Through This One

Doctor Sleep: The IMAX 2D Experience Poster

 

Stephen King is on a role this year with two stories turned to movies, among other products, and potentially raking in even more cash. The age of taking author’s works and putting visual spins on them continues to thrive and sometimes we get an interpretation that brings our nightmares/expectations to life.   On the other hand, the limitations of movies can sometimes lead to bad projects that are disappointing more than anything.  What will happen in this interpretation?  Well I’m here to share my opinions to help you get the most out of your movie going experience.  Let’s get started as I review:

 

Movie: Doctor Sleep

 

Director:

Mike Flanagan

Writers:

Stephen King (based on the novel by), Mike Flanagan

Stars:

Ewan McGregorRebecca FergusonKyliegh Curran

 

 

LIKES:

  • Acting
  • Feels Like A Visual Form Of Book
  • Nice Haunting Atmosphere
  • Pacing For The Most Part is Good
  • Great Antagonists
  • Fantastic References To original/With modern twists
  • Story Telling As a Whole

 

DISLIKES

  • The Run Time
  • Expecting More Integration of Shining’s connections
  • Not Scary
  • Graphic Violence That is Haunting But Disturbing

 

SUMMARY

 

When the revealed the cast of this film I was interested in seeing how they would adapt into King’s Universe.  The result is positive for me with the three main characters really taking a shine to the multi-layered characters each contributing to the terror in some way.  McGregor takes much of the lifting in his evolution of tortured spirit, keeping that quiet intensity famous of his younger counterpart, but somehow pulling out other tricks when the time is right to give a psychiatrically tortured counterpart.  As for the antagonist, Rebecca Ferguson is wonderful counterpart to McGregor, keeping that same creepy tone, but this time bringing a savage/psychotic edge that fits well in the horror genre, think villains from Walking Dead before it went too far.  As for the talents of Curran, well she was the perfect balance that sort of inherited both sides of the Shining coin, executing her vulnerable side well, but also managing to bring girl power to an even medium.

Acting aside, the rest of the movie thrives in the element of bring King’s imagination to life.  To be honest it does feel like a visualization of the book, the intricate details, outlines story, and connecting points a wonderful example of the art of literature translation.  King’s words always paint a picture of sheer horror, immersing one into a nightmare realm that goes into the darkest corners of the minds and dreams.  Doctor Sleep’s haunting chills line just about every minute of this film, bringing with it characters that fit into it, primarily the antagonists that Danny faces.  Such fitting characters and truly nightmarish villains make a wonderful centerpiece to get hooked onto.  Yet, the movie does not just focus on making the characters the star, instead finding way to integrate the Shining into the film while sticking to the originality of the tale.  Seeing various nods back to the original tale, though with modern face lifts, and having them there to support the tale, again getting an applause from me. With such details, you might think the pacing will suffer, but Flanagan accomplished the task of keeping all these details and plot dynamics balanced, but not sacrificing the entertainment value that movies are expected.  In conclusion to this like section, the story telling is told well at an engaging pace that makes for one of the better horror movies and book translations in a long while.

 

Yet for me, it’s rare to see a perfect movie that I love everything about and this was true for Doctor Sleep as well.  For one thing the run time is a little long for a later night showing, I know my fault, but despite how well the balance of this tale is, there was some pacing that made the 2.5 hours a little too long for me.  Perhaps it was from working a 15-hour day, or maybe it’s due to wanting a little more of the Shining’s plot components brought in, given how long the opening was about the time lapse between the two stories I might have wanted a little more integration into the mix to help fully get my horror element on. In addition, the movie did not do the most in the scare factor for me, going more down the  drama/thriller category than the actual horror element.  I’m not saying others will not get scared, but it all depends on what you like to jump at creeps vs jump scares.  For me though, the aspect I know was needed, but I did not like is the torturing and graphic violence components.  I can say I like action movies and over the top stunts, but in this movie the violence is all about inducing the disturbing, skin crawling factors that these books are famous for.  Weak constitutions to graphic displays of fear inducing dismantling need to rethink diving into this, for there are several scenes where this factor comes into full swing with little mercy.

 

  The VERDICT

            I have to agree with my friends who saw the film, Doctor Sleep is one of the better novel interpretations that I have seen in quite a while.  My favorite aspects of this film are how much like a book it plays out, yet never sacrifices the entertainment factors and visualization components that films need.  A haunting atmosphere to play in, with great characters to bring out the solid story, I feel many King and horror films will be impressed with the presentation of this tale.  While the run time is a little longer than expected, and the scares are at a minimum compared to the first film I watched a long time ago, the true component to warn people about is the graphic violence/torture that may haunt your memories for some time.  It’s true I would have liked a little more of the Shining aspect, but overall a solid story telling from King and company again.  Is it worth a trip to the theater?  Absolutely, as it has theater quality effects and good storytelling for most audience members to enjoy.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Fantasy/Horror:  8.0-8.5

Movie Overall:  8.0

It’s The Final Countdown… To Halloween Horror Flicks

 

Countdown Poster

 

What would October be without at least one horror movie to come to theaters?  Boring is what many would say, and so we have the final weekend of the holiday trying to gain some revenue before the season is over.  So Robbie K is back once more to give you some ideas on the latest of the horror installments to haunt the silver screen.  Will it be good?  Will it be bad?  Will you die of boredom?  The answer to those questions is below so let’s get ourselves in shall we as we review:

 

Movie: Countdown (2019)

Director:

Justin Dec

Writer:

Justin Dec

Stars:

Elizabeth LailJordan CallowayTalitha Eliana Bateman

 

LIKES:

  • Moves At A Good Pace
  • A slightly new twists
  • Funny At Times
  • Liked The Central Character
  • The Story Is Cute

 

DISLIKES:

  • The CGI work
  • The Thrills and Kills Are Mediocre
  • A Little Silly In Terms Of Story Telling at Times
  • Dead Ends
  • Predictable

 

SUMMARY:

 

Horror movies are something that have come to be a little too mass produced, where ridiculous concepts come out of the wood work to try and capture your attention while darkening your dreams. In this case the movie takes a hit at it, but rather than crafting original beasts instead focused on a quick pace to keep you entertained for the most part. Countdown’s limited time limit requires things to move at a brisk pace that is both entertaining and yet complete.  The film manages to bring a slightly new twist to the mix, taking an old concept and modernizing it, while still tagging some traditions to it.  As such, the film has a little more originality to it and that’s something difficult to capture in these days of over production. In this dark tale, there is fortunately some comedic relief to lighten things up, but not enough to make it a spoof, again portraying some balance that films seem to lose.  My feeling for the strongest component of this movie is the character development, and more so the central character of Countdown.  Quinn (Lail) is a lovely character that has a little bit complexity past the usual damsel in distress/air head that comes with horror territory.  The various levels of personality made for a more engaging heroine, and seeing her evolution as her plight grew more stressful with each passing second.  I think Lail was a fantastic actress to watch, delivering a nice performance that went hand in hand with the cuter story she shared with the other characters. The story may not be that harrowing, creepy, or even unique, but there is an energy to it that seems to be a toned-down version of a horror movie that is once more about the characters and not just the thing they are fighting.

 

While many of these components are nice in terms of storytelling, the movie did cut costs on other areas that may not be impressive to the usual lovers of the genre.  First the CGI work needs a little trimming up, looking a bit hokie, faded, and too computer in my opinion. In addition the beast doing all the killing did so in rather, contained ways that were off screen or hidden in shadow.  It’s not that I want to see gruesome death and mangling, but a little more details might have been preferred for this writer. And while I enjoyed the story telling for the most part, there were times that the film felt a little silly, taking tangents that were stretches to incorporate in some way to liven up the film.  They did not work for me in forms of comedy, but instead became crashes into dead ends where characters, plot points, and other components were left to stand for some wrecking ball to break through.  I guess to meet time constraints they took this approach to again be original, but it just fell short as lazy storytelling with these components.  Finally, the film is predictable, with only a few things hiding in the wings to try and surprise us.  Yet, all the foreshadowing and obvious introduction to the plots were the stars needed to point me towards the things they wanted to keep a surprise and by the revelation I had pieced most things together.  Again, kudos for trying, but not the most surprise filled plot.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall I did not hate Countdown, but instead grant a nods towards a character centric story with a cute vibe and good pace to entertain.  It’s true I would have liked a little more haunting/craziness to come into play to give you that true Halloween thriller you were looking for this late in the season.  It’s predictable tale, sort of hidden killer, and silliness that filed away the edge of the movie and thus takes away from the atmosphere they created.  I felt that they could have just put this one onto a streaming site, but I’ll give them props for trying to put their work out onto the screen.  Yet, this film really boils down to being better suited at the home viewing then coming to theaters so hold out until the release if you can.  As such, my scores are:

 

Horror/Thriller:  6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Floating Through Nearly 3 Hours With Fantastic Acting and Decent Plot

It Chapter Two Poster

 

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

 

Movie: It: Chapter 2

 

Director:

Andy Muschietti

Writers:

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

Stars:

Jessica ChastainJames McAvoyBill Hader

 

LIKES:

 

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

 

DISLIKES:

 

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

 

SUMMARY:

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

 

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

 

The VERDICT:

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

 

Horror:  8.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

Do You Hide From This Film Or Seek It Out

Ready or Not Poster

 

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

 

Movie:  Ready or Not (2019)

 

Directors:

Matt Bettinelli-OlpinTyler Gillett

Writers:

Guy BusickRyan Murphy

Stars:

Samara WeavingAdam BrodyMark O’Brien

 

 

LIKES:

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

 

DISLIKES:

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

 

Summary:

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

 

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

 

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

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

The Cage Is Lowered And The Sharks Are Out To Play

47 Meters Down: Uncaged Poster

            Shark movies!  What were once the pinnacle of horror movies and science fiction story telling that left impacts and a sense of fear of going into the water.  Like many things though, the demand for a new shark movie often leads to carbon copy projections that are all about cheese and little to please. Shark movies have now become more of the cheap knock offs that still remain cult classics and amass a ton of fans to watch them repetitively and spur more.  Tonight, an unexpected sequel to one of these is my first review, hoping to bring the same suspense and thrills that the first one did.  Can these sharks come back with the same bite, or are we seeing messy CGI disasters that SyFy channel has made famous?  Robbie K reviewing:

 

Movie:  47 Meters Down Uncaged

 

Director:

Johannes Roberts

Writers:

Ernest RieraJohannes Roberts

Stars:

Sistine Rose StalloneNia LongCorinne Foxx

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute Cast

Decent Pace

Much More Shark Involvement

Scary Setting

Much More Suspense Than Expecting

 

DISLIKES

Story Based On stupidity

Predictable

Shaky Camera Work

Very Quick Wraps Ups

Suspension of Disbelief Must Be Curbed

 

 

Summary:

 

I can’t deny that these movies know how to recruit good looking people to play their puppets of shark massacre and this movie continues that trend.  Our bathing suit clad beauties are gorgeous to the eyes of those that like those forms and will be a major part of the first third of the movie.  Superficial components aside, the movie itself succeeds in keeping up a decent pace, managing to craft some suspenseful movie magic that thriller seekers are searching for.  This pace keeps things moving, holding little down time between shark strikes and navigating the maze-like caverns of the ruined city and therefore making time pass in the blink of an eye.  How is this accomplished?  Well it comes down to two things.  First is the setting.  47 meters regime manages to really use the setting as a canvas of terror, painting your worst nightmares of the dark to new levels.  Where the first one made the idea of being stranded on the ocean floor terrifying, this one pulls you into the confines of a cave, whose cramped corridors and dark rooms may deter you from ever going spelunking.  The second factor is integrating the sharks much more into this film.  Yes, in the first one they were there, but they were more of a setting feature that seemed to be looming rather than really tearing things up like Jaw and Deep Blue Sea.  In this case, the sharks are certainly the terrifying behemoths you search for in the films, with a new design to go with their traditional voracious appetite. These creatures are more than willing to get their toothy maws into new scenes and really add to the terror at hand.

 

Yet with all the improvements in suspense and the terror painted by the CGI squad in terms of shadow crafting and claustrophobia there were some things that still did not deliver the full bite.  The story for one thing swam backwards towards a weaker pace, built not on an accident, but on stupidity of teenagers doing things they weren’t supposed to and trying to correct it.  It does certainly pick up in the caves, but one thing is for certain that you can figure out who is most likely not going to make it and just what is going to be around the bend… mostly.  Certainly, the scares are much closer in this installment, but sadly its lost to the shaky camera work that inadvertently censored a number of the shark on human action. Does it capture the frenzy of the moment?  Absolutely. Does it add to the terror and give you that sense of being this close to the maw?  Again yes, but in doing so it robs you of the clear-cut picture that the first one did better.  What the first also did better was the close calls vs. the hasty kills as I like to describe.  In the first one, several close misses kept you guessing as to when someone would be shark bait, but in this there comes a point where the near misses are practically eliminated and the punishments are dealt rather quickly.  In addition, searching for a way out seems to drag a little at first, but again things seem to progress rapidly to the point of chuckling at the coincidence.  This brings me to probably the worst thing for me on this movie, the suspense of disbelief.  47 meters continues to toy with the idea of everlasting air, swimming faster than the aquatic beasts and how many times someone can withstand contact with the monsters of the deep.  It’s the magic of movies and storytelling of course, but especially at the end the already ridiculous concept takes further dives into the deeper realm of nonrealistic stuff and eye rolling moments.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Okay, it’s a shark movie and it accomplishes the task of sharks meeting humans.  The sequel manages to achieve the goal of scarier areas that allow the sharks to hunt in a new style, bringing about two monsters for our players to dodge.  It’s got a good pace and some suspense to it that should help get the shark week blahs chased away.  Yet, it does not quite have the story telling aspect that the great ones achieve and the predictability/suspense of disbelief are still needing some tweaking to help add the finesse and clean up the movie.  Still, I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would and give this one a nod in terms of catching it on the tube.  Yet, it’s probably better to see this one at home, for it could be an upscale SyFy movie rather than a big screen blockbuster.

 

My scores are:

 

Adventure/Drama/Horror: 7.5

Movie Overall:  6.0