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

Advertisements

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

 

Scary Stories To See In The Theater

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Poster

 

Growing up in the 90s, there were plenty of tales designed for kids to try and scare us without crossing the line.  Are you Afraid of the Dark, Goosebumps, Tales from the Crypt (both cartoon and regular), and even the Sci-Fi Channel held their own in bringing the horror to the modern-day audience.  As such, a good scary story in any form can really leave an impact that stays with someone for much of their lives.  Enter today’s review, where the theme is the impact that stories can have on us and a little extreme case involving bringing your darkest nightmares to life. Robbie K is back with the third review of the week and we bring you a look at:

 

Movie: Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (2019)

 

Director:

André Øvredal

Writers:

Dan Hageman (screenplay by), Kevin Hageman(screenplay by)

Stars:

Zoe Margaret CollettiMichael GarzaGabriel Rush

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Pace

The Comedy

The Creature Design

The Suspense At Times

The Acting

The Narrative Approach

 

DISLIKES:

Not Scary

Predictable

The Disturbing Moments At Times

Throw Away Characters

 

 

SUMMARY

 

With the flood of horror movies that come into the theaters, sometimes you find pacing and content issues replaced with gimmicks. Scary stories manages to take the anthology book and bind them together into a decent film, with a pace that feels very much like the classic shows that is fun, adventurous, and semi-engaging to craft a decent film.  It comes from a better balance, finding ways to integrate multiple entertainment qualities while always keeping its finger on the pulse of horror.  The comedy is corny, but natural, as it relieves some of the tension that is building up primarily from the character Chuck (Austin Zajur).  In regards to creature design, Scary Tales again adds some variety to their mix, picking new media to torture our main characters, which adds variety and doesn’t over utilize a gimmick (like the original Alien did).  Suspense is well placed in the movie, managing to make peaks and valleys of excitement the way an exercise program works.  By taking this approach it avoids the burnout some of these horror movies experience and manages to miss the mark of hasty finishes these films sometimes take.  As for the acting, well I’m good with it too. The kids do just fine playing scared students stumbling in to a new world and facing the consequences.  Like a weirder version of Stranger Things, the portrayal of weird, concern, and scared/terrified is a well-balanced performance that did not quite annoy me as some of them do.  Overall, these elements point to one thing, a narrative approach that feels like those kids books I loved, creepy and shocking, but never sacrificing the connecting spine to link all the sequences and creeps together.

 

Yet the movies does suffer a few things for this reviewer, but remember the volume of horror movies I see had desensitized me so I’ll do my best to factor that in.  First of all, the Scary Stories do not quite fit the originality bill in terms of story overall.  Originality is tough, but the movies formulaic approach and obvious foreshadowing would have been nice to break given the other walls it broke to focusing on plot then just gimmicks.  A second factor would have been to put more scare factor into it, treading closer to the R line could have brought the PG-13 film to the next level had they managed to craft some scarier moments.  The disturbing, creepy atmosphere and moments help, but they got lost to small gimmicks and cheesy CGI at times that diluted the scare factors. A few of my friends found the scare factor to be a little more than I did, so if you aren’t desensitized like me, you may find this dislike not the same.  Finally, a few characters held much potential, but many of them were throw away characters, merely sacrificial pawns to be sacrificed to the curse of horror movies.  Build up at the beginning held promise, but I would have liked to see these characters developed and battling a little more to actually care and connect instead of being left unfazed.  In addition, the story tie in could again have been developed more, primarily for the ghost they are chasing and the weird approach they took to tell her story, but hey more on that for the potential sequel to come.

 

Let’s finish this up.  Summarizing the review, Scary Stories certainly is a tale to tell in the dark, or the theater in this case.  It’s a good tale that tributes back to the 90s horror decade, with a narrative that binds so many things together to make you laugh and potentially jump.  I liked the balance a lot and the diversity of the creatures and means to which our “heroes” are trying to solve the legendary mystery.  Yet, the film still does not have quite the bite and scare factor for this reviewer (remember desensitized) and I would have liked a little more of it and the narrative put in and finding a way to break the mold on the predictability. Nevertheless, this is one of the better horror tales that I have seen in a long time, and as I said give it a shot in the theater.

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

Coming Home To New Scares and Stories

Annabelle Comes Home Poster

 

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

 

Movie:  Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Director:

Gary Dauberman

Writers:

James Wan (story by), Gary Dauberman

Stars:

Vera FarmigaPatrick WilsonMckenna Grace

 

LIKES:

 

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

 

DISLIKES:

 

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

 

SUMMARY:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0

Time To Reboot Andy

Child's Play Poster

 

The campiness of horror movies can sometimes be amazing source of entertainment.  Humorous plots that are ridiculous, blended with just enough disturbing concepts to etch itself in your brain can be quite a cult phenomenon.  So years later, and many revivals, it looks like one of those movies is going to attempt to reboot itself to try and modernize its moves. Welcome to Robbie’s Movie Reviews and today we are looking at none other than the demented doll himself, the serial killer of craziness, and the toy of terror.  That’s right we look at:

 

Movie: Child’s Play (2019)

 

Director:

Lars Klevberg

Writers:

Tyler Burton Smith (screenplay by), Don Mancini (based on characters created by)

Stars:

Aubrey PlazaMark HamillGabriel Bateman

 

 

LIKES:

  • Campy
  • Comedy Style
  • Surprising Feels For Chucky
  • The Familiarity
  • The Voice Acting

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Predictable
  • Other Actors
  • Some of the Graphicness
  • The Lack of Direction

 

Summary:

 

The Child’s Play series has not been consistent in the scare department, but the series certainly stays the course of being campy.  It’s fun, and much of this has to do with the simplicity of the film and the 80s style comedy masked in modern wrapping paper. The dialog itself is corny, but the delivery and timing work, especially hearing the edge return to Chucky as the movie progresses.  Yet unlike the other movies, the murderous doll surprisingly has a little more development than the previous sadistic doll we know and love.  Resetting his origins, I actually felt a little sorry more for this iteration, which some may or may not like.  This Chucky is will eventually fall back into some classic quirks, but with a little more depth to what once was such a simple role.  And as the movie has taken many modern twists, I found that the familiarity of the series still remains in the movie from the simplistic story to the corny kills, it holds many nostalgic moments that should pull some of the fans back into the series.  Finally, the voice acting that they casted is a fine display of the creepy atmosphere that horror movies need. Hamill accomplishes the goal of injecting that stalker like atmosphere that sends shivers down your spine and make Chucky come to life at the same time.  Much like his work in the 90s, the former Jedi knows how to add so much to a role that one would normally find limited.  And it may be that acting that carries much of the movie alongside the use of the demented doll.

Yet the movie has some flaws that my friends and I noticed that could be strong limitations for audience members.  First off it’s predictable.  While my initial guess at the twist was wrong, Child’s Play has had much revealed in the trailers and what has not can easily be guessed.  From the collective rest of the acting crew, who is more so predictable knife fodder, the characters are so monopolar that one can’t help but be detached to most of the gang recruited into this arsenal. Sadly, most of the actors don’t seem quite interested in the movie, with many again presenting uninteresting characters that just do little for me.  Sure the young Andy has some potential, but others are just extreme targets for Chucky to hunt, speaking of which. The kills that Child’s Play comes up with are like something out of a demented playbook, and this movie has begun the path that will surely grow more ridiculous with time.  Over the top, immaculate kills are part of that nostalgic campiness, but at times they are a little dragged out in the torture department, leading to cringe worth moments of disturbing death.  In particular is one kill that defies my big rules, so if you have read for years, be prepared for that component.  No, the big thing this movie suffers from for me is the lack of direction it seems to have.  Is it comedy? Is it slasher?  Is it nostalgia?  Is it horror?  I can’t quite tell, but the various spread made it seem like an awkward blend that is interesting to describe.  Like an over budgeted Are You Afraid Of The Dark Special, this Child’s Play is not quite achieving the directions that it wanted, leading to an awkward enjoyment that is not quite awful, but not super good either.

The verdict of this film is that it has its ups and down and is sort of a mediocre display of chills and thrills.  Comedy wise it’s managed to pull the series back to grounded levels from the last installments, and it has returned to the gruesome kills that made the series famous.  Yet, Mark Hamill’s acting cannot quite bring the lack of direction together and the modern focus on aggressive death might be a little too extreme and unnecessary. Still, the movie starts out decently okay and perhaps can start upgrading itself to the next models for increasing the quality for a certain sequel to come. 

 

My scores are:

 

Horror:  7.0

Movie Overall: 5.5 – 6.0

Octavia Spencer is the world

Ma Poster

 

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

 

Movie: Ma (2019)

 

Director:

Tate Taylor

Writer:

Scotty Landes

Stars:

Octavia SpencerDiana SilversJuliette Lewis

 

LIKES:

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

 

DISLIKES

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

 

Those Who Like These May Like This Movie:

Life Time Movies

Greta

ABC family originals like Pretty Little Liars

 

SUMMARY:

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

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

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

 

Horror/Thriller:  7.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

Intruding On New Takes Of Old Tales

 

 

The Intruder Poster

 

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

 

Movie: The Intruder (2019)

 

Director:

Deon Taylor

Writer:

David Loughery

Stars:

Meagan GoodDennis QuaidMichael Ealy

 

LIKES:

 

Soundtrack

Good Acting

Creepy Character Development

Beautiful Setting in many ways

Decent Evolution of Suspense

Character Centric Story:

 

Summary:

 

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

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

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable

Trailers ruin much

So Much More Potential

Some Character balancing

Not the Most Intense ending

Still Idiotic Decisions

 

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

 

The VERDICT:

 

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

 

My scores:

Drama/Horror/Mystery: 7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0