A Doll of A prequel: Creation of a Better Movie


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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

Ambiguity Comes At Night

It Comes At Night

 

Horror movies, they seem to be popping up at random times during the year.  Why June 9th called for one, I don’t know, but nevertheless… here I am writing another review on one.  Tonight, we hit It Comes At Dark, a movie starring Joel Edgerton.  Based on the trailer, I was expecting a thriller set out in the woods, as our main cast remained isolated in their proverbial fortress of solitude.  And with good reviews on other sites, my expectations further swelled.  What lies hidden in the house?  Robbie K will try to answer with another spoil free review.

 

LIKES:

 

Unique Twist: I use the word unique lightly as most stories have been told in the daunting flood of movies.  This film though treks away from the typical presentation of the horror genre, focusing a lot more on character development instead of just on the scares.  It comes at night takes a more artistic explanation, using the metaphorical devices to build up the suspense, story, and spook factor present in the film.  Such an “original” presentation is fun to watch, as the realistic atmosphere adds a little more edge to the movie.

 

Creepy:  If you’ve read my other horror reviews, you know I like a movie that balances jumps with creep factor. It comes at night doesn’t rely too much on the abrupt symphony blares that shatter the silence, but instead focuses on the creep factor to get under your skin.  The director brought three components that helped deliver the motive.  The first is the use of shadows, letting the unknown hijack your imagination and pain the picture of what lies n the dark.  Have a fear of the night, or at least night in the woods, then get ready for your worst nightmare, because that is what you are going to get. Second is the utilization of subtle sounds to further tease your imagination to create an image of what lurks in the dark. And finally, the realism factor.  It comes at night’s twist could certainly happen and realizing the fact spices up the terror.  That’s right, no over the top monsters, gratuitous maiming, or cheesy over dramatic stories about possession. It’s just straight up creep fest, using simple scare tactics.  Nice job guys.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Slow Pace: It Comes At Night does indeed have a unique twist, but it also opened the movie for a much slower presentation. After a rather tense opening, the pace drops to a snails run as you watched the family work to make a living in this post-apocalyptic world. Like one of the weaker episodes of the Walking Dead, much of the movie involves sequences of chores, upon chores, upon…yep you guessed it…more chores. And given the short run time, I wanted more bang for the buck.  Certainly it develops character (a plus), but without that exciting finish and tension to bring it full circle, the movie dragged and left me bored at times.  Artistic? Yes!  Realistic Yes! Needed all the time?  No!

 

Frustrating flashbacks:  This movie has plenty of weird dreams and semi-flashbacks trying to tell the story and do indeed build up the tension of the situation.  What is frustrating though is how incomplete these flashbacks are in the grand scheme.  The director had a brilliant idea to tease you with the unknown threats looming in this movie.  Unfortunately, the flashbacks, again, never get to the final answer, and all the extra flashbacks (while a great portrayal of thought and fear) frustrated me to know end at the constant interruption of the momentum and not providing the answer. I get it…that’s the point of this movie, but come on…give us something.

 

Ending:  The ending is certainly not the typical, run of the mill finish you expect in most spooky flicks.  So, this reviewer gives them props for that originality and significantly hard punch in the face.  Yet again, the director’s obsession with being artistic resulted in an ambiguous ending that drops to black just like that.  After bringing things to a full boil, the big finish fizzles out with a hasty wrapped up conclusion and a silent final scene where nothing happens.  No answers to what has happened to the world. No answers to the unknown factor that led to chaos (no clear one anyway). And no satisfying ending to complete the run.  So unless you just like dark, vague, finales where you are responsible for piecing things together, get ready for a disappointing ending.

 

The VERDICT:

 

It Comes At Night certainly defies the typical horror genre, and finally injects some uniqueness back into the mix.  A fantastic use of shadows and using the imagination to fill in the gaps amps up the scares and truly colors the unique “monster” looming in the woods.  Yet, they went a little too far with this gimmick and the incomplete ending just didn’t do it for me.  Abstract thoughts and artistic quality aside, I can’t recommend this one for the theaters except for those who like psychological analysis of a plot. 

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery:  6.0

Movie Overall:  5.0

Life, or Did They Mean Death?

Life

 

What is life?  That is a question that so many researchers have tried to answer over the centuries.  And what better way to try and answer that question than with a Hollywood movie production starring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal.  My last review this weekend is on the movie called Life, a science fiction/horror film hoping to provide the scares of the March season. But will contact with this film give you the chills, or send you running to the ills…with disappointment. Robbie K here with another review. Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

  • True Science Fiction
  • Evolution of the creature
  • Creepy and horrifying
  • Good characters

 

Summary:  We know most science fiction movies fall short of the genre, focusing more on the fantasy element and special effects (Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.)  Life though hits the genre right on the mark, dropping us amidst an international space station where research about Mars is underway.  As the chaos unfolds, the crew has to use their training, knowledge, and science (and not gigantic guns) to try to outwit the beast before it gets them.

And speaking of the creature, “Calvin” as it is called has an interesting design at the start looking like a fungus.  Yet the spores quickly evolve into a deflated looking star fish, and from there began to evolved into a truly destructive creature.  Calvin’s metamorphosis is perhaps the creepiest aspect of this film, as his search for the crucial ingredients (food, water, and oxygen) drives it to savagery (it will make you look at star fish in a whole new way).

Outside of that though, some other factors that brought the thrills and chills start with the realistic setting.  There rendition of the international space station looks pretty close to our own world’s, minimizing the fantasy component to keep one ground in the horror the team tries to present, establishing a feeling that this could happen.  To go alongside this, the other factor is how alone one feels on the station. Much like the first Alien movie (to which this pays homage to), you feel the isolation of the station as if you are the prey Calvin seeks.  This added edge truly brings the horror aspect full circle

Finally, the characters also help amplify the horror component of this film.  It is nice to see the human cast not be a bunch of idiotic, shallow teens for once, but instead educated scientists fighting for survival (while also not being the single-minded buffoons that often take these roles). The cast was dynamic, each specialized but capable of covering their team members should something happen.  Such development led to characters you actually rooted for, instead of against them as we often see in horror films.  And the actors all played their roles fantastically, from Ryan Reynolds sarcasm, to Jake Gyllenhaal’s scary accuracy in someone with social anxiety.

DISLIKES:

  • Unneeded dramatic opening
  • More evolution of the creature
  • Predictable ending (though nice twist)
  • Savagery of kills

 

Summary:  A minor dislike I know, but Life’s dramatic capturing of the capsule in the first twelve minutes was really unnecessary.  All I gleamed from this opening was technical displays and a little excitement to get the mood going.  There are probably a few other scenes that could have been left out as well, but these were minor compared to the big stink they made with this opening sequence.

Unnecessary scenes aside, the other thing I would have liked was more development into the creatureDon’t get me wrong, the final form was creepy, but after all the changes happening in the beginning (which were a stretch mind you), the team suddenly brought it to a halt.  Yes, they tried to explain it via “science”, but this abrupt halt just broke pace/balance the movie was establishing, which felt a little off for me, right down to the end.

Speaking of ending, Life’s trailers hint at what the conclusion is, and based on my observations I had a good idea where it would go.  I wanted things to be different, but sadly the ending can be predicted within 30 minutes of the show time (assuming again you haven’t watched the trailers).  Albeit there was a nice twist to try and throw you off, Life’s directors didn’t go the full distance to prove my observations wrong.

Yet the biggest beef I have with this movie is the dark, disturbing, savageness the directors instilled. If you’re a fan of watching gore filled deaths, suffering, and depressing looks this movie will send “out of orbit”.  For me though, these moments only take away from a movie if done too much or in the wrong manner.  My biggest strike comes from the graphic death of a lab mouse (which broke my heart as most animal cruelty does).  That’s only the start of Life’s grotesque hunt as Calvin finds disturbing ways to attack the band of researchers in immense detail. Why the directors felt the need to focus on such disturbances…I don’t know, but in this case less would have been more, as the first Alien flick did long ago.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Overall, Life is one of the better science fiction, horror films I’ve seen in years.  It drops the grandiose serial killers and idiotic victims, and upgrades to an adapting monster hunting intelligent people. This realism crafts a more suspenseful tale that kept me engaged, while crafting that horrifying atmosphere I love.  While most of my dislikes are small, the mutilation involved, alongside some scientific imbalances, really didn’t impress me in this movie and the predictable ending didn’t necessary wow me as well.  Is this worth a trip to theater?  If you are looking for a good horror film, then by all means hit the theater for it.  As for weak constitutions, skip this one and save some time.

 

My scores:

Horror/Sci-Fi/Thriller: 8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0

Should you “Get Out” and See This Film?

get-out

Another February weekend, another time for a horror movie to hit the silver screen. Tonight, my review is on Get Out, a simplistically titled tale that is from the mind of Key & Peele’s Jordan Peele! How well does a film directed/written by a comedian fare, as always, it’s my job to share some thoughts, insights, and opinions on the latest film. So, stay in, grab a drink and read my thoughts on this “epic” film.

LIKES: • Good Central Character • Comedic Relief • Well-Paced • Decent Story

Summary: It’s always good to have a character you can grip onto if you are going to watch them face the nightmares of this film. Chris is one of those protagonists that fulfills that role containing all the elements you want in a character: backstory, level headed decisions, not annoying, etc. Daniel Kaluuya is certainly one of the better horror genre actors, and portrays his role in a manner that doesn’t want to make you roll your eyes, outside some emotional flatness the team made him portray. Yet the other actor to steal the show (not based on looks) was LilRel Howery as Rod the TSA. Rod’s scenes are purely comedic, serving to relieve the tension the movie builds up and keeping it decently integrated into the story. These scenes, in addition to lightening the mood, keep the pace of the movie flowing to avoid that prolonged dragging feeling that many horror films seem to have. Such a pace kept the film interesting to me by keeping the suspense at a maximum. Perhaps the biggest strength to me, is that Get Out has a decent story laced with some originality. While not the scariest tale to hit the screen, this film has some hot topics built into the story (primarily racism and its wrongdoings) that go alongside the character building moments of the story. In addition, there is a nice twist to the tale, which may please many fans of this genre.

DISLIKES • High Political Points • Unnecessary Scenes • Not scary • The ending being a little too easy

Summary: While Peele’s writing is certainly impressive, tasteful, and clever at times, it also falls victim to being overly political for me at times. Get Out has many scenes were the extras throw the multiple judgmental stares, the rude, overstep their boundaries with too personal (and insulting) questions, or out of the way monologues about skin color that were more eye-rolling than necessary. It’s not that I don’t believe this issue exists, I just grow tired of directors deviating from the cleverness and pace of the story to make a point in these movies. Another unnecessary deviation was some of the comedic relief moments. Don’t get me wrong, Rod’s comedic relief was very welcome and had some of the best dialogue presentation of the film. However, there were moments where his scenes felt out of place, randomly thrown in there where they felt more like an SNL intermission than being pertinent to the story. Guess a comedian can’t fully drop his roots.

His comedic background may also be the reason this movie wasn’t too scary either. Again, Peele has done the genre justice in terms of making a thriller with a decent plot that has some substance to it. But this movie failed to scare me at any point of the film, outside of maybe a few creepy stares from the brother or other staff. I think Peele tried to make it creepier from the realism aspect, but outside of that the jump scares were poor, the extras presentation was more annoying than scary, and the theme of the movie takes a different twist. Finally, when the movie reaches its exciting climax, Peele’s writing definitely leaves you feeling fulfilled on many levels. However, much of that ending seems to be a little too conventional that takes away from what he built. Things happen in random succession and there are a few moments where logic (and realism) are dropped like so many hot potatoes it again becomes more humorous than fun.

The Verdict:

Despite my doubts, Get Out is a movie that stands out (in a good way) from many of the horror movies unleashed in the last few years. I always find value in a film has a good central character that has development and a well-paced, intriguing story to support it. In addition, while the comedy does have its out of place moments, the comedy is also a welcome diversion to make you laugh, fortunately in a manner that isn’t overly stupid. However, if you are looking for a movie that will haunt your dreams and make you jump, this isn’t the movie for you. Whether it is the lack of scare tactics or the overly political moments, Get Out’s horror aspect is highly diluted in this film, feeling more like a mystery than anything else. Worth a trip to the theater? I’m on the fence about this one, but I have to say wait on this one until it hits home in a few months.

My Scores: Horror/Mystery: 7.0 (mystery element) Movie Overall: 6.0

 

A Ring Story, Without the Scares

rings

            Seven days!  A simple phrase that struck terror in our hearts oh so many years ago.  Certainly, you know I’m talking of The Ring, the horror movie about a death delivering video tape certain to scare you to death.  Samara’s tale has fallen on to the backburner for some time, but like the cursed video, the series has resurfaced to the modern world to once more have you cowering at your screens.  Will Rings live up to the potential?  Robbie K here, once more sharing his opinions on yet another film.  Let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

  • Decent acting
  • Nice blend into the modern era
  • Strong story for a horror

 

Summary: Okay, this movie is certainly not going to win awards for best performance, but Rings’ cast has some skill in their performances of college kids plagued by an evil spirit. Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz and Alex Roe are the leads of this tale, doing a great job of balancing romance and detective work, finally a power couple who wasn’t annoying.  And Johnny Galecki trades one nerd role for another, though this time his scientific qualities had a little darker twist to the mix.  Overall, the cast gets a pat on the back for establishing some good characters to hook on to.

Yet the major things this reviewer liked involved the story components of the movie.  Rings has jumped into the modern area, dropping the outdated VHS tapes for modern day MP4 files.  It will help bridge the generation gaps, and add a new element that the other installments were missing.  And the story was much stronger than I anticipated.  Rings has more mystery to it, trying to find the answers to the elusive mystery of Samara’s origins.  Where it fits in the grand scheme of things is a little up in the air, but at least there is some character development and drama to spice things up.  And as for the ending, it too is a little ambiguous, providing some delightfully dark closure, but still leaving it open for future installments.  Not the strongest finish, but also not bad.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Scare Factor at A Low
  • Some plot elements lackluster
  • Not the same Ring

 

Summary: Rings story may be on target, but the scare factor still didn’t reach the same levels that the first movie was able to achieve.  This installment resorted to jump out scare moments, mainly trying to make you jump with sudden loud noises and hallucinations appearing from out of nowhere.  Many of these moments weren’t well timed, and to be honest many of the objects just weren’t scary.  Think of the first film and how creepy everything was, the unknown always teasing you until something sprung out of nowhere. All that was very diluted in this installment.  Even though they finally show you how she kills her victims, the team didn’t quite make it as horrifying as I thought it would be (think ghost rider’s soul stare without the flashy fire).  Rings was lacking this element, and had more of a mystery theme to it than an actual horror.  In addition, there were also some plot elements that didn’t shine as much as they wanted. For this reviewer, there is still some questions they still haven’t fully answered that you have to draw yourself.  The bottom line of the dislikes is that Rings didn’t quite hit the same level the first movie had all those years ago.

 

The VERDICT:

 

In conclusion, Ring is not so much a horror movie in this round, but a mystery film about uncovering the origins of Samara.  While the cast is decent, the story is mostly thought out, and we have some answer, it still didn’t feel like the Ring series we’ve come to know. If you are looking for a movie to scare the pants off of you, sorry this isn’t the film to do it. And you can probably guess, but yours truly doesn’t recommend this one for the theater and implores you to wait until it hits home rental stands.  Only people who might enjoy this one in theater are those who care about the story element of the movie, but I still think you can wait for home (I mean we have been waiting twelve years for this one right?). 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Horror:  6.5

Movie Overall: 5.0

Shyamalan’s latest Movie Is Not A Splitting Headache

split

 

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

 

LIKE:

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

 

Summary:

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

 

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

 

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

 

DISLIKE:

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

 

Summary:

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

 

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

 

The VERDICT:

 

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

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Thriller: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0