Not Foreign To Edge or Plot

Foreigner

 

Jackie Chan a legend in the cinematic world for many famous roles many will remember for years to come.  With epic Marshal Arts sequences, a sense of comedic delivery and great chemistry with a variety of actors, it is no wonder the man has been involved in so many projects.  And after a hiatus, the legend seems to be making a comeback lending his voice to Lego Ninjago and now returning in a live action film the Foreigner.  Does the man still have the magic, or was he better left sitting on the sidelines?  Robbie K here to review another movie and as always let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

 

Edgy:  The trailers promised Chan would be returning with some sharper, and darker, edges and sure enough they delivered.  Mr. Quan is certainly one of the darker roles I’ve seen him play, as he seeks out his own brand of justice in a manner only a vigilante could.  No punches are thrown in this role, and this more intense role is a nice touch to Chan’s normal lighter roles.  Saying few words, Chan has the look down with sullen wise eyes filled with a hateful, hopeless stare, and scowl that seems permanently fixated in a faithless fury.  This darker role was fascinating to watch, primarily to see how far he would go to crush the opposition.

 

Fairly fast pacing: No surprise here, but the Foreigner moves at a fairly brisk pace, starting out with a literal bang and diving into the search to come.  Information is provided in a fairly linear manner so that you get all the answers you need, all the while maximizing the “action” at the same time.

 

Complete story:  Despite the quickened pace, this movie does manage to close all the convoluted loops established in this film.  The Foreigner has a lot of dramatic elements integrated into the action that include affairs, conspiracies, and betrayals that feels much like soap opera plot lines.  Rather than taking episodes to finish these tales, the writers provided all the answers one needs to be satisfied with the closure.  Not saying it’s the best closure mind you, but at least it finishes the tale quite well.

 

Chan’s moves:  While certainly not the freshest or more convoluted stunts he’s ever done, it is satisfying to see Chan still have some of his magic.  The Foreigner does a nice job of giving our star chances to show off his acrobatic skills.  After leaping around like an old squirrel, Chan next dazzles with his close combat choreographer, still executing his close style fist fights in a smooth dance.  And with the new edge, Chan’s darker combat is unleashed, losing the feeling of being planned to the adrenaline rush we love to see.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Pierce Brosnan’s accent:  A minor dislike at best, I couldn’t get on board with Brosnan’s attempt at sounding Irish.  While certainly better than me, the former Bond star has a little more refining to do in order to sell the angry Irish man to me.  It was comical at times and took away from the threat he was trying to bring to the table, well that and the fact that he didn’t seem to have many skills himself. Sorry Pierce, you’ve got debonair down, but not the fury of the fiery reds.

 

Editing:  While dramas are sometimes a bit overbearing to me, I could handle most of the character antics in this film.  However, the storyboard team dropped the ball a few times for me in how much they crammed into this film.  Some of the relationships were not needed, merely extra branches to take up space in attempt to fill up time.  While the tangents expand a little on our two lead characters, they could have been left out, or kept in small bits of dialogues instead of full out sequences, especially when it came to the wife scenes.  Drama lovers will certainly enjoy this element, but the rest get ready to yawn.  Speaking of which…

 

Not as action packed:  I thought the Foreigner was going to have more bite with Chan finally emerging from his retirement.  Instead of the energy that Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon brought, the Foreigner slowed the pace down a bit.  Those extensive bouts of fist punching are brought to a minimum in terms of time, reduced to some covert moves that would make Rambo proud in their pyrotechnic awe.  The few bouts we do have maximize the new tone and provide some satisfying stunt work, but for me… it paled to the classics I grew up with.  Still not a bad display for the aged master, I just would have liked more of that and less drama.

 

The VERDICT:

 

The Foreigner is a great restart to Chan’s career giving him a new edge I haven’t seen before.  It’s a film that does its part as an action drama, trying to craft more of a story with the action to support it in the long run.  And while the tale is decent, and complete, it’s still a bit too slow and drawn out when there could have been more fighting.  The result is still entertaining, but with enough drab parts to outweigh the extent of action we got.  Chan may still have some moves up his sleeve, but I’ll take revisiting the classics any day.  Nevertheless, there is enough kick to warrant a theater visit for this one, primarily in regards to those satisfying, climactic fights that occur.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Thriller: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

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A Doll of A prequel: Creation of a Better Movie


MV5BMjA1MzIwMjMxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQ3NTc2MjI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_

 

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

 

LIKES:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

DISLIKES:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Verdict:

 

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

 

My scores:

Horror/Mystery/Thriller:   8.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

 

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

Atomic Action

Atomic Blonde

 

Spies, they come in every shape and size from goofy men in naked gun to the suave iterations of James Bond.  Yet one thing is certain, they often are involved in incredibly threatening situations that require luck, training, and sets of skills to get the job done.  This weekend, a new agent appears in the world of the silver screen and her name is Charlize Theron.  This gorgeous actress has been teasing the trailers with some exciting, seductive, and sexy scenes of her movie Atomic Blonde, promising an adventure to be had.  Robbie K back with another review, so let’s get this mission started.

 

LIKES:

 

Theron’s acting:  Lead actresses carry a lot of the movie when they are the featured character. Fortunately, Theron nails the role of the spy on all the avenues promised by the trailer.  Her physical looks, capable of making people go gaga, are only the superficial wrapping paper for the talent within, as she unleashes her cold ruthlessness with a little twist. She plays the wise and sly role well, bringing a dynamic character who has great chemistry with her fellow cast, crafting a deadly board to run their games on. Theron may be monotone in much of her roles, and often may play the same types of roles, but it works in this setting quite well.

 

Funny:  While certainly not the sole theme of this movie, Atomic Blonde is a figurative blast in the laughter department.  One of my friends compared some scenes to Monty Python in their comedic ploys of minions constantly getting up.  Seeing these stooges fall, dive, and become injured in a number of manners, but have ridiculous stamina is entertaining on many levels.  In addition, Atomic Blonde has some well-timed, and well-aimed, lines to relieve some of the tension. Mix all this with the over-the-top shock factor of this movie and you won’t help but laugh at the presentation at hand.

 

Action: The trailers painted an exciting thrill ride of death defying battles and spy warfare destruction.  And the trailers didn’t lie at all.  Atomic Blonde knocked hard on the action door as Theron faced the insurmountable odds of the secret army of spies out to hinder her mission and end her beautiful life.  The film has a number of styles for you including hand to hand combat, gunplay (and lots of it), and a few car chase scenes to keep things interesting.  Each of the drawn-out battles fits into the mission well, and the dynamic setting adds to the heat of the moment that is satisfying on so many levels.

 

The Soundtrack:  As Frozen proved years ago, a good soundtrack is something to take notice of.  Atomic Blonde’s featured tracks are all in the 80s, and the sweet beats are utilized to an excellent level that brings out the spirit of the scene.  And if you don’t care about a track matching to the movie, but like the synthesizer heavy music of the decade, then good news, you’ll be dancing in your seat to the sweet beats of the movie.  Whatever the reason, note that Atomic Bomb’s soundtrack is certainly a blast to the past of energizing music.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Convoluted story:  You may not have expected much of a story, after all most action heavy films seldom have one.  Yet, the thin story was certainly a complicated mess given everything packed into the movie and the directions they took to present it.  There is a mystery there, but it is overshadowed by the stunts and combat that ring throughout the movie. While the action is exciting, it distracts from the main plot and left little to follow given the shock factor of the series.  The dry dialogue doesn’t help much either, nor the fact that the movie jumps through so many perspectives in a short amount of time. The bottom line is…the presentation makes for a rather dry story, with only a few emotional oases to breathe life into the film.

 

Violence:  Action often does breed violence, but Atomic Blonde’s battles are true spectacles of mutilation and torture.  All the extras in particular are brutally battered in the fights, bashed in extraordinary detail to turn a few heads or make one of my friends cover her eyes. Theron’s character gets hit pretty hard too, painting her a few shades of gore as well. The gunplay makes for a ballad of painting the walls red, and the emphasis of close up, head explosions can be a little overdone at times. However, the most disturbing components are seeing the up and close drawn out deaths of a few character and their agonizing last breath.  Keep that in mind before jumping into the theater.

 

The unneeded romance scene:  I’m not one for the hot and sexy sequences in bed, but I can appreciate it when either done with class or pertinent to the story.  A scene in the trailers, and of course the movie, showed a rather hot moment that just didn’t feel necessary to me in the story.  Certainly, editing could have left this out, or at least the director’s cut, but without the added emphasis of relationships to the movie, I could have done without it.

 

The Verdict:

 

Atomic Blonde held much of what the trailers promised. It is an off the wall, very shocking film that leaves little to the imagination.  It is a thrilling, adrenaline pumping ride that felt fresh given the unique presentation and a soundtrack to further add fun.  Unfortunately, the stunts, violence, and convoluted presentation derailed the story for me and left me wondering what it is I just watched. There is plenty of theater worthy material to justify a visit, but if violence isn’t your cup of tea, pass this mission on to someone else. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Mystery/Thriller:  7.5

Movie Overall:  6.0

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

 

Is There A Cure for Disturbing, Complex, Boredom?

wellness

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

 

LIKES:

  • Creepy Atmosphere
  • Unique Twist
  • Detailed

 

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

 

DISLIKES:

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

 

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

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

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

 

The VERDICT:

 

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

 

My scores are:

 

Mystery/Thriller: 6.0

Movie Overall: 4.0

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

Insidious Meets Inception: Original But Not Spectacular

incarnate

            Ahh Christmas, a time of giving, good will, peace, and evil spirits. Wait… what?  Yes, it seems that the first weekend of December is a time to release films involving demons, ghouls, and whatever apparition you can think to open the holiday season.  This weekend, the name of the film is Incarnate, starring Aaron Eckhart, Catalina Sandino Moreno, and David Mazouz (among others).  Haven’t heard of it?  Don’t worry most haven’t, but nevertheless I’m here to inform you on the latest films to hit the silver screen. Here we go!

 

LIKES:

  • Plot based horror
  • Eckhart’s acting
  • Decent Thriller

 

The horror movie genre is not known for having the greatest plots, and often has a frail story to give purpose to the scares.  Fortunately, Incarnate has a more original tale to help it stand and one that isn’t too shabby.  I can best describe it as Inception meets a horror movie, where Dr. Ember (Eckhart) is able to dive into people’s subconscious to exercise demons.  While certainly cheesy, this twist adds a bit of mystery and thrills to add some excitement to what has been a tried and true formula.  This tale has some decent character development and establishes some rivalries that help keep you engaged into the movie as Ember tries to put his demons to rest.

Of course, much of the movie relies on Eckhart’s acting skills. Most know that Eckhart has a limited emotional range he can reach, and he still hits the same gruff, solitary moping that he always portrays. It works in this film, as Ember’s back story promotes his depression and single minded goal of eradicating the darkness at hand.  He sells the suffering and rage built up in him all while making you empathize the trials he has to face.  In addition, his confidence and ability to break the rules makes his character the antihero you love to follow.  Not bad for a main character to which the movie relies on.  The other characters work very well in their roles, there just wasn’t much to go on.

Finally, the movie treads more down the thriller (and somewhat action path) then the horror path.  Incarnate’s tale focuses on the character drama and story than the actual scares, though it does have a few good jumps at times.  The horror element comes in the theme of the evil spirits and possession, but outside of that really focuses on trying to entertain you with thrills and engaging characters.  So, if you’re looking to be scared out of your pants… sorry to disappoint.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Not scary
  • Very rushed pace at times
  • Shallow Character development
  • Other characters shafted
  • Demon design

 

Again, the movie is lacking in scares and the jump scare moments are very predictable/unoriginal in this tale.  Most of the time it’s the sudden blaring of music that will have you jump, eventually being dropped to the background.  In regards to the creepiness, this film can’t help you there either with only the deep seeded voice and a few soulless eyes being the tools to unnerve you. Like I said, the movie focuses on thrills and plot than scares.

And despite that focus, Incarnate’s directors and writers had a good start, but they didn’t take it to its full potentialFor one thing, the pace becomes very rushed at times, a few sequences being so dramatically built up only to quickly end in a bang, crunch, or loud scream. The rushed pace robs the film of the suspense it desires, but also limits the amount of character development. Yes, we get insight into Ember’s backstory, but other parts of his past are left unexplained.  As for the other characters, there tales are either nonexistent, or so simplistic/formulaic that the characters didn’t need to exist in the film. His fellow workers, the mother, and even the demons would have benefitted from some more thinking time, before putting this film out to press. Perhaps the potential sequel will enlighten us more on their lives should it come to pass.  In addition, some of the plot explanations behind the science were laughable.

Speaking of the demons, don’t expect any top notch, award winning monsters that will make you pee your pants or stay up late.  Much of the creatures are reduced to blood shot eyes, or human avatars with dark black eyes that are a little freaky.  I had hoped that there would be a little more sustenance behind these creatures, especially with their importance to the story.  The big, bad leader of the bunch gets a lot of hype, and good news is you get to see it at the end… or parts of it.  Rather than reveal the entire demonic spectacle, they decided to show very little of the demon’s true form.  Why such small portions with such hype?  I don’t know, but it was annoying and kind of stupid in my opinion.

 

The Verdict:

 

Overall, Incarnate was a nice surprise in how much story there was in the holiday horror.  Perhaps it was my low expectations going in, but the film had some good thrills to get this last month going.  However, it needed more time, development, editing, and creepiness to truly obtain the masterpiece they were shooting for.  Perhaps the impending sequel will make up for the limitations, especially if the cliffhanger at the end is any indication.  Regardless, Incarnate is a film left for the RedBox, and your money is better reserved for the films coming out later this month. 

 

My scores:

 

Horror/Thriller:  7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0