Review: Get Out (2017)

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
– Shrink

SYNOPSIS: It’s time for a young African American to meet with his white girlfriend’s parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambience will give way to a nightmare. – via IMDB

So there was a lot of hype when this came out – some people thought the raving killed it, some people flat out didn’t like it, either way, I was interested in checking it out. I believe my beloved Chop was not a super fan, but I know that Tom really liked it on the other hand.

Well, let’s put it right out there – I actually quite enjoyed Get Out. I am not going to write too much here or discuss too many themes as there are a ton of other writers/reviewers that looked into the smaller things and explore all of that in more depth. I am looking purely in terms of entertainment, and I thought that this was quite fun. The movie keeps you rather interested from the off, and is carried by really good performances and reveals the answers as you need them.

The air of mystery to Get Out is quite good, and the tension builds, because wtf is actually even going on half the time? Who are these people? What is wrong with the people that work for the Armitage family? What the heck is up with that icky Redneck-esque brother and his embarrassingly weak porn-stache? What is up with the terror that breaks out of the employees from time to time?

The movie is carried by pretty solid performances. Betty Gabriel gives us one of the biggest chills in the film, and Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Bradley Whitford and Allison Williams provide some memorable performances to pick over. Naturally one cannot forget Lil Rey Howery’s Williams, because damn, he definitely brought the humour to the table. I swear,  that scene in that cop shop? I laughed man, I laughed.

I feel that Jordan Peele debuted in style here. I was engaged, the pacing was good because the movie came in and did its thing and finished up before it wore out its welcome and it came across as quite smart. Get Out is clever as to where it uses humour, and where it runs the mystery and tension home. I thought it was well worth a watch.

Advertisements

Review: Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

“You want a killer hillbilly? I’ll show you a killer hillbilly.”
– Dale

SYNOPSIS: Affable hillbillies Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are mistaken for murderers by a group of preppy college students. – via IMDB

I remember when this came out, I was dead set against watching it. One part was being contrary about watching a recommendation from someone I was a) peeved with and b) I considered to have sketchy taste. I did not feel like a stoner movie (his forte). Ultimately I was roped into this by my now-husband, and I was pleased I was. What I thought this movie was and what it turned out to be? Two totally different things. Horror comedy. Why didn’t someone just open with that? You know I would have been all over that!

Tucker and Dale vs Evil is conscious of what it is, and owns it. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are perfectly cast as hapless hillbillies Tucker and Dale. Like, really. The movie gets right into the plot, no dilly dallying, and I am good with that. The run-time is also perfect, so before anything (read: humour) gets the chance to become stretched out and stale, the movie is over, leaving you with a bundle of laughs and pretty damn good comedy throughout. There are so many memorable lines that will stay with you, and silly little scenes.

The movie is smarter than you initially think, but still not necessarily a sharp comedy, if that makes sense? It is a bundle of fun, and genuinely gets you laughing at times. Unfortunately, it is not perfect. The final act is a bit messy, and the humour not as fast of quick or as frequent as before, and comes across as trying too hard a little. Not to say it isn’t funny anymore, it is just not as hilarious as earlier.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil was an unexpected gem for me back in the day, and a movie I still reap quite a bit of enjoyment from. If you are into horror comedy, this certainly leans more on the comedy side, though it has plenty of gore to keep the bloodlust of a horror viewer at bay. I would definitely recommend giving this a spin, especially if you are in for a good laugh, misunderstood hillbillies, and some icky deaths.

I would like to say that the trailer is a spoiler, so if you have not seen this, skip the trailer and just go straight on to the movie. Trust me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1t8OZn_uhE

Review: It – Stephen King

SYNOPSIS: To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.

It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .

The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.

Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality. – via Goodreads

Man, oh man! I have been itching for a Stephen King novel for some time now recently (ask Natasha, I have been putting off rereading 11/22/63 – it will happen sometime soon), and decided the other day screw it, let’s do It, what with the movie coming and all. I spent a chunk of September reading this because, aside from being a massive book, it takes time to hit a rhythm, but when you do it flows. My problem? Reading snatches of it on the tube every day (when I change three times) is not conducive to slipping into a rhythm.

Now, on to the book. Right off the bat, Stephen King is a master storyteller, someone who can really weave a tale to draw you in, and It is no exception. After each character is introduced to us, you rapidly develop an understanding of their personalities, and can easily discern each from the other – they all have a distinctive voice. The book serves as a constant reminder for the phenomenal character building King can do – each one of these kids brought something to the table with them. Bill, Eddie, Richie, Mike, Ben, Beverly, Stan, each of them had something unique going on.

It skips between 1957 and 1985, and the stories unfold concurrently, which I think is great. You see the encounters come as they are adults, and you make the discoveries with the adult versions of these kids as they make them, and I liked that bit of storytelling. The friendship between these kids is great, too.  I truly enjoyed how this is a book about growing up, friends, fears, reality, abuse, hopes and dreams – heck, just know it has a lot of themes it deals with, and plenty drama. It also goes from that and delivers all the gore, blood and guts you could hope for in the final third of the book – you get your blood and you get a story with heart, so it is a pretty good double whammy.

I had some issues at times that there was some waffling (it can happen in a King novel), and there was a really questionable cop out ultimately with Tom Rogan (for reals?! After all that?!) and Henry Bowers, and I really wanted answers about what happened to Mike Hanlon’s family farm, considering his dad worked real hard on it and made some smart financial decisions for Mike. That being said, there was way more to like about this than not. I thoroughly enjoyed the world building King got into here, too. What a crazy ride!

It is interesting and put together well, and keeps you engaged throughout. It is quite a story and it is engaging. It deals with a multitude of themes, and handles them all rather deftly. I would highly recommend It. It is a long journey, and I felt a little lost after completing this leviathan read, but I enjoyed it. Thoroughly.

Review: It Comes at Night (2017)

“You can’t trust anyone but family.”
– Paul

SYNOPSIS: Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son. Then a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge. – via IMDB

I have been looking forward to this one for a while based on the trailers and the posters and, of course, Joel Edgerton. I had high hopes or it, it looked super creepy, and I definitely liked it quite a bit, though there were issues. My husband was livid about having wasted time watching this, and was major peeved about many aspects of it, which I will get into.

Joel Edgerton was well worth a watch here again, as always, though there was a particular scene (out in the woods) that was just jarring and didn’t really flow so well and felt awkward, which is unfortunate, and is the only time you wonder what the hell that was all about. I enjoyed the fact that there were so few characters to deal with in this movie, it made it feel so very claustrophobic and scary. It was almost suffocating, and the way that it was shot, tight and dark, with the soft, complementary score over it made it even more so.

The plot is simple and never really gets too into what happened, why everything is the way it is, exactly what everyone is afraid of (aside from it being a sickness) and how the illness affects people. Now, I didn’t mind this so much, the ambiguity lets the imagination run rampant, and the atmosphere of the movie is so tense as is that you can just go crazy thinking about the possibilities, and how something like this could plausibly happen. It Comes at Night focuses more on the people and their fear and isolation as opposed to the how and why, and while I was okay with it (though it was frustrating at time – we are so used to be given everything on a spoon), my husband was pissed. He was waiting for the what comes at night, and got no answers, just more questions.

So while the ambiguity is refreshing, it is also frustrating. The movie is put together extremely well, and looks and sounds excellent. The execution of this is really good, but I think that this is going to divide audiences. You cannot deny that the movie is well crafted and does keep you hooked, but it is also unsatisfying in the sense that nothing is resolved. It felt like something was missing. The movie gives you a section, a slice of time to look at, to chew on, but that is all you get. So I suppose it will depend on how you feel about that.

It Comes at Night may be flawed with some issues and lack of actual story aside from this one section of time it is focusing on, but it is atmospheric as hell and the score truly runs this point home. The actors are all pretty good, and the movie looks and sounds suitably creepy, and the ambiguity works both for and against this movie, so it really depends on your mood when going to watch it, that’s for sure. That being said, I quite enjoyed it, but it was lacking something.

Review: Red Eye (2005)

“Sometimes bad things happen to good people.”
– Jackson Rippner

SYNOPSIS: A woman is kidnapped by a stranger on a routine flight. Threatened by the potential murder of her father, she is pulled into a plot to assist her captor in offing a politician. – via IMDB

I watched this in cinema when it came out, and never went back to it, and there were only certain things that stuck with me after, such as Murphy being a fantastic villain, and Rachel McAdams sure knowing how to wield a hockey stick, and how this all happened on a plane. I saw it the other day and thought I would give it a shot again, I usually really like Craven’s work.

Again, Cillian Murphy is a great villain. He is so charming and all initially and you are like nice, smooth guy, and just like that *snaps fingers* he turns into this menacing, super scary dude. The transition is seamless and amazing. Rachel McAdams, too, is your generic heroine for a horror, but sadly as much as she fights back, she never comes across as having spine (until that hockey stick, man). That is not to say she wasn’t good, she was actually solid, but not so memorable as to stay with you long after (hem hem Sidney Prescott).

Do not expect something deep from the story. Heck, some questions never get answered and some motives are never explored (who sent him, why was the whole things going down that he was sent in for anyway, these are just a few questions). The main reasons seem like a way to just throw these two performers together to get a scary movie out of a woman being terrorised on a plane, but it also requires that you suspend ridiculous amounts of belief, and there is not even much of a payoff for doing so.

It’s a pretty fun, light, fluffy movie though. Decent horror night material, but there are better ones at the end of the day. Such a far cry from Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but worth a watch to be sure.

Review: The Bone Collector – Jeffery Deaver

Lincoln Rhyme #1

SYNOPSIS: Lincoln Rhyme was once a brilliant criminologist, a genius in the field of forensics — until an accident left him physically and emotionally shattered. But now a diabolical killer is challenging Rhyme to a terrifying and ingenious duel of wits. With police detective Amelia Sachs by his side, Rhyme must follow a labyrinth of clues that reaches back to a dark chapter in New York City’s past — and reach further into the darkness of the mind of a madman who won’t stop until he has stripped life down to the bone. – via Goodreads

I have wanted to read this book since I watched the movie way back in the day. I loved that movie, it was something I watched over and over. Recently I stumbled across this and decided it was finally time to take the plunge and look into the book once and for all. Plus I figured if it was worth a read, I would have a new series to pursue, which I always enjoy.

Right out the gate, I really enjoyed Deaver’s writing style. It flows, doesn’t beat around the bush, and it is fast paced. The Bone Collector grabs you early and draws you in and keeps you hooked. Deaver also introduces a fantastic character with Rhyme, one who is surly and grumpy and angry with the world, and you can totally understand why. He is ridiculously smart, too, and I think that is great. Amelia Sachs is also a character you cannot help but like, and the interactions between her and Rhyme are fantastic. The slew of side characters are also solid, definitely contributing to the book.

I particularly appreciated the humour in this book – it is witty, sharp and very sarcastic, which definitely appeals to me. There were a few times where I felt the smile taking over my face. The Hardy Boys, especially, brought in quite a bit of comedy, as well as the interactions between Thom and Rhyme. The novel barrels along and drags you, the reader, along for the ride, missing no beats and entertaining throughout. Amelia and Rhyme have a complex relationship, too, which I respected throughout. The dynamics were not simple ones, and they clicked really well. It did not come across as forced.

The Bone Collector is a suspenseful read that is well worth your time. Deaver creates an remarkable character with Lincoln Rhyme and presents a gruesome, yet intriguing unsub, and the back and forth between Rhyme and his investigation and the killer’s point of view work for this. I truly look forward to seeing where these adventures will lead.

Review: Prom Night (2008)

“I did this for us.”
– Richard Fenton

SYNOPSIS: Donna’s senior prom is supposed to be the best night of her life, though a sadistic killer from her past has different plans for her and her friends. – via IMDB

Goodness, gracious me. What a bloody mess of a film! Like, wow. I mean, I wasn’t expecting greatness, I was expecting a mindless horror to put on, chill throughout, but then there was this. It was… Shitfest terrible. For reals! There was absolutely nothing going on here!

Watching the title credits roll, I saw Idris Elba’s name pop up on screen, which piqued my interest. That is about as much oomph as the movie brought to the table. His performance was miles above any of the others, though Sheriff Stilinski Ashby was alright, too, and so was Ransone. Well, they were as good as they could be, considering. Brittany Snow was awful. The whole lot was awful, I am not even going to get into specifics here because… well, ugh.

The film lacked tension. Completely. You don’t give a crap about these characters or their “plight”, you cannot even root for the virginal final girl because, well, what a nuisance. You know that’s really bad. Elba swoops in and does what he can, but the script is truly beneath him. Not only are there no characters to root for, there is no fun to be had – not at this stupid prom, not the interactions between characters, and certainly not with the whole “slasher” aspect – no blood, no fear, nothing. It is just immensely disappointing all round.

While we are at it, the score sucked, and the dialogue was so damn cringey, and the plot progression was messy and the story flimsy. A flimsy story does not make for an awful slasher, but when there is nothing else to tempt you, it is a lost cause overall. There really is nothing to redeem this movie at all. It is predictable and lazy, and it is particularly offensive because it plods along and never really tries, so I can’t even give it points there.

People, seriously, you could totally just skip Prom Night and you wouldn’t be missing anything at all. Not a thing. The movie has no spine, no hopes, no dreams, and it will eat up your valuable time. It is wasted, and it is lost, and it is truly not a rewarding experience. Skip it, skip it I say!