Review: Lights Out (2016)

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“We’re living with a dead woman!”
– Rebecca

SYNOPSIS: When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie. – via IMDB

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GRADE 2I didn’t expect much, but I didn’t expect it to suck quite this much. RIDICULOUS. I watched the short when that came out, and it was pretty good. Then someone had the real bright spark idea of stretching that short into a feature length film. A sloppy feature length film. Eighty minutes of film time, to be precise, which felt like the longest movie I had ever had the misfortune of watching. It felt like we were nearing the end, and I saw we were twenty minutes in. From that moment, I knew I was doomed to suffer through to the end. Every minute the movie progressed, it got cornier, cheesier, and more terrible. I cringed a few times. That someone actually put this in a movie… that someone actually wrote this script. Like when we got the explanation for Sophie? You can’t be serious! That’s what it was about? That?! Horrible, horrible, and so silly.

The story was beyond weak and flimsy, and the longer the movie went on, the more obvious this became. I didn’t like any of the characters, either, except maybe the boyfriend, Bret. The logic was totally broken, too, and not in the acceptable way of most horrors. This movie relied heavily on jump scares, too, which were just cheap. There was like no finesse to this whatsoever. There was nothing to redeem this. There was also so much stupid stuff going on the whole time. For instance, let’s also not forget the part where they armed themselves with a black light and a flash as a weapon. I actually scoffed. Very reminiscent of the trident flashlight in Under The Bed.

I can keep talking about this, but it won’t be pretty, and I just don’t have the energy to expend on such a useless experience. Meh. There is pretty much nothing going for this movie – it is messy, boring, way too long, sloppily written and badly executed, and I would highly recommend staying away from this one.

Review: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)

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“Bless me father, for I have sinned. It’s been a year since my last confession. I’ve never told anyone about this. Not my mom, not the police, or not even my friends, except for the ones who were there, well, they’re not around anymore. You see I, I killed a man, but it was an accident.”
– Julie James

SYNOPSIS: Ever since killing the Fisherman one year ago, Julie James is still haunted by images of him after her, causes her relationship with Ray Bronson to suffer further. When her best friend Karla Wilson wins free tickets to the Bahamas, Julie finds this a perfect opportunity to finally relax. But someone is waiting for her. Someone who she thought was dead. Someone who is out again for revenge. – via IMDB

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GRADE 1Goodness. If you thought the last one was bad, then there is this one. Makes the last one look absolutely freaking phenomenal. This one is so cheesy, too much for me to even handle. The dialogue is so bad is made me cringe over and over. The whole concept was a mess, too. This girl winning a random Fourth of July trip to the Bahamas? Uhm, sure then. It was implemented terribly.

Let’s not forget the awful relationship between Ray and Julie. After the super soppy conclusion of the last one, you would think they are in heaven? Hells no! That would be too easy. Let them fight and argue all the time, make Ray out to be the tool (pffffffff – typical), and throw in Julie’s best friend, constantly telling Julie she should drop Ray (!!!!!) for Will. What a stand up friend! The characters overall were just awful. I think the most offensive one was Tyrell – what a sex crazed douche man.

Okay, back to the atrocious movie. So these friends go to the Bahamas, which is naturally deserted. You need an empty island, man! Also, there was that stupid, perfunctory fight between Julie and Ray, so she is out with her three friends (one being the icky Will), and Ray has been attacked while on the way to make up for the stupid fight with Julie. Ugh, the dramatics and nasty plot devices man. How weak. Jack Black, too, was here, and you all know what a HUGE fan I am (please do not miss my sarcasm). That only caused for more irritation for me.

The logic is so broken, and the story is beyond ridiculous, and the movie is crammed with these lame ass attempted jump scares. The acting is awkward, too. I will always love the way that the bodies and blood in these movies magically disappear within moments, so that someone just looks mad? Ugh, as if this movie wasn’t offensive enough, it actually tried to bring in voodoo and an elaborate backstory, which was just outright embarrassing. The plot twist was also predictable to boot, and the movie was unnecessarily long. No, this isn’t even like a fun slasher or anything. It is bad. Skip the damn thing! If you must, watch the first, but not this.

Review: Swiss Army Man (2016)

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“If my best friend hides his farts from me then what else is he hiding from me, and why does that make me feel so alone?”
– Manny

SYNOPSIS: A hopeless man stranded on a deserted island befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8I heard so much about this movie when it came out. Heck, everyone did. It was all over the internet. There was a lot of talk. I was interested in checking this out because, well, I quite enjoy Radcliffe. He’s really good. The trailers did not look like my cup of tea (fart jokes, etc. are just not me), so I sort of discarded it. The reviews came back with  mad love for it, which I did not expect. It seemed like the type of movie you either loved or hated. Now I just had to watch it, to see where I would fall on the spectrum. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it, totally unexpectedly.

It opened with a fart joke. Seriously. It did. I rolled my eyes. Goodness, how on Earth was I going to make it through this whole thing? My husband looked at me curiously – me, watching something like this? What’s happening? But then the movie starts building, and against my better judgment, I was roped in. There was so much going on. I thought Hank had lost his marbles. What was with Radcliffe? Good Lord, the corpse is mumbling!

Before I knew it, I was actually having quite a few good laughs, and I was genuinely being engaged by the story. Surprisingly, Swiss Army Man actually has heart at the core of the story, and it works. The movie is quirky and is accompanied by a great score and absolutely awesome performances from both Radcliffe and Dano (the movie was essentially carried by just the two of them). The two worked together and came across as the greatest friends. I was impressed. Who knew? I certainly didn’t expect it from this movie. It contains a lot of themes, and they are executed rather beautifully. The movie is also shot really well, and looks really good. The scenes flow together seamlessly, and the pacing works, too. Never bland, never boring.

There was plenty awkward humour, humour that I normally absolutely cannot stand, but for some absurd reason, it suited the film. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely more fart/penis jokes than absolutely necessary, but there is actually more to this than that, and something you need to overlook to get to the rest of it. Swiss Army Man is, without a doubt, a bizarre watching experience, but one I certainly enjoyed more than I expected. It had heart, it had humour, it had depth, it made you laugh and it made you sad. I think it balanced a lot of themes incredibly well. I don’t know, this one just worked, in all its weirdness, and I thought it well worth my time.

Review: I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

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“We killed a man and ruined the lives of everyone he knew.”
– Julie James

SYNOPSIS: After an accident on a winding road, four teens make the fatal mistake of dumping their victim’s body into the sea. But exactly one year later, the dead man returns from his watery grave and he’s looking for more than an apology. – via IMDB

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GRADE 5This was big when I was a rugrat. I mean huge. This is something I saw quite a few times. I might not have loved the crap out of it then, but it was okay. Seeing it all these years later? Sheesh. There really were some bad flicks that came out in the nineties. It’s like… the film is actually pretty funny because it is so silly, but it tries to take itself too seriously, and that is what hurts it.

Anyway, I don’t have an awful lot to say. I can’t help but think that this film embodied the nineties in so many ways – I think the most obvious is the stars attached to it. Ryan Phillippe nails that rich, crazy, spoiled brat, and this was no exception. This was, however, one of the times I was not a big fan of him, and I usually enjoy him. I think it is more his character than him, but he was still just a meh character all round. The cast wasn’t actually bad. Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr, and Sarah Michelle Gellar? They all delivered their totally one dimensional characters just fine. Corny lines and all.

Anyway, the premise to this is actually so weak and over the top silly. I mean come on! These kids all look like they have been through the wringer, and nobody is wondering what the hell happened to this tight-knit group of elite friends to reduce them all to absolutely nothing? I don’t buy it. I really don’t. The movie was chock full of any type of horror cliché it could squeeze into it, and was predictable, but still relatively entertaining when all is said and done. It is fluffy and light and silly. The villain is actually so ridiculous, and that also really hurts the movie. The super sappy ending also didn’t help matters, either. My eyes went a-rolling.

Typical nineties teen slasher with a very recognizable cast, but ultimately is quite the flat, uninspired experience and doesn’t have much going for it. There are infinitely better popcorn entertainment horror/slasher movies out there to keep yourself busy with. I certainly won’t be rushing to rewatch this and its questionable content anytime soon.

Review: Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

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“Spirit, can you hear me?”
– Alice Zander

SYNOPSIS: In 1967 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their seance scam business, inviting an evil presence into their home. – via IMDB

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GRADE 5I must be very honest and open with the fact that I have not seen any other Ouija movies at all, but was interested in checking this out because of Mike Flanagan. I am really conflicted about his work because it can be really good, but it can also be really blandly normal, so I was interested to see where this would land.

Well, let’s start with I don’t get the high ratings this movie gets. I really, honestly don’t. The movie is a mess. Truly it is. Initially it starts and it is interesting and constructed pretty well, and it is engaging and has an interesting premise, what with a mother using her daughters to manipulate people about the great beyond. This is all good, and seems to be what you want. However, it swiftly moves in another direction, and it is not nice.

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The story is actually really weak, and the longer the movie goes on, the more terrible and soft it becomes. The movie putters along with ridiculous logic and all, but come the third act? It completely devolves. Moves from “okay” territory to “absolutely absurd”. Not a good thing, nope. Ugh, what a waste!

The performances were alright, but sometimes they were terribly unconvincing. I was pleased that the movie did not force the jump scares the whole time, and the movie was shot quite well, so it looked and sounded good. But yeah, it just falls apart. There are some decent things going for it, and then there are some major issues.

Ouija: Origin of Evil is a mixed bag all round. The story flimsy as hell, but it looks good, and is carried by performances that are alright, but not brilliant. It started with great atmosphere, then fell apart. There are worse movies to waste your time on (just look at the Chop and I soldiering through those Amityville movies), but this is not something I would highly recommend, or something I would be rushing to watch again.

Review: The Accountant (2016)

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“Aggression, correctly channeled, overcomes a lot of flaws. Tapping into that aggression requires peeling back several layers of yourself.”
– Young Chris’s Father

SYNOPSIS: As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities and the body count starts to rise. – via IMDB

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GRADE 6Well, to be honest, I was hoping for a little more from this movie, and was left a little disappointed. It isn’t a bad movie, not at all, it’s just a really flat movie that never went for the potential that it had.

The Accountant is shot really well, and for the most part the performances are pretty good, too. It also has a really interesting premise – an autistic man who is a math genius, extremely trained, an assassin, and an accountant? Yes, I liked where this was going. Sadly, that was about as exciting as it got. The fight scenes were choreographed well and so much fun to watch – they were gritty, great hand to hand combat and hardcore gun fights, so definitely cool. Christian Wolff was quite an interesting character, too. Heck, there was even some entertaining awkward humour sprinkled throughout this, which I appreciated.

All that being said, there are some issues. For one, the story was pretty weak, and the plot twists were rather obvious. Especially the “very big one”. Also, Affleck didn’t have me convinced more than half the time in his role, which was rather annoying. Bernthal was great to watch though, but pretty much played what he always plays. This is not a bad thing, he’s excellent like that. Kendrick, too, played the awkward character I have come to expect from her. J.K Simmons was good, too, but Cynthia Addai-Robinson didn’t impress me at all.

The movie played it really safe, instead of going for glory, which is why it is a decent movie, but ultimately rather flat and totally forgettable. Messy, flawed, but nevertheless a decent action-thriller flick.

JB & The Chop Do: The Amityville Terror (2016)

Once again JB and I delve into the Crimes Against Humanity section of movie making and take a look at The Amityville Terror. Is it bad?? Oh god yes! Is it the worst?? Well…. I hate to spoil things but that’s coming up soon. I thought this had some passable moments but it wasn’t good by any means. I think it’s funny that this franchise will never die and we’re attached to it despite all of our good intentions. There’s a line in a movie called Reign of Fire where Matty Maconougheyhey says “We have paid a terrible price….” and I think the two of us can both attest to that.

Let’s go!

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SYNOPSIS: When a new family moves to an old house in Amityville, they are tormented and tortured by an evil spirit living in the home while trapped by the malicious townspeople who want to keep them there. – via IMDB

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A perfectly happy family, living in peace on a sunny parcel of land in California receive news that the bank is foreclosing on them and they must vacate immediately. The mother and father ignore these messages and spend their days and nights pounding away at each other; in the bed, on the clothes dryer, in a pool of cold marsala gravy spilled on the floor, etc. The daughter gets sick of this so she spends her days dirt back riding. One day, while she is out in the hills riding her bike and collecting possums, the bank sends a bulldozer to the house, razing it to the ground, killing her parents. Distraught, but happy that all that constant banging is over, she moves in with her aunt in New York where she gets possessed and goes on a sick murdering streak until she is finally gunned down in a Bonnie and Clyde style shoot out on Amityville’s Main Street.

Sound good??? Well, it’s not and, honestly, none of that really happens. What does happen is this:

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Girl and family move to new town… into a house possessed by Satan…

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Girl meets boy…

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Drunken aunt bathes in acid….

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Someone has to deal with Satanic rosebushes…

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Someone gets a blowjob from his own sister then bangs her over the kitchen table….

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Someone somehow turns into some sort of growling witch with white eyes…

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OOPS!! How’d that get in there??

And then it is, mercifully over… or is it????

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I know it’s always fun to rag on a bad movie – and this one is BAD – but it’s not the worst of the bunch. The Amityville Playhouse was the worst of them all. This one is awful, to be sure, but it did have a couple of cool spots in it. Maybe three. The dialogue is pitiful. The CGI is THE WORST. Most of the story makes no fucking sense BUT it was better then Playhouse.

Things like this happen: a fully nude woman is taking a bath. Elsewhere in the house, her brother pours some drain cleaner down a sink. The tub fills with acid! “OOHMYGODOHMYGODIMBURNING!!!” she screams, falling out of the tub, exposing her shaved business. But she’s really not. Psych!

Later, a woman looks at her rose bushes. They are dead. So, as we all would, she starts screaming and moaning and pulls them out of the ground slashing her arms on the thorns and smearing blood all over her face. Quality!

Even later that day, the dad comes home from work after killing his boss in the worst fiery death you’ve ever seen. “I killed my boss today” he says. “How about i make you feel better?” she coos and gives him a blowy. Not satisfied, he pounds on her from behind for five seconds, makes his jizz and goes to bed. Uh oh! His wife is already in bed so he must have just boned his sister! Value.!

Yep – it’s bad. Is it #BazookaList bad? I actually didn’t HATE it like I hate some of these things I watch but it wasn’t good. I wonder how JB will react?

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Are you fucking kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me?! For reals. The Chop and I have been waiting for the release of Amityville: The Awakening in 2017 (maybe, if they ever get done with it). Waiting? Dreading. Sorry. I need to make amends. Anyway, I was minding my own business the other day when I got this:

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I was not shocked when that was followed by:

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I could not believe my eyes! This little movie hopped up out of nowhere and beat Amityville: The Awakening to the punch. ANOTHER FREAKING AMITYVILLE MOVIE, WITH ANOTHER FREAKING TERRIBLE TITLE?! This franchise will never die. Then I went to have a look see, and this is what I saw:

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It’s a freaking free for all! Just look at that! The list below was posted once upon a time in one of our reviews. These were all the Amityville films. Fourteen, if you count the one we are waiting for in 2017. Now? EIGHTEEN, counting the 2017 one. Four just popped up out of nowhere.

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Anyway, after all that, and educating both our readers and ourselves that we (apparently) have a shit ton  more of these crap things to catch up on, I will move on to the actual body of this review.

I totally thought that the one hour, twenty four minute runtime was doable. Heck, shorter than most of the others ones we have trekked through. Goodness, I should have thought about how that same runtime can feel like a lifetime if it is beyond boring. And let me just tell you, The Amityville Terror is less interesting than watching paint dry.

The intro for this movie is godawful, and pretty much set the tone for the rest of the movie. It did not improve at all. In fact, it went steadily downhill, with this silly girl playing the lead, an awkward family, a guy that fucks his sister somewhere along the way (really, they went for gold here guys), families sacrificed for witchcraft (I think), and a right hooker looking woman who has odd nipples that rents this death house out to unsuspecting victims.

The dialogue is super stunted, and made me cringe more often than not. I don’t know people who talk to each other like that, it’s not natural. Besides the dialogue being hinky, the interactions between the characters were utterly unbelievable and awkward to watch. The Amityville Terror knows nothing about finesse, and spends no time setting up a story. No, sir. Let’s just get right into the crazy. Not the good kind, mind, just the ridiculous kind.

The costume design was also something that had me wondering wtf. A lot of the women looked like they could do with a hell of a lot more material in their closets, the teenage girl could totally buy brands outside of Fox, and some people need to check their sizing and go shopping again. Gosh, I know how harsh that sounds, but the people even looked uncomfortable, which made things even worse.

As for the characters, I couldn’t stand any of them. Especially Hailey, that daughter. What a little ingrate man, and how rude can you be?! WOW! The characters took over and desperately tried to convince us that there was a story to be found here, which there totally wasn’t.

This movie suffers from bad, bad, bad, bad, bad writing. It is unforgivable actually. The writers stuffed the movie with shitty characters and nudity to try and hide it, and that was even worse. It was beyond stupid and ridiculous to boot, and features some of the best CGI and acting I have ever seen (PLEASE NOTE: Do not miss sarcasm). Like ho-ly shit. That being said, I can think of way worse movies in this godawful franchise. Not that it makes this one amazing or anything, but heck, it is infinitely better that Playhouse, the Chop is right, that was hands down the most offensive of the lot.