Review: Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)

SYNOPSIS: A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence. – via IMDB

Alright, so something that I don’t talk about much is the documentaries I watch. Every now and then I am struck by this need and just burn through documentaries like there is no tomorrow and I love them. I love them, but rarely never write about them. I don’t know, it’s pretty hard to write about documentaries. They are the type of things you watch and discuss with people around you, that you go back and forth on. It’s pretty intense.

This is one that I absolutely loved. I really liked the way the documentary was not narrated by a single person. We get snippets of the case, the news, interviews with the accused, their families, the cops, the victims’ families, all of it, and we are left to pretty much form our own opinions on the matter. I really thought this made the documentary a more unique experience. We were essentially elected the jury, to judge these boys accused of a horrendous crime, and we were all left to draw our own conclusions.

And let me tell you, it seems that the conclusions on this case are incredibly divisive. People believe vehemently that these three young guys murdered those boys and should burn in hell, others believe that they were wrongfully convicted. So much raging debate going on about it. I remember coming across this story all those years ago and watching this and being taken in by how bizarre this story was, and is.

Watching this, you get enough information on the case and to watch some of the court proceedings, but I am super grateful to have read Mara Leveritt’s book – all the questions I had before were answered, and it paints a far more complete picture. This documentary shows you two sides, and I liked it for a change not getting the answer, but being allowed to make up my mind.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is a seriously good piece of work. It is mesmerising and engaging, put together exceptionally well and it is raw, tough and intense. Metallica’s accompanying soundtrack fits like a glove, and I appreciated the clips being used in here showing you the more positive and negative of all sides involved, so nothing ever really felt glorified. I highly recommend this, whether you know the story or not. It’s a fantastic documentary that will keep you hooked from that extremely graphic and heartbreaking opening.

Review: Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)

SYNOPSIS: The twisting, turning, stranger-than-fiction true story of the Brobergs, a naive, church-going Idaho family that fell under the spell of a sociopathic neighbor with designs on their twelve-year-old daughter. – via IMDB

WTF?? No, really, wtf????? I cannot write a legitimate review. I just have questions. Questions like who the fuck:

  • Lets some manky dude sleep in the bed with their daughter for months?
  • Gave the kids back to these obviously negligent parents?
  • Starts banging the man that abducted their 12 year old (whom the abductor then marries and refuses to return her back home)?
  • Lets a man get away with this to harm their own daughter more and other girls because of wanking someone off?
  • Returns an abducted child to the man who abducted her in the first place?
  • Takes forever and six days to report their daughter missing?

So after all of this, all I can say that while this is not a great documentary, it is one of the most insane you will ever see. I have so many issues with what I have watched, and have no way to review this other than WHAT THE FUCK?! So much crap going on everywhere. This is no Bundy tapes, or Paradise Lost or anything like that. But it is a crazy viewing experience. My husband thought I was watching one thing, and then when it got to the bit on Berchtold manipulating Jan with aliens, he thought it was another show completely and that I was indulging my inner Fox Mulder. Har har.

And I know it’s bad, but there is also the legitimacy issue. As in, the only people in this whole documentary are the family, and one stray FBI agent. No reporters. No cops. No psychologists, teachers, friends, agents, anything. So no, that doesn’t lend much to truth in my mind. I’m not saying it didn’t happen (obviously shit went down), I’m just saying it’s a bit sketchy. Maybe I am just fussy? Need more critical examination? Don’t know. It was just… too bizarre.


Rapid Review: Fright Night (2011)

fright night poster

“I really hate to be the one to tell you this, but that guy, your neighbor; yeah, he’s a vampire man.”
– “Evil” Ed Thompson

SYNOPSIS: Teenager Charley Brewster guesses that his new neighbor Jerry Dandrige is a vampire responsible for a string of recent deaths. When no one he knows believes him, he enlists Peter Vincent, a self proclaimed vampire killer and Las Vegas magician, to help him take down Jerry. – via IMDB

fright night crucifix


I have a soft spot for this movie. I went it for it totally blind the first time I saw it, I didn’t know it was a remake or anything, and I had a total blast. It’s stupidly entertaining and I was interested throughout, and had a good time with the humour. I also really enjoy Yelchin, and his portrayal as Charley was spot on. He really gets that silly, quirky character every time. I always love seeing a grittier vampire film, and this was it. No love story. No softness, nothing. Colin Farrell was a great Jerry, too. He was menacing, he was crazy, and he totally fit the role. Let’s not forget David Tennant, either. What a chop, but oh, so enjoyable. And then McLovin Christopher Mintz-Plasse. I wish, wish, wish he had gotten more screen time, but he did own whenever he was on. Charley is an awesome character – it is hilarious to watch this high school student desperately try to maintain a relationship, be taken seriously, be a hero, and kill a vampire, all rolled into one. I liked the effects, too, nothing over the top, but not so bad you cringe while watching. I enjoyed the movie’s pacing, too, as it gives enough time to set up and then dives right into the action, too. I really need to get to watching the original, seeing as I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Fright Night is a fun watch that doesn’t require too much investment, and gives us nastier, more creepy vampires again, plenty humour and good effects. I could definitely recommend this movie for a watch.

Review: Bones: Season 4 (2008 – 2009)

Bones Season 4 Poster and DVD Cover


Synopsis: We begin the season with the team trying to recover from the bad knock they suffered at the hands of Zack Addy (Eric Millegan). Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) and Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) put an end to their relationship, both drifting their own ways, and losing each other. Hodgins loses something that used to be a large part of his identity: his ability to be a rich conspiracy buff. He gets cocky, short and rude with people, no longer overly caring about his appearance, and his amusing insight to government dwindles to non-existence. I blame this on his trauma of losing Zack, his best friend, as well as the love of his life.

A steady stream of interns come through the lab. Dr Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is unable to pick one, and so we meet up with the extremely depressed and gloomy Colin Fisher (Joel David Moore), uptight and work-oriented Dr Clark Edison (Eugene Byrd), the calm Muslim Arastoo Vaziri (Pej Vahdat), the permanent fact-spewing Vincent Nigel-Murray (Ryan Cartwright) and my personal favourite, Wendell Bray (Michael Grant Terry). Each with their own distinctive skill set that they bring to the table, they all vie hard in hopes of being granted the full time position.  Brennan and Dr Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor) establish soon on in the intern that they will not, under any circumstances, be able to work with: Daisy Wick (Carla Gallo), and neither can the rest of the team. She is ditzy, irritating and frankly just grates on everyone’s nerves. However, Dr Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) gets into things with Daisy, but they have to keep in under wraps from the rest of the team as they aren’t prepared to really put it out there that they are an item. When Daisy returns to the team for another case to help out on, Camille approaches Dr Sweets, desperately seeking his help to rid the team of Daisy. Dr Sweets says that he will do the firing, and he and Daisy announce to the world how they are together.

zack assisting
Zack Addy assisting on a case

On a particular case, Hodgins goes to see Zack Addy at the mental institution, and discusses the case with him. In the middle of the case, when the team is ready to give up, Zack walks back into the Jeffersonian. Booth’s first instinct is to take Zack in, but they need his help. With his assistance they solve the case, and Sweets is tasked with delivering him back to the institution. Sweets is terrified of being alone with a killer when Zack admits to him that he never killed anyone, although claims he would have had the “master” asked him to. Sweets is upset, and tells Zack that he does not know what he will do in a situation until he is in it, and wants to inform everyone of Zack’s innocence when Zack forbids him. He knows he will not make it in prison, and so he will stay where he is. Sweets knows he is sitting on a big secret now.

Dr Gordon Wyatt (Stephen Fry) returns for a few episodes, and reads the book that Dr Sweets is compiling about Brennan and Booth. Again, Dr Wyatt feels the books tells more about the writer than the subjects, and he informs Brennan and Booth that Sweets has had a more difficult life than they know. Inviting Sweets to join them for dinner, Brennan shares a fragment of her past that has been hidden away for so long. Sweets feel sorry for her, and Booth is shocked that Brennan has been through the things that she has. Angela’s father (Billy Gibbons) returns to town, and Hodgins is freaking out. He is desperate to avoid the man, and Angela speaks to her father, telling him that the breakup was mutual. Just when they think all has blown over, Angela’s dad kidnaps Hodgins, who wakes up in the desert with Angela tattooed on his bicep. Sweets suggests that Angela take a sexual hiatus after her relationship – that she started shortly after calling it off with Hodgins – with Roxie Lyon (Nichole Hiltz) also ends badly.

Booth and Brennan join the circus for a case, and Brennan gets very attached to the place, the familiarity the people share, and the dedication. She fools Booth into being far more reckless than he was prepared to be, but the pair leave there feeling particularly good about themselves. Camille hires Max Keenan (Ryan O’Neal) to teach at the Jeffersonian, which causes major disagreements seeing as Brennan wants him gone and out, nowhere near evidence and crime scenes, etc. Eventually Brennan relents and her father stays.

Booth brothers
The Booth brothers

The Gravedigger returns, demanding evidence that was stolen be turned over to them, and kidnaps Booth for the incentive. It turns out Hodgins stole the evidence, and they are almost killed when returning it. Just in the nick of time, Booth is rescued by Brennan. Booth saw a dead Private on the boat that he was kept on by the Gravedigger, Teddy Parker (Noel Fisher). In the midst of all of the Gravedigger drama, they manage to ascertain who they are, and state attorney Heather Taffet (Deirdre Lovejoy) is arrested for the crimes, while Jared Booth (Brendan Fehr) is in deep trouble with the government for having pulled some highly illegal strings to finally grow up and help his brother out for a change. Camille’s ex-lover turns up dead, and she goes on an emotional roller coaster ride with his daughter, Michelle Welton (Tiffany Hines), and eventually ends up adopting her, throwing herself headlong into parenthood.

Brennan decides out of the blue that she wants a baby, and that Booth must be the donor. This shocks the whole team, and even more so that Booth gives into Brennan’s wishes that he be the donor. However, Booth is having difficulty with the concept of bringing a baby into this world and not being allowed to be the father. Brennan figures this out because Booth is talking to things that are not there, and tells him she will not have the baby, but that he needs to trust her and see a doctor. It turns out Booth has a benign tumour in his brain that needs to be surgically removed. The last episode of the season revolves around the antics of Brennan and Booth in an alternate universe where they are an item and everything is distinctly different from what it is.

Best Episode: The Hero In The Hold

Worst Episode: The Yanks In The UK (Part 1 & 2)

I was not particularly enamoured with this season. I missed the way Hodgins and Zack brought life to the show, and the surly guy that replaced Hodgins really got to me. I missed all the conspiracy stuff that he used to cook up. I don’t know, having Zack gone really screwed with the whole make up of the show. I like the fact that Zack was not the loon that we thought he was, that clears up a lot. I like the new lab techs that are floating in and out, they each have their perks. My favourite is Wendell of them all, but Clark gets me, too. He is so anal about everything, and such a stickler and so unsocial at work. Brennan suddenly wanting to have a child took me by surprise, and the fact that Booth insisted on being the father is something that could not be taken lightly. I am glad that Jared, for all the silly, stupid and immature things he has done, finally stepped up to help Booth. It was high bloody time he did some of the protecting. Booth’s tumour is heavily scary by the end of it, and the alternate reality he has woven for himself featuring Brennan is very heavy. Overall, a rather slow season. However, I loved Angela’s dad coming back for Hodgins, and the dodgy tattoo that was left. I was heartbroken when they went their separate ways as they were so great together. I wish Booth and Brennan would finally just say what they have to say! Brennan and her father finally laying things to rest is a relief, too, and Sweets suggesting that Angelo go celibate had me in stitches. The latest love of his life, Daisy, is really annoying, though you could see why they would be drawn together. Caroline Julian (Patricia Belcher) was again an absolute pleasure to watch, she is so amusing and always a treat when she has a role to play. Not the worst series season I have ever watched, but I expected more bang after the conclusion of season 3.

Bones Season 4 Cast Big 

Review: Frailty (2001)

Frailty Movie Poster

“Sometimes truth defies reason.”
– Fenton Meiks

Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) has been on the hunt for the God’s Hand killer for a while. Nothing seems to make a dent in the hunt, until one night he returns to headquarters, and finds a young man named Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) waiting for him in his office, claiming to know who the God’ Hand killer is. He claims the murderer is his now-deceased brother, Adam. Naturally, Agent Doyle is very skeptical of the claim, but Fenton insists that he be heard out, that he has proof. Agent Doyle is at Fenton’s mercy, so to speak, and a grotesque tale of a family losing itself to religion unfolds.

Frailty family table
A happy family

Fenton tells the story of his childhood, and his brother, Adam (Jeremy Sumpter), his father, Dad Meiks (Bill Paxton). Young Fenton (Matt O’Leary) was three years older than Adam, and their mother died during childbirth of Adam. He has been the protector and carer for his younger brother, and kept the family together while his father worked to provide for them. Their father, a mechanic, was a good man who tried his best with his sons, and supported them.

Frailty father crazy axe
God’s will commands Dad Meiks

One night, the boys are woken by their father, who claims to have been visited by an angel, an angel who has deemed their family demon hunters, workers of the Lord. Fenton’s mind will not accept this insanity, and he will not buy into it. His world crumbles apart, shattered and broken. His father’s religious fanaticism catches on with his brother, who is convinced that they have been chosen. The Lord points out the weapons required to hunt and kill the demons, and soon their father has a list of demons that need to be killed.

Being sure the madness would end, Fenton flips out when his father brings a woman home and murders her in the shed. Adam seems so accepting, and Fenton voices running away from their father, an idea Adam vehemently objects to, not understanding why Fenton has no faith. Terrified, the boys are on a roller-coaster journey with their father, accomplices in a sick religious delusion of their father that they are on a holy mission to demolish the demons while Judgment Day draws nearer.

Frailty Family
Demon slaying is the family business

Fenton is stuck in a drama from Hell, with no apparent exit, and no way to end the brutality and madness he sees each day, yet unable to leave Adam behind in his escape plan. Desperation drives Fenton to try any and everything to put a stop to his father’s actions. Will their father eventually see the light, or has he lost his brother to this madness, too? Will Fenton ever recover the family that he is sure he has lost? Whose view on the truth is right? Will he ever have the unrelenting and unshaken faith in their mission that his father and brother have?

Frailty garners a 7/10. The movie was definitely a different one. It told a story of how one man’s delusion’s can sink a whole family and tear them apart. The plot twist at the end was not entirely unexpected, but then the other half of it is more intense than what I thought was coming. Overall, not a bad movie, and it was told so well. A distinct chill is left at the conclusion of the movie, due to how crazy the whole notion is, and how a young boy could be so accepting, and how the father expected his young sons to follow his lunacy without question. Murders by the hands of a man doing God’s work is insane, and yet he drags his family in with him. Matthew McConaughey again delivered a great performance, and I thought that young Adam and Fenton were also great. It gives me the creeps to think that a father would  lead his children down such a dark road. I thought it was executed well in the sense that it flowed effortlessly, nothing jagged. Frailty really shows you how much power a parent can have on a child, and how your whole world can have the rug ripped out from beneath your feet before you even know what the heck happened. I was gripped by this movie in a strange an inexplicable way, and I would recommend it for a watch if you have not seen it!

Reviews, reviews and more reviews!

I have decided to implement something new: I want to do series reviews on my blog, too. This will obviously only happen occasionally, and I will either review in season groups (for example, a few seasons packed together for a review), or separate seasons as I complete watching them. I want to do a lot of reviews on here for movies, books and series that I come into contact with. I love having my two cents about things, and this is a great place to have my say, I think!