Nope – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film that swings wildly, where you have moments of pure terror, but I am not sure it all comes together in the third act.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

Warning – This film contains scenes that may cause distress.

a feild of waking inflatable men

Nope Review

Today, I look at a film that is quite difficult to review. Challenging in that from a production perspective, I have rarely seen a movie that works as well as this. But from a narrative perspective, there were moments that negatively impacted me that I am still trying to process the day after. It is also a film that is hard to talk about without immediately heading into spoilers that might impact your time with the film. Well, it might be difficult, but I’m still going to take a solid crack at it. As such, it is time to dive into our review of Nope.

So to set the scene, we open on a TV set in the 1990s, a sitcom with rows for audience seating, but only there is no one there even though the applause signs still flash. But we see a chimpanzee sitting with blood on its hands while a lifeless body lies in the background. Flash forward to the current time, and we are introduced to Otis Jr. “OJ” Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya), who works with his father Otis Haywood Sr. (Keith David) at Haywood Hollywood Horses. A ranch that trains horses for TV and movie productions. While OJ is doing all the work and wondering where his sister Emerald “Em” Haywood (Keke Palmer) is, he hears something odd coming from the sky. Then what looks like hail starts hitting the ground on a clear day, but it is not hail but metal shrapnel like keys and coins, one of which strikes Otis Sr. in the head. While the siblings struggle to keep the ranch going in the wake of this tragedy, the story of the objects falling out of a plane just does not hold up, and they start to wonder what else might be out there in the sky.

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Prey – Movie Review

TL;DR – a perfect blend of action and tension that makes you sit on the edge of your seat and makes your skin crawl every time you hear the predator’s sound.     

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is something at the end of the mid-credits.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film.

Naru looks into the sunset.

Prey Review

There are some directors that when you watch their debut film, you know they will soar because this first film is already a master to watch. One of those directors was Dan Trachtenberg, who, with 10 Cloverfield Lane, terrified me when using one location and just three actors. But it has been a long transit between drinks, and I am happy to be able to watch his follow-up, which is a new take on the Predator franchise.  

So to set the scene, in 1719, on The Northern Great Plains in the land which is now called America, lived Naru (Amber Midthunder), a member of the Comanche Nation and a skilled axe thrower. One day when she was hunting a white-tailed deer, the animal became spooked by a loud noise from above. Seeing an alien spaceship in the clouds and interpreting it as a thunderbird, Naru knows it is time for her kühtaamia, where she hunts something hunting her. When a mountain lion takes one of the tribe, Naru, her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), and a group of young men search through the forest to find him, unaware that behind a cloaking shield, a Predator (Dane DiLiegro) lies in wait.   

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The Black Phone – Movie Review

TL;DR – While The Black Phone made me deeply uncomfortable for its entire runtime, it also engaged me at every moment. Ethan is terrifying as the unhinged Grabber, and the young cast stepped up to the plate when needed.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

Warning – This film depicts scenes of abuse.

The grabber stands with black balloons.

The Black Phone Review

Horror is one of those genres that I occasionally dip my toes in, but not one that I have ever done a deep dive in enough to be a true aficionado. I think part of that is probably a bit of self-care on my part, and the other is that some people get super into Horror, which is sometimes a bit intimidating. That has made me a bit more choosy about which horror films I see, moving more towards suspense than slasher. However, if there is one company that you know will put out a solid horror film, it is Blumhouse, and today’s film is not an exception.    

So to set the scene, in 1978, in the North of Denver, a young Finney (Mason Thames) is pitching to Bruce (Tristan Pravong) in a little league game. He scores two strikes, but Bruce hits it for a home run on the final ball. Finn is a bit dejected, but Bruce commends him on his swing, telling him that ‘he almost got him’. Having won the match, Bruce rode high as he went home, right up until a black van pulled out in front of him, and he was never seen again. Sometime later, as Finn and his sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw) walk to school, they see missing photos of Bruce and wonder if he will ever be found as the Grabber (Ethan Hawke) has taken more kids and no one can seem to stop him.

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Last Night in Soho – Movie Review

TL;DR – Well Last Night In Soho is a film that threatens to go off the rails at any moment yet somehow manages to hold on just by its fingertips   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene, but there are images during the credits

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Warning – This film depicts scenes of abuse

Warning – This film features sequences with flashing lights

Last Night in Soho. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Last Night in Soho Review

Some directors out there have built up such a strong reputation that you know you will be checking out their next film no matter the genre/tone/story. For me, one of those directors is Edgar Wright, who has never once bored me with one of his films. Indeed, we have already gotten his take on a talking-heads documentary this year with The Sparks Brothers, and I was not going to turn down the chance to see two new films from him in the one year. I will say that this is a film that is best seen with as little information as possible, so if you are intrigued, you may want to stop reading here.

So to set the scene, Eloise “Ellie” Turner (Thomasin McKenzie) lives in rural Cornwell but has always dreamed of being a major fashion designer in London. She is obsessed with the style of the 1960s and capturing that time in her work. It was good news for Ellie when she got accepted into the London College of Fashion; thus, she made the long trip into the big city. After some interesting interactions with her roommate Jocasta (Synnøve Karlsen), Ellie moves into a bed/sit in Goodge Place being rented out by Ms Collins (Diana Rigg). This old lady had owned the property for decades. It is perfect for Ellie, but as she sleeps, she visits an apparition from the past, Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a singer and dancer in 1960s London. 

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Candyman (2021) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that is haunting, captivating, terrifying, but also a bit frustrating.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene/sequence.

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Candyman (2021). Image Credit: Universal Studios.

Candyman Review

When the first Candyman arrived on screens, I was a bit too young to watch horror films, with my introduction coming a little later with movies like Scream. But when I talk to people a bit older than me, they speak in almost hushed tones about the film. That it made them fear reflections, indeed one friend suggested that I pre-emptively leave a couple of lights on for when I got home after seeing it. I thought it was all a bit silly, but now I am kind of glad that I did.

So to set the scene, we open in the 1970s in the Cabrini Green neighbourhood of Chicago, Illinois. Billy (Rodney L Jones III) is taking his family’s washing to the laundry room in the basement while cops ask everyone if they have seen a man with a hook for a hand. Ignoring them, Billy goes down into the basement, where a piece of candy comes from nowhere and lands on the floor. Within moments a figure appears from a hole in the wall, candy in one hand, a hook in the other. The boy’s screams could be heard for miles around. In the present, the Cabrini Green neighbourhood has been gentrified, and Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), an artist, lives with his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris) in a new apartment. Anthony is trying to find inspiration for his next artwork when Brianna’s brother Troy (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) lets slip about the Candyman urban legend, and Anthony goes off to explore if it was true.

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Old – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that is equal parts engaging and unsettling      

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was sent a screener of this film

Old. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Old Review

If there is one filmmaker who knows Hollywood’s very heights and depths, it’s M. Night Shyamalan. But no matter if his films work or not, they are always impeccable shot and are at least trying to be more than the sum of their parts. So when you hear that he is diving back into the horror world or at least the supernatural world, well, it makes you want to see at least what he has made.     

So to set the scene, we open in on a family as they make their way by coach to the Anamika Resort on some tropical island. While the parents, Guy (Gael García Bernal) and Priscilla (Vicky Krieps), put on a good show for their kids Maddox (Alexa Swinton) and Trent (Nolan River). This was, in fact, the last holiday before the parents separate, so they are trying to make it a good memory. While at the resort, the manager suggests that they all go to a private beach that they are only opening for select guests, all you have to do is walk through a small canyon, and you are there. It is a beautiful day at the beach, right up until a body floats ashore.

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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (The Conjuring 3) – Movie Review

TL;DR – What starts with an interesting and creepy premise nevertheless does not have the pull to make it through to the end.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It Review

To be honest, The Conjuring as a series is not one that had piqued my interest before. Indeed I have never watched any of the other films and spin-offs before. But I knew they were famous, and there was a real following for the franchise. However, the film’s story is based on the event where someone pleaded not guilty because of demonic possession. Well then, now you have me interested.

So to set the scene, in the town of Brookfield, Connecticut, Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are helping a local family out after their son David (Julian Hilliard) was possessed by a demon. The demon presents itself in all its power, ripping the house apart and giving Ed a severe heart attack. Arne Cheyenne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor) compels the demon to leave the boy and enter him in the chaos. Only Ed sees this, but he soon passes out. Ed makes it through surgery. However, by the time he can tell what is going on, a boy is walking down the street of Connecticut covered in blood.        

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A Quiet Place Part II – Movie Review

TL;DR – It builds upon the world in interesting ways, and when it focuses on Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, it becomes thrilling.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

A Quiet Place Part II. Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

A Quiet Place Part II Review

The first A Quiet Place was a film that caught me off guard as I got sucked into this world. It is a time where every sound might not be your last, but you need to live as if it could be. Is that twig snap going to get you, or a misplaced nail, or a yelp in pain. It was such an interesting contained film that when I heard they were doing a sequel, I was intrigued about where they could take the story next and a little concerned that they could not strike lightning twice. Now that I have seen it, I don’t think it hits either of those extremes, but when it is good, it is really good.

So to set the scene, we open in on Day 1. Lee Abbott (John Krasinski), his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), and daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) were out in town on a lovely sunny summers day. They’ve gone to town to watch Marcus (Noah Jupe) play in his big baseball game. But as he goes up to bat, a large comet/meteor/something is seen falling through the sky. The family feel something is off, so they and the rest of the town start making their way home when the alien start their attack. Back at Day 474, we find the family in the immediate aftermath of the first film. However, there is no time to stop and celebrate their win or mourn their loss because the house and farm are destroyed, and they need to find some new shelter before the aliens come to finish them off.       

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Freaky – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A film that finds that balance between horror and comedy, till maybe the last 10 minutes.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Awards

Nominated: Stunning Costumes & Most Fun

Freaky. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Freaky Review

You have probably watched more than a few films where two people running into each other, or a wish, or just the universe deciding to be a dick, cause the people to swap bodies. It is usually a parent and a child, and by the end of the film, they have both learnt the lesson that both of them have complicated lives and everyone should cut everyone else a lot of slack. I have seen a number of these films, and variations upon, however, I have never seen a horror/comedy version of this … well that is until now.

So to set the scene, Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton) is your usual high school student that is not one of the popular kids, so thus is fodder for the popular kids that make her life hell. Adding to that, the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn) a notorious serial killer is still at large with no one being able to catch him. Well, one night as Millie is trying to walk home after her mother forgot her, the Butcher attacks. But instead of killing her, the knife he used swaps their bodies. So now Millie has a day to fix this before it becomes permanent and she takes the fall for all those murders … which are still going on but in a different body. 

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The New Mutants – Movie Review

TL;DR – A perfectly okay film but a bit of a missed opportunity.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

The New Mutants. Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Review

After thirteen films, and running for twenty years, the current X-Men franchise has drawn to a close. Today we review the last movie in the series The New Mutants, though it was never planned or designed to be a swan song it is what it has become. Well, let’s dive into a film that swerves into the horror of what it would be like to wake up one day with powers.

So to set the scene, we open in on a reservation in America when Danielle “Dani” Moonstar (Blu Hunt) is woken up by her father William (Adam Beach) and told to run. All around them, some outside force is destroying the reservation with snow and flames everywhere. William asks Dani to hide in a tree and goes back to help only to be killed, Dani runs form the oncoming storm and crashes down the side of the hill, hitting her head. When she wakes up, she is handcuffed to a medical gurney in what looks like an old hospital. Over the speaker Dr Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga) askes her to calm down and lets her know she is safe, but that she was the only survivor of her reservation, everyone she knows is dead.  

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