Movie Review – La Influencia (The Influence)

TL;DR – A visually compelling horror film that does not quite have the story depth to back it up    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

La Influencia (The Influence). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

If you could bottle creepy? In what form would it take. There would be the bumps in the night, the flickering lights, the things of the past that you had thought forgotten, occult rituals in the night, little girls with more knowledge than they should have, creepy crawlies the sound of a ventilator and heart monitor beeping in the distance. Well if that is what it takes then La Influencia is that and more.   

So to set the scene, Sara (Maggie Civantos), her husband Mikel (Alain Hernández), and daughter Nora (Claudia Placer) are on their way back to Sara’s family home. Sara has not been back in years after a falling out with the mother Victoria (Emma Suárez). After the death of her husband, Victoria delved into the world of the occult and brought her family with her. Now she is just an old lady strapped to a ventilator after having a stroke. But as Nora becomes closer and closer to her comatose grandmother, things start to go wrong around town.

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Movie Review – In the Tall Grass

TL;DR – An interesting idea, and full-on creepy, but it did leave me feeling a bit hollow at the end.    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

In the Tall Grass. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Well it is October and that means it is Halloween month, so it is time for the many, many new horror films to make their way into the world. It is the perfect time for horror and what goes bump in the night but it can be hard to get your head above the crowd. However, if there is any way to do that basing your work on something written by Stephen King is sure one way to do it.

So to set the scene, we open in on a brother Cal (Avery Whitted) and sister Becky (Laysla De Oliveira) as they make their way across the country to San Diego. They are moving to a new life, getting ready because Becky is quite pregnant. They stop on the side of the road because Becky gets morning sickness and needs to let heave. As they wait they hear a voice call out from the long grass on the side of the road. A young boy called Tobin (Will Buie Jr.). They run into grass to try and help the boy but get separated, but that’s okay because they are really close. But soon voices get warped, people get moved around, and there is more than whispers out there in the long grass.

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Movie Review – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

TL;DR – A solid horror film, with a good premise that meanders a bit in the middle before coming back strong in the end.   

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

I have to admit that I am not as big of a horror aficionado as a lot of the critics out there. I prefer the tension and suspense of a film like Get Out over a horror gorefest. However, I have made it a plan to try and broaden the films I see and also if you ever want me to see a film having the story by Guillermo del Toro is a great way to do it. With that in mind let’s have a look at a film that champions what goes bump in the night.

In 1968 a lot of things are happening, the Vietnam War is in full swing, Richard Nixon is up for re-election, and in a small town called Mill Valley in Pennsylvania, the local residents are getting ready for Halloween. Stella (Zoe Colletti) does not want to go out but is coaxed out by her friends Auggie (Gabriel Rush) and Chuck (Austin Zajur) because this might be their last Halloween together. After running into local bully Tommy (Austin Abrams) who is on a date with Chuck’s sister Ruthie (Natalie Ganzhorn) they hide in Ramón’s (Michael Garza) car. Ramón is from out of town, so Stella suggests they take him to the Bellows’ House, the town’s local haunted house. Legend says that the family that founded the town locked their daughter Sarah (Kathleen Pollard) in the basement but she would tell stories through the wall to local children and then the kids would die. Everything is going fine until Stella finds a book, a book of Sarah’s stories, a book that is still writing more stories one by one.

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Movie Review – The Faceless Man

TL;DR – A film with some good ideas that is unfortunately bogged down some truly frustrating elements    

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene

The Faceless Man. Image Credit: Chapter 5 Studios.

Review

This is one of those films that is really difficult to review for a number of reasons. First I feel that I am far from the target audience also I am not an expert in Ozploitation sub-genre of horror films. However, while I might not be able to be as sophisticated in my critiques as usually, I’ll give it my best.

So to set the scene, we open in on Sophie (Sophie Thurling) as she sits in a hospital waiting for treatment for cancer. While she waits a man comes up to her, her father Harrison (Brendan Bacon) and it is clear from the first moment that their relationship is very estranged. Three-years-later and Sophie have beaten cancer enjoying a life of alcohol and drugs and living every moment. She, Kyle (Lucas Pittaway), Dave Eddison (Martin Astifo), Chad Blavinski (Sunny S. Walia), Brad Barns (Daniel Facciolo), and Nina Hancock (Lorin Kauffeld) head off into the countryside to Orange Lodge to have a quiet weekend only to find themselves in the crossroads of different warring parties.

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Movie Review – Kidnapping Stella

TL;DR – It starts really strong with moments of real tension, but it is let down by a muddled ending.

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Kidnapping Stella. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Today we get to look at a film that is almost the reverse of the norm. It is not at all uncommon for there to be English adaptions of foreign language films as there is a long history of people assuming that subtitles are a real barrier for commercial success. Well, today we get to see a film that has made the reverse trip with Kidnapping Stella being the German adaptation of the English film The Disappearance of Alice Creed. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how well a film does going the other way across the channel. Though I must say that at times this is a deeply confronting film, and you should probably know that before jumping in.

So to set the scene, we open in on two gentlemen Tom (Max von der Groeben) and Vic (Clemens Schick) as they go about their day running errands and picking up supplies. They renovate a room, get a van ready, and put in a new bed. All really normal, but for the fact that they block out all of the windows, and that they have masks. Because what they are doing is not renovating, they are prepping the room for something, and that something is Stella (Jella Haase) who they kidnap off the street to ransom back to her parents.    

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Movie Review – Zilla and Zoe

TL;DR – While there are some good ideas here, what we have is a film of two halves that don’t quite work well with each other.    

 Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Zilla and Zoe. Image Credit: Indican Pictures.

Review

Today I have an interesting task in reviewing someone’s first ever feature film which actually puts me in an odd position. That is because while there are some really good ideas here in places and the core concepts are sound, a lot of this film does not quite come together. We need more creatives taking those first new steps because that is where all of our greatest filmmakers started. With that in mind explore the world of a horror aficionado and the chaos they leave in their wake.

So to set the scene, we open in on Zoe (Aida Valentine) as she is preparing for her last day at school for the term and by preparing I mean setting up a horror scene of a wedding, including an exploding bride. This is a frustration to her father Sal (Greg James) who is trying to raise her and run a business as a single dad. All of this comes to a head when Zoe’s older sister Zilla (Sam Kamerman) returns home to announce that she is getting married, oh married to a women Lu (Mia Allen), oh and all of Lu’s family have made the trip from New York to Portland to come over for dinner, oh they are all super conservative, and oh the wedding is in a couple of weeks.

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Movie Review – The Silence

TL;DR – This is a film that has unfortunately come out after several other films have done the same premise but better in every respect and because of that this can’t help but feel lacklustre in comparison     

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

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

The Silence. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Sometimes the film business can be tough, where forces outside of your control can completely derail your project through no fault of your own. Today we look at just such a film that in many ways just had the back luck of not being the first one out of the gate. However, more than just that we look at a film that suffers from inconsistencies throughout which really shows when you compare it to those that have come before.

So to set the scene, we open in an uncharted cave system under the Appalachian Mountains where a group of explorers are trying to chart it. When suddenly after breaking through as a rock formation they disturb what was lurking underneath and they are instantly killed by a swarm of creatures that fly out into the night sky. Meanwhile, Ally (Kiernan Shipka) is on her way home after she was mocked because she is deaf and is also frustrated because her parents Hugh (Stanley Tucci) and Kelly (Miranda Otto) are coddling her in response the accident that took her hearing. During the night she is woken up by her parents as something is happening, a terrorist attack, chemical weapons, no it is the Veps and they are killing everything and everyone in their paths.

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