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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Movie Review – Follow Me (No Escape)

TL;DR – Out of all the things I expected to fell when I sat down to watch this movie, dull was not one of them, but here we are.     

Score – 1.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is are some mid-credit scenes

Follow Me. Image Credit: Studio Canal.

Follow Me (No Escape) Review

I have to be upfront before we get started. Today was a bit of a milestone because it was the first time since March (when we looked at The Legend of Baron To’a) that I have been able to go to a regular showing of a film in a cinema. So I may have gone into this film with some unconscious higher expectations than I probably should have. However, all that said and done did I pick a good choice from my first film in a long time? Unfortunately, the answer to that would be a hard no.

So to set the scene, Cole (Keegan Allen) is a stream/influencer/online personality/ etc. who can get tens of thousands of people tuning in when he goes live. He is always about finding extreme situations to film for that #Content. Well, when his friend and fellow streamer Dash (George Janko) lets him know of this super exclusive escape room set up by this cashed-up Russian Alexei (Ronen Rubinstein) he jumps at the opportunity. Well, a couple of months later and Cole, Dash, Cole’s girlfriend Erin (Holland Roden), and their friends Thomas (Denzel Whitaker) & Maya (Tia Valentine) find themselves on a first-class flight to Russia. With no idea what will be waiting for them when they arrive.

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Movie Review – The Invisible Man (2020 film)

TL;DR – A film filled with amazing acting, and technical brilliance, however it was one of the most difficult films I have reviewed due to the issues of abuse that it explores.

Score – I am honestly not sure what to score to give this film

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene that I saw

Warning – Depicts scenes of abuse

Awards

Nominated: Explosive Action, Best Australian Film & All The Tension
Winner: All The Tension

The Invisible Man (2020 film). Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon Upgrade and thus discovered the wonderful work of Leigh Whannell. Since then, I have been waiting to catch his next film, so I was really excited to get the invite to see The Invisible Man. This was also a film that was going to reframe an old classic monster film and bring it into the modern age, which also intrigued me because that is my jam. However, while watching the film, I found myself feeling very conflicted with the subject material. All of this left me very unsettled in a way that I have spent the past two weeks wondering if the film approached it in an appropriate way or not.  

So to set the scene, we open in on a mansion on the top of a cliff, waves crash against the rocks on a cold winters night as we zoom in on the isolated house. In the house, there is a couple asleep in a bed, Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) and Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), but only one of them is actually asleep. We watch as Cecilia slowly slips out of the bed, at first you think it is just that she does not want to disturb Adrian, but soon you discover there is something more to it than that. In fact, she is leaving him in the middle of the night, the only time she could, which means that when every sound could be her undoing. The moment she grabs her hidden go bag you immediately understand why she is leaving. As she escapes over the high walls of the house everything starts to get better, that is until things start moving in rooms that should be empty.

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Movie Review – The 9th Precinct (局分九第)

TL;DR – An interesting look at the barrier between life and death but takes some short cuts to get there    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

The 9th Precinct (局分九第). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Generally, the time we get films about what goes bump in the night it is around Halloween and not Christmas. So, it was a nice change of pace to get a film that explores the darker side of the world and what happens after death. With this in mind, today we explore a film that looks at that bridge between the living and the dead and what happens when you start playing with that fixed barrier.

So to set the scene, Chen Chia-Hao (Roy Chiu) works as a police officer for the Houli Police Agency. However, he has always led a special life because he can see the undead. This has led to him only rising to the rank of traffic cop even though he shows exemplary skill. One day while on patrol he finds a killer but during the arrest, his partner is shot and killed. He would have been killed too but a ghost stepped in and saved him. He refuses to change his report about a ghost and is fired but on his way out he is grabbed by the mysterious Mr Chang (Chia-Chia Peng) and given an offer to continue working for the police as a member of the secretive 9th Precinct, the ghost crimes bureau.

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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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