Awards – Tension That Kept You On the Edge Of Your Seat!

Tension is one of the most difficult facets of filmmaking to pull off because it requires the script, direction, acting, and editing to all work in tandem to evoke the perfect pace. If just one part of that group misses then the most important part of the film falls apart.

In 2019 we continued to see some excellent use of tension used to build mystery or to be the harbinger of the coming dread, or even the ticking clock of inevitability.   

So without further ado, these are the moments of tension that kept us on the edge of our seats in 2019. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question and you can click on the banners to be taken to the full reviews.

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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

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 Lighthouse

TL;DR – One of the weirdest films I have ever watched and I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing, maybe both?

Score – I honestly don’t know out of 5 stars

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

The Lighthouse. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

Quite often a film will come across your desk that has elements of oddness to it, sometimes that oddness is a sprinkling of seasoning over the finished production, sometimes that oddness is a core component of the meal. However, I have never seen a film that had its oddness so baked into the film that it permeated every aspect of the filmmaking from start to finish. Well, that changes today with The Lighthouse.

So to set the scene, Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) has arrived by small boat onto a desolate island in the middle of the Atlantic. He is to be an assistant wickie or lighthouse keeper under Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe). They have to work four hard long weeks isolated on the small island, but then they get to go home with decent pay. The work is hard and the close quarters start to come to bare on the two men, made worse when the winds turn and the waves crash and the island becomes isolated from everything and everyone. Now because of the nature of this film it hard to really discus it on any level without spoiling the film a little bit, so be cautious of that as you read on.

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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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Movie Review – Fractured

TL;DR – While there is an interesting concept at play here, some clunky delivery stops it from being what it could have been    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Fractured. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I’m not a parent, but I can say with some certainty that having your child go missing would be one of the biggest fears that you could have. This is why it is so commonly used in film/tv/video games as a way to draw people in because it is a fear we all have and can quickly internalise. There have been some films that have used this technique to real aplomb and others that use it for a quick shorthand to get us to engage with the protagonist. Today we look at a film that tries to do both.

So to set the scene, Ray (Sam Worthington), his wife Joanne (Lily Rabe), and daughter Peri (Lucy Capri) are on the long drive home after a stressful thanksgiving meal at with Joanne’s family. Ray is a recovering alcoholic and Joanne’s dad kept asking him to have some wine, which leads to tension in the car on the way home. They pull over at a random roadside stop because Peri needed to use the toilet only for her to lose her little makeup container. As they search Peri gets spooked by a dog and falls into a construction pit. They rush her to the local ER and as a precaution they run a CAT scan to make sure there is no bleeding and that is the last time Ray saw his wife and daughter and no one knows where they went.

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Movie Review – The Forest of Love

TL;DR – Starts of being a look in how people explore trauma and then becomes a case study in abusive relationships    

Score – 1 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – I don’t know if there is a no post-credit scene

Warning – This film has extensive depictions of abuse

Review

I have watched a lot of films in my life and I have review hundreds of them over the years on this site. There have been a number of films that had I not been watching them for review I probably would have turned off the TV or walked out of the theatre but I haven’t because of a sense of professionalism. However, today we view a film that finally broke me. I have not seen the end of this film before writing the review, nor do I care to find out what happened.

So to set the scene, we open in on Japan, beset by news of a serial killer, as we see a certain Joe Murata (Kippei Shîna) being creepy as hell. Elsewhere there is a guy that is new to Tokyo and quickly befriends a bunch of filmmakers. They find out he is a virgin and so they take him to their friend, who then takes all of them to help get an old classmate to appear in their next play. That same classmate who Joe Murata has just set his eyes on.

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TV Review – Criminal (UK) Season 1

TL;DR – This is an interesting concept, with some powerful performances, but I am not sure three episodes was enough time to really show it off.  

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Criminal (UK). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Netflix as the premier multi-national streaming juggernaut (for the time being) has been doing a lot of experimenting in recent years. With Black Mirror: Bandersnatch they gave the world a choose your own adventure in cinematic form and with Ultimate Beastmaster they produced different versions for each of the countries participating. Well today we get to take a look at the next experiment with Criminal a series that produced four different versions for France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. Well today we are going to take a look at the UK version to see how this experiment works out.

To set the scene, we open in on DI Natalie Hobbs’ (Katherine Kelly) team as they begin an interview with the suspect of a murder. For you see her team are experts in interrogation, so they are used when there is a time crunch or a serious case that needs their attention. The first of these involves a doctor (David Tennant) that is accused of molesting and then murdering his step-daughter. The interview has been going for hours and time is running out because if they can’t find some way to get him to crack he could walk free. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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