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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Movie Review – Birdie (2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition)

TL;DR – In some respects this is a very simple film, but it uses that premise to perfectly explore the building tension    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Review

There are a lot of things films can do, they can excite, they can astound, they can terrify, and the can crush. However, one of the key things they can do is let you walk in another person’s shoes for a time, which can lead to some really powerful moments.

The story of Birdie is, well it is less of a story and more of a premise. A woman (Maeve Dermody) is on her way to see a new apartment so she takes the train. This is the framework, but this is where the tension is introduced because as she arrives at the Redfern station there are a couple of guys lurking around. You can feel that tension as her personal security lowers each moment they are around. How she tries to find people to be near so she is not alone, you feel every moment of this trial.

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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 – Silent Panic

TL;DR – While there is a kernel of a really good idea here, all the moving parts never quite connect    

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

Silent Panic. Image Credit: Indie Rights.

Review

When reviewing films, I really like when I come across a scenario that intrigues me. Well today we have just such a scenario where people’s lives become unravelled through no fault of their own, okay maybe a little fault of their own. However, while an interesting idea is a good start, it is not the end of the equation and unfortunately that is the case here.

So to set the scene, three friends Eagle (Sean Nateghi), Bobby (Joseph Martinez), and Dominic (Jay Habre), are out one weekend camping in the hills. They are catching up and talking about their past and future as Eagle is just out of jail after being set up in a break and enter. The weekend was great but when they get back to their car they discover that while they were gone someone had dumped a body in the back of their car. Immediately the question of what to do splits the group and things spiral out from there.

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