A Quiet Place Review

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A Quiet place is a 2018 sci-fi/horror  movie starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt.  The film is about a post apocalyptic world in which blind aliens that hunt by sound have managed to effectively destroy human civilization.  The story follows a family of five as they struggle to stay silent and avoid the monsters roaming around them.

Spoilers

A Quiet Place is a movie that thrives off of the dark tone that it sets.  Within the first few minutes of the movie we see the youngest kid get killed as he activates a toy rocket whose noise immediately draws a monster to him.  This sets a somber tone for the film as it shows just how vulnerable and how quick things can go bad for them.  After the youngest child’s death we see how each family member blames themselves for it in their own way.  The parents struggle to prepare the remaining two children for survival in this hostile world while preparing to give birth to a baby and the danger that would immediately place them in.

The atmosphere and use of silence in this movie is extremely effective.  For the most part you only hear the sounds of the wind blowing and rustling trees or the sand shifting under footsteps.   The family is alone, and they are trapped.  The father works in the basement of the house attempting to establish contact with governments from various other countries but hears nothing.  All along the walls around him are newspaper clippings giving small glimpses of what led to the current predicament of the world.   There’s personal notes he has indicating that there are three creatures in the area, information documenting how they hunt, and his search for any weaknesses they might have.

This film uses great attention to detail to show how the family survives day to day in a silent world.  Early on when the family is scavenging through a store for supplies we see that they all use sign language to communicate, Krasinski and Blunts acting shines during these scenes since the only way they can convey emotion is through their body language and facial expressions.  The entire family travels barefoot all the time on paths that they’ve made by laying sand on the ground.  They lay sand through the grass, on concrete, an on the bridge that they cross.  There’s even tiny details like when they’re scavenging the store, from the appearance of it, its been scavenged quite a few times yet there is an entire section of unopened bags of chips that remains untouched as the noise would draw monsters.

Although this film is great in many other areas, there were a few plot inconsistencies and unrealistically dumb decisions made by the characters that subtract from the movie in my opinion.  For example, the monsters hearing tends to fluctuate.  In one instance we see them come from however far away they were to kill raccoons that were squeaking, yet in other scenes when a character is a few feet from them they don’t react to heavy breathing or a heartbeat.  The monsters also don’t react to each others sounds.  You’d think if one monster went tearing through the woods to hunt down the source of the sound it just heard that other monsters would be attracted to the first monsters sounds but that doesn’t happen.  There’s also another instance of inconsistency where a creature rips through a grain silo as though it were made out of tissue, yet the same creature has difficulty trying to get into a car.  Perhaps the biggest plot issue of all is that these creatures managed to topple every government and kill everyone.  From the fathers notes and the news clippings its stated that they’re completely bullet proof because they have armor yet towards the end one of the creatures is killed when shot in the head with a shotgun.  Granted it’s head flap things were open because it was listening, but through the whole movie we see that they constantly open these things when they’re hunting.  During their takeover of the earth, at some point, someone had to have shot one of them in the head and realized that they’re vulnerable when they’re listening, which is what they’re constantly doing.  I just have a hard time believing that creatures that cant rip through a car and die from getting shot in the head can kill off most of humanity.

Then there are the decisions that make no sense.  When the kid is killed off at the beginning of the movie, its because he’s trailing behind the family and no one sees that he has the toy.  Why would you leave your youngest child to bring up the rear when there are monsters that hunt by sound running around you?  Towards the end of the movie the father is killed by a monster when he screams to draw its attention away from his kids trapped in a car by it.  The father was shown to easily be the smartest character in the movie, when the monster was going after his kids, they weren’t making any noise in the car, the slightest distraction would’ve drawn its attention away.  The movie shows them stop to go after white noise on a TV, or a ticking egg timer before it even goes off.  The guy could’ve thrown the ax he was holding off into the cornfield as a distraction without getting himself killed.

Overall I was a fan of this movie.  The acting from the two leads was great, the atmosphere and the tone really draw you into the movie.  If not for the inconsistencies I would rank A Quiet Place as one of my favorites.

7/10

-Andre

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The Strangers Review

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The Strangers is a 2008 horror/thriller about a young couple returning late from a wedding reception to an isolated vacation home.  What follows is a violent home invasion carried out by three masked assailants as they violently harass and torment the couple.

The Strangers is a movie that draws heavily on establishing a dreadful tone and feeling of impending doom for the protagonist.  Everything about the attack was seemingly calculated by the strangers to maximize their advantage against their prey.  The home that the couple was staying in was isolated, far from anyone that would hear the commotion and attempt to help or call the police.  Their attack happened at four in the morning when anyone that could be of help is most likely asleep.  There’s no one out driving, no one walking their dog, no one is around to help.  This setting amps up the intensity of scenes where the strangers are stalking their victims.  For example, there is one scene where the female protagonist is in the kitchen having a drink after a particularly stressful evening.  Behind her and out of focus we can see one of the strangers silently watching her from across the room.  This goes on for roughly twenty seconds, tension building as you wonder what’s going to happen before she looks in his direction and sees nothing.

Although I loved the tone set by the movie, some of the actions of the couple left me irritated, particularly those of the male protagonist.  The entire ordeal starts when the couple answers a knock at the door at four in the morning.  Shortly after the strange interaction with the unseen woman the guy decides to leave the woman in the house alone while he runs out somewhere.  While he’s gone the strangers begin to torment the woman until he suddenly returns.  The woman lets him know what happened and for some reason he doesn’t believe her.  This makes no sense because it’s really not a claim that I think anyone would find unbelievable, moreover, why would she lie about such a thing?  Another complaint that I had was that after the couple is on the same page and realizes that they’re under siege, not once do they go through the house to make sure doors and windows are locked.  They lock the front door and that’s it, but it’s clearly shown that the strangers are using other means to enter and exit the house at will.  In another instance of bad decisions, the couple finds a shotgun and plenty of ammunition for it.  Great right?  No, after making a smart decision to hunker down in one room with their backs to the wall and the gun pointed at the door, the male accidentally shoots and kills a friend who happened to stop by to check on the couple.  For some reason he came by early in the morning before the sun was even up, but that’s beside the point.  After killing his friend the guy charges outside into the night with the gun, leaving the woman alone once again, to confront the strangers.  In a hilarious and head shaking turn of events he’s immediately disarmed and rendered unconscious, losing their best defense  against the invaders.  Overall I can’t decide if these characters just aren’t that smart, or whether them being deprived of sleep is the reason for the bad decisions.

Overall The Strangers is a decent movie.  I love the use of the setting and the minimalist approach that drives the somber, creepy tone of the film.  This movie did a lot with a small budget.  I wasn’t a fan of the way the plot was driven by some particularly foolish decisions by the couple, it felt cheap at times, although that can possibly be explained if you factor in their lack of sleep during the ordeal.  This film is entertaining and worth a watch.

6/10

-Andre

 

The Thing (1982)

 

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Spoilers

In 1982 at the remote US Outpost 31 in Antarctica, twelve men stationed at the base are suddenly accosted by two men in a helicopter from a nearby Norwegian base.  The two Norwegian men attempt to shoot a dog as they chase it over the frozen valley towards the American camp.  In the ensuing confusion, the two men are killed, leaving the American team puzzled and in need of answers.  They fly to the Norwegian base and discover a massacre, everyone’s either dead or missing, the base is on fire, and they find the remains of a strange creature burned outside.  What follows is a tale of gripping paranoia and cosmic horror that’s sure to entertain.

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They don’t make horror like this anymore.  For starters the tone, its dark and hopeless.  These men are trapped, there is no help coming for them no matter how much they radio for it.  Outside they’ve got temperatures hitting in excess of fifty below.  While inside they have primal fear driven by a creature they can barely comprehend.  A creature that hides within the bodies of their friends, men they’ve known for years.  This causes intense paranoia and mistrust, making the men as much of a danger to each other as the thing is to them.  The thing knows this, and uses this to its advantage as it tries to keep suspicion off of itself, pushing the humans to suspect each other instead.Garry_assures_the_men_of_his_innocence_-_The_Thing_(1982)

This dark and hopeless tone is amplified by the use of music.  From the beginning of the opening scene you’re hit with this powerful haunting score with a thumping bass note that sounds almost like a human heartbeat, perhaps foreshadowing whats to come.  There isn’t a lot of music used in the movie, but when it is used it helps to enhance the tension present.

One of my favorite things about his movie is the practical effects used.  There’s nothing CGI, everything was built ranging from puppetry to stop motion.  The creature designs are amazing.  Take the Norris-Thing for instance, this guy was assimilated by the thing and has a heart attack.  One of the doctors in the group attempts to revive him using a defibrillator.  The thing, unfamiliar with the concept of a defibrillator perceives the shock as an attack and fights back, by opening up Norris’s chest revealing a large mouth that rips off the doctors arms.  This is just one of many amazing designs used by the production to create this story. Vlcsnap-2011-12-30-07h27m52s226

The characterization is another standout for this movie.  Whereas with horror movies of the modern era, you wind up with cheap jump scares, writing that makes no sense, or characters that make stupid decisions just to move the plot.  With The Thing there’s really one jump scare, in the aforementioned part about Norris and his chest mouth.  The characters are pretty smart in this.  They try hard to do everything they can to survive the situation they’re placed in.  There’s only one instance where you could claim that  someone did something dumb and that’s when this guy runs off into the night after someone that he suspects is the thing.  This goes completely against character for this individual as earlier on he was in a position where he had multiple armed men with him yet he refused to confront what he suspected was the thing behind a closed door, wanting to let it freeze to death instead.  The sudden change in character or “stupidity” can be explained by the common fan speculation that the guy didn’t care about running off alone because he was actually the thing by that point.

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The Thing is a timeless movie that only gets better with age.  It is a film that was panned by critics during its initial release, but in the years following has gained the respect that it deserves.  I consider this movie to be the greatest horror movie of all time.  It has everything I want in a horror movie, from the great monster, the effects, the characters and the setting.

10/10

-Andre

The Void

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The Void is a 2016 horror film about a small group of people who spend their night trapped in a hospital.  They struggle to survive as the threat of a creepy cult keeps them trapped inside, while gripping paranoia and otherworldly monsters attack them from within.

The horror classics this movie models itself after tend to have an iconic villain, something Hollywood typically uses to create a franchise off of.  Movies like Hellraiser, Evil Dead, Elm Street, and Friday the 13th all have villains that are memorable and iconic.  With The Void, the villain is bland, has no personality, and does nothing to distinguish himself.  Up until the last fifteen minutes of the film it’s not even clear that he’s the villain.  There’s also the cult members which are essentially pointless for this movie.  For the majority of the movie they literally just stand there and look menacingly.  Only one cult member actually did something, he stabbed a cop in the shoulder, causing him to black out from blood loss.  It was all for naught, as the cop was up and running around as though it were only a scratch just moments later.

The story was all over the place and the pacing was inconsistent.  Things happen at breakneck speeds, then slow down to a crawl all the while still being extremely confusing and with zero explanation.  For instance, multiple times throughout the film the cop has these weird visions of what looks to be another planet that has a floating black pyramid and strange black pyres jutting from the ground.  The movie never even attempts to explain why he’s the only one having these visions or what the point is to them.  He doesn’t even bring them up to other characters, so they serve no purpose in the narrative other than to confuse the viewer.  Another example is when a completely normal character turns into a psycho murderer and is put down, with no explanation whatsoever this character comes back to life as a disgusting tentacle monster.  Things like these tend to take you out of the movie and have you questioning scenes when you could be enjoying them.

One thing I will give this movie credit for is the practical effects.  In an age where horror movie monsters are essentially all CGI, the monsters of The Void stand out. They’re horrible, disgusting, and gory and they look realistic compared to something computer generated. The monster design is an awesome callback to the gory creations of the eighties.  Creatures were similar to monsters from The Thing and Hellraiser, in fact one could argue that the villain was a cenobite based on his look and actions.

The Void is an ambitious movie that tries to capture the essence of horror classics from the eighties.  Unfortunately it fails to do so.  Despite the amazing effects and creature designs, other areas suffered in turn.  Lack of decent pacing and a coherent plot drag what should have been an otherwise good film down.  Regardless, its still worth watching if you’re a fan of the aforementioned eighties horror movies.

4/10

-Andre

Mom and Dad Review

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Mom and Dad is a horror/comedy film from 2017 about an artificial mass psychosis that causes parents to murder their own children.  Carly and Josh Ryan spend the day trying to survive their parents murderous attempts, while society crumbles around them.

Spoiler Warning

Mom and Dad is all over the place with its narrative style.  There are several flashbacks thrown right in the middle of intense action scenes that sort of disrupt the flow of things.  There will be an abrupt cut from one scene to another just as the action was building up.  Initially its distracting but it does serve a purpose to help give context to the events that are currently going on.

I went into this thinking it was strictly a horror movie causing myself to be extremely confused by what was happening on the screen as a result.  Nicolas Cage plays Brent Ryan, the father of the two kids.  I thought Nics performance was initially over the top.  I found myself asking “what am I watching?” plenty of times as his character gave extremely exaggerated reactions to situations.  Knowing now that it was intentional, I can say that Cage stole the show.  His character was hilarious.  I broke out in laughter multiple times when he was on screen.  There was one scene where he was chasing his son Josh through the house while barking like a dog for some reason.  In another scene he has a meltdown over his wife asking him why he bought a pool table when he doesn’t even like pool, so he procees to destroy it with a sledgehammer while singing the hokey pokey while his wife doesn’t seem fazed by this behavior.  This movie is one of Cages best performances in recent memory.

All in all this movie is entertaining.  I liked the action, and Cages hilarious acting.  The plot really isn’t new, movies like The Signal, The Crazies, and Cell have all done the “something turns people into murderous psychos” thing before.  Mom and Dad is the first thats added comedy to the mix though, and it does it well.

6.5/10

-Andre

 

Upcoming Horror Movies 2018

2017 bought some pretty good horror movies like Get Out, IT, Creep 2, and Alien Covenant.  2018 is shaping up to be a good year for horror as well.  We’ve had A Quiet Place, Veronica, and the Ritual that were pretty good, but there’s a lot more coming out to keep your horror hungers satiated!

The First Purge

Always been a fan of the Purge series, they’re fun and entertaining.  The latest entry looks to up the chaos in all the best ways.  We get to see how the country came to the point where the concept of an annual purge was a good idea to implement.

The Nun

A spin off of the popular Conjuring series.  This one follows the creepy character that had a minor part in Conjuring 2.

The Meg

Another shark attack movie, except this one features a giant shark!  This one looks to be a blockbuster.  Will it measure up to Jaws?  Probably not.  Will it be good?  I hope so.

Venom

Venom actually looks amazing in the trailer.  Follows Eddie Brock as he becomes one of the most iconic comic book villains ever.  Somehow there’s no Spider-Man in this and that worries me.  Might have to sit this one out till its on DVD.

Slender Man

Based on the popular creepypasta meme that’s been floating around for a bit.  This one looks like it’ll be genuinely creepy.

Predator

Another Predator movie!  As long as its better than Predator 2 it should be a hit.

Halloween(2018)

The original scream queen returns for the “final” (they said that last time) showdown with her deranged brother Michael.  This one takes place 40 years after the original film ignoring the previous sequels.

Overlord

World War II movie that takes place on D-day.  US troopers drop behind enemy lines to find a Nazi occupied village experimenting with supernatural forces.  J. J. Abrams is attached and there’s speculation that it could be related to the Cloverfield franchise.  Giant monsters maybe?

Suspiria

An american travels to Europe to join a prestigious dance academy.  She finds herself in the midst of brutal murders that may have a supernatural connection.  This ones a remake of the 1977 film.  Never saw it, but I plan to before this one comes out.

-Andre

Creep 2 Review

Creep-2 posterCreep 2 is the sequel to the sleeper hit CreepCreep 2 picks up the story of the “Peachfuzz killer,” as he takes out another ad for a videographer.  Sara, an up and coming video artist answers his ad and upon their initial meeting he confesses to her that he’s a serial killer.  Sara doesn’t believe him but decides to stay and film him anyway, hoping it’ll be interesting enough to bring attention to her art.  By the end of their day together she laments answering that ad when she realizes she’s made a big mistake.

Spoiler Warning

Creep 2 is similar to the first film in tone, but it doesn’t really have the same slow burn as the first. In this movie we learn more about Peachfuzz, from his past and his motivations for what he does.  Yet he still manages to keep the same mysterious persona even as he reveals details about himself that may or may not be true.  From the start of the film, Peachfuzz is going through a sort of midlife crisis, hes killed thirty-nine people so far and after his 39th kill he feels unfulfilled and believes that he needs to do something spectacular for his 40th kill.  This causes him to have internal conflicts that bubble to the surface of his usually hard to read behavior when interacting with Sara.  Contrary to the first movie where he was disarmingly friendly, he’s erratic and sets off multiple red flags causing Sara to arm herself for protection.

Unlike with his previous friendship with Aaron, Peachfuzz bonds more with Sara as she displays some of the same eccentric behavior that he does.  Tactics that he’d used to toy with Aaron, and most likely victims before him were fairly ineffective on Sara.  Everything he’d do to try and throw her off or cause her unease, she’d respond in kind.  This lead to an interesting dynamic as its still obvious that Sara doesn’t believe him about being a serial killer, but we can see that Peachfuzz is achieving some sort of calm as the day goes on.  This ultimately leads to him deciding that his 40th kill will be himself, as he attempts various suicide attempts, culminating in Sara deciding she’d had enough.  As with Aaron in the first film, Peachfuzz manages to expertly manipulate her back to him and letting her guard down.  Peachfuzz attempts yet another suicide attempt, this one causing Sara to realize he’s been telling her the truth about who he is this entire time.  Following this final attempt, Sara is wounded but manages to escape.

Creep 2 follows its predecessors formula and improves on it.  Although the plot remains roughly the same, he characters are still intriguing and engaging.  I like the development they’ve given to Peachfuzz, he went from being this quirky, mysterious weirdo, to a more complex villain with internal struggles that still leave you questioning his actions.  Is he genuinely trying to find someone to be his companion or is this just how he gets close to his victims?  Overall I enjoyed this movie and can’t wait for the third title in the series.

8/10

-Andre