*NEW* A QUIET PLACE REVIEW *NEW*

Shhhhh— Shocking.

BUT for the right reasons?

A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

A tight, taut little thriller.

Looks like Jim from The Office USA has a prosperous career in directing with his first foray into horror.

AQP reminded me very much of M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs BUT instead of alien beings with a water allergy attacking a planet predominantly made of water; we have blind blood thirsty creatures hunting down prey in rural America through the medium of sound.

A nail biting opener established the premise and set the tone. Gripping, tense and unsettling as the Abbott family foraged for supplies. The silence perfectly executed and (despite my grumblings about some of the silly giggly people in the cinema) effective.

It really complimented some of the “jumpy” bits (which there were many) and packed a punch! Krasinski leading us into a false sense of security at every corner. Only for a slight movement; a creaky step or a stupid toy putting you on tenterhooks . . .

The special effects on the “creatures” were impressive. The detail, most notably, on their intricate sonar abilities.

Marco Beltrami’s gripping score delivered when the characters reluctantly broke the sound barrier for survival.

BUT the real credit must go to the cast. Flawless. And essential as the film revolved primarily on the family unit. Naturally, there was great chemistry between husband/wife team John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. A couple doing their best to survive and protect their children.

Normally, I find that kids in horror films (Well, the majority of them) are a recipe for disaster BUT Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe were brilliant as the siblings. Most notably, Simmonds. She stole the show as Regan.

I have to commend Krasinski for hiring a deaf actress to play the role. I loved the father/daughter dynamic as Lee tried to correct his daughter’s impairment. Their fractious relationship provided an extra depth to the piece.

However, it wasn’t perfect. The pacing did test in places (Despite the 90 minute running length) with a little too much indulgence on the tip-toeing around for me.

And I couldn’t help BUT laugh at the fact that Evelyn and Lee would even considering bringing another child into this post-apocalyptic world; knowing that their area is surrounded by these things?!

BUT there wouldn’t have been much of a movie otherwise. And it wouldn’t have allowed for some of the most suspenseful moments of the film as Evelyn hid in a tub from said creature while in labour.

And I know that there’s nothing wrong with a little mystery BUT I wanted to know more about those creepy entities. It didn’t spoil anything by all means BUT I wanted more.

The finale brought it home and was brilliant. Even if I felt a little short changed with the outcome. BUT I couldn’t help BUT walk out of the cinema, impressed.

A gripping premise delivered by a talented and underrated cast.

A indie horror that delivered thrills and tension by the bucket load. Worth a watch.

3.5/5

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THE RITUAL REVIEW

If only they could have summoned up a quicker pace . . .

A group of college friends reunite for a trip to the forest, but encounter a menacing presence in the woods that’s stalking them.

The opening act set the tone as the lads (comprising of a talented and underrated British cast) debated about their next excursion. Lulling us into a false sense of security as they bantered and bickered over locations.

I’ve had the same discussion with my friends many a time about our European outings.

However, a simple beer run soon turned everything on its head as a cowardly Luke (Rafe Spall – Hot Fuzz) hid during a botched supermarket robbery leaving his best friend to face a gruesome end.

Forward six months to a now embittered Luke begrudgingly hiking in Northern Sweden. A man still tortured by his dreams. Living that same night over and over.

The slow burning tempo complimented the piece (To start with . . . ). The air of unease, the eerily tranquil forest setting, Ben Lovett’s incredible and unsettling score.

Andrew Shulkind’s cinematography was brilliant. He managed to make a somewhat grainy outlook picturesque.

The cast delivered. A must when the premise relied heavily on four characters. Robert James-Collier (Ol’ Thomas from Downton Abbey) almost stole the show from Spall.

“Well, this is the house we get murdered in”.

The dynamic worked well and the exchanges were entertaining enough as the film teased us with creepy little tidbits; butchered animals hanging in the trees, strange Blair Witch Project like markings.

It wasn’t long before a blistering storm and an untimely injury for a party member forced the gang to seek shelter in an abandoned cabin. I loved the Evil Dead vibe. The eerie noises. And that demented Wicker Man looking effigy?!

Seriously, I would have endured the storm than stay in that cabin. Sheesh.

By the half hour marker, I could feel my interest wading BUT things took a stranger turn as the gang experienced trippy and demented Hangover style blackouts. Losing all sense of time/space/whereabouts. Straying further from their path home.

I kept wondering why we only saw Luke’s (repetitive and incredibly irritating) nightmares and none of the others? All we had was pure hearsay. Without unleashing any spoilers, I really hoped that the film was going to stray down The Thing territory BUT alas it was not to be . . .

I still loved the fact that you didn’t know what direction this film was going to take right up to the closing minutes as the gang tried to escape their impending doom.

There were a few jumpy bits with some fine moments of perfectly executed suspense and tension. Even when the inevitable bickering and rising body count began.

I also loved how we didn’t know what was attacking them right up until its big reveal in the gripping finale.

The only problem I had with The Ritual was that I thought there might have been a little more to it. After the big unveiling of the “creature”, it rushed to a frantic (albeit nail biting) climax. It just felt a little abrupt after all that build up.

BUT I was pleasantly surprised. A weird, creepy little horror worthy of your time.

3/5 (Just)

*NEW* GHOST STORIES REVIEW *NEW*

Spookay. Horrific BUT for the right reasons?

Skeptic Professor Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman) embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable ‘hauntings’.

As soon as the heavy breathing hit those speakers over the opening title sequence, I knew what I was in for. The movie title jumping out of the screen confirmed my fears that this will not be comfortable viewing.

Something I expect from a horror.

Nyman was a solid lead. The first act ticked over as the Ricky Gervais doppelganger exposed Martin from Benidorm (Nicholas Burns) as a fake. Joking aside, it was good watching Green expose Burn’s Derek Acorah impersonator. Complete with fake tan.

A man fixated on debunking the supernatural. That was until a mysterious cassette (Do they still make those?) is posted though Green’s door. His curiousity peaked. An invitation from his childhood icon, the renowned paranormal investigator Charles Cameron, who had (until this moment) been missing for years.

I loved how the film kept you on edge from the get go. You never really knew where it was going as Green accepted Cameron’s “challenge” to explain three “unsolvable” cases.

I have to commend the cast. I couldn’t fault them. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to take them seriously as the majority of them had featured in the comedy circuit.

Each performance suited the story. Paul Whitehouse was entertaining. Using humour to hide the pain of that dreaded night. A man plagued by something more than his own demons.

I found the interviewing process a little tedious in places as Green feigned small talk to get to the good stuff BUT as soon as Whitehouse recalled the first ghost story of this saga, I was on tenterhooks.

That feeling of unease as things went bump in the night and shadows serenaded across the fading lights. The suspense and tension perfectly executed, teasing the inevitable encounter from our spooky friends.

One thing I will never be is a night watchman. I would have bolted when the power went out. Let alone, strange noises and ghastly shapes running around the premises. Fook that!

Not that I need a cheap scare to get my kicks BUT I lost count of how many times I jolted in my seat.

Alex Lawther (The End of the F***king World) was brilliant as the erratic Simon. I just wish his ghost story wasn’t so stupid despite the fitting Evil Dead nods. It wouldn’t have worked at all if wasn’t for Lawther.

I was happy to stick with Green interviewing him. Simon’s creepy household unsettled me more than the actual “ghost story”. Especially when Green tried to introduce himself to the parents *shudders*.

It was great to see Martin Freeman in this. He played it well. Not too big for the low budget Brit flicks. The poltergeist story was a mixed bag BUT it took an unexpected turn that left me in awe.

“The brain let’s you see what you want to see”.

A proper old school horror. Tense, nail biting and freaky to boot.

However, my main issue was the pacing and the actual “unravelling” of the cases. The finale will definitely split people. I was left wanting and a little disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, it took a completely different direction BUT there were quite a few obvious clues along the way and alarm bells were ringing pretty early on when Charles Cameron was introduced into the mix.

I hoped it would focus more on Green’s crusade as he questioned beliefs and challenged the idea of the “other world”. An interesting debate with a priest had potential BUT it seemed once the ghost stories came into play, even the protagonist became an unwitting spectator as the film drew to its messy conclusion.

Right up to that point, I was wincing, dreading what lie in store for each character (Forgetting that they were the narrators of their own stories!). Completely transfixed and happy to see a low budget horror flick at my local picture house.

I can’t believe I’m saying this BUT I just wish a little more time was spent on the story then the actual scares. It was too convoluted for its own good.

If you’re in the mood for a well acted low budget jump-fest, then GS is for you. Anything else, run away!

2.5/5

47 METRES DOWN REVIEW

Thumbs down?

Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive.

I loved the cheesy 80s horror movie style title sequence and that creepy rift. Somebody knows their Jaws movies. Writers Johannes Roberts and Ernest Riera didn’t mess about. Quickly setting up the premise and characters. Well that wasn’t difficult, there was only five in the whole film!

I feared the worst with the incredibly cheesy (and boozy) break up montage as Kate (Claire Holt – The Originals) tried to cheer up her lovesick sis Lisa (Mandy Moore – This Is Us). And what better way than to submerge themselves in a rusty cage surrounded by sharks?!

Within 15 minutes, alarm bells were already ringing as Kate stretched the truth about her “scuba diving experience” to the shady Matt Modine. Have they not seen Stranger Things? Or at least the state of the boat he was in.

The first half of the film was actually better than I expected. It was slow burning BUT tense and gripping as you waited for the inevitable to happen. A dark shape in the water, that infamous fin ripping through the waves . . .

I wouldn’t be wasting oxygen counting down the metres as that rust bucket was plummeting into the abyss, that’s for sure! I thought Mandy Moore’s over-hysterical Lisa would do my head in BUT honestly I don’t know how I’d be in a situation like that.

I thought the sisters were incredibly resourceful (All things considering). I didn’t realise the harrowing effects of decompression sickness (‘the bends’) and the toll it takes on the human body at such levels.

Of course, this is a silly B-movie so you might have to suspend disbelief on the facts. Seriously, the list of side effects were scary enough. Let alone the fact the bloody cage was dumped in the middle of a shark pit.

The shark scenes were actually quite impressive. The CGI looked realistic. The POV perspective as Kate tried to suss out the terrain made things even more nail biting. The air of unease, that feeling of dread as you knew ol’ Brucey would rear his ugly head at any moment.

It was only when the film (ironically) hit the 47 minute marker that my interest waded. The whole stranded at the bottom of the ocean spiel got a little repetitive and tedious by the closing minutes. Cage gets pulled up, cable snaps, sisters swims out, shark attacks and so on . . . and so on.

The premise felt stretched out even though it was only an 89 minute film!

This would have fared a lot better if The Shallows hadn’t come out the year before. It was tough not to draw comparisons (Really? A shark movie? Just The Shallows?).

As much as the jumpy shark encounters delivered, everything else felt a little weak and the finale was dreadfully predictable even with the false endings.

It killed the suspense and left things on a bum note.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad BUT it wasn’t that great either. If you’re into the underwater B-flicks, give it a go BUT if you’re expecting Jaws or anything else, I’d swim away.

2.5/5

*NEW* THE MUMMY REVIEW *NEW*

Oh Mumma, the horror, the horror!

Bring back Brendan Fraser!

An ancient Egyptian princess (Sofia Boutella) is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.

Okay, it wasn’t that bad BUT it wasn’t that great either.

To be honest, the opening act didn’t mess about. It quickly set up the premise. Flicked back and forth from one ridiculous explosive set piece to another. Cruise’s cocky Indiana Jones just about got away with it. I mean, fair play to the 55 year old for still throwing himself about and jumping across rooftops.

I really hoped Cruise and Jake Johnson’s (New Girl) pairing would have worked better. Johnson’s incessant yelling did my head in. Especially in the frenetic opening Iraq shoot em up sequence.

I just wanted him to shut up. Thankfully his swift exit was a pleasant relief.

No scarab beetles?! No Omid Djalili screaming like a banshee? (What?) Camel spiders and rats? Really? Meh.

The tone was all over the place. Too stupid to be funny and NOT dark enough to be a real horror.

The 1999 Stephen Sommers blockbuster and The Mummy Returns were perfectly balanced. They played the right level of cheese, humour (John Hannah, come on!) and let’s not forget that tongue in cheek horror.

The less we say about Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, the better. Let’s not forget there was a reason why the franchise got rebooted in the first place.

The problem with this reboot was that I couldn’t stop making comparisons to the Fraser flick. On paper, swapping the dynamic around (Making the Mummy female) and modernizing it actually had potential BUT it failed to offer anything new.

Arnold Vosloo was a sinister presence. A creepy adversary (And no, let’s not mention the horrifically CGI’d Scorpion King).

Ugh.

Boutella did her best with the role BUT her lines were dull and she spent too much time in the background.

Annabelle Wallis (Peaky Blinders) was far too serious and annoying for her own good. Rachel Weisz (my first screen crush. Don’t know why I thought I’d share that) was irritating but had her charm.

Plus it helped that there was actual chemistry between her and Fraser. No matter how nauseating it got in the Mummy Returns (Fans, am I right?)

There was zero chemistry between Cruise and Wallis. Replacing smouldering tension and friction with playground insults and more yelling.

Ben Seresin’s cinematography was fantastic to look at. The visual effects were impressive BUT not memorable. It was going to be tough to top Imhotep’s smiling face in the sandstorm.

Still haunts me . . . Moving on . . .

There were some good points (Really?). The make-up and effects were impressive. The creepy zombie soldiers and their Dementor style death kiss was a nice touch. Soul kissing the life out of people in the background while Cruise and Wallis continued to bicker and highlight enormous plot holes.

Johnson worked at lot better when he popped up in Nick’s (Cruise) subconscious. The bathroom encounter had a creepy American Werewolf in London vibe to it.

Cruise’s comical crusty corpse church punch up had me in stitches. BUT it just didn’t quite have the fun of O’Connell’s crypt chase.

Despite the vacuum sized plot holes (Seriously who brings a hostile ancient evil right to the very thing she is seeking. Face palm. Duh!), the writers really missed an opportunity with Russell Crowe.

He lapped it up as Jekyll. He lifted every scene with the right level of flamboyance. The exact thing needed to keep a silly monster movie like this entertaining.

And he was only in it for 15 minutes. Sigh. Even if his Hyde impression was a little Ray Winstone incarnate with some messy panda eyes. Seriously, let’s make him Crowe look evil. Smear some runny mascara over his face. That’ll do it. Did they run out of money?

Normally you can bank on Cruise to deliver a big popcorn movie. And he makes this mess watchable. He was just lucky that Alex Kurtzmann threw enough chaotic smash em grab em to hide what a mess this really was. BUT I didn’t expect too much and I’ve seen a lot worse for the ratings this film has received.

A mess BUT a watchable one. At least. Fraser fans may be left fuming BUT if you want a frantic time filler with enough bang for your buck, it won’t do any harm. Just don’t expect too much.

2.5/5

*NEW* MOTHER REVIEW *NEW*

Oh MOTHER! That was bad.

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

I guess I wasn’t as big an Aronofsky fan as I thought. The very epitome of a Marmite movie.

For some, an existential dissection of life through religious allegory. For me, a meandering mess split into two agonizing halves that failed to deliver.

To be honest, it didn’t help that the marketing and posters suggested something more horrific. Now don’t get me wrong, Mother! is a modern horror . . . Of sorts.

BUT I was expecting a demented take on Rosemary’s Baby (Like it wasn’t demented already). And there was an echo of that in the closing act BUT this just didn’t go in the direction I hoped at all.

Seriously, pay attention to the first five minutes. The path is established pretty early on.

And if I didn’t have this ridiculous rule of seeing a movie out to the end; I would have joined the several people that walked out 30 minutes in.

This isn’t the worst film I’ve seen (BUT could be for this year).

Credit where it is due. The cast all played their parts well.

The first half of the film was slow burning BUT intriguing as Him’s (Bardem) writer’s block took its toll on the couple’s relationship. Jennifer Lawrence carried this film as much as she could as Mother. Doing her best to be a supportive wife.

Giving Him space and revamping an old country house in a wonderfully tranquil (yet strangely eery) pastoral setting.

I felt for Mother’s frustration and confusion; especially when the mysterious Man (Ed Harris) made his introduction.

A diversion for Him. A disturbance for Mother. The question’s mounting as Him welcomed Man into their home with no hesitation. Drinking and chatting rubbish. The paranoia setting in. Why is he really here? Why now?

Things took an even stranger turn when Man’s wife Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) turned up.

Inventive names, aren’t they? Lazy or clever? I’ll leave that to you (LAZY!). I had to suspend my disbelief and remember this was a movie. There is no way that I would let my partner invite a strange couple we’ve only just met into my home. No-se-re.

I loved Psycho-Pfeiffer. It was great to see her back. Showing Lawrence how it’s done. She played the crazy doctor wife brilliantly. Mind games well and truly in flow. Like a cat playing with a mouse (And yes, I totally meant the Catwoman reference).

The pace was agonizing BUT I was still wanting to see where this was going. BUT the second half of the film completely ruined all that build up. So much so that by the end, it made that story line (almost) completely irrelevant.

Aronofsky really did pull the wool over my eyes. He completely turned the film on its head. I expected this domestic psycho-thriller to unfold into something else. BUT not this!

With more and more people turning up to see Him, I thought something creepier was going to happen.

Especially with the haunting sequences in which the house appeared to be “speaking” to Mother. A bleeding heart in a toilet was an unexpected image I won’t forget any time soon.

I mean it was unsettling BUT it was such a bloody visceral mess and not in the good kind.

I could see what the director was trying to do. Delivering social commentary and satire. BUT there was only so much religious imagery and mayhem that I could take!

The finale unravelled his true intent and I was surprised. I just didn’t like the end result. It wasn’t worth the two hour slogfest.

I didn’t enjoy it (Not that it was ever going to be a movie for “enjoyment”).

Okay granted, it has a been over a month since I saw Mother! and the experience is still fresh in my memory.

BUT I think that was only because of the sheer disappointment. It was torturous. I felt like I was going through this chaotic hell ride with Mother. A ride that I wish I hadn’t taken. Even with the surprising cameos popping up in the mental and sporadic closing minutes.

As much as I have had time to discuss plot points and themes, I still didn’t think Mother! was that special.

Bravo, Mr Aronofsky for pulling the wool over my eyes. You won’t be doing it again.

2/5

*NEW* IT REVIEW *NEW*

IT didn’t do much for me.

The highest grossing horror movie in box office history? Really?

A group of bullied kids band together when a shapeshifting demon, taking the appearance of a clown (Bill Skarsgard), begins hunting children.

For all the hype, I expected something more. Not to say, I didn’t enjoy it.

BUT a horror movie is supposed to scare you, right? Unsettle you, creep you out. Stick in the back of your mind days after viewing. No?

As a kid, I was always creeped out by Tim Curry’s Pennywise. Perhaps if I watched the 1990 TV mini-series now, I’ll probably laugh my arse off.

BUT it didn’t matter how demented Skarsgard’s Pennywise looked, he just did nothing for me.

Now don’t get me wrong. It was very watchable.

The creepy opening sequence was brilliantly executed. Benjamin Wallfisch’s haunting score. That little yellow rain coat. The familiar feeling of unease rising as Georgie’s boat was engulfed by that infamous sewer drain.

Skarsgard was an excellent Pennyise. He delivered a stellar turn as the iconic movie clown. The make-up and special effects were deliciously gruesome and gory.

In all fairness, I couldn’t fault any of the cast. They were all perfectly chosen for the roles.

Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) was on scene stealing form at every opportunity as Richie. Throwing in the odd quip or funny insult.

Jaeden Lieberher (Midnight Special) played Bill very well. Nailed the stammer (I don’t know if commending a speech impediment is a great line but you get what I mean, right?).

Jeremy Ray Taylor was very good as Ben, the new kid on the block (Yeah, I meant that reference IT fans). Jack Dylan Grazer was comical as the hypochondriac Eddie. BUT what do you expect with an overbearing mother like that? Sheesh. No spoilers.

The tension was built up perfectly in every scene and actually avoided going for the cheap scare. Unlike the majority of new horror movies or “found footage flicks” of late.

I loved the Stand By Me melancholy. The coming of age tale subtly composed against the darker murder mystery.

Pennywise’s appearance only scraping the surface of this seemingly idyllic town as the kids faced demented bloodthirsty bullies, lecherous pharmacists and freaky apparitions.

The grief theme was delicately handled with Bill. His parents nothing more than depressed shells. Zombies unaware of the horrors that dwell in the sewers.

Nicholas Hamilton (Captain Fantastic) was savage as the head bully Henry Bowers. He unsettled me more than Pennywise. That kid was messed up.

I did like how Pennywise attacked the gang by playing on their worst fears. The diseased leper and headless corpse apparitions were grotesque enough. And a highly unsavoury encounter between Beverly (Sophia Lillis) and her father left me on tenterhooks.

BUT the pace was a bit slow for my liking. There was a lot more humour than I expected. Sometimes a little too much that it killed the atmosphere. Sorry, I like my horrors dark.

I know they’re teenagers but the rock throwing altercation with the bullies with the overbearing 80s jams was a little silly.

If I’m honest, I found my patience running thin, the more Pennywise appeared. The running and screaming got on my nerves. I would have punched that clown in the face. Seriously. Beastly teeth or otherwise.

I don’t think it helped that I find clowns funny. So when Pennywise was delivering his freaky dance in one “creepy” scene, I was in stitches. A moment that has sparked endless (and hilarious) memes.

I mean, come on!

I didn’t jump. All the build up with no payoff. Maybe I was more inclined for the “cheap jump” trick than I thought. I just wasn’t on the edge of my seat or hiding behind my hands.

I felt Chosen Jacobs’ Mike and Wyatt Oleff’s Stanley got lost in the mix. Especially when Bill, Beverly and Ben’s love triangle came into play. BUT with such a mad bunch of eclectic characters, it was due to happen. Shame.

Maybe I expected too much from the hype.

My main qualm (and I know this has bugged people) was that it didn’t creep me out. Normally after I watch a horror movie, I go home and dread turning the lights on. None of that. If it weren’t for this review, I might have already forgot about IT.

Everything floats. Well, so did my interest.

IT wasn’t bad by any means.

IT created tension, delivered characters with depth and told an actual story but the pace tested and it just didn’t scare or unsettle me. The purpose of a horror film.

3/5