Not my best effort BUT click bait is click bait.
After getting in a car accident, a woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is held in a shelter with two men (John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr), who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.
A fantastic Hitchcockian opening sequence delivered high hopes as Mary Elizabeth Winstead attempted her Janet Leigh-esque escape from a bad break up. Bear McCreary’s sinister score. The window shots. It felt like an homage to Psycho from director Dan Trachtenberg.
Small trivia fact: I didn’t realise the voice of Michelle’s (Winstead) ex Ben was none other than Bradley Cooper’s.
The story didn’t mess about. It set everything up and let it all come tumbling down within 10 minutes. Hooked, line and sinker. One car collision later and Michelle awakens trapped in a bunker with her leg in a brace and handcuffed to the railing. Like something out of Saw.
The scene was set. The tension bubbling.
For the first 45 minutes I was transfixed, especially when John Goodman made his introduction. He was fantastic as Howard. Channeling his inner Kathy Bates. A return to form from the big man.
A ticking time bomb waiting to explode. A nuclear fall out whack job or genuine Samaritan?
I loved the Misery style cat and mouse game as Michelle tried to piece together everything that had happened. The questions mounting; was there an attack? Are they the only survivors?
It was good to see the underrated John Gallagher Jr (The Newsroom) get a meatier role to sink his teeth into as Emmett. Was he in on the act with Howard? Or another abductee like Michelle?
In all fairness, I couldn’t fault any of the performances. A crucial factor as the film relied solely on the three actors. Winstead was brilliant. She carried the film when the pace dragged, which it tragically did in places.
After the hour marker, I felt the film was running out of steam as Michelle began to accept her new life with this dysfunctional nuclear family.
Thankfully, the paranoia and suspense finally delivered as Howard’s lies became more transparent.
His concern for Michelle bordered on creepy Freudian levels as a silly game of “Who Am I?” unearthed some strange feelings. Unable to see Michelle as a woman BUT a young girl after losing his daughter.
That scene had me on tenterhooks. Goodman was intense. His “I’m always watching” conversation should have been ripe for a parody from Monster’s Inc (The Goodman link up was completely unintentional) BUT it was too unsettling as you feared the worst for Michelle.
To be honest up until the 80 minute marker, the post-apocalyptic bunker thriller had potential to hold its own as Michelle played the waiting game.
BUT then you realised that this had Cloverfield in the title. So things were about to get weird as Michelle plotted her escape.
There were a few twists BUT the finale felt tacked on and rushed for my liking. After all that slow burning tension and suspense, the teasing failed to deliver the goods for me.
It didn’t feel like a Cloverfield movie. The film’s greatest strength BUT also its greatest weakness as I felt the writers (One of them being none other than La La Land’s Damien Chazelle) quickly had to throw something in to tie this entry into the Cloverfield universe.
Don’t get me wrong, it was frenetic and racy BUT also chaotic and messy. A little disappointing with a silly open ending. Only because the following sequel we received was The Cloverfield Paradox. Sheesh!
BUT despite my grumblings, this was still a highly engaging and suspenseful thriller worthy of your time.
*NEW* SPLIT REVIEW *NEW*
A return to form from the maestro who brought us The Sixth Sense?
Or another dud to add the ever-growing backlog from that guy who gave us The Happening?
In a nutshell, meh.
BUT one thing can be agreed, James McAvoy was excellent.
Three girls are kidnapped by a man diagnosed with 23 distinct personalities. They must escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.
I think it’s fair to say that M. Night Shyamalan’s movie have . . . split audiences. Ba-dum-tssh. I read that somewhere and had to put it.
I’ve always loved the premises BUT his execution? Well . . .
Desperate to be the next modern Hitchcock (The opening title sequence for Split resembled something out of Psycho!)
His big “twists” and mad endings have failed to impress of late; The Visit (Laughable), After Earth (Jaden Smith, say no more!), The Lady in the Water (Apart from that breaking of the 4th wall moment, woeful) and The Happening . . .
How could I forget?!
What do you mean, where’s Signs and The Village? I *shuffles collar* actually enjoyed those movies. Yes, I know. Aliens attack Earth and their sole weakness is water. I know! BUT Mel Gibson and Johnny Cash, man!
I digress. I was actually excited by all the trailers to see Shyamalan’s latest thriller and I didn’t mind it. It was alright BUT it just didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
The opening didn’t mess about. An air of unease established straight from the get go as McAvoy’s “Dennis” made his introduction to the unsuspecting trio.
Funny that I was praising Anya Taylor-Joy in another mediocre movie (Morgan). She played the withdrawn but resourceful Casey well.
I didn’t expect to see Grace from Skins (Jessica Sula) in the troubled party either.
Their initial captivity felt like something from Kiss the Girls with a hint of Misery.
The first half hour set a slow burning atmospheric thriller with all sorts of questions flying around.
Every time I could feel my patience wading, McAvoy’s Dennis would introduce another personality.
McAvoy continues to impress yet again. I don’t think I would have been half as interested if he wasn’t at the helm.
He stole the show with everybody else playing second fiddle.
And that was part of the problem, every time the action was taken away from him, I lost interest.
Betty Buckley (Carrie) didn’t do a bad turn as Dr Fletcher, the therapist desperate to help the troubled mad man. Fighting for “their” cause. Playing a very dangerous game.
There were genuine moments where I felt tense. Especially when she worked out that she wasn’t talking to the “right person”.
The girls played their parts well and were quite resilient.
I expected more cliched horror movie gaffs with three teenage girls at the centre of the chaos BUT they were fairly strong characters. Not bad, Mr Shyamalan.
BUT one thing that bugged me the most was the film’s actual premise. 23 personalities?
All those trailers, billboards, posters. 23 personalities. Did we actually get 23 personalities?
For the majority of the film, we only had 4. Great performance from Professor X but a measly number that increased to maybe 7 by the end? Come on now.
It was great how with a twitch in the face and a burrow of the brow; McAvoy’s infantile nine year old Hedwig could transform into the meticulous and obsessive compulsive Dennis.
His Patricia could easily have bordered on a parody of Mrs Doubtfire.
Thankfully, it didn’t.
BUT this could have been done in 90 minutes and been better for it.
The pacing hammered the piece for me and the final act dragged.
There was so many meandering flashbacks into Casey’s past, I kept wondering what the relevance of them were?
They killed the tension and annoyed the hell out of me.
All the talk of a Beast. This new and vicious 24th personality. Those crazy descriptions and the big reveal, the “What a twist” moment didn’t quite deliver.
It was certainly creepy and unsettling with Shyamalan teasing the die hards BUT it didn’t quite pan out the way I hoped.
Different. Watchable. BUT thriller of the year? Meh.
Certainly worth a view for one stellar performance from the super Scot.
A return of sorts. Not his best. BUT certainly NOT his worst by a country mile.
KNOCK KNOCK REVIEW
Knock, knock? Who’s there? One of the worst films of the year. That’s what.
So what’s it about? A pair of femme fatales (Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas) wreak havoc on the life of a happily married man (Keanu Reeves).
Woah, this was horrific. For all the wrong reasons. At 99 minutes, this film felt considerably longer. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Roth’s work. At his best, the backpacking travel terror flick Hostel. At his worst, Hostel 2 . . . Or Cabin Fever. Well, I’ve found a new one to add to his worst list.
The opening was painfully slow. I was prepared to let the tension build before the alluring ladies made their introduction. BUT we were subjected to mindless vomit inducing cliched family chatter.
I thought writer/director Eli Roth made the opening as a joke. The exchanges were so corny. After 15 minutes, I was praying for that knock on the door as Reeves chased after kids with cake all over his gob, calling himself the ‘Cake Monster’. Cringe.
When the ladies finally made their appearance, it didn’t really didn’t pick up. A knock at the door. Some unbelievable excuse about a mix up with addresses and the femme fatales were in.
For another 20 minutes, we had to endure Reeves playing an awkward game of musical chairs as the girls flirted and shared “seductive” stories that he ate up. Because hey, why would strangers lie? “Valiantly” turning down their advances and re-iterating that he is a happily married man.
It was just so slow, uninteresting and unsettling. And not even in the creepy sense. It felt like a badly done porno. The vintage music. The awful pick up lines. The bad interior decor. An eclectic collection of trippy looking items. Reeves trying to woo the ladies with his old record player because . . . Well, would you look at that? He used to be a DJ.
All within 45 minutes of waiting for a taxi cab? Really? Things must have been getting desperate as we had to listen to some rubbish from Reeves about drying the moisture out of a damp iPhone with a bowl of rice? Come on.
When the deed finally happened, I thought “Here we go” (No, not like that). The games will begin. Oh no. If anything Izzo and Armas were really annoying. Acting like spoiled high school kids. Throwing pancakes at the wall and messing up the kitchen while refusing to leave.
Childish and even more boring. When things finally took a darker turn and their real motives finally revealed, there was only a slight improvement.
Armas wearing Reeves’ daughter’s school uniform while riding him and barking like a dog made for bizarre viewing. I’m sure Knock Knock was supposed to be a sexy horror. A cross between Misery with Funny Games with a splash of Hard Candy. Well, that was what I was hoping for.
BUT oh no! This was worse than one of Roth’s intentionally bad B-movie grindhouse flicks. There was no suspense and no tension as Reeves’ character spend the rest of the film effing and jeffing while being strapped to a chair.
His character was so stupid and his endless commentary on what the two girls were doing was highly comical. “You’re going to kill me? You ARE going to kill ME?! You came to my house”. Oh, Keanu. How the mighty have fallen!
He just didn’t even try to make an effort to escape. And when he finally mustered the brain cells to try, the girls caught him easily. One particular highlight being in one of the only tense moments in the film; Reeves looks set to break free . . . Only to trip over something. Face palm.
What sucked was that this was probably one of Keanu’s most liveliest performances in the last decade. He really went for it. It’s a shame that it came off a whole lot laughable than it should have.
Izzo (Roth’s wife. Funny that) and Armas played the parts as well as they could but it felt like something out of Scary Movie than anything else. Misery had suspense and tension. An atmosphere hanging off every scene. And that was with two people.
And to make matters worse, there were only ever going to be two outcomes with a film like this. And both were predictable and terrible. Seriously, in the cinema, most people were laughing or talking among themselves. Uninterested and rightly so.
Knock, knock? Who’s there? Oh, the Keanu Reeves horror flick? Now, that’s a joke.
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