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.
It didn’t have me screaming for the lights on.
When her little brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman – Annabelle) experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer – Warm Bodies) works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie (Maria Bello – A History of Violence).
When I first heard that James Wan (The Conjuring/Saw) had green lit the spine tingling short Lights Out, I was annoyed. Especially when I saw the trailers circulated around the Internet. A loosely stringed story stretched out into 90 minutes with a few screams along the way. Well, that’s what I thought I was going to say.
In all fairness, it was actually quite good. A creepy opening in a big dark warehouse with motion sensors certainly got things going. With every flash of the light, the dark demon grew closer to its unsuspecting prey. It was a nice touch getting the original scare victim from the short in a cameo (Lotta Losten).
Director David F. Sandberg orchestrated some genuinely creepy moments and tense sequences and certainly played on an old fear. A ghoul that attacks from the smallest patch of darkness. Spookkaaayy.
The premise wasn’t bad. Hardly original BUT it did the job. A crazed mental patient with demonic abilities latching onto a family. Why? How? Well, if I told you that, there’d be no point in watching it.
I did sigh at Palmer’s introduction as her character drudged through some cheesy guff about personal space and not trusting anyone after her mum. The corny exchanges with her silly boyfriend did put me into a mini-coma. Thankfully once little brother Martin and her drug-induced head case of a mother were brought into the mix, my interest was peaked.
Palmer was a likeable lead and Bateman was very good. As I’ve said in previous reviews, it’s tough for child actors to get that balance right. He really carried the film when some of his older counterparts might have been phoning in their lines. I was actually rooting for the little guy to survive.
Maria Bello played the mother well. Her introduction was freaky as a tired Martin walks in on her having a conversation with the demented demon in the closet. Hell to the no! The only problem was despite one other creepy scene, she was largely absent. Shame. There may have been a fair amount of cliched dialogue BUT I still liked the family dynamic and wanted more of that.
The flashbacks and endless repetition about the origins of the demon Diana and her mystery illness to light got a little annoying and killed a lot of the buzz. Despite the film only being 81 minutes, it did have the tendency to drag in parts.
BUT one thing I will commend was seeing these characters actually not make the same old horror movie mistakes. Hang on, this b*tch doesn’t like lights. I’ll surround the place with candles, UV lights, torches and put them in every nook and cranny.
The scares weren’t bad. Every time the lights went out, a feeling of unease would take over and I could feel my eyes looking at the corners of the screen. It did get me a couple of times. BUT there were moments where it relied heavily on loud noises and horrendous screams (And that was just from the hypersensitive audience! I kid you not. There was a lad hyperventilating into his hoodie. Behave!).
It was hardly ground breaking or original BUT enjoyable enough. In fact I enjoyed this more than the over-hyped misfire that was the Conjuring 2 (There, I said it!)
I’ll unfriend anyone who liked this film.
A little harsh. Some might say. But you know you’re onto a loser when everyone in the cinema is laughing. Uninspiring, unattractive and uninteresting.
As soon as the crackly Universal logo started buffering across the screen, I feared the worst.
So what’s this tripe about? A group of online chat room friends find themselves haunted by a mysterious, supernatural force using the account of their dead friend.
We see everything through the POV of Shelley Hennig’s character Blaire and the webcams of her friends. An intriguing concept, I’ll admit. That was if we wasn’t watching a teenage girl nosing around on a Mac.
The creepy YouTube video of her high school friend committing suicide certainly caught my attention and it was clever how the Facebook posts and clips filled in everything we needed to know. A malicious prank (That felt like something out of the Inbetweeners) inevitably triggers an online bullying campaign by trolls.
The notion of cyber-bullying is something that needs to be addressed but this film merely uses it as a lazy ploy for a vindictive cyber-demon.
What infuriated me was the lack in pace. Bearing in mind we are seeing a teenage girl, fully active in the social media age and adapted to the relentless technological gadgetry; she was incredibly slow at moving her mouse around. It was like watching my 80 year old aunt slowly clicking on each tab, killing any suspense or tension that the film failed to build up.
Hennig and Moses Storm were such a vomit inducing couple. Using Skype to waste screen time and bore me with cheesy, cliched dialogue that did little to make me feel anything for them. Also an online foreplay sequence involving a knife definitely set the wrong tone for its teen audience and came off unfunny and questionable.
I was praying for the troll or demon thing to make an appearance after ten minutes of listening to them whining about making Prom Night THE night and messing around with their blasted Spotify playlists.
And then the Skype chat begins and I wish I walked out. The cast were terrible. Let me rephrase. The characters were terrible. Irritating, obnoxious, deluded and stupid! As soon as Jacob Wysocki bellowed through the tinny speakers, “I can see your chodies” with his face stuffed full of Cheetos, I knew I was done.
The mindless chatter and desperate attempts to fuse any tension between the characters was futile. The flicking back and forth between the Skype chats and private Facebook chats was well done. It was just a shame that the conversations were so bland.
However, as soon as the anonymous Skype member joined in and Blaire started receiving messages from her dead BFF, my interest was finally piqued.
It was slow burning and I don’t mind that if there is a big pay off. A moment of ingenuity, suspense, shock! I had to remember that they are teenagers and some of their decisions may have been stupid but not too similar to the majority of teens out there that would do the same thing.
And some of the more logical steps they do try. Deleting said dead friend off Facebook. I didn’t know how to do that. Not remove dead friends obviously. Reporting forums. Virus software if a troll has managed to get onto your server. So I will commend where credit is due.
BUT the bickering. The yelling. It gave me a headache. It’s not long before secrets are leaked out on Facebook. The ridiculous demon forums with their silly chain letters. My teacher spoke to a demon last night and woke up dead. Perrrrleeeassseee.
Will Peltz played the douchebag Adam well but his actions and volatile behaviour were comical. Grabbing a gun from his desk and threatening an online cyber troll through a webcam was stupid. What made it worse was that the dodgy stuff hadn’t even happened yet. This was 30 minutes in when ANONYMOUS asked to play a game.
When things inevitably take a turn for the worst, there were little pockets of tension but little scares. The rule of the game being: YOU LOG OUT. YOU DIE. YOU DON’T PLAY THE GAME. YOU DIE. You get the picture. A scene in which one of the users is “punished” was just plain messed up. It surprised me. The one and only time. I thought to myself, “Okay. Going for the Saw angle. I’ll go with this”. Hand. Blender. Woah. That’s all I’m saying.
BUT alas after that little shocker, we have more squealing, more yelling and more rubbish. The game was actually not that bad. BUT the little conversations away from the Skype chat soon bored me again. Blaire still believes that it is a joke set up by her BF after two messed up deaths? Come on. She keeps typing to him in a private chat and doesn’t even look at the Skype chat window to see he is not typing and completely freaking out.
Then we have the shocking confessions as the friends turn against each other. The inevitable “Who leaked the video?” that caused so-and-so’s death? The reveal being utterly predictable and disappointing. And what do you know? They weren’t such good friends after all.
After failing to deliver scares, it went for plain stupidity. Using Chat Roulette to call for help. Seriously? Lordy lord. It got the biggest laugh out of the film. Now if this was a comedy, it would have been great. BUT in a film that promised Paranormal Activity meets Cyberbully, it was devastating. A girl in tears asking two stoners to call the police because her friend is being killed by something she doesn’t know. Unbelievable.
If you want a nail biting, tension setting thriller that deals with the true horror of online cyber bullying, please watch the superior Channel 4 drama Cyberbully with Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones. It was also brought to my attention by fellow blogger MOVIEBLORT that Unfriended stole the premise of a smaller (and better) horror film, The Den. That’s the most shocking twist of it all.
The finale finally got going as me and my friends were getting ready to go. I thought maybe we will break out of the POV when the demon appears? Oh for a only brief – TRANSMISSION ENDED.