Movie Review: Halloween (1978)

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here. The final review in my Month of Spooks series. I’ve had fun with it, but as you know, all good things must come to an end (for this year at least, wink wink). So let’s go out with a bang by talking about the movie with the perfect title for this occasion.

Ladies and gentlemen… this is “Halloween”!

Fifteen years after he killed his sister and got sent to a mental hospital, Michael Myers manages to escape, returning to the town of Haddonfield to kill once again. So now we have our slasher plot. And I think it’s actually pretty great. While this is kind of the grandfather of slashers, setting up several of the cliches of the genre, but it also does it with a lot of subtlety, relying more on slow tension-building rather than just jumpscaring the audience every five minutes. It is a slasher… but one with nuance and subtlety as it’s primary ingredients, and that’s why the plot holds up so well here.

The characters in this are likable and interesting. First up we have Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, a high school student who just wants to have a chill and enjoyable halloween night. But as we all know, that takes a bit of a left turn when a certain someone comes to town. She’s a nice, fairly normal, and relatively crafty young woman who I liked following, hoping she would make it. And Curtis is really good in the role. Next we have Donald Pleasence (R.I.P) as Sam Loomis, the doctor who tried helping Michael for years, but ended up giving up in more recent years when he saw that Myers was beyond helping. He knows that Myers has to be taken down, but there’s also remorse behind his eyes, as if he’s sad that he failed at helping Michael, making him a compelling character. And Pleasence is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Nick Castle, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by John Carpenter, and it’s really good. Heavily based in synth, it creates an atmosphere that just oozes suspense and uneasiness. There are a couple of the more typical horror stings that aren’t great when repeated a couple times, but for the most part the score here still holds up very well. And man, that theme is still exquisite.

As you all know, this movie was written (with the help of Debra Hill) and directed by John Carpenter, and he did a great job. Remember how I mentioned that the story relies more on subtlety than on just blatant horror bullshit? Well, that translates to Carpenter’s direction as well. It’s slow, subtle, and generally helps create an eerie vibe that absolutely creeped me out. Adding to that is the cinematography by Dean Cundey, which not only looks great, but also helps sell the almost uncanny vibe of Michael Myers’ stalking.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

So yeah, “Halloween” is still great, 40 years after its release. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Halloween” is a 9,78/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Halloween” is now completed.

The night HE came to my blog.

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Movie Review: Hellraiser (1987)

And as we reach the end of October, we come to the penultimate Month of Spooks review. Kinda bittersweet as I love doing these reviews, but I’m also looking forward to talking about non-horror stuff again. But it’s not completely over yet.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hellraiser”.

After moving into a new house, Julia (Clare Higgins) discovers the recently reanimated corpse of her former lover (Sean Chapman), who urges her to bring him people to feast on so he can regain his strength. So now we have our horror plot. And I actually enjoyed it. The setup itself is pretty fun, and the way they develop on it with the help of some other supernatural things that are in the movie really adds to it. Mix it all together and we get an enjoyable horror plot that actually subverts multiple conventions of the genre.

The characters in this are… fine. I didn’t find myself too invested in their struggles and such, except for maybe one. I never thought any of them were necessarily bad, just not very compelling. First up we have Clare Higgins as Julia, the unfaithful wife who kind of makes the plot happen. Her motivations are feel kinda muddled, and I never really found myself interested in her as a character. But I can say that Higgins was pretty good in the role. Next is Andrew Robinson as Larry, Julia’s husband who is in the dark about the supernatural stuff throughout the movie. He’s a good guy who just wants to live a good life. He can come off as kind of dull, but he’s not a bad character. And Robinson is fine in the role. Next we have Ashley Laurence as Kirsty, Larry’s daughter. Remember when I said there was like only one character I actually cared about? Yeah, it’s her, she is the most compelling one for me. And Laurence is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Sean Chapman, Robert Hines, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Young, and it was fantastic. As bombastic as it was subtle, it perfectly manages to instill fear while also having a surprising amount of emotion behind it. The score here manages to elevate the movie quite a bit. Good stuff.

Based on a novella by Clive Barker, this movie was written and directed by… Clive Barker, I’ll be damned. And I have to say, I think he did a great job here. He shows here that he kinda knows what he was doing behind the camera. He shows a surprising amount of restraint here and manages to create a lot of suspense throughout. And when I say that he shows restraint it doesn’t mean that he skimps out on the gory details, because that stuff is here and it is gore-ious (HA!). But what I mean is that a lot of people directing horror could make their directing loud, abrasive, and lacking in subtlety. But Barker actually gives the viewer’s a lot of breathing room here which adds to the suspense and creepiness of the movie. Now, back to the blood and gore and effects. Holy shit, this is some disgustingly beautiful stuff. The visual effects are excellent, once again showing that practical effects can’t be beaten. They are detailed, bloody, and are just overall fantastic.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 68% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. Roger Ebert gave it 0,5/4 stars (ouch). And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While flawed, I still think “Hellraiser” is a really solid horror flick. It has a really good plot, meh characters, good performances, fantastic music, and great directing/visual effects. And as previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by most of the characters not being that compelling to me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hellraiser” is an 8,56/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Hellraiser” is now completed.

Almost at the finish line.

Movie Review: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Hello and welcome to another Month of Spooks review. So what’s on the menu today? Zombies? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Night of the Living Dead”.

The story follows a group of strangers as they barricade themselves inside of a farmhouse. Why are they doing this? Because the dead have risen from their graves and have come to feast on the flesh of the living. So now we have our survival plot. And it’s pretty good. This is the grandfather of zombie stories, and everything you recognize in a lot of current zombie stuff was born here. Sure, there were movies featuring the creates before “Night of the Living Dead”, but this is what set up most of what we know zombie stuff to be. From “Braindead” to “Resident Evil” to “The Walking Dead”, we have this story to thank for every zombie thing in our modern times. But aside from that, is this a well executed version of that? Yeah. The stories and developments that happen inside of the house when the survivors are doing anything to stay alive (and not lash out at each other), that stuff it utterly compelling thanks to some solid writing. But when we go back to the living dead it just doesn’t fully hold up, it’s just not as interesting as the survivors just interacting. I’m sure that stuff was horrifying and intriguing back in the day, but for yours truly in 2018 it doesn’t quite have the same impact. But the plot isn’t bad, it’s just a mixed bag.

The characters in this are fine, not awful, not great. Duane Jones (R.I.P) plays Ben, one of the survivors we follow, as well as being one of the first ones we meet. He’s probably the most capable of them all, constantly on his feet and thinking a step or two ahead, making him one that I’d follow in this kind of scenario. And Jones is great in the role. And in supporting roles we have people like Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman (R.I.P), Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne (R.I.P), and Judith Ridley, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by William Loose (R.I.P), and I thought it was good. Sure, it has that sort of 50s/60s cheese with a lot of low brass and theremin-esque vocals to create that sort of cheesy horror sound… and I like it, really gives the movie an interesting and often surreal vibe.

As you all probably know, this movie was written (with the help of John Russo) and directed by George Romero (R.I.P), and he did a great job here, which is especially impressive considering this was his first movie. He builds a lot of suspense thanks to his claustrophobic camerawork inside of the farmhouse, which made me feel kind of uneasy while watching this. Good job, Mr. Romero.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 88/10. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Night of the Living Dead” is a revolutionary film that I don’t love as much as some people, but still highly recommend. It has a good plot, okay characters, really good performances, really good music, and great directing. Though as previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by the zombie aspects of this zombie story not being that interesting. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Night of the Living Dead” is an 8,77/10. So while not perfect, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Night of the Living Dead” is now completed.

No, bad zombie, no flesh for you!

Series Review: Castlevania – Season 2 (2018)

I am so excited to write about this. Partly because it’s another Month of Spooks review, and partly because I’ve been looking forward to season 2 of this show for over a year. And now we’re here, ready to talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Castlevania” season 2!

Picking up very shortly after the end of season 1, we once again follow Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage) on his quest to find and take down Dracula (Graham McTavish). But this time he’s not alone, as he’s joined on this quest by sorceress Sypha Belnades (Alejandra Reynoso), as well as Dracula’s own son, Alucard (James Callis). So now we have our vampiric plot. And I thought the plot here was great. The first season already set up a good enough plot/foundation, but it was a bit on the short side with only four episodes. This time we have eight episodes, which means you can let things develop a bit more, which works very well for the show as I found this plot entertaining, compelling, exciting, and just overall really well told. It even managed to tug at my heartstrings a bit. Great stuff.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, really interesting, and also pretty entertaining. First up we have Richard Armitage returning as Trevor Belmont, the last member of the legendary Belmont clan. He’s kind of a sarcastic asshole, but not to a degree where I utterly dislike him, as you can tell that a lot of this comes from his broken life. Also, it’s just entertaining to see him play off of the other characters a bit. And Armitage does a great job with the role. Alejandra Reynoso returns as Sypha, a scholar and sorceress that has joined Trevor on his quest. She’s a tough-as-nails lady that is also smart, charming, and just generally interesting. And despite an accent that is weird and inconsistent, Reynoso does a really good job in the role. Next we have James Callis as Alucard, the half-vampire son of Dracula. He had a good life that then turned to shit after something happened that, and now years later he of course wants to take down his own father. Alucard is a clever, badass, fun, and just overall interesting character that I love seeing at the forefront like this. And Callis is great in the role. And finally have Graham McTavish returning as Dracula, this time having a much more prominent role than in season 1. He’s a tragic figure who has understandable motivations, but extreme methods, and I think he’s one of the most interesting villains in recent years. And McTavish is fantastic in the role. We also get some supporting performances from people like Theo James, Peter Stormare, Adetokumboh M’Cormack, Emily Swallow, Matt Frewer, Jaime Murray, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with season 1, the score here was composed by Trevor Morris, and it is utterly fantastic. It’s big and bombastic, but it’s also subtle and contemplative. Badass, but also emotional. His score, which utilizes brass, strings, choirs, and sometimes even synth, perfectly fits into each scene and elevates it all to a whole different level.

Based on the classic video game franchise of the same name, and written by Warren Ellis, this might be the most well crafted video game adaptation of all time. It has a lot of fun nods to the games, while still working on its own if you haven’t played them. The animation here is great. The designs look great, and everything just has a crisp quality to them that I like.  And holy shit, the action scenes in this are utterly fantastic, being fast-paced, fun, badass, and brutal as all hell… so much blood. What I was a bit surprised by this season is just how funny it was. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a comedy series in the slightest, but there’s a fair bit of humor spread throughout the season, and I found it all to be really funny without taking away from the darker and more dramatic parts of the show.

The season just came out, and doesn’t have so much data on my usual sites. It exists on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but has no score as of writing this review. But on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10.

Season 2 of “Castlevania” takes what was good about the first season and ramps it up to fucking 11. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic writing/directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Castlevania” season 2 is a 9,90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Castlevania” season 2 is now completed.

Best video game adaptation ever? Damn right, it is.

Movie Review: The Babadook (2014)

That’s right, more Month of Spooks stuff coming your way. So let’s stop it with this dawdling and get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Babadook”.

Amelia (Essie Davis) is a woman who’s had to try to raise her rambunctious son all on her own after her husband’s death. And soon her life is turned even further upside down when a sinister force starts seeping into her life, turning her challenging life into a hellish one. So now we have our plot. And I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand you have a dramatic thriller about the psychological struggles of this mother. And I find that stuff utterly compelling and kind of horrifying. Then we have the monster with the goofy name side with the plot… and those parts take me out of the movie quite a bit. Sure, those bits provide some decent creepiness, but said creepiness doesn’t stop it from taking me out of the experience. Had the plot stuck to the psychological drama, I would’ve given this movie top marks. I know, I shouldn’t judge a movie for what it could’ve been, but I am just saying that the current state of it doesn’t quite gel for me. There is a great plot in here, but there’s also a monster grabbing me and pulling my ass away from it.

The characters in this are all flawed and pretty interesting. First up we have Essie Davis as Amelia, the woman at the center of this story. She deals with a lot of grief and other emotions, even though it’s been so long since the event that caused it. And it doesn’t exactly help that her son is a real troublemaker. All of this amplified when the titular sinister force starts coming into her life, making everything horrible for her. She’s quite an interesting character. And Essie Davis is absolutely fantastic in the role. Next we have Noah Wiseman as Samuel, Amelia’s son. He’s loud, annoying, emotionally dependent on his mother, and just causes Amelia a lot of pain. But you can also tell that he never means any ill will by it all, and it’s interesting to see what effect it has on his immediate surroundings. And Wiseman is… I don’t know how to put it. There are moments where his performance is pretty good, and there are moments where it’s honestly kinda bad. So let’s just chalk it up to “fine”. And the supporting performances from people like Hayley McElhinney and Daniel Henshall are good.

The score for the movie was composed by Jed Kurzel, and it was pretty good. It managed to blend creepiness with some decently emotional beats as well to create a score that just worked quite well for the movie.

“The Babadook” was written and directed by Jennifer Kent, and I think she did a good job with it. The movie is decently shot, and Kent manages to bring in some pretty good dread throughout with her direction. This movie is decently creepy. It’s also quite impressive that this was Kent’s directorial debut, one would’ve thought that she’d been doing it for a bit longer than that. I mean, there are little mistakes here and there, but nothing that babatook me out of “The Babadook”.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

While I wasn’t blown away by it like a lot of people, I still think “The Babadook” is a good movie. It has a good-ish plot, okay characters, really good performances, good music, and really good directing. As previously mentioned, the inclusion of the supernatural monster angle didn’t fully work for me. Also, while I judge kid performances a bit differently from adult ones, there were enough bad moments from the main kid that it brings it down a little bit more for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Babadook” is a 7,87/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s definitely worth a rental.

My review of “The Babadook” is now completed.

“Fool of a Babatook” – Gandalf, kind of.

Movie Review: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. For today’s Month of Spooks post we’re going with a classic about werewolves. And it’s also a first time watch for me, so it’s pretty exciting. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “An American Werewolf in London”.

After getting attacked by a werewolf while trekking through the English countryside, American college student David (David Naughton) gets sent to the hospital. And we follow him as he tries to cope with the possibility that he might turn into a werewolf himself. So now we have our story. And I think it’s really good, and I think a lot of it comes down to the tone here. While it has its basis in horror, it never takes itself too seriously. That isn’t to say that there isn’t any drama here, because there is, and I think it is fairly effective in getting the audience invested. But it is often more of a dramedy rather than a straight-up horror movie, which I think works very well, and even makes the horror parts of the plot even more effective as it’s such a change in tone and style. Good stuff.

The characters in this are interesting and entertaining. First up we have David Naughton as David, the college student who might be turning into a werewolf. Seeing his development as he copes with the thought of turning as well as everything else surrounding the entire situation is quite interesting, and it makes him a pretty compelling character. And Naughton is great in the role. Next we have Jenny Agutter as Alex, the nurse who treats David at the hospital, while also being a bit of a live interest. She’s charming, clever, and just an overall fun foil for David. And Agutter is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine, Frank Oz, Don McKillop, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Elmer Bernstein, and it was good. Typical mood-building horror stuff, worked well enough for the various scenes it was used in. Then there were also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the movie, and they really added a lot to the movie, giving a bit of extra charm to it, somehow adding to the entire experience. So yeah, this movie had some good music.

This movie was written and directed by John Landis, and I think he did a great job with it. He builds a thick atmosphere here, thick enough that you can shoot it with a silver bullet, and it just adds a lot to the movie. There’s a dread that lingers in the background, and it gives a lot of layers to it all. But it’s not just doom and gloom, as there’s a fair bit of humor throughout the movie. And I found it all to be quite funny. And let’s not delay it any further. Rick Baker’s makeup and effects… they are absolutely fantastic and still really hold up to this day. Especially THAT scene. The people who have seen it know which scene I’m talking about. Mind-blowing stuff, yo.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best makeup.

“An American Werewolf in London” deftly blends horror, comedy, and drama to create an interesting and compelling package. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/makeup and effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “An American Werewolf in London” is a 9,67/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “An American Werewolf in London” is now completed.

There’s a bad moon on the rise. Awooo.

Movie Review: Eden Lake (2008)

Time for another Month of Spooks review, and this one is of an actual horror movie, I swear. So what’s on the table today? Backwoods stuff? Great…

Ladies and gentlemen… “Eden Lake”.

A nursery school teacher (Kelly Reilly) and her boyfriend (Michael Fassbender) decide to just get away for a bit, and decide to go on a romantic weekend at the remote area known as Eden Lake. But after they confront som loud teenagers, their romantic weekend away soon turns into hell on earth. So now we have our backwoods horror-thriller. And fucking hell, this shit is unrelenting. I mean, it’s utterly compelling and it had me in its grip from start to finish, but it was also quite an uncomfortable watch, which isn’t really a detriment to the movie, but it doesn’t make it very quote, unquote “enjoyable”. I do like that there’s a natural and believable buildup/escalation from the youths just being a simple nuisance, to shit really hitting the fan, adds some nice layering to it, perfectly building up the threat of the movie. The story is dark, bleak, unrelenting, unforgiving, and uncomfortable, and that’s what makes it as solid as it is.

The characters in this… I honestly don’t know what to say. The two mains are fairly likable, they’re not terrible, they’re decently well developed. Kelly Reilly plays Jenny, a teacher who just wanted a nice weekend with her boyfriend. She’s charming, likable, and when push comes to shove, she’s surprisingly tough and clever, but in a realistic and interesting way. And Reilly is absolutely fantastic in the role. Next we have Michael Fassbender as Steve, Jenny’s boyfriend. He’s the kind of guy who loves joking around with his girlfriend, but he’s not a dick. And I found him to be an interesting character to follow in this. And Fassbender is great in the role. And then we have a young Jack O’Connell as Brett, the leader of this gang of miscreants (to put it lightly). He’s a horrible individual, taking pleasure in the suffering of others, being an absolutely unrelenting threat to our two leads. And I found him to be a solid antagonist for the movie. And O’Connell is great in the role. The rest of the cast is rounded out by people like Finn Atkins, Thomas Turgoose, Jumayn Hunter, James Burrows, and Tom Gill, among others, and there is no such thing as a weak performance here, they’re all good.

The score for the movie was composed by David Julyan, and I barely noticed it. I mean, there were moments where I heard it, and in those moments it was good and worked well enough for the scene. But for the most part I never picked up on it… maybe I couldn’t hear it over the racing of my heart. But Julyan usually makes great stuff, and the little I did hear in this was good, so I’ll say that it was good.

“Eden Lake” was written and directed by James Watkins, and I think he did a great job. The level of intensity is impressive, and it had me on the edge of my seat for pretty much all of the runtime. It’s fucking unrelenting, just when you think you’re getting a minute to breathe, it comes right back and fucks with you some more. And that kind of intensity I think works excellently for the movie, and I’d say that it makes it quite scary in that regard. And Christopher Ross’ cinematography is really solid too, creating some pretty damn good looking shots.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Eden Lake” is not for everyone. But if you want an intense, uncomfortable, and brutal backwoods thriller, then I highly recommend the movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Eden Lake” is a 9,56/10. So it does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Eden Lake” is now completed.

Jesus fucking Christ.

Movie Review: E.T. (1982)

I can already hear some people mumbling “This isn’t horror, why the hell are you putting it in the Month of Spooks?”. And here’s my reasoning: It’s set during Halloween, which technically makes it a Halloween movie, which means that it works for Month of Spooks. Loophole, motherfuckers. So let’s talk about an alien non-invasion.

Ladies and gentlemen… “E.T.”!

The story follows a boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) as he one day finds and befriend and alien that he goes on to call E.T. And so we follow Elliott as he tries to keep his new alien friend hidden while trying to find away to contact E.T’s species. So now we have our family friendly alien non-invasion plot. And even when I put my nostalgia aside, I fucking love this plot. It’s a fun twist on an alien coming down to earth, usually we get aliens coming down to murder all of us, but this is about a friendly little guy. And the people behind the scenes of this manage to make it endlessly engaging, fun, charming, and just plain entertaining. It’s perfectly paced while still telling an emotionally investing story.

The characters in this are fun, interesting, and overall entertaining. First up we have young Henry Thomas as Elliott, the child at the center of the story. He has a bit of a troubled life, with his parents getting separated, among other things. But he’s still a good kid, and it’s fun to see his evolution after he meets E.T. And Thomas is great in the role. Next we have Robert MacNaughton as Michael, Elliott’s older brother. He’s kind of a jerk, but he does get some decent development throughout the movie. And MacNaughton is really good in the role. Next we have a very young Drew Barrymore as Gertie, Elliott’s young sister. Not only is she absolutely adorable, but she’s also a fun character that adds a little extra charm to it all. And Barrymore is really good in the role. We also have Dee Wallace as Elliott’s mother. She’s under a lot of stress, and Elliott’s misadventures certainly isn’t helping things out. But she’s still a loving and caring mother. And Wallace is great in the role. Yeah, ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was of course composed by the one and only John Williams. And as one would expect from that legend, the score here is fucking fantastic. The theme is as memorable as all his other ones, and the rest of the score of course has that magical, whimsical, and emotional quality that Mr. Williams is so damn good at. I don’t need to say more, you know how good this score is.

Written by Melissa Mathison (R.I.P), this movie was directed by Steven Spielberg, and of course he did an excellent job with the direction. He has a way of creating magic and excitement from the smallest of scenes. It also helps that the writing here too is absolutely delightful. But seriously, Spielberg could direct a movie of someone reading the phone book and it would be charming. Probably starring Tom Hanks. Anyway, not only does he capture the childlike wonder of Elliott discovering this alien, he also manages to create some eerie and outright disturbing moments throughout. And the cinematography by Allen Daviau is absolutely breathtaking.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 91/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie won 4 Oscars in the categories of Best sound, Best visual effects, Best sound editing, and Best original score. IT was also nominated for an additional 5 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, Best original screenplay, Best cinematography, and Best film editing.

So yeah, “E.T.” is considered a classic for a reason. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “E.T.” is a 9,88/10. Which means that if (of course) gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “E.T.” is now completed.

My blog, my Month of Spooks, my rules.

Series Review: Fortitude – Season 1 (2015)

I am aware that I’m kind of stretching it a bit here in terms of the Month of Spooks, but there are aspects of this show that kind of work for it. Also, I kind of cheated with “Mindhunter” last year, so I think I’m allowed this one this year.

Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to… “Fortitude”.

On the edge of the arctic circle lies the town of Fortitude, a frozen place with a small population. A town that has been safe for as long as it’s existed. But the peace of Fortitude is disturbed when a violent crime occurs. So now we have our cold as hell thriller. And it’s good. It has an eerie feel to it that makes it stand out from other crime-thrillers out there, and the mysteries it sets up throughout the season are quite intriguing. I was sometimes taken out of the show a bit though. While it is fairly grounded most of the time, there are occasions when it suddenly requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. Now, aside from some of those moments, this is an engaging, chilling (HA!), and overall intriguing story.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, interesting, and mostly all feel pretty realistic. I will however not go in-depth about them because the cast here is so big that we’d be here all god damn day, and none of us want that. But I can say that the cast is pretty impressive. Including people like Richard Dormer, Nicholas Pinnock, Alexandra Moen, Luke Treadaway, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Sofia Gråbøl, Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips, Darren Boyd, Mia Jexen, Christopher Eccleston, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Ben Frost, and I think he did a really good job with it. His music has a way of capturing the feel of this frozen and remote location. It’s eerie, it’s suspense-building, it’s emotional, it just works incredibly well for the show. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes too.

“Fortitude” was created by Simon Donald, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people, and I think what they created here is really interesting. For one, it’s a pretty unique location for a show. A remote town in one of the coldest parts of the world, perfect setting for this kind of show. And thanks to the directing and some frankly gorgeous cinematography, they really capture the feel of the location perfectly. They also build a lot of suspense with it, and even capture some imagery that is kind of horror-esque in how graphic and disturbing it is.

This show/season has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

While not perfect, “Fortitude” still serves up a nice, cold mystery. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously mentioned, the score if brought down a bit by the show expecting you to really bend your suspension of disbelief. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Fortitude” season 1 is an 8,91/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s definitely still worth watching.

My review of “Fortitude” season 1 is now completed.

It still kind of works as horror.

Movie Review: Constantine (2005)

So what’s on the Month of Spooks meny today? Spooky comic book adaptation? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Constantine”.

The story follows John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a private detective handling cases of the supernatural kind, as he helps an LAPD detective (Rachel Weisz) try to prove that her sister’s death wasn’t a normal suicide, but something more sinister. All while John is dealing with the recent news that he has a really severe case of lung cancer. So now we have our spooky detective story. And it’s good. Not perfect, but good. Overall it’s a very well paced story that never feels like it drags, but there is kind of a weird disconnect between the plots of the movie. It’s clear that they used the “Dangerous Habits” story arc from the comics as basis, but then added the cop with the dead sister plot onto it because I guess they needed a more movie-esque aspect in the plot. And the two sometimes tie into each other okay, but a lot of the time they don’t fully gel. Both plots on their own are really good, but putting them together like that doesn’t fully work. But overall, pretty good stuff.

The characters in this get some decent development and are all pretty interesting. First up we have Keanu Reeves (whoa) as the titular hellblazer. He’s a sarcastic jerk who doesn’t let anyone get close, for reasons we shall not disclose, but it’s some good stuff. He’s quite a departure from the comics, but I still found him to be an entertaining and interesting character. And Reeves is really good in the role. Next we have Rachel Weisz as Angela Dodson, the detective that Constantine decides to help. She’s tough as hell without it coming off as forced or unrealistic. She feels a bit more real. And Weisz is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Tilda Swinton, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Peter Stormare, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler (with some additions by Klaus Badelt) and I think he did a great job with it. The score takes influences from a couple cultures as well as taking inspiration from a couple different genres such as horror and action. And it creates a really interesting sound that elevates the various scenes where music can be heard.

Based on the “Hellblazer” comics by DC/Vertigo, this movie was directed by Francis Lawrence, and I think he did a really good job with that. While elements of the story and character have trouble capturing the vibe of the comic, his direction gets closer to capturing that feel… if it was turned up to 11 that is, but that’s slightly besides the point. But I do like the slightly gothic vibe this thing has, which often manages to add some creep factor to it all. And the cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is pretty great too, giving us some damn fine looking shots throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 46% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 50/100. Roger Ebert gave it 1,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not necessarily a great representation of its source material, “Constantine” is still a damn good supernatural action thriller. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by elements in the story feeling somewhat disjointed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Constantine” is an 8,94/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Constantine” is now completed.

Whoa.