Movie Review: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

During last year’s Month of Spooks, I reviewed “Night of the Living Dead”. Now in 2019, we’re moving on to its legendary pseudo-sequel. To be honest, I didn’t even plan this sequelization, it just happened. SERENDIPITY, HO!

Brainies and gentleflesh… “Dawn of the Dead”.

The world has gone to shit. Zombies are rapidly taking over everywhere. And in all this chaos we follow a small group of survivors as they seek shelter inside of a shopping mall. It’s a solid enough premise for a zombo flick, and the overall execution of it is damn good too. It works because it’s not only about some people trying to survive, but also because there’s a healthy dose of social satire strewn throughout the movie, giving the movie a bit of an edge over most zombie movies out there. Now, while I praise it for going in a unique direction with its story (for the time), I do have some issues with it, mainly in regards to pacing. It takes a bit for the main part of the plot to get going, and there are then moments throughout where the pacing drags ever so slightly. But for the most part, the plot here moves at a good pace and is overall a well written, fun, and surprisingly nuanced take on the zombie sub-genre.

If you asked me what the characters’ names were, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I can see the characters and recognize them, but I have no real clue about who they are beyond “Oh yeah, you’re a guy in this”. Despite this, I found them quite interesting as subjects of this satirical zombo story. The way they interact and handle various situations is quite interesting. And the performances are all quite solid.

The score for the movie was composed by Dario Argento, along with Italian rock group Goblin. And it’s an interesting score. At times big, at times a bit more somber, it is an unusually unpredictable score that overall just really fit the movie well. It often adds to the enjoyment of the various scenes.

Just like with its predecessor, “Dawn of the Dead” was written and directed by George A. Romero, who I think did a solid job with it. You can tell that he’s gained a bit more confidence as a director between movies, as he very cleverly creates a unique mood with his direction, a mood that is often uneasy, but still enjoyable.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

While I don’t necessarily adore it as much as some people, I still think “Dawn of the Dead” is a damn fine movie. It has a really good plot, okay-ish characters, really good performances, good music, and really good writing/directing. Though as mentioned earlier, it is brought down a bit by some mild pacing issues. Time for my final score. *Braaaaains*. My final score for “Dawn of the Dead” is an 8,78/10. So while not perfect, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Dawn of the Dead” is now completed.

Yup

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Movie Review: Mimic (1997)

That’s right, more Month of Spooks content. And today it’s from one of my favorite directors. So let’s go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mimic”.

A few years ago, a special insect was created to eradicate disease-carrying cockroaches. Now, that action is carrying dark, violent consequences. So now we have our horror story. And I am so mixed about it. I can see the strong vision in it, there’s a lot of clever shit going on with it here. But man, there’s something about it, the way it’s put together that just feels off. And I know exactly what that is, which we will get into later. Again, there’s good stuff going on in the background, but the way it’s cut together… it doesn’t really work.

The characters in this, like the story, have some decent ideas to them, but end up suffering due to how this is cut. You have a stellar cast consisting of people like Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin, and Charles S. Dutton… but I didn’t really care so much about their characters on a level other than “Oh hey, that’s an actor I like!”. I can see the foundations for the characters peeking through, and it’s not bad… but again, the final execution fucks with this a bit. So I guess I’ll just say, the performances are very good, but the characters unfortunately suffer.

The score for “Mimic” was composed by Marco Beltrami, and it’s alright. Sometimes it can be slightly overbearing in how it tries be loud and startling. And at other times it’s this low-key and haunting score that adds a very welcome amount of emotional weight to proceedings.

Based on a short story by Donald Wollheim, the movie was written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins, directed by del Toro… and cut to shit by the Weinstein brothers (I told you I’d get around to explaining). Some of del Toro’s vision does shine through at times, which in combination with Dan Laustsen’s cinematography can make for some stunning shots and moments. But if you do a bit of sleuthing on the production of this movie, you’ll find out that there were frequent clashes between del Toro and the producing brothers. While del Toro got to shoot the movie he wanted, thanks to interventions form Mira Sorvino, he had no control of the final cut, which was in the hands of the dumbnamic duo, which is why it feels so weirdly chopped up at times, why it doesn’t quite reach that strong vision that can be spotted in certain moments. Which is a shame, because the little quality that can be gleaned… it’s strong. Fucked over, but strong.

On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 61% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 55/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

I don’t wanna say negative stuff about movies, especially not ones with one of my favorite directors attached to them… but the producers butchered it too much to give a positive review. It has an okay-ish plot, not great characters, really good performances, pretty good music, and really solid directing/cinematography. However, it all gets undone by a poor final cut. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mimic” (the theatrical cut) is a 4,87/10. Saddens me to say that I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “Mimic” (the theatrical cut) is now completed.

Apparently there’s a director’s cut that del Toro released a few years back. Might need to get around to that some day.

Movie Review: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

And the Month of Spooks continues. This time with a strange hybrid. So here we fucking go.

Ladies and gents… “From Dusk Till Dawn”.

A pair of criminals (George Clooney & Quentin Tarantino, yes really) are on the run for some horrible crimes they committed. To stay away from the law, they take refuge in a titty bar somewhere in Mexico. They are however in for a horrible surprise, when they find out that the people at the bar aren’t exactly what they appear to b- vampires, they’re vampires. So now we have our profane crime-thriller/vampire movie. And the story here is fine. Straightforward, but clashing in tones. One moment it’s this Tarantinian crime story, then it’s a family drama, then it’s horror, then it’s a dark comedy. While there are a lot of solid moments here, they don’t necessarily flow that well into each other, creating these tonal clashes. Like I said, there’s a lot of fun moments, and it does entertain in that sense, but the lack of good transitions does distract at times.

The characters in this are decently interesting, if a bit poorly defined at times. George Clooney plays Seth Gecko, one of the two brothers on the run from the law. He’s assertive, strict, bit of a dick, but does at times show a more human side (even if his exterior still screams asshole). He’s clearly the leader of the two, and he’s an interesting character to follow, even if he’s not very likable (which might put some people off). And Clooney is great in the role. Next we have Harvey Keitel as Jacob Fuller, a family man that’s been kidnapped by the Geckos. He’s a former preacher just trying to enjoy a nice trip with his kids, but that of course goes a bit awry. He’s a decently interesting guy, and Keitel is great in the role. Next we have Quentin Tarantino (yes, really) as Richie Gecko, Clooney’s younger brother. He’s a creepy psychopath. That’s all I’ll say, as I don’t wanna get into too much detail. And I honestly think Tarantino is good in this role, it’s probably the best performance I’ve seen from him. We also get supporting work from people like Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Tom Savini, Danny Trejo, Salma Hayek, Fred Williamson, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Graeme Revell, and it’s good. It’s not too prominent, but when it can be heard, it’s pretty good, creating some decent ambiance. The movie also has a fair bit of licensed tracks used throughout, a lot of them within the blues-rock genre, which not only fits the movie surprisingly well, but also is right up my alley. So yeah, this movie has good music.

“From Dusk Till Dawn” was written by Quentin Tarantino, and directed by Robert Rodriguez (not the last collaboration between the two). And Jesus heart-staking Christ, it’s obvious form a mile away. Tarantino’s dirty dialogue, Rodriguez’ energetic and oft campy direction, it’s all here in spades, and it gives the movie a nice sense of energy that keeps it from getting boring. It also does add a bit to the action scenes that exist in the movie, which are fun to watch, partly due to the stuff I just mentioned, and partly due to the really solid visual effects that are on display here.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 64% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 48/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

So while “From Dusk Till Dawn” has a fair bit of flaws, I still enjoyed watching it. It has an okay story, okay characters, great performances, really good music, and really good writing/directing/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “From Dusk Till Dawn” is a 7,56/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “From Dusk Till Dawn” is now completed.

Daaaark Night. It’s a Daaaark Night. What? It’s a good song. Even the movie knows it.

Series Review: The Strain – Season 1 (2014)

Hey, finally a tv show in the Month of Spooks.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Strain” season 1.

After a plane filled with dead people lands in New York, a mysterious viral outbreak begins, turning people into savage, vampiric creatures. And it’s up to Doctor Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) to find out what the hell is going on. So now we have our horror story. And it’s a good one. Sure, it does lean into some classic vampire tropes, but it also plays around with others to create something that feels fresh and unique in television. Admittedly the first few episodes are a bit on the slow side. They’re not bad, they carry a fair bit of intrigue, but they feel a bit like a drag at times. But when you get past them, and the plot truly gets going, it is an utterly compelling and quite entertaining vampire thriller.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and quite interesting. Corey Stoll plays Ephraim Goodweather, a CDC scientist who has to investigate this mysterious viral outbreak. Eph (as he’s called by so many) has a lot of personal flaws and demons in his past, and seeing him have to deal with those in tandem with this intense outbreak makes him an interesting character. And Stoll is great in the roll. Yes, pun intended. Next we have David Bradly as Abraham Setrakian, a mysterious old man who seems to know a lot about what’s going on with this whole situation. We learn a lot about him as the show goes along, and I don’t wanna ruin it (’cause it’s good and should be experienced rather than told). And Bradley is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Mia Maestro, Kevin Durand, Miguel Gomez, Richard Sammel, Sean Astin, Jonathan Hyde, Ben Hyland, Ruta Gedmintas, Robin Atkin Downes, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the show/season was composed by Ramin Djawadi (oh sweet), and it’s pretty good (what do you mean “pretty”?). It’s not among Djawadi’s best work, but he still did a really solid job, giving us some decently tense pieces when needed, and some more emotional tracks in others. It’s pretty good.

Based on a series of novels by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, the show was created by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, with writing and directing by them and some other cool people. And the craft in this show is pretty spectacular. The direction creates a fair bit of tension, while still making us feel intimate with the characters. And fuck me sideways, the use of colored lighting in this show is fucking magnificent. Reds, greens, blues, yellows, it is stunning to look at. And the visual effects are pretty great too. Since it is a Del Toro production, there’s a lot of disgusting-looking practical creature effects, with some CG mixed in at times. And god damn, it is so cool to see that here, since it makes everything going on feel more real. It also kind of adds to the horror, as it doesn’t make the scary creatures look all shiny and fake. It’s some creepy stuff.

This show/season has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

Season 1 of “The Strain” may drag a bit at the start, but it ultimately ends up being an effective and highly entertaining vampire thriller. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great writing/directing/effects/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “The Strain” is an 8,67/10. So while flawed, I still think it’s definitely worth watching.

My review of “The Strain” season 1 is now completed.

David Bradley’s a bit of a badass. Honestly never expected that.

Movie Review: Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Going a bit more old school with today’s Month of Spooks entry. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Evil Dead 2”.

After being the only survivor of an attack by a demonic force, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) runs into some strangers. And he has to team up with them to try to survive an absolute fucking onslaught of demons. So now we have our sequel/soft reboot. And fuck me, it’s good. Sure, the plot doesn’t do anything too major in terms of advancing storytelling techniques, but it instead presents some basic ideas and executes them in a way that is both scary and overall really entertaining. It manages to both be suspenseful horror and campy, fun popcorn entertainment.

The characters in this are colorful and entertaining. Bruce Campbell plays Ash Williams, sole survivor and overall main protagonist. He goes through a bit of a surprising arc here, which involves his psyche kinda getting broken by all the batshit insane/horrific things happening to him, and I really found myself caring for him. And Campbell is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva, and Ted Raimi, and they all do very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Joseph LoDuca, and it was good. Like the story, it kind of mixes more suspenseful pieces with more fun, slightly campy tracks, and this blend makes for an enjoyable score that fits the overall mood of the movie. Yeah. Not much else to say there.

“Evil Dead 2” was written by Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel, with Raimi handling direction. And Raimi has such a good grasp of how to create a compelling atmosphere, right from scene one I was invested in what was going on, thanks to Raimi’s direction, which manages to create slowly seeping chills while still being highly energetic and fun. I mean, his direction is largely why the first 25-ish minutes genuinely scared me. I also have to give a lot of cred to the team that created the various effects throughout the movie, because they were fucking spectacular. Puppets, makeup, prosthetics, stop motion, liquids… it all looks great, and adds so much to the experience. What is also interesting is that there’s a decent amount of comedy throughout this movie, and that all of it is quite funny, and luckily never clashes with the more horrific elements of the movie.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 69/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Evil Dead 2” is an absolute blast. It has a really solid plot, good characters, great performances, good music, great writing/directing, fantastic practical effects, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Evil Dead 2” is a 9,87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Evil Dead 2” is now completed.

Groovy.

Movie Review: The Invitation (2016)

Every year for the past few years, as we get closer to October (AKA the Month of Spooks), people keep recommending this fucking movie. So there, I finally got around to it. YOU HAPPY NOW?

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for accepting… “The Invitation”.

On a night like any other, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) gets invited to a nice dinner at his ex-wife’s home. And as the night goes on, old memories keep coming back, all the while Will suspects that something might be going on. So now we have our story, and I think it’s an interesting one. What we have here is partly a character-driven drama, and partly a bit of a psychological thriller, and the blend makes for an utterly compelling and unpredictable experience that kept me on the edge of my seat from scene one. It is quite a slow burn, which might turn some viewers off, but for me it just added to the overall experience.

The characters in this are flawed, nuanced, and overall interesting. And I won’t go through them all, as that might ruin some of the reveals or interesting moments with them in case you’ll watch it. But the cast features people like Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michelle Krusiec, Mike Doyle, Jordi Vilasuso, Michiel Huisman, John Carroll Lynch, and they all are great in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Theodore Shapiro, and I thought it was good. It is this low, almost droning score that creates a bit of an uncomfortable tension in some scenes, and adds emotional weight to others. It isn’t one I’m gonna find myself listening to in my spare time, but I thought it worked quite well for this movie.

“The Invitation” was directed by Karyn Kusama, and I think she did a fantastic job with it. She has a way of staying intimate to the main character while still encompassing everything going on around. To call the direction tight and focused would be underselling it. This is complemented by the outright stunning cinematography by Bobby Shore, which gives the movie an almost dreamlike vibe at times.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

I can see now why people kept recommending me to watch “The Invitation”, because it’s fucking great. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Invitation” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Invitation” is now completed.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t get invited to a lot of stuff.

Movie Review: It (2017)

And the Month of Spooks continues! And today we’ll be talking about a Stephen King adaptation. How fun.

Ladies and gentlemen… “It”.

Maine, 1989. A group of outcast kids have to come together during their summer holiday when an evil clown (Bill Skarsgård) starts haunting them and wreaking havoc. So I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, when this story focuses on the drama of the Losers Club (the kids we follow) and their personal issues, that shit is compelling, it is insanely well written and it had me engaged. There’s a lot of nuance to that stuff, and it really adds to it all. But when it focuses on the horror shit… meh. I’ll get into that in more detail later, but for now… this plot is a mostly positive mixed bag.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, colorful, and overall really interesting. The kids feel real, I love their camaraderie, and they have great chemistry. Jaeden Martell, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, and Wyatt Oleff, they play the Losers Club, and they were all fantastic. And then we have Bill Skasgård as Pennywise. I really liked his performance, but I’m not sure if that’s for the reason the filmmakers wanted. They wanted him to be terrifying, and at times he does have a creepy gaze. But for the most part he’s just an absolute fucking ham, and I loved watching it, because I live for hammy shit. But seriously, that was a great, if a bit goofy, performance.

The score for the movie was composed by Benjamin Wallfisch, and god damn, it was great. It has many layers to it, and it helps build a strong emotional core that really manipulated me at points. Usually with horror movies, my expectations for the music are often kinda low, so I’m glad the Wallfisch proved my ass wrong by giving us some really stunning tunes. And some decently creepy ones. Good job.

Based on the beloved novel of the same name by Stephen King, “It” was directed by Andy Muschietti, and I think he did a great job. His control of the camera and flow a scene can’t be understated, it was truly some damn good stuff. Even built some decent creepiness to it at times. And the various effects in the movie, both practical and digital, were damn good. Buuuut then we get to the “scary shit”. Yeah, I wasn’t scared by it. And that’s not me being a douche about it, I would’ve loved (for lack of a better word) to have been scared by that stuff. But it never got to me. Like I said, there’s some decently creepy moments throughout, but when it tried to full on scare me, it never really worked. Partly due to the hamtastic Bill Skarsgård, and partly due to some of the audio cues added to certain scares. So the craft here is great… I just wasn’t scared.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 69/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

While it fails at spooking me, I still think “It” is a damn good movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *Boo*. My final score for “It” is an 8,78/10. So while flawed, I’d say it’s still worth buying.

My review of “It” is now completed.

I am so mixed on this movie.

Movie Review: Mulberry Street (2006)

And the spooks continue. So what’s on today’s menu? Well, it’s a movie from a creative team whose other works I’ve enjoyed. And this was their first collaboration, so I thought I’d finally get around to it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mulberry Street”.

Mulberry Street, Manhattan. It’s a hot day. A group of people go about their day. But soon that will be turned on its head when an infection that turns people into rat monsters starts spreading. It’s basically a zombie siege movie, but with a unique spin on the infection. I can respect that, and it’s clear that the writers really wanted the story to feel more fleshed out and engaging, but in the end I just didn’t find the overall execution very interesting.

The characters, like the story, are written to seem more fleshed out, but again, I just didn’t really give a shit. Maybe I could care a little bit about Nick Damici’s character at times, but that’s mainly because he’s played by the awesome Nick Damici. The cast try, and the performances for the most part are alright. But man, in the end it doesn’t do much to help me care about the people who might become a rat monster’s lunch.

The score for the movie was composed by Andreas Kapsalis, and it isn’t great. I’ve enjoyed this kind of more minimal synth-esque score before, but the way it was executed here wasn’t that great. It somehow managed to feel like it wasn’t enough, while also being slightly overbearing.

This movie was written by Nick Damici and Jim Mickle, with Mickle handling direction. Like I said at the beginning of the review, I love this team, I’ve reviewed multiple things of theirs before, all getting recommendations from me. And I get that they were working with a lot of limitations (most of them budgetary) on this. But man, I am not a fan of the presentation in this movie. It’s a shaky, handheld, early 2000s digital camera, which is a combo I don’t like. The look it creates honestly hurts my head. Moments that should be scary and intense end up becoming a little annoying.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,6/10.

I love these guys, I really do. So it kinda hurts when I say that “Mulberry Street” isn’t really that good. The plot is uninteresting, I didn’t care for any of the characters, the performances are okay, the music isn’t great, and the directing/cinematography is kinda painful. Time for my final score. *Sad ahem*. My final score for “Mulberry Street” is a 4,76/10, so I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “Mulberry Street” is now completed.

*sigh*

Movie Review: Candyman (1992)

Time for some more spookums for the Month of Spooks. So let’s stop standing around and get into it.

Ladies and gents… “Candyman”.

Grad student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) is working on a thesis about a local spooky legend known as the Candyman (Tony Todd). And as she investigates this legend, she soon comes face-to-face with the titular myth. So now we have a psychological thriller/procedural. And I’m gonna be frank with you guys, I really liked the story told here. For something that can be technically considered a slasher, there’s a surprising amount of nuance to the story, putting doubt in your mind about certain story elements, making the viewer feel uneasy about the things going on. Despite a relatively short runtime, it took its time to tell this chilling and surprisingly nuanced narrative. That’s not to say that there aren’t thrills, ’cause there are. But the story here isn’t just some thinly veiled excuse for gory slicing and dicing a la Jason Voorhees. The story here has an actual purpose, and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

The characters in this are, like the story, surprisingly nuanced and engaging. Virginia Madsen plays Helen, the grad student investigating the local legend. She’s a bit of a skeptic, so when she starts coming face-to-face with some of the strange things she doesn’t fully believe in, she starts going through a bit of a fascinating arc. And Madsen is fantastic in the role. Next we have Tony Todd as the titular legend. I won’t go into too much detail in case you haven’t seen it but want to. But let’s just say that he’s one of the more intriguing horror antagonists out there. And Todd is great in the role (and what a cool voice he has!). We also get supporting work from people like Xavier Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, DeJuan Guy, Vanessa Williams, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for “Candyman” was composed by Philip Glass, and I think it’s pretty spectacular. Sure, the opening track has some minor things that I’m not a huge fan of. But other than that, this score is wonderful. It’s eerie, yet mournful. Haunting, yet sad. Like with the things we talked about earlier, there’s a surprising amount of nuance to it, and especially with the main theme, which is one of the most stunning that I’ve ever heard.

Loosely based on a short story by Clive Barker, the movie was written and directed by Bernard Rose. And I think he did a great job with it. Yes, there are jump scares, and yes there is gore. But he still has a direction that generally relies more on a subtle creep-factor rather than constant thrills, which adds to the overall experience. There’s even a lot of fun camerawork throughout, which helps add a bit of extra energy to proceedings, and not just have it be a slightly boring, static shot of something happening.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

I was pleasantly surprised by “Candyman”, it’s a surprisingly nuanced little horror movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Candyman” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Candyman” is now completed.

Wait, how many times did I say his name in this review? 1, 2, 3, 4, fuck.

Movie Review: Shelley (2016)

Ladies, gentlemen, and space aliens, it’s finally here. The first review in my yearly blogging thing called THE MONTH OF SPOOKS! *Dramatic music, thunder & lightning, very very frightening*. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gents… “Shelley”.

A young Romanian woman named Elena (Cosmina Stratan) has come to Denmark to help a Danish couple (Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Peter Christoffersen) out as a maid. Not too long into her service she agrees to become a surrogate mother for them. And it doesn’t take long for her to discover that there might be something strange going on with this pregnancy. So now we have our little horror-drama. And it’s certainly an interesting story. Now, it’s not perfect, there are flaws. It has a little bit of an ambiguous nature, never giving an explanation for what happened. Being ambiguous isn’t necessarily a problem, but I feel like they could’ve fed us a few more bread crumbs so that we could interpret more from it, because this is maybe a little too vague with some stuff. With that said, the stuff we do get though is interesting and is made more engaging thanks to a really cool, off-brand atmosphere. The plot has a lot of flaws, but it’s still pretty interesting.

The characters in this are flawed and decently interesting. Cosmina Stratan plays Elena, the young woman who agrees to carry the baby. She’s charming and energetic, a nice young woman who wants to help people. And seeing her go through the development she goes through here is quite fascinating, making her a decently layered character. And Stratan is really good in the role. Ellen Dorrit Petersen plays Louise, the woman whose child Elena helps to carry. She generally seems like a good person, very friendly, and does everything to make sure Elena (and the baby) is comfortable. And she is decently interesting, with Petersen giving a solid performance. And in the supporting cast we see people like Peter Christoffersen and Björn Andrésen, both doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Martin Dirkov, who I think did a good job with it. It’s not a very melodic score, going more for eerie droning sounds, because that apparently makes stuff spookier. I know that sounds like a criticism, but it isn’t. Like I said, it’s overall a good score, and it works pretty well whenever it’s used within the movie.

“Shelley” was written by Ali Abbasi and Maren Louise Käehne, with Abbasi handling direction. And this is overall a very well crafted movie. Abbasi’s direction really helps conjure a creepy, off-kilter atmosphere which almost gives the movie a sort of dreamlike quality, which at times makes it a little more unsettling. Also makes for some nice shots on occasion.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,2/10.

While “Shelley” isn’t perfect, it’s still a decently creepy little horror-drama. It has an okay plot, okay characters, really good performances, good music, and really good writing/direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Shelley” is a 7,11/10. So while flawed, I’d say it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Shelley” is now completed.

Do you think that title is a cute nod to Mary Shelley? Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?