Movie Review: The Invisible Man (2020)

The world is a scary place right now, so let’s just stay inside and escape from scary shit. So what’s on the menu? Scary shit? Oh my.

Invisible ladies and invisible men… “The Invisible Man”.

A short while after she manages to escape from her abusive boyfriend, Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) finds out that he’s committed suicide. She’s free from his terror at last… or so she thinks. “The Invisible Man” is a title that conjures up a lot of silly bullshit in my head. It’s a bit of a ridiculous premise. But this movie takes its setup and creates something that is mature and slow-paced, tackling some sensitive subjects in a way that emotionally invests the viewer from the start. And on top of that, it’s scary. The deliberate pacing allows the filmmakers to instill a slowly simmering sense of dread into every scene, fucking with the viewer’s head at every turn. It’s a story that perfectly balances a mature and serious drama with psychological thrills to create one of the most refreshing and electrifying horror narratives I’ve experienced in recent years.

The movie cleverly finds ways to quickly introduce you to the characters and get you invested in them, without purely relying on spoken exposition. Elisabeth Moss plays Cecilia, the woman at the center of our story. She’s been through some horrible stuff that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. So it’s interesting to see everything she goes through here, and how it shapes her as a person. Ups, downs, she gets to hit all the notes, and it’s utterly enrapturing. And Moss is fantastic in the role. Then we got Harriet Dyer as her sister Emily, who is really good in that role. Aldis Hodge plays Cecilia’s friend, James, and he’s really good in his role. Storm Reid is really good in her role. Really, every actor in this movie brings their A-game.

The score for the movie was composed by Benjamin Wallfisch, and I think he did a fantastic job with it. Like with the film’s deliberate pacing, it has a way of instilling a sense of dread, which chilled me down to the bone. Wallfisch also created some low-key haunting pieces for slower, more emotional scenes and some louder pieces for some of the more overtly horrific scenes, and it’s all fantastically well composed.

Loosely inspired by the H.G. Wells novel of the same name, “The Invisible Man” was written and directed by Leigh Whannell. And man, he did amazingly with that. His direction is slow and confident, creating suspense on a level that is seldom seen in a lot of mainstream horror. And when you combine Whannell’s directorial skills with Stefan Duscio’s otherworldly cinematography, you get some insanely engaging and memorable visuals that add to the drama and horror.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“The Invisible Man” is the rare remake/reimagining that goes above and beyond in justifying its existence. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Invisible Man” is a 9,90/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Invisible Man” is now completed.

You can’t see the man, but you should see the movie.

Series Review: The Outsider (2020)

Alright, first review of an actual 2020 release. We’re finally getting into the new year properly.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Outsider”.

When a young boy is found having been raped and murdered, the evidence points to local baseball coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) having done it. But as Detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) looks further into it, there seems to be more to the case than meets the eye, leading Ralph down a dark and complicated path. So now we have our dark mystery series. And I would say the story here is a really intriguing one. The way this case evolves the further we get into the show is fascinating, making for some really interesting and often suspenseful television. It’s often also quite disturbing, but in a way that serves the story and doesn’t feel like cheap exploitative crap. Now, there are parts of the show where not much happens, and that drags it down ever so slightly. I don’t mind a slow burn (hell, most of this show is a slow burn), but there’s a difference between slowly burning drama and no real development. That said, it doesn’t full on ruin the show for me… it’s still a great and chilling story.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and overall quite interesting. First up we have Ben Mendelsohn as Ralph Anderson, an aging police Detective who’s the lead on this case. He’s a determined man, ready for action at any point, while also dealing with some personal demons. And Mendelsohn is great in the role. Next we have Cynthia Erivo as Holly Gibney, a private investigator who gets brought in to help out with the case at a point in the story. She’s a bit eccentric, but also absolutely brilliant at what she does, making her a very valuable part of the cast. And Erivo is great in the role. Jason Bateman is good as disgraced baseball coach Terry Maitland. Bill Camp is great as defense attorney Howard Salomon. Yul Vazquez is great as fellow detective Yunis Sablo. Julianna Nicholson is good as Terry’s wife Glory. We also get supporting work from people like Paddy Considine, Jeremy Bobb, Mare Winningham, Derek Cecil, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans (two names we haven’t seen on this blog in quite a while). And I think they did a great job in creating an eerie and chilling score that perfectly encapsulates the dark and creepy vibe that the rest of the creative team were going for. There’s also a few licensed songs used throughout the show, and they work well enough in their respective scenes.

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, “The Outsider” was developed for HBO by Richard Price, with writing by him and a bunch of other cool people (including my favorite author, Dennis Lehane), and directing by a few other cool people (including Jason Bateman and Karyn Kusama). And this is where the show is at its best. The craft is fucking immaculate. The slow burn of the story is very much part of the directing too, and I like that, as it gives the show this cold and almost otherworldly vibe that constantly kept me on my edge to some degree. And the cinematography, split over the ten episodes between Kevin McKnight, Zak Mulligan, Rasmus Heise, and Igor Martinovic… it’s stunning. Each shot is meticulously planned, making for quite an engaging visual experience.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 69/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8.6/10 and is ranked #192 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

While it does drag a little in parts, “The Outsider” is still a damn good show that I highly recommend. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Outsider ” is a 9/10. So it’s definitely worth watching.

My review of “The Outsider” is now completed.

I need to read more Stephen King.

Movie Review: The Machinist (2004)

Christian Bale, you crazy motherfucker. Lose weight, gain weight, skinny, muscular, skinny, fat… all that change can’t be good for the health. It’s impressive, but it also has me worried.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Machinist”.

Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) is an industrial worker who hasn’t been able to sleep for an entire year. And his life soon takes a disturbing turn for the worse, when he starts suspecting that someone is trying to fuck with his life. So now we have our thriller. And I thought the plot here was really good. It had a very weird, dreamlike atmosphere that I haven’t experienced many times before. And it gives the plot a decent layer of suspense. And the mystery surrounding Trevor and what’s happening to him is really layered, intriguing, engaging, and at times even disturbing.

The characters in this are layered and interesting. First and foremost we have Christian Bale as Trevor Reznik, insomniac industrial worker. He’s interesting to follow as the paranoia that surrounds him suspecting… well, everything makes him twitchy, and potentially a bit of an unreliable narrator, which I always enjoy seeing in movies. He’s deep, layered, and a fascinating character to study. And Bale is fantastic in the role. Yes, even if you look past the weight loss. And we get some supporting performances from people like Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Sharian, Michael Ironside, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Lawrence Gilliard Jr, Reg E. Cathey (R.I.P), and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Roque Baños, and it was great. It has an eerie, dreamlike quality to it that fits very well with the story of the movie. It also helps to just elevate a lot of the drama and suspense here. It also reminds me of “The X-Files” at a couple of points, which is never a bad thing.

The movie was directed by Brad Anderson and I think he did a great job. His direction is very tight and claustrophobic, which adds to the paranoia of the entire situation. It manages to make it feel a bit more tense and unpredictable, which never hurts in a movie like this. What also helps with this is the cinematography by Xavi Giménez, which both captures all those things I mentioned before, and overall looks fucking fantastic.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 77% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“The Machinist” is an eerie and incredibly well made psychological thriller. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Machinist” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Machinist” is now completed.

Not a lot of movies these days where you can hear the “ominous clarinet”.

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: We Are Still Here (2015)

And the month of spooks continues. So what’s on the menu today? Haunted shit? Cool.

Ladies and gentlemen… “We Are Still Here”.

To try to cope with the recent death of their son, a couple (Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) move into a remote New England house. But it doesn’t take long for them to find out that there’s something sinister about their new home. So now we have our spooky plot. And I find it to be good. I like that it plays around with a lot of haunted house clichés we’ve seen before in ways that makes it all feel fresh. I also like that it has an old school slow burn feel rather than the rushed factory made spookfest that so many are these days. That said, it’s not perfect. There are moments where the slow burn kinda turns into nothingness. I’m all for a slower burn, but there still needs to be some kind of hook. And there are moments throughout the movie where there is none, keeping those slow moments from feelings the most relevant. But overall it’s still a well crafted and intriguing story that both engages and chills.

The characters in this are layered, interesting, and overall entertaining. Barbara Crampton plays Anne, the woman at the center of this story, and the first to acknowledge that something might be up with the house. She’s still broken up about the sudden death of her son, and it helps make her a more interesting character as she goes through the film’s events. And Crampton is fantastic in the role. Next we have Andrew Sensenig as Paul, Anne’s husband. While the death of his son has had some effect on him, he clearly has moved on a bit more. He’s also a skeptic to the idea of spooky shit going on. But he’s never an asshole about it, as I found him quite likable. And Sensenig is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham, Michael Patrick Nicholson, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Wojchiech Golczewski, and it’s pretty good. It does have a similar sort of eerie droning sound as many other horror scores, but I think this one stands out a little better as it captures the isolated and cold feeling of the location. Would I be able to recognize a track from it if I randomly heard it? Not really. But it’s still pretty good and works well enough for the movie.

“We Are Still Here” was written and directed by Ted Geoghegan, and I think he did a really good job with it. He clearly has a knack for making a person feel uncomfortable with simple camera movements as well as what he puts in the fore/background. But his direction here is tight and helps build a decent amount of suspense throughout. And while I was creeped out in parts, I don’t think I was fully scared. But I don’t think I needed to, as the creepiness factor keeps it from feeling like a failure. Also, I’m not saying exactly what happened, but there are some really effective/enjoyable deaths in this movie that brings it up a notch for me.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,7/10.

While not perfect, “We Are Still Here” is still a really enjoyable and well-crafted movie. It has a good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a little bit by a few moments throughout being kinda dull. Time for my final score. *BOO!*. My final score for “We Are Still Here” is an 8,88/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “We Are Still Here”.

That title sounds like something annoying house guests say when you try to get them out.

Series Review: The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 1 (2017)

Shit. I thought tv was a form of escapism, not a look at how the world was, is, and will be at its most shit states.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Handmaid’s Tale” season 1.

America has turned its back on human decency… oh sorry, I’m reading the news, not the show’s plot synopsis. *Gets slapped*. Okay fine, I’ll do it properly! Topical jokes aside, in the not too distant future, America has become a society where women are considered lesser creatures and then get forced into sexual slavery under high ranking commanders. Through the show we follow a young woman named June (Elisabeth Moss) as she on a day to day basis lives as a handmaid. So now we have our dystopian drama. And I must say that the plot here is incredibly compelling. We get good looks into both the show’s present time as well as flashbacks to what June’s life was like prior to everything going to shit. The drama is harrowing and disturbing, but there’s always also a sense of hope throughout, making it all a bit more watchable than if everything was just bleak and sad. That said, it’s not exactly a happy show. The plot is dramatic, compelling, well paced, and endlessly interesting.

The characters here are layered, compelling, and just overall very interesting. First up we have Elisabeth Moss as June (also known as Offred). She’s a determined a clever woman who falls in line with this horrible reality that she’s part of so she can survive. But we do also see her get some really solid character development throughout, and that’s where I’m leaving it as I don’t wanna ruin most of it for you. And Moss is fantastic in the role. Next up we have Joseph Fiennes as Fred Waterford, the commander that June slaves under. He’s quite the interesting figure, as he clearly is all in favor of this horrible world, but he also shows respect towards anyone under him. He’s a really intriguing character. And Fiennes is great in the role. Next we have Yvonne Strahovski as Serena, the wife of commander Waterford. She’s quite an ice cold bitch, but does show a more vulnerable side at times which makes her quite an interesting character. And Strahovski is great in the role. The final one I’ll go into some detail with is Nick, who’s played by Max Minghella. He’s basically a driver and such under Waterford, and becomes a bit of an ally of June’s over the show. He is quite the interesting guy. And Minghella is really good in the role. Through the show we also get supporting performances from people like Ann Dowd, Alexis Bledel, O-T Fagbenle, Amanda Brugel, Samira Wiley, Nina Kiri, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Adam Taylor who I think did a great job. His music has a very eerie feel to it, highlighting just how disturbing and fucked up this world is. But it’s also emotional, suspenseful, and overall just well composed. There’s also a good amount of licensed tracks used throughout, and they all work quite well within their respective scenes.

Based on a novel by Margaret Atwood, the show was created by Bruce Miller, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people. And all this comes together to make one suspenseful and tightly directed show. And the cinematography by Colin Watkinson is absolutely stunning, some of the best I’ve ever seen in a tv show. What is also great about it is that none of the shots feel out of place. A lot of times pretty shots are added to a movie or show just to have a pretty shot with no actual purpose, but here all the gorgeous shots have a reason to be there.

This show/season 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 92/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 and is ranked #148 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a harrowing but also beautiful show. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Handmaid’s Tale” season 1 is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Handmaid’s Tale” season 1 is now completed.

I got nothing clever to put here. I used up my topical joke at the beginning.

Short Film Review: Conscientia (2017)

This is something that doesn’t happen often, me reviewing a short film. And before we begin, I will be 100% transparent with this. I was asked by one of the people who made this short to review it early. The guy who asked me is someone I consider a friend, and I wanted to make that clear because any potentially good things I might have to say about this are not because of my previous affiliation with these guys. I will judge this on it’s own merits. So let’s find out if it’s any good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Conscientia”.

Samuel (Jakob Lewis Barnes) is struggling with his inability to sleep, which causes him to slowly lose his mind and perception of reality. This soon comes to a head during one fateful night. So what we have here is a weird yet interesting horror plot that is told in a somewhat non-linear style. You can still easily pick up on what order things are in, but it’s still not a straight line of events. And I have to say that I quite enjoyed the plot here. It is simple enough to follow along easily, but it still has some slightly more complex ideas that will make you think. The short format makes it feel a little bit thin and not fully developed, but they still do a pretty good job to condense the idea into a shorter format.

Here we have two characters, one that we get to know a little bit, and one that is just kind of there. I get that you can’t give them super big arcs when you keep it this short, but I didn’t find myself fully invested in the two here. Jakob Lewis Barnes plays Samuel, our protagonist/insomniac. His psychological struggle is interesting to watch, but I’d like to see it developed a bit more. But at least Barnes gave a really good performance here. Then we have Hannah Thomas as Lauren, a woman that Samuel seems to be dating. And she’s the one that I explained as “just there”. With Samuel you get some idea of what type of character he is, but with Lauren it’s just “Hello, I am character” and not much else. Thomas gives a good performance, even though her character doesn’t do much. So overall, good performances, okay-ish characters.

The score was composed by Martin Gratton, and I think he did a good job. The score was chilling and eerie, and it really helped sell the uneasy feel that the director clearly wanted to go for. So yeah, good score for the short.

This short was directed by Nick Deal and I think he did a good job working with his limitations. The short feels somewhat claustrophobic since it’s set mostly inside one small apartment, and Deal’s direction (combined with Gratton’s aforementioned score) helps the short feel tense, eerie, and creepy, elevating it beyond it’s small budget. The talent and ambition here is great enough to be able to make something that exceeds their limitations, and I respect that quite a bit.

While not perfect, “Conscientia” is still a pretty damn good short. It has a good plot, okay-ish characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. My flaws with it is that some aspects feel slightly underdeveloped (but it’s not a dealbreaker). Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Conscientia” is a 9,11/10. While flawed, I highly recommend watching it (when it gets released).

My review of “Conscientia” is now completed.

Firstly: Nick, Jakob, Jumpcut… thank you for giving me this opportunity, I feel truly honored.
Secondly: “Conscientia” will be released on Monday, only on youtube.

The Month of Spooks 2017 Roundup

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen of the internets. Another Month of Spooks has come to an end, and it’s been a good one. There’s been spookums, there’s been hookums, and we’ve had a solid mix of horror stuff. So here’s a post to round up all the posts that have been done in the name of the Spook, both from me and from my guest reviewers (lovingly called my little Spookers).

Let’s just start with my stuff, since that’s the least interesting.
Insidious Movie Review
Wolf Creek Movie Review
The Lost Boys Movie Review
We Are What We Are Movie Review
Sinister Movie Review
Van Helsing Movie Review
Mindhunter Season 1 Review
Daybreakers Movie Review
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil Movie Review
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Movie Review
The Conjuring Movie Review
What We Do in the Shadows Movie Review
Stranger Things Season 2 Review
Get Out Movie Review
30 Days of Night Movie Review

Let’s see, that is… 15 posts from me… that’s not bad. But enough of me… time for my little spookers!

Sasha AKA. Chewbasha AKA. Binge Watch Bash

The first one to sign on for this silly thing was Sasha, one of my friends from twitter. She was intrigued about writing about horror stuff, especially since she seemingly wanted to do more things for her blog. I happily had her on board, and soon she started delivering quality posts. Now, she intended to write more posts than she did, but things got in the way for her. But what she did give us… was pretty fucking awesome.

Raw 
Pet Sematary
The Love Witch
The Invitation
The Voices

Those were Sasha’s awesome posts. NEXT PERSON.

Gavin AKA. MiniMediaRvwr AKA. Mini Media Reviews

The second person to sign on was Mr. Gavin. We’d had interaction on twitter and such several times before, but I was a little surprised when he seemed genuinely enthusiastic about joining in on my silly little thing. That said, I was also really happy because Gavin’s a cool dude and a good writer, so getting him on board was just awesome. He was also incredibly generous, giving us a metric buttload of posts. So let’s get into it.

Saw
Nosferatu
Audition
You’re Next
In The Mouth of Madness
Night of the Living Dead
A Tale of Two Sisters
The Purge: Anarchy
The Purge: Election Year
Angel Heart
The Wicker Man
Pulse
Baskin
The Fog
Haute Tension
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Raw
Gerald’s Game
The Borderlands
Final Destination
Ouija: Origin of Evil
Hounds of Love
Dracula Untold
Inside
House on Haunted Hill
Creep
Happy Death Day

Thank you for that, Gavin… that was quite a lot. Anyhow… NEXT.

Craggy AKA. The Craggus AKA. What The Craggus Saw

For the second year in a row we have The Craggus tagging along for the Month of Spooks. Not only is he a good writer and a cool dude, but he is also the one putting together the logo for this whole thing. So once again, thank you sir. Now, let’s get into his posts.

Dracula
Frankenstein
The Mummy
The Invisible Man
Bride of Frankenstein
The Wolf Man
Abbott ant Costello Meet Frankenstein
The Ritual
Creature From The Black Lagoon
The Monster Squad
To The Devil A Daughter
Monster House
The Witches
I Am Alone
Happy Death Day

Thank you for all that, Craggus. Appreciate it.

Now, just as a general shoutout: Jia Wei AKA. JW AKA. Film and Nuance

Now, what I mean with the “Shoutout” thing in his introduction is because he had actually signed on to take part in this, however he never actually got around to making any posts for us. But since he was signed up I thought I’d at least give him a shoutout. He’s an incredibly talented writer and overall really nice guy, so he deserves all the visits he can get (same with all of these people). So click the “Film and Nuance” link in his intro to go there and give him some love.

Well, that’s about it for this. Huge thanks to my little spookers for delivering great stuff. And of course, a huge thanks to any and all people who popped in to read my stuff this month… I appreciate so god damn much. That’s it for the Month of Spooks 2017!
Have a good one!