Movie Review: Crawl (2019)

Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by crocodilians, potentially due to watching a fair bit of “Crocodile Hunter” as a kid. And possibly also because they’re badass. Either way, it baffles me that we barely get any movies featuring them, at least with decent budgets. So I’m excited to finally get to talk about such a movie.

Ladies and gents… “Crawl”.

When Haley (Kaya Scodelario) goes searching for her dad (Barry Pepper) during a devastating hurricane, she finds herself trapped in their old family home’s crawlspace, not only having to survive the vicious weather, but also a bunch of alligators swimming around. It’s a B-movie premise… but I really liked seeing it unfold. There’s enough self-aware brains within the writing to make it work. It nicely shifts between being a suspenseful monster movie and a decent enough family drama, the balance is just right. I’m not sitting here saying that it’s the greatest storytelling ever put to celluloid. But what I am saying is that it knows what it is, and works with it to create a fun and engaging popcorn thriller that managed to scare, make me feel tense, and invest me in the struggle of the people at the center.

The characters in this, while not the deepest, are written with enough nuance to make the viewer care for them, at least on a surface “I don’t want to see these guys die” level. Kaya Scodelario plays Haley, a young woman with some emotional baggage that affects her relationship to her dad. She’s clever, resourceful, and determined, and makes for an interesting protagonist that I enjoyed following. And Scodelario is great in the role. Next we have Barry Pepper as Dave, Haley’s dad with whom there’s some past issues with. I don’t have much to say, as he’s not as well defined in personality as Haley, but I still found him decently enjoyable/interesting. And Pepper is great in the role. And seriously, when was the last time we saw Barry Pepper in a movie? Dude was in everything for a while, and then he just suddenly wasn’t. Oh well, it was nice to see him show up here.

The score for “Crawl” was composed by Max Aruj & Steffen Thum, and I think they did a pretty good job with it. Some basic emotional strings, some neat horror stings, and a few other things. The score here doesn’t do anything new, but intead does all the familiar things well, creating a solid soundscape for the movie.

“Crawl” was written by brothers Michael and Shawn Rasmussen, with Alexandre Aja handling directing duties. And the craft on display here (for its relatively low budget) is pretty damn good. They really manage to create an oppressive atmosphere that helps the movie stand out in both the disaster and monster sub-genres. Even the huge storm is given a real presence that makes it feel far from cheap. Now, let’s talk about the real stars here… the gators. As expected, they’re CGI, because real gators would be too dangerous. But even for CG animals, they work quite well here… for the most part. Their animations are great, really lifelike, which makes them quite intense. Where I have to leave a slight criticism though is the texturing. Yes, they got the general gator appearance right, but it feels like they could’ve used another render or two. But I can also forgive it because of how low the budget was, and because of the presence the overall animations on the gators gave off. Quick warning too: As you probably expect, there’s some gore in this, but it’s also quite vicious. Not just blood for blood’s sake, but some genuine brutality happens. Just putting that out there in case anyone’s a bit squeamish.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

I know it sounds like I shit on it multiple times throughout, but I want to make it very fucking clear that I highly enjoyed “Crawl”. It’s a damn fine monster movie (yes, alligators aren’t monsters, but what else would you call this style of movie?). It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing, effects, and atmosphere. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Crawl” is a 9,57/10. So it does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Crawl” is now completed.

See you later, alligator…

Series Review: A Christmas Carol (2019)

I guess we gotta cover something christmas-related since the holidays are upon us. And lucky for me, we just got a new christmas mini-series to talk about. Yay.

Ladies and gentlemen… “A Christmas Carol”.

Ebenezer Scrooge (Guy Pearce) is an anti-social, greedy businessman who’s made his success on the misery of others for years. But one night right before christmas day, three spirits come to visit him to try to make him realize the fault of his ways. Everybody knows the setup for this story, question with each adaptation tends to instead come down to execution. And the execution in this series is not great. It’s a really dark, bleak, and edgy take on the classic story that is honestly stretched way too long. Sure, three episodes don’t sound like much. But when each episode is just under 60 minutes long and tries to then stretch a 110 page book out to that runtime, it just feels like it drags its ass. Plus, while the darker take sounds interesting on paper, it just doesn’t work, often taking me out of it. Even the supposedly heartwarming bits leave me feeling cold. The story’s just off for me.

The characters in this you know the basic dynamics of. But they also get given a somewhat darker edge to them that just makes things feel a little off at times. Guy Pearce of course plays the ultimate douchebag that is Ebenezer Scrooge. Anti-social, greedy, douchey… he’s just the worst. And Pearce is great in the role. You get Stephen Graham as Jacob Marley, and he’s of course great. Joe Alwyn does an admirable job as Bob Cratchit. Lenny Rush who plays Tiny Tim does a really good job. Andy Serkis as the ghost of christmas past rides the line between intimidating and hammy wonderfully. Really, all actors here brought their A-game, even if the material isn’t always up to snuff.

The score for the series was composed by Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran. It was okay. Nothing too memorable, nothing that ruined the series, but also didn’t improve it. It’s just kinda there. Moving on.

Based on the classic book by Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol” was brought to us by Steven Knight, with Nick Murphy serving as director. And while the show felt a bit lackluster in the story and character departments, it excels in the production parts. The sets are immaculate, the costumes neat, and the cinematography by Si Bell was gorgeous. You can tell that so much love and care was put into how the world was crafted.

This show hasn’t been too well received so far. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 60% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 39/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

Despite having some things strewn throughout, 2019’s “A Christmas Carol” is ultimately not a great adaptation. The story isn’t very good, the characters are meh, the performances are great, the music is meh, and the directing, cinematography, and sets are great. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “A Christmas Carol” is a 4,65/10. So despite some good stuff, I’d still recommend skipping it.

My review of “A Christmas Carol” is now completed.

If someone disagrees with me, they better use “humbug”.

12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 6)

Holy shit, we’re already halfway through this silly series of mine. Time sure flies when things happen. So let’s get into it.

Some of you might recognize the movie from the image up above. Today we’re talking about “Overlord”, a 2018 action-horror movie directed by Julius Avery, and produced by J.J. Abrams. It’s about a group of American soldiers who fall behind enemy lines during World War 2, in an attempt to make a difference in the tides of war. This might sound familiar to some of you, as I have talked about this movie on the blog before… twice, as a matter of fact (and about a kajillion other times on twitter). So now I hear you groaning “Markus, how can a grim World War 2 horror movie possibly be associated with christmas?”. Well, strap in and make yourself ready for my reasoning.

What’s one of the most important parts of christmas? Bringing joy, right? Well, you know what brings me a whole lot of joy? Seeing nazi punks get blown the fuck up, shot to shit, absolutely annihilated, and other delightful synonyms for that situation. Sure, there are parts where our heroes are stuck or pinned down, struggling with their mission. But that just makes it even more satisfying and joyous to see them destroy god damn nazi assholes. Call me a sick son of a bitch if you want, but with our world being what it currently is, this kind of violent escapism is important, especially during the season of joy.

Have a good one.

Movie Review: Midsommar (2019)

These kinds of movies are always kind of exciting. You know the ones, the movies that are quite polarizing. A lot of people love them, a lot of people don’t. Those are always the most exciting to watch/talk about, because of this discourse. So let’s chat about this polarizing picture.

Mina damer och herrar… “Midsommar”.

After suffering a terrible tragedy, Dani (Florence Pugh) travels with her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and his friends to a remote part of Sweden to take part in a festival. But what seems like a nice, relaxing way of getting away from life and gathering your thoughts, soon turns into something a bit more strange. So now we have our semi-cult horror-drama-thriller story. And here where I think the divide will occur for most people. It’s a slow burning affair, more about exploring certain themes and ideas rather than just up and spooking you. And if you don’t want to sit through that for nearly two and a half hours, then maybe avoid this. As for me, I found this a weirdly enrapturing experience. It’s not something I’ll probably ever watch again, and it’s probably not something I’ll call one of my favorite movies… but it’s a story experience unlike any other I’ve witnessed, and I was drawn in from start to finish.

The characters in this are interesting in the sense that not all of them get too much depth, but I wouldn’t want them to not be included. First up we have Florence Pugh as Dani, the young woman at the center of the story. She has gone through some shit, which has really fucked with her mental state, which we see manifest throughout the movie, which adds a bit to making her a very compelling character. And Pugh is absolutely fantastic in the role (give her an Oscar, you cowards). Jack Reynor plays Christian, Dani’s boyfriend who I have conflicted feelings about, which I think was the movie’s intent, and I found him interesting to have along. And Reynor is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, Henrik Norlén, Will Poulter, Isabelle Grill, Liv Mjönes, Hampus Hallberg, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Bobby Krlic, and I’d say it’s good. It’s not something I’d find myself listening to in my free time, but I can’t deny that it’s well composed and fits quite well within the various scenes where you can hear it. It’s an often droning score, almost dreamlike which adds to the eeriness of the movie.

“Midsommar” was written and directed by Ari Aster, who I think did a damn good job with it. His control of scene flow is immaculate, and when combined with the pitch perfect editing and Pawel Pogorzelski’s stunning cinematography, and you got one of the most impressively crafted films of the year. It manages to be otherworldly while still clearly being on our own planet earth.

This movie has gotten mixed reception (but mostly positive from critics). On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Midsommar” isn’t for everyone… but I certainly thought it was engaging. It has a really good plot, good characters, fantastic performances, good music, and fantastic writing/directing/cinematography/editing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Midsommar” is a 9,58/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Midsommar” is now completed.

They present the midsummer celebration in the movie as some huge, elaborate event. But the actual celebration here in Sweden is just people getting drunk, eating bland food, and maybe stumbling around a wreath pole.

Series Review: Swamp Thing (2019)

I’ve been waiting for this show to be made available over here for quite a while. And finally, Friday the 8th, we got it. And now that I have finished it, I can finally give my thoughts. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Swamp Thing”.

CDC doctor Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) finds herself traveling back to her old hometown of Marais, Louisiana when some strange viral shit is found coming out of the swamps of that area. And as she continues her investigation of it, she soon finds out that there’s more to these swamps than meets the eye. Secrets, tragic backstories, the horror of the unknown, these are some of the things that are explored throughout the 10 episodes of “Swamp Thing”. I point out the episode count because this show was meant to be 13, but after the very sudden cancellation of the show, they had to reduce it to 10. And while the finished package holds up very well, I could still sense some of those cuts here and there. But the story we get here is still pretty great, creating a surprisingly nuanced journey that scares and emotionally invests in equal measure.

The characters in this are flawed, damaged, layered, and very interesting. Crystal Reed plays Abby Arcane, a CDC doctor with a tragic past, returning to her old home town. She’s determined, good at heart, but is also sometimes haunted by things that happened to her once, and she’s a great protagonist that I loved following. And Reed is great in the role. Next we have Derek Mears as the titular creature. I won’t say much more than saying that he’s an interesting character, and Mears’ performance is really good. Then we have Andy Bean as Alec Holland, a scientist Abby meets when she returns to Marais. He’s a bit eccentric, but a good dude who is pretty interesting. And Bean is really good in the role. Next we have Will Patton as Avery Sunderson, a beloved businessman in Marais… however there’s a bit more to him than meets the eye. And Patton is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Virginia Madsen, Henderson Wade, Maria Sten, Kevin Durand, Ian Ziering, Jennifer Beals, Jeryl Prescott, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Brian Tyler, and it was great. It’s sometimes loud and intimidating, and sometimes more quiet and emotional. There’s also plenty of low, droning BWOOOMs. And while those could be obnoxious in lesser hands, the way they’re used here works quite well, and adds to the uneasy vibe the show clearly wants to go for.

Based on the iconic DC Comics character created by Len Wein, Alan Moore, and Bernie Wrightson, “Swamp Thing” was developed by Gary Dauberman and Mark Verheiden, with writing and directing by them and a whole bunch of other cool people. And I think the craft here is superb. The amount of suspense built is insane, which makes for a horror show that ends up being genuinely scary. I also have to praise the effects in this show, because they’re spectacular. What we get here is a healthy blend of practical effects and CGI. For example, the Swamp Thing suit is completely practical, and looks amazing. The swamps, completely practical (with some possible CG enhancements). Now, with this being both an effects-heavy show and a horror series, that means that there’s plenty of gore throughout. And I mean plenty. And not just gore for the sake of gore, but gore to disturb and shock the viewer. And I mean, it certainly got some “OH MY GOD!” and “HOLY SHIT” out of me as I watched it all unfold. So if you have trouble with insanely violent media… consider yourself warned.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

Despite some of the cut corners made from the episode reduction, “Swamp Thing” is still a damn fine horror-drama. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, fantastic effects, and great directing/writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Swamp Thing” is a 9,61/10. So yes, you got that right, it does actually get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Swamp Thing” is now completed.

Can someone please uncancel this?

Series Review: Fortitude – Season 2 (2017)

And so we’re here, the final post for the Month of Spooks. And it’s a follow-up to a post I did last year, where I talked about the first season of this show. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Fortitude” season 2.

Set some time after the events of season 1, we return to the remote Scandinavian town of Fortitude. And once again, strange things start happening after a body is discovered. So now we have our Arctic antics. And I like the plot here, probably more than the first season. It’s a slow burn mystery-thriller that dips its toe into some macabre themes and scenarios, while still taking the time to make me care about most of the characters, really adding layers to it all that maybe weren’t as strong the first time around. Though while it is an overall stronger story for me with a bit more intrigue and experimentation, it does still have some flaws. While I do love a slow burn, there are some moments here where the pacing outright drags, which of course makes it a little more of a pain to watch. And the ending is a bit… flaccid. Yes, I know there’s a third season, but I feel like the ending here is a bit too sequel-baity, for lack of a better word. But despite these flaws, I still found the story here to be pretty damn solid.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and overall quite engaging. Most of the cast from season 1, including Richard Dormer, Sienna Guillory, Luke Treadaway, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, , Mia Jexen, Sofie Gråbøl, Alexandra Moen, and more, with their characters getting extra depth, will all those actors firing on all cylinders. Now, for newcomer we have Dennis Quaid (pictured at the top), who plays Michael Lennox, a fisherman who gets involved in the strange shit going on in and around Fortitude. The character is given decent depth, as we learn some interesting stuff about his home life, at the same time as he evolves from the events in the story. And Quaid is pretty good in the role. ’tis a solid cast.

Ben Frost, who did the score for season, returned to do the music this time around too, and I think he really outdid himself. His score here is fucking spectacular, managing to perfectly capture every emotion possible, while still being an overall fitting score for the frozen shithole that is Fortitude. Yes, there are moments where the score lowers itself to some generic horror stings. But when it’s not doing that, it is absolutely fantastic. And the occasional licensed tracks used throughout work pretty well too.

The show was created by Simon Donald, who along with a bunch of other people, wrote the episodes this season, with some other cool people directing. And the craft behind this season is fucking emaculate. The direction manages to create an interesting sense of unease throughout that really makes it a bit more unsettling. And my god, the cinematography this season is absolutely amazing. And I don’t just mean the shots of the frozen vistas around Fortitude, but even a lot of shots indoors look great too. And the effects here are great too, featuring some really impressive practical gore effects, which kinda got under my skin.

This show/season has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating. On Metacritic it exists without a score. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

Season 2 of “Fortitude” takes what was good about the first season and takes it up to 11, though it is brought down by some pacing issues and a less than satisfying ending. It has a really good plot, good characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Fortitude” is an 8,96/10. So while flawed, it’s definitely still worth a watch.

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

So this is it, huh? Well, it’s been a blast doing Month of Spooks.

Movie Review: Case 39 (2009)

Can you believe that tomorrow is the final day of the Month of Spooks? Time sure flies when you’re having fun. Oh well, it’s not over yet. We still got some shit to talk about. Some shit indeed.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Case 39”.

Social worker Emily Jenkins (Renée Zellweger) saves a young girl (Jodelle Ferland) from getting killed by her own parents. And after she starts looking out for the girl, she soon starts to realize that there’s more to this situation than meets the eye. And no, that isn’t code for the girl being a Transformer, though that would’ve been fucking rad. No, there’s some… spooky stuff going on. Look, I do admit that there’s some decent ideas throughout, and even one or two moments that I thought were decently clever. But for the most part this is a bland, poorly written, and worst of all, boring story that neither thrills nor chills.

The characters are cliches. They try to give the main character some depth, but they barely reach what they’re grasping for. Renée Zellweger, she tries, god does she try, she tries so much that I’d be willing to call her performance… fine. But she doesn’t get any good material to work with, and I’m not sure about her direction either. Ian McShane isn’t bad in this movie, because it isn’t possible for him to be bad in something… but god damn, he’s drab in this. They somehow made Ian McShane boring. Jodelle Ferland as the kid, she’s okay, even if her direction is a bit… eclectic, at best. Bradley Cooper’s in this, he’s okay. Callum Keith Rennie is fine. Adrian Lester is… fine. Good cast, less than stellar material.

The score by Michl Britsch (great name) isn’t very good. At moments it sound okay actually, but then it takes a turn into somewhat obnoxious. It thinks itself emotional and suspenseful, but just ends up being… not particularly good. I can usually find nice enough things to say about a score, but in this case I am sad to say that I really can’t.

“Case 39” was written by Ray Wright, and directed by Christian Alvart. And I have mixed feelings here (writing is obvious, if you’ve read the previous sections). But in terms of directing, I don’t have one clear opinion. There’s some good camera movements, and you can tell that Alvart isn’t incompetent. But he somehow fails to build suspense, which is, you know, kind of important in a horror movie. What’s worse is that lighting/color correction in this isn’t great, which makes otherwise decent shots come off as a bit.. not great. And any supposedly scary moments, not really that scary.

This movie hasn’t been that well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 21% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 25/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

I think it’s clear by now that I thought “Case 39” was quite bad. It has a plot, bad characters, okay performances, not very good music, bad writing, and meh directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Case 39” is a 2,91/10. So yeah… I’d definitely recommend skipping it.

My review of “Case 39” is now completed.

HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO MAKE IAN MCSHANE BORING?

Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Well that’s a bland as fuck horror title. I mean, there’s no way it could subvert any tropes or expectations within the horror genre. No way. Whatsoever. None. Zero. Nada. Nah. Nuh-uh. N- you see where this is going, aren’t you?

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Cabin in the Woods”.

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: A group of pesky youngsters travel into the middle of fucking nowhere to stay in a cabin for a weekend. But it doesn’t take too long for their weekend to get ruined by something sinister. Yes, it does indulge a bit in a lot of old school horror tropes… but then it also satirizes them the rest of the time. You can tell that the people crafting the story have a love for the genre and its cliches, but also know when to poke fun of and subvert them. It puts an insanely unique and fun spin on horror that I found really clever and enjoyable.

The characters in this are for the most part walking cliches… but then there are moments where their identities are subverted ever so slightly. The shit they do with these characters is quite fun. And the lead cast, consisting of people like Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams, all do wonders with what they’re given. And in the supporting cast you have people like Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, and Amy Acker, all doing very well in their roles too.

The score for the movie was composed by David Julyan, and I think he did a pretty great job with it. It’s sometimes more subtle and ominous, and sometimes bombastic and thrilling. It’s just a really well composed score that works quite well for the movie. Not much else I can say on that.

“The Cabin in the Woods” was written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, and Goddard directing it (this being his debut). And man, they knocked it out of the park with that. While the movie is mostly concerned with pointing at horror tropes and satirizing them, they of course also have to indulge in them a bit, creating some genuinely suspenseful and gruesome scenes that add to the overall experience quite well. There is also a good amount of humor strewn throughout the movie, and it made me laugh… ’tis very funny.

This movie has been quite well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and and fresh certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“The Cabin in the Woods” is fucking rad. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *BOO*. My final score for “The Cabin in the Woods” is a 9,89/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Cabin in the Woods” is now completed.

Hell yeah.

Movie Review: Constantine: City of Demons (2018)

Two animations in a row? I know, fucking insanity up in this joint. But hey, it’s my blog and my Month of Spooks, so I can do whatever I want. Besides, why wouldn’t I wanna talk about DC’s arguably most well known horror character?

Ladies and gents… “Constantine: City of Demons”.

When his daughter is thrown into a supernaturally induced coma, Chas Chandler (Damien O’Hare) enlists the help of his old mate, John Constantine (Matt Ryan), to hopefully fix this whole situation. And as they look further into the situation, they not only get into new troubles, but old wounds get opened back up too. I thought the story here was good. Leans a bit too heavily on exposition during the first act, but as soon as we get into act two, things aren’t quite so info-dumpy. And I have to admit that I didn’t fully see where this story was going, it managed to throw me for a loop multiple times, telling a narrative that understands the “Hellblazer” mythos and themes, while still making it accessible to anyone unfamiliar with the material. That latter point might be somewhat related to the info-dumping in the first act, which makes it kind of a double-edged sword, but that’s just how shit ends up some times. But yeah… the story’s good, if a bit flawed.

The characters in this are flawed, colorful, and overall quite interesting. Constantine in this is more like in the comics rather than how he’s portrayed in the Keanu Reeves movie. He’s British, snarky, and a bit aloof. And while he’s not quite as morally flexible as he is in the comics, they do nod towards that idea a fair bit throughout this movie, which makes him a bit more interesting. And Matt Ryan (in his fourth appearance) is great in the role. Damien O’Hare as John’s trusted friend Chas Chandler does a great job as the committed and brave, yet slightly impulsive type. And in the supporting cat we got people like Laura Baily, Robin Atkin Downes, Jim Meskimen, Rachel Kimsey, Rick Wasserman, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Kevin Riepl, and it was alright. It is overall a well composed score that worked fine for the movie, but I felt that it might’ve been a little bit on the bland-ish side. It does have some cool chorals that make it stand out a little bit, but for the most part it’s your typical orchestral stuff with occasional synthesizers for effect. Again, not bad, pretty good, but a little bland.

Of course based on the legendary DC/Vertigo Character, “Constantine: City of Demons” was directed by Doug Murphy, who I think did a good job with it. He doesn’t force a lot of needless action or an unnecessarily rapid pace, instead opting for a decent bit of downtime, letting characters breathe and letting the audience take in what’s going on a bit. And even when there is action, it isn’t typical action-action with fists flying all about the place or flashy spells pew-pewing all day long, which I think is a fun change of pace. And the animation carrying it all, I think is good (based on the standards of these lower budget DC animated flicks). There are some minor things that distracted in it, like some of the blood splatter effects, but for the most part the animation looks nice and wonderfully brings out some of the nastier stuff in the DC universe.

This movie has been decently well received. On imdb.com (which is the only site with a clear number), it has a score of 7,4/10.

While it isn’t perfect, “Constantine: City of Demons” is still a very enjoyable take on the titular Hellblazer. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, okay music, and really good directing/animation. Though it is unfortunately brought down a bit by a little too much exposition dumping, and some minor animations niggles. Time for my final score. *Bollocks*. My final score for “Constantine: City of Demons” is an 8,77/10. So while flawed, I’d say it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Constantine: City of Demons” is now completed.

“Abraka-fooking-dabra” – John Constantine.

Movie Review: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2001)

Well this is a first for the Month of Spooks… animation. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust”.

When a girl (Wendee Lee) is kidnapped by a vampire, her family hires a legendary bounty hunter (Andrew Phlipot) to get her back. The setup is an old school one, but the way they handle it feels fresh. For one, it’s set in the distant future… but it also looks like the old west. This blend of different styles makes for a fun and unique universe. But it’s not just the world building that works about this movie. “Bloodlust” really takes time to weave a surprising amount of nuance throughout, making me really care about what really happens throughout the story, be it larger, epic moments or smaller, intimate drama.

Like with story before them, the characters in this movie have a bit more nuance than expected. At first they can seem like stereotypes. Broody, stern, Hannibal from “A-Team”, asshat. But if one sticks around, the characters get fleshed out quite a bit, making them a hell of a lot more compelling. First up we have D(E,F,G), the titular character at the center of the story. He’s the broody fucker I mentioned before… but he’s also a compassionate, strong-willed, and endearing guy who works to stay on the side of good. And I think Andrew Philpot does a great job with the voice work. Next we have Leila (cue Derek and the Dominos), another bounty hunter searching for the kidnapped girl. Tough, determined, stern, and also has a good heart. And she grows quite a fun rapport with D. She’s voiced by Pamela Adlon, who I think does a damn fine job with it. Wendee Lee does a good job as the kidnapped girl, who we meet multiple times throughout. And the vampire that did said kidnapping, played wonderfully by John Rafter Lee, is quite an interesting antagonist. Again, all the characters are pretty interesting. And the supporting cast is great.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco D’Ambrosio, who did a wonderful job with it. It’s moody and atmospheric, but also big and epic, as well as emotionally charged. It perfectly helps create the vibe the movie is going for, which is has a familiar sense of gothic brood, while still feeling fresh and unique for this movie.

Based on a manga series by Hideyuki Kikuchi, “Bloodlust” was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who I think did a wonderful job with it. His direction manages to keep the energy and pacing up throughout, without making it feel like he’s rushing things. He will let quiet moments simmer a bit, but without accidentally slipping into boredom. And holy fucking shit, the animation is stunning, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the fact that Madhouse was the studio behind it (they make well animated stuff, yo). Combining Kawajiri’s meticulous direction with the animation talents at Madhouse was clever, as it makes for not only some gorgeously detailed wide shots, but also some insanely entertaining action scenes. It also makes it so the few pure horror bits we get become genuinely creepy. So well done, crew.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” isn’t just a highly entertaining vampire action movie, but it’s also a surprisingly nuance movie that subverts a fair bit of expectations. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” is a 9,67/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” is now completed.

Any time you have a character with single-letter names, I just wanna continue the alphabet after referring to them.
“So what’s the character’s name?”
“D”
“Interesting”
“E, F, G, H, I… “