Movie Review: Before I Wake (2017)

Good *insert the time of day you read this in here*, hope you’re doing well. Time for more spooktacular content. So let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Before I Wake”.

Jessie (Kate Bosworth) and Mark (Thomas Jane) are a loving couple who have made the decision to adopt a young boy (Jacob Tremblay). What they don’t know however is that this boy carries a special, strange secret. The story in this movie is an interesting one, often leaning more towards a dark fantasy rather than outright horror… at least early on. Towards the later half it leans heavier on the horror elements. And I must say that I found the story here quite enjoyable. It has some interesting themes that we’ve seen discussed multiple times in works by this director, and while this isn’t his most engaging or nuanced take on the subject matter, it’s still a generally well written and enjoyable narrative that managed to creep me out a few times.

The characters in this are alright, not the most deep or interesting ever, but they work well for the story. Kate Bosworth does a really good job as Jessie, Thomas Jane is great as Mark, Jacob Tremblay is of course great as Cody, the kid that the couple adopts. And then you also have an interesting supporting cast, featuring people like Annabeth Gish, Dash Mihok, Kyla Deaver, Jay Karnes, and more!

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, along with the Newton Brothers (talk about one hell of a teamup), and I’d say they did a solid job together. It’s an ambient score that manages to build a fair bit of drama, helping add a good bit of emotion to certain scenes. There’s also of course some classic loud horror hits, and they work fine, even though we’ve heard that sort of stuff a kajillion times.

“Before I Wake” was directed and co-written by Mike Flanagan (hell yeah), and also has a bit of an interesting production history. Apparently Relativity Media bought the rights in 2014, slating the film for a 2015 release, but later got pulled due the company going bankrupt. Eventually after much back and forth it then landed in the hands of Netflix, who finally released it in 2017 worldwide… except for the states who got it in 2018. So yeah, it’s an interesting tale. Anyhow, back to Flanagan.
This man doesn’t miss when it comes to directing. Even in this film, which isn’t one of my favorites he’s done, he still does a damn good job. His direction has this simmering, slowly burning, often dreamlike vibe that just makes each scene a hell of a lot more engaging.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 66% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.2/10.

While not my favorite film from Flanagan, “Before I Wake” is still an enjoyable little horror-fantasy that I can recommend. It has a good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Before I Wake” is a 7.44/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth watching.

My review of “Before I Wake” is now completed.

I don’t know about you, but before I wake, I sleep.

Movie Review: Doctor Sleep (2019)

I just love that header image. My amazing buddy The Craggus took the first poster that was released for this movie and added a little of my shenanigans to it. Anyhow, let’s talk about a belated sequel.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Doctor Sleep”. The director’s cut.

A little over 30 years after the horrifying events at the Overlook hotel, a now grown up Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) tries to get his life back together. While doing this he befriends a young girl (Kyliegh Curran) who also can Shine. But these powers also makes her the target of a dangerous cult that tracks down kids who can Shine, and then kills them and steals their power. So yeah, it’s a little bit of a departure from the claustrophobic thrills of “The Shining”. But that’s okay, because I found the story on display utterly enthralling. It’s a slow, contemplative burn of a narrative. Going in-depth with the effects that the Overlook incident’s had on Dan’s life, the story really gets to the heart of a lot of stuff, and it’s wonderful to follow… even made me cry at a point. But it’s not just heartfelt drama here, as this is also a horror movie. It’s not the scariest one I’ve seen, probably wouldn’t even crack the top five in terms of pure scariness. That’s not to say that there isn’t any creepy shit here. There is some good, subtle creepiness and suspense going on throughout, occasionally punctuated by some decently grim shit. And I think it works quite well here. Again, not the scariest, but I still enjoyed the horror elements of the narrative.

The characters in this are quite nuanced, flawed, and highly interesting. Ewan McGregor plays Dan Torrance, former tricycle enthusiast and currently broken man. Seeing the low point his life has come to after you-know-what is fascinating in itself, but it’s what comes from that that makes it even more interesting, as he has a really great arc in this movie. And McGregor does a great job with his performance. Kyliegh Curran plays Abra, the young girl that Dan befriends. She’s a smart, funny, and charming little kid who I think made for a good foil for Dan. And Curran is fantastic in the role. Next we have Rebecca Ferguson as Rose, a hat wearing lady who loves meeting new people… oh, and she’s also an immortal who kills people who can Shine, just so she can keep being immortal. Yeah, she’s our main villain, and she’s so mesmerizing and intense, with a lot of that coming from Rebecca Ferguson’s spectacular performance. We also get supporting work from people like Zahn McClarnon, Emily Alyn Lind, Carl Lumbly, Cliff Curtis, Bruce Greenwood, Jacob Tremblay, Carel Struycken, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by The Newton Brothers, and I thought it was great. It’s an emotionally charged and eerie score that, while taking a lot of familiar horror cues into certain tracks, manages to feel somewhat unique to this movie. They also utilize some familiar notes from the original “Shining” film on occasion, and it never feels overly intrusive, but rather works as a nice tie-in to that. So yeah, there’s some good music here.

Based on the “Shining” sequel of the name name written by Stephen King, “Doctor Sleep” was written and directed by Mike Flanagan, and I think he did a fantastic job with it. His direction is bold, confident, and manages to create a good amount of suspense throughout. There’s something otherworldly about it, which helps add a good amount of eeriness to proceedings. And Michael Fimognari’s cinematography certainly helps add a lot to that, giving us a lot of gorgeous, dynamic shots that add to the atmosphere of the movie. It’s just really well crafted.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 77% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.3/10.

“Doctor Sleep” (director’s cut at least) is a fantastic horror-drama that manages to both entertain and deeply engage. It has a great story, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Doctor Sleep” is a 9.90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Doctor Sleep” is now completed.

Three hours seldom fly by so fast for me.

Movie Review: Room (2015)

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Kidnapping… it’s wrong, don’t fucking do it. I really tried to come up with a clever intro, but I couldn’t. So this is what you get… “Oh hai, Mark”.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Room”.

Jack (Jacob Tremblay) is a young boy being raised by his mom (Brie Larson) in a small shed that he has lived within his entire (albeit short) life. And soon he will get to know a bit more about the world that he has never seen. And from this we get one of the most depressing yet uplifting plots that I have ever experienced in a movie. Really, it is a depressing situation that our main characters are in, but there’s some level of hope throughout the plot which gives this plot a good amount of layers to it. And I think that the plot here is very well told, even though it can be hard to get through.

The characters all have layers to them, and they all feel very real. Brie Larson was absolutely fantastic in the movie, she really gave it her all. The amount of emotions she had to portray in the movie can be difficult for a lot of actors to do convincingly, but she fucking nailed it. Jacob Tremblay… that kid is something special. I have stated a good amount of times how I am skeptical about kids acting in movies, but even I have to admit defeat sometimes. Tremblay was terrific in the movie, he really nailed the whole “Kid who’s known very little and gets introduced to so much more” thing very well. That’s really the best way I could put it. We also get some really good supporting performances through the movie from people like Joan Allen and Sean Bridgers.

The score for the movie was composed by Stephen Rennicks and it was kind of beautiful. It was one of those scores that often loomed in the background to help create a lot of emotion for certain scenes, and I think it worked very well. I also appreciate the inclusion of “The Mighty Rio Grande” by This Will Destroy You (actual band name) in a certain scene. Not only because it’s a song that I already liked, but because it was perfectly placed and actually enhanced the scene quite a bit.

The movie was directed by Lenny Abrahamson and I think that he did a great job. What I found interesting about his direction was his use of lower angles, as if he wanted the camera to be from a child’s point of view. The camera is also rarely perfectly still, there’s a good amount of movement and jitteriness (in lack of a better word) in scenes, as if the camera was a child. I think Abrahamson really wanted to capture the feel of a child’s point of view in this situation, which is something I truly appreciate about it.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #134 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Actress (Larson). It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, and Best adapted screenplay.

“Room” is one of the most emotionally draining, but also rewarding, movies I have ever seen. It has a great plot, interesting characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Room” is a 9,84/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Room” is now completed.

Yeah… Brie Larson will be great as Captain Marvel.