Movie Review: Them That Follow (2019)

I hate snakes. They’re the worst. I see a snake on tv or in a movie, I crawl into a ball on the couch. The worst. So let’s talk about a movie featuring them (I’m dumb).

Ladies and gents… “Them That Follow”.

Set within the deep woods of Appalachia, we follow Mara (Alice Englert), a young woman who is the daughter of the local snake-handling preacher (Walton Goggins). She carries a secret with her that, if released into the world, could potentially cause some trouble within her community. So now we have our backwoods story. And while I do have some little niggles with it, I generally thought it was pretty interesting. It’s like a window into this strange, archaic community, presenting them with a surprisingly nuanced view, rather than the typical “These cult-ish people are crazy monsters” angle that often get used within stories featuring similar characters/communities. Yes, we still get shown the angle that these people are ye olde backwoods christians… but it’s never as simple as them just being a cult, there is rarely pure judgment, but rather just observation, which I thought was interesting, especially as the movie went along and more revelations were unleashed. Now, despite this unusually intriguing execution, it’s unfortunately not perfect. It does feel flimsy at times, probably due to the short runtime (circa 95 minutes). Had they had more time, we probably could’ve had it even more fleshed out. But as it stands, it’s still an alright plot that kept me interested throughout.

The characters, while not the deepest in the world, are still pretty engaging. Alice Englert plays Mara, the young woman at the center of the story. She’s probably the deepest one in the story, as she’s highly conflicted about a lot of stuff going on in her life at the time, which makes her a really interesting character to follow. And Englert is really good in the role. Then we have Walton Goggins as her father, preacher Lemuel Childs. He’s a man of god… and nope ropes. He doesn’t get much development as a character, but he’s still quite engaging because Goggins is such an electrifying presence. Then we have Olivia Colman as Hope, a matriarch of sorts within this community. There is some conflict with her later on in the movie, which I won’t spoil in case you wanna watch the movie, but I’ll say that while it’s an okay idea, the overall execution of that is just fine. And while Colman’s southern drawl is somewhat hit-and-miss, her overall performance is great. We also get supporting work from people like Thomas Mann, Kaitlyn Dever, Lewis Pullman, and Jim Gaffigan, all giving good performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Garth Stevenson, and I felt that it was kind of a mixed bag. Sometimes it’s this nice, almost dreamlike thing that fits the southern, spiritual setting, really adding some nice atmosphere to the movie. Buuuut then there are some overbearing horror drones throughout too, and I felt like that took me out of it during those moments. I can tell that Stevenson has a lot of talent, but there are times when they aren’t applied correctly.

“Them That Follow” is the writing/directing debut of duo Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage, and I think they did an okay job with it. They have a way of keeping scenes engaging thanks to a unique sense of energy that may have a slow flow, but still makes sure scenes never get boring. And when they need to get a bit suspenseful, they god damn nail it… except when the aforementioned horror score bits come on, then shit clashes a bit.

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 60% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,2/10.

While far from one of the greatest movies ever, I still thought “Them That Follow” was a really good drama. It has a pretty good plot, okay characters, great performances, okay music, and good directing. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by a sometimes shallow plot and poor musical score. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Them That Follow” is a 7,95/10. So while flawed, it’s absolutely worth renting.

My review of “Them That Follow” is now completed.

Damn snakes.

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

chamberofsecrets

The other day was the blogathon thing, and we still got some Month of Spooks stuff left to do… but we can also not forget my series of “Harry Potter” reviews leading up to “Fantastic Beasts” in November. And now we are finally continuing it after,,, two and a half weeks, good grief. Anyhow, let’s stop with this intro and get into the review itself!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”!

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) begins his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in a rather rocky way. First off, he got warnings from a house-elf named Dobby (Toby Jones) about bad things that will happen at Hogwarts. Secondly, his journey from Little Whinging to Hogwarts was kind of troublesome and filled with mishaps. But the trouble is not over yet, as people start getting petrified for some reason. And this of course creates a mystery where Harry, Ron (Rupter Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) to try to figure out who/what might have done this. With that said, I really liked how the plot unfolded… a lot. What I think the plot of this movie benefited from was how it doesn’t have to set the world up, since that was done (pretty fucking well) in the last movie. So now we can just get right into the main plot of this movie, which of course gives the plot of this movie a much better pace. Which is of course a bit ironic seeing as this movie is longer than the last. But yeah, it was an interesting plot which created a compelling mystery which of course led to the plot going to some darker places when it comes to this world and it’s main character. It was pretty great.

The characters in the movie are about as great as in the first one, but as the plot unfolds we do get a little bit more development from them as they learn more things. Daniel Radcliffe once again knocked it out of the park, getting some more moments to shine here in comparison to the first one. And the development of the character itself is actually really good, as we learn more about who he really is, at the same rate he does. Rupter Grint and Emma Watson also did great in this movie in their roles. And the chemistry between these three central actors is so great and so believable. The other actors in the movie do pretty great as well. Tom Felton as Malfoy once again was great, with his character being even more despicable than in the first movie. Richard Harris (R.I.P) was also really great as Dumbledore, Maggie Smith once again was great as professor McGonagall, Alan Rickman (R.I.P) was still amazing as Snape, and it goes on like that for pretty much every returning actor/character. But we also got a few new interesting faces in this one, so let’s go through them. First off we have the previously mentioned Dobby the house-elf, a magical little dude voiced by the great Toby Jones. At first he is actually a bit annoying, but after a while you grow to actually kind of like him, especially near the end when you find out some more stuff about him and his “family”. Next is Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart, a very famous wizard who you immediately can tell is more bark than bite. Basically he is the magical equivalent of the classic saying “Girls want to be with him and guys want to be him”. Think to have that dude as the “Defense Against the Dark Arts” teacher… yeah. But you can tell that Branagh had fun with the role, and I think he did a good jobas the character. And finally we have Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, AKA Draco’s dad. And this dude just oozes of self-important asshole, as soon as he enters the scene you immediately tell that this guy is bad news. And Jason Isaacs is pretty damn great in the role. In other words, this cast is great!

Once again the music was composed by the one and only John Williams and its still great. Some of the themes in there are of course the same as in the first movie, but that’s nothing to complain about because those tracks are pretty great. But there are also a bunch of new tracks composed for this movie as well, and they are pretty great too, perfectly capturing the magical and whimsical but still dark world that Harry and his friends live in. Yeah, the music’s fucking great.

Like the first movie, this was directed by Chris Columbus (still not re-discovering America). And he did a great job again. Sure, a lot of bits remind me of the first movie a lot, but it’s not too much of a complaint. But he is a very talented director who did a great job, giving us some great directing and some great angles. He also managed to make this movie even more suspenseful and even scarier than the first. I mean, the final act is really tense and actually a bit scary. And the visual effects in this movie are even better than in the first, especially the Quidditch match which looks so much better than the first movie, which of course makes it more engaging and more fun.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” is a a definite improvement over the first movie. With a really interesting plot, better pacing, great characters/acting, great music, fantastic visual effects, and better suspense/tension. Time for my final score. *Magically summons score*. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” is a 9,67/10. So of course it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” is now completed.

If you have arachnophobia then this movie might not be the best for you…