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

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.

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: 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*

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!

 

Movie Review: Get Out (2017)

The Month of Spooks continues. And on our plate today we have a newer movie… so let’s just get into it.

Ladies and gents… “Get Out”.

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is a young man who is about to meet his girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) parents for the first time. He is a bit worried though since he’s black, and she’s white. And when they arrive at the parents’ house, everything seems fine. However, Chris soon gets the feeling that something is off about this whole thing and experiences one of the strangest weekends of his life. So now we have our horror plot. What I liked about it is that it doesn’t necessarily feel like your typical horror movie plot, it takes some really interesting twists and turns and it handles everything in a pretty unique way. It is also a commentary on liberal racism, weaving that into the narrative very well. Overall it is an incredibly fascinating plot. It has a decent amount of threads going through it, but they never feel messy. Great plot.

The characters here are all quite interesting in some way. Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris, the young man having to go through all of this. He’s a likable guy with a pretty good life, however he is nervous about meeting his girlfriend’s parents. And seeing him go through all this shit, experiencing all kinds of emotions is interesting, and I found myself really caring about him. And Kaluuya is fantastic in the role. Allison Williams plays Rose, Chris’ girlfriend. When we meet her she is simply a reassuring and supportive girlfriend that I found very likable. And I won’t say more other than it’s interesting to see some of her development here. Anyway, Williams is really good in the role. Bradley Whitford (whom I barely recognized here) plays Dean, Rose’s father. He seems like a good guy at first, downright charming. And through the movie we get some interesting developments from his side. And Whitford is great in the role. Catherine Keener plays Missy, Rose’s mom. She’s a psychiatrist and she has some interesting things going on about her throughout the movie. And Keener is great in the role. We have Betty Gabriel as Georgina, one of the servants at the parents’ house. She’s kind of weird and I thought she was a pretty fascinating character. And Gabriel is great in the role. Then we have LilRel Howry in a smaller role as Chris’ best friend, Rod. He’s more of a comic relief type of character, and he’s just great, he made me laugh without feeling out of place. Then we have Marcus Henderson as Walter, the groundskeeper at the parents’ house. He, like Georgina, is quite weird. And Henderson is great in the role. Really, this is a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Abels (with some help from Timothy Williams) and it was pretty great. It’s eerie, dramatic, tense, and just overall pretty unique. It all helped set a unique mood/atmosphere for the movie, and I appreciate it quite a bit for that. There were also a couple of licensed tracks used throughout that I thought worked pretty well in their scenes.

This movie was written and directed by comedian Jordan Peele, once again proving that comedians are a bunch of fucked people… also, he did an excellent job with both those things. His directing is tight and tense, keeping me on edge for most of it. It also has a very weird and uneasy atmosphere, giving it a fairly unique vibe. It is quite tense, and it is pretty scary. There’s also some comedy in this, but it never really feels out of place, as it blends fairly well with the tone. And I have to mention Toby Oliver’s cinematography which is… fantastic. So many cool shots, such a great looking movie.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 99% positive rating (100% if you go by “top critics” only) and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 84/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Get Out” is a fantastic directorial debut from Jordan Peele. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Boo!*. My final score for “Get Out” is a 9,88/10. So of course it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Get Out” is now completed.

I don’t know what to put here.

Series Review: Stranger Things – Season 2 (2017)

The Month of Spooks, still going strong! And on the plate today we have the second season of last year’s smash hit Netflix series. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gents… “Stranger Things” season 2.

It’s 1984, one year has passed since the horrifying events that transpired in Hawkins, Indiana. And ever since he’d been rescued from the Upside Down, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) ihas been experiencing a series of terrifying visions. And we soon find out that a new threat in looming over the sleepy little town, ready to take over. And that’s just the main plot here, we do get several sub-plots as well. This is an ambitious narrative, both in making the monstrous threat feel bigger, and in just expanding this world that we’ve gotten to know. And while that is a risky move for any show, since the multiple sub-plots aspect can tangle itself up and become convoluted, I feel like “Stranger Things” pulls it off nicely. You have the tension of the monster plot, you have the drama of finding out more about Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), you have the kids meeting this new girl (Sadie Sink) that comes to town, you have the struggles of Nancy, Jonathan, and Steve (Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery)… what I’m trying to say is that there’s a metric buttload of threads here, and they never feel like they tangle into a mess. It’s a solid plot filled with good drama, mystery, and charm.

The characters in “Stranger Things” are likable, layered, and endlessly interesting. Let’s start with Will Byers, played by Noah Schnapp, because he is more or less the focus of this season. Sure, he’s safe(ish) from the Upside Down, but he’s experiencing these horrifying/traumatic visions, putting him in a more vulnerable position. And Schnapp is great in the role. Then we have Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, the pseudo-leader of this group of friends. Seeing him trying to cope after his friend/love Eleven has been out of his life is actually a bit heartbreaking, but he’s not some mopey idiot about it, keeping him interesting. And Wolfhard is great in the role. Then let’s go with David Harbour who once again plays police chief Jim Hopper. He’s still a stern man with his heart in the right place. Hopper was my fave last season and he still might be. So yeah, Harbour is great in the role. Gaten Matarazzo returns as Dustin, the funny and slightly naive little man with the colorful hat. Like I said, he’s a bit naive, but he’s not stupid. He’s also the funniest of the four main kids. And Matarazzo is great in the role. Caleb McLaughlin returns as Lucas, the slightly more serious one in the group. And McLaughlin is great in the role. Then we have Winona Ryder once again as Joyce, mother of Will, and slightly neurotic person. However, her being a bit nervous like that is understandable after everything that happened last season. But she seems to have found a decent system for her life… until shit starts getting real again, that is. And Ryder is great in the role. Natalia Dyer returns as Nancy and she’s really good. Charlie Heaton returns as Jonathan, and he’s great in the role. Joe Keery is back as Steve, and he’s great in the role. Millie Bobby Brown returns as Eleven, and she’s great in the role. Right, returning faces done, now for some newbies. We get Sean Astin as Bob, Joyce’s new boyfriend. He’s a bit of a dork, but he’s a good person and he does everything to try to be a good pseudo-father for the Byers boys. And Astin is really good in the role. Sadie Sink plays Max, the new girl in town with a seemingly troubled home life. She meets the boys and more or less starts befriending them. And Sink is great in the role. Then we have Dacre Montgomery as Billy, a new guy in town who is a big asshole bully. And while he doesn’t have much of an arc, Montgomery is really in the role. And finally, we have Paul Reiser as a doctor who is likable and kind, but seems to have some shady shit going on. And Reiser is great in the role. Overall, this has great characters and the performances are great.

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein returned to do the score for this season, and once again they killed it. The synth-heavy sounds perfectly capture the era and tone, and does even manage to create some decent tension at times. Really, it’s more of the good synth-y stuff, not much else I can say. And since this is set in the 80s, we of course get some really awesome licensed songs throughout from not only the 80s, but also 60s and 70s… it’s really just an awesome soundtrack that made me very happy. Overall, great music.

The show was created by the Duffer brothers, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people. And it’s just overall very well handled. The directing is tense, fun, and filled with energy. And Tod Campbell’s cinematography is of course absolutely stunning. And the visual effects in the show look great too. There’s also plenty of comedy in this show, and I thought it was all really funny. I also enjoy that it never overshadows the drama/Lovecraftian sci-fi, but just is another part of the world that comes into play every now and then.

This show/season just came out but has already been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,9/10 and is ranked #37 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Stranger Things” season 2 is pretty awesome. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great directing/cinematography/writing. Time for my final score. *Rawr*. My review of “Stranger Things” season 2 is a 9,86/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Stranger Things” season 2 is now completed.

Awesome.

Movie Review: The Conjuring (2013)

And the Month of Spooks marches on! So what type of horrible horror is on the table tonight? Another haunting? Cool.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Conjuring”.

Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) are a couple who happen to be paranormal investigators. And one day they get called in to try to help a family who claim to be haunted by some dark/evil presence. So now we have our haunted family/house/person/thing story. And I use that quick description of it because there’s a lot of familiar elements to it. A good amount of the beats throughout we know from various other movies, so it doesn’t bring a lot new to the table. That said, it does these things quite well. The plot here is creepy and tense, and I was invested in it from start to finish. Not saying that it’s perfect, but it’s definitely good.

For the most part I found myself invested in the characters here. They were interesting and decently likable. Patrick Wilson plays Ed Warren, one of the two who go to investigate this creepy situation. He’s a bit reluctant to do it based on something that happened in the past, and he’s given a good amount of development in this movie. And Wilson is great in the movie. Vera Farmiga plays Lorraine Warren, wife of Ed, and fellow investigator. She’s a fairly well developed character as well, which includes the same past situation as her husband. I also like her because she’s determined and decently tough without coming off like a thundering dumbass. They make her strong but vulnerable. And Farmiga is great in the role. Lili Taylor plays Carolyn, the mother of the family that is having haunting problems. She goes through some interesting stuff in this movie that makes her a pretty interesting character. And Taylor is great in the role. Then we have Ron Livingston as Roger, the father of the family. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with Livingston’s performance (it’s actually quite good), I found his character kind of lackluster. He’s supposed to be an important part of this, but his character feels underdeveloped compared to everyone else. And to not drag out this bit too much: All the kids in this movie do a good job. There, this is a well acted movie. Moving on!

The score for the movie was composed by Joseph Bishara and it was great. It was droning, creepy, eerie, chilling, and just overall worked quite well for the movie, often elevating the suspense of various scenes. There were also a couple of licensed tracks used in the movie that worked pretty well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by James Wan (making his second appearance this Month of Spooks) and I thought he did a great job. He does a lot with very little, building a lot of suspense with very few things. Really, the suspense/tension really builds throughout the movie, and any scares that pop up feel earned. I also want to mention that this movie is rated R. “How is that interesting?” I hear you ask. Let me explain. Cursing? Almost none. Sex/Nudity? Mildly implied, but never shown. Blood/gore? Minimal. This is rated R based purely on how scary it is… not gonna lie, that is pretty fucking cool.

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 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“The Conjuring” is a pretty damn good horror movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great direction. My only flaws with it (which are fairly minor) are that the beats of the movie feel very familiar, and Ron Livingston’s character feeling underdeveloped. Time for my final score. *BOO!*. My final score for “The Conjuring” is a 9,01/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it is definitely worth buying.

My review of “The Conjuring” is now completed.

There were several occurrences of 70s lingo in this and it makes me so happy.

Movie Review: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

The Month of Spooks continues! So what’s on the menu this time? An adaptation of a classic novel? This’ll be interesting.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein”.

Late 18th century. We follow Victor Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh), a brilliant if somewhat unorthodox scientist. One night he manages to create life in the form of a creature (Robert De Niro) made up of many human parts. However the creature soon escapes and swears revenge on his creator. Basically it’s the classic “Frankenstein” story, but with a few smaller twists throughout. And while I love the ideas in “Frankenstein”, and even find some of the newer ideas intriguing, I thought the plot here was kind of bad. It manages to be slow and have some scenes feel slightly rushed at the same time. The tone is also a bit much, taking itself so fucking seriously that it almost becomes silly. I get it, “Frankenstein” is a serious story, but this is almost too serious for it’s own good. The plot here is just… not good.

The characters here are a bit bland. They try to have them be compelling and interesting, but that attempt kind of fails. Kenneth Branagh plays the titular scientist, and I am a little split on his performance. Because at times I think it’s pretty good, and at other times he is very theatrical and comes off as a bit hammy at times. Then we have Robert De Niro as the creature, a character that I actually found myself caring about a bit. A creation, abandoned by his creator, feared by society… that shit is compelling. And aside from like two moments, De Niro plays this very subtly and gives a really good performance. Then we have Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth, adopted sister and love interest of Victor Frankenstein. And while she isn’t the most interesting of characters, I thought Bonham Carter gave a good performance. Then we have Tom Hulce as Henry, friend and pseudo-assistant to Frankenstein. And he’s fine in the role. We also get Ian Holm as Frankenstein’s dad, and he doesn’t do much… but Holm is fine in the role. The performances here are fine.

The score for the movie was composed by Patrick Doyle and it’s actually pretty damn good. It’s big, loud, and kind of epic. My problem with it is that it doesn’t exactly fit with the movie. To have a score this great in combination with a movie so sloppy just feels off. Despite the overall quality of the score, it didn’t really help elevate any of the scenes.

This movie was directed by Kenneth Branagh and he did an okay job. His direction has a lot of flair to it, but feels a bit too big for the story it tries to tell. I have a quote from Frank Darabont (who wrote the script for the movie) that basically encapsulates what I mean, but I’m gonna put that at the end of the post so it doesn’t interfere with the semi-flow of it. Anyhow, can I give any praise here? Well, not gonna lie… this movie is visually arresting. The sets, the cinematography, the clothing… it all looks great. And the creature makeup on De Niro? It looks absolutely amazing! As for scares… none. I think I recognized a couple moments that were supposed to be scares, but didn’t come off as scary or creepy or even slightly eerie.

This movie hasn’t been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 39% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. Roger Ebert  gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,4/10. The movie was nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Makeup. 

“Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” is not very good. It has a bad plot, meh characters, okay performances, great (if out of place) music, and meh directing. Time for my final score. *IT’S ALIVE!*. My final score for “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” is a 5,54/10. While not the worst, I’d recommend skipping this one.

My review of “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” is now completed.

As promised, the quote from Frank Darabont:

I’ve described Frankenstein as the best script I ever wrote and the worst movie I’ve ever seen. That’s how it’s different.

There’s a weird doppleganger effect when I watch the movie. It’s kind of like the movie I wrote, but not at all like the movie I wrote. It has no patience for subtlety. It has no patience for the quiet moments. It has no patience period. It’s big and loud and blunt and rephrased by the director at every possible turn.