I think the biggest fault of tonight’s movie is they missed the perfect opportunity to both reference a previous Cameron movie while also being self-standing with a tagline like “She’s state of the bad ass art.” Now, a bit of preamble - I got this on 4k, but also as the combo-pack with 3D. The intent was to start off with the 3D version, which comes highly recommended by one of my friends - but the world has a way of making things… complicated. None of the glasses were charged, in the short run I’m not even positive any of them are compliant with the projector, the computer might not be doing 3D as it used to, and the 3D bluray player I own isn’t hooked up to the projector and would take all manner of re-jigging cables to do so. I could have even tried it in VR, but there doesn’t seem to exist a program that allows both VR and proper 3D viewing straight from the disc, so I’d need to rip a movie that I had just received and push back the time it took to get to the review before I even hit the wall of “don’t have the software to rip Bluray discs.” What this amounts to is that you might be able expect me to either addend the end of this review later on when I get the 3D back in fighting spirits, or perhaps just spin that portion off into a QF review. For now, we rip that 4k image wide open and get our robot-arms ready for maximum high five, tonight is Alita: Battle Angel.Read More
Filtering by Category: thriller
The next in line for the queue continues it’s battle of being out-positional, causing me to get a real surprise grab bag over the consistent three to four movies down the list that gets sent me. This is not bad, however, because I still populated it with movies that did something to pique my interest. In tonight’s case, the box art got it a watch. I’m a simple man, I see Jackie Chan in what looks to be a sci fi setting with some big old spaceship thing behind him running on some crazy wall with a laser gun and I’m sold. Could it be bad? Well, I mean, yeah anything I pick has the potential to be bad. Still though, it does have Jackie Chan. Cyber your punks and dull the neon to enhance the screen watching experience, we fixing to find out if it’s good or will leave our eyes Bleeding Steel.Read More
Does whatever a Slender can.
So let me walk you through my process of thought here. At some point, I discover that they are making a movie about the contest-winning and much pasta’d Slenderman. I think to myself “oh boy, that offers up some possibilities to be a rather creepy movie - but I bet they’ll mess it up.” It rolls around to no word - and if there is any word, it sure isn’t filled with excitement and grandeur. No, most the mainstream heard about Slendy-boi is unfortunately tied to a real world cluster of idiots using something that’s been known to be fake since the start as a reason for their idiot deeds - which of course the mainstream didn’t know about because they don’t peruse the places such a thing was birthed. Still, it didn’t dampen my interest in seeing this movie when it got out - the fact it took so long to get to something like Netflix really didn’t enhance my expectations, but bad movies and I can still get along. Tonight I check out if thinner is the winner, so package that bug spray and head to the woods - tonight we peek at Slender Man.
Now, I’m not going to say I’m a mass consumer of Slender media - I know of it’s origin, and I’ve read one or two CPs about him - not my particular jam honestly, I personally always found the pseudo misnamed skin walker stories much better. I knew some enterprising folks made a pretty basic looking game of him, and more than any of that I could recall a YouTube channel named Marble Hornets that had some a great series of videos that gave you what you wanted out of a Slender project, until it started to get away from Slender and turned more into just a crazy guy in a bad semi-clear plastic mask, at which point I honestly lost interest. Now, the reason I’m bringing this up is to make a point here regarding the lore around our sharp dressed bogey boy - it originated from the net. From the net, people latched on to it, and it went everywhere with it’s story. People just started taking it up and writing whatever they felt with it - much in the same way that the internet took the Native American folklore of skin walkers - their actual contextually given name is known to me, but I refuse to butcher it’s pronunciation - and turned it into stories of any old friend suddenly being something that’s really just stinky and wearing their friends flayed skin. What this long winded proclamation exists to point out in more sharp a point is thus: with lore being everywhere after becoming “open source” so to speak, it’s hard to really judge the actions of the movie in any real particular sense of accuracy. The original was a mere few photos with a bit of an excerpt to add to the spook. There wasn’t really this guy that’s actually some kind of wood sprite with giant spider-tree tentacles snatching people up - just the implication that this mysterious individual was somehow implicated in disappearances. In that regards, the core sticks well, sometimes shining out more nicely than others.
And I’m gonna get into that a bit. This movie honestly had no reason to be as good as it was - which isn’t to say that this thing is a really good movie. At best I’d call it mediocre, relegated to a land of misleading trailers and PG-13 teen horror with a small selection of stand out moments. Where those moments shine is it’s use of that core original implementation of Slender - a shadowy human like figure that’s not quite right, off in the background or the edges of your vision that makes it not stand out but become all the more creepy and eye catching once it’s noticed. You’ll watch a scene, and the framing leaves a bit of space with which to play - but not obviously so, unless you are looking for it. It looks like it’s framed as it should be, until you notice a stretching shadow in the background that the camera never directs you to look at. Maybe the camera is just sweeping by the woods, and there happens to be a tree that isn’t quite the right shape, and indeed it’s because it’s Slender. Future things added on, via games the Hornet series or just sheer force of diverse creepypasta contributors finds it’s way in as well - electronic distortions, shadowy tendrils, the driving madness. The movie treats Slender well in story, up until (I feel) he becomes some weird tree spirit or plays a more in-your-face offense line role.
The effects work doesn’t treat slender nearly as well. One would assume that it would be easy to do slender, and would surely point to a low-budget version someone else did that looks great. Slender never really comes off as being in the scene here. Perhaps it’s the over-use of the shadowy tendrils, hardly ever leaving him alone in his shots. Maybe it’s the somewhat bark-like texturing on his otherwise void, blank, colorless face. Maybe it’s the closeups. The rather unfortunate side of this is that he’s also the main brunt of the effects. While occasionally used well - as pointed out in that last paragraph - the only other real effects work on display plays off of his terror and mind-breaking side. A vertigo effect, which looks good at first than slowly looks worse the longer it’s used. A facial distortion effect, sometimes simple and sometimes setup in a dizzying rapid fire of motion and stillness (which actually looks pretty good, despite some of the facial expressions looking a bit goofy on the character it happens to). If your goal was to see some violence in your horror movie though, like any eye-stabbings or roof jumping that the official trailer shows, you’ve caught them in an utter lie unless there’s some secret cut kicking that Netflix doesn’t provide. I didn’t even know of this until I had to get screenshots for use in the review, to which for Blu Ray discs I go to official trailers I can find on YouTube due to the inability to screen capture from BR discs, and whilst skimming through saw no less than 5 scenes that didn’t exist in the movie I got to watch.
Alas, Slender Man is a movie about more than just Slender. Let me rephrase, it contains more than just Slender! The main cast of actresses in our troubled teen clique aren’t terrible at their jobs most the time. Some do better than others, but for the most part it’s not painful to watch. This is good, because the main screen time is on them. There’s a bit of overacting at times, certainly some underacting at others, but nothing that stands out as straight up bad without at least a little direction to be it. The characters are perhaps a bit more likeable than the average teen movie girls can end up being, but at the same time the movie seems to go out of the way to make them seem different without actually giving them any character in doing so. They are distinguishable by looks, one passing comment makes it seem on is the more athletic and smart one, but largely nothing is really given to them to build them up outside their plight unless you count a scene of reacting to some “naughty videos” online or the one with the least screen time expressing her dislike of her life situation. If you are looking for smart actions out of characters, this isn’t the horror movie for it either. Some of it could be hand-waved off with “but they are so frightened” or “Slender-Madness” I suppose, but you won’t find any real moments of “about time you made a right choice!“ in this movie.
The performances can be a roller coaster at times, as can the effects, but the sound department keeps it all pretty level and feet on the ground. You don’t have any real issues hearing things (at least, after you turn down your noisy darn AC unit) and the balance of it all is well done. They do throw in the “gotcha!” stings here and there, at times accompanying a jump scare, but overall the general disposition of the music proper is to enhance the suspense, dread, and tensions of either things coming or perceived to be happening. It will also allow Slender-like activities to happen at times without bringing attention to it with audio, which is a nice little bonus and something I can and do appreciate. Nothing in here is going to remain for any amount of time as far as audio goes, outside perhaps the dull bass wubbing of Slendy creeping on people. Still, at least it is something that I don’t have to knock around with a foot while saying good things about it.
Oddly, the pacing is a bit strange. The front end feels like it’s traveling a hundred miles an hour, skipping expanses of time with barely any notice to the watcher at all, until finally the Slender plot begins and things slow way up to a more generic horror pacing. Spooky thing, bad choice, research, spooky thing, repeat. It doesn’t overstay anything even when it slows down a little at the end, but the final payoff feels more like you actually won pennies instead of a jackpot. Part of this might be, I suspect, due to cut scenes involving an escaped crazy - seen only in the trailer. Outside of the time passing being somewhat amorphous, and the lack of any real form of character growth (if you even had character to begin with), it does at the very least handle most the horror elements quite well. A few misdirects, a few good shots playing on the peripheral, messing with reality, and a few really cool shots that could almost be considered camera tricks as well. When it fumbles the horror it usually ends up feeling more like a splat than a solid thump, and part of it could as far as I know just have been a puttering out of ideas by the time it came to how to end the movie.
By and large, this was better than I expected. While by no means a great and debateably even a good movie, this is far from being terrible as my initial expectations were set to giving what it came out of. They had some moments where they played really well with it, even allowing in that element that makes creepypasta photos so fun - the complete ability to not see the spooky element at all unless really looking for it. It throws in enough recognizable traits of the villain that, although it doesn’t allow it’s self to be the exemplar of what could be done with it, it doesn’t make you hate what they’ve done either. Some might find it fine as a rental, although I’d strongly suggest not going further than that unless it’s in a five dollar bin or something until you figure out if you like it in the first place. This is also the one movie that I can actually say that the trailer is worthless for, because it includes so much content the movie doesn’t. For a movie that could have been better, it was actually pleasantly better than I expected.
Someone I work with made mention of this movie at one point, and the name stuck in my head long enough to get added in the queue. The amusing part is that it stuck there as a recommendation to watch - but in actuality, I think they just mentioned it at some point and haven’t actually seen it. Either way, this puppy pitches itself as a modern noir, and like most hooks in detective flicks, there’s a missing girl on the line. This time around though, there’s no real detective in sight, just an infatuated neighbor and the promise of plenty of mystery. Get the tin foil hats and the aluminum badges, tonight we have to find out just what is Under the Silver Lake.Read More
So you take something like Groundhog Day, and then you slap mechs into it and you get Edge of Tomorrow. Well, that premise is sound for plenty of other things surely enough, and it wasn’t unfathomable that it would be given a more literal horror twist in the form of a slasher. Of course, the bane of the slasher also comes with it, carrying a PG13 rating on it’s shoulders like the giant clock that keeps resetting over the movie. Will it offer enough of those horror and slasher elements to appease those coming at it for some cheap thrills? Will it provide enough other elements to satisfy anyone coming at it desiring an interesting retread of the form lain previous? Will it be something that you can watch and watch and watch? Don’t get psyched out by the fake-out universal skips, tonight we got our hands on Happy Death Day.Read More
What do you do in the summer? Go to the lake! I heard of this somewhere, I don’t recall where though to be honest - most likely one of the people I watch for movie-based review and retrospective entertainment on Youtube. Regardless, I had heard of it and it struck me as something I should check out enough to place in in the queue, and the description has everything that I should dig in a spooky shoot - supernatural, mystery, and maybe even murder? Get on your drop bear repellent, it’s time we go to the land down under for tonight’s entry: Lake Mungo.Read More
Now, the description of this movie said “hey, remember the ‘Burbs?” to which I spoke “Yes, I do.” In a typical fashion, something sounds similar to something I already know I enjoyed, so I decide might as well try that one out as well. How will it play out? Spookier? Funnier? I mean, the lead team is a bunch of kids, so it probably won’t get too serious right? Perhaps something like a mix of The ‘Burbs and The Goonies or Monster Squad? I mean, none of those would be a bad thing in my book, so I sat and I watched, and now we all get to reminisce about the good, the bad, the Summer of 84.Read More
Never played most of the Tomb Raider games, if I’m going to be honest. I know of them, know a bunch about the character - enough that it always annoyed me when people complained about this fem-powered imaginary person being nothing more than a sex object - and even watched the older movies from it. Yeah, you know, the ones with Jolie in them? Man, did she look the part and get that nice level of sass - and for a person like me who enjoys cheesy flicks, I was more then entertained. Then came the reboot years, and I kept telling myself “you should buy that game when it goes on sale” - newsflash, I still haven’t. I did, however, get around ot watching the movie. Tonight, you find out that it was exactly this long until I realized there was an arrow in the title, let’s talk Tomb Raider.Read More
When I first saw the trailer for this movie, all I could think of was that one Arnold movie where he was a fireman and went all action hero after his daughter got blown up by a bomb. I figure I enjoyed that one enough, and now it’s got Jackie Chan in it? Probably worth a watch at some point, right? Well, the time has come where it finally arrives in the queue, so I’m about to find out all about it. Will it do things different? Will it be better or worse for it? Can the cops handle it or will The Foreigner.Read More
I’m looking forward to a weekend chumming it up and watching terrible shark movies. It’s a thing people do, I promise - or not, either way it is a thing I do. I thought I’d dip my feet a little and start it off early with tonight’s entry - because I hadn’t heard a thing good about it, and beyond one reviewer I watch on the old YouTube I honestly hadn’t even realized it had released before that point, so sounds like a good plan. Let’s take a movie that was fun, and questionably good or bad, remove Sam Jackson and L L Cool J, and spin a trailer that looks like we are really just going for a shot for shot budget remake, then see where it goes! Set the expectations to twenty thousand fathoms and brace for the pressure, lets see if these bull pups are super smart or this thing’s ratings belong in the Deep Blue Sea 2.Read More
With mother’s day right around the corner, why not dive into a movie where the parent’s are trying to murder their kids? Horror comedy with some good old Nicolas Cage? Yeah, I’ve been waiting for this one since last week. I’ll be honest, expectations aren’t hugely high here - I expect a laugh or two be it intentional or not, and not a big old belly laugh as much as a “ha!” laugh. I expect at least one moment of a great Cage facial expression. I also expect some wacky antics. It’s not the tallest order on the planet, so let’s see if this bad boy can ante up or if it’s nothing more than a midlife crisis - tonight’s Mom and Dad.Read More
What’s that up in the sky? A bird? A plane? No, it’s a leaping Rock! Amid thoughts of “that should be fun for a movie” I opted to pass this one up in theaters - prices be what they are, and car limitations preventing me from catching things at the one remotely-local drive in. Then the reviews started coming in - a bunch of people bellyaching about how it’s not Die Hard and blah blah. Look, when I watched the trailer I had seen for this thing, I didn’t think “Oh look, it’s Die Hard remade with the Rock!” All that tells me is that I’m predisposed to find myself praising something people poo on again - but that’s what we are here for, to enjoy some cinematic joy for the duration of the ride. Keep note of all the fire escapes, it’s time we get to talking Skyscraper.Read More
Currently getting up to date with “waitstaff recommends,” tonight we get a movie that I have some trepidation about. The last time a movie in the horror genre was raved about as this mind blowing, super scary, or super screwed up movie I got Paranormal Activity - and the only fear from that was being bored to death. Still, regardless of it it means the high rankings, it’s still a matter of if it’s going to be good to watch regardless. What’s it about? Don’t know. After watching it, I know a bit more, and I have to say that at one point I had a real heavy flashback to days of the past and that might not be a great thing for the outlook on the movie. Well then, let’s carry on and dive into the old family tree and see if these genes would be better off on a short branch.Read More
I meant to have a western for tonight to mix things up, but I dropped the ball on the Netflix Disc rental round trip, so I had to last minute pick something that I’ve been putting off for a while. It intrigued me when I saw a trailer way back then, but something about it made me just keep pushing it back further and further when it came time to what I felt like watching. Perhaps it just needed to set for a while like all good art, or perhaps I just had questions about if it would hold my interest if it became too artsy. Either way, put down that brush because it’s time for the critics - tonight we check out Velvet Buzzsaw to see what it’s about.Read More
It’s cold outside. I saw a movie name when browsing, and was pitched as it having monsters in it to deal with. Sometimes, that’s really all it takes to decide on watching a movie - and when it comes to it, the box art is pretty snazzy as well. I will give it to Netflix and a lot of these digital services for video these days, they at least help keep the feel of the old rental place perusal, where you could literally look at a picture and title and go “yep, that’s for me tonight.” If they add a “back of the box” feature, then it’d be pretty dang perfect. Who knows what we are getting ourselves into, grab a scarf and let’s dive in with these “web footed humanoids” to find outRead More
You thought that fantasy kick was super short lived after that military-based movie from last week didn’t you? Ha! You’ve been played, for I’m still on a fantasy kick and all shall suffer my opinions because of it! Alright, perhaps that was a bit more dramatic than necessary, but I did have a slight hankering for a little something that mixes the two. Most people herald the middle-aged Mummy films as the best the old dried up wrapper has to offer and despite the fact that I wouldn’t say I thought the newest entry was as bad as others might think, they don’t have a terrible statement either. What was it that caused those movies to be so enjoyed over the rest, and why is it that the first one I’m doing for the site is the last of that bunch? Maybe it’s just a curse bestowed for raiding the old tombs of movies so much, or maybe it’s because hidden gems of fun? Tonight, we check out The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.Read More
Something is missing at the start of this year. Perhaps it’s more missing from last than this, but if there’s one movie franchise I can really get behind in terms of fandom, it’s that of one big ugly alien hunter. There’s has been a bunch so far - up until the newest, there was three in the “cannon” and two in the crossovers, as well as god-knows how many fan made films and plenty of games on computers or tabletop, comics, and novels to flesh things out further for those who couldn’t get enough. This race even had the chance of standing up against the Batman (and losing, as anyone not Batman tends to do against Batman). The first trailer I had seen for this new entry has me worried, but after hitting the theaters and checking it out I had fun - only to find out that I was apparently quite the minority in my stance. Well, it’s out for home ownership now, and it’s time to turn off that cloak and tackle it like a man. Will my enjoyment stand up to the initial response, or will I find myself buried like a side character in hot dismembering plasma? It’s time to revisit The Predator.Read More
It seems like lately China has been really opening up and sending all sorts of movies our way state-side. I was never opposed to a good foreign flick before - foreign horror introduced me to all sorts of variations on creatures like the Hopping Vampire or takes on ghosts that were familiar but different, or even on actual events played up a bit more fantastically such as the Dyatlov Pass incident. Admittedly, sometimes my eyes are lazy and I just can’t find the mood to read a movie and I’ll stray away, and one could argue about the need to read subtitles drawing my eyes from the screen and potentially missing little details, but that’s where things come around today. Operation Red Sea is an action entry, and I’m chomping at the bit for some rock and ready battles.Read More
Another installment of “waitstaff recommends.” Now, I like me monsters of all kinds, and del Toro has given me plenty of those sorts to enjoy over the years I’ve known of him as a creator. One would think that in turn this movie would have already been in my queue before this, but to be frank it largely was marketed as a romance movie from anyone I had heard speak of it review-wise and well, if we couldn’t guess from previous entries, I’m more of a dumb action and cheesy horror kind of person so I had passed it up. Still, when it comes up as a recommendation, who am I to decline? Let’s see if it can live up to it’s praise or if I find something to be fishy, let’s check out The Shape of Water.Read More
I’ve watched a lot of shark movies. You wouldn’t really know it just browsing entries here - most of them are what I call “tub movies” - in which you loaf around in a bath, hot tub, pool, or whatever bucket of water you can fit your fleshy self in and flip on a movie. I’ve seen sharks in tornadoes, genetically mutated sharks, sharks in the sand, sharks in the snow, giant sharks, and cg sharks so bad they wouldn’t scare a two year old. When I saw the initial trailer for The Meg, I said to myself “yep, gonna watch that eventually.” While I took on the long wait for rental to be available, I didn’t hear the greatest things about it from the more review-oriented folks, and the few actual people I knew that saw it seemed to have a fun enough time. Well, it’s time to see if this ginormous toothy boat of a flick can swim or sink.Read More