Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Film Review - Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

Ouija: Origin of Evil (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: FandangoNow
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"In Origin of Evil, he [Flanagan] showcases his ability to create character and suspense."

In 1967 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters are haunted by an evil presence after introducing a Ouija board into their séance scam business...

Ouija: Origin of Evil is a prequel to Ouija (2014). Fortunately, you do not have to watch the original to watch this film. Origin of Evil takes place in 1967 Los Angeles, so it immediately has a unique and attractive old-fashioned style. The film follows a small family: mother Alice (Elizabeth Reaser), daughter Lina (Annalise Basso) and youngest daughter Doris (Lulu Wilson). This family operates a scam business where they perform fake séances. However, after implementing a Ouija board into their routine, they quickly find out Doris has the ability to communicate with the dead. They capitalize on her newfound ability, but Lina quickly notices Doris' shift in behavior. The plot doesn't really take any major risks, but it works. The final act is a little disappointing, though. This is another supernatural movie that ends up becoming a slasher by the end. The actual ending was decent, though.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Film Review: Offerings (1989)

Offerings (Review)
United States/1989
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...it really doesn't deviate far from the standard slasher formula."

Ten years after he was pushed into a well, John Radley returns to his old neighborhood to punish his childhood bullies...

Offerings is understandably compared to John Carpenter's Halloween—it is practically a clone, to be blunt. So, there isn't much to say about the plot. John Radley is a mute kid who is bullied by the neighborhood kids—except for Gretchen, who treats him like a friend. John falls into a well due to his bullies and he ends up in a mental hospital. Fast forward ten years and John escapes from the hospital and returns home to kill his bullies. Truth be told, there's not much more to discuss in terms of plot. It's a barebones slasher. It leads to a predictable climax and ending. A few elements of the ending are effective, but it really doesn't deviate far from the standard slasher formula.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Film Review: The Guest (2014)

The Guest (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...an exciting action-horror movie oozing with style."

David (Dan Stevenson), a soldier, introduces himself to the Peterson family as a friend of their son who died in action. He is warmly welcomed by the family... until deaths begin occurring in their community.

The Guest is a action-horror hybrid with a pinch of black comedy sprinkled on top. The plot is simple—at least in the beginning. The film follows David, a recently discharged soldier. David introduces himself to the Peterson family, which consists of: Spencer, the father, Laura, the mother, Luke, the son, and Anna (Maika Monroe), the daughter. Charmingly enigmatic, David introduces himself as a friend of the Peterson family's slain son, Caleb. He is welcomed to the family, where he helps Laura cope with the loss and Luke deal with his bullying—among other things. Eventually, people start dying—and all of the evidence leads to David. The 'twist' is interesting and unique. The climax was very well executed. And, the ending was interesting.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Film Review: Extraterrestrial (2014)

Extraterrestrial (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...despite its alien concept, it still relies on 'cabin in the woods' clichés."

While spending a weekend at a secluded cabin, a group of friends are terrorized by alien visitors...

Extraterrestrial is, unfortunately, a generic horror film. The plot follows a set of painfully generic characters: April (Brittany Allen), a young woman with commitment issues, Kyle, April's boyfriend, Melanie, the 'quirky' stoner, Seth, the douchebag, and Lex, Seth's forgettable girlfriend. So, the first thirty minutes introduces us to a small town that appears to be targeted by aliens. Most of that time, however, is focused on April and her friends. So, it's boring and obnoxious. Eventually, a UFO crash lands nearby and, of course, the group decides to investigate. They end up being targeted by the aliens, which leads to a fight for survival in the woods/cabin. That's about it, really. It leads to a decent climax and ending. Again, it's nothing new or daring.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Film Review: Blackhat (2015)

Blackhat (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's not a compelling story about the dangers of hacking, it's not a thrilling film filled with tension and action. It's somewhere lost in the middle, wondering what it's supposed to be."

A furloughed convict and a special international task force hunt a cyber-criminal around the world...

Blackhat is a painfully average film. The plot severely lacks a sense of urgency and, well, plot. It struggles to maintain any sort of momentum from beginning to end. Essentially, a hacker causes a deadly accident at a Hong Kong nuclear plant. Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang), the head of China's cyber warfare unit, is placed in charge of the investigation. He enlists his sister, Lien (Tang Wei), and heads to the United States for more assistance. He even convinces the FBI to release Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) from prison since he was the creator of the original Remote Access Tool used in the attack. Anyway, this group tracks the code around the world. There are some very predictable subplots here – who would have guess Lien would have a thing for Nicholas? – and the plot doesn't really have any impact. The ending doesn't leave an impression, either.