Friday, August 11, 2017

Film Review: Phantasm 2 (1988)

Phantasm 2 (Review)
United States/1988
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"[compared to the original] ...this plays out more like an action-horror movie."

After being released from a psychiatric hospital, Mike (James LeGros) continues his hunt for The Tall Man.

Phantasm 2 is a direct sequel to the first film. In fact, it picks up exactly where the first film left off through a flashback. Anyway, Mike has been in a psychiatric hospital ever since his last encounter with The Tall Man. He pretends to understand that it was all part of his imagination, but only to escape the hospital. As soon as he's out, he reunites with Reggie (Reggie Bannister). Reggie believes Mike is a bit unstable, but a tragedy quickly convinces him otherwise. Together, the pair travel cross-country in search of The Tall Man—and they have an arsenal of homemade weapons, too. There's a bit more to the plot, but I don't want to spoil anything. You should know: I think it's absolutely necessary to watch the first film in order to truly enjoy this. (Besides, the original is great.) It leads to a good, abrupt ending.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Film Review: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Ghost in the Shell (Review)
United States/2017
Format Viewed for Review: Google Movies
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a visually-stunning, genuinely exciting, and faithful adaptation of a classic."

While searching for a terrorist, Major Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson), a first-of-her-kind cyborg, begins hunting the truth behind her mysterious past...

Ghost in the Shell is an adaptation of the classic manga/movie. I haven't read the manga, but I am a fan of the animated film. Not the biggest fan, mind you, but I've always enjoyed it. For the most part, this is a fairly faithful adaptation. The film follows Major Mira Killian, known primarily as 'Major.' Major is informed that she survived a terrorist attack, but her body could not be salvaged, so she's given a humanoid robot body. She's then assigned to Section 9 to hunt the world's most dangerous terrorists. Specifically for this film, she's hunting a hacker known as 'Kuze,' who happens to be attacking the company that built her. While hunting him, she discovers more about her past. In terms of plot, the film works, but it doesn't really leave an impression. It's missing a certain oomph factor. It leads to a decent ending, though.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Film Review—Boyka: Undisputed (2016)

Boyka: Undisputed (Review)
Bulgaria/2016
Format Viewed for Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It's a brutal, exciting, and entertaining movie."

While attempting to build his life as a professional fighter, legendary fighter Yuri Boyka (Scott Adkins) finds himself in Russia seeking forgiveness after an accidental death in the ring...

Boyka: Undisputed is the fourth film in the Undisputed series. The plot follows Yuri Boyka, who now roams Ukraine as an underground fighter. His opportunity to become a professional fighter is solidified after he beats Viktor in a fight. However, when Viktor passes away after the fight, Boyka feels compelled to make things right with Viktor's wife in Russia. So, he heads to Russia where he is a wanted escapee. He finds that Viktor's wife is being forced to work for a Russian gang boss to repay a debt. In order to win her freedom, Boyka must beat said boss' best fighters. It's a simple and derivative plot, it's even a bit cheesy at times, but it works. It leads to a surprising ending, too. It's not a big twist or anything like that, but I like the route they took.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Film Review: Phantasm (1979)

Phantasm (Review)
United States/1979
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the most interesting and creative horror films I've ever seen."

A teenage boy and his friends discover a horrendous secret hidden by the local undertaker, an evil man known as The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm)…

Phantasm is a very creative and original horror movie. The plot is difficult to discuss for two reasons: I don't want to spoil anything and it's simply not an easy story to talk about. You see, Phantasm is told in a surreal fashion—like a dream or, better yet, a nightmare. Here's the gist of the story, though. While spying on his brother, Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) discovers the existence of dwarf-like creatures near the funeral home, which he links to The Tall Man—a malevolent, supernatural undertaker. He brings his evidence to his older brother, Jody, and eventually their friend, Reggie, joins in on the suspicion. Together, they confront The Tall Man and discover the truth about the dwarves. It leads to a good climax and an interesting ending. I emphasize 'interesting' because it definitely caught my interest, but it might be for the wrong reasons. It's an ending that's difficult to properly interpret.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Film Review: A Cure for Wellness (2017)

A Cure for Wellness (Review)
United States/Germany/2017
Format Viewed for Review: Google Movies
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...it's a plot we've seen before, but its characters are interesting, the mystery is still engaging, and the direction is great."

An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from a remote "wellness center" in the Swiss Alps, but he soon finds everything is not what it seems...

A Cure for Wellness follows ambitious executive Lockhart (Dane DeHaan). He's gotten himself into a bit of trouble and, in order to fix his mistakes, he's sent to the Swiss Alps to retrieve his company's CEO, Roland Pembroke, from a remote spa. Roland Pembroke was only supposed to spend two weeks at the spa, but he's suddenly decided to stay at the wellness center and abandon his life. When Lockhart arrives, he finds himself surrounded by wealthy elderly people who have also decided to permanently stay at the wellness center. Why? Well, Lockhart is determined to find out, especially since the facility's director seems hellbent on keeping him there. It's a very familiar story. You may find yourself asking: have I seen this movie before? However, it's still effective and entertaining. It leads to a fairly predictable but well-executed finale.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Film Review—Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Kong: Skull Island (Review)
United States/2017
Format Viewed for Review: VUDU
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's exciting stuff, really."

A team of scientists and their military escort explore an uncharted island where they discover the hidden creatures of the world...

Kong: Skull Island is a reimagining of the classic King Kong story. In 1974, U.S. government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman) and his partner Brooks set off on an expedition to Skull Island. In order to get there, they enlist the help of Lieutenant Colonel Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his helicopter squadron as well as the help of skilled tracker Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston). Photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) also tags along. The group travel to the island, but their expedition is quickly interrupted by a giant ape known as Kong. Their helicopters are knocked down and the survivors are forced to fight for survival. There's a bit more to the story, but those are your basics and I don't want to spoil anything else. Besides, I don't want to recount the whole plot anyway. It leads to a solid climax and a decent ending.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Film Review: No Escape (2015)

No Escape (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It is engaging, suspenseful, thrilling, and even frightening at times."

An expat and his family become trapped in a South-East Asia country after a violent revolution sparks...

No Escape follows expat engineer Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), his wife Annie (Lake Bell), and their daughters, Lucy and Briegel, as they relocate to an unnamed country in South-East Asia for Jack's new job. On the day of their arrival, they become friends with a Briton named Hammond (Pierce Brosnan). The day after, however, the Prime Minister is assassinated and a violent uprising begins. The rebels are especially focused on murdering foreigners. This leads Jack and his family to run and fight for survival. That's basically the entire plot. There are other small plot points, but it never builds on any of it. It leads to a decent climax and conclusion.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Film Review: Life (2017)

Life (Review)
United States/2017
Format Viewed For Review: VUDU
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's not Alien for a new generation, it just doesn't have that same effect, but it is very entertaining."

A team of scientists on the International Space Station discover a new form of life from Mars. While researching the lifeform, however, they discover that it may not be as friendly as it seems...

Life is a very simple film—to a fault, even. The story follows a team on the ISS: Mission Commander Ekaterina Golovkina, Dr. David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), flight engineer Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds), systems engineer Sho Murakami, and Dr. Hugh Derry. The team captures a probe returning from Mars with a possible sample of life. After experimenting with the lifeform—basically awakening it—they're elated. They have discovered life beyond mankind. They even name it 'Calvin.' However, they quickly discover that Calvin isn't exactly friendly. After that, it's your basic fight for survival with the same ol' goal: don't let the hostile lifeform get to Earth. That's where the simplicity hurts the film. It doesn't take many risks, playing out as a derivative Sci-Fi horror film. It leads to a decent ending, although it was also predictable.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Film Review: Prom Night (1980)

Prom Night (Review)
Canada/1980
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"It's not the best or worst slasher out there. It's somewhere in the middle."

At a high school prom, a masked killer stalks and murders the students responsible for a classmate's death 6 years prior...

Prom Night is a simple slasher. It begins with a group of kids—Wendy, Jude, Kelly, and Nick—playing hide-and-seek in an abandoned building. Ten-year-old Robin Hammond joins them, but she's teased and frightened by the kids instead. She ends up falling to her death. The death is blamed on a known sex offender. Six years later, Robin's older sister Kim (Jamie Lee Curtis) and brother, Alex, prepare for their high school's prom. Wendy, Jude, Kelly, and Nick are still around, too—and each of them receive eerie phone calls from a creepy person. Eventually, the prom begins and people start dying... And, that's your plot. It leads to a predictable but well-executed ending.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Film Review: Unthinkable (2010)

Unthinkable (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the better time-killers I've recently watched."

A black-ops negotiator and an FBI agent attempt to interrogate a suspected terrorist who has threatened to detonate nuclear bombs in three cities...

Unthinkable follows an American Muslim man and former Delta Force operator named Yusuf (Michael Sheen), formerly known as Stephen Arthur Younger. Yusuf has made a tape announcing his plans to detonate nuclear bombs in three American cities if his demands, which he doesn't name, aren't met. Yusuf is captured at a mall and taken to a high school, which has been turned into a black site. At the school, starry-eyed FBI agent Helen Brody (Carrie Ann-Moss) is asked to find the bombs while "H" (Samuel L. Jackson) conducts his interrogation, which is really torture in its purest form. The main theme of the plot revolves around our morals—good and bad, black and white. It asks some interesting questions, too. Unfortunately, I felt like it led to an unfulfilling ending.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Film Review: The Bye Bye Man (2017)

The Bye Bye Man (Review)
United States/2017
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...not the worst film I've ever seen, but it wasn't great, either."

A group of friends move into a new house where they discover the origins of an evil entity...

The Bye Bye Man is an interesting film. The film begins in 1969 as a man with a shotgun walks around his neighborhood and murders anyone who said 'the name' that shan't be said. Fast forward to the present, college students Elliot (Douglas Smith), Sasha (Cressida Bonas), and John (Lucien Laviscount) move into an off-campus house. After they discover the name The Bye Bye Man, things start to go bump in the night and they feel a presence around them. The more they think about the name, the stronger the presence grows. So, they start hallucinating. Those hallucinations lead to distrust, misunderstandings, and irrational fear. It leads to an underwhelming final act and a predictable ending.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Film Review: Macabre (2009)

Macabre (Review)
Indonesia/2009
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a simple, suspenseful, and bloody movie."

A group of friends are lured into an ominous villa owned by a woman named Dara and her peculiar family.

In terms of plot, Macabre is a very simple film. The story follows newlyweds Adjie and Astrid (Sigi Wimala), Adije's sister, Ladya (Julie Estelle), and their friends Alam, Eko, and Jimmy. On their way to the airport, they pick up a woman who asks for a lift to her home. They take her home and they're invited into her house for a special dinner of gratitude. At the house, they meet Dara, the owner. Before they know it, the group of friends are knocked out and, when they awaken, they are brutalized. The rest of the film essentially follows the characters as they try to escape the house. There are some interesting ideas surrounding Dara and her family, but it never truly develops them. So, what you see is what you get. It can be a bit disappointing, but it ultimately works. It leads to a bloody, albeit predictable, ending.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Film Review: Among the Living (2014)

Among the Living (Review)
France/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"If you're a fan of French horror films like High Tension or Frontier(s), I think you'll like the graphic style of this film."

Three kids ditch school to explore an abandoned movie studio where they find a captive woman being dragged by a masked man...

Among the Living follows a group of kids who ditch school in order to avoid detention. They smoke, they set a farm aflame, then they explore an abandoned film studio. At the lot, They find a tow truck hauling a red car. And, in the car's trunk, they discover a tied and gagged woman. Before they can help her, they hear someone approaching—a masked person. This masked person carries the woman into an underground-level of the set. Of course, these kids are curious and courageous—they want to help the woman and find out more. Unfortunately, they're not able to help her and they find themselves in the crosshairs of a brutal killer. The rest of the film follows the kids in their own homes where the killer attacks them. The change in setting was initially disappointing since I wanted to see more of the abandoned film studio, but it ends up working fine. The ending, however, felt rushed and underwhelming.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Film Review: The Church (1989)

The Church (Review)
Italy/1989
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...by the second half, the film feels more like it's focused more on its visuals than its plot, and that's a little disappointing."

In medieval Germany, the Teutonic Knights slaughter a village of suspected witches and build a church over their grave. In the present, the church's librarian discovers and opens the grave, leading to deadly consequences...

The Church begins in medieval Germany. The Teutonic Knights are led to a group of suspected witches, which leads them to massacre an entire village. When they're done, they bury the dead and build a church over them, hoping to seal their evil for eternity. I loved this introduction, so I wish the plot spent more time on it. Anyway, fast forward to the present and the church is still standing. Evan, the new librarian, eventually discovers a crypt in the catacombs of the church. Of course, being curious, he breaks the seals and unleashes a horde of evil spirits. The film started to lose me during the second half, where the plot shifts focus to a group of generic characters who become trapped in the church. It starts explaining less, which is both good and bad. On one hand, I like the ominous and ambiguous atmosphere. On the other, it can feel like it's all over the place. The ending was okay, too.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Film Review: Lake Mungo (2008)

Lake Mungo (Review)
Australia/2008
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...the type of the film that gets under your skin and leaves an impression."

A small family struggles to come to terms with the drowning death of their daughter...

Lake Mungo is a horror mockumentary. The plot details the drowning death of Alice Palmer and the subsequent events—some of which may have been supernatural. Family and friends are interviewed about their relationships with Alice. Alice's final moments—including elements of her hidden life—are also revealed. There really isn't much to talk about when it comes to the plot. It has some heavy themes, some twists and turns, and a few compelling characters, but there isn't much else to the story. I'm afraid if I said anything else I would be spoiling your experience. It leads to a deep but somewhat underwhelming ending.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Film Review: Dark Places (2015)

Dark Places (Review)
United States/United Kingdom/France/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...a chilling film with some engaging mystery elements."

Libby Day (Charlize Theron), the sole survivor of her family's massacre, revisits the crime 28 years after the fact and discovers some grisly revelations about that night...

Dark Places follows Libby Day, an unemployed person who seemingly does nothing all day. Libby survived the massacre of her family at the suspected hands of her older brother, Ben; she even testifies against him. As an adult, she relies on the money sent to her from sympathetic people as well as the earnings from her book. With her funds running low, she's forced to take up some kind of work. She accepts an offer from a Lyle Wyrth to make an appearance at his true crime club for $700. At this club, she discovers a group of people who are convinced Ben did not murder his family. Libby is reluctant, but, in need of cash and closure, she agrees to reopen her old wounds and find the truth about that night. This is a crime-mystery, so I won't bother spoiling anything else. It leads to an underwhelming climax and ending, though.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Film Review: High Tension (2003)

High Tension (Review)
France/2003
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"If you love suspenseful and violent horror films, you'll love this movie. If you need everything to make sense..."

Best friends Marie (Cécile de France) and Alex decide to spend a weekend at the secluded farm house of Alex's parents. However, on the night of their arrival, a mysterious man attacks the home and leaves the friends fighting for survival...

High Tension follows Marie and Alex. After nights of partying, the pair head out to the house of Alex's parents so Marie can meet them for the first time. The night begins as expected—meet the family, settle in, and so on. Then, a man in a rusty truck knocks on the front door. This grubby man slaughters Alex's family and kidnaps Alex while remaining completely unaware of Marie's presence. One thing leads to another, and the friends find themselves fighting for survival. The plot has no filler and a very fast pace. I'm afraid if I continued discussing the plot I'd just end up spoiling something. I will say: this film would have been better without its 'twist' ending. The ending is interesting and there are ways to make it sorta work, but it ultimately opens too many holes.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Film Review: The Invitation (2015)

The Invitation (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It's a great mixture of horror, thriller, and drama, and that ultimately creates an effective experience."

While attending a reunion at the Hollywood Hills home of his former wife, a man begins to suspect his ex-wife and her new husband have dangerous hidden intentions...

The Invitation is a horror-thriller-drama hybrid. The film follows Will (Logan Marshall-Green), a man who became depressed and estranged after the death of his son. Will and his new girlfriend, Kiara, attend a reunion dinner hosted by Will's ex-wife at their former home—a lavish house at the Hollywood Hills. At the house, we meet Will's ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and her new husband, David. He also reunites with a group of his old pals. There are also other people in the house—friends who Eden and David met in Mexico while meeting a cult-like group. Will begins to suspect Eden, David, and the other mysterious guests are trying to hurt them, one way or another; if not that, he believes they're trying to convert them. But, why? It leads to a fairly predictable but effective climax. The ending—as in, the very last minute—was also very effective.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Film Review: Crimson Peak (2015)

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

"...thanks to its setting and character, the film feels original, refreshing, and scary."

After tragedy strikes her family, an aspiring author marries an enigmatic man who brings her to a palatial house—a house that has not forgotten the past...

Crimson Peak follows Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), an aspiring author. Unfortunately, as a female writer of ghost stories, Edith's career moves at a snail's pace. Her life changes when she meets Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who, along with his sister, travels the world in search of funding for his clay-mining invention. In particular, Thomas is looking to finance his invention through Edith's father—which leads to rejection. However, Thomas still finds himself attracted to Edith. And so, their relationship blossoms. When tragedy strikes her family, Edith decides to leave her home and run away from her problems. She moves in with Thomas and his sister at their tumbledown house. All is well until things start to go bump in the night. Although atmospheric from beginning to end, this is where the film really begins to embrace its horror elements. It also starts to pack a few twists—most of which are predictable from the beginning. It leads to a great ending, though.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Film Review: Ms. 45 (1981)

Ms. 45 (Review)
United States/1981
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a dark, disturbing, and violent horror-thriller film."

After being raped twice in one day, a mute woman begins to roam the streets of New York City, randomly shooting the men who cross her path...

Ms. 45 is a simple but effective film. The plot follows Thana (Zoë Lund), a mute seamstress. One day after work, she finds herself walking home alone. During her walk, she's raped by a masked man with a gun. She goes home after the traumatizing experience only to find a burglar in her apartment—and that burglar rapes her as well. She's able to kill the burglar, though, and she finds herself in possession of his gun. She struggles to live with the murder, hoping to dispose of the body without raising any alarms. While doing so, however, she kills someone else. This leads her into a never-ending descent into murder and madness. She takes to the streets at night, aiming to kill the men in her path. It leads to a strong climax and a great ending.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Film Review: The Killer Inside Me (2010)

The Killer Inside Me (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a dark, brutal, and disturbing film..."

In 1950s West Texas, Sheriff Deputy Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) falls to his inner-demons, leaving a trail of death and violence in his wake...

The Killer Inside Me follows Lou Ford, a soft-spoken sheriff with some well-kept secrets. Lou is asked to help get rid of Joyce Lakeland (Jessica Alba), a prostitute who is having an affair with the son of a wealthy construction developer, Chester Conway. Instead, Lou finds himself having an affair of his own with Joyce. With Joyce, he devises a plan to scam the Conways and run off with a hefty payment. Yet again, Lou deviates from the plan. He attacks Joyce and Chester's son, hoping to make it look like they killed each other, but his plan is derailed. So, Lou finds himself at the center of a criminal investigation. There is so much more to the story, including some disturbing background for Lou, but I'll leave it at that to avoid any spoilers. It leads to a great ending, too.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Film Review: Perkins' 14 (2009)

Perkins' 14 (Review)
United States/2009
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a roller coaster of quality, featuring a few ups and many downs."

During the night shift, Sheriff Dwayne Hopper discovers one of the prisoners at the station may be the serial killer who kidnapped his son 10 years prior...

Perkins' 14 follows Sheriff Hopper and the residents of Stone Cove, Maine. Off the bat, you're introduced to Hopper and his broken family. His relationships with his wife and teenage daughter are strained because of an incident ten years ago where his son was abducted. Anyway, Hopper eventually ends up at the police station to cover the night shift. At the station, he meets Ronald Perkins (Richard Brake). After speaking to Perkins, Hopper investigates his background and his car which leads him to believe that Perkins is the serial killer who abducted his son and 13 other children over the past 10 years. As he pursues his leads, he unwittingly unleashes something from Perkins' basement. The rest of the plot reverts to your basic faux-zombie flick. It leads to an unfulfilling ending.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Film Review: Headshot (2016)

Headshot (Review)
Indonesia/2016
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...packed with exciting martial arts and bloody gun battles."

After he washes ashore, an amnesiac is nursed back to health by a young doctor, but his past ferociously comes back to haunt him...

Headshot shares a few similarities to the great Thailand action film Headshot (2011), but it's not a remake. This plot follows a young man (Iko Uwais) who washes ashore with a gunshot wound on his head. He awakens months later unable to remember his past. Ailin (Chelsea Islan), his doctor, gives him the name Ishmael and begins to nurse him back to health, and so the pair develop a friendly relationship. All is well until a group of highly-trained assassins set their sights on Ishmael and Ishmael's past begins to unravel. Ailin is kidnapped and Ishmael sets out to rescue her. The second half of the film is action-packed, adding only tidbits of details to the plot. It leads to a thrilling climax and a good ending.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Film Review: I Am Not A Serial Killer (2016)

I Am Not A Serial Killer (Review)
Ireland/United Kingdom/2016
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It's a dark, disturbing, and creative horror-thriller."

A troubled teenager with homicidal tendencies hunts a serial killer who may have supernatural abilities.

I Am Not A Serial Killer follows John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records), a teenager in a small Midwestern town. John is not a normal teenager, though. He is attracted to the macabre and he has homicidal thoughts. He uses a set of rules to stop himself from killing, though. However, when extremely violent murders start occurring in his town, John's inner demons begin to surface. In order to stop himself, he attempts to stop the serial killer, who may be a menacing creature. I don't want to spoil anything. This is one of those films that really catches you off guard if you go in blind. The plot works on multiple levels. However, I didn't feel like the ending resonated. It's original, it's outlandish, but it's just not very effective.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Film Review: Split (2016)

Split (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: VUDU
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...Split, despite its flaws, shows he's [Shyamalan] a master storyteller and a visionary filmmaker."

Three girls are kidnapped by a man with 23 distinct personalities—a man who plans on using the girls to unleash a fearsome 24th personality known as 'The Beast.'

Off the bat, Split forces you to suspense disbelief. The film starts off with a kidnapping sequence which is both chilling and silly. That ridiculous line has been in my head since I first watched the trailer: "Pardon me, sir, I think you have the wrong car." Still, thanks to Shyamalan's direction, it's an effective scene in which our victims are introduced: Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Claire, and Marcia—high school girls. This group is easily kidnapped by Dennis (James McAvoy), who is really Kevin—and Kevin happens to have 23 personalities. Casey and her friends wake up in a dungeon built by Dennis. In simple terms, just to avoid spoilers, the rest of the film follows Kevin and the captives as he plans the arrival of his 24th personality known as 'The Beast,' which happens to have superhuman abilities. It does lose a little bit of steam towards the middle, but the pacing is mostly good. It leads to a surprising third act and a great ending.