crime, drama, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

July 25th, 2017 Movie – Seven


1995 was a time for some fairly memorable movies to come out, and man did I enjoy watching them. Today’s movie was one that I first had the opportunity to watch during a movie night at college, but ended up falling asleep. That was an interesting night as they were showing both today’s movie and 12 Monkeys and I fall asleep after Gluttony body is found and wake up to a bunch of animals running around a city with no clue what had happened. So when this came available to rent, I immediately rented it so I could find out what exactly happened. I always thought it was a good movie but never got around to buying it on DVD. When my brother was getting rid of his DVD’s and offered some of them to me, I saw that he had this one so I immediately decided to grab it. Now let’s see if it is as good as I can remember as I watch today’s movie, Seven.

The plot: At the scene of a murder, retiring detective William Somerset is examining the scene when his new partner, Detective David Mills, arrives and introduces himself. As they leave the scene, Somerset questions Mills as to why he chose to transfer to that particular city before they part ways. On Monday, Somerset and Mills arrive at the scene of an obese man who was found dead in his kitchen. As they examine the scene, they find the man’s hands and feet were bound and a bucket was under the table, collecting the man’s vomit. When Mills keeps talking nonstop, Somerset tells him to go help the officers ask the neighbors if they heard anything, which upsets Mills. At the morgue, the medical examiner tells Somerset and Mills that the man was forced to eat constantly until his stomach ruptured, with bruises on his head indicating a gun was pressed against it to force him into eating. Meeting with the captain, Somerset asks to be reassigned, as he feels like this is only the beginning and he doesn’t want this to be his last case. When he also asks that Mills be reassigned, as he doesn’t want this to be his first case, Mills objects and says he will work the case alone if Somerset doesn’t want to. The captain tells Somerset that he will keep working the dead man’s case, while sending Mills to investigate the death of a defense attorney. Mills arrives at the law firm, ignoring reporters’ questions as he heads up to the scene of the crime, where he finds the word Greed written in blood. Meanwhile, Somerset returns to the dead man’s apartment, after he had been given some pieces of wood that were in the dead man’s stomach. Examining the fridge, Somerset notices scratches in the floor in front of it and moves the fridge to find the word Gluttony written behind the fridge as well as a note. Back at the precinct, Somerset explains to the captain and Mills that the crimes are related and seemed patterned after the seven deadly sins. Somerset then tells them that they can expect 5 more murders before he walks away, saying he can’t be a part of this case. Somerset heads to the library and does some research on the seven sins, leaving a note for Mills to follow up on. The next day, as Mills is getting settled into his new desk (which was Somerset’s old office), his wife Tracy calls and invites Somerset over for dinner. After dinner, Somerset and Mills go over the photos of the attorney’s death and after seeing the picture of the attorney’s wife with blood around her eyes to make a pair of glasses, they decide to go ask her to look through the pictures to see if she sees anything missing or different. When the wife says one of the pictures is upside down, the two men go back to the office to examine the painting and discover fingerprints on the wall that spell out “Help Me.” When they run the prints, they match a known drug dealer and child molester so the SWAT team accompanies Somerset and Mills to his last known address. Breaking into the man’s apartment, they find hundreds of air fresheners hanging from the ceiling and the emaciated body of the man strapped to his bed. Mills finds photos of that the killer took of the man, showing he had been held captive there for a year, when the man suddenly starts breathing and thrashing on the bed and they have him rushed to a hospital. That night, Tracy calls Somerset and asks if they can meet in the morning to talk. Meeting at a diner, Tracy tells him that she is pregnant but she hasn’t told Mills yet as she hates the city and doesn’t want to raise a child there. As Somerset and Mills discuss the case at the precinct, Somerset gets an idea and has Mills accompany him to the library, where he prints a list of all the books that have to deal with the seven deadly sins. They then head to a diner, where Somerset hands the list to a contact at the FBI and he explains to Mills that the FBI would be able to find out who had been checking out some of those books, as well as books about murder and crime scenes in order to come up with some possible suspects. When they get a name, they head to the apartment of a man called John Doe but as they knock on the door, they notice a man approaching at the far end of the hallway. The man suddenly starts firing at them and Mills gives chase throughout the apartment and out into the street but John Doe gets the drop on him and holds a gun to Mills’ head, but lets him live and escapes as Somerset shows up. Heading back to the apartment, Mills wants to go in and look but Somerset tries to talk him out of it, as the way they found him was not technically legal, but Mills kicks the door open anyway, then bribes a woman to lie to the police in order to justify their being there. Heading inside, Mills finds several pictures, including one of him, and realizes that they had seen the killer earlier at the drug dealers’ apartment, posing as a reporter. When they hear a phone ring, Mills answers it and the killer congratulates them on finding him but says he will have to step up his time table. Seeing a picture of a blonde woman, they have some cops try to locate her before it is too late, while they head to an S&M shop, where John Doe had apparently purchased a custom item. When the girl is found, they find that she is dead, as a man was forced to rape her with a bladed codpiece, which ended up traumatizing the man. The next day, 911 receives a call from John Doe and Somerset and Mills arrive to find the fifth victim, a woman whose face had been slashed up and had a phone glued to one hand and a bottle of sleeping pills glued to the other; giving her a choice of living with a disfigured face or ending her own life. When the two return to the precinct, they are surprised to see John Doe arrive and turn himself in, demanding to see his lawyer. As John Doe speaks with his lawyer, Mills and Somerset learn that John Doe had been cutting the skin off of his fingertips for years in order to keep from leaving any prints. The lawyer meets with the detectives, the captain, and the D.A. and tells them John Doe’s demands. He says that he will take Mills and Somerset to the location of the last two bodies and sign a full confession of what he did but if they don’t do exactly what he says, he will plead insanity to everything. Somerset and Mills get in the car with John Doe and he directs them to a field outside of the city, discussing the people he killed along the way as a police helicopter follows them. When they arrive at the field, John Doe has them walk out to the field when Somerset notices a van coming down the road towards them and goes to intercept it. He discovers that it is a delivery van with a package for Mills that John Doe had arranged to send to their location at that time. When Somerset opens the box, he recoils in horror, then tells everyone to stay away before he runs back towards Mills, yelling at him to put his gun down. John Doe starts talking to Mills and telling him how much he envied his life and how he went to his home and tried to imitate it with Tracy but it didn’t take so he killed her and took her head as a trophy. When Somerset reaches them, Mills asks what is in the box while Somerset tries to get him to put his gun down. When John Doe tells Mills that Tracy begged for her life as well as her unborn baby’s life. Mills becomes grief stricken and ends up shooting John Doe, becoming Wrath like John Doe intended. Mills is taken away and the captain tells Somerset that they will do all they can to take care of him, and when he asks where Somerset will be, Somerset tells him he will be around as he walks away.

Seven met with positive results from the critics, holding an 80% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A brutal, relentlessly grimy shocker with taut performances, slick gore effects, and a haunting finale.” While filming the scene of Mills chasing after John Doe, Brad Pitt really did injure himself when he fell and his arm went through a windshield, requiring surgery, and the injury was worked into the movie. Denzel Washington and Sylvester Stallone were offered the role of Mills, while Al Pacino was offered the role of Somerset, but they all declined for various reasons and have sense admitted that they regret turning down the roles. The movie was a big hit at the box office, earning $327.3 million off of a $33 million budget.

If you want a dark and gritty movie, than this is the one for you. This is a fantastic movie to watch. The acting was fantastic, with Morgan Freeman (Somerset), Brad Pitt (Mills), and Kevin Spacey (John Doe) were absolutely incredible in this movie, while Gwyneth Paltrow was pretty much the only bright spot in the movie, somewhat literally with her blonde hair, in her portrayal of Tracy. The story was incredible and did a good job of painting a rather bleak outlook on life. The drama and tension involved in the movie did a great job in drawing the audience in and getting them invested in the outcome. I have to admit that even though I knew it was coming, I still jumped when the drug dealer started moving on the bed. A great movie to watch, especially on a dark, stormy night.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Hitchcock, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

July 21st, 2017 Movie – Secret Agent

secret agent

Now that’s kind of funny. I started the work week with a movie from the Legends of Horror box set and I am ending it with a movie from that same set. Today’s movie happens to be another one of Hitchcock’s early movies, and another one which I have never seen. I think I am going to have to count up how many movies in this set are Hitchcock movies, just to see what the ratio is out of the 50 movies in the set. But I need to stop rambling now and focus on what I should be doing right now, namely watching today’s movie, Secret Agent.

The plot: During World War I in 1916, a memorial service is being held for a British Captain and novelist named Edgar Brodie but after everyone leaves, the attendant goes to move the coffin and reveals that it is empty. Later, Brodie is brought to see a man, who introduces himself as R, and Brodie asks what is going on. R explains that he needs Brodie to undertake a secret mission to locate an enemy agent that is trying to cause trouble in Constantinople. Brodie’s predecessor believed the enemy agent was staying at the Hotel Excelsior in Switzerland so R arranges transport out of town and tells Brodie to make his way their inconspicuously. Brodie is given a new identity, Richard Ashenden, and an assistant called the General, whom he briefly meets as the man is chasing after one of R’s maids. Ashenden makes his way to Switzerland and as he checks in to the hotel, he learns that his “wife” is already there, which catches him off guard. When he enters his room, he sees a man eating grapes in a chair while talking to a woman in the other room. When Ashenden makes himself known, the woman comes out and happily greets him, then introduces the man as Robert Marvin, who had been keeping her company during the day. After Marvin leaves, Ashenden questions his wife, who reveals that she is Elsa Carrington, and tells him she took the assignment for the thrills. Some time later, the General arrives and greets Ashenden and is upset to find that Ashenden is married to Elsa but when Ashenden explains that she is there as part of his cover, the General immediately begins flirting with her. Ashenden tells the General to cut it out and get some rest, as they have to head out in the morning to meet their contact in the church of a small village. Meanwhile, an old man enters a shop to buy some chocolate and is given a specific package and after he leaves the shop, he throws the candy away while keeping the wrapper, which contains a message about Brodie faking his death and for him to “take steps.” The next day, Ashenden and the General make their way to the church only to find their contact, the church organist, is dead. As they examine the body, they find a button in the man’s hand and believe it was torn off in struggle. When someone enters the church, they go hide in the bell tower but regret that decision when the person sees the body, then rings the church bell to signal the authorities. Meanwhile, Elsa has gone to the casino with Marvin, who continues to try and seduce her but she refuses, saying she loves her husband. When Ashenden and the General return to the hotel, they can’t find Elsa and the concierge tells them she went to the casino with Marvin so they head off to meet her. When they get there, Elsa asks what happened and Ashenden goes to show her the button but he gets bumped and the button ends up falling on the gambling table, where it lands on the winning number. As Marvin and the other competitors laugh at what happened, Marvin says that the button looks like it came from Caypor, the man who bumped into Ashenden and when he notices it looks like one of his buttons, Caypor assumes it is his. After Ashenden and Marvin help keep Caypor out of trouble when his dog runs into the casino, they invite Cypor and his wife to join them, Elsa, and the General for a drink. As they are drinking, Ashenden pulls the General aside and they arrange to have an argument about who is the better climber. Caypor, who is an experienced mountaineer, offers to act as judge and the three agree to head out in the morning to a nearby mountain. Elsa wants to go with them but Ashenden tells her to stay with Mrs. Caypor, as he doesn’t want Elsa to be there if they have to kill Caypor. The next day, Elsa is sitting in the Caypor’s room tlaking with Mrs. Caypor when Marvin shows up and starts discretely flirting with Elsa again. Meanwhile, Ashenden, Caypor, and the General take a lift up to the mountain but Ashenden doesn’t feel capable of killing him so the General climbs up with Caypor, then pushes him off the cliff. That night, Ashenden receives a coded telegram saying that they killed the wrong man and the General laughs about it but Elsa gets upset and walks off. She boards a ferry and Ashenden follows after her and she begins venting about what happened and how she fell in love with him when she first saw him but now she isn’t sure what to do about it. Ashenden admits his feelings for her and that he didn’t kill Caypor and decides to resign his commission in order to pursue a relationship with Elsa and the two end up kissing. The next day, the General goes to the room to speak with Ashenden and is upset to hear that Ashenden resigned. He convinces Ashenden to come with him and takes him to his room, where a woman is there in his bed. The General explains that the woman’s fiance works in a chocolate factory but it is really a mail drop for German spies. Ashenden calls his room and tells Elsa that he has to leave for a few hours and tries to make her understand. Elsa says she does but after hanging up, writes Ashenden a note thanking him for pretending but she sees that he can’t give up the job so he is better off without her. Ashenden and the General head to the chocolate factory and the General notices one of the workers writing a note and placing it in a box on the conveyor, which is taken upstairs. When the note is received, the person contacts his headquarters, who sends some police there to arrest Ashenden and the General. The General sees them arrive and warns Ashenden, who hits the alarm, and the police end up being delayed by the mass of workers trying to exit the building. Ashenden and the General meet up with the woman’s fiance, who gives them a copy of the last telegram that was sent and they learn that it was addressed to Marvin. Back at the hotel, Elsa meets up with Marvin in the lobby and, after learning that he is leaving, she asks him to take her with him. Ashenden phones the hotel to try and reach Elsa but he learns that she left with Marvin so he and the General contact R to let him know what is happening while they head off to the train station to catch them. At the station, Ashenden sees Elsa and calls out to her and tells her that Marvin is the spy and they have to stop him from reaching Constantinople. They board the train for Constantinople, with Elsa coming with them but she tries to stop Ashenden from going after Marvin and killing him. When the train passes into Turkey, soldiers get on and Ashenden points to three bodies that are hanging near the station, and one of the soldiers tells them that they are spies. As Ashenden and the General enter a compartment, Marvin sees Elsa and she accompanies him to another compartment in order to keep him from seeing Ashenden and the General. Marvin then admits to Elsa that he is a spy and plans on killing her but stops when they hear planes attacking the train. Ashenden and the General go looking for Elsa and eventually find her but when the General goes to kill Marvin, Elsa grabs Marvin’s gun and tries to stop him. When the train is derailed due to the plane’s bombs, Marvin ends up pinned by the wreckage and Ashenden has a chance to kill him but chooses not to. Elsa hugs Ashenden as the General approaches Marvin and sits next to him to rest. Marvin grabs the gun that the General put down and shoots him before dying from his injuries and the General laughs and salutes Ashenden before he dies and Ashenden and Elsa continue embracing as the choose to quit the spy business for good.

Secret Agent met with high praise from modern critics, holding a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all tended to praise the cast and felt like it was one of Hitchcock’s better British era thrillers. John Gielgud (Ashenden) filmed his scenes during the day, as he was performing on stage in “Romeo & Juliet” at night. Hitchcock had convinced Gielgud to play the hero by describing him as a modern day Hamlet but Gielgud ended up hating the character as he felt that Hitchcock made the villain more charming.

This is a little confusing at times but a decent thriller of a movie. The acting was ok, with John Gielgud doing a decent job as Ashenden, but he was definitely eclipsed by Peter Lorre (The General), Madeleine Carroll (Elsa), and Robert Young (Marvin). The story was pretty good but it seemed like they tried to hard in disguising who the spy was so it got a little convoluted in the middle, particularly that scene in the chocolate factory. The suspense and drama were pretty well done, especially at the end with all of the soldiers on the train and Ashenden and the others trying to figure out what to do without being caught as spies. I don’t necessarily agree with it being one of his best early films but this is a good Hitchcock movie and worth watching.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

crime, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

July 17th, 2017 Movie – A Scream In The Night

a scream in the night

A new work week and I start off with a movie from the Legends of Horror box set. Cheap plug here, but if you are a fan of classic movies, I highly recommend buying this set. The one flaw I have with it is that there are not as many actual horror movies in this set as I would have hoped. Anyways, I never heard of this movie before so I am actually excited to watch this movie. The only person I really know in this movie is Lon Chaney Jr., and that is mainly due to his portrayal of The Wolf Man. So let’s see how good he is in today’s movie, A Scream In The Night.

The plot: At a bazaar in the Eastern British Colonies, Joe Bentley is purchasing a famed ruby called the Tear of Buddha from a man, unaware that he is being observed from a hole in the wall. Later, three men (Jack Wilson, Inspector Green, and Wu Ting) are sitting at a table discussing their attempts to catch a criminal named Johnny Fly. As they are talking, Bentley and his niece Edith are seated a few tables from them and when Edith sees Jack, she writes a note and has the waiter give it to him. When Jack receives the note, he excuses himself and happily goes to greet Edith, revealing that they are old friends. As the two friends start to catch up, Bentley excuses himself and heads back to his suite but once inside, he ends up being attacked. When Jack and Edith return to the suite, they find Bentley unconscious and Jack quickly calls for Inspector Green and a doctor. When they get there, Jack tells Inspector Green that it looks like Johnny Fly had robbed Bentley of some diamonds he was carrying but Bentley says he believes that the thief was after the ruby, which he had given to Edith to hold onto. Bentley is worried about the thief making another attempt and Inspector Green tells Jack to stay with the Bentleys for the night. Meanwhile, Johnny Fly, who poses as a waiter at the lounge, is going through the diamonds he collected from the robbery but is disappointed in not finding the ruby. As Wu Ting goes undercover and starts talking to a man named Butch Curtain, one of Johnny Fly’s spies races to tell Johnny about it. Johnny goes to the bar to see for himself, then summons Butch back to his room. Butch asks Johnny for his cut in the robbery but when all Johnny hands him is some cash, Butch asks about the ruby. Johnny says he never saw the ruby but then realizes that Edith probably has it. Johnny then chastises Butch and tells him that Wu Ting, who had been drinking with Butch, was a cop and that he should be dealt with. Later that night, Inspector Green and Jack find Wu Ting murdered and a drawing written in his blood on the ground in front of him. After studying it for a while Jack realizes it is a human eye and says that Wu Ting was identifying his killer. Elsewhere, Edith gets a police escort to accompany her to the market but they get separated and she ends up being kidnapped by Johnny. Johnny is captivated by her beauty and keeps his girlfriend Mora from injuring Edith, then sends Butch to have a money broker they know come buy his place in order to fence the diamonds. When Jack and Inspector Green learn of Edith’s disappearance, they realize that Johnny probably kidnapped her and try to find her. Jack is at the bazaar and sees Butch talking to the fence and has both of them brought to the station. Jack then tries to get information from Butch, all while disguising himself to look like him. Meanwhile, Mora is upset with Edith, thinking she is trying to steal Johnny from her, and as Mora tries to attack her, Johnny steps in and kicks her out of the room, then tells Edith he plans on taking her with him. Jack, now disguised as Butch, heads to the bar that Butch runs and encounters Mora, who complains to Jack/Butch about Johnny’s mistreatment of her when she tried to kill Edith. Jack/Butch heads to Johnny’s hideout and when Johnny asks why it took so long, Jack/Butch tells him the truth about Butch and the fence being picked up by the police. When the fence arrives, Johnny takes him into a room to meet privately and Mora tells Jack/Butch that Johnny plans on double crossing him but if he kills Johnny, then she can be his woman. Johnny enters the room and tells Jack/Butch to kill the fence as he leaves and get the ruby back. Jack waits downstairs but instead of killing the fence, he knocks him out, then grabs the ruby and as the fence regains consciousness, tells him to play dead or Johnny will really kill him. Jack/Butch returns upstairs and Johnny grabs the ruby from him, as well as his knife as he doesn’t trust him. Johnny goes back into the other room to collect all of the money and while there, Mora tells him that the Butch outside is a fake. Meanwhile, Jack/Butch goes into the room with Edith and tells her he is really Jack and they try to escape. Johnny sees them and uses a rope to try and strangle Jack but Edith attacks him, causing his grip to slip. Mora starts fighting Edith while Jack fights with Johnny and as they are fighting, the police show up and kill Johnny’s henchmen that try to kill Jack. As Edith hugs Jack, Inspector Green congratulates Jack and has Johnny and Mora taken away while Jack and Edith share a kiss.

This was a little confusing  but a decent little thriller. Lon Chaney Jr. was pretty good in his dual roles of Jack and Butch, while Manuel Lopez (Johnny), Shelia Terry (Edith), and Zarah Tazil (Mora) were also good in their roles. The story was pretty basic, but it got a little over-complicated at times which made things a little confusing but did do a good job of tying things up at the end. I don’t know if it was the copy used in this set or the way the film was originally shot but even for a black and white movie, the lighting kept going in and out on it being too dark to see at times. A short little movie that might not be what everyone is in the mood for.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, mystery

July 16th, 2017 Movie – Scream


While a couple of movies did come out in earlier years, the 80’s were truly the decade of the slasher movies as far as horror movies go. However, by the early and mid 90’s, the slasher movies had started to lose their appeal to the horror fans. Then along comes Wes Craven, one of the pioneers of the modern horror movie, to cause a major shake up in the genre. When this movie first came out, I have to admit that my interest was peaked for the first time about a new slasher movie in quite a while. So lets see what fun scares Wes Craven has in store for us with today’s movie, Scream.

The plot: High school student Casey Becker is at her house one night when she gets a phone call from someone with a mysterious voice. While the calls start off being somewhat flirty, Casey starts getting nervous when the caller says he is watching her. After continuing to scare her, Casey says that her boyfriend will kick the caller’s ass and the caller tells her to look outside, where Casey finds her boyfriend Steve bound to a chair on the deck. The caller then starts asking Casey questions about scary movies and when she says the wrong answer, Steve is killed. The killer then asks her which door he is at and when Casey refuses to answer, he proceeds to throw a chair through the back door. Casey runs and grabs a knife from the kitchen, then sneaks outside as she sees a hooded figure run through the house. When Casey sees her parents pulling up, she tries to sneak over to the front of the house but the killer, wearing a white, ghost-faced mask, sees her and attacks her. Casey manages to hit him with the phone but Ghostface tackles her and stabs her repeatedly. Casey’s parents head inside and see the mess in the house and when her mom tries to phone the police, she hears Casey’s gasping in pain. Casey’s father grabs the phone and hears one last gasp before the phone is hung up and he tells his wife to go to the neighbors to call the police but when she steps outside, she screams as she sees Casey’s gutted body hanging from a tree. Elsewhere, Sidney Prescott is doing her homework in her room when she is startled by her boyfriend Billy Loomis sneaking in her room through her window. After Sidney says goodnight to her father, who had come to check on her, Billy talks to Sidney about their relationship and how it has changed since her mother’s death and Sidney says she isn’t ready to go forward with it just yet but does tease him some. The next day, Sidney sees reporters and police around the school and is told by her friend Tatum Riley about Casey and Steve’s death. All of the students are questioned about the deaths and afterwards, Sidney is talking about it with Billy, Tatum, Tatum’s boyfriend Stuart “Stu” Macher, and their friend Randy Meeks. After school, Sidney calls Tatum and asks if she can stay at her place while her father is out of town and Tatum says it is ok and that she will pick her up later. After gathering some clothes together, Sidney watches some of the news reports but turns it off when she sees one reporter, Gail Weathers, mentioning her mother’s murder one year ago. Casey lays down to take a nap and wakes up after dark when Tatum calls to tell her she is on her way. When the phone rings again, Sidney thinks it is Randy messing with her but the caller says he isn’t Randy. When the caller says he is at the front door, Sidney goes outside to look and doesn’t see anyone but when she starts to hang up, the caller says she will die just like her mother. Sidney yells into the phone and quickly runs inside and locks the door, only to have Ghostface emerge from the closet and try to attack her. Sidney manages to get away and races upstairs to her room, blocking the door with the door to her closet so Ghostface can’t get in, but as she tries to contact the police, Ghostface disappears. Suddenly, Billy appears in the window and Sidney hugs him but when a cell phone drops from his pocket, she suspects him of being Ghostface. Sidney races downstairs to find Tatum’s older brother Dewey, a deputy in the police department, at the door holding the Ghostface mask. Billy is placed in handcuffs and taken away, while Sidney goes to the station to fill out a statement just as Gail, along with Kenny her cameraman, shows up and tries to get some answers on what happened from Tatum. At the station, Billy is answering the sheriff’s questions about why he was there while outside, Gail and other reporters are gathering at the front door of the station to try and interview Sidney. When Dewey takes Tatum and Sidney out the back, Gail confronts her and Sidney speaks to her briefly, asking about the book Gail is writing about the murder of Sidney’s mother and how she believes Sidney accused the wrong man for the crime and when Gail says she will send Sidney a copy, Sidney decks her. At Tatum’s house, Tatum is commenting about Sidney hitting Gail when Tatum’s mom says Sidney has a phone call. When Sidney picks up the phone, she hears Ghostface’s voice, mocking her for having Billy locked up and says she accused the wrong man again. The next day, Sidney sees Gail outside the school and goes to talk to her about Cotton Weary, the man Sidney accused of murdering her mother. As Sidney and Gail talk, Gail realizes that Sidney is no longer sure and that the murders might be connected. At school, Sidney encounters Billy and she tells him that she doesn’t think he is the killer anymore but things are still awkward between them. In the bathroom, Sidney overhears some girls talking about her and hide in one of the stalls until they leave but when she is alone, she hears a noise and is attacked by Ghostface but manages to get away. Outside the school, Gail is talking to Dewey about the murders when they hear the principal go on the PA system and announce that classes are suspended due to the antics of several students during the day. Stu decides to hold a party at his house since the police have issued a curfew and his parents are out of town and Tatum convinces Sidney to go. Meanwhile, Principal Himbry is in his office when he hears knocks at his door and when he goes to investigate, he ends up being killed. Elsewhere, Stu is at the video store when they see Billy there and Randy starts talking about his theories about the murders and how Billy is the prime suspect when Billy grabs him and says his love of horror movies makes him just as viable a suspect. As Sidney and Tatum go get food for the party, Dewey talks to the sheriff, who tells him they haven’t found any sign of Sidney’s father and that the phone calls to Sidney were made on a cell phone in his name. Dewey drops Sidney and Tatum off at the party but stays there to keep an eye on things, when he sees Gail and Kenny in their van nearby. When Dewey says he is going to check on things at the house, Gail asks to come with him but she grabs a small camera, which she secretly plants in the entertainment center in the den. At the party, Tatum goes to the garage to get some more beers when she encounters Ghostface, who she thinks is Randy at first, but when he attacks her, she tries to get away and crawl out the cat door on the garage door but Ghostface opens the garage door while she is stuck, breaking her neck when it hits the roof of the garage. Back inside, several kids are leaving the party when Billy shows up, hoping to talk to Sidney, and she agrees and leads him upstairs to Stu’s parent’s room to talk but after talking for a while, they end up having sex. Downstairs, the rest of the kids are watching Halloween and Randy starts explaining “The Rules” when it comes to horror movies. In the news van, Gail and Kenny are watching the video from the camera, though it is on a 30 second delay, when Dewey knocks on the door and invites Gail to go with him to check out a car that was parked down the road. Back in the house, Randy answers the phone when it rings and tells the kids still there that they found Principle Himbry dead and hanging from the goalposts at the school and the kids all leave to go see it. The kids race by Dewey and Gail, who are forced to jump to the side of the road. As the Dewey asks if she is ok, the two end up kissing when Gail notices a car parked in the bushes and Dewey recognizes it as Sidney’s father’s car and they race back to the house. At the house, Sidney asks Billy who he called when he was arrested and as Billy tries to convince her he isn’t the killer, Ghostface appears behind him and stabs him several times in the stomach. Ghostface chases after Sidney, who tries climbing out a window but ends up falling when Ghostface grabs her. Sidney lands on Stu’s family’s boat and when she recovers, she sees Tatum’s body still hanging from the garage. Sidney races to the news van and tells Kenny that the killer is inside the house and when Kenny says they have a camera in their and he hasn’t seen it, they see Ghostface approaching behind Randy as he watches Halloween. Kenny goes to race towards the house when he sees the door open and remembers the delay, just as Ghostface slits his throat. Sidney escapes, though Ghostface manages to stab her in the shoulder, and goes running for help. Meanwhile, Dewey and Gail return to the house and Dewey has Gail head to the news van to call for help while he goes inside to investigate. Gail gets to the van but finds a pool of blood but no sign of Kenny. Getting in the driver’s seat and starting the van, she is approached by Randy, who wants to know what is going on, but she screams and hits him with the phone. Turning on the headlights, she finds the windshield covered in blood and as she starts to drive, Kenny’s body is seen to be on the roof of the van. Gail drives down the road, where she sees Sidney trying to flag her down, but Gail swerves to avoid hitting her and ends up crashing the van down a hill. Sidney returns to the house to find Dewey but sees him stumbling from the house with a knife in his back. When Ghostface appears and grabs the knife, Sidney hides in Dewey’s car and manages to escape when he goes after her. Heading back to the house, Sidney grabs Dewey’s gun just as Randy and Stu appear, each blaming the other one as being the killer, causing Sidney locks both of them out of the house. Billy stumbles down the stairs and Sidney hugs him but is shocked when Billy opens the door and shoots Randy. Sidney tries to run and runs into Stu, who reveals he is working with Billy and they reveal themselves to be the killers. Explaining that they were the ones to kill Sidney’s mother, they then produce Sidney’s father, who has been held captive, and explain that they plan on framing him for all of the killings. Billy and Stu then stab each other to make it look like they were left for dead but Gail shows up, having grabbed the gun when Stu set it down, and threatens to shoot them. Billy knocks Gail out, as she had the safety on, but Sidney uses the distraction to disappear. Sidney then calls Stu’s phone and starts taunting them, saying she had called the police, and Billy goes crazy trying to find her. As he opens a closet, Sidney, wearing the Ghostface costume, stabs him repeatedly in the shoulder with an umbrella. Stu tackles her and tries to kill her but Sidney manages to fight him off, then kills him by dropping a TV on his head. As Sidney recovers, she sees Randy is still alive and hugs him but Billy knocks him down then tries to strangle Sidney. Sidney pushes her finger in his wound to get him off of her and as Billy goes to stab her, Gail shoots him in the upper chest. As Sidney takes the gun from Gail and they stair at him, Randy warns them that this is when the “supposedly dead killer comes back for one last scare” and when Billy does just that, Sidney shoots him in the head. Sidney then goes to tend to her dad and free him as the police and news reporters begins arriving at the house. Dewey, who is still alive, is taken away in an ambulance, as are Sidney, Randy, and Sidney’s father, and Gail begins doing a report on what happened at the house.

Scream met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that “Horror icon Wes Craven’s subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it’s a little too cheeky for some.” Due to the theme of the killer calling Sidney and other victims, the use of caller ID increased threefold after this movie was released. The movies was originally titled “Scary Movie” but Wes Craven changed it before filming was complete and a few years later, another movie was released titled Scary Movie, which was a parody of Scream. The movie was a smash hit at the box office, earning $173 million off of a $14 million budget, and spawned 3 sequels and a TV series.

Even after 21 years, this movie is still a lot of fun to watch. The acting was pretty good, with Neve Campbell (Sidney), Courtney Cox (Gail), David Arquette (Dewey), and Matthew Lillard (Stu) doing great jobs in their roles. I also liked Rose McGowan (Tatum) and Jamie Kennedy (Randy), but didn’t care much for Skeet Ulrich (Billy). The story was really good, with a lot of good twist and red herrings making for a great mystery as to who the real killer was, which gave this movie more depth than just relegating it as another slasher movie. I also loved the various references and allusions to some other horror movies, particularly Psycho (1960), Halloween (1978), and A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984). My personal favorite involved Wes Craven’s cameo, when he played the school janitor Fred, who was dressed in a red and green stripped sweater and wearing a brown fedora, a reference to Freddy Krueger. The special effects involved with the deaths were pretty good and, at the time, were honestly a lot more brutal than I thought they would be. A fun horror movie to watch that still holds up today.

Rating: 4 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, mystery

July 6th, 2017 Movie – Saw II

saw II

Now I know what some of you may be thinking. “Why does he have the 2nd movie but not the first?” You know, that is an excellent question and there is a very simple answer to that question; I have no idea how I wound up with this movie. I never bought this movie and the only thing I can think of is that it wound up being left at my house by someone. Either way, I had watched, and enjoyed, the first movie so I didn’t have a problem with keeping this movie. So let’s dive right into today’s movie, Saw II.

The plot: A man named Michael regains consciousness inside a locked room and finds himself with a severely damaged right eye and wearing a collar with a spiked helmet attached to it. Suddenly, the TV in the room turns on and the clown face of Jigsaw comes on, telling him he wants to play the game. Jigsaw calls Michael an informant and tells him the death mask he is wearing is on a timer and the key is hidden inside his damaged eye. Michael screams in rage and accidentally sets off the mask so he begins looking around and finds a tool box containing a scalpel. He attempts to cut open his eye to get the key but can’t bring himself to do it and screams for help before the time runs out and the mask swings closed, killing him when the spikes impale his head. Elsewhere, Detective Eric Matthews goes to pick up his son Daniel, who was being held at another precinct for stealing. After getting him out, Eric and Daniel argue, with Daniel saying he should go back to his mom’s house early, and Eric yells at him that he should. The next night, Eric tries calling Daniel’s phone as he is worried about not hearing from him when he gets called to a crime scene. He meets his old partner, Detective Allison Kerry, who brought him down to identify Michael’s body and show him a message that Jigsaw left for him. Eric doesn’t want to get involved but when he recognizes the name on the mask, he contacts Allison, who has a SWAT team assembled. The first team goes in but trigger several traps, causing one man to have his legs broken while the other two are electrocuted. The rest of the team go in and manage to capture Jigsaw (a.k.a. John Kramer) but when Eric taunts him before telling the SWAT team to take him away, Jigsaw tells Eric that he has to stay where he is while Eric deals with the problem in the other room. Eric, Allison, and Lt. Daniel Rigg head into the room and find a series of monitors on a table, showing several people trapped in a house and one of them is Daniel. When Eric questions Jigsaw about it, he tells Eric that Daniel is in a safe place for now but he will be dead in less than two hours. Inside the house, Daniel, Xavier Chavez, Addison Corday, Laura Hunter, Jonas Singer, Obi Tate, and Gus Colyard have regained consciousness and are moving around the room they are in and when the last captive wakes up, it is revealed to be Amanda Young, the only person known to have survived Jigsaw’s game. When Amanda realizes what is going on, she screams out before frantically searching the room, eventually finding a micro cassette recorder. Amanda hits play and they all hear Jigsaw’s voice telling them that the doors will open in three hours but they have been breathing in a nerve agent that will kill them in two, and the only way to survive is to find the antidotes that are hidden in the house. Xavier grabs a note that was with the recorder and, despite the fact that the note says not to, uses the key inside on the door. As he turns the key, it activates a trap which causes a gun to fire through the peephole and kill Gus, who was looking through it at the time. Back at the factory, Eric asks Jigsaw what he wants and Jigsaw tells him he just wants to talk to Eric alone. Eric doesn’t want too but Allison convinces Eric to do it in order to give them time to trace the video feed to it’s source. While Eric sits down across from Jigsaw, who begins telling him what he knows about Eric, the captives at the house are searching the room when the door suddenly opens. They begin exploring the house to try and find a way out but realize that they are still trapped. Laura finds a door leading down to the basement, where they an envelope with Obi’s name on it pinned to a dummy’s chest. Xavier rips open the envelope, which contains another micro cassette, and when they play it, they learn that Obi helped kidnap them. The tape says that there are two syringes with the antidote inside the crematorium furnace, one for him and one for one of the other captives. After hearing the tape, Xavier threatens Obi and tells him to go get the syringes but when Obi grabs the second one, he activates the trap, which locks him inside and activates the furnace. Daniel, Xavier, and Jonas try to rescue him but it is too late and he ends up burning to death, along with the antidotes. As Daniel helps Laura, who had fainted, he talks with Amanda and asks why she had been chosen again if she had survived already. Jonas interrupts them and tells them that they found another door but when Xavier manages to open it, he sets off a timer on a locked door inside the room. Jonas finds another tape, meant for Xavier, and when he plays it, they learn Xavier was a drug dealer and the key to the door is in a hole filled with syringes. Xavier grabs Amanda and throws her into the hole, forcing her to look for the key. Amanda eventually finds it but Xavier is too late to open the door and walks away from the group. Returning back to the room with the safe, Xavier notices a number written on the back on Gus’ neck and realizes it is part of the combination for the safe. When Jonas confronts him about his actions, Xavier threatens him and the two end up fighting, with Xavier eventually killing Jonas. Meanwhile, Amanda, Addison, Daniel, and Laura are walking along the hallway when Laura collapses and points out a picture, with an broken frame resembling an X. When Addison looks at the back of the picture, she sees a picture of Eric and Daniel taped to it and learns that Eric is Daniel’s father. As Laura succumbs to the nerve agent, Addison and Amanda both abandon Daniel, as Eric was the one that arrested them. Addison finds a syringe inside a glass box but when she reaches in for it, she finds her arms trapped by the bladed opening. As Xavier starts calling out for the others, Amanda returns to Daniel and they try to get away and end up running into him, but they escape and lock themselves inside the safe room. Back at the factory, Eric has learned that all of the people in the house with Daniel were people he arrested after planting evidence on them. He proceeds to torture Jigsaw and forces him to take him to Eric and Jigsaw agrees if Eric will help him get out of there. Eric agrees and they use Jigsaw’s hidden elevator to escape and drive off. Just as they do that, the tech team is able to trace the camera’s feed and Allison tells Rigg that they have the address and head out there. Xavier finds Addison and leaves her to die after reading her number, then goes after Daniel and Amanda. Daniel and Amanda try to hold the door against Xavier, with Amanda wedging the spiked bat into the corner of the door. As they continue to brace the door, Amanda notices Jonas’ blood revealing a hidden door in the floor and has Daniel help her movie the safe to locate it. They find it locked but remembering the key that was with the first tape, Daniel finds it on Jonas’ body and they quickly head down the secret door. Making their way through the tunnel, they soon find themselves in the bathroom, with the corpses of Dr. Lawrence Gordon and Adam Stranheight (the victims from the first movie) lying on the floor. When Xavier enters the room, Amanda tells him that Daniel died from the nerve agent and Xavier says he need to see the back of their necks. When Amanda says he will need her to read the number on his neck, Xavier proceeds to cut off the skin on the back of his neck to get the number. When he approaches the two of them, Daniel suddenly kicks him, then slashes his throat with the hacksaw that he grabbed, killing Xavier. Meanwhile, Eric is directed by Jigsaw towards the house and he makes his way through, seeing all the bodies of the victims as he looks for Eric. When he makes it to the bathroom, he sees a body in the tub but when he approaches it, a person wearing a pig’s mask jabs a syringe in his leg, knocking him unconscious. At the same time, Rigg and the SWAT team reach the address the video feed is coming from but Allison, back at the factory, says she can’t see them on the monitors. Rigg discovers a set of VCR’s and realize that they were not watching a live feed, but rather something that happened earlier. When the time runs out on the counter at the factory, the nearby safe suddenly opens and reveals Daniel, safe and wearing an oxygen mask to stay alive in the safe. When Eric comes too, he finds himself shackled to the wall of the bathroom and a micro cassette player nearby. When he plays it, he learns that Amanda is Jigsaw’s apprentice and plans on taking over after he dies, with Eric being her first victim. Amanda suddenly appears and as Eric yells at her, she tells him “Game over.” before shutting the door and locking him in the room.

Saw II met with poor results from the critics, holding a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Saw II is likely to please the gore-happy fans of the original, though it may be too gruesome for those not familiar with first film’s premise.” After the success of the first movie, a second one was immediately given the green light for production but as the movie was being filmed, only the main actors involved knew how the movie would end, with everyone else not receiving the last 20-25 pages of script. Saw II was a box office hit, earning $147.7 million off of a $4 million budget, and ending up being the highest grossing movie of the franchise in the US and Canada.

This is a great horror movie and, even though it has been a while since I saw the first movie, I think I still like this one better. The acting was great, with Tobin Bell (Jigsaw) and Shawnee Smith (Amanda) doing a great job reprising their roles. Dina Meyer was also good reprising her role as Allison, while Donnie Wahlberg (Eric), Erik Knudsen (Daniel), and Franky G (Xavier) were equally good. The story was pretty good, with a lot of good twists and misdirects to keep you guessing how the movie was going to end. I also liked the fact that the captives were actually in the same house that the events of the first movie took place in, but I also liked the hint about Amanda being Jigsaw’s accomplice, as she was lying unconscious on the floor while everyone else was awake, much like Jigsaw was in the first movie. The traps were well designed and pretty effective, doing a great job in increasing the horror aspect of the movie as well as ramping up the tension and cringe factor. I don’t know anybody that didn’t at least cringe a little when Amanda was wading through that pit of syringes to look for the key. Again, this is a great horror movie on all fronts and if you are a fan of the genre, this is well worth seeing.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

action, crime, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

June 26th, 2017 Movie – Salt


Ahh, now this is kind of a bittersweet movie. See I first saw this movie as part of a date but unfortunately, things did not work out with that girl. As I was walking through MovieStop one day, I saw this movie and had a serious debate on whether or not I should buy it. In the end, I did end up buying it, as I had enjoyed watching it, so let’s see if I made a good choice as I watch today’s movie, Salt.
The plot: Evelyn Salt is being tortured in a North Korean prison for being a spy, despite her protests that she isn’t one. Some time later, she is being released as part of a prisoner exchange and is met at the DMZ by CIA agent Ted Winter. As they are heading towards the border, Salt reveals that she is a CIA operative when she asks Ted what is going on, as policy dictates that she would have been left to rot in prison in order to maintain deniability. Ted says he had nothing to do with it and motions towards the border, where Salt’s fiance Mike Krause is waiting, and tells her that he raised such a public outcry that the CIA were forced to do something. Two years later, Salt is preparing to go home for her anniversary when she and Ted are called back to deal with a defector that walked into the building. As they head to the interrogation room, they are met by Counterintelligence officer Darryl Peabody, who is there to listen in on the interrogation. Salt heads in to begin the interrogation of the “defector”, Oleg Vasilyevich Orlov, who tells her about a Soviet Cold War program to install sleeper agents into the US and that one of those agents, KA-12, will be activated to kill the Russian president while he is in the US. As Salt goes to leave the room, Orlov says that the name of the sleeper agent is Evelyn Salt, causing Peabody and Ted to keep Salt from leaving while they get Orlov out of there. Salt demands to be able to use her phone to call Mike and Peabody watches her and has her put it on speaker so he can listen in, then has her go into the interrogation room so he can talk to her. Orlov kills his escort and escapes the building and while Ted and Peabody deal with that, Salt leaves the interrogation room and tries to make it out of the building. When they lock the building down, Salt disables the security cameras then uses some cleaning chemicals to fashion a rocket, which she uses to take out the security team trying to capture her, and manages to escape. Salt heads to her apartment and finds evidence that Mike was kidnapped so she grabs a change of clothes, a pre-packed bag and weapon, then grabs one of Mike’s spiders and their dog and climbs out the window before the CIA get there. Scaling the side of the apartment building, Salt manages to get the attention of a girl doing her homework and asks her to take care of her dog for a little while. Salt heads for a subway station but Ted spots her and gives chase and as she is boxed in, she tells Peabody and Ted that they should be worried about someone trying to kill the Russian President but she has to find Mike, then jumps off the overpass onto the roof of a passing semi. Peabody and Ted try to give chase but Salt manages to leap from vehicle to vehicle before grabbing a motorcycle and escaping as they get caught in traffic. Salt heads to New York City, where the Russian President is attending the funeral of the Vice President. As Ted and Peabody help the Secret Service keep an eye out for Salt, Salt causes a distraction on the subway to get the maintenance tunnels underneath the church. Making her way inside, Salt takes out the security she encounters and as the Russian President is giving his eulogy, she detonates an explosive that causes the floor to drop down into the basement, where Salt injects him with a syringe full of spider venom. When Peabody shows up, Salt gets the drop on him but chooses to allow herself to be arrested, and Peabody questions Ted as to why she did that. As Salt is taken away into police custody, she manages to escape and make her way out of the city, where it is revealed in flashback that she really was a sleeper agent. Salt meets up with Orlov on an abandoned barge and he greets her as reports come in of anti-American protests in Russia as the new president vows to strike back for the attack. Boarding the barge, Salt asks about her husband and Orlov shows him to her before having him killed and when Salt shows no emotion, he is satisfied that she has truly rejoined them. Orlov explains the next mission for her and as they toast each other, she kills Orlov, then kills the other KA agents that are on board. After pausing to stare at Mike’s body, she heads to the rendezvous for the mission and meets with agent Schneider, who has become a NATO liason to the White House. Schneider uses his credentials to get Salt inside, then activates a suicide bomb in his chest to cause a distraction, allowing Salt to make her way through the White House and into the elevator shaft that the President is using to head to his secure bunker. Inside the bunker, the President receives word that the Russians are moving their nuclear arsenal and the President orders America’s arsenal to be readied. When all of the security protocols are finished, Ted suddenly kills everyone in the secure bunker except for the President, revealing that he is also a KA agent. Ted then sets the US missiles to target Tehran and Mecca as Salt shows up and she is shocked to find he is a KA agent. Ted explains that his actions are step 2 in the attack on the US, and Salt asks to be let in but a news report broadcasts that the Russian President is still alive. Ted tells Salt that he was the one that told Orlov to break her cover and kidnap Mike and Salt manages to break into the bunker and begins fighting with Ted. Salt manages to get the upper hand on Ted and stop the launch but is taken prisoner by the secret service, who manage to break into the bunker. As Peabody heads down to the bunker, he tells his assistant that they need to find the rest of the KA agents and his assistant tells him someone already did, saying that someone killed several men, including Orlov, on a barge just as Salt walks by and winks at Peabody. As Salt is led past Ted, she leaps at him and uses her handcuffs to strangle Ted. Salt is taken to a helicopter and questioned by Peabody but when he receives word that her fingerprints are on the barge, he believes her when she says that she plans on killing the rest of the KA agents and punches her in order to disguise his unlocking her restraints then tells her to go get them. As they fly over the Potomac River, Salt opens the door and jumps into the river below, then makes her way to shore where, after catching her breath, she begins running through the woods towards her future.

Salt met with mixed to positive reviews from the critics, holding a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Angelina Jolie gives it her all in the title role, and her seasoned performance is almost enough to save Salt from its predictable and ludicrous plot.” Originally, the role of Salt was written for a male lead, with Tom Cruise being cast in the role, but when he backed out, it was re-written for a female lead and Angelina Jolie was cast. The movie was a mild hit at the box office, earning $293.5 million off of an $110 million budget.

This is a pretty decent thriller that is a real throwback to some of the Cold War era spy films from the 60’s and 70’s. The acting was good, with Angelina Jolie (Salt), Liev Schreiber (Ted), and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Peabody) did good jobs in their roles. The plot was actually a pretty basic double agent story with a revenge aspect thrown in as Salt had grown to enjoy the life she was living and hated Orlov for taking it from her. While I did like the remnants of the Cold War era story line, it felt a little weak at times. The special effects, primarily the fight scenes, were pretty well done and didn’t try to do anything too over the top so as to make it more realistic, which made the movie more enjoyable for me as I liked the realism. All in all, a decent thriller and worth a watch if you are in the mood for a spy movie.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, mystery, sci-fi

May 24th, 2017 Movie – Ringu 2

ringu 2

So when the original Ringu came out, Rasen came out at the same time. However, while Ringu was a massive success, Rasen was considered a flop so a new sequel was planned. However, instead of basing it off the novels like Rasen was, they decided to base it off the first movie. This idea worked as this would become one of the biggest box office hits of 1999. So lets see just how good of a movie it is as I watch today’s movie, Ringu 2.

The plot: After the events of Ringu, Takaishi Yamamura is brought to the police morgue to identify Sadako’s body, though he say he will not be able to as he hasn’t seen her in 30 years. As he gets upset over the situation, the detective informs him that though the well was sealed up after the place was sold, Sadako only died 1-2 years ago. Meanwhile, the police are searching for Reiko Asakawa after the strange deaths of her ex-husband Ryuji Takayama and her father. As her friend Okazaki, another reporter, reviews some of the footage Reiko shot about the “cursed tape” with their producer, they are approached by Mai Takano, Ryuji’s assistant at the university, who is looking for Reiko. Okazaki and Mai go to Reiko’s apartment and find the remains of a burnt video tape in the bathtub and Mai has a vision of asking for her father to forgive her but she had to save Yoichi’s life. Thinking of Yoichi, Okazaki goes looking for a picture of him so they can check his school but stops when he sees a family photo and all of the faces are blurred out. Meanwhile, Detective Omuta arrives at the house of Reiko’s father and notices the two VCRs hooked up in order to copy a tape, as well as a note from Reiko. As Mai waits outside Yoichi’s school, she sees an image of Yoichi trying to talk to her but he soon vanishes as Okazaki returns and says that Yoichi hasn’t been there in over a week. That night, Omuta goes to see Mai and asks her about Ryuji’s death but as he discusses everything with her, Mai gets upset and asks him to leave. The next day, Mai is riding the train and sees Reiko and Toichi heading towards Ryuji’s apartment but is unable to get off the train in time. Okazaki is interviewing a high school student, Kanae Sawaguchi, about the cursed tape and asks if she can get him a copy but before she responds, he sees Mai outside the window and leaves to speak with her, telling his cameraman to get the tape. Okazaki tells Mai about 4 kids who died at the same time after watching the tape, mentioning that one of them, Tomoko, was Reiko’s niece. He then says that another girl, Masami Kurahashi, was with Tomoko when she died and has been mute and institutionalized at the university’s hospital ever since. They head to the hospital and speak with Masami’s doctor, Ishi Kawajiri, and he shows them the photos they took of Masami when she was admitted and they see a strange mist floating next to her, covering her right eye. Kawajiri explains that it is an example of spirit photography and as he continues explaining it to Okazaki, Mai leaves the office and heads towards the common area. She sees a nurse walking Masami towards the room, using a screen to shield her from the TV but when the nurse stops, Masami enters the room and stares at the TV. Suddenly, the picture changes and shows Sadako climbing out of the well, which frightens all of the other patients and causes them to cry out and collapse to the floor in fear. As the doctors rush to check on them, Mai checks on Masami but when she touches her, she sees what Masami witnessed when Tomoko died. The next day, Mai is able to track down Yoichi and Reiko and questions them about the tape and Ryuji’s death and Reiko explains that Yoichi has been mute ever since his father died. When Mai admits that Yoichi has been telepathically contacting her, Reiko says that his psychic abilities have intensified since Ryuji’s death and wants to see if Kawajiri might be able to help her. Meanwhile, Kanae shows up at Okazaki’s work and hands him a copy of the tape and says that she watched it and asks that he watch it but after she leaves, Okazaki puts the tape in his desk. Mai, Okazaki, and Omuta head to the hospital, where Kawajiri is attempting to purge the psychic energy that has been building up in Masami’s mind by projecting it onto a blank tape. However, the tape starts to show the recording of the cursed tape and the well and when Masami ends up dying, Mai smashes the monitor and destroys the video tape before fainting. Okazaki returns to the office, where he is told that Kanae has been trying to call him, and he gives her a call and lies to her about watching the tape before hanging up, then locks the tape back in his desk. When Mai comes too, Omuta and Kawajiri show her an article about the failed experiment involving Sadako’s mother and Omuta demands that she tell him where Reiko and Yoichi are hiding. When he gets word of Kanae dying, Omuta takes Mai with him to see the body and she reluctantly tells them where to find them. As the two are taken to the police station, Mai learns that they will be separated and telepathically warns Yoichi to run. Yoichi runs to Reiko, then uses his powers to stop Omuta and another officer from following them but when they get outside, Reiko ends up getting struck by a truck. As Mai goes to comfort Yoichi, Yoichi starts to use his powers to attack Omuta but Mai gets him to stop. Meanwhile, Okazaki is trying to erase his interview of Kanae but it won’t erase and as he watches, the footage changes and Kanae’s spirit appears and stares accusingly at him. Mai and Yoichi travel to Oshima island while Takaishi, who is also heading back to the island with Sadako’s coffin, asks Sadako why he kept him alive when he is the one to turn her and her mother into freaks and proceeds to give her a burial at sea. On the island, Mai and Yoichi stay at the Yamamura Inn and after putting Yoichi in bed, Mai steps outside and sees Takaichi sitting at the nearby water’s edge. He tells her that he put Sadako back in the sea and takes her to a small family shrine in a nearby cove. Meanwhile, Kawajiri appears at the inn and asks for Mai but when he is told that she is not there, he asks for his own room when he notices the lights starting to flicker. Mai rushes in and heads upstairs and Kawajiri follows but they stop when they see the ghosts of a young Sadako and her mother, Shizuro, appear. Mai is able to ward off the ghosts, then goes to check on Yoichi, who had been having a nightmare, which summoned the ghosts. Kawajiri believes it that Yoichi somehow absorbed Sadako’s anger when he watched the tape and he is unable to control it, which coupled with his psychic abilities,is causing the ghosts to appear. He decides to do an experiment to exorcise Yoichi’s psychis powers and drain the energy into a pool, where the water will neutralize the energy. Kawajiri hooks Yoichi up to his equipment and has Mai act as a conduit to expel Sadako’s anger but as the experiment proceeds, Mai, Kawajiri, and Takaishi begin seeing into the spirit world. Takaishi sees Sakado’s coffin and, asking Sadako to take him, walks into the pool and drowns while Kawajiri jumps into the pool holding a bunch of electrical equipment, killing himself. Mai grabs Yoichi and they both fall into the water but when they come too, they find themselves inside the well. As they struggle to climb out, Yoichi falls into the water and Mai jumps in after him but can’t find him. Suddenly, the opening is uncovered and a rope drops down, then Ryuji appears holding Yoichi. Ryuji tells Yoichi to give him his fear, then tells Mai to take Yoichi and use the rope to escape the well and not look down. Mai begins climbing the rope but looks down and sees Sadako’s spirit appear and start climbing the side of the well after them. Mai screams for help just as Sadako grabs the rope next to her and asks “Why were you the only one saved”, then falls back down into the water. Mai continues climbing and as the reach the surface of the well, they find themselves emerging in the pool. Climbing out of the water, the asks each other if they are ok and they admit they are both not really afraid anymore. Meanwhile, Okazaki has been institutionalized and when the nurse takes his picture, she notices something in it that shocks her as it is shown that Kanae’s spirit is behind Okazaki, tormenting him for letting her die.

This was a pretty good movie. The acting was good, with Miki Nakatani (Mai) doing a great job as the lead. The story was good, picking up where the first movie ended, and doing a good job of continuing the story. I honestly liked how they took the pure supernatural nature of the story and added the psychic aspect to it, as it made for a nice twist to the story and mixed well with the supernatural story. The special effects and camera work were very well done, making for a very suspenseful viewing experience that did it’s job in sucking you in. I’m sure it is a worthy sequel but on it’s own merits, this is still a good movie that is worth watching.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5