drama, horror, movie, movie review, mystery

October 17th, 2017 Movie – Soul Survivors

soul survivors

There are plenty of times that I find myself with a movie and honestly don’t know why I bought it in the first place. That is definitely the case with today’s movie. This is something that might get my attention in watching but not necessarily wanting to buy unless it is really good. That being said, when I first watched this movie I don’t recall thinking it worth buying and yet, here it is. So let me give this another viewing and see if something might have changed my mind about Soul Survivors.

The plot: Cassie walks out of a college party and when her friend, who yells at her from a window, refuses to drive her home, she decides to walk. As she stops to light a cigarette, she notices a strange man with a scarred face following her and she quickens her pace only for a second man, wearing a clear mask, to grab her and the two drag her into an alley. After placing some duct tape over her mouth to keep her from screaming, the slit her wrist and collect the blood in a bowl. Some time earlier, Cassie is packing to go to college and her boyfriend Sean is helping her move, along with her friends Annabel and Matt, who is also her ex-boyfriend. When they get to Middleton college, they attend a frat party but Annabel tells them of a rave at an old church and convinces them to go to it. As Cassie and Annabel start dancing on the dance floor, they attract the attention of the man in the clear mask and the scarred man. The man in the mask heads to the dance floor and tries to grab Cassie but she pushes him away, then meets back up with Sean. The two head outside and after kissing for a while, start talking about their relationship and saying goodbye to each other, unaware that Matt is listening. After they say they love each other, Matt makes his presence known, pretending to be drunk, and Sean goes back in the club to get Annabel while Cassie helps Matt into the car. In the car, Matt convinces Cassie to give him one last goodbye kiss but Sean sees them and refuses to talk to Cassie as she tries to explain what happened. As they leave the club, Cassie continues to ask Sean to talk to her, not noticing a car passing them containing the scarred and masked man. When the car suddenly stops in the middle of the road, Cassie slams into it and both cars go rolling down a hill. Cassie’s next memory is of being tended too by doctors and learns that Sean did not survive the crash. Returning to school and trying to move on, Cassie falls asleep in her room only to be woken up by Annabel pounding on the door, as she is trying to get Cassie to come to a party with her. As she tries to convince Cassie to come, Annabel’s new friend Raven enters Cassies apartment and asks about the pictures of Sean. saying that he is there and saw Cassie kiss Matt. Annabel and Raven leave and Cassie decides to go for a walk but she ends up being chased by Deathmask and faints when she has a vision of Sean. After coming too, she sees Matt keeping watch over her, telling her a priest had found her fainted on the ground and carried her to the hospital. After Matt escorts her back to her room, they talk and Cassie says that it is their fault that Sean died. While taking her midterm, Cassie has a hallucination that her nose is dripping blood and she is back on the operating table from the crash and ends up rushing out of the class. As she catches her breath outside, she is approached by Father Jude and she thanks him for helping her. Cassie ends up telling Father Jude about the accident and Sean’s death and how she is having trouble dealing with it and he says she is welcome to come by the church and talk any time she needs too. Cassie sees Matt and starts to walk over to him when she notices Annabel walking with Raven and the scarred man, which makes her pause. Matt signs Cassie up for a swim meet, then takes her shopping for supplies so they can paint her apartment. When Annabel shows up, they end up goofing off and painting each other, then Cassie and Annabel go to clean up but Cassie has another vision of blood erupting from the drain. Afterwards, Annabel wants to go dancing and when Matt and Cassie don’t want to go, she gets upset when it seems like Matt is trying to get back with Cassie. That night, Cassie has a dream of Sean making love to her and wakes up to find Matt in her bed. As she confronts Matt about it, Annabel shows up and finds them in a state of undress and accuses Cassie of stealing Matt after losing Sean and Matt argues with Annabel outside the apartment. After having another hallucination, Cassie heads to the library and sees Annabel making out with Raven but when they spot her, they quickly leave. Cassie leaves the library but ends up being followed by the scarred man and she quickly runs from him and races back to her apartment. She finds Matt there and she tells him what happened but he doesn’t believe her, simply giving her her medicine that she was prescribed after the crash. Some time later, Cassie is practicing swimming for the meet when she is attacked by Deathmask, who attempts to drown her, but she manages to break free and when she surfaces, he is gone, with nobody having seen him there. Cassie heads to the gazebo and sees Sean there and they talk for a while before he leads her into the woods. When she hears someone calling out to her, Sean warns her that if she stays there she will die and she runs away, but when she returns to the gazebo, she sees Matt talking to the scarred man. She heads to the church and Father Jude invites her in and talks with her, He then gives her an amulet of St. Jude for protection and lets her rest in his bed. When Cassie wakes up, she notices the calendar in his room is from 1981 and she goes to speak to the attending priest and asks to speak with Father Jude but learns that Father Jude died in 1981 and she runs from the church. Cassie competes in the swim meet but as she is swimming, she sees Deathmask watching her, which throws her off, but then sees Sean at the finish line and quickens her pace to reach him, winning the race. Afterwards, Cassie is talking with Annabel and Matt and questions them about her seeing them with the scarred man and Deathmask and Annabel gets mad at Cassie and the two argue before Cassie slaps Annabel and Annabel storms off. Cassie goes to change clothes and is attacked by Deathmask again and she manages to stab him with a fluorescent light bulb before the both fall into the pool and she quickly gets out and leaves, running into Matt who says there is nobody there. Cassie asks Matt to take her home and he agrees but takes her to the old church, saying that he is going to get Annabel first. Cassie follows him inside but they get separated and Cassie is chased by the scarred man. She ends up in a bathroom and sees Annabel and Raven fooling around and tries to get Annabel to leave but Annabel says she likes it there and runs off. Cassie goes to follow but Raven tells her to leave them alone, as they are not her friends anymore, and that she should go be with Sean. Cassie leaves and gets back in the car only to find Matt there, wanting a final goodbye kiss. She smashes him in the head with a bottle then drags him out of the car before taking off. She heads back to campus and finds Annabel lying dying in the gazebo and Annabel accuses Cassie of having killed her. As the police and crowd move towards Cassie, Cassie backs away and ends up getting hit by a car. She sees Father Jude approaching her and has a hallucination of Sean holding her hand as she is going to the emergency room. She freaks out and races out of the emergency room, with her mind going back and forth between her being back in the club or in the hospital. As the scarred man attacks her, she finds herself in another car crash, with someone trying to rescue her. She then finds herself in a hospital bed, with Raven laying in the bed next to her. Raven tells her not to be afraid before she dies and the doctors cover her face. Cassie then sees Father Jude, who explains that she is in a dream and that she shouldn’t be afraid to be with Sean. Cassie calls out to Sean and she tells him she loves him and they kiss. Later, Cassie is her hospital room and as she goes to put her necklace back on, the scarred man and Deathmask use it to strangle her. She ends up waking up in bed with Sean, revealing that everything that happened after the original car crash was all a coma-dream, and Sean had lived but Annabel and Matt died in the crash.

Soul Survivors was completely panned by the critics, holding a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Soul Survivors‘ stock characters and utter lack of suspense gives viewers little reason to attempt deciphering the confusing plot.” James Marsden turned down the role of Sean to take part in X-Men, which lead to Casey Affleck’s taking the role, though he claims it to be one of his least favorite roles. The movie was a box office bomb, earning $4.299 million off of a $17 million budget.

This is a confusing mess of a movie and I still don’t know why I have it. The acting was ok, with nobody really standing out in their roles. The story was a confusing mess, doing a poor job of explaining what is going on and who survived the crash and who died. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects and the camera work felt pretty shoddy, which added to the confusion in the plot during the scenes where she was halucinating between two visions. Definitely not something that is worth watching unless you are really, really bored.

Rating: 1 out of 5

fantasy, horror, movie, movie review, mystery

September 24th, 2017 Movie – Sleepy Hollow (1999)

sleepy hollow (1999)

It may not feel like it in some places, but it is Fall and that means the weather is going to, hopefully, get colder, night will come sooner, and the movies will start getting a little darker as we get closer to Halloween. One director who is somewhat synonymous with dark movies, even if they have nothing to do with Halloween, is Tim Burton. I have always liked his movies, ever since Beetlejuice, and when I heard that he was making a live action movie of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, I was immediately on board and ready to see it. So lets see how good of a job he did with today’s movie, Sleepy Hollow.

The plot: In 1799 in the village of Sleepy Hollow, wealthy land owner Peter Van Garrett is writing a new will and testament and has it witnessed by Jonathan Masbath, one of his servants. Van Garrett rides off in his stage coach, driven by his son, to deliver the new will when he hears a horse pass by them followed by a strange sound. When Van Garrett looks out of the stage coach, he finds his son has been decapitated and he quickly jumps from the now out of control coach. Making his way through a field, he pauses when he comes to a scarecrow only to hear a sound and as he turns around, his head is cut off. In New York City, Constable Ichabod Crane discovers a body in the river but while Crane wants to determine the cause of death, the police chief says the cause of death is drowning and has the body burned. As Crane argues that with the new century almost upon them, they should work on using more accurate, scientific means to solve crimes, the Burgomaster decides to have him put his methods to the test. He tells Crane about Sleepy Hollow and how 3 people (the Van Garretts and the widow Emily Winship) have been killed there within the past fort night, with their heads cut off, and tells Crane to use his methods to find the killer and bring him to justice. Crane arrives in Sleepy Hollow and heads to the home of the Van Tassels, where a party is underway and Crane ends up caught up in a game where he is kissed by Katrina Van Tassel. When Katrina’s suitor, Brom van Brunt, gets jealous, Baltus Van Tassel and his wife appear to calm things down and Crane introduces himself. Lady Van Tassel invites Crane to stay at their house while he is there and after he gets settled in, Crane heads downstairs and meets with Van Tassel and the other leaders of the community; Doctor Thomas Lancaster, Reverend Steenwyck, Magistrate Samuel Phillipse, and Notary James Hardenbrook. As Crane goes over what he was told of the murders, they tell him that the heads were never recovered and Hardenbrook tells him that they were taken back to hell by the Headless Horseman. They explain that the horseman was a Hessian mercenary that fought for the British during the revolution but was killed by American soldiers and beheaded with his own sword, then buried in the Western Woods, which has since become a haunted place. Crane doesn’t believe their stories of a ghost being behind the deaths and claims a real person is responsible and he will find out who it is. That night, Jonathan Masbath is killed by the horseman and the next day, Crane makes his own examination of the body. At the funeral, Jonathan’s son, Young Masbath, approaches Crane and asks to help but Crane refuses at first until Phillipse approaches him and tells him that Masbath was the 5th victim even though there were only 4 graves, and Crane tells Young MAsbath to find a room in the servants quarters at the Van Tassel house. At dawn the next day, Crane has the bodies dug up and discovers that along with her decapitation, the widow Winship also has a sword thrust into her stomach. Crane takes her body to Dr. Lancaster’s office and performs an autopsy, which upsets Steenwyck, and discovers that the widow was pregnant when she died. That night, Brom plays a joke on Crane by pretending to be the Headless Horseman and scare him off and Crane ends up fainting after being hit in the face with a jack-o-lantern and begins dreaming of his mother. When he wakes up, he finds himself in his room and as he heads downstairs, he finds Katrina reading by herself. The two start talking and Katrina explains how her family came to be in the position they are now, then takes Crane to the remains of her childhood home. That night, Crane sees an argument between Lancaster, Steenwyck, Phillipse, and Hardenbrook and after Phillipse leaves, Crane questions him about the widow Winship’s child and who the father is when the Horseman appears and kills Phillipse and takes his head. Though cowering in fear at first, Crane has more dreams about his mother which causes him to overcome his initial fears and vow to find the Horseman’s grave and asks for volunteers to go with him into the Western Woods but only Young Masbath volunteers to go. They head into the woods and after Crane asks if his father had dealings with the Van Garretts and Young Masbath explains that his father worked for them and a week before the murders started, there was an argument between Van Garrett and his son, after which Van Garrett sent for Masbath. The two come to a cave in the woods and find a reclusive witch inside, who sends Young Masbath outside while keeping Crane inside and summons the spirit of the Horseman to tell him where the grave is. As they make their way to the grave, they see someone on a white horse ahead of them and when Crane approaches the horse, discovers it is Katrina. The three find the Tree of the Dead and as Crane cuts away some of the lower branches to clear out a hollow, he finds the missing heads. Suddenly, the Horseman and his steed emerge from within the tree and heads towards town and Crane follows after him. In the town, the Horseman enters the home of the town’s midwife and kills her, as well as her husband and child, and goes to leave. Brom, who is on watch with his friends, tries to stop him but is injured and as he moves to continue fighting, Crane tries to stop him. Crane tells him that the horseman is only fighting because Brom attacked them and is not trying to kill them but Brom refuses to listen. As Brom begins fighting again, Crane joins in but soon realizes they are outmatched and convinces Brom to run but as they move through the bridge, the Horseman catches up to them and stabs Crane in the shoulder before cutting Brom in half. As Crane deals with his injuries, he tries to explain to Van Tassel and Lancaster that the Horseman is killing specific targets which means he is being controlled by whoever took the Horseman’s skull. Katrina gives him a drink to help him sleep and he ends up dreaming about his mother again and when he wakes, he tells Katrina about her death. The next morning, after he has recovered, Crane starts going over all of his notes and tries to figure out what the secret is that Phillipse and the other town leaders were keeping and decides to head to Hardenbrook’s shop. When they get there, they find Hardenbrook hiding and Young Masbath discovers his father’s satchel and they find the new will that Van Garrett had made, as well as the marriage certificate for Van Garrett and the widow Winship. Crane realizes that the new will left everything to the widow Winship but if nobody knew about it, then it would end up going to Baltus Van Tassel. When he returns to the Van Tassel house, he finds Katrina in his room and she says her father thinks it best that Crane head back to New York, as the notes crane wrote in his ledger upset him. After she leaves, Young Masbath discovers a design on the floor underneath Crane’s bed and says that someone is casting an evil spell on him. That night, Crane follows a cloaked figure out into the woods but discovers it is Lady Van Tassell, who is having an affair with Steenwyck. When Crane returns to his room, he finds all of the evidence is missing and heads to the Van Tassel’s former house, where he finds Katrina burning it. She admits she did so to prevent Crane from accusing her father and he tells her that he has no choice but to follow where the evidence leads him and the two argue over their feelings for each other before Katrina leaves. That night, a town meeting is called in the church and as Van Tassel is waiting on his wife to finish picking some flowers, he sees the Horseman approaching behind her and quickly flees. When he arrives at the church, he tells Katrina that her step-mother is dead but Steenwyck tries to force him back outside, telling him that he is the one the Horseman wants. As Crane notices that the Horseman can’t enter the church yard because it is holy ground, he goes to tell them but Van Tassel grabs Crane’s pistol and threatens Steenwyck. Lancaster starts to tell Van Tassel the truth about the conspiracy but Steenwyck kills him, prompting Van Tassel to shoot him. As some of the townfolk approach him, Van Tassel grabs another pistol and heads up to the balcony, declaring that there is a conspiracy against him. Outside, the Horseman has grabbed some rope and a fence post, which he uses as a make shift spear, and he throws it through the window and strikes Van Tassel, then drags him outside until his head is past the church yard, allowing him to cut it off. Seeing what happened, Katrina faints and as Crane stares at her, he looks up to see the same design that was under his bed drawn on the floor in the church where Katrina had been kneeling. Crane burns all of his notes and prepares to leave, with Young Masbath questioning why he thinks Katrina was the one to control the Horseman but Crane tells him that that can never be spoken. As his coach is leaving town, Crane notices them bringing the bodies of Baltus and Lady Van Tassel to the morgue and as he suddenly looks at the book of spells and charms Katrina had given him when he first came to town and discovers the design she had drawn was one of protection. Crane tells the driver to turn around and heads to the morgue, where he discovers that the body assumed to be Lady Van Tassel is not her, as the wound on her hand was inflicted after the body was dead, as opposed to the cut he saw Lady Van Tassel give herself. At the Van Tassel house, Katrina is approached by Lady Van Tassel and faints and it is revealed that she is the one who controls the Horseman and she summons it to kill Katrina. Lady Van Tassel takes Katrina to an old windmill and explains that she and her family lived in the cottage before the Van Tassels before her father died and Van Garrett kicked them out. Their mother was a witch and taught her and her sister her ways before she died and the two girls lived in the woods, where they saw the Hessian die and Lady Van Tassel swore her soul to Satan if he would resurrect the Hessian to help her get her revenge. She then explains why she had everyone killed, while also explaining why she killed the servant and her own sister. Young Masbath, who had followed Lady Van Tassel to the windmill, tries to knock out Lady Van Tassel but she knows he is there and he and Katrina run. Crane shows up with the stage coach just as the Horseman arrives and they lure the Horseman inside, then use the windmill blades to reach the ground while Crane lights a fire to blow up the windmill in order to slow it down. As it emerges from the wreckage, Crane and the others leave and head towards the Tree of the Dead, with the Horseman chasing after them and Crane does his best to slow it down. When they get there, they find Lady Van Tassel had beaten them there and Crane tells Katrina to run but Lady Van Tassel shoots him, then grabs Katrina and holds her for the Horseman. Crane didn’t die, as the bullet was stopped by Katrina’s book, and he tackles Lady Van Tassel and after Young Masbath knocks her out, he grabs the skull and throws it to the Horseman. The Horseman puts the skull back on his body and his face is restored and he then grabs Lady Van Tassel and, with the tree suddenly opening up, he takes her back to Hell with him, as her deal with him is finished since he has her head, and the tree closes around her as she screams, with only her arm sticking out among the bramble of roots. Crane heads back to New York City with Katrina and Young Masbeth, just in time for the new century.

Sleepy Hollow met with mixed to positive reviews from the critics, holding a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Sleepy Hollow entertains with its stunning visuals and creepy atmosphere.” In October of ’99, one month before the movie was to be released, the studio launched a website that featured live interviews with the filmmakers, a short behind the scenes featurette, view photos and trailers, and was described, at the time, as “the most ambitious online launch of a motion picture to date.” The movie would be a modest hit at the box office, earning $206.1 million off of a $100 million budget.

I always enjoy watching this movie, even if it does have some faults. The acting was pretty good and Burton gathered an incredible cast of talent to take part in this movie. Johnny Depp (Crane) and Christina Ricci (Katrina) were both great and I also liked how well Michael Gambon (Van Tassel), Miranda Richardson (Lady Van Tassel), and Richard Griffiths (Phillipse) did in their roles and how they would all be part of the Harry Potter world a few years later. The story was a bit of a departure from the source material but I think those changes were honestly necessary to make for a more compelling full length movie. I did think the change of Ichabod Crane to a police officer was interesting and they had an interesting bit of “science vs supernatural/superstition” theme going there. However, the whole flashback scenes regarding Ichabod’s mother really didn’t make a whole lot of sense, even if they were meant to show that Ichabod had some experience with the supernatural before coming to Sleepy Hollow. The special effects were very well done and I loved the visuals involved in the movie, as the colors were mostly dark while even some of the brighter colors seemed a little muted except for the color red, which seemed visibly brighter most times and seemed to pop off the screen to be noticed. I also liked the bit of a running gag that seemed to occur with Crane constantly getting blood squirted in his face. While I will always have a bit of a soft spot for the original animated short, this is a fun movie to watch and definitely something for the Halloween season.

Rating: 4 out of 5

movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

September 15th, 2017 Movie – Sisters Of Death

sisters of death

Another movie from the Chilling Classics collection. Oh Joy. Funny thing is, I had actually watched this movie a couple of years; not on any of the normal streaming sites like Netflix or Hulu, but on YouTube. I was bored one day and looking for some ways to kill time and while browsing along on YouTube, saw that the had a section for movies and saw several movies on there and decided “Why not?” Now I never got around to finish watching this movie so I don’t know how it ended but that could make it all the more exciting to watch now. Guess I will find out as I watch today’s movie, Sisters Of Death.

The plot: Two pledges, Judy and Liz, are undertaking the final test to enter an all girl secret society known as The Sisters, the Test of Courage. The “Initiator” steps behind them and loads a blank into a small pistol, then points it at the first girl and pulls the trigger. When she doesn’t scream or move, she places a locket around her neck, indicating that she passed. When the “Initiator” repeats the process for the second girl, something goes wrong and the girls ends up being shot in the head, causing everyone there to scream. 7 years later, Judy receives an envelope inviting her to a reunion of The Sisters and $500 to pay for travel. Judy calls Sylvia, another Sister, to see if she had sent out the invitations but Sylvia thought that Judy had sent them, as she is the only one of the group with enough money to afford to do something like that, so Judy asks Sylvia to meet with her to discuss this. Elsewhere, Penny is talking to her spiritual guru and questioning whether she should go and revisit her past while Diana is hitchhiking to where the reunion is supposed to take place, while trying to keep the driver’s hands off of her. The final member of the group, Francie, is pulled over for speeding while trying to reach Paso Robles, where the reunion is supposed to take place, but manages to talk the cop out of giving her a ticket. Judy and Sylvia arrive at the the Paso Robles Inn and are soon joined by by the others, unaware that the group were being observed by two men. When all 5 girls are there, the two men get out of their car and introduce themselves to the girls as Joe and Mark and say they are there to drive them to their destination. The girls are confused but agree to go with them, although Penny is reluctant to do so and has to be coaxed into going by the others. After an hour of driving, they arrive at their destination and Joe and Mark help the girls get their bags out of their car and then leave. The girls head inside, with Penny still being reluctant to do so, and they find a table with food and drinks by a pool and go have a drink, unaware of the gate they drove through automatically closing and locking them inside the grounds. Meanwhile, Joe and Mark had pulled over and Joe convinces Mark that they should crash the reunion in order to try and hook up with some of the girls. They see the fence and Mark thinks they should turn back but Joe shows that it is not electrified and they climb over it and head towards the house. Meanwhile, Sylvia decides to rest by the pool while the other girls start exploring the house and figuring out where they will stay. During the course of their explorations, they find the upper levels of the house have been sealed off but there are plenty of rooms on the lower floor for them to sleep in. Judy goes to change into a bikini but she is unaware that she is being watched by someone, who is moving around inside the walls of the house. Back outside, Joe and Mark approach Sylvia, who is upset that they are there, but they manage to convince her to let them have one drink and as they are about to leave, the other girls return and allow them to stay. The mysterious man sees that the men have returned and arms the electrical fence. As night falls, Joe and Mark are too drunk to drive and end up falling asleep on the deck chairs by the pool, with Diane bringing them some blankets and telling them to be quiet or Sylvia will call the cops on them. The next morning, the girls wake up and all find pictures of Liz in their bedrooms, which upsets Sylvia and, as the five girls gather around a table, she accuses them of messing with her and plans on leaving. When she turns around, she finds the man there and he introduces himself as Liz’s father, Edmond Clybourn. Edmond says that one of them murdered Liz and they all try to tell him that it was an accident and was ruled as such but Edmond insist that one of them hated Liz and had her murdered with a live round. Hearing this, Penny freaks out and runs screaming from the house, waking Joe and Mark, who try to stop her but she pushes them aside. When Mark sees that the electric fence is on, he quickly rushes out and throws Penny back, then throws a piece of metal to show that it is electrified, causing Penny to faint. As the girls all start screaming and crying, Mark heads inside to try and call for help but is stopped by Edmond, who tells him the phone is dead. Edmond says he should kill Mark and Joe for not following his instructions, but he won’t because Liz wouldn’t like that. When Mark asks who Liz is, Judy, who had followed him in the house, tells him and explains that Edmond believes one of them murdered her but her death was an accident. When Edmond says that he has a witness, as one of the girls had seen someone switch out the bullets, Judy asks why that person didn’t come forward and then asks who the witness was but Edmond says everyone will know everything tomorrow. When Judy tries to force him to tell her, he shoves her down, then shoots a nearby bust, telling her that is his last warning. Joe and the other girls run inside and Mark explains to Joe what is going on and they decide to try and turn off the power to the fence. Convincing the girls to work together with them, they split up, with Joe taking Diana and Francie while Mark goes with Judy, Sylvia, and Penny. As they all leave to look for a cellar door, hoping a fuse box is down there, Penny ends up staying in the living room and staring at the picture of Liz. As Judy, Mark, and Sylvia search the rooms, Sylvia sees a tarantula in one room and screams, then says she is too shaken up by what happened to be of much use so Sylvia says she should go check on Penny. Judy heads back to the living room only to find Penny gone but hears her chanting and praying outside and looks outside but doesn’t see her as she is on the other side of a wall. Edmond sees Penny from his window upstairs but after closing the window, someone approaches Penny and chokes her with her own necklace. Meanwhile, Joe finds a hidden staircase to the cellar and after finding a fuse panel, starts flicking all the switches and then runs back up the stairs. Joe and the others race outside only to find the fence is still live when Judy screams and they find her kneeling over Penny’s body. As Mark and Joe carry off Penny’s body, Judy cries that she looked for Judy and didn’t find her and Sylvia comforts her and helps her join the others. After Mark and Joe return, Mark tells the others about what Edmond had said and says that there is a possibility that one of them is working with Edmond. Joe speaks with Mark privately and says that they better figure out a way out of there before it gets dark, as he feels that Edmond will have an easier time of picking the girls off one by one. That night, Mark and Joe decide to stand guard in the hallway outside the girls’ rooms while the girls themselves all fret about whether Edmond might try something that night. Diana is scared and goes into Francie’s room and as they talk, Francie decides to take a shower, though Diana thinks that is a bad idea. Sylvia goes to sleep but when she feels something crawling on her, wakes up to find a tarantula on her stomach and starts screaming. Mark and Joe race into her room and Joe is able to swat the tarantula off her and squash it. They head out into the living room, where they are joined by Diana, and Mark decides to get the others but when Diana and Joe go to get Francie, they find she has been stabbed with a pair of scissors. They 5 survivors head outside and try coming up with ideas on how to get out of there. Seeing some water from a drainage pipe running under the fence, Mark thinks they might be able to dig under the fence and escape and goes to find a shovel. Meanwhile, Joe had come up with an idea to make an S.O.S. sign to signal an aircraft that might fly overhead and Diana has an idea on how to make it so they head back to the house. Mark enters the cellar to try and get a shovel but finds a rattlesnake in there and is forced to leave. Returning to Judy and Sylvia, Mark asks them to help him but when Sylvia starts walking, she falls and twists her ankle so Judy has her sit down while she helps Mark dig by hand. Meanwhile, Diana and Joe cut up the welcome banner from the party to make their sign, then head out to the yard to find a spot to lay it out. As Joe sends Diana to find some rocks to weigh the sign down with, he finds the hidden power source for the fence and tells Diana to go get Mark. Mark and Judy discover a concrete base underneath the fence and are forced to stop digging but when they turn around, they find that Sylvia is gone. Judy runs up to the house to look for her and Mark is about to follow her but Diana stops him and tells him that Joe needs him so he tells Diana to go get Judy while he goes to Mark. Meanwhile, Edmond had seen Joe discover the power source and sends his German Shepherd to attack him and as Joe runs from the dog, he ends up running into the fence and electrocuting himself. Diana goes looking for Judy and Sylvia and, seeing the cellar door open, she heads down there but someone locks her in and as she tries to get out, she is bitten by the rattlesnake and killed. Inside the house, Edmond confronts Judy, grabbing her when she faints, and when Mark tries to stop him, he shoots at him before sending his dog to attack him. Edmond takes Judy upstairs and dresses her in her pledge robe before tying her to a chair. He then slaps her awake and Sylvia enters in her Initiator dress, revealing that she had been working with Edmond. Mark manages to lock the dog in a room and then goes to save Judy but he is knocked unconscious by Edmond. When Judy asks why, Sylvia explains that she was racked with guilt over Liz’s death, as she was the one who pulled the trigger, and had contemplated suicide when Edmond found her and convinced her that someone else was responsible. Sylvia then says that she knew that Judy hated Liz because she was prettier and better than Judy so Judy asked Sylvia about the ritual and learned of the bullets. Sylvia explains that she did that because Liz wanted to know and wanted to commit suicide. Sylvia says she is lying and then Edmond reveals a gatling gun and Sylvia explains that Edmond had made bullets, with some being fake and some being real. They begin firing around Judy but Mark comes too and manages to knock out Edmond. Sylvia goes to shoot Judy with Edmond’s pistol but Mark stops her, frees Judy, and then grabs a barrel of explosives as he and Judy run. Sylvia tries to stop them but she is shot by Edmond by accident and Edmond then attempts to shoot Judy and Mark as they head for the fence. Mark hands Judy the pistol and she uses it to shoot Edmond while Mark throws the explosive at the fence, blowing open the gate. Judy and Mark leave and head to the car and Mark says that they made it but Judy tells him that she made it, then points the gun at Mark and shoots him, indicating that she was the one that killed the other girls as well as Liz.

There were times that this felt like a poor imitation of an Agatha Christie movie but on the whole, this wasn’t that bad of a thriller. The acting was ok, with Claudia Jennings (Judy) and Arthur Franz (Edmond) putting on really good performances. The basic plot, centering on Liz’s death and Edmond’s twisted desire for revenge, was pretty good but the way that it would keep jumping around between the characters throughout the movie made things a little more confusing than it needed to be. I also felt like they could have done a better job in setting up the ending and laying out Judy’s motivation, though I did think how they explained Sylvia’s helping Edmond was great. The way the film was set up felt weird at times, with it felling like some scenes were cut out that could have explained what was going on a bit better, but otherwise, this is a decent movie and worth giving a chance.

Rating: 3 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

September 2nd, 2017 Movie – Silent Night, Bloody Night

silent night bloody night (1972)

So back in the day (and if I am being completely honest, it still occasionally occurs today), there would be times where I get movies confused. I mean, I would see part of a movie and when I would go try to find it at the video store, I would get something that sounded similar to what I had seen, only to find out as I watched it that I got the wrong movie. The reason I bring this up is because it somewhat pertains to today’s movie. See, I remember watching a movie involving a killer Santa Claus and at first, I thought it was one of the Silent Night, Deadly Night! movies, but that wasn’t it. Then I thought it was today’s movie, but it wasn’t it either. I eventually found out that the movie I was remembering was the original Tales From The Crypt movie, but that is a story for another day. Today, let’s focus on today’s movie, Silent Night, Bloody Night.

The plot: In 1971, Diana Adams is walking around the former home of Wilfred Butler and taking one last look at the grounds before it is bulldozed and thinking about the history of the place. Wilfred Butler had built the house but never lived in it until Christmas Eve of 1950, when he suddenly burst from the house, his body on fire, and collapses to the ground. The house was left to his grandson Jeffrey, and he left it vacant for 20 years, in accordance to Wilfred’s will. After 20 years, rumors start spreading about it being sold. John Carter, the lawyer in charge of the sale, and his assistant, Ingrid, head over to the house to look things over before the interested parties arrive. Meanwhile, Diane Adams is driving down the road and as the news comes on the radio concerning a warehouse fire and an escaped inmate, she sees a strange man on the side of the road holding a tire iron. Though the man seems to need help, Diane feels uncomfortable and chooses to drive on and after she passes him, she sees the man smashing the windshield of the car he was next too. Back in town, Carter heads to town hall and meets with Mayor Adams, Charlie Towman (the publisher of the town newspaper), Tess Howard (the telephone switchboard operator), and Sheriff Bill Mason. As Carter discusses the sell of the house and the offer the 4 of them have made, someone is seen breaking into the house and killing the guard dog. Back in town, Carter finishes his sales pitch to the town leaders and says he will get back with them tomorrow to see if they want to buy the mansion, then leaves with Ingrid to spend the night at the mansion. As they have dinner and talk, they are unaware that someone is in the house and creeps down the stairs to listen to them. After receiving a phone call from Tess, who was checking up on them for Bill, Carter and Ingrid head to bed and start having sex, only for the stranger to kill them both with an axe. Afterwards, the stranger calls Bill, pretending to be someone named Marianne, and says that Carter’s car is there but he is gone and asks that Bill come there right away. Bill agrees and after he hangs up, Tess, who was listening in, tries speaking to the caller and the caller says she is waiting in her father’s house, frightening Tess. Tess tries calling Mayor Adams, Towman, and Bill but they all don’t answer their phones so she calls her assistant Maggie and has her start her shift early so she can head out to the house. Meanwhile, the stranger that Diane saw earlier arrives at the house and, seeing Carter’s keys in his car, hops in and drives off in it. The stranger drives to Mayor Adam’s house, where Diane is wrapping presents, and when she sees him pull up, she grabs a gun, then tells the man to come in. The man asks to see the mayor and when Diane says he isn’t here and threatens to call the police, the stranger says that he drove by the station and nobody was there. He then introduces himself as Jeffrey Butler and asks about Towman and Diane tells him where he might be. Meanwhile, Bill is on his way to the mansion but stops when he notices a light at the cemetery. When he investigates, he finds that the grave of Wilfred Butler has been dug up and the body missing . As he examines Wilfred’s diary, which was lying on the ground, he is struck with a shovel and killed, then tossed into the grave. Jeffrey goes back to the Adams’ house and talks some more with Diane and they decide to go to the mansion but on the way, they see the sheriff’s car at the cemetery and pull over. The look around for the sheriff but see no sign of him but his sunglasses. They head over to see Towman to try and figure out what is going on and learn that Tess has gone as well Towman goes to Tess’ house with Jeffrey to see if she is there and when they don’t see her, Jeffrey figures she might have gone to the mansion, just as the mayor did when he got a call earlier that night. Towman appears upset and quickly leaves and Jeffrey approaches one of Tess’ birdcages and grabs the bird inside. Meanwhile, Diane waits at Towman’s office and receives a call from “Marianne”, which starts to unnerve her when she says that she is waiting at the house for everyone. Tess arrives at the mansion and heads inside to look around only to end up being attacked and killed. Back at Towman’s office, Diane is reading through old newspaper articles and learns that after Butler’s wife died, his daughter Marianne was raped and eventually gave birth to Jeffrey. Years later, the mansion was turned into an asylum and Butler had Marianne committed there, but all further stories had been cut out. Jeffrey returns to the office, startling Diane, and tells her about Tess’ house. Diane asks Jeffrey about his mother, who he says died at childbirth, and she tells him about the person calling with the same name and that she might be alive and waiting at the house. Jeffrey says they should head out there but as they do, they pass Towman’s car, which is on fire. Continuing on, they see Towman on the side of the road waving his arms and Jeffrey accidentally hits him with the car. They quickly stop and Jeffrey goes down to check on him but says that Towman is dead. Diane is upset that Jeffrey killed Towman but he says they should keep going and continue to the house. As they reach the house, Jeffrey decides to head in alone, leaving Diane in the car. Meanwhile, Marianne calls Mayor Adams and tells him to come to the house and after he hangs up the phone, he grabs a rifle and heads out. Jeffrey finds Butler’s old diary and as he reads it, he learns that Butler had an affair with his own daughter Marianne and Jeffrey was the result of that affair. After committing his daughter, Butler started to feel remorse and made plans to try and get her out of the asylum. On Christmas Eve of 1935, as the doctors were all having a celebration dinner and getting drunk, Butler goes to see Marianne and free her, then lets all of the inmates out to cover his releasing her. The inmates head into the house and proceed to kill all of the doctors, but as Butler went to get the car, the inmates killed Marianne as well. Most of the inmates ended up fleeing the town but 4 of them remained in town; Mayor Adams, Tess, Towman, and Bill. Diane enters the house to see if Jeffrey is all right and he tells her that his grandfather is still alive, having faked his death. He then tells her about the massacre at the asylum and how her father was one of the men who killed his mother. Mayor Adams arrives at the house and heads inside and finds Jeffrey standing there pointing a pistol at him. The two men both fire and end up killing each other, as Diane cries out and runs to her father’s body. Suddenly, Diane hears Marianne’s voice and realizes it is actually Butler himself, who has gone mad and mistakes Diane for his daughter Marianne. As he approaches Diane, she tries to escape and when she can’t open the door, she grabs the pistol and shoots Butler, then manages to make it outside and spends the night crying out in grief. As the bulldozers approach to tear down the house, Diane leaves, knowing that her memories of what happened will never be erased.

SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWW. If there is one word to describe this movie, that would be it. This movie was unbearably slow, which made it almost impossible for me to enjoy it. In fact, I actually had to stop watching, go do something else for a while so I wouldn’t fall asleep, then start back into it…..TWICE. The acting was bad, with Mary Woronov (Diane) being the only decent performance in the bunch. The story was a confusing mess that kept bouncing back and forth between different scenes until you had no idea what was going on. The camera work and special effects were pretty lousy and did nothing to help this story at all. The title sounded good but definitely a let down of a movie.

Rating: 1 out of 5

drama, movie, movie review, mystery, sci-fi

September 1st, 2017 Movie – Signs


Back in 1999, it seemed like everyone was talking about The Sixth Sense and the “twist” ending in it. To be honest, I feel a little bad for M. Night Shyamalan as the whole “Twist” thing ended up becoming a sort of running joke regarding his movies. Now when I went to see this movie in theaters, I was 50/50 on whether I would like it, and when I got out of the theater, I admit that there were parts I liked and parts I didn’t like. Let’s see if watching Signs again after all this time changes my opinion of it.

The plot: Graham Hess wakes up one morning and as he is brushing his teeth, he hears one of his kids screaming. After checking their room and finding it empty, he heads outside, meeting his brother Merrill, who lives in a room off of the garage and was also woken up by the screams. Hearing his son, Morgan, calling out from the corn field, Graham and Merrill rush through the field, eventually finding his daughter Bo, who thinks they are in her dream. Morgan calls out to his father and as Graham approaches and asks if he is all right, Morgan explains that the dogs’ barking woke them up and that’s when they found it, then turns his dad’s head so he sees a series of crop circles in the middle of the field. Graham calls the police and eventually, Officer Caroline Paski shows up and he goes to show her the crop circle. While they are in the field, Caroline tells Graham about some strange things going on with some of the local animals peeing themselves or suddenly getting violent. Graham get’s a bad feeling, recalling that one of their dogs had peed in the house just before Caroline got there, and when he realizes he doesn’t hear his children, they head back to the house to find Bo hiding in the playgym while Morgan is kneeling next to one of their dogs, with the grill fork sticking in the dog’s neck. Morgan explains that the dog was trying to attack Bo and Graham grabs Bo and heads inside, telling Merrill to put their other dog in the shed. That night, Graham is woken up by Bo asking for a drink of water and as he takes her back to the room and talks with her, he sees a shadowy figure standing on the roof of the barn watching the house. He wakes up Merrill, who was asleep in a chair in the living room, and, thinking it was some neighborhood kids playing a prank, they run out of the house yelling and screaming, trying to trap the kids between them. When they meet up on the other side of the house, they don’t see anyone when suddenly they hear the sound of someone on the roof and as they look up, they hear someone jump off the roof and run into the field. The next day, Caroline comes back out to take their statements when Bo tells them the same show is on every channel. They all head to the living room and see the reports of multiple crop circles appearing around the world, prompting Caroline to wonder what is going on. The Hess’ head into town, with Morgan and Bo heading to the bookstore, while Merrill heads off to see some friends and Graham goes to the drugstore to pick up Morgan’s asthma medicine. At the drug store, the clerk asks Graham if he will hear her confession and he reminds her that he is no longer a priest but she insists, saying she is afraid of all the news concerning the crop circles. Meanwhile, Merrill is at the Army recruitment office when the officer recognizes him from his minor league baseball career and asks why he isn’t in the pros, to which Lionel Pritchard, who was also there filling out a form, informs the recruiter that Merrill holds the record for strike outs, as he would swing at every pitch thrown, no matter what the coaches or anyone else would say. As they meet up to eat pizza, they see Ray Reddy walk past the restaurant and as he gets into his car, he sees them looking at him and he pauses momentarily before getting in and quickly leaving. As they are heading home, Morgan pulls out the old baby monitor that he found in the basement and they hear a signal coming from it. As Morgan gets on the roof of the car to get a clearer signal, they hear a strange clicking, and Morgan says it is two aliens talking to each other. That night, Graham goes to feed Isabella, who is barking and staring off into the corn field. Grabbing a flashlight, Graham heads into the field to look around and he hears the clicking sound that they heard from the baby monitor. Reaching the crop circle, Graham yells out that whoever is out there is wasting their time, as they won’t get famous off of him. Heading back to the house, Graham hears the clicking again and drops his flashlight. When he picks it back up, he sees a green leg disappearing into the field, and he quickly heads home and sits at the kitchen table, prompting the other to see what is wrong. Graham tells them to turn on the TV and they see news reports about strange lights over Mexico City, and Morgan quickly grabs a tape so he can record this. As the kids fall asleep on the couch watching the report, Merrill tries to ask Graham for some sort of comforting speech but Gtaham has essentially lost his faith after his wife’s death and is unable to give Merrill any comfort. When Graham wakes up, he finds that Merrill has moved the TV into the closet to keep the kids from watching it all the time but he has continued watching and tells Graham that the lights have disappeared but the objects are still in the sky but are invisible, as there is a video of a bird flying in the sky then appearing to strike something and falling to the ground. Graham takes a shower and when he goes to check on the kids, he sees them wearing tin foil hats, with Morgan reading from the book on aliens that he bought the other day. As Graham flips through the book, he comes across a picture of a flying saucer attacking a house and comments about how it looks like their house. As they stare at the bodies that are lying on the ground in the picture, they all jump when they hear the phone ring, and Graham thinks that everyone is getting too worked up over what is happening. Graham answers the phone and thinks he hears Ray Reddy’s voice but when he gets no response, he decides to head over there, telling everyone to stay in the house. When he gets to Ray’s house, he doesn’t get a response when he knocks but sees Ray sitting in his car. Graham approaches the car and Ray tells him about the night of the accident and apologizes for killing his wife. When Graham asks where he is going, Ray tells him to the lake, as he never heard of any crop circles near water, then tells him that he trapped one of the aliens inside his pantry and locked it in there. Meanwhile, Merrill watches a news report showing a video that was shot at a birthday party in Brazil, which shows one of the aliens and Merrill realizes that it can camouflage themselves like a chameleon. Back at Ray’s house, Graham heads inside and calls out that he wants to talk but gets no response from the pantry. Unable to see underneath the crack, Graham uses a knife to try and look underneath the door when a hand reaches out under the crack, and Graham panics and chops off two of it’s fingers as it tries to grab him. When he returns home, he finds Merrill is wearing a tin foil hat as well and he tells them what happened at Ray’s house. Graham wants to mirror Ray and head to the lake but he is out voted so he says if they are staying, then they are boarding up the windows and doors to the house. As they work on boarding up the house, Morgan alerts them to the report that more cities have reported lights appearing over them as the military prepares themselves for duty and people flock to churches and temples. Realizing that they have too many windows to board them all up, Graham says they will board up the bedroom doors, then they decide to fix a dinner consisting of whatever they want. As they sit down to eat, Morgan wants to say a prayer but Graham refuses, upsetting Morgan and Bo but when he breaks down, they go over to him and he envelopes them in a hug, along with Merrill. After the finish boarding up the house, they hear Isabelle barking and suddenly stop, then they hear the aliens moving along the porch. When they start to attack the doors, Graham has everyone head down into the basement and Merrill grabs a pick axe to brace against the door but inadvertently smashes the overhead light. Morgan finds a flashlight and after checking to see if everyone is ok, Graham realizes that the aliens are not really trying to get through the door, but just drawing their attention to it. Graham has Morgan give him the flashlight while Merrill grabs another one, and Graham tells Merrill that there is a coal chute leading into the basement so they begin searching for it. The find Morgan standing in front of it, just as an alien arm, the same color as the grating, reaches out and grabs Morgan. Graham and Merrill drop the flashlights in order to help Morgan and when Bo picks up the flashlight, she sees Merrill stacking bags of meal in front of the grate, while Graham is holding Morgan, who is having trouble breathing. Graham says they don’t have his medicine with them and is talking with Morgan to try and help get his breathing under control. As Morgan continues to struggle for breath, Graham says “I hate you” referring to God, and Merrill and Bo watch as he is finally able to get Morgan’s breathing under control, and Merrill says they should save the flashlights so they turn them off. Graham falls asleep and dreams of the night of the accident, and when he wakes up, Bo has found some light bulbs and tells Graham what he heard over the radio, about how the aliens had used some sort of poison gas to kill a lot of people before they left. Realizing that Morgan won’t survive another attack without his medicine, they wonder if the aliens have left their farm and so they use the baby monitor to check. When they don’t hear anything, they head upstairs and Graham places Morgan on the couch while Merrill goes to get his medicine. Bo says that people are dancing on the TV and so Graham goes to bring the TV into the room but as he does so, he sees and alien holding Morgan in it’s reflection. Graham turns around and tells Merrill to stop when he moves towards the alien, not wanting to threaten it any further. As Graham notices the alien’s hand is missing two fingers, he realizes that it is the same one that was in Ray’s pantry. Suddenly flashing back to the night of the accident, and several other conversations recently, he tells Merrill to swing away. As Merrill grabs his bat, the alien sprays Morgan with the poison gas but drops it as Merrill hits it with the bat. When he knocks it into a shelf, which causes a glass of water to spill on it. Seeing that the water injures the alien, Graham and Merrill look around the room, seeing all of the glasses of water that Bo had left around the house, Graham takes Morgan and Bo outside while Merrill begins smashing the glasses to splash water onto the alien, then breaks the bat as he knocks it into a table, causing the glasses on top to spill onto it and kill it. Outside, Graham gives Morgan an epinephrine shot, saying that his asthma would have prevented the poison from reaching his lungs. Graham’s faith proves validated as Morgan recovers and several months later, it is shown that Graham has become a priest again, as his faith has been restored.

Signs met with positive results from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With Signs, Shyamalan proves once again an expert at building suspense and giving audiences the chills.” The stories that Graham tells his children about their births’ was actually the stories of M. Night Shyamalan’s own children. The movie earned $408.2 million off of a $72 million budget, making it M. Night Shyamalan’s second highest grossing movie behind The Sixth Sense.

So, aside from the one rather blatant plot problem, this isn’t that bad of a movie. The acting was pretty good, with Mel Gibson (Graham) and Joaquin Phoenix (Merrill) doing good jobs in their roles, but they were absolutely overshadowed by Rory Culkin (Morgan) and Abigail Breslin (Bo), as they completely stole the show. The story was an interesting alien encounter/invasion movie that felt a little reminiscent of War Of The Worlds at times, especially the end part with them hiding in the basement and hearing reports on the radio. That being said, allow me to go ahead and address the GIANT problem with this movie. ANY SPECIES INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO COME UP WITH INTERPLANETARY TRAVEL IS NOT GOING TO BE STUPID ENOUGH TO COME TO A PLANET THAT IS ROUGHLY 70% WATER WHEN WATER IS DEADLY TO THAT SPECIES. The drama involved in this movie was really good and the subplot revolving on Graham’s loss of faith and regaining actually seemed to be more of a focus than the aliens themselves. As for the special effects regarding the creature designs, they were very well done and there were a couple of good “jump moments” in the movie. I remember for a fact that my ex-wife jumped when the hand grabbed Morgan in the basement and I know some other people screamed and jumped then too. If you can get past the main fault, this is a good movie and worth a watch, but I have to admit that might be a big if.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

movie, movie review, mystery, sci-fi, The Asylum

August 27th, 2017 Movie – Sherlock Holmes (2010)

sherlock holmes 2010

You know, it has been way too long since I have watched a mockbuster from The Asylum, at least for the purpose of this blog. Luckily for me, fate has decided to step in and change that situation. Now Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous literary characters to appear in fiction and he has been used in numerous movies. Fresh off the success of Iron Man, Guy Ritchie hoped that Robert Downey Jr. would bring that success to his own big budget rendition of the famous detective. Of course, the people over at The Asylum are no fools and realized that such a movie would be the perfect opportunity to make another mockbuster, which brings us to today’s movie, Sherlock Holmes (2010).

The plot: In 1940 London, during the Blitz, an elderly Dr. John Watson is watching the bombs falling outside when his nurse, Miss Lucy Hudson,  pulls him away from the window. As she goes to leave, he asks her to stay and transcribe something for him, as he fears that he might not last long. When Lucy asks if this is one of his fantasy stories, he tells her it is an story that he was asked to keep untold at the request of his friend, Sherlock Holmes, but he feels the world should know this story now. In 1882, a series of strange creature attacks had begun to plague London, the first of which was a giant octopus attacking a royal treasury ship. The next day, Holmes goes to see Watson, who is in the middle of an autopsy, and after quickly figuring out the cause of death for him, tells him that they are off to Newhaven to work the case for Scotland Yard. The meet up with Inspector Lestrade, who tells them what they have so far on the case while the one survivor currently being in a coma. When the survivor awakens, he appears to be in a state of shock and Holmes is able to get him to tell them what happened before Watson uses a sedative to put him back to sleep. They leave the hospital and head to go see the ship and as they are walking, Holmes asks Lestrade about his brother, as Lestrade had mentioned him earlier, and Lestrade tells him that he spoke with Thorpe last week, which surprised Holmes as he had not heard he was back. When they reach the edge of a cliff over looking the boat wreckage, Holmes convinces Watson to use a rope to climb down the cliff and see if he can see anything. As he is climbing down, he sees a body and thinks it is another survivor but it is only the motion of the waves causing the body to movie so he signals to be pulled back up. As the men on the cliff do so, the rope breaks and Holmes manages to grab it before it, and Watson, plunge off the cliff and after making sure Watson is ok, Holmes says they should head back to London. That night, in Whitechapel, a young man is picking up a prostitute when he is attacked and killed by a dinosaur. The next day, Watson reads the news story to Holmes, who says they should check it out. As they head towards Whitechapel, they pass by a fountain and Watson comments about how the stream of water appears weaker than usual. Suddenly, a man comes running out of the nearby woods in a panic and as Holmes and Watson continue along the path, Holmes sees the footprint of a dinosaur in the ground. When they hear the rustling and roar of the dinosaur in the nearby bushes, Holmes and Watson make a run for it but eventually end up getting separated. Watson stumbles upon the building that houses the water pumps for the fountain and heads inside to investigate only to be confronted by Lestrade. Holmes arrives and convinces Lestrade that they heard a commotion and came to investigate and Lestrade says the same before he leaves. Watson questions why they didn’t tell him about the dinosaur and Holmes says because they don’t know what exactly they are dealing with but he found a clue in the woods, then tells Watson that the water pump for the fountain is missing from the building. Some time later, Watson is at his office and told he has a patient waiting for him and he heads down and meets with Anesidora Ivory and her uncle, who is in a wheelchair. Anesidora’s uncle asks for Watson to fill his prescriptions and Watson balks at first when he sees there are several powerful opiates, including morphine, on the list but he relents at Anesidora’s urging. Watson fills the prescriptions and tries to ask Anesidora on a date when Holmes calls and says that they have to head out that evening to work the case. That night, they head to a copper factory, where Holmes theorizes that the dinosaur was heading when it got interrupted by the prostitute and her john. The two stake out the place and when the dinosaur arrives and steals a spool of copper wire. Holmes and Watson give chase and Holmes is knocked into a wall but tells Watson to keep after the creature. Watson attempts to shoot the dinosaur while it is on a catwalk but ends up shattering the glass ceiling and Holmes manages to knock Watson out of the way of the falling glass but ends up cutting his leg in the process so Watson is forced to take Holmes back to 221B Baker Street and tend to his wound. The next morning, Holmes and Watson head out to a rubber factory only to be confronted by Lestrade, who wonders where they are off to but Holmes informs Lestrade that he knows that he has been following them in order to take credit for solving the case but invites him along anyways. When they reach the rubber factory, Holmes speaks with the owner, who doesn’t want to cooperate at first but When Holmes comments about bringing the Labor Department by to check for illegal immigrant workers, the owner relents. Lestrade heads inside to make sure he doesn’t try anything funny but as the owner heads up to get the paperwork for the customer Holmes asked about, he is attacked and killed by the dinosaur. As Holmes and Watson are talking outside, an explosion occurs which sends the owners body outside and they take cover as more explosions destroy the factory. The two briefly worry about Lestrade before Holmes says they must hurry and stop their quarry before he escapes. They head to Helmsworth, the area that Holmes grew up in, and Holmes explains that he found a rock on the factory owners body that could have only come from that area. Thy head up to a nearby castle and after Holmes picks the lock, they start to investigate inside but end up springing a trap. As a deadly gas starts to enter the room, Holmes works on freeing them but ends up setting off a trap door, and then yell for Watson to come down there. The two eventually come face to face with the dinosaur but realize that it is only a mechanical creation, as was the giant octopus that attacked the ship. As they look around, they are attacked by an armored man and Watson is knocked against a wall while Holmes attempts to defends himself with a sword and dagger but he is quickly captured. Anesidora shows up and, pointing a gun at Holmes, tells him to drop his weapon and the armored man reveals himself to be her uncle, who is actually Holmes’ brother Thorpe. Thorpe had built the suit to enable him to walk and explains how the bullet that had paralyzed him did not come from a bank robber, but had ricocheted off a door frame when his partner, Lestrade, had fired at the robbers. Thorpe reveals that he intends to ruin Lestrade’s career, as he had been taking credit for Holmes’ solving of the cases, and get his revenge at the same time. Holmes tries to stop him but Anesidora shoots him, then knocks out Watson with a syringe. When Watson comes too, he sees Thorpe and Anesidora talking and it is revealed that Anesidora is a robot, as well as a walking bomb. Thorpe sets the timer on Anesidora and tells her to head to Buckingham, as it will explode when she gets there. He then tries to get Watson to join him but when he refuses, Thorpe leaves him strapped to a device intended to rip his limbs from their sockets, then leaves with the bound Lestrade aboard a mechanical dragon. As Watson screams in pain from the device, he is rescued by Holmes, and it is revealed that the bullet had struck his tobacco case and Watson had lied that he had died. Holmes heads off another of Thorpe’s flying inventions to try and stop Thorpe, who is attacking London with his dragon. Meanwhile, Watson heads off to stop Anesidora from reaching Buckingham Palace in order to stop her from assassinating the queen. Holmes, using Thorpes begins battling Thorpe in the sky but Thorpe still manages set fire to Westminster Abbey and Parliment. Meanwhile, Watson arrives at Buckingham just as Anesidora is approaching the gate and he tries to stop her but she tosses him aside. After she kills the guards, she approaches the gate but Watson knocks her to the ground and then short circuits her, stopping the bomb from exploding. Thorpe sees this and heads towards Buckingham, intending to kill the queen himself but Holmes crashes his flying device into the dragon, causing them both to crash to the ground. Thorpe manages to crawl from the wreckage but his suit is damaged so he can no longer walk. Watson goes to check on him but Thorpe grabs the gun from him and threatens to kill him but ends up being killed by Holmes, who had parachuted to safety. Holmes and Watson free Lestrade and as Lestrade discusses the bank robbery that crippled Thorpe, Holmes realizes that Lestrade was not responsible for Thorpes injury and tells him so. Lestrade ends up taking credit for saving the queen and Holmes and Watson vow never to speak of the case again. Back in the present, Lucy says it is a fantastic story and asks if any of it is true only to discover that Watson had died after finishing his story. Some time later, Lucy goes to visit Watson’s grave and as she places some flowers on it, she sees Anesidora visiting Thorpe’s grave and, wondering about the strange woman, she quickly leaves.

I love watching The Asylum’s movies but sometimes their mockbusters can be a little hit or miss on if I like them. This one was unfortunately more of a miss with me but it wasn’t that bad of a movie. The acting was ok, with Ben Syder doing a decent job in his debut as Holmes, while Gareth David-Lloyd (Watson) and Dominic Keating (Thorpe) did a little better in their roles. The story was pretty fantastic in a ridiculous sort of way but they had plenty of opportunity for Holmes to showcase his deductive skills that he is famous for. The special effects were not that bad for a direct to video movie and I did like how the dragon looked, but the scenes with the dinosaur looked too off in regards to the blue screen so it took away from it a little. Not the best mockbuster out there but it can be entertaining to watch just for the pure ridiculousness of it.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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