Life (2017)

Directed by Daniel Espinosa.  Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.  Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada and Ryan Reynolds.

Plot: a crew on a space station discover a rapidly evolving organism that kills anything and everything with a pulse

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This is going to be brief because I don’t honestly want to give anything away.  I think you should experience it for yourself.  Even though we found the end totally foreseeable, it wasn’t a terrible movie.  It just wasn’t as majestic as it could and should have been.

The point of the movie, we think, is that life is destruction.  They speak of this a few times, so we’re guessing that’s it.  However, most things on earth don’t destroy so completely.  Maybe we’re taking it too literally, but it tried to have this profound impact on us and it was quite lost.  Instead, we were just irked.

The best thing about the movie is the acting.  While they’re not always smart in their decision making, they really do jump off the screen.  However, giving a little spoiler away…

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….if you’re going into this movie, AT ALL, because you like, admire or think that Ryan Reynolds is hot, just skip this one.  He’s not in it very long at all.

I recommend it even though it’s mediocre at best.  I would love to watch you all watch it and then talk about the ending with you.  My score: 52.

DJ didn’t like it.  Doesn’t recommend it unless you want to waste the hours.  His score: 40.

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The Shining (1997)

Directed by Mick Garris.  Written by Stephen King (novel and teleplay).  Starring Steven Weber, Rebecca De Mornay, Courtland Mead, Melvin Van Peebles and Cynthia Garris.

Plot: a recovering alcoholic and his family move into a haunted hotel so he can work as it’s caretaker while in the off-season

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Filmed at the actual hotel the story is based around.  Stephen King even stayed in room #217.  There’s no stupid maze in this one, just the CGI hedge animals, which aren’t that well done and look kind of funny, but we guess you can’t win them all.  It follows rules.  It’s realistic.  And although DJ doesn’t find it incredibly rewatchable (mostly because of the long running time), I do.  I just love to binge watch stuff.

In this version of The Shining, the Torrance family moves into the hotel after meeting Dick (Peebles), the cook at the hotel.  Dick shares a secret with little Danny – they can both “shine”.  They can talk to each other without opening their minds and they can sense when bad things are gong to happen.

When Dick and everyone else finally leave the Torrance’s alone in their new place, strange occurrences start to take place.  Doors start opening and closing by themselves.  A wasps nest Jack smoke bombs is put into Danny’s room sans wasps, but overnight all the wasps miraculously come back and sting Danny.  And of course, there’s the REDRUM scrawled in blood on the walls that only Danny can see at first.

Soon, Wendy begins to hate the hotel.  She can feel it’s evil and speaking to Danny who is scared all the time, is only making it worse.  She begs Jack to leave, but Jack has already gotten caught up in the hotel’s nonsense.  Even when Danny comes downstairs with bruises on his neck, Jack still won’t admit that something else is in the hotel with them.

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Eventually, Jack gets taken over by the hotel completely and he goes after Wendy and Danny.  What can I say, this story just satisfies me a lot more than than the original movie.  This one even makes me cry at the end.

Other good things: I love Steven Weber, inside and out.  Miguel Ferrar, kick ass Miguel Ferrar, is the voice of Jack’s dad on the CB.  And Dick lives in this one, which we find very important.

Bad things: the effects weren’t great when it came to the hedge animals.  And the little boy is annoying.  Courtland Mead is just not who I would have cast for this (or for anything else really).

Still, this mini-series gets a combined 56 points more than the Kubrick movie. My score: 84.  DJ’s score: 67.

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The Shining (1980)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick.  Written by Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson.  Based on the novel by Stephen King.  Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers and Danny Lloyd.

Plot: a man gets a job in an isolated hotel for the winter and slowly starts to go mad, putting his family in danger

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I believe there are 2 kinds of people on this earth; people who liked Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining and people who were holding out for the Mick Garris mini-series.  We are of the latter camp.  So, let’s begin.

Jack Torrance takes his wife, Wendy, and their son, Danny, with him to his new job in the mountains as caretaker of a closed hotel.  Jack is a former alcoholic, but it’s been a while since he’s had a drink.  And that is where the 2 Shining’s pretty much end being related.

Having read the book, I love the Jack Torrance character.  He’s just a man trying to kill his personal demons, who really does love his family, but doesn’t always know how to show it.  The great flaw with this 1980 version is that Kubrick made Jack so creepy from the beginning.  He never does seem as loving as he can in the book.  He never seems like the doting dad.  He just evolves rather quickly from creepy to creepier to creepiest.

Some other flaws include Danny talking to his finger (don’t know why that’s a thing), the number change from #217 to #237 (stupid.  what for?), and of course, Scatman dying.  Maybe Kubrick is a little bit of a racist, but the black man didn’t die in the book and he damn sure shouldn’t have died in the movie.

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I also don’t understand certain additions.  Like, the two little girl ghosts.  And, of course, the maze.  There was no maze in the book.  There were hedge animals in the book.  The maze may have been easier to film and a little less corny then CGI hedge animals, but it’s not what the book called for and I am a stickler for the book.

Now, this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy some things about this movie and this retelling.  Keeping the woman in the tub was right.  She’s clearly the freakiest part of both versions.  The skeletons Wendy sees were also quite effective.  I liked the Jacksicle too, but DJ didn’t.  The ending just wasn’t as good as the book’s ending.  Overall, the story was creepy, just not the classic everyone wants me to say it is.

It’s a good stand alone movie in my eyes.  Just don’t go in expecting the book on screen.  I recommend it, but DJ doesn’t really.  He suggests you hightail it over to the mini-series and watch that instead.

My score: 57.  DJ’s score: 38.

“Come play with us, Danny.”

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The Similars (AKA Los Parecidos) (2015)

Written and directed by Isaac Ezban.  Starring Luis Alberti, Fernando Becernil, Carmen Beato, Humberto Busto, Cassandra Ciangherotti and Gustavo Sanchez Parra.

Plot: on October 2, 8 people, stuck in the rain, experience a strange phenomenon in a bus station

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This Spanish movie is really just the worst, most annoying Twilight Zone ripoff.  I swear that Ezban just watched one too many episodes and thought he was coming up with some original wonder when really he was just rewriting a sick story with no Freddy Claws, awful rules and a messed up motive.

The only thing we have really good to say about this movie is that it is very fast paced.  So, on the plus side, you don’t have to deal with the inept story long.  The downside is that you have to be prepared to read fast because the subtitles just fly by.

Our score: 20.

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Chopping Mall (1986)

Directed by Jim Wynorski.  Written by Jim Wynorski and Steve Mitchell.  Starring Kelli Maroney, Mary Woronov, Russell Todd, Barbara Crampton and Tony O’Dell.

Plot: a group of teens are trapped in a chopping mall with new, murderous, security robots

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The mall has recently increased security everywhere.  They’ve even gotten a bunch of robots that stun and detain criminals.  Of course, something goes wrong with the robots.  Because that’s how life is.  Something always goes wrong with the robots.

So, now that something is wrong with the robots, they’re killers.  Going far and beyond detainment, they begin killing people.  The teenagers partying overnight see them kill someone and freak out.  And here comes the movie.

It all comes off very tongue-in-cheek.  It’s ridiculous and it’s hilarious.  There’s boob shots and scenes of people splitting up when they should be sticking together.  We, of course, own it.  The best and most hilarious thing of all is perhaps the fact that the robots have learned to communicate with one another and blow people’s heads clear off, but it takes them an hour just to laser a fucking hole in a wall.  It makes no sense.  If you want sense, go somewhere else.  If you want to laugh and have a good time, watch this.

Score from us: 74.

“Have a nice day!”

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Goodnight Mommy (2014)

Written and directed by Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz.  Starring Susanne Wuest, Elias Schwarz and Lukas Schwarz.

Plot: twin boys begin to believe their mother may not be their mother anymore after she has some cosmetic surgery

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This review will contain A LOT of SPOILERS AHEAD.  Why?  Because I HATED this movie and I want you all to know why.

First of all, DJ didn’t watch this movie.  He was away at the time and he’s so lucky he was.  I am envious of him.  I wish I could go back and have never seen it.

The movie starts promising enough.  Very thrilling.  Creepy.  It didn’t take long though, before I caught on.  The twin boys are no longer twins as one of them is no longer alive.  The one that’s left is only pretending he’s there.  The boy is psychotic and perhaps even believes deep down that his brother is still alive.  In any case, I start figuring out that the real monster of the film is not going to be the mother, but the son.

I knew he was going to kill his mother I just had no idea how far the filmmakers were going to take it.  Rather quickly, far too quickly and unrealistically for me, the son begins to torture his mother.  It is an aspect of torture porn I have never seen before and never wish to see again.

I will give it points for the atmosphere and the effects.  It was chilling.  I take away points for everything else though.  I suppose, even with the number of horror movies I watch, I am still an idealist.  An optimist even.  And I don’t like these sort of hopeless movies.  I don’t recommend it.  At all.

My Score: 10.

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Nothing Left to Fear (2013)

Directed by Anthony Leonardi III.  Written by Jonathan W.C. Mills.  Starring Anne Heche, Jennifer Stone, Ethan Peck, James Tupper, Rebekah Brandes and Clancy Brown.

Plot: a pastor and his family move to a new town, but the town is creeptastic and has a few secrets

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The pastor, his wife and their 3 children move to Kansas.  The main girl isn’t that good at acting.  The little boy is adorbs though.  The daughters really cuss a lot for pastor’s kids.  I mean, I’m not sure if they really respect their father’s profession.  Anyway, the pastor (Tupper) moves to Kansas to take over for the old pastor (Brown) who is apparently retiring.

Once in the town, the movie really shifts focus to the 2 daughters.  There’s Rebecca, who has caught the eye of the old pastor’s son, Noah (Peck).  And there’s Mary, the one who is unfortunately “selected” by God to save the town.

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There’s a nice, big summer festival.  Everyone in town gets ready for it.  Rebecca tracks down Noah.  Noah has a scar he won’t talk about.  Half the family ends up drugged and Mary is possessed by the devil and sent back home to presumably take the rest of her family out.  She doesn’t look nice either, but the other kids are like “Let’s call Mom”.  Screw that, we would have thrown something at her and run away.

In the end, Mary kills all her family except Rebecca and then Rebecca’s blood is somehow used to get rid of devilish Mary.  It’s not very explained.  It’s never explained.  A lot isn’t explained.  Like, what the fuck is the point?  Religious nutjobs will inherit the earth?  DJ and I were so angry.  It wasn’t even entertaining.  It was just maddening.

We gave it some score because the actors were good and the specials as well.  But it lost a lot of points for making the hotness of Ethan Peck completely undesirable and killing so many damn sheep.

Score: 10.

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Smiley (2012)

Directed by Michael J. Gallagher.  Written by Michael J. Gallagher, Ezra Cooperstein and Glasgow Phillips.  Starring Caitlin Gerard, Keith David, Shane Dawson and Liza Weil.

Plot: an urban legend about writing “I did it for the lulz” during an online chat, causing Smiley to come and kill the person you were talking to

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Usually, I don’t have a problem giving movies away.  I’ll do spoilers all day long, so long as I tell you they’re coming.  With this movie though, I don’t want to give anything away.  If you’ve managed not to hear too much about this one, you should go in pure.  The less you know, the better.  Don’t let anyone ruin it for you.

The movie’s been severely criticized over the years.  It’s been said to have ripped off Scream and Candyman (we think it’s better than both those movies even though those movies are good in their own right).  It was also said to be dull (no), generic (unh unh) and lacking originality (what?!).  This movie was so well done.  Well acted, well thought out, well directed and well told.  The writers were smart.  Sure, the ending’s been done before, but never with so much intelligence.  And if you do decide to watch it, make sure to catch the after credits scene.  I believed my brother and I clapped the first time we saw it.  And the number one reason we like it is that everyone gets theirs.  Everyone.

Frightening, funny and smart, it was the best horror film of 2012.  Make sure you watch the gory outtakes and the gag real.  We give it a 94/100.  Barely anything wrong here.

 

 

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The Wraith (1986)

Written and Directed by Mike Marvin

Starring, Charlie Sheen, Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid, Nick Cassevetes and Clint Howard

Plot: A ghost seeks revenge on a group of drag-racing thugs.

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First off I think the Wraith should have been taller or something as he isn’t very physically imposing. All the bad guys in this are really bad or mentally challenged followers that do what the bad ones tell them to do. “Packard” is such a shit! He has 80 chances to kill him but no dice or that would b the movie.

Tara thought it was what it was, cheesy goodness. Great action movie but not quite horror. Tara cried at the end she was laughing so hard lol. The acting was that bad from Sherilyn and “Billy”.

Tara thought the movie was just meh and gave it a 50. I enjoyed myself and i dig a good action movie so i gave it a 70/100.

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Devil (2010)

Directed by John Erick Dowdle.  Written by M. Night Shymalan and Brian Nelson.  Starring Chris Messina, Logan Marshall Green and Bokeem Woodbine.

Plot: 5 people, with some outrageous personal issues, become trapped in an elevator by the devil

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Even with a run time of only 80 minutes, you would think a movie about 5 people trapped in an elevator would get boring, but it does not.  It’s actually very quick-paced and thoughtful.  The religion in it is not slight and might disturb some people.  I suppose a movie called Devil could turn people away, but I hope it does not.  It would be a real shame to never see this one.

Personally, I love this movie.  Even DJ loves it and he is not a religious man at all.  The twist, which is of course very large, was not foreseen by us.  Twists can be detrimental if not done well.  Thank God this one is.

Other high points: the acting, the storytelling, the perfectness of Chris Messina.  We both give it 2 thumbs up and an 85/100.

“If the devil is real, then God must be real, too.”

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