Saturday, October 26, 2019

AREA 51

Area 51 Movie Review

Three friends decide to raid Area 51 after one experiences a strange happening at a party. They meet up with a woman whose father had maps of the underground tunnels at the mysterious desert location. This movie, which was completed in 2009 but not released until 2015, is brought to us by writer and director Oren Peli--if this name is familiar to you, it's likely because he is the same guy who brought us Paranormal Activity, an extremely low budget film that made an absolute fortune and, more importantly, was an original, creative, and scary movie--Area 51 is far less inspired. Most of this movie is the three guys making their way to Area 51 and talking about their plans--for as dull as those conversations are, when they are talking about anything not related to Area 51, it's even worse. The movie is presented as a found footage film, as the guys record everything on their phones and small cameras, resulting in shots that look like...

this...

this...

and this.

We get some brief shots of Las Vegas, which is nice, as that's one of my favorite cities. The shots of the desert are also nice, and honestly, it is these settings that helped get me through this movie. Once the friends and the woman make it into Area 51, things pick up a bit, but we really get the case of taking the good with the bad once there. Some of the ideas about what could be inside Area 51 and the technology used is really interesting, and plays out well. Unfortunately, much of what happens there is in the dark--this, coupled with the constantly shaking camera, makes it nearly impossible to see anything happening for much of the time. We get just a brief look at the aliens, which is fine, as this approach works quite well here. The ending is a bit lazy, but certainly could have been worse. Should you decide to watch this film, be warned--everything that happens leading up to the characters actually being inside Area 51 is a LOT to get through, but what you see once there almost makes you feel like it was worth the wait. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Area 51 Movie Trailer

VAMPIRE CIRCUS

Vampire Circus Movie Review

As he is dying after being attacked by local villagers, Count Mitterhaus (Robert Tayman), a vampire, swears revenge on the aggressors and their children. 15 years later, the village is not allowing any outsiders to enter, but do (for some reason) welcome in a mysterious travelling circus. Does anybody care to guess why they are visiting?

"We're simply here to entertain you!"

This one came out in 1972, and is a Hammer Film. If you are familiar with the classic Hammer Films featuring Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing, and you watch this movie, you may find it hard to believe Vampire Circus came from the same company, but rest assured, it did. The story goes that, by the early 1970's, Hammer Film Productions was losing lots of money. Seeing the interest in horror films move more toward the seedier side, the company decided to begin including more violence, gore, nudity, and sexual themes into their movies--Vampire Circus is filled with all four, to the point I am surprised they pulled off a PG rating instead of an R...the first 15 minutes alone probably warrants an R rating, so know that going into this one. All that aside, this is an interesting movie for sure. The story is decent enough, though some holes in it are obvious. Visually, the movie is stunning at times. There is plenty of bizarre here too, including one of the vampires turning into a panther, and the dancing tiger lady.

All kinds of weird going on

The scenes of the twins jumping up into the air and turning into bats are cool, though one would think the villagers would have caught on to something upon seeing this. Speaking of the locals, we get the typical scenes of the villagers gathering, torches in hand, to destroy--I'm not sure I've ever seen a horror film set in the 1700's or 1800's that didn't have this scene in it, so for as original as this movie is, the old standbys are there too. I didn't expect much from Vampire Circus when I began watching the movie, and was pleasantly surprised by it. If you are looking for a vampire movie that is a bit different than most, I suggest checking this one out. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Vampire Circus Movie Trailer

Thursday, October 24, 2019

VERONICA

Veronica Movie Review

High school student Veronica (Sandra Escacena, in her film debut) and two classmates decide to play with a Ouija board during an eclipse. The result is an evil being unleashed on Veronica and her siblings. Spain brings us this 2017 film, which is set in 1991 and is based on true events that took place that same year. In real life, the girl this happened to was named Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro--she and two friends played with a Ouija board, and soon after, Lazaro began to experience hallucinations and seizures--she died 6 months later. After her death, her family's house became haunted. A year after her death, the incidents at the family home became so disruptive they called the police, who reported unexplained occurrences there. Lazaro's death remains a mystery, but local police and Estefania's family believe it was a direct result of her experience with the Ouija board. This story is a very interesting read, and one I recommend...after you're done with my site, of course.

Leave now and she will come for you

Veronica takes the real-life story and tweaks it quite a bit--in the movie, the mysterious events begin to take place almost immediately after the Ouija encounter, the story unfolds in much less than a year, and so on. Even with the changes, the movie is fairly frightening. There are many scenes that will have you glued to the screen and possibly jumping out of your seat. The visuals are a mixed bag, though practically all are of the CGI variety--some of the worst is very bad, bringing the movie down considerably. The pacing of the film is a bit off too--shaving about 15 minutes would have been wise. Still, there is plenty to like about this movie. The story is interesting and plays out well, Escacena does a wonderful job, and the ending is solid. Veronica may not be as good as you have read, but it is a decent horror flick that's worth checking out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Veronica Movie Trailer

PIECES (aka Mil gritos tiene la nocha)

Pieces Movie Review

A young boy kills his mother and chops her up after she catches him putting together a puzzle of a naked woman. We fast forward 40 years, and women are being killed and hacked to pieces at a college campus. We know from the start this is going to be the child as an adult doing the killing--we are introduced to several characters on the campus and we, the viewer, try to figure out which of them is the maniac. The film is unusual in a number of ways, not the least of which is the fact it is set in Boston, Massachusetts, but is a Spanish film, shot almost entirely in Spain, with plenty of voice dubbing (often by the same person playing the character) for the American release. Created during the tail end of the Grindhouse days (1982), this movie certainly fits that genre nicely. If it's bloodshed you're looking for, Pieces is a must-see. The amount of blood and guts in this movie is enough to satisfy every gorehound.

Here's a mild example

When I mentioned blood and guts, I was being quite literal--blood, organs, and carcasses from a slaughterhouse were used to create the gore, providing a very real feel to many of the scenes in this movie. The killer's weapons of choice are unquestionably inspired by two of the more popular slasher films of all time, Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre...yes, he uses a butcher's knife and chainsaw to kill and dismember his victims. Unfortunately, among all this chaos we also have awkward comedic spots and scenes that don't fit the story at all--the appearance of the martial arts expert is so off the wall you will wonder if parts of another movie were inserted here. That stuff aside, Pieces is a very entertaining slasher film that should be on your watch list...don't look away when you think it's over!

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Pieces Movie Trailer (This is a fantastic teaser)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

LADY FRANKENSTEIN

Lady Frankenstein Movie Review

Baron Frankenstein (Joseph Cotten) and his partner, Dr. Marshall (Paul Muller), create a monster out of a corpse. After the monster murders Frankenstein and begins killing the locals, Marshall teams with the Baron's daughter, Tania (Rosalba Neri, The Devil's Wedding Night), to create a new monster to destroy the original one. Straight off I will tell you that if you are picturing one of the classic Frankenstein movies from the first half of the 20th Century, you are way off base. This is an Italian film from 1971 that contains a bit more blood than those films (some of the worst looking fake blood you will ever see, by the way). This one also has a lot of nudity, creating a mixture of a 1960s Hammer film and a 1970s sexploitation flick--Italy produced many of these type films around this time. More memorable than any of this, however, is the look of the monster. Boris Karloff's Monster is iconic in its awesomeness--the Monster here is less awesome and more....

This

Some of the scenes we know from the original film are played out in similar ways in this movie, leaving one feeling they have temporarily slipped into an alternate reality. The movements of the monster are odd, often resembling a slapstick comedic performance more than a frightening assault. To her credit, Neri, credited in this movie as Sara Bay, is impressive in her role, bringing a proper amount of wickedness to her manipulative character. As a side note, Neri played Lady Frankenstein here, and Lady Dracula two years later in the aforementioned The Devil's Wedding Night...I guess Lady Creature From The Black Lagoon wasn't in the cards...or maybe it was, and I just haven't slipped into that reality yet. Anyway, this movie isn't bad for a cheap knockoff flick, but it really comes unhinged near the end when Marshall's brain is put into another man's body to create the perfect love interest for Tania. While probably a little better than it should have been, Lady Frankenstein isn't really one I can suggest going out of your way to watch. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


Lady Frankenstein Movie Trailer (Rob Zombie fans will love this one)

HEAD COUNT

Head Count Movie Review

A group of twenty-somethings are sharing spooky campfire tales when one reads the story of Hisji, a shape-shifting entity that immediately arrives to terrorize them. The twist is, they have no idea it's there. Head Count is a slick little horror flick I caught on Netflix, and the film is very ambitious when it comes to trying to separate itself from the pack. For the most part, that goes a long way in this movie. Gore and jump scares are largely ignore here, traded in for creepy atmosphere and some things being left to our imagination. The anticipation of the arrival of the spirit is built well, as we see hints dropped throughout that it is, in fact, already there.

They may be catching on

Where the movie fails is when it does bring what we expect from similar horror films. The characters are a bunch of stereotypical ones--we have the hero, the stoner, the jerk, the jerk's jerky girlfriend and his heart of gold ex-girlfriend, etc, and they spend a large part of their time drinking and getting high. Repeated scenes of the parties and the aforementioned jerk and hero getting into it drag the movie down and makes the run time seem much longer than it is. That said, Isaac Jay makes a likable lead, and the movie never comes off the rails enough to lose your attention. The third act plays out exceptionally well, and will have you on the edge of your seat--unfortunately, the ending falls flat, taking all the air out of the balloon. Still, Head Count is worth watching for the fresh ideas. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Head Count Movie Trailer

THE WASP WOMAN

The Wasp Woman Movie Review

Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot) is the owner and face of a cosmetics company--unfortunately, her aging face is blamed for the decline in profits her company is seeing. Thankfully for her, a scientist has discovered that he can use the royal jelly from a queen wasp to reverse the aging process. The antidote works until...well, it doesn't, and Janice becomes a half-wasp creature. Schlockmaster Roger Corman brings us this one, a film often referred to (rightfully so) as a knock-off of the 1958 film The Fly. Let's not let that notion ruin the fun though! We know pretty much right from the start where this story is going, so most of the time is spent waiting for Janice to become the wasp woman...I won't let you wait that long.

"What's all the buzzzzz about?"

Something a bit out of the ordinary (though not completely original) is the scientist becoming the eventual hero of sorts--this fails in that the character isn't terribly likable, and the actor playing him, Michael Mark, doesn't do much to help this matter. Much of the movie is painfully dull and seems to take forever to take off. Once it does, of course, we get what we came for--a cheap looking monster and its attack on humans, though this is sadly minimal as well. Cabot does a fine job with her role as Starlin, so that will help get you through most of the film. The final scene is entertaining, though not in a scary way by any means. The Wasp Woman isn't Corman's best work, but it's certainly not his worst either. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


The Wasp Woman Movie Trailer

Monday, October 21, 2019

SATANIC

Satanic Movie Review

On their way to Coachella, four friends decide to do some sightseeing around Los Angeles. Once there, they find themselves in lots of trouble. Geico runs a commercial around Halloween every year--anguished teens run behind a wall of chainsaws instead of getting in a running car as the ad proclaims when you are in a horror movie, you make poor decisions--Satanic fits into this model perfectly. The group visits a Satanic store, where they instigate a fight with the guy working there. If that's not a bad enough idea, they decide to follow him when he gets off work. What they find is he and a large group are having some sort of ritualistic ceremony, and have guns. Do they decide to call it a day and drive off? Remember the commercial? Our geniuses instead go to the building this is taking place in, peek through the windows, and even record it. Run for the hills after this? Nah. They scream at the Satanists, drawing their attention. When one of the Satan worshipers meets up with them the following day to return a cell phone she found, does the group give her a big thank you and part ways? Of course not! They bring her along, and take her to the location of a very famous ritual. Once there, she acts weird and almost possessed. This is the perfect time to send her on her way, right? Well, I think you know the answer by now.

"Wait, we should keep her around, right?"

The problems with this movie don't stop there. The acting is atrocious, the characters are unlikable, and the story is thin. There is mild star power here with Sarah Hyland of Modern Family fame, but she seems completely out of her element in this movie, and sadly, her performance is better than that of everybody else. There are some interesting shots and settings throughout, which is nice, and the story takes a decent, if not original, turn at the end. None of this, however, justifies dedicating an hour and a half of your life to this film.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Satanic Movie Trailer

ALL HALLOWS’ EVE 2

All Hallows' Eve 2 Movie Review

A mysterious masked man leaves a VHS tape at a woman’s door. Curious, she watches the tape, finding it contains a series of disturbing videos. Of course, this is a series of shorts that comprise this anthology film, and the results are very much a mixed bag. We have the wraparound story, which is pretty much just like in the first All Hallows’ Eve movie, with a single woman instead of the babysitter and kids watching the tape—the ending is almost identical as well. If you are wondering why a woman in the year 2015 still has a VCR to play the tape in, she does provide a fantastic answer, explaining to her friend that horror movies such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are scarier on VHS, and that Blu-ray makes movies seem too fake.

I couldn't agree more!

Also similar to the first All Hallows' Eve is the disjointed feel of everything as, just like the original, this is a series of shorts thrown together to make a film instead of segments made specifically for the movie. All that considered, when you read that this is an anthology, think less Creepshow and more The ABCs Of Death. The number of segments, eight, is odd--it doesn't allow time for the segments to build a lot of story, but also lacks the quick-fire feel of the ABCs of Death movies. The first segment, Jack Attack, gets things off to a great start, as we see a jack-o-lantern get revenge in a most unusual and disturbing way. Next in line is The Last Halloween, a segment that is almost as good as the one before it. The third segment, The Offering, is heavy on suspense but fails in its payoff, dropping the bar a little but keeping your attention--things fall apart from there. We'll skip ahead to the only other interesting segment, Alexia. Most of this one takes place on a computer monitor and the words are in Spanish--I understand just enough of the language to pick up the general idea of what is going on, but even if you can't do that, this is still a really good segment, as the visuals are very intense.

Muy atemorizante

Had these four segments been made for this movie, were expanded upon, and were the only segments in this movie, we may have had a modern day classic on our hands. Unfortunately, we have four other entries, none standing out as anything memorable, with M if for Masochist and Mr. Tricker's Treat lowering the excitement considerably. Descent and A Boy's Life are somewhat interesting, if not predictable. If you're looking for a good Halloween season movie, this one is worth checking out, if only for half the content.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6



All Hallows' Eve 2 Movie Trailer

Sunday, October 20, 2019

ALL HALLOWS’ EVE

All Hallows' Eve Movie Review

A child receives a VHS tape while trick or treating. His babysitter finally agrees too let him and his sister watch the tape, and what they see is horrific. That is the basis of this 2013 film, that plays out as a sort-of anthology, though I struggle calling it that...more on that momentarily. This movie takes a bit to get going, with the kids and babysitter arguing over the tape for far too long. Once they finally decide too put the tape in, we see a face who may be familiar to us, and one that certainly is not.

Alien Dude

The face that may be familiar to you is the one on the movie poster--Art the Clown of Terrifier pops up throughout most of the movie, which brings us back to my issues of calling this a proper anthology. This movie is basically a series of short films from director Damien Leone thrown together and held with super glue and duct tape, lacking any sort of flow whatsoever, as it was never originally intended as an anthology. How much this affects your viewing of the movie will vary--honestly, it didn't bother me, as I knew this going in, so I had zero expectations for an anthology. Seeing Art pop up in segment after segment, showing no injury from the segment before, is quite distracting, however, and the character lacks the general creepiness it would find in Terrifier. The acting is bad throughout, but this is made up for with the gore and scares, neither of which are lacking--the segment with the alien is particularly spooky. Much as was the case with Terrifier, you see plenty of potential in the films Leone makes, though they fall just short of being what one would call a really good horror movie...more originality and less borrowing from other movies would do wonders. Still, you could do a lot worse than All Hallows' Eve.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


All Hallows' Eve Movie Trailer

Saturday, October 19, 2019

ATOM AGE VAMPIRE

Atom Age Vampire Movie Review

After a woman is disfigured in a car accident, a mad doctor finds a cure, bringing back her beauty--unfortunately, this requires the doc to kill other people for the special serum required to keep the woman, who he has now fallen for, unscarred. The first thing you must know about this movie (a fact that would have stopped me from watching this at all) is that, despite the title, there are no vampires in this film. This is an Italian film that was originally titled Seddock, l'erede di Satana--this properly translates to Seddock, the Heir of Satan, but somehow, somebody mistranslated, and when it was released in the States, the movie was titled Atom Age Vampire.

"Stai scherzando?"

This one comes from 1960, and to call it a snoozefest would be insulting to some of the better insomnia treatments out there. Our doctor does inject himself with an old version of his serum to make himself a monster of sorts in order to kill, but that's every bit as interesting as it sounds. Some of the scenes of the doctor killing the victims are mildly entertaining, but that's as much as you are going to get from this movie. The remainder is slow, tired, and uninspired. When looking for a creepy older movie for Halloween, do yourself a favor and skip this one. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3


Atom Age Vampire Movie Trailer

Saturday, October 12, 2019

THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms Movie Review

Atomic bomb testing in the Arctic thaws and awakens a dinosaur who eventually makes its way to New York City, where chaos ensues. This 1953 creature feature is unquestionably one of the inspirations for the countless large monster and dinosaur movies that would come out for the next decade or so (Godzilla included), and is considered a classic in the genre. Of course, it's easy to see why. The stop-motion animation used to create the creature destruction is really, really good, itself no doubt inspiring many artists and movie-makers over the years. The beast looks fantastic as well.

"They said I'd see the Brooklyn Bridge from here..."

Naturally, before we get to the destructive climax of the film, we have to sit through a lot of questionable science--one person theorizes that since a bear can hibernate for a winter, certainly a dinosaur can live millions of years frozen in ice. The acting is just as shaky, though nobody here is TOO terrible. The characters are under-developed, and scenes not featuring the beast can seem to last an eternity. We can easily overlook all this, because we don't watch these movies for any of this anyway--it's the monsters and their destruction we come for, and this movie delivers big time in those departments.

"Oooh! Cotton candy!"

To no surprise, it's New York City that gets it, as it tends to do--the scenes at Coney Island (not actually shot there) are an added bonus for me, as I love amusement park and carnival settings. The visuals of the dinosaur destroying a lighthouse, everything in New York, the roller coaster at Coney Island, and eating the man he captures are all absolutely wonderful. If you are into giant creature/monster movies and you have not seen The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, do yourself a favor and check it out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms Movie Trailer

Friday, October 11, 2019

US

Us Movie Review

As a child, Adelaide Wilson has a scary moment in a fun house on Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk--she comes across her doppelganger in a mirror. Fast forward 25 years, and the adult Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o, Black Panther) and her family return to the boardwalk for a summer retreat. The doppelganger returns as well, and now, she has company. Jordan Peele (Get Out) brings us this slick 2019 film that inspired a house at this year's Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights--in fact, it was after going through this house a few times that my girlfriend and I decided we must watch this movie before going back through the house. Speaking of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, if you're a fan of The Lost Boys, you know this location immediately, and there is a nice reference to that vampire classic in this movie.

Be sure to look up!

Once we get past the impressive opener and to the modern time, the first thing you may notice about this movie is how likable adult Adelaide and her husband Gabriel (Winston Duke, also of Black Panther) are. A good amount of time is spent developing their characters, which builds nicely into the rest of the film. Once the duplicates (called "The Tethered" here) appear, the scares come quick and often. The idea of this movie is an interesting one--there is an alternate version of us in the underground living out the motions of our lives without the emotions, and they are planning an uprising--the idea is more interesting when you drop the obvious political statement and look at it strictly on a horror level. Nyong'o is really good as Adelaide and her tethered counterpart--Duke is almost as good. The pacing is practically perfect--the film is almost two hours long, but never drags at any point. There is plenty of violence and many death scenes; though, save for a moment or two, they are never as graphic as one might expect, with much of the bloodshed being shot wide or occurring off screen entirely. The ending provides a nice twist--a second viewing may be necessary to fully understand it. Us is not a great horror film, but it does have many creepy moments, so I do recommend it...I can also appreciate the house at Halloween Horror Nights more the next time I walk through it. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Us Movie Trailer

ANNABELLE COMES HOME

Annabelle Comes Home Movie Review

Judy Warren (McKenna Grace, The Bad Seed), the daughter of demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), begins experiencing strange occurrences in her house after her parents bring home a new doll named Annabelle—along for the ride are Judy’s babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and the sitter’s best friend, Daniela (Katie Sarife)--absent are the adult Warrens, who are out of town to investigate another case. Hitting theatres a couple months following the release of The Curse Of La Llorona, this marks the seventh and, to date, most recent film of the Conjuring Universe (there are more coming), the third Annabelle film, and it chronologically falls right after the conclusion of the first Annabelle film. Here’s something you should know right off--Vermiga and Wilson are not in the movie much. We see them bringing Annabelle home and putting her in the glass case we are all familiar with, but they disappear quickly after that, not returning until the very end.

Just leave her in there!

While it is unfortunate that Wilson and Vermiga are in this so little, the three actresses the movie does focus on are strong in their roles, giving surprisingly good performances—one could easily see Grace, who, at 13, has already appeared in several large budget films, becoming a star for years to come. Unlike the preceding two films from this Universe (The Curse Of La Llorona and The Nun), this one develops real scares, minimizing the reliance on jump scares. Some of the special effects are lacking, and there is a disturbing amount of comedy here—leaving the Bob character out of the movie entirely would have been a good decision. The demons are impressive and provide some scary moments. The story itself unfolds well, with a surprise here and there, though it does slow down a bit in the middle. The action in the third act is intense and may have you on the edge of your seat—unfortunately, it concludes with an ending that leaves a lot to be desired. Annabelle Comes Home fits directly in the center of the Universe so far—it’s better than The Nun, The Curse Of La Llorona, and Annabelle, but falls short of Annabelle: Creation, The Conjuring, and The Conjuring 2.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Annabelle Comes Home Movie Trailer

Monday, October 7, 2019

GEHENNA: WHERE DEATH LIVES

Gehenna: Where Death Lives Movie Review

A group of developers go to Saipan to scout out a location for a new resort. While there, they come across an old World War 2 bunker that is easier to enter than to exit. Special effects vet Hiroshi Katagiri makes his feature film directorial debut with this 2016 flick, and it should come as no surprise that the special effects and makeup are some of the best things about this film--in fact, some of the visuals are truly terrifying.

Sister Abigail?

The story is a bit convoluted, but we find that some folks were tortured during the war, and a hex was put on anybody who enters the tomb--there is also a person down there who looks very old, very thin, and ready to die any second now, foreshadowing, to a degree, our ending. That old man, by the way, is played by Doug Jones, an actor who has been in a million movies but it probably best known for playing Amphibian Man in The Shape of Water. Another actor you will recognize is horror icon Lance Henriksen (Pumpkinhead), but don't get too excited about this--he's in the movie for maybe a minute (though he does show up for a post-credits scene as well). The rest of the cast is made up of folks you probably won't recognize--none really stand out in a good or bad way. While the scares are there, the story is what really bogs this one down. They are trying to do way too much with this movie, leaving it with a feeling of being all over the place. The lack of focus carries you all the way to the end, when the bad guy inevitably gets his comeuppance. This movie is worth checking out for the cool special effects, but isn't something you should put high on your to-see list.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6




Gehenna: Where Death Lives Movie Trailer

Saturday, October 5, 2019

THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA

The Curse of La Llorona Movie Review

Caseworker Anna (Linda Cardellini) and her children are haunted by the spirit of La Llorona, a woman who drown her kids and herself 300 years prior. When I reviewed The Nun recently, I talked about how it was a part of the Conjuring Universe, and also mentioned the Annabelle films as being a part of this group of movies--as somebody who likes to know as little as possible about a movie prior to watching it, I had no idea when I wrote that review that The Curse of La Llorona was also a part of that Universe, and still had no idea until actually watching this 2019 film. Honestly, if you are not paying attention, you may miss this part of it, as the only real connection is Father Perez (Tony Amendola) of Annabelle popping in to talk about his experience with a possessed doll--we also see Annabelle herself for a very brief moment. Anyway, this movie is based on an old Latin American folklore that is quite creepy--Universal Studios Orlando designed a house after this story for the 2013 installment of Halloween Horror Nights, and to this day it's one of the best houses they ever created, so when this film was announced, I was very excited--I wasn't able to maintain that excitement while watching this, however. As with The Nun, this movie relies way too much on jump scares instead of creating genuine horror...La Llorona herself does look pretty scary though.

Y'all better hide yo kids...

Fans of Breaking Bad will recognize Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz) as Rafael Olvera, a former priest who is no longer a part of the church but who knows everything there is to know about La Llorona. Olvera not only provides the knowledge needed to defeat the villain, but he also provides comedy in a film that should have none--the comedic approach is especially way out of place at the conclusion of the final battle, removing any tension that may have been built. Another issue with this movie is how it takes every tried and true formula from movies past and inserts them without adding anything new--from the priest who is no longer with the church to the holy water to the aforementioned jump scares, you almost see the blueprint laid out in front of you, and expect practically everything you are about to see--this is all the more disappointing when you consider how impressive most of the other films in this series are and how they do not follow such an approach. Cardellini does turn in a good performance, so we at least have a likable lead, and there are a few scenes that will have you glued, so not all is lost with this film. The most unfortunate thing about The Curse of La Llorona is that it does so little with an old tale that is scary and has so much potential--it's really not a bad movie, just one that falls well short of what is could have been.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


The Curse of La Llorona Movie Trailer

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

THE NUN

The Nun Movie Review

Father Burke (Demian Bichir, The Hateful Eight) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, American Horror Story) are sent by the Vatican to Romania to investigate the mysterious death of a nun. What they find in the church is an evil not quite of this world. Set in 1952, this is a spin-off of the Conjuring films, chronologically taking place prior to those two movies and the three other spin-offs of them, the Annabelle films. If you enjoy those films, and expect The Nun to be on the level of those, you will be let down. The Nun certainly lacks the sheer terror of The Conjuring or Annabelle: Creation, following more in the footsteps of Annabelle with its reliance on jump scares instead of actual horror. Our villain is one we know from The Conjuring 2...the demon nun.

She still looks like Marilyn Manson

The only thing more frustrating than the multitude of jump scares is the CGI, which is so bad at times it borders on SyFy quality. One of the things I loved about the original The Conjuring is the way it was shot--it feels like a movie that could have actually been released the year it was set in, 1971. Had The Nun taken a similar approach it may have made a world of difference--instead, this feels like a movie that is set in the early 2000's, as it visually resembles many other films from that time. The story really isn't too bad, though it's not a terribly strong lead into one of the better horror movie universes--a little slick editing at the very end of the film takes us right into The Conjuring. The atmosphere is one of the highlights of this film, though much of the action takes place in the dark, so try to watch this one at night with the lights off. While The Nun is not a bad movie, it sets up a series of films that deserved a much better place setting. It should also be noted this movie made loads of money, so a sequel is inevitable--let us pray that, much like with the Annabelle films, the sequel is better. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


The Nun Movie Trailer