Halloween (2018) Movie Review

4.5/10

Entertaining one minute, then mediocre for the next fifteen. Halloween succeeds in making its villain feel menacing and even throws in clever callbacks for fans of the original. It’s everything between the moments of good that bring it down.

Set 40 years after the events of the first film, Halloween once again reunites Jamie Lee Curtis with her favourite babysitter Michael Myers. During that time Myers has been in prison, with Curtis praying every night that he will escape so she can kill him once and for all. Looks like she’s been reading the book “The Secret”.

Let’s start with the positives.

Halloween (for the most part) does a good job of making Michael Myers a menacing villain. The film sets him up a villain that just kills and moves on to the next victim. There’s no emotion or motive and that matches what the film wants him to be: the epitome of evil.

There are also clever callbacks for fans of the original to enjoy. It was fun to watch the theatre notice the lines of dialogue and role reversals that referred to the first film. They were subtle and still effective for those who haven’t seen the original.

And finally, there’s one African-American child actor that in my eyes stole the show. Most of his scenes were improvised and were genuinely hilarious. I don’t want to spoil his lines of dialogue or the circumstances of those scenes. Suffice to say these were the most entertaining out of the whole movie for me.

Everything else is a inconsistent and confusing shit show.

Halloween sets the tone with Michael Myers’ first kill but then later contradicts itself by not following through with a certain encounter (you’ll know what I mean if you see the movie). There was a chance to truly live up to this epitome of evil image, but Halloween chooses to back down because its afraid to take the risk. In my opinion the producers should either remove that scene or make good on their promise.

The film also has a lot of awkward and unfunny character interactions. The film tries to give quirky comedic moments between minor characters but fails more often than it succeeds. A scene with two cops talking about what they packed for dinner is the pinnacle of this. Throughout their entire conversation I was thinking “why the hell is this in the movie? It’s not funny”.

Even more confusing is how Myers’s age in the film fits with his killing spree. I don’t know how a 70-year man can get shot, hit by a car, beaten by a crowbar, punched, survive a bus crash, and still manage to kill ten plus people during that time. It was hilarious.

Maybe Halloween would be more entertaining if only I threw out any logic and didn’t take it so seriously. But that’s the problem; I don’t know what it wants to be.

On one hand it tries to feel serious by making Michael Myers a menacing and ruthless killing machine. On the other hand, it throws in awkward moments of comedy and confusing plot ideas. The result of which makes me feel less impressed and wanting.

But hey, what else was I expecting from a movie that’s the eleventh instalment and second reboot sequel to a cash cow series that’s all over the place with sequels and reboots.

The Final Girls Movie Review

the final girls

See it. 6/10

“They were never alive! They weren’t real. Neither are you because this is just a movie!”

It seems that the only way to make a decent horror film these days is to have the story lampoon the common tropes of others like it. The Final Girls unashamedly parodies classic slasher film clichés and uses them for comedic effect, which thankfully does enough to make this worth the watch. This self-aware nature is not as intelligent as another similar film, The Cabin In The Woods (which is also a film that I love) so don’t walk into this with high expectations, but there is enough ridiculousness and meta-humor that still warrants seeing The Final Girls. Especially if you’re a fan of horror in general and love when it can be fused with the likes of comedy akin to the film Tucker and Dale vs Evil.

What works for The Final Girls is the story and its outlandish portrayal of horror stereotypes seen in each of the characters. Every figure is written as a caricature of the typical individuals that you’d come across in any basic slasher horror film, whether it be the dumb jock or the virgin or those that are sexually proactive; The Final Girls represents all commonly used facets of horror filmmaking but does so to lampoon their stereotypes. There are often moments of humor based on the expense of character motivations that worked well to make me smile and overall, I enjoyed the meta-like nature of the script.

The only semi-original aspect that makes it refreshing enough is the idea of having characters being sucked up into a B-grade horror film and interacting with the characters from that said film. The story then takes on the life of the B-grade horror film and utilizes all the common tropes attaches to it. I didn’t mind that it becomes unoriginal because The Final Girls is all about subverting the unoriginal clichés of horror films for comedic effect. The film might encompass super cheesy moments or poorly written plot holes but those aren’t flaws I can criticize negatively because it’s intentionally being parodied. The only unoriginal trait about The Final Girls is that it chooses to lampoon those clichés when films like The Cabin In The Woods or Tucker and Dale vs Evil have done it in the past already.

I also have some issues with the film technically. There were times when the story wasn’t necessarily trying to lampoon those clichés just yet and that I thought these scenes could have been done in a way that didn’t really need to rely on B-grade jump scares. It seems like a wasted opportunity to employ some innovative horror filmmaking techniques like the use of sound or a slow pan to reveal something sinister and it could make me feel scared.

Altogether I can’t fault the films unoriginal story even though there are a lot of cheesy cliches thrown in. This film is attempting to parody slasher films and for the most part, I say it does so well enough. I wasn’t laughing hysterically and it’s nowhere near the genius of a parody film like Black Dynamite but it’s nevertheless passable. There’s enough to warrant seeing this film, especially if you’re at all interested in seeing horror but don’t go into it with exceedingly high hopes. The Final Girls isn’t a modern horror masterpiece but it’s still worth a recommendation. See it.

The Purge: Election Year Movie Review

the purge election year

Skip it. 4/10

Somehow my favorite of the series but that still isn’t saying much.

The Purge: Election Year once again manages to just edge its predecessor and slowly rise to the top of the mountain in the Purge series. Except, it’s actually not really a mountain and more so a really small hill that lies in a predominantly flat landscape and is barely visible to the naked eye. But hey, at least it’s noticeable and it’s still better than the other films in the series, even if I still wouldn’t recommend you go see it.

What works better in this film is mainly the likeability factor of the story’s leads. I mean yes, the protagonist is a senator played by the creepy doctor from Lost (Elizabeth Mitchell) but she was thankfully much more enjoyable than what I usually know of her from that short-lived and yet somehow fantastic show (even if it did go quickly downhill). This is also thanks to having her play a senator who is running to oppose the whole inception of the Purge night. I’m immediately inclined to feel a bias towards her side because hey, I’m not a fan of people dying needlessly based on the apparently “scientific fact”, that we harbour inherent aggressive desires and need to release this so-called “beast”. Especially since I’ve mentioned how I don’t understand why the whole Purge night reduces so much level of crime, poverty and also boosts employment. It’s never really explained and the holes in that concept are issues that I haven’t seen resolved. Until now.

And I do want to also quickly bring up the supporting cast choice of Frank Grillo, who returns from the second film. Yes, he once again plays this Liam Neeson type character by going all security guard Taken mode on people but he was the best thing about the second film and I’m glad they gave him another shot. He’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone, but he’s still a cool enough character compared to Ethan Hawke’s in the original.

But what mainly drags this film down again, is the general predictability and the huge runtime once again. By this I mean it’s taking the same formats from before, where characters try to hide from the bad guys chasing them, get into trouble, fight it off and then repeat it all over. Thankfully the action scenes looked much better from a technical standpoint but it’s nothing amazing. Especially since the whole film is somehow the longest in the series coming in at a staggering hour and forty-nine minutes. What the hell is going on and why does each film in the series progressively seem to get longer? It’s completely unnecessary and adds nothing to the plot because, in fact, it detracts from the whole experience since it’s just the same shit every 15 minutes. Please let the fourth Purge film not be this long when it comes out later this year.

I’ll cut this review shorter compared to the others (in a seemingly reverse fashion compared to the increasing runtimes) and say that this is right now the best in the series. Having said that, I’m not recommending you expel your time watching it, I’d only suggest seeing it if you’ve committed to the series or enjoyed watching the second film. Other than that, this is basically just a rehash of any old action film. It’s like Taken mixed with a somewhat more original concept, but it’s nowhere near as smart as it should be, even if it’s trying to appear like that. Watch something else from our best of categories, because this series ultimately isn’t worth your time. Skip it.

The Purge: Anarchy Movie Review

the purge anarchy

Skip it. 3.5/10

Better but still not that great.

After my disappointment with the first in the series, I was not looking forward to the sequel The Purge: Anarchy, but surprisingly I had a much better time watching it because the story opened up a lot more different scenarios. But just to be clear, it’s still a bad film overall as it’s not flawless in the slightest. However, compared to the original, it was a much-needed burst of resurgence given I was predicting the series should go through a purge of its own and be killed off entirely.

The biggest aspect that worked for The Purge: Anarchy was the expansion of the storyline to follow three sets of people. It was a good decision to split up the plot into these groups of characters because not only did it allow for a different range of characters to enjoy but it also opened up the landscape for where the story could be headed. Especially since this time we were taken to the streets of where the “Purge” chaos was happening, instead of being confined to some house like a creepy spinoff of Home Alone. That step towards the outside in the narrative was another good choice by the writers. I enjoyed the fact that I could explore the outside with these characters and get an insight of how it all looks on that fateful night.

Having said that, I was still hoping for a lot more out of this film. I wished that the three groups of characters didn’t meet up so quickly and become essentially stuck together. It would have been better to see three parallel storylines occurring and then, later, they all meet up, say towards the final act or the very end. Some of the characters weren’t really that interesting to me and could be annoying at times (yet again). It wasn’t the same level as my hatred for the children (especially the daughter) in the first film, but it was still noticeable, and I definitely had a few favorites which goes back to how they were written.   Though I will say that I did care more about any of their lives and was more sympathetic to them being in danger overall than the characters in the first film.

My other biggest complaint was with the runtime that was way too long and tried to fit in too many scenarios that were basically all the same. At an hour and forty-seven minutes long, this is just way too much time for an action horror set piece. I noticed by the time the third act kicked in, which came far too late and was completely unnecessary to throw in or should have come much earlier in the film. The situations basically followed the same idea of making their way through the city at night, coming into trouble, fighting off and surviving that encounter, then repeating it again. When that happens over and over again for such a long time, you can’t help but zone out.

The film also doesn’t really squash the same complaints that I have with the first Purge film, with how the whole concept works. I guess they just decided to leave it as it is, given it worked so well in the first place so why bother changing it. But aside from taking the story to explore the outside world a lot more, it also really didn’t add to the mythology of this dystopian universe. Sure, I can see a couple of interesting aspects were thrown in, which I won’t devolve into to keep this spoiler free, but for the most part, the concept of the film is just an excuse or reasoning to see action sequence after action sequence. It seems like no one really wanted to add anything else remotely intelligent or thought-provoking about the film’s premise.

So, having said what worked better compared to the first, there is still a lot that drags this film down overall and as such, I don’t recommend you waste your time watching it. Yes, this film could in all honesty be (or should have been) the first in the series, because it does a lot more with the script compared to the original. If you’re still interested in seeing how an interesting concept like the Purge night would work in a film, I’d suggest starting from The Purge: Anarchy and moving onwards. But other than, I wouldn’t really be jumping out of my seat to see it. And with that I say. Skip it.

Tucker And Dale Vs Evil Movie Review

tucker and dale vs evil.jpg

See it. 7.5/10

Just a couple of rednecks caught up in some good old-fashion horror hijinks.

With a name like Tucker and Dale vs Evil, you might be easily mistaken to think that this is yet another cheesy B-comedy horror film. However, the genius that lies behind this film is that it’s actually made as the biggest piss take on all of those said films. And it does it in ways that are not only clever but more importantly, hilarious.

We follow a group of college kids heading out on a road trip to go to a holiday cabin that’s located in the deep dark woods. Yeah, I know. Just like every other fucking horror film. But, like I said, this is a film that takes the mickey out of situations like this and subverts all the typical tropes associated with horror films. How does it do so you may ask? Well, unlike all those other films, our youthful and hopeful college kids haven’t met the likes of two country rednecks, Tucker and Dale. What the college kids don’t know, is that whilst their looks might be deceiving, Tucker and Dale are in fact the kindest people you would ever hope to meet and are just unfortunately placed in a lot of “bad looking” type situations. As the old saying goes, never judge a book by its cover.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil constantly use this expression to conjure up a heap of laughs that otherwise wouldn’t be possible in any other horror film. This idea of placing the good guys in scenarios where they appear bad is the trope that makes the basis for the film’s foundation and it allows for it to take the mickey of so many other horror films that try to be like it, but in a serious way. Whilst this film essentially relies on this form of gag throughout the whole film, and it is great to see, it can be a bit stale after a while. It’s nowhere near detrimental to the fun you’ll have watching it, but I have to bring it up because it’s the main reason why this film isn’t above the rating it is.

Having mentioned the biggest problem with the film, I am writing this article because I genuinely believe that this is still something you should watch and there’s no reason not to, since, hey, it’s on Netflix! Hence why I am also putting this into our Netflix Gems category as it definitely warrants a spot, compared to some of the other crap that is on there (*cough* Annihilation cough). Tucker and Dale vs Evil might not be as intelligent as other films like The Cabin In The Woods, but it’s a lot funnier and a blast to watch with a group of friends. This is one of those films that is great to watch with others who enjoy horror and love having a laugh at the same time.

So, grab a few beers, get some snacks and some friends (hopefully you have some), and whack this one on at your next gathering. I’m sure there’ll be moments of squeamish gore that will disgust a few but also please many others. But most of you will come away from this laughing your heads off and then hopefully be recommending this to everyone else that you know. So, goooooo see it.