Tuesday, January 9, 2024

No One Will Save You

No One Will Save You, is a meatball. While the movie has a top notch performance by Kaitlyn Dever, impeccable aesthetics, and stunning set design, it suffers from a bland script with a forced narrative. Not to mention an unthreatening menace as well. Kind of like a meatball with misplaced ingredients, this film has a bland plot. Making this a dish that's too fancy for it's own good.
However, Brian Duffield is definitely a talented director and filmmaker, but his writing seems to be middle of the road. He has great concepts, but falls short in delivery. Some may argue that this film is decent, but for me, it's a hard pass. The main antagonists of the film are a chaotic blend of telepathy, telekinesis and psychokinesis. At parts it was overwhelming and almost laughable, which is a shame, because Duffield and his team really have an eye for suspense.
Regardless, however, of the film's technical prowess, the plot lacks substance. The lack of dialogue, while an interesting artistic choice, leaves the main character waiting for events to unfold. The forced plot points and lack of organic development make it feel as if decisions were made solely for the purpose of cool/creep factor and ignoring the truth of it's own narrative. In fact, by the end of the movie, it seems to fail to find a cohesive conclusion. I found myself sitting and waiting for the movie to end, as it seemed to drag on with it's fifty different endings. It left me feeling utterly dissatisfied. There was even a part at the very end where the movie broke the fourth wall. An overconfident decision that felt gimmicky with a hint of cringe.
Nevertheless, No One Will Save You, can stand alone on its technical prowess, as its cinematic elements tend to shine. However, the overindulgent plot leaves you longing for a more balanced and fulfilling experience. Just a trivial meal, served with an extravagant garnish, this movie is the equivalent of putting grey poupon on an undercooked hotdog.


Monday, September 11, 2023

Cobweb: Another Mediocre Entry in the 2023 Horror Catalogue

If you're a horror enthusiast, you might have been excited to checkout "Cobweb". Directed by Samuel Bodin and featuring a talented cast including Lizzy Caplan, Woody Norman, Cleopatra Coleman, and Antony Starr, the film had the potential to be a gripping addition to the horror genre. However, what I found instead was a movie that barely passed the bar of what makes a decent horror flick.

One of the first things that struck me about "Cobweb" was the overuse of modern horror motifs. It's as if the filmmakers had a checklist of horror cliches and decided to throw them all into this one. From creepy settings in the house to classrooms that we've seen in thousands of other movies, there was a distinct lack of originality in the mise-en-scene. While some may argue that the filmmakers wanted these cliches to be overtly noticeable, it doesn't necessarily make it a good decision. It almost felt like they were trying too hard to fit the mold of what a horror movie should be.

Despite having a talented cast, the performances in "Cobweb" often came across as wooden. Much of this can be attributed to the unnatural dialogue the actors were given to work with. Additionally, the awkwardness of some characters, particularly the parents, felt forced and at odds with the overall tone of the film. While they were meant to serve as red herrings, any modern horror enthusiast could see right through it, making their interactions feel comical and hammy in a movie that was supposed to be taken seriously.

One of the frustrating aspects of "Cobweb" was the inconsistent mythology of the movie's monster. The creature seemed to possess contradictory physical abilities that didn't adhere to the established rules of the film's universe. While horror often relies on suspending disbelief, "Cobweb" took it a step too far, sacrificing logic for the sake of horror staples. This can be seen with the all too familiar slaughter sequences, where a character is dragged under furniture and blood splatters out from underneath.

Moreover, the film's storylines felt forced and rushed, which in turn hindered character development. It was evident that the filmmakers struggled to make sense of their characters' arcs, resulting in a disjointed narrative. This lack of depth made it difficult to truly connect with any of the characters, ultimately diminishing the impact of their fates.

Perhaps one of the most noticeable nods to horror classics was the setting of "Cobweb." The film takes place on Halloween in a town named Holdenfield, a name that bears a striking resemblance to another well-known horror movie set in Haddonfield. While references and homages can enhance a horror film, in this case, after being backpacked with a dozen other cliches, it only served to highlight the lack of originality in the movie's overall approach.

In the end, "Cobweb" is a watchable but forgettable addition to the horror genre. While it boasts excellent cinematography, eerie sound design, and proficient editing, it struggles to make the most of its characters and relies too heavily on tired horror cliches. For those who enjoy a dose of horror, it may provide some entertainment, but it falls short of offering anything new or memorable. As we approach the end of 2023, it's safe to say that "Cobweb" is unlikely to make it onto many horror film watchlists.

So, if you're in the mood for a horror movie that doesn't break new ground but still manages to deliver a few chills, "Cobweb" might be worth a watch. However, if you're seeking a truly memorable and innovative horror experience, you may want to look elsewhere.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

My Sister Almost Married Freddy Krueger

As far back as I can remember, the allure of the horror genre held a powerful sway over my sister and me. We were just five and three years old, mischievously slipping out of our bedrooms on nights when our mother and aunt would invite their friends over for the week's latest horror flick. In an act of daring innocence, we would creep down the stairs, ducking behind the couch to secretly witness the chilling exploits of Jason Vorhees or his fellow nightmarish characters as they claimed their next victims. The blend of fear and fascination was strangely captivating, keeping us hooked until a scene became too terrifying, inevitably causing one of us to gasp. Our presence would then be discovered, earning us a stern rebuke and a march back to our rooms. Yet, the thrill of these horrific narratives was too great to deter us from repeating our covert escapades.

The darkly fascinating world of horror had us firmly in its grip. Throughout our elementary school years, my sister and I would devour any fright-inducing material we could get our eager hands on. This often meant binge-watching tapes that our grandmother generously recorded for us from television broadcasts. We practically wore out the tapes of our favorites - Mr. Boogedy, Beetle Juice, and The Monster Squad - through countless reruns.

However, my sister's fascination with horror started to fade sooner than mine. For a long while, she had affectionately referred to Freddy Krueger as her 'boyfriend'. Her perception shifted dramatically one night when she sneaked downstairs and accidentally witnessed the gruesome reality of Freddy's appearance in the latest Nightmare on Elm Street installment. Her imaginary beau was suddenly revealed as a disfigured and terrifying figure, far removed from her initial image of him.

The romance had reached its abrupt end. Nights were filled with nightmares about Freddy, who would infiltrate her dreams, transforming them into nightmares and instilling in her a fear of sleep, not unlike the plot of the movie itself. This marked the start of her hiatus from horror. Although she remains an enthusiast of the genre to this day, any mention of Freddy still triggers an involuntary twitch in her eye."


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Unexpected Delights of "The Menu"

In an era where celebrity chefs dominate TV and streaming services, "The Menu," a comedy-horror film released in 2022, brings to life an intriguing "what if" scenario: what if such a celebrity chef finally cracked under the pressure of his high culinary aspirations?

Directed by Mark Mylod and boasting a script by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy, "The Menu" is a sumptuous feast of dark humor, suspense, and delicious absurdity. A story of extreme gastronomy gone awry, the movie features Ralph Fiennes as the volatile celebrity chef Slowik, with an eclectic ensemble cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, and John Leguizamo, among others.

The plot follows Tyler Ledford (Hoult) and his date, Margot Mills (Taylor-Joy), who travel to Slowik's exclusive restaurant on a private island. The night unfolds into a bizarre course of disturbing events, with Slowik's unorthodox culinary practices leading to shocking revelations and grisly consequences.

Despite the film's somewhat unusual premise, "The Menu" is unexpectedly riveting. Far from being a run-of-the-mill horror flick, it serves as an eerie, biting satire on modern culture and our obsession with celebrity chefs and haute cuisine.

The movie is a captivating journey into the dark corners of high-end gastronomy. The way it exaggerates human behavior offers a peculiar, yet fascinating perspective on the human experience. All the elements of the film, from the creepy ambiance to the absurdities that the characters endure, are steeped in a sardonic critique of our current food-obsessed culture.

What distinguishes "The Menu" is its consistent, uncomfortable tone. This tension, paired with its exploration of the uncanny and bizarre aspects of human behavior, constructs a nuanced narrative, making it a standout in contemporary cinema.

The ending is, quite simply, superb. Not only does it tie together the film's themes and ideas effectively, but it does so with an irreverent, outrageous flair that leaves you in awe of its audacity. The simple, yet profound, cheeseburger scene is a triumph of understated cinematic storytelling.

Despite warnings from my movie-buff friends to steer clear of this film, I found myself not just pleasantly surprised, but utterly captivated. "The Menu" is a darkly delightful feast of a movie that's worth savoring. If you're in the mood for a film that challenges your perceptions while serving up a side of macabre humor, "The Menu" should be at the top of your list. A chef's kiss, indeed!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Fresh: Embracing the Unexpected


I must confess, I walked into Mimi Cave's debut feature film, "Fresh," with little to no preconceived notions or expectations, much like biting into a new dish without asking for the ingredients first. And this, my friends, is precisely the way to approach this surprisingly delightful horror-thriller. Let's put the cards on the table straight away: this is a film that may not sit well with everyone, especially those who aren't keen on "elevated" cinema (yes, I'm also cringing at the term). However, for those willing to dive into the unknown, "Fresh" serves up a meal that's as intriguing as it is chilling.

In the era of online dating and swiping left or right, "Fresh" centers around Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a young woman disillusioned with the digital dating scene's lack of charm and subtlety. Enter Steve (Sebastian Stan), a charismatic stranger who swoops in at a grocery store, enticing Noa with the prospect of traditional courtship. It's a whirlwind of charm, romance, and a seemingly perfect weekend getaway. Yet, what Noa encounters next is a macabre revelation that flips her world upside down.

Director Mimi Cave, in her film debut, truly paints with character. The narrative is a buffet of rich, layered characters, each served with a side of depth and complexity. The performances are outstanding, with Edgar-Jones effortlessly embodying the fear, strength, and determination of a woman trapped in a grotesque reality, and Stan masterfully slipping into the role of a man who's more than just a charming exterior.

What sets "Fresh" apart is not just the intriguing storyline but how the narrative layers unfold, leading to a climax that hits you like a punch to the gut. While the premise revolves around a horrifying concept, it is the execution and the buildup that adds a unique flavor to this cinematic dish.

Despite the terror it induces, the film carries an underlying commentary on modern dating and the façade people often put up to hide their true selves. It's a chilling reminder of how little we may know about those we let into our lives. With Cave's masterful storytelling and remarkable performances from the cast, "Fresh" feels like a shocking yet insightful exploration of trust and deception in the digital age.

I wholeheartedly recommend this film to those in search of a bold, fresh take on the horror-thriller genre. "Fresh" has a way of clinging to your thoughts long after the credits roll, just like a haunting melody you can't shake off. Cave's distinctive style adds a new flavor to the genre, leaving us eagerly awaiting her next masterpiece. Trust me, this is one cinematic experience you don't want to sleep on.

Monday, May 22, 2023

The Black Phone: A Dial Tone from Hell That Won't Leave You Hanging!


Imagine a horror movie, stripped of gimmicks, bereft of pretentious cinematic flourishes, simply setting out to do one thing: tell a damn good story. Welcome to 'The Black Phone,' a surprisingly tasty cinematic offering that's as straightforward as a ham and Swiss on rye, and just as satisfying.

The Scott Derrickson-helmed film is an adaptation of Joe Hill's chilling short story of the same name. The plot is as bone-chilling as a winter's breeze: a teenager, Finney Blake, is kidnapped by a deranged, yet alarmingly ordinary-looking captor, aptly named 'The Grabber'. Trapped in a soundproofed basement, Finney's only hope comes via a disconnected black rotary phone that puts him in touch with the Grabber's previous victims.

Now, I'll admit, I initially approached 'The Black Phone' with the enthusiasm of a vegetarian at a steakhouse. Derrickson, though a talented filmmaker with a decent track record, was stepping into some truly chilling material, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I mean, sure, the man knows his way around a scary movie, but the premise seemed, well, somewhat 'out there.' Boy, was I glad to be proven wrong.

'The Black Phone' doesn't try to trick or dazzle its audience with cheap jumpscares or over-the-top special effects. No, this film has the confidence to be just what it is - a tightly-wound, superbly crafted horror tale. It's like biting into a perfectly prepared sandwich, expecting all sorts of fancy extras and instead being hit with a wave of simplicity and quality. Who knew the humble ham and Swiss could be so satisfying?

What truly makes 'The Black Phone' worth dialing into is its characters. They're not just sketched; they're carved out with care. From the haunted yet resilient Finney, to the chillingly everyday menace of the Grabber, every character has a depth that's often lacking in mainstream horror fare. And let's not forget the film's masterstroke - the spectral victims on the other end of the phone, each with their own stories and personalities.

But the standout element? The 70s setting. The movie soaks in its nostalgic era like a chicken marinating in barbecue sauce. It seeps into every frame, every scene, every moment, but never feels contrived or overbearing.

So, if you're in the mood for a horror flick that's as gripping as it is grounded, give 'The Black Phone' a ring. It doesn't try to reinvent the genre or baffle you with complexity. Instead, it takes you on a heart-stopping, spine-tingling journey that is sure to keep you hooked from start to finish. Don't worry, this is one call you'll definitely want to take.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Night Caller - Tubi Recommend

Within the vast digital library of Tubi, I stumbled upon a cinematic gem that sparked a delightful sense of déja vu. Chad Ferrin, the creative force behind 'Parasites,' has once again delivered a film that firmly captured my attention - 'Night Caller.' This film, however, comes with a disclaimer: it's not a one-size-fits-all.

'Night Caller' is a pulse-pounding slasher that revolves around Clementine, a phone psychic with an extraordinary ability. After experiencing visions of future murders during a seemingly routine phone reading, Clementine is thrust into a deadly cat-and-mouse game with a relentless serial killer, leading to a heart-stopping race against time.

The film is an ode to the grindhouse genre, steeped in a gritty super 16mm aesthetic that transports you back to the heyday of 70s cinema. Ferrin's eye for creative framing keeps the audience engaged, despite the plot's occasional tendency to loosen and veer into over-the-top narrative elements.

The acting in 'Night Caller' is a mixed bag. Robert Miano delivers a standout performance, but the rest of the cast vacillate between scene-chewing theatrics and performances that seem to consciously underscore the B in B-movie.

Despite these potential drawbacks, 'Night Caller' doesn't shy away from its redeeming qualities. The practical gore effects are top-notch, and Ferrin masterfully balances a tense, chilling narrative with elements of dark humor, creating a surprisingly thoughtful and atmospheric story.

Ultimately, 'Night Caller' is a suspenseful journey into the chilling world of psychics and serial killers. It's eccentric and quirky, but that's exactly what makes it a memorable watch. If you're a fan of the offbeat, appreciate the grindhouse aesthetic, and have a stomach for intense gore, then 'Night Caller' is your ticket to a thrilling cinematic experience. Consider this a hearty recommendation for anyone ready to dive headfirst into the chilling, suspenseful, and eerily humorous world of 'Night Caller'.

No One Will Save You

No One Will Save You , is a meatball. While the movie has a top notch performance by Kaitlyn Dever, impeccable aesthetics, and stunning set ...