Thursday Movie Picks: Teen Horror

Spooky season has well and truly arrived! The nights are getting darker, the air is getting colder, and you can’t go to a supermarket without being confronted by pumpkins or sweets! It’s the perfect time of year to hibernate indoors with a hot drink and a scary movie. This week’s Thursday Movie Picks theme is Teen Horror, and since finally welcoming horror movies into my life I’ve seen quite a few!

Here are my three favourites:

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It Follows (2014)

Also known as the supernatural STD movie, It Follows is one of the few movies that genuinely scared the crap out of me both whilst I was watching it and for days afterward. Basically, it starts with one girl after a sexual encounter. ‘It’ follows her, only ‘It’ can take any form it wishes and moves at a slow pace until it finds you and kills you. You’re the only person who can see ‘It’, also. The only way to stop ‘It’ is to have sex with someone else and pass it on to them.

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Happy Death Day (2017)

I’m so fed up with Groundhog Day-style movies that I avoided Happy Death Day until this year. It’s so good though! You can probably guess the plot, a teen girl is murdered one night and then wakes up at the start of the same day, only to die over and over again. It’s a bit jumpy, but it’s also quite funny and the sequel is surprisingly even better than the original!

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Midsommar (2019)

It only feels like yesterday that Midsommar was released but I’m starting to learn that with Ari Aster’s movies, you aren’t likely to forget about them anytime soon. After suffering a family tragedy, Dani travels to Sweden with her awful boyfriend and his friends to visit a fabled mid-summer festival. It’s a quiet movie for a horror, and a lot of the worse moments happen off-screen, but it’s a glorious movie.

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The Babysitter (2017)

the-babysitter-movie-review-poster-2017Director: McG (no, I didn’t pass out at the keyboard mid-typing…that’s this guy’s name, apparently)

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Runtime: 85 Minutes

Main Cast: Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Bella Thorne, Emily Alyn Lind, Andrew Bachelor, Doug Haley, Leslie Bibb, Ken Marino

Plot: Cole is, without a doubt, a bit of a wimp. His classmates at school would use a much worse term for it, but poor Cole is afraid of everything and is the only kid in school who still has a babysitter. Thankfully, his babysitter just so happens to be super cool and super hot, and one night Cole decides to spy on her after bedtime.

My Thoughts: Last week I watched Ready or Not, the first Samara Weaving movie I’d seen, and I kind of fell in love with her. I mean she’s beautiful, funny, and kicks ass, so who wouldn’t? When I spotted her face on the poster for The Babysitter whilst scrolling through Netflix I knew I needed to watch it, so I went in literally blind, not knowing what the movie was about at all. Whilst it’s not up on that same level as Ready or Not, The Babysitter is definitely a fun watch for the spooky season!

I really felt for Cole. He tries his hardest to stick up for himself, but his home life is hardly desirable. His parents are too focused on saving their failing marriage to give him the attention he deserves. Thankfully, his babysitter, Bee, is everything he needs in a friend. She drives away the bullies, teaches him how to properly defend against himself, and gets involved in his nerdy games. I guess it’s a real shame she’s the leader of some cult, huh?

From the moment the movie went from ‘this is a nice story’ to ‘what the $*%&’ it was a wild ride to the credits. It’s a short movie anyway but it feels even shorter with how mental it goes. Honestly, the biggest takeaway I took from it was that if Home Alone was remade sometime soon (like every other movie is) then it would by no means be a family movie!

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Worst Bit: I loved Bee’s character so much that it felt like a complete betrayal to see her kind of mocking the nerdy guy she’d invited to the house to play spin the bottle. Come on Bee, I thought you were on the nerds’ side…

Best Bit: …BAM. Two knives to the head. Didn’t see it coming at all. Might have actually peed myself a little. 10/10 would recommend.

Fun Trivia: In the original script, Sonya was the cheerleader, Allison was a journalist for the school paper, John was called “John the Baptist” and Max had dreadlocks. The characters were later reimagined to more closely reflect stereotypes of slasher movie victims, only in this film, they’re the antagonists.

My Rating: 3 and a half bottles to play spin the bottle with. If the hot girl gets dared to kiss everyone in the room? RUN.

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Mini-Reviews: Movies Watched in July

I basically fell off the blogging wagon this month, so I’m really sorry for neglecting everyone else’s blogs over the last few weeks. I still managed to watch 13 movies though and post full reviews for most, which isn’t too bad I guess!

Summer feels like it’s come and gone already in the UK but I can’t help but be a bit smug as I’m going on holiday in less than 3 weeks now. That obviously means I’ll be away from the blog again for 2 weeks, but I’ve got some of my older reviews from my previous blog scheduled on those days just to keep this little corner of the internet active, and I’ll catch up as best as I can when I’m back!

For now though, as usual, here are some mini-reviews for the movies I watched last month but never got around to writing about…

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Hotel Artemis (2018)

This was so disappointing. It had such a good premise, not dissimilar to the Continental hotel in the John Wick series, the cast was full of stars, but it all fell flat. It was a bit style over substance and when I couldn’t really care less about any of the characters, it makes for a tough watch. It was alright, but nothing more.

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It Comes at Night (2017)

I’d file this movie in the same drawer as Bird Box (2018). It’s a dark but quiet little horror movie, and although I mostly enjoyed watching it, it was also super depressing and kind of bummed me out a little. Worth a watch for sure but not when you’re already in need of a pick me up!

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Little (2019)

Okay, I actually enjoyed Little more than I thought I would. It’s one of those ‘Freaky Friday’ type comedies that suffers from the common problem of the main character being really unlikeable, but her younger self is so damn sassy and entertaining that I had a good time watching it anyway!

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Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

January was a rough month and I wasn’t 100% sold by the trailer for Alita so I skipped it. I think a younger audience would have an amazing time with this movie but it wasn’t for me. In terms of visuals, it was absolutely stunning and the world-building was fascinating, but I didn’t care for the story. It just wasn’t that original and didn’t bring anything new to the table.

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The Lion King (2019)

Umm…I really didn’t write a full review for this?! How did I manage that? Anyway – boo to the haters, I’ve been really enjoying the live action Disney remakes and don’t want them to slow down any time soon. I loved The Lion King. I literally started crying the second The Circle of Life started playing, and Timon and Pumba had me laughing out loud. It’s a little weird seeing the animals not as expressive, but that’s the only thing I could fault.

And so in case you missed any, these are the movies I did full reviews for in July:

Yesterday (2019)
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Odd Thomas (2013)
Midsommar (2019)
The Dead Don’t Die (2019)
The Lake House (2006)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

The Current War (2017)

the-current-war-2017-movie-reviewDirector: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Runtime: 107 Minutes

Main Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew Macfadyen, Damien Molony

Plot: Set in the 1800s, The Current War is a retelling of the cutthroat race between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to determine whose electrical system will change the way the world works.

My Thoughts: So this is how my week has gone. Love Island has finished and I have no more distractions on an evening – huzzah! So let’s see what’s new at the cinema…oh wait. NOTHING. Did no one want to release anything at all whilst The Lion King is playing for its first week? The only thing new in my local was The Current War, a movie that was meant to be released in 2017 but got shelved because of the Weinstein scandal. I can’t say I was excited to see it but look at that cast! It was worth a go just for them.

History was my least favourite subject at school – I detested it. So the great thing about biopic movies for me is that I don’t actually know what’s going to happen! Which is terrible I suppose, but at least it made a not-so-interesting subject matter a little more exciting for me. I have to admit as well – it wasn’t until the day after that I realised the pun in the name of the movie, the ‘current’ war…no, neither me or my toddler are sleeping well this week!

I have to say though, I did enjoy the movie. It was quite fascinating the lengths that Edison went to during the race, and I had to laugh at the irony of the fact that Westinghouse years later was awarded “The Edison Award” for his work! It’s not a movie I’ll probably watch again, but it was much more interesting than I thought it would be. Solid performances all round, too!

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Best Bit: I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing Benedict Cumberbatch playing an up-his-own-arse genius. I think he’s at risk of being typecast right now but when he does it so well it’s hard to criticise him for it.

Worst Bit: I did actually know about what happened to the first electric chair trial, but must have forgotten about it. I can’t imagine how it must have felt when it failed to work not once but twice!

Fun Trivia: Jake Gyllenhaal was originally cast alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, however, Gyllenhaal dropped out and Michael Shannon was brought as a replacement.

My Rating: 3 bright, shiny lightbulbs that might kill you, if you listen to Edison.

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P.S. Does anyone else think Michael Shannon looks like Ron Swanson in the poster?

It (2017)

it-2017-movie-review-red-balloonDirector: Andy Muschietti

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 135 Minutes

Main Cast: Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgard, Nicholas Hamilton, Jake Sim

Plot: Set in the Summer of 1989, a group of kids known as the Losers Club team up to destroy a shape-shifting monster that plagues their town of Derry every 27 years.

My Thoughts: I imagine most married couples on their 3rd Wedding Anniversary go out for a candlelit meal and reminisce about their big day and tell each other how much they love each other. They probably buy each other sweet gifts, too. Not us! I got him a deposit paid and an appointment booked for a tattoo, and he bought me my own domain name for the blog – I’m officially http://oftenofftopic.co.uk! Also – we stayed in, put the little one to bed and watched the scariest movie we’ve ever seen, whilst making fun of each other’s faces. Who says love is dead?

I’m sure you guys can list off several movies scarier than 2017’s It, but we’re wimps and we scare easily. To be honest, we both wanted to see It mainly because we’d heard that it’s actually a really decent movie – and it is! I loved the ‘Stand By Me’ vibe the movie had, the group of kids had such a real friendship and they all shone in their own ways. I guess it’s impossible to not mention it’s similarities to Stranger Things – that show sure took a lot of inspiration from this.

I’ve come to admit recently that I’m starting to become a fan of horror movies, but the one thing I can’t stand are jump scares for the sake of them. There aren’t any here. There are loads of moments that terrified me, but I got caught off guard and the scares were integral parts of the story. This is how I want to be scared! It and Hereditary are definitely my top horror picks so far.

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Best Bit: The scene where the kids are together and the old film reel starts playing all by itself. Each time it flicks you can see Pennywise the clown get closer and then…bam! We both literally jumped out of our seats and then started laughing at ourselves.

Worst Bit: I don’t think there was a weak moment in all honesty, but the final showdown between the kids and Pennywise dragged on for a little too long. It kind of felt at that point there were no scares left and the movie was just going through the motions towards its conclusion.

Fun Trivia: Some lines of dialogue were improvised by the actors. Much of the Richie / Eddie banter was improv. Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie) actually wrote a lot of Finn Wolfhard’s (Richie) jokes.

My Rating: 4 and a half arm casts out of 5, which you shouldn’t let someone sign for you if you’re a member of the Losers Club…

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Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in April

I’ve barely been on the blog for the last week. I was so desperate to avoid spoilers for Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones that I had a bit of a technology shut down! As a result, I haven’t done as many full reviews as I normally would, so here’s a quick rundown of what I watched in April and what I thought:

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Unicorn Store (2017)

I’ve wanted to see Unicorn Store ever since another blogger wrote about it after it’s festival premiere 2 years ago, so I was giddy when I found out it dropped onto Netflix without any warning in April! It lived up to all my expectations, it was cute, it was weird, it was colourful, and Brie Larson and Samuel L Jackson have the most amazing friendship! Definitely not a movie for everyone but I honestly feel like I was the target audience for it.

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Baby Mama (2008)

Straight after watching Unicorn Store I spotted the poster for Baby Mama on Netflix. A movie starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler about motherhood that I hadn’t seen yet or even heard of?! Sign me up! It wasn’t the greatest comedy out there by a long shot but you can always count on these leading ladies to make you laugh. I’m still kind of kicking myself for not seeing the obvious twists coming, though.

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Cam (2018)

You can put Cam straight onto a list of movies you should never watch on public transport! I’m so glad my husband was too engrossed in his game to pay much attention to what I was doing because he straight up would have thought I was watching porn. This movie was quite a surprise though. I wish there was a better explanation for it all at the end but if you’re a fan of Black Mirror this movie was made for you.

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Someone Great (2019)

This was one of those ‘Oh let’s see what’s new on Netflix, that looks like some trashy fun’ kind of movie picks. Jane the Virgin broke up with her boyfriend, she’s leaving town soon and her best buds get together for one last time. It was fun enough but everything about it screamed ‘Millennial’ and as one myself I couldn’t tell if it was trying to appeal to me or take the piss out of me.

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Step Brothers (2008)

So last month I ignored everyone and watched Holmes & Watson, and it was just as terrible as you all said. It brought up memories of Step Brothers though, a movie I haven’t seen in 10 years, and I couldn’t remember any of it. It wasn’t the legendary comedy I thought it was back in its day but it was a lot of fun and reminded me that Will Ferrel doesn’t always do awful movies.

Of course, I did still do a few full reviews in April, and if you missed any you can find them here:

Dumbo (2019)
Life Itself (2018)
Pet Sematary (2019)
Missing Link (2019)
Frank & Lola (2016)
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Heat (1995)
Escape Room (2019)

Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in March

March has been one of my best movie watching months for a long time now! My home life in general is looking up again, I’ve been able to make it to the cinema a whopping 7 times and when I’ve stayed home I’ve felt awake enough to actually sit through a whole movie. That all sounds very normal I know, but I’ve had a rocky start to the year so it’s so nice to be feeling normal again!

Anyway, as per usual it’s too time-consuming to write a full review for everything that I watch, so here is a collection of mini reviews for the movies I watched in March but haven’t mentioned on the blog yet.

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Isn’t It Romantic (2019)

Will we ever get bored with the ‘head injury causes weird and magical things to happen’ genre? I don’t think I will, because this entry by Rebel Wilson was surprisingly good! It’s a rom-com that makes fun of rom-coms and although it starts to lose its charm towards the end it’s still a decent comedy. I’ll never be able to hear the word ‘beguiling’ without laughing though now.

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Holmes & Watson (2018)

I’m pretty sure everyone who watched this movie said it was the worst movie of 2018. So why did I watch it? I kind of love Will Ferrell, and comedy can be really subjective so I thought there was a chance I might enjoy it. No – you were all right, it was terrible. The worst part is that my husband actually kind of loved it and keeps quoting vulgar lines from it around the house.

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Happy Death Day (2017)

I avoided it for so long because I assumed it would be one of those fairly terrible horrors riddled with pointless jump scares. Thankfully, the bloggerverse correctly informed me it’s more of a comedy, and the sequel is kind of awesome, so I listened to you all and gave it a go. It started off a little scary but other than that it’s not bad at all. I actually liked the sequel even more!

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What Men Want (2019)

Taraji P. Henson is an absolute queen, but not even she could save this mess. It takes way too long before her character is able to hear the thoughts of all the men around her, and although it gets funnier from that point, it was a bit of a case of too little, too late. Tracy Morgan is basically playing Tracy Jordan and all I took home was the feeling that I wanted to rewatch 30 Rock.

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Fisherman’s Friends (2019)

Yes, I willingly went to the cinema to watch a bunch of old guys living in Cornwall sing sea shanties. It was a slow week for new releases, and I’ve spent a lot of time in Cornwall over the years on holiday so I gave it a chance. I was the youngest audience member by at least 30 years but do you know what? It wasn’t half bad. Your typical, charming little British movie.

In case you missed any, these are the movies I watched in March that actually got proper reviews:

Cold Pursuit (2019)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Triple Frontier (2019)
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Us (2019)