Don’t Breathe (2016)

dont-breathe-movie-poster-review-2016Director: Fede Alvarez

Genre: Crime, Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 88 Minutes

Main Cast: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Emma Bercovici, Franciska Töröcsik

Plot: Three young friends put their skills and resources together to burgle houses. They find themselves targetting one house in particular when they learn of a sizeable fortune kept within, but their plans change for the worst when they learn the owner of the house is a blind veteran.

My Thoughts: This is the kind of horror movie I actively avoid, but whilst reading other blog posts and comments recently I’ve seen so many people mention Don’t Breathe and how good it was, and after wussing out on Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House (I can’t do it guys, I tried) I put on my big girl pants on got on with it! Who knew Clay Jenson was such a naughty boy eh?

Jokes aside, it’s a really decent movie. Scared the pants off me, and even pulled my husband’s attention away from his wargames – a high honour, I’ll have you know. It’s got a few cheap jumpscares in, but most of the scary moments are just in the atmosphere and wondering when the CREEPY BLIND GUY IS GOING TO TURN UP AGAIN. I would never make it as a criminal…

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Best Part: This was originally going to be my worst part. When the girl is hiding in the closet sending a text message to Clay Jenson. WHY. DON’T DO THAT. I started flapping my arms about trying to convince her to put her phone down, and lo and behold, once she hit send on that message, MY PHONE WENT OFF. It’s a good job it’s a well-loved and battered phone in the first place because it ended up on the floor.

Worst Part: The turkey baster. Turkey. Baster. Christmas dinner is ruined for me now.

Fun Trivia: Stephen Lang wore contact lenses that greatly restricted his vision, particularly in low light. The other actors, in the scene taking place in the dark, wore lenses that made them look like they had dilated pupils but also greatly restricted their vision.

My Rating: My husband gave me a look of disgust when I suggested using turkey basters as the rating, so Don’t Breathe gets 4 out of 5 ‘quiet’ signs…that means keep your phones on silent!

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The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)

the-house-with-a-clock-in-its-walls-2018Director: Eli Roth

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Family, Fantasy

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Main Cast: Owen Vaccaro, Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Kyle MacLachlan, Colleen Camp, Sunny Suljic, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Braxton Bjerken, Lorenza Izzo, Perla Middleton

Plot: When a young boy named Lewis is orphaned he moves in with his magical Uncle in a large creaky house with a mysterious ticktock sound. Together, Lewis and his magical Uncle unlock the secrets behind the noise in the walls.

My Thoughts: After being subjected to the trailer for this movie more times than I ever needed to, as well as being plagued by the radio advert whilst at work, I made fun of it and vowed I would never actually watch it. I realise it’s based on a novel of the same name but come on, there’s not an ounce of creativity in that title! I guess I at least can’t claim false advertising…it does what it says on the tin!

However, I found myself with a free evening and nothing in the cinema with a decent start time than this and Mile 22. I very, very almost went with the latter hoping it would be so bad it would be good, but that day I’d read a few reasonably positive reviews about that house with a clock in the walls, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

You know, it wasn’t actually that bad. It suffers from trying to fit in with a few too many genres at once so doesn’t get a chance to shine in any of them, but there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half of your time. It also makes a decent family movie for the spooky season.

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Best Bit: Cate Blanchett is just amazing in this as Jack Black’s neighbor. Her sarcastic wit was what really kept my interest!

Worst Bit: Jack Black’s head on a baby’s body…Ryan Reynolds just about gets away with having baby legs but this was just so wrong!

Fun Trivia: The bus stops across the street from a theater with the movie, “Space Man from Pluto” on the marquee. The head of Universal Studios wanted “Space Man from Pluto” to be the title of another Amblin Entertainment film produced by Steven Spielberg – but the director on that 1985 film kept the script’s original title, “Back to the Future.”

My Rating: 2 and a half pairs of steampunk goggles. My local cinema was giving away cardboard versions of these which have given me much entertainment as I attempt to convince my 11-month old to keep them on her head long enough for a photo!

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The Meg (2018)

the-meg-movie-poster-review-2018 (1)Director: Jon Turteltaub

Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Main Cast: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson, Cliff Curtis, Winston Chao, Shuya Sophia Cai, Ruby Rose, Page Kennedy, Robert Taylor, Jessica McNamee, Masi Oka

Plot: 5 years ago, expert diver Jonas Taylor encountered an unknown danger in the Mariana Trench. He was forced to abort his mission and abandon his crew, costing him his career, his marriage, and his honour. Now the danger is back, and he is the only person who can save the day. (I can taste the cheese just by typing this)

My Thoughts: I’m so late writing this review, I watched it just over a week ago! It’s given me a good amount of time to think on my feelings about it though, and I honestly really enjoyed it. I haven’t seen many Statham movies at all (can anyone recommend one?) but I knew exactly what to expect going in, and that’s exactly what I got.

The trailer sold it perfectly I think. This is Jason Statham versus a giant, ancient shark. There’s action all over the place, the pace barely slows down, and the story is so, so cheesy. But it works! I guiltily enjoy the Sharknado movies because they’re so terrible you can’t help but love them a bit, but they are stupid as hell. The Meg isn’t like that. It his it’s similarities for sure but it’s more plausible, it’s 1,000 times better made, and I would quite happily watch it again.

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Best Bit: The little girl, Meiying, was a total bad-ass. Not only was her fashion on point (I wish I could rock a hoodie with wings) she was smart as hell and an absolute sass queen. Jason Statham pretending to be Dory (just keep swimming, just keep swimming) was definitely a highlight for me too.

Worst Bit: Ruby Rose. Ugh. I quite liked her in OitNB, but what was the point in her being here? Why was her hair just wet all the time? Seriously, at one point she fell into the water and came out looking exactly the same. Plus my 10 month old can fake cry better than she can. Boooooooring.

Fun Trivia: Eli Roth was attached as director before being replaced by Jon Turteltaub. Roth left due to creative differences with the studio, namely that he wanted the film to maintain both its R-rating and a $150 million budget. It was also rumored that Roth, on top of writing and directing, also wanted to play the lead role of Jonas, but the studio believed he did not have the star power.

My Rating: 3 and a half rubber rings! I’ll be using mine in the pool though, where it’s safe…

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The Neon Demon (2016)

the-neon-demon-2016-movie-posterDirector: Nicolas Winding Refn

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 118 Minutes

Main Cast: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Charles Baker

Plot: Jesse, a young girl who has just turned 16, moves to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a model. Her youth and natural beauty generate jealousy to an extreme extent within the fashion industry, putting Jesse in grave danger.

My Thoughts: Second movie from my watch list crossed off! The Neon Demon was on the list for one reason alone – the polarizing reviews it has. Everyone either loves it or hates it and I was dying to know why, and which camp I was going to fall into.

For quite a while, I was absolutely digging the movie. Sure, I didn’t really understand all the arty farty parts but they were pretty to watch at least. I really felt for Jesse, I wanted her to succeed and I wanted to protect her. Then there was the whole scene with the leopard/panther/whatever it was inside her motel room. I thought ok, maybe that’s just a metaphor for something that I haven’t worked out yet, I’m still enjoying this movie.

From there it just went into major WTF mode. Just…I don’t even know. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it so I won’t go into details, and to be honest I’m not sure how I would describe the rest of the movie anyway. I get that it’s definitely a dig at how awful the fashion model industry is, but it goes so much further than that. It was odd, it was creepy, and I wasn’t a fan at all by the end of it.

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Best Bit: Jesse’s response to one of the girls saying how her surgeon calls her ‘The Bionic Woman’ after all the work she’s had done. “Is that a compliment?”. I actually laughed out loud at that!

Worst Bit: If I say…Jena Malone. In the morgue. With a corpse. Not doing any makeup…but still having a good time. Do you know which bit I mean, if you’ve seen the movie? One of the creepiest things I’ve ever watched.

Fun Trivia: The film was shot in chronological order, and the ending was created and improvised on-set, according to Elle Fanning.

My Rating: 1 and a half eyeballs out of 5. Ugh…

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Hereditary (2018)

hereditary-movie-poster-2018-reviewDirector: Ari Aster

Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery

Main Cast: Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne, Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd

Plot: The Grandmother of the Graham family passes away, and the family she has left behind are left to not only grieve but uncover the mysteries and secrets behind their ancestry.

My Thoughts: So, not only did I pluck up the courage to even see Hereditary in the first place, I made it my movie of choice for my first ever solo cinema trip! Dive right in at the deep end, eh? To be honest I was probably better off alone so I could quake in fear without anyone next to me poking fun at me. What I love about seeing a horror at the cinema is the atmosphere, and the nervous laughter people do when they’re scared. It relieves some of the tension!

On to the actual movie though – it was pretty darn good, to say the least. The story itself left me pretty confused, I understood the gist of it but I have a lot of unanswered questions, and trying to explain it all to someone else would give me a headache. It’s one you have to think about and replay in your head for it to all come together if that makes sense.

Oh, boy was it scary though. Scary in the best possible way. I absolutely hate jump scares, but there’s only 1 here. The rest is down to shock tactics and subtlety. It’s so cleverly filmed, or edited I guess, and there are some really scary moments where you question if you’re actually seeing things because nothing else in the movie is telling you that something is going on. I really hope this is the way forward for all horrors because I could really get into the genre.

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Best Bit: The car scene. It was so unexpected, and I never thought it would turn out as badly as it did. Also, the part straight after, because the way this character reacted is honestly the same as I think I would.

Worst Bit: Tongue clicking. Is that what it’s called? Anyone who makes that noise anywhere near me in the foreseeable future is getting punched, and I’m not even sorry.

Fun Trivia: In an interview, Alex Wolff explains that he wanted to actually break his own nose for the scene where his character slams his head into a desk. Director Ari Aster respectfully declined that offer and told Wolff they’d give him a soft, cushioned desk for the scene. When it was time for the scene to be shot, Wolff slams his head into the desk only to discover that it was not soft nor made out of foam, that resulted into Wolff’s actual blood gushing down to his knees.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 chocolate cakes. They may or may not contain nuts…

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Unsane (2018)

unsane-movie-review-2018-posterDirector: Steven Soderbergh

Main Cast: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Zach Cherry, Polly McKie, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Plot: Sawyer is struggling to cope with being the victim of stalking, and visits a mental health centre to see a counsellor. She ends up being forced to stay there against her will, and what’s worse is her stalker is there too.

My Thoughts: I was gutted to have to wait for a home release for this one because I was so excited after seeing the trailer. This is my kind of movie! I love having a mystery to solve, and I was looking forward to finding out whether Sawyer was actually crazy or not, and whether her stalker was really there with her or if she was imagining it all.

There wasn’t as much mystery as I’d hoped as I found the answers out to the questions around the half-way point, but that didn’t matter so much because that’s when the movie turned into more of a thriller. I haven’t seen Claire Foy in anything else other than Wreckers (2011) but she looks so familiar – can anyone think of who I might be confusing her with? Anyway, I thought she was incredible, and I’ll be hunting down some of her other movies very soon.

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Best Bit: The padded room scene. That was all kinds of tense, and a bit gruesome too. I really liked the ending as well though in the diner…

Worst Bit: Finding out why exactly Sawyer was being held against her will. It’s logical (and corrupt) but just a tad boring. I was hoping there would be a different reason.

Fun Trivia: (This will be a few bits of trivia all mashed together because they’re related.) Unsane was shot entirely with an iPhone 7 Plus camera in 4K using the app FiLMiC Pro. It was shot in just 10 days and the budget was a mere $1.2 million, according to The Times.

My Rating: 3 and a half shivs handmade by that creepy girl in the bed next to yours.

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Review: A Quiet Place (2018)

A-Quiet-Place-movie-review-2018I know this isn’t a big deal for most people (or any people actually, other than my Mum) but can you believe I actually went to the cinema to see A Quiet Place? With my blogging buddy Jenna no less? Me, who only even started watching horror movies in recent years, and even then only at home in broad daylight, went to the cinema at nighttime to see A Quiet Place. If life were a video game, I just unlocked an achievement right there. It’s actually all my fellow bloggers’ fault for hyping this movie up so much and getting me excited.

Similar to last year’s Get Out (2017), this movie has been talked about so much now I think everyone knows the plot, but if not I’ll quickly recap it now, seeing as that’s what I do anyway! A Quiet Place is set in the very near future, where most of Earth’s population has been wiped out by an invasion of aliens who are totally blind but with an excellent sense of hearing. Because of this, Lee (John Krasinski), his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their children are forced to live in near-silence in order to survive.

Because of this, the majority of the movie is extremely quiet, if not silent, with very little or no soundtrack in the background. That alone ramps up the tension to near breaking point in the darkened cinema, so even though the jump scares are mostly such simple things, they scare the absolute pants off of you. Or me at least, anyway. Once you finally get settled and used to the lack of noise, something happens to set you on edge again. The pacing is really clever in that regard.

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Of course, it’s not a horror without someone doing something stupid. Guess what? Evelyn is pregnant. Lady, what on earth were you thinking?! I don’t care if you’ve already had 3 kids, you can’t give birth in silence and raise a baby that way. Could you not have taken some condoms from the supermarket?

All jokes aside though, A Quiet Place is a really, really good movie. It’s tense and scary enough to give you a real fright when you watch it, but for someone with an overactive imagination like me, it won’t give you nightmares afterwards. It’s the only time a horror hasn’t played on my mind actually, but I think that’s because the scare factor is making a sound, and back in reality I know that I’m okay to make noise, so I was quite happy. I’m odd, I know.

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Can we take a moment here to appreciate John Krasinski? Our adorable and hilarious Jim Halpert has only gone and directed and starred in what will probably be hailed as 2018’s greatest horror movie. Michael Scott would be proud.

If you can’t tell, I really enjoyed A Quiet Place. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to see it again anytime soon, but I can highly recommend it as a great horror movie for the wuss’s like me to go and see. I think I saw on Facebook earlier this week that it’s getting a sequel too – although I’m not sure how to feel about that. Anyway, 4 and a half toy rockets from me. Just take out the batteries, please.

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