Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Horror Movie Houses

Happy start of the spooky season, folks! Anyone else waiting for the plot twist in our lives that reveals we’ve been living in a horror movie since the start of 2020? I’m still hugely out of my depth in the horror genre but I reckon I’ve seen enough to take part in the Halloween editions of Wandering Through the Shelves‘ Thursday Movie Picks this year. According to my Letterboxd account I’ve watched a total of 118 horror movies which isn’t a lot at all, but I’m embracing it this October!

This week’s theme is Horror Movie Houses. Generally speaking, I hate the kind of horror movies that take place in a creepy house in the middle of nowhere when it’s always dark and forever raining, but I do have 3 choices to share with you today. They’re all from 2019, the year I welcomed the horror genre into my life, and all center around a house in some way or another.

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The Lighthouse (2019)

I have to thank my local cinema for showing this again for one night only this week – feeding the Pattinson obsession but also giving my ideas for this week’s theme! It’s a tough movie to sell to your average movie fan,¬† and I don’t do a good job of explaining it, either. I mean basically, Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe go crazy whilst working together in a lighthouse. Dafoe gives a cracking shouty rant about lobster and Pattinson craves a steak so badly he would…well, let’s say it’s the first time I’ve ever envied a steak before.

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Vivarium (2019)

Put this at the top of the list of movies NOT to watch whilst in lockdown. Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg play a young couple looking to buy their first home. An unnerving estate agent shows them to a house in a new-build neighborhood but they find themselves trapped. No matter which direction they head in, it always leads them back to this house. I’ll admit that the idea wasn’t executed perfectly, but it has so much potential.

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Ready or Not (2019)

I saved the best till last. Please give this a watch if you haven’t already! Samara Weaving marries into an unusual and wealthy family, their funds all thanks to their board game empire. As is tradition, on the night of the wedding the bride picks a card which determines the game they all play. She picks hide and seek. Harmless, yes? Think again. If she gets found, she is to be murdered. And so commences the greatest, goriest, yet funniest game of hide and seek in a beautiful house full of great hiding spots.

Movie Reviews

Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)

bill-ted-face-music-2020-review-posterDirector: Dean Parisot

Genre: Comedy, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 92 Minutes

Main Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Kristen Schaal, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, William Sadler, Anthony Carrigan, Errin Hayes, Jayma Mays

Plot: The year is 2020. Life, as we know it, is about to end, unless Bill & Ted can write and perform the song to unite and fix the universe before the clock runs out. The duo decide the only way to find that song is to travel in time to take it from themselves, whilst their daughters team up to put together the perfect band.

My Thoughts: I’m not well versed in the Bill & Ted universe. I’ve only seen the first movie and that was recently. I loved it, but the trailer for the new movie left me feeling mixed. On one hand, it’s Bill & Ted! How can a Bill & Ted movie not be fun? On the other hand, it felt SO cringe in places. The UK has had to wait a little longer for the release but it’s exciting nonetheless to have new releases to look forward to. The first 20 minutes or so felt slow and a bit dull, mainly because it was all just extended scenes from the trailer I’ve seen 100+ times, but once Bill & Ted started travelling through time, it was a lot of fun.

We sure have had our fair share of time travel movies this summer, haven’t we?! Meeting the different Bill’s and Ted’s in the future is where a lot of the laughs come from. I wish we could have seen a few more variations as most were already in the trailer. I feel like there were plenty of in-jokes for long-standing fans too, just a few scenes or lines that didn’t quite make sense to me but definitely would for others. Samara Weaving (playing Bill’s daughter) is always a fine addition to any movie but I adored Brigette Lundy-Paine as Ted’s daughter. They managed to capture so much of Ted’s mannerisms from the original movie!

Most of the jokes land, others get a little tired after a while. Kristen Schaal was a great addition to the cast, although I’ll never be able to unsee her Bob’s Burgers character whenever I hear her voice! Dennis Caleb McCoy, the murderous robot got a lot of laughs out of me but I did get ever so slightly bored of his character towards the end. All in all, it was better than I was expecting it to be, and it’s definitely the kind of movie we all need at this point in the disastrous year that is 2020!

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Best Bit: There was something so uplifting about the final scene where the prophesied¬† song is played. Maybe I’m just a bit soppy but for those few minutes everything really did feel right with the world.

Worst Bit: You know I went through a bit of a Keanu Reeves phase last year. I was already mourning his beard when the first set photos were released but none of those compared to the image of British Ted sporting a huge beer belly. Although, I did feel like Bill was channeling his inner Carole Baskin. And of course, my most sarcastic thanks to my husband who pointed out during a John Wick re-watch that Keanu Reeves can’t run. Seriously! You watch him run in any movie he’s in, including this one. His legs just don’t know how!

Fun Trivia: During filming in a neighborhood in Louisiana, the cast and crew were often greeted by local residents. One day, Keanu Reeves noticed a sign on a lawn that read “You’re breathtaking”. He stopped, got out of the car, went to the sign and autographed it. After finding out to whom the sign belonged, he went to the family and posed for a photo with them.

My Rating: 3 and a half time-travelling phone booths that I think we all wished were real right about now.

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Movie Reviews

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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Movie Reviews

Ready or Not (2019)

ready-or-not-2019-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Genre: Horror, Comedy, Mystery

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Samara Weaving, Andie MacDowell, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque

Plot: When someone new joins the wealthy Le Domas family, they must take part in their long-standing tradition – play a game at midnight. On her wedding night, Grace draws the card some family members dreaded seeing, Hide & Seek. Grace now has until dawn to remain hidden whilst her in-laws hunt her down…with the intent to murder her.

My Thoughts: Sometimes, the movies you watch with no real expectations are the ones that take you by surprise the most. My husband convinced me to go out and see Ready or Not to take my mind off things (it’s all a bit stressful at home & work right now) and I agreed – and had an absolute blast. I expected a bit of silly fun and that’s what I got, from start to finish. It’s so hard to find that balance of comedy and horror, and I switched between laughing my socks off and hiding behind my hands constantly.

Samara Weaving is absolutely amazing in this. Female leads in horrors have been nothing short of incredible for the last 2 years, and I hope they got some kind of recognition for it eventually. Her character’s transition from terrified bride to bad-ass woman is a delight to witness, one the final scenes with her backed into a corner weirdling a knife had the whole audience doing this nervous kind of laugh.

I thought I knew how it would all end, and I would have been satisfied with what I’d conjured up. But oh boy – what an actual ending! Never would I ever have thought it would go that way, but it was glorious to behold. And that final shot (and line)…perfect! I’m so, so glad I gave it a chance, it’s ended up being a movie I think will probably be in my Top 10 by the end of the year.

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Best Bit: *SPOILERS* The whole time I was thinking, what if this pact with the devil thing really is just a load of nonsense? That would be quite funny. Only for it to actually seem that way? My face was like that gif of Andy from Parks & Rec (you know the one). Just a few moments later…that explosion? I think I made an audible noise…but I don’t know what it was.

Worst Bit: *MORE SPOILERS* Oh Alex, what a mamas boy. I already thought you were lame for spending half the movie cuffed to the bed but come on!

Fun Trivia: *JUST A FEW MORE SPOILERS* Six of the methods of murder available in the various editions of the board game “Clue” are used in the film. The Pepper Box Revolver is used by Emilie and her son Georgie, Grace strangles the butler Stevens, the ceremonial wine is poisoned, Aunt Helene decapitates a maid with an axe, a dagger is used for the sacrificial ceremony, and Grace hits Tony in the face with a lantern, like the candlestick.

My Rating: 4 and a half Converse trainers. Never have they ever been so damn cool!

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