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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Venom (2018)

venom-movie-poster-2018-reviewDirector: Ruben Fleischer

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Runtime: 112 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Woody Harrelson, Peggy Lu, Sope Aluko, Wayne Pére

Plot: Eddie Brock, a once-famed reporter loses everything after trying to reveal the truth behind the ethically immoral work of Dr. Carlton Drake. After acquiring the powers of a symbiote – Eddie has to work with Venom in order to make things right.

My Thoughts: I almost skipped seeing this movie, and that would have been a huge mistake! See, when Suicide Squad came out, the critics hated it, but audiences loved it (apparently?). The same happened with Batman V Superman. I wasn’t impressed with either, and so when Venom received the same verdict, I got put off. Thank you, Twitter though, because I left it to a vote and you guys did not disappoint!

I’m reasonably well-versed in comics and superheroes but knew nothing about Venom. I haven’t even seen Spider-Man 3 so I literally knew nothing, so as far as comic-accuracy is concerned, I can’t comment. I also refuse to check this with my husband after he mocked me for pronouncing symbiote wrong – he’s such a nerd.

Anyway – I had such a fun time at the cinema seeing this. Yes, it takes far too long to get going, yes, the plot has several issues and contradicts itself. But! The action is wild, the humor is thick and fast when it finally arrives, and it was memorable for all the right reasons, and I absolutely cannot wait to see it again! Can Tom Hardy please do more lighter roles like this, please?

The team responsible for putting the trailer together for Venom need firing. They chose a scene to showcase the humorous side of the movie which is right at the very end, and without getting to know Venom it came across so weird and awkward, but when you see the movie and you have the context – it works! Thankfully more and more movie fans seem to be ignoring the critics, so fingers crossed we’ll be getting a sequel.

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Best Bit: It’s so hard to pick one because most of the Venom moments are hilarious. I think my personal favorite is Venom daring Eddie to jump out of the building, and then calling him a pussy for opting for the elevator instead. Also lobsters.

Worst Bit: The chicken. The eating of the chicken. I’ve dealt with enough sickness bugs over the last few weeks to stomach that scene. I’m genuinely feeling quite ill even thinking about it.

Fun Trivia: Tom Hardy’s son Louis Thomas Hardy is a fan of Venom, and Hardy took the role to please him: “I wanted to do something my son could watch. So I did something where I bite people’s heads off.” Louis also guided his father on how to appropriately portray Brock/Venom, since Hardy didn’t know the character very well.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 turds in the wind!

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Searching (2018)

searching-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Aneesh Chaganty

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 101 Minutes

Main Cast: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, Michelle La, Sara Sohn, Thomas Barbusca

Plot: David’s sixteen-year-old daughter doesn’t come home after study group one night, and also doesn’t show up to school the next day. After doing some searching himself, he files a missing persons report with the police and continues the search with them using his daughter’s laptop and social media. The more he hunts the more he realises – he didn’t even really know his daughter well.

My Thoughts: I was so HYPED to see this movie. If I could describe the kind of movie I would happily watch for the rest of my life, it’s this. A mystery with a gripping story, plenty of twists and turns along the way, and a genuinely surprising ending. I love when movies like this are done well, because I become so engaged with the story and the characters that I don’t find myself playing detective and trying to work it out myself.

The other fascinating element of Searching is the way that it’s shot. The entire movie is seen through a screen – what I mean is that the only time you see any of the characters is through FaceTime, CCTV footage, and webcams. It’s so well done, and really helps with the mystery of it all because we only know what David knows. I’m not certain I’d like to see many more movies shot this way because it could turn into a gimmick very quickly, but it works so well for this.

I’m just gutted that as a movie it doesn’t seem to have had a very wide reach. Most people I’ve spoken to (in real life) have no idea this movie exists, and even though I went to see it within days of it’s UK release, I was 1 of only 3 people in the whole room. Please, please see this movie if it sounds like something you would enjoy!

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Best Bit: That moment towards the end where all of the confusing elements suddenly made sense. If I was watching at home and not out in public I would have had a noticeably more audible reaction.

Worst Bit: I wasn’t expecting the opening 5 minutes to hit me so hard in the feels! That needs to be a warning in the BBFC ratings screen, man!

Fun Trivia: The film took just thirteen days to shoot. However, it took two years to make due to the prep, editing and animating.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Macbooks. I did have a witty joke as per usual but I wanted to keep this post as spoiler-free as possible!

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First Reformed (2018)

first-reformed-movie-poster-2018Director: Paul Schrader

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Main Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Ethan Hawke, Cedric the Entertainer, Michael Gaston, Victoria Hill, Van Hansis, Philip Ettinger

Plot: Reverend Toller is the pastor of the small historic First Reformed Church in upstate New York. The church is celebrating it’s upcoming two hundred and fiftieth anniversary very soon, and whilst preparing for the celebrations, Toller’s faith and wellbeing are threatened by tragic events.

My Thoughts: First Reformed seems to be the movie that every blogger is talking about at the moment, and I’m not one to stray away from the bandwagon, so I gave it a watch at the first opportunity I could get. I tried not to read too much about it beforehand because it seemed like one of those kind of movies.

I’ll tell you what kind of movie it is. It’s the kind that makes you go ‘WHAT?!’ at the end of it, and instead of sleeping that night, you run through your head what it all means until you end up putting yourself into an existential crisis. Safe to say, I had a lot of caffeine to get me through the following day.

Whilst I love a movie that makes me think, I’m not religious at all and so I found a lot of the movie hard to understand. If I were though, I could absolutely see First Reformed being one of my favourite movies of the year. It’s powerful stuff, that’s for sure.

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Best Bit: The growing relationship between Toller and Mary. They are both in so much pain, yet they give so much to help each other. Their friendship is what kept me going through the movie, as it’s quite slow.

Worst Bit: This will only make sense if you’ve seen the movie but, the floating scene. That’s where I crossed the line between barely understanding everything and accepting this movie wasn’t really made for me.

Fun Trivia: Writer/director Paul Schrader stated in a Q&A at Rotterdam Film Festival 2018 that he was surprised while editing the film to notice how many similarities there were with Taxi Driver, a film he also wrote.

My Rating: 3 and a half out of 5 glasses of whiskey, that you should really avoid if you have health issues, and most definitely not mix with Pepto Bismol.

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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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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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