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The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
What a difference between 2018 and 2020.. and it's not good.
I loved Hill House and the book Turn Of The Screw is the best ghost story every written but.. I'll start with the negatives.
Why have ALL the recent TV Horror and SciFi series I've watched have a gay sub-plot? (Man In The High Castle, V-Wars, Altered Carbon, Project Blue Book and this.) Are we being indoctrinated in some way? Note to producers: 99% of people accept gays and you don't need to force feed an agenda on us - if it's not essential to the story then DON'T contrive to add it!
How does Henry Thomas get work? He couldn't convince me to eat wine gums... and I love wine gums. He must have a great agent or have a lot of dirt on some people.
The essential thing in every production I have seen are the two children and you need very good actors to carry the parts off - neither were very good in this IMO
The guy playing Quint seems to alternate his accent between Irish and Scottish with a bit of Geordie at some point - the actual actor is none of these. Talking of accents why to Henry Thomas and his brother have totally different accents?
After 20 years in Advertising and Marketing I know that it's very easy to re-hash something that already has a massive fan base, it certainly cuts down on promotion costs. But then you should also include the things that made the original successful. Turn Of The Screw, The Innocents and every remake since has used the central theme of the sexually frustrated spinster and Miles being possessed by Quint and tempting her - totally missing here - maybe it's not PC or "woke" but it's the whole theme of the book.
If the writers/director/producers wanted to butcher the original story to this extent then call it something else and let it stand on it's own merits (if there are any) Henry James would be suing if he was alive.
Positives - if the original book/films didn't exist this would be decent entertainment - but they do and you can never watch this and NOT compare them 4/10 .. and I'm being nice.
Two-thirds great TV
The first two series were very good for children and adults alike. I loved seeing the future stars of stage and screen including Jenny Agutter, Pauline Quirke and Sophie Ward and a few who became Children's TV presenters. The third series was pretty awful. Bad acting, stories and a lot of green screen scenes. It turned into a pantomime or even a parody of itself. It just became too silly for a fourth series to be made.
The War of the Worlds (2019)
Pretty pathetic "SciFi" with a message
I'm a big Wells fan and was looking forward to this and was hoping that once, finally we had an adaptation set in Edwardian England (rather than America) that would be true to the book. Alas, what we have here is just social commentary, a gobby, strong woman who apparently took charge and bossed government ministers about, a bit of a wimpy George full of self doubt and revulsion that he left his wife to live in sin with said gobby woman, Ogilvy (with a slice of Spam glued to his face as some sort of burn injury) and a suspected gay chappie, a half caste girl apparently kidnapped from a beach with no thought of her parents and worst of all theorising that the Martian attack was because of us British who colonised the world and murdered the downtrodden natives and then you have the constant pointless jumping forward in time just to make it interesting
Watch the fluffy original with Gene Barry or better still listen to the musical version
Hell Girl (2019)
I like Tom Sizemore but...
Now I just feel sorry for him - 220 credits yet not been in a decent film since Dreamcatcher in 2003 - he is a good actor but circumstances have dictated that he just does films like this to pay the bills and it's evident he really can't be bothered to put in a performance anymore - really sad - his talent deserves better.
As for the film - cliched ghost hunter team premise that has been done to death (pun intended) with a load of kids who will end up doing Canadian TV bit parts at best - truly awful unlikable characters especially the English bloke who obviously can't get work in Britain and is so needy he writes his own IMDB bio.
2/10 ... and I'm being nice
Await Further Instructions (2018)
This was a better than expected Brit SciFi/Horror - some nice very un-
PC comedy touches from David Bradley early on as the cantankerous grandad. Some very good effects too and the ending was totally apocalyptic. I recognised the director's name and saw he also did the excellent The Disappeared (2008) but that was 10 years ago - what has he been doing since then? He needs to make more films.
The Campus (2018)
Either this was an intended decent parody of 80s horror films or it was a pretty bad effort by everyone involved. Obviously the latter. I can't believe how boring, stupid and unlikeable the female protagonist was - maybe they should have done the 80s parody instead - it would have got more than 3/10.
So this wasn't a Goonies remake?
Maybe I have different tastes to the other reviewers or maybe I'm getting cynical in my old age but 90 minutes of screaming just doesn't do it for me. Gets a 5/10 from me and that is mainly due to Lovecraft's chin - pretty boring and predictable, but then so much is in the horror field these days.
ONE thing could have made this so much better
Why, when you have a British directer and totally UK cast do you make everyone speak in very bad American accents? - the house and brief glimpses of scenery are also British - did the budget come from Americans? Did they hope for big sales in the US? The whole thing turned out to be annoying with all the shouting in fake accents and I couldn't wait for it to end - if it had been set in Britain with the actors using their normal accents then it could have been a solid 7/10 but this gets a 4 from me - we make pretty good horror over here if we are allowed to be ourselves and this is the 2nd Brit film I've seen today with awful forced American accents - the other being the very average Patient Zero so I'm probably a bit tired of it all - Rule Britannia!
Cabin 28 (2017)
Trying to be fair
Either the 3 people (at the time of writing this) who rated this 10/10 are either connected to the film and giving fake reviews or are actually rating this higher than the best psychological horror of all time Psycho - come on give a fair rating!
The Andrew Jones/Lee Bane collaborations are very hit OR miss with nothing much in-between - this is another miss and the one thing that really lets this down are the awful accents - many other films which have used a true story for inspiration have changed the location for various reasons and still been successful - this really should have been relocated to the UK(specifically Wales) so at least the actors wouldn't be fighting to control their accent and concentrate on the actual plot and delivering a performance - it really does make a difference when an actor feels comfortable.
In the end it's just a run of the mill slasher flick and 4/10 is a fair rating and the people who gave this 10 really need to get out more or discover a few films prior to 1980
Could have been so much better
OK, first the negatives - As others have said the acting is pretty awful at times (I realise it was a pretty inexperienced cast) - the female lead was ok but the male lead was very wooden and tried to enunciate every single word like he was on stage - bit of advice son, be the character and not just someone reciting a script - talk normally like a real person because it was all very forced - I like the 70s retro look but this sort of thing was done much better in When the Lights Went Out (2012) - a lot of the scenes seems to have been "borrowed" from other films like The Haunted and even Amityville so the whole thing never seemed original in the slightest.
I realise the budget was small and that probably led to the "that'll do" approach like we see in so many low budget films - it really could have done with some scenes getting a few more takes - you have to wonder if it was purely down to budget or a weak director failing to get the best out of the actors.
Now the good stuff - I liked the story - I also like the 70s feel with the decor and the props but the fashions weren't quite 1975 especially the black guy having his shirt untucked - that was very 90s - this could have been a solid 7/10 with better actors and bigger budget but just gets a 4/10 from me - I think over 50s would appreciate this more than a teen viewer purely for the 70s feel
So many fake reviews
I normally won't review something however good or bad but after seeing a lot of the fake 9 and 10 ratings by members of the cast and crew it needs a balanced HONEST review - after all, people look at the overall rating and reviews to choose a film don't they? At the time of writing this has a 7.7 rating - so it's almost on a par with The Omen and The Exorcist right?
The dialogue is false and forced - the main 4 "actors" got tong-tied over and over again and nothing seemed natural - why didn't the director just say "try it one more time"?
Poor editing and ADR work - I know it was low budget but at least try and be professional about it - at times it looked like the whole film was dubbed badly
The story was decent but how many "bereaved parents life disintegrates in a supernatural setting" films need to be made? - There are many better ones and this is just full of cliché
If you want to be professionals then act like professionals and not have a "that will do" attitude - this made Ed Wood look like Hitchcock
If you make a film don't fake reviews and ratings because it really makes you sad, pathetic and needy
4/10 at best
Never Open the Door (2014)
Whoever added the Hitchcock and Twilight Zone tags to this should be ashamed of themselves. The film is a total mess - lots of shouting and repetitive dialogue - the worst being one annoying character repeating "what are you doing?" over and over, maybe 7 or 8 times - a lot of scenes were overly long, especially one where one of the guys was just screaming over and over again. The music was too loud and overbearing and seems to be some sort of Indiana Jones/Omen hybrid. It was a decent idea but poorly executed, poorly acted and I for one am glad it was only 64 minutes long and, even better, it didn't cost me a penny although I'd like my 64 minutes back.
The Class of '92 (2013)
Never to be repeated
I suppose this contains spoilers but if you're a United fan and don't know what this is about you should hang your head in shame :D
Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and Phil Neville
The Boss got rid of a few big stars like Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis and Paul Ince because they thought they were bigger than the club - Paul Parker retired through injury - they were replaced by a bunch of kids even most United fans had never heard of
Probably the greatest bunch of footballers ever to come through at one time at any club - documentary shows how down to earth they still are even after earning millions and how much they have remained friends - highlights the early days when Hansen said "You'll never win anything with kids"(we won the double that year) to the 1998/99 season when we won the treble against all the odds - from the Great Dane's penalty save to Giggsy's goal in the semi-final replay of the FA Cup when we were down to 10 men, the last league game of the season v Spurs when we went 1-0 down and nothing seemed to go right and the comeback to win 2-1 to clinch the Premier title, the FA Cup final victory against Toon when we lost inspirational captain Keano after 20 minutes (and won 2-0) and the incredible night in Barcelona when we were 1-0 to Bayern until the 92nd minute - by the 94th we were 2-1 up
Had me blubbing like a little girl when Ole poked in that 2nd v Bayern (then and now) - great times - great memories - great players :)
Thank you lads :)
An unbiased review
As the only other review is by the production manager gushing about how great this film is it's time for an unbiased review don't you think?
BTW I think anyone involved with the production of a film should be banned form submitting a review - you lose all credibility and just seem a bit needy IMO. (It looks to me like she wrote her own biog too - equally gushing)
The film wasn't bad but it wasn't great either - a sort of cross between an Aussie soap and an episode of Scooby Doo. The lead actor was pretty good considering it was only his second role and first major acting gig but the others (some vastly more experienced) were well below par - maybe the reason is all the good Aussie actors are working in America and there is very little talent left for homegrown films. It reminded me of a few Aussie supernatural films of the 70s and 80s when they were good at this genre but maybe things should have evolved a bit more since then? All a bit predictable.
Apparently it had a budget of 1 million AUS dollars - can't tell where it was spent TBH unless it was property or boat rental - decent try but could be improved with better writing and a much better supporting cast 4/10
Zero Hour (2013)
Insults the intelligence
Starts of with the usual "Nazis after religious artifacts" plot in 1938 - OK - been done before but not a problem.
Anthony Edwards as an owner/editor of a sceptic magazine which specialises in debunking all sorts of conspiracies and stuff suddenly starts believing all sorts of things
The plot is about a secret society that were hiding The Cross (remarkably preserved after 2000 years even submerged in water for so many years).
The cross is moved to a Nazi sub to be hidden in a secret place.
Apparently our "hero" is somehow related to a Nazi officer who was also a Christian dedicated to protecting the cross - Anthony Edwards again with the worst German accent ever (in flashbacks.
Hero wants to know why the Nazi has his face. Later the Ashton Kutcher lookalike eye candy for girlies comes up with the explanation "It can only be time travel or reincarnation".
Hero's wife is kidnapped by a terrorist who is after 12 clocks which point the way to the location of the newly hidden cross (terrorist is by far the best actor - he was in the original Steig Larssen Millennium trilogy).
Enter the female FBI agent who was a Peace Corps worker who joined the FBI to avenge her husband's apparent murderer (it's the terrorist) - she seems to be able to speak every language on the planet which is pretty handy as her and the hero globe trot on the trail of the terrorist murderer/kidnapper.
OK - a bit cheesy so far but still could be decent entertainment
The thing that really ruined it was the incredible leaps in logic that somehow keeps them on the tail of the baddie - massive "thinking outside the box" moments that the hero comes up with and everyone nods in agreement like it's the most obvious conclusion
I saw the "twist" in episode 5 of 13 - I'm sure there are people who got it even earlier
The ending was so bloody nice and fluffy I almost gagged
I know most shows are dumbed down for general viewers now (and American shows are the worst at doing that) but I found it an insult to my intelligence that we are supposed to take these leaps of logic (and faith) as Gospel (pun intended)
Not sure if I should give it 4/10 or 7/10 because I got as confused as the plot
A Field in England (2013)
Strange film but enjoyable
I just watched and it was a lot better than I expected - the acting was generally good from actors perhaps best known for comedy roles who were perfect when the few comedic moments happened
Not everyone will get it - it may take two or three viewings to fully enjoy it although it did leave a few questions unanswered
I think filming in black and white(are we still allowed to call it that? :D) helps a lot with the atmosphere and the bleakness of the time period
TBH I wouldn't class it as horror - more a "period mystery" if there is such a sub-genre
Well done to all concerned - will be checking out the director's other work 7/10
The Cloth (2013)
This is part of a franchise??
PLEASE GOD NO!!!! - I watch a LOT of films - up to 8 or 9 a day and rarely feel the need to review a title but I can honestly say this is the worst film I have seen this year - the acting is awful - you kind of expect that from a low budget horror but the actors sank to depths I've not seen since the 80s - the delivery of everyone was like a badly dubbed Japanese film - even the two "stars" were well below par (whose bright idea was it to cast Danny Trejo as an Irish priest??) Lighting was bad - outside shots are almost unwatchable due to the white glare across the actors' faces - the guy who played Helix? - what was his accent? - it seemed to be a cross between French, Scots and Bosnian!! - I really wanted to turn this off and it's very, very rare that I do but I just wanted to see if it picked up - sadly not -- I read some of the reviews before I watched and have never seen so many rating it at one star - I thought that was a bit harsh then realised you can't give it a minus star -- someone needs to call a real exorcist to rid us all of the demon that is this film - I read that the writer/director/"actor" of this film has tried to get bad reviews removed - that just shows an inability to accept criticism - if you can't take it then either make something passable or just give up - ZERO out of 10 - makes Uwe Boll look like Orson Welles
Truly, Truly Awful
Even with a few decent Brit actors (Lamb, Malik and Phil Davis in a minor role) a good one (Berkoff) and Denholm Elliott as a mad slightly effeminate doctor the acting was just so wooden and should have been much better - the dialogue was clichéd and seemed to be like a very bad 40's Film Noir B movie (everyone was doing a very bad Cagney impersonation) and every sentence said to the main character had to end in "Roy"
But wait!! It gets worse! - The soundtrack was just so bad - Whoever was responsible seemed to think he was Vangelis but was more like Vangelis' mum and TBH she would have been a better choice - It just had the feel of a bad 80s pop video and I kept expecting Meat Loaf to jump out and start warbling - gave it 2/10 and that was only because I got this for free and Meat Loaf WASN'T in it.
I recommended getting a tooth pulled - it's more entertaining and less painful - don't waste your time with this :)
Entertainment with a big E
I went into this film not expecting much more than an average film. The main thing that struck me about this is that all these great actors are having fun. The chemistry between Bruce Willis and John Malkovich is amazing. Morgan Freeman plays his usual likable character, Helen Mirren looks hot and it was great seeing Ernest Borgnine still working.
I would love to see the gag reel for this because Malkovich is crazy and I bet he had everyone cracking up.
I hate sequels/prequels, re-boots and re-imaginings but amazingly I would love to see a sequel, perhaps the adventure in Moldova alluded to at the end. Willis and Malkovich need to work together again.
6 Souls (2010)
I had never heard of this film until I found it a few days ago. I had enjoyed Identity a lot and was expecting more of a psychological thriller - the first half of the film was exactly that and then turned into a pretty good supernatural horror.
Julianne Moore is as gorgeous as ever and plays the part very well - a bit like Tally in The Forgotten. Jonathan Rhys Meyers was excellent - the only film I've seen before with him in it was Alexander and can't remember him in it but this role was a revelation - he actually reminded me of a young Daniel Day Lewis. The always underrated Jeffrey DeMunn was good too.
This film is no Omen or The Shining so 8/10 is a pretty fair rating in my opinion.
I liked it ... but
I think this series was trying to do too much.
On one hand you had the X-Files side to it (the better half) - Sea monster, Government conspiracy, babe for the guys, hunk for the girls. I enjoyed this part of the series.
Just this storyline would have made a good mini-series.
On the other hand you had the storyline with the kids and the baby monster - remind anyone of E.T. or Weird Science? I sometimes got bored waiting for the action to get back to the adults.
Hopefully one day there will be a fan edit without all the kids stuff - after all sea monsters is grown up stuff.
House IV (1992)
This house should be condemned! (spoiler)
Now, I thought this was supposed to be a straight sequel to House. Usually there is some sort of continuity in sequels. First the house was in a suburban neighbourhood in the original. In House 4 the property looks to be close to a desert.
Also Roger Cobb had a son in House. In the sequel there is a daughter.
Did the director even watch the original to get even a semblance of a continuous story? - doesn't look like it.
William Katt must have thought it good luck that he was killed off in the first 5 minutes. Relief for him - pain and regret for the rest of us.
This film is one of the worst I've seen - and I've seen some bad films.