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Minimal dialogue and sense
Here's a film about men with beards and an old lady that hears voices. And some spooky stuff in the woods too. It's a good eerie setting and the silence works for tension building but character motives are never established. A lot of what is happening is implied. Maybe I missed a bit or a lot of the subtext. So while I could dismiss Sator as cryptic nonsense, it's very well made to string you along and is visually pleasing throughout, enough so that's it's an alright film overall.
Dark Whispers: Volume 1 (2019)
Big swings in quality
It's better than Danzig's horror anthology, that's for sure. Would recommend if you're into this sort of thing as about half are good. One was particularly clever.
Psycho Goreman (2020)
Ignore the reviewer telling you to ignore positive reviews. Simply look at the film poster and you should be able to decide if it's suitable for your taste. Imagine something like Night Breed crossed with Power Rangers and how silly that would be. Very silly, and this film is just that, but with more gore. I give it a high rating mostly because I love prosthetic horror creatures over crappy CGI. The work put into this is amazing. The world-building isn't too bad either, could be expanded on further down the road.
Rednecks hunting young people done right
No slow build up at the beginning, just BAM straight into the murkiness of what it's all about. It then does a of bit slow building up when a group of mid 20s car breaks down. Here's the only weak spot of cliché dialogue and average acting until the ball gets rolling again. Swatton and Phillips deliver a great performance with purposeful directing. While there's no real depth to the character's story, anyone rating this under 5 stars needs to watch more indie horror films.
The Deeper You Dig (2019)
This is how you make a budget film
Solid fundamentals and minimalism. Simple story with strong character development. Bit weird and arty in the supernatural parts. Wonderful score of ambient to screeching industrial. Could do a spin-off about the guy in the blue suit's magic box and book release.
Story is more interesting and complex than expected but doesn't quiet come together so smoothly. The grandfather and chef were clearly best performers.
And as everyone else has noted, the music is too loud.
Twist on the Gypsy Rose story
But there's enough differences to make for an engaging film. Can't really say anything bad about it, you know what your getting into and it delivers with rising tension and suspense.
False Witness (2019)
Rating of 6.9???
A woman starts going crazy, watches a guy on youtube give lectures, goes stays with him and things get worse. It's an alright film idea and there's a few scenes that work well but overall it fails to come together in a cohesive manner so rather than being captivated by development you find yourself asking a lot of whats and whys.
On Halloween (2020)
Not going to win an Oscar
But not the worst film of 2020 either. Remember back in the old days when pornos had acting and storylines? That's quality of directing at the start. It's kind of amusing, with its short snappy lines I'm thinking this would work okay in episode of Archer. The badness of it all wears thin, broken up occasionally when Boo is delivery lines quite well and the directing during action scenes improves. At its core is a story with potential, but it needs more fleshing out and a bigger budget to be great.
Does a lot of things right
Not much going on beyond the synopsis but it's well carried. Despite the early signs of it looking like a teens on campus film there's no idle filler scenes of dialogue for the sake of dialogue, instead a good chunk is taken up with classical piano. Not a gory or jump-scare horror, more eerie supernatural vibe kind of deal. Sweeney does a fine job as the lead and the rest are okay.
The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
Painfully slow and boring drama series
I loved Haunting of Hill House and had been waiting a while for this. This is the equivalent of walking into a restaurant only to receive a swift kick in the groin and be thrown out the door. Hill House may have been a drama too but it was well paced and had well-timed supernatural elements placed, and came together as an excellent story. This pile of garbage is the opposite. The supernatural element doesn't really kick in until episode 5, and it's time-loop/fractured reality sci-fi stuff that isn't all that compelling, even when it is eventually explained.
And then there's the main character's own supernatural sub-plot story that is utterly pointless. There's one interesting thing that rarely pops up but doesn't get an explanation until the second last episode. The whole thing could've been a good 90 minute movie without stretching tedious interpersonal relationships and origin stories. It was like watching Friends without the canned laughter at times. On a positive, I liked the kids and Owen as actors/characters but not so much the rest.
12 Hour Shift (2020)
Stupidity and violence, none of which is caused by Mick Foley
Highlight of the film is Bettis' character and performance as she must endure idiots ruining her day and making it worse as things get comically out of hand. The comical antics are more likely to have you shaking your head than laughing though, unless you still find Scary Movie funny. If you can get past the stupidity, the thriller aspect of trying to illegally trade organs while everything is going wrong is rather enjoyable. Weird music throughout might be jarring to some but I quite like it. Arquette's role is small enough not to ruin it, while sadly Foley's is a cameo with a few lines, so if you're a wrasslin' fan just here for him don't bother.
Mostly a comedy
Tony and Craig are pretty much Beavis and Butthead in this one, fumbling around to get to Spain via Denmark while Pat seems like the brains of the operation talking care of the business in Spain. I like it as much as part 1 although the gangster grit has been removed and replaced with treacherous schemes and wild stupidity. Been a while since I've laughed this much.
It's a rescue the kidnapped girl movie
You like action? It has action, some right at the start so your attention span stays intact. Pretty good action too I might add. You like a good story arc? Well, it's alright, hitman turned preacher rescuing a girl from a spiritual guru with some underworld intertwinings. If Baldwin's cult was fleshed out more earlier on it would have been better. He's not really much of a menacing villain, he's a bit of a pacifist but could at least been more threatening psychologically. The padding out of the story between the action makes it just average, the potential was dropped.
Cult Girls (2019)
Pain, suffering and torture... mostly for the viewer
Pros: Nice scenery and aerial shots, the chants sound great, few locations are recognisable, nudity, costume design and theme.
Cons: It's a mess. You could cut it up into 20 minute sections and rearrange them in any order to produce a similar outcome. It's impossible to spoil this movie because I'm not sure what happened. Something about sisters in a cult I think.
The Owners (2020)
No house alarms but a few surprises
I thought with Williams as the lead the rest of the cast would be low budget level actors but they all do a fine job, particularly McCoy who was Dr Who few years after Tom Baker. It has the usual idiot trope consisting of an utter tool, a mild tool, the coward that gets roped into dumb things by his tool friends, and the girlfriend that didn't want to be there in the first place. Follows a fairly standard formula of a house robbery gone wrong but without being predictable and it ramps up the tension quite well as the violence escalates. Enjoyable thriller overall.
The Faceless Man (2019)
Australian humour and incoherent randomness
I don't know where to begin. As a movie with a well developed narrative and strong character motives it fails miserably. It's like a long violent episode of Fat Pizza, or Psychovillie if you're British. I can't think of an American equivalent. But it's enduring and I got some laughs out of it. Sadly it's not really about the faceless man, he's just tacked on at random intervals, which is a shame because the design is very well done. It's about young city dwellers clashing with country folk while a drug dealer is on the hunt.
At one point they get served filtered coffee by a waitress and that simply doesn't happen in Australia. Apart from that, it's a good cheesy effort in... making whatever this is.
Nothing to see here
Standard research crew in a haunted house shtick flick but with less screaming. Some of the make-up is good but there's no money for special effects, only a shaking camera and flashing coloured lights. Nesbitt is a good actor, and others have potential but it's marred by scenes where the dialogue is bad and feels like lines being read at each other. This would've been better suited as a TV movie 30 years ago.
Swing Low (2019)
Creative revenge thriller
Imagine I Spit On Your Grave with some Home Alone hijinx in the wilderness going on. It's pretty much that, but more enjoyable than it sounds. Plot developments are fairly obvious. Acting and directing are a higher standard than the poster may imply. Not bad.
The Dark Tower (2017)
But what if you haven't read the books?
It a great 90 min Sony Pictures action movie. Some alternate dimension stuff, bad guy with sweet powers and lots of pew pew. Elba and McConaughey are awesome. Fun times.
Innocent Blood (1992)
Cops, mobsters and vampires, oh my!
Despite growing up in the 80s/90s I'd never seen this film before. Given the poster and year it was made I wasn't expecting much. Starts off pretty serious then all of a sudden it's a barrel of laughs. This film has everything. A bit silly with multicoloured eye effect and a few of the distorted vampire lines I found inaudible.
Very arty, maybe too arty, but that's okay
An abstract horror mostly. Little more context relating the two story lines would be good but it's visually stunning and gets more messed up right to the end. Some of the imagery will be stuck in my head for a while and it's been a long time since a film has done that. Disturbing stuff.
The Ward (2010)
Good directing is not enough to polish it
Perhaps it's intentionally a tribute to corny 80 horror movies. The dialogue is so painfully bad that it's either done on purpose or was written in an afternoon. Then there's the believability problem of 5 girls in a psych ward, of which 4 are very attractive, and even the tough one is more just plain looking than ugly. Lastly, the main character is admitted, can't remember any of her past except a recent fire and isn't concerned at all about that fact. Shame because it's a good movie idea and the ending was well done, but a hard journey to get there.
Open 24 Hours (2018)
Solid indie effort
Does well blurring the lines between what is a ptsd hallucination and what is happening in reality. Good pacing with the main character's history slowly being unravelled throughout the first half. Some surprises along the way plot wise were great. Nothing too creative with the gore and some of the fighting scenes are very nonsensical. Not a fan of open-ended endings but overall a fine production and engaging horror film.
Not worth the wait
I suspect this film came about after the creators watched Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms, which also has Matt Nable cast as a biker, and thought it would work again. It didn't. While the series was good, and Matt is again good, this movie lacks a strong solid plot. The first 3/4 is mostly drama caused by the lead character's mentally challenged brother. Last quarter things finally escalate and the ending is pretty good but it's a lot to sit through.