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The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)
Fun, campy horror returns!
Again, the same issues I have with the first film are the same issues I have with this one:
- Bella Thorne's horrendous, wooden and joke of an acting
- The constant harmful dark comedy. This one was ableist as hell among some other jokes and it really took away some from the film.
Excluding those, this film is just as funny, campy and feel good as the first one. The Babysitter films aren't afraid to make a mockery of themselves and mock horror tropes that are consistently seen and it's a good time. I really enjoyed a lot of this and, just like the first, this could have easily been a 5/5 for it's carefree nature and watching with friends for a good time. I just wish McG could quit with the harmful jokes; we've learned more than enough this - and previous - year(s) that these can be used harmfully and it just cuts a chunk of fun out of the film
The Babysitter (2017)
Woah there, but awesome at the same time
Okay woah some of that humour was way too out there and McG could have toned down a lot of it without losing any substance to the film. That's my one complaint: there was way too much offensive humour in here and why the hell is Bella Thorne here? Thorne's acting was horrendous and god if there is a third film of this, please, ditch her.
If I comment on the film that does not include that, however, this is a feel good campy horror that's just meant to be fun. A lot of the (non-harmful) humour had me in stitches and a lot was done really well that makes the viewer chuckle and have a laugh.
I watched this with a friend and we had a good laugh whilst also having conversations on why something was harmful and got a good opportunity, at least, to help educate each other on things we'd missed or things that were very subtle and the other didn't notice.
A definitely feel good film for a sleepover or movie night with friends but do be warned and check the content warnings if you're wary about the harmful content.
Black Death (2010)
Sucky plot but interesting premise
This film was pretty boring overall. It doesn't really do much overall until the last three-quarters of the film but it is a very good look at the way trauma (within this verse) can constitute to a lack of religious faith. Definitely not one I would watch again, but an interesting thought process throughout.
It doesn't have much of an atmosphere and I'm pretty sure I already forgot everything but the ending scenes. A shame, because this held a really good premise, but it just couldn't follow through on everything it promised.
The Bad Batch (2016)
Good but... ugh
So, I did really like this film. I thought it took some initiative, it was pretty raw whilst being very low key at times as well. It was deep whilst being shallow at the same time and I adored some of the acting in this.
However, I just can't sit and give it the five out of five I feel that the film deserves due to casting Suki Waterhouse as Arlen. This would have been an amazing film, opportunity and time to have casted a disabled actress (and there are many with the same amputations that Arlen has) for this role. It would have been absolutely perfect with that but I just can't sit and pretend like it didn't bug me through the whole movie.
The horror genre needs to open up and this would have been the perfect film to kick start some of that.
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Should have stuck with the plot premises of the second
It is almost October which means Halloween is here (in my world, at least) and it is time to open up the vaults of horror, kick back, and terrorise myself.
So, part of what I want to do is start finishing up the film series I've begun watching over the years, using it as an opportunity to close up chapters. So, for this (almost) October, I opted for Annabelle Comes Home having seen the first two already and knowing I have to finish off The Conjuring series (of which Annabelle is linked into, with Coming Home being the seventh part of TC series).
I am not the biggest fan of the Annabelle series. The first one was pretty boring, the second one was pretty good for generic jump scare horror, and this third one is.. Pretty mediocre. However, I hate dolls, I despite little porcelain archaic dolls, so this genuinely terrified me to the core. Plot wise, however, it was the same as so many other ghost/demon horror films. Someone does something they're not meant to, everyone fights to survive, and then they have a cute ending either way if people die or not.
They have good tension throughout the film, Dauberman did very good with creating a very on-edge atmosphere during some scenes; this was not the case for the entire movie, however, and it was a bit of a let down for some scenes to be so adrenaline fuelling and others to fall flat.
It's a generic pretty boring demon film, the same as all the others that have come before it with 0 plot but yeah, this film did scare me a lot and definitely a good watch if you really hate dolls. With only a few stand out scenes, I don't know. They should have really left this series off at the second film and called it a day.
13 Sins (2014)
Only the Twists Saved It
It is almost October which means Halloween it here (in my world, at least) and it is time to open the Spookathon archives.
This October I'm kicking off with any films that are classed as horror in my watch list since my watch list is getting uncontrollable at 2,652 films. The second film I've chosen from it was 13 Sins.
Whew, was this film a roller coaster. Similar to Saw, Would You Rather? and other similar films of the sub-genre, I didn't expect to really like this film. I expected it to be another attempt at the genre following the cult following that so many people are starting to cling to. I expected maybe a subpar B rated horror but I was pleasantly surprised.
This film has many twists that are just brilliant, that keep you on edge throughout the film. The acting was good, the plot was very well written, and I enjoyed it. More carnage and emotional guilt tripping with a gripping story line.
The twists saved it more for the genre it's in. If there had been no surprises, I think this would have been much closer to a 2.5 out of 5, too similar to other "reality tv show horror" films to stand out much further, but it did stand out pretty well.
I've not much more to say on it other than that; good film for it's subgenre, good carnage, amazing twists.
A Strong Film but Leaves Something Lacking
It's October 1st which means it's time to dim the lights, adorn a black bat onesie and flick Netflix on to indulge in the horror genre. It's time to crack open a toffee apple cider, eat way too much chocolate and pick my first film.
This October I'm kicking off with any films that are classed as horror in my watch list since my watch list is getting uncontrollable at 2,652 films. The first film I've chosen from it was Stephen King's 1922.
The first thing I notice in this film is Thomas Jane's acting. Right from the get go, Jane's performance is demanding, it forces you to take view of him and I have to commend him. From the get go, his acting dragged me in, made me sit back and watch even in the opening seconds. He has a very dominant presence - and not in a bad way. He works really well in this role, as domineering of the viewer's eyes as Wilfred James himself.
For the film itself... I think this is quite powerful in what it does. The film really goes to show how much a guilty conscience can affect you to the point normal things of a situation can make you paranoid, on edge, how it can twist into much worse in your brain. I think it's done this aspect absolutely perfectly. How Wilfred becomes more twisted, more unsure of himself, more terrified as time goes on is a brilliant display of how the mind can warp and transform as it becomes more desensitised but more on the brink.
I do feel this film may have been slightly too long. There isn't too much I'd have said should have been cut out, but maybe just one or two of the more filler type scenes could have gone and I don't think it would have made the film rushed at all.
With all that being said, I have to say, I feel let down and slightly disappointed. I can't put my finger on what has left me feeling underwhelmed. For some reason, I didn't feel like I had just watched a horror film or a thriller, I feel more like I just watched a murder mystery. With the horror only really coming into play in the last half an hour, it has a genuine growth into the genre but it just feels slightly lacking.
Overall, not a bad film to start Spookathon with, and I feel pretty on edge and grossed out at the implication of the last scene. It definitely makes me want to get a copy of the book and check it out later on. A solid 3.5 out of 5 and I've gained a small interest in director Zak Hilditch. A strong start and for a first look at a director's filmography, a strong presence is already forming for Hilditch.
Scenes from My Life (2020)
Wonderfully Nostalgic Short
I spotted this one a new Letterboxd follower's profile so decided to take a break from my continual Asian viewing to give this one a shot.
This is a short film that follow Kirby's childhood and memories from his childhood - I would assume some ones that are very close to his heart based on the clips shown. There isn't much more to it than that. I do not know Kirby so I will say - for me - this felt ever so slightly invasive, like I'm watching someone's memories that I shouldn't be. I know that wasn't the intent of Kirby so I have neglected to reflect this in my rating; I have not docked any points for that, but I'd just like to mention that as I know some other people may feel a little the same way.
This was... very nostalgic. In a strange way that I can't quite put my finger on this tugged my heartstrings quite a bit and made me quite a bit sniffly. Scenes from My Life has a way of making you think back to your own childhood without even really thinking about it, or having any specific memories come to mind.
The sound work on this short is absolutely stunning - I did watch this twice over because I suspected that maybe the sound was doing the emotional work for me rather than the short. Whilst, yes, the song choices do help that nostalgia - songs that remind you of a time where you had a wonderful car ride with your family, or when you went on that camping trip - when you watch this without the sound, just the sight of these shots does still bring that emotion to your brain.
I can't think of too much more to say on this other than, this is wonderful for feeling nostalgic and just really sweet.
I have noticed Kirby currently has one other film listed on their filmography and I look forward to watching it. Kirby's directing and editing skills have really caught my eyes and I look forward to seeing what else he has to give the cinematic community in the future.
Mata Batin 2 (2019)
I still love the effects and the basic plot of this like I did the first The 3rd Eye but I'm realising maybe a bit too late that Rocky Soraya seems to do the same thing across all his films. I watched this series because I adored the three part The Doll series he did but looking back at them, The 3rd Eye and now The 3rd Eye 2, it's pretty much the same plot across all five films.
The only differences really are the characters, the objects of curse and the underworlds. Whilst I have nothing against the same cast being in all the films, having majority the same cast you constantly pick from doesn't help this at the same time and I'm left pretty disappointed after enjoying the first one so much.
This would have been so well if he had changed it around just a little bit, but even the way one of the characters says 'astral projection' is the exact same as the first film in this series. I notice that Soraya did his previous series like this in a set of three and I just truly hope if he does a third one in this series, it's not the same. Sabrina in The Doll series was unique enough in it's ending to hold out, so I just hope that the same happens here if he's going down this route. The ending is open enough to suggest a third film which does look like it will be different, but I'm not holding up any hopes at the moment for this series.
It's a good film, some of the effects are a bit wonky, but other than that, it's good - except that I feel like I just watched the same film twice. For 222 minutes / 3 hours and 42 minutes of content, I feel pretty deflated. It's a shame because I really do enjoy Soraya's films but I feel like a veil just lifted from my eyes and I'm not looking forward to the other four films of his I have left to watch.
I kind of regret starting a personal challenge to start finishing all the work of directors I've watched. Here's hoping that since the last four are varied in tone and/or genre that they're different enough from each other to be a much better watch.
The ending saved this from a 4 out of 10, but not by much.
Mata Batin (2017)
Some cons, some pros
Around the World in 195 Films
Country 6: Indonesia
Film: The 3rd Eye
Director: Rocky Soraya
Rating: 3.5/5 [7/10]
Rocky Soraya is no stranger to bad effects but holding a decent horror film together all in one. The 3rd Eye is no different, coming together with some dodgy effects that made me chuckle but still came to be quite chilling and a little spooky with an engaging enough plot. It makes up quite a lot of Indonesian horror in recent years, you adapt or you just end up sitting through a lot of bad films.
This was pretty funny in numerous ways; not in a bad horror way but with some bad graphics here and there, most notably, how a ghost crawls over a car. The special effects are well done and made me a little uncomfortable here and there. The plot wasn't unique to the genre but well done enough that I still enjoyed it. The actors all do pretty well in their roles, I don't think I have anything negative to say about them in any way, shape or form.
My only qualm really is how the "other world" seems more like a Halloween haunted house than a place of torment/afterlife. It breaks the immersion quite a bit and does fall flat which is a serious shame. Other than this, it does pretty well.
The Grudge 3 (2009)
An utter disgrace
If I was asked to summarise The Grudge 3 in one sentence, it would be "too much hair, too much bad CGI and way too many cringey shots".
Whilst The Grudge 2 manages to hold out enough with a few twists to the story to make it somewhat engaging - but still lacking in entertainment factor - but The Grudge 3 has absolutely nothing tangible to really hold it. New family, same curse, just new people dying.
Not even arguably the worst of the series, 100% the worst of the series, TG3 has nothing to keep the viewer entertained, nothing to maintain the genre of horror and Toby Wilkins missed every single possible mark he could have. Whilst Shimizu Takashi's remakes of the films held strong enough in the feeling of the love and passion he had for the series he helped created and make a franchise in both Japan and the United States, Wilkins had none of that. This was just a mesh of stuff that didn't even really connect to the story line past mentions of the first and second film.
I really wanted to try and give this series a genuine try with the new reboot coming out - if at least to just mark The Grudge series, both Japanese and American as 100% watched - but I just couldn't hack this film. I stopped watching after about forty minutes just to have it on as background noise as I did some work.
With an absolutely terrible make up team and predictable, horrendous and almost painful ending... This takes the cake for "worst remake/worst horror to ever exist". Being my first 0.5/5 this year, I'm honestly regretting ever going near this franchise with a 10 foot pole.
Worst of the series, worst of the entire global franchise, and just an utter mess. Boring with nothing to keep the viewer entertained, I want 90 minutes of my life back. That's all I can really say on The Grudge 3... Watch the original Ju-on films for a better scare factor.
The Grudge 2 (2006)
Mediocre at best
The Grudge 2 is a pretty hard film to give a review for. On one hand, I enjoyed it to a degree. It had some nice plot twists that furthered the American series. The plot thickens, we get some backstory and it's nice to further venture into the franchise. On the other hand, it still leaves a lot unexplained - a large part of The Grudge franchise is left unexplained from where it was taken from the original Ju-on series; the American franchise makes it it's own to a degree but so much is left unexplained you are left needing the Japanese franchise knowledge to understand a lot.
And this is why it gets to a degree where it's hard to review the film.
Reviewing it as just part two of The Grudge franchise... it's a pretty mediocre film. It digresses further into the plot, we get to see some backstory of Kayako, and that is really nice. In full as a horror film, it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of being scared, feeling tense and anxious and doesn't really bring anything new to the plate. The curse just continues, there's no real moving of the story line past the backstory being explained and that's pretty much... all you get. The scares are jump scares and people acting weird and that's all there is to it.
As part of the entire franchise as a whole, this is just embarrassing. There's nothing substantial in this film that really makes me want to re-watch it, nothing that makes me want to buy this film, or anything of the sort. Whereas, I would consider buying the first The Grudge and I'm definitely trying to collect the Ju-on films, there's nothing here that makes me want to continue the franchise any further than this other than to 100% the collection in terms of viewing them all.
That's it. This film is just a check mark in a long franchise that feels like an eternity stretched across a five hour time frame. That's all this film is and it's.... upsetting. There's no love or passion to be felt in this film, no respect for the genre or the franchise and it hurts a little bit after having watched the Ju-on series to see where this re-make franchise has ended up.
Disappointing, mediocre, and just another scratch off my list, it's probably best to settle for the first The Grudge and leave it at that.
The Grudge (2020)
Worst film of 2020, and we're only in January
Ah. "We are going to bring back The Grudge to it's traditional Japanese roots as we did it wrong last time."
hires John Cho, a Korean-American actor
Okay, let's clear up straight away, that's not at John Cho, I love the man, that's at the casting and everything. The only reason that wasn't "tick this off the collection list" that I watched this was for John Cho.
The Grudge (2020), huh. I've sat and binged all 4 American Grudge movies today and let me say... I have never been bored out of mind longer and I really am having a war with Letterboxd right now for introducing me to "Collections" in stats, driving me to finish these after watching the first when I was like... twelve.
Despite being White(TM) as all hell (besides.... The one Asian actor they sprang out for), this actually has an extremely good build up of tension. The premise is good, the background is good for what it is, and I was enjoying it a little bit. And then, the scariest part about this was the thumping booms of the music which were added in as jump scares.
That's right, we're back to jump scares, not actual horror, and this is why I detest coming back to the Western horror genre.
The gore in the film is good, it's pretty realistic, I like it, it made me uncomfortable. The noise that the grudge makes, very good, I like it, sent prickles down my spine.
.....This is as nice as I can be. The ramen I ate watching this - because I was so bored I couldn't stop thinking about how hungry I was - was more Asian than this "Japanese honouring re-make".
The choppy point of view is just confusing; they tried to replicate one of the Ju-on movies with this - can't remember without binging the whole series which one - and failed at it. In the Japanese originals, each section is played out, linked together and clearly noted so the viewer isn't left confused. Pick a main character or fully label the sections so they all play a part of the film together instead of feeling like six films in one.
The build-up was... alright? I suppose but it lead up to nothing but a massive let down and left me in a mind numbed state of "did I really just watch this?". The ending could have saved this, but the build-up lead to a 10 minutes that was so predictable and easy to guess that it was just infuriating. I can't believe I'm even about to say this but The Grudge (2004) did it better. It should have been left alone with the slowly down hill franchise America already gave us. Seriously. I can't believe I'm saying it.
I've never seen a film rip off its original franchise and then rip off the already existing rip offs.
This film currently has a 1.6/5 star average rating and honestly if it even gets to above 2.0 (how) I'm losing all faith in literally everything. I had to count the minutes down watching this to get through it with my patience at the end.
Long whine coming to an end, but - America, I beg, on my knees, PLEASE let this series go. Stop. Stop it. Get some originality. Please. Let The Grudge go. At least, pick a new Asian horror series to rip apart, ruin and throw scraps at your audiences.
The Grudge - US series: 100% complete The Grudge - Japan series: 100% complete Faith in American horror: at an all-time low
The Grudge (2004)
Average but still good
Around the World in 195 Films
Country 5: United States
Film: The Grudge
Director: Shimizu Takashi
Rating: 12.5/5 [5/10]
Soooo, I'm pretty big on the Ju-On series and really enjoyed all 8 films that the original version has to offer. I didn't ever think too much about the American remakes and decided to go ahead and completely ignore them for my life. Then I realised I had seen this first 2004 film, had absolutely no memory of this, and my "must complete all collections I start" issues kicked in.
So here I am, binging a series I really hated for most of my life and originally gave a 3/10 [1.5/5]. After re-watching this, I noticed a lot of little nuances.
Americans panicking and speaking in English before they realised they had to speak Japanese - this is a big thing that actually happens for most people; when scared or hurt, they'll default to their native language. The horror aspect was bad, but it wasn't too bad. There were some moments that did make me jump and caught me by surprise.
It wasn't too bad at all, actually. Still a very average film but, average is decent for a film of this caliber. I'm actually looking forward to 2 & 3 and the 2020 remake.
Phuean Hian.. Rongrian Lon (2014)
Solid Thai Horror
"ThirTEEN Terrors" is a drama I had mild interest in. I'm not a big drama/show fan, in all honesty, so for one to peek my interest is... rare. So I decided to give it a go as my first Thai drama and for a watch challenge I'm participating in.
It's hard to fully summarise this as it is a compilation piece with each episode following a different story line but I'll do my best.
Story wise, all but one of these stories captured my attention, made me shiver or grimace, and one or two even made me jump. Bar episode 4, I'd love to see full-length films on all of these stories and follow them in even more depth and detail (probably a bad idea for some of these, 45 minutes definitely suited a lot of these) but it does make me wonder what the directors and writers could do with a longer time frame to play around with. Acting, some of the kids weren't amazing in some of their roles. Most did a very good job but one or two let the series down further on and it was a bit unfortunate. I would happily watch 98% of the cast in their other works and it is something I am considering.
Thankfully, in the stories that I didn't like, the acting was stellar, and the ones where I didn't like the acting, the story/horror was well done and I still enjoyed them, mostly.
Overall, I'd recommend this to both horror and non-horror fans alike. Whereas they're scary, they're not scary enough that someone who's easily scared or hasn't had much interaction with the genre would be absolutely terrified. A solid horror favourite of mine, I definitely want to rewatch this in the future when I've forgotten the plot twists.
Boku dake ga inai machi (2017)
My first Japanese drama, "Boku dake ga Inai Machi" was something I previously did not want to watch. In fact, Netflix shoved this at me in a highlight merely because of my previously watched Japanese content - they did this 20 different times. Eventually, I caved, watch the trailer and decided to go for it because it seemed pretty interesting.
Oh boy, I absolutely adored this.
This drama took me to the edge, it reeled me back in and then it chucked me in the deep end. Full of wonderful twists and turns, surprises, harrowing moments and as equally sweet moments, it's hard to summarise this fully. I'll keep this as spoiler free as possible since there's a lot going on and each was a wonderful moment on it's own, spoilers definitely take it away.
First of all, I'm not too much of a fan of crime or time travel. I find often that directors tend to do too much or too little in both genres and it never maps out the way it should - especially in content that is both crime and time travel. Ho boy, we did not have any issues with that here. We stuck with one plot that divided into one or two sub plots, but each had it's own place within the content, didn't seem out of place, nor did it come across as being odd in the drama. This is pretty rare from my few encounters with time travel and/or crime dramas.
Secondly, the casting was absolutely superb. I find often with time travel/flashbacks/etc, the children don't really much look like their adult counterpart. This was not an issue at all with any of the cast of "Boku". Every cast member looked like their child/adult counterpart and it wasn't hard to imagine any of the children growing into their adult versions. The cast all also did absolutely stunning. Again, all the personalities of the children and adults matched their character and the children didn't seem out of place for child counter parts of the adults we're introduced to. It all felt finessed, and like these children genuinely grew up.
These two points alone are enough for me to give it such a high rating, but I also want to take a moment to speak on the cinematography as well. Cinematographer Kiyokawa Koshi made such beautiful shots in this they absolutely took my breath away, left my jaw hanging open and left me glued to the screen. I definitely want to go on to watch everything this man has choreographed because it was just pure art. There's no other word for it - the shots that Kiyokawa made are just pure art.
All in all, after watching this, I want to watch the live action movie, watch the anime and read the manga. This is pretty rare for me - usually when I watch one part of a universe's content, I'm done with it from then on. For me to want to go on and consume every piece of media of this that is available to me... this is probably only the third piece of media to ever do this for me.
Give this drama 6 hours of your life and give it a go. I cannot recommend it more highly enough.
Tae-yang-eui hoo-ye (2016)
So, here I am having watched South Korean content for 3 years and I'm only just finishing up with "Descendants of the Sun".
...It was pretty good, but not amazing.
First of all, I really, really did like this series. I thought it was pretty good for a few reasons.
The main reason, in fact is that, romance is not my genre. At all. It is not something I willingly sit and watch (and truth be told, I did only watch this for Lee Jin Ki as Lee Chi Hoon). Now, normally, I'd have thrown the towel in as the romance started going, rolling my eyes, sighing heavily and coming back to this after a few months and struggled through it for the sake of completing it. For "Descendants"? I found there was actually a lot of other sub-plots going on that allowed me to remain glued to my screen and involved. The action plots were pretty superb, the medical knowledge was pretty on point with very little mistakes, and the disaster line made me cry over three episodes more times than I can count.
However, I have some qualms that really knocked the rating down for me.
On the "Descendants" media page, we're given the tag 'strong female lead'. I'm sorry but Kang Mo Yeon hating most men until she falls in love, meanwhile being a horrendous jealous pathetic woman constantly talking behind other's backs just because they're more successful than her is not in any form a strong woman. This was exhausting and I actually cared less about her than most of the characters. Romance wise, all I cared about was the third story line - not the second leads, but Song Sang Hyeon and Ha Ja Ae. I felt I connected more to their story than I did the whole fall in love romance line going on with Yoo Shi Jin and Mo Yeon. Eye rolling and boring, if I'm totally honest. This goes the same for Dae Yeong and Myung Ju... why are they acting like cat and mouse and they despise each other when? It made no sense, and they were all boring save for Sang Hyeon and Ja Ae.
Secondly, again, the romance was just everywhere. She hates him, she wants to go on a date with him, he tells her he has a very important job, she respects he has a very important job, he goes to do his job, she gets annoyed, and breaks it off, then suddenly they're paired up again and falling for each other all over again? Come on, at least be slightly more realistic than this. As much as I loved the acting from these Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo, I really didn't feel any chemistry between the characters and it drove me up the wall. I also felt Jin Goo and Kim Ji Won had no chemistry between their characters; save the one hazmat scene, I didn't feel any other feelings for them.
Other than these two points? I loved the drama. I loved the rest of it, I loved the characters, I loved so much about this. It's just a shame that the two main points let me down quite a bit, but I would quite happily rewatch this in the future. A solid 7.5/10.
I did want to catch up on some sleep...
This is a hard review to write and I'm trying to be nice but... this film was just boring. It has a very interesting premise and the actors are mostly solid enough to bring it around but it just... fell flat. I found myself bored, focused more on editing data than I was on the film, I couldn't focus on it, and almost fell asleep once or twice. The incorporation of the Grudge like sounds seemed much like a grab at trying to keep the audience listening - maybe it was inspired somewhat by the "Ju-on" films, maybe it was the same sound editor, but either way, it also fell flat. I really did try to like this but the only nice thing to really say is, "hey, this didn't 100% suck and come in at 1/10".
I'm a really big fan of Shiriashi Koji, and it pains me a little to be writing a mostly negative review for him, however, this is a nice look into where he started and how he developed and adapted when it comes up to films released after this.
More of an insight into a director rather than a horror film, "Ju-Rei" just left me wanting more and wishing I'd picked something else.
A Function (2011)
A stunning nine minutes
"a function" has very quickly and very easily become one of my top favourite shorts in both the horror genre, in the 'from South Korea' category and just all round, one of my top favourites.
The symbolism in this is utterly beautiful; Lee Hyeon Soo has creating such a terrifying and harrowing nine minutes that follows the social pressure forced on students as their SATs come up. The gore in this was absolutely stunning for a short - I've seen blockbuster feature-length films struggle to come up with gory shots like "a function" did. The writing was beautiful - almost every single thing shown was a metaphor for something, and each one spoke truly wonderfully and horrifically as everything begins to click into place.
This is a solid favourite and I will be watching this numerous times in the future and I will definitely be waiting for the next film/short/etc of Lee Hyeon Soo.
I'll keep the review short and sweet for a very bitter short, but absolutely stunning. I definitely recommend giving this one a try.
Short, Comedic, and Brilliant
1,000 Shorts, 1 Year
Short 2: The Vampire Lives Next Door To Us
Director: Im Sang Soo
Rating: 4.5/5 [9/10]
The Vampire Who Lives Next Door follows a vampire who works in a morgue. He's brought the body of a young woman who drowned at sea
Usually, I don't review shorts unless I'm sure I'm going to be writing about them in the future so my thoughts are there on paper ahead of time, but for this one, I had to sit back and write a review.
One of the first things I noticed in this film, is that the vampire (Han Chang Ho - played by Ji Sung), is very "Johnny Depp-esque" in character. If you've seen some of Depp's films such as Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, Sleepy Hollow, etc, you'll know what I mean. This intrigued me greatly - it's not a character role often played in films like this and it is something I enjoy. In fact, I'd even say Ji Sung pulled a Johnny Depp better than Johnny Depp in this aspect. It added a level of comedy to the film that was just right; enough to have a giggle but not take away fully from the serious aspect of what was going on.
All 4 actors in this - Ji Sung, Park So Dam, Kim Eung Soo, Jung Woo Joong; yes, even the more-support like roles - did absolutely stunning. I highly look forward to seeing more from all four of them and will be browsing their filmography in the future.
There's been plenty of South Korean vampire pieces from 2010-2019 and a lot of them seem to blur together after a while, almost indistinguishable from one another. The Vampire Lives Next Door To Us is refreshing, comedic, and has its own symbolism that truly will stick in my mind for a while to come - and a reminder that sometimes, it's better to go for a short than it is a feature length.
Im Sang Soo did absolutely wonders for this, and he is definitely earning a place on my favourite directors list for this one.
I barely remember this film...
Around the World in 196 Films
Country 3: Philippines
Film: Sukob (The Wedding Curse)
Director: Chito S. Rono
Rating: 2/5 (4/10)
Sukob follows two women who get married only to find that a curse follows them, causing people in their lives to come to a tragic end or to simply disappear.
Sukob had a very good opening, including being one of the first horror films to jump scare me in about... 5 months? But after a promising first 20 minutes this film just... starts going downhill. This film becomes bland, not something desperately keeping your interest but just enough to keep it on whilst doing something else. I ended up doing laundry and cleaning my living room as I watched this, not really wanting to pay attention to it, but also not really wanting to turn it off either - one of those average films.
I didn't really like any of the characters; they all felt boring and pretty underdeveloped. There wasn't any character I wanted to see survive the film, or do well for themselves in anyway, and the cast didn't really feel like they were giving it their all either.
I can't remember how this film ended, if things were resolved, I'm pretty sure I forgot the entire last thirty minutes of the film - and I definitely watched it to the end credits. With the plot? Forgetting an entire quarter of the film doesn't exactly bother me, either - I won't be losing sleep over the fact I can't remember that one defining plot point.
This started off a decent 6, maybe even 7, out of 10 film, but slowly drifted down into nothing but a 4 and with little to hold it from dropping lower. I won't be checking out the director's other works, either, not with this being the first film I was introduced to him with.
Tai hong (2010)
Redefines the term "bad horror"
Around the World in 196 Films
Country 2: Thailand
Film: Still (Die a Violent Death)
Director: Poj Arnon; Tanwarin Sukkhapiait; Manussa Vorasingha & Chartchai Ketnust
Rating: 1/5 (2/10)
Die a Violent Death is a Thai horror film following four stories that were based off of four main headlines from the country. With four directors bringing something different to each segment, you'd think at least one of these would be good.
I was sorely mistaken. I don't want to go on a rant, so I'll keep it short.
This fil's CGI and special effects were absolutely tragic. The acting was poor at best by most of the actors. You couldn't feel any form of emotion from the directors - no form of love, or care, for their segments. The last segment portrays trans people as sexual predators. The ghosts weren't even believable as ghosts. 2 stars only for the nightclub segment and the prison segment was half decent.
I will not be watching anything from these directors willingly; I will not be looking forward to seeing these actors in anything else - and after watching this, I'm taking a long break from Thai horror because damn did this suck massively.
This film could have been good, funny, more comedic, but they tried too hard to be serious with a horrendous budget. Not a good look for Thai horror or for anyone involved with the film.
Doo namja (2016)
Dark, bleak and stunning
Around the World in 196 Films
Country 1: South Korea
Director: Lee Song Tae
Rating: 4/5 [8/10]
Derailed is a film that follows four runaway teenagers - Jin Il (Choi Min Ho), Ga Young (Jung Da Eun), Bong Gil (Lee Yoo Jin) and Min Kyung (Baek Soo Min) - as they try to survive on the streets. Amidst their stealing for food and money for survival, they end up stealing the car of Hyung Sik (Ma Dong Seok) who doesn't take too kindly to their actions. Ga Young is taken by Hyun Sik and Jin Il, Bong Gil and Min Kyung - wanted by the police - must do everything they can to get her back.
Derailed is a film that isn't something I usually watch; crime thriller isn't a genre set that I regularly enjoy. I purely watched this to write some articles on Choi Min Ho more than anything - and I found myself truly liking this film much, much more than I expected.
This film was dark, it was gritty, it was stressful. With numerous members of the cast giving stunning performances, I was easily swept up into this horrible - and, all too real for some teenagers - world. This had my heart racing, I ended up chewing on my lip and pausing at times to take a break. The pace in this is well done; we go from seeing the teens resting and okay, having fun despite their predicament to their entire world turning upside down. Watching them struggle to desperately survive the newest issue thrown at them was harrowing. This was dark, bleak and painful. My heart bled for them, I found myself crying at parts and I couldn't get enough or finish this film quick enough.
The characters in this are extremely interesting - Seong Hoon (Kim Jae Young) took me completely by surprise and even days after finishing this film, I constantly think about him and what made his character the way that he is.
Lee Sung Tae, writer and director, did a splendid job with this film; I definitely want to watch more from most of the actors - this film has solidified me as a fan of them with ease. My eyes are on Sung Tae and what he does next and I'm eager to sit and watch through his other films to see just what else he can get me to enjoy.
All in all, Derailed was a brilliant film and I cannot wait to discover more from those involved in the film.
Power Rangers (2017)
Did the director watch any Power Rangers media before making this?
I was just going to leave a half funny comment on this and leave but I can't.
First of All, Zordon being a dick? Bryan Cranston did an amazing job as Zordon but being a twat to the Rangers because he's grumpy about being locked up? That's not Zordon. That is everything Zordon is not.
And Kimberly????? Kimberly is a kind hearted girl who would babysit disabled children, learned and taught sign language for her deaf cousin and taught kids gymnastics even when she was busy. Sure she can be a bit stuck up at times but Kimberly is NOT the type of girl to send someone's nudes around school? She's a very rarely sometimes sort of stuck up popular girl but she's NOT the kind of girl to do that? At all? She's the kind of girl who would defend whoever this happened to. She wouldn't ridicule someone like that.
The suits??? What the hell was the suits???? They were using everyone's original suit designs so I don't get why they had to sci-fi/cyber them up? The original suits in slightly off colour (darker pink, lighter yellow, etc) would have worked just fine. Also why are their faces reveleased in the Zords? The Rangers never had their face on show incase of emergency, ie their zord got wrecked, leaving them without a helmet covering their face. Also Kimberly's Zord burning and her struggling? It's been proven in numerous form of the PR universe that Zords have mechanics incase of this? It was a pathetic call back to Kimberly being a damsel in distress.
Did the director see a single piece of the Power Rangers verse before this film? I see the way he was trying to go for this film but it fell massively flat.
The 2 stars are for Ludi Lin and RJ Cyler, the original theme being used when they first the Zords, and for the Megazord not looking like crap.
The fact this is some kids first ever viewing of the PR verse breaks my heart.
Jangsa-ri 9.15 (2019)
I said in 2019 that "The Wailing" was the eighth film in my life I was giving the title of masterpiece too. At the time I didn't expect to think of another film in the same way for at least a good few months - perhaps seven or eight - but here we are. I finished "The Battle of Jangsari" and it took me three hours to be able to sit and write a review.
This film essentially broke me. I rejoiced, I cheered and then I cried - very hard - for half an hour. I was emotionally numb after this film to the point I literally just laid down and cried, it was all I could do.
This film is a masterpiece.
The acting, the cinematography, the editing, everything about this was just stunning. Honestly, it takes me by surprise I'm saying that - war films aren't my forte, and I think the only one I've really seen is "Hacksaw Ridge" after the recognition and attention it received during the awards season.
There are two particular things I can think of that made this film just slightly more stellar and which piqued my interest: 1) The contrasts between the student soldiers and the more advanced, trained soldiers. There are numerous times where we see the student soldiers having a bit of a laugh and not taking things 100% seriously when they have down time - this is contrasted against seeing the more seasoned soldiers having a laugh but still being very on guard, cautious and taking things a little more seriously. This was... painful. It was such a clever trick on the directors' part to remind us that these are children - the Jangsari soldiers were made up of 15, 16, 17 with reports of even 14 year olds being present on the beach. It's painful, and it is such a well done small trick of the camera that just made my heart bleed. 2) At a few points in this film, the camera technique makes everything very disorientated during battles. The camera jerks as if it's dodging a bullet or the butt of a gun, we can't see through the fog, marring our views and we feel all round a little overwhelmed with the added sound editing of screaming and explosions. Usually, I would complain about a technique like this as they make me feel quite motion sick - "Jangsari" does this in a way that makes us feel like we're on the field with these soldiers, not just viewing a movie as the scenes play out. I've never really seen this trick done in a way that doesn't make me feel dizzy - with the added reasoning of not getting motion sick during these sequences, these scenes were absolutely stunning.
All of the cast played their roles with such respect and with such grace that it was hard not to see them as the actual people they're representing. There were times I had to pause to sit and sniff and wipe my tears and remind myself 'this is just acting'. I have such high respect for all the actors involved that created this stunning piece. The final ten minutes were so beautifully stressful; I was stressed, I was panicked, but in the safety of my own home with no reason to be stressed or panicked - another brilliant job by Kwak Kyung Taek. The ending on Jangsari - not the full ending of the film - was utterly stunning, beautiful, and found me pausing to sit and cry.
I will say, my rewatch value is rated lower because, personally, I can't see myself watching this again. It's so emotional, it really hurt - I cried so hard, my dog had a panic attack trying to figure out what's wrong - and I think a lot of the scenes would also have less enthusiasm a second time around.
All round, emotional, heart breaking but still so somewhat cheerful that really made me sit and think, "Jangsari" is my second film of 2020, but already I'm not entirely sure that something could beat it. A true masterpiece; half the actors have gained me as a fan and Kyung Taek has got my eyes focused on him and his films for a long while.