Tag Archives: Thriller

School-Live!, anime tv series (2015)

It’s been quite a while since I have been in school. And saying it like that, really does make me feel old lol. Would I ever want to go back to school though? No, I don’t think I do. There were certainly some things that I liked, but the negative aspects of school for me at least outweigh the positive ones. Let’s just leave it at that. Why am I rambling about this? Well, the anime show I am about to review deals with school a lot, but in a different way than we are used to. First off though, I want to thank the wonderful D, over at D Talks Anime. They featured this incredible anime over on their blog, with terrific posts covering every episode. So, if you are not yet following this truly amazing blog, go over there and do that first. I promise you this review won’t be caught up in a zombie apocalypse or something. Wait, where did that come from? Zombie apocalypse? We were talking about school right? Well…..

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Well, I guess that is one way to head down an escalator.

School-live opens up with the young girl Yuki getting woken up at school by a cute looking dog. Yes, Yuki sleeps at school because she is part of the “School living club”. This group consists of four other members including the young teacher Megumi Sakura, whom everyone adores. Yuki loves school. Every day she happily skips down the hallways of the school, always looking forward to the classes she attends. The other members of the group all look out for Yuki, and try to protect her in any way they can. But it’s just a school right? Besides maybe some bullies, there is nothing life threatening at school right? Wrong…..it soon becomes clear that something absolutely horrible has happened to the world. Through the windows of the school we see a courtyard full of shambling corpses. The happy world Yuki seems to be living in is apparently in her mind. It is up to the rest of the girls to make sure Yuki, and they themselves will remain alive in the middle of the ever increasing threat of the walking dead…..

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Demonstrations for gardening tools seem to become more lifelike by the minute.

So this series was an amazing surprise. I can honestly say that I would have skipped over this anime numerous times if I had not know the plot for this one. When the series starts, it seems like this will be a very goofy comedy, with some lighthearted and very happy young girls. Even the opening song, although very catchy, seems to support this. But then the series presents it’s twist, and it becomes a very different but also very unique show. Yes, this is another anime that deals with zombies, but I promise you that it really does so in one of the most unusual ways that I have seen. Although this series can definitely be classified as horror, it never becomes too gruesome or gory. Amidst all the darkness, there is always the happy go lucky spirit of Yuki, who lives in her own world, and who seems to be unaware of the horror around her.

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I am not lying….there really is a zombie apocalypse in this anime….honest.

The characters for this series are a bit of a mixed bunch. Yuki, who is pretty much the centre of the show, is a girl that everyone seems to like. She is sweet, kind, and always happy. She got on my nerves fairly quickly though, especially because of her grating voice. The three other girls, besides the teacher, are all pretty strong but in their own ways also have their flaws. The girl Miki for instance is trying to come to terms with the loss of one of her closest friends, and also has trouble with trying to maintain the delusions of Yuki. For me, I never felt any real attachment to any of them, except for the teacher Megumi, who certainly became my favorite. Strangely enough even though I never felt much for any of them, you still got scared when they got in danger. It is really something I can’t describe, nor have I ever had any kind of similar experience.

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Let me tell you a bedtime story” Once upon a time there was this beautiful zombie…”

The story of this anime is certainly it’s strongest selling point. It contains a lot of interesting and quite frankly jaw dropping twists, that I am ofcourse not going to spoil for you. Suffice it to say, that this is not your usual zombie apocalypse storyline, but I would almost call it a feel good horrorseries. That’s not to say that everything is good in this show. One of the later episodes in this anime I really could have done without, and was one of the show’s lowpoints. Some of the comedy in this series does at times feel forced, and even cringeworthy. But that could also just be me, since I am not a huge fan of comedy in the first place. That said though, I highly recommend this 12 episode anime. It is a really unusual series, that combines two totally different genres in a refreshing mix that really is worth your time. People who have always wanted to try out a zombieshow but always thought they were too gory, might want to have a go at this one.

I give School-live a 8 out of 10 score.

Blade Runner, American movie (1982)

Harrison Ford almost seems to be on a farewell tour, in which he reprises all of his most famous roles one more time. Two years ago he played Han Solo in the seventh installment of the famous Star Wars franchise, and three years from now he will be playing the role of Indiana Jones one final time. But all eyes are on him this year, as he will be making an appearance in the sequel to the classic science fiction movie Blade Runner. One has to wonder if making a sequel to what was obviously a landmark in science fiction history really is the best idea. Still having seen the first few trailers of the new movie, and the director of the film being Denis Villeneuve, I am cautiously optimistic for it. It is ofcourse a good thing that Harrison himself is also featured in this new one. We will still have to wait a bit for the results though, as the new movie is currently scheduled for an October 2017 release. Which gives everyone a chance to rewatch the original movie, something that I did today.

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Traffic can really be a problem sometimes. 

Blade Runner is set in a dystopian and honestly very dark future. The powerful Tyrell Corporation has made a new type of advanced robot that go by the name replicants. They are almost indistinquishable from humans, and are made to work on off world colonies because of their unique abilities. Replicants are banned from ever returning to Earth punishable by death, although the more humane word they have given for it is retirement. The men and women tasked with hunting them down and retiring them are called Blade Runners. When a group of four recently escaped replicants led by the dangerous Roy Batty are loose in Los Angeles, the expert but kind of washed out Blade Runner Rick Deckard, is given the assignment to find and kill them. But when he meets a very advanced female replicant called Rachael, he is beginning to question what it really means to be human…..

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Hi, we are your new neigbours. Really, you can trust us. 

Director Ridley Scott’s vision of the future depicted in this movie is very bleak indeed. Right from the start of the film you get a sense of depression and dark foreboding that doesn’t leave you until the endcredits roll. The scenery created in this movie is absolutely breathtaking, and even though the effects look a bit dated after all these years, they still hold up pretty well. These also help create the atmosphere I just mentioned but an even larger part in that plays the New Age soundtrack created by Vangelis. The haunting synthesizer sounds and melodies that you hear throughout the film, at times make you feel as if the end of the world has finally arrived.

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Shoot first, ask questions later. That usually seems to work. 

Harrison Ford plays a very different role than the ones that you are used to seeing him play. He depicts a man that is kind of an anti-hero, and he is beginning to ask himself if what he is doing is the right course of action. He also isn’t very likeable, as he is very gruff man without a real sense of humor. But Harrison really manages to pull it off, and I think it is one of the best roles of his career. The role of the replicant leader is played by Dutch actor Rutger Hauer. And his role is the one that impresses the most in this film. His cold demeanor devoid of any humanity, makes it an all the more ironic role, as that is what his character is striving to become: human. Rutger really plays an iconic bad guy, and it is quite a shame that most of the films he played in afterwards were mostly forgettable.

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Hmm, they should really do something about the view in the future. 

Obviously the theme of this movie is centered heavily on what it really means to be human. It is an age old question, and one we have seen appearing in many science fiction classics. The replicants aren’t necessarily evil, and that’s one of the things that makes this film all the more interesting. What right do humans have to create beings, that are only kept as slave labor, and are taken out when they just want to live? And that is also what we see Deckard struggling with throughout the movie. Strangely enough this is probably only the second time that I have seen this film. Which is why I was surprised a lot by the pacing of the movie. This isn’t an all out action fest, but rather a very slow, but obviously thought provoking movie. Blade Runner certainly won’t be a movie that is going to please everyone. But if you like dark science fiction stories, mixed with good acting and amazing setpieces, it is well worth it to check this movie out. Even after all these years Blade Runner is a science fiction epic, that changed the way we looked at science fiction altogether. Let’s hope the sequel will do it justice.

I give Blade Runner a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Chaos; Child, Anime tv series (2017)

Throughout history there have been many serial killers that spread a wave of fear amongst the general population. A lot of them were luckily caught, but there were also some cases that have never been solved. Imagine being a detective that has been given the job to catch such a killer. Where would you start with? And also think of the pressure you would be under if the bodycount keeps going up. Serial killer stories have been the subject for many movies and tv series. For some twisted reason, people just keep enjoying that subject, and admittedly they have provided a couple of great and classic movies. Anime has also had it’s share of serial killer stories, like for instance the terrific series Erased. And now we have Chaos;Child, but to call this a show just about a serial killer, is selling it short and doesn’t even begin to cover it. It is a blend of a lot of different genres, that is both it’s greatest strength, but also at the same time it’s greatest weakness. But lets first start with the story itself.

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Yep, sometimes it can be quite tough to be a murder investigator. 

The city of Shibuya has been struck by a massive earthquake, an event that happened six years in the past. It is now the year 2015, and the survivors of that terrible day are trying to get on with their lives, after the city itself has been completely rebuild. One of those survivors is a young man called Takuru Miyashiro, who is a member of his school’s newspaper club. He is currently investigating a string of grissly murders, that leads him to believe that a serial killer is currently active. But soon he begins to realise that the murders bear an uncanny resemblance to a case that was known as The New Generation Murder Madness, which happened right before the earthquake struck. Even more frightening is the fact that the people that are getting killed now, are dying on the exact same dates as the killings that took place six years ago. Soon Takuru gets sucked into a mystery that will have dire consequences for himself, but also for the people that are close to him….

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The new commercial for tomato ketchup had gotten quite out of hand. 

Chaos; Child is a series that is a cocktail of so many different genres, that it’s pretty hard to describe in which category this one falls. So I am not going to even attempt to try and do that. But I for one quite liked this series, despite it having quite a few flaws as well. But let’s first start with the positive notes. One thing this anime does very well is create a very creepy and intense atmosphere. That’s where the horror elements come in. The murders that are taking place in this series, are honestly quite brutal and disturbing. Which means this anime is certainly not for the faint at heart. Another thing that I loved in Chaos;Child, is the mystery elements and numerous twists. Your mind pretty much went into overdrive with each episode in trying to figure out what was going on along with Takuru. Certain revelations and events sometimes really came as quite a shock, and left you breathless.

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I would cry too if my presents got trashed like this. 

 

However the series also had quite a few flaws. The amount of information that was sometimes thrown at viewers during an episode was staggering, and at times made it hard to follow along. This anime was a sequel to Chaos;Head, which I haven’t seen, and the first episode did a recap for that series. That in itself is a good thing, but it showed a lot of the information in the form of an internet forum, with numerous texts appearing at the same time. I actually had to pause the series at certain times during that episode just to read everything. The characters in Chaos;Child are also introduced very rapidly, and in that way it was hard to form an attachment to them. Most of them, with a few exceptions, just are not that interesting, and when some of them eventually end up getting killed, you don’t really care enough about them to be bothered by it.

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I did mention this series was quite disturbing at times right? 

As mentioned earlier this series mixes together a lot of different elements. Horror, mystery, supernatural, psychic powers and even science fiction elements are all in this series at some point. It made it a very interesting show for me, but I can also see how people might not like that fact. Chaos;Child is not an easy watch. The first episode alone is a hard one to get through, but it does eventually pay off to continue with this series. The storyline, despite it’s many elements, is quite clever and has been put together very well. When you reach the final episode, your brain might already have exploded in trying to figure out what it is you just watched. I for one found it a series that kept on going in my mind, which is usually a good thing. I am definitely going to track down Chaos;Head, if only for the fact if by seeing that one, certain things in this series might start to make more sense. If you like horror and supernatural series, and are not one to quit on a series after just one episode, this series will provide enough entertainment for you.

I give Chaos;Child a 8 out of 10 score.

It comes at night, American movie (2017)

If there is one thing that is pretty much a fact in life, it is that nothing lasts forever. For one thing we all know that humanity will one day cease to exist. We don’t know yet how that will happen, but there are endless scenarios for that. And ofcourse we all know that a lot of these have been featured in movies. Now I for one am a huge fan of post apocalyptic movies, and no that does not mean that I want the world to end. I may at times be crazy, but I am sure as hell not that crazy. I particularly love the genre, because it usually features ordinary men and women that are put into situations that will see them having to overcome impossible odds. And in order to do so change the ways they usually did things in the life before the apocalypse. The movie I am about to review falls into the post apocalyptic genre, but really tries to take things in a completely different direction than is usually the case.

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So..like, does anybody know any good jokes?

The only thing that is clear at the beginning of the movie is that there is some kind of plague going around, that is probably responsible for wiping out most of humanity. We meet up with Paul a man that lives together with his wife Sarah and their teenage son Travis in a secluded house in the forest. They are pretty much cut off from everything, and only have each other to depend on. However the situation is beginning to look more grim every day, especially considering that their food is running out. One night they hear noises in the house, and they find that someone is trying to break in. The man responsible for that act is called Will, and at first Paul is very suspicious of him. Will tells them that the house looked abandoned from the outside, and that he was only trying to find some water for his own family. After a while, Paul reluctantly agrees to take Will and his family in. At first things are going well, and the two families are living amicably together. But as time passes by, a mutual distrust is beginning to take root. Is everyone telling the truth? Is everyone free of the disease? As suspicions grow, the tension begins to increase with every passing day with very dire consequences…..

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This man was left out as an extra for The Walking Dead and he is still frustrated about that. 

This is a movie that can be decribed as a psychological horror movie. It certainly has it’s flaws, which I will adress shortly. But it also does a lot of things right. For one thing it is highly original. When I first heard the description for this film, my first thought was “Oh, it’s another one of those kind of movies”. I expected either zombies or large abandoned cities where pockets of humanity still lived. But that really wasn’t the case. Almost the entire movie took place in one single location, and as such you run the risk of it becoming very boring. But I wasn’t bored for one minute. It tells the story of what happens to people when a situation like this would present itself, and it did so in a very realistic way. Here we have a movie that explores the human psyche, and how one changes when it comes to protecting family, instead of going along a well trodden path like zombies or stuff like that. And that was what made it all the more chilling.

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This is taking off road driving to a whole new level…

The cast consisted of pretty much unknown actors with the exception of Joel Edgerton, who played the role of Paul. Joel did a great job in my opinion of playing the desperate but also slightly paranoid father, who’s only thought is to protect his family. He puts enough emotion in the role to make it very believable and certain decisions he makes are tough, but most of the times you can relate to them. And that is mostly because of his acting. The film does leave you with a lot of questions at the end. And that is one of it’s biggest flaws. Quite a few things are left wide open at the end of the movie, and that can be a bit frustrating. It also is a pretty bleak and quite depressing film. A movie such as this is hard to recommend and it definitely won’t be for everyone. It is a type of horror that can crawl under your skin, and it certainly did that for me, but there will also be people who will experience it differently.

I give It comes at Night a 8 out of 10 score.

Rings, American movie (2017)

Almost 20 years ago I saw a Japanese horrormovie called Ringu, more commonly known as The Ring. Up until a certain scene, it was a good horrormovie, with some genuinely frightening moments. But then near the end of the film it suddenly happened: a scene that was so incredibly horrifying, that it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. With an open mouth I kept staring at the television screen, not really comprehending what was happening to me. I actually froze, and was completely terrified at the scene that kept unfolding before me. What up to that point had been a very good and scary film, changed into something that to date gave me the biggest scare that I have ever had in my life while watching a movie. The film went on to become a huge succes, and ofcourse the inevitable American remake also appeared. Starring Naomi Watts, it actually was not a bad movie, but it just lacked the atmosphere of the original Japanese version. A sequel to the American remake was released in 2005, and now 12 years later we have Rings, a movie that was supposed to reboot the saga.

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That was pretty much my expression while watching this film. 

In Rings we meet up with college professor Gabriel, who buys an old VCR. Upon coming home he discovers that there is still a videotape inside it. It turns out to be the cursed tape that has killed so many people in the past. When you watch it, you just have seven more days left to live until you die, unless you make a copy of the tape and have someone else watch it. At college a new student named Holt starts classes, leaving behind his girlfriend Julia who lives off campus. They keep in touch with Skype, but then Holt all of a sudden does not contact her as often anymore, until he stops doing so completely. Julia decides to find out what is going on, and heads to Holt’s college. Soon she discovers that Gabriel has started a bizarre experiment involving the videotape, and Holt is a part of that experiment. In order to save her boyfriend, Julia ends up watching the tape, which results in her having seven days left before she is scheduled to die. Determined to put an end to everything once and for all, she desperately tries to find a way to end the curse. But that is easier said than done, and time is running out….

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Where is Sheldon when you need him? 

The question I asked myself when I first heard about this movie is if there was really anyone waiting for this one. It’s been twelve years after the release of the last American version of the Ring, and that movie was not very well received at the time. So why even make this? I don’t really expect an answer, but I ended up watching it anyway. Sadly though, what could have been a reboot for this if it had been done well, ended up being a waste of a movie. Where the original two movies at least had plenty of scares, we now have a film that tries to copy that, but fails completely. Not once in this movie did I feel a sense of being frightened. There were one or two interesting scenes, but ultimately this was a pretty boring movie.

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Yep, it’s her again…too bad she was nothing to be scared of this time. 

 

Another thing that did not work in this film were it’s characters. They were just very dull, and I honestly could not care less what happened to them. The cast consisted of relatively unknowns, with the exception of Vincent D’Onofrio and Johny Galecki. Though the acting in the movie wasn’t bad, the script itself just did not provide a good enough story to leave a lasting impression for any of the actors involved. So, what remains is a film that has very little in common with the original movie, and should have stayed buried in a well. Honestly there is almost nothing to recommend about this movie. If you really want to have a good scare, go and see the original 1998 Ringu. I promise you that movie is still every bit as powerful after all these years.

I give Rings a 3 out of 10 score.

The Precipice game, Chinese movie (2016)

I think everyone has a bucketlist. Or to rephrase, a list of things that you want to do before you die. One of the things on my list is to make a cruise. I don’t even care about the destination, but just to be on board a big ship and enjoy the voyage itself, is just something I would love to do some day. As with most things, it is all a question of finding the correct time for it, but it is not something that’s totally impossible. If I do get to go aboard one day, I hope it will not be the same experience that the people in this movie had. Or honestly the experience that I had while watching this one. But let’s not go full steam ahead yet, but start with the story of the movie first.

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Did you just steal my phone? 

Liu Chenchen is a woman who works in a hospital as a surgeon. Her mother always seems to interfere with her life, especially when it comes to her choice of boyfriends. As is usually the case with things like this, she doesn’t really care about the opinion of her mother. Especially not now, since she is very happy with her current boyfriend Yu Bingchuan. When she meets up with him, after brushing off her mother, he has a big surprise for her. He has won two tickets for a Sky Line Adventure Cruise, and they can even win a big sum of money. Liu doesn’t have to think twice about this, and soon the couple board the enormous ship on which the contest is about to take place. Strangely enough there seem to be only four other passengers besides themselves. Not long after their departure, the game begins. But it is a very different game than what they expected. Soon people begin to die, and Liu has to find a way to stay alive aboard a ship that is filled with deadly traps, and a very sadistic host….

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It’s best not to shed to much light on this movie. 

A movie such as this could really have been pretty interesting. Even though the story isn’t incredible original, if done well it could have provided some mindless horror fun. Observant readers might already have noticed the choice of words I have used and fear the worst. And you would be right. This really wasn’t a very good movie. First off we have the acting. Most of the actors in this film just weren’t very good, but that might also have to do with the incredibly cheesy lines of the script. The only two actors that at least did a passable job were Lin Xinru as Liu Chenchen, and He Rundong as Ye Qing. This last character was the best one from the movie in my opinion. Ye Qing starts off as a bit of a gruff person, but eventually turns into a hero with the heart of gold. The rest of the cast was just truly forgettable, and the way some of them screamed in fear, sounded like a teakettle blowing of some steam. Truly cringeworthy.

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And, action! Now,all of you look in fear…..erm….never mind….

The sets were okay, and some of the traps that were on board the ship reminded me a bit of the ones found in the infamous Saw horror franchise. Despite a few rare occasions, the movie just wasn’t really terrifying at all, something I do expect to find in a horror/thriller movie. However just when I was about to write off the movie as a total loss, a rather interesting twist occurred at the end. It wasn’t enough to save the movie, but it was something I did not expect and as such it at least gave it some points back. All in all though, this film was just not very entertaining. With bad acting, and a pretty lackluster script, this movie had best sink to the bottom of the ocean. A real shame as the movie did have some potential. There are worse movies out there for sure, so it’s not a complete loss, but I can’t really recommend this film though.

I give The Precipice Game a 5 out of 10 score.

The Thing, American/Canadian movie (2011)

Now, I can hear you thinking : “The guy has finally lost it, he’s doing reviews now for movies that he has already reviewed before”. I admit, I’m getting older, and my mind may not be what it used to be, but no this is not the same film that I did a post for two weeks ago. No ladies and gentlemen, even though the movie bears the same name as the 1982 original, what he have here is a prequel. I am usually not really a fan of prequels. The thing is (yes here we go again with the puns), as you already know what happens in the film that comes after the prequel, sometimes that robs you of some excitement. That is especially true with characters that might appear in both movies. If someone is alive in the original film, you can’t very well kill him or her off in the prequel. But as always there are certain exceptions and this is definitely one of them.

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This is why I don’t go on blind dates anymore.

It is the year 1982 and in Antarctica a group of Norwegian researchers make a startling discovery. A gigantic alien spacecraft that has been buried for hundreds of years under the ice has been uncovered. As if this wasn’t enough, the sole occupant of the ship is found frozen in a block of ice nearby. One of the Norwegians, Dr. Sander Halvorson calls in the help of the American paleontologist Kate Lloyd, to assist with what is undoubtely the find of the century. When she arrives at the Norwegian base together with a group of Americans, she is stunned by what they have found. Soon however, the amazement turns into sheer horror. It appears that the thing that has been found frozen in the ice, isn’t dead. What’s more, it has escaped, and is now loose in the base able to take on any organic form it absorbs. Kate will have to fight in order to stay alive, but who can she trust…..?

Thing, The
Go Ripley…..erm Kate.

For the life of me I still don’t understand why this movie got so much negative press at the time of it’s release. Is it as good as the original 1982 film? No it isn’t. The original is a classic and it is hard to reach the same level as a movie that many consider to be one of the best horrorfilms ever made. Does it come close though? I would say: absolutely! One of the things that this film does incredibly well is pay attention to some of the details of the classic movie. Did you ever wonder how the axe that was found by Kurt Russell in the 1982 version got stuck in the wall? This movie gives you an answer to that. As an enormous fan of the original, I loved little details like that.

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Yes……this is definitely disturbing, I could not agree more. 

The characters for this prequel were not as interesting as the ones found in the 1982 movie. That said I absolutely loved the role of Kate played by actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead. If I were to make a comparison, she reminded me a lot of Ellen Ripley from the Alien franchise. Kate is a strong woman, able to keep a clear head in a truly horrifying situation. And what’s more she can really take of herself, which she demonstrates quite often throughout the film. Most of the other characters just did not have enough depth to grow real attached to, despite being played by some well known actors like Joel Edgerton and Ulrich Thomsen. But it was not something that bothered me as there were enough other things to enjoy in this movie.

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It’s really okay to be afraid Kate. 

As for the special effects, they were absolutely amazing. Where the original film did not always show the creature in all it’s horrifying glory, this movie did the exact opposite. Pretty much right from the start, we are shown a few truly terrifying versions of the monster. Lovers of creepy creatures definitely will get their fix in this film. The original only used practical effects, while the prequel also relied on CGI special effects. But these pretty much looked almost the same as the effects in the classic movie, something that I also loved about this film. Last but not least the end of this movie is simply put absolutely perfect, and the first time I saw it, I had goosebumps all over. It was a great homage to the original movie, and as a fan I could not have asked for a better ending.

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Even a good old fashioned autopsy isn’t what it used to be. 

If it has not already become clear, I really loved this film. While not as good as the original, this was a movie that really had respect for it’s source material which in my opinion it definitely showed. Being a huge fan of the original movie (if you haven’t yet read my review for that one you can find it here), I could not have wished for a better film. Yes it had characters that could have been handled a little better maybe, but other than that this movie is great entertainment for horror-and science fiction fans alike. I highly recommend this film to anyone who loves the original and is willing to at least keep an open mind for this one. I guarantee that this movie is a thrill ride from start to finish.

I give The Thing (2011) a 9 out of 10 score.

 

The Thing, American movie (1982)

If there is one thing (pun intended) that I like in horrormovies, it is a good monster. The more disgusting or horrifying a creature is, the better I like it. Yes, I can be weird that way but really, honestly I am a nice guy. Yes, I would not have believed myself after a comment like that either. Okay, moving on. Director John Carpenter has certainly made some of my favorite alltime horrormovies. Halloween, Christine and Prince of Darkness are just some examples of his talent for making great and chilling films, that will scare the life out of you. Sadly he has not been having such a great track record recently. His last film, The Ward dates back to 2010, and is a mostly forgettable experience. Luckily we still have his old movies to rewatch and enjoy, and the film I am about to review will always be my absolute favorite film made by this director.

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Talk to the hand really doesn’t work in this case…

In the icy cold of Antarctica we see a domestic dog running across the snowy landscape. This in itself would not be such a strange sight, were it not for the fact that a helicopter from a Norwegian camp is in hot pursuit. The dog manages to reach an American research station, where it’s occupants are roused by the noise outside. The helicopter has meanwhile settled down on the ice, and one of it’s male passengers comes out guns blazing at the terrified dog. The pilot of the chopper accidentally blows himself up, while trying to throw a thermite charge. Eventually the shooter gets killed by a member of the research station. The dog is taken in by the bewildered Americans, that are left wondering what in blazes would cause two grown men to act the way they did. The members of the research station send out their helicopter pilot MacReady together with a doctor to the Norwegian station in order to get some answers. However what they are going to find out is something more terrible than they could have imagined. A thing that is not of this world has taken refuge amongst them…..

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Man’s best friend….yeah …right….

The Thing is quite possibly one of the best horrormovies ever made. There are so many reasons that make this movie an alltime classic that it is almost impossible to name them all. But I will at least give you some of the most important ones. For one thing it’s the characters, most notably MacReady, played by a young Kurt Russell. With The Thing being able to take on any living form whatsoever, paranoia soon begins to run rampant across the station. MacReady seems to be the only one that keeps a level head, despite his colleagues that seem to mistrust pretty much everyone. Kurt does an excellent job in portraying this desperation, but he is also the true hero of this film. Russell has always excelled at playing characters that are a bit of a loner and anti-hero, and this role is no exception.

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Hey, pssst….look behind you…..

Another thing (yes these puns keep on coming, but are also unavoidable really), that is the main reason to watch this movie are the truly horrific special effects. This was an era that had no CGI effects to speak off, so all of the effects you see are practical. But they are no less impressive, or disgusting for that matter. The monster itself, in all it’s different shapes and forms is a truly horrific creature. Some of the designs seem to have come straight out of the deepest pits of hell, and are amazing to look at. Even after all these years, the effects still hold up, and manage to outdo many modern day horrorfilms.

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Yes, I know, this picture is truly disgusting….you don’t have to tell me that. 

Last but definitely not least is the story itself, that manages to truly cause a frightening atmosphere. With a creature that is able to take on any human form, simply everyone can be the monster. And that is the true strength of this film. Who can you trust? Director John Carpenter plays masterfully with this intriguing feature, with characters that slowly become more and more paranoid of each other, with every waking second. If you are a fan of horrormovies, and have yet to see this true classic I urge you to track this one down as soon as you can. It is a film that will have you in it’s clutches throughout the entire runtime, and will have moments that will leave you gasping for air. In 2011 a prequel film for this movie was made, that received some very negative reviews. But in my opinion those were pretty unfair, as I found the prequel to be every bit as enjoyable. But that is a story for another time.

I give The Thing a 10 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: In the valley of Elah, a collaboration post with Acacia Aurora!

About four weeks ago I was approached by Acacia Aurora, also known as Auri, to do a collaboration post. This is the first time I am doing something like this, so not only am I excited for it, but I am also honored to have been given this chance. Thank you Auri! For those of you that have yet to discover her wonderful blog, you can visit her here . The blog is filled with a lot of great posts about manga and anime, and also her great art. It is well worth the visit, and ofcourse once you are there you should definitely subscribe.

Now her idea for this collaboration was very cool. We have picked a movie, and I have watched the first part of the film, while Auri watches the second part. Based on what we have seen we try to predict what happens, and has happened in the first or second part of the film. And then ofcourse we get to see if we have been right about our predictions! The movie that we have chosen is the drama In the valley of Elah, a 2007 movie starring the fantastic Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron. The film is 1 hour and 56 minutes long, so I have watched the first 58 minutes. Please note that what follows will be full of spoilers, so if you have not yet watched this movie, you have been warned!

In the valley of Elah, part 1

This movie is based on a true story. Tommy Lee Jones plays the retired military police officer Hank Deerfield. His son Mike, who is a soldier, is about to return from a tour of duty in Iraq. But then things begin to get weird. Hank gets a call from the military that his son has not returned, or at the very least has gone missing, and they are about to file him as having gone AWOL. That is the military term for Absent Without Official Leave. Hank does not believe Mike would go off just like that, and is determined to find him. He at first travels to the base where his son was stationed, but that really does not help him much. The only thing he did receive was his son’s cellphone which contains a few videos made by his son in Iraq. The videos are very damaged though, and he has to enlist the help of a specialist in order to decrypt them.

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That coffee must really be good for them to smile this much.

Hank next turns to the local police department. Once there he meets up with detective Emily Sanders, a role played by Charlize Theron. Unfortunately as Mike is in the military at first she does not want to help him, as the official procedure is to file a report with the military police. With Hank getting more desperate by the minute, things take a turn for the worse. A dismembered body has been found, heavily burned and mutilated. Soon the shocking confirmation comes that it is indeed Hank’s son. The body has been found on the terrain of the army, so technically it falls under the jurisdiction of the military. At least that is what is decided at first. The murder of Hank’s son appears to have been caused by a local drug cartel, and it seems that it looks like a drug deal that has gone bad.

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Don’t look at me as if I am an idiot.

Hank does not believe for one second that his son was into drugs, and insists to be taken to the crimescene where his son’s body was found. The military police does not want to offer any kind of help, but then help comes from an unexpected corner. Detective Sanders takes Hank to the crimescene, and once there they find out that the body was moved. This means that it now becomes a police matter again. Emily takes the case to her boss, who pulls some strings to get the jurisdiction back to them. Meanwhile Hank has received a few decrypted videos from his son’s cellphone. Looking through them it seems that Mike was involved in something horrible in Iraq, but exactly what has not yet become clear.

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I wonder what she is thinking about……

With the case now back in Emily’s hands, she tries to talk to to some witnesses, but is pretty much stonewalled by the military, saying that the matter is closed and they already have their statements. Hank and Emily finally begin to work together, and and are also getting some mutual respect for each other. Emily invites him over for dinner with her young son, and also to discuss their next move. After dinner Hank tries to read a bedtime story to Emily’s son…..and it is at this point that I hit the 58 minute mark!

My impressions

So far this movie has been incredibly entertaining. Tommy Lee Jones gives one of the best performances of his entire career as the desperate father who is determined to find out the truth. But Charlize also plays very well as the detective who is also despised by her colleagues. The atmosphere for this movie is very dark and gritty. I also love the way the story so far is having some really nice twists and turns, and really keeps you guessing what will happen next. I absolutely have to contain myself not to watch any further, but ofcourse I am not going to that. And now for the hard part!

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Erm, I really don’t wish to intrude, but I think you might need a bigger flashlight.

My predictions for part 2

The big question is ofcourse: was Mike murdered by a local drug cartel? My guess is no. I think that Mike has seen something in Iraq that he was not supposed to see, and that he was murdered because of that. I also believe that this might have been done by members of his own unit. The stonewalling of the military throughout the movie so far, is making it clear to me, that they want to cover something up. It might be that  an attack in Iraq has gone bad, and they murdered civilians or something like that. I also think that both Hank and Emily will get in over their heads, and their lives will be in danger. In the end though, the truth will be revealed, and his son’s reputation restored. Emily will also finally get the respect she deserves from her colleagues, because of solving the case. Hank, though full of grief, will be able to move on and find peace. Well…at least that is what I think will happen. Let’s see if I am correct, or completely wrong. Auri: over to you! You can find out what happens next by reading Auri’s post, which you can find here.

Anthropoid, Uk/Czech Republic movie (2016)

If there is one thing I like in movies, it is good acting. A movie can at times by mediocre, but still be raised to extraordinary heights by a great performance from an an actor or actress. And when the movie itself is great as well, you might get something really special. The warmovie Anthropoid came and went pretty quietly last year. I had seen the trailer for it, and it immediately caught my attention. Unfortunately I had missed this one in the theatres, but to my big surprise this week it appeared on Netflix. And I am glad it did, because this small movie is pretty amazing.

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Sometimes it’s just best to say nothing. 

Anthropoid is based on a true story. It takes place in the year 1941 where the country of Czechoslovakia is occupied by Nazi Germany. The entire country is held in a reign of terror mostly caused by Hitler’s third in command the murderous Reinhard Heydrich. It is during these troubled times that two agents, Jozef and Jan, are parachuted into their homeland. Quickly they go in search for the local resistance to help them with their mission: the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. However with Germans around every corner, and people within their own ranks they might not be able to trust, their mission might be over without ever having a chance to succeed….

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Yep, he is the guy from that movie. 

If I could only name one reason for you to get you to see this film, it would be actor Cillian Murphy. He plays the role of Jozef, and for me it has been one of the best roles of his eentire career. The true desperation, but also the belief he has in his mission, are portrayed perfectly by him. At times it almost felt as if he wasn’t even acting any more. His co-star Jamie Dornan, who plays Jan should also not be dismissed though. Jan is somewhat weaker and more nervous than Jozef, and Jamie carried out this role perfectly. The film mainly focusses on these two men, and as such the rest of the supporting characters don’t have as much layers to them as Jozef and Jan.

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That guy on the right looks pretty bored.

The film starts as a bit of a slowburner, but even so, you can feel an underlying tension that keeps building up. The second half of the movie has some incredibly trilling scenes, that are at times truly nailbiting. Another thing that is worth mentioning is the cinematography. The film really looks amazing, and together with the amazing sets and costumes really convince you that you are right there in 1941. This is definitely not an easy movie to watch, especially near the end, where a couple of very gruesome scenes are shown. Honestly these scenes almost seem like they are from a different film, as they did not really fit the tone of the rest of the movie. That said though, this is a very good film, with incredible performances and a really compelling and thrilling story. If you like warmovies that are a little bit different, than I highly recommend this one.

I give Anthropoid a 9 out of 10 score.