Tag Archives: Thriller

Rambo: First Blood, American movie (1982)

Yes people, my 80’s bingewatch is continuing. I don’t know what it is these days, but I seem to be living more in the past than in the present. Maybe I am actually experiencing a severe case of midlife crisis. Either that, or I am just getting old. For all you animelovers out there, and yes I am still one of them, rest assured there will be some animecontent coming out later this week. But for now, it’s time to revisit one of the greatest action heroes of all time: John Rambo. Portrayed by Sylvester Stallone, who I still consider to be one of best action stars to walk the face of this planet, Rambo is an icon and became a part of our culture. Just think of all the times his name has been mentioned in other movies or tv series. Together with Rocky, Rambo is just a terrific character that has captured the hearts and minds of action movielovers everywhere.

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The things you find in Christmas trees these days.

First Blood tells the story of the former Vietnam veteran John Rambo. At the beginning of the movie he is trying to get in touch with a former army buddy of his, with which he served in ‘Nam. He is shocked to find out his friend has died from cancer. Stricken with grief, Rambo sets out on foot not really caring where he ends up. Soon he arrives in a small town called Hope and comes across the local sheriff a man called Will Teasle. Now he really doesn’t take kindly to a stranger entering his quiet town, and firmly tells him to hit the road again. When John refuses, he is taken into custody even though he hasn’t done anything. But Will is about to find out that a war is going to take place in his small town. A war caused by a man named John Rambo. And when he is done, you can certainly count on one thing that will definitely be needed: a good supply of body bags….

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Such a stupid move to take him in. You can see he is wearing green right? Ever hear of the Hulk?

Now if you have actually never heard of this movie, seriously where have you been? Just kidding here of course. Rambo is one of the 80’s best action films and I honestly can’t count the number of times that I have seen this movie. We could all argue about the amount of macho type characters and testosterone this movie contains (and it certainly does contain that, no argument there), but at the heart is a story about prejudice. Here we have a man that has been a credit to his country, awarded with countless awards, and he gets accosted by the local sheriff just because of the way he looks. Also it teaches us what war can really do to a man or a woman. I have never been in a war, nor do I hope to ever be in one, but only if you experienced those horrors can you really imagine what it must be like. There is a gutwrenching scene at the end of the movie where John cries his eyes out telling his former commanding officer about what happened to him in Vietnam. And it really is hard to watch this iron warrior break up like that. War, seriously what is it good for?

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Easy Rider: the Next Generation.

 

The performances in this film are excellent. Stallone was born to play this part, a role he would reprise three times after this movie. Even though he does some horrible things in this film, you get where his anger is coming from, and you certainly feel sympathy for his character. And that is all because of the humanity that Stallone brings with him through his acting. Sheriff Will Teasle is played by the highly underrated actor Brian Dennehy. Will is a dispacable man, but in the end you do feel for him, as through his ignorance he gets way more than he ever imagined would happen to his town. It’s a terrific role and one that Brian pulls off incredibly well. And last but not least we have Colonel Trautman, Rambo’s commanding officer in Vietnam, played by the sadly departed actor Richard Crenna. Trautman acts as Rambo’s father figure, and pretty much the only man that Rambo has respect for. Crenna does a terrific job in portraying this commanding role, and you would almost believe that he was a real soldier.

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Man, seriously who drives like that?

The review would not be complete without mentioning the amazing score of Jerry Goldsmith. It adds another layer to what is already a terrific movie, and the theme for Rambo is one that will stick in your head for the remainder of the day, whenever you hear it. This movie is now 35 years old, and you would think it was made yesterday. With some fabulous action scenes, great and very memorable characters, and a story that does also make you think about the futility of some things, this is 80’s action moviemaking at it’s best. It will probably not please everyone, but if you are an action adrenaline junkie and have yet to watch this one, you will be in for a treat. And otherwise it’s a great movie to revisit and to relive the golden 80’s.

I give Rambo:First Blood a 9 out of 10 score.

 

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Don’t Breathe, American movie (2016)

If there is one thing that I am afraid of losing, it is my eyesight. I can’t imagine living in a world of total darkness not being able to watch movies anymore or reading books anytime I want to. Or even more important: not being able to see the faces of friends and loved ones. If I were allowed to choose, I would rather lose my hearing. Not that I would ever want to mind you. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a review for a horrormovie. The last time was more than a month ago, so it’s about time that I revisit one of my favorite moviegenres. So what was all that rambling about losing my eyesight you ask? Let’s just say it has everything to do with the movie that I am about to review. And not to get to far ahead of things, but it’s certainly one of the better horror/thriller movies that I have seen in quite a while.

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Shhhhh, did you hear something? 

For anyone who was ever in doubt that crime does not pay, he or she should really watch this movie. Don’t Breathe focusses on a trio of young burglars, Rocky, Money and Alex, who struggle to make a living. Money is the toughest of the threesome and someone who has pretty much no conscience. Rocky, his girlfriend, tries to make enough cash to get away with her younger sister from her horrible parents that are neglecting them. And then there is Alex the more sensible of the three, and who obviously has a crush on Rocky. When Money sells the goods from their latest heist, he doesn’t really get a fair price. Rocky is especially distraught by this, as she sees her dreams of a quick getaway evaporate into smoke. But then a golden opportunity arises. In an abandoned Detroit neighbourhood there is a house that is occupied by a retired US army veteran. He supposedly has a lot of cash in his house, and even better: he is blind. This seems almost to good to be true. But when the trio enter the man’s house at night, they soon find out that they might have taken on a little bit more than they can chew……

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Aww come on, don’t be scared. You do know a dog is man’s best friend right? 

Don’t Breathe is one of those movies that will have you on the edge of your seat throughout most of the film. It’s not without it’s flaws, but overall it’s a very effective thriller with a pretty cool concept. Stephen Lang, who most people might remember as the villain from Avatar, plays the retired blind army veteran. And boy is he a scary guy. You will truly be afraid of this man, despite his blindness, and Lang’s acting is superb. Rocky is played by the relatively unknown actress Jane Levy, and I was pretty impressed by her performance. She is not the damsel in distress you see in most horror movies, but a really tough chick that can hold her own in a very gruesome situation. Her acting was very natural and I hope we get to see more of her in the future.

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Hang on a second guys, I have an itch I have to scratch. 

As much fun as this movie is there are a couple of things that might turn some people off. For one thing this is a pretty violent movie. There is a scene near the end of the film, and trust me you will know which scene I mean when you see it, that really was pretty disgusting. It did not ruin the movie for me, but I did think that it went a bit too far in terms of violence. And then there are some actions that the characters do that make no sense, and are pretty dumb to say the least. But I guess that is nothing really unusual as we have countless examples in horror history where we have seen this sort of stuff before. Another not altogether small problem is that these characters are not very likeable. In fact they are criminals, and even though Rocky certainly seems to have a tough life, that doesn’t justify her going off on a crime spree.

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I’m not that fat, you can pass without any problems mr Blind Man. 

All in all though, this is a very decent thriller with some nailbiting scenes that will get your heart pounding. Coupled with Lang’s great performance, and some interesting plot twists, it’s a movie I recommend seeing. If you are turned off by violence though I think you had better pass on this one. As usual when a horrormovie becomes a succes, I hear a sequel is already in the works. I hope I am proven wrong, but this will probably mean that we get a product that throws away all the stuff that was so great in the original. And it will ramp up the violence. One only has to take a look at the Saw franchise to see how that turned out. And you really don’t have to be blind to see that.

I give Don’t Breathe a 8 out of 10 score.

A Company Man, Korean movie (2012)

Yes everyone I am back, and my vacation has finally started. In the coming days, I will try and catch up with some of the posts I have missed out on, as well as write some reviews of my own. And what better way to kick off a vacation from work, with a movie about work. Well, sort of. Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate my job or anything like that, but it is not my lifelong ambition either so to speak. And I guess the same can be said for most people that have a day job. If you happen to be one of those lucky few that are an exception to this rule, congratulations on that great achievement. But before this post is turning into a job interview let me start by telling you what this movie is about.

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Just another day at the office. 

In A Company Man, we are introduced to Heyong-do, a man who seems to love his job. Wearing a suit and tie, he always turns up in time for his work at the seemingly normal company he is employed by. But the company is a front for an entirely different kind of business namely that of assassinations. Heyong-do is one of the hitmen, and one of the company’s best. Never before has he failed a mission, and it looks like he has no conscience whatsoever. But then he meets up with the single mother of one of his co-workers, and falls in love. This is the beginning of the end for him. Because of his intense feelings he really wants to change his ways, and quit being the stonecold assassin that he has been all his life. When he begins to spare certain people that he was supposed to kill, the company wants to get rid of him. But not by laying him off. No they have a much more permanent solution in mind….

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Hitman by day, houseman by night…gotta keep those shirts clean. 

This is one of those great Korean actionthrillers that I really love to watch. Although actionthriller seems to be too harsh a word for it. There certainly is action, I won’t deny that, but at the heart of it is also a pretty heartbreaking drama, and a truly great story to boot. A movie such as this stands or falls with the performance of it’s lead actor, and luckily the casting for this one was perfect. So Ji-sub portrays the role of Heyong-do in a terrific way. His natural charm makes sure that you instantly care for this character, even despite the horrific job he is carrying out. Both in the drama and action scenes So manages to deliver a believable role, and he is one of the best reasons for watching this film. But actress Lee Mi-yeon, who plays his love interest also does a great job. Their on screen chemistry works very well, and in scenes that could normally have turned into something very mushy, they both manage to avoid that altogether.

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So…tell me, what makes a good cup of tea? 

For the actionlovers out there this film offers just enough to satisfy. As mentioned even though you can classify this as an action thriller it isn’t the overall theme of the movie. So do not expect an action sequence every minute, as you will be really disappointed. The movie is shot and directed beautifully with a terrific final shoot out scene, that is one of the highlights of this movie. I have tried to find some things that I did not like about this film, but I honestly could not find them. This is just a solid Korean movie, that is truly worth seeing. With great performances by the cast, and a story that provides enough drama and action, I highly recommend this movie. So, as Heyong-do mentions at one point in the film: “The work day is over ” . And so is this review.

I give A Company Man a 9 out of 10 score.

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.