Ambition

FILM REVIEW: AMBITION

Director: Robert Shaye
Writers: John Rocco and Jenna Lyn Wright

Starring: Katherine Hughes, Giles Matthey, Sonoma Mizuno, Dylan McNamara, Kyanna Simone Simpson, John Kroft, Bryan Batt, Jordan Salmon, Lin Shaye, Jared Bankens, Han Soto

Release Date: September 20, 2019

★★☆☆☆
s–o–m

The psychological thriller Ambition stars Jude Hunter (Katherine C. Hughes), as fourth year violinist whom has been inexplicably and deeply troubled by the death of her peer and closest competitor, Emily Forster (Jordan Salmon). When Emily falls to her death from the music department roof, it becomes widely accepted that as much as people don’t want to believe Emily committed suicide, the alternative to a handful of people whom believe she was murdered might be a worse option.

As Jude struggles with where she stands in the world of musical genius, she also struggles with what, if any bearing Emily’s death may have on her place in the music departmentment. When Jude broaches the subject with her professor and mentor, it is swiftly diffused curiously implicating the professor as a suspect.

The brunt of Ambition takes place outside the world of music and inside the off-campus housing where Jude lives with her two roommates Sara and Veronica (Sonoya Mizuno, Kyanna Simone). It is here we see the Jude’s paranoia explode only to occasionally be pulled back just enough for us to question her reality.

Making matters increasingly complicated are neighbor and friend duo Steve and Dave (Dylan McNamara, Giles Matthey), who pop in and out of the girl’s house, adding another dimesnion to the paranoia, or is it perhaps protection for Jude and her roommates? We do not know.

Before the terror arcs, Ambition treads slowly and effectively as it lays forth a story of college students in off-campus housing living their best lives. The drama is refreshingly realistic and effective but when it takes a turn to horror, the story gets a bit convoluted.

The Invisible Man (2020)

FILM REVIEW: THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020)

Written and Directed By: Leigh Whannell

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman, Renee Lim

Release Date: February 24, 2020

★★★★☆
s–o–m

This weekend the first ever major studio movie; Universal Films The Invisible Man, was released direct to the consumer by way of video on demand, after movie theaters were shuttered along with everything else in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic, became available to download at a cost of $19.99 for 3 viewings over a 48 hour period.

The steeply priced VOD may have turned some would-be viewers away as the, at-home versus in-theater value has not yet caught on fully. I decided to take the plunge and rent the film to help you decide for yourself if you’d like to also participate.

The Invisible Man stars Elisabeth Moss; head of Hulu’s smash hit, The Handmaid’s Tale, as Cecilia the victimized wife of optics genius Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) whom a la #metoo, valiantly decides to take her life back by leaving her abusive husband after drugging him in the middle of the night.

As Cecilia hides out of sight with her friend James (Aldis Hodge) and James’ teenage daughter Sydney (Storm Reid), strange occurrences begin to happen forcing Cecilia into a state of panic. Questioned at first and then shut out by her sister and best friend, Emily (Harriet Dyer), Cecelia takes a hardcore ride into the mouth of madness.

As bizarre occurrences escalates, those who once believed in Cecelia’s sanity diminishes in beautifully crafted suspense and friction by mastermind director Leigh Whannell; suspense which is reminiscent of the Great Depression noirs, with their Hitchcockian vibe and slow burn to frantic climax.

The Invisible Man will be a favorite of cross genre fans including seekers of the thriller and suspense experience but will also appeal to the horror film base. For those of you who are keen on a drama, The Invisible Man will tickle your fancy with its strong backstory brought front and center—as long as you don’t mind some edge of your seat, nail biting.

So grab the folks you’re quarantined with and pop the corn. You deserve a break from the worrisome pandemic. And remember—it could be worse; an invisible man could be stalking you while you’re quarantined during a pandemic.

Again, the first ever major studio movie to be released direct to the consumer after movie theaters were shuttered along with everything else in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is available to download at a cost of—a very enjoyable 2 hour reprieve from pandemic life.

Satanic Panic

FILM REVIEW: SATANIC PANIC

Director: Chelsea Stardust
Writers: Grady Hendrix and Ted Geoghegan

Starring: Rebecca Romijn, Arden Myrin, Hayley Griffith, Ruby Modine, AJ Bowen, Jordan Ladd, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Jerry O’Connell, Hannah Stocking, Whitney Moore, Michael Polish, Skeeta Jenkins

Release Date: May 31, 2019

★★★☆☆
s–o–m

An ultra wealthy suburban coven of witches and warlocks gather in sacrifice of a virgin, hoping to raise Baphomet (a deity that the Knights Templar were accused of worshipping) from the depths of hell and bring him back to earth in Chelsea Stardust’s cult-worthy epic tale of mayhem Satanic Panic.

When the moment arrives and the spell does not work, disappointment abounds and it is soon discovered, the coven queen’s own disobedient son has spoiled the moment as he has been hooking up with the sacrificial virgin.

As antics of the conundrum play out, a newly hired pizza delivery driver Sam (Hayley Griffith) shows up at the estate to deliver pizza. After being stiffed for a tip, Sam demands monetary compensation or at the very least an explanation as to why she was stiffed, which (somehow) alerts a very savvy guest that Sam just might be a virign.

Satanic Panic piles on the comedy and delves into satire with the most minute detail. No one is spared as the movie examines the differences amongst the wealthy and the poor.

Perfectly cast as Danica Ross and Gypsy Neumieir; Rebecca Romijn and Arden Myrin elevate the film’s homage to the 1980’s classic B horror movies, and especially reminisce the likes of controversial gem, Society.

Also perfectly cast is 1990’s sweetheart and Wilder actor, Jerry O’Connell’s as Samuel Ross, husband to coven leader Danica Ross who has relinquished all hope at life so instead he drunkenly awaits death so that his fat may be turned into wax for a new candle line. The comedy is dark and it works brilliantly with this kind of horror.

Satanic Panic accomplishes what it sets out to do. It is meant to be camp and controversial as it rips apart the class system through both the eyes of horror and comedy. Horror fans, 80’s movie fans and camp fans alike will all get a kick out of this film.

So order a pizza and enjoy the ridiculousness!

Piranha (2010)

MOVIE REVIEW: PIRANHA (2010)

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Crawl) dives into shamelessly entertaining, eco-horror as he takes us to Spring Break on Lake Victoria, Arizona where burnt out college kids are ready to let loose in the horror/comedy remake Piranha.

Adult movie producer Derick (Jerry O’Conell) is in town to film his new movie, Bad Bad Girls, a spring break style collection of girls going wild while baring their all. Down one teammate, Derick hires local hottie Jake (Stephen R. McQueen) whose mom Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) is town sheriff, to act as a location scout and additional hand while making his low budget free for all.

When Jake breaks his promise to his mom in which he is suppose to be watching his younger siblings, the two young kids find themselves stranded alone on the shoreline as prehistoric piranhas escape a rupture in the middle of earth and begin their attack.

Further mayhem ensues when spring breakers fail to heed Sheriff Forester’s warning; refusing to stop the party and get out of the lake. The fun and festivities soon turns into a bloodbath of epic proportion.

Alexandre Aja does a fine job at straddling a line between comedy and horror. While Piranha is satirical at best it remains a horror film and progresses to a bloody good climax where comedy cannot be found.

I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a terribly good Spring Break horror movie. All the better if it doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is one of the reasons Piranha works so well.

The Conjuring 2

THE CONJURING 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

James Wan is the embodiment and maestro in the creation of terror, as well as the director of what is considered the decade’s scariest movie The Conjuring. In its follow up, The Conjuring 2, Wan succeeds in holding the flame up to his original work, something we cannot say about most sequels.

Our favorite ghost hunters, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) have recently returned from their very publicized case in Amityville, Long Island when their attention is turned to a family in Enfield, England who is experiencing an onslaught of paranormal events.

When youngest daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe) becomes afflicted with possession-like symptoms that worsen over time, the maligned entity begins to affect the entire Hodgson family forcing them to invite the paranormal investigators into their home.

In Wan’s hands, The Conjuring 2 keeps the viewers in suspense while also effectively adding a slice of warmth and depth to the characters. The development of the relationship between the Warren’s and the Hodgon’s gives us a momentary breath but we are then quickly pulled right back into the terror.

The Conjuring 2 is an incredibly effective horror movie that is sharp and creepy, and also piles on the jump scares. In my opinion (and most likely the rest of the world) if a project has James Wan’s signature attached, it will likely get an overwhelming stamp of approval.

Crawl

MOVIE REVIEW: CRAWL

⭐️⭐️⭐️

With special effects that make enormous alligators appear hyper-realistic,
Crawl
punches a whirlwind of a storm into two hours of giant fun.

The elements of fear abound in Crawl, a movie set against a backdrop of a massive Florida hurricane where apex predators; oversized, angry alligators are hellbent on hunting humans and rising waters provide little space where claustrophobia and drowning are real possibilities.

Underdog swimming champ Haley (Kaya Scodelario) sets out on a search for her father, Dave (Barry Pepper) when she and her sister cannot get in touch with him as the massive storm shudders the entirety of south Florida.

Deciding to break through the barricade of a mandatory evacuation zone, Haley puts not only herself at risk but also the evacuation team whom must then attempt a rescue. As horror movies go, the dispensable peripheral characters usually lose their lives so that our protagonists have a chance to live theirs.

Crawl achieves a flux of several highs and lows within it’s compact and linear plot. While the focus remains on a father, daughter, dog- dynamic, director Alexandre Aja intelligently incorporates a backstory that enhances character development.

While you won’t leave this movie smarter, you will most likely have enjoyed yourself for a couple hours. And sometimes that’s just what the alligator wrangler ordered.

Welcome Home (aka The Getaway)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE GETAWAY AKA WELCOME HOME

⭐️⭐️✨

The Getaway showcases American couple Ryan and Cassie (Aaron Paul and Emily Ratajkowski) as they try to enjoy a week long trip in Italy hoping to repair their strained relationship. When an alluring yet sinister local named Federico (Riccardo Scarmarcio) begins to get too cozy with Cassie, the couple must unite to figure out what is going on and how they can stop it.

The Getaway (also released as Welcome Home, although I’m not sure why) is a tightly wound movie, with clear direction by George Ratliff. The movie accomplishes what it sets out to say although, it does not go above or below that line. It is a successful film in the genre where Fatal Attraction meets 13 Cameras.

Seeing Aaron Paul depart from his Breaking Bad character Jesse Pinkman feels fresh and exciting and strong performances by all, including Emily Ratajkowski and Riccardo Scarmarcio keeps The Getaway moving quickly.

Intruders (2015)

FILM REVIEW: INTRUDERS AKA SHUT IN

⭐️⭐️

Intruders stars Anna Rook (Beth Riesgraf) a strange bird who suffers from severe agoraphobia after experiencing trauma years earlier. Believed to be at her brother Conrad’s (Timothy T. McKinney) funeral three intruders break into her home hoping to rob the place in a quick hit.

But intentions get chaotic when the intruders realize Anna is a shut in and a game of cat and mouse ensues. As the home invaders search the house they soon discover this is no ordinary abode nor is Anna an ordinary victim. They may have just selected the wrong grieving sister to rob.

A further wrench is thrown into the cat and mouse chase when Anna’s food delivery boy and acquaintance Dan (Rory Culkin) shows up at the house and alarmingly knows one of the intruders. With this new information Anna must decide who is on who’s side.

Adam Schindler directs a solid thriller with material that has been seen in some of its form many times before but manages to keep the angle fresh enough that it aught to please fans of the home invasion genre. Solid acting is seen from all (especially Culkin) which also enhances the film. Nothing earth shattering here but definitively a fun watch.

The Young Cannibals

FILM REVIEW: THE YOUNG CANNIBALS

⭐️⭐️

We are tricked into believing Kris Carr’s The Young Cannibals will be strong in storytelling, as the movie begins in a psychiatric ward where Nat (Megan Purvis) is being held after a suicide attempt. But the truth is, this is where its strength begins and ends.

After escaping the psych-center Natasha is joined by her closest friends and her brother in an impromptu camping trip to celebrate Nat’s birthday. A camping trip you ask? Yes. And the reason is so that no one can find the group of friends after having crashed Nat out of her mandated treatment. One wonders if the friends couldn’t have maybe just visited Nat in the facility for a nice little celebration?

While on their camping trip the friends are fooled into eating hamburgers made of human flesh consequently summoning a demon which the friends can now see as only cannibals can. A lot to swallow, I know.

The rest of the film is spent quickly glossing over prior issues which landed Nat in the loony bin in the first place but mostly we watch an hour long battle for survival with not much creativity. The enthusiasm is there but the chops are missing. The cinematography is done well. The practical F/X look pretty good too. The creature could be quite scary if placed into another storyline.

House Of The Dead

FILM REVIEW: HOUSE OF THE DEAD

⭐️

In House of the Dead a group of teens gets stranded on an island when zombies attack a rave in this lower than B budget horror movie that uses the 1996 Sega game as its premise. With no houses in sight one wonders why Director Uwe Boll didn’t consider the name Island of the Dead or Rave of the Dead instead?

Most horror fans can admit to enjoying a B horror movie now and again-assuming some effort has been employed. House of the dead is not that B horror film.

From terrible acting to a terrible script and horrible dialog, I can’t find one redeeming quality about this film. Even the cheesy techno music which ultimately crescendos to action packed heavy metal as the humans get wild in a shootout sequence is pretty lame.

If you want to see zombies that know martial arts and how to swim, continue at your own risk but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Bloodline

FILM REVIEW: BLOODLINE

⭐️⭐️

Bloodline stars Sean William Scott as Evan, a first time father who has a dark and abusive past. In flashbacks we learn of Evan’s physically abusive father who pleads with both his son and wife to right his wrongs but unfortunately winds up dead and buried in the family garden.

As Bloodline unfolds, in more flashbacks we see the events that lead to the deadly day when Evan’s father is murdered and discover the family secret in all its twisted glory.

While Director Henry Jacobson’s film is beautifully shot, sleek and portrays strong acting by all, the plot is lacking which makes for a bland ride. While the gore is plenty, it is not enough to save Bloodline from being flawed.

As Evan tries to deal with his emotions he consequently becomes a serial killer, murdering all the dysfunctional fathers of his students. But one cannot wonder how a detective would not immediately put this together leading to a swift arrest. The connection between all the victims is Evan.

Aside from the nature of the film, there is no element of fear or horror which makes me describe this film as more drama than horror. It unfolds as a straightforward story with a little twist in the middle which is not enough to save this film from the boring bin.

Dale Dickey stars as Marie; Evan’s dysfunctional mother who as per usual enhances the story with her superb acting.

Major Horror Movie Alert: Candyman 2020

If there was a horror movie I’d most like a reboot for, Candyman the story of an amputee who has a hook for a hand, a mesmerizing voice to fall spell too and who appears when you say his name five times while looking in a mirror, would be high up on that list.

As an avid reader of master horror creator Clive Barker (Hellraiser, Nightbreed) and a current fan of the newly regarded master of sociological, satirical, suspense Jordan Peele (Get Out and Us), I could not be more psyched to once again visit the story revived for the modern viewer.

I recently watched the original 1992 version of the film (based on short story Forbidden by Clive Barker), which stars Tony Todd as the Candyman and Virginia Madsen as the heroine who falls under his spell. The movie has faired quite well 30 years later as a timeless and creepy masterpiece. So kudos to Director Bernard Rose for that success.

Already set up as a look into urban legend and culture, I’m certain prodcer Jordan Peele plans to take the project to new heights while exploring the original concept of the hook-handed serial killer who victimizes the tenements of Cabrini Green.

New and rising star on the scene Nia DaCosta helms as Director while Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Teyonah Parris star. Catch Candyman coming in 2020.


Candyman 2020 Official Trailer

Candyman 1992 Trailer

13 Cameras

FILM REVIEW: 13 CAMERAS (AKA THE LANDLORD)

⭐️⭐️

In writer-director Victor Zarcoff’s low-budget yet decently made film 13 Cameras, newlyweds Ryan (P.J. McCabe) and Claire (Brianne Moncrief) move from New York City to California and plan to begin their new family.

After renting a two-bedroom home from the exceedingly creepy landlord Gerald (Neville Archambault); a voyeur with a penchant for trespassing, we soon learn the couple is being filmed 24/7 in their own home, which is unfortunately the most unsavory aspect of the film.

Horrific only by the plausibility that we too can one day fall victim to the plot, I found 13 Cameras boring and more of an exploration of a couple in dire need of a time machine to go back to the day they met and make better life choices.

As hubby Ryan begins to have an affair with his very pretty and skinny assistant Hannah (Sarah Baldwin), he becomes less and less attentive to his pregnant wife not realizing his at-home rendezvous are being recorded by Gerald the landlord. It is at this point in the film, if you already did not like Ryan’s character you are certain to not care if he gets whacked which makes all of the following scenes even harder to swallow.

Knowing the basics that most voyeur types are usually not also the trespassing, kidnapping, sadistic killer kind, makes the film seem unlikely from the get-go, while the protagonists don’t stir any emotion to make us root for them. Even though, the acting is solid.

Stunningly, 13 Cameras has a sequel called 14 Cameras which I’ll try to review at another time.

Isabelle

FILM REVIEW: ISABELLE

⭐️✨

Isabelle, directed by Rob Heydon stars Adam Brody and Amanda Crew as Matt and Larissa Kane. Overall the project has decent acting but quickly dies with an uninteresting plot and annoyingly cringeworthy cliches that prompted me to abandon ship several times before its ending.

Matt and his expecting wife Larissa have just moved into a new home in Sarasota Springs, presumably to be closer to Matt’s father and to his job. When the couple’s baby is stillborn in its final trimester brought on by complications that leave Larissa clinically dead for one minute, she returns home a changed person as one would expect after a traumatic life occurrence.

Larissa’s loved ones assume she has postpartum depression and is grieving even as she maintains she has all her mental faculties. Coming to eventually blame the ghastly wheelchair bound neighbor Isabelle; (Zöe Belkin) a girl with a horrific past, for the death of her child and bizarre goings-on in the house since her return from the hospital only increases the appearance that the grieving mother is falling apart.

We soon discover irksome moments in the form of misguided dialog exchanges, a psychiatrist who would never say any of his lines in real life, design flaws such as spotting an unpainted wall in one scene only to have it appear painted in the next, to even larger faux pas which I felt would also not happen in real life.

The antagonist, wheelchair bound girl/ghost with red glowing eyes and a twisted spine unfortunately comes across as a comical SNL character. Her supposedly frightening face is too pretty even though she is made to appear ugly.

These moments took me out of the movie experience leaving me with a bad taste for the overall film.

The ending (assuming you got there) gets convoluted with many unanswered questions. And within a few minutes the movie wraps up in an almost sympathetic appeal to the audience, just to have the project over with so everyone involved can cut their losses and move on with life. Harsh I know but read my tag line.

Satan’s Slaves (Pengabdi Setan)

FILM REVIEW: SATAN’S SLAVES (PENGABDI SETAN)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I am a big fan of international horror movies. One coming out of Indonesia is particularly creepy. Satan’s Slaves, a Shudder exclusive is a creep-worthy ghost story with a subtle twist on the zombie genre.

After the death of their ailing mother strange occurrences begin. The family is confronted with horrors that they don’t understand but begin to piece together after reading a letter meant to be sent before her death.

The story is original. It’s not convoluted or meant to be very stylized. Writer and Director Joko Anwar chose to tell us a story in a straight forward manner that is effective through the superb acting of the stellar cast.

All the players in this film give a natural and authentic performance as a tight knit family plagued by terror. I appreciated the nuances and familial moments Anwar threw in to show the normalcy of a family banding together during trauma and then terror. So many horror movies lack this touch, losing its veracity.

The film is scary if not terrifying from the beginning to the end. Without the Hollywood glitz and glam a true horror story shines. We can have easily been in this family’s shoes. We believe the story and thats ultimately the best compliment a Director can receive.

It is worth the mention that Pengabdi Setan 2017 is a reboot of an 80s film of the same name.

Title: Pengabdi Setan
Genre: Horror
Director: Joko Anwar
Release Date: September 2017
Casts: Tara Basro, Ayu Laksmi, Bront Palarae, Egy Fedly, Fachry Albar

They Nest (aka Creepy Crawlers)

FILM REVIEW: THEY NEST aka CREEPY CRAWLERS

⭐️⭐️✨

In this fun and mild insect movie that doesn’t involve spiders or ants, They Nest hatches an invasion of roaches onboard an African barge as it makes its way to a small island town off the coast of Maine.

Dr. Ben Cahill (Thomas Calabro), recovering from a less than stellar year including a recent divorce and overcoming alcohol addiction, settles into his fixer upper, summer house which he bought a year back in a last ditch effort to save his flailing marriage.

Being from across the pond with his city ways of life only uncovers early on that the town folk don’t take kindly to mainlanders and when they’re not drinking at the one bar on the island the rough and rowdy men spend their free time giving shiners and breaken ribs.

Luckily for Dr. Cahill he catches the eye of the only “normal” hard working, blond haired, blue eyed woman (Kristen Dalton) who seemingly can do it all and he’ll need her in his corner as the terror begins to increase and the deaths pile up.

The plot gives us insight into the characters and develops storylines other than that of roaches eating every living creature they encounter. The story was fun enough to hold my interest even if it did play out like a made for TV film. No disrespect. I’ve enjoy many made for the small screen horror and sci-fi movies throughout the years.

You get exactly what you’re expecting from They Nest and predictability is better than an unknown roach invasion heading into town.

Candy Corn

FILM REVIEW: CANDY CORN

⭐️⭐️

Director Josh Hasty brings us back to the familiar Small Town, USA in Candy Corn, a fun new thriller that is as dense in plot as candy corn is full of nutrients. And while some folks enjoy a bowl of a mixed variety of chocolates and sweets others are perfectly happy with a bowl of the sweet good stuff that makes its way into supermarkets and into our houses and every Halloween season. I happen to be one of those people who love everything candy corn represents about October.

When a Halloween carnival comes to town and October 31st lingers near, a group of boys who appears to have graduated high school a few years back, decides to fulfill their yearly tradition of making the town’s outcast, Jacob (Nate Chaney) withstand another round of humiliation and pranks.

Unbeknownst to anyone, Jacob has taken refuge in the carnival family of freaks so when the gang of immature thugs take their game too far beating Jacob listless, revenge will come in an unexpected way.

Candy Corn is a bit fluffy. The acting is better than the movie itself and the characters are only somewhat relatable. I would have loved to see this movie give more oomph as the masked killer could be pretty creepy with a more fleshed out storyline.

The kills mostly take place in daylight which was an interesting choice and the use of candy corn (which, as you know, is the name of the movie) serves as a bit of an afterthought unless I missed the point where I was told Jacob lived on nothing but the sugar corn. Who knows.

A small role by Tony Todd (Candyman) was a nice addition to the cast. And while the Oscar buzz isn’t ringing for Candy Corn, if you want to get comfy, shut the lights and spend an hour and a half on a storyline you’ve seen a billion times, I say go for it. I did and I was able to write all this bout it.

Truth Or Dare (aka Truth Or Die)

FILM REVIEW: TRUTH OR DARE (released in the US as TRUTH OR DIE)

RELEASE DATE: Britain 2011 US 2012

⭐️⭐️⭐️

We all know the awkward kid at the party who tries his hardest to unsuccessfully fit in. Most of the time he floats about seemingly, there one moment and then he’s not. No harm no foul, as it should be. Or better yet we can try our best to be inclusive but this is only a movie review.

Felix (Tom Jones) is the awkward kid at the party in Director Robert Heath’s Truth Or Die originally released in Britain as Truth or Dare. The college age kid musters up all his courage and asks his crush, Gemma (Florence Hall) if she’d consider going on a date with him.

Gemma, being a kind soul responds respectfully but declines Felix on the spot. Gemma’s boyfriend, who is not so kind, exacts revenge on Felix during a game of Spin the Bottle-Truth or Dare style. His immature act of revenge works, and the last we see of Felix, he’s swiftly making his way from the party, obviously upset.

In the near future after college lets out five classmates receive an invitation for a party thrown by none other than the awkward Felix. Each classmate having their own agenda shows up to the party but alas they should have all stayed home because a game of Truth or Dare will turn deadly when this time it becomes Truth or Die.

Yes, its that simple. But I found I was able to suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy the twists that come next. And their are a few twists which make Truth or Die a fun ride. The story while fairly simple is carried by solid actors which makes the plot believable. Kudos to all actors involved, Truth or Die lets them shine (before they die.)

Hatchet: A Look At The Franchise

FILM REVIEW: HATCHET PARTS 1-3

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I find the Hatchet franchise to be a bloody good time! While I’m not terribly frightened by the films there are a few jump scares that made my heart skip a beat, but mostly the excessive gore and use of practical effects takes me to place where I appreciate the work involved and fine skills utilized in making these films.

Each Hatchet film (parts 1 through 3 and a 4th movie named Victor Crowley) aims to outdo the gore of the one before it. The crew effectively pulls this off by literally pulling off limbs and heads and other body parts off throughout each film. If Hatchet sough to be remembered for its creative kills, it has held up very well all these years later.

The story centers around Victor Crowley, a distorted and grotesque child who is set on fire by 3 locals. Housed in the swamps of the Louisiana bayou, Hatchet has fun with the location incorporating the obscenities of Mardi Gras and the unique scariness of the swamps.

When Director Adam Green signed on (recently deceased) special effects master John Buechler and Kane Hodder (Jason Vorhees) in the initial states of pre-production, he had to know he had something special in the making. When he further secured Robert Englund (Freddy Kruger) and Tony Todd (Candyman) to the movie’s cast, Adam Green must have known he had a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Hatchet is as comical as it is disgusting. It doesn’t take itself too serious but just enough so that the movie does not fall into the camp niche. I got a kick out of how socially aware some of the stereotypes are and how the plot pulls itself together really well.

The main character and antagonist Victor Crowley may never see stardom equaled to Jason Vorhees, Freddy Kruger or even Madman Mars but he does stand on his own two feet. He is frightening and gross and the Hatchet franchise has its own unique magic that elevates it enough to be talked about when discussing the most successful slasher films of all time.