I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House

31 Days of Horror #18 – I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016) – The Main Damie

Oz Perkins has four features to his name so far, this his second effort after the generally well received The Blackcoat’s Daughter. While I appreciated the atmosphere and look and idea of that film, I felt that it lacks scares, direction, and it failed to have the impact on me that it did on others. In I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House, I can essentially copy and paste those exact comments and be done with the review. I write more than is necessary though, so here we go.

The film has something of a dual narrative, but mostly follows the experiences of a live-in nurse who stays in a grand old house to attend to the palliative care of an elderly horror writer suffering from dementia. The nurse, Lily, is an odd one; prone to flights of fancy, talking to herself, and with an aversion to anything spooky. In haunted house fashion, strange things start happening. In horror movie fashion, the protagonist does nothing about it.

Meanwhile we learn that Iris, the writer, wrote a story about a man who murders his wife and buries her in the walls of the house. So far, so Poe. Iris refers to Lily by the name of the murdered wife, Lily begins to notice mould on one of the walls of the house, and… well, you see where this is going.

I’ve no idea if the movie was supposed to be so telegraphed or if the ending was intended to be a surprise. In any case, none of what happens is a surprise, even as details are drip-fed and we crawl backwards at the inevitable conclusion. I didn’t have issues with the glacial pace, but the lack of scares, of tension, and the abundance of emptiness suggests that the film would have been much more suited to being part of an anthology or a TV episode rather than a feature. It’s a story which will be familiar to every horror fan, and if it’s horror fans that the movie is targeted at then the lack of scares and pacing will likely frustrate.

As interesting as it was to see Paula Prentiss back on screen, Ruth Wilson is horribly miscast, the incessant mumbling and whispering becomes irritating very quickly, and by the time the 30 minute mark ticks around and you’ve worked out both the tricks and the conclusion of the story, you’ll spend the remaining time clock-watching. The initial gloss and beauty of the film is rotted by the director’s pretensions, the atmosphere set up for a tension between threat and loss acquiesces into monotony, and the early promise of an interesting setting and hope for a modern take on an old-fashioned ghost story fades as quickly as my interest in whatever Perkins does next.

Let us know in the comments what you think of I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House.

After Midnight

After Midnight On Shudder- The Perfect Valentine's Horror Movie - Signal  Horizon

I’m such a man; a beer-swilling, football-watching, chair-sitting man with an unnecessary amount of body hair for the most enlightened primate species. It’s my natural inclination to run aghast from any romance-oriented media. Romantic Comedies are all but banned in my house and as a child whenever Blind Date came on the TV, I would go outside and murder tramps instead.

Every so often though, I’ll be in the mood for something a little kissy, huggy, or heartbreaky, but which doesn’t involve sticking your fist down your trousers. You won’t find me reaching for a Diane Keaton flick, or whatever the modern counterpart is (presumably an older Diane Keaton), but if the film has some sort of supernatural or sci-fi slant I’ll begrudgingly give it a go. After Midnight is one such instance.

I picked After Midnight primarily because of the talent involved, my general positive experiences of their previous work, and the fact that the cast and crew always try something different. Plus, it has the same name as one of my favourite Horror Anthologies. Jeremy Gardner directed the delightful The Battery, and writes, stars, and directs here. Brea Grant has been in a tonne of cult shows and movies over the years, and Producers Benson and Moorehead have been involved in the V/H/S series, The Endless, and one of my favourite movies of 2014 – Spring – which is even more of a love story than this!

The story unfolds in a scattered fashion, from present day to various points in the past, as we follow Jeremy Gardner’s Hank who seems to be battling both booze and something creepy in the dark. In between beers, he reminisces about his past love Abby, who has apparently left him for reasons unknown. By day, he sits in his giant yet barren and unkempt house or travels in to town to barely reconnect with friends, all the while drinking, all the time remembering Abby. By night, he is seemingly stalked by a creature which is either trying to get into his house, or to get him. Is it a figment of his imagination or his booze-fuelled haze? Are the locals messing with him? What happened to Abby? Why do I enjoy it when the description presented above makes it sound a bit shit?

Well, it’s all very intriguing. It also has one of the best written and acted scenes I’ve seen in recent years, as Jeremy Gardner and Brea Grant sit and drink and ponder their past, their future, and what lurks beyond. The story unfolds without a care in the world and rather than being a study in romance or an outright horror movie, it feels much more like a paranoid character study using a monster as a metaphor for the outside forces and feelings which surround the maelstrom of any relationship and what can happen if you fail to address them. Slamming the door shut won’t make them go away, yet confronting them may cut you to shreds. Grant and Gardner have a wonderful, realistic chemistry and will dialogue and performances sometimes touch on the mumblecore side of things, everything feels as close to the bone as the jaws of a beast on your arm. It’s not going to be for everyone; if you’re a hairy horror boy like me, you might be dismayed by the lack of scares or the pace. If you’re looking for a happy romance, you’ve come to the wrong house. If you want an honest and forthright glimpse into messy relationship woes with a touch of Jaws thrown in, then perhaps After Midnight is something you’ll love.

Let us know in the comments what you think of After Midnight!

The Clovehitch Killer

Horror Movie Review: The Clovehitch Killer (2018) - Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life

Society has always had this bizarre obsession with serial killers, with murder in general. Is it some primal curiosity or survival instinct – we’re happy we were not the ones involved, or we want to get close enough to the fire without getting burned? Is it more morbid than that – do we want to understand how and why these people exist and if they live next door? Or do we want to feel sympathy for the victims and those left behind? Whatever the reason, TV, Books, Music, and Movies have shared and perpetuated this obsession from day 1 and I am not susceptible from going down this rabbit hole on occasion, especially if presented as an engaging and interesting story.

The Clovehitch Killer is viewed from the eyes of a teenager called Tyler, a typical kid in a typical Christian American town where the hierarchy of life roughly follows God>Church>Father>Family>Work>Guns>everything else. The town harbours a dark past – the mystery of the Clovehitch Killer who murdered 10 women in living memory and was never caught. In his father’s truck on a perfect innocent date, the girl Tyler is interested in finds a violent bondage photograph and accuses him of being a weirdo, a fetishist, an other who must be shamed and ignored. This quickly spreads through church and town and Tyler finds himself a pariah, with only his family to support him even as they have their own questions. Tyler has questions too, knowing the photograph isn’t his but not knowing why it was in his dad’s truck, his dad the respected community leader and All American Scout Dude.

Tyler teams up with another teen outcast called Kassi to investigate the history of the Clovehitch Killer and the fact that he may still be lurking in the town, waiting to strike again, or to prove that he never went away at all and has simply been better at covering his tracks. All evidence points towards Tyler’s dad, but could he too be an innocent victim?

The film isn’t as gory or exploitative as some, instead focusing on the teen crime-fighting elements and on the different characters of the town which may look familiar to anyone who doesn’t live in a big city. The film racks up the tension in the final act, and although it is light on twists and the truth is revealed well before the end, it’s how we tie up the loose ends (pun intended) which holds our interest. It’s always a treat for me to see Samantha Mathis in anything, and both Charlie Plummer and Madisen Beaty are good as Tyler and Kassi. But it’s Dylan McDermott’s film, giving a performance which veers between perfect dad, to creepy, to hilarious fluidly. It’s not a film with anything big to say about the nature of killers or small town society, but it’s a worthy addition to the canon of both themes and is worth anyone’s time when you fancy a taste of morbid curiosity.

Let us know in the comments what you think of The Clovehitch Killer!

I’m Not A Serial Killer

I Am Not a Serial Killer' Has a Refreshing Moral Center | Cinema Faith

A delightful little movie which came from nowhere and remains underseen and under valued even six years after its release, I’m Not A Serial Killer is an adaptation of the first book in the John Cleaver series by Dan Wells, and follows a teenager with sociopathic tendencies who is self-aware enough to understand that he holds many of the same traits of the serial killers he is obsessed with as he battles his own demons and investigates a series of murders in his hometown. It’s like Dexter, if Dexter was interesting.

Max Records is fantastic in the lead role of John, an atypical disaffected youth who lives with his mother in a funeral home which he uses to both live out and restrain himself from his growing urges. After witnessing some weird shit at a murder scene and learning about an identical murder shortly after, John suspects the town is housing a serial killer and believes this killer to be his elderly neighbour Bill Crowley, played with relish by Christopher Lloyd. As John becomes more obsessed he begins to infiltrate Crowley’s life more, and the line between killer and hunter is blurred.

There’s a lot to enjoy and unpack in I’m Not A Serial Killer, beyond its performances and central idea. The film takes on an unexpected supernatural slant early on which some people may be put off by, but while it may be unnecessary it personally enhanced an already gripping premise. It’s a film which chews on its contradictions and doesn’t mind where your allegiances lie. Both John and Crowley are fascinating characters and you get the impression that their story could just as effectively been developed over the course of a six episode series as in a sub 2 hour movie. It’s self aware, funny, and suitably tense and grim. It doesn’t take the subject matter lightly, yet doesn’t treat things as anything other than thought-provoking entertainment. It’s a shame the film hasn’t done as well as it deserves, it’s a shame that it did not grow into a series considering the number of books there are, and it’s a shame that Max Records gives a star-making performance but hasn’t made another film since.

Let us know in the comments what you think of I’m Not A Serial Killer!

She Dies Tomorrow

She Dies Tomorrow (2020) - Projected Figures

I try to watch as many Indie/under the wire horror movies as I can get my hands on as that’s often where the most innovation and passion can be found. The Evil Dead? Halloween? Night Of The Living Dead? I have faith that the next classic could be right around the corner, being made by some unknown team. Trawling through a load of Indie films also comes with its risks – many of them are absolute dreck, badly made, badly acted, and with an unfortunate focus on bad special effects and make-up. Those are of course the extreme edges of the spectrum, with the vast majority of the films I’ve seen lurking somewhere in between, mainly ranging from inoffensively forgettable to great ideas lacking in the final execution. She Dies Tomorrow falls squarely in the middle of this category.

There is a great idea at the centre of She Dies Tomorrow – that of a woman who suddenly acquires the crystal clarity knowledge that she is absolutely going to die tomorrow. The kicker is that, when you express this knowledge to someone you pass it on to them. It has loose connotations to Rimgu, It Follows, and Pontypool. It’s a great group to be part of, and it’s a great idea with a hundred different ways to possible tell that story. The problem is, we take a decidedly arthouse approach and don’t really tell any sort of story. It’s not a horror movie by any stretch and instead revels in a stasis of naval gazing and half monotonous adventures. It’s partly amusing to see these generally irritating characters’ non interactions, the ‘disease’ being passed on, and their reactions. But it serves little purpose, not from a plot perspective and seemingly not from any wider social context. At a stretch you could argue it’s about mental health – but what’s the message? Talking about your depression makes others depressed? That everything is pointless? That we shouldn’t worry so much? That death is horrible? That filmmakers shouldn’t be left to their own devices if this is the end result?

It’s certainly a slow watch, and right or wrong the film is being promoted as something it’s not to an audience who will likely despise it both for what it is and for this trick of marketing. It’s worth a watch for those who like to ponder, and there are a few laughs and decent performances, but it’s so hollow that you think it’s the sort of film that anybody could have made with any set of actors – there’s no voice in front or behind the camera discernible through the thoughtless-provoking meandering.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of She Dies Tomorrow!

Pyewacket

FrightFest Glasgow review – Pyewacket | The Kim Newman Web Site

Greetings, Glancers! I’ve come to understand something, a duality of sorts, a conundrum even. Films involving Witches and Witchcraft are rarely my favourites and in the Horror genre I’ll reach for zombies, vampires, general splatter, slashers, and the paranormal before I ever go for witches. However! I find witch movies to be the ones which most frequently creep me out, genuinely get under my skin, and chill and haunt me like other sub genres do not.

What does this mean? Why do I feel this way? I honestly don’t know. It’s not because I find these films to be better made, acted, directed. It’s not because of some spiritual reason like ‘ooh, this could be real’, given that I’m atheist to the extent of simply not caring in any concept of a God or afterlife. Is it because Witches are untapped when viewed alongside the other monsters I’ve mentioned, and when a good movie comes along it seems more effective? Is it because, when I’m alone at night (and admittedly this goes back to childhood), and I’m heading up the stairs in the dark by myself if I happen to imagine a hand reaching out to grab me by the ankle and drag me into the void, or imagine something chasing me up the stairs with murderous intent, it’s not some masked killer or fanged beast or flesh-horny undead fiend I envisage, no; it’s always, always a wizened old crone, screeching with increasing pitch and volume. Am I… am I scared of women?

Pyewacket is mostly a story about women. It’s about grief too, and witchcraft, but mostly it’s about the relationship between a mother (Laurie Holden) and daughter (Nicole Munoz) in the aftermath of daddy dying. It likely would have been a step too trope trodden to have made Mummy a Step-Mummy instead, but that’s the vibe we get from the film. Things are not great between them – there is distance, distrust, and bubbling anger fuelled on either side by booze, hormones, absence, and resentment. Daughter Leah is enamoured with the dark arts, but it seems to be more than justice your typical adolescent rebellious phase nonsense. Her mother forces her to upend to her life and move to a cabin in the woods. It’s remote, she doesn’t know anyone, and her friends are left behind. After a particularly heated argument, Leah packs her bag, heads into the woods behind her new home, and performs a ritual to summon a demon/witch/familiar called Pyewacket, and requests that it kills her mother. Two minutes later, Leah and her mum make up and begin fixing their relationship – but the creature begins to stir. Oopsy. Seeing signs that this thing is coming for her mother, Leah tries to undo the ritual before it’s too late.

As you may have guessed, there are a few narrative issues with the film. Namely, the relationship between mother and daughter never feels too strained. If things were so bad that you would wish death, genuinely wish death on someone, I assume a hug and a cupcake would not miraculously improve matters. That’s no fault of Munoz or Holden – both are committed to their roles and are believable. I don’t think this was a case of making the ritual out to being some adolescent over reaction and exposing how seriously teens can take trivial matters; this is a family who is meant to be grieving, not coping, and that side of the story is not explored with enough clarity and purpose. It would be more believable if we spent more time on how daddy’s death affected everyone, how mum and daughter were irreconcilable but still loved each other, and then show Pyewacket’s power earlier in the movie motivating Leah to realise that the ritual was a step too far. The beats are there, they’re simply out of time and not loud enough.

The film is evenly paced, but horror fans are likely to say it’s a slow burn. It is, and the scares feel left entirely until the closing parts of the movie. It’s a low budget movie, but there could have been earlier and more frequent pay-offs for the atmosphere which is admirably built. Once the scares do come – I suspect they won’t be as effective to others as they were for me, after all, I’m apparently scared of women. But the notion of this thing stalking you, taking on different forms, relentless in its thirst, that’s the stuff I respond to. It’s just a pity there wasn’t much of it.

Finally, and I’m hoping to avoid as many spoilers as I can, but the film ends with what I think was supposed to be a shock ending or a twist of sorts? Doesn’t work. Not for me at least, because it seemed so obvious to me what was happening. As the final act of violence occurs, I had to shake my head and say ‘that’s not the direction they decided to go, seriously?’. There are so many alternative, more satisfying ways this story could have ended – and could have still ended with a twist, but they went for the one that is least believable. It’s set up well in advance and is telegraphed, but still I can’t believe that certain characters would have behaved the way they do.

Still, as a whole I enjoyed the movie. There’s a sense of lore, I enjoyed the atmosphere and the dedication to making things otherworldly. I think the director has a clear voice, the film looks great, the performances are solid, and the handful of scares are well executed and creepy. More witch movies, please!

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Pyewacket!

The Haunting Of Goodnight Lane

Ryan's Movie Reviews: Ghost of Goodnight Lane Review

I get it; it’s hard being an actor skirting the outer rim of the A List. You’ve had a taste of fame and success, and you have a bunch of weirdo fans obsessing over you but you don’t quite have the clout to be on the cover of the best mags, appear on stage at the best awards ceremonies, star in the top grossing blockbusters, or pour from the lips of every water cooler denizen keen for the latest nugget of Hollywood goss. But you make a living. You have enough to get by, to be happy and to feed your family, and you’re content with the performances you’ve given and the legacy you’ll leave behind, even if there is that one final splash you’d love to make.

There’s an argument which states that the movie business doesn’t survive due to the big hitters,  rather it’s the smaller films which are underseen and rarely make much money, but often propel the next big name upwards and keep the industry’s moving parts churning. If it feels like I’m trying to make a point, I’m not. I’ll continue anyway. When you’re a fan of these types of performers and these types of movies, you have to wade through a detestable amount of wank to find something worth the stench. The Haunting Of Goodnight Lane contains several not quite A Listers who’ve had their taste of glory, didn’t make a lot of money, and you won’t hear people talking about it unless someone makes a viral meme from one of the very gif and meme-worthy scenes within. It’s a very odd movie because on one hand it looks very cheap, but on the other it stars Billy Zane, Lacey Chabert, and Danielle Harris, and it’s your standard haunted house movie, but everyone involved seems to know how cheesy it is and plays up to the nonsense to create an entirely entertaining slice of whatthefuckery.

Set in the admittedly sort of interesting location of a low budget recording studio, it follows the employees of studio being tormented, possessed, and murdered by an annoying little girl ghost who’s having a strop because the studio replaced her old home and now it’s being sold or something. It’s hard to say because little girl ghosts get pissed off as irrationally as little girl non-ghosts. Billy Zane’s Alan is even more pissed off because he just wants to keep his deadlines met and schedule moving so that he can drink and bang the models. He also seems to be highly amused that he has landed this gig an is masterfully hamming up every single piece of dialogue he is given, and reacting with gloriously overwrought passivity to everything going on around him. It’s a comedy masterclass.

Joining him on his one man stand up show is Lacey Chabert as some sort of employee who wants to understand the girly ghost, Danielle Harris as a model/actress/dancer type and a bunch of unfamiliar faces there to have their faces smashed into nails in walls or exposed electric fans. There’s a smidge of gore here and there, plenty of jumpscares as the ghost seems to have a deep knowledge of cameras and computers, and an unnecessary backstory to fill in just why she’s so evil (spoiler alert – her daddy was Chuck Manson). There’s also the girl’s surviving relative, a grandmother who is inexplicably some sort of crazed medium instead a woman wracked with the pain and guilt of losing both a child and a grandchild. It doesn’t matter – you get gratuitous boob shots, shaky-head Tool video twisty twisty bits, and the cast having a lot of fun making what feels like a boozy weekend shoot by a bunch of mates done for fun in between filming something important.

It is fun. It’s silly, it doesn’t amount to much, but it is fun. I laughed more than I usually do at the big hit comedies which are supposed to make me laugh and it was cool to see Lacey in something that wasn’t a Hallmark movie. Danielle is always great, Billy Z deserves all the praise for his line about the ghost hating doors, and it’s short enough that if you hate it you won’t lose much of your life by watching it. Enjoy?

Tokyo Vampire Hotel

Review: Tokyo Vampire Hotel

What the balls!? I feel like I could begin any post about Sion Sono with that time-honoured phrase, and I could probably just end the review right there. That wouldn’t be fair to the madcap artistry of Sono, or his fans, or anyone who stumbled upon this very odd Amazon Prime show from the Japanese master. Having been a fan of Sono’s work since the late 90s or early 2000s, a part of me wants to get all of these posts out of the way so that once his first US movie is released – the upcoming Prisoners Of The Ghostland In starring Nic Cage – people will have a nice spot to find reviews of his other work. And party because everyone Tom, Harry, and Dickhead who has never watched a foreign movie in their life is going to jump on the bandwagon, assuming Prisoners is going to be as wacky and successful as I’m hoping. 

A very brief intro to the dude if you’re new here, or to Sion Sono; he’s a Japanese movie and TV director, and he also writes. He is one of a batch of very interesting and unique Japanese filmmakers whose work divides opinion and is frequently controversial, bewildering, and critically acclaimed. If there’s one aspect which sets him apart from his peers, I would offer that it’s his use of music and editing – songs and recurring score motifs feature heavily in his work, and he frequently breaks rules and fourth walls with his editing and directing techniques. Most people will know of his work either by name or by notoriety – Suicide Club (famous for its opening shot of school girls leaping to their deaths in front of a train), Tag (already meme bait thanks to its wacky intro where a bus of school kids and teachers are sliced in half by an invisible force), and Tokyo Tribe (an unusual Japanese hip hop musical). He started out in the 80s as a director of ‘Pink Movies’ and has tried his hand (successfully) in most genres you can think of – straight supernatural horror with Exte, poignant drama in The Land Of Hope, thrillers with Cold Fish and Himizu, fantasy courtesy of Love and Peace, and of course whatever the hell Love Exposure (arguably the best film of the last twenty years) is. While he recently did a show with Netflix – the unsurprisingly controversial (and good) The Forest Of Love – he worked with Amazon Studios first on his 9 part series of whatthefuckery known as Tokyo Vampire Hotel.

The title tells you the basics – there’s a hotel in Tokyo used by vampires – but within minutes (and throughout the entire running time) the plot becomes grossly overcomplicated, confusing, and increasingly bizarre. But don’t worry – it’s purposefully silly, it has one fanged tongue firmly in the corner of its mouth, and it’s ridiculously violent and perverse; in short, it’s wonderful. It will be difficult to write about any of this without getting into spoiler territory, but I’ll do my best to summarize the premise without giving too much away – it’s enough to simply say that there are tonnes of characters whose significance wax and wane drastically, and that certain story elements and twists are introduced which may be important and others which seem important but aren’t. A. Lot. Happens.

We begin with a young girl called Minami who is out with her friends one night. Out of nowhere, a violent gang enters the restaurant she’s in and murders everybody. They apparently let Minami live. Then a rival gang comes and there’s a huge shoot-out – everybody wants this girl. Turns out the gangs are from rival vampire clans and a prophecy foretold the importance of Minami, sort of explaining why they are fighting over her. Meanwhile, there’s a fancy pants party going on in an exuberant hotel. It’s an Invitation only affair, and while some of the guests seem to know one another, most are strangers who think they are being selected for some sort of game or dating show. Our host – Yamada – is a charismatic vampire of some respected standing and he informs the guests that they have been purposely selected because of their hyperactive libidos, and that in a few hours time an apocalyptic event is going to end all life on the planet. The sex fiends will be the last surviving people on the world and it will be their job to shag as much as possible and have as many delicious babies as possible so that the vampires have a never-ending food supply. That’s about the gist of everything, but a succession of new plot reveals and characters lets us know that there’s a hell of a lot more going on under the surface – literally.

It is a confusing show and I wouldn’t hold it against anyone who bows out early. Anyone already a fan of Sono should stick around, and anyone who becomes curiously invested in any of what’s going on – the story, the characters, the punk tone, the gorgeous and zany look and feel of the things – will be rewarded with layer after layer of bonkers goodness. Everything about the show is wildly over the top – the acting, the violence, the seedy nature, the secrets. Sometimes in a show like this you need an anchor to keep you grounded – maybe you find that in Minami, maybe you find it in the vampire K, maybe it’s your need to find out what the hell the point of any of it is – for me it was simply to enjoy living inside Sono’s brilliant, demented mind for another few hours. The story has plenty of moments of intrigue and the characters who come and go at a moment’s notice all have their charm, but it’s how Sono squishes all of these aspects together in an apparent middle finger to form and expectation which kept me watching until the end. If you’re looking for a satisfying story with a beginning, middle, and end which follows the outlined premise you’ll probably be disappointed, but if you’re after a big pile of wacky stuff to laugh at and tell your mates about all punctuated by moments of sublime cinematic beauty, then Tokyo Vampire Hotel may be for you. There’s nothing like it on the market now – I’m not sure if there has ever been anything like it – and there’s no-one quiet like Sion Sono.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Tokyo Vampire Hotel!

The Wisher

*Originally written in 2003

Spliced (Movie Review) | Bloody Good Horror

Another cheap horror movie which borrows heavily from both big and cult hits of the genre, but one which manages to be quite enjoyable even if we have seen it all before. There are some good performances, some not so good, a few typical scares and jokes (some which hit, some which miss), a fair amount of blood, a simple but well executed story, and quite a creepy bad guy. Probably not worth searching for, but worth watching if it is on TV especially if you are a horror fan.

Mary is a teenage girl with a love for horror movies, always searching for the next scare. When she hears about a new film called The Wisher which has been getting good reviews from terrified audiences, she and her friends go to see it, against her father’s wishes. Mary has a habit of sleepwalking which her father believes is caused by all the rubbish she watches. A short time into the movie, Mary vomits and leaves knowing the film is too much for her. After an argument with her father she wishes he would just go away. Soon her father is dead, and Mary believes she keeps seeing the Wisher creature from the movie. She becomes paranoid and after a few more gory events related to what she has innocently wished for, she believes that The Wisher, or someone dressed up as him is stalking her, obsessively carrying out her wishes in the worst way possible. She finds out that the film makers imbued the film with subliminal messages, and thinks that school hunk Brad, who likes her, has been hypnotised by the film. She tries to find a way to reverse the process, planning to watch the film to see how it ended. The Wisher is on to her plan though…

Although everything is pretty predictable there is still enough fun to warrant watching this. There is some cheesy dialogue and effects, and you would think that once you believed that your wishes were coming true you would immediately wish for The Wisher to leave. Liane Balaban is very good as Mary, at times carrying the film on her own, and Ron Silver is good though seems uninterested in a smaller role. The rest of the cast are OK, but the film is quick and never tries to over-achieve. The Wisher itself does look scarier than your typical cheap horror movie bad guy, and the director’s best moments are when the Wisher is stalking in the shadows or on reflections. There is not much heavy violence and nothing is over-the-top. Give it a go if it’s on, but do not expect a masterpiece, just a quick piece of entertainment.

Let us know in the comments what you think of The Wisher!

Life

Life movie review & film summary (2017) | Roger Ebert

If movies have taught us anything, it’s that travelling to space will either lead to jolly adventures with feisty bikini clad Princesses and furries, or gruesome/slimy/explosive death. Life explores the second option, placing the viewer in a realistic present day landscape rather than the not too distant future of Alien – one of several movies it is more than inspired by. By camping us inside the orbital real world ISS alongside a skeleton crew of cross-continental familiar faces, yet giving us fleeting glimpses of what is happening back home – births, parades, cute kids asking cute questions – Life aims to alarm us into thinking what if the guys up there right now discover something hostile?

We join our crew of six as they collect soil samples from Mars which may contain evidence of <insert title here>. Turns out there is life out there, of the single celled variety, and turns out the cell just needs a touch of glucose to get it up in the morning. One taste of sugar and the little bastard begins sprouting, stretching, and expanding. Like all babies, translucent or otherwise, it wants to explore and wreck shit. Once named (by some cute Earthlings), Calvin crushes his daddy’s hand, yeets out, and begins an adolescent rampage. While the film has rightly been called an inferior mixture of Gravity and Alien, it’s probably more accurate to say that it’s a retelling of every parent’s experience with a toddler ever, with more CG. Like every movie set in space, there’s a frantic race against time, lots of clamouring to solve impossible problems, and people picked off one by one as they fight for survival and try to prevent the ever growing, increasingly wobbly Calvin making his way to the good ol’ US of Earth.

It’s a fine watch from start to finish, without really offering anything new. It feels more like a case of updating every aspect of the movies it apes; updated special effects, updated creature effects, updated dialogue – everything to make the film more appealing to today’s audience. The only time the movie puts its neck on the line is with its ending – a refreshingly un-Hollywood ending but one you know is coming so that, once again, it comes as no surprise and dilutes any shock value it was meant to generate. Most attempts at fleshing out each character – and to the film’s credit it does try to do this – most of these attempts feel trite and not genuine. Rather than any individuality, the film offers a stock archetype and then gives each one a single thing which marks them as different from the other. Sanada is Japanese, and has a kid on the way. There’s the disabled dude who, for some reason, becomes obsessive at bringing Calvin to life, Gyllenhaal is calm and cold, but is perfectly happy living in Space, Ryan Reynolds is Ryan Reynolds etc. Each aspect totalled up amounts to a perfectly average film – if you haven’t seen Alien or Gravity then maybe this will have more of an impact on you and for a night in it passes the time without forcing you to think or become too invested, while equally staving off the boredom.

Let us know what you think of Life in the comments!