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Resident Evil Welcome To Raccoon City Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

The excitement was palpable for this movie. I have loved the world of Resident evil for as long as I can remember. When a new game drops it feels like and event. I even love the animated films and can have some fun with some of the Anderson films. So, it goes without saying after the trailer dropped, was counting down the days. So, lets take the trip back to Raccoon City and see how well they did, shall we.

Synopsis

The movie kicks us off showing Claire as a little girl, at the Raccoon City Orphanage. Being awaken in the middle of the night. Seeing someone hidden in the far end of the room. Someone she has seen before. Waking Chris in the process who tells her it is in her imagination and tells her to go back to bed, but she goes looking for her. Tracking her down in a tent. Learning her name is Lisa Trevor, when she reads the medical tag on her wrist and she lives below. When she crawls into the tent, Doctor Birkin pulls her out. Asking why she is up when Chris gets her out of trouble, with a sleepwalking excuse. Back in bed and she opens her eyes. Seeing the doll from the tent and a good look at Lisa. When she screams, we jump to her waking up as an adult. Getting a ride from a truck driver. Who lectures for screaming in her sleep and wanting to go to Raccoon City. Which is becoming a ghost town since Umbrella has been in the final process of moving out of town. Taking his eyes off the road to make a pass and grab her leg. Missing a woman stumbling out into the road and runs her down. Claire jumps out and rushes to her aide and while she is trying to calm the driver down to help move the body. She gets up and stumbles away. Not realizing she disappeared till the dog gets out and runs to the spot. Lapping at the blood. The driver pulls him back, telling Claire to either come or stay, but he is leaving. Cutting to Leon where he is just waking up and falls back to sleep at the diner. Where Wesker sets a ketchup bottle on his head for a bet with Jill to knock off, which she does and wakes him back up. Learning that he was transferred from his last job, thanks to his Dad, on the account of shooting him in the ass. Jill sticks around when everyone leaves to wish him luck and assure him it will get easier, and we see the Waitress has blood coming from her eye. Meanwhile, Claire gets dropped off, and while she is walking away., The dog starts turning and bites his hand. Back with Claire she arrives at Chris’s house. After the creepy neighbors staring and closes the blinds. Allowing her the freedom of breaking in. Seeing pictures of Chris as an adult standing next to Birkin. Chris comes down for a not so warm reunion. Seems Claire had runaway five years prior after spouting conspiracy theories about what Umbrella was doing. Getting worse when she tells him what happened with the woman and shows him a video of a reporter explaining that Umbrella is leaving because of years of polluting the water and now something worse had gotten out and what was left of the city was doomed. After a brief cutaway to Birkin getting a phone call and he gathered his family to leave. A siren goes off, telling the civilians to stay indoors. Chris gives her money, telling her to lock up when she leaves and goes off to the police station. When the neighbor woman appears at the back door. Writing out the words, Itchy, Tasty on the door and he kid comes through the front. Hiding under the table. Claire asks if they need help, but they say she is the one who needs help. Before Mom crashes through the door. Claire manages to fight her off. Getting to the bike outside and speeds off to find her brother, while the city erupts into chaos.

Review

I was a little worried when I heard they were mashing the events of the two games together. A lot of events to cover, but they really made it work for them. Never feeling like there was any wasted motion. Great pacing and always excited to see what was happening when they shifted from one character to the next. Escalating to a surprising conclussion.

While there was some excellent fan service, from Jill having lines like Jill sandwich and referencing the giant snake and spider. The truck Driver with his burger and brought the Mansion and Police Station to life in a beautiful way. They also made some changes to the lure and the story and for the most part, worked fantastically. The fan service bringing you to a familiar world, with slight changes that, for the most part (we will talk about a bad one later) but kept you surprised as to what may happen. Having the helicopter crash occur at the mansion and Sherry be found by Jill and Chris, instead of Claire. How they handled Wesker and Irons, but my favorite might have been with Lisa. One of the most tragic stories in the franchise and was nice to see her have a bit more. Could see Claire as a kid getting close enough to bond with the likes of Lisa and great scene of Lisa taking down a Licker and in the end, having the friend in Claire.

They had a really dark and gritty feeling that suited the world of Resident Evil. Loved they took the zombie transformation back to a more painful and twisted transformation instead of an abrupt one, with stuff like Itchy and tasty. Going heavy on the gore and mutations. All of which was a lot of fun and G-Birkin looked great.

The cast was spectacular. Kaya Scodelario had a fair amount of screen time and she killed it in her portrayal of Claire. Being my favorite character in the game, was excited over how well she did. Marina Mazepa was awesome as Lisa, with her hunched over movements and way she spoke. Robbie Amell not only channeled a lot of young Chris Redfield, but also looked a lot like him too. We didn’t get a lot of time with Neal McDonough’s Birkin, did excellent with bringing who Birkin is and I am really looking forward to see where Tom Hopper can take Wesker from where this ended. While, Avan Jogia did do a good job with what they had him doing with Leon, the problem being….

I hated what they did with Leon. He really was just a punching bag or the butt of the joke for most of this movie. It got to the point of where it was just sad, especially when he slept through the truck, flipping over and exploding in front of the police station while he is at the front desk. Great scene mind you, but expecting more from Leon S. Kennedy. Not expecting him to come off as action hero he would come across as later, but little better direction than this.

A bit more mixed, was the sound and it wasn’t just on me, but a friend I brought with me brought it up as well, where a times this sound gets to loud. It wasn’t throughout, but at certain points they could have dialed it back a few decibels a bit. Small nitpick, but when it happened, it got jarring.

So, what’s the final thoughts here? Floating between high B and low A. On one hand, I really didn’t like what they did with Leon. Could have been a better in between they could have gone with. On, the other, they did a lot of things right. You can tell they really do care about the world of Resident Evil. Entwinning fan service, with changes that did work, and most of them did work and it does far out weigh the negative. I want to see more come from this and hope the likes of Jill and Leon can get more in sequels. I do suggest going to check this out in theaters, for it has a lot to offer, especially for fans of the games. Final grade – A –

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As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

Saturday Sequel presents HellBound: Hellraiser 2

By Paul Anthony

Okay Okay, I get it, I am behind with posting this blog, trust me so much is going on, so just bare with me. Now Justin recently did our classic 13 blog on Hellraiser, so it was a no brainer then to do a review on the sequel, which was release just 14 months after the first film. Now I can tell you that I have watched the first film plenty of times and though, its creepy thought it was a good horror film and usually when films that have sequels come out so soon, they aren’t usually good. However there are few that are a good follow up and that is HellBound. The film was blessed with pretty much everyone coming back from the first film and this includes cast and crew. Only one who didn’t return was Andrew Robinson who played Larry Cotton, though there were a few reasons why that is though Andrew stated he wasn’t a fan of the script and his character was done anyway, which I do agree with. in replace of Robinson, they added Kenneth Cranham as Dr. Philip Channard, the film’s true bad guy. Now Let’s talk about the plot.

This film picks up directly where the first film ends in overall events. We do get a opening where we see Pinhead becoming Pinhead basically and we learn that he was indeed human in the British army and was known as Captain Elliot Spencer before he got sucked in the Lament Configuration. After that we cut to Kristy who wakes up in a psychiatric hospital pleading her case regarding her father and the events of the first film but they blow her off basically or so we thought. The head doctor who we would soon learn is obsessed with the Lament Configuration and after listening to Kristy’s story, Dr. Channard decides to take the bed from Larry’s house in which he then brings over a mentally ill patient to cut himself and the blood results in a skinless Julia being freed. They work out a deal where he brings her more of his patients so she can get all her skin back. Meanwhile Kristy keeps getting hints that her father is stuck in hell and needs help and that’s where we meet Tiffany who is basically a puzzle master. However Dr. Channard knows this as well and kidnaps her to solve the Lament Configuration to enter the world of pinhead. That’s where Kristy enters and confronts Pinhead who allows her to explore since she will be trapped here forever. She also learns that it was her uncle who made those hints to trick her to come to hell. At this point Channard has now become a cenobite himself but a more powerful one, even more powerful than Pinhead, which Pinhead and his team were killed by Channard, After Kristy convinces him that he was once human. In the end Kristy and Tiffany defeats Channard and escape the gates of Hell before it closes on them. But the film ends with a mover getting killed and another one witnesses a pillar rising out of the bed that Julia died on.

Now this film was pretty much on par with the first film. Though it didn’t stand out overall but at the same time it was on par with the first film which helped when you had everyone returned basically and you were able to wrap up everyone story and leaving the series open for what would be the third film in the series. Which gave part 3 its fresh start with hardly any ties to these first two films. If you like the graphics from the first film then you’ll like the graphics here as well. The acting was on par as well, so in the end if you liked the first film then you’ll like this film. In the end I am giving this film a B for a rating and recommend you watching this film if you have watched the first film!!

Halloween Kills Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

Well, here we are, in the heart of the spooky season and the newest entry into the Halloween Franchise has arrived and… had very little interest going into this flick. 2018’s Halloween left me disappointed. H20 being the last one I actually enjoyed, but nevertheless. I try not to let the past effect my opinion so, open mind as I could get and after two viewings. Lets dive in and discuss shall we.

**SYNOPSIS**

The movie kicks us off with Cameron, on the phone. Trying to find Allyson. When he finds Hawkins, who is still alive. Running to his aide, calling for help, with Hawkins saying he needs to die and he needs to be the one to kill him. When we jump back to 1978 and a young Hawkins trying to track down Michael after Loomis shot him. We see young Lonnie getting bullied till cops stopped to ask if they saw anyone. Telling them to get home and a murderer is on the loose. When Lonnie runs away. He has an encounter with Michael after he tripped, but Michael disappears when the cops arrive, Hawkins and Pete. Finding out that it is in front of the Myers house. Going inside and Pete gets grabbed upstairs. Hawkins rushes in, but Myers has Pete held in front of him, with a rope around his neck. scared and trying to do something to save him. Hawkins takes a shot and shots Pete in the neck. Taking the moment of shock, Michael attempts to leave. Hawkins stays to check on Pete while more cops arrive and we see Loomis rush in. Wanting to know if Michael killed again and we jump to today. We meet Marcus and Vanessa at the bar. Who asks a rowdy group to be a little quieter, the group turns out to be Tommy, Lonnie, Lindsey, and Marion. Drinking in the memories of the nightmare that happened to them forty years ago. Tommy even gets on stage to recount the tale. After we jump to Laurie, Allyson and Karen in the back of the truck they were in at the end of the last movie. The Firefighters speeding by to their chagrin. Going along with the Firefighters. As they try to put out the fire. One of whom, falls through the floor. Getting taken out by Michael and the next guy who tries to help and Michael gets free. Killing the rest of the Firefighter on his way. Catching back up with Laurie arriving at the hospital. Seeing one of the guards is Brackett, Cop from the first movie, now Hospital Security. Allyson goes to clean the blood off her hands and Karen breaks down while Laurie is in surgery. When Karen finds Allyson in the Stairwell, telling her the surgery was a success. Mourning the Dad and allows us to go see Michael take out two more people, before going back to the bar. Marcus apologizing for earlier and liking Tommy for telling his story. Him and Vanessa joining he group. When Lonnie gets a call from his son, Cameron. Asking for help. Leaving the bar briefly to see the Sheriff arrive at the compound and back to the bar for them to get the alerts and see the story breaking on the news. Tommy connecting it to Myers, while Marcus and Vanessa just want to get home. Heading to the car, when he goes back to get his stethoscope. Vanessa goes to start the car and startled to find someone is in the back seat. Rushing back in and Tommy gets the Old Hickory bat off the way. Leaving with a big group to go take out ” Michael.” When he attacks the car with the bat. The person drives off and crashes half a block away. Gone by the time they get there. Tommy, gets everyone to agree to round up and go after Michael and that is where I will leave it for now.

**Review**

The best part about this is the carnage and the placements. The kills were plentiful and Myers at perhaps his most brutal. From knives and fingers to eyes. Had a real fun scene where one of his early victims wasn’t dead so he put him over a counter and just started sticking knives from the counter into his back. While his wife watched helplessly. Suffering herself from being stabbed with a light tube. Cameron’s death was especially brutally, cause Allyson was trying to divert him, but he couldn’t be bothered with her at the moment. As much fun as that was, how he placed them was even more interesting. My favorite was him staging Big John and Little John in the position they were in in the photograph. The brutality was on point here.

James Judd Courtney does an excellent version of Michaels Myers. Bringing in a fair amount of intimation to his pace and menace in his body language. Plus, big props to the mask. Loved Scott MacArthur and Michael McDonald as Big John and Little John. Great chemistry and spent enough time with them to make their deaths hit you a bit harder. Andi Matichak was alright as Allyson and Judy Greer was better this time around as Karen. Jamie lee Curtis didn’t do much as her return as Laurie Strode, but was good at what she was asked to do and it was nice to see Kyle Richards return as Lindsey. Wish she had more to do, but nice to see her.

Alright, so this movie had a fair amount of good ideas and doesn’t really deliver on most of them. Lets start with the mob. I like the idea of the town turning into mob justice and can see why they would stamped the wrong guy. Large groups of people overwhelmed by emotions and not thinking, but they don’t let the aftermath mattered. Tommy, the ring leader in all of this just moves on. Moment could have been so much bigger, but they just move on to the next group of kills. The little things like Brackett saying he is turning them into monsters and Laurie saying it’s his masterpiece are dumb, because no. They did that themselves.

The end sequence is terrible. Opting for him to kill the mob and Tommy in these weird slow multi cut sequence. That was more off putting then good. Along with him just killing Karen in an anti-climactic way. Just killed her and cut to black and.. I think he killed the wrong Strode. Allyson is better then Karen, but story wise, seeing the aftermath of losing her child and what she would do in Ends, made Allyson the option to kill then what will Allyson do now. Not a full on negative, but nitpick.

Alright, I understand bringing original characters back and all. As someone who screams about wanting Jaime Lloyd back. My negative isn’t about that, but the way they used them. Brackett could be replaced by anyone. Only here to say the everyone deserves one good scare line. Had Nancy come back to replicate the same scene from the first Halloween with the ending where she dies this time. Tommy is here to say bad lines and pump up the mob. Lindsey was really good and pretty sure most of her screen time was in the trailer. Really wished we got something more meaningful for them.

So, this movie had a good idea and interesting approach, but fail to live up to it. What it does have is some really solid kills, brutality and a few good characters. So, not a complete bust. If you are into carnage candy or a hardcore Michael fan, would suggest it. Can have some fun but would only suggest stream it. Final Grade – C

As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

Hellraiser Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

This has been an interesting few months for Pinhead. Being introduced into Dead By Daylight as a playable killer. Then the other day it came out that Jaime Clayton will be taking on the role of Pinhead in the next movie. While I am very excited to see what comes from that. What better time to look back on the first. It’s spooky season and 13th. Hellraiser certainly fits the bill of a classic, so lets do it. Lets dive back and discuss shall we.

Synopsis

The movie kicks off with Frank buying the box from a merchant. Taking it back home where he works on solving it, kneeling in a square of candles. When a chain leaps out and snags him. We start to pan from room to room and when we return, find the room covered in chains and a totem covered in flesh. Seeing a woman cenobite putting his face together like a puzzle, while Pinhead closes the box and everything disappears. We jump to Frank’s Brother Larry and wife Julia coming into the house. Discussing the potential of moving in. Frank being gone and Larry doesn’t really care about it. An idea Julia does not seem sold on the idea. When he goes off to answer the phone, a call from his Daughter Kristy, who tells him found a room. She goes through Franks stuff and sneaks a photo. Before agreeing to move and they start on Sunday. We meet Kristy during moving day. While Julia is upstairs. Having a flashback to first meeting Frank and the affair she had with him. Brought out of it by Larry coming in. Bleeding from a nail cutting him. Needing her help since he can’t handle the sight of blood. Dripping blood on the floor that starts to absorb into the floor. When her and Kirsty take him to the hospital. The floor boards begin to shake and gore pile form and Frank comes out. Only, a shell of himself. Missing skin and flesh and just a bunch more. Later that night, when Julia leaves the Dinner Party early. Hears noises coming from the room and finds him. She tried to escape, but he stopped her. Asking for her help. The blood brought him back and he needed more blood to put himself back together. After remembering their time together. She comes back and tells him she will do it. We see her go out and pick up a guy from the bar. Bringing him back and killing him with a hammer. Allowing Frank to suck him dry, but he needs one of two more, and needs the quickly, before the Cenobites come for him. After the second, he explains the box opens the door for the Cenobites. Who bring pain and pleasure. That night she has to do everything to get Larry from going into the room. Then beg Frank to not kill Larry. When he gives her a choice. Get another or he is killing Larry. So, she goes out again, and brings a third. Which Kirsty sees her bring home. Since Larry asked asked her to go talk to Julia and see what is wrong with her. Rushing in when she hears the scream and is attacked and trapped in the room with Frank. Using the box to distract him and chucks it out of the window and escapes. Grabbing the box along the way. Getting far away but the trauma and everything getting to her and she passed out. Waking up in a hospital bed. Not letting her out of bed and even locked her in. She turned her attention to the box. Starting to solve it. Opening a doorway. Going inside and immediately chased out by a monster. She tries to close the box and the cenobites arrive. Going to take her away when she says Frank is alive. Reaching a deal. Have Frank confess himself and maybe they will let her go and that is where I ill stop for now.

Review

The gore and carnage candy was fantastic through. The practical effects on Frank rising from the gore pile and all the work they did with the chain cutting into him. The final look of Frank being held in place with all the chains and ripping him apart. This movie needed depending on the gore and they delivered big time.

On those same lines, the prosthetics and costumes were tremendous. All the stages of Frank looked wonderful. The Engineer was great and then there are the Cenobites. All having their distinctive look and personality that spoke through their look. Pinhead is legendary. Chatterer and Butterball were really cool and interesting designs. While I always found the Female Cenobite to be the most unnerving of the bunch. The needles and contraption opening up her throat. Way she spoke and small motions spoke volumes and worked perfectly.

For the most part, the movie was perfectly paced. Building to a wild finish. A really creative dark, twisted story. Of the punishment and chaos that is housed inside the box. Giving you just enough to entertain in the blood soaked violence and intrigue to not only entertain, but open enough to let your mind wonder about the mystery behind it and what more could be inside the box.

The picked up an amazing group of actors and actresses to bring the characters to life. Each of the Cenobites were excellent. Doug Bradley came out like a star, for Pinhead, but the others were equally awesome, with Grace Kirby as the Female Open/Deep Throat, Nicholas Vincent as Chatterer, and Simon Bamford as Butterball. Claire Higgins pulled off Julia’s descent into madness and turn to a villain nicely. Same with Andrew being nice guy Larry to Frank in disguise by the end. Oliver Smith as skinless Frank brought a terrifying presence to the performance. Last, but furthest from least is Ashley Laurence as Kirsty. Turning in a master class and staked her name as among the best Final Girls in horror.

While, I have no out right negatives about this one. I do have some mixed and it surrounds the dream and the homeless man. I did praise them about keeping enough to the chest, but these two things could have used a bit more time. Think she had one dream and homeless man followed her about, eating crickets at the pet store. He was the way to get the box back to the merchant of course, but a little more would have been nice. None of which is going to put much of a dent into what I thought about the movie though.

If you haven’t watched it. Now, is the best time to change that. Fantastic, brutal horror film that is the personification of an all time classic. Legendary characters brought to life by great performances. Fit for any Halloween Marathons. Final Grade – A+

As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

Nemesis Board Game Review

By: Justin Hopkins

It is the beginning of the most wonderful time of year and no better way to get things rolling then with a horror Board Game Nemesis. Made by Adam Kwapinski, Rebel and Awaken Realms. A big box game, inspired by the Alien Movies. Where, you or a group of friends take on the role of a member of a space crew, who is tasked to try and survive “Intruder” attack, while each trying to pull off a secret agenda each player has. Some could be team based or make sure it gets to Earth to the far more diabolical ones of make sure you are the only survivor but more on that later. With how beefy this game is, lets jump right in and start discussing shall we.

The Rundown

So, this is quite the large game and has a bit of a set up time. Even down to what side of the board you wish to use. For the first few games, would definitely suggest the starting side and not the hard side. Shuffle the room pieces and set them face down and topped with smaller tokens. That could represent stuff like slime, fire, broken or nothing. do the same with the engine tokens and random draw a coordinate card without looking. So you don’t know where you are going. Set up the monster bag accordingly and the Intruder Board with eggs and three hidden weaknesses that can be unveiled by taking a human corpse, alien corpse and an egg to the lab. From there you pick your character and their associated deck along with a corporate and personal agenda cards. Keep them both for now, one player gets the player one token and it is time to start the game. Everyone starts in the Hibernation Room with a dead crew member token in the room. You draw five cards and start your turn. You have two actions, some actions call on you to discard, one of which, is explore. Means you can go to a room, if it is unexplored, flip over the piece and the smaller piece to reveal what room it is and what is going on inside said room. Fire, broken, slime. As well as a number of items hidden in the room. If no one is in the room, you have to roll for noise. Placing a noise marker in that numbered corridor. If two markers appear in the room. Remove all the markers attached to the room and draw from the Monster Bag. Placing whatever Intruder miniature you pulled from the bag into the room with you. If their level is greater than the umber of cards you have left in your hand. A surprise attack happens and you have to draw a card to reveal the damage. Unless it is a larva, then you get an infected card and place him on your player board. If this is the first Intruder to appear, each player selects one of the agendas, Corporate or Personal, to keep and discard the other. That becoming their goal for the remainder of the game. Back on the board, you can fight the intruder. Which costs ammo and a roll to see how much damage you administer. Maker the alien and draw a card. If its health is lower you kill an. Higher it lives. You can also try to run and you can get cards to help. Otherwise, the alien may be taking one more swipe at you. Once a person has taken their two turns, it goes to the next and back and forth till everyone has passed or exhausted all of their cards. Which begins the Event Phase. The timer for Hyperdrive goes down one. Same with Self-Destruction if that is active. Draw an event card, Alien attacks or moves and draw a monster token and resolve what comes out. Pass the player one token to the next player and keep going. You can re-enter the Hibernation Pod when the timer gets to the blue, but you better make sure two of the three engines are working, otherwise the ships blows up. If a player has died, self-destruct gets to yellow or you have a key, you can try for the escape pod. Of course, both will require a noise roll and don’t forget to check those infected cards to make sure you are not infected, or you will die from that.

Review

This game might seem pretty intimidating to fist pick up. It is a heavy box, with a lot of pieces and a short story of a rulebook, but honestly, once the game gets going. Everything runs like a dream. You start working out strategies and dealing with the ever changing situations and sucks you right in and all the things disappear into the story and experience and the real trouble hits; how hard this game can be.

The phrase, and everything was going so well never rings more true then Nemesis. Had a game where we had all but one room explored and before we knew it; nearly every adult was on the board and the Queen was chasing me around. It did not take them long to finish us off. Another game where everything was going so well, when the card that kills you if you have a larva popped up and I was dead. So frustrated and so ready to try again, because when all the strategies pay off and you make it across the finish line. This game gives you such a raw, wonderful feeling of achievement.

I love the fact that this isn’t a pure Co-Op game. Sure you work together on some stuff, but you each have that agenda card. Which adds a whole new level to the game. You can be a good person, who is trying to do the right thing cause your goal is to save everyone or make sure we get to Earth, but they can’t be sure cause you could be lying cause you may have picked an evil card (me, I always pick the evil card) Which can be something as simple as get away with an egg or be the only survivor. Adding even more strategy and trying to figure out who to kill the others without it looking like it is on purpose. So many different ways to play and all depends on what you decide to do with your character.

This game is gorgeous. From the detailed board and so many cards. The miniatures are lovely. If you love painting figures you really hit the jackpot with this box and if you don’t. They still look great. A lot of love went into making the box and it shows.

I don’t have any negatives to say. It is more on the pricey side, but they really give you your moneys worth with everything inside. For Board Game fans, especially those who love the alien movies, will love this game. It’s even a fun game to play solo and a blast to play with friends. Couldn’t suggest adding it to your collection more.

As always, I hope you enjoyed reading and….

Thank You For Reading!

The Candyman 2021 Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

So, this is a little late. Wanted to have this up Saturday, but wasn’t able to see it over the weekend like I had planned and here we are. My excitement growing as we got closer, and doubling with me going back and watching the series again. With that said though, tempered my expectations. Knew that this was going to be a sequel to the first and people like Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen, but didn’t put much thought on that. Not expecting to see a lot of them and wanting to see what the new cast had to offer. Went in open minded as I could be and with about a day to think and process it over. Lets discuss.

**SYNOPSIS**

The movie kicks off at Cabrini Green in the seventies, with a kid, William Burke. Taking his laundry to the laundry room, about to leave when a man comes out of a whole in the wall, with a hook in one hand and candy in the other. We go back to the cops outside, who are looking for a suspect, when we hear a scream and cut to the title sequence. Catching up with Troy and boyfriend, Grady. On their way to visit Troy’s Sister Brianna and aspiring artist Anthony McCoy. During the visit, Troy tells the tale of Helen Lyle, but from the perspective that she was the villain. Killed the dog and all those people. Had tried to throw the baby into the fire, when the people stopped her, but she threw herself in while they were checking on the baby. They had a laugh over it, thinking he was lying, especially over the dog part, and Anthony looked it up later to see if it was true. Story on his mind the next day when the Curator doesn’t like his newest piece. Throwing himself into the idea of Cabrini then vs now after Gentrification, and Helen’s story. Going down to what was left and the new houses. Getting stung by a bee and meeting William all grown up. Taking him back to the Laundry Mat he runs and tells him about Candyman. That Candyman is a lot of things to a lot of people. In his case, it’s Sherman. Going back to when he was in that moment. That the man with the hook was a character who gave out candy to kids. One day, some razors ended up in the candy and cops came looking. Finding him when he screamed, beat, tortured and killed him. A few weeks later more razors in candy turned up. Sherman had been innocent. Now if you say the name, Candyman five times in the mirror, he’ll come and kill you. Invigorated by the tale, Anthony runs home to paint a picture of Sherman being assaulted by multiple white fists, and when he displays it at the exhibit, puts it behind mirrors, challenging people to say his name. When critic, Finely, takes him to task over tastelessly picking the worst parts of Cabrini for him own personal gain. He goes on a bit of a bender and gets into an argument with the Curator and Brianna is quick to get them both out. We stick with the curator after closing, him and his girlfriend are making out when she says Candyman five time, and they are killed. Brianna finding them the next morning. Later that night, we see Brianna having a nightmare. Of seeing her Dad, killing himself. When she wakes, Anthony is in the bathroom, cleaning a bee sting that is getting worse. He had a nightmare too, but doesn’t talk about it. Shaken up he starts looking deeper. Getting his hands on some of Helen’s notes from the school. In the elevator, encounters Sherman. Who gets close before vanishing. Rushing home. Frantically beginning to paint Sherman again. When he gets a call from Finely and he goes to see her. Promising Brianna he’d make an important dinner. Talking about his piece, when he dares her to say his name, when she excuses herself to go to the bathroom. While she is gone, he picks open his now putrid Bee sting, and he goes to put a towel on it. Calling her name, when he follows and Sherman appears in the mirror. Mimicking his movements. Only leaving when Finley comes out and Anthony rushes out. Moments later, we see Finely being killed. The news breaks as he is at the Dinner of her death and he rushes out. Going back to William who tells him that Candyman isn’t only real, but Sherman is one of many. Hive mind, and the first being, Daniel Robitaille. and I will stop there for now.

**REVIEW**

Well, lets start this off where I started the last two, changing of the Urban Legend, and they did a fantastic job, by not changing it, but branching off it. That Daniel isn’t the only one, and so many other Black Men who have died unjustly can become a Candyman of their own and it’s a seemingly never ending burden they have to wear cause unjust deaths never seem to stop. Allowing them to keep Daniel’s legacy intact but at the same time, shift the focus to Sherman and it came off very well.

I adored the Shadow Puppetry they utilized through for the flashbacks. Was delighted every time they utilized it. Such a fun and interesting way to tell the legends and flashbacks. Those who brought that to life deserves a round of applause cause it was wonderful.

The death scenes were all well done. Had an alright amount of carnage candy, such as the woman getting her throat slashed at the museum. Enjoyed how they had Sherman killing within mirrors and reflection. The shot of Finely, one of my favorite shots in the movie, of them panning out. Can see her neighbors doing their own thing in their apartments and in hers you see her being killed and head slam against the glass.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen the second, did a great job as Anthony. Was a likeable guy who made you care about his plight. Was easy to get behind from the jump and invest in seeing how he could overcome. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett was good as a bit of comedy relief. Michael Hargrove was perfect for Sherman. Playing the role as being a misunderstood nice guy excellently.

Alright, on to the negatives; what was going on with Anthony? Besides the fact that no one is pointing out his bee sting is going crazy, but they by the end is looking like… a beehive of sorts. What I think is that when he was captured and held as a baby by Daniel. He was feeding him honey and was able to use that to somehow be reborn in Anthony’s body.. I don’t know. They barely even talk about that either. When it was almost staged to be a big reveal. They needed to spend more time on Anthony’s story a bit more.

Felt like they could have either given Brianna something else to do, or simply cut some of her scenes to build on another stories. As sad as it was for her with her Dad and all, but it is an arc that means nothing in the long run and this one is probably more minor and annoying only me, but shouldn’t Sherman have been going after her as well. She was in the room when Anthony said it.

In the end, it was a fine sequel and gave them a place to go for more installments. They build off the first in a good way and branching the Legend the way they did was a smart move, but the negatives do hamper it a fair amount though. Especially the Anthony stuff. I would still suggest going to check it out for yourself though. I could very well have missed or overlooked something and you might enjoy this more then I did. Final Grade – B-

As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

Saturday Sequel Presents A Quiet Place part 2

By Paul Anthony

Earlier in the week, I got a chance to review the first film in this series after some time of wanting to watch it, so it is only natural that we talk about the sequel for this edition of Saturday Sequel. Now like many films in the early part of 2021, they were postpone since early 2020. Even now it is hard to talk about a film’s success because most studios have their own streaming services and so forth. This film was released in theaters and then 45 days later on Paramount plus. Now the film’s budget had grown a lot compared to the first one. The total budget for this film was 61 million compared to 21 million. In a pandemic box office the film still managed to be a successful film by grossing 296 million dollars. yes it was down from the first film but because of the situation, we won’t compare the numbers. The Main cast pretty much returns including Krasinski in a cameo role. The film did add a new main cast member in Cillian Murphy. Now most critics praised this film and even giving it higher remarks then the first film which is honestly rare these days but let’s check out the plot.

The film stars at day 1 where we see the Abbott family enjoying their oldest son’s baseball game, Lee arrives late though he was picking up some fruit and caught a glimpses of a news report of attack but blows it off. At the game the fans notices an explosion in the sky and soon after begins flee the ballpark and right after they do, the creatures start to attack everyone that makes a noise. Then we skip to the present and the family is on the move since their house was destroyed at the end of the first film. during their travels they break into a old abandoned steel foundry. But Marcus steps into a bear trap which he has no other choice but to scream in pain and at that point a man saves them and is to be revealed as the family’s old friend Emmett, who tells them they need to leave soon because they can’t stay here with him. Evelyn pleads with him. At the same time Regan starts to realize the song that plays on the radio is a clue and determines to find help and armed with the knowledge on how to defeat them she sneaks away and soon after Emmett goes after her to save her but in the process she explains the clues and at first Emmett seems like he is still shady and leaves Regan with no weapons or anything only to come back to their hideout and reveals he found a boat. The two travel to the dock and are basically attack by feral humans. As a last ditch effort to survive Emmett makes noise to attract the creatures. during this battle we learn as well as the characters that these creatures can’t swim and travel to this island where they see people living as if nothing ever happened. There they are told that the coast guard put out signals to tell people that and now Emmett tells Regan that she was right about him that he is nothing like Lee but She is just like her father. However the creatures manage to travel by boat and begin to attack the people but at a radio tower Regan manages to turn her hearing aid and once again kills the creatures and sends out a warning and plays the sound of her hearing aid and the film ends with the idea that the humans will get ready to fight.

I have to say that this is no doubt a great follow up and I really mean that. This film decided to built on the first and had a good story to go along with it. Everyone played a good role in this film and that was great to see. The mystery and the emotion continued to be there with the right combination of both. Them adding Cillian Murphy was a plus for sure and still manage to add Krasinski was a good touch and once again only giving the creatures a small amount of screen time was a great touch. In the end I am giving this film an A+ and label this as a must watch film. I am truly looking forward to the third film!!

A Quiet Place Review

By Paul Anthony

It is no secret that here at SmashWriting, we love to review movies and there are plenty of movies to review so there is always a backlog of movies and for me this A Quiet Place has been on my to watch list some time. I seen what the critics were saying and they all seem to be praising this film. The film starred real life married couple John Krasinski and wife Emily Blunt. The film wasn’t just a hit with the critics but fans alike. The film was made from a 22 million dollar budget but was able to make 350.3 million in its theater run making it a true hit. Now the concept of the film plus having a deaf character made it interesting because Krasinski didn’t want to cast a non-deaf actress to play his on screen daughter who was deaf, so they cast Millicent Dimmonds, which in my eyes was pretty cool to see. Now if you haven’t seen this film then please note that this review will contain spoilers!

The film starts with them showing that this film is taking place on day 89, here we meet the Abbott family, Wife Evelyn, Husband Lee, daughter Regan, oldest son Marcus and youngest son Beau. We learn that 89 days ago, aliens from outer space. These creatures who are blind but have hypersensitive hearing which forces the human race to live in silence, but add insult injury these creature’s skin is some type of armor that makes them immune to bullets and explosives leaving the human race defenseless. One day as the family is on the move the young son who was playing with his shuttle toy the sound is activated and before lee could save him the creature kills the young sound. We then skip ahead to a year later, the family is still struggling to survive but Evelyn is pregnant and almost to her due date, Regan who gave her brother that toy has been guilting herself over her brother’s death and feels that her father no longer loves her because of it. One day Lee takes Marcus’s on a hunting trip to learn how to take care of the family, Lee as it turns out is an engineer which he has been using his skills to learn how to fight these creatures and to restore his daughter’s hearing. Lee reveals the creatures travels in three’s and as long as there is background noise such as waterfall, and at that point Marcus tells Lee how Regan been feeling. Back at Home Evelyn goes into labor and on her way to the basement she steps on a nail and screams which alerts the creatures. at some point the family gets separated and it becomes Lee’s mission to save his kids which causes him life but not before he tells Regan that he loves her and always has. The kids return home to Evelyn and see their new baby brother. But fight is on and Regan realizes from before that her radio frequency from her hearing aid annoys the creatures and exposes a weak spot which they are able to kill it. Evelyn looks on the camera and see the other two on their way and now know their weakness the film ends with the mother-daughter team no longer afraid and prepared to fight as the film ends

Wow so where do I start? Let me say this , the film being nearly all silent was something new and refreshing and not seeing the creatures until the end really kept the suspense. The acting was on point, each death you felt it as well. You didn’t know too much about the family but you grew to love them. The one negative I had with this film was the way to defeat them made sense the whole but no one thought about it? Once the human race learned that these creatures could hear anything, making such a loud high pitch sound would have made sense once they knew. Besides that point the film was a good film in the end, I am giving this film an A for a rating and looking forward to watching the sequel.

Candyman Farewell to the Flesh Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

And the march goes on. One more day closer to The Candyman’s big return. We went through the first one last night so lets keep the train moving to the 1995 sequel, Farewell to the Flesh. Taking the titular character from Chicago and dropping him into New Orleans, while digging deeper into the lore at the same time. Lets jump in and see how the shift paid off for them.

**SYNOPSIS**

The movie starts with Professor Purcell going through the story of The Candyman, giving him a name, Daniel Tobitaille, during an event at a book store promoting his book on the Candyman. Bringing up the events in the first movie, claiming Helen Lyle was to blame for the murders. As she had taken such an intense obsession with the topic and turned herself into the Candyman. After being pushed a bit by the crowd. Uses the shine on his book to say Candyman five time. Which was to set up a joke of being attacked by an associate. All the while, a nervous guy watches from the back. Later confronting Purcell when he is walking down the street. Recognizing Ethan when he gave his name, and apologizing for his Dad dying, only Ethan yelled at him. Claiming his Dad came to him for help and Candyman was real and Purcell would be next. Shaken up by it, he goes to the bar. When Ethan attacks him and is thrown out. Yelling that he is next. The Professor goes to clean himself off, when the Candyman shows himself and kills the Professor. After the title card, we see Mardi Gras in effect and three more days till the start of lent. Hear the Radio DJ, King Fish talking as we meet Annie, as she is driving through. On her way to work. While King Fish is warning people not to say his name in front of the mirror. We meet up with her at her job as a school teacher. Student working on art projects. One of the kids, drawing a picture of the Candyman. When someone comes in and tell her their has been a problem with her brother, Ethan. Which she rushes to deal with. Stopping at her Mother’s house, who is drinking and upset about Ethan and the fact she has cancer. Together, along with Annie’s Husband, Paul. She tries to get him to talk or get a lawyer, but Ethan isn’t listen. Content with just confessing and taking the fall. When she pushes him, he throws an ashtray through the window, and he gets carried away. While she says she won’t give up on him. Trying to talk to the lady cop, but she won’t hear it either. Believing it to be a slam dunk case, on not only Purcell, but a string of other, including their Father. Later that night, she gets inspired by some old photos, to take a trip to the old family house. To try and finding anything that might be able to help her Brother. Finding a small group pf homeless and see the ruins of the old slave house out back. When she goes upstairs, she finds multiple graffiti pictures of Daniel and his death, till reached the final image of Birth of Candyman. Standing in front of a pile of skulls. From their, she goes back to work, in time to break up a fight between a picture, Matthew drew of Candyman being chased. Telling her that if you said his name five times in the mirror, he will come for her. In an attempt to prove that it is made up. She does just that. Having a laugh when nothing happened but Matthew is still upset. That night, she can’t sleep and Paul comes to get her off the balcony. Making her dessert, while she is in the bathroom, and Candyman appears. Telling her soon they will take a journey together, before disappearing. Rushing out of the bathroom, when she hears a clatter. Candyman having Paul. Annie, watching helplessly as he kills Paul with the hook. She tries to run, but he appears before her and she blacks out and that is where I will leave it for now.

**Review**

Lets start this off with how we did the first and that is talking about the myth. which has changed from the first, and as far as this movie goes, I did like it. I know a lot of people may disagree with that point of view, but for me. Kind of plays with the idea of hoe an Urban Legend works. How the point of it is there, but elements of it change based on location. The premise, being that he was alive and killed after falling for a white woman, and he could be summoned by saying his name five time. While some of the details changing and adding to it. Such as the location of his death changing and his soul being tied to a mirror. Which was what was allowing him to get around. They gave him a name, Daniel and that even calling him Candyman, was a horrible thing to say. An insult one of the kids in the lynch mob called him and the mob mocked him with the term. As far as this movie goes, I do like the direction they went in with the story.

This one definitely upped the gore factor. Racking up the body count and carnage candy in spectacular fashion. Getting the first kill in the opening sequence and settling just long enough to tell the story before ratcheting right back up. The death of Paul was both grotesque and hard hitting, since Paul was a likeable guy and they made his death a rather slow one painful one. While the blood splattering Annie’s face was a nice touch. They utilized the the hook in some fun ways. From slow and painful to fast, and the death by bees scene was particularly brutal as it would be. All of which gets a big thumbs up from me.

Once again, they handled the racial and social aspects of the movie very well. Not just with the cruelty and unjust scene of what happened to Daniel, but with the Reverend having to live with the idea that the cops would not help him find Mathew when he went missing. As well with the family aspect as well. Isabelle growing up never knowing about Daniel, but even Annie’s Mom refusing to admit that Daniel was related because she would be ashamed by the association. Leaving off on a bit of hope, with Annie including Daniel’s picture in the family Photobook.

I loved the fact that this story was set around Mardi Gras. Seeing the city celebrate and party, oblivious to the terror that is unfolding to Annie. Allowing not just her to slip through the crowd but Candyman as well. The symbolism of it all coming to a close, on the final day, and seeing her and Matthew leave it all behind at the start of Ash Wednesday.

Tony Todd was once again fantastic in the roll of Candyman as well as Daniel. Bringing out so much pain and agony and sorrow during his final moments alive. Making you hate everyone involved. Wonderfully bringing back the terror and frightening calmness in the Candyman when he talks. To the sickening joy he gets in killing. He had a great grasp on the character and the second time around he came back better. Playing off him was the wonderful Kelly Rowan, who did excellent as Annie. Who built up a really likeable character in Annie. Feeling the fear and desperation that continued to build up within her, but the sympathy she had for him was there as well. Knew she had to stop him, but did feel bad for Daniel. And we got to mention Timothy Carhart, for loveable Paul. Complete opposite of Trevor, and saved dessert.

This movie did have a bit of minor negatives. I feel like they could have done more with Detective Ray and Pam. Especially after Pam learned the truth. A little closer look at the Slave house before the finale. At least let Annie go to the front of it. A bigger negative would have been how little we got to know Matthew. Would like to know more about his story and how he got involved with Candyman.

With all of that said, Farewell to the Flesh was a much better sequel than what people give credit for. I enjoyed the direction they took the myth into. Building up on it and learning more his story. Diving into the family descendants. Loved the ramp up on carnage candy, New characters and return of a horror icon. All coming together for a great entry in the series. Final Grade – A –

As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

Candyman Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

Welcome to this months Classic 13 review… three days late. I know, I am sorry. Between getting ready for this past weekend and attending Rampage. Didn’t have enough time to get this one done, but didn’t want to pass this one up. Since we are less then 2 weeks away from Candyman’s return to the theaters. No better time to go back to the 1992 classic that started it all. A movie that I have only actually seen one time going into this when I was a kid. A lot of it going over my head and no really sticking with me. Now, older and somewhat capable of understanding things. It was time to give it another go. So, lets jump in and discuss.

**SYNOPSIS**

The movie kicks off with a title sequence, ending with a swarm of bees and Candyman talking, ” They say I have shed some blood, but what’s blood for if not for shedding. With my hook for a hand, I will split you from groin to gullet.” After a shot of bees overtaking the city, we jump to Helen, a grad student, listening to story of The Candyman. A babysitter who had a guy name Billy show up. Taking him upstairs and to the bathroom. Telling him the story and he said the name 4 times. When she sends him downstairs she says it a 5th and he came for her. Killing her and the baby. Billy managing to escape but went crazy. Hair turning white. She knows the story because her roommates’ boyfriend knows him. Meanwhile, fellow Grad Student Bernadette hearing a different story. Heading back to the university, a little annoyed by the way one of the students is looking at the professor, her husband, Trevor. She pushes on, because she is more upset that he is teaching the Urban Legend portion while her and Bernadette are working on their thesis. See her typing on a computer later, when one of the cleaning ladies overhears the recording. Knowing someone, another cleaning lady who knows about the Candyman. Telling her the story of Ruthie Jean, a woman who lived at Cabrini Green housing. Heard what sounded like someone banging through her wall. She tried numerous times to call the police, but they ignored her till it was to late. Finding her dead when they finally arrived. Believing it to be the Candyman who did it. Helen found numerous articles and the Ruthie Jean murder. Making a connection between Cabrini Green and her apartment tower. Showing Bernadette how the apartments are connected through the bathroom mirror. Where she said Candyman five time, Bernadette only doing it four, but nothing happens. The next day, they head to Cabrini Green, much to Bernadette’s chagrin. The gang catching sight of them immediately. Not messing with them, because they thought they were cops, but shouted a warning up the stairs. Making their way to Ruthie Jean’s. Where she climbed through the hole to the abandoned apartment. Taking pictures. Finding a massive mural of The Candyman on the wall. Along with an offering of candy before it. Coming back when she runs out of film, one of the neighbors, Ann-Marie, comes to check what is going on. After a little reluctance, not wanting them to bash those who lived here. That not all of them are bad. She tells then a bit more about when Ruthie died. How she heard her screams and tried to call the police, but no one came. Believing it to be done, by Candyman. Over dinner with a group of professors, we learn more about Candyman. 1890, he was the son of a slave who struck it rich. Allowing his Father to send him to the best schools. Where he became an artist. Sleeping with a woman he was hired to paint a portrait of. Father hiring a group to punish him. Chasing him down to where Cabrini Green would be built. Sawing his hand off with a rusty blade. Smashing honeycombs over his body and dying by bee stings. Burning his body to ash and scattered across the grounds. When she goes back, tricks a kid, Jake into taking her to where he claims the Candyman can be found. Taking her to the restroom outside. Telling her about a kid the Candyman killed. Was told that was where he is. While she is inside, a group of guys come in. One brandishing a hook. Calling himself the Candyman, brandishing a hook and hits her in the head. Leaving her out cold and bleeding. Jake calling for help. The police catch the man, because unlike before they do come and sweep the building. The man was the leader of the Overlord Gang, and with her testimony could be put away. Jake is upset about her breaking their promise. Afraid of the Candyman, which she assures him is only a myth. When she is well enough to finally go back to school. Making her way through the parking garage, when a man calls out to her. Seeing flashes of Cabrini, as he lulls her into a hypnotic state. Telling her that he was obliged to come because of her spreading doubt of his existence. Be his victim, as she sees a swarm of bees as she blacked out. Coming to on the floor. Covered in blood. Hearing a woman screaming. Finding herself in Ann- Marie’s Apartment. Head of the dog on the floor. Helen picks up a knife, going to see what is happening. Baby Anthony is gone, and Ann Marie attacks her. Police bursting in as Helen is defending herself and she is arrested and that is where I will mercifully leave it for now.

**Review**

I enjoyed what they were going for with the Candyman and the myth surrounding him. Way he feed on the fears and thrived by being the boogeyman of Cabrini Green. Way he had to go about targeting Helen when she threatened to debunk his myth with his “Congregation.” Way he masterfully tore down here life. Leaving her with no other choice but to come to him. Then the switch happened, by him reneging and she fought back. Dying as she saved the baby. Making her the new Myth of Cabrini Green. Which was a risky move , especially with great of a character they had made, in Candyman, but one that they paid off for them.

I like the fact they didn’t just make him another hack n’ slash serial killer. Candyman being more suave and sophisticated. The way he talked and his movement. Story based in sadness and racial inequalities. That his only crime was falling for a white woman. Then preying and feeding off the black community who can never get any help. His crimes being ignored and just written up as gangs. While people Ann-Marie and Jake are caught in the middle.

The prosthetics were wonderful. From the small stuff like Helen’s swollen eye after she was attacked in the restroom. The aftermath of Bernadette and Trevor and the hook for a hand was excellent. The burns on Helen were morbid in the right way. For a movie that didn’t show a lot of the actual killing. Went all in on the aftermath and a great job with it. And a massive round of applause to Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd for working with swarms of bees. Couldn’t even imagine the amount of tension they were under pulling that off.

It almost goes without saying that the actors and actresses were phenomenal. Tony Todd created a villain of the ages in Candyman. Bringing the look, style, and derangement to stay with you long after you leave. Virginia Madsen was the perfect woman to bring in for the part of Helen. Nailing Helen’s descent . Making you feel so much sympathy for her as not only Candyman tore apart her life, but her Husband was cheating and moved in his girlfriend after she was committed and Virginia and Tony had excellent chemistry. Then you had Xander Berkeley, who played Trevor. A guy you just knew was cheating on Helen and became more unlikeable as you went and seeing him get his comeuppance was the cherry on the top, and it was because of how good Xander pulled it off.

Most of my nitpicks I had going from my first watch was cleared up on this one. So, guess we will go into final thoughts. Candyman is a really enjoyable film that had a lot going on for it. Good carnage candy, tragic tale, social breakdowns. An excellent final girl and Iconic killer in Candyman. With the sequel right around the corner, now is the best time to leap back to where it all started with this 1992 classic. Final Grade – A

As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

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