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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!

Ghostbusters Afterlife Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**Spoiler Warning**

And here we are. The newest installment in the Ghostbusters Franchise. A series that may not be very high on my must watch list. Have always enjoyed them for the most part. The first one being a solid all around classic, the second having its moment and even the third has its dumb fun moments. So, I went in knowing that no matter what, should be at least entertained. Now, that I have watched, lets dive in and discuss shall we.

Synopsis

The movie kicks off with something going on in a mountain, and we see a shadowed Egon being chased. Making it to his farm. Attempting to lure the ghost into a trap, but it goes wrong. Managing to hide another trap before the ghost catches up and kills him and we make the jump to his family. We see his Daughter Callie, single Mother of Phoebe and Trevor. Trevor being typical 15 year old while Phoebe is 12 and tearing apart the apartment electrical wires. The landlord shows up and despite her best efforts. Explaining her Dad died and she can get him the rent shortly, is evicted. Leaving the only place to go is the farm. While they are looking through the house, Janine showed up. Not only saying there was no money, but massive amount of debit and the farm. After, going out to eat, where Trevor lied about his age to get a job… to be near a girl. Phoebe’s chess board is knocked over and when she wakes up the next day, a pawn had moved. Moving a knight she goes off to school. Meeting her teacher Gary Grooberson and fellow student, Podcast. After a jaunt with Trevor at work, we see Phoebe talking to Grooberson about the Earthquakes that had been happening. Since they are not on a fault line or volcano. There shouldn’t be any but they have been happening daily. After class, Podcast leads her up to the mountains when she says she doesn’t believe in ghosts. showing her the etches in the side of the mines. Of some very familiar figures. When she does make it back home, finds the opposing Knight had been moved. Moving another, sees a piece move on its own. Going back and forth, when the devise she found starts to go off. Following it and the lights turning on. Leading her to the Living Room and a spot on the floor. Where she uncovers the hidden Ghost Trap. Taking it to school where Gary sees and geeks out over it, especially, when he realizes that it is not a replica. Telling them the story of when the ghosts attacked Manhattan and how there hasn’t been a ghost sighting since. Showing them the video of the Ghostbusters and Phoebe learning that her Grandfather was Egon Spengler. Deciding to open it, they wire it to a School bus and when it opens, we see what appears to be one of Gozer’s demons launch itself out and flees into the Mountain. Leaving Phoebe to start digging into what is happening and why her Grandfather was really out here for and that is why it is out here.

Review

They did a great job putting this story together. Weaving a solid mystery story for the kids to unravel while discovering who their Grandfather was. Re-learning who the Ghostbusters were. They didn’t ignore the events of the first movie and people accepted that ghost were real, for the most part. Since there hasn’t been the sighting the memory just faded and no one cared. Which was a lot better then they had faked it. Along with a good enough reason to bring Gozer back, with this being the spot for their return and they were about to rise in New York since the metal used in the apartment, came from this mine.

I thought the way they handled Harold Ramis’s Egon was really special and woderfully. It was strange going with Egon’s family. I get why, but out of the four, would have bet that he wouldn’t have had one, but they did a tremendous job at channeling his energy through Phoebe. Could really believe that this would have been Egon at that age. Have Egon be this great guy at the end who sacrificed everything, including his family to try and save the world and the end fight can definitely hit you in the feels. They even cut top black at the perfect moment. Stellar dedication to the late great Harold Ramis.

Think they did a great job on the look and feel of this movie. Having a real feel of eighties nostalgia. Going with a little town in Oklahoma helped with that a lot. Going with practical effects when they could was the right call. Although the Cg looked really good too. You can say they had a bit too much fan service at times, but I don’t think that was a problem. Most of which got a chuckle or response out of me and most of the people in the theater I was in.

The cast ranged from solid to excellent. Mckenna Grace did an awesome job as Phobe. Like, I said, really channeling Egon into her role. A socially awkward child who was trying her best to fit or ease the tension with bad jokes. While showing her strengths by taking the fight to ghosts and standing up to the likes of Gozer. Logan Kim did a great job as her friend Podcast. Being a great supporting character who got behind her and strong enough to stand on his own at the same time. Making for a perfect team. Emma Portner killed it as Gozer. Bringing out the same motions and aura as Slavitza Jovan had. Interactions with Phoebe were really entertaining and loved when she interacted with the original cast. Carrie Coon put a lot of energy and passion into Callie. Could feel her trying her best to raise two kids who are each pulling in their own direction and doing her best. Along with her on pain of not having her dad and only knowing him as the guy who left. Paul Rudd is funny in just about everything he is in and this role was certainly not different. While I didn’t care too much about Trevor at first, Finn Wolfhard did a solid job as Trevor. Which is perfect Segway to….

My only mixed take and that was I really didn’t care about Trevor at the start of this movie. I really just wanted to by pass the Trevor and Lucky stuff at the start because all the fun stuff was happening with Phoebe, Podcast and Gary. It’s apart of the mixed because this could very well change after another watch, but could also stay the same. Which is why it’s mixed and could very well be more on me then the film.

In closing, this movie did so much right. Provided an interesting story, good character work, and good mystery. Serving as a great installment to the Ghostbusters franchise and with what the post credit scene showed. Looking for a potential follow up and would suggest going out and checking it out at the theater. Final grade – A +

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As always, I hope you enjoyed and….

Thank You For Reading!

Army of Thieves Review

By Paul Anthony

2021 is a very interesting because not too many years have a film that is released and then its prequel just a few months later but that is exactly what happen. We had Army of the Dead but now we have it’s prequel Army of Thieves. Now much like the first film, this film was a Netflix film. Now this film wasn’t directed by Zach Snyder which to me made it seem like it would be a improvement. This film was directed and starred Matthias Schweighofer who reprises his role as Ludwig Dieter, now in this film it is revealed that his real name is Sebastian Schlencht- Wohnert. Filming took place in Germany and the Czech Republic from October of 2020 to December 2020. Which two months seems a bit short for a movie that is just over 2 hours long. Like always let’s talk about the plot.

The film begins with Sebastian and we learn that he lives a boring life as a bank teller. But before he starts his days at the bank, he makes YouTube videos on how to crack safes. However he doesn’t get a lot of views or comments. One day, he notices that he has one comment and that comment tells him about a meet up point which he goes to and learns that it is a safe cracking challenge. At first he seems over whelmed but by the end of the night he’s very cocky but wins the challenges and learns it was a scouting mission to join a team and the teams goals are to crack the three safes that are at three different banks that were created by the Legendary Locksmith Hans Wagner. As the movie goes on Ludwig does show off his skills and begins to fall in love with the leader Gwendoline who does fall for him as well but once the mission starts to fall apart Ludwig learns that the goal of the team was once they open all three safes, they were suppose to drop him from the team. After Ludwig out runs the police and learning of the betrayal he goes home but Gwendoline reveals she doesn’t want the money but the fame of finding the missing safe was more important than the money but also as the movie goes on Ludwig start to see zombies that aren’t there, however just as things seem to be right, they get caught but Gwendoline makes sure Ludwig escapes which he does and goes to California and the rest is history.

Okay, if your going go away from a zombie heist movie to just a heist movie then you are going to have to bring more to the table which this film does not. The comedy part was a bust as well because the jokes fell flat. Not every character should have a spin off and a character that barely had lines in the first film shouldn’t have gotten their own film. We had very little character development in my eyes, so in the end I am giving it just 60 percent or a D for rating, even if you did like the first film you wouldn’t like this film.

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!

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

When we did our review on the first Venom movie, I had some serious reservations about going in. All my doubts were proven wrong and ended up being a really good movie. Going into this one… all of those doubts had come back. Wasn’t to thrilled by what I had seen in trailers. Wasn’t keen on Woody playing Cletus. Thought he could do it, just thought younger would have been better. Then I saw the rating and wasn’t keen on that. My love of the Venom character was always going to get me in the door though. So, lets dive in and discuss shall we.

Synopsis

The movie opens at a reform house, where Young Cletus is talking to Young Shriek, Florence. Who is upset that they are going to be taking her away. Her powers were growing to strong to safely keep her locked away here. When they do come for her, Cletus is enraged. Banging on a window. They get her loaded into the van and start to drive her away. When she tries to escape with a supersonic screech. Only for the cop to shot her. Believing her to be dead. Except, she survived and is locked away in Ravencroft. We jump to today and we see Eddie talking to Officer Mulligan. Telling him that Cletus wants to meet with him. Venom is agitated and Eddie has to stop him from taking a bite out of Mulligan and actually pull him into the bathroom. After a brief argument. They are on their way to meet with Cletus. Who makes him a deal to give his life story if he publishes his words first. Which is a hidden message to Florence. On their way out, they spot sketches etched into the wall. Which Venom is able to draw later and uses that to find a slew of buried bodies. Which puts Cletus on Death Row. Back at home, Eddie and Venom are bickering. Venom is hungry and is fueled on something called Phenethylamine, which is found in brains and chocolate. Since they are out of chocolate. Eddie wants him to eat the chickens, but Venom refuses to eat Sonny and Cher. Caving in and they go to the store but don’t have any chocolate so it’s off to a chicken factory. Which Venom reluctantly raids. Taking control after. Running around. Arguing that they should be heroes and eating bad guys. Even breaking up a mugging that he didn’t need to get involved in. Only stopping his trek when Ann calls. Wanting to meet where they learn that she is engages. Which is devastating to them both. The next morning Venom is trying to take care and cheer him up. They receive a letter from Cletus. Wanting them to be present for the execution. Venom doesn’t want them to but Eddie insists. When they get their. Cletus starts in on him which sets off Venom. Who grabs Cletus, pulling Eddie against the bars and then Cletus against said bars. Allowing him to bite Eddie’s Hand. Getting a bit of his blood on his face. That we see begin to sprout into a Symbiote. That he eats. Eddie and Venom argue all the way home. Which turns into name calling and then a fight. Stuff starts getting thrown out of the window, chickens threatened and finally, Eddie sets off the fire alarm. Ensuing sound sends Venom Fleeing out of the window. Where he attaches himself to a passerby and leaves, but not before destroying Eddie’s bike and flipping him off. On death row, Cletus is hooked up and procedure for Lethal Injection begins when the Symbiote is awoken and Carnage is born. Killing everyone is his path as they escape and that is where I will leave it for now.

Review

One of best part of the movie is the relationship between Eddie and Venom. Outside of the fact that it gives some hilarious moments. The fact that it is a rocky relationship. They each have their own wants and desires. Eddie trying his best to help Venom, but with keeping them hidden and off the radar. While Venom wants to be out. Enjoying the Earth, being able to be a hero and feast on bad guys and it all adds so much to the movie and some of the best parts come from their dynamic.

I do like what they did with them. Him embracing Earth and genuine love fore life. His love of Anne was a nice touch. Thought I would hate the rave scene, but was quite wholesome. Just him liking being around people and then missing the fact that Eddie wasn’t around to enjoy it with him. The look was a lot nicer. CGI looked a lot better. Especially, when it came to the fight scenes.

Then there is the little things. Two of which jump to mind right away. One, they doubled down on the chocolate tease from the first and went into detail on why it was so important to Venom. Having the same chemicals as Brains and compatible of sustaining him. Then showing that Carnage is capable of accessing the internet. As much as I am okay with them changing the characters up, I love it when they get those little details.

The cast was pretty spot on. Tom Hardy does a great job as Eddie Brock and the voice of Venom. Same with Michelle Williams as Anne. Woody has always done Crazy well, and his work with Cletus is no different. Chemistry between him and Tom made for some great scenes. Naoime Harris was a nice addition as Shriek. Adding a menacing presence to her performance and the way she bullied the other characters and handled herself. And got love seeing Peggy Lu return as Mrs. Chen. Was a small role, but was fun when she was on the screen.

Okay, so I do have a few negatives. Two minor and one major one. So, lets start with the minor in Shriek. Now, yes, Naoime really was good, but the way they used her at the end was confusing and dumb. She knew screaming would upset Carnage and upset them both so they start the fight with her screaming. Then what felt like a random, arbitrary moment decided Carnage went to far and wanted him to stop. I get that they needed her around to round out the end, but could have been handled a lot better.

Second, and sure there are people who will disagree with this one, but it really needed that R rating. The first Venom worked with the PG-13 and Venom himself can work like that, but we are talking about Carnage. A character so heinous that Spider-Man questioned his no kill policy and really7 thought it over in the moment. That killing him may have been the way to go. Carnage killed a diner full of people when a reporter got his name wrong. Sure he has a body count, but it does not hit the same as it would have to see him get bloody and he needed that.

” That’s a red one.” That is what Venom said when he encountered Carnage. The reason that he did not want to fight him was because he is a red one. It is silly and Carnage does call him Father, in what felt like a throw away line. Venom talks so much in this movie and all they had to do was put a few more lines of him actually calling him his son and each generation is stronger then the last, but nope. That’s a red one was all we got. This is a short movie. Could have added a couple more minutes and this negative doesn’t exist.

So, after a day thinking it over. Breaking down the things I didn’t like about it and at the end of it all. They are not very damaging ones. I had a lot of fun with this movie. Especially the interactions between Venom and Eddie. The back and forward with Eddie/Venom and Cletus/Carnage. Movie had some great laughs and solid action and I would suggest going to check it out in theaters. Final Grade – B+

As always, I hope you enjoyed 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.

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