I Am Lisa Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
I was fifty-fifty with picking this movie for B Movie Sunday. Had a solid enough premise and found myself circling back around to it the last few weeks. Thinking about it but wasn’t too sure about it. Have come across similar movies and they always seemed to be a let down. Found myself circling back to it again today and decided to stop putting it off and give it a shot. Lets dive in and see if it was worth while.
We kick things off with a woman running through the woods. Turning out to be a werewolf when she attacks the man. Only to be put down by the Sheriff. We jump to Lisa, going to work at a book store. Having a friendly chat with a woman named Mary about Werewolves and how Lisa doesn’t believe in supernatural. When Mary leaves, A group of women come in. Being led by Jessica. Who begins tearing into Lisa on everything. How she only came back because her Grandmother died and left her the store. Before stealing a copy of a Clockwork Orange. She goes out with her friend Sam later. Still upset but they can’t do anything since her Mother is the Sheriff. The next day Jessica brings the book back, and spits in her face when she opens up and her kiss is rejected. Threatening her when she throws her out. Having enough Lisa goes to the Sheriff, who tells her it was nothing. When she threatens to go over her head though. Her and her son, deputy start throwing charges at her. Then Jessica says she assaulted her to. When the Sheriff breaks her glasses she slaps her and the Sheriff knocks her out. When she comes to they proceed to assault her and knock her out again. Instructed Jessica to ditch the car in the River. Which gives Nick a chance to continue the assault in the woods. When Jess isn’t around to stop him. When she finally comes around later that evening. She is bitten by a wolf. She manages to knock him away with a rock, before blacking out. While a man watches from the shadows. Unaware of the woman sneaking up on him till she lays him out. This time, when Jessica comes around. She is in a bed and bandaged, by Mary. Who takes her home later that day. Trying to get her to talk but Lisa isn’t ready. Breaking down when she is alone and Sam comes. Checking her over, but all of her wounds, short of the bit have completely healed. Agreeing to take her home. The next day, after a long night. Lisa goes out. Needing to get air. When the Lycan takes over and she goes to pay a visit to one of her attackers and that is where I will leave it for now.
This story had a lot of things going for it and for the most part, they handle it pretty well. Had Lisa going through the trauma of what the family did to her. To not wanting to talk and thinking she could handle it herself. While being tormented by nightmares. At the same time blending with rise of the Lycan inside her. Changing her both physically and mentally. Slowly losing her hesitancy and leaving you to wonder how the changes would take her and if she could come back.
For a low budget film, the y did a pretty good job on the gore. The make up on the woman Lisa dunked into the deep fryer being a favorite. To Lisa getting her arms nailed to the wall and branded. While the assault scene started kind of bad, with them staying on the kicks for a bit to long. Amplified in intensity pretty quick and the state she was left in by the end was brutal. Make up doing a great job on it.
Now, we got to talk the look of their werewolf and have kind of a like/hate mindset going on here. I did like how she looked for most of the movie. With the bigger, shined eyes and claws. Even liked the teeth. Now, the look we got at the end was pretty bad. It just didn’t work for me. As I have covered before, I am very picky when it comes to werewolves and this didn’t do it for me. Would have been better to keep her the way she looked during the rest of the movie. Would have helped differentiate her more. Since, she was overcoming the curse. Something to keep her out of that final look.
Kristen Vaganos did brilliant as Lisa. Starting off as a really likeable girl who made you feel a tremendous amounts of sympathy for. Bringing out all of the trauma and the changes to perfection. While Manon Halliburton was an excellent enemy for Lisa. She came off a heinous and gritty. A villain who was not afraid to get her hands dirty. Than we get Carmen Anello’s performance as Jessica. Who, did a great job. This is not shade on her but, I don’t think we got enough of Jessica. She was playing with a certain degree of remorse over what happened and think that could have been a fun avenue to go down and even help tell the story of revenge a bit more. If she could have had more time to build off that and while not have a full redemption arc. But becoming aware and changing along the way. Leading Lisa to have a question at the end on whether she should forgive and move on. Unless, I read it wrong, than my bad.
On to some soft negatives. The movie could feel a bit slow at times. Some of the scenes do drag on a bit to long and could have cut a few minutes here or there to make things move a bit more. Like I said, could have used a bit more time with Jessica. For better or worse, she was the one who initiated all of this. Only to become a bit character in it. None of these hurt the movie. Just a few nitpicks.
At the end, I did enjoy I am Lisa quite a bit. From feeling sorry for Lisa and wanting to see her pull through all of this and see her survive the ordeal of the Family and be able to leave with Sam. To some nasty pieces of work in the Huckins Family. While this movie can getting pretty dark. Would suggest giving it a watch.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!
Willy’s Wonderland Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
I actually don’t know why I took so long to review Willy’s Wonderland. Feel in love with it from the moment I saw the trailer and wanted to get to it right away. Just kept getting pushed back. With how much fun I had watching The Banana Splits Movie and this was has Nicolas Cage. Perfect combination for Sunday Movie watching. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of Willy’s Wonderland.
The movie starts with an ad playing on a TV, while a terrified couple run for their lies. Being chased down corridors, where the guy gets pulled backward. The woman makes it to the Banquet Hall. While a Kid is watching on in horror. We hear a woman scream and blood splattering and we jump to the title card. While a guy is speeding down the back roads. Blowing his tires out on a spike strip. He gets a ride to Hayesville, by the chatty Tow Truck Driver, who tells him a couple kids stole the spike strip and he was the unfortunate prank victim. Meanwhile, we met Liv, who is dumping gas, and about to set Willy’s on fire, but is stopped by the Sheriff, her guardian, who takes her back home. Getting there in time to see the Tow Truck Driver arriving with the guy. When they drive off, she cuffs Liv to the radiator so she can’t get involved. Back with the guy, he does not have the cash, or the means to get the cash from the ATM, but the Driver has an offer to have him work it off, and we go to Willy’s Wonderland and meet Tex. Who offers to pay for the repairs if he stayed the night and help clean Willy’s so he could reopen for business. Which he agrees and is locked in. Getting to work. We rejoin, Liv, who is rescued by her group of friends, who all want to see Willy’s burn and see the nightmare come to an end. Which is that the Animatronic Puppets are alive, which we learn when the ostrich comes to life and attacks him. He takes out the puppet and shakes himself off and keeps cleaning. Determined to finish his cleaning job, no matter the cost and that is where I will leave this for now.
This was certainly it’s own bag of insanity. With the premise behind the Animatronics, coming from Willy’s being run by a Serial Killer. Who hired several others and they would kill families celebrating Birthdays, till they were raided by the cops. Before they could be arrested, took their own lives in a satanic suicide ritual. Which transferred their souls into the Animatronic Dolls. When they started killing townsfolk, the Sheriff made a deal to send them strangers, who they manipulated to entering for the night. One of which, was Liv’s Parents, and the Sheriff took her in after surviving the night. It is silly and over the top, but fit right in perfect for the story they were telling.
They knew what they were and had fun with the over the top nature. Having some crazy deaths and the fight scenes were a lot of fun. Utilizing Cage’s character perfectly. A guy bent on finishing the job. Couldn’t be bothered and created some really amusing moments of him stopping to go back on break and not worrying about anything while playing his Pinball Machine. While the others were experiencing a horror movie, he was just there and it was great.
Designs of the Animatronics all looked great. A lot of love and care went into making them. Each feeling special in their own ways. From intimidating size and presence of Gorilla to Sara Siren using speed and the way Cammy Chameleon lured Chris in. The gore was really well done. Know they had to bring it by the bucket load and they did just that. Really playing up on various different ways and methods the Animatronics can both kill and be killed. Both of which coming in the form of bloodbaths. The location was perfect. The child environment lending itself well with the horror themes. Especially with the fights between Liv and Siren Sara and Cage and Willy.
It was a bold move, making a character that doesn’t speak, but for the most part it does kind of work. A lot of entertainment trying to figure out his character from his behavior and mannerisms. While some were a bit cringe, they had way more hits and at the end. It all just worked better for it, instead of an onslaught of one-liners.
And that was made possible because of Nicolas Cage. Eccentric guy who can go all out and he did a great job at almost restraint. Letting most of the eccentricity out while playing the Pinball Machine. He was just a mute around the people. Giving little facial expressions here and there when it came in response to something they said. Beth Grant was a great addition as the Corrupt cop who was obsessed with the idea of finishing the sacrifice. No matter what she was seeing and how well this guy was dispatching the threats. It had to be this way. Along with Emily Tosta for being the only bearable one in the friend group. Huge shouts to Jiri Stanek, Jessica Graves Davis, Taylor Towery, Chris Schmidt Jr., Christopher Bradley, Duke Jackson, Billy Bussey, and BJ Guyer for being in the Animatronic Suits.
On to a negative, and that was the group of kids. I know I shouldn’t expect much from them. They are just there to die, but just a little bit more. They had to scenes with them arguing about going in or not, when they made the decision in the first scene. Could have split them up and come in for different reasons or something. Just make what they are doing make a little bit of sense, particularly Bob and Kathy. I get why they are here, need to check off that trope, but can at least make an effort for it to make sense.
And that is all I got. This movie is a fun ride, with murderous Animatronics trying to kill everyone who comes in and one guy dead set on just cleaning the building. This won’t be for everyone, but as far as I goy, I would suggest giving it a watch.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading.
Spare Parts 2020 Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
So, it has been a bit since I did a B Movie Sunday Review. Having a bit of an issue finding a movie that felt right to sit back and get into. When I found Spare Parts, at the store the other day and well, the cover told me everything I needed to know. Words Hard Punk-Rock and Grindhouse, with two awesome looking women, with weapons for arms, and I was sold. I didn’t even care what the synopsis on the back said. Definitely the movie I needed to use for this forum and know that I have watched it, lets dive in and discuss.
The movie kicks off with a tired woman, pushing wheel barrow through a junkyard. Wheel Barrow shown to be full of severed arms, and she has a robotic leg. When we cut to the band Ms. 45, Amy and her Sister Emma, Cassy, and Jill. Performing a biker bar. A Bar Brawl breaks out, when one of the guy gets on stage and gropes Amy, and she fights back. His Friends stormy the stage and patrons start fighting among themselves, and they fight off the friends. Cassy getting particular violent because someone touched Jill, who is pregnant with their child. Emma is not to pleased about any of this, and an argument breaks out between her and Amy when they are on the road, over everything that has been happening and having to perform at a place like that and Amy’s.. lifestyle. When one of the patrons, who took a liking to them, Emma in particular, tries to run them off the road. Emma tries to go after them, but blows the tires due to a spike strip. When a cop arrives. Calling in a tow truck and giving them a ride to the junkyard. Amy, Cassy and Jill are knocked out, by car exhaust being pumped into the room, but Emma was out on the phone. Finding someone trapped in a semi buried car and runs off toward them, but is intercepted by the fanatic and chloroformed. While they are under, the Doctor begins to amputate. Taking one arm from each of them. Leaving a bit of bone and metal connector. Amy comes to, being dragged out by a collar and chain. Guy attaches an attachment, with a machete at the end. Being taken to a make shift fight pit, where she finds the rest of her group. All with different weapons attachments. Where the people of the town and the leader, The Emperor. Calling them warriors who have to fight. Spill blood in the name of the Gods to help them prosper. The fight begins, but Jill does not survive the first round and they are tranquillized and taken back. to train for their next fight and this is where I will leave it for now.
This was a wild ride for sure and certainly creative. All of them weapons and various variations. From machetes to battle axes that shot out nails and chainsaw variations and the carnage candy was on full display. Close ups on the amputations. Skin being pulled away from the bone, faces being burned off in motorcycle wheels, and heads getting cut off vertically. Delivering on fun, creative kills all the way throughout.
While the story was serviceable for what they were going for. With The Emperor and the town doing all this in the name of their gods. A certain scene almost made this better, and that was during the dinner scene, where he admits to Amy that it was all a sham. Just a ploy to keep everyone under her thumb. Just a really nice touch to make him that much more despicable.
The cast showed up ready to make every bit of this work. Julian Richings was an amazing villain. From showing just how depraved he was with the baby “issue” to his dinner confession. Mannerisms and way he held himself, just aching to see him get his comeuppance. Ryan Allen’s Driller was a surprise shift throughout and Ryan played it perfect. Erin Noble as the Doctor was eerie peacefulness to her. Kathryn Kohut was a sombering as Lea that you wanted to see get through this nightmare ok, and than we get the Leading Ladies who absolutely killed it. Michelle Argyris as Amy, Emily Alatalo as Emma, Kiriana Stanton as Cassy and Chelsea Muirhead as Jill. They were such a good group at everything they did. Feeling like a real band and they had such great chemistry for them. Kiriana brought out the pain Cassy was going through having lost her Girlfriend and her unborn child. Amy’s rage and sorrow and wanting to see her and her Sister work through their issues to tear down the whole town for what they have down.
I loved the environment they build in this world. From the bar to the Junkyard. Giving it a gritty and dark feeling. Complementing the dark twisted nightmare they were going through and I am pretty sure the song the Ms. 45 sing at the beginning, will be stuck in my head for at least the next month. Was a great song at least.
Alright, onto the mixed, which is the end. It was fine. Defiantly not what I was expecting. If anyone would have taken over as Emperor, would have figured it would have been Amy. So, Emma was a surprise, but was thinking the Sisters would have gone on a bit more rage filled attack through the crowd. The final fight was great, and The Emperor’s Death was good and bloody, but just kind of expected more.
Negative, is the lighting. I know I shouldn’t be bashing this movie for lighting, but seriously, at one point a fight is going on and just flashing white lights for a good ten, twenty seconds and just beyond obnoxious. On a lighter side, the use of Tom being killed to build a rift between Amy and Emma was a bit dumb. No reason for her to believe that Tom was under the mask. Could have done something else.
With all that said, would gladly suggest giving Spare Parts a watch. This was a fun ride of a movie. Gore and carnage candy was stellar and the Actors and Actresses killed it in their roles. This is the perfect movie to enjoy with some friends, food, and drinks.
As Always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!
Fire City: End of Days Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
As I was scrolling through Tubi, looking for a movie. Gave this movie a passing glance. Was about to move on, but clicked to read the synopsis and was glad I did. One look at who directed was all I needed to be sold. Tom Woodruff JR, man behind the mask of some of my favorite monsters and creatures and excellent Special Effects Artists. Immediately getting hyped up to see how he would do as a director. Lets not waste any time and jump right in, shall we.
The movie kicks off with Andre cornering a little girl named, Lisa, his girlfriend’s Daughter, in a basement. Being stopped by Atum Vine. Who stopped it by saying he couldn’t allow him to kill her there, because it was bad for business, and he would have to kill her somewhere else. During which, Sara makes her escape and Andre simply leaves. When he does, we see the demon, that Vine really is. Moving from there, we see Cornelia reading a women’s Tarot Cards, informing her of her Husband cheating on her. Turning the next card to give her more, the women is startled, by the same thing Cornelia is, and that is the card turning to shattered black glass. Something she wasn’t suppose to see and Cornelia killed her. Meanwhile, Atum is coming back upstairs. Texting someone about having his weed, but no one answered the door. Cornelia quickly pulling him in to tell him what was going on. That the glass wasn’t blue which meant a new Interpreter, has entered the fray, or something worse and wanting him to keep his eyes open. Leaving her apartment, slowly going down the hall and snooping on all of the neighbors, who are all suffering in their own ways. When he is greeted by more demons, who owe him money and are not really playing ball. Just as he got back home, someone knocks and we get a bizarre montage of people coming to buy drugs from him, two of the neighbors who had been fighting earlier escalated far out of control to where one is locked in a closet and the guy is threating to kill himself if she doesn’t open the door. Uncomfortable tension forming between Andre and Sara and the Demons ae in their apartment eating it all up. It ends when Vine realizes that the guy never read his message about the weed and goes downstairs to check on him. Spotting blood on the floor and into Sara again. Who was collecting her doll and going to runaway. He tries to talk her into staying because as he puts it, life isn’t much better out there, but she calls him out. Having the power to stop Andre, and he is actually worse than Andrea because he doesn’t do anything. Before it can go any further her Mother violently drags her away and he goes on and finds Dooley murdered and blacks out. Having a dream of Andre cornering Lisa in a dark room, under a bright light. About to attack her when Vine saves her, and kills Andre. When he wakes up, finds that the people are acting differently. Andre is being a loving Step Dad to Lisa. Seeing her off to school. Dressed and going to go looking for a job. The angry couple are now lovey dovey and the demons are freaking out. With no one suffering they didn’t have misery to feed off of and would starve, without. Meeting up with Cornelia and she warns them of a disease that is affecting the humans and they must stay inside their apartment until they find out what is going on. Despite her vehemently claiming that it is a disease and showing him the Oracle Bones. Vine isn’t believing it. Showing her the body of Dooley and he pulls a red feather from a wound, but Cornelia again, isn’t buying it. Going off to find a cure and that is where I am going to leave it for now.
This movie was wild. I didn’t understand what was going on for the first day, but they were rather quick to fill in the blanks as they went and I rather liked that. They kept you guessing to what was going on and did a good job at building speculation. Showing that it wasn’t the people who were causing this but the demons and them descending into chaos because of it. Enjoyed the fact that no one was really “good.”. We saw Vine slowly change but right up to the end, he was a bad guy. Who was just as guilty as everyone else was. A true demon and I appreciated that. Too often they just call the lead a bad guy but this really brought us one.
Really loved the prosthetics and make up. Special Effects team really delivered throughout. I loved the costumes and make-up, on Vine and Cornelia. The roots and horns on Vine could have been a bit much, but they did a wonderful job at blending them into his head and around his cheeks and eyes. The shading of blue on Cornelia and swapping eyes at the end. Had some magnificent camera shots of them going between human and demon, but they did not hold back on seeing the demons in costume. Most of the movie was their demon form and hats off to everyone for making them look fantastic.
Tobias Jelinek was brilliant as Vine. Starting with a cold, calculating menace at the beginning. Expertly controlling the apartment, even the non-demons. He stooped the attack on Sara, only because he needed the suffer to continue, but as we see him warming up. Growing compassion until he succumbed in a heart wrenching plea to keep Cornelia from attacking Sara and when the shoe drops and we find out really happen you feel so bad for him. Than you had Keely Alona, who just hit you right in the feels. Selling her fear of Andre and her Mother to a tee. Making you hate Vine for not helping her. Danielle C. Ryan did a great job as the demon Cornelia. Having great chemistry with Tobias. The two feeling like monsters when they were together and feeling tension of love and hate and every argument felt raw and animalistic and they added so much depth to each other.
This movie does have some flaws. Something needed to be touched up here and there, but for Tom Woodruff Jr.’s directorial debut. It was certainly a fun ride. A different kind of story with a surprise twist at the end, that I would absolutely up for more movies from this world. Think they have something really special and different and would strongly suggest giving this one a watch.
As always I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading.
Swamp Shark Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
I had to take an extended break from the B Movie Sunday Reviews. After a string of movies that were absolutely atrocious and not worth taking about. Had to go back to a well that never seems to do wrong by me, a campy shark movie. There is an overabundance of them top pick from and so rarely fail to entertain. Now, this was not my original choice. Was going for another shark movie, but when I saw the title Swamp Shark, knew it was for me. Let’s dive in and see if this managed to break a bit of a bad streak shall we.
Starting with a group of people sitting near a river getting drunk and having a good time when the sheriff arrived. Kind of scaring them off. Some drove away and the others getting on a boat and sailing away. Which was a ploy by the Sheriff to clear the area. Bringing in a shipment of some kind, which arrives in a water tanker. Bucking hard enough to break the entire tank free of the truck and killing someone as it rolled into the river and a shark gets out. Sheriff telling the guy he was meeting to keep it to himself and we jump to a restaurant called The Gator Shed, with a pen outside alligators for people to see and learn about. Place run by the Broussard Family. Jason ” Swamp Thing” Broussard, his Sister Jackie and teen sister Krystal. Along with Martin and Rachael’s Tyler. While Rachael is talking to a mystery guy who has been coming in a lot as of late, a drunken Jackson makes a scene and while Jason is throwing him out, punches him in the face and gets arrested by a Sheriff who has been nagging Rachael for dinner and she uses that to get Jason out of trouble without actually agreeing to anything. Later that night Jackson comes back, looking to do something to the gators to get even, but freezes up when he spots the shark fin. Hitting the dock and knocking him into the water and devours him before breaking into the Alligator pen and starting to eat them. In all the chaos, Rachael wakes up and grabs her gun, racing out in time to see the fin. Took a shot but it swam away. While they were surveying the damage, Tyler ridiculing her for thinking it was a shark when the Sheriff shows up. Got a call last night over the gunshot and an officer was already searching the river and finds Jackson’s hat and then his arm. He wants to take Jason in but Jason tells him to come back with a warrant. before leaving to answer a call, says he plans on talking to the Judge and having the shut down. Fueling them to go on the offensive and with the help of the tracking chips from the gators, go to hunt down what did this and save their restaurant.
The story was pretty paint by the numbers. The shark wasn’t a normal shark but one from the depths of the ocean so is stronger because of it. Which is why he can plow through everything and such, but it was a rather fun ride. Most of the characters were fun and felt like a real family. Their love of the restaurant and believed they would fight to keep this going. Had some fun moments, good kills and a fantastic scene with a rope choke to help this movie stand out a bit.
I did like the design of the CGI Shark. Being from the depth allowed some freedom to design a different looking shark, and they came up with a brown scale looking design. Know that some are turned off by CGI but doesn’t bother me. I’m actually kind of glad they gave the shark a reason for being able to do what he did. Sure it is weak and out there, but it’s kind of better than just shrugging their shoulders.
There was one scene in particularly that I want to talk about and it was with the Life Ring Buoy. The guy fell in and they threw a buoy to get him out quick. Attached to a rope, and when the shark ate him and the raft and swam away. He pulled the rope hard and caught Sarah, Natacha Itzel, around the throat. Managed to cut her free, but did a fair amount of damage and she sold it so well. Before that, I wanted everyone on the boat to die they were that annoying, but she sold that injury so well, that she shifted my opinion and wanted her to live and speaks volumes for how good she was in that moment.
It’s kind of a shame we didn’t get enough of Jason Rogel’s Martin and Jeff Chase’s Jason ” Swamp Thing” Broussard. They were so much fun in general, but when they were working together toward the end was great stuff. Jeff chase was generally especially was a fun character. Just seemed believable character who fits perfectly in the role. While Kristy Swanson did a good job as Rachael.
Alright, on to the negatives. We really didn’t need the love angles going on here. Rachael had love interests everywhere. From the Sheriff, Detective Brycen and her Boyfriend Tyler and honestly, Tyler could either be dropped or needed to be toned way, way down, because he becomes obnoxious right away and keeps going and that goes to the party going teens. Outside of Natascha they were just so bad. It wasn’t even a paint by the numbers group we see in these movies. Didn’t even want them to die, just off my screen.
While I wouldn’t rank Swamp Shark to high up on the list of B Movie Shark Films, it was still a fun movie to watch. Perfect kind of movie to kick back and have some good laughs too and when it comes to it with these movies, that is all I ask from it.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
Mara Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
Alright first B Movie Sunday of the year. Wanted it to be last week, but movie I picked was a particularly bad one and didn’t want to start off on a bad foot. So, I pushed it back another week. Good, bad or in between whatever movie I picked was going to be what I ran with today, and movie chosen was the 2018 Mara. A sleep demon who kills people with Sleep Paralysis. Seemed like an interesting premises and wanted to see what the movie was all about. So, lets dive in and see what this movie has to offer.
The movie starts with a little girl named Sophie, being awaken by a sound and scared by the open closet. Sneaking out of her room and toward her parents when a she hears a woman screaming, coming from the bedroom. When she reaches for the door handle, the door flung open and her Mom comes rushing out. Screaming for her to not look and we see her Dad’s lifeless body twisted in knots. After a bit of an opening sequence. We jump to Forensic Psychologist Kate, waking up, going about her daily routine, before getting the call to come to the crime scene. Detective McCarthy wanting her expertise on whether or not the Mother was going to be committed. When she fails to get the Mother to talk, goes to talk to Sophie. Who is with her Grandpa. She is hiding under the bed, before he leaves says he thinks it was Dougie. Meanwhile, Sophie says it was someone named Mara. When Kate takes this to the Mother, she flips and starts to scream. Calming down at the station, saying that they had argued over him having an affair and that she was going to get a divorce. When they fail asleep, she woke up and saw Mara, the Sleep Demon kill him. This was all the Detective needed to hear and it is up to Kate whether she is going to a mental institution or be arrested. After a night, she makes the choice to have her committed and that night, she experiences Sleep Paralysis and sees Mara. Which gets her to relook over the evidence and finds the name Takahashi. Going to his house only to find him dead in the same way that Sophie’s Dad was. She tries to talk sense into the Detective that this had to be the same person that killed him, but he isn’t going to do anything without evidence. Leaving it up to her to investigate and learn just who Mara is and that is where I am leaving it for now.
Starting off, I really enjoyed the performance by Olga Kurylenko as Kate. Really making me care about her plight. Trying to do what is right by Sophie and her Mom and then Dougie when it became aware that he was next. Can fill her building terror, but was still selfless when Mara was coming after Sophie. Olga did a great job from beginning to end. Same with Craig Conway as Dougie, someone who evolved from someone dislikable to extremely sympathetic. He wants to help, but is riddled in fear of his own. Not wanting to die and dragged down by the lack of sleep and worked really well off Olga. And kind of wish we got to see more of Melissa Bolona. Carly was a pretty good character.
You hear people talk about terrifying experiences that they had during Sleep Paralysis and many have seen demons. So using it to make a story over a specific demon was a solid idea with a lot of room to play with. Having some real tense scenes and did like how Mara looked and moved.
Unfortunately, that rounds out my positives. I don’t normally like picking out the logic holes in movies. Just go with the flow and let the story play out but there were two big ones that I can’t really ignore. Starting with the least nitpicky one, and that is the death of Sophie’s Dad and the fact that it couldn’t have been Carly who did it, like physically couldn’t have done it. Which would not be this much of an issue, but Kate makes this same argument after the death of Takahashi. They even have two other suspects in Dougie and whoever he had the affair with. They don’t even bother talking to Dougie until the third death. I get that they are going for no one believing in Mara, but there is a line between characters acting logical in the face of supernatural and just being dumb, and they pass this line way to many times in this movie.
Now, Mara is awaken by a tragedy and when she has been awaken, is driven to people who carry around guilt and the guilt here is… thin to say the least. I guess that is where they were going for.. maybe. I mean, they did Sophie right. Sophie felt guilty because she talked to Kate and got her Mom committed, which to a kid would be a thing. Dougie killed two during his time in the war, by accident during what sounded like a battle, in which he was defending his squad. Carly felt guilt over breaking up her family with a divorce and Husband was guilty over the affair. Only two who actually sounded like they were guilty on something big was Takahashi and maybe Saul. Kate’s big guilt was… either getting her committed or not listening to Carly which lead to her death. The twist option so they could end on the death of Kate. A horrible decision in my opinion. Could have had her go eye to eye with Mara and accept the mistakes that she made and own it, which absolved her and ended on a listen, but no.
I don’t want to start the year off with a bad review, so I am going to do something a little different. I wouldn’t suggest this movie. Outside of some good performances, there was nothing much here for me to enjoy, but if you like demon movies and are generally freaked out by the concepts of Sleep Paralysis. Then you might be able to enjoy Mara, just don’t go in with exceptions. As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading.
Book Of Monsters Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
We are back again after a little break, sorry I will get better with sticking to a schedule, but here we are with another B Movie Sunday, with a movie from the U.K in the form of Book Of Monsters. I don’t normally get to watch foreign films, something that will be changing going into the next year, so was rather excited to sit back and watch this film. Lets dive in and see discuss how this one is shall we.
We start off with a little girl, Sophie, reading a demonic looking book of monsters under her blanket, when her Mom catches her. Laughing it off, being that it was a regular story for the two of them. Reading about Grota, before lights out, but before she leaves. Hears something from under her bed. Pulling a knife as she goes to inspect. but disappears under the bed. When Sophie goes to check on her, Mother comes up for a moment screaming, before a massive monster comes out from under the bed. Starting toward Sophie, but she wakes up. Older now, and about to turn 18 years old. We meet her friends Mona and Beth, who are going to throw her a massive happy eighteenth birthday party and while they are inviting everyone, have to invite her bullies, Brice and Arya, because they hangout with Jess, Sophie’s crush who Mona is trying to set up. They head back to her house where her Dad set up more of a childish party in sweet display. Gifting her the same book that she hadn’t seen since that night, before he left and they set up for the party, which started late and got out of hand. Leaving Sophie scrambling to keep things clean, while a mysterious redhead is going about sniffing people, before settling on one and took him back to Sophie’s room and getting her hands on the book and began to carve a pentagram into his chest and sacrifice him. All the while, Sophie is being just tormented by Arya’s prank of hiring a male stripper and unveiling her past in a mental hospital for all to here when they are interrupted by an attacking monster. Making quick work of the partygoers. Forcing the survivors into different groups and that is where I will leave it now.
I liked the concept they brought with the monsters. A monster each for the points of the pentagram and a stronger monster being a puppet master. Really loved the Plague Mask Killer. A simplistic look in comparison, but let him really move and looked menacing with is sickles. An interesting take on the Jinn and would have liked to see more from it, but fun while it was there. You can see where they get some of their inspirations from and played most of them nicely and made for a pretty fun story.
While it seemed to have a lot budget they did put a lot of attention in practical gore. People getting ripped to bits and slipping on body parts as they tried to run; all good stuff. The cheesy effect of the neon blood pouring down the wind shield of the car was spectacular. Taking you right back to cheesy horror of old and added a fun feel around it. Like I said, thought the Plague Doctor was the best, but the Shapeshifter looked good as well when it might not should have. Kept it lit up just right to maintain it’s presence.
The chemistry between Lyndsey Craine, Michaela Longden, and Lizzie Aaryn-Stanton was strong. Actually feeling like their characters would have been friends and when they were fighting the monsters, they were not swinging weapons around like seasoned pros. They showed fear and hesitation. Acting like normal people would in this situation. It was a nice change of pace having Lyndsey’s Sophie being a lesbian who has to save the damsel.
Negative wise, the bullies couldn’t have been worse. Would say they were paint by the numbers but Brice at one point simple just through his drink in Sophie’s face. I can’t get over that. Wasn’t even a set up. Just threw the drink. Lazy and didn’t really need two of them. Arya was good on her on.
Then there was Gary, who I did like, but they had him in this tense moment. Going to kill the Shapeshifter and save Jess and he stops to pee. I don’t have words. He could have heard a sound or saw something out of the corner of his eye. Nope.. he had to pee… yeah.
With all said and done though, had a fun time watching this movie. Fun characters and interesting monsters and some good gore. If you are a fan of cheesy horror, would suggest checking out Book of Monsters, with some friends and good food and drinks.
As always, hope you enjoyed and…
Thanks For Reading
Wendigo (2001) Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
A friend of mine suggested this 2001 movie for me to checkout and it was an easy enough sell. I like B Movies and Wendigos have a ton of interesting Mythology behind them. Making them prime for horror movies in general, but was eager to see what kind of B Movie someone came up with. Lets dive in and see if the suggestion was worthwhile shall we.
We open with a family of three, Husband George, Wife Kim, and young son Miles, were traveling up a winding Mountain Road when they hit a deer. As the Dad got out to check on the damage. A group of three hunters came rushing up in search of said deer. Being that they had been chasing it for eighteen hours and end up Mercy Killing the deer. Much to Kim chagrin. Not liking it happening so close to her already shaken up son. Getting her calmed and back in the car. George calls a tow truck which will take a half hour, but the lead hunter Otis is upset because they broke the deer’s antlers. Which will cost him money because of it. His buddies calm him down, but they wait with the dead deer facing them ion their truck till the tow truck gets their and then they quickly help them. Despite George telling them not to, but they get on their way to the cabin. Where George finds a bullet in the wall, but plays it off to not worry Miles. Who is really shaken up by the deer dying. After an altercation where Otis drives by them cutting firewood. They finally get Miles calmed enough to go to bed, but we see Otis hadn’t gone anywhere and is watching them from the window. The next day, Miles gets a small wooden figure from a Native American man who tells him a tale of the Wendigo. A spirt that can move and fly like a storm. That eats because of it’s insatiable appetite and will only get bigger and hungrier the more it eats and this is about a good place to leave it for now.
This was a slow burn of a movie with several flaws. First you spend a lot of time with the family to build up emotional ties to them, but George is largely unlikeable. Miles is fine I guess, but is lackluster during the climax. Kim would have been a better character to work with but never really gets to do anything noteworthy. You get a meaningful twist with Otis, but it isn’t handled right in the least and than you get to the biggest issue with the story and the fact that what they present as a Wendigo, isn’t a Wendigo.
Wendigo are humans that have turned into monsters through cannibalism. What they got here, is a spirit that seeks revenge on Otis through the totem Miles has. If presented like that, this would have been something a lot better. Could have found Native American Lore on avenging spirits and tailored the story better to that then manipulating a creature to fit a story that it doesn’t belong in. Costume didn’t even really look good. It might be a nitpick, but it is more than that. Would be like going into a movie where they tell you all about vampires, tell you it is a vampire, but it is really a zombie.
I try not to bash low budget movies for special affects or camera work, but it is especially bad here. You get so many images flashing and flipping through in front of you that a feel like they are just trying to increase the run time. Get random shaky cam shots of trees or just bizarre sequences that fail at building suspense in an way.
Patricia Clarkson was pretty good as Kim. She brought out the strengths of being a shrink who is a loving Mother and wife. Doesn’t really does much in the climax beside be handed George’s shoes after he died. Which didn’t make much sense and made even less by the fact she just leaves them in the middle of the hall for Miles to find, but there had to be some positives here and Patricia is the closest you are going to get.
What is funny is Larry Fessenden, who wrote and directed this, would go on to work on the screenplay for Until Dawn. A much better Wendigo story that does have similarities to this. If you really want to experience a Wendigo story. Skip this and play that and there are far better slow burn B Movies. So save your time and check out something else.
Sorry for the negativity. I hope you enjoyed all the same and…
Thank You for reading.
Sharktopus Vs Whalewolf
By: Justin Hopkins
It has been a long time coming for this movie. I have watched Sharktopus nearly an inappropriate amount of times and enjoyed Sharktopus vs Pteracuda and after the last few B-Movie Sundays. Kind of needed a fun goofy movie and had hopes fir this one. Lets dive in and discuss shall we.
We open to a water on the funeral on the water, with the Captain of the boat, Ray, coming out halfway through. Having no idea what was going on and made a scene out of it. His friend Pablo was the one to rent out the boat since he was out cold and made a scene arguing over it. Cut short when Sharktopus attacks. Taking down the casket and eating the widow when she went overboard. Earning him a trip to jail for reckless endangerment and Inspector Nita going to hit him with Manslaughter charges if the woman doesn’t turn up. Ignoring the warning he was shouting. Meanwhile we jump to the office of mad doctor Elsa Reinhardt with her patient Felix Rosa. A former Baseball Player who is desperate to get back to the league, but is slightly turned off by what he is hearing, but when he is laughed out of the bar. He has a change of heart. Meanwhile, Ray gets bail from Voodoo Priest Tiny. Whop agreed to Bail him out if they will bring him the heart of Sharktopus. Turns out Sharktopus is pretty well known, even having a Twitter page. Back at Reinhardt’s, Rosa returns for his procedures. She is prepared and ready. Going to inject him with DNA of various animals and shots it into him with electricity, She cut it off after awhile, but he commences another round before flat lining, She drags the body to the dock and dumps it in and on contact, he turns into half wolf half whale. Returning to the Doctor who feeds him the nurse and doesn’t take long for him to start rampaging and that is about a good of place as any to leave it for the time being.
Normally, can’t really bash the story to much. When your characters are Sharktopus and a Whalewolf you are not expecting the strongest of stories to back them up, and while this is really weak story even by these standards. The over the top carnage from Sharktopus was more than enough to cover some of it and Whalewolf wasn’t to bad. He was no Pteracuda, but passable.
But that might be the end of the positives for this one. Outside of the Sharktopus and some of the Whalewolf scenes. There really isn’t much to say about any of the characters. The Voodoo scenes actually slowed the pacing down to a crawl. Continuity issues glare its face in ways that makes it impossible to ignore. When the cop is inspecting the garage, the car door is open in one shot and closed in the next and they flip between the two shots making it impossible to ignore the mistake. There were scenes where Sharktopus and Whalewolf were fighting and the next they were separated. They really could have used a bit more fighting between the two of them to transition a bit smoother.
While this movie wasn’t as good as Sharktopus and Sharktopus vs Pteracuda. There is a decent amount of fun to be had with this film. So if you are a fan of cheesy monster movies. You might have some fun with Sharktopus Vs Whalewolf. As Always, I hope you enjoy and…
Thank You For Reading.
June (2015) Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
I am not normally a fan of possession films. Tend to all go about the same formula and never really enjoy them all that much, but going into the B Movie Selection. Decided top give one a go and finally settled on June. Mostly because the picture of the little girl with a bunch of knives floating about her seemed like a good time. So lets dive in and discuss the movie, shall we.
We start with a voice over of a women talking about a savoir, a child with two souls. One good and the other evil. A bit of a title screen and a ritual happening around a baby. With bright lights swirling with darkness. When the lead cult member is stabbed an things get out of control and everyone except one teen who ran and the baby die. We jump ahead to nine years and we see now orphaned June. Living in a trailer, with a bunch of other orphans and parents who collect them for the money. Which the Social Worker, Emmanuel sees through and tells her he can find her a new home, before leaving. That night when the other kids start picking on her. The Demon, Aer, comes out and fries the electricity and the next day during a BBQ. When one of the kids picks on her again. Only this time when Aer came out. Takes down everyone with a ten foot radius in a loud scream. Which got her removed from the house and place with Lily and Dave Anderson. A friendly couple who are a little taken back by her drawings, but more than thrilled to have a child. They take her to school and when she gets called on to answer a question in front of the class. She begins to bleed everywhere and blacks out. Having a nightmare and comes face to face with Aer. Turns out it was her first period and Emmanuel believes homeschooling is the way to go and the Mom agrees. Going into a montage of the three bonding, but mostly June and Lily. When Dave is taking pictures, we see a glimpse of Aer before the camera breaks and he begins to get more concerned after finding pictures of him scratched out and I will leave it there for now.
I didn’t outright dislike what they were trying to do here. Presenting this cult that were trying to bring this demon into the world to reset the world for nature and had some fun ideas set up, but didn’t take any time to capitalize on any of it. I loved the fact that Lily was the survivor if the ritual and June once again ended up back in her life. They could have played with the concept the Aer knew her and had some fun interactions with them. Could have had David really investigating and discovering everything on his own. Even have the occult sway him over due to his love of nature. They could have done a lot with what they were presenting, but only did a little bit of everything. Dave figured out Emmanuel from his pictures, only had a slight stare down between Aer and Lily and rather weak end with the Cult made very little sense. Especially when we have seen just how strong Aer is.
It wasn’t outright awful. June was an interesting character and liked the concept of the two spirits inside her. Seeing her coming out of her shell and finding happiness but Aer threatening to cost her that. Lily trying to take care of June to keep Aer appeased even at the cost of her marriage. There were some fun things throughout that kept my attention.
The acting was just alright. Kennedy Brice did a really good job as both June and Aer. Had pretty good chemistry with Victoria Pratt who played Lily. No one was outwardly bad, just alright.
The movie suffers from trying to tell a story with so much going on, with bare minimum effort to tell the tale. Had so much going on and instead of going into it. Just shrugs it off and carries on, without bothering to explore it and it is because of that, can’t really suggest it to anyone. Which is kind of disappointing. Don’t really like telling people to pass on a movie, but kind of becoming an ugly habit. Here’s to next week being better. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thanks You For Reading!