Archive for Mystery & Suspense

1212 Entertainment, CBS Films, Double Dare You (DDY),

Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, Lorraine Toussaint, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn, Austin Abrams, Kathleen Pollard

PLEASE NOTE: This link to Amazon is for a documentary about the book series “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” not the feature film that was just released. The series of books has been around for many years, but the movie is brand new and is not yet offered on Amazon”

The years is 1968 and Nixon is struggling with the Viet Nam War problem, but in this small Pennsylvania town, life is still pretty simple. The story revolves around a dead girl, child in a very rich and famous family who owned the factory that keeps the town alive, who has a deep dark secret. Four teens while exploring the deserted “haunted” mansion of the Bellows family discover a book, written by Sarah, which one of them takes home. Once the book is outside the house, all hell breaks loose and people are dying one after another in this suspenseful horror story.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark comes from an anthology of books, and follows the general format of things like Tales From the Crypt or Urban Legends, but the way it is put together is really very well done. This is an extremely scary film, using all kinds of methods to scare the daylights out of us. Yes, there are loud sounds that startle you, but there are also some really creepy stories with lots of scares that build from the intensity bit by bit. It’s just a well done story. Now, the down side of all this is that it really is designed for the teens, that’s for sure. They actors are young, and the story is about the angst of bullying and typical high school problems, so it’s really aimed for a young audience (hence the PG-13 rating). However, it was really well enough put together, that as a “senior” (citizen) I was also pulled into the horror elements of the story. It’s a dang good ghost story when you get right down to it. I did enjoy this movie, and though it is billed as a suspense thriller, which it is, it also is a darn good horror film as well and really satisfied the horror fan in me. I enjoyed this movie, and I recommend it if you’re a horror fan. I think it was well worth my patronage.

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Paramount Pictures, Raimi Productions,

Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark, Ross Anderson, Jose Palma, George Somner, Anson Boon, Ami Metcalf, Tina Pribicevic, Srna Vasiljevic, Cso-Cso, Colin McFarlane, Annamaria Serda, Savannah Steyn

Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is a self driven swimmer trying to make a name for herself in the sport. Her sister has married and headed off to the Northwest. The family is broken since Mom and Dad split up, and they don’t speak often. But a Category 5 hurricane is heading straight towards the little Florida seaside town where Haley grew up, and the sisters have not been able to reach their father to verify if he was somewhere safe. Haley recklessly heads to his condo, only to find he is not there and his truck is gone So Haley heads out to their old home next to the shore where he must be, only to hit the storm head on. Once at the house, with the water rising very fast, Haley finds that the town is abandoned and the town is quickly going under the storm surge and is filled with angry and hungry alligators that would love to have Haley for lunch. There’s no way out.

This is a bit of and unlikely story for many reasons, but it is a passable horror film if you gloss over the details and just enjoy the ride. The suspense and the action are top notch, and the scares are many. Like Jaws did for sharks, this film will fill your nightmares with snapping alligators. In fact, neither sharks nor alligators enjoy hunting humans for prey, but they make very horrific bad guys in this film. It is very fast paced and filled with extreme tension and suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Often, in horror films like this, the story is rather far fetched, but if the action and suspense are intense as they are in this film, I don’t really mind. I enjoyed this movie and had a nice time watching it on the big screen, and I do recommend this movie to folks that love to be scared to death and really get into highly charged suspenseful material like this. Well done, and I liked it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Blumhouse Productions, Wyolah Films,

Missi Pyle, Luke Evans, Juliette Lewis, Octavia Spencer, Allison Janney, McKaley Miller, Dominic Burgess, Diana Silvers, Corey Fogelmanis, Andrew Matthew Welch, Gianni Paolo, Victor Turpin, Skyler Joy, Kyanna Simone Simpson, Katira Banks

Sue Ann (Octavia Spenser) is a small town assistant to the town Veterinarian Dr Brooks (Allison Janney). But in a small town, people stick around and issues from decades ago still hang around. Erica (Juliette Lewis and her daughter have just moved back to town, and her daughter joins a bunch of local kids who make friends with Sue Ann who allows them to party in her basement in exchange for some friendship with the youngsters. But as things go from bad to worse, they begin to regret their decision to make friends with Sue Ann who askes that they call her Ma, as she may have some deep issues to resolve at their expense.

This is not the movie you see in the trailer, and I really hesitate to put Horror as a category for this film, as it’s not really in any way a horror film. Oh yeah, the some blood and gore, and a lot of real terror, but this is a psychological drama to the nth degree. By way of well placed flashbacks spaced throughout the movie, we find out the story of what happened to make things the way they are today, and we do get a chance to understand Sua Ann and why she does the things she does. The story was unfairly hit by the critics who didn’t get what the film is really trying to do, and a lot of people went to see this with unrealistic expectations and they may have been disappointed. But I do believe over time the value of this film will win out in the end. It is a very good psychological thriller and very well constructed. There may be a few missed opportunities to turn up the heat a lot more on some aspects of the story, but I think they way they chose to do this is really very realistic. No one is all black or all white, and there’s not way you could ever come out of this not feeling something for Sue Ann simply because of the gravitas Octavia Spencer naturally brings to any role she chooses to do. I think she did an absolutely outstanding job in this role, and she really deserves a lot of praise for her performance here. I bought it 100 per cent and am amazed at her talent. Kudos to the director and producer of this film, as I personally think it was very well done, and quite impressive and very touching. This, unlike a slice and dice run of the mill slasher film, will stick with me for a long time. I really found this film chilling.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Screen Gems, Hidden Empire Film Group, Primary Wave Entertainment,

Joseph Sikora, Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Lili Sepe, Debs Howard, Alvina August, Lee Shorten, Carolyn Anderson, Caroline Muthoni Muita

The Russells (Meagan Good, Michael Ealy) are a prosperous young couple looking to buy a nice home up in Napa Valley to get out of the rat race of the city and they run across a beautiful house on a large piece of land, and instantly fall in love with the house. The buy it from Charlie Peck (Dennis Quaid), who is being forced to sell after some serious hard times, but feels like the house has been in his family for generations, and he’s not quite ready to give it up that easily.

This is a very intense movie, and Dennis Quaid is really equipped to play this Norman Bates like psycho very, very convincingly. This was creepy as can be, and had some very suspenseful parts to it. The only problem with the movie is that it has been done over and over and over again. This movie is so very predictable and exactly like so many other films with the same exact story, that it really made it almost laughable. I don’t know why they decided to make another film exactly like all the rest of “the guy is still stalking the house after you bought it” movies, but there really isn’t much exciting here except for Dennis Quaid’s incredible acting skills. It was fun to watch him practice his craft, but it was really hard to enjoy this movie considering it was so much like all the other films, it really seemed like a remake with not a single surprise. I have to say to skip this unless you find it on TV one of these days (probably not too long from now). It is a shame to spend your hard earned cash on this film because it’s simply a direct copy of so many other good films. The scenery is beautiful, the acting is very good, and it is suspenseful, so if you don’t see a LOT of movies, then you may really enjoy this one, but if you’ve seen the story before, it will likely disappoint.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Monkeypaw Productions,

Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon, Anna Diop, Kara Hayward, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nathan Harrington, David M Sandoval Jr., Madison Curry, Duke Nicholson

The Wilson Family is on vacation up in Santa Cruz, Ca near the seashore. They need a break, and some time to unwind. But after a visit to the famous boardwalk, when they return to the cabin, four strangers are standing in their driveway. As they investigate further, they determine that the four characters look like each of the family members, and as time passes, they definitely intend harm to the Wilsons, their neighbors, and lots of other people. It’s going to be a long night.

I wanted to see this movie opening weekend. I’m glad I did, as I’m starting to see a lot of whines and complaints about this movie, most of which are not really justified. This is a really creepy story with lots of violent actions, and a great deal of suspense. However, it’s not you usual horror film with no real story, just lots of loud noises and sudden jumps. This is a deeply dark and suspenseful story that is quite complex with a lot to think about and figure out. So those who just want another straight forward horror fest are going to be disappointed. You need to be aware that the story is a lot more complex than it appears on the surface, and be prepared to invest some brain cycles to figure it all out. Secondly, this is the second film from Producer/Director Jordan Peele. This makes it normal that people would want to put the two films (The other one is Get Out) side by side and compare them This is a big mistake because these films are not at all alike. Now on the other hand, there are some problems with this movie. It might be because it’s only Jordon’s second film, or it could be simply some bad advise. It’s also hard to discuss this all without giving away too much, but speaking generically, they took great pains to try to explain how this all happened. Unfortunately, it’s not a very good explanation, and leaves us with some really strange plot problems. It seems like the tried to throw in a twist in the end, as it seems proper to do, but it doesn’t work at all with the entire rest of the movie, and was very ill advised. Sometimes we are better off not knowing the cause for the crisis, and it is better to leave a lot more up to the viewer to determine what it all means. Still, I did enjoy this film (although my companions in theater did not) and I think it was worth the trip to see it. I do like stories with thoughtful questions and deeper meanings, and every horror film does not need to be a shallow slasher with no plot. I just wish they had done a little more work on the script to fix some of the problems in the story. This film would have been a lot better with a little more thought into the plot holes and how to plug them up.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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