For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for thrillers (okay, not exactly “horrors“!) Breaking In & Searching…
Breaking In (2018)
Directed by James McTeigue
Starring: Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Ajiona Alexus, Levi Meaden, Seth Carr, Mark Furze, Jason George, Christa Miller, Damien Leake
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film follows a mother who must protect her children after the mansion of her recently deceased father is invaded by burglars.
My Brief Opinion:
This film wasn’t too bad as far as lightweight “PG-13-Style” home invasion movies go. Is it a bit cheesy? Of course! But is the family likable and do you want them to survive? Yep! Good enough. What more do you need from this sort of movie? I wasn’t expecting something Oscar-worthy here. Gabrielle Union was good and I loved that she was pretty kick-ass for a mother but also not unrealistically so. I actually hate movies like this where a character makes no mistakes whatsoever – that’s unrealistic as we’d all fuck things up in this sort of situation in real life. Wow – Union looks young, though. I had to look up her age and she’s actually a bit older than me. Damn. Lucky her! Well. I don’t know what else to say. This movie is flawed. It’s ridiculous at times. It’s far from perfect. But I liked it. It’s the sort genre we saw a lot more of in the 80’s & 90’s. I miss this kind of straightforward cheesy thriller sometimes. It’s not trying to be anything more than that.
My Rating: 6/10
Directed by Aneesh Chaganty
Starring: John Cho, Debra Messing, Michelle La, Kya Dawn Lau, Megan Liu, Alex Jayne Go, Sara Sohn, Joseph Lee, Steven Michael Eich, Ric Sarabia, Sean O’Bryan, Colin Woodell
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) Set entirely on computer screens and smartphones, the film follows a father (John Cho) trying to find his missing 16-year-old daughter (Michelle La) with the help of a police detective (Debra Messing).
My Brief Opinion:
I enjoyed this way more than I was expecting for a movie that’s all seen through a computer screen via Skype, social media posts, websites, videos, etc. I didn’t think the gimmick would work but the mystery of the daughter’s disappearance was intriguing enough to keep you interested the whole time. The story worked well, the father & daughter had good character development (making up for other characters having very little), and the gimmick didn’t end up being a distraction from the story like I feared it might. The pacing was also really good – these mystery thrillers can drag a bit sometimes but this was fast-paced and very engaging the entire time. I feel like I’m hyping this too much… It’s not exactly Oscar-worthy material but I’m impressed that its gimmick worked so surprisingly well.
– Belle de Jour – I’ve always wanted to watch this so was happy when it appeared on Amazon Prime. Kinky Pretentious French Shit! Oh man, this was so tame. I suppose it was saucy for 1967. But, hey, I’ve now watched my first Luis Buñuel movie so I can pretend I’m all smart and arty & shit. And I’d rather watch kinky shit than that Un Chien Andalou eyeball film of his. Here’s the synopsis from Wikipedia if you don’t know this movie: “Based on the 1928 novel Belle de jour by Joseph Kessel, the film is about a young woman who spends her midweek afternoons as a high-class prostitute, while her husband is at work.” Catherine Deneuve is lovely and very good as the frigid housewife who turns out to be a masochist who wants mud (or was it pig shit?) chucked at her like in that photo up there. She’s unsatisfied in her marriage since her hubby is so perfect and so damn nice. He’s actually quite a hottie (played by Jean Sorel) and a doctor and a total catch so you can’t help but feel sorry for the way his wife is unable to return his affections. It’s a good film, yes. It’s a classic. But it’s a bit boring by today’s standards. And if you’re a Fifty Shades fan (I’ve avoided those books & films like the plague), you’re unlikely to go for the artsy fartsy kinkiness in this. Deneuve can actually act, though, unlike what I’ve managed to see of Dakota Johnson’s work. – 7/10
– A Silent Voice – I’ve been trying to watch more anime beyond just Studio Ghibli so I checked this out as it’s available on Netflix. I have to say that this one was just “okay”. It’s certainly not up there with the Ghiblis or with the work of directors such as Mamoru Hosoda or Makoto Shinkai. It’s most similar to Shinkai’s work in that the story was a little too “YA” for me but, unlike Shinkai’s films, this one didn’t have the same level of beautiful animation to distract you from the, er, “YA-ness” (I made up a new word!). The story revolves around a teenage boy who befriends a deaf girl he had previously bullied at school when they were younger. The girl and her sister were fairly strong characters but the boy was a little hard to like. Overall, though, the characters weren’t as well developed as they have been in the other anime works I’ve mentioned. Considering that this film is actually quite long, I expected to buy into the characters more. The story also dragged and didn’t seem to really go anywhere until it just suddenly ended. This film was okay but I’d only recommend it to anime fans and certainly not as an introduction for someone new to this genre. – 6.5/10
– Truth Or Dare – I did NOT expect to like this AT ALL. Why do I watch so many horror movies I expect to be shitty?! Oh yeah – because my husband doesn’t get mad at me when I watch shitty movies without him. 😉 Anyway, this is a pretty typical cheesy slasher film filled with twenty-something twats. But as far as that sort of thing goes, I actually thought this was fairly decent example of the genre. A good bad horror movie! Here’s the synopsis from IMDb: “A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone — or something — begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare.” I’m a sucker for supernatural horror so was happy about that aspect of the film but know this doesn’t work for everyone. The story actually gave me a Final Destination vibe as this “curse” comes after these characters one by one and there’s seemingly no way out as they are forced to play along or die. The characters were somewhat better than your usual twenty-something horror twats, too. Most were even likable! Only two were assholes. I want to want characters to survive and will never understand why horror films often make absolutely everyone hateful. The overall story is a little predictable and it doesn’t exactly feel like we’re seeing anything new here. However, some of the truths & dares were fairly original and I had a decent enough time watching this knowing it’s slightly silly. The ending was also a bit stupid but, hell, what movie like this doesn’t have a stupid ending?! I’ve seen plenty of twenty-something twat supernatural horrors far worse than this one. – 6/10
– Breaking In – This film also wasn’t too bad as far as lightweight “PG-13-Style” home invasion movies go. Is it a bit cheesy? Of course! But are the family likable and do you want them to survive? Yep! Good enough. What more do you need from this sort of movie? I wasn’t expecting something Oscar-worthy here. Gabrielle Union was good and I loved that she was pretty kick-ass for a mother but also not unrealistically so. I actually hate movies like this where a character makes no mistakes whatsoever – that’s unrealistic as we’d all fuck things up in this sort of situation in real life. Wow – Union looks young, though. I had to look up her age and she’s actually a bit older than me. Damn. Lucky her! Well. I don’t know what else to say. This movie is flawed. It’s ridiculous at times. It’s far from perfect. But I liked it. It’s the sort genre we saw a lot more of in the 80’s & 90’s. I miss this kind of straightforward cheesy thriller sometimes. It’s not trying to be anything more than that. – 6/10
– Race To Witch Mountain – Almost forgot to add this one because I forgot I’d watched it. That’s because it’s… Forgettable. My kid is obsessed with The Rock, though, so we’ve been working through his movies. I wish I’d seen the original 70’s Disney film, Escape To Witch Mountain, as I’d probably prefer it. I thought this was a remake but it’s actually a continuation of the original story? Is that right? Oh well. The two original kids did have cameos in this, which is cool. Oh! And Meredith Salenger had a small cameo as a reporter named Natalie Gann. Excellent! I love The Journey Of Natty Gann! So I loved Disney’s nod to their other films but, meh, this movie was nothing special. I’m sure some kids who grew up with it like it but I think my own kid was a bit bored. It’s bland, wholesome, live-action Disney. Oh, but the girl (AnnaSophia Robb) was good and was in a lot of these family films when younger. She was also in the excellent Bridge To Terabithia, which I’d recommend over this one. – 5.5/10
– Life Of The Party – Meh. I’m not a big fan of Melissa McCarthy or of this sort of comedy. But the kid likes McCarthy (like The Rock!) so I let her watch some of the less saucy bits of this. Which means I saw all of this. I suppose I maybe had a small chuckle. Maybe even two! They both revolved around McCarthy & her character’s friendship with Maya Rudolph. Those two are good together. I kind of feel the way I always feel about these sort of stupid comedies: it’s no more stupid than the stupid comedies with males in the lead roles. They’re equally stupid but the ones with female comedic leads receive unfair treatment that I’ll never understand. But I won’t get too far into that discussion within a review for this particular movie since, overall, this one is a bit shit. But McCarthy and Rudolph are fun to watch together. – 5/10
– Re-Watch: Single White Female – God, this movie is so shit. The acting is atrocious. Goddamn I thoroughly enjoyed re-watching this pile of shit all these years later while stuck in a hotel with nothing else to watch. This is the kind of cheesy thriller I was talking about in my Breaking In review. We had so many films like these in the 80’s and especially the early 90’s. I kind of miss these shitty thrillers with bad acting! Remember the movie Malice with Nicole Kidman & Alec Baldwin? That was early 90’s too. I loved that movie for some odd reason. Oh! And how about The Hand That Rocks The Cradle?! I kind of liked that piece of shit too. Man, early 90’s movies were crap. Anyway – Single White Female is kind of in the “So bad it’s good” territory. I love Jennifer Jason Leigh and her overacting here and Bridget Fonda’s, I dunno, underacting? Does she have any emotions at all? And how crap is this movie title? And who the hell doesn’t remember the high heels in this film?! Classic cheese. I kind of feel like giving this a slightly higher rating but can’t in good conscience do that… – 6.5/10
BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH
– The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn – I read this as it’s being made into a movie starring my beloved Amy Adams. It’s a “cheesy thriller” like I was talking about in my Single White Female review (though not as much fun). It starts out great and I loved the mystery and trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Unfortunately, like most of these sort of thrillers (other than Malice!), this one kind of craps out in the end. Disappointing as I was pretty into the story while reading it. It felt a lot like when I read The Girl On The Train – It’s a real page-turner but, by the end, I felt pretty “meh” about it. It’s better than The Girl On The Train, however, since the characters aren’t hateful as hell. I also loved the Rear Window aspect to this (my favorite Hitchcock film) and how the character had a thing for classic black & white Hitchcock-like films (I’ve added some movies to my Watchlist thanks to this book). Overall, it’s a fun read. It’s slightly forgettable but should make for a decent enough film. Here’s the plot synopsis from Amazon: “Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.” – 3/5
Now Reading: (I’m in the middle of both of these – I’ll review them next month)…
– The Rats by James Herbert – I’ve actually never read a James Herbert book before, despite loving cheesy horror novels. Enjoying this so far. Pretty damn gruesome. Was this never made into a bad movie?! I’d totally want to see that…
– The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – I started this book as it’s been made into a movie that was meant to come out this month but it’s now saying it’ll be a 2020 release. Not a good sign! I have to say, so far, I can’t see how they could easily make this into a decent movie. It’s also yet another YA dystopian novel (why can’t I stop reading this genre?!). Here’s the film’s plot synopsis from IMDb, which had me very interested: A dystopian world where there are no women and all living creatures can hear each others’ thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise.
TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)
– Kingdom – Again, have been too busy for TV so have still not watched this past the first episode. I really need to as I’m sure it’s SO much better than The Walking DREAD.
– Grey’s Anatomy – God I hate/sort-of-love this stupid show. I wish it would end so I could stop watching it.
– The Walking Dead – Fuck this show. Someone cancel this, please!!! I’m now forced to watch it to the end since I’ve wasted all these years on it! Help! I’ve fallen a few episodes behind, though – I hope they’ve killed off some more main characters.
BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH
No blog plans! But lots of March releases I want to see. 🙂 And I’m desperate to find the time to watch The Love Witch, which was on Film 4 last weekend.Thank god for one channel actually showing films beyond just the mainstream stuff…
– Border – Saw this too. Huh. It’s odd as shit! I’ll review it at some point.
– The Kindergarten Teacher – Meh. I’ll wait for Netflix.
– The Prodigy – A shitty supernatural horror about a creepy kid? That’s so ME. But I’ll wait for Netflix since I’m sure it’s bad.
– Under The Silver Lake – Intriguing synopsis and from the writer & director of It Follows, which I loved. But the reviews are meh so far.
– Us – This looks intense. Looking forward to this (and hoping it’s better than Get Out, which I thought was just “okay”).
– Five Feet Apart – More YA romance crap. Sounds like The Fault In Our Stars. Barf. (I’ll totally watch this when it’s on Netflix)
– At Eternity’s Gate – Will check this out on Netflix for Dafoe’s Oscar-nominated performance as Vincent van Gogh.
– Lords Of Chaos – This sounds interesting as hell. Not had the greatest reviews, though.
– Dumbo – I’m SO sick of live-action Disney remakes. And how bloody AWFUL does Aladdin look from the trailer?! But I’m a hypocrite and will definitely go to this because, well, it’s Tim Burton and Dumbo looks cute as hell (those big blue eyes!).
– Captive State – When I saw the trailer for this, I thought it looked like it would either be a massive turd or massively awesome. The IMDb rating now suggests it’s a massive turd. Oh well.
There wasn’t a lot of great music in the movies I watched in February. I’ll end with a song featured heavily in Breaking In. It’s not normally my kind of thing but I do like this song. It’s a classic. And there’s something weirdly menacing about it, which is why it worked quite well in the film. I SWEAR this song has been used in countless other films. It’s perfect for movies…