Audrey Rose (1977) & A Good Marriage (2014) Movie Reviews

I appear to have watched one too many horror films in the past year so I’m doing a special 2 for 1 deal for my dear readers. Today only! Get it while supplies last! I figured I’d put these two together as I don’t have a whole lot to say about either. I don’t mean that in a bad way – I really liked them both but, well, sometimes there’s just not a lot to say. This is why I’m not a writer… 😉 Let’s have two quickies, shall we?

Audrey Rose (1977)

Directed by Robert Wise

Based on Audrey Rose by Frank De Felitta

Starring: Marsha Mason, Anthony Hopkins, John Beck, Susan Swift

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A stranger attempts to convince a happily married couple that their daughter is actually his daughter reincarnated.

My Opinion:

This is the kind of supernatural story that’s right up my alley PLUS it’s set in one of my two absolute favorite decades (the groovy Seventies, when everyone looked like an ugly porn star) so I jumped at the chance to finally see this when it popped up on Netflix a while back. I love the pulp novel feel to the film’s story and I found out after watching it that it is indeed adapted from a book (with a great pulpy cover, which appears to have been partially used on that cool orange poster up above).

I find reincarnation a fascinating topic & thought this film had a pretty strong story. I’d probably enjoy the book (has anyone here read it?). The movie is helped by some very good performances, especially from Marsha Mason as the young girl’s mother & Anthony Hopkins as the heartbroken stranger who is convinced that Mason’s daughter is the reincarnation of his own daughter, who died in a car crash at the same time this girl was born. Hopkins was very convincing as a man, understandably, slightly crazed with grief while the girl’s parents were very believable as a loving, close-knit family who would do everything possible to protect their daughter.

Unfortunately, and I feel super bad saying this, the girl (Susan Swift) is the film’s weakest link. Which isn’t good as she’s the character who links everyone together… I can handle this as I grew up on 70s & 80s movies but younger people who watch these older films nowadays have to remind themselves that the quality of acting from children wasn’t in the same league back then. It still almost freaks me out how amazing Jacob Tremblay was in Room! Or Sennia Nanua in The Girl With All The Gifts (a fantastic “zombie film with a brain” that I highly recommend, by the way). “Bad” child acting was common in older movies, though, and I don’t think it’s the fault of the kids – I think maybe they just didn’t know how to direct them back then. But other than the girl’s distracting acting… Ha! That could be a song. Like Conjunction Junction! What’s your function? Distracting Acting! What are you, um, lacking? That doesn’t quite rhyme. What rhymes with acting?? I’m off topic! Now back to your regularly scheduled review:

I think Audrey Rose is a decent psychological thriller (despite distracting acting!) that’s been forgotten about as it’s definitely not at the same level as others from the same decade such as The Exorcist, Don’t Look Now, The Omen, etc. With so many greats being released at the time, it’s easy to see why this gets overlooked. Audrey Rose is more psychological than a full-on “horror” like those, though, and I’d compare it more to something like The Changeling (1980), which had a similar feel. I really did enjoy it and want to give it a higher rating but I have to admit it’s not perfect & I was sadly disappointed with the ending. It’s worth your time if you’re a fan of this decade & genre, though. I’m happy that I finally saw it.

My Rating: 6/10


“Distracting Acting! It’s DETRACTING!” *sing it!*

A Good Marriage (2014)

Directed by Peter Askin

Based on A Good Marriage in the short story collection Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Starring: Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia, Kristen Connolly, Stephen Lang

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
After 25 years of a good marriage, what will Darcy do once she discovers her husband’s sinister secret?

My Opinion:

I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I’ve read almost every single one of his books (other than The Dark Tower series & Carrie for some strange reason – I love that movie). I think his short stories are just as fantastic & I recently reviewed one collection, The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams, in great detail HERE. That took me ages! And two people read that post. Thanks, you two! 😉 Anyway, you would think it would occur to me that I’d read the short story this film was based on but, nope, I totally didn’t remember reading it. Then, as I watched, I was like “Why does this seem familiar?”. What an idiot. I worry about my memory lately. I think it’s partly why I keep this blog going! Someday I’ll look back at that Bazaar Of Bad Dreams post to refresh my memory on what I read.

A Good Marriage is from King’s Full Dark, No Stars collection & it’s odd I didn’t really remember it as it’s a good, basic story of discovering that the person you married isn’t who you thought they were. This is one of those very “straightforward” King stories. I don’t want to give too much away but this isn’t in any way weird or supernatural, which may be why I didn’t remember it as I usually love his weirdest stuff the most.

Joan Allen gives a great performance as the wife who must decide what to do when she finds out the truth about her husband (Anthony LaPaglia, who perfectly plays a creepy horndog). Allen is the true star of this film and helps elevate it from something that otherwise had the potential to feel like a made-for-TV Lifetime movie. I’ve always thought she deserves more recognition than she seems to get. I also found her quite attractive in this… She has that “sexy older lady” vibe. She plays this character well, going from vulnerable & insecure to a woman determined to take charge of the situation in which she finds herself. And… I like the ending! I’m so rarely satisfied with the conclusions to films of this nature that I feel the need to point it out when I do like an ending. So, once again, good job on writing an enjoyable story Mr. King! Sorry I didn’t remember it. I think it’s just because I’m getting old. Old but with a sexy vibe, hopefully!

My Rating: 6/10

Okay, this is totally stuck in my head now…

**Starting Sunday, join me for Creepy Dolls Week! I’ll be reviewing some “creepy doll” movies, including a Blind Spot review for yet another Anthony Hopkins film released a year after Audrey Rose… 🙂

Don’t Breathe (2016) Review

Don’t Breathe (2016)

Directed by Fede Alvarez

Starring: Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Stephen Lang

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn’t as helpless as he seems.

My Opinion:

I saw this a couple of weeks ago but figured I might as well save reviewing it for my October Horror Month. I had no intention of going to it based on the trailer but then it got a pretty high IMDB rating (for a horror – horror ratings are never too high). I need to stop looking at IMDB user ratings because the users seem to be more & more out of touch as the years go by. I’m making this sound like it was horrible now… It wasn’t. It was just “okay”. It’s the type of horror movie that I’ll remember very little of years from now except for one “shock scene” clearly meant to gross us all out. I saw this with a completely silent audience until that one bit, which got a big “ew” and a bit of a laugh. Gross. But at least it has one memorable part! I guess.

This movie suffers from one of my biggest horror movie pet peeves: Hateful characters. If you’ve seen the trailer & know the story, it seems like we’re meant to be on the side of the young criminals who break into the blind man’s home to rob him. Clearly he isn’t just some helpless old blind man after all but come ON – we need someone to root for in these films. Both the young criminals & the blind man are horrible people. Dylan Minnette was the least hateful of the main characters but, really, he’s still a criminal like the other two. Okay, the only character you really care about is the girl’s younger sister (the reason the girl, actress Jane Levy, is robbing people – to get her & her sister out of a terrible home situation). So that’s sort of a reason, I guess, to be on the side of a thief. But couldn’t they then make Levy’s character more likable as well?

Besides the decent reviews, I also decided to go to this as it was an interesting enough idea. Criminal teens find they have to defend themselves in a darkened home against a blind man who, unlike them, doesn’t need the lights on to defend himself. But that doesn’t really happen – there’s only a small part of the film in which they’re plunged into darkness. What’s the point, then? They clearly have the advantage of sight – it’s not that believable that this old man would so completely be able to hurt them. There’s a bit of him “using his senses” in creative ways but… Well, no – there’s not even much of that. This movie made me appreciate the Mike Flanagan film Hush, about a deaf woman terrorized in her home, SO much more. It was far more creative & the woman was a strong character who you were 100% rooting for. By the way, I’ll hopefully be reviewing Hush along with three other Mike Flanagan films at the end of this month…

I also realize that most horror movies are ridiculous so I do my best to suspend disbelief while watching them but there were way too many gaping plot holes to ignore in this one (and I’m not one to normally nitpick on this). The hubby loves to point these things out, though, so I got many comments coming from him during this one. The biggest problem for me was probably that THESE ARE THE WORST BURGLARS EVER. No way would these idiots have gotten away with all these robberies. They leave a huge trail with the first robbery we witness then again with the blind man’s home. I’m no expert on thievery but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t Google info about my target & his home or text my fellow thieves from within his home ABOUT the burglary I’m in the middle of. Plus I think the link between these burglaries had something to do with Dylan Minnette’s character’s dad working at the security company these homes use? Surely cops would make this connection pretty quickly?!? Ack.

Summary:

I didn’t totally hate this movie when walking out of it afterwards & I even thought it might be okay at first (when I thought we’d get to better know & like at least Levy’s & Minnette’s characters). A lot of the time I find that I like a movie slightly more after watching it & then thinking about it for a while (like when I reviewed Dario Argento’s Phenomena yesterday). Don’t Breathe is one of those rare occasions where the opposite is true – the more thought about it, the more I didn’t like it. If ridiculous plots & annoying characters don’t bother you and you’re curious about the one gross-out scene, go ahead & give this movie a go. Just be aware that a better title for this movie would have been Don’t Think.

My Rating: 5/10

**Thanks to the hubby (who was, I think, as disappointed with this movie as I was) for sending me a link to a fun website where you can vote on the main reasons why Don’t Breathe is “wildly overrated”. I’ve voted for a few myself but every single reason listed is accurate (don’t click the link if you want to stay spoiler-free, though). Vote on why this movie is overrated here: Ranker.com