Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Doing The Zombie Crawl

I'm back already. I don't know how many reviews I will get in this month, but I'm trying to put in a few anyway. I think after this review I will switch back to how I usually do reviews. Skin Crawl (2007) was the last DVD that I have from Netflix that I have had at home for a very long time now. After I get a review done for Top Horror Movies Club, which I haven't done one there in close to a month either, I will pick up with a Netflix DVD, instant watch, and something from home. I did record a couple of horror films to DVD, so looking forward to getting around to those. Anyway, lets see what I thought of Skin Crawl.

A long time ago, three witches are being blackmailed by three guys. In order to practice their craft without being told on, the three witches have to do whatever the guys want. After one of the three witches gets raped by two of the guys, and gets beat up by the third, she dies. The remaining two cast a spell so that any of their family is killed by someone in the future, revenge will be taken, even if it is from beyond the grave. Now in present day, Margaret (Debbie Rochon) is stuck in a marriage she no longer wants to be a part of. She knows that her husband Howard (Kevin G. Shinnick) is cheating on her, so she has decided to get a divorce. However, Howard and Sadie (Julian Wells), whom Howard has been messing around with, has come up with a plan to keep a divorce from happening.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting much at all from Skin Crawl based on how it opened. The whole witch thing was rather lame and way too long. I didn't really get the spell they cast, which you would think they would cast one to get revenge for their fallen sister, not for someone down the road. The sound made the actors hard to hear, even once the film started off in present day. To my surprise though, Skin Crawl got better. It was still a low budget film, and the sound didn't always do the film any favors, but writer/director Justin Wingenfeld does manage to pull off a descent little film. This was in part due to his co-editor Brett Piper, who came up with a different way to tell the story. We see events from the eyes of Margaret, and then we get the same day from the eyes of Howard, and then once again from Sadie. It was an interesting way to tell the story instead of having the little surprises come well after this first day. Even after we get by the first day, there are still some twists, that are easy to see coming usually. The story itself isn't really all that new or original, but they way that it was told gives it a bit of fresh air. The ending is really where the horror part of the story gets going, which is actually about as long as the start of the film I think. I was a little disappointed with this part of Skin Crawl, not because it was as bad as the start of the film, but it does feel very rushed.

I didn't think the effects would be much in this film. We do get to see someone get stabbed a lot, with a lot of blood to go with it, but don't see any more until towards the end of the film. While the effects are never great, they do a well enough job with them for this type of film. The acting was a mixed bag, I didn't really care a whole lot for Debbie Rochon, even though she seemed really into the role according to the making of feature on the DVD. I also didn't care for Kevin G. Shinnick either. Other reviews seem to agree this, sometimes calling him miscast in this film. Julian Wells stole the show here. I really liked her in this role. She provides the only nude scenes in the film, which ends up being just about every scene she is in.

Filming for Skin Crawl actually started back in 2002, but wasn't released until 2007, which give the film a slightly dated feel. Skin Crawl isn't a well liked film, with an average of just about 2 stars on Netflix, and only a 3.3 on IMDb as of this writing. I can't say that I'm not surprised by this, as I can easily see why people didn't care for it at all. The start of the film probably takes a lot of people out of the film, as it almost did me. As it is, it is hardly a great film. Still, I was surprised by it enough to get passed the flaws and enjoy the story, especially the way it was told. I wouldn't suggest that anyone go out of their way to find this one, but if you should come across it and if it sounds like an interesting film to you, then feel free to check it out. Outside of that, unless you are just really into Rochon or Wells, there isn't much reason to watch this one.
3 out of 5 Wonder if I have a witch in the family

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Beastly Problems

I started a review for a film called A Perfect Creature right after Halloween. I didn't get very far before I gave up on it, meaning to go back to it, but I never did. I don't really know why I didn't, as I was somewhat excited about reviewing it. I feel that too much time has passed now to try to review it, so I deleted what little I had done. If you are looking for a different type of vampire film, you really should check it out. It wasn't a great film, but worth checking out all the same. I decided to move on with what I was watching, which has lead to Splintered (2010). It will be taken out of instant watch, and since Netflix doesn't carry the DVD, I decided to watch it next.

Sophie (Holly Weston) has some issues. She is constantly dreaming of when she was younger and being attacked by a monster. The dream often comes up in sexual situations, so it is a give away that she was once abused. However, she has repressed this somewhat and believes in monsters. Hearing about a beast that is attacking people, she rounds up some friends and plans on capturing whatever it is on film. Her boyfriend John (Sol Heras), her best friend Jane (Sadie Pickering), along with Jane's boyfriend Sam (Sacha Dhawan) and all around friend Dean (Jonathan Readwin) follow Sophie out into some woods. The first night there, Sophie thinks she seems something, so John and her take off to find out what it was, leaving the rest at their camp. John and Sophie aren't back by morning though, so their friends set off to try to find them. They will all end up fighting for their lives, against a beast, but not the kind Sophie thinks it is.

Splintered is from the UK, which can explain the sometimes hard to understand English accents. Even though I hate the name for it, the film itself isn't as bad as ratings seem to say. With a 4.0 at IMDb and a 2.8 at Netflix, as of this writing, I liked it a bit more. One reason is because director and co-writer Simeon Halligan likes to mess with how we think the plot will play out. Instead of a random group of people in the woods, we get a group taht is there for a reason, although most don't seen to want to be there. It becomes obvious quickly that Sophie is the main character, and thus will likely live the longest, but it was interesting to see her on her own and separated from her friends while they go looking for her. There is also the question of what it is they are looking for, along with a priest played by Colin Tierney. It is hinted rather strongly that it is a werewolf, because of the full moon and someone reacting strongly to it. In the end it wasn't a werewolf, but that is okay.

While there was enough to enjoy about the plot of Splintered, it was far from a perfect film. The plot does manage to get rather confusing towards the end of the film. I didn't really get why a priest did what he did to someone. I certainly had no idea who was hit by a car late in the film. I guess this was explained in one of the extras, but that was something I didn't have access to watching the film on instant watch. It shouldn't have the need to explain it there anyway. I give Halligan points for addressing the touchy subject of sexual abuse, but the way Sophie deals with it, and dreams about it, feels a little odd at best.

I was a bit disappointed with the effects at first. Not that they were bad, but there was just some blood, and no real effects going. That changes eventually though, but still nothing real major happening. We get to see chunks of skin getting bitten off, but that is really the extent of gory effects. Again, they aren't done badly, but was hoping for more really. The acting wasn't too bad. I probably would have liked it more if it wasn't for the hard to understand accents at times. Holly Weston made a pretty good leading actress I thought. She certainly does a good job at acting scared. Stephen Walters plays a double role in the film, and I suppose can be considered the lead male role. Even though the acting for the two roles wasn't always far off from one another, the makeup for the two characters was done well enough that I didn't realize it was the same actor in both roles.

Something else I enjoyed was the dream sequences. Holly Messenger plays the younger version so Holly Weston, and the casting department actually does a good job with finding a young actress that looks like her older counter part. While there wasn't a lot to Messenger's role, in all honesty, but I still liked her. Too bad she hasn't been in much else. Anyway, while I liked Splintered well enough, it did get a bit too confusing towards the end for my liking. It balances out to make an average film though. I think it has a day or two longer on instant watch, and will likely show up there again someday. If Splintered sounds like it would be interesting to you, give it a try. If it doesn't sound all that interesting, you likely won't be missing much.
3 out of 5 Howling mad I say!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Haunt That Hill Part Two

I wasn't able to pass out much candy tonight. The weather was a bit cold and it rained some as well at one point. Maybe more will be out tomorrow night. If not, just more candy for me to get fat on I suppose. I got a later start on getting a review done than planned, but I'm still getting more than one in tonight. Hoping to get this one done and at least one more. Next up for tonight was Return To House On Haunted Hill (2007). I remember watching the original and the remake by getting them from Netflix, but guess it was before I started doing reviews. Yes, it has been that long ago since I watched them. This film is a direct to video sequel to the remake version.

Ariel (Amanda Righetti) is the sister of Sarah, who was in the remake version. Some people have figured out that there is some kind of evil idol that is in the haunted house with millions to the right buyer. One group wants it so it can be treasured, and another group wants it so they can sell it to the highest bidder. Both want Ariel there since her sister was the only person to come back out of the house. Since she is now dead, they are hoping Ariel can help them. One team asks, the other forces Ariel to go. Of course the house is waiting to deal out death to all who enter, and there are a lot of new people now.

I could tell I wouldn't like Return To House On Haunted Hill somewhat quickly. If you haven't seen the other film, well then, too damn bad. There isn't much of a back story to kind of remind people what happened before this. Besides that, the plot moves rather quickly. The film, even though it is considered a directors cut, is a tad shorter than the average film, but it isn't that much shorter to explained the hurried pace of the film. Before it even reaches the half hour mark, one person is killed off. Before ten more minutes go by, two more people are killed off. I don't recall any mention of an idol in the original film or in the remake, so I'm assuming it was just something that the writer came up with for this film to explain the evil of the house. Even though it is a large house, we really don't get to see much of it. I didn't really care for some of the set designs, especially the room that the idol was in. Looked like something from an alien planet. Director Victor Garcia has a special effects background, and has worked on a few films in the FX department. This was about the only thing in the film that I liked.

Return To House On Haunted Hill was actually pretty gory in places. Faces getting cut off, guts being pulled out and someone being ripped apart makes up some of the effects. They look pretty good considering it is a direct to video effort. It isn't anything that will amaze you, but it was still the highlight of the film and did save it just a bit from being a total fail. The acting wasn't great, but wasn't real bad at least. Amanda Righetti does alright in the lead role. I was a little confused with her character though. I was never sure if she was supposed to be all action or what, which is also how the film sort of comes across anyway. So, I do suppose she was supposed to be all action like. You can also find Cerina Vincent, Erik Palladino, Tom Riley, Andrew Lee Potts, Steven Pacey and Calita Rainford. Jeffrey Combs is also in the film, though only in a few scenes. He is actually the only returning cast member from the remake. Too bad they didn't have him do all that much. He doesn't even speak until towards the end of the film.

I was sent the Blu-ray disc for this movie, which has some interesting extras I might check out sometime. For one, it lets you decide the fate of some of the characters apparently. I didn't try this feature since I just wanted to watch the movie as it is for review purposes. It could be interesting, but I don't think it would change the story all that much, but then there is supposed to be 96 different choices, if I remember right, so who knows. Anyway, unless you are like me and like to watch sequels, I wouldn't go out of your way to watch this one. May not be bad for a slow night with nothing else to watch though. You might be confused as to who Ariel's sister is if you have never watched the remake, but besides that, you don't really need to see it in order to catch on to what is going on in this film.
2 out of 5 At least it had a swimming scene!

Speaking For The Dummies

Today is the day! I'm excited, are you? I have yet to get any candy for any kids that might be out, but I plan to do that soon I think. I never really got into dressing up and going out for candy, but I have always enjoyed seeing what everyone else dresses up as. Hopefully I can get through movies and reviews without distracting myself too much. If I just sit and write, I can get through a review fairly quick, but I tend to watch something on TV, or mess around on the computer, and then the review takes forever. I started watching the DVD's I have here at home from Netflix, and will hopefully get through the rest tomorrow. I have had them for two months, so it is time to get them watched and sent back in. First up is Dead Silence (2007).

Jamie (Ryan Kwanten) is hanging out with his wife Lisa (Laura Regan) when a package is placed outside their door. There is no return address or anything else that might show where it is from. Inside is a vaudeville doll, but they don't know why anyone would send such a thing. Jamie heads out to get some food, and while he is gone Lisa is murdered. Even though there is no evidence that Jamie did it (and we know he didn't), Detective Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg) suspects Jamie all the same. Jamie decides to go back to his home town to hold the funeral there, even though he hasn't talked to his family for a long time now. Henry (Michael Fairman), the funeral director, thinks that he knows who killed Lisa. We are about to learn of a town secret about a woman who once lived there and isn't a very nice person.

Dead Silence often gets the tag of "From the makers of Saw", which is true, but misleading for the film I think. Director/co-writer James Wan got away from what Saw was most known for, and gives us more of a creepy film. I have always heard good things about this movie, so I was looking forward to giving it a watch. It had been on instant watch, but was taken out before I could watch it there. It was added back in a couple of days after I got the DVD, but I decided to watch the DVD for the extras, instead of sending it back and watching it on instant watch. I'm glad I did, or I may not have been able to watch the alternate ending that was a little better. I'm not afraid of dolls, though some do look very creepy, so I have to give Wan a lot of credit to make this film creepy to me. There is an interesting story, especially the back story. The ending was a bit of a surprise to me, but I feel I should have caught on to it before the reveal. What I liked best about the film was the sound effects. When the doll comes alive, so to speak, any sounds slowly go away. New sounds are still there, but the sounds up to the point are gone. After the second time this happened, I realized where the title of the film came from. The music was also very good, and set the tone of the film nicely. I also liked some of the settings, especially the old theater. There wasn't much to complain about with this film. The ending could have been explained a bit better, which is why I liked the alternate ending better. It wasn't that it was trying to leave it open for us to figure out, it just wasn't explained very well and didn't make complete sense to me.

There isn't much for gore effects. The end result of how someone is killed is a bit gory, and pretty cool looking usually. This may have been partly done with CGI though. The alternate ending gives that away, as there was no effects, but notes added to the effects department, in the footage. There is also some CGI effects for a tongue. I know, but the tongue, and how long it is, does make sense once you figure it out. The acting was pretty good. I'm not a big fan of Donnie Wahlberg, but I have to admit that he stole the show here. Ryan Kwanten was pretty good in the lead role. I liked that he wasn't willing to back down from finding out what happened to his wife, no matter the warnings against that. Michael Fairman also puts in a good performance. Bob Gunton plays the dad, and Amber Valletta plays the part of the step-mom.

I can easily see why Dead Silence is a hit with most horror fans. I didn't read anything bad about it, some reviews gave it an average rating but not many, until I started reading comments about the film on IMDb. Of course I tend to feel some people on that forum will complain about every movie if they can. Dead Silence is not a killer doll movie, so don't go in expecting that. It is more of a ghost story that uses the dolls from time to time. The makeup used to make Judith Roberts, who plays the ghostly bad lady, look like a doll was great. This movie isn't for everyone, but then I don't know a film that is. If you have held out, or just never heard of this film, it is time to watch it. As far as I know, it is on instant watch still, so now is the time to check it out.
4 out of 5 Ready for some trick-or-treaters!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Turning The Skeptic

With Halloween closing in fast, I'm trying to get some reviews in a little faster. I have Friday off, so hopefully I can get more than one review in that day. Some friends want to get together early that day, so hopefully that won't kink my plans too badly. I did get completely caught up with reviews at long last though. I got the review for Ouija done yesterday. This means I was at last free to watch something new, since I was putting it off until I got everything caught up again. First up is The Skeptic (2009), which will be taken out of instant watch on Netflix on Halloween. After this, I plan to hit the DVDs I have from Netflix, as I have had them for a long time now.

Bryan's (Tim Daly) aunt has recently passed away. Since he is the closet relative, and a lawyer, her estate goes to him. This includes her house, which was once owned by his parents when he was a little kid. Bryan's aunt believed the house to be haunted, and thought she knew where it was coming from as well, a closet on the second floor. Her husband, who had died years earlier, also believe the place to be haunted. Bryan doesn't believe in that type of stuff though. In face, he doesn't believe in anything that doesn't have a real explanation to it. Lately Bryan and his wife have been having problems, so Bryan decides to stay in his old house while he gets the estate squared away. It doesn't take long before things start going bump in the night, but will Bryan start to believe in ghosts?

The Skeptic wasn't too bad of a movie. Writer/director Tennyson Bardwell gives us a film that has been done before, but mixes it up enough to keep it interesting. He also gives an ending that is open ended and lets us decide what happened. He may have left it too open, but I will get to that a little later. Bardwell makes sure we know that Bryan doesn't believe in much of anything, and that his wife feels he is emotionally challenged. What feels like a subplot at first, but turns into more, Bardwell explores why Bryan keeps his feelings bottled up. What I really liked about the story was that the haunting never escalated. Bryan hears noises and sees a woman at times, but the activity never really picks up. He still hears things and sees the woman, but never in a increasing pace. This was nice, as most movies tend to add more in order to up the ante, so to speak. Instead, we get a psychic played by Zoe Saldana. She is a bit over-the-top at times, it was a nice change from the other characters. The movie was pretty good, and I did enjoy the ending. As I said above though, it was left a little too open ended. None of the subplots were tied up and Bryan's fate is left up in the air as well. I don't mind a film that allows me to decide what happened, in fact I usually give a film like that high marks. The Skeptic was left a bit too open ended though. It just gave me the feeling of "What? That's it?" once the credits start to role.

I don't think there was anything as far as special effects go. If there was, it was just minor stuff. The acting was actually pretty good. Tim Daly is really good in the lead role, but there was times I didn't really care for him. I couldn't really decide if it was the way Daly acted out the scenes, or maybe it was just his character. It wasn't too annoying to me though. Tom Arnold shows up here and there. He isn't around a lot, but often enough really. I was glad to see him take on a bit more of a serious role than I usually see him in, but I couldn't help but feel he was being pulled back from being too funny at times. He seemed on the verge of breaking into trying to say something funny a lot of the time. Robert Prosky, in his last film, has a smaller role, but it was a nice surprise to see him in this film. For a film I had not heard of before adding it to my queue, it had a few people I actually know of.

I guess one can make the case by the end of the film for this either being a paranormal film or everything is just in his head as his problems start to surface more and more. I thought it was pretty clear it was all paranormal, but it does try to make a case for it being in Bryan's head at times as well, just not very strongly. I gave the last film that I watched that did the same thing a higher score. I can't give The Skeptic the same score just because of the ending. Didn't hate the ending or anything like that, but it could have been better. There is still a little time to give this one a watch if you have Netflix's instant watch. It is worth a watch if the plot of the movie sounds interesting to you.
3 out of 5 I think all men have mother issues

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hanging Out With Strangers

Another low end month for me. I was hoping to do better, but it is what it is. After this review, I will be caught up here and can move on to something new. I did get a review done for Top Horror Movies Club at long last. I haven't just been slacking on reviews here, but there as well. If you are interested in my thoughts on the film Annabelle, head on over. I have one more review to do there, for a film I watched over the weekend, and I will be caught up there as well. But, for here, I watched the movie Gone (2006) a while back because it was about to be taken out of instant watch. I was curious about this film because it has Scott Mechlowicz in it.

Alex (Shaun Evans) has traveled from Liverpool to Australia to be with his girlfriend Sophie (Amelia Warner). While waiting for a bus, he meets Taylor (Scott Mechlowicz), an American who is mostly chasing the local women it seems. Taylor invites Alex to hang out with him, since his bus won't be coming around for a good while. They end up hooking up with a couple of women and having a good time. While nothing happens with Alex, he does wake up next to the woman he was hanging out with. Taylor takes a picture of them just as Alex wakes up. Being on their way, Taylor offers to drive Alex where he needs to go, and seems a little shocked when Alex meets up with Sophie. They all decide to travel together, and get along for the most part. The longer the trip goes on though, it starts to become obvious that Taylor is trying to drive a wedge between Alex and Sophie, but for what reason?

Gone came out a year after Wolf Creek. While everyone was talking about how bad or good Wolf Creek was, Gone got lost in the cracks. Can't say that I have ever heard anyone talk about it, let alone know anyone that has watched it before. While Gone is sort of in the same vein as Wolf Creek, Gone tries to build suspense and leaves the gore behind. It feels more like a thriller than a horror movie, but that was fine. Director Ringan Ledwidge keeps us guessing as to what Taylor is up to. Is he really after Sophie? Or perhaps he just enjoys breaking up couples and causing as much hurt as he can. While the plot was somewhat interesting, it was also fairly slow paced. To be honest, I enjoyed the acting more than I liked the film itself. Not to say that it was bad, just wasn't anything that really grabbed me and held on. Things pick up when Alex decides to leave, or does he? The story wasn't really all that hard to figure out, but was still cool watching it play out. I never really figured out what Taylor was up to exactly though. It was obvious thanks to one scene that he has done bad stuff to people before. We don't know what that was, but someone was obviously pissed with him. All I could really think about at the end of the film was that Scott (Mechlowicz's character in EuroTrip) was so hurt by Fiona, that he is now going around the world breaking up other couples.

Gone wasn't a gory film, but there is a few scenes that came close at least. Seeing a dead body and watching someone get ran over. The way the scenes were done ended up being nice reveals, even if they weren't done in a gory way. As I said above, I really enjoyed the acting. It was very good by the main three. Amelia Warner was a little too soft spoken at times, but made up for it in being really cute. Not that it took away from her acting. I liked her best towards the end of the film really, but overall, I liked her. I like Scott Mechlowicz, even though I haven't seen a lot of his films. This may have caused me to like the film more than I should have, but then again, maybe not. Shaun Evans was also very good.

Despite not being able to figure out what Taylor is actually up, or who is actually after, I still didn't find the plot that interesting. The acting saved it for me, but it didn't push it passed an average film. I'm fine with having watched it on instant watch and not having the DVD sent to me or having ended up buying it. I may someday, if I get into Mechlowicz even more. It isn't a bad film though. If it comes across instant watch again, you might consider giving it a try. Sure, the plot has been done before, and better for that matter, but it still isn't a bad little movie.
3 out of 5 I might go out of the country someday

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Going With Lovely

With this month being October, you would think I would be watching more movies than I have been. Other than what I have watched on TV, which are all movies I have watched before so far, I haven't watched any new films. The reviews I'm doing are still from films I watched last month. I don't mind doing reviews of movies that I have watched some time ago, but I find it hard to write about them after so long. It isn't so much that I have forgotten what happened in them, it's just that I find it less interesting to write about. I just have this review for Lovely Molly (2011), and one other one before I break into something new. Hopefully it won't take me long.

Molly (Gretchen Lodge) and her new husband Tim (Johnny Lewis) have decided to move into Molly's family home to help save some money. It isn't long before things start to happen though, like the alarm going on because a door opens seemingly by itself. Tim is a truck driver so isn't home a lot, but he comes home one day to find Molly staring at the closet in her old room. Molly's sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden) starts to worry about Molly as well. Some bad things once happened to Molly and Hannah in that house. While Hannah seems to have dealt with it in her own way, Molly hasn't worked passed it just yet. Is that the reason Molly is having a hard time living there now, or is there some other reason for her acting so strangely?

Lovely Molly was co-written and directed by Eduardo Sánchez, one of the guys that was behind The Blair Witch Project film. Sánchez is the most active of the two directors behind Blair Witch. While I have watched most of his movies now, they have been a bit of hit and miss for me. I have liked them more than not at least. Lovely Molly is one of his best films I think. It has a slow build to the story, but not all of it made a lot of sense to me at times. It was easy to over look that though, and actually makes me want to watch the movie again sometime to see if I can work it out. The story has two sides to it. There is a paranormal side to it, and it is all in Molly's mind side to it. I felt the story was strongly on the side of it is in her mind, but others disagree with that. Interesting enough is that the interviews from Sánchez and the extras side with both. I thought this was interesting since it is pretty clear that Sánchez wants us to decide which side happened. Sánchez doesn't stray real far from the found footage genre, For the most part Lovely Molly is filmed in the normal way, but there is footage that Molly films herself as well placed here and there through out the film. It actually tells a story in itself that is a little hard to figure out at first, but it eventually includes itself into the main plot. I didn't think this side plot was really needed though, except it might help you to decide which side of the fence to fall on.

I wouldn't call Lovely Molly a gory film, although there is a scene with a dead deer that is somewhat gory. I didn't really feel that this movie needed to be gory though. It wasn't really that kind of story, and didn't need to be. The acting was very good. This was actually Gretchen Lodge's first acting job, but you can't really tell it. There was some scenes I thought she could have been better in, but overall she does a wonderful job. Johnny Lewis wasn't too bad either, but I thought could have been in more scenes.

I think I really enjoyed Lovely Molly mostly because it made me think about what was going on a lot. I love a film that gets my mind going, and this one certainly did just that. I'm interested in watching again sometime, mostly to see if I missed anything, and to see if things make a little more sense not that I know for sure what was going on. Plus I enjoy films that leave things up to me to decide what happened in the film. If you are looking for a good film that will make you thing, you really should give Lovely Molly a try. It is an under rated film if you ask me, only has a 5.3 rating on IMDb as of this writing. I watched it on Netflix's instant watch, which I don't think it is there anymore. Well worth searching for it though.
4 out of 5 Stabbing a dead deer to death

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Reasons To Hate Summer Jobs

I haven't been off to a good start this month. After all, it did take me 6 days to get a review in that I started well before that. I should have finished it the night before, but I decided to get some sleep instead. Oh well, I will hopefully make things up now that I'm back to writing again. I decided to do a book review for The Summer Job by Adam Cesare next. I just finished it this week, so thought I would get the review in while my thoughts are still somewhat fresh. A friend of mine bought the book, and after he was finished it, I swiped it. I still have one of his books to get through, but hey, he didn't seem mind.

Claire is a waitress working in Boston who is getting fed up with life. Just out of college and in her early 20's, she is starting to want to find more with her life. Her boyfriend since high school is someone she is looking to breakup with because she feels he isn't trying to improve. He also works at the same dinner as Claire as the cook. One day, after not answering his calls and texts, she goes to work and finds the place on fire. The police suspect it is Claire's boyfriend who did it, although he is still drunk when they find him. Claire's best friend Allison spots a job at a motel that is outside of the Boston area, basically the country as far as there is one in that part. Claire decides to try for the job, if for no other reason than get away from everything for the summer. Allison drives her out to the motel, where they almost run over a group of teens/young adults as they cross the road into the woods. The owner of the hotel likes Claire enough to give her the job, so all is well in Claire land. Except, she doesn't know it, but there are two cults about to do battle.

This is the first book I have come across by Adam Cesare, but it isn't his first novel. This is his fifth novel, and has a few others published or about to be published. I have to say that for a first read, I was pretty impressed with it. I really liked the different characters. Very few have the same feel to them. Cesare takes the time to let his readers get to know Claire. We also get to know Allison, though not as well. The description of the book on the book is a little misleading though. "Caught between two worlds, Claire has to plot her escape while spiraling deeper into a nightmare of ritual sacrifice and killer parties." I was expecting a lot of sacrifices to be going on, but that isn't really what the story is about. There are some to be found, just not the large amount I was expecting. This wasn't really reason for the rating below though. It isn't the first time I've come across a book that doesn't fit completely with the way it describes itself.

The Summer Job is broken up in three parts. The first part of the book is mostly what I described above. It follows mostly Claire, along with Allison for part of it as well. It also introduces most of the players in the book. The second part steps away from Claire and centers more on the rest of the characters. It still advances the plot, just in a different way. The third part switches back to Claire as the story comes to a somewhat shocking ending. While I enjoyed the second part of the book, it was also disappointing in some ways. The first part of the book gets us invested in Claire, and then leaves her behind in the second part. We find out what she is up here and there because of the other characters she happens to interact with, but it really isn't the same. The story was still interesting, and I did enjoy the different point of views and getting into the heads of the other characters for a bit. I just found leaving the main character more or less completely out for a good chunk of the book, and then picking back up with her for the last part of the story, a bit odd.

The Summer Job sets the pace early, and for the most part it doesn't let up. I enjoyed the way it started, and was surprised a certain character makes a return later on. The ending is also pretty good, with some nice surprises to be found during it. It takes a good while before we find out what the two cults are about, which was pretty cool I thought. A couple of things that I wished Cesare had done though. It would have been nice if the split between the cults had been better explored a bit more than it was. There was enough there to understand the split, but I was still looking for more. It would have also been nice to have gotten into the head of Allison more once into the second part of the story. Claire doesn't know it, but she is in the same place as Allison at times, so it made me wonder why Allison isn't seen or bothers to approach Claire. I didn't think this was explained to well considering they are supposed to be best friends.

Despite my complaints, Adam Cesare does put together a good story here. The Summer Job ended up being a fairly quick read for me since it was easy to get into. Even though I never had a punk side to me, it was still easy to side with the lead character. I found that side of Claire to be pretty cool actually. The Summer Job is a good read. If you are looking for a book to read, I would suggest giving this book a try if you haven't heard of Adam Cesare before. I'm looking forward to checking out his other novels now, that is for sure.
3 out of 5 Party in the woods!!