Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Alphabet Movie Part Two And A Half

I meant to get two reviews in yesterday, one for my other blog and one for here. I did get a review done for They're Watching, and I got a movie for here watched as well. However, I got distracted reading a debate online and didn't get started on the review for here. It was time for another instant watch movie, but I decided to do something a little different this time around. My friend Jay Clarke, who writes the wonderful blog The Horror Section, asked if I would like to watch ABC's Of Death 2.5 (2016). He co-wrote a short that is featured in it, so he has every reason to be proud of it. Of course I jumped at the chance to watch this movie, so I might as well review it since I have already done that for the other two entries in the series.

During the time that ABC's Of Death 2 was being put together, a contest was made. A call went out for any short film based on the letter M. They ended up getting around 500 entries for the letter M, but only one made it to the final film. ABC's Of Death 2.5 features 26 more letter M films that came close, but did not make it to the final film. Since these are considered some of the best, it was hard pressed to find a film that wasn't good. I admit there were a couple I didn't get into much, but nothing in this I saw as bad. I'm not going to try to go through each entry, but will talk about a few of them.

Magnetic Tape by director Cody Kennedy and Tim Rutherford was the first short. Not really one of my favorites, but I can see why others would like it, especially if you went through the VHS era. Some thugs are looking for something in a movie rental store, and the only defender is the owner. Good thing he has something that can turn him into something like a superhero. Kind of gory and funny. It almost goes to far into silly, but was still a pretty good short.

Mom by director Carles Torrens. A young girl sits and colors while a young boy, who looks to be a zombie, tries to figure out how to approach her. He isn't interesting in eating her though, but sees her as girlfriend material it seems. I was trying to figure out where the mom comes into play, and got more than I was expecting really. Not a scary short, my cute than anything and a bit funny by the end.

Mermaid by director Ama Lea. Come on, you knew I couldn't pass this one up. A couple of guys are fishing when they catch a real mermaid. One wants to kill her while the other doesn't. Which will happen? Okay, this wasn't anywhere near the best of the group, but I took a liking to it all the same. It has some dark comedy to it, at least I hope it was intended that way, which worked well for me. I just wish the mermaid was actually scary. It was the first short to have any nudity in it, so there was that,

Maieusiophobia by director Christopher Younes. If you look up the meaning of the title, you will figure out what this short is about. One of the few animated shorts, using clay I believe, this one managed to disturb me a lot for some reason. I get why it wasn't picked up for the second film, as there was already another short with a similar short, but I think this one bothered me even more than that one did.

Manure by director Michael Schwartz and co-written by Jay Clarke. I don't want to say too much about the plot on this one, as it would be easy to give away what happens. I will just say that it was an interesting twist on the subject it is based on. Some pretty cool effects go a long way in this one and the actress at the end gives a look that had me rolling with laughter. Very entertaining and congrats on getting a film out there Jay!

One I wasn't keen on and made me wonder what I learn about through horror was Munging by director Jason M. Koch. Another short that if you look up the title then you will figure out what it is about. I don't think I want to know how the filmmakers came about finding out about munging. It isn't a graphic film really, but still gross. On second thought, don't look up the meaning, just let the film show you.

Mobile by director Baris Erdogan. A hitman or kidnapper has his victim and texts someone for instructions on what to do next, which aren't very nice instructions. I was surprised by this one. Not graphic at all, but it was still making me cringe at times. Another short that had me laughing good at the end of it. It is also a short that leaves you wondering what exactly was going on.

Make Believe by Summer Johnson. Two girls dressed like fairies aren't being very nice to a guy also dressed like a fairy. Another short that leaves you with more questions than answers, but this was a fun one. Lots of dark comedy to be found.

The effects were well done all around. That includes the animation as well. I was a little surprised by some of the effects found, in a good way of course. The acting was also very good all around. If I didn't list a short above, it wasn't really that I didn't like it. As I said, I found very few that I didn't like, but it is hard to talk about short films without giving too much away. Even though it took a while for me to get through the film, I had to keep pausing it to answer calls for work, I still really got into the overall film. It amazed me how many different ideas people came up with under just one letter of the alphabet. Even when the same name for a short appeared, well not completely the same as one was called Mom and the other Mother, the ideas behind them were completely different.

If you enjoyed the previous two films at all, or just enjoy short films, you really should give ABC's Of Death 2.5 a look sometime. It can be rented or bought online, or wait to see if it shows up elsewhere. Either way, it deserves a chance by fans.
4 out of 5 So glad those guys didn't catch this mermaid!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Some Girls Can't Stand The Heat Part Two

I'm on a little bit of a role again. It took some time this month, but I'm getting back in the groove again. Good things since there is another convention I will be going to in a couple more weeks. I'm not sure which day this review will get done on because I had a very rough day Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I got very little sleep thanks to a very sore stomach. I ended up going to the emergency room, that is how bad it was hurting. I'm feeling better now though, and hopefully I will stay that way. Before I started hurting, I did get Decoys 2: Alien Seduction (2007) watched.

Picking up sometime after the first movie, Luke (Corey Sevier) is now at a different college trying to deal with what happened to him. Luke is there to help students, if they want it,with Professor Buckton's (Tobin Bell) final exam. Luke is seeing Doctor Geisner (Dina Meyer), who doesn't really believe in the whole "I was almost killed by aliens" story. Unknown to Luke, Constance (Kim Poirier) has also set up shop at the local hospital. She has new recruits and they are ready to find some men to have sex with. This leads us to meet Sam (Tyler Johnston), who has managed to get into a bet with a bunch of other guys on who can bag the most women. Sam begins to realize not all of the women are human and turns to Luke for help.

Decoys 2 gets a behind the scenes makeover with writer Miguel Tejada-Flores and director Jeffery Scott Lando taking over. The first thing I noticed about Decoys 2 was that it is a more serious film in tone. The original film had some somewhat serious moments, but there was always a comedy feel going on through the whole film. The sequel changes that up some, almost too much at times. Luke's scenes are almost always serious. Either from his sessions with his doctor, having a lot of trouble dealing with what happened before and apparently no one believes him, to almost getting into a fight with Sam when asked for help with the aliens. I liked that Luke wasn't being taken seriously, I mean most people who don't believe in aliens aren't going to take someone else's word for it. The comedy is still around though, but not done as well. This comes strictly from Sam's story line with his college buddies trying to score with women on campus. The jump from serious to comedy, or the other way around, didn't always mesh well. I didn't really care for scoring points plot anyway. Not that I was offended that guys would do that, I just didn't feel it worked as comedy. This leads to a little bit of nudity because the guys need video or picture proof that they hooked up with someone. Of course this is what leads to the aliens being discovered eventually. I didn't mind the plot line running through for Luke, though I wasn't real excited by it, and Sam turned out to be a pretty good character as well. Once the plot lines become one, I felt the story got better from there and liked the mix of comedy and drama from that moment on. I was a little confused by Constance returning because I'm positive the character was killed in the first movie, but maybe I am wrong about that.

The effects aren't anything manager. Like the first film, the aliens in their true form are kind of cool, but I felt they aren't done real well. I think they looked the same in the first film, or pretty close to looking the same, but Constance looks different in her true form that I remember from the first time around. Maybe that has to do with her death or near death, which ever the case was. Although, the way the aliens die looked pretty cool. I liked Corey Sevier better in this film than in the first one, but there were still times I thought his acting could have been better. It wasn't bad by any means though. Tobin Bell isn't in this movie a lot, but he has a bigger role than I was expecting all the same. It was pretty cool to see Dina Meyer again, as I know here mostly from the first Starship Troopers film. Her role is slighty bigger than Bell's. Kailin See takes over the role of the girl who is into the hero of the film, but is largely ignored by him for a while. I liked her character towards the end of the film though. Tyler Johnston was pretty good in his role, which I liked slightly more than the returning Sevier.

An odd choice by Tejada-Flores was to have our aliens do something in this film that they didn't do in the original. In Decoys 2, the new aliens played by Michelle Molineux and Lindsay Maxwell, can get into their victims head and find out their sex fantasy. If a guy is into leather or the school girl outfit, the alien would suddenly be dressed that way. While the guys found it strange, they didn't question it all that much. This was something that never happened in the original film, and to make it that much more strange was the fact that Luke would warn people not to look the aliens in the eyes. So somehow he knows about this, even though it never happened to him. Okay, it is a bit of a plot hole, but whatever. Even though I wasn't big on Decoys, it is a better film than Decoys 2: Alien Seduction turned out to be. I was ready to give this film a lower score, but the last act managed to save the film some for me. Funny enough, it seems to be the other way around for some others. Some didn't seem to care for the last act at all. Not a great sequel, but it does manage to set itself apart from the original just slightly.
3 out of 5 I would love to be able to change clothes instantly!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Summoning Spirits With A Witchboard

After I finished my last review, I jumped right into my next movie. It was time for another at home review, so this time I did hit up my DVR for a movie. I'm starting to run out of movies on there, so will have to find something else to watch soon. This time around, I watched the movie Witchboard (1986). I thought I had watched this one before, but I didn't remember anything about it. I assume that I was wrong, and this makes the first time I have watched it. There are two sequels out there, but I can't get them through Netflix. I haven't checked Amazon Prime yet, so I might be able to watch them there.

At a party, tension is in the air as former best friends smart off to each other. There is Jim (Todd Allen), the regular hard working guy, and Brandon (Stephen Nichols), the rich guy. What has caused a riff between them, why a woman of course. Linda (Tawny Kitaen) may be dating Jim, but she is still friendly with Brandon, who still obviously cares about her. To lighten things up, Brandon offers to use his Ouija board. Brandon says he has been in contact with the spirit of a ten year old boy. Brandon talks Linda into using the board with him in order to make contact with the boy, since we all know the first rule is to not use it alone. They make contact eventually with the boy, but Jim doesn't believe any of it and mocks what is going on. This makes the spirit mad and it flattens Brandon's tires on his car. Brandon leaves his board behind, and Linda starts using it on her own. The spirit seems helpful at first but then starts to turn mean towards Linda and even others. But is it the same spirit that Brandon talked to?

Witchboard was given to us by writer/director Kevin Tenney. I've noticed that movies about the Ouija board seem to happen in spurts. There is a current one going on now, and I thought there was one in the 80's as well. Even though I don't recall this movie at all, I did know that Witchboard was about a Ouija board all the same. If I remember right, there was another series in the 80's that had to do with the same subject? Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, I was somewhat impressed with Witchboard. The overall story wasn't really anything special, but there was some nice subplots going that was worthwhile. The main one that I enjoyed was watching the two friends reconnect with each other. It takes a while but it was cool to see how their relationship changed over the course of the movie. Another plot that runs through most of the film is if the boy's spirit is the real deal. This manages to keep the Ouija board in the overall picture. By trying to find out if the spirit of the boy is real, if I remember right they called him David, or if it is some other spirit that is trying to kill people, the Ouija board isn't a one and done plot device. There is plenty of character development to be found, especially for Jim and Brandon, which is fine by me, but it does slow the story down a little bit. I also thought that what happens to Linda towards the end of the film was boarding on silly. Well...not what happens to her per say, but how she dresses because of what happens.

There wasn't a lot for special effects. Some people get killed with a hatched, and it does leave a mark we can see at times. This was just okay, nothing special really, but at least it wasn't done in a bad way. Not a lot of blood to be found though. The acting was where Witchboard didn't do so well to me. I didn't see it as bad acting really, just acting that managed to not grab me at all. Normally it wouldn't be too big of a deal to me, but in this case it was to two of the three leads, Todd Allen and Stephen Nichols. There were some scenes I didn't mind them in, but I could never fully get into either of their characters or acting. Tawny Kitaen was alright in her role, and provides just a little bit of nudity, which surprised me some. I did like Kathleen Wilhoite in her role. She plays a psychic and is a little annoying at first, but I liked how she played the character in a different way. Burke Byrnes was also another stand out for me, but was under used.

Even though I didn't get into the acting a whole lot, the plot of the film still kept me into it all the same. Not everything about the story made sense, but it wasn't really anything that took me out of the film. The film feels a little dated now, with the hair and clothes somewhat, but what do you expect when your lead actress is best known for making Whitesnake music videos? Not saying that is bad thing really. If you are like me and have never watched Witchboard, maybe you should consider giving it a watch. You aren't missing a whole lot if you decide to skip it. but it is still a pretty good film that is worth a watch at least once. It may not be better than today's efforts at the same kind of movie really, but I would still suggest it to friends.
3 out of 5 Maybe it is time I actually tried using one

Monday, August 15, 2016

Make Them All Sinister Please

I didn't get as many reviews in this weekend as I wanted to. I was hoping to get three in, but I ended up with two. That was mostly because I was gone most of Saturday, while hanging out with some friends, so I just didn't have time to get a movie in and the review. I did get a review in at my other blog though. If you haven't already, you can check out my review for The Remains by clicking on the link. It was time for another instant watch film for here, so I went with Sinister Visions (2013), a film that is being streamed on Amazon Prime. I haven't watched a film from there in a while, so thought I would work one in.

Sinister Visions is a anthology of five films. There is no bridge story, with each one just starting up after the last one. There is a small gap between each one, but it was still a little confusing at times. I will explain why later. Three of the films come from Denmark, one from Sweden and one from USA. The first one was called Succubus by director Kim Sønderholm. Emma (Kat Herlo) finds an egg like object during an archaeology dig. When gun shots ring out from advancing rebels, Emma drops the egg and it breaks open. A mist comes out of it, and Emma passes out after breathing it in. Back home, something is now making her into a murdering slut succubus.

My Undead Girlfriend by director Henric Brandt is next up. This one actually starts with a quick story about a scientist who has survived a zombie outbreak and has built a robot to record what is going on. This is called Filmobot Intro and is directed by Andreas Rylander, who has the writing credit for both segments. There is a fake commercial after that, something to do with a company that puts undead on a leash that makes them more controllable. The actual short deals with Keith (Stefan Jonason) waking up to discover that his girlfriend (Milla Löjdström) has turned into a zombie. Owing a lot of money to a loan shark though, he has to find a way to go through with a wedding they had planned, as she apparently has some rich parents. So, he sets out to make sure they think everything is still fine when they meet them for dinner.

Mother Knows Best is also directed by Kim Sønderholm. He also stars as Carl, who has issues with his mother (Peg Thon). When his date comes by for dinner, we learn what is really going on. Think Psycho and you will get what is going on for the most part.

A Woman Scorned is the last film by director Kim Sønderholm. In this one we find Holly (Mehrnaz Bagheri Beiknejad) restrained on a table while Gail (Mette Løvendahl) talks to her about being with her ex-husband. Gail doesn't appreciate this at all, and plans on teaching her the real meaning of true love.

The last short is called Genital Genocide by director Doug Gehl. This one is about Charles (David C. Hayes), a serial killer who is describing his crimes while being set up in an electric chair. While he tells the family that is there what he did, we actually get to see it.

The last short wasn't shown on the Amazon Prime stream for some reason. It ends with A Woman Scorned and goes into the credits from there. It looked like the credits for Genital Genocide had also been edited out. I'm not sure why that was done, but I found the entire movie on YouTube and just skipped to the last segment so I could watch it. If you are curious about Sinister Visions, remember that it can be found there, at least as of this writing.

At first I couldn't figure out if the film looked the way it did because of the film, or because of the stream. Since the opening credits looked the same on YouTube, I will go with this is just how the film looks. The credits were hard to read because of the style of writing and also because it looked a little blurry as well. Things remained a little blurry, but worse than that, very dark. Every short had this problem, but it was even more confusing in Mother Knows Best. We can see the victim clearly enough while she talks to Carl, the scene will shift to show Carl, and then be very dark when showing the victim again. On the plus side, every short has nudity in it. Some has more than others of course, with My Undead Girlfriend barely having any at all.

Succubus was an interesting take on a modern succubus. She doesn't visit dreams, but finds someone she likes and changes while having sex. I could be wrong, I didn't time each one, but I think this was the shortest one to be found. There is hardly any talking in it, but the succubus has a pretty good makeup job that makes her look pretty cool. My Undead Girlfriend was probably my favorite of the bunch. It falls into comedy more than anything, but it is a fun little short that I enjoyed the most. Milla Löjdström made a great zombie. There are pictures of things that happen after the story which made me laugh pretty good at times. Mother knows Best did things a little differently than Psycho, but it is still pretty obvious that is where the idea for the film came from. It wasn't bad, but wasn't great. A Woman Scorned gets some heat for all the talking in the short, but it actually interested me the most. I didn't enjoy it as much as My Undead Girlfriend, but I still felt it was a good short. Genital Genocide was good if you like gory stuff, otherwise you aren't really missing much. The ending to it was a bit funny though.

The effects are pretty good throughout the overall film. There are places where things could have been better. Like in Mother Knows Best we don't see any wounds, just blood. Genital Genocide it the most effects heavy of the shorts and they are pretty good there. The acting was okay through the shorts. Some acting was better than others of course but overall it was okay.

That is pretty much how I felt about Sinister Visions as a whole, that it was just okay. If the video quality had been better, I might have given it a higher score than what you see below. Some scenes were just so dark that it made it impossible to even get a hint as to what was going on. Plus I wasn't big on more than half of the stories presented here. I did like that most came from other countries though. Always nice to check out what horror is being represented in other places. As for all of you, since you can watch it for free on YouTube, you might want to check it out someday. You can do worse than Sinister Visions, and you can do a lot better. Being free though, can't complain too much about it.
2 out of 5 I would be the worlds worst succubus

Friday, August 12, 2016

Old Virus Is New Again

I accidentally skipped over my at home review, so I'm making up for that now. I will get to another soon though. I was going to watch a movie for this review, but I ended up getting the book I have been reading done today, so I thought I would knock out a review for it instead while everything is still fresh in my head for it. I got a quick start to Q Island by Russell James when things were slow at work. I had a few days there were I could read a little more than usual and made quick work of the first half of this book. The second half went a lot slower when work picked up again leaving me with very little time to read. I made it through it at last though. I already have my next book picked out, so I will get started on it next week.

Life on Long Island is about to change. A group of the very rich has paid a lot of money for rare meat over the years. One of them has paid for woolly mammoth meat, and manages to get it. What they don't know is that the ancient animal died from a virus that today's scientists know nothing about. The virus shows itself at first by turning the veins black. After this, there seems to be a period where the person will sometimes be even better than they were before, more creative even. When the virus goes into full swing, it causes the persons eyes to glow red and they go on a rampage. The thing is, they are still able to think things through, to plan on how to kill and infect others. If an infected person dies, their body eventually explodes, causing the virus to go airborne. Long Island is put under quarantine, not allowing anyone off the island. Melanie and her son Aiden, who is autistic, wants off the island though in order to get back to her husband. He is a stock broker and is at work. After something happens to Aiden, it becomes that much more important that Aiden gets into the hands of those working on a cure, but will they be able to leave?

This is my first time reading a novel by Russell James, though it is hardly his first novel. The back cover made the story sound very interesting, and in some ways it is. Not as interesting as I thought it would be though. James mostly follows Melanie and her son Aiden. I didn't have a problem with this since I did end up liking Melanie. She isn't a real strong female character, but she does right by her son, so she was just fine by me. There is also her friend Tamara, who is in the thick of things right away. She is a nurse who happens to be at the hospital where the first outbreak is at. We also follow Samuel, a doctor who used to research a cure to Polio and who now trying to find a cure for this virus which is considered a cousin to the Polio virus. There is also Jimmy, a low life guy who finds he has been changed by the virus and is now in charge of a gang. There are a few others as well along the way, but those are the main characters we follow the most.

I did enjoy following the problems and adventures of Melanie, but I felt some of the other characters weren't used enough. Tamara is directly tied to Melanie, so we often find out what is going on with her and the gated community the both live in. This gives us a peak into how some people are dealing with the infected, but the overall scope of what is going on across the island is sorely lacking. We find out how the cure is coming along here and there through Samuel, and a bigger problem that is going on with the government and CDC. To me, this wasn't explored enough. James admits that he doesn't know very much about the medical side of his story, which is probably why he doesn't spend a lot of time with it. This really too bad, from my point of view, as this side of it could have really opened up the story and made it more interesting.

Even though the back cover made it sound like Jimmy was the main bad guy of the story, he actually gets less time than Samuel does. Jimmy has survived being infected and has been changed by it. He is, essentially, the direct opposite of Aiden. While Aiden is a fairly young kid, it still would have been interesting to see the two together more than what we get. James has Jimmy disappear for a good while before we get a, usually, small chapter about him again. His gang is up to something, which is slightly touched on just enough to figure it out, but I wanted more. This sums up Q Island for me really, always wanting a little more but never really getting it.

To give James credit where it is due, James does manage to create some scenes that did manage to keep me on the edge of seat, so to speak. Melanie decides that her and Aiden are going to leave the island during the early stages of the quarantine in order to get back to her husband since he doesn't seem to want to return home. They meet up with others trying to do the same thing, but of course the military has other ideas. It was this part of Q Island that really stood out to me, and I wish there had been more things like this in the novel.

It wasn't that I didn't like the overall story in Q Island, I did, but it felt very...toned down to me. Outside of what happened on the bridge, the action sequences in the story never reached that peak again. I was half expecting something big to happen towards the end when the bad guys catch up with the good guys, but left the end of the book feeling a little disappointed by what happens there. It reaches the goal it set out to do, but also leaves a lot of unanswered questions at the same time. At just under 300 pages, I felt that Q Island could have been much more.

If nothing else, Q Island has made me curious about Russell Jame's other novels that came before this one. At the time I got this novel, it was his most recent novel. I figure he is doing something right if he keeps getting stories published, so I'm curious how his other novels compare to this one. As for all of you, I would suggest giving this one a try if it sounds like something you would be interested in. It is a fairly quick read with an interesting story, even if it is a little disappointing in the end. It may not have been a home run, but it is still worth checking out.
3 out of 5 I would be so dead if this really happened

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Some Girls Can't Stand The Heat Part One

I'm actually somewhat in a writing mood again. Yay me! I'm still not in a big hurry to get a review done, but at least I'm willing to write again. I have been away from my other blog perhaps a bit longer than I was here, but I got a review done there before watching my next movie for here. If you are interested in reading my thoughts on Lights Out, just click the link! I should have done an at home review next, but I was thinking I had done one already. Oh well, I will get that in next I guess. Anyway, I watched Decoys (2004), which was the Netflix movie that I got cracked. They sent me another one, and this one was just fine.

Luke (Corey Sevier) and Roger (Elias Toufexis) are best friends at St. John College. Neither has had much lick with the ladies at the college though, until they meet Lilly (Stefanie von Pfetten) and Constance (Kim Poirier). After Luke talks to them in the laundry room of their building, After they leave, Luke noticed a roll of coins that they left behind and decides to return them. With their room across the hall from his own, Luke knocks and finds the door open. No one is in there, so Luke has a look around...until he hears them return. Tucking himself into the closet, he watches the two women undress some, and tentacles pop out of one of them. Luke thinks they are aliens, but will anyone believe him?

Decoys is a comedy/sci-fi/horror film from Canada by director/co-writer Matthew Hastings and co-writer Tom Berry. I'm not sure why I ended up adding Decoys to my DVD queue on Netflix. I would often just add suggestions when I would add a movie I wanted to watch. Anyway, I added this and its sequel, which I will get to after a couple of other reviews. Since this was part comedy, I went into it unsure about how I would like it. I was a little surprised by Decoys though. While I didn't find it to be a great film, I still enjoyed some of the comedy and some of the acting as well. As you can probably guess, Luke is correct about some of the women at the school being aliens. They have come to breed, but of course that backfires a bit and they kill the guys they are with, so to speak. I didn't really get why they thought it would work, but there have been even worse choices in movies than this. I won't get into how it would kill you, but lets say it has something to do with being cold. Decoys is actually a tad heavy on the comedy side and it doesn't work for everyone of course. I didn't get into the comedy a lot, but there were moments that I enjoyed. Richard Burgi, who plays the Detective looking into the deaths, has some pretty funny lines at times. Corey Sevier also does a good job with some of his funny lines, he has a great one liner, and has some good physical comedy at times as well. The comedy didn't always work for me, and when it did, I didn't laugh all that much at it. The horror side of things is pretty light as Decoys falls firmly into the comedy side. The story wasn't all that bad, as I did enjoy trying to figure out who might be an alien. We are told two right away, pretty much, but there are others. The pacing works out very well, I never felt bored by the movie at all. The only thing I didn't really get was what the aliens were up to, as some were good and bad but out main character didn't really seem to care about that.

The effects were just okay here. There isn't a lot to be found actually. The main effect is the tentacles which actually can look really good. We get to see the true form of the aliens from time to time with mixed results. Sometimes it looks pretty good and other times it looks bad. I wasn't sure if this effect was CGI, but it sure looked like it in one shot, which didn't look good at all. The acting wasn't too bad. I rather enjoyed Corey Sevier in the lead role. While I didn't always like his character, his acting was pretty solid. My favorite was probably Meghan Ory though. I really enjoyed her acting here, and she is very pretty on top of that.

I got a little confused while watching Decoys. A minor character goes off with an alien and gets killed. A little later, a character who looks a lot like the character that was killed, mostly dressed close to the other one, shows up. Since I thought the other character died, I was a bit confused when he showed up again. Of course I eventually figured out it was a different character. Even though I didn't get into Decoys a lot, I still found it to be a fun film. The deaths are kind of cool, though there is only one kind, at least for the humans. If you have never watched this one before, it might be worth a shot for you.
3 out of 5 It also has a nice surprise ending

Sunday, August 07, 2016

What A Dinner Party!

The other day I was thinking to myself about how many people have passed away this year. Not just the celeb's that have passed away, but people I have known directly or indirectly. My boss lost both his parents in the span of a few months, his boss lost his aunt, co-workers have lost a mom, brother, and a sister--in-law. The list goes on from there as well. Oddly enough, the next movie I decided to watch, because I had been hearing a lot of hype for it, has to do in part with how people deal with death, tragedy, and finding ways of moving on. I'm talking about the film The Invitation (2015).

Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) are traveling to Will's ex-wife's place. After their son died, Will and Eden (Tammy Blanchard) had a lot of problems, and decided to divorce. Eden then disappeared for two years, and now she is back along with her new husband David (Michiel Huisman). Once there, they discover that a bunch of old friends have also been invited to the party. Will expressed concern about being there, not only because of seeing his ex-wife again after so long, but also because the house holds so many memories. After being there a while, Will has decided that Eden seems to have moved on from their son's death, and that something very weird is going on with Eden and David. Is there something going on with them, or is Will losing his mind?

When I had started hearing about The Invitation, I did my best to avoid knowing very much about it. I knew that it was getting hyped a bit, but I didn't know what the plot was about outside of what Netflix said about it, which is never very much. I also avoided the trailer, and I'm glad I did now that I have been hearing that it gives too much of the story away. You see, The Ivitation is a movie your best left with not knowing much about when you go into it. If you watch the trailer or read the wrong review, then you will already know which direction the film will take. That is something that writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, along with director Karyn Kusama, hinge their film on. It adds a lot of tension to the film because you know something is going to happen, but you don't know who it will be or when it will actually happen. Just when I thought I had it figured out, an excuse would be used, and it would be believable. Not that there isn't any repeat value to the film, but I think to get the full impact of the story, you need to go in knowing as little as possible. That is a positive to me, keeping me guessing. I knew it had to end one of two ways, and I wasn't sure how it would all go down once it started. The bad thing, sort of, is that they left all the cards on the table. There aren't many secrets going on here, so it is very easy to see which two ways things are going to play out. Another slight problem was that there is a very slow pace through the whole film. I didn't have much of a problem with it most of the time, but just when I thought things were coming to a climax, it slows down again. I think if you have watched the film, you know where I am talking about here.

There wasn't a lot for special effects here. There are people who get hurt and even killed, but not in real graphic ways. There are some bloody scenes here and there, but nothing major. The acting was very good, mostly all around. I didn't have any real problems with the acting, just some characters I didn't care for much. Logan Marshall-Green was by far my favorite actor here. He really is able to express his loss at times. While her character is very weird, I also liked Lindsay Burdge. John Carroll Lynch was also very good. The only problem I had with those two is that their characters almost makes it too obvious what might happen. Tammy Blanchard and Michiel Huisman also do a wonderful job.

The main complaint I hear about The Invitation is that it is too predictable. I get the complaint, but I don't at the same time. Many that say this admit that they watched the trailer first, or say that the story could have went either way. I didn't get why people who admit it could have gone either way say it is too predictable. Obviously it wasn't because there wouldn't be an either/or to it. Despite some of the silly scenes, like one guy saying he wants a blow job, The Invitation kept me glued to what was happening. It is a film you need to pay attention to in order to pick up on some the minor things. There is also a bit of a twist at the end of the film that is hit or miss for fans. While this isn't a film for everyone, I would highly suggest giving it a shot. I have told a friend about it that isn't even into horror films because I thought she would still enjoy it. It isn't heavy on horror and falls more into thriller turf more than anything, but it is still a damn good movie. Check it out sometime if you haven't already.
4 out of 5 Why wasn't I invited??