jh1593

IMDb member since November 2014
    Lifetime Total
    10+
    IMDb Member
    4 years, 7 months

Reviews

The Event
(2010)

If I had never watched The X Files I would probably LOVE The Event
I desperately wanted to love The Event. Before ever watching the show I developed very high hopes after reading vague synoposis' of the shows premise and plot, and it really sounded like it could be the best show in some time. I bought the Blu-Ray set without ever watching it, something that I have never done before, instead I would normally elect to download the first two or three episodes to see if it's worth the watch. Perhaps that would have been a better course of action.

Despite a very good first episode, and enough good qualities to make me watch the whole series, it ended up a relative disappointment compared to my hopes and expectations. There are two issues with the show which I will cover in the next two paragraphs, and it's a shame because they betray the considerable number of good qualities the show had to offer.

The portrayal and story arc of "Sophia's People" is the main issue with the show and essentially shattered the high hopes I had built up for the show. I wasn't necessarily demanding "little green men", but I had hoped that the antagonists from another planet would be at least slightly unique and otherworldly. The budget was clearly there, as evidenced with the fantastic visuals and camera work in general, so they could have created what I would consider to be "aliens", but they went the cheap, uninteresting and downright boring route of having them look physically the same as humans. The fact is there is absolutely nothing of intrigue about "Sophia's People". No amazing powers, no physical differences. Only a minor difference in their blood compared to humans. I wanted aliens and got a lazy excuse for "extra terrestrials".

Perhaps they could have salvaged something had the acting not been so poor from the lead antagonist herself - Sophia - and also Thomas, who was also a huge disappointment, both from a character standpoint and an acting standpoint. Perhaps they could have done better with a more interesting script in front of them, but ultimately this wasn't the case.

In addition to the two glaringly bad acting performances, to a much lesser extent - the script in general was not nearly as intelligent and succinct as it needed to be. When the show revolves around geography, biology, government intricacies and conspiracies, the dialogue needs to make the viewer feel like they need to follow carefully for fear of becoming lost in the shows many layers. My first episode watching The Wire made me feel like a complete idiot because I struggled to understand the complex nature of the show. I wanted The Event to be as layered and subtle as that, ala The X Files - a show which, frankly, I HOPED that would rip off, but it ended up being far from it. The dialogue for The Event appears "dumbed down" as if they are trying to appeal to viewers who have never heard of UFO's or the the aforementioned conspiracies.

It wasn't all bad, obviously. When you look at the plot on paper it is fine. The acting, aside from the two mentioned, is good. Željko Ivanek deserves notable praise for his portrayal of Blake Sterling as does Bill Smitrovich for his portrayal of Raymond Jarvis. The camera-work is very good with some very nice special effects.

I watched all 22 episodes in the span of approximately four weeks. It became a lot less fun after the second episode but I wanted to keep going in quick succession because there were enough good qualities about the show to potentially make it a hit. Sadly it wasn't the case. I've focused mainly on the negatives but my rating of 6 will hopefully underline that it WAS worth watching and that I DO recommend it to other fans of the genre. However, I can't promise that you won't be left feeling disappointed and that it fell short of expectations.

April Fool's Day
(2008)

Harmless Horror fun
I found the movie to be fairly enjoyable and worth the watch but not one to be taken too seriously. There was potential for it to be a lot better than it was but ultimately it is a movie that is probably only worth watching the once.

The acting was generally fine, the budget was good and the premise was very good - naturally, since it was a remake (although I've not seen the original).

The script was pretty simple and easy to follow, perhaps overly so.

The big issue with the movie is that none of the characters were particularly likable and because of that it was quite hard to become invested in caring about who lived and who died, which for a horror film is generally the most important thing. If the main characters were easier to root for I'd have enjoyed this a lot more. Maybe if you're into that lifestyle (beauty pageants, debutant balls, being born into wealth) you could relate to the characters and care but for me that wasn't the case.

The ending was interesting and not what I had anticipated which deserves credit.

To summarize it ended up being light viewing and not a heavy, emotionally engaging horror like I had hoped. That said, there were some fun bits and it didn't ever bore. Harmless would be the best word to describe the film. It was worth watching but I can't say that I'd watch it again. I would recommend it to likeminded fans of the genre but it wouldn't necessarily merit a place into anyones DVD collection.

A Haunting at Silver Falls
(2013)

A hugely pleasant surprise
I added this movie to my "to watch" list months ago but only just got around to watching it, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I finally got around to seeing it. Suffice to say hugely impressed by the quality of the movie and wish I had watched it sooner.

Every aspect of the production was good but it was story arc and the twists in the plot that really makes it stand out. After I started writing my review I took a glance at the IMDb rating and couldn't help but chuckle when I saw that it was currently a 4.7. For anyone who may consider paying any sort of credence to that ridiculous number I would suggest you pay no attention and watch the movie for yourself.

The acting as a whole was very good but there were two fantastic performances that need mentioning in Alix Elizabeth Gitter as Jordan and Tara Westwood as her psychotic aunt. Neither of these ladies have their own Wikipedia pages to my astonishment – they deserve a lot of recognition for their talents.

There were two negatives and I'll mention them separately. Firstly I think Jordan's lack of friends or lack of emphasis on her social life other than the two love interests hinders the movie. It would have been good to show whether or not she did have a circle of friends rather than ignore that issue to make it a bit more relatable. The second issue was an oversight with the plot towards the end where Robbie is supposed to meet her at the back of the house but, after being attacked, this obviously doesn't take place. However, they don't mention Robbie afterwards or explain whether he just gave up and went home or continued to wait.

The highest praise of all should be awarded to the ending of the movie and how satisfying it was. Usually horror movies will falter or lose steam towards the end but this movie saved the best drama for last. If anything there should have been more of a struggle between the Aunt/Uncle and Larry/Jordan as it ends up being quite an easy comeuppance. On that note the ending does come about rather quickly, so in retrospect they could have made it a bit longer to allow for everything to sink in and to explain where Jordan goes from here. It was a little rushed in that respect, but honestly I was on such a high from the satisfying conclusion that I didn't really notice until now.

All in all I would highly recommend this to fans of the genre and feel compelled to congratulate them on a great piece of work.

The Appearing
(2014)

One to avoid if you can help it
I take no pleasure in brandishing a movie from my beloved genre as "awful" but this one, sadly, deserves the moniker.

The one positive was the quality of camera work and that it was easy on the eye. That was the only positive to take away from the whole experience, which proved to be a complete waste of time.

The movie started off on a low note with a terrible scene of a group of "high school seniors" hanging out and drinking in the woods. The scenery was really nice but the fact is that the aforementioned kids, who I imagine were supposed to be 18, looked far too old for their roles. The girl that ends up being killed looked like she should be their mother, and there was another eye-rollingly bad casting job as well where one of the group looked closer to 40 than to 20. The group was far too quick to consider the possibility that the house was haunted and should have been more sceptical. The scene put an immediate bad taste in my mouth and set the tone for the rest of the movie with poor and unimaginative dialogue.

Going back to the camera work, which was good, the way they pieced together the leading woman's "visions" did not work at all. They all happened so quickly and haphazardly that it ended up looking poor.

The acting, bar none, was very poor. Will Wallace is probably the best of a bad bunch, but he himself didn't cover himself in any glory.

The script was unquestionably the main offender. They could have got away with below-par acting because the visuals were good, but the script was overly cheesy and lacked imagination. Don't get me wrong - cheesy is good as long as its presented in a believable way - but the acting and the script made for a hugely shoddy movie.

The last specific I will touch on is the stab scene late on in the movie. I had to revisit that scene to try and wrap my head around what happened or if I had missed something. In one scene, Rachel is brutally stabbing Sheriff Hendricks who is presumed dead. A couple of scenes later he then reappears with his arm in a sling - a fortunate let- off for what appeared to be a brutal attack.

I could go on and on but I really don't want to because I'm not a negative person, I love the genre and I know that a lot of people put effort into the movie. Without paying any attention to reviews I took the film on its merits, which I don't regret doing because 95% of horror reviews are biased, and would have been willing to look past a number of flaws but there was simply too many. The movie ended up being a big waste of time and for that I do not recommend people watch this unless they have exhausted all other options and want something new to try, but even then I would suggest to not get your hopes up or take it too seriously.

The Apparition
(2012)

Enjoyable, modern take on the traditional haunting
It should go without saying, but for anyone who may be prone to pre- judging a movie based on the reviews of so-called experts - please do not pay any attention to them whatsoever.

This movie is not without what I could consider to be minor flaws, but as a viewing experience it was exactly what I wanted.

The plot was tried and true (and this should not be used as a stick to beat the film with) but with a twist. Without giving anything away, if you're looking for an easy-to-watch, traditional horror movie and prefer a younger cast this will be perfect.

The acting, bar one exception, is very good and the two main characters have great chemistry together. The only issue I had with the acting was Tom Felton's performance, which was not very convincing, although it wasn't awful by any means.

The progression of how they learn that the house is haunted was done very nicely and at a good pace, and I felt they waited an acceptable amount of time before proclaiming "it's haunted". If I was being picky I would have liked for them to hold out a little bit longer and for one of the two to be more skeptical, but it wasn't a big deal as the waited a fair amount of time anyway. My only other complaint with regards to the plot was the decision that the couple take to camp out in their garden for the night. It would have made more sense for them to get a hotel, as they eventually do, or at least call the police.

The camera work and overall presentation is good and makes the movie easy to watch. It was shot in a nice location which made for some surprisingly nice scenery. However, the way that they presented the "found footage" of the earlier experiments (the more recent two) was quite poor and didn't come across as found footage or naturally pieced together at all. They should have avoided what looked to be unnecessary effects in filming.

All in all I enjoyed the movie and would not be averse to seeing it again, which is basically the measuring stick I use to determine whether it was good or not. I chose to give it a 7/10 which outlines the viewing experience and that I considered it more than just decent, but in fact "good". To summarize, if you like horrors and aren't a snob when it comes to traditional, tried and tested haunted house story lines then this is a movie that is worth your time and money.

Scarecrow
(2013)

Hugely enjoyable and easy to watch Horror movie
I believe that Scarecrow was the first made-for-TV movie that I've actually ever seen, so before-hand I wasn't 100% sure what to expect. Right off the bat any concerns I may have had were answered and made redundant and I find myself enjoying the movie right away.

The budget, the acting (deserves huge praise) and the quality of production were all very good and made for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The pacing of the movie was excellent and made sure that there was never a dull moment for me to lose interest.

The story itself was not perfect and without spoiling anything there were a couple of inconsistencies, mainly regarding how/if the scarecrow could be killed, but these do not lessen the overall experience.

I'd recommend this strongly to any horror lover, especially those who enjoy younger casts.

Oculus
(2013)

Well executed, engaging take on a classic idea
I was hard pressed to decide on whether to rate this a 7 or 8 out of 10. Ultimately 7 did the movie a disservice so I think that 8/10 is fair.

The movie was thoroughly enjoyable and an engaging take on the classic idea of the haunted object.

The acting, production and script in general deserve high praise.

You'd be hard pressed to find a negative to claw at. The one thing that I would critique would be that it seemed all-too apparent that there was never going to be a happy ending. The mirrors powers seemed too much to overcome and you could argue that it was a matter of "when" not "if" it ended tragically. However, this is the genre we all know and love so it's not necessarily a deal breaker. The ending befits the film and ties up the things that precede it. It leaves potential for a sequel, and if they do decide to make one I would definitely be eager to see it, although it seems very clear based on the lore from the movie that there's no way to "defeat" the mirror.

It goes without saying that if you're a fan of the horror genre you will enjoy this movie.

A Resurrection
(2013)

Good idea very poorly executed
I don't think I've ever felt so inclined to leave a bad review of a horror movie. I'm very passionate about the genre and in most cases, if a movie is "panned" by critics I usually find that I myself enjoy it, such is the ridiculous bias against the genre by mainstream outlets, so I pay zero attention to the reviews left by others. In this case the movie was panned by critics and by myself to boot, I'm sad to say.

The plot in itself was good and definitely something that under different circumstances could have made for a terrific movie. It was nothing original but it was a simple idea that could have been very effective. However, the acting and to a lesser extent the script completely undermined the premise and made for a very poor movie.

My main gripe is the performance of "Eli" which was nothing less than appalling. Featuring him in the opening scene set the tone for the rest of the movie and made me question the movie very early on. The rest of the cast's performances ranged from poor-acceptable, but I strongly believe that with another portrayal of Eli the film could have too been deemed acceptable. However, such was the portrayal of the main character the movie could not be any better than poor. Without coming across as unnecessarily cruel it was possibly the worst performance that I think I've ever seen and single-handedly sabotaged the film. The responsibility has to fall on the director/producer, whoever that may be, who in addition to leaving in a few less than convincing lines/scenes did not re-cast such an important character.

The camera work was easy on the eye and the budget was capable of backing a good movie, and you would think that with a good idea for a movie there is only a slim chance that it could go wrong. It proved to be the case though as it did go wrong and made for a disappointing 90 minutes.

I wouldn't recommend this to a horror fan unless you are struggling for new movies in the genre to watch. It's not eye-rollingly, mind- numbingly bad by any means but it was definitely disappointing.

Boogeyman
(2005)

Worth a watch, but only once...
I had high hopes for this movie and for the first 10 minutes it seemed to live up to them but it eventually lost its way, and towards the end became a little messy.

Great camera work, clearly made on a good budget, good acting - but to my surprise, considering it was written Eric Kripke, it was the structure of the story that let it down.

Started off promisingly but I lost interest after about 1/3 of the movie as it stumbled along clumsily and never regained momentum.

If you're a fan of the genre it is worth a watch but I don't consider it to have any re-watch value at all.

The Haunting of Whaley House
(2012)

Worth watching if you are a true horror fan
Like most Horror movies that I find enjoyable this wasn't exactly well-received my most movie snobs/reviewers.

I'm not going to lie and tell you that this is an all-time great and a true gem, but if you are a fan of the genre then this is definitely something worth adding to your "To Watch" list.

For a supposedly low-budget movie I was very pleased by the cinematography and standard of acting - barring a couple of exceptions.

It was pretty formulaic and true to the genre but that's not something I consider a negative - it was precisely what I was hoping for. Not every horror movie has to reinvent the genre! If you have 90 minutes spare and are in the mood for a Horror movie this is definitely worth watching. As a fan of Horror movies I can safely say that The Haunting of Whaley House is worth your time and won't disappoint.

Ratings wise I would rate it anything between 5 and 6 out of 10. I'll go with 5 but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it - far from it!

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