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All reasonable gripes, but my review of The Ring is just that it scared the ever-loving piss out of me, so I can't really critique anything else about it with any force.




Scream
Horror Comedy Mystery / English / 1996

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
Been a while since I've seen it. I already know how it ends, but I've forgotten the journey it took to get there. He's also playable killer in Dead by Daylight.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
Wes Craven was something of a horror geek god, not just for creating Nightmare on Elm Street, but also Scream, which sets itself apart from other slasher movies by virtue of it's explicit genre savviness.

It immediately opens on a girl home alone who receives a creepy phone call from a guy who goads her into talking about scary movies, immediately referencing Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th, and even spoiling that movie, before it turns serious and the threat of home invasion becomes real when a guy with a combat knife and a Spirit Halloween costume runs in to start stabbin'.

This trend follows throughout the entire movie with numerous references to movies, tropes, and even one character just standing up and deconstructing the modern horror genre into it's most popular cliches.

It runs an extremely fine line where it wants viewers to know that it's smarter than your average horror movie, but it also doesn't condescend to it's audience. A general tone of self-awareness and genre subversion is prevalent throughout a majority of it's setpieces, and so too is a thin veil of black comedy.

The Ghostface Killer never speaks full lines while onscreen, so he has moments where he's given amusing body language to communicate and in action scenes where he's trying to kill someone, as anyone would notice, his hits and falls are a soundboard shy of slapstick.

Even when he's talking on the phone, the voice actor playing him is enjoyably campy and the two characters eventually revealed to be the dual identity of the Ghostface Killer bring their best performance, be both believable and entertaining psychopaths.

I knew Shaggy was up to no good.



The reveal of the Ghostface Killer is also pretty central to this movie since it quietly lays the foundation for a whole NEW dimension to this movie: the whodunnit mystery.

Names are cast about, shade is thrown, and tiny little lingering camera moments give you just long enough to question whether, "Wait a minute! That cop was wearing boots! The killer was wearing boots too!"

Scream never leans heavily enough into the whodunnit aspect of the movie to make you seriously suspect anyone other than the characters most frequently appearing onscreen, but this movie manages to subvert even that;

Typically there's only one guilty party in a whodunnit.

In an effort to avoid this expectation, some whodunnits pull the "everyone is guilty" card, such as in Murder on the Orient Express,

Short of that, while still wanting to be surprising, whodunnits will implicate characters outside of the realm of reasonable culprits. For example if there's a locked room mystery, and there are 9 people at the hotel, they'll produce all sorts of evidence to implicate any or all of them, but then pull a 10th person out of their ass at the last second and hang it all on them, despite there having been no evidence, or even poor evidence that they were the killer.

This is worst of all because it completely defeats the point of a whodunnit, which is enjoyable in large part due to the viewer being given the opportunity to speculate who the culprit could be.

This movie not only implicates one of it's killers early on, exonerates them, then throws them under the bus again, but rationalizes this 180 by presenting a second killer, which explains discrepancies in the theory that implicated him. That's a pretty cool ending... even if I wasn't given much evidence to make a strong determination.

Scream runs at a refreshingly brisk pace, and even the occasional filler dialog bridges the gaps between setpiece moments with an odd, yet pleasing combination of period pop rock music and atmospheric score.

I can't really think of too many things this movie could have done better with what it was going for. The ending where the movie geek goes "be careful, this is when the bad guy suddenly comes back to life", just as I was thinking about that, then plays it straight by immediately shooting the dude in the head was... how you hip young 90s kids might call "choice".

I think the thing I would want most out of any of the sequels is more thoughtfulness. I really want to be given enough evidence to confidently point a finger at one of the characters and be proven wrong because the plot is secretly much more clever than it seems.

Time will tell.


Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]
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Scream 2
Horror Comedy Mystery / English / 1997

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
Cause the first movie was decent, but now it must combat sequel tropes, how will it fair?

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
"I hope that was an off-the-cuff remark that holds no subtext whatsoever."

I have seen this movie before, but I don't remember any of it, so here's my own genre-savvy assessments of killer likelihood considering a whodunnit is now a viewer expectation:

1. Deputy Dewey, has an identifiable limp that could cause us not to suspect him, limp is questioned by other characters, delivers the "trust no one line" twice, displays aggressive behavior for the first time, appears in places without justification, asks about Sydney's security detail, is referred to as a "good guy" by other characters, Randy lectures him on horror movie tropes (he lectured the previous killers), defends Gale's character, objects to breaking and entering... VICTIM
2. Cotton (Falsely Accused Killer), obvious revenge motive, present during a death threat, wayyy too forgiving, wayyy too pushy, attention-seeking, already scrutinized by the police, self-implicates twice, accused of being the killer... HERO
3. Gale Weathers, shade thrown, attention-seeking, actual piece of shit... VICTIM
4. Joel (Gale's New Cameraman), implicated by movie's emphasis on "white male suspects", self-implicates... BYSTANDER
5. Derek (New Boyfriend), previous boyfriend was the killer, shade thrown, implicated by one of the killers... DIES
6. Hallie (Sydney's Roommate), shade thrown, implicated by movie's emphasis on "white male suspects", argues against revealing Ghostface's identity... DIES
7. Mickey (Random Friend), conveniently unavailable during a Ghostface attack... KILLER
8. Randy (Movie Geek), shade thrown, comedy relief... DIES
9. Debbie Salt (Reporter who hounds Gale), literally nothing to implicate her except the "white male suspects" line... KILLER

My Theory: Dewey was one of two killers, and to distinguish from the previous movie, the killers would have separate motives this time. PARTIALLY TRUE


As you can see, there was quite a lot of reason to suspect some characters more than others, it almost seems like the movie set up Derek and Cotton as the two obvious in-universe suspects, while also sneaking enough little details in to implicate Deputy Dewey for the lifeless smartasses like me.

While I appreciate being wrong in my prediction, I do not appreciate that this falls victim to one of the shitty outcomes of whodunnit movies I described previously. In this case, both killers were characters with virtually no screentime and neither were given any substantial reason to be the killer apart from one of them not being present at a single time they were expected to be.

Part of the fun of these movies/episodes is when the audience is given all of the information to guess the killer, but the information is often is often glossed over or misrepresented. In this case, "Mickey" is revealed to be the killer to fall in line with the theme of "movies are bad influences" which is referenced multiple times. His goal is to murder and blame movies because... that's the perfect defense I guess??

Mickey is called crazy by "Debbie Salt" who no one could have possibly suspected because her motive is concealed by the fact that nobody knows she's secretly the mother of the previous movie's killer.

Naturally it makes sense to tie it all back in to the first movie in some way, and this DOES partially justify the repeated insistence on "white male suspects" that gets hammered on about, but this is still completely out of the blue.

It doesn't seem fair when the answer to the question was never really on the table, which is true for both of these movies, because neither of these movies concern themselves with the hard facts of individual incidents, all they do is build distrust toward certain characters and pull the rug out. I really don't like that approach to whodunnits because that ruins my favorite part about them.

Speaking more generically about Scream 2, I am much more conflicted about the introduction this time. I like that it effectively retells the events of the first movie by presenting an in-universe movie called "Stab" which virtually parodies itself, presenting me the same thing with gratuitous nudity, broody characters, and and even more obnoxious score definitely pushes it over the edge into funny bad territory.

It also justifies Ghostface being able to kill in plain sight because he's popular now, everyone's pretending to be Ghostface. The costume isn't just easy to get ahold of, but his portrayal wouldn't look amiss at a movie theater premiere.



However this movie also opens with the line "the horror genre is historical for excluding the African American element" which instantly made me roll my eyes so hard I gave myself a headache.

They push this character's "polite" racism so hard and she's so ****ing annoying. I'm glad they made her out to be a reluctant horror movie fan before doing the only thing a movie like Scream should do in this situation, and that is to kill her and her boyfriend. Because they are the token black characters and the token black characters always die first.

...but, almost as an apology for this scene, they also include 3 other black characters with speaking lines in this movie. Which I think makes 5 more than there were in the previous movie... so it kinda seems like the creators actually felt bad the previous movie wasn't more """diverse""", but also wanted to rationalize it by repeatedly harping on the "white male suspect" line, which wasn't a sticking point in the previous movie's numerous allusion to "scary movies".

In fact, mentioning this when your earliest references were Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th kinda makes no sense, because in Halloween the threat had already been identified as Michael Myers, in Nightmare on Elm Street the killer is a dream monster, and in Friday the 13th the killer is Jason's mom.

So what movies is this movie trying to take after now with this line?
The laundry list of Z-Grade slasher fliks Randy lists off?

Honestly disappointed Randy died, the comedy relief is one of the few characters deserving of plot armor because his existence makes your movie better.

Also mentioning sequel tropes in your first of multiple sequels kinda sets your 3rd and 4th movies up for failure.

A lot of the dialog in this movie was annoying. I didn't mention it before but Gale was a gargantuan bitch in the previous movie and I don't want to be endeared to her. Seeing her relationship woes with derpy Deputy Dewey also does nothing for me. I don't like either of these characters, I don't want them to get together, and I don't want to watch anything about them getting together.

Seeing Gale get punched in the face or harassed by reporters herself is a nice dose of medicine, but when her character doesn't change that doesn't suddenly make me like her.

There's also an unforgivably stupid moment where Sydney scares herself off of revealing Ghostface's identity when he knocks himself out, and OF COURSE that's when he escapes. That's really ******* annoying.

I also don't know why Debbie didn't jump off the stage during climax when Sydney is attacking her with stage props. It seemed as though she was intimidated by the Ghostface mask on the floor??? Like, as though getting off the stage would maybe magic her fingerprints onto the mask and implicate her?????

That's my only read of how this scene is edited, it honestly makes no sense while watching it.

There's not a whole lot else to say. I can't really say I'm disappointed because I didn't expect much and I didn't get much, so there you go.


Final Verdict:
[Weak]
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Tried watching Sadako 2019 and bailed halfway through. Skipped to the end and nabbed this terrifying screenshot of Sadako killing with her Inexorable Stare:



EDIT: I don't know why this was flagged as review, that was not my intention.
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Scream 3
Horror Comedy Mystery / English / 2000

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
Scream 2 kinda sucked. Maybe this is one of those Devil May Cry style sequels.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
"I'm not happy that I'm 35 playing a 21-year-old. I'm not happy that I have to die naked. And I'm not happy that my character is too stupid to have a gun in the house after her boyfriend's been cut up into fish sticks."

A dog, marriage.

Let's go over my predictions once again:

1.) Detective Kincaid, borrows Deweyĺs phone, Sydney is contacted by the killer for the first time, presses Dewey for Sydneyĺs whereabouts, Dewey confirms he has Sydneyĺs number, implicated by Dewey, appears to like movies, says he ôknows his way around the studiosö, says ôHollywood is about deathö, the killer claims to have killed Sydneyĺs mom so could have known her from the Hollywood scene, says ômy lifeö is his favorite scary movie, absent during a Ghostface attack, the killer survives gunshots to the chest w/ bulletproof vest x2, VICTIM
2.) Angelina (Sydneyĺs Actress), implicated by Dewey, shade thrown by Dewey, found hiding in the bathroom with a Ghostface costume and cell phone, Sydney immediately grants her credibility and is attacked immediately after separating from her, questioned by Detective Wallace, unsettling acting, implicated by found Ghostface costume/cell phone/voice changer, aware of secret passages in Miltonĺs Mansion, DIES???
3.) John Milton, Lance Henrickson!, produced the Stab series as well as movies featuring Sydneyĺs mom, implicated by suspicious promotional photos, admits to keeping the connection a secret, implicated by the killer pretending to be Sydney on the phone, has secret passages in his Mansion which the killer is aware of, DIES
4.) Dewey, ôif I thought like a homocidal maniacůö, fires shots at Ghostface who rolls out of view and claims Ghostface is gone after checking alone, the killer survives gunshots to the chest w/ bulletproof vest x2, Dewey still has a noticeable limp, present during a Ghostface attack, BYSTANDER
5.) Jennifer (Galeĺs Actress), implicated by Dewey, implicated by suspicious promotional photos, implicated by Dewey again, Roman dies when the two of them are in a group, present during a Ghostface attack, DIES
6.) Roman (Stab 3 Director), implicated by suspicious promotional photos, implicated by found Ghostface costume/cell phone/voice changer, DIES, KILLER
7.) Detective Wallace, probably shares access to information Kincaid has, the killer survives gunshots to the chest w/ bulletproof vest x2, BYSTANDER
8.) Tyson (Randyĺs Actor), implicated by found Ghostface costume/cell phone/voice changer, DIES
9.) Bianca, Carrie Fisher!, implicated by Dewey, Sydneyĺs Mom was secretly an actress, BYSTANDER
10.) Sarah (Candyĺs Actress), implicated by Dewey, DIES
11.) Scream 1 Killers, take credit for killing Sydneyĺs mom like the Scream 3 killer, DO NOT APPEAR
12.) Stone (Jenniferĺs Bodyguard), Patrick Warburton!, DIES
13.) Gale, present during a Ghostface attack, VICTIM
14.) Tom (Deweyĺs Actor), DIES
15.) Martha (Randyĺs Sister), BYSTANDER
16.) Sydneyĺs Dad
, BYSTANDER
17.) Cotton, DIES
18.) Jay & Silent Bob, BYSTANDERS

My Theory: There would be one killer this time, to undermine the consistency of the previous movies each featuring two killers. Randy's post-mortem suggestion that the killer would be "unkillable" would hold true because Ghostface survived multiple gunshot wounds. This is possible with a bulletproof vest which would strongly implicate anyone affiliated with the police. PARTIALLY TRUE


While this movie was quick to get back into the thick of things it felt like it took a while for it to really turn into a whodunnit. I think maybe a third of the movie passes with multiple casualties before the characters start seriously dropping hints about who the killer(s) could be.

This movie, unlike Scream 2, does a much better job at dispersing doubt amongst the cast, and there are far more characters to consider suspects this time since all major characters in the series have in-universe actors performing their roles in the fictional Stab 3 movie.

And this time they really drum this one up as the finale of a trilogy. The first time around we had two killers who took credit for Sydney's mom's death because they're psychos. The second time around we had a dumbass who wanted a censorious lawsuit and a mother of one of the previous killers wanting revenge. This time we have Sydney's surprise half-brother revealing themselves as Stab 3's director as part of a master plan to kill Sydney's mom and her, all because Sydney's mom ****ed around to get into Hollywood and he... somehow was born and abandoned and now wants to take away what was taken from him.

Flimsy though it sounds, it feels like a very appropriate villain motivation for once. Not just being psychotic, not just wanting revenge, but a little of both in a way that actually ties into the themes of moviemaking and Hollywood tropes.

I am disappointed though, this time, that I was once again wrong about who the killers were, because not only was Roman shown to be dead, and apparently confirmed to be dead, but there was extremely little circumstantial evidence to implicate him.

And AGAIN, this movie does not live up to the standards Case Closed has set for whodunnit mysteries, because all we get are suggestive camera shots, whataboutism, and rarely hard evidence.

In fact, looking it up now, I realize there's actually been a Case Closed film series from the late 90s up to now which probably puts this mystery writing to shame. I should check those out.

The hardest evidence we get is against Angelina who Sydney finds plainly hiding in a bathroom stall, in killer boots, with the Ghostface costume, and a cell phone... and when she appears to be killed later the knife is parallel to her body and she's dragged out of shot so nobody can confirm she's dead.

She HAS to be at least one of the killers, but no, she's just a casualty. And in fact, this movie makes a point multiple times of confirming different characters are dead, and one of them turns out to be the killer!

I'm also frustrated because Detective Kincaid would have been a perfect killer if they just eased up a little bit.


It's nice of them to bring back Randy because he really was important to previous movies. It seemed kinda crappy that he didn't implicate anybody on the spot in the video he recorded before his death, but if you consider the points characters make about trilogies wherein "anything goes" and "the killer is supernatural" because "he can't be stopped by knives or bullets", that low-key suggests that he's wearing a bulletproof vest which is a HUGE point against Detective Kincaid!

Another huge point against him is that he borrows Dewey's cell phone. Only after this is Sydney contacted by the killer for the first time, and it's only LATER shown that Dewey does have Sydney's number despite claiming to not know where she is. This detail goes largely under the radar by most of the cast, but it makes such a relatively strong case against Kincaid that I wanted it to be him! I wanted the movie to validate my attention to detail!

Good whodunnits do this, but Scream 3 doesn't!

Where the **** did Roman get a bulletproof vest? Not that he can't buy one, but I wanted the killer's first use of a bulletproof vest to carry some indication of who it was!

Thankfully, there is one scene in which the camera pans to a rack of vests before cutting to Sydney stealing a gun out of the detective office (which seems to be an awfully dangerous place to leave an unsecured handgun alone with an unstable civilian), but of course the literal one time Sydney brings a gun to an encounter Ghostface forces her to discard it with a metal detector.

BUT THEN SHE HAS A SECOND GUN! ON THE SAME ANKLE.

When the **** did Sydney get a second gun?
Has she always had a gun?
Why'd she bring two?
In case Ghostface screens her with a metal detector for the first time in history?
For the first time he's ever wearing body armor in history?
So that he can steal it and shoot her revealing her ALSO wearing body armor for the first time in history?

Talk about a roller coaster, holy shit.

I am glad she actually took the vest. If she didn't I would be forced to compare this to the painful chainsaw scene in the Evil Dead remake.

Sydney stabbing the killer twice in the back and then finishing with "Stab 3, right?" was honestly a great line and in tradition with the movies so far he gets cartoonishly turned into cheddar when he jumps back up and screams bloody murder.

Other times though, the lines were just terrible. Ghostface starts faxing the characters a script as he's stalking them and one of the girls goes "I wanna know what happens, I wanna know what happens!" as though this was Unfriended. Part of the script he sends says he "will grant mercy to whoever smells the gas" the literal moment the entire house explodes.

First off, you evidently killed the only person who noticed the gas, secondly, to blow up the entire house that gas has to be so thick in the air that the characters would be coughing.

Other lines seem poorly delivered, which is weird because this movie seemed to have significantly more star power behind it, but they had such minor roles. I mean you put Kronk in the movie and he wasn't given a single funny line of dialog. That is a bigger travesty than every other sin this series has committed combined.

And that includes the return, for the third time, of Dewey and Gale's romantic subplot which I never cared about, still don't care about, and won't care about when I see the fourth movie either. SHUT UP, Dewey's a cringey idiot and Gale's a perma-bitch. Let it go!

OVERALL THOUGH...

...despite my own bitching...

...I agree with Gideon, this movie was better than Scream 2. It takes longer to get me invested in trying to figure out who the killer is, but when it does it does a much better job at distributing suspicion across the suspects. The movie's dialog is also significantly less annoying this time around.

My biggest gripe is just that this series has failed to do any justice to whodunnit mysteries.

You subverted my expectations, good job.

As a parody of slasher films that's the MINIMUM I expect from you. But as a whodunnit mystery in addition to a slasher parody, I would like my efforts to be rewarded or at least met with "you were wrong, but because of this evidence, this is why".

It's been 3 movies in a row and each time the killer(s) have been picked off of a dartboard and I feel like I've been scammed.

I'm coming to this movie, as I would any whodunnit, hoping to be given the means to figure out who the killer is so I can feel like an awesome genre savvy moviegoing genius, but when you go "THE BEDROOM LAMP WAS THE KILLER ALL ALONG! AND THE REFRIGERATOR WAS IN ON IT!" then I just want to throw up my hands and give up.

And for that reason I will not be taking the same amount of effort to keep track of characters' names and the cases against them for Scream 4, however I will offer a prediction:

The killer will be someone we already know, perhaps a recurring cast member or somebody who's died in a previous movie???

...that's my guess.


Final Verdict:
[Good]
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The Thing
Monster Horror Thriller / English / 1982

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
Been a while since I've seen it.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
A dog.

My opinion on this movie has remained pretty much unchanged throughout the years, and that's that The Thing is a very simple, but very effective monster movie.

I know people want to credit John Carpenter with big braining this whole production, but I've seen the sorts of movies he makes and The Thing isn't nearly as polished as you think it is.

If you don't already know the premise, it's that a Norwegian Antarctic installation chases a husky onto an American Antarctic installation and die when they crash their helicopter and open fire. It's eventually revealed however that they were trying to kill "The Thing", which is an alien they unearthed with the ability to absorb and perfectly mimic any person given enough time and privacy. Once this is revealed, the conceit becomes discovering who is the sussy imposter.

My biggest issues with this movie are that 1.) the cast size is about on-par with 12 Angry Men, but only about half the cast get even a fraction as much time to distinguish themselves from one another, so it's hard to become invested in anybody but Kurt Russel's character, 2.) this exacerbates the fact that it's never made quite clear what the sequence of infection is. It's eventually established that as much as a particle of The Thing can infect you, but given such an incredibly low standard for infection, this makes it virtually impossible for the movie not to be able to rationalize any deus ex machina. Finally, 3.) I'm just not a fan of the monster designs.

I know this is perhaps the biggest sticking point between this movie it's 2011 "premake", but I genuinely have never found the monster designs appealing. They're made to look gross, which, congratulations, you succeeded in that, but I'm also watching a screen and am supposed to be enjoying what I'm looking at. Gratuitous gore and body horror is almost as far as you can possibly get from something appealing to watch.

This is a big reason why a lot of what's taken for granted with modern horror just does not fundamentally work. Because scaring the viewer and making them ill is honestly the opposite of how I want to feel watching anything.

Not that The Thing is scary, but it sure is strange that I can find stuff online suggesting that Carpenter wanted to make a monster movie that deviated heavily from the "man in a costume" concept that comprised the original Thing From Another World, yet ironically this movie succumbs to it's own ridiculously dated effects.

The scene in which Palmer bites Windows' head, lifts him bodily off the ground, and flails him around is peak cartoon violence in this movie. It's absolutely absurd to watch. Much of the blood is plainly jam, several effects are only possible with reverse shots, and it's very apparent when you're looking at a mold versus a monster prop meant to be moved.


That's not to say that all of the practical effects are bad, I'd say they're pretty decent overall, especially during the autopsy scenes, but the worst of them date this movie harder than anything else and again, the monster just isn't appealing to look at. Compare this to another classic movie monster, the Xenomorph from Alien, that monster was also about changing forms and ripping through peoples' bodies, but it looked cool.

There's a decent amount of other bullshit in the movie like how they find one of the Norwegian guys that killed himself... somehow by slitting both wrists... while his neck has been half severed... and his blood freezing mid-flow. How in the **** did that happen?

How also did Blaire get a computer to simulate the speed of a global infection AND determine the % chance that anyone on the base is already infected?

The nice 75% is especially convincing, definitely didn't script some bullshit command line program in a few minutes for that one.

The cast use flamethrowers liberally to burn bodies, even indoors, and somehow the whole base never catches fire? We know that they use fire extinguishers, but they're not always shown and this includes scenes where most of the cast is tied up, and an entire wall got torched.

Better yet, what even do these characters DO around here?

We got a doctor... we got a pilot... and some other guys... but we literally only see them drink, play pool, and smoke weed. What are their actual jobs? It seems like Garry is supposed to be some sort of deputy or something, but he's got some of the worst trigger discipline in the world.

There's lots of random shit like that, but at least the movie trades away character development for plot development. Not that that's very deep either of course, but the movie's immediately engaging and a solid popcorn flik from beginning to end.

Thinking back on the Halloween theme and how it was better than Platoon, I kinda feel like The Thing was a bit too reserved with it's theme. GRANTED it's just a couple isolated beats, but it's such a great tone-setter. The slow-pan to the dog when everyone's forgotten about it and the theme kicks in? That's great.

It's also an excellent touch to queue it up when MacReady passes the booze off to Childs after he says "let's wait and see what happens". We don't know that MacReady was ever infected, but we DO know that he alone was told that people shouldn't share food, so passing the booze could be seen as extremely malicious.

It's a nice little open question ending, and it's a fun sit, but I still can't really call this movie a favorite. It just doesn't put itself over the edge by doing anything other than what it advertises on the tin, and the tin doesn't go into much detail, list the ingredients, or even include a contact number so that I call the manufacturer to complain.


Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]
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Friday the 13th
Horror Thriller / English / 1980

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
Haven't seen it. Probably the slasher movie icon I'm most surprised is not already in Dead by Daylight, probably because they already attempted to release their own asymmetric horror survival game based on it.

I already know the twist going in.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
Killing a live snake on camera, very nice.

Before talking about this movie, I'd like to describe a nightmare I had his morning. "Describe" is a bit generous in this case because, as is the case with dreams and nightmares, it's easy to forget details.

The important part is that I was imagining myself coming home in the dead of night only to discover that my home had been trashed. Drawers pulled out, stuff scattered all over the floor, clearly I had become the victim of a burglary. Already a bad feeling. But then, and I don't remember what it was, something subtle about the environment clued me into the certainty that the person who was in my house was still there, and in that moment, standing in the middle of my living room, I realized I was not alone.

A terrifying feeling and enough to jolt me awake into the real world once again. I can't even think of the last time I had a nightmare so unsettling.

THE POINT is to say that the random nightmare I had was scarier than this movie.


Let me see if I can summarize this in a way any seasoned moviegoer can understand:

This is a 1 hour and 35 minute movie,

and it takes 1 hour and 10 minutes for any of the characters to find out they're being killed.

That is probably THE most boring execution of a slasher movie I can imagine, shy of the entire cast being oblivious for the entire length.

This movie has a simple premise: Camp counselors are getting ready to reopen the camp after being closed following a slew of mysterious deaths. Somebody doesn't want that and picks them off one by one.

Which is honestly a great thing because these counselors are apparently all immature sex-brained potheads, a wonderful standup crew I would trust to take care of my children in the isolation of the woods in the middle of nowhere!

Apparently Mrs. Vorhees agrees, mother of the series killer, Jason, who is revealed to be the murderer... in the last 15 minutes of the movie. Jason drowned offscreen because the last rash of weed-breathed dry-humping wannabe natives left him to die.

I can get behind this revenge mission, kill 'em all I say. After all, Mrs. Vorhees is the most entertaining performance in the movie, it's only right that she assert her dominance by erasing the rest of the cast. Though I do find it frustrating that only after she's revealed, having killed several men and women alone, she manages to somehow be less coordinated than Ghostface.

The twist ending is after she's run through, Jason jumpscares the last girl by jumping out of the lake. You never even see the hockey mask that later became his signature look.


I appreciate that they tried to make the relatively mild irresponsibility of the counselors part of the point as to why they were being killed, Vorhees could have gone further about them being busy having sex or something, but the truth is the vast majority of this movie is just these characters fussing about and Mrs. Vorhees supposedly behind a handheld camera sneaking up on people to perform a hit-or-miss practical effects shot.

The orchestra exclusively follows her too, so all of the strings and "ch ch ch ch hah hah hah hah" stuff only supplement the movie when there's an impending death scene, robbing much of the movie of it's surprise.

The way the score is mixed into the movie is also kinda distracting, this isn't something I normally complain about but I feel like the ambiance and orchestral stings are much too close to the microphone as compared to the rest of the scene. It just sounds like I got a passive aggressive violinist huffing in my ear for some reason.

Another thing that completely took me out of it was the Kitchen Lady. She's supposedly one of the counselors on her way to the camp, except she's hiking with an enormous pack of travel gear and she's just alone walking about with a big smile on her face for no reason at all.

When she's alone, when she's petting a dog, when she's talking to people, when she's hitchhiking, she's just got a constant innocent smile on her dumb face... right on up until she gets killed off super early, which was surprising to me because she got more establishing shots and dialog than any other one character up to that point in the movie.

Everybody else including Kevin Bacon exist to do nothing but act immature, have sex, and get killed. Just a totally vapid cast all the way around.

It wasn't fun, it wasn't scary, it wasn't engaging, I couldn't even get any catharsis out of seeing the characters get killed because they're not big enough ********.

For a movie inspired by Halloween, it at least managed to not be so hilariously stupid, but even then I think Halloween had more going for it.


Final Verdict:
[Weak]
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The Indian in the Cupboard
Modern Fantasy / English / 1995

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
I honestly think I may have seen this movie all of once or twice in my entire life and while not totally memorable, it's always left a big impression on me and I've long wanted to see it again.

All I remember is a kid finds out toys he puts in his cupboard come to life and there are disastrous consequences for his actions. At some point he takes the "Indian" to school and bad things happen.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
Basic premise is thus: Main Kid is gifted a toy """indian""" and a random cupboard for his birthday. Using a key left over from his grandmother he discovers that when the toy indian is placed inside, the door closed, locked and unlocked, he becomes Little Bear, an actual Native American plucked from history.

At least the idea that he's plucked from IRL history is questionable, we later see Darth Vader and a dinosaur come to life too, and we all know those aren't real.

Naturally, Little Bear is terrified to find himself the tiny victim of a modern day child, but thankfully he speaks fluent English and Main Kid means well.

By "means well" I here mean he's a giant oppressive bigot, which is my classy way of lampshading the current year interpretation of a white male taking advantage of an indigenous minority only to then flip it on you to once again draw attention to extreme double standard in which this same character kicks a rat down a flight of stairs and needlessly animates a deer for the sole purpose of Little Bear hunting and killing it.

I understand part of the point is to highlight the dangers of playing god, but this is seriously undermined when the same character you trust not to hurt the miniature Native American man casually punts a helpless animal down a flight of stairs just to spite his brothers. Also the deer? And let's not even get into the arranged marriage this character seriously considered before Little Bear was like "Whoa, whoa, hold up, brutalizing and slaughtering helpless animals is all well and good, but can we get a little women's rights up in here?"

Of course the closest this movie actually gets to seriously thinking about any of these things is when Main Kid calls both the Cowboy and Indian "old-fashioned", which I can't say is any worse than if this movie actually had an agenda to swing around, which if it were made today, 100% would have.

This movie's a lot like Toy Story, but it's much darker. Little Bear is attacked by a pigeon very early on and to treat his wounds Main Kid animates a world war medic who describes the awful warzone he was just ripped out of. The second time it happens it sounds like he was about to die, and considering it's never known how the time interaction works, the second time he's de-animated, he may well have been killed. I don't know how that's supposed to be reflected in the toy, can you animate a historical figure at a time in their life when they died?

On at least one occasion we see Main Kid animate another "Injunn" to yoink his bow, but they die of fright, and presumably they de-animate in a dead pose?

Anyway, "cupboard logic" isn't a focus of the movie, and provided that it's dismissed as "magic" and it does nothing to contradict the rules governing this "magic", then it's as acceptable as the dream device in Inception as far as I'm concerned.



Main Kid discovering the magic of the cupboard is cool in every way a little childhood imagination needs it be and I was personally surprised, for a movie this old, that the visual effects to make Little Bear appear tiny actually aged incredibly well. He's basically greenscreened into the scenes and they did an excellent job to make the lighting on him match the background and his movement across it appear natural with the often uneven terrain, like fabric. There are a lot of little touches that they did to sell this miniature person and it's great and of course it makes me want to rewatch The Borrowers.

While the visual effects may be solid, I'm a little bit put off by the cinematography. Really for no other reason than because while the extreme close-ups are necessary for some of the to-scale shots, you also have a dopey-looking mouthbreathing kid with an overbite that the camera cannot leave well enough alone. Nothing against the kid of course, the more vulnerable he looks the more you sell the child wonderment angle, but let's be real, nobody wants to see a low-angle shot of this face engulfing your screen.

Beyond that, the only other thing I can think to add would be that while Main Kid's friend gifted him the indian toy, he was infuriatingly irresponsible with both him and the cowboy he insisted on animating too. Dumb little shit has no concept of any consequences beyond stroking his ego. I honestly would have stopped being friends with him after the shit he pulled in this movie.

Overall, while there are some pretty ugly ethical quarrels this movie casually overlooks, overall I really like what it does. There's something about a mysterious C.S. Louis-esque cupboard and a special skeleton king that can realize the lives you imagined for the cheapo little army figures you had growing up.

I also like that this isn't a conventional conflict for the main character. It isn't really just about concealing their existence from those that could harm them, it's also about having a dependent, taking responsibility for a life you brought into the world, and the consequences that can come from having that kind of power.

It sort of feeds into that "it's desirable because you can't have it" sort of thing where in the end, having a real life tiny indian village in your bedroom sounds frickin' cool, it's also totally ethically prohibitive.

Better for that imagination to stay where it is, lest there be consequences.


Final Verdict:
[Good]
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Halloween II
Horror Slasher / English / 1981

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
I guess I was just curious how a sequel could shake out.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
You ever wonder what happened during the events of Halloween? What's that? You've seen that movie? No, I mean do you ever wonder what happened on Halloween night in Halloween? No?

Oh, I see how you might misunderstand, you see Halloween only presents the events of the beginning of Halloween night, you didn't see the whole night, right? So yeah, whereas the previous movie covers the whole day, Halloween 2 covers the rest of the night where Myers continues his murderous rampage and finds Laurie Strode in the hospital.

I really don't know how necessarily all of this was, our only takeaways at the end of the day are:

1.) Laurie is Michael's sister.
2.) Michael Myers is dead.
3.) Michael Myers can't die.

Laurie's role is to be pretty much a potato through 70% of the movie up until the moment she realizes Myers has found her in the hospital. Thankfully, rather than pull a Friday the 13th on us, the rest of the cast is on the hunt for the masked serial killer.

This results almost immediately in the one of the first and funniest deaths of the whole movie: A police officer mowing down a child in their cruiser, slamming them into a van, and EXPLODING.

Never mind that it was a drunk teenager wearing a mask that gives him tunnel vision, that officer was speeding through a suburban neighborhood looking to kill some kids.

The police and security are pretty much a showcase of ineptitude throughout the movie. We get an unarmed security guard who irresponsibly hands his walkie talkie off to a nurse and blatantly refuses to explain how it works, resulting in preventable deaths. We get a sheriff who repeatedly gets within stabbing reach of a supposedly dead Myers who is plainly still armed and makes no attempt to disarm him, basically inviting Michael to tear his throat open... it's not a great showing by law enforcement in this movie.

Most of the movie surrounds the events at the hospital following Laurie's arrival and it's mostly pretty boring. Speaking of bad showing, our hospital staff are made to look pretty shitty too, literally sneaking off during work, while they have patients, to have hottub sex which the hospital has for some reason. Naturally they die, but why must it always come to this? Why can't people keep their **** to themselves for one horror movie? At least you'd have a decent shot at surviving...


Maybe, I dunno, Michael really does kill like 90% of the cast in this movie.

Although they don't do themselves any favors either, there's literally a scene where one of the hard-up paramedics discovers a body bled out on the floor and with no provocation slips in the blood and knocks themselves out.

This is literally ATM level slapstick. You remember ATM? That awful slasher movie about a killer who spooks some randos into trapping themselves in an ATM booth, lights a fire inside, gets them to climb up on top of one another to set off the fire sprinkler, and in that moment of glorious victory dunks themselves headfirst into a countertop.

Nothing has ever beat that in my mind, not even the girl from the Another anime who inexplicably impales themselves Final Destination style on their own umbrella. One way or another, when you're talking about a horror setting where it's already somebody else's job to kill you and you manage to kill yourself by tripping over your own two feet? Man there's something special about that.

Not too much special about this movie though. It was mostly pretty boring, I don't get anything out of seeing innocent people graphically slaughtered because I'm not a twisted freak.

One little point of credit I'll give this movie though, Mr. Sandman is a solid track inclusion. As Gremlins can attest, there's something about repurposing pleasant-sounding 50s tunes and presenting them in a far more sinister context that never gets old.


Final Verdict:
[Meh...]
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Sunshine
Sci-Fi Thriller / English / 2007

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
Another movie I've seen, but never reviewed.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
"So if you wake up one morning and it's a particularly beautiful day, you'll know we made it."

Let me start off with the worst part about this whole movie:

The butt rock during the End Credits.

Now that that's established, let's talk about what this movie does well, which is most things.

A minor league cast of characters including Captain America, Scarecrow, and Wing Chun are scientists on the second and final voyage to detonate a payload in a dying sun in an attempt to save Earth from the next Ice Age.

The premise is simple enough, however small complications escalate into big questions and once characters start pondering which of them should die for the sake of the mission, a killer is introduced into their midst and the mission is not on their agenda.

It begins with the discovery of Icarus 1, the first vessel to make the trip and stop short of it's destination and the decision to collect a second payload for a second attempt to save Earth.

Changing trajectories causes inadvertent damage to the solar panel shield which needs to be manually repaired. To repair it, the Icarus 2 must be tilted even further, exposing part of it to the damaging rays of the sun. At first this is believed to only destroy a couple comm towers which the crew can live without, but for some reason we casually ignore that this hits their oxygen garden and now all of a sudden the crew's lives are on a timer, and that timer ends before they can complete the mission.

Connecting with Icarus 1 becomes a top priority, but rather than salvaging anything of use, they set loose the religious psychopath Captain, responsible for the sabotaging the original ship and killing his crew, and after 7 years has no plans to change.

I like that they use camera and post-production effects of obscure the appearance of The Captain, because he's portrayed as being sunburned from head to toe, and his religious dialog accompanying his obscure, but ghastly figure helps sell him as this strange cosmic threat.

The CGI overall in this movie is fantastic, not once did anything look unreal to fit. Perhaps the couple shots of the payload room were a bit reminiscent of Cube, but that's a very small minority of shots in a movie that otherwise features a lot of CGI.


The tension felt appropriate, the dilemmas were reasonable, you're basically talking about a crew that knew they had signed up for a potentially one-way journey, so discussing the possibility of killing crewmates in the course of serving out the mission definitely makes sense... HOWEVER, I really would have liked there to be a much more substantive through-point about "saving humanity, but at what cost"? Like, okay, we decide to viciously murder someone we falsely suspect of sabotage because we can't all live off the remaining oxygen anyway, but if that's the sort of values that carried humans to this point, what value is there in keeping humanity going?

There's also a bit of a theme about the dissolving chain of command, wherein we begin by deferring all decisions to the captain who delegates certain decisions, but when he dies the next captain is basically ignored, and attempts to secure unanimous decisions democratically are undermined by dissent, and we return to anarchy.

There is one frustrating choice in this movie that irks me and that's when Scarecrow is informed that there's a mysterious 5th person aboard the ship and they're in the observation room, but rather than inform the other 3 people, he decides to go there alone, resulting in multiple unnecessary deaths. These seem like deaths that are much easier to blame on him than the deaths following the journey to Icarus 1 which he is blamed for merely because he concluded it was the wisest course of action... which it probably was.

Also, if you're the captain, and your subordinates are volunteering each other for dangerous tasks out of spite, what the actual hell are you doing by not stepping in?

Overall, the music was solid, the pace was good, the conflict was appropriate, and it's one of those movies that acknowledges and dwells in that enormous feeling of cosmic unimportance. That in the vastness of space, in it's endless collision of unstoppable forces, your existence just a tiny tragedy at the edge of a great tapestry.

I really liked it, but I don't think it will ever quite reach that threshold of entering my Favorites.


Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]
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Sunshine is the film which got me into movies. Though I don't love it as much as I used to, I still think it's very good. Also, unlike some people, I like the final act quite a bit.




Jacob's Ladder
Psychological Thriller / English / 1990

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
Considered a pre-millennium classic by some, Jacob's Ladder is one of the most popular recommendations when it comes to psychological thriller genre, and I've seen it cited as inspiration for other well known properties like Silent Hill.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
I expected there to be a big reveal by the end of this movie, but I didn't expect it to be that "Jacob's Ladder" refers to a drug. While clearly it also carries a double meaning for whether Jacob is going to heaven or hell, it's a bit bizarre.

Basically, Jacob is a Vietnam vet who experiences inordinate flashbacks to a battle in Vietnam is struggles to remember, but also experiences increasingly horrific visions in his day-to-day life, suggestive that he made have some sort of mental illness.

Frustratingly, the trailer for this movie explicitly spoils the surprise and the movie itself doesn't take too long before also asserting that Jacob is indeed dead. Supposedly he died after having taken a rage-inducing drug which caused his platoon to kill each other... but also he's invented an entire narrative where he came back home, was resuscitated by a chiropractor, got divorced from his wife (before or after the military? I don't know), and hooked up with an entirely new love interest.

At the 45 minute mark we completely shift gears to his pre-divorce life, before one of his sons is hit and killed by a car, but then we shift back to the present(?) and I'm a bit lost at this point.

Again, I don't really understand the full sequence of events, whether this is a life he lead prior to the military, or whether he entirely manufactured this new relationship. Thankfully it doesn't convolute the plot much farther than that and the movie manages to stay mostly coherent despite it's anachronistic structure and casual bleeding of flashbacks and hallucinations.


Eventually it is confirmed that Jacob is indeed dead when he returns home and only finds the son who died to greet him and bring him upstairs into the light, it couldn't be much more blatant. The only thing the closing scene adds is the background tune which sources a song that Jacob sings on a couple occasions throughout the movie, perhaps representing the earliest evidence that he's actually dead.

There are some cool ideas in this movie and it's presentation I can definitely see inspiring other works, but on it's own I feel like there are things it did that it didn't need to do.

I really don't know why the chiropractor needed to exist as a character, unless the intention was for him to be a literal angel to Jacob. I suppose his role makes sense if we're providing that, but even so his scenes are given such an uneven weight and they contribute nothing significant to the movie overall.

I was seriously speculating that it was going to be revealed that Jacob's chiropractor accidentally killed him with a spinal adjustment, which totally could have happened.

I also don't really like the emphasis on Jacob having two separate love interests at different times. I suppose it imposes a layer of grief for Jacob to flashback to a life he wishes he still had but can't have anymore, but then we're contrasting that with this new woman who he ostensibly gets along with and... again I don't even know if she's a figment of his dying imagination or what.

It sure seems strange for "Purgatorio" to take the shape of imagining you're a mailman living out of a budget apartment in the New York slums... and all of this is downstream of some government coverup of chemical warfare experiments in Vietnam?? It's all kinda weird.

It seems like the only takeaway from this movie is that, the dead need to let go of their past to move on... but of all the ways to communicate that, this borderline horror movie really wants to make a yarn of it.

I don't how to feel about it. It's not a bad movie, but it makes me want to revisit Death Parade.


Final Verdict:
[Okay]
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🔴Marvel Fan⚪️❤️Elizabeth Olsen+Tom Hiddleston❤️

Scream
Horror Comedy Mystery / English / 1996

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
Been a while since I've seen it. I already know how it ends, but I've forgotten the journey it took to get there. He's also playable killer in Dead by Daylight.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
Wes Craven was something of a horror geek god, not just for creating Nightmare on Elm Street, but also Scream, which sets itself apart from other slasher movies by virtue of it's explicit genre savviness.

It immediately opens on a girl home alone who receives a creepy phone call from a guy who goads her into talking about scary movies, immediately referencing Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th, and even spoiling that movie, before it turns serious and the threat of home invasion becomes real when a guy with a combat knife and a Spirit Halloween costume runs in to start stabbin'.

This trend follows throughout the entire movie with numerous references to movies, tropes, and even one character just standing up and deconstructing the modern horror genre into it's most popular cliches.

It runs an extremely fine line where it wants viewers to know that it's smarter than your average horror movie, but it also doesn't condescend to it's audience. A general tone of self-awareness and genre subversion is prevalent throughout a majority of it's setpieces, and so too is a thin veil of black comedy.

The Ghostface Killer never speaks full lines while onscreen, so he has moments where he's given amusing body language to communicate and in action scenes where he's trying to kill someone, as anyone would notice, his hits and falls are a soundboard shy of slapstick.

Even when he's talking on the phone, the voice actor playing him is enjoyably campy and the two characters eventually revealed to be the dual identity of the Ghostface Killer bring their best performance, be both believable and entertaining psychopaths.

I knew Shaggy was up to no good.



The reveal of the Ghostface Killer is also pretty central to this movie since it quietly lays the foundation for a whole NEW dimension to this movie: the whodunnit mystery.

Names are cast about, shade is thrown, and tiny little lingering camera moments give you just long enough to question whether, "Wait a minute! That cop was wearing boots! The killer was wearing boots too!"

Scream never leans heavily enough into the whodunnit aspect of the movie to make you seriously suspect anyone other than the characters most frequently appearing onscreen, but this movie manages to subvert even that;

Typically there's only one guilty party in a whodunnit.

In an effort to avoid this expectation, some whodunnits pull the "everyone is guilty" card, such as in Murder on the Orient Express,

Short of that, while still wanting to be surprising, whodunnits will implicate characters outside of the realm of reasonable culprits. For example if there's a locked room mystery, and there are 9 people at the hotel, they'll produce all sorts of evidence to implicate any or all of them, but then pull a 10th person out of their ass at the last second and hang it all on them, despite there having been no evidence, or even poor evidence that they were the killer.

This is worst of all because it completely defeats the point of a whodunnit, which is enjoyable in large part due to the viewer being given the opportunity to speculate who the culprit could be.

This movie not only implicates one of it's killers early on, exonerates them, then throws them under the bus again, but rationalizes this 180 by presenting a second killer, which explains discrepancies in the theory that implicated him. That's a pretty cool ending... even if I wasn't given much evidence to make a strong determination.

Scream runs at a refreshingly brisk pace, and even the occasional filler dialog bridges the gaps between setpiece moments with an odd, yet pleasing combination of period pop rock music and atmospheric score.

I can't really think of too many things this movie could have done better with what it was going for. The ending where the movie geek goes "be careful, this is when the bad guy suddenly comes back to life", just as I was thinking about that, then plays it straight by immediately shooting the dude in the head was... how you hip young 90s kids might call "choice".

I think the thing I would want most out of any of the sequels is more thoughtfulness. I really want to be given enough evidence to confidently point a finger at one of the characters and be proven wrong because the plot is secretly much more clever than it seems.

Time will tell.


Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]
scream 1 always gonna be my favorite
__________________
https://youtu.be/M-7QBR6hugc Wanda Maximoff-Scarlet Witch -Elizabeth Olsen
https://youtu.be/78oLEoy5Npo Natasha Romanoff-Black Widow-Scarlett Johansson
https://youtu.be/0LXhnd-CMrQ Agatha Harkness-Kathryn Hahn
https://youtu.be/4E880wNeB2g Yelena Belova-
Florence Pugh
https://youtu.be/V8BhIsWTGUI Clint Barton-Hawkeye-Jeremy Renner
https://youtu.be/wX7VibqBUrk Loki Lufeyson-Tom Hiddleston