Archive for Horror Review

Review: Stranger Things Season 2 (TV Show)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2018 by Lilliandra Winters

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If you haven’t watched the first season of Stranger Things, then I suggest you check out that review and then decide if you want to watch it. This review is only for the second season. Also, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

Before I go spoiler bound, should you watch it? YES! Why should you watch it! BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME! Now, spoiler away.

I binged watched the hell out of season 2. However, I wasn’t patiently waiting for it to come out. I didn’t start watching it day one. I didn’t pour over internet theories before it came out. I loved season 1, don’t get me wrong, but I was worried about season 2.

Let’s get the hate out of the way.

Season 2 felt just a tad off to me and I will explain why. The end of season 1 could have easily been the end. We didn’t know what was coming next. It was tied up in the neatest little bow possible with two exceptions. We were lead to ponder if Eleven was still alive. Also, what the fuck did Will cough up in the sink?

Season 2 didn’t wrap up in that same bow. There are a lot of unanswered questions and if you ask me, everything with her sister felt… disconnected? Maybe that isn’t the proper word, but work with me. Of course, I can understand everything that lead up to her going to Mama. Mama wants me to go see this girl… Okay, that isn’t what I got from the vision, but I’m not you. So, she ventures off to find her sister and the feeling of these scenes were so far removed from what was happening that I had a hard time smoothly going back to Hawkins.

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BEFORE YOU HATE ME… I understand that it was character development. I am sure that this plot will be revisited in season 3. In fact, it felt more like a setup for season 3 than it actually belonging in season 2. Again, this is my opinion and I didn’t love it any less. I just felt uncomfortable. I Love Kali by the way. Love love love. PS, where the fuck are the rest of the numbers?

So, besides that, I don’t recall any other issues I had. Well, I did want that bitch Billy to be eaten by a Demidog, but that didn’t fucking happen. HE DIDN’T EVEN SEE ONE. I mean, I straight up hate that motherfucker (not as much as his father) but damn did that bring up some left over high school rage that I will never address. That seething hatred can stay there. That might have been my only other issue, but that’s more of a personal preference.

Now, let’s talk about the awesome. Eleven/Jane is developing, learning, understanding, feeling and we are along for the ride. This poor girl was not only put through hell, but she also got worse, kicked it’s ass and got more hell for it! CAN SHE CATCH A FUCKING BREAK!

However, watching this journey just bonds us to her even more. I assume that most of us want to pick her up, hug her, put her in our pocket and feed her all the Eggo’s she wants. However, I found Will to be an adored pocket dweller, also. Again, this poor kid went through hell BY ACCIDENT and the hits just keep on coming.

He tries to be so brave and stand up to it, only to really get screwed over something fierce. I just remembered thinking, “holy shit that poor kid,” every 5 seconds. For seeing so little of him in the first season, he did so well in season 2 with not only that troubled weight on his shoulders, but also literally fighting to gain some normalcy.

ebf13f1a5114687e50e98ebabf162c25AND BOB! OMG don’t get me started on Bob… I saw a lot of #justiceforbarb #justiceforbob before I even started watching. Thanks for ruining that, internet. However the question that came up was who do you want justice for, Barb or Bob.

FIRST OF ALL, not the same situation. Barb got dead and knew nothing about what was happening. Of course, she deserves justice. BOB IS A MOTHER FUCKING HERO. Holy shit! Bob the Brain deserved better.

He may have been nerdy and weird, but who isn’t? He found a woman he loved, accepted her two kids, loved them and tried to bond with that. He had a good job and loved to help. HE CAME OVER WHEN HE THOUGHT WILL WAS SICK, found out Will was in the Upside Down, not the woods, and he didn’t nope the fuck out. Then, he didn’t even ask Hopper to come guard him (which I would have) and went out to do what he did best. Salute Superhero Bob because not all heroes wear capes.

I think I just started ranting about characters and never spoke of the actual story. I’ll throw out that Dustin is an adorable dumbass and say that the story was great. I felt awful for everyone stuck in the situation and wondered how the rest of the town seemed to notice 100% of NOTHING this whole time. Sheep.

I wasn’t a fan of all the Nancy boy drama. I can always do without extra romance issues. I do say “extra” because we can’t forget about the Max love triangle in all of this. That lead to interesting drama, but little character development for Lucas, or at least I think it could have been done a little better. Show of hands on how many people think Billy is a racist? If he is, I do appreciate them removing derogatory words from the script. I know that people will throw words around trying to be authentic, but there is a line and the actor is a kid. It wouldn’t have sat well with me at all.

Season 2 is good but sitting here, reflecting upon it, I feel some of the Sequel Blues. The first is always better, because we aren’t shocked by what is being presented to us. As much as they brought to the table this time, the newness of it, I felt a couple of characters lacked much needed development. I had issues with the Jane/Kali story line ( I was really hoping Kali would have shown up at the end to help) and there was to much left unresolved, to me at least. I also found that investigator to be creepy in a special way.

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That being said, loved the Demidogs, loved the Shadow Monster, loved thinking outside the box, the map, the heaters. POOR BARB’S PARENTS! Mad Max stood up for herself and poor Mamabear Steve! Which honestly, I’d never thought I’d say that about a popular kid, like ever. He stuck by those kids, but I guarantee he’s never having any. Hey Steve, sweetie, let’s have a baby! NO! NO! HELLS NO! They grow up to be little shits that jump into tunnels and set demons on fire. HELL NO! And Steve is carted off to the insane asylum and never heard from again.

I digress. Season 2 was wonderful, but definitely lacking in a few areas for me. Let’s hope for a strong season 3 and cross our fingers that Billy gets bit in the nuts by a demidog.

Do you agree? What did you love or hate about season 2?

WintersOver4

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Review: Malevolent (2018)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2018 by Xander Woolf

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Starring: Florence Pugh, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Scott Chambers, Georgina Bevan & Celia Imrie
Directed by: Olaf de Fleur Johannesson

Netflix is killing it with their original content. Shows, mini-series and movies alike, Netflix knows content and has the budget to do these projects justice. Not the least of which is Malevolent, a horror movie about a young woman that inherited the medium gifts that eventually took her mother’s life.

What’s it about?
Brother and sister duo, Jackson (Lloyd-Hughes) and Angela (Pugh), decide to use their mother’s name to create a side gig for some extra cash. The children of a famous Scottish medium, they set Angela up to be the face who speaks with ghosts, while Jackson gets the gigs and their friends, Elliot (Chambers) and Beth (Bevan), help with the tech. They put on a show for their clients, then make off with the cash before it’s discovered that they didn’t actually do anything.

This all changes when they take on a job a little too big for their britches. Mrs. Green (Imrie) supposedly lives alone on a large estate. She used to run a girls’ school, but tragedy struck and all of the girls ended up dead, their mouths sewn shut. Now, she hears laughter and screaming and she just wants a quiet house. Jackson accepts the job, against Angela’s wishes, and the team heads to this remote estate in the Scottish countryside.

What awaits them, however, are mutilated ghost children and a revelation about what actually happened all those years ago.

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What did I think?
Like with most movies, there are pros and cons to Malevolent. The ambiance is fantastic. The setting is perfect. It’s a very well-made film in general. It actually scared me. Give me Scottish ghosts and I’m putty in your hand.

It’s a fairly typical haunted house movie. The protagonists arrive, thinking none of the stories are real. We start with glimpses of ghosts and mini-jumpscares. Then, all of a sudden, the unknown becomes known and our protags are in very real danger.

While the acting was great, the characters themselves were a little off for me. Angela is quiet and angsty — straight out of a YA novel. Jackson is unfeeling and overconfident, despite his life being in danger after borrowing money from the wrong people. Elliot is the puppy dog that follows Angela around and Beth doesn’t really seem to add much value to the plot. They’re all a little two-dimensional.

Mrs. Green, on the other hand, was phenomenal. With a base need for quiet as her driving force, Mrs. Green is multi-faceted. Celia Imrie really brings her character to life, which is to be expected of such a celebrated and talented British actress.

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Despite all this though, the relationships between the characters felt real. There were times when tears came to my eyes because the raw emotion that Florence Pugh put forth caught me off guard.

Story-wise, I’m left with more questions than answers, which I’m not a particular fan of. If it was a series and this was the first part, I’d be okay with this, but it’s a standalone movie, with no plans that I can find for a sequel. The haunted house plot wrapped up nicely, but there are questions about Angela that I’d like answered.

Do I recommend it?
Yes. While it has its flaws, this movie pulls from classic horror archetypes and introduces some twists that I didn’t expect. It’s worth a watch, especially since you won’t spend any extra money on it. You can find Malevolent on Netflix.

Why I couldn’t finish “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty” (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Supposedly based on the Grimm fairy tale “Briar Rose,” The Curse of Sleeping Beauty follows Thomas, a reclusive artist who consistently dreams of a beautiful sleeping woman that he just can’t wake up. When he inherits a property that’s been in his family for generations, his nightmares become real. He has to free Briar Rose from her prison in order to free himself from the property.

It sounds like it could be a beautiful story… if done right.

The movie was so awful, though, we couldn’t even finish it. We got about half-way through and turned it off. This is actually a big deal for Winters and me. In our entire friendship, we’ve only ever turned off three movies.

It’s especially a big deal for me given that I love bad horror movies. I’ll watch bad horror until the cows come home, but I couldn’t finish The Curse of Sleeping Beauty. Here’s why.

1) The acting was atrocious. While the actors were all beautiful in their own right, they weren’t right for the roles. Ethan Peck, at first, seemed perfect for a reclusive artist role. As the movie went on, however, it became obvious that Thomas was supposed to care about both Briar Rose and Linda, the woman helping him learn more about the mysterious property. Ethan Peck, however, continued with his emotionless character, causing his lines to fall flat. India Eisley, who played Briar Rose, was gorgeous in her outfit, but could have spent more time with a dialect coach. Her English accent was reminiscent of that of a teenager pretending to be “posh.” Finally, Natalie Hall’s Linda attempted to be the comic relief, but the delivery of her lines combined with the overall feel of the movie made that attempt fall short. We felt as though each of these actors was only hired because of their good looks.

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2) The script was just bad. The acting probably would have been better if the script was better written. Instead, there were lines that made no sense and major plot holes. Not only that, but near the middle of the movie, the plot changed from straight horror fantasy, where one or two people deal with an evil force, to an ensemble let’s-tackle-this-together movie. The dynamic completely changed when the two extra characters were added. Thomas and Linda were all that were needed, in my opinion.

3) They mixed several cultures together. This goes along with bad script writing, but deserves a point all to its own. The Sleeping Beauty story is of French origin. The movie takes place in America (I think!). All the characters seem to be American or Canadian, with the exception of Briar Rose, who is supposedly British. Richard (Bruce Davison), shows up in a car with a European license plate. And, finally, when they determine what the actual curse is, they reveal that it’s Middle Eastern… Dear writers, pick one and stick to it!

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While those are my three big points, there were a lot of little points as well. Let’s call it nitpicks. First, Thomas’ uncle supposedly lived in the mysterious house for 40 years, but it looked like it hadn’t been lived in for quite a long time. Second, Thomas at one point says he just wants to get out of this “godforsaken town,” but there was no introduction of the town itself or Thomas’ interaction with it. Finally, there’s a scene where a bunch of mannequins are attacking Thomas and Linda, attempting to protect the secret of the house from outsiders, and I was just reminded of an episode of Doctor Who, which took me right out of the story.

I didn’t see the ending, but absolutely nothing could have made this movie worth it. I assume Briar Rose turned out to be evil and they had to defeat her. Otherwise, they never would have introduced Linda as Thomas’ other love interest. I also assume that the 53 people who had gone missing on the property were the people inside the mannequins. But, hey, I could be wrong.

Watch it for yourself and tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

Review: Don’t Breathe (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Written and Directed by: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette

What’s it about?
Three amateur thieves (Levy, Minnette, Daniel Zovatto) devise a plan to steal $300,000 from a disabled veteran (Lang) living in a house in an abandoned neighborhood in Detroit. The plan goes wrong, however, when they find they’re stuck in a house with a trained killer.

What did I think?
These kids are dumb. I can’t express how dumb these kids are. First of all, the man may be blind, but blind people can hear and smell really, really well. Don’t take your shoes off and certainly don’t take steps backwards if you’re not absolutely sure there’s not a creaky floor board. Secondly, the man’s a veteran. He’s not going to be defenseless, even if he is disabled. He had four locks on his front door for Christ’s sake.

I can’t say I was really scared during this movie. The people in danger broke into a house in a Stand Your Ground state. Of course the owner’s going to use deadly force to defend himself, his money, and the girl he’s got tied up in the basement. You can’t just walk in with one pistol and think you’ll be alright. I had no empathy for the main characters, so I found that I didn’t care what happened to them. This made the jump scares and the general suspense far less effective.

I’d much rather see the story of the girl he had tied up. Sure, he explained it, but that’s a far scarier situation to be in. Make that movie. Don’t try to make me empathize with a bunch of burglars who should know full well they’re in a Stand Your Ground state. He had every legal right to kill the intruders in his home, regardless of whether or not he has a hostage in the basement.

The acting was pretty good, though, despite the premise. Though, to be honest, not a lot of talking happened in this movie. The few times the main characters did talk (which, of course, was at the worst times), they were immediately bombarded with a bullet. They barely even had full conversations during the exposition, which I can get behind. The less talking, the less any particular actor can ruin a scene. Though, they all did facial expressions really well. And, because they had to be quiet to avoid this killer, there was no fake horror movie scream. Thank you for that, Fede Alvarez.

Do I recommend it?
Yeah, it’s pretty much just like every other horror movie, so you might as well go watch it. The main characters make bad decisions, so at least it’s a good opportunity to yell at your screen, if you haven’t done that in awhile.

Review: Tattletail (Video Game)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2017 by Lilliandra Winters

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Furbies were fucking everywhere. I mean everywhere. You couldn’t get away from them. If you didn’t have one, then you knew someone who did and that was that. They were adorably creepy and I can’t tell you how entertaining I find it that my mother was constantly jump scared by mine. I remember they weren’t allowed to be in most places because they held the ability to record. Fast forward and those of us who find dolls terrifying now have a reason to fear furbies, or Hatchimals, if you want to be more current.

So, it’s days before Christmas and you wake up in the middle of the night to go peek at your presents and discover that you are receiving a Tattletale, the hit toy for the holiday season. You are so eager that you open it up and immediately play with it, but the Tattletale is much more than it seems. The Tattletale is increasingly demanding, requiring grooming, actual food and charging at its station in the basement. Also, don’t forget about Mama.

This game is fucking terrifying. It combines several fears together and shoves them into a child’s toy. After the first night, I am constantly wondering why you would go back but it seems like these fuckers, once unleashed, will NOT go back to sleep. Every night, you have to deal with this tiny demon, feeding, brushing and charging. However, Mama doesn’t like you. (THEY NEVER SAY WHY, SHE JUST DOESN’T, LIKE A JUDGEMENTAL BITCH!) You are sent on these crazy quests, having to take Tattletale with you (who WON’T SHUT UP). (I KNOW YOU LOVE ME, SHUT UP ALREADY!) However, there is a reason for the chaos. You realize that shit is much worse than previously thought, it is creepy as fuck once you figure it out. Don’t forget to collect all of the eggs for the ‘good’ ending.

This game is amazing. The concept is terrifying. It’s well written, the art/graphics are incredible, and the music/sound creates so much anxiety on top of what you already have to go through. Panic on top of panic is how you want to play a horror game. An extreme sense of urgency makes it easy to forget that you are a terrified child just trying to survive your own Christmas toys and make it the joyous holiday of gift giving. I can’t give this enough praise, the fear is real, the ending is almost perfect and I’m setting every Furbie I see on fire. Play it for yourself, FFS it’s only $5! Prepare for some jump scares and have fun sleeping!

Review: Sinister (2012)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Thompson, James Ransone, Clare Foley

What’s it about?
A true crime writer (Hawke) moves his family to a new town in order to write his next best-selling book about a young girl who went missing. In the process, he comes across a box full of home movies that depict the gruesome deaths of several families. As he and his family begin to go crazy, they have to figure out who’s behind these murders and try to stop the same fate from happening to them.

What did I think?
Sinister keeps you on the edge of your seat. In true horror fashion, it keeps its audience in the dark until the very chilling end.

The acting is superb. Ethan Hawke plays crazy writer well, and that’s a hard role to fill as it’s been done so many times. Clare Foley is just the right amount of creepy to fill the role of the creepy horror kid.

The plotline wasn’t anything special, though the ending was definitely not what I expected. You have your typical, “strange things are happening, main character thinks he’s crazy” plotline up until you find out what’s actually going on. That’s where the true beauty of this film lies. The twist ending was not only terrifying, but also left me feeling sick and uncomfortable – the sign of good horror.

Do I recommend it?
Well, yeah. I mean, you’ve probably already seen it, but if you haven’t – watch it! It’s currently playing on Netflix.

Review: The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2016 by Lilliandra Winters

Game by: Michael Lutz
Platform: PC

The Uncle who Works for Nintendo is a weird choose-your-own-adventure horror indie game. Unlike most games that I adore, this is visual novel. I avoid these like the plague since they’re not as interactive as I’d like video games to be.

What’s it about?
Diving into it, you are a kid sleeping over at your best friend’s house. You have dinner with his parents, play video games with your buddy and unravel the weirdest tale possible.

What did I think?
The artwork is sketched backgrounds, beautifully simple and effective, with a few sound effects and some creepy atmosphere that only intensifies the incredible story. A story about a night at your best friend’s house and their uncle who works at Nintendo.

I’m not going to go into the story, but it’s perfectly written and free, so I urge you to play. It has 5 endings and a hidden one that takes some work to get to, but I have faith in you. You’ll get it.

It’s incredibly creepy, completely worth your time and very, very creepy pasta.

Maybe I need to stop giving visual novels a bad wrap?

Do I recommend it?
Play it, thank me or yell at me. Tell me what you think.

WintersOver4