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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.

Review: Final Girl (2015)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2016 by Lilliandra Winters

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Writen by: Adam Prince (screenplay), Stephen Scarlata (story)
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Wes Bentley, Logan Huffman

I was browsing through my Netflix horror section and came across Final Girl. This was a film that I had passed several times. The cover picture has always caught my eye, especially since I recognized the lead actress for her earlier work (Haunter and Scream Queens). I was fairly sure she was a child actress (She is: Little Miss Sunshine) and I was interested in seeing what she had to offer as an adult. Not only that, but the description enticed me, as many do:

A man teaches a young woman how to become a complete weapon. Later she is approached by a group of sadistic teens who kill blonde women for unknown reasons. The hunting season begins.

It isn’t any longer than other movies, so why not? I instantly began to recognize other actors. Besides Wes Bentley, I also knew Cameron Bright and Alexander Ludwig. I wondered how this would all play out and hoped for the best.

The premise of the movie is interesting enough. A young girl’s parents die. She, being intelligent, was brought into what I can only assume is a special program. This is where the story ripples for me a little bit. It is suddenly years later and Veronica (Breslin) and William (Bentley), who originally brought the Veronica into the program, are obviously much older. I’m assuming late teens. Now, I would imagine that she was being trained all of these years, but that isn’t what is even remotely portrayed here. It actually comes off that she had little to no training up to this point and is just now learning, as he is explaining to her what she must do. This part is the most confusing. He seems to be cramming all the information she needs to succeed in her mission into a mere day or two, but why? Why not use the years you’ve had with her?

Here’s the long and short of it. Four boys (Huffman, Bright, Ludwig and Reece Thompson) love to dress in tuxes and take girls out into the woods and hunt them. After this group has killed many young women, Veronica is tasked with infiltrating and taking them down. Simple and elegant.

I very much enjoy the idea, but the execution is sloppy. The beginning of the movie doesn’t add up and it feels rushed. We don’t need a training montage of her as a child learning to kill people, but why does she begin her training so late in the game? She could have showed more skill if she had been trained for years. What happened in all that time? It almost seems that the middle of the movie was thought up first and they slapped together a beginning and an end. The end wasn’t confusing, but didn’t leave me feeling accomplished. The ending was honestly something I’d expect more from a TV show than a movie. So much is left unexplained that you end up questioning the entire experience.

That all being said, I enjoyed the dialog for the most part. I found most of the actors to be spot on, but Veronica felt off. Breslin’s role never clicked for me. Her choreography was well done and I was impressed at her fighting scenes, though. I enjoyed the glimpses into each character, which didn’t drag me down with unnecessary details; just enough to gain a small bit of understanding and intrigue.

I would like to tell you exactly how I feel about the movie as a whole, but, as I sit here typing this, all I can tell you is that I’m indifferent. I neither liked nor disliked the movie, which is an uncomfortable feeling, since I enjoy passing judgement in this manner. So, I leave you with a mostly well acted, but rushed story with good choreography?

I don’t know. Watch it for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below!

WintersOver4

The Most Underrated Horror Movies on Netflix

Posted in List with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2016 by Xander Woolf

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Guest Post By: Cassie from Culture Coverage

Are you a fan of the things that go bump in the night? What about the ones that creep in the woods unnoticed? If you are, Netflix has got you covered with all things spooky and creepy to add to your queue and have a scream stream fest.

From an anthology of horror shorts to art house films on a super budget, these Netflix scary stories are sure to put a little jump in your step, and a just a tad of fear into your next Netflix & Chill session.

1. The ABCs of Death
Starting off with this delicious anthology, The ABCs of Death is like a giant kid’s storybook full of goodies, except these goodies come in the horror contingency from more than two dozen directors and spell out (literally) how to kill. For anyone looking for a good couple of shorts to bring big scares, The ABCs of Death is beautiful, deadly, and most of all, a horror flick lover’s dream.

2. The House at the End of Time
Spanish language horror flicks have never had a better run and The House at the End of Time is in the same vein that makes del Toro’s the most lauded (and awarded) horror flicks of all time. The main protagonist, Dulce, is a mother who learns of apparitions in her house, and after getting attacked, leaves the house. But later in her old age, she comes back to confront the demons who plagued her there and finally settle the score. For fans of thrillers like The Haunting in Connecticut and The Messengers, The House at the End of Time is a foreign masterpiece that belongs on your list of must-sees.

3. Monsters
A little bit of genre mixing goes on in Monsters, as this tiny indie horror flick takes place in a disease ridden post-apocalyptic world inhabited by alien creatures. As one road weary journalist seeks to take an American tourist to the safety of the US on the other side of the US-Mexican border. Premiering at South by Southwest in 2010 and being made over three weeks, in 5 countries, with a $500,000 budget, you can’t get much more homegrown than this—and it all pays off in a directorial debut by Gareth Edwards. For viewers that like the scare to be unpredictable, authentic, and deliberate, this is the flick for you.

4. Dead Snow
Nazi zombie movie? Check! Dead Snow is one of those traditional horror flick set-ups; medical students hoping for a break head into the icy woods for peace and relaxation only to come across stories of a band of Nazis getting lost in the woods and becoming the undead (sounds awesome, right?). For fans of zombie flicks and excellent historical epics, this just might be the movie to convert you into sitting down for the every zombie-historical crossover, and certainly for the next two movies in the Dead Snow trilogy.

Pro Tip: Not sure if you’ll be able to stream this wherever you are? Take into consideration a Virtual Private Network. It’ll work out all the kinks of wondering whether you’re going to get offered the same Netflix selection everywhere. Perfect for disabling geolocation, a VPN saves you from having to fret, and at the same time protects you from data stealing identity thieves on public WiFi. It’s a win-win.

5. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Vampires never had such a creepy awakening as in Ana Lily Amirpour’s Iranian flick self-labeled as a vampire Western. With the main character known only as “The Girl,” this story is as much about bloodsucking as it is about defining the human characteristics of the undead as the main falls head over heels for a mortal boy who’s embroiled in the care and keeping of his addiction rattled father. In the vein of vampire movies that speak as art house films, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night might be more terrifying, not for its inclusion of the extraordinary, but because of its humanity.

Still looking for more horror to binge on? Check out this list for great finds of the scary kind, or even just of the thriller sort. Great horror doesn’t always have to leave you shaking in your boots, but it’s generally a great sign if it surprises!

Happy watching!

About the Author: Cassie is an entertainment and online security blogger, who specializes in all things movies and getting around geo-restrictions. She is always open to new suggestions for which flick to watch next. Leave a note in the comments about a movie (or movies!) you love, and she’ll get right to watching or debating its finer points!