Category Archives: Saturday is Horror Day

Saturday is Horror Day #81 – Home Sweet Hell, Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Home Sweet Hell

Life seems sweet for Don Champagne (Patrick Wilson). He has a successful home furnishing store that he runs with his partner Les (Jim Belushi). He has a beautiful wife, Mona (Katherine Heigl) and two great children. But life in suburbia isn’t what it appears to be. A pretty young thing named Dusty (Jordana Brewster) applies for a job at the store, and he hires her, to Les’ delight, because Les’ wife has Crohn’s disease and he likes to have eye candy to look at when he’s working.

 

Mona is rather controlling of  everything in their lives. She even has a book of goals she means them to achieve, and she schedules everything, including their lovemaking. Starved for attention, Don is an easy prey for Dusty, and he begins a torrid affair with her. But when she turns up pregnant, now it’s a whole new ballgame. What’s a guy to do?

 

The premise of this movie is an interesting one, what with Mona doing the dirty deeds that Don can’t 

find it within himself to do. But at the same time, there is something that doesn’t quite ring true in this dark comedy.  It’s slow to find its pace and the acting is somewhat stereotypical. Mona is unlikeable – too controlling and too psycho. It’s hinted that she suffered some sort of trauma as a child but when Don asks her about it, she gets defensive and warns him that if he asks her that ever again, she’ll end him.

Jim Belushi’s character spends most of his time drunk and whining about his poor wife with the Crohn’s Disease (and btw, those jokes are very insensitive and not funny) Jordana Brewster, whom I haven’t seen since she was in As the World Turns, plays a femme fatale with an agenda but no real personality. And Kevin McKidd is Dusty’s boyfriend’s friend, Freeman. Typical thug types.

I didn’t dislike the film but I feel it could have been better. If you’re like me, you’ll google the ending to figure out what happened. Guess there won’t be a sequel. I’ll give this 3 Stars, mostly because I like Patrick Wilson.

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It

 

Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren are a married couple who know a little something about demonic possession. Called to assist with the exorcism of an 8-year-old boy David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard), they are successful in ridding him of his demon… but only because the demon has unknown to them transferred itself to Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor). Arne invited the demon in to save David. Be careful what you ask for. After returning home, he ends up getting into an altercation with his friend Bruno (Ronnie Gene Blevins) and kills him. Up on trial for the murder, Arne’s lawyer pleads not guilty…by reason of demonic possession. The Warrens have to prove this is so.

The Warren’s search for the truth is hampered by Ed’s ill health when he suffers a serious heart attack. But nothing will stop Ed in assisting with the investigation and looking after Lorraine.

 

This is the third film in the series about real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. I 

 can’t vouch for how accurate the films are compared to the real couple, or how much of the stories are true. But they are interesting. And again, we have Patrick Wilson to look at. Nuff said. I don’t find this series as scary as Insidious but I do enjoy them. I have another Annabelle movie to watch and the Curse of La Llarona (from the same universe). I would recommend the series as worth watching. Also, look for actor John Noble in this one.  I’ll give this film 3.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #80 – Hangman, Bad Ronald

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Hangman

Will Ruiney (Karl Urban) is a homicide detective who finds himself on the trail of a serial killer who is playing a sadistic game of Hangman with his victims. He calls his own partner Ray Archer (Al Pacino) out of retirement to assist in the case. Nosy reporter Christi Davies (Brittany Snow) inserts herself into the case and insists on following the detectives around, despite the potential danger to herself. Each victim is found hanging, with a letter carved onto them. 

I’m not gonna beat around this bush – this is not a good movie. In fact, it’s fairly awful. The only saving grace is that it’s short. And I’m saying this despite the fact that I do like both Pacino and Urban. But even they couldn’t save this disastrous formulaic boring film. Urban basically phones in his part, Pacino is just playing Pacino and he seems to be amusing himself as much as anything. And Brittany Snow isn’t much of an actress, at least not in this.

 

The writing is awful, the plot boring. I read someone’s description of it as imitating the film Seven (which was good, btw). I almost turned it off, I was so bored. The killer doesn’t appear until the end, and he isn’t very good either. I’m just going to give this 1 Star because I do like Pacino and Urban, but I recommend you not watch this horrible movie.

Bad Ronald

Ronald Wilby (Scott Jacoby) is a rather shy, introverted young man who lacks some of the social graces. It doesn’t help that his peers have a tendency to tease him mercilessly and relentlessly. Ronald lives with his ailing mother Elaine Wilby (Kim Hunter) in an old Victorian mansion. One day, Ronald cracks and accidentally kills a young girl. He confesses to his mother, not knowing what to do. Together they devise a plan whereby they make the downstairs bathroom into hiding place, remove the door and replace it with drywall so no one will know it is there and Ronald can live there until it’s safe for him to surface again. He does the work himself and adds a small opening in the walk-in pantry where his mother can give him his food.

But things go wrong after his mother goes into the hospital for routine surgery…and dies. The house is sold to a couple with three daughters – the Woods (Dabney Coleman and Pippa Scott). In his hideaway, Ronald continues his hobby of drawing and painting the fantasy world he has created, with himself as the hero. He spies the Woods and becomes immediately drawn to one of the daughters, Babs (Cindy Fisher). He spies on her and her family through holes he has drilled himself, and fantasizes about Babs. Sometimes he takes a chance and goes into the house when no one is home. But the nosy neighbor Mrs Schumacher (Linda Watkins) spots him one day, and things are about to go downhill

 

This film is from 1974, a time when films didn’t show as much violence as many do now. This film is 

no exception, but still manages to convey a very creepy vibe. Imagine someone living behind the wall in your house? And not just anyone but a murderer. Spooky, right? Scott Jacoby gives a chilling performance as Ronald, the titular character, just the right combination of naivete, nerdiness, and downright creepiness. This is an early role for Dabney Coleman, and for once he isn’t the creepiest in the room lol

I really enjoyed this film, but it is really short, about an hour and a quarter. I think it’s well worth the watch, and thanks to my friend Vinny, who recommended I watch this. I give this film 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #79 – Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead

In pursuit of the Tall Man, Reggie (Reggie Bannister) and Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) run into a few snags in their plan to prevent his unholy invasion. Mike is kidnapped and Reggie has to find him. But along the way he acquires a couple of new friends – a little boy named Tim (Kevin Connors) and a young woman named Rocky (Gloria Lynne Henry). They also keep seeing Mike’s dead brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) who seems to be residing in one of the Tall Man’s silver balls.

 

 

The third entry in the Phantasm series is weaker than the first two, and some of the acting leaves something to be desired. The Tall Man is becoming very one note, and the special effects aren’t so special. I hope this is not an indication of what is to come as I see a few more films ahead in this series. I’ll reserve judgment on them, but this one gets 1.5 Stars.

 
 
Not really a lot to say other than watch at your own peril, but I found it to be not very frightening.

 

 

Saturday is Horror Day #7 – Stay Out of the F***ing Attic, The Lift, Rec 4: Apocalyse

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Stay Out of the F***ing Attic

Albert Schillinger (Ryan Francis), Imani (Morgan Alexandria) and Carlos (Bryce Fernelius) are ex-cons and friends who have gone into the moving business together. They have a job at a creepy old house which requires them to pull an all-nighter in order to meet the client’s deadline. Piece of cake, right? But there are things there that should never see the light of day and a simple job goes horribly wrong. Can these three survive the experience?

Okay, this is definitely a Grade B horror flick, but as those go, this one is entertaining even if the premise isn’t exactly original. But it’s done pretty well, the acting isn’t bad, and it will keep you entertained. What more can you ask for? Watch it with a friend, maybe a bottle of wine, and try to guess the secrets of this strange house.

For example, when the villain is revealed, I swear he suddenly developed a thick German accent he didn’t

have before lol Seriously, no new ground is broken here, but it’s a short and enjoyable film. I’ve reviewed far worse. I’ll give this one 3 Stars

The Lift

With a title like the Lift, how could I resist? I mean, I work in the elevator industry after all! This is a Dutch film, about an elevator mechanic who is perplexed by the problems with the elevators in a new office building. They shouldn’t be acting up but they are, and no one can figure out why.  He goes out of his way to solve the mystery, even teams up with a curious female journalist, and manages to alienate his wife in the process, putting himself at risk for unemployment as well.

This film is odd, kind of horror, but also kind of sci fi, and rather failing to make a decent hybrid. I think the problem is it took itself too seriously as we follow Adelaar (Huub Stapel) while he investigates whatever is going on. This film would have greatly benefited by some skilful editing. The pace is slow and tedious and it’s too easy to lost interest in what’s going on. The way the elevators work got on my nerves. There are three elevators, and they seem to open and close simultaneously, which is odd. Also, I’m not sure why there is a computer involved.

This film may have had potential, but I can’t even swear to that. I understand the lack of gore, it is  1983 after all, but it almost put me to sleep. I’ll be kind and give this 2 Stars, but barely.

Rec 4: Apocalypse

Television reporter Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) can’t believe her good fortune when she is rescued from the house of horrors that is the apartment building where she has been trapped with some horrible monsters! But her relief is short-lived when she finds herself being held against her will on a ship headed… where? She has no idea and no one is talking. Two of her rescuers are there, as well as an older woman who is looking for her family. She last saw them at the wedding,  but when she woke from a nap, they were gone!

To Angela’s horror, she discovers that the virus that previously held her hostage has now appeared on the ship and is making inroads into the crew! Who are these doctors and why are they so adamant that they need to perform surgery on her?

Rec 4 takes up where Rec 2 & 3 ended. But now, instead of being sealed into an apartment building, the brave reporter is being held hostage in a ship  on the high seas, no clue as to their destination or what they want with her. The doctors on the ship want to operate on Angela, convinced she holds the key to what is going on. But the virus has gotten loose and the crew is turning ugly! Supposedly the last entry in the series, the ending might suggest otherwise. See what you think. I think this was a worthwhile successor to the franchise. I’ll give it 3 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #77 – Doctor Sleep, Rec 3: Genesis

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 Doctor Sleep

 

A group of people who call themselves the True Knot travel the country in search of sustenance, what they refer to as “steam”. But perhaps the more familiar term might be shining, such as that possessed by Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor). The True Knot kill children and recruit others like them, and unfortunately have a long lifespan. On the other hand, Danny Torrance’s life hasn’t exactly gone the way he might have wished, even after he and his mother escaped to Florida after the occurrences at the Outlook Hotel in Colorado. But he decides to give sobriety a chance, thanks to a man he meets in a small town in New Hampshire, Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis). He works both at the train ride in the park and at a nursing home. With his gift and that of a prescient cat, he knows when patients are about to die and soothes them into the next world, gaining himself the nickname of Doctor Sleep.

 

One day he “meets” a young girl named Abra (Kyliegh Curran) who has a similar gift. She has seen the 

death of a young boy. Using her clues, Danny and Billy find the boy’s body. Now Danny is determined to wipe out the evil that is The True Knot, led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her evil sidekick Crow Daddy (Zahn McClarnon). Danny doesn’t want to get Abra involved, and neither does she want to tell her parents about what is going on. But neither one may have a choice. Rose sees them and she is coming for them.

 

Doctor Sleep is the sequel to The Shining, and there will be some familiar sights, especially when it comes to the Overlook Hotel. I think Ewan McGregor does a good job as Danny, and Kyliegh Curran is outstanding as Abra.  Rose the Hat is somewhat evil, as is Crow Daddy. And the story is interesting as we follow Danny’s journey to redemption. He is able to communicate with Dick Hallorann  (Carl Lumbly), and we do get glimpses of Danny and his mother from years before. The movie itself is well done if slow-paced and long at about two and a half hours. Not surprising as there is a lot of material to cover from the book.

 

That being said, in my opinion it also lacked something from the book, and I believe this missing element is what makes most Stephen King novels hard to translate into film – there is no real heart. It may be technically correct but it lacks the emotional content the book evokes. That is just what I think of course and others might disagree. I am glad I watched it, but would probably not watch it again. The book is better, but that is true in  most cases. Still, it’s a good film, so I’ll give it 4 Stars.

Rec 3: Genesis

 

 

You are cordially invited to the wedding of Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martin). Friends and family have gathered to wish the happy couple well. But unbeknownst to them, something strange has already begun when the groom’s uncle is bitten at work by a seemingly dead dog that came back to life unexpectedly… and here we go again!

 

 

The third entry in this series differs slightly from the found footage format of its predecessors, but it does start prior to the start of the first two, and during them. If you’ll recall from the first film, a couple clain that their dog is at the vet.  Apparently the vet has come down with the same mysterious illness as the rest of the wedding party. As the wedding guests begin to turn into zombies, the bride and groom, who find themselves separated, must find their way back to one another.

This film doesn’t take itself quite so seriously as the others, but even so, it’s a fun watch, as we wonder 

if the bride and groom will ever find their way back to one another.  There are some interesting secondary characters here, a mixture of drama and humor. 

 

I thought the film was interesting and entertaining. I give it 4 Stars/

Saturday is Horror Day #76 – The Housemaid (1960), Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 The Housemaid (1960)

 

Mr. Kim (Jin Kyu Kim) works at a factory, giving lessons to the workers. Unbeknownst to him, one of the young women, Kyung-hee Cho (Aeng-ran Eom) has a crush on him, despite the fact he is married and has two children. But she is scared to say anything so her bolder friend, Seon-young Kwak (Seon-ae Ko) writes a note and slips it into the piano. But his reaction is not what they expected. He tells the supervisor and Miss Kwak is suspended for three days. Never mentioning her own complicity, Kyung-chee asks to take private lessons from Mr. Kim in his home, just after he announces he is taking students. Mr. Kim and his pregnant wife have recently moved into a home that is still a work in progress.  Mrs. Kim (Jeung-nyeo Ju) is pregnant and works tirelessly at her sewing machine to help provide for her family. Mr. Kim decides they need help and asks Miss Cho if she knows of anyone. She refers another worker, Myung-sook (Eun-shim Lee).

 

This is when things begin to spiral. Kyung-hee, having made great strides in her lessons, finds the nerve to tell Mr. Kim of her feelings and he throws her out, but tells her to come back for the lessons, because they need the money. Kwak overhears what has happened and blackmails Mr. Kim, threatening to go to the police and accuse him of raping Miss Cho if he doesn’t sleep with her. The situation goes from bad to worse when Kwak finds out she is pregnant.

 

There is some very interesting social commentary going on in this film, including the factory workers 

who attend the lessons in order to appear cultured. Miss Kwak might be slow but she’s smart enough to seize an opportunity when she sees it, and she becomes a holy terror to the household. Mr. Kim has two children. The older, a girl who uses crutches to get around, and her younger brother. The boy is an unmitigated brat and taunts his sister cruelly at every turn. Mrs. Kim works hard but she is frail. Her husband is devoted to her, and he is trying to spare her by giving in to the blackmail of Miss Kwak.

 

Inevitably, something’s got to give as Miss Kwak becomes bolder and bolder in her demands, terrorizing the couple. Mrs. Kim even blames herself because she wished for a new house, else none of this would have happened. The framework of the film is interesting too, beginning with a couple who read about a case in the newspaper about an employer who has an affair with his maid. As if that would happen.

 

Watching The Housemaid is like watching an accident as it happens right before your very eyes, one you can’t look away from. I find myself still thinking about it, several days later. I’ll give this film 4.5 Stars

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin

Margot (Emily Bader) has wondered since she was a child about her real mother, who abandoned her as an infant. So when she is tracked down by a relative, an Amish young man named Samuel (Jaye Ayres-Brown), Margot is ecstatic. Her friend Chris (Roland Buck III) convinces her that her story needs to be told in the form of a documentary, so off to Amish country they go, along with their tall friend Dale (Dan Lippert). They meet Samuel at a restaurant and learn how very naive he is regarding the ways of the world. When questioned how he was able to find her, he explains that he is on his one year journey of discovery, which is allowed within their religion.

They travel to the family farmhouse, and Samuel persuades Jacob (Tom Nowicki) to allow them to stay, as well as to film. Margot is delighted to meet her relatives, and makes inquiries about her mother. But she quickly gets the feeling that something isn’t right here, that they are withholding something, maybe about her mother. They discover a strange church about a mile away from the isolated farmhouse but are told to stay away. Why so far away? And what aren’t they allowed to see in there? What is her new-found family hiding?

 

First, my biggest complaint is that this film does not belong in the Paranormal Activity series. This is not what I look for when I see the words Paranormal Activity in the title. PA involves security cameras set up to capture any untoward activity, but this isn’t that, as these people are filming a documentary. Second, we’ve all seen this storyline before, strange people involved in strange rituals, either summoning to trying to defeat a demon of some kind. Nothing original here, and nothing particularly interesting. Or scary. The film isn’t bad, just isn’t particularly interesting. I found myself wanting it to be over and it’s not even all that long. I mean, I just watched Shawshank Redemption which is over two hours long and never got impatient for the end like I did this PA. Unfortunately, the film ends in such a way that definitely leaves room for a sequel. I hope that sequel never comes. I’ll give this film 1.5 stars and hope this is the end.

Saturday is Horror Day #75 – Brightburn, The Belko Experiment

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Brightburn

Tori and Kyle Breyer (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) have struggled to conceived. They want a child more than anything. So when, out of the blue, some kind of alien spaceship crash lands in their backyard, its sole occupant a baby boy, their dreams seem to have come true. Or is it their nightmares?

 

 

The couple tell their friends and family that they have adopted, and they name the child Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn) and raise him with much love on their farm located just outside the small town of Brightburn, Kansas. Kyle insists that Brandon stay out of the barn, because it’s dangerous and not a place to play. But the truth is that the spaceship he arrived in is locked up beneath the barn.

 

Everything seems fine until about the time that Brandon reaches puberty. He seems drawn to the barn, and to whatever is hidden there, although he is discouraged from going there. When his dad gives him a little talk about puberty and some of his feelings, he misunderstands his words as having permission to do what he wants, and proceeds to terrorize a girl in his class that he finds attractive. He only succeeds in frightening her and the results during a class trust exercise are horrific.

 

Brandon is hearing voices from the spaceship, and he comes to understand that he is special… but not in a good way. His hidden drawings reveal his true nature, as well as his plans to take the world. The adults in his life begin to understand there is something terribly wrong with the boy, but it’s too little too late as one by one they fall victim to his unusual powers…

This film was brought to us by the same guy who gave us Guardians of the Galaxy. But this superhero is not here for good. This is no Superman. This alien wants to rule the world. Creepy and effective, perhaps the message here is not to automatically believe that aliens from outer space are our friends and to be cautious at all times. I’ll give this film 4 Stars.

The Belko Experiment

It’s just another day at the office for the employees of the Belko Corporation as they arrive for work in their isolated high-rise corporate office building in Bogota, Columbia. But things seem a little off. There aren’t as many of their co-workers as usual. And who are the strange security guards on the grounds, and what are they doing in that unused hangar? Perhaps things are not what they seem. A mysterious voice over the loudspeaker system announces that there are eighty employees in the building. They have two hours to reduce that number by thirty, and if they do not, then sixty employees will die. And to show they mean business, they kill a few for good measure.

The employees listen in stunned disbelief. Their first thought is to flee, but to their dismay the building has been shut off and escape is not possible. The head of the company, Barry Norris (Tony Goldwyn) is quick to decide they have to do as they are told and kill off thirty employees rather than lost sixty. His obnoxious crony Wendell Dukes (John C McGinley) aka the office pervert is quick to agree.  Mike Mitch (John Gallagher Jr) is one of those who disagree and say there must be a way. But it quickly becomes clear that some people think only of themselves and have no problem in committing murder.

 

And is there any guarantee that if they obey the rules, they will be allowed to live?

This film is about a horrendous social experiment involving human interactions under pressure while on the job. But this experiment comes with a high price, and these deaths are forever. Very interesting concept. Not surprising that the men at the top only think of themselves first but decide who will live and who will die. When the security guard refuses to give them the keys to the weapons area, they find a way around that and arm their most trusted people. You’ll see some familiar faces, including Owain Yeoman, who played Benedict Arnold in Turn, Abraham Benrubi, who played Jerry on ER, and Michael Rooker of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Walking Death. John C McGinley plays an asshole well, and this is no exception. This time he’s a perverted asshole. 

 

The ending implies that the story doesn’t end there, but I see no evidence there will be a sequel. The action is fast-paced and horrifying, as co-workers are pitted against one another in a deadly game. I have to admit some of the deaths were satisfying. I give this film 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #74 – Trollhunter, The Grudge 4: The Untold Chapter

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Trollhunter

Johanna (Johanna Mørck) and Thomas (Glenn Erland Tusterud) are film students at a college in Norway. A series of unexplained mysterious bear killings leads to their discovery of a man they suspect is behind the deaths. But Hans (Otto Jespersen) is no ordinary hunter, and bears are not his game. It’s his job to control the troll population of Norway and keep people safe from them. Looks like Johanna and Thomas are about to film the movie they never dreamed of…

I have to admit I was intrigued when I saw the trailer. Trolls are not your typical movie villains, although popular in Scandinavian culture. This is another found footage film. If you watch the movie, you’ll see why. The special effects are pretty amazing. Sometimes it’s hard to believe there aren’t really such creatures roaming the planet. They looked pretty damn real.

The students are both dedicated and brave…braver than me. I’d have been gone after the first sighting, I

have to admit. Those trolls are terrifying. The movie is fast paced and well filmed. I was curious to see what else the director has done. To my surprise, I found he directed The Autopsy of Jane Doe, with Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch, which I saw and thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t believe I reviewed it, so maybe I’ll have to watch it again. I think I’ll give Trollhunter 4 Stars.

The Grudge 4: The Untold Chapter

Fiona Landers (Tara Westwood) hurries home to the US from her job in Tokyo because her family needs her. Little does she know she’s bringing a curse along with her.

Okay, that’s the short version. This is how they continue the series, although the curse was already brought to Chicago in the film before this, but that isn’t brought up. This film takes place over three different timelines, which eventually intersect, much like the original film. But if you don’t know this, it makes it hard to follow. I finally just looked it up on Wikipedia so I’d know what was going on.

Despite some of the people involved, such as Demian Bechir, John Cho, and Lin Shaye, this film didn’t cut it for me. I didn’t find it scary, rather tedious. Makes you wonder why are you still making these films? It’s only an hour and a half, feels longer. I’ll give it a grudging 2 Stars, basically for Demian and John and Lin. Watch at your own peril.

Saturday is Horror Day #73 – The Great Hypnotist, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 The Great Hypnotist

Xu Ruining (Zheng Xu) is a successful psychologist who specializes in hypnotherapy. His former teacher, Professor Fang (Zhong Lü) refers a rather troublesome patient to him, Ren Xiaoyan (Karen Mok). Red has been to other therapists, but no one believes her when she says she can see dead people. Dr Xu doesn’t especially seem to believe her either, but he’s determined to get to the bottom of her problems, which involve having been abandoned as a child and left in an orphanage, even as he tells her that no one leaves his office without having been cured.

Sounds like a challenge, but which one will come out on top?

This is a beautifully filmed, well-acted and well-written thriller about two protagonists who are both strong-willed and determined. The plot and the characters suck you in until you don’t know which side to believe. Does Ren really see dead people? Can Dr Xu bring her back to reality? It seems as though the more he tries, the more he is sucked into her reality. Is it reality or is it something else?

 

You may remember Zheng Xu (Dr Wu) from another film I recently reviewed, Lost in Hong Kong. This 

role is like night and day from that other one, showing the actor’s versatility. I’ll have to look for more of his films.  I enjoyed watching this film and will give it 4 solid Stars.

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Evelyn Wang’s (Michelle Yeoh) life is not quite the way she once pictured it. She and her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) own a failing laundromat. Her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is at odds with her, and Evelyn can’t bring herself to tell her aging father, Gong Gong (James Hong) who lives with them, that Joy has a girlfriend. The business is being audited by the IRS. Evelyn, Waymond and Gong Gong go to the office to meet with agent Deirdre Beaubeirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis). And that’s when everything begins… to change?

Evelyn finds her attention is wandering from Deirdre and her incessant complaints, when she finds herself looking at a strange note telling her to do strange things, such as put her shoes on the wrong feet and think herself inside the janitor’s closet. When she does, she finds herself with a man who looks like her husband but who says he is from another universe, and it is up to her to save the world…

 

Say what?

To say this movie is a wild ride would be an understatement, and on the surface it seems chaotic and 

erratic as Evelyn tries to make sense out of everything, but in so doing she learns to come to terms with her own life and the people in it. Great cast and imaginative writing make this sci-fi thriller is sure to become a cult classic. It requires multiple viewings, I think, and I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to see it in the theater. I hear it was mind-blowing. I give this film 4.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #72 – The Perfect Host, The Grudge 3

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 The Perfect Host

 

Career criminal John Taylor (Clayne Crawford) is in a bit of a pickle. Injured in a bank robbery, he’s on the lam, seeking shelter and relief for his pain. An attempt to buy the product he needs at a small store goes horribly awry when it’s held up by someone else. His name and picture are unexpectedly being broadcast on the news, so he has to lie low. Limping into a fairly posh neighborhood, he spots a postcard from Australia in a mailbox, and it’s signed Julia. He goes to the door, pretending to be a friend of Julia’s. The homeowner, Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce) turns him away at first because he is busy and is going to host a dinner party. But then he relents and admits Taylor.

 

Distraught over John’s predicament, as the robber claims to not be able to reach his cousin, not to mention he’s been mugged, and he’s injured, Warwick insists he stay for dinner. John decides he doesn’t like Warwick’s attitude in regard to the mess he’s making on Warwick’s floor with his still bleeding foot. When his description goes out over the radio, John knows the game is up and threatens to kill Warwick if he doesn’t shut up and let him spend the night. Just one night.

That’s when things go rather sideways…

 

This is a very clever, very entertaining film, with a wickedly unexpected performance by David Hyde 

Pierce. If you only know him as Niles Crane, younger brother of Frasier Crane, be prepared to see a different side of the actor. The story is full of twists and turns, the writing is very enjoyable, and everyone does a great job. But the star of this show is undoubtedly Hyde Pierce. I didn’t see a lot of this coming. My advice is to not assume anything, simply go with the flow. I give this film 4.5 Stars.

 

The Grudge 3

In a Chicago apartment building where a family was brutally murdered, things are not going well. Tenants are leaving – not surprisingly – and times are tough. A group of siblings are trying to hold on, Max (Gil McKinney), the building manager, and his two sisters, Lisa (Johanna Braddy) and Rose (Jadie Rose Hobson). Lisa is about to leave for an internship in New York. Excited at the prospect, she finds every opportunity to have sex with her boyfriend Andy (Beau Mirchoff) in various vacant apartments in the building, almost including the one where the family died. Rose is just a young girl with medical issues of the breathing variety. She is often cared for by older neighbor Gretchen (Marina Sirtis).  Max is feeling the pressure of Lisa’s imminent departure as well as the pressure put on him by the building owner to get new tenants or he will bring in a management company and Max will be out of a job.

In Tokyo, Kayako (Aiko Horiuchi) realizes that bad things are happening in the apartment building in Chicago, things that are the fault of her sister, Naoko (Emi Ikehata). Against the wishes of her husband, she flies to Chicago and applies for an apartment in order to have a pretext to enter the building. Lisa discovers a woman taking pictures in the dead family’s apartment. She turns out to be Dr. Sullivan (Shawnee Smith) the doctor of the only surviving member of the tragedy, Jake (Matthew Knight).  Lisa is dismayed to learn of Jake’s death. Also, Rose has spoken of seeing a boy in the building, but there are no boys there.

 

More bad things begin to happen, including the death of Gretchen, and tensions are rising. Is the grudge being carried on, and how can it be ended? Kayako knows that she is the key to that.

 

To be very honest, this film was neither very interesting nor scary, and the writing and acting left something to be desired. I thought Jake was overacting from the moment I saw him and it was very annoying. The others almost seem fresh out of acting school. Rose is tolerable, though. I watched it because I want to watch the whole series. Luckily it’s short, only an hour and a half. I hope the next (and last) entry in the series is better. I have some hope because it features Demian Bechir, whom I like. In the meantime, I give this film 2 shaky Stars.