Mel’s 5 Second Review: Barbarian

Barbarian (2022)
Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long, Jaymes Butler, Richard Brake, and Matthew Patrick Davis
Directed by: Zach Cregger

Barbarian

So, I hadn’t really planned on watching this one. I’d heard of it, seen it mentioned a few times in my Facebook horror groups, but I didn’t really know what it was about, save the vague synopsis of the beginning of the film. But my mom started it last night (then walked away cause she doesn’t do horror), so I figured I may as well. And boy, what a ride.

Tess gets to the Airbnb she rented just to find out another person has also been booked for the same time. Against her better judgement, she decides to stay the night. She soon finds out that may not have been the best idea, since the house is not what it seems.

I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this film. Don’t get me wrong, it was very well done. Everything was great. Acting, atmosphere, makeup, all pretty stellar. But it was off-the-wall bonkers. And pretty gory, which I’m not a huge fan of. It’s a little slow in the beginning, but definitely not a slog. The characters are engaging, so even when they’re not doing much of anything, it’s still at least mildly interesting to watch them. At least until they do truly idiotic things, which, unfortunately, is a lot of the time. I was watching with my sister and dad, and the main thing that kept coming out of our mouths is “Why would you do that…?” There was also one laugh-out-loud moment that I won’t spoil, but if you’ve seen it, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about (it comes near the end). Now I’m not sure if it was intentionally funny, or if they were trying to be scary. If they were, it didn’t work. There was also the ENORMOUS suspension of disbelief that had to happen to get this story to happen at all. All I’ll say is: all those years. How?? It just doesn’t make sense. All in all, I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. It gets a 7/10 from me.

M.

This film is currently streaming on Disney+

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Grave Encounters

Grave Encounters (2011)
Sean Rogerson, Ashleigh Gryzko, Merwin Mondesir, Juan Riedinger, Mackenzie Gray, Ben Wilkinson, and Bob Rathie
Directed by: The Vicious Brothers

Grave-Encounters

So, I generally don’t like found footage films. The blurry, bouncy camera work does nothing for me, except maybe make me slightly nauseous. But every so often I’ll get drawn into watching one, either because I’ve heard nothing but good things, or someone I generally agree with in movie tastes says it’s good. Which is what happened with this one. Darren from Flick Connection recommended it in one of his videos, and I mostly trust his judgement, so I decided to watch it.

For their ghost hunting reality show, a crew lock themselves in an abandoned asylum over night. They’re used to having to make up their own scares. This time they won’t have to.

SPOILERS INCOMING

First the not-so-good. The camera work was bouncy, just the way I don’t like it. They had a few static cams set up around the place, but it was mostly all hand-held. But I knew that going in, so I tried to ignore it and move on. Another down point was one of the characters, TC, was so thoroughly unlikable that it actually took me out of the moment in some places. He was so stereotypical that I just had to cringe sometimes.

Now the good. The rest, really. The story, while nothing new, was good. The acting was mostly good, the characters, save one, were engaging. I like the ambiguity of what happens to the characters. Are they dead? Are they now “patients”? Obviously Matt died, having jumped to his death, but the others? Lance is alive, in a sense, at the end. But we really don’t know what happened to the others, and I kinda like that.

All in all, I liked it. I might even look up the second one to see if it’s as good. I’d definitely recommend this film to anyone who likes found footage films, and/or ghost stories. I give it a solid 8/10.

M.

This film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Cursed

The Cursed (2022)
Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie, Amelia Crouch, Max Macintosh, Roxane Duran, Nigel Betts, Stuart Bowman, Tommy Rodger, Aine Rose Daly
Directed by: Sean Ellis

the cursed

First, let me say that the trailer for this film is incredibly misleading. I thought this film was a ghost story. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was nothing of the sort.

After a horrible slaughter of Gypsies, a small late-19th century town in France is plagued by what seems to be animal attacks. A pathologist comes to town to try help, but he seems to have an agenda of his own.

First the good. The film is beautiful. They take full advantage of the French countryside, the costuming is gorgeous, and most of the effects are great. The story is interesting, even if it’s a little basic. (I paused for a long time here, deciding whether I should include spoilers in this review or not. I decided against it.) The acting is quite good. And there were a few things that I’d never seen before in a film of this type, so that was surprising, and nice. The bad? Well, there’s not much, to be honest. The film is a little slow at times, but it never feels like a slog. The creature effects are a little janky at times, but whenever there’s practical effects, they’re great. The beginning was a little gory for my tastes, but they eased up for the rest of the film.

All in all, it was a pretty good film. Probably not one that I’d line up for a rewatch, but still quite good. 7.5/10

M.

This film is currently on Amazon Prime, and available for purchase on YouTube.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Conjuring, The Devil Made Me Do It

Conjuring 3The Conjuring, The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)
Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, John Noble, Shannon Kook, and Eugenie Bondurant
Directed by: Michael Chaves

This is the third instalment in the wildly popular The Conjuring films. And honestly, it has not lost any of its steam. Or thrills.

After the intense exorcism of young David, Arne invites the demon into himself instead of the boy. Just when things look like they’ve gone back to normal, Arne starts seeing things, which escalates into him killing a man. Enter demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, who convince the defence lawyer to plead innocent due to demonic possession.

“Based on a true story”, and yes, I’m using giant quotations for that. I don’t believe a word of it, but I can’t deny that I love pretty much everything about this film. The love story between Ed and Lorraine is wonderful, even if in real life they were nothing but scam artists. Fans of the other two Conjuring films might find this one a little different, a little slower, but I found it great. All of the acting and effects were stellar, as expected. They did a good job making Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga 50-ish. I couldn’t tell if it was done digitally or with makeup, so job well done. The story was more detective-like, with Ed and Lorraine trying to figure out what happened. My dad actually found the film too slow, enjoying only the beginning and end, but I thought the pacing was just fine. But it’s true that if you don’t like slower films, then I would not reccomend to watch this. All in all, I thought it was bomb, and it gets an almost perfect 9/10 from me.

This film is currently available for rental and buying on YouTube (which is where I buy my films) and Amazon Prime. Enjoy!

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Seventh Day

The Seventh Day (2021)
Guy Pearce, Vadhir Derbez, Brady Jenness, Stephen Lang, Robin Bartlett, Keith David, and Chris Galust
Directed by: Justin P Lange

A young priest fresh out of seminary school gets paired up with a hardened exorcist to take on the case of a young boy who killed his entire family with an axe.

First, let me say that the acting was all around sketchy, even from Guy Pearce, who looked like he gave no fucks (but that could just be the character), but especially the possessed boy, who was downright cringe-worthy at times. I don’t like to be too hard on child actors, cause it’s a tough gig, but possession films are a hard enough sell without the possessed writhing around like bacon. The younger priest, played by Vadhir Derbez (who I’ve never heard of before), was, to quote another reviewer, “seemingly in a frozen, detached mode of vacancy”. I had a good laugh at that, since it’s pretty true.

What I can say good about it, is it had some good ideas. I was expecting a bland, “just an exorcism movie” kind of film, and while a lot of it is that, there’s just enough different to make it interesting. The makeup effects were pretty well done, I have to admit, all except the “smiles”, which you’ll know what I mean by that if you see it. But I don’t think those were done with makeup anyways, pretty sure those were done with (rather mediocre) CGI. And the end twist (cause every movie’s gotta have a twist!) was actually pretty good, even if I did see it coming. So I give it a 6/10, and would recommend cautiously.

This film is currently streaming on Netflix Canada.
M.

Mel’s 5 Second First Impression: The Shannara Chronicles

The Shannara Chronicles (2016-present)
(Season 1 cast) Austin Butler, Poppy Drayton, Ivana Baquero, Manu Bennett, John Rhys-Davies, Aaron Jakubenko, Daniel MacPherson, Marcus Vanco, Emilia Burns, Brooke Williams, James Remar, Jed Brophy

the-shannara-chronicles

I read about half of the first book in the series more than 12 years ago. I don’t remember much about it, nor do I know why I stopped reading it, since I was really enjoying it. I do remember enough, however, to know that this series takes place in the second generation of books. Wil, our hero, is the son of Shea, the youngster in the first books (of which there are 3, I think). I’ve recently re-bought The Sword of Shannara, and plan to read it soon, which has me wondering how much more of this show I want to watch before I do so. But for now, let’s talk about the first episode, the two-hour pilot, called Chosen.

They certainly packed a lot of info into that 2 hours (or hour and a half, once commercials are removed). There are no less than 5 characters that seem like they’re going to be important, although with already one unexpected death under their belts, it may be that this show is going to be more surprising than anticipated. Which is good. The acting is pretty good all round, if a little melodramatic at times. The effects look pretty stellar so far, the makeups on the demons are great. The only thing I’d have to say about it is that it seems to be the same old story again. There wasn’t much that happened in the show that wasn’t in The Lord of the Rings and other such titles. But, this was only the first episode. I’ll definitely continue watching, and hopefully it’ll grow it’s own two legs to stand on.

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Spiderwick Chronicles

The Spiderwick Chronicles
(2008) Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, Mary-Louise Parker, Martin Short, Seth Rogan, Nick Nolte, Joan Plowright, David Strathairn, and Andrew McCarthy

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Greatly under-rated, this film should be at the top with the other great fantasy films. But, and I’m not sure why, it was mostly overlooked when it came out. Most of the time if I mention it, I get a response of “The what? What’s that?” And that shouldn’t be. It’s a wonderful story with family ties at its core, but it doesn’t come off as preachy or saccharine. The acting is all wonderful and the creatures are all fun, with only Martin Short over-doing the voice work, which he always does anyways. If you like fantasy films, I highly reccomend this one. I give it a wonderful 9/10.

This film isn’t currently on Netflix, nor did I find a full version on YouTube, but it’s more than worth the price of a rental or buy. Enjoy! 🙂

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie
(2012) Charlie Tahan, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, James Hiroyuki Liao, and Conchata Ferrell

?????????????

So I finally saw this film. It’s been months now that I hardly watch movies anymore. I used to watch a few a week, now I’m lucky to watch one a month. But I digress… This film is a breath of fresh air coming from Tim Burton. His films have just been so tired lately, all style and no substance, so despite how cute the trailers for this film looked, I was reluctant to watch. But I’m glad I finally did, because it was quite fun. It’s a touching story of a boy and his dog… his undead dog, hehe. There are winks to classic horror films all over the film, from the obvious main plot and character names, to smaller things, like the way the science teacher looks and sounds like Vincent Price. Like the Asian kid making a giant reptile who stomps on cars. Like the poodle with Bride of Frankenstein fur. And etc, and etc. It had a few really sad scenes, and I actually laughed out loud a few times, they got some good gags in there. All in all, a fun little film, I reccomend it if you like weird stuff. And if you don’t, well, I reccomend it anyways. Who knows, you may be surprised! I give it a solid 8/10.

This film is not currently on Netflix, nor did I find it on YouTube. But if you’ve got Video on Demand, it’s playing there. Enjoy! 🙂

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies
(2013) Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Analeigh Tipton, Rob Corddry, Dave Franco, and John Malkovich

warm-bodies

So, I’m not the biggest fan of zombie movies. I’ve seen the original Night of the Living Dead, and while I enjoyed it, it’s definitely not my favorite anything. I just find the whole genre a little dumb. It has to be really good, and contain a lot more than just shambling dead folks to keep my attention. When I saw the trailers for Warm Bodies, I almost peed myself. A zombie comedy that also has a love story? I definitely had to see this. It was way funnier than I had even expected, while still managing to have some good, tense moments, and the romance, while really being the whole point of the “humanizing” that’s happening to the shufflers, is not shoved in your face. Anyone saying that this is just Twilight with zombies needs to shut up and actually go see the movie. It was well written, well acted, and well filmed. And it was really awesome to be able to pick out Montreal landmarks! Had I known it was being filmed in my home town, I may have enjoyed hanging around to catch a glimpse of the zombies in action. All in all, it’s a very entertaining film, and I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up! (And 10/10, hehe.)

This film isn’t currently on Netflix, nor did I find a version on YouTube, but it’s more than worth the price of a rental, or even to buy. The novel it’s based on, by Isaac Marion, is also worth your time. Enjoy!

 

M.

Mel’s (Slightly Longer Than) 5 Second(s) Review: Epic

Epic
(2013) Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Chris O’Dowd, Steven Tyler, Jason Sudeikis, Pitbull, and Beyoncé Knowles

Epic

First off, let me just say that I watched this film with my son at the in-law’s place, so I saw it in the Québec french version, which means the cast looks a little less like the names I wrote above, and a little more like this: Stéfanie Dolan, Xavier Dolan, Martin Watier, Denis Gravereaux, Sébastien Reding, Alexis Lefebvre, Garou, and Geneviève Désilets. Also, as is very often the case with translated movies, a lot of the jokes and subtleties are lost in translation, so much so that translated films lose much of their original charm, which is why I always prefer to watch films in their original language. Not to mention the fact that the voices never quite seem to fit with the character’s look and lip movement, and that drives me insane. It’s a bit less distracting in an animated film, but I do prefer hearing the original version, even if it’s in a language that I don’t know. I can read, and that’s what subtitles are for. I speak and understand almost perfectly in french, but sometimes they talk too fast, or use slang that I’m unfamiliar with, and I’m apt to lose bits and pieces here and there.

Alright, now that that’s out of the way, on to the review! The story reminds me a lot of Arthur and the Invisibles, which is not a bad thing at all, since I loved that film. Epic isn’t quite as good as that one, but it’s not far behind. The animation is lovely, in a slightly different style than we’re used to seeing, and the voice-acting, in the french version anyways, is good. It’s a wonderful tale of fighting to preserve nature, kinda reminiscent of Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, which is also not a bad thing. My son loved it (he’s the reason I sat down to watch it in the first place, he absolutely wanted mommy snuggles while watching the film, so I put aside my dislike of translated films to please him, hehe), and I enjoyed it enough that I’m going to go ahead and watch the original version, to catch all the things I may have missed in the translation. The characters are all likable, and there were a few laugh out loud scenes that had both my son and I guffawing. I was a little disappointed at the end of the film, (SPOILER ALERT!!) because I really wanted MK to stay with the little people. Actually, what I was hoping for was that she and her father would be welcomed into their world. The new queen didn’t even ask if she wanted to stay or not, and so MK and Nod had to say their goodbyes super fast, and only got a single kiss because of it. The romantic in me felt gypped, hehe. But all in all, it was a very entertaining film, and I give it a solid 7.5/10. And who knows, maybe once I see it in english, the rating will go up a bit 🙂

The film is currently streaming on Netflix. Enjoy!

 

M.