Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Influence (La Influencia)

La Influencia (2019)
Manuela Vellés, Alain Hernández, Claudia Placer, Maggie Civantos, Emma Suárez, Daniela Rubio, Marta Castellote
Directed by: Denis Rovira van Boekholt

Oh, Netflix. Why you do this to me? Why do you make a blurb for a film look so bloody good, and then the movie so bloody bad?There is not one thing about this film that I liked. In fact, I stopped it at one point to see how long I had left (I thought it was almost done), and became so bummed out when I saw that I was only halfway that I almost didn’t start it up again. But I figured I’d finish it since I started it. I should have left it be.


The Influence is a Spanish language film made in Spain (don’t look at me like that, lots of countries speak Spanish), based on the novel of the same name by Ramsay Campbell. Wikipedia says it’s pretty faithful to the book, save some changes in the third act. I’d be interested in reading the book, since the story itself is interesting. Alicia is a nurse who comes home to take care of her dying mother (who she hates). As the film goes on we learn that the mother is a witch who used her children in all sorts of rituals. Now it seems that she’s controlling Alicia’s daughter Nora from her coma, wanting to transfer her soul into a young vessel. Hijinks, of course, ensue.

In the end, though, wasted potential is all this film is. It’s boring, most of the acting is bad, even the makeup effects are pretty crappy. And that ending… The showdown with the witch, which ends with her back in a coma all sliced up, Alicia and her husband broken and bleeding, and young Nora being tossed out the window. The film then ends with them in the hospital, locking the mother away in a room, and Nora recovering, then them driving off as a family, away from the cursed house. Now I can suspend all kinds of disbelief for a horror film. But are we supposed to believe that the cops wouldn’t get involved here? What did they tell them? That coma lady did it? That a 10 year old girl did it? I mean come on. All in all, this is a right turd of a film, and I want my hour and 45 minutes back. 2/10


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


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.


Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me
(2010) Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Ned Beatty, Elias Koteas, Tom Bower, Simon Baker, Brent Briscoe, Liam Aiken, Matthew Maher, and Bill Pullman

killer inside me

I had such high hopes for this one. There were a few really good actors in it, the story was interesting, but damn was this movie boring. It started out well enough, but after a while it just sort of petered out, as if the story got lost in the woods. And some of the characters really had no point, like Elias Koteas’ Joe. What was his point? He did nothing to further the story, nor did anything from his story turn out to be relevant to the plot of the film. He’s just sort of… there, to remind the audience that Lou is full of shit. Bullshit, for the birds, which he repeats no less than 5 times. The story was good though, so maybe I’ll track down the book and see if it’s any better than the film. Quite disappointing, I give this film a very mediocre 5/10.

This film is currently streaming on Netflix. But don’t say I didn’t warn you :-p


Mel’s 5 Second Review: Winter’s Tale

Winter’s Tale
(2014) Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, William Hurt, Jennifer Connelly, Ripley Sobo, Eva Marie Saint, Kevin Corrigan, Mckayla Twiggs, Graham Greene, Will Smith, and Listo the Horse


So this film is one giant, obvious attempt to get people to cry. It goes about its business, purposefully pressing every emotional button in our brains, while the breathtaking scenery and actors light up the screen. Based on the book of the same name by Mark Helprin, it’s pure, unadulterated schmoop… and I loved it. Now, I can’t honestly say that I’d have liked it on any other day, but just so happens that the day I watched it was the first day of my period. My hormones were already on the fritz, so this film did exactly what it was made to do, and it did it well. I cried like a baby. Happy tears, sad tears, longing tears, the whole shebang. I started crying about a third of the way in, and barely stopped until after the film was over. If you’re a sucker for uber-romance, then you definitely need to see this one. Just don’t forget the kleenex… I give it a solid 8/10.

This film isn’t currently streaming on Netflix, but it’s still pretty new. I’m sure it’ll get there soon enough.


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! 🙂


Mel’s 5 Second Review: Warm Bodies

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


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!



Mel’s 5 Second Review: World War Z

World War Z
(2013) Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, Fana Mokoena, James Badge Dale, Ludi Boeken, Peter Capaldi, Pierfrancesco Favino, Ruth Negga, Abigail Hargrove and Fabrizio Zacharee Guido


Hollywood blockbuster or not, I truly enjoyed this film. It was fast paced, never dull (despite it’s 2 hour running time) and well acted. Zombie films aren’t generally my favorite genre, but since this (much like 2010’s The Crazies) isn’t “really” a zombie film, I guess that explains it. I also haven’t read the book yet (my to-read list is even longer than my to-watch list, if that’s even possible…), so I can’t comment on how different the film and book are. A lot of people seem to be unhappy with how it translated to the screen, that it was hardly even the same story, but since I went into it completely ignorant, maybe I enjoyed it more than I would have if I’d read the book? I don’t know. All I know is that much enjoyment was had on my part, and that’s the whole point of a film right, right? It gets a solid 9/10 from me.

This film is currently streaming on Netflix. Enjoy!


ps – There seems to be more than one version of the film floating around. The copy I, err, “acquired” was not the same copy that was on the dvd my mother bought. My copy seemed to have a few extra scenes in it.