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 10 Things About… Netherworld

Netherworld (1992)
Michael Bendetti, Denise Gentile, Holly Floria, Anjanette Comer, Robert Burr, Robert Sampson, Alex Datcher, and George Kelly

Netherworld

(SPOILERS INCOMING… but since it’s a movie from the 90’s, I’m not too worried)
1. The lead actor, Michael Bendetti, who plays Corey, is a stone cold fox. Now that that’s out of the way, we can continue.
2. The story is interesting, if a little all over the place. The bird people, the “is she bad or isn’t she?”, the flying hand, all intriguing enough to keep me watching.
3. Lots of boobies, but they don’t add much to the story. Pretty gratuitous. Which, I suppose, is par for the course for a 90’s horror film, especially one by Full Moon.
4.  The pacing left a little to be desired. Scenes were either too long, or too short, and it really jumped all over the place.
5. The music wasn’t great, and often didn’t fit the scenes. The love music for Corey and Delores was cheesey to the Nth degree, it almost took me out of the moment.
6. Unintentional laughter was had. Some scenes were so “wtf” that my bf and I just had to laugh out loud.
7. The final plot twist, while kind of obvious after a while, was still good and gave a lot to the story.
8. The idea of turning bad people into birds was interesting and something I’d never seen before, or since.
9. The love interest is introduced as “jailbait”, which makes Corey’s interest in her a little questionable. I mean, she doesn’t look underage, but you don’t introduce someone over 18 as jailbait, so…
10. Overall, despite its flaws, I rather liked it. It was fun and entertaining, definitely one of the better Full Moon pictures.

6.5/10

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 Review: The Martian

The Martian
(2015) Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig, Aksel Hennie, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis

martian

So I went to see The Martian at the cinema tonight. I was hopeful yet wary at the same time. The book was so amazing, and I know how Hollywood loves to change things up, so I was a little scared. I also was iffy about the casting of Matt Damon. I thought he might be too “big” for the role, too good looking. Mark Watney was described as being a little geeky, and Matt’s not the first name to come to mind when I hear “geeky”. But my fears were all unfounded, this was a great piece of film. Matt easily pulled off Mark’s geeky charm and sense of humour, but was also there when he needed to be serious and more dramatic. There was a lot missing from the film that was in the book, but that’s to be expected, there’s no way to fit everything, but everything important was there, and they didn’t add any useless Hollywoodized crap. There was just one thing that pissed me off a little, and that was that they changed a character’s race and first name. In the book, one of the NASA people is called Venket Kapoor, and he’s Indian. In the film they made him black and changed his name to Vincent. The rest of the racially diverse cast is right, so why change that one? It’s ridiculous. But that’s really the only bad thing I have to say about the film. Everything was great, good acting all round, great story, nice visuals, even the usually annoying 3D was alright. And so it gets an almost perfect 9.5/10 from me!

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Hunt for the I-5 Killer

The Hunt for the I-5 Killer
(2011) John Corbett, Sara Canning, Tygh Runyan, Andrew Wheeler, Matt Bellefleur, Mike Dopud, Kirsten Robek, Garry Chalk, Bo Derek

i5-killer

This movie has been on my pvr for probably over a year, so I finally decided to watch it. I was a little leery (ok, a lot leery) at first because it’s an IFC film, and those tend to be pretty awful, but I do love me a good serial killer film, so I decided to give it a go. And I was pleasantly surprised. It was so much better than I’d been expecting. The acting was pretty good all round, Corbett doing a great job as the harried detective in charge of the case, and the killer, who was surprising when we found out who he was, was suitably creepy. I’ll be curious now to read up on the case now (it was a true story), since at the end there was a disclaimer that said some things were fictionalized, to find out what actually happened. Maybe it wasn’t so bad in real life..? No, I guess that’s just me dreaming again. I’m really glad that the cops were finally able to nail the fucker who did it to the wall though. Sicko. All in all, a pretty entertaining true crime film. I just wish it wasn’t on IFC. I hate bloody commercials…

7.5/10

This film isn’t currently on Netflix, but if you can find it, it’s worth your time 🙂

M.

Mel’s 10 Things About… The Calling

The Calling
(2014) Susan Sarandon, Gil Bellows, Topher Grace, Christopher Heyerdahl, Ellen Burstyn, Donald Sutherland, Kristin Booth, Kevin Parent

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{SPOILERS AHEAD}
1. Acting ranges from mediocre to good.
2. The main character, Hazel, is thoroughly unlikable, so it’s hard to care when stuff happens to her.
3. Super intriguing story, unfortunately delivered poorly.
4. There were some really good scenes, but they were surrounded by ultra boring filler.
5. The ex-husband sub-plot was completely pointless, it does nothing but make us like Hazel even less.
6. The very last scene is eye-roll inducing. Are we supposed to believe that the spell actually worked, in a film that had nothing supernatural in it till that point?
7. Was hoping to see some change in Hazel at the end, after what she went through, but when presented with booze at the hospital she just quips about not having ice and glasses. Her plea for a second chance? Wasted 3 seconds later.
8. Was expecting a whole lot more from such a cast. Sarandon, Sutherland, Heyerdahl, even Topher Grace for heaven’s sake! Totally wasted on this film.
9. The killer was nice and creepy though. I’ll give the film that much.
10. A minor quibble, but the title seems wrong to me. Simon wasn’t following some “higher calling”, he was trying to work a religious spell. The Disciples would have been better, or… well anything but The Calling, really.

4.5/10

Review Club #9 – The Theory of Everything

theory of everything

First up is my DH Francois, from over at FrankishNet:

I was actually very surprised by the twist of the movie. It really is about Jane, rather than Stephen. A very deep and emotional discovery of their relationship, and the constant struggle.

She signed for a 2 years trip, and the trip lasted so much longer. They present the duality of her feelings in a stunningly well played manner. On one side, she loves him and is incredibly happy that his life goes on. On the other side, she is consumed by needs and dreams she cannot live with Stephen, and the caring for him is draining.

Jonathan, Stephen, Jane, they were all very well played. Great acting!

It really was not the sort of movie I expected to see when sitting down for a movie about Hawking, especially with the name “The Theory of Everything”, but that is simply because I had not read the synopsis, and assumed it was like “Hawking”.

I really enjoyed it.

Up next is Rob, from over at MovieRob:

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are both amazing in this movie as Hawking and his wife. Their performances alone make this movie a must see.

I personally wasn’t even remotely aware of most of the history told here and it was great learning about their troubled lives and how they both worked together to realize his dreams despite his debilitating disease.

Excellent acting by the two leads elevates a good story to something even better. Very informative and eye opening biopic.

Redmayne truly deserved his Best Oscar win last year for this amazing and challenging role.

And finally, here’s mine:

Mel’s 10 Things About… The Theory of Everything
(2014) Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Harry Lloyd, David Thewlis, Maxine Peake, Christian McKay

everything_a

1. Absolutely superb acting, the two leads were amazing.
2. The film really captured the helplessness of a disease like this, and it hit a little too close to home for me in some parts. Even though my illness isn’t nearly as bad as Hawking’s, it’s still debilitating, and so it touched me greatly.
3. The film also captures very well the torment of loving two people at the same time. Easy, it’s not.
4. I was really hoping for more science in the film, and a little less drama. Was slightly disappointing on that end.
5. How hot is Harry Lloyd?? I mean really now! *fans self*
6. They captured Hawking’s wit wonderfully.
7. I can’t imagine being that smart, and being stuck inside your body like that. It must be absolutely horrible.
8. Hawking is such an inspiration to me. This film just cemented it even more. I mean if he can, in his state, become a world famous bestselling author, not to mention everything else he is, then I can certainly do something with my life!
9. Jane was an absolutely wonderful human being, sacrificing so much of herself to support and care for her husband. Not many people are so generous.
10. In the end, it was quite a lovely film, but I have to admit to like Hawking, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, better. Its focus was more on the science, and I enjoyed it immensely.

And that’s it! Stay tuned for next time, when we review Out of the Dark! 🙂