Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Assent

The Assent (2019)
Robert Kazinsky, Peter Jason, Caden Dragomer, Florence Faivre, Douglas Spain, Hannah Ward, and Tatum O’Neal
Directed by: Pearry Teo

Watched this on a whim last night before going to bed (instead of going to bed? Yes, probably). The Netflix blurb looked pretty interesting, and I was looking for something really scary to watch, so I decided to go with this film. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.

Joel is a single father who recently lost his wife in a car accident. He’s also schizophrenic. When he sees something that he knows is not real, he snaps a polaroid of it to prove to himself that it’s not there. When his son starts to see similar things, he tries to do the same thing, but the pictures come out wrong. Meanwhile, a priest on a mission is sent to Joel’s house by a concerned friend to check up on them, and finds the boy possessed by a malevolent demon.

HERE BE SPOILERS

The concept was good. The schizophrenia angle (and the polaroids) was very interesting. The acting was good from the main actor, although the others were a little (ok, a lot) sketchy. But once the possession started in earnest, it just kind of fell apart. I will say that the twist (there always seems to need to be a twist in horror these days, does’t there?) was good, and I didn’t see it coming, which is rare. But there didn’t seem to be a real point to it all. If the only point is for the demon to kill, like in The Exorcist, then that’s one thing. But the priest in this film was going on about a grand plan and then… nothing? I mean what even happened in the end? Did he die? Did he go completely insane? The demon apparently took over completely, but to what end? It was just a confusing mess. All in all, the film wasn’t absolutely wretched, but it wasn’t good either. It gets a ho-hum 4/10 from me.

M.

This film is currently on Netflix.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Possession of Michael King

The Possession of Michael King
(2014) Shane Johnson, Cara Pifko, Julie McNiven, Ella Anderson, Tomas Arana, Patricia Healy, Cullen Douglas, Jed Rees, Tobias Jelinek, and Dale Dickey

Let me start by saying that I generally don’t like found footage type films. No matter how good the story is, I just can’t get past the shaky cam, it’s rather nauseating. With that in mind, this film is done so well, and with a minimum of actual “shakiness”, that I didn’t mind. I went into this with zero expectations, and was pleasantly surprised. This film is much better than it has any right being.

Michael is an atheist who recently lost his wife in an unfortunate accident. After confronting his late wife’s “spiritual adviser” (a tarot card reader), he decides to make a documentary featuring what he believes will be proof that the supernatural doesn’t exist. He’s going to do any ritual he can find and when none of them work, that’ll be the proof he says. As is obvious in the title, things go horribly wrong.

Everything was remarkably good for a little indie film. Acting, effects, makeup, all were pretty stellar. The one thing I could say about it is that there were a few too many jump scares in a film that was creepy enough that it didn’t need them. There weren’t so many that I got annoyed, but still, the film could have done without. The plot was really simple, but it was done so well that it didn’t really need more. And that’s pretty much it. I’m trying to find other stuff to say, but “it was pretty great” pretty much covers it. A solid 8/10 from me.

M.

This film is currently streaming on Tubi.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Annabelle

Annabelle
(2014) Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard, Tony Amendola, Eric Ladin, Joseph Bishara

Annabelle film still

Ah, what a sad disappointment this was. Especially since The Conjuring was so good. The doll was massively creepy in that film, but only ugly in this one. Most of the actors were alright, but Annabelle Wallis was downright difficult to watch sometimes, emotionless save for a look on her face that looks like she’s desperately trying to remember her lines. The story was so generic that it almost hurt, and far from being creepy, that demon was just funny. The film had a few good, tense scenes, but on the whole, was mostly a yawn-fest. And it gets an equally dull score from me, a very meh 5/10. Avoid unless you really have a hard on for possessed dolls.

This film is not currently playing on Netflix.

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Deliver Us From Evil

Deliver Us From Evil
(2014) Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris, Lulu Wilson, Mike Houston, Olivia Horton, Chris Coy, Joel McHale, and Dorian Missick

Deliver-Us-from-Evil

What a great watch this was! I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it, since great possession films are few and far between these days, but then I saw Scott Derrickson’s name, and I was already sold. I’ve only seen two of his films (The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister), but they’re both incredible. And, to stay true to form in my eyes, this film was no less awesome. It was more tense than scary, but still incredibly well done. I imagine folks who scare easier than I do will find it much, much more frightening. The story was very interesting, just different enough to stay interesting throughout. It boasts the tagline “Inspired by actual events”, which to me means that there was a cop, his family was abducted by an unsub, and… well that’s it. I’m of the same opinion that Bana’s character has at the beginning: we don’t need demons, humanity does well enough on their own. The acting was mostly all top notch, the two leads were especially good. And the priest was almost disturbingly attractive (except when he was pulling on a cig, ick). So all in all, this was a pretty great piece of film, and gets an 8.5/10.

This film is not currently streaming on Netflix, but it is playing on TMN and On Demand. Enjoy!

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Stigmata

Stigmata
(1999) Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne, Jonathan Pryce, Nia Long, Thomas Kopache, Rade Serbedzija, Dick Latessa, Portia de Rossi, and Enrico Colantoni

Image

The critics hated this film, audiences were torn (it’s one of those love it or hate it types), and me? I was on the love it side, all the way. In fact, I loved it so much that I named one of my cats Frankie! hehe There isn’t anything I didn’t like about the film. The actors were great (not Daniel Day-Lewis or Meryl Streep great, but still very good), the story was interesting, the visuals were beautiful, and, to top it all off, it’s got a bitchin’ soundtrack, featuring Chumbawamba (no, not that song), Massive Attack, Björk and David Bowie, and with a score written in part by The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan. It’s a great movie with a great message. Plus, it’s got Gabriel Byrne playing a disturbingly sexy priest. He alone would have made the movie, so the fact that it’s awesome is just plain gravy, hehe. So, obviously, it gets a big ol’ 10/10 from me.

This movie is currently streaming on Netflix. Enjoy! 🙂

 

M.