Review: The Mist – Stephen King

5

SYNOPSIS: It’s a hot, lazy day, perfect for a cookout, until you see those strange dark clouds. Suddenly a violent storm sweeps across the lake and ends as abruptly and unexpectedly as it had begun. Then comes the mist…creeping slowly, inexorably into town, where it settles and waits, trapping you in the supermarket with dozens of others, cut off from your families and the world. The mist is alive, seething with unearthly sounds and movements. What unleashed this terror? Was it the Arrowhead Project—the top secret government operation that everyone has noticed but no one quite understands? And what happens when the provisions have run out and you’re forced to make your escape, edging blindly through the dim light? – via Goodreads

I have been on a real roll with King recently, and wanted another read recently, but did not want to commit to a bigger book again (don’t even judge me), and decided I have put off reading The Mist for way too long now, even though I have seen the movie and enjoyed it, too. Well, The Mist is a great pick as you get your King fill and it breezes along so quickly that it is over before you even know it.

The Mist is not a long book (obviously), but is a bit longer than one would expect for a short story, so it’s pretty cool like that. The book wastes no time setting itself up and diving into the story, and also doesn’t spend too much time exploring the whys and the whats, it just gets into it all, which is fantastic. You get this little slice of terror and then it is over, leaving you reeling, asking all the questions that won’t really get answered, and that is okay.

For a short story, there are quite a few characters, and more are fleshed out than you would expect, and I liked that. Our main peanut is David Drayton, and we read of him, his struggles, and how he tells the story of all the crazy that ensues after Maine suffers a heavy, odd storm. Ollie is a character I enjoyed, as well as Mrs Reppler (teacher). Mrs Carmody peeved me, so in a few short pages King still manages to give you a character to dislike.

The Mist is a great example of a monster horror, which is awesome. Not much mincing around with the paranormal or psychological here my friend, oh no, let’s get straight into that bizarre, nasty, monster horror that one sometimes so desperately craves. This book totally delivers on all fronts there, so that is good.

Overall, The Mist is a pretty damn good short, quick read if you are interested, and has monster horror to keep you going. It knows what it is and it goes for it, no mincing about. It is well written and barrels along, definitely worth the read.

Review: Jeepers Creepers (2001)

2

“You know the part in scary movies when somebody does something really stupid, and everybody hates them for it? This is it.”
– Trish

SYNOPSIS: A brother and sister driving home through isolated countryside for spring break encounter a flesh-eating creature which is in the midst of its ritualistic eating spree. – via IMDB

I remember this movie being a pretty big deal when it came out and I was a rugrat. I remember I watched the crap out of it, too. I remember watching it a few years back and thinking that there were a hell of a lot of issues with it, and there are a lot of silly logic issues with it. I didn’t enjoy it very much. Then I felt like watching this the other day and I enjoyed it… if you can find it in you to not look at those things a touch too closely, you might be in for a relatively decent horror.

That could also just be because I get nostalgic when watching this, I don’t know. There are flaws to be found here, sure, but that is most movies, and a problem that especially plagues horror movies. There is also a lot of fun to be had with this, too, if you let yourself have it. Justin Long is quite entertaining here, and manages to hold his own in a lead role. The characters make a lot of super stupid decisions, but are also quite aware of their shortcomings, too. I just need to reiterate how stupid these characters are, and the things that they do defy logic, but I suppose it would be a totally bland story if they saw him dumping bodies, called the cops, went home, and heard no more. That doesn’t sell movie tickets.

The monster, too, is icky. He’s a weird one, and is kak creepy in his truck and his duster, but the effect is somewhat ruined when you get to see too much of him. At least the movie doesn’t insist on this. But seriously, initially out in the country and being chased by a crazy trucks, one you later see the occupant of dumping bodies and then hunting you down? It works so well. Gets a little deliberate after that, but it’s okay. It’s a crazy ride. There are a lot of things that remained unanswered when watching this, and things that aren’t really addressed. The characters are not overly complex, neither is the story, it just wants to give us some screaming college kids running (unsuccessfully) for their lives, and it works for some light popcorn entertainment.

Overall, Jeepers Creepers might be flawed, but it is also a fun horror to watch. It’s a quick one, too, and doesn’t overstay its run time, and has a very high school horror night feel going for it, which is great. Sometimes that is all you want. If you aren’t looking for horror movie classics, this should be entertaining enough for you. If you can overlook how ridiculously stupid it can be. I guess that’s what makes for the love/hate relationship one can have with this movie.

Review: Kong: Skull Island (2017)

16

“We are dealing with a monster from a bygone era.”
– Preston Packard

SYNOPSIS: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden. – via IMDB

I finally got to this, and I must say that I was more impressed than I expected to be. While Kong: Skull Island has some issues, if you don’t overthink it and just go in for what it was made for (pure entertainment), you are bound to have a pretty good time. I quite enjoyed myself throughout.

I had quite a good time with the humour, which was cheesy at times, but every now and again had a good, sharp snap to it. I also absolutely loved the soundtrack, which was totally right up my alley, and worked with this. I think the movie touted quite the impressive cast, though some of them were underused. None of them were actually given a character to really chew on, but they all served their purpose of bringing the story of Kong to life. I thought Hiddleston to be a good ex-military type, Jackson played who and what he always plays, Larson was solid (as is to be expected), and it was a treat to see Reilly here.

I did not enjoy the romance that was squashed into this (I could totally have done without it), and I must acknowledge that the movie had some super dodgy effects at times. Also, just don’t overthink it, because this is a movie to entertain, not to be picked apart like The Godfather or something. Kong was really cool, and I totally enjoyed his scenes. Those icky-ass monsters on the island that Kong protected everyone from served their purpose – to be gross as hell. Ewwww. There were also plenty fight scenes, and all were done quite well – exactly what they needed to be, which is a blockbuster action film. If that’s what you are going in for for Kong, then that is exactly what you are going to get.

Anyway, there isn’t really much to say about Kong: Skull Island other than it is quite a bit of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I had a few laughs, there were some cool fight sequences, a great soundtrack to carry it all, and decent performances from the cast. It’s seriously not a bad movie to while away some time with.

Review: The Monster (2016)

9

the-monster-movie-poster-1

“My mom tells me there’s no such thing as monsters. But she is wrong.”
– Lizzy 

SYNOPSIS: A mother and daughter must confront a terrifying monster when they break down on a deserted road. – via IMDB

GRADE 5I really wanted to like this more, I did. Eric and Ryan both thoroughly enjoyed it, and when it started, so did I. I could not stand Zoe Kazan’s character, Kathy. Ick, that is all I am saying. However, that in no way reflects negatively on her performance. She was brilliant, as was Ella Ballentine. They were so believable, and emotional, and that was pretty much what kept me going.

The Monster starts well, and builds a fantastic, tense atmosphere that draws you in. We are all afraid of what’s potentially out in the dark, so this works really well, because it feels like there is something out there. Then strange things happen. Never overplayed. You never see whatever the hell is out there (less is more man, less is more), and it just works. The atmosphere is heavy, and it is dark, rainy, dreary, plus there is all the emotional tension between Kathy and Lizzy, so you are totally engaged. Something is out there, and it is scary as hell. The music works, and it is shot so well.

But then things started going south. For one, I was quite annoyed at the immense amounts of flashbacks. Like, I get that they are developing the characters with that, and showing us how complex the relationship is between mother and daughter, but even with all that, the characters still feel really flat unfortunately. Lizzy and Kathy are still better than others. I also thought that the movie was rather predictable, and I was not pleased when we saw the monster. Not because it was crap, but all the creep was taken right out when I saw it. A movie can lose me when revealing too much. Also, let us not forget how that third act just fell apart. Everything was going so well, and then next thing logic went out the window and some of the most ridiculous decisions ever were made, the atmosphere was forgotten, it pushed for too many jump scares, both mother and daughter became insufferable (even more so than before), and that showdown was so stupid.

All in all it is not a bad movie, and the first two thirds were really good. The atmosphere for the film was wonderful, and Ballantine and Kazan deliver stellar performances. However, there is a lot that is wrong with the movie, too, and the third act really hurt it more than I can say. It is definitely going to appeal to horror fans who love atmosphere, but it won’t thrill those seeking a full on monster movie.