Review: The First Purge (2018)

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“Please don’t tell me you’re sending mercenaries into the island disguised as purgers?”
– Dr Updale

SYNOPSIS: America’s third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, comes to power and conducts an experiment: no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one has to stay on the island, but $5,000 is given to anyone who does. – via IMDB

Sweet baby Jesus, this franchise is never gonna give up the ghost. There was The Purge, which was wasted potential because it was a home invasion movie with an interesting concept we didn’t really get to see. Then there was the Anarchy sequel, and I unexpectedly loved that one – we actually got to see the Purge, and I got all excited that the franchise was actually going to do something with itself. But no. Then there was that botch job that was Election Year, and I thought it couldn’t get worse. Well, it could. I also see that there is now a series on Amazon. Come on! Will this never end?!

Apparently not. So let’s tackle this one. It sucked. Plain and simple. It was predictable and it was awkward and it just… no. Like wheeling and dealing with politics with absolutely no finesse, giving us characters we don’t give a crap about, generating more idiotic sequences than you can shake a stick at, not to mention that the psychological angle of this was completely and utterly ignored, which in conjunction with the politics had the potential to deliver a much better punch. But no, let’s not do that.

The pacing was off, too, because while the movie doesn’t necessarily boast a long run time, it feels like forever and six days long, and just didn’t feel like it was coming to a close at all, or moving along. It was so frustrating, and that adds to the litany of issues I have with it. I wanted to see so much more than this. I mean let’s face it, this franchise has been milking the concept because it is one that has fascinated viewers, but hasn’t really fleshed anything out. It strives to from time to time but falls short. It’s just coming across as a cash cow.

So no, I was not a big fan of this one and feel that this was an interesting concept, I mean the first  Purge, and how it came about, and instead of spending some time exploring the psychological aspect and truly delving into the politics, we get this half-assed offering from a tired franchise that churned out exactly one good movie. My recommendation? Skip it.

Review: Prom Night (2008)

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“I did this for us.”
– Richard Fenton

SYNOPSIS: Donna’s senior prom is supposed to be the best night of her life, though a sadistic killer from her past has different plans for her and her friends. – via IMDB

Goodness, gracious me. What a bloody mess of a film! Like, wow. I mean, I wasn’t expecting greatness, I was expecting a mindless horror to put on, chill throughout, but then there was this. It was… Shitfest terrible. For reals! There was absolutely nothing going on here!

Watching the title credits roll, I saw Idris Elba’s name pop up on screen, which piqued my interest. That is about as much oomph as the movie brought to the table. His performance was miles above any of the others, though Sheriff Stilinski Ashby was alright, too, and so was Ransone. Well, they were as good as they could be, considering. Brittany Snow was awful. The whole lot was awful, I am not even going to get into specifics here because… well, ugh.

The film lacked tension. Completely. You don’t give a crap about these characters or their “plight”, you cannot even root for the virginal final girl because, well, what a nuisance. You know that’s really bad. Elba swoops in and does what he can, but the script is truly beneath him. Not only are there no characters to root for, there is no fun to be had – not at this stupid prom, not the interactions between characters, and certainly not with the whole “slasher” aspect – no blood, no fear, nothing. It is just immensely disappointing all round.

While we are at it, the score sucked, and the dialogue was so damn cringey, and the plot progression was messy and the story flimsy. A flimsy story does not make for an awful slasher, but when there is nothing else to tempt you, it is a lost cause overall. There really is nothing to redeem this movie at all. It is predictable and lazy, and it is particularly offensive because it plods along and never really tries, so I can’t even give it points there.

People, seriously, you could totally just skip Prom Night and you wouldn’t be missing anything at all. Not a thing. The movie has no spine, no hopes, no dreams, and it will eat up your valuable time. It is wasted, and it is lost, and it is truly not a rewarding experience. Skip it, skip it I say!

Review: The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004)

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“Love does things for reasons that reason cannot understand.” 
– Joe

SYNOPSIS: Now settled in Genovia, Princess Mia faces a new revelation: she is being primed for an arranged marriage to an English suitor. – via IMDB

Oh. My. Goodness. This movie sucked. Really Ugh. I watched this directly after The Princess Diaries, and was still basking in the glow of nostalgia. This certainly snuffed that light right out. Sequels are not usually known to be particularly good or anything like that, but this? Unforgivable on so many levels!

Where to begin? Oh right, the first thing to be said is that there is some horrible CGI featured here. Luckily the movie is not too dependent on that, so we are not tortured too often. Zipping right along, the movie just discards Michael and Mia, a super sweet romance that was set up in the first movie, and it is glibly dismissed here. Come on. Anything more than “he’s touring with his band” would have been better. Then her dropping the line of “I’ve never been in love”? So you weren’t even that annoying teenager in love with him? Because that is not what it seemed like in the last movie. Let me leave these gripes and move on the the rest of the treasure trove.

Royal Engagement is simply embarrassing, really. After all the fun and entertainment we got from the first one, you would hope that this could at least be halfway decent. Even with the same cast, it is not. It is lame, flat, uninspired. The humour was so forced and stupid and the delivery is terrible, which is unforgivable. The romance story here is so generic and predictable. It brought no excitement to the table whatsoever. The entire movie is actually so formulaic. The predecessor might not have been a movie that broke any moulds, but at least it was fun. This was just awkward and silly and I was not pleased one step of the way.

This movie, sadly, also somehow manages to take itself way too seriously, which truly only hurts the experience even more. Royal Engagement is annoying, goes for cheap, cheesy tricks, and they never really land true. The story doesn’t engage you (yes, I did that), and there is nothing that makes you feel that this could be some special, treasured childhood movie. Rewatching this was a stark reminder as to why it got exactly one viewing from me when I was younger. One of the few things that work for this is the cast – Pine, Rhys-Davies, Andrews, Hathaway and Elizondo give it what they’ve got. They were quite good, even with the abysmal material, but could still not save this train wreck of a movie. Pine and Hathaway worked very well together, it’s just a pity that this is what they had to work with. This movie is so bad it can’t even be guilty pleasure bad.

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement is a colossal waste of your precious time and energy.  It is a prime example of how not to do a sequel. There is virtually nothing to praise in this (they even managed to throw a spanner in the works between Joe and Clarisse – not okay) and I spent near two hours cringing and annoyed. You could totally pretend this one does not exist and just acknowledge the first one. Seriously.

Review: Psycho Analysis – V.R. Stone

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I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: A serial killer who wants to quit. A detective struggling to keep his personal life out of a murder hunt. And a celebrity psychiatrist facing an incredible challenge. Three damaged individuals, linked by their traumatic histories. They’ve chosen very different paths. Now those paths are about to cross.

Sarah Silver is a hedge fund manager – from Monday to Friday she makes a killing in the markets. At weekends, though, she hunts men, not profits. Martin White used to be a brilliant detective. But his family, judgement and self-control are deserting him. And Karl Gross has sold millions of books on serial killers. However he’s a controversial figure in the medical community.

Can Martin keep it together and catch a killer who commits almost perfect crimes? Is Karl capable of unravelling Sarah’s psyche and putting an end to the killing? Or will she disappear when she realises that the hunter has become the hunted? – via Goodreads

Hmmmm. I really thought that this would be better, appeal to me more than it ultimately did. I liked the cover, I studied psychology, this books speaks of a female serial killer… all things that are fascinating, and should have held more sway. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Psycho Analysis has all the makings to be good, but is instead a silly, bland affair. Not impressed.

The story, which I assumed was going to be engaging, was something that left me bored and unsatisfied. I was never reeled in. I also couldn’t stand any of the characters. The writing of them also implied that we knew more about them, which at a stage had me wondering if this book was part of a series, to find that it is not, but is in actual fact a debut novel. For a debut novel that means it is written well enough if I thought it was part of a series, but the story never actually did anything for me. Considering the author had studied psychology, I was really expecting more punch. It just never came.

I found the dialogue in Psycho Analysis stinted, and was also not a fan of the lead, DI Martin White. He was just… no. Plus when the whole reveal about his life came? So poorly executed. The book just came across as messy. The doctor who was discussing Sarah’s issues with her had his own, but they, too, were glossed over. I really thought there would be more of a twisted relationship between Sarah and Karl, as it was an interesting component. Then, of course, there was the silly relationship between Martin and Sarah – it never took off, and I didn’t care whether he was killed or she was caught. I also struggled to suspend reality for a lot of this book, and it should not have been that difficult to do.

Psycho Analysis is an uninspiring debut novel, and not something I would recommend.

Review: Lights Out (2016)

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lights_out_poster

“We’re living with a dead woman!”
– Rebecca

SYNOPSIS: When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie. – via IMDB

lights-out-movie

GRADE 2I didn’t expect much, but I didn’t expect it to suck quite this much. RIDICULOUS. I watched the short when that came out, and it was pretty good. Then someone had the real bright spark idea of stretching that short into a feature length film. A sloppy feature length film. Eighty minutes of film time, to be precise, which felt like the longest movie I had ever had the misfortune of watching. It felt like we were nearing the end, and I saw we were twenty minutes in. From that moment, I knew I was doomed to suffer through to the end. Every minute the movie progressed, it got cornier, cheesier, and more terrible. I cringed a few times. That someone actually put this in a movie… that someone actually wrote this script. Like when we got the explanation for Sophie? You can’t be serious! That’s what it was about? That?! Horrible, horrible, and so silly.

The story was beyond weak and flimsy, and the longer the movie went on, the more obvious this became. I didn’t like any of the characters, either, except maybe the boyfriend, Bret. The logic was totally broken, too, and not in the acceptable way of most horrors. This movie relied heavily on jump scares, too, which were just cheap. There was like no finesse to this whatsoever. There was nothing to redeem this. There was also so much stupid stuff going on the whole time. For instance, let’s also not forget the part where they armed themselves with a black light and a flash as a weapon. I actually scoffed. Very reminiscent of the trident flashlight in Under The Bed.

I can keep talking about this, but it won’t be pretty, and I just don’t have the energy to expend on such a useless experience. Meh. There is pretty much nothing going for this movie – it is messy, boring, way too long, sloppily written and badly executed, and I would highly recommend staying away from this one.

Review: Southern Gothic – Dale Wiley

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southern-gothic

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Aspiring author Meredith Harper owns the hottest bookstore in Savannah.

Michael Black is her favorite writer—long thought dead—until he mysteriously approaches Meredith with a new manuscript, and a most unusual offer. Meredith can keep the manuscript to herself, or publish it under her own name.

Her decision results in a bestseller, but the novel contains a coded secret; one that will put her on trial for murder and in hiding from “the blood stalker,” proving too late that making a deal with the devil comes at a heavy price.  – via Goodreads

GRADE 2Man, I wanted to like this. But it was a flat and supremely irritating affair for me for so many reasons. The book was messy. It starts off okay, if not a little bland. But next thing you know, it rushes into this woman having a stalker, and before you can blink your eyes and wonder when the tension is going to kick in, she knows immediately it is a famous author she is a big fan of. Uhm… yes. The next time I hear something go bump in the night, I am going to hope some hot celebrity I am into is there.

The pacing was so off. It was ridiculous, and I couldn’t stand it. Don’t get me wrong, the book reads super quickly, but meh. I really didn’t like it. There are absolutely no likable characters. This is not necessarily a deal breaker, provided that there is a solid story to tell. Which there wasn’t. Not even remotely. Also, there is the way this author flips between the actual book that I am reading (Southern Gothic), and then the book within the book (Red Ribbon). Both stories sucked, and it was jarring to read like that because there was seriously no voice to differentiate between the varying chapters. They both sound exactly the same, and that is something I cannot forgive. The dialogue is all over the show, too, and I found the plot to be glaringly obvious.

There is also just way too much sex in this book. I am not talking the super explicit kind like Nora Roberts, but enough to annoy me. It served no purpose, either. And when Michael and Meredith weren’t banging each other, she was constantly thinking about it. Uhm, nope. No thanks. Also, Meredith falls in love with Michael just like that? She doesn’t know him. She loves his literary work, and ignores the fact that there is something distinctly off about him? Puh-lease. Idiot. It isn’t like Michael was doing an awfully good job of hiding his weirdness.

I wanted to like this more, I did, and it could have been more. But Wiley brings no heart to the book. While it is a fast read, it is a hollow, forgettable one that frustrated me while reading, and not one that I can recommend. I see that it has pretty good ratings, but it didn’t work for me on any level.

Review: Sanctuary – Nora Roberts

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nora-roberts-sanctuary

SYNOPSIS: Photographer Jo Ellen Hathaway thought she’d escaped the house called Sanctuary long ago. She’d spent her lonliest years there, after the sudden, unexplained disappearance of her mother. Yet the sprawling resort off the Georgia coast continues to haunt her dreams. And now, even more haunting are the pictures someone is sending to her: strange close-ups and candids, culminating in the most shocking portrait of all–a photo of her mother…naked, beautiful, and dead. Now Jo must return to the island, and to her bitterly estranged family–and, with the help of one man, learn the truth about her tragic past. But Sanctuary may also be the most dangerous place of all… – via Goodreads

GRADE 3Okay, I am not a fan of romance fiction, though every now and then I try, especially if there is a mysterious element to it, a murder mystery, something. And it isn’t too heavy on the romance side. I try Roberts’s work once in a while because I know that it is light, fluffy, quick to read, and doesn’t need you to actually invest in it. I regret now not having asked Natasha about this one first, or for a recommendation, as I always do. I am sure she could have steered me in a much better direction. Let me preface where this is going with WOW! There is so much sex going on in this book! Like, so much. Natasha warned me that there was a lot of it going on (after I told her what I was reading), but seriously? Nookie up the wazoo! This is not something I appreciate a hell of a lot in a book. I have referred to one of her novels as a forest fuck fest before, but this one? Island Orgy! There are so many damn characters, and all of them have some form of a partner, and all of them are avoiding that partner and not wanting that partner and not interested in that partner then they are all worn down by that partner and then incessantly jumping that partner’s bones. I am serious. It was relentless, and it never ended. Plus I was not impressed with three main relationships going down. That means learning about each one of the characters (who were all so shallow and happened to be gorgeous, apparently) and then how they fit together, and then how they enjoy sex. It is unbelievable that all three siblings just so happen to find love at exactly the same time. There was an inkling of what could have actually been a pretty good story in here, but it was overshadowed by a bland story, and all the potential was pissed away when it was ultimately so flat and generic at the end. No guts, no glory. The climax was one of the most disappointing things in the world. Sanctuary also just asks you to suspend reality way too much. The characters are unlikable, and you don’t actually root for anyone. I was also not pleased with how intimately Roberts discussed the rapist and murderer at times. It was creepy – describing his attractive face, the lines, as well as how he felt while raping these women? How he climaxed and all? Way too detailed and intimate man, eeeeeew. Anyway, this is not a Roberts book that I can recommend. It races by quickly, and sadly has more potential than it eventually goes for, and could definitely have been shortened by a third at least to cut out sex and flesh out a story. Don’t waste your time, seriously.

Rapid Review: Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

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halloween_resurrection_poster

“You failed, Michael. Want to know why? Because I’m not afraid of you.”
– Laurie Strode

SYNOPSIS: Three years after he last terrorized his sister, Michael Myers confronts her again, before traveling to Haddonfield to deal with the cast and crew of a reality show which is being broadcast from his old home. – via IMDB

halloween-resurrection-beheading

GRADE 1Holy crapsticks. I know this movie gets a lot of hate, and you know what? Totally justifiable. Like really. I remember this one from when I was younger (I was itty bitty when this came out, so obviously we were checking this out as teens), but what a waste of a film! I especially do not like the fact that it negated the end of H20, which was damn near perfect, and then totally peed all over the Laurie/Michael thing, and the way Laurie was handled here? Criminal. This movie has such a super long, bland title credits opening that I was already regretting this. Something I did think about in this one more than any of the others movies is how we never actually wonder too much about how Michael passes the time between hunting down Laurie/some doomed bloodline. Seriously – what does he do? Where does he get his information? It’s not like he chills at the library or goes to the DMV or anything. Like there were fresh spices in the house now – granted, most likely put there by Dangertainment – but all I could picture was Michael like this:

michael-myers-halloween-cooking-free-time

I know, right?! Anyway. Resurrection touts two disjointed stories – the opening with Laurie and Michael, and their messed up family history, and then this stupid found footage/explore the Myers house on Halloween angle. Ugh. They both sucked. The dialogue is cringe-worthy, and the camera work is shoddy. Plus there was the constant splicing of found footage in here, which felt gimmicky, and you know how much I love found footage. Also, the lead was constantly screaming, which just annoyed the heck out of me. And she didn’t know how to use a chainsaw, which is not the most shocking, but when it is the only thing between you and life or death, make it count! Michael Myers also had a crappy mask in this one, no lies. Hands down the worst sequel of the bunch. The others were fine, but this thing? A disgrace, a mess, a wreck. I totally get why it is so reviled. Pfffffffffff.

Review: The Boy (2016)

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the boy poster 2016

“Be good to him and he will be good to you.”
– Mr Heelshire

SYNOPSIS: An American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive. – via IMDB

the boy 2016 chair cry

GRADE 4Okay, so I wasn’t expecting greatness from The Boy. I was expecting a run of the mill horror, as it is so rare to find a great one nowadays. I know the reviews for this came back harshly, and now I can totally understand why. Initially I was thinking it couldn’t really be that bad. Wrong. It can be. It starts off as nothing too serious, and it is okay, nothing we haven’t seen before, but enough to keep you entertained. However, before you can blink your eyes and catch up properly, the movie has totally derailed into something so ridiculous and absurd, you can’t even suspend logic for the sake of the horror movie. For reals.

I am all on board with trying to do something a little different and all that, but come off it! This was one movie in the first half and another in the second, and it was so stupid, no less. Plot twist my foot! Ugh. I get what they were trying to go for, I do, and I get why they would have wanted to, but this was just not right, it wasn’t handled well (in my opinion, that is). It could have played off in so many different ways. The writers never really embraced their concept and didn’t go all out for it – the premise is bizarre as is, they should have just gone for it, used it! Instead, it just falls flat, something that technically could have been so much more. What a waste of time.

Cohan does what she can with the role, but the script is so uninspired as it is, there is not much you can really do with it. Then there is Malcolm, and he and Greta seem to work well, but nothing special. The movie is predictable and lives on a ton of horror clichés, until it tries to break the mould, and that is where things just backfired. Badly. Initially you do wonder about this doll, about Greta, about her psychological state, about the supernatural. Then the movie breaks from this, and it gets ridiculous. Ugh, I was just irritated with this silly movie by the end, and it was a supremely unsatisfying watch over and above it.

The Boy really had no idea what it actually wanted, and if the execution is what it was going for, it failed. I regret having wasted my time. Again, I didn’t expect the next Babadook or anything, but I didn’t think it could be that dreadful. It is. Skip it, if you are one of the lucky few that has not lost time on this crappy movie.

Rapid Review: The Final Destination (2009)

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The_final_destination_poster

“Something’s gonna happen, we are all gonna die! All right? ‘Cause there’s gonna be a crash!”
– Nick

SYNOPSIS: After a young man’s premonition of a deadly race-car crash helps saves the lives of his peers, Death sets out to collect those who evaded their end. – via IMDB

the final destination

GRADE 2Holy. Shit. This movie. The acting. The graphics and effects! Next level, I tell you. Gosh, I think it is relatively on par with The Wrath of Paul Bunyan. Impressive as hell. These movies have a relatively simple recipe, they do. A big tragic accident gets witnessed/seen in a premonition, someone freaks out and saves some people, then people start dying in the order they are supposed to, the original freakee realises this and tries to save everyone. Unsuccessfully. Without fail. So while the movies are a rinse and repeat of one another, they are cheesy fun. Until this one, that is. This one is just so damn meh, I didn’t actually even watch it too closely, to be honest. It was also worsened by the fact that the graphics and effects were given front and centre stage, and they were nothing short of cringe worthy. Take a look at the poster. See how heavily they are marketing the 3D angle? Yes, so you can just imagine what it is that we got… the above gif is an example of some of the finer points of the sketchy effects. Ugh. I hated this movie. The acting was beyond godawful, the dialogue was next level dodgy, the characters were all immensely unlikable, the deaths weren’t even that creative, and this movie tried way too hard all the time, and it failed. Terribly. I really don’t know what else to say about this movie. It was bland, unimaginative, boring, terribly executed and stupid to boot. There was not saving it, not even normal bad horror logic, and it was unforgivable. Seriously, these movies could have just remained a trilogy, or could really just have been a single movie without a million sequels. But no, money was afoot, and the studios threw money into something that evidently failed. Horribly. Especially in the form of The Final Destination. This was just unacceptable. Over the past few weeks, it would seem that most of you wonderful readers are in agreement that this movie is the worst of the lot. Definitely followed by the fifth one. I think. Should we take a poll here to ascertain this? I think we should. Let me know what your favourite movie is in this franchise, I will post the results next week with the final one!