Alien (1979) Review

Alien (1979) Review

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Written by: Dan O’Bannon

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 57 min

Genre: Horror, Science-Fiction

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

Availability: HBO Max

After a space merchant vessel receives an unknown transmission as a distress call, one of the crew is attacked by a mysterious life form and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun. (IMDb)

When you really take the time to think about it, there aren’t that many films that stand the tests of time, especially when it comes to science-fiction. Alien is one of the few that thoroughly holds up and does not suffer from details that come across as dated. Of course, viewers may not spend to much time considering the few aspects that are due to the ongoing thrills of this film. 

Whether you view this movie as your standard alien horror or slasher flick, Alien is a terrifying movie. The titular alien is a literal killing machine who kills for sport more than anything else. It’s invincible, quiet, and very good at hiding. One could be in the same room as you, and you may not notice until its too late. 

If you don’t have anxiety, this film may give it to you. All the while you’ll be rooting for the original horror-movie badass Ripley, who almost single-handedly takes badassery to another level. 
Alien is a near-perfect film that’s hard to pick apart without turning into a nitpicky asshole. Its an overall well-rounded film with great acting, special effects, and direction. After 40 years it remains untouchable, even with the more recent attempts to reboot the series. Alien is a once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Invisible Man (2020) Review

Directed by: Leigh Whannell

Written by: Leigh Whannell

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer

Rated: R

Run-Time: 2h 4min

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

Availability: HBO Max

When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see. (IMDb)

Over the past couple of years, there has beem a renaissance of horror with many films going back to the roots of the genre. Films such as Get Out and A Quiet Place break the monotony of jump-scare heavy horror and revitalise techniques long underutilised. 

The Invisible Man does what 2017’s The Mummy tried to and with a much lower budget. For a while now, Universal has been trying to bring back the classic horror icons with the hopes of creating a creature-verse comparable to Disney’s MCU. The Invisible Man is their second and successful attempt at doing so. 

Despite not having the best trailer, The Invisible Man is hands down one of the best films of 2020 with utterly exceptional acting and atmosphere. The film shows considerable restraint, taking its time to build up to real terror. The audience is forced to experience the film in the protagonist’s, Cecilia’s, point-of-view; sympathising with her while being kept partially in the dark about what’s really happening. Even then we’re told what is happening, you can’t be entirely sure. 

This film wears many masks as well. Not only is it a revival of a classic of the same name, but it’s also an examination of domestic violence. At one point, the film becomes less of a psychological horror movie and more of a revenge flick. All the while, it is a prime example of how the legal system can neglect the victims of domestic abuse. 

This is a must-watch film, really, don’t argue with me. Of course, as with most horror, beware the potentially triggering content.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016) Review

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016) Review

Directed by: Colm McCarthy

Written by: Mike Carey

Starring: Sennia Nanua, Fisayo Akinade, Dominique Tipper

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 51 min

Genre: Action, Drama, Horror

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

Availability: Netflix

A scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie. (IMDb)

Much like the previously reviewed Cargo, The Girl with All the Gifts is a unique zombie film that plays with the overdone sub-genre and creates something new. 

Based off a book of the same, The Girl with All the Gifts delivers a truly philosophical look on zombies with the addition of the second-generation zombie. Something rarely seen in related films. It takes the concept of a dystopian future, and rather as seeing it solely as the end this film depicts the end of the world as the start of a new era. It paints the character who would traditionally be the hero into the villain and forces the audience to sympathize with the “other.” 

None of this wouldn’t have been possible without the exceptional preforming of the cast, who do well to present realistic characters. The star of this film is film is Sennia Nanua, who as a young actor manages to make the traditionally horrifying zombie into a sympathetic creature. She manages to show both the humanity and inhumanity of zombies, making them into a new iteration of humanity. Her youth allows her to have an unbiased view of the situation before her, as she is fond of the humans caring for her but also wants to help her fellow second-generation zombie children. 

This film is beautiful and raises a lot of questions that may make you rethink what you would do in a zombie apocalypse. For those who enjoy the action of your standard zombie movie, this has that for you, but those who enjoy the more intellectual horror of the current renaissance will find this film an excellent and thought-provoking watch.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Jaws (1975) Review

Jaws (1975) Review

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Written by: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb

Starring: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss

Rated: PG

Run-Time: 2h 4min

Genre: Adventure, Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

Availability: HBO Max

When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach community, it’s up to a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer to hunt the beast down. (IMDb)

So, yeah, I’m reviewing the classic Jaws. Not because it needs to be reviewed, it’s a masterwork of film that could only be achieved by the incomparable Spielberg, but I recently realized than many people of my generation and younger haven’t seen this film. How is that possible you ask? I have no clue. 

If you’re not aware of this piece of film history you need to go check it out, and if you’re aware of it and haven’t watched it recently I recommend doing so. This film is 40 years old and holds up better than many films from the ’70s and truly revolutionized the film release schedule with its status as the first blockbuster flick. It is practically ageless, with the aspects that age it is minimal. The thrills, all achieved through practical effects still managed to strike fear in viewers. Because there isn’t much scarier than the real-life terror of great white sharks. 

I could go on and on, essentially rehashing everything every reviewer, film professor, avid-film watcher has every said; but I’m going to make it easy on you: JUST WATCH THE DAMN MOVIE.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Gantz: O (2016) Review

Gantz: O (2016) Review

Directed by: Yasushi Kawamura, Keiichi Sato

Written by: Hiroya Oku (manga), Tsutomu Kuroiwa (screenplay)

Starring: Daisuke Ono, M-A-O, Tomohito Kaku

Rated: TV-MA

Run-Time: 1h 35m

Genre: Animation, Action, Horror

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%

Availability: Netflix

After being brutally murdered in a subway station, a teen boy awakens to find himself resurrected by a strange computer named Gantz, and forced to fight a large force of invading aliens in Osaka. (IMDb)

What did I just watch? Like seriously. When I woke up this morning I did not expect to watch a movie that includes a “monster” alien-thing made of up a bunch of naked women forming a giant naked woman. Really, that happened.

Adapted from the Osaka arc of the manga Gantz, Gantz: O is a convoluted visual spectacle that only boasts beautiful game-like visuals. Otherwise, this film has a veil-thin plot and forgettable characters. For those not familiar with the source material, this film is a boring series of events that don’t quite add up. For those familiar with it, this film may be more entertaining, but the experience of watching this film is more like watching someone else play a video game than playing it yourself. There is some semblance of fun there, but it could be so much better. 

In a single sentence, I sum up this film as a visually well-done waste-of-time. The only thing I enjoyed was the Final Fantasy-esque animation that is beautiful but does not lend itself to truly emotional story-telling with the eerily dead eyes and flat expressions.

Subjective Rating

Objective Rating

Final Rating

Cargo (2018) Review

Cargo (2018) Review

Directed by: Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke

Written by: Yolanda Ramke

Starring: Simone Landers, Martin Freeman, Marlee Jane McPherson-Dobbins

Rated: TV-MA

Run-Time: 1h 45m

Genre: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Availability: Netflix

After an epidemic spreads all over Australia, a father searches for someone willing to protect his daughter. (IMDb)

Cargo is a unique zombie film, one that breaks the monotony of the modern zombie flick by bringing something refreshing to the table. With a character-driven story, Cargo is less about the scares and more about how much you grow to care for the characters. Whenever they are faced with a challenge, which is definitely plentiful, we fear for the character’s lives but the deeper implications of their deaths. 

This movie, as mentioned above isn’t particularly scary in the traditional sense. You’re less scared of the zombie’s themselves and more scared of the events that would follow being bitten. This film manages to avoid the gory horror that is so prevalent in zombie films and settles for a low key storyline. 

The film also tackles a lot of important themes: such as the injustice towards the aboriginal people of Australia, and the process of death, illness and mourning. And while the film manages to have a happy ending, it’s more bittersweet than truly joyous. You’ll find yourself relieved, but also mourning. 

This is a film that is more accessible to a wider audience due to its character-driven storyline. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “family-friendly” horror film, but its close. If you like horror but can’t really handle extensive gore and violence this film is a must-watch. For those who like those things, this movie should have enough to satiate your zombie craving.

Subjective Rating

Objective Rating

Final Rating

10 Horror Movies to Stream on Netflix US

Here’s yet another list of great films to give you the right amount of spook for October. Some are more extreme then others, but I tried my best to create as well-rounded of a list as I could. Hope you enjoy.

Hush (2016)

A deaf writer who retreated into the woods to live a solitary life must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer appears in her window.

The Platform (2019)

Two prisoners per floor, wondering how much they’ll get to eat that day. One inmate has had enough of not getting enough. It’s time to send a message.

Gerald’s Game (2017)

When her husband’s sex game goes wrong, Jessie– handcuffed to a bed in a remote lake house– faces warped visions, dark secrets and a dire choice.

The Girl with all the Gifts (2016)

As a virulent fungus turns humanity into zombies, a band of survivors flees with a curiously evolved zombie girl who may hold the key to a cure.

Cargo (2018)

Amid a terrifying pandemic, a father searches the wilds of Australia for someone willing to protect and care for his infant daughter. 

Would You Rather (2012)

In need of cash to help her sick brother, a young woman agrees to take part in a lethal winner-takes-all parlour game hosted by a sadistic millionaire.

Horns (2013)

Accused of murder, Ig Perish wakes up one day to find he’s grown a set of horns– compelling people to confess their sins to him.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

A father-son team of small-town coroners performs an autopsy on an unidentified woman with mysterious injuries and a terrifying secret.

The Perfection (2018)

In this twisty horror-thriller, a once-promising music prodigy reconnects with her former mentors, only to find them taken with a talented new pupil.

13 Sins (2013)

A man agrees to appear on a game show with a $6 million prize. But as the challenges become more extreme, he realized he’s made a grave mistake.

All descriptions are taken for Netflix US.

The Platform (or El Hoyo) (2019) Review

The Platform (or El Hoyo) (2019) Review

Directed by: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

Written by: David Desola, Pedro Rivero

Starring: Ivan Massague, Zorian Eguileor, Antonia San Juan

Rated: TV-MA

Run-Time: 1h 34m

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%

Availability: Netflix

A vertical prison with one cell per level. Two people per cell. One only food platform and two minutes per day to feed up to down. An endless nightmare trapped in The Hole. (IMDb)

The Platform is one of those expected Netflix gems that keeps the somewhat obsolete service intact. It’s a member of what I would consider a current horror film renaissance, a return to form. This film is simply exceptional, but not for the faint of heart… or weak-stomached. 

At a glance, The Platform seems like your run of the mill torture porn flick, full of exploitation but little substance. But it takes very little digging to find the themes the film is presenting in the most explicit way possible. One of the purposes of torture porn is the exhibition of the human human body at it’s extreme and it plays heavily on our morbid curiosity. The Platform, however, adds a layer of social commentary about subjects rarely explored through such means. 

This film really is just a big “fuck you” to capitalism. It blatantly displays the injustice and inherently unfair nature of capitalism while also highlighting the flaws of total communism. It brings class, sex, and race to the forefront with how closely related it so often is with one’s social standing. The film does all this in the most imaginative and in-your-face way imaginable. 

And, most amazingly, this film manages to connect itself to classical literature by drawing clear parallels to Cervantes’ Don Quijote, even going so far as to heavily display it in the film and quote directly from it. The protagonist even resembles the naive chivalry of Don Quijote through image and spirit. This connection is entirely unexpected but works well for the overall message of the film. 

The only issue with this film is the lack of outside information we are given on the world. We are told this is a dystopian society but are given little information as to how due to the contained nature of the film. This sort of soft world-building doesn’t detract from the story but does leave many questions in the mind of the viewer. 

I truly recommend this film but warn that some of the content is not suitable for some audiences. The film includes depictions of mutilation and cannibalism, visual and thematic devices many viewers cannot handle. But for those more seasoned horror fans, this film is an interesting and terrifying watch. 

Subjective Rating

Objective Rating

Final Rating

Crawl (2019) Review

Crawl (2019) Review

Directed by: Alexandra Aja

Written by: Michael Rusmussen, Shawn Rasmussen

Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 27m

Genre: Action, Drama, Horror

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Availability: Amazon Prime and Hulu

A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators. (IMDb)

I generally don’t have much hope for movies like this. They tend to be formulaic, and easily predictable since the beats of this type of thriller are pretty much set in stone. This movie isn’t an exception in that it is pretty predictable. It tried to set itself apart, especially in the second act but fails to do so. 

Crawl doesn’t struggle to keep your attention but does struggle with reality. A lot of things that happened in this film were tough to believe whether you know a lot about alligators or not. This film does set itself apart in that it heavily features the protagonist potentially getting gravely injured. Of course, this starts to get a little old after the second time she miraculously gets away. The only character that was safe throughout the film was, of course, the dog. Because, if you didn’t already know, it’s a sin to kill a dog in any movie. Keanu Reeves will come after you. 

The acting was believable enough, but after watching the film I can’t tell you much about the characters other than the main girl can swim really well, her dad is stupid, and the dog’s name is Sugar. Even the few lines in the film that had me laughing have already left my mind. 

I feel like I say this about practically every movie I review, but this movie is one you can only watch once. If you want to watch a thrilling film that you don’t have to overthink while watching, this film is the right choice.  But I doubt you’d be clicking it again after experiencing it once. 

Subjective Rating

Objective Rating

Final Rating

Fahrenheit 451 (2018) Review

Fahrenheit 451 (2018) Review

Directed by: Ramin Bahrani

Written by: Ray Bradbury (source) Ramin Bahrani (screenplay)

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Aaron Davis, Cindy Katz

Rated: TV-14

Run-Time: 1h 40m

Genre: Drama, Science-Fiction, Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%

Availability: HBO Max

In a terrifying care-free future, a young man, Guy Montag, whose job as a fireman is to burn all books, questions his actions after meeting a young woman– and begins to rebel against society. (IMDb)

Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favourite classics by my most favourite classic author. It has been adapted twice, the most recent being in 2018. This was the version I watched for this review, and for me, this adaption didn’t quite hit the mark. 

It’s evident Bahrani took creative liberty to modernize this story, that was originally written in the early tv-era, way before the advent of the internet. Bradbury was never a fan of the internet, or technology for that matter, so in that sense, this film stayed true to portraying it as a powerful and scary thing. This version takes focus away from television and shifts it social media– an understandable change for the modern audience. The writing we do see people reading in the film is heavily laced with acronyms and emojis, emulating the comment section of many a live video on Instagram and Facebook. 

In taking so many creative liberties, a lot of the story was changed. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but in the case of this film, I feel it differs too greatly from the original tonally. It doesn’t hold the same weight as the book and is more of an aesthetic depiction of a dystopian future. 

One thing this film definitely did right was it’s casting. Michael Shannon is amazing as  Captain Beatty and Jordan’s performance is emotional. Together, they carry this movie farther than any of the other actors. They maintain the tone set in the film well and deliver believable performances. 

For viewers who are not familiar with this film’s source material, this film may be entertaining; but for those acquainted with Bradbury’s original may not enjoy it as much.

Subjective Rating

Objective Rating

Final Rating