Saturday, November 2, 2019

Spook Out! Day 31 ~ Train to Busan (2016, in Korean with English Subtitles)

Netflix Says...
"As a zombie outbreak sweeps the country, a dad and his daughter take a harrowing train journey in an attempt to reach the only city that's still safe."

I Say...
Actually, they were already on the train when the shit hit the fan, but yeah, it was a harrowing ride, all right!

Horror Type...
Zombie Apocalypse, Thriller, Action

Main Players...
Gong Yoo as Seok-woo (Hot Workaholic Dad)
Kim Su-an as Su-an (Kind of a Pain But Still Precious Daughter)
Jung Yu-mi as Seong-kyeong (Baller Pregnant Lady)
Ma Dong-seok as Sang-hwa (Hero)

I liked...
  • how this film made me hold my breath repeatedly; it takes you to the edge and brings you back till you're utterly worn out
  • that you really get a sense of who the leads are and what motivates them (apart from wanting to get the freak away from snapping zombie jaws); a lotta heart in this film, too
  • how it breaks from some zombie rules (no shamblers here) and creates interesting new ones
  • the use of wit as well as brawn to get out of tough spots
  • how well the worst, and the best, of humanity is represented here
  • that it's so engrossing you don't even feel the length of the movie till it's over and you realize nearly two hours have gone by

The Meh...
There is no meh in this award-winning film.

Would I recommend it...?
Absolutely, positively, 100-Gajillion-Percent. You have to watch this. HAVE TO. Yes, it's gory; yes, the zombies run; yes, it's violent af. But you have to watch this brilliantly terrifying movie.

Miscellany...
  • The zombie apocalypse, like life, is not fair. Not even a little bit.
  • As the credits started rolling I was bawling into some napkins. But rest easy--it's emotional, not schmaltzy.
  • Though I'm a few days late, I've saved you the best movie for last. You're welcome. Go frigging watch it. Now.

Ratings...
My Grade: A+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=93%, Audience Score=88%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched Train to Busan on Netflix (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
Train to Busan's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 31 (and, indeed, the blogfest!) of

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Spook Out! Day 30 ~ He Never Died (2015)

Netflix Says...
"A reclusive immortal who needs human flesh but tries to stay clean finds himself cast back into society by a gang of thugs and his estranged daughter."

I Say...
Kids, man. They can really disrupt your reclusive immortality, know what I'm sayin'? Actually, the above summary gets one thing wrong--she's not his estranged daughter bc he never knew of her existence till this movie.

Horror Type...
Horror Comedy, Dark Comedy

Main Players...
Henry Rollins as Jack (Reclusive Immortal)
Kate Greenhouse as Cara (Loyal Waitress)
Jordan Todosey as Andrea Huntsman (Life-disrupting Daughter)

I liked...
  • the dry, deadpan style of Rollins' delivery
  • how the normalcy of the waitress and daughter contrast so starkly with Jack's...well, everything
  • that Jack enjoys a good game of Bingo now and again
  • that, at least in the movie, Jack shows mercy

The Meh...
  • it's a little too dry
  • it's also a little too long
  • the pacing was sluggish in the first act and maybe the first part of the second act

Would I recommend it...?
It's an OK watch but not really a horror movie, IMO. (To be fair, I'm not sure why I thought it was one.) Pretty violent and gory, though.

Miscellany...
That Mr. Rollins is a fine lookin' fella. Le rawr RAWR!

Ratings...
My Grade: C+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=87%, Audience Score=64%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched He Never Died on Netflix (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
He Never Died's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 30 of


Spook Out! Day 29 ~ Us (2019)

Amazon Says...
"The visionary behind Get Out returns with an original nightmare, pitting an endearing American family against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgängers of themselves."

I Say...
^An accurate summary.

Horror Type...
Thriller

Main Players...
Lupita Nyong'o as Adelaide Wilson (née Thomas)/Red (Mama Bear)
Winston Duke as Gabriel "Gabe" Wilson/Abraham (Papa Bear)
Shahadi Wright Joseph as Zora Wilson/Umbrae (Sister Bear)
Evan Alex as Jason Wilson/Pluto (Brother Bear)

I liked...
  • the undercurrent of wrongness from the very start
  • the sustained tension from the moment Jason makes his startling announcement to his family
  • how, and this was my favorite part, the family falls into its familiar bickering in one particular scene when peril's closing in around them
  • the flashing back and forth from Adelaide's first encounter with the weird in 1986 to the present day madness
  • that the menace was on a wider scale than I'd thought going into this film

The Meh...
  • the first act is somewhat dry and runs longer than necessary to establish things
  • there's a Big Reveal in the third act, which fits well, then a surprise twist at the end, which also fits well. However, the two don't, in my mind, fit one another for this movie--that is, given the twist, the way the Big Reveal took place doesn't make sense to me

Would I recommend it...?
Yeah, it's a great thriller for Halloween! There's some violence and a bit of gore but all appropriate and not overdone.

Miscellany...
I raved about Lupita Nyong'o in a previous review and must do so again here--she's fan-freaking-tastic and should be in All The Things, ever.

Ratings...
My Grade: B+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=93%, Audience Score=60%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched Us on Amazon (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
Us' Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 29 of Spook Out!

For some reason, Blogger's upload picture function is not, in fact, allowing me to upload pics. Alas.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Spook Out! Day 28 ~ Ramekin (2018)

Amazon Says...
"Emily...[is] a college girl in New York City coming to live in the spacious Upper West Side apartment of her recently-deceased grandmother. There she encounters a little white porcelain cup--a ramekin--that slowly begins to control her life and demand the unthinkable."

I Say...
^That's exactly right and BOY what a ride!

Horror Type...
Horror Comedy, Surreal, Supernatural

Main Players...
Jamie Saunders as Emily (Tidy College Girl)
Renee Adrienne Vito as Jane (The BFF with the Stupid Face)
Adriano La Rocca as Mark (The Cute But Clueless Neighbor)

I liked...
I've been bullet-pointing for this section in my previous reviews but for Ramekin I'm going stream-of consciousness bc that's the only way I can think to tackle it right now.

I love how precise all of Emily's motions are, down to her diction and phrasing. Her face is wonderfully expressive and that big-ass smile she whips out is both beautiful and terrifying. I dig that she gets a few moments of grace to see that something's terribly wrong and she's not quite herself and wants to get out of whatever hell she's in. But she can't bc Ramekin.

I adore surreal humor, and this horror-comedy is just that. I mean, it's a ridiculous situation--being controlled by a ramekin? A ramekin??? Yet, the writing and Saunders' amazing work really sell it for me. Some of the dialogue made me cringe, other bits made me literally laugh out loud. And then there were these moments when a lick of terror seriously shot through me as I sat there helpless (much like Emily, but without any cupcakes, more's the pity).

The "poetry" in this is risible, when it's not utterly chilling. (Mark, how could you not understand?????)

The soundtrack's groovy!

Also, any New Yorker can appreciate that the only way a college student could lay claim to a lovely furnished apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side is if it were haunted or possessed by...something. (HAH!)

The Meh...
There's a bit in the beginning when Emily's trying to leave Ramekin in the dish rack that goes on a little long and could lose a viewer's interest--but stick with it!

The ending's even more bizarre and I couldn't quite grok it till I read writer/director/ filmmaker Cody Clarke's (or someone bearing his handle) explanation in this Reddit thread.

Would I recommend it...?
Yes! It's kooky and it's creepy, hilariously freaky, it's altogether unique-y--and for Amazon Primers, free! I heart this film so much I'm including a teaser for it:



Miscellany...
Please watch this ultra indie movie (made on a $500 budget!). Let's support indie artists so Hollywood gets the message that we don't want remakes, we want original creative voices!!!

Ratings...
My Grade: A-
Article #2: Ramekin Review!
Regrettably, there's no Rotten Tomatoes page for Ramekin.

Details, Schmeetails...
A Wikipedia Page for Ramekin does not currently exist.


This concludes day 28 of


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Spook Out! Day 27 ~ Summer of '84 (2018)

Shudder Says...
"It’s the summer of 1984, the perfect time to be 15 years old and free. But when neighborhood conspiracy theorist Davey Armstrong begins to suspect his police officer neighbor might be the serial killer all over the local news, he and his three best friends begin an investigation that soon turns dangerous."

I Say...
^I take issue with the word "soon."

Horror Type...
Serial Killer, Thriller

Main Players...
Graham Verchere as Davey Armstrong (Budding Filmmaker)
Tiera Skovbye as Nikki Kaszub (Hot Girl Next Door)
Rich Sommer as Wayne Mackey (Good AND Bad Cop?)

I liked...
  • Davey's determination, grit, bravery, and ingenuity
  • how wonderfully creepy a "good guy" Mackey was
  • the '80s setting, music, and parlance, which brought my Gen X heart much joy
  • that the ending takes a sobering turn which is distinctly unlike typical '80s flicks and I'm afraid I can say no more w/o getting all spoilery
  • the straightforward plot, which enjoyed some great moments of tension and suspense...

The Meh...
...and yet lost a lot of momentum by taking too freaking long to tell its story. It's an hour and 45 minutes, y'all--and it sure as heck didn't need to be.

Would I recommend it...?
Well, it's fun when it's moving, there are some good moments of humor, and the nostalgia factor will keep you into it if nothing else (assuming you're a person of A Certain Age). There's not a lot of gore, though in the last act as Things Are Revealed we do see some gruesome sights. It's an entertaining watch and I'm glad I took a chance on it...and actually, I would love to see a sequel wrap up the narrative's honking-huge cliffhanger.

Miscellany...
I super dig this Canadian indie's dark-synth movie score. (Eh?) (C'mon, you knew I had to do it.) 

Ratings...
My Grade: B+
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=70%, Audience Score=65%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched Summer of '84 on Shudder (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other host sites)
Summer of '84's Wikipedia Page (Contains Spoilers)


This concludes day 27 of