Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Oculus (2014)


IMDb rate: 6,5
Genre: Supernatural
Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane

I actually never really paid a lot of attention to Oculus, because it was one of those hyped-up movies that in many cases fail to amaze. I did have it on my to-watch-list for quite some time though and I finally gave it a watch. I had no idea what Oculus was about at that time, never saw a trailer, didn't read the synopsis either, so you can say I started watching the movie with no expectations at all. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with Oculus in the end. There were a few confusing parts, but overall it was a very good ghost/supernatural movie.

The twenty-one year-old Timothy Allen Russell is discharged from a mental institution by his psychiatric Dr. Graham completely healed from a childhood trauma. His sister Kaylie welcomes him in the parking area and brings him home. Then she tells that they need to destroy an ancient mirror that she has just bought in an auction. The reluctant Tim follows his sister and has fragmented recollections from his childhood, when his mother Marie buys a mirror for the home office of his father Alan. Kaylie and Tim see a woman with their father in his office and the behaviors of Alan and Marie change, ending in a family tragedy. Kaylie blames the mirror and now she wants to destroy it with Tim. Will they succeed?

The story has a very good build-up, during the movie we get to see fragments of their childhood and their trauma with this specific mirror. Because their past is being told during the entire movie it keeps an interesting perspective on the movie, it keeps it interesting to watch. If it would've been told all in once it would make the main story of the present day kinda boring actually, so did was a great thing to keep people curious.

The power of this mirror is that it can make you see things that aren't there, so it's a great psychological horror movie. This gives a huge uneasy feeling because you never know if anything is really happening or if it's just some game the mirror plays. I must admit that when I noticed this was going to be about a haunted mirror I wasn't too excited about it, but honestly Oculus did a great job making it somewhat scary and original.

The acting is pretty good in Oculus. Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Who) plays Kaylie and I was quite impressed with her. Already saw her once in Guardians of the Galaxy (for which she shaved all her hair off!) and I think she's going to be a big star sometimes. Brenthon Thwaites (Maleficent, The Giver) plays Kylie's younger brother Tim and he did a great job as well. Most impressive though was their father played by Rory Cochrane (Argo), he played his role as uncaring/distant father extremely well, you could almost feel the tension, amazing.

Oculus was a very surprising good movie. Great acting, good tensive scenes and it's just an exciting watch overall. There was just one thing that I did not get which is why they took so long to attack the mirror, because they knew that the longer they would be with it, the crazier things would get. So that's pretty much my only objection to Oculus. I had a great time watching this movie, and I definitely recommend to watch it as well.

My rate: 8/10

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Screener: Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story (2015)

Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story

IMDB rate: 5,7
Genre: Mockumentary, survival
Starring: Alexandra Breckenridge, Doug Jones, Chris Marquette

Last week I posted the trailer of the movie Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story (or from now on: Always Watching), the trailer itself looked interesting to me because of the "Slenderman" type of villain in this movie. Perhaps the trailer itself didn't look to great, but I was definitely intrigued by it.

For those who don't know Slenderman, it's a videogame released a couple of years ago where you need to collect drawings or something while being chased by the Slenderman. The Slenderman is a faceless figure in a suit, quite scary looking. I didn't find the game very scary myself, but I definitely did like the Slenderman because of his creepy appearance.

This movie is not officially about Slenderman, it's actually based on a few YouTube short movies of Marble Hornets which I haven't watched myself yet. But well, there is an undeniable resemblance between the movies villain (called The Operator) and Slenderman. Which I like quite a bit.

Here is what Always Watching is about:
On the hunt for an intriguing news story, a small-town news team follows a crew inspecting repossessed houses. Inside a particularly strange house, the news team discovers a box of video tapes inside a locked closet. Sensing a story, they decide to take them back to their studio. From the tapes, they learn that the family who had lived in the house was not pushed out by the banks, but fled the house in fear for their lives. Trying to decode the story, the crew keeps seeing a faceless figure dressed in a dark suit appear in the footage that causes the videotape to scramble. Their fear mounts when this figure, The Operator as he is deemed, starts to appear in their real lives, standing quietly and watching them. Tortured and terrorized, the three crew members must track down the mystery of The Operator before it's too late.

There's actually quite an interesting bunch of actors in this movie. Doug Jones plays The Operator himself, and while his role isn't too big I must say that he is the perfect choice for this type of villain. Doug Jones is mostly known for his "unrecognizable roles", such as The Silver Surfer in Fantastic 4, as the scary creature in Pan's Labyrinth, as Billie the zombie in Hocus Pocus but my favorite role of him is definitely as "The Gentleman" in my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush".

The main character of Always Watching is Chris Marquette, and even though he isn't extremely famous, he played in a few pretty cool movies such as The Girl Next Door and Fanboys. Chris Marquette did a pretty good job with playing the main character I think. A smaller role is for relatively unknown Alexandra Breckenridge who you may have seen in her role as "the sexy maid" in American Horror Story season 1, she also plays a role in the last season of The Walking Dead. Wasn't too crazy about her acting, but maybe her script just wasn't entirely right for her. She was kinda just put as the pretty girl in this movie, but I think she can do better than that.

As I already said, I love the villain in this movie, this Operator guy. He is scary as hell, but honestly I would have loved to have seen more of him. Especially with the magnificent actor Doug Jones portraying him he just deserves a bigger role in the movie. What I also would've loved to see was more of a background story of this Operator guy. What is his purpose, how is he there, what is he and does he have a weakness? Maybe an interesting approach for a sequel ;).

For a found-footage movie it's a pretty decent movie I think, it pretty much follows the standard found-footage movie principle but overall it's done okay. The movie is not specifically scary, but I must admit that because I was watching this movie with headphones on I got quite tensed sometimes. So here's a quick tip: want a more scary experience while watching horror movies alone? Watch it with headphones on :).

Always Watching is quite a decent movie I think, especially for a found-footage movie who have a reputation about being horrible often. I would've liked it better if the Operator was given a bigger role, because he is of course what's most interesting about this movie, the scenes that he was in were pretty cool though. The dialogue was a bit lame at times and there were a two scenes were the one dude was screaming to the other which was pretty annoying, but overall I actually had quite a good time watching this movie.

My rate: 6/10

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Honeymoon (2014)


IMDB rate: 5,6
Genre: Possession
Starring: Rose Leslie, Harry Threadaway

I was actually kinda excited for this movie. The cast was pretty good, the trailer looked awesome and it just seemed like a pretty good movie to me. Unfortunately this was not the case. It actually was a pretty boring movie, it just took way too long for something to happen. After a hour already passed nothing really interesting had happened yet. Sure, there were some mysteries but it was just not tensive at all.

Here is what Honeymoon is about:
Young newlyweds Paul and Bea travel to remote lake country for their honeymoon. Shortly after arriving, Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of the night. As she becomes more distant and her behavior increasingly peculiar, Paul begins to suspect something more sinister than sleepwalking took place in the woods.

The acting was actually pretty decent, Rose Leslie is a cute actress most known for her role as Ygritte in the TV show Game of Thrones (the one who keeps saying "you know nothing Jon Snow!". Harry Threadaway was quite good as well, haven't seen him in many roles besides the few episodes I watched of Penny Dreadful, but I quite liked him. Their chemistry was somewhat convincing, although the romance level in this movie was just too much for me. I saw people complaining that their American accents were horrible, in Harry Threadaway I did not even notice that he was British actually so in my opinion he did a good job. With Rose Leslie though I did not even notice that she was trying an American accent, I just thought her character would be British. Wrong about that one though, so i guess her job on doing a different accent wasn't too great.

The story itself started off good, the mystery of why Bea was one in the night, and what happened to her at that time. I really was curious about what had happened to her, but actually from that moment on the movie became pretty bad. The pacing was too slow, we first get half a hour of romance, sex attempts and stuff like that, then Bea disappears, then she starts acting weird and in the last ten minutes of the movie we somewhat figure out what had happened. The explanation about what happened is not satisfying at all though, it's not complete and it hardly tells what really is going on. And don't read further if you don't want to know this spoiler: but for real, aliens?! Nope, I'm not cool with that at all. Not even sure if they were aliens, but they sure as hell looked a hell of a lot like aliens.

Honeymoon is not a very scary movie, it's not filled with gore or special effects, it's more one of those movies where things are being left to the viewers imagination. In the end there's on scene that's kinda nasty but that's about the only interesting thing that happened. The make-up is quite good I must say, even for a low-budget movie.

Reactions about Honeymoon are pretty mixed, some hated it and some thought it was the best horror movie of the year. Maybe if your into psychological horrors with very slow pacing it might be something for you. Personally I wasn't a big fan of it. The script was pretty bad and there just did not happen a whole lot. I really thought this movie had some potential, but it got kinda messed up with the 'plot-twist' I think. Good acting, good looking make-up, but overall it was a bit a waste of time.

My rate: 5/10

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