Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018)

Rating: PG

Length: 1Hr 30

Release: 19.10.2018

About: While collecting junk one day, best friends Sonny and Sam meet Slappy, a mischievous talking dummy from an unpublished “Goosebumps” book by R.L. Stine. Hoping to start his own family, Slappy kidnaps Sonny’s mother and brings all of his ghoulish friends back to life — just in time for Halloween. As the sleepy town becomes overrun with monsters, witches and other mysterious creatures, Sonny joins forces with his sister, Sam and a kindly neighbor to save Sonny’s mom and foil Slappy’s plan.


Treat

  • I like the idea of having Slappy as the horror focus. The way it starts I was expecting it to go down the road of a more conventional Goosebumps story.
  • It’s a simple plot that doesn’t require any thought without leaving you with that ache that you’ve wasted your time.
  • The cast is pretty decent and work well together. While there isn’t much of a callback to the original cast, aside for Jack Black, the cast we’re given makes sure we don’t miss them.

Trick

  • It pretty much retraces the steps of the first movie and one of the main problems is it goes way too big and chaotic. Just having one monster on the rampage should be enough, not the entire Goosebumps catalogue.

Final Thoughts

It’s a fair attempt a sequel but not something I’ll rush to watch again.

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Rating: 15

Length: 2Hr 8

Release: 23.10.2019

About: Sarah Connor and a hybrid cyborg human must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid Terminator from the future.


The Good

  • Sarah Connor. Having Linda Hamilton back was a god send. Yeah, she’s ‘old’ and she sounds a bit like Dot Cotton after a lifetime of fags but she makes this franchise enjoyable, relatable and scary. There was the novelty of having Arnie ‘go good’ in T2, but certainly for me it’s about Connor’s disenfranchisement from the world in which she lives.
  • The dialogue makes nods to first film, but it doesn’t replicate it like some of the sequels have done. The same goes for the plot; you might feel uneasy at first, after all it does start to feel like a reboot. Stick with it because, on the most part I like where it goes.
  • The relationships between the three women; Sarah, Grace and Dani makes for an interesting watch. Add to the mix the dude who has been the face of the franchise for the last 35 years, you have a dangerous mix of emotions and sass.
  • The new Terminator was pretty bad ass and blended some of the best aspects of the assassination cyborgs from the previous films.

The Bad

  • Too many flashbacks. I have flash back fatigue especially in relation to traumatic events. Filmmakers, watch your own movies. If the flashback is telling the audience something they already know, especially if a character just said it, ditch the scene. If it doesn’t add anything, it bogs the film down.

The Ugly

  • The film’s action started way too big, so it never really had anywhere else to go. The best parts of the film was the small moments and the interactions between the characters so it’s a shame that the film decided to go in a similar direction to all the films Cameron wants the audience to disregard.
  • Grace has a plot flaw that I found rather irritating and rather baffling. They explain it away, but it still doesn’t make tactical sense and I think some better planing was required to improve the design of the time travelling support.

Final Thoughts

Predator (1987)

Rating: 18

Length: 1Hr 47

Release: 1.1.1988

About: Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a soldier of fortune, is hired by the U.S. government to secretly rescue a group of politicians trapped in Guatemala. But when Dutch and his team, which includes weapons expert Blain (Jesse Ventura) and CIA agent George (Carl Weathers), land in Central America, something is gravely wrong. After finding a string of dead bodies, the crew discovers they are being hunted by a brutal creature with superhuman strength and the ability to disappear into its surroundings.

Treat

  • The Predator is visually out of this world. Sorry for the bad pun, but it’s on a level with the xenomorph in terms of something that could prompt a nightmare. It’s hidden well which adds to the fear factor.
  • You have a group of commandos who are hench and seen action. And they’re scared enough to say they’re scared. Yup, that’s enough to have my heart racing.
  • Outside of the opening shot in space, you could have walked into this movie thinking it was a war film. In fact, I think that would have been scarier because you’d truly be one of the mission team. It does add to the fear because you sense what’s coming.
  • I think the scariest part of the film is that Arnie doesn’t defeat him. Not really. Predator kills himself and that is one of the scariest parts of war.

Trick

  • The biggest issue I have with the film is it’s final act. I’m watching a group of commandos, the best of the best, all bite the dust because of this creature from outer space. Yet, Arnie, the one who doesn’t get a single shot off at it prior to the one hour mark is able to defeat it single handily?! That makes the Predator an absolute pussy and Arnie too ‘invincible’.
  • Adding to the above point, I don’t buy Billy’s demise and for me, he’s the character who had shown the best skill and tactics to pull off what Arnie did. Bring him into the final showdown and help Arnie do his Kevin McCallister shit to the jungle and then have him killed. It gives a little more of a sense that this Predator is a fucking killing machine and stops you losing 5 of the team within about 45 seconds of each other.
  • Oh, and Predator once the helmets been removed?! Did he just have a manicure that he was waiting to dry?! What was with the pussy assed slaps. He could have removed Arnie’s innards with on blink and everyone knows it. That was the perfect opportunity to kill Billy (or your chosen commando).
  • I find the score by Adam Silvestri too distracting. It’s overly similar to his Back to the Future score and, for me, it didn’t fit the film.
  • I genuinely don’t know how I feel about the introduction of the female Guerrilla operative just before the halfway mark. While her actions set in motion a lot of the plot for the second half and there’s the argument that her being female is what stops them killing her, I’m not sure that it’s still not lip service casting or if I’m seeing snowflakes.

Final Thoughts

Not the masterpiece I remember it being, but then again I’d misremembered it as being set in Vietnam, so perhaps I shouldn’t hold the film to account.

A bloody, gory, war movie with an extra terrestrial playmate.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Rating PG

Length 1Hr 45

Release 7.12.1984

About After the members of a team of scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their cushy positions at a university in New York City, they decide to become “ghostbusters” to wage a high-tech battle with the supernatural for money. They stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, a doorway that will release evil upon the city. The Ghostbusters must now save New York from complete destruction.


First Thoughts

I wanted to be a Ghostbuster. I loved this movie as a kid and I have a very distinct memory of putting it on one Saturday afternoon after a shopping trip in which I bought foam shrimp. I also remember begging for Ghostbusters crisps and them not being in the bags when we got home and being very upset.

Harold Ramis’ Egon was my guy. He kept a level voice and didn’t shout like the other two.

Treat

  • Bill Murray is the star of this film. Yes, it’s an ensemble but he steals every scene he’s in. Everything about the character screams you should hate him, but he’s rather charming and adds an odd sense of dry and sardonic normalcy to the childlike eccentricity of Ray and Egon. He’s set up as a bit of a Shatner (Womaniser), but having him deny Zuul/Dana shows his true persona.
  • It’s a celebration of the geek, without having to put anyone else down. It’s not at the expense of others and it’s science doesn’t alienate the audience. I feel almost as if this is what TV’s Big Bang Theory wanted to be, but couldn’t get past the cheap jokes that put people down.
  • The effects are relatively good for a retrospective viewing. Certainly everything from the opening sequence works, including the ghost itself. It’s tone is still still that of unsettling fear and that’s largely to do with the physical effects and the supporting music.
  • Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett is fucking awesome: she’s a thirty-something living alone in New York, without a complex. She’s a brilliant career, a nice apartment and no time for Venkman’s bullshit. Weaver seems to have fun breaking away from her genderless Alien persona to give us a more feminine and light hearted character.
  • It’s an interesting narrative that is built up in layers and doesn’t give us too many showcase scenes. By the final act you realise it’s all interconnected and brings you to a showdown with Gozer; a casual name drop from the first act.

Trick

  • I fucking hate Louis. There’s annoying and then there’s this cretin who stole his wardrobe from Jimmy Saville. I normally love any role played by Rick Moranis, but this takes his whine up to 11 and I just wish he’d died when the Terror Dogs go all American Werewolf in his ass.
  • Behind the scenes I find it a bit shitty that Winston’s screen time was reduced because Eddie Murphy reportedly turned down the part. Ernie Hudson’s Winston provides a balance, much in the same way Venkman does and I’d have been thankful for that appearing sooner. The added bonus being that he would be given time to develop the character.
  • The only effects that present a problem are the Terror Dogs. It’s not so much that they look bad, it’s that there’s a very clear distinction between the animatronic and the animated versions. Some have suggested this is to do with a change in the lighting on later releases that brings our attention to it and I’d say that’s a fair assumption. That said, I’ll put up with those minor blips for the eerie capture of Dana in her apartment.

Final Thoughts

I still want to be a Ghostbuster and Egon is still my guy; perhaps it’s the quasi-autistic persona he displays alongside his brilliant mind and I’m so glad there’s going to be a new movie next year.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Rating PG

Length 1Hr 35

Release 29.10.1993

About After moving to Salem, Mass., teenager Max Dennison (Omri Katz) explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani (Thora Birch) and their new friend, Allison (Vinessa Shaw). After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees a coven of evil witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) who used to live in the house. Now, with the help of a magical cat, the kids must steal the witches’ book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal.


Treat

  • The trio of witches are perfectly cast as contrasting Sanderson Sisters. Bette Midler brings the head strong and witty head witch, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker are the silly foils to Midler’s harshness. It provides a perfect balance.
  • The film has a brilliant set up; in two scenes the film has set up the Curse, its central characters and a family new to the town who have no understanding of Salem’s witchy history.
  • Outside of the opening sequence, it all takes place on All Hallows’ Eve making it a smooth Disney narrative that easily becomes a comfort watch over the years and is up there with The Goonies for nostalgia rewatches that prompt discussion (whether that be in person or online). It’s a true good versus evil and it allows the kids to triumph on their own.
  • It’s a family film, but there are the jokes and comments for the parental benefit that go over little one’s heads.
  • Billy, played wonderfully by Doug Jones, is a carefully placed character that really pays off in the final act. I truly love his ‘go to hell’ moment.
  • This is one film that handles the defeat fake out really well. I always remember the first time watching it and knowing something wasn’t quite right. It had me on edge knowing there was more to the movie.

Trick

  • How has it not gotten a sequel?! Not a reboot. Bette Midler rocked the Winnie for Halloween a few years ago and no one is taking that role from her any time soon. I know there’s a book written that could easily be adapted so Disney, what are you waiting for?

Final Thoughts

A film that put a spell on me the first time I saw it and is one I’ll watch any time it’s on.

Scream (1996)

Rating 18

Length 1Hr 51

Release 2.5.1997

About Wes Craven re-invented and revitalised the slasher-horror genre with this modern horror classic, which manages to be funny, clever and scary, as a fright-masked knife maniac stalks high-school students in middle-class suburbia. Craven is happy to provide both tension and self-parody as the body count mounts – but the victims aren’t always the ones you’d expect.


First Thoughts

I saw the sequel before I saw this one. Watching it while playing Cluedo. So when I came to watching the film that started the franchise, I thought perhaps the suspense would be ruined.

Treat

  • It’s a meta horror feast complete with Easter egg visuals and references, but it does also work as a movie in its own right. By that, I mean that I watched it back in 1998 which minimal knowledge of the genre and it didn’t hinder my enjoyment. There’s the obvious (Halloween) and there’s the subtle (Billy’s surname being Loomis).
  • There’s a clear victim that becomes the focus, but this is very much an ensemble movie which allows this film to be more than your typical slasher. After all, everyone’s a suspect.
  • Skeet Urlrich must have been cast for his resemblance of Depp in Nightmare. It’s scary how much he looks like Johnny Depp and it certainly helps the audience believe that he’s innocent. Until of course he goes all psycho on us in the final act.
  • The opening scene and its Psycho connection is a multi layered reference. The film opens up to child star Drew Barrymore, a relatively known name at the time. She appears on the promotional material, making you think that she’s a lead in Scream. However, taking her last scream in the first 12 minutes is not dissimilar to Janet Leigh’s role in Psycho. A well used tactic like this would undoubtedly put the audience on edge from the start.
  • Neve Campbell’s Sidney is a Scream Queen hybrid; she’s the wholesome youngster with that innocent vibe, however, she’s traumatised and holds her own to almost stand apart from the Queens of Halloween and Elm Street. Having her call Ghostface’s bluff upon receiving her first phone call is something an audience would like to think they would do when faced with a situation like this and it’s Sidney’s seemingly unrelated back story that allows the audience to believe that she is just that tired of this kind of shit.
  • The music and score are on point. From Red Right Hand, School’s Out and Drop Dead Gorgeous to the incorporation of Halloween’s score and it’s own original score, the film uses music to foreshadow and further support the subversion of the genre.

Trick

  • Dewey ruins a lot of the scenes he’s in. There’s a comedic element to the film and there’s no doubt about that. However, Arquette really does make me wonder how Dewey graduated from high school, let alone gained his police badge.
  • The film’s success gave birth to a resurgence of the spoof movie, starting with Scary Movie. The problem with these types of films is that they take it a million steps too far and root the narrative in current culture that ensures the references lose all impact by the time they reach dvd sales. They are the Primark or movies: disposable fashion that falls apart not too long after you bought it. Yeah, thanks Scream for Epic/ Date/ Disaster Movie, we really needed those in our lives.
  • While Courtney Cox gives a surprise, and solid, performance as bitch reporter Gail Weathers, it’s a character that suffers in hindsight by the sequels. Much like her face, Cox’s performances because ridged and tiresome. The woman Cox portrays here is a character, whereas when we meet her in Scream 3, she’s a caricature that has melded into Cox’s shouty Monica performance. It makes this encore viewing a little bitter.

Final Thoughts

A film that can be watched on many levels and is ageing much better than its sequels.

American Werewolf in London (1981)

Rating: X/18

Length: 1Hr 37

Release: 8.11.1981

About: David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), two American college students, are backpacking through Britain when a large wolf attacks them. David survives with a bite, but Jack is brutally killed. As David heals in the hospital, he’s plagued by violent nightmares of his mutilated friend, who warns David that he is becoming a werewolf. When David discovers the horrible truth, he contemplates committing suicide before the next full moon causes him to transform from man to murderous beast.


Treat

  • The visual transformation of David is mind-blowing and a work of art even now. It’s aged incredibly well and looks so much better than any CGI transformation Hollywood can provide today. It’s still the best transformation I’ve ever seen. Thanks to David Naughton’s acting, I believe it’s painful.
  • This is a film that has a perfect balance of character, relationship and plot. I love the relationship between David and Jack and I’m actually a little sad that we lose that relationship so early on. I know Griffin Dunne continues to play Jack, but there’s a dynamic shift.
  • Speaking of Jack, he has a transformation of his own and it’s amazing. Visually it’s gruesome and may cause you to flinch but it’s expertly done to gain that response.
  • I have, of late, become rather disenchanted by movie love, however this Florence Nightingale effect is actually well plotted and delivered. Their relationship is quite possibly one of the most believable from a supernatural movie perspective.
  • The opening sequence that utilises the Western’s ‘stranger walking into a saloon’ to great effect. I’m not sure all films could pull it off, but racks up the tension.
  • I could go through this film frame by frame, I love it so much. Instead I’m going to end on the dream sequences because it’s the one time where I’ve appreciated the dream fake out. The imagery is rather odd and random; I find that it’s something films forget about when it comes to dreams.

Trick

  • I’m struggling to be critical of Werewolf. It a film that has aged really well, both in terms of story and effects.
  • There perhaps is an element of gratuitous nudity (the porno theatre) but then I feel as if I’m censoring to my own tastes. At the end of the day, the movie was going to gain an X rating, so it could do what it wants.

Final Thoughts

An incredibly fun, yet gory movie that will have Londoners begging for those days. It’s a werewolf movie snout and tails above the rest.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Rating 18

Length 1Hr 58

Release 31.5.1991

About Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI’s training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out.


Treat

  • This filled in some blanks in terms of films that reference this movie. Not the obvious, but the subtle.

  • Dr Lecter is an interesting character and Hopkins embodies him well. His escape sequence is the best part of the film. If the film had continued with this camera work and pacing it would have been a much more engaging movie.

Trick

  • I found the close-up, almost but not quite, POV shots too stagnant and caused me to disengage from the film. I’m sure it was intended to give a sense of intimacy but for me it does the exact opposite. It feels like a documentary and rather clinical.
  • Clarice feels a little like a ‘Mary Sue’. She’s a trainee left to do so much on her own that it’s baffling. What was told to her at the beginning seemed like smoke being blown up her cootch. Whether that be because of the camera angles, Jody Foster’s portrayal or the writing I can’t quite tell. The flash-backs did nothing for me and in a film that feels overly long, it’s the first thing I’d edit.
  • The score, for me, doesn’t fit the film. It’s too melancholy, morose and more suited to a drama than a killer thriller.

Final Thoughts

Lacking any connection with the characters it makes for a boring watch.

Howling iii: The Marsupials (1987)

Rating: 18

Length: 1Hr 34

Release: 13.11.1987 (US)

About: An Australian scientist (Barry Otto) finds marsupial werewolves, one of whom (Imogen Annesley) finds work in a horror movie.


Treat

  • It had a skeleton werewolf attack, even if it was brief. I felt it was something new to the sub genre while reminiscent of some of the Greek Myth films.

Trick

  • Everything else. The acting was painfully bad, which just showed you quite how bad everything else was.
  • The plot made no sense and part of that was brought to light by strange scenes, shitty transitions and absolutely no concept about how humans work and behave, let alone mythical beasts.
  • The story is absurd and that’s without considering the fact that the main female werewolf has a hairy pouch in which her ugly assed were-baby grows. The “birth” scene is just fucked up.

  • The script would have made better toilet paper. The number of times “we need to get out of here” is uttered, for the same people too build a camp Fire in the exact same place they need to get away from is head scratching.
  • The music is odd synth-like 80s noise that is just as nauseating as the bad camera work and random POV shots. Literally random. They start as Werewolf POV, then for no reason we’ re seeing through the eyes of passer-by number two.
  • I did a unit on third cinema in uni which is best compared to guerrilla film making. Footage would be filmed on different quality of celluloid, simply because that’s what was available. I’ve seen better quality filming in Third Cinema. Actually, I’ve seen better YouTube videos produced.

Final Thoughts

Bad film. Bad, bad, film.

IT (1990)

Rating 15

Length 3hr 12

Release 18.11.1990 (no UK date given)

About In 1960, seven preteen outcasts fight an evil demon that poses as a child-killing clown. Thirty years later, they reunite to stop the demon once and for all when it returns to their hometown.


The Good

  • Tim Curry is unrecognisable and perfectly chilling as Pennywise. The film also makes use of ITs ability to shape shift which adds to the horror.
  • Presenting the story as it does in the book; revealing the past as the characters remember makes it a smoother narrative.
  • They stay together, the adults I mean. Not splitting up which is against every horror rule going like the new film.
  • John Ritter! The late, great John Ritter is one of the better casting choices and it was wonderful to see him in a horror role that didn’t scare the bejesus out of me (my first experience of Ritter was playing Ted in Buffy and it’s taken me a long time to warm to the actor as a result). I was expecting him to take on the role of Richie, so I was surprised to see that it was Ben. One that he did very well.

The Bad

  • Much like the film, it’s too long. It was intended to air as two episodes and that might have improved things, but I am certainly leaning towards the opinion that I’m no longer a fan of films that go much beyond the 2Hr mark.
  • Richard Thomas was a good choice for Bill, but whoever had the idea to give him the hair needs to not work in movies! Also, he surprisingly didn’t have the leader power I expected him to have. Yes it’s an ensemble, but he is the leader of the Losers and the actor should have a presence of that.

The Ugly

  • It simply wasn’t scary enough. Perhaps this is a version that was hyped way too much over time, but I was bored. Possibly even more so than when I read the book, if that’s even possible.

Final Thoughts

A mini series for its time and not something I’ll rush to watch again. Time has not been kind to the scares and perhaps the subtlety and restraint of Curry’s performance does not match the expectations brought about by modern horrors.

Jaws (1975)

Rating A/12

Length 2Hr 4

Release 26.12.1975

About When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engage in an epic battle of man vs. nature.


First Thoughts

I remember seeing it for the first time on a midweek school night when it aired on ITV. I very much remember being scared.

I remember it being one of the last films I watched as part of my course in the first year, going to the seminar and being one of two students that showed up.

My last viewing before today was for my brother’s birthday, in which I got us tickets for an outdoor screening in London.

The Good

  • It’s a Visually stunning movie. There’s a reason why it’s on so many university courses. This is the go to film for camera shots, framings and movement. The night time shots appear to be filmed in the day with a tonal shift placed over it, allowing you to get a sense of time and still be able to view the action.

  • Much like Creature From the Black Lagoon, it’s a film of two halves. We open in a New England island town and explore tourism politics and economics. Okay, that sounds a bit boring on paper, but it gives us some epic scenes with the Mayor and the townspeople as they ignore the horror that unfolds. The second half is a much more intimate affair and deals with man’s relationship with sharks. What I love more than anything though, is the fact that you learn something new each time you watch.
  • The dialogue is artful and meaningful. Something that has perhaps been lost over the years is visually rich films. Just because there’s a spectacle, doesn’t mean the audience can do without quotable sound bites.
  • Words are not the only audio that has an impact. Much like many horrors, John Williams has created a score that prepares you for the scares Spielberg has in store. The best example being when Hooper goes into the water and he reached the hole in the boat. The music has already, by this point, conditioned you in a Pavlovian way to expect Bruce to make his appearance. It’s been lampooned and referenced so much now that you don’t need to have seen the film to know the association.
  • The trio of Brody, Hooper and Quint. They normal men who are not ripped, they’re not carefully cast to ensure a particular demographic take their seats. The fact that you can’t really pick one of them out as the MVP says everything about the ensemble.
  • The fear factor will never diminish. The film keeps our ‘monster’ so well hidden that it’s really our imaginations in charge. While perhaps the physical effects of ‘Bruce’ the Shark may not be what they once where (speaking more of the commentary of others) I do feel it’s such a well crafted film that you may just be distracted enough.
  • There are so many scenes that you can pinpoint as being iconic but my favourite will forever be the comparison of scars. It’s everything that you need in a scene; it’s a showcase of character, it’s humour disarms you and right out of nowhere there’s a gut punch from Quint. That monologue! Visually, having Hooper’s out of focus reactions is haunting. The scene is brilliant at that point and ending it on a downward note would have been fine. Spielberg however pulls it out of the macabre with a rendition of ‘show me the way to go home’ and it’s that upward lift that perfects the scene.

The Bad

  • While I do love the ending and the casual conversation that we fade out to, I can’t help but wish we could see a Brody family reunion.

The Ugly

  • The popularity and success of this movie has resulted in so many rip offs of varying quality. For every ‘good fun’ The Meg that reaches the cinema, there’s a Sharknado in a bargain bin or 3am time slot on a random channel. Not to forget the sequels… of course we all wish we could.

Final Thoughts

What can I say, it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen. It’s the reason why Spielberg’s work pre-Minority Report is my favourite of any director.

The Frighteners (1996)

Rating: 15

Length: 1Hr 50

Release: 24.1.1997

About: Once an architect, Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) now passes himself off as an exorcist of evil spirits. To bolster his facade, he claims his “special” gift is the result of a car accident that killed his wife. But what he does not count on is more people dying in the small town where he lives. As he tries to piece together the supernatural mystery of these killings, he falls in love with the wife (Trini Alvarado) of one of the victims and deals with a crazy FBI agent (Jeffrey Combs).


Treat

  • Michael J Fox and Jeffery Combs are perfectly cast. Fox’s role is a little bittersweet knowing that it’s his last as a Hollywood leading man and a career cut way too short. It’s a character that allows Fox to show give a much more layered performance.
  • Combs looks like he’s having the best time playing the messed up FBI agent. There’s nothing I’ve seen where he doesn’t bring his a-game and this is no exception.
  • The feel of this film not only recalls Back to the Future, but Goonies, Beetlejuice and Ghostbusters as well. I went into the film knowing it was directed by Peter Jackson however it really does have the tone of a Zemeckis film.
  • I quite like the romantic sub plot of Frank and Lucy. Perhaps a little in bad taste, what with him still being at the table and all, but their chemistry works and her dead husband was a dick.
  • The cameo of R Lee Ermey as a loud and shouty sergeant Is a subtle stroke of genius. I haven’t seen Full Metal Jacket, but I’ve seen enough clips to get the reference. If it had been someone else doing it, it would have been a lovely nod. To get the original actor on board is awesome.

Trick

  • Not the fault of the film. It was an amazing task at the time, but there is slightly too much CGI for me. I love the construction of the etherial ghosts, but the form coming out of the wall and the apparition cloaked as Death seem to lack the same quality.
  • I did not like the ghost fucking the mummy! Just weird. I am also aware, however, I could watch this another time and the exact same scene could have me pissing myself laughing.
  • It’s about 20-30 minutes too long for me. Perhaps it’s because recently all the films I’ve watched have rarely passed the 1 hr 30 mark, but I don’t think anything is gained with the added half an hour.

Final Thoughts

A film that is better than its box office suggests and a perfect watch for Halloween. It’s also a must see for fans of Jackson’s follow up films that relied heavily on the technical achievements from this movie.