Rating 12 Length 2h05 Release 24.9.1999 Director Jan de Bont About Dr Marrow enlists Theo, Luke and Nell for a study of sleep disorders at the Hill House. As soon as the terrifying truth about the mansion is revealed, everyone is found fighting for their lives. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
The CGI has not aged well. 1999 was a time in which CGI had become common place, but the work wasn’t given the money it really required to get it up to the standards set by Jurassic Park. The result is something that is added to, rather than blended into the film’s environment.
Nell being a relation of someone in the house was poorly executed. Something shouldn’t come from left field like this does. While the ‘Welcome home Elenore’ hints at a connection, everyone is dismissing it as a prank. What was needed was some more hints so it didn’t feel like a last minute addition to the story.
There’s a real lack of a body count and it doesn’t gel with what is presented. It gives the film a messy feel. Which can be explained when you discover that Spielberg took over editing duties from the director.
As previously mentioned, this film is messy. Its a plot that lacks any smooth transition from act to act. The finished piece is more like a jigsaw puzzle missing half of its parts.
The set design of the house is stunning. Every inch of the building and sets are beautiful and meticulously created. The scale of the glasshouse and the pond really must have been amazing on a big screen.
Catherine Zeta Jones’ Theo is bi-sexual. It was possible the first time I’d see that sort of representation and it was certainly the first time I’d seen a character’s sexuality mentioned without it being directly connected to the plot.
Liam Neeson and Owen Wilson are brilliant. In a pre-Taken role, this was possibly the first thing I remember seeing him in outside of Phantom Menace. I know he was in things, it just wasn’t stuff I’d seen or remembered him in. Baby faced Owen Wilson perhaps isn’t someone you would automatically think of for a horror movie, but he holds his own and certainly seems to enjoy being a part of the film.
It’s one of those films I don’t really like, but I rewatch in the hope something has changed. It never does.
Rating PG Length 1h33 Release 8.10.2021 Director Conrad Vernon and Greg Tieman About Hoping to get closer as a family, Gomez, Morticia and the rest of the Addams clan embark on an adventurous road trip in a hideous and humongous camper. Moon: Starts off as a crescent, going into a full moon Where to Watch: Cinemas nationwide Trailer:
Finn Wolfhard didn’t return. Honestly, I’m gutted because the person they got to replace him was so different.
It had a very Simpsons feel, in the sense that nothing from the first film had any standing in this one. A shame really, as I loved the characters we met in the first film and it would have been quite easy to intergrade them into the story.
What happened to having Kitty as the MGM lion?! (Side bar: I got very upset at the youngling who insisted, repeatedly, that the MGM logo showed a TIGER! Don’t worry readers, I did not heckle)
There’s some excellent horror movie Easter eggs throughout the film for eagle eyed adults.
The story is pretty decent; for both kids and adults. Elements may be predictable, but it is a cartoon.
The comedy is as standard as the first outing, which gags for kids and ones for adults. Some of the location gags are just brilliant.
While there are arguments that this film is not in keeping with the live action or tv offerings, I must disagree. I have found both offerings well within the spirit of the Addams Family.
Snoop Dogg is perfect as Cousin Itt. I do want to play his lines backwards to see if he does indeed say what the characters say he does. (Thank you Red Dwarf for enabling me to identify backward tracks)
Its a decent kids film with a fun plot and a wonderful story arc for Wednesday. While I doubt the box office will see a third outing green-lit, if we do I would love to see Pugsley have a bigger role. Even with, sigh, the new voice actor.
Rating 15 Length 1h30 Release 6.6.2008 Director Nelson McCormick About Donna’s senior prom is supposed to be the best night of her life, but a sadistic killer from her past has different plans for her and her friends. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
The story is lacking, so much. It’s economical in how it tells the story, but I’m left feeling a bit underwhelmed as a result. My biggest issue with this is the film’s killer. Idris Elba’s Winn mentions that the jury felt he was insane and so didn’t opt for the death penalty. With what’s presented, I can see why. There really needed to be a little more to the prologue to show how it escalated to the point that it did; what was their relationship like? I understand throwing us in at the point they did was a creative choice, but I want to be in the position Winn is and know that he’s a bad guy, that he wasn’t just insane. The way its presented, it’s almost as if there’s another film preceding this.
Plot choices. Like, seriously, you’re going to have Winn pull the fire alarm and still have the lifts in action? It’s stupid that I’m annoyed, but everyone knows that is what happens to lifts. Hell, you could have had the killer on the lift with one of the friends and it be at the point that the alarm is pulled, she realises who he is. It could also be that the lift doors had only just closed, so there’s not questioning how he got out. Oh, and the dream fake-out to only go and have her do the exact same thing when she’s awake. The girl has been through a traumatic experience. Don’t know about anyone else, but I’m sure as shit getting that boyfriend to come with me.
Idris Elba. Damn it, this man could be in the world’s worst film and I would still watch. Beautiful, smart and someone you would absolutely want on your side if a mad man was after you.
Brittany Snow really holds her own as the lead, and final girl. She is one of a few actors that stop this being a complete loss of a film.
Great concept, boiled down to a mindless slasher. It’s a one watch wonder that really should be better.
Rating 18 Length 1h32 Release 26.4.2012 Director Rick Rosenthal About Myers, a horrific murderer, spends 15 years in an insane asylum after terrorising the people in his small hometown on the eve of a Halloween. As soon as he gets out, he hunts down his sister. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
The opening is rather clunky and almost feels like I’ve missed a scene or two. I understand it starts off directly after the first film, but I think that puts this film at a disadvantage because of the first being resolved.
The tone of the film is off. It has the Horror elements, but there’s also lines of dialogue and the way they’re delivered, that will reduce most viewers to fits of giggles. The biggest laugh is when a Michael Myers is hit by a police car. The sequence, I’m sure, is meant to be shocking. It most definitely isn’t.
Michael Myers has a whole new silhouette. They must not have been able to get the original guy back, and it shows. It’s hard to not notice and it really takes you out of the film.
The time of day is really unclear. In some scenes it appears at if it’s at least gone midnight, in others it appears like its not even past 7pm. Add to that, the fact that the hospital Laurie is taken to is unusually empty for a peak evening, the film just feels disjointed.
The new theme remix is cool.
Some of the deaths are messy and genius, particularly the one in the hot tub.
To make this work, it really needed to go the way of Alien/Aliens and not sit in this middle ground of a tonal shift. Because the original is so good, it was never going to match it, so it needed to offer something completely different.
Rating PG Length 1h34 Release 15.10.2020 Director Rachel Talalay About Recruited by a secret society of babysitters, a high schooler battles the Boogeyman and his monsters when they nab the boy she’s watching on Halloween. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
It is clear from how the film is set up, that this is meant to be the first in a series. There’s always a way in which these films are created that makes them feel more like they’re trying to set up the universe than be in the story they’re telling. If the creative team are not invested and engaged in the current story, how do they hope the viewer will be?
The tired old trope of parents asking their child to babysit at a minutes notice. Halloween is for kids, you let them have their fun. While it always leads to a good story (Hocus Pocus, case in point), I just wish they could come up with something new.
Give me more Tom Felton. He was a joy to watch, and while I’d love to see him play the hero at some point, he’s just so good as the bad guy.
It has that Percy Jackson watchability. I am not its target audience, but I don’t feel forgotten.
The cast is solid. So much so I am gutted at least a second film hasn’t been commissioned. They will most certainly have aged out by now.
The plot is simplistic, but effective. Adults may see the next plot points coming a mile off, but its a little bit of a comfort too.
Its the perfect film for a midweek watch when you don’t want anything too taxing.
Rating 18 Length 1h28 Release 8.9.2000 Director Keenen Ivory Wayans About Cindy Campbell and her friends mistakenly end up killing a man. A year after the unfortunate incident, someone stalks them, leaves threatening messages and tries to kill them one by one. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
This film hasn’t aged well. There’s some jokes and nods that reference things that were so of the moment that anyone watching today will not understand ‘wassssup’ and the Matrix ‘bullet time’ are among the few that just seem outdated. There are some ‘jokes’ that should never have been okay to put to film. Case in point is the ‘gag’ of Miss Mann, the PE teacher. They’re revealed to be a pre-op trans woman and its oh so funny *please understand the eyeroll and sarcasm that went into this* because geddit, geddit???! Just in case you didn’t, we get an eyeful of scrotum when the character sits, open legged with a skirt on. I don’t care about the intention of this. At all. It’s fucked up and wrong, and there’s no excusing it.
Some of it is a little too on the nose. Like, in some cases its lines of dialogue lifted from the film they’re lampooning. Spoof is no new thing; Mel Brooks is the master and everyone loves Airplane! but the beauty of most of those films lie in their subtlety. They’re commenting upon the genre as a whole, but this makes it almost too personal.
The over-acting at times is painful. It cheapens it and sucks IQ points from me every time I watch. I know I’m not the target audience; I prefer homage to whatever the fuck this is.
I love the black representation in this movie; from the tongue in cheek “A whole bunch of people are dead, so these black asses are getting out of here” to the interaction in the cinema that riffs off the opening of Scream 2. I can see how carefully this film was constructed; it walked that careful ‘White Hollywood’ line so that films like Fifty Shades of Black and Black Panther could run.
You have to hold off for the pay off, but I really like the ongoing persona of Shawn Wayans’ Ray. I’ll admit, I was a little uncomfortable at the sledgehammer hints that he’s gay. However, in that final act when Bobby reveals he’s gay and that so is Ray, Wayans response is brilliant; it’s not offended, its a plain and simple ‘I’m not’. It feels a little bit like a ‘fuck you judgemental motherfucker’ and I’m all up for that.
Doofy is fucking brilliant. It’s a character that really takes the film to its most insane extremes and really does throw you off the first time of watching. Plus, kudos has to go to that neat little nod to the Usual Suspects right at the end there.
Fair play to the sexual positivity of women in this film. Yes, it is done for laughs, but there’s equality in that- there’s pot shots at both male and female masturbation.
This has not aged well, but if you are a teenage boy, you have the emotional range of a teenage boy, or you’re looking to have 90 minutes of ‘I get that reference’ hammered down your throat…. this is your wheelhouse.
Rating X/ 18 Length 1h26 Release 25.9.1959 Director Terence Fisher About Three archaeologists uncover the sarcophagus of Princess Ananka despite being warned of a curse. The situation regresses when one of them awakens Kharis, who was entombed alive to guard the princess. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Purchased for £5 on Amazon Prime Trailer:
I’m not sure I enjoyed the flashback approach to the storytelling. I know it is a tool of the Hammer Horrors, but it doesn’t work so well here. I felt a little lost and bogged down as I was too invested in the characters I’d met, rather than the ‘why’ of the curse.
The inclusion of Mrs Banning does pale in comparison to the 1999 instalment. It feels more that she’s a token female character thrown in at the last minute, rather than being integral to the plot. A shame, as it would only require one or two changes.
What is not to love about this classic Hammer Horror. There’s a charm to the static approach of filming, the obvious soundstage setting and even the actor’s approach to dialogue is very different to what we’d expect today.
Peter Cushing is such a striking lead. He most certainly must have inspired Tom Hiddleston at some point. Certainly, if there’s ever a biopic about the Hammer Horror movies; Hiddleston is a shoe-in for playing Cushing.
Christopher Lee is unmistakeable, even when he’s covered in bandages. His presence is daunting while bandaged, but it is rather enchanting when we get to the flashbacks.
Even though I mentioned that the cameras are rather static throughout, there is a change to that when the father is about to be attacked. The bedroom is shown on an angle and it gives you a great sense of the panic the man is feeling.
The set designs are really quite beautiful and the music compliments the whole film and the changing moods.
Not my favourite Hammer Horror, but certainly worth a watch for Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee alone.
Rating 12 Length 2h4 Release 25.6.2012 Director Stephen Sommers About Adventurer Rick O’Connell and Egyptologist Evelyn, along with a bunch of archaeologists, inadvertently wake up an evil mummy during an archaeological excavation at the ancient city of Hamunaptra. Moon: full moon at around 20 minutes Where to Watch: Own copy on DVD, but the franchise is currently available on Now Cinema Trailer:
The CGI in some places has not aged well. Particularly when it involves actors interacting with the ‘cursed’ sand and some forms of the Mummy.
For me personally, its about 30 minutes too long, especially when you consider its at least over the hour mark before the Mummy is discovered and the curse is invoked. I would perhaps remove our first introduction to Rick.
Brendan Fraser is perfect as Rick O’Connell. Not only does he have the persona of characters portrayed by Harrison Ford, he holds much more charm. Something that’s akin to older action stars like Errol Flynn. This is not his breakout role, but it really is the first to break away from his typecast performance of an air-brain fish out of water, seen best in California Man, Air Heads and George of the Jungle. I can imagine this was a risk, but I’m so glad they gave him this chance.
Oded Fehr is an absolute joy to have in this film. He provides the wonderful narration at the beginning and is able to provide a perfect blend of serious and comic that never spills over into ham. My absolute favourite moment is what I can only describe as his impression of a dog hanging its head out of a car. The utter joy on his face upon flying is a delight.
Omid Djalili is a welcome, yet completely forgotten, addition the cast. As a man of Persian ancestry, he is a face you will be familiar with in many a film like this, including playing Sallah in the Indiana Jones franchise. There’s something comforting about Djalili being in this film. Its a confidence of the performance that, for me, only comes with British acting.
The story is really good. I’d completely forgot how much I enjoyed this adventure and I think its largely to do with how Evelyn is presented in the film. She’s not a damsel, but a female trying to fight against the gender issues of her time. While I’m not a fan of Rachel Weisz, she is really well cast here.
The script is really clever. There’s a moment in which the second team looking for the treasure and their expert declares ‘A woman. What does she know?’ for the scene to cut to Evie explaining the structure of their findings to her group.
The horror and comedy elements are perfectly balanced to provide a watchable family horror.
Still a joy to watch and something I will always put on around this time of year, if not closer to Christmas.
Rating 15 Length 1h46 Release 2.9.2011 Director Craig Gillespie About When a nice new neighbor moves in next door, Charley discovers that he is an ancient vampire who preys on the community. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Disney Plus Trailer:
Ah, 2011! The height of of the 3D Hollywood cash-in. Some films, Pocahontas in Space comes to mind, used it well as part of a depth of field. Other, used it as a gimmick and set up certain parts for that ‘gotcha’ jump scare. That second sort have not aged well. Fright Night is one of those gimmick type movies and you can tell. From blood splatter to thrown objects; they have this gloss to them that just makes them stick out like a sore thumb.
Anton Yelchin’s death in 2016 makes this a hard watch. That lad was such a beautiful talent, and while I’m grateful to have the roles that we have, it still really hurts to think how much of a tragedy losing him was.
Not 100% sold on Colin Farrell’s vampire, Jerry. Don’t get me wrong, he’s really good as a bad guy. Hell, he’s grand as the ambiguous guy. However, there’s something off and a little ‘try-hard’ about this performance. The best example I can give is when Jerry gets the pack of Bud from Charley. It feels like he would fit right at home in Twilight rather than this film.
The club scene really fucking pisses me off in today’s climate. There’s a girl being fireman lifted to a dark corner and she’s asking anyone who will listen to help, yet no one listens. Its fucked up, and what’s worse is that I can’t tell if its a commentary on society, thoughtlessness or a way to desensitise us to what we now call the ‘me too’ culture.
Anton Yelchin is perfect as the geek that blossomed. He’s got the girl and you can see how he got the girl, but he also was once friends with the losers and you can also see how that is possible. There’s a balance that Yelchin is able to give in his performance; he is able to give the audience comedy, drama and horror without any one taking over. He also proved with this film, among others, that he is capable of leading a film. I can’t help but wonder while watching Fright Night; how cool would his Spider-Man have been?
David Tennant. In 2011, I wasn’t too impressed with his potty mouth. To me, it was like putting Micky Mouse in Ted. I understood that it was perhaps a way to break from his child-friendly Dr Who persona, but that was exactly what I didn’t like about it. Now, I fucking love the jaded, cursing bastard. I love the story arc we get and, much like his tenure as the keeper of the TARDIS keys, there’s the childlike joy along with the bitterness of someone who has seen pain. Only he can say fuck. A lot. The decision to make Vincent Price a much younger expert, and a Vegas act, was really quite novel. This, along with a few other choice changes, allowed this remake to stand alone from the original.
I’m not quite sure what it is about the films of the early 2010s, but they have this sheen to them that wasn’t present in many movies before. I’m not really researched enough to discover if it is around the time things moved from celluloid to digital, but there’s something distinctly different that really draws me in. Best example I can think of is the way in which the chase scene is filmed. The tracking of the camera within the car is dynamic yet strangely claustrophobic.#
The music is fantastic. Both the original soundtrack and the song choices. I was so convinced that it sampled the 1985 theme song that I’ve just had to pause in order to find out. While I can’t confirm, it certain does have a 1985 inspired vibe to it.
It’s a solid vampire entry, even if the big bad is so wooden I expected him to sparkle. While the CGI is passable, its let down by any attempt to pander to the 3D market.
About: Wren (Victoria Justice) is a high-school senior who can’t wait to get away from her dysfunctional family. On Halloween, Wren’s mother decides to go out with her much-younger boyfriend, leaving Wren to look after little brother Albert. When Wren is distracted by an invitation to the party of the year, Albert disappears into a sea of trick-or-treaters. Enlisting the aid of her sassy friend, April (Jane Levy), and two other classmates, Wren sets out on a frantic search for her sibling.
Johnny Knoxville does what Johnny Knoxville does best and it works well in this film even if he does seemingly come out of nowhere. He provides some laughs and gives the film a semblance of a plot for the second half.
There’s a wonderful scene between the brother and sister towards the end of the film that I actually wish the film had played on a little more. It provides the film with a nice nod to problems kids their age may face.
The little kid, Albert, is a wonderful little shit. Being a selective mute is an interesting choice and while it’s not a fully form plot point, it gives him that ‘baby on the run’ persona seen in Baby’s Day Out. His costume is ace and I love the situations he finds himself in.
It’s not very festive. Which is strange, because every scene is plastered with pumpkins. It lacks a certain tone that seems to be present in a movie about autumn’s favourite holiday.
Thomas Middleditch is his Sillicon Valley ‘Richard’ self in this. So much so his character and story is nauseating. That gut feeling of wanting to reach into the film and punch the fuck out of him feels like a regular thing when I see him on screen, but it doesn’t half distract from the film. I’ll leave that to you to decide if it’s a good or bad thing.
Can you really call yourself a ‘family fun’ movie when you have more than four pedophile jokes? Imagine if they made another Paddington movie that employs Jimmy Saville jokes and has a Gary Glitter soundtrack and you’ve got this movie. The pedophile jokes range from the tongue in cheek to the out right wrong “hey, what I’m doing is 100% legal” says the Spider-man clad grandpa trick or treating with the kids.
Seriously, the film doesn’t really know who it’s audience is. It could have quite easily been a American Pie or Superbad, but instead it’s Ferris Buller by way of Adventures in Babysitting and Baby’s Day Out with weird sex references.
The mature humour clashes with the ‘family’ nature the film claims to be going for. From middle aged widow stopping her daughter from going to a party to bone her 26 year old boyfriend, to Wren’s best friend almost killing a cat because she ‘Naired her ass’ and the fumes put the kitty into a coma. Not to mention an oversized robot chicken that humps the back of the car. It’s all just a little much.
Final Thoughts (trick or treat?)
It says it all that Nickelodeon made the film to go on to ban it from being aired on their own channel. The biggest issue is that in terms of it being a film watched in the build up to Halloween, it does not do its job.
It’s a nasty trick and not something I’ll rush to rewatch.