Halloween Advent 2022. Bring it On: Cheer or Die (2022)

Rating PG
Length 1h 31
Release 27/09/2022 on dvd and digital 08/10/2022 Syfy broadcast in US
Director Karen Lam
About A cheer squad’s plan to have a secret practice at a nearby abandoned school on Halloween takes a terrifying turn when their teammates begin disappearing one by one.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: N/A
Trailer:

Trick

  • The production value of the franchises seventh outing is rather shocking. While the best is done with what they had, it only makes me wonder what they could have done with a budget closer to the original.
  • It’s a sanitised slasher horror. Due to its PG rating, this horror is devoid of anything that will scare even the yellowest of bellies. Yes, there’s some heavily implied gnarly endings to the characters. However, it doesn’t have the same Hitchcockian impact that the iconic ‘shower scene’ had.
  • The final act is so pointless. It’s almost as if it was only put in to use the franchise name.

Treat

  • It is an easy, super silly, watch. Perfect for anyone who wants Slasher lite. Young ones and squeamish alike will be at ease watching this plot unfold.
  • It’s comical. Both in its deaths and in its dialogue. The actors involved have brilliant timing and saved this film from being a total trash fire.
  • The cheerleading skill really works with the slasher tropes. It worked really well and helped a number of them evade capture.

Final Thoughts

It ticks all the boxes for concept and story. The problem lies with its rating. Treating this outing to a 15 rating really would have brought this slasher to life.

Halloween Advent: My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2022)

Rating 15
Length 1h37
Release 30.09.2007
Director Damon Thomas
About In 1988 best friends Abby and Gretchen navigate boys, pop culture and a paranormal force clinging to Gretchen. With help from a mall exorcist, Abby is determined to compel the demon back to the pits of hell — if it doesn’t kill Gretchen first.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Trailer:

Trick

  • It is a slow burn plot. It absolutely pays off, but you have to stick with the set up and some viewers out there today do not have the attention. Especially when you add the fact that this film is not getting a cinema release.
  • Anyone with 80’s nostalgia fatigue would do well to steer clear of this one. Yes, there’s an somewhat timeless tone that would forgive you if you assumed it was modern day with the 80s fashion back in style. However those who are tired of the era being used in every film and tv show since Stranger Things, will perhaps want to pop this to one side.
  • The nighttime scenes are made for a cinema. I lost a lost of the action during those scenes. Combine this with the slow burn, and you might just zone out before it gets good.

Treat

  • This film is Jennifer’s Body meets Fight Night, in all the right ways.
  • The 80s era, the bright colour and pop songs. It all contrasts with the darkness and sinister chill that everyone watching it there to see beautifully.
  • The friendship ups and downs really resinated with me, as I’m sure it will with others. The film tackles some fairly weighty issues that are really quite cleverly approved and resolved.
  • Christopher Lowell is always a joy on a project, but in this case he steals the show. Almost to the point that I wish he was much more involved.
  • The two leads, Elsie Fisher and Amish Miller are one’s to watch. While a slow burn is not my favourite type of film, the two girls and their friendship has me invested from the very start.

Final Thoughts

It’s a decent watch. Perhaps not quite as good as Freaky, but it will certainly give you enough goosebumps to see you through the spooky season.

Scary Movie (2000) Halloween Advent

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:

Trick

  • 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.

Treat

  • 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.

Final Thoughts

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.

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997

Rating: 18
Length 1h 41
Release 12.12.1997
Director Jim Gillespie
About Four high school teenagers try to cover up a hit-and-run case. A year later, they start receiving anonymous letters and each one is attacked by a mysterious man who knows their deep, dark secret.


The Good

  • The four leads are what make this film; then and now. I like that the film doesn’t have them walking the halls of a high school and instead have them on their own paths.
  • Johnny Galecki was a cool spot back in my teens, having grown up in the Rosanne household. Even now, though, he’s still that guy you know from Big Bang Theory. Man can he do creep well, too.
  • I love the setting that’s Amity but not quite. Its not new, but it does feel refreshing. For me, it also adds to the lack of community I felt watching it. That this isn’t a town that talks to each other.
  • The music! At the time it was perhaps “eh, its cool”, but now it has that hit of nostalgia. This is up there with Scream 2 for awesome credit song choice.
  • The hunting of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Helen is movie perfection. This is the actress I knew as Buffy, so seeing her vulnerable and afraid was beyond disturbing. Then the editing of the whole scene; from the diversion of the cop car that’s taking her home to her almost making it to the crowded streets is phenomenal.

The Bad

  • Johnny Galecki’s Max was killed off too soon. In fact, the most frustrating part is that they spend so long building up suspicion of him, to resolve it so suddenly, its almost anti-climactic.
    There’s also the massive plot blunder of him in the car boot. Yes, I totally get its attempt to build on julie’s unravelling and I guess our sense of smell does not transcend celluloid, but it is improbbable the killer could have cleaned that boot as impeccably as the film wants us to believe.
  • The final showdown reveals the killer’s mood board of the friends. Well, what do you know, the killer has not only managed to do all the damage he has; he’s been able to get candid photographs of the day developed too. Not something I caught the first time around, but it stuck out like a sore thumb this time.
  • I so feel like there’s a lake of interaction between our four targets and the rest of the town. I mean, Barry is the jock but there’s no posse?! Ray is given that loner persona, but there’s no one else for the other’s to hang out with. So, aren’t they loners too? It just makes the whole thing feel superficial and that no one is really going to miss these kids when they meet their maker.

The Ugly

  • I’m not sure I buy the killer’s motivation. In fact, I find the whole thing a little convoluted watching it as an adult. Perhaps I wasn’t distracted by the next “death” as I once was; it certainly wasn’t that I remembered the story.
  • That ending in the showers. Yawn. Made even worse if you’ve seen the sequel.

Final Thoughts

It’s a film that fairs better the less you think about it. Just watch the pretty people make dumb life choices and Gibb’s mentor weild a hook, give Edward Scissorhands a run for him money in the hair department and be an absolute motherfucking hypocrite.

Airplane! (1980)

Rating PG
Length 1h 28
Release 29.8.1980
Director Jim Abrahams, David & Jerry Zucker
About Ted Striker, a former pilot who has a fear of flying, finds himself burdened with the responsibility of landing a plane safely when most of the crew and passengers fall sick due to food poisoning.


The Good

  • Unlike the spoofs of film genres in the post- Scary Movie era, this relies on good faith prods at other films. By the time Scary Movie had long past its sell by date, it became tasteless and almost painfull. This, on the other hand, has aged well and runs like a fully formed plot with nods to disaster movies like Towering Inferno and Poseidon Adventure. The point being, you do not have to watch all the disaster movies to enjoy this film.
  • Leslie Nielson is the perfect for the role of Dr Rumack. I must admit, I know him from the Naked Gun movies so I assumed this was his wheelhouse. I’d known of his “playing it straight” in 1956’s Forbidden Planet, however I thought that was the exception and not this comedy role. I was surprised how late into the proceedings he actually arrived (I I had totally misremembered him being the stare) and it was only upon reading up on the casting and production that I discovered there had been reservations about casting him. Well, that just made it all the more impressive for me.
  • I loved Otto; the Auto Pilot. It was a little nonsensicle but it made for one most excellent sight gag. Oh, and he even got his own credit on IMDB. Genius.

The Bad

  • Much like with many films of the age, there are some jokes that do not sit as well as they once did. Nothing that would make me disuade people from watching it, but it certainly made me cringe.
  • I did not like the charcter of Ted Hays. I cannot put my finger on what it is, but he irked me. I did, however, find comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone in my feelings.

The Ugly

  • As much as I chuckled and I found it likable. I am rather disappointed that I didn’t laugh more than I did. However, in the film’s defence, I do struggle with a comedy when watching alone.

Final Thoughts

I’m not rushing to watch this again, but I’d certain see it at somewhere like the Prince Charles on a Friday Night; I think it is a film you need to see under the right conditions. Seriously.