And the winner of the great wait battle of 2019 is! Yeah, I should grammatically include the title at the end of that, but then it ruins the whole lame segue thing I do at the end of the preamble. Look, it’s 2019, at this point everyone that’s been a kid since the first Red or Blue graced Game Boy units or the anime hit the cartoon circuit on TV knows and probably loves Pokemon. There’s no explanation I have to do here, at all. The most baffling thing you could want explained is how Ryan Reynolds landed the role of Pikachu - but hey, I don’t know that, I’m just a guy that watches movie and occasionally knows an odd factoid from production! Grab your bubble-pipes and get the gang ready to solve the case of of the pokeballs shake, tonight we check out Pokemon Detective Pikachu.Read More
Filtering by Category: mystery
Does whatever a Slender can.
So let me walk you through my process of thought here. At some point, I discover that they are making a movie about the contest-winning and much pasta’d Slenderman. I think to myself “oh boy, that offers up some possibilities to be a rather creepy movie - but I bet they’ll mess it up.” It rolls around to no word - and if there is any word, it sure isn’t filled with excitement and grandeur. No, most the mainstream heard about Slendy-boi is unfortunately tied to a real world cluster of idiots using something that’s been known to be fake since the start as a reason for their idiot deeds - which of course the mainstream didn’t know about because they don’t peruse the places such a thing was birthed. Still, it didn’t dampen my interest in seeing this movie when it got out - the fact it took so long to get to something like Netflix really didn’t enhance my expectations, but bad movies and I can still get along. Tonight I check out if thinner is the winner, so package that bug spray and head to the woods - tonight we peek at Slender Man.
Now, I’m not going to say I’m a mass consumer of Slender media - I know of it’s origin, and I’ve read one or two CPs about him - not my particular jam honestly, I personally always found the pseudo misnamed skin walker stories much better. I knew some enterprising folks made a pretty basic looking game of him, and more than any of that I could recall a YouTube channel named Marble Hornets that had some a great series of videos that gave you what you wanted out of a Slender project, until it started to get away from Slender and turned more into just a crazy guy in a bad semi-clear plastic mask, at which point I honestly lost interest. Now, the reason I’m bringing this up is to make a point here regarding the lore around our sharp dressed bogey boy - it originated from the net. From the net, people latched on to it, and it went everywhere with it’s story. People just started taking it up and writing whatever they felt with it - much in the same way that the internet took the Native American folklore of skin walkers - their actual contextually given name is known to me, but I refuse to butcher it’s pronunciation - and turned it into stories of any old friend suddenly being something that’s really just stinky and wearing their friends flayed skin. What this long winded proclamation exists to point out in more sharp a point is thus: with lore being everywhere after becoming “open source” so to speak, it’s hard to really judge the actions of the movie in any real particular sense of accuracy. The original was a mere few photos with a bit of an excerpt to add to the spook. There wasn’t really this guy that’s actually some kind of wood sprite with giant spider-tree tentacles snatching people up - just the implication that this mysterious individual was somehow implicated in disappearances. In that regards, the core sticks well, sometimes shining out more nicely than others.
And I’m gonna get into that a bit. This movie honestly had no reason to be as good as it was - which isn’t to say that this thing is a really good movie. At best I’d call it mediocre, relegated to a land of misleading trailers and PG-13 teen horror with a small selection of stand out moments. Where those moments shine is it’s use of that core original implementation of Slender - a shadowy human like figure that’s not quite right, off in the background or the edges of your vision that makes it not stand out but become all the more creepy and eye catching once it’s noticed. You’ll watch a scene, and the framing leaves a bit of space with which to play - but not obviously so, unless you are looking for it. It looks like it’s framed as it should be, until you notice a stretching shadow in the background that the camera never directs you to look at. Maybe the camera is just sweeping by the woods, and there happens to be a tree that isn’t quite the right shape, and indeed it’s because it’s Slender. Future things added on, via games the Hornet series or just sheer force of diverse creepypasta contributors finds it’s way in as well - electronic distortions, shadowy tendrils, the driving madness. The movie treats Slender well in story, up until (I feel) he becomes some weird tree spirit or plays a more in-your-face offense line role.
The effects work doesn’t treat slender nearly as well. One would assume that it would be easy to do slender, and would surely point to a low-budget version someone else did that looks great. Slender never really comes off as being in the scene here. Perhaps it’s the over-use of the shadowy tendrils, hardly ever leaving him alone in his shots. Maybe it’s the somewhat bark-like texturing on his otherwise void, blank, colorless face. Maybe it’s the closeups. The rather unfortunate side of this is that he’s also the main brunt of the effects. While occasionally used well - as pointed out in that last paragraph - the only other real effects work on display plays off of his terror and mind-breaking side. A vertigo effect, which looks good at first than slowly looks worse the longer it’s used. A facial distortion effect, sometimes simple and sometimes setup in a dizzying rapid fire of motion and stillness (which actually looks pretty good, despite some of the facial expressions looking a bit goofy on the character it happens to). If your goal was to see some violence in your horror movie though, like any eye-stabbings or roof jumping that the official trailer shows, you’ve caught them in an utter lie unless there’s some secret cut kicking that Netflix doesn’t provide. I didn’t even know of this until I had to get screenshots for use in the review, to which for Blu Ray discs I go to official trailers I can find on YouTube due to the inability to screen capture from BR discs, and whilst skimming through saw no less than 5 scenes that didn’t exist in the movie I got to watch.
Alas, Slender Man is a movie about more than just Slender. Let me rephrase, it contains more than just Slender! The main cast of actresses in our troubled teen clique aren’t terrible at their jobs most the time. Some do better than others, but for the most part it’s not painful to watch. This is good, because the main screen time is on them. There’s a bit of overacting at times, certainly some underacting at others, but nothing that stands out as straight up bad without at least a little direction to be it. The characters are perhaps a bit more likeable than the average teen movie girls can end up being, but at the same time the movie seems to go out of the way to make them seem different without actually giving them any character in doing so. They are distinguishable by looks, one passing comment makes it seem on is the more athletic and smart one, but largely nothing is really given to them to build them up outside their plight unless you count a scene of reacting to some “naughty videos” online or the one with the least screen time expressing her dislike of her life situation. If you are looking for smart actions out of characters, this isn’t the horror movie for it either. Some of it could be hand-waved off with “but they are so frightened” or “Slender-Madness” I suppose, but you won’t find any real moments of “about time you made a right choice!“ in this movie.
The performances can be a roller coaster at times, as can the effects, but the sound department keeps it all pretty level and feet on the ground. You don’t have any real issues hearing things (at least, after you turn down your noisy darn AC unit) and the balance of it all is well done. They do throw in the “gotcha!” stings here and there, at times accompanying a jump scare, but overall the general disposition of the music proper is to enhance the suspense, dread, and tensions of either things coming or perceived to be happening. It will also allow Slender-like activities to happen at times without bringing attention to it with audio, which is a nice little bonus and something I can and do appreciate. Nothing in here is going to remain for any amount of time as far as audio goes, outside perhaps the dull bass wubbing of Slendy creeping on people. Still, at least it is something that I don’t have to knock around with a foot while saying good things about it.
Oddly, the pacing is a bit strange. The front end feels like it’s traveling a hundred miles an hour, skipping expanses of time with barely any notice to the watcher at all, until finally the Slender plot begins and things slow way up to a more generic horror pacing. Spooky thing, bad choice, research, spooky thing, repeat. It doesn’t overstay anything even when it slows down a little at the end, but the final payoff feels more like you actually won pennies instead of a jackpot. Part of this might be, I suspect, due to cut scenes involving an escaped crazy - seen only in the trailer. Outside of the time passing being somewhat amorphous, and the lack of any real form of character growth (if you even had character to begin with), it does at the very least handle most the horror elements quite well. A few misdirects, a few good shots playing on the peripheral, messing with reality, and a few really cool shots that could almost be considered camera tricks as well. When it fumbles the horror it usually ends up feeling more like a splat than a solid thump, and part of it could as far as I know just have been a puttering out of ideas by the time it came to how to end the movie.
By and large, this was better than I expected. While by no means a great and debateably even a good movie, this is far from being terrible as my initial expectations were set to giving what it came out of. They had some moments where they played really well with it, even allowing in that element that makes creepypasta photos so fun - the complete ability to not see the spooky element at all unless really looking for it. It throws in enough recognizable traits of the villain that, although it doesn’t allow it’s self to be the exemplar of what could be done with it, it doesn’t make you hate what they’ve done either. Some might find it fine as a rental, although I’d strongly suggest not going further than that unless it’s in a five dollar bin or something until you figure out if you like it in the first place. This is also the one movie that I can actually say that the trailer is worthless for, because it includes so much content the movie doesn’t. For a movie that could have been better, it was actually pleasantly better than I expected.
Someone I work with made mention of this movie at one point, and the name stuck in my head long enough to get added in the queue. The amusing part is that it stuck there as a recommendation to watch - but in actuality, I think they just mentioned it at some point and haven’t actually seen it. Either way, this puppy pitches itself as a modern noir, and like most hooks in detective flicks, there’s a missing girl on the line. This time around though, there’s no real detective in sight, just an infatuated neighbor and the promise of plenty of mystery. Get the tin foil hats and the aluminum badges, tonight we have to find out just what is Under the Silver Lake.Read More
So you take something like Groundhog Day, and then you slap mechs into it and you get Edge of Tomorrow. Well, that premise is sound for plenty of other things surely enough, and it wasn’t unfathomable that it would be given a more literal horror twist in the form of a slasher. Of course, the bane of the slasher also comes with it, carrying a PG13 rating on it’s shoulders like the giant clock that keeps resetting over the movie. Will it offer enough of those horror and slasher elements to appease those coming at it for some cheap thrills? Will it provide enough other elements to satisfy anyone coming at it desiring an interesting retread of the form lain previous? Will it be something that you can watch and watch and watch? Don’t get psyched out by the fake-out universal skips, tonight we got our hands on Happy Death Day.Read More
What do you do in the summer? Go to the lake! I heard of this somewhere, I don’t recall where though to be honest - most likely one of the people I watch for movie-based review and retrospective entertainment on Youtube. Regardless, I had heard of it and it struck me as something I should check out enough to place in in the queue, and the description has everything that I should dig in a spooky shoot - supernatural, mystery, and maybe even murder? Get on your drop bear repellent, it’s time we go to the land down under for tonight’s entry: Lake Mungo.Read More
Now, the description of this movie said “hey, remember the ‘Burbs?” to which I spoke “Yes, I do.” In a typical fashion, something sounds similar to something I already know I enjoyed, so I decide might as well try that one out as well. How will it play out? Spookier? Funnier? I mean, the lead team is a bunch of kids, so it probably won’t get too serious right? Perhaps something like a mix of The ‘Burbs and The Goonies or Monster Squad? I mean, none of those would be a bad thing in my book, so I sat and I watched, and now we all get to reminisce about the good, the bad, the Summer of 84.Read More
Do you smell it? The smell of Nazi-beating, zombie blasting, tried and true old red white and blue dropping freedom onto the screen? Tonight I’m giving myself a break - you’d never know it with all the horror movies I’ve done recently, but it’s not actually my favorite genre of films. That said, we will still drop a little horror into our action entree - just to spice things up a little bit, you know? They had me at Nazi zombies, can they possibly serve up more than I want? Let’s talk Overlord.Read More
Currently getting up to date with “waitstaff recommends,” tonight we get a movie that I have some trepidation about. The last time a movie in the horror genre was raved about as this mind blowing, super scary, or super screwed up movie I got Paranormal Activity - and the only fear from that was being bored to death. Still, regardless of it it means the high rankings, it’s still a matter of if it’s going to be good to watch regardless. What’s it about? Don’t know. After watching it, I know a bit more, and I have to say that at one point I had a real heavy flashback to days of the past and that might not be a great thing for the outlook on the movie. Well then, let’s carry on and dive into the old family tree and see if these genes would be better off on a short branch.Read More
I meant to have a western for tonight to mix things up, but I dropped the ball on the Netflix Disc rental round trip, so I had to last minute pick something that I’ve been putting off for a while. It intrigued me when I saw a trailer way back then, but something about it made me just keep pushing it back further and further when it came time to what I felt like watching. Perhaps it just needed to set for a while like all good art, or perhaps I just had questions about if it would hold my interest if it became too artsy. Either way, put down that brush because it’s time for the critics - tonight we check out Velvet Buzzsaw to see what it’s about.Read More
Do you remember the time before the Marvel menace, when all comic movies were just the worst thing ever? Ha! Trick question, there was no such time! Alright, according to some there was, but quite frankly there's always been good ones and bad ones in my opinion, and largely since I'm just looking to be entertained and judge things on a personal enjoyment level more so than the critical gross profit success that companies really care about, I've enjoyed a comic-themed movie that was released way back in 1981 (which may not have been the actual first one I saw in my lifetime, but is probably one of the oldest ones film chronology wise). In recent years, I've become a bit burnt out on them - not because they are bad movies in any sense, but purely on the saturation of them. Still, I figured that we might as well go back at least a little ways and check out Constantine and see how that one holds up.Read More
I wasn't super impressed with the last animated Batman movie that I checked out. Sure, it wasn't bad and it did have some bat-crap insane segments to it that I could appreciate, but there were moments when the quality just felt like it was subpar and I overall didn't think they really used the setting or concept to it's fullest. Well, of course they decided to make a Batman movie set just about in as old-timey not-London as it could possibly get. Color me interested, and remind your family to look at those MPAA ratings - it's time for the Bat to fight the Jack.Read More
Tonight's movie didn't exactly pass me by on the movie radar, it just wasn't one that I was super interested in. Fast forward to it being out for home video, and a friend mentions that they thought it was pretty fun. I've watched movies with far less exceptional recommendations, so I figured why not? As far as I know, "inspired by" very well could be the word of the day - but let's see how the house that guns built plays out.Read More
This movie is like Cotton Eye Joe - I have no idea where it came from, nor where it go. Most movies I find either form word-of-mouth suggestions (or reviews), although occasionally I'll also just peruse the pictures of titles on Netflix as though it was the isles of a Blockbuster Video, on the prowl for a tasty audio-visual morsel. Whichever manner caused this to be added to my list, I can certainly tell you that I didn't really know what I was getting into - for better or worse. Turn off the lights and flick the play button, it's time to see just how silent your house will be.Read More
I'm going to be honest, like at some point during these I'm not. It's been a little while since I watched the last Blade Runner movie - and I couldn't even tell you what of the thirty (exaggeration) versions I watched. I can tell you that although I can appreciate plenty of scenes within it, and some of the finer moments of the setting and pitch I largely wasn't a huge fan. I enjoyed it, but it didn't resonate with me in the manner that some do where it becomes heralded as one of the best movies ever and I feel compelled to dig into subtext that may not even exist so that I can prove "but this character is totally a robot too!" All of this in mind, when the new one come out my first thought wasn't really why - true, I didn't think it was necessary to follow up on anything from the first but the setting itself merits plenty of other stories to be told - but rather if I should eventually get around to it. That all brings us to today. Get your bathroom breaks taken care off, it's time to get dark with light hints of neon and color grades and chase some blades.Read More
This should be subtitled "The movie that gave me a headache." At first, I was a bit excited for this one - since Poughkeepsie isn't a made up place and the documentary style fit's something that I normally enjoy - documentaries and learning about things, even if those things are macabre. It's New York baby, and if there's one thing that would be real interesting to me it'd be learning about the things that make the apple bump in the night - be it art that imitated real life or the other way around, such dark things that you may be familiar with if you've ever heard of Cropsy. After the DvD arrived, i saw it said "Mockumentary" in the description, and my enthusiasm dimmed slightly, but I've seen a good many of those that at the least remained highly entertaining. The only way to figure out if this cranial illness I'm now plagued with is from good or bad is going to be to stick around though, so let's get to the point.Read More
It's cold and snowy, so that signifies it's roughly the season of giving - as though that's something that should only happen one time of the year right? Followers of this site will already know that I'm not big on Christmas movies, but love doing side-line things that I pawn off as "holiday spirit" - like Die Hard. Well, this time around, we are gonna push our giving spirit by giving Ghost in the Shell a chance. I'm inclined to think I'll like this one - largely because it wasn't met with a whole lot of positive input from most the sources I would hear about it from which tells me chances are it'll be fun. Let's ignore out the outcries for a little bit and boot up our augments for some cybernetic fun and see if this one's the good cop or bad cop.Read More
I've been playing a decent amount of that newer Ghost Recon game, and it may have influenced my choice of movie for the week. See, that game is all about taking down cartels, which is a similar pitch I've heard for Sicario. A buddy of mine actually reviewed it a while back and that also told me that it should be pretty good to boot. So, having my safety net of "This should be good" cast out in expectations, let's see if this movie can live up to it.Read More
From all the reviews this thing got, it hardly sounds like it needs another put to the mix. Zootopia was, as far as everywhere I saw, pretty much universally agreed on as being a good - if not great - movie. Another ball park hit by the old Disney movie machine. To be honest, it's been on the "to watch" list for quite some time, and I just keep putting it off and putting it off - but tonight, that's no more. Put on your leopard print and gather the family, it's time to hop to it.Read More
Buddy cop flicks are fun, haven't seen one in a while. This one came highly praised by a YouTube reviewer that I follow, so I added to the old list of movies to watch. It's day has arrived, let's see if this 70-style detective picture has enough heart to keep my thoughts in line with that reviewer's opinion. Maybe this time nice guys won't finish last?Read More
So you fancy yourself a sleuth aye? Got Sherlock level detective skills that would make Batman jealous huh? Such a hardcore private eye that your completely colorblind and only see black and white and shades of grey? Is this movie about you, or are you because this movie? This is another one of those movies that you've either heard of - it's kind of a big deal from what I can tell in the mysterious black and white world - or it's probably much too old for you and you've got no idea what a maltese is, let alone a falcon. Let's find out if you should really remedy that.Read More