Tag: Thriller

The Black Mass

The Black Mass was watched early as a screener. It is currently available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital services. You can see my interview with director Devanny Pinn here!

Florida in the 1970’s! Is there a better place to be alive? And as a college student, living your best dorm life? Well, it can be bad if you aren’t living your best dorm life, because you aren’t living at all, and you are MURDERED.

This film takes place on a single day/night, on a college campus in Florida. Where this nice gentlemen is nearby, looking fresh and fly, and just traveling through. And this guy (Andrew Sykes), seems really interested in this sorority. And the women involved. So much that he comes by, starts peeking through the window, starts following them to the clubs, and just overall isn’t actually a nice guy!

That’s right, we got a serial killer/stalker here. And the poor women involved in the sorority are about to have a very, very, bad night.

Starring many people, including Kathleen Kimmont, Lisa Wilcox, Jennifer Wenger, Chelsea Gilson, Devanny Pinn, Susan Lanier, and Eva Hamilton.

“Get out of my Dreams, and into my car” is not advice to follow when talking to a killer!
The Black Mass is a film that goes out of its way to transport you back to the 1970’s. The film feels like it could have been made in the actual 70’s. Not just the clothing, the talking, and the style of the characters. That is easy. But it feels like an older camera made the movie. And the movie also starts with a very 70’s retro feeling credit sequence. A little bit groovy, and funky, despite the film dealing with a thriller subject matter. It really drew me in at the start.

The other main important thing you will realize is that most of the film is from the killers point of view. Over his shoulder, you will see him driving, walking, staring, and talking, but rare glimpses of his face. It does switch the point of view from his eyes, when he is peeking through the window shades, and staring at others. We don’t get to see different views until the very end of the movie, after all of the notable events have occurred. And it is certainly an interesting choice. On top of all of that, the guy in question’s name in the credits is “Me,” but don’t worry, it isn’t me, it is more likely you than anything else.

The women in the sorority, many who (not really a spoiler), would become victims. Since this is based on a true story, you must know that the bad things will happen. But will they be caught? Will they get away? Will it lead to more? Has this story been solved? All of this you’ll have to wait and see, because the movie also goes out of its way, including with the descriptions of the film on IMDB and other places, to keep what specific true events a bit of a secret.

Now is it worth the secrecy? That is a hard question. I really don’t think doing so added anything extra to it. There are enough hints and clues, especially early on. But since I did not know the mystery was part of the point, I didn’t bother to put anything together.

Overall, this is a very cohesive film, that is trying to tell a story, and to not glorify the bad guy, but to show him as he really is. A bad guy who should not be worshipped.

3 out of 4.

Your Lucky Day

Your Lucky Day was watched as part of Fantastic Fest 2023!

Winning the lottery is no joke! Just ask this guy (Spencer Garrett), as he finds out his ticket has some match of the numbers. Not just the numbers. A big chunk of the numbers. ALL OF THE NUMBERS. Oh my goodness. A Christmas eve miracle!

Now, this bodega is bustling. You got the shop worker (Mousa Hussein Kraish), who is surprised, a young pregnant couple (Elliot Knight, Jessica Garza) who are just waiting to get home, and a dude who just doesn’t think this is fair (Angus Cloud). And so what does he do? He decides to rob the old guy. He is already rich anyways. He hasn’t seen struggles! So why not dawn a stupid mask, and threaten to take it at gunpoint.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, a cop (Sterling Beaumon), happens to be in the back and jumps in when things are heightened. And some people die. But this robbery can’t really work well. The store has cameras. The ticket was scanned. What is going to happen to these bodies? There are a lot things that need to be figured out, and fast, with apparently more and more people getting involved. Who knows will happen to the ticket by the end of the night?

Also starring Jason O’Mara.

“Maybe if we take off their clothes people will assume they were just horny?”

First notable and sad fact. The lead(ish) character is played by Angus McCloud, who passed away only last month, from a drug overdose. I saw the reports, about a Euphoria actor, but I did not know him from anything, so was pretty shocked to see his IMDB page say 2023.

Now in terms of a “bottle movie” of sorts, since I would say over 80% takes place in and around the store, this has an interesting scenario. Not that I fully understand and know all the intricacies of what happens when one wins the lottery, and what happens to the store. But what they say seems legit and its easy enough to follow.

One of the stylistic choices for this film is just how rough it all looks. It adds another element of believability to the situation. It isn’t made with the most hi-tech cameras. The characters act realistic, they act scared. Heck, look at our main characters quick mask he made to commit the robbery. That looked so stupid, it had to be realistic.

Your Lucky Day offers up some of my favorite things in films, ethical dilemmas! A lot of money really puts things into perspective. Never know what you will do until you are in a situation. The film is a good thriller when it needs to be at the same time.

However, at the same time, during the more action heavy elements, I get a bit lost about what’s going on. There is a team of individuals who join in the movie later, and honestly, it detracts a lot of the movie from what I was expecting and made me lose a bit of interest in what was the original premise. Your Lucky Day is still more fun than what I normally get when I go to the convenience store.

2 out of 4.

What You Wish For

This film was watched as part of Fantastic Fest 2023!

Check out my interview with the director, Nick Tomnay, here

In every horror movie, if it involves wishes, you know you are going to need to have a lawyer to go over the wish with a fine comb to watch out for loopholes. Hell, even the comedies about wishes usually follow the same rule. The Monkey’s Paw is a fierce and fickle bitch, as it were.

But thankfully, this movie just has Wish in the title, and isn’t about a sarcastic asshole djinn spirit.

What You Wish For is more just part of a saying with the words be careful. I guess the grass isn’t always greener in this thriller mystery. Huh, what a wild concept.

No joke here, I just had to edit the poster to get a second photo for the review.
Ryan (Nick Stahl) has hit a bit of a rock. And that rock is on the bottom. He is a chef, with some excellent cooking abilities, but no great place to work, and he is broke. He also is a gambler! So not only is he broke, but he owes some nasty people some money, and he is on the run for his life.

Lucky for him, one of his old pals in cooking school has a place for him. Jack (Brian Groh), arguably not as good of a cook, is living an extravagant life in Latin America. He has a beautiful house, and he is a chef for some rich rich people. He is living the life anyone could dream, and yet, he is alone. And Jack invites him to a visit, perfect timing for Ryan.

But there is something mysterious and secretive about this arrangement. How can a chef afford such luxuries? How great is Jack’s cooking? Well. Ryan is about to find out, because he is going to be given an opportunity to take over from Jack, without knowing the finer details. And maybe he won’t have the stomach for what happens.

Also starring Tamsin Topolski, Randy Vasquez, Juan Carlos Messier, Penelope Mitchell, Ariel Sierra, and Greg Winter.

Fancy food? Hooray a film on how to cook, finally.
I am trying not to hint too much at this. Because a creepy movie involving food usually means one thing. But hey, if you remember The Menu from last year, then you should know it can mean a lot of different things. Just. Food will be involved. For an expensive meal. And even if you THINK you can guess what happens, you won’t be able to guess the events around these actions still.

Nick Tomnay, the director, has only done one other feature film, and it was 13 years ago. The Perfect Host, with David Hyde Pierce. It was a charming film where people weren’t as they all seemed and there was a dinner! Oh great, similarities in his body of work.

For this film, the mystery was only part of it. Because by the halfway point, the mystery has been give away. It’s what you DO with the mystery that really gives the film its flavor. I am going with a cooking metaphor here, please accept it. I was kept on the edge of my seat, wondering how various characters would cope with the situation, when the stakes seemed to just keep getting higher. And the end is a stark realization that even when it comes to the elite and rich, no one can get by life’s cruel twists of fate.

Now I just gotta hope a similar situation comes my way for my dumb skill set so I can be rich forever. Just kidding. Kind of. Maybe.

What You Wish For is an interesting look at not the most interesting story, but it does its own unique blend of herbs and spices to give it a kick that is quite enjoyable.

3 out of 4.

Dark Windows

Check out my interview with director Alex Herron here!

Did you know that every week of the year, all 52, there is likely one or two horror movies coming out?

It’s honestly kind of wild. If one wanted, they could dedicate their entire website to reviewing horror films, from festivals, random streaming services, and VOD releases, and probably easily fill out 20 plus a month. Everyone is making horror films, because its a lot easier to be scary, than funny.

Is that why Alex Herron is releasing Dark Windows, his second horror film, after doing more than 100 Music Videos before that? Probably not, but the introduction sounded nice enough for a film I would know one else involved in. So I am going to make my pictures lyrics from music videos he directed instead.

“Shining through the city with a little funk and soul
So I’ma light it up like dynamite, whoa oh oh” 

Tilly (Anna Bullard) is sad. Sad might not be enough. She is downright devastated. Her friend Ali just died. Unfortunately, it seems to have been from a car accident, when things got out of control one night. And Tilly was driving the car.

So she feels like all of her friends and Ali’s family blame her. Thankfully, two of her friends, Monica (Annie Hamilton) and Peter (Rory Alexander) have a getaway planned. Not a cabin in the woods, but certainly a big house in the countryside that they are able to stay in. To swim and be with nature and grieve and hopefully move on.

Things get a little bit uncomfortable right away, when Monica invites Andrew, the boyfriend of Ali who does not like Tilly right now. Then alcohol gets bought. Then the Wi-Fi goes out. And sure enough, a masked person is terrorizing the house.

Also starring Morten Holst, Rachel Fowler, Jóel Sæmundsson, Vanessa Borgli in various roles, and Grace Binford Sheene as Ali.

“All I ever wantedWas to see you smiling (smiling) “

One of the best parts of Dark Windows is its very limited cast. Outside of a few characters introduced in the earlier funeral scene, that give you enough to guess who might be terrorizing our older teens, its really just about these three individuals after their friend died. It really gives you time to learn not just more about them, but of course, why they all suck.

I mean that in the nicest way. But through some flashbacks, we do get to see that they all had some part in leading up to their friend’s death, and hey, sort of, maybe, kind of, deserve to be fucked around with from it. Since they lied about the events to everyone else and the authorities. I am not saying anyone DESERVES to die, or be stalked, but hey, no one is an Angel here either.

The movie benefits from a shorter run time, because honestly, once they are in the cabin, it takes awhile for anything to happen. Sure we get some glances of someone in the background occasionally, and every once in awhile a new realization about their past, but most of the frights and/or intense moments are saved for an avalanche at the end. Without the ending that we got, this movie would be certifiable dud. So I guess, saving it all for the end is a boon. I love the acting at the end, and I can’t namedrop who is involved for obvious reasons, but they deserve a lot of props for the emotion in that scene, and it really just elevated everything. For reasons I can’t say, I personally felt connected on a similar level almost. No, don’t worry, I am not going to murder or attempt to murder anyone.

Overall, the Windows in Dark Windows I found to be mostly normal colored. I liked the ending reveal and consequences the most, and I think it can be worth it on a slower evening.

2 out of 4.


Pursued is part of Make Believe Seattle, and it is having its world premier on Saturday, March 25, 2023. 

Pursued is one of the many films getting its world premier at Make Believe Festival in Seattle this week. What personally drew me in was not the few actor names I actually recognized, but the teenage sleuth feel of it all. I am sure it would have normal horror and thriller vibes throughout it. But high school students finding clues, and finding a killer? At the threat of their own lives? That could be fun.

I mean, I used to be a teacher. The high school students I know, for the most part, were very apathetic, even when it came to passing their classes, so it is always nice to see there are some students out there, even if they are fictional characters, who have passions and desires in SOMETHING.

Besides. Horror film that take place with high school students usually means we get to have deaths in the school, and hey, public schooling at this point already feels like death.

Is this old guy a clue? Is it her dad? Is it a killer? 

Lark (Madison Lawlor) is a high school girl, just trying to live her life, go to parties, and kick ass. Like everyone else. But one night she sneaks out, and when her dad was driving on the way to get her, he got into a car accident. Shit. Now her dad is dead, and it is sort of her fault. She has to carry that guilt.

Some time later, still in high school, we have her actively dating and doing things now, trying to live her best life. Her mom (Molly Ringwald), is finally in the dating game, and dating Mark Franc (Angus Macfadyen). Hey, that is a pretty generic sounding name. In general, Lark doesn’t like the sound of him, so she does her own googling.

And somehow, strangely enough, this leads her on a dark path. Where she finds out the identity of another Mark Franc, who just so happens to be a serial killer. But first she needs proof! She needs help! That way justice can be had. But soon Lark gets far too over her head, and her friends start dying, and she starts to get threats, and well. Hope she doesn’t ruin her mom’s new found happiness by also getting murdered, ya know?

Also starring Joel Courtney, Paul Sorvino, Sam Trammell, Miesha Tate, and Taylor Blackwell.

Same question. Is he the killer? He could easily just be a teacher getting home after working with assholes.

Lark in this movie is no Nancy Drew, but to be fair, the movie didn’t advertise that element at all either. It is just something I wanted. Did the lead solve some clues, and do some nice breaking and entering to solve a murder? Oh, you betcha.

But she also was still a teenager, who made bad decisions, and dug herself into a hole she did not know how to get out of.

Unfortunately for this hole, it felt more laughable than scary. There is always a suspicion of disbelief in these films, you know, murderers who are strong and apparently the best at covering up their tracks. But there was too much in this film for me to get over that fact, unfortunately. It wasn’t giving a film with supernatural elements, so having the murderer go “Halloween Kills” on a group of people who were bigger, stronger, and had him already trapped felt more annoying than anything, at what felt like a good an appropriate ending. [Editor’s Note: That scene in Halloween Kills I hated so much, and this movie is not really that close]. But the film instead needed to continue, and go further. It already felt like it was dragging at that point, but to make it go even more further felt like an awkward decision.

If it broke some cliches in the process, it would have helped. But instead we got still a pretty standard ending, after a less than exciting film. Even though it ended on a weak note, its mediocrity of a story wasn’t going to save it either. I would not pursue Pursued into theaters at any time soon.

1 out of 4.

Baby Ruby

Alright, alright, alright.

I mean. I thought of the candy bar. And the baseball player. Ruth and Ruby are pretty similar. That has to have been involved in the thought process to name this movie Baby Ruby. Give it some sense of familiarity.

This is a film that came to me suddenly and without warning, so I knew nothing about it, but hey, I recognized one of the actors at least.

I knew nothing like one of those literary characters. Can’t remember his name.

Jo (Noémie Merlant) is an influencer/vlogger, who has a pretty big following amongst the world. She does the nice photos, nice home set up, nice marriage, all of that. People know a lot about her! And then she also got pregnant.

Her husband (Kit Harrington) just has a regular job, but supports her. And the film opens with them returning home with their baby, ready to start their life as parents. But then this baby, Ruby, cries a lot. All the time. Constantly. It seems to hate Jo almost. When they go to stores. When they go on walks. Over night. It is like Jo cannot do anything to please this kid.

So she doesn’t feel great about this whole being a mom thing. She hasn’t even posted pictures of her kid online yet! Wow. What about her fans? Speaking of fans, she keeps running into the same people, like Shelly (Meredith Hagner), who is also a new mom, and hangs out with a lot of new moms. And they all seem so perfect. Why is their life so much better than hers? And is there something sinister about this group? About her nanny?

Jo’s visions start getting worse and worse. It’s almost like they want to steal her baby from her…

Just guess how many babies are actually in this photo!

Recently I watched a different psychological horror, about a woman in bed rest during a big amount of time before giving birth. And then there was also ghosts. But it was maybe a metaphor, maybe not. Everything spooked her. It was pretty poorly done.

Thankfully, Baby Ruby was not poorly done!

In terms of movies that are metaphors for postpartum depression, this seems to be a really good one. It doesn’t go hard into a supernatural aspect for the thriller. But it does go through a lot of situations and conversations and amplifies them up to really make it more obvious for those who have never experienced ppd. One of the biggest moments I recall was an argument between the couple, where the husband said some very obvious shitty things. The type of lines that can get normalized in society, but based on everything up that point it really punches hard.

The beginning got to be a little weird, but in reflection, I do think it stands well. I hate it when they do too much cross over between reality and supernatural, when they are going for a metaphor overall. But in this case, it is a nice metaphor, if not super realistic.

Well acted, and well thought out, and well experienced.

3 out of 4.

Alice, Darling

My first thought from this title, was that Alice Darling sounds like a name, so it is a good thing that they put that comma in there. And it turns out, I was right. Here is someone named Alice Darling, she is a singer and was on Spotify. Also her album is called Alice Darling too.

I found this out when checking to see if this movie was based on a book. The title, and aura of the film, gave me based on the book vibes. There is a chance this is the fault of Still Alice, which was also based on a book.

But sure enough, Alice, Darling is not based on a book at all! It might be loosely inspired by real events from the creator, but that is as far as we will get. Speaking of the creator, it was directed by Mary Nighy, her first feature length film, and it was written by Alanna Francis, her second screenplay. That’s right. We got a movie about some women, written and directed by some women. Honestly, this happens so rarely I just feel compelled to point this out.

Staring out of windows, being a darling, just Alice things.

Alice (Anna Kendrick) is in a relationship! Haven’t you heard? Simon (Charlie Carrick) is an artist, and has art, and does galleries with his art, and I guess he has success and makes money. He cares and provides for Alice, who still has her own independence thing going on. She has a job after all, and friends. Or does she?

Okay yes, she has a job. But it is limited, and Simon doesn’t like to see her gone so much. He also has helped change her diet to be more healthy. And he also doesn’t like it when she is with her friends so much. Her friends, Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn) and Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku), haven’t seen as much from her lately. Alice cancels her plans more often, or she leaves really early from their engagements, and just isn’t there. When Tess wants to do a week long trip at a Cabin for her birthday, it takes more convincing to get Alice to join, who is very reluctant, but she does want to go.

So she does the noble thing, and just lies to Simon that it is a work thing, and she will be busy. Why does she lie to him about hanging out with friends? Why does she fear saying anything wrong to him? Why is she so distant? Well, her friends are ready to confront her and help her out through this relationship, that might be a lot more one sided than Alice realizes.

See, she has friendship on both sides of her! Like a sandwich!

Friendship and relationships can be hard. Being in a relationship can mean spending less time with your friends, and being more involved away from them, doing less than you normally would. But is that always a bad things? Or is it normal?

That is questions I had to ask myself watching the film. Because it would be messed up if your friends held an intervention to spend more time with them, if you were just super into a new relationship. But that is one of the themes this film explores. How much is too much? How much of an emotional codependence is a good thing, depending on the stage of the relationship? And what happens if the relationship is actually really one sided, with the side being taken advantage of, or used, not actually realizing it?

I won’t use the g word here, but abuse doesn’t have to be physical. It can just be controlling and emotional damage being done. A general fear of being looked down upon. And worse, which I won’t get into.

The film did take some time getting going. The flashbacks that were often literal flashes in length, weren’t super helpful. I wish it really delved a bit more into that aspect. I think Kendrick and Carrick both did really well with their characters. It was unfortunately the friend roles that seemed to lack more. I couldn’t believe them as much, and it made a few of the bigger emotional tics jarring as a result.

If anything, this film is a real strong in its messaging of what happens if Love is actually just a codename for Control.

3 out of 4.

Emergency Declaration

I haven’t had a big chunk of foreign films to review at my disposal this year, but honestly, that is probably my fault. The fact that I haven’t yet seen RRR is a goddamn travesty. I assume that because of what everyone has said about it.

For Emergency Declaration, I was finally given a big foreign release film to review ahead of time! And its a plane disaster film! Great. I am sure subtitles isn’t enough for me to call it uniquely different than other plane movies. I hope the plot really feels different as well. But I don’t think there has been a lot of plane movies either, since the pandemic.

I wonder if the Big Plane industry has been controlling Hollywood, to prevent plane movies from being released. You know, to build up trust in the airlines again after the pandemic and those scares. This conspiracy probably doesn’t have legs because I am sure there have been quite a few plane movies released recently, that I just don’t remember.

Dude its raining. Protect your phone man. The rice thing is a myth. 

Planes can be fun. But they can also be…not fun. In-ho (Song Kang-ho) is a detective! His wife (Woo Mi-Hwa) loves to travel, but In-ho does not and always cancels on planned trips, so she decided to go to Hawaii with her friends. Oh well. But it turns out in this area, there was someone posting a threat to kill people on a plane soon. In-ho found himself investigating these events, and found a really gross and deformed body in the potential terrorist’s house. Including experiments and data on rats, about some biological weapon.

But the terrorist is nowhere to be found! Shit, he is on a plane. And we even get to see him to buy a ticket and get on the plane. He just wants to go somewhere far, with a lot of people on board. Somewhere like Hawaii.

And now, with bioterrorism in the sky, and let lose on the plane, how are they going to help those passengers who don’t have a place to land? How will they navigate the geopolitical landscape when people wouldn’t want to help them if they have an unknown, deadly, and contagious virus on board? How will they find a cure in a small amount of time? And how many will die along the way?

Also starring Lee Byung-hun, Jeon De-yeon, Nam-gil Kim, Si-wan Yim, So-jin Jim, and Park Hae-joon.

“How do I fly this plane with people bleeding everywhere?”
“That sounds like a real sticky situation you got there.”
It turns out, I loved Emergency Declaration. And it is hard for me to really point out which moment or scene sealed the deal for me.

One notable component about this film is that it is pretty damn long for a plane disaster movie, rocking in at 2 hours 20 minutes. A lot of plane disaster films can’t get a runtime like that, while keeping up the tension. And yet, this film keeps up the tension.

Anything that could go wrong does go wrong in the plot. When there seems like a reasonable out for them to get help, there becomes good plausible reasons for that to not work. When the plane at one point has to turn around to head back home, the look of absolute defeat in the characters eyes as they feel the turn and see the sunset change sides of the plane just really reaches deep into your soul. Speaking of soul, one moment near the end, when plane riders are finally able to get usable signal with their devices to video chat with their loved ones is completely heart wrenching. Did it make this movie reviewer cry? Of course it did.

And honestly, the plot outside of the plane, with our detective discovering initial clues with his fear building up, to the dealings with the Biotech company, and other countries government responses to their plight, along with various types of protests at home, all helped extend the tension in new and wonderful directions.

In terms of how topical this film feels, of course this film would make people think of COVID. People traveling, getting sick from an airborne virus, and people around the world trying to protect themselves from getting this virus as well. Because it is a weapon, it acts very fast, and is pretty deadly, and strangely enough, this film was written and started some level of production before COVID was a thing. So good on them finishing it anyways, even if one would assume it was inspired by recent events.

A lot of the side plots in the film will feel like clichés potentially. But if you have enough of them, and cram them all in, it gives a really compelling picture, with a large interesting cast, of various personalities all trying to do one thing. Survive.

4 out of 4.


Immediately hearing about a movie named Master, I get a little bit of unease. I think that is the goal. It certainly harkens up slavery in America’s past, especially given the main poster for this film.

Actually going into this movie, I have no clue what it is about. It could have been a period piece, a horror, a drama, or it could be a very surprising comedy, honestly. Lacking a better introduction, I am going on to the review.

Don’t glare at me, I don’t research every movie coming out, I swear.

Let’s go to college! Namely, Ancaster College! Does it sound like a really white college? That is what we are going for here. A really white old historic college somewhere in the northeast. You know, what of those type of colleges. An Ivy league.

Jasmine (Zoe Renee) is a new freshman, ready to learn and live and laugh and love. But she is getting a lot of stares. She sticks out. For obvious reasons. Plus, people keep talking about her room. It is a cursed room some say. It is where a girl killed herself in the past. Not fun at all.

Jasmine has to deal with the normal college pressures, while also, apparently, being one of the only black people on campus. There are a few black teachers around though. Gail Bishop (Regina Hall) and Sascha (Kara Young), the latter who is a faculty member trying to go for tenure, and one of Jasmine’s teachers.

Things start getting more controversial, when Jasmine is failing her essay, about race issues no less, and she starts to get more and more vivid nightmares on this campus.

Maybe…this campus, is really just a big cult? Who knows. If so, the College Board should be informed.

When going out for a run, it is important to bring a buddy, because racists are out there, yo. 

It was hard to tell what Master was going for, in its run time. Is it going for a real supernatural horror, causing the events of the film? Or at the events of the film just metaphors, for what the characters experience, with micro- and macro-aggressions against them? Or maybe some level of in between?

Now, I will keep the truth to that question a secret of course. But I will say I was disappointed with the direction it ended up taking. It told a fine spooky movie of sorts, but I don’t think it really delved enough into the actual problems going on in the movie. They were alluded to, and I feel for a lot of people it will just go right over their heads. I am not saying that being subtle is bad, no. It is just that it isn’t really subtle either. It just seems to bring things up, and then ignore them later.

This is a movie that really feels like it was made to be streamed, where it might find an audience. But it lacked a lot of things that could have made it really stand out, as some sort of horror themed Dear White People. But we just got a pretty tame movie overall, with some fine acting and okay plot. This is one now doomed to go to streaming and be forgotten in a few days.

2 out of 4.

The Cursed

I could be wrong, but I believe it is stated in the constitution that every 2 years we need at least three werewolf movies. That can be a movie about werewolves specifically, or that feature them in anyway. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania and Werewolves Within, I believe, are our last two, so now we have The Cursed to make sure that three minimum is met. Strangely enough, this one comes from France. Did you know the French cared about werewolves? I didn’t know.

This movie used to have a different title, Eight For Silver. I don’t fully know what in the heck that even means, but it does sound mysterious, so I like the original title. It would have fit this movie nicely. So does The Cursed, sure, but The Cursed could mean a lot of different things. It isn’t necessarily werewolf specific.

On an unrelated note, werewolf means a human turning into a wolf like beast. But all the other weres don’t work the same way. Werebear is a bear wolf cross thing, not a human turning into a bear. Super weird on that.

Sweet teeth you got there. Are you a cyberpunk werewolf?

Something evil in these woods! Time to go way back. To a time before most electricity, somewhere in the late 1800’s. Where? I don’t know, somewhere in Europe. People in a village go have a battle with some traveling groups, and quite a few people die, but the village wins. This actually curses their land, and makes a lot of uncomfortable things start to happen.

What kind of things? Well, like nightmares. Extra fog too, if I had to imagine. People go missing, and people also show up dead. That is a bigger problem. People maybe have seen monsters in the woods as well. Scary stuff. Are they being hunted by some beast?

Well the slightly good news is an expert is on the way. John McBride (Boyd Holbrook) is a visiting pathologist, and he has seen similar things before. He will try to help them put an end to this madness in their territory, or you know, die with the rest of them.

Also starring Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie, Roxane Duran, Nigel Betts, Stuart Bowman, Simon Kunz, Tommy Rodger, and Áine Rose Daly.

I am pretty sure most werewolves hate fire and shout about it often.

When it comes to curses, this is a pretty good one to wreck a small village hundreds of years ago. And it seemed to work quick.  So it was effective. But still, that last title would have been more fun, even if the reference is more awkward.

I am doing my best to be sensitive to the Romani people, who are referred to as the Roma in here. They don’t use the slur, which is great! But also, they are the “bad guys” here who curse our white regular villagers with their magic and stuff, after they are killed. That is probably not cool. They shouldn’t have done that. It is not like the curse was done to show that our main characters are truly the bad people all along (Although that is one interpretation you could make, I don’t think that was strongly argued enough though). The Romani people have had enough going bad with them throughout history in terms of negative connotations, so we should really be leaving them alone by now, honestly.

In terms of actual scares, I do think The Cursed did a wonderful job building the atmosphere for the setting. It was very tense. It also was gross. They didn’t do traditional werewolf things, that is for sure. At parts we have strange almost alien like aspects to it. I definitely had to look away at various parts, not at all pleased with the effects that went on with some of the grosser scenes. It isn’t even a movie trying to gross the viewers out, it just definitely succeeded for me.

In terms of the plot, it is pretty standard. None of the actors stand out to me more than anyone else. This is a bit of a downer.

I think the film excels at its use of effects, atmosphere, and world building. It tells a bit of an original story in the way the curse works, but not in the plot to deal with said curse. It both gains points for some creativity, and loses it for a lack of creativity in other areas.

I don’t know if werewolf enthusiasts will enjoy this movie either, given how much it deviates from the norm. Depends on how deviant they are in general. My best advice would be to go in not really knowing what to expect, and you will likely have some surprises along the way.

2 out of 4.