Wednesday, 22 October 2014

HORROR MOVIE REVIEW: THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (REMAKE)


31/2/5

Jamie is on a date with her boyfriend when she is attacked by a masked man. Jamie manages to escape with her life, but her boyfriend is brutally murdered. Wondering why she was spared, Jamie starts a personal investigation into the events of sixty five years ago. In a town which is obsessed with the famous killings and the movie they were based on, everyone has a motive. And everyone is a suspect.

The remake (or almost a sequel) of THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (an original cult classic from 1977) is heavily inspired by the Scream franchise. The many movie references, the layout of a film within a film plus the final twist bear undeniable resemblance. But it has its own voice and style.

Placed in modern Texas THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN has colours and fashions straight from the seventies, and it is only sightings of computers and mobile phones that serve a reminder that we are not watching a period piece.

The movie is finely paced with some creepy inventive murders and gore. Addison Timlin as Jamie is a believable "final girl" whose character's strength is borrowed from a childhood tragedy. The killer's motives on the other hand are weak and redundant.

Denis O'Hara is always fun to watch, but he is underused in his little role of a horror affection-ado who is a fan of the killer and the history of the original horror movie (middle-aged Andy from Scream, anyone?) and is helping Jamie to solve the mystery.

The film's locations are carefully chosen, atmospheric and creepy and the final scene of Jamie's showdown with the killer is nail biting.

The new THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN is made on a shoestring budget and is a proof that you do not need mega backs to spawn a decent horror film. Without breaking any new ground, this is one of a few remakes that work and is an hour and a half from horror fan's life that did not go to waste.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

HORROR MOVIE REVIEW: ANNABELLE



3/5

Mia and John are young, somehow religious couple who are in anxiety and anticipation at the arrival of their first baby. To make Mia feel a little better John gives her a present - a large doll (what a mistake that was!!!) a collectable that Mia, an eager doll collector, had been searching for some time. That same night Mia and John are attacked by the cult of Devil worshipers. One member, a psychopath called Annabelle, dies cradling the latest addition to Mia's doll collection.

Some time later, as Mia and John try to move on with their lives, their terrifying ordeal returns in the face of an evil entity that had found its home in the doll, whose name is now Annabelle....

Creepy doll Annabelle was the best thing about The Conjuring - a very successful and inspired horror movie by our fellow Australian James Wan. Annabelle was mysterious, with her origins unknown, she somehow fit perfectly into the movie's creepy plot, leaving an anticipation to learn more about her past.

The horror flick ANNABELLE, shot on modest by modern standards five million dollars, is trying to do exactly that - to explain the origins of Annabelle, where she came from and what caused her to be this possessed creepy doll we know her to be.

Before I go any further I want to come clean and say that I have no problems with Annabelle the horror movie. In the scares department it does everything right - the home invasion scene is genuinely disturbing, the scenes of Mia being persuaded by supernatural entity are nail biting and the use of Annabelle, her close ups and make up adjustments, are effective. The problem is the script, that introduces us to sweet, but very rigid couple who would not have survived even  a street robbery, forget being haunted by the creature of hell. Mia's and John's relationship borders on platonic and John's understanding nature is a poster boy husband who is as real as a plastic Ken.

Mia's character is a little bit better written, and maybe she is easier to pen down, because of her sole concern for her newborn and this is a valid explanation of any illogical (and stupid) move on her part.

There are two more characters, a priest and a bookshop owner, who are very important for a story, and it would be great to see some of their back story, instead we get an abridged dialogue version of it, so rushed and badly presented that we immediately get a drift it was simply necessary for the plot.

Cinematography of the film thrives on action, but during the conversation scenes camera is static, and that makes badly written dialogue hard to focus on. The music by Joseph Bishara compliments the scares, but is also bland to the point, that leaving the theatre you may think that Annabelle did not even have a soundtrack. But the biggest disappointed is the ending. It is unscary, predictable and barely makes any sense.  

Going to see Annabelle I was wondering if a creepy doll will manage to pull out the hole movie by itself. It sort of did. But the best scenes in the film do not feature a creepy doll, which makes Annabelle to be a mini-conjuring. It is still a possession movie about evil spirits and Annabelle is more like a design feature. However, basing on the reaction of the audience in the theatre during the session, it seems that she is very much loved!

Also ANNABELLE was unoriginal and badly written it was never boring. I am scared to give it less score than 3 out of five - Annabelle may get angry!