SEANCE (2021)

Written & Directed By: Simon Barrett
Cinematography: Karim Hussein
Editor: James Vandewater

Cast: Suki Waterhouse, Ella-Rae Smith, Madisen Beaty, Stephanie Sy, Inanna Sarkis, Djouloet Amara, Jade Michael, Seamus Patterson, Marina Stephenson

At the prestigious Fairfield Academy, an elite boarding school for girls, six friends jokingly engage in a late-night ritual, calling forth the spirit of a dead former student who reportedly haunts their halls. Before morning, one of the girls is dead, leaving the others wondering what they may have awakened.

This is an old-school type of horror film that builds towards the payoff rather than offering cheap thrills all upfront. 

It offers a little of every type even though at heart it is one really.

While the film is predictable it does try to offer a few surprises and keep you on your toes. As it stays entertaining even while it takes its time. 

The film is perfect for its target audience of teenage girls. As it is not over the top violent. Seems more focused on moods and scares than violence. Letting the audience know and see the dangers. Dwelling on it but not going overboard. 

The cast mostly looks like regulars on the CW teen shows. More attractive than normal. So that it feels like a very special episode of one of Their original shows and the characters are way more snarky than also. 

This film feels more like a genre exercise that feels refreshing if not also familiar. While feeling also indebted to the 1980s with only a few modern touches. 

One can admire it for what it tries to be for the audience and can be for those or familiar with it’s type. An excellent starter horror film. 

It’s better than one might expect it would be. 



Written & Directed By: Brandon Christensen
Cinematography: Clayton Moore 

Cast: Sara Canning, Osric Chau, Gracie Gilliam, Barbara Crampton 

With their follower count dwindling, travel vloggers Teddy and Claire pivot to creating viral content around their most recent “superhost,” Rebecca, who wants more from the duo than a great review.

This would have been better handled as an episode of a horror anthology series. Think  AMERICAN HORROR STORY. At least as an episode it would show to get to an obvious point, that most of the audience sees coming except the protagonists and would be more heightened and direct not to mention gone for thrills more than subtle.

 As there is an interesting twist that almost makes the film surprising until it goes back on itself or even into the dark Hulu’s horror series as they are practically mini movies that barely make it to 90 minutes 

While luckily this film seems to keep it simple and straightforward exposing itself and having something to say about Online Culture.  Not to mention reality and manipulation and the results of it. 

What does keep the film afloat is the off-kilter over the top villain of the film who is energetic and polite to a t but also uncanny and once she fully lets loose. She is released and full. The film Leaves open the future for a sequel. Which would be good and hopefully give more of a chance to realize and fulfill Its ideas. 

As here while simple it sometimes feels like it is either holding back or doesn’t have much to say and is prolonging the inevitable and trying to fill out its time. Though at least in some of these scenes that seem to build up the suspense at least one is spooky. When he first leaves the house and sees someone with glowing eyes.

The film could have easily ended with a twist ending early but chooses to go on to make a point that has its victory but also comes off as basic. Then again the earlier ending might have been a cop-out to some. Though judging by the production this was meant to be an out and out horror.

The leads are meant to be both sides of the coin one innocent one guilty but we are least understand the reasoning of the guilty one and there is really only one other member of the cast shot is not a main character who comes off more so there can be more violence rather than necessary 

Grade: C+


Directed By: John Lee
Written By: John Lee & Ilana Glazer 
Story By: John Lee & Alissa Nutting 
Cinematography: Pawel Pogorzelski
Editor: Jon Philpot 

Cast: Ilana Glazer, Justin Theroux, Pierce Brosnan, Gretchen Mol, Sophia Bush, Josh Hamilton, Sabina Godecki, Zainab Juh 

As if getting pregnant weren’t complicated enough, Lucy sets out to uncover the unsettling truth about her fertility doctor.

There seemed to be a trend in cinema. Where a film labels itself a horror and tries to sell itself as one but, in reality, it is more a drama with thriller elements that might get violent. So it labels itself something else. 

Whereas once you watch it, it feels like it is selling the audience false goods hoping they will come around, but the films are never quite crafty enough to win the audience over.

Especially when a film is familiar with the story. This one Might be seen as a more modern rethinking of ROSEMARY’S BABY though with a different kind of theme and ending but similar enough. luckily this film carved out enough of its own identity to stand on its own two feet.

The film keeps the audience at arm’s length and feels more clinical throughout, but then wants us to feel and identify with a character we never really got close enough to or learned enough about other than the basics.

The film Also instead of keeping us guessing. Give up answers way too soon. As it tries to keep us guessing still but is more middle ground once it offers up reveals. That in its Own way cheats itself but is understandable that it doesn’t want to copy and paste the whole is it real? Is it all in her head? Cliche 

This is one of those films that was so close to making it through with its Premise but falls short as it nears the finish line. As it gets more interesting the more outrageous it gets. A small before feels safe though at least it feels like it has some things to say 

The film has the bones of a sturdy and good movie but the follow-through unfortunately isn’t as strong. No matter how assured it believes itself to be.

The most memorable character ends up being the nurse played by Gretchen Mol. Who is in the film just enough to intrigue and make you uncomfortable but also the more you learn and see her the more you want to know about her

Creepy but tries to set itself apart from what inspires it by trying to tie in modern issues but leaves them by the wayside when it comes to its third act and explanation though in that sale act then tries to become surreal.

One interesting aspect is brought up as well as the ever-annoying line and blame of mommy brain

This feels like a film where the filmmakers wanted to say something to go along with their thriller. Which works but also feels a bit out of place or too on the nose. It also takes itself seriously while seeming to be entranced with itself that it forgets the audience. As it comes off as smug

Grade: D

CENSOR (2021)

Directed By: Prano Bailey-Bond 
Written By: Prano Bailey-Bond & Anthony Fletcher 
Cinematography: Annika Summerson 
Editor: Mark Towns 

Cast: Niamh Alger, Michael Smiley, Nicholas Burns, Vincent Franklin, Sophia La Porta, Adrian Schiller

After viewing a strangely familiar video nasty, Enid, a film censor, sets out to solve the past mystery of her sister’s disappearance, embarking on a quest that dissolves the line between fiction and reality.

A film devoted to video nasties films that were banned or cut in the 1980’s when it came to content in The UK we follow a censor on a board.

The film isn’t what one might suspect which might be of a censor going mad and killing those she finds deplorable or those who make grotesque films and u leashes them on the public 

No Instead it goes the route of a slow burn horror more of a drama that is more of a character study who slowly breaks down and loses their grip. Dealing with childhood trauma that the job seems to release and come to the surface 

Most of the violence throughout is from the movies she watches until the third act when the film offers some gore of its own 

Throughout the film keeps a creepy vibe and is stunning in it’s detail to the time period it is ye in the 1980s and obviously an homage and indebted to the films it aspires to be and influenced by.

The film has a Great ending which really saves the film. That one wishes the film had been more like but it did need that build-up to get to that point of what feels like transcendence 

As before, The film might remind the audience slightly of 8MM before it becomes its own.

As it’s not what one expects watching the film it is well thought out and actually a bit deeper than expected. Unfortunately it still ends up being slightly disappointing from a certain standpoint. 

Though as the film goes into it’s Third act it goes past unsettling to actually quite brilliant and scary. 

Grade: C

JOLT (2021)

Directed by: Tanya Wexler
Written By: Scott Wascha 
Cinematography: Jules O’Loughlin
Editor: Michael J. Duthie & Carsten Kurpanek

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Bobby Cannavale, Laverne Cox, Jai Courtney, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Ori Pfeffer, David Bradley, Lewis Bray 

A bouncer with a slightly murderous anger-management problem that she controls with the help of an electrode-lined vest she uses to shock herself back to normalcy whenever she gets homicidal. After the first guy she’s ever fallen for is murdered, she goes on a revenge-fueled rampage to find the killer while the cops pursue her as their chief suspect.

This film Has a high concept but isn’t very inspired nor does it feel like it has many high stakes. 

It might remind the audience of the recent female-driven action film GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE. While both are over the top in places. This film feels like it has less waste and is less flashy. 

As it is not as intense and is smaller scale, but enjoyable. Even if it comes off as more common and less ridiculous. It offers plenty of action that is of the hand-to-hand quality more.

As the film is driven by a mystery only the lead seems to care about. Though we in the audience don’t understand much. It seems more needed just for the story to move forward. 

Also with this message film, each bigger name or recognizable cast member actually has something to do and a reason to be here. In other words, less like money is being thrown at whatever problems the film might have to distract from its shortcomings. 

There is nothing too memorable in the film. It’s good popcorn entertainment. Not necessarily polished and pretty basic. Though it tries to add intrigue. 

Happy to see Kate Beckinsale in an action-oriented film again. Though this film works with fewer weapons and firepower. As well as giving the character a problem that works as a superpower but keeping the film from going down that road.

A sustainable high concept modest action movie with a central star performance and vehicle for them. 

Grade: C


Written & Directed By: Alex Noyer 
Cinematography: Danube Qin Wu 
Editor: Hannigan Aukia & Virtti Virkajarvi 

Cast: Jasmin Savoy Brown, Lili Simmons, James Jagger, Tessa Munro, Dana L. Wilson 

Alexis recovered her hearing during the brutal murder of her family when she was ten. The visceral experience awakened synesthetic abilities in her and started her on an orphaned path of self-discovery through the healing music of brutal violence. She goes on to pursue a career teaching and experimenting to find new sounds. She is supported and loved by her roommate Marie who is unaware of the dark secrets behind Alexis’ unique music and the part she unknowingly plays. Faced with the likelihood of losing her hearing again, Alexis escalates the pursuit of her masterpiece through gruesome sound experiments and devastating designs. She won’t let anything stop her not even love.

The film sets itself up quite nicely as far as the story goes though it seems more interested in Detailing the kills and deaths than working on human emotions and connections.

As the main character is diabolical when it comes to kills to the point that she could easily be the next saw villain that is how intricate her traps abs weapons are, though instead of seconding to be a moral judge or leaving the victims fate up to a game fo chance. 

She is more a killer who gets off on their deaths for a personal addiction. Where she sees music and colors and it gives her a kind of high that she can’t get enough of 

Her time period and the events move up as she realizes she is losing her hearing again and must complete her masterpiece before she is totally deaf again.

She is an Audio engineer though it never explains quite how she picked up these other seemingly gifted engineering skills when. It comes to building her devices of death.

The film also seems to almost make it seem like her killing. Is hereditary when her father massacres the family earlier even though it seems more his killing was done after a mental break after fighting overseas in the military. 

Though then again being introduced early to death and murder might just be ingrained for her. 

Though the film seems to only want to bring. Up her emotional connections or some relatively basic actions into the film And make them more important or prevalent when the film needs these points to continue the storyline. To make the film appear to age. More depth and convention. Towards the second. Half of the film.

As so revealed she has been doing this most of her life we only know of a few incidents. Though learn that she did it while in foster care and not as a survival mechanism but just like at the beginning of the film as kind of something that makes her happy and lets her have a one-of-a-kind experience. 

Not to mention it seems like most are attracted to her best friend in the film played by Lili Simmons as even the detective at the crime scene sort of seems to go out of her way to give her her card and really wants to talk to her about the case or anything else. 

Also find it hard to believe that in all her killings no one was attracted to her in her more normal mode with a few of her eccentricities. As once she and her friend reveal they kind of have feelings for one another it’s supposed to come as a surprise even though they have been having a clearly platonic yet intimate relationship throughout. That could have easily been another example of everything being done out of frustration for unrequited love. 

Where in fact she seems to hold out her cruelest punishment for the one person she loves and uses her to present and be her final masterpiece.

It would be easy to also attack the film for its protagonist to be a crazed minority and homosexual but the latter is only revealed in a later scene and the kills don’t seem dependent on that fact they are just who she is naturally and a disturbing homicidal   trait that just so happens to be there 

It’s a shame as the film does have promise and really wanted to like the film though at first the film seems a bit slow to get to its point then becomes more the audience waiting for her to strike next. Though soon it seems like they might be all the film has to offer is these kinds of heightened kill scenes. So that it tries to have depth at times but begins to become more monotonous. When it has the makings of something of more substance. 

Not to mention it leaves quite a few questions. For instance, she says her family was murdered but we never see or even know the details of her brother’s death. 

Grade: C-


Directed by: Bennett Lasseter
Written By: Mitchell Winkie
Cinematography: Vincent Patin 
Editor: Robin Gonsalves 

Cast: Keean Johnson, Madeline Brewer, Bonnie Hunt, Ian Gomez, Rya Kihlstedt, Oliver Cooper, Carol Mansell, Emily Skeggs, Ariela Barer, Jake Weary 

Marcus, an audio-obsessed high school senior, learns he must undergo brain surgery that will render him deaf, and decides to seize control of his fate by recording the Ultimate Playlist of Noise.

As it goes down like a nice teen drama. It’s dramatic, funny, and heartwarming by the end. If this wasn’t already a young adult novel, it should have been.

We watch the natural growing pains, trials, and tribulations that most of us go through. Only here the main character is kind of an obsessive nerd. Whose main interests are music and putting together playlists. 

Then his passions come together in a cute young lady who is a musician and sends his heart flutter. Which happens to come into His life when he has learned of a condition that will rob him of his hearing and separating him from his favorite thing music.

While the film plays on romance it also becomes a road trip movie. So we get the eccentric, strange whimsy of the characters and traveling.

What is refreshing about this film is that it’s not a typical love story. As it has romantic moves but cuts them short offering genuine surprises from where you might think some moments are going in a good way. Like him having his first kiss.

It does try to show the beauty in supposedly the mundane. 

The film is more about bonding with a stranger and becoming so close that you can open up to them. The story more or less comes across as one of the connections between two people and inspiring one another to go face their fears and also learn to accept things. Deal with them and learn to live with it.

Even if staying somewhat predictable story-wise. There will be love involved, not romantic and not the kind where even if there was it could save you from yourself or help you outrun your problems. 

The film doesn’t offer a false or empty story. Where we are left to wonder what happens next or after that but should feel rest assured in just the here and now. 

Grade: B-


Directed By: Navot Papushado 
Written By: Navot Papushado & Ehud Lavski
Cinematography: Michael Seresin
Editor: Nicolas De Toth

Cast: Karen Gillian, Lena Headey, Paul Giamatti, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, Carla Gugino, Chloe Coleman, Ralph Ineson, Michael Smiley, Adam Negaitis 

Three generations of women fight back against those who could take everything from them.

The film Plays like pop art to please the masses full Of neon coloring. As it takes a bunch of action film narratives and tries to splice them All together with some nods to film noir.

It strangely comes off kind of dull but very colorful. As we watch, trying to figure out what movie caused this scene’s inspiration. 

The action sequences are inspired and what the film depends on. As well as its Tarantino-inspired dialogue and quirkiness.

The film also like JOHN WICK tries to world build, unfortunately, it barely gives us a chance to know the characters or what is going on before a heavy emphasis on this. Which can lead to confusion early on.

Even if it more feels like HOTEL ARTEMIS with Its Rogue galleries of criminals, organizations, killers, doctors, clinics, and dealers. Though again John wick-ish with this network of criminals and yet also POINT BLANK with its organization that rules most of the underworld business. 

Just as the DRIVE inspired jacket she wears throughout 

While giving a more female-oriented point of view of the action in these types of films with a recognizable cast. Visually the film has all that it takes and is truly a style over substance but with an increasing degree when it comes to Netflix films it seems rather contained than open. Even as it works well with what it has. 

As the story is far from simple for this type of film as the action seems to follow and seems to only. Be confusing because it needs a reason to have an action sequence. 

The problem is that with all of this it still comes off limp and surprisingly a little dull. It’s like a meal that has food coloring nice to look at but ultimately something you have had before and are used to. 

As even the score tries to use Sergio Leone-inspired music or random pop hits more to fit the action sequences than anything.  Not necessarily adding anything to the emotional more like the director just thought it would be nice if this song played during this sequence. No real new meaning except for some irony.

Just as Karen Gillian is fine in the lead but is left with nothing to make her stand out. She comes off as having the skills but is pretty bland and one-note. She, unfortunately, stand out the least amongst the cast.

The only spark of originality other than color scheme comes for. The library and librarians were played by Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, and Carla Gugino. They are a nice breath of fresh air. Where the most impressive action sequence takes place. Also, the clinic is A cute sequence as well as the diner. 

Also the organization’s three henchmen they send to take her out up a challenge but seem pretty bad to be exclusive assassins. They come across as more muscle or thugs that would be back up or the type assassins have to do clean up Or dirty work for or Vice versa. Like a wrecking crew destroying and making a mess.  so that there is no evidence 

The villains offer no personality, only a stereotypical look of either Eastern European stereotypes or well-suited goons and backup men.  

It’s also a film that feels like it’s trying too hard. It wants to stand out from the rest which is understandable, but by trying too hard to be like the others or those that came before it Lacks its own individual personality and feels like a loser, and ultimately Proves to be about nothing 

It’s obviously a movie for a more mainstream audience looking. For an action escape and it works on that level but doesn’t offer anything new or original mist some nice dressing. As it definitely is more commercial and slick but offers nothing of depth. Like a best seller with no actual good writing just a story to work off of And try to live up to fill in the blanks 

Grade: C-


Directed By: Sang-Ho Yeon 
Written by: Sang-Ho Yeon & Ryu Yong-Jae 
Cinematography: Hyung-Deok Lee 
Editor: Jinmo Yang 

Cast: Dong-Won Gang, Lee Jung-Hyun, Re Lee, Hae-Hyo Keon, Min-Jae Kim, Kyo-Hawn Koo, Do-Yoo Kim 

Peninsula takes place four years after the zombie outbreak in Train to Busan. The Korean peninsula is devastated and Jung Seok, a former soldier who has managed to escape overseas, is given a mission to go back and unexpectedly meets survivors.

The film builds the world that was set up in TRAIN TO BUSAN and while the film is inventive and Starts off with a bang from The beginning at the start to define the antagonist and place a proper history for him. 

Then the film Gets going with action pretty quick as well as the plot. The opening scene flashes to the all-new cast of characters and fleshes them out.

It works more as an action film with horror elements. Where most of the true horror is how the human characters treat each other in times of strife for survival.

At times the use of CGI zombies is obvious but used to make their threat grander and more epic but luckily not cheesy.

The film is post-apocalyptic where gangs of survivors run the streets and find others stragglers for sadistic games.

We are introduced to a human villain they are killing a character just to do it. No actual gain 

The film’s finale has a car chase that reminds the audience of THE ROAD WARRIOR. While the film feels like it was inspired by ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. With a planned heist that goes wrong, he becomes a man on a mission and rescue mission. So the film obviously wears it’s inspirations on its sleeves while trying to add its own flavor.

Wisely the film trims the fat early. As this film is more political, adventurous, it opens up the world. Like most sequels, this film is bigger and feels less emotional as a thing of the past.

In the end the film’s themes seem to be about family and the sacrifices you are willing to make for them. 

Grade: B-

BAD TRIP (2021)

Directed By: Kitao Sakurai
Story By: Eric Andre, Kitao Sakurai & Andrew Barchilon
Written By: Dan Curry, Eric Andre & Kitao Sakurai
Cinematography: Andrew Laboy
Editor: Sascha Stanton Craven, Matthew Kosinski & Caleb Swyers 

Cast: Eric Andre, Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, Michaela Conlin, Allan Graf 

This mix of a scripted buddy comedy road movie and a real hidden camera prank show follows the outrageous misadventures of two buds stuck in a rut who embark on a cross-country road trip to NYC. The storyline sets up shocking real pranks.

This comes from the cinematic form. That seems more an extension of the Jackass movies and television show. Just as Sascha Baron Cohen with the BORAT films. As this film is more just a loose series of stunts and pranks that rely on the reactions of real people not actors who are brought into the scene. Not knowing they are being filmed. Their true reactions to such shocking and sensationalistic actions and scenarios are what keep the film afloat.

As there is a rather thin storyline that is easily forgettable but keeps the characters moving and allows them to be in different locations and states to test out the material. While secretly being filmed.

Now this is also an extension of star and comedian Eric Andre’s show. Where he is known more for his absurdist and gross humor as well as improv man on the street skits.

I can’t vouch for this movie cinematically but I can say if you are into gross and shocking humor. It will keep you laughing throughout despite plot holes or absence of logic. Not only to see the reactions but to see the set-ups 

Though it is Eric Andre’s platform more. Tiffany haddish steals her scenes throughout and seems natural. As this film reminds us of the depth of her talents. Whereas more recently she has seemed to be on autopilot here she actually feels like she is invested. lil rel Howery does what he can do but mostly throughout he is more the straight man and rarely gets to cut loose except for a scene or two.

Half the enjoyment of this film is the reactions from the bystanders. Sometimes they are surprisingly good hearted and other times mad,  it always manages to surprise you. As you watch you tend to wonder how this is believable or how they set it up In Addition To the u predictable behavior of the bystanders 

If looking to just be entertained or are a fan of any of the three comedians who make up the cast. You will love the film naturally. For others, be aware as you can get the feel of the film just from the trailers.

Grade: B-