The evil clown Pennywise comes back 27 years later to the city of Derry, Maine. The children of the first movie come back as adults, and it is interesting to see that they lost all their memories before returning to the town. In order to defeat Pennywise, the Losers are forced to relive the memories they had forgotten and confront their past demons. A ritual needs to be performed to ensure that Pennywise is defeated, and they will do whatever it takes to win.
For a horror movie, I wasn’t very scared. Sure, there were moments where I jumped or something surprised me but to say that it held the same lasting creepy effect as the first, would be a lie. I liked being able to see who the kids grew up to be, and how their lives changed after they got out of Derry. One of the first points that I noticed was that Beverly (Jessica Chastain) seemed to have ended up with a man that was a lot like her father. I was happy to see that she left him.
For me, the stars of the movie were Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) and Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransome). Richie’s sarcasm and foul mouth were able to break through the moments of tension, and Eddie’s knack for reminding people of the dangers of infection were able to make me laugh even when I should have been scared. While I enjoyed that, it made the movie fall farther and farther away from being scary. Though, Pennywise’s daughter was imagery I would very much like to never see again. Overall, the movie was enjoyable and it had a closing sequence that I found incredibly wholesome.
Have you guys seen the movie? What did you guys think of it?
The book in question, is Sarah Bellows book of scary stories and even in death, she is writing her stories but this time, they are coming to life and terrorizing the children of Mill Valley, Pennsylvania in 1968. Stella (Zoe Colleti) wants to be a writer, her two best friends Auggie (Gabriel Rush) and Chuck (Austin Zajur) and their new friend Ramón (Michael Garza) decide to go to the Bellows house since it has notoriety for being haunted. As one expects, Stella takes the book of scary stories home and she is the first to notice when a new story appears that seems to match the mysterious disappearance of the town bully Tommy. One by one, the children are put in a scary story and it is up to Stella and Ramón to stop Sarah, and the only way to stop her is by promising that her story would be told since she had been framed by her corrupt family while she was alive. In the process, Auggie and Chuck disappear and even in the end, they don’t come back.
As a child I read all of the stories in the book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, so when the movie was announced and trailers began being released, I was very excited. While the monsters in the movie were rightfully terrifying, the movie fell short from being as terrifying as the book was. The scariest creature was probably The Jangly Man, because of his contortionist movements and the overall grotesque character design. Despite the movie not being as scary as I thought it would be, the stories surrounding Stella and her life with her dad, as well as the scary reality that Ramón faced, being drafted into the Vietnam war. I enjoyed the interpersonal connections between the characters throughout the movie. I remember watching the trailers and finding it really scary, to the point that I was not going to the theater to watch it because I wanted to watch it from the safety of my house. But the movie wasn’t as chilling as it seemed, so that’s my big take away from the film. Not as scary as it appeared to be. Still a good film though.
Essentially, the two main characters are Emily Nelson (Blake Lively) and Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) and they are seemingly polar opposites. Despite this, the two become increasingly close and they begin to confide in each other but things get messy when one day Emily calls Stephanie and asks for ‘a simple favor’–picking her son up from school and watching him until she can come home from work. Days pass and Stephanie grows worried, and an investigation is opened about the missing person that is Emily Nelson. More and more is revealed throughout the movie and every time you think you understand what happened to Emily, you are sorely mistaken. There are so many intricacies in this plot, layers and sublayers to the characters and their relationships. Despite spoiler warnings being implied, I don’t want to reveal what is revealed in the film since I think it impacts the audience more if they are left in the dark.
Since the movie came out I have wanted to watch it but I completely forgot it existed as more and more time passed between the release and present day. It’s a fun watch, Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick are a dynamic duo that really works well together but truth be told, it didn’t live up to the expectations I had when starting the film. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it became a bit predictable and fell short from the true mystery thriller that I thought it would be. In fact, this movie actually made me want to watch The Age of Adaline (2015) because it has that same feeling to it, and I think this has become Lively’s niche in film. She thrives in settings of mystery, where not everything is as they seem. I’ve added The Age of Adaline to my list of movies to watch.
Has anyone seen A Simple Favor? What did you guys think of it? I also wanted to take a moment and thank all of my new subscribers, I really appreciate it!
Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and his wife Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) are called in to deal with strange happenings with the Perron family. Roger Perron (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) moved to a farmhouse where their family begins being played with by malevolent spirits. They decided to call the Warrens after hearing about their dealing with the cursed doll Annabelle. The Warrens are able to help the family, but their story isn’t over as they return home and place a box from the family in their room of artifacts from all of their cases. The movie ends with the box inexplicably opening and playing music.
I find this movie scarier than Annabelle (2014)–mostly because the story of the Warrens in real life is such an interesting one. The story of the Warrens is at the core of the rest of these movies, all of them being part of what has come to be known as the Conjuring Universe–movies following different individual paths but that are all woven together. I also find this movie to be enjoyable because of it’s suspense and pacing, once again focusing on a spirit that is wreaking havoc on a family. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play their roles well, stepping into rather large footsteps when portraying such famous names in the world of ghosts, demons and the supernatural. Annabelle (2014) came out after this one, so it is safe to say that this movie laid the foundation for the movies that followed.
It is no wonder why this universe encompasses some of my favorite horror movies. Have you guys seen this one? If you have, what did you think of it, and if you haven’t, what has kept you from doing so?
Lets officially take a dive into the first official movie I’ll be talking about that is part of the Conjuring Universe.
This movie begins with the Form family comprised of John Form (Ward Horton) and Mia Form (Annabelle Wallis). Mia Form is pregnant, and as a gift for their unborn daughter, John gives his wife a rare porcelain doll. One night, the couple is disturbed from their sleep as a home invasion takes place next door. John goes to see what is happening while Mia stays behind and calls the police. John is attacked by the killers, but the police arrive and kill one of the assailants–the man, while the woman commits suicide in the nursery, slitting her throat while holding the doll. The killers turn out to be the estranged daughter of the neighbors and her unidentified boyfriend, both of whom were known to be in a cult.
As with all movies in this universe, paranormal activity begins occuring over the next few days. Mia gives birth to a healthy baby girl named Leah, who becomes the sole obsession of the malevolent spirit. Mia reaches out to the detective who dealt with the home invasion in order to find out more about the cult–and with the help of a bookstore owner and fellow tenant Evelyn (Alfre Woodard) they learn that the cult practiced devil worshipping and hoped to summon supernatural creatures. They were successful, and Mia learns that a demon has latched onto them in hopes of claiming a soul.
It’s all a very scary scheme to get Mia’s soul, the demon using a priest’s body as a way to get into the apartment and abduct Leah. Mia is standing on the edge of the window with the doll in her hands, ready to sacrifice herself for her child when Evelyn stops her. Evelyn has had her own demons to deal with, having felt immense guilt over the death of her daughter Ruby in a car accident while she was driving. She decides to give her own life as atonement. Six months later we watch as the doll is bought from an antique shop, meaning that her story isn’t over yet.
I remember seeing this film in theaters when it came out, and I remember how scared I was. Especially knowing that the story of Annabelle is one that the Warrens, the duo the Conjuring Universe draw inspiration from, have told is true. I find this movie scarier than the Insidious franchise, only because of my own aversion to dolls. They creep me out and I don’t like them. I remember being caught off guard by Evelyn’s death, but most importantly, the jump scares in this one were enough to genuinely frighten me.
We’ve finally made it to the finale of the Insidious franchise. What began in 2011, as a story of a family whose house wasn’t haunted but rather–they were the ones haunted. Insidious: The Last Key takes place in 2010, after the events of the third movie but before the events of the first two.
Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) lived in New Mexico with her family as a child, but when her mother is killed by a demon, she has to deal with the wrath of her father (Josh Stewart) until she grows older and leaves, abandoning her younger brother Christian (Bruce Davison). Many years later in 2010, she and her team which consists of Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) get a call from Ted Garza (Kirk Acevedo) claiming that his house is haunted. Upon realizing that it is her childhood home, Elise agrees to help.
The childhood home is indeed haunted, but not just by the supernatural but by the memories that cling there. Memories of her loving mother and her abusive father, it is no secret why she didn’t want to return to such a place. While in town, she runs into her brother who is still furious with her for abandoning him. He has two daughters now, Melissa (Spencer Locke) and Imogen (Caitlin Gerard). Imogen has inherited Elise’s abilities, and we watch as the story continues to unfold. Elise finds out that the woman she saw when she was younger in her house wasn’t a ghost, but rather a girl that her father had kidnapped and later killed.
Elise ends up having to go into ‘The Further’ in order to rescue her niece Melissa, and this is where she finds out that the demon she calls ‘Key Face’ was controlling her father, and later Ted Garza and feeding off the hatred and fear of the women they kidnapped. He pushes Elise to beat the spirit of her father as he did to her, but Imogen, who has gone in after her tells her to stop, and to not give Key Face more power. Key Face attacks Elise but her father Gerald stops him and his spirit is destroyed in the process. With the help of the spirit of her mother, Elise, Imogen and Melissa all end up being able to get out and back to safety, but not before we see them open a door where we see Dalton Lambert only to realize it is the wrong door and they leave to find the right one.
Elise says her goodbyes to her mother, and makes amends with her brother. Later, as she sleeps, she sees Dalton and a red-faced demon. Waking up to a call from Lorraine Lambert, who we recall is Dalton’s grandmother, who has worked with Elise before to help her son Josh with his astral projection problem. All the pieces fall together and we now learn how everything was connected.
In terms of ranking, I’d have to put the first movie at the top, followed by the third, fourth and then the second. The second one was lack-luster for me, personally. This series is a strong contender in the genre of modern horror, where there is a good balance between scares and story. It doesn’t have an unnecessary abundance of jump-scares and it gives the actual story sufficient time to play out and not feel rushed. While not part of the official Conjuring Universe, it fits the same vibe as the others. It would have been awkward for it to actually be in the same universe since Josh Lambert’s actor, Patrick Wilson, plays Ed Warren in the Conjuring movies. I digress. Patrick Wilson, as a brand, has made a name for himself in horror movies recently–with the outlier being his role in Aquaman.
What has always interested me about the Insidious movies is there ability to connect everything without going in chronological order in storytelling. A lot of franchises do this (Star Wars, The Fast & Furious) but it’s interesting to see a horror franchise do this and do it successfully.
The first series of spooky season is now complete! What did you guys think of it?
This story takes place years before the events of Insidious (2011) and Insidious: Chapter 2(2013) and it follows Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) who has suffered a terrible loss. Her mother, Lily, died one year prior to the beginning of the movie. She desperately wants to be given the chance to speak to her mother again so she seeks out now retired demonologist Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) for help. Rainier tries to help, and ends up telling her not to try and contact her mother again due to a malevolent spirit that can be sensed. Elise has come to refuse to enter into ‘The Further’ after she realizes that there is a spirit that is hunting her down, and she’s sure that this spirit will be the reason she dies. This spirit, is the Bride in Black, aka the spirit that possesses Josh Lambert in the second movie.
This is the movie where Specs, Tucker and Elise form a partnership that follows them to the Lamberts later on. We as the audience truly understand by this point, that the story is about Elise and not the people she helps. While they are a big part of the storyline, it is still Elise’s story that we are watching unfold. She truly is a selfless character because she is warned from the beginning that her life will end by the hands of the Bride in Black, but this doesn’t keep her from choosing to help people using her abilities.
Personally, this movie was hard to watch at times. There’s a specific scene where Quinn’s legs are broken but she is possessed and begins walking on them, and the crunching sounds that occur are enough to make me wretch. On that same note, this movie held my attention since we were introduced to other characters besides the Lamberts, and yet it all still ties together. So far I’d have to rank the Insidious films as follows (from best to worst):
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) our friendly neighborhood Spiderman has been dealing with his understandable grief over Tony Stark’s death. He’s looking forward to going on a school science trip where he has concocted a plan to tell MJ (Zendaya) that he has feelings for her. He’s shown as teenager who is overwhelmed with all the pressure and just wants to go on vacation, even going as far as to repeatedly ignore Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) calls.
His school’s trip leads him to Venice, where Fury tracks him down and tranquilizes Ned because he badly needs to speak to Parker. After being interrupted multiple times, the duo end up in a remote base where Fury has set up shop. We see the familiar face of Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) as well as a newcomer; Mysterio aka Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) who we learn is a superhero from another Earth. Monsters who can control different elements and are called elementals have been attacking various locations on Earth and Fury has decided that Beck and Spiderman will team up to take down the final one; fire.
Throughout all of this, Peter is desperately trying to get the chance to be alone with MJ but he keeps getting pulled away to do superhero errands. United, Mysterio and Spiderman are able to take down the final elemental and this results in Fury inviting Beck and Parker to Berlin, to talk about creating a new team of superheroes. However, there is a catch. He needs to believe that Parker is ready to step up and be the hero the world needs, and not worry so much about his classes and his friends. Once again acting as the shoulder to cry on, Beck proposes that he and Peter go out to get a drink. It was during this scene that Peter gets the idea to give E.D.I.T.H to Beck, believing him to be better fit for the role of the next Iron Man. E.D.I.T.H (Even Dead, I’m The Hero) is a highly advanced AI system that is connected to everything that Stark controlled.
No less than five minutes after Beck is given the glasses and Peter leaves to go back to his class, it is revealed that Beck isn’t a superhero at all but is actually an ex-employee of Stark who held a grudge. With access to highly advanced projector drones, he was able to manifest these disasters and make them look realistic without having to do any actual heavy lifting. It’s a genius idea, but this reveals him to be the true villain of the movie. Peter himself isn’t too far behind with that discovery. With the help of MJ who actually deduces that he is Spiderman by showing him a piece of the debris from the fight, subsequently triggering it to unveil the projection.
Peter immediately goes to seek out Fury and tell him that Beck was not who he claimed to be, but he gets tricked by Mysterio through a series of projections and ends up being hit by a train. A train that he climbs into, badly wounded, and falls asleep on–which lands him in the Netherlands. Upon breaking out of a cell in the Netherlands, he calls Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) to come get him because he has to fix everything. On the plane, they have a heart to heart about why Tony chose Peter and why that was a good idea, despite what Peter himself thought. This all leads to the final battle between Mysterio’s team and Peter Parker, which ultimately ends with Mysterio trying to trick Peter once again. This time, by making it appear as though he were on the ground in front of Peter, handing him the E.D.I.T.H glasses back, but Peter sees through the ruse and manages to grab Beck right before he is able to shoot him in the head.
“You can’t trick me anymore.”
Peter to Quentin Beck
All seems well, Peter and the rest of his class return to Newark and life goes on, with Peter telling MJ that he will see her later for what can be assumed to be a date. The credit scenes however, tell more of the story. The mid-credit scene starts out with Spiderman going to pick up MJ, and dropping her off. It continues by showing a giant screen in the middle of the square playing an edited video of Quentin Beck. What is he saying in the video? Oh just that Spiderman tried to kill everyone with drones and that his real name was Peter Parker. The post-credits scene reveals that Maria and Fury were actually the Skrulls that Captain Marvel helps in her solo film, and that the real Fury is actually on a “simulated” vacation off-world.
What does this mean? For one, it means that the world now knows Spiderman’s real identity and now think that he is an evil villain behind all the attacks. That means that the next movie in the franchise will presumably deal with this aftermath. With Spiderman no longer being part of the MCU, no one really knows what this means for the story. It definitely makes things complicated since such an integral part of Peter’s storyline is his connection to Tony Stark.
I’m really curious to see how Spiderman’s future movies pan out, especially now that Sony is solely in charge. MJ and Peter are together now, which means there is a lot of potential for cute moments in any upcoming films. I wonder how Peter’s secret identity no longer being a secret will affect their relationship, if it will at all. I do have to say though, that the scene where Peter has no idea what is real and what isn’t, was visually stunning. All the actors did a good job, but I think Tom Holland’s acting really shined through in this installment. The emotions he was able to display through his acting made the entire story all the more powerful for me. Overall, this was a very good addition to the Spiderman story we have come to know these last few years, but there’s really no telling where it is going from here.
If you saw the movie, be sure to let me know in the comments what you thought of it!
As we recall from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) was on his way to Laketown to wreak havoc and do what most evil dragons do; burn buildings to the ground and kill people. Smaug is a practically invincible monster who enjoys causing chaos, but we come to find out that there is a literal chink in his armor; a spot where Bard’s ancestor managed to hit him all those years ago. Bard does his family name justice by landing the critical hit, slaying the beast and saving the people of Laketown. There isn’t much left to save, mind you. So the people follow him on a trek to Dale, seeking out Thorin’s company at Erebor so that they may receive a portion of the gold to help them rebuild their home.
Elsewhere, Gandalf (Ian McKellan)is still captured at Dol Guldur and for a moment it seems as though he is going to die. But the calvary arrive in the form of Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), and Saruman (Christopher Lee), who free Gandalf and send him to safety with Radagast (Silvester McCoy). Galadriel does something here, that quite frankly, took me off guard. When seemingly cornered by a formless Sauron (also Benedict Cumberbatch), Galadriel’s entire figure morphs from the pristine white lady we saw her as, to a ghastly ghoul looking female who has the power to banish him to the East. I don’t understand how she was able to do it, but it made sense since everyone treated her as the most powerful being. We definitely see that she is powerful when with one move of her hand, the Ork practically disintegrates.
Back at Erebor, Thorin has lost his wits. He has been overtaken by ‘dragon’s sickness’, an ailment of the mind that drove his grandfather crazy with greed. He is obsessed with finding the Arkenstone, while the rest of his company are watching him with increasing concern, noting that he wasn’t the same. To make matters worse, Thranduil, the king of the woodland elves (Lee Pace) has come with an army to take back what was his; a necklace of white gems that Thorin’s grandfather refused him. Rather than agreeing to give the laketown people a portion of his gold, and return the gems to Thranduil, Thorin is ready to go to war over his gold. At the time, it is just him and his company against seemingly hundreds. This is about the time that Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) sneaks away with the Arkenstone in order to give it to Thranduil and Bard, hoping they can use it to get Thorin to concede. It doesn’t work, especially when Thorin’s cousin Dáin (Billy Connolly) shows up with an army of dwarves. If you’re keeping count, there is now three armies; dwarves, elves, man.
Suddenly there’s a huge battle between dwarves and elves, one that Thorin’s company does not take part in. Suddenly, there are wereworms coming out of the earth that reminded me of the demogorgons in Stranger Things and they are leading the way for Azog’s Orks. Elves and dwarves join forces and the battle wages on, with Thorin’s company still in the safety of the castle. He is refusing to take part in the war, much preferring to keep his gold safe. Four armies are now fighting; elves, dwarves and man fighting against the Orks. This entire war takes up a huge chunk of the movie, and yet it was never boring. The fight sequences and camera work helped keep me at the edge of my seat. There’s a particular scene where Thorin hears the echoes of what people have been saying to him and he seems to defeat the ‘dragon’s sickness’ and goes to the rest of his company and asks them to follow him one last time. I didn’t enjoy this foreshadowing.
The dwarves led by Dáin were ready to fall back and surrender, but they end up rallying when the thirteen come running out and the fighting commences once more. Later, Thorin rides towards Ravenhill with Dwalin, Fíli, and Kíli to kill Azog (Manu Bennett) because as Gandalf explains, they are cutting off the head of the snake. By this point, Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) have arrived to warn about what they saw; Bolg’s Ork army who are coming from the North. With all five armies present, Azog kills Fíli, as Bilbo, Thorin and the others are forced to watch. His dead body falls in front of Kíli, who then rushes to fight the Orks. Tauriel, seeing Kíli fighting goes to help, but is cornered by Orks, which she dispatches quickly but ends up wounded and unable to fight. Kíli comes to help her and he is killed by an Ork, with Tauriel forced to watch.
“If this is love, I do not want it. Take it away, please. Why does it hurt so much?”
“Because it was real.”
Tauriel to Thranduil
Azog and Thorin engage in a fight to the death, where they both ultimately lose their lives. Bilbo goes to Thorin in his final moments, and the fallen king is able to apologize for his behavior, going as far as to apologize for bringing Bilbo to such peril. Bilbo replies by saying that he was thankful for it, that it was more than any Baggins deserved.
“If more people valued home above gold, this world would be a merrier place.”
Thorin Oakenshield to Bilbo Baggins before passing away
The movie ends with Bilbo returning to the Shire with Gandalf, who informs him that he knows about the magic ring. Bilbo claims to have lost it and goes home, only to find out that he was presumed dead and his possessions were being sold at an auction. Sixty years later, he is shown at his home where Gandalf comes to visit. A parallel to the beginning scenes of the first movie where Gandalf came to his home.
If you couldn’t tell before, this was my favorite of the trilogy. It was an epic finale to the prequels, and I believe it set the stage well for the following films. I can’t think of many films that I would have been able to sit through almost two hours of constant war, but with this one, the cinematography and dialogue made it all worth it. Not to mention the heart-wrenching scenes of characters having to watch their loved ones die. It’s a true experience that I recommend to anyone who has never seen the movies. I’ve seen a lot of movies, even just in this month but I can’t remember the last film that had me crying on and off like this one did. I really can’t say enough for how much I loved this one. I have come to really love these characters and their connections to each other, notably between Bilbo and Thorin who began with the king allowing the hobbit to join his company out of necessity. To watch their friendship grow until Thorin passes away, was really fulfilling and then ultimately heartbreaking.
When Bilbo joined the company, he was not expecting to walk away with new friends and companions he would trust with his life. He also probably wasn’t expecting to care so much when lives are lost.
What did you guys think of the Hobbit movies? Did you watch them after the sequels or like me, did you start with the prequels? Let me know in the comments below.
As someone who lives in South Florida, I found this movie absolutely terrifying at certain points while humorous at others. Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario), a college athlete at the University of Florida in Gainesville returns home down south to get her dad before the hurricane hits. This hurricane in question, is a monster in itself. After being told that those in the area needed to evacuate because rescues would be near impossible, she and her father (Barry Pepper) end up in the crawl space of the house in Coral Lake.
Things take a turn for the worse. As it turns out, the crawl space has become feeding grounds for ravenous alligators. Who, mind you, are killing for sport and territory and not for food. They end up spending the rest of the movie fighting against alligators and then the elements before they wind up on the roof of the house, getting rescued at the end of the movie.
Minus the ravenous alligators, the plot was pretty predictable. The father and daughter duo have a tense relationship that shows major progress by the end of the film. Because of their tense relationship, it wasn’t hard to predict that they would make it out of there alive. From a Floridian perspective though, the movie missed a lot of points. It was just very obvious that the writing and mannerisms were chosen by people who aren’t from Florida. I had an inkling while watching the film; something was off.
A quick glance at the end credits showed that a lot of the work took place on a sound stage in Serbia, with exterior shots being filmed in Tampa Bay, Florida. Due to the nature of the film, I found this surprisingly morbid since it was sometime this year that a body was found in a lake in Tampa Bay; surrounded by alligators. Since I do not want to exploit this tragic event, I will not include names or extra details.
All in all, the movie was entertaining and at sometimes actually scary but that was about it. It isn’t a movie I would see again, since it could have easily created a craze of fearing alligators just as Jaws did pertaining to sharks.
Have any of you seen the movie? What did you think of it?