The Forever Purge and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Everardo Valerio Gout
The Purge sequels have been a favorite of mine since I started reviewing movies with the second and third one being fantastic examples of Carpenter-esque socially minded shlock action films, and even The First Purge managed to have much to wring another solid film out of the tired formula. To keep it going with a fifth one though seems to be stretching it, and frankly the fact that I simply didn’t even know this movie EXISTED until about a month or two ago is not what I’d call a great sign. Still, it’s amazing that any of these movies ended up working as well as they did and the world we are living through certainly gives Blumhouse and company more than enough material to work with for at least another film. Is this a fun and familiar reminder of why we loved going to movies in the first place, or have the wheels finally fallen off this series just when people were most eager to go back to the theaters? Let’s find out!!
Despite Senator Roan winning the presidency on a platform of ending The Purge, things are still the same by the start of this movie as the NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America) are back in power and the Purge is still on with nary a whisper of what happened in between. None of this is of particular importance to Adela and Juan however (Ana de la Reguera and Tenoch Huerta) who are just trying to live their lives in Texas despite the prejudices of those who celebrate The Purge and even Juan’s employers who don’t but still don’t particularly care for him and his kind being around. The two families ultimately end up on the same side though as this latest Purge Night doesn’t seem to go as planned as all the weirdos coming up with Busch League Jigsaw traps are still roaming the streets the next morning because this is the FOREVER PURGE and no one is gonna tell them to stop expressing themselves in the most violent and bigoted ways possible! After Jan and one of his friends TT (Alejandro Edda) save his employers Dylan, Cassie, and Harper Tucker (Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, and Leven Rambin) from one of those Forever Purgers, they find Adela and start driving for the Mexico border as they are taking in refugees from America… BUT ONLY FOR THE NEXT SIX HOURS which sounds a bit arbitrary but it certainly gives our characters a ticking clock to race against as they try to make their way to El Paso without getting murdered by a bunch of White Supremacists who feel that their time is now to rise and up and kill everyone they don’t care for as well as anyone who dares to help them along the way. Can these people from disparate backgrounds work together and escape America before they’re stuck in there for good, or will the bitterness between Dylan and Juan prove to be the undoing for both of their families? Just how long can this Forever Purge go, and is this all just another sinister tactic from the NFAA? Is it just me or does everything feel a bit half-hearted here?
The Hunt and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Craig Zobel
Boy does this movie want us to think it has a chip on its shoulder! I haven’t seen negative review quotes used this liberally since Freddy Got Fingered, which… okay, that might actually be a good sign because I do like that movie purely on its utter absurdity (THIS IS A FANCY RESTAURANT!!), but is not the usual calling card of studio confident in a film on its own merits. Then again I can’t imagine Universal having any other bright ideas after the thing got pulled from theaters and certain segments of the media decided that THIS was the thing that’s going to destroy the fabric of our society. Personally, I think we already got that film with London Has Fallen, but whatever it is that hyped this movie up so much, is there any way that it can live up to those expectations? Let’s find out!!
A bunch of people wake up in the middle of a field with no idea where they are or how they go there. They start to slowly move towards the center of this big field with a giant crate right in the middle that contains a whole lot of weapons and a pig for some reasons; the implications of which they don’t have long to ponder because they are immediately beset by gunfire, booby traps, and all manner of lethal armaments! Some of them seem to carry themselves well enough (Betty Gilpin) while others are showing themselves to be MASSIVE jerks (Ike Barinholtz) who may or may not have it coming for various reasons; the least of which being that they’re in a horror movie and that’s usually the way things go. Eventually though, it’s revealed that their attackers are a bunch of liberal yuppie yahoos (including but not limited to Glenn Howerton and Hillary Swank) who seem to be taking their 2016 frustrations out on a bunch of red necks and scumbags through a game facilitated by their massive wealth. Is this all just one big excuse for that whole class warfare thing I’ve been hearing about to become literal, or is there more going on than what we’re initially led to believe? Is this like Saw where the main villain has justifiable reasons for taking these people prisoner, or is it like Saw 4 where things just get ridiculous and asinine for no good reason? Seriously, is it POSSIBLE for Ike Barinholtz to not be a scumbag in everything he plays? I’d give fifty-fifty odds on some rich fool actually BELIEVING this guy to be monster and throw him in one these death games for real!
The Invisible Man and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Leigh Whannell
You know what movies I should really get around to? The Hollow Man films. I don’t know much about them other than they’re about a REALLY creep dude who becomes invisible, but it seems like that idea is alive and well in this which I guess you could call… a reboot? I mean I WISH it was part of the Dark Universe and that that was still a thing, but whatever you want to call this latest spin on the formula from Universal AND my often beloved but frequently beloathed Blumhouse, it’s certainly a film that’s caught my attention! Personally, I’m REALLY excited for this as the trailer looked very good (if a bit too revealing ironically enough) and frankly it looked like the kind of sequel to The Boy that we should have had instead of whatever the heck Brahms 2: Boy Harder was supposed to be. Not only that but with this season being such a bad time for horror movies including Blumhouse’s OTHER reboot from two weeks ago, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Does 2020 finally have a mainstream horror film that isn’t a total embarrassment to the genre, or is this another case of good marketing covering up a mediocre film? Let’s find out!!
Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) has been living with her boyfriend Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) for some time now but has finally decided to leave him due to his controlling and abusive behavior in this relationship, and despite only doing so by the skin of her teeth she does manage to escape with the help of her sister Emily (Harriet Dyer) and starts living with her friend James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). Still, the road to recovery is a long one and despite not living under his roof anymore she still can’t shake the feeling that he’s around every corner and will find a way to ruin her life; especially since he’s some big shot genius scientist who promised to do just that if she ever left. However, good news arrives as Cecilia learns that Adrian is dead and she will inherit a huge chunk of money in the process! Everything’s starting to look up now… except that strange things keep happening around the house. Did she leave the oven on? Was that knife on the floor before? Is someone taking pictures of her while she’s sleeping? As these strange occurrences start to escalate, it becomes clear to Cecilia that Adrian MUST still be alive and that he found some way to turn invisible using his some sort of super science which admittedly sounds a bit out there as far as explanations go, but considering the title of this movie I think it’s right on the money. Will Cecilia be able to stop Adrian from running her life from beyond the grave? Will anyone believe her story, especially when the strange occurrences get more and more violent and people are starting to suspect her of being behind them? How the heck did he turn himself invisible anyway!? Super reflective body paint!?
Ma and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions
Directed by Tate Taylor
The only reason this movie has gotten on anyone’s radar is because of Octavia Spencer, and frankly it did its job quite well. Sure, sometimes a horror film will pick up some serious talent like the new IT movie coming up or when Helen Mirren was in that crappy Winchester movie, but somehow this feels even MORE of a surprise and a genuine selling point. IT’s gonna sell itself no matter what, but by having one of the most popular actors of the moment (and in the prime of their career) showing up and starring in your crappy horror movie is a coup that very few films can boast, and yet somehow there she is; on all the posters, in all the trailers, and even having an Executive Producer credit to boot! What was it about this movie that convinced such a great actor to whole heartedly come on board, and was worth her immense talent and valuable time to do so? Let’s find out!!
Sue Ann Ellington (Octavia Spencer) is just your typical small town citizen. She works as a vet, she walks her dog, and on occasion it seems that she can be convinced to buy alcohol for the local high school kids. At least that’s what Maggie (Diana Silvers) finds out when she asks her to do it as she walks by the liquor store, and being the new kid in town she needs to deliver on the goods if she wants to get in with the popular kids. One of the popular kids is Andy (Corey Fogelmanis) who Sue Ann seems to recognize, and after a moment’s consideration decides to get them the booze they need. Not only that, she ends up opening her basement to them and other kids in the neighborhood as a safe and secluded area to drink where they won’t have to worry about cops and where Sue Ann will make sure no one gets their keys back if they can’t drive. In fact, everyone seems to be so enamored with her that they start to call her Ma and everyone wants to hang out at her house! However, things are not as rosy as they seem which Maggie picks up on after a while and she seems to have a dark side to her that’s just barely hidden beneath the surface. Perhaps it has to do with Andy’s dad (Luke Evans) who she knows from years ago? Maybe even Maggie’s mom (Juliette Lewis) who used to live here but moved away many years ago before returning? Well they’re all gonna find out eventually because Ma’s house seems to slowly turned from party central to a house of horrors! Will these kids learn of the terrible secrets lurking in Ma’s house as well as her tragic backstory? What is Ma planning now that she has the children of this town wrapped around her finger, and can she somehow realize what she’s doing is wrong before it’s too late? Okay, seriously. Did Octavia Spencer lose a bet or something to be in this movie?
Happy Death Day 2U and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Christopher Landon
Man, I’ve been sitting on this one for almost two weeks. I don’t know what happened! Even though I saw it right when it was released a bunch of movies came out and this went on the back burner! It certainly had a lot to live up to considering that the first movie was one of my favorite films of 2017; not to mention that a sequel seemed like the worst idea ever as the first movie felt so complete in its story. Bill Murray never made Groundhog’s Day 2, and probably for the same reason he never did a Ghostbusters 3; it would have been a terrible idea! ANYWAY, before I say something that’ll REALLY tick people off, does this pointless sequel manage to justify its own existence, or are we doomed to yet another brilliant movie made to churn out sequels until you forgot why you liked the darn thing in the first place!? Let’s find out!!
Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) having discovered who it was that was trying to kill her and closing the time loop that put her in a Groundhog’s day scenario is living the good life! She woke up and it was a different day, and that guy Carter (Israel Boussard) who helped her out all those times but has no memory of it is making out with her! Yup, it looks like easy street for Ol’ Gelbman! Oh wait! Carter’s roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) seems to be stuck in a time loop of his own! How did THAT happen? Hm… maybe it has to do with quantum reactor that Ryan and his two classmates (Suraj Sharma and Sarah Yarkin) have been working on! Wait, what? So all this time, it was a giant science thingy in the basement that somehow made Tree relive that day over and over again? Huh. Well okay then! So that mystery that didn’t need solving is now solved, but what ISN’T solved is why things are still acting up in the space time continuum after she managed to close the loop? Well before she can find out, things get a LITTLE bit out of control and the quantum thingy… explodes I guess, and puts Tree back into her original loop. OR DID IT!? It turns out that she’s not just back reliving Monday the eighteenth over and over again; she’s doing it in a parallel universe where things are significantly different in ways that Tree is gonna have to discover the hard way! Can Tree and the science squad manage to figure out how to work the darn machine and send her back to her own universe? Will this universe actually have something in it that Tree desperately needs, and will she give up her old life to live here? If the killer from the first movie isn’t the killer in THIS universe, then who IS the killer!?
Are we done with the good stuff of 2018 already!? It’s really starting to get a bit annoying how lopsided things have gotten with just how much bad there is to get through compared to the good, but as your travel guide through the highlights of the year that came before I will be here to fulfill my duty and give you an idea of just how bad movies had gotten in 2018! Okay, it wasn’t a SPECTACULARLY bad year at the movies as my initial assessment of good versus bad films I reviewed this year came out to pretty even split, but it’s not as much fun making these WORST THINGS EVER lists when everyday life is pretty much that already. At the very least, I hope that I turned at least some of the negativity you’re about to see on this list into something that’s at least informative enough to justify my salty attitude! Anyway, we might as well dive in head first and hope we come out on the other side no worse for wear! LET’S GET STARTED!!
Dishonorable Mentions: Robin Hood & Holmes and Watson
I figured I’d start this list with something a little light as both of these movies are utterly DREADFUL, but I really couldn’t get too mad at either one of them. Robin Hood is certainly the more watchable of the two as its mistakes are downright laughable, but even with Holmes and Watson being an unfunny and painfully boring slog to sit through it at least didn’t have some really messed up message or an utter scumbag on screen. If nothing else, these two are more or less the baseline for what would qualify as a WORST OF THE YEAR contender. These movies are terrible, but they don’t have something extra to make it a MEANINGFUL selection for highlighting on these lists. Robin Hood’s earnestness and some decent (if utterly anachronistic) designs as well as how much fun I had laughing at its many ridiculous ideas such as crossbows that work EXACTLY like pistols or making a visual allegories between the Crusades and the War on Terror balanced out its worst moments. Holmes and Watson is a terrible comedy but ultimately a harmless one which means that even if it doesn’t make ME laugh it’s not something that is active detriment to the genre; something we GENUINELY have to worry about now with more comedians coming out as rather terrible people in recent years. I don’t recommend you watching EITHER of these movies, but if you did and your baffled why they didn’t actually make it on the list, just know that it has to be a lot worse (or at least terrible in a uniquely specific and off-putting way) for it to be listed below. Speaking of which, let’s get the click-bait one out of the way first!
Halloween and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by David Gordon Green
It’s finally judgement day for the movie that certainly has a lot of hype behind it, but has left me rather skeptical. I mean look, I love the franchise but the last three movies were two wild as heck romps through the mind of Rob Zombie and a karate match with Busta Rhymes, so even if this isn’t all that great it still has a PRETTY low bar to clear as far as making a faithful return to the original formual. That’s not what we want though, right? That’s not what’s been promised to us! John Carpenter is producing, Jamie Lee Curtis is back, and they even managed to get one of the original Michael Myers actors to return to the role! This isn’t just A Halloween sequel, this is going to be THE Halloween sequel; even more so than the one Carpenter and Debra Hill wrote! The expectations surrounding this movie is absurdly high which means we’re either gonna see something just as great as everyone promised it would be… or we’ll have another Texas Chainsaw 3D situation where it was all hype and zero payoff. Can Jamie Lee Curtis and company give this franchise the proper sendoff it deserves, or were we better off just letting H20 be the final entry in her story and just pretending that Resurrection didn’t exist? Let’s find out!!
Nearly forty years after that fateful Halloween night where Michael Myers (Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney) escaped and murdered five teenagers, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is still dealing with the scars that Michael left and has spent her whole life preparing for his return. She got a place out in the woods to turn into a survivalist fortress, learned how to use all sorts of weapons, and just sat there waiting which she proceeded to do for four decades. Admittedly a good idea if we want to see a badass battle to the death, but not so much when it comes to her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) who spent a good chunk of her childhood with Alternate Sarah Connor and just like John she got her ass hauled off by the state to be left with parents who will help her with her homework instead of teaching her thirty ways to sever a juggler. All that’s in the past though, right? Well Karen is certainly STILL in Haddonfield, but despite living within a short commute of her mother she still refuses to get involved with her, and now her own daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) is in high school… just like Laurie was when Michael Myers came to town! Well that CAN’T just be a coincidence, now can it!? Sure enough, Michael escapes from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium just like he did in the first one and it just so happens to be Halloween night. You’d think that if they were gonna transport him to another sanitarium that they wouldn’t do it on the anniversary of his TWO murder sprees (remember, he killed his sister on Halloween night when he was just a little boy), but I guess that wouldn’t fit in with their schedule and there was no room in the budget for another trip! Now with Michael out in the streets of Haddonfield one more time, Laurie is determined to see him put in the ground once and for all and can finally rid herself of this nightmare that has plagued her for the last forty years! Will Laurie be able to survive one more night against the silent killer in a goofy mask? Was all this preparation worth the effort, or has she already lost more trying to protect everyone than she may lose tonight? How many bad ass one liners do you think she came up with while training for this night?
BlacKkKlansman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features
Directed by Spike Lee
There’s a lot going on right now and as much as I’d honestly like to take a step back from the heavier subject matter to focus on terrible horror films and laughable thrillers, well… there’s a bigger story that needs to be told and at the very least I can try to stay engaged with the films that are being made because of it. Fortunately the films this year that faced issues of racism, white supremacy, privilege, and state sponsored oppression have been pretty great so far with The First Purge being a worth addition to one of the best film series we have today, Sorry to Bother You feeling like the kind of gonzo shot in the arm film making that will inspire others to think outside the standard feature film model, and Blindspotting being a supremely empathetic examination that’s palatable and poignant for any audience member. However, it’s time for the king to return to his throne as Spike Lee has spent his entire career (barring Oldboy) speaking on these very issues that the rest of Hollywood is just catching up to and is now throwing their weight behind these artists. Did Spike Lee make the definitive film of our turbulent times, or has his style gotten tiresome in the face of newer voices in his political circle? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the strange yet true story of Detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) who joined the Colorado Springs police force in the seventies and not long after joining the force started a sting operation against the KKK in the area. With the help of a fellow cop Detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) he managed to impersonate a white supremacists over the phone while Flip would pretend to be him in person; a plan that was so successful that they even managed to dupe KKK Grand Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace) who had several conversations with Ron never realizing he was in fact black. As the investigation goes along though, things start to get complicated as certain members of the Colorado chapter of the KKK start to suspect their newest recruit, and Ron start to find it hard to live not only a double life as a fake white man, but also the dichotomy of being a black man and a police officer in that period of time; especially when he starts falling for the President of the Black Student Union Patrice (Laura Harrier) who is just as militant against white systems of power as Ron is determined to use his position in said system to take the KKK down a peg. Will Ron and Flip manage to stop the KKK from whatever it is they’re planning without getting caught in the crossfire themselves? How far will the KKK members go to assert themselves as a threat to be taken seriously, and who do they plan to hurt in the process? Just how many white people jokes can Ron get away with before David Duke becomes suspicious!?
Unfriended: Dark Web and all the images you see in this review are owned by OTL Releasing and BH Tilt
Directed by Stephen Susco
Somehow this ended up being a week where the three big movies coming out (this, Mama Mia: Here We Go Again, and The Equalizer 2) are all sequels to movies I’ve never seen, and I try not to avoid them if they’re direct sequels or prequels as the lack of context can make it hard to really judge a movie on its merits. Sure I’ve made exceptions in the past like Barbershop: The Next Cut, but I’ve got enough on my plate as it is to try and catch up on EVERY franchise out there (unless of course it’s the Fast and the Furious which I did binge watch all seven movies before seeing Fate of the Furious), so I just leave those ones up to the other critics. However, when it comes to sequels like THIS movie which seem to have nothing to do with the original and are mostly just using the name or premise, I’m fine with giving it a shot and looking at it as its own thing. Heck, I was downright intrigued by this film since it looks like they fixed the main reason I avoided the first one (i.e. there being a GHOST IN THE COMPUTER) and replaced with something at least a LITTLE more grounded! Does this manage to live up to its premise in ways that the first film didn’t sell me on, or was that the least of this franchise’s problems before I decided to jump onboard? Let’s find out!!
The movie starts with Matias (Colin Woodell) booting up his new laptop and installing one of his own programs on the hard drive; namely a program designed to parse speech and then translate it into American Sign Language. This is great because his girlfriend Amaya (Stephanie Nogueras) is deaf and it will make it that much easier for them to communicate, right? Well… not quite. It seems that there’s some tension between the two of them that Matias is gonna have to figure out, but let’s worry about that later! After all, it’s game night! Matias’s friends Nari, Serena, Damon, AJ, and Lexx (Betty Gabriel, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Andrew Lees, Connor Del Rio, and Savira Windyani) join with him on a skype call and they start to play Cards Against Humanity in a blatant show of product placement while Matias checks the hard drive of his new computer. As he looks through it though, it’s clear that the previous owner was into some shady stuff and Matias PROBABLY shouldn’t have… ahem, GOTTEN this computer from somewhere. These sketchy documents and video files would be bad enough, but it looks like the computer owner (going by the name Charon IV) has found Matias through Facebook and is REALLY determined to get his property back; even if it means hurting someone he loves in the process, like say… oh I don’t know… Amaya? Okay, but this isn’t THAT out of hand! All he has to do is give it back, right!? Well… easier said than done. Charon IV (Douglas Tait) is willing to do a trade, but Matias has seen too much and will surely get the attention of Charon IV’s friends if he’s not careful which can only make things worse and could put the rest of his friends in danger as well. What nightmares will Matias find on the computer, and is there anything he can do to stop these people? Cab Matias outsmart Charon IV and his friends just long enough to save him and his friends this night? What kind of self-respecting hacker uses a Macbook with OSX on it!? Not even with a Dual Boot to Linux!?
Upgrade and all the images you see in this review are owned by OTL Releasing and BH Tilt
Directed by Leigh Whannell
Well if it isn’t my good friend Blumhouse Tilt! How’ve you been, buddy!? Sure, you’ve released two of the WORSTmovies I’ve seen in the past few years, but let’s let bygones be bygones; especially now that you’re teaming up with Neon who’ve made one of the BEST movies I’ve seen in the past few years! Your newest movie is certainly getting a lot of buzz recently with great word of mouth and a kick ass trailer, so maybe there’s some hope for you yet, as long as you don’t work with Eli Roth ever again! Can Blumhouse’s latest film turn out to be an under the radar smash hit from a studio that’s VERY hit and miss? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the sad tale of Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) who’s living his average Cyberpunk protagonist life in a slightly cyberpunk future with his soon to be a cliché wife Asha (Melanie Vellejo) and everything is going about as well as you could expect for the first ten minutes of one of these movies! Grey fixes up old cars for rich people, Asha works at a cyber prosthetic company, and they couldn’t be happier if they tried! That is until their automatic car goes haywire, drops them off on the wrong side of the tracks, and they’re immediately assaulted by a few punks who kill her off (wow, what a surprise…) and leave poor Grey for dead! He somehow manages to survive however, though not without losing the use of his arms and legs, and he’s ready to give up on life when one of his wealthy customers Eron (Harrison Gilbertson) offers him a chance to test a medical miracle called STEM which is basically a small computer they insert into the spine that still hasn’t gone through OFFICIAL testing, but will surely give him back the use of his limbs along with a few other bells and whistles. After some initial hesitance (Grey isn’t one for all this new-fangled technology stuff), he agrees to do it and sure enough starts walking again almost immediately. Slight side effect though, there’s an AI inside the chip starts talking to him and STEM (Simon Maiden) seems more than eager to help Grey find the men who killed his wife and bring them to some sort of justice. Well Grey is certainly up for that, especially since the cop on the case (Betty Gabriel) hasn’t turned up many leads, but they have to be careful because not only does Grey need to keep the rest of the world from knowing he can walk again (he even signs a NDA about the procedure), he also has to keep his activities hidden from Eron who’s more than likely following his every move and wouldn’t be too pleased if his next step in medical science was used to rip people’s hearts out. Will Grey and STEM find the people who killed his wife and get him that sweet sweet vengeance he so desperately craves? What other side effects besides hearing voices and kicking extra amounts of ass will Grey have to deal with now that he’s got STEM sharing brain space with him? I mean, it’s not THAT bad, right? Who WOULDN’T want your operation system constantly reminding you to install critical updates right into your auditory cortex!?