A Quiet Place and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by John Krasinski
We had quite a few good horror films last year like IT, Happy Death Day, and ESPECIALLY Get Out, but pickings have been a bit slim in the first third of 2018 with the only wide releases going to the fourth Insidious movie and the rather underwhelming Annihilation if you’d even want to count that. THANK GOODNESS that Platinum Dunes has stepped up to the plate because they’ve ALWAYS made good movies, am I right!? Okay, so the studio has a pretty shaky track record with some pretty awful remakes being their staple up until 2010, but they have gotten a bit better at picking movies what with The Purge series being under their banner and I even liked that Friday the 13th film they did, though I’m certainly in the minority on that one. This movie at least has been getting some positive buzz despite what I feel what I thought were rather underwhelming trailers, so maybe the steady improvement of Platinum Dunes productions will continue unabated! I mean as long as we forget about those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie… and the first Ouija movie. ANYWAY, does this latest thriller with a unique premise manage to be all it’s cracked up to be, or will the silence in the theater be less due to enraptured awe and more due to straight up boredom? Let’s find out!!
We begin this story in the near future where it seems that society has crumbled and the few remaining survivors are eking out a rather mundane existence as they try to avoid being hunted down by whatever it was that nearly wiped us all out. What is hunting them exactly? I don’t know, some sort of Silent Hill looking dudes with sharp claws that LOVE to slice and dice people whenever they can find them. The key to their success however turns out to be some EXCELLENT hearing skills, so in order to survive in this world you need to stay QUIET! At least the Abbott family has managed to make this new way of life work for them as Momma and Poppa (Emily Blunt and John Krasinski) have worked tirelessly to set up rules and precautions to protect their children and to keep their mouths shut! Sure, they lost ONE kid, but they’ve still got two left who know not to make even the SMALLEST of sounds if they want to survive, and there’s even another kid on the way which SEEMS like a bad idea considering how hard it is to reasonably explain to a baby that they’re crying is not very helpful at the moment, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there! Anyway, the eldest kid Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is having trouble dealing with the death of her little brother which she blames herself for and on top of that is deaf herself which makes it easier for her to communicate without sound but means that things might be a bit more dangerous if she can’t hear any approaching threats. At least she’s better equipped to handle what’s going on than her brother Marcus (Noah Jupe) who’s REALLY traumatized by everything that’s happened since the monsters came to town and spends most of his time being terrified about everything around him; not the MOST impracticable of positions to take, but it does cause some friction between him and his dad when he has trouble letting go of his fears to focus on the basic survival tasks at hand. So with one kid feeling guilty, another one scared of his own shadow, and a third one threatening to come out of their mother in the very near future, things may not be sustainable for that much longer no matter how much Super Dad tries to keep things firmly within his grasp. Can this family survive this terrifying threat for as long as it takes for someone to figure out how to destroy these creatures once and for all? Will they find a way to successfully have this baby and raise it without attracting the attention of the creatures that have the super strong hearing and extremely deadly claws? Seriously, how have you guys survived THIS long if knocking something over is enough to get these creatures to come a knocking!?
Ouija: Origin of Evil and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Mike Flanagan
In a year that’s already been pretty good for horror movies and sequels, has it been just as good for horror movie sequels? Well ironically enough for a genre known for churning out sequels, there’s really only been two I’ve seen this year; The Purge: Election Year which is one of the best films of the year so far, and Blair Witch which is one of my least favorites. Sure I heard people liked The Conjuring 2, but I hated the first one with a fiery passion so I highly doubt it would end up on the good end, and then if you wanted you could count 10 Cloverfield Lane as a horror movie which I would put on the good side even if it’s sequel status is somewhat questionable. My point is that the data on horror sequels this year is, shall we say… inconclusive. Will we have a more definitive answer one way or the other with this prequel (I know that’s technically not the same thing as a sequel, but I’m freaking counting it!) to a movie that was universally panned just two years ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie takes place in 1967 at the home of the Zander family, made up the mother Alice (Elizabeth Reaser) and her two daughters Lina (Annallise Basso) and Doris (Lulu Wilson). Alice is barely getting by after the death of her husband as her fortune telling business isn’t quite paying the bills, but they’ll make due for now and they even get a new item for the show that should definitely drum up some business, right? Well those concerns become secondary as it JUST SO HAPPENS to be a ghost living in the house already that has started to take control over young Doris and is clearly after something but we’re not sure what. For now, it’s just using Doris to pretend to be the dead father and freaks everyone out with the Ouija Board as a way to… I don’t know; keep Alice from calling the Ghostbusters? Either way, Alice is more than happy to have a REAL (and presumably benevolent) ghost in the house to not be used to keep a roof over their heads but to also get some closure with her “husband” after his tragic death. Of course, Lina smells bullshit from a mile away and knows better than to trust something possessing her sister CLAIMING to be her dead father, so she starts to investigate and even gets a local priest involved (Henry Thomas) to find out exactly what’s going on; something the ghost isn’t too happy about. Will Lina and the Padre stop this madness before it’s too late? Just what is the ghost after if it needs to pretend to be good rather than just kill everyone in their sleep? How the hell is it gonna convince everybody of that when it keeps messing with her face!?
The Purge: Election Year and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by James DeMonaco
For the past few months, there hasn’t been a movie I was more excited to see than this one. I still haven’t seen the first movie, but the SECOND one is a really great B-Movie in the vein of John Carpenter or even modern day directors like Gareth Evans. It was more than just an action shlock-fest though as it really wanted to say something about its premise in between the outrageous violence. This one though? This looks like they’re going full-tilt on having something to say about society, politics, and violence in our culture! In between the brutal murders and silly costumes of course. Does this manage to be yet another sequel this year that ends up better than the previous film, or have they run out of genuine ideas and are now just parroting hot button issues? Let’s find out!!
The movie takes place two years after the events of The Purge: Anarchy where Frank Grillo’s character from the that film FINALLY has a name (Leo Barnes) and has somehow found his way to being the head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) who is poised to win the Presidential Election that year and will hopefully end the purge. Unfortunately for her, the ruling party in the US Government (the New Founding Fathers of America, or NFFA) would very much like to keep their jobs and to keep the purge going so they can kill lots more poor people, so their plan to stop the senator is to change the rules of the purge so as to lift the ban on killing government officials; leaving them free to send a whole bunch of mercs (neo-Nazi ones of course) to take her out. Well not if Frank Grillo has anything to say about it! He manages to get her away from the assassins after their initial assault on the Senator’s home and they end up finding a few people trying to survive the night and more than willing to help the senator who will bring an end the purge once and for all. These include Joe Dixon (Mykelit Williamson) who owns a small convenience store that is being threatened that night, his employee Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) who wants to help his boss, and Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel) who is one of the volunteers that helps people get medical treatment during purge night. Can this rag tag group of badasses manage to outrun the NFFA? Will Senator Roan be able to win the election, or should they find a way to ensure her victory this very night? There have been what, fifteen purges already? You’d think some of these people would find it all passé at this point.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Dave Green
The first Bay-Turtles movie was pretty damn awful. Maybe not as bad as the WORST Transformers film, but certainly no better than the arguably best one (Marky Mark for the win). With this one though, there seems to be a conscious effort to integrate more of what people ACTUALLY liked about the cartoon and incorporate it into the Bay-Turtles universe, so maybe a middle ground can be struck here between big budget extravagance and nostalgic sincerity. Does this manage to AT least be better than the first one? Let’s find out!!
The movie picks up some time after the first one with the Turtles (Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, and Alan Ritchson) continuing their hero shtick in the shadows while Vernon (Will Arnet) is taking all the credit for defeating Shredder (now Brian Tee instead of Tohoru Masamune) and putting him in Jail. Eric Sacks by the way is not even mentioned here. At first they made him NOT The Shredder, and now they’ve retconned him out of existence! The turtles are restless about all the lack of kudos they get or kicking so much ass, but those concerns will be secondary soon enough as Shredder escapes jail with the help of Super Nerd Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and recruits two new soldiers in his army in the form of Bebop and Rocksteady (Gary Anthony Williams and Stephen Farrelly AKA Sheamus) so that they can build a teleporter device that will bring Krang (Brad Garrett) and The Technodrome into our world. Oh, and I’m pretty sure April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is around doing something. So is Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). ANYWAY! Can the turtles stop Shredder from his latest evil schemes? Will they do as the title says and come out of the shadows to stop this latest threat? Seriously, how much longer before they do a crossover?