13 Days Til Halloween

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13 days ’til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, 13 days ’till Halloween, Silver Shamrock!

Who can guess what movie that is from?

So, it has been quite a while since I have posted any reviews. I have been so busy lately; it’s ridiculous how much I have had going on. But, I’m writing today to announce that it is almost Halloween…13 days! 13 is my favorite/lucky number, hence, why it also appears in Film Junkie’s URL. I’m hoping to post a few things these next couple days until Halloween about some of my favorite and/or iconic horror films. I’m thinking something along the lines of reviews, trivia, and where are they now posts.If you have any suggestions of horror films that you would like me to review or do a where are they now post, then please let me know! Comment below with your suggestions. Also, I will try to continue with Trivia Tuesday.

I also have some VERY exciting news. It is somewhat movie related, but I will announce the news sometime tomorrow.

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The Conjuring

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Warning: Contains some spoilers

The Conjuring movie poster

The Conjuring movie poster

The Conjuring is a horror/thriller film released on July 19. The film is directed by James Wan, the same man responsible for Saw, Insidious, and the upcoming Insidious: Chapter 2. The film is rated R for sequences of disturbing terror and violence. The film has a 7.8 out of 10 rating on IMDb.

The film is based off of a true story about the Perron family and the horror they endured when moving into a new home back in the 1970s. The film does not only follow the Perron family, but paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are also prominent characters in the film.

Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren are paranormal investigators that have participated in many investigations and when approached by Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) about a haunting in her house they agree to come check it out. Ron Livingston plays the part of Roger Perron, Carolyn’s husband.

The thing about this film compared to more recent horror movies is that it isn’t all about blood and guts. In fact, from what I recall, there isn’t much blood and definitely no guts at all. What I liked about this film is, not only is it set in the 70’s, but this film is almost reminiscent of horror films from that same decade. Such as The Shining, for example. The Conjuring relies on the setting, the tone (which is set from the very beginning), even the musical score, to induce a creepy feeling in the audience. There aren’t even that many “jump scares” present. One scene in particular is seen in the trailer, so while watching the movie, you know it’s about to happen because it was in the trailer. Unless, of course, you never saw the trailer before seeing the film. With this film the less is more vibe is put off and it works. This movie had a lot of hype surrounding it. Especially since the film is rated R based purely on how terrifying it is. The film has no sexuality or nudity and pretty much no cussing.

Ed & Lorraine Warren

Ed & Lorraine Warren

The film has almost two different plots going on. One being the Perron haunting and the other being the possessed doll named Annabelle. The majority of the film is focused on the Perron family, but the Warren’s and their daughter are also a focal point. To some film-goers having the film not focus on just the Perron’s might be confusing, but I liked getting to have that inside look into the Warren’s personal life.

Carolyn &Roger Perron with their daughters

Carolyn & Roger Perron with their daughters

The real Perron daughters with their respective film counterparts.

The real Perron daughters with their respective film counterparts.

I liked the use of The Zombies’ “Time of the Season” (great song) in the film. Also, the song “In the Room Where You Sleep” by Dead Man’s Bones, a rock duo consisting of actor Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields, was a pleasant surprise. Even though it is not a song from the 1970’s, it actually works really well in the film. The musical score is also really good.

I think the one scene that would frighten most people would be the exorcism/possession scene. Seeing Carolyn Perron possessed was pretty eerie. Of course, the film ends happily. There is a reference to Amityville at the end of the movie. When Lorraine gets off the phone with the priest, she says to Ed that the priest has a case in Long Island he wants to discuss with them. Ed and Lorraine, in real life, worked on the Amityville case, which the film The Amityville Horror is based off of. The film is left open for a sequel, which I read is actually in the works and Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are already signed on to reprise their roles as Ed and Lorraine. Another thing, Lorraine Warren served as a consultant, as well as one of the Perron daughters (Andrea, I believe) and both have stated that the film is very close to how the events really played out.

A fun fact I’d like to end this review with is about the Annabelle doll. In the movie, the doll is depicted as a porcelain (and extremely creepy) doll. However, in real life, the doll was a Raggedy Ann doll. I would imagine that if they used a Raggedy Ann doll in the movie, people probably would’ve laughed. However, who would suspect a Raggedy Ann doll would be possessed by something evil? If I went to someone’s house and they had a Raggedy Ann doll I would think  nothing of it. But if I went to someone’s house and they had the porcelain doll instead I would automatically think that thing was possessed and going to kill me. Haha. For those that might be interested about reading more about the real events, check out this website: http://www.warrens.net/index.html The website talks about the Annabelle doll as well as a few other things Warren-related. After I saw the film I had wanted to learn about the real events and this is one of many sites I had checked out.

The real Annabelle doll on the left; the movie version on the right.

The real Annabelle doll on the left; the movie version on the right.

Tell me, if you were the director of this film, would you have used the same doll that was used in the film or would you have kept it as it was in real life and used a Raggedy Ann doll?

The Cabin in the Woods

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Warning: Contains spoilers

The Cabin in the Woods is a horror film that was released in April 2012. The film was written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard and directed by Drew Goddard. It has a 7 out of 10 rating on IMDb and a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity.

Let me just go ahead and say it: I freakin’ love this movie. I can watch this film all the time and not get tired of it. As someone that likes scary movies, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that I would like this movie. At first glance this film seems like a typical horror film where a bunch of teenagers go out into the woods and party and eventually get killed one by one. But it isn’t really like that.

The film does start off with a group of friends going on a trip to the woods. The characters seem totally cliche, as in they are straight up stereotypical horror movie characters. The jock, the whore, the stoner, the boring smart guy and the good girl/virgin. The jock being Curt (Chris Hemsworth), the whore being Jules (Anna Hutchison), the stoner being Marty (Fran Kranz), the boring smart guy being Holden (Jesse Williams), and the virgin being Dana (Kristen Connolly). However, the whole film isn’t necessarily about a group of friends being chased by monsters. As the movie progresses we learn that these characters were chosen and manipulated to fit the typical archetypes of horror films by some organization to complete some sort of ritual. The main guys that seem to be in charge of everything are Steve Hadley (Bradley Whitford) and Gary Sitterson (Richard Jenkins). Another technician seen throughout the film is Lin (Amy Acker). The organization is in control of everything that goes on at the cabin the group of friends are staying at. There are cameras watching the characters’s every move and are even give mood altering drugs to cause the group to do certain things, such as reducing their intelligence and cause the characters to venture down the creepy cellar.

From left: Curt, Holden, Jules, Marty, and Dana.

From left: Curt, Holden, Jules, Marty, and Dana.

Back at the facility, all the different departments of the the organization bet on which monster will be chosen. From a fan of horror films, I like the references to other monsters from horror films that are shown on the big whiteboard. It’s something true horror fans will appreciate.

The whiteboard

The whiteboard

From left: Sitterson, Lin, and Hadley.

From left: Sitterson, Lin, and Hadley.

While down in the cellar the characters come across a vast array of items. We later learn that these items are the way the characters end up choosing their fate, as in choosing how they die. Dana ends up reading an incantation from a diary (Rule #1 of horror movies–don’t read some weird incantation/Latin/whatever out of a book) that used to belong a girl named Patience Buckner who was abused by her sadistic family and Dana ends up summoning the zombified Buckner family. The first one to die is Jules after her and Curt have sex in the woods (Rule #2 of horror movies–don’t have sex or you will die). Curt is able to run away. Marty, the stoner that has been smoking weed every second, is actually the smart one in the group. We end up learning that all the mood altering drugs don’t affect him because of the marijuana he has been smoking. He discovers a camera in his room and believes he is on a reality show. He is paranoid and keeps thinking that they are being manipulated, like puppets. He ends up being dragged away and killed by one the zombie Buckners. Marty is probably my favorite character in the film. He’s funny and like I said, the only one that actually seems to actually get what is going on. Curt, Holden, and Dana get into their RV and try to flee, but while driving through a tunnel it starts to collapse, forcing them to back up. Curt decides to jump over the ravine to the other side using his motorcycle. It is unsuccessful; he hits some sort of invisible force field and falls down to the bottom of the ravine. Holden and Dana get back into the RV and drive back to the cabin, but one of the zombie Buckners is hiding in the RV and kills Holden. The RV crashes into a lake and Dana swims toward a dock and ends up getting attacked by another zombie Buckner. But wait! Who just knocked out the zombie Buckner attacking Dana? It’s Marty! He isn’t dead! However, him being alive sucks for the technicians in charge of the ritual.

After Marty dismembered the zombie Buckner that tried to kill him earlier, he stumbled upon some control box and found an underground elevator. Marty and Dana take the elevator and discover a vast array of monsters that are imprisoned. Some of the monsters are homages to monsters from various classic horror films. Dana sees one monster (a homage to Pinhead from the Hellraiser films) holding an item she recognizes from the basement earlier in the film. She realizes that the items in the basement determined which monster would be released. Marty and Dana end up causing a system purge, releasing all the monsters that were previously locked up. This part of the film is pretty bloody/graphic. The monsters go on a rampage killing just about everyone in the facility. Hadley and Lin are killed. Sitterson ends up escaping into some underground tunnel system. Dana and Marty go down underground where Dana accidentally stabs Sitterson killing him. Dana and Marty discover a temple-like room with large stone tablets that have various carvings. Dana and Marty meet the Director (Sigourney Weaver). She explains that the ritual is to appease the Ancient Ones that live below the facility. The Ancient Ones are kept below by the rituals that sacrifice five young people that represent the archetypes–the Whore (Jules), the Athlete (Curt), the Scholar (Holden), the Fool (Marty), and the Virgin (Dana). It doesn’t matter the order that each is killed, as long as the Whore is first and the Virgin is last (the Virgin’s death is optional, as long as she suffers). The Director tells Marty and Dana that there have been other rituals around the world, but all of them have failed and if the Ancient Ones awake they will destroy the world. The Director tries to convince Dana to kill Marty and Dana points a gun at Marty, but is attacked by a werewolf that had escaped earlier. The Director and Marty fight until zombie Patience Buckner shows up and kills the Director. Marty pushes both the Director and Patience down below toward the Ancient Ones. Marty and Dana accept what is happening and then a gigantic hand belonging to an Ancient One rises up destroying the facility and the cabin, thus implying that the world will now end.

This is a film that might be confusing to some. A friend of mine, after watching the movie, said they didn’t get it all and didn’t like it. However, this is a film that horror fans will love. But even if you don’t watch scary movies, I think that you can still enjoy this film and even have a few laughs at the more comedic scenes. The film is filled with twists and turns. At the start of the film, you think you know what kind of movie you’re watching, but just wait… If you haven’t seen this film, watch it now! It’s streaming on Netflix.

Last tidbit…One of my favorite scenes from the movie is after the cellar door opens up by itself and Curt says that the wind must have blown it open (a phrase that has been said in other horror movies before) and Marty replies with: “Uh, and that makes what kind of sense?” Thank you Marty for pointing out how absurd it is for someone to say “the wind did it” when that clearly makes no sense at all.

 

Chernobyl Diaries

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Warning: Contains spoilersChernobyl Diaries Poster

Chernobyl Diaries is a horror film released in 2012 and was written by Oren Peli, the same guy who wrote and directed Paranormal Activity. The story follows a group of friends on a trip across Europe. They travel to Ukraine and go on a extreme tourism trip to the town of Pripyat where workers of the Chernobyl power plant lived. While they are there, they soon learn they are not alone in the “abandoned” town.

First, for those that are unfamiliar, let me write a bit about the real Chernobyl disaster. The disaster occurred on April 26, 1986 in Ukraine at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. During a test at reactor number 4 at the power plant, a power surge occurred. An emergency shutdown was attempted, but caused a larger spike in power output which led to a reactor vessel rupture. A fire was started and that sent a large plume of highly radioactive fallout into the air over a large area, which included the town of Pripyat. This disaster is considered to be one of the worst nuclear power plant accidents in history. The residents of Pripyat were not immediately evacuated. It wasn’t until an announcement the next day did people begin to evacuate. 237 people suffered from acute radioactive sickness and of those 237 people 31 of them died. There are still long term effects being accounted for, such as cancer and deformities. Today, the area is still radioactive.

Site of the real Chernobyl after the disaster

Site of the real Chernobyl after the disaster

Now, about the movie. Well, let me just start off with saying this wasn’t the worst scary movie I’ve seen, but it definitely wasn’t the best. There were some things about the film that I liked. I really liked the setting. There is just something about abandoned places that I think are really cool. So, to have the film set in an abandoned town, especially one that is actually real, is something I thought was pretty cool. I liked the fact that the film uses a real life disaster, something that most people learned about in school, as a backdrop for the movie. The film was filmed in Serbia and Hungary, so they didn’t actually film at the real Chernobyl, but I can see why they wouldn’t, considering that would be dangerous. At first I was intrigued to find out what would end up happening to the characters and what was stalking the characters. The characters in the film are: Chris (Jesse McCartney), Paul (Jonathan Sadowski), Amanda (Devin Kelley), Natalie (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Michael (Nathan Phillips), Zoe (Ingrid Bolso Berdal), and Uri (Dimitri Diatchenko).

From left: Zoe, Michael, Paul, Uri, Amanda, Natalie, and Chris.

From left: Zoe, Michael, Paul, Uri, Amanda, Natalie, and Chris.

Chris, his girlfriend Natalie, and Amanda are on a trip across Europe. They stop in Kiev, Ukraine to see Chris’s brother, Paul, who lives in Kiev. While in Ukraine, Paul convinces everyone to go on an extreme tourism trip to Pripyat. They visit a tour guide, Uri, and are joined by another couple, Zoe and Michael. They head to Pripyat and that is where the adventure begins…

The problem (or actually problems) I had with this film are extensive. First off, there are so many plot holes that I won’t even bother describing all of them. The creatures that are terrorizing the group are mutated freak beings (a lot of people say the creatures are zombies). You never really get a real clear look at the creatures, which might add to the mystery and leave it to the imagination of the viewer, but at the same time I really wanted to see what the creatures looked like. There are some dumb decisions made by the characters, but in horror movies there tends to always be at least one character that does stupid stuff. This is also one of those movies where no one survives. Uri is the first to go, which I was actually disappointed about. I kind of would have like to see him kick some mutated ass before being killed off. I mean, the guy is huge! He could have been a badass character, but pretty much all the characters are “weak”. I was surprised that Chris gets injured early on in the film and ends up dying. We never actually see his body, but as the viewer you pretty much come to the conclusion that he died, which he had a badly injured leg, so it’s not like he would have gotten very far. When the movie first started out, I figured Chris and either his girlfriend or his brother would have made it to the end of the film. Instead, Paul and Amanda are the last ones left standing…that is until Paul gets shot.

The ending of the movie is something that I know a lot of people had problems with and totally hated. I have to agree with all those other people. At the end, Paul and Amanda were exposed really badly to radiation after being right by the reactor that blew up. We see a bunch of lights and realize that it is Ukrainian military personnel. The military tell them both to stop and not come any closer. Paul had already been complaining about not being able to see, so even though he is being told to stop, he still continues to stumble forward and then is shot dead. I really hated the way he died. Out of the characters he was one that I somewhat cared about and for him to survive as long as he did and then just get shot was disappointing in my opinion. Amanda crawls toward Paul’s body and then she passes out. She wakes up inside what looks like an ambulance and then we see her being pushed on a gurney asking where she is. Doctors in hazmat suits tell her she is in a hospital. We learn that the creatures were escaped patients who have been recaptured. The doctors realize that all her friends are dead and that she knows too much, so they toss her into a cell. She gets attacked by a bunch of the mutant creatures. The end.

I wanted to know more about these “patients” and why they were all mutated and roaming all around the town. I mean, there appeared to be A LOT of them, so wouldn’t that have taken forever to recapture them all? I guess I wish the film had some more back story, maybe via flashbacks. The film had a lot of potential and there are definitely a lot of things that could have been executed differently. Rotten Tomatoes gave this film a 20% and IMDb has it at a average 5 out of 10 stars. I give it about a 5 out of 10 too. Will I ever watch this movie again? Maybe. Maybe I’ll watch with some friends who haven’t seen it, but I don’t think this is a film I will choose to watch again on my own and I definitely will not be buying this movie to own.

 

 

Movie Genre?

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What is your favorite genre of movies to watch? What about least favorite genre?

Personally, I’ll watch just about every genre, I really like horror movies. Yes, sometimes horror movies can be incredibly cheesy, but that’s kind of what I love about them. My mom is a big time horror movie fan, so I’ve grown up watching a lot of scary movies because of her. Watching so many scary movies is probably why I don’t get scared watching horror films. For least favorite…well, I don’t exactly have a movie genre I really hate watching, but I’m not exactly a huge fan of foreign movies. Having to read subtitles while watching a movie can sometimes be, well for lack of a better word, annoying.