Movie Review – Happy Death Day 2U – Still Fun, but more Sci-Fi than Horror

 

Movie Review - Happy Death Day 2UIt’s interesting to watch a sequel film that genre-hoppingly morphs from one thing to another. I’m not a horror fan, but genuinely loved Happy Death Day 1, probably because it had an emphasis on comedy, and the actual scares were light. It was creepy still, with the “uncanny valley” baby mask — shudders — but PG-13 enough for a horror-adverse weenie like me to enjoy.

Also, I’m a huge fan of movies paying homage to the Groundhog Day theme of repeating time loops.

So I was excited about Happy Death Day 2U and basically expected a re-run of the original. I was fine with that. I think we all were. The first movie was an unexpected joy that felt fresh and fun, with a character — starting off as a total jerk just like Phil Connors from Groundhog Day — that we could root for by the end.

What happened with 2U was unexpected. We started the movie following Ryan, Carter’s roommate, in what seemed to be a new loop centered around him. Things take a sharp turn early on, when we realize we’ve gone from a Groundhog Day movie to a loving homage of Back to the Future. It’s insidious and insistent, with Bear McCreary’s score latching onto several memorable notes from BTTF’s soundtrack. And just so you don’t miss it, the characters reference BTTF, and there’s even a wall poster for BTTF 2 on Carter’s wall.

It was about halfway into the film when I realized this wasn’t horror at all, not even on the low level the first Death Day was. This was straight up adventure and science fiction, with a bunch of nerds straight out of Weird Science taking the stage.

Tree (Jessica Rothe) is still the lead, but the character ensemble has grown, with the flick ultimately the better for it. These are likable characters, and if a third movie comes along (as is teased in the extra scene you must stay in your seats for), I’ll happily jump onboard for more wackiness.

Where the 2U falls flat is in the stakes business: we kind of don’t care what universe Tree lands in. There is mother stuff and boyfriend stuff, and it’s all rather melodramatic in a way the audience can’t really care for. Call it a bit overambitious.

We didn’t come to the sequel film for drama, right? Let’s keep right on the tonal course we fell for the first time: dark comedy, wacky light horror, and a thoughtful mystery that needed solving. The mystery this time was a dull afterthought. Honestly. I found myself distracted, taking notes that said, “What genre is this now? How do I grade this?”

I decided to take 2U on its own merits, and not necessarily that of a rote sequel. It’s an enjoyable galloping adventure story with bits of horror and some decent humor. On this level, I give it a solid B. That’s a few points below the A grade from Happy Death Day 1, but not for lack of effort. Good job, Universal Studios! If you go in for thirds, I’ll be there.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Happy Death Day 2U was hard to find Peetimes for, since it has a lean pace, and each scene is either funny, emotional, or boasts a good action sequence. I went with mostly the emotional scenes for the 3 Peetimes, since those were easy to summarize, and weren’t the main point of seeing this horror/comedy sequel. I’d use the 1st Peetime if you can plan for it.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Happy Death Day 2U. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for violence, language, sexual material and thematic elements
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Sequel

DVD at Amazon.com

Blue Ray at Amazon.com

Movie Review – Happy Death Day – Very Fun, Almost Cute Horror Film

In Da Club by 50 Cent – Video & Lyrics from the Happy Death Day 2U Trailer

Happy Death Day – Every “Day” We Watch, and Rewatch (Spoilers)

Happy Death Day – All the Clues to the Killer (SPOILERS)

20 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List

Quotes Quiz – Movies with Groundhogs Day Themes

Russian Doll is the newest Netflix Addition to the Groundhog Day Loop Theme – and it looks GREAT

 

Movie Review – The Prodigy – No Chemistry, No Creativity

Movie Review - The ProdigyThe Prodigy was really disappointing. I’ve seen better movies at Billy Bob’s Drive-In Theater.

This is another movie that did a wonderful job of making the trailer look too good to pass up. They got me hook, line and sinker. I was really excited waiting for the movie, then it started. Ten minutes into it, I was bored. I found myself wondering if I blew out the candles at home. So fast forward to the end of the movie, and I was really scared. I was really scared my house was burning to the ground due to candle negligence.

I didn’t see any chemistry between Taylor Schilling and Peter Mooney. None at all; if you’re going to be acting as husband and wife, you need to show us a little something. Schilling to me, came across as Piper from Orange Is The New Black. Same character — just better hair and makeup.

The one upside was Jackson Robert Scott. He played the little boy Miles. He did a really good job of being creepy as all get out. If that were my child, to the wolves with him!

The story has been done before; it’s very similar to Shocker. Don’t get me wrong —The Prodigy isn’t in the same league as Wes Craven’s thriller — but it’s in the same universe. I’m gonna wrap this up by recommending you wait for the DVD.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: The Prodigy is a very short movie — 87 minutes, if you exclude the credits. I decided to give you only 1 Peetime — the best one. The only other possible Peetime would have made you miss out on the build-up for the finale.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Prodigy. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for violence, disturbing and bloody images, a sexual reference and brief graphic nudity
Genres: Horror, Thriller

Movie Review – The Possession of Hannah Grace

Movie Review - The Possession of Hannah GraceHollywood pulled off another movie that actually had me a little bit afraid. I’ll say I was very tense during some scenes. That sure doesn’t happen very often anymore.

They did an incredible job of setting the tone of this horror flick. The ambiance was perfect; it kept you on the edge of your seat, wondering what was around the next dark corridor.

The special effects were awesome, right down to the noises that were made. I found myself cringing when I knew the super bad noise was going to happen again.

I also wanted to mention that this movie was almost entirely acted by Shay Mitchell. There were other actors, but the main focus of the movie was her and how she was dealing with this supernatural terror. She did a fantastic job — her role came to life onscreen. So if you’re a fan of the show Pretty Little Liars, I’d 100% recommend this movie to you. You’ll love what she does.

All in all, The Possession of Hannah Grace was a hit in my book. I enjoyed myself, just like I think you will.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: This was an incredibly short movie. I feel that only 1 Peetime was needed. After 45 minutes, there really isn’t a break in the build up or the finale that you’d want to miss.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Possession of Hannah Grace. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Movie Review – Overlord

Movie Review - OverlordOverlord wasn’t bad; it wasn’t great but it definitely wasn’t bad. At moments it bordered on campy, and then would flow back into a shoot ’em up thriller. It reminded me of the video games my husband plays. It has that type of feel, not quite real, but with a storyline you hope ends up with the good guys winning.

The thing that jumped out at me the most was the blood and gore. They did a bang-up job on making things look really creepy. Once you get to see the supposed zombies, you’ll understand. The way they look — and for sure the way they move. That was impressive.

As long as I stay in the mindset of this being borderline campy, I enjoyed it. The first half of the movie really drew me in, but they kind of lost my attention towards the end. There was way too much time spent on loud explosions and useless gore. If they could have thrown in a little more story and less action I would have scored it better.

I don’t know that I’ll watch it again, but I at least don’t feel cheated out of my time and money. This movie might just make it into a date night movie category. The guys will enjoy the action and violence, and the girls will enjoy pretending to be scared and hiding in their dates’ necks. That’s a win-win situation.

Grade: C

About The Peetimes: This is an action-packed movie. I tried to choose Peetimes that kept you from missing any of the ‘wow’ moment scenes. I recommend using the 1st Peetime. The 2nd Peetime is short and involves some action.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Overlord. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Movie Review – Suspiria

Movie Review - SuspiriaAs Suspiria ended, for the first time in my career, I didn’t have a clue as to what I had just seen. Fortunately, there was a very pleasant young man seated near me who helped shed some light on this confusing piece of work. He referred back to the original, telling me that this movie was very different from the first. Wait! What? Suspiria had been done before? Why?

Typically, I don’t research a movie ’till after I’ve done my review, because I want to go in without any preconceived notions. This time, however, that little practice really backfired on me.

So, to be fair, in this review, I’ll address the mechanics of the film, and then I’ll address the content.

Dakota Johnson really did steal the show. During the course of the movie, we see her change from a demure Mennonite to basically an evil witch. The change is so gradual, that by the end, you’ll wonder how this came to be. Tilda Swinton really rocked her three separate roles, and — not to give away any spoilers — in one of her roles you’ll be absolutely gobsmacked at her performance. Mia Goth, from A Cure For Wellness, showed us, once again, that she’s worthy of high praise.

The setting was artistically done; there’s constant rain or snow, and it’s not until the end of the movie that we see any sunshine. Perfect for this genre. The pacing of Suspiria is hard to define; there are moments of frenetic activity, followed by too many scenes of mind-numbing nothingness.

The English subtitles were (even though necessary) distracting. The thick German accents made it all but impossible to follow, then they threw in the many scenes filmed in cavernous rooms, with echoes distorting the dialog…and you end up with a big audio mess.

I do give kudos to the director, Luca Guadagnino, for pulling some mind-blowing emotions out of the actors — something he did beautifully in Call Me By Your Name.

As for how I feel about the content of Suspiria? Confused covers it nicely. The dance numbers were a pure delight to watch, but the many scenes of outright butchery and slaughter overwhelmed my senses to the point of disgust. It was as if the special effects department went way out their way to show the audience how well they do ‘carnage’. In that case, job well done, special effects people, job well done.

I struggled with what grade to give Suspiria. As has been my practice for the last ten years, I’ll grade according to the target audience. So that begs the question; who is the target audience? My best guess is the people who’ve seen the original. The nice young man I spoke of at the beginning of this diatribe had seen the original, and explained that the movie bore little resemblance to the reboot — but nevertheless would give it a favorable grade. Another audience member who had seen the original, and knew what he was walking into, gave it a decisive ‘A’. With all this in mind, I give Suspiria a B-.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: This was an insane movie for finding Peetimes. There were subtitles, thick German accents, and cavernous rooms that made echoes. This is the first time I’ve found a 12 minute Peetime, and it’s got an “Alert” rating, because that protracted scene was the worst kind of carnage I’ve ever seen in a movie.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Suspiria. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Quiz – Stephen King’s The Stand

I’ve wanted to do a quiz on The Stand since I first read the book. I’ll describe a character and you supply their name. Hope you have as much fun taking this quiz as I had in making it!

[quiz-cat id=”10907″]

The movie of The Stand didn’t impress me nearly as much as the book — and I speak of the annotated version. It appears the new version of the mini series has a green light, and could be on the small screen in 2019!

 

Quiz – Stephen King and His Movies

As we get nearer to Halloween, it’s only fitting that I make a Quiz on the “King” of horror. This one addresses Stephen’s movies.

[quiz-cat id=”10916″]

Stephen King has done more to promote Halloween than even pumpkins and Charlie Brown.

Movie Review – Halloween

Movie Review - HalloweenWhat a movie! My long awaited excitement was finally satisfied! This was an event of epic proportions.

Picture it: I walk into the theater, and it is sold out. The crowd was rowdy and ready for Michael. People were chanting, “Michael, Michael!” It was awesome. The lights went down and the theater became deathly quiet.

From the moment the movie started my eyes were glued to the screen. I had extremely high hopes they were going to not only scare me, but toss in some amusing throw-back innuendos. They did! There were four separate times the entire audience cheered and clapped — it’s times like those that a movie screams, “We’re killing it!”

This franchise has stood the test of time; we’re talking forty years, folks. That is an amazing achievement in my book. Jamie Lee Curtis has done it again. Let’s just think about this: forty years ago Laurie took on Michael as a young woman, only to come back and kill him as a grandmother four decades later.

Go see this movie. I want to see some records broke and huge profits made. They said this was the last one, but I think we’re all in for a surprise. Pay close attention to the final scene.

Grade: A-

About The Peetimes: I put 2 Peetimes in for you. They will both work well, but I do recommend the 1st one, since it’s mainly dialog. The 2nd Peetime has a lot more action in it.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Halloween. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Movie Review – The Nun

the nun in the conjuring universe
Some real creepy shit here

Sit back, relax, and pull off your habit. It’s time for The Nun to have some fun. Seriously, I’ve been waiting for this movie since the day I was born. I felt it in my bones. The Conjuring Universe has consistently been one of the greatest franchises ever put to film. The amount of expectation for each new release is kind of like the feeling you get when you buy a new car. You sit there and take a deep breath in and smell the newness. They always give us something new, but still remain true to the ongoing saga. I’m in love with it.

The Nun is a prequel to the main Conjuring franchise, expanding on a character that was first mentioned in The Conjuring 2. The way that the makers tie all of these films together is so refreshing and new that I can’t praise them enough.

The setting of The Nun is awesome. It was filmed entirely in Romania. Visiting there has been on my bucket list for years. I felt like I was there. Now I really want to go. The Abbey that they were in was breathtakingly creepy and beautiful. I have no complaints about the movie. You’ll enjoy the many scream scenes. The makeup job on The Nun is spot on. There are a ton of jump out of your seat moments. The season of horror movies is just now starting, so I recommend this one to get your Halloween spirit into high gear.

Grade: A

About the Peetimes: The Nun is a really short movie. I 100% recommend the Peetime at the beginning of the movie. There is a 2nd Peetime listed later, but that should only be used for emergencies. 

Movie Review – Annabelle Comes Home

Movie Review – The Curse of La Llorona – A Good Scary Time in the Conjuring Universe

The Conjuring – movie review

 

Movie Review – Slender Man

Over a year. Seriously, I have been waiting for this movie for over a year now. With the amount of material available on the internet about Slender Man it should have provided the writers and makers of this movie infinite ideas. The final cut was lacking in almost every aspect.

It starts off okay. Not great, but I could envision it picking up. What I ended up seeing was a disjointed movie that lacked depth and continuity.

Take for instance, in my second Peetime: the scene starts at school. Wren and Hallie are fighting over going to check on Chloe. Hallie refuses to go and the girls walk away from each other in a huff.

Now this is where it ticks me off. The very next scene is the two girls, at night, walking up to Chloe’s house. That’s a big leap. How did they get to that point? We go from fighting over it, to doing it hours later. Maybe editing? Perhaps they filmed a scene that explains how they overcame their differences. But nope, that wasn’t in the movie and it just bothered me, a lot. The movie is peppered with these small annoyances. So many in fact, that I couldn’t enjoy it.

I took my daughter and granddaughter with me to see this movie; what I’m about to tell you should sum up my feelings. They both fell asleep. A horror movie put a five year old to sleep. That says something right there, folks.

My advice — wait for the DVD. At least that way you’re only out a few bucks.

Grade:  D+

About the Peetimes:
Two Peetimes will work well since the movie is so short. Just to give you a heads up: at the theater there was a warning sign, telling people about a 30 second sequence that has a lot of bright flashing lights that may cause seizures. It was near the beginning of the movie, and they were right. It was bright.