REVIEW: Doctor Sleep (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros. Pictures

The following is a review of Doctor Sleep — Directed by Mike Flanagan.

How do you please the fans of two very different masters of storytelling (i.e. Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick) when the storytellers’ understanding of The Shining differs so much that the author, Stephen King, once disowned director Stanley Kubrick’s extremely popular adaptation? How do you continue the story of The Shining on the big screen, when King and Kubrick’s endings are in conflict with each other? Those questions made the adaptation of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, a sequel to his hit novel The Shining, an incredibly daunting task exactly because audiences would expect it to also be a sequel to Kubrick’s beloved masterpiece. Mike Flanagan, a promising horror filmmaker who adapted Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game into a terrific Netflix film, was eventually chosen for the difficult task. Ultimately, I think Flanagan, who both wrote, directed, and edited Doctor Sleep, did an outstanding job. Flanagan has confidently united two clashing visions in this quite satisfying, but undeniably unnecessary sequel. Continue reading “REVIEW: Doctor Sleep (2019)”

REVIEW: Wounds (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Wounds — Directed by Babak Anvari.

A couple of years ago, Babak Anvari’s underseen and underappreciated Persian-language horror film — and directorial feature film debut — Under the Shadow was rightfully selected to compete for the foreign-language film award at the Oscars as the British entry. Anvari’s debut was a great surprise and a film that I have recommended to many people over the years. Even though poor word of mouth preceded its release on Netflix, I was still excited to see his second effort as a director of feature-length films. Unfortunately, Wounds, his first English-language feature film, is a messy, dreadful, and disappointing sophomore film. Continue reading “REVIEW: Wounds (2019)”

REVIEW: In the Tall Grass (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of In the Tall Grass — Directed by Vincenzo Natali.

Vincenzo Natali’s In the Tall Grass is a straight-to-Netflix horror film based on the Stephen King and Joe Hill novella of the same name, which was initially released in issues of Esquire magazine in 2012. Natali’s adaptation follows Cal (played by Avery Whitted) and his pregnant sister Becky (played by Laysla De Oliveira), who is considering giving up her baby for adoption. When they are driving in the middle of nowhere, Cal has to pull over because his sister is feeling sick. While having stopped by the side of the road, they both hear a boy (played by Will Buie, Jr.) screaming for help from inside a nearby field of very tall grass. They both decide to enter the field to get him out, but, once they have entered the claustrophobic green field of grass, they quickly realize that they are unable to escape it or even find each other. Continue reading “REVIEW: In the Tall Grass (2019)”

REVIEW: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate

The following is a review of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark — Directed by André Øvredal.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is an adaptation of a trilogy of children’s horror short story collections of the same name from author Alvin Schwartz. The film has been in development since 2013, and now Norwegian filmmaker André Øvredal has finally brought the children’s short stories to the big screen in the form of a horror film that’s frankly really enjoyable if you know what you’re getting into. This is just scary enough to severely frighten teens, but I don’t think it is so frightening that it’ll haunt them at night unless they are young tweens, but you and your kids’ mileage may vary. It’s a cute and fairly effective horror film that, I think, has the potential to become a favorite for teens. Those who dug Annabelle Comes Home will be happy with this similarly cutesy horror film. Continue reading “REVIEW: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)”

REVIEW: Midsommar (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – A24

The following is a review of Midsommar — Directed by Ari Aster.

As a Scandinavian, any film that revolves around Scandinavia or a specific part of Scandinavian culture, naturally, intrigues me greatly. So Midsommar already had my curiosity, but Ari Aster’s involvement pulled me in and seized my attention, as it were. Ari Aster is one of the most interesting new filmmakers. He is a gifted director whose first narrative feature — Hereditary — was one of the best and most disturbing horror films of the decade. With one of the decade’s best films in the genre under his belt already, his second feature film had a lot to live up to, and even though Midsommar isn’t quite as accessible as his directorial debut, Aster’s slow-burn second feature film showcases his distinct visual style, has thematical depth, and it proves that he is one of the most exciting new auteurs. Continue reading “REVIEW: Midsommar (2019)”

REVIEW: Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros. Pictures

The following is a review of Annabelle Comes Home — Directed by Gary Dauberman.

The lesson Hollywood first learned from the Marvel Cinematic Universe was to rush into these grand connected universes of films. The DC Cinematic Universe almost crashed and burned. The Godzilla-King Kong connected universe of films is currently struggling. Meanwhile, the Universal Monsters so-called ‘Dark Universe’ never really got off the ground. Surprisingly, the attempt to copy the highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe that has worked the best has been the Ed and Lorraine Warren-inspired Conjuring Cinematic Universe. Continue reading “REVIEW: Annabelle Comes Home (2019)”

REVIEW: The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros. Pictures

The following is a review of The Curse of La Llorona — Directed by Michael Chaves.

Though the film’s marketing hasn’t done a good enough job of alerting audiences of this, The Curse of La Llorona is the latest film in the Conjuring-film universe made popular by James Wan. Unfortunately, much like the first Annabelle-film and The Nun, this, the third spin-off film in the film series, is another let-down, and, now, there are as many bad films in the connected horror film universe as there are good. Hence, the good no longer outweighs the bad.
Continue reading “REVIEW: The Curse of La Llorona (2019)”

REVIEW: Hellboy (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate

The following is a review of Hellboy (2019) — Directed by Neil Marshall.

In 2004 and 2008, Oscar-winning auteur Guillermo del Toro brought us two critically well-received comic book monster movies about Mike Mignola’s Dark Horse Comics creation ‘Hellboy,’ a red Nazi-summoned half-demon that fights for the human race against monsters and other dark forces. Even though del Toro is a beloved figure and his films are still held in high regard, del Toro’s request for a third film was denied. Instead, producers decided that it was time to replace the first two films’ auteur — del Toro, who had a real, recognizable love for his creatures — and its indispensable leading man, Ron Perlman — who was absolutely perfect in the role — in a new reboot of the franchise. Continue reading “REVIEW: Hellboy (2019)”

REVIEW: The Silence (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of The Silence — Directed by John R. Leonetti.

John R. Leonetti’s The Silence — not to be confused with Martin Scorsese’s Silence, which has a similar title, or John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place and Susanne Bier’s Bird Box, both of which have similar plots — follows a family during an apocalyptic event in which prehistoric bat-like creatures have come out of hiding to attack and feast on anything and anyone they hear. Stanley Tucci plays the family father, Miranda Otto his wife, and Kiernan Shipka plays one of his children — a deaf teenager. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Silence (2019)”

REVIEW: Pet Sematary (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Paramount Pictures

The following is a review of Pet Sematary — Directed by Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmeyer.

A couple of months ago, I decided to rewatch Mary Lambert’s 1989 adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. My father is a big fan of that film, but, I hadn’t seen it in years, and I barely remembered if I even liked it. Much to my father’s disappointment, I really didn’t enjoy rewatching Lambert’s film. This experience, I’ll be honest, actually made me more excited for this year’s remake. Perhaps I would now get the Pet Sematary film to ‘call my own.’ While I ultimately do, based on my first viewing, believe Kölsch and Widmeyer’s 2019-version is better and more effective than Lambert’s film, I was still very disappointed by what they gave us here. Continue reading “REVIEW: Pet Sematary (2019)”