“Parapsychologist Dr. Elise Rainier faces her most fearsome and personal haunting yet – in her own family home.”
Before I go into reviewing this movie, I have to inform my readers about ‘Dump Months’. This is when studios put out their worst movies and predicted bombs, figuring that critics and movie goers alike will not go to theaters to see them. These months are typically January, February and August. For the most part, terrible horror movies are released during January and February to draw in the teenage crowd just trying to get a scare after the holidays. You can tell what direction I’m going in here.
I’m a huge fan of the first two Insidious movies both directed by horror mastermind James Wan, who also directed films such as Saw, The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2. Wan passing the torch on this franchise was very apparent with the change in tone in the 3rd and 4th installments. The Last Key is a far cry from its predecessors.
Let’s start with the scares. WHAT SCARES??? This movie did a great job of showing all the jump scares in the trailers. I knew when and where to expect them, and even if I didn’t see the trailers, the pause in sound and negative space was a dead giveaway. The antagonist was the corniest of all four movies. He is the weakest part of the story and I knew he would be when I saw he had keys for fingertips….keys for fingertips. Let that stupid idea sink in.
The dialogue and acting in the film was forced and disjointed. Characters weren’t meshing well and the conversations were like seeing an unavoidable train wreck. It was weird that Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell (the only 3 reoccurring actors in the series) had the most awkward interactions and a lot of misses in the humor department.
Strangely enough this film cost more to make than the first two installments combined, yet is the worst looking. The effects and make-up are mediocre at best and I’ll mention it again…keys for freakin’ fingertips.
Overall Grade: D-
Insidious – The Last Key
Director: Adam Robitel
Blumhouse Productions, Stage 6 Films
Daniel Ortiz Rants on: Hereditary
After the matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.
When I originally saw the trailer for this film I knew what to expect. This wasn’t going to be the run-of-the-mill horror movie that would rely on underdeveloped characters and cheap jump scares. This was going to be a horror thriller that would deal with family trauma and absolute weirdness. I hate to pat myself on the back, but I was right!
Hereditary deals with the downward spiral of a family and their tumultuous experiences after the death of their grandmother. They all try to cope with past and present events in their own way which ends up driving them further into a bizarre rabbit hole.
A lot of people loved the movie, but I have to admit I was split. The first, and probably biggest problem I had with the film was the continuous slow pace. I truly appreciate a movie that’s a slow burn because I understand the necessity to build up characters and/or an environment to help fully grasp the context of the story, but this was a bit too slow. Even when something major would happen, I expected the pace to pick up a little, but often it went back into the comforts of the slow burn. I found too much of a gap between the development of the story and actually seeing something happen.
“I found too much of a gap between the development of the story and actually seeing something happen.“
I will say there was some creepy and disturbing imagery in this film, and some things that transpired that I was actually shocked happened. I was completely caught off guard by a specific scene that I thought would be the catalyst for a very dark turn, and even though things did get bizarre, it did drag between these moments.
My favorite character was Charlie, the young teenager played by Milly Shapiro. She managed to tread the line between totally creepy kid, and someone that you actually felt sorry for. It was never exactly specified what was wrong with her, but it played an intricate part in her dichotomy.
Anything else I say will be diving too deep into the film so I will leave it at this.
Overall Grade: C+
I felt there were enough good elements for me not to hate it, but the slow movement was sometimes too damn cumbersome. Also, this movie will have you talking about it after. Most of it was piecing together some of the confusing symbolism, and the rest was trying to understand why certain things were being done. I feel that the general audience is going to enjoy those elements or are going to find it to be the most frustrating part of the movie. If you like the pace of Rosemary’s Baby or The Exorcist, you will love this. If you’re looking for The Conjuring or Annabelle, you probably won’t.
Mystery, Horror, Drama
Director: Ari Aster
Palm star Media
2 hours 7 minutes
IMDB reference click here
Wind River, A Netflix Hidden Gem
“A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.”
This was a beast of a movie. I want to credit writer/director Taylor Sheridan for being one of the best up and coming Directors of the last five years. He directed my favorite movie of 2016, Sicario and the bank robbery thriller Hell or High Water, which also holds high acclaim. He captures raw and emotional grit and reality within the harshest environments in our hemisphere. He opts out of developing Hollywood-like characters and focuses on humanizing his personalities with deep emotional scars and sinful vulnerabilities that ground each individual in realism.
Wind River follows the same ambitions of humanization, revolved around the murder of a young Native American woman. It finds a way to be a simple crime story, but everything surrounding it is immersed in intrigue, deceit, and the pursuit of absolution.
Jeremy Renner plays a fish and wildlife tracker with some past regrets and is working diligently on this case to absolve himself of his iniquities. He does a fantastic job of expressing a special interest in using his environmental deciphering skills to figure out the events leading to the crime. Elizabeth Olsen plays an FBI agent out of her element who is extremely bright but has to overcome the odds of sexism on this reservation in order find the murderer.
The landscapes in the film are ironically beautiful and harsh at the same time. The snow-covered environment is breathtaking yet the story constantly reminds you about how brutal it can be.
Wind River is definitely a slow burn, but the way it comes to fruition is like a budding flower. I don’t want to spoil any part of the movie, but if you love a good murder mystery, Wind River puts together a highly competent story, great acting (especially from the Native American actors) and composes a tale of love, redemption, murder, and correction that will have you speaking about it long after the credits role.
Overall Grade: A-
Was not disappointed at all by this film, and I suggest when you hear the name Taylor Sheridan, you do yourself a favor and enjoy his masterpieces.
Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director: Taylor Sheridan
1 hour 47 minutes
IMDB reference click here
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