Rural

OMBC – Odd Apocalypse

The fifth book in the Odd Thomas series and it shows, is Odd Apocalypse. This one is hands down my least favorite in the series to date, having drifted father and farther from what made this series so good. I have a few gripes about this book, but I have some praise as well.

 

That was my jumbled thoughts on Odd Apocalypse. See you next month

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The Disappointments Room

I was less than impressed with this film. Not that the acting was bad or that it wasn’t a decently made film. I just didn’t care much for it. It feels like ghosts are hit and miss. Most often misses and while I won’t go as far as to call The Disappointments Room as miss, it’s certainly not a hit. My main issue is that the film comes off as bland, where it shouldn’t be. As they could have played on the idea that Dana might be crazy and not actually haunted. But the film never explores that territory instead choosing to stay in the safe zone of formulaic ghost horror.

Dana (Kate Beckinsale) a successful architect moves from the city to an old country manor with her husband David (Mel Raido) and their son Lucus (Duncan Joiner). The move was prompted by the recent death of their daughter and Dana’s accompanying mental breakdown and suicide attempt. But not everything is roses at the new manor, which is bad need of some repairs. While outside Dana notices a light turn on and off on the top floor and goes to investigate and finds a small room that locks only from the outside that’s not on the floor plans. She visits with the town librarian Ms. Judith (Marcia DeRousse) and learns that the room in question is a disappointments room. A room that disfigured children would be forced to live, to hide them away so that their appearance wouldn’t bring shame on their family. As Dana repairs and renovates the house and she delves more and more into the mystery of the disappointments room, she becomes more and more haunted by the ghosts of the manor. A little girl in a yellow dress (Ella Jones) along with her father, Judge Baker (Gerald McRaney) and Judge Baker doesn’t like Dana in his home…

What really dragged down this film was that so little happens. The pacing is great, which masks just how little is happening. It often felt like the film didn’t know where it was going, just meandering again and again. This made the film feel longer than it is, but not by a truly unbearable margin.

The acting, when it’s allowed to happen is pretty great. Kate Beckinsale and Mel Raido do a wonderful job and the two’s chemistry really worked for me. I loved Gerald McRaney as the spirit of the Judge. But I’ve loved him since I first became aware of him from his work on Jericho. Duncan Joiner did a good job for a child actor as did Ella Jones, but nothing noteworthy from either. The supporting cast, what there is, also did great jobs. Overall a very well cast and performed.

I loved the house. I love old houses as dread locations. To the point I wish I could have seen more of it. As most of what happens is only in a handful of rooms. The manor has a bit of a Rose Red vibe to me and I wish that the hauntings would have played off the house more.

Final thoughts, Good, but crippling generic. The pacing, acting, set and technical are all on point here. It’s just the boring story, where so little happens that drags down it down. Now I’m not talking about more scares, just more anything. I would only suggest this if you’re a fan of slow horror. But I don’t see myself revisiting this film. 5/10

OMBC – The Oath

The Oath by Frank Peretti came recommended by a coworker. So, upon his advice I picked up a copy with some rather high expectations. Expectations that were for the most part delivered on. I don’t have much negative to say about The Oath. As it’s a layered, engrossing novel that has a large cast of vivid characters. The Oath is considered to be one Frank Peretti’s best works, which makes me wonder about his other works and for being Christian Fiction, The Oath doesn’t feel overly preachy. Something I like.

Those are my thoughts on The Oath. Next Month I’ll be continuing with Odd Thomas series with Odd Apoccolypse by Dean Koontz.  See you next month and until then keep reading.

The Windmill

The Windmill or The Windmill Massacre is 2016 Dutch supernatural horror film with a body count. I went into this film due to its apparent slasher qualities, qualities that were vast and valuable. Though honestly beyond group of people being stalked and killed by a supernatural force is all I knew. But for me that was enough. The Windmill didn’t surprise me as much as I was hoping it would and has a couple of issues that did get under my skin.

The Windmill opens with Jennifer Harris (Charlotte Beaumont) being confronted by her boss about the fact she lied about who she is. He tries to keep her detained until the police arrive, but she escapes by smashing a vase into his head and running away. She wanders the streets of Amsterdam until the next morning when she comes across a Happy Holland tour bus, owned and operated by Abe (Bart Klever). Also on the bus is father and son, Douglas (Patrick Baladi) and Curt (Adam Thomas Wright), photographer Ruby (Fiona Hampton), royal marine Jackson (Ben Batt), Dr. Nicholas Cooper (Noah Taylor) and Japanese tourist Takashi (Tanroh Ishida). The bus breaks down after Jennifer freaks thinking she say her father walk into the road, which would be hard she she touched him alive back in Australia. Broke down with no cell service to call for help, Jennifer and Jackson head to a near by windmill that isn’t on the map to ask for help. On the way through the woods to get there Jackson has a hallucination about the prostitute he killed in Amsterdam the night before, before he’s killed by a strange figure with a scythe. Jennifer runs back to the bus, but no one believes her, a steady theme since the doctor outs shes on anti-psychotics. Soon the bus tips over into the pond it was parked by forcing the group as a whole to walk to the windmill. Along the way they loose Takashi who follows his own vision his wrong doings deeper into the woods. One by one the tourists are forced to confront their sins before being killed by the ghost of Miller Hendrik (Kenan Raven), for devil worshiper now gate man for hell…

My issues are two fold, first is it takes forever for anyone to believe Jennifer. Like three deaths and a witness in. Which wouldn’t of been bad if the filmmakers focused on the is she isn’t she motif. But that’s never addressed, we as the audience know from the get go that she isn’t and it feels like it takes forever for the victim pool to catch up.

My next issue is also a spoiler so feel free to jump past this part. But Abe the bus driver being in league with Miller Hendrik bothers me immensely. As Abe kills the repentant, who are not killed by Hendrik to be sent to hell along with any innocents that might have been on the bus of sinners. Which feels like it defeats the whole judging people for their sins and releasing the truly repentant. Why judge people at all if you have a cohort that kills the people that make it free? Also how did Abe start serving Hendrik and the devil? The Windmill never covers that, it just gives a throw away line about how he has been working for him for many years. With all the time spent arguing if Jennifer is insane could have been used to better flesh out Abe.

The rest of the victim pool is actually okay. Nothing special, but I can be a fan of standard fare. Which here I am. The best performances come from Tanroh Ishida, Adam Thomas Wright, and Patrick Baladi. I really love Tanroh the most as it feels like he did the most with his character even though he had little time. Patrick Baladi and Adam Thomas Wright have great father son chemistry and are very believable in these roles.

Final thoughts, it was okay. But had the fixings to be really great. The Windmill need to focus more on its characters and the Miller more than anything. Most are left woefully underdeveloped and their sins never really become the focal point they should. The kills are fun, inventive and gorey. Though the CGI does look a little silly at times. 6/10

Sacrifice

Sacrifice while good, feels incredibly generic. Many of the elements of this film have already been done, and have been done better. Sacrifice has a strange ambiance feels like a strange mixture of The Wicker Man (1973) and Jug Face. Well, at least to me. The Sacrifice while engaging at times, never really hooked me. The mood and pacing are wonderful, and I love the slow reveal of the film. It just felt like I had already seen it though, being well shot and acted doesn’t account for much when you know the twists and turns long before they arrive.

Dr. Tora Hamilton (Radha Mitchell) an obstetrician, moves to the small sleepy town on the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland with her husband, Ducan (Rupert Graves) after experiencing a number of miscarriages. The islands are home to Ducan’s family, and to an adoption institution. Where Tora both works and plans to adopt from. After work she returns home and finds a dead cow in her back field, so she decides to bury it by her self with a back hoe. While digging the cows grave she uncovers the body of a murder woman. The woman is discovered to have been ritualistically sacrificed after giving birth. Dr. Tora becomes obsessed with discovering the identity of the woman. As she digs, Tora uncovers a century old cult, who believe them selves to be more than human and after mating they sacrifice the mother after bearing them strong sons. A cult that is very much alive, and one that knows Tora is looking into them…

The sad thing is there’s a story in there, a good story. But, the generic feeling of the film heavily undermines it. While I think this film is wonderfully shot and that the acting ranged from good to great across the board, nothing popped. Nothing grabbed me and pulled me in, while a good story. There a number of times when Sacrifice had me interested, but then the plot would meander a bit slowing everything down.

I loved the acting in this film. The actors do a great job. Beyond the two principal characters, the supporting cast does a great job. I especially Joanne Crawford as Sgt. Dana Tulloch, who fits incredibly well into this role.  The cult leaders and members are also well done, though at times feel like they’re trying to be menacing. Rather than just be menacing.

Final Thoughts, overall I feel while okay. Maybe as far decent, isn’t that good. Sacrifice is one of the films that doesn’t equal the sum of its parts. I loved the acting, the story, the mood and the atmosphere. But the film as whole wasn’t that enjoyable. The plot feels tired, but also feels like it could have been exceptional and is a real missed opportunity. 4/10

The Wraith

I was surprised that I didn’t see or even know of The Wraith. Given that it stars a number of actors that I simply adore such as Randy Quaid and Clint Howard. Also the soundtrack is simply amazing and makes the film drip with the aesthetics of the 80’s. Which holds up really well as The Wraith doesn’t have the feel of forced 80’s but simply set in the time. But it does suffer a bit as I expect more from my horror films.

The Wraith opens with lights dancing over the desert that join and form a Dodge M4S piloted by a helmeted, leather clad driver. Said driver starts coming after a local street gang consisting of Oggie (Griffin O’Neal), Skank (David Sherrill), Gutterboy (Jamie Bozian) and Rughead (Clint Howard), who are all lead by the feared Packard Walsh (Nick Cassavetes).The gang forces people to race for the their cars under threats of violence to either them or their loved ones. Often turning to cheating it win the races. Until the Wraith shows up and starts racing them, killing them off during the races. While the gang deals with the mysterious racers, Jake Kessey (Charlie Sheen) comes to town. Quickly befriending Billy Hankins (Mathew Barry), who’s brother Jamie was murdered and Keri Johnson (Sherilyn Fenn), Packard’s unwilling girlfriend. Keri and Jake strike up a romance, one that is not approved of by Packard. Who set’s his goons upon them, though they prove to be little problem as they keep getting killed. The deaths are all being investigated by the local sheriff, Loomis (Randy Quaid).

I like it and The Wraith is pretty okay. It just doesn’t feel like it accomplishes much with its run time. Wraith has some great ideas and actually does a good job delivering most the time. Though it would have been nice to see the characters and the traumas they’ve suffered more deep explored and expanded upon.

One of the gripes I do have is Randy Quaid’s character. Who is fun, because of Randy Quaid. But that’s the extent of the enjoy-ability of the character. If he can be called one, mostly it feels like he’s brought in to chew the scenery and suck up some screen time as the character provides nothing to the story. I’m positive you could cut all of his scenes and it would have no baring on the plot of the film.

He does do a good job. A lot of the actors do a remarkably good job. Mathew Barry has a number of great moments and his final scene is sad, though not what I would call heart breaking. Also Clint Howard stood out in what could have been a very mediocre role.

Final thoughts, Charlie Sheen is bland in the film. The man is devoid of emotion throughout the film. He comes off as bland and uninteresting, which is awful as everyone is treats him like he’s not either of those things. The revenge angle doesn’t work for me either as so little time is spent on the catalyst, and is only brought up briefly for no other reason than to hold on the vague plot. Lastly, I was bothered by how Keri’s character felt more like a something that is being fought over, rather than a functioning individual. 6/10

Spring

mv5bmjmwnzm2otk3of5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjexotu0nde-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_-1Spring really managed to surprise me with its thoughtful blend of Horror and Romance. Spring gets the right blend of the two elements and leaves you with a great experience. Spring has managed to stay on my mind for days after viewing in such a way that I haven’t experienced since The Battery. The chemistry between the films leads Lou Taylor Pucci and Nadia Hilker is soft, but profoundly noticeable. The weight of the film falls on their shoulders, a burden the pair manages to carry with no problems.

Spring begins with Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) caring for his sick mother, who passes shortly after she’s introduced. Evan’s friend Tommy (Jeremy Gardner) takes him out drinking. Where Evan gets in a fight, badly beating the other man. This ends up with Evan loosing his job as he works at bar he got a fight in and fleeing the cops. Looking to invade the cops and the man he beat, Evan flies to Italy to make good on a trip, one that he planned and intended to take with father before he died. In Italy Evan starts working on an Olive farm, in town Evan meets a young, beautiful woman Louise (Nadia Hilker). After persisting she eventually agrees to go on a date with him. The two quickly fall for one another, though it’s a bad time for Louise. Who is going through violent and dangerous transformations…

What I loved was the soft flow of Spring. Feeling primarily like a romantic film, but it does its job in the horror department.  Which works great as the romantic angle along with the humanizing elements makes the character relatable and sympathetic. This ramps up the dread as I actually care for the characters.

I also loved the setting. Italy, the ocean, the old city, and the olive farm creates a dread location that’s actually kind of haunting. Also I love that the nights and days play in as Louise is sensitive to the light… sometimes. Placing the location next to ocean add a strange sense of smallness to film along with a strange sense of closeness.

The horror bits are surface level girl transforms into monsters and kills people. Beyond that is the uncertainly of their future at the end of the film. As best case the two raise a child with the same exact issue as Louise. The transformations are pretty great actually. I like on the silly side a couple of times, but overall very well done.

Final thoughts, I loved everything about this film and I’m sad that I didn’t see it sooner. Spring is a Romantic Horror film left me feeling both hopeful, but at the same time a strong sense of foreboding.  Spring isn’t a horror film about jump scares and body counts. It’s a film focused on atmosphere and leaves you feeling a bit haunted. 9/10