The Craft: Legacy (2020)

The Craft: Legacy
Director: Zoe Lister-Jones
Writer: Zoe Lister-Jones
Sequel to/Reboot of: The Craft
Cast: Cailee Spaeny, Zoey Luna, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, David Duchovny, Michelle Monaghan, Nicholas Galitzine, Julian Grey, Charles Vandervaart, Donald MacLean Jr., Fairuza Balk
Seen on: 11.9.2022

Plot:
Lily (Cailee Spaeny) and her mother Helen (Michelle Monaghan) have always been a team. Now that Helen has met Adam (David Duchovny) and fallen in love, they are moving to a new town together so Helen can be with him. For Lily, it may be a chance to start over socially. Instead she has a rather mortifying start at school and is immediately teased by Timmy (Nicholas Galitzine). But her classmates Lourdes (Zoey Luna), Frankie (Gideon Adlon) and Tabby (Lovie Simone) show her some kindness. What Lily doesn’t know yet: the three girls are witches looking for a fourth to complete their coven. And they may just have found that in Lily.

The Craft: Legacy is more an update of the original Craft film than a sequel, and I have to say that it is an update that I appreciated a lot since it rectifies some of the (narrative) mistakes that the first movie made. I really enjoyed it.

Continue reading

The Ritual (2017)

The Ritual
Director: David Bruckner
Writer: Joe Barton
Based on: Adam Nevill‘s novel
Cast: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, Sam Troughton, Paul Reid
Seen on: 3.9.2022

Plot:
After their friend Rob (Paul Reid) is killed during a robbery, Hutch (Robert James-Collier), Luke (Rafe Spall), Phil (Arsher Ali) and Dom (Sam Troughton) go to Sweden together to go on the hiking trip that Rob suggested just before he died. Despite not being very experienced hikers, everything goes well until Dom falls and twists his ankle. They decide to deviate from the original plan and go through the forest instead of around it. But there is something in the forest. Something that is hunting them.

The Ritual starts off well enough when establishing its characters and their situation. But once it would have been time to really dig in to that, it turns to scariness instead and loses its grip on the story and the audience watching.

The film poster showing the central four walking towards a forest, a car wreck next to them.
Continue reading

The Invitation (2022)

The Invitation
Director: Jessica M. Thompson
Writer: Blair Butler
Cast: Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Doherty, Stephanie Corneliussen, Alana Boden, Sean Pertwee, Hugh Skinner, Virág Bárány, Courtney Taylor, Carol Ann Crawford
Seen on: 2.9.2022

Plot:
Ever since the death of her parents, her mother dying only recently, Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) has been feeling at a loss as she has no other family. Or so she thought. On a whim, she sends in a DNA kit to a website connecting relatives and lo and behold, there is a cousin of hers in the UK – Oliver (Hugh Skinner). And Oliver is not only overjoyed to meet Evie, he is also rich enough to invite her back to the UK to attend a wedding in the extended family and meet everybody. That includes not only her family, but also Walt (Thomas Doherty), her most charming host. But even as Evie settles into the luxurious life of old money, she can’t shake the sense that there is something more going on here.

The Invitation is not great, but it is good enough to be entertaining and Nathalie Emmanuel is radiant. Plus, it has the most menacing manicure I have ever seen in my life.

The film poster showing Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) dressed in a bridal gown, blood on her mouth and with rolled back eyes sitting on a throne. Walt (Thomas Doherty) ist standing behind her, one hand on her shoulder.
Continue reading

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

Resident Evil: Extinction
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Based on: the video game series
Sequel to: Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ashanti, Christopher Egan, Spencer Locke, Matthew Marsden, Linden Ashby, Jason O’Mara, Mike Epps
Seen on: 24.8.2022

Plot:
After basically the entire world was overrun by zombies, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is making her way through the desert, always looking for survivors that may need help, and simply surviving herself. Also making their way through the desert is Claire (Ali Larter) and her convoy that includes Carlos (Oded Fehr), looking for food and fuel wherever they can find it. Meanwhile, Dr Isaacs (Iain Glen) is experimenting at the Umbrella corporation, hoping for a way to capitalize on Alice and on the zombies. All of their paths are bound to cross.

Resident Evil: Extinction is, I think, my favorite of the Resident Evil movies so far (this is not an endorsement). That’s not because it is particularly good, but it is a decent, albeit uninspired genre exercise that plays nicely with what came in the series before it.

The film poster showing Alice (Milla Jovovich) walking in the desert, two automatic weapons in her hands.
Continue reading

Nope (2022)

Nope
Director: Jordan Peele
Writer: Jordan Peele
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, Steven Yeun, Wrenn Schmidt, Keith David
Seen on: 12.8.2022

Plot:
Since his father (Keith David) died in a freak accident, OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) has been trying to keep their horse farm – with horses trained for movie making – afloat more or less on his own. His sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) taking over the more people-oriented tasks when she can. But OJ has had to sell some horses to their neighbor, Jupe Park (Steven Yeun), former child actor, who now runs a Western village for tourists. When Emerald comes to the farm for a few days, they realize that there is something floating above them, something obviously alien. They are determined to catch it on camera.

With Nope, Peele continues his line of unusual and very political horror movies. Nope is his least scary film, I’d say, and maybe his most messy, but that messiness, and the film in general are always interesting and meaningful.

The film poster showing a cloud trailing a line of little flags, over an illuminated Western village in the middle of nowhere.
Continue reading

Blood Red Sky (2021)

Blood Red Sky
Director: Peter Thorwarth
Writer: Peter Thorwarth, Stefan Holtz
Cast: Peri Baumeister, Carl Anton Koch, Alexander Scheer, Kais Setti, Gordon Brown, Dominic Purcell, Graham McTavish
Seen on: 5.8.2022

Content Note: (critical treatmen of) racism against muslims

Plot:
Elias (Carl Anton Koch) and his mother Nadja (Peri Baumeister) are flying to the USA. Nadja is sick, and a doctor there has promised to be able to heal her. Everything seems to be going well until their plan is hijacked. As things turn more and more tense and outright bloody on board and Muslim passengers like Farid (Kais Setti) get singled out by the hijackers for some reason, Elias tries to hide. As the hijackers turn their attention to him and Nadja, it becomes apparent that there is more to Nadja’s illness than appeared at first.

My expectations for Blood Red Sky weren’t particularly high, but they were disappointed anyway as it is a vampire movie that is just no fun, despite the nice idea.

The film poster showing Nadja (Peri Baumeister) holding Elias (Carl Anton Koch) in an airplane seat. Her reflection in the plane window shows a creature with a bloody mouth.
Continue reading

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Director: Alexander Witt
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Based on: the video game series
Sequel to: Resident Evil
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Razaaq Adoti, Jared Harris, Mike Epps, Sandrine Holt, Matthew G. Taylor, Zack Ward, Iain Glen
Seen on: 4.8.2022

Plot:
Raccoon City seems to be just getting back to its feet after what happened at the Hive, when the next catastrophe strikes and the city is overrun by zombies. Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes in the hospital amidst the chaos as one of only a handful of people still in the city and not yet zombified. To contain the zombies, a bomb is supposed to be dropped in the city, and if Alice doesn’t find a way out by then, she will surely die. Teaming up with other survivors, they look for an escape. But zombies aren’t the only thing that the Umbrella Corporation experimented with – and there are more surprises to come.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse is actually a little better than Resident Evil, not that that’s saying much. But there are some good action moments, the male gaze is dialled down a bit and the plot is a little more coherent.

The film poster showing Alice (Milla Jovovich) walking through a destroyed city wrapped in a towel and carrying a semi-automatic weapon.
Continue reading

Men (2022)

Men
Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland
Cast: Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear, Paapa Essiedu, Gayle Rankin
Seen on: 19.7.2022

Content Note: domestic violence, (questionable) suicide, (critical treatment of) misogyny

Plot:
Harper (Jessie Buckley) has had a bad time with her husband James (Paapa Essiedu), and that’s putting it mildly. As they are no longer together, Harper decides that a break is in order. She rents a landhouse, a small estate in a tiny village, from jovial Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear) and hopes to just have a calm two weeks away from everything. But it doesn’t work out that way.

Men is quite a film. I found it utterly engaging and deeply weird in the most interesting of ways. It is definitely the kind of film you will want to spend some time discussing with many people.

The film poster showing Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear) smiling, the word Men stamped across his eyes.

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

Resident Evil (2002)

Resident Evil
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Based on: the video game series
Cast: Milla Jovovich, James Purefoy, Eric Mabius, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Salmon, Martin Crewes, Pasquale Aleardi, Heike Makatsch, Jaymes Butler, Jason Isaacs
Seen on: 14.7.2022

Plot:
The Umbrella Corporation runs a sophisticated laboratory where they do secret experiments. But something goes wrong. Alice (Milla Jovovich) finds herself just outside of the laboratory without her memories, but with a man, Spence (James Purefoy). Both are quickly picked up by a military unit who are trying to get into the research facility to stop whatever is happening there that seems to have to do with a supercomputer going rogue. Whether Alice and Spence want to or not, they are along for the ride.

I have never seen anything in the Resident Evil franchise, and I decided to give it a go. If I am correctly informed, the films get better after the first. It is hard to imagine that they can get worse in any case.

The film poster showing Alice (Milla Jovovich) with a giant gun and Rain (Michell Rodriguez) in a fighting pose.
Continue reading

The Black Phone (2021)

The Black Phone
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Based on: Joe Hill‘s short story
Cast: Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Davies, E. Roger Mitchell, Troy Rudeseal, James Ransone, Miguel Cazarez Mora, Rebecca Clarke, J. Gaven Wilde, Spencer Fitzgerald, Jordan Isaiah White, Brady M. Ryan, Tristan Pravong, Jacob Moran, Brady Hepner, Banks Repeta
Seen on: 27.6.2022

Plot:
Finney (Mason Thames) and his sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw) live in a small town with their alcoholic father (Jeremy Davies). Boys have been going missing from the town for a while, and there are persistent rumors of The Grabber who nabs them. Finney finds that The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) is very real indeed when he himself is taken and locked into a sound-proof cellar. Desperate, Finney sees no way to escape. But then the disconnected phone on the wall starts ringing, and The Grabber’s previous victims start to give Finney advice. Meanwhile, Gwen tries everything to find Finney, and since she sometimes sees things in her dreams, she might actually be able to help.

The Black Phone is an atmospheric and very scary film that you shouldn’t look at too closely when it comes to plot.

The film poster showing The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) wearing his mask, his hands dissolving into a red liquid.
Continue reading