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Category: Horror

Thoughts on “Ouija Origin of Evil”


Ouija Origin of Evil decides its best way to scare you is to let you know who you will care for. The horror seeps through the connection to the family, that their personal lives carry emotional weight to the viewer making a judgement on whether they will care or if they will be passive.

The prequel film set in 1965 Los Angeles tells the story of a widowed mother of two daughters Alice Zander (Elisabeth Reaser). Her job, or game is to perform a ‘Seance’ for bereaved people wanting to reach out to loved ones, her end game is their money and has her kids in on the scam. Teenager Lina Zander (Annalise Basso) and younger daughter Doris Zander (Lulu Wilson).

Like any other teenager Lina sneaks out of her room, she ends up at possible love interest Mikey (Parker Mack’s) house, they decide to play a board game, that board game: Ouija. The group of four play it in Mikey’s mom’s garage, one friend convinced that it’s real has to be convinced otherwise. A clear moment of silence is followed by mike’s moms entrance, scaring a friend out of her mind, a reaction worthy of a clap, a reaction I’d expect and have myself.

Alice after learning about Ouija, is tempted by the pull to scare her clientele with the game and decides to buy one for work use. As you can tell the rules of the game indicate clearly what not to do, and for the time spent using it, they do the opposite, not treating it like it explicitly explains too. What follows is Doris unknowing discovery of a demonic presence that lives inside the house, attaching itself to the girl and using her as proxy.

The film lingers on character development for what feels like most of the film, don’t get me wrong I love learning about each character but for the horror aspect it misses out on the sustained and prolonged horror, for moments that scare enough. That being said the film does revel in its mystery and use of visuals scaring the life out of me even without a jump-scare.

There’s a particular moment that changed up the scare game for the best. Doris is looking through the eye of the Ouija – the piece that moves with your hands – we know what to expect but we don’t get it, instead in the corner of the frame the demonic ‘thing’ is there, but quickly moves out of frame, as though we shouldn’t be looking at it. This is a moment that warrants the scare because it doesn’t present itself for you to scream at it, it shies away and leaves you to contemplate more what you saw. Top marks for that.

The pacing was a struggle for me, like I mentioned before, it took longer that out should to get going. Maybe I wasn’t scared so couldn’t feel the tension right at the beginning. Down the line the film makers create sudden jarring cuts to shots that take a second to register but quite a while to forget, in that creating a tense, atmospheric horror that doesn’t want to jump-scare you, but to keep you wondering what the hell you saw.

The mystery of the film is refreshing and created a backstory that once you learn it puts all of the pieces in place, that the resolution, really isn’t what you’d expect when you least expected it. The frights and the chills come from the innocence of the family and the wonder if they will survive.


Thoughts on “Inferno”


Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) finds himself in yet another dire situation involving a mankind disgusted billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) who reduces the worth of the population to nil, due to concerns of the ever increasing population, that he believes will wipe out the human race. His actions are radical, involving the release of a virus Inferno that will cleanse the world and leave the surviving humans to inhabit a world rid of over-population, but left with the nightmarish reality of hell on Earth.

Establishing it’s main villain in the opening credits leaves the impression of an over arching tyrant who wants to will his vision upon the world through force. Not surprising, his name would suggest – he is the villain – as an understatement, but like his name he is killed off mere minutes into the film, leaving the chase down to the retrieval of a virus in the name of Inferno.

Robert wakes up in Florence after an assault leaving him with amnesia. The first person he interacts with is Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) who tries to make his reorientation into the world with stability. Instantly back into the fray, after an assassin; Vayentha (Ana Ularu) are Terminator on the loose hired to assassinate Langdon for something on his persons of interest to an unknown party.

The pair head to Sienna’s apartment, cleaning Robert up, regaining simple memories and uncovering a vile placed in his suit. A Hazardous vile, opened by thumbprint, Robert Langdon’s thumbprint. Revealed inside is Dante’s Inferno, the depiction of hell, only altered in a way that leaves a clue as to the next step of the journey.

There are two conflicting parties that chase down the pair as they try to uncover the mystery of Inferno, where it is, what it will do. Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudson) & Christoph Bruder (Omar Sy) both on track to take down Langdon which motives are construed by interactions pointing the finger at the other party. This use of character deception distracts from any other channel of investigation leaving a third party to be the one to instantly take aim at, trying to misconstrued the perception of each to disguise any realm of truth to any of them.

The film handles the mystery like it’s about who can be trusted and why they should be trusted. How much can be believed and what truth can be understood as truth and not a fabrication. The lack of surprise affects – only slightly – the impact of what the journey has meant to the two.

Action scenes do deliver their sense of thrill, and most restart the chase once the tension has alleviated at times after each game of cat & mouse.

The tour of Italy remains the pièce de résistance of the film, seeking the historical and visually stunning locations which add to the thrill of the narrative, although does, at points feel like a lecture of Dante.

Yet, the film doesn’t distract attention away from the questions raised of who is really trustworthy, who is in it for what reason and why the hell would someone take action and not live to see it pull through if so engulfed with passion for it’s success. A better way to use Zobrist would be to have his path alter, but, would it be cliche to have the mastermind be there throughout, or is he just the catalyst setting things into motion?

Thoughts on “Blair Witch”


The thought of returning to the woods was a daunting thought, especially following the 1999 original. You’d have thought someone wouldn’t dare go there but when family is involved, incentive becomes paramount.

Blair Witch takes us back into the Black Hills Forest into a similar set up to the original, but adds the implication that our characters are in search of the house Heather Donahue vanished in.

The film is found footage, but when was that unexpected. The same tech is used albeit up-to-date and slicker, earpiece cameras & drones are thrown into the mix adding to better show the perspective and give new dimensions to being lost in the woods.

Heather’s brother James (James Allen McCune) views footage online, footage found around the time of Heather’s disappearance, revealing her in the house in the end of the original. From then on he takes his girlfriend Lisa (Callie Hernandez), and friends Ashley (Corbin Reid) & Peter (Brandon Scott) to the people who found the footage Talia (Valorie Curry) & Lane (Wes Robinson’s) house. The pair take them out into the woods.

It’s found that the pair have no clue as to where they were going, and wanted to tag along with the main group. From then on the world crumbles around them, and this is where it gets interesting. Throughout is a constant sense of fright. It doesn’t scare because you can’t see what causes the disruption. But it’s in the anticipation that causes you to be aware of something you have no concept of, which lingers in your train of thought, dread is your only thought.

In these encounters it’s hard to find dimension in characters though, mostly seen as being there, reacting to it. But that isn’t a bad thing, I didn’t need to find more layers than one to enjoy their performances. They’re taking us on an experience, something that we’re on the ride for.

Following is unparalleled psyche stretching tension in the final moments, or, final act of the film as the crescendo builds and story unveils itself. In the details Adam Wingard gives us answers, if only you notice them. Reestablishing the lore, making good work of a fanbase that relished the original for its realism surrounding the Blair Witch depicted as truth giving a satisfaction to fans.

The film takes advantage of the upgrade in technologies for the cinematography, the use of drone, earpiece cameras and DSLR’s compile to ingrain the feeling of the moment through its raw nature of found footage, which looks great. Using some well placed shots and stabile imagery which decreased the motion sickness.

Blair Witch gives more answers than it does questions. Somehow that leaves me more conflicted, the wonder was so magical about the original. Although this does not spoil the experience because it’s a double-edged sword in this sense.

The film manages to build upon the aesthetic of the original, the atmosphere is claustrophobic in an open space, the logic of no firearms within the group baffles me – in the woods where you could be killed by anything a would animal as opposed to a ghost.

Given everything that a found footage film is, Blair Witch doesn’t necessarily add anything new but refines it and tells an interesting story in the most simplistic way. For me it engaged me in their journey and made sure to keep me engrossed in the downward spiral the films characters were heading towards.

Thought’s on “Don’t Breathe”






















So let’s take a walk, down an abandoned street. A street full of derelict property and the sight of no-one around, take this as a sure bet that things are about to get a bit stressful. Sure, the setting is an obvious way to stage a robbery gone wrong, having no access to help. Our heroes are already at a massive disadvantage from the get go.

The film follows three main protagonists, Rocky (Jane Levy, from the Fede Alvarez remake of ‘Evil Dead’), Alex (Dylan Minnette, of Goosebumps fame) and Money (Daniel Zovatto, from the intriguing Horror/Thriller ‘It Follows’). The three earn their living as ‘cautious home invaders’, their mandate is to fence goods for a total of under $10,000 so that the crime, if they’re caught, will result in the more favourable prison sentence; I’m not sure that counts as favourable.

At the start of the film the characters are in quite the predicament, Rocky lives with her addict mother and her new boyfriend Travis, whilst taking care of her little sister Diddy, she’s desperate to make enough money to move to California, to take her sister away from the wretched life she’s been living.

Money in a career that callously implicates him as a struggle. And Alex, the straightest arrow of the three, the only one with a stabile home life and respectable upbringing. Their reasons semi-justify the lengths they go to, to secure a future from their troubled beginnings, baring Alex who’s along for the ride for Rocky.

Rocky’s family life contrasts Alex, for she at the lower end of the spectrum would love nothing more than to get away from her ‘guardians’. Alex on the other hand has warrant for staying with his father, being that he’s more stabile and coherent than Rocky’s mother.

Alex and Money, two of Rocky’s closest friends, Money being closer as her boyfriend, steal from the rich and sell anything they find to a dealer named Raul. Raul tips them off about a man that could possibly be their next hit, they move into scope out the area and discover the man is blind. Having that parallel of Don’t Breathe being a literal translation, of, or he’ll hear you.

Alex’ dad works for housing protection, this gives the gang ease of access, having keys for each house on hand to use at their own will.

In the mix of a love triangle aptly put in recent social climate by Money, or as threatened by him to Alex, “Stay in the friend-zone.” in an awkward display of macho from Money. This quickly fades as the home invasion becomes evasion and escape; if it all possible.

The helpless victim, the Blind Man (Stephan Lang, Avatar) is played to aggressive but subtle perfection. The impact is sudden and the quiet chaos plays out in a tense 90 minute brawl of tense structured moments that has the film cut between the characters.

The effortless pacing between crucial points create a band of relenting tension as you are pulled into the madness from one moment to the next, never feeling that any of it is over done, or repeated. This praise goes to the direction by Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead Remake) and his cast & crew for putting the camera right in the moment and us, the audience, in perspective whilst making us believe their predicament to be true and tangible.

Don’t Breathe captures what it means with rhetoric interaction. It’s not a question, it’s not a thought, it’s an imperative reaction you keep in mind, that as you watch the film you will find out what it means to be in the characters shoes – or out of them.

– An impressive house invasion film that intrigues & displays a raw fear though it’s talented cast, with beautiful visuals and use of sound to its advantage.