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Thoughts on “Blood Father”


Blood Father is the simple story of a girl; Lydia (Erin Moriarty) a girl whose fallen into the wrong crowd after running away from home. In a moment of panic, in a situation she’d never find herself in results in Lydia shooting her drug dealer boyfriend instead of someone he wants her to shoot. Out of sheer panic she calls her father, John Link (Mel Gibson) a badass Tattoo Artist, Vietnam Vet who takes his daughter home with him, to protect and reconnect with.

The two from the get-go are hunted down by the vengeful drug dealers connected with Lydia’s ex Jonah (Diego Luna). Without intimidating Link, he shuts his trailer door and they open fire. Link’s friends – or co-trailer park inhabitants show up with a full arsenal to warn off the drug dealers. At the he’d of this posse is Kirby (William H. Macy) Links sponsor, and friend albeit in comically derogative ways of speaking. But they both understand each other.

The following story unfolds, Link and Lydia high-tail it out of California to avoid anymore unfortunate run-ins with the Cartel. From here it slows down and speeds up the pace, and in an unexpected update, John Link is a funny, quip type of guy. Most of his lines, unexpectedly pull in the laughs – a few sniggers here and there – that never feel forced.

The form of Blood Father’s presentation is keeping a tight lid on these two characters. They don’t distract by bringing in too many players into the game, other than its villain and said villains subordinates. A point-to-point chase, reminiscent of Mel Gibson’s ‘Mad Max’.

Overall, I was surprised (Happily surprised) that a film so under-the-radar had its moment to shine, and did. That didn’t take itself too seriously, but didn’t go over-the-top to tip it over the edge.


Thoughts on “The Girl on the Train”


The Girl on the Train revolves around the months leading up to Megan (Haley Bennett) murder. The story forms it’s pacing through interactions between Rachel (Emily Blunt) and her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux). Her desperation to keep in touch and him distancing himself further. Tom’s wife Anna (Rebecca Fergusson) fears for her baby’s safety around Rachel, Rachel has a habit of showing up uninvited, pestering the family, usually drunk.

The film goes back and forth between Rachel, Megan, Anna & Tom revealing new clews and new elements to chew over whilst you work out who had the right motive and who is guilty enough, all while keeping an open perspective to work out people who can be singled out or not.

The purpose of the “Months ago” structure plays in the narratives favour, working in new details to fill in gaps, as though our experience mirrors Rachel’s. Her drunken escapades leave her memory blank, and her awakening the following morning being that of concern of the night before.

Her frivolous nature defines her struggle, a women so distraught that she can’t stay away, her worth to anyone is nil. Throughout she, as we do, becomes more and more focused and driven for a resolution that will be pushed out through touch-and-remember moments, as the memories return by being near places of interest.

Although the film from a subjective perspective is full of mystery and intriguing character developments, there’s nothing more dulling than the finale. The reveal of the big bad, the question on your mind throughout being unveiled.

I suppose that’s the point, the full-stop to the narrative is this reveal – the film handles it well – not too shocking, but it does unfold well during the films runtime.

The neat packaging of story reveals is also a great way to wrap up many of the stories plot elements, the film does so by having moments happen at the start and happen again in the end. A gesture that not only the main thread is stitched together but that characters become more understood by the time the credits role, that they’re lives and digressions are all apart of their character.

The Girl on the Train is addictive and I rarely dislike many thrillers so it’s not a surprise I enjoyed the films mystery, and the characters that inhabit the world we are presented with.

Thoughts on “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”


Tim Burton is best known for his quirky on off-beat style films that relish in the peculiarity of the execution of the story being told. That Burton touch is not lost here, but is toned down in a way that feels altered but not tampered with.

After events that shape Jakes life – he’s taken to a psychiatrist – who, by Jakes great plan suggest he try to find the orphanage, the one his grandfather supposedly stayed at as a child to fully realise its legitimacy, to essentially try and move on – get closure.

The film includes weird and wonderful, creative strokes of fun. The films central portrait is that of the home for peculiar children, run by Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) a delightfully cheery and on-the-mark guardian for children more abnormal than the rest of society in 1943. That which he would stumble across after reaching the location that the home is located.

Jake (Asa Butterfield) stumbles upon a secret entrance which found after tall tails told by his grandfather Abe (Terrence Stamp) paints a picture of another world, a world that for Jakes mom and dad disprove – with no evidence the opinion of Abe is shrouded in its uncertainty.

The film takes form of Jakes discovery of the peculiar house, to uncover his own powers, to find if that he himself is peculiar – something hinted at via possible love interest, Emma Bloom (Ella Purnell) – she’s given the most attention out of the peculiars. This focus is the anchor to why he should stay, his life in 2016 doesn’t look tempting to return too which is somewhat of a cliche as love interests always fall into a category of being the premise for the main lead rather than for her own personality.

The various peculiarities give definition and attention to each of the children, although like any ensemble the main characters achieve maximum coverage. Given the nature of the story focusing on the cooperation, this detail doesn’t deter any sense of value in the minor presence they have on screen – something that in others seems to be picked apart – but shouldn’t be too much of a negative here.

The idea is that they all use their peculiarities as connecting strengths that they’re all a part of the puzzle, that each of them can provide assistance using their abilities. Their peculiarities present themselves as showcases for the main character Jake to project to the audience that their particular skill is displayed. A quick and friendly bonding session with the children instantly connects their lives together, that they’re apart of each other.

To oppose them is Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) leader of the ‘child-friendly’ monsters, the Hollowgasts, Hollows for short – are the creepiest 12A/PG-13 monster ever created. A lot like Slenderman, less Jack Skellington. Very well monitored in their evolution and backstory which doesn’t hold back, giving you the full amount of transformation and disfigurement without being scared to cut away.

The narrative concentrates on the fun and the fantastical rather than forcing any logical reasoning, which is a contrast to other films that try to define what it’s doing is fact. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children builds a world that could easily form more stories in the future, but only time will tell if it would become a repetitious loop, or something else entirely.

Thoughts on “The Girl With All The Gifts”


Believe it or not there’s life in zombie films. The classics and the modern take on the zombie masses stay the same – hungry for blood, hungry for flesh – but are reinvented to fit the new take in The Girl With All The Gifts. The zombies are like pop-culture has defined them, but altered – think activated by noise, on reaction. Less continuously devouring unless inclined too.

The story follows Melanie (Sennia Nanua) a girl who for intents and purposes is a zombie, or a hungry. The treatment of other children in the facility they live in provides safety and shelter from the world that is overrun by the infected. Although the approach is leaving you to wonder how bad it is on the outside without a glimpse until it falls apart – leading you straight into the chaos as fresh as the characters do.

The bunker is essentially a training ground for educating the infected children – running tests on them and working towards a cure. Dr Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close) heads up the experiments, which she picks test subjects by random selection via Melanie. Asking her to pick  number from 1 to 20, eventually picking 4; Melanie’s room number, choosing her for experimentation.

Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton) approaches the children with care, and this fact resonates with you because there are two ways to approach the information given; should you feel sad for the children because of their age &  a cruel experience of life they’ve lived. Or, is it that they’re not redeemable due to their zombification, that they are a danger and not worth the risk.

On the other hand, there’s Sgt. Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) a no bullshit soldier, trained for the mission; follows protocol to the T. His approach deflects emotion for the state of reality, they’re infected; not children.

You can’t help but feel empathy for the children. Their lives cut short, via the end of the world – as abrupt as it is for the characters – it is for the viewer.

After an attack on their base the remaining survivors left alive Melanie, Dr Caldwell, Justineau, Eddie, Kieran Gallagher (Fisayo Akinade) & Dillon (Anthony Welsh) head out to find refuge in London. They come across hordes of infected, the future of the film revolves around these tense moments, where at any point they could be killed in a moments notice.

The layer of character development adds the the emotional weight burdened on you as you journey wit the characters I’m search of safety, a cure, and a future. In something that should follow the same trajectory; The Girl With All The Gifts changes direction in a moment where you couldn’t expect to happen.

The sound design filled in the space with audible paranoia, the light murmur that rings throughout is unsettling.

Some moments felt out of place and a few performances fell flat and didn’t feel of this world, that they’re in this situation making some scenes slapstick and lighthearted.

A gripe with the choices in the editing room that bother me was the choice of where to end the film. A perspective shift is the greatest moment the film could have left us with, but decides to add an extra glimpse at the world they now inhabit – nevertheless, still an ending act to be dynamic.

Thoughts on “Deepwater Horizon”


Take it from me a lot of action films do the same thing. Which is the eagerness to get to the explosions, to get to the thrill of an action-blockbuster, nothing wrong with that. But in some instances as a viewer you don’t get to fully understand the reasons why you should care for the characters. Yet, it’s not that you don’t care, it’s that you can’t indulge in their lives to get a bigger picture.

Deepwater Horizon in name of an offshore oil-rig takes centre stage for the traumatic events that unfold during the 1 Hr 40 minute explosive feature. The rig as big as it is presented, it’s the intimacy of disaster creating a confined and claustrophobic space trapping you inside with the crew you’re following.

The power of family is surmountable to the fear of death. The desperate struggle of knowing what Mike is dedicating his survival to his family evokes emotional tethers within anyone watching – it definitely makes a point of the determination that Mike feels, that his sub-conscious is what drives him to escape the nightmare, being returned to his wife and daughter, Felicia (Kate Hudson) and Sydney (Stella Allen).

The film takes the slow build-up approach where we see more normality of routine, play-by-play of the role taken by Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) on board, using jargon that is quickly simplified to not over complicate the audiences experience. Connected friendships between crew, Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell) & Andrea Fleets (Gina Rodriguez) complicates the inevitability of the disaster feeling more and more strenuous, knowing the reality of the subject matter, and what could possibly happen to these people he cares so much about.

The crew all interact with rough interaction, an ‘everyone understands each other’s jibe’ approach. Giving a sense of cohesion of the crew that spends long enough with each other could have. Adding layer upon layer to their relationships and personalities.

The reality of the tale being told – that of terrifyingly fact based accounts – and the reality that those crew members lost are real, taken horrifically on April 20th 2010 in the worst Oil-Rig disaster in US history adds to the gut-wrenching losses presented on screen in such full-force impact.

When push comes to shove due to the unwillingness to fail, to lose profit in eye of danger is Vidrine (John Malkovich) and Kaluza (Brad Leland) the typical business types at BP who see money and nothing more. This insistence in going through with an obviously flawed plan causes the mess to erupt almost immediately.

When it comes down to pressure, nothing is more insatiable to the sense than the unnerving presentation of the forceable future – that of 10 minutes in the future – that will come to fruition unbearably described by incurably pulse-racing indications from the pressure building up in the pipes ready to erupt as if mount everest was ready to blow. The scene building is full of decisions made and ones that shouldn’t, the film lets you see what the characters don’t, tying an ever increasing knot in the pit of ones stomach.

The pacing never never forces action over context – the characters are real people – that their experiences are that of fact and not fiction. The approach was as delicate to not over exaggerate but to put you in a place to have a better sense of the events that will unfold.

The overall experience relishes in the build-up and the obvious peril that will befall the 126 crew members on board. That giving us the facts and the reality is enough to stir our emotions before the disaster even begins. And in the end leaving us with deep sadness, due to the raw nature of the disaster.

Thoughts on “The Magnificent Seven” (2016)


The revival of a classic western genre is catapulted by the cast that will ultimately define the new generation of classic heroes and tropes. A giving dynamic that represent different corners of the Western genre that it feels fresh and also very reminiscent of the classics.

As the story goes, seven men form to take on an oppressive villain through glorious action packed shoot outs and so does that story get told here. The story is tried and true very much seen but champed through its iterations and from the perspective of a fan of westerns, The Magnificent Seven embellishes the heart and the soul of those classic films. Although not to trample on the way a western is made, it’s created as an homage in the sense that it’s very much grounded in the types of characters seen, and the role they play as to each be separate from one another.

The films cast, chosen very wisely consists of the seven, the magnificent seven, those being Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). The process of meeting each character isn’t the focus for the films story, it doesn’t take too much time away from the seven of them interacting with one-another, other than to give insight to what they can do and what they’d bring to the team.

The premise of their mission is to take back land derived from them by Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) & Teddy Q (Luke Grimes) request revenge on behalf of the bereaved town living in fear under Bart’s thumb. Chisholm accepts and on the search for men to pull this feat off.

The use of classic western tropes provide enough nostalgia to relish in, but not too much that takes away from a new experience. The over the top, how the hell did they survive that approach sprinkles on the fun whilst not being too ridiculous when it comes down to the finale as everything becomes more realistic.

Each character provides their own story and depth, not an explicit amount of backstory but an idea of the characters history and turmoil they’ve have survived. Which doesn’t take away from the impact of their interactions and their likability, it is more focused on the interactions between the group than it is on each individual character.

Although some get more backstory than others which seems to be the usual affair for a film with a larger ensemble cast. The 12A rating also affects how much we see and what is altered to imply rather to display – which is a missed opportunity tonally which creates a more slapstick appeal.

The choice to make each character essentially the Terminator reduces the appeal or empathy felt towards any one of the characters on screen, which constrains the appeal to being attached to a character involved.

The Magnificent Seven took me back to a place as a child when old westerns would be played on TV and the over-the-top action and suspense played full into my imagination is replicated here. When expecting very little, I was surprised to have a great time whilst watching this film, although it’s skimping over character development in some areas and the fact it’s tame violence & risk reduced the overall impact of the film.

Writing a Video game, the right approach + Other musings.

Straight off the bat my up-to-date impressions on writing a video game is that it’s an incredible experience, and so full of inspiring moments – it’s a long road ahead, and a journey that I go on with the most dedicated group of individuals – Mark Gregory, Nathan Winfield, Adelson Tavares, Callum Donaldson, Jeffrey Zwaans, Joseph Marin, Adam face, Eddy Kassabian, Allison Summers, Rachel Alderson – sounds like a great band line-up.

I can’t express how fun and inspiring it has been, and continues to be at the moment. Having conversations that everyone’s involved in, getting the team on the same wavelength and discussing story ideas, how something should look/sound, and generally having a good time working on Tether has been the overall vibe so far.

This is the part where I hope that the future for the game is fruitful, that people just like us will take a chance on it and take a dive in the game that we are incredibly passionate about making.

I digress from that to talk about what I think of the challenge of writing a video game (my first and hopefully not last) and comparing it to Writing/Directing Film/TV.

For intents and purposes I’m not a fully fledged TV & Film Writer/Director; not yet anyway. The formats are completely separate (obviously), but as it’s creating a story and characters it’s really just the same in both industries. For TV & Film characters are, in pre-production written as to be acted/lived out for a viewers eyes & ears but not to interact with. On social media/in-discussion anything that involves interaction is a response to the medium but their’s no direct contact in the moment, more reaction than anything (not a bad thing, just the beginning of my comparison here).

As for a game, there’s all that plus the fact that the player is in control. The player dictates where the character goes, what they choose to interact with and if they choose to interact. This being the case it is an incredible task to formulate a story to then pepper in valuable context and expository elements to flesh out the world that is in the hands of the player. That each written element has to serve a purpose and connect/run parallel to telling a compelling story – in whatever way that may be – to not act as filler, to serve the story going forward and the world being established.

A lot of the time, I’ve written out of necessity. To have nothing to work from causes a block in thought process, if you don’t write anything down you can’t change or add anything. So that dissection of the content is the time when you find out what works and what doesn’t. This creates the foundation for events to unfold, the structure is being set.

On another note it’s a philosophy of mine not to write exposition for the sake of it, the content has to serve some purpose, to back up the narrative and theme of the story being told.

To give an example I could say something completely for the sake of it, to increase play time, or to make it look like I’m generating story in the bucket loads – but this is unnecessary. When it comes to what should be incorporated it should always have relevance. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece in writing or something to connect completely with the narrative, just as long as it fits and belongs to what story is being told.

The time spent writing valuable story and content surrounding it takes not just a second, but a monumental amount of time to process and develop an idea into a connection. For a game there’s much more to the script than the main text. There’s the Collectables for a start, and as long as they fit they’re worth including.

Audio logs and Transcripts serve a means to developing the world, hints at the mental state of character or their surroundings. Their use is of exposition on a level that has to be mixed right. Too much information and it’s overdone, too little and it will read as pointless. It’s about filtering information, snippets of context that add another piece of the puzzle onto the board to fill out the picture of the narrative.

In addition, the inclusion of those Audio Logs and Written Transcripts create the task of when do I use them? Where should they be found? What do they say and if I have to what shall Change about them? Is this one needed? All these things add up to so much writing and time spent doing so.

Like I said before, it’s not how much you write it’s what you write, and that can take time; and it does take time. When writing for film I thought it was a tough to process, the complexities of script writing (which I don’t want to shrug off as easy compared to game writing) it’s just another beast that needs to be tackled. But with a film you don’t have to consider the audiences physical interaction.

In a video game the player is taking up the mantle of the character you’re having them spend all their time with. That there needs to be connection, some empathy or even apathy felt for them to be engaging for the player. The elements in producing written work is incredibly complex and time consuming, and for me this is a learning curve, a different avenue for story that I’m going to be telling in a completely new format.

Film writing has and will always be my baby, my passion. Video game writing is going to be an interesting addition to my portfolio of stories I’ve told. As long as I can engage with the audience through the game and because of the game, then that’s a worthy payoff for the incredible amount of effort and time spent diving into the world being created.

Thoughts on “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”


The bond is the most interesting development throughout Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the detail I could not be more invested in is the interaction between Uncle Hec (Sam Neill) & Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison).

The setup – a young 13 year old foster kid Ricky Baker is relocated to live with his new foster family. They are the last resort for Ricky as no-one, I repeat no-one, is able to care for him at all, due to the nature of his character, a troublemaker, someone who feels abandoned by his mother which has imprinted an uncaring mentality upon Ricky’s.

Bella (Rima Te Wiata), or adoptive Aunt Bella to Ricky has taken it upon herself to set this kid straight, to show him love that he’s never had and to give him stability to which he can learn from and grow. The opening 10 – 20 minutes focus solely around the two of them and their relationship forming – through hunting a bore in hilariously grotesque fashion – Ricky passes out at the sight of Bella, gutting it and smiling throughout. The comedic pacing and editing is constant throughout.

The contrast between Uncle Hec and Ricky is set from the beginning, the separation he wants to have from the kid leaves the impression that he is just another mouth to feed, and that he didn’t really want him in the first place.

Over the course of the opening act, Aunt Bella suddenly drops dead; just like that in a moment following hilarity caused my heart to stop, to be hit with such force shocked me. Although being followed by an inappropriately comedic funeral procession cameo lead by director Taika Waititi’s priest, aligned itself back into form. The story begins to shift gears as child services formulate a plan to remove Ricky from the property to relocate him to another home, that fact which doesn’t ring true with Ricky.

From here on out it becomes a manhunt to find Hector and Ricky. Paula (Rachel House) and her police colleague (Oscar Kightley) are back on the case to follow in the footsteps of Ricky and his mad Uncle Hec. This is the formation of the entire film going forward.

Throughout the journey there’s a lot to indulge in but no specifics I’d like to share, it’s best an experience when nothing is discussed beforehand. But as most of these films go, the focus draws from the interaction between the two leads, these two are polar opposites, both from completely different backgrounds.

Out of humour becomes the harsh reality of covering up emotion. Although the comedic elements in Hunt for the Wilderpeople show that these two are more in tune than they’d like to portray. The relationship grows and precipitates in a time that Hector thought against, their bond is forming and from the outside it’s heartwarming and charming, although a little awkward when Ricky doesn’t realise the innuendo riddle he spins in the middle of the manhunt for Uncle Hec; involving hunters and his uncle making him do things – I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Different points of contact change the flow of the film, including a branching moment where Ricky has to search for help for a ranger at death’s door in the woods has him splitting from Hector. Ricky meets a girl along the way and she brings him into her home, they share stories, sausages & an eager selfie-driven-father is Ricky’s biggest fan. His return journey to Hector propels the search for Hector, this showing Ricky’s newly adept nature at tracking and survival as apposed to Hectors judgement of them at the start.

A vast sprawl of New Zealand is explored in the film, the beautiful locations evoke the senses and heightens the emotions between the two. Their relationship can take a step back to look at the bigger picture, and the bigger picture is best explored when they’re together. Ricky brings the ashes of Hector’s wife Bella along for the journey, only revealing them to him to give him a chance to scatter her ashes – a moment that leads to the connection being fully formed. That their future is together and to be a family.

It’s really moving to observe the films choice of taking two people from different backgrounds and having them form a bond over adversary, having the realisation that they’re not different from each other at all. That their lives meant something, but they just couldn’t understand until they tried to find it for themselves.

One of my favourite films of 2016, completely enthralled me. Beautifully shot and crafter story, editing, pacing, comedy.

Thoughts on “The Infiltrator”


A lot of things can be said about undercover thrillers, and that is that your main characters find some common ground with the enemy, the profound notion that a criminal can become a friend or as close as family isn’t as absurd as it sounds. That’s what creates dynamic that is tangible, you can understand the gravity of the situation because you understand friendship, family.

In the line of duty Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston, Walter White – Breaking Bad) plays it cool, but don’t be fooled by his nonchalant patience under it all he’s bricking it. The agency pulls him in, after a sting operation goes right and wrong, injuring him in the process. His retirement is offered up, but the chance to take down Pablo Escobar and his associates is too enticing.

Evelyn Mazur (Juliet Aubrey), Robert’s wife and daughter Andrea Mazur (Lara Decaro) are kept out of the loop, in a moment of clarity realises her husband is still undercover and is left as the wife who is on the outside of her husbands business. Out of the loop, unaware. But the grim ramifications of his cover creates personal, a public shame to her opinion of him. Her completely and total lack of insight leaves her frightened of Robert.

Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo, Aurelio – John Wick) an uncertain compadre of Robert, and, eventual  favourite develops through his arrogance into his trauma to focused in a matter of the films 2 hour run time. Ever so interesting is the go-to guy, Dominic (Joseph Gilgun, Woody – This Is England). Although him being an arrested felon leaves the statement as curious, Dominic feels a responsibility to be grateful to Robert, they’ve formed a bond quite irregular for their unique positions. The interaction between him and Robert shows a layer of complexity to him as a character, the prior assumption is to judge him, to have an idea before and idea can be formed from observations of the character.

The con-is-on, Robert, now Bob Musella is deep undercover. Connecting with the Columbian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar associates, Roberto Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt) Escobar’s top Lieutenant as a business man laundering money for them in the States. The rouse is to get close enough to form a concrete bond to study and record the goings on of the Kingpin’s operation, going through and meeting his most respected cohorts through intense meetings that captivate you and your nerves just to see Bob reel though lies and lies keeping composure and remaining calm.

The pure comfort observed as they bond, their wives bond and the fallout is a tremendous extraction of the convention. They’re enemies but on the same ground they’re friends.

On the side is the ‘Messengers’ for Escobar Gonzalo Mora Sr. (Simon Andreu), Gonzalo Mora Jr. (Ruben Ochandiano), Javier Ospina (Yul Vasquez) play it to frightening levels of insanity, the delivery of masochism from Gonzalo Mora Jr. only displays the craving for money over a life ensures their bloodline to care for paper than a fellow human being. Javier and his “Bodyguard” are obscure and out of the norm, their presence unsettles you and does Bob. This back and forth raises tensions that reveal as a performance that you can never tell is real or fake, increasing the risk.

The level of character detail is phenomenal, the main characters feel fleshed out and consumed in the world. As is their job to blend in, you buy the fact their facade is almost real. The constant high level of threat ensures the reaction to sudden impactful and violently executed sequences revel them in their terror. And you can buy that, in their response, the camera keeps close and doesn’t look away. The act is folding and something’s going to break them.

The films isn’t action heavy, it isn’t supposed to be high-octane. It’s a Thriller and a character study first and foremost, the level of character development insists you care and the you do, it’s harder to keep a calm rhythm. One after the other you’re invested in moments that build those connection and the trust, which leads Bob closer and closer into the heart of darkness.

The main takeaway for me from The Infiltrator is that pacing and length character study creates more of an impact when you invest your patience and emotion for the struggle of a bond eventually to be broken between confidant and handler, in a sense criminals see their work as business. Does this mean the morals are intact? No, it doesn’t, but you still feel a connection and react accordingly.

For it’s length of almost 2 hours, the film feels a lot longer than it would be perceived to be. The pacing is genuine, as if you were in the world with them, dreading the next scene to come along and have something unravel the plan.

Also, Tom Sawyer gets high on you.

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.