Immaculate: A Film Review

I went to see Immaculate with my mom, brother, and sister-in-law yesterday afternoon. I wasn’t terribly interested in it, but they invited me along and I figured I might as well. I hadn’t watched any movies in probably about a month – it was time.

For a movie that I was expecting to be less than enthused by, I ended up enjoying it somewhat. Not that I think it’s a great film or anything, but it was perfectly watchable. I was never bored and it moved along at a good clip – I was more than a little surprised at how quick it seemed to go by.

Immaculate is the story of a young American nun who joins a convent in Italy. Some odd/spooky things happen, and then she mysteriously ends up pregnant despite being a virgin. That’s really as much as I can say without spoiling the rest of the plot, though it’s not particularly shocking. There’s some very clear foreshadowing, and I can think of at least a couple other movies with quite similar denouements. I’m not accusing Immaculate of being derivative, it’s just that a lot of movies exist and wholly original plots might not even be possible anymore. Well, I say that, but also Poor Things exists, so… I don’t know.

If it wasn’t already clear, this is a horror movie. But what sold it for me was that a couple cursory Google results told me that it’s actually an art film with horror elements. Which is not especially true, but Immaculate is a little bit above your typical horror schlock. A little bit. In some ways. That is to say, it’s more suspenseful than stabby. I guess. Look, it’s been a while since I’ve written something, okay?

I want to say that there were two main things that I disliked about Immaculate. Firstly, a woman dies by falling off a second-story roof at one point. This scene bothered me because we get to see the post-impact body and it is smashed all the way to Hell. There’s simply no way that such a short fall would cause anywhere near that much damage. I honestly only buy that she died because she fell head-first. The second problem was that there are a couple of really cheap jumpscares, which felt out of place in this movie and were probably only there because… that’s how you make modern horror movies? The most egregious one is when the main character is telling the story of how she nearly drowned in a frozen river, and there’s this smash cut to a frame of her under the ice, backed by an ear-piercing scream. It was maybe one full second long, and came in the middle of an otherwise quiet conversation. It felt so artificial, forced, paint-by-numbers… Just didn’t need to be there at all.

Oh, I thought of probably the worst part of the movie: the characters are all super flat. I think they all max out at about two personality traits. Even the main character! Who we’re supposed to be empathizing with! But I literally could not tell you anything about her other than she almost died and then because a nun because she believed that it was God who saved her. Otherwise, she’s kinda boring and just does what the plot needs her to do. But I guess you could generally say that about nuns? At least the stereotypical nun. I’m sure there are plenty of real-life nuns out there who have lived rich and interesting lives.

So one of the things that I did like about the movie is the score! I’m not a big movie score kind of person, but I liked a lot of when there was actual music set to a scene. The spookier scenes generally had by-the-book horror ambiance, but the actual music was surprisingly good. Good enough that I really paid attention to it, which I almost never do.

I’d like to pretend for a moment that I’m a person who actually knows anything about filmmaking and criticism, but I’m just not that good at bullshitting. I think that despite the flat characters, the acting was generally quite good. Sydney Sweeney really gave it her all, and I found Alvaro Morte to be quite charming even at his most sinister. I like to think that the camerawork was also quite good – there were a lot of shots that I felt were interesting, at least. Something about framing and symmetry? I don’t know. I know absolutely nothing about cinematography except for words that I’ve heard actual film critics say.

The violence in Immaculate was also quite notable! For one, it was much gorier than I had expected, with some really gnarly shots. What really really surprised me, though, was the number of scenes that I had to avert my eyes from. I’ve watched a heck of a lot of horror movies in my time; I’ve seen it all and am highly desensitized to violence. So you’ve gotta hurt a character in a very specific way to turn my stomach, and Immaculate managed to accomplish that three times. I’m impressed!

At the end of the day, I don’t think I’d ever really recommend Immaculate. If it sounds like something that you would appreciate, then by all means, give it a shot! But it’s not particularly special in any way. It was fun, and I did really appreciate how brisk it felt, but it didn’t leave a mark. I’m going to forget it completely by the end of the week. I certainly don’t regret the time I invested into this movie, but if you wanted my opinion, there are a lot of better ways to spend those 89 minutes.

The FNAF Movie Review

I did it! I saw the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie!

Writing it that way… kind of makes it sound like an accomplishment. Which it’s not. Anyone can go see a movie. But this movie has been in production hell for the better part of a decade, so I had a lot of pent-up hype that needed to be let out somehow.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: yes, I had an absolute blast watching this movie. It was so tailor-made for insane fanboys like myself that I don’t think I could have disliked it if I wanted to. And on that note: I am an insane FNAF fanboy, so I understand if you won’t just take my word for it. I went into this with a heavy, heavy bias.

All that is to say, I couldn’t tell you if the average person would like Five Nights at Freddy’s. The review aggregates are mixed, and I’m sure that a good portion of the negative reviews are people who just hate horror movies of any type. So, like, most professional movie critics. And my dad.

It’s noteworthy that I’m writing this immediately after getting home from my screening, so the movie is still quite fresh in my mind and I haven’t taken the time to let my thoughts really gel. This is knee-jerk reaction at it’s finest, baby!

So first an foremost, I would like to go over the one thing that I absolutely did not like. There’s a very iconic line in the video games, “I always come back.” It’s spoken by the most iconic character in the series, and gives me a little shiver every time I hear it. Almost every time. It’s not used particularly well in the movie, unfortunately. It feels very forced, and honestly I think it would have been much better omitted and saved for the sequel. It made me a little sad for it to be wasted the way that it was.

But everything else was so good! From top to bottom, Five Nights at Freddy’s the movie is fanservice. Maybe even moreso than The Super Mario Bros Movie, which I feel like is saying a lot because that movie was 90% fanservice by volume. Even better is that all of the fanservice (save the quote mentioned above) was used very well. Well, mostly, anyway. One could argue that “It’s Me” could have been used a little better. Maybe more. But you know what, I was just happy the see it. I giggled like a little girl. In fact, very much like the little girl who was sitting two seats over from me. She was very audibly a big FNAF fan like me, and was very excited to tell her mom every time she saw something she recognized from the games. It would have been annoying if it wasn’t so goddamn adorable. Also, I feel like you can’t really get mad at little kids who talk in a movie anyway. They’re kids. Give ’em a break.

The other thing that I appreciated greatly is that Five Night at Freddy’s was made almost entirely with practical effects. There was a little bit of CG zazz, but most of it was real. And it looked excellent. The animatronics were so big and beautiful and oh, it’s wild to think that I was once terrified of them. The one and only downside is that giant robots aren’t exactly the most mobile at our current technology level, so much to my dismay, Freddy and friends didn’t do a ton of moving. The damn cupcake got an awful lot of screen time, though. Which is weird because it’s largely a non-entity in the games. I’m also not the biggest fan of the Springtrap suit’s design, but again, it looks the way it does out of mechanical necessity, so I get it.

What I think would qualify as a huge win is that Blumhouse did the franchise justice. There was very obviously so much respect for the source material put into the making of this movie, and it’s all the better for it. While this adaptation does, of course, take some creative liberties, it kind of had to. The storytelling in the games is very light and mysterious by design, and that kind of thing doesn’t typically work in mainstream movies. So we get a rough re-telling of the lore from the first three FNAF games (with some sprinkles of FNAF 4), and even with all the changes, it really feels like it’s telling that story from the games. It never feels like someone had a crappy script and then dressed it in a popular franchise to move tickets, like so many other video game movies do.

Also, it was really funny! Which is weird to say about a horror movie that definitely isn’t a horror comedy. But it worked!

So yeah, I liked it. I liked it a lot. Favourite movie of the year? Nah, Across the Spider-Verse was too good. But it’s absolutely a movie that I will buy on blu-ray in the near future, because I already can’t wait to watch it again. And then a third time to go over each individual frame to look for references and easter eggs that I’d missed. And I know I said way up there that I wasn’t sure if non-fans would really get much out of it, but you know what? Go see it! I officially recommend the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie. If I had a seal of approval, I’d stamp it right here —>

Requiem for a Scream

It was ten days into October, and I hadn’t watched a single horror movie yet, good or bad. I was starting to worry that something might be wrong with me. So, I turned on my PS5, loaded up the Tubi app, and asked it to serve me its finest campy horror film.

What I got was Requiem for a Scream. A Tubi original. I didn’t even know they did original content, TBH. Anyway, I’m five minutes into this movie -which appears to be a fairly typical slasher- and I think I’ve got the killer figured out.

After the cold open where a couple is murdered by a masked killer, we get to meet our two heroines. As the girls are driving out to the stereotypical cabin in the middle of nowhere, a good part of their dialogue is devoted to them making fun of both men and horror tropes. More importantly, however, we are told that the lead’s sister was a successful singer, is dead, and had a propensity for getting into trouble.

I would say that I learned two things from this scene. One: this movie is going to be insufferable, and B: the killer is definitely going to be the sister who faked her death.

Continue reading Requiem for a Scream

The Menu – Someone else’s movie review

One of my most anticipated movies of 2022 was The Menu. Now, that’s not saying much, because to be honest I don’t follow movies anymore and at this very moment I cannot name a single other movie that released last year. Based on that, you could probably even say that The Menu was my most anticipated movie of 2022.

So, I didn’t actually watch it until a couple months ago. And I’m not writing about it until a couple months after watching it. You would probably think that I didn’t like it all that much. Untrue! In fact, I thought that it was excellent! I just haven’t been a very good blogger in 2023.

I don’t know if the marketing for The Menu was bad, or purposely misleading, or I was just taking the wrong things from it, but the movie was not at all what I expected from commercials. In fact, one of the things that I liked most about it is that it actually kept me in suspense the entire time. Like, sure, it telegraphs some things, but for the most part I was very unsure of where it was going, and many of my preconceptions of how scenes would play out ended up being wrong.

That said, I’m actually going to continue being a poor blogger and not finish reviewing The Menu. No, rather I’m just going to embed an existing review by someone else. Because it’s right on point, and me trying to write my own review would quite likely amount to little more than me subconsciously regurgitating this one. Poorly. And that’s just as good as plagiarism.

I See You – A Movie Review?

Yesterday evening -or at least, at some point prior to this post going live- I watched a movie called I See You.

This was largely spurred on by the fact that I’ve spent too many nights watching let’s plays of horror games on YouTube over the last six years, and as such I’ve been completely desensitized to them. I decided that to slake my thirst for terror, I’d need to turn to professionally produced content, and so Netflix. I clicked on the first movie that seemed even vaguely interesting, and so I See You.

A 95-ish-minute-long film released in 2019, I See You is not a movie that I had so much as heard the title of previous to the evening in question. But, it was described as a dramatic film wherein a detective is investigating murders and spooky things begin happening, so I was like, yeah, okay, I can dig on this. Little did I know!

As I sit here typing, and pondering what I am about to type, my mind is weirdly overcome by the thought of how my ex-wife’s eyes would have lit up at that plot summary.

I am a sad fellow. But pay that no heed. This is a movie review!

I See You follows the story of a small, dysfunctional suburban family. The husband, a cop on the trail of a child abductor. The wife, a therapist (I think?) who has recently cheated on her spouse. The son, trying to cope with the breakdown of his parents’ marriage. We learn these details pretty much right out of the gate, and that’s basically all that that they are for the entire duration of the film.

I may have made a poor selection.

Continue reading I See You – A Movie Review?

Nine Years at Freddy’s

The original Five Nights at Freddy’s video game was released in August of 2014. I don’t remember when it was first announced that a movie adaptation was in the works, but let’s say it wasn’t long after. So roughly nine long years later, it’s finally going to happen. Finally.

The jury’s obviously still out on whether it’s going to be good or not, but you know, it sure seems like it’s going to make me happy. We’ve got security cameras, we’ve got a sneaky li’l Balloon Boy drawing, we’ve got murdered children (presumably) stuffed into animatronic suits, we’ve got a big ol’ menacing Springtrap. What else could you even ask for?

Oh, a coherent plot? Relatable characters? Yeah, I guess those are things that FNAF hasn’t really had (albeit usually on purpose) in the video games space. But the novel trilogy, while not really to my taste, did have those things, so I’m not terribly worried on that front. Plus, like I said up above, this thing has been cooking for nine-ish years. It had better at least be decent with the amount of time and money that have been invested into it!

If absolutely nothing else, I’ll finally get to see a real, physical Freddy Fazbear animatronic running amok for a while. And that’s all I’ve ever really wanted.

Desire: A Follow-up

You know that meme, “how it started/how it’s going”? I’m doing that today, but in text form!

Basically, I just want to take a quick look back at my “24 Days of Desire” feature and see how many of them have been fulfilled. It’s been almost a year now, I should have been able to get everything I wanted, right? Let’s see!

Day 1: Television – This was about me wanting to have cable, and if I recall correctly, it was specifically so I could watch the Chucky series. Well, I never got cable, because that would be stupid, and I still haven’t watched Chucky, because I don’t pirate TV shows or movies any more. Chucky is also on Paramount+, which has other things I want to watch, so I’m thinking about a subscription to that… But probably won’t bother.

Day 2: A better GPU – Ain’t got this. I’ve heard that prices are going down, but I haven’t bothered to look in many months. Besides, I only wanted it to beef up my Quest 2, so it’s right down at the bottom of my priority ladder.

Day 3: Star Wars sequels box set – I haven’t looked to see if this exists, and I don’t actually care enough to check. This was a filler episode, for sure.

Continue reading Desire: A Follow-up

Movieween 2022 Round-Up

Full disclosure: I have not been a very good Halloween turbofan this year. While I have leaned into it pretty hard on the ol’ YouTube channel, that’s really the most I’ve done. My condo is scarcely decorated – all that’s out are a Halloween Pumpkaboo plush and a dish towel with skellingtons on it. I’ve also been way behind on watching any season-appropriate films or television programs. But I did manage to sneak in a couple movies. Here are my short reviews of them!

The Devil Below

The Devil Below is about a rag-tag group of scientists who set out to explore an old coal mine that had caught fire and been abandoned decades earlier. They’re not only in search of what caused the mine to catch fire, but also why the surrounding town had been abandoned and completely wiped off the map. Led by a spunky, uh… tour guide/bounty hunter/supermodel, it’s not long before they discover that there’s something a little more sinister lurking below the surface.

I’ll start off by saying that this film has an 8% Rotten Tomatoes score. Yikes! That’s especially dire! I didn’t think it was all that bad, though. Or… was it? I’m sitting here and struggling to think of positive things to say about it. The main character, played by Alicia Sanz, was pretty cool. Though her acting was a bit stiff; I’m not sure if that was a choice to make the character more aloof or simply bad acting. The movie managed to hold my interest for the most part – I may have picked up my phone here and there, but it’s not like I had my Switch in hand at any point.

Onto the bad! Personally, I kind of hated the monster designs. Not that they’re necessarily bad. But they’re supposed to be this advanced race of insect-like creatures and they just look like people with oversized lamprey masks and claws. I appreciate that most/all the effects were practical, but the creature design didn’t really seem to fit the lore, especially since the boss monster resembles a termite queen. Although I suppose that “too anthropomorphic” isn’t the worst thing you can say about a monster design. On the upside, they did wait a very long time to give viewers a decent look at the creatures. Way to show restraint, director!

Other than that, the story was very paint-by-numbers, none of the other characters were endearing in the least, and it was much too dark throughout. Most importantly, there’s no satisfying resolution to anything. I’d like to know more about the creatures other than “they’re kinda like ants or bees”. I’d have liked to see more of the background story of the miners initially fighting off the creatures and sealing them away. I’d like to know why this allegedly superior race isn’t popping up anywhere else in the world. I mean, they live underground and eat people. How could they have survived for decades trapped in a burning coal mine with no food? Cannibalism, presumably, but that’s not a fun answer and would realistically only take a species so far.

Upon reflection, yeah, The Devil Below is not a good movie. But I didn’t feel strongly either way about it while I was watching it and I certainly didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time watching it. I also think that the 8% approval rating is a bit harsh. I’d say it’s more deserving of something in the 15%-20% range.

There’s Someone Inside Your House

Let’s begin with a fun fact: Actress Jesse LaTourette is in both this movie and The Devil Below. I did not recognize that it was the same actress, and probably would have gone my whole life without learning that fun little coincidence had I not been Googling these films to learn their casts’ names.

And that’s probably the most interesting thing I have to say about There’s Someone Inside Your House.

I called The Devil Below paint-by-numbers, but that almost seems unfair when you compare it to There’s Someone Inside Your House. This is the most boring, uninspired, cliché-driven movie that I have watched in a long time. Tears! I was bored to them! Well, not like, literal tears, but my soul was weeping. Because not 15 minutes in, I realized that I was watching Teen Revenge Slasher #3087 and I felt despair fill my gut. Sure, I could have simply turned the movie off, but I foolishly held out hope. And instead of rewarding me, There’s Someone Inside Your House just took a dump in my living room. Again, not literally.

Here’s the plot synopsis: Teens are getting murdered in a Middle American town, and it’s up to our gang of misfits to try to figure out who it is before they all get killed themselves. Sound familiar? YUUUP. If that had been Netflix’s synopsis, I would never have pressed play. Instead, they gave me hope by telling me that James Wan (Insidious) and Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) produced it. This is a cautionary tale to not watch things just because people who’ve made things that you like are involved!

I’ll go ahead and say that I didn’t much care for anything about this movie, but the most egregious part by far is that I didn’t really understand the killer’s motivation. He does a big ol’ exposition dump at the end, and I kinda get that end goal was to kill his dad in a huge, cinematic fashion, but then… what about all the teens who died along the way? I guess the idea is that he’d cracked and decided to just kill anyone who’d done something bad, but eh… it just rings hollow. If your plan is to expose people’s nasty secrets to the rest of the town, why not just do that? Why go the extra mile to murder them? Wouldn’t it be worse to have to live with their horrible secrets revealed? I guess the severity varies by character, but whatever, I still didn’t like it.

What mystifies me the most is that There’s Someone Inside Your House has a 47% Rotten Tomatoes rating!? The most bland, derivative movie I’ve watched in recent memory, and it’s got that much better a rating than The Devil Below? Really??? While I didn’t much care for The Devil Below, I did feel like I wanted my 1 hour and 36 minutes back after watching There’s Someone Inside Your House. And if that’s not the most damning criticism, I don’t know what is.

Okay, so maybe I did end up having some more interesting things to say. Who knew!?

Silent Hill

Nothing new to say here, I would think. Seen this movie probably a half-dozen times, but I haven’t watched it in a decade, at least. And with the announcement of a new SH movie in the works, I figured now was the perfect time to revisit it.

But first, a short aside: As this movie came out in the stone age, I still have a copy on DVD, and that’s how I watched it. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a DVD, and I’d actually forgotten that they used to put ads before movies. What wild times those were!

If you had asked me before, I would have told you that in my opinion, Silent Hill is the best live-action video game movie. I know it’s a low bar to clear, but I always really liked this one. If you asked me now? Well, it’s hard to say. I was a little bit high when I was watching this, and also texting with a potential date throughout most of it, and also I fell asleep for the last half-hour or so. So it would be hard to say that I really watched Silent Hill, and as such, I don’t have a revised opinion to provide. Here are a few random thoughts, though!

Sean Bean is in it a lot more than I remembered. Like, he’s got a whole B plot where he’s trying to figure out where the heck Rose and Sharon went to. I knew he was involved at the beginning and end, but no, he’s got scenes all throughout the film. And yet still I can’t remember what his character’s name is!

Most of what I did remember are the parts of the movie that are closely based on the game(s). The general plot, the sequence where Rose is wandering through the alleys and gets attacked by the monster kids, how half of the monsters are actually from Silent Hill 2, stuff like that. Anything that was originally introduced for the movie? Basically all new to me. Except for the part where Pyramid Head rips off that one girl’s skin. That moment will forever be burned into my nightmares.

I really dislike how the movie grinds to a halt for a 10-minute exposition sequence. It’s really bad and I can’t fathom that nobody involved in the production could come up with a better alternative.

So, I’ll probably have to watch Silent Hill again soon, but with a little more focus. I have no intent of revisiting Silent Hill: Revelation though, as I didn’t much care for that one.