Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Dark is a German netflix original. It’s riding on the hyped wave of Stranger Things. It has some similarities. Events take place in a small town, surrounded by a forest, close to a well-secured nuclear energy plant. Kids get missing, locals all seem to know each other and a large part of the story takes you back to the eighties. But that’s about it. The atmosphere of the series feels more like Twin Peaks. It’s darker, more mysterious, more dramatic, more philosophical and messier.

The story takes place in 2019, 1986 and 1953. This is important information, because that’s not really clear in the first two episodes, which take place in the present and feel messy. As of episode 3 you feel this series may be worth the watch. Several characters that are introduced in that episode are younger versions of the characters that you already familiarized with. It’s intriguing. A kid gets missing in 2019 and somehow ends up in 1986. But this is no Back To The Future. There is zero humor. Zero romance. Just a lot of dark negativity.

The kid who gets missing in 2019 starts a new life in 1986. So, by 2019 the kid has lived a lie for 33 years! This is pretty unsettling. But intriguing. A lot of questions arise. But only few get answered. The series keeps on introducing subplots and new characters, but never focuses on the main question: how on earth did a guy live for so long next to a younger version of himself? It’s not a plot spoiler. It’s a key element to attract viewers to the show.

By the end of the series pseudo-philosophical and neo-scientific theories are uttered and explained concerning time and space. That’s all intriguing, but it doesn’t really help you explain the plot. The writers must have had fun preparing the script. The preparation desk with all the written-out biographies of each character must be tremendous. All these characters are all intertwined. Some are even related to each other. It’s fun.

BUT… the story doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s about time travel and yes, it’s (science) fiction. But in the end, it should still feel logical. Which is far from the case here.

But the atmosphere is excellent. The long shots are great. The sun never shines. It rains a lot and it’s always ‘dark’. The soundtrack is creepy. The acting is fine. The concept is brilliant. Time travel isn’t a new theme in cinema. But this time they focus more on the thought: if you could change the past, would you? and what would it mean for the present and the future?

For you to binge-watch and get disturbing nightmares…

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5753856

 

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No theatrical release in Europe for Annihilation. It’s still playing in the US though. But with little success. So in comes Netflix, who’s distributing it all over the world via their streaming service. Great!

This is an entertaining science fiction adventure drama about a biologist who joins a team of women on a mission to discover what exactly is hidden in the Shimmer, a weird extraterrestrial phenomena covering a natural park and spreading fast. The biologist is determined to find out what damaged her husband, who joined a previous mission and is now put in quarantine.

Nathalie Portman is excellent as the biologist. She’s a great asset to this production. But you really want to watch the movie for the atmosphere it evokes. The directing is great. The build up as well. The haunting soundtrack helps as well. It’s more accessible than you’d think. The horror and suspense aren’t scary, but present nevertheless. The story makes more sense than the one in Arrival. It’s all (science) fiction, but at least the dialogue and actions feel real. It’s good to see five women go on an adventure (strangely enough quite unique) and it’s great to see a movie where the editing doesn’t make you naucious.

It’s not an instant cult classic, but it could become one. For now it’s just good entertainment.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2798920/

Review after three episodes (six more to go) – *(*)

Part fantasy horror film, part mystery thriller. The first three episodes are confusing. Which is the whole point. The main character has amnesia, but is the key witness in the disappearance of Thomas De Geest. She’s been interred into a psychiatric hospital and gets questioned by both her shrink and a detective. She’s an odd woman. She claims to have amnesia, but the viewer gets to see all kinds of memories in flashback. Why? She’s clearly lying to the shrink and the detective as she remembers snippets of what happened to her in the past and then claims to not know anything. But why?

There are nine episodes. It was a big success on television. It has a lot of renowned actors in the cast. And it is somehow intriguing. Maybe it’s worth watching it until the end. But my god, is it boring. And slow. And the set design is terrible. Several scenes don’t make sense. Give me realism over fantasy anytime. There is no suspense, just weird scary scenes stolen from the vast catalogue of horror movies. Even if you’re not a fantasy film lover, it all feels like it’s been done before a zillion times. A haunted house, a devilish child, electricity blackouts, cape wearing figures, scary dolls, a mysterious man in the forest. Add a cheating husband, a sexually comfortable sixty year old, a foreign looking caretaker/gigolo, weird patients in the psychiatric ward, etc… It’s a mess.

Review after nine episodes – *(*)

So yes, it’s worth watching the series until the end. The final episode does have some surprises in store. But you can’t really talk about a plot twist. The actual plottwist happens at the end of episode 5. It’s not a big surprise for the viewer, but it kind of changes the series from a fantasy thriller to a regular detective drama. The flashbacks are no longer memories of the main character, but rather added for the viewer’s benefit. Which feels like an inconsistency. The acting is ok. But it’s so boring at times. And all these hyped kudos to the director for showing a) depth to the characters and b) beauty in the visuals. Bull. The characters are pretty one-dimensional and the scenes look messy. Also, the way psychiatry is depicted here, is terrible. It’s stereotypical and unoriginal.

Sometimes, a hype is only a hype if you want it to be.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5197860/

Third installment in a trilogy about the two detectives Vincke and Verstuyft. Based on the books by Jef Geeraerts.  This time the duo needs to investigate a serial murder case after six headless bodies were found. They clash for the first time on how the research is done.

Yes, it’s not as good as the first one (De Zaak Alzheimer) or the second one (Dossier K), but it’s not as bad as reviews claim. The story is bad. Sure. In fact, it’s really bad. But you only realize that when the movie is over and the murderer has been identified. During the movie there is some suspense and some kind of hope for an original twist. But when the end credits roll it feels like you just watched a very unoriginal, predictable episode of some CSI rip off tv series.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1727497 

It – *(*)

Posted: October 29, 2017 in 2017, Children/Family, Comedy, Horror, USA, X1/2

So, this is the highest grossing horror blockbuster of all times? (well, not adjusted to the inflation). How is that possible?

It’s not scary, unless you are 16 maybe. It’s not funny, unless you are 16 maybe. It’s not particularly well filmed. It has all the clichés of any horror classic from the past five decades. There’s a lot of gore and there is a lot of cursing, but it doesn’t make the movie any better. If only Quentin Tarantino would have directed it!

This is a kid’s movie, but it’s rated R! But maybe that’s the whole idea. As long as they like it: great. But for the adults out there: skip it! Read the book instead.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1396484

The Walking Dead Season 2 – *(*)

Posted: October 24, 2017 in 2011, Drama, Horror, USA, X1/2

More of the same. Pretty boring. Sure, at one point you start to be curious about what’s going to happen with some of the characters. But every single episode is SO long. It’s so slow. You need to press the fast forward button to want to continue. You can go for a long break on the toilet, come back and still catch up. There’s not really any story development either. It’s all very predictable. At times, certain characters do contemplate suicide, but then somehow hope for a better future. Really? There wouldn’t be any series if they all would just kill themselves; But it would make more sense. Also, when they start slashing zombies, none of the blood stains ever cover their clean t-shirts. Really? It’s also pretty sexist. Men don’t do any household. Women who try to go protect are reprimanded for not doing house shores. By other women ! Then there’s romance. In a series about killing zombies! Really? And that kid. All he has to do is stay in the house. Or stay within eyesight. Yet, it always seems to run away and run into danger. Every single episode someone gets lost and needs to be found. If you would just stay together, no-one would ever get lost and no-one would need to risk their lives to go fetch the lost one. But then again, there wouldn’t be any series. And the zombies don’t scare at all. In fact, they are comical. Yeah. There won’t be a season 3 viewing.

Although the finale is quite fascinating and leaves you wondering who the hooded woman is with the slave zombies.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1520211

The six episodes of season one didn’t quite do it for me. Not sure what all the fuzz is about. It starts off like 28 Days Later, with a guy waking up from a coma in a post apocalypse world where zombies are roaming the streets and where survivors are trying to fight back and secure themselves from the zombies and other survivors. It also makes you think of the canceled BBC show Survivors and plenty of other shows that feature a very diverse group of people needing to live together by force.

The story isn’t really captivating. Nor realistic at all. The metropolitan area of Atlanta has about 6 million inhabitants. You get to see maybe 150 zombies and some 500 dead corpses. Plus a few dozen of survivors. The main character can ride on a horse into the city and not see ANY zombies or dead corpses, but then he gets to Midtown and suddenly he is surrounded by not all that many really. That just doesn’t make sense. Then he reunites with his wife and son after two episodes! Sure it adds to the drama because the wife has started an affair with his best friend in the mean time, who helped her escape. But seriously, after 2 episodes? Then of course you have the horror cliché of always wanting to go back to the horror scene. Also, what is this urge for people to keep living and fight back? Why would you choose to continue living under a constant treat of being killed and eaten by the undead?

You’d think the zombies would be scary, but they are not. They are silly. So the series doesn’t work as a horror show either. And the characters? Well, you have the racist one. The clumsy, chubby African-American one. The wife-beating redneck one. The nagging, cheating wife. The cheating on his best friend aggressive one. The geeky Asian one. Etc… Not really an interesting bunch.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1520211