Bryan Bertino’s ‘The Dark and the Wicked’: A Little Conventional, but a Good Solid Watch

Louise (Marin Ireland) and Michael (Michael Abbott Jr.) are siblings returning to the family farm to deal with the impending death of their father David (Michael Zagst). Their mother Virginia (Julie Oliver-Touchstone) is angered to see them, and tries to tell them to leave. A fraught situation only escalates with the manifestation of a sinisterContinue reading “Bryan Bertino’s ‘The Dark and the Wicked’: A Little Conventional, but a Good Solid Watch”

‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’ is Sorely Disappointing

Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) is a detective who plays by his own rules, which often gets him in trouble, especially after he busts a colleague for shooting a witness. Suddenly a spate of brutal murders leads him to suspect that there’s a Jigsaw copycat out there–and the killer is targeting his fellow officers. I wasContinue reading “‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’ is Sorely Disappointing”

‘The Call’ (2020): Make The Call to Watch it

Not to be confused with the Korean movie from 2020 that’s also titled The Call. It’s 1987, and awkward kid Chris (Chester Rushing) is adjusting to life in his new high school. He’s befriended by Tonya (Erin Sanders), Zack (Mike Manning), and Brett (Sloane Morgan Siegel), who have a grudge against Edith Cranston (Lin Shaye)Continue reading “‘The Call’ (2020): Make The Call to Watch it”

‘Brahms The Boy II’: Keep Your Expectations Low and Maybe a Strong Drink Handy

Directed by William Brent Bell and written by Stacey Menear, the team behind The Boy. Liza (Katie Holmes), Sean (Owain Yeoman), and their son Jude (Christopher Convery) are a tight-knit family living in London. Their feeling of security is compromised one night when Liza is assaulted by two burglars. Jude, who witnessed it, starts sufferingContinue reading “‘Brahms The Boy II’: Keep Your Expectations Low and Maybe a Strong Drink Handy”

Blumhouse’s ‘Fantasy Island’ is Actually Pretty Good, but Don’t Expect Gore

The mysterious Mr. Roarke (Michael Peña) runs a mystical island resort. Guests come with a fantasy, and the island grants their wish. We have Gwen (Maggie Q), who regrets turning down a marriage proposal from Allen (Robbie Jones), Melanie (Lucy Hale), who wants to humiliate Sloane (Portia Doubleday), because she bullied her in high school,Continue reading “Blumhouse’s ‘Fantasy Island’ is Actually Pretty Good, but Don’t Expect Gore”

‘Dreamkatcher’: No Surprises Here

2020 movie, not to be confused with the 2003 Stephen King adaptation, which I have reviewed here. Also, dreamkatchers are not to be confused with dreamcatchers–here’s the difference, according to a title card: a dreamkatcher is “a misshapen wooden hoop asymmetrically looped with blackened string, decorated with feathers and beads, believed to hold evil. ItsContinue reading “‘Dreamkatcher’: No Surprises Here”

‘Gretel and Hansel’ is Creepy and Weird

In the style of the Grim fairy tale, the land of long ago is in serious famine. At the home of Gretel (Sophia Lillis), who for the sake of the movie is a teenager, and Hansel (Samuel Leakey), their mother (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) is losing her shit after the patriarch has gone on to his reward.Continue reading “‘Gretel and Hansel’ is Creepy and Weird”

‘The Platform’ Asks Some Disturbing Questions

Spanish movie, AKA El Hoyo. Goreng (Ivan Massagué) is a principled man who applies to be sent to “The Hole”, a prison, in order to quit smoking and read a lengthy book. At the end of six months, he will have earned an accredited diploma. The Hole involves 333 floors, with two people per level.Continue reading “‘The Platform’ Asks Some Disturbing Questions”

‘The Turning’: You’ll Be Turning it Off

Loosely based on the Henry James novel The Turn of the Screw. It’s 1994, and Kate (Mackenzie Davis) is a perky schoolteacher who is hired on to be a nanny for young orphan Flora (Brooklynn Prince), who lives in a giant, giant house with only her maid, Mrs. Grose (Barbara Marten). The previous au pair,Continue reading “‘The Turning’: You’ll Be Turning it Off”

‘Underwater’: In the Mariana Trench, No One Can Hear You Scream

Norah (Kristen Stewart) is onboard the world’s deepest sub-aqueous drill. After a sudden pressure breach kills most of the crew, she and five other survivors, Captain Lucien (Vincent Cassel), Rodrigo (Mamoudou Athie), Paul (T.J. Miller), Emily (Jessica Henwick), and Smith (John Gallagher Jr.) set out to hoof it through the ocean to the nearest vessel,Continue reading “‘Underwater’: In the Mariana Trench, No One Can Hear You Scream”