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HORROR

Child’s Play: A Creditable Attempt To Breathe New Life Into The Chucky Franchise

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What’s your name?
Andy. ‘Sup?
Hi, Andysup.

It seems like a lifetime ago since I saw the original film with the demonic pop Chucky dangerously swinging around with a razor-sharp butcher knife. Well, It’s not a hundred years, but thirty years is a long time as well. That’s how long it’s been since I went to get the VHS of this movie in the local video store. Apparently several sequels have been made after the initial release. Somehow I’ve missed that. Me and sequels. It remains an eternal struggle. Because there wasn’t anything better to choose from and I had nothing to do, I still took the risk and watched this modern version. Apart from the fact that the doll looks slightly different, has been given a different name and the reason for its malicious behavior has changed slightly, it was exactly as if I went back in time. “Child’s Play” has the same 80s horror mood.

 

Child's Play

 

A pimped version.

But first of all a big compliment to the makers of this pimped version. Most reboots or remakes just seem like a duplicate of the original. Here they really deviate from the original story. It’s not the soul of a serial killer that transforms the doll into a bloodthirsty, diabolical murderous toy. Here it’s an aggrieved and irritated Chinese factory worker who starts to mess with the security software out of revenge. To be honest, I felt like giving up at that moment. A ragged and clearly unkempt Chinese guy reprogramming the source software was, in my eyes, completely absurd and exaggerated. Fortunately, I persisted. Because all in all “Child’s Play” wasn’t so bad.

 

Child's Play

 

Don’t expect creepiness.

What disappointed me a bit, was the doll itself. Especially the transformation from good to evil. In the original film, Chucky did get a diabolical and cruel expression. In this movie, they wanted to achieve the same effect by providing Buddi (as this child-friendly babysitter is now called) with red-glowing eyes. Well, it wasn’t really scary. And to be honest, this film isn’t creepy at all. I thought it was rather entertaining horror material, suitable for the novice horror enthusiast. Don’t expect any nasty-looking killings either. You’ll see clichéd situations where circular saws and a lawnmower (or something like that) are used in. The favorite murder instruments from the 80s.

 

Child's Play

 

Acceptable acting.

The acting was generally acceptable. Only Aubrey Plaza as Andy’s mother wasn’t really convincing. To be honest, she seemed to be the sister of Andy (Gabriel Bateman), the introverted boy with a hearing problem. David Lewis played the most annoying character. That means you can say that his acting was successful. The most light-hearted and comical part was provided by Brian Tyree Henry as police officer Mike, who lives with his mother. It’s not only the mother-son correlation that sometimes causes hilarious moments. There are also slapstick-like scenes, such as the gift-wrapped item (Well, I try to stay vague about this) that falls into the hands of Mike’s mother by mistake. Most surprising in this film was the fact that Mark Hamill (Yes, Luke Skywalker himself) was responsible for Chucky’s dialogues.

 

Child's Play

 

A nice time-killer.

In the end, this was a creditable attempt to breathe new life into the Chucky franchise. This modernized version is not an epic film but is anything but bad. It even tries to portray a failing A.I. and point out the dangers of a robotic society. And actually, what Chucky is doing, is simply the result of a learning process that he undergoes in the company of Andy. If the latter makes a remark that he would rather get rid of the cat Mickey Rooney, you already know the verdict. In the end, Chucky is nothing more than an electronic gadget that ignores the robotics laws of Asimov. It’s not really impressive or exciting at all. But “Child’s Play” was a nice time-killer.

 

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

Comedy

Come to Daddy: A Quirky, Somewhat Strange Thriller With Very Aggressive Scenes

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I once accidentally kicked a guy’s ear off.
I didn’t mean to, but the fucker flew off.
I could see right into his skull.

Elijah Wood always makes for pleasant surprises. In terms of his choice of films, you cannot say that he plays it safe. His choices are always fairly quirky. I kind of compare him to Daniel Radcliffe. Another actor who doesn’t thrive on the worldwide success he achieved by playing one well-known character for most of his life. So too Elijah Wood who will be associated with Frodo forever and ever. Apparently they also have a common interest, namely that of deceased persons. Where Radcliffe played the role of a corpse in “Swiss Army Man“, Wood is stuck in this film with an embalmed corpse. Anyway, “Come to Daddy” is a macabre, dark, and slightly humorous film.

 

Come to Daddy

 

Trendy, fashionable DJ meets foul-mouthed dad.

When I looked at the movie poster, I immediately thought of “Happy birthday to Me”. Not that “Come to Daddy” looks like a purebred slasher. But the fork Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood) is holding on the cover, will be used in an ingenious, yet painful way. Norval is an eccentric, trendy DJ with Elton John in his circle of acquaintances. Stylish, contemporary dressed with artistically and strategically placed tattoos. A trimmed Freddie Mercury mustache. And a hairstyle as if it was styled using a soup tureen. Everything indicates that Norval is used to a high-society life and that the journey through the forest with a thumping wheeled suitcase behind him doesn’t really belong in that life. When he finally arrives at the beach house (which, according to Norval, resembles that of a flying saucer from the 1960s) and meets his father Brian, whom he hasn’t seen for years, it turns out that the latter is completely the opposite. Foul-mouthed, fairly brutal, untidy appearance and persistently topping a glass with liquor or wine. No picnic for Norval who recently renounced alcohol. Before he knows it, his smartphone (a limited edition in gold, designed by Lorde) sinks down to the bottom of the ocean, while his dad tried to take a selfie. The tone has been set.

 

Come to Daddy

 

Comedy-Horror. Not my fav combination.

Come to Daddy” is a difficult movie to place. On the one hand, they tried to add a humorous note here and there. Although subtle black humor that won’t be enjoyed by everyone. On the other hand, there’s indeed a horror vibe that gets quite gory. Again, I’m not really such an avid fan of the combination of horror and comedy, because usually both genres feel incomplete. And to be honest in this movie as well. The humorous part wasn’t really funny (with only a rare chuckle). And I also found the horror part rather light-hearted. There’s no doubt that it has a high thriller content. And it’s certainly not a straightforward story. You could even say that they were a bit too lavish with the number of plot twists. But the absurdity in the story (such as a motel that is fully booked with visitors to a swingers convention. Who comes up with such an idea?) knows no boundaries. The insane and intimidating behavior that slowly evolves into a kind of “Cape Fear” aggression. The officer on duty and his belching. The coroner and the fact that Norval suddenly has a dead man in the house due to lack of space at the morgue. The nightly terrifying sounds. Norval’s discovery and the unveiling of the entire mystery. The motel-happening. It just keeps going on. Fortunately, I love an absurd story now and then.

 

Come to Daddy

 

It surprised me.

Elijah Wood is simply magnificent as the extroverted and fairly arrogant Norval. Someone who doesn’t realize what a dire situation he’s going to find himself in. And also doesn’t know that his entire life story will be shaken thoroughly. That’s how the viewer will feel as well. Shaken up. During the first part of the movie, you wonder which direction the story will go. But once the plot reveals and the story accelerates, both in terms of tempo and frantic action, hold on tight because it’s going to be a wild rollercoaster ride. And it’s worth it. “Come to Daddy” is a quirky, somewhat strange thriller with very aggressive scenes and full of insanity. Revealing too much isn’t recommended. Best to start watching this movie without knowing too much, such that the experience will be decidedly surprising. Recommended.

 

 

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

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HORROR

‘Penance Lane’ Brings The Rob Zombie influence

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I’m gonna get us out of this.
We’re gonna be okay.

 

Penance Lane” is something for the fans of cheaply produced B-horror movies that don’t exactly excel when it comes to the storyline. I was actually very curious about this movie after reading the synopsis on IMDb. And the movie poster also looked interesting. So let me say that I started watching the film with a dose of healthy enthusiasm. Unfortunately, that enthusiasm collapsed halfway through the film like a soufflé that has just come out of the oven. It’s a pity though, because the first half was of a decent level.

 

Penance Lane

 

A dilapidated house.

The prologue in itself made me curious enough and confirmed what I expected. A dilapidated house where some gang members hid after committing a robbery. Such a gang of “badasses” with impressive guns and an attitude as if they can handle the whole world. Unfortunately, they are no match for what is harassing them from dark corners and dark places in this creepy house. Why this was actually the most compelling part of the movie, I don’t really have an explanation for. Maybe because you don’t really know which direction it will go. Is it something demonic or will it be a “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” kind of film?

 

Penance Lane

 

Let’s bring in the handyman.

Time to introduce the protagonist. Crimson Matthews (Tyler Mane) strolls around the town streets. An ex-convict with a rugged appearance. He gets into a fight with the son of the local Police Captain, when it turns out that this son uses his girlfriend (Scout Taylor-Compton) as a punching bag, and then meets the owner (mother of the girl in question) of the local diner. Crimson doesn’t waste any time and almost immediately seeks a job as a handyman. And he ends up at the abandoned house, apparently owned by the local priest (John Schneider) who hires him without further ado. From the start, it’s clear that our tough hero doesn’t intend to demonstrate ingenious handyman-techniques. It’s also evident that it’s no coincidence he ended up in this house. And that his night’s rest would be disturbed by something that wanders through the house like a shadow, was also to be expected. Despite the fact that there’s sometimes a bit of too exaggerated acting and toe-curling, clumsy dialogues are being used, the film remained fascinating. Till this point anyway. Because somewhere in the middle of the film, the plot twist presents itself and the tone of the film changes drastically.

 

Penance Lane

 

Do I sense a Rob Zombie influence?

If you look at “Penance Lane” in its entirety in terms of storyline and overall look and feel, you could say that it belongs to Rob Zombie’s oeuvre (albeit among the less successful creations). Coincidentally, there are a number of actors who also appeared in a Rob Zombie movies before. Like Tyler Mane who played Michael Myers in “Halloween II“. Scout Taylor-Compton also played an important role in that film. And then there’s Daniel Roebuck (the Police Captain) who got a role in almost every Rob Zombie movie. It may not have affected the creators of this film, but the least you can say is that it’s extremely coincidental. I’m not a real Rob Zombie adept but I could appreciate his flick “31”.

 

Penance Lane

 

Ultimately, it was a disappointment.

In the end, “Penance Lane” was a disappointment for me. If the gradation of my enthusiasm were graphed, I’m sure it would resemble any COVID-19 graph. Except that there’s no sign of a “flatten the curve” effect. After its peak, the curve goes very fast to a zero point. Maybe my expectations weren’t met because the concept changed drastically. In the end, it became a kind of thriller without supernatural apparitions. Rather a crime story in which an insane individual has set up a lucrative business activity. The story made no sense and at some point became downright ridiculous. I have learned the following lesson from this. No matter how good a summary sounds or what a movie poster looks like, it’s never a guarantee the movie will be any good. And yet there was, somewhere deeply hidden, an excellent film. Unfortunately, they failed to conjure it.

 

 

My rating 3/10
Links: IMDB

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Action

Becky: An Entertaining Gory Thriller, An Adult ‘Home Alone’

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Becky is as strong-willed and vindictive as they come
and you just tortured and killed her only living parent.

 

Feel like watching a straightforward “home invasion” film with dangerous-looking thugs (impressive body length, coarse facial features, and imposing tattoos on the back of their bald heads) taking an innocent family hostage? Well, in that case, “Becky” is the right movie for you. As with “Bushwick“, also directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, you don’t have to wait long for the violence to erupt. First, there’s a brief introduction of the main characters Becky (Lulu Wilson) and father Jeff (Joel McHale), who wants to spend a weekend with his girlfriend Kayla (Amanda Brugel) and her son Ty (Isaiah Rockcliffe). Subsequently, you’ll see a violent escape from a prisoner transport by Dominick (Kevin James) and his cronies Apex (Robert Maillet), Cole (Ryan McDonald), and Hammond (James McDouglas). And then you can get ready for an hour of unabashed terror and bloody butchery.

 

Becky

 

Don’t take it too seriously.

Frankly, the film isn’t really inventive and will certainly not stand out among other similar creations. But I have to admit I had a lot of fun watching it. It was a moment of relaxation and a relief for me to forget the Corona crap briefly. Perhaps also because of its simplicity and the straightforward approach this film had to offer. You actually know in advance what the outcome will be. As I mentioned in my review about “Eye for an eye”. You can be certain that the nasty gang members will get the short end of the stick. The movie “Becky” comes with one condition. You have to ignore the fact that a 13-year-old girl is able to wipe the floor with four grown-up guys. In short, if you don’t take this film too seriously, it’s digestible. Otherwise, you’ll only be annoyed by it.

 

Becky

 

Kevin James looks scary.

Most notable appearance is of course Kevin James who makes a huge career switch by portraying a relentless neo-Nazi. It took me a while to realize it was the “Kevin Can Wait” actor. Someone who usually appears in light-hearted television shows and belongs in yet another Sandler film. The transformation from an oh-so-cozy, over-friendly (Santa-ish) guy to a chilly, beastly Third Reich supporter (and member of some Brotherhood that defends the Aryan race) with an imposing, shaggy beard, is impressive. Opposite these behemoths (especially the aforementioned Apex) is this skinny thirteen-year-old girl with her pink backpack, glitter-decorated smartphone, and a similar bear hat as Jack wore in “Room”. Not exactly a worthy opponent for these four brutes. But then the aspect of improbability comes into play and the gentlemen realize that they were a bit wrong about this girl.

 

Becky

 

Unanswered questions.

Yes, “Becky” is a bit of a nonsense movie. The reason why these four idiots terrorize this family also remains a mystery. And what’s the relationship between the gang members? Like Dominick and Apex. Do they have family ties? And is the passing of her mother the only reason why Becky resolutely draws the card of revenge? Or does she have a more sinister past? But despite the lack of character development and substantive explanations, I’d say that “Becky” is an entertaining gory thriller. An adult “Home Alone” version where creative assault weapons are manufactured resulting in painful-looking (A hidden metaphor by coincidence) injuries. It’s not one of the best revenge movies, but also not one of the worst.

 

 

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

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