Jigsaw Written Review

Title Jigsaw (Saw 8)
Year 2017
Distributor Lionsgate
Availability In Theaters | On Bluray, DVD and VOD (Jan 2018 est.)
Director Spierig Brothers
Actors Tobin Bell, Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie
Review The much anticipated Jigsaw is here. Did it live up to the expectations?

We were cautious about this, to say the least. The Phantom especially, this being her favorite horror franchise. The previous seven films made so much sense together, that it was quite bold to add an eighth one. Especially since the only cast member to reprise his role is Tobin Bell, as Jigsaw himself. However, we were pleasantly surprised.

Does Jigsaw equal its predecessors in every sense? Not necessarily. The deathtraps are not especially inventive, but they don’t disappoint either. It’s not super gory, but it has some very decent kills. Does it feel like part of a whole? Absolutely (Phantom — not necessarily for BillChete it’s a stretch). They developed the story to fit the universe, even if there were some things that don’t quite click. We really wish they had brought more old cast members back, though, so certain parts would’ve made more sense. The end, we’re happy to report, took us completely by surprise, which is saying a lot. You definitely have to pay attention while watching, and even then they’ll probably fool you.

The acting in this movie is good, as usual, with only one mild exception. Even then, it’s not bad, just a bit overacted (we’ve seen reviews saying that there’s bad acting in this movie. They have obviously not seen bad acting). The feel of the movie is dark and completely Saw-esque. Of course, the pig mask makes an apparition, as does Billy the puppet, with some glowing eyes that we weren’t crazy about. Billy is just fine with his regular eyes, thank you very much. The Saw music is there too, even though it’s not as prevalent as in the previous ones. That is definitely a negative.

Should you watch Jigsaw and add it to your collection? We think you should. It’s a very decent addition to the family. As for the possibility of further development of the franchise, we think they should stop. If they choose to go on, however, they’d better bring back past members and have super brilliant ideas, because they could spoil one of the few franchises that feel like one cohesive story.

 

Ratings

BillChete
Lady Phantom
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The Scopia Effect Written Review

Title The Scopia Effect
Year 2014
Distributor Flynn Entertainment
Availability VOD Everywhere | DVD At Amazon
Director Christopher Butler
Actors Joanna Ignaczewska, Edward Stanton, Akira Koieyama
Review Lets start by saying this is a newly released indie (Oct. 3, 2017) that was in post production and distribution hell for 3 years. Tragic as that is it is all too common but the filmmakers of this film didn’t bow down and release it themselves almost guaranteeing no return on investment, so for that props for the patience and re-cuts to get a decent release.

The Scopia Effect is a complex movie. It could be said a secondary title could be “If you are thinking about hypnotism, don’t.” However, that would be doing it an injustice. It’s not as simple as that. At first it felt dis-articulated, but give it some time. It’s not. If you want to understand the film a bit better, pay close attention to the definition and explanation given at the start of the movie.

In a few words, this is the story of Basia, a girl who undergoes hypnotism to help herself heal from her depression by liberating memories of her mother. However, the procedure does much more than that. It liberates memories from long, long before. Her life becomes a living nightmare in which nothing and everything seems real.

This film is one of those that you may start by saying “what is this I’m watching?,” but it takes shape little by little. There are constant flashbacks, but the timelines don’t get confused due to an impeccable set design. The story moves around different times and countries, and in each one, it feels real. Make-up, sets, and cinematography are all outstanding- they made excellent use of the budget, which at an estimated £1,300,000, was not gigantic. It has good sound and music, and the acting is on point. The special effects are also fantastic, and the gore is just right. Unfortunately, the ending was confusing and jumped the shark. We feel it would’ve served a better purpose if the “reincarnation” angles stuck and it wasn’t more complex than that. However, the effect the movie has is still good.

As we said at the beginning, this is a complex movie. It’s not easy; you have to pay attention and give it a little thought. But it’s worth it. It’s definitely not a typical horror movie, but it’s scary at a deep, intimate level.

 

Ratings

BillChete
Lady Phantom
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Cold Moon Written Review – New Release

Title Cold Moon
Year 2016
Distributor Curmudgeon Films
Availability VOD Everywhere
Director Griff Furst
Actors Josh Stewart, Frank Whaley, Christopher Lloyd
Review Crime, check. Revenge, check. Ghosts that may or may not look like Beetlejuice, check. If you like all of these things, this may just be the movie for you.

Cold moon is a movie adapted from the book Cold Moon over Babylon, written by Michael McDowell, who also wrote Beetlejuice, The Nightmare before Christmas, and other movies. It’s a story that begins with the murder of a 16-year-old girl and unfolds in unexpected ways. It starts in the Larkin’s blueberry farm, from where Margaret (Sarah Catherine Bellamy) leaves one afternoon, never to return. We see her murdered by a masked murderer with a luxury of violence. Her family is worried when she doesn’t return that same afternoon. But when her body is discovered, tied to her bicycle in the bottom of the river, is when the story really starts.

At first it seems like the film may be a slasher, but that quickly changes. It’s an interesting mixture of crime, thriller, drama and supernatural phenomena. It’s not perfect, but it’s interesting enough to keep you engaged. The acting is, for the most part, excellent. We found ourselves wishing the role of Evelyn Larkin had been played by Marlyn Mason (Besetment), because she would have been a much better choice than Candy Clark. Other than that, the cast is solid. There are some familiar faces, like Josh Stewart (The Collector), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Frank Whaley (Vacancy), and Robbie Kay (Once upon a Time). Their performances, as well as those by the less known people, are solid. The only gripe is the struggle the actors had at pulling off a Southern accent, it felt forced by most.

There are also many special effects, many of which were credible. There is also some CGI that is less than perfect, but it doesn’t take you away from the experience. The sound is a shining point, bold and enticing. There’s a decent amount of jump scares and there were good kills, but a few of them were marred by the use of CGI. If there had been more practical effects and make up, it would have been a much better movie.

All in all, we recommend you give Cold Moon a watch. It’s interesting and fun, if not too scary. If snakes scare you, though, you will find it scarier.

 

Ratings

BillChete
Lady Phantom
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Circus Kane Written Review – Releasing On VOD Tomorrow

Title Circus Kane
Year 2017
Distributor DeInstitutionalized
Availability VOD Everywhere
Director Christopher Ray
Actors Jonathan Lipnicki, Tim Abell, Nicole Arianna Fox
Review Welcome to Circus Kane, where you get in, but you most probably won’t get out.

A good description for this movie would be “Willy Wonka meets some freaky clowns” in a non-horror sense or more to the tune of “House On Haunted Hill” and “Rob Zombie’s 31” where you must stay in a some sort of house and last the night to earn money. To this flick Balthazar Kane (Tim Abell) sends a group of people a golden invitation to his “circus.” These people are all somehow related to horror and social media. They are told that whoever survives is going to win $250,000.00; they meet at a certain place and they’re taken to Kane’s property under masked guard and drugged along the way. That’s when the fun begins.

This movie showed a lot of promise at first. The music was appealing and an old times feel at the beginning was effective. The acting was good, if not very credible at some points. The clown’s makeup was good, and the Phantom found it scary. One of the clowns was reminiscent of the one in AHS- Freakshow. Some of the special effects and props were great (a severed head and its subsequent manhandling, for example). The Phantom also thinks the makers of this movie are Batman fans; there were Batman references scattered throughout the movie. There’s also a nice twist at the end with a callback to the beginning of the movie.

Unfortunately, the film also has negative aspects. One of the group members was fake and overacted. Many of the practical effects were ineffective; someone should’ve told the filmmakers what blood looks like and how it works in general. In scenes where you can see buckets of blood, it clearly looks like red watered-down syrup. There’s a scene when someone dies by barbed wire; it looked incredibly stupid. None of the deaths made us jump, so they all failed, not that they didn’t try. They just didn’t work. And Kane’s old-age burned look was just a mask not done very well with makeup to hide the fact.

All in all, it’s a fun movie, and it’s worth watching. If you’re afraid of clowns, you might find it more scary, but not that much. In concluding…it was pleasing seeing Richard Mull (Night Court) acting the part of a creepy dude! Give it a viewing it won’t waste your time.

 

Ratings

BillChete
Lady Phantom
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