25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: NOELLE

Bill Hader and Anna Kendrick in Noelle (2019)

Starring

Anna Kendrick (The Voices)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Shirley MacLaine (Rumor Has It…)
Kingsley Ben-Adir (The Commuter)
Billy Eichner (The Angry Birds Movie)
Julie Hagerty (Just Friends)
Diana Maria Riva (Sabrina: TTW)
Ron Funches (Powerless)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Chelah Horsdal (If I Stay)
Anna Van Hooft (Flash Gordon)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)

Noelle (2019)When Noelle Kringle was a little girl, her father, Kris Kringle, would return to the North Pole every Christmas night to happily celebrate with the family. He reminds Noelle’s older brother Nick that he must begin his Santa training to take over for him one day. Years later, Kris passes away five months before Christmas and Nick has yet to perfect his training. Noelle continues to give him her Christmas spirit support while also making her famous Christmas cards. With the pressure too much to handle, Noelle tells Nick to get away for the weekend so that he can relax before the big day. Seven days later, the reindeer return to the North Pole, but Nick is nowhere to be found. When Noelle admits that she told her brother to get away, all the elves turn on her for essentially ruining Christmas. The elves have no choice, but to appoint Noelle’s cousin Gabriel, the Kringle’s tech support, to fill in for the year.While moping in her room, Noelle discovers that Nick has been looking through her magazines (her only window to outside the North Pole) and realizes that he must be in Phoenix, Arizona. She takes the sleigh and reindeer with her childhood nanny, Elf Polly, unintentionally coming along and they end up in Phoenix in the middle of a mall. The manager, Helen Rojas, plans to have her evicted, but when the customers all appreciate the presence of the reindeer, especially a Petco employee she has a crush on named Dan, she allows her to stay as long as they tend to the reindeer. Polly stays while Noelle continues her search for Nick. After running into so many “naughty” people, she finds an ad and meets with a private investigator named Jake Hapman. Jake, a single dad who has just divorced, decides to help Noelle despite her strange apparel.Noelle (2019)Meanwhile, in the North Pole, Gabriel uses statistics for gift giving and reasons that there are only 2,837 nice children in the world and plans to give all the naughty ones a notice telling them to do better next year, much to the horror of the elves and Mrs. Claus. Noelle meets Jake’s son Alex who expresses a desire to cook, but is afraid of telling his dad who is terrible at it. Noelle promises that if he is nice he will get his Christmas wish, which is to spend Christmas with his whole family. While out searching, Noelle discovers that she has an inherent ability to decipher if somebody is naughty or nice and can pick up any language including American Sign Language after speaking with a homeless deaf girl. A brief interaction with a woman about her yoga pants has Alex discover that Nick is working at the local yoga studio. Noelle and Nick happily reunite, but get into an argument about being Santa, ending with Noelle storming out.Noelle’s favorite reindeer, a small white one named Snowcone, arrives with a letter from Mrs. Claus, telling her about what is happening at the North Pole. Noelle has Snowcone sniff out Nick to a yoga retreat at the Desert Botanical Garden. While he refuses to talk to her, she leaves him the letter. Nick meets up with her and Polly at the mall the next day and Noelle has him continue to train by being a mall Santa. While Nick discovers the text message being sent to children from Gabriel, Jake discovers that Noelle told Alex about his Christmas wish, something that is awkward for him as his ex-wife remarried. Noelle breaks down and reveals that she is Santa’s daughter, causing him to leave. When Nick is accosted by the actual mall Santa, Noelle intervenes and accidentally hurts a police officer, resulting in her getting arrested and later hospitalized for psychological evaluation.Anna Kendrick in Noelle (2019)Polly meets with Jake who reveals that she is, in fact, an elf and asks for his help in getting Noelle released. They successfully do so with Jake seeing the sleigh and reindeer fly and Noelle, Nick and Polly return to the North Pole before Christmas Eve. While meeting with the elders, Nick reveals that he has decided that Noelle should be the next Santa, as the Santa Covenant technically does not mention gender, and the elves agree after Noelle gives an impassioned speech. Noelle takes off for the night to deliver presents where she encounters numerous mishaps. She begins to feel down, but after returning to the homeless shelter and meeting the deaf girl again, Noelle feels empowered and her Santa uniform (which previously was too big for her) conforms to her. She finishes her entire route before giving Helen tickets to Hawaii for her and Dan and dropping Jake off at his ex-wife’s house to be with Alex.Anna Kendrick in Noelle (2019)Noelle is celebrated at the North Pole as Gabriel happily returns to tech support, Nick opens up a yoga studio and Polly becomes an elf elder (something Noelle “slightly” regrets). Noelle admits that she is proud to continue her father’s legacy for being the 24th generational Santa.Disney has captured a cute and enjoyable amount of Christmas spirit with this movie that was helped along way by Anna Kendrick. A Christmas movie should do one simple thing … give you the feels … The feels are delivered here.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: ALTITUDE

CAST

Jessica Lowndes (90210)
Julianna Guill (Road Trip 2)
Ryan Donowho (Cabin Fever 3)
Landon Liboiron (The Howling: Reborn)
Jake Weary (Zombeavers)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Chelah Horsdal (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)

In the prologue, the mother of Sara (Jessica Lowndes) is transporting a family of three (two parents and their son) in a small aircraft. The child is extremely nervous and starts hyperventilating. Wondering why he is so afraid, the parents suddenly see an out-of-control aircraft that crashes into them, and everyone plummets to the ground.Years later, Sara, who has recently received her pilot’s license, is planning to fly to a concert with her friends: her boyfriend Bruce Parker (Landon Liboiron), her cousin Cory (Ryan Donowho), her best friend Mel (Julianna Guill) and Mel’s boyfriend Sal (Jake Weary). While in the air, Bruce’s nerves draw ridicule from the others and Sara invites him to take the controls. They hit some turbulence and Bruce loses control, taking them into a steep climb.Sara tries to regain control, but a loose bolt has jammed the elevator. Only able to climb, they fly into a storm and lose radio contact. Sara explains that with the elevator jammed, they will keep climbing until they run out of fuel or reach the aircraft’s ceiling. They have less than an hour’s worth of fuel left; Bruce has a panic attack and is put to sleep with a choke hold by Sal. In an effort to save fuel, they jettison everything overboard. The only way to unjam the tail is to climb outside and manually remove the obstacle. Cory, who has experience as a climber, volunteers. He has climbing gear with him and a rope for to use as an anchor. Sal wraps the rope around himself and after some difficulty, Cory makes it to the tail and removes the errant bolt. Sal then sees a horrifyingly giant tentacle among the clouds and loses control of the rope. Cory slips and Sal is almost pulled out of the aircraft. Panicking, he cuts the rope and Cory falls, only to be caught by the monster tentacle.When Bruce awakens, he finds he has been tied up and learns Cory is dead, along with a monster outside. Bruce tells Sara that he was in the crash that killed her mother and his parents. Sara tries the radio again and hears a strange noise. Sal recognizes it as the monster that took Cory. Suddenly, the aircraft crashes into the monster’s open mouth. Bruce looks at a page of his comic which shows a blond woman being grabbed by tentacles. Immediately, a large tentacle grabs Mel and kills her. Bruce starts flicking through the comic book, as if he has discovered something. Sal threatens to kill Bruce for causing Mel’s death and tries to throw him out, but Sara intervenes and in the ensuing confusion, Sal falls out the door and plummets to his death.Bruce tells Sara he is causing all this; that his mind is recreating the comic book, something that happens when he gets very scared. The creature starts attacking the aircraft, and Sara demands that Bruce prove he is doing it by ending it all. His attempts just make things worse, until Sara kisses him, but is grabbed by the monster. She tells him that if he can do all this, then he can bring his parents back. After a struggle, the monster suddenly disappears and she falls back into the aircraft. As they fly out of the storm, they see another aircraft heading straight for them, carrying Bruce, his parents and Sara’s mother. They manage to take control of their aircraft, and don’t crash into the other.In the altered past Sara’s mother and Bruce’s family have arrived at their destination intact. Sara’s mother says “Everybody gets one near miss, right?”, and Bruce’s mom asks, “Do you think they made it?” to which Sara’s mother replies “I hope so.” The young Sara and Bruce are introduced to one another, holding hands and looking out into the sky.While I admit parts of the film could have been better. overall it was a enjoyable film. The plot was very similar to triangle and to be honest a little predictable.

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE TORTURED

CAST

Erika Christensen (Swimfan)
Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives)
Bill Moseley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Chelah Horsdal (Arrow)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Bill Dow (Stargate SG.1)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Aaron Pearl (Starate SG.1)
Yee Jee Tso (Antitrust)

The film tells the story of a couple, Elise Landry (Erika Christensen) and her husband, Craig Landry (Jesse Metcalfe), whose lives are shattered when a serial killer named Kozlowski (Bill Moseley), kidnaps, tortures, and kills their only son, Benjamin. Craig feels immense guilt, as he saw Benjamin being kidnapped, but could not catch up to the fleeing vehicle. Elise blames Craig for not watching the child more closely. During the trial, Kozlowski makes a plea bargain, and in exchange for providing details on other murders, is sentenced to only 25 years to life. Elise and Craig are livid with the court’s verdict. Elise asks Craig to get her a gun so that she can kill Kozlowski, but Craig refuses. Elise moves out of the house and Craig, left alone, contemplates suicide. Later, he meets Elise to say that just killing Kozlowski will not be enough, and the two formulate a plan to kidnap the killer.

Craig steals medical supplies and drugs from the hospital where he works. They follow Kozlowski when he is being transferred to prison via police van. The officers soon stop to get some coffee. Craig distracts them, while Elise spikes their drinks. After some time, the police van pulls over, and Craig is successful in hijacking the van with the prisoner inside. In the confusion and panic of the escape, Craig crashes the van and it rolls over a bridge. Elise, following behind in her car, is relieved to see Craig is all right, and the prisoner, though thrown from the van and severely injured, is also still alive. Elise soon receives a call from the case detective (Fulvio Cecere) informing her that Kozlowski had taken the police van and escaped. She is able to sound normal to avoid arousing any suspicion.

They take their captive to the basement of an abandoned cabin and chain him up, just as he did to their son. They gag him, stating that nothing he could say will make them change their minds. They berate him as less than human for his abominable actions. They begin to torture him in various painful ways. During one session, Craig hangs the key to the chains above the captive, taunting him. As the torture progresses over several days, both Elise and Craig are haunted by their deeds, but carry on, remembering the horrific loss of their son. Meanwhile, the police manhunt for the escaped Kozlowski begins narrowing down to the area near the cabin.
Image result for the tortured (2010)Back in the basement, Craig removes the gag in an attempt to suffocate the captive, who begs for a chance to talk. He explains he has no recollection of anything before the van accident. He claims he does not think he could be a vicious killer. The Landrys are taken aback, and retreat upstairs to discuss. Craig feels the torture is unnecessary on someone who cannot even remember his crimes. Elise is certain he is merely lying to avoid any more suffering. They return to the basement and begin crushing his foot in a vise until he tells the truth. Elise demands that he speak their child’s name. Under duress, he eventually says ‘Benjamin’, which convinces Craig that they can continue with their plan. They leave him alone for the evening, promising that the next day’s torture will be the worst yet. Through extreme agony, he manages to reach the key and free himself. He makes his way upstairs and there is a struggle. Craig is knocked down the stairs and the captive escapes out the back door.
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Simultaneously, the police finally track down and apprehend Kowalski in the woods nearby. He appears mostly unharmed, and shows no signs of the torture inflicted by the Landrys. Flashbacks show that, unknown to the Landrys, the prison van was actually carrying two convicts; Kozlowski, and another man serving time for tax evasion. Following the crash, Craig mistook the bloodied man thrown from the vehicle as Kozlowski, and took him hostage instead. The real Kozlowski later emerged from the van relatively unhurt and went on the run.
Image result for the tortured (2010)
At the cabin, Elise and Craig track down the man that they believe is Kozlowski, but in reality is the other prisoner, just as he hangs himself in the barn. He leaves a suicide note stating that, based on what the Landrys had told him, he must be a monster, and deserved everything they had done to him. He apologizes and begs forgiveness. He simply could not stand any more torture, so he hanged himself. Satisfied, the Landrys get in their car and leave, unknowingly passing the police– who are returning Kozlowski to prison.Image result for the tortured (2010)More for seasoned Horror fans.Great acting all the way through and each actor gave it their all, great directing, and most importantly great gore. Not really a hidden gem per say, but a decent genre flick that makes you think nonetheless

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: POSSESSION

CAST

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Cruel Intentions)
Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Michael Landes (Lois & Clark)
Chelah Horsdal (Hell On Wheels)
Tuva Novotny (Nobel)
Dhirendra (Da Vinci’s Inquest)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Veena Sood (50/50)

Jess (Gellar) is a sweet-natured but driven lawyer who puts her career ahead of her personal life and ahead of her marriage to her artist husband, Ryan (Landes). The couple is on the verge of their first wedding anniversary, and though they are happy, the thorn in the side of their relationship is Ryan’s younger brother Roman (Pace). Where Ryan comes across as an honest and sweet man, Roman is the direct opposite. Roman is moody and violent, particularly with his casual girlfriend Casey (Novotny), and Jess is terrified of him, particularly as she met Ryan through Roman when she represented him in court on an aggravated assault charge. When Roman overhears Jess and Ryan discussing their plans to send him to a halfway house, he packs his bags and leaves in his car.
Jess calls Ryan, worried about what the impulsive Roman will do, and Ryan quickly heads home in his car. As the brothers cross the Golden Gate Bridge, they crash into one another and are both seriously injured. Jess goes to the hospital and learns that both Roman and Ryan are in comas. Casey arrives and shares a few words with Jess, who promises to keep her updated. Later, Jess gets her mail and finds one of Ryan’s weekly handwritten love letters. After several weeks, Roman suddenly awakens—but he immediately claims to be Ryan, begging Jess to believe that he is her husband returned to her in his brother’s body. He implies that something supernatural happened when their bodies were revived side by side on the road, but cannot explain the phenomenon. Jess is initially doubtful and hostile towards Roman, believing that he is disoriented from his head injuries, and she employs Casey’s help in trying to get him to regain his memories.
However, he maintains that he is Ryan, continually offering romantic gestures and recounting specific memories private to them. Eventually, after a year passes, once he accurately recalls the story behind a certain photograph of the two of them, she believes that he is truly her husband and they resume their romantic life. Despite the disapproval of Jess’ co-workers and a harsh reaction from Casey, who still believes that he is actually Roman, Jess and Ryan fall back into their former happy marriage, although Jess is still hesitant to turn off the machines keeping Ryan’s body alive. They are both soon thrilled by the news that Jess is pregnant. Casey goes missing, but when the police question them, Ryan merely says that she was “troubled”. Jess notices a discrepancy in a necklace that Ryan gave her before his accident, but brushes it aside until she discovers the original necklace hidden in a picture frame.
She then discovers that the box in which she kept all of Ryan’s many love letters and photographs has been broken into, and she realizes that Roman has in fact lied to her, having previously studied the pictures and letters to learn the details of their marriage to impersonate his brother. When she confronts him, he quickly grows violent with her, saying that he did it because he loved her and knew they were meant to be together, saying that she must have sensed that it was him all along, and it is revealed that he murdered Casey because of her suspicions. As Roman and Jess fight, Ryan, in the hospital, experiences a seizure. Jess finally manages to stab Roman with a pottery knife, and he dies as the doctors work on Ryan. Later, at the hospital, Jess learns that her baby sustained no injuries from Roman’s attack and that Ryan managed to pull through his episode, and she sits by his bedside, promising to wait for him and start their life over once he returns to her.Possession has an intriguing premise but a poor screenplay and execution. The story of a man possessed by the spirit of his brother could be an excellent horror, thriller, drama or even story of repressed desire. Unfortunately despite of the lovely Sarah Michelle Gellar, the plot is not well developed and has many flaws, like for example the fate of Casey or what would happen with Jessica after killing Roman. Worth seeing for SMG fans.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

 

 

 

CAST

Kristen Connolly (The Happening)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Anna Hutchison (Spartacus: Ward of The Damned)
Fran Kranz (Dollhouse)
Jessie Williams (Grey’s Anatomy)
Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers)
Bradley Whitford (The West Wing)
Brian White (Beauty and The Beast)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Tim DeZarn (Fight Club)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)
Jodelle Ferland (Silent Hill)
Adrian Holmes (Arrow)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Sigourney Weaver (Aliens)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Rukiya Bernard (Van Helsing)
Peter Kelamis (Stargate Universe)
Chelah Horsdal (You Me Her)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)

In a high tech underground facility, senior technicians Sitterson and Hadley discuss plans for a mysterious operation. A similar operation undertaken by their counterparts in Stockholm has just ended in failure. American college students Dana, Holden, Marty, Jules, and Curt are spending their weekend at a seemingly deserted cabin in the forest, a cabin recently acquired by Curt’s cousin. From their underground facility where they possess significant technological control over the area in which the cabin is situated, Sitterson and Hadley manipulate the teenagers by intoxicating them with mind-altering drugs that hinder rational thinking and increase libido. They take bets from coworkers as to what kind of monster will attack the teenagers and discuss the failures of similar rituals in other nationsIn the cabin’s cellar, the group finds many bizarre objects, including the diary of Patience Buckner, a cabin resident abused by her sadistic family. Dana recites incantations from the journal, inadvertently summoning the zombified Buckner family despite Marty’s warnings. By releasing pheromones, Hadley successfully induces Curt and Jules to have sex. Attacked by the marauding Buckner zombies, Jules is decapitated while Curt escapes to alert the group. Marty, a frequent marijuana smoker, discovers concealed surveillance equipment before being dragged off by one of the Buckners. Later, the facility workers learn that the ritual in Japan has also ended in failure, meaning that the American ritual is humanity’s last hope. It becomes apparent that the ritual involves blood sacrifice.Curt, Holden, and Dana attempt to escape in their RV, but Sitterson triggers a tunnel collapse to block them. Curt jumps a ravine on his motorcycle in an attempt to flee and alert the authorities, only to crash into a force shield, killing him. Holden and Dana retreat to the RV to plan their next move, but one of the Buckners, hiding within all along, fatally stabs Holden as they are driving away, resulting in the RV crashing and sinking into a lake. Dana escapes and swims ashore and is beset in turn. As she is attacked, Sitterson, Hadley, and their staff celebrate the successful completion of the ritual, viewing the events from their underground facility. The celebration is interrupted by a phone call pointing out that Marty has survived. His heavy marijuana use has apparently rendered him immune to Sitterson and Hadley’s manipulations.Marty rescues Dana and takes her to a hidden elevator he discovered under a grave. They descend into the underground facility, where a menagerie of monsters are imprisoned. Dana correlates them with the objects in the cabin’s cellar and realizes that those items gave victims the opportunity to choose the agents of their own deaths during the ritual. Cornered by the facility’s security personnel, she and Marty release the monsters, including zombies, goblins, mutants, witches, wraiths, a basilisk, a unicorn, a killer robot, and an evil clown. They wreak havoc and slaughter the staff; Hadley is killed by a merman and Sitterson escapes to the lower level.Dana and Marty flee the carnage (particularly menaced by a giant bat). Dana accidentally mortally wounds Sitterson, who begs her to kill Marty. Fleeing further, they discover an ancient temple and are confronted by the facility’s leader, known only as The Director. She explains that they are participating in an annual ritual sacrifice to appease the Ancient Ones (described as “giant evil gods”). Each facility’s ritual conforms to the rules of that region’s local lore; in America young people are chosen to be sacrificed based on similarity to certain archetypes: the whore (Jules), the athlete (Curt), the scholar (Holden), the fool (Marty), and the virgin (Dana). In order to complete the ritual the whore must die first and the virgin must survive or die last. Since all other facilities have failed, the penalty for not completing the ritual is the extermination of the entire human race. Hence, The Director urges Dana to kill Marty. Dana considers, but she is interrupted by a werewolf attack, while zombie Patience Buckner appears and kills The Director.Deciding that humanity is not worth saving, Dana and Marty share a joint while awaiting their fate. The temple floor collapses and a giant hand emerges, destroying the facility and the cabin itself.The genius of Cabin is the way director/co-writer Drew Goddard and producer/co-writer Joss Whedon have taken this mindset and embraced it. The film sat on the shelf for years when MGM suffered too many financial woes to afford a release, and yet its wit and invention remain as sharp as ever.  In the interest of keeping expectations managed, Cabin doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Its approach to horror is  original. The increasingly realistic and excessively gruesome style that they rode in on is far from universally loved. Cabin spills its fair share of guts, but it’s a good old-fashioned crowd pleaser.Cabin finds a way to access the reservoir of geekiness by engaging it rather than pandering to it.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE

CAST

Laura Linney (The Truman Show)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Campbell Scott (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Jennifer Carpenter (Limitless TV)
Colm Feore (Gotham)
Kenneth Welsh (The Aviator)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)
Henry Czerny (Revenge)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Shohreh Aghdashloo (Star Trek: Beyond)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Lorena Gale (Battlestar Galactica)
Chelah Horsdal (The Man In The High Castle)

Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)A 19-year-old girl named Emily Rose dies, attributed to self-inflicted wounds and malnutrition. After news of it spreads across town, a Catholic priest named Father Richard Moore is arrested and sent to court. The archdiocese wishes for Father Moore to plead guilty, in order for publicity of the incident to be minimized. A lawyer named Erin Bruner is provided to Father Moore to negotiate a plea deal, but Father Moore insists on pleading not guilty. Bruner takes the case, believing it will elevate her to senior partner at her law firm. Father Moore agrees to let her defend him only if he is allowed to tell Emily’s story.
Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)The trial begins with the calling of several medical experts by the prosecutor Ethan Thomas, and Judge Brewster presiding. One expert testifies that Emily was suffering from both epilepsy and psychosis. The defense contests that she may have actually been possessed but Bruner explains that Emily was suffering from something that neither medicine nor psychology could explain, and that Father Moore as well as her family realized this and tried to help in another way.
Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)Several flashbacks reveal the story leading up to the exorcism. Emily gets a scholarship to a university to study for a bachelor’s degree in education. After days pass, strange events occur. In her dorm room one night, at 3:00 AM, Emily smells a strange burning smell from the hallway. Attempting to investigate it, she sees a door open and shut itself several times. She then sees a writing material jar move by itself. Emily sees her bed covers roll themselves down, and a great weight pins her in bed along with a force which also proceeds to choke her and seemingly to possess her momentarily. Through these episodes Emily wonders if they are true or just a hallucination. She suffers more of these visions such as people’s faces demonically distorting, and being unable to eat. She is hospitalized, and diagnosed with epilepsy. Anti-seizure medications and treatment fail to cure her.
Kenneth Welsh, Andrew Wheeler, Tom Wilkinson, Joshua Close, and Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)A classmate named Jason brings her back home to her family upon her father’s request after finding her contorted and catatonic. He as well as Emily’s family become convinced she is not epileptic or mentally ill but is possessed by demons. Days follow where Emily attempting to fight back against the demons tries to sustain nourishment from eating bugs but to no avail. While possessed she starts to damage the house, and cause mutilations to herself. The visions continue, as do her severe bodily contortions. They ask for Father Moore to perform an exorcism, and the Church agrees. The prosecution counters that all this could be explained by a combination of epilepsy (the contortions) and psychosis (the visions).
Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)Meanwhile, Bruner begins to experience strange occurrences in her apartment at 3:00 AM, including strange smells and sounds. Father Moore warns her that she may be targeted by demons for possibly exposing them. He also explains that 3:00 AM is the “witching hour” which evil spirits use to mock the Holy Trinity, being the opposite of 3:00 PM, the traditional hour of Christ’s death. Moore then reveals that after the bishop gives him permission to do the exorcism, he also experiences the same strange occurrence on the night before the exorcism. Awakening to the scent of burning material, Moore witnesses religious imagery in the rectory bleeding and then encounters a black cloaked and hooded figure walking to the church, which he says is a manifestation of the demon possessing Emily.
Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)Seeing that the prosecution is putting up a seemingly solid medical case, Bruner decides to try to show that Emily may have actually been possessed. She calls in an anthropologist, Dr. Sadira Adani, to testify about various cultures’ beliefs about spiritual possession. Dr. Graham Cartwright, a medical doctor present during the exorcism, reveals an audio tape made during the rite. The priest is then called to the stand to testify. The tape is played and the movie then flashes back to the exorcism. It is performed on Halloween night because Father Moore believes it might be easier to draw out the demons on that night. Father Moore, Jason, and her father gather in Emily’s bedroom where she is tied to a bed while her family prays in the living room.Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)As Father Moore begins the rite and sprinkles holy water while reading various words from the Rituale Romanum, Emily begins speaking in Latin, German, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. The family cats run around the room, agitated by demonic presence and attack everyone. Emily breaks her ties, jumps out the window, and into the barn, with everyone following except for Emily’s family, who remain and pray. Inside the barn, they are subjected to more supernatural phenomena such as unnatural gusts of wind and demonic screams and voices. The demon inside Emily refuses to name itself after repeated demands from the Father Moore but finally reveals contemptuously that there are not one but six demons. With dual voices from Emily, they identify themselves in dramatic fashion as the demons that possessed Cain, Nero, Judas Iscariot, a member of the Legion, Belial, and Lucifer, each speaking with its own language.
Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)The film returns to the court room. The priest says that Emily refused another exorcism but also refused to take her anti-psychotic medication, having accepted her fate. She died a few weeks later. The prosecutor contends that her speaking in tongues can be explained by her having gone through Catholic Catechism, in which she could have learned the ancient languages, and that she had studied German in high school. The priest admits that it might be possible that she could have learned these languages in school. Bruner then calls Dr. Cartwright as a witness, but he does not show. She walks outside and sees him on the street. Cartwright says he can no longer testify, but he does believe in demons. Before he can explain, he is killed by a passing car. Later that night Bruner’s chief attorney threatens her with termination if she recalls the priest to the stand when he reveals that he heard of what happened.
Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)Bruner calls the priest back to the stand the next day. Father Moore reads a letter that Emily wrote for him the day before her death. The letter describes another vision she had on the morning after the exorcism. She walks out of the house and sees the Virgin Mary, who tells her that although the demons will not leave her, she can leave her body and end her suffering. The apparition reveals that if she returns to her body, she will help to prove to the world that God and the Devil are real. After Emily chooses to return, she then receives stigmata, which Moore believes is a sign of God’s love for her. The letter concludes with a statement saying “People say that God is dead, but how can they think that if I show them the Devil?”, but the prosecution counters that she could have received the stigmata wounds from a barbed wire fence on her property.
Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)When Judge Brewster pronounces Father Moore as guilty, the jury recommends a sentence of time served, to which she agrees. Bruner is offered a partnership at her firm for her success, but she declines and resigns. She goes with Father Moore to Emily’s grave, where he has put a quote (which she recited to him the day before she died) from the second chapter twelfth verse of Philippians on her grave: “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. Father Moore goes on to live in seclusion stating he would not appeal as God will be the only one to judge him in the end.Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)Admirably, the tone is not one of full on shocks and scares – there is a neutrality which gives you space to make your own mind up, and yet allow you to see events as the Father Moore and Emily saw them. It’s this intelligence towards the subject which sets this apart from most other recent horror movies and makes this worth watching.

REVIEW: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2004) – SEASON 3

Starring

Edward James Olmos (Blade Runner)
Mary McDonnell (Donnie Darko)
Katee Sackhoff (Riddick)
Jamie Bamber (Marcella)
James Callis (Flashforward)
Tricia Helfer (Powers)
Grace Park (Hawaii Five-0)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Aaron Douglas (Chaos)
Nicki Clyne (Saved!)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
Kandyse McClure (Mother’s Day)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)

Callum Keith Rennie and Katee Sackhoff in Battlestar Galactica (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Donnelly Rhodes (Legends of Tomorrow)
Rekha Sharma (V)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Michael Trucco (Sabrina: TTW)
Callum Keith Rennie (Impulse)
Kate Vernon (Heores)
Matthew Bennett (Stargate SG.1)
Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap)
Luciana Carro (Helix)
Leah Cairns (Interstellar)
Dominic Zamprogna (Stargate Universe)
Colin Lawrence (Watchmen)
Richard Hatch (InAlienable)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
Amanda Plummer (The Hunger Games)
Eileen Pedde (Juno)
Ty Olsson (War of TPOTA)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Jen Halley (Red Riding Hood)
Erica Cerra (Power Rangers)
Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary)
Bodie Olmos (Walkout)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
Sebastian Spence (First Wave)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (I, Robot)
Rachel Hayward (12 Rounds 2)
Carl Lumbly (Supergirl)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Don Thompson (Slither)
G. Patrick Currie (Stargate SG.1)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Gabrielle Rose (Dark Angel)
Lucinda Jenney (Rain Man)
Samantha Ferris (Shattered)
Jerry Wasserman (Watchmen)
Bryce Hodgson (X-Men)
Georgia Craig (Catch and Release)
Mark Sheppard (Doom Patrol)
Chelah Horsdal (You Me Her)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)

 

Mary McDonnell, Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Michael Hogan, Grace Park, Tahmoh Penikett, and Tricia Helfer in Battlestar Galactica (2004)When we left Adama and crew in the second season things had turned upside down to say the least. “One Year Later” took on a whole new meaning as the survivors of the Cylon attack settled down on a humble world that came to be known as New Caprica. The election of Baltar as President of the Colonies proved to be a rather large mistake as it was his own ineptitude that brought about the appearance of the Cylon fleet. The second season ended with the Cylons imprisoning mankind and the Adamas jumping away with both Battlestars. To say that the outlook was bleak would be an understatement and through much of the third season the show explores what life was like under Cylon rule.Jamie Bamber in Battlestar Galactica (2004)When season three begins it’s quite evident that this was a very different Battlestar Galactica. For one thing Admiral Adama had a killer moustache, Apollo got chunky presumably from eating too many Twinkies, and just about everyone else we cared about was stuck on the planet (aside from Helo and Dee, though we really don’t care about Dee). I didn’t think it was really possible considering the human race has been on the run from extinction but if the tone of Galactica could have gotten any more somber; New Caprica did the trick.Edward James Olmos, Grace Park, and Tahmoh Penikett in Battlestar Galactica (2004)Starbuck, Tigh, Anders, Tyrol, Cally, Roslin, Gaeta, and yes, even Baltar were all stuck on the surface with the rest of the colonies. They became an encampment under Cylon supervision though they were still allowed to congregate and kind of, sort of live out a normal life. At least as normal as possible with an artificially intelligent gun pointed at your head. For some strange reason the Cylons chose to use their resources to keep humanity alive. Their goal was never truly made clear but it certainly seemed that they’d rather have humanity under their metallic boots than erased out of the food chain.Mary McDonnell and Richard Hatch in Battlestar Galactica (2004)As the New Caprica storyline progresses there are some revelations that have resounding effects throughout the rest of the season. One of the biggest things to come about from all of this involves Gaius Baltar. As president of the colonies he has been forced into servitude by the Cylons and does all manner of unscrupulous things during his administration. The people loath him and they want him dead but little do they know that he did most of his devious acts at the wrong end of a pistol. He becomes a pariah before long and has found himself reluctantly siding with the Cylons.Grace Park and Eileen Pedde in Battlestar Galactica (2004)To be quite honest, so much happens on New Caprica that it would be difficult to discuss everything here. I will say that as interesting, and I suppose necessary, as this aspect was it did change the dynamic of the show. It was no longer the show that people had come to expect thanks to it being landlocked. Sure the characters were still the same and it allowed a lot of room for development but there’s no getting around the fact that it felt different, even if it only lasted for a couple of episodes. I guess it was designed that way so that the inevitable rescue of the colonies in “Exodus” was as climactic as it was. Trust me on this one, if you haven’t seen it this was one of the best moments EVER in Galactica.Edward James Olmos, Michael Hogan, and Grace Park in Battlestar Galactica (2004)From there the show returns to some form of normalcy. The people are trying to fit into their old roles from over a year ago and they struggle on many personal levels to accept what happened. The characters are scarred from the past and it’s enjoyable to watch as Galactica delves into that pain as the show moves forward. One episode that explores that is “Unfinished Business” which pits the crew of Galactica against each other in a boxing ring. This is essentially Battlestar’s version of Fight Club but it works on so many levels. Likewise towards the end of the season the two-part “Crossroads” takes a look at Baltar and the crimes he orchestrated against humanity. Without giving away details I will say that this episode features one of the greatest monologues ever delivered in a science fiction series. I got goosebumps watching this particular scene the first time and every time after it was just as satisfying.Mary McDonnell, Edward James Olmos, James Callis, Michael Hogan, and Tricia Helfer in Battlestar Galactica (2004)In between “Exodus” and “Crossroads” there are plenty of other episodes that stand out and explore interesting components of daily life aboard the colonies. “Hero” brings a figure from the past to light and delivers some interesting tidbits regarding Adama’s actions prior to the Cylon attack. “The Eye of Jupiter” is fascinating as it delves deeper into the prophetic writings of the founding colony. “Dirty Hands” examines societal issues and class structure among the survivors in a very interesting way. And finally “Maelstrom” was definitely a great look at the character of Kara Thrace. Now, as with the previous season of Galactica there are many storylines that run through these individual episodes. The aforementioned New Caprica angle is probably the most prominent but others that play a role include Sharon and Helo’s child Hera, Roslin’s struggle with cancer (again), and the ever frustrating Lee and Starbuck relationship.James Callis and Tricia Helfer in Battlestar Galactica (2004)As much as I didn’t like Lee and Dee getting together, I must admit that the way Galactica played Lee and Starbuck got obnoxious after a while. Due to Kara’s personal issues she closes up and becomes standoffish at all of the wrong moments. I suppose it’s a testament to the writing that you’ll feel the anger and frustrating that Lee does when this happens, but it’s annoying just the same. “Unfinished Business” was definitely a nice way for these two to work out their issues and resolve some feelings. I particularly liked the way Anders responded to their fight as it basically mirrored what I was thinking at the time.Edward James Olmos in Battlestar Galactica (2004)After the escape from New Caprica, the colonies and Cylons kind of go their separate ways. They are both still clamoring for Earth and seeking out clues of its existence and location but they spend a great deal of time away from each other. This kind of dulls the senses a bit and takes some of the core out of the series though some episodes towards the middle of the season and the end reunite these enemies gloriously. So much of the Cylon existence is called into question and you’ll be left scratching your head trying to unravel the mystery. It stands as a testament to the writing of Battlestar Galactica that this clue searching never gets old. That being said not every episode in this season stands out unfortunately. Some of the standalone tales such as “The Passage” and “A Day in the Life” falter at times and fail to delivery the familiar payoff we’re used to with this show. “Woman King” also comes across as somewhat weaker than the others but it does give Helo’s character a chance to shine. As with any show it’s necessary at times to flesh out the secondary characters and though it slows the series down somewhat, these moments still hold some merit.Lucy Lawless and James Callis in Battlestar Galactica (2004)Right up until the end, the third season is one that will keep you guessing and that’s a good thing. This is a series that makes you think and draws emotion out of you. There are many powerful moments scattered throughout these twenty episodes and to be quite honest when compared to the previous seasons, I feel that the third is the strongest. This is one of the finest science fiction productions ever to grace television and I applaud Ron Moore, David Eick, and the rest of the team for their creative vision.