31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN REVIEW: TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE: THE MOVIE

CAST

Deborah Harry (Elegy)
Matthew Lawrence (The Hot Chick)
Christian Slater (Broken Arrow)
Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs)
Julianne Moore (Carrie)
Robert Sedgwick  (Vibrations)
Kathleen Chalfant (Dulicity)
William Hickey (puppet Master)
Alice Drummond (Ghostbusters)
James Remar (Judge Dredd)
Rae Dawn Chong (Commando)

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Intro

The movie opens with Betty, an affluent suburban housewife and modern-day witch (Deborah Harry), planning a dinner party. The main dish is to be Timmy (Matthew Lawrence), a young boy whom she has captured and chained up in her pantry. To stall her from stuffing and roasting him, the boy tells her three horror stories from a book she gave him, titled Tales from the Darkside.darkside2Lot 249

In the first segment, Michael McDowell adapts Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story, “Lot No. 249”. A graduate student named Bellingham (played by Steve Buscemi) has been cheated by two classmates, Susan (Julianne Moore), and Lee (Robert Sedgwick), who framed him for theft to ruin his chances of winning a scholarship for which they were competing. As revenge, Bellingham reanimates a mummy and uses it to murder them both. Susan’s brother Andy (Christian Slater) kidnaps Bellingham, and burns the parchment and mummy. He considers killing Bellingham, but in the end cannot bring himself to commit real murder. However, Bellingham brings Susan and Lee back from the dead (having switched the reanimation parchment with a similar one) and dispatches them to Andy’s dorm, where they greet the terrified Andy by saying that Bellingham sends his regards.

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Cat from Hell

In the second tale, George A. Romero adapts a Stephen King short story of the same name. Drogan is a wealthy, wheelchair-bound old man (William Hickey) who brings in a hitman named Halston (David Johansen) for a bizarre hire: kill a black cat, which Drogan believes is murderously evil. Drogan explains that there were three other occupants of his house before the cat arrived: his sister, Amanda (Dolores Sutton), her friend Carolyn (Alice Drummond), and the family’s butler, Richard Gage (Mark Margolis). Drogan claims that one by one, the cat killed the other three, and that he is next. Drogan’s pharmaceutical company killed 5,000 cats while testing a new drug, and he is convinced that this black cat is here to exact cosmic revenge.darkside1Halston doesn’t believe the story, but is more than willing to eliminate the cat since Drogan is offering $100,000. But when Drogan returns to the house to see if the deed is done, he finds that the cat has killed Halston by climbing down his throat. The cat emerges from the hitman’s corpse and jumps at Drogan, giving him a fatal heart attack.

talesgargoyle-1024x576Lover’s Vow

The third and final segment is written by Michael McDowell and based on the Yuki-onna, a spirit or yōkai in Japanese folklore or more specifically Lafcadio Hearn’s version in Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. A despondent artist named Preston (James Remar) witnesses a gruesome murder committed by a gargoyle-like monster. The monster agrees to spare Preston’s life as long as he swears never to speak of what he saw or describe the monster’s appearance to anyone. The monster vanishes, leaving Preston traumatized and confused, but bound by his oath never to talk about the incident.tales-from-the-darkside-the-movie-lovers-vow-demon-gargoyle

After that night, Preston’s life takes many turns for the better. He meets a beautiful woman named Carola (Rae Dawn Chong), and they fall in love, marry, and have two children. Preston’s struggling art career becomes wildly successful, and life seems promising, but he is tormented by memories of his encounter with the monster, and his vow of silence weighs on him. One night he breaks down and tells Carola about the monster, even showing her a statue he sculpted of it. She appears upset and at first Preston assumes she thinks he is lying. But then she lets out a heartbroken screech and reveals herself to be the very same creature he met that night.lovers-vow2With Preston’s promise broken she can no longer remain human, and their children transform to monstrous forms as well. She kills Preston (though she says that she loved him), gathers their children and flies away. The final scene shows that the gargoyle and children have turned to stone upon a building ledge, staring down at Preston’s body with sorrowful expressions.tftds_shot7l

Epilogue

Betty remarks that Timmy saved the best story (“Lover’s Vow”) for last, but he says that he hasn’t told her the really best story yet and that this one has a happy ending. She tells him that he should have done it earlier, because now it’s too late and she has to start cooking him to be ready in time for her party, and that none of the stories in the book have happy endings. As Betty advances on Timmy, he tells her this story, his own, narrating his own actions as he trips her by throwing some marbles on the floor. Betty slips and falls on her butcher’s block, impaling herself on her tools. Timmy releases himself and pushes her into her own oven. The film ends with Timmy helping himself to a cookie and breaking the fourth wall by asking us, “Don’t you love happy endings?”tales-from-the-darkside-deborah-harry-blondie-matthew-lawrence

There are a few flaws, though the climax of “Cat From Hell” is a little silly. But the stories themselves are excellent. The first is a gritty, slightly cheesy tale of mummies and revenge; the second is a more cartoonish, almost Tim-Burtonesque story that has you cheering for the homicidal cat; and the third is a surprisingly tragic story that echoes of classic fairy tales.Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is a thoroughly solid collection of tales, which are all spooky in different ways. A fun little movie for Halloween.

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REVIEW: CHLOE

 

CAST

Julianne Moore (Carrie)
Liam Neeson (Taken)
Amanda Seyfried (Red Riding Hood)
Max Thieriot (Bates Motel)
R. H. Thomson (Bone Daddy)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Meghan Heffern (The Shrine)
Natalie Lisinska (Total Recall)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (I, Robot)

Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson in Chloe (2009)In a voice-over, Chloe discusses her business as a call girl. Catherine is a gynecologist and her husband David is a college professor. Catherine suspects David of having an affair after she sees a cell-phone picture of him with a female student. Catherine stops by the hotel bar where Chloe waits for clients, telling Chloe that she wants to hire her to test David’s loyalty. Chloe later tells Catherine that David asked her if he could kiss her, which he did. Catherine is angered but insists that Chloe meet with David again.Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried in Chloe (2009)Over the next few days, Catherine and Chloe meet multiple times, and Chloe describes in explicit detail her encounters with David, which arouses Catherine during one meeting; Chloe kisses Catherine, and Catherine, surprised by this, abruptly leaves. Later, when meeting with David at a get-together, she is taken aback by his awareness of the scent of her lotion; it is the same lotion that Chloe wears. Upset by this, Catherine leaves and meets with Chloe at a hotel. The two go into a hotel room, where Catherine starts undressing Chloe before asking Chloe to tell her how David touches her, visibly aroused. Chloe then dominates Catherine and has erotic sex with her. After having sex with Chloe, Catherine arrives home later than usual, leading David to ask her if she has been unfaithful. Catherine tells him she thinks he has been unfaithful as well, and the two argue, stopping after being interrupted by their son, Michael.Amanda Seyfried in Chloe (2009)Catherine meets with Chloe and calls off their relationship but later asks her to meet her at a coffee house frequented by David. While there, she demands that David admit that he is having an affair. Chloe walks in, and David does not recognize her. Chloe leaves quickly, and Catherine realizes that Chloe made up her encounters with David. David admits that he has fantasized about other women, and expects Catherine to make a similar admission with regard to men. When she does not, David becomes agitated. Catherine then confesses her passionate sexual encounter with Chloe. She apologizes, saying that she felt she became invisible to David as she aged, while David became more attractive to her, and that this got in the way of their sex life. The couple reconciles.Amanda Seyfried in Chloe (2009)Chloe goes to Catherine and David’s house and seduces Michael before having sex with him in Catherine’s bed. Catherine arrives home, and Chloe tells Catherine that she is in love with her. She threatens to hurt Catherine with her hairpin. Catherine asks Chloe what she wants. Chloe requests a kiss, and Catherine complies. Michael sees, startling Catherine and causing her to push Chloe into the bedroom window. Chloe manages to grab hold of the frame, but she intentionally lets go and falls to her death. Sometime later, Catherine attends Michael’s graduation party and wears Chloe’s hairpin in her hair.Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried in Chloe (2009)Chloe is a very solid and well done film. Unfortunately it has one major flaw, the predictably of the plot. I saw the twist coming from a mile way and I think any avid movie-goer will too. Still, it was a great watch, very entertaining and extremely well acted. Worth seeing.

REVIEW: NON-STOP

CAST

Liam Neeson (Taken)
Julianne Moore (Carrie)
Scoot McNairy (Argo)
Michelle Dockery (Selg/Less)
Nate Parker (Eden)
Corey Stoll (Ant-Man)
Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther)
Omar Metwally (The Affair)
Jason Butler Harner (Net)
Linus Roache (Batman Begins)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Anson Mount (Inhumans)
Bar Paly (Pain & Gain)

Liam Neeson in Non-Stop (2014)Alcoholic U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks boards a British Aqualantic Airlines Boeing 767 from New York City to London. He sits next to Jen Summers, who has switched seats so she can be by the window. After takeoff, Marks receives a text message on his secure phone stating that someone will die every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred to a specified bank account. Marks breaks protocol and consults Jack Hammond, the other air marshal, who dismisses the threat. Marks, however, has Summers and flight attendant Nancy monitor the security cameras while texting the mysterious person to try to identify him.Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson in Non-Stop (2014)When Hammond is seen using his phone and suddenly goes to the rear toilet, Marks confronts him. Hammond first offers him some of the money. When Marks turns him down, Hammond attacks. During the ensuing fight, when Hammond reaches for Marks’ dropped gun, Marks has to break his neck, killing him. This happens exactly at the 20-minute mark. When Marks checks Hammond’s phone, it reveals that someone texted that he knows what is in Hammond’s briefcase. Marks finds cocaine in it. Marks alerts the TSA, but TSA agent Marenick informs him that the bank account is registered in his name and accuses Marks of being the perpetrator. At this point, the pilot dies, apparently poisoned, at the 40-minute mark. Kyle, the co-pilot, convinces Marks that he’s innocent.Liam Neeson and Michelle Dockery in Non-Stop (2014)Marks searches the resentful passengers. One of them uploads a video in which Marks accuses and manhandles schoolteacher Tom Bowen, convincing the rest of the world that Marks is the perpetrator. Meanwhile, Kyle is instructed by the TSA to divert to Iceland. Marks persuades a programmer named Zack White to write a computer virus to make the hijacker’s phone ring. The phone rings in passenger Charles Wheeler’s suit pocket, but he denies it is his. As Marks roughly questions him, he suddenly dies, foaming at the mouth, at the 60-minute mark.While smoking in the first class lavatory, Marks discovers a hole drilled into the wall which offers a clear shot to the pilot’s seat. He then inspects Wheeler’s body and discovers a dart. He asks a passenger who used the toilet recently if anybody used it after her; she replies that Summers did. Marks accuses Summers of being the hijacker. Summers gets upset, as she had stood by him. She manages to convince Marks of her innocence.Liam Neeson in Non-Stop (2014)In the meantime, two Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets meet the plane, to escort it to a military base in Iceland. The passengers watch a television news report claiming that Marks is hijacking their flight. The hijacker then texts that a bomb will explode in 30 minutes. Marks realizes that the bomb bypassed the security checks, and finds it in Hammond’s cocaine briefcase. When some passengers attack Marks, Bowen stops them, believing that the bomb is the first priority. Marks convinces the others of his innocence, and has them move the bomb beside a rear door and surround it with luggage to direct the blast outward, while everybody moves to the front of the airplane. Marks tells Kyle to descend to 8,000 feet, as the current pressure differential would rip the airplane apart if the bomb exploded. However, the pilot of one of the escorting jets refuses to let Kyle deviate from his course.Liam Neeson and Michelle Dockery in Non-Stop (2014)Marks, watching a passenger’s phone video (the news video), notices Bowen making contact with Wheeler, planting the secure phone. Unmasked, Bowen runs to the rear. Marks chases after him, but loses his gun to Bowen in a fight. White reveals he is Bowen’s accomplice. Their goal was to frame Marks, thus ruining the reputation of the Air Marshals Service. Bowen wants revenge for the service not preventing the death of his father on September 11 and, as a result, believes that “security is the country’s biggest lie” and its exposure is necessary to get it addressed. Marks persuades White, who is more in it for the money, to try to disarm the bomb, saying that he could not survive parachuting out at this altitude. However, Bowen shoots White. Just then, Kyle suddenly descends steeply against orders. That distraction enables Marks, with Nancy’s help, to kill Bowen. White recovers and attacks Marks, still wanting to jump out of the aircraft. Marks subdues him, then runs from the rear of the airplane just as the bomb goes off, killing White and blowing out the door. Despite the damage, Kyle manages to land the plane safely. Marks is praised as a hero. He and Summers make plans for the start of a possible future together.Liam Neeson in Non-Stop (2014)There definitely is a lot that went into this movie, and even though it’ll have you thinking more deeply about the security of airlines, most of all it’s just a really, really fun ride.

REVIEW: SEVENTH SON

CAST

Ben Barnes (Westworld)
Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Jeff Bridges (Iron man)
Alicia Vikander (Jason Bourne)
Antje Traue (Man of Steel)
Olivia Williams (Dollhouse)
John DeSantis (The New Addams Family)
Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Gerard Plunkett (Travelers)
Jason Scott Lee (Timecop 2)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)

In a prologue, the witch Mother Malkin is imprisoned in an underground chamber by Gregory, the last of a knightly order known as the Falcons, who have long defended mankind against supernatural threats. Several decades later, Gregory now works as a “Spook,” a roving witch hunter. The rise of the centennial blood moon allows Malkin to regain much of her power and break free from her prison. In a confrontation with the aged Gregory, she kills his apprentice, William Bradley, before escaping. Malkin returns to her dilapidated mountain fortress, restoring it, and her sister, Bony Lizzie, to their former condition.Gregory then seeks out Tom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, on a local farmstead, and recruits him as his newest apprentice. Before Tom leaves, his mother gives him her pendant as a talisman. On their way to Gregory’s home, Tom sees a girl about to be burned by a mob as a witch. Recognizing her from clairvoyant visions he has had, he takes her from the mob and releases her. The girl, Alice, warns him not to let Gregory know about her. Alice is revealed to be Lizzie’s daughter, who spies on Gregory for her. Malkin begins gathering her army to conquer mankind.Tom meets Gregory’s assistant Tusk, and rushes to learn what he needs to become a Spook before he and Gregory leave to confront Malkin at her fortress. Gregory warns that they only have a week before the blood moon is full, after which Malkin will become too powerful for them. En route to the fortress, Gregory is summoned to a walled city by an Inquisitor whose forces have subdued one of Malkin’s followers, a werebear named Urag. Gregory instructs Tom to burn the warlock alive, but Tom hesitates, causing Gregory to dismiss him while burning Urag himself. Tom meets Alice again and, after having sex, the two briefly consider going off on their own, but Tom has a vision of Malkin killing Gregory and unleashing destruction upon the world. Tom rejoins Gregory, who reveals that he once loved Malkin, and that is why he could not kill her, even after she murdered Gregory’s own wife. Gregory feels responsible for every person killed by Malkin since then, and warns Tom that Alice must be killed, like all witches.Gregory, Tom, and Tusk are attacked on the road by an enormous boggart, and Tom narrowly manages to kill it and survive being swept down a waterfall. Tom is then confronted by Bony Lizzie, who attacks but is repelled by the necklace around his neck. Gregory recognizes it as the Umbran Stone, which increases the power of witches. It originally belonged to Malkin, but one of her witch followers, Tom’s mother, stole it from her, weakening her enough for Gregory to trap her. Malkin instructs Alice to steal the stone from Tom, promising to spare his life if she does. Malkin and her minions then raze the aforementioned walled city to the ground to avenge the death of Urag. Tom’s family happens to be in the city, and his mother sends her husband and daughter to safety, before managing to kill Strix the warlock and confronting Malkin with her own powers. Malkin kills her, mocking her for giving away the stone that would have saved her life.Out in the country, Alice reappears before Tom and pleads with him to leave with her, as he had suggested in their earlier meeting. Gregory tries to kill her, but Tom, blinded by love, stops him, proclaiming “She’s not the enemy!”. He lets her flee, but Gregory points out she has taken the Umbran stone from around Tom’s neck, replying, “Now tell me she’s innocent!”. Tom realizes her reappearance had been a ruse, and pursues her, with Gregory and Tusk following. Then Malkin’s servant Radu attacks them, capturing Gregory and driving Tusk and Tom over a cliff, wrongly believing them dead. Tom has a vision of his mother, telling him that as both the seventh son of a seventh son, and the son of a witch, he is unique and has the power to defeat Malkin.The witches gather as Malkin attempts to seduce Gregory with her magic. Alice is horrified to hear that Tom was left for dead. In remorse, she grabs the stone from Malkin, breaking Malkin’s hold on Gregory. As Malkin transforms into a dragon to kill Alice, Lizzie also transforms, to protect her daughter. Tom retrieves the stone and, fighting together, Gregory, Tom and Alice kill several of Malkin’s minions. Malkin defeats and kills Lizzie for her disloyalty, but is seriously wounded in turn. Gregory confronts Malkin in her room, alone. She appears close to death, bitterly recalling her and Gregory’s relationship, but then she seizes him with her claws. Tom arrives and hurls a blade at Malkin, freeing Gregory, who retreats. Tom finishes her off by burning her body. Afterwards, Gregory acknowledges Tom’s training is complete and brands his hand as a new Falcon knight. Alice appears, but accepts that Tom’s commitment to his new vocation means they cannot be together at the present. She promises Tom that they’ll meet again, before disappearing. Gregory departs for an unknown destination, leaving Tom with Tusk as the town bells ring, calling for the new Spook’s services.If you want an experience like the Hobbit or the Harry Potter movies, don’t watch this. But if you like fantasy movies like Willow or Dragonheart (and maybe Stardust), give it a chance.

REVIEW: CHILDREN OF MEN

CAST

Clive Owen (King Arthur)
Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Clare-Hope Ashitey (The White King)
Michael Caine (The Dark Knight)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity)
Charlie Hunnam (Crimson Peak)
Pam Ferris (The Raven)
Peter Mullan (Braveheart)
Danny Huston (The Number 23)

In 2027, after 18 years of global human infertility, civilization is on the brink of collapse as humanity faces extinction. The United Kingdom, one of the very few stable nations with a functioning government, is deluged by asylum seekers fleeing the chaos and war which have taken hold around the world. In response, the UK has become a police state as the British Army round up and detain immigrants. Theo Faron, a former activist turned cynical bureaucrat, is kidnapped by the Fishes, a militant immigrants’ rights group. They are led by Theo’s estranged wife, Julian Taylor, from whom he separated after their son Dylan’s death during a 2008 flu pandemic.Julian offers Theo money to acquire transit papers for a young refugee named Kee, which Theo obtains from his cousin Nigel, a government minister who runs a state-sponsored collection of salvaged art from around the world. The transit papers require that the bearer must be accompanied, so Theo agrees to escort Kee in exchange for a large sum. Luke, a Fishes member, drives them and former midwife Miriam towards the coast to a boat. They are ambushed by an armed gang, and Julian is killed. Luke kills two police officers who stop their car, and they bury Julian in the forest as Theo breaks down crying over her death. The group ditches their car for another to escape to a Fishes safe house.Kee reveals to Theo that she is pregnant, as Julian had told her to trust only Theo. Julian had intended to hand Kee to the “Human Project”, a supposed scientific group in the Azores dedicated to curing infertility; however, Luke persuades Kee to stay, and he is later voted as the new leader of the Fishes. Later that night, Theo eavesdrops on a meeting of Luke and other Fishes. He discovers that Julian’s death was orchestrated by the Fishes so Luke could take over as leader, that they intend to kill Theo in the morning, and that they intend to use the baby as a political tool to support the coming revolution. Theo wakes Kee and Miriam, and they steal a car, escaping to the secluded hideaway of Theo’s aging friend Jasper Palmer, a former political cartoonist turned pot dealer.

The group makes plans to board the Human Project ship Tomorrow, which will arrive offshore from a refugee camp at Bexhill-on-Sea. Jasper proposes getting Syd, a camp guard to whom he frequently sells drugs, to smuggle them into Bexhill masquerading as refugees. The Fishes discover Jasper’s house, and the group flees while Jasper stays behind to stall the Fishes. Luke shoots and kills Jasper as Theo watches from the woods. The group waits for Syd in an abandoned school, where Miriam confides in Theo how many pregnancies miscarried at the beginning of the infertility crisis and her sadness at how “as the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children’s voices”. The group then meets with Syd and are transported to Bexhill, where they see refugees being beaten, tortured, robbed, and executed by camp guards and police. When Kee’s contractions begin on a bus, Miriam distracts a suspicious guard by feigning mania. She is taken away and hooded.At the camp, Theo and Kee meet a Romanian woman, Marichka, who provides a room where Kee gives birth to a baby girl. The next day, Syd finds them in their room, and informs Theo and Kee that war has broken out between the British Army and the refugees, including the Fishes. Having learned that they have a bounty on their heads, Syd attempts to capture them, but Marichka and Theo fight him off and escape. Amidst the fighting, the Fishes capture Kee and the baby. Theo tracks them to an apartment under heavy fire where he confronts Luke, who is then killed by a tank shell, and escorts Kee and the baby out. Awed by the baby, the combatants temporarily stop fighting; staring at the screaming baby, they allow the group to leave. Marichka leads Theo, Kee, and the baby to a boat in a sewer, and Theo rows away whilst Marichka stays behind. As they watch the bombing of Bexhill by the Royal Air Force from a distance, Theo reveals that he had been shot by Luke. He tells Kee how to wind her baby to soothe her crying, and Kee tells Theo she will name the baby after his and Julian’s lost son, Dylan. Theo loses consciousness from his wounds as the Tomorrow approaches through the fog.Children of Men is a gut-wrenching look at an all too possible future, but it also works as a heart-stopping, adrenaline-rush-inducing piece of entertainment featuring some of the most breathtaking camera work you’ll ever see.

REVIEW: THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE

CAST

Rebecca De Mornay (Jessica Jones)
Annabella Sciorra (Jungle Fever)
Matt McCoy (Snapdragon)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Julianne Moore (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay)
Madeline Zima (Heroes)
John de Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)

Claire Bartel is happily married and pregnant with her second child. At a routine check-up, she is sexually molested by her new obstetrician, Dr. Victor Mott. Traumatized, she tells her husband Michael, who encourages her to report him to the state medical board. Her initial accusation prompts four more women to come forward with similar accusations, and multiple charges are prepared against Dr. Mott by the district attorney’s office. Upon seeing a news report about the charges, Dr. Mott commits suicide to avoid being arrested and tried. Later, Dr. Mott’s pregnant widow is told by her lawyers that her husband’s assets have been frozen because of the lawsuits and that she will lose her luxurious home. Mrs. Mott goes into early labor after fainting from the stressful news her lawyer gives her, causing her to lose her baby and, after hemorrhaging, is given an emergency hysterectomy. While recovering in the hospital, she sees a news story featuring Claire as the woman who went to the state medical board, leading Mrs. Mott to swear vengeance.Claire eventually gives birth to a boy named Joey, and, looking for a nanny, hires Mrs. Mott under the alias “Peyton Flanders”. Mrs. Mott begins waging a campaign to undermine Claire. She begins frequently breastfeeding Joey in secret, effectively brainwashing him to believe that Mott is his mother (which causes him to reject Claire, as he no longer take Claire’s milk) and encourages her daughter Emma to keep secrets from her mother and tries to turn her against Claire. She also secretly destroys Michael’s office proposal. Knowing that Claire’s close friend Marlene had been Michael’s ex-girlfriend before he married Claire, Mrs. Mott also suggests to Michael that he arrange a surprise party for Claire, leading Marlene and Michael to meet in secret. Claire accuses Michael of having an affair with Marlene, only to find the party-goers waiting in the next room.Solomon, an intellectually disabled handyman who has been assisting the Bartels, discovers Mrs. Mott breastfeeding Joey. Mrs. Mott then plants a pair of Emma’s panties in Solomon’s toolbox, leading Claire to fire him. Emma tells Claire that Solomon never did anything to her, but Claire refuses to believe Emma, causing her to turn against her mother as Mrs. Mott had planned. Unknown to the family, except for Emma, Solomon begins to keep a watchful eye over them. Claire begins to doubt “Peyton” and tells Michael so. Mrs. Mott overhears, then sets a trap for Claire in the greenhouse. Meanwhile, Marlene finds out Mrs. Mott’s identity; Marlene plans to warn Claire, but Mrs. Mott tricks her into going into the greenhouse, where she is killed by the falling glass. Mrs. Mott, who knows that Claire suffers from asthma, empties all of her inhalers. When Claire finds Marlene’s body, she has an asthma attack and is briefly hospitalized. As Michael is distraught over Marlene’s death and his wife’s condition, Mrs. Mott, wearing a sheer white nightgown, attempts to seduce him; he rejects her advances.Claire eventually uncovers the truth about Mrs. Mott, confronts her, and reveals the truth about “Peyton” to Michael as Mrs. Mott claims that she and Michael are having an affair. Michael denies this claim and kicks Mrs. Mott out. Claire then tells Michael to call the police as she realizes that Mrs. Mott rigged the greenhouse to kill her and not Marlene. Michael tells Claire to get Emma and Joey so that they can head to a hotel to be safe.Later, Mrs. Mott breaks into the house and lures Michael down to the basement where she knocks him down the stairs and breaks his legs with a shovel. Mrs. Mott then attempts to take Emma and Joey, but after seeing Mrs. Mott assault her mother, Emma locks Mrs. Mott in the nursery. Mrs. Mott escapes, and hears Joey in the attic. She enters and sees Solomon aiding the children’s escape. Claire enters and Mrs. Mott attempts to kill her, but stops after Claire appears to be having another asthma attack, allowing Mrs. Mott to mock her. As Mrs. Mott tries to take Joey, Claire gets back up, having faked her asthma attack, and pushes Mrs. Mott out of the window, impaling her on the picket fence and killing her. Touched at how Solomon risked his life to protect her family, Claire welcomes him back into their lives as they leave the attic while the police and paramedics arrive at the house.maxresdefaultThis is an involving film. Once you are into it, you’re hooked and the 100-plus minutes go by pretty fast. DeMornay is so effective in her role you just can’t wait to see her exposed for who she is and justice done to her. I did think Sciorra’s character would have needed more to go on to come to the right conclusion near the end, but, usually every film has some question marks regarding credibility. The violent, ending scene is very suspenseful and well- done.

REVIEW: THE FORGOTTEN (2004)

 

CAST

Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Dominc West (Punisher War Zone)
Jessica Hecht (Sideways)
Gary Sinise (CSI: NY)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
Anthony Edwards (Zodiac)
Linus Roache (Batman Begins)
Lee Tergesen (Oz)
Felix Solis (The Following)
Robert Wisdom (Ray)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)

Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) believes that her son Sam (Christopher Kovaleski) died 14 months ago in a plane crash, but her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards) tells her that she’s delusional and that they have never had a son, and Eliot (Jessica Hecht) doesn’t appear to believe in Sam’s existence despite her closeness to him. Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise) tells her that Sam was merely a figment of her imagination and that she is just imagining a life that might have been. He recommends that she be sent to a hospital, but she runs away and meets with a man named Ash (Dominic West) whom she thinks is the father of a girl named Lauren (Kathryn Faughnan) who was Sam’s friend and died in the same crash. At first he dismisses her, claiming he never had a daughter, and calls the police. After she is taken into custody, he remembers his daughter and rescues Telly. Together they escape and go into hiding, pursued by National Security agents.Telly and Ash capture and threaten an agent (Lee Tergesen), who reluctantly reveals that he and other agents are merely helping ″them″ in order to protect humankind. Without warning, the roof of the house blows off and the agent, along with the roof, is sucked into the sky—presumably taken by ″them″—and Telly and Ash flee. Eventually, Telly visits Dr. Munce again and he reveals that the disappearances are the work of ″them,″ and that the government monitors their trials, all too aware that they have no power to stop ″them″ from doing whatever they want.Munce takes Telly to an airport and the dilapidated hangar of Quest Airlines, where he introduces her to an agent of ″them″ (Linus Roache). He tells the agent that it’s over and to stop the experiment, because it will only cause more harm. But the agent replies that it’s not over. He reveals to Telly that she has been a part of an experiment to test whether the bonds between mother and child can be diminished. In her case, her memories could not be fully erased. Telly refuses to deny her son’s existence. The agent mentions that if he fails to erase her memory then he will look like a failure. The agent then subdues her and convinces her to think of the first memory she had of Sam. Telly thinks of the day he was born in the hospital, which allows the agent to successfully erase Sam’s memory from existence. As the agent is walking away, thinking he’s succeeded, Telly’s motherly bond kicks in deeper, to before Sam was born, when she was pregnant, triggering her memory that she indeed had life in her at one time. All of her memories of Sam return. Before the agent can comprehend what’s happening, part of the hangar roof is suddenly blown off, and he’s yanked into the sky himself, supposedly for his failure to erase her memory. This ends the experiment.Telly finds herself living a normal life, although she remembers everything that has happened. She reunites with Sam at a park. Also at the park is Ash, watching over his daughter. Like Sam, he has no memory of what has happened. Telly reintroduces herself, and the two sit and watch the kids play in the playground.It might throw some viewers off that The Forgotten is just as much a sci-fi film as a thriller. It firmly veers into X-Files territory–much more strongly than you’d ever expect from the first half of the film. This is yet another great example of why it’s better to approach films with zero preconceptions/expectations if possible.