HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: OUIJA

CAST

Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel)
Ana Coto (Disconnected)
Daren Kagasoff (Delirium)
Bianca A. Santos (The Duff)
Douglas Smith (Big love)
Shelley Hennig (The Secret Circle)
Lin Shaye (Insidious)
Matthew Settle (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer)

Ouija is a 2014 American supernatural horror-thriller film directed by Stiles White and co-written by White and Juliet Snowden. The film stars Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith and Bianca A. Santos.

The film opens with a young Laine Morris and Debbie Galardi playing with a Ouija board in Laine’s room, only to be interrupted by Laine’s sister Sarah. The scene then forwards to present day, where Debbie (Shelley Hennig) is playing with the board by herself and is so unnerved by what she experiences that she tries to burn the board and planchette before calling Laine (Olivia Cooke). Concerned, Laine comes over but is sent away by Debbie, who goes upstairs only to find the board on her bed. Her eyes turn white and she hangs herself. The following day, Laine is with her boyfriend Trevor (Daren Kagasoff) at a diner, where they meet up with their friend Isabelle (Bianca A. Santos).

Laine receives a text and goes home, learning of Debbie’s death. After the funeral, Laine finds Debbie’s Ouija board and decides to gather Sarah, Trevor, Isabelle, and Debbie’s boyfriend Pete (Douglas Smith) to hold a seance. They make contact with someone who is identified as D, who Laine immediately believes is Debbie. Despite this, the group is too frightened to continue playing. A couple nights later, they’re drawn back to the board after each person finds the message “hi friend” in various locations. Upon further interaction with the board, the group discovers that the spirit is not Debbie. Laine looks through the planchette and sees a young girl with her mouth stitched closed, who then warns the group to run from her mother. The group heads home, only for a malicious spirit to follow Isabelle and murder her.

Trevor and Laine research Debbie’s house and find that a young girl was placed in a mental institution after killing her mother, who she claims killed her sister, Doris. The two travel to the institution and meet Paulina Zander, who states that their mother killed Doris and sewed her mouth shut because she believed that spirits were trying to communicate through her. Trevor and Laine head home and unleash the spirits of Doris and Mrs. Zander. Doris overcomes her mother and the group believes that everything has been resolved. Unfortunately, this is not true as Pete is later killed by Doris.

Laine confronts Paulina about this, only to realize that Doris and Paulina were the evil ones and that Mrs. Zander was trying to stop them. Laine’s grandmother tells them that the only way to stop the ghost is to burn Doris’s body and the Ouija board. Trevor is also killed before Sarah manages to locate the corpse. Both Sarah and Laine are attacked by Doris and it is only through the intervention of Debbie’s spirit that the girls survive and manage to burn Doris’s corpse and the Ouija board, destroying Doris. The two sisters return home, only for Laine to find the planchette waiting for her in her room.

Ouija is a great horror, but went so underrated by many horror fans.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER

i still know

CAST

Jennifer Love Hewitt (Heartbreakers)
Freddie Prince Jr. (Scooby-Doo)
Brandy Norwood (Moesha)
Mekhi Phifer (8 Mile)
Muse Watson (NCIS)
Bill Cobbs (The Bodyguard)
Matthew Settle (Gossip Girl)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator)
Jennifer Esposito (Summer of Sam)
John Hawkes (The Sessions)
Jack Black (Goosebumps)

One year after the events of the first film, Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is attending summer classes in Boston, in avoidance of returning to her hometown of Southport. She suffers from memories and nightmares of the accident and brutal murders of her friends by the vengeful fisherman, Ben Willis (Muse Watson), the summer before.Julie’s friend Karla Wilson (Brandy) receives a phone call from a local radio station, asking her to participate in a contest to win an all-expenses-paid vacation to the Bahamas for the Fourth of July weekend. Karla must guess the capital of Brazil. Her answer is “Rio de Janeiro”. The radio host tells her she is right (though the correct answer is Brasilia) and she is given four tickets for the trip. Julie invites her boyfriend, Ray (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), but he declines. He is hurt by her earlier refusal to visit him in Southport. Ray intends to propose to Julie, and changes his mind about the trip, planning to show up as a surprise. That evening, Ray and his co-worker Dave (John Hawkes) drive to Boston to meet Julie. They stop due to a car in the middle of the road. As Ray gets out to inspect the scene, Ben Willis appears and kills Dave with his hook. Ben takes Ray’s truck and chases him down the road. Ray gets away, but is injured from falling down a hill.The next morning, Julie and Karla depart on the trip with Karla’s boyfriend Tyrell (Mehki Phifer) and their friend, Will Benson (Matthew Settle). Knowing Will has a crush on Julie, Karla invited him as a replacement for Ray, much to Julie’s discomfort. The group arrives in the Bahamas, on the island of Tower Bay, to find that other guests are leaving due to the imminent hurricane season. To her surprise, Julie is sharing a hotel room with Will. That evening at the hotel’s bar, Julie is talked into singing karaoke. She stops when the words “I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER” roll onto the screen. Terrified, she runs back to her room and is met by Will, who laid out for her flowers and a love note. Julie sidesteps Will’s affection for her, while Tyrell and Karla (and later Will) get into the hot tub.Julie notices her toothbrush is missing. Feeling something is wrong, she searches the room and finds Darick, the dockhand, hanging dead in the closet. She gets Tyrell, Karla, and Will, but when they return there is no sign of Darick. Julie tries to call the cops, but the phone lines are dead due to an incoming hurricane. The group and the hotel staff prepare for the storm.The following day, the group finds that several hotel staff and the manager have been murdered and the two-way radio, their only way of contact, has been destroyed. Isolated, Julie tells the others about the previous summer. Tyrell suspects that Estes (Bill Cobbs), the boat hand porter, is the killer, since he is the only one who cannot be found. The group goes to Estes’ apartment, searching for clues. They find Julie’s toothbrush and Karla’s hair tie, concluding Estes has been using voodoo to protect them. Estes appears and states the capital of Brazil is not Rio, meaning the trip was a set-up. He leads them to a graveyard in the forest with the graves of Ben Willis’ wife and daughter, and an empty grave and tombstone with Julie’s name. Estes explains that Ben and his wife Sarah had two children: a son, Will, and a daughter, Susan. Ben murdered Sarah in the hotel room that Julie is staying in when he found out about her affair and her plans to leave him with their children.Estes goes missing, and Will volunteers to find him. Will finds Estes but he attacks Will while Ray takes a boat to the island. Meanwhile, Julie, Karla, and Tyrell head to the hotel kitchen for something to eat, and find Nancy (Jennifer Esposito), the bartender, hiding in the freezer. Ben appears and kills Tyrell. The girls retreat to the attic, where Karla is attacked by Ben. They both fall through to the hotel bedroom below. Karla runs from the room and jumps onto the greenhouse. Julie and Nancy rescue Karla and run to the storm cellar to take refuge. They find that the storm cellar stores Ben’s victims. Will bursts in and convinces the girls to head back to the hotel, stating that he saw Ben on the beach.Back at the hotel, Julie sees Will is bleeding from his stomach, so Nancy takes Karla to find a first aid kit. While retrieving the kit, Nancy and Karla find Estes has been impaled with a harpoon. Ben appears and kills Nancy. Back in the lobby, Julie is tending to Will, unable to find a wound. Will admits this is because it is not his blood. He asks Julie what her favorite radio station is, revealing he was the radio host and killed Estes with the harpoon. Will drags Julie to the graveyard, and tells her he is Ben Willis’s son, explaining his actions. Ben appears and attacks Julie. Ray arrives, and a fight ensues between him and Will. When Ben tries to stab Ray, Ray moves and Ben accidentally kills Will instead. While Ben is distraught from killing his son, Julie takes a gun and shoots him in the chest. Ben falls dead into the grave made for Julie. Ray comforts Julie. Back at the hotel, Karla is found alive. The three are rescued by the coast guard. Sometime later, Ray and Julie have married and are in their new home. Ray is brushing his teeth before bed and Julie is in their bedroom. The bathroom door is quietly shut and locked while Ray is occupied. Julie sits down on her bed, looks in the mirror, and sees Ben under the bed. She screams as Ben grabs her foot with his hook and pulls her under.This was an okay sequel. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer moves away from the suspenseful thriller kind of movie that viewers witnessed in its predecessor and transitions to more of a slasher horror. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. reprise their roles from the first film as the couple of Julie and Ray. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is one of those movies that have you asking too many questions throughout the duration of the film. This would mark the last of the I Know What You Did films to feature any of the original cast and crew as a third sequel released in 2006 titled “I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer featured a fresh new cast.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA (1997)

 

CAST

Matthew Settle (Gossip girl)
Kimberly Oja (The OC)
John Kassir (Pete’s Dragon)
Michelle Hurd (Dardevil)
Kenny Johnston (Heli)
David Krumholtz (Hail, Caesar!)
Elisa Donovan (Sabrina: TTW)
Ron Pearson (Malcolm & Eddie)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Robert Gallo (In The Mix)

Image result for justice league of america tv pilot

The protagonist, Tori Olafsdotter (Kimberly Oja), is a meteorologist working at the Eno Meteorological Institute who will later become Ice. The city of New Metro is faced with a tornado controlled by a terrorist calling himself the Weatherman (Miguel Ferrer). The Flash (Ken Johnston) dissipates the tornado using his super speed while the other members of the JLA use their powers to save civilians.

Tori stumbles upon a hidden device in the lab where she works. While investigating its use, she spills water on it and it strikes her with strange blue electricity. She is unharmed and leaves the lab for home freezing everything she touches. En route she sees a man drowning; when she attempts to rescue him, the water freezes around her. The JLA, believing her to be the Weatherman, abduct and interrogate her. They release her and Tori believes it was all simply a bad dream.Michelle Hurd in Justice League of America (1997)The JLA suspect that Tori’s timid work colleague Arliss Hopke is The Weatherman. New Metro is attacked again, this time by golf ball-sized hailstones, but Fire melts them all. The JLA infiltrate a party at the Eno Meteorological Institute looking for evidence that Arliss Hopke is The Weatherman. Tori however discovers that it is her boss, Dr. Eno, who is The Weatherman. Tori takes this knowledge to the JLA and they in turn take her to their secret command center, an alien spacecraft hidden underwater. The JLA’s leader J’onn J’onzz (David Ogden Stiers) introduces himself to Tori and the other members of the League reveal their secret identities. Tori discovers that The Atom (John Kassir) is a man with whom she has been flirting. The JLA attempt to train Tori to hone her freezing powers without much success.Martin Walters, a young man who has been pursuing B.B. DaCosta romantically, watches a news broadcast about the JLA and sees that Fire is wearing earrings that he gave B.B. as a gift. Martin tells B.B. that he knows her secret identity. B.B. secretly alerts the JLA, and J’onn takes the shape of Fire and appears before Martin and B.B. “Fire” claims that B.B. is a close friend who lent “her” the earrings. Martin is embarrassed by his “mistake”, and B.B. gently terminates his romantic interest in her, although she assures him that he’s a nice guy and that he will find true love someday. The Weatherman demands $20 million or he will engulf New Metro in a tidal wave. He attacks the Watchtower using a heat ray. The JLA escape and devise a plan to stop the Weatherman, leaving Tori behind. They are unsuccessful, but Tori stops it by freezing the tidal wave solid. The other heroes apologize for leaving Tori behind, and offer her membership again, including a costume and the codename “Ice”. Tori forgives them and agrees to their offer.Meanwhile, the Weatherman plans his escape from prison.

There have been many comic book adaptations, some successful, some not so. This film unfortunately fits into the latter. It feels like it wants to succeed and certainly its heart is in the right place, but it ultimately falls short of it’s targets. The characterisation seems to be to create a variety of characters and not necessarily stay faithful to how they were portrayed in the orignal comics- the Flash and Green Lantern particularly so. However, Fire, The Atom and The Martian Manhunter are very much like their comic-book counterparts and are enjoyable to watch.The costumes are faithful to their four-color origins. The villain of the piece, Miguel Ferrer’s “Weatherman”, is indicative of the constraints of the budget and so doesn’t present a foe that seems to need the entire JLA to defeat. The plot, driven by the Weatherman and the origin of “Ice”  also reflect the fact its a TV pilot.  budget and TV guidelines stopped it from being what it should have been. Still, if you want to see some fun super-hero action and big-names working together, seek this out.