REVIEW: THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005)

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Melissa George (Triangle)
Jesse James (The Butterfly Effect)
Jimmy Bennett (Orphan)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Rachel Nichols (Alex Cross)
Philip Baker Hall (50/50)
George (Ryan Reynolds) and Kathy Lutz (Melissa George) are newly married, George now a step-father to Kathy’s three kids (Billy, Michael and Chelsea) who still pine away for their late father. George seems like an alright guy though, and he is honestly making an effort to be good to the three kids and to take care of them as he would his own children. When he and Kathy are out house hunting one day, they find a deal too good to pass up – a beautiful old Dutch Colonial style home with plenty of space and waterfront property – they figure it’s all too good to be true. They’ll have to be careful with their finances but they can afford it, but what’s the catch? Well, as we learn from the opening scene, Ronald Defeo Jr. killed his six family members in that home a few years later under some very macabre and unusual circumstances and since then, no one has wanted to move in .Image result for the amityville horror 2005Kathy pushes for the home and George agrees. After all, houses don’t kill people, people kill people, right? Right. Soon enough, the Lutz clan moves into the home and start to make it their own and this is when things start to get a little odd. First little Chelsea starts to obsess over what her mother assumes is an imaginary friend who she names Jodie. Then George starts to get very short with the rest of the family, snapping at them and ultimately losing control of his temper. Kathy grows concerned for obvious reasons, and it looks more and more like old George is losing it once and for all, especially once he basically moves into the basement where he spends a lot of time starring at a weird hole in the wall. Kathy decides to take it upon herself to get some more background information on their new dream home so that she can figure out what’s burdening her family before it’s too late, but what she discovers is worse then either she or George could have possibly imagined.Taking a few hints from some popular Japanese horror films of recent years (Ring comes to mind), director Andrew Douglas crafts a decent horror film that borrows just enough from the original The Amityville Horror to be recognizable as the same story but fixes some of the pacing problems that plagued that film. While Margot Kidder and James Brolin will always be the Lutz family to most of us, Reynolds does a fine job in the lead and is actually a little more convincing in the part once his breakdown starts to take some more serious turns. Melissa George isn’t going to win any awards for her performance but she’s not bad in the role either and she sure is easy on the eyes. The movie isn’t perfect, not by a long shot as it is pretty predictable and does fall victim to some clichés in a few spots as well as a few annoying trends in the editing and camerawork departments, but it is a well made horror film with some truly creepy visuals.The addition of some more back story to the history of the home itself and the land on which it was built is a nice touch and it does do a pretty good job of explaining just why the home is the way that it is, even if it reaches a little bit. The opening scene in which we see Defeo Jr. walk through the home and systematically kill off his family is eerie and disturbing and does a very good job of setting up what is to come in the film.The film stretches out enough to become its own entity and the end result is actually a good horror film. Replay value isn’t going to be through the roof here, as the jump scares are a large part of why the film is moderately successful and when you know they’re coming they’re no longer as intense, but the movie is worth checking out for both fans of the original film and fans of good ghost stories in general.

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REVIEW: 30 DAYS OF NIGHT

CAST

Josh Hartnett (The Faculty)
Melissa George (Triangle)
Danny Huston (The Kingdom)
Ben Foster (The Punisher)
Mark Boone Junior (Batman Begins)
Mark Rendall (Open House)
Amber Sainsbury (Hex)
Manu Bennett (Arrow)
Megan Franich (Alpha Planet)
Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Filthy Rich)
Nathaniel Lees (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Craig Hall (King Kong)
Andrew Stehlin (10, 000 BC)
John Rawls (The Blue Rose)
Jared Turner (The Almighty Johnsons)
Kelson Henderson (Power Rangers n inja Steel)
Pua Magasiva (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Kate Elliott (Power Rangers Samurai)

The town of Barrow, Alaska is preparing for its annual “30 Days of Night”, a period during the winter when there is a month-long polar night. As the town gets ready, a stranger (Ben Foster) rows ashore from a large ship and sabotages the town’s communications and transport to the outside world. Barrow’s sheriff, Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) investigates and also learns that his estranged wife, Stella (Melissa George), missed the last plane and must stay the 30 days. That night, a coven of feral vampires, led by Marlow (Danny Huston), attack and slaughter most of the townspeople, forcing Eben, Stella, Eben’s younger brother Jake (Mark Rendall), and several other survivors to take shelter in a boarded-up house with a hidden attic. Marlow finds the stranger locked up in the station. The stranger believed Marlow was going to turn him into a vampire. Marlow thanks him for doing what he asked, and then snaps his neck. Marlow ironically comments to his fellow vampires: “The things they believe.”Eighteen days later, when a blizzard hits, the group uses the whiteout to go to the general store for supplies, but are stranded after it ends. While the group heads for the station, Eben creates a diversion by having the vampires chase him to his grandmother’s house, where he uses one of her ultraviolet lights to burn the face of Marlow’s lover, Iris (Megan Franich), so badly that Marlow is forced to kill her. As he escapes, the town snow plow operator, Beau (Mark Boone Junior), creates another distraction with his tractor, killing many of the vampires, before trying to blow himself up; when he fails, Marlow crushes his head. Eben arrives at the station, where he is then forced to kill Carter (Nathaniel Lees), who has been bitten and is turning into a vampire.Two weeks later, Stella and Eben see the deputy, Billy (Manu Bennett), signaling them with a flashlight and bring him back to the station, after finding out he killed his family to save them from a more painful death. The trio find the others have made for the utilidor, a power and sewage treatment station that still has power, and head over there but are separated after Stella saves Gail Robbins (Rachel Maitland-Smith), a young girl whose family was slaughtered by a vampire named Zurial (John Rawls) who was stalking her. Eben and Billy make it to the utilidor but are attacked by Arvin (Andrew Stehlin), who bites Billy; Billy knocks Arvin into the heavy-duty shredder, before being killed by Eben because he is starting to turn.As the month comes to an end, with the sun due to rise, the vampires start to burn down the town to destroy evidence of their presence, and prevent any survivors from telling the world what happened. Realizing Stella is trapped and that he cannot beat the vampires in his current state, Eben turns himself into a vampire by injecting himself with Billy’s infected blood. He confronts Marlow, and they get into a vicious fight, before Marlow is finally killed by having a hole punched through his head, causing the remaining vampires to flee. Knowing he will die soon, Eben and Stella go off to watch the sunrise together, sharing one last kiss. As the sun comes up, Eben’s body burns to ash in Stella’s arms, while she stares at the sky, coming to grips with what has happened.For a movie that takes place almost completely in the dark, 30 Days Of Night is well shot. The snowbound settings and claustrophobic interiors instantly conjure up memories of Carpenter’s The Thing but the similarities are really only superficial.

REVIEW: DERAILED (2005)

CAST

Clive Owen (Sin CIty)
Jennifer Aniston (Just Go With It)
Vincent Cassel (Black Swan)
Melissa George (A Lonely Place To Die)
Giancarlo Esposito (Ali)
RZA (G.I. Joe Retaliation)
Xzibit (XXX 2)
Addison Timlin (Little Sister)
David Morrissey (Basic Instinct 2)

Charles Schine (Clive Owen), is an advertising executive. His marriage to Deanna (Melissa George) is deteriorating, and his daughter Amy (Addison Timlin) suffers from diabetes, requiring expensive medication. Charles’s story is being written down by an unidentified man in a prison cell. On a commuter train, Charles encounters an alluring woman named Lucinda Harris (Jennifer Aniston). She is a married financial adviser. The two show each other photographs of their respective daughters and begin to talk. A mutual attraction develops, and the two begin meeting frequently. Ultimately, they decide to consummate their affair and wind up in a seedy hotel. An armed man—later identified as Philippe LaRoche (Vincent Cassel)—bursts into the hotel room, beats Charles, and brutally rapes Lucinda. Charles and Lucinda agree not to report the crime, as they do not want their spouses to learn of the affair. Shortly after, Charles is blackmailed by LaRoche, who threatens to kill his family if he does not pay $20,000, which Charles promptly pays. A month later, the attacker calls again, this time demanding $100,000.

Charles explains his situation to Winston (RZA), an ex-con who works as a repairman in his building and whom Charles had earlier befriended. Winston offers to scare off LaRoche for ten percent of the payout. Charles agrees and embezzles the money from his company. He and Winston travel to the meeting location specified by LaRoche, intending to get the drop on him. However, before they can act, Winston is shot and killed. LaRoche appears and takes the money, leaving Charles to dispose of the body. Afterwards, Charles is questioned by detective Franklin Church (Giancarlo Esposito) about Winston’s murder. Later, Charles receives a call from LaRoche who claims that he will kill Lucinda if Charles doesn’t deliver the $100,000. Charles takes the money from an account meant for his daughter’s medical treatment and makes the payoff.hqdefault

The next day, Charles stops by Lucinda’s company to ask to see her and is introduced to the real Lucinda Harris. The woman he met on the train is identified as Jane, a temp who had worked there briefly. He goes to Lucinda’s apartment, which he realizes is actually in the process of being rented out. Seeing that Lucinda’s photograph of her daughter was actually a cut out of a stock picture in a brochure, Charles realizes Jane was in on the scam. He tracks her down and sees her kissing LaRoche. Determined to retrieve his stolen money, he follows Jane’s moves and sees that she is seducing another unsuspecting businessman (David Morrissey). He rents a room in the same hotel where Jane, LaRoche, and their partner Dexter (Xzibit) set him up and awaits them as they snare their new target. Jane and the businessman go to the room, but Charles knocks LaRoche unconscious before he can follow them. Charles breaks in and demands the return of his money. A gunfight ensues, and everyone is shot but Charles, who watches Jane die. Charles, while in his rented room, is cleared by the police near the crime scene. As he leaves the hotel lobby, the continued investigation has all contents from the hotel safe laid out on the front desk. Charles casually identifies his briefcase, which still contains his money, and quietly leaves the hotel.Derailed-2005-film-images-648d925b-10f3-4fdd-841b-ab8c727c77fCharles is later accused by his boss Eliot (Tom Conti) of stealing money from the company, and he is arrested for embezzling the $10,000 that he paid Winston and is sentenced to six months of community service, teaching in a prison. During one of his classes, he comes across the story about him written on one of the students papers. The unknown writer instructs him to go to the laundry room. There, Charles finds LaRoche, who survived the gunfight. LaRoche threatens to continue to disrupt Charles’s life, but Charles reveals that he has planned the encounter. He produces a shank, which Winston had given him, and stabs LaRoche to death. As Charles leaves, he encounters Detective Church who indicates that he knows LaRoche killed Winston. While Church suspects Charles of killing LaRoche, he lets him return to his family, where Charles reconciles with his wife and daughter.I found the story line original and, at times, truely frightening. Jennifer Anniston is excellent, as is Clive Owen. The added plot twists only add to the film. One of the best thrillers I have seen- well worth a watch.

 

REVIEW: A LONELY PLACE TO DIE

CAST

Melissa George (Triangle)
Ed Speleers (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Sean Harris (Prometheus)
Karel Roden (Hellboy)
Eamonn Walker (The Messenger)
Kate Magowan (Stardust)
Stephen McCole (Last Orders)
Paul Anderson (The Revenant)

Mountaineers Alison, Ed, Rob, Jenny, and Alex are hiking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands when they discover Anna, a young Serbian girl buried alive in a small chamber in the wilderness. Upon rescuing her, the group finds themselves pursued by her captors, Mr. Kidd and Mr. Mcrae, who hunt them down in an effort to reclaim Anna. Only Alison and Ed manage to escape the wilderness and reach Stonehaven, while Rob, Jenny, and Alex fall victim to the kidnappers. Meanwhile, Serbian mobster Darko and mercenaries Andy and Chris travel to the area to negotiate a ransom exchange with Mr. Kidd and Mr. Mcrae. Having been unable to recapture Anna, Mr. Kidd attempts to bluff his way through the negotiation with Darko while Mr. Mcrae continues to pursue Alison and Ed through Stonehaven. As the surviving mountaineers flee, Chris shoots Ed when he mistakes him for the kidnappers and is in turn shot by Mr. Mcrae, but manages to inform Darko that the kidnappers no longer have Anna before dying. After finishing off Ed, Mr. Mcrae chases Alison and Anna into a household.The house catches fire and a struggle between Alison and Mr. Mcrae ensues that ends with Alison killing him by pushing him out of a window. She then manages to save Anna from the burning building before she is rescued by firefighters. Mr. Kidd nearly escapes with the ransom money, but is captured by Andy. Mr. Kidd is brought before Anna’s father and mob boss Mr. Rakovic, who has him buried alive for the kidnapping. Alison is transported to the hospital in an ambulance as Anna remains by her side.This film should be well received and enjoyed by a wide audience when it’s released. It is definitely one of the best British thrillers made in my honest opinion and I look forward to seeing more.

REVIEW: PARADISE LOST (AKA TURISTAS)


CAST

Josh Duhamel (Transformers)
Melissa Goerge (Triangle)
Olivia Wilde (Cowboys & Aliens)
Desmond Askew (Roswell)
Beau Garrett (Tron: Legacy)
Max Brown (Beauty and The Beast)

Three young American tourists, Alex (Josh Duhamel), his sister Bea (Olivia Wilde), and a friend Amy (Beau Garrett), are backpacking in Brazil. They decide to go by bus and visit parts of the country instead of flying directly to the Northeastern beaches they wish to visit. After a bus crash leaves all the passengers stranded, they are joined by two English men, Finn (Desmond Askew) and Liam (Max Brown), and an Australian woman, Pru (Melissa George), who is fluent in Portuguese. The group find a cabana bar where several other tourists and locals are partying. After spending the day on the beach, they are served drugged drinks and pass out.
The next morning, they awaken on the deserted beach, robbed of their luggage, money, and documents. Looking for help in the nearby village, they encounter conflict with locals as they see some of their belongings worn or lying around. Offering help, Kiko (Agles Steib), a local who speaks some English, volunteers to take them to an isolated cabin in the forest, where they can wait for help. In a long walk through the wilderness, Kiko shows them a “secret” cave beneath a waterfall, but, taking a bad dive into the river, Kiko hits the rocky bottom, and is rendered unconscious and begins bleeding profusely from a cut in his head. Proceeding to the cabin in the jungle, they find food, clothes, and a number of prescription drugs, as well as a drawer filled with other people’s passports. They manage to heal Kiko’s wound and reluctantly decide to spend the night at the cabin.
They are awakened in the middle of the night by a helicopter bringing Zamora (Miguel Lunardi), a physician, and a few associates and doctors, surrounded by armed henchmen. A woman who arrives advises them to flee, but they are confused and try to fight them, only to be beaten into submission. Zamora proceeds to a makeshift operating room where he removes organs from a sedated Amy, while he explains to Finn, who is tied up, that organ theft for transplant from Brazilians[4] by rich gringos is part of a pattern of exploitation of Brazilian “resources”, and that it is time to “give back”. Victims’ usable organs are being harvested and sent to the People’s Hospital in Rio de Janeiro and used for the benefit of the poor. After her liver and kidneys are removed, Amy dies on the operating table.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group outside manages to break free from cages they have been contained in, and fight and kill one of Zamora’s associates, with the aid of Kiko, who returned after being sent away by Zamora. While Bea and Pru flee into the jungle, Alex, Kiko and Liam attempt to raid the cabin. They successfully rescue Finn, who is unable to walk because he has been sedated, but while they are running away from the cabin, Finn is shot in the head. Alex realizes they have to resume their escape, but Liam decides to stay behind to fight back, only to be shot and taken away to be “salvaged”. Bea and Pru are separated in the jungle, and Alex and Kiko find Bea the next morning hiding near the river. The three head to the flooded cave, eluding one of Zamora’s associates who is trailing close behind, armed with a bow and arrows. For a time, they are able to put some distance between themselves and their pursuers. They enter the cave where they find Pru hiding. Diving and swimming to the cavern’s secondary entrance, they find Zamora is also there, and he shoots them in the water, killing Kiko and injuring Alex.

The survivors are forced to backtrack into the water of the cave, where they can take air at only a few places. They are split up, looking for breathing points, trying not to be noticed and fall prey to the archer. Bea and the archer meet at the same breathing spot, but Bea grabs an arrow from the man, stabbing him in the neck and killing him. Alex, Bea and Pru get out of the cave only to run into Zamora at the exit. Alex attacks Zamora and repeatedly hits him in the head with a rock, but is interrupted by one of Zamora’s henchman who is armed with a rifle. Zamora instructs him to kill the foreigners. Seeing the trio of survivors vulnerable and scared, and Zamora in agony, the man hesitates. This infuriates Zamora, who orders the gunman to carry out the killing. Pru tries to convince the gunman to spare them, pointing out Zamora’s poor treatment of him. Zamora calls the gunman a coward, and is shot in the head by the gunman who turns and walks off. Soon after, the survivors, coming out of the jungle, meet local villagers who take them in. Later, Alex, Bea, and Pru stand in line, waiting to board an airplane in silence while a couple of tourists behind them argue over going by bus. Alex turns and advises them to take the plane. The male tourist (director John Stockwell) says “thanks man”, and they all board the plane. The last scene shows Alex, Bea and Pru sitting in the plane as it flies away.
Saying the film is just `average’ would be a little unfair. It’s definitely better than the vast majority of B-movie, cash-in, slasher films, but it’s no masterpiece. Basically, if you enjoy the genre, you should enjoy this one.

REVIEW: TRIANGLE

CAST
Melissa George (Alias)
Michael Dorman (Killer Elite)
Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Henry Nixon (The Landing)
Rachael Carpani (McLeod’s Daughters)
Emma Lung (Wonderland)
Single mother Jess prepares to take her autistic son Tommy on a boat trip with her friend Greg. While Jess tidies up the house, the doorbell rings, but no one is there. Jess later arrives at the harbor alone and boards Greg’s boat. Joining them for the trip are Victor, a runaway teen who lives with Greg; Sally and Downey, married friends of Greg; and Heather, a friend of Sally’s. While on the boat out at sea, they are overwhelmed by a storm and Heather is swept out into the water when the boat capsizes. When the storm clears, the others climb onto the upturned boat.
When an ocean liner arrives, the group board it, only to find it apparently deserted, though Jess experiences a sense of déjà vu as they explore. Various strange occurrences take place on the ship, hinting that there is someone else on board, though the person remains unseen. Jess eventually witnesses the others die one by one: Victor from a wound in his head, while Greg, Sally and Downey are shot by a burlap-masked shooter. The shooter chases Jess to the ship’s front deck, but she fights back; she disarms and sends her assailant overboard.
Jess then hears yelling, and sees herself and the others alive and standing on Greg’s upturned boat, in the position they had been in earlier. Jess secretly trails the group when they board the ship again, realizing that she is in a causality loop, whereby she is the unseen figure of earlier. Jess attempts to warn Victor, only to accidentally impale his head on a wall hook. She flees deeper into the ship and finds evidence that the loop has repeated many times before. Jess decides that she can change the way events play out, but another counterpart of hers from an earlier loop is still on board the ship and kills the others one by one. This older counterpart is then killed and thrown overboard by Jess’ newer counterpart, and the loop repeats again. Greg’s upturned boat and its survivors return, and Jess realizes the time loop restarts when everyone is killed. Desperate to stop the loop and prevent them from boarding at all, Jess sets everything from the first loop into motion, and she herself becomes the shooter. When she is disarmed, she urges her counterpart to kill everyone when they return, before falling off the ship.
Jess awakens washed ashore and returns home, only to find herself returned to earlier that morning. As she watches from outside, it is revealed that Jess abuses Tommy out of anger toward his autism. Promising to stop the abuse, Jess distracts her counterpart with the doorbell and kills her in order to take her place. Jess then leaves with Tommy in her car, only to find evidence that this sequence of events has happened many times before as well. Their car is hit by a truck and Tommy is killed, leaving Jess alone. A taxi driver approaches and Jess accepts a ride to the harbor, where she joins the others on Greg’s boat, setting the events of the loop in motion again.
The atmosphere in “Triangle” is a mixture of weird and scary, but even if it progressively gets scarier and scarier it never gets too weird. The director kept the film very strictly under control and therefore there is no obvious plot holes or useless scenes.  Melissa George did a very good job in this film and helped a lot to make it a success as her character (Jess) is the center of all the story and all other actors play supporting roles.

REVIEW: SUGAR & SPICE

CAST
Marla Sokoloff (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Melissa George (Triangle)
Mena Suvari (American Pie)
Rachel Blanchard (Snakes on A Plane)
Alexandra Holden (The Hot Chick)
James Marsden (Superman Returns)
Sean Young (Blade Runner)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)
Adam Busch (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
The story is narrated by Lisa Janusch (Marla Sokoloff), the bitter and jealous head cheerleader of Lincoln High School’s B-squad.
Diane Weston (Marley Shelton), the popular head cheerleader of Lincoln High School’s A-squad, becomes pregnant by the star football quarterback Jack Bartlett (James Marsden). The two move out of their parents’ homes to find an apartment of their own. Jack initially has problems staying in a job, due to his tactless personality, but finally gets hired at a video rental store. In spite of their problems coming up with the rent money, Jack and Diane try as hard as they can to survive while going to school at the same time. Lisa, Diane’s bitter rival, occasionally runs into Jack at the rental store.
She is interested in winning Jack’s heart, but fails to get his attention. After struggling with the rent and anticipating the financial hardship of supporting a family, Diane and her four cheerleader squadmates, Kansas Hill (Mena Suvari), Cleo Miller (Melissa George), Lucy Whitmore (Sara Marsh), and Hannah Wald (Rachel Blanchard), plan the perfect bank robbery. They promise each other not to tell Jack about their plan, because of his inability to lie to others.
The squad watches heist films to learn how to rob banks, and Kansas visits her mother at the women’s penitentiary for tips on where to find weaponry. Following the women’s advice, Diane and her friends visit a bug exterminator, “The Terminator” (W. Earl Brown), who sells illegal arms and ammo. He refuses to sell them the guns unless they accept his daughter, Fern Rogers (Alexandra Holden), on the squad. The squad agrees to do so and they begin rehearsing the robbery, as well as their choreography for the winter ball. During winter break, they order masks to hide their identities. Lucy backs out of the heist because she receives a scholarship to Harvard. At Christmas, Diane receives an engagement ring from Jack. She then finds out he sold his GTO in order to buy her the ring. The squad is forced to buy a new get-away vehicle, which turns out to be an old van with bad brakes.
At their first robbery at a supermarket, Lucy returns to the group having decided to help them after all. Lisa happens to be in the store at the time of the robbery, and notices that they perform cheerleader stunts in order to cover up the security cameras. The squad robs the bank and come close to shooting a customer after one of the guns discharges. They make off with armloads of cash and celebrate their success after burning their Betty costumes. The robbery is reported on TV. Neither Diane nor her friends expect Lisa to suspect them until they are confronted by her and the B-squad in the high school cafeteria, followed by the FBI.
Diane and her friends are jailed and need an alibi, so Diane promises to promote Lisa to captain of the A-squad in order to keep Lisa silent, since she is approaching her third trimester and can’t do rigorous activity. The group is outraged, but come to appreciate this decision. In order to cover up her actions, Diane tells Jack she won the lottery and after they have their children, Jack wins his senatorial campaign, and Diane’s squad lead successful lives after high school.
‘Sugar And Spice’ consists of great performances, witty one liners and an appealing performance especially from Marley Shelton.