31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: STOKER

CAST

Mia Wasikowska (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Matthew Goode (Watchmen)
Nicole Kidman (Batman Forever)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Jackie Weaver (The Voices)
Lucas Til (X-Men Apocalypse)

On her 18th birthday, India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska)—a girl with a strong acuteness of the senses—has her life turned upside down after her loving father Richard (Dermot Mulroney) dies in a horrific car accident. India is then left with her unstable mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). At Richard’s funeral, Evelyn and India are introduced to Richard’s charming and charismatic brother Charlie (Matthew Goode), who has spent his life traveling the world. He then announces that he is staying indefinitely to help support India and Evelyn, much to Evelyn’s delight and India’s chagrin.Shortly after Charlie moves in, India witnesses him argue with Mrs. McGarrick (Phyllis Somerville), the head caretaker of the house. Mrs. McGarrick then disappears. Charlie and Evelyn grow closer and intimate while India continues to rebuff Charlie’s attempts to befriend her. Later, India’s great aunt Gwendolyn (Jacki Weaver) arrives to visit the family, much to Evelyn and Charlie’s dismay. At dinner, Gwendolyn shows surprise at Charlie’s claims of traveling the world and tells Evelyn that she needs to talk to her about Charlie.Gwendolyn ends up changing hotels due to an unexplained fear and suspicion of Charlie. However, she loses her cell phone and tries to call the Stokers’ home from her hotel payphone. While she is making her call, Charlie tracks her down and corners her in the phone booth, seeming to be upset. He hands Gwendolyn her phone and then strangles her to death with his belt after explaining that he found her through the cab company. Meanwhile, India goes into the basement to eat ice cream and discovers Mrs. McGarrick’s body in the freezer. She realizes Charlie is a murderer.Later, India unleashes her inner aggression at school and stabs a bully, Chris Pitts (Lucas Till), in the hand with a pencil after he tries to land a surprise punch to her head. This draws the attention of another classmate, Whip Taylor (Alden Ehrenreich). India goes home and later witnesses Evelyn and Charlie growing intimate and wanders off to a local diner where she runs into Whip. She and Whip go into the woods where they proceed to make out until India aggressively bites Whip. Whip then attempts to rape India until Charlie intervenes, and breaks Whip’s neck with his belt. India then aids Charlie in burying the body in her garden. She then attempts to call Gwendolyn, but hears her phone ring deep in the garden, realizing Charlie killed her, too. India takes a shower and masturbates to the memory of the murder, climaxing as she remembers Charlie breaking Whip’s neck.While going through Richard’s office to gather things of his she wants to keep, India discovers that a key she received as a birthday present belongs to a locked drawer to Richard’s desk. Inside, she finds dozens of letters Charlie wrote to her over the years, which detail his travels and express his love for his niece, although they have never met. However, India discovers that the sending address on the back of the envelopes is from a mental institution. India then confronts Charlie, who explains the truth: Charlie murdered his and Richard’s younger brother Jonathan as a child because he was jealous that Richard paid more attention to him. Charlie was then put in a mental institution. When released on India’s 18th birthday, Richard gave Charlie a car, a generous amount of money, and an apartment in New York on the condition that he stay away from Richard’s family. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Charlie beat Richard to death with a rock and staged the car accident.At first, India is in shock and angered. However, she seemingly forgives Charlie and grows closer after he provides an alibi for her when Sheriff Howard (Ralph Brown) questions her about Whip’s disappearance. They grow close to intimate before Evelyn witnesses them. Later that evening, Evelyn coldly expresses her desire to watch India suffer before confronting Charlie, implying that she knows the truth about Richard’s death. Charlie seduces Evelyn and then attempts to strangle her before India appears and fatally shoots Charlie with a rifle. She then buries Charlie’s body in the backyard and proceeds to leave for New York in his car.She is shortly pulled over for speeding by Sheriff Howard, who then asks her why she’s in a hurry. India replies that she wanted to catch his attention, then plunges a pair of pruning shears into his neck. India pursues the wounded sheriff into a field to dispatch him with her rifle.A brilliant film about the power of the mind and its effect on those around you , the psyche is a powerful thing that is brilliantly displayed in this excellent film , all parts are well acted and the overall effect leaves you with a haunting afterglow that makes you want to watch it again.

 

Advertisements

REVIEW: ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016)

CAST

Mia Wasikowska (Crimson Peak)
Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Grimsby)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Matt Lucas (Bridesmaids)
Richard Armitage (The Hobbit)
Alan Rickman (Harry Potter)
Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes 2)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Barbara Windsor (Eastenders)
Timothy Spall (Vanilla Sky)
Matt Vogel (Muppets Most Wanted)
Hattie Morahan (Mr. Holmes)

Alice Kingsleigh has spent the past three years following in her father’s footsteps and sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London from China, she discovers that her ex-fiancé, Hamish Ascot, has taken over her father’s company and plans to have Alice sell him her father’s ship in exchange for her family home. Unable to make a choice, Alice runs away, and comes across her butterfly friend Absolem, who disappears through a mysterious mirror on one of the upstairs rooms, returning to Underland.
There, Alice is greeted by Mirana of Marmoreal, the White Queen, Nivens McTwisp, the White Rabbit, the Tweedles, Mallymkun, the Dormouse, Thackery Earwicket, the March Hare, Bayard, and the Cheshire Cat. They inform her that Tarrant Hightopp, the Mad Hatter is in poor health because his family is missing following the Attack of the Jabberwocky. The attack occurred shortly after his father, Zanik, a hat retailer, seemed to reject Tarrant’s gift of a hat creation.
The White Queen persuades Alice to convince Time himself to save the Mad Hatter’s family in the past, believing her to be the only one who can save the Hatter. However, she cautions Alice about time, and that if her past self sees her future self, everything will be history. As Alice sets out, she ends up in a dreary palace, where Time himself, a demigod that is part-human, part-clock, resides. As Alice tries to consult Time, she finds the Chronosphere, an object that powers all time in Underland and will allow her to travel to any time in the past.

Alice ignores Time’s warning that the past is unchangeable, and steals the Chronosphere, shortly after finding Iracebeth of Grims, the exiled Red Queen, in the care of Time. Alice accidentally flies to the day of Iracebeth’s coronation, where a younger Mad Hatter/Tarrant Hightopp mocks the Red Queen/Iracebeth of Crims when the royal crown doesn’t fit on her abnormally large head. This causes Iracebeth to melt down and her father deems her emotionally unqualified to rule and passes the title of queen to her younger sister, the White Queen/Mirana of Marmoreal.

Alice learns of an event in Iracebeth’s and Mirana’s past that caused friction between the two and travels back in time again, hoping it will change Iracebeth’s ways and stop the Jabberwocky from killing the Hatter’s family. She learns that the hat that the Mad Hatter thought his father threw away was actually treasured by him. Meanwhile, she meets the White Queen and the Red Queen as sisters. Mirana steals a tart from her mother and eats it. When confronted by their mother, Mirana lies about eating the tart, and Iracebeth is accused, causing her to run out of the castle. Alice sees that Iracebeth is about to run into a clock, thinking that’s the event that deforms her head and personality. Alice prevents that collision but fails to change the past, as Iracebeth trips and slams her head into a stone wall instead.

A weakened Time then confronts Alice after relentless searching, and scolds her for putting all of time in danger. Out of panic, Alice runs into a nearby mirror back in the real world, where she wakes up in a mental hospital, diagnosed with female hysteria. As Dr. Addison Bennett, a psychiatric doctor, tries to inject her with a sedative, she escapes and returns to Underland via the mirror, where she travels to the Attack of the Jabberwocky Day. Alice discovers that the Mad Hatter’s family was captured by the Red Queen instead and never died. Returning to the present however, Alice discovers that the Mad Hatter is on the brink of death.

Alice, close to tears, says that she believes him, and Tarrant transforms back to his normal self. The Underlandians go to the Red Queen’s new organic plant castle, where the Mad Hatter finds his family shrunk and trapped in an ant farm. However, the Red Queen apprehends them and steals the Chronosphere from Alice. Ignoring Time’s warning, she takes her sister back to the day she lied about the tart. By the time the Mad Hatter and Alice get there, the Red Queen and her younger self have seen each other. Time becomes irrelevant, and Underland begins to freeze in rust. At a powerless Time’s pleas, Alice and the Mad Hatter, using the Chronosphere race back to the present, where Alice places the Chronosphere in its original place in time.
With the Chronosphere stabilized, Underland reverts to normal. The Mad Hatter reunites with his family and the White Queen and the Red Queen make amends while Time forgives Alice for the trouble she caused. Alice bids farewell to her friends and returns to the real world through another mirror. She finds her mother is about to sign over Alice’s ship to Hamish. Her mother decides to support her daughter instead. Hamish gets the Kingsleigh family home but not the ship. Alice and her mother set out to travel the world together with their own shipping company.A wonderful follow up to the first film, with all your favorite characters returning for the adventure and some amazing new ones too. A film the whole family can enjoy.

 

REVIEW: SUBURBAN MAYHEM

CAST

Emily Barclay (Glitch)
Steve Bastoni (Man-Thing)
Laurence Breuls (Ghost Rider)
Michael Dorman (Triangle)
Anthoyn Hayes (Animal Kingdom)
Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland)

Image result for Suburban MayhemThis film, directed by Paul Goldman (“Australian Rules”, “The Night We Called it a Day”), is not so much Pulp Fiction Australian style as pulp faction; first-time scriptwriter Alice Bell has cobbled together a story inspired by the real-life murder of her father committed by 19 year old Belinda van Krevel in suburban Wollongong. Katrina,  is indeed an elemental force, unrestrained by social conventions and morality. She has a hopeless passion for her brother Daniel (Laurence Breuls) who is locked up early in the movie for taking the head off a convenience store clerk with a samurai sword during an ineptly executed robbery. Katrina is determined to get him out, and the need to get money for Danny’s appeal drives her to organizing her blameless father’s murder. In the meantime she drives furiously, has sex with practically every young tradesman in the district and neglects her baby, fortunately largely cared for by her loyal boyfriend Rusty (Michael Dorman), who likes to think of himself as the father.
Image result for Suburban MayhemWhatever production defects this movie may have, it passed the watch test. It really is hard to take your eyes off Emma Barclay as Katrina. Kat is vulgar, rude, lewd, and driven largely by emotion, yet she radiates sexuality. She knows what men want; hence the long string of “admirers”. Interestingly she tends to adopt the superior position during sexual congress, no doubt to stay in control, for she is a controlling sort of person. Her environment is standard suburban wasteland (well-off blue collar boring) but it is not obvious why she and her brother have turned out to be such poisonous personalities. Mum, it seems, was a drug addict banished years ago from the family home, but Dad (Robert Morgan) is a decent caring person, a builder by trade and maybe not very perceptive. Perhaps Dad was too indulgent and a firmer line with the kids might have avoided disaster, though his girlfriend “Auntie” Dianne (Genevieve Lemon) puts it all down to genes – Grandma and mother both having been mad.
Image result for Suburban MayhemThere is an obvious parallel with “The Boys” of a few years ago, which was no comedy but did explain how a truly monstrous crime originated. This is a lighter piece though what Katrina brings about is still pretty nasty. Justice is not done either, which is disturbing.
LE-FEU-SOUS-LA-PEAU-SUBURBAN-MAYHEMEven so, whatever is driving Katrina, Emily Barclay makes her totally believable. The rest of the cast are rather overshadowed, but Steve Bastoni is effective as an intimidated policeman and Michael Dorman convincing as Rusty, a moth to Katrina’s candle, or rather blowtorch. We know via the mockumentary sections what is coming up, but we still get a surprise. Katrina does rather better than her real-life counterpart, but someone like her is not likely to enjoy a quiet life, or a very long one either.

REVIEW: ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010)

CAST

Mia Wasikowska (Crimson Peak)
Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Helena Bonham Carter (Cinderella)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Crispin Glover (Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter)
Matt Lucas (Bridesmaids)
Frances de la Tour (Mr. Holmes)
Marton Csokas (Xena)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Alan Rickman (Harry Potter)
Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes 2)
Barbara Windsor (Eastenders)
Paul Whitehouse (Corpse Bride)
Timothy Spall (Rock Star)
Michael Gough (Batman)
Christopher Lee (The Hobbit)
Imelda Staunton (Paddington)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Lucy Davenport (Gangster Squad)

Troubled by a strange recurring dream and mourning the loss of her beloved father, nineteen-year-old Alice Kingsleigh attends a garden party at Lord Ascot’s estate. There she is confronted by an unwanted marriage proposal to Hamish Ascot and the stifling expectations of the society in which she lives. Unsure of how to proceed, she pursues a rabbit wearing a blue waistcoat and accidentally falls into a large rabbit hole under a tree. She emerges in a forest where she is greeted by the White Rabbit, the Dormouse, the Dodo, the Talking Flowers, and Tweedledee and Tweedledum. They argue over her identity as “the right Alice” who must slay the Red Queen’s Jabberwocky and restore the White Queen to power, as foretold by Absolem the Caterpillar and his prophetic scroll. The group is then ambushed by the Bandersnatch and a group of playing-card soldiers led by the Knave of Hearts. Alice, Tweedledum and Tweedledee escape into the woods. The Knave steals the Caterpillar’s scroll. The Dormouse leaves the others behind with one of the Bandersnatch’s eyes in her possession. Tweedledum and Tweedledee are then captured by the Red Queen’s Jubjub bird.

The Knave informs the Red Queen that Alice threatens her reign, and the soldiers and Bayard the Bloodhound are ordered to find Alice immediately. Meanwhile, the Cheshire Cat guides Alice to the March Hare and the Hatter. The Hatter helps Alice avoid capture by allowing himself to be seized instead. Later, Alice is found by Bayard the Bloodhound; but Alice insists upon helping the Hatter. At the Queen’s citadel, the Red Queen is unaware of Alice’s true identity and therefore welcomes her as a guest, named Um from Umbridge. Alice learns that the Vorpal Sword, the only weapon capable of killing the Jabberwocky, is locked inside the den of the Bandersnatch. The Knave crudely attempts to seduce Alice, but she rebuffs him, and a jealous Red Queen orders Alice beheaded. Alice obtains the sword and befriends the Bandersnatch by returning its eye. She then escapes on the back of the grateful Bandersnatch and delivers the sword to the White Queen. The Cheshire Cat saves the Hatter from the executioner, and the Hatter calls for rebellion against the Red Queen. The rebellion is quickly put down by the Jubjub bird, but the resistance flees to the White Queen’s castle, and both armies prepare for battle. Former caterpillar Absolem advises Alice to fight the Jabberwocky just before completing his transformation into a pupa.

On the appointed day, the White and Red Queens gather their armies on a chessboard-like battlefield and send Alice and the Jabberwocky to decide the battle in single combat. Encouraged by the advice of her late father, Alice fights the Jabberwocky among the ruins surrounding the battlefield and finally jumps from the remains of a spiral staircase onto the Jabberwocky’s neck and beheads it. The White Queen sends the Red Queen and the Knave into exile. After the Hatter performs a celebration dance called Futterwacken, the White Queen gives Alice a vial of the Jabberwocky’s purple blood whose power will bring her whatever she wishes. She decides to rejoin the everyday world. Back in England, Lord Ascot takes Alice as his apprentice with the idea of establishing oceanic trade routes to Hong Kong. As the story closes, Alice prepares to set off on a trading ship. A light-blue butterfly lands on her shoulder, and Alice recognizes him as Absolem.

This film is a modern take on the traditional tale of Alice in wonderland, it is absolutely brilliant I cannot recommend it enough. It is highly entertaining and definitely extremely enjoyable for families as well as any aged disney fan.

REVIEW: CRIMSON PEAK

CAST

Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland)
Tom Hiddleston (Thor)
Jessica Chastain (Interstellar)
Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim)
Jim Beaver (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Burn Gorman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Leslie Hope (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
Jonathan Hyde (Jumanji)
Bruce Gray (Evan Almighty)
Emily Coutts (Barn Wedding)

In 1887, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), the young daughter of wealthy American businessman Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver), is visited by her mother’s ghost who warns her, “beware of Crimson Peak.”
Fourteen years later, Edith is now a budding author who prefers penning ghost stories to writing the romance novels that her editor wants. She meets Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), an English baronet who has come to the United States seeking investors, including Edith’s father, for his clay-mining invention. Disdaining privileged aristocracy and unimpressed with Sharpe’s prototype and previous failures to raise capital, Cushing rejects Thomas’s proposal. Edith notices that Thomas and his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), wear expensive but outdated and somewhat-frayed fashions. Shortly after, Edith once again is visited by her mother’s spirit bearing the same warning. Sir Thomas is determined to persuade Mr. Cushing to change his mind. However, when he and Edith become romantically attached, Cushing and Edith’s childhood friend, Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam), disapprove. Mr. Cushing hires a private detective who uncovers unsavory facts about the Sharpes. Mr. Cushing confronts the siblings and bribes them into returning to England. As Cushing insisted he do, Sir Thomas abruptly and cruelly ends his and Edith’s relationship, but the next morning, he sends her a note explaining his actions. Not long after, Mr. Cushing is brutally murdered, though his death is ruled accidental. Edith and Sir Thomas eventually marry and return to England. They arrive at Allerdale Hall, the Sharpes’ dilapidated mansion, which sits atop a red clay mine. As Edith settles in, she finds that Lucille acts somewhat cold toward her while Sir Thomas remains physically distant. Edith is left confused and uncertain by their behavior.
Gruesome ghosts begin appearing to Edith throughout the mansion. To help calm Edith, Sir Thomas takes her into town. After being snowed in for the night, they finally consummate their marriage. Lucille angrily lashes out when they return the next morning, frightening Edith. By the time Sir Thomas mentions that the estate is also referred to as “Crimson Peak,” due to the warm red clay seeping up through the snow, Edith is growing increasingly weaker and coughing up blood.
Edith explores the mansion and begins piecing clues together, discovering that Sir Thomas previously married three wealthy women who were fatally poisoned for their inheritances. She realizes she, too, is being poisoned. She also discovers the siblings have had a long-term incestuous relationship, resulting in a sickly infant that died. Lucille murdered their mother after she had discovered her children’s incest. Sir Thomas inherited the family manor that, like many aristocratic estates of the era, is no longer profitable; the Sharpes are virtually penniless. The brother and sister began the “marriage and murder” scheme to support themselves and to fund Thomas’s inventions.

Back in the United States, the detective that Mr. Cushing had hired tells Alan what he uncovered about the Sharpes, including Thomas’s multiple marriages and Lucille’s time in a mental institution. Realizing Edith is in danger, Alan arrives at Allerdale Hall to rescue her. Lucille stabs him in the left armpit, then demands that Sir Thomas finish him off. Sir Thomas, who has fallen in love with Edith and does not want her harmed, inflicts a second, non-fatal stab wound to Alan before hiding him in the cellar. Lucille forces Edith to sign a transfer deed granting the Sharpes ownership of the Cushing estate and also confesses to her that she was the one who murdered Edith’s father. After Edith signs the deed, she stabs Lucille in the chest with a pen and tries to flee. Sir Thomas burns the deed and promises to protect Edith so that she and Alan can escape. Lucille, jealous over Sir Thomas falling in love with Edith, murders him in a rage. She then pursues Edith. Aided by Sir Thomas’ ghost, Edith kills Lucille with a shovel. Sir Thomas bids Edith a silent farewell as his spirit departs. Edith and Alan are rescued, and Lucille’s ghost now haunts Allerdale. The end credits imply that Edith has written a novel titled Crimson Peak based on her experiences.This is an intensely visual film that held my attention for all two hours. The performances are very good, but the hero is the production design. ‘Crimson Peak’ is unashamedly set-driven and there are times when the actors start to disappear in amongst their vast surroundings. This is a terrific horror film that gets very close to sheer. It is also an intelligent film that is awash with symbols, metaphors and allegories.