HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE SECRET CIRCLE – MASKED

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CAST

Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Phoebe Tonkin (The Originals)
Shelley Hennig (Unfriended)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (50/50)
Gale Harold (Fertile Ground)
Ashley Crow (Heroes)
Chris Zylka (The Amazing Spider-Man
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GUEST CAST

Adam Harrington (Dexter)
Tom Butler (Blade: THe Series)
Zachary Abel (Night Club)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)
Richard Harmon (Caprica)

Image result for THE SECRET CIRCLE maskedAs Grandma Jane plans to head up to Henry’s cabin for the weekend, Faye convinces Cassie to throw a big Halloween party for the Circle. The pair rummage through an antiques store looking for decoration ideas, but odd things happen when Cassie pays the owner of the store. Jane confirms that Calvin is a witch, and she says there were more magical families in Chance Harbor before the fire. Meanwhile, Melissa is still mourning at Nick’s grave, and she and Jake exchange heated words.
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Back at the house, Cassie discovers a piece of the dagger that Simone used to try to kill her. She wonders if Calvin will know anything about the strange symbols on the blade, so she plans on going back to the shop. Jake magically sabotages her car and then pays a visit to Calvin himself. He warns the shopkeeper off from telling Cassie the truth and then concocts a potion which will permanently kill a witch. All he needs to do is set the potion alight, and Calvin will be dead. Once Cassie gets to the shop, Calvin doesn’t tell her a thing. Cassie spots another weapon in the shop with similar markings so she takes a pic of it.
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Later she, Adam, and Faye research the symbols online, and discover that they belong to an organization of witch-hunters. Jake is seen making the same killing potion for everyone in the Circle. He will have some help kidnapping the witches at the party. One of his fellow hunter is Luke.
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Jake and Cassie talk, and Cassie expresses her concern about the witch-hunter symbols she saw on the blade. Jake shows more knowledge of those symbols than he should. Cassie grows a bit suspicious of him. Meanwhile, Adam and Diana are still pining for each other, and Adam is angry at his dad for encouraging the break-up. Ethan shrugs it off, saying you can’t fight destiny.  At the party, Faye and Jake flirt, but members of the Circle are being picked off one by one. Melissa is taken away first. Cassie slips away from the party for a moment to head next door to rummage through Jake’s family’s house. She finds a witch-hunter knife in Jake’s things. Jake arrives and says that the knife was Nick’s. Calvin and Ethan talk about Cassie’s father, and whether she should know the whole truth about her dad. Calvin has a change of heart and contacts Cassie to warn her about the witch hunt and about Cassie’s special abilities. Before he can say too much, however, Jake sets fire to Calvin’s potion and kills him.
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At the party, Adam is still trying to get Diana back but she’s still refusing to say yes. Diana goes off alone and is taken by the witch-hunters. Cassie is finally taken, by Luke. The Circle are all gathered together, and Jake arrives to tell the other hunters that Cassie’s powers are special and she won’t be killed by normal means. The hunters ignore his warning, which is a big mistake, as Cassie sets Luke on fire. Jake cuts his arm open and pretends that he was one of the hunted as well. Jake tries to distract Cassie from the night’s events by visiting her. However, Cassie sees that someone has mailed a scroll to her. Calvin’s last act was to help Cassie. Meanwhile, Jane arrives at Henry’s cabin, and finds him dead. She searches his home for his crystal in the hopes of reviving him, but then someone knocks her unconscious – it’s Charles, who stole the Crystal.Image result for THE SECRET CIRCLE masked

Overall, The Secret Circle comes off as a fun teen-angst program that successfully utilizes its inherent appeal to the core demographic, without alienating anyone else that might be casually tuning in. It was a huge hit but then the CW decided to cancel it, and didn’t even release a DVD of it.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: BAIT

 

CAST

Richard Brancatisano (Power Rangers Mystic Force)
Xavier Samuel (Fury)
Sharni Vinson (Blue Crush 2)
Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck)
Phoebe Tonkin (The Orignals)
Alice Parkinson (X-Men Origins)
Cariba Heine (H20)

3bf00198-af10-4e5a-8487-8bb0434c1884_0SNbInTLsXK9pT+PjTDgztKc0M-LNawiGmn8sw4coNqpckVpVMcrDppUlPGstS7pVhSyOEacyKMXyIbISa3x7A==_imgDirected by Australian filmmaker Kimble Rendall and written by Russell Mulcahy and John Kim, Bait (or if you prefer, Bait 3D) begins with an opening scene in which a lifeguard named Josh (Xavier Samuel) is goofing around with his fiancé, Tina (Sharni Vinson), the sister of his friend and fellow lifeguard, Rory (Richard Brancatisano). When Rory heads out into the surf to check on a buoy, he doesn’t see the massive great white shark that has cruised on into the area and while Josh heads out on the Jet-Ski as quickly as he can in hopes of saving his friend, it’s too little too late and Rory winds up as shark food.Bait 3DCut to a few years down the road and Josh is working in a supermarket andwouldn’t you know it, Tina wanders in out of nowhere with her new man, Steven (Qi Yuwu). While this is going on, security guard Ryan (Alex Russell) gets fired by the store’s owner manager (Adrian Pang) when his girlfriend Jaime (Phoebe Tonkin) gets busted for shoplifting. The cops are called and wouldn’t you know it, the officer assigned to the case is none other than Jamie’s own father (Martin Sacks). Meanwhile, in the car park under the store, a young couple are making out unaware that just around the corner a pair of robbers, Doyle (Julian McMahon) and Kirby (Dan Wyllie), are planning a heist. It all comes to a head as a massive tidal wave suddenly hits the town and rips through the store, bringing along with it two great white sharks – one which patrols the car park, the other the store itself. In order to make it out alive, the survivors are going to have to figure out how to restore power to the flooded store and kill the sharks before they can kill them.bait-3d-xavier-vs-sharkBait starts off reasonably well and appears like it’s going to do a pretty good job of developing its key characters but once that tidal wave hits, it’s all about the shark attacks. This is all well and good, those are the reasons we watch movies like this after all, but aside from a little bit of tension that arises between Josh, Tina and Steven there’s not a lot here to latch on to. The relationship between Jamie and her cop father looks like it might go places here and there but never really does and the rest of the characters are pretty one dimensional. For the most part, Bait is little more than a standard bodycount movie, much like a slasher film with a couple of sharks in place of a masked killer and it follows many of the same established conventions as those movies. As such, we’re not dealing with anything particularly original here, but the movie is entertaining enough in its own completely superficial way.The effects work is occasionally heavy on computer generated pieces but mixes up some traditional effects fairly effectively. The movie gets good and bloody during the shark attack scenes, using the obvious ‘shot for 3D’ trick of letting severed body parts float around in the water a couple of times. There are some good jump scares here and the sharks are considerably more menacing than you might expect them to be for something created entirely on a hard drive. The film sets itself apart from the countless other killer shark movies that have been churned out seemingly every month or so as of late by making good use of its location. The survivors spend most of the time perched atop the ramshackle shelving of the grocery store and are able to use the different props you might find in such a place throughout the movie. The best example of this is when Steven volunteers to head underwater to the other side of the room to switch on the electrical power and he and the others build himself an impromptu shark cage out of the materials that they have on hand. The movie gets a couple of bonus points for the creativity behind that scene, but with that and a few other minor exceptions, this is pretty much done by the book. It’s fun, it’s gory, and it’s entertaining and for some that’ll be enough. There’s absolutely no shame in that at all – but those looking for substance have probably figured out at this point in the review that they should look elsewhere.

REVIEW: THE SECRET CIRCLE

 

CAST

Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Phoebe Tonkin (The originals)
Shelley Hennig (Ouija)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (Smallville)
Louis Hunter (Out of The Blue)
Chris Zylka (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Ashley Crow (Heroes)
Natasha Henstridge (Species)
Gale Harold (Fertile Ground)

The Secret Circle (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
Adam Harrington (Stargate SG.1)
Logan Browning (Powers)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Zachary Abel (My Alibi)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)
Camille Sullivan (The Birdwatcher)
JR Bourne (Arrow)
Hiro Kanagawa (Izombie)
John de Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Joe Lando (Star Trek IV)
Luisa d’Oliveira (The 100)
Richard Harmon (Bates Motel)
Alexia Fast (Manhattan)
Chad Rook (War For The Planet of The Apes)
Andrea Brooks (Supergirl)
Elise Gatien (Smallville)

The Secret Circle (2011)

Following the death of her mother, Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) moves to Chance Harbor, Washington, to live with her grandmother. Her attempts to adjust to the new town are crushed when five of her classmates, Adam Conant (Thomas Dekker), Diana Meade (Shelley Hennig), Faye Chamberlain (Phoebe Tonkin), Melissa Glaser (Jessica Parker Kennedy), and Nick Armstrong (Louis Hunter), reveal to Cassie that she comes from a long line of witches and is the final member of their coven; with her they are able to unlock the full extent of their powers. Initially Cassie refuses to believe that she is a witch, even after Adam helps her to unlock her powers. It is only after she discovers an old leather-bound book of spells left to her by her late mother, Amelia, that Cassie begins to accept her power. Inside the book is a message to Cassie explaining that she kept their real family history and her powers a secret in order to keep her safe; as the circle soon finds out, their powers attract dark and dangerous forces that constantly puts them in harm’s way.Unfortunately for the would-be coven, Cassie’s presence may have come too late. The group’s bond is already breaking due to a conflict between the well-intentioned Diana and wild-child-in-the-making Faye (Phoebe Tonkin), who, after setting Cassie’s car on fire and summoning up a massive storm.The Secret Circle (2011)And, as always, teenage hormones add to the overall confusion as Diana’s boyfriend Adam (Thomas Dekker) takes a shine to Cassie – making an ill-advised pass at her while in the midst of making some water droplets float in air. However, all of this is small potatoes as the The Secret Circle’s real big bads are revealed to be many of the teen witches’ parents – headed up by Diana’s father Charles (Gale Harold) and Faye’s mother/high school principal Dawn Chamberlain (Natasha Henstridge).Britt Robertson and Shelley Hennig in The Secret Circle (2011)Overall, The Secret Circle comes off as a fun teen-angst program that successfully utilizes its inherent appeal to the core demographic, without alienating anyone else that might be casually tuning in. It was a huge hit but then the CW decided to cancel it, and didn’t even release a DVD of it.