2022 Movie Catchup: Hypochondriac, 13: The Musical, Alone Together and Cave Rescue.

Will has a loving boyfriend and a good life, but when his mentally ill mother reemerges after a 10-year absence, he descends into a dark spiral of madness, haunted by the manifestation of his childhood trauma.

Hypochondriac had everything it needed to be a solid movie it’s the way it was executed that really held it back. There was some genuinely decent moments that actually tackled mental illness in a surprisingly realistic way during the first half of the movie. It did a genuinely good job of building Zach Villa’s character and brought many ideas to the table that I was very interested to see how the movie would develop them during the rest of the movie. Unfortunately the rest of the movie completely abandons the realistic approach to mental illness and instead trades in for a very over the top cliched way that a lot of movies commonly do, a lot of the story is replaced with trying to be a slow burn that uses trippy visuals which I don’t have an issue with the idea itself. The problem is it has to at least make some sort of sense and can’t just come right out of nowhere and sadly that’s the case here, heck the trippy visuals didn’t even look that great so the payoff was really not worth it in this case. It’s a shame because the acting was pretty decent and there were a handful of moments from the writing that really delivered, if you really fixed up the second half of the movie and put it more in line with the first half. You would have a very strong movie that could be seen as a hidden gem, but as it stands Hypochondriac is unfortunately a huge missed opportunity.

Hypochondriac is available on all VOD Platforms.

5/10 C

After moving from New York City to Indiana, a 12-year-old navigates his parents’ divorce, his impending bar mitzvah and his new school’s social circles.

From what I’ve read about 13: The Musical it absolutely butchers the Broadway musical it’s based on, cutting several songs and replacing them with new ones is one of the main criticisms I’ve seen. Which at that point why make the movie in the first place? But that’s honestly the least of this movie’s issues because some of the songs here aren’t bad, a lot of them sound the exact same unfortunately but I don’t think any of them are terrible. Mainly due to the cast having great singing voices and definitely try to give it their all, the main issues here are mostly the story being the most below average coming of age story you could think of. And the style of the movie that just comes off as an old navy commercial (particularly a back to school commercial) the choreography is great and as I said the cast truly tries to make the film work but they just aren’t given a lot to really work with. Outside of a few moments that are genuinely touching the movie’s themes go about as deep as a bad Disney Channel Original movie.

13: The Musical is available on Netflix!

3/10 D-

Two strangers wind up double-booked in the same upstate New York rental during the start of COVID-19. Exasperating the situation, the lockdown forces them both to stay and confront the unexpected feelings that develop between them.

Oh joy another COVID-19 related movie, I was honestly considering skipping on this one but Katie Holmes in the director’s chair caught my eye. Talk about tone-deaf and self centered, the movie attempts to show two strangers bonding and slowly having romantic feelings for each other during the pandemic. While having this state of ignorant bliss when the rest of the world was suffering, with Language Lessons and 7 Days were aware what they were talking about, they were actual great films and the movie wasn’t just about the main character’s issues. With Alone Together you get nothing but the main characters constantly being ignorant about the rest of the world while acting like they have it the absolute worst, Katie Holmes, Jim Sturgess and Derek Luke do a fine enough job here but there really isn’t anything to get excited over. It’s emotionally hollow and very dull in it’s execution, there’s a couple moments with Melissa Leo which are genuinely sweet. But it’s not enough to save this movie from being a huge mess.

Alone Together is available on all VOD Platforms.

2/10 F

Twelve boys and their football coach become trapped in a northern Thailand cave by flood waters, and an international team of rescue workers scramble to save them.

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe there has never been a two movies that have been released on the same day that are about the exact same thing in recent years at least (it probably has happened before I just can’t recall it ever happening). Thirteen Lives (which I already reviewed) and Cave Rescue are about the exact same thing which is about the Tham Lung cave rescue, Cave Rescue is the definitely the weaker of the two it does have great filming and there are some claustrophobic moments that are done pretty well. But a lot of this movie feels like a much weaker version of Ron Howard’s version, the acting is not as good and the writing is just not there when it comes to powerful moments. It’s just more of the same thing as Thirteen Lives only worse.

Cave Rescue Is available on all VOD Platforms.

3/10 D-

2022 Movie Catchup: Hypochondriac, 13: The Musical, Alone Together and Cave Rescue.

Will has a loving boyfriend and a good life, but when his mentally ill mother reemerges after a 10-year absence, he descends into a dark spiral of madness, haunted by the manifestation of his childhood trauma.

Hypochondriac had everything it needed to be a solid movie it’s the way it was executed that really held it back. There was some genuinely decent moments that actually tackled mental illness in a surprisingly realistic way during the first half of the movie. It did a genuinely good job of building Zach Villa’s character and brought many ideas to the table that I was very interested to see how the movie would develop them during the rest of the movie. Unfortunately the rest of the movie completely abandons the realistic approach to mental illness and instead trades in for a very over the top cliched way that a lot of movies commonly do, a lot of the story is replaced with trying to be a slow burn that uses trippy visuals which I don’t have an issue with the idea itself. The problem is it has to at least make some sort of sense and can’t just come right out of nowhere and sadly that’s the case here, heck the trippy visuals didn’t even look that great so the payoff was really not worth it in this case. It’s a shame because the acting was pretty decent and there were a handful of moments from the writing that really delivered, if you really fixed up the second half of the movie and put it more in line with the first half. You would have a very strong movie that could be seen as a hidden gem, but as it stands Hypochondriac is unfortunately a huge missed opportunity.

Hypochondriac is available on all VOD Platforms.

5/10 C

After moving from New York City to Indiana, a 12-year-old navigates his parents’ divorce, his impending bar mitzvah and his new school’s social circles.

From what I’ve read about 13: The Musical it absolutely butchers the Broadway musical it’s based on, cutting several songs and replacing them with new ones is one of the main criticisms I’ve seen. Which at that point why make the movie in the first place? But that’s honestly the least of this movie’s issues because some of the songs here aren’t bad, a lot of them sound the exact same unfortunately but I don’t think any of them are terrible. Mainly due to the cast having great singing voices and definitely try to give it their all, the main issues here are mostly the story being the most below average coming of age story you could think of. And the style of the movie that just comes off as an old navy commercial (particularly a back to school commercial) the choreography is great and as I said the cast truly tries to make the film work but they just aren’t given a lot to really work with. Outside of a few moments that are genuinely touching the movie’s themes go about as deep as a bad Disney Channel Original movie.

13: The Musical is available on Netflix!

3/10 D-

Two strangers wind up double-booked in the same upstate New York rental during the start of COVID-19. Exasperating the situation, the lockdown forces them both to stay and confront the unexpected feelings that develop between them.

Oh joy another COVID-19 related movie, I was honestly considering skipping on this one but Katie Holmes in the director’s chair caught my eye. Talk about tone-deaf and self centered, the movie attempts to show two strangers bonding and slowly having romantic feelings for each other during the pandemic. While having this state of ignorant bliss when the rest of the world was suffering, with Language Lessons and 7 Days were aware what they were talking about, they were actual great films and the movie wasn’t just about the main character’s issues. With Alone Together you get nothing but the main characters constantly being ignorant about the rest of the world while acting like they have it the absolute worst, Katie Holmes, Jim Sturgess and Derek Luke do a fine enough job here but there really isn’t anything to get excited over. It’s emotionally hollow and very dull in it’s execution, there’s a couple moments with Melissa Leo which are genuinely sweet. But it’s not enough to save this movie from being a huge mess.

Alone Together is available on all VOD Platforms.

2/10 F

Twelve boys and their football coach become trapped in a northern Thailand cave by flood waters, and an international team of rescue workers scramble to save them.

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe there has never been a two movies that have been released on the same day that are about the exact same thing in recent years at least (it probably has happened before I just can’t recall it ever happening). Thirteen Lives (which I already reviewed) and Cave Rescue are about the exact same thing which is about the Tham Lung cave rescue, Cave Rescue is the definitely the weaker of the two it does have great filming and there are some claustrophobic moments that are done pretty well. But a lot of this movie feels like a much weaker version of Ron Howard’s version, the acting is not as good and the writing is just not there when it comes to powerful moments. It’s just more of the same thing as Thirteen Lives only worse.

Cave Rescue Is available on all VOD Platforms.

3/10 D-

Camping Trip is a trip not worth going on.

In the summer of 2020, two couples go on a remote camping trip after months of a mandatory COVID -19 lockdown. At a nearby drop-off point, two goons decide to go rogue, inadvertently implicating the unwitting campers. What started as a fun-filled vacation turns into a test of loyalty and survival. Suddenly, the pandemic is the least of their worries.

With a poster like this you would think Camping Trip might be a slasher film. That’s not the case here, instead it’s a group of friends who bump into some goons and you can pretty much guess what happens from there. Camping Trip is really nothing special as far as thrillers or horror movies go, it’s a movie that takes place during Summer 2020 where COVID-19 is mentioned outside of that the pandemic really doesn’t do or cause anything significant to happen. There’s a few moments that have pretty okay atmosphere but those are so far and few in between that it doesn’t even matter at one point.

Camping Trip releases tomorrow on all VOD Platforms.

3/10 D-

Bodies Bodies Bodies a wonderfully crafted fun film with a spectacular cast.

When a group of 20-somethings gets stuck at a remote mansion during a hurricane, a party game gone very, very wrong ends with a dead body on the ground and fake friends at every turn as they try to find the killer among them.

The horror genre like all genres has evolved over the years, however no matter how much time goes by I always find horror to be the most interesting mainly due to so much talent and ideas being thrown into the ring. Bodies Bodies Bodies is a prime example of just that, it takes the whodunnit genre and completely makes it’s own in so many different ways. For starters the cast is quite incredible, Rachel Sennott once again does a fantastic job her performance in last year’s Shiva Baby was huge breakout performance and here it’s just as fantastic. Maria Bakalova, Amandla Stenberg and Myha’la Herrold were other standouts who truly did a fantastic job. What’s even better is how well the cast connected with one another, there’s this chemistry that absolutely worked between all of them and absolutely felt as natural as possible. Which leads into the Gen-Z satire elements of the film which is the first time I can say that a movie captured effortlessly, for the longest time in several films I’ve reviewed and talked about I always end up asking “did the writers even know how Gen-Z talks or acts?” But here I don’t need to ask that question because it’s very spot on and it’s hilarious as well, Sarah DeLappe did a fantastic job with the screenplay not only does she capture the whole Gen-Z humor but she further expands elements on the whodunnit genre. The same can be said for director Halina Reijn who creates a thrilling atmosphere that also has a large humorous feel to it, The gore and kills are so much fun here combined with a lot of the dramatic moments between the cast truly pushes this movie to another level. The filming is very well done with a close and tight shots it truly gives the film a much more grounded look, lastly Bodies Bodies Bodies is an example of a fun summer film that is also wonderfully crafted, hilarious and thrilling. Overall Bodies Bodies Bodies is one of the best films of the year, the cast and crew truly take the horror genre and the whodunnit genre and completely make it their own! Be sure to see this one!!

Bodies Bodies Bodies is currently in theaters!

10/10 A+

Day Shift is a genuinely fun B horror action film.

A hardworking dad out to provide for his daughter uses a boring pool-cleaning job as a front for his real gig: hunting and killing vampires.

It’s honestly amazing to me how Day Shift a silly action horror B movie which has a scene where Snoop Dogg carries a machine gun and blasts a handful of vampires, ends up being far more better visually and far more fun than The Gray Man and Red Notice which are overly expensive and terrible. Day Shift definitely has this rental store type feel too it which is part of the charm, you don’t know what to expect and most of the results are a lot of fun. There’s some really solid action scenes combined with some gore that is solid as well, Jamie Foxx is really solid here as the leading role. The guy has so much charm and definitely knows how to put on entertaining ride from beginning to end and that’s definitely shown here, Snoop Dogg is also pretty great as well and fits quite well in the movie. Day Shift does have it’s writing flaws such as the villain in particular not being very memorable, however that doesn’t stop the movie from being genuinely fun. It’s not anything ground breaking and it’s most definitely not going to add anything new to the genre. But if you are missing the types of films Netflix use to put out back when they first started I recommend checking this one out.

Day Shift is available on Netflix.

7/10 B

Prey brings new life to the Predator franchise.

A skilled Comanche warrior protects her tribe from a highly evolved alien predator that hunts humans for sport, fighting against wilderness, dangerous colonisers and this mysterious creature to keep her people safe.

I can’t think of such a huge turn for a franchise in a good way more than the Predator franchise, for awhile The Predator franchise has been struggling to get a really solid film out. Outside of Predator and Predator 2 (depending on who you ask, I personally find it to be quite fun) the series is very lacking and was in dire need of another really good film. Luckily that was the case with Dan Trachtenberg’s (10 Cloverfield Lane) Installment Prey, Prey takes the series back to it’s roots and brings everything back that people loved about the series in the first place. For starters Amber Midthunder was truly brilliant here and gives a breakout performance that completely captures the spirit the film is going for, the same can be said with the rest of the cast Dakota Beavers in particular does a really fantastic job. The film itself is visually stunning and the cinematography is captivating, one of the main criticisms I’ve had with the franchise is that a lot of the films visually don’t look very great. So it’s a breath of fresh air to see Prey take advantage of it’s setting and go all out with it. Especially when you combine it with the atmosphere that Dan Trachtenberg creates, like in 10 Cloverfield Lane the atmosphere here is horrifying and suspenseful it grabs the viewer’s attention and never let’s go. Everything that Trachtenberg did masterfully in 10 Cloverfield Lane is present here and it’s just as effective. The action scenes are well shot and the kills are quite brutal and a lot of fun as well, the combination of campy like feel of the kills with a serious tone actually works quite beautifully with the film. What’s very interesting about Prey is that it’s a franchise film that has the visuals and the character’s actions tell the story which is not something you see in a lot of franchise films. It’s truly fascinating and is pretty straightforward, overall Prey is the best film of the franchise since the first movie. Amber Midthunder is truly a star that I hope to see a lot more of and I’m excited to see what Dan Trachtenberg does next.

Prey is available on Hulu!

10/10 A+

They/Them is garbage.

A group of teenagers at an LGBTQ+ conversion camp endures unsettling psychological techniques while being stalked by a mysterious masked killer.

What exactly happened here? They/Them had a lot going for it to be an interesting little slasher film, the title is quite creative, the representation is actually quite great and there’s a few kills that are actually not too bad….everything else however is a complete and total disaster, for starters the movie takes way too long to get going, it doesn’t become a slasher film until an hour into the movie, instead it spends way too much time trying to tell the audience how terrible the camp counselors are….which reading the plot of the movie already tells you that. The movie takes place at a conversation camp of course the viewers already know the counselors are terrible, Owen Whistler (Kevin Bacon) pretty much spells it out right from the beginning that they are terrible, so why waste so much time on something the viewers already know? There’s one scene in particular that truly comes out of left field however and somehow manages to make the movie even worse, there’s a scene where they randomly start singing Pink’s “Fuckin’ Perfect” and it’s sung quite terribly as well. I genuinely have no idea who’s idea was it that thought it was good idea but it’s truly baffling, when the movie finally starts to become a slasher movie it does get a tad better but that’s really not saying much. Some of the kills are off screen which completely hurts the movie and the writing is still horrendous, everyone is trying with the script they are given but it’s not nearly enough to help this movie stand. Overall They/Them is terrible, a lot of the choices with this movie are truly baffling and end up giving one of the worst films of the year.

They/Them is available on Peacock.

1/10 F

Quick Review: I Dream Of A Psychopomp (2022)

A grieving widower, haunted by the distressed ghost of his recently deceased wife, is visited in his dreams by a psychopomp who seeks to teach him about the spirit world and soul guiding through stories of death and the supernatural.

Going to be completely honest here…I have no idea what I watched and not in a good way. All that I know is that it’s an anthology horror film that has a handful of shorts that feel more less the same. There’s some great ideas somewhere in this movie but unfortunately a lot of it just doesn’t come together, the writing is very basic and really doesn’t explore it’s ideas very well. The acting is fine enough but that’s really all the movie has going for it.

I Dream Of A Psychopomp is available on Terror Channel tomorrow and on all VOD Platforms August 19th.

3/10 D-

Allegoria an anthology movie misfire.

A timid actress, a tortured painter, a pretentious writer, a psychotic sculptor and a rock band all become entangled when their insecurities manifest themselves into monsters and ghouls.

Spider One who is the younger brother of Rob Zombie enters with his first full length feature film Allegoria. The movie isn’t one of those anthology movies where there’s a ton of directors involved Spider One does all of them…and they are all pretty unremarkable. While the use of practical effects are nice the stories themselves have very little or no plot at all, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since having no plot can work. But with these shorts they are pretty much the equivalent of an obscure YouTube video on the “wrong side of YouTube” but with a bigger budget, a lot of the ideas didn’t have enough time to fully flesh out and the horror elements were just not done very well here, the pacing in the stories are very uneven. Some will go by way too quickly and others will go by slowly. This honestly just feels nothing more than a bunch of shorts that were found on the internet and someone put them together in a movie.

Allegoria is available on Shudder

2/10 F

The Andy Baker Tape half a good found footage movie.

The last known footage of food blogger Jeff Blake and his half-brother Andy Baker.

I’ve said this multiple times already but my issue with a lot of the modern found footage horror genre is they take an eternity to get to the main point of the movie. That’s sadly the case here with The Andy Baker Tape, the main leads Bret Lada and Dustin Fontaine are at least engaging and actually do a far better job than you would expect. They both clearly seem like they are having the time of their lives with this movie so at least the passion is there, the plot itself just takes way too long to get going and the horror elements actually end up weakening the movie quite a bit. All that happens is Andy ends up being creepy midway through the movie and from there it’s quite predictable, I like the whole premise of “certain character becomes odd” but it’s down in such a bare bones way that’s been done to death numerous times already. Overall The Andy Baker Tape is definitely not bad and gets points for a strong start, likable leads and decent filming but ultimately doesn’t have anything new to add to a very crowded subgenre.

The Andy Baker Tape is available on the Terror Channel and will be released on all VOD Platforms August 12th.

5/10 C