The Dark And The Wicked (2020)

On a secluded farm in a nondescript rural town, a man is slowly dying. His family gathers to mourn, and soon a darkness grows, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that something evil is taking over the family.

The Dark And The Wicked is another one that really surprised me, on the surface it may seem like your typical ghost who haunts a house but it’s much more then that! First off it should be noted that it’s directed by Bryan Bertino director of The Strangers (incredible film), Mockingbird and The Monster (which is pretty good Mockingbird however is very disposable) If it’s one thing that Bertino masters in it’s making a situation seem as life like as possible. With The Strangers you got that throughout the film, in The Dark And The Wicked you definitely get some moments like that, it truly is a pretty creepy film that’s very atmospheric. The acting overall is pretty solid Marin Ireland and Michael Abbott Jr both do a fantastic job in their roles, the writing feels raw in a lot of moments where the film is most effective. The setting of the film also really adds to it as well, it adds to the overall creepiness and atmosphere. Bertino takes a very simple premise and manages to make it very interesting which can not be said for some other modern haunting movies, overall this is definitely Bertino’s best film since The Strangers and I’m really excited to see what he does next.

9/10 A

Kindred, Triggered and Mortal (2020)

Plagued by mysterious hallucinations, a pregnant woman suspects that the family of her deceased boyfriend has intentions for her unborn child.

Kindred is one of those movies where in concept it sounds very interesting but it ends not really doing much, I will praise the acting I thought all around it was pretty solid and everyone gave a decent performance. I also thought the filming was quite decent as well, it showed some beautiful shots that were captivating. What brings this movie down however is it really doesn’t do much until the end, it takes way too long for it to get going and by the time things start getting interesting the movie is almost over. I understand what Kindred was going for and I do think that it will work for some people, I just feel the writing wasn’t as strong as it could have been and really didn’t bring out this film’s full potential. I give it a pass because it is an overall well crafted movie that does have some great atmosphere and strong moments. It could have just been so much better.

6/10 C+

9 old high school “friends” have a 5 year reunion camping in a forest. They all have secrets. Their old science teacher straps a time-bomb to each of them. Killing another gives one their time. Last one lives.

Alastair Orr who previous directed Indigenous (which was terrible), House On Willow Street (which was fine enough) and a few other films is back. Triggered is basically a terrible version of Battle Royale mixed with some elements from Saw, in fact there was already a movie exactly like that which came out earlier this year…The Hunt. It does barely anything differently the only difference this time is the characters have a bomb strapped onto them, that’s the only major difference everything else plays out exactly how you would expect. Which really is a shame because there are ways they could have made this movie have the same premise but change up a few things. Yes the kills are pretty solid and is by far the best thing about Triggered but everything else is just the exact same, none of it is necessarily horrendous (except the script) it’s just flat out unimaginative and really has little to offer. It’s a fine movie to put on if you have nothing else to watch and only want good kills otherwise it’s not worth watching!

4/10 D+

Fantasy adventure origin story about a young man discovering he has God-like powers based on ancient Norwegian mythology.

I honestly could not believe this was actually directed by Andrè Øverdal, he previously directed Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, The Autopsy Of Jane Doe and Trollhunter which are all pretty strong movies, unfortunately Mortal is not. I appreciate Øverdal trying to expand into a different genre but it just did not work here at all, Nat Wolff is fine enough but really does not bring a whole lot to the film. When you really get down to it Mortal is a very below average superhero origin story movie, it has some decent visuals that look quite great. But everything else is just very basic and a lot of elements everyone has seen before, the writing isn’t there, the acting is very okay and the story is really not that interesting. I don’t recommend this one.

5/10 C

Operation Christmas Drop (2020)

Congressional aide Erica (Graham) forgoes family Christmas to travel at her boss’s behest. At a beachside Air Force base, she clashes with Capt. Andrew Jantz (Ludwig), who knows her assignment is finding reasons to defund the facility.

Here we go Christmas Netflix movie number two in 2020. Holidate was at least harmless and had Emma Roberts, Operation Christmas Drop has almost nothing going for it at all, the chemistry between the two main leads is just no there. It comes off as awkward and not believable at the slightest, the writing is horrendous it’s on the same level as a LifeTime Channel movie. Which is basically what Operation Christmas Drop is, it’s a LifeTime channel movie that somehow became a Netflix Original which is a very common problem with a lot of Netflix Christmas movies. The whole movie itself is cliched and predictable as well, there’s really nothing in this movie that hasn’t been done before. Completely worthless…

1/10 F

Us Kids (2020)

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida speak out against the national gun-violence epidemic after a mass shooting at their school kills 17 people.

I’m going to keep this short because Us Kids isn’t really something that needs a long explanation of why it’s so powerful. Us Kids as you can tell from the summery is about the 2018 Parkland Shooting, the movie also cleverly connects stories to black students who have experienced gun violence that the media doesn’t give enough attention. Us Kids is truly a powerful documentary it’s about stepping up when your leaders don’t do a single thing and keep saying the exact same thing over and over again. There’s tons of powerful moments here, moments that if you have watched the news around the time the shooting happened you will most definitely remember and some very emotional moments as well. It’s also a very well put together film, that does what it’s set out to do…educate. It really shows how much these teens want things to change and it really captures of how much they want it as well. Overall Us Kids is a fantastic film I highly recommend seeing this one when you get the chance!

9/10 A

His House (2020)

A refugee couple makes a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, but then they struggle to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface.

His House is a pretty solid horror movie, it has this big metaphor of grief and how it can destroy our lives. Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu both do incredible job in their roles and really bring a lot of scenes to life. The movie get’s actually pretty thrilling towards the end and has some scares, I will say His House does take a bit to get going but once it does it is truly effective! The direction is also really strong from Rami Weekes who I definitely see going on to do more projects in the future! The movie’s theme definitely stands out towards the end giving the film some strength, I just wish the first act could have been a little faster. But I definitely recommend giving this one a go!

7/10 B

The True Adventures Of Wolfboy (2020)

Follows a young boy who runs away from home in the search of his estranged mother.

Well first of all shoutout to The True Adventures of Wolfboy for actually casting a trans women actress as a trans women. Sophie Giannamore is really great, she’s really likable and her performance feels very raw as well! Jaeden Martell is also pretty great as well, he does a very solid job as the Wolfboy. What I honestly was not expecting from this movie was for it to be a coming of age movie. The movie did that pretty well, sure it might not be the perfect coming of age film as it does run into a few familiar elements but for the most part it kept things fresh and very interesting, what really makes this film standout is the writing. It feels genuinely relatable and actually raw as well, which is kind of unexpected given the title of this movie. I feel the best way to describe this movie is “surprising” if you want to feel surprised of how much a movie like this can be good give it a watch!

8/10 B+

Spell (2020)

A man crash lands in rural Appalachia and awakens in the attic of a traditional Hoodoo practitioner. He desperately tries to break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.

This was actually going to be released in theaters? Spell feels like a movie that was originally supposed to be a straight to DVD movie but that’s not the case. Before COVID-19 Spell was fully intended to be theater released, anyway the movie itself is very nuts…Spell is basically Misery but with hoodoo figures, I will say that Omari Hardwick and Loretta Devine actually do a very solid job given the terrible script they had to work with. They did the best they could with it and their performances are pretty solid, the visuals are actually pretty decent as well which was kind of surprising, but everything else just feels like a chore to sit through. The writing just isn’t there at all, there’s some really horribly written lines to the point where you ask yourself “did an actual person write this?” It’s a shame too because this movie could have really worked but unfortunately the director is Mark Tonderai the director of The House At The End Of The Street one of the worst horror films of the 2010s. Spell is definitely a huge step up from that but it overall really does not have that much to offer. I would only recommend Spell if you have absolutely nothing else to watch otherwise this is something I don’t recommend.

4/10 D+

Rogue City and The Day Of The Lord (2020)

Caught in the cross hairs of police corruption and Marseille’s warring gangs, a loyal cop must protect his squad by taking matters into his own hands.

Rogue City is one of those Netflix Original movies that just sort of exists, a lot of it is very cliched and events to expect from a crime movie. The major problem with this movie is weirdly enough how the movie has way too many characters to follow. All it ends up doing is confusing the viewer and you have no idea which characters to actually invest in. The writing and acting are fine enough at best, there’s really nothing to write home about with this movie. It’s just a very below average crime movie that somehow became a Netflix Original.

5/10 C

A retired priest hunted by his sins is pulled back into darkness when a friend begs him to help his possessed daughter.

I appreciate what The Day Of The Lord was trying to do but it just didn’t work here. It’s a slow burner which is perfectly fine, the problem is it’s not an interesting one. It takes several plot devices from other successful movies and tries to make them it’s own but falls flat on it’s face, the only few redeeming qualities are some of the acting and the filming. They definitely tried at times to make this movie work but as I said it really fails. Really don’t have much more to add, I don’t recommend this one.

3/10 D-

The Craft Legacy (2020)

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

The Craft Legacy sort of just appeared one day, granted talk about a sequel The Craft had been going for years but it never came to anything until 2020. To make it clear yes this is a sequel not a remake, but that really doesn’t matter much because the movie just sort of exists. The Craft Legacy is one of those sequels that isn’t necessarily bad as it is just there. The acting is fine enough everyone does the best they can with a very uninspiring and lazy script. The major problem with the script is that it’s one of those types of scripts where the writers have no idea how teenagers talk, a lot of it is basically what grown adults THINK teenagers talk like. Which is very embarrassing and really out of touch at times, the character development is just not there outside of Cailee Spaeny’s character, it’s real shame too because they really could have written a ton of interesting characters if they put much more effort into it. The final act feels like a huge mess it’s very clear they cut a lot of stuff out just to lead up to a sequel, which honestly feels desperate. I really don’t have much else, The Craft Legacy is the type of movie where you aren’t going to remember it by next week, I don’t recommend this one.

5/10 C

May The Devil Take You Too (2020)

Two years after escaping from demonic terror, the young woman is still haunted by unnatural vision. The dangers that await her and her friends are increasingly threatening: the figure of darkness rises to take their lives.

I’ve said it before but I love Timo Tjahjanto he directed some really strong films in the 2010s Killers, Headshot and The Night Comes For Us. I thought May The Devil Take You was alright but a huge step down from Tjahjanto’s previous work, I was very confused as to why May The Devil Take You got a sequel but I thought it might be better. It’s pretty much the same thing as it’s predecessor, it still feels like an Evil Dead knockoff, it still doesn’t have much going for it outside of the cinematography and some of the acting. The writing is not so great, it really begs to be much stronger I feel like this movie goes towards the way too simplistic route. Which is perfectly okay in some cases but here the movie has a ton of ideas but never ends up using them. The third act is by far the best thing about this movie simply because it turns outlandish which is something a bit different, but overall there is really not much else to this movie. I’m still very confused as to why this got a sequel but it’s okay for what it is.

6/10 C+