Unhinged (2020)

After a confrontation with an unstable man at an intersection, a woman becomes the target of his rage.

There just isn’t a whole lot to say here…Unhinged is pretty much every single thriller you have seen, except in this one the characters make some incredibly stupid decisions. Russell Crowe is at least decent enough and looks like he’s enjoying his role, what’s weird about Unhinged is that some of it is so ridiculous that it ends up being hilarious. Given what the movie is about that’s something I certainly did not expect but here we are. Unhinged has very awkward pacing, at times it will go at a decent speed but then for whatever reason it will quickly switch to very fast. Leading to some scenes that felt like they should have been developed a lot more but were shortened, as I said before Unhinged is no different from a lot of other thrillers. Russell Crowe is the only reason this movie sticks out from some other thrillers, it plays out exactly how you think it will. It’s way too predictable and does not have a lot to offer, I will give Unhinged this at times it does have a decent atmosphere but it never uses that to it’s full potential. Which is a huge missed opportunity, overall Unhinged isn’t the worst movie but it’s definitely not something I would ever recommend unless you are just getting into the Thriller genre.

4/10 D+

Freaky (2020)

After swapping bodies with a deranged serial killer, a young girl in high school discovers she has less than 24 hours before the change becomes permanent.

Christopher Landon’s career as a director has certainly evolved over the years, his first major movie was Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones easily the worst of the series and one of the worst films of the 2010s, then he followed up with Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse, which was a very forgettable zombie movie that hardly anyone ever talks about. It also doesn’t help that it wasn’t good or did nothing to standout either, then came the turning point Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U some of the best slasher films in a very long time both of which actually surprised a lot of people as well. The same can be said about Freaky, it’s another surprisingly strong slasher movie that really stands out. Freaky shares a lot in common with Happy Death Day what I mean by that is Landon uses some of his same directing elements and style. Such as giving the characters actual character development something that was very present in the Happy Death Day movies. Kathryn Newton’s character Millie gets a ton of character development and a lot of moments are actually strong as well, Freaky is a huge throwback to The Friday The 13th series! But what I found very interesting is it takes those elements and makes them it’s own, it creates something truly special and quite humorous as well. The comedy is quite great, there are a few jokes that don’t land quite well but a lot of the time combines serious moments and comedic moments very well. The acting and writing are overall really strong Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn are both very solid in their roles, the kills also standout pretty well. They are classic slasher movie type kills that never get old at all, overall Freaky is a movie that could have went horribly wrong but luckily that’s not the case. It’s some of the most fun I have had with a film this year! Also worth pointing out that Freaky is the first movie I saw since March due to COVID-19.

9/10 A

Possessor (2020)

Possessor follows an agent who works for a secretive organization that uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies – ultimately driving them to commit assassinations for high-paying clients.

Possessor has been on my radar ever since it premiered at Sundance when I heard about Brandon Cronenberg directing it (the son of David Cronenberg) I was really excited! There are a few things I want to address first, one Possessor and Possessor Uncut are the exact same, from what I’ve noticed there are no differences and two while yes the film is very gory do not go into this movie expecting it to be one of the goriest movies ever made like some of the early reactions made it out to be. Anyway let’s talk about the film itself, Possessor is a beautiful film for starters. It’s beautifully filmed with a lot of color, details in the setting and gives off this powerful and suspenseful atmosphere. As I said before there is gore and it’s done pretty well, the film is pretty brutal with the kills it doesn’t feel cartoonish or ridiculous. Cronenberg makes these kills as realistic as possible and at times it gets pretty disturbing, the acting is really strong all around! The performances feel very raw as well as the writing, while yes the writing might be simple it does end up being more then just simple. It ends up feeling believable and moves the film along at a great pace, it’s worth noting that Possessor is definitely not going to be for everyone. It’s one of those films where you are either going to love it, don’t know what to think or hate it. But Possessor is truly a haunting film that keeps you invested throughout the film, Brandon Cronenberg really hit it out of the park with this one. I won’t say much else because this is definitely a film where the less you know about it before watching the better. Overall Possessor is one of the best films of the year, I highly recommend checking it out if it sounds interesting to you. I can’t wait to see what Brandon Cronenberg does next!!

10/10 A+

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

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

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-

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+

Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight and Holidate (2020)

A group of technology-dependent teenagers goes to – offline camp. Common hiking in the woods without access to smartphones will not end, however, as planned by the organizers.

I thought I would never here the word “gay” be used as an insult in a film in 2020 but here we are I guess. The newest Netflix horror movie Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight is the most basic slasher movie, it doesn’t do anything new or interesting. It just copies off of what slasher films have done such as Friday The 13th and Wrong Turn, there is some great kills with some surprisingly great gore. But outside of that this is very bare bones. If you go into this movie only looking for a slasher film to watch then you might enjoy this one. However what really hurts this movie is the terrible writing, it attempts to be meta but completely fails. The movie also tries to throw in some humor that feels very dated or is just not funny at the slightest. Anyone looking for anything new or interesting in the slasher genre might want to sit this one out.

4/10 D+

Sloane and Jackson hate being single on holidays where they face constant judgment from their meddling families. So, when these two strangers meet, they pledge to be each other’s “holidate” for every festive occasion in the year ahead.

One particular genre of Netflix Original movies I really don’t like are the Holiday/Christmas ones. They are all almost the exact same thing, almost all of them are terrible and it feels like they are coming out earlier and earlier each year. To be absolutely fair Holidate isn’t that bad but that’s mostly due to Emma Roberts who is by far the best thing this movie has going for it. The writing is as predictable as you would expect, the story has been done several times before. Holidate does have some cute moments that do work thanks to some character development, but that there really is not that much else too Holidate. It’s harmless enough and definitely one of the better Netflix Holiday/Christmas movies but that’s not saying a whole lot.

5/10 C