Happy Death Day: Review by Holly Bareham

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Happy Halloween guys! However you’re choosing to celebrate I hope you have a great day. I personally am stuck at work and by the time I thought about having the day off I realised there wouldn’t be enough cover in the office so… I’ll probably watch a horror film later tonight though just to say I’ve done something.

So for those of you who never saw this trailer you’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding it because for a while it was all over Facebook and people were freaking out about it. To be honest I thought it looked interesting but I also thought it looked like one of those films that would just annoy the Hell out of me. I assumed right from the start it would be dreadful but I was still intrigued so I decided to give it a go.

‘Happy Death Day’ is about a college student who is murdered on her birthday but wakes up the next morning on her birthday. She is forced to relive the same day over and over again until she can figure out who her killer is and stop her own death.

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I actually really enjoyed it. I was intrigued the entire time and I found the whole thing really entertaining. It didn’t take itself too seriously which is just as well because it simply wouldn’t have worked if it had. Although at first most of the characters were unlikeable this was deliberate for the overall message of the film which was essentially ‘don’t be an asshole’. I ended up really liking Tree, the main character, by the end and I liked Carter right from the start.

Maybe I’m an idiot but I didn’t guess who the killer was at all. My friend told me she’d guessed before we even went in and was really bemused that I hadn’t figured it out. Listen, it’s good to be an idiot when watching films – I’m always shocked when the plot twist is revealed. I really liked this one. It was kind of ridiculous but in a good way.

As long as you don’t take it too seriously it’s a really good film. It’s entertaining and I’d really like to see it again before it leaves cinemas but I’m not sure I’ll have the time. I definitely wanna get it on DVD when it’s released though. I just really liked it and I’m quite surprised to say how many positive reviews it has on iMDB. Maybe we all low-key expected it to be trash but because it wasn’t that bad we can’t help by like it.

Compared to other horror films this year it just feels really refreshing. This is what ‘The Bye Bye Man’ should’ve been like because that was dreadful and took itself way too seriously. ‘Happy Death Day’ mocked itself and it worked really well!

Time for my piece of horror film trivia. There was quite a bit on iMDB and it was all pretty interesting but I’ve chosen this one: The scene where Tree walks across campus completely naked had to be done quickly as it was being filmed on an active campus thus presenting the risk of students witnessing the scene being filmed and taking photos. In the end they managed to do it in just 2-3 takes.

I recommend this if you haven’t already seen it and are looking for something interesting to watch this Halloween. I was genuinely really pleasantly surprised by this film so go into it with an open mind and just view it for it is: a bit of fun.

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Blair Witch: Review by Holly Bareham

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So I’m quite behind on my horror film reviews lately considering I didn’t review ‘Lights Out’ or ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ but I’ve decided to move onto this one as it’s still out and relevant. If you haven’t seen any advertising for ‘Blair Witch’ then you’ve done quite well as I’ve seen the trailer at cinemas, posters, advertisements on pretty much every social media website available… It’s no secret that I love horror films and I’d enjoyed the original ‘The Blair Witch Project’ so I was looking forward to seeing it.

After discovering a video of what appears to be his sister’s experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, James and a group of his friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling. Lisa, one of his friends, has to make a documentary for a class so they record the experience. Things are okay at first but they soon take a downward spiral as they soon find themselves terrorised by a paranormal entity.

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As I already said, I enjoyed ‘The Blair Witch Project’. I watched it a couple of years ago on Netflix and while it was quite slow I still thought it was decent. I can’t comment on the sequel ‘Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2’ because I’ve never seen it. To be honest, I completely forgot about that sequel and assumed that this was the second film but no, it’s the third.

Basically, I don’t know what the point in this film was. It didn’t add anything to the original film. It didn’t particularly add to the original story. In some ways it barely related to the original. Heather being James’ sister was just used as an excuse for them to end up in the woods. It was a film made with the sole intention of making money from the people who enjoyed the original. Which I could forgive if it had actually been interesting.

You know that feeling you get when you watch a good horror movie? When you’re on the edge of your seat or hiding your face behind your eyes because you’re so scared of what could happen next? There was none of that in this film. I am a massive wimp when it comes to horror films but I didn’t particularly feel anything when watching this. I did have a feeling of unease when Lisa was pulling herself through the tunnel (shown in the trailer so not technically a spoiler) but that’s only because I’m quite claustrophobic so that would be my worst nightmare. Sure, I did jump if there was a jump scare but they didn’t create an atmosphere at all.

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I read on the iMDB trivia page that the original film was about being lost in the woods whereas this film was designed to be about being chased in the woods. I think this is why it lost a lot of its atmosphere. The first film was spread out over a few days and nights giving us time to ease into the scares. This one was chill and then suddenly was supposed to be really scary all at once. It just didn’t work.

This reviews piece of trivia: Director Adam Wingard used air horns to get the right jump scare out of his actors.

Overall, I don’t think I’d recommend this film. It was mildly entertaining but overall didn’t add anything to the original film which is surely the point of a sequel. They could have made a completely different film about a different forest and it wouldn’t have made much difference.

The Boy: Review by Holly Bareham

The Boy

I’m long overdue on several reviews including The Other Side of the Door and The Witch but I’m going to write this one first and I’ll explain why in a second. I’m pretty sure I have a book review to write as well… I will get round to all of this, I’m just having a bit of a writer’s block at the moment!

Just so you guys know, I’m thinking of writing a spoiler version of this review soon so be sure to look out for that but I’ll try and get my other reviews out first…

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So I have been driving my friends crazy about this film for the past couple of months. I saw the trailer on Facebook ages ago and I have been counting down the days until its release. You would honestly not believe how mad I was going for this film. When it finally arrived in cinemas I was prepared to be disappointed. That might sound daft but after imagining this film for months and months, the anticipation, the build-up, even if the film was good it surely wouldn’t meet my expectations?

I’m so glad I was wrong.

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For anyone who hasn’t seen the trailer, ‘The Boy’ is about an American woman named Greta who comes to England to be a nanny for a wealthy families eight year old son. When she arrives she’s shocked to find that the eight year old boy is a doll that the family treats as if he’s alive. However, when the parents leave she starts experiencing a supernatural presence and starts to believe that maybe the doll is really alive after all.

I’ve seen a lot of people comparing this film to Annabelle, which I wrote a review about a while ago, and I think the two films are completely different. ‘Annabelle’ barely felt like it was about the actual doll whereas ‘The Boy’ is definitely centred on Brahms (the doll). I wasn’t too impressed with ‘Annabelle’ whereas I found ‘The Boy’ to be everything I love about a horror film: atmospheric, creepy and my personal favourite, an amazing plot twist.

I’m gonna talk more about the plot twist in my spoiler review, assuming I write it, because obviously I don’t want to give anything away but I honestly did not see it coming. I went with two friends, one didn’t see the twist coming, the other kind of guessed it but wasn’t sure. However, when the reveal came, all three of us were honestly terrified – I was holding hands with one of them. I’ve been reading through the iMDB forums as I do and a lot of people have been complaining that the plot twist ruined the entire film but I completely disagree. I think it was the best, most reasonable ending it could’ve possibly had. But again, I’ll talk more about that in my spoiler version.

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One thing I hate in a horror film is when they include random jump scares that aren’t even necessary to the plot. Now, while The Boy did this I feel like their jump scares were almost a foreshadowing of what was going to happen so I can forgive them. There was one jump scare that really terrified me – I admit that I jump a lot in horror films but this one really got me, my heart was pounding for a full five minutes afterwards.

Anyway, I cannot stress to you how good I thought this film was and I urge you not to listen to the negative reviews and just judge the film for yourself. Before watching it I was told by my Mom “It has really bad reviews” to which I replied “I didn’t expect anything more”. It was honestly better than people are saying it is, just trust me!

I almost forgot my fun fact! The cast members used to prank each other with the doll until one cast member got so scared during one prank that they threw the doll out of their trailer window and a replacement had to be made. Hooray for fun facts.

Go and watch the movie!

Snervous: Review by Holly Bareham

Snervous

Right, so those of you who read my review of Binge [x] know that although I’m not a massive fan of Tyler Oakley I do like him. And I figured since I’d done a review of Binge it might make sense to watch Snervous and write a review of that too. Since it was on Netflix I decided to give it a watch and now here I am writing this review.

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So after reading Binge I’d heard stories of Tyler’s childhood and more stories about his YouTube life etc etc but I didn’t know much about his fan base or the community he’s created because really I don’t see them. I don’t follow any Tyler blogs on Tumblr; I don’t see their tweets… Occasionally I look at the comments section on his videos but to be honest I can’t remember what they said. So yeah, I didn’t know much about his fans other than that girl I once met who told me she’d kill a man for him. That’s where Snervous came in.

The documentary starts off with Tyler going on his UK tour, which I totally would’ve gone to if I’d known it was coming to the UK but as I don’t particularly keep up with what he’s doing I didn’t know so I missed out. I’m gutted because it looks like it was amazing and the atmosphere seemed like it was really friendly and fun. It was interesting to see how the meet and greets and everything backstage was from Tyler’s point of view – although I didn’t attend this show, I did attend Dan and Phil’s so to see what it’s like going on behind the scenes is really interesting.

We don’t just see Tyler’s fans obviously. In Binge Tyler talked about his Father wasn’t accepting of him being gay when he first came out and that’s talked about more in Snervous when we see Tyler meeting up with his Dad and there’s an interview with his Mom. That’s just one of the emotional moments in Snervous that really get to you. I can’t imagine what it’s like to watch it as a die-hard fan because even just as a casual fan I was getting all emotional at certain points.

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Obviously it’s not all doom and gloom, there are some funny moments too! Especially the moments with Korey, he is honestly so funny. As is Tyler’s Mom who is completely fabulous. I think it’s so nice that Tyler has let fans into his life and that he’s so open with them. I also loved his honesty when talking about meeting fans and not cutting out the bits where he got stressed or annoyed. It’s good for us to see that YouTuber’s aren’t superheroes who can just keep going without getting emotional, they’re people too!

Also, can we all draw attention to this please because I think it’s really important?

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So Tyler if you’re reading this, don’t like and leave next time! Tell me what you thought! Please?

Anyway, my personal recommendation to anyone reading this is that you should get your butt onto Netflix and start watching. It’s definitely worth it!

Krampus: Review by Holly Bareham

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This film has been advertised a lot for the last couple of months and I guess I was kind of looking forward to it. I don’t think it’s because of the idea though, I just generally look forward to new horror films and this one didn’t look bad so yeah, I was looking forward to it coming out. So I went to see it a few days after it came out and… I don’t know what to think.

Basically Krampus is a horror Christmas film that’s about a boy named Max who loses his Christmas spirit when his Aunt and her family come to stay with them. He accidentally ends up summoning a Christmas demon to his family home.

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I don’t even know where to start to be honest. Maybe we should start with what I liked, that seems like a good place to start. It’s filmed in the style of a traditional Christmas film and although I thought that made it interesting I think it also made it less scary overall – even though there were a couple of jump scares that got me it didn’t particularly scare me at all. I also loved the humour element that was included – however I wish it had been more like ‘The Visit’ where there was an equal mix of horror and comedy. In this film I felt there was more emphasis on the comedy. I guess I also kind of liked the animation to show the Grandmother’s back story but it did feel a little out of place – although that could’ve been the intention. Maybe I also liked Conchata Ferrell’s character, she was kind of funny.

To be honest the more I think about it I don’t have many things I actually liked about the film but there are several things I disliked. The first thing is the acting – although the acting from the adults and Emjay Anthony were passable I felt the rest was appalling, especially from the girls who played the twins. I appreciate that it was their first film but still they lacked so much emotion during nearly every scene.

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Also there are a couple of things I’m confused about. This paragraph contains spoilers so if you don’t want to read them then please skip this paragraph. So this one kid accidentally summons Krampus to terrorise his family for not believing in Christmas – yet Krampus goes after everyone in the town by the looks of it. How pissed off would you be if some random kid you didn’t know accidentally summoned a Christmas demon that then killed you and your family? Especially since in the Grandma’s story it seemed like Krampus only came for her family and left everyone else alone. Why was it different with this kid? None of the characters were particularly likeable but this might’ve been the point of the film because there was clearly a moral message to be found. This was stupid though – why should this kid be grateful if his family are assholes? That’s my opinion. Also, this is something I don’t want to give away, but the ending is confusing and honestly just stupid. I obviously won’t go into details but please leave me a comment and tell me what you thought!

I also have to agree with many users on iMDB who said that the elves weren’t that scary and the masks seemed like a cheaper way to try and make them look scary. But they didn’t. They were a bit scary when they were running around on the front lawn behind those snowmen but when they burst into the house (which I didn’t think was allowed since the fire was lit but okay) they lost all their appeal. I also don’t really see the point of the snowmen – there’s a theory, that I also believed at the time, that every time someone in the town was killed by Krampus they made a snowman of them in the front garden. But there was so much more they could’ve done with the snowmen to make them scarier and give it more effect. They were never explained and they could’ve been really creepy!

I need to add a piece of film trivia to this review but I can’t find anything particularly interesting on iMDB – but I have started a new tradition so I need to include something! This film was originally set to be released on November 25th but was moved to December 4th to coincide with Krampusnacht, a traditional Austrian festival to celebrate Krampus punishing naughty children.

Overall, I guess my opinion is that this film is just plain weird and not in a good way that ‘The Visit’ was, it was just a stupid weird. My personal recommendation is don’t waste your money on this film. It’s honestly not that great, it’s just annoying.

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2: Review by Holly Bareham

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Right then, this is the first type of review I’ve written like this. Normally I stick to the horror genre but I got a request to write about this film and I’m not going to turn down a request. I’m sorry if I completely dash your expectations.

I’ve been a fan of The Hunger Games trilogy since I was about fifteen. Everyone was talking about them on the internet so I bought a copy of the first book. My obsession might’ve ended there but I happened to be friends with someone who also liked the trilogy. She lent me the rest of the books and we went to a screening of the first film on the day it came out. Although I don’t love it quite as much as I did back then I still consider myself a fan.

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So this film is the last one in the series and as we can tell from the title, it’s the second part of the film just before it ‘Mockingjay Part One’. At the end of part one we see Peeta attack Katniss after having his memories of the two of them tampered with resulting in Katniss ending up in hospital. It was quite the cliff hanger to leave us on for an entire year.

I’m gonna start with my first point which is that I feel like compared to the other films there was hardly any marketing for this film? Maybe it was just me and I didn’t see it as much but I saw the trailer maybe four or five times and there were a few posters. In past years the release of the film is shown everywhere but this year I feel like I barely saw anything. Which is strange considering it’s the last film in the franchise.

Now I’ve seen a couple of bad reviews about this film but personally I really enjoyed it. When I read the series, Mockingjay was definitely my least favourite book – I felt like I was reading and reading and hardly anything was happening. But I really enjoyed both films. I really expected Part One to be awful to be honest (Like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One where nothing happens) but I feel like the filmmakers managed to spread the story out evenly enough across both parts so that enough happens to hold your interest.

I watched this film with my three friends and two of them really liked it but the third one only described it as ‘okay’ and said that not a lot happened and that many scenes were unnecessary. I have to disagree though – I’ll admit that the film was a bit long but I didn’t find myself getting bored or zoning out, I was interested throughout the whole thing. The pacing was good; there was enough action and more relaxed scenes. I really don’t understand the negative reviews; I can’t understand what was wrong?

I don’t think there’s a thing I would’ve changed about the film. I think all the scenes were necessary and they were delivered perfectly. It was also extremely emotional if you’re a fan of the books or if you loved the films so prepare yourself for that. You can see by the way it’s filmed how far they’ve come since the first film was released and it’s absolutely amazing.

So go and see Mockingjay Part 2 if you haven’t already. Don’t listen to the bad reviews, I thought it was amazing!

I should really probably stick to horror movie reviews but drop me a comment or tweet if you have a request!

The Hallow: Review by Holly Bareham

The Hallow

Look at me, being on time for a review! Posting a review on the day the film came out? That’s a rare miracle!

So, I haven’t seen this film advertised much – I saw a poster in Cineworld and the trailer played one time. It’s definitely not been advertised as much as Krampus (which looks really good by the way). This didn’t stop the film getting a good turnout at the cinema I went to today, the room was nearly full. The basic plot is that a family, Adam, Clare and their baby Finn, move to remote house in Ireland next to a forest that the villagers believe belongs to the ‘Hallow’ and that if you trespass there will be consequences. Of course, as it’s a horror movie, the family ignores this and soon find themselves in a fight for survival against the demonic creatures that reside in the forest.

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The trailer looked pretty good and I was counting down the days to finally see another horror movie and then finally it came out today! On Friday the 13th which is obviously a perfect date to release a new horror movie, that’s probably why my screen was so packed – there were only two showings and seeing it on Friday the 13th makes it ten times more fun and scarier.

Except, bad news, the film wasn’t scary. Normally when I go see a horror movie by myself at the cinema I’ve already seen it with a friend to make it less scary, so I know when the jump scares are coming up and stuff. But this was the first horror film where I went to see it for the first time without a friend. And I wasn’t the teeniest bit scared. I’m not saying that to make myself sound brave either, I wanted to be scared so badly. But I just wasn’t.

Okay I will admit that there were a couple of jump scares that got me but if those are the only scares in the film then it’s a pretty shit film. It didn’t keep a creepy atmosphere at all and I think that’s because they rushed it. We’re barely introduced to the characters, we don’t really know why the neighbours dislike the forest so much and suddenly BAM everyone’s screaming and running for their lives and I’m left wondering what on earth is going on. Also whatever the ‘demon’ creatures were, they didn’t look scary at all.

In terms of plot, there wasn’t particularly much of a story if that makes sense. There have been some shit horror films but at least they followed a story with reveals and stuff like that but this just didn’t seem to do anything or go anywhere. I don’t even know how to begin to describe it. It just seemed so pointless.

FUN FACT ABOUT THE MOVIE: The baby seen in the film is a mix of animatronics and twins that were digitally shot in front of a blue screen. There you go. Fun fact for The Hallow, which if anybody didn’t know I’ve started doing for my horror reviews.

Overall, I would recommend this movie if you want a couple of cheap scares. And for them to be effective you have to get scared super easily. Otherwise, it’s not really a film worth watching.