Midsommar: Review by Hollie Bareham

Midsommar Poster

Just over a month ago I was at the cinema to watch a movie and the trailer for ‘Midsommar’ played during the previews. I was instantly excited – it looked interesting, scary and something a little different which is everything I look for in a horror movie. The fact that it was made by the people who made ‘Hereditary’ didn’t put me off. I didn’t hate ‘Hereditary’ it just wasn’t what I’d been hoping for.

For those who haven’t seen the trailer or heard of the film the basic plot is that Dani and her boyfriend Christian have a very strained relationship. Just as he’s working up the courage to end things a family tragedy occurs leaving him feeling like he should stay with her. When Dani discovers Christian and his friends are planning a trip to Sweden to attend a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival Christian guiltily invites her along with them. However the carefree holiday soon takes a dark turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that become increasingly disturbing.

The moment tickets dropped for this film I messaged my friends Becca and Jess asking if they wanted to go to the 8PM showing on the opening night. They’re both horror fans too so they were up for it and soon we were off. And Jesus wept, I was not prepared.

By that I don’t mean I wasn’t prepared for the scares because really there weren’t many. The film was rated 18 and due to this it was a bit gorier than a 15 rated film would’ve been but in terms of things like jump scares there weren’t really any. Which would’ve been fine because I’m not really a massive fan of films that solely rely on jump scares to make themselves scary but other than the gross and gory scenes it wasn’t particularly scary.

In fact, I found parts of it absolutely hilarious and it wasn’t just me – Becca was weeing herself with laughter and there was one particular scene that had me and most of the audience in absolute tears because it was so bizarre. I won’t go into immense detail but there’s an extremely strange sex scene that I couldn’t for the life of me take seriously. I’m not sure if the director wanted us to laugh or what we were really meant to be feeling in that scene but I was genuinely crying, I couldn’t contain it.

Midsommar Still 2

The things I hadn’t liked about ‘Hereditary’ were that it was quite slow and that I just didn’t fully understand it at the end. I don’t necessarily like everything being wrapped up in a big bow but equally I don’t like feeling completely confused. For example, ‘Us’ was a confusing film but I still feel relatively satisfied with its ending. Unfortunately I think the negatives from ‘Hereditary’ were passed onto ‘Midsommar’.

The film was quite long, it was about two and a half hours and that’s mainly due to it being just so slow. It takes a good while for them to even reach the Swedish commune and takes longer still for anything creepy to begin happening. Then when the disturbing events did begin to occur I just feel like there was too long of a gap between each event to keep up the atmosphere. I wasn’t scared, I was just left waiting.

Then there was the confusion aspect. I just have a lot of questions. Maybe that was the point of the film, I don’t know, but I feel like a few things were thrown in and then not really explored making me wonder what the point was. I feel like the director was just going for shock value which like was definitely delivered, parts of it were quite… Odd, which is putting it mildly. But was there anything beyond that? I’m not sure there was.

Midsommar Still.png

Also this is probably quite nit-picky but I hate the over the top crying that occurs both in this film and in ‘Hereditary’. At the start of the film when the family tragedy occurs Dani cries whilst Christian comforts her and it’s so over-the-top that I don’t really believe it’s genuine. It was how Peter cried during ‘Hereditary’ and it just absolutely drove me up the wall. I know Dani was obviously very distraught but I’ve never heard anyone cry like that in real life and it makes me wonder why they keep putting this in the films as it just feels so out of place.

The rest of my review will contain spoilers so please stop reading if you don’t want to see them!

Some character deaths were just a bit annoying and almost too easy if that makes sense? For example Will Poulter’s character Mark was having dinner with his friends and the rest of the commune when a girl approaches him and says “Come, I will show you” and then… That’s it. He’s dead. We don’t see his death he’s just gone from the rest of the film. Of course we did see his face carved out and placed on top of somebody else but that’s the only indication we have that Mark did die. Similarly Simon and Connie, the British couple who decided to leave as they’re too disturbed to stay, they’re just sort of disposed of. I’m not saying every death had to be on screen but the fact Mark was led off by a Swedish girl and then didn’t go to bed that night or appear at breakfast the next day and his friends were just like ‘ayee I bet he’s having fun’ was just so stupid.

As mentioned, there were tons of things thrown in almost just for the sake of it. For example they have a deformed child (I think it was a child?) who they consider an oracle but there’s not much explanation as to why or what that was even about. This kid just paints pictures and the elders or whatever study them. Why? I don’t understand why.

To be honest I think I’d have enjoyed this movie more if it was shorter. So much of it just felt so unnecessary and like I said, the gaps between anything weird or spooky happening were just too long to keep me interested. I also just got the overall sense that they were like “yeah let’s do a weird folk festival movie” and decided to film it before they actually figured out what they were doing – if that makes any sense?

Midsommar Still 3

Overall I am glad I watched it as it was certainly something different. I’m unlikely to watch it again due to the length and how slow it is but some scenes were interesting and worth the watch. That sex scene alone was hilarious and I’d recommend watching that but scenes like the dance to become the May Queen were interesting as well. So I’d recommend watching it just once but be prepared for a long and slow ride.

Advertisements

Happy Death Day: Review by Holly Bareham

Happy Death Day.png

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.

Jungkook gif.gif

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.

Blair Witch: Review by Holly Bareham

blair-witch

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.

j-hope-mock-scared-gif

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.

sunny-annoyed-gif

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…

SPN Sorry gif

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.

Harry Potter thumbs up gif

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.

Harry Potter brilliant gif

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.

Tyler Oakley gif

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.

Sam Winchester sad gif

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?

Tyler Oakley

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

Krampus Poster

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.

Dan Okay gif

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.

Chris Pine gif

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

Mockingjay Part 2 Poster

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.

Hunger Games Yay gif

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!