Director: John R. Leonetti
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Starring: Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis and Alfre Woodard
This film is a prequel to The Conjuring. This film begins with the nurses that came in contact with the doll Annabelle. They are telling their story to Ed and Lorraine Warren about their experiences with it. The film then goes to the previous owners and where the possession of the doll began.
We meet the main characters, a married couple played by Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton. Wallis is pregnant and is she due to have her baby soon. They are good friends with their neighbors, played by Kerry O’Malley and Brian Howe. Wallis is cautious talking about their baby since this other couple had a daughter, but she ran off with some ‘hippies’ and they have not heard from her.
That night we learn that Wallis is a bit oversensitive due to her pregnancy. We also learn that Horton is a medical student and he will be a doctor soon. The stress of the baby and school is getting to him, but he is coping. He does put his foot in his mouth and has to apologize. He does so by showing the gift he had gotten for Wallis. It is a rare doll that she has been looking for, but unable to find.
That night, Wallis is woken up by a scream from next door. We got a quick image of what happened. Their neighbors are being attacked and there was blood that splattered on the wall. Wallis wakes up Horton and they go next door to check on it. Horton goes inside and comes back out to tell Wallis to call an ambulance. She had left her door open. When she makes the call, we see that there is someone inside of her house.
Wallis goes into her bedroom to get her robe and that is when she hears the person in the baby’s room say they like her dolls. A man then appears from the closet. They attack her, stabbing her in the side. Horton shows up and helps fight off the attackers until the police arrive. The man who stabbed Wallis is shot and killed. The woman kills herself, with some blood dropping onto the new doll’s face. The blood runs into its eye and it takes it all in.
We learn that the woman who killed herself was O’Malley and Howe’s daughter. The man was her boyfriend. She had run off with a cult, they are informed of this by a detective played by Eric Ladin. Wallis being cleared medically, just wants to move on from this ordeal. She is put on bed rest though.
Weird things begin to happen in their house. Wallis’ sewing machine runs by itself, the rocking chair that the doll was put into rocks on its own and it all comes to a head when Horton goes out of town. Before he goes, the doll is thrown away. Stove-top popcorn is put on a burner, but turned off. After he has left, the burners all turn on and a fire is started. Wallis tries to flee, but something pulls her back in. Some neighbors show up and save her though.
Wallis ends up having her baby and Horton is excited. Wallis tells him that she doesn’t want to go back to that house. Horton tells her that they do not have to. They move to Pasadena, California.
They still go to the same church, where Tony Amendola is the priest. They move into an apartment building where they meet a woman that runs a bookstore, she is played by Alfre Woodard. She immediately tries to befriend Wallis.
While the couple is unpacking, they find the doll that Horton said he threw away. Wallis decides to keep it, the problem is weird things begin to happen in their new place as well.
Will they realize it is the doll that is allowing these things to happen before it is too late? Can it be stopped? Can anyone help them? Will they be able to get away?
I have to say that the scariest part of this film is the doll itself. It truly has a scary look to it and I am still trying to find out why anyone would want to bring this into their house. This was before it was possessed too. I think the idea of this film is pretty creepy, because a lot of dolls can be kind of a scary thing, especially when you are alone with them. There are some scary parts and some of this comes from the baby being in the middle of the situations. I will give credit to the filmmakers, because when you use animals and babies, it adds another stressful part to horror. I think the overall story isn’t bad, but there isn’t much reveal as Wallis does research about what is going on. I would have liked a little more to be honest.
Now I have to say that I felt this film was boring for the most part. I did feel bad for Wallis and did connect with her, which is good. I didn’t mind Horton, I just felt that this film took too long for things to really start happening. This could be in part to having the first real action happen early on then we didn’t get more for some time. I feel that much of the scary things were subdued and being a prequel to The Conjuring, I wanted more. I did like the back-story of this doll though.
With that said, I didn’t mind this one still. It isn’t a bad demon-possession of an object film. The acting isn’t bad, the story is pretty good and the scariest thing about this film is the concept. I will admit that wanted more being the prequel to a film I really liked. As I have stated, this one isn’t all that bad, but it is boring. This definitely hurt its rating for me though. I would give this a viewing if you like The Conjuring and if this sounds good. If not, I would avoid it.
My Rating: 5 out of 10
Film: Angels Crest
Director: Gaby Dellal
Writer: Catherine Trieschmann
Starring: Thomas Dekker, Lynn Collins and Elizabeth McGovern
This film begins with a little boy coming into his father’s room, the father being played by Thomas Dekker. The boy informs his father that he has wet the bed, and then they notice that it is snowing out. Dekker asks the boy if he wants to go out in it.
They leave the city and go out into wilderness just outside of town. The boy has fallen asleep and Dekker locks the doors as he follows some deer. He hears a gunshot and when he returns to his truck, his son is gone.
He calls the authorities as well as his best friend, who is played by Joseph Morgan. He can’t get a hold of him though. We go to the mother of the child, who is played by Lynn Collins, and we see that Morgan is over there with her. There is a knock at the door and it is another woman, who is played by Mira Sorvino. She is there to tell her what has happened and Morgan bolts to be with Dekker.
The search is sad and Collins lays into Dekker for being a horrible father and that it is his fault. The search goes on all day, but the boy isn’t found. Dekker goes crazy when they are going to call off the search for the night. He continues on. He falls down a snowy slope and is knocked out. He wakes up in the morning and starts to walk. He sees two wolves around something, that turns out to be the frozen body of his son.
We soon after see the district attorney, played by Jeremy Piven. He is taking the case and will prosecute Dekker for what happened. We get a hint that Piven had a child and that child is either missing or dead.
From here we begin to see the dirty secrets of those around town. Dekker goes on a crusade to prove that there was something wrong with the car seat and it wasn’t anything he did. Will he find the proof? What will happen in court?
First off, this movie is sad for what happens in it. With that being said, the biggest problem I had with this film was aside from the names, I had no idea how most people fit together and who they really were. That really annoyed me. I didn’t know if some were related or just friends, the ones I did know really didn’t seem to matter. I also hated that I didn’t know what happened to Piven’s child, not that it had a huge bearing on the story, but I think it would of added a bit to know if the child was missing or dead.
This film is being included in the horror film research, because losing your child and not knowing what happened to them is a scary thing. Much of this movie is the aftermath of what happens, but that is also scary, trying to prove your innocence as well as figuring out why this horrible tragedy happened.
From there, the film isn’t horrible, it actually was interesting. There isn’t a lot that happens, but you see how the town is affected by what has happened and we see them dealing with it. You feel for Dekker who is being prosecuted and feel bad that it is happening, but I understood why. The biggest problem is that none of the characters are really fleshed out, so I didn’t connect with most. Not a bad film to watch though outside of that.
My Rating: 5 out of 10
Film: Angel Heart
Director: Alan Parker
Writer: Alan Parker
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro and Lisa Bonet
This film begins in an alleyway. There is snow on the ground and a dog is investigating. There is a cat that is up on the fire escape that is meowing. The dog finds a dead body.
The film then informs us that we are in New York City in 1955. We see a man going up to an office; he is played by Mickey Rourke. We learn that he is a private detective and he is called about taking on a missing person’s case. He takes down the information and goes to the meeting.
This meeting takes place inside of a church. The church has an African-American congregation. We learn that one of the parishioners has killed himself. We see a woman is cleaning up the blood. The meeting is between Rourke, a lawyer played by Dann Florek and a business man played by Robert De Niro. It should be pointed out that his name is Louis Cyphre. The case is that Niro made a deal with a man, named Johnny Favorite, who has gone missing. He wants Rourke to track him down. All that they have was that the man went to war, came back and was taken to a hospital.
Rourke goes there to check it out, but learns that without an appointment, he will not be able to see anyone. The nurse working does give him some information to get him started. He learns that Johnny was transferred out years before. Rourke also learns the doctor who was in charge of this.
The doctor is paid a visit. Rourke breaks in and checks out his place, learning that the doctor is addicted to morphine. The doctor comes home and he is played by Michael Higgins. He needs his fix, but Rourke will not let him have it. He forces him to tell what he knows. It turns out that Johnny was not transferred, but Higgins accepted a large sum of money to pretend like he was still there. Johnny was taken out of the hospital by a woman and a man. Rourke takes Higgins up to bed to go ‘cold turkey’ for a bit, but when he returns; he finds that Higgins has killed himself. Rourke makes sure there is no evidence of him being there.
Rourke does some more digging, finding out what Johnny was into and who he used to hang out with. This brings him to Coney Island, where he learns that Johnny was into black magic, voodoo and was seeing two women. It appears that there was an African-American by the last name of Proudfoot who was also into voodoo, as well as Caucasian fortune teller who came from a wealthy background. This leads Rourke to go down to Louisiana to continue his investigation.
Updates are given to Niro, who offers more money after the death of Higgins is reported to him. He is cryptic with Rourke, but pushes him to continue to investigate.
In Louisiana, Rourke tracks down the people he has been looking for. The Proudfoot woman has died, but he meets her daughter, played by Lisa Bonet. She has a young son and she takes to Rourke immediately, as does he with her. She doesn’t give him much information though.
Another is an African-American guitar player who knew Johnny; this man is played by Brownie McGhee. He claims that he really didn’t know Johnny, but he gives a little bit too much information. A voodoo warning is given to him, but Rourke continues to push the envelope.
The final is the other girlfriend to Johnny, was a fortune teller. She is played by Charlotte Rampling. Rourke visits her under the guise of getting his fortune read, but he gives Johnny’s information and Rampling doesn’t like it. She asks him to leave. As he is going, he notices that Rampling has the same mark on her necklace as Niro’s ring and McGhee has a gold tooth the same mark. It is a pentagram.
As Rourke continues to dig, he learns that everyone has been lying about something. He witnesses Bonet and McGhee doing a voodoo ritual together. Rourke pushes McGhee even more after this and does get some information. The problem is that it costs him his life. Before Rourke left, he leaves his name and number for him. When he is found dead, the police coming knocking.
Rampling is also murdered and the heat is really on Rourke now. He sees more of Bonet and also is visited by Niro. Rourke checks out Rampling’s father, who is a rich man, played by Stocker Fontelieu. Can Rourke figure out this mystery or will he be busted for crimes he doesn’t think he committed. How is everyone connected? Who is Johnny Favorite and where is at? As everyone seems to be dying around him, who is committing these murders and will someone survive long enough to learn what he needs to?
I do have to say that I have watched this film twice and I feel it is a solid mystery horror film. I think Rourke, Niro and Bonet were all really good in their roles. I think they did a good job at making it feel like it was the 50s. They play their characters well. The overall mystery was good and I liked the twist. I’m also a big fan of Niro’s character’s name and its play on words. I thought this film also has great to the editing. It does a good job at using recurring images that correlate to the reveal. I also liked that music and editing of scenes was used to help build tension which was very well done.
There weren’t a lot of issues I had with this film. I didn’t like that some of the scenes were confusing and this was due to things not being explained enough. The film does do a good job at revealing everything, so that I didn’t have to worry about it in the end. It does take me out of the story to connect and figure things out though, taking away from the film. I felt some scenes didn’t really serve a big purpose and that confused me too. Not glaring issues, but does take the score down a little bit.
I would recommend giving this film a viewing. If you like the 50s, private detective, film noir and want to a more modern take, then give this a viewing. This combines those types of films with horror and mystery. The meshing worked well for me. The acting is good, the story is solid, it has a great twist and there is some really good editing as well. For a film like this, if it sounds good, then I would say to give it a viewing. It is a film I have never heard a lot about and really is a diamond in the rough.
My Rating: 7 out of 10
Film: And Soon the Darkness
Director: Robert Fuest
Writer: Brian Clemens and Terry Nation
Starring: Pamela Franklin, Michele Dotrice and Sandor Elès
In this film we find two young British women biking across the French countryside. At the beginning we find them at a little outdoor café where one of the women, Michele Dotrice takes a picture of a man who immediately puts his sunglasses on. She believes him to be cute, while the other ignores it.
The other woman is played by Pamela Franklin. She seems to be the mastermind of this excursion and wants to push on, while her friend wants to be around people, have fun and not so much worried about how far they get.
This causes a problem when Dotrice decides to pull off the road into a little wooded area to rest. Franklin joins her for a bit, but when she wants to push forward, an argument ensues. In the end, it is decided that Dotrice will stay put until she’s ready to go and Franklin goes on ahead without her.
Franklin stops at the first café she finds and waits for her friend. When she doesn’t come, Franklin goes back the way they came to see if she can find her. Reaching the wooded area, there is no sign of her friend aside from her camera. Showing up soon after is the man they saw at the café earlier, played by Sandor Elès.
Franklin begins to investigate where her friend has gone to. She goes to local houses searching for her and looks for whatever clues she can, but there are not many. Can she find what happened to her friend or will she disappear as well?
This is an excellent thriller. The mood is set by the environment, being out in the middle of nowhere. The landscape is desolate and it affects the mood. There are extreme long shots of someone working in a field, but you get the feeling they wouldn’t help if you needed it. Next the people in this film are creepy. You don’t know who to trust and it does feel that any of them could be involved. The next thing that contributes is the language barrier. Most everyone speaks French while the main character speaks English. She can’t communicate with most of the people as is when she attempts to find her friend.
I would recommend this film if you’re interested in thrillers. At times it was hard for me to understand the people, many speak with a British accent and it can be difficult, then the rest speak French which I do not understand at all. There are no subtitles, so you don’t know what they’re saying, which does add to the feel of the movie. Outside of that, it is an interesting who-did-it that felt me guessing to the very end.
My Rating: 7 out of 10
Film: --And Now the Screaming Starts!
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Writer: Roger Marshall
Starring: Peter Cushing, Herbert Lom and Patrick Magee
This film begins with a little bit of narration from the main character; she is played by Stephanie Beacham. She informs us that we are England in 1795. She is on the way to the estate of her fiancé, who is played by Ian Ogilvy. She also has her aunt accompanying her, played by Gillian Lind.
Upon arriving, she is given a tour by Ogilvy. There are paintings up of his ancestors all around the main hall. They go upstairs and there is one in particular she is draw to. It turns out that it is Ogilvy’s grandfather in the painting. Beacham continues to stare at it, until an apparition appears. The apparition is played by Geoffrey Whitehead. Whitehead does not have any eyes and a hand rips through the painting.
Beacham screams and flees from this. Ogilvy calms her down and brings her back to the painting. We see that it is completely intact. They walk down the hallway together and the camera shows us a severed hand that is trying to follow them down the hallway.
We then shift to the wedding day of Beacham and Ogilvy. We get a scene where Beacham looks out the window and once again sees Whitehead. The window then breaks. There is something that happens here that does not get explained until later, but Beacham is raped by the ghost.
She continues to see this apparition. There is a point where she is getting intimate with Ogilvy and she sees Whitehead looking at her. Beacham tries to investigate what is happening to her. She asks her husband questions, but he is very quiet and tells her to stop worrying. There is a woodsman who is also played by Whitehead. She meets with him and he is very cryptic. It turns out that the ghost she is haunted by is Whitehead’s ancestor as well.
Beacham begins to seek out others to find out what is happening, which includes Ogilvy’s lawyer and one of the women that work in the house. Both of them turn up dead. The woman is played by Sally Harrison and she falls down the stairs. It is considered an accident or a possible suicide. The other is played Guy Rolfe and he is murdered in the woods with an axe.
We then learn that Beacham is with child and the local doctor is played by Patrick Magee. He speaks with Ogilvy and tells him that he must tell his wife about the curse that is on his family. Ogilvy doesn’t believe it and tells him not to upset his already near frantic wife. Lind decides with all of the deaths that they need to get out of the house, but she is killed by the severed hand.
Ogilvy goes to Whitehead and commands that he leave. Ogilvy states he will pay whatever it takes if Whitehead will just move off of the land and to leave his family alone. Whitehead refuses, telling him that he has no where to go and this is ancestral land. This angers Ogilvy even more.
Magee suggests they call in a doctor who is ahead of his time. He is really a psychiatrist and is played by Peter Cushing. He also begins to investigate into what the situation is, but no one will let him in on the curse either. Finally Magee breaks down, but as he tries to, the severed hand appears. He begins to tell the story and is killed for doing so.
Finally Ogilvy fills Cushing in on what is happening. We then get to see what played out between Ogilvy’s grandfather, who is played by Herbert Lom, and Whitehead’s ancestor. Being the lord, Lom used to have a lot of friends over and they would drink heavily. He learned that Whitehead was married and Lom decided to invoke his right to sleep with her as the lord of the area on their wedding night. Whitehead doesn’t like this and for him attacking Lom, his right hand was chopped off with an axe.
With the baby coming soon, will it be Ogilvy’s or Whitehead’s ghost? What will Ogilvy do if the baby is not his? Is there a curse or is Beacham freaked out by the house, her new surroundings and all the changes in her life? Can Cushing figure it out before it is too late?
I do have to admit that at first, I was really bored by this film, mostly because I didn’t know what was going on. Once I settled in and the film started to explain itself more, I started to like it more. I think the story of the curse and the curse itself is an interesting one. I have not seen a film like this before and found it to be interesting. I have to say that I really liked Beacham. I thought she was great looking and her portrayal was really good. I didn’t know if everything was in her head or not. Her descent into madness was great to see. Cushing and Rolfe are solid, but neither have enough time onscreen to do enough for me though. I also thought that Whitehead was great as the specter in this film too.
My biggest gripe is how slow this film took to get going. That really did hurt it for me, because I didn’t get why this young woman was being haunted. Once a little bit more got revealed, it brought me in, but I think the film needed more early on instead of just some scares. I also didn’t like that they went way too subtle on the rape of Beacham. I’m not asking for a violent portrayal, but it wasn’t until they showed the book of the demon impregnating the virgin did I realize what they were getting at. I also feel this film was hurt by not utilizing more Cushing and Rolfe, because these are two great actors.
With that said, I would only recommend giving this a viewing if you found this review to be interesting. The film isn’t all that bad, but I feel it was poorly executed. The story is actually pretty good, there are some solid scares and for the most part, the acting is well done. It is painfully slow for the story to get going, but the film does get the scares going early on. I would say to watch this if you are Cushing fan, but he doesn’t appear on screen until around the halfway point. I would still say this is a pretty good ghost/curse film though.
My Rating: 6 out of 10
Film: Anatomy II (Anatomie II)
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Writer: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Starring: Ariane Schnug, August Diehl and Herbert Knaup
This film begins at an awards ceremony of some kind. There is a man who is sweating profusely, played by August Diehl. He is trying to speak with the renowned doctor that he works with, played by Herbert Knaup. Knaup doesn’t give him the time of day and he is called on stage. Diehl walks toward the stage, a scalpel in hand and removes his coat and shirt with it. He then cuts across his chest before killing himself.
We then shift to our main character, played by Barnaby Metschurat. He has been accepted to go to a medical school in Berlin. His brother is played by Hanno Koffler. He is in a wheelchair and has a degenerative condition that has taken away his ability to walk. Metschurat’s mother is taking him to the train station. He states in this film that he is trying to become a doctor, because his father died of the same condition that is killing his brother. He wants to find a cure.
Upon arriving in Berlin, he is a staying with a group of Pilipino nurses. One of them he takes a liking to him, played by Rosie Alvarez. Metschurat has a thing for her too.
We then get a doctor who is on the phone with someone; he is played by Milagros Saliwann-Neumann. He states something that involves Diehl. It is now said that he was a junkie that lost control. Saliwann-Neumann doesn’t feel like it is. He is called to an operating room. When he gets there, he doesn’t find anyone. Some people dressed for surgery show up and Saliwann-Neumann is hit in the head with a heavy instrument.
It is then the first day for Metschurat. He stands with another intern, played by Murali Perumal. Perumal points out the important people that are leading the orientation. Knaup is in attendance along with his boss, played by Ariane Schnug. Metschurat learns that the doctor he will be working under is played by Joachim Bißmeier.
We then get a montage of Metschurat as he treats patients, doesn’t get a lot of sleep and clashes with Bißmeier about how to treat patients. Bißmeier is very by the book while his younger counterpart tries to do newer things that he believes will help and wants to save everyone. Metschurat also hates insurance companies dictating who can be helped and who cannot.
While working, he sees Knaup’s research team. There is a woman in the group that catches his eye; she is played by Heike Makatsch. Alvarez is jealous and tells them that she is a shiny apple with a rotten core.
Alvarez comes to Metschurat and asks him to help a young girl. Her nose has been bleeding for two days and no one is sure why. She does not have insurance so a doctor cannot help. He checks her out and then with the help of Alvarez and some of the other women, they break into an operating room. He ends up saving her while one of the other women distracts his boss. All the while, Knaup has watched what he has done and then comes to the operating room. He asks Metschurat to come see him tomorrow.
He does what he was asked, but comes in yelling. Knaup listens and then actually informs him that he is impressed at what he did. He invites Metschurat to a get-together at his house. Metschurat comes and learns he is considered for the research team. He meets the rest of the group. Of note in this group is a nerdy Roman Knizka, kind of crazy one played by Wotan Wilke Möhring, Sebastian Nakajew and a really muscular Felix Kramer. Also there is Frank Giering, but is an outcast that everyone seems to point out. That night he comes to an operating room and lets Makatsch inject with him something. They end up having crazy sex together.
Metschurat learns that they are part of the Anti-Hippocratic society. He also learns that they working on synthetic muscles. Metschurat is interested, due to what is happening to his brother. The problem with this is that they have to place a transmitter in their back, which allows the muscles to be controlled by computer. Metschurat learns that everyone has some inserted into their bodies, if he wants to join, he will need to do the same.
Will Metschurat join this group? He has a lot of people who are telling him not to. Will he heed their advice before it is too late? Or will he be seduced by what they are offering? This plot gets even thicker when it seems everyone that is in the hospital is helping or wants to be a part of the AAA. Giering is trying to expose them and is meeting with Franka Potente, who reprises her character from the first one. She is now a police officer trying to ensure that the AAA is taken down. Will she succeed?
I have to say that this one is not a bad sequel. I am glad that they went in a different direction in this one than the first one. I think this one though does fall in the typical horror film clichés. Metschurat wants to be a great doctor, wants to help, but is seduced by the power and what AAA states they want to do. I do think this one is interesting in the use of the synthetic muscles. These make them superhuman, but it also makes it where they can be controlled by a computer program as well. This one carries the feel of dread that comes with secret society based films as well, in that you don’t know who is a part of it or who wants to be and will help to make that happen. The acting for the most part is good and the story itself is solid as well. I do have to point out that I liked bringing back Potente, especially in as small a role as she was. I think what was also great were the doctors using the muscles to be gods at everything they did. I also really liked how well they played being junkies, as the experiments require them to shoot up endorphins to function.
One thing that really annoyed me was Metschurat. I think it is unfortunate that he was cast as the lead, because it annoyed me that pretty much at every turn he is yelling or screaming at someone. Other than that, I don’t think he was bad, but that really got on my nerves. I also didn’t find the attributes the synthetic muscles gave to be all that believable as being superhuman. We got it when they pointed it out, other than that, it seemed very normal. When they did point it out, they were way over the top too.
I would recommend giving this one a viewing only if you really liked the first one though. If not, I would say to see the first one. This one isn’t bad; it just is not as good as its predecessor. The acting isn’t as good, but it is not horrible by any stretch. The story is a little bit more cliché than the original. I will point out that this is a German film, so that is the language they speak. This one will need to be viewed with subtitles if you are not fluent in the language. I would only say to view this one if you are really into the first one and want to see the story continue on, if not there are better medical related horror films out there.
My Rating: 5 out of 10
Film: Anatomy (Anatomie)
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Writer: Stefan Ruzowitzky and Peter Engelmann
Starring: Franka Potente, Benno Fürmann and Anna Loos
This film begins with showing a body. Someone is running a scalpel along it, but not cutting it. We then cut to the head, where the eyes open. The man is being cut open and dissected, but he is still alive. He looks down at his left hand to find that all of the skin has been removed. He can move only one of his fingers while in this state.
We then cut to a young woman as she figuring out what her final grade is for her class, she is played by Franka Potente. She learns that she has passed and that she has received the second highest grade on a nationwide test. She learns that she is going to Heidelberg for their summer program. This film takes place in Germany and this is a great honor. As she is leaving, she bumps into another woman, played by Anna Loos.
Potente’s grandfather is dying and he taught at Heidelberg back in his day. He is very proud of her and wants her to be his ‘heir’ to what he did; the grandfather is played by Werner Dissel. She also works in her father’s clinic. Her father is also a doctor, but he did not set his sights as high, he is played by Rüdiger Vogler. He doesn’t want her to go to Heidelberg, but will allow her to. Potente speaks her frustrations about her father to her mother, played by Barbara M. Ahren. She doesn’t comment much on it, but listens to her.
Potente then gets on a train for Heidelberg. She runs into Loos, who also got accepted in the same program. They are both from Munich, but have never met. Loos is quite interested in the males though. While on this train, a man is seizing on the ground. He stops breathing and Potente helps save him. He is played by Arndt Schwering-Shonrey. We learn that he has an enlarged heart, so this happens to him quite a bit. He is a good-natured young man.
At the school, Potente and Loos are given an apartment together. They meet a student who is arrogant, played by Holger Speckhahn. He takes a liking to Loos immediately, but ignores Potente. Potente and Loos are told after they get to their room that they have a meeting in the lab. They run into another student, played by Antonia Cäcilia Holfelder. Once there, a body on a table is moving. Everyone freaks out, but Potente stays calm and figures out that is a prank, in which Speckhahn is a part of.
The class is led by a tough professor played by Traugott Buhre, he gives the rules and tells them what is expected of them. Afterward, the whole class goes out for drinks. Some people of note are Sebastian Blomberg, who has a crush on Potente and claims he is a butcher, not a med student. There is also Benno Fürmann, who is from Heidelberg and Blomberg’s roommate, Olive Wnuk.
Also at this bar is Schwering-Sohnrey. He is awaiting this specialist. When this doctor doesn’t show, Schwering-Sohnrey goes into the bathroom and he is drugged. He wakes up much like the other guy on the table. When he does though, he fights back. He cuts one of the individuals that are doing this across the chest. He is killed before he can get away though.
The next morning Potente freaks out when she sees Schwering-Sohnrey on the slab. She tries to investigate more into what happened to him. Buhre tells her not to worry about it and blames it on her being a woman. She involves a lab tech friend from back home to help her. Loos meanwhile has taken a liking to Fürmann. Blomberg is also trying to impress Potente.
During her investigation, Potente discovers a secret society of Anti-Hippocrates. We learn that this dates back a long time and it is similar to the Freemasons. This group though is out to do illegal medical research for the bettering of science. Everyone keeps telling Potente that she is crazy, but it seems that there are two in the school who are part of this organization.
Potente begins to get too close when she finds blood in her bed and a candle underneath it. This is a warning they give to traitors. Fürmann comes to her room looking for Loos, who has moved on to Speckhahn. Blomberg earlier in the day stated that he had some information about this organization she is looking into. He shows up and Fürmann gets the hint to leave. Both men do, but before Fürmann does, he reveals he has a long cut on his chest.
Is Fürmann part of this secret society? Who are the two doctors who are creating the exhibits? Is the secret society really there or is it part of Potente’s imagination? How far does all of this go?
I have to say that I really like this film’s story and concept. There are a lot of films like this out there with a secret society, but it usually gets revealed to us by someone joining it. This one is different. We get that there is a society, but we only see that there are two people in it and someone stumbles upon the information. The more they pry, the more they discover though. I also really like the history that is given to this group. I’m not sure how much of it is real or true, but I do like that they are stating that they are very old, but that they had a re-insurgent during the Nazi’s time. We know they did a lot of weird medical experiments, but they also did discover some things as well. I think the acting for the most part is good. The action is as well. I think the actual story of the film is lacking just a bit, because I’m not sure how much of this could actually happen and gotten away with for this long. Not a huge issue, but still something I question.
I already have stated that I have an issue with the realism of this film. I haven’t looked into seeing this drug they used would really do what it did. I also do not know if some of things that happen in this film would be able to go on as long as the film states that they have been either. I do have an issue that students turn up missing and no one really makes a fuss about it. I can see those that are in the society not making a big deal, as they are in on what is going on. The police really don’t seem to think its odd when students are disappearing though either. There is also a point where some members of the society are going to turn in a member, which I do not believe would happen. It could be realistic, but I feel this would be something that would be handled more internally, especially since they are not supposed to exist. I feel that exposing themselves is a much bigger issue. With that said though, I do like that they are sucking up to big pharmaceutical companies, showing that money can turn anyone away from their morals.
All in all, I would recommend giving this one a viewing. Now I need to point out that this film is from Germany, so you either have to watch it in subtitles as the characters speak German or the copy I have has the voices dubbed over. I personally find it annoying when they are dubbed, because I catch myself watching their mouths and the words do not sync up. If you can handle this, then you will get a nice horror/thriller that deals with cadavers and medical research. The acting isn’t bad, the story is a lacking a little, but the concept is solid. If this sounds good, then give it a chance, I do not think you will regret it.
My Rating: 6 out of 10
Director: Luis Llosa
Writer: Hans Bauer, Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.
Starring: Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez and Eric Stoltz
This film begins in a boat on the Amazon River. There is a man who is played by Danny Trejo who is trying to call for help on a radio, but he cannot raise anyone. We see through the eyes of something that chases him up the radio tower on his boat. While up there, he kills himself with a hand gun.
We then shift to a documentary film crew that is going down the Amazon. They are looking for a Native American tribe that lives in the remote jungle. The director of the film crew is played by Jennifer Lopez. She is dating a doctor of anthropology who is played by Eric Stoltz. He is an expert on tribes that live in the Amazon. Lopez’s camera man is played by Ice Cube, her sound guy is Owen Wilson and the production manager is Kari Wuhrer. The man on camera will be Jonathan Hyde as he will be the narrator.
Their barge is captained by Vincent Castellanos. Early on we learn the different aspect of the characters. Hyde is uppity and has refined tastes, bringing expensive wine and golf clubs. Wilson and Wuhrer are seeing each other, with both of them acting somewhat childish.
As they begin their journey, they find a boat that is tangled some roots. The man on this boat is Jon Voight. He tells them that he is a snake catcher, which Lopez calls him out for being a poacher. There is a moment where Voight and Castellanos look at each other, which they seem to know who the other is, but nothing is shared. Voight just asks if they can take him to the next village so they can help him free his boat.
It actually turns out that they have might need to work together. Voight reveals that he knows the tribe of Native Americans they are looking for. He offers to help him. He doesn’t reveal what he is actually trying to do though. The barge comes upon a snake totem and Voight suggests they take a path at a ford. Stoltz disagrees, stating that his logic is off and that way should be flooded. They take the other route.
Their barge gets stuck in some foliage and Stoltz goes into the water to free them. Before he can he panics and begins to convulse. When he is brought back on the barge, his mouth is opened to reveal a wasp. It is large and poisonous. He can’t breathe due to the stings, but Voight saves his life by giving him a tracheotomy with a knife and a pen casing. It is then decided that they have to go down the ford he said if they want to get to a hospital in time to save Stoltz.
The problem is that this other way is blocked by a wall. Voight has dynamite and wants to blow it up. Lopez contends that the wall is there for a reason and that they do not know what. She is overruled to save Stoltz’s life.
Soon after this, they come upon Trejo’s boat. He is nowhere to be found, but we see a newspaper clipping of Voight, Trejo and Castellanos all together. They do not find anything on the boat of use, except for Voight’s weapon’s case. Castellanos doesn’t make it back though. We watch as a giant anaconda makes a meal of him. They decide the following morning to move on when they cannot find him.
Voight then reveals that he wants to catch this giant anaconda. He shows the crew the skin that it had shed a couple years ago. He tries to sway their help with money and gets Wilson to agree. Cube, Lopez, Wuhrer and Hyde just want to get out alive. Wilson actually goes as far to say since they cannot do their filming of the tribe, that they should film Voight catching this snake. They all disagree, but Voight pulls a gun out, making their decision really easy, they will try to catch this snake. The problem is this giant animal won’t be taken easily. Will they kill the snake or capture it alive? Will Voight get his way? How many will survive this crazy idea? Can they make it out of the Amazon? Will Stoltz survive the poison in his system?
I have to say that this film isn’t all that bad. I think the ratings that many give this are a little harsh. Is this film amazing? No, not by any stretch, but it also is not that bad either. The acting is okay; by far none of these people are at their best in this film. I do have to say that the snake attacks are pretty solid though. I think the snake itself when it comes face to face with characters is a little unrealistic, but the CGI of when it is killing is really good. The story itself is pretty solid as well. It is kind of similar to King Kong, but instead of a giant ape, it is a giant snake. There are some things that are a little bit unbelievable, but nothing there that completely ruins it for me.
I have kind of laid out my issues with the film already, but I will just re-iterate. Lopez seemed a little bland in this film, Cube is stereotypical and Voight’s accent is horrible. Nothing about him screamed to me that he was from South America. The rest of the cast was decent at best. I also was completely confused by if Castellanos understands English or not, because at one point he knows very little. Nearing the time of his death in the film, he seems to understand everything. I also was highly confused about Stoltz and him needing to taken to a hospital. The way the film states it, he is poisoned and needs to get there fast. The way everyone acts after that it seems like if he gets there eventually he will survive. It even gets to the point where he helps save Lopez and other characters when I thought he was dying. Doesn’t ruin the film, but I had to question it.
I would say that all in all, I would say give this one a viewing. It is not amazing by any stretch. If you like big animal monster films, I would give this a viewing. You are going to get decent acting, an okay storyline, but the film is really driven by the animal. The death scenes become a little repetitive, but they at least look pretty realistic. This one can be enjoyed at least once or if you want to see a horror film with your friends, this one has potential for a few laughs. There are better large animal films out there, but this one is still pretty decent.
My Rating: 6 out of 10
Film: The Amityville Haunting
Director: Geoff Meed
Starring: Devin Clark, Jon Kondelik and Tyler Shamy
This film begins outside of the Amityville house. There are two couples that are going to check it out and they bring up the history of what happened there with the two families, one of the families being where the brother killed everyone and the other being the Lutz family, who the original film and book are about. They go inside to party and everyone ends up dead.
We next see the house were a family is going to be moving in. There is a father, mother, two daughters and a son, who is played by Devin Clark. The father is ex-military; the mother a nurturer, the eldest daughter has an attitude and gets into trouble. The other daughter ends up being really weird and having a ghost for a friend. Clark is important because he films everything and walks around with a video camera.
The first night the back door opens on its own and stays that way all night. The father is crazy and blames it on everyone in the family. He then takes matters into his own hands by putting in an alarm as well as a security camera. A side note, this security camera can see ghosts, while Clark’s doesn’t.
More strange things happen. A boy comes into the house to see the eldest daughter, but when he gets kicked out he is pulled off camera with a scream. More high-tech cameras are put in and the father loses his mind as the ghosts break him down. The only thing is, he loses it because he can’t stop them from doing what they are. The youngest daughter ends up making friends with a ghost. This ghost really wants a friend and wants her to stay there forever and no one believes Clark.
Can they stop this all before it is late?
This film is bad. It is a cheap knockoff that mixes Paranormal Activity and the story of Amityville. The only problem is, they use ideas that were from PA, but don’t do anything worth seeing with it. Most of what we see is the expressions as they’re pulled off screen. I usually am all about not seeing things because it is scarier when we don’t, but this one shows a couple ghosts which ruins it, but then kills everyone off camera, for the most part.
I would avoid this one. It doesn’t even have credits, trying to make it seem real like PA did. It isn’t scary; it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and is a waste of time. I would avoid this one. They don’t even use the real Amityville house or one that even really looks like it.
My Rating: 3 out of 10
Film: Amityville: Dollhouse
Director: Steve White
Writer: Joshua Michael Stern
Starring: Robin Thomas Grossman, Starr Andreeff and Allen Cutler
This film begins with a family pulling up to a house in the middle of what looks to be nowhere. The father of this family is played by Robin Thomas Grossman. His new wife is played by Starr Andreeff. Grossman has a son that is roughly 16 years old played by Allen Cutler. Andreeff has a son from a previous marriage played by Jarrett Lennon. Grossman also has a daughter played by Rachel Duncan. We learn that Grossman is divorced while Andreeff’s husband died. He was also in the United States Air Force.
We also learn that Cutler is a bad boy and a bully. Lennon is a nerd and doesn’t have many friends, none in the area. He has a mouse that he likes to spend all of his time with. Duncan is probably the most normal child of the bunch. Also Grossman and Andreeff are newly married so they are still in that awkward stage of settling into a family life.
Cutler has a girlfriend who is played by Lisa Robin Kelly. Kelly looks like a nice girl, but we learn later in the film that she has a rough home-life and is trouble.
The house is new, but Grossman is still trying to work some of the kinks out in the wiring and with gas pipes. The air conditioner goes out the same day they move in and everyone is extremely hot and irritable from the beginning.
Grossman and Cutler go to an old shed that is still standing from the original house that was on the property. Grossman finds a dollhouse that is stored there. The thing about the dollhouse is that it looks like the Amityville house from previous films. Grossman brings it into the garage. The lights come on in the attic of the dollhouse and Grossman’s car moves forward.
That night, despite the heat Grossman and Andreeff make love. It gets very passionate, but Andreeff has her mind elsewhere. She stares at a picture of Cutler, which continues to change. It gets closer and closer to his face until his eyes change to white. She panics as she climaxes, clawing the back of Grossman.
The next morning, Grossman sees that a bike that was kept in the garage is destroyed. We learn that Duncan’s birthday is today and the bike was a gift for her. It is decided instead they will give her the dollhouse. Grossman sprays it out first to clean it though.
A lot of children show up for the party as well as Grossman’s sister, who is played by Lenore Kasdorf. She comes with her husband Franc Ross. They are spiritual and act quite weird. Duncan ends up unwrapping the dollhouse and loves it. When she opens it, smoke comes from the fireplace. I think that no one finding this weird was a little bit off. Only Ross, Kasdorf and Andreeff find it weird. Andreeff asks if Grossman had cleaned it. Duncan soon doesn’t feel all that well.
Cutler has learned that Lennon is scared of spiders. To play a trick on him, he puts a fake spider in a piñata for the party. When Lennon cracks it open, a real one comes out and lands on his head. After it is killed, Grossman scolds and punishes him with grounding. Lennon doesn’t think that is a good punishment, but becomes quiet. Cutler is angry with his father.
That night, Lennon’s mouse gets away and ends up going into the dollhouse. The mouse climbs to Duncan’s room and goes underneath the bed. In her room a giant mouse appears and goes under her bed. Cutler comes in and sees the big red eyes. He falls back, trying to get away from it, knocking the dollhouse back. Lennon appears in the room and finds that his mouse has been crushed to death. He is angry and storms out, claiming they did it on purpose. Back in his room, he comes face to face with his dead father. Lennon is happy to see him, but his father is a rotting corpse.
Things get progressively worse for this family. Grossman has horrible nightmares like he did as a child before his house burned down. Andreeff has more and more lustful feelings for Cutler. Will she be able to contain herself? Cutler and Kelly have a run in with a large wasp and the fireplace, will they survive their ordeal? Lennon continues to be visited by his father, who decays more and more. Lennon’s father wants him to help kill Grossman so he and his mother can be together again. Will help or realize what he is doing? Kasdof tells Duncan there is something wrong with dollhouse and Ross will try to help her find out what it is. Kassdof tells her to keep an eye on the dollhouse and tell her what she notices about it that is wrong. Will they be able to stop the demons that live within the dollhouse before it is too late?
I have to say that outside of the wasp, rat and the dead father, this one doesn’t have a lot going on for it. I do like the concept of a dollhouse being possessed and reflecting itself on an actual house. Other than that though, there is not a lot good to say about this one.
For what I said good about this one, I have to say that first off, this film ruins itself by following the Amityville line. I know that it was a direct to video sequel that is just capitalizing on the name. I believe this would have gone farther if it would have just been its own movie and not trying to capitalize on the lore of the series. A major issue I have is that it creates its own back-story and history, completely disregarding the previous films. I also don’t understand how this dollhouse of a house in Amityville, New York ends up in California, which doesn’t make sense. The acting is not very good and there really aren’t much scary things that happen. The story is pretty basic and really doesn’t build any tension what so ever. The demons in the end looked fake as well.
I would avoid this film unless you are set on watching all of the Amityville films. This film really only has a good concept of demons possessing a dollhouse and once they are given a chance, begin to take over. I do like what the dollhouse does reflect what it does to the house. I also think the best parts are the wasp, rat and the dead father scenes, but they aren’t really all that scary. The acting is bland and the story is weak. There is no tension to really speak of and this film doesn’t do anything all that well. I would avoid this one unless you are a fan of bad horror films. There are a lot better demon possession/haunted house films out there that are more worthy of your time.
My Rating: 3 out of 10