Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper star in this straightforward but nicely effective creature feature as a father and daughter who get trapped in a basement full of alligators. The film is as cliche as they come but it manages to maintain a good sense of tension throughout and never outstays it welcome at a brisk 87 minutes.of Nuts and bolts action horror that is perfect Friday night viewing.
As someone who follows the buzz coming out of the film festival/ premiere circuit but who is very rarely able to go go to any festival/ premiere screening (that being said I’m travelling to see the UK premiere of the new Makoto Shinkai film next month) you occasionally come across those films for which the buzz is so strong that is immediately goes the top of your “I must see this as soon as screening becomes available.” This was definitely the case with Lulu Wang’s The Farewell which I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about since the start of the year. I took the first chance I could to see it a couple days prior to the UK release. Did it live up to the hype?
The answer is a very big YES. This is a lovely film. The film is proof if proof were needed that this sort of gentle drama can still be incredibly comparing (take note British ” grey pound” film industry.) Wonderfully performed with a quiet power that is actively quite difficult to describe (at least for me.) Despite it’s very specific focus on Chinese culture and custom I found it’s depiction of how various different personality types and generations on can choose to deal with the prospect of grief and how this causes inner conflict within families very relatable and moving in places. It’s wonderful on so many different levels.
If your a fan of quality and emotionally engaging drama this is an absolute must see. The subject matter might not sound like something you need to rush out and see but what as with all media,any theme or subject matter can be effective if its pulled off in the right way (I recently saw the UK production of the absolutely wonderful post 9/11 musical Come From Away which is another poster child for this fact.) I’m looking forward to seeing what’s Lulu Wang does next.
The 2015 Goosebumps film is much better than you’d think it should be. It was a clever and self aware way to adapt to the franchise for a feature length runtime. Match as you don’t need to bother with the 2018 sequel (which looks like a TV movie you would find on Nickelodeon) you can thank the first films modest success for this films existence. It’s taking the same approach of adapting some disparate stories from a popular book series but this time wants to be be a slice of legitimate teen horror rather than knockabout slapstick. With the backing of Guillermo Del Toro the and some solid reviews I wanted to see whether this approach could be pulled off a second time.. Did they manage it? Honestly…no. I’m not much of a horror fan but even I could see but this film was a pretty blatant attempt to copy the success of other recent media. Goosebumps has already been mentioned but there’s a fair amount of Stranger Things in the perioud setting and team horror (one climactic set piece it’s incredibly similar to a set piece in Stranger Things 3.) There’s also a little bit of Until Dawn, a heavy dose of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (which despite some rough edges is better than it has any right to be ) and a fair chunk of Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House. Despite two nicely constructed set pieces and a strong lead performance that suggest a good career ahead for Zoe Margaret Collins I spent most of the film wishing I was watching/ playing any of the things previously mentioned. There’s also the fact that the film succumbs to the generic jumpscare phenomenon that simply isn’t scary if you’ve seen more than 1 modern horror film in the last 5 years This film could have been something is the filmmakers had taken it in another direction. That said despite a few bright spots in its current state it’s far too bland and indebted to other things to be anything beyond a mild curiosity. 5/10