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All reviews - Movies (63) - TV Shows (1)

Aliens review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:48 (A review of Aliens)

Aliens simply put, set the blueprint for horror sequels. The key was to up the action, the scale, the scope and the stakes, all which this film did in strides. Whereas "Alien" was a masterpiece of suspense and slow-burning terror, "Aliens" is a masterpiece of action and terror. Though it doesn't focus on the horrific as much as it's predecessor, it's still a grade-A horror film. The atmosphere is always unbearably tense, as the cast is further isolated and trapped by a seemingly un-ending wave of Xenomorphs. The film orchestrates brilliant action sequences, but never devolves into mindless shooting.

Furthermore, the cast is superb, and director Cameron doesn't skimp on characterization in favor of bloodshed. Ripley's character fully becomes the bad-ass, determined heroine she is known as in this film, and Weaver is supported by wonderful character actors such as Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen, all whom imbue their roles with warmth and likeability. The effects are top-notch, and Cameron finds a way to show us more of the Xenomorphs, without ever showing us so much of them that they lose their mystique. Cap that off with one of the most intense, bad-ass endings in cinematic history, and we have a masterwork here, no matter which way you cut it. Whether you're looking for horror, action, science fiction, humor or fun, "Aliens" has it all in spades. I may slightly prefer the quiet horror of the original, but there's a time and a place for the bombastic fun and craftsmanship that this one offers as well, and it's quality cannot be denied.

My Rating:ย  9/10

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Alien review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:47 (A review of Alien)

This is easily one of the greatest sci-fi horror films of all time. Though it's concept is really not much but a slasher on a spaceship, it's an incredibly tense, artful thrill ride. There's a fantastic cast, but it's really the magnificent set and creature design that make this the memorable classic it is. The ship itself is just as much a character as the roles played by the actors. It's a twisting, darkly lit labyrinth of smoke, flashing lights and creaky machinery. Truly a terrifying place to be pursued and trapped with a rapidly evolving monster. And no one need make introductions for the Xenomorph, to this day the nastiest, most terrifying alien ever shown on screen. There's also no shortage of iconic scenes, such as the "chestburster" sequence, the discovery of the alien "pilot" etc.

All of this atmosphere and tension is supported by an ensemble cast. These characters feel like everymen, and that's what sets them apart from typically daft horror film denizens. They're relatable, overworked, over-pressured employees, not brave, space-faring astronauts. Even the futuristic tech of the film seems clunky and fragile, which is much more believable than the polished, perfect look most science fiction films have. Obviously, Sigourney Weaver steals the show here, as Ripley, essentially the world's toughest final girl. Ian Holm is also fantastic and chilly as a doctor with a deadly secret. But, despite all of these fancy and unique trappings, it's the simpler moments when the alien's imposing form is stalking it's prey through dark corridors and claustrophobic vents, that make this one of the great horror films of all time. A fiercely original film that set the blueprint for years to come, and is still being imitated to this day. There's good reason for that, and Alien remains every bit as effective and believable now, then it was five decades ago.

My Rating:ย  9/10

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The Shining review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:47 (A review of The Shining)

Here it is. The one film that is most regularly referred to as "the greatest horror film of all time". Moments from it are embedded into our pop culture, and it's a very quotable film, one who's imagery you most likely know of even before seeing it. Yet, I will be that brave individual who declares that this, simply put, the singular most overrated horror film in all of history. I'm a huge horror fanatic, who has seen well over thousands of horror films in my (at the moment) 23 years. So it baffles me to no end that this particular film is so fondly remembered and heralded. When it first released, it was met with negative critical reception, for very good reason. First and foremost, it is a messy, empty film that drags on for far too long. Stephen King's original novel focuses on the emotional aspect of Jack Torance's relationship with his family. His struggles with alcoholism, mental instability and the horrors of parental abuse. It was about something. In Kubrick's film, these elements are reduced to nothing. The characters go through abrupt mood swings for no apparent reason, huge periods of time pass in the blink of an eye without any character development. We watch Jack go insane, but we have no meaningful concept of why he is, why he's susceptible to the hotel's evil influence. Each character has complex personality quirks, such as Danny's psychic powers, that are never so much as explored. The film simply has no emotional core, no humanity, no connection to it's audience besides atmosphere.

And the atmosphere is perhaps, the most memorable part of the film. Kubrick does indeed, manage to create several memorable scenes of visceral horror. Images such as the "wave of blood" and the twins will stay with viewers. The hotel itself is a masterfully composed kingdom of horrors. But these aspects are empty as well, and never used to their full potential. Furthermore, the pacing is absolutely botched. The film truly has no sense of pace whatsoever. It's not a slow-burner, it's schizophrenic. Particular scenes will drag on for absolutely no reason, without any sense of impending doom or fear, which is the only reason for horror scenes to move slowly. To build atmosphere and dread. The glue holding the film together is mostly the cast. Jack Nicholson is spectacular in the lead role, and the only truly frightening part of the film. His transformation into a monster would have been much more effective if the character felt like a human being and not an empty shell. All together, Kubrick's film takes a work that was meant to be emotional and cerebral, and turns it into nothing more than a visual slog. It's all style, no substance, and even it's style isn't truly unique enough to make it a triumph. I agree with the critics of the 80's, who rose many of the same complaints I have, and King himself, who rightfully considers it a mediocre butchering of one of his finest novels. The Shining truly is, the most overrated horror film in cinematic history.

My Rating:ย  5/10

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Psycho review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:46 (A review of Psycho )

It's not much of a revelation to say that Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" is a classic. Many would even call it a masterpiece, and I suppose that's where I differ. There's no denying the incredible impact the film has had on the horror and thriller genres, as well as cinema as a whole. It is simply a great film. But "masterpiece" is a term I use sparingly, and there are even other Hitchcock films I find to be slightly superior. The plain truth is, time has had a bit more of an aging effect on Psycho than some other films of it's age. First and foremost, everyone knows the twist. If you've somehow managed to avoid it, I commend you for living deep under the crevices of the world's largest rock. The once shocking ending of the film is so deeply engrained into popular culture that it's unavoidable. This obviously takes a bit of the punch out of a first-time viewing experience, but it is what it is. Secondly, the film's pacing can drag during moments, and it's unusually talky for a horror/thriller.

Besides these two things, which aren't really setbacks, the film is fantastic. Anthony Perkins' performance as Norman Bates is the definition of iconic. He's so charming and unassuming that it's hard to suspect him, and his performance only becomes more layered after you've seen the film once. When the pacing does kick up, it does so sporadically, with the film being structured deceptively, so one is never quite sure when horror is about to strike. Hitchcock was not deemed "the master of suspense" for no reason, and this film serves as further proof of that fact. And while cliched by today's standards, it's twist ending set trends for years to come. Oh, and of course, who can forget the iconic shower scene, although I think the staircase killing is equally as brilliant. It's one of those horror films that anyone who takes the genre seriously must see, and respect. Not quite Hitchcock's best, but a great, incredibly important film all the same.

My Rating:ย  8/10

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