Friday, September 24

Tag: Mystery

Review: Saint Maud (2021)
Movie Review

Review: Saint Maud (2021)

Having failed to save the life of a patient under the care, Katie (Morfydd Clark) succumbs into a dreadful stage of depression. She resorts to Roman Catholicism as a means of coping and begins to call herself Maud in the process. As she becomes a pious believer, she starts to find her confidence back and enrolls in a palliative nurse care program where she's tasked to look after a terminally ill patient, Amanda (Jennifer Ehle)—an atheist choreographer from the US. That's where Saint Maud takes a sharp turn from an observation of faith and depression into a hybrid of body horror with psychological thriller answering to some hurtful stigma about depressions. (more…)
A Season with: RIG 45 (2018 – 2020)
TV Series

A Season with: RIG 45 (2018 – 2020)

There has been a mysterious death on an offshore oil rig in North Sea. The oil company sends someone to investigate the event for any possibility of accident or even a foul play. Encountered with discomforting silence from the crews and challenged by the news of an upcoming storm, RIG 45 invites audiences to race against the time to find an answer and proves that a murderer may have walked among them in a remotely isolated rig in the middle of nowhere. (more…)
Review: Shirley (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Shirley (2020)

In the recent years, Elisabeth Moss has transformed herself into a beast of an actor. Her sharp acting keeps pushing the boundaries and setting higher standards in each occasion. In the aftermath of Madmen, she quickly bounces with staggering performance in all seasons of The Handmaid's Tale before winning Palme D'Or in Ruben Östlund's The Square, and the unnerving acting in Her Smell. In 2020, she single-handedly leads Leigh Whannell's The Invisible Man into its acclaimed status. Shirley, however, presents a challenge that she manages to overcome with scintillating details in portraying Shirley Jackson, quirky horror author who writes The Haunting in the Hill House. (more…)
Review: Run (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Run (2020)

After the sleeper hit, Searching (2018), everyone seems to look forward to what Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian bring for their next story. The highly anticipated follow-up, Run—starring Sarah Paulson—was announced immediately after the release of Chaganty's debut for a Mother's Day release in May 2020. After some schedule amendment, this thriller eventually streams directly on Hulu. Look closely and you will find just how close Run thematically is with Searching, in which both exudes borderless parental love in nasty thrillers that could have gone out of hand in a matter of minutes. (more…)
Review: She Dies Tomorrow (2020)
Movie Review

Review: She Dies Tomorrow (2020)

Amy Seimetz's new visionary story, She Dies Tomorrow, is nothing less enigmatic than her previous foray, Sun Don't Shine (2012). The baffling narrative comes together as if she's still co-starring in Shane Carruth's similarly mystifying feature, Upstream Color—an anxiety inducing sci-fi that feels like a psychotic dream. It is a film that focuses on an unknown fear which immediately crawls upon your skin and never lets you go as it becomes more baffling as it goes. With this, Seimetz showcases her bold and original storytelling prowess almost mercilessly. (more…)
Review: Rebecca (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Rebecca (2020)

To step onto the path that Alfred Hitchcock had once walked into—in a hard fought creative battle against David Selznick—is indeed a dire move for British director, Ben Wheatley. Hitchcock's Rebecca is an exemplary, classic thriller to portray an invisible threat at its finest. Wheatley, adept in making horror out of people (as in Sightseers, A Field in England, and High Rise), keeps assuring that his Rebecca isn't going to follow Hitchcock's path, but to rather faithfully follow Daphne du Maurier's novel. He's got the point to avoid direct comparison to the classic; but, even so, his rendition of this psychological thriller ends up being bland, at best. (more…)
Review: Hubie Halloween (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Hubie Halloween (2020)

The sixth movie in Adam Sandler's 6-movie contract with Netflix (which has eventually extended to 10 movies ever since) arrives as a Halloween deadpan comedy. Sandler, a manchild named Hubie Dubois, is the city pariah living in Salem. Everyone in the town seems to love to ridicule and pick on him for nonsensical reasons. And yet, this Halloween, things might have changed for good... or for worse. (more…)
Review: The Vast of Night (2020)
Movie Review

Review: The Vast of Night (2020)

Less is more in Andrew Patterson's directorial debut, an intimate yet ingenious sci-fi feature titled The Vast of Night. Written by himself under the pseudonym of James Montague with co-writer, Craig W. Sanger, the story immensely takes place over a fateful night in a sleepy New Mexico town where strange sounds interrupted phone lines and radio broadcast. The conflicts, unraveled through a series of dialogues and grounded investigation carried by two teenagers, might be vast but never spectacular; however, it guarantees one of the most suspenseful sci-fi mysteries in recent years. (more…)
Review The Invisible Man (2020)
Movie Review

Review The Invisible Man (2020)

When it comes to high-concept modern horror, Leigh Whannell is one of the frontrunners. Together with James Wan, Australian writer-director conceived Saw and engineered several sequels before crafting the sci-fi-tingly horror franchise which "reinvents" long-corridor-and-dark-corner terror in Insidious (with the third chapter marking his directorial debut). When Blumhouse is set to small-sized reboot Universal's now-scrapped Dark Universe, they begin with The Invisible Man; and, when they give him creative credentials, it's a game on. Whannell's Invisible Man remodels the concept in almost its entirety—leaving only the terror not visible to bare eyes. While based on the character by H.G. Wells, the monster movie elements, which might sound campy, are held minimum. There's no bandage-ma...
Review Sebelum Iblis Menjemput: Ayat 2 (2020)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review Sebelum Iblis Menjemput: Ayat 2 (2020)

Evil Dead's distant prodigal cousin, Sebelum Iblis Menjemput (May the Devil Take You), has finally gotten a tougher, grittier, and more fucked-up sequel dubbed as Sebelum Iblis Menjemput: Ayat 2 as if it's a chapter in a demonic bible. In the follow-up story, writer-director Timo Tjahjanto does not really bother with narrative merits as he's busy sacrificing souls to the cinematic god of death (as in The Night Comes for Us). Compared to the predecessor, the second chapter is way nastier, campier, and more frivolous with the "nightmares exist out of logic" credo held dear. The myth still follows the protagonist of the first movie, Alfie (Chelsea Islan), who has succumbed to sedative drugs in the aftermath of the first taking. The news of her survival from the cataclysmic nightmare has s...
Review: The Grudge (2020)
Movie Review

Review: The Grudge (2020)

Rebooting a failing remake is maybe the most logical or, otherwise, the most cringe-worthy gig a Hollywood studio would do. While the argument to right the wrong is plausible, the tendency to repeat the same mistake is as imaginable. Sadly, Nicolas Pesce's remake of The Grudge (2004)—Takashi Shimizu's own remake of his own J-Horror classic, Ju-On—tends to take the messed-up path. While Shimizu's 2004 remake attempted to position itself as close as possible to the source material (the remake went even further to place it in the same geographical map), it's still a messy thread with more questions than actual terrors. One of the most bugging creative decisions is related to the mechanism of the curse, which becomes the franchise's epicenter. Shimizu engineers the curse to work as a super...
Review: Black Christmas (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Black Christmas (2019)

Black Christmas offers a progressive premise incorporating feminism and home-invasion slasher. It's a well-intended remake of Bob Clark's slasher classic of the same title. The idea is not highly revolutionary, but, from the corner of the eye, it is commendable in an idea-pitching award. Unfortunately, that's not the case. The remake falls where it should not be. The feminism-invasion slasher takes place in sorority houses where a survivor, Riley (Imogen Poots, Green Room) and other sorority women are terrorized by black-hooded killers with some medieval weapons. The killers are no other than some frat boys—endorsed by a supernatural force that doubles down their patriarchal pride which has made them somehow invincible. Only after the women began to speak up, the male supremacist force...
Review: Knives Out (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Knives Out (2019)

Those who had ever doubted of Rian Johnson's geeky persona might not see Knives Out coming. The director has always been a classic cinema aficionado, whose cinematic inspiration spawned from adoring Annie Hall. His entire filmography only highlights how rich his references are and how stylish his filmmaking technique can be. Brick is an excellent hardboiled homage; The Brothers Bloom makes an ambitious callback to caper movies; Looper is an instant sci-fi classic, and only toxic Star Wars fans deny The Last Jedi as the finest movie in the canon since the original trilogy. Knives Out takes Johnson's geekiness to the next level and you should be ready to call his new whodunit thriller a new instant classic. Knives Out is a playful murder mystery through and through. Channeling his admira...
Review: Ratu Ilmu Hitam (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Ratu Ilmu Hitam (2019)

There is a certain kind of similarity between Kimo Stamboel's Ratu Ilmu Hitam a.k.a. The Queen of Black Magic and Joko Anwar's Satan's Slave. Written by Anwar based on cult horrors from the 1980s, none of them is a merely verbatim remake; instead, they are spiritual remakes that capture the fright and the wickedness of the original to create a completely different story. Call it a diabolical reborn, which defines both works best as phantasmal throwbacks. Stamboel (in a very productive year, also directing another horror blockbuster, DreadOut, earlier this year) exhumes the wicked sense of terror he once showed in his directorial collective, The Mo Brothers (Macabre, Killers, Headshot) with Timo Tjahjanto (May the Devil Take You, The Night Comes for Us). While the source material is ren...
Review: Lampor: Keranda Terbang (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Lampor: Keranda Terbang (2019)

A mysterious flying casket—whose arrival is accompanied by loud, discordant chants from invisible entities—terrorizes a village after dark. People call the flying-casket ghost Lampor, an endemic grim reaper who would kidnap and grotesquely murder people. With such a ghost, there are only two basic rules. First, stay away from any kind of light after dark; and, second, don't look. For as long as they don't see people and people don't see it back, everyone should be safe. Inspired by scary folklore that still haunts people of Central Java to this day, Lampor: Keranda Terbang offers nothing but cheap, hackneyed thrills. The plot follows Netta (Adinia Wirasti, Critical Eleven), Edwin (Dion Wiyoko, fresh from Susi Susanti: Love All) and their two children facing Lampor when they unwantedly ...

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