A divorced mother of two (Kathryn Hahn) hasn’t seen or talked to her parents in 15 years. After all this time, they contact her online asking to see their grandchildren (Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould), whom they have never met. She reluctantly agrees on her children’s insistence.
Her children are a cute sibling pair, natural and appropriately childish. Tyler is charismatic and naive, free style rapping with a train conductor and purporting to “sext” with classmates. He desperately wants to live up to a masculine stereotype that he does not truly embody.
Becca is verbose and dramatic with her words as she narrates her way through exposition like a quick knife-stroke through butter. She has recently armed herself with cameras, hoping to tape their week-long visit in a style as close to a professional documentary as she can muster.
Shymalan channels an inexperienced auteur in Becca. Early interactions are light and bubbly as she sets the scene for her “documentary.” It also serves a meta purpose in its intended humor. She explains that with a camera you need to build tension and make people want to imagine what is lingering just beyond the frame. It sounds very much like Shymalan is Continue reading The Visit (2015) Movie Review
In The Gift, married couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) move back into Simon’s California hometown after the unexpected loss of their unborn child. The first snaking shots of their new house are an immediate sign of their status. Simon is successful at a well-paying job and is on the verge of a promotion. Robyn is happy doing freelance work from home. Seemingly, life in the pair’s little world is picturesque.
Then there’s Gordo (Joel Edgerton). At first, we only see him from a distance, curiously looking in on the couple as they are shopping, just behind Simon’s shoulder. Eventually he approaches Simon, saying that Continue reading The Gift (2015) Movie Review
Creep is an independent horror film starring Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass. Brice also doubles as the director and triples as co-writer with Duplass. In it, Duplass plays Josef, a man suffering from inoperable brain cancer who has hired freelance videographer Aaron (Brice) to film what could be his final days for the sake of his unborn child.
The film begins with heartfelt scenes of Josef optimistically narrating fun activities that he would like his son to experience once he is gone. These scenes are also accompanied by innocent jump scares. In one, Continue reading Creep (2015) Movie Review
And now, a dramatic interpretation of a how a hypothetical pitch meeting for the As Above, So Below script might have started:
“It’s The Descent meets [REC] meets Grave Encounters meets Buried meets National Treasure.”
“Love it. I bet we can get that guy from Cloverfield for the male lead.”
“But we can still terrorize the sole black character by putting him in the most danger early on, right?”
“Of course! What else are horror movies for!?”
“Huzzah! Let’s make movies!”
All right, so I have no idea how pitch meetings actually work. Nonetheless, that’s a fairly accurate description of As Above, So Below. The movie wraps a plot largely reminiscent of Continue reading As Above, So Below (2014) Movie Review
V/H/S: Viral is the third installment in the popular cult anthology horror franchise. V/H/S was a highly-original breath of fresh air to the done-to-death found footage horror subgenre. It may be one of the best indie horror gems of the 21st century. V/H/S 2 was similarly fun to watch, but was ultimately a digression from the previous film. It was a safe sequel that wasn’t trying to go above and beyond what it accomplished with the previous film.
This new sequel is somewhat similar to the first two installments, where a series of short subjects are shown interspersed with an ongoing second plotline. Only, where the original two films had Continue reading V/H/S: Viral (2014) Movie Review