Midsommar (2019)

Midsommar (2019)Dani and Christian, a young American couple, are at the brink of breaking up. Christian has already started planning a trip abroad with his friends and is more or less starting to walk out the door on the relationship, but after Dani experiences a horrible family tragedy where she loses her parents and sister in a murder-suicide, Christian can’t make himself break out. Months later, when Dani finds out about his planned trip to Sweden with his friends, she invites herself along with them. One of Christian’s friends, the Swede Pelle, brings them all to a traditional “Midsommar” celebration in a secluded area called “Harga”. All seem to be flowers and sunshine, until it becomes clear that they’ve ventured into a sect whose “traditions” proves to be rather disturbing.

 

As a Norwegian (Sweden is one of our neighbouring countries) I was already familiar with their summer tradition called “Midsommar” (Midsummer), which is highly celebrated in the entire country and by some considered the most popular tradition (to the point of even surpassing Christmas). It involves decorating your hair with flowers, dancing around the “Majstång” (Maypole), partying and in general having lots of fun. In other words: the real “Midsommar” is a harmless and fun tradition, so just relax: if you want to visit a Scandinavian country, you won’t be killed by crazy sect-members during a summer festival.

 

Ari Aster made quite a name for himself with last year’s “Hereditary”, which is considered by many as the best horror movie made in recent years. And despite your own personal opinion on that matter, there’s no denying that the guy sure knows how to make creepy and unsettling movies. “Midsommar” is quite different from his previous film, however, and you may probably consider it more as a thriller. It’s primarily a story about a couple breaking up with each other, and Dani’s broken psyche due to her terrible loss. In this movie, Ari Aster has taken folklore and turned it into a bizarre nightmare filled with sunshine and flowers, heavy with symbolism and tons of things open to interpretation. Some of the rituals depicted in the movie are based on actual rituals, while others belong more to myths and legends without definitive proof that they were ever real. Like the “Ättestupa” scene, where two elders are jumping from a cliff to their deaths: this is based on ritual senicide during Nordic prehistoric times, where elderly people either jumped to their deaths or were thrown in order to not be a burden to the household. Suicide precipices and stories of such is debated to be more myth and legend than true, however, and there is no real proof this ever happened. Still makes for quite a horrible scene in the movie, though…

 

While “Midsommar” may test your patience a little bit, it’s held up strongly by a believable protagonist that you really feel sorry for and sympathize with. Dani has been troubled with an unstable and bi-polar sister for years, who has threatened to kill herself multiple times over and thus having kept Dani on the edge and worried sick for a long time. This was even described as one of the strains on Dani and Christian’s relationship. So, when Dani’s sister actually does kill herself and their parents in a murder-suicide, Dani’s year-long worries all become true and she falls completely apart. So when we see her reactions and behavior throughout the rest of the movie, it makes sense. All the worries had gnawed away at her for years, and made her vulnerable. It wasn’t just an accident or tragedy that happened out of the blue, this was something Dani had feared for years. And it happening at the brink of Christian’s break-up with her, which makes him feel compelled to stay with her, gives the story just the right amount of unease and tension between them. So when they arrive at the festival in Sweden, and is given a fair amount of drugs together with the sunshine and flowers, the movie starts having a really bad and bizarre trip. It’s nightmarish, surreal and emotionally strong, and even quite funny in some parts, and makes for quite an experience.

 

Side note: it would have been a lot of fun (and kinda fitting) if they could have played Sigge Fürst’s “Bullfest” in the ending credits. No such luck, though…

 

Midsommar

 

Director: Ari Aster
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren, William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter, Ellora Torchia, Archie Madekwe, Henrik Norlén, Gunnel Fred, Isabelle Grill, Agnes Westerlund Rase, Julia Ragnarsson, Mats Blomgren, Lars Väringer, Anna Åström
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8772262/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friend Request (2016)

Friend Request (2016)Laura is a popular girl in high school, with lots of likes and friends on Facebook. She meets Marina, a new girl at school who’s an outcast with no friends. She feels sorry for her, and decides to befriend her online. What was originally supposed to be a good deed towards someone she felt pity for, soon turns into something darker as Marina becomes obsessive over her new “friendship”. Marina starts sending tons of messages if Laura doesn’t reply within minutes, and very much acts like a creepy stalker. Laura tries to convince herself that Marina is just lonely and desperate for a friend, but in the end it gets too much for her and she decides to unfriend her on Facebook. And that is when all hell breaks loose…

 

“Friend Request” is what you could probably call a modern-day horror movie, especially nowadays when social media is something a lot of people feel very attached to, and often use it to compare themselves to others: always a hunt for more likes, more followers, more “friends”. Laura is depicted as the “normal” girl of modern times: socially competent at school, and a personality and looks that automatically brings in both likes and followers on Facebook. Marina, on the other hand, is that classic “creepy girl” dressed in black who is socially awkward, and on top of that she is making moody and dark illustrations. Their “friendship” is something that’s not prone to survive, and yes – we’ve seen that story before. But that doesn’t mean it’s not exciting, and the performances by both Liesl Ahlers (Marina) and Alycia Debnam-Carey (Laura) makes the story believable and thrilling.

 

The illustrations by “Marina” adds a great additional tone to the movie, as they also include a bit of animation and works to set a certain understanding of Marina’s mindset, and the supernatural occurrences that’s caused by her. The movie also provides a back-story for Marina, which explains a bit about her behaviour. The movie does have a fair amount of suspense and even some decent scares, and the social-media theme is not such a large part of the plot that those of us that doesn’t use Facebook (yes! There’s still some of us left!) won’t feel estranged from the story. The ending, albeit a little predictable, is kind of interesting as well.

 

Friend Request

 

Director: Simon Verhoeven
Country & year: Germany | USA, 2016
Actors: Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan, Brooke Markham, Sean Marquette, Liesl Ahlers, Shashawnee Hall, Susan Danford, Lee Raviv, Nicholas Pauling, David Butler, Julian Katz, Kiano Janse van Rensburg, Dorothy Ann Gould
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3352390/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child’s Play (2019)

Child's Play (2019)Kaslan Products have invented a brand new toy: Buddi, the interactive doll that is the most high-tech product available that can also connect to all other Kaslan products and smart home devices. These dolls are produced at a factory in Vietnam, under terrible working conditions. The movie starts off showing us one of the depressed workers getting harassed and fired, and before finishing his final Buddi doll, he removes all safety precautions before he commits suicide by throwing himself off the roof of the factory. Of course, no one knows that the latest doll he worked on was been tempered with, and it is shipped off together with all the others…

 

Soon afterwards, we meet Andy and his mother, Karen, who have just moved to a new place and is trying to settle in. Karen is working at the local hypermarket, that is also selling Buddi dolls on a regular basis. When one of the customers returns a Buddi doll due to it being defected, she decides to bring this doll back home to give it to her son. Despite not working the way it’s supposed to, both Andy and Karen believes it’s just a harmless defect. When Andy can make it swear and do funny things that would not be possible with any of the “normal” Buddi dolls, he’s also able to befriend some of the neighboring kids. All seem fine to Andy for a while…but with this doll having all safety protocols disabled, it’s soon showing signs of a behavior that can turn out to be quite dangerous.

 

“Child’s Play” is a remake of the 1988 classic by the same name, and is directed by Lars Klevberg. This movie is quite different from the original story, however. In the original film, the soul of a serial killer (Charles Lee “Chucky” Ray) entered one of the dolls after being chased and killed inside a toy shop. In this remake, we get a modernized version where Chucky is simply an AI doll that’s been tampered with, and developing a behavior that is not really his fault. In many ways, you can even sympathize a bit with Chucky in certain scenes, like when Andy and his friends are watching a horror movie (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2”, which was in fact totally banned here in Norway back in the day…something I suppose director Lars Klevberg knew since he’s Norwegian as well). When the kids start laughing and enjoying themselves, Chucky believes that the killings are “fun”, and he goes to the kitchen and brings back a knife as he believes it will make them laugh. And the doll shows signs of distress and confusion when it realizes that this did not make Andy and his friends happy at all. Thus, Chucky is a completely different “villain” than in the original…and while the original is a horror classic from the 80’s, it’s refreshing to see a remake that does something completely different. When Chucky goes crazy and starts killing, it’s all based on a wish to keep Andy safe and happy. And to be his “best buddy”…

 

The doll is voiced by Mark Hamill, in which we get a little “Star Wars” reference when Andy tries to make the doll name itself “Han Solo”, but due to the defect it thinks he said “Chucky” (which, of course, references the original “Child’s Play”). The movie also brings us some pretty neat killing scenes, and a fair amount of blood and gore. It’s entertaining and fresh, just don’t expect the same story as the one from 1988 as this is a totally reimagined version.

 

Child's Play

 

Director: Lars Klevberg
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Brian Tyree Henry, Tim Matheson, Gabriel Bateman, David Lewis, Trent Redekop, Beatrice Kitsos, Ty Consiglio, Carlease Burke, Hannah Drew, Kristin York, Zahra Anderson, Marlon Kazadi, Nicole Anthony
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8663516/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crawl (2019)

Crawl (2019)Haley is a young woman who is struggling to become a champion swimmer, and her competitive nature keeps her always trying to reach her best potential. When her sister calls and informs her that their father won’t answer his phone, she decides to drive to his house and check for him. The problem is that a Category 5 hurricane is arriving, and after finding her father unconscious in the basement of an old house he’s been renovating, they both find themselves fighting not only against the hurricane and a flooding house, but also against a bunch of hungry alligators.

 

“Crawl” is directed by Alexandre Aja, the Frenchman who has earlier given us “High Tension” and “Piranha 3D”, among some other titles both of the horror genre and other genres. While “Piranha 3D” is a nipple-filled gorefest, “Crawl” goes more in the direction of a creature feature combined with survival action/nature disaster. While there are some killing scenes and a certain amount of blood and gore, it’s not the main focus. Instead, it’s a tense tale of survival mixed with a (somewhat) strained relationship between father and daughter. The performances are quite solid, which makes the dialogue between them feel natural and not forced, which brings it all to a believable level.

 

When it comes to the alligators themselves, they are pretty well made, very much on par with the CGI shark in “The Shallows” to make a comparison. It looks good, it looks natural, and it delivers very well on what it intends to be which makes it a thrilling experience.

 

Crawl

 

Director: Alexandre Aja
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark, Ross Anderson, Jose Palma, George Somner, Anson Boon, Ami Metcalf, Tina Pribicevic, Srna Vasiljevic, Cso-Cso, Colin McFarlane, Annamaria Serda, Savannah Steyn
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8364368/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nude for Satan (1974)

Dr. William Benson is driving late at night to reach a patient, and stops at a mansion to ask for directions. He learns that he must drive a huge detour and that the roads there are bad, and the man at the mansion offers him shelter for the night. As the conscientious doctor he is, he declines the offer and continues on. A lady in white suddenly stands in the way, and this forces Benson to swerve his car which makes it bump into a mountain wall. When he is going to check for the mysterious lady in white, she is nowhere to be to seen, but another lady suddenly crashes in front of him and lies unconscious in the car with a white blouse…which suddenly turns black in the next clip. Just five minutes in and a continuity error already. Impressive. Anyway, he carries her away and brings her back to consciousness by patting her on the cheek, like the doctor he is. But unfortunately he does not manage to start the car, and sees no other way than to return to the castle to ask for help. When he enters the castle the place looks abandoned, with trash, rats and covered furniture.

 

He then comes across an older guy who seems to have been stabbed to death, who glances at Benton with some crazy eyes as he asks “what can I do for you” and gives a sinister laugh. Okay, Dr. Benton, time to turn around, there’s no help to get here. Still, this is just a gentle start on the rabbit hole he has stumbled into. When he opens another door he witnesses someone who has a sex orgy with scenes of a blowjob, close-up penetration and lesbian sex. Okay. After seeing enough, he shuts the door and looks further around, and suddenly the woman pops up…the one he left in the car, with no signs of harm or discomfort. And she’s really happy to see Benson, as she rather calls Peter, as if she’s known him all her life, and gives some obscure lines that don’t make any sense. And just like the viewer, Mr. Benson is just as lost and confused and wants some fucking answers (pun intended).

 

As I said, a rabbit hole. And a hairy one. The movie actually starts out as a classic Hammer movie with thunder, rain and an old castle, but as soon as we see our protagonist, or whatever he is supposed to be, it quickly nosedives into a stumbling, incoherent obscurity of a demented sleazeball of a movie with x-rated porn scenes in between. The balance between horror and porn is completely off. It’s as if the writer and director Luigi Batzella couldn’t decide whether he wanted to make a traditional horror or a porn, but went for both with no clue how to blend it together, with a script that apparently was scribbled in a hurry on his palm between the shooting. With a title as “Nude for Satan” I expected a fair amount of tits and bushy beavers, but I was completely unaware this was actually a x-rated pornflick with close-up penetration and whatnot. But okay, what a pleasant surprise. So let’s just call it “Fuck for Satan”, then, to avoid further confusion.

 

Fuck for Satan is probably most known for a certain random spider scene. And I must say, it lived up to the hype. How can one not laugh at a fake, giant spider that seems to be made of a bunch of layers of cow dung? And to make it more realistic, just stuff some wooden branches into it and it got some really believable legs. Haha, oh my.. Fuck for Satan also has the most frantic use of zoom I’ve probably seen. As if the cameraman was clearly told to zoom in and out as much as possible to make  a desperate attempt to add some tone of surrealism or whatever. Well, I beg to differ. The movie isn’t trippy for one bit, just weird and messy with lazy directing, while the horror aspects fails as a blind, drunken sailor on an unicycle. And what does the space-like music have to do here? Is there a flying saucer wobbling from a string in the background somewhere I don’t see? Who knows. Who cares. But man, that spider scene..haha.

 

Nude for Satan

 

Director: Luigi Batzella
Original title: Nuda per Satana
Country & year: Italy, 1974
Actors: Rita Calderoni, Stelio Candelli, James Harris, Renato Lupi, Iolanda Mascitti, Luigi Antonio Guerra, Barbara Lay
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162503/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)In this third “Annabelle” horror movie, we follow the doll to its final destination: the Warren’s occult museum, which houses all kinds of cursed and possessed items. After the Warrens bring the doll back home with them, they quickly realize that the doll has the ability to possess and control the other things around her, and so they put it inside a glass case and lock it, containing the evil presence and prevents its influence on the other items around it. When a teenage girl is babysitting Ed and Lorraine’s daughter, one of the babysitter’s friends decide to invite herself in order to check out the place for its occult items. Having recently lost her father in a terrible accident which she blames herself for, she wants to use the place to get in contact with him…and takes a peek inside the occult museum after finding the keys. She is immediately drawn to the Annabelle doll in the glass case, and uses the key to open it…and soon, the evil presence in the doll is awakened.

 

“Annabelle Comes Home” is the third installment of the “Annabelle” horror movies (which are spin-offs from the first “Conjuring” movie). In many ways, it could also be considered the third Conjuring movie as well, since the story takes place inside the home of the Warrens, and bringing forth small glimpses from several of their “cases” throughout the years. The premise behind this movie is that Annabelle awakens the other cursed and possessed items in the museum, and it actually works pretty well. It gives us the claustrophobic haunted house feel, with some really good atmosphere and even a few truly creepy scenes. The director, Gary Goberman, is making his debut as a director with this movie, and it’s a pretty solid one. Earlier he’s also been the writer of the first “Annabelle” movie.

 

We are also being presented to several ideas for upcoming movies in the “Conjuring” universe: The Ferryman, a haunted bridal dress that possesses people and turn them into killers, a Samurai armor that apparently holds a gruesome backstory, and…a werewolf. Now, there’s been a few rumors that the third Conjuring movie would include a werewolf story (from the story about Bill Ramsey) but this is not confirmed. Personally I’d love to see the third Conjuring movie deal with the story of Maurice Theriault (Satan’s Harvest), which was actually referenced at the end of “The Nun”…but no such luck, I guess. That being said, there appears to be tons of ideas for any sequels, prequels and spin-offs, so I’m fairly certain we haven’t seen the last of the Conjuring universe yet…far from it.

 

The real Lorrain Warren passed away a few months prior to this movie’s release, on April 18, 2019, at the age of 92 (Ed Warren died several years back, on August 23, 2006). In some ways this movie can be seen a nice little tribute to her.

 

Annebelle Comes Home

 

Director: Gary Dauberman
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Michael Cimino, Samara Lee, Kenzie Caplan, Sade Katarina, Michael Patrick McGill, Brittany Hoza
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8350360/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crucifixion (2017)

Nicole is a young journalist eager to find out the truth in the case of an exorcism gone wrong in Romania, where a nun died and the priest and nuns involved were convicted for murder. She travels all the way over to Romania in order to dig deeper into the story, and after meeting with Father Anton and visiting the monastery where the exorcism took place, strange things start happening. As she finds out more and more about the nun that died, it becomes obvious to Nicole that something paranormal really did happen to that girl…and that it may even start happening to herself now.

 

The story in this movie is inspired by true events: the “Tanacu Exorcism” where an allegedly mentally ill nun, Maricica Irina Cornici, was killed during an exorcism in Romania in 2005. This was a case that was widely publicized in Romanian media, and after the priest and nuns were sentenced to jail, many of Tanacu’s residents still believed that Cornici had actually been possessed by a demon (including Cornici’s brother). Later, it was revealed that she had died of an overdose of adrenaline given to her in the ambulance.

 

Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes are the writers (known for being the writers of Conjuring 1 and 2), while the director is Xavier Gens, known for “Frontier(s)”. In other words, some very familiar names in the world of horror movies. While Xavier’s “Frontier(s)” is a violent and gory movie, “The Crucifixion” has none of this, and is a movie playing far more on the psychological level and giving it a drama/mystery tone.

 

Since this movie was filmed in Bucharest (Romania), there are many moments of beautiful and atmospheric scenery to behold, which is actually one of the film’s major advantages. It is unfortunate that it never manages to build more scares, and plays out more like a mystery thriller/drama, where the mystery takes a lot more place than the horror. With that being said, there is a certain amount of suspense (much helped by the Romanian scenery and buildings), and if you like a horror movie that plays out more like a crime/mystery/drama, then this might be right up your alley.

 

The Crucifixion

 

Director: Xavier Gens
Country & year: UK | Romania | USA, 2017
Actors: Sophie Cookson, Corneliu Ulici, Ada Lupu, Brittany Ashworth, Catalin Babliuc, Matthew Zajac, Iván González, Ozana Oancea, Javier Botet, Jeff Rawle, Florian Voicu
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4181782/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Burning (1981)

The Burning (1981)It’s a hot summer night in Camp Blackfoot, where a group of teenagers are preparing to pull the prank of the year on the camp’s caretaker, Cropsy. We learn that he’s obviously a bully who deserves a lesson, and the kids also learn in the hard way that a prank with matches and fire isn’t the best combination. They sneak into his cabin, planning to scare him with a rotten skull full of maggots and candles in its eye sockets. It gets from bad to worse when the fire gets to Cropsy himself, and he runs out in full flame, with the kids being helpless witnesses as he stumbles down to the lake. Five years later, he is released from the hospital, completely deformed and disfigured by the burning, and of course, hungry for revenge.

 

So this is the premise of “The Burning”, the film which is best known for kick-starting the movie career for the Weinstein brothers, Harvey and Bob. Having founded the company Miramax Films in 1979, with only two obscure films in its catalog, the young brothers were desperate for a hit. And having realized that making a slasher is quick and cheap and could be big business like both “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and John Carpenter’s “Halloween”, and other slashers who came and went. So, why not. Harvey Weinstein was inspired by Cropsey, a boogeyman-urban legend from New York that was a popular campfire story, but ended up using only the name for the movie’s killer. And yeah, we all know at this point who turned out to be the real boogeyman here, but that’s a whole different story. Brother Bob was involved in writing the script and their mommy Mira worked as a consultant. So this was more or less a family project. The Brit Tony Maylan, who previously made documentaries, was set to direct while Jack Sholder worked as the editor, who later made “Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge”. Yes-keyboardist Rick Wakeman gives a great soundtrack, and Tom Savini stands for the effects. But the big star here is probably a young Jason “George Costanza” Alexander in one of the roles. Here he is 22, slim and has hair. Would you imagine. This was also his debut role. And no, we don’t get a twist where Cropsy is actually Cosmo Kramer, even though it’s a hilarious thought. And enough Seinfeld references for today.

 

With some great talents in place with lots of potential, it’s too bad that the film itself is nothing much. After the opening sequence and a quick, gritty scene where Cropsy, dressed as a giallo killer, visits a brothel and find his weapon of choice with which he kills one of the whores before he heads to the camp, the film is pretty dull and boring. There’s too far between the interesting moments, and most of the second act is just lots of filler scenes where the kids bathe, smoke, and mostly do nothing to keep the interest up. No build up, no tension, just a bunch of random scenes that goes nowhere. And visually this looks more like a cheap teen comedy, where atmosphere is nowhere to be found. And the night scenes in the woods that were shot day-for-night…why even bother? This is just lazy and uninspiring. Yawn. Where did the budget go? Who knows. So, where’s all the killing scenes? In the last twenty minutes, if you’re patient. And some of them are brutal and juicy, at least.

 

And if you want to know more about the original “Cropsey”, watch the documentary “Cropsey” from 2009.

 

The Burning

 

Director: Tony Maylam
Country & year: USA, 1981
Actors: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer, Larry Joshua, Jason Alexander, Ned Eisenberg, Carrick Glenn, Carolyn Houlihan, Fisher Stevens, Lou David
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082118/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ma (2019)

Ma (2019)Sue Ann is a lonely middle-aged woman who befriends a group of teenagers when they beg her to buy some booze for them. She eventually lets them have their parties in the basement of her own house, and the teenagers all think they’ve gotten really lucky. One of the teenagers jokingly nickname her “Ma”, a name Sue Ann immediately demands that everyone calls her. In not too long, the teenagers start questioning Ma’s intentions as her behavior gets more and more unsettling. She also forbids them to go upstairs, they’re only allowed to be in the basement. Nothing suspicious about that…

 

“Ma” is a psychological thriller film from Tate Taylor and Blumhouse, which came into existence because Tate wanted to make a movie about “something fucked up”, and a conversation with Octavia Spencer who admitted she was tired of getting the same-ish roles and never a lead role (Tate and Octavia are long-time friends). Tate also knows Jason Blum, and simply went to his office saying “I want to do something really fucked up”. The result was “Ma”.

 

The movie starts off somewhat silly and showing us early on that it doesn’t take itself entirely seriously, but it’s growing into something darker as Ma’s background story is slowly revealed piece by piece. While her actions aren’t justifiable, and it’s evident that the middle-aged woman is completely batshit crazy, the movie does bring up the legitimacy of negative personality behaviors caused by childhood trauma. We don’t agree with Ma, however we can’t help but understand and sympathize with her at least a little bit.

 

Octavia Spencer truly nails her role as the disturbed “Ma”, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that her role is the whole foundation needed to make this movie work. While the movie is somewhat predictable, it’s still quite an enjoyable popcorn-flick.

 

Ma

 

Director: Tate Taylor
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis, McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Gianni Paolo, Dante Brown, Tanyell Waivers, Dominic Burgess, Heather Marie Pate, Tate Taylor, Luke Evans
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7958736/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brightburn (2019)

Brightburn (2019)Tori and Kyle are struggling to have a child, when one night something from outer space crashes nearby their farm. Just like a blessing from above, it’s some sort of space craft that includes a little baby boy, and the couple are happy to take care of him and raise him as their own (hmm…have we heard this story before somewhere?). The boy, whom they name Brandon, proves to be quite special, never showing signs of getting physically hurt and a lot more intelligent than other children his age. As he grows older, however, his behavior changes and he becomes more aggressive and irritable, to the point of even hurting one of his classmates. Tori is desperate to think the best of her little boy, but soon things turn to worse and it becomes obvious to Tori and Kyle that Brandon is far from the gift from above they originally considered him to be…

 

If you are familiar with the story of “Superman” (I guess most of us are), then you’ll quickly realize that “Brightburn” is some sort of twisted version of that good old story: what if Superman was evil, instead of the do-gooder he turned out to be? What if he used his superpowers for evil instead of good, and wanted to destroy the world instead of saving it? Well, that’s “Brightburn” in a nutshell.

 

Before Brandon ventures fully into his evil ways, we see the parents viewing his transformation into something else with a fair amount of unease. Yes, you can easily associate this with puberty: your little boy suddenly changes in both behavior and needs, and for many parents this change can feel uncomfortable and difficult to accept. Except Brandon isn’t just a normal boy, and his change is something else entirely. In one scene at school, we hear Brandon explain the difference between bees and wasps, where bees are domesticated creatures and wasps are predators. His expressed interest in particularly wasps during this scene might give us a hint that Brandon’s alien race is somewhat similar to wasps: it’s simply in his nature to be an aggressive predator.

 

“Brighburn” even delivers some pleasant blood & gore, living up to its R rating. This isn’t a movie filled with twists and turns, it’s very straight-forward. If you’ve watched the trailers for the movie or read a simple synopsis, you know exactly what kind of meal you’ll be served. While “Brightburn” doesn’t really get truly creepy or scary, it delivers on well-paced action and suspense, mixed with some (not that many, but good) death scenes. If you’re tired of all the dime-a-dozen superhero movies that’s been released lately, “Brightburn” might be a fresh breath of air.

 

And finally, some food for thought: if an alien with superpowers landed on Earth, would it really be interested in using its power to protect it just for our sake? Nah…don’t think so.

 

Brightburn

 

Director: David Yarovesky
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Abraham Clinkscales, Christian Finlayson, Jennifer Holland, Emmie Hunter, Matt Jones, Meredith Hagner, Becky Wahlstrom, Terence Rosemore, Gregory Alan Williams
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7752126/

 

Vanja Ghoul