The Haunting (1963)

The Haunting Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The Haunting Movie Review

The Haunting is a 1963 British horror film directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Harris. It is a respectable, yet mildly disappointing horror picture.

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A closed mind is the worst defense against the supernatural

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The Haunting Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

It follows a small group of people investigating a purportedly haunted house. The movie is more psychological instead of paranormal and nothing supernatural ever really happens here. That is okay and I respect that as it led to better character development and more realistic, emotional driven drama.

However, I still found the film problematic because those psychological elements weren’t the best realized. I am of course talking about the narration. The protagonist’s thoughts are expressed to us almost all the time through a series of inner monologues. And although that classical, book-like and elegant approach felt interesting at first, it quickly wore off its welcome as it became repetitive and the film relied too heavily on it. I would have cut off at least half of those monologues.

Another problem is the acting. Surely the characters are very well developed and actually admirable for a horror flick. And the actresses did a really good job with Julie Harris in particular giving a terrific performance. But the actors are so bad and mediocre that they easily overshadow them and because the women are so good here, you could easily see how weak the men are with Russ Tamblyn in particular giving a horrible performance. Instead of being scared, he wore that stupid smiling face of his throughout the whole movie and successfully killing the suspense when he was on screen.

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The Haunting Movie Review

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But The Haunting is so technically innovative and just fantastic that it lifted those major mistakes and helped make the movie much more enjoyable than it could have been without them. The cinematography is just stupendous and some of the shots were absolutely spectacular. I just loved the imagery in this movie, the crisp black and white photography and the haunted house itself which was beautifully envisioned and superbly well utilized.

I loved that staircase which was very memorable and intriguing. I loved the outdoors shots at the house and its various rooms and corridors were so well established and used to create suspense. The film is quite suspenseful at times and I liked the paranoia and the going mad aspect of it, so dramatic and creepy. It is the kind of realistic horror film that is more sophisticated than truly scary.

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The Haunting Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

I also respected the dialogue in The Haunting. Some of the conversations regarding the house itself as well as the supernatural were quite interesting to listen to and I loved the conflict that was present between the two women, but all of them interacted really well with one another. I liked the ending and both the score and the sound effects were superb. The direction is also excellent and the editing is deft leading to such an all around polished feature. I just wished that it was more scary and that it had less monologues in it.

The Haunting has a frustrating overabundance of inner monologues in it and the performances from the male actors are quite weak, but the women did a really good job, the film is quite suspenseful at times and it is above all such a genuinely terrific visual experience with beautiful cinematography, phenomenal imagery of the house and a couple of striking atmospheric sequences.

My Rating – 4

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The Wailing (2016)

The Wailing Movie Review………………………………………………………..

The Wailing Movie Review

The Wailing is a 2016 South Korean horror film directed by Na Hong-jin. It is a very interesting, yet disappointing movie.

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Not everything that moves, breathes and talks is alive.

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The Wailing Movie Review………………………………………………………..

It is about a policeman who teams up with a shaman and a mysterious woman to investigate mysterious killings and illnesses. The plot itself is serviceable and the film features a well told, well crafted narrative with good direction. I liked some of the plot points quite a bit, but some were boring and disappointing.

The characters are pretty solid for a horror movie plus the actors portraying them all did a really good job. As I said, Na Hong-jin is excellent and he directed the movie really well. The flick benefits from many intriguing concepts in it and it mashes all of them solidly into a diverse whole.

But the reason why The Wailing is still disappointing and just an okay movie, but could easily been great lies mostly in its troublesome execution. The pacing is awful, way too slow and the film is thus quite dull to watch at times. I just never understood the need for two and a half hour long running time for this type of movie. Horror movies rarely need such a long running time and this one certainly didn’t need that as well. If it were an hour shorter, it would have been much more effective.

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The Wailing Movie Review………………………………………………………..

I found its horror elements also lacking. Some of them are fine, but the film isn’t scary and isn’t as atmospheric as it should have been. The overabundance of gore definitely annoyed and frustrated me. There are a couple of scenes that are overly excessive in gore and violence and yet they do not feature real tension at all which was unfortunate. The film is well made, directed and shot. Some of the imagery is quite memorable, but the pacing is awful and it is really unfortunate that they wasted this great opportunity for a great horror feature when all cards were evidently on the table. Immensely disappointing indeed.

The Wailing is a disappointing horror film. It is well shot, directed and acted, but even though it is intriguing and interesting in some of the scenes, as a whole it doesn’t quite work as the use of gore is excessive and the running time of two and a half hours is just too much for this type of film leading to a slower than needed movie. It could have been much more effective had it been shorter in length.

My Rating – 3

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Häxan (1922)

Häxan Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Häxan Movie Review

Häxan is a 1922 Swedish/Danish documentary horror silent film directed by Benjamin Christensen. It is a pretty good, intriguing experiment.

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Poor little hysterical witch!

In the middle ages you were in conflict with the church.

Now it is with the law

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Häxan Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

It is  a study of how superstition and the misunderstanding of diseases and mental illness could lead to the hysteria of the witch-hunts. Because I have always been interested in this particular subject matter, I found this movie to be quite fascinating at times. That is not to say that it is without its problems and there are many on which I will elaborate later, but the film is mostly a successful and definitely admirable experiment as rarely have I seen a film quite like this one.

It is a mix of documentary and horror which is, needless to say, quite authentic and interesting. I loved its distinctive visual style and how well thought out it is. It explains you almost everything you need to know about witch-hunts and the second half in particular is quite engaging.

But the problem with Häxan lies in its first half. Yes, the documentary approach here isn’t the greatest. And even though the mix of fiction and documentary is interesting, it definitely felt odd at times and tonally weird. Those passages where they explain this subject were overlong and filled with too many intertitles and not enough images. Some of the imagery was quite striking, but I still would have preferred to have seen real footage or fictionalized footage that is.

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Häxan Movie Review……………………………………………………………….

Häxan is exceptionally well made and crafted. The problem is that it is just never as entertaining as I hoped it would have been given its fascinating subject matter and it disappointed me a little overall, but the direction from Benjamin Christensen is excellent and some scenes are just so memorable. And the special effects are simply outstanding and so revolutionary for its time period. In the end, even though it isn’t the best that foreign cinema of the twenties has to offer, it is still so intriguing and different that I admired it a lot.

Häxan definitely is tonally odd, it isn’t as engaging as it could have been and the mix of documentary and horror is weird, but that mix is still authentic and very interesting, some of the imagery here is quite striking, it deals with its interesting subject matter really well and it is mostly exceptionally well made and visually magnificent. It has its flaws, but it is certainly one of the most unique silent films.

My Rating – 4

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Don’t Breathe (2016)

Don't Breathe Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

Don’t Breathe Movie Review

Don’t Breathe is a 2016 horror film directed by Fede Alvarez. It is such an original, yet in the end incredibly disappointing flick.

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There is nothing a man cannot do once he accepts the fact that there is no god

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Don't Breathe Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

I was immensely disappointed by this movie as I expected some pretty great things from its awesome premise. Three friends break into an old blind man’s house, but become trapped and hunted by him who is an experienced former war veteran, but also a psychopath. Needless to say, the premise is incredibly authentic and it is such a fine twist on an established home invasion genre where the invaders are actually the victims.

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Don't Breathe Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

Let’s just state the positives first. The entire first half is excellent. Not only is the story well crafted, but the characterization is particularly strong for a horror film and the significance of the ladybug is pretty well utilized. I admired how they made us root for these guys when in actuality they are thieves and pretty bad people actually. But the blind man is actually much worse and a serious psychopath and killer and thus we get a great villain while still not making us terribly sympathize with the protagonists. They are all bad people, it’s just that some are worse than the others.

The acting is also pretty solid and the film is well shot and mostly very well directed. I loved that sequence in the dark as it was very inventive how it was shot and how intense it was. The film isn’t scary in the most traditional sense of that word, but it surely is quite eerie at times and almost always intense. They did everything they could do with this material, it is just that the second half is so weak in comparison to the first one.

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Don't Breathe Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

Yes, Don’t Breathe is at first excellent, but it eventually succumbs to its typical horror trappings such as many implausible scenarios and some very ridiculous plot points. People die and are suddenly still alive and it takes many beatings to kill one guy. That was ridiculous and totally unrealistic. Not only was it silly, but it was unfortunate as it was obviously filler. They were extending the running time so hard that they ruined the movie in the process. Not every movie has to be one and a half hour long and this one would have greatly benefited from a one-hour format. The ending is actually pretty solid, but some scenes in the third act were too disgusting and done in quite poor taste to be honest (that whole impregnation aspect to it was unfortunate). For all of those reasons, it is just solid and never great.

Don’t Breathe is a very disappointing movie. Solid, but far from great. The premise is absolutely fantastic and so authentic in its twist on the home invasion genre, some scenes are very intense and very inventive in how they were shot and executed, but the entire second half was one giant mistake in my opinion. It featured many implausible scenarios and ridiculous plot points that were obviously filler to needlessly extend the running time and ruin what could have otherwise been a great flick.

My Rating – 3.5

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Movie Review

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is a 1948 horror comedy film directed by Charles Barton and starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. It is a very good comedy flick.

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I saw what I saw when I saw it!

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The film basically follows this duo as they encounter Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. What I liked about it is that it is genuinely funny at times and the humor is mostly very satisfying leading to a successful genre film. And although the story is definitely familiar, it is still pretty solid for this type of film.

Abbott and Costello are absolutely fantastic here. This is my first introduction to their work and I have to say that I really liked both of them. Abbott is a great straight man and he wonderfully fulfils that role. But of course this is Costello’s vehicle and he is absolutely terrific. He is not only very charismatic, but also evidently funny and so incredibly likable. Bela Lugosi is really good and at times even great in the role of Dracula, Lon Chaney Jr. isn’t as great as he was in ‘The Wolf Man‘, but he’s still a welcome addition and Frankenstein’s monster is the least memorable of the villains mostly because Boris Karloff did not reprise his role from ‘Frankenstein’ and because the monster just wasn’t emphasized nearly as enough as he should have been.

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is very well directed and edited while also having pretty good cinematography and some really fun special effects. The effects of Dracula transforming into a bat were pretty neat and visually intriguing. The acting is great as I said before and the film is genuinely atmospheric at times. That is both the film’s weakness and strength. It is definitely eerie at times and it utilizes its imagery and its monsters surprisingly well, but the problem is that it sometimes sacrifices genuine horror for laughs and the mix of horror and comedy isn’t that well established in this particular case.

The movie is immensely entertaining, at least it was for me. Its slight running time flew by and I had a great, amusing time watching at and I laughed most of the time or at least smiled. I have to say that it caught me by surprise how good it was as I did not expect that. The highlights for me were the extended sequence at the beginning where Lou was continually scared and that whole basement sequence was perfectly executed and a lot of fun.

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

So the movie is fun, it serves its purpose as a comedy and it flies by. However, it isn’t great as the plot is too simplistic, some characters do not work as much as the others do and the whole third act I really didn’t like. The action at the end was so typical, so uninspired and the movie just became pretty tired at that point whereas it was very energetic before. But the ending itself saved it as ‘The Invisible Man’ was hinted and that was just a lot of fun and done in the most entertaining manner possible. Overall, the film is very good, but not as great as it could have been.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein has a very uninspired third act and some characters work better than the others, but the film is a lot of fun and it was immensely entertaining watching three big Universal monsters in one movie. The atmosphere is effective, the imagery is terrific, the titular duo is just fantastic and the humor is pretty good leading to a very satisfying comedy flick that is also energetic, well edited and just fun.

My Rating – 4

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Lights Out (2016)

 Lights Out Movie Review……………………………………………………………

Lights Out Movie Review

Lights Out is a 2016 horror film directed by David F. Sandberg, produced by James Wan and starring Teresa Palmer. It is a pleasantly original, competent genre flick.

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There’s no you without me

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Lights Out Movie Review……………………………………………………………

I admired this film’s plot and originality. The story is one of its strongest suits as it is really well crafted and pretty emotional. The characters aren’t the greatest, but are solid nevertheless. The troubled relationship between mother and son was very well explored and the maternity issues is the strongest theme here. And, as I said, the emotion is palpable and so great. The last scene is heartbreaking and the entire film is very moving while also being for the most time pretty realistic owing to a sparse use of special effects and a terrific attention to detail in its storytelling.

The originality is evident from the first moment. Lights Out is the kind of a film where you find the premise to be very interesting and authentic, but also wonder by somebody hasn’t done it before as it is an obvious plot device for horror. The ghost only appears in the dark and never when there is light plus you can defeat it using said light. This is such a terrific premise beautifully executed with many very inventive action sequences. Couple that with the obvious care that went into the production in terms of plot and detail and you’ve got one very effective and again competent horror feature.

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Lights Out Movie Review……………………………………………………………

The acting is very good and sometimes even great. The child actor is quite solid and Maria Bello is so good as this troubled mother. But Teresa Palmer is so good as she’s not only wonderful to look at, but gave quite a solid performance too. The direction from David F. Sandberg is pretty good and I am interested to see what his other project is going to be as he’s certainly got a lot of talent and potential in this field.

So Lights Out is very well crafted and mostly phenomenally made with such tight editing resulting in a very involving film which is short, but that slight running time was just enough in my opinion. Then what is it that makes it only good and never as great as it could have been? Well, one reason definitely has to be its lack of scares. It is a very odd movie that succeeds much more as a drama than as a horror film and that was an interesting, but admittedly troublesome choice. I realize that they went for the sophistication and emotion, but given its awesome premise, it should have been much more atmospheric and it is never actually frightening.

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Lights Out Movie Review……………………………………………………………

Another problem is the ghost herself. Actually, there are two problems concerning her. First, you’ve got a very generic horror look to the ghost and, although I admired the sparse use of effects as stated above, she still looked way too typical and uninspired. But an even bigger issue I’ve had with her is the backstory that they’ve given her. Wow, was that a ridiculous backstory, way too silly for this particular movie and it seemed that it jumped right out of some superhero comic-book. Given the evident sophistication in its story, that one point certainly hurt it in the long run.

It has its flaws such as the lack of actual scares and a generic looking ghost with a pretty silly backstory, but Lights Out is otherwise such a competent, at times even admirable horror film that is well acted and so emotional and well crafted in its plot while also being inventive in its action and so original in its premise.

My Rating – 4

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Dead of Night (1945)

Dead of Night Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Dead of Night Movie Review

Dead of Night is a 1945 British anthology horror film directed by four different directors and starring Melvyn Johns, Googie Withers and Michael Redgrave. It is an outstanding horror feature.

It follows a man who arrives to a cottage and explains to the people there that they are all just a dream and that he has been having this exact dream for a while. The other guests start to tell the supernatural tales that they experienced and thus we have an ingenious anthology format. Really, I have rarely seen an anthology film done this well and that felt this well connected and natural which is so commendable. The entire storyline is immensely original with its flashback structure and dream within a dream phenomenon. Truly it is a one of a kind, immensely influential film.

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Oh, Mr. Craig.

Now that you’ve met us,

I’m sure that you wouldn’t dream of dreaming about us again

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Dead of Night Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Let’s talk about its various stories. Hearse Driver sequence is pretty good, but not as good as the rest are. Christmas Party sequence is one of the best segments in the movie. This is a ghost tale done right (unlike the next one, but more on that later). The moment when you realize that the kid Sally encounters is actually dead is a very effective, creepy moment and the entire sequence is really well made and so atmospheric.

Haunted Mirror sequence is undoubtedly the most fascinating story in the whole of Dead of Night. A man sees a different reflection in the mirror. Such a wonderfully creepy and mysterious premise. Again so influential, but above all very spooky and brilliantly crafted. I love when horror films have a great backstory and this one has that in abundance as the detail is meticulous and we get to know everything we should know about this mirror.

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Dead of Night Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Now, as I said above, the Golfing Story sequence isn’t particularly effective and it is the weakest link in an otherwise terrific picture. I get its humor as it is charming in its own right, but then again the film shouldn’t have had any humor in it, at least that’s my opinion as I don’t find it fitting at all. The special effects here are terrific and the premise is really fun plus the characters are amusing with a great dynamic, but it is too lightweight and the humor is overemphasized. It creates a jarring shift in tone as all of the other stories are very serious and dark.

Ventriloquist’s Dummy sequence is the one segment that is probably the most influential of the bunch which really says a lot. The entire film obviously influenced Rod Serling as The Twilight Zone is so similar both in tone and style to this movie, but also in substance. And that is why I loved this movie so much as I adore the show. But this particular story influenced the show the most and it is easy to see why. As is the case with the entire movie, it is a horror, supernatural tale that is incredibly creepy, but could have easily been pulled out in a special effects lacking era such as the forties. The dummy himself is frightening, but the ventriloquist is so relatable and such a tragic figure. The ending alone is tragic and disturbing and the story is always eerie and highly memorable.

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Dead of Night Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

As for the Linking narrative, it is admittedly a bit too difficult to understand at first, but once you get to know each and every character and once the plot untangles, it becomes understandable and very admirable. This is probably the first ever movie with a dream within a dream theme and that flashback structure is very authentic, but also extremely well executed and never forced or filled with plot holes. Craig’s story with a repeated dream is fascinating and inherently mysterious and I loved the ending in which it starts happening all over again.

The characters are all really likable and relatable with the highlights being Craig and Joan. The acting is also very good and each of the actors and actresses gave a very good performance, especially great for a horror film. The same goes for the directors. It is admirable that the film was directed by four different directors and yet it never felt disconnected or jarring (except the golf story of course.

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Dead of Night Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Dead of Night is technically marvelous. The effects are awesome, the film is beautifully shot with some very effective shots and takes. The tone is suitably very dark and ominous, the atmosphere is strong in almost every segment and the editing is so deft. The dialogue is great as is the sound design and the film is authentic, memorable and always riveting to watch. It is definitely one of the very best that 1940s horror has to ever.

Dead of Night has a jarringly lightweight and comedic segment in its Golf Story sequence, but it is otherwise a top-notch, brilliant anthology horror film with every story being exceptional and so creepy. The entire flashback, dream within a dream structure is incredibly influential, the stories are all very authentic, memorable and riveting and the film is technically stunning with superb cinematography, very good acting and excellent direction and editing. It is one of the very best horror films of its time, a fascinating film that is such an evident influence on The Twilight Zone.

My Rating – 4.5

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Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Bride of Frankenstein Review

Bride of Frankenstein is a 1935 horror film directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Elsa Lanchester and Ernest Thesiger. It is a pretty good, satisfying sequel.

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We belong dead!

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Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

It follows Frankenstein’s and Dr. Pretorius’ attempts to create a female mate for the creature. Now, as a sequel to 1931’s ‘Frankenstein‘, Bride of Frankenstein just can’t compare in terms of the atmosphere and overall quality. And I don’t understand why some would proclaim it to be a better film when it just isn’t. But, whereas it lacks compared to the original, it more than satisfies in its own right as it is a pretty good, well crafted film and a respectable sequel.

I really liked the story here. It was again very well told and very entertaining to watch. The first act is problematic, but more on that later. The second half is excellent. The creation sequence is again stunning and every scene with the two scientists was the highlight for me. I really liked the new monster and I also liked the ending quite a bit.

The film is interesting for being a much better adaptation of the novel than the original film was. The entire hermit plot point is adapted here and it is as great as it was in the book and there it was my favorite chapter. I liked the hermit character here and those scenes were just so emotional and heartwarming.

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Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The monster himself is much more human here than he was before and I liked that choice, albeit it led to a more campy territory which I didn’t appreciate. But the character development of the monster was stellar here. Henry Frankenstein is as good as he was before and Doctor Pretorius is such a memorable addition to the cast, so crazy and amusing. The eponymous bride didn’t get much to do, but looked superb due to some amazing make-up. She was quite unforgettable and left a big impression with the little screen time that she received.

Bride of Frankenstein is again a technically polished feature with awesome cinematography, terrific imagery and superb effects and make-up work. The directing from James Whale is again great and he’s such an admirable horror director. The acting is top-notch. Boris Karloff gave an even better performance this time around whereas Colin Clive was satisfying once more. Ernest Thesiger is really charismatic and memorable in a very amusing role and Elsa Lanchester is great as both Mary Shelley and the bride.

Speaking of Shelley, I have to say that I didn’t particularly care for that beginning. It was a solid framing device, but it accentuated that this was a sequel in a very unnecessary way. And that entire first half is very slow, uneventful and definitely dragging. There is just no point to that flashback beginning and that led to a very odd and incredibly rushed pacing. The finale is just immensely abrupt and it was just ridiculous for the bride to be on the screen for less than five minutes. Everything ended really quickly and abruptly and that was all the editor’s fault.

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Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Bride of Frankenstein is definitely well crafted and engaging, but it was just too campy for my taste. Some of the scenes were overly exaggerated with the monster’s speaking being particularly silly. I have never been a fan of camp and that is why I disliked it here either. It’s a shame that the editing and its campy nature hurt what is otherwise an excellent film and a really admirable sequel.

Bride of Frankenstein is a very respectable sequel which is once again very well crafted, directed and acted but also more emotional and faithful to its source material this time around. The eponymous bride is very memorable as is Dr. Pretorius and the second half is phenomenal, but the first half is dragging, the editing is very mediocre leading to a rushed and abrupt ending and the film was too campy for my taste. It’s a good film in its own right, but much inferior to the original.

My Rating – 4

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Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein Movie Review…………………………………………………

Frankenstein Movie Review

Frankenstein is a 1931 horror film directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff and Colin Clive. It is such a terrific movie that is one of the best of its genre.

This film is interesting for being very different from the original novel. Not a lot of the plot points here bare any similarity to Mary Shelley’s work and the second half in particular is very much a story of its own. And although that was a bit problematic as I would have liked for the two to have been a bit more similar, I still liked this choice for the most part as it also led to a much more engaging story. And truly, in my opinion at least, this film surpasses the book.

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Look! It’s moving. It’s alive! It’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!

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Frankenstein Movie Review…………………………………………………

I loved the creation sequence, that is of course such an iconic scene by now with its iconic line “It’s alive!” being instantly recognizable. But I liked the visuals and the presentation of watch tower and every scene in it was a winner. Of course, the sequence in which the monster accidentally kills the girl by drowning her is amazing. It is easy to see why it was so controversial back in its day as it is a bit unexpected, especially having in mind that it was accidental and that the monster was good to the girl before. The execution of that whole scene is marvelous and it is such a memorable point in the movie.

The monster trying to kill Elizabeth is also a good scene and naturally that last act is fantastic. The peasants search for the monster in the mountains carrying torches and that mob mentality is so well established here. The use of the old mill is amazing and again a highly memorable set in the movie. And I liked the ending too.

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Frankenstein Movie Review…………………………………………………

Frankenstein’s character is faithfully brought to the screen and I loved his initial mad scientist persona, but how we eventually saw how strong his scientific drive is and how he felt bad for the wretched thing that he created. Elizabeth is somewhat forgettable and all of the others don’t get much to do, but the monster himself is excellent, visually interesting, tragic and overall very well depicted. The performance from Boris Karloff is an iconic one for all the good reasons as he is great in this role and I also liked Colin Clive’s performance quite a bit.

Frankenstein isn’t without its detractors. The first act is a bit slow and ultimately forgettable. Also, the film isn’t scary and it even should even been a bit more atmospheric. But the biggest problem is its theatricality as some parts are way too over-the-top, mostly some of the action scenes as well as the monster’s snarls which annoyed me.

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Frankenstein Movie Review…………………………………………………

But apart from those three flaws, the film is mostly excellent and it is undoubtedly one of the finest movies of 1931 and one of the best horror films ever made, it certainly should belong on any best horror movie list.

James Whale’s direction is splendid, but the film is also surprisingly well edited and paced. It lasts for just about 70 minutes which is just enough for this story and it is never rushed and is always riveting and very exciting to watch. The structure of the movie is great and in terms of storytelling, it is excellent owing to a superb script.

Frankenstein’s cinematography is mesmerizing! Everything here is absolutely gorgeous to behold. The camera movements are great, the imagery is so memorable and the atmosphere is mostly really well conveyed through some effective black-and-white photography and sets. Those sets are all around magnificent as both the mill and the watch tower are instantly recognizable. The attention to detail is evident and the picture is just a feast for the eyes.

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Frankenstein Movie Review…………………………………………………

It isn’t all that sophisticating as it trades the book’s thematically rich substance for spectacle, but I liked that choice as it fits the film’s sensibilities more. But the film isn’t stupid as it is mostly very realistic and I liked how this creation myth was presented.

The sound effects are very good as is the dialogue and the film’s emotional tone. The monster is portrayed as a tragic figure and there were some truly poignant moments to be had here. But what I liked most about the film is just how unforgettable and influential it is and its importance is evident in almost every scene. It is such a classic horror film for the ages and I loved it both times I saw it.

Frankenstein is such a classic horror film that is instantly memorable and so influential. It is a bit too theatrical at times, but its characters are very well portrayed, the atmosphere is strongly conveyed and the visuals are just magnificent with awesome and instantly recognizable sets. It has an abundance of unforgettable sequences with the creation scene, the girl drowning and the final action sequence being the finest. It is a thoroughly enjoyable, phenomenally crafted film that is one of this genre’s best.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Shallows (2016)

The Shallows Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows is a 2016 survival thriller horror film directed by James Collet-Serra and starring Blake Lively. It is a surprisingly really well crafted and good movie.

It follows a surfer who gets stranded 200 yards from the shore and must use her wits to survive a shark attack. Now this movie of course has a very derivative story and every one of these shark attack movies suffers from that. But it still manages to transcend it with the overall capable execution and some good characterization and subplots.

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Get out of the water, shark!

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The Shallows Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

I loved the main character. Nancy is quite solidly developed, especially for this type of film. She is a medical student who dropped off her studying when her mother got ill. But when she comes in contact with this prehistoric dangerous creature, she changes her outlook and becomes a stronger person. I liked that subplot. And I found Blake Lively’s performance to be pretty good. Not great, but definitely serviceable.

The problem I’ve had with her character is the problem I have with every (mostly female) protagonist in horror flicks. She is just overly capable and lucky to the point of being extremely unrealistic. And especially how she killed the shark in the end seemed just way too implausible and convenient. That entire third act did have giant blockbuster sensibilities to it, something that the movie usually stayed away from earlier.

The Shallows is such a good movie that is flawed, but mostly really satisfying for some obvious reasons. One is its fun nature. The film is so thrilling and so entertaining that I was enthralled from start to finish and its short running time definitely came to an end really quickly for me.

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The Shallows Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

Its technical aspects are also exceptionally strong. The film is well acted and really well directed, but also very well paced and structured. The cinematography is fantastic with excellent action sequences with great camera movements. The scenery is gorgeous and some of the imagery is highly memorable with the whale carcass immediately springing to mind.

And that brings me to my next point. The movie manages to have really interesting imagery and animals in it. Not only do we have the dead whale in it, but also dolphins and of course that jellyfish sequence is really intriguing. But the standout is naturally Steven who is such an endearing and memorable seagull. He is so good and serves as such a great companion to Nancy that he really is such a fantastic supporting character in his own right. I loved everything about him and every scene of his was the highlight for me.

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The Shallows Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

The Shallows is unrealistic for having that unnecessary action near the end, but also for having one shark chase Nancy for such a large portion of time. That was very unrealistic and the shark behavior here is so wrongly portrayed. But this is still a horror movie and a blockbuster for the most part which is why those things can be forgiven. It is mostly a really fun and incredibly well crafted movie that I enjoyed it immensely and found it to be stupendous in almost every way.

The Shallows is unrealistic in its shark behavior and especially in its heroine being typically overly capable/lucky, but the movie is so well crafted, edited, acted and executed with some highly memorable imagery, such a superb supporting character in Steven seagull and a good backstory to the main character. It manages to transcend its derivative storyline thanks to all of those reasons, leading to such a highly satisfying, stupendous and thoroughly entertaining ride.

My Rating – 4

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