Horror

HEREDITARY

Director
Ari Aster

(Feature film debut)

Stars
Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro and Ann Dowd

Yes, my fellow horror film enthusiasts, HEREDITARY is finally here. The film whose trailer was inadvertently shown to horrified PETER RABBIT audience members in Innaloo, Western Australia. The horror movie that has been the subject of much hype right from its Sundance premier in January to this very day where, one way or another, many critics have labelled it as one of the greatest and scariest horror flicks in recent years.

Time now to shred that hype and set the record straight! HEREDITARY is the master of deception more than it is the masterpiece many are making it out to be. As for being scary, I’ve been more frightened by what my bathroom mirror reflection has shown me first thing in the morning than anything experienced in this! Though guaranteed to rip you off in the scares department, one area that HEREDITARY certainly offers value for money is in its story. In fact, should you be seeing this rather lengthy, mysterious and supernatural domestic drama, it is best to attend with that exact mindset.

All happenings of the supernatural phenomena can be traced back to the recently deceased and very secretive mother of Annie Graham (Toni Collette). Though Annie’s mother is gone, she isn’t really and she’s left behind several signs and artefacts that will both guide and terrorise Annie, her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), son Peter (Alex Wolff) and daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) to her legacy. 

Image result for HEREDITARY FILM STILLS

Loosely inspired by writer & director Ari Aster’s own family’s experiences with particular themes explored in his movie, HEREDITARY is an ambitious film that falls under the weight of its own lofty expectations and epitomises the phrase “what goes up, must come down.”

Making this eventual outcome even more disappointing is the fact that earlier on, HEREDITARY superbly executes and effortlessly achieves exactly what it intends to. Possible clues behind its growing mysteriousness appear to be strategically arranged and an endless number of questions are studiously provoked from the viewer. The intrinsically formed creative intellect and originality used to construct the tantalising (and comically unnerving) mystery at play in HEREDITARY are all reminiscent of last year’s ingenious mystery/thriller, GET OUT, only with the promise of an even more terrifying climax and unpredictable revelations soon to follow. Instead and by the end, HEREDITARY more resembles and sparks reactions similar to those experienced in Darren Aronovsky’s MOTHER!

Image result for HEREDITARY FILM STILLS

Ari Aster’s screenplay is abundant with ideas and his film does have some high quality fittings, but HEREDITARY’s separate parts don’t amalgamate into the coherent and consistent whole that we deserve it to be. Too often it has succumbed to committing a fright tactic that is less convincing and there are some noticeable inconsistencies that lessen its credibility. As patience is tested and frustrations mount at varying times during the disarraying and decaying second half of HEREDITARY, it is features such as the exquisite camerawork, its highly effective music score and an impressive job of the sound mixing that will all play a large part in keeping viewers as engrossed as possible. But maybe not to the same significant extent as the gripping and very brave performance from the terrific Toni Collette and the outstanding feature film acting debut from her young co-star, Milly Shapiro (pictured below).

Despite a decent three star rating from me, HEREDITARY is (so far) the greatest let down of 2018.

3 stars

Image result for HEREDITARY FILM STILLS
Viewer Discretion
MA15+ (Strong horror themes)

Trailer
HEREDITARY

Moviedoc thanks Studiocanal for the invite to the screening of this film

Review by Leigh for Moviedoc
Follow on Twitter – Moviedoc / LIKE on Facebook – @moviedoc13

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CARGO

Directors
Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke
(Feature film debut)

Stars
Martin Freeman, Simone Landers, Susie Porter and Anthony Hayes

A feature-length remake of their 2013 short film by the same name, Ben Howling & Yolanda Ramke’s CARGO is an Australian post-apocalyptic drama/thriller that carries more than enough suspense to please fans of the genre and contains a universally human story on-board that’s bound to broaden its appeal just as much as the casting of its international star.

English import Martin Freeman (THE HOBBIT trilogy, BLACK PANTHER) is Andy, whose number one priority is to keep his wife, Kay (Susie Porter) and baby daughter, Rosie, safe from a virus outbreak that has turned most of the population into zombies. Andy is well aware that it takes just 48 hours to fully transition from man to monster once someone becomes infected. Fortunately, this horrifying reality is one that the family of three have managed to avoid, having lived together in a houseboat that is slowly drifting along a river somewhere in outback Australia. When they are forced to leave their floating abode due to running low on food, they become exposed to new dangers from the moment that they set foot on land.

20.Cargo_day05_13 Andy (Martin Freeman) and Kay (Susie Porter)

A generous number of filmmaking features will receive their deserved recognition in this review, but first, let’s get straight to the stand-out of them all. 

To begin, it is merely a minor sub-plot operating in the background of the picture. The story of a young indigenous girl named Thoomi (Simone Landers), whose mission is very similar to Andy’s where she too is protecting a loved one from the dangers of the world, rises in prominence with each passing minute. The inclusion of this character and the development of sections of the plot brought forth via Thoomi represent indigenous culture and characters in an empowering manner that has never been executed before. As an added bonus, this same great achievement results in this zombie movie being markedly different from any other and also stamps CARGO as an identifiable and uniquely Australian production. This Oz-zom (Aussie zombie) flick continues to impress with its sweeping cinematography work and a largely atmospheric music score. Filmed entirely in South Australia, the reoccurring aerial shots enhance the isolation, beauty and brutality of the post-apocalyptic world being depicted and the diverse mix of sound and music consistently heighten the level of suspense.

In fact, that suspense casts an immediate stranglehold over you right from the opening minutes of the film. For the entire opening act, it rarely eases. A couple of paths that CARGO treads down from this point forward do normalise the film to a certain extent, which does ease some of its tension. Even if CARGO doesn’t re-produce the same potency in suspense it did before, the strong presence of Martin Freeman in the lead role and the fate that awaits each character mentioned in this review is always an involving journey to be a part of and is perfectly ended.

3 ½ stars

19.CARGO Thoomi (Simone Landers

Viewer Discretion
MA15+ (Strong horror themes, violence and coarse language)

Trailer
CARGO

Moviedoc thanks Umbrella Entertainment for the invite to the screening of this film

Review by Leigh for Moviedoc
Follow on Twitter – Moviedoc / LIKE on Facebook – @moviedoc13

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A QUIET PLACE

Director
John Krasinski

(THE HOLLARS)

Stars
John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe

On paper, A QUIET PLACE is working with a whole lot less than most other movies that belong to the same genre. On screen, this daring and darn good thriller/horror feature film achieves so much more.

Right from its riveting opening sequence, A QUIET PLACE tellingly states its case as an unsettling film to watch. Something which it upholds right until the very end.

Off-screen husband and wife John Krasinski and Emily Blunt star as a married couple who live by one simple and very necessary rule – never make a sound. They, along with their two sons (one of which is portrayed by WONDER’s Noah Jupe) and hearing-impaired daughter (played by Millicent Simmonds, who is also deaf in real-life) all rely on sign language as their primary form of communication. Together, they must bravely remain living in silence to keep safe from several fast-moving, monstrous creatures who inhabit Earth that rely on sound to attack.

Image result for a quiet place the abbott family film stills
The most notable contrasts to other creature features in A QUIET PLACE is the significant reduction in dialogue and characters throughout the entire film, its heavy use of sign language and the aforementioned modus operandi of its predators. These more original concoctions not only result in a fairly unique horror movie experience but also drag viewer’s right into its deserted world and apprehensive atmosphere more potently. Very rarely does A QUIET PLACE allow itself to succumb to the makings of a generic horror movie. In fact, the only real criticism I have are few too many overlooked flaws that result in the film falling short of achieving overall completeness.

Director, producer, star and co-writer, John Krasinski (best known for acting in the U.S. version of TV comedy series The Office) has impressively found inventive and subtle methods to inform viewers of some need-to-know information, which do contribute towards elevating his film. Of equal impressiveness is the conception and visual design work of the creatures. Those of you who may hold any concern that A QUIET PLACE also offers less visual horror will endorse the fact that there are regular sightings of the frightening creatures. Furthermore, the unobtrusive and appropriately applied music score frequently raises tension levels and ensures that A QUIET PLACE is no silent film. Rather, it has made substantial noise to the thriller/horror genre that ought to be heard.

3 ½ stars

Image result for a quiet place emily blunt film stills

Viewer Discretion
M (Horror themes and violence)

Trailer
A QUIET PLACE

Another above-average horror feature, which are also original in its own way that will interest you is IT FOLLOWS.

Moviedoc thanks Paramount Pictures for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Leigh for Moviedoc
Follow on Twitter – Moviedoc / LIKE on Facebook – @moviedoc13

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The Open House

Director/s
Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote

Stars
Dylan Minnette, Piercey Dalton

One thing is certain after watching The Open House; Netflix still has a way to go if it’s to become the behemoth it seems destined to be in terms of film production.

This recent Netflix original offering had all the potential to be something great; an up and coming star, a great story idea and a picturesque setting, but boy did it fail to deliver.

The story revolves around Naomi (Piercey Dalton) and Logan (Dylan Minnette; 13 Reasons Why, Goosebumps), as a mother and her teenage son who, through tragic family circumstance, are forced to move into Naomi’s sisters secluded mountain holiday house. This premise alone creates more questions than answers about the motivations of our lead characters. It’s never fully explained why said tragedy means that Naomi and Logan cannot stay in their home, or why they couldn’t stay with other friends or family closer to home so Logan could finish high school. Instead we’re meant to believe that the best option is to move to the middle of nowhere, into a house that also happens to be on the market.

Anyway, let’s assume for a minute that this decision makes sense; we’re now thrust into the mountains, complete with creepy neighbours that appear from nowhere, and into a house that neither of the characters have ever been to, despite being owned by Naomi’s sister. Nothing weird about that. As mentioned, this house is also on the market and apparently has a recurring ‘open house’ every Sunday that requires Naomi and Logan to vacate the premises for about 8 hours. Seems plausible. Now this is where things should be getting interesting, however the Writer/Directors (relative newcomers Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote) start to play on all the familiar archetypes of this genre of film, but without doing any of it particularly well. Things are being moved around the house by some strange presence, the water heater is always turning off with Naomi in the shower (which apparently renders all of the water in the house immediately freezing), and creepy neighbours are doing their creeping…you get the gist. What starts to become clear is that this film is wasting the time of its actors. Dylan Minnette in particular, is solid throughout, but neither actor has the script to make their performance really meaningful.

There’s laziness to this film which really disappoints. It almost feels like two friends got together over a bottle or 6 of wine, had what they thought was a brilliant idea for a movie, got half way through and realized that no good decisions are made under the influence. The last 20 minutes of the film should have been what redeemed it, but instead it became the final nail in its cheap, pine casket. The ending felt rushed, like when you’re writing an essay in an exam and realize you’ve got 5 minutes left to try and make your point, and only after you’ve left the exam do you remember that you forgot to add the most important part.

The Open House “coulda been a contender”, but instead will be forgotten as an absolute pretender.

1 ½ stars

TRAILER

BEST & WORST MOVIES OF 2017 including the highlights and some low-lights

Hello everyone

Firstly, a huge thank you for every review you have read, liked, shared, commented on and even chatted to me about in person. Thanks to you and your incredible support, I had a very productive year of film watching and reviewing!

In total, I got to see and review 141 films officially released in 2017 alone, which is 15 more than I was able to see at this same time in 2016! Of these, more than 25 movies received a 4 star rating from me, so I have compiled a ‘Best 25’ list this year as well as a ‘Worst 5’.

I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading this post. I also hope you take away a handful of films to see that you’ve never previously heard of or watched!
As always, please get in touch to share your views and best & worst movies.

I look forward to your continued support and interaction in what will be an even bigger and busier year of film watching & reviewing in 2018, where I hope to review a monthly classic and bring a review or two fresh from my attendance at film festivals!

Moviedoc 🙂

Moviedoc’s Best 25 Movies of 2017

25
WONDER
4 stars

A beautiful and meaningful story featuring a great cast that will make you cry a little but feel plenty of joy

24
PADDINGTON 2
4 stars

As sweet as marmalade itself and a sequel that’s every bit as good, if not better, than the first film. Paddington is no one-trick teddy bear!

23
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
4 stars

Arguably and in my opinion, this is the best rendition of Batman, ever! Utterly hilarious at times and scores Moviedoc’s #1 spot (just!) for best family film of 2017!

22
INGRID GOES WEST 
4 stars

All at once, this is an uncomfortably funny, dreadfully saddening and downright frightening exposé of just how far a social media addiction and obsession can take a person. Highly recommended!

21
GIFTED
4 stars

A splendid drama! One of the most underrated films of 2017! If you haven’t already, it is time to unwrap this true gift of a film.

20
THE BIG SICK
4 stars

A broadly appealing and wholly accessible romantic comedy-drama that’s not only based on a true story but even stars one of the real-life subjects; stand-up comedian, actor and writer, Kumail Nanjiani

19
BABY DRIVER
4 stars

It’s been a solid year for heist movies and this is the best of them. Flawless car chase sequences and an outstanding music score drive this slick and unique heist film. Hopefully BABY DRIVER won’t lose popularity due to co-starring Kevin Spacey, for it absolutely deserves to be seen.

18
MISS SLOANE
4 stars

Enthralling! I’ve been told those who are into TV Series “House of Cards” will want to see this. Sorry for making another connection to Kevin Spacey!

17
FENCES

4 stars

Can be a challenge to watch, especially during the first half. However, Denzel Washington’s Oscar-nominated performance playing a character he’s portrayed on Broadway 114 times before and Viola Davis’s Oscar-winning acting are so stellar in a movie that becomes absolutely riveting

16
THE BEGUILED
4 stars

Beautifully filmed and impeccably acted by one of the stand-out ensemble casts of the year. An excellent film from director Sofia Coppola.

15
MOONLIGHT
4 stars

You haven’t seen a story quite like the one told in MOONLIGHT before. This is the Best Picture Winner at the 2017 Academy Awards earlier this year. Brave and heartfelt storytelling.

14
MOUNTAIN
4 stars

A majestic and breathtaking cinematic experience. The Australian-made MOUNTAIN is 2017’s best documentary feature.

13
THE SALESMAN
4 stars

This is acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s (THE PAST, A SEPARATION) latest feature film. An immaculately devised and strongly executed domestic drama with a gripping finale.

12
DUNKIRK
4 stars

A minimalist war film that draws maximum anxiety and exacts a claustrophobic stranglehold over its viewers from start to end thanks largely to the ever-present score by Oscar-winning film composer, Hans Zimmer

11
HOUNDS OF LOVE
4 stars

A similar breed of film to 2011’s SNOWTOWN, HOUNDS OF LOVE is an unnerving and tense dramatic thriller that showcases an outstanding music score, cinematography and acting. The best Australian film of 2017.

10
LAND OF MINE
4 stars

An Oscar-nominated foreign film taking place after WWII, which depicts a group of very young German POWs sent to Denmark to clear thousands of hidden land mines. Stomach-turning tension is guaranteed.

9
LOVING VINCENT
4½ stars

The first-ever oil painted feature film about Vincent van Gogh is never solely limited to its visual capabilities. A sublime film.

8
SILENCE
4½ stars

Martin Scorsese’s passion project and three-hour epic is a bravely written piece that is expertly penned toward the most religiously devout. A near-masterpiece.

7
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
4½ stars

The PLANET OF THE APES film series is now officially one of my favourites, if not my absolute favourite film franchise. Combines mesmerising CGI and cinematography with a powerful and relevant story that has a strong message for humankind. I just love it!

6
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
4½ stars

The storytelling structure, its well-studied account of key themes and the honesty of its writing and character depiction achieves MANCHESTER BY THE SEA A-grade status.

5
PERFECT STRANGERS
4½ stars

What happens when a close-knit group of friends meet for dinner and share every text message, email and phone call received with one another? You will want to find out! Italian comedy PERFECT STRANGERS features one of the most cleverly conceived and carefully-considered screenplay’s of the year.

4
GET OUT
4½ stars

Movies as genius as this are few and far between. Masterfully and studiously crafted, intelligently written and flawlessly executed, GET OUT is a broadly appealing and accessible horror film at heart that functions as a menacing mystery invite to all. If you haven’t already, please accept your invitation, pronto! You will not regret it.

3
LADY MACBETH
4½ stars

Witness one of the most conceivably written, daring and exciting character transitions seen in recent years. This fierce, fearless and electrifying film turns the period drama genre on its head in near flawless fashion and is the breakout film for its star, Florence Pugh, who is scintillating. Unmissable!

2
DOWNSIZING
5 stars

The last film to receive 5 stars from me was THE HUNT in 2013! Well, it had to take something very special to break that lengthy drought. Simply put, you have never seen a film quite like DOWNSIZING before. It is extraordinary. I admired its continual refusal to yield to any form of mainstream cinema convention, despite being a mainstream-friendly release. It also unearths one of the truest & most beautifully conceived and written characters I’ve seen in any film. Hong Chau (from acclaimed TV Series Big Little Lies) is just superb as Ngoc Lan Tran, in what is one of this year’s acting highlights. Absolutely amazing in every way imaginable.

THE BEST MOVIE OF 2017

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME 
5 Stars

It took me until February, 2018 to see this sensual and picturesque masterpiece. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME not only met my high expectations, it by far exceeded them. This slow-building drama set in northern Italy during a hot summer in 1983 is so precise and honest yet powerfully subtle in its articulation of the complex emotions and sensitive scenarios involving its characters. It takes some time for the forthcoming relationship to develop, yet does so organically and in complete avoidance of all stereotypes. By the time its extraordinarily moving and meaningful finale arrives, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME simply overwhelms. The ultimate meaning and key themes of this beautifully produced film earn an equal amount of appreciation as the stunning production, stand-out score and immaculate performances achieve.

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Moviedoc’s Worst 5 Movies of 2017

5
BAYWATCH
1 ½ stars

Not even the charismatic Dwayne Johnson can save BAYWATCH from drowning in its own dump.


4
CHIPS
1 ½ stars

Unfunny. Sexist. Nasty. Avoid!


3
JIGSAW
1 star

Jigsaw may do a Jesus by way of his resurrection, however he is certainly no saviour to the eternal damnation sentenced upon the viewer in this dreadful reboot. Now, please stay dead.

2
SNATCHED
1 star

Goldie Hawn should have remained in her fifteen-year movie hibernation. Terrible movie.

THE WORST MOVIE OF 2017

T H E  M U M M Y
1 star

An unacceptable first instalment in Universal’s rather forced Dark Universe film series that seemingly exists purely to rival Marvel and the like. Yet sadly, THE MUMMY still grossed $409.1 million worldwide, which means there’ll probably be more to come. A score of just 5.5 on IMDB and 16% on Rotten Tomatoes more than justifies why this utterly dreadful reboot is the worst of the 141 movies released this year I have seen.

Still with me? Good! Now we go to some highlights and low-lights of 2017

The acting stand-outs of 2017

Timothée Chalamet in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Hong Chau – DOWNSIZING
Florence Pugh – LADY MACBETH
Danielle MacDonald – PATTI CAKE$
James Franco – THE DISASTER ARTIST
Emma Booth and Stephen Curry – HOUNDS OF LOVE
Naomie Harris – MOONLIGHT
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis – FENCES
Aubrey Plaza – INGRID GOES WEST
Teresa Palmer – BERLIN SYNDROME
Barry Keoghan – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
Sonia Braga – AQUARIUS
Oscar Isaac – SUBURBICON
Hugh Grant – PADDINGTON 2
John Lithgow and Salma Hayek – BEATRIZ AT DINNER
Nicole Kidman – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER & THE BEGUILED
Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar – LION
Pierre Niney and Paula Beer – FRANTZ
Brian Cox – CHURCHILL
Jessica Rothe – HAPPY DEATH DAY
Tiffany Haddish – GIRLS TRIP
Sally Hawkins – MAUDIE
Hugo Weaving – JASPER JONES

Films to add to your watch list not in my Best 25 from 2017

PATRIOT’S DAY
LIFE
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
THEIR FINEST
A MONSTER CALLS
COLOSSAL
LION
COLLATERAL BEAUTY
SUBURBICON
THE BOSS BABY
BERLIN SYNDROME
LOGAN
THE DISASTER ARTIST (But watch clips from YouTube of THE ROOM first, if you haven’t already seen it!)

Most over-rated and/or most disappointing films from 2017

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
JACKIE
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
VICTORIA & ABDUL
THINGS TO COME
THE SNOWMAN
A CURE FOR WELLNESS
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
LOVING
A SILENT VOICE
ALONE IN BERLIN
TRESPASS AGAINST US
GOLD
THE FLORIDA PROJECT

The highlights in films from 2017

Hong Chau’s character in DOWNSIZING
The uniquely hand-painted visual experience in LOVING VINCENT
The extreme slo-mo’s in HOUNDS OF LOVE
The development of the relationship and the first intimate scene between Elio and Oliver in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
The atmosphere and the battle sequences staged in DUNKIRK
The real footage of a tightrope walk between two mountain peaks in MOUNTAIN
The final dinner table scene in THE BEGUILED
The car chase sequences and the music score in BABY DRIVER
A reaction from a particular water monster in THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
The birthday party sequence & guest arrivals in TONI ERDMANN
The visual and aural experience in GHOST IN THE SHELL
The dialogue and its delivery from Tiffany Haddish in GIRLS TRIP
The final action sequence on the ice in Iceland in THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

Best horror film

GET OUT
(A clear stand-out, however if that’s not scary enough for you, then try out IT COMES AT NIGHT, HAPPY DEATH DAY and IT. None of these films managed to scare me though!)

Best crying film
A MONSTER CALLS
(Even though its title suggests this belongs in the above category! Not the first time director J.A. Bayona has claimed this spot at the end of the year. THE IMPOSSIBLE was his previous movie)

Best lol film

PERFECT STRANGERS
(However, if you want something more mainstream, then try THE DISASTER ARTIST and GIRLS TRIP)

Best love story or romantic film

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Most unique/strange films

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
MOTHER!

Highest Grossing Film – Worldwide

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
($1.26 Billion)

Highest Grossing Film – In Australia

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 
($36.3 Million)

Compiled by Moviedoc
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BETTER WATCH OUT

Director
Chris Peckover 
(Undocumented)

Stars
Levi Miller, Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Virginia Madsen and Patrick Warburton

This Australian-American co-production, shot in Sydney, has been described as HOME ALONE meets THE STRANGERS. A psycho-thriller starring three internationally known young Australian stars – Levi Miller (PAN, RED DOG: TRUE BLUE), Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould (lead actors from M. Night Shyamalan’s THE VISIT), BETTER WATCH OUT won’t be forgotten in a hurry for those who are brave enough to persevere with it!

In the lead up to Christmas, Robert and Deandra Lerner (Patrick Warburton and Virginia Madsen) arrange for their regular babysitter, Ashley (DeJonge) to mind their son, Luke (Miller) while they attend an evening function. Despite being a number of years older than him and aged at just twelve himself, Luke possesses a sizable crush on Ashley and his plans to reveal that tonight, but has his intentions thwarted when an intruder breaks into his home. As Ashley protects herself and Luke during a snowy night in this quiet American suburb, it is soon discovered that this is no normal home invasion.


Before even considering adding BETTER WATCH OUT to your watch list, you ought to know that the faux plot synopsis as mentioned above only temporarily resides for the sole intention of leading us closer to its real premise, which is much more dark, daunting and disturbing. To tell you the truth, once it becomes clear what’s really going on, and just how far the script is prepared to go with this, that ultimate premise is a mightily tough sell. At times throughout, it can be difficult to discern what exact reaction BETTER WATCH OUT is aiming to provoke and what feelings it intends for its viewers to have. Especially if you enter the cinema with the incorrect impression that this film is categorised as a comedy/horror. This uncomfortable psycho-thriller is in dire need of either a sub-plot to offer the occasional distraction from its disconcerting trajectory and/or more pronounced psychological depth attributed to its antagonists in order for it to not be as tough a pill to swallow as it is.

In any case, the story written by Zack Kahn (TV series Mad) must be commended for venturing into territory that many others rarely dare to go. Special mention must also be made to the undoubtedly challenging acting roles filled by Olivia DeJonge and Levi Miller. Their strong and committed performances help to keep viewers glued to the screen, regardless of whether BETTER WATCH OUT is reprehensible or rewarding for you to watch.

2 ½ stars


Viewer Discretion

MA15+ (Strong themes, violence and coarse language, some disturbing scenes)

Trailer
BETTER WATCH OUT

Moviedoc thanks Rialto Distribution and Ned & Co for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc
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JIGSAW

Directors
Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
(PREDESTINATION, DAYBREAKERS)

Stars
Matt Passmore, Hannah Emily Anderson, Brittany Allen, Mandela Van Peebles, Paul Braunstein, Laura Vandervoort, Callum Keith Rennie and Tobin Bell

Like puzzles? Then have a crack at making these mismatched pieces fit together.

This is the first internationally produced feature film to be directed by two rising stars in the movie making business – German-born Australians and identical twin brothers, Michael and Peter Spierig. This film by the Spierig Brothers is an attempt to reboot the dead and buried SAW movie franchise. Speaking of dead and buried, the titular villain of this film did indeed die in SAW III, ten years ago.

In what is very much a new puzzle with the same old pieces applied, JIGSAW begins by connecting its opening police chase sequence to a group of five strangers who awake to discover they are being held captive in horrifying conditions. The quintet soon learn that their mysterious kidnapper wants to play sadistic games of torture and isn’t willing to yield unless they begin spilling the beans behind their secret that has upset the moral compass of their captor and landed them in this helpless position. As the game gruesomely unfolds, a working group of police, detectives and medical experts analyse clues and evidence found that leads them to one key suspect – the deceased killer known as Jigsaw.

Jigsaw may do a Jesus by way of his resurrection, however he is certainly no saviour to the eternal damnation sentenced upon the viewer in this dreadful reboot.

Scary, but not in any manner that horror-enthusiasts seek, JIGSAW‘s scriptwriters have made the alarming mistake of believing that their unoriginal, unintelligent and assumptive screenplay has the ability to surprise, and then some. With the exception of one particular twist that you may not see coming, purely due to blinding you with its stupidity, every single character and plot development is extremely predictable and often equally lame. The once creatively and disturbingly conceived games being played on the victims, then played on the mind of us as its viewers as per the original SAW movie, remains a win of the past. Whether intentional to conceal explanations that the writers know don’t make much sense or whether just due to poor sound mixing, the music and sound effects regularly overpower the films dialogue. All of those desirable features that draw horror fans to a movie such as this are rarely sighted. Furthermore, there are no genuine scares or seat-adjusting jumps, no thrills or chills and very little fun, if any at all. Had some thought and care been attributed to just some of the irksome characters that reside in JIGSAW, then you might be reading a slightly less negative review. Nevertheless, woeful characters and performances from an ensemble cast that mostly appear to have been randomly assembled from several seasons of America’s Next Top Model display a grade of acting that’s as bad as you’ll see on the big screen this year.

Well, hopefully not see. Avoid.

1 star

Viewer Discretion 
MA15+ (Strong themes and strong horror violence)

Trailer
JIGSAW

Moviedoc thanks Studiocanal and Asha Holmes Publicity for the invite to the screening of this film

Review by Moviedoc
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