Film review: Scream 5

You may ask why the hell would I see the 5th installment of a horror franchise. And you’re right to question that unless you’re an ardent fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. This is a hard review to do without spoilers so bare with me. So here we are: back in Woodsboro and someone starts stabbing kids and it’s a fresh flock of kids, no regular characters to be seen. Sydney, Dewey, and Gail are al doing their own things and of course, get dragged in by a pretty good plot. BTW, I like how they brought back a couple of minor characters from 3 and 4 and nicely tied it to the story. A few small nods to the other films so if you do a rewatch of the previous ones, you’ll catch them. Once they introduce why these kids are being killed and what relationship they have to the OG characters, you’ll tip your hat to a pretty decent idea. Here’s something else that stood out to me, the cinematography…different shots and viewpoints that provide more gravity to the situation. This film also tries getting you to “jump offsides” a lot and by that I mean, try and trick you into thinking that a scare is about to happen. And one of the OG trio finally meets their match and if you didn’t see it coming a mile away when they do, shame on you. It was a huge, “THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN MOMENT” for me.

Let’s take a break in the action and talk about how the mighty have fallen. Courteney Cox, who caught this reviewer’s eye in Ace Ventura, needs to go to the Hague and apply as a victim of a crime against humanity…her plastic surgery. The only thing missing was her looking at a mirror, breaking it against a cart, and laughing maniacally. She had work done for Scream 4 and it was obvious but not overbearingly bad. Now, it’s like a 5 year old with a marker, going all willy nilly and shit. If you were to go back in time and tell 1996 Kevin that Neve Campbell was going to age better than Courteney Cox, I would’ve pushed my bangs aside and choked you with my American Eagle necklace.

The third act really picks up and maintains at a solid pace. A bunch of familiar settings and dialogue but with new twists on it that pay off quite nicely. Obviously, when the reveals are made is when the verdict is in. Does it cash in or are you staring at the screen like they’re forcing you to eat a shit sandwich? Overall, it paid off for me. I mostly bought the logic behind wanting to kill the new batch, despite some of it being recycled. And of course, you have to swallow your tongue during the final battle with a final, “THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN.” Here is a problem I have with this film and other horror films: When one of the characters is being attacked and there are allies present for the attacked, RARELY anyone jumps in. Ghostface and a good guy are wrestling and there’s a gun or knife nearby the fracas. But no one makes a mad dash for the weapon to either kill Ghostface or get the weapon to their friend? And as many times as it’s alluded to in previous Scream films, no one EVER aims for the head, always the chest? I will say I partially guessed the killer combo but didn’t nail the reasons why. This achieved a better meta theme it sought more than part 4 aspired. And that’s a common theme in this film. Right now, the audience and critics both agree this is well above average and they’re right.

I did enjoy this and now I can definitively say that the Scream franchise has a pattern: the odd numbered Screams are good, the even numbered ones are not. Rank them? Sure. 1, 5, 3, 2, 4

7/10

Double Dip Film Reviews: Pet Semetary and Shazam!

Yep, been a little while.  But don’t blame me, blame the slop we’ve been forced to sit through since the new year:  

I watched “Aquaman”, meh.  I did see, “Fighting With My Family.”  Enjoyed it and a nice chunk was the few scenes the Rock was in.  Vince Vaughn also solid in this.  Those are words not many people have written in over 10 years.  Also saw “Captain Marvel.”  Look, it wasn’t as bad as some people made it out to be but it certainly wasn’t good.  And the only thing missing was Samuel L Jackson wearing a postman’s uniform in that film.  Cause he mailed that shit in, big time.  The jokes failed, big time.  But they had the best Stan Lee cameo, big time.  

petsemtary

Honestly is the best policy, except when it comes to dealing with your wife.  I had no desire to see the new Pet Semetary film.  Never read the book, never saw the original film.  But the reviews were coming in much more positively than I expected.  I also expect the Stephen King remakes will be held to a higher caliber as It was fantastic.  So here we go:

Louis Creed (Jason Clarke of the unfortunate Terminator: Genisys) is moving his family up to the country.  Wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and kids Ellie and Gage (Jete Laurence and Hugo Lavoie) along with their cat, Church which is short for Churchill.  No reason given for naming the cat after a Gary Oldman character.  The house the family move into happens to be adjacent to a creepy pet cemetery.  Next door lives Jud (John Lithgow from the evergreen Harry and the Hendersons) who just may know what exactly is going on with said cemetery.  

Cue things going bump in the night, premonitions, the usual suspects of horror films.  Poor Church decides to go one on with a tractor trailer and ends up like a Mortal Kombat Fatality victim.  Neighbor Jud (who would ever saddle their kid with that name) suggests that burying the cat beyond the pet cemetery may benefit the Creed family.  Well guess what?  That’s an Indian burial ground past the cemetery and good ol’ Church just happens to cash in on 1 of the 9 lives.  Although he looks like he just spent all night raging at a fraternity party and ripping off 14 straight wins in beer pong.  Oh wait, that was me, 20 years ago.  

I’ll bet you, gentle reader, that you think that even though that Church may not be the same lovable feline he was before the resurrection.  And you’d be right.  He hisses and scratches more people than a 14 year old girl in a lunchroom brawl.  And then this of course, sends everyone into a panic and more bad things start to happen.  Apparently, one of the major events was changed from the book to this film and yes, King gave his blessing for the change.  And now we’ve crossed into spoiler territory so I shall now circle the wagons.

This film is enjoyable, it delivered what it promised.  Gave me a few jumps, not any cheap scares.  Foresaw most of the ending but the very end, didn’t see that angle.  I did wish they better explained the scene with the procession of children wearing pet masks and why they were doing it.  Otherwise, it’s a fine and fun watch.  Must you see it in a theater?  Not a must.  Will you feel disappointed after dropping $15 on it?  I don’t think so.  

6.5 out of 10

 

shazam

DC Films is like the Sword in the Stone.  Many people tried pulling out the sword without success as DC has pumped out poor film after mediocre/decent film.  Man of Steel, Justice League, Suicide Squad, Batman v Superman…all awful.  Wonder Woman was fine, Aquaman was meh.  And now we have, Shazam.  The guy anyone barely remembers from the Justice League cartoon but had one hell of an entrance.  Now DC drops this into our collective laps, hoping this bird flies after being thrown out of the nest instead of crashing to earth. Avengers: Endgame is out in 3 weeks, this is their only chance to get a hold of something until the Joker comes out in fall.  How does it fare?  Let’s go to the videotape!  

Shazam is the story of Billy Batson, a 14 year old foster kid constantly looking for his mother whom he lost at a winter fair when he was 3.  Billy finds himself escaping bullies on a subway in Philadelphia (No, his superpowers aren’t avoiding white trash or mouth breathing Eagles fans) when he’s suddenly transported to a wizard, also a Shazam, seeking a replacement for his powers.  By yelling, “Shazam!”, Billy turns into the bigger and even older superhero.  The lighthearted approach of discovering Shazam’s superpowers as well as coming of life experiences with his fellow foster brother Freddy Freeman (Jack Glazer) pays off in spades.  The trial and error method while the boys upload their videos to youtube is quite humorous.  It’s kind of Deadpool-ish without the R rated dick jokes.  Not that I’m opposed to them by any stretch though.  What’s the second most important aspect of a superhero film?  Tits.  Just kidding.  Well, they never have those in films unless it’s Barb Wire which was nothing short of a method of torture outlawed by the Geneva Convention.  The villain, you chowderheads!  Mark Strong plays Thaddeus Silvana, one who was also was interviewed by the previous Shazam wizard but had failed the test.  He wants that power and goddamnit, he’s not stopping at nothing to get it.  Silvana enlists the help of the 7 Deadly Sins who are lizard-like that are named after the, ding, 7 deadly sins.  

Well, let’s give credit where credit is due.  This film breaks the streak of shitty/mediocre DC films not named Batman.  Bale, not Affleck.  C’mon, we’re civilized here.  This film is rock solid except for the final battle does lag a bit.  I also observed Batson’s foster family noticeably checks the multicultural boxes: Asian boy, Asian girl, black girl, Hispanic boy, Samoan dad, Hispanic mom, white girl, white guy.  This film hits all marks and finally correctly copies from the Marvel playbook.  Funny how DC has a better film out there now than Marvel does.  I’m MOST shocked that this made ~54 million opening weekend while Aquaman opened to 67 million.  This film is FAR superior to that bread sandwich.

7.5 out of 10