Friday, October 21, 2016

Ouija: Origin of Evil (PG-13/99 Min.)

Had you asked me before this past Tuesday if I’d watch this kind of film, I would have said, “Crap, no!  Those kinds of movies creep me out!!!”  Had you asked me after if I would watch this kind of film again, the answer would be, “Crap, no!  That movie totally creeped me out!”  Then why did I go see it?  First, it’s October.  The one month of the year that I watch lots and lots of scary movies in the safety of my house, a friend’s house, or a movie theater.  Second, I received a free pre-screening pass.  Good reasons, right?  Wrong!

Ouija is about a widowed mother and her two daughters who use the supernatural to scam people out of money.  Unfortunately, they mess with the supernatural one too many times.  The mother brings home a ouija board and immediately ignores all the rules associated with it.  Nice move, mom.  But, don’t get me started about those rules.  Not yet, anyway.  As we quickly saw, there’s a reason that sucker had rules and not following them was so not cool.

I have never, in my life, played with a ouija board.  I’ve never even been around one.  Of course, I was curious when I heard about them but mom nipped that in the bud.  She explained what it was and it scared the stink out of me so badly that I had no further desire to take it beyond curiosity.  Moms are cool like that.  They get paid extra or something.  Needless to say, I very nearly talked myself out of going to see this movie.  But!  I lost that fight.  I usually do.  I just figured I could hide behind my hands like I usually do during scary movies.  Unfortunately, I kept peeking at all the wrong times.  It did help quite a bit that the audience was highly vocal throughout. Even a few of the men hollered during some of the worst scenes.  And the woman behind me kept trying to talk the characters out of doing what they were about to do. 

If you’re looking for a movie, this Halloween season, with a lot of cheap scares and a super creepy story line, then look no further.  This is the movie for you.  If you prefer your scares a little less on the demonic side, you might want to pass this one up.  Speaking of demons, one part of the movie that made it a little less creepy for me was when they showed the demons. I’m not sure what I was expecting but alien-looking critters was not it.  Totally ruined that aspect of it. Granted, consistently showing a young girl with whited-over eyes and a mouth that stretches WAY beyond what is considered normal, pretty much threw it back in the land of “Holy crap!!!”

That little girl may be the biggest reason this movie scared the poo out of a lot of the audience.  It’s one thing to see an adult acting all creepy in these kinds of movies but making a child the center of the scare is another thing altogether.  That girl should get a bonus for being so innocent and so scary all at once.  We felt bad for her because of what was happening and strongly disliked her because of the number of times she jump started our hearts.  It’s been a long, long time since a movie has affected me so badly.  Granted, I grew up on 80s horror and that’s more what I’m drawn to.  It is absolute cheese compared to today’s horror. 

Let me take just a second to discuss the rating of this movie.  PG-13? Really???  I cannot fathom why this movie isn’t rated R.  Yes, I do realize how hypocritical that sounds coming from someone who watched the aforementioned horror movies as a pre-teen and teenager.  Once again, though, while the movies back then were scary, they were all so cookie cutter that you got used to them after a while. Or, they were just so bad they were funny.  Today’s horror films are just different enough from each other that they keep you on your toes. This pre-screening had several young-ish kids at it.  I’m not sure what their parents were thinking but I wonder how bad the nightmares were that night.

I seem to be having some difficulty telling you about the movie without really telling you about the movie.  Let me just say this and then I’ll finish up.  If you, like me, like to fill your Halloween month with scary movies, you might add this to your list. If, however, you like your movies with a little less satanic ritual, you might consider skipping this one.  The one goal of this movie is to scare you and it more than met that goal. 

To the few of you who decide to risk the heart palpitations, I highly recommend staying through the credits.   There was only about 5 or 6 people who stayed after the pre-screening, so a lot of people missed out on the lead-in to a possible sequel.  And ladies, if you go see this with your boyfriend/husband/male friend, you might want to hold his hand.  You don’t want them to get too scared.

Sequel or no, I will not watch this kind of movie again.  Never ever never.  I'll leave those reviews for those who are less faint of heart than I am.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Girl on the Train (R/112 Min.)

Dear Fellow Book Nerds…why did no one tell me about this book?  Because I obviously haven’t been paying attention.   The Girl on the Train was much better than I’d anticipated based on the trailers I saw.  I really didn’t hope for much; just another thriller in which no one believes someone saw what they said they saw.  This is why I should never watch trailers.

The Girl on the Train is about three different women, but mostly it’s about Rachel.  She's sad, she’s lonely, she’s an alcoholic, she’s a dreamer.  Put them all together and it makes for a really bad situation.  The other two are important mainly because of their interactions with Rachel; and because one of them dies.  Okay, if you haven’t seen any trailers and you haven’t read the book, I just ruined part of the movie for you.  But only a little.  The thing is, there are so many things happening in this movie that it’s difficult NOT to spoil it.  I’ll do my best though.

Rachel Watson is played, oh so well, by Emily Blunt.  Let me just say, right now, that if she doesn’t get at least an Oscar nomination for this, I will be completely surprised.  I liked her.  I liked her a lot.  Rachel’s life isn’t going quite as she’d planned.  Things are not working out in her favor and she’s turned to drinking to numb the pain.  Or at least that’s the perception I was given.  I choose to believe that she wasn’t an alcoholic before her world went topsy turvey.  She spends her commutes in to NYC daydreaming about the lives of the people who live in the houses that the train passes every day.  I totally get this.  When I lived in Belgium and took trips with the travel clubs to Germany, I did the exact same thing.  The bus would pass all these cute little houses and I’d wonder about the people inside.  I love Europe.  Sigh.  Okay, back to the movie.  Rachel’s dreams take an abrupt detour when she sees something that kills the daydream and angers her to the point of violence.  Or does it???

Megan Hipwell is played by Haley Bennett.  I have no idea what else I’ve seen her in but I didn’t like her in this.  Was she a bad actress?  I didn’t think so.  I just didn’t like her character.  Sadly, I see a bit of me in her and I didn’t much care for that mirror, thank you very much.  Besides that, though, she just isn’t a good person.  And, unfortunately for her, she attracts a certain type of man.  She didn’t seem to have a bad boy phase.  She’s having a bad boy life.

Anna Watson is played by Rebecca Ferguson.  I liked her a lot.  Even though she didn’t like our protagonist.  Honestly, though.  She had good reason not to.  Or did she???  At first I thought she was spineless and a bit wishy-washy but it all gets explained and you will totally understand why she seems a bit of a victim throughout most of the movie.  It’s just not her week.

If, for some reason, you missed that this movie is R-rated and you’re wondering if it’s okay for young children the answer is a resounding NO!  I think the rating should be enough but let me go ahead and break it down for you.

Nudity/Sex – Yes.  And YES!  Enough said.
Drinking/Drugs – Drinking…lots.  Drugs…none that I noticed.
Cussing – Ummm…yeah.  It wasn’t 21 Jump Street bad, but the favored word in this film was the F-word and they tossed it around with great abandon.  I think I counted around 50 times it was used.  Granted, some of them were in a video that we saw/heard a couple of times but I still think it should count.  A couple of other words were used but the total on those, unless I missed any, came to three.  Seriously. 
Violence – You betcha.  I was almost to the cover-my-eyes-and-ears stage of one act.  Yes, I am a big baby when it comes to certain acts of violence.  And I hope I never get numb to that.  I’m bad enough as it is.  The other main one was icky but also made the audience laugh.  I’m sure that wasn’t the intention but it was a very surreal gross/funny moment that couldn’t be helped.

If you like suspense or thrillers, go see this.  If you like Emily Blunt and can handle violence, sex, and cussing, go see this.  If you like to spend a movie guessing what’s going to happen and you’re okay with the things mentioned above…go see this.  I didn’t even bother trying to guess.  I jumped in to the movie feet first and went along for the, oh so twisted, ride.  

By the way, if Emily does get nominated for an Academy Award (hint hint Academy people!!!), I can tell you exactly what scene they will show on Oscar night.  The bathroom scene.  I’m just sayin’.   Enjoy the movie!