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Deep Blue Sea – The Podcast – Episode 48: Deep Rising (1998), Lunkheads, and Beach Balls

June 7, 2021

You can listen to Deep Blue Sea – The Podcast on Apple Podcasts, SpreakerSpotify, Tunein, Podcast Addict, Amazon, Google Podcasts, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to like our Facebook page!

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Jay and Mark take a break from Deep Blue Sea, and talk about the 1998 film Deep Rising. Directed by Stephen Sommers, and starring Treat Williams, Famke Janssen, Wes Studi and a jet ski, the film focuses on what happens when a gigantic sea monster attacks a cruise ship. In this episode, they discuss lunkheads, beach balls, and squishy monsters. Enjoy!

The Deep Blue Sea 3 series starts next week! Make sure you watch it, and follow along.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – An Earnest Horror Film That Mixes Up The Conjuring Formula

June 7, 2021

Quick Thoughts – B – The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a breezy horror film that is worth watching for the excellent chemistry of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson

The third installment of The Conjuring franchise won’t achieve the critical and financial success of its two predecessors, but the new format (there’s a fun mystery) and likable characters make it a worthy addition to the franchise. Director Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona) has made a visually interesting “whodunit” that is based on the trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, a murder trial that took place in 1981 Connecticut. Basically, a young man named Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor) becomes possessed by a demon during an exorcism of a young child, and he goes on to stab his girlfriend’s boss 22 times while possessed. Instead of pleading guilty, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) have him claim demonic possession as a plea.The demonic possession plea becomes worldwide news that isn’t taken too kindly by the presiding judge, which means Arne will be possibly be sentenced to death if he’s found guilty So, it’s up to Ed and Lorraine to figure out what/who is possessing him, and that leads them towards a wildly dangerous foe.

What follows is a fun murder mystery which refreshingly has much less weight to it than the Warren’s other two cases. A fun wrinkle in the story involves Ed suffering a heart attack after a demon child punches him in the chest (it’s wild). So, needing extra help, he and Lorraine employ the help of Arne’s girlfriend Debbie Glatzel (Sarah Catherine Hook), Father Gordon (Steve Coulter), and Drew Thomas (Shannon Kook), so can they dive into occult studies that lead them to Kastner (John Noble – I miss Fringe), a former priest who has knowledge of the Disciples of the Ram Cult (AKA bad business). Kastner informs them that they should probably run the other way as this particular brand of Satanist is super nasty, and any curse that they place has to be seen through, or their souls are taken to hell. Eventually, they learn that they have to destroy the altar of the occultist to stop the curse, which is easier said than done because they have no clue where to find it.

The rest of the film is a lot of fun, and it’s admirable how earnestly it’s played. The movie works because of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, who after several films have a lived-in chemistry that give it a lot of credibility. The two sell everything, and it doesn’t matter how silly it is, they make everything that much more believable. The cinematography by Michael Burgess (The Nun) is excellent, as he keeps finding ways to make big houses feel bigger, and waterbeds look devious. After working as a camera operator of movies like The Avengers, The Lincoln Lawyer, and The Conjuring, it’s neat to see him working as the DP on a major film. 

Final thoughtsThe Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a fun horror experience that won’t linger long in your memory.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw – A Welcome Addition to the Saw Franchise

June 5, 2021

Quick thoughts – B- – Spiral: From the Book of Saw is a glossy continuation of the Saw saga that is made better by the presence of Chris Rock.

Directed by Saw veteran Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV), Spiral is a welcome addition to the Saw franchise as it provides new characters, decent kills, and an entirely new plot that doesn’t need to tie other films together. It’s neat that Chris Rock was a fan of the franchise, and after pitching an idea to Lionsgate, they let him star in the film, and be an executive producer. The end result never reaches the iconic heights of the 2004 original, but it’s fun watching Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson being a part of the Saw world.

Spiral revolves around a “game” loving murderer who is killing off corrupt police detectives in wildly intricate ways. The kills are reminiscent of the Jigsaw murders from years prior, and once again (like in the OG franchise) the killer singles out a police detective named Zeke Banks (Chris Rock), and his new partner William Schenk (Max Minghella) for the games. Banks is an interesting choice to take lead on the case, as he is universally disliked in his precinct because years prior he turned in his corrupt partner after he killed a witness. This leads to Zeke being shot when other detectives ignored his backup calls, and he’s only kept on the force because his dad Marcus Banks (Samuel L. Jackson), is a famous local detective who makes sure nobody else harasses him. 

What follows is a fun mystery that involves ripped out tongues, glass shards, and creepy puppets. It’s fun watching Chris Rock in full-detective mode, and you buy into his sweat-drenched character as he struggles with finding the killer, and dealing with a precinct of corrupt detectives who don’t want to help him. The kills in the film aren’t memorable like the reverse bear trap, shotgun carousel, or the needle pit games that still induce nightmares. However, they do provide a wicked charm and don’t feel too familiar after eight movies worth of gruesome traps. 

The cinematography by Jordan Oram, the guy who shot music videos for Drake, Usher, Coldplay, and Future (watch the Life is Good short) is much-less grungy than Saw 1-7, and still somehow more grungy than Jigsaw (which is good). Also, the costume design by Laura Montgomery (What We Do in the Shadows) is solid, and it’s nice seeing people wearing sweaty clothes as they inhabit an extremely hot city (this is rarer than you think). The script by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger (they also wrote Jigsaw) gives away a few killer hints early on, but still provides enough twists-and-turns to make the 93 minutes fly by.

Final thoughts – It never captures the gritty glory of the 2004 film, but Spiral does enough to provide a bloody good time.

Deep Blue Sea – The Podcast – Episode 47: Chessboards, Time Loop Scenarios, and The Practical Clothing Realm

June 4, 2021

You can listen to Deep Blue Sea – The Podcast on Apple Podcasts, SpreakerSpotify, Tunein, Podcast Addict, Amazon, Google Podcasts, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to like our Facebook page!

Please make sure to rate, review, share, and subscribe!

Jay and Mark are joined by returning guest Nick Rehak (@TheRehak on Twitter) to discuss the 10th and final chapter of the Deep Blue Sea 2 DVD. In this episode, they discuss time loop scenarios, Slaterisms, and the Billboard Top 100 of August 28th, 1999. Enjoy!

We hope you enjoyed our coverage of Deep Blue Sea 2, and we hope you’re ready for Deep Blue Sea 3!

Plan B: A Fun Road Trip Comedy By Director Natalie Morales

June 1, 2021

Quick ThoughtsPlan B is a fun road trip film that features standout performances from Kuhoo Verma (The Big Sick) and Victoria Morales (Teen Wolf). It will be fun to see what director Natalie Morales does next. 

Directed by Natalie Morales (so good in Dead to Me, Language Lessons, and The Santa Clarita Diet), Plan B is a refreshing film full of humor, likable performances and chase scenes that take place in mud. The script by Prathiksha Srinivasan and Joshua Levy blends heart and raunch well, and their script moves the film along at a breakneck speed that covers a lot of ground, and somehow allows the characters to have moments to breathe and converse. Also, the Syracuse (standing in for South Dakota) filming locations add a nice rural touch to the film, and give the same a unique look that stands apart from films like Booksmart, Superbad and Blockers.

Plan B focuses on best friends Sunny (Verma) and Lupe (Morales), two believably awkward, and very funny (when nobody is around) high schoolers who both have overbearing parents. When Sunny’s mom leaves town for a convention, Sunny throws a party so she can hang out with Hunter (Michael Provost), a cool kid who charmingly wears cardigans while playing sports. What’s nice is that the party isn’t some kind of Can’t Hardly Wait or Project X blowout. Instead, the kids are well behaved, and despite some wildly strong alcohol and cheeky sharpie work, it might be one of the most low key high school parties ever put on screen (which is very refreshing). During the party, Sunny ends up having sex with Kyle (Mason Cook), a self-described “Chris Pratt” type of nice guy. Problems arise the following morning when Sunny learns the condom fell off, and this forces an epic journey through conversative South Dakota to find the Plan B pill. (Aka the morning after pill). What follows involves playground drug deals, a concert at a bowling alley, and a gas station attendant who swings a mean baseball bat. 

The film is loaded with heart and humor, and you genuinely like Sunny and Lupe. They are three-dimensional characters who act like teenagers, as their actions feel real because they believably have no clue what they are doing. Victoria Morales and Kuhoo Verma have excellent chemistry, and if the movie was just them singing the same song over and over in a car, you’d be cool with it. 

Final Thoughts: Plan B is a lot of fun, and feels like Booksmart met Never Rarely Sometimes Always, and spawned a charming film with something to say.

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 367 – The Rock (1996), Nicolas Cage, and Action Classics

May 31, 2021

You can download or stream the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Mark and Niall talk about the 1996 action classic The Rock. Directed by Michael Bay, and starring Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris, and Tony Todd, the movie focuses on what happens when an elite group of mercenaries come up against Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery. In this episode, they discuss car chases, classic lines, and Cage’s epic action run in the 1990s. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

John’s Horror Corner: The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007), a documentary-style horror about a serial killer’s found footage sure to please fans of true crime shows.

May 31, 2021

MY CALL:  This movie serves as a “Serial Killing 101” course and boy is it interesting! I’ll just warn that this wasn’t nearly as “shocking” as the consensus of online reviews suggested to me. Provocative? Yes. Shocking? Nah, not to a seasoned horror fan. Still very good? Absolutely.  MORE MOVIES LIKE The Poughkeepsie TapesWell, by no means similar, but I’d recommend things like Mindhunter (2017-2019) and 8mm (1999). But for more documentary-style horror or documentary-gone-wrong horror, I’d recommend I’d strongly recommend Lake Mungo (2008), The Last Exorcism (2010), Grave Encounters (2011), Grave Encounters 2 (2012), The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014), Digging Up the Marrow (2014), Hell House LLC (2015), Demonic (2015), Ghost Stories (2017) and Butterfly Kisses (2018).

Director John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine, As Above So Below, Devil) delivers all the thrills of watching an actual true crime documentary program. The only far-fetched moments are the very moments that convince us the killer is twisted, just as we’d often experience in such a show.

We explore the discovery and content of a set of tapes comprising 2400 hours of footage taken by a serial killer chronicling what he did to his victims… and a lot of it is weird. Our killer makes women blow up oddly durable balloons and awkwardly pop them by bouncing on them in their underwear; he talks to a young girl before abducting her, with heavy mouth-breathing between his interactions; and he places a husband’s severed head in the partially disemboweled abdomen of his wife and awakens her to see his handywork. But perhaps just as disturbing are the videos stalking his victims in their own homes, often biding his time and enjoying observing from close distances.

The testimonials from FBI profilers, agents, and medical experts serve as an informative “Serial Killing 101” on how to best get away with a murder, from the best way to dismember a body or general profiling strategies to taking advantage of the disjunct flow of information between municipalities were a killer to (apparently wisely) do his serial killing across jurisdictional lines.

Eventually we have footage of the killer interacting with his victims. It’s disturbing. He toys with them, manipulates them, gets them to do things they’d never possibly do, and does things to them they never thought possible.

My final take on this film is that it was not nearly, not even close, to the level of disturbing conveyed to me by my movie reviewing peers online. I’d say this was a good film; a very good movie perhaps; but not “great” and not the shocker that was advertised.  That said, I enjoyed this viewing, but like so many films I imagine I’ll never revisit it simply by virtue of the multitude of other films that need to be seen. But still, this was a pretty cool film!

John’s Horror Corner: His House (2020), a cultural thriller and an unconventional haunting.

May 30, 2021

MY CALL:  This film is composed of great “everything,” yet the sum of the parts just misses the mark for me. In any case, we find great performances, inspired ideas, unnerving atmosphere and a grounded sense of trauma. That said, I am more impressed with the possible future of this director in the horror genre than his debut film itself.  MORE MOVIES LIKE His HouseFor more cultural thrillers try Them (2021), Spell (2020), Spiral (2019), Parasite (2019), Get Out (2017), Us (2019) and maybe even Lovecraft Country (2020).

Sudanese refugees Bol (Sope Dirisu; Black Mirror) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku; Lovecraft Country, Black Mirror) are granted a probationary life in the United Kingdom, so long as they adhere to a strict set of rules or risk deportation back to the war-torn country they escaped. Their new home is a wonky, sizable but dirty fixer-upper. But it’s their new home, safe from their past, and they’re grateful. Short of being friendly, their critical case manager Mark (Matt Smith; House of the Dragon, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) is optimistic of their success with this transition and wishes them luck and happiness.

Shortly after their movie-in, strange sounds in the guts of the house lead to some disturbing moments and shocking imagery. Meanwhile both Bol and Rial are haunted by their harrowing past every bit as much as the house itself. As they both feel like they’re going mad, Bol willfully assimilates to Western life while Rial clings to their cultural heritage.

I’m picking up vibes from Girl on the Third Floor (2019), We Are Still Here (2015) and Them (2021). The imagery spans various zombie-like entities as well as traces of poltergeist-like (including Javier Botet; Mara, ItThe Conjuring 2REC 4MamaThe MummyCrimson Peak, The Crucifixion) hauntings and trancey fever dreams.

Helming his first feature film, director and co-writer Remi Weekes has made a solid film which I estimate was meant to marry the horror film genre with the true horrors of refugees haunted by PTSD. But truth be told, this just didn’t work for me. The cast did well, the direction and editing seemed solid, the visuals were good and some highly creative… but I just didn’t care for this film. I never found myself investing in the characters (even though they were definitely interesting and well-performed), or the story. The revealed horrors also always felt a few steps dialed down from the intensity that seem targeted. I chalk this up to filmmaking experience.

So I’d say see this film not because it is a great horror film—I feel it falls well shy of that. But judging the whole instead on the merits of its parts—the cast, characters, story, visuals, individual scenes and very unique horror device—I’d instead say see this film as the makings of a soon-to-be great filmmaker. Weekes already has a gifted vision; that much is obvious. Somehow, I think a little more experience will find greater synthesis in his future projects. I’d also call this a strong recommendation for fans of the Amazon original show Them (2021).

John’s Horror Corner: Man’s Best Friend (1993), a “must love dogs” Sci-Horror mixing Cujo (1983) and The Fly (1986).

May 29, 2021

MY CALL:  This movie remains very entertaining, and it’s a lot funnier than I remember. Basically this is less R and more hard PG-13 lite horror comedy. But most importantly, I don’t think there has ever been another movie like it.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Man’s Best FriendWell, for horror movies for dog lovers, I’d go for Dogs (1976), The Pack (1977), The Thing (1982), Cujo (1983), The Fly II (1989) and I Am Legend (2007).

Around the same time that John Hammond was splicing frog DNA into the genetic code of dinosaurs in Jurassic Park (1993), so too was Dr. Jarret (Lance Henriksen; The Visitor, Pumpkinhead, Harbinger Down, Hellraiser VIII, Near Dark, Piranha II) blending a cocktail of chameleon, jaguar and anaconda genes into his rottweiler.

When an ambitious journalist Lori (Ally Sheedy; Short Circuit) aims to do an expose’ on test animals by breaking into a scientific research facility, the genetically engineered dog Max wanders into Lori’s care during her escape. Lori quickly learns that Max is a phenomenally well trained and protective animal.

Despite being rated R, this sci-horror comes off as a rather light horror movie. Most of Max’s antics are funny as he terrorizes Lori’s boyfriend, tampers with his car’s brake line, or climbs up a tree and swallows an old lady’s mean old cat whole like a boa constrictor unhinging its jaw! And while there’s a good amount of blood, almost no flesh-rending gore occurs on-screen.

Probably honoring Cujo (1983), Max picks up a pretty gnarly open wound on his face. And we have some obvious parallels with Dr. Frankenstein and his monster—Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) feels like a good match. But even more than the blatant parallels to the family dog-turned-killer Cujo, Max and his relationship with Lori reminds me of a canine version of Seth Brundle’s “Brundle-Fly” (The Fly). Just like Seth Brundle, Max finds love and understanding before coming apart at the seams and becoming the very monster that his lost love must see dispatched in the end. The acid urine attack on Lori’s boyfriend further strongly parallels events of The Fly (1986).

This movie has great pacing, there’s a lot of fun and excitement, and the ending is cute, too. The ending reminds me of the end of Critters (1986).

This is not a great film of any genre… but it’s still really entertaining. But most importantly, I don’t think there has ever been another movie like it. I guess I’d call this is a really good nostalgic flick, because it holds up very well. Writer and director John Lafia (Child’s Play 2) did well with this one. It’s a shame he didn’t do more.

John’s Horror Corner: The Rental (2020), a decent thriller for Dave Franco’s feature directorial debut.

May 28, 2021

MY CALL:  A well-made thriller to be sure, but nothing I feel the need to recommend or ever see again. Entertaining, well-acted, and a promising start for Dave Franco’s filmmaking career at the helm.  MORE MOVIES LIKE The RentalWell. For more AirBnB vacations gone-wrong try Honeymoon (2014), 1408 (2007) and The Beach House (2019).

Seeking a luxurious weekend at a Pacific Northwest rental on the water, two couples find themselves getting off to a rocky start with the property manager (Toby Huss; Halloween, Martyrs, The Invitation). Without being overtly tropey about it, Charlie (Dan Stevens; Solos, Apostle, The Guest), Michelle (Alison Brie; Promising Young Woman, Scre4m), Mina (Sheila Vand; A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) and Josh (Jeremy Allen White; Shameless) do all the things we’d expect to place themselves at odds with survival. They break the rules of the rental by bringing a dog, they aggravate the manager repeatedly including accusing him of racism, they indulge in some drugs, and opposite couple members end up in a hot tub together… in short, the kindling is set to increase tensions and fuel this fire.

Some of the couples’ own drama gets tangled up in their best chances of survival when secrets emerge and keeping those secrets increase risk to everyone. As tension and paranoia mount, it becomes unclear who is telling the truth and which secrets are the most important to keep.

Clearly, things are going to get out of hand, people will be at odds with one another, relationships will be tested, and an “enemy” will be identified. Oh, and someone is accidentally killed. Dealing with that is always fun.

For his opening feature directorial debut, Dave Franco delivers a very well-made, even if readily forgettable, contemporary horror-thriller. I guess I was expecting a weird twist or spin on the thriller genre, or at least a more gritty slasher aspect. But the “twists and turns” presented were not particularly compelling on their own merits. That said, general filmmaking skill and the cast’s performance produced a good product and I hope Franco sticks to horror.

Overall this was a perfectly enjoyable movie that I feel no need to strongly recommend to anyone. It’s an entertaining watch, but it brings nothing particularly special to the table. The film’s greatest strength is its strong cast that is well-written, along with apparently solid direction and photography. But proficiency alone is no reason to recommend a movie.

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