The Hunt (2019): Action / Horror / Thriller

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Twelve strangers wake up in a picturesque, bucolic setting only to be hunted down by unknown people.

Hollywood is an entity. A living, breathing, evolving and devolving, existentially confused entity. Universal, one of the major limbs of this entity, has a long-standing reputation of daring, challenging genders and races. The Hunt is not an original concept but it’s a brilliant concoction of funny lines, vulgar language, and insults of all kinds, surrounded by gore! IMDb forgot to add comedy to the genres which purely is beyond me. The Hunt has the ability to keep on the edge of your seat while making you laugh. Extreme violence that does not disappoint.

Unfortunately, it was never meant to take off. Fate, destiny, goddamn bad luck? I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter anyway. Producer Jason Blum funds the amazing indie director Craig Zobel, who collaborates once more with writer Damon Lindelof in a one of a kind provocative, low budget, highly entertaining action/horror that caused significant reactions. It tried to come out last September but the mass shootings in the US prevented from doing so. Then, it was meant to come out a fortnight ago but the pandemic this time prevented from doing so. Universal released it on a DVD and on-demand anyway and we, the audience, are so glad about their decision.

Sit back, relax, try to forget for an hour and a half the tragic reality we are currently facing and… I dare you to guess who is the protagonist / who’s gonna make it out alive when they all gather in the field.

Stay safe!

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Bloodshot (2020): Action / Drama / Sci-Fi

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A soldier comes back from a mission, gets murdered, but is brought back to life with superpowers and now he seeks revenge.

I’m not going to slay it. The film suffered irreparable damage from the pandemic but was not going to perform well anyway. Director Dave Wilson is a VFX director and it showed straight away on his feature debut. The film’s narrative doesn’t flow and the editing, probably for production reasons, is trying to pick up the pieces and put them together. It didn’t even mimic or attempt to better the à la The Edge of Tomorrow (2014) repeat mode part to enhance and engage the audience with Bloodshot’s “nightmare”. Toby Kebbell’s and Guy Pearce’s charisma didn’t get the chance to shine at all as, once again, the narrative didn’t do anyone any favours.

Films like Bloodshot work as reminders that even if the original source is a best selling graphic novel (Valiant’s in this instance), this merely means that the respective film will be as successful. “Don’t judge a book by its film”, I read somewhere. It’s a shame, the film was doomed to take a big hit either way.

I would like to conclude by taking my hat off to the VFX department as they couldn’t have done it better and the result of their work is highly impressive.

The Platform (2019): Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller

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An unconventional prison with unknown underground levels called The Hole, starting from top to bottom, provides food for inmates through a platform that is always consumed disproportionally… as no rules apply.

Do you remember Cube (1997)? Welcome to the 21st-century, Spanish Netflix version of it. Brilliantly produced, directed, edited and acted, The Platform will “brutally” entertain you and keep you on the edge of your seat. The photography offers the claustrophobic environment that, on occasion, it will suffocate you as much as the inmates.

The weak link here is the writing though. There are at least two obvious plotholes that, unfortunately, no department spotted – or cared to fix.

1. The levels’ inexplicable temperature rise/drop: It wouldn’t be a plot hole if there was a visible source causing it.

2. The inmates’ transfer from level to level. It wouldn’t be a plot hole if, once again, we saw some kind of gas coming out of… somewhere that knocks them out. Also, swapping everyone, from every level, at the same time, having only the platform as a way of accessing each level increases the implausibility.

I’m a huge fan of the “don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story”. How can you ignore the facts though when no one bothers to disguise them? Please, do watch it! I highly recommend it. The above-mentioned plotholes are spoilers-free. It is tempting to analyse the film’s message as well but I can’t do it without giving away the plot so, I’ll just leave it with you. I hope you enjoy this Spanish achievement as much as I did.

 

P.S. My warm-hearted wishes to the Spanish people – but also the rest of the world – who suffer great losses.

Bloodride (2020): Horror

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A driver enters his empty bus, sits behind the wheel, and through his rear-view mirror, sees passengers with dark past and evil stories to unfold, waiting to be carried across…

Do you remember Creepshow (1982)? Welcome to the third decade of the 21st century, Norwegian, Netflix version of it… wait a minute… this is how I started The Platform (2019) review (https://kgpfilmreviews.com/2020/03/24/the-platform-2019-horror-sci-fi-thriller/)… Damn! Well… it seems that Netflix is taking the “old wine, new bottle” approach. I would complain if the result was a fake or bad copy but, to my surprise, it isn’t. And this time comes from Norway.

The purposefully vague and convoluted logline is there to not disclose anything at all. Six half an hour, authentic, Norwegian, obscure stories, incredibly made and delivered, are waiting for you to sit in front of your TV in times of isolation, take your mind off our sad reality – even for a while, and enter… an evil one (six actually). So, sit back, relax and enjoy it either as a film or mini-series.

Be safe!

I See You (2019): Crime / Drama / Horror

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Strange phenomena occur in a detective’s house while he’s trying to bring his family together and investigate the case of a disappeared kid.

How on Earth did this one go unnoticed??? I See You defies the Hollywood conventions and comes out of nowhere to shock you with its originality. Director Adam Randal and writer Devon Graye do a tremendous job behind the camera and Helen Hunt, Jon Tenney, Judah Lewis, Owen Teague, and last but not least Liebe Barer work perfectly with and against each other and keep you on the edge of your seat. Films like this, still prove that to this day, no one can predict the success of a film. Distribution, marketing, timing, and innumerable production miscalculations that you and I will never find out, all blend in, sometimes all at once, and work in favour or against a film that either make it or break it.

Regardless of the outcome, I See you is highly recommended and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I’m not gonna say much… Actually, I’m not gonna say anything at all and let you guys feel the thrill. The timelines, the acting, the music, the lack of it, the vantage points, the twists and turns… are all you need to escape our reality and the abhorrent times we currently live in.

After Midnight (2019): Drama / Horror / Sci-fi

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Following his girlfriend’s disappearance, a man starts questioning his sanity when what appears to be a beast starts lurking outside his house, in the darkness.

The amazing photography shows from the opening scene! Narrative-wise, the non-linear timeline adds to the suspense by manipulating the fabula and the syuzhet, increasing the tension – when there is some. Unfortunately though, the photography, the narrative structure, even Brea Grant’s amazing presence, and, what could have been an otherwise strong story… amount to nothing! And by nothing I mean NOTHING!

This is what I don’t get. The story is meant to be horrific and dramatic, something that the photography utterly supports, BUT the comedic style of directing prevails, leaving the viewer with a big freaking question mark and mixed feelings as to where it is heading. And it ended up heading nowhere. The 14′ minute shot is intriguing in a theatrical way and would be interesting to find out how many takes they’ve had. And that is my only takeaway.

Point Blank (2019): Action / Crime / Thriller

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A male nurse and a crook have to team up against corrupted cops and gangsters to protect their families.

Entertaining Netflix action flick with two amazing actors, buddies from Gangster Squad (2013) and the MCU. Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo unite once more as hero and antihero respectively and spend 24 unforgettable (screening) hours together to get theirs and their families’ lives back. Netflix knows the recipe very well and does it once more. The addition of humourous elements adds to the joy and the fast-paced thrill makes your hour and twenty minutes fly by. Joe Lynch deserves the spotlight and I hope one day he really gets it as that’s the third film I’ve seen from him and I must say that his films are highly enjoyable. Worth mentioning are also: Everly (2014) and Mayhem (2017) – Good opportunity to re-watch them and review. Very well acted by both Mackie and Grillo who make an incredible duo.

Don’t fall for the negativity. Especially, in unfortunate and difficult times that all of us are facing at the moment, films like Blank Point make us forget how gloomy and nasty it is out there. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. And always stay safe!

Daniel Isn’t Real (2019): Horror / Thriller

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A young boy which goes through a horrific traumatic experience creates an imaginary friend, then “locks him away” for years, only to bring him back as a college freshman to help him cope with life once more.

Very interesting concept but very mixed feelings regarding its execution. The producers that brought you Mandy (2018) prepared a thought-provoking horror/thriller for a different crowd this time. Daniel Isn’t Real‘s strong plot is supported by an equally strong subplot that keeps the film’s cogs constantly in motion. With Adam Egypt Mortimer behind the camera, and Miles Robbins and Patrick Schwarzenegger in front of it, that thriller will exceed your expectations. Bear in mind though that, as the film is relatively unknown, you won’t be having high expectations.

Two more mentions left: Sasha Lane – if you don’t know her you need to watch American Honey (2016) – shines in front of the camera and I really look forward to the day she receives her Oscar. Last but not least, the incredible Mary Stuart Masterson just takes the film to the next level. Wait until you see what I have to say about her when I review one of my favourite dramas, Fried Green Tomatoes (1991).

What prevents Daniel Isn’t Real from becoming a great indie in this genre is its pace. Pay attention to the opening sequence’s tempo, then each sequence separately, and retrospectively, in the end, wonder how its rhythm felt.

This is England ’83 / ’86 / ’88 / ’90

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“The World of Apu” is a bimonthly, diverse, and multilingual online film magazine which explores film cultures from around the world.

Below you can find my analysis on Shane Meadows’ film and miniseries This is England. A drama based on his childhood experiences, consisting of everyday heroes who share the story of a lifetime.

This is England ’83 / ’86 / ’88 / ’90

Girl on the Third Floor (2019): Drama / Horror / Mystery

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Wanting to make his growing family proud, a man moves into the old mansion he recently purchased to renovate it but the house’s dark past resurfaces to haunt him.

Fancy watching a thriller that is not thrilling? Maybe a horror to have a laugh? If the answer is ‘yes’ to both, look no further! Despite the film’s aesthetically shot, eerie, and misleading opening credits, Travis Stevens’ Girl on the Third Floor is not going to keep you on the edge of your seats. Au contraire, it will get you to sit comfortably back, relax and enjoy the pleasurable gore. Wrestling veteran CM Punk is highly enjoyable as a loser (as he was as a wrestler) who, in vain, struggles to prove that he is not. Sarah Brooks is on fire and will definitely make you gulp a couple of times. Trieste Kelly Dunn – entirely unaffected by time, bless her – seems like the only one who deserves happiness and gives the house a good run for its money.

Overall, even though it’s not described as Horror/comedy, this is exactly what it is. So, don’t take it seriously. I repeat, DO NOT take it seriously! Know what you sign up for, grab something unhealthy to eat and drink, get some good company (including your own) and just let go. I know it’s not relevant per se but I’m gonna say it anyway. Phil “CM Punk” Brooks portrays someone exactly the opposite of what he is in real life. He is part of the “Straight Edge” movement where, basically, he doesn’t do drugs, drink or gets involved with promiscuous sex. I can only imagine how that would make him stand out in the “Wrestling Industry” but I thought it’s worth mentioning as a healthy role model.

That’s it… Have fun!