Spider-Man: Far From Home
Toy Story 4
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I do believe it should be obvious by now, if you have followed my "illustrious" career on any of the sites I post these reviews, that I'm not a superstitious man. I don't believe in any gods, whatever denomination they may come from or whatever form they may take in their place of origin. This also means that I don't believe in the existence of ghosts. I'm not saying for a fact that they don't exist, as there are plenty of things that science can't explain, I'm just saying that I don't believe in them. Having said that, ghost hunting shows are really popular and they have been for a long time. I suppose I can get the appeal of these shows. People watch to see if they finally come across a 'real' ghost. I'll be honest, I think it's a lot of audio and video trickery. Not to mention they're been some outright bullshit. People moving tables with their knees or throwing shit that was in their hands and claiming that it's proof of the paranormal. That's neither here nor there. The point is that the rise of ghost hunting shows has also given rise to a subgenre of horror (if it can be called that) where a group of paranormal investigators get more than they bargained for during one of their missions, as it were. This is another one of those movies and, all in all, this ended up being surprisingly decent. The best of these types of movies is still Grave Encounters, but this isn't bad at all. With that being said, I don't know why, there's just something missing from this movie. I mean it plays out almost precisely as you would expect. The set-up for the reveal is so in competently done. What I mean by that is that they make it absolutely obvious, right from the start. I might as well just say it. At the beginning, in 1977, this man murders his wife (before killing himself) after finding out she was impregnated by another man. Later, in 2015, the investigative team, who are in the same tower, now abandoned, that the murder-suicide took place, with many other suicides on top of that, find this newspaper clipping that says that the newborn from the initial murder-suicide survived. It's a quick shot and they move on without calling attention to it. But it's so obvious that I immediately went 'oh, one of them was that baby'. To say that I figured it out isn't bragging, since a 5-year-old would get it. I do think that takes a bit of intrigue away from the mystery. And, to be fair, they never shy away from it. They don't try to tease that it's anybody else. But I feel it might have been a little better, and certainly more intriguing, if they just didn't have that scene with the newspaper clipping. I will say that, for what is a low-budget horror movie, this has some surprisingly strong production values. I'm not trying to suggest that this is on the level of, say, a Star Wars of a Marvel flick, but they certainly made the best with what they had and the film never, at any point, feels like a low-budget experience. And, for most people, that's really more than half the battle. Some just can't get over a film's look. As much as I hate to admit it, and avoid it, I can be one of those people at times. But I do believe that I value effort more than the film's cinematography. If I see an effort made into making a solid film, even if it falls short of that, then I give the credit where it's due. But that's irrelevant, really, as it relates to this flick. Let's see, the horror itself is fairly standard. There's nothing about this film's horror that stands out in any way whatsoever. I really wouldn't even know where to begin with it. There's nothing memorable about it. It's certainly serviceable, but that's all I can say. The acting is also surprisingly solid all things considered. Not great, but solid given everything. Though I will say that the guy who played Andre was very bland and his delivery was very wooden at times. Another thing that annoyed me is the motivation for the ghost(s) to do what she did. You don't ever get to see any apparitions, but you get to hear ghostly female voices compelling Jake (who's been troubled by visions of his mother's murder) to go, I don't know, nuts I guess. I suppose you could say the whole thing was Jake's imagination, but the others hear the voices, they start to experience things that can't be explained rationally, so that theory goes out the window immediately. Usually there's some sort of 'motivation' for the ghost to act the way they do, but not in this movie. And it holds the movie back, because it feels all of this is happening for no reason. Life, certainly, can be like that sometimes. But this is a movie, you need to give me a bit more if I'm to truly invest in it. Finishing up this review, however, this is a surprisingly decent horror flick. Its plotting leaves a lot to be desired, but it's a competently-made horror movie whose flaws keep it from reaching a higher level. There's nothing you need to see here, but it could have been so much worse. I'm so glad that we didn't another Axe Murders of Villisca here (this is now one of my new running jokes).