Toy Story 4
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Did a 6-year-old write and direct this?
I enjoyed this quietly creepy horror movie. Antonia Thomas does a good job and the desperation of a mother who is stuck with a haunted child is touching. I've seen other movies where the parents are all gung-ho and single-minded about protecting their child, but this one gets the parental ambivalence right. The ending remains true to this theme by eschewing a conventional "all's right with the world" happy ending, but still manages to be satisfying.
Plot holes you could fly a 747 through, endless stretches of nothing happening, and you can watch the entire thing and never learn anything about the main characters. They're not given personalities, interests, passions -- any human traits of any kind. When the movie finally gets around to telling its story, that story isn't altogether dull, but it in no way justifies the rest of the movie. Don't waste your time unless you wanna MST3K it.
Had potential but didn't really pan out in any direction it flirted with. Ended abruptly. Disappointing.
There are, seemingly, an endless supply of horror subgenres. I'm gonna try and go over some that come mind almost immediately. Slasher, gory (which is different that slashers), ghost stories, paranormal (which, again, can differ from ghost stories), evil child, demonic possession, sci-fi horror, Gothic, body horror, home invasion, among many, many others. And that's just off the top of my head, I'm sure there's plenty more that I'm just forgetting. I think that's part of why I love horror movies so much, there's so many goddamn ways you can tell a horror story that it makes watching, at least the high quality films, more fun than, say, watching a film of any other genre that might not have as many different styles of telling a story. Then again, you tell a story however you want, regardless of genre. But, if I'm being honest, my least favorite of the subgenres I mentioned is the evil child subgenre. Unless the children in question are ghosts or apparitions, then the evil child genre just doesn't work to me. There's one simple reason for that, children aren't scary and putting them in situations where they're meant to be just strains credulity, at least in my book. I think it's fine if you have a situation where kids, still behaving like normal kids, say things that are innocuous but, really, have a darker tone. That's perfectly fine to me. The Omen worked, in part, because the kid who played Damien was so stone-faced and stoic. But if the kid is gonna give me an evil face and they're trying to play that off as scary, I'm sorry, I'm just gonna laugh. But this is a bit of a moot point, honestly, since this movie, thankfully, wasn't actually an evil child horror movie. I was expecting the film to be this, I saw the trailers and I wasn't impressed, so I went into this with a bit of apathy. But, color me surprise, the film is more about demons trying to take over the body of this little girl. Why are the demons trying to take over this girl's body? I honestly have no clue, but they usually make about the innocence of childhood or some such shit. But, then again, there was this older lady who also is able to see the demons, so that can't be it. I think it's more along the lines of they want to use the girl's body as a vessel to come to this world in order to wreak havoc. And that approach to the movie is more than fine by me, honestly. Better than the evil child bullshit. I just felt, however, that this movie was missing a certain something. Maybe it's the fact that they sort of had an identity crisis. It's not that the movie jumps around between genres, but it's not sure if it wants to be a commentary on the difficulties of parenthood or if it wants to be a straight-up horror movie. It doesn't find a consistent tone. It sort of jumps back and forth between its ideas. Honestly, the movie just doesn't ever settle into a flow. Parenthood is hard, I can get that, but I just wish the movie would stick to one or the other for a length of time. Because of that, both the horror and the commentary on parenthood feel neglected. The horror doesn't really stand out nor does it impress once the shit does hit the fan. And its commentary on parenthood just comes up short, there are better movies that explore this specific theme. And I don't believe, for a second, that they were trying to compete with those movies, but I just found this part of the film to be incredibly lacking. The acting is pretty decent. Antonia Thomas, who I had never seen before, is solid in her role (and boy, is she gorgeous...sorry, hate to sound like a pig). Luke Norris is also fine, he and Antonia make a convincing couple. But no one else really did anything for me. The little girl wasn't a great actress, but who could have expected her to be, but she was very sweet and that helped with what they were going for. The characters aren't that well-developed. The story is meh. And I even forgot that there was an angle with the old lady, who first saw Thea in the hospital right after her birth, where she was trying to train Thea to protect herself from the demons and to teach her responsibility for her actions. This also doesn't go anywhere. Well, I mean it goes to exactly where you think it would go. This old lady didn't exactly have the best intentions in mind when training Thea. Prior to the review, I would have said that this was just ok at best. Now, I don't think I can say even that. Is it what I would call a bad movie? I guess so, given everything I just went over. But it's not a conventionally bad movie. Because I get the idea behind the film, like I get it. It's just that the execution wasn't up to snuff. It missed the mark on several of its ideas and it just didn't pan out the way it should have. But it's not like this is the type of a movie that will make me pull my hair out in frustration. It's bad, yes, but it's bad in a way that's not as annoying as, say, Bad Santa 2 was. I wouldn't really recommend this movie, though. You can do better. But, if you need something to pass the time, then I guess this works well.