Ian Button's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Ghost Story
Ghost Story (1981)
2 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Based on Peter Straub's novel, Ghost Story is a decent supernatural thriller that unfortunately suffers from lack or originality, and that fact that it's just not very scary. I've never read Straub's novel (although I intend to fix that), and that's probably why I enjoyed the movie more than most. The story is fairly routine...four friends cover up a crime from their past that literally comes back to haunt them. That's about it. I'm sure the novel is far more complex, but Lawrence Cohen's screenplay strips it down to the bare essentials. The movie's main strength is the casting of Hollywood legends Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. They bring some much needed believability to an otherwise average script. Although it's Alice Krige, as the ghostly apparition, who nearly steals the show with her eerily hypnotic performance (she never blinks!). Sadly, you get the feeling the movie could've been so much more under someone familiar with the genre. Director John Irvin never really manages to conjure up any scares or suspense, and the slow pace of the film is a major issue. It's also disappointing that makeup effects masters Dick Smith and Rick Baker's work is barely given any screen time. Ghost Story has its moments, but this is actually one horror film that could use a remake.

Stephen King's 'Silver Bullet'
2 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

As if werewolves weren't scary enough already, leave it to Stephen King to make them even more terrifying by throwing religion into the mix. I've never read his novella, Cycle of the Werewolf, but Silver Bullet was a surprisingly good horror flick that King himself adapted for the big screen. The story is typical King fare...an idyllic small town is slowly ripped apart by supernatural forces. But there's a reason he uses this setup so frequently, it's extremely effective. The characters are well developed and director Dan Attias fills the movie with plenty of atmosphere and shocks. Corey Haim, Gary Busey and Megan Follows give wonderfully believable performances, and there's a terrific supporting cast of character actors. You actually care what happens to these people, and that's definitely the movie's main strength. If there's one major downfall to Silver Bullet, it's unfortunately the werewolf itself, which looks rather silly. It's all fairly predictable, but it's very well acted and directed, and there's more than enough gore and werewolf mayhem to keep horror fans entertained.

Phantasm: Ravager
25 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

As a life-long Phantasm fan, this is an extremely depressing review to write. Like all fans of the franchise, I was surprised and excited when a new sequel was finally announced (it's been 18 years since the last one), but I was a little skeptical when it was revealed series creator Don Coscarelli wouldn't be returning to direct. I kept my expectations in check after the somewhat disappointing fourth entry, but I never saw this train wreck coming. Ravager is a cheap looking, horribly written and directed mess with some of the worst effects I've ever laid eyes on. This feels more like a fan-made film, shot over the weekend on someone's iPhone, rather than a true Coscarelli sequel. The only highlight the film has to offer is seeing the original cast back. Unfortunately, even they don't have much to do this time around, except Reggie Bannister, who's become the driving force behind these movies. It was bittersweet seeing Angus Scrimm play the Tall Man one last time, and his few brief scenes are really the only reason to watch this mess of a sequel. I know the Phantasm films have traditionally not made much sense, but it's like they weren't even trying this time. Since this is probably the last Phantasm flick we'll ever see, it's extremely frustrating that it doesn't even attempt to answer any of the series' long-lingering questions. It's a shame such a fun and original franchise had to go out on this sour note. The fans, and these characters, deserved better.

It Follows
It Follows (2015)
25 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

It's been an extremely long time since a horror movie was able to get under my skin. This one did...big time. I'd not only call this one of the best horror films of the year, but one of the best in the last 20 years. It Follows successfully avoids everything that's been killing the genre. There's no box-office friendly PG-13 rating, it's not a remake, there's no excessive gore or torture, and no stupid found footage gimmick. This is classic suspense in the vein of Halloween, Don't Look Now and Rear Window. This is a horror movie that takes a uniquely simple premise and gets every bit of mileage out of it. This movie doesn't use cheap jump scares, it focuses on common psychological fears and paranoia. The direction is amazing, the cinematography is gorgeous, the acting is superb, and the retro 80s synth score is extremely unnerving. Is this every horror fans dream come true? No. Because this movie is different, and not everyone likes movies that are different. Some people just want the same old, same old. Is this a perfect horror film? No. There are some gaps in logic, especially in the third act. But none of it ever bothered me because this movie creeped me out and stayed with me days after I'd seen it. And I honestly can't remember the last time a horror film had that effect on me. If you're looking for gore and random loud noises, this isn't for you. This is classic 70s/80s inspired horror and gets my highest recommendation.

Christine
Christine (1983)
43 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I think it was a safe bet that combining the talents of John Carpenter and Stephen King was always going to deliver something memorable. Christine may not be Carpenter's best film, but it's aged incredibly well and remains one of the better King adaptations. The film works because Carpenter understands the psychological aspects of the novel and uses them to draw the viewer in, despite the fact we all know how the story will unfold. He builds the suspense and tension slowly until the shit inevitably hits the fan. All the performances are impressive, but it's Keith Gordon who carries the movie. His character's transformation from high school nerd to possessed madman is a believable one, whereas a lesser actor would've taken it over-the-top. Carpenter fills the movie with plenty of atmosphere, some wonderful cinematography, and his electronic score sets the mood perfectly. Another wise choice was to give the film a sense of humour, as the idea of a 'killer car' is a tough one to take seriously. Christine is more of a suspenseful character study than an all-out horror movie, but it remains a highlight in both Carpenter and King's careers.