The Boy

1h37 – Horror – Mystery – Thriller 2016

The Boy

The Boy

Greta, the main character, travels from the USA to Great Britain for a new job. She is shocked as she finds out that the boy she has to care for is actually… a doll. A doll that however seems eerily alive.
This is the premise of “The Boy” and while it may sound like it would spoil some of the plot, it actually doesn’t since we find out quite soon that Brahms, the doll and the boy of the title might be somehow alive.
What we have here is a by the number horror story about ghosts with some jump scares but that might sometimes even hit their target, but overall the movie is not that scary. Until the end sequences come. But this only scares you because you think you are actually watching another movie.
I have to admit that I did not see this twist coming, but that does not mean that it is a good thing. To me, it sounds completely out of place. Moreover, it takes away all the – frail – creepy atmosphere the movie managed to build up at that point.
Despite the movie not being great and featuring an adequate acting, the ending made it only worse. I think that turning this flick into something less supernatural did more harm than good.

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The Autopsy of Jane Doe

1h26 – Horror – Mystery – Thriller 2016

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

The mysterious body of a woman is found on a murder scene and is taken to the town’s coroner for the autopsy.
Welcome to “The Autopsy of Jane Doe”.
First of all, the main characters, father and son, delivered a solid performance and their characters acted in a logical manner, which was also logical for the kind of roles they were put in. Second, the pace was adequate, being the movie slow enough to let you savor every new step the main characters were taking while performing the autopsy. It never got too boring, as the pieces of the puzzle started to slowly give form to a mysterious mosaic.
Somehow the supposed nature of “Jane Doe” was no surprise to me, as well as some of the consequences that autopsy itself seemed to have. However, at the end, you were unsure whether to believe all this had really happened or whether it only took place in the main character’s minds.
The atmosphere the movie created was eerie not only because of the setting and the premise, but also because the horror elements were well made despite being somewhat predictable (like some of the jump scares, some apparitions, and so on).
Overall, a very intriguing premise and a well-delivered horror movie, which I would recommend.

Raw (Grave)

1h39 – Drama – Horror 2016

Raw

Raw

I like French horror movies and I am not the only one. Movies like “Martyrs”, “Inside”, “High Tension” or “Frontier” were all well-made and extremely disturbing and managed to keep me and many others on our chairs or cinema seats.
Basically, Justine, the protagonist, arrives at the University where her sister already studies to become a veterinary. Besides discovering something very creepy about herself, she has to undergo several rites of passage from a fresh(wo)man into a regular student.
Due to Justine’s core problem, “Raw”, could actually be seen as very disturbing. However, it reminded me of another movie, the Danish film “When Animals Dream”, another metaphor for the coming of age of a young girl. Being a horror flick, it is portrayed in a gruesome and sinister way, of course. But as “When Animals…”, “Raw” did not quite make me shiver as for example “Frontiers” or “Martyrs” did. Fist of all, because I had this déjà-vu. Second, although I did not see the ending coming, once I saw it I did not find upsetting at all. Third, some scenes were illogical. For example when the protagonist’s sister, Alex, faints having her finger accidentally cut. Being what she is, and since we find out that she embraces her troublesome nature, this does not make sense and only works as pretext for the gruesome act that Justine will then do.
The silly games that Justine and the other freshmen had to play for the pleasure of their sadistic elder students did not help at all. Moreover, I have never seen anything like it – having mattresses tossed out of windows, having to eat internal organs of animals, being covered in blood… – at my University. Also, it did not make sense that the professors would let that happen without complaining.
The positive aspects of this movie is of course the performance of Garance Marillier. She and her “sister”, Ella Rumpf, were two strong female characters. Also, their roles were well depicted, as they were not one-dimensional or superficial. This made the whole movie enjoyable despite its flaws.

Goodnight Mommy (Ich seh ich seh)

99 min – Drama – Horror – Mystery 2014

Goodnight Mommy (Ich seh ich seh)

Goodnight Mommy (Ich seh ich seh)


I did not know what to expect from this (over)hyped movie, except for some thrills and an entertaining movie. But I was disappointed.
First of all, the story is actually a rip-off from an Asian film and becomes therefore kind of an Austrian remake.
Second, the pacing is just awful: it is like the screenwriters had an idea but did not know how to make a complete film out of it. There are tons of scenes which add nothing at all to the story and seem to only be a filler. Basically: they would have been better off making a short film out of this mess.
The acting was excellent and the cinematography quite good, with a very nice location. However, that is basically the only positive thing I can write about this film.
Also, I guess the constant silence should probably give an artsy touch to this film, but I only started to think that either they forgot about adding some music, or maybe did not have any idea for a score either.
Moreover, the film is not scary at all: the torture scenes near the end had their moments, but overall the only thing that made me cringe was the low quality of this film, and the “twist” and the end sequence did surely not improve it.
In general, it would be a good film to watch while doing something else, like listening to the radio. Or it could also be used instead of sleeping pills…

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Electronic Arts / Bioware – 2014

Dragon Age: Inquisition

I have been playing this game since it was published, therefore over a year by now, so the review was long due, but first I wanted to play all DLCs, in order to get a complete overview of the game, and try out more than one race.
Well, at the end of “Trespasser”, the Dragon Age Team says thank you and that the game “was a labor of love”. For once, we do not get empty words, but a statement that is true.
Of course, you can enjoy the game best if you have a powerful computer (I mainly bought my “new” Alienware Desktop because of this game…), but not to brag about how awesome your new graphic card is, but to open your mouth and stare in awe at the monitor once you see all the details the developers put in almost each element of the DAI world. I find this emblematic for the whole care they put into each layer of this game. The story, of course, which makes sense and sucks you in as soon as you start playing (and the ending sequences of the DLC “Trespasser” being the worthy icing on the cake), which is of course improved by the great work of the voice actors. Actors that could lend their voice to awesome characters like Solas (whose potential is only revealed at the end of the main game), or Cole, a character I came to love in the novel “Dragon Age: Asunder”; or Dorian, the elegant show-off, and so on and on.
The romances, too, were well made, being more credible than those in DAO (Dragon Age: Origins), and being more intense and realistic than those of DA2 (Dragon Age 2). The same can be said about the fighting: while in DA2 it was too fast and felt more like some fighting game à la Mortal Kombat, the fighting in the first game was somewhat boring when playing e.g. the mage class. Being a mage in DAI is just amazing, not only because of some of the spells or their effects, but also because of how the mages move. In general: while my worst case scenario was a game which was worse than DA2 (my main complaints being: too short and all endings being the same, whether you backed the mages or templars), and my best case scenario was mixing up the best elements of both DAO and DA2, well, it seems the developers have listened to my prayers (and those of the rest of the fan community, I wager). Also, I fell in love with the main theme from the first time I heard it. And played it over and over, wondering about how the game would be.
It is a game you savor like an excellent meal served by a Michelin guide cook, cutting it into little pieces so you can enjoy it longer.
Moreover, the scenario that the ending discloses is as interesting and compelling as having mages fighting for their freedom.
I just cannot wait to play the next installment, but once again, a part of me fears a disappointment, as the stakes are extremely high this time. Will Bioware be able to create an even better game? I would also feel fulfilled if the next sequel would just be a worthy successor.

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

93 min – Horror 2007

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End


I watched the first “Wrong Turn” movie ages ago because I adored Eliza Dushku in the TV series “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer”. As far as I can remember, I enjoyed it even though it was a slasher movie that added nothing new to the genre where, in a “The Hills Have Eyes” style, a group of deformed cannibalistic inbred serial killers hunts humans for flesh like they were deers.
After seeing another sequel of the franchise (I apologize, but I cannot remember which one), I did not expect that one to be entertaining. I guess I was wrong, since I managed to watch it until the end without pressing the fast forward button.
The bad is that the film is full of cliches, ideas borrowed from other movies (including musician Henry Rollins as Dale Murphy who turns into a Terminator-like soldier like Schwarzenegger in “Predator”), and one-dimensional and stereotypical characters that are mostly unlikable and are therefore mere cannon fodder, except maybe for Mara Stone, portrayed by Aleksa Palladino, who is a bit weak and whine but got killed to soon for my liking, and the Jake Washington, who was portrayed by Texas Battle (where did he get this name???).
The good was that despite these flaws, it managed to be gory and gross enough, at times, to keep me entertained enough to watch it while being bored. The acting was OK, as well as the special effects, and I appreciated the performance of actress Erica Leerhsen (who starred e.g. in “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake). Also, her character, despite not being very enjoyable at the beginning, turned out to be a tough girl, but not so that it became almost unbelievable.
Of course, the ending can be disappointing as it makes clear that this will not be the last “Wrong Turn” movie, however, I already knew that so I was not surprised to see this “they are still out there” kind of ending.

Alléluia

93 min – Drama – Thriller 2014

Alléluia

Alléluia


I had no idea where this journey would lead me, but after a while I realized that the film could be based on the toxic relationship of serial killers Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez, the so-called “Lonely Hearts Killer”, who murdered women searching for love in the Forties. This was confirmed by the credits. Basically, a mother in her forties meets a gigolo and falls in love with him from the start. She dumps her only daughter at a friend’s home and embarks on a dark journey with her new boyfriend. She becomes addicted to him, like an addict, and ends up killing all the women he sleeps it for “work”.
Therefore, the story is nothing ground-breaking, however the cinematography, the terrific acting and the ways the actors looked made the movie so real. The artsy filming, with an interesting choice of focusing especially on close-ups gave me the impression to really be there with the murderous pair, Gloria and Michel. The actors’ performances were very convincing, as well as being well developed, which made this matchmaking from Hell believable.
The music, especially the main theme, added another layer of darkness and depravity to this desolate narcotic mix, so that you got sucked into the movie, just to be spat out at the end, wandering if **spoilers** it was really the police in the cinema, in the last sequence shown during the credits.
Considering that the director was the same of “Calvaire”, i.e. Fabrice du Welz, I should actually not be surprised of the quality of this film. Like “Martyrs”, or “Inside” or “Frontiers”, this movie proves once again that part of the future of twisted horror and thriller movies that are able to crawl under your skin lies in the hands of French/Belgian directors.