2020 In Film Day One (The Awful)

This was meant to be posted earlier but I caught COVID so got delayed. And yes, I will be using that as an excuse for everything. “why have you sat about eating chocolate all day?” “COVID”. “Why haven’t you been productive?” “COVID”. “Why did you genetically engineer ducks so they had knives for feet, then try to invade Luxembourg?” “Funny innit? And COVID”

These are the worst of the worst, films I can comfortably say you should avoid. The ones I hate so much that even these short recaps frustrate me. There are two here I think people might disagree with, at least one was highly rated by quite a view people. But again, these are all personal opinions, so fuck it. Eugh, at least after this things can get better.

Artemis Fowl

It’s a good thing I don’t write these immediately after seeing the film. If I did it for this then this section would just be “No. No No. Noooooooooooooo. No.” This could have been good, as it is, it is a film made for nobody. People who aren’t familiar with the books will dislike it because it’s a bad movie, and people who like the books will HATE it due to the changes made. In the original book, Artemis Fowl is kind of a sociopathic genius. In this, he surfs. He’s in trouble at school, but we’re not entirely sure why. He’s not an evil genius, he’s just a kid. It also destroys a lot of the relationships between characters. The relationship between Holly and Root is changed completely due to Root being a woman now, so we don’t have that “you’re the first female here, I put you to a higher standard as you will be used a scapegoat if you fail” relationship. Butler is known by his first name so you don’t have that moment where he whispers his first name to Artemis as he dies. This film inspires nothing but hatred. I know a few people who love the books, I’ve yet to hear a single possible good thing about this.

Original review here

+There’s a chance someone might read the books from this. I doubt it, but there’s a chance.

-What does the thing they’re searching for actually do?

Worst moment: Butler does a twirl. That will mean nothing to those who haven’t read the books but will infuriate those who have.

Babyteeth

Quite a few people liked this, but to me it just sat wrong. The characters weren’t likeable, and didn’t even have a glimmer of humanity yet we were supposed to buy them as a good couple. For this “girl falls for bad boy” film we need to see a reason for her to like him. Yet all he does is steal her shit, break into her house, and kiss other people in front of her. I don’t just not like him, I actively dislike him. And he never gets any better throughout the film, he just continues being a prick. I dislike a lot of films, but this is one of the few films where I actively felt like a worst person for having watched it.

Original review here

+The colours and music are superb. 

-You know everything else I said about this film? Yeah, that.

Worst moment: Three words: Euthanasia Sex Scene.

Bloodshot

The trailer ruined this film. It gave away the key plot point (that he was being manipulated), but that didn’t happen in the film until much later than you’d think. So you can skip most of the film if I’m being honest. That lack of thought and care can be seen throughout the film. There are logical inconsistencies throughout, and some of the background characters are just there to exist, they’re not fleshed out at all. 

+The scene with the flour (although for that to be good, you have to ignore that flour is flammable)

-The lack of thought that went into the script

Worst moment: The trailer. Impossible to enjoy this film when the trailer ruins the plot.

Brahms: The Boy 2

The only saving grace of this film is that it is so forgettable that it’s hard to insult it. I can’t pinpoint specific scenes or moments to tear apart and dissect. I can’t critique a performance or a directorial moment. I’ve got literally nothing. If you were to ask me questions about this film I don’t think I’ll be able to tell you anything. I’m not even sure I can tell you the title to be honest. 

Original review here

+Not as long as some movies

-It gave me NOTHING to work with

Worst moment: The retcon of the first movie. 

Downhill

I like everyone involved in this film, so I should have loved it. It just….it does not work. I feel maybe Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus’s comedic styles don’t work together, they’re incompatible and so when they try to lead a film it just comes off kind of ugly and disjointed. It’s a good idea, a remake of a french film that I think I should watch. But it seems like it’s meant more for an awkward character-based comedy, rather than the “ohuh” kind of comedy this goes for. Maybe Steve Coogan would have worked better? Hard to tell. All I can say is that you probably should avoid this.

Original review here

+Some funny bits

-How small it feels. It feels like a TV episode, not a movie.

Worst moment: None really. There are no peaks and valleys from which to judge it, it’s almost all valleys

Fantasy Island

This looked interesting. I almost expected it to be akin to W.W.Jacobs “The Monkey’s Paw”. A short story about a monkey’s paw (OMG that’s why it’s called that) that grants wishes but with horrific consequences. It’s a tale (or tail, if you want to make a monkey pun) that has inspired episodes of both The Twilight Zone and The Simpsons. It’s an iconic short story that would be perfect for a full-length horror film. They didn’t do that though. It’s nothing like The Monkey’s Paw, and is instead like a big pile of monkey crap. This should have been great, it should have been clever and scary, instead it’s neither. It also features possibly one of the dumbest twists I’ve ever seen. With this, and Truth Or Dare, I think Lucy Hale is becoming a red flag for dumb blumhouse horror movies.

Original review here

+More horror movies should take place on tropical islands. Allows very unique sets.

-The wasted potential.

Worst moment: I’m tempted to say the twist ending. But really the moment where someone asks for a second wish and gets it granted because “plot reasons”. Without her first wish the film has even less emotional impact than normal. Yet without her second wish it would be impossible for the plot to develop. So the script needed both to happen as it wrote itself into a corner. 

Spree

I never brought into this movie. At no point was I sold, outside of the concept. An uber driver/streamer who livestreams as he kills should be a lot of fun. It’s not. I think part of it is due to the character. He comes off as a whiny little bitch. Incredibly annoying to the point where I don’t want him to succeed. And some of the people he kills are also awful racist and other youtubers. So it’s just pathetic people killing horrible people. And the kills aren’t even that imaginative. It could have been an interesting study into how people can be so desperate for fame that it can drive them to do horrible things. That’s a story that’s been told before, but can be very compelling when done right as it’s not done too often. As it is, the film is just “internet bad”, whilst being aimed at people who watch youtubers. It’s insulting to the audience, it’s insulting towards the culture, and it’s insulting to the people involved that they had to work on this.

Original review here

+Good idea.

-The youtube-style editing of constant close-ups.

Worst moment: When he watches clips of a stand-up comedian. We just see punchlines, we don’t see the setups. So we actually don’t know whether she’s good or not, we’re just taking the films word for it. 

The New Mutants

I’m hoping that Morbius will finally give us a mainstream comic book movie with darkness and fear. Maybe my expectations were wrong and I was expecting something it was never meant to be. But then again, even without that, there are still a lot of flaws with this film. Woefully inconsistent characterisation (especially when it comes Anya Taylor-Joys character), CGI that should not be this bad in a film this big, and incredibly unsubtle symbolism. The X-men series seems determined to keep being an embarrassment and every time you think it can’t continue being bad, it proves you wrong. If the series ended with Logan it would have been great, but it’s not just that they continued, but that the films after that are so bad. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as bad as Dark Phoenix. But that’s like saying “well at least the shit I did in my pants isn’t liquid”.

Original review here

+The central romance REALLY works. Even when the characters are just sitting near each other, you can sense the sexual chemistry between them.

-A sad end to the franchise

Worst moment: The narration, it happens multiple times yet doesn’t really add anything. 

Unhinged

This film had an ugly soul. It adds nothing and just seems like someone working through a mid-life crisis. It’s not a film but a series of scenes. Stuff happens but it very rarely matters what order as even after killing people in broad daylight, that doesn’t seem to increase the presence of police. The reaction to it has been even worse, with people sympathising with Russell Crowe’s character in this, despite the character being as despicable as his band was. But this film kind of plays into that. In terms of how the camera treats him, it doesn’t show him as a horror movie villain, it almost films him like the hero in a western. This isn’t helped by the moral of the story seeming to be “let people walk over you, if you stand up for yourself the people you love will be killed and it will be your fault”

Original review here

+Neat idea.

-Very stop start. This would have been improved if it was one long journey of chaos and destruction (sort of like Mad Max)

Worst moment: A long-ish scene that takes place at a restaurant. This occurs AFTER he’s run someone over and killed them, and after he’s burnt his ex-wives house down. Still no police turn up though

Fantasy Island (2020)

I was actually excited about this. The idea of a group of people getting what they wish for but it leading to their destruction is perfect for a horror movie. Think about it, since there’s really no limits you get to showcase some incredible set-pieces full of imagination. You can use the characters wishes to display who they are as people. Plus the whole “be careful what you wish for” allows for some creative scripting as well, the idea of your dreams being cursed or not up to what you expected. That’s definitely not the case. The script is formulaic, as is the direction and performances. I’m mainly annoyed by two things, two major issues I had with the film:

  1. The horror wasn’t linked to the dreams.
  2. The ending.

I’ll go into them in further depth. The first one: the way the wishes end up causing deaths is not really linked to the wishes themselves, there’s no sense of clever Twilight Zone/Black Mirror karma going back to get you kind of thing. I’ll go through them here:

Melanie

The wish

She wants to torture someone she went to school with.

How it goes wrong

It turns out it’s not a hologram and she is actually torturing her. I’m going to go into this specific moment in more detail later on. It then gets darker as she breaks the woman free and they end up getting chased by the torturer. So it just becomes a standard slasher film.

What would have made sense

Simple; have Melanie kill her but then realise that revenge doesn’t fix everything and she’s haunted by the memory of what she did. When she tries to sleep at night all she can think of is what she did.

Fantasy-Island-First-Trailer-e1573493063804

JD And Brax

The wish

“having it all” Basically a massive party at a big house

How it goes wrong

The house used to belong to drug dealers who come to the house to kill everyone

What would have made sense

This could have been the most interesting. All they needed to do was show the toll that lifestyle takes. Basically have them trapped in a never-ending party, forever. No sleep, no rest, no escape. Every time they go to leave the building they’re transported back in, every time they sit down they get forced to join a conga line. Show lots of asshole strangers there who refuse to leave the party.

Gwen

The wish

To accept a marriage proposal she rejected years ago.

How it goes wrong

Okay this is where the film gets weird. She gets exactly what she wanted but realises that her new life with her now-husband and daughter doesn’t actually belong to her and she has memories which aren’t hers. Interesting concept for a horror movie, right? This was done magnificently in Happy Death Day 2 U, in this it lasts a few minutes and then she changes her mind and asks to go back to a hotel fire she caused. Now she’s there again she changes the past by………she doesn’t. The fire still happens. It’s very important to the plot though as she sees everybody else from the island (minus Melanie) there on the night of the fire. So really this only happens for plot reasons.

What would have made sense

Have you seen The Butterfly Effect? Make it that. Show how her decision would have impacted her life; have it mean she failed in her career etc. Basically, have her first wish matter.

Patrick

The wish

To be in the army like his dad.

How it goes wrong

The army think he’s pretending to be a soldier and hold him hostage. This section actually provided the strongest moments of the film, he’s transported to the past when his dad was alive and meets him. There are some great emotional moments where his dad realises what’s happened and they have a great reunion and talk about how his dad died saving his troop. Patrick ends up disappointed when his dad goes to leave as he doesn’t want to go on the next mission because (as Patrick told him) it leads to his death. “but you dying saved your men, that’s why I thought you were a hero, you have to go do it” is essentially Patricks argument. An argument which makes no sense, the only reason he died is because he walks into an ambush he wasn’t prepared for, he’s prepared now, so can tell his men to avoid the ambush. His dad ends up dying anyway when they walk into the house where the aforementioned party is going on (in the present, and no they don’t mention the time discrepancies, the closest you get to it is “oooo magic island water”).

What would have made sense

Keep the “transported back in time to see his dad” part, that part works. But change it so it is his dad’s final mission, and he didn’t actually die saving his men in an ambush. He was part of a top-secret mission to attack something non-human; so a demon, a monster etc. Basically, turn it into a monster war movie (similar to Predator). Ordinarily, I would have gone with “show how his dad was not really a hero and instead killed lots of innocent people”, but the emotional moment of the film is the only part that worked, so it needs to stay.

fantasy-island-Michael-Peña-e1543879921471
Now is as good a time as any to mention the wasted talent in this movie

There you go, it’s fixed. Now what you have is more like an anthology film, with each section having a different tone, with different scares, albeit ones which merge together well. Now onto the ending. The ending twist was that the whole thing was actually Melanie’s wish, and she wanted them all to die because she blames them for her not-boyfriend dying in a fire; Patrick because he didn’t rush in and save them, JD and Brax because they were friends with him and didn’t check he had left the room before they left the hotel, and Gwen because she started the fire. This would have worked if we didn’t see Melanie early on act really confused by the fact the powers of the island were real and she didn’t realise the woman she was torturing wasn’t a hologram. But if she was behind it all, then she knew all the time what was actually happening. So why was she pretending? She was alone in the room so the only people who were watching her were the audience. It was like the ending was written by somebody who hadn’t read the rest of the script. It makes ZERO sense and completely kills the small amount of goodwill I had towards this film. It wasn’t even needed, just play the film straight and let it scare people, not everything needs a twist. If you must have a twist, make it a different way. Cut out the fire sub-plot completely. Yes, if you had them all die and this was hell it would have been obvious, but it would have made sense.

So in response; avoid this movie. I can see 2020 having worse films than this, but I can’t imagine I’m going to see one that wastes its potential as most as this. It’s truly awful, not even worth a netflix watch.