October 2016 in Review

November has arrived, Halloween has passed us by, and Christmas is getting closer. My month consisted mainly of horror films and more from this very year, resulting in quite the mixture of films to power through. So without further ado, let's see the films I viewed in October.

I, Daniel Blake - 5/5 - Ken Loach has delivered a heartbreaking look at how the benefits system fails those who need it. This is a picture one won't soon forget.

Swiss Army Man - 5/5 - The phrase "you won't see anything like it" can get overused in regards to films, so for their first feature film, Daniels have crafted the perfect example of a film where you won't see anything like it. For all its outlandish concept and embracing of the bizarre, it's a heartwarming story about friendship and loving life. Plus, it's very funny, and even utilises farts in a genuinely funny manner. This has been described as a film where the first fart makes you laugh, and the last one makes you cry. That seems pretty accurate, as the picture handles the humorous and emotional beats with equal amounts of ease.

Holidays (2016) - 2/5 - A horror anthology that has some bright sparks, but not enough to recommend the picture as a whole.

The Addams Family - 4/5 - Barry Sonnenfeld assembles a wonderful cast, who each manage to perfectly embody their wonderful characters. Anjelica Huston's portrayal as Morticia Addams can be labelled nothing short of a goddess, sharing lovely chemistry with Raul Julia, as the two provide a marvellous romance as the heads of the title family. Christina Ricci is the clear scene stealer, as the glorious Wednesday Addams. It's a shame Christopher Lloyd doesn't spend so much time as Uncle Fester, but when he's truly embodying the character, he does a wonderful job.

The lush scenery perfectly bring to life the setting for these characters, as does the wonderfully macabre humour, which does its job of setting this family apart from other typical familial units. But these aren't your typical family, thanks to the wonderful handling of Barry Sonnenfeld.

Supersonic (2016) - 4.5/5 - The story of Oasis' rapid rise to fame is captured rather well, with interview subjects being both candid and hilarious.

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Best film of the month and
Best film rewatched: Halloween (1978)

Child's Play (1988) - 3/5 - A thinly plotted piece of horror that doesn't carry much past the "murderous Toy Story" plot. The acting is passable and the effects are often wonky, but you know what? It can actually be rather fun.

[REC] (2007) - 4.5/5 - A terrifying entry into the found footage genre, which grabs your attention and never lets go during the 75 minute runtime.

The Thing (1982) [rewatch] - 5/5 - It's been 34 years since this film was released, and the effects work remains some of the greatest put to film. The blood test scene is still one of the most tense pieces of cinema I have ever witnessed. This film is an all round masterpiece. Utterly compelling, and as claustrophobic for viewers as it is for the characters onscreen.

Yoga Hosers - 0.5/5 - If you told me that this film was random crap made around the bitter ramblings of Kevin Smith, that'd be completely unsurprising. A cheap picture which lacks attempt, decent writing and jokes, focused more on kissing ass over voice impressions. But seriously, can we get a restraining order to keep Kevin Smith away from the horror genre? He seems to handle them as well as Bruce Willis starring pictures.

Green Room - 5/5 [rewatch] - Elevated to a full 5 stars after a rewatch. Completely no idea why I didn't feel this way the first time around, Jeremy Saulnier delivered a tense picture unlike any other horror flick from this year.

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Best film seen in cinemas and Best film
watched for the first time: Swiss Army Man

The Girl on the Train - 1.5/5 - Imagine if a studio executive wanted their version of Gone Girl, but the best they could deliver is a trashy Channel 5 movie. Then you have this.

Coraline - 4.5/5 - Following the viewing of this film, my immediate thoughts are directed at the PG rating. This family horror delivered plenty of nerve shredding moments for a 23 year old man, more so than quite a few of todays adult horror films. Director Henry Sellick handles this fable with the utmost love and care, as its brought alive through magnificent stop motion work. There's also genuine emotion on hand, as we root for the likeable title protagonist in her quest.

Jeepers Creepers (2001) - 3/5 - Credit where it's due, Victor Salva delivers some effectively creepy imagery here. The intrigue peaks early on, as we see the brother/sister duo encounter a hostile driver on the road, only to see him dumping what appears to be a dead body. After that, the proceedings seem to diminish, especially once we've actually seen the villain.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) [rewatch] - 5/5 - Robert Englund and Wes Craven deliver an effectively creepy horror masterpiece. Freddy remains a magnificent creation.

Event Horizon - 3/5 - Haunted House horror on a space ship? Paul W.S. Anderson manages to deliver an effective blend of genres, utilising the intriguing plotline rather well. The cast do terrific work in their roles, but for thinly sketched characters. There's effective horrific imagery here, but one can feel interference preventing more horrific visuals being on show, particularly in the final act. A bit more work on areas, such as editing and script work, and this could have been something truly great.

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Biggest Disappointment: The Girl On The Train

Deepwater Horizon - 4/5 - Strong as both a thriller and a disaster movie, Peter Berg handles the film exceptionally well.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 - 3.5/5 - A much different picture to its predecessor, focusing on black comedy as opposed to tension and horror. While the tonal change is initially jarring, once one moves past that, the amount of creativity in play is intriguing, and rather fun. There are items which get dragged out. There's also a lack of sense in multiple places (the appearance of a certain body is especially jarring). But, it's worth praising Hooper for attempting something utterly different, rather than churning out something that's a poor version of the first film.

31 (2016) - 0.5/5 - What Rob Zombie has delivered is essentially The Hunger Games with killer clowns, excessive swearing, pointless boob shots and action that's somehow more incomprehensible.

Unfriended (2015) - 3.5/5 - Taking place entirely from the perspective of a laptop screen, this works best as an experimental attempt at a horror film, which becomes utilised more effectively as the film goes on, up until one of the more effective final shots seen in a recent horror film. Granted, some of the deaths seem a bit ridiculous to witness, and it's a bit silly how this spirit seems to hold off on delivering punishment while a character is searching for help on the internet.

The cast of unknowns put good acting into these unlikeable characters who make dumb decisions. But the fact they're unlikeable made me all the more willing to continue to the end, to witness them potentially get their punishment. It was probably unintentional, but it worked, and the film works as parable about cyber bullying, which proves ever prevalent in this day and age. 

The Accountant (2016) - 3.5/5 - A knowingly fun picture that's great for witnessing the acting talent of the cast. Just a shame the action beats are so forced.

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Biggest Surprise: [REC]

The Ring (2003) - 4/5 - The director of The Lone Ranger and The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Gore Verbinski, effectively delivers a dread filled picture, which uses the horrific chain video to a terrific degree. Naomi Watts leads a cast who deliver first class acting, while the creepy imagery and the brilliant cinematography do magnificent work of setting the mood. 

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children - 2/5 - The latest from Tim Burton could easily be dismissed as his X-Men attempt, but the core concept is where those similarities end. Where Fox's successful long-running series dealt with prejudice in its own manner, this is more focused on a fantastical tale of villains devouring eyes and time loops. All of which are brought to life thanks to Jane Goldman's poor script, which hinders to characters to uninteresting or unlikeable proportions, leaving relationships unresolved and the plot rather convoluted and cookie cutter. Still, at least Eva Green and Samuel L Jackson are both fun in their roles. Plus, there's a fight between skeletons and uninterestingly designed Hollows which is somewhat decent.

Trolls (2016) - 3/5 - An enjoyable film with a positive message and wonderful songs, but there's little else to it.

Switchblade Romance - 2.5/5 - A picture which works greatly...until the finale mucks things up.

Freddy vs Jason - 2/5 - When the film actually focuses on the title battle, it's a fun time. Especially with Ken Kirzinger being visually imposing and perfect for Jason, while Robert Englund is back to portraying a terrifying version of Freddy, as opposed to the joke the sequels made him. Unfortunately, it takes an hour to get to the battle. The film instead focuses on a group of disposable teen characters not worth remembering, poorly characterised and spouting weak dialogue. Not an outright disaster, but could've been MUCH better.

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Worst film of the month: Yoga Hosers

Doctor Strange (2016) - 4/5 - A great entry for the newest of Marvel characters, even if the title character's arc is overly familiar.

Creepshow - 4/5 - The combination of horror maestros George A. Romero and Stephen King bring forth one of the better horror anthologies I've born witness to. While I found "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" and "They're Creeping Up On You" to be the lesser parts of the overall film, they had enough strengths and intrigue to not bring down the picture as a whole. In fact, Romero has crafted the right amount of creepiness and fun throughout the entire film, while Tom Savini's terrific work brings fantastic effects and make-up throughout. A cracking piece of horror.

Doctor Strange (2016) [rewatch] - 4/5 - Second viewing in the same week, with my brothers. Still great.

Halloween (1978) [rewatch] - 5/5 - 6 year streak continues, and once again, it highlights exactly why John Carpenter is one of the absolute masters of horror. 

Halloween (2007) - 1/5 - Any tension in regards to The Shape that is Michael Myers is deflated by Rob Zombie's unnecessary need to over-explain as much as he can. From his backstory that fails to set him apart from any other generic serial killer on film, to his escape facilitated by a pair of idiotic rapist guards, it does little but feel like a cheap attempt to cash in on a big name franchise. The trashy proceedings don't help, nor how Michael Myers remains the most likeable of the characters.

Arrival (2016) - 4.5/5 - Denis Villeneuve tackles the necessity of communication in a completely thoughtful manner, through the arrival of alien beings.The powerful acting and the thoughtful plotting help to make this visually beautiful drama all the more impressive, ready to leave viewers gripped from start to finish.

Best film of the month: Halloween (1978)
Best film seen in cinemas: Swiss Army Man
Best film watched for the first time: Swiss Army Man
Best film rewatched: Halloween (1978)
Biggest Disappointment: The Girl On The Train
Biggest Surprise: [REC]
Worst film of the month: Yoga Hosers

Number of films watched: 30