Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Exorcism of Molly Hartley (2015)

Number Rolled: 42
Movie Name/Year: The Exorcism of Molly Hartley (2015)
Tagline: First you were haunted now witness the exorcism.
Genre: Horror
Length: 95 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: WT Canada Productions
Producer: Justin Bursch, Mike Elliott, Greg Holstein, Kim Todd
Director: Steven R. Monroe
Writer: Matt Venne
Actors: Sarah Lind, Devon Sawa, Gina Holden, Peter MacNeill, Daina Leitold, Julia Arkos, Tom McLaren, Andrew Cecon, Jon Cor, Kate Yacula, Melissa Marie Elias

Blurb from Netflix: Molly is all grown up, and the demons who haunted her teens are gone. But now, only one fallen priest can save her from the devil himself.

Selina’s Point of View:
When we rolled this film I was unaware that it was the sequel to The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008). Knowing the name of the other film, it’s obvious, but I hadn’t known the other film existed. Cat and I both wanted to see the sequel with knowledge of the original storyline, so we each went and watched the first one. She found a copy and I rented mine on Amazon Video.

For the first one, I have no regrets. I spent $4 on the rental and I’m absolutely fine with that. It was wonderful. It was understated but creepy. It had everything you expect from a haunting film without being a paint-by-number recipe. I was very happy with the actors, the script, and the ending.

In fact, by the ending of The Haunting of Molly Hartley, I had NO idea how they could possibly create some kind sequel.

Alas, they came up with The Exorcism of Molly Hartley.

This film absolutely ignored the ending of the first one. In fact, it ignored the entire plot of the first one. A friend suggested to me that I look at it as a stand-alone film. Even doing that it’s complete shit.

I’m normally a rabid Devon Sawa (Robin of Locksley, Idle Hands, SLC Punk) fan. I have been since 1994 when I watched Little Giants. As a hell of a tomboy that was into various sports, that movie was the greatest thing I’d ever seen up until then and Devon Sawa’s character, Junior Floyd, made it seem not so bad to be a tomboy. I feel as though my confidence growing up would have been much lower if it wasn’t for that movie. Since then, I’ve watched every single film, or TV show, with Sawa in it. Even shows where he was only in one episode, like NCIS: Los Angeles.

As a result of my loyal devotion to Sawa as an actor, I’m always caught off guard if he doesn’t perform at his best in a film. Unfortunately, I don’t think The Exorcism of Molly Hartley got his best effort. However, I don’t think his best effort would have helped the film anyway.

The production company should have stuck to the original actress that portrayed Molly, Haley Bennett (Marley & Me, The Equalizer, Hardcore Henry), and they should have stuck to the original writers and director: John Travis (The New Daughter), Rebecca Sonnenshine (Within, American Zombie, The Vampire Diaries), and Mickey Liddell (The Grey, Black Rock, Anthropoid). If they couldn’t bring back those originals, they shouldn’t have made the film.

There’s very little I hate more, where movies are concerned, than a bad sequel that shits all over a good original.

Cat’s Point of View:
I hadn’t initially realized that this movie was a sequel until I paused it momentarily to use IMDb to find an actor. It was driving me nuts that I recognized him and couldn’t remember what it was from. (It was near the beginning and I was low on caffeine and impulse control.)

Lo and behold, this film takes place six years after the end of The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008). I hadn’t seen that before so this became a double feature for me! Unfortunately, the first movie is not on Netflix. I enjoy watching or reading a series in order, so I left Exorcism paused and watched Haunting first.

Not only did I want to understand any references that might have carried forward; but I also wanted to be able to advise whether or not the movies stood alone from one another.

You could watch the Exorcism movie without the first one without really missing a lot. There is one humorous reference at the beginning and then really the rest gets filled in for you as the plot unfolds. Casting also did a fair job in matching Sarah Lind (What Goes Up, WolfCop, Blackburn) to the look of the original Molly.

I wish I could tell you that I liked this movie more. It wasn’t horrible. It was okay. There wasn’t anything revolutionary or spellbindingly interesting about this exorcism movie that separates it from the others of the genre. The effects were decent, and I have to tip my hat to Sarah Lind for the more physical aspects of her performance.

I learned that the film was shot in an actual former psychiatric institution in Canada.  That definitely gave the film a more authentic quality for the setting. It would be interesting to hear if any of the cast have any ghost stories to share.

I hadn’t seen Devon Sawa (Creature of Darkness, Endure, Life on the Line) in anything in quite a while. His filmography indicates he’s been busy – it’s just been off my radar. I thought he did well with this role and it was nice to see a ‘grown-up’ version of him on the screen. I think I’d last seen him in Final Destination (2000).

For a bit of ‘six degrees’ on that film series; Gina Holden (The Listener, Mysterious Island, LA Apocalypse) plays the doctor in this movie but was also in Final Destination 3 (2006).

I am unable to come up with anything from this film that would make it memorable for me. If given a choice, I likely won’t be watching this movie again.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 22%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 1.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score1.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 1.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

The Random Rating: R

Movie Trailer:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Re-Kill (2015)

Number Rolled: 88
Movie Name/Year: Re-Kill (2015)
Tagline: We are the endangered species.
Genre: Horror
Length: 87 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: After Dark Films, Midsummer Films, Signature Pictures
Producer: Yoram Barzilai, Stephanie Caleb, Moshe Diamant, Steven A. Frankel, Christopher Milburn, Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Jules R. Nasso, Julius R. Nasso, Karri O’Reilly, James Portolese, Bobby Ranghelov, Courtney Solomon, Allan Zeman
Director: Valeri Milev
Writer: Michael Hurst
Actors: Bruce Payne, Danielle Alonso, Roger Cross, Scott Adkins, Jesse Garcia, Angelena Swords, Dimiter Doichinov, Yo Santhaveesuk, Aaron Jay Rome, Layke Anderson, Raicho Vasilev, Claire Garrett, Rocky Marshall, Kanesha Washington, Dean J. West, Owen Davis

Blurb from Netflix: Five years after a zombie apocalypse, a team of soldiers discovers that the monsters they thought were destroyed are back to finish off the survivors.

Selina’s Point of View:
I wasn’t in love with Re-Kill, but there are some aspects that I really enjoyed.

I would definitely put this film in the category of ‘mockumentary.’ It was mostly shown from the viewpoint of the camera-man and made to seem like a TV show in the same category as Cops (1989-) or some other crime-based reality program. Personally, those shows aren’t my cup of tea, but this wasn’t exactly a true story. It took place in a post-zombie apocalypse world.

The film allowed us, the audience, to see the mockumentary as though we were a part of that world watching it on TV. It was complete with commercials and ads for shows that would be shown later in the day. That kind of reminded me of certain parts of Starship Troopers (1997).

“Would you like to know more?”

I thought the look of the zombies and the general effects were very well done – when the shaky cam allowed me to actually see what was happening. I’m a touch dizzy right now from the constant bouncing around. It’s easily the shakiest of all the shaky cams I’ve ever seen.

Regardless of the method of filming, I found the world the story was set in to be a very interesting place. There were huge plot holes here and there, but I wasn’t really expecting anything different. In fact, I was expecting a B-movie with a low level of quality, but I got something much better than that. The actors were very good at portraying their characters and the settings looked very realistic.

I want to like this film more than I did, but I found it to be kind of pointless and forgettable in the end. It wasn’t bad to sit through, but I doubt I’ll remember any of it by tomorrow.

Cat’s Point of View:
This was an interesting take on a zombie apocalypse movie. It reminded me a lot of Starship Troopers (1997) with its commercial breaks. The gritty reality TV angle with the SWAT-like R-Division ala Cops (1989-) isn’t something I’ve seen before for this genre and I think it really elevated the material beyond ‘just another zombie movie.’

I was glad to see that there was a strong female role present with the R-Division squad, played by Daniella Alonso (Hood of Horror, Revolution, Lawless Range).  Team leader ‘Sarge’ played by Roger Cross (Mad Money, Continuum, Dark Matter) was another familiar face among the cast. His character gives some interesting introspection along the way.

I found it interesting that Scott Adkins (The Pink Panther, Assassination Games, The Brothers Grimsby), action star extraordinaire, was limited to gunplay in this movie – considering hand-to-hand combat with zombies would likely be a poor decision. It makes sense, of course, but he’s usually in roles that are so much more hands-on. This didn’t take away from his character, though.

I think I liked the role of Winston for Bruce Payne (Greystone Park, Asylum, Breakdown) better than the last several things I’ve seen him in. I remember him best for his roles in Dungeons and Dragons (2000) and Highlander: Endgame (2000). Winston has some interesting views in this movie, and was one of my favorite characters in the film.

This is a movie I will likely watch again, and would definitely recommend to fans of the genre – especially if I know someone likes Starship Troopers.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 23%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

P.S. Shows up on Rotten Tomatoes as: After Dark Originals: Re-Kill

Movie Trailer: