Monday, October 8, 2018

Chills & Thrills: Stephanie (2017)

Movie Name/Year: Stephanie (2017)
Tagline: None
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Drama
Length: 86 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Blumhouse Productions, Chapter One Films, Gotham Group, Unbroken Pictures
Producer: Bryan Bertino, Adrienne Biddle, Jason Blum, Phillip Dawe, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Matthew Kaplan, Nate Matteson, Seth William Meier, James Moran, Eric Ian Robinson    
Director: Akiva Goldsman
Writer: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski
Actors: Shree Crooks, Frank Grillo, Anna Torv, Jonah Beres

Blurb from Netflix: A menacing, unseen force stalks a young girl living by herself in a suburban house, where she’s surrounded by reminders of her once-happy family.

Selina’s Point of View:
This is one of those films that I just get angry at.

The concept of Stephanie is phenomenal. The twists, the story, it’s all really spectacular. Unfortunately, it’s handled so wrong that it’s impossible to be carried away by any of it.

Anything that was supposed to hit hard, simply didn’t. The fore-shadowing was SO overt that there were no surprises. What should have been a psychological masterpiece of a horror film… was barely a predictable mess of supernatural bullshit.

With a different director and two or three more drafts of the final script, Stephanie could have become a trope-setting movie for its genre. It makes me angry that the people working on the film couldn’t see what needed to be done to make it better.

Using the same actors with a slightly different script and some vastly different direction, I would have loved this movie. Instead, I’m left angry and wanting.

It’s a shame.

This was not the best start to our October Chills & Thrills.

All of October we’ll be examining the Horror/Thriller films available on Netflix. Whether you’re looking for a serious scare or a ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ film, we’ll be here to offer our recommendations – or warnings. If it goes well, maybe we’ll look into Christmas/Family movies for December and Romances for February. If you have any other suggestions, let us know!

(For the remainder of October we’ll be going back to our Mon/Wed/Fri schedule.)

Cat’s Point of View:
I’m not even sure where to start.

This film was not at all like what I expected, and it had me hooked through every step of the way… That is, until the end.

Akiva Goldsman (Angels & Demons, Fringe, Star Trek: Discovery) captured the essence of the horror here quite deftly. It was more than jump scares or the occasional bit of gore. My instincts were screaming and my heart was pounding. 

Shree Crooks (Extant, American Horror Story, The Glass Castle) has got a bright future ahead of her.  She evoked such eerie innocence that it was easy to get lost in the events on screen.

My confusion when Anna Torv (Fringe, Love is Now, Secret City) and Frank Grillo's (The Grey, Big Sky, Wheelman) characters entered the story quickly shifted into the next phase of alarm and suspense as a few more layers of the story were revealed. 

Suspense. That’s definitely a good description here – the film teases you with flashes and glimpses and leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat as events unfold.

Then things changed. I absolutely adored about 90% of this movie. The last 10%? I don’t know. Something felt off.  I wish I could put my finger on which element bugged me the most. Regardless of my mild disappointment in the conclusion, the movie on the whole was highly successful.

I certainly wouldn’t mind giving this a solid recommendation for anyone looking for some thrills. Tis the season to be screaming, after all.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 47%
Metascore - 52/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.8/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

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