Friday, July 9, 2021

Safer at Home (2021)

Streaming Services: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: Safer at Home (2021)
Genre: Thriller, Horror
Length: 82 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: 7930 Entertainment, Showdown Productions, Voltage Pictures, Vertical Entertainment, The Searchers, Front Row Filmed Entertainment
Director: Will Wernick
Writer: Will Wernick, Lia Bozonelis, John Ierardi
Actors: Alisa Allapach, Lia Bozonelis, Adwin Brown, Katie L. Hall, Jocelyn Hudon, Mark Irvingsen, Dan J. Johnson, Michael Kupisk, Emma Lahana, Brandon Morales, Daniel Robaire
Blurb from IMDb: Two years into the pandemic, a group of friends throw a wild online party. After taking ecstasy, things go terribly wrong and the safety of their homes becomes more terrifying than the raging chaos outside.

Selina’s Point of View:
Safer at Home was not an easy watch. There was absolutely no escapism involved. Instead, it gave a look at a possible future based on what is actually happening.
Safer at Home opened with a montage of real news footage. It then seamlessly shifted into fictional news from that possible future – one where COVID-19 mutates and keeps us in a full quarantine until well into 2022. It also pulled from the BLM movement to show how that kind of police state lock-down would look.
Horror flicks are always much more terrifying when they could really happen.
I am not surprised by this movie’s reception. Critics got their hands on it in early 2021. Vaccines for COVID-19 had been developed and were rolling out at a steady pace in many countries. It was looking like the pandemic was coming to a close.
And we were all sick of hear about the coronavirus. None of us wanted to sit down in our free time, when we could finally be out among friends, and watch a movie about what we endured.
I don’t think any critic could possibly have imagined that this little horror was predicting the delta variant.

Watching Safer at Home now, is not the same thing as seeing it then. It hits harder.
It’s not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination. 

A huge portion of the cast had nothing to do but stare at a screen for the majority of their part. It was also an extreme social commentary, which is not for everyone. Especially not for anyone who is looking to escape current events for a little while.
It was also difficult to not compare it to Host (2020) – which was the first film to take place during the pandemic through use of webcams. They’re very different movies, of course. One is supernatural, the other is based completely in realism. Still, when you compare them – Safer at Home does not hold a candle to Host. Not only that, but even though Host is set during the pandemic, it still offers some manner of removal from our situation.
Safer at Home is less a project of entertainment and more like a creative warning of what we should be trying to avoid. That’s not what a lot of people are going to be looking for right now.
That said, I do predict that people are going to have a very different take on this film when they watch it in the future. Once COVID-19 is over and we’ve stepped into the light of whatever the world looks like then, people are going to be more open to movies set in this time. When they start coming across this one, it going to get better reviews. I don’t think I can say it will be a cult film, but I do believe it has the potential to become bigger than it currently is.

Cat’s Point of View:
When you watch movies on a regular basis, you never know when one is going to reach out and rattle you. I certainly didn’t anticipate feeling shook in the wake of the credits for Safer at Home…and yet here we are.
The critics are tearing into this movie and ripping it to shreds as if someone chummed shark-infested waters. I don’t get all the hate. Sure, Safer at Home wasn’t the most amazing thing ever, but it was solid. It just goes to show that you can’t always go by what all the critics say.
There have been a few films so far that have embraced this new pandemic world and run with the concept to bring us a whole new genre of horror and thrills. This follows along those lines but doesn’t dip into the supernatural the way others have.
The opening of Safer At Home actually gave me chills.

I absolutely believed in the setup here. It felt like current events rather than a piece of fiction. With variant strains of the coronavirus popping up, it feels like this will never end sometimes. I want to avoid a political soapbox, though, so I’ll summarize by saying that the police-state big brother-esque Los Angeles that was shown in the film felt frighteningly plausible.
You can do a lot with a simple framework. So many of us have experienced the little Zoom meeting boxes in the last year or so, that it only seems natural that more productions are going to borrow from this shared experience. I think this treatment was successful. I felt like I was sitting in on someone’s Zoom feed and watching a get-together of real friends. The drama was believable. I didn’t care if some parts were predictable or not. Safer at Home had a solid cast and they did a great job.
The ending rattled me hard.
Screw the critics, Safer at Home is absolutely worth the watch.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 7%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 61%
Metascore – 35/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 4.6/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3.5/5
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

No Sudden Move (2021)


Streaming Services: HBOMax
Movie Name/Year: No Sudden Move (2021)
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 115 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: HBO Max, Warner Bros., Warner Max, Warner Bros. Pictures Germany
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Ed Solomon
Actors:  Amy Seimetz, Brendan Fraser, Noah Jupe, Matt Damon, David Harbour, Benicio Del Toro, Jon Hamm, Don Cheadle, Kieran Culkin, Julia Fox, Ray Liotta, Frankie Shaw, Bill Duke, Lauren Rys Martin, Craig muMs Grant, Lauren LaStrada, Javon Anderson, Claudia Russell, Hugh Maguire, Emily Jane Smith, Lucy Holt, Tina Gloss, Wallace Bridges, Peter Tocco, Michael Adams
Blurb from IMDb:  A group of criminals are brought together under mysterious circumstances and have to work together to uncover what's really going on when their simple job goes completely sideways.

Cat’s Point of View:
I had high expectations for No Sudden Move – so much so that it made my Top 20 list for this month. There was a lot of stiff competition, so it didn’t score at the top, but that didn’t change the fact that I was really looking forward to it.
No Sudden Move certainly met my expectations regarding cast performance, immersive period setting, and a nuanced plot. Don Cheadle (Miles Ahead, Captain Marvel, Don't Look Deeper) and Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of the Galaxy, A Perfect Day, The Little Prince) helmed a story that twisted and turned from one moment to the next. Amy Seimetz (Alien: Covenant, Pet Sematary, The Secrets We Keep) shone in her supporting role playing the wife of David Harbour’s (Black Mass, Hellboy, Black Widow) character, Matt.

That said, I’m afraid I had a bit of a difficult time keeping up with the convoluted story and crisscrossing machinations of the characters. No Sudden Move felt like a solid movie in the moment, though if you asked me now what it was about, I honestly don’t think I could give you anything specific with any certainty. I’m chalking this up to my ADHD acting up – it’s my bad for forgetting my medication this morning. I had things to fidget with to try and keep focused, but I was desperately tempted to play on the phone and let the movie run in the background.

Needless to say, that is usually a good indicator that it didn’t grip me hard enough with the story so that I would be on the edge of my seat and forgetting that things like my phone existed. I wish that weren’t the case. Don’t get me wrong, though. No Sudden Move fit within its genre well, and it was a treat to see Brendan Fraser (Breakout, Trust, Line of Descent) excelling in a role again –even if it was sans his squeaky clean character image of the past and more on the seedy side this time. Three cheers that he broke free from type-casting!
No Sudden move is a decent way to spend a few hours if you’re in the mood for this sort of genre. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 64%
Metascore – 77%
Metacritic User Score – 5.8/10
IMDB Score – 6.6/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
Movie Trailer:

Monday, July 5, 2021

Son (2021)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Son (2021)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: NR
Production/Distribution: Belladonna Productions, Elastic Film, Park Films, RLJE Films, Shudder
Director: Ivan Kavanagh
Writer: Ivan Kavanagh
Actors: Andi Matichak, Emile Hirsch, Luke David Blumm, Cranston Johnson, Blaine Maye, J. Robert Spencer, Rocco Sisto, Kristine Nielsen, Erin Bradley Dangar, Adam Stephenson, David Kallaway, Ethan McDowell
Blurb from IMDb: When a young boy contracts a mysterious illness, his mother must decide how far she will go to protect him from terrifying forces in her past.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’m on the fence about Son.
In the beginning, it had me. The scares were effective – to say the least. I normally watch my horrors in a completely dark room, but I felt the need to turn on the light for this one. I’m not one to get caught by jump-scares in movies, either. I watch so many horror films, that those kinds of scares tend to be predictable for me. So, for it to catch me in a way that made me as uncomfortable as it did… that was a feat.
Needless to say, my expectations sky-rocketed at that point. If the very beginning of the flick was that scary, then I was certain the rest of it would be on the good side of insane.
Not so much.
Son took a weird turn. The subtle creepiness turned into something a little more ‘in-your-face’ – which took away what made the beginning so terrifying.

I wound up predicting the ending about a half-hour in. After that, there were no surprises. I knew what the mom would do, I knew what the kid would do, I knew what the cops would do. It was as if the movie had it’s very own fated ending – and no one stepped off their path.
What could have become an instant classic – fell back to the tropes.
I can’t say it was a terrible movie. It still has one of the best beginnings in horror movies from this year. The rest wasn’t exactly painful to watch. It’s not something I would steer people toward, but I wouldn’t warn them against it either.
It’s alright. It’s a little upsetting that it wasn’t better, because all the components were there. It could have been a game-changer… it just needed a different twist.
Son will appear on Shudder, July 8. If you have the subscription, check it out. Let us know how you feel.

Cat’s Point of View:
As the credits rolled for Son, I found myself torn.
On one hand, the story seemed to follow a decent progression and was generally fine all-around. Nothing was egregiously bad. On the other hand, I didn’t find myself on the edge of my seat at all.
Son just felt long and predictable – to a point. There was a twist I didn’t see coming. I have to give props for that.
I had a hard time connecting with the mother character. That’s a rough one for me, since her plight is really the focal point of the film. I was on board at the very beginning, but at some point, things just seemed to unravel – at least as far as my attention span went.

There was a little more expectation from a movie with Emile Hirsch (Ten Thousand Saints, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, The Comeback Trail), but I guess sometimes that’s just the way it goes.
I’d say that Son was generally a decent movie for its genre. Perhaps in the wake of something as amazing as our last film, this one just pales in comparison. 

My experience could have also been colored by exhaustion.
You can always check it out for yourself on Shudder, later this week!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 72%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 48%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.5/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating2.5/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer: