Friday, October 21, 2022

Ominous October - Significant Other (2022)

Streaming Service: Paramount+
Movie Name/Year: Significant Other (2022)
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Length: 1h 24min
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Paramount Players, Quay Street Productions, ITVX, Paramount+
Directors: Dan Berk, Robert Olsen
Writers: Dan Berk, Robert Olsen
Actors: Maika Monroe, Jake Lacy, Teal Sherer, Loudon McCleery, Dana Green, Matthew Yang King
IMDb Blurb: Follows a young couple who take a remote backpacking trip through the Pacific Northwest and face sinister events leading them to realize that everything about the place is not as it seems.

Cat’s Point of View:
This October has been cram-packed with movies I’ve wanted to see. There were so many that I had a really hard time narrowing down to my personal Top 20 list for the monthly article. There were quite a few that looked great that just couldn’t make the cut. Significant Other was one of them. (It did land as #17 on Selina’s list.)
I was intrigued by the trailer when we watched during our stream, and earlier works from this writing and directing team had impressed both Selina and I. I had so many questions at the outset of watching Significant Other, yet thought I had the general gist of where this movie was going.
I was so wrong. That’s also not a bad thing.

One point I do have to mention upfront, however, is that there was a bit of a slow burn going on with character development at the beginning of Significant Other. It could have easily fallen into many other “couple camping in the woods” tropes. Then the whole thing turned on its head.
I was waiting for something significant to happen to shift the gears into the sort of tension the trailer depicted. When the moment came, it earned a gasp from me as if it had punched me in the gut. All of my earlier theories went flying out the window in one split second. The switch from romantic drama to sci-fi thriller was so abrupt it was fairly jarring.
Significant Other didn’t let up from that point forward.

I will admit that once the big reveal happened, some elements were slightly predictable. I didn’t mind that, however. I was down for the premise. In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel or series to follow up and show what happened next. I just wish it didn’t take quite so long to get to the ‘good part.’ Even so, I think Significant Other will stick with me for a while due to the combo of the twist and its exploration of emotional trauma.
If you have a subscription to Paramount+, Significant Other might be an interesting pick for a night in. It’s not the sort of flick, though, that I’d encourage anyone to subscribe over. (There are quite a few titles that are worth it, but that’s neither here nor there for the purposes of this article.)

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 69%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 63%
Metascore – 57%
Metacritic User Score – 5.5/10
IMDB Score – 5.7/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5
Movie Trailer:

Monday, October 17, 2022

Ominous October - V/H/S/99 (2022)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: V/H/S/99 (2022)
Genre: Horror, Anthology
Length: 1h 49min
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Shudder, Studio 71, Red Arrow Studios, Bloody Disgusting, Soapbox Films, CinePocalypse
Directors: Flying Lotus, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre, Johannes Roberts, Joseph Winter, Vanessa Winter
Writers: Zoe Cooper, Flying Lotus, Chris Lee Hill, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre, Johannes Roberts, Joseph Winter, Vanessa Winter
Actors: Various
IMDb Blurb: Witness a hellish vision of 1999, as social isolation, analog technology and disturbing home videos fuse into a nightmare of found footage savagery.

Cat’s Point of View:
We’re halfway through our Ominous October lineup, and I was excited to explore Shudder’s new V/H/S anthology offering for this midway milestone. Both Selina and I loved the last installment helmed by the horror streamer – albeit, some of the earlier sequels not so much. For that reason, I had V/H/S/99 listed as my #10 entry on my personal Top 20 List for October, while Selina had this as her #6 pick.
While I’m a bit of an eternal optimist, this is at least the 5th movie in the franchise. I felt at this point that I should be realistic with my expectations. It’s been clear in the past that these can really be hit or miss. The hits land really hard, however, and I was sincerely hoping that V/H/S/99 would follow in the successful footsteps of V/H/S/94 (2021).
I have mixed emotions about V/H/S/99.

One thing that this new installment got right was the general grungy punk feel of the ‘90s. I was instantly transported back to the peak of the Blockbuster Video era and mix-tape cassettes on the shelf alongside CD collections. 1999 was a good year for me. I was off on my own doing the adulting thing, and I got married that year. The majority of V/H/S/99 fit right in with the vibe of that time period.
As another positive, I was glad that the shaky cam wasn’t too horrendous for an anthology of found-footage shorts. Sometimes these segments can get really out of hand with whipping the camera around as hapless victims panic and scramble from the villain du jour.
Beyond that, this latest incarnation of the V/H/S (2012) franchise fell a bit into the hit-or-miss category.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience. It just lacked the cohesiveness that V/H/S/94 gave us. The transition sequences did offer a little levity while underscoring the overall horror, but they were only loosely connected to the individual segments. When I say it connected at all, I’m being generous, to be honest. I have my own theory about what it represented and how it all tied together. It was something you could have expected from a lost and found VHS tape that had been recorded-over multiple times, in theory.
The individual entries in the anthology were decent. One shouldn’t expect anything flashy in these, since they’re meant to represent amateur home videos. The production value was great for all of its low-budget glory. I got some decent and satisfying spooks out of the experience, though I don’t know that there was anything truly terrifying among the offerings. If the over-arching transitions between each of them had tied them together somehow aside from fitting in the general timeline, it would have elevated everything just that much more.

I was also a little disappointed that they didn’t lean harder into the Y2K paranoia that gripped the world in ’99. So many thought it was practically going to be a doomsday with planes falling out of the sky and grids shutting down. I remember watching a live telecast of the transition to January 1, 2000, as the date crossed the globe. I had a knot in my stomach, worrying that lunatics were going to cause a self-fulfilling prophecy of anarchy whether computers went wonky or not. I think this particular anthology entry would have benefited from more of that than a single mention off-hand in one of the segments.
When stacked up to the prior V/H/S installments, V/H/S/99 wasn’t the worst, by far. It wasn’t, however, the best, either. I still have hope for this franchise, though. Perhaps they were a bit too fast to rush to production after the success of V/H/S/94. Hopefully, they won’t repeat these mistakes with the next announced installment of V/H/S/85, which is due out in 2023 sometime.
You can catch V/H/S/99 on Shudder starting Thursday, October 20th.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 69%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – 53%
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.7/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5

Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – R

P.S. - There is a brief scene following the credits.
Movie Trailer: