Top Ten Movies I Reviewed in 2017

10
Logan

A fitting end to the character of Wolverine, at least until his inevitable introduction into the MCU.

9
Better Watch Out

Surprisingly clever film which will make good viewing for those who seek something other than saccharine holiday fare.

8
It

Proof that horror remakes are not always unnecessary, and has a lot of fun with its monster.

7
Split

Thrilling and suspenseful with a surprising and satisfying twist, but worth watching just for McAvoy.

6
Spider-Man Homecoming

While not the best superhero or Marvel-related release this year, this was still enjoyable and had a great performance from Michael Keaton.

5
The Lego Batman Movie

A tonne of fun and a barrel of laughs, it’s strange that a Lego movie is a better 2017 Batman movie than a live-action Justice League.

4
A Monster Calls

Not only has some interesting visuals but a heartfelt story as well.

3
Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot was one of the best parts of Batman v Superman and shines even more in the best DCEU film yet (or ever, it might seem).

2
Baby Driver

Hilarious, exciting and makes good use of music.

1
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Speaking of a film that makes good use of music, this is a film you could watch again and again, filled with great comedy, action and even emotion.

 

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The Bye Bye Man Review

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The most notable thing about The Bye Bye Man is that it apparently hasn’t seen a horror cliché it doesn’t like. Case in point, the story begins when three students, Elliot (Douglas Smith), his friend John (Lucien Laviscount) and Elliot’s girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas), move into a spooky old house; the classic Goosebumps story opening. There they learn about the titular Bye Bye Man, whose name has an effect not unlike Bloody Mary or Candyman (he even seems to borrow a bit from the Weeping Angels). Saying his name and thinking about him lets him invade your head, causing hallucinations and murderous impulses, and the only way to stop his influence from spreading is to kill those who know about him, including yourself.

Then you look at the Bye Bye Man, see that he wouldn’t look out of place on a CiTV programme, and wonder why the characters in the film are so terrified of him. Some of the clichés The Bye Bye Man utilises are ones with potential; “not knowing what’s real or what’s not” has always been an interesting hook for a story, which is probably why The Matrix was so popular back in the day. This film, however, doesn’t really do anything interesting with what it has.

That does not mean that the film isn’t entertaining though. You’ll be disappointed if you go in looking for chills and thrills, but if you want a dumb horror film to practice your Mystery Science Theatre-esque commentary with, then this will be a good choice when it comes out on DVD. It’s something to watch with friends at a party when you’re all drunk off your asses.

Don’t Breathe Review

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Spoilers may follow

Rocky (Jane Levy), along with Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto), make money by breaking into people’s houses and stealing their goods. Hoping to get away from her squalid life and move to California with her sister, Rocky joins her two companions on another job: stealing money from a blind war veteran (Stephen Lang). As many precautions as they take, however, they were ill-prepared for how truly ruthless the Blind Man is. After Money is killed, Rocky and Alex have to find a way out of the Blind Man’s house.

The action of Don’t Breathe is confined mostly to a single building, and it asks us to care about the fates of burglars who are willing to urinate in the homes they invade. It does, however, make good use of its setting and its characters. The home the main characters are trying to escape is the appropriate setting for a story such as this; dingy and claustrophobic, and while there are places to hide, they won’t do you good for long. One truly believes it to be the domain of The Blind Man, one which he has total control over.

Although the main characters are criminals who fully intend to rob a blind man’s house, one really does want to see them get out of this. It is obvious from the start that Rocky is destined to be our “final girl”, but there is a good amount of tension about whether or not she’ll escape, especially when you find out what The Blind Man has planned for her (which you might find a little too disgusting, really). Though the game of cat-and-mouse (or cat-with-dog-and-mouse) does drag on a bit near the end (she escapes the house then gets taken back then escapes again), it is still mostly tense and exciting to watch.

Don’t Breathe is a thrilling little horror flick, worth watching if you want to get into the Halloween spirit a little early.

Lights Out Review

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May include spoilers

A lot of horror clichés have gone out of fashion. No-one wants to see the stupid teenagers picked off by a slasher in a post-Cabin in the Woods world.  The found-footage film was novel at first, but quickly wore out its welcome. However, one horror story common today still has potential and that is the horror story about family. For even worse than a monster threatening us is it threatening our loved ones. This year has seen quite a few family-themed horror films of varying quality, from the fantastic The Witch to the dire Other Side of the Door. One of the best horror movies of recent times, 2014’s The Babadook, revolved around a mother and son. Lights Out attempts to explore similar themes to Babadook, but isn’t as successful.

After the mysterious death of her stepfather, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) worries about the mental state of her mother Sophie (Maria Bello) and whether or not her brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is safe around her. Worse, the family is haunted by a shadowy creature calling itself Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey), who hides in the darkness and is weakened by light.

Monsters that lurk in the shadows are another common staple in horror that is in no danger of going out of fashion; what child hasn’t wondered what hides in the darkness? Horror is at its best when it leaves things to your own imagination, so Diana is most effective when she is a shadow. Near the end of the film, her appearance does get revealed through blacklight as an unimaginative zombie, and her menace is drained. The Trap Door was more effective with the monster upstairs.

Speaking of cartoons, Diana feels like one with her weakness to light. Monsters that can be destroyed by light feel more like something out of a children’s storybook than an effective horror villain. Orlok from Nosferatu is an exception, of course, but it was only sunlight that destroyed him, and the original Dracula could move about in the light. Still, the film has some fun with the weakness, like when Rebecca’s boyfriend Bret (Alexander DiPersia) is lifted by Diana only to fall when car headlights come on and when Diana blinks in and out with a neon sign (though the best horror story to utilise a store sign is still the episode of Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible where a dancer had his feet severed by a pair of giant scissors).

As noted before, since the story revolves around a mother’s mental state which is connected to a shadowy demon, it does invite comparisons to The Babadook. Rebecca and her relationship with her mother has a tragic element to it, and the two characters are sympathetic, but it is nowhere near as uncomfortable and unnerving as how Babadook treated a similar story.

Lights Out is a decent horror flick on its own, but it has nothing other films haven’t done better.