Tag Archives: average acting

Vanishing on 7th Street

I had a strong desire to see this movie when it came out, but if I saw every movie I wanted to when it came out, I would be poor. Thank you, Netflix. Anways, Vanishing on 7th Street had its ups and downs for me as I was watching it. To classify it as a thriller over a horror movie would be accurate, as it didn’t have too many bumps or jumps.

Something’s wrong… is it my acting?

There is one scene that may frighten you (I was wearing headphones and sitting too close to my computer), but overall there really only is one. Supernaturally it’s interesting, but the plot left something to be desired.

Let me explain. When I watch a horror movie, by the end, 9 times out of 10, I want the horror to be delved into or explained. To leave it open ended leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I want the origin story of the evil force at least. Where did these beings come from? Why are they here? Why do they need to frighten and kill? What will they do?

Little Ani, you did your job.

This movie didn’t give any of that. In a series of postulations, Vanishing on 7th Street entered in with this ungodly being/s that took away probably 99% of the world’s population. Paul (John Leguizamo) is just chilling up in his projection room, minding his own business, with his head-lamp on. Everyone in the mall disappears and nobody knows why. Cue Chris Bosh the actor and the scariest moment in the film. We head over to Rosemary (Thandie Newton) and her search for her baby, Manny. Then hit up Luke (Hayden Christensen), the lead actor in this horror shin-dig and you have yourself 3 of the last 4 people remaining in… Detroit? I have no idea…

After three days of darkness and people being taken away, you already knew after the first scene that anyone with a

That rave was a bit too redonk…

portable light was going to survive. It was self evident. What you didn’t realize is how fast Hayden Christensen would adapt and become a hardened badass about the whole thing. None of them know what the hell is going on, but they will for damn sure survive longer than I’ve seen anyone in a supernatural thriller. Go get ’em.

The acting wasn’t bad overall. I usually rag on Hayden Christensen for his ruining Star Wars, but he did his job well in this one. He was the brutal survivor everyone needs on their team in this one, and rightly

Probably shouldn’t crouch by all that gas…

so. Thandie Newton was the beautifully tragic character that has to, of course, hold onto her religion in order to survive. (There’s always one in every bunch…) And then there’s John Leguizamo. He needs to stick to just doing Sid in Ice Age, because his acting wasn’t contributing anything in this live action. Jacob Latimore, he was a pretty damn good child actor in this one. Bravo.

So without much explanation of delving into the topic, Brad Anderson skirts around the issue that every horror film should explain/explore at the end. Sure everyone in a movie can die, but you have to then have some sort of closing argument for why it all happened. In the

That plane be tankin’.

world of Hollywood, people don’t feel comfortable with unexplained evil for evil’s sake. There has to be a motive, a reason. If all you can come up with is Roanoke Island, you are sorely mistaken. And Brad Andersen directed The Machinist for Sweet Baby Ray’s sake! A hit and a miss, this movie holds the middle of the road for all the promise it held, and not giving away anything in the end. 6.2 out of 10.

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Insidious: The Downward Slope

I cannot speak highly enough of Saw creators Leigh Whannell and James Wan, but this movie in the horror genre is in a whole other ballpark. I had been wanting to see this movie since the day it came out but I could never rouse any of my friends to locate that spine and see it with me. So I sat down with my girlfriend and watched it instead. I was rather surprised with my final impressions.

The movie starts out like any other haunted house film. Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) are loving parents of three children: one baby girl and two

Old decrepit ladies scare people, right?

young boys. Foster (Andrew Astor) is their other son, but they don’t care about him. He gets one scene. The son they do care about is Dalton (Ty Simpkins). Some strange things are going on in the house, and one day Dalton decides he’s got some explorin’ to do. He climbs up into the attic and tries to turn on the light. He fails, falls off the ladder, and screams the most unconvincing scream you could ever think of. Long story short, he ends up in a coma that is just actually an extended slumber.

A dad in peril.

Here’s where things get good. Renai is being constantly bombarded by evil spirits and apparitions that appear to her and freak her right the hell out. Josh, the high school teacher husband, avoids his comatose son and the evilness in the house at all costs. He wants his son to be okay, but the months drag on (meanwhile their other son is nonexistent. The baby girl gets more face time than he does…) He can’t handle it and the wife is becoming fed up.

With some evil man presence being the last straw, the family moves out into another house, only to experience the haunting all over again. So what could it be? It must be something…

I like the direction that Leigh Whannell was taking this movie, despite the deliverance onscreen. James Wan did a good job of some scary pacing and using shadows to his advantage. The scene everybody talks about? If I had been in the

Save us, Lin Shaye!

theater, I may have jumped. The scaryness aspect that sold me though was the use of shadows and tricks on the eyes. Many times in the film, and everyone has experienced this, you see things in the shadows that are tricking your mind. A coat on a chair in the right light looks like a menacing sitting figure. A space behind a door hides demons. All that sorta thing. James Wan played that up so well that the main focus of the camera wasn’t even on these things. It left images for your mind to wander over and think, “Wait a second, didn’t the camera just miss that evil demon there in the corner?” That’s a first for a film I’ve seen.

Classic Leigh Whannell hipster move.

After this haunted house first half, comes the strange second half. In a strange way to explain away these occurrences, the family employs the help of a psychic who talks with the other side (Elise Ranier played by Lin Shaye). With her gas mask in hand and Specs (Leigh Whannell) by her side, it’s only a matter of time before the movie gets into exorcism and spectral beings. People with fears of 50’s ghosts in proper attire, beware.

I really felt the movie was carried a lot by the music it employed. There were plenty of scenes that were enhanced by the shrill violins and pulse pounding beat. Hell, I was scared of the movie’s use of Tiptoe Through the Tulips. That song and the voice it is sung in are freaky. But, at other times, the music came across as overdramatic and ruined the seconds after the scary moment happened with this over the top dramatic piece. You have to know when to play your hand.

The demon as it should have been.

What really ruined the movie wasn’t the reveal of the main monster, but the constant use of him. What is not seen as much is more frightening than what is. To describe the demon and then see him cheesily chasing the young boy through the house is just the kind of B-rated to C-rated antics that caught this movie so much flack. And the ending as well. Just when you didn’t want another twist, they throw you back in.

The acting was 50/50. I am a huge fan of Patrick Wilson, have been since I saw him in Watchmen. He has an understated way of acting that comes off as truthful. In this movie I considered him one of the best, and it showed in his dad-like ways and regretful attitude towards the end. Rose Byrne could have been better. I’ve been hesitant about her acting since Troy, and maybe that was right to doubt… Ty Simpkins, the main plot point of the movie does not know how to sell

GTFO, Barbara Hershey…

acting. Especially not a horror movie. He made it more comical. Pretty unremarkable. Also, get Barbara Hershey out of these dark thrillers. She may have had a heyday in films, but it has past. And these movies (I’m including Black Swan) are not meant for her. It needs to stop.

So with all these mixes of good scares and ample acting with a strange ending leads to an overall disappointing reaction from me about this movie. My girlfriend especially was disappointed. Sad. I’ll give this movie an A for effort, but when it comes to an actual rating, it’s pretty average. 6.1 out of 10.