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.
1 Comment | tags: 50's ghosts, A for effort, ample acting, Andrew Astor, apparitions, average acting, B-rated antics, baby girl, bad child actor, Barbara Hershey, Black Swan, cheesy chase scene, coma, comatose son, dad, Dalton Lambert, dark thriller, demons, disturbing images, downward slope, Elise Ranier, evil spirits, evilness, exorcism, extended sleep, final impression, Foster Lambert, freaky, gas mask, good scares, great use of music, haunted house, haunting, high school teacher, horror genre, husband, Insidious, James Wan, Josh Lambert, Leigh Whannell, Lin Shaye, loving parents, main monster, main plot point, menacing, mixed feelings, needs to stop, over the top at times, overall disappointing reaction, overdramatic, Patrick Wilson, poor deliverance onscreen, poor ending, psychic, pulse pounding beat, regretful attitude, Renai Lambert, Rose Byrne, sad, Saw creators, scary moments ruined, scary paced film, shadows, shrill violins, Specs, spectral beings, strange ending, strange events, surprising, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, tricks on the mind, Troy, two young boys, Ty Simpkins, unconvincing child acting, understated actor, Watchmen | posted in Movies
After having played these games faithfully over the years, I was kind of disappointed with the way Ezio and Altair’s storyline ended. These two historical badasses have taught me that I can view the wonderful views of Europe and Asia from my sofa, and I learned a thing or two along the way. And what’s better than playing as a grizzled and gray old master? But what wasn’t great was the quickly knotted and severed storyline that just led Ezio to Altair through Constantinople. With some strange new additions and a lot of DLC I’ll never be able to play (more that I don’t care to), Revelations left a bittersweet taste in the mouth.
The story is quite simple (especially if you recently played Brotherhood). It’s been a few years and Ezio is starting to show his age. Now that is something I was impressed with in this game. To grow older and wiser with a character as the game progresses? THAT’S A GENIUS MOVE. I loved every second of knowing just where Ezio came
A few of the character types for AC: Revelations.
from and where Altair was going. It was an intelligent gameplay device for the series. So there’s now older Ezio, (known as the Mentor) who has come to Constantinople, formerly known as the Byzantine Empire. With warring factions of Assassin’s and hidden Templars vying for the city, it is up to Ezio to lead the charge against the unwelcome squatters.
Gotta love the Creed.
Okay, Ezio’s other purpose for coming to the Middle East. Altair, in one of the best opening videos for the game series ever, left a door locked for his lineage to discover hidden within Masayaf. Ezio rambles some henchmens’ brains and finds the door, only to discover he must find some keys in order to unlock it and find the secret weapon behind it. They’re scattered throughout Constantinople by the workings of Marco Polo and his father. Using book clues and a lot of cutlery, Ezio swings through the rooftops of the city in order to unlock the secret.
Even further in the plot is Desmond. He just hoo-hawed Lucy and is now in a coma inside of the Animus 2.0. With the help of the figment of Subject 16, Desmond must combine his Altair past lives and Ezio past lives in order to come back from the brink.
Ezio struggling a bit himself, on the edge.
Okay, gameplay: It’s the free running slaughterfest you would expect from the AC series. Ezio is older and shows it with his speed and dexterity. What could he need at this point, you’re wondering. 1 simple solution. Hookblade. This new addition to Ezio’s weaponry allows him to zipline through the city and avoid/slay guards at will. Think of it like a cane for an old man (with a blade hidden inside). Combos are as brutal and fresh as ever. Collectibles and city restoration are normal. But there were some problems.
A bit of the hookblade action.
Having to defend Constantinople from the Templars was annoying as poop. Around every corner, one of the Assassin’s Guilds was under attack. And then you’d have to do some Bloons Tower Defense all over their ass, and that took up time and cut away from you actually doing the slaughtering. There were too many missions with the Assassin recruits and having to visit them and wipe their bottoms wasn’t helping anything. And trying to get any semblance of achievements or furthering the percentage of completion in the game was weighed down by silly side missions and a block building game with Desmond. This is why I will always love the original more than any of the others. Missions, flags, and killing at will. There’s none of this side quests, hidden gems, and pampering the city B.S.
Ah yes, the young Altair. Notice the scar above his upper lip. That looks familiar…
With all of these problems aside, it was a pretty weak sendoff for Ezio and Altair. Yes, you walk around as Altair at 80+ doing some elite pwnage (never use that normally, guess I want to seem like a true gamer…) and some nice explosions to walk away from, but nothing you would expect from the mind blowing storyline this game series has created. You find the goods, and then one of the biggest cliffhangers ever. Assload of credits and back to some freeplay. Damn it all to Hell, with AC3 coming out, you could’ve gotten me a bit more excited. So I’ll leave you with this. Play the game because it’ll make you feel a bit closer to Ezio and Altair. There are some great bits, but far from Brotherhood or AC1/2. The visuals are stunning and the history is rich, and that’s what I play these games for. Enjoy it while you can until you forget about it because you’re too busy hiding boners from AC3. Just a little bit longer… A solid 6.7
Get some of that carnage.
out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 80+, AC series, Altair, Animus 2.0, annoying, Asia, Assassin recruits, Assassin's Creed 1, Assassin's Creed 2, Assassin's Creed 3, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Assassin's Guilds, Assassins, badass, best opening video, big cliffhanger, bittersweet, block building, Bloons Tower Defense, boners, book clues, Brotherhood, brutal combos, city restoration, collectibles, coma, Constantinople, cutlery, decent storyline, defend the city, Desmond, difficult achievments, disappointment, DLC, Europe, Ezio, faithfully played, father, flags, free run, freeplay, game completion, game progression, genius move, good bits, gray old master, henchmen, hidden, hidden blade, hidden gems, historical, hookblade, intelligent gameplay, keys, killing at will, learning games, like a cane, lineage, locked door, love the original, Lucy, Marco Polo, Masayaf, Middle East, mind blowing storyline, missions, more excited, new additions, nice explosions, nice sendoff, old and wise, older Ezio, poor ending, problems, progression of time, pwnage, rich history, secret weapon, series, show his age, side quests, silly side missions, simple story, slaughterfest, speed and dexterity, stunning visuals, Subject 16, Templars, the Byzantine Empire, the Mentor, time consuming, too many missions, true gamer, unlock the secret, warring factions, weak sendoff, weaponry, zipline | posted in Video Games