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Rock, Paper, Scissors: A Ridiculous, Clichéd Story

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I just wanna look and fiddle a little bit.
Fiddle and touch.

Every year there’s such a film of which you say “Man, this is probably the worst film I’ve seen this year!“. For me, it’s the movie “Rock, Paper, Scissors” that takes all the glory. With Tom Holland as director (who nevertheless brought some great films such as “Fright Night” and “Child’s Play“) and screenwriter Victor “Friday the 13th” Miller on board, you expect a horror of a considerable level. Take some good advice from me. Don’t start watching it with too high expectations, because you’ll be disappointed. Not only is the story fairly unoriginal. The acting generally sucks. And it’s never really exciting or scary. Even the slasher elements are extremely boring.

 

Rock, Paper, Scissors

 

A wimp of a serial killer.

But the most important thing is the part of the serial killer. Think of Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs” or Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho“. These guys were real serial killers who made an impression. From the beginning, you had that feeling that these crazy persons were sadistic, morbid individuals. Peter “The Doll Maker” Harris (Luke Macfarlane) shows bouts of madness and pure evilness. But in general, he just looks like a pathetic person who reminded me more of “Pee-Wee Herman”. It was only during the scarce moments while he relived his traumatic childhood, which he spent with Uncle Charles (John Dugan), that Macfarlane acted convincingly. The fear and torment that took hold of him while remembering the abuse, was shown in a masterful way. But for the rest, it was just a sad performance.

 

Rock, Paper, Scissors

 

Some more annoying characters.

The most annoying characters, however, were reserved for Michael Madsen and Jennifer Titus. What’s an actor like Madsen doing in this pulp film anyway? It was a mystery to me. Seeing him at work in Tarantino’s films “The Hateful Eight“, “Reservoir Dogs” and “Kill Bill“, assumes that this actor will get better offers. With a face that has character and that raw voice. As Detective Dechert he seemed to play on autopilot. The character Ashley, played by Jennifer Titus, is even less credible. Her motive is understandable but the way she approaches it is so amateurish and clumsy. Anyway, when I saw her awkward and stiff Karate movements at the denouement, I wondered how the hell she got that black belt. Sadly enough, the rest of the cast was also of a low level.

 

Rock, Paper, Scissors

 

You’re nuts to free that nut?

But the most annoying thing was the predictable story. First, the release of Peter Harris. Who the hell releases a serial killer after a few years? An insane person who killed 13 teenage girls and blames an imaginary twin brother. So, after a few years of shock therapy and meaningful conversations with psychologist Dr. Bauer (Tatum O’Neal), the latter comes to the conclusion that Peter is freed from his inner demons and is ready to function as a normal person in society. Someone like Dr. Bauer would be taken away in a straitjacket immediately nowadays. A few hours in the parental home and a glance at the cheery buttocks of a cheerleader (who, in all innocence, bends over, in such a way that he could admire her minuscule panty with fringes) is enough for our cured and reformed maniac to run back into his basement to restart his ceased activities. Complete nuts.

 

Rock, Paper, Scissors

 

Plain dreadful.

All in all, a dreadful movie. Annoying acting. A ridiculous, clichéd story. And even the gory and bloody parts made no impression. You have to be a huge fan of Tom Holland to see this as a successful horror. I hope there won’t be a sequel somewhere in the near future. Because I’m certain it’ll be more of the same. Perhaps Tic-Tac-Toe will be used as the morbid game. May the God of feature films spare me!

 

My rating 2/10
Links: IMDB

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HORROR

Scream (2022) | Wes Craven Would Be Proud

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Scream has officially slashed its way into cinemas and brings with it a killer opening as Ghostface returns, serving up a self-deprecating meta buffet of a slasher sequel that relaunches with terrific terror and nostalgic scares which are bloody brutal. Scream has some big shoes to fill, the directors have to fill the shoes of horror icon Wes Craven, which they honourably do, and the screenwriters also have to honour the brilliance of Kevin Williamson and what he brought to this genre and his script for 1996’s Scream.

The fifth entry in the franchise is filled with references to the franchise’s past, movies of the past, present, sequels, remakes, and now Requel, which in itself is part reboot and part sequel. Scream also discusses topics, specifically horror films released throughout the 2000s to now as it’s very self-referential by using Halloween (2018) and Ghostbusters Afterlife, for example, showcasing that these franchises are making requels by setting the film in the same world, at a different time but adding new characters that are in ways related to the “Legacy” characters from the original. Scream knows that it’s a horror movie, and most importantly, it knows this fifth entry is no doubt a “legacy sequel”.

Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, a new killer has donned the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town’s deadly past. Neve Campbell (“Sidney Prescott”), Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) and David Arquette (“Dewey Riley”) return to their iconic roles in Scream alongside Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Sonia Ammar.

Years after the Ghostface killer first struck, teen Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) gets an ominous phone call, whilst home alone, from a stranger asking what her favourite scary movie is. Scream opening sequences are so iconic to the franchise and this new modern take doesn’t disappoint as Tara is attacked and stabbed multiple times by someone wearing the Ghostface outfit from the in-universe “Stab” franchise, based on the Westboro murders committed by Billy Loomis and Stu Macher. The opening is shockingly suspenseful and wholly entertaining. 

Paramount Pictures

The focus here is on a group of young people who certainly have seen enough “Stab” movies to know that the killer could be one of their own including Tara’s estranged sister, Samantha (Melissa Barrera) along with her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid), who returns to Woodsboro to be with her.

Paramount Pictures

In any sequel, you hope that the new cast doesn’t fall flat and ultimately works well with the returning cast. Take 2018’s Halloween for example with Jamie Lee Curtis returning brings a new generation of Strode women specifically Laurie’s daughter and granddaughter, showing the audience how well the newcomers mix with the legacy characters. Scream successfully achieves this as all characters are handled well, though the body count, unfortunately, rises as Ghostface has some new tricks up its sleeve.

In passing the torch to fresh blood, this fifth entry showcases that there are layers of meta to uncover, fresh scars, and wicked fun to be had. The highlights were Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera, Jack Quaid. All work to drive the narrative along with the help of Sidney (Neve Campbell), Dewey (David Arquette), and Gale (Courteney Cox). The legacy characters truly provide the nostalgia and emotional connection, the filmmakers treat these iconic characters with the utmost respect.

Scream lives up to its slasher roots as Ghostface goes to town with the hapless victims like a butcher skewing his meat. Characters are sliced, stabbed, and ultimately gutted with glee. They’re brutal when happening but gory and glorious for some. However, some kills have impacts attached as many are heartbreaking and some you want Ghostface to go to town on. I was on the edge of my seat, as directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett who both previously directed Ready or Not, know how to build tension especially with Brian Tyler’s haunting and eerie score that truly intensifies the film.

Paramount pictures

Scream is about deconstructing the genre and pop culture of the day and aims at filmmaking with killing commentary that’ll make you scream with laughter, whilst still containing the known tropes of a slasher movie. Its squeal-inducing traps and false alarms are so well-earned.

Overall, I believe Wes Craven would be proud of this movie and what it does for fans of the slasher genre. It strikes a visual cord with its toxic fandom commentary and provides a phenomenal entry to the 21st century of modern horror. It’s entertaining with laughter and brutal deaths as Scream continues to reinvent itself and still manages to remain a consistent franchise 25 years later since it started it all.

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Classics

Reel Recommendations: Possession – One Restoration You Do Not Want To Miss

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One of my favorite elements in the horror genre is taking a contemporary story and somehow implementing the genre’s core elements. Take the film Cure (1997) directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa; the film is about a detective who is investigating a series of grizzly attacks by a serial killer. On the film’s surface, it is your simple crime-thriller ala David Fincher’s Se7en (1995) or his 2007, Zodiac. However, throughout the film, the viewer gets inside of the mind of his victims in a psychological battle between light and dark; understanding the killer’s motivations and way of attack. Enough talk about Cure (1997), that is for another time.

I hold this element of the genre close to my creative heart because the genre does not always need a monster or killer or the loose, the genre is about set-up, execution, and the atmosphere in which those two elements listed are contained. If you are looking for more horror films like that, that are not about unstable detectives, look no further than Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession.

This 40-year-old lost film has recently been gaining a cult following and the film distributor Metrograph has graced film fans with a restoration. My thoughts on that are listed below the review.

Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill @ Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981

Possession is a film about how division; division of two people who seem to be at odds and have fallen out of love for one another amidst the middle of the Berlin Wall, a division of communication between a couple and the affair that has brought them down as well as a division of body and state. Possession is about the breaking point between a couple as they’re in the very early stages of a divorce. They both have simply fallen out of love with one another and have started sleeping with other people, mainly Isabelle Adjani’s Anna. As Sam Neil’s Mark understands the situation unfolds, the more angry and sickly he becomes. There are points where he will look like he has not eaten in days and looks incredibly pale-skinned. There is a moment throughout the first 25 minutes where Neil is having a seizure in a cold sweat.

While Possession is a body horror in terms of visual effects, its a body horror from the performances given. We see both of the films leads reach sadistic and stomach-churning when it ocmes to range. The first half being dedicated to Sam Neil’s perspective of the situation and how he is treating himself during this change, where he goes from calm to physically abusive. Then as the story unfolds, Żuławski pays more attention to Adjani’s Anna, as an audiences we are opening the curtain to what she has been up to when the camera is not focused on her. The camera work works in one takes with very abrupt takes in its editing. Żuławski wants everything to feel like one fluid motion rather than have multiple takes for one single scene. The subway scene in particular roughly has about two-three takes and you do not evne notice because of how hypnotized you are to Adjani’s otherworldly performance. I am treading lightly on the plot due ot the genius of this film is to go in knowing nothing.

Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill @ Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981

Possession is one of those horror films that were lost in time but recently have been gaining a resurgence through word of mouth and many clamoring for a Criterion blu-ray release, and for good reason. Possession includes some of the best performances I have ever witnessed with direction that is unpredictable and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. If there is one restoration you should have eyes on it is this one.

Restoration Review

Possession not only is a wonderful film but is also one of the best restorations I have seen recently. Metrograph elevates the horror film and at times looks like it was made from the last decade. The stark blue color pallette shines due to how cold and emotionally distant the characters are. The sound design is wonderful, every whisper is heard and understood, every scream feels like a scare, every tension-building moment plays like gangbusters. This is one restoration you do not want to miss especially for cult-genre fans.

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HORROR

Stranger Things | Season 4 – Official Trailer

The upcoming fourth season of the American science fiction horror drama television series Stranger Things, titled Stranger Things 4, is scheduled to be released worldwide exclusively via Netflix’s streaming service in 2022.

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Genre:

Horror, Sci-fi

Release Date:

2022

Director:

Netflix

Cast:

Millie Bobby Brown, David Harbour, Gaten Matarazzo, Natalia Dyer

Plot Summary:

The upcoming fourth season of the American science fiction horror drama television series Stranger Things, titled Stranger Things 4, is scheduled to be released worldwide exclusively via Netflix’s streaming service in 2022.

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