Tag Archives: Franchise

Review – Amityville: The Awakening

I suppose there’s a fair amount of grim irony in a film about demonic happenings having spent so long in development hell, but the sad reality of Amityville: The Awakening’s nightmarish production – it was filmed in 2014 but is only just seeing a release after numerous delays – is that the thing’s such rubbish that nobody involved in its creation wanted people to see it. They will, of course – the film’s set to be released for free on Google Play on October 12, then to enjoy a limited U.S. theatrical release on October 28, and it might even have enough name value to do some decent business. Which is odd when you consider these things have never actually been any good; at this point, the only thing more haunted that the Amityville house is the Amityville brand.

Anyway, Amityville: The Awakening is a direct sequel to The Amityville Horror, from 1979, and smartly ignores all the other sequels in the hope that people will forget they ever happened – a mission that had already been accomplished, for me at least, about five seconds after watching them. Still, it’s an approach that recently worked out okay in Leatherface, so I can hardly fault writer-director Franck Khalfoun’s logic. Luckily, I can still fault his direction, his writing, his imagination, his tolerance for abysmal performances, his casting of Bella Thorne in any capacity, let alone as the lead, and his adherence to a genre template that is so tired and familiar that more than once I was quoting scenes word-for-word despite never having seen them before.

Continue reading Review – Amityville: The Awakening


Review – Saw

This review is part of our 31 Days of Horror series. You can check out the other posts by clicking these words.

In a dirty, disused bathroom, two men find themselves chained to pipework in opposite corners, well out of reach of each other. Neither Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) nor Adam (Leigh Whannell) knows how they got there, or how they are supposed to get out – but they soon learn. They have been taken captive as part of the sadistic game created by Jigsaw – a serial killer whose identity is unknown to city cops, and who Lawrence himself was suspected of being when bodies started being discovered a few months before. It would appear that Jigsaw has a lesson to teach people, and that his games are actually some sort of test to see how far people will go in order to ensure their survival. One cop who is determined to catch this killer is Detective David Tapp (Danny Glover), who lost his partner and almost his own life to the case when the murders first started. The game has begun. Live or die – make your choice…

A good few years ago during a day off from school I was rather naughty and raided the cupboard for a DVD I had been eyeing up for quite some time. That DVD was Saw, and fifteen year old me had walked away from the film feeling slightly disappointed by the lack of gore in it. Three years later, I have decided to give the franchise another go, and my first port of call was to refresh my memory of the film that started it all off.

Continue reading Review – Saw

Review – Kingsman: The Golden Circle

After Kingsman HQ is destroyed, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) have to call upon some extra help to find those behind the attack. Introducing Statesman, a sister organisation to Kingsman based in the U.S. They head over there, and it’s not long before a few surprising discoveries. First of all, they find Harry Hart (Colin Firth) alive and fairly well. They also learn that there’s a new criminal mastermind holding the world hostage, and, of course, it is their job to put a stop to that. The two sides come together in an effort to save the world and remain wonderfully stylish throughout.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle, a film we’ve all been looking forward to for quite some time, has finally arrived. Was it worth the wait? I’d say so. I thoroughly enjoyed my time watching it. It had all the fun and flair the first film had, and then some, plus a few extra bonuses as well.

Continue reading Review – Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Opinion – Can Spoof Films Really Go Too Over The Top?

This week we’ve seen the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle hit cinemas all over the place. It’s been a long time coming for a lot of people following the success of the first Kingsman film back in 2015. People loved the first film because of how wonderfully loud and fun it was. Everyone was a fan of the outrageous fight scenes that were littered throughout, and we were all looking forward to the return of such things in this sequel.

However, upon its arrival, some individuals proceeded to complain that they found the film to go a little too overboard for their liking. I have to say that I have found myself to be slightly dumbfounded by these claims. The whole idea behind the Kingsman stories is they rip the piss out of all those spy stories that have been guilty of taking themselves way too seriously over the years. It is a spoof spy franchise, for Christ’s sake. It is supposed to be stupidly over-the-top – if not, it is no longer a spoof film really, is it? At the end of the day, has anyone ever actually complained that some of the scenes in the James Bond films go unnecessarily overboard? Because you could if you’re one of those pedantic types, which some people clearly are. Just look at that scene in Skyfall where the tube train gets blown off the rails – I loved the film, but even I can admit that special effects only did so much for that sequence.

Continue reading Opinion – Can Spoof Films Really Go Too Over The Top?

Opinion – Is Daniel Craig A Little Too Shaken And Stirred To Play Bond Anymore?

So, following well over a year of speculation about whether he will return to the role of 007, it has been confirmed that Daniel Craig will play James Bond for a further two films.

After all the injury problems experienced during the production of Spectre, the actor’s most recent outing as the spy, Craig’s future was very much in question. During the promotional work for Spectre, everyone kept asking the big question – will he do another film? At the time, it looked as though we had seen the last of him. Craig seemed to have had enough; looked as though he had completely fallen out of love with the character. However, over a year and a half on after the release of the last film, the news has surfaced that he is signed not for one, but for TWO more films.

Now, inevitably, everyone has their take on the announcement. It has received a somewhat mixed response and has definitely polarised cinema-goers and Bond fanatics. Some have been overjoyed to hear that Craig will be in the role for the foreseeable future, and others have been… less so.

Continue reading Opinion – Is Daniel Craig A Little Too Shaken And Stirred To Play Bond Anymore?

Review – Gears of War 4

What’s this?

I don’t want to alarm you, but despite quite clearly having the numeral “4” on the end of the title, Gears of War 4 is actually the fifth game in the respectable Gears of War franchise. And when I say “respectable” I’m not even being my usual, sarcastic, devilishly-handsome self. The first game was critically beloved, a commercial success by every possible metric, exceedingly well-designed, and became a rubric for cover-based third-person shooting to such an extent that the industry’s continued – and continuing – milking of the series’ saggy teats has led most people to retroactively taint the Gears games themselves. A shame, really, because they’re all pretty great. Except this one, as it happens. This one is merely fine, just in quite a tired, predictable, faintly desperate way.

Oh, no. We’re not doing the Halo thing, are we?

Not quite, although the business parallels are undeniably similar. Epic Games didn’t want to make Gears of War games anymore, much like how Bungie didn’t want to make Halo games anymore, and so in both instances Microsoft invented a developer with the specific mandate of making more games in those respective franchises. In Halo’s case, the property was handed over to 343 Industries, a phenomenally inept pack of corporate stooges who bastardized Halo’s core gameplay, plot and characters, and slapped them back together in a Call of Duty clone wearing Master Chief’s helmet.

Gears of War 4 has, admittedly, fared slightly better. Its developers, The Coalition, at least had the good sense to leave the fundamentals of a Gears experience largely unchanged. The problem is that they left them so unchanged that the whole thing feels like a knockoff, second-hand Gears experience without any of the creative verve that gave the original trilogy its unique appeal.

Continue reading Review – Gears of War 4