The premise of Zak Bagans’ ‘Demon House’ seems a bit unnerving, which immediately conjures up interest for the diehard paranormal fan.
Unlike most of the “based on a true story” movies, this one actually has researchable substance. There is plenty of news stories and reports to Google about the origins of the home and all of the lore. This helps provide a solid backdrop to this movie.
Unfortunately, it’s not a movie and I would hardly call it a documentary. ‘Demon House’ is an extended episode of Bagans’ Ghost Adventures, more than a feature film and a bit different from a traditional documentary.
Sure, there are far more interview segments in ‘Demon House’ than in a normal, run of the mill ‘Ghost Adventures’, but it’s still, at it’s core, seemingly the same format.
The film starts off slow and drags a bit as Bagans’ catches the viewers up to speed on all the spooky things going on in the home over the years.
In all honesty I was never a fan of Bagans, nor was I someone who avidly watched his show on a regular basis. I preferred shows such as ‘Ghost Hunters’ and found Bagans’ show a bit “much” in the way of theatrics.
But, this film made me a fan.
Sure, I could so without the corny “re-enactments” and “dramatizations”, but they needed to be there. However, the effort should have been better, at least in using a different way to shoot these scenes. Other paranormal television shows such as ‘A Haunting’ manage to pull this off, this film could have done better.
Not that it particularly pushed me away or drove down my interest, but my wife, who does not normally watch this type of content, was constantly rolling her eyes at these cut scenes.
Which leads me to the overall analysis of this film.
If you’re a fan, you’d be entertained. If you’re new to the genre, Bagans, or Bagans’ show, you’re probably going to find yourself turning it off before things get good.
And Bagans’ film gets very thrilling in the final 45 minutes and ends with Bagans’ experience, that will simply freak you out and stick with you.
Bagans comes across contrite, honest and is dialed back significantly from the over-the-top personality he can exude on his television show.
And Bagan’s demeanor throughout this film helps deliver the theme, helps sell the realness, helps convey the seriousness.
The ending will grip you, but it’s a film for a specific audience, which makes grading it a bit difficult.
So, I am trying to balance my grading to reflect both sides.
Bagans did a lot to win me over as an interested viewer, and I have a great interest in chatting with him sometimes about this experience, so, the film resonated with me.
However, I found a lot of the extra-curricular stuff a bit off-putting, and for a film that’s been a few years in the making, I felt more could be put into the dramatization scenes because the non-diehard fan in me found them to be a deterrent.
REVIEW: Child’s Play
While we are a bit late to the party, we did get a chance to take in the new ‘Child’s Play’, which dropped on June 21st.
The concept of a modern Buddi doll is brilliant. A walking, interactive, and intelligent AI that can control multiple things in your home, and can help in life, gives a very strong, fresh spin on the tale.
Now, the film starts off by rushing and bumbling it’s way to the reason why Chucky is cursed, and while it’s nice that it didn’t involve any curses, it still fell very flat and seemed rather brushed aside, a big flaw.
Something a bit more detailed, and with some substance to make me care about the process would have benefited this movie in the long-run.
Despite the bumpy start, the rest of the movie plays out smoothly, and although it isn’t anything to write home about, aside from the strong concept, it checks enough boxes to earn a decent rating, basically due to Hamill’s performance, which worked so well.
I just wish there was a bit more meat on the bone.
REVIEW: Annabelle Comes Home
Another entry into The Conjuring universe arrived this past weekend with the release of Annabelle Comes Home.
“Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren lock the possessed doll in the artifacts room in their house. But when the doll awakens the room’s evil spirits, it soon becomes an unholy night of terror for the couple’s 10-year-old daughter, her friends and their young baby sitter.”
The movie’s plot is setup by an appearance of the Warrens (Vera Framiga, Patrick Wilson) who remind everyone of the danger that is Annabelle.
The two investigators leave the home, where Annabelle is kept in the infamous Artifacts room, and leave their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) in the care of her babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman), who brings her friend Daniela along (Katie Sarife).
Daniela, who recently lost her father in an automobile accident, pushes her way into the home, and into the Artifacts room, hoping that she can use the room as a way to communicate with her deceased father.
Daniela lets Annabelle out, setting forth a wave of terrifying and horrific events that terrorize the 3 girls.
What the movie may lack in story, is made up for with the scares, which are executed brilliantly. While this is the more far-fetched story in the universe, it delivers on other fronts, where The Nun failed miserably.
All in all, worth a watch…with the lights off!
David Yarovesky’s ‘Brightburn’ is an intriguing thriller that puts a unique spin on the classic story of Superman, with the results turning much more sinister.
Dropping on May 24th, the film stars Elizabeth Banks, Jackson A. Dunn, David Denman, Matt L. Jones, and Jennifer Holland.
According to the synopsis:
“What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister? With Brightburn, the visionary filmmaker of Guardians of the Galaxy and Slither presents a startling, subversive take on a radical new genre: superhero horror.”
The chemistry among the characters is immediately evident, as the dialogue flows in a natural manner, helping the film move fluidly along as the story unfolds.
The origins of the Breyer’s son, Brandon, is kept a mystery throughout the film, as is the origin and purpose of the voice(s) he continues to hear as he unravels into an evil entity, which makes the film that much more intriguing and interesting.
Brightburn keeps itself footed in the horror genre with some gory kills and tense moments, such as Brandon stalking a classmate, that really stand out in a movie that seems to perfectly and consistently balance the varying tones of the film.
From start to finish the film delivers and packs plenty to like in it’s 90 minute runtime making Brightburn a must see as we head towards Memorial Day Weekend.
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