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Poor Logic, Generic Plot, Yet Atmosheric
So to start with positives, the acting in this film was decent. Adrien Brody's acting is talented and entertaining to watch. The atmosphere is interesting too, a lot like many other Australian films (particularly Till Human Voices Wake Us). It's hard to explain, rustic? Old- time-y? Either way, it's unusual and interesting to watch. Last positive, occasionally the movie has a very creepy element to it.
Now, the negatives.
The story, while new, still contains many of the generic elements of other horror films. Particularly those where the dead come back to revenge their deaths; a good guy is really the bad guy and a goodie confronts the baddie alone.... Only to be overcome. .
In addition to these completely predictable plot points the film also involves many illogical events. For example, the ghosts wanting the help of the main character but still scaring and attacking them (obviously so the viewer gets a jump scare).
Shortcoming number 2. It's stated that a coroner performed a report on all of the corpses from the accident. Yet the dad strangled the girl to death and any half decent coroner would notice this (plus the lack of bruises which would be present on someone killed by a freaking train crash would have to raise some eyebrows surely!). But of course this is conveniently overlooked/ missed to allow the plot twist.
Another shortcoming, the second brother commits suicide out of guilt because he believes it was his (and his brothers) bikes on the train track that caused the derailment. But when Adrien Brody's character confesses that he and his brothers bikes caused the derailment, the detective shrugs it off basically saying "Come on, two bikes didn't cause a train to derail. You know that." If it's that obvious (which it sort of is to the characters not being plagued by ghosts) then why would the brother commit suicide apart from helping to advance the plot??
One last shortcoming is the detective's realisation that the head of police is evil because his car was at the crime scene. She claims his car must have been there before the accident because the road was blocked by the derailed train...... As if he couldn't have possible driven his car around the train? People drive off-road all the time and the terrain was flat grassland.
Last irk, the coincidences of the story become pretty unbelievable towards the end. Specifically the synchronicity of all the events that occurred in the past and present. Daddy being in the same place as his children.
Ultimately, I've knocked this film quite a bit, but it's not that bad. The illogic and plot holes are quite blatant but overall it's still an unusually interesting film. The tone of the film is unique in an Australian way and the acting is mostly adequate (Brody is good). If you can look past the generic scares and plot twists it is an OK film to experience, like a creepy local urban legend.
This is NOT a Taken clone!
I felt compelled to write this review due to the poor representation this film has received so far.
Yes at one point in the film Nic Cage's daughter is kidnapped, that is where any similarity to Neeson's Taken ends. In fact there was only 3 or 4 excessive action scenes in the entire film.
Instead most of the film revolves around Nic's pursuit for knowledge regarding his daughters kidnapping. This pursuit involves his old cronies, all of which receive nicely fleshed out back stories. Honestly, there is so much more going on in this film than just a brainless action flick. Some great twists and emotional connections with the characters.
All of that said, though, I do have to admit Danny Glover's performance (the new whispering thing he's doing??) is pretty laughable, just like some of the decisions his character makes.
Other than that though this movie definitely involves you in its story quite well, definitely give it a watch!
Back in the Day (2014)
Very entertaining film, unlike the other generic films out there.
I had reservations heading into this film considering it's low score and lack of user reviews. In fact the lack of user reviews is what prompted me decide to write this, so that people had an idea what they were in for.
Obviously this movie isn't a big budget Hollywood comedy, however, it is far better than any generic comedy thrown your way this year. The film is filled with unique and original jokes that feel completely realistic as well as simultaneously unexpected and outrageous. The film really has an air of familiarity about it, you can really connect with the characters and goofs (despite some of the obvious clichés such as the arch nemesis Principal).
This isn't meant to be an extensive review and honestly I haven't really done that. But I do want to convey to anyone sitting on the fence - about whether or not to watch this film - that it is a thoroughly entertaining flick. Sort of like a more original, mature and actually watchable version of American Pie: Reunion, just without all the toilet humour and pointless gimmicks.... So actually nothing like AP:R at all.
Trust me, you will enjoy this film, give it a go and have fun!