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Ignore the numbering, it's really in no particular order.
The Other (1972)
strange but intriguing story
Great acting, a unique story line, and excellent character development earns this movie 10 stars easily.
For anyone who is confused about the movie and needs someone to explain/spoil it for them, here it is: A little boy named Niles is a gifted psychic who is able to predict the weather and the gender of babies when they are born. His grandmother Ada teaches him a trick called "The Game" where he is able to project his mind into other people and even animals.
The movie starts about three to five months after Nile's twin brother Holland dies by accident by falling into a dry well. Since Holland was the proverbial "evil twin," his soul cannot move forward to Heaven. Thus, his spirit remains a haunting presence in the house and surrounding grounds of his family's residence.
Tragedies begin to happen around the farm pointing at Holland as the culprit. How can he perpetrate the crimes (including putting a baby inside a bottle) if he is dead? The answer is simple: "The Game" works both ways - when a person is able to transfer their mind into another being, a ghost can transmit their own mind into living people. Holland possesses Niles by transferring his mind into the mind of his twin brother that's still alive.
Babushka, or Grandmother Ada finds out too late that "The Game" is dangerous and tries to stop Niles from playing it. Niles is afraid of losing his brother if he stops playing, since that is the only way he is able to still communicate with his brother. The movie doesn't make it clear whether or not he actually stops, only that the spirit of Holland continues to possess Niles and compels him to murder people.
If you like movies that are psychological and weird, watch this one! I saw this when I was younger and did not understand it. I recently re-watched it and realized what was going on. An amazing movie all around.
The Ninth Gate (1999)
requires symbolic literacy
This movie is superbly made puzzle and most people won't "get it" because they are hung up about the idea of the Devil (and their own preconceptions of the Devil).
The movie is dualistic in it's character development, telling a story of two paths (Balkan and Corso's) and how vastly different they are when they converge at the end of the story. Balkan is still driven by passion and obsession, whereas Corso learns that knowledge can have greater value than money. The difference is obvious and yet most people don't seem to notice it. Balkan starts out as a high handed, sanctimonious Satanist yet becomes more pathological (and out of control) in his desire to summon The Devil, Corso becomes more thoughtful and genuinely interested in the puzzle of the engravings that speak to achieving a higher plane of consciousness.
There is symbolism through the movie that takes the viewer on a journey with Corso (the Tarot's Fool). There is plenty of esoteric analysis available on the Internet if you google the terms "Tarot" and "Ninth Gate" and "engravings." If you aren't already somewhat familiar with occultism, it's probably going to go over your head. Googling "Cathars" is also helpful.
I think if I were to give an overall summary of what this movie is trying to say, is that freedom and personal power don't come from self-delusion or worshiping Satan. The Ninth Gate portrays Satanism as a personal and intellectual failure on the part of so-called spiritual rebels that can't see past their own impulses and ego. The lesson of the movie is that enlightenment comes from within and a willingness to let go of attachments to the physical world. The Ninth Gate is almost like Buddhism in this respect.
The Steve Wilkos Show (2007)
an abusive show
Steve Wilkos will no doubt appeal to barbarians who think violence and aggression are going to solve society's problems. No, it will not.
Watching Steve Wilkos scream at the top of his lungs, throw chairs, and treat people like garbage might make you feel better, but he's just feeding into the cycle of violence in this country.
This is not to say that I am thrilled with the kind of people he has on his show. The problem is, Steve's methods of dealing with them are unhealthy and flawed. Steve's methods of dealing with constructive criticism is also ridiculous. His basic response to anyone to anyone who finds something wrong with his abusive behavior is to say "If you aren't with me, you're against me and you're with the criminals." This is fundamentally stupid because most reasonably intelligent people can see flaws in both Steve and the crappy people he finds to put on his show.
I'm also not thrilled with the idea of taking lie detector tests as total gospel. For the most part I trust lie detectors but they can be wrong. Steve never, EVER considers the idea that sometimes his test results might be wrong. I have no reason to believe that the lie detectors are done in a professional manner considering the very UNPROFESSIONAL manner of his show. I just read a review where one of Steve's former guests were allegedly kept up all day and all night and literally starved in their own hotel room. That will affect the lie detector test how? Think about it.
There is much more to this show than meets the eye and whatever is going on behind the scenes is not good. I think the show is exploitative and Steve has no regard for potentially ruining people's lives.
really really good
I'm a fan of low budget and indie movies that make the most of what they have and live up to it's fullest potential. Absentia is one of those movies where great acting, directing, and minimal special affects brings together a psychological and existential horror unlike anything else I've ever seen.
While not inspired directly by a story from Lovecraft, the movie is Lovecraftian in it's storytelling and supernatural concepts. This movie is more Lovecraft than many self-proclaimed Lovecraft movies and that is saying something.
I don't scare easily but I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting for what would happen next. I am really surprised that there are people who don't like this movie or think it's boring. I guess it's boring if you're used to psycho-slasher flicks that substitute gore for good storytelling.
Lake Mungo (2008)
could have been so much better
I really wanted to like this movie, but I almost fell asleep halfway through it. That hasn't happened to me since the Europa Report, which is saying something. This movie had great acting, great atmosphere, and an overall genuine feel to it. Sadly, it just didn't live up to it's own potential.
There's a lot that could have made this movie better: 1. Shorten the time to about an hour which is typical for a documentary style special. A lot of it could have been cut out for brevity's's sake.
2. Allow the ghost photos of the teenage girl to be real. I thought it was a real cop out and a major interruption to the story when it was revealed that the brother was faking the pictures. The end of the movie would have been more satisfying had the ghost pictures built up to the big reveal later.
3. Nobody needed to know about a teenage girl's sex life. Nobody needed to see some old pervert taking advantage of his babysitter. I thought that was tacky and unnecessary to the overall storyline. FYI, if you needed to see that then you have issues beyond what a message board can help with.
4. Expand the psychic's role in the storyline. The trick with the tapes was original and could have played a bigger role overall.
5. Make the girl's death more meaningful than a spontaneous drowning. Tie it into a local legend or something.
best one to finish it all
I am a fan of the series, and I thought this movie is cool. I'm not thrilled with the added CGI affects but the spirit photography was a clever spin the franchise needed to wrap up and be done with.
I am not thrilled about the timeline, either. The movie series is already complicated enough without adding in yet another twist and turn in a sequence of events that is difficult to keep up with. Die hard fans will have to open their notebooks or set up another corkboard with yarn to figure out how character A got to point Z without the fabric of the Universe collapsing.
Overall, though, it was a really good movie. I'm not sure why everyone else rated it so low. I'm going to assume that the low ratings are from people who hate the series, to which I would ask them, if you hate it then why are you watching it? People have been complaining about this series since the third movie, and still they are watching it. I guess it can't be that bad then, hmm?
The Collingswood Story (2002)
outdated, clichéd, and ridiculously boring
I am normally more generous with found footage and indie movies, but this one is pretty bad. I want you to think back to all the old junior high horror paperbacks, eighties horror movies, and urban legends you've heard about. Take a bit from each one, put them together and you've got this movie - it's nothing but standard fare haunted house storytelling with the narcissistic element of being the star of your own webcam show.
It's really too bad, since some real effort was put toward making this movie. I could tell that the actors and director were personally invested in this movie. This movie is not 100% bad, but the slow moving plot and pointless personal drama make it nearly unbearable to watch. The webcam idea is great for found footage, but the fake computer screen was a terrible idea. None of the characters were well written or likable in this movie. The dialogue was written very poorly.
If I could say anything positive about this, it would be that there is no shaky camera footage to make me sick. The last ten minutes or so was suspenseful and genuinely scary. There were good sound effects and ambiance sequences were kept at a minimum.
Other than that, I really didn't enjoy it at all. I'm a fan of low budget and found footage movies, and I saw this because of all the high ratings. I thought I'd found a gem of a movie to pass on. Sadly, that's just not the case.
My Sweet Audrina (2016)
another botched job from lifetime
I really wanted to give this movie more than five stars, but it appears that Lifetime isn't interested in doing V.C. Andrews books right to earn a higher rating.
Lifetime needs to learn to ask fans what is important about these books before making them. If they can't even get the character's hair color right, then why are they bothering at all? This is a serious question. Color symbolism was important to V.C. Andrews books, which they would know if they had read the books and taken them seriously enough to write a script to reflect it.
There's so much wrong with this movie, I can't even. But I'll try.
1. Damien was ruthless, cruel, and a charming psychopath. The movie implies he is a creepy child molester which is stupid. They would know this if they read the book.
2. Arden was much more of a selfish, demanding dick in the book. He had his good qualities but deep down inside he was only concerned about himself and his own guilt ridden psychological complex. The movie makes him look like god's gift to Audrina, which he wasn't.
3. Billie Lowe is missing.
4. Sylvia is missing.
5. Mercy Mary teatimes were missing.
6. Audrina's hair color was missing. It was a point of her identity in the book and tied her to her mother.
7. Vera's hair color and eye color was missing. Vera's eye color was supposed to betray her true father - Damian.
8. Ellsbeth was portrayed as a milquetoast pushover. Yes, Ellsbeth stayed at Whitefern because she was still in love with Damian. However, in the book her personality was much more disciplined and stuffy. She was nowhere near as nice in the movie.
9. The ending was mixed up and made no sense. The chronological order of events were switched around.
10. The rapists in the book were Audrina's classmates, not 18 year old teenage boys.
There are excellent visuals and atmospheric qualities of this movie that were overshadowed by the hack job the script writer gave to V.C. Andrews book.
dumbest movie ever
I've watched this movie a grand total of two times, and I can honestly say that the point of this movie does not get clearer no matter how many times you watch it. It's not like the Matrix, which is obviously trying to say something. This movie is boring, trite, and relies on good visuals to make up for it's pretentious laziness.
I'm surprised this movie has gotten 6.9 stars. There are better movies that do worse than that.
In a nutshell, this movie is about a young man's bizarre hallucination before he dies. It's got weird spiritual references about Buddhism, and about how life is just an illusion, etc. The young man acts like Jesus by predicting the weather and healing the blind. Trust me, though, the movie is not nearly so deep as to justify these plot elements. So much of the dialogue and characters are utterly pointless to the ending that it annoys me how much of a waste of time it is to watch it.
paranormal activity meets the mcpherson tapes
I am normally an open minded fan of fan footage movies. I typically give generous 10 star reviews of indie movies that make up for low budget with competent acting and original story lines.
Unfortunately, this movie was neither original nor well executed. It was boring and predictable. I about puked in the middle thanks to the shaky camera lens and loud background noises. I didn't expect much from the acting but the characters were so poorly written that it good acting might not have made a difference anyway. The special effects were okay for the most part, except for the alien which looked like a guy wearing a lizard suit.
This is where I'm going to spoil the movie for you so you don't have to watch it. Here is the plot in a nutshell:
1. Couple goes to surprise visit Dude's family, which are conveniently not home. They decide to find a way into the house and stay anyway.
2. Dude and Dudette do cutesy couple stuff before Dude realizes he wants to snoop in his grandfather's barn which has been labeled off limits since his childhood.
3. Dude and Dudette spend gobs of time searching through predictable clues about aliens like top secret letters and outdated military electronics. They walk back and forth between the barn and the house like ten times because they need the Internet and can't put two and two together by themselves.
4. Dude and Dudette try to call the FBI and report the alien. Hilarious scene where the alien shows up in the window. Oooh. Ahh. Yikes! How scary! (not)
5. The ending is so Blair Witch - lots of screams and shadows. Person in the lizard suit runs toward the camera all menacingly and apparently drags Dudette off caveman style before being beamed back onto the mothership. The ending scene is ridiculously vague and implies that Dude is either murdered or kidnapped by Men in Black who are there to cover the whole thing up.
As you can see, you are not missing much if you skip this movie. The funny thing was, when I first heard about this movie I really wanted to watch it. I thought it was going to be a close encounters kind of movie, which it's not. In any case, don't waste eighty minutes of your life unless you want to get sick.