Movie Review: 1922 (2017)

1922 is based on a novella by Stephen King. This gives me hope, the majority of Stephen King movies I have watched I’ve enjoyed and yes that includes Maximum Overdrive. It’s a Netflix original. The story unfolds as Wilf the farmer is in a hotel, confessing to a crime that he committed a number of years ago. Going back, we are told the story of Wilf and his wife, Arlette and their son, Henry. On the surface, they look like a happy family but the truth soon becomes apparent. Arlette wants to move to town and sell an inheritance of land to buy a shop. Wilf wants to stay on the farm and bring up Henry as a farmer, like he was. He wants to use the land as an expansion of his farm. They are never going to agree and the son, Henry has fallen in love with a local girl and obviously does not want to move. Arlette becomes a pain in the arse and really quite mean. The adverts of the movie make it clear that Wilf kills her. This isn’t the end as Wilf’s guilt starts to manifest itself and his decisions start to pull apart his dream and his relationship with Henry.

We kind of enjoyed the movie but one of the best Stephen King adaptations? Definitely not. Not a lot really happened. It put me in mind of a rat version of The Telltale Heart. Thomas Jane’s accent was so strong, that I had no idea what he was talking about pretty much 80% of the time. Wilf and Henry made some spectacularly stupid decisions and made hard work for themselves most of the time (the boy says this adds to the film because they are normal people, so will make mistakes and have no experience in the art of murder). The boy and I, were giving them advice  (took the piss) throughout the film because they needed it badly. I felt the film went on forever, losing any feeling of suspense and tension.

Having discussed it with the boy, we disagree on this one. So, I’m guessing I would recommend watching it and making your own mind up,

5/10 from me. I felt the story dragged on too long.

The son thinks that it was realistic in some of depictions and he enjoyed it. He gives it an 8/10. He wanted it longer for story development. He loved the accents, the setting and the realism of some of the decisions made by the characters. He said it was just the right amount of gore.

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Book Review: The Hollow Tree by James Brogden

Rachel has a horrific accident that results in the loss of her left hand. As she comes to terms with her loss, she also realises it has given her access to another world. This world also draws her to a mystery of a woman left to die in the recesses on a hollow tree. There are numerous urban legends around the woman, who she was and why she was left there to die. The Hollow Tree looks at the power of urban legends and an interesting take on the afterlife. Rachel is drawn to find answers to who Mary is and what her link to Rachel is. Yet messing with the afterlife is not that simple and other powers come out to play.

The Hollow Tree is a good, compelling story. I enjoyed it from start to finish. There were some aspects that let it down, maybe the villains could have been more sinister and at one point Rachel with one arm and a broken leg manages to escape from a room and jump off a roof. This might work in a slasher movie but here it felt totally unlikely. However, I have gone straight on to reading Heklas’s Children by the same author. While it’s not a horror that will give you nightmares, it is a good story inspired by Bella in the wych elm. A little link if, like me, you love your macabre mysteries here . I do love this kind of supernatural urban legend type of story, so I thoroughly enjoyed The Hollow Tree.

8/10. This is my cup of tea but loses a few points on some unlikely parts of the story.

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Movie Review: Happy Death Day

I could witter on about how I’ve been ill for a couple of months which has affected my blogging output but that’s it, line drawn and I’m getting on with my reviews!

Happy Death Day (2017) begins when Tree wakes up in a boys bedroom after a heavy night on the drink. Carter seems a sweet boy but she seems a bit of a bitch, regarding first impressions. She’s one of the mean girls, stomping over peoples emotions all day until she is brutally murdered, by a baby masked assailant. Then she wakes up, in Carters bedroom and it starts again.

Happy Death Day will never be a groundbreaking movie, relying heavily on the idea of Groundhog Day (at least it even gives a nod to its inspiration at the end and mentions the awesome Bill Murray). It’s fun. It’s a kind of low level teen campus slasher, not too much gratuitous gore. There’s lots of genre mixing and nods to standard devices used in your average horror movies. Happy Death Day doesn’t take itself too seriously and as long as you don’t it’s an enjoyable piece of fun.

The boy says it was kind of obvious, the twist was obvious but he enjoyed it.

The hubby (who is always kinder than me) really enjoyed it. He said it was a good premise. There was a twist on the groundhog day premise that he really enjoyed, which added fear (there was nothing fearful for me but I’m jaded).

So Happy Death Day would suit young teenagers/wimps who would like a non scary horror film.

I would rate this 3/5, good play on an established story, non scary slasher pic but entertaining.

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Movie Review: It Comes at Night

This movie It Comes at Night was our Saturday horror movie (which we haven’t done for a while as we’ve been bingeing Dare Devil). We didn’t have any expectations, we didn’t know anything about it. It is a kind of horror thriller. A disease is infecting everyone and the story is based around two families isolated in the forest and trying to survive. Finding themselves together, it is a tense story of trust, fear and the unknown. There are some jump scares but it is mainly a slow burning, tension rising kind of movie. Out there in the forest is the unknown, who do you trust when resources are depleting and everyone is out for their own survival. I felt that maybe the movie ended with more questions rather than answers but for once I didn’t mind this. Usually that really grinds my gears but I thought it was well done and well told. Much of the time, you are unsure what is a dream and what is real. It was a movie that ended up with us discussing the ending. I thought it refreshingly different that the outside world was a real unknown without the characters on the road (walking dead style) looking for salvation. Instead it focused on their day to day survival. Some of the reviews I read where not great but it was film we all thought was good. The boy said he felt it was realistic and that made it immersive to watch (he didn’t say it was immersive but that’s what he meant).

7/10. Tense and atmospheric. 

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Crafts and spells oh my!

Things have taken quite a turn. In the last two weeks I have decided to take redundancy and start something new. My end goal is go into therapies, reflexology and reiki in particular. It is a healing process for myself as well as helping others. Many times in my life I have found myself working in this environment so I’m going back to my roots so to speak. In the meantime I’m starting a little craft business, spell crafts and Pagan themed celebration wreaths. I have an obsession with pom poms so they feature heavily. Today, I’ve made some prosperity spell bottles…but anyway I thought I’d share some of the quirky bits and bobs I have been making.

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Book Review: Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories

This book found me rather than I found it. At first, judging the book by it’s cover I thought it may be rather low quality and it was free on amazon unlimited. On closer inspection, I noticed stories by Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker. Ramsay Campbell and Paul Tremblay also feature. This convinced me I needed to give this book a read. I have reviewed a number of horror short story compilations on this blog, this book has to be my favourite. The stories are very strong indeed with established writers. Some of the stories have the ability to worm their way into your head and stay with you. This is the mark of an excellent horror story if it lives on in your brain. Many of the stories are dark and the subject matter uncomfortable, right from the start. These aren’t stories for the fainthearted. Right from the word go, this compilation does not pull any punches. It veers between the horror of human nature and supernatural horror.

Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave by Brian Kirk is in turns tragic and horrific as a father deals with the return of his daughter years after her abduction.

Water My Bones by Mercedes M Yardley is a strange tale of two people drawn together. It’s a story of self harm and murder.

Coming to Grief by Clive Barker has a slow build of horror, you know something is slowly stalking you but can you escape and is it real in the adult world?

A Haunted House is a Wheel upon Which some are Broken by Paul Tremblay was a surprise entry. I was not expecting the choose your adventure format. It was a pleasantly unusual storytelling method in this genre.

There are many, many more stories, all are excellent in different ways. The artwork is worth checking out as well, haunting and beautiful.

I would definitely rate it a 5/5. 

 

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Graveyard wanderings…..

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Movie Review: Veronica

Well to start with I didn’t realise it was in subtitles. This may have affected my decision to watch it with wine but I managed to keep up so all was good. It’s a Spanish movie based on a true story.

Veronica is the eldest sister of four and the main carer as her mother works anti-social hours. It is the day of a solar eclipse and Veronica has taken a Ouija board to school to do as the eclipse forms overhead with her best friend. At the last minute her friend tells her another girl is joining in as her boyfriend recently died. Obviously, the session doesn’t go according to plan. Strange things start occurring in Veronica’s apartment to her and her siblings.

The advertising tells us this is the scariest film ever. It’s not a bad movie but it’s not the scariest film ever because we’ve seen this story before in many different formats. It’s not a bad film, it’s a good film in it’s trope but I didn’t have a single nightmare. It’s another Blair Witch scenario, where the good little sheep are told it’s good and the scariest thing ever and we’ll believe it.  I thought the story was well told. I’ll give it a 4/5 for good storytelling. I should really deduct points for throwing a blind nun in there for no reason whatsoever but I’ll let it go this time.

The true story is based on a teenager named Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro . 

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Book Review: A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M Harris

A friend bought me Joanne Harris’s A Pocketful of Crows for Christmas and I only got round to reading it last weekend. I devoured it in two sittings. It’s not one of my horror books or supernatural stories. It is an adult fairy tale and a beautiful one at that. When I say adult, not one of Anne Rices adult fairy tale content, if you’ve read Sleeping Beauty you’ll know what I mean but it clearly is aimed at adults with the content. It is a perfect Pagan story for us Pagan witches out there. A brown girl without a name falls in love with a prince. She is one of the travelling folk and can change into any creature she wants. Two people from very different worlds fall in love and as the seasons change so do their emotions. It is beautifully and poetically written. I am so glad I have the hard copy and not the kindle one because it’s one for my bookcase to read when the world feels too fast and too modern. It’s a dark fairy tale with anger and revenge as well as a love story. It’s a 5/5. I loved this little pagan story of change, seasons, love and hate.

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TV Review: Requiem (BBC 2018)

Requiem was a surprise series that sneaked up on me. We’d just finished watching something else and it was on half way through. As nobody seemed as intrigued as me I ended up binge watching it on my own. I went into watching it blind so to speak. I hadn’t read any blurb. It starts with a talented musician Matilda. Her mother suddenly commits suicide and right from the beginning we know something supernatural is going on, with whispers and glimpses in mirrors. Matilda finds a box on her mothers bed full of newspaper cuttings concerning a little girl who went missing. She is convinced that something about this will tell her more about why her mother killed herself and as the story unfolds she thinks it’s going to tell her secrets about herself. She travels with her friend, Hal to a small Welsh village to find answers. By doing this she stirs up old emotions, and ghosts. I really don’t want to give spoilers away. The story is about lost children, magic and John Dee. The atmosphere puts me very much in mind of “The Watcher in the Woods” if you can remember than oldie from Disney in the 1980s. The music and atmosphere, the woods and the secrets make it for me. It evokes wicker man type claustrophobia (obviously not as good as the wicker man, as my all time favourite that will never happen). If you’ve ever read Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series, it reminds me somewhat of those books, the welsh bounder town with secrets and old magic.

There are critics on Amazon reviews mentioning plot holes but as I can think of reasons for the plot holes I feel I can debunk them. Matilda’s character at times can be quite challenging to like but at the same time mesmerizing to watch. I want to give this a 8/10. I thought it was original, atmospheric and intriguing. I was expecting a ghost story but it was much more that. It was open for a second series and I do hope they make one!

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