“You’re in love with a weirdo. That makes you a weirdo by association.”- Ted Bundy(Efron) to Liz in a more light-hearted context.
Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile is the latest movie/documentary to tell the story of real-life serial Killer Ted Bundy, played here by former teen heart-throb Zac Efron. This incarnation draws inspiration from the memoir of Bundy’s once girlfriend, Elizabeth Kendall, played by Lilly Collins.
The movie is quite good, buoyed by strong performances but does not completely avoid questionable decisions of focal points.
“My whole life has been decided by fate. I think something more powerful than we are decides our fates for us. I know one thing — I’ve never planned anything that ever happened to me“- the actual Sharon Tate.
Hillary Duff stars in The Haunting of Sharon Tate where she plays the title character Sharon Tate, the most famous victim of the Manson Family’s two massacres. The movie focuses on actress Sharon Tate and her friends as she is being plagued by visions of her imminent death, which is supposedly based off an actual premonition she had. The movie has been attacked by Sharon’s surviving sister Debra as exploitative and critically lambasted.
The movie doesn’t really deserve all the flack it’s been getting. It’s a perfectly fine and serviceable movie that I’d recommend seeing if you’re curious. Spoilers below the cut.
“Therefore this is what the Lord says: I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.” – Jeremiah 11:11
The movie Us opens on a scene in the year 1986 with a
young girl and her parents at the Santa Cruz boardwalk at night. She ends up
separating from her parents to walk out on the empty beach. Her eyes find an
attraction that is on the beach, and she walks into what looks like an
abandoned maze of mirrors. In the maze, she discovers something deeply
terrifying – her doppelganger. After the opening scene, the movie shifts to the
present day where the Wilson family is heading to their vacation home. The
little girl from the opening scene has now grown up and a mother, Adelaide, who
is nervous about returning to the Santa Cruz boardwalk. Gabe, her husband,
found her reaction to be overexaggerated, but ultimately tries to help her feel
at ease so they can take their kids Zora and Jason to the beach to meet up with
some old friends. After one small scare and a number of bizarre coincidences on
the beach, the Wilson family returns home for a quiet night in. However, the
quiet night in quickly turns into a night of horror as they are terrorized by
some unlikely trespassers that lined up across their driveway: doppelgangers of
There are a number of things that I enjoyed about this
movie. First, I thoroughly appreciate that this movie allows for there to be
multiple interpretations of what the movie symbolizes. Second, I thought the
casting choices were superb. Jordan Peele had Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke,
Anna Diop, and Evan Alex casted as the Wilson family members. All of them did
an excellent job playing both their main character and their doppelgangers.
As pointed out, the acting in this movie is quite
good. Lupita Nyong’o, who plays both Adelaide Wilson and her doppelganger Red,
flawlessly sells the complex nature of both of her roles. The doubles actually
maintain a lot of the character traits of the originals and all of the actors
manage to convey this without speaking for the most part and in such a manner
that the clones have this subtly off-kilter manner to them that is
The movie has plenty of humor to it, most of which
ties into the great depiction of the central family unit. The Wilsons are a
close and supportive family that does not get dragged down by the thinly-veiled
contempt a lot of movie families have for each other. They are all quite
capable, with the father managing to dispatch his double while suffering from a
The most obvious reading of the movie is as a metaphor
for the “two Americas” with the doubles representing the “forgotten” people of
America such as the homeless and disenfranchised and the “originals” being
people who they very well could have been. The only thing that separates them
are factors outside of their control, in this the “accident of birth”. Those
who live in privilege, the originals, have just a general lack of curiosity
about the existence of these people. In some cases, such as the twist of the
movie, there can often be this sentiment of “I can’t change this and reflecting
on it causes me distressed, so I’ll just try to ignore it.” But one day, the
reckoning will come.
My biggest issue with this movie arises from the
nature of these doppelgangers. It is revealed that they were created decades
ago as part of a government project to control people living on the surface
because their souls are linked but their bodies are not. This program fell
through and was abandoned with the doubles left to live an empty, tormented
existence, living a mirrored life of their originals. I was confused about the
logistics of it: does the copy control the original or the original control the
copy? Under what circumstances, because they aren’t always moving in sync?
It’s quite likely that I will gain further insight and
answers to my questions upon a re-watch. This is a smart, suspenseful, and
entertaining horror movie, destined to become a classic.
“Any attempt to trace the names behind Last House on Dead End Street will lead no further than the credits themselves, all obviously false.”- David Kerekes 1995.
Last House on Dead End Street is a notorious independent film directed by and starring Roger Watkins. Its notoriety is derived from the fact that it tells the story of an ex-con (Watkins) who starts making snuff films with a small crew. The film’s premise combined with the cast and crew waiting over two decades after the film’s release to come forward about it led to the urban legend that the murders depicted actually occurred.
This movie is not good but it’s not entirely the fault of the film-makers.
“What exactly are you always looking for under that desk?” -Tree on the approximately 20th repeat of that morning.
Happy Death Day: 2U is the sequel to 2016’s horror-comedy Happy Death Day. Both movies feature on Tree (Jessica Rothe), a college student who finds that she had become stuck in a time loop and keeps living the same day ad nasueam while there is a killer on the loose. This movie begins minutes before the end of the first movie. Most of the cast and crew of that first movie have returned for this movie
2U is a worthy sequel to the first movie that lives up to the promise of being something unique while maintaining the same tone. For best results in terms of the humor and Tree’s character beats, one should watch the original first.
Miles: How am I supposed to save the world? Spider-Man: You can’t think about saving the world. You have to think about saving one person.
knows how Peter Parker got his super powers. However, this movie focuses on
14-year-old Miles Morales, who is reluctantly enrolled at an elite New York
board school. After he is bitten by a radioactive spider, Miles begins to
experience drastic changes that he cannot explain such as being able to stick
to walls and having a weird instinct feeling. To make sense of what is
happening, Miles retraces his steps to where he was bitten by the spider. While
doing so, he discovers Peter Parker/Spider-Man mid-fight with the crime boss
Kingpin. He was trying to keep him from opening a hole in the space-time
continuum, which could potentially destroy New York. Ultimately, Kingpin kills
Spider-Man, but Kingpin’s expierment results in another older Spider-Man from a
parallel universe showing up and encountering Miles. Together they encounter
four more spiderlings which includes Gwen Stacy, an anime-style girl from the
distant future, a cartoon pig, and black-and-white 1930s noir Spider-Man. Upon
getting over their shock and confusion, everyone understands that they must
work together to defeat Kingpin to return to their own respective universes.
was incredible – from the character development to the animation style. I will
admit that I was a bit hesitant at first to go see the movie, but I am glad
that I did. The parallel universe concept in the movie was pulled off
fantastically as it incorporated different versions of the Friendly
Neighborhood Spider-Man. It was nice to see some of the different comic book
variations of Spider-Man interact with each other! One thing in particular that
I greatly enjoyed about the movie was Mile’s relationship with his father. Like
most teenagers, he is not entirely sure what to say or how to act around his
parents. His father is a member of the police force, which adds an extra layer
to it. At the end of the movie, their relationship is stronger.
thing that I greatly enjoyed was that the movie relies on the audience’s
previous comic book movies knowledge, movies, and ultimately the characters. An
example of this would be the opening sequence of the movie that tells the
backstory of the soon-to-be-deceased Peter Parker, which essentially shows him
as being the Tobey Maguire iteration of the character from the Raimi film
trilogy. It had references to each of the movies in the Raimi trilogy from the
upside-down kiss with MJ from Spider-Man,
the train rescue from Spider-Man 2,
and the pain-inducing dance sequence from Spider-Man
3. It serves as a clean break from the other iterations of the character.
the different multiverse characters portraying their own genres provided plenty
of different snippets of humor to play with. For example, Nicholas Cage’s
Spider-Man Noir is a parody of goofy film noir clichés while Spider-Ham serves
as the comedic relief as he is an absurd character. He basically helps the
other iterations of Spider-Man feel more grounded by comparison. Miles Morales
is by far the most relatable character and vulnerable lead to appear in a
Spider-Man movie. His desire to create his own identity from his cop father’s
is admirable, his awkward teenager-ness when he meets someone he is crushing
on, ad his frustrations that he is struggling with mastering his powers.
all themes that are present in a majority of Spider-Man origin stories. Setting
them in the plot of a multiverse was the perfect way to do so as it allows
Miles to learn that there are numerous interpretations of who Spider-Man is and
all of them are valid.
I enjoyed the movie thoroughly. The animation style is distinct, though at times it was a little hard to look at when the colors were blurring. However, the animation style was needed to differentiate between the parallel the universes that the other spiderlings came from. I highly encourage that you see the movie in theaters!
UPDATED TO ADD 1/16/19
Hi! This is Tcyoung who decided to check this movie out after all the hype. I loved the hell out of it! I’m going to add a few quick notes of my own on the movie.
The movie does a good job constructing these different variations on Spider-man. Using a typical opening to a superhero cartoon, it has a very quick and efficient way of explaining what their deal is, especially how the two human, red-and-black suit Peters differ from each other. They also do a good job of giving you enough of each character without detracting from the movie being Miles story through-and-through.
The character-work is tremendous, especially through animation which does a great job conveying emotion. I grew attached to these characters quickly.
Like Bumblebee (which also had Hallie Steinfeld and is pretty good), the character arcs and plot beats aren’t too out of the ordinary but they are executed pretty damn well.
But, yeah. This is a pretty good movie and I recommend you see it. –Tcyoung
Hey everyone! Most people do a top ten or bottom ten of the year. However, I didn’t see most of the movies that would be considered the best or the worst this year. I’ll instead use this space to be more positive, highlighting movies that surprised me that I saw this year and look ahead to next year.
Hello readers, It’s Tanner. I’ve decided to try something new. This column Blindfold Imbibe, heretoafter marked as BI, will be devoted to lesser-known titles I watch where I know little going in. The most I will typically know are the title and a one-sentence synopsis. For this inaugural entry of a sporadic column, I will be talking about This Stuff’ll Kill Ya and The Gumball Rally.
I apologize if the reviews seem spotty. I watched them either one month or two months ago without originally intending to review them. As such, my memory might fail me on the less notable parts. Spoilers below the cut.
“You came here to be scared, right? I can’t arrest people for doing their jobs.“- Security Guard
Six college-age friends decide to attend Hell Fest, a traveling carnival consisting of several haunted-houses and similar attractions. However, they soon find themselves being stalked and killed by a mysterious figure.
Hell Fest is a very enjoyable slasher movie. Spoilers and more below the cut.