The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)

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SurvivorsSennia Nanua (Melanie); Gemma Arterton (Helen Justineau); Glenn Close (Dr. Caroline Caldwell); Paddy Considine (Sgt. Eddie Parks); Fisayo Akinade (Kieran Gallagher)

SPOILERS

After a fungal based plague plunges the human race into a dystopian world ravaged by rage like zombies (hungrys as they are called in the book and movie), a group of soldiers, doctors and a teacher whole up in a somewhat secure base where they are housing not only themselves but also a group of school age children who are more deadly then they appear. The children were born or emerged after their mothers were infected with the fungus making them hybrids. They are completely normal children but will go all chompy if they smell any sort of human scent. The survivors use a blocker to keep them from smelling delicious to the savage little beasts. Something goes horribly wrong and the base is overrun by the hungrys and what’s left of the humans scatter.

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The movie centres on one of the children Melanie, an intelligent and inquisitive hungry who has become attached to Helen Justineau, the children’s teacher. Justineau knows the children aren’t just kids in her class but the line between innocent and monster becomes blurred as she in turn becomes attached to Melanie. By far Justineau is the only one on the base who seems to have some compassion for the kids. On the side of only seeing the kids as monsters and specimens is Sgt. Parks, the hardened military man and Dr. Caldwell the butcher who is trying to find a cure and will dissect the children to get. This makes up the main players and they must try to find help out in the world that is ravaged by hungrys, fighting the monsters and each other.

I read the book and liked it. I watch the movie and also liked it but as is common with movies made from books there seems to be holes in the story. That comes from someone who has read the book and notices things missing and it seems like things are unexplained. I could be wrong and that didn’t change my enjoyment of the flick. The casting was good, not how I pictured the characters but great acting by all and since Mike Carey wrote the screenplay from the book he wrote, it was well done. The hungrys were gross and the premise of a fungal zombie infection reminded me of The Last of Us.

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Final Thoughts: I enjoyed this movie even with the condensed story line which led to a fast paced flick and kept the story from dragging. The relationships among the characters were straight forward and not weighed down by too much drama. While Melanie is the focus of the movie it felt like she was missing something whereas in the book she is much more developed character. But the best part was the end. I’m sucker for a hopeless ending. Well, hopeless for some but a new beginning for others. 3.5 children out of 5.

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2017 Upcoming Flicks

Where is the time going. February is nearly half done and I’m late to getting to the movies of 2017. So, here is the list of what I’m looking forward.

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Justice League Dark – February 7 – I just finished Volume 1 of the Justice League Dark New 52 and I’m a fan of Constantine which is the draw here.

John Wick: Chapter 2 – February 10 – Well, the first one was good and there have been plenty of good reviews for the follow-up.

Patient Zero – February 17, 2017 – Super virus. Highly intelligent infected with a special language and a search for patient zero. Add in some decent casting with Matt Smith, Natalie Dormer and Clive Standen and it may have potential however, I’ve heard very little about this movie including where it is available to see.

A Cure for Wellness – February 17, 2017 – Creepy wellness centres. Mixed reviews so far but I’m still interested.

giftsThe Girl with All the Gifts – February 24, 2017 – Read the book, which I enjoyed so I’m curious to see how it translates to film.

Logan – March 3, 2017 – Grizzled old Logan. This looks like it will be the best one of the bunch as far as Wolverine movies go.

T2: Trainspotting – March 3, 2017 -21 years after the original was released, it’ll be interesting to see how they mature these characters and if the follow-up maintains the gritty edge of the original.

Kong: Skull Island – March 10, 2017 – Not usually my kind of movie (something about giant, talking, thinking gorillas bugs me) but the trailer for this makes it appealing. Have to see what the reviews say.

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The Belko Experiment – March 17, 2017 – People locked in at work, forced to kill one another….office work is a bitch. Violence bred by the instinct to survive and the bending of people’s morals and conscience. Would you kill to save yourself?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5 – Probably more of the same as the first movie but there’s nothing wrong with that plus, little Groot.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – May 12 – A King Arthur flick directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Charlie Hunnan should be a great. Add in an impressive cast and Charlie Hunnan shirtless, nothing wrong with that. Let’s hope the best part of this isn’t the trailer.

The Dark Tower – July 28 – It’s unclear which books of the Stephen King Dark Tower series are going to be in the first movie but from what I’ve seen, it kind of looks like it will meld The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three. I’ve read the first 4 books of the series and am in the process of going through the series completely. Really like the casting of Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey and I this is one of the rare good Stephen King adaptations.

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IT – September 8 – Another Stephen King based movie. Loved the book and while the TV movie tried to bring the story to life it hasn’t held up over time (just realized that I have it on DVD). Hopefully the movie is as good and creepy as the book.

Murder on the Orient Express – November 22 – An updated adaptation of an Agatha Christie classic. Love her books and most of the previous film/TV adaptations that I have seen have been good.

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The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

Jane Doe

The Gist: Late one night Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) and his son Austin Tilden (Emile Hirsch), a coroner and medical technician in a family run business, are brought a Jane Doe (Olwen Catherine Kelly) found under unusual circumstances. As the pair work to determine the cause of death strange things begin happening around them and even stranger things are found within Jane Doe.

Well, this was definitely a gross but very spooky mood inducing flick. Gross because, you know autopsy. The Tilden family Morgue and Crematorium has been in the family for 200 years and passed down from generation to generation but that legacy is potentially about to end as son Austin has decided that he doesn’t want to continue the gruesome career of a coroner. Heading out to spend time with his girlfriend, Austin decides to stay with his Dad when the local sheriff brings in a Jane Doe late one night. The sheriff looks spooks and wants a cause of the death that night. Thus begins the 4 stages of the autopsy and a waking nightmare neither Tilden could ever believe is real.

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SPOILERS: I went into this flick knowing almost nothing about it and enjoyed the reveals and strange things that the pair unveil as they dissect the woman who is showing no physical signs of trauma and is completely unmarked on the outside. As they work they find anomalies within but not what one expects. Missing tongue, abnormally small waist but going inside reveals more oddities like blackened lungs, a piece of a shroud with Roman numerals written on it and one of her teeth wrapped in that shroud and when they peel back her skin, tattoos where there couldn’t possibly be any. Add to the already unsettling circumstances is a storm brewing outside (did I mention that the morgue is in the basement of the house) and weird sounds, flickering lights and shadowy silhouettes and you have an atmospheric, haunting flick.

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Final Thoughts: This is one of those movies that has a small cast and uses the majority of the screen time to focus on 2 or rather 3 characters including Jane Doe and it works well to create a feeling of quiet unease aided by a somewhat closed in feeling of the basement morgue. There are some gross scenes as mentioned earlier given that there is an autopsy taking place but it wasn’t too bad; there were worse scenes in the TV show Hannibal. Definitely one of the better horror movies to come out in recent months. 4 out of 5 creepy corpses.

 

 

 

Vampires and Aliens (TV reviews)

Van Helsing

Van Helsing (Season One) Kind of SPOILERS

After a volcanic eruption permanently dims daylight vampires, long hidden in shadows, emerge and devastate and enslave humankind. 3 years pass and the world is dealing with a vampire apocalypse where humans are either food, slaves or rebels. But all hope is not lost as a mysterious women who has been unconscious since the world went to hell, wakes up and promptly becomes the most wanted woman of the apocalypse; wanted by the vampires anyway. Who could she possibly be…think about the title of the show.

I wasn’t sold on this show at first but it did grow on me. I like apocalyptic tales, I like vampires, so after given it a couple of episodes I got over some of the mild cheesy stuff and just enjoyed it for the gory, sometimes unnerving story that unfolds. I believe Season 1 finished in December so it’s a bit of a wait to see what happens after the dramatic ending. Highly recommend checking it out on Netflix.

Colony

Colony (Season One) Minor SPOILERS

And now for something completely different – an alien apocalypse. Colony begins in Los Angeles 6 months after the arrival of an alien species. The details are sparse and bits and pieces of what occurred filter through the season but basically humans are now the aliens bitches. Why…not sure yet but they apparently have a purpose that is yet to be revealed.

During the first episode I felt a bit lost not really knowing what was happening but eventually I caught up. Like Van Helsing, the humans are either slaves, willing minions doing the monsters bidding or rebels. While watching this show I kept thinking about Fear the Walking Dead. There is something very similar to it and not just because Sarah Wayne Collins from The Walking Dead is in Colony. What I liked is that the invasion and devastation is still fresh and society is adapting to the new world under the rule of beings that the average person hasn’t actually seen but fears. All and all quite enjoyable and another show I suggest to check out on Netflix which has Season 1. Season 2 just started airing on TV a couple of weeks ago.

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Vengeful Ghosts and Witches (Movie Reviews)

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The Gist: A grieving couple (Barbara Crampton as Anne Sacchetti; Andrew Sensenig as Paul Sacchetti) move to an isolated home in rural New England following the death of their adult son. Anne is certain she can feel the presence of her son in the house and invites her friends (Lisa Marie as May Lewis; Larry Fessenden as Jacob Lewis) who dabble in the supernatural via seances to join them. But their psychic meddling ramps up the ire of the houses angry spirits. Throw in some crazy, murderous townsfolk and set it in the dead of winter and you have the potential for a bloody ghost story.

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My Take: I seem to recall lots of good buzz about this flick and that it had the same kind of feel as House of The Devil, which it did but….can’t say I really got into this one. The story certainly is interesting as we learn about the house and vengeful spirits demanding a blood sacrifice every 30 years and the townsfolk who will do whatever they have to, to make sure the blood flows, as long as it is not theirs. The charred ghosts are pretty cool looking, although they don’t get a lot of screen time. I think the acting was a bit of downer. These are not bad actors but there was just something about the way they talked that annoyed me. And once the story got going into the history and the haunting, the movie was at an end. I wanted to know more about the house that was a former mortuary and the townsfolk who treat it with cult like reverence.

Final Thoughts: I wanted to like this movie more but there was just something off about the acting or the dialogue or both that didn’t appeal to me and I was simply expecting something more from the scares. I’m all for setting up atmosphere and slow burn horror but this one was just too slow to get to the goods. 2.5 charred ghosts out of 5.

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The Gist: 15 years after the disappearance of Heather Donahue, her younger brother James (James Allen McCune) receives a video showing what appears to be Heather at the Rustin Parr house in the Black Hills. Along with his friends, one of which is filming the events as a project for her film class and 2 Burkittsville locals, they head into the Black Hills in search of answers to the mystery of what happened to Heather and the Blair Witch.

My Take: Minor SPOILERS – Why does James think that after 15 years his sister is still alive and trapped in the Black Hills? I don’t get it. Could it be hope or is this merely a way to get a new group into the trap of the witch and connect it to the original 1999 movie and story. Whatever it is, I’m disappointed. The creepiest moment was the scene in the tent with the injured girl. I won’t get into details but it’s gross and makes you think twice about taking your shoes off to cross a stream. Other than that, there wasn’t much to breed fear. And the friggin’ high pitched screaming again. It’s the same thing that irritated me in the original. It’s just grating. As far as the actual witch goes, I don’t think they should have shown what she/it looks like. Revealing the witch, even minimally, removes some of the eeriness of the story. The way the flick is shot with mini personal cameras that hook onto the ear, is great. Much better than most of the found footage movies that are out there. Yep, can’t think of much else that I enjoyed.

Final Thoughts: While this chapter of the Blair Witch certainly looks great the story behind the flick is odd to me. Ok, so James is hoping to find his sister but it’s a weak story line. There is a good story in the Blair Witch somewhere. The mythology is there but getting that into a found footage flick just doesn’t seem to be a great platform for it. And now I’m going to say it and it’s a very unpopular opinion I’m sure – of the Blair Witch flicks, Book of Shadows is my favourite. Yep, there it is. It takes the mystery of the folklore and puts the witch into the story without screeching or showing too much. So there it is. Blair Witch 2016 get 2 stick men out of 5.

hans-holbein

Winter TV Begins

TV Homer

Winter is fully upon us and it sucks. Even though we get 1 day of snow usually (think we are up to 3 this season) the wind is getting brutal and all I want to do is stay inside and keep warm in front of the glow of the TV. Here is what is coming up in the next couple of months.

Taboo (FX) – January 10 – 8 part miniseries starring Tom Hardy as James Keziah Delaney, an adventurer who builds his own shipping empire in the early 1800’s.

The Young Pope (HBO) – January 15 – HBO series focuses on Lenny Belardo, the first American Pope in history. Starring Jude Law

Six (History Channel) – January 18 – Centres around Navy SEAL Team Six who discover an American working with the enemy in Afghanistan.

Beware the Slenderman (HBO) – January 23 – HBO documentary focusing on two 12-year-old girls who lured a friend into the woods and stabbed her in attempt to appease the Slender Man from a Creepypasta tale.

Face Off (Space) – January 24 – Season 11 brings back the all-stars for one of the best reality competition shows.

The Magicians (Showcase) – January 25 – Season 2 of what I think of as the adult version of Harry Potter.

Cardinal (CTV) January 25 – Not entirely sure what this about other than a couple of detectives in Northern Ontario investigating the murder of a young girl.

Riverdale (Streaming on Nexflix Canada) – January 26 – Archie comes to the small screen and from the little that I’ve read, it has a bit of a Twin Peaks vibe.

Black Sails (SuperChannel) – January 29 – Season 4, the final season. Sad but I think it will be a great ending.

Legion (FX) – February 8 – X-Men comes to TV with a show a centred around the mutant Legion who is diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) – February 12 – Very interested in seeing how John Oliver’s show will be once the new president takes office.

The Walking Dead (AMC) – February 12 – The second part of the season begins. As much as I have not cared for the past couple of seasons, I have actually been enjoying this season.

Taken (NBC) – February 27 – Not sure what to think of this TV adaptation of the Taken movies but it does have Clive Standen (Rollo from Vikings) so I’ll give it a shot.

Marvel’s Iron Fist (Netflix) March 17 – Following in the footsteps of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, I believe Iron Fist is the last character to be introduced before the next Nexflix Marvel series The Defenders brings them all together.

Twin Peaks – May 21 – I binged the original series one Christmas and loved it. Looking forward to seeing this one. Just need to figure out what channel it is airing on in Canada.

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Welcome 2017…Let’s have a chat

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New Year New You. I keep seeing this saying but for me it’s going to be New Year Old Me. It’s time to get back to basics and get back the things that make me happy and ease stress and help me not be so insufferable to my loved ones. I feel like I lost myself a bit in 2016 and I want to get back to the me that isn’t always on edge or concerned with what others are thinking or doing or planning. Having a couple of weeks before the new year to step back and clear my head has helped to get rid of the negativity and anger I was carrying and I can hopefully keep those unhealthy feelings at bay.

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So, what does that mean, back to basics? Watching horror movies/TV, writing about it and other media and writing in general. The goals are to relax and not worry so much (this morning doesn’t count as we had yet another plumbing issue). Must catch up on horror movies. I think there are quite a few that I meant to watch in October and there are a few coming up that I want to see and there will be a post coming soon, I promise. I’m reading more as I seem to have overcome the inability to actually get engaged in any books. Looking forward to Resident Evil 7 in VR; should keep me terrified for a while. And my plan is to run/walk the annual TC 10km this April. I walked it last year but I want to be able to at least run some of it, as long as my ankle holds up.

Jinx

While there were things in 2016 that sucked, losing our 18-year-old cat and work disappointments, there were good things like family and adding to that family i.e. Jinx! I spent too much time focusing on the things out of my control and not enough time on family and friends. So let’s see what 2017 has to offer. Be happy, be healthy and just be the true you.

Smokey

The Great Waste (that would be TV)

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Yeah, TV can certainly be a great time waster but it also helps to alleviate the mind to drift elsewhere. And yes, that is an excuse for not writing more. The intent is there, some thoughts have passed over and through my muddled mind however, it’s the focus that is eluding me. So in the interim what feats of visual storytelling have garnered my attention….

Westworld – I remember seeing the VHS video cover for the original movie in the video store and thinking, that looks silly. Well, I never saw the movie but after watching the first season of the HBO series there is nothing silly about Westworld. I’m very impressed with this show. Great acting, twists and turns that keep you wondering when everything is happening and just overall engaging story telling. I did find it lagged in parts and wanted it to move forward quicker to the answers and show more of what Westworld truly is but all in all a good series opener.

The Strain – SPOILERS – Season 3 picks up with our heroes scattered, each looking for salvation and a way to kill the Master and take back New York. This season only advanced the story (in my opinion) in a couple of episodes, the final one bringing about a major event and a game changer for the story what with the nuclear explosion just outside of New York. What I didn’t really like was Samatha Mathis’ character yet again in this season and I’m not sorry to see her gone and I can’t stand the kid Zach. I love Quinlan, Setrakian and Fet when he isn’t pouting over Dutch who is another character I don’t really care for, in fact Eph is on that list as well. And what hell was with the lacklustre Gus story this season, lame. Why do I watch this show? Oh, for everyone but Dutch, Eph and Zach. I’ve read the books and I know how it all ends. I hope with the final season they stay true to the books because I liked how it concluded.

The Exorcist – SPOILERS: The TV adaptation of the book by William Peter Blatty or is it more the TV adaptation of the movie…So in this telling of demonic possession and exorcism the Rance family is terrorized by a demon that has taken over the youngest daughter (she is 16 I think) and matriarch Angela seeks help from her local priest Father Tomas. One thing – in the first episode when one of the daughters is acting odd, Angela immediately jumps to possession which seems odd but after about 5 episodes the viewers discover the truth – Angela Rance is actually Regan O’Neill from the original Exorcist which explains the jump to demons. Father Tomas enlists the help of Vatican approved exorcist Father Marcus to try to save the girl. There is another plot at play in at the same time which I found more interesting – a group of powerful people are plotting to….kill, possess…do something to the Pope who is due to visit the city where all this is taking place. That’s a poor description but I found the story with Father Marcus trying to protect the Pope more interesting than what was happening with the Rance family. If there is a second season, I can see Marcus and Tomas being the focus and I think that would be a good way for it to go.

The OA – A Netlfix original which there seems to be a growing number of these days. 7 years after 21-year-old blind Prairie Johnson disappears she returns to her parents no longer blind with strange scars across her back and refuses to speak about where she was or what happened to her. At least she refuses to tell her parents or the FBI. She will however, reveal her story to 5 people from the community around her. The group is a mismatch of personalities and backgrounds but they come together to hear her extraordinary tale. No spoilers on this one. You just have to watch it and go down the path to find out what happened and what OA means….

Crazyhead – Netflix again. Two young women somewhere in England meet up and discover they are both meant to be demon hunters and that one of them is being hunted by a particularly nasty one. I’m not finished this yet one but so far I like it quite a lot. Female demon hunters with a humourous twist – nothing wrong with that.

Channel Zero Candle Cove – I believe this has something to do with Creepypasta. I’m not sure. I just saw the previews on TV and thought, that looks creepy. And it certainly did have those moments. Not great but the story was interesting and the tooth creature thing is just disgusting.

Dirk Gently Holistic Detective Agency – Hey look, Netflix again. What the hell is going on? That’s kind of how this show goes until near the end. There’s murder, a cult, an assassin, a kidnapping. Yeah, this is one that just has to be watched. It grew on me after the first episode.

Travellers – This is an interesting show that has people, Travellers, from a post apocalyptic future going back in time to 2016 to try to avert all kinds of things that we guess will lead to the ruination of the world. The show focuses 5 of these travellers and how they are adjusting to lives they take over when they arrive and how they handle those mundane lives with their bigger mission of saving the modern world. Did I mention that the travellers take over the bodies of people at the moment of death? Yeah, kind of weird and hard to explain but worth watching.

The Killing Season – And now for something completely different. The Killing Season is a documentary series created by the fellow behind the documentaries Cropsey and Killer Legends, Joshua Zeman. The 8 part series follows him and his partner Rachel as they investigate a series of unsolved murders in Long Island perpetrated by the as yet unknown serial killer dubbed LISK (Long Island Serial Killer). As the investigation progresses, the trail of unsolved serials murders spans several states and opens up many, many more deaths of the lesser dead. Prostitutes; women whom disappear and are forgotten by society but not by their devastated families. It’s shocking how many women die in the same way, in the same area and there is no one found responsible. It fascinating and terrifying how people can just disappear, be brutalized and there are no answers as to why or who could do such a thing. The world is a scary place filled human monsters.

And on that note….

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Distractions

Dallas Road

Well, so much for writing and posting more. The title says it all: distractions. More accurately excuses but I prefer to say distractions. Work has been a major mental and emotional drain the past 4 months to the point where I just don’t want to think as well as being stressful with so much uncertainty floating around. The other new but good distraction is the little girl below, Jinx. She was born on April 1 and I adopted her about 2 months ago. Other things keeping me blocked are the usual – TV, movies, video games and sadly only a couple of books.

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TV/Netflix Series

Stranger ThingsFour pre-teen boys in the mid 1980’s are drawn into the world of monsters and alternate worlds after one dark and stormy night one of them goes missing and a strange girl with strange powers shows up. I didn’t like the first episode of this Netflix original but it grew on me after the next couple. There is a lot 1980’s nostalgia (which I think my husband appreciated more than me) and one of the characters played by actor Charlie Heaton reminded me of a young Stephen King. Overall, it was a pretty good series once it go going.

Preacher: Ugh…I had high hopes for this AMC series based off the graphic novels but it somewhat fell short. Dominic Cooper is great as Preacher Jessie Custer and Joe Gilgun makes a good Cassidy with the exception of the Irish accent he is trying to pull over his distinct British one. I’m not too crazy about the way that Tulip is being portrayed as a hard ass unflinching thief. Not how I remember her from the books. Also wasn’t crazy that Season 1 focused only on Annville, also a divergence from the books. The Saint of Killers stuff felt out of place because there was no context for it until the end. It felt like most of the time I had no idea what was happening. But the last episode leaves some promise that Season 2 will hit the mark. Maybe I just need to watch it again…

Penny Dreadful-Final Season: This final season that was only announced as the final season shortly before it ended also had a lot of promise but ended up being under-developed possibly because it seems that it was not intended to end the show. The introduction of Dr. Jekyll and Catriona Hartdegen would have added 2 interesting characters but sadly their time was too short and it almost felt pointless to bring them in, particularity Dr. Jekyll with his part in the story being ultimately useless. The show had such a divide between the characters that it didn’t work as well as when they were all together. And the Ethan/Vanessa love aspect felt off. I wish the show had continued and explored more of the Gothic Victorian monster mash that made it so good in the beginning.

Banshee-Final Season: Another good show ended this year and another disappointing season and ending as well. And the most annoying part is they never said what Hood’s real name was.

Outcast: Another Robert Kirkman based series. This one deals with demonic possession and one might say, mental illness. I have 3 episodes to watch still but it feels like there is something missing from the show to make it really good. I like it but it has that drag that The Walking Dead suffers from where it’s on the cusp of ramping up then has nothing but filler. I like the premise and will continue with it for now. As for as The Walking Dead, I think I still have the last 2 episodes to watch and I’m in no rush at all. Disappointing. Fear the Walking Dead has potential but again, too long to get on with it.

The Strain (Season 1 & 2 again): Season 3 premieres at the end of the month and I am looking forward to seeing how much of the 3rd book is in the show. Watching Season 1 again I recall now that the first couple of episodes were kind of meh but once it gets past the introduction and gets to the vampires and the hunters it improves.

Movies

Green Room: There have been a lot of really good reviews of this flick that takes place at an isolated white supremacist club in the pacific northwest. A low rank punk band gets a gig at the clubhouse, not aware of what they are getting into and becomes embroiled in murder and a desperate fight for survival simply by being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Starring the late Anton Yelchin, I enjoyed this movie and it kind of makes you wonder how extreme these white supremacists really are.

10 Cloverfield Lane: I guess there are ties between this movie and Cloverfield which I started watching and promptly stopped. A woman is leaving home late one night (not sure why) and ends up in an accident. She awakens chained to a wall in what appears to be a basement. When her captor appears he informs her that the earth is under attack and the air outside the bunker is toxic. John Goodman is great as the captor Howard and the story makes you wondering if he is being truthful or if he is merely a psycho who kidnapped this woman for reasons unknown.

Hidden: Another bunker movie, this one stars Alexander Skarsgard and is written/director by the Duffer Brothers who are also behind Stranger Things. The primary location is in bunker as a family of 3 hide from an unknown and terrifying threat on the surface. They are eventually forced to flee the hideout and the truth of what has happened is revealed and is not what is expected but I rather enjoyed the twist and the general claustrophobic feeling of the flick.

Cell: I swear the only good Stephen King adaptation was The Mist. Cell was a good book, not great by any means but definatly better than this movie version of the story where cell phones drive people into a homicidal rage and then into a zombie like state. This reminded me of 1408 probably because it also starred John Cusack and Samuel L Jackson and the acting felt like the characters were trying to portray King’s vision of written stereotypes in the flesh. This was just not enjoyable.

Batman V. Superman: I didn’t hate it but it certainly wasn’t great. It was too long and hollow in story and I really disliked Lex Luthor. Wonder Woman was kind of cool but after the first 2 hours it needed to end.

Sinister 2: The follow-up to the creepy Sinister movie comes in as, meh. It’s sometime after the horror of the original and Deputy So-and -So is determined to end the nightmare of Bughuul. He comes across Shannyn Sossamon and her twin sons living in a house haunted by Bughuul and his ghost children. Much like other horror movies that impress with their mostly unique stories and then follow-up with a sequel trying to live up to that original splendor, Sinister 2 was OK but doesn’t really capture the thrill of the first and is unnecessary. 

Green Inferno: No, just no. I don’t mind gore, obviously, but there was nothing remotely interesting about this cannibal story.

Books

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins: Speaking of disappointment. This tale of librarians with special powers trying to find their “Father” failed for me. I didn’t finish it. I didn’t like it. The opening couple of pages were good but then it’s just magicians who are out of touch with humanity trying to be human. It felt childish even as the darker elements were played with on the surface.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes: I quite enjoyed The Shining Girls by Beukes but Broken Monsters is taking a bit to get into. A detective is on the case of  a dead boy who is murdered and mutilated by having his lower half meddled with the body of a deer. I think it’s the detective’s daughter’s story that is kind of interfering with the twisted and interesting story.

Games

Uncharted 4: I never played the first 3 but I really enjoyed this game that reminded in some ways of Assassin’s Creed.

Dragon Age: Inquisition: Finally, I have gotten into this game after 2 years. So far, so good.

Pokémon Go: Yes, I admit it, I’m playing this. I’ve caught 69 so far.

Listening

The Last Podcast on the Left: Still listening to it, still loving it – Megustalations!

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Sedge Warbler

hans-holbein

Brother by Ania Alhborn/The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

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Double header book review. Both of these books involve serial killers but in very different ways.

SPOILERS

Brother by Ania Alhborn

Michael is an awkward young man living in the West Virginian Appalachian mountains with Momma, Wade (father) older sister Misty Dawn and older brother Ray who has dubbed himself Rebel. The family keeps to themselves housing a dark family secret that tears at Michael’s soul and sanity as he tries to stay loyal to his family while wanting to break free and pursue a life far away. His desire to leave is intensified when he meets a pretty young woman, Alice, at a record shop in the nearby town of Dahlia.

From the beginning Michael is surrounded by the torture and death of Momma’s girls, young women he and Rebel abduct. Michael is powerless to help the young women he hears screaming in the night having been conditioned from a young age to obey and be loyal to his family. His forced obedience is not excusable after their deaths when he takes on the duties of  flaying, dismembering, and getting in a some touchy feely time with the corpses once Momma is done with them. Yeah, I think he’s got some wires crossed and it’s worse when the final victim is revealed to be his birth Mother. That’s right, the psycho bitch who he calls Momma is not his mother and Wade, Misty Dawn and Rebel aren’t his family. When Rebel is 7 or 8 he asked Wade to take him out and look for a new dog after he killed his and instead he found young Michael on the side of the road selling rocks. They kidnapped and raised him to be a cannibal killer. Rebel became jealous quickly and spent a lot of time working up an elaborate plan to get revenge by finding Michael’s family then killing his mother, eating her and then abducting his sister who turns out to be Alice, the young woman Michael has gone out on a couple of dates with.

I rated this 5 stars on Goodreads. When I read the description I wasn’t sure about it but I really enjoyed this book. Ania Alhborn’s writing is fantastic. She creates an engrossing tale that makes you feel uncomfortable given the content (it is not as gory as I had anticipated but might be for some others) but I couldn’t put it down. Obviously this isn’t a book for everyone given the graphic nature of killer cannibals but I highly recommend it.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Harper Curtis is a rough living loser in 1929 Chicago when his world changes forever after he stumbles into a house unlike any other. Somehow he is able to travel through time through the doors and his purpose for this extraordinary phenomenon – to kill his Shining Girls. On the bedroom wall are names and keepsakes for each of these girls that he is destined to kill and he will by travelling to each of their time periods. Harper is trying to close the circle but he made a mistake in not realizing that one of the victims, Kirby, survived and she is on the hunt to find the man who killed her dog (who ultimately ended up saving Kirby) and left her scarred physically and emotionally. With the reluctant help of her mentor at the Sun Times newspaper, Dan, Kirby sets on a path to find Harper while Harper continues killing his girls and making his way back to finish Kirby.

I read this after finishing ‘Brother’ so I guess I kind of have a serial killer thing happening now and this book was just as good. Lauren Beukes does a great job at the weaving through time and making Harper a despicable predator. The worst description of one of Harper’s attacks was Kirby’s as there was something so raw and brutal in the way the scene of the attack is laid out. This is another one I highly recommend and must note that it is not for everyone due to the fact that it is a serial killer who gets off on the kill.

Stylized D