Tagged: Brian Howe

Annabelle

Summary: A couple begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 4th October, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: John R. Leonetti

Screenwriter: Gary Dauberman

Cast: Tony Amendola (Father Perez), Ivar Brogger (Dr. Burgher), Keira Daniels (Young Annabelle Higgins), Ward Horton (John), Brian Howe (Pete Higgins), Eric Ladin (Detective Clarkin), Morganna May (Debbie), Kerry O’Malley (Sharon Higgins), Michelle Romano (Mary), Christopher Shaw (Fuller), Annabelle Wallis (Mia), Alfre Woodard (Evelyn)

Runtime: 99 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR ANNABELLE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Adam Ross: You can check out Adam’s Annabelle review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #99 .

Stars(3)

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Annabelle review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(3)

 

Nick Gardiner: You can check out Nick’s Annabelle review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #99

Stars(2)

 

David Griffiths:

While the world may be in awe of the anything that so-called horror master James Wan touches I’ve never really been bought over. Yes I will agree that the original Saw was a horror masterpiece but the franchise quickly fell away from there. Then there films like Dead Silence that were average to say the least and I wasn’t even won over by the Insidious franchise or The Conjuring so to be honest I wasn’t expecting much from Annabelle but I was pleasantly surprised as this is a film that goes back to some old school horror.

A prequel to The Conjuring, Annabelle follows a young married couple from the 1970s named Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton) preparing for the birth of their first child while John nears the end of his medical studies. There harmonic life is ruined though on one fateful night when their next door neighbours are murdered by their estranged daughter and her partner. After a violent confrontation with Police in Mia and John’s home one of Mia’s dolls becomes possessed.

As Mia and John try to get on with their lives the Annabelle doll makes life a living hell for them and puts their and the life of their daughter in grave danger. They soon turn to people such as Father Perez (Tony Amendola) and the mysterious Evelyn (Alfre Woodard) to try and help them out.

With Annabelle James Wan acts as producer and brings on board director John R. Leonetti on board to direct. Now Leonetti has an interesting career, he has mainly worked as a Director Of Photography on films as far ranged as The Mask, Honey, The Scorpian King and Detroit Rock City. As a director only Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and The Butterfly Effect 2 rate a mention but with Annabelle he shows that perhaps he should have been in the director’s chair on a number of other films over the years. Leonetti creates some true Alfred Hitchcock style shots including a brilliant ‘through-two-windows’ shot of the neighbour’s murder early on in the film.

Also aided by a serviceable screenplay Leonatti doesn’t allow himself to be sucked into delivering more Hollywood clichés and at times when as an audience you feel like you are going to know what happens next he has the sense to pull away from that and fool his audience. The result is an old school horror style film that relies more on thrills and suspense then what it does on cheap effects or loud noises… and in a sense that only adds to the creepiness even more.

Leads Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton have been given the unusual order to produce a Pleasantville style of acting. It is obvious that they have been directed to mirror the acting styles of older films like Rosemary’s Baby and to their credit both pull it off well. Their move from squeaky clean All-American 1970s’ couple to couple in peril is smooth and almost seamless. Likewise Tony Amendola channels some of the actors who have played ‘creepy’ priests over the years but sadly Alfre Woodard isn’t given very much characterisation to work with and her character remains pretty much one dimensional.

Annabelle does everything that good old fashioned horror fans look for in a film. It sets up a rather evil nasty in a creative way, brings something new cinematically to the table and has just enough plot twists and turns without ever going over the top. Director, John R. Leonetti announces himself as a director with style in the horror genre and it’s good to see a filmmaker that is eager to move away from the Paranormal Activity style of filmmaking and instead turn to the old masters for guidance. Those who fear the doll element to the film will place it in the same realm as Child’s Play as this is a horror film that is much more sophisticated than that.

 

Stars(3.5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Annabelle (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Annabelle′: For our full Annabelle review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #99 . You can also read Dave’s Annabelle review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Devil's Knot

Summary: Based on the true crime and novel by Mara Leveritt, Devil’s Knot explores the murder and trial of three boys that went missing in Memphis in 1993. The crime brings three teenagers to trial and despite pleading innocent and the mounting forensic evidence to support their innocence, the teenagers are persecuted without question and left at the mercy of lawyer Ron Lax who continues to probe deeper into the case and the prejudices that exist within the court of law. The film explores the lives of deeply misunderstood outsiders, their families and communities, and their darkest fantasies. The conviction of the West Memphis Three – Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin – riled the American justice system, shocked a tightly knit religious town and outraged the nation.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Atom Egoyan

Screenwriter: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson, Mara Leveritt (novel)

Cast: Robert Baker (Detective Bryn Ridge), Paul Boardman Jnr. (Michael Moore), Kerry Cahill (Jo Lynn), Brandon Carroll (Bobby DeAngelo), Jack Coghlan (Aaron Hutcherson), Dane DeHaan (Chris Morgan), Kevin Durand (John Mark Byers), Mireille Enos (Vicki Hutcheson), Colin Firth (Ron Lax), Wilbur Fitzgerald (Tom), Michael Gladis (Dan Stidham), Bruce Greenwood (Judge Burnett), Gary Grubbs (Dale Griffis), James Hamrick (Damien Echols), Martin Henderson (Brent Davis), Kristopher Higgins (Jessie Miskelley), Stan Houston (Detective Donald Bray), Brian Howe (Detective McDonough), Ted Huckabee (Steve Jones), Julie Ivey (Melissa Byers), Jet Jurgensmeyer (Stevie Branch), Elias Koteas (Jerry Driver), Matt Letscher (Paul Ford), Rex Linn (Chief Inspector Gitchell), Seth Meriwether (Jason Baldwin), Stephen Moyer (John Fogelman), Bill Murphey (Marty King), Alessandro Nivola (Terry Hobbs), Kristoffer Polaha (Val Price), Anessa Ramsey (Rosie), Amy Ryan (Margaret Lax), Lori Beth Sikes (Annie), Brad D. Smith (Todd Moore), Brandon Spink (Christopher Byers), Matthew Stanton (Detective Durham), Clay Stapleford (Detective Mike Allen), Stephanie Stewart (Domini Teer), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Officer Regina Meeks), Reese Witherspoon (Pam Hobbs), Collette Wolfe (Glori Shettles), Isabella Zentkovich (Amanda Hobbs)

Runtime: 114 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR DEVIL’S KNOT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The story of The West Memphis Three has been itching to be turned into a feature film for a great deal many years now. Countless documentaries have been made around the case over the years, and so powerful is the story of injustice that it has been impossible for anyone to sit through them without some kind of anger building up inside them. To be brutally honest the whole story (or should that be saga) is really a screenwriter and director’s dream.

Devil’s Knot looks at the case of The West Memphis Three told through the eyes of a private investigator, Ron Lax (Colin Firth) and one of the grieving mothers, Pam Hobbs (Reese Witherspoon). As Hobbs desperately tries to work out what happened in her son’s murder Lax concentrates on the theory that the three accused, Damien Echols (James Hamrick), Jason Baldwin (Seth Meriwether) and Jessie Misskelley (Kristopher Higgins) are innocent.

Oscar nominated director Atom Egoyan decides to tackle the case head-on in his latest film Devil’s Knot. Now a rookie filmmaker may have simply decided that this film should be told through the eyes of one of the accused but Egoyan is smarter than that and instead digs up the story of one of the case’s lesser known players, the private investigator hired by the three accused’s legal team to try and clear their clients name. So not to make the film too one sided Egoyan also tells part of the story through the eyes of Pam Hobbs, a grieving mother who seems more open to the fact that injustice is being done than anyone else involved in the case.

Early on Devil’s Knot is a promising film. It digs up certain parts of the case that are naturally overlooked in most explorations into the case including the mysterious ‘muddied and bloodied black man’ who was spotted in a fast food diner on the night of the murders. But it’s not long after that revolution that Egoyan seems to let Devil’s Knot dangerously let itself down. Just as Lax beguns to uncover series leads that suggest a Police cover-up and Police corruption the film pulls back from how hard-hitting it should have been and instead becomes a court room drama in the vein of a television show like Law & Order.

The second half of Devil’s Knot shows why a director of the class of David Fincher needs to get hold of this story and do something with it. The links of the boys to the occult and Satanic rituals could have taken the film into some dark places while the whole Police corruption element and them deciding to investigate Ron Lax needed to have a lot more suspense put into it then what it shown here. For Devil’s Knot to work there needed to be less of Lax sitting around in an office and talking to the lawyers and more of him actually out on the street doing the leg work – after all he had to be getting these leads from somewhere, right? Perhaps the most ironic thing about how much the screenplay lets down the film is that it comes from the same pen as Deliver Us From Evil, Scott Derrickson.

As a result Egoyan really under uses his two leads. Colin Firth seems like an actor champing at the bit for a dramatic scene right throughout Devil’s Knot while Reese Witherspoon plumps up and heads into the similar character territory she explored in Mud but again she is let down. Instead of allowing her character to deliver some powerful scenes when she starts suspecting her own husband, Terry Hobbs (Alessandro Nivola), as being involved in their son’s murder. It’s a sad point to make but the screenplay here really does let down both Firth and Witherspoon.

Devil’s Knot could easily have been one of the best films of the year, but sadly it is let down by a director and screenwriter who seem reluctant to tap into the suspense that is handed to them on a plate. Instead the second half of the film becomes a slow court room drama that never really lives up to its potential. Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon try in vain to deliver something but even they are let down dangerously by a script that needed to be much better.

Stars(2.5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Devil's Knot (2013) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Devi’s Knot′: For our full Devil’s Knot review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #89. You can also read Dave’s review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer: