Category Archives: Horror Film Reviews

10 Cloverfield Lane Review

10 Cloverfield Lane Review

10 Cloverfield Lane. Photo property of Paramount Pictures. Fair use courtesy of Wikipedia.

As promised in my “Top 5 Horror Movies of 2016” post, this is my full 10 Cloverfield Lane review. I must admit that a J.J. Abrams produced “blood relative” of the 2008 film Cloverfield did not appeal to me at first. Cloverfield was an average flick in my opinion, and my relationship with JJ Abrams has always flipped between love (Lost S1-3, Westworld, Star Trek) and hate (Lost S4-5, Star Trek). However, I had read many good reviews about 10 Cloverfield Lane, and thus felt it might be worthy of my time. How very right these reviews were! While I wouldn’t necessarily categorize this film as horror, I will say that this film is one of the best of 2016, in any genre.

While not exactly a sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane presents a different perspective of the 2008 found footage film, but works as it’s own entity as well. The premise is simple enough. Michelle Elizabeth Winstead plays Michelle, a young woman who leaves her fiancée and drives off into the night, only to get into a terrible car accident. She wakes up in a cell, and is told by her captor, Howard, played by John Goodman that they are safely hidden in a bunker, the world above them in the midst of a doomsday attack. What starts off as the beginnings of another survivalist/torture porn horror films turns into something much more interesting and creative, evolving into a tense thriller with hints of sci-fi. The film slowly builds tension, never allowing you to get too comfortable, and keeps you questioning the outcome, despite the title.

John Goodman is fantastic in a subtle, creepy performance. Shifting eyes and awkward social behavior bring about nervous laughter, but he keeps us on edge, holding back so that we never know what will set him off. Michelle is strong and relatable, who keeps you rooting for her until the very end. Winstead plays her with a balanced amount of strength and caution, as we uncover her new surroundings with her. Her character makes rational decisions and learns and grows in a logical way that wraps up the movie nicely.

The film is ultimately satisfying, avoiding stereotypical genre clichés and really engaging the audience from the moment we wake up with Michelle in her cell. A solid, well crafted story that kept me on the edge of my seat, it presents a new way of handling sequels and invasion stories, quietly asking: “where were you when this happened?”.

Did you like my 10 Cloverfield Lane review?  What would you do if there was a zombie apocalypse?

Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
Released: 2016
Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.

Top 5 Horror Movies of 2016

2016 wasn’t the strongest year for horror in my opinion, and there weren’t a lot of movies I was dying to see.  Lots of feature debut directors in my list, it was nice to see some fresh blood!  Despite a lack lustre year, here are my Top 5 Horror Movies of 2016.  Here’s hoping 2017 steps up and delivers some new chills!

The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring 2. Photo property of New Line Cinema. Fair use courtesy of Wikipedia.

THE CONJURING 2: THE ENFIELD POLTERGEIST
I loved the first Conjuring, and even though I’m just as weary of sequels as the next horror fan, I had a good feeling about this one.  The Conjuring was such a fresh, stylized take on the supernatural subgenre, that I felt James Wan could deliver.  Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reprise their roles as husband and wife paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren.  This time they travel to Brimsdown, England to assist a family who are being haunted by a poltergeist.  The result is another fun romp with the supernatural.
Directed by James Wan (Saw, Insidious, Dead Silence, The Conjuring)

The Witch

The Witch. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia. Fair use.

THE WITCH
Robert Eggers’ highly anticipated debut film that did not disappoint, The Witch takes the age old premise of devil sacrifice to a whole other level.  When a New England Puritan family is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing events, they suspect evil supernatural forces are at play from the surrounding forest.
Directed by Robert Eggers

10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane. Photo property of Paramount Pictures. Fair use courtesy of Wikipedia.

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
Dan Trachtenberg’s directorial debut is a clever thriller about a woman who wakes up from a car accident and finds herself in a bunker with two men who claim the world is no longer safe.  This is a spin off of J.J. Abrams’ 2008 film Cloverfield and the premise is much more interesting.  I just squeezed in this film before the end of the year, so I will post my review in the New Year.  Also it’s great to see John Goodman back on screen!
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg (debut)

The Forest

The Forest. Property of Focus Features. Fair use courtesy of Wikipedia.

THE FOREST
Natalie Dormer (Games of Thrones, The Hunger Games) stars as a twin searching for her better half in the infamous Japanese “suicide forest”.  Survivalist films are always interesting and the premise for this film is particularly creepy.  Dormer brings us into this unsettled world where her character is trapped and being tormented by the unhappy souls who took their lives in these woods.
Directed by Jason Zada (debut)

Don't Breathe

Don’t Breathe. Photo property of Ghost House Pictures. Fair use courtesy of Wikipedia.

DON’T BREATHE
I was quite impressed with Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake and was curious to see what else he could do. This slasher film, about a bunch of teens who mess with a blind man with devastating results is just as fun and bloody.
Directed by Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead)

Basking in Turkey: “Baskin” & a Turkish Meal

Turkey was one of my favourite trips.  Not only was the trip the first one with my boyfriend, but it was filled with such variety: busy cities, historical ruins, relaxing days on the sea, and adventure.  I loved learning about Turkey’s many different cultures and religions, meeting so many nice people and of course, eating Turkish food!  When I look through this gallery, I still cannot get over the variety of food I ate on this trip – I don’t think I had the same meal twice!

We were so inspired by the food we had in Turkey that we made our own Turkish breakfast.

View from Hotel Bella, Selcuk, Turkey

Breakfast view from Hotel Bella, Selcuk, Turkey

While Turkey is beautiful, the country has a dark side too.  The country’s past is filled with many bloody conquests, wars and sieges as the land was overturned by various cultures and religions.  The powerful Ottoman empire ruled Turkey for the longest period from the 14th right up to (in various forms) the 20th century and it was during World War I that the Ottoman government committed ethnic cleansing against their Greek, Assyrian and Armenian citizens.  It wasn’t until 1922 after the Turkish War of Independence that monarchy was finally abolished, and the modern Republic of Turkey was established in 1923.  Since the formation of the modern State of Turkey, the Kurds have accused the Turkish government of suppressing their identity and mistreatment.  This has resulted in many revolts, uprisings and an ongoing Kurdish-Turkish conflict that is present to this day.  Political protests are common in Taksim Square in Istanbul, and along with Kurdish rights, groups have also protested for women’s rights, LGBT rights, freedom of the press, freedom from torture and other human rights violations.

Police brutality has been the subject of many recent protests, and is explored in the Turkish horror film Baskin, which I reviewed after seeing the movie at the Toronto Film Festival.

"Baskin" Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

“Baskin” Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

While the state of Turkish politics makes me really sad, I want to remember all the amazing experiences I had while visiting this fascinating country, and keep trying to make more delicious Turkish food at home.  More to come!