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TENET (2020)

A CIA agent (John David Washington) commits suicide during a mission gone awry, but finds himself mysteriously revived and now working for an organization known as Tenet. “The Protagonist”, as he is now known, is tasked with stopping Russian businessman Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) from using a mysterious device to cause a global catastrophe. Both aiding and impeding his mission is futuristic technology that can alter the flow of time for objects and people alike.

Film is written and directed by Christopher Nolan and is basically a James Bond movie with a science fiction twist. There are some very clever ideas here and it is a very interesting spin on the traditional globe-trotting spy thriller with it’s time travel elements. There are some spectacular action scenes and some sumptuous locations as “The Protagonist” tries to stop Sator from basically destroying the world, like any good Bond villain tries to do. The time hopping objects and having characters from different points in time encountering themselves is all done well, but, to be honest, it does start to get a bit tiresome by the last act…especially with a 150 minute running time. Still, Nolan directs this expertly and keeps control of something that could have been a mess, though the real stars here are the editors on this sometimes too ambitious for it’s own good project. The cast also perform well with Washington being a solid hero, Branagh an effective villain and Robert Pattinson once again doing fine work as The Protagonist’s handler Neil. Definitely worth watching, though requires steady attention or it might loose you.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating





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It’s been four years since horror icon Chucky’s triumphant return to form in Curse Of Chucky. Now he returns again, this time roaming the halls of a medium security institute for the mentally ill. This installment finds Nica (Fiona Dourif) declared mentally insane after taking blame for the murders Chucky committed in the Pierce house and she’s been institutionalized since. Meanwhile, Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) has been keeping and tormenting Chucky’s possessed head and Nica’s doctor (Michael Therriault) decides to bring in a Good Guys Doll as part of her therapy. It also seems, though, that Chucky has been busy learning new spells and can inhabit more than one doll…and as more Good Guy Dolls show up at the institute, via Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) and Andy, all hell breaks loose with Nica at the center of it. With more than one Chucky stalking the halls and Andy and Tiffany on premises, the inmates will soon be running the asylum!

Don Mancini returns again to write and direct and again delivers one of the best of the series. Cult of Chucky is an absolute blast of bloody fun as the demented Chucky starts to off the inmates and staff of the Harrogate institute, all the while tormenting Nica. The gore is plentiful and the kills inventive and Mancini takes full advantage of the sterile environment of the institute in contrast to the old haunted house style setting of the last flick. He giddily splashes the clean white walls with bright red blood and really has come into his own as a visual director with some Kubrick-esque shots and hallucination sequences. He balances the mood very well here with playing things fairly straight, yet keeping and honing the series’ twisted sense of humor, especially in portraying Chucky’s enthusiasm for what he does. He also gets to have some fun with the fact that Chucky can inhabit more than one doll at once and there are at least three roaming the dimly lit halls at one point. Chucky also gets to delight in the fact that only Nica knows he’s real and the rest of the inhabitants are in dangerous denial. It’s simply a really fun, stylish and gory time with one of horrors most famous icons in top form, thanks to Mancini’s clever script and direction. Sure there area few plot holes, such as how did Chucky research new spells if he was only a disembodied head in Andy’s possession, but otherwise this is a solid entry in the Child’s Play franchise.

The cast are all in top form, too. Brad Dourif once again performs Chucky’s vocals with gusto and at this point, it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing it. Daughter Fiona Dourif is also solid as Nica. She takes the material seriously and plays the role with conviction, until the last act where the script allows her to go a little over-the-top and she has fun with what she’s required to do. Alex Vincent certainly is having a good time as the adult Andy and Jennifer Tilly is a delight as the demented Tiffany, playing it as if there was never a long break in-between films. The rest of the cast do well in portraying various inmates and staff, many of whom fall to Chucky’s homicidal antics.

This installment was really entertaining. Don Mancini has found a way to revive this series with two recent quality installments that further the adventures of Chucky and yet delightfully pay tribute to the earlier chapters in the franchise. Where most horror series slowly fizzle out as they go along, Don Mancini has found a way to keep this one fresh, inventive and lots of bloody fun. Sure there are a few plot holes, but you are willing to overlook them because you’re having such a gory good time.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated a solid 3 (out of 4) Chuckys.

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I’m not a big fan of top 10 lists and all that year end fuss but, I thought I would give a bit of a look back at what I liked and didn’t like in the horror genre this year and, or course, share it with all of you. These are just my opinions and since the world is filled with different tastes and preferences and each horror film effects, or doesn’t effect, everyone differently, I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with my selections but, this is how I look at what the horror genre had to offer this year…



EVIL DEAD (2013)

To a degree it’s sad that the best horror of the year was a remake but, I had a blast with Fede Alvarez’s re-imagining and it had some nice scares, plenty of gore and Jane Levy rocked in the lead. Alvarez showed he’s a director to keep an eye on and he paid tribute to the original while doing his own thing. Fun horror! Read my full review HERE…




Rob Zombie’s latest horror is not for everyone but, I enjoyed this out-there story of a Salem Mass. DJ (Sheri Moon Zombie) who is sent a record that, when played, sets in motion the return of a coven of Devil worshipping witches and their plan to bring great evil into our world. Zombie’s flick has some really disturbing visuals and some very subtle and creepy scenes to go along with it’s more shocking moments and evokes the works of some of horror’s best directors while remaining a Rob Zombie film. His most solid directorial effort and a refreshingly off-beat and very unsettling movie. Even the soundtrack was disturbing and, as usual in a Zombie film, there are some great songs included in it that almost become a character in the film themselves. An acquired taste but, I really enjoyed it. Read my original review HERE…



MANIAC (2013)

For a guy who bitches a lot about all the horror remakes, it is quite ironic that two of my favorites this year are in fact remakes but, Franck Khalfoun’s re-imagining was a vast improvement over the sleazy and overrated original and Elijah Wood gave me the creeps. There were some truly shocking and disturbing moments, strong tension and the film made creepy use of it’s POV shooting style. An art house style horror that really worked for me. Read my full review HERE…




Sure Mary isn’t perfect but, this story of pretty Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle), a down on her luck medical student who is lured into the world of underground body modification surgery for money and then is turned into a sadistic killer when horribly wronged, is a breath of fresh air in a genre saturated by generic haunted house and home invasion thrillers. A wickedly fun and disturbing flick from the Soska Sisters and one that made me second guess myself and I give it a lot of credit for that. Read my full review HERE…




Yes, this film is from 2012 but, I didn’t catch up with it till this year and it deserves a shout out for being one of the more original flicks I watched during 2013. Another surgery themed flick has a troubled teen Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord) whose obsession with surgery and bizarre fantasies leads this demented ugly duckling to commit some horrible acts. A trippy and disturbing  little movie with a really strong performance by McCord who disappears into the role. A nice turn by Traci Lords as well as Pauline’s overbearing mother also gives this flick some weight. Read my full review HERE…



JUG FACE (2013)

Chad Crawford Kinkle gave us an unsettling and offbeat little horror about a rural backwoods community presided over by a supernatural creature that resides in a large sink hole just inside the woods. The creature watches over the village and even cures ills as long as the residents feed it the appropriate sacrifice when it calls for it. When one of the intended sacrifices has other ideas, she brings it’s wrath down upon her entire village. Read my full review HERE…





This flick sadly went direct to home media but, Chucky’s first horror in almost 10 years is a fun, gory and suspenseful tale that returns to the series’ more serious roots and sets Chucky loose in a spooky old house. It had some nice suspense, some vicious kills, Fiona Dourif made a plucky wheelchair bound heroine and there’s some nice surprises for fans of the series too. Chucky was back in style and didn’t get the attention/respect he deserved. Read my full review HERE…





Don’t get me wrong, The Conjuring is a well made and fairly enjoyable horror flick especially in it’s spooky first act, but with a second act that gets not only theatrical and a bit hokey, but climaxes with yet another routine exorcism, it lost it’s grip on me much like Wan’s Insidious did in it’s second half. A good flick, but not the masterpiece internet hype makes it out to be. Also doesn’t hold up under repeat viewings as the scares have lost some of their effect and the flaws only get more obvious. Read my full review HERE…



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YOU’RE NEXT (2013)

With all the positive buzz and internet hype I heard about this flick, it was a major disappointment when I left the theater having seen this predictable and routine home invasion flick with transparent plot twists and a completely contrived excuse for the lethal skills of it’s final girl… though Sharni Vinson was effective in the part. Otherwise the bland cast recites some really bad dialog and does incredibly stupid things to set themselves up as victims both invaded and invader alike. A weak script and a shaky cam obsessed directer make this not only one of the year’s biggest disappointments, but one of the weaker horrors I saw this year. See my full review HERE…





After the entertaining and effectively chilling first flick, this shameless and stupid cash grab sequel is awful in almost every way. A poor script and story, lame direction and a laughable climax makes this hands down the worst horror I saw this year. Ashley Bell does try really hard, but the actress is given garbage to work with and garbage is what this sequel is. Read my full review HERE…




I’m not going to defend this flick, it had some glaring story problems, a highly questionable timeline…our plucky heroine Heather (Alexandra Daddario) should be in her forties not a nubile 20 something…and numerous other issues, but it gave me some chuckles and a couple of real hotties being chased by a chubby, balding Leatherface…who should be like 60 here…there were also some gruesome kills and did I mention it’s got Alexandra Daddario? A guilty pleasure for sure for, as bad as this was, I had fun watching it and it did have some nice cameos and homages to Hooper’s original masterpiece. Read my full review HERE…





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It’s been almost ten years since we last saw Chucky, the homicidal doll possessed by the spirit of deceased serial killer Charles Lee Ray, but Curse Of Chucky  brings him back in all his blood spattering gloryand turns out to be one of the best entries in the series.

The story takes place in an old house owned and lived in by Sarah Pierce (Chantal Quesnel) and her wheelchair-ridden young daughter, Nica (Fiona Dourif). When they receive a strange package that contains an old Good Guys doll named Chucky (once again voice by Brad Dourif), things obviously start to go wrong in the Pierce home. To start, Nica wakes up to find her mother dead, an apparent suicide…or so we are led to believe. Her sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti) arrives to console her along with her husband Ian (Brennan Elliott), daughter Alice (Summer Howell) and nanny Jill (Maitland McConnell). Soon a night of family drama turns into a night of blood curdling terror as Chucky begins to slaughter the unsuspecting occupants one by one.

Directed and written by series writer and Seed Of Chucky helmer Don Mancini, Curse returns Chucky to his more menacing roots and for the most part jettison’s the goofy humor that permeated the last two installments. What we get is a nice and atmospheric haunted house slasher, that has some real nice tension and suspense along with a few effective and gruesome kills. The added element of Nica being confined to a wheelchair is used to maximum effect by director Mancini and there are some really intense sequences, especially when Nica comes to realize who and what Chucky is and she becomes his next target. There are some really nice surprises, too, especially when the film links to the previous chapters and we get some fun nods to past Chucky flicks that I won’t spoil here. The FX bringing the killer doll to life are some of the best in the series and the gore effects are well done and there is plenty of the red stuff spilled.

The film isn’t perfect. There are some flaws, mostly the film looses momentum somewhat during its final scenes which are fun, but in an effort to explain Chucky’s arrival in the Pierce house and why he is there, we are treated to flashbacks and scenes that interrupt the tension and take us out of the confinement of the spooky old house, which to this point added a lot of atmosphere and the isolation inside it added some tension. The scenes are fun as said, but don’t carry the same intensity of what preceded it. The film kind of ends on a much lighter note, more akin to the last two movies, while the earlier scenes of the film match the original’s more serious tone.

Flaws aside, this is a solid and entertaining horror flick that deserved better than being dumped direct to home media. It’s a welcome return of a modern horror icon and a nice addition to his movie legacy. Watch through the credits for a fun post credits scene that should delight and amuse fans of this long running series.

Rated a solid 3 (out of 4) Chuckys.

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