BARE BONES: COUNTDOWN (2019) and HARPOON (2019)

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COUNTDOWN (2019)

Generic horror flick finds morons downloading an app that is supposed to tell you when you are going to die…it works, as this is a horror film, and users start dropping. Pretty nurse Quinn Harris (Elizabeth Lail) has the app and is now fighting to find out how to stop it and save herself and her teen sister (Talitha Bateman) from a horrible fate. If you’re dumb enough to download something like that, well, you get what you pay for.

Flick is directed completely by-the-numbers by Justin Dec, who also wrote the cookie cutter, PG-13 horror script. Once again we have a group of young people doing something dumb to get themselves cursed and followed around by a generic boogieman. This time it’s the Ozhin, supposedly a demonic entity from The Bible, but, funny, it’s not mentioned in the actual Bible. No surprise, as this info comes from a priest with tattoos, which, ironically, is mentioned in the Bible, as a sin. Just shows you how little thought actually went into this flick. It’s as pedestrian as these teen-centric horror movies come and despite an attractive cast and likable characters, you never really care about what happens to them. It’s also totally lacking in any suspense or scares, which at least would have made it worth a look, still forgettable, but at least worth a look. A complete waste of time unless you happen to be a completist of these kinda flicks, or a fan of certain cast members.

-MonsterZero NJ

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HARPOON (2019)

Another flick in the sub, sub genre of unlikable, yuppie a-holes getting into deep…and fatal…trouble. Here we have the grating trio of Jonah (Munro Chambers), Richard (Christopher Gray) and the girl caught between them, Sasha (Emily Tyra) who while on a supposedly brief boat ride (a three hour tour, maybe?) get into some boring personal drama and try to kill each other. In a series of events too stupid to bother detailing, they become lost at sea, without power, food or water. Now, the three try to decide who will be sacrificed as sustenance, so the other two may survive.

Annoying and dumb flick is directed by Rob Grant from his script with Mike Kovac. It sets up a ridiculous series of events and melodramatic contrivances to get our three unlikable subjects lost at sea together in a small space, now that they all hate each other and have reasons to do each other harm. An even more ridiculous plot contrivance sets up the three realizing that to survive, one of them has to be sacrificed so the others may live, but who?…more like, who cares? A late last act reveal does work and there is some effective and nasty violence, but, overall, it takes far too long to get interesting and far too late to change one’s non-interest in the rest of it. Tedious even at only a merciful 83 minutes in length.

-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: ANNABELLE: CREATION (2017)

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ANNABELLE: CREATION (2017)

Annabelle was a terrible movie spun off from the first Conjuring film in an attempt to squeeze more cash out of fans of that series and it was painfully obvious. It made money though and if it worked once, why not try again. So now we have a prequel to a spin-off, but this time that’s not such a bad thing. Flick opens 24 years before Annabelle with the Mullins family (Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto) losing their daughter Annabelle (Samara Lee) in a terrible accident. Twelve years later, they decide to turn their spacious farmhouse into an orphanage…which makes sense, right? But when lonely, lame Janice (Talitha Bateman) goes into Annabelle’s old room, she finds a creepy doll hidden in a locked closet…and upon opening the door, unleashes something evil that may cost all of them their lives.

This film is loaded with all the haunted house/Conjuring films clichés, but the difference maker is they are used very well by Lights Out director David Sandberg. The script by Gary Dauberman presents all the expected tropes one expects from a haunted house/possessed object movie, but that just gives Sandberg a chance to use them as they are meant to be and provides us with some very creepy and sometimes outright scary moments. Some of it does get a bit over-the-top and there are glaring questions like why the possessed doll wasn’t buried out in a field somewhere and why the Mullins’ brought children into a house that had a demon possessed doll as a tenant. But we do get some answers…if one really cares to ask…about how the doll became all things evil and the cast is very good, including the kids. A spooky and sometimes scary flick, despite being derivative and predictable, thanks to a talented up and coming director.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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