‘The Ritual’: Weird Horror is Just Getting Weirder

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

The Ritual came out on Netflix earlier on in 2018, but I wanted to see what it had to offer. And oh boy, did it offer.

It tells the story of four friends going on a hike in Sweden after one of their other friends dies in a horrible tragedy. Luke (Rafe Spall), Hutch (Rob James-Collier), Phil (Archer Ali), and Dom (Sam Troughton) are the four friends who get lost in the woods during a hike on a very rainy night.

They find an abandoned wooden hut – as every horror movie does – and then they go in and explore. You can pretty much assume that this was a stupid decision.

The plot builds onto this throughout the rest of the movie as well as encountering a God-like beast who throws people into trees.

Overall, it had a very The Blair Witch Project, Hereditary, and The Endless vibes. It’s not that it set a bad example, but it just wasn’t anything new.

The acting was as fine as the character development, which wasn’t much.

I will give it props though for showing me the weirdest cinematic creature I’ve ever seen. There wasn’t much to the scenery, but that may have been the point. I got as exhausted as them looking at tree after tree.

In the end, The Ritual was not a knockout but more of the ordinary weirdness that we are constantly seeing today in the horror genre.


My Rating: 78%

Acting: 3.2/4

Cinematography: 3/4

Story: 3.2/4

Enjoyability: 3.1/4

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‘Shrek’ Me Up: A Look Back on the Childrens’ Classic

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

For this Time Warp, I decided I would touch on one of my absolute favorite animated movie franchises. That, of course, is the Academy Award winning film, ‘Shrek’. It’s still funny to me to be able to say “Academy Award winning” to the classic swamp-dwelling ogre that is my man Shrek.

Many who haven’t seen this iconic film may ask why it won Best Animated Feature in 2002. Well, those who have seen it can tell you exactly why.

The mean green fighting machine Shrek (Mike Myers) is an angry ogre who just likes to be left alone, as most people nowadays. But once love comes along, that changes, as with anyone who suddenly finds love. Shrek’s love didn’t come suddenly, of course. It came after a long journey with his new friend – whether or not he likes to admit it – a donkey, whose name is, well, Donkey (Eddie Murphy).

The love interest/self-hating princess in the movie is Fiona (played by Cameron Diaz), who loves throwing tantrums at every moment she can. You may think that it’s obnoxious, but it becomes very easy to love her by the end.

That is the overall plot of the entire first movie, but they do so well developing all the relationships within it. Being able to meet dozens of fairy tale creatures who annoy Shrek to the brink of absolute fury is, even if it’s not to Shrek, completely hilarious to watch.

Half the enjoyability of this movie revolves around the supreme soundtrack that plays throughout. I mean, we have songs like “All Star” by Smash Mouth and “Bad Reputation” performed by Joan Jett. That sells it right there, doesn’t it?

It’s an undeniably enjoyable movie and impossible not to love. It sparked a sequel that is debatably better than the first if not just as good. It’s one of those movie franchises that anybody will want to watch on a lazy afternoon in the summer, with their kids for a family movie night, in the middle of a snowstorm in the winter, or pretty much at anytime. That is how I define a classic.

‘Hereditary’: A Real Horrorshow

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Over the weekend, I had the frightening pleasure to see the greatest horror movie in the past two decades, Hereditary, which is about a family who comes to find out about the sinister secrets that resides in their family tree.

Of course, that is my own opinion, but it has received an unbelievable amount of praise from critics everywhere as they call it “the new The Exorcist”. It’s always interesting when film critics compare a modern film to an absolute classic, which rarely ever happens for the horror genre.

It’s dismissed by most because of the lack of originality and true terror. Well let me tell you, Hereditary is not only original and terrifying but it also takes it to a level that is usually taken in a distasteful and childish way.

There’s gore that not only makes you sick to your stomach (many decapitated heads) but also brings you to a mental state of actual fear. There’s points where it feels like you’re there with the characters and experiencing their fear. It’s feels like you’re going through a haunted house but, covering your eyes and ears to escape the situation that you’re encased in.

It’s not only a wild ride, it’s an emotional one too.

The performances given by the actors were remarkable and career defining. From seasoned thespians such as Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne to the impressive first timer, Milly Shapiro (who is my new favorite actress). They all shined in their roles but it goes without saying that the performance that 20 year old, Alex Wolff, delivered was surprising and gut-wrenching.

Portraying a teen with severe PTSD, Wolff regresses his normal, rebellious adolescent character Peter to a petrified young boy. When I say ‘regress’, I mean he literally does not act like a teenager anymore. After the incident that creates his PTSD, Peter begins speaking like a child and reacting like a child. He uses the word ‘Mommy’ and when he’s scared he cries – a lot.

He also quickly becomes the 2nd main character alongside Collette’s character and his mother, Annie. They create a rivalry which includes them even having nightmares about the other killing them. Annie and Peter’s relationship shows how their tension causes an explosion of emotion and Collette and Wolff portray this in such a perfectly brutal way that it cuts like a knife.

Hereditary is the horror movie that conjures a new kind of fear in film – real fear. It is a brilliant reintroduction to the psychological, disturbing, and original content that generations before had.


My Rating: 98%

Acting: 3.7/4

Cinematography: 4/4

Story: 4/4

Enjoyability: 4.4

Ethan Hawke Transcends and Derails in ‘First Reformed’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

So far this year filmmakers and actors have already brought us Oscar potential films and performances. First Reformed is that film and its star, Ethan Hawke, gave that performance. However, the story is what really draws an audience member in.

Hawke portrays Toller, the reverend of an old, overshadowed church, First Reformed. Dealing with issues of his own (alcoholism and cancer) he’s asked by churchgoer Mary (Amanda Seyfried) to speak to her radical, environmentalist husband Michael (Philip Ettinger) who becomes paranoid when Mary announces her pregnancy.

As he begins counseling him, Toller forms an obsession with climate, pollution, global warming, and other widely feared environmental dangers while questioning himself, his faith, and his ethics. It’s a period of transcendence for the reverend that progressively overtakes him and devolves into something more – something much darker.

Christian symbolism plays a large part in First Reformed considering religion is the entire basis for the plot. Not only does writer and director Paul Schrader highlight the most widely worshipped symbols from the Bible, but he also brings the most gruesome ones. Between a pregnant woman named Mary and Toller wrapping his bare body in barbed wire (Jesus in thorns), Schrader made sure we’d have those crystallized images embedded in our brains.

Throughout the film, Toller keeps a diary to express his thoughts and feelings (as most people do), but it also shows the inner workings of his mind and how different it is to his outer self. He’s calm, timorous, and small on the outside, while being meticulous and self-deprecating on the inside. The reserved and religious man worries himself with ailments of others and the world instead of the well-being of his own. He even plots to sacrifice himself via suicide vest in order to “save” others with the exception of destroying a few lives to do so.

The portrayal of this character is so sincere that by the end, Hawke isn’t just “playing” Rev. Toller. He is Rev. Toller.

First Reformed leaves the audience intrigued and rattled with its daunting performances and story that it’s nearly impossible to comprehend how one can create such a masterpiece.


My Rating: 98%

Acting: 4/4

Cinematography: 4/4

Story: 4/4

Enjoyability: 3.7/4

Film Forecast Friday: June 1st

On Friday June 1st we have…

1. Adrift

2. Upgrade

3. Action Point

4. American Animals

5. A Kid Like Jake

Julia’s Predictions:

This is an interesting week because for the first time in a while there are no big blockbusters being released. Out of the movies that are being released I think Adrift will have the biggest box office numbers. It has notable actors Shailene Woodley (Fault in Our Stars, Divergent) and Sam Claflin (Me Before You, Hunger Games) in it and I’ve seen a lot of marketing for it.

I think Action Point and Upgrade will do alright. I haven’t heard too much about either of them, but Action Point has Johnny Knoxville (Jackass) in it which will likely bring out audiences. Also, Upgrade is a Blumhouse Productions film and those tend to do well.

American Animals is absolutely amazing and I strongly recommend you go see it. We have already reviewed it, so if you need any more convincing to go see it check out our review!

Finally, A Kid Like Jake which honestly I didn’t know was a movie until today. It has Jim Parsons in it so maybe it will attract some Big Bang Theory fans?

Anthony’s Predictions:

I am beyond excited for Adrift with Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin. This will also be the moneymaker for the week at the box office, even if it will not make quite as much as previous weeks.

I have heard so much about American Animals that I’ve gotten very excited to see it. It has such a unique group of actors in it (including Evan Peters!) so I know that I’ll enjoy it already.

I definitely forgot Action Point and Upgrade were even coming out this week. I don’t really have a high opinion on them but I believe they will do about the same at the box office.

A Kid Like Jake won’t be too crazy spectacular, but should be fun because of Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons, as he is in it.

‘The Open House’ Is A Darkness In Itself

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

I don’t care what you say about Thirteen Reasons Why, Dylan Minnette is adorable. I say that because he’s equally as cute in The Open House, a new horror flick on Netflix that actually proves to know what it’s doing. The majority of the time at least.

Dylan Minnette plays teenager Logan Wallace alongside his mother Naomi (played by Piercey Dalton) after his father gets killed in a roadside hit. I swear that’s not a spoiler, it happens at the very beginning of the movie and it just happens to be what the entire movie is about.

Despite awful reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (it literally has a 13%), I found it to be a pretty good movie.

The acting wasn’t bad at all. Dalton and Minnette are both experienced actors and clearly knew what they were doing. Minnette has even done horror before (Let Me In, Don’t Breathe), so he knew how to not act amateurly like most actors his age in a horror movie. He kept every creepy moment suspenseful and every scary moment bone chilling.

The scenery was beautiful at first but later fell through after it got repetitive. Many movies have repetitive scenery and do it well, such as Breaking In earlier this month, that used one house for the entire film but made the house have real meaning.

This movie, however, used this house and didn’t add any feeling to it, despite how hard they tried. It was used to successfully build a story, and it did that, but it wasn’t necessarily fun to see for an hour and a half.

The Open House was actually a decent movie to me. It absolutely isn’t my favorite 2018 Netflix movie (Dude and Veronica still hold that title), but it wasn’t the worse. It was a decent horror flick that matched up to some of the other mediocre horror movies we’ve seen the last few years.


My Rating: 75%

Acting: 3.6/4

Cinematography: 2.5/4

Story: 2.9/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

‘The Endless’ Journey of Trying to Understand This Movie

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

I really didn’t think I’d run into more of a mind twisting movie than Annihilation so soon into the year, but I was truly proven wrong with Snowfort Pictures’ The Endless.

In the most simple explanation, it’s about two brothers who escaped a UFO Death Cult when they were younger. Now that they are cleaners and living an unsatisfied life, one brother, Aaron (Aaron Moorhead) wants a change.

He decides that he wasn’t happy with the lack of closure from the cult and wants to go back. Other brother Justin (Justin Benson) is very reluctant, but for some reason gives in.

As the movie progresses, it gets ridiculously strange and confusing. The audience is left questioning whether or not this strange group of people is actually a cult or not. All we really know is that it’s an otherworldly situation with people who know that life does not stop at just them.

Some of the cult crew included leader Hal (Tate Ellington), Anna (Callie Hernandez), and Tim (Lew Temple). They all presented strange and unique personalities, but they all added something to the development of the plot – even if it wasn’t very much.

Although this movie is about aliens, don’t expect to see any… because you won’t. The aliens are always seen in the darkness or underwater, but what can you expect? It’s yet another question that leaves you frustrated. Were they even aliens?

Regardless, I do have to applaud Justin Benson for not only starring as one of the brothers, but also co-directing (alongside Aaron Moorhead, the other brother), creating the story, and writing the story. Not many people in the industry can do that nowadays.

The acting wasn’t spectacular from anyone, to be honest. At the same time, I don’t think that was the point. The point was to deliver an interesting story that unintentionally ended up more confusing and mind twisting than “interesting”.
The Endless was a very forgettable movie. It was good, but forgettable. But, before I forget it altogether, I’ll say good job to the cast and crew for developing a movie about a cult that isn’t actually about the cult itself but actually about the cult that came after the cult and a force field and… okay, I’m done.


My Rating: 79%

Acting: 2.9/4

Cinematography: 3.2/4

Story: 3.3/4

Enjoyability: 3.2/4