‘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

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‘6 Balloons’ and its Unexpected Greatness

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Therese Gardner

As we all know, Netflix is the new outlet for films that may not have gotten the attention it needed. It’s great because when they slap that well known label on it then people are guaranteed to come across it. Not only are these stories given a bigger platform but, actors are given roles beyond being typecast in the same role. This is the case with the new Netflix drama, 6 Balloons.

When Katie (Abbi Jacobsen) attempts to throw a birthday party for her boyfriend, she’s disrupted by her heroin-addicted brother, Seth (Dave Franco), who is in need of a detox center. The two take an overwhelming journey around the city while also dealing with his toddler daughter.

The plot is as simple as any other film- simpler than most addiction-based films. But instead of it being in the perspective of the addicted, it’s in the perspective of the enabler. Katie’s life revolves around her brother’s issues as she takes him to detox and rehab centers only for him to relapse. She then ends up buying him drugs to help with his pain even though she knows he won’t actually get better. It’s a complex story with complex characters that you don’t normally see in cinema – even if these people exist in real life.

6 Balloons is strong in not only the plot, but also the acting. It’s headed by actors who are normally found in the genre of comedy. Broad City’s Abbi Jacobsen and The Disaster Artist’s Dave Franco are surprisingly successful in bringing these characters to life in the most authentic way. They’re the performances that we’ve always wanted from Franco and never expected from Jacobsen.

Franco doesn’t shy away from showing the glaring and harsh realities of being an addict who needs to stay high just to survive while Jacobsen gives us a spoonful of the truth and what the difference is between caring for someone and letting them continue their destructive habits. Not only were these roles a little daring but they were the perfect start for these actors to branch out and gain more recognition for their true range of talent.

6 Balloons is a powerful indie drama with actors that prove themselves to their regular audience and fans and a story that is just as gripping and meaningful as the movies on the bigger silver screen.


My Rating: 81%

Acting: 3.5/4

Cinematography: 3/4

Story: 3.5/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

Why Does This Exist?: A Review of ‘The Week Of’

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

The Week Of is one of the latest Netflix original movies. It follows two families as they gear up for a wedding. The father of the bride, Kenny Lustig (Adam Sandler), insists on paying for the wedding despite the rich father of the groom, Kirby Cordice’s (Chris Rock) offerings. Of course tons of antics follow as Kenny’s cheap wedding plans start to fall through.

Where do I even start with a movie this bad? Honestly, this was one of those movies that is just hard to watch because it’s so bad. It was also pretty sad to watch two once great comedians, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock, fall completely flat on their faces. I mean, seriously, how do you go from the masterpiece that is 50 First Dates to the actual piece of trash that is The Week Of?

Going into this movie I didn’t really expect a lot from the story. Most of Sandler and Rock’s stuff nowadays tends to have quite the absurd storyline. But usually you can get a few laughs out of it. Well that was not the case with The Week Of.

The acting and comedic timing in this movie were just absolutely atrocious. I really did expect more from such seasoned comedians. Every attempt at a joke just left me cringing, and the movie really tried to rely on the ridiculous events along the storyline for its comedy. However, since those events were also quite cringeworthy and didn’t even make sense it just didn’t work.

Probably the worst part of this movie was it felt so formulaic. These big wacky family comedies always follow the same format. There is some tension, a bunch of crazy stuff happens, but hey in the end everything is all perfect and they’re closer than ever. Because that’s how real life works.

I grew up watching Adam Sandler. He was my favorite actor when I was a kid. To see him just churn out such a formulaic travesty of a comedy (if you can even call it that) is quite disheartening.

 
Unless you are looking for two hours of cringing while you watch one ridiculous plot point after another with completely awful acting from many seasoned actors, I highly recommend you do not watch The Week Of.


My Rating: 19%

Acting: 0.5/4

Cinematography: 1/4

Story: 0.5/4

Enjoyability: 1/4

 

‘Dude’: Netflix Is Killing It

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Netflix has returned with Dude, a movie about drugs, prom, high school, death, and everything else involving the teen lifestyle. Don’t be afraid though! This movie is far from stereotypical. It’s a completely unique blend of acting and a story worth paying attention to.

Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars, Truth or Dare) stars as Lily, the Student Council President who is just trying to get through her life with her three best friends, Chloe (Kathryn Prescott, Finding Carter), Amelia (Alexandra Shipp, Love, Simon), and Rebecca (Awkwafina, Ocean’s 8). On top of that, she finds the rest of life’s pleasures in prom planning and PCP.

Hale is not new to the four best friends whole shebang as she became very experienced in Pretty Little Liars. Even being a huge fan of that show myself, I confidently believe that she plays the best friend role at her best in Dude.

Along that, she gets to stand aside such outstanding actresses who all know what they are doing. Seeing Shipp play such a badass teen character (which is nothing new, she did the same thing in Love, Simon) was so much fun and just added to the performances of everyone else. Prescott and Awkwafina also did this well, providing to the environment and story as a whole.

Aside from that, shoutout to Alex Wolff who gave an incredibly good performance as Hale’s almost counterpart, Noah.

The acting was obviously one of my favorite parts of this movie, but it wasn’t the only good thing.

The preppy school girl with her friends taking several types of extreme drugs was another interesting plot point to look at. The girls made their way through tons of PCP and several Donkey Bongs full of weed. Not every class president you see in a movie is going to be that wild, so it’s important to give movies like these a chance. Several of the characters in the movie were dealing with the death of another character at the beginning of the movie, and it gives an underlying tone to the message at the end of the movie.

Regardless, all of that returns to the cliché high school movie where everyone has to decide what they want to do after high school. What college to go to, what boys to go off to college with, but most of all; who are your true friends?
Dude was my favorite Netflix movie of the year so far. There’s tons of lessons that you can pick and choose, whether it’s about what you want to do after high school or just how many drugs you should – or should not – do by the time of your senior prom.


My Rating: 92%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.4/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4

‘Mute’: Potentially Awful

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

In the relatively new Netflix film Mute, we see another representation of just how far a movie can go to alter what we know.

Mute follows muted man Leo (Alexander Skarsgard) as he tries to find his missing girlfriend Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh) in a very high-tech, scientific Germany that seems impossible to navigate. When the characters try to make their way around the city, they even look nearly confused as to what they’re doing.

The movie also follows a very aggressive and terrifying Cactus (Paul Rudd) and his best friend Duck (Justin Theroux) as they make their way through a very strange – and confusing – surgical operation in Germany. Cactus also has a daughter, but doesn’t have a wife anymore. His creepy best friend Duck seems to have a sexual fascination with his young daughter as well as anyone else under the age of 16. They make that very clear as he tries to hook up with anyone who even looks like a minor.

The whole movie is very messy and very sloppily tries to connect all plots at the end of the movie. Up until the last 30 minutes, you would think that these were two entirely separate stories. I won’t spoil exactly how they are connected, but I will say that it’s one of the laziest storyline twists I’ve ever seen a movie put together.

A movie with tons of potential, but little of that is acted on.

The acting was probably the best part of the movie. All of the high profile actors (Rudd, Skarsgard, Theroux) all bring very solid performances to the table. They each develop their characters in entirely unique ways and did the best with what they had to work with. They knew how to evoke emotion in the audience and played upon that perfectly.
Mute is ultimately not a very good movie. It has insane potential but fails to bring that potential to life. It attempts to show emotion, which it only completes through the acting rather than the messy story. It uses a plot twist that has only one purpose; to shock the audience. There was no meaning to it whatsoever.


My Rating: 66%

Acting: 3.5/4

Cinematography: 2.7/4

Story: 2.1/4

Enjoyability: 2.2/4

‘Veronica’: The Scariest Exorcism You’ll Ever See

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If you’re like me, you may not watch very many foreign horror films or have any interest to, either. Most people don’t watch horror films too often nowadays to begin with (with the obvious exception of Get Out (2017) and A Quiet Place (2018)), much less any foreign ones.

Stumbling across Veronica on Netflix at 1:30 AM was probably the worst decision I’ve ever made. Not because it was bad (it was quite the opposite), but because it was the best scary movie I’ve experienced in years.

15 year old Veronica (played by Sandra Escacena, whose most notable role is now this one) is a typical teenage girl who babysits her younger siblings while mom is at work, has constant teen drama, and wants nothing more than to use a Ouija board during an eclipse with her friends in the basement of her school.

Things escalate from there, as Veronica is possessed by a spirit from the game. Don’t judge a movie by its premise though. Veronica leads you through the events leading up to the allegedly true disaster that happened in one apartment building in Madrid in June of 1991.

Veronica is based on an actual police report about Veronica and her situation which, if you ask me, makes it a million times scarier.

This movie does what most horror movies fail to do. It uses relatively new – but ridiculously talented – actors and actresses, meaningful color schemes, minimal jump scares, and consistent building anxiety to make you cover your eyes out of fear every few minutes.

Maybe you’re the type of person who is in a very “been there, done that” type of mood after seeing so many exorcism movies. There was The Exorcist (1973), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Last Exorcism (2010), and oh so many more. Seriously, you can find about 100 movies just about exorcisms, it’s completely unnecessary. If you’re one of these people, I highly recommend giving Veronica a shot. It isn’t the same old exorcist movie you’ve seen two dozen times. It’s a fresh take on a genre that was holding onto its last breath.

Veronica scares you so much that you want to watch it twice.

With a certified fresh standing on Rotten Tomatoes, Veronica is quickly proving to be a movie that is altering the horror genre. This new genre doesn’t need to have jump scares every few seconds, gallons of blood, and cheap screams. Veronica shows just how genuine a story can be told while still leaving you sleepless.


My Rating: 93%

Acting: 3.9/4

Cinematography: 3.7/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.6/4