Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mini Movie Reviews: The Conjuring 2 & 10 Cloverfield Lane

Title: The Conjuring 2
Release Date: June 10, 2016
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga
Director: James Wan
Runtime: 134 minutes

Rated: R
View on IMDB

Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga ("Up In the Air," TV's "Bates Motel") and Patrick Wilson (the "Insidious" films), star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.

In case you guys didn't know, horror is kind of my thing. Horror books, horror shows, horror movies. I love it all! Horror sequels though... those usually aren't that great. Even if a horror movie defies the odds and comes out on top with favorable critic AND audience reviews, it's almost a sure bet that the sequel will be awful. (Of course, I'm just a horror movie lover, not a critic, so what do I know?)

All that to say I wasn't really expecting much from this movie. Then I saw the ratings...and I got really excited about this movie. Luckily, I won a super awesome Conjuring 2 prize pack, which included tickets to see the film, among other fun swag!

From the opening scene, The Conjuring 2 is non-stop scares, but not in an over-the-top jump scare kind of way. In fact, there were a couple times I was expecting a jump scare but none came, and then my husband laughed at me. I'm not incredibly knowledgable about filmmaking, but I can confidently say that James Wan is one of my favorite horror filmmakers. He understands how and where the scares should be placed to keep the dread level just right.

The story itself was surprisingly good this time around. The Warren family shares the spotlight with Hodgsons, the family that has been unfortunate enough to call down the wrath of a spirit that has decided to torture them in their home. While I thought the family from The Conjuring was okay, Peggy Hodgson and her family really grew on me and I came to really care about their well-being. I also really enjoyed getting to delve deeper into the lives of Ed and Lorraine Warren and their motivations.

I have to say, the Big Bad in this movie was even better than that of The Conjuring. The spirit(s?) haunting the Hodgsons was incredibly frightening in all its manifestations. I especially loved that practical effects and actors were depended upon so heavily. One of the spirit's forms, in particular, was well-done enough to make people believe it was CGI!

In case it wasn't clear, I really loved The Conjuring 2, even more than the first. It was scary in all the right places and made me really care about the characters. If you're a horror fan, this is really a must-see!

Title: 10 Cloverfield Lane
Release Date: March 11, 2016
Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Runtime: 104 minutes
Rated: PG-13

View on IMDB

A young woman wakes up after a terrible accident to find that she's locked in a cellar with a doomsday prepper, who insists that he saved her life and that the world outside is uninhabitable following an apocalyptic catastrophe. Uncertain what to believe, the woman soon determines that she must escape at any cost.

10 Cloverfield Lane is a movie that was shrouded in mystery from the very first trailer, which showed a woman seemingly being held in a bunker against her will. I wasn't sure how it might be tied to Cloverfield, but I knew I wanted to see it, especially after the way Cloverfield ended. Would there be answers? Would we finally see the Cloverfield monster up close? Unfortunately, I didn't get to see this one in theaters, but I did go buy a copy almost immediately.

The movie itself is almost as mysterious as the marketing for it. Michelle is the girl from the trailer and has been brought to the bunker by Howard, a character who is also very difficult to figure out. He's a prepper and has brought her into the bunker (against her will) in order to save her from the unknown attack he believes has been made on the country. Obviously, she doesn't believe him and struggles to figure out how to cope or escape. That's really all I can say about this one without giving anything away. As a viewer, you never really understand what's going on until almost the very end and, despite being a movie mostly about people hanging out in a bunker, it's full of thrills and really never gets boring.

After watching, I did want to find out how this movie was connected to 10 Cloverfield Lane and instead discovered a vast amount of viral marketing for the film that I hadn't been aware of before. Here is an article that details all the marketing that went into this movie, from company websites to soda. But there's even more! Here's a video from the guy who discovered coordinates to a buried bug out kit, presumably hidden by the main character in the film. This goes crazy deep and I haven't had time to read all of it, but I'm planning on devoting some hours to this in the near future.

While I had no idea what 10 Cloverfield Lane was going to be about going in, I was in no way disappointed! The ending was not exactly what I might have hoped for, but I still really, really enjoyed it and definitely plan to watch this again to hopefully pick up on more clues!