Final Destination 2 – Movie Review

Final Destination 2 2003 Film

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Hello internet! It’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’m back to review another movie about the inevitability of death, Final Destination 2. If you haven’t watched this before, buckle your seatbelts and strap in and watch it first because there may be spoilers in this review.

On the surface, it seems really silly to have something called Final Destination have a sequel. After all, wouldn’t final imply it’s the last? But the sequel does work and it actually connects fairly well to the first.

In the second film, we start off with something way more likely than death by plane crash. Instead, it’s death by car accident. Kim and her friends are about to drive out of town for a fun little getaway. She sees a huge, if somewhat unlikely, series of events resulting in a major traffic accident where she and a bunch of other people die. When she snaps to, she takes action and blocks traffic. Kim and several other people are spared death. Unfortunately her friends end up dead anyway.

Kim has heard about the events of flight 180 and the freakish deaths afterward and realizes she’s just experienced something similar. Clear, played by Ali Larter in the first film is still alive so Kim goes to see if she can be any help.

For the rest of the movie characters are trying, and mostly failing, to avoid their own inevitable deaths one by one.

I think the interesting twist in this one is how each character is somehow connected to the passengers who survived Flight 180. They come up with some rules for how to defeat death although, I’m not sure those rules really make much sense.

There are points where a lot of the characters simply ignore things they shouldn’t or take unreasonable actions. But, Kim and Clear for the majority of the film play it smart and Kim has the best idea of them all. I won’t spoil that here but her method does seem reasonable to defeat death in my opinion.

It’s a clever sequel and it once again has Tony Todd adding in an extra layer of creepy in the way only he (and maybe someone like Boris Karloff) can. If you liked the first film, this is not a bad follow up and I do recommend it. It’s just not quite as clever as the first, although I do think overall it is better acted.

Inevitably yours,

Slick Dungeon

Final Destination – Movie Review

Final Destination 2000 Film

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hey film fanatics, Slick Dungeon here! I’m back to review another horror film. This time I went with the movie that cuts out the middle man, Final Destination. So, before the flight that is this review takes off, make sure you’ve already watched the film because there will be some spoilers.

Still with me? Okay great. Final Destination is a horror/thriller film about a group of teenagers who narrowly escape death when they get off of a flight right before it explodes. While most horror films have a bad guy going around offing the characters in one way or another, this one completely cuts out the middle man. There is no creepy stalker with a knife, there is no nightmarish figure haunting your dreams, there is not even a mythical vampire trying to suck your blood in this film. Instead, the bad guy is the inevitability of death. As far as villains go, this one is pretty unbeatable.

The story centers around Alex, Clear and a few other random people who were about to board a flight to France for a school outing. Just before the flight takes off, Alex has a terrible vision of the plane exploding and killing everyone on it. He has a bit of a freak out and makes for the exit. A few other people follow and/or are kicked off the flight along with Alex.

While most of the people who got off the flight seem to think Alex is off his rocker, the plane does explode. Great, everyone is saved right? Wrong! Not long after, one of Alex’s friends is killed. The audience can see it happen and it’s no accident. However, it looks an awful lot like a suicide. Alex figures out this is the inevitable death of all of those spared from the fiery death on the plane.

The rest of the film is spent figuring out who will go next, how to avoid death and how to make seem like Alex is not a crazed killer.

While not all of the effects are perfect in this film, and the acting is only average for the most part (Ali Larter excepted) this movie really does leave you with an unsettling feeling. If you are averse to flying I don’t recommend watching this at all because it’s just going to increase your fear.

The movie has few smash and jump cuts likely to make anyone jump and there is definitely a bit of gore but it’s not over the top.

If you are in the mood for a spooky thriller/horror film you’ll keep thinking about long after it is over, this is the movie for you.

Inevitably yours,

Slick Dungeon

Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight – Movie Review

Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight 2020 Film

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hello horror fans, it’s me, Slick Dungeon! If you’ve ever seen a slasher horror film you know the title of the film I am about to review is good advice. Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight is a camper/slasher from Poland in the storied traditions of movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th. Be warned there will be some spoilers in this review so be warned before you read.

After a small intro scene from the past, the movie starts like most slashers. We have a group of campers out in the woods and the audience is pretty sure not all of these people are going to make it through the night. The people camping are here due to some problem or other they’ve had with technology. This is a sleep away camp where cell phones and other electronic devices are not allowed. The point is for them to get away from technology.

This is especially bad when there is a killer on the loose. While no one at the camp seems to know this is the case, there are some rumors of bad things that happened way back around World War II. We get to know the campers a little, most of them are not really surprising stereotypes. There’s a jock, a kid who is an online gamer, one who’s addicted to social media for the fame and influencers on there etc.

It’s not too far into the film we get the first real hint of something bad out in the woods. And soon students go missing. The audience knows what happened because we get to see the death before the other characters find the body. The film progresses like most of these where one by one people get picked off.

But, there is enough originality here to make this one stand out. While the film leans into the horror tropes, it does a decent job of twisting them just enough at the right moments to make it fairly disturbing. While not everyone is going to be impressed with the makeup and the look of the killer you can’t deny it’s an original take, even if it is a bit mashed up with other types of horror.

There are enough characters we come to care about for this to be worth watching if you want a pretty enjoyable horror film that’s never quite breaking entirely new ground. I may be a little biased because my favorite type of horror is films like these but I found it pretty entertaining overall and it’s nice to see a horror film that’s not American give it a go.

If you like stuff like Friday the 13th, the Fear Street films or any movie about campers who are in danger from lethal killers, this will be right up your alley.

Slashingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Jason X – Movie Review

Jason… in space…

Hello horror fans! It’s Friday the 13th once again and I’m here to review the outright weirdest of all Friday the 13th movies, Jason X. There will be spoilers in this review but at this point either you have seen this thing or you’re never going to. Still, you’ve been warned.

Jason Voorhees has been through a lot. He’s gone from a little boy who died in tragic circumstances, to the murderous maniac separating campers from their limbs in Crystal Lake, to the big apple New York City, and then all the way to hell. He’s been coming back from the grave for more in nine films and Jason X as the title implies is the tenth film.

The movie starts with a couple of people trying to cryogenically freeze Jason’s body. There’s a scientist there who wants to learn from the regenerative properties of Jason’s cells. Already we can tell this is a terrible idea and things just get worse from there. The woman who is in the first scene is able to trap Jason into the cryogenic chamber and starts the mechanism to freeze him. She leans against the wall and Jason just stabs right through the wall and the woman.

The movie flashes forward centuries and Jason is on a spaceship for, well, reasons I guess. Humans apparently don’t learn anything because the ship captain wants to profit from Jason. Also, the woman who was stabbed by Jason survives because of the modern science and the fact that she was also frozen. That way the crew can have one person to warn them Jason is bad news.

Her warning does not work. As you can imagine, Jason goes on a killing spree destroying every person who gets in his way. Also there’s some attempts at showing off cool (for the time) special effects and pseudo-scientific sounding language so we know it’s the future.

I’m not going to spoil the whole thing but I’ll say the deaths in this one don’t feel that imaginative, other than Jason, I can’t remember a single character name, and Jason is never truly done so people make really bad mistakes.

I do have some questions though.

  1. Why is this in space? I mean, I know there is a behind the scenes reason we have this movie. There were some licensing issues getting Freddy v Jason going and audiences still wanted more out of the franchise. They wanted to go for space horror like Alien or Predator but it so does not work.
  2. What machete is strong enough to pierce through six inches of steel? Forget studying Jason’s cells, just grab the machete cause that’s some serious stuff.
  3. This movie is missing someone warning people that the place they are in is cursed. That hardly counts as a Friday the 13th movie in that case.
  4. There are legends about Jason still known on this space ship in the future but only one dude knows what a hockey mask is. The sport was apparently banned in 2024 according to the film. So, did this movie predict the future? We’ll only know in 2024.
  5. Also, at one point there was reference to the “Microsoft wars” which were apparently violent. Again, is this movie actually predicting the future?
  6. Also, why is this in space? Do they not have local campgrounds in the future?
  7. I get what the film makers were going for here but the strength of Friday the 13th films has always been they were made for a small budget in a recognizable location. It’s certainly possible they could have made a good space horror film but it seems like these people never watched a good space horror film.
  8. There’s a part where they fool Jason with a Star Trek like holodeck and they don’t think to use it until really close to the end. I mean, come on, you have super modern technology and you aren’t even using it. What were these people thinking?
  9. There’s an android just like in Alien who looks human but of course this one is a woman, you know, so they can make a gag. And again it’s not until the end of the movie she’s used to try to stop Jason. Why didn’t the android think of this earlier??
  10. Why is this in space? Look, I can take a lot of ridiculous things in horror movies but Jason in space? I just can’t.
  11. Jason was in Hell at the end of the last movie. How did he get out? Seriously, did someone go down to Hell and dig him up? This needs an explanation.
  12. Also, and maybe I have asked this before but, why is this in space??? It doesn’t add anything to the movie.
  13. This is the tenth movie and we were totally expecting to see Freddy in this one because that’s what film 9 promised us. Why wasn’t Freddy here? You’ll just have to wait to see what happens with that until the next Friday the 13th.

Whatever happens in the next movie it can’t really get worse than this one. I’m not sure if this one is my absolute least favorite Jason movie but it’s in the bottom two for sure. I’m going to need a refresh on the Freddy movies before Jason meets Freddy though so you can expect some reviews of those films on here. Until then, don’t let any black cats cross your path!

Spacily yours,

Slick Dungeon

Nightcrawler – Movie Review

Nightcrawler 2014 Film

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hello internet people, it’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’m here to review one of the hidden gems on Netflix, an old Jake Gyllenhaal movie from 2014. Fair warning there will be some spoilers ahead so if you haven’t watched the movie yet, pick up your video equipment, rush through traffic and go watch the movie before reading the review.

Nightcrawler is a tightly paced, tense, psychological thriller of a film. The whole premise is pretty dark and there is an overall sense of creeping dread through it. Some viewers may find it too intense not for the blood (although there is some) but for the relentless nature of the intensity of the film.

The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom, a thief who finds a way to make some real money by filming bloody footage of newsworthy events and then selling the footage to news channels. The people who do this are apparently called nightcrawlers and the goal is to get the news footage before anyone else and sell to the highest bidder. Lou sort of stumbles on this profession but takes it up immediately.

He sells his footage to Nina, a news producer played by Rene Russo. Bill Paxton also stars as Joe Loder, a rival nightcrawler. Rounding out the cast is Riz Ahmed who plays Rick, a man Lou employs to help him navigate to crime scenes and take footage with him.

Throughout the film, Lou presents as a definite sociopath. He’s out for his own ends, not concerned with the health or welfare of anyone else, and has no trouble walking right past ethical lines.

The movie already starts pretty intensely but as Lou makes more and more reckless choices it gets downright uncomfortable. Even if you don’t like the rest of the film, Gyllenhaal’s performance is gripping. He gives off just enough of a villain vibe without being cartoonish and we’re still always able to relate to what he is trying to do even if we know he is going too far.

If you need a good thriller to watch, you can find this one on Netflix right now. If you haven’t seen it do yourself a favor and put it on your watch list. But maybe skip eating anything while you watch it.

Thrillingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Choose or Die – Movie Review

Choose or Die

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hey horror fans, it’s me Slick Dungeon! I’m back to review another creepy film. This time I watched Choose or Die and I’m here to give you my hot take on it. Do be warned there will be mild spoilers so if that kind of thing kills your ’80’s nostalgia, go watch the movie first and come back here to read the review.

Alright, for those of you who are still with me, let’s get into it. Choose or Die is about a cursed video game. Think Ring but instead of a video tape it’s an old copy of a text based game you might have found for computers in the 1980’s. While I think Ring is a fair comparison there are some major differences so even if you’ve seen Ring it doesn’t mean you can predict what will happen in Choose or Die.

The premise is pretty simple. A man finds an old copy of a game called CURS>R. It seems to be a game where there was the potential for prize money that is still unclaimed to this day. Beat the game and you might win $100K dollars. Whether or not the company which produced the game will pay up is anyone’s guess.

About three minutes into the movie things get pretty weird and bloody. While playing this game, the man who bought it at a clearance sale is asked to choose between a face and a tongue. See, his wife and son are loudly arguing upstairs. While the choice is a little weird the guy chooses “his tongue” and seconds later, the wife is cutting her own son’s tongue out, seemingly unable to stop herself. It’s a pretty disturbing scene and there are a few scenes like this so if you don’t like a bit of gore in your horror this is probably not for you. However, this is by far not the most bloody movie I’ve ever scene.

Next we see Kayla, who seems unconnected with the events of the game in any way, going about her day. She’s a wannabe computer programer who is played by Iola Evans. Her best friend, Isaac, played by Asa Butterfield is also an aspiring programmer but happens to be in love with Kayla. Kayla’s home life is pretty rough. She lives in a sketchy neighborhood, her mother is essentially checked out of life, and her little brother died at a tragically young age.

Isaac finds a copy of CURS>R and pops it into his computer where he hears the voice of Robert Englund start talking about the game. That’s right, good ol’ Freddy Krueger himself is in this. Well, his voice is anyway.

Kayla takes the copy of the game and starts playing it late that night in a cafe. Very quickly she realizes the game itself is affecting reality, and not in a good way. As you can imagine, the terror increases and Kayla and Isaac have to figure out a way to beat the game without doing major damage to themselves or others.

I don’t want to give too much away so we’ll just say it’s like a lot of movies where there is haunted technology. But, the end does come with a bit of an interesting twist making it worth staying for the end.

Some of the effects are not stellar here and it relies a bit too much on jump scares and silly tricks at times but it’s still a fun watch. While there are better horror movies on Netflix this one isn’t bad and it kills a bit of time if you just need a good fun horror movie. Just don’t look for anything super original here.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Slick Dungeon’s Quick and Dirty Guide to the Oscars

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon here. The Oscars are about to start soon and I have watched each and every best picture nominee. I’m going to give you my take on them all and tell you what I think will win best picture and what should win best picture. Definitely don’t make any bets based on my picks because I am notoriously bad at guessing what the heck the Oscars will actually do. Also, I am only going to touch on the best picture nominees here and not go into best actor etc. because I have not watched every performance nominated so I would just be guessing in the dark on some of it.

Ready? Here we go.

Nightmare alley

Out of all the nominees for this year, I think this film is the most deserving. It’s an unforgettable story with superb acting and the closest to a perfect film in the whole list. I don’t think it will actually win but it would be my choice.

Don’t Look Up

If Nightmare Alley does not win this would be my next pick for best picture. It has major star power as you can see from the picture above. It’s about a relevant topic and feels almost too close to home. It’s entertaining while still being kind of depressing. Just the kind of thing the Academy Awards loves. I think there are solid odds this will get picked.

Dune

Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem and Timothee Chalamet.

Okay, this is great film. I loved it and it’s a decent adaptation of the first part of the book. But it’s not exactly a full story and it’s science fiction so that’s working against it. I don’t believe this will win for best picture and I’m not sure it should. But, in my mind there will be a good chance that Part 2 does when that comes out. They didn’t give Peter Jackson best picture on Lord of the Rings until the third and final film came out so no way Dune wins for part one.

Drive My Car

I would actually like to see this win best picture if Nightmare Alley and Don’t Look Up are not chosen. This is a hugely ambitious story with superb acting and it tells the story of human connection on a deeper level than any of the rest of these nominees. I expect it will not win best picture but I can’t imagine it not being awarded something. My guess is for screenplay but we’ll see. If you haven’t watched this, block off three solid hours of your time and watch it. It’s really good.

Belfast

This could win out of left field. If the Academy wants to go a little more “artsy” with their pick it might make sense to choose this one. While it’s a good film and worth watching, it’s not the best one on this list. Again though I think it is going to win something. I would not be surprised at all if it got Best Director.

Licorice Pizza

Look, I hated this movie but for some unexplained reason it is a critical darling. I think it’s just a disjointed mess of a movie and I can’t really get behind it in any way. And since I’m pretty bad at picking Oscar winners they will probably go with this one. If they do, I think it’s a shame. I liked the acting here but the story barely counts as a film.

The Power of the Dog

Can you buy Benedict Cumberbatch as a cowboy? Can you buy the backdrop of New Zealand as Montana? Neither can I. This western doesn’t feel very western to me but I will admit the end is shockingly good. You have to pay pretty darn close attention to the film for it to make sense though. I don’t think this is actually going to win.

West Side Story

This movie is fine. It’s not good, it’s not great, it’s just kind of there. I don’t think this would have been nominated if anyone other than Steven Spielberg had been involved. You’re probably better off watching the original here but if you love musicals you could do worse than this one.

King Richard

Watch this one for Will Smith and Jon Bernthal’s performances. It really should have been more about Venus and especially more about Serena Williams but Will Smith does do a great job here. Other than that, this is virtually every sports movie you have seen before.

Coda

This is clearly the most heartwarming of all the Oscar nominees. If you watch this you will only go away feeling good. There should be more movies like this and it’s great to see realistic representations of the deaf community here. It’s not going to win, not because it’s a bad movie at all, there is simply just too much star power behind the other films on the list. I highly recommend watching this but no way this gets chosen for Best Picture.

Well, that’s it. Now, I will say, if I could have my pick of all the movies that came out to get the Best Picture award I would choose Spider-man: No Way Home. It was hands down the most fun I had at the movies in all of 2021 and in my mind it was totally deserving of being at least nominated. Ah well, being a huge comic book nerd is tough sometimes.

Anyway, we’ll see what happens tonight. What are your picks? Do you know of any movies you wish were nominated? Let me know in the comments!

Predictably yours,

Slick Dungeon

Dune – Movie Review

Dune (2021)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hello film fanatics, it’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’m here to review the last of the Oscar nominees. This time it’s the sci-fi space epic Dune. Be warned there will be spoilers below so if you care about that sort of thing, button up your stillsuit and watch out for sand worms as you head back to the theater to watch the film. Then ride your ornithopter back here to read the review.

For this review I am going to start with the obvious. Nothing, not any media translation ever, will be better than reading the work of brilliance that is Frank Herbert’s Dune. If you have not read that book and you like science fiction at all, you are doing yourself a disservice. So be sure to read that.

Still, for years and years people have attempted to do a decent translation of the text to film. It had an older version that was… well… it’s a little dated and odd if you watch it now but it was a thing. This new version starring Timothee Chalamet tells the first half of the book. Well, not quite the first half actually but it tells the beginning of the book.

The film looks fantastic. And the acting here is extremely good. While there are definitely parts of the book left out of the film entirely, it covers enough of the story that you can get a basic picture of it.

The pacing is a bit slow but so is the novel at times. The book was never about the action but more about politics and deeper meaning.

It’s fairly hard to summarize a plot for the book but if you want to know the basics, Paul is a young man who is set to inherit a lot of wealth and privilege from his father the Baron Leto. Leto has been given a planet to rule over by the Emperor of basically everything. This planet is a desert planet which has an extremely valuable resource called spice. The spice powers interstellar travel and is a bit of a hallucinogenic when ingested. Paul knows his fate is wrapped up in this planet because he sees visions of his future. Paul’s family has a bitter rivalry with a rival house called the Harkonnens who have had to give up the Dune planet to Baron Leto. Everyone expects Leto to fail, the emperor included.

There’s a whole lot more to summarize but if I get too much more into it I am giving away important plot points.

One thing I found somewhat frustrating with this film was the sound quality. There were times when the music in the background literally overwhelms what the actors were saying, making it hard to understand certain parts.

But I will say as far as Dune adaptations go, this is the best one so far. I don’t think this is going to win best picture because they never give that to a sci-fi movie but it’s worth watching, especially if you do like the books.

Awarding-ly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Licorice Pizza – Movie Review

Licorice Pizza

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Hey film lovers, it’s Slick Dungeon here. I’m back to review another Oscar nominee. This time I watched the 1970’s era comedy/drama/romance Licorice Pizza. There will be spoilers for this movie below so if you care about that run on back to the theater and watch the film before reading the review.

Ever since Boogie Nights Paul Thomas Anderson has been making films about people on the fringes of society doing odd and eccentric things. A lot of times those films work and make for good viewing although they do tend to have an excessive runtime. Usually in those films, by the end, things add up to a story that makes some kind of sense.

Licorice Pizza on the other hand is a confusing, jumbled mess of a movie which does not add up to a decent story. The basic plot is about Gary, a fifteen year old actor and entrepreneur who is in love with Alana Kane, a 25 year old woman. The movie is supposed to be about an innocent and heartwarming love affair. I’m sorry but a 25 year old woman dating a 15 year old is… child abuse. That’s just a fact and it’s emphasized over and over and over in this film that there is this age gap. If the genders were swapped this would be a film about a man stalking a child.

Gary is no prize in the movie either as he pesters and badgers Alana relentlessly. There is a back and forth of the two of them getting jealous over who they are hanging out with which just seems unhealthy.

And to be honest with you I can’t even understand why half of the scenes are in this movie. There are scenes where Gary is selling waterbeds in a really strange side plot, only to call it a side plot is to give it too much credit. Sean Penn and Bradley Cooper both show up out of nowhere, do insane things with their characters and then just kind of disappear from the movie.

It feels more like a series of random vignettes that don’t make much sense than it does a cohesive film. The acting is fine but the story is just bad.

And nowhere in the film do they explain why it is called Licorice Pizza. If you feel the need to watch a Paul Thomas Anderson film, go watch Boogey Nights or Magnolia. Those are not perfect films but at least you can understand what is happening by the end.

Awarding-ly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Belfast – Movie Review

Belfast

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Hello out there film fanatics, it’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’m nearly through all the Oscar films but not quite done yet. I watched Belfast for this review. Be warned there will be some spoilers below so if you care about that go watch the movie first and then come back here.

Belfast tells the story of Buddy, a young boy growing up on the street of Belfast, Ireland in 1969. For the most part his life is fairly idyllic. He has friends and neighbors who all know him and care about him. His father works in London but comes home on weekends to be with his family. And Buddy’s grandparents are kind and caring and help to raise him along with his mother. Buddy also has an older brother.

While life is good and most people seem to get along, this changes rapidly once conflict starts between Catholics and Protestants in the country. The streets of Belfast succumb to civil unrest and violence breaks out. Buddy’s family is left with the dilemma of whether or not they should leave Belfast and everything they have known to flee to safety. Their whole lives are in Belfast so it’s not an easy decision.

Buddy has a couple of things that help him to forget some of the horrible things going on around him. He loves going to the movies and watching television to escape. It’s only when Buddy is watching these things that we see color in the movie, everything else is shot in black and white.

I won’t go into too much detail over what the family decides but there is tension between Buddy’s mother and father as his mother realizes they will be treated like outsiders if they move away from Belfast.

While the movie is fairly engrossing and tells a very personal story, it doesn’t do a great job of telling the backstory of why trouble breaks out in the first place. Also, while Buddy is Protestant, we see some of what happens to the Protestants, but there is not much time spent going into the violence done to the Catholics at the time. This makes it feel a little lopsided.

It’s a great character film and Jude Hill has an exceptionally good performance as Buddy that is totally worth watching. The film is also star filled with Judi Dench, Ciarán Hinds, Caitríona Balfe and Jamie Dornan rounding out the cast.

Awarding-ly yours,

Slick Dungeon