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

Movie Review – Don’t Look Up

Don’t Look Up

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hey all, this is a re-post of an Oscar movie review. When I posted it this was before it was nominated but I still stand by what I said here. Enjoy the review!

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Hello out there internet people, it’s me Slick Dungeon. I’m back to review another movie for you. I watched Don’t Look UP on Netflix. Fair warning that there will be spoilers below so if you haven’t seen it and want to, have a look first and then come back here.

Stop me if this sounds familiar. There is an impending global crisis, almost certain to wipe out all life on the planet. There is solid, irrefutable scientific proof of this event. However, due to political considerations, a distracted public, and enormous financial interests on the part of the wealthy, the clear reversal of this problem is completely ignored. The wealthy get to come up with alternative solutions more friendly to them at the cost of everyone else. Don’t Look Up is a disaster comedy that hits way, way, too close to reality.

The whole film is an obvious allegory for climate change but really it could apply to any number of impending global crises we have going on now. The film is chock full of big name stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Jonah Hill.

While the subject matter of the film would make anyone who believes in science uncomfortable, there are laugh out loud moments that are impossible to ignore. As usual Leonardo DiCaprio puts in a fantastic performance but the lines that keep sticking in my mind in this movie come from Jonah Hill and Jennifer Lawrence. There’s also a really funny sequence involving a four star general and some snacks that cracked me up.

It’s also a very American film. The basic premise is straight forward. There is an impending comet heading toward Earth, large enough to be an extinction level event that will wipe out not only humans but a good chunk of the planet itself. The science is solid and the group of scientists who discover the comet have to go convince the president to do something about it. But, political times being what they are, the president is more focused on her poll numbers than committing to a real solution. Because of this inaction there is a wide swath of the population that simply doesn’t believe a comet exists at all. Soon people are on both sides of the issue, the media doesn’t want to cover it because there are stories that get better ratings, and the scientists are trying to get people to understand doom is actually impending.

All in all it is a brilliant film, if a bit on the nose. If you watch it, I promise there are laughs to be had but don’t go in expecting this to be a feel good movie. It’s just so close to the surface of reality it’s genuinely frightening.

Disastrously yours,

Slick Dungeon

TV Review Archive 81 (Episode 8)

Archive 81

Hello horror fans, it’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’ve finally made it through the last episode of the Netflix hit horror show Archive 81 and I am here to give the episode and the whole series my final thoughts. Just in case you have not yet finished the whole series yourself do be warned I may be spoiling the entire show for you. If you haven’t watched it, give it a view and then read my reviews.

Alright, now that we have that business taken care of let’s talk about this final episode. Throughout the show Dan and Melody have been on opposite ends of a timeline. Dan is in our present and Melody is in 1994. We’ve been watching events that connect the two through archived footage Melody shot and Dan is restoring.

There’s a lot more backstory to it but basically, there is a cult who wants to open a door into an alternate dimension and doesn’t really care who they have to hurt to make that happen. Twice in the show we’ve seen the ritual to make this happen and we know both times things did not go as planned.

Dan feels a strong connection to Melody and realizes she’s stuck in this alternate reality. This final episode deals with Dan attempting to bring Melody back. I guess if you’ve seen a ritual fail twice, the logical thing to do is try it again? Anyway, that’s Dan’s idea. Considering this is a horror show where weird things happen I don’t think any one is surprised when *spoiler* things go poorly. Dan essentially ends up switching places with Melody and he ends up in 1994. Melody is saved which is one thing the audience was rooting for the entire time but of course we didn’t want to see Dan stuck. Ah well, things happen I guess.

While I think some of the episodes of this show were exceptionally good, especially the early episodes, I don’t think the show reached the level of great. If you are a horror or suspense fan there are definitely worse shows to watch. This is a good show for a weekend binge but I wouldn’t get too invested in it. If they come out with a second season I doubt I will care enough to watch. But on the other hand I don’t regret the time I spent watching it at all. I don’t feel like the show cheated me of anything. The acting is really solid throughout the show and it’s able to take itself seriously without getting bogged down in the ridiculous. There are one or two twists which are genuinely surprising but the end of the show isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. While clever, it’s not amazing.

If you’ve watched this whole show, I’m curious what you thought of it. Was it worth the time or do you wish you had watched something else? Also, if you know of a great show (especially horror or suspense) I should check out next give me your recommendations in the comments.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

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TV Review Archive 81 (Episode 7)

Archive 81

Hello horror fanatics and aficionados, it’s me, Slick Dungeon, back to review the penultimate episode of the Netflix horror hit Archive 81. There may be spoilers for the first seven episodes in this review so if that sort of thing bothers you go watch the show first and then come back to read.

The first six episodes of this show really tell us the story of Dan who is in our present and Melody who is in the 1990’s. Throughout the story we’ve been getting little tidbits of a cult that seems to have taken up residence at a place called the Visser building, once an old manor and then an apartment building in New York city. While the portions of Melody’s story would still be considered somewhat of a period piece, the seventh episode goes the furthest back in time so far all the way to 1924 to become a proper period piece. We get more context of the videos Dan has been restoring from that era which were a series of shows called the Circle. Turns out the circle was a straight up cult who seems to worship a demon/alien/god or something tied up with a comet.

I’ve said all along this show is going to hinge on its final episode for me but again if it is aliens, I’m kind of over it. Still, whatever this thing is, strange things are definitely happening and we’re about to get the really big reveals in the next episode. The show has done a good job maintaining the tone and the pace enough to make this fairly interesting and this episode still delivers but I’m not sure it’s as impactful as the makers of the show would like. Because we’ve been seeing what Dan sees and experiencing what Melody experiences, it was already pretty clear there is a cult involved and at least one of the shocking moments is not shocking because, well, we already saw it in the restored footage.

Whether or not the show can wrap all this up in an interesting way remains to be seen but I’m looking forward to the final episode to see how it ends.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

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TV Review Archive 81 (Episode 6)

Archive 81

Hey TV bingers, it’s me Slick Dungeon. I’m back to review the sixth episode of the horror hit Archive 81 currently streaming on Netflix. Just a fair warning that there could be spoilers for any of the first six episodes of this show in this review. If you’re all caught up or you simply don’t care about spoilers, feel free to read on!

For the first five episodes of this show things have gotten increasingly strange. Melody is in the past trying to find out what might have happened to her mother at a building called the Visser. Dan is restoring footage with Melody on it in a remote location. Dan does have some access to the outside world and Melody is free to leave the Visser any time she wants. Yet their fates are intertwined and Dan and Melody seem to somehow be communicating through time. Through it all strange and horrifying things keep happening. Any time Dan or Melody explain what is going on they sound downright disturbed mentally.

Thus we reach the sixth episode where everyone becomes exceedingly hysterical. The episode begins this time with footage of what looks like an old film of a show Dan has been restoring called The Circle which is also the name of this episode. Melody wakes up in an unfamiliar apartment without any recollection of how she got there or who’s apartment it is.

The bulk of the episode is spent with Melody who is understandably freaked out, especially considering her friend is missing and she saw someone jump to their death the night before. As she goes on her quest to find more answers she seems more and more like she’s wildly out of control but of course the audience knows she is completely sane.

Dan, meanwhile stumbles onto some tapes made by the last guy who tried to restore the same videos he is working on. Let’s just say it seems like it didn’t go well for that guy. This does reinforce for us that Dan is also sane but sounds like he is not when he describes what is going on to his friend on the outside.

The show does feel like it’s starting to come to a bit of a conclusion as we seem to know at least who all the key figures are. Exactly what they want and how they are attempting to accomplish getting that remain a mystery. And as in most of the episodes there is a big twist at the end. I won’t spoil it here but it does have something to do with the footage Dan has been watching and some of the footage we saw very early on in the series.

It’s a little hard to tell if it’s possible but this episode does leave the audience hoping Dan could somehow save Melody even though that should be completely impossible.

There are only a few more episodes to go and I still think this whole show hinges entirely on the last episode. If they can tie things up and connect the story this could be a great show. If not, then there are some great episodes but it might not be worth a full watch. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

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TV Review Archive 81 (Episode 5)

Archive 81

Hello internet world, it’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’ve just finished watching the fifth episode of the horror hit Archive 81 which is currently streaming on Netflix. I’ll be talking about this episode and the episodes before it so fair warning there may be spoilers below. Otherwise, put your cameras down, lock yourself in a secluded archive and come along with me for the review!

This episode is almost fully focused on Melody and we don’t really see Dan until the very end. Much improved from the last episode, there are fewer horror tropes we’ve all seen, although some still exist. Melody continues her pursuit to find out what happened to her mother and once again the episode opens with a bit of television. This time it’s a news report about someone getting hit by a train. This does come into play later but I won’t spoil why in this review.

The mood and atmosphere increases in creepiness this time as Melody desperately tries to find out what happened to her friend. To find out she has to go to the sixth floor of the Visser, which, of course, was the floor she was warned to stay away from in the very first episode. I thought I had an idea of what might be going on but I was completely wrong. The fact it wasn’t what I was thinking was a refreshing development.

Melody is getting more desperate and her behavior, to an outsider, would seem erratic and like she might be capable of doing a lot of strange things. As the audience, we know she’s sane and there are just strange things happening all around her. She gets some vital information about one of the tenants of the building, which I won’t spoil here but let’s just say, it’s a pretty big reveal.

The last ten minutes of this episode are totally what make it worth watching. There’s a huge reveal and a bit twist which just makes everything more complicated.

I will say this about this show. It’s good at slowly doling out complicating factors and having decent twists. However, if the end is lackluster, that could definitely sink the show overall. I hope their final episodes will keep up the weirdness without succumbing to something like Lost where too many things were simply left unexplained. In order to do that they are going to have to fit a lot in to the next few episodes. We’ll see where it goes.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

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TV Review Archive 81 (Episode 4)

Archive 81

Hello fellow horror people, it’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’m back to review the fourth episode of the Netflix horror hit Archive 81. We’ve reached the halfway mark so just be warned if you have not watched the series there may be spoilers for the entire first half of it in this post.

This episode is titled Spirit Receivers and if that made you think there may be spirits or seances or other ghostly things in the episode, well, you win the big stuffed teddy bear, because you are right.

Dan is continuing to restore footage Melody shot in the Visser building. We know now that she is looking for her mother and it seems Melody has shown up to talk to Dan a few times. This should be impossible considering she’s dead and all. With the first three episodes it hadn’t been clear whether or not Dan is hallucinating or dreaming all these interactions with Melody.

In the past Melody is still investigating what the people in this building who seem to be part of a cult ritual are actually doing. She’s not getting very far with that until she is invited to a party by one of the stranger characters in the building. And if you’re thinking strange character plus party equals seance where weird things happen, you get another teddy bear.

A lot of this episode falls into standard tropes of horror but there is one significant twist that might make this show stand out. After Dan has conversations with Melody, she or another character says things she and Dan said in their private conversations. While this is definitely weird for Melody, it should be impossible for Dan, considering Melody is definitely dead. Yet Dan realizes if he can warn Melody in time, maybe he can prevent this fire from ever happening. What’s interesting about this is it confirms Dan’s sanity but the moment he tells someone else about it, he sounds totally insane. And as the viewer we want to see Dan save Melody because they seem to be the nicest characters in the whole show.

In the background LMG, the company Dan is working for seems as nefarious as ever. And once again there is a significant twist at the end of the episode. Although, it’s not super surprising and it also falls into a horror trope. It will be interesting to see what the show does with it.

So far, I would say if you have not watched this show and you like horror and can stomach a bit of blood (you’ve almost definitely seen worse) this is worth checking out. But I will say this fourth episode to me was one of the weaker episodes overall because it does seem to rely on a lot of standard tropes.

I’m going to watch the whole show before I give final judgement but I would like to see the next episode pull the viewer in a little more.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

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TV Review Archive 81 (Episode 3)

Archive 81

Hey horror fanatics it’s me Slick Dungeon, back to review another episode of the Netflix series Archive 81. Just a quick warning there may be spoilers for the first three episodes below so be warned before we get going.

The first episode set our story up with Dan being hired to restore videotapes found after a fire at a building called the Visser. Through these tapes we see the perspective of Melody who is doing a study of the residents of the building. The second episode ratcheted up the connection between the two characters by revealing *spoiler* Melody was being treated for mental health issues by Dan’s father. There is also the potential implication that the two of them possibly had an affair.

While watching these tapes Dan keeps seeing things that don’t make sense. He sees strange images at times, there is a song on the tapes he knows his sister played right before she died in a fire, and there seem to be times where Dan is almost talking directly to Melody.

In this episode, it gets weird. There are times as a viewer where we can’t tell if Dan is dreaming, hallucinating, or somehow actually seeing what it seems like he is seeing. We get more of the backstory of Melody in this episode and start to see that almost everyone at the Visser has something more going on than what it appears on the surface.

There is a subplot with a girl named Jess who seems to have some kind of seizures on a regular basis. While in real life when we would see this happen, we’d all probably have Melody’s reaction which is to want her taken to a doctor to be treated, this is a horror show, so there has to be more to it than that. There is a priest and Jess’ mother who seem to think exorcism is the right approach. There’s clearly some connection between the Visser, Jess, Melody, Dan and Dan’s father all happening at once but it’s still too early to say what it is.

I think one of the most interesting things about this series is that it’s kind of subverting the trope of someone being stuck in an isolated space where horror is happening. While Dan is largely on his own, and he knows this can be bad, the company he works for seems to have people watching him. They have cameras everywhere but they also have a groundskeeper woman who seems to know way more about what he is doing than she should.

This flips the script a bit because usually we want to scream at people to leave the location they are stuck in. Dan can actually leave, and does. But still, there’s something about these tapes and Melody that keep calling back to him. In addition, there were a couple of big reveals in this episode. I won’t get into them here just in case people haven’t watched this far but there was one story with Dan’s friend on the outside that really surprised me and again subverted expectations.

So far, this show is really clever and ratchets up the horror to a high degree without showing much gore or anything overly gruesome. I’m really curious where it will go next.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

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TV Review Archive 81 (Episode 2)

Archive 81

Hey horror fans, it’s me, Slick Dungeon back to review the second episode of the hit horror series Archive 81 on Netflix. Be warned there will be some spoilers for episode one and two below. If you’re ready, set your camera down and take a look at the review below!

The first episode of this series did a good job of setting up a mystery with our main characters Dan and Melody. Dan is in our present while Melody is in our past. Melody was making a series of videos for an academic paper on a building called the Visser. Dan restores old film, video tapes, etc. for a career. Dan was hired by the mysterious group known as LMG to restore tapes recovered from a fire at the Visser.

This episode gets into strange territory, starting with a commercial for some kind of DNA tracing technology by a company called Wellspring. This also happens to be the name of the episode. The commercial was so realistic I honestly wondered for a moment if Netflix had suddenly begun putting ads in its shows.

The story moves forward with Dan restoring more tapes and us seeing flashbacks of Melody. On Dan’s end it’s clear people are watching him and he has limited access to the outside world. On Melody’s side she meets more of the residents of the building and let’s just say, they are far from normal. There definitely seems to be something under the surface that is out and out creepy. It’s too early to tell exactly what it is yet but definitely enough to make the viewer want to keep watching.

As the episode goes on we see more of a connection between Dan and Melody. They seem to be connected as Dan’s father has now shown up on the tapes. There is also a clear connection due to a song that Dan hears but is also showing up in the tapes with Melody.

Around the last third of the episode things get very bizarre for Melody and the threat of impending doom is palpable to the viewer.

This second episode is continuing the trend of having a pretty major reveal near the end. I’m not going to say what it is here but I can see why people have been binging this one. I’ll hold my judgement over the whole show until the end but so far the first two episodes have been well worth the time.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

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TV Review – Archive 81 (Episode 1)

Archive 81

Hey movie fanatics, it’s me, Slick Dungeon, here to give a quick guide to the first episode of the hottest horror series on Netflix right now, Archive 81. There will be some mild spoilers below so be forewarned. I’ll be posting through the first season’s episodes but I have not seen past this first episode so let’s keep it spoiler light in the comments too okay?

Archive 81 is about an archivist named Dan who restores films, VHS tapes, basically any visual arts that use a film reel. He works for a film museum and one day he’s asked to restore an old VHS tape that has been damaged from a fire. We don’t know a lot about Dan other than he somehow lost his family and he at one point was, “feeling low” and has a friend who is concerned for his welfare. Soon into the episode the donor who asked for the video tape to be restored requests Dan come work for him in the Catskills where they have a collection of these VHS tapes. He’ll be secluded and on his own if he agrees though. The company hiring Dan seems a bit odd and the man who hires him seems to know way more than he should about Dan.

Of course, Dan agrees to go, and since this is a horror show, needless to say some strange things start happening. I don’t want to give too much of that away other than to say Dan is restoring tapes that focus on a building called the Visser. The tapes show him a woman named Melody who we can presume will be the focal point of the tapes and might provide clues as to what happened at the Visser.

It’s hard to judge a show from a first episode. Especially one that is meant to be totally bingeable and wants you to sit through eight hours of episodes. I still think it’s worth taking a look at each one on its own merits.

For a first episode, this one sets the tone quite nicely. There’s just enough odd going on that as a viewer you want to know what happens next. At the same time, it’s not giving so much away you see all the twists coming.

It’s clearly going to be weird but to my mind this whole series will end up making it or not based on the ending. I’m just going to say now if this has anything to do with aliens, I’m out. But so far, it has a lot of potential and I’d say it’s probably worth a watch.

Mysteriously yours,

Slick Dungeon

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