Category Archives: Thriller

THE MENU (2022): The Things I Liked…

There are many good things about director Mark Mylod’s comedy/horror/thriller, The Menu

The cast is fantastic, the performances faultless, and one can hardly go wrong with John Leguizamo, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Feinnes, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer and Nicholas Hoult on the same call sheet. Especially considering the delightfully rhythmic dialogue, plus the unexpected twists and turns.

Mylod’s story about a young couple who travel to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant, but end up faced with shocking surprises is fun and will leave you with plenty to talk about afterwards.

The topics I had to discuss immediately once the end credits rolled included Anya Taylor-Joy’s Margot character being my favourite. I enjoyed Margot’s disposition and every word that came out of her mouth. Hong Chau’s Elsa is also fun for similar reasons to Margot, but undoubtedly in part because of her memorable outfit.

The Menu (2022), Anya Taylor-Joy, Searchlight Pictures
The Menu (2022), Anya Taylor-Joy, Searchlight Pictures

The Menu does well at keeping the audience far from comfortable from the beginning because of the mystery surrounding what the evening has in store for both the audience and the characters. Yet, the part-horror characterisation is not nightmare-inducing. What it is, is a memorable movie experience.

I’m convinced that The Menu might have benefited from being a mini-series rather than a feature film. Specifically, because some moments felt inadequately fleshed out, resulting in my inability to buy into a handful of the decisions made by some characters.

Admittedly, I also eventually tired of Feinnes’s Chef Slowik character, distinctly how his pretentious and subsequently unlikable qualities manifest when he demands the attention of his guests.

Watch The Menu because it’s fun. Lastly, the things it gets right will probably leave you feeling glad that the movie exists. 

Happy Film Loving

G

KNOCK AT THE CABIN (2023): New Trailer From M. Night Shyamalan, Starring Dave Bautista, Kristen Cui, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Jonathan Groff…

Knock At The Cabin (2023), Kristen Cui, Paramount Pictures
Knock At The Cabin (2023), Kristen Cui, Paramount Pictures

Dave Bautista, Kristen Cui, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge and Nikki Amuka-Bird are the cast of Knock at the Cabin, the latest horror/mystery/thriller from M. Night Shyamalan.

At the centre of the story of a young family taken hostage by armed strangers. Strangers who demand the family decide what they believe, in order to make an unthinkable decision.

I’ve seen this trailer approximately four times now, and the one thing that has stayed consistent regarding my thoughts is how wonderful a young actor Kristen Cui, the young girl in this movie, seems to be.

Another thing that hasn’t changed with each viewing is how promising it all seems. That is until towards the end when Bautista’s character says: ‘…Your family has been chosen to make a horrible decision. If you fail to choose, the world will end.’

After all that engaging mystery, I’m sad to say that I find myself disappointed by this seemingly simplistic and somewhat underwhelming turn of events. I’m very likely judging far too soon, of course, and I may just have tired of the ‘or the world will end.’ However, there is Shyamalan’s reputation, which most certainly precedes him.

What are your feelings about this trailer? Is it time for a good Shyamalan movie? Fingers crossed that I’m way off – and Knock at the Cabin turns out to be great.

Abby Quinn, Jerry Lobrow, William Ragsdale, Clare Louise Frost, Kat Murphy, Debbie Lay, Satomi Hofmann, McKenna Kerrigan, Mike Wilson, Michael J. Kraycik, Scott Vogel and Brian Foreman also star.

Knock at the Cabin Release Dates: February 3rd, 2023 (US & UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G

NANNY (2022): The Things I Liked…

Nanny (2022), Anna Diop, Prime Video
Nanny (2022), Anna Diop, Prime Video

Sometimes you watch a movie that tells its story so refreshingly well, that you want to talk to someone about it immediately. You want to discuss the parts that thrilled, delighted and surprised you. But then you remember that you watched the movie all by yourself, which means that unless you want to strike up a conversation with the stranger next to you once the movie is over, you can’t. You also remember that you write spoiler-free movie reviews; meaning you still can’t mention the most fun specific details.

Written/directed by Nikyatu Jusu; the film in question that proved to be a rather pleasant surprise is Nanny; a drama/horror/thriller starring Anna Diop, Michelle Monaghan, Sinqua Walls and Leslie Uggams.

Nanny tells the story of Aisha, a Senegalese immigrant who takes care of the child of an Upper East Side American family. As Aisha goes about her days working and trying to piece together a life of her own in New York City, she starts having some not-so-easily explainable experiences.

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I don’t typically watch scary movies, particularly since a peaceful nightmare-free sleep is one of my favourite things. The great news here is that Nanny is more creepy than scary. It features well-executed special effects that I appreciated, even more, when the impressive reveal at the end came to light. There are beautiful shots, great lighting and a generally well-structured story to enjoy. One that hints perfectly at what is to come, but without spoiling the very worth-it ending.

I say give Nanny a chance and let the story surprise you. Though not perfect, mostly because of the rushed last five minutes, it’s certainly in the top two of my favourite movies I watched at the BFI London Film Festival this October.

Nanny Release Dates: 23rd November 2022 (Limited theatre release, US); 25th November 2022 (Limited cinema release, UK); Amazon Prime Video release, 16th December 2022 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

JOHN WICK- CHAPTER 4 (2023): New Trailer From Keanu Reeves, Bill Skarsgård, Hiroyuki Sanada, Donnie Yen…

John Wick - Chapter 4 (2023), Hiroyuki Sanada, Lionsgate Movies
John Wick – Chapter 4 (2023), Hiroyuki Sanada, Lionsgate Movies

John Wick did not get killed in John Wick- Chapter 3 – Parabellum. So, naturally, chapter 4 has been due.

Starring Keanu Reeves, Bill Skarsgård, Hiroyuki Sanada, Donnie Yen, and directed by Chad Stahelski; this fourth movie has Wick with an even bigger price on his head. A price so large that he has to seek out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris, Osaka and Berlin.

I like the international setting of this one. However, I’m mainly showing up to take in the colours, thrilling action sequences, and definitely to watch Reeves look good in a black suit while doing very impressive movie stuff.

Another reason is Hiroyuki Sanada. He just has a way of standing out in a good way in each movie I’ve seen him in. Two such examples being Mortal Kombat (2021) and Bullet Train (2022).

Is there enough in this trailer to keep your interest? Or are you already done with the John Wick franchise? I can’t help but wonder just how many more will be made.

Laurence Fishburne, Shamier Anderson, Lance Reddick, Rina Sawayama, Scott Adkins, Ian McShane, Marko Zaror, Natalia Tena and Aimée Kwan also star.

John Wick Chapter 4 Release Dates: March 24th, 2023 (US & UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G

M3GAN (2023): New Trailer From Allison Williams, Ronny Chieng, Jenna Davis, Amie Donald…

The latest from Allison Williams, Ronny Chieng, Jenna Davis and Amie Donald is a creepy horror/sci-fi/thriller.

A Gerard Johnstone-directed story about a robotics engineer who builds a life-like doll named M3gan that begins to have ideas outside the brief.

I’m interested because this is a horror/sci-fi/thriller, rather than a straight horror film. I also definitely want to see how well the creepy factor translates. So far, both the presence and the idea of M3gan make me uneasy. However, nothing in this trailer is quite s creepy as the thing at 2:03

I’m also a little concerned about how well I’ll be able to suspend my disbelief. I probably liked the premise more before it leaned more strongly into being a horror film. Surely M3gan would still be intriguing without what seems like gratuitous horror theatrics. for theatrics sake.

Lastly, why is M3gan is having to run on all fours at 1:40? It seems strange, no?

How curious are you about M3gan?

Violet McGraw, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Arlo Green, Jen Van Epps, Kira Josephson and Stephane Garneau-Monten also star.

M3gan Release Dates: January 6th, 2023 (US), January 13th (UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G

US (2019): The Things I Liked…

What to say about Us? It had its moments, several that were perfectly engaging. However, there were some scenes I wish had gone differently. 

Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker, I enjoyed much of the mystery in Jordan Peele’s horror/mystery/thriller about a family whose beach holiday takes a terrorising turn, thanks to the arrival of their doppelgängers. It’s just unfortunate that a little bit of that enjoyment disappeared when I realised I’d guessed a crucial element of the story within the first ten minutes.

Other moments that convinced me I’m not enjoying Us as much as I did Get Out (2017) include the feeling that Nyong’o’s doppelgänger has far too much dialogue. Another is the taking of young Evan Alex’s character towards the end. Now, I’m sure that parents get distracted in extraordinary circumstances. Nevertheless, that specific taking felt as though it happened far too conveniently for my liking.

Even with the above considered, there’s no taking away from the brilliant performances by the entire cast. I especially found Winston Duke’s character quite entertaining. 

For me, Peele is still great at creating a perfectly uncomfortable atmosphere that’s very difficult to look away from, even if, in the case of Us, the social commentary doesn’t quite land as neatly. 

You’ve probably already watched Us, but if you haven’t and you’re curious. Plus you enjoyed Get Out, then give Us a chance. 

Happy Film Loving

G

FALL (2022): The Things I Liked…

Fall (2022), Grace Caroline Currey, Signature Entertainment
Fall (2022), Grace Caroline Currey, Signature Entertainment

The idea of being up high on a structure where falling is incredibly likely was never going to be my idea of fun. Unless, of course, I am watching actors pretend to do it for my entertainment. 

Directed by Scott Mann, Fall is an adequately engaging thriller that follows two best friends who climb a 2,000-foot radio tower just for kicks. 

Starring Grace Caroline Currey and Virginia Gardner, Mann’s film is the type of thriller that made me super uneasy. Yet, it still kept me curious enough to stay watching.

Fall also stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Mason Gooding, happens to be generally well-paced and features good chemistry between Currey and Gardner. I enjoyed the smartly executed terrifying moments. Especially as the two friends continue to climb higher and the audience sees just how physically vulnerable they truly are.

If heights are not your worst nightmare, why not try Fall for that relatively easy-to-watch thriller? The kind that will have you wondering whether you would survive if you found yourself 2000 feet in the air, without barriers to keep you safe.

Happy Film Loving

G

GLASS ONION – A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY (2022): New Trailer Starring Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Kathryn Hahn, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista…

Daniel Craig is back as everyone’s favourite Southern detective, Benoit Blanc. Directed once again by Rian Johnson, Glass Onion – A knives Out Mystery. takes us to Greece for Blanc’s next case.

Get ready for a bunch of intriguing new characters played by Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Madelyn Cline, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr. and Jessica Henwick.

I like that the cast mix feels quite unexpected here. And if the finished film is close to as captivating as this trailer, I’m going to be very happy indeed.

Lastly, remember how Chris Evans’s Knives Out (2019) character Ransom Drysdale had people rediscovering their appreciation for cable knit sweaters? Well, what are the chances that Bautista’s speedos will do something similar? Maybe?

Glass Onion – A Knives Out Mystery Release Dates: December 23rd, 2022 (US & UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G