Monday, 4 April 2022

Horror Film Review: See For Me (2021) ★★★★☆

I love films that are more than just the sum of their parts. Give me synergy, emotion, gravity and I'm sold. Randall Okita's See For Me is a whole mood. Visually stunning and anchored on a flawed protagonist, it tracks one night in the life of a blind former skier when the luxury home she's sitting is invaded by a team of thieves.

Skyler Davenport is Sophie | See For Me 2022 | Horror Film Review

Sophie (Skyler Davenport) is independent and savvy, a former athlete whose career was cut short by a degenerative retinal condition. Nowadays she pet-sits for a living, selectively lifting more valuable items to supplement her modest earnings.

The gig at the mansion of a recent divorcee should be simple. One cat, a secure yet secluded location and her best friend Cam on the other end of a video call.

Simple, that is, until she has a fight with Cam over her klepto tendencies and manages to lock herself out of the most secure house on earth.

Enter Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy, The Flash). A lifeline at the end of the See For Me app, she guides Sophie back into safety. It should all end there but what's the fun in that?

Jessica Parker Kennedy is Kelly | See For Me 2022 | Horror Film Review

Sophie awakes in the middle of the night to noise and signs of company, definitely not the invited kind. As she navigates in the dark with only Kelly to assist her, can she make it through the night alive?

See For Me is a tense thriller, made all the more claustrophobic for its use of darkness; an excellent technique for the viewer senses Sophie's visual impairment. Simultaneously, director Okita washes each frame with colour, a lurid, visual feast for the eyes.

As visually appealing as See For Me is, it's the performances that make it shine. Skyler Davenport is excellent as Sophie, thoroughly unlikeable and morally unsuited for the task of housesitting-while-blind. The casting was spot-on and I'm pleased that they chose Davenport, a partially sighted actor, for the role. Likewise, Jessica Parker Kennedy shines as Kelly, as moral and likeable as Sophie is not and the true hero of the film.

Spoiler Warning

See For Me 2022 | Horror Film Review

I have two complaints about the film - one unfounded and one founded - and I'm going to put up a spoiler warning. I'll try to be vague but don't read on if you've not seen the film.

Both complaints can come under the header of plot holes. I managed to debunk my first complaint. There seemed to be a heck of a lot of rounds fired from a certain gun so I researched it. The standard police-issue service weapon in Canada is a Glock 17 and there were exactly seventeen rounds fired before the gun clicks on an empty chamber.

My second complaint wasn't as easily debunked. The See For Me app depends of the operator speaking to Sophie and we don't see Sophie putting in earphones. There's a lot of background noise with drilling and conversation, but I'm not entirely sure the thieves wouldn't have heard Kelly on the other end of those calls, especially when she's screaming.

Skyler Davenport is Sophie | See For Me 2022 | Horror Film Review
I give See For Me an excellent four out of five stars. I'll be honest, I should have docked a star for that plot hole but I enjoyed the acting, plot and visual feast enough to keep it at four. Technically, See For Me is more thriller than horror but getting locked out of the most secure house on earth in sub-zero temperatures while blind is a horrific concept, so I'll let it slide.
★★★★☆

A Shudder Exclusive Film, See For Me, Premiers Thursday, April 7, 2022

Trailer: See For Me (2021), dir. Randall Okita

SHARE:

Friday, 25 March 2022

Horror Film Review: Night's End (2022) ★★☆☆☆

Today we welcome a brand new contributor to the Addicted to Media team, Mirza Hota. Mirza's first challenge is Night's End, directed by Jennifer Reeder (Knives and Skin)

Geno Walker stars as Ken Barber | Night's End 2022 | Horror Film Review

Night's End starts off really well. An unemployed divorcee shut-in with a history of alcohol abuse (played convincingly by Geno Walker) moving to a new town, away from his ex and their kids to an apartment that turns out to be haunted.

Night's End 2022 | Poster | Horror Film ReviewWalker spends most of his days carefully sealing himself off from the world outside of his apartment and making YouTube videos until viewers of one of his clips notice something strange going on and alert Walker to it.

I don't want to give too much away in this review. I have to admit I really enjoyed large portions of the film. It's atmospheric, dark and in parts very claustrophobic which adds greatly to the tension and highlights the main character's loneliness and frustration. The feeling that he is trapped in a prison of his own making.

The lead is very effective and Michael Shannon (who unfortunately does not get the chance to shine here) is always a welcome addition to any film.

Sadly Night's End loses it's edge, and much of the atmosphere towards the end and becomes a bit silly. Again I don't want to reveal too much but the ending didn't work for me. There was plenty there to work with. The main character's isolation, his frustration and anxiety are not properly explored. I don't know if the filmmakers felt they didn't know how to wrap it up or simply felt they had to end things spectacularly but I think they missed an opportunity here.

Night's End 2022 | Poster | Horror Film ReviewI give Night's End two-and-a-half out of five stars, rounded down to two stars for that ending. This is Jennifer Reeder's first foray into horror.

★★☆☆☆

A Shudder original, Night's End will premiere on 31 March 2022

Trailer: Night's End (2022) - dir. Jennifer Reeder

SHARE:

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

First Look: Stranger Things 4 Returns 27 May 2022

It's official: Stranger Things returns to Netflix on 27 May 2022 which means you need to watch 2 to 3 episodes a week if you want to complete your rewatch by then. As before, Stranger Things 4, Volume 1 will premiere on 27 May 2022 and Stranger Things 4, Volume 2 will premiere on 1 July 2022.

Millie Bobby Brown with Noah Schnapp & Finn Wolfhard | Stranger Things 4 | First Look

About Stranger Things 4

It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time – and navigating the complexities of high school hasn't made things any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.

Finn Wolfhard with Noah Schnapp & Charlie Heaton | Stranger Things 4 | First Look

Stranger Things stars Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Finn Wolfhard as Mike, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas and Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, the boy whose disappearance signals the beginning of the fight against the the Upside Down. Winona Ryder stars as Will's mother Joyce and David Harbour is local cop Jim Hopper. Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton and Joe Keery star as older siblings and unexpected teen heroes Nancy, Jonathan and Steve and the cast was joined in Stranger Things 2 by Sadie Sink and Dacre Montgomery playing siblings Max and Billy.

Millie Bobby Brown with Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard & Charlie Heaton | Stranger Things 4 | First Look

Scroll down to see more exclusive images as we get a first look of Stranger Things 4.

Winona Ryder & David Harbour | Stranger Things 4 | First Look

Gaten Matarazzo with Sadie Sink & Priah Ferguson | Stranger Things 4 | First Look

Stranger Things 4 | First Look

Stranger Things 4 | First Look

Stranger Things 4 | First Look

Stranger Things 4 | First Look

Stranger Things 4 | First Look

Stranger Things 4 | First Look

Stranger Things 4 | First Look

SHARE:

Friday, 18 March 2022

First Look: Sally Green's 'Half Bad' Trilogy Is Coming to Netflix in 2022

There is great news for fans of Sally Green's incredible Half Bad trilogy today: the series is coming to Netflix in 2022 and we get a first look at the cast! The eight-part drama series will feature Jay Lycurgo (Titans) as Nathan , Nadia Parkes (Domina) as Annalise and Emilien Vekemans (Transferts) as Gabriel.

Netflix Half Bad | Nadia Parkes is Annalise, Jay Lycurgo is Nathan, Emilien Vekemans is Gabriel

Multiple Brit Award and Mercury Music Prize nominee Roísín Murphy will be making her drama debut on Half Bad and the cast will be joined by Isobel Jesper Jones, Paul Ready (Motherland), David Gyasi (Carnival Row), Kerry Fox (Conversations with Friends), Liz White (Unforgotten), Karen Connell (Vikings), Fehinti Balogun (I May Destroy You) and Misha Butler (Kiss Me First).

Half Bad is produced for Netflix by The Imaginarium, the production company co-founded by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish. They've brought in British screenwriter, Joe Barton to adapt Green's novels for the show, with additional writing by Ryan J Brown, Dionne Edwards, Helen Kingston, and Emer Kenny.

SHARE:

Friday, 11 March 2022

Graphic Novel Review: 'If UR Stabby' by Kaz Windness

Do you ever feel like you're not like everyone else? That while all the other unicorns are all sparkles and rainbows, you'd rather stab everyone? Me too. The good news? We're not alone. Meet Stabby the very cool unicorn.

If UR Stabby by Kaz Windness | Graphic Novel Review

The Story

The world's surliest unicorn Stabby is the star of Kaz Windness's graphic novel If UR Stabby. It's a quick read but the kind that becomes a cult favourite because it's perfect to read when you're in the mood to stab someone where it hurts.

The Art

If UR Stabby by Kaz Windness | Graphic Novel Review | Starry Night

If UR Stabby by Kaz Windness | Graphic Novel Review | Lemons

Kaz Windness has both written and illustrated If UR Stabby and the artwork of the sardonic and surly unicorn is cute as a button.

Stan Zone

Recommended if you like: grumpy, sardonic, anti-heroes.

Verdict

Stabby was a fan favourite from Mother Goth Rhymes and it's only right that he got his own comic. I enjoyed this a lot and will definitely keep an eye on Kaz Windness in future.

Buy

Amazon

Affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you.

Links

Twitter | Facebook | Website | LinkTr.ee

Image Credits © Kaz Windness

SHARE:

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

'Every Variable of Us' - the gritty YA debut from Charles A Bush ★★★★★

Every Variable of Us | Book banner for book review | Superior Young Adult Fiction

Authors often share their thoughts at the end of contemporary YA novels, explaining why the issues were important to them and the inspiration for their writing. It's interesting that Charles A Bush chose to share those thoughts at the beginning of Every Variable of Us. The reader knows, from the outset, to expect depictions of racism, homophobia, poverty and crime from the onset but they also understand why he wrote this novel.

Every Variable of Us is one of the most gritty novels I've read in years. It goes places The Hate U Give didn't dare to tread and explores the life of a severely underprivileged Philly teenager as she experiences the loss of her future and navigates her sexuality.

Alexis Duncan is a star basketball player on her way to a college scholarship. Rising above her mother's drug addiction and a life in and out of foster homes, Alexis is set to escape the confines of her upbringing and become a superstar. That is until she is shot in a gang shooting. Barely able to walk properly, Alexis needs to explore other options for college admission, and fast, before she becomes another statistic.

Alexis makes the shocking (to her) discovery that sports is not the only way to get college scholarships and she joins the school STEM team as a reserve. Has she got what it takes to go from jock to swot? More importantly, who is the enigmatic Aamani Chakrabarti and why is Alexis developing feelings for her?

I related on so many levels to this novel and it might help to explain why. I spent time in care and absolutely thought I had no future after school until I was made aware of the possibility of a scholarship to university which changed my life. The descriptions of poverty, neglect, parental drug abuse, the contradictory experience in care homes, and living on the street were especially authentic in Every Variable of Us and very well researched. The chaos that Alexis experienced on an every day basis is a chaos that is familiar to many children living in poverty.

Bush also explores life in gangs and the allure and often inevitability of gang membership amongst deprived teens. While Every Variable of Us is about Alexis and Aamani, it is also about Britt, Alexis's best friend who shared Alexis's past but not her future.

Every Variable of Us features a diverse range of characters including a Black sportsgirl protagonist, bisexual and gay teens, a Muslim girl and a neurodivergent boy. I appreciated seeing underprivileged teens on page as books often focus on unattainably privileged and wealthy teens.

Charles A Bush | Author of Every Variable of Us

It wasn't always easy to read Every Variable of Us and this is why Bush's foreword was especially well placed. With on-page racism and homophobia, including significant slurs, I had to stop and think whether these words were appropriate in this novel. I feel that the depictions were realistic and that characters displayed character growth in moving on from these positions, or moving on from those who continued to hold them.

I give Every Variable of Us a superb five out of five stars and recommend to fans of Angie Thomas, Jewell Parker Rhodes and Brandy Colbert. I cannot wait to see what Bush writes next.

★★★★★

Every Variable of Us is released by North Star Editions on 1 March 2022 and is available to purchase on Amazon (affiliate link; I will receive a small commission if you purchase using this link at no extra cost to you).

I received an electronic copy of this graphic novel from Netgalley. I will always provide an honest review, whether books are provided to me or purchased by me

SHARE:

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

A Creepy Short Story Collection: 'A Cold Christmas and the Darkest of Winters' edited by Rasta Musick ★★★★☆

A Cold Christmas and the Darkest of Winters | Edited by Rasta Musick | Short Story Anthology Review

I recently discovered that I like spooky short stories and in keeping with a 'horror is not only for Halloween' theme, I picked up the A Cold Christmas and the Darkest of Winters short story collection. The byline says it all - Ho ho uh-oh. A collection of darkly weird winter and Christmas tales - I was definitely in the right place.

A Cold Christmas and the Darkest of Winters is probably the most eclectic and diverse collection of short stories that I've read. Tied together by the theme of Christmas or winter, that is pretty much all they have in common with tales spanning multiple centuries, locations and realms, from the realistic to the fantastic.

It is this that makes the anthology uniquely readable. With each story taking about 20 minutes to read, you can pick up this collection any time you have some time to kill, be it at the doctor's office, waiting in a queue or, if you're especially brave, alone in the dark at 3am.

A Cold Christmas and the Darkest of Winters | Edited by Rasta Musick | Short Story Anthology ReviewI don't want to spoil the collection but three tales stood out for me. "Patient, Marley" by T. War Powers Tilden was a very cool Ray Bradbury-esque story with a great twist cat the end; "The Heart of Winter" by Archita Mittra was a very clever little Hansel & Gretal-type tale which again has an unexpected outcome; and the story I was most looking forward to, "Copper Snow" by Zoë Markham was a fantastically gruesome tale that might be best avoided by those with a fear of clowns.

(As a lover of all things clown however, I can confirm that the combination of comical clown shoes with a classic Harlequin suit was truly frightening!)

I enjoyed A Cold Christmas and the Darkest of Winters and give it four out of five stars. Recommended to fans of diverse and spooky fiction.

★★★★☆

A Cold Christmas and the Darkest of Winters, edited by Rasta Musick and published by Cinnabar Moth Publishing, is available to buy on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com (note: both these links are affiliate links; I will receive a small commission if you purchase using these links at no extra cost to you).

I received an electronic copy of this novel for the purposes of this review. I will always provide an honest review, whether books are provided to me or purchased by me.

SHARE:
© 2005 - Mandy Southgate | Addicted to Media

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig