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Amityville: The Awakening (2017) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Amityville: The Awakening Review

Director: Franck Khalfoun
Writer: Franck Khalfoun
Stars: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bella Thorne, Mckenna Grace

Plot:  A desperate single mother moves with her three children into the notorious, supposedly haunted, real-life Amityville house to try and use its dark powers to cure her comatose son. Things go horribly wrong.
Running Time: 85 Minutes
IMDB Score: 4.9

Why I Watched It: It’s a Horror film, I’m a huge Jennifer Jason Leigh fan and it was on for $1.99 on itunes, a prefect storm.

Random Thoughts: This was yet another film that was sitting on the shelf for a while, the release date kept changing and then it got pretty much dumped. Not really sure we need to go back to the Amityville franchise cause really it’s had sequels, a prequel, a remake and now I guess it’s another sequel.  Someone had the bright idea to do a meta sequel where not only the true life backstory but also the movies are known.  Just let that sink in.

What I Liked: Alright this part is tough cause I really disliked this film, on almost every level but I ‘ll reach and try to say something kind of almost nice.

I think Jennifer Jason Leigh is a great actress and has really gone under the radar, she’s done some great work but now she is a certain age and now she’s doing genre and mother roles and to be fair she deserves better she really does try here.  I think ‪Bella Thorne‬ is a decent actress this is the third genre film I’ve seen her in and it’s too bad that all the focus is in her looks and her life not in front of a camera.  Thorne tries here and she does a decent job with  a bad script.  She’s pretty much the lead and carries most of the load here.

What I Didn’t Like: Having people living in the Amityville house and watching ‪the Amityville Horror‬ on DVD, the original, is yes very meta and meta can work just ask Scream that film was meta before the word existed.  With this film I don’t see the point, it’s a film that was based on a book that was based on a true story.  I think people know the history now.  Here’s one of the film’s biggest problems it’s not as clever as it thinks it’s being, the point would be why would someone knowing move into the house.

The reason fails mostly because of a really bad script pure and simple this thing is just all over the place. It’s not campy enough to be fun, it isn’t good enough to be a straight horror film.  The oddest thing is the film fails at the simplest task make a decent haunted house story, this is a terrible haunted house story, it’s not scary there is almost no tension at all.  Somewhere the ball was dropped cause this is a bad mishmash of cliches and jump scares that lead to nowhere.

Some blame has to be laid at the feet of the director Frank Khalfoun, well you can get a almost bad performance from Jennifer Jason Leigh you have some issues.  The take the haunted house story from the original and throw in really bad backstory from this family.  So this teenager is so badly crippled and in a coma that he has 0% chance of recovery, so his mother moves him and her two daughters to a hunted house so….what exactly.  I will say this the finale goes right off the rails they truly throw everything into it.  Truth to be told if they went full out camp this might have been amusing but it takes itself way too serious for that.

One side note, the way they film ‪Bella Thorne‬ here is a bit iffy for my tastes, she’s almost always half dressed a lot of the suppose scary stuff has her walking around in her underwear, I mean you’re dealing with ghosts but some pants on.  It was a little prevy.

Final Thoughts: This is just a bad horror film, a film that tried to save itself by being part of an almost forgotten franchise, yes any film that the big finale is trying to make a demon go outside a sacred circle is indeed bad in my books.  To make it worse the circle is outside.

Rating: ‪2/10‬

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You Get Me (2017) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

YOU GET ME

Director: Brent Bonacorso
Writer: Ben Epstein
Stars: Bella Thorne, Halston Sage, Taylor John Smith

Plot: Tyler’s crazy in love with his perfect girlfriend Ali, but when a big fight makes him and Ali break up, he lands in the arms of sexy out-of-towner Holly who shows him a night he’s gonna remember. The next morning he finds that not only is Ali taking him back, but Holly is a new student at their school and is dead set on her new man.

Running Time: 1 hour 29 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: No Critic Score yet, Audience: 24%

Why I watched it: Honestly I don’t know, it was a new Netflix movie and I thought I’d watch it and I guess it is genre, really I have no excuse.

Random Thoughts: Alright let’s get this out of the way, it’s a Fatal Attraction rip-off actually it’s more of a Swim Fan rip off. There’s a couple of problems with trying to do this kind of movie with young actors, I know they’re playing teenagers but we’ll call them young actors, first off there isn’t the kind of weight to this movie, when you’re older there’s more things involved and two when you’re trying to do a PG Fatal Attraction it’s too tame to be fun, we need sex, violence and rabbits in pots, sorry for that but you know what I mean.

What I liked: It’s an attractive cast for sure, everyone is young and good looking and the film is nice and sunny and goth girls live in nice big beautiful homes. The set up is fine and the cast does what it can, I will give some credit to Bella Thorne she tries here and she doesn’t go way over the top. The film moves at a quick pace no lag in story it goes right to the plot pretty quick.

What I didn’t like: I like quick movies, I love when a movie is under or close to 90 minutes but this film hits their plot points so quick there’s no room to breath or get any kind of character beats at all. The main couple fight, break up he sleep with someone else all in 20 minutes, we don’t get a sense of the couple, it’s all superficial which is fine I guess but we also don’t get any reason to care about anyone. It’s a super quick cliff notes of a film, they love each, they break up, she goes with another girl, they have sex, the couple gets back together, the other girl is crazy, and that’s the substance we get out of it. A film like this needs to have characters and they need stakes, we need to care. A thriller likes this needs that slow burn build up the dread.

Now I get it, this isn’t suppose to be a deep film but then gives us camp, give us a steamy thriller. I will say some of the choices is weird, the crazy women scorned tries to kill one of the couples pretty quick, and nothing is done about it. The Bella Thorne character goes to crazy town pretty quick and yes she has a shine. My favorite bit is someone tries to look her up on social media and they find nothing, she’s a ghost then our male lead finds out her first name, you see she goes by her middle name, he puts her full name in google and finds out she’s rich and crazy with a horrible history, we also find out she isn’t taking her meds, I think you know where this is going. In a thriller you need one of two things you have to go the in depth character stuff with some weight to it or you make it balls out crazy and have it fun and sleazy. You Get Me does neither and it hides from any kind of blame or even common sense.

Final Thoughts: It’s not terrible but I wish the script wasn’t just a cut and paste job of better thrillers. It’s a harmless time waster but so slight and the title is so generic you won’t remember it in a month. You can kind of tell why critics haven’t run to review it. I wish Netflix would take some risks with their movies.

Rating: 4/10