Tag Archives: Maria Bello

Lights Out (2016) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Lights Out Review

Director: David F. Sandberg
Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay), David F. Sandberg (based on the short film by)
Stars: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello 

Plot: Rebecca must unlock the terror behind her little brother’s experiences that once tested her sanity, bringing her face to face with a supernatural spirit attached to their mother.

Running Time: 81 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics  76%   Audience 61%

Why I Watched It: A horror film that didn’t get terrible reviews, I was hopeful.

Random Thoughts: When I first heard of the film and saw the trailer I thought wow this is Darkness Falls, not a lot of people will recall this movie but I liked it and this is a very very similar plot. I want to give a shout out to Teresa Palmer, she works a lot but doesn’t seem to get the buzz she deserves,  she’s a very good actress who has done not only some very good genre work but has shown she’s willing to take risks and do different and difficult roles.

What I liked:  I’m shocked to say there’s a lot to like about the film, it has a great opening and sets up the tension from the jump and it kills off a name actor before the opening credits.  The film is very well directed and filmed, it’s a slick looking film and looks a lot more expensive than it is so credit to the director David F Sandberg, he’s someone to watch for sure.

The film is a strange hybrid of Darkness Falls and The Ring, the one thing the film does it plays it straight, no tongue in cheek this is a balls out horror film with real stakes.  I liked the fact that they use the light gimmick to build tension but the film doesn’t just rely on it the film does try to build a backstory and real characters.  The real surprise here is they flesh out the mother character played by Maria Bello, she’s actually a very important character and she’s very tragic, Bello is good here she has to go between crazy and a threat to someone who is brave and is trying to spare her family.  The acting is good across the board for this type of film it’s very good.  Teresa Palmer is good here and carries most of the action at the beginning.

The film is short and for horror films that’s almost always a good thing and here the film moves very quick, the pacing and tone are great once the film kicks into gear it  doesn’t really stop.  It’s a rare horror film that doesn’t feel padded and it doesn’t have a weak second act.

What I Didn’t Like: The ending is a bit iffy for me, it plays fine but once you think about it well let’s say it leaves a bad taste in your mouth about one character.  Also once done the film you have to wonder  why Maria Bello wasn’t the lead, it’s her story and she’s the key to everything, you have to think they wanted to appeal to a younger audience.  The only flaw in the film is how her character is treated, she’s played as a plot point at first then she’s a main part then they do something that kind of betrays what they were saying earlier.

Final Thoughts: This is a pretty good horror film, it’s a film that takes the genre seriously and also tries to do some things differently.  It’s a solid, effective and a tad unnerving horror film.

Rating: 7/10

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Demonic (2015) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Demonic Review

Director: Will Canon
Writers: Max La Bella (story), Will Canon (screenplay)
Stars: Maria Bello, Frank Grillo, Cody Horn

Plot:  A police officer and a psychologist investigate the deaths of five people who were killed while trying to summon ghosts.
Running Time: 83 Minutes
IMDB Score: 5.3

Why I Watched It: It’s a horror film and I’m a big Fran Grillo fan and I also like Maria Bello

Random Thoughts: This sat on the shelf for awhile, it was produced by James Wan.  Also just a heads up Frank Grillo and Maria Bello get top billing but they’re really not the leads it’s standard PG-13 teenagers and ghosts story.

What I Liked: Frank Grillo and Maria Bello we’re both good, Bello really doesn’t have much to do but I would totally watch them team up for their own horror movie or even a cop show.  They had good chemistry. I will say the film tried to have a couple of twists, one was decent but by the time it came I really stopped caring.

What I Didn’t Like:Pure and simple this is just the same old same old haunted house ghost plot with kids going in to investigate what really happened to this famous haunted house.  The teen or 20 something characters are all stock and really none of them are fleshed out or the least bit interesting, we of course get the geek, the weird hot girl, a love triangle and of course lot’s of backstory connecting one of them to the house.

The acting isn’t great from the younger cast but again granted they’re working with cliches, but they’re mostly bland there is much a difference when Grillo and Bello are on screen cause they have presence but really all there doing is trying to solve what happened, oh didn’t I tell you the film is told in flashbacks.  Trust me there isn’t a ghost/haunted house cliche this movie doesn’t wheel out.
So we have two plots,the story in flashbacks, and then Grillo being a cop and Bello a shrink trying to piece together what happened with the help of the survivor and yes we know who’s made it from the beginning and hell yes that drains any tension they might have had as we go through the flash blacks to see how they died.

There is nothing new here, nothing not even one small nugget, it’s cut and paste film making.  They had two good actors but they have very little do and even their characters aren’t that interesting, we don’t even find out if they were dating or married or something in between.  The biggest flaw is the film is not scary not even a good/bad jump scare, there is almost no tension in this film and to the point it’s boring as hell.

Only good think to say about the film is that it’s just over 80 minutes, clearly this got cut down and I’m willing to bet Grillo and Bello’s scenes are on the cutting room floor somewhere.  Why make an adult horror film when you can just throw in stock teenage victims.

Final Thoughts: A boring horror film with no scares and sadly they wasted two good actors.
Rating: 3/10