Tuesday 31 October 2023

REVIEW: The Nun II (2023) - Starring Taissa Farmiga and Bonnie Aarons

Review by Jon Donnis
"The Nun II" is a worthy addition to The Conjuring Universe franchise, delivering a solid dose of horror and suspense that surpasses its predecessor. Directed by Michael Chaves, the film manages to create a genuinely ominous atmosphere, and the old-world European locations and gloomy cinematography contribute significantly to the film's eerie tone.

One of the standout aspects of the movie is its ability to provide scares that genuinely make your skin crawl. Michael Chaves orchestrates violent mayhem, often involving terrified young girls, in a way that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. The performances of Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene Palmer and Katelyn Rose Downey as Sophie are commendable, and the film's finale scene is a nail-biting and memorable moment. The suspense and jump scares are executed impressively, keeping the audience engaged and occasionally startled.


However, "The Nun II" is not without its flaws. At times, the plot feels somewhat formulaic, adhering to the standard conventions of horror sequels. While the film manages to be scarier than its predecessor, it doesn't break much new ground in terms of storytelling. Additionally, there are moments in the film where the pacing seems to drag, which could have been streamlined to maintain a more consistent level of tension.


One minor disappointment is the climax scene, which may feel a bit rushed, especially considering the strong build-up throughout the film. It's a testament to the film's potential that a more satisfying resolution could have been achieved.

In terms of performances, Taissa Farmiga and Jonas Bloquet reprise their roles effectively, and Bonnie Aarons as the Demon Nun continues to be a haunting presence. Newcomers to the cast, like Storm Reid and Anna Popplewell, fit seamlessly into the franchise.


The plot, while somewhat predictable, still offers a decent amount of supernatural intrigue and horror elements. The film successfully expands on the mythology of Valak and delves into the legacy of St. Lucy, creating a compelling narrative that keeps the audience engaged.

Overall, "The Nun II" deserves an 8 out of 10 rating for its ability to provide a scarier and more entertaining experience than its predecessor. It may not reinvent the horror genre, but it effectively delivers on its promises, offering a chilling and suspenseful addition to The Conjuring Universe. Horror enthusiasts and fans of the franchise will likely find plenty to enjoy in this gothic supernatural horror film.

Watch on Amazon at https://amzn.to/3MmtR3y

Monday 30 October 2023

REVIEW: The Exorcist: Believer (2023) - Starring Leslie Odom Jr, Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn

Review by Jon Donnis
"The Exorcist: Believer" takes the long-running and iconic horror franchise back to its terrifying roots in this sixth installment. Directed by David Gordon Green and co-written with Peter Sattler, the film offers a solid continuation of the original 1973 classic. While it doesn't reinvent the wheel in terms of the horror genre, it delivers a compelling and visually engaging story with a strong emphasis on faith and community. 

"Since his wife's death, Victor has raised his daughter Angela alone. After Angela and her friend return from a three-day disappearance with missing memories, they begin displaying frightening behavior. Victor's best hope is to find the only person who has seen anything like this before: Chris MacNeil, whose haunting experience with her daughter Regan may be the key to combating ultimate evil."


One of the film's standout features is its remarkable cinematography. Every frame is beautifully crafted and convincing, immersing the audience in the eerie and unsettling atmosphere of the story. 

The emphasis on faith and community as a means to rescue the oppressed is a strong theme throughout the film. This approach provides depth and substance to the narrative, making it more than just a run-of-the-mill horror flick. Leslie Odom Jr. delivers a commendable performance as Victor Fielding, and his character arc adds an emotional layer to the story.

However, "The Exorcist: Believer" does have its share of shortcomings. It struggles to introduce new ideas and scares, relying on some well-trodden horror tropes. While it effectively harks back to the original film, it misses an opportunity to bring something fresh to the franchise.


Additionally, one of the film's letdowns is the limited screen time for Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil. Burstyn's presence is a significant draw for fans of the original movie, and her character deserved more exploration.

The film's plot, set in Haiti and Georgia, sets a captivating stage for supernatural horror. The story revolves around photographer Victor Fielding's struggle with faith after a tragic event in Haiti and his daughter Angela's possession, which she shares with her best friend Katherine. The narrative expertly weaves together elements of voodoo, possession, and a desperate quest for answers.

The cast, led by Leslie Odom Jr., Lidya Jewett, and Olivia O'Neill, is solid, with Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn reprising their iconic roles. Their performances help maintain a connection to the original while allowing the new characters to shine.


In summary, "The Exorcist: Believer" is a competent addition to the franchise, effectively tapping into the essence of the original while exploring themes of faith and community. Despite some shortcomings in terms of originality and screen time for key characters, the film manages to deliver a satisfying horror experience for both long-time fans and new audiences alike.

With a score of 7.5 out of 10, it's a worthwhile addition to the Exorcist series.

In cinemas now, and also available on digital at https://apple.co/3tYc6S8
And available to pre-order on home entertainment at https://amzn.to/49fnnNJ

Sunday 29 October 2023

REVIEW: Five Nights at Freddy's (2023) - Starring Josh Hutcherson

Review by Jon Donnis
"Five Nights at Freddy's" brings the popular video game franchise to the big screen in a way that will thrill fans and newcomers alike. This supernatural horror film successfully captures the essence of the games while offering its own unique spin on the story.


"Can you survive five nights? The film follows Mike (Josh Hutcherson) a troubled young man caring for his 10-year-old sister Abby (Piper Rubio), and haunted by the unsolved disappearance of his younger brother more than a decade before. Recently fired and desperate for work so that he can keep custody of Abby, Mike agrees to take a position as a night security guard at an abandoned theme restaurant: Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria. But Mike soon discovers that nothing at Freddy's is what it seems. With the aid of Vanessa, a local police officer (Elizabeth Lail), Mike's nights at Freddy's will lead him into unexplainable encounters with the supernatural and drag him into the black heart of an unspeakable nightmare."

One of the standout aspects of "Five Nights at Freddy's" is its ability to create a creature feature that is perfectly suited for Halloween viewing. The eerie and unsettling atmosphere of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzaria is brought to life with remarkable attention to detail, making it almost a character in its own right. The set design and animatronic characters are visually stunning and faithful to the source material, creating an authentic and nostalgic experience for fans of the video game series.


The film's casting is strong, with Josh Hutcherson delivering a compelling performance as the troubled security guard, Mike Schmidt. It's refreshing to see him hitting his stride as an actor in 2023. Elizabeth Lail, Piper Rubio, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Matthew Lillard provide excellent support and add depth to the story.

"Five Nights at Freddy's" shines in its dedication to fan service and references. The filmmakers have crammed the movie with nods to the game series, creating a sense of excitement for long-time fans. This level of commitment to the source material is commendable and enhances the viewing experience for those who have followed the games.


However, there are some drawbacks to the film. The animatronic characters, which are central to the game's lore, are somewhat underutilized, and their potential for horror is not fully realized. Additionally, the film lacks effective jump scares, a staple of the horror genre, which could have heightened the tension and fear factor.

The plot is intriguing and layered, weaving elements of horror, mystery, and family drama. The narrative explores themes of loss, family, and the supernatural, providing a satisfying and engaging story.


In conclusion, "Five Nights at Freddy's" is a solid adaptation of the beloved video game franchise. It successfully captures the essence of the games, offers a compelling story, and boasts outstanding production design. While it may fall short in certain areas, such as the underutilization of the animatronic characters and the absence of effective jump scares, the film's strengths outweigh its weaknesses. It's a must-see for fans of the series and an enjoyable horror movie for Halloween.

With a score of 8 out of 10, "Five Nights at Freddy's" is a worthwhile addition to the horror genre.

Watch now at Apple TV at https://apple.co/474s381
Play the video game at https://amzn.to/49dr1ry

Thursday 26 October 2023

REVIEW: Slotherhouse (2023) - Starring Lisa Ambalavanar, Sydney Craven and Tiff Stevenson

Review by Jon Donnis
"Slotherhouse" is a 2023 horror-comedy film that takes an outrageously absurd premise and runs with it. Director Matthew Goodhue, along with writers Bradley Fowler and Cady Lanigan, have created a film that will undoubtedly leave audiences in stitches, albeit with a few moments of cringe-inducing shock.

The story revolves around Alpha, a psychopathic sloth from Panama, and Emily Young's quest to become the president of Sigma Lambda Theta. What starts as a seemingly innocent pursuit quickly turns dark as a string of fatalities implicates Alpha in the murders. This sets the stage for a wildly unconventional horror-comedy.


One of the film's undeniable strengths is its embrace of the ludicrous and its commitment to its own unique brand of humor. If you've ever wanted to see a sloth engage in absurdly violent acts, from stabbing to electrocuting unsuspecting victims or taking selfies with them, then "Slotherhouse" is your kind of movie. The film revels in its insane premise and over-the-top violence, delivering a giddily cheesy horror-comedy vibe that's sure to entertain.


However, the film does push the boundaries of absurdity to the extreme. A sloth using a laptop and even driving a car may be a bit too much for some viewers. While the over-the-top nature of the film is part of its charm, it may be a turn-off for those seeking a more grounded horror-comedy experience.


Additionally, some of the gore in the film has been toned down, presumably to secure a lower cinema rating. This decision, while understandable, leaves one wondering why the filmmakers didn't fully commit to their absurd vision, potentially limiting the film's appeal to a broader audience.

Despite these minor drawbacks, "Slotherhouse" is a film that manages to stand out in a crowded genre by embracing its outrageous premise. It's a unique and genuinely funny horror-comedy that dares to be different. With its blend of humor, horror, and sheer audacity, it's a cinematic experience that deserves recognition.


In my book, "Slotherhouse" is a solid 8.5 out of 10. If you're in the mood for a wild, unforgettable, and hilariously bizarre horror-comedy, give it a watch. Just be prepared for a level of absurdity that's not for the faint of heart.

Out Now on Amazon at https://amzn.to/40bA880

Tuesday 24 October 2023

NEWS & TRAILER: GODZILLA MINUS ONE

By Jon Donnis
Get ready to witness the return of cinema's most iconic monster in a terrifying new incarnation as Toho brings us "GODZILLA MINUS ONE." This upcoming Japanese kaiju blockbuster is set to hit cinemas, IMAX, and 4DX screens nationwide in the United Kingdom and Ireland on December 15th, 2023, marking a thrilling return to Godzilla's post-war roots.

It's been almost seven decades since the King of Monsters first stomped onto the silver screen, leaving an indelible mark on global pop culture. Now, Anime Limited and Toho Co., Ltd. are thrilled to announce the imminent arrival of "GODZILLA MINUS ONE," exclusively in theaters, to captivate and terrify audiences once again.

This latest installment in Toho's classic Godzilla series takes a bold step back in time, harking back to the franchise's post-war origins. In a Japan burdened by the weight of previous losses, a new, monstrous threat emerges, pushing a society already grappling with despair to the brink of destruction. As the question looms, when despair is heaped upon despair, can the people of Japan not only survive but also muster the strength to fight back?

Takashi Yamazaki, the acclaimed filmmaker behind "GODZILLA MINUS ONE," describes the film as the culmination of all his previous work and insists that it deserves to be "experienced" rather than merely "watched" in the theater. Inspired by iconic science fiction works like STAR WARS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, Yamazaki has become a prominent figure in Japan's visual effects industry, earning accolades for his ability to bring Japan's beloved pop culture icons to life on the big screen. With an impressive portfolio that includes titles like "Stand By Me Doraemon," "Lupin III: The First," and "The Great War of Archimedes," Yamazaki is poised to deliver a Godzilla experience like no other.

The journey of "GODZILLA MINUS ONE" began with its world premiere on October 18th, 2023, leaving audiences in awe and anticipation. The film was also selected as the closing feature of the 36th Tokyo International Film Festival, a testament to its cultural significance and cinematic excellence. The movie stars Ryunosuke Kamiki, known for his role in "Your Name," alongside Minami Hamabe of "Shin Kamen Rider" fame, promising a powerful cast that will bring this monster epic to life.

Synopsis:
Prepare to witness the most despairing chapter in the history of the Godzilla series! After the war, Japan finds itself reduced to nothing, and just when hope seems lost, Godzilla emerges, plunging the nation into an unprecedented state of negativity. This marks the most desperate situation in Japan's history. Who will step up, and how, to confront this colossal menace? Will Japan find the courage and resilience to stand against it?

"GODZILLA MINUS ONE" promises an immersive and heart-pounding experience. The film will be presented in Japanese with English subtitles, allowing fans to fully immerse themselves in the epic tale of destruction, despair, and defiance.

Mark your calendars for December 15th, 2023, and prepare to experience the ultimate Godzilla movie as "GODZILLA MINUS ONE" roars to life in cinemas, IMAX, and 4DX screens across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the return of the iconic monster to its roots in this post-war, jaw-dropping spectacle. Godzilla is back, and this time, the stakes have never been higher!


Monday 23 October 2023

COMPETITION: Win The Wandering Earth II on Blu-ray


Trinity CineAsia presents sci-fi box office hit, The Wandering Earth II, coming to Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from 30th October and in a Limited Edition 4K Ultra HD Steelbook from 11th December. The film stars Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers, Infernal Affairs) and Wu Jing (The Battle at Lake Changjin, Wolf Warrior).

And to celebrate we have a great competition and 2 copies on Blu-ray to give away.

Check out my exclusive review of The Wandering Earth II at

Synopsis
Boasting incredible and epic visuals, this stunning interstellar blockbuster is a fresh prequel to one of the highest grossing films of all time, a $700m box office success, and Netflix global smash hit. Based on the popular novella by science fiction author Liu Cixin, The Wandering Earth II is a true blockbuster, directed by Frant Gwo (The Sacrifice) and starring Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers, Infernal Affairs) and Wu Jing (The Battle at Lake Changjin, Wolf Warrior).

In the near future, the sun is rapidly expanding and will engulf the earth within 100 years. To ensure the survival of humankind, nations join hands to form an unprecedented, ambitious global project to build powerful engines on the earth's surface and propel the planet away from impending doom. Meanwhile, protests have broken out to demand the restart of the controversial Digital Life Project, which digitalises human beings after they have passed. Tensions soon escalate and the protestors plan to sabotage the Wandering Earth Project by attacking the Ark Space Station.

Trinity CineAsia presents The Wandering Earth II on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from 30 October
On Limited Edition 4K Ultra HD Steelbook from 11 December

Buy from Amazon at - https://amzn.to/3FzPBVP

Enter now for a chance to win.

COMPETITION CLOSED


Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 06-11-23
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.

COMPETITION: Win Chopper on Blu-ray - Starring Eric Bana


Eric Bana stars as the eponymous Chopper, Australia’s most notorious and celebrated criminal figure, in what’s been lauded as the “performance of a lifetime”.  This brutally gripping true-crime feature received critical acclaim on its original release in 2000, and now Andrew Dominik’s directorial debut gets the Limited Edition Blu-ray treatment from Second Sight Films on 30 October 2023. It will also be released in Standard Blu-ray format.

And to celebrate we have a great competition and 2 copies on Standard Blu-ray to give away.

Synopsis
Dominik’s (Blonde, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) shocking and darkly entertaining film takes us into the violent world of Australia’s most infamous figure – Mark ‘Chopper’ Read – who conquered Victoria's brutal underworld single-handedly, in a film based on his memoirs.

Bana (Black Hawk Down, Hulk, Troy) shows his acting chops in this seminal, career defining role of bonafide villain Chopper, and he brings the outrageous true story to the screen with maximum force. The brutality and nonchalance of the life and crimes of the one-man mafia, who takes on anyone who gets in his way, plays out unflinchingly on screen and is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Check out the Limited Edition on Amazon at - https://amzn.to/46GwHsy

Enter now for a chance to win.

COMPETITION CLOSED


Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 06-11-23
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.

Check out the Limited Edition on Amazon at - https://amzn.to/46GwHsy

The film has been newly restored by Second Sight from a 2K graded scan and the new Limited Edition is presented in a rigid slipcase featuring brand new artwork by Nick Charge, complete with a 70-page book featuring new essays. There’s new and archive commentaries and interviews including the director and Chopper himself, as well as composer Mick Harvey and editor Ken Sallows. All this and more will be featured in this must have collector’s edition. 




COMPETITION: WIN JUSTICE LEAGUE x RWBY: SUPER HEROES & HUNTSMEN, PART TWO ON BLU-RAY™



JUSTICE LEAGUE x RWBY: SUPER HEROES & HUNTSMEN, PART TWO IS AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY™ FROM 30th OCTOBER, AND ON DIGITAL DOWNLOAD FROM 17th OCTOBER

To celebrate its release, we're giving one lucky winner a copy of the latest DC Animated Movie, Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part Two on Blu-Ray™!

Synopsis
Following Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One, the new animated film from Rooster Teeth Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Animation, will see the Justice League and Team RWBY team up again in a whole new environment to take on Grimm, who has arrived on earth with even more powers. 

Joining the voice cast are Jamie Chung (Big Hero 6, Batman: Soul of the Dragon) as Black Canary, David Dastmalchian (Dune, The Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as The Flash, Laura Bailey (The Legend of Vox Machina, Naruto: Shippûden) as Wonder Woman, Troy Baker (The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite) as Batman and Travis Willingham (Critical Role, Sofia The First) as Superman. Returning from Part One are Ozioma Akagha (Teen Titans Go!) as Vixen, Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as Cyborg alongside RWBY mainstays Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle (RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (The Detective is Already Dead) as Blake, and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang. 

Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part Two was co-directed by Yssa Badiola (Camp Camp) and Dustin Matthews (RWBY franchise) from a script penned by Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II). Producers are Kimberly S. Moreau (Legion of Super Heroes), Ethan Spaulding (Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge) and Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) with Laura Yates (Boyhood, RWBY, Red vs. Blue) as supervising producer; and Sam Register and Michael Uslan executive producing.

Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part Two is set for release on Blu-ray™ on 30th October 2023 and on Digital Download on 17th October 2023.

Buy from Amazon at - https://amzn.to/46Gwrd4

For your chance to win a copy of Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part Two on   Blu-ray™, simply answer the following question:

COMPETITION CLOSED




Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 06-11-23
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.

COMPETITION: Win Fatboy Slim documentary, Right Here, Right Now on Blu-ray



Dazzler Media presents Fatboy Slim documentary, Right Here, Right Now, which charts one of the most infamous gigs in dance music history, releasing on Blu-ray, DVD and Download from 30th October!

And to celebrate we have a great competition and 2 copies on Blu-ray to give away.

Synopsis
In 2002, superstar DJ Fatboy Slim organises a free beach party for his hometown of Brighton. 40,000 ravers were expected by the seaside, but a quarter of a million turn up. Chaos ensues...  
 
Right Here, Right Now is the real story behind dance music’s most infamous gig: illustrated through jaw-dropping archive and told by the people who experienced the good, the bad and everything in-between, including Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, John Simm, Vernon Kay and many more. It was the last rave of its kind and it changed dance music forever.

Dazzler Media presents Right Here, Right Now on Blu-ray, DVD and Download-to-Own from 30th October

Buy from Amazon at - https://amzn.to/3ShJP2G

Enter now for a chance to win.

COMPETITION CLOSED



Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 06-11-23
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.

Sunday 22 October 2023

REVIEW: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (2023) - Starring Nia Vardalos and John Corbett

Review by Jon Donnis
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3" takes audiences back into the Portokalos family's whirlwind of humor and heartfelt moments. Directed and written by Nia Vardalos, this third installment in the beloved franchise follows the iconic characters through another series of amusing escapades in Greece. While the film offers its fair share of touching moments and scenic beauty, it falls short in terms of innovation and humour, resulting in a solid, though somewhat lackluster cinematic experience.


The film's strengths lie in its genuine, heartwarming narrative and the stunning Greek backdrop that serves as a visual feast for the eyes. Nia Vardalos and John Corbett reprise their roles as Fotoula "Toula" Portokalos and Ian Miller, delivering sweet and convincing performances that resonate with fans of the franchise. Their chemistry is as strong as ever, adding to the film's charm.

However, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3" leans heavily on nostalgia, revisiting many of the themes and situations that made the original film a hit. While this approach might delight die-hard fans, it doesn't bring anything fresh to the table, making it feel somewhat repetitive.


One noticeable drawback is the film's attempt to incorporate a more modern and "woke" mindset, which may come across as forced and out of touch with the genuine portrayal of Greek culture and life in Greece. This shift can be jarring and may leave audiences rolling their eyes at times.

Additionally, the humor in this installment doesn't quite measure up to the previous films, leaving something to be desired in the laughter department. One recurring issue has been the portrayal of Aunt Voula, played by Andrea Martin, who doesn't quite fit into the Greek context, and her mannerisms may feel inauthentic.


The plot picks up roughly a year after the events of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2," and the family is still coping with the loss of Gus and Ian's father. The film explores family dynamics, relationships, and the rediscovery of their Greek roots as they embark on an unexpected journey to Vrisi. This journey leads to the revelation of a long-hidden family secret, which adds an interesting twist to the story.


In conclusion, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3" is a respectable addition to the franchise that captures the essence of the beloved characters and their comedic family dynamics. While it falls short in delivering new and fresh material, the film does manage to tug at the heartstrings and provide some beautiful visuals of Greece. If you're a fan of the previous films, you'll likely find it worth a watch, but don't expect it to reach the comedic heights of its predecessors. With all its pros and cons considered, this film receives a 6 out of 10.

I also really miss Michael Constantine as Costas "Gus" Portokalos who sadly died in 2021. He really was the star of the first two films and was the person who all us Greeks fell in love with.

Out Now at

Friday 20 October 2023

REVIEW: SAW X (2023) - Starring Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith

Out Now in Cinemas and on Digital at
And out soon on Blu-ray, pre-order now at https://amzn.to/3Qtze2h

Review by Jon Donnis
"Saw X," the tenth installment in the iconic Saw film series, offers a fresh perspective on the Jigsaw legacy while staying true to its gruesome roots. Directed by Kevin Greutert and written by Peter Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg, this film takes a bold step by serving as a direct sequel to the original "Saw" (2004) and a prequel to "Saw II" (2005). With an $13 million budget, the filmmakers embarked on a journey that would both satisfy long-time fans and intrigue newcomers to the franchise.


Tobin Bell's performance as John Kramer/Jigsaw continues to be a highlight of the series, and in "Saw X," he delivers what is arguably his best performance in any of the films. Bell's portrayal is essential to the Saw franchise's success, and it's clear that without his commanding presence, these films would not have achieved the same level of popularity.

One of the film's notable strengths is its shift towards a more balanced storytelling approach. "Saw X" places a greater emphasis on character development and storyline, making it feel more realistic than some of its predecessors. The film has more dialogue and less torture, which adds depth and substance to the plot. This approach keeps the audience engaged and invested in the characters' fates.


Shawnee Smith, returning as Amanda Young, gives a memorable performance and is given an opportunity to showcase her acting prowess in her short but impactful appearance. Her character adds depth to the film's narrative and maintains the continuity of the series.

"Saw X" also succeeds in paying homage to its roots, with numerous "movie Easter eggs" and callbacks to the original film that will delight die-hard fans.

However, there are a few drawbacks to consider. The decision to delve into John Kramer's more human side, driven by his vulnerability due to brain cancer, may not sit well with all fans. While it is an attempt to evolve the character and franchise, it might take away from the character's established mystique as a remorseless killer.


The film's nearly 2-hour runtime might feel a bit long for some horror enthusiasts. Horror films tend to work best when they are compact and deliver shocks without overstaying their welcome. This runtime may test the patience of viewers looking for quick thrills.

In terms of production, "Saw X" is a step forward for the series. The trap designs are more complex than ever, showcasing a commitment to elevating the gore factor. Most of the gruesome scenes are achieved with practical effects, with CGI used only for minor touch-ups, which contributes to the authentic and visceral horror experience.

The plot is a well-crafted blend of suspense, twists, and gore. John Kramer's quest for a cure takes unexpected turns, and the introduction of new characters and the shifting allegiances keep the audience guessing. The traps themselves are creative and brutal, delivering the signature "Saw" shock factor.


In conclusion, "Saw X" successfully balances a fresh take on the Saw franchise with the elements that made it a horror staple. With strong performances, complex trap designs, and a more intricate plot, it deserves an 8 out of 10. While it takes some risks that may not appeal to all fans, it manages to breathe new life into the series and keep it relevant in the world of horror cinema. "Saw X" is a must-see for longtime enthusiasts and those seeking a thrilling, gory experience.

Out Now in Cinemas and on Digital at
And out soon on Blu-ray, pre-order now at https://amzn.to/3Qtze2h

Tuesday 17 October 2023

REVIEW: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (2023) - Starring Benedict Cumberbatch

Review by Jon Donnis
"The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar," a 2023 American fantasy short film directed and co-produced by Wes Anderson, presents a delightful fusion of Anderson's distinctive directorial style and the magical storytelling of Roald Dahl. Based on Dahl's 1977 short story, the film holds true to Anderson's unique visual inventiveness while introducing an original presentation rarely seen in the world of cinema.


The plot centers around Henry Sugar, a wealthy bachelor who funds his gambling habits with his inheritance. Discovering the tale of Imdad Khan, a man with remarkable sight, Henry learns to harness his abilities to read playing cards. He embarks on a philanthropic journey, utilizing his newfound powers to establish charitable ventures worldwide. The film masterfully portrays Henry's extraordinary journey, culminating in a poignant end that blends magic and mortality.

Benedict Cumberbatch shines as the titular Henry Sugar, effectively capturing the character's transformation. Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley, Richard Ayoade, and David Gant deliver solid performances in their respective roles, complementing the film's magical atmosphere.

Anderson's return to Dahl's world showcases how seamlessly his idiosyncratic filmmaking blends with Dahl's enchanting narrative. The director infuses his signature quirkiness, creating a captivating world that pays homage to Dahl's unique charm.

The film stands out for its remarkable visual creativity, exemplifying Anderson's mastery in creating whimsical and visually stunning scenes that transport the audience into a surreal, magical realm. The aesthetic choices and attention to detail add to the film's enchanting appeal.


"The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" impresses with its originality, presenting a narrative format that feels refreshingly new in the cinematic landscape. The film unfolds in a manner that keeps the audience engaged and eager to unravel the story, showcasing Anderson's innovative storytelling techniques.

But not everything is good, sometimes the actors seem to be reciting lines directly from the book, which hampers the immersion into the characters and the story. Adding a personal touch to the characters, beyond the source material, could have elevated the performances and made them more engaging.

Some of the dialogues in the film are delivered too rapidly, making it challenging for the audience to fully grasp the intricacies of the story. A more measured pace in the delivery would have allowed for a smoother viewing experience and enhanced comprehension.

While the film boasts creativity and innovation, the limited budget might disappoint viewers seeking a grander production. Certain aspects could have been more expansive to elevate the film's overall impact.


In summary, "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" is a charming and visually inventive film that successfully brings Dahl's enchanting tale to life, although some performance and pacing issues slightly hinder its potential. With its distinctive style and imaginative storytelling, the film earns a respectable 7 out of 10..

Out Now on Netflix, but you should really get the book as it is much better.