Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – The Ritual (2017)

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Director:David Bruckner
Starring: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, Sam Troughton, a weird-ass CGI monster

Vomit Incidence: Implied rather than on screen

After the death of a close friend a group of British blokes go on a bonding trip camping in deepest, darkest Sweden. When an injury forces them to detour through a scary forest (dumbasses) the friends begin to suspect that they are being hunted. Hilarity and high-jinks (gruesome deaths) ensue.

This British horror movie was released in the UK last year and is now out here on DVD whereas everywhere else gets it for free on Netflix – bah! Netflix gripes aside though, this is a decent British horror movie (we do occasionally make them) and despite the initial setup being similar to another great Brit horror – The Descent, it soon makes its own mark and by the end of the movie has gone commendably bonkers.

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Rafe was relieved when he realised he wasn’t just making the bloke version of The Descent

There are more than a few genuine scares to be had and the director makes the most of the eerie forest setting (in the process probably putting people off visiting Sweden for life) and the cast freak out convincingly with only a few of the more annoying British script issues in evidence (thankfully I don’t recall this word ‘wanker’ making its unwelcome way into this film). I know some people took issue with the CGI monster but it’s used sparingly and when finally revealed is convincingly batshit insane. I for one do not want to meet the frankly damaged designer who came up with that one.

Said CGI creature has a habit of impaling people on spiky trees and it’s this habit which engenders the only semi-vomit incidence in the film as the characters wander across one of their mates with his insides on the outside. If you need to mute/switch off then best do so just after the first friend has been dragged off into the forest. You have been warned.

There are many, many awful horror films out there on Netflix and DVD, thankfully this isn’t one of them. It’s amusing in places, hellishly bonkers in others and the tension is ratcheted up nicely throughout. A solid watch for a Friday evening.

 

Film Rating: 7/10 – extra point for imaginative (and bonkers) monster design

NB OCD: 2/10 for implied multiple vomiters

 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – The Open House (2018)

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Directors: Matt Angel, Suzanne Coote
Starring: Dylan Minnette, Piercey Dalton
Vomit Incidence: Minor but unnecessary and unpleasant

After his father is killed in a car accident Logan and his mother hit financial difficulties and a relative offers them her holiday home to stay in while she tries to sell it. The catch is that they have to make themselves scarce once a week when there’s an open house. Hence the title of the movie, clever, huh?

Well no, not really, clever is one thing this truly awful movie is not. The premise isn’t bad – someone gets in during an ‘open house’ and doesn’t leave, but the story makes no sense, there is zero tension and even after the end credits roll (if you lasted that long, sadly I did) you will not have any of your questions answered. Who gets in? Why do they stay? Why are the estate agents so shifty? Why do we even care etc etc…

The vomiting (when Logan goes for a run, for those of you who need to mute the sound/fast-forward/stab yourself in the eyes with forks) does nothing for the movie, except for allowing Logan to bump into the weirdo old lady who supposedly lives next door (does she? Who knows?).

All in all this really is one of the worst movies I have seen on Netflix (and that is quite some feat considering I watched ‘Nails’ the other day). Avoid at all costs.

 

Film Rating: 1/10 (for a decent premise)

NB OCD: 3/10 mild, unnecessary vomiting

 

Sick Sense Reviews

5 Reasons You Should Be Watching Gotham

Gotham

Billed as the story of Jim Gordon before Batman, the Gotham TV show has seemingly struggled to gain the buzz of the other DC TV outings such as The Flash, Arrow and Supergirl. As a massive fan of the show I’m going to give you 5 reasons why I consider Gotham to be better than every other DC show around. By the end of this hopefully you’ll all want to p-p-p-p-pick up a Penguin too…

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1 – The Casting

I watch a lot of TV shows, I mean A LOT, and I can’t think of one with better casting than Gotham. Cockney kickass Sean Pertwee as Alfred? Perfect. Adorable yet amazingly self-assured David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne/Baby Batman, spot on. The villains too, a major part of the Batman universe and relatively easy to mess up (yes, I’m looking at you Batman Forever) have been note perfect to date.

Of course I can’t conclude this section without mentioning another key section of characters so often effed up in superhero shows but knocking it out of the park in Gotham – the strong female characters. Yes, finally we have some! From Bruce’s catty sweetheart Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) through the S & M stylings of Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) to Jim Gordon’s psychotic ex Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) and not forgetting the unkillable (nearly) Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), the girls of Gotham are NOT to be messed with. Well, not unless you like having your body parts removed one by one that is. Bravo ladies.

 

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2 – The Tone

The tone of shows and films set in Gotham over the years has varied somewhat drastically (understatement of the decade). You have the wonderfully camp sixties Batman, the gothic gloom of Burton’s films and the more realistic (Chicago-looking) tone of Nolan’s film versions and the….well… Lego tone of Lego Batman. Our Gotham has sensibly toned down the gothic a little (Arkham Asylum notwithstanding) but kept some of the glorious lunacy of the sixties. It’s difficult not to when you have villains with names like The Riddler, Dr Strange (no, not THAT one) and The Scarecrow running around murdering people.

On the whole though I’d say that the show gets the balance between the darkness and light just about right. There’s a lot of humour which keeps the show from going all Snyder on us. Phew.

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3 – The Deaths

There are A LOT of deaths in Gotham. The mortality rate must be through the roof. We’ve had shootings, stabbings, disembowellings, defenestration (look it up), poisoning and, my personal favourite courtesy of Penguin, death by rocket launcher. Of course this is Gotham though, so death isn’t always permanent. It seems to be mainly the villains who get reanimated, much to everyone’s relief in Season 2 when ‘the guy everyone assumed was going to turn into The Joker’, Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) was unduly offed by one of my favourite characters – Theo Galavan. “No!” We all shouted (or I did anyway) until we realised that Hugo Strange was keeping the best villains on ice for later use. Hoorah!

Anyways, it goes without saying that Gotham is not always for the faint-hearted. There’s blood, creeps and good old fashioned murder in pretty much every episode. I love it.

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4 – The Penguin

I had to pick my favourite villain for this bit and, although given a close run by Edward Nygma aka The Riddler (the absolutely spectacular Cory Michael Smith), there was only ever one baddie that was going to get a whole section to himself. It had to be the one and only Oswald Cobblepot otherwise known as The Penguin and played to perfection by Robin Lord Taylor. If this show wasn’t called Gotham and it wasn’t about baby Batman and Jim Gordon, it could easily have been called ‘The Rise and Fall, and Rise Again and Another Fall of Oswald Cobblepot”. OK, so it’s not as snappy a title but it’s pretty accurate.

Penguin has been in the show since the beginning and, despite the numerous murders and atrocious acts Batman’s future nemesis has committed he’s still managed to remain a sympathetic character. It’s a testament to Robin Lord Taylor’s performance that this version of Penguin has become my favourite. It’s no mean feat to out-penguin Danny Devito. An honourable mention should also go to Gotham’s hairstylist. Is it just me or does Penguin’s hair reinvent itself every time he does? Loving the season 4 spikes by the way.

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5 – The Batman

OK, so I can’t rave on about a show about the evolution of Batman without talking about the (not quite) caped crusader. It’s taken a while (3 whole seasons) and a lot of ‘on the job’ learning (including clones, beatings, broken hearts and batcave discoveries) but our little Bruce Wayne is finally ready to take his first steps into crime fighting at the start of Season 4.

OK, so his mask is a little off (by which I mean crap) and his cape wafting technique needs a little work but he has the ninja skills, the refusal to kill people (Snyder take notes here) and the glowery pouting of The Batman down pat. He’s also gathered that an important part of fighting crime is standing on the edge of tall buildings looking pensive. So what’s missing? Well it’s the Bruce Wayne persona that needs a little work. He’s too bloody nice to people. Bless him. I suspect that will come in time and I, for one, look forward to seeing this in Season 5 (hint hint FOX).

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New hair, don’t care

 

So there you have it, five reasons you should be watching this underrated show. So what are you still doing here? UK people, Season 3 is finally available on Netflix so get watching.*

 

*  I wanted to include a ‘same bat-time’ reference here, but I ran out of brain.

 

Zoe Butcher

@thezoverlord 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

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Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Bradley Cooper, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan and (sort of) Vin Diesel
Vomit incidence: Minor but unnecessary

The Guardians, on the run after Rocket nicks a few batteries from an uppity gold-painted race of narcissists, are thrown a curveball with the appearance of Quill’s father, who just happens to be a living planet. Because of course he is.

Not quite as universally adored as the first Guardians movie, this outing still proved highly entertaining with a surprising emotional punch. Newcomers to the franchise, Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha) and Kurt Russell (Ego, who else?) more than hold their own against the returning cast but for me the stand out performance comes from the ever-fabulous Michael Rooker as Yondu, Quill’s de facto dad. He also gets the best action sequence – that fin/arrow combo is nifty!

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Grumpy blue asshat vs grumpy furry asshat

One of the elements not quite hitting the mark was the soundtrack, a big part of the first film’s success, the awesome mix on volume 2 falls a bit flat. With the exception of ELO’s fabulous Mr Blue Sky over the film’s opening sequence, the other songs didn’t really stand out. I’m a big 80s music fan and I think the selection here let the movie down a little.

Much was made in the lead up to the release (and in the merchandising) of Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). He is cute as a little wooden button, but a tad overused. One of his scenes in particular seems to go on forever. OK guys, we get it, he’s cute with a temper and some sort of mental impairment. Move on.

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Yes, he’s adorable, we get it.

It also happens to be the aforementioned tree toddler who provides the movie’s main vomit moment. Apparently warping too much makes him airsick. Great. An honourable mention should also go to the long running (and arguably unnecessary/vaguely sexist) Drax joke about how ugly Mantis is. He doesn’t puke but he does gag a lot.

I might sound a bit negative in this review but I really did enjoy the movie, even more so second time around. The casting was impeccable, the emotional element worked well but the first film was so refreshing and fun that the sequel really needed to up the ante a bit more and take a few risks. Kurt Russell turning up in a giant egg just wasn’t enough.

I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!

 

Film Score: 7/10

NB OCD: 3/10 – even Baby Groot’s vomit is almost cute