Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Upgrade (2018)

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Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Melanie Vallejo, Harrison Gilbertson
Written and Directed by: Leigh Whannell
Vomit Incidence: One, corpse-related

After his wife is killed and he is paralysed during a robbery, Grey Trace receives a spinal implant which enables him to both walk again and revenge-murder people with impressive fighting skills. Implant soon to be available on the NHS….

Ooh this is a great movie. I loved it (much more than Mandy if I’m being honest – but then I usually do prefer a decent story over artwank). Logan Marshall-Green (I’ll save you the trip to IMDB, he was Shocker in Spider-Man Homecoming, you’re welcome) makes for an excellent protagonist. From the physical aspect – yes that’s exactly how I imagine you would move if your body was being controlled by an AI chip that hasn’t done this sort of thing before, to the emotional – whaaa stop killing people this is gross! etc, Marshall-Green is spot on. Creepy tech genius (and apparent young Leonardo DiCaprio clone) Eron Keen is nicely played by Harrison Gilbertson and the bad guys lead by Benedict Hardie as Fisk (no, not that Fisk, another one) are pretty damn horrible.

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Coming from horror veteran Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious) there was always going to be gore and, even by my standards, Grey inflicts an awful lot of damage on the bad guys. All in gruesome close-up. Lovely. The fight scenes are well executed and zippy. Sentient robot chips apparently have BADASS ninja skills. You might (like I did) see the plot twist coming a mile off but you probably won’t guess the second one. So I’ll keep quiet on that.

Vomit-wise there’s only one incident to worry about – just have your finger on the mute button/ cushion of denial at the ready after Grey kills someone for the first time. Not nice. Not nice at all.

I would totally recommend this film to anyone who likes horror or sci-fi. It’s a brilliant, well thought out movie and I look forward to seeing Logan Marshall-Green a lot more in the future. Also more Leigh Whannell please!

 

Film Rating: 9/10 (Loss of point for unnecessary vomiting in sink)

NB OCD: 3/10 – Unpleasant but well-telegraphed

 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Mandy

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Where: Limited Release in Cinemas, also available On Demand
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Vomit Incidence: Minor blood spewing, also cheddar

A couple living an idyllic life in an isolated woodland cabin run into a bunch of drug-addled cult members. Things do not end well. For anyone.

This film is bonkers, seriously bonkers but utterly mesmerising. There’s plenty of gore for horror fans (chainsaws all over the place), plenty of innovative and gorgeous cinematography choices for film fans and plenty of scenery chewing for Nicolas Cage fans. The plot might be a bit thin (it’s your standard revenge story with added artwank) but in the end that doesn’t really matter. Who wouldn’t watch a movie where Cage gets to forge his own death-axe? I mean c’mon.

Although the overall visual style of the movie is the real star, the cast do their best to weird you the fuck out with their seriously creepy characters. Special mention to Andrea Riseborough as Mandy. She might not make it to the end of the film but her haunting presence continues to be felt until the credits roll. Linus Roache also has a lot of fun as cult leader Jeremiah (clearly some sort of American Idol reject gone bad). I also let out a little cheer when Cage detours off to see Bill Duke (MAC!!!) to  get his crossbow back for reasons (yes, this makes no sense, but who cares, it’s Mac from Predator!).

The vomiting is relatively minor for this genre of film. There’s some blood-spewing when people are being stabbed/decapitated/gouged etc but the main offence comes from a TV advert. Yup, you read that right. After the titular character is offed in unpleasant fashion (NOT a spoiler – it’s a revenge movie) Cage wanders back into his house and on the TV there is THE MOST REVOLTING AD FOR CHEESE YOU WILL EVER SEE. You may never eat cheese again after this. Well I did, but that’s only because I would literally cease to exist without cheese, it’s my main food group.

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Say cheese!

Overall an entertainingly bloody revenge horror, clearly destined for cult status with a slightly more understated performance from Cage than we’re used to (last 30 minutes notwithstanding), this is deserving of a space on any horror or film fan’s watch list. Just not one for fans of macaroni cheese.

 

Film rating: 7/10 (points deducted for cheese-abuse and unnecessary horn).

NB OCD: 5/10 – HOW DARE YOU DO THAT TO CHEESE!?

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Sharp Objects

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Available: HBO / Sky Atlantic
Starring: Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Eliza Scanlen, Chris Messina
Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn
Vomit Incidence: Episodes 3, 7 and all over the bloody place in episode 8

An alcoholic reporter is sent back to her southern US hometown to write a story about a series of child disappearances. This means reuniting with her dysfunctional family and dealing with the fallout as she uncovers the town’s secrets.

I recently blasted through this series based on a recommendation from a co-worker. I hadn’t originally picked up on it as I wasn’t a big fan of ‘Gone Girl’, author Gillian Flynn’s other famous novel – the book wasn’t very subtle and the film cast Ben Affleck which, for me, is the cinematic equivalent of sticking pins in my eyes.  But I was intrigued by Sharp Objects and, with the promise that there was only vomiting in episode 8 (lies, all lies), I watched. And got hooked.

As a ‘whodunnit’ it’s relatively slow-paced but as a study of an abusive and sometimes downright evil family it’s fascinating. The run-down small southern town adds a sense of claustrophobia, the flashbacks to reporter Camille’s past add mystery (kudos for casting the young Beverley from ‘IT’as the young Camille – perfect) and, until the last two episodes you have no idea where the show is going, except that it’s nowhere happy. The cast are all superb, Amy Adams is on top form as Camille and Patricia Clarkson is just terrifying as her mother, Adora. I don’t think I’ve seen a higher quality production this year with the exception of Better Call Saul.

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Vomit Warning

OK, so, I can’t go too much into this without totally spoiling the plot but there’s one incidence in episode three which is telegraphed in advance and one in episode seven which is also easy to predict but, and it’s a BIG but, episode eight is pretty much wall to wall vomit for the first half hour. I can’t say why without ruining it for you, but can say that I  spent most of this time watching on mute with my elbow in front of my face. So if you’re an emetophobe be prepared to miss some vital dialogue at the end! Sorry guys.

Less trashy and obvious than Gone Girl and not an Affleck in sight, vomiting notwithstanding, I would definitely recommend this show to fans of drama, murder mysteries and anyone with a weird family. Trust me, this lot will make you thankful for your lot!

 

TV Show Score: 9/10

NB OCD: 8/10 – Eight, for episode eight. Watch it but remember I warned you!

 

 

 

 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Jessica Jones Season 2 (with Spoilers)

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Where: Netflix

Starring: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville, JR Ramirez, Carrie-Anne Moss, Janet McTeer, Callum Keith Rennie, Rebecca De Mornay (yes, that one), John Ventimiglia, Terry Chen and Hal Ozsan

Vomit Incidence: Episodes 5 & 6, people, avoid episodes 5 & 6!!!

The super-powered anti-social alcoholic private investigator returns in this second season of Jessica Jones delivered in 13 binge-worthy episodes, but it is any good? Does the (spoiler alert) demise of her nemesis Kilgrave (David Tennant) at the end of season one mean that Marvel’s sulkiest superhero has lost her mojo? I’ve watched all thirteen episodes over the course of two weeks and I’m sadly going to have to go with – yeah, kinda.

I enjoyed the first season, I really did. I even (this causes me actual physical pain) loved David Tennant as Jessica’s nemesis – the mind-controlling Kilgrave. The noir style was well done, the characters were engaging and Krysten Ritter was spot-on as Jessica, in short, everything worked really well together. Season two however is the complete opposite. The first six episodes are painfully average and the content could have been covered in one maybe two episodes max. The remaining seven episodes are redeemed only by the relationship between Jessica and Alisa (the superb Janet McTeer) and Krysten Ritter’s performance.

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It’s almost as if they took a look at what made the first season so good then went ‘fuck it, let’s do the complete opposite!’. We don’t need an antagonist for the hero to beat (yeah you do), we can ditch the noir night shoots for most of the episodes (wtf?), we don’t need to have Jessica investigate any actual cases (still do), also everyone wants to see stuck up self-absorbed Trish relapse into drug addiction then get super-powers like she does in the comics (no, we don’t). Gah.

Even the addition of Janet McTeer as Jessica’s re-animated she-hulk mother didn’t provide the much needed spark. Despite a promising start as Alisa jumps about murdering people to protect the creepy-ass doctor who created her (think the Frankenstein plot but not as clever) she’s relegated to the odd comedy aside and a clunky redemption (really, they happened across a replica of the car crash that nearly killed them both, did they? How convenient). There were some really nice moments between mother and daughter, especially towards the end, but it should have been a side plot, alongside some sort of bad guy to defeat.

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Speaking of bad guys, much was made of Kilgrave’s return in this season. In fact he’s only in one episode, and he’s not alive,  just a David Tennant-shaped vision taunting Jessica when she’s under pressure. And it’s not even creepy little shit Kilgrave, which we know Tennant can do well, we get comedy ‘end seasons of Doctor Who’ Kilgrave instead. Some subtlety would have been nice.

I’m aware this has been a bit of a negative rant, but that’s only because Jessica Jones was one of my favourite new Marvel characters when season one came out. She’s like my spirit animal (apart from the drinking – doesn’t go well with vomit-phobia, drinking) and I feel a bit let down after watching these latest 13 episodes. Ritter is still fantastic but she really isn’t given anything exciting to do. If they get a third season (not sure about that myself) here’s hoping they either dredge up a decent bad guy for her to fight or (never thought I’d hear myself say this) bring back David Tennant. The show needs him.

 

Show rating: 4/10 – disppointing lack of coherence and bad guys

NB OCD: 5/10 Trish’s drug habit giving rise to several unpleasant interludes in episodes 5 and 6 and one even commits the heinous act of cutting straight to vomiting WITH NO WARNINGS. Dammit, people. That is NOT ON.

 

 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Annihilation (2018)

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Director: Alex Garland
Starring: Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac
Vomit Incidence: Two – bloody and noisy

After her soldier husband returns from a secret mission near to death a biologist signs up for a dangerous foray into an unstable environmental anomaly hoping to find answers which could save him.

OK, first things first, A LOT has been said about this film only getting a Netflix release in the UK, rather than a cinema one as in the US. So bloody what? Some of us much prefer the comfort of our own sofas and relish the lack of human contact we normally would have to endure on a trip to the cinema. Yay for Netflix I say!

But is it any good? Actually it really is. Not that I was too worried, Alex Garland has a pretty decent track record and Natalie Portman is usually a good indicator of quality material (Thor 2 notwithstanding). The film is part sci-fi, part horror and features all female leads which is fantastic to see, even if one of them seems to have overdosed on mood-stabilisers for some reason.

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Gritty female Ghostbusters reboot gets the go-ahead.

I can’t divulge too many plot details for fear of spoiling it for you but if you’re of a nervous disposition then you may want to hide behind a cushion when the bear turns up (another benefit of Netflix film releases – can’t really hide behind cushions in the cinema). You also might want to have the headache tablets ready for the end of the film, it is truly beautiful but utterly mind-boggling.

Emetophobes be warned, the vomiting occurs within the first 30 minutes of the film. Watch out for Oscar Isaac after he has a drink of water and the Natalie Portman waking up from her sedation. You have been warned. Also if you’re not a big fan of wiggly viscera and people with half a face, this may not be the ideal movie for you.

Vomiting and migraines aside, this is an imaginative and thoughtful sci-fi movie and the visuals are absolutely stunning. The ending might be a little confusing and leave us with more questions than answers but then sometimes that can be a good thing. More films from Mr Garland please – whatever format they are released in they are first class.

 

Film rating: 8/10 (loses a point for a slow first 20 minutes)

NB OCD: 5/10 – Vomiting is bad enough but bloody vomit – that’s just plain unnecessary. 

 

 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Veronica (2017)

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Director: Paco Plaza
Starring: Sandra Escacena, Bruna Gonzalez, Claudia Placer, Ivan Chavero
Vomit incidence: One, minor

A teenage girl already charged with looking after her three younger siblings makes life infinitely worse for herself when she attempts to contact her dead father via Ouija board. During a solar eclipse. Duh.

You can probably tell from the above précis that I have seen A LOT of films where someone (usually a teenage girl) thinks that contacting dead people using a glass and some cardboard is a great idea. It honestly never is.

This Spanish horror film, despite the marketing campaign suggesting that people have been so terrified they have had to switch off, really isn’t scary at all. The cast is uniformly excellent (especially the young siblings) and the ideas are solid but there’s nothing here we haven’t seen before. OK, there’s the solar eclipse angle but, apart from providing some initial spookiness, this is never really explored. Even ‘Sister Death’ the obligatory blind psychic nun (every movie should have one) doesn’t really have much input.

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Malevolent spirits can be picky eaters 

The very minor vomit incidence occurs when the malevolent spirit decides that Veronica shouldn’t be eating meatballs. Sadly this is one of the better scenes so you will either have to steel yourself or miss out. Sorry guys but I survived it, you will too.

I know I’ve been a bit churlish about Veronica in this review but it’s not a bad movie. The spirit is suitably menacing and the actors do a great job of making you care; you really do feel for Veronica by the end. But if you’re looking for a scary movie you’re probably best off watching The Ritual instead. Sorry Vero.

 

Film rating: 7/10 – lose one point for allowing a four year old with the attention span of a lettuce to draw the all-important protection symbols on the walls.

NB OCD: 2/10 – Unpleasant but endurable tomato sauce regurgitation

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Deadpool (2016)

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Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein
Vomit Incidence: Minor but irritating

A wisecracking mercenary with terminal cancer undergoes torturous experimental treatment at the hands of a sadistic British villain and emerges as a disfigured superhuman on a revenge mission with a truckload of nob gags for good measure.

I saw this movie in the cinema for Valentine’s Day and I loved it. After the first godawful outing for Marvel’s ‘Merc with a Mouth’ (where they stitched up said mouth so he couldn’t speak – go figure) Ryan Reynolds finally got to bring his pet mutant to the masses and he did not disappoint. Despite being rated ‘R’  in the US and 15 in the UK, the film deservedly took the box office by storm and spawned the currently filming sequel.

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This is what happens every time someone says ‘Green Lantern’

The film’s budget might not have stretched to the full line-up of lycra-clad X-Men to assist Mr Pool, but they managed to pick two interesting mutants to add to the mix. Colossus (finally done right) the hulking metal man with delicate sensitivities (more on those in a moment) and the girl with the best superhero name ever: Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Brought along to rein in Deadpool’s antics (good luck with that) the two end up helping him in his quest to bring down the man who tortured him, Ajax aka Francis (the magnificent Ed Skrein).

Although the car attack sequence and the obligatory end battle bring some well-crafted action to the film, it’s the humour that lifts it consistently above your average superhero fare. Although not for everyone (lots of swearing, violence and a year-long sex scene apparently don’t appeal to all movie goers), I laughed out loud more times during the opening credits than I have during any film in the past ten years. Fourth wall breaks, Hugh Jackman gags and even jibes at the star, Deadpool has ’em all.

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Mean comment

However, this film does come with a warning for emetophobes. For some reason it was decided that a good way to demonstrate Colossus’ soft side / get some more laughs was to SPOILER ALERT have him throw up after Deadpool shoots Francis in the head at the end of the final battle. Oh Pool, and we were so enjoying the movie up until that point, despite our OCD being triggered by you hiding a ring up your butt at the beginning. Gah. Needless to say I didn’t laugh at Colossus. I just crossed my arms and freaked out quietly in my seat.

Superhero Landing.

 

Film Score: 9/10

NB OCD: 4/10 for unnecessary puking and hiding stuff up bottoms

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – It Comes At Night

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A family live a secluded but safe existence while an unspecified threat terrorises the world, until a couple with a young son appear and ask for their help. Cue everything going to hell in a depressing apocalyptic hand-basket.

I hadn’t seen the trailer or read the blurb going in to this film so I was, rather optimistically, expecting an atmospheric horror movie with some nasty psycho-monster attacking people at night (clearly I was watching totally the wrong film with IT in the title). I was also encouraged by the presence of Joel Edgerton who was so impressive in 2015 movie ‘The Gift’. My hopes were dashed pretty much instantly however with the appearance of this chap:

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It came at night and got this guy good.

Oh great, another world-ending virus movie then. Bugger. Because if there’s one thing we all know about world-ending viruses – it’s that they make people puke blood. Great.

In actual fact there isn’t a massive amount of blood-spewing present here which would be good news if it weren’t for the unfortunate fact that there isn’t much of a story here either. The ‘It’ mentioned in the title is never really explained (what is It, why does It come at night? Why am I watching It rather than IT?) and the story focuses on paranoia and mistrust instead. Not a bad idea but other movies have done it better. Edgerton does a decent job of making you feel for the main character but he doesn’t get a lot to do, apart from glower, wave firearms about and murder old people.

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It’s night, so it’s coming. What is it? Fucked if I know.

On the whole I wouldn’t recommend this movie either to horror fans or to emetophobes. Not enough horror for the former and too much upchucking for the latter. Also as a side note, not related to sick, let the above picture serve as a warning to animal lovers. There is a dog in this movie, and we all know how that ends. Probably best not to watch.

 

Film Score: 5/10

NB OCD: 5/10

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Alien (1979)

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Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, Ian Holm
Vomit Incidence: Robotic goo and Alien-induced blood spatter

A deep space mining vessel receives an unidentified signal. Assuming it to be a distress call they land on a desolate planet only to find they aren’t the first life forms to do so. Hilarity ensues. Just kidding, it really doesn’t.

I have to admit, this isn’t so much of as review as it is an unadulterated fangirling. Alien is my favourite movie of all time, although I have to be the only person in history to have been relieved when John Hurt had an alien explode from his insides as I had been worrying he was about to throw up.

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Worst case of indigestion. EVER.

Very few films have truly earned the title ‘genre-defining’ in the way that Alien has. Since 1979 every single sci-fi or horror film has borrowed from it somehow and yet no one has quite managed to replicate the tension or the atmosphere. A few dodgy practical effects aside (the alien definitely looks like a tall bloke in a hat a couple of times) this film is utter perfection and I have to watch it at least once a year.

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Ripley’s germ phobia was getting the better of her again.

Emetotophobes beware though. There is some associated blood upchucking when the alien emerges from John Hurt but not enough to worry me. What did freak me out however, and what you may wish to skip through, is when Ash (Ian Holm) goes homicidal. The resulting robotic goo-spew was unpleasant and (as ever) pretty unnecessary. Yes, we get it, robots are filled with white shit. We didn’t need it demonstrated in this fashion thank you.

I’d like to finish this sick sense review by warning you never to watch Prometheus or Alien: Covenant. Not because of vomiting, because they’re shit.

 

Film Score: 10/10

NB OCD: 3/10