DVD Review – Pay the Ghost (2015)

Academy Award winner Nicholas Cage stars as Mike Lawson, a too cool for school/college lecturer and absent father/husband. His family unit consists of darling wife Kristen (Sarah Wayne Callies) and cheerful chappie son Charlie (Jack Fulton).

The family dynamic is ruined when Mike loses their son during a hectic New York street carnival during Halloween. Charlie joins the list of several children that have disappeared during the last night of October.

Over the course of a year Mike becomes a shell of his former self as desperately exhausts every avenue in search of his son. As Halloween approaches, Mike starts seeing visions of his Charlie and he’s delivered the message – Pay the Ghost.

Based on a novella, director Uli Edel brings us a pretty general horror story of a broken family assembled of Nicholas Cage and The Walking Dead actress Sarah Wayne Callies. The film documents their desperate search, whether its harassing homeless people living underground to paying a scabby crackhead for anything info. Bringing in Medium wasn’t much help to them either!

The scares? Well it’s a mixture of jump scares, CGI vultures, creepy cabins and Ghost scooters, well ghosts riding scooters. Some of the frights come from physical effects, for example, when the lead detective portrayed SAW franchise actor Lyriq Bent is quizzing mother of missing child in a Chinese restaurant the first mention of a ghost one of the cookers bursts into flames and flares towards the mother! Yikes!

Acting is decent, can’t fault Cage, Callie and even that bloke from the SAW films all bring the intensity to their given roles. I can’t say a bad word against the casting, yeah we can all joke that it’s Nic Cage Paying His Mortgage but lets be honest – he’s done worse.

Special features consist of a thirty minute Behind the Scenes is a mixture of movie clips alongside snippets from the main cast, director and producers explaining the plot of the film, highlights casting, experiences with the director etc. It’s a throwaway piece that doesn’t really provide much to the movie from other than the cast really liked the director and the director really liked the cast – Stop being such a perfect production! Give me something interesting to write about, sake!

Overall Pay the Ghost is a throw-away horror film – it’s worth a watch online if you like to see what Lori Grimes is up to nowadays.

2.5/5

DVD Review – Elimination Game (2014)

In the future where reality TV has reached its summit Turkey Shoot, where people are hunting and killing one another to entertain the world! Live… Death. The latest contestant is disgraced veteran, Rick Tyler (Dominic Purcell) a man sentenced to death for horrific war crimes. In the first ‘level’ he’s dropped in the Appalachian Mountains against three top killers from across the globe and a decorated US marine sniper; Ramrod (Robert Taylor)!

Tyler surprises everyone by breezing through the competition in the first level and he even leaves Ramrod embarrassed in front of the nation. Turns out there’s history between Ramrod and Tyler, it seems Tylers backstory might not be what the tabloids are telling us.

X: Night of Vengeance writer/director Jon Hewitt delivers us ELIMINATION GAME aka TURKEY SHOOT. Turkey Shoot is a remake of THE original Turkey Shoot from 1982. Nowadays films like this titled Elimination Game is easily packaged and shot out into the world as a clone along the lines of Running Man, Battle Royale – hell you can even try and compare it to The Condemned!

It’s not a game changer when compared to those above titles, Purcell is stone faced and doesn’t really seem that concerned whether he’s good or bad. Can he be an innocent man when he’s ploughing through sets of deadly killers and martial arts experts without a moment’s hesitation?

Our leading lady is played by Spartacus: War of the Damned actress Viva Bianca, she too doesn’t bring much to the table and honestly she doesn’t lessen the viewing experience. She’s just there – which sounds horrible, but at least with her roles in shows like Spartacus she had an interesting character, they did interesting things – you felt something for those characters. But in the Elimination Game she just never captured my attention as much as I hoped.

The action and the editing isn’t up to scratch, when Tyler is first put to work in the first level the editing is fast and the ‘contact’ shots are showing repeatedly from several angles, none of them flattering. Then towards the end when they’ve reached the ‘final’ level it’s essentially turned into violent security cam footage montage of someone in a hoodie ducking bullet shots and disabling several attackers, it doesn’t even look like Purcell fighting at this point.

For only being 90 minutes long Elimination Game does slump, they do throw a lot of action and explosions, but it’s not exciting enough.

Altitude Film Entertainment are handling the DVD release of Elimination Game and there’s no special features other than the trailer for film. It’s a write off I’m sorry, but hey if you’re bored and it’s on Netflix go-ahead, well check to see if they still have Battle Royale first. Priorities.

1.5/5

DVD Review – Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

Set before the insidious events of the Lambert family, we’re told the story of Elise Rainiers (Lin Shaye) involvement with the Brenner family. The family is made up of a widowed father (Dermot Mulroney) and his teenage children, Quinn (Stefanie Scott) and Alex (Tate Berney). The story focusses around the older daughter Quinn and her continual believe that her mother is trying to contact her from the other side.

Quinn seeks out Elise to see if her physic talent could be enough to make contact with her mother. Although it’s not Quinn’s mother that’s there it’s someone else, someone desperate and sick. In a cruel twist of fate Quinn is struck by a car and left bed-bound, luckily for her new found admirer plans on keeping her company.

Insidious actor Leigh Whannell becomes the triple threat in his directing debut as well as writer and producer for Insidious: Chapter 3. To be honest, now I’ve seen I found myself enjoying it more than expected and more enjoyable than the second film.

I love the bed bound element of story, that adds a high level of claustrophobia to Stefanie Scotts character as she’s being stalked by this demon known solely as the The Man Who Can’t Breathe. I was glad that they broke away from the Darth Maul style demon, makes complete sense since they’ve not reached the Lamberts yet.

The design of The Man Who Can’t Breathe is great, the oxygen mask that seems to have his decaying skin growing over it, his skeleton thin frame and the sickly liquid gargling sounds of his breathing will put the frighteners up you.

My favourite scene in particular with the demon is when he’s flung Quinn from her bed and the camera is fixed on Quinn on the bedroom floor, the simple touches of seeing the demon walking slowly around the room drawing the curtains, closing the door and lastly closing the laptop before attacking the girl just made me ill.

The Insidious: Chapter 3 DVD comes with a nice collection of special features, we’ve got segments covering everything from the high school indy rock band that produced the creepy song for the film to a psychic medium wondering around a hotel telling us what he sees. No, I’m not shitting you. Other features include segments on the make-up/costume design, the car crash stunts and a nice in-depth 20 minute making of.

The DVD also comes with three deleted scenes totalling to around 5-6 minutes fleshing out some scenes like Quinn and her friend racking through her dads wardrobe, Quinn being checked up in hospital and Specs & Tucker explaining their backstory to the Brenners.

The acting isn’t amazing, but really it’s not the reason why we’re watching this movie. Overall Insidious: Chapter 3 it’s not over-long and it’s actually a pretty decent film if you enjoy the antics of Specs & Tucker meeting Elise and forming their Scoobie Do gang!