Review Bites Video Vices

Review Bites: The Medium, Amazon’s I Know What You Did Last Summer and the Addams Family

It really doesn’t come close to topping the original Addams Family animated outing from 2019 yet the sequel has enough moments to make it a recommend. Once again, the sharp and stinging Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) is the star of the show.  Scientist Cyrus Strange (Bill Hader ) is obsessed with her scientific genius and will do anything to pick her brain for ideas including stealing her away from her family. Strange’s efforts to court Wednesday away has Gomez (Oscar Isaac) worried so he takes the family on a vacation, road trip across America so they can bond with one another. Although it falls flat in parts and becomes downright idiotic in others, the interactions between the offbeat family and the outside world of normies can be a trip at times.

As you may know by now I am not a fan of most supernatural horror. The overwhelming majority of films that come out of America are so derivative that they are recycling each other’s content nowadays. For me, Asian supernatural horror is where its at. Their films are far more creepier in every way. Like his previous horror films Shutter and Alone, Banjong Pisanthanakun’s The Medium is ghoulish and menacing. For me though, the way the tale of terror is told detracts from the reality we are suppose to be drawn into. Presented as a documentary the movie trails a local medium who is the host to a benevolent ancient spirit. The villagers believe the revered spirit has blessed the medium with special powers and insights so she is worshipped as a wise woman, a doctor and therapist. Things go sideways though when the medium’s niece begins acting strangely. Strangely, as in attacking kids in a playground, eating the family dog and other even more gruesome acts. Our suspension of disbelief is stretched to the breaking point as in order to tell the story the documentary crew has to do some absurd things which leads to some odd situations that just don’t ring true. I am sure that fans of the genre will be able to look past those flaws even though I wasn’t able to and those who can and do will probably enjoy The Medium far more than I did.

For all intents and purposes, the original I Know What You Did Last Summer should have been relegated to the direct-to-video market. What elevated it beyond that fate were the nuclear hot stars at the time Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr. and a screenplay written by Kevin Williamson, the brains behind Scream series, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, The Vampire Diaries, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, etc. Williamson is a horror fan who produces stories for horror fans and that has always given him the edge. Williams and the producers of the first film though were taken to the woodshed by the author of the original book Lois Duncan. Besides the accident which sets everything into motion, the book and movie are as different as Robert Englund’s and Jackie Earle Haley’s Freddy Kruegers. The book was a thriller meant for teens not a killer-on-the-loose slasher novel. In them, a group of friends covers up a fatal accident. Some time later, a mysterious and vengeful stalker threatens to make them pay for their bad decisions and deeds. The situation spirals out of control as the friends try to gather enough clues to unmask the psycho before it is too late.

Knowing all of this it is truly mind-blowing that the new television series by Amazon Studios resembles the original novel even less and is actually worse than the original movie, if you can believe that. The Julie James character is replaced with a set of twins : Madison Iseman as Lennon/Alison. The sisters are complete opposites. One is a soulful, caring person while the other is just plain mean to the point of purposely sleeping with the love of her sister’s life and then throwing the whole sorted mess in her face. Their Scooby Gang of friends are so annoying you wish they had all died in the expected car accident so you didn’t have to endure their absolutely moronic banter, half-witted babble any longer. From who the hit and run victim is to how their body is left to rot in a cave to how long it takes for it to become an actual slasher series, I Know What You Did Last Summer is just torture to sit through especially if you have already seen the films. No horror fan wants to watch insufferable characters postulate about life, the universe and everything in one tedious scene after another. They want scares. They want blood. They want excitement.

When you examine the resumes of everyone involved from the writers, directors and actors it is clear this series was made on the cheap as many of those involved have very little experience to speak of. How bad is this rendition? I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer is a masterpiece compared to it. Yes, it is THAT awful but that’s what happens when you cut corners on a production at every turn and don’t appreciate the source material even if it is shoddy source material to begin with.

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