Review Bites Reviews Video Vices

Review Bites: Descent franchise, Croc!, Grimcutty, Smile, Werewolf By Night, Speak No Evil

The Descent (2005)

Absolutely claustrophobic with some really cool stunts too this pulse-pounding flick has a group of female adventurers exploring a treacherous underground cave system and fending off the savage subterranean creatures who live there. If you can get over the fact that the monsters kind of resemble Gollum from Lord of the Rings you will be drawn into The Descent not just because of the threat they represent on their own but the situations our heroes find themselves in the caves.

Most horror films aren’t really that scary. They might be thrilling or shocking but not many are frightening though. Not knowing what lurks around every corner or what could be waiting in the darkness at every turn is why The Descent is so terrifying that you might catch yourself holding your breath as the characters fight for their very lives with no one to rescue them.

Watch on: Shudder, Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, dark side of the internet.

The Descent Part 2 (2009)

In all honesty, this film should never have been made. It devalues the original film in so many ways. Especially since it fundamentally alters some of the key moments in the first film. All in all, it is a real letdown.

Against her better judgement, a frightened Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) joins a rag-tag rescue party who is intent on locating survivors from the misadventures in the first installment if they can just get past their own infighting. There isn’t much care or attention here and some of the shock value is gone because we know exactly what is waiting for everyone in those dark and precarious caves. It is not that The Descent Part 2 is a bad movie. It isn’t. It just doesn’t have the same impact as the first although it is more gorier, which too isn’t a bad thing.

Watch on: Shudder, Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, dark side of the internet

Croc! (2022)

Croc? How about Crap? A wedding party consisting of awful actors and cardboard characters is stalked by a junky CGI crocodile that has one or two animations at most on file and that’s it. The production is so bargain-basement that most of the croc attacks involve the actors screaming and thrashing about as the camera purposely hides the actual body part being gnawed off to hide the fact that they spent the film’s entire budget on the location and a junky CGI crocodile so they don’t have money for practical special effects. Decline any invitation to this wedding.

Watch on: VOD, dark side of the internet.

Speak No Evil (2022)

Slow burn? How about lethargic burn?

A very lengthy and extreme take on politeness and meek, apologetic personalities.

You can telegraph the path this story will take almost from the start when a Dutch family is invited to spend the weekend with a “care-free” family they met briefly on vacation. The screws are turned and the tension rises after each “misunderstanding”.

Many of the crucial decisions the characters make are beyond bewildering but the last 15 minutes are genuinely harrowing and disturbing. A compelling and perhaps darkly satirical study of people-pleasers but not worth a second viewing due to how many times you thought…Get out of the house! I bet it is more than you did while watching Poltergeist.

Watch on: Shudder, dark side of the internet.

Smile (2022)

After all the hype, such a letdown. Smile does have its moments – like that birthday scene – but overall just another surprisingly bland recycling of superior Asian horror’s “curse films” like The Grudge, The Ring, One Missed Call, etc, that are often poorly duplicated but never replicated in America. You have seen this all before and done better before. There is nothing special or remarkable about this film.

Grimcutty (2022)

Americans need to stop trying to recycle Asian curse, horror movies. The majority of them come off as uninspired rip-offs like Smile above and this rubbish. While we are at it, streaming services need to quit cheaping out on the talent, including the directors, they hire. It always shows in the final product.

TV episode and short film director John Ross tells the braindead and laughable story of an internet meme (Grimcutty of the title) that comes to life and terrorizes teens, children and their lunatic helicopter parents. One of those teens, Sara Wolfkind as Asha Chaudhry, her pal Tracy Johnston (Brenda Schmid) and her brother Callan Farris as Kamran Chaudhry are the only believable characters in the entire film. Characters who take reasonable action against a ludicrous threat that looks like a monster from the PS2 versions of Silent Hill or The Suffering, great games with graphics have aged badly when it comes to today’s standards.

The grown-ups, especially Usman Ally and Shannyn Sossamon as Asha’s parents, are all over-the-top, silly and just plain thick-headed and stupid in everything they say and everything they do. They have no business raising a guinea pig never mind children.

Grimcutty tries to be cool, hip and on trend but instead it is just a boomer’s inane view of social media, teenage life, parenting and modern technology. The only thing this film offers is a few cheap laughs.

Watch on: Hulu, dark side of the internet.

Werewolf By Night (2022)

Marvel does right by one of my favourite characters. The best thing Marvel has done since Avengers: Endgame and more gore than your typical Marvel fare. It is hard to believe that this is the biggest thing director Michael Giacchino has done. He perfectly captures the Universal Horror Movies but in a Mortal Kombat kind of way.

I am glad that the design of Werewolf By Night stuck to his comic book look and didn’t become like something out of The Howling. Man-Thing is amazing and will be the next Groot. Laura Donnelly kicks ass as Elsa Bloodstone. If handled with this much care, reverence and style, I would watch an entire movie or series about these monster-hunting characters.

Watch on: Hulu, dark side of the internet.

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