Music has such an intoxicating affect on me when I am listening to it. There are certain songs that contain the memories of my joy and pain in their musical notes. A particular song will come on the car radio and my heart will deflate, peeling a layer of sadness that floods into my bloodstream, reminding me of a painful breakup. I will be walking through a department store and hear the beginning notes of a song playing on the speaker system; a waterfall of joy cascades down on me like a sparkling waterfall as I remember the wonderful time I spent with a close friend. There is the famous quote, “Music has charms to sooth the savage breast,” though it is usually misquoted as beast. Well music can do that and a whole lot more as you will see in this touching dramatic movie. J.K. Simmons (Contraband, Juno) and Cara Seymour (Gangs of New York, An Education) played Henry and Helen Sawyer, the parents to their estranged son Gabriel, played by Lou Taylor Pucci (The Story of Luke, Beginners). When it is discovered Gabriel had a brain tumor that prevented him from forming any current memories, his parents sought a way they could somehow reconnect to the son they had not seen for so many years. The first thing that grabbed me in this film was the acting of J.K. Simmons. He had always been a solid actor in a multitude of supporting roles, but it was great to watch him take this lead role and bring life to it. Of course to have music be part of the narrative was a big bonus at least for me. Speaking of the plot, I became enthralled with it since it was based on a true story. Getting Julia Osmond (My Week with Marilyn, Legends of the Fall) to play musical therapist Dianne Daley was a wonderful addition that balanced out the rest of the cast. The story already had built in emotional elements to it, which the director used to his advantage. I was aware of the manipulation and pulling of heart strings but I did not care. The mind’s capabilities was something that has always fascinated me. Seeing how it could be affected by music in this touching film only made me enjoy watching the movie that much more. I would not be surprised if I added a new memory to one of the songs from this film’s wonderful soundtrack.
3 stars — DVD
Before I began writing movie reviews here, I had my own rating system for films. It was pretty simple: do I want to spend money to see it on the big screen, wait for it to come out on DVD or catch it one day on cable. After seeing a movie back then, I would email a group of my friends to tell them whether they could see the movie or not. You see I have a couple of friends who cannot see any trace of blood. Then there is one friend who cannot see anything violent, whether it involves humans or animals. These friends were the impetus for me starting this movie review site. As this site has grown, I feel it is necessary for me to cover all genres of movies; so there would be something for everyone. It is for these reasons I went to see this horror film. Five friends met at a remote cabin where they accidentally summoned evil spirits that were hell-bent on possessing the friends until death. The friends were played by Jane Levy (Nobody Walks, Fun Size) as Mia, Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood, Deadgirl) as David, Lou Taylor Pucci (Beginners, Horsemen) as Eric, Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield, She’s the Man) as Olivia and relative newcomer Elizabeth Blackmore as Natalie. There are times where it can be a fine line between horror and comedy; this film was a joke and I am not sure if that was the movie studio’s intentions. When the gore and blood is so over the top, it just becomes a comical mess. It was amazing to see how the body could keep on going as it was being dismembered. There was absolutely nothing of value in this remake; nothing new, nothing scary, nothing worthwhile. I will say for those who enjoy being grossed out this movie should provide you with enough sickening scenes to fill a vomitorium. Not that my friends would even consider seeing a movie like this; but just in case, multiple scenes of blood and gore throughout the movie.