IT LOOKED LIKE it was not being affected by gravity when I first saw it. Walking into the small building one would not even expect to see such a feat of masterly craftsmanship. Off to the side of a larger sized room, rising up from the floor, was a spiral staircase. It was like none I had ever seen before because there was no center pole for the stairs to connect to on their way up. The design of it reminded me of one of those spiral DNA or some such diagrams in a science book. I could not imagine this spiral staircase could withstand the weight of an average person, it looked too delicate. Curious to learn how this beautiful staircase wound up in this place, I pulled out one of the information booklets I took at the front door. After the building was almost completed, the builders realized there was no room for a traditional staircase. After spending days fretting over their dilemma, a stranger appeared at the building site and offered to solve their problem. THERE WAS MORE to this documented story; the history about this building and its spiral staircase was a captivating read for me. I am always interested in learning about the history to a place I am visiting or a person I am meeting. It is said there is much to learn from looking back at history and I agree with that statement. A perfect example would be the time I was listening to a friend sound off on their poor record on dating. Listening to their reasons why a relationship never went beyond a certain time frame, I noticed a pattern forming with each person they talked about. After listening to them go on about their different romances, I shared my observations about the common connections I saw between each individual. After explaining my feelings on what I heard about each relationship we had a deep discussion about the pattern my friend was following unconsciously. If I had not heard the history of those past relationships we may not have found a way to avoid the same dating results. So you see paying attention to history can be an enlightening experience as you will see in this horror thriller. LUCKY FOR THE orphans Esther and Samuel Mullins, played by Miranda Otto (The Lord of the Rings franchise, What Lies Beneath) and Anthony LaPaglia (Empire Records, The Client), decided to open their house up to board the young girls when their orphanage closed. Little did the girls know they were not the only boarders. This latest installment to the The Conjuring franchise starred Stephanie Sigman (Pioneer, Spectre) as Sister Charlotte, Tabitha Bateman (The 5th Wave, The Hive) as Janice and Lulu Wilson (Deliver Us from Evil, Ouija: Origin of Evil) as Linda. The idea to this story was well thought out as the movie set the right tone from the start. Though there were a couple of scenes with blood, this mystery film relied more on atmosphere and mood instead of violence which I appreciated. There were some tense scenes; however, I felt the movie never went far enough. Maybe because the first movie in this series had the intensity and thrills in the right mix, this one was somewhat of a letdown. What kept my interest was the history about the doll that has been featured in each film. If you enjoyed the previous pictures then this one will provide you the insight you have been looking for. There was an extra scene at the end of the credits.
2 1/2 stars
One of the hardest things to see is a pet or child suffering the consequences of an adult’s actions. Seeing those pitiful eyes looking out at you in pain is just brutal. More so when they cannot communicate their hurt. There was a recent trial taking place here where a man was accused of dropping puppies off a highway overpass. If the fall did not kill them a speeding car or truck would have done it. What type of person would think of such a thing? This is an example of why I believe some people have only pure evil inside of themselves. When it comes to some of the caretakers of children, they too have that same type of evil. There was a story in the newspaper about a boyfriend who poured scalding water on his girlfriend’s 2 year old son for crying; can you believe it? The two adults in the situations I just described knew what they were doing and deserve to get the harshest of terms. But you know there are other adults who do not realize what ramifications their actions can cause innocent people. The individual who wants to kill themselves by driving into oncoming traffic; why harm anyone else when one wants to die? Or what about the innocent children who suffer the effects of armed conflicts between adults? Whether they become orphans or physically disabled due to guns or bombs, these children did not ask nor deserve this type of outcome due to the adults’ actions. It takes a special person to jump in and try to help in these types of situations. BASED on a true story this film festival winning movie was about Christina Noble, played by Deirdre O’Kane (Intermission, Boy Eats Girl), a poor Irish girl who had to fight for everything just to survive. Her battles were just the training she needed for what lied ahead for her and the orphaned children of Viet Nam during the late 1980s. This biographical drama’s strength was not only having Deirdre star but also Sarah Greene (The Guard, Love & Savagery) who played the younger Christina. The story lines were captivating for both characters. I think they would have been even more powerful if the director had done a better job; for the direction dragged the story down. Scenes that were tough to watch due to the circumstances taking place in them felt slightly disconnected to the scenes around it. However, the story truly was amazing to watch because Christina was such a strong character. I know there had to be more to this story than what was depicted in this film and to tell you the truth, I would not have minded if they had to make the movie longer to tell the story. For being such an amazing woman, Christina deserved to get more exposure.
If you really want to engage the viewer into your story, have a child or a pet as a main focus. The pure innocence of a child, who comes into the world with a clean slate until the adult world shades it, is an ideal candidate to make an adult care about the action in a movie. A pet filled with that unconditional love that pours out of their big brown eyes is enough to make the viewer shudder if there is any chance of danger in store for the loving animal. A horror movie needs to have a subject the viewer will care about; otherwise, they will not care if the character meets an early demise. The next element to have in the film is a love story or at least a potential love connection between characters. Simply put most people can relate to having their heart broken. The viewer will rally around the grieving, surviving character and follow them all the way to the end of the story. So if a movie studio wants to have a successful horror movie, they need one of these items in their story. WITH World War II raging and London being subjected to German bombing runs, children in the city were suddenly finding themselves orphans. To protect them from further harm Jean Hogg and Eve Parkins, played by Helen McCrory (Harry Potter franchise, Hugo) and Phoebe Fox (One Day, Switch-TV), took a group out into the country to an abandoned estate, hopefully to be away from the horrors of the war. However, their presence in the mansion would stir up an old terror. This dramatic sequel’s story took place 40 years after the story in the first film. It had a couple of the elements I listed earlier, children and a love interest. I thought this would be a horror movie that could scare me. It had a love interest in the character of Harry Burnstow, played by Jeremy Irvine (War Horse, the Railway Man) and it had children in peril; what could be easier to grab the audience’s attention? Well, I am here to tell you this horror thriller was neither. The beginning of the movie started out good but quickly became a dull, bland imitation of a horror film. I thought the sets and staging were done well, but there was never a sense of horrible dread or something deeply sinister. Besides being predictable this picture left me with a blah feeling, where I felt I had just wasted my time. I do not think anyone could accuse me of being a callous jerk, but I did not care about the kids or the potential for someone to suffer a broken heart in this dud.
1 2/3 stars