Tag Archives: Adam Wingard

V/H/S (2012) Review

Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Contains horror, violence, sex scenes and offensive language.
Cast:

Tape 56
•Calvin Reeder as Gary
•Lane Hughes as Zak
•Kentucker Audley as Rox
•Adam Wingard as Brad
•Frank Stack as Old Man
•Sarah Byrne as Abbey
•Melissa Boatright as Tabitha
•Simon Barrett as Steve
•Andrew Droz Palermo as Fifth Thug

Amateur Night
•Hannah Fierman as Lily
•Mike Donlan as Shane
•Joe Sykes as Patrick
•Drew Sawyer as Clint
•Jas Sams as Lisa
•Cuthbert Wallace as Toothbrush

Second Honeymoon
•Joe Swanberg as Sam
•Sophia Takal as Stephanie
•Kate Lyn Sheil as Girl

Tuesday the 17th
•Norma C. Quinones as Wendy
•Drew Moerlein as Joey Brenner
•Jeannine Yoder as Samantha
•Jason Yachanin as Spider
•Bryce Burke as The Glitch

The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger

•Helen Rogers (actress) as Emily
•Daniel Kaufman as James
•Liz Harvey as The New Girl
•Corrie Fitzpatrick as Girl Alien
•Isaiah Hillman as Boy Alien
•Taliyah Hillman as Little Girl Alien

10/31/98
•Chad Villella as Chad
•Matt Bettinelli-Olpin as Matt
•Tyler Gillett as Tyler
•Paul Natonek as Paul
•Nicole Erb as The Girl
•John Walcutt as Cult Leader
•Eric Curtis as Roommate

Director: Adam Wingard (Tape 56), David Bruckner (Amateur Night), Ti West (Second Honeymoon), Glenn McQuaid (Tuesday the 17th), Joe Swanberg (The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger), Radio Silence (10/31/98)

Hired to steal a rare VHS tape from a remote house, a ragtag band of crooks finds a dead body, old TVs and a lot of cryptic footage.

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This idea sounded dead on arrival, simply because found footage movies have been done to death, nearly all of them nowadays are just retreads of previous better versions, and are just cash grabs. However, this movie is a bit surprising, as it has a lot of variety and is almost experimental. I wouldn’t really call it a great movie overall, a lot of it is hit or miss but it is better than most of the found footage films in recent years.

This movie ties everything together with a main plot of thieves breaking into a house and seeing these tapes. However, you don’t really end up caring that much about this plotline. It doesn’t help that these characters are horrible, uninteresting and unlikable. By the end I didn’t really get why this story was supposedly tying the other tapes together. The best segment was the first tape titled Amateur Night. It also has a clever way of having the camera, with it being in the protagonist’s glasses. On top of that, there seemed to be an actual reason for most of the characters to be unlikable, and it pays off in a great way. The payoff on the whole is great and it does have legitimately intense moments. The 2nd tape, Second Honeymoon was one of the weakest segments, basically it follows a couple. Aside from the ending, there’s nothing that memorable about the segment. The other segments at least had some sense of uneasiness before the payoff, this segment only had one scene before this payoff, and it just isn’t at the level as the others. This movie aside from a couple scenes didn’t have much reason to have the camera. Tuesday the 17th follows a group of friends going to the forest. It had some good aspects to it, it was rather creative with the payoff but the characters were insufferable. The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She was Younger is a bit different from the others but once you see everything, it works well. It’s done through skype calls between two people and while I wouldn’t say that its scary, it was well done. The last clip is 10/31/98, which involves a group of friends on Halloween going into an ‘odd’ house. While it was fun, it wasn’t really a great segment.

The acting is incredibly hit or miss. Some were fine, others were awful, though I have a feeling that a lot of that has to do with the writing. Most the characters are incredibly annoying or unlikable. There are some good performances in here though. In Amateur Night Hannah Fierman is great in her role, without giving too much away she does well at being socially awkward, creepy but yet manages to infuse sympathy into her performance. And in The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She was Younger, the two lead actors (Helen Rogers and Daniel Kaufman) were really good in their roles.

As for the direction, each of the 6 segments has its own director, all of them are at least okay, the direction of the clips weren’t really the source of my problems with some of them. As I said, some of the found footage aspects made sense within the story, but for others, not so much.

VHS is a bit of a mixed bag honestly. Most of the characters are horrible, the plots follow a lot of clichés and most of them aren’t all that great. However, if you are a fan of horror and you are curious enough, I’d suggest giving it a watch. It’s not all great but it is a little fun. It’s at least good enough for me to willing give the sequel a try, maybe it might be better overall.

Death Note (2017) Review

Time: 101 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Nat Wolff as Light Turner/”Kira”
Lakeith Stanfield as L
Margaret Qualley as Mia Sutton
Shea Whigham as James Turner
Paul Nakauchi as Watari
Willem Dafoe and Jason Liles as Ryuk
Director: Adam Wingard

Light Turner (Nat Wolff), a bright student, stumbles across a mystical notebook that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it. Light decides to launch a secret crusade to rid the streets of criminals. Soon, the student-turned-vigilante finds himself pursued by a famous detective known only by the alias L (Keith Stanfield).

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Adam Wingard’s Death Note was something I was curious about. I hadn’t watched the original anime but I knew of its concept and I loved Wingard’s direction of The Guest, so it had a lot of potential. Upon its release, his adaptation had received a lot of hate, mostly from people who saw the original anime. I decided to check it out for myself and honestly, Death Note wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it is a waste of potential. Some of the performances were good and the direction was mostly great, but this script has so many problems that it really lets the overall movie down.

I’ll just get this out of the way, the writing has a lot of issues. Again, I haven’t seen the original anime so I can’t comment on the changes they’ve made, but from what I can tell they’ve made a lot. The movie feels a little rushed, Light (the protagonist) gets the Death Note and makes his first kill within 10 minutes, there is barely enough time for his character or really anything to be established. This idea about the Death Note had a lot of potential and at first its okay, with Light killing off people under a different identity but after a while this plotline just stops. Honestly looking back at this movie, not a whole lot of things happen, Light gets the Death Note, he starts killing people off, a detective named L comes along posing a problem, there’s some conflict there and then it’s the third act. This movie is an hour 40 minutes, and while this movie isn’t always interesting, I’d be fine with it being longer if they actually had more going on. The dialogue was terrible at points, I found it difficult to care about what was going on and I really wasn’t consistently invested throughout Death Note. There were also some unintentionally hilarious moments, an example being Light’s reaction to seeing Ryuk (Willem Dafoe) for the first time. I will say that I enjoyed watching parts of Death Note, there were writing issues aside and some cringe worthy moments but for the most part I was somewhat intrigued or entertained. The third act however does feel like they just wanted to shove so many twists into it, like its ridiculous how many times they just kept putting twists, which makes the movie feel jarring instead of actually making it better. The writing is really a mixed bag.

Nat Wolff is the lead actor of Death Note, I don’t know if he is a good actor or not but he didn’t really give a good performance. Granted the character wasn’t written that well, his character motives and changes aren’t really established well enough. I guess from what I can tell, the character is different from the anime and while I can understand why it was done in this way, it’s less interesting. However Wolff does have some moments where he’s somewhat okay for what the character is written here. That’s more than I can say for the love interest played by Margaret Qualley, who is really annoying and unlikable. I get that she might be intended to be that way but there’s nothing likable about her. The romance between the two is unfortunately a prominent part of the film. The chemistry isn’t strong, and it just starts randomly after a few scenes of them together. Those two aside, there are some pretty good performances at the same time. Willem Dafoe does the voice or Ryuk, a demon of the Death Note book and he definitely stole the show whenever his character was around. Ryuk isn’t around a lot unfortunately. There was also the character of L, played by Keith Stanfield. He was a standout of the film, I can’t tell whether there was any major changes to him from the original anime but on his own I thought he was pretty good. The one issues I’ll say is that the film did seem to build up to his character’s backstory being explored but it never gets resolved. So acting/characters overall was rather mixed.

One of the things I was looking forward to with Death Note was Adam Wingard’s direction, the look of You’re Next and especially The Guest was incredible. Wingard once again directed this movie so well, the colour aesthetics looking beautiful, the cinematography was great, the direction was mostly great… I say mostly because for whatever reason there were constant turning dutch angles that just randomly appear, they were very out of place and obnoxious. One thing to note is that the death scenes that occur often feel like Final Destination deaths, as in they are very over the top, graphic and at times goofy. This may be a good thing or a bad thing for you, depending on whether it entertains you. For me I just found it laughably over the top at time, I couldn’t take it seriously. The score by Atticus and Leopold Ross was solid and worked very well.

Adam Wingard’s Death Note is a mixed bag. I loved most of his direction, some of the performances were good, and there were some aspects about the plot that I liked. But some of the performances were weak and the writing has a ton of issues, which really let down the movie. I guess if you’re curious enough check it out, its on Netflix right now, so at worse you’d only be wasting around 100 minutes of your time. I heard that Wingard may be doing a sequel to this movie, if this happens I hope he does a much better job than what he did here.