Tag Archives: Gabriel Byrne

Hereditary (2018) Review

Time: 127 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains horror & content that may disturb
Cast:
Toni Collette as Annie Graham
Alex Wolff as Peter Graham
Milly Shapiro as Charlie Graham
Gabriel Byrne as Steve Graham
Ann Dowd as Joan
Director: Ari Aster

When Ellen passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.

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I had been hearing some buzz about Hereditary recently. All I knew going in was that it was a horror movie with Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne and that it is apparently a great horror movie, which always has me interested. Outside of that I didn’t know much about the movie, I didn’t even watch the trailers. Having seen this movie, I’m glad this was the case. Hereditary surprised me on such an incredible level. With its story, excellent direction and the fantastic performances, it is one of the best horror movies in recent years.

I haven’t seen any trailers but I do recommend going into Hereditary not knowing too much about the movie. You’ll be much more surprised that way. Also, something worth knowing is that it’s not a straight up horror movie, it’s a bit of a drama as well, it does take a while before the actual horror aspect becomes apparent. The plot is slow to unravel but it works well enough. I wouldn’t say that it is a very scary movie but it is very disturbing and gets under your skin. It does have its fair share of supernatural aspects but at the same time there are some aspects like the writing and dialogue which feel real enough. The intensity just builds and builds and really becomes more affecting. If there’s one criticism that could be had with the movie, it’s that there isn’t much in terms of character development. The characters were written pretty well and all get to do something however, and the cast played the roles incredibly well.

The acting by everyone is great. The family is played by Milly Shapiro, Toni Collette, Alex Wolff and Gabriel Byrne, and they were all fantastic in their roles and do their part to make themselves stand out. However, Toni Collette is the biggest stand out of all, she was phenomenal and just on a whole other level. She shows such a range of emotions and her character goes through so much. Let’s just say that she reaches her breaking point by the end of the first act, and she goes far beyond that point over the course of the rest of the movie. It was such a raw, intense and emotional performance, really one of the best performances of the year so far. She was well worth all the praise.

Hereditary was made by a first time director, Ari Aster, he has seriously proven his directorial talents here because this film is expertly directed. There actually aren’t too many jump scares, and those that are here aren’t necessarily done in the same way that typical horror movies do them, it didn’t feel cheap at all. This movie achieves sense of uneasiness over time using other methods, and its quite effective. For example, the clicking of a tongue becomes really unnerving. The movie itself isn’t particularly scary but it does have a lot of disturbing moments, in terms of plot and imagery. There is particularly one image in the movie that has now forever been burned into my brain. Fortunately, the disturbing/graphic moments feel earned, they aren’t just relying on shock value the whole time. The film uses a lot of miniature imagery often (with Toni Collette’s character making miniatures). While I’m not certain what the miniature imagery is meant to represent, I can say that at the very least it comes across as effective stylistic imagery.

Hereditary is really not a movie for everyone. It is not just a conventional horror movie with cheap jump scares and a basic plot. With Ari Aster’s excellent direction and the phenomonal performances (particularly Toni Collette’s), it’s one of the best films of 2018. Not since The Babadook has a horror movie been this fantastic and has affected me on such a level. As long as you have some idea of what this movie is and isn’t, I’d say that it’s worth checking out.

End of Days (1999) Review

Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence
Cast:
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jericho Cane
Robin Tunney as Christine York
Gabriel Byrne as Satan’s host/The Nameless Banker
Kevin Pollak as Bobby Chicago
Rod Steiger as Father Kovak
Director: Jerry Jameson

On December 28th, 1999, the citizens of New York City are getting ready for the turn of the millennium. However, the Devil (Gabriel Byrne) decides to crash the party by coming to the city, inhabiting a man’s body, and searching for his chosen bride, a 20-year-old woman named Christine York (Robin Tunney). If he bears her child between 11:00 PM and midnight on New Year’s Eve, the world will end, and the only hope lies within an atheist ex-cop named Jericho Cane (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who no longer believes in God because of the murder of his wife and daughter.

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When you hear the premise “Arnold Schwarzenegger vs the devil himself” its easy to get hyped. By the late 90s, Schwarzenegger was a huge star. So it seems only natural that he would eventually be pitted against the devil. Unfortunately End of Days doesn’t quite live up to its potential. It is entertaining however and as long as you have an idea what sort of movie you’re getting into, it should be fine.

I think the main problem with End of Days is that it’s neither completely ridiculously over the top or serious, nor is it a mix that works. On the whole, End of Days takes the story seriously but it does have its fair share of ridiculous moments, some of them unintentional. There are certain aspects which are meant to be taken seriously but are kind of silly. For example, there’s a moment where a priest says that when you flip 666 it becomes 999 and since the film is set in 1999, that means that’s the year that the devil returns, which is a really big stretch. On the whole though, the story was acceptable enough, it’s goofy at times and I wouldn’t exactly call it good, but for a simple supernatural action flick it’s fine enough.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the clichéd alcoholic cop with a tragic past, nothing really special about his character. Schwarzenegger always does his best with the material that he’s given and this is no exception, he does a pretty good job at the action and even some of the scenes that require a little more emotion. Gabriel Byrne is playing the devil and to his credit, Byrne seems to be having a great time playing him. I’m glad that he’s clearly enjoying this role because otherwise there would be nothing to offer with this character. The devil here isn’t a cliched take over the world devil but for the most part he doesn’t feel powerful and he’s not very interesting either. A lot of the time it feels like the Devil isn’t that threatening, he’d get incredibly injured and than just re-appear totally normal, he’s more the T-1000 than the actual Devil. Other supporting actors like Robin Tunney and Kevin Pollak are fine, they aren’t bad but they aren’t anything special either. It doesn’t help that they have no characters to work with.

Some of the action is entertaining but at times there are action sequences that have way too many cuts. Also some of the CGI is really dated and doesn’t hold up from like 30 years ago, so whenever big visual effects moments happen, it looks bad (however that could just end up being more entertaining in a guilty pleasure way). The direction overall isn’t anything that good but its competent enough that the movie can be enjoyable.

End of Days is by no means a good movie but it is very entertaining. I wish it committed to either being a dark and violent supernatural action film or being a purely cheesy and ridiculous Schwarzenegger vs the devil film. We really don’t get neither and instead we get a mildly entertaining flick. If you love over the top Arnold Schwarzenegger action flicks, give this a go. It’s a guilty pleasure for me and I had a fun time with it, even if it’s not one of Schwarzenegger’s best or even most entertaining flicks.