Stranger Things: A review: More like Better things

So many of us know that one day the post-apocalyptic survivors will consist of Trump, Google and Netflix.

Right now I’m happy with the latter surviving especially if they keep providing decent original series like Stranger Things. An eight part mystery horror set in 80’s small town America. The cliché boxes are literally being ticked as the first few minutes of the show play out, what I can say is that on this occasion, cliché is your friend.

stranger things

We don’t do spoilers here at the Hall of information, but we do our best to persuade you, valuable reader, to go out there and watch the shit I watch. Then we can converse over a few vodkas one lunch time about such things. Yes, my lunchtimes are wild.

So the Duffer brothers have done their absolute best to bring you all a show which from the very beginning pays homage to Stephen King and John Carpenter style story telling . This is also completed by the postmodern synthy type music that plays as we see the red neon writing that reads this show’s title. There are numerous 80’s greats that this show tributes, something which JJ Abrams tried to do with super 8 but just missed the mark.

Some of these tributes include the goonies with a great group of leading kids whose characters contribute to believable situations in an unbelievable situation. When they are not on their bikes they are forever referencing geek stuff such as dungeons and dragons, Star Wars and x men stuff.. An escaped mystery girl with telekinetic powers even mirrors Carrie in some senses.

The first billed actress Winona Ryder plays an older single mum struggling to meet ends when her youngest of two sons mysteriously goes missing. Although she does over play it sometimes, her performance is mostly positive.

The town’s nearby department of energy are more than just a power station and so the premise of mystery along with this kid going missing quickly ensues.

We see the town’s rugged and somewhat over the hill police chief, very well depicted by David Harbour bring a performance of a man whose witnessed great loss but will do anything to find this missing kid. His solo scenes are something which can only be described as a joy to watch, all the more reason to get behind him. His chemistry with Winona Ryder make two brilliant leads along with some of the older kids. All of them with one goal. To find out what happened to this missing boy and what is going on in their town.

Even just as a look back at a time of such rich pop culture makes Stranger Things probably the hottest show on Netflix right now. The music, clothes, cars and look are all something an immense amount of effort has gone into.

We’ve all seen orange is the new black, now its time for horror to rule for a while.

The pacing, atmosphere and characterization are well achieved by the writer/director brothers who have brought an instant cult classic which I urge you all to watch. Yes you may cower behind the sofa but you’ll be better for it.

It really is about time that we stopped relying on House, Buffy and breaking bad to re watch for viewing pleasure. There is new stuff and its good.

The show can either be seen as a stand alone or with plenty of stories left open. If a season two is on the cards, it has my vote.

Advertisements

OITNB: Season 4 Review #nospoilers

The full title of this review post is actually: Orange is the new Black: Season 4 Review #nospoilers so calm your shit but in all honesty you should have finished watching the new season by now as it’s probably the best thing you can buy for a £7 monthly subscription fee.

Unfortunately, that is an inappropriately long title to convert into a URL and then paste onto twitter although short versions are available I’m not that technically gifted. Words are my specialty not computer machines.

OITNB

And so it’s that time of year again where Litchfield opens its heavily barred gates to continue and tell some new stories. A Litchfield that last time we saw, was on the verge of becoming a business and then thrown into chaos with an open perimeter fence. Don’t forget the influx of hundreds of new prisoners and of course Judy King!

A compliment to the writers as they continue to story right were the season before left off. Something which isn’t done enough in TV, even sometimes last season final outings are ignored along with their repercussions and even skipped. Not with OITNB, we as an audience are treated not only with continual stories continuing, but new characters, situations and alliances combined with this continuation.

In most top TV shows there are only third, fourth and fifth stories which swap around depending on the episode. For this show, we see the third, fourth and fifth develop and intertwine throughout whilst still being reminded of the main stories.

Our central character Piper is more of a frequent in this series as opposed to the last but overall the main character has to be the prison itself. Nobody is treated like a side show or event which bolsters this already brilliant formula. Newly arrived characters from previous seasons and even the beginning are given origins stories whilst existing people are built upon. A rich amount of detail is thrown into every one of the 13 episodes, and to me that beats the Walking Dead and Game of thrones.

Stuff happens all the time, whether that be comedic or down right tragic. Existing conflicts evolve to really bring together the three main ethnic groups inside this now business like prison. The introduction of new guards only stirs the already boiling pot that is going to cook out of control. This season has been building from the very beginning and could only be pulled off after the previous events happened. The tension is somewhat rising dramatically this time out.

From what begins as a series of intrigue eventually finds itself and its own voice with unfortunate and tragic outcomes in some places. At the latter end of episodes, it gets very dark and somewhat emotional, I mean we have seen shock and awe at Litchfield but tragedy, something you can only use in moderation twists everything. Most of the faces from before are back, even with a few decent cameos of ‘departed’ characters. There’s someone in there you can like and relate to.

Much like every episode of Orange is the new black, we get an awesome ending which leaves us all on a cliffs edge. But we are not left dangling, only thinking about what will happen next. If you have Netflix it’s about the only decent original thing out there, so go and see it.

Other news (because soon I will need to sell books)

Ok so July has somehow rolled around which means its around two months until my first book Open Evening comes out via e-book and later on paper back. Just a little shameless plug and a thanks to all who have supported me so far. This book is a new start for me and not about robots in the future. It revolves around the concept of how horrific high school can be, then introduce some actual horror and Open Evening is born.

I’m sure you will all be bored with my constant updates, but stay posted for more book related stuff.

After all this my #yearofwriting

 

 

 

The Conjuring 2: Horror done right

And I’m back for my second ever Saturday blog post. The last one worked so well I thought I would do another some months later. Things are about to get a little spooky and jump scary as we delve into a review of the Conjuring 2.

image

I know for many people horror isnt your film genre. Understandably, there are many terrible horror stories out there, the monster gets revealed too quickly or you can see the ghost is actually a guy dressed in a bed sheet. Or you’re the other type who doesn’t like the potential heart attack, again understandably.
Myself, the jump scares and loud bursts of music have become something I can live with for the sake of seeing a decently put together story unfold.
So if you are familiar with the Conjuring and Annabelle (the latter in which I reviewed on here before) you will grasp the format. If not, well, there’s this couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren. They are paranormal investigators and work closely with the church. They take on cases of ghosts, ghoulies and possessions. Loosely they are based on a actual people, that’s always nice and adds to the horror.

image

This time out they are faced with the ever so famous Enfield haunting. Of course this is after their most famous case back in the states, Amityville. The film introduces us to the aftermath of Amityville whilst slowly building up Enfield and the events that happened back in the 70’s. You can really feel the sense of build up and the story taking its time, something in which most films of this genre rush and fail at.
The two hauntings either side of the Atlantic have one thing in common. The potential to be hoax, even now it isnt really known if either are. Another contribution to the horror, mystery and sense of realists. Again boxes are being ticked here.
Eventually things start to get pretty damn poltergeisty (if that’s a word) in London and the media catch on. Events and the setting cling pretty close to the real story, with the Hodgson family being very well cast and convincing throughout. So it isnt long until the famous Warren’s are invited by the church to see what the damn hell is taking place.
I don’t give much away in my reviews, especially if this is a film I incline you to see, and it is. This conjuring 2 is a re-telling of a famous ghost story and built around just that. Of course the truth is merged with imagination and I couldn’t help but enjoy the build up of jump scares which were consistent and not over done.
Director James Wan has done a fantastic job with this beautifully shot creep fest. You can see they spent time and money on making this film look good on screen. This is of course a cinema film, especially if you want the sounds and sights. Even when somebody came down the aisle of the cinema I found myself on edge. In fact the whole audience behaved, something which tension will do to an audience. A rarity these days.
Both Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the paranormal investigator couple pick up exactly where they left off and built upon their already rich chemistry and characterisation. This isn’t just a horror story but a trip back to late seventies England. Something in which older viewers will enjoy.
Whilst it’s still at the movies, go and see it.