It's 1971 and University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo wants to try a new social and psychological experiment. The idea was to take 18 young, well-adjusted males and put half in the role of a prison guard and half in the role of a prison inmate. It quickly became apparent that the guards would dominate this situation and take their new job roles to the extreme.
Though all the volunteers know they're being watch by Zimbardo and his colleagues, this didn't seem to make much difference to how the guards react. Not willing to put up with the actions of the guards, soon the submissive prisoners decide to rebel and take matters into their own hands. As the volunteers fall deeper into their new lives, Zimbardo becomes fascinated by the results and how quickly the situation escalates. When rules start to get broken, when should enough be enough?
The Stanford Prison Experiment is a psychological thriller based on true events. The results of Zimbardo's test were published in a book named The Lucifer Effect.
The Stanford Prison Experiment was directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez and stars a number of young actors including Michael Angarano, Moises Arias & Ezra Miller.
With an inventive retro style, writer-director David Robert Mitchell offers an enjoyable riff on the teen horror movie. The film is shot with a fierce sense of perspective that draws the audience into a series of situations that are so unnerving that we're looking over our own shoulders as we leave the cinema. So even though some of the set-pieces feel under-cooked, the film is unsettling and involving.
The story takes place in a Detroit suburb, where Jay (Maika Monroe) is told by her boyfriend Hugh (Jake Weary) that he's passed something on to her when they slept together. And it's far worse than an STD. Now Jay can see random people following her everywhere. If one of them catches up with her she dies, and they'll go back to following Hugh. In a panic, Jay turns to her lovelorn childhood pal Paul (Keir Gilchrist) and her little sister Kelly (Lili Sepe), as well as her friend Yara (Olivia Luccardi) and groovy neighbour Greg (Daniel Zovatto). Together they run away to take stock of the situation, and all become convinced that the threat is real. The question is what to do next.
Although set in the present day, the film has a vivid 1970s feel, as these teens drive around in vintage cars, use landlines and think hiding out at a cabin in the woods is a good idea. And there are thematic echoes as well, with absent parents and the dark approach to youthful sex. Yes, this sexually transmitted stalker makes all of the film's intimate encounters feel eerily joyless, as if sex is something to reluctantly get out of the way. So over the course of the film, we watch these happy, carefree teens turn hollow and paranoid, which is surprisingly moving. And more than a little creepy. The fresh cast makes all of this remarkably realistic, especially since the plot's supernatural craziness is clearly a metaphor for the "Just say no" generation.
Continue reading: It Follows Review
Jay (Maika Monroe) is just a normal teenage girl, desperate to break free from the normal conventions of her normal life. To this end, she goes on a date with a guy for a sense of freedom, and engages in a sexual relationship. But something passes from him to her - and its not what you would think. Something - a dark and mysterious something - has been following him, and now it is following her instead. A thing that is nameless, and shapeless, looking like whatever will help it get close to you. And it will never stop, until everyone one it is associated has been killed.
Continue: It Follows Trailer
Craig (Gilchrist) is a 17-year-old overwhelmed by thoughts of suicide. So one night he heads to the emergency room for help, then talks the doctor into admitting him for observation. He's a bit shocked that he'll be there for at least five days, but quickly becomes friends with Bobby (Galifianakis) and Noelle (Roberts). His parents (Graham and Gaffigan) are supportive, and his doctors (Davis and Davies) help him work through his issues. But the biggest challenge is to sort out his feelings for Nia (Kravitz), the girlfriend of his best pal (Mann).
Continue reading: It's Kind Of A Funny Story Review
Dead Silence sucks. It's as simple as that. I like schlocky horror films as much as the next guy, but there's nothing to like about this one. Not one thing. Warming your hands over a burning ten-dollar bill is preferable to watching this film.
It's the sort of bad movie that makes you wonder how it emerged a winner from the studio production lottery. Surely a surplus of terrible ideas exists in Hollywood, so how did this particular steaming pile get made into a movie? I can't say for sure. The inner workings of Hollywood deal-making are beyond my expertise, so I'll confine my comments on Dead Silence to its general awfulness, resisting the urge to speculate on which member of the film's creative team kidnapped and held for ransom which studio executive's infant child -- the only possible explanation for green-lighting a movie this irredeemably bad. (Here's why: The filmmakers made the studio a lot of cash with the Saw series. -Ed.)
If you haven't seen the Dead Silence trailer, you may not know that the film centers on a murderous ventriloquist, whose spirit has risen from the dead, and an army of spooky dummies who do her bidding. It's hard to say whether director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Wannell, both of whom are credited for dreaming up the story, were inspired by Chucky from the Child's Play movies or the scary clown doll from Poltergeist, but one thing is clear: Dead Silence possesses exactly zero ounces of originality. (The title sequence, for instance, is the filmic equivalent of plagiarism -- unrepentantly stealing from Steven Soderbergh's 2005 film, Bubble.)
The movie starts with some painfully awkward exposition followed by -- what else? -- a murder. One night James Ashen (Ryan Kwanten) and his wife, Lisa, discover a package containing a ventriloquist dummy left in front of their apartment door. Despite their foggy recollections of a ghost story from their childhood involving dummies and a psychotic ventriloquist who cuts out people's tongues, they don't think too much about the mysterious package. James goes to pick up some Chinese food and returns to find his wife dead, her tongue gruesomely removed and the doll lying in a heap next to her corpse. The detective assigned to the case, Jim Lipton (Donnie Walhberg), quickly fingers Ashen as the prime suspect, thus setting the wheels of plot in motion. With Lipton watching his every step, Ashen returns to his hometown to bury his wife and find the answer to her murder. He discovers that long ago a ventriloquist named Mary Shaw was killed by an enraged mob and ever since then certain families in the community have been killed off, one by one, each person's tongue ripped out by the avenging Mary Shaw and her legion of dummies.
In my movie-watching experience, I've seen Superman turn back time, zombies come to life, and Meg Ryan fall in love with Billy Crystal. And in each case, I was onboard, willing and eager to suspend my disbelief. That wasn't the case with Dead Silence. Wan and Wannell are determined not to acknowledge the inherent campiness of a movie featuring killer ventriloquist dummies and a spectral puppeteer. It's as if they think their grim refusal to address the obviously ridiculous makes it less so. Have they not seen the Scream movies? Do they know that self-awareness has been part of the horror genre for more than a decade now?
During the screening I attended, I fought off more than one urge to shake my fist at the screen. This is filmmaking at its wretched worst. At least Child's Play had a sense of humor. All Dead Silence has is dummies.
Now who's the dummy?
Date of birth
28th September, 1992
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.
It's 1971 and University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo wants to try a new social and...
With an inventive retro style, writer-director David Robert Mitchell offers an enjoyable riff on the...
Jay (Maika Monroe) is just a normal teenage girl, desperate to break free from the...
While this comedy is an intriguing exploration of mental illness, the title is perhaps too...
Dead Silence sucks. It's as simple as that. I like schlocky horror films as much...