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By AARON SKETCHLEY (aaronsketch@HOTdelete_thisMAIL.com) Ver 1.1 2021.04.06

Horror Film Reviews


Deep Blue Sea

The Faculty

Sleepy Hollow

Species

Tremors

Deep Blue Sea

3 stars

Release date: 1999
Written by: Duncan Kennedy, Donna Powers, Wayne Powers
Directed by: Renny Harlin
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on: 2021.04.06
Dr. Susan McCallister and Dr. Jim Whitlock are doing brain research on sharks in a remote facility in the ocean. One of the sharks escapes. Even though it is quickly recaptured, the negative publicity makes the corporate backers get cold feet and threaten to shut the facility down. Executive Russell Franklin returns with Susan to investigate and gives Susan and Jim until 'the end of the weekend' to come up with results that will justify their continued investment in the research. Problems quickly pile up when a powerful tropical storm hit the facility, and the sharks not only display human-like intelligence, but start flooding the facility, picking off the humans one by one!

Deep Blue Sea is the right blend of thrills, chills, and—most importantly—intelligence. It also has a surprising amount of self-awareness, with a lot of that provided by LL Cool J's character: cook Sherman "Preacher" Dudley. His is an intriguing mix of common sense and religion. The other characters are more or less standard for this kind of movie, but they are all performed equally well.

Nevertheless, the film is a great ride because it keeps throwing unexpected twists and turns in an original setting ("We go down to get up.") The film is also surprising as it kills off the apparently sacrosanct characters unexpectedly. Add to that the unpredictability of human-intelligence enhanced sharks, and one is in for a wild ride!

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The Faculty

stars

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Review by: Aaron Sketchley
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Sleepy Hollow

3.5 stars

Release date: 1999
Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker
Directed by: Tim Burton
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on: 2020.11.17
Police constable Ichabod Crane is dispatched to the titular village that has had a series of decapitations. In investigating the murder mystery, Crane comes face-to-face with a larger conspiracy and the supernatural.

What strikes you first is the beautiful cinematography of the countryside that seems like the film is a recreation of autumnal scenes by famous painters. In addition, the colour pallet starts extremely muted—almost monochrome—and grows in breadth and intensity as Crane's journey sees him evolve and acquire a more well-rounded view of the world.

The movie is populated by a pantheon of well known actors and actresses. Admittedly, when I first saw the film I was only aware of a small portion of them. However, decades of film appreciation later, I recognize most of them and can appreciate Dir. Burton's genius at helping the viewer differentiate between the rather large number of similar villagers with them.

The film earns its frights, and has a creepy feeling throughout. There is some gore—making it unsuitable for younger viewers—but it is much more like the stuff seen in a CSI investigation than it is a slasher film.

The only drawback is that the film is a little unclear on who did what for whom in the conspiracy. Nevertheless, the film makes up for that with very clear depictions of the ringleader's motivations and how that person came to be able to control the Headless Horseman.

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Species

stars

Release date:
Written by:
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Review by: Aaron Sketchley
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Coming soon!
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Tremors

stars

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Written by:
Directed by:
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
Coming soon!
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