When it comes to critical and box office success, horror/suspense is not usually the first genre that comes to mind. So when a new scary movie comes out and is getting generally positive reviews while raking in money at the box office, it definitely triggers some additional interest in my book. The fact that this movie was directed, written, and stars the goofy guy (John Krasinski) best known as Jim Halpert from the hilarious show “The Office” is the icing on the cake. Mrs. Apologist and I really enjoy scary movies so naturally this one found its way to the top of our list to see.
I don’t want to spoil this movie with too much detail about the plot. This is a tale about survival in the face of mass devastation and death. We start off right away seeing the Abbott family doing their best to not make any noise as they search for supplies in a very empty small town store. It seems something has thoroughly wiped out everyone and everything. The painstaking effort to be as quiet as possible while on their supply run leads us to assume that too much sound brings a swift death. I’ll leave the rest of it for you to discover on your own. It becomes quite interesting to see how they function on a daily basis while living in almost complete silence.
What isn’t to like about this film? John Krasinski completely blew me away as he wrote, directed, and starred in this thriller that had me on the edge of my seat for almost the entire 90 minute run time. The pacing is near perfection as it doesn’t move along too quickly but doesn’t drag its feet either. The whole concept of “be quiet or you can die” was well done and I have never heard an entire movie theater sit in such silence! There are a few legitimate jump scares thrown in for good measure and believe me, they will make you jump. I loved the family in this movie, each actor/actress was convincing and I truly cared about their well being. John Krasinski is wonderful as Lee Abbott, the father doing all he can to keep his family safe from constant threat. He is joined on screen by real life wife Emily Blunt as she plays his movie wife Evelyn. Their on screen chemistry is powerful between themselves as well as their children. It is very refreshing to see such a unique entry into the horror/thriller genre.
I enjoyed this movie so much that I don’t really have any complaints for this section! Everything from the story to the suspense to the actors all added up to an superbly entertaining trip to the theater.
This movie is an instant classic in the eyes of this fanatic and I will be sure to add it to my collection the first day it is available. I get a kick out of the horror/suspense genre but too often I find movies too derivative or predictable or just flat out not scary enough. This movie checks all the boxes and felt refreshing in a sea of sequels and remakes. It may not shock you to discover that I give this movie an spectacular rating of 0 Apologies since I have been raving about this movie for awhile now. If you are a fan of the genre then this is a must watch but be careful not to make too much noise.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again: remakes can be extremely difficult to pull off successfully. That is especially true when talking about something that has such a cult following like Stephen King’s It (1990). With such a well respected performance by Tim Curry it is easy to see that it was going to be a tough act to follow. Before going to see IT I was very excited since the previews were some of the best in recent memory but there was also a little doubt creeping in since there were several horror movies that had built up too much hype before being massive let downs.
I’ll try to give out some basic details of the plot without giving too much away. The story is set in Derry, Maine in the late 80’s as school is beginning to let out for summer. There have been increasing reports of missing children. Bill and his group of friends Richie, Eddie, Stanley are trying to figure out where the kids are going and avoid being harassed by the school bully Henry too much. As the summer progresses the group gains a few more misfits with the additions of Mike, Beverly, and new kid Ben. Each of the kids has begun to see scary visions and apparitions which all seem to be connected to the same creature known as Pennywise the Clown. As they dive deeper into their investigation of the missing children they seem to find more questions than answers.
This remake does have several strengths to its credit. The main group of kids played by Jaeden Liberher (Bill), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben) Sophia Lillis (Bev), Finn Wolfhard (Richie), Chosen Jacobs (Mike), Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie), and Wyatt Oleff (Stanley) all deliver terrific performances as grade school kids who are on a terrifying journey. They show a wide range of emotions throughout the film. Another standout is Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. There were massive shoes to fill (ha) from the great Tim Curry but he definitely delivered a high quality portrayal. He is both funny and also fairly chilling in his interpretation of the role. I thought the pacing of the movie was another strength. The movie has a 135 minute run time but it zips right along moving from scene to scene and fright to fright. Those frights are indeed another strong point here compared to the last few horror/suspense movies I have watched recently. There is a good balance between suspenseful scares and the more traditional jump scares that had Mrs. Apologist watching from behind her own fingers.
There were not very many weaknesses but IT was definitely far from a perfect movie. I did happen to think that some of the scares were predictable. Some of the story also followed that same predictability but that is easy to do when dealing with a remake. While there were mostly high quality scares there were also a handful that just didn’t work out and came off as cheesy which almost brought down the entire creepy vibe the movie worked so hard to establish.
Remakes can be a very tricky bunch, especially when the first version was well received and generally well reviewed. Expectations that are built up pretty high can sometimes lead to big time letdown but luckily for us this movie packed enough of a punch to keep us entertained for the night. If you’re in the mood for some scares and don’t mind some occasional gruesome violence then I would recommend checking out 2017’s version of IT with a very respectable 2 Apologies.
This movie was on my must watch list from the very first preview that I saw in the theaters. “Don’t Breathe” appeared to hit all the check marks for what an amazing horror movie should have: believable story, taut suspense, jump scares, and very good reviews. One review called it “the best American horror movie in the last 20 years” which is a very bold statement and also definitely adds to the anticipation. Each time the preview came on it drew me in and the hype would build a little more. Unfortunately this movie fails to meet the hype that was generated.
The plot is very basic. We follow a trio of young thieves plan to break into an old, blind man’s house to rob him of a massive fortune they believe he has. They have performed many other burglaries without any incidents so how could they go wrong picking a blind man as their next target : all they have to do is drug the man’s dog, bypass the security system, drug the old blind man, find the safe, get the money and get back out. The plan seems foolproof but it does start to fall apart as the old man proves tougher than they thought. He is former military and is not about to just give up his money or his secrets. I won’t spoil any of those secrets that come along as they try to spice up the simplistic story. I will say that while I wasn’t terribly impressed with any of the twists I also wasn’t able to see them coming.
There are not many strengths that I found during the 88 minute run time but there are just a couple. Any time a plot twist can sneak up on me without me predicting it would have to be put into the strength column even if the twist isn’t that great. Another strength is that it breaks away from the cookie cutter type horror movie: there are no ghosts or demons or found footage scenes which seem so popular right now. I would also say that the relatively quick running time should be considered a strength. You don’t have to sit there for 2 hours watching a movie you aren’t enjoying.
Where do I start with the weaknesses in this film? There are so many to choose from. I’ve mentioned the simplistic plot earlier but in addition to that the characters are a major weak point. We have no connection to them, why are we to care who lives and who dies? The film also tries to switch the protaganists and antaganists a few times to keep fresh but it just made me not care about all the characters. The acting is really nothing special from any of them and there are only 4 characters to choose from so not too much variety on that front. The entire movie is poorly lit so it is hard to see what is going on sometimes. But one of the biggest issues with the film is that its supposed to be a horror/suspense movie yet I didn’t find myself on the edge of my seat or even scared one time. Mrs Apologist, who is probably the most easily scared movie viewer I know, was not in suspense for the entire movie and I didn’t see her flinch from any jump scares. I also felt the movie unnecessarily extended the film with added content and forced dramaticism that didn’t add any value to the story.
Overall this movie really let us both down. All the glowing reviews and well made previews built “Don’t Breathe” into a juggernaut with expectations that it just couldn’t meet. A horror movie should be suspenseful, it should be scary. It should not be boring and miss all the marks in both suspense and scares. It leaves a lot to be desired and earned 6 Apologies from me. There are much better choices if you’re looking for a good scary night on the couch or in the theater.