John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


john-wick-chapter-2-posterThe boogeyman returns as Keanu Reeves stars in the sequel to Chad Stahelski’s action hit ‘John Wick‘ (2014). The original film was a huge hit amongst moviegoers; although it wasn’t a box-office smash, Summit Entertainment moved forward with the project and leads us to ‘John Wick: Chapter 2‘. Director Chad Stahelski returns to the chair and helms the brutal carnage that made it the success that it is. The film also sees Common, Ian McShane, Riccardo Scamarcio, and Lawrence Fishbourne.

When John Wick refuses to take the mark by Santino D’Antonio, Wick’s life turns upside down as he is thrust back into the life he’s so desperately tried leaving behind. But with no option he carries through with the order and that’s when he is double-crossed and that leads Wick to fend off the enemies and tries to get revenge and return to the life he so cherishes. But the further he’s pushed may be all little too late.

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It’s been a long while that fans of the original movie were anticipating a sequel to probably one of the most unexpected films of 2014. With the combination of Keanu Reeves and non-stop action with guns and knives being wielded left and right, there was just nothing you could’ve asked for. So going into this movie I anticipated nothing  but the same fun that we got the last time around. And ‘John Wick: Chapter 2‘ doesn’t disappoint. Not only is it more of the same but it flows effortlessly as the movie travels from one location to the next and delivering an adrenaline punch at best.

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What you got from the first movie is what you’ll get in the sequel but a new plot thread arises and leads John Wick into uncharted territory. Another great performance by Keanu Reeves as he continues to take the pain and punishment while kicking ass and making you regret you ever came face to face. Another mention goes out to Common who is the protector of one of the main villain’s sister. He had some great chemistry along with Keanu and there were brutal fight scenes between the two of them that on their own could have made the movie. The supporting cast all around did their job and although they weren’t breakout performances they did what they needed to do and carried the movie along.

You could easily say that the carnage we get in this movie is over the top compared to the previous film but it’s so much fun to watch that you forget about it. I mean who ever knew the damage that could be done with just a pencil. Yes the pencil makes an awesome return and even a deadly weapon if one were so inclined to use in self-defense. There are many sequences to mention but that wouldn’t be fun to divulge as it should be experienced in its full glory on screen. Could this movie outdo the greatness of the original? That’s a tough argument considering you can look at these films as art and trying to discern between the two can get complicated. But never-the-less they are exactly what they’re intended to be.

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Seeing as how the movie ended it is safe to say that the studio could go for another sequel and may be the case if the box-office is any indicator. There are many directions the John Wick franchise can go and it’ll be interesting to see how the studio plans to move forward from here. Definitely one the best action films we’ve seen this year with a star-studded performance by Keanu Reeves. Let’s get Chapter 3!!!

Rating: 7.5/10

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Are you looking forward to ‘John Wick: Chapter 2‘? What are some of your favorite Keanu Reeves films? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Rings (2016/17) Review

mv5bnju1ndaxntg0mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzuxmjewmti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Following the footsteps of Hollywood as it continues to revisit long lost franchises, we get the third installment in ‘Rings‘. The film is directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez, who was only involved in one other film and is fairly new to Hollywood. It has been 12 years since we’ve seen a sequel to ‘The Ring Two‘ and what begs the question is why now? That can be said for many properties in the horror genre as not only this month, January, but for the remainder of 2017 as well. So let’s dive into ‘Rings‘.

When Julia suddenly loses contact with her boyfriend Holt as he attends a University, she goes on a search to only discover that not all is as it seems. Soon after Julia watches a video she then gets the message that she has seven days to live. This sends her on a wild goose chase to locate the remains of Samara before it’s too late. The film stars Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz and Alex Roe.

In my last review with ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘, I spoke about how the series has been around for 15 years and that by this point it was more of a fan affair. So with ‘Rings‘ you look at it and wonder if it is even relevant to the fans of the original back in 2002. Coming off of a very disappointing sequel in 2005 one stops to think if there’s a purpose on moving forward. The trailers leading up to its inevitable release were cringeworthy alone as you can sense that the lore and greatness of Gore Verbinski’sThe Ring‘ was all but non-existent. This leads us to three minutes of footage that was put out by the studio which saw a doomed flight for a couple of passengers. At this point nothing could save this movie.

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Do not think after 12 years that resurrecting this franchise was going to be amazing. There’s an epidemic going around with these properties where continuity doesn’t mean anything anymore. The troubling aspect of this is that the fans of the original will hate the direction on which the movie takes; whereas the general audience most likely will not notice. Just from what I’ve seen it felt like the studio deliberately made it into a stand-alone from its predecessors. There wasn’t even a nod or mention of Naomi Watt’s character from the previous films.

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The acting in this debacle was below average and the couple that we follow of Julia and Holt, both played by Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz and Alex Roe, were cringeworthy. I do have to say that from the beginning when Julia first came on screen she didn’t bother me at first and I was going along with it. But there’s a certain moment when logic is supposed to kick in that she does the inevitable and lost my interest soon after. And we have Alex Roe who’s only there because of good looks and cause he’s the person that puts Julia in her predicament in the first place. We also have to mention Johnny Galecki who plays Gabriel who for the most part I thought would play a bigger role just by how the movie started. He gets wasted and written off by the half-way mark which by that point nothing was going right so he was smart to leave in that sense.

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One of the big caveats that I had with the film was the pacing because there were times when characters were jabbering and nothing was happening. Which then leads me to the plot of the movie which has to do with Samara. She was watered down compared to what we’d seen in the previous films to a point where I didn’t find her terrifying at all. One of the plot devices had to do with characters showing the tape to other people and in which would pass death down the line. No spoilers there but how many times have we seen this used? We’ve seen this in ‘Final Destination‘, ‘It Follows‘, among others. And yes, given the opening to the film you get a Final Destination vibe. There’s even a scene that takes place towards the latter end of the movie where you sense ‘Don’t Breathe‘ and was a complete ripoff from that.

If you’re going into ‘Rings‘ as a fan of the original you are going to loathe this movie. There is nothing redeeming here and even for the general audience who go to see this will regret it just by the acting and pacing. Forget what you had remembered in the other films because it just won’t matter since Samara seems to have multiple variations of her story. Try not to get sucked into the theater because if you thought watching the video was going to get you killed, then believe me this movie actually will.

Rating: 4.5/10

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What do you think of ‘Rings‘? Do you plan on watching it? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


resident-evil-the-final-chapter-posterWith a five year delay, and after countless sequels, it looks like Milla Jovovich is hanging her artillery up for good. Paul W. S. Anderson returns to direct ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘ and looks to bring the franchise he started back in 2002 to a close. All the lingering questions everyone’s had about the Umbrella Corporation and if and what can stop the T-virus from whipping the face of humanity into extinction will be revealed. For over 15 years, it’s a franchise that many gave up on as the series dragged on with Jovovich at the helm. Some may argue the sequels gave a clear identity of what it wanted to be, as we’ve seen in other franchises such as in the Fast and Furious series. It all comes to an end and much of the production is more of like a thank you to everyone that stayed the course, for good or indifferent.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) arises to find out that much of humanity has now been deceased. However, with a little help from the Red Queen, she discovers that an anti-serum exists deep within the hive’s location. And with Dr. Isaac (Iain Glen) on the hunt to stop Alice in her tracks, his master plan is in jeopardy. It’s a race to Raccoon city with the true fate of humanity resting in Alice’s hands.

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I was a fan of the Resident Evil video games back in the 90s and it was announced that a film adaptation was in the works everyone was intrigued; especially with Milla Jovovich being attached to the project. Once it hit theaters it was drawn with a mix bag with some liking it and others thinking it was mah. Though not a complete transfer from the storylines we’d seen in the games it had an appealing premise and action sequences to entertain. Thereafter, the series became a thing on its own and eventually giving us that videogame feel with ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife‘ (2010). By this point, the series seemed like a cash grab and became a huge appeal to audiences overseas where much of the revenue came in.

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One thing you could take from the recent and supposedly “final” chapter is that you could tell it was made for the fans; whichever how many are left that is. It went away from a level by level game mode to more of what ‘Apocalypse‘ brought. Story elements were thrown in to tie up the loose ends of the series, including the backstory behind the Umbrella Corporation and why the T-virus was created in the first place. We’d even get a philosophical explanation by Dr. Isaac that really takes the originality of the premise into familiar territory. But what would you expect from the last and final film?  Aside from the beginning and end, everything in between is exactly what fans come to pay and see. And rightfully so.

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The movie promises to come full circle and for the most part we get a conclusion to Alice’s character. But to argue that the movie is the best in the series is a tough argument to make. There were moments when the effects looked cheap and the acting was never top notch either. Some of the plot points had me scratching my head at times when there was talk about the anti-virus. I could’ve sworn the anti-virus was mentioned in the very first movie and thus had me wondering why it was supposed to come as a surprise that one exists. But again, we’re not here for story so it doesn’t even really matter.

With the series coming to a close and Milla Jovovich bowing to her fans for one last time (let’s hope) I sincerely hope it is the end. After a five year break it’s a little surprising Paul W. S. Anderson would even return given the lack of interest in the U.S. market. ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ does have action for everyone as one would expect by now. As a sendoff to a franchise that fans have come to endure it does leave you with some satisfaction. And that’s being nice coming from someone who lost interest after the original.

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Rating: 5.5/10

What do you think of ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘? If you had to rank the films in order from worst to best, how would you rank them? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Split (2016/17) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


split_red-692x1024From the director who brought us ‘The Sixth Sense‘, ‘Signs‘, and 2015’s ‘The Visit‘, M. Night Shymalan returns with a suspense thriller that stars James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. When Casey Cooke and her friends are captured by somebody with multiple personalities, they must race to find answers as to whom they’re dealing with and whether or not escape will even be possible. After coming off of a mediocre effort in Shymalan’s last movie, are we continuing to seeing a revival of the director’s career? Let’s find out.

**For the purposes of the film, I will be referring to McAvoy’s character as Kevin.**

This was definitely an unsettling movie and not in the way of violence but more so in how great of a performance we get from James McAvoy. His characters suffers from a condition called Disassociative Identity Disorder (DID) and portrays over 23 personalities that all came to be over a dark past. With this in mind, it takes us to the plot which is evident in the trailers as Casey and her friends are captured by Kevin and are then placed in an undisclosed location. We then see the different personalities come to light and in which Casey tries hard to piece together a way out. But a repetitive reference to “The Beast” raises alarms as to whether or not a deeper more menacing figure looms in the shadows.

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Having said everything thus so far and with what little is known, it’s best not to give any more details without possibly spoiling the film. All that will be said is that James McAvoy puts on a challenging performance; especially when you’re encompassing 23 characters in one body. There were moments when you felt fear for Casey, who’s played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who comes face to face with him and you never know who you would be talking to next. What also caught my attention was to the story behind Casey and how her upbringing was met with a dark past herself that I thought would later play out in the movie. But it didn’t go the way I expected.

We’re also introduced to Dr. Karen Fletcher, played by Betty Buckley, who is the psychiatrist that Kevin goes to visit. She was very good and I liked her role as this person who truly cares about him. You could sense it from the start and it wasn’t like she was meant to be written off very quick. We’re able to get a bit of exposition as to why Kevin is the way he is when the two characters are together. Their chemistry was awesome; although later on I will get into issues that I had when certain things would happen. Overall, Buckley did a great job.

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If you’re getting the hint that things didn’t pan out as I had expected while watching the movie then most likely it’s because of the direction of the script. The movie started strong but by the third act that’s when the wheels on train begins to fall apart. As seen in the trailer when McAvoy begins to climb on the walls and is running around like a demon in distress, it left me still trying to piece together how this entity breaks through the sound barrier. Because everything that involved the DID made it seem believable that a person could be this way. There was a believability factor that existed and that was one of the reasons that made everything else that was happening that more terrifying. But once “The Beast” as they say appears it sort of ruined it for me because it felt like we entered into another dimension. It could’ve been handled better.

Now let’s get to the elephant in the room which is in regards to the twist. Every M. Night Shymalan has some element of a twist in his movies and for ‘Split’ it is no different. I will not however go into detail about what that twist may entail because it is something for the audience to stumble upon for themselves. As far as my reaction to the twist I thought it was an interesting decision by the director and that’s all I will say to that.

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Where does ‘Split‘ stand against Shymalans’ other projects is that it’s a hit or miss but is definitely one of his better efforts. It’s directed with care and has good performances by the actors. Again, it goes back to the script and the direction the movie is trying to head towards can sometimes get lost in translation. The movie reminds me a lot of ‘Identity‘ (2003), where from a psychological point of view you’re not sure who’s character is really screwed up. For a January release, the movie is surprisingly fresh and forgoes the dump machine that many studios rely on.

Rating: 7/10

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Are you planning on watching ‘Split‘? Which M. Night Shymalan movie is your favorite? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


ouija_two_xxlg-jpegThe Halloween season is looking quite bare with little scares coming out but all may not be lost as Universal returns to conjure up evil spirits in ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘. When Hasbro and Universal teamed up with their original outing back in 2014 with ‘Ouija’, it turned out to be a terrible bland mess of a movie. Audiences weren’t digging; however, the box-office had something else to say as a $5 million* budget landed them $103 million* globally. With a new director in Mike Flanagan, the studio looks to take the Hasbro property in the right direction and give audiences a truly terrifying experience.

Set in the 1960s, a mother of two girls is in the business of fortune telling and scamming her customers in believing they’re making connections with the deceased. However, when her youngest daughter Doris discovers the Ouija board and begins to make connections with the dead, she unwittingly sets loose a demonic spirit that not only devours her soul but endangers her family as well. The film stars Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, and Lulu Wilson.

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Having seen the original film two years ago it was one of the blandest experiences you can imagine. There was a scrambled story with plot holes that were bigger then the glass of the Ouija piece. Though the production had eerie imagery and nicely shot scenes, it couldn’t bear the weight of its faults. So going forward with Ouija 2 was not something I was looking forward to and when the trailer came out there was already a disposition that wasn’t winning me over. But leading up to its release and favorable reviews by critics I must say that ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ was a vast improvement from its predecessor.

Doing a time piece in the 1960s was a good decision because we got to see an authentic look of how the Ouija board was perceived and giving it a game feel as it was originally marketed as. There also has to be credit given to the production from the lighting to the opening credits and the sequences of terror when Doris comes into contact with spirits that was followed by disturbing imagery. One scene that will be mentioned and was in the trailer was involving Doris and her body folding backwards. When you watch the film and you see exactly what’s happening to her you’ll get goosebumps.

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The acting was a plus, given the fact that the film focused on a mom and her two daughters; whereas in the last outing we didn’t get a sense of connection with the teenagers as they were hunted down one by one while being pretty much disposable. Here we get a reason to care for the characters especially when it involves Alice’s deceased husband and father to their two girls. Elizabeth Reaser plays the mom and was awesome as she tries to make a living while also trying to help people with what she considers a legit way of making a living despite how others would question her as a medium. She’s followed by Lulu Wilson who was genuinely creepy while encountering the spirits that overtakes her body.

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Now having given credit for being a better movie then the original ‘Ouija‘, there are still problems with the movie. For instance, the pacing was all over the place because it starts by taking its time and focuses a lot on Alice and her daughters reminiscing about their long lost father. Then once the possessions take place you’d think the suspense would build and build but instead it takes its time and hardly has moments of real terror. A pastor, played by Henry Thomas, is an example as someone who you’d think would play a bigger part in the movie but the opposite happens and your left shaking your head. Why certain things are happening aren’t fully explained either which was frustrating.

A surprise turnaround with genuinely terrifying imagery and better-then-expected performances, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ dishes out one of the better experiences going back to 1986’s ‘Witchboard‘ which outlasted it’s less then stellar sequels. After ‘Ouija‘ in 2014 it was stated there could be many sequels in the works. With positive word of mouth it can be safe to say another sequel will be rolled out pending the box-office result considering the lambasting of the original.

Rating: 6.3/10

What do you guys think of ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘? Are you planning on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Source: BoxOfficeMojo

Goat (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


v1-btsxmja5mzq5mjtqoze3mta0ozeymda7njuwozk2mwInspired by true events, ‘Goat‘ tells the story about a college student named Brad, who after experiencing a brutal assault, decides to enter a fraternity with his brother Brett. What starts as fun with beer, girls, sex, and endless parties is when the initiation begins. That’s when accusations of hazing turns deadly as the cost of entering the fraternity walks that fine line. Based on the short memoir by Brad Land and his experiences of hazing in fraternities, Director Andrew Neel explores the world of fraternities and hazings and how the media has begun to draw attention to such extremes and the dangers they pose. The film stars Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, and a short cameo appearance by James Franco.

After months of anticipation and an effective trailer that was disturbingly eye catching, we get to see Andrew Neel’s ‘Goat‘. The film as described by the synopsis starts with an intense assault on Ben Schnetzer’s character as Brad who then enters a fraternity to try and work through the trauma that was brought upon him. Whether or not it was effective is left to the interpretations of the audience as the movie is centered around Kappa Sigma and Hell week as it’s implied. Hazings has been brought to the attention of college campuses around the country as they’re becoming aware of the dangers these fraternities bring upon to those who wish to join. Brad was introduced to the frat by his brother Brett, played by Nick Jonas, as Brett is already a member of Kappa Sigma.

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The movie is intense and there were times when you began to wonder when the line is crossed as you watch Brad go through Hell week along with other individuals. And there was a natural feel to these characters coming from all the actors which made the movie that much more disturbing because it didn’t feel like your typical Hollywood production. Andrew Neel did a great job as he gave you a true sense of what a fraternity is like, plus or minus the hazings as not all fraternities should be portrayed as going to these extremes. We also get a psychological perspective from Brad as he’s inflicting a lot of the brutality. Having already been assaulted you sort of watch him revisit that torment and makes you wonder how it becomes therapeutic from not taking crap from anyone.

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In a short appearance we also get to see James Franco who’s role is basically that he was once a part of Kappa Sigma and has then went on and started a family. However, he makes a short visit with his brothers and relives the memories of the frat and why they’d have Brad’s back. On the one hand it was effective as Brad would no longer need to fear fighting alone but on the other hand he starts seeing the dangers as well. It was nice to see Franco in the movie but I’d only wished we got to see more of him. Then again as the movie is based on a memoir there may or may not have been an involvement anymore then that.

Some of the issues that come up are mainly based on how the movie jumps between Brad as he copes with the assault and him joining the fraternity. Because as the movie starts we don’t really get introduced to the fraternity until at least a half hour and in those thirty minutes its based around the assault. Then as he he partakes in the initiation we watch him go through psychological torture which is when we then see him revisit the assault at various moments that kind of makes it feel like we’re watching two different movies. Where on the one hand there is the assault and then on the other is the hazings in the fraternity. But at the same time there’s a psychological connection between the two events which makes it work from that perspective.

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Not having read the memoir from Brad Lane, it’s hard to make comparisons between the two and whether or not the movie explored all the events as told. But from what I watched Andrew Neel did an amazing job telling the story of what possibly is concerning for college organizations across the country as it comes to hazings. Nick Jonas was surprisingly utilized effectively and really lived up to the role as a college frat as his youth may have played a part in it. Same can be said with Ben Schnetzer who had a daunting task of taking the abuse and mentally putting himself in uncomfortable situations. In the end though his performance paid off. This may or may not be easy for some viewers to watch but ultimately it does the job and the performances are the big reason why.

Rating: 7/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan to watch ‘Goat‘? Are you or someone you know involved in a fraternity that has experienced such events? Comment below and share your thoughts.

The Disappointments Room (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


v1-btsxmjixmteyottqoze3mta2ozeymda7njqxozk0oqFrom Relativity Media comes the story about a family who move into their new home in the country side. When a room is discovered on the attic floor it reveals the grueling details of the secrets families kept as it regarded kids with disabilities or deformities. Soon after, Dana must find a way to keep her family safe as a vengeful entity terrorizes her and her family. The film is directed by D.J. Caruso and stars Kate Beckinsale.

Based on true events we follow Dana, an architect, as she stumbles upon a room in the attic that leads to a disappointments room where children were put in when families tried to secretly deny their child’s existence who has a deformity. The concept and loose tellings about such events caught my attention when a trailer was released and didn’t give away too much about the plot. With that said, this was such a disappointment as the title of the film suggests. There apparently weren’t any early screenings for critics nor are there many reviews up on Rotten Tomatoes which suggests an embargo may have been put in place. Even without going into detail so far, you’re probably thinking where this review is headed.

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The premise of the film caught my attention and what I wanted to learn more was why or how such rooms were constructed and the families involved. Unfortunately, very little is told in the movie and what’s even worse is how hollow the story involved with the home Dana and her family move into. We then get into the movie itself that is unsure what it wanted to be as it goes from being a mystery to a drama and then at times goes into a thriller. This reminded me of ‘Cold Creek Manor‘ back in 2003 as far as the pacing and where the movie was headed. A promising start just spirals into chaos and just gets worse and worse and worse.

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Let’s talk about Kate Beckinsale because her character is a mess. She’s a caring mother who suffers from depression after a traumatic events that persuades her husband in moving the family to the countryside. Dana starts seeing things and eventually you as the viewer aren’t sure what you’re seeing which then leads into bigger problems as the movie progresses. And how the movie handles her past to dealing with the room and the ghosts that follows is mind-boggling numb to watch. There is no clear connection between her depression and the ghost that is terrorizing her nor is it cohesive from a narrative sense. Many times her performance was cringeworthy; especially during the times when she is confronting her husband when something happens to her.

It’s hard to continue on bashing the film because there’s just so much to talk about without giving away any spoilers. Again, the premise got my attention and what I wanted to get was a story – thriller or horror- that would build up the suspense as the lead character pieces together the clues that would make you want to care for them. Unfortunately, ‘The Disappointments Room‘ is packaged in mystery but once you dig into the film it becomes a jumbled mess from story to character development to the resolve at the end. If you want to do justice it’s best to research the disappointments rooms rather then paying for something that you’ll get very little in details.

Rating: 3.5/10

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What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch ‘The Disappointments Room‘? Comment below and share your thoughts.