There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.
2019 Netflix Halloween Countdown
For my third annual Netflix Halloween Countdown, I will once again be watching and reviewing some of the spooky, scary, gory, chilling, and horror-themed movies on Netflix. With each review, I will be including an up-to-date table that ranks these movies from best to worst. If you are looking to get in the Halloween spirit, by watching some Halloween-style movies, then these articles are for you!
Elena (Blanca Suárez) has a date tonight with a guy that she met online. The only problem is that her phone is almost dead, so she heads into a bar with the hopes that they will have a charger. The bar, located in a very crowded downtown Madrid, is populated by a group of colorful personalities. People are yelling, arguing with each other, running in to use the bathroom, and so on. Elena picked a pretty busy bar to walk into, but when the bar's staff falls behind on an order and a man decides to leave, that man ends up getting shot in the head by a long distance weapon.
When the man is killed just outside the doors of the bar, the people on the street frantically run out of harms way. The streets of downtown Madrid quickly become desolate and abandoned, leaving only the men and women still in the bar. While some of the people in the bar are trying to decide if it is safe to leave, one man decides to go check on the man who had been shot. Almost as soon as he leaves the bar, he is shot and killed as well. What is going on? Who is doing this, and why? These are all questions that the people in the bar need answers two, but they are certain of one simple fact: they cannot leave the bar.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
Strong Start (+4pts)
Dumb Characters (-6pts)
The Reveal (-4pts)
Homeless Man (+4pts)
The Bar (-6pts)
Pro: Strong Start (+4pts)
I thought this movie started out very strong. The filmmakers did a great job of getting all of these characters in the bar quickly, and showing all of the characters interacting with one another before things got crazy. These characters had quite the variety of personalities, and they did not get along as a result of that. The filmmakers did not spend too much screen-time on the setup—maybe about ten minutes. After that, a man got shot just outside the bar and chaos followed quickly after.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, we got to see how all of the characters in the bar reacted to what happened. The filmmakers did a great job of showing how these different personalities would behave after witnessing something so tragic. This was when the film was at its absolute best. With tensions rising, some characters pointed fingers at others, other characters tried to unite the group in order to find solutions, and other characters seemed to have a problem with every person in the bar. All of this was happening, with a very dangerous threat outside, which made for an entertaining first half of the film.
Con: Dumb Characters (-6pts)
These characters were way too over-the-top for this movie. It was like there were two different movies happening throughout this film. The plot made it feel like an intense thriller while the characters made it feel like a parody of an intense thriller. What I mean by that is, while there were no good jokes in the film, the characters were written in a way that made them seem like they belonged in one of the Scary Movie films. They were incredibly over-the-top and ridiculous, and it diminished the movie’s suspense.
These characters were also extremely dumb. I will not get into the details, but this was a very crazy plot, and in order to move that plot in the filmmakers’ desired direction, the characters needed to make incredibly dumb decisions. I will only give one example: the characters discovered that they were trapped in the bar with only one working cell phone, and the filmmakers clearly needed to write that cell-phone out of the plot before the characters could use it to get out. Multiple characters in the bar decided to fight over that cell phone, because they each have a different idea on who to call for help. This fight led to two characters standing on top of a small table, and ultimately led to the phone becoming broken. This phone had been introduced earlier on in the story and the bad decision making was clearly a plot device to take that phone out of the equation. It was just one example, and really one of the only examples I can give without spoiling the film. However, just know that this movie is filled with plenty of bad decision-making just like this.
Pro: Unpredictable (+5pts)
The first half of this movie was pretty unpredictable. From the moment that the first gunshot was fired, this movie became a crazy ride, as these characters bumbled around frantically in the bar. The situation escalated very quickly and it continued to escalate throughout the first half of the story. Before the characters—or the audience—could fully process one event, the characters were arguing, bickering, and causing more unexpected things to occur. The characters did not know what is happening, who was responsible, or how much danger they were in. This caused some pretty crazy things to happen, as all of these characters became increasingly desperate to survive.
Con: The Reveal (-4pts)
Like I mentioned before, this movie was as intense as it was, because the characters had no idea what was going on, who was behind it, or how much danger they were in. However, these questions also made this movie interesting to the viewer. These questions made for a captivating first part of the movie, but then the reveal happened. The reveal just did not live up to the hype, and it ended up being pretty anti-climactic.
Do not get me wrong, I would be pretty stressed out if I was in these characters‘ shoes. However, I did not think the reveal lived up to the crazy, thriller-style intensity that the characters were experiencing beforehand. The reveal also answered every major question that the audience and the characters had, but it happened about halfway through the movie and did not leave any questions unanswered. It became a pretty predictable movie after that, and there were no unanswered questions to keep me interested.
Pro: Homeless Man (+4pts)
Out of all of these characters, the Homeless Man (played by Jaime Ordóñez) was definitely the best. As the movie lost all of its steam—after the reveal—this character was the only one that made the film feel even slightly interesting, because he remained unpredictable from beginning to end. As the rest of the characters discovered what was going on and were trying to figure out a way to get out alive, the homeless man—who had always been played as a crazy man—was getting fed up with how little the other characters thought of him. They treated him like his life was less important, because he was homeless and the other characters did not seem to care about his input. As a result, this character became more and more unhinged as the story progressed, and this was entertaining to watch. After the reveal, this character was the only interesting thing about this movie.
Con: The Bar (-6pts)
My issue with this movie was pretty much everything that took place after the reveal. It just very quickly turned into a very different movie. Initially, it was an intense thriller, but after the reveal, the story slowed way down and turned into a character story that centered around annoyingly dumb characters. Before long, the plot continued to move in a different direction—and it did so at a crazy pace. By the end, it felt like I was watching a completely different movie than the one I had started, and I thought this “new movie” was uninteresting and was not very exciting.
Grade: C- (72pts)
I thought this movie had a strong and intense start. The questions it raised hooked me in, and the excitement had my eyes fixed to the screen in anticipation. They had a strong start, but the filmmakers made the mistake of revealing the answers to all of their questions way too early on in the story. As a result, the last half of this movie was a very slow paced character story that focused on dumb and uninteresting characters. Luckily, there was the homeless man, who was easily my favorite character in the movie.
After the reveal, the movie became very boring and predictable, but the homeless man was the wild card that was thrown into it. When all of the other characters were trying to get on the same page and figure out a way out of their situation, the homeless man was yelling, attacking people, and really just throwing a wrench into the rest of the characters’ plans. After the reveal, the movie lost a lot of its steam The homeless man was not nearly enough to make up for that, but he is enough to make the rest of the movie watchable. If you want a ridiculous, parody-style, comedy that comes in the form of a thriller, then you may get some enjoyment out of it. I thought it had an interesting premise, but thought that the filmmakers failed in its execution. Oh, and just for your information, the whole movie was in Spanish with English subtitles. I have no problem watching movies with subtitles, but I know that can be a deal-breaker for some.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
Train to Busan
In the Tall Grass
Hold the Dark
Would You Rather
The Eyes of My Mother
Meet the Blacks
The Open House
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House