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!
Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith) are best friends, high-school students in Canada, and are always on their cell phones. To the girls, their cell phones are extensions of themselves, and they never go anywhere without them. They also work at a convenience store, owned by Colleen Collette's father (Tony Hale), where they pass the time by holding jam sessions for their band in the back room. Oh, and of course, the girls practice yoga in a class led by Yogi Bayer (Justin Long).
The girls live fairly mundane lives, until strange deaths start happening in their town. When the victim of one of those deaths had been last seen as customer of the convenience store, an author named Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp) comes to the girls' school to question them. Soon after, the girls discover that the things responsible for these deaths are small, Nazi bratwursts (Kevin Smith), but no one would believe the girls. Being the only ones who know about the threat, the girls have somehow found themselves in the middle of this madness, and are the towns only hope at stopping these things. Thus, they must find out where these Bratzis are coming from, as well as how to stop them, before they over run the girls’ small, Canadian hometown.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
The Colleens (+6pts)
The Cast & Cameos (+3pts)
The Monsters (-6pts)
The Plot (-8pts)
Pro: The Colleens (+6pts)
The Colleens were probably the most entertaining part of the movie. These two characters were inseparable from each other, as well as their phones, and the movie really played into the comedy of their extreme phone addiction. I enjoyed these characters' millennial attitude, I enjoyed their friendship, I thought the two actresses had very good chemistry together, and I thought that they did a decent job in the roles. While the Colleens had a very strong and entertaining friendship, I think it was the actresses' chemistry that made the roles work so well.
Again, both Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith did a decent job in these roles, but I got the impression that these two were friends in real life. If I am correct, their friendship seamlessly bled through to the screen, which was great. If I am incorrect, then the two actresses have a really natural chemistry that played well on screen. Either way, their chemistry was very strong and the movie was better for it.
Con: InstaCan (-5pts)
This was such an annoying part of the movie. Every single time any new character was introduced, there would be a pop-up graphic that showed the character's name, bio, and picture. It was done as if it was being posted on social media, but we never saw any character actually posting the info, or checking social media for it. The graphic was called InstaCan, and it was clearly done in the attempt of introducing characters to the audience by using the gimmick of the Colleens always being on their phones.
Logically, it makes sense, and it was tolerable at first, but all it ended up being was an irritating distraction from the movie. Almost every single time that I started to get into the movie, the InstaCan graphic would pop-up, and pull me out of it. It was the filmmakers’ “clever” way of throwing unnecessary exposition at the viewer. It happened constantly, it did not add any valuable information to the story, and it disrupted the pacing of the movie.
Pro: The Cast & Cameos (+3pts)
This movie had a surprisingly well known cast and featured some entertaining cameos. Actors like Johnny Depp, Justin Long, Tony Hale, Natasha Lyonne, Kevin Smith, Ralph Garman, and Adam Brody—just to name a few—were all in this movie, and their collective presence was definitely entertaining. They all played some pretty over-the-top characters, but this movie called for that, and the actors seemed to enjoy it, which made their appearances work well. The movie even had a cameo from Stan Lee—not a spoiler, as it was in the trailer—and another surprise cameo that DC comics fans will appreciate. I had some major problems with this movie, but it had a fun cast and I enjoyed seeing what cameos were hiding around each corner.
Con: The Monsters (-6pts)
I thought the film's setup was fine, but once the monsters were introduced, it all went downhill fast. The monsters (that were terrorizing this Canadian town) are Bratzis. They were sentient bratwursts that just so happen to be Nazis. Now I realize that the intent was to have a ridiculous movie, as that is Kevin Smith's style, but I do not think the Bratzis were as effective as Kevin Smith had most likely anticipated. They were ridiculous, sure, but not in a good way. Oh, and they killed people by jumping into their butt, crawling through their body, and jumping out of their mouth. The whole thing was ridiculous, and I will not lie, the first kill amused me a bit, but it got very old, very quickly.
Since these things had just the one method of murder, they were only dangerous if people did not know they are behind them. They were tiny and slow, so (if you are aware of their existence) they were seemingly no threat. Once the girls encountered the Bratzis for the first time (which happened about half-way through the story), the movie lost its horror-vibe, because the main characters proved that they could hold their own against the creatures without any real difficulty. Movies like this work best if they can blend horror and comedy together, the filmmakers went for the comedy and seemed to neglect the horror altogether. I am aware that the Bratzis were intended to be ridiculous (and they succeed at that), but the film could have been so much better if these things were even remotely intimidating.
Pro: Comedy (+4pts)
The comedy worked for me for the most part. I really enjoyed the focus on the Colleens' obsessions with their phones, which is such a relevant topic in today's society, so I think the comedy surrounding their obsession will work well with most audiences. There were even entertaining impressions from the great comedic impressionist, Ralph Garman. Then there was Colleen's yoga instructor, Yogi Bayer (Justin Long). This character was a nut, and I thought the similarity between "Yogi Bayer" and "Yogi Bear" was an amusing joke, as the instructor was entirely unaware of the existence of the classic cartoon character.
Unfortunately, I have to say that while the comedy worked for me, I do not think the comedy will work for a lot of people. At its best, it was extremely ridiculous comedy that I know does not work well for a lot of people. At its worst, there were a number of bits and jokes that did not really land, even for me. The characters all had very stereotypical Canadian accents that were amusing at first. However, the dialogue felt like it was forcefully written so that characters would use words such as "about" and "sorry", but forcing these words into the dialogue as frequently as the filmmakers did made the joke get old pretty quickly. I liked most of the comedy in this movie, but some of the jokes did not really land, and I know that even the comedy that worked is not everyone's cup of tea.
Con: The Plot (-8pts)
As will probably not surprise anyone, given that this is a ridiculous comedy, the plot for this movie was either terrible or non-existent. The filmmakers clearly focused way too heavily on attempting comedy and putting together a decent cast. I felt that the film succeeded in both of those areas, but the plot definitely suffered due to a lack of attention or thought. These two girls were in high-school, they worked at a convenience store (owned by one of their fathers), and their only goal was to go to a high-school senior party.
Then the convenience store was attacked by Bratzis. The filmmakers focused heavily on how the Bratzis existed and (for a ridiculous comedy) it worked, but they focused very little on the girls' motivations for trying to stop the Bratzis. This is a very ridiculous comedy, so the audience will not care about why the Bratzis exist, but because the girls' storyline was not properly developed, audiences will not be invested in their story. The filmmakers just focused on plot points that did not matter, and they neglected the plot points that did.
Grade: D+ (69pts)
This movie needed work. It had a couple of entertaining main characters with the Colleens, as I enjoyed watching Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith in these roles. They had a friendship that felt genuine and they had some pretty successful comedy that focused on the phone obsession that so many people in the younger generations have, and I think it was comedy that everyone can relate to and appreciate. The movie had some other comedic bits that will work for a specific audience (definitely watch the trailer to determine if that includes you), but other audiences may hate the movie and find it not funny at all.
The monsters were definitely one of the movie's bigger issues. They were bratwurst Nazis that entered their victim's anal canal and crawl out of their mouth. It was slightly amusing at first, but got old very quickly. They also posed no threat to the main characters, which made them ineffective at engaging the audience. Another major issue for this movie was its plot. The plot focused very heavily on how the Bratzis came to be (which is something few audience members will care to discover), and it focused very little on the development of the main characters. Outside simply trying to survive, I felt that the girls had very little motivation for taking on these creatures. To summarize, the comedy will work mildly for some, and it will fall wildly flat for others, so it was not enough to make up for the movie's terrible plot and ridiculous monsters.
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