The Nun Preview

“22 miles?!” Jamie exclaims, “we’ll never make it.” Patrick knows he’s probably right but they have to try to get their treasure to the masses. They sneak about the city like ninjas using the parkour knowledge they learned from Truth and Dare. Just as they reach the publishing house a man approaches at the same time. He’s wearing a thick turtleneck sweater with a pencil-thin moustache. “Damn it,” whispers Patrick, “It’s my rival, Manfred Long. He writes horror fantasy romance novels. They are totally played out. He’s a hack.” He quickly puts on a smile and slaps Manfred on the back, “Why hello, Manfred. Heading up to a meeting?” Manfred wipes his sweater, “Of course. Just going over my latest manuscript. Basically gonna change the world. Don’t worry about it.” “I’m not worried,” retorts Patrick. “I know, cause I said you shouldn’t be,” jabs Manfred. And they glare at each other. It’s tense. “Wanna hear about it?” asks Manfred. “No,” sighs Patrick, “we have a big meeting too.” But Manfred continues, “It’s a horror fantasy romance novel about a girl who falls in love with a swamp monster.” At that they freeze. Swamp monster? Shit. Jamie catches Patrick’s eye and they all start running for the publishing office at the same time. They gotta get their book out there and fast before that piece of shit Manfred Long plays out Swamp Monsters. They rush up the stairs and obviously easily outpace that hack Manfred Long. When they reach the office they throw the manuscript on the desk of Patrick’s literary agent. Huffing and puffing they look up the find Patrick’s agent holding a gun. “Excellent,” he says, “this will do nicely.” Patrick is shocked. He trusted his agent like a brother and yet he was a double agent the whole time. Manfred enters, also with a gun. Suddenly a shot rings out… and Patrick’s agent falls dead. A triple agent! My god! “Yes, excellent,” says Manfred Long, “our agent wanted this only for money. But I want it for something far greater.” The air in the room grows cold as Jamie and Patrick both whisper the name… Gigandet. That’s right! We’re transitioning to the new year! 2019! And we’re starting off hot with some Franchise-zzzz. Here we will start or finish some major BMT franchises as well as attempt to right some wrong in the BMT past. Most notably our decision to skip right past Predator II when we started in on that franchise. Gotta finish that one up. So we start it up with a major 2018 prequel The Nun which is one of several branches in The Conjuring Universe. I watched the first film in theaters and enjoyed it quite a bit so will be fun to catch up with The Conjuring 2 and The Nun. Let’s go!

The Nun (2018) – BMeTric: 49.6

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(This will be 50+ by the new year which is pretty incredible. No one rocks a bad review like horror fans who sniff any sort of cliched scare tactics. I’m still a bit surprised at how low the IMDb rating is, 5.5 is legit terrible!)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  The “Conjuring” movies—especially James Wan’s original two, and not so much the “Annabelle” prequels—stood apart from so much demon-themed horror with their well-drawn characters, strong performances and powerful emotional underpinning. “The Nun” feels like an empty thrill ride by comparison.

(Having watched the original two at this point I agree with that assessment, and this is the impression I get from the reviews as well. Tired, cliche, and totally out of sorts with the rest of the franchise. That small review of the Annabelle franchise is a bit ominous, I’ve heard good thing about Annabelle: Origins.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzD9zGcUNrw

(Make sure you watch to the end … for our stupid jump scare which everyone is going to get mad at us for. And yet … not so mad people won’t go see the film since it made bank. Go figure. Fine trailer I guess, although I had jump scares, they are dumb non-scares, so that is not a good sign for the film as a whole.)

Directors – Corin Hardy – (Known For: The Hallow; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Seems to work a lot in ads and stuff. Started in sculpting, prop design, and animation for film and theater and only relatively recently started to direct features.)

Writers – Gary Dauberman (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: It; Annabelle: Creation; Future BMT: Annabelle; Wolves at the Door; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Actually set to make his directorial debut with the next Annabelle film.)

James Wan (story by) – (Known For: Aquaman; The Conjuring 2; Saw; Future BMT: Saw III; Dead Silence; Insidious: Chapter 2; BMT: The Nun; Notes: He has had an amazing career and has been a part of some of the biggest franchises ever with Saw, The Conjuring, Furious 7, and most recently Aquaman.)

Actors – Demián Bichir – (Known For: The Hateful Eight; Alien: Covenant; Savages; The Heat; Che: Part One; Lowriders; Dom Hemingway; A Better Life; Foreverland; 7:19; Future BMT: Solo; Machete Kills; Good Kids; Perdita Durango; Sin noticias de Dios; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Wait… he was in the film Solo?! Jesus.)

Taissa Farmiga – (Known For: The Mule; The Bling Ring; The Long Dumb Road; The Final Girls; In a Valley of Violence; 6 Years; What They Had; Rules Don’t Apply; Higher Ground; At Middleton; Future BMT: Mindscape; Jamesy Boy; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Sister of Vera Farmiga who plays a major role in The Conjuring series. Her sister is 21 years older than her.)

Jonas Bloquet – (Known For: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets; Elle; Orpheline; Future BMT: 3 Days to Kill; The Family; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Actually from Belgium and not French Canadian like this film makes him out to be.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $117,450,119 (Worldwide: $365,550,119)

(A roaring success which at this point is inevitable. Once hooked horror fans will come back again and again for more. They will gladly shit on the film online if it isn’t to their tastes, but I have no doubt The Nun 2 will make a ton of money as well. You have to spit in their face or produce a number of bombs in a row to get betrayed once that first hit is made it seems. Which is great in my opinion, the horror genre is one of the most interesting and fresh genres around I think.)

#4 for the Horror – Period genre

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(You’d think this would be better given the witch sub-genre almost by definition should be a period piece, but not even 10 of them have made over $100 million which is terrible. I guess it is at least 10 since for some reason The Conjuring 2 isn’t there when it is, in fact, a period horror film. Which means at least four of the top ten are Conjuring films which is nuts.)

#7 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(From I Know What You Did Last Summer to Alone in the Dark we’ve seen a ton of these films at this point. The genre has never been stronger with It and (arguably) Get Out flexing their muscles last year and things like The Nun making a ton of cash as well.)

#9 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(Nothing can beat The Bye Bye Man in my heart, but that is pretty good for a very strong genre. It hasn’t been this strong since the turn of the millennium for supernatural horror, and having watched The Conjuring, it is kind of amazing that a genre which has been hitting home runs since the seventies can still bring fresh takes and rake in cash. Something that things like slashers can never seem to get the hang of (although a few have come around in the last few years like Happy Death Day).)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (45/171): The Nun boasts strong performances, spooky atmospherics, and a couple decent set-pieces, but its sins include inconsistent logic and narrative slackness.

(Wait a second… inconsistent logic and narrative slackness is enough for a 26% on RT. This actually sounds more like “we loved the previous two entries in the series and this didn’t measure up so fuck it.”)

Poster – Evil Twin Nun Time (A-)

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(I like this poster quite a bit. Nice balance in the visual and the font is good. Clever as well given the premise of the film. Just wish it was a little better with some coloring. Need to tie it all together.)

Tagline(s) – Witness the Darkest Chapter in The Conjuring Universe (F)

(Boooooooo. They need to pray for forgiveness for this tagline… ayo.)

Keyword(s) – spin off; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.3 Elektra (2005); 69.9 Wing Commander (1999); 67.8 Supergirl (1984); 64.5 Tekken (2010); 62.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 59.4 The Mod Squad (1999); 54.6 Annabelle (I) (2014); 51.1 The Scorpion King (2002); 49.6 The Nun (2018); 47.4 MacGruber (2010);

(Oooooo Supergirl is going to be a super weird film for sure. And there is Annabelle and Paranormal Activity as well which are inevitably going to have to be done. Bantastic.)

Notes – The film was shot entirely in Romania. (Yeah it was)

The events take place before Annabelle: Creation (2017), making it the first movie (chronologically) in the film series. Although the opening scenes of Annabelle: Creation take place before The Nun, the rest occurs afterwards.

Taissa Farmiga, who played Sister Irene in this film, is the younger sister of Vera Farmiga in real life, who played Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring (2013) and The Conjuring 2 (2016). The Demon Nun, played by Bonnie Aarons, also appeared in The Conjuring 2 (2016) and had a brief cameo in Annabelle: Creation (2017). Though the sisters’ characters are not at all related to each other, they are both devout Catholics with clairvoyant abilities.

This was Valak’s third appearance after The Conjuring 2 (2016) and Annabelle: Creation (2017). Although Valak did not appear in The Conjuring (2013), the scary premonition that Lorraine Warren had in that film was about Valak, as later revealed in Conjuring 2.

After the “Demon Nun” from The Conjuring 2 (2016) proved to be a popular horror antagonist, a spin-off focusing on the character was green-lit, making her the second character from the franchise to get her own feature after Annabelle (2014). The Crooked Man from Conjuring 2 will be the third in The Crooked Man. (Maybe. I guess since The Nun smashed it they will go forward with it, but it kind of sounds like a terrible idea, The Crooked Man is by far the weakest demon character of the three IMO)

Despite the Conjuring and its sequel being based on true events, this film is not based on any real historical events and is entirely fictional

An advertisement for the film was pulled from the video sharing site YouTube, as many users complained that the five second clip featuring a startling jumpscare was “too scary.” Administrators thus removed the ad and apologized, claiming that it was not their intention to publish content that may potentially “offend” or “shock” viewers. (And afterwards people were still seeing it apparently and super pissed. It is basically just a crazy jump scare which shouldn’t be pulled on unsuspecting people)

The film was originally set to hit cinemas in mid-July of 2018 but was pushed back closer to Halloween season on September 7, in hopes of doing as successful at the box office as It (2017) did last year, which smashed records and earned more than USD $700M. (It didn’t do quite that well, but it did do very well).

At the end of The Nun, a scene from The Conjuring (2013) is shown where Ed & Lorraine are performing an exorcism on Maurice. This scene links the Maurice from that video as being the same Maurice from The Nun, but they edited the scene to fit into the narrative of The Nun: they edited in Jonas Bloquet into the exorcism scene, as he used to be played by a different actor (Christof Veillon); they added in dialogue of Ed saying “they called him Frenchie”, so as to make a better connection. (Uh yeah … you can tell. It was pretty weak to be honest).

Valak is mentioned by name only once, when Father Burke looks into the abbey’s history. Everyone else refers to it as “the evil” or “the demon”.

The name Valak can be found in the upside pentagram all in uppercase. (I guess … Valac was a thing before these films, and spelled with a C, so that seems like a coincidence.)

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Truth or Dare Preview

In deep pursuit of the parkour thieves who ruined Arf Collector Von Schnauzer’s promising career in dog showery, Jamie and Patrick don their alter egos, the Angels of Death, and become vigilantes of the night. You a criminal? Better watch out cause the Angels of Death might lure you into a criminal trap and totally take you out when you try to do criminal things. Just sitting there thinking about criminal things? Still watch out, they don’t like people thinking about being criminals. Next thing you know you might be doing those criminal things. You trying to stop them from stopping criminals? That’s probably OK if you are the police, but if you are a criminal and want to stop them so that you can continue to be a criminal then watch out! Jamie and Patrick go about their vigilante business for a while until one day they find a cell phone on the ground with a text message that tells them the exact whereabouts of the secret lair of the parkour thieves. What luck! They go to this hideout in an abandoned doll factory and start knocking the bad guys out with their patented Twin Chop®. Their bloodlust cannot and will not be satisfied until those responsible are held accountable. Justice! They finally arrive in the office of the parkour ringleaders and tell them to drop their weapons and give up because justice is there and it’s not square. The two ringleaders look at each other and pull back their hooded sweatshirts. Jamie and Patrick gasp. “My god, they’re beautiful.” Two beautiful ladies are the ringleaders. “Who… who are you?” Jamie stammers. “Ready to play a game?” One responds. “Just call us Truth or Dare,” the other one finishes. That’s right! We’re watching one of the many trash horror films to come out this year, Truth or Dare. Much like Ouija this seems to be an attempt to take something that not really all the spooky (a rousing game of Truth or Dare) and make it super scary spooky. Maybe Hide and Seek is next. Wait, that just might work. Let’s go!

Truth or Dare (2018) – BMeTric: 57.2

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(I’m rather intrigued by how swiftly it seems to be rising. It is still really really low obviously. Sub-5.0 would have put it among the worst of the year, but it is getting to the point where it is perhaps merely “quite bad”.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –   [T]he joke is on our heroes, but this time, every cruel punchline is seemingly pulled at the last minute. We’re supposed to like these victims, not gasp in horror and delight when they’re compelled to die campy—but bloodless!—deaths by an evil game you play when you’re kinda bored and kinda hormonal, but not imaginative or bold enough to do much about it.  

(Oh shit. Burned. I’m just hoping the film isn’t terribly boring. For the most part do you ever like these people … I’m flashing back to The Gallows now, where everyone was just a complete dick to everyone and you just didn’t give a shit that they were dying.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cgnk3MLw9TM

(Sigh. That just looks like any of the other terrible supernatural horror films we’ve seen. Rings, The Bye Bye Man, Slender Man, etc. And it doesn’t seem to have a hilarious Bye Bye Man I can laugh at. Double sigh.)

Directors – Jeff Wadlow – (Future BMT: Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; Never Back Down; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Katie Couric’s nephew. He was interviewed on Today by Katie Couric.)

Writers – Michael Reisz (screenplay by & story by) – (BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Worked on Boston Legal at the time that it won a Peabody Award. Is a prolific voice actor. Was a lawyer prior to entering the entertainment business.)

Jillian Jacobs (screenplay by) – (BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: He first foray into screenwriting (at least credited). Was a producer for Big Brother in 2012, and is writing the upcoming Fantasy Island film which also stars Lucy Hale.)

Christopher Roach (screenplay by) – (Known For: Non-Stop; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Appears to be a writing partner of sorts with Jillian Jacobs. He has produced hundreds of episodes of reality television, and written mostly WWE specials.)

Jeff Wadlow (screenplay by) – (Future BMT: Prey; Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Wait … literally this entire film’s crew is writing and directing Fantasy Island. Which is also a Blumhouse production. I don’t know if any of Blumhouse’s nostalgia adaptations have worked (or even come out) yet, Jem and the Holograms certainly didn’t.)

Actors – Lucy Hale – (Known For: Scream 4; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2; TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Won American Junior Competition in 2003, and signed a record deal in 2012. Seems like her acting career is taking off though.)

Tyler Posey – (Known For: Men of Honor; Future BMT: Yoga Hosers; Maid in Manhattan; Collateral Damage; Legendary; BMT: Scary Movie 5; Truth or Dare; Notes: The son of long time television actor John Posey, who is vaguely famous for playing the original Danny Tanner in the Full House pilot. Tyler and John both star in Teen Wolf.)

Violett Beane – (Known For: Slash; BMT: Truth or Dare; Notes: Oh shit, she’s in everyone’s favorite show! That’s right, God Friended Me!! Was also a major character on The Flash.)

Budget/Gross – $3.5 million / Domestic: $41,254,705 (Worldwide: $94,841,481)

(My God. Yeah, Blum has this down. I can’t say it is a particularly pretty model at times, but it certainly harkens back to the early 80s when a cheap camcorder, a dozen willing teen actors, and a mask could make you a cool hundred million for $30K. Like … I doubt Truth or Dare 2 would happen, but does it need to happen really? They just made $100 million!)

#57 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(I guess we haven’t looked recently, but it is pretty nice to see how popular genres operate in this regard. It isn’t necessarily that you make more money per theater. It is that you are in more theaters that tend to mean your genre is having a moment. Also these I think have been getting cheaper as well. We’ve seen 19 of these. Hmmm, what could be our twentieth? I wish I could tell you it would be Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, but it is going to be The Nun. Spoiler alert.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (21/141): Truth or Dare’s slick presentation isn’t enough to make this mediocre horror outing much more frightening than an average round of the real-life game.

(Slick presentation … that’s intriguing maybe. That points to maybe the director having an interesting idea. Although this review suggests otherise. Reviewer Highlight: It does nothing to cleanse Mr. Wadlow of the lingering stench of his 2013 effort, “Kick-Ass 2.” Even so, some setups can be unwittingly funny. – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times)

Poster – 2 Rich 2 Poe: The Return of Truth and Dare (D+)

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(It’s daring but in a bad and not good at all way. Really I can’t say there is anything I like with this poster other than the boldness of choosing a weird poster with a giant pink question mark on it. That’s enough to move it a little out of the basement though.)

Tagline(s) – The Producer of Happy Death Day and Get Out invites you to play. (F)

(No.)

Keyword(s) – forced suicide; Top Ten by BMeTric: 57.2 Truth or Dare (I) (2018); 45.7 Unfriended (2014); 41.7 Village of the Damned (1995); 38.6 The Boogey Man (1980); 34.8 Little Evil (2017); 30.7 Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013); 30.4 Marked for Death (1990); 30.3 By the Gun (2014); 30.3 Crawlspace (2012); 30.1 Push (2009);

(Huh, interestingly rich keyword it looks like. Obviously all horror films (or thrillers maybe). And bam, got the best one apparently. Although … wouldn’t The Happening count?)

Notes – The menacing grin that comes with the killing Truth or Dare force is nicknamed the Willem Dafoe grin, and is in part inspired by his menacing smile and the facial disfigurement of the Gustavo Smile. (I had to look it up, thinking it was a real thing. Dafoe plays Gustavo in a short I think, but whatever)

The actors had to mimic the facial structure of the Calux smile prior to the CGI rendering of the face itself. (I guess Calux is a demon or something? All the pictures are basically of The Joker though, it seems fictional)

The game Truth or Dare has existed by record for centuries, with earliest history as 1712 suggesting origin in being a Christmas questions and commands game. (fun facts)

The mission in Rosarito, Mexico does not exist and is actually a constructed set on a managed soundstage. (Cool)

Jeff Wadlow pitched nothing but the title and opening sequence to Jason Blum to get him to sign on to the film. (Well I can’t wait until the opening sequence then)

Jeff Wadlow had been drawing scary grins since high school and after becoming acquainted with snapchat and the face altering filters became inspired to give the entity Calux such a grimace as he takes control of the characters.

Released on Friday the 13th like the previous Blumhouse teenage slasher film “Happy Death Day” (2017), which also bore a PG-13 thematic rating despite featuring the unexplicit murder of teenage protagonists and mild, grisly demises.

An Unrated version of the film was released featuring more gruesome death sequences of the characters, prolonged dare sequences at the Rosarito Mission in the beginning and a racier sex scene between Lucy Hale’s Olivia and Tyler Posey’s Lucas. (Hope we got that, since the theatrical cut is PG-13 I think)

The warped faces caused by the force are edited to resemble the bizarre morphs of Snapchat and various phone photo application filters, particularly the Big Eyes, Big Mouth filter. (Huh, that is one way to keeps costs down)

The film was initially going to be released on April 27, 2018, but in January 2018 the release was moved up two weeks from its original release date of April 27, 2018 to April 13, 2018. This was likely done to avoid competition with the highly anticipated “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) which is set to be released on April 27, 2018. (I mean … maybe. They, maybe surprisingly, probably do have considerable audience overlap)

The brand of cigarettes the girl at the beginning of the film asks the cashier for are the same brand smoked by The Smoking Man in the TV Series “The X-Files”. (lol, okay, these notes are starting to push it a bit)

Stars Hayden Szeto and Morgan Lindholm previously appeared together in the unreleased short film Never Have I Ever (2016) .. also centered around a popular party game. (That’s ridiculous)

The first Blumhouse feature marked in title by Jason Blum’s distributing company handle. (Oh that is interesting though, got a bit of cache it looks like)

The game itself operates by rules: 1. The option.of Truth amongst the players can only be selected twice before the game automatically sets the next selected participant to do Dare. 2. The game passes along from group to group. 3. The game’s truth aims at turning others against one another, and establishing complete honesty of character 4. Dares are physically dangerous challenges that usually resulting in severe bodily harm or death. 5. Refusal of the options results in immediate grisly death. (Number two is bullshit)

The library scene in which the game forces Olivia to reveal Markie’s frequent affairs on Lucas pays homage to actress Lucy Hale’s role as Aria Montgomery on “Pretty Little Liars” (2010-2017), in which her character was harassed by an anonymous game playing assailant entitled A, who would on occasion turn the protagonists of the show against each other and have Hale’s character reveal other’s affairs. (I don’t care about this note except to say that yet again we have a horror film going to the library. Y’all best not besmirch the library)

Slender Man Preview

In the guise of a big fat cat and craving lasagna, Jamie and his dog pal Odin are on their way out of Dracula School in an attempt to find Patrick. The plot to use the Ivory Socket waits for no cat and Jamie’s vampirism can be dealt with later. When they turn a corner they are confronted by Dr. Vampiro, the headmaster of the school! “Not so fast, fat cat! You’re not going anywhere until we know how to use the Ivory Socket.” They look for escape only to have their eyes alight on a Dance Dance Revolution machine in the corner of the student lounge. “Perhaps a dance-off to decide whether we can go or not,” Jamie suggests. “Ha,” Dr. Vampiro scoffs, taking off his coat, “that is super dumb… and not because it makes no sense that I would agree to such a thing, but because I’m a dance machine, don’t worry about it.” There isn’t anything kids and bored parents love more than a couple of animals boogying down and boy howdy do they. Jamie and Odin bip and bop across that machine with some seriously bodacious dance moves. But as Dr. Vampiro begins his seductive vampire dance Jamie realizes that he may not be a match for his supernatural dance powers. Could he lose a dance-off? He knows then and there that he must call upon his friend and ally, The Top Hat Man. “Top Hat Man I summon you and your Top Hat, man,” he states with eyes closed.

Stunned by what he’s just seen Patrick sits in the pile of garbage and contemplates the situation. A talking cat!?!? And what did it mean he didn’t belong there. Sweat beading on their foreheads Sticks and Stones turn around, finally completing the firebombing of the witch’s set, “What’s with that dern look on your face, it’s like you just saw a talking cat (!?!) or something,” Stones says. Patrick opens his mouth … but you know what, the experience wasn’t actually that remarkable, just kind of pointless and dull. “Where am I? Where is Jamie?” he says instead. “You listen to me punk,” Sticks growls, “all we know is what we were told: fetch the kid in the teenage witch set and bring him to the precinct set. You’re here alright, but we don’t know anything about any goddamned Jamie. Let’s move!” Sticks and Stones walk up to a series of doors in the false alleyway and whisper quietly to themselves. This had gone on long enough Patrick thought. What did he do the last time he lost Jamie? Oh yeah, he called on his friend and ally, The Top Hat Man. The Top Hat Man would know what to do. “Top Hat Man I summon you and your Top Hat, man,” he states with eyes closed.

That’s right! This week we’re watching Slender Man. After one of the slowest BMT years in history, we take a break from our Bring a Friend cycle to (finally) head back to the theater for some BMT Live fun. Ever since The Bye Bye Man stole our BMT hearts, we’ve been clamouring for something similarly dumb and not scary and hilarious. So when we saw previews for what looked like a terrible misguided attempt to cash in on what the kids are calling “The Internet,” we hoped and prayed for it to fail miserably with critics… and hoooo boy! It sure did. This film pits the Slenderest of Men against a bevy of teenage girls and I’m hoping that he has a tall slender top hat and like a slender greyhound friend. This better be the slenderest film ever released. Let’s go!

Slender Man (2018) – BMeTric: 51.0

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(Sometime I ignore “current” films in this section because the plot is somewhat boring … not so here! The rating of 2.9 is so absurdly low that I had to make note of it. If it stays that low this will be a 70+ BMeTric film soon enough which is pretty crazy. I think people just really hate the idea of the film, and it doesn’t help that the film is apparently a load of garbage.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  I should have been the exact right viewer for “Slender Man.” And yet my mind wandered to memories of better, similar films, and it was really only in the moments when “Slender Man” went terribly wrong that it grabbed my attention. After all, nothing is scarier than bad filmmaking.

(Noice. Kind of reminds me of The Bye Bye Man maybe? That somehow the redeeming feature of the film was just how laughably bad some moments of the film are. Otherwise films like this are a dime a dozen these days.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySy8mcceTno

(Uh, having watched the film already (spoiler) but … that trailer describes a different movie. Actually, I can exactly see what the storyline was supposed to be. Their one friend gets taken, the three other characters offer themselves in her stead, she returns but isn’t the same, The Most Slender Man is still spookifying them because of the deal they struck … better than the chopped up film you’ll get, be warned.)

Directors – Sylvain White – (Known For: The Losers; Future BMT: Stomp the Yard; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: He did the direct-to-video addition I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer before landing his breakout film Stomp the Yard. Mostly directs television more recently.)

Writers – David Birke (written by) – (Known For: Elle; 13 Sins; Dahmer; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Announced as the screenwriter for an upcoming Picture of Dorian Gray adaptation.)

Victor Surge (based on a character by) – (BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Know Your Meme. Is still answering questions to this day about this thing he created nearly 10 years ago on a whim, which is bonkers.)

Actors – Joey King – (Known For: The Dark Knight Rises; The Conjuring; Crazy, Stupid, Love.; Oz the Great and Powerful; White House Down; Going in Style; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Horton Hears a Who!; Wish I Was Here; Ramona and Beezus; Quarantine; Reign Over Me; Future BMT: Wish Upon; Stonewall; The Kissing Booth; Family Weekend; The Sound and the Fury; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Slender Man; Battle Los Angeles; Notes: The Kissing Booth is actually having a moment as it (1) is not considered to be very good by traditional film standards, but (2) is incredibly popular in the pre-teen girl demographic (as stated on the Bill Simmons podcast on several occasions). She’s even dating her Kissing Booth co-star in real life.)

Julia Goldani Telles – (Known For: Most Likely to Murder; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Studies at Columbia, and has a co-starring role in the show The Affair.)

Jaz Sinclair – (Known For: Paper Towns; Future BMT: When the Bough Breaks; Fun Mom Dinner; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: She is going to star in the re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch which is coming out in October.)

Budget/Gross – $10–28 million / Domestic: $23,393,116 (Worldwide: $25,020,757)

(The gross is “so far” and I’m willing to bet the 28 million figure is with advertising, which isn’t usually included in these figures I think. It is going to be a modest success in the end I think, but I doubt we should be waiting for Slenderer Man … More Slender Man?)

#93 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(This is, in a way, still the cutting edge of horror, although I assume that will change soon enough. Basically Blumhouse ushered in the current era with the Paranormal Activity franchise which was the first of the genre to break $100 million in over 5 years (and on a microbudget no less). Silent Hill, Thirteen Ghosts, Ghost Ship, The Fog (2005), The Bye Bye Man are either good or hilarious so far, so I’m quite excited to see what Slender Man brings to the table.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (4/48): Slender Man might be thin, but he’s positively robust compared to the flimsy assortment of scares generated by the would-be chiller that bears his name.

(Rough consensus right there. All I want in the world is for Slender Man to be hilarious like The Bye Bye Man. Please be hilarious. Reviewer Highlight – Slender Man feels as used up as any years-old meme, like trying to explain what’s funny about dat boi a decade late. – Andrew Whalen, Newsweek)

Poster – The Top Hat Man (A-)

slenderman

(Slender Man watching me through my foggy shower door. How creepy. I do like the simple artistry of it with the unique font and nice balance. A little more blue tint to the overall color, but otherwise this is pretty good to draw me in.)

Tagline(s) – None (F)

(Oooo, the slenderest of all taglines. Real meta, A+ tagline… psych! Unacceptable but not unexpected, Slender Man.)

Keyword(s) – woods; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 87.5 BloodRayne (2005); 86.0 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.9 Troll 2 (1990); 82.6 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 80.4 Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010); 80.0 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 78.4 Jason X (2001); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 77.7 The Starving Games (2013);

(Birdemic is coming up, and I really hope We can do the Halloween franchise at some point. And who knows, maybe we’ll finally add the Twilight franchise to the list of BMT films.)

Notes – The father of the victim whose life was nearly claimed by two girls that worshipped the Slender Man spoke out against the film, citing how they felt disgraced by Hollywood making a film about events that led to tragedy. (I mean … fair)

During the post-production of Slender Man (2018), Sony and Screen Gems were reportedly extremely nervous about releasing the film, due to the ongoing court cases and negative publicity surrounding the Creepypasta legend. This caused the two companies to release the film with very little promotional materials to it, and it did not screen for critics. (I mean … fair)

The Slender Man first appeared on the “Something Awful” forums in a series of photographs edited to depict a tall, humanoid entity unnoticed by other people in the image but almost always surrounded by, or in close proximity to, children. Since then, many have speculated inspiration and origin of Slender Man in popular media, folk tales and ghost stories from hundreds of years ago, the earliest being a reference to Der Großmann in a German folk story written in 1702.

Both Chloe and Tom are shown dying in the trailer, yet neither death appears in the final cut of the movie. (Reshoots I guess. Interesting only because there aren’t very many notes, presumably because the film just came out)

Ouija Preview

Oh boy. I am pretty excited for this week’s film. It’s not just because Horror/Thriller has turned into my favorite section of the cycle, but also because this film in particular looked so misguided and awful when it was released that it piqued my curiosity. That’s right! We are watching Ouija, the horror film based on the Hasbro spirit board game and one of the many horror films produced by Michael Bay over the years (he’s a noted enthusiast). Seems like an obvious choice to make an adaptation out of. It’s already about spirits and spooky ghosts so as long as it’s not totally unoriginal and terrible you should be fine. Easy, right? Wrong. Let’s go!

Ouija (2014) – BMeTric: 75.7

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(Pretty good. A film in the 4.0’s staying strong and not rising as votes are added is a very very good sign. This is a case of what I will call Arrested Regression. The film should be regressing to the mean (the mean being that of films with around the same number of votes), but it isn’t. This is because it is in actuality as terrible as it initially seemed, so people seemingly are choosing to see the film despite knowing that it is terrible.)

RogerEbert.com – 3 stars –  Though I admit 16-year old me enjoyed the hell out of “Witchboard,” I didn’t think I’d have fun at “Ouija.” But I did, and assisting me were actors who gave their paper thin teenage types a little humor and character, and the film’s look. Shot by veteran camera operator, David Emmerichs, “Ouija” is a glossy hoot, showing more flair than a throwback to the 80’s horror movie should. As a lifelong horror movie viewer, I wasn’t scared by the film, but I dug the many ways it tried to goose me.

(Wowza! Three stars?! The review reads a little oddly, admitting he basically had a soft spot for the nostalgia the film evoked, but it is an interesting take I suppose. Not very many people agree to say the least.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBLmBdn2QF8

(Classic case where the less you show the better. Definitely parts that make me think it’ll be spooky scary. But then all the parts that they actually show the ghost or have someone flossing with their mouth stitched shut is just… not.)

Directors – Stiles White – (BMT: Ouija; Notes: Started in the industry in special effects before launching his career in screenwriting with his writing partner/wife Juliet Snowden.)

Writers – Juliet Snowden (written by) – (Known For: Ouija: Origin of Evil; The Possession; Future BMT: Boogeyman; Knowing; BMT: Ouija; Notes: Married to Stiles White. Also executive producer on the film.)

Stiles White (written by) – (Known For: Ouija: Origin of Evil; The Possession; Future BMT: Boogeyman; Knowing; BMT: Ouija; Notes: Apparently they are both attached to a remake of a German film called Du Hast Es Versprochen. Hoping it works out as well as this one did.)

Actors – Olivia Cooke – (Known For: The Limehouse Golem; Thoroughbreds; Me and Earl and the Dying Girl; The Signal; Katie Says Goodbye; Future BMT: The Quiet Ones; BMT: Ouija; Notes: Notably starring in the upcoming blockbuster release Ready Player One. Also in the new Amazon adaptation of Vanity Fair.)

Ana Coto – (BMT: Ouija; Notes: Really hasn’t done anything much since Ouija. Weirdly was just in a Logan Paul film released exclusively to Shudder called Can’t Take It Back which is coincidentally about putting something on the internet that you can’t take back… must not have been much of an acting stretch for Logan.)

Daren Kagasoff – (BMT: Ouija; Notes: Probably best known as one of the leads of the show The Secret Life of the American Teenager.)

Budget/Gross – $5 million / Domestic: $50,856,010 (Worldwide: $103,590,271)

(Obviously a colossal hit. They all are aren’t they? These small budget horror films. It is quite the phenomenon that they can effectively print money with these types of movies.)

#39 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

ouija_supernaturalhorror

(Comes is right around The Devil Inside which isn’t a good look. Being a major money-maker for cheap horror means it has been growing in power throughout the 2000s, although it looks like maybe it is reaching its saturation point now. BMT: The Ring Series, The Devil Inside, Silent Hill, Thirteen Ghosts, Ghost Ship, The Fog, Bless the Child, The Forest, The Gallows, and  The Bye Bye Man)

#13 for the Toy Adaptation genre

ouija_toyadaptation

(They are desperately trying to make this a thing. It looks like it has so far resisted moving beyond a few big budget franchises into faller fair. I feel like this is going to stay in the realm on animated films for the most part though, they’re all adapted from cartoons basically, so Transformers is really the odd-man out, no the other way around. BMT: The Transformer series, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Bratz)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (5/79): Slowly, steadily, although no one seems to be moving it in that direction, the Ouija planchette points to NO.

(I wish someone at RT would tell them that no one wants a joke consensus. Just tell me the actual consensus of the critics, which is kinda the point of your website. This tells me nothing other than you spent too much time trying to think up something clever.)

Poster – Sklog-ja (B-)

ouija

(I can dig this. Bold choice with some interesting font. Decidedly not scary though. Literally just a ouija board… why would I be scared of that?)

Tagline(s) – Keep telling yourself it’s just a game (B)

(I think this is good. Sometimes I have to say it a few times to make sure it isn’t nonsense. But this is short enough and gives a hint of the spooky scary concept. Wish it was a bit more clever.)

Keyword(s) – ghost; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.8 The Fog (2005); 80.2 One Missed Call (2008); 78.9 Feardotcom (2002); 76.9 Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977); 75.7 Ouija (II) (2014); 73.2 Zoolander 2 (2016); 72.8 The Apparition (2012); 70.7 The Gallows (2015); 68.7 The Haunting (1999); 67.5 Pulse (I) (2006);

(We are killing this list. The Fog is by far the best one there. Although The Haunting is a pretty special viewing experience as well.)

Notes – The name can either be pronounced ‘wee-ja’ or ‘wee-gee’. Charles Kennard, founder of the company manufacturing the boards, claimed he learned the name “Ouija” from asking the board what it wanted to be called. (My god)

Far from being ancient, the Ouija Board was patented on May 28, 1890. (Well … yeah, that isn’t a surprise)

Hasbro Studios first horror film. (Probably last? Oh wait, they made (a pretty good) sequel to this film.)

According to costume designer Mary Jane Fort, the cast and crew would often take breaks between shooting and use the Ouija board to jokingly predict the box office opening weekend numbers. (Z-E-R-O D-O-L-L-A-R-S … you know what this is stupid)

The film’s tagline, “Keep telling yourself it’s just a game,” was used for several years as the advertising slogan for the Ouija board game.

Though there are many other horror movies about Ouija boards – some with the same title – this film is not officially a remake of any of them and tells its own story revolving around the titular game. (Well yeah, it is a Hasbro production)

None of the actors portraying teenagers in the film were actually in their teens. The youngest actor was Olivia Cooke who was 21 at the time of filming.

When re-shoots went underway, in the process of drastically changing Doris Zander’s backstory, two new characters were created including her sister and mother. Lin Shaye, who plays Paulina Zander, was not in the original version of the film and was cast for the re-shot footage.

The location where Laine goes to visit Paulina Zander is also known as Eichen House in MTV’s hit TV show, Teen Wolf (2011), where Shelley Hennig, who plays Debbie, stars as Malia Tate/Hale.

Although this is the first film theatrically released starring Shelley Hennig, she filmed this after completing her work on Unfriended (2014) which was previously released as Cybernatural making it her proper film debut (technically). It would be theatrically released about 6 months after the release of this film.

Some cast members are said to have experienced supernatural occurrences since the production of the film Ouija ended. It is said to be influenced by the making of the film.

In the original unaltered version of the film, Doris Zander had a much different look to her. In the original cut she took the appearance of a young girl with half of her face burnt while always carrying a doll. The re-shoots version is a rotting girl with sewn lips. (What? Changing the fundamental look, and thus backstory, of a character like that seems like an odd decision)

Erin Moriarty was cast in the film in an undisclosed role though she does not appear in the finished project. Her scenes were deleted when the film was reshot.

Another theory of where the name of the Ouija Board comes from is that it is the French and German for “Yes”: Oui-ja. The Board has Yes and No answers as well as the alphabet. (No that seems much more plausible)

Film debut of actors Ana Coto, Darren Kagasoff, Bianca A. Santos, and (technically) Shelley Hennig.

Directorial debut of Stiles White.

Although Sarah Morris is supposed to be Laine’s younger sister in the film, in real-life the actress Ana Coto is actually 3 years older than Olivia Cooke, who plays Laine.

The first trailer for the film was released with the theatrical release of The Fault in our Stars (2014) containing alternate footage. A new trailer was released in the summer containing new scenes. In an interview, Olivia Cooke stated that about 50% of the film was reshot due to a negative reaction from test audiences, as a result Universal ordered a week’s worth of re-shoots during the summer 4 months before its theatrical release which drastically altered the original plot. The original cut contained a different assortment of footage including an alternate death scene for Debbie where she instead falls to her death instead of hanging herself (which is why the chandelier is swinging when Pete sees it because she struck it while falling) along with the most advertised scene where Sarah’s eyes roll back and she says “it’s not even real okay? It’s just a game”. Nona was also supposed to have a more prominent role in the film as it implied she becomes possessed in the promotional material. (Wow … this is going to be a mess)

Rings Preview

You would think that we’ve endured enough punishment after pushing our way through the 4th and 5th entries in a film franchise whose entries routinely run far past two hours. You would be wrong. Enter the horror entry for the 2017 Cycle. That’s right! We’re watching the critically reviled third entry of the Rings franchise, simply called Rings. This film not only includes a well reviewed first entry (The Ring) and a BMT qualifying second entry (The Ring Two), but also many other adaptations and version made in different countries (including a Japanese original that the series is closely adapted from). So we got a lot to work with and at the very least two films to watch. We never learn. It’ll be truly a Thanksgiving miracle when I get through these films. Happy TGivs (as the kids call it) and let’s go!

Rings (2017) – BMeTric: 71.8

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(The rating plot is demented. It never ceases to amaze me how stupid people get about things like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb (rich coming from us I suppose since half of the preview is scraping and analyzing data from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. Kick-ass VOD bump there though, and an incredible number of votes as usual.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star –  More wearying than frightening, “Rings” is a total non-starter that may well win the weekend box-office derby (if only because of the weak competition) but which will be blessedly forgotten by most of those who see it after seven days—a month tops.

(Clever closing line. The writer admits he isn’t exactly the biggest fan of the series itself, calling the previous installments “silly”. He also closes with a somewhat strange recommendation of another movie (The Autopsy of Jane Doe which, oddly, stars Brian Cox who was in the original The Ring). This intrigues me though. I’m curious as to what I will think of the series as a whole now. I feel like it hugely depends on what you want in horror films. Are you looking for spooky scares? Or is it enough to get some deaths with an interesting story / mythos surrounding the baddie? Very interested now.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFB4eZSVgBE

(Alright that looks like straight garbage. It looks (1) not scary, (2) like it just butchers the interesting mythology of the franchise, and (3) is poorly made. Kind of sad they decided to go with a totally different storyline (basically). Like, why even make it then?)

Directors – F. Javier Gutiérrez – (BMT: Rings; Notes: He is rumored to be attached to a Conjuring spin-off The Crooked Man. This is his only major release, although he directed a feature called Before the Fall. One and Done? It is at least close. He’ll get another shot though.)

Writers – David Loucka (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: The Dream Team; Future BMT: House at the End of the Street; Eddie; Dream House; BMT: Rings; Notes: Eddie and Rings … two peas in a pod? Nothing much about him besides the weird fact that he went from writing comedies to basically exclusively horror films over his career.)

Jacob Estes (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Mean Creek; The Details; Nearing Grace; BMT: Rings; Notes: Broke onto the scene as the writer-director of Mean Creek, which is quite good. Stars BMT favorite Josh Peck as well.)

Akiva Goldsman (screenplay by) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; I Am Legend; A Time to Kill; Batman Forever; I, Robot; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Batman & Robin; Lost in Space; Transformers: The Last Knight; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Rings; The 5th Wave; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: He won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind. Incredibly successful as a screenwriter he broke onto the scene in 1991 after selling a script called Indian Summer (nope, not that Indian Summer, this one was never made). He’s directed a few things as well, including a few episodes of the new Star Trek series Discovery.)

Kôji Suzuki (based on the novel “The Ring” by) – (Known For: The Ring; Dark Water; Ring; Dark Water; Sadako vs. Kayako; Future BMT: The Ring 2; Ringu 2; BMT: Rings; Notes: The Ring writer. Ringu 2 looks like we could legit do it for BMT even (0% on Rotten Tomatoes on 13 reviews), but I don’t think we’ll venture into many foreign films any time soon.)

Actors – Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz – (Known For: Revenge; BMT: Rings; Notes: An Italian model turned actress this is, I think, her first big Hollywood film.)

Alex Roe – (BMT: Rings; The 5th Wave; Notes: A British actor. Interestingly The 5th Wave was written by Akiva Goldsman which I’m sure helped him get this role as well.)

Johnny Galecki – (Known For: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; Hancock; Bean; The Opposite of Sex; Prancer; Happy Endings; Bounce; The Master Cleanse; Chrystal; Playing Mona Lisa; Bookies; Future BMT: A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon; In Time; CBGB; BMT: Vanilla Sky; Rings; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Notes: Until this very moment I did not realize the star of The Big Bang Theory also had a major role in Roseanne. Like … a huge role. This guy has very interesting career, including a shockingly successful movie career. I just find that a tad bit strange.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $27,793,018 (Worldwide: $83,080,890)

(Disastrous given the reputation and take of the original. I think I’m going to mark that down as a true blue bomb.)

#75 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

rings_supernaturalhorror

(Right around another very disappointing sequel to a solid horror film (Sinister 2), the supernatural horror genre has been booming for years now. The Conjuring and Sinister kickstarted the recent influx I think, and it is by far the most lucrative and popular kind of horror these days. Basically ghost stories, it is a bit disappointing that this is the only type of horror that gets play. I would say maybe It would change things a bit … but It is really supernatural horror itself, so if anything it reinforced things even more.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (7/99): Rings may offer ardent fans of the franchise a few threadbare thrills, but for everyone else, it may feel like an endless loop of muddled mythology and rehashed plot points.

(sub 10% is very impressive. Muddled mythology is the name of the game considering the reviews for the previous installment. Wait, did people catch over-explain-itis? I do love over-explaining garbage.)

Poster – Sklogs (C)

rings_ver2

(For real? You went from simple and consistent to a mishmash of garbage. The color is still a nice consistent icy blue and the font is somewhat unique, but otherwise blah.)

Tagline(s) – Evil is reborn (C-)

(To generic to make an impression but also too generic to really offend me. Slightly below a C average.)

Keyword(s) – sequel; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.5 Batman & Robin (1997); 91.4 Son of the Mask (2005); 90.4 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 89.3 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.0 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 86.3 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 86.1 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003); 86.0 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004); 85.8 The Avengers (1998); 85.6 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987);

(We should really be doing much better with these to be honest. Sequels are such a well of terribleness. I wonder why The Avengers is listed though, that is an adaptation, not a sequel.)

Notes – According to special makeup effects designer on the film, Arjen Tuiten, it took about 6 and a half hours to complete Samara’s makeup and her costume featured a water rig under the dress that allowed the character to constantly drip water.

Before starring as Samara in this film, Bonnie Morgan was also featured in The Ring 2 (2005) as Samara in the well crawling sequence, though she was uncredited.

Strongly rumored to be a prequel to the previous films until F. Javier Gutiérrez himself denied it on Twitter, confirming it would be a sequel taking place in the present.

Originally set for release in November 2015, the film was pushed back several times due to studio delays. It was finally released in February 2017 in most territories, almost two years after initial shooting occurred. (Ooof, not great)

Although Naomi Watts’ character from the first two films, Rachel Keller, is never mentioned by name, her name appears underneath one of the icons on Gabriel’s computer in a brief shot.

Both Naomi Watts, and David Dorfman who played Rachel and Aidan in the first two films respectively, do not return for this sequel. (That is obvious, and also a bad sign)

This is the first film in the series that the makeup effects were not done by Rick Baker, who had the previous two. Rick retired from the industry in early 2015 and left his studio, Cinovation, to his protégée Arjen Tuiten, who had worked with him on Maleficent. While Rick had no involvement with this project, some of his crew, who had worked on the previous two with him, worked on this film with Arjen at his studio now called R-E-N.

Was filmed in Atlanta. (As are all films these days no?)

Young Evelyn, played by Kayli Carter, was previously played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in The Ring 2 (2005), though her scenes were cut aside from a brief appearance.

Producers Laurie MacDonald, Walter Parkes, J.C. Spink, Chris Bender, makeup effects artists Bill Sturgeon and Bart Mixon, and stunt coordinator Keith Campbell are the only people to have worked on all three films in the Ring series.

Bonnie Morgan, who plays Samara, stated that to bring the character to life, it took over 45 special makeup appliances, including the wig and special contact lenses.

In the over one year delay in this film’s theatrical release since October 2015, nearly 20 minutes of footage was altered and deleted which significantly altered some plot elements. Some of these deleted scenes can still be seen in the film’s handful of trailers. Most of this footage was included as deleted scenes on the Blu-ray and DVD save for a few like the ring scar on Julia’s back, which was also a promotional poster for the film. (That bodes absolutely terribly)

Special makeup effects artist Rick Baker filmed cameo for the film as a flea market vendor that haggles with Johnny Galecki’s character at the beginning. Ultimately his dialogue was cut, but he can still be seen briefly in the opening sequence when the camera pans past his character. Baker was the lead effects artist on the first two films.

Both Aimee Teegarden and Zach Roerig previously starred in ‘Friday Night Lights’. (Teegarden is in this?! I figured she was just going to do television at this point, I haven’t seen her in a movie in years? Ever?)

Toward the middle of the film (41:14 mark), Gabriel (Galecki) is seen pouring himself some whiskey. The whiskey he pours is Templeton Rye, a small batch rye made in Templeton, Iowa. (Cool, what are these notes. These are so weird. Do I now need to drink this whiskey because of BMT. Like some demented bad movie liquor cabinet?)

Vincent D’Onofrio plays a character who was blinded by himself years earlier. He also plays villain Wilson Fisk in Daredevil (2015), wherein the title character himself is blind because of a childhood accident. (Cool? I don’t get why that is relevant)

The translation of the Braille mark on Julia’s hand is clearly spoiled in the trailer when Burke states, “The mark on your hand means rebirth.” A line never spoken in the actual film. (Ha)

The plane Samara crashes at the beginning of the film was heading for Seattle. Seattle is where The Ring (2002) took place.

The Ring Two Preview

You would think that we’ve endured enough punishment after pushing our way through the 4th and 5th entries in a film franchise whose entries routinely run far past two hours. You would be wrong. Enter the horror entry for the 2017 Cycle. That’s right! We’re watching the critically reviled third entry of the Rings franchise, simply called Rings. This film not only includes a well reviewed first entry (The Ring) and a BMT qualifying second entry (The Ring Two), but also many other adaptations and version made in different countries (including a Japanese original that the series is closely adapted from). So we got a lot to work with and at the very least two films to watch. We never learn. It’ll be truly a Thanksgiving miracle when I get through these films. Happy TGivs (as the kids call it) and let’s go!

The Ring Two (2005) – BMeTric: 53.6

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(That is actually a lot more votes than I would think, although I always underestimate how popular horror films are (and this is a sequel to an incredibly famous film to boot). The rating suggests it is bad, but, again, horror fans are a little odd in this sense. I think a “popular” horror film does tend to have a lower rating on average. This is something I would like to explore more next year in my analyses, so hopefully I’ll get some data to actually prove the suppositions I’ve held for a while now.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Fleeing Seattle for the small town of Astoria, Oregon, Watts discovers that the coldhearted ghost of a loveless child is still after her and her son, as well as anyone else hanging around. Slow and overlong, but often delivers the spooky goods, and director Nakata – who made the Japanese Ringu – uses misty Pacific Northwest locations well. Entire cast is good, especially young Dorfman, but not everything makes sense. This is not a remake of the Japanese sequel to Ringu.

(Want to hear something crazy? Leonard gave this one better reviews than the original. Which is shocking because having just rewatched the original I thought it was brilliant. I figured maybe since he apparently likes when the “spooky goods” are delivered it would be because The Ring is indeed quite light on scares (or spooky goods of any kind actually). But nope, it apparently is because it is overlong … despite the second being longer than the first. This officially intrigues me. Being a relative novice concerning JHorror this should be a decent example of something that is kind of inbetween two sensibilities I think. I guess we’ll see.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbHRP43ocWQ

(That does seem spookier than the original. This seems almost like a Jaws / Jaws 2 kind of relationship. In the original Ring you see very little of Samara by design. The film plays out as an investigative journalism movie more than anything else (interestingly). But obviously there is no reason to play a sequel that way as well, so you go for the creepier direct ghost story. I can see how they could fall into the over-explaining trap though, because they seem like they are muddling the rather simple mythos.)

Directors – Hideo Nakata – (Known For: Ring; Dark Water; Kaosu; Future BMT: Chatroom; Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Director of the original Ring film (Dark Water is also a adaptation of a book by the same author). I think this is his only attempt at making a film in the US.)

Writers – Ehren Kruger (written by) – (Known For: Ghost in the Shell; The Ring; Arlington Road; Future BMT: Scream 3; Blood and Chocolate; Reindeer Games; The Brothers Grimm; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Impostor; The Skeleton Key; BMT: The Ring 2; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2010; and Nominated for Worst Screenplay in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; Notes: Awarded a Nicholl Fellowship after writing Arlington Road. Wrote uncredited on Scream 4.)

Kôji Suzuki (novel) (as Koji Suzuki) – (Known For: The Ring; Dark Water; Ring; Dark Water; Sadako vs. Kayako; Future BMT: Rings; Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Most famous for the Ring trilogy (Ring, Spiral and Loop). Dark Water is a short story collection.)

Hiroshi Takahashi (1998 film Ringu) – (Known For: The Ring; Ring; Future BMT: Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: I cannot find anything about this guy on the internet. Just a small wiki stub referring him to vaguely as “J-Horror”.)

Actors – Naomi Watts – (Known For: The Glass Castle; Mulholland Drive; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); The Ring; While We’re Young; Lo imposible; Funny Games; King Kong; Demolition; Eastern Promises; 21 Grams; J. Edgar; The Bleeder; St. Vincent; Inland Empire; The Painted Veil; The International; Fair Game; Ned Kelly; I Heart Huckabees; Future BMT: Shut In; Le divorce; Tank Girl; Allegiant; Down; Dream House; The Sea of Trees; Insurgent; Adoration; 3 Generations; The Book of Henry; Stay; BMT: Movie 43; The Ring 2; Diana; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 2014 for Diana, and Movie 43; and in 2017 for Allegiant, and Shut In; Notes: Most famous for being the honorary president of Welsh Alliance Division I football club Glantraeth F.C. Was fantastic in the new season of Twin Peaks.)

David Dorfman – (Known For: The Ring; Galaxy Quest; Bounce; Panic; 100 Mile Rule; Future BMT: Drillbit Taylor; The Singing Detective; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Graduates from UCLA at the age of 17 and Harvard Law at the age of 21. Impressive stuff.)

Sissy Spacek – (Known For: The Help; Carrie; JFK; Hot Rod; Tuck Everlasting; 3 Women; Badlands; The Straight Story; Blast from the Past; North Country; In the Bedroom; Missing; Coal Miner’s Daughter; The Man with Two Brains; Get Low; Affliction; Nine Lives; A Home at the End of the World; Prime Cut; Crimes of the Heart; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Gray Matters; Deadfall; The Mommy Market; BMT: An American Haunting; The Ring 2; Notes: Won an Oscar for Coal Miner’s Daughter. Her daughter is Shuyler Fisk who you might recognize as the female lead in Orange Country with Jack Black and Colin Hanks.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $76,231,249 (Worldwide: $161,451,538)

(That seems solid for a horror film. They might have expected more considering what The Ring did ($130 million domestic), but it isn’t crazy that Ring 2 still sits pretty high up on these horror related lists on box office mojo.)

#20 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(This genre is a-boomin’ these days fueled by the recent hits in Sinister and The Conjuring (and the offshoots from that). There are a ton of stinker in there too (like Rings!), and I think it is starting to react a bit of a saturation point. I wonder if we’ll see a true collapse though. People must love ghost stories, because this has been a giant horror genre for almost 20 years now and it looks to be as popular as ever.)

#5 for the Horror Remake genre

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(The peak from ‘05 to ‘10 is just too good to pass up, it was the golden age of bad movies for a reason. I imagine it’ll come back, but studios seem pretty satisfied with making “sequels” and soft-reboots more than remakes at this point. I think the fact that they couldn’t get any of the Friday the 13th / Halloween / Nightmare on Elm Street / Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes to catch hold made them put other remakes on hold. I think the new Halloween even has become a sequel at this point. It’ll be back. It always comes back.)

#7 for the Remake – Asian genre

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(There were actually several other plots I could have put here, but, like this, most of them just looked like smaller versions of the horror remake plot from above. This one is interesting because you can see how the Ring itself jumpstarted a very short lived craze. The issue is I think that a lot of the original J Horror films from Japan are … not great. Like One Missed Call. And once they burned through the relatively few good options they were left with garbage. Godzilla is that big peak in ‘15 by the way.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (36/184): Ring Two serves up horror cliches, and not even Hideo Nakata, the director of the movies from which this one is based, can save the movie from a dull screenplay full of absurdities.

(The bad reviews seem to note how perplexing the script is and how many leaps of logic are made. Ebert himself specifically notes that you cannot discern the rules surrounding the things that are supposed to scare you. 20% is pretty terrible though.)

Poster – The Sklog Two (B+)

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(It’s got its style and tells a story. The color scheme is at least consistent and the font is original. This has everything I ask for in a poster, in a simplistic kind of way.)

Tagline(s) – Fear comes full circle. (D+)

(Oh Jeez Louise. That is unfortunate… why did you put that in my brain. Concise but pretty much nonsense and straight-up silly.)

Keyword(s) – videotape; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.9 Feardotcom (2002); 75.7 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012); 65.3 Captivity (2007); 63.3 Body of Evidence (1993); 61.3 Blair Witch (2016); 59.8 Seed (2006); 58.9 The Fly II (1989); 54.7 Down to You (2000); 53.6 The Ring 2 (2005); 51.1 Scary Movie 3 (2003);

(Wow, some great stuff there. I’m stunned Blair Witch II isn’t there, and I have to at some point see The Fly II considering the original is both a great classic sci-fi and an example of practical effects not exactly working out so hot. Goldblum just looks hilarious by the end of the film.)

Notes – During the shooting of a carnival scene, locals mistook the set for an actual carnival and wandered in. They were included as extras in the film.

Even with three artists, Daveigh Chase’s (Samara’s) make-up took over five hours to complete.

According to the production notes, there were bizarre incidents on set of life imitating art. On the seventh day, the production office was discovered to have flooded overnight, the result of a burst water pipe. Water is a strong theme in the film. In response, Director Hideo Nakata requested a Japanese purification ceremony be carried out by a Shinto minister, but the strange incidents continued. While on-location, a swarm of bees descended on the prop truck, prompting the immediate evacuation of the department, before the bees left as quickly as they had arrived. For no apparent reason, a five-gallon water jug burst open in the production office kitchen, once again flooding the same room that had flooded earlier. One morning on the Universal lot, a Set Decorator stepped out of the parking garage to discover an antlered buck charging across the asphalt in her direction. Though deer are a regular occurrence in the hills, the similarity to the deer attack in the film is uncanny. (Indeed, y’all don’t sound like crazy people at all)

Copies of the “Cursed Tape” were dropped in public places as a form of promotion. After about five minutes of footage, the viewer is directed to the movie’s website. (Weird, and I don’t like that at all)

When Rachel takes the pills and puts them on the sandwich for Aidan, she crushes the pills into a powder. The medicine bottle has a label that can be seen with the name Tony Bonaventura, who is the Property Master for the film.

There is a reference to a “Dr. Koji” by the psychiatrist. This is a nod to the original writer of the Ring books, Kôji Suzuki.

When Naomi Watts and her son go to the outdoor Astoria Antique Fair Swap Meet, Watts picks through a bunch of used VHS tapes at a vendor’s stand – and all the movies are DreamWorks titles, such as Old School (2003), and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004). (Gross, all of these notes are dumb and just weird studio crap)

In the scene following the tape burning, when Rachel gets Aiden out of bed, after finding him “soaked and freezing”, after having a nightmare, we can see that the wet part of his bed is ring-shaped.

Feature film debut of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, though she only appears in the unrated version.

Hideo Nakata, was the director of the original film Ring (1998) of which this film’s predecessor is a remake. (Which makes it all the more bizarre this turned out terribly. Although, it is pretty rare for directors from Asian studio hubs like South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong to make a successful jump to Hollywood).

Ryan Merriman, Emily VanCamp, and Kelly Stables all previously appeared in the video short Rings (2005) which served as a prequel to this film.

Contrary to popular belief, this film is not a remake of either Ringu (1998) or Ringu 2 (1999), and follows it’s own unique storyline, as a direct sequel to The Ring (2002).

Hideo Nakata’s directorial debut in America. (I’m not going to count this as a one-and-done, although I don’t think he’s directed an American feature since)

The Bye Bye Man Preview

We finish up our Bring a Friend cycle by transitioning to the final cycle of the year, our traditional year-end Smaddies Baddies year in review cycle. It’s where we get to watch many of the worst films of 2017 that we didn’t get to watch in one of our BMT Live! events. Now that we are BMT horror fans and aspiring aficionados it’s only fitting that we start by pairing one of the worst reviewed horror films of 2017 with one of the worst films of all times. That’s right we’re watching The Bye Bye ManOs: Hands of Fate. The Bye Bye Man has been on our radar ever since it’s pretty ridiculous trailers (and even more ridiculous name) that seemed to air constantly during last football season. In quite the coincidence I was also watching a past Survivor season (yes, I watch past seasons of Survivor for fun in my spare time. So what?) that happened to feature a contestant by the name of Jonathan Penner. Why is it a coincidence? Because Penner also wrote The Bye Bye Man. So it was literally seared into my brain that we must, must, must watch this film in the future. As for Manos: Hands of Fate, while it’s considered one of the worst films of all time it doesn’t fit traditionally into BMT because of its pre-1980 release. Shot in 1966 on a super low budget by a random Texan businessman/amateur theater actor I have no more expectations for this than I would a film like Birdemic. It’s just an amateurish film made by a delusional person that should never have seen the light of day. Will likely be a bore, but that’s what this cycle is all about. Finding out whether these categories are as boring as we assumed when we precluded them. Let’s go!

The Bye Bye Man (2017) – BMeTric: 63.4

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(That VOD bump though! This looks like a classic in the making. It ticked up a bit after the VOD release, but staying steady at 4.4 is very impressive indeed. Looking very promising for staying above 50+ BMeTric for its career.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  Both as a straightforward horror exercise and a look at the perils revolving around off-campus housing in Wisconsin, “The Bye Bye Man” is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.

(Oooooooh yeah. Don’t tantalize me like this RogerEbert.com, my heart can only handle so much. This movie is either going to be hilarious, or an unfortunate mind-bending disaster like The Devil Inside. I’m excited to see which.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDPf9fZl4Bs

(It’s …. The Bye Bye Man. Looks ridiculous. Like funny ridiculous. Like the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, and my mind can only accept one thing: this is a steaming white hot pile of garbage. I’m excited.)

Directors – Stacy Title – (Known For: The Last Supper; Let the Devil Wear Black; Future BMT: Hood of Horror; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Directed her husband Jonathan Penner in this, The Last Supper, and Let the Devil Wear Black. He also wrote The Bye Bye Man.)

Writers – Jonathan Penner (screenplay by) – (Known For: Let the Devil Wear Black; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Multiple time contestant on Survivor. Despite being on three seasons he never made it all that far into any season but was a fan favorite. Also husband of director Stacy Title.)

Robert Damon Schneck (based on “The Bridge to Body Island” by) – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Guy who specializes in writing about urban legends and supernatural phenomena. His books sounds kind of fun for maybe a future read.)

Actors – Douglas Smith – (Known For: Miss Sloane; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Blast from the Past; Antiviral; State’s Evidence; Future BMT: Ouija; Sleepover; Stage Fright; Hangman’s Curse; Terminator Genisys; The Beautiful Ordinary; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Brother of Gregory Smith who we saw in previous BMT films The Seeker: The Dark is Rising and American Outlaws.)

Lucien Laviscount – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: British actor knew to American film, but in so much British TV that I’m guessing Patrick has inadvertently seen him before in something.)

Cressida Bonas – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Tulip Fever; Notes: British actress just on the scene. Already making a BMT splash with this and Tulip Fever that also got terrible reviews this year.)

Budget/Gross – $7.4 million / Domestic: $22,395,806 (Worldwide: $26,667,197)

(Like many horror film this wins largely by being made for next to nothing. This makes me wonder whether we’ll be treated to The Bye Bye Man 2, even if it is straight to DVD. I would watch it. Gotta keep up with the development of the lore of the Bye Bye Man.)

#90 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(The chart is a tiny bit deceiving. It might look like the genre isn’t growing because the money is mostly stagnant, but given that year over year more and more theaters show a supernatural horror film that money does indeed translate to more and more profit. Kicked off by The Blair Witch Project the claim to fame and fortune for the genre is simple: like the slashers of the 80s you can make these on a dime and there is a built-in opening day audience for $10-20 million for anything even remotely coherent. Strike that: anything that promises a jump or two will turn a profit given the business model. It is incredible.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (16/69): The Bye Bye Man clumsily mashes together elements from better horror films, adding up to a derivative effort as short on originality as it is on narrative coherency or satisfying scares.

(Lack of narrative coherency? Sign me up. As for lack of scares? I’m indifferent. While I’m not scared by many older horror films, the jump scares that are sprinkled throughout modern horror still make for an uncomfortable watch even when other people say it’s not scary, so I’m skeptical. I bet that Bye Bye Man is popping up all over the place.)

Poster – The Sklog Sklog Man (A-)

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(I actually like a lot about the poster. Nice font, nice coloring, and I like the artistry that makes it look kinda like an old photo. I wish there was a bit less detail on the main monster. Should be even more of a dark silhouette. But that’s just my opinion.)

Tagline(s) – Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. (Ha. Not a tagline.)

The evil behind the most unspeakable acts has a name (D+)

(The first is not a tagline. It’s just an artistic use of text on the poster for effect, but I like how many times imdb wrote it out. So exact. The second is just not a good tagline and should just be thrown out. Just let those “Don’t think it. Don’t say it” sets of text do their job. No need for this extra shit.)

Keyword(s) – supernatural; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.4 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 75.5 Ouija (II) (2014); 72.7 The Apparition (2012); 71.0 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013); 70.6 Cell (I) (2016); 70.5 The Gallows (2015); 70.4 Devil’s Due (2014); 67.6 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 67.4 Pulse (I) (2006); 67.2 666: The Prophecy (2011);

(We kind of now need to see Ouija, and perhaps we will for an upcoming cycle (SPOILER ALERT!). Man, there are some shit supernatural films out there, I feel like all of these will be watched, and would probably represent a final completion of the Sklog’s horror film education.)

Notes – Previously rated R by the MPAA for “bloody horror violence, language and some sexuality.”

Filmed in November and December 2015, but not released until January 2017.

Doug Jones, who plays the title character, previously played Slender Man (who has similar abilities) in Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story.

The story on which the film is based, “The Bridge to Body Island,” has a much more complex mythology for the Bye Bye Man: He was an albino born in New Orleans in 1912 who ran away as a child and became a derelict who lived in a train yard. After going blind he began murdering people and cutting out their eyes and tongues, which he sewed together and brought to life using voodoo. The resultant creature became the Bye Bye Man’s literal seeing-eye dog, helping him hunt his prey. Several elements from the story- notably the dog and the motif of trains– were retained for the movie, though their purpose is left more elliptical. (Spooky)

The Bye Bye Man is the 2nd collaboration between Carrie-Anne Moss & Douglas Smith. They played doctor and patient in the film, Treading Water.