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‘Choose or Die’: The Netflix Original Horror Film is Kind of Underwhelming

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Austin Oguri is a screenwriter and has deep appreciation for the art of film in general, he aims to offer unique perspectives through his film reviews and feature articles. He also has a soft spot for lesser-known works, and enjoys spotlighting them whenever he can. Austin has always found it necessary for people to encourage and bring out the best in each other, and as a writer at The Hollywood Insider, he can combine that ideology with his ability to think outside the box and truly express his love for the arts in the best ways possible.
Apr 20, 2022
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Photo: ‘Choose or Die’
When it comes to horror films, there are a lot of factors that must be balanced in order to create an end product that’s satisfying for its potential audience. On top of the engaging story and likable characters vital to any movie’s success, a proper unsettling atmosphere must be established without being forced. Real horror doesn’t come merely from jumpscares or extreme violence, it comes from suspense, high stakes, and characters the audience cares about trying to escape nightmarish situations. This is something that classic horror films like ‘Child’s Play’ and ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ nailed.
In a post-‘Saw’ world, however, a common complaint regarding many modern horror movies is that they rely more on shock and gore than actual tension. It was for this reason that the trailer for the latest Netflix horror film, ‘Choose or Die’, concerned me a bit. Some of the moments teased in the trailer made the film look like it was leaning more towards a “make-the-viewers-feel-sick” angle rather than a proper sense of fear or dread. But does the actual film confirm those concerns of mine? Is this movie little more than shock value for the sake of shock value?

Helmed by first-time director Toby Meakins, ‘Choose or Die’ is a British horror-thriller film about a financially-struggling college student named Kayla (Iola Evans). She lives in an apartment building with her drug-addicted mother (Angela Griffin), who’s not only broken over the death of her son, but taken advantage of by the apartment’s abusive landlord. While learning to code from her friend Isaac (Asa Butterfield), she discovers a mysterious text-based interactive fiction game called CURS>R that offers a large amount of money to whoever can complete it. However, it turns out this isn’t any ordinary game, and it holds a power that puts her and anyone close to her in great danger.
Right off the bat, I’m glad to report that this is not a movie that’s over-reliant on nasty imagery in order to be creepy. Yes, there are a few scenes where the violence gets rather unpleasant, but those scenes are far and few between, and most of the horror here is established properly through atmospheric tension. There were a few scenes that actually were pretty suspenseful all things considered, and none of these scenes even featured any on-screen violence at all. There is an earnest attempt at making a creepy, suspenseful movie here, and I appreciate that. The acting is also pretty good, with the cast faking American accents so well I never even realized they were British until I looked it up later. Additionally, the musical score, composed by Liam Howlett of The Prodigy is fairly decent. It utilizes a lot of ominous retro-sounding electronic noises that fit perfectly, considering the subject matter of the film revolves around an old computer game.

However, despite ‘Choose or Die’ doing a good number of things right, I personally felt the movie fell short in a number of areas. While the direction was solid, most of the movie’s problems lie in the script; for starters, there’s a decent amount of less-than-stellar dialogue that just doesn’t feel natural. In particular, there are quite a few f-bombs dropped throughout the film, and oftentimes when the word is spoken, it sounds fairly forced. It’s no secret that in real life, some people have a tendency to swear left and right, but when it comes to movie dialogue, excessive swearing runs the risk of sounding unnaturally implemented, depending on how well the dialogue is written. Language aside, I personally felt that the biggest drawback of this film was the small scale.
The conflict in ‘Choose or Die’ feels like it’s building up to something grand and exciting, but without spoiling anything, the end result comes off as more anticlimactic than anything. The stakes are there, and they’re gradually raised throughout the film, but by the end of it, Kayla’s journey comes off as surprisingly small. There have been mid-budget movies that have benefited from smaller-scale stories, and films that would have benefitted from shorter runtimes, but in the case of ‘Choose or Die’, a slightly longer runtime in conjunction with a larger scale of the story could’ve made it a lot more engaging. As is, it feels more like an extended episode of a TV show than a proper movie.

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Prior to the release of ‘Choose or Die’, one piece of trivia that stood out was the fact that the film featured Robert Englund, the actor famous for playing the iconic Freddy Krueger in the ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ films. Enough attention was drawn to the casting choice to make one believe that he played a large role in the movie, perhaps the villain. However, in the actual movie, Robert Englund’s role is merely a meta voice-only cameo. In what feels more like fanservice than anything, Englund plays a fictional version of himself, who is only briefly heard in a pre-recorded message over the phone introducing CURS>R players to the game.
While there’s a lot of attention brought to the fact that this is Robert Englund, with Isaac becoming super excited upon hearing his voice on the message, it doesn’t really add anything as far as the rest of the film goes. While this wasn’t any sort of problem for me – a cameo is just that: a cameo, after all – it’s worth pointing out for anyone who might’ve been interested in this film simply because Englund’s name is attached to it. 

When all is said and done, ‘Choose or Die’ has a decent handful of things going for it, such as the acting, the surprisingly effective tone, and some of the special effects, but even so, the film as a whole unfortunately came across as flat and underwhelming. As far as recommendations go, this is one I feel is fairly skippable for most. However, if you’re someone like me who enjoys browsing through lower-budget independent movies on streaming services and/or you’re a horror junkie, then there’s nothing stopping you from checking this movie out for yourself. If you want to settle down one night and check out something mildly spooky, this isn’t a bad choice, even if there are better films out there even in that regard. I’m not a die-hard horror fanatic, so I can’t speak on behalf of those who are, so if this movie sounds at all interesting to you, I’d say at the very least give it a chance.
Cast & Crew:
Directed by: Toby Meakins
Written by: Simon Allen
Starring: Iola Evans, Asa Butterfield, Angela Griffin, Ryan Gage, Robert Englund
By Austin Oguri
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Austin Oguri is a screenwriter and has deep appreciation for the art of film in general, he aims to offer unique perspectives through his film reviews and feature articles. He also has a soft spot for lesser-known works, and enjoys spotlighting them whenever he can. Austin has always found it necessary for people to encourage and bring out the best in each other, and as a writer at The Hollywood Insider, he can combine that ideology with his ability to think outside the box and truly express his love for the arts in the best ways possible.
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Austin Oguri is a screenwriter and has deep appreciation for the art of film in general, he aims to offer unique perspectives through his film reviews and feature articles. He also has a soft spot for lesser-known works, and enjoys spotlighting them whenever he can. Austin has always found it necessary for people to encourage and bring out the best in each other, and as a writer at The Hollywood Insider, he can combine that ideology with his ability to think outside the box and truly express his love for the arts in the best ways possible.
Austin Oguri is a screenwriter and has deep appreciation for the art of film in general, he aims to offer unique perspectives through his film reviews and feature articles. He also has a soft spot for lesser-known works, and enjoys spotlighting them whenever he can. Austin has always found it necessary for people to encourage and bring out the best in each other, and as a writer at The Hollywood Insider, he can combine that ideology with his ability to think outside the box and truly express his love for the arts in the best ways possible.

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Cosmic Horror Movie Is Still Thrilling 20 Years Later – Bloody Disgusting

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Cryptozoology is woefully underexplored in popular culture. Sure, we have a handful of entertaining bigfoot flicks and even Zak Penn and Werner Herzog’s experimental Incident at Loch Ness, but where’s our big budget Jersey Devil thrillers? Or how about some Chupacabra-related mysteries? Having grown up on a steady diet of late- Discovery Channel and questionable internet forums, I’d argue that this popular pseudoscience is an untapped goldmine of compelling genre stories that deserve more attention.
Fortunately, my personal favorite of these preternatural beings was lucky enough to spawn a surprisingly successful motion picture in the form of Mark Pellington’s The Mothman Prophecies, a 2002 adaptation of John Keel’s homonymous book describing an allegedly true story from 1960s West Virginia. And with the flick celebrating two decades of conspiratorial frights, I think that this is the perfect time to look back on why it’s still the best cryptozoological thriller that flirts with both psychological drama and cosmic horror.
While Keel’s book was originally released back in 1975, the legend of the Mothman really achieved worldwide notoriety with the rise of online paranormal discussion boards in the 90s. With more and more people spreading and adding to the creature’s bizarre history, it was only a matter of time until a studio decided to invest in a spec script based on Keel’s original account, eventually leading to the production of Lakeshore Entertainment’s film.
Unfortunately, the studio was unsure about how general audiences might react to a high-concept cryptid mystery and ended up slashing the original budget just a few days before filming began. This unexpected act of cinematic sabotage came as a shock to Pellington, who had already dealt with similar issues on his previous picture, but these limitations may have led to storytelling concessions that ultimately benefited the picture. Without a massive special effects budget, the titular Mothman became more of a creepy presence than a physical monster, only appearing in near-subliminal visions as the finished film focused more on atmosphere and character work rather than the cryptozoological chills of the original book.
“Whatever brought you there, brought you there to die.”
In fact, the director purposely avoided a faithful adaptation of Keel’s account, wanting the film to feel more like a psychological drama instead of an investigative creature feature or traditional sci-fi flick. Ironically, this is more in line with the writer’s overall feelings about UFO phenomena in general, as, despite theorizing that the Mothman was an “ultraterrestrial” visitor, Keel thought that most supernatural incidents could be explained by psychic anomalies rather than otherworldly interference.
This more grounded approach led to quite a few discrepancies between the film and its source material, such as the altered visuals of the Mothman itself and the protagonist’s characterization as a skeptic rather than a paranormal investigator (not to mention the condensing of characters and events in order to better fit a two-hour drama). Despite this, the overall plot remains largely intact, with Richard Gere playing a grieving journalist named John Klein who mysteriously finds himself lost in the Appalachian city of Point Pleasant. He eventually discovers that locals have been dealing with a series of seemingly paranormal occurrences and becomes obsessed with the elusive Mothman, who he believes is involved with a series of prophetic messages warning of impending disasters.
While I would still love to see a more traditional monster flick that explores the bizarre accounts present in the original book, Pellington’s choice to explore the human side of the story makes The Mothman Prophecies a surprisingly somber and existential picture that characterizes the titular monster as an unexplainable force representing a universal fear of the unknown, taking the legend into a more metaphysical direction than most other interpretations.
From the Pazuzu-like flashes of the Mothman during pivotal scenes to subtle scares like Klein’s reflection not quite matching up with his movements, as well as characters being driven to madness and obsession after coming into contact with the red-eyed creature, there are several moments of the picture that would feel right at home in an H.P. Lovecraft yarn. The scenes featuring Indrid Cold’s fatal prophecies (brought to life by Pellington himself) are especially haunting, with these implied offscreen terrors becoming much scarier than any monstrous visuals that a special effects team could have cooked up.
“You’re more advanced than a cockroach, have you ever tried explaining yourself to one of them?”
Of course, it’s the emotional core of The Mothman Prophecies that really ties everything together. Pellington grounds these paranormal incidents in tangible emotions like grief, love and existential dread, leading to an eerily believable trek through deeply human fears. Gere is also phenomenal as our leading man, making it easy to root for our haunted protagonist. Honestly, I think it’s a shame that the actor hasn’t shown up in more horror movies, as he excels in this role as a rational man losing his wits once he’s confronted with the unknown.
The Mothman itself is only briefly featured in this subtly scary experience, but the creature’s presence is felt throughout every frame of the picture. It may not be the cryptid creature feature that some were hoping for, but I appreciate this unconventional retelling of a fascinating legend. The film is also responsible for popularizing the Mothman as a cultural icon, with Point Pleasant organizing an official Mothman Festival every year since 2002 as the mysterious winged monster became a staple of American folklore alongside figures like the Jackalope and Sasquatch.
While the film’s claims that it’s based on a true story should be taken with a sizable grain of salt, I think The Mothman Prophecies is still a surprisingly thrilling and highly atmospheric mystery twenty years later. It can get a little slow at times and might irk hardcore cryptozoology enthusiasts with its disregard for Keel’s (admittedly exaggerated) account, but I’d still recommend it to any fan of moody cosmic horror. It’s also the best media featuring West Virginia since John Denver’s Country Roads, and definitely my personal favorite Richard Gere flick.
Born Brazilian, raised Canadian, Luiz is a writer and Film student that spends most of his time watching movies and subsequently complaining about them.
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Babysitting is without a doubt the most hazardous after-school job in the world of young-adult horror. The caregivers in these books count themselves lucky if the biggest problem of the is getting the kids to bed. Those less fortunate sitters have to deal with a variety of boogeymen. Although, not every waking second of these teens’ lives is a total nightmare; their own homes and schools are temporary safe havens. A. Bates, on the other hand, found a way to ensure one babysitter is in a constant state of terror. In the author’s 1991 novel Mother’s Helper, a 17-year-old accepts a well-paying but unusual job offer; she is hired to watch an infant full-time. The only catch is the nanny position requires staying on a small island, far away from home… and always close to danger.
Rebecca “Becky” Collier finds an excuse to leave Seattle for the summer after her boyfriend dumps her for her best friend. And with her going off to college soon, the prospective freshman needs to earn some fast money. So, when Mrs. Nelson provides a stone for two birds, Becky jumps on a plane to Sebastian Island. The gig itself — watching over a baby boy named Devon all summer — is easy enough, but after a while, Becky grows weary of Devon’s high-maintenance mother.
Mrs. Nelson is visibly uncomfortable around her own son, and she is reluctant to let Becky leave the house. Making things weirder is the reason why the Nelsons are in Sebastian in the first place. Someone has threatened Devon, and his parents — Devon’s father is away this whole time —  think keeping him here is the best option. As willing as Becky is to overlook all the red flags for an enticing lump sum of $5000, the growing isolation eats away at her. On top of that is the handsome yet suspicious townie and neighbor, Cleve Davidson, who keeps asking Becky so many prying questions.

Once she is allowed a off, Becky’s mind starts to run wild. Along with the sheriff’s convenient accident, one that effectively leaves the town of South End without any law enforcement, Becky ponders Cleve’s innocence. His unremitting curiosity about Becky’s job and her “aunt” suggests he is not who he appears to be. Mrs. Nelson herself is equally shady, if not more so. She not only forbids Becky from answering the phone in her office when she is not home — a room Bates compares to the forbidden one in the French folktale “Bluebeard” — those daily work meetings of hers are nothing more than her sitting alone at the marina. For someone who claims to be in hiding, Mrs. Nelson sure is lousy at staying hidden.
From Becky feeling like a prisoner in the Nelsons’ summer house to her increasing anxiety about Devon’s stalker, Mother’s Helper is all about horrors from within. Becky suffers the effects of cabin fever early on; both her irritability and paranoia cause her to make rash decisions as the story progresses. Then, being aware of Devon’s predicament causes Becky to be mistrustful and nervous. The more enmeshed she is in the Nelsons’ problem, the more she internalizes their fears.
As for scares, Bates largely channels the psychological menace of classic “imperiled women” films as opposed to the teen slashers influencing other suspenseful YA novels from this same era. She plays on Becky’s dread with an incessantly ringing yet never answered telephone, and she perpetuates the sensation of being watched. At one point, the author terrorizes the protagonist with strategically placed dolls; some are broken and mutilated, whereas the most daunting of them all is left completely unharmed. An excellent line about this incident sums up Becky’s uneasy state of mind:
“This doll was perfect — no slashes, no broken, shattered head, no ripped limbs — and somehow it was even more frightening.
Almost like it’s a fill-in-the-blank threat, Becky thought. Fill it in with anything I can imagine.”
Family thrillers were on the rise in Hollywood when Mother’s Helper was first published. Sinister sitters, jilted paramours, and bad seeds were only some of the threats found in these now-dated narratives. Regardless of how they did it, the ostensible villains sought to destroy the family. This book predates the subgenre’s cinematic peak, which includes The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Poison Ivy, and Mother’s Boys. Unlike those films, though, Bates’ story details the aftermath of a crime. Of course this facet is unrealized until the last act.

Mrs. Nelson eventually caves to Becky’s questioning and admits she is on the run from Franklin, her abusive husband. The women conceive a plan in anticipation of Franklin’s arrival; Becky hides the baby elsewhere while Mrs. Nelson distracts her husband. As to be expected, things do not go accordingly. This is due to the fact that Mrs. Nelson is lying about everything. Devon is not her child; he is the biological son of Franklin and his current wife. Becky’s client abducted the baby and then fled to this island, where she put everything, including the rental home and checking account, in the nanny’s name. And to ensure he would not alert the proper authorities, Mrs. Nelson injured the sheriff and let the town think Cleve was responsible.
Caroline B. Cooney exercised the “stolen baby” plot a year earlier in her Janie Johnson series, beginning with The Face on the Milk Carton. However, Mother’s Helper executes the idea much differently. The result comes as a greater shock for the target audience, seeing as the twist is delivered toward the end rather than at the beginning like in Cooney’s book. Younger readers identify with Becky, who like themselves, would never suspect a mother is lying about being a parent. The thriller plays with perception as well as the concept of who can be considered inherently trustworthy. Having Becky then become an accomplice to kidnapping, albeit without her knowledge or consent, is appalling.
Despite having been manipulated, lied to, and almost killed, Becky remains compassionate. She understands Mrs. Nelson needs a different type of help now. As she confronts the woman at the marina, Becky is sympathetic instead of angry. She ultimately lets Mrs. Nelson escape and tells her to “be safe.” Letting the antagonist, particularly someone who has a mental illness, live in these kinds of stories is both merciful and uncommon. It is also not the most logical or even the most lawful choice to make, but it suits Becky, a character whose fatal flaw is caring too much.
There was a time when the young-adult section of bookstores was overflowing with horror and suspense. These books were easily identified by their flashy fonts and garish cover art. This notable subgenre of YA fiction thrived in the ’80s, peaked in the ’90s, and then finally came to an end in the early ’00s. YA horror of this kind is indeed a thing of the past, but the stories live on at Buried in a Book. This recurring column reflects on the nostalgic novels still haunting readers decades later.

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 368 اجمالى المشاهدات,  30 اليوم

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Signature Entertainment To Release Southern Ghost Story GHOSTS OF THE OZARKS Starring David Arquette

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Ghosts of the Ozarks

Scream actor David Arquette returns to the screen in Ghosts of the Ozarks, directed by Matt Glass and Jordan Wayne Long.

In post-civil war Arkansas, a young doctor is mysteriously summoned to a remote town in the Ozarks, only to discover the utopian paradise he expected is filled with secrets and surrounded by a menacing, supernatural presence.

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Also starring Tim Blake Nelson, Angela Bettis, Phil Morris, Tara Perry and Thomas Hobson, Ghosts of the Ozarks is a thrilling new take on the southern ghost story.

Signature Entertainment are set to release Ghosts of the Ozarks on Digital Platforms in the UK on 23rd May 2022.

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5B7LjXSSS0

 372 اجمالى المشاهدات,  26 اليوم

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The Experiment by M.R. James

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The Experiment by M.R. James

Mr. Hall was a priest from a small village. One day he was working in the office when his servant entered. The woman was alarmed. She said that the squire died. Mr. Hall was surprised, because he had seen this man the day before. But soon the church bell rang, notifying the village of someone’s death. It was true. People said that the squire suddenly got some terrible unusual disease. He passed away very quickly and they decided to bury him as soon as possible. The priest took his clothes and left the office to learn all the details. As it turned out, the squire said he did not want to be buried in the family crypt. He wished to be buried in an ordinary grave in a cemetery. The priest thought that the man was too ill to realize what he was talking about. But the last desire must be fulfilled.

To read and download for free in PDF format, click on the link below.

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The Experiment by M.R. James

I wish you a pleasant reading and awaiting your comments on the novel .. Greetings, Real Story

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