Brahms: The Boy II

Brahms: The Boy II is a 2020 American supernatural horror film starring Katie Holmes, Ralph Ineson, and Owain Yeoman. A stand-alone sequel to the 2016 film The Boy, it is directed by William Brent Bell and written by Stacey Menear, the respective director and writer of the original film. The plot follows a young boy who, after moving into a mansion with his parents following a traumatizing incident, finds a lifelike doll he becomes attached to.

A home invasion leaves Liza with a head injury and her son Jude traumatized and silent for months. Along with Sean, Liza’s husband and Jude’s father, they move across country to the Heelshires’ property. While exploring the woods, Jude finds a porcelain doll buried in a shallow grave in the ground and dusts off the dirt before deciding to take him home. Liza and Sean believe he is using the doll to express his feelings but it becomes more sinister with the doll laying down his rules. Jude becomes withdrawn in his room, carrying the doll with him wherever he goes. The parents soon learn the evil history of the doll, with all the killings and suicides. More unusual incidents happen, like the dining room table collapsing when Jude warns his mother not to make the doll angry. Liza also sees horrific and violent drawings in Jude’s notepad.

Jude’s Uncle Liam, Aunt Mary, cousins Will and Sophie visit. Jude, Will and Sophie go play outside and Will starts taunting Jude about both his psychological issues and the doll. As the two boys get into a fight, Will falls backwards and impales himself onto a broken croquet peg. After the badly injured boy is rushed to the hospital, Groundskeeper Joseph enters the house, aiming a shotgun at Liza. He begins telling the story of how Brahms asked him to put him back together, making Jude an easy target for the doll as he was not strong-willed. He then tells her that Brahms will take Jude away forever. Liza attacks Joseph with the shotgun, before beginning to search for her son. She goes into the basement and finds Jude in a trance-like state, ready to sacrifice himself with the doll. Liza manages to convince Jude that they will take Brahms home and become a family, without seeing Sean come in and break Brahms’ head with a croquet mallet before Joseph comes running in.

Brahms’ head shatters, revealing a demonic doll underneath, more sinister than the porcelain innocent face. Brahms then kills Joseph without hesitation. Jude picks Brahms up, convincing him they will be fine before tossing the doll into the fire. The family embrace and return to their home, living happily as before the home invasion incident. At night, Jude puts on his Brahms face mask, looking at his reflection in the mirror, and ensuring Brahms that “they’ll be happy here” assuming his parents “learn the rules”.

Brahms: The Boy II was released in the United States by STX Entertainment on February 7, 2020, and was heavily panned by critics. The film grossed $20 million worldwide. It wasn’t interesting enough as a movie, although I was intrigued by the story. Acting performances also fail to imspire. A 6.5 outta 10!

Fantasy Island

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island (or simply Fantasy Island) is a 2020 American supernatural horror film directed and co-written by Jeff Wadlow. A horror reimagining and prequel to ABC’s 1977 television series of the same name, it stars Michael Peña, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Portia Doubleday, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen, and Michael Rooker. Produced by Wadlow and Marc Toberoff, as well as Jason Blum through his Blumhouse Productions banner, the plot follows five people who visit the eponymous island, discovering that their dream fantasies brought to life begin to turn into horrific living nightmares they must try to survive.

Businesswoman Gwen Olsen, former police officer Patrick Sullivan, step-brothers J. D. and Brax Weaver, and disturbed Melanie Cole win a contest to visit Fantasy Island, a tropical resort where fantasies apparently come true. Upon arrival, they meet the island’s “keeper”, Mr. Roarke, and are taken to their fantasies: J. D. and Brax enter a rave at a mansion; Patrick enlists in a war in honor of his late father; Melanie decides to take revenge on a bully; and Gwen accepts her boyfriend Alan’s marriage proposal she rejected many years ago. Patrick is captured by a group of American soldiers and discovers that their commander is his father on his last mission before dying, while Melanie enters an underground room where she tortures her bully, Sloane Maddison, by uploading an online video of her cheating on her husband.

However, another video reveals that Sloane was kidnapped and taken to the island to perform the fantasy against her will. Melanie saves her from a masked surgeon whom she recognizes as Dr. Torture, a fictional character she had designed as a child, and they run away. As night falls, both are attacked again by Dr. Torture before he is killed by Damon, a private investigator living on the island. Damon takes them to a cave, where he explains that the fantasies are created by the spring water under the island’s “heart”: a glowing rock that shows a person’s deepest desires. After revealing that Roarke mixed the water with his guests’ drinks, Damon explains that he came to the island to investigate until Roarke offered him a wish to see his deceased daughter. Unfortunately, his fantasy turned into a living nightmare that trapped him on the island after he rejected it. The trio collect some spring water and continue to the resort to find a phone.

Gwen wakes up in the present to discover that she has a daughter with Alan. When she is reluctant to continue, Roarke appears and reveals that he has his own fantasy, which is to be with his deceased wife, and it will be fulfilled as long as he grants his guests their fantasies. Gwen manages to convince Roarke to change her fantasy by persuading him that he will continue to see his wife. However, Fantasy Island begins to turn the other fantasies into living nightmares as J. D. and Brax are attacked by a drug cartel associated with the mansion’s owner, while Gwen is taken to the night she accidentally caused a fire that killed her neighbor Nick Taylor. She tries to rescue Nick, but falls unconscious in the fire, only to be rescued by Roarke’s personal assistant, Julia. Gwen also realizes that all the other guests, except Melanie, were there that same night.

At the same time, Patrick attempts to leave the island with his father, but he is called to rescue some hostages, who turn out to be J. D. and Brax in the mansion. The soldiers kill the cartel, but they reanimate as zombies and murder J. D. and the rest of the soldiers. Patrick’s father sacrifices himself so that his son and Brax can escape back to the resort. Melanie and Sloane are ambushed by a now-zombified Dr. Torture, until Damon leaps over a cliff with him, killing them both. Arriving at the resort, Sloane calls her husband and convinces him to call Damon’s military associates. The remaining survivors regroup at the resort, but are cornered by Roarke, who reveals that the guests are part of someone else’s fantasy in which they are all killed.

ealizing that everyone was involved in Nick’s death, the guests deduce that this is Julia’s fantasy, believing that she was Nick’s mother. The guests escape to the dock to be rescued by a plane sent by Damon’s associates, only for it to be shot down by the cartel. The group runs to the cave to destroy the glowing rock with a grenade that Brax is carrying. While searching, the survivors are confronted by manifestations of their personal demons, but they regroup and find the rock. Suddenly, Melanie stabs and wounds Patrick before taking Sloane as a hostage. Melanie reveals that this is her true fantasy, having orchestrated everyone’s arrival to seek revenge on them for the death of Nick, with whom she was supposed to have a date on the night he died; it is also revealed that Julia is actually Roarke’s wife, reappearing without knowing him as part of his fantasy, and that if he did not fulfil each guest’s fantasy, including Melanie’s, he would lose her again.

Julia begins to die once again, but before disappearing, recognising him, she convinces Roarke to let her go and help his guests to escape from the island. Reminded by Roarke that she can have a fantasy fulfilled, Sloane fantasizes Melanie being together with Nick. This causes Melanie to be attacked by Nick’s zombified corpse, which drags her into the water. Before drowning, she detonates the grenade against the survivors, but Patrick sacrifices himself by falling on it to protect the others. The fantasy concludes, and Gwen, Sloane, and Brax wake up at the resort, discovering that Patrick died as a hero, while a now-purified Roarke finally agrees to let them go.

As the survivors board a plane to leave the now-purified Fantasy Island, Brax wishes for J. D. to come back to life and go home. Roarke explains that Brax must remain on the island for this fantasy to come true. As Gwen, Sloane, and J. D. depart on the plane, Roarke asks Brax to be his new personal assistant and to take on a nickname. Remembering a nickname that his brother gave him at school, Brax chooses to call himself Tattoo, initiating the 1977 television series’ events.

I think the movie would have better if they stuck to mostly one genre – horror rather than a mix of horror, fantasty and supernatural. It was entertaining but it did feel like it lacked a cohesive direction. 7.5 outta 10!

Why X-Files Will Always Remain The Greatest Sci-Fi Drama Of All Time

From 1993 to 2002, the main bulk of the X-Files episodes were broadcast. If we forget the more recent revisit to the X-Files world, the 1990s were full of the greatest sci-fi drama ever made. With discrete tales of bigfoot, walk-ins, ghosts, monsters, and aliens, there was also a larger story-arc that allowed the X-Files to delve into the more emotional side of relationships, love and trust. With the two main protagonists of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, the believer and the sceptic, two opposing views of all things that appear paranormal were formed. What makes X-Files so special is that the relationship between this pair was constantly tested to its limits, and yet they were always there to support one another.

X-Files began when Dana Scully was sent undercover to spy on ‘spooky’ Mulder. However, the pilot episode quickly established a great partnership where Scully was the perfect voice of reason to Mulder’s more extreme ideas and theories. With Comic-Con attendees still dressing up as there favorite X-Files characters, it is clear to see that this is a series that transcends generations.

Stories

The X-Files covered a whole host of stories and concepts, many of which were rooted in real-life. The Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot were explored alongside more fanciful creations. Who can forget Toombs, the guy who came out of hibernation every few decades, didn’t age, and fed on the livers of human beings to create his nest of bile. Oh, and don’t forget, he could stretch through the tiniest of spaces and attacked Scully nearly making her his final victim. While many of the monsters were scary, they were also rooted in a more human existence. Very rarely did the X-Files go toward the Star Trek-style monster costumes – X-Files monsters were believable and lifelike.

Ghosts

Some of the more fascinating episodes told more ghostly stories. Taking their inspiration from The Fox Sisters, who were seen as the founders of modern spiritualism, Season 6’s episode, ‘How the Ghosts stole Christmas’ shows the more emotional tale of being a lonely ghost in a haunted house during the festive period. The loneliness of these ghouls transcends to the real world and Mulder and Scully are drawn into their quest for companionship.

In the poltergeist episode ‘Shadows’ of season 1, terrifying apparitions take place after a man was killed by his so-called friend after they covered up selling technology to a terrorist group. This man comes back in a ghoul-like form to seek justice. While ghostly episodes weren’t the bread and butter of X-Files, they were some of the best.

Mulder

Fox Mulder was the character that really held the series together. It was his quest to locate his missing sister that allowed the X-Files to become so emotional. Viewers became invested in Mulder and his need to find out what happened to his sister. Scully was passionate about helping him discover the truth too. Skinner, his boss, was the foil to his crazy theories. And the Cigarette Smoking Man was always in the background trying to prevent Mulder from finding out the truth.

There were many red herrings along the way but the story arc eventually came to a conclusion. Was she abducted by aliens? Was she kidnapped? Or did she run away? Mulder was adamant that she was abducted given his memory of bright lights and his sister floating out of the window of their home when they were children. His entire quest with the X-Files was to locate his sister, Samantha.

Humor

Another strong aspect of X-Files was the writing. As the seasons developed there was a Mulder and Scully will-they, won’t they story arc. They did eventually with William being born adding another level of complexity to the X-Files. However, a key facet of the writing that kept people hooked was the writing. There were many discretely humorous episodes, but there was also nuances in the writing that were laugh out loud funny. Scully began to tease Mulder every so often. They would share in-jokes as they became closer, and as Scully slowly turned from cynic to believer over the years, Mulder would cheekily make quips at Scully’s expense.

The characters within X-Files were beautifully written and it was a unique concept at the time. While many series have tried to emulate its success, they have inevitably failed. X-Files was a product of its time and has aged particularly well. If you have never seen an episode of X-Files, watch the pilot today. You’ll be hooked.

Sea Fever

Sea Fever is a 2019 science fiction thriller film written and directed by Neasa Hardiman, starring Hermione Corfield, Dougray Scott and Connie Nielsen. The film follows the crew of a marooned fishing trawler, who find themselves threatened by a parasitic infection.

Siobhan, a scientist studying faunal behavioral patterns, purchases a place on the fishing trawler the Niamh Cinn Óir, manned by a crew of six: skipper Gerard, his wife Freya, ship’s engineer Omid, Johnny, Ciara, and Sudi. As they set off, they are warned by the Coast Guard that their planned destination, which is rich with fish, is in an exclusion zone. Gerard, unbeknownst to the others, takes them into the zone, because he needs a large haul of fish on this outing to keep the ship. As they travel through the zone, the ship runs into an unknown, shoal-like object which stops the boat. Omid discovers strange breaches in the hull which exude a blue-green slime. The crew suspects barnacles, and as Siobhan possesses the only diving gear onboard, Gerard sends her armed with a knife to cut the boat free. Underwater, she discovers the tentacles of an enormous bio-luminescent organism far below adhering to the boat.

Thinking it may be a newly-discovered form of giant squid, the crew attempt to capture it with their net, but the creature proves too heavy. While releasing the net, Johnny cuts his hand on the rope, which is covered in the same slime. The crew sees another ship on the horizon, and Gerard, Johnny, and Siobhan row to it to seek help. Once onboard they find the entire crew dead from suicide inside the cabin, with one of the men appearing to have had his eyes scooped out. Gerard instructs the others not to speak of this discovery, calling it “sea fever” and insisting the other crew merely went mad. Upon their return to their own ship, they discover that the creature has released them. Lowering their nets, they make large catch of fish, and the crew is in high spirits.

That night, Johnny begins to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior, including wanting to go for a swim. Suspecting a fever, Siobhan performs a medical diagnosis on him and discovers movement in his retinas. As he is washing his face, Johnny suddenly goes blind and his eyes burst, releasing minuscule organisms that slither down the drain and enter the ship’s water system. The crew rushes to save Sudi, who is taking a shower. Sudi suffers numerous cuts over his body as the waterborne creatures bite him, and Johnny dies from his injuries. Checking their water filtration system the crew find that their entire water supply has been contaminated by the small creatures, who Siobhan realizes are larvae of the larger creature. Gerard pilots the ship towards home as quickly as possible.

Disinfectant and UV light both fail to kill the larvae in the ship’s water. As a last ditch effort, Siobhan and Omid electrocute the trawler using the ship’s arc welder, apparently sterilizing the boat’s water supply and preventing further infection. However, Siobhan insists that when they arrive at port, they self-quarantine on the trawler for a further 36 hours before returning to shore: if any of them have already been infected, they risk introducing the infection to the public. When Sudi dies from the infection, and the crew refuses to quarantine, Siobhan disables the trawler by entangling the propeller.

The crew checks their eyes for the parasites. Siobhan, Omid, Freya, and Ciara show no signs of infection, but Gerard is clearly infected, and after a heartfelt goodbye Freya mercy kills him by slicing his throat. Ciara goes insane and attacks Siobhan, only to fall to her death. As Ciara dies, a parasite emerges from her eye, revealing her to have been infected. Now with only Freya, Siobhan, and Omid remaining, Freya decides to take the rowboat and try to make it to shore to double their chances of being found.

Siobhan and Omid discover that one of the larvae in the ship’s water tank survived and has become a larger creature, which eats through the ship’s hull to return to the ocean. The trawler begins to sink. Siobhan and Omid use alcohol to ignite a fire on the Niamh Cinn Óir and then abandon it on an inflatable boat. Omid, who cannot swim, falls overboard, and as he thrashes he is seized by the adult creature. Siobhan rescues him, but cuts her bare hand on the creature’s tendril, becoming infected. As a rescue helicopter, alerted by the fire, approaches, Siobhan dives into the water, swimming down towards the bioluminescent creature.

Midsommar

Midsommar is a 2019 folk horror film written and directed by Ari Aster and starring Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, Ellora Torchia, Archie Madekwe, and Will Poulter. It follows a group of friends who travel to Sweden for a festival that occurs once every 90 years, only to find themselves in the clutches of a pagan cult.

Psychology student Dani Ardor is traumatized after her sister Terri kills herself and their parents by filling their home with carbon monoxide. The incident strains Dani’s relationship with her emotionally distant boyfriend, cultural anthropology student Christian Hughes. She later learns that Christian and his friends Mark and Josh have been invited by their mutual Swedish friend Pelle to attend a midsummer celebration at Pelle’s ancestral commune, the Hårga, in Hälsingland. The celebration occurs only once every 90 years and Josh, also an anthropology student, wants to write his thesis on it. Christian had hidden the trip from Dani, wanting to break up with her before leaving, but invites her along after she finds out about it.

The group flies to Sweden and arrives at the commune, where they meet Simon and Connie, an English couple from London who were invited by Pelle’s communal brother Ingemar. He offers the group psychedelic mushrooms, and Dani has hallucinations of Terri while under the drug’s influence. Tensions rise after the group witnesses an ättestupa, a tradition which sees two commune elders killing themselves by leaping from a cliff onto a rock. When one of the elders survives the fall, the commune members mimic his wails of agony and crush his skull with a mallet, while commune elder Siv attempts to calm Dani and her friends by explaining that this is a normal thing every member does when they reach the age of 72. The scene disturbs the group but they decide to stay long enough for Josh to finish his thesis, while Simon and Connie decide to leave. An elder tells Connie that Simon has already left without her. Confused and suspicious, Connie decides to leave on her own; later, a woman’s wail is heard in the distance.

Christian also decides to write his thesis on the Hårga, creating a rift between him and Josh, who accuses him of copying his idea. Meanwhile, Dani’s already weak mental state deteriorates, exacerbated by her decision to leave her supply of the anti-anxiety medication Ativan at home. After Mark unwittingly urinates on an ancestral tree and incites the fury of the commune, he is lured away during dinner by a female member who feigns interest in him. That night, Josh sneaks into the temple to take a photograph of the commune’s sacred runic text, which an elder had previously forbidden him from doing. He sees a nude man wearing Mark’s skinned face and is hit over the head, after which his body is dragged away.

The next day, Dani is coerced into taking more psychedelic drugs and ends up winning a maypole dancing competition, subsequently being crowned May Queen. At the same time, Christian is given more drugs before being coerced into a sex ritual designed to impregnate one of the female members, Maja, while older naked female members watch. After discovering Christian and Maja having sex, Dani has a panic attack, during which the commune’s younger women surround her and mimic her cries. After the ritual, Christian comes to his senses and tries to run away, but he instead discovers Josh’s leg planted in a flowerbed and Simon’s body (which has been turned into a blood eagle) in a barn. Christian is then paralyzed by an elder.

The commune leaders explain to Dani that, to purge the commune of its evil, nine human sacrifices must be offered. The first four victims are outsiders (Mark, Josh, Simon, and Connie) lured to them by Pelle and Ingemar, while the next four victims are commune members (the two elders sacrificed during the ättestupa and two volunteers from the commune in the form of Ingemar and Ulf). As May Queen, Dani must choose either Christian or a local villager to be the ninth and final victim. She chooses to sacrifice Christian, who is stuffed into a disemboweled brown bear’s body and placed in a small wooden temple alongside the other live sacrifices and corpses. The temple is set on fire and the commune members celebrate by mimicking the screams and wails of those being burned alive. Dani initially sobs in horror, but gradually begins smiling with a distant look in her eye.

This is a mind fuck for the most part. Tons of symbolism and messages in the film. 7.5 outta 10!

Ma (2019)

Ma is a 2019 American psychological horror film produced, co-written and directed by Tate Taylor. It stars Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, Diana Silvers, Corey Fogelmanis, and Luke Evans, and follows a group of teenagers who befriend a lonely middle-aged woman. She lets them party in her basement, and they end up being terrorized by her. The film was produced by Jason Blum through his Blumhouse Productions company, along with Tate Taylor and John Norris.

Teenager Maggie Thompson moves with her mother Erica to her Ohio hometown after Erica’s husband leaves her. At her new high school, Maggie befriends Haley, Darrell, Chaz, and Andy, the latter of whom immediately develops a crush on her. They convince Sue Ann “Ma” Ellington, a veterinary technician, to help buy them alcohol because they are underage. Sue Ann anonymously reports the teenagers’ activities, but they are released because of the officer’s history with Andy’s father, Ben. The next day, Sue Ann invites the teenagers to drink in her basement. The next time they go, Sue Ann has decorated her basement and lots of other teenagers show up at her house to party, making her popular among the students. However, her hospitality starts to annoy the group as she continuously harasses them to spend time with her. One night, Sue Ann sees Andy and Maggie kissing and becomes jealous; she is in love with him, having had a crush on his father, Ben, in high school. She drugs Maggie and takes her earrings. The next morning, Maggie wakes up and notices her earrings are missing and is badly bruised and cut. Scared, Maggie tells Andy that she does not want to go to Sue Ann’s house anymore and that she does not want him to go, either.

To earn the group’s trust back, Ma lies to them that she has pancreatic cancer. As she is talking, Haley notices that she is wearing a bracelet that belongs to a friend of theirs. The girls suspect that Sue Ann has been stealing their jewelry so they go to her house to investigate. They are surprised by Genie, Sue Ann’s daughter from a failed marriage; Maggie is surprised to see her walking, as she uses a wheelchair at school. Genie tells them to leave as Sue Ann arrives home, and they narrowly escape. Andy’s father Ben, who went to high school with Sue Ann, shows up at her job to drop off his cat and invites her out for drinks after work. Sue Ann goes home to change and meets him at the bar, where Ben confronts Sue Ann with a tracking device and asks her why his son has been at her house so much. Ben warns Sue Ann to stay away from Andy.

A flashback reveals that Sue Ann, who had a crush on Ben in high school, performed fellatio on him in a closet. Once she left the closet, it turned out that she had been doing it to another boy and Ben had tricked her. Ben had gotten the entire school to witness the event (including his current girlfriend Mercedes and a young Erica), and Sue Ann suffered devastating humiliation, which she never recovered from. An increasingly unstable Sue Ann runs over Mercedes with her truck, killing her. She kills her boss, draws blood from Maggie’s dog Louie, and lures Ben to her house, where she knocks him out. Ben wakes up trapped in her bed; Sue Ann pumps Louie’s blood into his body, slashes his wrist, and leaves him to die. Maggie tells her mother the truth about Sue Ann, and Erica grounds her. Sue Ann sends Maggie a picture of herself with Andy in her basement at Chaz’s birthday party.

She sneaks out of the house to confront him. When she arrives, she notices that everyone has left and that only the original group remain. She tries to get Andy to leave but soon realizes that Andy and the rest of her friends have been drugged. Maggie tries to get help and in the process finds Ben’s body. As she stands there in horror, Sue Ann renders her unconscious. Maggie awakens chained in the basement. Sue Ann irons Chaz’s stomach, sews Haley’s mouth shut, and paints Darrell’s face white. Andy awakens, and tries to seduce Sue Ann, as he is well aware that she is in love with him. She kisses him, but stabs him after realizing that he is lying. A police officer arrives and when Maggie screams for help, Sue Ann shoots him dead before he can react. She then gathers the four friends around the couch with her and makes Maggie take photos of them together in a crude recreation of the friendship Sue Ann always longed for but never had.

Sue Ann then leaves Maggie to be hanged before Genie intervenes. Everyone else wakes up to discover what Sue Ann has done to them but barely have time to react as the house is on fire and need to find a way out. Erica, knowing where Maggie would be, calls her co-worker Stu for help and the two save the teenagers. Sue Ann attempts to throw Genie into the fire, blaming Erica for not stopping Ben from pulling the prank in school. Maggie stabs Sue Ann, saving Genie. The group goes outside and asks what has happened. Sue Ann walks upstairs and lies down next to Ben’s corpse, cuddling with it as the house burns.

I give this movie an 8 outta 10!

Jaws

Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel of the same name. In the film, a man-eating great white shark attacks beachgoers at a summer resort town, prompting police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) to hunt it with the help of a marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a professional shark hunter (Robert Shaw). Murray Hamilton plays the mayor, and Lorraine Gary portrays Brody’s wife. The screenplay is credited to Benchley, who wrote the first drafts, and actor-writer Carl Gottlieb, who rewrote the script during principal photography.

During a beach party at dusk on Amity Island, a young woman, Chrissie Watkins, goes skinny dipping in the ocean. While treading water, she is violently pulled under. The next day, her partial remains are found on shore. The medical examiner’s ruling that the death was due to a shark attack leads police chief Martin Brody to close the beaches. Mayor Larry Vaughn overrules him, fearing that the town’s summer economy will be ruined and points out that the town has never had trouble with sharks. The coroner now concurs with the mayor’s theory that Chrissie was killed in a boating accident. Brody reluctantly accepts their conclusion until the shark kills a young boy, Alex Kitner, in full daylight on a crowded beach. A bounty is placed on the shark, prompting an amateur shark-hunting frenzy. Local professional shark hunter Quint offers his services for $10,000. Meanwhile, consulting oceanographer Matt Hooper examines Chrissie’s remains, and confirms her death was caused by a shark—an unusually large one.

When local fishermen catch a tiger shark, the mayor proclaims the beaches safe. Mrs. Kitner, Alex’s mother, openly blames Brody for her son’s death, leaving him guilt-ridden. Hooper disputes that it is the same predator, confirming this after no human remains are found inside it. Hooper and Brody find a half-sunken vessel while searching the night waters in Hooper’s boat. Underwater, Hooper retrieves a sizable great white shark’s tooth embedded in the submerged hull. He drops it in fright after encountering the partial corpse of local fisherman Ben Gardner. Vaughn discounts Brody and Hooper’s statements that a huge great white shark is responsible for the deaths, and refuses to close the beaches, allowing only added safety precautions. On the Fourth of July weekend, tourists pack the beaches. Following a juvenile prank in which the presence of a shark is simulated, the real shark enters a nearby estuary, killing a boater and causing Brody’s oldest son, Michael, to go into shock. Brody then convinces Vaughn to hire Quint.

Quint, Brody, and Hooper set out on Quint’s boat, the Orca, to hunt the shark. While Brody lays down a chum line, Quint waits for an opportunity to hook the shark. Without warning, it appears behind the boat. Quint, estimating its length at 25 feet (7.6 m) and weight at 3 tonnes (3.0 long tons; 3.3 short tons), harpoons it with a line attached to a flotation barrel, but the shark pulls the barrel underwater and disappears. At nightfall, Quint and Hooper drunkenly exchange stories about their assorted scars, and Quint reveals that he survived the USS Indianapolis. The shark returns unexpectedly, ramming the boat’s hull, and disabling the power. The men work through the night, repairing the engine. In the morning, Brody attempts to call the Coast Guard, but Quint, who has become obsessed with killing the shark without outside assistance, smashes the radio. After a long chase, Quint harpoons another barrel into the shark. The line is tied to the stern cleats, but the shark drags the boat backward, swamping the deck and flooding the engine compartment.

Quint prepares to sever the line to prevent the transom from being pulled out but the cleats break off, keeping the barrels attached to the shark. Quint heads toward shore to draw the shark into shallower waters, but he pushes the damaged engine past the safety limits and the overtaxed engine fails. With the Orca slowly sinking, the trio attempt a riskier approach. Hooper puts on scuba gear and enters the water in a shark-proof cage, intending to lethally inject the shark with strychnine, using a hypodermic spear. The shark attacks the cage, causing Hooper to drop the spear, which sinks and is lost. While the shark thrashes in the tangled remains of the cage, Hooper manages to escape to the seabed. The shark escapes and leaps onto the sinking deck of the boat, dragging Quint down and devouring him. Trapped on the sinking vessel, Brody jams a pressurized scuba tank into the shark’s mouth, and, climbing the crow’s nest, shoots the tank with Quint’s rifle. The resulting explosion obliterates the shark. Hooper surfaces, and he and Brody paddle back to Amity Island clinging to the remaining barrels.

To be honest, watching it from beginning to end for the first time in 2020 the movie didn’t really stand out for me. I even found some of the acting in the beginning to be off and parts of the film boring. Still I do acknowledge it’s iconic standing among fans of movies and for animal attacks in particular. I give it a 7.5 outta 10!

Underwater

Underwater is a 2020 American science fiction horror film directed by William Eubank and written by Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad. The film is produced by Chernin Entertainment and stars Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, and T.J. Miller. It follows a group of scientists at the bottom of the ocean who encounter a group of creatures after an earthquake destroys their laboratory. The film is inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos by H.P. Lovecraft as it features Cthulhu as the monster.

Kepler 822, a research and drilling facility operated by Tian Industries at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, is struck by a strong earthquake. As part of the facility is destroyed by the quake, mechanical engineer Norah Price and her colleagues, Rodrigo and Paul, make their way to the escape pod bay. However, the three discover that all of the escape pods have already been deployed, with Captain Lucien being the only person in the area when the three arrive. Together they reach a control base and find biologist Emily Haversham and engineer Liam Smith, who are unsuccessful in their attempts to make contact with the surface. Lucien suggests using pressurized suits to walk one mile across the ocean floor to Roebuck 641 in the hope of resurfacing from there. As they descend in a freight elevator, Rodrigo’s defective helmet implodes under the water pressure. The surviving crew see a distress beacon from one of the escape pods below, and Smith and Paul go to investigate. As they arrive at the location, they find a body in the rubble. A creature emerges from the corpse’s back and attacks. Smith kills the creature and takes it inside. Haversham examines the creature and realizes that it belongs to a previously undiscovered species.

The five make their way to the sea floor, but as they are walking, Kepler explodes above and nearly buries them in debris. Smith is hit, but Price and Lucien save him. They manage to get through an access tunnel to an intermediate station, where they can charge and clean their suits. However, they find that Smith’s oxygen scrubber is badly damaged from the debris. On their way through the access tunnel, Paul is attacked by an unknown creature, dragged underwater and killed. Before the team leaves the access tunnel, they find that Smith’s damaged oxygen pod will cause him to suffocate from the explosion’s toxic fumes. Unwilling to leave another crew member behind, Price, Lucien and Haversham agree to help Smith walk. The four set off across the ocean floor, but a humanoid creature appears and drags Smith into a cave. Lucien manages to get Smith out, but is himself pulled from the other three. Price is dragged along with Lucien, but Lucien sacrifices himself to spare Price from the increasing pressure differential.

Price ends up at the abandoned Shepard station alone, where she rummages through Lucien’s locker to find a pentagram drawn on an old blueprint of the initial drilling site. Price is able to change her damaged diving suit before continuing toward Roebuck. Walking along the ocean floor, she reunites with Haversham and Smith, and proceeds to help drag Smith. As they enter Roebuck, they encounter a nest of the humanoid creatures hanging from the ceiling and try to sneak by, but the sound of Haversham’s oxygen alarm wakes the creatures. Price is partially swallowed by one of the creatures, but is able to kill it and free herself by firing her flare gun while inside of its body. She then fires a second flare into the distance and sees the creatures are spawn to an ancient titanic creature, Cthulhu.

The three manage to reach the escape pod bay, but Price discovers that only two of the pods are functional. Price and Haversham manage to get the ailing Smith into a pod, and Price persuades Haversham to take the last one. As this happens, Cthulhu emerges and attacks the Roebuck while the smaller creatures follow the two escape pods. Price, accepting her impending death, initiates an overload of the Roebuck’s nuclear core, resulting in a massive explosion that engulfs Cthulhu and his progeny and allows the escape pods to reach the surface. Tian Industries refuses involvement with investigations into the events and prepares to expand its drilling efforts.

The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $40 million worldwide against a production budget of $50–80 million. It was actually quite entertaining and enjoyable even though I predicted the ending about half way through. 7 outta 10!