Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Tag Archives: Kerry Fox

Mayhem (2017)

The higher-ups just need to know what they’re dealing with.

Derek Cho (Steven Yeun) is having a pretty crappy day. After being unjustly fired from his job, he discovers that the law firm’s building is under quarantine for a mysterious and dangerous virus, in which people start acting out in violent ways and killing one another, but for some reason, no cause for punishment is to be found. So Derek, who now has the virus, begins to act out too, taking down people who have done him wrong and have pissed him off to the high heavens, with the FBI outside, trying their best to contain the violence to this one firm’s building. And along with co-worker Melanie (Samara Weaving), Derek plans on attacking and taking down the executives, once and for all. Issue is, they’re on the top floor and it’s going to take a whole lot of violence to wade through, just to get to one of them, let alone all of them.

Level up. Get ready…

Mayhem is a crazy movie, but it’s also actually grounded enough in reality to where it works better than you might expect. Director Joe Lynch seems to take this idea of absolute and total carnage, but rather than just trying to one-up himself, each and every chance he gets, he actually gives us a story, with characters, and a real sense of tension in the air. It’s not just sick, disgusting, and sometimes disturbing violence, for the sake of shock-value, but sick, disgusting and disturbing violence, with a reason and a cause.

Which is, yes, to disgust us. But it works.

Lynch and co-writer Matias Caruso also do something else smart with Mayhem in that they set all of the carnage and brutality in a world that isn’t too unlike ours. While the mayhem-inducing virus itself, may be a bit silly, the movie uses it as a way to act out all of its craziest, most violent fantasies of taking down the higher-ups within a corporation, who don’t care one bit about the bottom or those below them – instead, they’re just more concerned with more money, more power, and more control, regardless of who they stop on, or kill, when they’re up to the top. In the context of what Mayhem is doing, this is actually taking literally and because of that, the movie feels a lot more honest and realistic than you’d expect.

It’s still over-the-top and crazy, but it is, once again, grounded to give it a sense of time and place. Also, not to mention that the violence is pretty crazy and fun, making Mayhem a nutty movie that has some social-context, but also doesn’t spend too much time preaching, but instead, just chopping all sorts of limbs off. It’s not afraid to get weirder, deeper, and darker, and it’s a brave take on this kind of a movie that we’ve seen many times before, but in this case, doesn’t feel like a drab.

Take. Them. Down.

Not unlike the Belko Experiment, which was already way too depressing for its own good.

It’s also nice to see Steven Yeun get a leading-role like this immediately after his stint on the Walking Dead. As a Korean-American actor working in Hollywood, it will be interesting to see where Yeun’s career goes; he fits perfectly both as a supporting-player, but also, as we see here, a rather rough and tough leading-man who has charm and bravado, sometimes in the same scene. There’s some depth to this character, but Yeun generally seems to be embrace this character’s more sinister-themes lying underneath everything else.

Same goes for Samara Weaving who, from what I’ve seen so far, is becoming more and more of a powerful and likable presence on the screen. She’s absolutely beautiful, but she’s also the kind of beauty that isn’t afraid to dirty herself up, play around with her image, and get down in the mud, to roll around a bit. Here, she has to play something of a stickler that begins to lose her uptightness and just let loose, and it works – she’s lovely, charming, sweet, but also a little scary.

In other words, a dangerous beauty. So look out, people.

Consensus: While it is no doubt a nutty movie, Mayhem also brings in some social-context to go hand-in-hand with all of the violence and over-the-top features.

7 / 10

What happens when you literally mean “unpaid intern.”

Photos Courtesy of: RLJE Films


Shallow Grave (1995)

ShallowposterThere’s more to life than friends. Like money, baby!

Three ordinary, middle-class friends (Christopher Eccleston, Kerry Fox, Ewan McGregor) all share a flat together and, generally, seem to be having a good time. However, they’re are in search for a flat-mate who they can hopefully sponge off of when the time comes around. They search through some – most of whom, they make fun of and tease for being lame – until they eventually settle on a person that they feel safe enough to have around in the house. This silent man (Keith Allen) eventually settles in and, wouldn’t you know it? Within a day of his residency, the dude’s already OD’ed on a bunch drugs, leaving behind his naked-body, his belongings, and most importantly, a briefcase full of cold hard cash. Seeing as how they don’t want to lose the money, the three pals decide to get rid of the man by dismembering him and burying what’s left of the body. Surely, they think this is a smart idea that will leave them alone with nobody else, but themselves and all of the money they get a chance to spend, right? Well, time begins to roll on and it becomes clear that the money’s starting to change these friends for the worst, and will continue to do so, until it’s probably too late.

"Can't a man get a little privacy every once and awhile!"

“Can’t a man get a little privacy every once and awhile!”

It’s difficult to judge a director’s debut after having seen everything else they’ve had to bring to the table. Especially when that director’s Danny Boyle. Because obviously, in the past two decades or so, Boyle has turned out to be one of the most vibrant, exciting and interesting directors on this planet. Not only does he find new stories to work with, he also never seems to make the same movie twice. While most may seem like they’re going to be one thing, all of a sudden, about half-way through, Boyle himself decides that he’s bored and switches up genres.

This is the Danny Boyle us movie-fanatics have all come to know and love, which is why it’s a bit of a shame to look at his first film and realize that, well, he wasn’t always this great?

Sure, the Beach is a perfect example of Boyle-gone-wrong, but Shallow Grave still stands as his first film. So, with that said, yeah, it’s pretty messy. Like I mentioned before about Boyle liking to change genres up about half-way through his flicks, he does so here, but it’s not all that effective, nor is it really believable. That these three characters are as normal, plain and simple as you can get, the fact that they start to turn into wild, crazy and downright evil loonies, doesn’t make all that much sense. It would make sense if the movie ever made a mention of any of these character’s having something of a dark history or past, but because Boyle doesn’t seem all that interested in actually giving us a chance to know who these characters are, it just seems random and as if Boyle had a premise he needed to fulfill.

This isn’t to say that Boyle doesn’t make Shallow Grave worth watching, or better yet, fun, but after awhile, the style can run a bit deep. The camera, as expected from Boyle by now, zooms, runs, flies, and jumps all around scenes, and also gives plenty of beautiful moments that only the eyes of Boyle could have found. There’s a certain creepiness to the way the outside world is shown in such brooding darkness, that when we do eventually find ourselves in these people’s bright, shiny and lovely-looking apartment, it’s effective. It does drive home the point that Boyle wants to make with this story about how rich, fame and fortune can make anybody sell their souls and turn evil, but that falls on deaf-ears once all of the blood and gore comes around in the final-act.

Nobody in the cast is really to be blamed for that much, either.

Imagine those kids living on top of you.

Imagine those kids living on top of you.

It’s nice to see Eccleston, Fox and McGregor in such early, fresh-faced roles, but they do seem as if they’re trying to compensate for some of the script’s problems. Though these characters are mostly obnoxious, self-centered and unlikable, doesn’t mean that the movie itself has to be bad; there are loads of movies that focus in on/revolve around mean, nasty characters and yet, still work. However, the difference between these characters is that we never get to see anymore light shine through them than just what Boyle’s presenting. We have an idea of who these characters are early on, but eventually, the alliances start to change, revelations are made clear, and people start getting hurt. When this all begins to happen, too, there’s supposed to be a feeling of some sort of emotional or remorse for what’s about to happen, but because we don’t really get a chance to find out who it is that these characters actually are, makes all of the bloodshed feel empty.

And once again, this isn’t to say that Shallow Grave is a bad film by any chance; that it’s a movie made by the hands of Danny Boyle already puts it higher on the list of most other films. But, having seen what he’s been able to do with such solid flicks like Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire, Sunshine (or at least half of it, anyway), 127 Hours, Trance, and hell, even the Olympics’ opening-ceremony, it makes this movie pale a lot more in comparison. He was a first-time director trying to hone his craft, work his own sense of style and make sense of it, which definitely makes the movie an interesting one to watch, but by the same token, also makes you happy that Boyle eventually got his act together not too long after this.

Although, yeah, the Beach is a terrible movie.

That’s something I will always stand by.

Consensus: Seeing as how it was his directorial-debut, Shallow Grave remains an interesting, albeit mildly interesting picture in Danny Boyle’s filmography, although it’s clear that he had to brush up on his skills quite a bit.

6 / 10

"The more champagne, the merrier", somebody has had to say.

“The more champagne, the merrier”, somebody has had to say.

Photos Courtesy of: Movpins

Intruders (2012)

The boogeyman is too old school.

The film stars Clive Owen as a father trying to save his daughter from a specter-like figure that appears to be the product of her own imagination. There is also another story that is about this kid in Spain who is having the same problems, but nobody really cares.

The new trend in Hollywood lately seems to be that in order for horror films to stay cool and hip, they need to be old school. Sometimes this works like in ‘The House of the Devil’, and other times it fails miserably like with ‘Don’t be Afraid of the Dark’. So what better way to keep horror movies even more trendy by bringing in one of the oldest horror stories of them all: the monster in the closet.

Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo definitely seemed like he owed somebody money here because he just does not deserve this. I don’t love this director either (I’ve only seen like one film from him), but for a guy that did the sequel to one of the greatest horror flicks of the past decade (’28 Weeks Later’) I have to say that he’s really falling off the map. Juan Carlos definitely does add a lot more to this flick than you would expect because his camera is used well to speed things up, like he did with ’28 Weeks Later’, and has some pretty cool imagery that is spooky but also very good to look at. He seems like he’s trying his hardest to bring some sort of atmosphere here to this flick but it’s all taken away by the script he was given.

This plot basically comes down to the children facing off against “Hollow Face” but neither side is worth cheering for. You never get any real sense that these kids are in danger because every time the boogeyman seems like he has finally succeeded in killing these little pieces of crap, they end up being safe after all and have only a scratch or two on them. Also, why the hell does this damn creature want a face so bad? To be accepted? To be loved? To keep this film going on longer and longer, until I practically fall asleep? I think yes for that last question.

The script also goes from bad to worse considering there is barely any horrific stuff happening here and after awhile, just gets boring. They even place an exorcism scene in the middle of the flick (cause what horror film doesn’t need an exorcism scene?) and it’s one of the most boring and unscary exorcism scenes I have seen in some time and mind you, I did see ‘The Devil Inside’ over two months ago. There was also no reason for this flick to even be two separate stories either considering they are so obviously focused more on the British family then anything else and could practically care less about the story in Spain. They both come together in a dumb way that is expected from these types of films, but it still ends on an awkward note that just feels so damn forced. Then again, so does everything else in this dumb film.

Oh, I almost forgot that there is probably one of the most unintentionally funny scenes here that I have seen in quite some time. First, Clive Owen’s daughter gets scared and says that she is having nightmares about this monster and can’t get to sleep. Thinking that he would be a good father, you expect him to just tell his daughter that all will be fine and dandy and she should just go back and dream a little dream of fairies, unicorns, rainbows, and all that good stuff. Instead, he makes a scarecrow monster, takes it outside to his backyard and lights the thing on fire hoping that it will cure her dread of the boogeyman. This scene was so stupid and dumb that I honestly thought that the film was just making a little light of this whole premise, but instead, they were totally serious and this was probably the high-light of the film, which isn’t really saying much good.

I don’t know what it is with Clive Owen, but the damn dude should be getting A-list roles that get him Oscars, Golden Globes, and all that other honorable shit but instead he’s been stuck doing dumb-ass flicks like ‘Killer Elite’ and this, which both take him further and further away from hitting total stardom. This guy is a good actor, and he at least tries his hardest with this role here but he needs to go back to the days of when he was scoring huge hits in-a-row with ‘Closer’, ‘Children of Men’, ‘Inside Man’, and even ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’. Dammit Clive! Just stop taking shitty movie roles and start making better ones before it’s way too late.

Consensus: Intruders is a horror flick that doesn’t do anything new or exciting with its premise, instead it is just boring, badly executed, and one of those horror flicks that you watch with a whole group of girls because they’ll get scared and hold onto you, but you never watch it again. Cause you never know if you want to remember the night with that chick anyway.