Great White

Written by Alexander Reams

20/100

When Steven Spielberg’s iconic Jaws hit theatres in the summer of 1975 people quickly became afraid of their own bathtubs, let alone the entire ocean. Over 30 years after it was released I saw the film for the first time and it was still frightening to me. So much so that I abandoned my childhood rubber duckie. Since then (Jaws releasing, not me losing my rubber duckie) countless films have tried to imitate the fear created by Jaws and none have even come close to achieving that level of success. Martin Wilson’s Great White comes out of the gate swinging, with an opening that is suspenseful, borderline terrifying, and gave me hope that we finally have another good, possibly great shark film on our hands. 

After that truly eerie opening, those hopes were dashed. The (bare minimum) character development that we are given here is at that perfect “idiotic movie you see with your friends in middle school just to do something” level, simply put, lazy. We are introduced to Kaz Fellows, our lead, whose character development is “pregnant lady we should only care about because she is carrying a life inside of her” (am I the only one smelling something funny here? Just me? Okay, moving on). Along with Kaz, we are introduced to her partner, Charlie Brody, who is reduced to “handsome man #5674027 in a horror film that is there to look pretty and spout exposition when needed”. There are also two passengers Joe and Michelle Minase. Joe is afraid of the water and Michelle who is on the trip to spread her grandfather’s ashes, a truly noble quest, but never given time to develop, instead, it’s stuck on the sidelines like almost all the rest of the character development. 

But who comes to this genre of film for character development? Not you, or me, we came for the shark, the scares, and the kills. Who needs to care about a character when you have a great white shark eating people. The shark is not the main character of the film, the people are and Wilson just assumes we as an audience will forgive this sleight in return for some great kills. Unfortunately for him, he overestimated his abilities to craft a good kill. The closest he comes is in his standout opening scene of the film. A giant miscalculation in skill and in execution left me not only frustrated but maddened that a film of this poor quality could even be made today.

Great White Trailer

Great White will be available to stream on Shudder on November 18th, 2021 and is available to stream on Hoopla.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

Son

Written by Alexander Reams

49/100

Horror films have always had the good old reliable tropes that they can rely on. Such as haunted houses, killer on the loose, and one that recently seems to be used more than any other, possessed children. Whether that is demonic, medical, vampirism, or witchcraft. Son, from fairly new director Ivan Kavanagh, relies heavily on the latter trope. The film’s plot, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before. When a young boy contracts a mysterious illness, his mother must decide how far she will go to protect him from terrifying forces in her past. Sounds familiar? Well that’s because it is a rehash of countless horror films, most prestigiously being The Conjuring 1 & 2

A pair of performances in the film shine brightly. Matichak (Halloween) as the mother of the possessed child brings something that has been seen before, but her delivery of the script seeps care and love for her son throughout. This is shown especially in the home invasion scene. Matichak’s facial expressions and body movement as she tries to rescue her son from forces in her home. Hirsch (Speed Racer, Once Upon a Time.. in Hollywood) as the detective chasing them brings a no nonsense aura that fits perfectly in a film filled with worthless dialogue and nonsensical performances. His kindness towards Matichak develops to a romantic interest, but not in the traditional sense, his feelings towards her never get in the way of his job. A trope that is not shown enough with detective characters which does add a layer of freshness. 

The screenplay, also by Kavanagh, is mediocre and filled with vapid lines that truly mean nothing to the story and try to draw your attention from the abysmal performances by everyone except Matichak and Hirsch. The actor playing “David”, Luke David Blumm is another reason why there is such a negative stigma against child actors. He overplays every scene, losing any chance at building stakes and emotional connection. Emotional connections between characters is a two way street, and while Matichak has one with Blumm on screen, he has nothing, no connection, or any resemblance to a relationship with Matichak echoing back. Even with great performances from Andi Matichak and Emile Hirsch, the film stumbles in its pacing, direction, screenplay, and every performance outside the top billed duo.

Son Trailer

Son is currently streaming on Shudder.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

PG: Psycho Goreman

Written by Alexander Reams

45/100

I go into every film wanting to champion them and sing their praises. However that is not always the case. It is even more disappointing when the film not only disappoints you, but actively frustrates you. The latter was the case with Psycho Goreman from the horror streaming service Shudder

Psycho Goreman is the first film I have seen from Steven Kostanski. The film is about 2 children who awaken an ancient alien overlord and in turn have intergalactic assassins hunting the alien down. The plot is basic, but sometimes that can lead to an interesting take on the plot. That is not the case here. The script is very basic and clunky to say the least. The acting as well is very  stale, with the 2 child actors being the worst of it all. There has been a stigma that child actors can take away from a film due to lack of experience, and it shows that neither of these 2 leads have done much work. 

The best thing I can say about this film is the makeup and visual effects. They distract from all of the other issues with the film and still entertain. There is a very distinct retro look from the effects and makeup that make this film feel from the 1980s. The quality is there but it still does not take away from the poor acting, clunky screenplay, and overall juvenile direction. Which led to this being one of the biggest disappointments I’ve seen in a long time. 

PG: Psycho Goreman Trailer

You can watch PG: Psycho Goreman on Shudder on May 20th.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter.

Episode 106: SXSW 2021: Violation / Here Before / Language Lessons

“I selfishly like a lot of first-time directors because they over-prepare, they’re super eager, and there’s very little ego.”

Mark Duplass

Links: Apple Podcasts | Castbox | Google Podcasts | LibSyn | Spotify | Stitcher | YouTube

This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor discuss their First Impressions of: Oxygen & Every Breath You Take and the SXSW 2021 Feature Films: Violation, Here Before, and Language Lessons.

You can read Taylor’s Reviews of Violation, Here Before, and Language Lessons.

Streaming links for titles this episode

Violation is currently available to stream on Shudder

Here Before and Language Lessons are currently seeking distribution and are not yet available.

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