Crime

MOVIE REVIEW: The Vault (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Vault (2017)

Director: Dan Bush; Writers: Dan Bush, Conal Byrne; Stars: James Franco, Taryn Manning, Francesca Eastwood; Rating: Not Rated; Run Time: 91 min; Genre: Horror, Thriller; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2017

Jeff Gum in The Vault (2017)The Vault caught my attention for having James Franco starring and held my attention in spite of some clunky foreshadowing and a less than satisfying ending. While it’s nothing special and filled with tropes we’ve seen in other crime/horror crossovers, there’s just enough mix of weirdness and uncertainty to keep the viewer interested.

The story revolves around a bank and the gang of robbers whose reasons for hitting up the bank aren’t as clear-cut as they seem at first. Having carefully engineered a distraction that keeps the city’s attention directed elsewhere, the gang is surprised to find little money in the safe and that an unexpected tip-off to law enforcement made it through. Ed Maas (James Franco), assistant manager of the bank, tries to work with the robbers to minimize harm to the people held hostage, but the gang refuses to leave without finding the real money.

Francesca Eastwood in The Vault (2017)Most of The Vault focuses on the dynamics of the two groups, the hostages and the robbers, interspersed with the gang’s attempt to access the bank’s main vault below. Ultimately the gang’s primary motivation is for Michael Dillon (Scott Haze) to pay off a fatal debt, and Michael’s estranged sisters Vee (Taryn Manning) and Leah (Francesca Eastwood), have come together, along with a few others, to pull off the heist – both to help Michael and enrich themselves. The hostages’ motivation is, of course, to survive, and some of them are more successful at this than others.

Taryn Manning in The Vault (2017)Maas convinces the gang that he can help and successfully stops a post-closing hours failsafe alarm from triggering. Having won their reluctant trust, he then directs them to the location of the bank’s subterranean vault wherein lies a cool $6 million. As the heist moves forward to crack the vault and open their subterranean escape route, the group is split and odd things begin to happen. First, those who’ve ventured underground are affected, but it ultimately extends to all the robbers. Paranoia and uncertainty set in, making the situation more volatile and dangerous every moment.

Unfortunately for The Vault, uneven acting makes the first half somewhat less than satisfying while unnecessary foreshadowing completely undermines the second half and ruins the fim’s reveal. With an ending that left me more than a little pissed (seriously, my rating dropped 2.5 claw marks just because it pissed me off), The Vault is worth watching for Francophiles — those who want the total Franco experience — and those who must watch all things horror, but a skip for anyone seeking something new and different.

Final verdict: 5/10 claw marks — leave it closed

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: Shock Rocker Marilyn Manson Plays a Hitman

COMING SOON: Shock Rocker Marilyn Manson Plays a Hitman

By Jonathan Patrick Hughes

Marilyn Manson in Let Me Make You a MartyrMarilyn Manson is by far one of the most talented yet hated human beings in the world. He has been judged by everyone for almost anything he has said or done since the early 90s when he first put together his band known as The Spooky Kids which was later changed to Marilyn Manson. The band was signed to Nothing/Interscope records and their debut album Portrait of an American Family was released with the help of the brains and fingers of Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails).

Each band member's first name would be of a sexy super star model and their last name would be of a serial killer. Marilyn himself has been known for crazy stage performances, unforgettable music videos, and his cover of “Sweet Dreams”, which was originally recorded by The Eurythmics in the 80s. Marilyn Manson is as successful as he is because he has pumped out studio album after studio album as well as toured every year. He has also has done a little bit of acting (Jawbreaker, Lost Highway, Party Monster, and The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.

It was recently reported by Marilyn himself that he is back in front of the cameras in his biggest role to date. He plays a lonely hitman who goes by the name of Pope in a gritty film about two adopted children who fall in love with each other and hatch a plan to kill their abusive father. After viewing the trailer, it's quite difficult to admit where the film is heading, but if Marilyn Manson is involved, then that is all I need to know for it to gain my attention. I have been a long time fan and have seen him live over 20 different times. Despite what the media says and wants us to believe, I, for one, am highly excited to see his new film, and I will always be a supporter of his. Let Me Make You A Martyrwas screened in Montreal this past weekend and has been getting incredible reviews and write ups. There is only one thing left to do and that is what and see just how good this film is when it's released later this year.

Posted by Jonathan Hughes in CAST AND CREW NEWS, COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Perfect Host (2010)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Perfect Host (2010)

The Perfect Host
Dinner Parties Are A Dying Art

by Woofer McWooferson

The Perfect Host poster.

The Perfect Host poster.

Director: Nick Tomnay; Writers: Nick Tomnay, Krishna Jones; Stars: David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford; Rating: R; Run Time: 93 min; Genre: Comedy | Crime | Thriller; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2010

The Perfect Host is one of the smartest and funniest crime thrillers in recent years. As Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce) prepares for his dinner party, petty thief John Taylor (Clayne Crawford) searches for a hiding place after being identified as the culprit in a bank robbery earlier that day. Taylor dumps his car, also identified, near an upscale neighborhood and begins his search. After being turned away from one house, he moves on quickly and spots another possibility. A card in the mailbox indicates that the resident has a close friend, Julia, vacationing in Australia, and Taylor decides to masquerade as an acquaintance of Julia. Though he first denies Taylor entry, Taylor's tale of lost luggage and a mugging eventually weigh on Wilson, who relents and invites him in. Wilson offers Taylor a drink and use of his phone while apologizing for being distracted with his dinner party preparations. Eventually, both men learn that neither is what he seems to be.

David Hyde Pierce in The Perfect Host.

David Hyde Pierce in The Perfect Host.

Through flashbacks, John's reason for robbing the bank is revealed, and it is not what the viewer expects. Taylor has been trying to stay straight and legitimate, and his motivation for the robbery is to help his sick girlfriend. Warwick, on the other hand, is the model of a propriety, affording Taylor every consideration until he learns the true identity of this unexpected guest. While Taylor's story is told in flashbacks, Wilson's story unfolds linearly and when it does, the audience is treated to a well paced cat and mouse game.

The Perfect Host - the party gets going.

The Perfect Host - the party gets going.

Directed by Nick Tomnay and written by Tomnay and Krishna Jones, The Perfect Host could not be more aptly cast. David Hyde Pierce (Frasier) plays Wilson with verve and finesse, easily switching from nebbish to neurotic, and Clayne Crawford (Evil Remains) is equally awesome as he switches from stranded traveler in need to hardened petty criminal. Tyrees Allen (RoboCop), Cooper Barnes (Henry Danger), Indira G. Wilson (Reversion), and Annie Campbell (Anoosh of the Airways) round out the dinner party, affording Taylor the opportunity to see Wilson completely immersed in his element. As the movie progresses, the audience switches from wondering if Wilson will survive the night to wondering if Taylor will. As with everything else in this film, however, nothing is what it seems to be at first.

Shot in only 17 days and with a budget of only $500,000, The Perfect Host is an almost perfect comedic thriller. Clocking in at just over 90 minutes, the movie is tight, neat, and suspenseful. Certainly there are a few flaws, but the positives far outweigh the negatives, and David Hyde Pierce and Clayne Crawford are amazing, true professionals. Their abilities to demonstrate a wide array of emotions ensures their characters are not cardboard cutouts. According to IMDb, this movie made only $48,000, and Tomnay has done nothing since. That is just plain wrong. The Perfect Host deserves more recognition and Tomnay deserves credit for crafting such a fun comedy crime thriller.

Spoiler Alert: Do not watch the trailer first. If you like dark comedies and/or crime thrillers, you will not be disappointed.

8/10 claws – Underrated, underappreciate, and unapologetic.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments