Sleepy Hollow Review

Hi everyone, this is a piece I wrote for my college interview a few months ago.

I must have been around the age of 5 when I first encountered the gothic horror, Sleepy Hollow. It was way past my bedtime and having been woken up by nightmares of Freddie Kruger – a regular occurrence in my childhood – I went through to the living room where my mum had dozed off on the couch. Knowing that I’d be sent straight off to bed if she woke up, I sat quietly on a chair in front of the TV and caught my first glimpse of what would soon become one of my all-time favourite films. My first encounter was brief. I only managed to catch around 5 minutes of the film before my mum woke up and put me back to bed. From what I remember, that 5 minutes involved a scene in which a young Ichabod Crane – the film’s protagonist – was dancing with his mother who gracefully spiralled into the air in a bewitching fashion. At this age, I was obsessed with witches and my favourite TV show was Buffy the Vampire Slayer – a programme which regularly involved spells and charms. For all intents and purposes; I was now obsessed with Sleepy Hollow. By the age of 8, I must have watched it about 100 times. As time went on, I obsessed over other things, but this film always meant something special to me. An older Finn would go on to rediscover this Tim Burton gem and recognise its worth.
Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, a reimagining of Washington Irving’s ‘Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ was released in 1999 and is set in 1799 America. It stars Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, a bizarre and cowardly detective with a fondness for the new-born field of forensics. The film sees him shipped off from New York to the eerie village of Sleepy Hollow where he is set to investigate a series of beheadings which locals claim to be the work of the Hessian Headless Horseman – a title which happily rolls off the tongue. Ichabod, a man of reasoning and logic is quick to dismiss all of these theories and sets off to find answers. However, he will soon have to confront his disbelief of superstition. And if you’re a secret softie like me, there’s a sweet little love story thrown in between Ichabod and the endearingly mysterious Katrina Van Tassel played by Christina Ricci.
Some fans may notice that this film pays a lot of homage to the old ‘Hammer’ Horror films. The film even features the late Christopher Lee, who is practically the face of Hammer. In fact, his scene where he plays a head judge in New York cleverly makes use of a statue behind him to make him appear to have bat-like wings in one frame; a nod to his role as Dracula.
I love this film because in typical Tim Burton fashion, he mixes inventive fantasies with Gothic designs. It is aesthetically dark and menacing. The set is frighteningly beautiful with most of the film looking very black and white – minus the bright red blood of course. The mise-en-scène of the film is spectacular and some could argue is what really drives this horror flick. Johnny Depp gives a great performance and somewhat comfortably portrays the eccentric and sometimes frustrating hero. You can tell that he feels right at home in another one of Burton’s gothic productions.
From the dialogue and costumes to the dreary lighting and outstanding music score by Danny Elfman, Sleepy Hollow is very convincing in portraying an already familiar story of the Headless Horseman. Bringing in a mixture of comedy, gore, witchcraft, blood-soaked trees and a wonderfully berserk Christopher Walken as the headless horseman; Sleepy Hollow easily put me under its spell for so many years. Any fan of horror and especially Tim Burton should watch this film. Heads will roll. Quite literally.

It Follows review

Yo yo yo ma homies. This is a review I wrote for the recent horror, It Follows. I have to say that this now competes as one of my all-time favourite horror films.

It’s always good to see a low-budget film make it big. You could say it’s a strike for the little guy against the monopoly of the major studios. There’s been a major buzz surrounding ‘It Follows’ ever since it became the ‘breakout’ film of last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Since then it has been generating some overwhelmingly positive reviews; somewhat unusually for a film of this genre. In fact it’s the only film I can remember to have garnered a near 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while The Telegraph newspaper called it the most exciting film of the festival, going on to say, “With its marvellously suggestive title and thought-provoking exploration of sex, this indie chiller is a contemporary horror fan’s dream come true.”
High praise, indeed. So what’s it all about?
Well, it starts as a simple boy meets girl story. Or girl meets boy. 19-year old Jay (played by newcomer Maika Monroe) is a seemingly ordinary girl who likes swimming, hanging out with friends and watching TV. Everything seems to be going reasonably well in her slightly awkward budding relationship with new boy, Hugh. Although, we soon see that he notices people that no one else can and he seems very eager to get away from them. Jay overlooks this fact and the inevitable horror film sex scene happens. More-or-less normal teen behaviour, you might think. Things then get strange as he drugs her and ties her to a chair in an abandoned warehouse. I can’t divulge why, or that would give away a crucial part of the plot. Better to see for yourself. Afterwards, Jay finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, or something, is following her. She too starts seeing people that nobody else can. Faced with being drawn into a waking nightmare, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the horror that seems to be only a few steps behind. It quickly becomes apparent that in order for her life to return to normality, she has to address the curse, if that’s what it is, and ‘pass it on,’ a realization which throws up some interesting moral dilemmas.
It Follows carries on the recent trend of foregoing blood and splatter in favour of good old-fashioned chills, often calling to mind the classic, atmospheric ghost stories of old. There are also elements which echo David Lynch of Twin Peaks’ work. The film is especially effective in its early stages, the formulaic jumps and frights getting a little predictable towards the end. But the really interesting thing is the subtext, which goes far beyond the traditional SEX = BAD epithet. This is hinted at in the press release, which says, ‘It Follows is a contemporary horror exploring teen sex, suburbia and the stuff of nightmares – a cult classic in the making.’ A statement that after seeing this film I could actually agree with. Maika Monroe truly gives a chilling performance in ‘It Follows’ and makes an impressive ‘Scream Queen’. The lingering shots and entrancing electronic music gives the audience an authentically terrifying experience. I suggest this film to any true fan of horror.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower film review

Hi everyone. This is an old review I wrote for The Perks of Being a Wallflower film. I have definitely changed my writing style since then but I want to keep my blog updated with more material.

Plot
Set in an early 90’s Pittsburgh, Charlie (Logan Lerman) begins his freshmen year at high school. Troubled by his past and underlying mental illness, he struggles to fit in anywhere. That is until he meets the delightful Sam (Emma Watson), her step-brother Patrick (Ezra Miller) and their “island of misfit toys”.

Review

Based on the bestselling novel which gathered an impressive cult following, ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ delivers something quite unique in this day and age; truth. I think it’s fair to say that film and television had started to overdo the whole ‘teen angst’ scene. Although many great films and shows have been set in and around high school age groups such as: The Breakfast Club, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Dead Poet’s Society- to name a few. There have been some major disappointments. An example of these would be; the many awful American Pie sequels, 9021Oh-no and the hot and cold Twilight Saga.
‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ is a film that I could perhaps imagine being a classic in years to come. The author of the book, Stephen Chbosky who also wrote and directed this film shows us his wonderful way of portraying the young adult world. Having seen and read interviews with him, it is evident that Chbosky has added some of his own experiences to this film and that he really cares about the characters and fans, which adds a beautiful truth to the whole image. Fans of the book will not be disappointed as he has delivered this film very tight-knitted to the novel. I praise Chbosky for his wonderful casting choices of the three leads: Lerman, Watson and Miller and the shining supporting cast that will bring a sense of nostalgia to adults and recognition to well aware teens.
Despite the film being set in the early 90’s it still creates a wide audience. The character developments are widely relatable, as are the storylines. The film tackles drug use, suicide, homosexuality, sex and mental illness. It also features feather boas, fishnets, Rocky Horror, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, David Bowie, classic novels and an extremely awkward scene of truth-or-dare. Not mentioning the wide range of quotes including the now popular ‘We accept the love we think we deserve’.
Emma Watson (formerly known as Hermione Granger) really breaks her Harry Potter image when playing her character Sam. Sam plays the love-interest of Charlie. But, she is much more than that. She is intelligent, naïve, troubled and has the audience fall in love with her as well as Charlie. Herself and her step-brother Patrick are Charlie’s unofficial guides throughout the film, teaching him what life really is. Newcomer and the ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ star, Ezra Miller plays the wonderful and flamboyant Patrick. Perhaps another actor would have just portrayed Patrick as the ‘gay best friend’ but Miller really brings depth to his character and brings the whole film together in his own unique way. He has the audience laughing, crying and wishing for a friend like him. Last of all we have ‘Percy Jackson’ star Logan Lerman showing us how good of an actor he is. Lerman brings Charlie to life from the book in a way that makes any fan weep for joy. He is the main character of the film and we are with him throughout his whole journey. Having recently had his best friend commit suicide, Charlie is in a bad way. Dark memories are resurfacing and he is alone. That is until he meets Sam, Patrick and their friends. He has his first party, he has his first experience with drugs, he has his first kiss and he has his first love. The best thing about Lerman is that he makes us feel what the character feels. He takes us into Charlie’s head; darkness and all. There is only one word for this cast and that is perfect.
Verdict
For high school students past and present, this is bound to bring out some locked away part of your emotional adolescence. The cast and storytelling is what makes this film. The technical direction of the film is faulty at times but it goes mostly unnoticed. You will feel like you are part of the group and experiencing their problems, pains and joys along with them. I recommend this film to any ‘coming of age’ fan.

Back again and with a guide to failure.

So, it appears that I’m here yet again. It saddens me to admit that my recent attempt of a ‘comeback’ failed miserably. It was a lousy piece of writing that lacked the Finn-ish substance that we have all come to know and love (nod, smile and act like you know what I’m talking about). Failure is never a nice thing to feel. Whether that be in education, work, relationships, friendships or the worst – and totally the best – giving into that 12″ Margherita pizza when your diet has been going so well; and when your closest heaven-like takeaway does a great ‘BOGOF’ offer, who can possibly say no? Unfortunately for most failures; the faster the drive, the harder the crash. It is important to remember that those horrible feelings in which failure brings – although intense – are only temporary. We must accept our mistakes and work from them.

From my own experience and the accounts of others, I believe that there are 6 different stages of failure:

Confusion

Sadness

Regret

Anger

Acceptance

and finally; motivation for something greater!

I, like so many others, do not believe that they are good enough. We already have failure in our heads and as a result we carry this through everything we do. I don’t see it happening at the time but it’s a more than reasonable answer for why I’m so bloody good at not putting in my 110%. I may mock my old drama teacher for her constant ramblings about ‘SFP’ – SELF FULFILLING PROPHECY, but for the most part, she was right. I mean, don’t get me wrong… if I believe that I’m going to turn into a Russian gymnastic potato, I doubt it will actually happen. But in terms of failure, it’s pretty effective to go into it with a positive outlook as hard as that may be.

And remember…

DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE ELSE. THIS IS YOUR JOURNEY. WHO EVEN DEFINES FAILURE? DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE DEFINED BY YOUR COURSE, JOB, FRIENDS, PAST OR WHATEVER OTHER CRAPPY THING SOCIETY PROJECTS INTO OUR EXPECTATIONS OF LIFE. HAPPINESS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS. PROJECT YOUR GREATEST VIBES OUT INTO THE WORLD AND THEY MIGHT JUST BOUNCE BACK!

For this was another pointless post by maraudingminds 🙂

It’s my holiday 😴

Greetings. I know that I haven’t posted in a couple of days so just keeping you all in the loop. I can’t remember where I left you but it’s been a sort of stressful week as far as Finn weeks go. I’ve had a lot of college work to deal with and I’ve been working at this toy shop which is sort of scary. Although, I’m slowly getting used to it and I’m even getting to grips with working the dreaded touchscreen tills. Fair enough if it was “that’s £5 please… And here’s your change.” But, no. I have to worry about things like ‘add ons’, online ‘click and collects’ and a bunch of other scary stuff. I feel like such an idiot sometimes haha. I’m also working tomorrow from 12-4 which is peak time. It is also a Saturday at the beginning of a school holiday which means it’s going to be absolutely mobbed! Can I handle it? Probably not. But I’ll sure as hell give it the good old college try – if that’s even the right saying… Sorry; I’m sadly not American. It’s been a good week for television as my favourite show ‘American Horror Story’ has returned for its fourth series which is sub-titled: Freakshow. It was f*cking amazing and if you watched it then you might like to know that so far Bette and Dot are my favourites and of course the queen of AHS herself, Jessica Lange who plays the German, Elsa Mars. If you haven’t watched it then you either need to start or you need to get away from this blog right now you cretin. ‘Bad Girls Club’, the American reality show also made its final return. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a show in which a bunch of self-titled “bad girls” live in a mansion together. It’s even better than it sounds. It’s also hard to explain for people who don’t get that culture. Today I have started watching ‘Parks and Recreation which is freakin’ hilarious. I do not know why I hadn’t clicked on to this show until now – all thanks to a meme I saw on Instagram. Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza are hilarious and I’ve been in genuine stitches every episode so far! I’ve also redeveloped my problem for sleeping through alarms which has seen me in 2 hours late to college this morning. I think I need to invest in a genuine alarm. Perhaps one that pours water over me and beats me to liveliness. Also, while it’s still in my head; does anyone else get disgustingly embarrassed at the thought of people hearing you sing?

For this was another pointless post by maraudingminds🔮🍕🌚IMG_4192.GIF

Stats are rats

It’s early morning and I’m not fully functioning just yet. However, I’m functioning well enough to realise the stats on this are wrong. Before I went to sleep last night I had about 5 likes on a new post yet it was still saying that I had only accumulated 3 views even though it was posted on the same day. So, when I woke up I checked again and I had beat my record with 7-ish likes on my post, yet somehow only had 5 overall views… How about no?
For this was another pointless post by maraudingminds🔮

My regular movie binging weekend

Hey y’all. So, this weekend was pretty uneventful as basically everyone I know in my student halls was home for the weekend – laaaame! During the day on Friday I had an introduction type thing at my new work which is at a toy shop. It was only safety procedures, a tour of the building, getting my rota; that type of thing. The 2 hours seemed to drag on a bit. Although, I’m certainly not complaining as I need the money. After my introduction I stopped at the ridiculously expensive Sainsbury’s for movie snacks as I knew what the weekend was going to entail.

Cheeky wee me had already downloaded plenty of new things to watch – tooootallly not illegally btw 😉 – so once I was settled in and had made dinner etc. I weirdly decided to watch a new rom-com type film called ‘What If’. It had Daniel Radcliffe in it which definitely took me a while to get used to, as at first I just couldn’t take his non-Harry Potter acting quite so seriously. He played a recently single man who was in the severe post-breakup stage which you tend to see dramatized a lot in film. At a party hosted by his friend (who’s played by ‘Girls’ and upcoming ‘Star Wars’ actor, Adam Driver) he meets Zoe Kazan’s character Chantry and they seem to hit it off. He walks her home and then she mentions her boyfriend *DUM DUM DUMMMMMM!*. Despite throwing away her number they later meet at a showing of ‘The Princess Bride’ – which prompted me to re-watch it later on in the weekend – and they challenge the idea of the age old question; can boys and girls ever be just friends… WHICH IS YES. The movie is about their relationship developing and them obviously becoming more than just friends but without them openly admitting it. I enjoyed Kazan’s performance as I thought she was quite sweet and fresh. I would possibly keep an eye out for her. Radcliffe’s performance wasn’t awful either once I got used to him but I know that many people say that he’s pretty shit, although I hear he’s quite good in upcoming film ‘Horns’, which I have also not downloaded illegally.

After the film, I took a little tea break and then started watching ‘White Bird in a Blizzard’ which I have wanted to see for quite some time. It is directed by Gregg Araki, whose films I usually enjoy although sometimes bazaar. This film features two actresses whom I love: Shailene Woodley and Eva Green. They play mother and daughter. We are told at the start of the film that Eva Green’s strange character, Eve has disappeared. The film is sort of about how Shailene Woodley’s character Kat deals with it and comes of age. The film also slowly unravels what has really happened. I’m trying not to write too much on this post as I’m quite tired but let me tell you this: I thought that it was a very good film with some amazing performances by Woodley, Green and supporting cast. It furthers my love for Shailene and she is definitely nearing my favourite actress spot. The film will appear a little strange to some but I say just give it a chance and appreciate it for what it is. Perhaps my favourite film of the weekend.

I fell straight asleep after the last film and didn’t wake up until ridiculous o’ clock the next day. Basically as soon as I woke up I got started on other things… I watched the first episode of ‘Gotham’, the Batman spin off crime show set just as Bruce Wayne/Batman’s parents die. It had flaws but also has the potential to become something I watch weekly and praise. I watched the new episode of ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ which I thoroughly enjoyed as I always do. As previously mentioned I watched ‘The Princess Bride’ which I haven’t seen in so long. Each moment was a savored sense of nostalgia. A true, true pleasure. I even smile just thinking about it. If you haven’t seen it; WATCH IT!!! It is a complete classic. Ahhhhhhh! “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. prepare to die.” So many memorable performances in one film! I also watched ‘Lucy’ which features the wonderful Scarlett Johansson as a woman who ends up unlocking 100% of her brain. I had heard mostly bad reviews of this but I have to say that I quite liked it. It was different but it was enjoyable. I ended the night with ‘Nymphomaniac Volume 1’ which if you’ve heard of, you already know the craziness. I still haven’t finished it as I fell asleep but it is about a woman’s story of her being a nymphomaniac (sex addict). It is quite fucked up at parts and someone who isn’t used to different types of film would be shocked. Despite Shia Labeouf’s awful attempt at a British accent, I thought it was rather good from what I saw. For those experimental types; give it a go.

Anyway, today is Monday and I have been working the majority of the day. Don’t worry, I’ll post all about it tomorrow.

For this was another pointless post by maraudingminds 🙂 G’night.