Chills and Thrills featuring Z Nation, Into the Night, Wishmaster…

Welcome to The ScreenSlut’s Chills and Thrills, a monthly column of mini-reviews where I talk about movies and TV shows that I have found interesting, compelling, forgettable or just horrifically bad. This entry features a murder mystery on a ship, flight passengers that must avoid the killer sun, a light-hearted zombie TV show and an evil Djinn.

Plunkett & MacLeane

Plunkett & MacLeane - Robert Carlyle

Even though I am a fan of Robert Carlyle, this film was a bit boring. It even had Alan Cumming, but that could not save it for me – he disturbingly only appears in a few scenes. I mean it started off well, Plunkett and Macleane forming a highwayman alliance, but as soon as they added the romantic interest in the mix, it killed it for me. Perhaps if Liv Tyler hadn’t been playing the romantic interest it would have held more interest for me. but I have never been a fan of Liv Tyler, she plays the same role in every film and lacks any passion.

Lord of Illusions

Lord of Illusions - Scott Bakula

I was happy to see Scott Bakula, even though I have given him heavy criticism in the past for his role in Enterprise. Bakula is Harry D’Amour, a private investigator who stumbles across a fanatic cult, who are waiting to resurrect their late leader. I wanted to see more done with this story. There wasn’t a lot of detective work, despite this being the main protagonist’s job is, and I was hoping for more of this aspect.

Even though Bakula was playing the main character in this film, it still felt he was mostly on the sidelines. The villain was not convincing as the big evil to me and I could have done without the weird love affair, stuck in the middle. I found this film to be too weird, and the finale just seems a bit too drawn out.

Argo

Argo - Ben Affleck - Bryan Cranston

This was an interesting film, and that hair Ben Affleck sports is probably worth it on its own. It is a historical thriller drama based on the CIA rescue of Americans in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Tension is kept high throughout the film, though I wish we had got more of the story of the rest of the hostages. I know that wasn’t what it was focusing on, but that part felt neglected, and left a bit of an empty space in the film.

Also, it would have been nice to know what happened to the actual people years later at the end. Those are my favourite bits even when watching a film based on a tragic true story. Perhaps more historical background and context would have made this a stronger film.

Wishmaster

Wishmaster - Tammy Lauren

I have heard of this film by Wes Craven, but somehow never watched it (read the full review). A Djinn can grant any wish, but you may not know what you are wishing for, ending with dire consequences for all of those involved in the wish. The Djinn has been held captive in a statue for many years, until a drunk crane operator breaks the statue revealing the gem holding the creature. After the gem is sold, a gemologist unwittingly awakens the Djinn – leading to series of nightmares being unleashed on all who cross its path.

I was surprised by how much this drew me in, considering the plot summary did not intrigue me at first. I would say that this due to the performance of the main actor, Tammy Lauren. Now this isn’t Wes Craven’s best work, but I enjoyed this low budget horror film. The frightening parts are genuinely terrifying and disturbing. Though I did wish they would have left the Djinn in his human form for a while, since he made such an effort to obtain that form, and I didn’t find his true form that scary.

Outland (Rewatch)

Outland - Sean Connery

Sean Connery and space – what more could you want? Even though it is sci-fi, most of the action is about O’Niel’s investigation of the trade in an illegal experimental drug, that has fatal consequences for all those who take it. I wish we had a few more films like this, that just happen to be in space but don’t involve viruses or aliens.

I still pine for a space-noir detective film or TV show, but I guess I’m dreaming. However, though it is enjoyable to watch, Outland really is of its time, with our protagonist weirdly casually threatening domestic abuse – something that has not aged well. The special effects are fairly decent, if dated, and the atmosphere of the film holds up well.

Z Nation

Z Nation - Keith Allan

OK this show is kinda basic as hell, but you kinda expect that with a show from Syfy. 3 years after zombie virus has devastated America, a group of travellers comes in contact with a man who might just have the key to anti-virus. I am happy to have a zombie show that has a bit of comedy, and not disturbing gore that would give you PTSD.

The quality of each episode varies greatly unfortunately, but with a name like Z Nation I knew what I was getting myself into. I will give them respect for dealing with the possibility of nuclear disaster in the post-apocalyptic world (rather than being the cause of it) which I have not seen in other shows. There are a few interesting characters, so hopefully it can get into its groove better with the next season.

You can check out my full review of Z Nation here.

Into the Night

Into the Night

An interesting story that I have not seen before. Radiation from the sun is going to kill everyone, luckily for them they are on a commercial plane in the air, trying to stay in the night to survive as long as they can. Not sure how far this show can go on that premise, but I am enjoying it so far. Though some characters can be quite irritating at times, which I guess as a collection of random passengers on a flight, is probably quite realistic.

High Seas

High-Seas

Well I haven’t seen a lot of this show yet, but it shows a lot of promise. A drama mystery that follows two sisters who board a luxury ship, with a mysterious passenger claiming to be running from her fiancé. Soon after the ship has set sail, people start dying in unusual circumstances. The acting is quality and the costumes look lovely and of the time. I would say this has a bit of an Agatha Christie vibe to it, but so far less predictable than her works.

Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai - Johnny Lawrence

I was a bit sceptical of watching this. I don’t think I had much love for The Karate Kid film, but even with not remembering a lot about the original film, the show is addictive. This is a fascinating and feel good TV show. Following the characters from The Karate Kid, decades later, who yet again become rivals. Their lives have changed, but the old feelings are still there. Even though Johnny Lawrence is meant to be a bit of a deadbeat (at least in the first season), he is by far my favourite character in the show.

That’s all for this Chills and Thrills.

In case you missed anything this month:

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