The Little Stranger

LittleStranger

Directed By: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, Charlotte Rampling, Liv Hill, Oliver Zetterström, Kathryn O’Reilly, et.al.
Rating: R
Grade: C+

In 1948, country doctor Faraday is called to a crumbling manor named Hundreds Hall, owned by the once prominent Ayers family, where his mother worked as a maid during his childhood. After the visit, strange occurrences start happening at the home, and Faraday finds himself visiting the manor to tend to deal with the family’s various ailments, including the war-injured Roderick and the slightly agoraphobic Caroline, with whom Faraday strikes up a romance. As time progresses, it seems the strange occurrences, as well as Faraday himself, are not as simple as they first seemed, and that some far stranger, and more sinister is taking place.

On the surface, this movie seems to be a cut-and-dried haunted house thriller, but as the movie progresses, it doesn’t seem to be quite that simple, and while I was a little disappointed in the ending, the rest of the movie is an interesting watch. At its heart, the movie is a story of obsession, and how far one is willing to go to obtain that obsession. I haven’t read the book this movie is based on, but the pacing seems to be okay, though it does get a bit rushed towards the end. The ending itself, I thought, was a little disappointing, and almost seemed to come out of left field, though, looking back, there are hints towards it sprinkled throughout the movie. The acting is well done, and Domhnall Gleeson seems to have perfected keeping characters one the line between well-meaning and slightly menacing.

The special effects are fairly well done, and any background filler isn’t noticeable.

Despite the somewhat disappointing ending, this movie should appeal to anyone who enjoys mystery/thrillers and doesn’t mind period pieces. It could almost be used as a character study in watching someone unravel. Parents may want to watch the movie before letting small children watch, as there are quite a few violent and intense scenes. While you should pay close attention on the first watch, anyone wanting to watch it again should be able to do so without needing to.

The Little Stranger is currently only available free to stream if you have HBO, but it can be rented through Redbox and Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Knives Out

KnivesOut01

Directed By: Rian Johnson
Starring: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer, et.al.
Rating: PG-13
Grade: A+

When famous crime novelist Harlan Thromby is found dead in his study the morning after his 85th birthday, the initial police finding is that he committed suicide. However, noted private investigator Benoit Blanc was hired by an unknown third party to investigate the death and try to find the truth. During the process of interviewing Thromby’s family and close employees, including his personal nurse, Marta, Blanc unravels layers of deception and lies, as well as dysfunction throughout the entire family. As he nears the truth of what happened the night Thromby died, he realizes that the answers may not come from where he thought they would.

These days it’s rare to find a good whodunnit that isn’t either overly complex or watered down to remove most of the mystery. This movie manages to stay a half step in front of the viewer for almost the entire movie. The story is refreshingly original while retelling a tale that’s been around for ages, and the motives of the suspects is surprisingly both diverse and at the same time, all too similar. While there could have been a few more red herrings (they pretty much spell out the guilty party right away, it’s possible they did that so you were thinking there was no way it was them). The star-studded cast all seem to be having a blast in their roles.

What few special effects used are well done, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

Fans of old-fashioned murder mysteries will enjoy this movie, though the story is interesting enough to appeal to just about anyone wanting a fun and interesting movie to watch. The storyline, while it can get a bit over the top at times (something I found to be part of the appeal), is good enough that it doesn’t get boring to watch more than once.

Knives Out is currently only available free to stream if you have Amazon Prime, but it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!