Horror Movies: Pay the Ghost

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Evil Walks Among Us! The proof is that this movie got made!

About: Probably the horror movie that pained me the most to watch in recent years, and that’s saying something after It Follows and The Conjuring, Pay the Ghost is a compilation of horror movie cliche after horror movie cliche. The worst part is it’s not even the good kind of bad. Well, regardless, let’s break it down. Pay the Ghost stars Nicholas Cage as Mike Cole, a Professor that works too much and is late coming home often. His son and wife spend Halloween Night out without him since Mike was running late. However, Mike attempts to make it up to his son by taking him out to the carnival that same night for just a bit. While at the carnival, Charlie goes missing. Almost a year later, Mike starts seeing Charlie and strange ghost-like images. It turns out through his research, that many kids have also gone missing on Halloween, but unlike other days less of them have been recovered. Diving deeper, him and his wife played by Sarah Callies, learn that their son was really taken by a ghost who has abducted many other children over the years since she was burned at the stake many years ago. But it turns out, only the children taken in the past year can be saved. Can Mike break his son out of the spirit world in time? Is this movie just a giant cliche?

Spoilers potentially a-Oh who cares, this film sucks! Read the entire thing even if you haven’t watched the movie.

The Plot/Characters: 

When Charlie begins to see an obvious cgi vulture circling around and strange figures outside his bedroom window, his mom doesn’t believe him, because we are not going to write anything original in this film at all, damn it! That takes actual work and stuff!

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I’m circling this movie because any chances that this plot was original have already died!

Kristen, his mother, comforts Charlie after seeing the figure at night and tells him to stay in bed with her until his father gets home and can tuck him back in to his own bed. But Charlie’s dad is at work late at night as usual, because we have to have an overly cliched bad father in this movie for… Reasons? Because, when he saves Charlie we can see how much he really does care! But, regardless, dad comes home and makes a promise that he will be on time for once and help Charlie carve a pumpkin tomorrow before they go out trick-or-treating for Halloween.

But because we demanded to have that cliche father that makes a promise and immediately breaks it, Charlie’s dad doesn’t make it in time. After coming back from trick-or-treating, Mike convinces Kristen to let him take Charlie to the local Halloween Carnival… Wait, they have those? Anyway, they go to the carnival where Charlie and his dad have a good time… Filming and… Just walking around. Hey, wait, did Jack Skellington just walk by? THAT IS DISTRACTING, FILM.

Anyhow, Charlie keeps seeing weird stuff because we need jump-scares, eventually leading up to him disappearing despite Mike holding hands with him.

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“Dad, I’m scared!” “Why’s that Charlie?” “I can see this film is gonna bomb at the box office!”

And because we have to stick to cliches, the cop doesn’t believe him and is bad at his job when Mike rushes up to tell him that his son is missing. RIGHT. Because any cop that just heard that a kid went missing would suggest that the kid just went home. BUT the Detective they call later is better, right? Oh no… We have to keep with the trope and make sure that the Detective suggests that the kid might have run away from home.

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So after a pointless “it was all a dream” cliche scene where Mike sees Charlie just so we can get jump-scared, we cut away to a year later. Because nothing significant happened in that entire year. And whoa, what do you know! The parents got divorced because the wife blames the husband cliche got in here too!

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Sallie: “I’m acting! Is this how you do it?” Director: “Look a bit more wide eyed!” Sallie: “Like this?” Director: “Perfect! Now look like that the entire movie!”

Mike is still searching for his son though and knows that he is out there somewhere!

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Missing: The Script for this movie! Oh well, just make something up.

But don’t worry, now that a year has passed, our hero is seeing his son again. He chases Charlie down after spotting him on the bus, only to discover when he boards the bus that Charlie wasn’t there after all. SHOCKER!

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Save my acting career, daddy!

Fortunately, this series of events leads our protagonist closer to a building where he sees graffiti that says “Pay the Ghost,” which happens to be the very last thing Charlie talked about before he disappeared. This leads him to a group of homeless people… And oh, hey look! The blind clairvoyant homeless person trope is in here too! Whoa, I had no idea that was going to be in there! So, as Nicholas Cage stares awkwardly at the camera, we cut to him going back to the wife to convince her of what he saw. But of course, this wouldn’t be an overly cliched movie if she believed him at first! So of course we have the “I don’t have time for this” “please believe me” dialogue before we get a SCOOTER JUMP-SCARE that causes Kristen to believe him.  So together the two travel around finding obscure clues to what the ghost is and how it all ties together so that they can save their son. The detective begins to actually get a brain and start researching into it, but after the psychic they hires is killed by the ghost by being burned from the inside out, all chances of character development for that guy go right out the window and we kinda… Just forget about him?

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This plot gave me cancer.

But it’s okay! Because Cage is going to save the day! He uses a bridge to the underground that the old blind homeless man has but didn’t tell Cage about before because.. Well… Because, reasons?

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I don’t see the writing on the wall. This is going to be a hit, right?

But Cage only has until Midnight to rescue his son and bring him back… Or he’ll turn into a pumpkin! Uh, wait, hold on, got our wires crossed. And, naturally, he does with some help of the old kidnapped children that can’t return because… Also, because reasons! He also rescues two other children we were told about as well.

The Scares(?): The scares are pretty much non-existent in this film. Sure, they attempt to scare you, but they are all the same overly used jump-scares and build ups that we all know. The cut-aways used to emphasize the jumps are also distracting and poorly executed, leading you to get the feeling that they thought the scares weren’t going to work themselves and decided to cut scenes real quick so you wouldn’t notice. At no point did I actually feel shocked by this film and the actors were so bland and uninteresting that even when they were supposed to be in peril, the acting didn’t do a good job of conveying it.
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Overall: The sad thing is that this movie really seemed to take itself seriously. If it had embraced the cliches, or at least delivered one or two unique memorable moments that broke away from it or even some good acting, it would have been a better movie. Instead what we are left with is a jumble of overly used, tired tropes we’ve seen a million and one times. If you are bored and on Netflix, you could play this in the background but don’t spend your hard earned money on this movie.

 

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Favorite Youtube Movie Critics

I find that I watch a lot of Youtube. A ton, really! But there are certain channels that I enjoy more than others and so here are my favorite movie critics that are on Youtube!

HISHE: How It Should Have Ended is probably one of my favorites just because they really stick close to the whole idea of how a movie could have ended better, while making fun of the movie. They handle a lot of the more popular cinematic features being released and I often have to wait a while because I haven’t seen the movie in the theater and have to wait for the DVD release, but that’s another reason why they are so popular. The best part of the channel is the humor, for sure, but their videos are great to look at, as they use cartoon animations or, even more recently, stop animation to get their point across. The best scenes often involve the Superhero Cafe, where Batman and Superman add their own thoughts on the movie. It’s not just pointing out the big major plot holes in the ending either, as having Peter Parker Saturday Night Strut past Batman and Superman in Spider-Man 3’s How It Should Have Ended had me laughing out loud.

Cinema Sins: No movie is without sin, and Cinema Sins certainly highlights it. Cinema Sins breaks down your favorite, or non-favorite, movies and counts down all the problems with it; including when there are missed opportunities for a lap dance. At the end, they tally up the totals and even sometimes do lightning rounds. Often times, it highlights real things that are wrong with a film that you might have overlooked. OR it highlights the ones that are glaringly obvious that bothered you and made you want to scream when you watched the movie. Of course, one of my favorites is It Follows, which I gave a horrible review in my own blog article. That being said, they aren’t completely heartless. Cinema Sins will also take off sins for something that was brilliantly done in a film, though they’ll probably immediately add it back for something else.

Honest Trailers: Whenever you hear a person with a perfect narrator voice, you probably expect it to be promoting a movie and highlighting how exciting you should be for the featured film. Honest Trailers definitely has the narrator voice, but adds in hysterical commentary about the movie, all while still keeping in the theme of a “trailer” like you know and love. One of my favorite Honest Trailers is actually The Lego Movie, where they teamed up with Epic Rap Battle and used the Lego Movie song to make fun of the idea that the entire movie was really a marketing scheme to make money off of the toys. Honest Trailers typically takes movies that were requested in their Youtube comments as well, giving its audience more of a say in which movies they do. Old and new movies are up for grabs! And don’t worry, you’ll hear the Honest Trailer’s soothing narrator voice at the end as well, where he’ll read a group of comments left by the audience in his epic voice.

Nostalgia Critic: Also known as The Guy With The Glasses, Critic breaks down old movies that you know and love and reviews them so that you don’t have to. In his more recent videos, he teams up with others to have a script of their own highlighting problems in the movie and sometimes even reenacting entire scenes from the movie instead of just using clips. The great thing about Nostalgia Critic is that he tackles the entire movie. Plot, characters, atmosphere and comparisons to other movies are made. He won’t gloss over the great parts of the movie though, showing you the positive as well as the negative, which is pretty refreshing. He also comments about character development and depth as well, which goes straight to my heart. He’s very expressionate and even interacts with scenes from the movie, which is really interesting as well. His new channel, Channel Awesome, also has videos with Nostalgia Critic out of character giving his own reviews or even reviews where he’s dressed as Bum. Yep! Him and his crew, including his brother as co-writer, do a great job together and are worth checking out~!

No Sew Cosplay: Gwen Stacy from Amazing Spider-Man

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I thought it was great what you did out there. Stupid, but great.

Hair Tie: Pretty simple! For her Scientist outfit in the first Amazing Spider-Man movie, Gwen Stacy is wearing her hair up in a ponytail using a black hair tie.

Earrings: Completely optional and before I get a comment like “but you aren’t Gwen Stacy without the earrings”, stop… Put the keyboard down. Breath and think about it this way. Did you ever even notice Gwen was wearing earrings? Regardless, Gwen is wearing a pair of white stud earrings like these ones. They’re tiny and the ones I link are actually 2 mm; very small to match hers~

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Lab Coat: I actually used this 36″ lab coat (pictured below) when I cosplayed as Gwen Stacy. The only problem with this coat is it is a bit long and so I hemmed it up, which involves sewing. You could get a lab coat that is a few inches shorter such as this one here.

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Shirt: Gwen is wearing a black and white striped shirt with larger black stripes than white. This shirt here is super good quality and has lasted me over 2 years of constant wear as well, so feel free to use it outside of cosplay.

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ID: Unless you are going with someone cosplaying as Spider-Man, you are most likely going to go unnoticed at a convention. However, one thing in your favor is the fact that Gwen actually wears an ID badge! You can get a clear card holder,  an ID badge clip and just print out the badge picture~

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Skirt: You’re going to need an over the knee grey pencil skirt just like this one for Gwen. Once again, this skirt has lasted me a really long time and is good quality.

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Socks: Gwen Stacy is wearing a pair of black knee-high socks such as these ones here.

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Shoes: It’s really not often that you can find a picture or even part of the scene in the movie where Gwen Stacy’s shoes are visible. When you pause certain scenes, you can see that she is wearing a pair of brown riding boots similar to these here. I’m not 100% that these are the same boots that I purchased back in 2013 though.

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Oh, I’m in trouble.

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Which character or series would you like to see featured next? Leave a comment or message me and I will see what magic I can work for you~!

How to Avoid Lazy Writing

One of my ultimate pet peeves when it comes to pretty much any book, TV show, movie or even cartoon is lazy writing. But what exactly is lazy writing? When I say lazy writing, I’m not talking about missing a coma or repeating a word too many times. While those things might be irritating, it would only apply to books or any written material. No, what I mean is that the writers of the book, show, etc had a situation that they wanted and so they forced the situation to happen, whether or not it SHOULD happen. Lazy writing to me also can mean that the writers chose to go with a known cliche that was so obvious the audience is literally able to call it way in advance from the “reveal”.

One of my favorite, or least favorite in this case, examples of this is the show Hawaii Five-0. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the show most of the time or at least find it compelling enough most of the time to sit through the almost hour long episodes, but it is utterly chalk full of lazy writing.

Take the main character, McGarrett. He’s a freaking trained Navy Seal. And what happens in Episode 19 Season 5? He somehow lets himself get holed up in a barber shop, low on ammo and completely surrounded by thugs hell bent on killing him and a guy that they are trying to murder. Okay, wait, surely I don’t mean that McGarrett should have been able to take down all of those men single handedly just because he’s a Navy Seal? No. But what I am saying is that he should have had the knowledge and training to get them out early through the backdoor before they could be boxed in, having had plenty of warning when the thugs rolled up in their vehicles shooting.

End rant (sorta).

Okay, so, I’m pretty passionate about this lazy writing thing. Obviously. But that’s just one example, right?

Well, unfortunately, I see this time and time again in many different shows, movies, etc. That’s not to say it’s rampant or that any time that you try to show a flaw in a character or something that it’s bad.

But when you have a character and they are a certain way, bending them to fit the needs of your plot often just comes across as insulting. It insults the audience that knows the character. It insults their intelligence and it also at the same time undermines what you’ve been saying this entire time ABOUT the character. Maybe next week McGarrett becomes a clown and starts doing balloon animal making because we needed a comic relief episode.

A bit extreme, but, you get the point, right?

Alright, alright, I’m also picking on Hawaii Five-0 a lot in particular. But one example that seems to be a universal method of lazy writing? Having the tough protagonist or character driving a car during a tense situation and them looking away, only to be immediately struck by a vehicle coming the opposite direction.

Did you just immediately think of an example? Yes… We’ve all seen this scene at least one or two hundred times if you watch anything with action in it. And by now? We can all see this coming a mile away.

How can we avoid this? Being creative is one way but another is not to take the cheap way out. Write your characters to always BE in character no matter what the situation. Sure, they might solve issues more quickly BECAUSE they have all the knowledge and abilities and that might seem to make the climax less appealing, but it’s more true to character. You can then also toss more complex stories at us. Your audience will surely appreciate it and it will also be a breath of fresh air.

Adventure Games: OxenFree Review

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About: OxenFree follows the story of Alex and her friends as they meet up on an abandoned Island for some fun and laughs. Alex is invited to the Island by her friend Ren and brings along her new step-brother, Jonas. Together they meet up with Clarissa and Nona. Ren tells the group about a mysterious cave on the Island, leading Alex and Jonas to follow him inside. They tune in to strange frequencies using the radio that Alex brought. Jonas wanders further into the cave prompting Alex to follow him. The radio frequencies they tap into open some sort of strange rift, unleashing ghosts onto the Island who manipulate time and space as well as Alex and the others. You must work together with your friends to figure out a way to seal up the rift. OxenFree is an adventure indie created by Night School Studio and has been released on Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, OS X and is scheduled to be released on PS4. It has received overall positive reviews.

Possible spoilers… *static* 

The Plot/Characters: OxenFree’s story is remarkably simple, yet also interesting enough to keep you intrigued up until the end of the game, which should take you around 4 hours to achieve. Alex is the main protagonist and is spending time with her new step-brother Jonas by inviting him along to an abandoned Island meet-up. You have Ren, her best friend who is the pot smoker, Nona who is the nice one and Clarissa the ultimate witch with a capital B. After unleashing a ghostly rift using her radio, Alex and the others are trapped on the Island while strange things happen, including possession, time distortion and teleportation to different areas.

You attempt to bring the group together after they are all teleported to different areas of the Island. Along the way, you get to chose your dialogue options and who you rescue first; Ren or Clarissa. Whichever you choose actually does have an impact on the story and the overall ending. Many of the dialogue choices actually can change your ending for the game and how the characters interact with you. For instance, though the characters seemed to mostly like me, I ended up not setting Ren and Nona on a date accidentally, causing Ren and Nona both to become distant from me after the game ended.

The ghost rift turns out to be primarily influenced by a group of soldiers whose vessel sank many years ago. The last remaining woman on the Island that recently died, Adler, was the one keeping the rift in check. As you learn more about the rift, you also get flash backs to the past, getting to learn more about Alex and her biological brother Michael; who died in a car crash. Depending on your choices in the past, you can also subtly influence the future which is a neat mechanic to the game. You’ll also feel drawn into the characters thanks to your interactions with them. It’s even more terrifying when your best friend is getting picked up and used like a rag doll by the ghost rift.

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Choices: One of the things I liked about the game, was your many options for the dialogue. Almost every time that Alex is spoken to, her responses are one of three options that you get to pick. My only problem with this is that because your choices do matter and it isn’t spelled out for you which is the better option, you might end up getting a worse ending because you were rushing to pick one of the three bubbles before you ran out of time. That and, unlike Walking Dead or a lot of other choice-based games, you won’t know what it was you said that actually caused one of the members to distance themselves. But then again, that was my playthrough and I might be a bit sore that I became close with Clarissa and no one else.

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Gameplay: The gameplay is quite simple for this little game. You can jump, climb walls and ladders and walk around twisting paths. Instead of simply going left or right, however, you can go back and forth across the map, which is also pretty nice. The main element of the gameplay is your radio, which is sometimes also the only frustrating part. You have to “tune in” to different frequencies throughout the game to stop the ghosts from taking over your friends and unlocking doors even. The radio signals you can pick up also get more varied at a point in the game, which makes it more difficult to find the correct signal. It’s okay though because often while you are tuning in, there is dialogue taking place that will serve as a good distraction. The only real criticism I have is that any time you inspect something, that important dialogue can get cut off right in the middle which is a bit jarring.

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Graphics: The graphics of the game are beautiful to look at. You can tell a lot of time went into developing the background art throughout and each scene looks different from the other completely. The characters are 3-D rendered but at the same time that they almost appear flat, which is really interesting and unique. The artwork throughout the game from pictures taken is very nice and paints a clearer picture of what the teens all look like, as most of the time they are very tiny in a very large environment.

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Overall:
OxenFree is a beautiful game with a lot of heart that gets a story across to the player while keeping them hooked via the interesting characters and dialogue. You will most likely feel a stronger connection to what is going on as you  have some say in what Alex does, and that is also very refreshing and good to see in an indie game. The gameplay can sometimes be a tad frustrating when it comes to the radio and at some points it’s difficult to juggle the quick dialogue and doing actions at the same time but at no point does the game become too difficult. Anyone can play and enjoy this little treasure, so go check it out for yourself and see what ending you get!

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Have you played OxenFree yet? If so, what did YOU think?

 

Discontinuation of Let’s Play Vids

Hey Guys! I’m so sorry if you’ve been watching any of my LPs. I don’t have the time to dedicate to them as I used to and have to focus on my current job more than I have been. So, as of right now, I will be discontinuing my Let’s Play videos from the channel as they take hours of recording, editing and rendering. Thank you guys so much for understanding!