0090 – Child’s Play 2019 Review


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Jack Frost (1997)


The World’s Most Pissed Off Snow Cone

When I was looking for movies for my Horrorthon this year, I’m not sure why Marcie would suggest I review a comedy movie starring Michael Keaton, but she did.  And if someone suggests something, I have to review it…unless I forget it or something.  So this is Jack Frost, written by … Oh wait … she must’ve meant this other Jack Frost that’s a horror movie.  Well that makes a lot more sense.  So THIS is Jack Frost, written by Jeremy Paige, written and directed by Michael Cooney, and starring Christopher Allport, Scott MacDonald, Stephen Mendel, Rob LaBelle, and Shannon Elizabeth.

A serial killer coincidentally named Jack Frost (MacDonald) is being transported to his execution when his truck collides with a genetic research truck, splashing chemicals on Frost and fusing him with the snow.  Now a snowman, he uses his newfound powers to exact his revenge on the Sheriff that caught him, Sam Tiler (Allport) and everyone in the town.

I find this movie a little complicated to review.  Not in making a judgment on it; it’s garbage.  But it is apparent that this movie wasn’t taking itself very seriously, which makes it difficult to say what was intentionally bad and what was accidentally bad.  Most of the writing seemed like the jokes Arnold Schwarzenegger refused when he was playing Mr. Freeze.  And if you think about the jokes that Batman movie kept, it’ll let you know the quality of terrible cold related puns this movie traded in.  It’s also weird that this movie has the same plot as the comedy Jack Frost.  Both Jack Frosts die in a car crash and become snowmen, then it just comes down to what they do with it.  I have to assume that movie is better written, but I’m only basing that on the fact that they’d probably have to try really hard to write a worse movie than this one.

So the deaths are probably the main draw of a horror movie and this movie…had them…?  I know they were going for a theme here, but most of them were just silly and poorly done.  I understand they had like $15 to work with, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t bother to make sense.  Like would a sled decapitate someone?  I doubt it.  Kill someone with a well-placed blade to the neck, maybe.  And when that happens, why does the police officer trying to clean up the blood shovel a little snow on top of it to barely cover it instead of shoveling up the blood?  And when Jack kills someone by shoving an axe down their throat, where does the other half of the axe go?  The top of the axe is sticking out of his mouth, but the way his head is bent the rest of the handle couldn’t be down his throat.  And why doesn’t an accomplished serial killer know that the sharp end of the axe is much more effective for murder?  And then when Shannon Elizabeth is murdered…what happened?  It was really hard to piece together.  It looked like she was hugging a snowman and bouncing gently off the bathroom walls.  Then she falls down and blood comes out of her mouth.  Wikipedia says the snowman raped her to death, but that was not super clear to me, even with the “Christmas coming” joke.  Why not do the exact same thing but when she bounces off the walls, put some blood from the back of her head on the wall?  Death by head trauma.  Everyone gets it.  Also, what’s with the weird rockabilly music?  Even though it doesn’t fit, I get the Christmas music to fit the theme, but most of the music is just weird.  And later, when they’re trying to melt Jack, I get their idea to fill the room with aerosol and ignite it to blow it up, but do they know that it’s not the bullet that sparks when you shoot a gun?  You don’t want to fire a gun in that environment because of the explosion that propels the piece of metal, not because of the metal itself.  Shooting into the building from across the street would probably not do much.  Of course, the same guy also tries to shoot a snowman, even when he turns to a puddle.  It was strange that shooting a puddle didn’t leave any holes in the ground though.  I guess he could’ve missed, but I would think shooting a puddle would be like shooting water in a barrel, as the saying goes.

I think the most important thing to mention about the cast of this movie is it’s Shannon Elizabeth’s first movie!  And much like the moment she really entered the zeitgeist, she gets naked!  …I don’t think you really see much as she’s mostly hugging a snowman when she’s naked, but it is something worth seeing in this movie, so it’s worth mentioning.  …I guess there are much better movies you could watch to see her naked though…  Also, she’s named Jill and she gets raped by Jack and there’s an obvious setup there for a Jack and Jill joke that they missed.  Maybe they could’ve ditched the rape and had him roll her down a hill?  There’s not much to say about Christopher Allport as the Sheriff.  No one in this movie was particularly good and they probably weren’t really trying to be.  The Sheriff does have a problem that might be very troublesome in his line of work: that he forgets how to use his hands when under stress.  I’ve never seen someone have such trouble grabbing a set of keys before.  It took like 2 minutes!  I hope it’s not that hard to enter his house every day.  The Sheriff’s son was also a complete moron.  It worked out in the end as it turned out to be Jack Frost’s weakness, but he put antifreeze in the snack he made for his dad?  Because he didn’t want him to get cold?  And what the hell was Mom doing like 2 feet from him when he was making that snack that she didn’t notice him loading it up with antifreeze?  I had the most problems with the FBI agent.  First of all, his name was Agent Manners and a movie with this many terrible puns didn’t go for a “mind your manners” type joke?  Why would you even name him Manners if that wasn’t the plan?!  But the biggest thing was when he thought he was about to kill Jack, Stone says, “Those are not your orders!” and he responds, “Somebody remember to put out the cat.”  …what?!  Does that mean something to anyone else?  Because to me, it sounds like the FBI agent had a stroke or something.  As far as what that statement means to me in the context, he may as well have said, “Apple sauce is contagious at the airport.”

I’m not entirely sure if Jack Frost is a bad comedy horror movie or just a really bad horror movie.  Either way, it was a bad movie.  If it was trying to be a horror movie, it wasn’t scary and it was just goofy.  If they were trying to be a comedy movie, they at best reached the corny level.  It was dumb, the kills not particularly well done, the cast didn’t really try too hard, and there was only almost nudity.  I would say there’s not much reason to watch this movie.  The only thing worth seeing in this movie can be seen much better in a much better movie by watching American Pie.  So just do that instead.  Jack Frost gets “Don’t eat yellow snow” out of “Deep fried Jack served at midnight.”

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It Chapter Two (2019)


This Meeting of the Losers Club Has Officially Begun.

Two years later and we’re back!  And we’re not the only ones!  Although technically they waited 27, but I’m not gonna wait that long to write a review.  And it’s still October and Horrors are still thonning, and today’s movie qualifies.  This movie of course is It Chapter Two, based on a novel by Stephen King, written by Gary Dauberman, directed by Andy Muschietti, and starring Bill Skarsgard, Jessica Chastain, Sophia Lillis, James McAvoy, Jaeden Martell, Bill Hader, Finn Wolfhard, Isaiah Mustafa, Chosen Jacobs, Jay Ryan, Jeremy Ray Taylor, James Ransone, Jack Dylan Grazer, Andy Bean, and Wyatt Oleff.

27 years after the first movie, Pennywise (Skarsgard) has returned to Derry, Maine and is killing again.  And that means the Losers Club – Beverly (Chastain, Lillis), Bill (McAvoy, Martell), Richie (Hader, Wolfhard), Mike (Mustafa, Jacobs), Ben (Ryan, Taylor), Eddie (Ransone, Grazer), and Stanley (Bean, Oleff) – have a promise to keep: to return to Derry and finish what they started 27 years earlier.  But there’s a problem: most of them have been inexplicably forgetting everything about their time in Derry.  And another problem: Stan killed himself when Mike called him.  So not off to a great start…  But anyway, the rest of the Losers get together in Derry and must work together to overcome the otherworldly evil Clown.

I enjoyed It a great deal, and I also enjoyed It Two too…as well…  I suppose I would assume that I enjoyed the first one more, but this movie would be somewhat confusing without that movie first so it gets extra credit.  Also, just the idea of turning that book into 2 movies seems like such a daunting task and they pulled it off admirably, and trying to wrap everything up is also a challenge.  I had few issues as far as the story goes.  One of them was with the Native American ritual.  My first issue with it is that someone made a comment that the ritual was ridiculous.  Yeah?  It’s a ridiculous solution…for your problem with a shapeshifting ghost alien clown?  …But now that you mention it, you do have a point.  Why the hell would a Native American ritual affect an alien?  Another issue I had was with the way they beat Pennywise.  They essentially defeat him by bullying him.  They just mock him until he shrinks and then they rip his heart out.  So maybe they’re even worse than bullies.  I mean, their bully was a complete psychopath, but even he didn’t get much further than cutting the fat boy.  At least not until he came back as an adult.  The last issue I had with this movie is actually an issue with myself.  In the movie, they do a gag when someone busts through a door and does the “Here’s Johnny!” thing.  I am embarrassed to admit that I actually thought for far too long that this movie ripped off the Shining.

A lot of the visual stuff in this movie was very well executed.  Like all those fortune cookie monsters were terrible.  That’s what they were going for, so congratulations.  Also terrible was the way the Losers cut their hands to make their little pact.  All of their scars looked way too big and then when we saw it happen, it looked like they all cut far deeper than was necessary.  A little slice will do ya!  No need to get the hooked piece of glass and really dig into your hand with it like you’re trying to hit some tendons so you don’t have to use it anymore.  You’re making a promise, not trying to get discharged from the military.  Especially since most of the Losers were young boys that are going to really need those hands coming up in puberty times.  Another terrible thing was Stan’s spider transformation later on.  That could haunt the dreams of a lesser man.

My biggest problem with the cast of the movie is similar to one I had with the first movie: I can’t remember which kids are which.  In this movie, I can’t remember which kids are which and I also can’t remember which adult represented which kid.  Except for Beverly.  For some reason, I was always able to tell which one she was.  Otherwise, all the kids and adults were very good in the movie, and a lot of them really worked as adult versions of their kid counterparts.  Chastain was a fairly obvious choice to take over as Bev.  I feel like she was even dream cast in the part by most places before she was officially cast.  She did great in the role though.  I took some issues with the fact that she went back to her old house that was now occupied by an old lady and just took it upon herself to start destroying the old lady’s floorboards to find a poem, but the trailers already let me know that this old lady was Pennywise so she can get a pass on that.  I didn’t think McAvoy looked very much like his kid, but he was probably hired more for the acting.  But maybe he was just cast last minute when they realized they hadn’t cast a Bill yet.  I assume they do this sort of thing since in the movie he was the writer on a movie that they had started shooting before he had even written the ending yet.  I did wonder why Bill would fall for Pennywise’s Georgie trick as an adult though.  When he’d fall for it as a kid, it made more sense, but why are you as an adult seeing Georgie in a sewer and the same age he was 27 years earlier and you think, “Yup!  That’s gotta be the real Georgie!”  I also wanted to say that when Bill was talking to that kid on the skateboard right after that, I was expecting a Pet Semetary style clobbering by a big truck and was very disappointed when it didn’t happen.  Ransone was a pretty good adult version of Grazer, but I kept getting distracted by where I knew Grazer from until I realized he was the kid from Shazam.  Bill Hader was another one I thought was more cast for who he was than his resemblance to Finn Wolfhard, but it was okay because Hader was great.  He acted the bejesus out of his reaction to a character’s death in the end, and he was also a nice comic relief for the rest of the movie.  Also, there was a cool Stephen King cameo!  …That’s all I had to say about it…

It Chapter Two was probably technically not as good as its predecessor, but since they were both taken from one book, I would say it’s best to just put the two movies together and judge them as one, which means that It was a really fun horror movie that was way too long at like 5 and a half or 6 hours altogether.  The story was good, the visuals were great, it was scary-ish I suppose, and it was cast very well.  You probably already have, but if you haven’t, I recommend you go watch it.  And by it, I mean It.  It Chapter Two gets “For 27 years, I dreamt of you. I craved you… I’ve missed you” out of “I guess you could say that was long overdue.  …Get it?  ‘Cause we’re in a library?”

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0089 – The Curse of La Llorona Review


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Hellions (2015)


Give Us the Baby, or We’ll Rip it Out of You

October has returned and, as I have been informed that I have not yet seen and reviewed every horror movie yet, that means the Horrorthon can continue!  Today’s movie came as a recommendation from Shannon, who knows all the horror movies I have never heard of and knows to tell me to review the ones that have a lot of stuff for me to make fun of.  This movie turned out to be one of those movies.  And it is called Hellions, written by Pascal Trottier, directed by Bruce McDonald (who is Canadian, but is not one of the Kids in the Hall, I checked), and starring Chloe Rose, Robert Patrick, Rossif Sutherland, Rachel Wilson, Luke Bilyk, and Peter DaCunha.

It’s Halloween (of course) and Goth teenager Dora (Rose) has her festivities ruined when Dr. Henry (Sutherland) informs her that her boyfriend Jace (Bilyk) knocked her up some 4 weeks ago.  Dora is displeased.  And is even more so when her mother (Wilson) takes her brother (DaCunha) out trick or treating and she starts getting some very rude trick or treaters.  Ones who trick her with the severed head of her boyfriend and inform her that the treat they desire is her baby.  Also, the T-1000 is there and he’s a cop and helps her at some point.

I found this movie very confusing.  And also bad.  One of the big failings of this movie is how long it takes to get going.  There was a good period of time I legitimately thought the horror of this movie was just the real life horror of teenaged pregnancy.  I grant that nothing terrifies me more than the idea of having to raise children, but I don’t need to see an 81 minute movie about it.  Thankfully (I guess?) it goes in a more supernatural direction because her baby was…an alien or demon or something…somehow…?  I don’t know.  They didn’t bother to explain that.  And it didn’t matter because it was all a dream anyway.  That’s right!  They used the old we-just-wasted-your-time television trope of making a ridiculous episode that doesn’t count at all because it was just a dream.  Which felt cheap.  Just like when they used that for one last “scare” by having her wake up for one more attempt at spooky before she woke up again.  FOOLED YOU!  DOUBLE DREAM!  I also wondered if the point of this movie had something to do with abortion, but if it did I couldn’t tell if it was pro-choice, pro-life, or just the way the writer chose to tell his girlfriend that having children was a bad idea.  It doesn’t really matter because the movie was aggressively tame and not scary to the point of boredom.

The visuals of this movie were also disappointing.  Especially when the movie randomly went sepia toned when the spooky stuff started.  I guess putting Instagram filters on your movie that’s about a teenage girl is technically appropriate, but it’s definitely annoying.  Most of their visuals weren’t particularly well done either.  The little demon girl that melted was fine except for the fact that, while filming it, the directed seemingly accidentally upskirted the child and, instead of noticing it in the moment and filming it from another angle, just chose to blur it out.  The nearly fatal wound that the doctor took wasn’t particularly well done and looked not much more dangerous than if he had cut himself shaving.  They also seemed to borrow from other movies a couple times, like the sheet over the face thing that inexplicably completely disabled Dora felt a lot like a shout out to Nightmare on Elm Street.  And maybe it was just me, but it felt like they were trying to give Dora a Wonder Woman in No Man’s Land scene, but instead of mines and mortars it was pumpkins blowing up for no good reason.

I guess the performances were acceptable enough, but maybe that’s just me judging it as someone that can’t act.  The characters didn’t always make sense though.  Like what was the point of all the scenes of Dora’s disgusting method of eating pickles?  She would get a pickle, drizzle honey on it, and then sprinkle salt on it.  First of all, gross.  Second of all, I would never eat pickles if it was so damned complicated to do so.  I assume the idea was that she was getting weird pregnancy cravings, but they never said that this wasn’t just something she did all the time.  Also she was supposed to be 4 weeks in, which seems early for that.  But who can say for sure what Dora thinks is normal when later she’s on the phone with the police and never thinks to say, “Hey, is it newsworthy enough for me to bring up that there seems to be a hurricane happening inside my house?”  She’s also a lot more terrified of the evil children than I would be.  I mean weapons or not, I will beat the crap out of a little kid.  …Y’know, if they were a threat to me…not just for fun or something…  She does eventually become more resourceful, and almost to the point of absurdity.  She kills a demon kid with salt, finds out the gun has no effect, and so she is able to take apart some shotgun shells and replace the slugs with salt.  …Did I miss some exposition earlier on when she randomly said, “Well you know how dad used to put me through basic training in military school, right?”

Dora was pretty much the only person in the movie.  Everyone else was pretty unnecessary.  The doctor guy mostly kills time and makes me very uncomfortable.  Like, I understand wanting to get into the Halloween spirit, but maybe don’t deliver life-changing and devastating news to a young girl while wearing giant elf ears.  Also, probably not wise to make house calls to a 17 year old girl.  He seemed to only have the best intentions but, I don’t know, maybe bring a nurse with you?  And maybe tell the girl not to apply duct tape directly to your wounds to stop the bleeding.  You’re a doctor, you should probably tell her to put something absorbent down first.

So Hellions isn’t a great movie.  There is certainly a lot of stuff to make fun of in it if you’re into that sort of thing, but it can take a pretty long, boring route to get there.  And then it continues to be boring, but at least you can have fun mocking it.  But good luck, ‘cause I probably made all the possible jokes already and left nothing for you.  So I’ll just recommend you skip it instead.  Hellions gets “How do you like the bath salts, bitch.”

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The Unborn (2009)


Jumby Wants to be Born Now.

My coworker Shannon seems to be a horror movie aficionado.  I’m fairly sure she has seen every horror movie Netflix has to offer.  So when October comes around, I have come to rely on her for at least one solid recommendation.  She seems to be a nice person so I always have to remind her first that I don’t necessarily want a fun movie, but want to MAKE FUN OF a movie because she always leads with something good, but once you get past that she can deliver the good stuff.  Or the bad stuff.  So she claimed today’s movie would be good to make fun of, but then I saw it was written and directed by David S. Goyer, who wrote the Nolan Batman trilogy and Dark City.  This can’t be right!  This is supposed to be a bad movie!  Then I saw he also wrote Batman v. Superman and BOTH Ghost Rider movies.  …This has potential…  And if nothing else, the poster for the movie was mainly just a hot chick’s butt, so it’s got that going for it.  This movie is The Unborn, written and directed by David S. Goyer, and starring Odette Yustman, Meagan Good, Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, Jane Alexander, James Remar, and Idris Elba.

A super-hot lady named Casey (Yustman) starts going crazy and having strange visions of dogs wearing masks and mittens.  Then a little boy smashes a mirror on her face and makes her eye change color.  Somehow, this leads her to find out she was to be a twin but her brother didn’t survive.  She finds her Auschwitz survivor grandma (Alexander) who was also a twin, but Nazi’s made her brother into a babadook.  …No wait, it’s a dybbuk.  And that’s a Jewish demon, so her brother starts acting like a real dyb-bag until she kills him.  The evil demon thingie wanted to be reborn as Casey’s brother but was instead unborn.  Now it’s after her.

Shannon comes through again!  I wouldn’t say this was necessarily a bad movie, but it certainly wasn’t good.  I wasn’t pained by watching it, but I feel like I spent most of it fairly confused.  The movie contained a lot of superstitions that it just acted like everyone knew and were totally normal.  Did you know that newborns aren’t supposed to see their own reflections or they’ll die?  Yeah, me neither.  Nor, I assume, did millions of parents who don’t go around smashing every mirror in their house when they get the plus sign on that pregnancy test.  Want to know what else isn’t a thing?  The name “Jumby.”  Right before he smashes Casey in the face with a mirror, the creepy little kid tells her that “Jumby wants to be born now.”  I would then say that I hope that “Jumby” is never born because he won’t last long with a name like that.  And then Casey finds out that that’s the nickname her parents gave her twin brother and she somehow didn’t stop in the middle of her freak out to say, “I can’t believe you never told me I had a twin…wait…Jumby?  Did he die in utero because of all the drugs you guys were doing during the pregnancy to come up with that name?”  And what sort of drugs was her grandma on when she said, “What is a twin but another kind of mirror?”  …Well, grandma, a twin is lots of things.  A person. One that shares a lot of your genetic code.  Of all the things a twin could be, a reflective piece of glass would not make my list.  I kind of get what you’re saying because they may look alike, but not all twins do look alike and even the ones that do are not mirrors.  But I guess old grandma didn’t get herself in an old folk’s home by having full control of her faculties.  Anyway, the movie ends with an exorcism that goes poorly.  The dybbuk shows up and starts slinging people around the room like a little hurricane.  At this point, I agree with Casey when she says they have to finish the ceremony.  I don’t really understand her luck that the first piece of paper she grabbed at her feet as the book was blowing around the room just happened to be the page she needed.  This movie wouldn’t have happened if she was prone to such good fortune.

As always, a horror movie not making a lot of sense isn’t my top concern so long as they can make that up by being scary.  Unfortunately, this movie didn’t really do that either.  Mostly clichés and jump scares.  I guess I should’ve guessed it would be cliché from the thumbnail, but I kept getting distracted by Odette Yustman’s butt and couldn’t see the rest of the picture.  But she was standing in front of a bathroom vanity mirror that had her reflection and another mirror… sorry, her twin (I get those confused all the time).  But isn’t the bathroom vanity mirror in a horror movie one of the most played out and cliché things ever at this point?  You know exactly what they’re going to do with it eventually so the only suspense involved with it is wondering when.  I guess you could say they broke from cliché a little in the movie in that the black friend of Casey was not the first one to die, but I also felt no remorse for her when she did.  She’s supposed to be really superstitious but then she’s at home all alone and the power goes off and she hears a knock at the door but can’t see anyone when she looks outside so she opens the damned door?  She deserved to get stabbed by that little kid for that.  Also, you can’t take a little kid in a fight?  Maybe she’s just too nice, but I wish that little kid would try to stab me.  I would whoop that ass so hard!  Even if he did stab me in the gut first, I still think I could lay a beating on a little kid.  One thing I would say for this movie in the scares department is a good amount of the creatures they had were pretty creepy.  The dog with the mask or its head turned upside down and the old man later were both pretty well done.  And then I also have a burning question that this movie left me with: if an infant dies do the paramedics really bring in the full-sized human stretcher to bring it out?  I’m not suggesting they use a shoe box or something, but it seems like a waste of space.

The performances were pretty hit-and-miss in this movie.  The most surprising ones were Gary Oldman, Idris Elba, and Carla Gugino.  Not because they put on their career-defining, tour-de-force performances in this movie by a long shot, but more that they agreed to do the movie AND seemed to actually give about 10% more effort than the paycheck was probably worth.  Odette Yustman was the star of the movie in that she got the most screen time, and she did exactly what she needed to.  She was hot, she walked around in her underwear and made sure no one left this movie without knowing she has a nice butt.  And she screamed occasionally.  Otherwise, her performance and a lot of the other ones in the movie were good sometimes and very bad on others.  She probably did about as good as she could with the material, I suppose.  I mean, her character was written to make a really big deal about getting hit in the face by a kid with a mirror when talking to her friends, but never really bothered to bring up that she hatched an icky-looking bug out of an egg that morning.  I mean, shitty little kids hit people with things all the time.  It’s not every day that something other than egg comes out of an egg.  I also found it curious how profusely she thanked her boyfriend for accompanying her to the doctor.  She only had a minor scratch on her face really, but she WAS hit in the face so hard with a mirror that her eye was changing color.  Feels like going to the doctor with her would just be part of being a concerned boyfriend.  As I mentioned before, I did not get why she was so freaked out that she had a twin that died in utero.  Granted, it wouldn’t be great that the parents never thought to mention it, but I still feel like my reaction as an adult to receiving that information would be more along the lines of, “Oh…that’s interesting, I guess…”  I also wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that losing this twin was the reason my mom killed herself.  I mean, it was probably quite the bummer at first, but this movie showed that the mom killed herself when Casey was at least 9 or 10.  Seems like she probably would’ve moved past that by then.  I would at least give this movie credit that it seemed to write the character of the super-hot chick well on a couple of occasions.  Like when she took that book to Gary Oldman and asked if he could translate it for her.  …You want me to translate a thousand page religious manuscript for you?  “Could you?  That’d be great!  You’re such a sweetheart!”  That seems like a hot chick thing to do.  …I’d probably have done it for her too…  It also seems like a hot chick thing to do that when she’s told what to do to take the dybbuk’s power away, she only half-asses it.  Your grandma told you to break the mirrors in your house, burn the pieces, and bury them.  Why do all the mirrors in your house still have shards around the edges and pieces in a pile under them on the mantle?  Good enough, eh?

The Unborn was not particularly well-written and didn’t often stand up to logic, the performances were pretty hit-and-miss, and it was more cliché than it was scary.  The best parts of it are a couple of the creepy creatures and Odette Yustman’s butt. But I feel like you can get every piece of the enjoyment of those things from the movie poster I am attaching to this review.  So there’s not going to be much enjoyment to be gotten out of this movie, but I would say this would be a good candidate to watch at home with friends just to make fun of.  The Unborn gets “It’s not safe to be around me” out of “Am I going to be falling forever?”

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