Ian Button's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Happy Death Day
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Maybe it's because my expectations were so low. Maybe it's because I can count all the good PG-13 slasher movies on one hand. Whatever the reason, I went into Happy Death Day expecting the bare minimum, and while there's no denying it's a pretty stupid movie...it's also an incredibly fun one! Think Groundhog Day meets Final Destination meets Scream. Basing a movie around the idea of living the same day over and over again sure isn't new, but I was surprised the filmmakers found such interesting ways to mix it into the slasher genre. Using the repetition gimmick let's them play with the constructs of time and foreknowledge, which helps make it a little less predictable than your usual slasher flick. The PG-13 rating definitely sucks, because they could've done some really cool over-the-top stuff with the deaths, but are instead stuck playing it safe. Despite the lack of blood or genuine scares, I still enjoyed Happy Death Day. It's got a solid script, a dark sense of humour, a few nice surprises, and a great lead performance from Jessica Rothe as the girl doomed to die over and over again. If you're looking for the kind of slasher flick we got back in the 90s, check out Happy Death Day.

The Strangers: Prey At Night
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

When a sequel comes along a decade later, it usually means nobody ever wanted one in the first place. I enjoyed 2008's The Strangers, but never really anticipated a sequel, and honestly had pretty low expectations going into this one. Maybe it's because I wasn't expecting much, but The Strangers: Prey at Night turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It's stylishly directed, suspenseful, energetic, gory, and follows the same basic formula as the first, so you know what to expect. Director Johannes Roberts fills the abandoned trailer park setting with plenty of foggy backgrounds and moody neon lighting, creating one of the more atmospheric slasher flicks in recent memory. Unfortunately it's all extremely predictable, and the characters do all the stupid cliche things Scream made fun of over 20 years ago. Still, the film has an undeniable visual flair, there are a few genuinely creepy moments, and horror fans should enjoy some of the film's bloodier set-pieces. If you liked the first movie, or are just in the mood for a new slasher flick, check out The Strangers: Prey at Night.

Halloween (2018)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

John Carpenter's Halloween is my all-time favourite horror film. Always has been, always will be. I've generally enjoyed most of the sequels, but everything after Halloween H20 has been a dumpster fire. When I heard they told Rob Zombie to fu*k off I was ecstatic. When I heard they were doing a direct sequel to the original I was excited. When I heard John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis were returning my expectations immediately became unrealistic. After months of anticipation, I saw the film twice opening weekend, and had completely different reactions each time. This review is a tale of two Halloweens.

The hype machine was building for a long time. Everything I'd seen and heard about the movie had me pumped...but when I actually saw it, I left the theatre disappointed. When I began to think about why, the answer was simple - I'd spent the entire time comparing it to the original. It wasn't paced the same, it wasn't edited the same, it didn't feel like a 1970s horror movie. I don't know why I expected this to be exactly like the original, but I did, and that was stupid. Needless to say when I saw it a second time and actually judged it on its own merits, rather than constantly comparing it, I completely changed my tune. The movie sure isn't perfect, but it's quickly become one of my favourites in the series.

There are two things that make Halloween work - it disregards all the sequels, and the Carpenter influence is felt for the first time in a long time. Let's just ignore all the ridiculous things that happened to Michael Myers in the subsequent films, and that stupid brother/sister twist introduced in Halloween 2 is finally gone! What this movie does with Laurie Strode is a far more satisfying continuation for the character than what we got in H20. Although the real surprise is the fact they actually made Michael Myers scary and interesting again. For the first time in forty years they've brought the mystery back to the character. Everyone has their theories about what makes Michael tick, but thankfully we're given no answers. Once you start to explain why (family, cults, abuse), you take away everything that made him scary in the first place. He's the boogeyman, plain and simple.

There really is a lot to love in Halloween. Jamie Lee Curtis pours her heart and soul into the movie, John Carpenter's score is pure synth gold, and director David Gordon Green done a fine job re-creating the small town atmosphere and suspense of the original. It's gory, but not Friday the 13th gory, the humour (mostly) works, and there are plenty of nods to past Halloweens that longtime fans will appreciate. The story works well, but at times feels a little bloated, and certain characters are sadly underdeveloped because of it. Although the only thing I truly disliked about the movie was a five minute chunk in the third act that's just downright stupid. Otherwise this is a solid entry that puts the franchise back on the right track.

After more than a decade of crappy sequels and remakes, Halloween 2018 truly is a treat for fans of the franchise. It's a wonderful blend of nostalgia and evolution that genuinely feels like a continuation of the original Halloween, and not a copy. It rightfully brings the series back to its roots, while also giving the audience something new. The performances are strong, the characters are likeable, it's atmospheric, funny, tense, and surprisingly well-written. I guess it's a good sign when my biggest complaint about the movie is why they couldn't just call it Halloween Returns.

In the Mouth of Madness
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

While I think it's fair to say John Carpenter owned the 1980s, the following decade wasn't as kind to the director. Thankfully he had one more masterpiece up his sleeve. In the Mouth of Madness was the perfect vehicle for Carpenter to mix his brilliant visual storytelling techniques with the ideas and themes of H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King. It revolves around the search for a missing horror writer whose work is so popular it starts to cause mass hysteria and insanity. I remember first seeing this in the VHS days and immediately falling in love with it. In the Mouth of Madness is so effective because it's a movie that demands you pay attention, but it's also just a terrifically entertaining horror flick. Part of its brilliance is the more you watch it, the more you notice how layered it is, and you start asking yourself questions that can only be answered by watching the movie again. Everything about it just gels so perfectly...the story, cinematography, music, editing, effects, locations, etc. Not to mention Sam Neill gives one of his best performances, playing a man whose life is slowly turned upside-down as he begins to questions everything about his reality. In the Mouth of Madness works on a bunch of different levels. But it remains one of Carpenter's best because it's a smart, scary, fun horror flick that's extremely well-written and directed. Highly recommended.

Night of the Living Dead
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Night of the Living Dead 1990 got off to a rocky start when producers made it clear they were using this as a cash-grab to make up for everything they lost on the original film. However, despite a tumultuous production and being butchered by the MPAA, Night of the Living Dead 1990 turned out to be a pretty good zombie flick. Tom Savini does a great job directing (even though he was miserable the entire time), giving the film plenty of mood, tension and atmosphere. It starts off as a straight-up remake, but once they decide to turn Barbra into Ripley, it sets things up for a surprising third act. Tony Todd gives a terrific performance, the zombies look eerily realistic, and I actually enjoyed some of the changes they made to the ending...but it still doesn't even come close to the genius of the original. It's a shame the MPAA attacked the film so severely, because it hasn't aged well, especially when you can see more gore in the first 10 minutes of any Walking Dead episode. It's not a great remake, but it's a lot better than you'd probably expect.