Double Feature: Submerged (2016) & Eden Lake (2008)

Welcome to today’s double feature!

I’m trying out to have these themed double features every once in a while when I can. This time, we’re pairing two indie horror thrillers. The first I had never really heard anything of before and honestly watched it as a filler one night when I was working on other things and Eden Lake was one I had both recommendations and dislikes of it which has me intrigued as to how I would feel about it.

Submerged (2016)


Director: Steven C. Miller

Cast: Jonathan Bennett, Talulah Riley, Rosa Salazar, Samuel Hunt, Cody Christian, Giles Matthey, Denzel Whitaker, Willa Ford, Mario Van Peebles

A young woman and her friends, who’ve been targeted by kidnappers, must do everything they can to survive after their limo is forced off the road and plunged into a canal. – IMDB

*sigh* I honestly don’t know how to write up this review right now. There is no extent of how indifferent I feel about Submerged. Its clear to say that at some point,  particularly the male lead of Mean Girls that Jonathan Bennett had a lovely peak in his career. Then he did some odd roles in other teen comedies like Love Wrecked (review) with Amanda Bynes for example, then he ended up with some Hallmark films like A Christmas Kiss II (review) & A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale (review). Its been a staple of my last two years of Christmas marathon, however as generic as those two were, they were never disappointing. Finally, we see Jonathan Bennett in a thriller so I was down to give it a chance and well, guess what, this one was disappointing. I can’t say that his character was disappointing but rather the thriller itself was not incredibly standout. The ending itself felt like it was out of nowhere a little and didn’t quite fit into the story as it was really to give the twist. Maybe there were hints along the way, but then it doesn’t give me that particular motivation to go rewatch it either.


The story sets up itself in the trapped in the car concept, which is a good premise since we don’t seem to have a lot of substance to those parts. And then it alternates between the past to what leads to it. Fact is, the characters here doesn’t quite give us anyone to cheer for. Jonathan Bennett’s character has a little bit of development and back story however, at some point, it seems to want the viewers to believe in who is involved and then turn it around at the ending. As I mentioned, the twist is out of nowhere but then, somehow the lack of interest from the start to that point just wasn’t engaging enough to care about it.

Overall, Submerged is yet another disappointing thriller that takes a rather formulaic approach for a not too frequently used premise and yet never gives us engaging characters to make the out of nowhere final twist feel worth it.

Eden Lake (2008)


eden lake

Director (and writer): James Watkins

Cast: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Jack O’Connell, Jumayn Hunter, Thomas Turgoose, James Burrows

Refusing to let anything spoil their romantic weekend break, a young couple confront a gang of loutish youths with terrifyingly brutal consequences. – IMDB

Eden Lake is one of those films that are a little harder to review. Its one of the earlier Michael Fassbender films before he has the fame nowadays. In this horror thriller, it takes a slow beginning but ends up picking up the pace quite a bit as the story takes a turn for the worse with menacing kids lead by a kid who craves the violence. Him and his crew of other teens start chasing this couple down who first starts off with stealing their car and ends up chasing them and causing his dog to die, turning into something vengeful. The story does take many turns from bad to worse to completely intense. To be fair, Michael Fassbender’s character does play more of a supporting character role as Kelly Reilly takes on something of a stronger woman here as she tries to make her escape. In one way, I didn’t feel quite as immersed in the beginning however as the disturbing characters and events starting happening in quicker frequency, it definitely had me on the edge of my seat hoping that Kelly Reilly’s character would get out.

eden lake

On the other hand, while I do agree that the villainous teen leader, Brett definitely was convincing in his extremities that started out quite vengeful, it is also quite a terrifying thought as the days went by after I saw Eden Lake. Perhaps that is the terror here is that a vacation going array can be in this sort of everyday sort of situation. Kids are meant to be portrayed in horror/thrillers as innocent, defenseless or even annoying in some cases, however, these kids are out of the ordinary and we never quite get a reason why Brett acts that way throughout but we do see that the idea of peer pressure and wanting to belong in this alpha group makes these other kids who are doing things they don’t particularly want to out of fear. Its one of those movies that do have quite a lot of thought behind a normal survival horror story set in the middle of nowhere on vacation. And as I think about it more, the more I feel that it worked very well.

Overall, Eden Lake is a rather slow burn tension building horror thriller. For both the setting and the increasing extreme moments here, it sets a very psychological survival and escape experience that might start off feeling like not so much but definitely ends up being more than that in leaps and bounds. As an ending note, I’m not too sure how I feel about the ending but its one those things where you either like it or you don’t.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen Submerged and/or Eden Lake? Thoughts?

A Christmas Kiss II (2014)

Continuing with the Christmas movie watching on Netflix, I head onto watching A Christmas Kiss II. I’ve never seen A Christmas Kiss but I took the bet that it wasn’t going to be a continuation and it turns out that I was right. At this point, I’m just looking through the Holiday Favorites on Netflix and what they recommend that I’d like, so no idea what I’m getting in except its probably going to have a happy ending. Lets check it out.

A Christmas Kiss II (2014)

a christmas kiss 2

Director: Kevin Connor

Cast: Elisabeth Harnois, Adam Mayfield, Jonathan Bennett, Lola Glaudini, Celesta Hodge, Steven Schub, Elisabeth Rohm

At a Christmastime event, Jenna shares an impromptu, unforgettable kiss with the dashing billionaire, Cooper Montgomery. Unaware of his intentions and fearful of getting hurt in another relationship, Jenna vows to resist his charms, but begins to realize his affection is real as the two spend more time together. – IMDB

A Christmas Kiss II is one of those romantic comedy TV movies that has me slightly on the fence. There are aspects of it that I enjoyed but at the same time, as I get older, perhaps the romance magic of instantly falling in love isn’t quite there anymore. Does that make me bitter? I don’t think so but I also don’t think that its necessary to end it with an engagement after knowing someone for a week (or something like that) even if you think they are the love of your life. That is the infatuation of being in love at the beginning of a relationship and doesn’t make for anything lasting until that feeling is gone and other things sink in. Of course, that is a very realistic way of looking at things and its one of reasons why I can’t seem to get behind A Christmas Kiss II. However, that is a happy ending nonetheless so in the feel-good aspect, it hits its goal. But, I’m not one to bash this movie completely because before the ending, it did have an okay run.


For one, it follows the rule of being set during Christmas and not really stuffing the Christmas stuff down your throats. There are Christmas jewellery photo shoots and costumes as well as like a ton of poinsettias and of course, everyone’s favorite mistletoe in the elevator bit. Like I said in Merry Kissmas review, mistletoe in elevators is apparently a thing that I didn’t know about. It fits into the Christmas theme, so I’m alright with it now. Who doesn’t love a playboy being changed by a girl that he sees and does everything to try to get on her good side and prove that he is for real and even be a better him? I sure do. This is one of those romantic comedy plots that work because its probably not going to happen in real life (Man, its a really bitter review going on here..I blame today). A Christmas Kiss II does have this really deliberate and some forced dialogue between the two. And I can’t say that I’m really into the main couple, Jenna (Elisabeth Harnois) and Cooper (Adam Mayfield). They lack a bit of the usual chemistry that I’d see in these movies however, they are quite pretty to look at and there are a few laughs here and there.

A Christmas Kiss 2

Talking about the cast, there are some redeeming points here. I do like the last gesture that Cooper does here for Jenna. Its really heartwarming and awesome. Its believable and romantic that he would do that and have it set up to make her dreams come true and fight for her goals. The cast also includes some cool supporting roles. Lola Glaudini plays Mia, the boss at the company, but I remember her from Criminal Minds and while its odd seeing her in this role, I enjoyed her performance here. Jonathan Bennett also was in this one as Sebastian, Jenna’s neighbor and best friend who also happens to pose as her boyfriend when she’s trying to push away Cooper. There are some funny moments there as well. I like Jonathan Bennett quite a bit and its a nice twist to make him the make believe boyfriend but never toss them into a love triangle and the obstacle of Cooper and Jenna being solely their own trust in each other to determine whether they would get together in the end.

a christmas kiss 2

Overall, A Christmas Kiss 2 is alright. There are some things I can’t get behind but there are some redeeming points to it. Would I rewatch it? Probably not. In this category of films, there are a few others I’d prefer.

Holiday Marathon: A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale (2015)

This holiday marathon is going at an exceptionally snail pace but don’t you worry. I am trying to get my Christmas/winter/holidays stuff up here, even if it isn’t holiday movies. To be honest, I kind of just want to go back to the classics and not linger too much on these other movies. However, A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale looks cute to say the least. I mean, pets are always welcome for festival season or any season at that.

A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale (2015)

A Dogwalker's Christmas Tale

Director: Letia Clouston

Cast: Lexi Giovagnolia, Jonathan Bennett, Dina Meyer, Patrick Muldoon, Jennifer Joseph, Timeca M. Seretti, Tim Hess

When spoiled, 21-year old college student Luce Lockhart is forced to take a job over the holidays walking a rich developer’s dog, she is thrilled to discover they are going to build a salon and spa over the quaint local dog park nearby. But when Luce meets Dean, an irritating yet handsome dogwalker actively trying to stop them, Luce is forced to question what the park means to her newfound friends, and whether she can put aside her selfish ways to help save the park before Christmas. – IMDB

 I remember the first time seeing A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale pop up on my Netflix page and wondered what would make a movie like this appealing. Sure, there is the above factors I mentioned. Dogs are always a welcoming addition to any movie. Then the second reason popped up and that is Jonathan Bennett, probably most widely known for his role as the boy in Mean Girls. I love Mean Girls and surprisingly, I have seen a few other movies after Mean Girls of Jonathan Bennett. He’s not my favorite actor but I like his roles and his work. There’s a genuine feeling about him, whether it was in Love Wrecked with Amanda Byne (review) or Christmas Crush with Rachel Boston (review). Adding into a simple story in A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale, it all seems to work out. Actually, regardless of how some parts seem rather contrived at parts, there is still a lot of heartwarming and fun moments.

A Dogwalker's Christmas Tale

A lot of the story’s charm goes to Jonathan Bennett playing as Dean and our main character, Luce who we realize has everything and doesn’t quite understand the need of the dog park. As the story continues, we as the experienced viewers already know that she’s going to be the one that will somehow save the dog park, or at least take it upon her to do it and realize the worth of it by the end. However, the merit of this movie that gives it a lot of feel good points is the journey to get there. The interaction and dialogue and chemistry that builds between her and Dean and even her growing love for these furry friends all play into this. Luce is a flawed character but only these characters can grow, regardless of how predictable it is and actually, this movie focuses on how she yearns for “substance” in her personality and we realize that she does have a lot when she doesn’t only care about shopping but puts her traits to good use. Lessons, message, feel-good, heartwarming and a little romance gives this story a nice little boost.

A Dogwalker's Christmas Tale

Of course, we can’t leave this movie without Missy, played by Dina Meyer who is the employer of Luce and her and her husband, played by Patrick Muldoon, plan on building the spa in the dog park area. The friction is here and the dilemma for Luce starts here as she eventually becomes torn on finding the balance between pleasing her employer as they have powerful positions in society and possibly her future and doing the right thing. But we’re here to talk about Missy Paxton and Dina Meyer does a fine job at giving a lot of enthusiasm and charisma to this character.

Overall, A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale really does need to be taken apart. Its supposed to be just watched as a heartwarming little movie with the best intentions. There are some fun performances and some nice interactions and a little chemistry and lots of furry little pets. As predictable as this all is, the feel-good heartwarming element that a Christmas movie needs is exactly what I needed and liked about this one.

Christmas: Christmas Crush/Holiday High School Reunion (TV 2012)

Last minute change in plans has lead me to choosing something random on Netflix.  Why did I choose Christmas Crush out of all the badly rated Christmas movies, you ask? Because for once, I know someone in this movie. That someone is Rachel Boston.  I saw her in Witches of East End and while that show is cancelled and I truly miss it a lot, I guess this makes up for it…We’ll see, right?

Let’s check it out!

Christmas Crush
(also called Holiday High School Reunion)

Christmas Crush

Director: Marita Grabiak

Cast: Rachel Boston, Jonathan Bennett, Jon Prescott, Harry Hamlin, Sunny Mabrey, Julia Voth, Elizabeth Braun, Marilu Henner

When a woman learns of her high school reunion a week before Christmas, she’s ecstatic to finally have her chance to win back the one “that got away”. –IMDB

 The first thing we need to know when we step into these TV Christmas movies is that its not going to be at par. It’ll suffer some normal tropes and that the expectations should probably be a little lower. Christmas Crush suffers a lot of the tropes and there’s a ton of stuff that is wrong.  The first one might be that these characters are go back to reacting as if they were all high school students when they are clearly grown up now.  This can be a little annoying to watch at parts.  For me, the worse might be the high school crush that our main character has.  It was clear that he was a huge douchebag who was definitely now the one that got away.  In all reality, if I was Rachel Boston’s character, I wouldn’t go back to him.  There’s a weird little vibes that go through and sends mixed messages.  The script is a little messy.

Christmas Crush

However, there is a little guilty pleasure.  These types of stories don’t bother me too much. I can adjust my expectations and I pretty much can enjoy a lot of stuff.  Plus, its a Christmas movie with some really ridiculous humor and some feel-good moments.  Rachel Boston’s character, Georgia is finally back home and much to her reluctance, she ends up going to the high school reunion when she hears that her old flame has RSVP’ed. She was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” when she graduated and being ashamed of herself, she tells lies about her career when she is still working hard to be a fashion designer and be able to have her own runway show.  The feuds between old “friends” happen with preppy jealous girls and then, she tries to appeal to her ex when her best friend Ben, who has fallen out of touch since graduation is also back.  Now, the second reason I like watching this is that Ben is played by Jonathan Bennett.  Maybe that name is unfamiliar to you but he’s the love interest in Mean Girls.  He was also in a movie I saw recently called Lovewrecked also playing a similar sort of character, the dispensable best friend who secretly has a crush on the girl. The guy is a decent actor and they have some really cliche but cute moments.  Adding in a Christmas twist is definitely cute and the best parts are the cheesy ridiculous parts where Georgia makes a fool out of herself and Ben tries to bail her out of the mess. Georgia’s character may get a little frustrating but her and Ben are rather good characters that I enjoy seeing.

Christmas Crush

They movie fluctuates between the present and the high school days when they were also rather crazy with their endeavors and getting into troubles with all their bad ideas.  I think the part of this is that Georgia realizes that some of her memories were forced. She thinks she remembers it one way and that all her good memories are with her ex when actually they were with the Ben.  And when she thought that she never had a good guy, its because she let him go without really treasuring his presence.  I’m not one to relate to these since I didn’t date much in high school but it is a pretty typical high school romance sort of story.  The one thing that annoyed me the most was actually the ex.  His character was uber cheesy to an unbearable level. *shivers*  He was really creepy.

christmas crush

Honestly, Christmas Crush is a harmless movie.  Its not memorable and its super predictable and cliche.  However, it makes for some pretty good background noise.  I actually played it in the background a few more times during the night while I was doing something else and it had its fun moments.  It kind of mocks the different sort of people in high school but it does send the right message of knowing who matters in your life and knowing that sometimes its really about appreciating and being grateful for all the things you’ve accomplished and not compare with others.  Its you being happy with you.  For that, this movie worked alright for me.  If it had a less messy and more consistent script, it would’ve been much better and maybe swap the overly cheesy and dumb douche bag ex but then, how do we know that he’s just the wrong person, right? I’m overthinking this now, way more than this probably deserves. Still, I acknowledge its below average but I really didn’t mind watching it. It had a few laughs 😉

Have you seen Christmas Crush? What are your thoughts? 

Netflix A-Z: Love Wrecked (2005)

As we are slowly approaching the halfway point of this first round of Netflix A-Z, I’m looking back and questioning some of my choices.  After all, I guess there are always something in the deep dark areas of my mind of why I push away watching a certain movie on my list.  I mean, I see it there all the time but then, something just says no. Love Wrecked is on the list because I enjoy Amanda Bynes in She’s the Man but then a few other movies where she is in supporting roles (for example, Hairspray & Easy A). In main roles, I’m still looking for one I enjoy as much as She’s the Man.

So, here we are.  I’m not sure about anyone here so let’s take a deep breath and press play! Let’s go! 😉

Love Wrecked (2005)

Love Wrecked

Director: Randal Kleiser

Cast: Amanda Bynes, Chris Carmack, Jonathan Bennett, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Jackie Long, Joey Kern, Lance Bass, Kathy Griffin, Alfonso Ribeiro

On a Caribbean cruise, Jenny is marooned on a beach with her rock and roll idol. Deliriously in love with the idea of time alone with him, she manages to hide the fact that they’re a stone’s throw away from their resort.-IMDB

I guess the description up there is fairly accurate. I’m going to say this right now and finish the thought in the opening paragraph.  Amanda Bynes’ movies have always a very similar feeling to it and as I was putting together that part on the top, I realized what it was. All her movies, other than She’s The Man or the supporting roles ones, are really great as background noise.  Like I’d put it on in the background while I do whatever chores. You don’t need a whole lot of focus but its a little bit of entertainment when you walk past the screen and look at it for a little bit.  Its not a bad thing.  Some movies are great for that and I appreciate them for that. Love Wrecked definitely falls into that category.  Its with a young cast that I knew from various teen shows and I was in my late teens 10 years ago.  I’ll refer to those as we look at the performances further down.

Love Wrecked

Love Wrecked is pretty thin in plot.  It plays on the exaggerated ignorance of rock stars.  Its a lot of stupid troupes and very teen-related things going on.  Nothing exciting happens a lot and its almost mocks the whole fan-girl thing. Actually, not almost, it really does.  The best thing about this one is the scenery because its shot in Sun Village Beach Resort in St. Lucia, I think. Its nothing particularly special but its harmless in a way.  There were some moments where it was just a little too much and over the top with the reactions and the acting.  It might appeal to the  younger audience and get a few laughs but its nothing memorable.

Looking at the young cast, Amanda Bynes is just being her usual acting persona.  Whether in She’s the Man or Sydney White, in the leading role, she pretty much does the same reactions and over the top silliness.  I personally enjoy Amanda Bynes when she was doing these movies so it doesn’t bother me so much.  This one is definitely more in the Sydney White league.  I guess, what makes the difference is a better script and this one didn’t have that.

Love Wrecked

On the other hand, the boys here are pretty interesting choices.  Chris Carmack who plays the rock star was in The OC. At least thats where I remember him from.  He was never a favorite character for me but he did end up in a few movies after his role in the show doing teen movies or even Butterfly Effect 3, I think.  I didn’t see that one.  He’s okay.  He isn’t really my type of guy so I didn’t even sense his appeal.  Plus, they made him extremely stupid and he was doing these ridiculous things that made me cringe from the cheesiness.  I don’t even know if that was intentional. The other guy, Ryan, played by Jonathan Bennett, who is this girl’s  best friend who obviously has a crush on her and is the decent good guy underdog choice here is a pretty nice role.  I actually like Jonathan Bennett.  He was in Mean Girls playing the main guy there.  In this one, I like Ryan because he was really shy and cute.  His character had something nice.  Because of that, it got me a little more interested in the movie and found the calmer moments with him and Amanda Bynes’ character nice.

I’m a little sad that this movie was so sub-par because the director here is Kandal Kleiser.  C’mon, I just raved about his earlier work a few months ago.  He’s the guy who did Grease! Thinking about Grease makes me want to watch it on repeat, then x amount of years later, he decides to do Love Wrecked? I just can’t think of why.

Overall, Love Wrecked is nothing special.  Its forgettable and cliche and sometimes over the top in a rather annoying way.  I didn’t hate it but I wouldn’t go back to watch it mostly because I’m sure I’ll forget about it in a few days. The acting was a little awkward and the story was a little boring but hey, the Caribbeans definitely are pretty.  While there were some mildly funny parts and some cute chemistry near the end, and I like the cast here somewhat, I remain indifferent to it.

On a ending note, I can’t even remember the name of Amanda Bynes’ character…I think it was Jenny. Haha!

Have you seen Love Wrecked? What did you think?

M is next! Any guesses?
Honestly, I’m a little worried about my choice…