Double Feature: Natural Selection (2016) & Ouija (2014)

Welcome to the next double feature! This one is going to be a fairly odd pairing but also one that I can’t say that I am particularly sure how to write about. We have officially passed the halfway point in the Netflix A-Z and going into the N selection. This one was a fairly hard choice and it ended up being drama thriller Natural Selection. My main hook for it is because Katherine McNamara is part of it and I was going through a Shadowhunters phase when I added it to my list. For the O selection, it is horror film Ouija with Olivia Cooke. This one didn’t have great reviews but I figured I’d give it a chance anyways.

Let’s check it out!

Natural Selection (2016)

natural selection

Director (& Writer): Chad L. Scheifele

Cast: Mason Dye, Ryan Munzert, Anthony Michael Hall, Katherine McNamara, Amy Carlson, Tyler Elliott Burke

As the new kid, a shy high school senior finds himself tormented by all his peers except one, but his new friend has a dark, infectious outlook. – IMDB

Natural Selection is not an easy film to talk about. In fact, the story itself is done pretty well and the whole meaning and message behind it also is done pretty well. The only issue with it is that the cast itself, especially the cast playing the students are not quite as refined in their characters. Some might like it because it makes their acting more raw but for myself, the acting was the downside of the film. The other little part that was the downside was the romantic connection here which felt slightly disposable. It had a purpose to pretty much strain a developing “friendship” but that was all it was, which made it make the movie contrived.

However, the pros of this film can’t be ignored and that is the movie itself. It takes a fairly serious issue which potentially haunts unexpectedly schools and the safety of it. It all dials down to ignored youths and their repercussions. The film does a good job at putting together very similar characters, the new kid in town Tyler (Mason Dye) and a somewhat of an oddball Indrid (Ryan Munzert) who ends up being friends and they are pretty much parallels to each other in a lot of aspects from parents that don’t take care of them to being bullied or looked down upon in school. The differences in their characters here is what changes and makes these characters intriguing to learn about especially as the end result becomes more and more obvious.

There’s some execution issues and some acting issues here but Natural Selection is not a bad film, plus, its always nice to watch something to learn about the things that teenagers that don’t get noticed and the dangers that may lurk in them. However, I have recently seen films in the similar vein to this recently which have been done a lot better however, the strength of the film is in its message.

Ouija (2014)

ouija

Director (& co-writer): Stiles White

Cast: Olivia Cooke,  Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Bianca A. Santos, Douglas Smith, Shelley Hennig, Sierra Heuermann, Lin Shaye

A group of friends must confront their most terrifying fears when they awaken the dark powers of an ancient spirit board. – IMDB

Oh boy…Ouija is another one on my list that falls into the bad reviews but why not check it out pile. I personally like Olivia Cooke because she’s done some good roles like in Bates Motel and Me, Earl and the Dying Girl (review). Ouija is exactly what you would expect it to be. Its full of horror troupes and you can probably figure out whats going to happen next and when the jumpscares are going to show up. Everything here is pretty much playing it by the numbers a whole lot. Ouija (for those who do believe that it can channel spirits and shouldn’t be touched like Tarot Cards, etc) is creepy. Its not something you want to mess with but people still do. While I can’t say that Ouija is the bottom of the barrel, it also doesn’t offer a whole lot of wow moments either. The script tries really hard to give it a twist and yet, because its so deliberate (or at least feels that way), it ends up not quite landing that punch so well.

There’s not a whole lot to say about Ouija. Its fairly predictable and if you don’t buy into the idea of just being tempted to keep giving Ouija a go after bad things happen, then this movie falls apart at its seams. I fall into that category so this movie had some moments but because it was so easy to figure out, it loses its impact a lot. Not to mention, if you are a gamer, Until Dawn delivers the whole sitting around a table and something creepy lurks about a whole lot more effectively than this whole movie combined.

That’s it for this double feature!
Thoughts and comments?

What’s Up-Week 21: Back to the Cinema!

Welcome to Week 21 What’s Up where everything seems to be back on track. I even had time to head to the theatre. Its been a while that I haven’t just been trapped at work or being a hermit at home. Either way, let’s see what’s gone on in this week’s recap!

As usual, you can find me on Letterboxd to see all my ratings and what I’ve been watching as I update it after each viewing HERE.

READING

crossline

  • Crossline by Russ Colchamiro (Review)

Currently reading: The Space Between Time

This week and the next is going to be a dash to the finish line as I get some blog tour commitments together. I don’t usually put things so close together but sometimes, you just have to try to work things out with books that seem intriguing in the sea of indie book releases and what’s available. The review for Crossline is already out so you can check it on the review link above. As for The Space Between Time, I only brushed the very beginning of the story so not sure on what I think just yet but if its anything like Charlie Laidlaw’s last book that I read (HERE), there should be some creative fun in the horizon.

PLAYING

The Witness

Currently playing: The Witness

The husband and I are still playing The Witness. Some of those puzzles are quite mind-boggling to say the least so this game is more in small doses or whenever we feel like our brains need a break.

WATCHING

John Wick 3

  • Natural Selection (2015)
  • John Wick – Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019) Review
  • Godzilla (2014)

We missed John Wick in theatres for the first two so since we’ve known about Parabellum coming out, we’ve been planning go see it in theatres. No regrets on that level. Not going to say too much since I’ve already done the review and you can check it out in the link above. Due to some podcast plans, we will be going to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters so in anticipation for it, we went back to check out 2014’s Godzilla which also is my first Godzilla movie ever. Its a bit surprising to some however, I have mixed feelings about this one but it had mostly to do with the fact that being a Godzilla story, it definitely felt like Godzilla was not as present as expected.

BINGING

Love Death + Robots

  • Nailed It! (Season 3, 2019)
  • Love, Death + Robots (2019)

Currently binging: Le Coup de Foudre, Produce Camp 2019, Love O2O (rewatch), Great Escape, Street Dance of China (Season 2), Beautiful Youth

While I am still watching a lot of TV series on Youtube, this week was all about catching up to the Netflix series. Of course, I had to get Nailed It Season 3 done because its just always so much fun and honestly, a very short series anyways. Then coming up soon will be a podcast related watch and that is Love Death + Robots. I’ve heard lots of good stuff about it so was pretty excited to check it out but because of recording, it was pushed up on the viewing list and boy, am I happy that I did but it was a blast. I’ll be doing a TV binge for it at some point (probably sooner than later).

Nothing too new in the currently binging list except that I’m rewatching Love O2O since I’m working on the TV binge for that right now (looking for quotes and trying to get some screenshots). The only two new addition here would be Street Dance of China which is in its season 2. I didn’t watch Season 1 but I did see some highlights from that. I won’t be going back to it since its mostly blocked in Canada except for highlight reels so since it really makes no difference, I’m just keeping up with the new season. At the same time, I’m watching Beautiful Youth which is a part of the Nine Percent boy group in their journey through New Zealand for 20 days on a budget.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?