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)
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.
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?