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Movie review


After a career of horror films full of violence, director Eli Roth makes his first foray into family-friendly territory.

The magical adventure tells the tale of 10-year-old orphan Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) who goes to live with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart.

But the town's sleepy facade jolts to life when the boy accidentally awakens the dead.

Together with his uncle and friendly neighbour Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett), the three of them do whatever it takes to defeat a host of evil warlocks and witches.

The movie is not exactly a masterpiece as it fails to explore its characters in depth.

The plot is predictable and the action scenes lack the energy needed to pick up the pace.

But Roth makes up for it with the wonderful baroque production and set design, giving much colour to the story.

The timely jump scares and comedic banter between Black and Blanchett also help make the film entertaining enough for young moviegoers. - NUR SYAHINDAH ISHAK

Ratings: 3 Ticks


Rampant, a zombie flick set after the Manchu War of 1636, met my high expectations.

Produced by the people behind 2016's Train To Busan, I was intrigued by the premise of watching hanbok-wearing zombies roaming the streets of old-time Joseon.

Hyun Bin stars as Prince Ganglim who returns to Joseon only to be greeted by peasants who have been turned into zombies, the result of a mysterious virus.

He also has to deal with Minister of War Kim Ja Joon (Jang Dong Gun), who has his eyes set on the throne.

The story is more than a zombie outbreak. It is also a tale of sacrifice and the choices one has to make to take responsibility for the role fate has dealt them.

Sure, Rampant had a predictable storyline, but director Kim Sung Hoon helped the film stay engaging with strong subplots and good character development.

Hyun Bin and Jang's solid acting chops also prevented the film from taking a turn to the campy, as many zombie flicks often turn out to be. - MAVIS WONG

Ratings: 3.5 Ticks