Dec 13, 2019
Two more reviews. That’s all that’s left before the break, and today will be Andrew’s second review for the week. He’s ending with a Blumhouse production that’s been undersold this year, despite a lot of great reviews. Andrew’s going to give you his thoughts in a bit, but be sure to check out Andrew’s recent reviews for THE POOL (Episode #656), LITTLE JOE (Episode #663), and MARRIAGE STORY (Episode #668). Something in there for everyone. Especially if you like plants or crocodiles.
Before the review, we’ll have a promo from our friends at the Moviedrone podcast. Every episode, they cover a main feature, some homework they gave each other, a listener question, and my favorite segment, Marc’s Movie Impressions. You can follow them on Twitter/Instagram @movie_drone and on Facebook @moviedronepod. Don’t miss their recent guest review for THE TERRIFIER (Episode #606), where they watched me do my best impression of a cannonball.
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Here we go!
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Hello film fans!
Andrew here. Last episode of 2019 for yours truly so I thought I’d park the car in the garage with something light and breezy - an 82-minute creature feature. Obviously, the best thing about any monster movie, putting aside remakes and sequels, is the reveal. You know you’ve got a good 20 minutes of world-building and character establishment get out of the way first. Then you cut in with some screeches off in the dark, or possibly a roar, a moan or maybe just some gentle skittering. Give us a quick shot of disemboweled cow or a broken gate. Have someone that will end up getting eaten tell your protagonist “it’s all in your head” or “I’m sure there’s some logical explanation” and then HOLY HELL what is that thing!
Today’s movie is SWEETHEART, the 2019 horror film written by J.D. Dillard, Alex Hyner & Alex Theurer and directed by Dillard. Jennifer Remming (played by Kiersey Clemons) awakes on a deserted tropical island with a few bumps and bruises, with a hazy memory of the boat accident that delivered her there. She wastes little time exploring the island, finding evidence of past visitors and setting up a small camp as she waits for help to arrive. She becomes unsettled when her surroundings begin to indicate that she might not be as alone as she thought until one night she steps out of her make-shift tent and then HOLY HELL what is that thing!
So, the first thing that caught my eye when I saw this film in the Fantastic Fest lineup was the production company - Blumhouse Productions. If you don’t follow the film industry outside of the major studios (Disney, Warner Bros, Sony, Universal and so forth), you may not be familiar with the company that Jason Blum founded in the mid 2000s. After a handful of forgettable titles, Blumhouse struck gold in 2009 with PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, widely seen as the most profitable film ever made. Created by Oren Peli for just 15-grand, the director collaborated with Blumhouse to deliver the final version of the film that went on to gross nearly $200M worldwide. Setting aside the diminishing returns of the sequels, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY generated genuine scares on a shoestring budget. It’s a formula that Blumhouse has been trying to replicate over the last decade, investing in low to mid-budget horror films. Now they don’t always hit, as you have to sift through a ton of coal to find the diamonds, but they have delivered a number of highly regarded genre films. This includes the INSIDIOUS, THE PURGE, SINISTER, and HAPPY DEATH DAY franchises, acclaimed one-offs like US and GET OUT alongside Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, and films I’ve personally really enjoyed such as MA, UPGRADE, THE VISIT, and THE GREEN INFERNO. Long story short, when you see Blumhouse attached to a horror title, it’s worth taking a look.
SWEETHEART is the type of film there’s not a whole lot to say about. It’s short and simple and to delve into much detail would spoil what makes it a fun watch. Even the trailer shows restraint - the only one they released is just 30 seconds long.
What I can say is that Kiersey Clemons makes for an interesting lead character, which is essential as the film spends nearly its entire run-time with her. She’s an actress to watch out for and may wind up a household name.
The film has enough intrigue, action, and horror to keep the audience engaged. The only misstep here is the way the film delivers subtext with clumsy results. There’s a moment when Jennifer is referred to by her boyfriend as “Sweetheart” in a condescending manner that’s just a bit overdone. The goal is to drive home the fact that “women must be believed”, which is a fine message, just poorly delivered.
What makes SWEETHEART fantastic? Setting aside the messaging, the film knows exactly what it wants to be - a fast-paced and satisfying monster movie set at the beach. That’s it.
No really, that’s it. Joseph, let’s put a bow on this sucker.
SWEETHEART is a tasty trifle that creates dread and terror in spite of a PG-13 rating and minimal jump scares. Fans of modern monster flicks such as COLOSSAL and A QUIET PLACE (Episode #127) will enjoy this film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
One Movie Punch: 7.2/10
SWEETHEART (2019) is rated PG-13 and available on VOD. Be sure to follow One Movie Punch on Twitter and we’ll let you know when SWEETHEART and any other films we cover hit streaming services.
Well that’s a wrap for me for 2019. It’s been an amazing year for the podcast and I can’t wait to return in the new year. Come back January 3rd and 4th for a double-shot from yours truly. I’ll be reviewing IN FABRIC, a modern giallo about an evil dress, as well as the new WWI epic from Sam Mendes, 1917, a miracle of modern filmmaking that opens wide in January.
I’ll see you then.