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Madame Web (2024)

“Madame Web” is a cinematic calamity, a film so woefully executed that it becomes a parody of itself.



Madame Web

In “Madame Web,” Sony’s ill-conceived venture into the Spider-Verse, the web of intrigue quickly unravels into a tangle of cinematic follies. The 2024 film, which aimed to ensnare audiences with the enigmatic tale of Cassandra Webb, instead traps viewers in a web of disappointment.

Let me get the “Well, duh” comments out of the way…

1) The “great power” line has now become a mangled mess of itself. The fact that it is butchered in this film, and repeated, made me facepalm so hard the guy sat behind me got hit in the face too.

2) Tahar Rahim’s dialogue, was it dubbed? It looked out of sync several times in the movie, sometimes so badly lip-synched it made me look around to see if anyone else had seen the same thing?


4) Yep – they pulled another “Rhino” a la The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The Spider-Women suit up at the end of the film in a flash-forward for all of 30 seconds. They spend the whole film building up to what the people actually want to see and then end it.

So where to begin with this muddled mess? The plot, if one can be generous enough to call it that, is an aimless meander through a series of inexplicably bizarre events that seem to serve no purpose other than to fill time. The dialogue is a trainwreck of cringe-worthy one-liners and heavy-handed exposition that bludgeons the audience with subtlety of a sledgehammer. Every character introduction is a tedious affair, with them announcing their names and purposes with the enthusiasm of a hostage reading a ransom note. This film makes Morbius look like a masterpiece.

Then there’s the humor – or what passes for it in this film. The jokes are so painfully unfunny that one must wonder if they were included as some form of avant-garde anti-comedy.

Directorial decisions only exacerbate the suffering. The numerous desperate references to the wider Spider-Man universe come off as a sibling screaming for attention rather than clever nods. The references are shoehorned in with the grace of a wrecking ball, leaving fans to nurse their second-hand embarrassment.

Performances across the board are astonishingly flat. Dakota Johnson, tasked with bringing Madame Web to life, delivers her lines with all the conviction of someone reciting the phone book. The supporting cast isn’t much better, with each member seemingly in their own disjointed film – a cacophony of conflicting genres and styles that never gel.

Action sequences are so poorly choreographed and edited that one can almost hear the director’s sigh of resignation. Quick cuts and shaky cam attempt to inject excitement but instead induce a sense of motion sickness. The CGI, a critical component for any superhero flick, is an abomination – it would seem the effects budget was slashed in a boardroom and never restored.

The film’s attempts to be dark and edgy are undercut by its own absurdity. It tries to take itself seriously, yet it’s hard to do so when the villain’s master plan seems to have been concocted during a fever dream. There’s a subplot involving the future that is so nonsensical it could be a time-travel paradox in itself.

Editing seems to have been done with a chainsaw, lurching from scene to scene with jarring inconsistency. Scenes of potential emotional weight are butchered in favor of more screen time for bewildering subplots. There’s a Pepsi product placement so blatant it could be a commercial, and a premonition sequence so ludicrous it makes Madame Web’s psychic abilities seem as believable as a horoscope in a candy wrapper.

Musical choices are equally lazy and obnoxious – with the inclusion of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” making the audience eye-roll.

“Madame Web” is a cinematic calamity, a film so woefully executed that it becomes a parody of itself. It’s a movie that not only fails to capture the essence of its source material but also fails to provide the most basic elements of storytelling. This film doesn’t swing from the heights; it trips over its own laces at the starting line. Madame Web’s real precognition would have been to foresee its own critical demise and spare us all by remaining an untold story. The only saving grace is that the film eventually ends, releasing the audience from its bewildering web of woe.


Imaginary (2024)

The second half of the movie decides to opt for an expository dump that feels like reading the film’s Wikipedia plot summary out loud.



Imaginary Review

“Imaginary” (2024) kicks off with the potential to be the dark horse of psychological horror, only to gallop headfirst into a wall of clichés, transforming what could have been a sleek, shadowy steed into, well, a bit of a donkey show. This film, promising a sinister dive into the world of childhood fears and imaginary friends, unfortunately ends up as a guided tour through every horror movie trope the genre has ever coughed up.

The journey begins with Jessica, a children’s book author whose nightmares are about to leap off the page and into her real life, thanks to a stuffed bear named Chauncey. This isn’t your average teddy bear picnic; it’s more like a bear trap for any semblance of original storytelling. The setup has all the trappings of a classic horror flick: a new home with a creepy past, a child bonding a little too enthusiastically with an inanimate object, and night terrors that have more screen presence than the living characters.

For a moment, it’s like the film is building something genuinely spine-tingling—Jessica’s haunted past, Alice’s eerie new friend, and a series of disturbing events that suggest we’re in for a thrill. But just as you’re about to commend “Imaginary” for its daring, it veers off into the realm of the painfully predictable. The second half of the movie decides that subtlety is out of style and opts for an expository dump that feels like the cinematic equivalent of reading the film’s Wikipedia plot summary out loud.

Gloria, essentially the plot’s mouthpiece, might as well start with “Previously on ‘Imaginary'” for all the finesse she brings to the unfolding story. And as we’re dragged kicking and screaming into the Never Ever realm, you can’t help but wish you’d been left behind in the safety of the mundane world, where the scariest thing is the prospect of sitting through another horror cliché.

The film’s climax, intended to be a crescendo of fear and revelation, instead feels like being stuck on a merry-go-round that’s lost its charm. You’re just going in circles, past the same old horror scenery you’ve seen a thousand times before. The attempt to weave a complex narrative about childhood trauma, imagination, and family bonds ends up tangled in its own web, leaving viewers not so much scared as they are exasperated.

By the end, “Imaginary” doesn’t just jump the shark—it performs a lackluster somersault over a pool of every horror film it tries to emulate, landing with a splash that leaves you drenched in disappointment. The only thing scarier than the movie’s antagonist is the realization that you’ve spent 90 minutes waiting for a twist or turn that could redeem the whole endeavor, only to be left with the sinking feeling that the real horror was the missed potential along the way.

“Imaginary” could have been a mesmerizing exploration of the dark corners of our past that haunt us. Instead, it opts for a joyride through the amusement park of horror clichés, leaving us not with the exhilarating fear of a rollercoaster’s drop but the queasy regret of a ride on the teacups. The best thing about this movie was the fact that it ended.

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Night Swim (2024)

Night Swim tries to tread water in the realm of originality, yet can’t seem to shake off the chlorine-scented shadow of its Amityville-inspired roots.



Night Swim Review

Bryce McGuire’s Night Swim (2024) dives into the deep end of the supernatural horror genre, only to find itself paddling in the shallow waters of predictability. This tale of a family besieged by a malevolent force lurking in their backyard pool attempts to make a splash but ends up more of a gentle ripple in the vast ocean of haunted house (or should we say, haunted pool) narratives.

Ray Waller, a former major leaguer benched by illness, alongside his wife and two kids, moves into what can only be described as the real estate equivalent of a cursed ancient burial ground—complete with a pool that’s less ‘inviting summer oasis’ and more ‘gateway to watery doom.’ The pool, a sinister puddle of malevolence, promises healing but at a price far steeper than any medical bill—think of it as the world’s most terrifying health spa.

The story kicks off with a flashback that serves up the classic horror appetizer: an innocent child, a toy boat, and a pool with a taste for human souls. Fast forward to the present, and the Waller family, blissfully unaware of their new home’s damp and dark history, are ready to dive into pool ownership, complete with a self-sustaining eco-system that screams ‘too good to be true.’

As Ray finds rejuvenation in the murky waters, the film attempts to navigate the waters of suspense and terror but ends up tangled in the pool net of clichés. Eve, the ever-concerned wife, starts piecing together the puzzle with the help of a chatty realtor and the previous owner, uncovering a bargain of aquatic proportions: healing waters in exchange for sacrificial offerings to the pool’s resident ghost. The narrative then swirls into a whirlpool of family strife, supernatural possession, and spirited baseball bat assaults.

Night Swim tries to tread water in the realm of originality, yet can’t seem to shake off the chlorine-scented shadow of its Amityville-inspired roots. The film’s attempt at a haunting aquatic antagonist comes off as a soggy rehash of familiar tropes, leaving us yearning for the sharp bite of originality. Despite this, the performances manage to stay afloat, with the cast doggy-paddling through the script with commendable effort.

Night Swim paddles in the kiddie pool of horror, splashing around with the enthusiasm of a summer blockbuster but ultimately needing to grab onto the safety rails of genre giants to keep from sinking. It’s a film that, while not exactly a cannonball of cinematic achievement, doesn’t completely belly flop into the abyss of forgettable horror flicks. So, if you’re looking for a dive into the shallow end of supernatural scares, Night Swim might just be your tepid cup of pool water—just don’t expect to be swept away by the current.

Night Swim Review
2.5 ScreenDim Score
Night Swim tries to tread water in the realm of originality, yet can't seem to shake off the chlorine-scented shadow of its Amityville-inspired roots.

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You’ll Never Find Me (2024)

“You’ll Never Find Me” is an enjoyably odd journey through the human psyche, with enough quirks and twists to keep you glued to your seat.



You'll Never Find Me

“You’ll Never Find Me” (2024) serves up a psychological thriller that’s one part existential dread, two parts cabin fever with a twist, and a generous sprinkle of monologues.

The stage is set in the most glamorous of locales—a mobile home that’s seen better days, probably around the same time pagers were considered cutting-edge tech. Here we find Patrick, played by Brendan Rock, who exudes the kind of charisma only a man living in isolation at the back of an isolated trailer park can muster. Then, as if Mother Nature herself decided Patrick needed company, a storm blows in, carrying with it a mysterious young woman, portrayed with enigmatic allure by Jordan Cowan.

The first act of the film might feel like you’re back in high school, stuck listening to classmates’ presentations that go on forever. Patrick and his unexpected guest take turns delivering monologues that feel like they’re sat in a cirlce at an AA group, passing a baton between them when it’s their turn to talk. “And how does that make you feel, Patrick?” one can almost hear an off-screen therapist ask.

Once the verbal relay race concludes, once the monologues stop, the real fun begins. The film masterfully cranks up the tension, turning the mobile home into a battleground of wits and wills, reminiscent of a chess match where the pieces are equally likely to hug it out or stab each other in the back.

The single-location setting of the film, far from being a limitation, becomes a character in its own right. It’s like watching a reality TV show where the contestants are locked in a room with nothing but their secrets, except here, the prize is making it through the night without losing your sanity.

Rock and Cowan’s performances are so riveting, they almost make you forget you’re watching two people essentially stuck in a glorified tin can. Rock’s portrayal of Patrick is a study in how to be simultaneously creepy and sympathetic—a man who probably talks to his houseplants because they’re less judgmental than people. Cowan, as the mysterious visitor, brings a sense of intrigue that’s palpable, making you wonder if her character stumbled upon the trailer park by accident or if she’s really just a fan of budget accommodations with a side of impending doom.

The twist ending is the cherry on top of this bizarre, stormy sundae, delivering a payoff that makes the earlier slog worth it. It’s like realizing the slow cooker you begrudgingly filled in the morning actually made something delicious by dinner time.

“You’ll Never Find Me” is an enjoyably odd journey through the human psyche, with enough quirks and twists to keep you glued to your seat. The film manages to turn monologues into an art form, albeit one that might benefit from an intermission. So grab some popcorn, lower your expectations for a fast-paced thrill ride, and settle in for a movie that’s quite happy to take its sweet time getting to the point. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the best stories are like a mobile home in a storm—unpredictable, a little shaky, but ultimately, a shelter from the predictable plots raining down outside.

Review 0
3.5 ScreenDim Score
"You'll Never Find Me" is an enjoyably odd journey through the human psyche, with enough quirks and twists to keep you glued to your seat.

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