Friday, January 31, 2014

Katniss vs. Harry, Frodo And Bella Swan

As in why I will never read those books.

To begin with, let us get something very clear: I don't like to read. I really don't. First it was just a protest on my part because my parents are teachers, and I was like: "F*** culture and intelligence!". Then I discovered that I do like to read, but I become a little hermit that doesn't talk to anyone for months to come nor am I able to put a book down once I get it up. I am known for becoming antisocial and I have to quote a dear film here:

"No, I just-I started to feel like reading about life was taking time away from actually living life, so I'm trying to, like, accept invitations to things, say 'hi' to the world a little more.

Since then I read about two books a year, and I like to take my time. I am capable of reading a book a day, but I rarely find something that is so good I can't put it down*. Oh, the good old days when Laurell K. Hamilton's vampire hunter series with Anita Blake didn't suck! Those were good years! (To be honest, everything went downhill after book 9... and we are currently at number 22).
Either way, I do read plenty of articles and I do research for my papers and of course my blog entries. But not books, because often I am too tired to read at night and I can't read on the bus. That said, I have read The Hunger Games trilogy in 6 days... you may come to the conclusion that I really liked the books. As I matter of fact, I have found that it is a completely life defining story for me. We all have that, don't we? That trilogy (or more) that defines our teen years or college years. For some it was three of the below mentioned, while for me it was this. Now, in this entry I would like to tell you about why I am NEVER going to read The Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter series and the Twilight series.

To begin with, I also need to add that I love fantasy. I love it above everything else because it has nothing to do with reality - obviously. I have on several occasions read crime novels and simple tales that take place in our world, but when you think about it - it is wonderful to be part of another world, isn't it? To just leave the every days behind and venture into the unknown? Get to know creatures, their homes and their tales? Wonderful.
For that very reason I always had an eye on The Lord Of The Rings trilogy on my brother's shelf. I thought, there must be something to it for being a classic. And my father used to read me The Hobbit when I was little, although we never got to the end... I always loved the map of their world on the very beginning of the books! But as the years passed, I just kept on losing interest. Even when the movies came out, I had no desire to see them at all. I had seen, unintentionally, the ending of the second three times and then the last one, without seeing the first for at least four years. I remember in the December of 2006, after Christmas I sat down and told myself that I won't go into the new year without having seen completely all three movies. It was a fun marathon and I enjoyed them a lot, but not even enough to want to re-watch them, so reading was completely out of the question. Let alone the fact that I am disgusted by Gollum - on every level and I just don't get people who like him! I'm sorry, I'm not judging you, but please don't share that affection with me! There is something else that completely destroyed it for me and that is the spider.

I'm sorry, but I do not want to be reminded of reality when I am in a fantastic world. Why the giant spider? You know what my sister has? Arachnophobia. And you know how she got it? Because my brother has it and he starts screaming like a little girl every time he sees one. Because of that my sister gets scared and she slowly developed it on her own. Don't worry, it is indeed contagious as I am getting worse as well. You wanna know why I haven't seen The Desolation of Smaug in the cinema? Because I didn't want giant effing spiders jumping at me in imax 3D! Sue me!
And on the note of reality crossing into fantasy, J.K. Rowling... A F*CKING SNAKE?! You couldn't make him whisper to puppies, could you? No, no, you had to choose the most disgusting creature living on this planet - which is also the foundation of the fears of at least 50% of the overall population. I'm not even going to address the giant spider that lived in the forest, or the ones that returned to the final battle in the last movie (also, who the hell fought them? What side where they on? Why were they there in the first place? Where they killed, where did the go?!), you can guess where I stand with that, but the snake? OK, not the one at the end of the second movie. Let me tell you that I have never been so glad in my life that they effed up a 3D model so bad! But you see, dragons, unicorns, so many great creatures and this breath taking magical world and you completely ruined it for me by adding the one thing that makes me scared of being alive.
That said, after having seen the first movie I told myself that I would read the books if I liked it, which I did, so I began and one day my sister came up to me and asked me how I was with snakes lately. "Why?" She gently lowered her voice and after taking a deep breath said: "I don't want to ruin the ending, but he battles a giant snake at the end of this book." Closed it, put it away, never opened it again. When I watch the movie I can close my eyes for those few seconds or minutes, I can't turn it off once it is inside my head. Let alone that, I can't focus on a fantasy world if I see these recurring elements. If for example there were more creatures from our world, then perhaps I wouldn't have been bothered so much, but just snakes, spiders and a cat. Fantastic. Don't you argue with me about the three headed dog! It had three heads, he is clearly fantastic! And I am glad that I haven't read them because I am the living proof that the movies are good. I have only seen those and I loved each one, even the ones that didn't get too much recognition. The fourth is my favorite, I believe that the games were highly entertaining, not to mention the dragons and the scenes under water.

Since I begun this entry by pointing out my fandom toward vampire stories, I really couldn't go without mentioning this piece of work (you may insert any other word you wish instead of 'work'). I have seen the movies and I will never read the books. I get that they are supposed to be better, but I don't care for it. I genuinely don't like this world.
And it's not even the sparkling! I know people hate that, but overall that was the least of my worries! My problem is that a vampire is supposed to die from sunlight - they burn in an instant. What kills these vampires? If you cut off their head. Yeah, sounds real enough, but NOTHING else kills them! What happened to the garlic? The cross? The stake to the heart?! I mean, what is wonderful about vampires is that even though they are very strong and they have special abilities there are still very human ways to kill them because they are none other than animals themselves! What was supposed to make these characters scary just made them ridiculous because clearly, abstaining from human blood is very easy for them, which is simply stupid. And you know, the fact that they each have one special ability? It's awesome! Their red eyes and pale skin? Dead-on! Then why? Why  would you ruin it? And don't tell me that the writer had nothing to do with the movies and the script and the cast - because even IF the movies didn't get the books 100% right, they were still a pretty accurate adaptations of what the writer had in mind, for her to sign her name to the project!
I do love vampire stories, and if I have to be honest, I prefer werewolves that have something extra to them. Think of Harry Potter's Professor Lupin! Now, he wasn't just a wolf resembling husky! And here as well, the fact that the wolves were enormous, each with a different color of fur - I loved that! But I am old fashioned: I need them to sleep in coffin - or at least just sleep, because endless endurance is completely unbelievable - and I want them to be slightly weaker to give a chance to the everyday guy to defeat them! I'm not gonna get into another rant about how much I hate Bella Swan and everything she stands for. Nor do I wish to comment the performance of the actors - although trust me, I could! - I will say,  however that having seen the movies I am at liberty to discuss my discontempt and I can assure you that I do not dislike it because that is the cool thing to do! I actually sat down to see whether or not I would  like them and I can give you a lot of reasons that will justify my feelings.

That said. The Hunger Games portrays a dystopian half fantasy-technological, half sci-fi and half very real world that appeals to me from every angle! Without giving away too much spoilers, in case you haven't read them, we have a country divided to twelve districts plus a capitol were dictatorship rules. The main character is not your typical heroine, all that fuels her is the survival instinct and without wanting to be part of it, she is the key element in a revolution that tries to crumble the dictatorship. Actually, it is highly entertaining how she might be the only person who has found a way to make the best of what she has and she is constantly forced into the spotlight. She is actually very introverted and truly not a people's person and I loved that. I think that the thing that really got to me in the book - outside from the fact that I can totally believe that one day we could have dictators who force children to kill each other in a reality TV show - is that Katniss isn't the heroine because she is so good at it, this is just a story. She could really be anyone and she is, a simple girl who just wants to survive. And not even that, as there are several times when she accepts and embraces the idea of death. The story isn't about finding the monster within and fighting it or some coming of age tale because, let's face it, if you lived in this world there is little that doesn't already make you an adult.

And above everything else no book review, movie trailer, or the films themselves from the above listed ever made me want to pick up the book! Not one, except for The Hunger Games. The first trailer for the second movie? I got the ebook so fast, barely five minutes passed by! I read the three books in six days. Yes, I did start to read Harry Potter at one point, but it was utterly boring and I put it down after two chapters anyway - the fact that there was a giant serpent in the end was just an excuse I tell people. Sorry... But admittedly it didn't help at all in convincing me to continue my suffering.
We are different. The movie medium is something that appeals to me a lot, even if ironically I want to become a writer. But I have a very hard time writing fantasy because I feel like I need to set up some rules to follow while writing and I noticed that I tend to explain the rules instead of focusing on the characters and the story. That's a big problem. Perhaps in a couple of years, who knows? In the meanwhile someone bet me to read the Harry Potter books, so perhaps I should gather them, they are here somewhere in the apartment.
Now you know my reasons, what are yours? Did you at least read them? Because the book is much better than the movies, in case some idiot hasn't told you before! :P
_ _ _ _

*I did read a couple of gems over the years that I just had to finish in one day, and I would like to share them with you, perhaps you'll be interested:
  • Gianfranco Liori: Come un Fumetto Giapponese (Like a Japanese Manga)
  • Jane Austen: Pride & Prejudice
  • Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
  • Federico Moccia: Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo (Three Steps Over Heaven)
  • Laurell K. Hamilton: Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake Series)
  • David Lodge: Small World
  • Pablo Desantis: Paris Enigma
  • Stephen Chbosky: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Az Utolsó Kürtös After

Mi tagadás, a gimnáziumom nagy része az életemnek. És ameddig vannak ott barátaim, lesznek események, amikre visszajárok majd. Ilyen volt az idei szalagavató. Az egyik legjobb barátom osztálya ballag ebben az évben, és átkaroltam a Zsombort és elráncigáltam magammal - bár ha őszinte vagyok, nem kellett nagyon könyörögnöm!


"A szalagavató egy nagyon fontos este egy ember életében. 
Én nem emlékszem az enyémre."

Az igazgató úr kezdő mondata után már tudtam, hogy ez egy jó este lesz! Onnantól kezdve minden apróságon hisztérikusan röhögtem (ezt úgy kell elképzelni, hogy nagy csönd van egy szép teremben, én meg a sarokban bemutatom, hogy a hiéna hangokat honnan kölcsönözték Az Oroszlánkirályban!), és többet tapsoltam, mint a színházban. Nem elég, hogy a diákokat még ismerem ebből az évfolyamból, de az osztályfőnökök még olyan tanárok, akik engem is tanítottak, és hát ismerem őket annyira, hogy lássam mennyire fognak nekik hiányozni ezek a gyerekek - elnézést, felnöttek! :)

Sajnos az én évfolyamom magasságában a tanár táncot, mint valaha létező fogalmat törölték a suliban, és ez egy olyan apróság, amit az akkor ott tanító 23 embernek sosem bocsájtok meg. De idén újra próbálkoztak vele és nagy siker volt - és akkor ezt a percet ki is használom, hogy megköszönjem régi Kürtös diáktársamnak, aki koreografálta a táncot azt, hogy betette középre az informatika tanárt, a tesi tanárt és az igazgató úrat. Sokat dobott az élményen :D

"- Most szeretnénk megkérni a tanárokat, hogy jöjjenek fel a színpadra és koccintsanak a diákokkal.
- Gyere Zsombi menjünk!"

A szalagtűzés alatt viszont csak egy dal ment, egy röpke 40 percig, aminek csak a refrénje hallatszódott ki és hát az nagyon fárasztó volt: "Because I'm happy. Clap along if you know what happiness is to you." Amikor a 20. percet megütöttük, akkor oda fordultam a Zsomborhoz: "I'm not happy anymore." De büszkén, mint a legrosszabb rokon, csápoltam és sikongattam valahányszor a barátaim nevét hallottam és annyira jó volt látni, hogy ők is elérték ezt a pillanatot.A program után keringőztem én is egy kicsit, majd felhívtam egy barátnőmet, és csak ennyit mondtam neki: "A keringő. A keringő miatt mindig megéri eljönni."

Az este pedig nem máshol, mint az én törzshelyemen, az egyetemi kávézóban folytatódott - Könyvtár Klub & TreffOrt Kert. Hihetetlen még most is, hogy ott láttam ezeket az embereket! Annyira más már az életem - szerencsére - és nem, mintha nem lenne öröm megosztani velük, de akkor is volt egy ilyen apró érzés, mintha egy másik univerzumban lennék éppen. És először, annak ellenére, hogy miattuk mentem, nem a diákokkal hanem a tanárokkal buliztam. Bevallom én kicsi lelkemnek ez nagyon jót tett mert volt egy pillanat, ahol elszóltam magam, hogy "Ez az utolsó afterem.". A hangzavar és a zene, mellettünk lévő csocsó ellenére volt ott egy másodperc csend, amikor majdnem mindenki rám nézett, és elhangzott a kérdés: "Miért?". Őszinte válaszom az volt, hogy nem ismerek már senkit, minek jönnék? Erre a német tanárnőm felnevetett és azt mondta: "Ismersz minket." :D Magam részéről úgy gondolom, hogy a tanárjaimmal bármikor tudok bulizni, ahhoz nem kell olyan kifogás, mint a szalagavató! De, amikor elmegy az egész életed azzal, hogy elérd mások tudják, hogy rendes ember vagy, akkor jól esik tudni ha szívesen látnak!


Az este szerintem nem is lehetett volna jobb. Semmi rosszat nem hallotam, és bevallom a nagyobb része azzal telt el, hogy az angol tanárnőmmel két órán keresztül Benedict Cumberbatchről vitáztunk, na meg arról, hogy az EastEnders-ben nagyon csúnyán beszélnek... mármint az akcentus, tényleg szörnyű! Ezt követte az, hogy felálltam és előttem valaki tátra nyílt karokkal fogadott - egy másik Kürtös, akit én ballagtattam. És ezek után még három osztálytársam is megjelent, akiket stílusosan a ballagás óta nem láttam (köhm... három éve). Hát, ilyen sok mindenre jó egy gimis after party!

Úgy gondolom, hogy az este sikere nélkül nem lennék ennyire biztos abban, hogy ez már kicsit sem az én világom. A barátaim a családom, és a tanárjaimnak köszönhetem, aki vagyok ezért mindig örömmel fog eltölteni ha velük lehetek, de azt hiszem ez volt az a buli, ami kellett, hogy lezárjam ezt a fejezetet is. És apám, lehet, hogy ez volt eddig a legjobb fejezet! 

♫ We Are One, One For Sure, All United

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What's Next On My List? Running Scared

Thriller Month In January!
I don't watch horror movies. I don't because I don't like them. I don't like to be scared, even if the make-up is bad and the blood is ketchup! I just don't. And in my life so far I have discovered that most young actors/actresses tend to play parts in horror movies - that is a department that always comes up with cash to make their movies. And although I love a lot of young actors, I am simply not willing to put myself through the pain of a horror movie for either of them. I did for two actors, however, and here is why: I just have to see them in more movies. But here comes the problem: imdb keeps categorizing these as horror-thrillers, while the ones I am going to review are actually all psycho-thrillers which - although a lot more scarier - actually do have a plot that makes you interested! That is why I chose these three movies from two of my favorites (also being the only ones I have ever seen...) Last, but not least:


Although I came up with the idea of thriller month only on New Year's Eve, still, you can see that it is no coincidence. I really wanted to talk some more about him, as I won't be able to do it for much longer. And the movies I rounded up for this review series really have a special meaning for me. They might have made me shit myself once or twice, and they might've made me scared of leaving my room for a couple of hours, but that was because the acting was off the hook with great screenplays.

The story tells two separate stories that intertwine several times. On the one hand we have Joey Gazelle, a minor member of a mafia group who has the job of getting rid of evidence. On the other hand we have Oleg, the neighboring boy who is friends with Joey's son. Oleg one night sees Joey hiding a gun he was trusted with getting rid off in his basement. Oleg takes the gun and uses to protect his mother from his stepfather. Afraid of what he has done, he runs away only to encounter all hell all night, with basically everyone running after him. Joey needs him to get the gun back, while his stepfather wants to very much make him pay for being a disrespectful little brat.
Joey gets into trouble and has to act quickly, not knowing what Oleg goes through. He meets a homeless man, a drug dealer, a pimp and his prostitute - one, who actually helps him, only to end up with his stepfather again and a sadistic child molesting serial killer couple. It is Joey's wife Teresa the one who saves him in the end, only for a final show down. Joey is thrown between his and the rival gang, only to die in a battle, but saving Oleg. In the end we find out that Joey was stashing the guns for evidence, as he was an undercover FBI agent, who successfully faked his own death, to assure safety for his family and Oleg, who they adopt as his mother kills herself over thinking her only son died during the events of that horrible night.

This movie is f*cking terrifying! I watched it on a Sunday morning at 9 - the appropriate time in my opinion to watch thrillers and horrors - and I was still afraid to leave the house at night ever again. I know that this kid got unlucky, but damn some real horrible shit went down here! The most terrifying thing was probably the fact that the serial killer mother was played by Elizabeth Mitchell, whom I adore very much and she scared me so hard - in comparison the members of the mafia barely managed to get me worried! And the way things just got worse and worse? There was a point, where I just shouted out "Oh come on! Give that kid a freaking break!" Keep in mind I was 16 when I saw this and trust me, this is not for a young audience!
The only thing that pissed me off really was that in the end Joey turned out to be a cop. This was another movie where Walker was an undercover agent and I just had it. Be a bad guy for once! Wouldn't that be awesome? He can still love his wife and kid, but yeah, be a thug for real! Ah, I'm just complaining for no reason, of course the story was very smart because I had no idea what the end was going to be, so they get a good point for surprising me. And in the end there really couldn't be a happier ending then giving this kid and this family a chance to live a normal life. So all in all, good story, good actors, great execution and the last twenty minutes were more of an action movie than a thriller, so there is plenty to enjoy here for everyone out there!

Watch it? Yes if you like your thrillers to have a story. If you are looking for something scary without any scar tissue afterwards, then skip it. The story is very hard to take on an empty stomach! But if you are a Walker fan, make sure you don't miss out on this one either!

These were the three thrillers I wanted to tell you about. Next up is something a bit different, before we get back to reviews. It will be an entry where I address a couple of issues regarding reading. Make sure you stay tuned!

_ _ _ _ _ 

Joey Gazelle - Paul Walker
Oleg Yugorsky - Cameron Bright
Teresa Gazelle - Vera Farmiga
Detective Rydell - Chazz Palminteri
Tommy Perello - Johnny Messner
Anzor Yugorsky - Karel Roden

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What's Next On My List? Joy Ride

Thriller Month In January!
I don't watch horror movies. I don't because I don't like them. I don't like to be scared, even if the make-up is bad and the blood is ketchup! I just don't. And in my life so far I have discovered that most young actors/actresses tend to play parts in horror movies - that is a department that always comes up with cash to make their movies. And although I love a lot of young actors, I am simply not willing to put myself through the pain of a horror movie for either of them. I did for two actors, however, and here is why: I just have to see them in more movies. But here comes the problem: imdb keeps categorizing these as horror-thrillers, while the ones I am going to review are actually all psycho-thrillers which - although a lot more scarier - actually do have a plot that makes you interested! That is why I chose these three movies from two of my favorites (also being the only ones I have ever seen...) Second on the list is:

 

You could also guess, that the only other person on this planet for whom I am willing to sit through any and all movies is Paul Walker. There are three actors out there that I love so much to wish to see every single item on their imdb list, no matter how small the role is. He was the first to make me feel this way and therefore I want to talk about some of his movies. So let's not waste any time, shall we?

Lewis is a college student who is about to head home to New Jersey with his girlfriend Venna, when he gets a call from his brother Fuller. Fuller was arrested and has to be bailed out, so Lewis makes a turn to get him before he gets to Venna. During the trip Fuller buys a CB truck radio and they start to mess around with some truckers as Lewis can imitate a woman's voice. The joke seems to be getting out of hand, and they apologize, only to find out that the trucker they pissed off has been following them, and he becomes curious again once he finds out that there really is a girl with them. They try to run, but it all seem to be in vain, as not only does the trucker find them, but he kidnaps Venna and the boys have to save her. At the end they seem triumphant as the trucker falls prey of his own trap. The movie ends when the police finally intervenes and helps them, the three believe to have escaped his wrath, only to find out the trucker is still alive and out there.

I actually saw this movie on TV. Wow, that just sounds so weird to me now! So much time has passed since then. So, even with commercials and all, the movie got me gripped to my seat from beginning to end. I watched it with my mom and my sister and yet I pretty much shit my pants when they were out in an open field in the middle of the night, with two headlights following them. At the time I still lived in Italy and we would actually travel to Hungary by car. Sleepless nights on highways is nothing new to me, so that is probably why this movie got to me - those trucks are freakin' huge! And that horn? It is creepy as hell!
But let alone the creepy element, the movie as a thriller is definitely a 10/10 as we never see the face of the trucker and the mystery of it stays with you after the movie. Really, that is the most frightening about it, that we have someone that can be anyone, because he has no face - he can be everyone and no  other horror movie trailer ever managed to make me feel so scared to be alive! But it is a good feeling as well, because although scary, it also makes you reflect. All the characters are really kids, especially Fuller who is supposed to be the big brother who sets the good example! And most importantly they learn that actions have consequences. Horror movies don't teach us anything, except maybe don't go into the woods alone in your underwear!
I loved this movie, but I can still recall, after 10 years, how scared I was when I saw it and I just can't bring myself to watching it again. It is here on my shelf, I bought it because it is an awesome movie, but I just can't. Maybe on a Sunday morning when the sun came up - for me that is the ideal time to watch movies like this :D
Although the movie doesn't have dashing imdb reviews, it still had a sequel, which I cannot tell you anything about. It didn't have Walker to start off with and well, horror-thriller sequels usually have the same story with different characters or just one character who survived and has to now go through that shit again. I never get those sequels... as if for most them the original story was so brilliant that there absolutely has to be another one!

That said, if you enjoy thrillers or wanna make sure that your girl cuddles up to you on the couch, trust me, this is for you! Great acting with a great story and actual character development. Perhaps it isn't as scary as some others, and that is why the rating is low, but it isn't as awful as some other movies I struggled through, so there, keep that in mind! :D

Until the next item on the thriller list!
_ _ _ _ _

Lewis - Paul Walker
Fuller - Steve Zahn

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What's Next On My List? House At The End OF The Street

Thriller Month In January!
I don't watch horror movies. I don't because I don't like them. I don't like to be scared, even if the make-up is bad and the blood is ketchup! I just don't. And in my life so far I have discovered that most young actors/actresses tend to play parts in horror movies - that is a department that always comes up with cash to make their movies. And although I love a lot of young actors, I am simply not willing to put myself through the pain of a horror movie for either of them. I did for two actors, however, and here is why: I just have to see them in more movies. But here comes the problem: imdb keeps categorizing these as horror-thrillers, while the ones I am going to review are actually all psycho-thrillers which - although a lot more scarier - actually do have a plot that makes you interested! That is why I chose these three movies from two of my favorites (also being the only ones I have ever seen...) First up:


Yes, one of the two is Jennifer Lawrence. You could see that coming, couldn't you? Just like most young actors today, even she had some thrillers prior to her Academy Award.
Before I summarize the movie, I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. The imdb rating is totally off, not to mention that there was a very smart twist at the end that completely took me by surprise and I loved the casting! And in addition to that it has a great soundtrack. I'm not 100% sure what the people who gave it 5,4 stars were expecting, but for me it was 9/10. And I'll tell you why in a minute. (Spoilers up ahead!)

Elissa and her mom move from Chicago to a little city, where the neighboring house is an ex crime scene. Next to them, a young girl named Carrie Anne stabbed her parents to death one day, and now the only resident of the house is her brother Ryan, who lives there alone. We find out that she had an accident when she was younger, where she hit her head and everything changed after that. Elissa and Ryan get acquainted pretty fast, but we find out that the deceased Carrie Anne is very much alive and she lives in the basement of the house. Ryan tries to keep her locked up, as she tends to get out and terrorize the woods. Tensions of course rise when Elissa and her mom move in next door and Ryan has to defend them from her. Elissa of course falls in love with Ryan, but seeing that he brings with him trouble everywhere he goes, her mom Sarah asks her not to see him anymore.
One night, when Carrie Anne gets free again, Ryan accidentally snaps her neck and we feel pain, as he tried to keep her alive for so long despite what she had done. But something isn't quite right... Elissa tries to rescue Ryan from some bullies at her school, but arrives to an empty house, only to find a very alive and kicking Carrie Anne in the basement. Ryan tells her that she is ill and nobody must know - her suspicions, however get her tied up in the basement with an angry Ryan. He confides in her, that Carrie Anne died that day when she had her accident, but he needs her, and it is implied he had kidnapped several girls, to keep up his fantasy. Elissa becomes the new subject to replace a long gone sister, but she doesn't give up without a fight, and is saved in the end by her mother Sarah.

I really liked this movie. You start to get the hang of when and how scary movies try to scare you, so you can prepare yourself and focus on the story, instead of the sudden sounds in the obviously too quiet room. And they always jump - they are never dead, no matter how many times you shoot them!
That said, I was actually amazed by how the story evolved. It completely surprised me. There was still 40 minutes to go when Carrie Anne died and I had no idea of what was going to happen. Turns out that Ryan's parents where junkies who were just too high to do anything about their daughter's death and since it was Ryan playing with her, he is blamed for it.
We are also told that Ryan was away with his aunt when the murder occurred, so we can't really be blamed for not suspecting what actually happened. And the final scene is from a video tape of Carrie Anne's birthday, where the little girl exclaims: "But my name is Ryan." And her mother slaps him. We find out that they loved their daughter more, and for almost 10 years Ryan was forced to live as a girl by parents who spent all of their money on getting high.

There are several other things to the movie that I don't want to reveal, there is one thing that bothered me. At the fight in the end, Sarah is practically killed, yet she arises to save her daughter, and then is completely fine? I'm pretty sure she had a fatal wound! But beside that the acting was off the hook, the story was very, very, clever, with a wonderful soundtrack and initially a didn't even look up the casting, I was sold once I knew Lawrence was in it - so I was very pleasantly surprised when many of my favorites turned up :)

Beware that it is a psycho-thriller and it will stay with you for a while and even if the scary bits aren't that strong, the whole concept of Ryan's story is very hard on the viewer. But do check it out, you won't be disappointed!
Until the next item on the thriller list!

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Ryan - Max Thieriot
Carrie Anne - Eva Link
Penn State Carrie Anne - Jordan Hayes