The Babysitter – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 film The Babysitter.

Story

I like the reversal of the slasher story, making the group of teens the villains and the bullied kid the hero. I also like that despite that reversal, he still takes them out one by one.

Score: 1

Characters

I liked most of the characters. The main was a little whiny and his parents just weird. The villains were pretty bland except for the babysitter and the jock.

The talk at the end between the babysitter and the main character is interesting and hints at her having done this for a long time. This shows how she still feels like that kid despite years of deals with the devil. I’d love to see a retro prequel.

The true scene stealer was the jock. He took genuine glee in murder and his interactions with the main character are closer to a big brother than attempted murderer. It was fun and ridiculous in the best way.

The parents, bully, and girl next door all act a little over the top. Something that works for the killers but makes the world feel dream like and a little silly when it comes from the regular world characters.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There’s a lot of cheese and a lot of stilted dialogue. It’s most apparent with the bullies and parents. It’s a combination of weird and surreal that works for the rest of the movie but not the “real life” parts.

I’m not a fan of the girl next door’s seeming indifference to what’s happening. She’s sympathetic but doesn’t seem to process the horror of what’s going on, going straight from sympathy to hornyness without being afraid or worried.

That being said, there’s some funny dialogue and good quips.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The filming is well done and the special effects, despite being low budget, are quite good. I like the framing and cuts but there’s nothing special overall and I feel like it could have paid better homage to cinematography of horror movies past.

The music was effective but not amazing.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This is a fun movie. Being the only horror fan in the family I watched this alone. I enjoyed it.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun and silly horror which plays with the usual tropes and has some amazing banter and some excellent scenes. It’s mostly hurt by extending the weird surreal feel to the regular world characters and not contrasting them to the killers.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 7

Dear Dragon,

What a big year. It started out a little rocky when the digital school switched their teachers around and you went from Mme Natalie’s class to Mme Francine’s class. It was a 1-2 split and you were inconsolable for almost a month. In the end, Mme Francine won you over and proved to be an excellent teacher.

This year you learned and did a lot:

  • Lots of math and arts (Art was your favourite subject)
  • French (You’ve improved so much it’s amazing)
  • Reading (You’ve gone from struggling to read a small book to devouring novels) Seeing you go to the library and how excited you got was the highlight of my summer.
  • You had your first crush and it’s freaking cute
  • You learned to swim in Grannie and Granddad’s pool
  • and so much more

This weekend you had your first birthday party with friends. It was super stressful for Mum and I, but you seemed to enjoy yourself, mostly. You had a small meltdown when you struggled to keep up with the 4th and 5th graders that were at the party. You loved your presents, although you said, “My friends over-estimated how much I like unicorns.”

You had definite Ideas of what you wanted at your party.

I’m extremely proud of how welcoming and inclusive you were. You made sure everyone was having fun and felt included, which isn’t easy with a group of shy kids. You’re showing signs of a good leader.

Another big step was going to in-person school. I think that was much harder on me then it was on you. Not seeing what you’re doing makes me feel like I’m missing out and simultaneously like an overbearing parent. Sigh. You seem to be loving it and have made friends. One of which you actually remembered their name. Lol. I wonder how long we’ll refer to the one as, “the girl with the same shoes”, another as “the cute girl”, or the “cousin of the girl with the same shoes”. You seem happy and that’s what matters. I hope you’ll be able to learn and experience as much as you did the previous year.

You are clever, sassy, strong willed, and fast to help others. I worry about your penchant for being distracted, anxious, and having meltdowns when you don’t understand something.

You are still highly competitive and precocious, two things that can be great assets as you grow up. They can also be negatives if you’re not careful. As long as I’m around, I’ll support you and help guide you as best I can.

Happy Birthday and I hope you have a great year.

I love you so much my Dragon girl,

Your Papa

Elemental – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film Elemental.

Story

The trailers made this look like a trope-y rom-com rip-off of Zootopia. What it is instead is a wonderful story of immigration and family. The elements together in a big city is used well and not as a gimmick but a metaphor.

Score: 1

Characters

The two main charactes are animated in very traditional proportions and that’s unfortunate and stereotypical.

Their personalities are much better however and don’t fall into stereotypes too much. It did feel a little odd that neither of them had friends.

The rest of the characters and cast are fun and fairly well fleshed out.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

There are so many element puns that I can’t wait to rewatch and catch more.

The dialogue was very honest to their emotions and simplified. I liked the micro-aggressions from the well-meaning family, it gave the story some needed grounding.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The animation was amazing. Lighting, colour, detail, backgrounds, all beautiful. I loved the line art look of the fire people.

One of the fun parts of watching things with subtitles is seeing how they describe the music. Accorting to the subtitles, the music was “[Emotion] New Age music”. It was however extremely well done and worked perfectly with the tone and feel of the world.

Score: 1

Fun

This was fun in every concievable way. The 6yo said it was good but not great and the three year old concured.

The rest of the family loved it and I think it’s one of my top Pixar movies. Definitely going to want to rewatch this one.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie takes the story of an immigrant family and wraps it into a magical world of elements. The emotions are authentic and story compelling. It’s colourful, fun, and easy to watch.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

The Rescuers – JenEric Movie Review

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1977 film The Rescuers.

Story

It followed the basic recipe of old noire detective stories even, ending on a boat. The story is well contained and cute, but not super original and wastes a lot of time on antics instead of story or characters.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I really like the interplay between the two mains, there was a nice romance arc to them. I also like the competent but humble male lead. It’s a nice switch.

The little girl was cute and the albatross hilarious, but the others were a little boring. The villain felt like a bad copy of Cruella.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was efficient and had some nice quippy lines. Again, most of the best dialogue was between the two main characters.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Watching it on Blu-ray meant being able to see the brush strokes on the stunning backgrounds. This movie was beautiful. I can see where this still influenced other film makers.

The music was good, especially the songs.

Score: 1

Fun

It’s a fun, easy to watch adventure movie with two likeable main characters. What’s not to like? The 6yo and the 4yo were glued to their seats (a refreshing change).

Score: 1

Overall

A classic adventure movie that is absolutely beautiful to watch and has two of the most likeable main characters in animated history.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Come see us this weekend at Ottawa Comiccon

Hello Coffee and Crochet lovers,

JenEric DesignsJenEric CoffeeThe Travelling TARDISJen Desmarais, and Eric Desmarais will be at this year’s (September the 8th to the 10th) Ottawa Comiccon at the EY Centre.

Come get your coffee, crochet, and books!

We’ll be at booths 2604-2606!

Can’t wait to see you there!

Jen and Éric

The Super Mario Bros. Movie – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Story

The writing was concise and clean. The story was a thin scaffolding for large game set pieces and had little to no substance. I appreciated all the nods to the vast catalogue of Mario games.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Mario and Luigi were fairly bland. The addition of their family felt weird and the fake, and disappearing, accents were jarring. I had my reservations about Donkey Kong being played by Seth Rogen but his iconic laugh was perfect for Kong.

I already knew that Bowser would steal the show and he did. Jack Black did an excellent job. A great surprise was the nihilistic cheerful blue star Lumalee. Absolutely hilarious.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The video game references were great and everything Lumalee said were great. Bowser’s dialogue was good, but the rest was a little forced and juvenile.

This is not a movie that will be quoted outside of Bowser’s lines.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Visually stunning and impressively colourful. It was great to watch the background and see all the easter eggs.

The original song will be stuck in my head forever and the rest of the score was wonderfully referential.

Score: 1

Fun

This was an easy watch with lots of nostalgia. I’ve been playing mario games since the eighties and this was very faithful to the world.

That being said, I really did find Mario and Luigi to be the weakest part of the movie.

Score: 1

Overall

A fairly inoffensive nostalgia-driven ride that will have gamers pausing every five seconds for the easter eggs, others will enjoy the angst free fair, and kids will be singing “Peaches” for way too long.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

The Mystery of the Dancing Lights – Prologue

Hello Readers,

For the Elizabeth books I have always treated the prologue like the intro bit in a horror movie or genre TV show. It’s a story in itself with some hints as to what is coming up in the book.

Skip at your own peril!


Do you hear the dancer?
Do you see the lights?
They’re coming for you, camper,
Better beware tonight.

Their song is very lively,
Making you want to dance.
One step, two step, and you’re gone without a chance.
The dancing lights are coming. Tonight, you will see.

Beware little camper,
Of their haunted revelry.
Or you’ll become a dancer,
And fade from memory.

—Camper’s Rhyme, Authors Unknown

Prologue

July 25th, 2015

“This place is freaking creepy!” Eli shuddered as he talked. “I hate cleaning up after adult summer camps. They’re disgusting.”

Cait shook her head and fought the urge to scratch the itch behind her tight hair bun. She knew that he was just talking to avoid the odd silence of the place.

Camp Riding Thorpe was pretty nice compared to some of the places their family had been hired to clean. The main building, which housed the dining room, kitchen, and staff quarters, sat in the middle of a large open field with twenty smaller buildings surrounding it.

“At least they have electricity, and we can use the vacuums this time,” Cait said, trying to look on the positive side and ignore that insistent itch. The last place they’d cleaned was rustic and they’d had to use brooms until their mother came back with a generator. That may seem like not a big deal, but these camps could be pretty terrible without a wet vac as backup.

“I don’t like this place. It’s too quiet. Where are the birds? Where’s the wind? There’s a lake out there; I can see it, but I can’t hear any water sounds. How is that normal?” Eli stuck his head out of the small bathrooms he was cleaning to complain.

“We’re probably in for a storm and this is the calm before it. Relax and maybe you should cut down on the horror movies?” One of the things that made the family business more fun was that she could tease her little brother while they cleaned.

“It’s just creepy, okay?”

“Okay, let’s get back to work. If we can finish this soon, we might have a chance to roast some marshmallows before bed.”

“Do we have any wieners left?”

Cait opened her mouth to answer, but a loud scream cut through the silence of the evening.

They both dropped what they were doing and ran. The scream was still going as they ran up the creaky wooden stairs. As they reached the second and top floor, the scream changed into a series of disgusted noises.

They rounded the corner and found their youngest sister, Sonia, dancing around the middle of the hall alternating between screams, gagging noises, and repeating, “Yuck, yuck, yuck!” Her short brown hair bobbed up and down as she jumped around.

“What’s going on?” demanded Cait.

“I found a condom!”

“So?”

“It’s used… and it’s not alone. There are a bunch of used condoms all over these rooms. What kind of animal doesn’t use a garbage?” She followed her rant with another scream.

“Well. Good talk, I have a washroom to clean.” Eli turned around; his wide shoulders almost touched both sides of the hall. He looked so much like their father.

“That kitchen won’t clean itself.” Cait turned to follow him.

“NO!” screamed Sonia. “You are not leaving me to clean all these… these… these… things on my own.”

“This is totally a job Dad would do.” Cait pushed back the sadness. Their father had died the year before from a heart attack.

“I wish he was here,” Eli sighed. “I wish Mom was too. This isn’t as much fun without them.” Their mom was taking a year off to spend it with their grandparents. The three of them had decided that it was worth taking some summer contracts to pay for college and university.

“Fine, we’ll help you take care of this love den if you help us after with the first floor.” Cait knew that Eli would agree before she suggested it.

The main building took them another few hours and it was late by the time they were done. They locked the door and both Eli and Sonia looked pleadingly at Cait with matching light brown eyes.

“It’s past eleven, we have two more full days of cleaning left…” she started saying, but both of her siblings stuck out their bottom lips. “You’re such children. Fine. Get the fire started and I’ll go get the marshmallows.” As she spoke, she took her long multi-coloured hair out of the tight bun and ruthlessly scratched her scalp.

“And wieners,” added Eli as Cait walked toward the RV they shared.

“You’re a wiener,” mocked Sonia.

“What does that even mean? Have you been sniffing the bleach again?”

The RV meant they didn’t have to use the camp’s cooking or sleeping facilities. It was also nice to have a place that was stable. They went from camp to hotel to houses all summer and it felt nice to have a place to call home; even if Eli never cleaned his dishes and Sonia insisted on putting up posters of her most recent crushes.

With marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, and wieners in a bag, Cait headed back toward the large fire pit for the camp.

The sky was clear and the night was humid. Despite the July heat, Cait shivered. There was something off about this camp. She’d been to a lot of different places and even some that were said to be haunted, but this place felt wrong. Like it was artificial or fake.

She looked at the nearly full moon and its reflection on the mirror-like surface of the motionless lake. The moon looked huge and bright tonight. She was so distracted by it and the odd feeling of the camp that she tripped on a root.

Tumbling forward, she dropped the bag of food and fell. She tried to catch herself, but she landed flat on her stomach. The ground wasn’t hard, but it still knocked the air out of her.

Lying on the ground trying to catch her breath, she saw stars. At least, she thought she saw stars, but they danced and moved around like someone was shining a flashlight and swinging it around. The lights were pale, but they filled her with a feeling of warmth.

She has rainbow hair. Do you think she’ll play with us? The voice sounded like a child but softer. After a few moments of waiting, she wasn’t sure if she’d really heard it or if it was her imagination.

“Maybe I should lay off the horror movies,” she said into the night. She dusted herself off, picked up the bag of food, and went back to her siblings, who’d started a roaring fire.

The warmth of the fire combined with the outdoors heat made her start to sweat the moment she got close.

“Food!” exclaimed Sonia as she grabbed the bag.

“You know what would have made this better?” Eli asked but didn’t give them a chance to answer before saying, “Beer.”

“Right. That’s what I want to do, get drunk with my little siblings. You know Mom and Dad’s rules. No alcohol, it’s unprofessional. Plus, she’s not old enough.” Cait gestured at Sonia.

“I’m eighteen!”

“We’re in Ontario, not Quebec.” Cait deadpanned.

“Are we? This is, like, the sixth camp in the past month. I have no idea where we are.” Sonia shoved a double-sized s’more into her mouth.

“Should we tell ghost stories?” Eli asked as he stuck some wieners on a stick.

“No!” Cait replied, failing at keeping the panic out of her voice. “I mean, I don’t want you having trouble sleeping. You keep saying this place is creepy.” The other two stared at her with dubious looks and after a few more moments, she asked, “Have either of you seen weird lights?”

“I thought we weren’t telling ghost stories?” Sonia’s voice cracked part way through her sentence.

“I’m serious…”

“I haven’t. This place is creepy, but I haven’t seen any lights…” Eli trailed off.

“I fell on the way here and I thought I saw something.” It sounded silly now that she said it out loud.

“That explains all the broken crackers,” said Sonia.

“My wieners are fine. I guess wieners are tougher than crackers.” Eli smirked. The three of them burst into giggles and the creepy atmosphere that had built up disappeared.

The night grew old, the sounds of the crackling fire softened, and the three siblings started to fall asleep. Eli dumped a bucket of sand on the last embers and they stumbled toward the trailer.

Falling into bed, Cait fell asleep immediately. Her dreams were filled with floating lights and voices of giggling children. There was a song in her dreams and violin music.

The morning came too quickly, and she was roused by the dawn sunlight streaming through her window.

The RV was empty, and she felt like that was wrong, but the more she thought about it the harder it was to concentrate. Finally, she decided to just pour herself a bowl of cereal and get to work. She had two days to clean twenty cabins. How had she agreed to clean this whole place by herself?

Looking at the dishes in the sink, she didn’t remember dirtying them. Why hadn’t she cleaned them?

Her shower was warm and she reminded herself that next time she went into town she needed to refill the RV’s reservoir. As she dressed, she looked at the posters of semi-naked female celebrities and wondered why she’d put them up.

She put on her shorts and a shirt. The shirt hung off her like a sheet, it was way too large. Why would she have a double-XL t-shirt?

Suddenly her head hurt as if someone had hit her with a baseball bat. The pain wasn’t important to her. Eli and Sonia weren’t in the RV, and she’d forgotten about them.

Running outside, still wearing the too large shirt, she screamed their names. Echoes and silence were her only response and her heart started to beat too fast.

Taking a few deep breaths, she fought the urge to hyperventilate. “They probably just went to the fire and decided to make eggs and bacon.” Their parents would always make a big breakfast for the last day on a job and she hoped they decided to do it early.

Cait ran to the fire pit and found nothing but the remnants of last night’s fire and graham cracker crumbs. She looked around wildly, her hair whipping into her face by a strong wind. The wind carried with it the sound of violins, or maybe fiddles; she never could figure out the difference. The music was haunting and beautiful.

Without her permission, her bare feet took her toward the music. Inside her, a voice that sounded a lot like her father, screamed for her to stop but she couldn’t. Mist blanketed the forest making it impossible to see where she was stepping, but her feet knew the way.

She didn’t feel the stones or weeds she stepped on. She didn’t feel the sting of her flailing hair which created a multi-coloured halo around her shoulders and head. She didn’t feel anything but the clashing emotions of joy and panic.

She walked into the forest and her mutinous feet started to dance. She danced her way into a clearing, the clearing was filled with beautiful lights. The lights dipped and weaved pulsing in every colour imaginable.

The dance took her to the centre of the clearing; her possessed feet and hair joined the dancing lights. The voice of her father faded to almost nothing as she gave herself to the music.

The mist on the ground swirled around with her and dissipated, revealing her two bare footed siblings lying down on the ground motionless.

The music became hectic and Cait regained control of her feet. Bending down, she tried to reach for Sonia and Eli, but the lights blocked her way.

They wanted to play with us. Why don’t you? Why don’t you want to play with us? The child’s voice was dissonant and sounded like an angry violin.

The dissonance, panic, and pain hit her all at once and she released a scream that echoed through the otherwise eerily quiet Camp Riding Thorpe.

The Mystery of the Dancing Lights by Éric Desmarais is available now!
Physical from Canadian indie bookstores, physical from Indigo, electronic version

The Suns of War – Chapter 8 (Serial Story)


Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 8: Angry Parents and Antimatter Bombs

When the fake asteroid hailed them, Nessa had assumed they’d talk to a burly farmer or engineer. There were jokes throughout the Mars system about Proserpinans being uncultured or backwards. 

The man on the screen was dressed in an ancient styled suit and looked like something from the old Earth stories. He had a strange sharp accent like Martian wasn’t his first language. “Arzure Pendreicht, where have you been?” It was the tone of a precise and strict teacher, not a parent.

“Excuse me Sir, but I’m Commander Nessa Muldune of the ISS Galahad. We are searching for a man named Arthur.”

The man turned his piercing grey eyes on Nessa and said, “Would that be King Arthur? Who shall return and rule the galaxy ushering in a golden age of galactic peace?”

Hesitating, Nessa then replied, “Yes.”

With a sly smile the man said, “No one by that name is on Proserpina.” He then scowled at Zuri and commanded, “You will return home immediately or we will retrieve you! You have no business traipsing around the cosmos with these people.” His emphasis on the word people made it clear it was meant as an insult.

“But Father,” she started and then added, “Yes, Sir.”

The line was cut and the whole bridge crew turned to Zuri. Nessa was the first to talk and asked, “How old are you?”

“Twenty. Why?” Zuri looked confused.

“I was sixteen when I enlisted and by Martian law you’re an adult at that age. You don’t have to go with him if you don’t want to.”

Zuri sighed and slumped into the engineering station’s chair. “You don’t understand. He’ll chase us and he’ll destroy this ship.”

Alexandre scoffed. “This might be a Martian design, but with the upgrades done by the Avalonians and yourself, there’s no way that ancient bucket of bolts could touch us.”

“That’s an original old Earth destroyer class colony ship. Its hull was designed to absorb radiation and turn it into fuel. It would take crashing a planet into it to make a dent.” Zuri sounded defeated. 

Nessa put a gentle paw on the girl’s arm and said, “He could command the combined army of the three systems. If you don’t want to return, I will protect you.”

The rest of the crew nodded in agreement and the decision was made. 

“Please,” Zuri said, her voice thin and fragile.

Nessa gestured at the screen and said, “Em, get them back on the vid.”

“Yes Sir,” the master sergeant replied.

“What do you want now?” The man’s glare was as sharp as his suit.

“Zuri is a member of our crew and she wants to stay with us. Our mission is to find Arthur. Any information you can give us would be appreciated.” 

The man fixed his eye on Zuri and said, “If you do this, we will kill everyone on that sh—” His words were interrupted by heavy fire.

“Sir, there are three Myrddin ships that have just dropped out of FTL. They’re firing on both us and the Proserpina,” Tanya said with her fingers poised over the weapon controls.

“They’re firing on both of us,” confirmed Alexandre.

Bart barked, “Let’s get out of here.”

“Agreed,” Nessa replied. “Take us anywhere but here.”

Just as the Galahad jumped to FTL, an explosion rocked the ship. 

Still looking younger than her years, Zuri tapped furiously at her consol, “Captain, we’ve taken severe damage to our engines. I’m not sure how we’re still in FTL.”

“How is that possible and can anyone tell where we’re headed?” Nessa asked. Sometimes it was the Captain’s job to know all the answers and sometimes they had to ask the right ones. Finding the balance was always tricky.

After a little, Em answered from the helm, “It looks like we’re headed toward the Ares system and our speed is increasing. We just passed FTL-20.” Faster than light speed was calculated by multiplying the speed of light. Twenty meant they were moving at twenty the speed of light. With the ship’s engines, they normally moved at a maximum of FTL-15.

“Zuri, I thought you said our engines were down?” Bart asked.

“They are, but that was an antimatter bomb, and it hit our shields at the exact moment we created the FTL bubble. The bomb is stuck in our bubble, fueling our speed, and sustaining the bubble.”

“Can the ship survive this?” Nessa asked, surprised that she couldn’t feel any turbulence.

“Absolutely. The ship isn’t doing anything so it’s not a problem. However, if the bubble bursts before it slows, the ship will be torn apart at a molecular level,” Alexandre replied.

“Sir we just hit FTL-2000. Nope FTL-4000.” Em sounded awed and panicked at the same time. A feeling that Nessa could understand.

“Options?”

“What if we shot a regular bomb at the antimatter one?” Tanya sounded excited about blowing things up. 

With wide eyes, both Alexandre and Em said, “No!”

Zuri explained, “That would probably knock the antimatter bomb out of the bubble, but it would also burst it.”

“We’re moving too fast for my instruments. We’re going to pass Ares in less than an hour,” Em smacked her console as if that would help it make more sense.

“How can we syphon off this speed?” Bart asked. When they all looked at him he said, “When I’m flying the fighter and I’m getting too close to my target, I can activate my rudder flaps to slow me down. Can we do the same, but with the bubble?”

“You’re a genius,” Zuri said, causing the canine to puff up his chest.

“So we have something like a wing rudder?” he asked.

“Tartarus, no! That’s a terrible idea. But you said syphon off our speed. What we need to do is syphon the power of the antimatter bomb into our ship’s energy collectors and that will slow us down.”

“Those are designed for plasma not antimatter,” Alexandre pointed out.

“We just need to make some small changes. These engines were designed to run on plasma converted to antimatter, so we just disconnect the micro-collider and feed it directly.”

Alexandre agreed and Nessa asked, “Is this going to kill us?”

Both Zuri and Alexandre replied, “Probably.”

Read Chapter 9 (September 2023)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Anna and the Apocalypse – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2017 film Anna and the Apocalypse.

Story

I have a massive soft spot for musicals and I’m not a huge fan of zombie movies, so this was interesting. The story itself is cookie cutter zombie genre with nothing new to add other than the music.

Score: 0

Characters

The final girl, the best friend, the overbearing dad, the bad boy, the lesbian, the smoochie couple, and the maniacal . It’s a buffet of zombie, YA, and horror tropes.

They might be tropes, but the actors and writers did a great job and managed to balance the psychological horror of zombie with the almost sillness of a musical.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Vacillating from corny to deep and touching, the dialogue does a great job in understanding the characters. There’s more than a few good quips too.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The cinematography in general was okay, the choreography was acceptable, and the gore was well done. My favourite scene happens when the main character doesn’t know there’s been a full apocalypse and is dancing and singing on her way to school with total carnage happening behind her.

The music is excellent and I’ll be humming, “Hollywood Ending” for a long time. Great harmonies, fun numbers, and they work both for a zombie movie or just a high school movie.

Score: 1

Fun

I loved the music, the characters were great, and I enjoyed the movie, but there’s a nihilism to zombie films that just isn’t fun. Nailing the ending to have a little hope but still be dour is hard. There was no hope left in this one.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A fun film with some excellent musical numbers and great acting, but in the end it’s just another zombie movie with nothing new to add.

Final Score: 3 Stars out of 5

The Mystery of the Dancing Lights Reviews

The Mystery of the Dancing Lights was sent out for reviews in May, and here are the responses:

The Mystery of the Dancing Lights by Éric Desmarais is available now!
Physical from Canadian indie bookstores, physical from Indigo, electronic version