Between: War (recap and review)

Jennette McCurdy in Between as Wiley
Last week’s episode, End of the Rope raised the stakes and really put things on the boil for the characters of Between and this week in War, they continue to show just how bad things can get in the beleaguered community of young survivors.

Adam’s father wakes him up in the prison to take him to safety. Pat is eaten up with guilt over killing Amanda and Chuck arms his lads with the intent of arresting the Creekers for his sister’s death. Gord tells Hannah she should have let him know she was married and the Mennonite girl returns to her community. Wiley wants to talk to Chuck and Pat’s sister tells her it is a very bad idea.

Chuck and his police force head to the Creeker residence and the family is not there. They find the car, that Pat struck Amanda with. Frances talks Gord into taking the milk into town for Melissa and the kids she looks after.

Adam’s father tries to take him to the tunnel that he used to get into Pretty Lake. The boy learns that not only is there no cure but that his dad worked on the virus. His father tells Adam that he is not immune and that there is no protection against it. Samantha tells Chuck that she knows the Creekers were responsible for Amanda’s death and tells the boy that Pat is there having confessed.

Adam and his continue to talk. Soldiers arrive and Adam’s dad says that they are early and that the military will kill the kids to prevent the spread of the virus. The soldiers, he says, do not know that their masks will not protect them and they believe they are inoculating the children to save them, not kill them. He coughs up blood and dies. Afterward, Adam stands by a door and looks ready to leave Pretty Lake.

Ronnie, Wiley and baby Jason, along with Tracey show up to save Pat. As things spiral out of control, Chuck takes aim at the elder Creeker to shoot him, Wiley jumps in the way demanding that she be killed for Amanda’s death as well. Gord and Melissa show up and big sister forces Wiley to tell Chuck who Jason’s father is and it is revealed that Chuck’s dad is the father. Jason is his brother.

The soldiers rush to “round up a 1,000 kids” and give them the injections. The group at the church; Chuck and the rest, begin to break up when Adam arrives. He tells them that the soldiers outside are there to kill them all. Chuck argues that it cannot be true and Adam points out the lack of communication with the outside world, no television, land-lines or cell phone signals. He also reminds them of the plane being shot down. The government, Adam says, are cleaning up their mess.

After striking Adam, the soldiers are overpowered and Wiley says that if Adam is wrong, “We’re all screwed.” All the kids are being taken to the prison of their shots and Wiley learns that Adam came back to save the kids. Gord and Adam dress up in the soldiers uniforms to escort the group to the prison and stop the soldiers from injecting the kids and wait for them to die. Mark says he can help them get to the control room at the prison as he was an inmate.

While Gord and his group head for the prison, Melissa and Wiley clear the air about the baby and their relationship. Two more soldiers appear and take them to the prison. The plan seems to be working as Gord and the guys follow Mark to the control room. Meanwhile the soldiers are injecting the smaller children.

As Wiley and Melissa are being transported, the soldier driving begins to choke and he dies. The van crashes. The guys are caught out by two other soldiers and the group split up after overpowering the duo. Adam makes it to the control room and as he begins to lock the prison down, his father turns up, not dead after all.

When questioned about it, Adam’s father explains that they are the only two who are immune to the virus as he used his own DNA to make the stuff. It was never meant to be used but Art Carey “went rogue” and infected the town of Pretty Lake. Adam has to shoot his father to save the remaining kids.

The rest of the show is a race between soldiers dying and kids being murdered and a huge dose of irony.

By the end of Between the price of survival has been dear. Two main characters die and there are a couple of heart-stopping moments when it looks like Frances will be killed as well. Rather interestingly, the whole idea behind the virus is population control, similar to the back story behind another Canadian series, The Lottery.

Adam learns that not only can father’s lie, but that governments do as well. Dad may have come back to get the boy, but at the price of killing the rest of the kids in Pretty Lake and the government knows this is happening. The cell phones come back on so the prime minister can tell the kids about the injections. Like the short lived Canadian series The Lottery, the underlying message of Between is that government’s lie and that we are all expendable for the greater good.

The episode War continues to show just how bad things can get in the contaminated area. This Netflix series has turned the corner from a slow uninteresting start to a show that should not be missed. Jennette McCurdy has grown into her character, Jesse Carere has made Adam believable and the rest of the cast are rocking their roles out of the park. Between should be re-named Unmissable.

Ray Harryhausen (June 29, 1920 – May 7, 2013) RIP

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I remember seeing Jason and the Argonauts on television when I was young. The stop motion monsters and effects scared the bejeezus out of me. Years later when I was older and (I thought) more sophisticated, Clash of the Titans didn’t scare me, but it impressed the hell out of me.

It was after a 13 year-old Ray watched the 1933 film King Kong that he got hooked on stop-motion effects. In his words he was, “stunned and haunted. They looked absolutely lifelike … I wanted to know how it was done.”

He started experimenting with stop motion photography and was even working on a huge project when the release of Fantasia and later the Second World War interrupted his progress. After the war he began doing short films and wound up helping on his first feature film, the King Kong “knock off”  Mighty Joe Young.

Working on such classics as The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, and, of course Jason and the Argonauts just to name a couple, he kept making his short films. He also continued to experiment with stop motion and developed a split screen system called Dynamation.  In 1992 he received the Gordon E Sawyer Academy Award for technical achievement. While not all his films had great casts, budgets or outstanding scripts, his work was always the highlight of the film.

Ray was a multi-talented man who inspired Steven Spielberg and others in the film industry. After he retired he returned to sculpting and traveled the world giving lectures and exhibitions of his work. In 2004 he wrote his autobiography and  last year the documentary Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan was released.

When asked which creation was his favourite Ray said, “Medusa, but don’t tell the others.”

He was a modest and likeable man who will be missed by many. He was also a pioneer in the stop motion industry.

So long Ray, the party won’t be the same without you.

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Raymond Frederick Harryhausen, born 29 June 1920; died 7 May 2013

 

The Wrong House aka House Hunting (2013): Disjointed Thriller

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Written and directed by Eric Hurt, House Hunting (The Wrong House in the UK) is Hurt’s first feature length film. On IMDb the film has received a score of 4.5 which, I think, is a bit harsh.

Starring Marc Singer (who I haven’t seen since his V mini-series days in the 1980’s) and Art Lafleur, the film is about two families who both wind up looking at a house for sale out in the middle of nowhere.

Charlie Hays (Singer) and his new/second wife Susan (Hayley DuMond) and daughter Emmy  (Janey Gioiosa) form a nuclear but dysfunctional little family. Emmy hates her new step-mom and Charlie tries to keep the peace between the two.

They all go out to look at a house that Charlie is interested in. On their way there a bloody girl runs out of the woods and collapses in front of their car. When this happens a second car that has been behind them stops and out steps the Thompson family.

Don Thomson (Lafleur) and his wife Leslie (Victoria Vance) and injured son Jason (Paul McGill) take the Hays family and the girl into their vehicle and head to the house. Once there, the families find out that they can’t get away from the place.

Marc Singer and Art Lefleur.
Marc Singer and Art Lafleur.

The film starts out with an interesting concept. Wikipedia states that the “theme” of the film is that “other people are Hell.” I disagree. I think the film’s theme is one of secrets and sins. Everyone has one or the other, in some cases both, and the two families peccadilloes all come home to roost while they are trapped in the house.

Arguably, the film can’t seem to make up its mind on whether it is a ghost story or psychological horror film. This adds to the overall confusion of the events and why some of the things that transpire don’t really make any sort of “logical” sense. Part of the story’s arc deals with the information that Hays’ bank foreclosed on the family who lived in the house previously. Indicating some sort of Faustian pact with the “ex” owner.

There is also an intercom system that repeats a “recorded” message and “sells” the house to prospective buyers. One of the disconnects in this film is that system. While the house has no electricity and no heating, the intercom works fine throughout the entire film.

Some of the actors were a bit wooden, but Singer and Lafleur more than made up for that. Lafleur is one of those actors who seems to have been in just about every film or television series made. He has made a career out of playing very similar parts and if ever there was an actor who could be said to making a career out of being type-cast as an “also-ran,” it would be him.

Despite the dichotomous nature of the film and the lapses in logic, it is strangely watchable. I actually enjoyed it and was surprised to see it get such a low score.

I would say that as far as films go, I’ve seen much worse (Underground springs immediately to mind) and it did at least keep my interest until the end of the film. Annoyingly, there are no special features on the DVD so Hurt has no forum to explain his thought process.

So, a 3 out of 5 stars just for the presence of Singer and Lafleur.

Writer/Director Eric Hurt.
Writer/Director Eric Hurt.