Movie Review Weekly Roundup: August 29 – September 4, 2021

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

The following is part of a weekly compilation of movie reviews from The Buzz Track staff. These movies were watched in the previous week, and the reviews were originally posted on Letterboxd.

Riders of Justice (2020)

DIRECTOR: Anders Thomas Jensen.
WRITERS: Anders Thomas Jensen.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 56min.
LANGUAGE: Danish, Arabic.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: August 29, 2021.

Mads Mikkelsen has hit a good stride with several wonderful acting roles in his career. For the time being, he is a bit of an under-appreciated utility actor. But one day, hopefully soon, he will be recognized for all the entertaining movies and television shows he has appeared in over the years. With all that being said, I honestly enjoyed this movie. I had watched an English dubbed copy of it, which is a bit distracting. Some day I will go re-watch this movie in its original language and with onscreen subtitles.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

DIRECTOR: Michael Chaves.
WRITERS: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Horror, Mystery, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 52min.
LANGUAGE: English, Latin.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: August 29, 2021.

This would be just another mediocre horror film. And it is definitely not the best installment in The Conjuring universe. Some of the makeup designs and visual effects are beautifully designed and executed. Michael Chaves, the director of this movie, has a knack for visual horror. His preceding feature-length movie is The Curse of La Llorona (2019). He also directed the nightmarish music video for Billie Eilish’s song Bury a Friend. However, the strength of a visual style is not always backed up with solid storytelling.

Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021)

DIRECTOR: Randall Emmett.
WRITERS: Alan Horsnail.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Crime, Action, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 39min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: September 4, 2021.

From a production standpoint, this movie is great. However, the story feels like a bunch of well-trodden tropes overused in numerous police procedurals featuring a villain who is a sexual predator. It is the feature-length directorial debut from the long-time movie and television producer Randall Emmett. This would explain the solid quality in production. But it is clearly his first movie. Its story feels more like a practice run in how to tell a fictional narrative in visual form.

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