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Corvus Rettulit: "Shutter Island" Book Review

Dear Readers,
This is another section of my blog where I’ll discuss my reactions to books, entitled “Corvus Rettulit”. Of course, you can always leave recommendations and suggestions for other awesome books by emailing me at scb4t@virginia.edu. Anyways, here is my first book review of Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island.

Here is just a brief synopsis. When Federal Marshall, Teddy Daniels, goes to the Ashecliffe Hospital, for the criminally insane, to investigate a missing persons case, he never expected to be a rat in a maze. Secrets are rampant on this isolated spot of land as Daniels must uncover the truth about Shutter Island before the truth finds him.

I’m not the type of person who wants to give out spoilers for a book. Therefore, my first reaction to this book is that it really knows how to build up tension and let it explode. This is one book that is loaded with suspense. From its discussions on the treatment of insanity to the twisted dream sequences, this is one maddening (pun intended) page turner.

Now, before I go any further, obviously there are some who may have already seen the Martin Scorsese film adaptation, starring the highly underrated Leonardo Dicaprio. In that case, you may already know how the story ends. However, with common knowledge, it is quite obvious that the book offers a lot more than the film can. Lehane has ingeniously crafted both a beautiful discussion on mental illness and an incredibly effective mystery story that builds suspense with each turn of the page.

Every moment of this novel felt like an Oscar worthy episode of The Twilight Zone as Teddy Daniels continues his investigation of Ashecliffe Hospital. There are plenty of moments, where I felt that this psychological thriller travelled into horror territory as many moments reminded me of stepping into some horror story about lunatic asylums. One particular moment was fueled by an overwhelming tension as you never knew when something frightening might happen. The novel successfully keeps you on the edge of your seat.

In terms of a mystery story, Lehane also does a great job at keeping the reader guessing for a while. True, there are probably some people who can find out the ending way before the novel’s conclusion. However, Lehane provides quite a few clever twists to keep the reader questioning themselves and the narrative. This is an example of mystery story done right, and the twist ending makes the novel even more satisfying as a disturbing thriller. I definitely recommend that you go out to a library or bookstore and check this gem out. You won’t regret it!


The Cinephile: Evil Dead (2013) Film Review

Dear Reader, “ As I mentioned earlier, I am a film lover. The one genre that shall always hold a special place in my heart has to be horror. This is one type of review blog that I call “The Cinephile.” Feel free to recommend any further films, that you would like me to review. You may either email me at scb4t@virginia.edu or message me on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/Corbin007). Now, without further ado, here is my first review for “The Cinephile.”

“Once you unleash evil, it will consume you.” That is one of the multiple captions attached to Fede Alvarez’s highly anticipated Evil Dead – the rebirth of Sam Raimi’s 1981 horror classic. I just got back from seeing a premiere screening, and this film has been constantly on my mind. Before starting this review, I will say that this is not only a proper remake, but this film is an awesome horror film. Director Fede Alvarez deserves a large amount of praise because he not only created a remake that was very respectful to its original material, but he also filmed one of the most effective horror films in years. The story is similar and different, when compared to the original film. We are given four friends, David, Natalie, Olivia, and Eric, who have all gathered together to help the fifth, Mia (played superbly by Jane Levy from ABC’s Suburgatory), through a battle with drug detox. One of the friends winds up discovering an ancient book and reads a forbidden passage. This ultimately leads to some of the most brutal events as, one by one, the friends are taken over by demonic entities. All of this leads to a final bloodbath in which one remaining friend must fight to survive. Ultimately, the film is a true success. With breathtaking cinematography, incredible music, mesmerizing practical effects, a crazy and twisted story, and nightmarish brutality, Alvarez’s Evil Dead ultimately proves itself as another horrifying masterpiece for both old and new fans. First of all, the new Evil Dead is one of the most beautifully shot horror films in recent years. From its usage of the fast roving camera through the woods – most reminiscent of Sam Raimi’s original – to the eerie scenes in the cabin and the woods, Alvarez proves he is a master of imagery. Each scene held a stunning sense of beauty to pair with the horrific and gruesome events of the film. Furthermore, the film truly works as a perfect cinematic experience when the cinematography and practical effects are used to their full potential. Speaking of the practical effects, this film deserves yet another round of applause. The film goes against the Hollywood norm of using CGI, and it returns to the classic use of prosthetics, makeup, puppetry, and gallons (over 50,000 gallons) of fake blood. This proves to give the film some of its really frightening qualities as it made each mutilation or demonic visage much more realistic than your average computer generated imagery. The true power of these practical effects is especially realized in the film’s finale where a deluge of blood pours from the sky. The power of the horror in the film though does not just lie in its very realistic gore, but also in its suspense, which is heightened with powerful sound effects and music. In terms of sound effects, the film was able to really provide a nail biting and edge-of-your-seat power by emphasizing horrific sounds. This ranges from hearing characters mutilating themselves off screen or demonic growls and breathing in the darkness of this cabin in the woods. Probably the most disturbing use of the sound effects involved a scene in which one of the characters is heard slicing chunks of her own face off while hidden in the darkness. Furthermore, in terms of music, the praise all goes to the incredible Roque Banos. His usage of soft beautiful melodies mixed with loud operatic horror music called back to classic horror scoring that felt nostalgic while also adding to the film’s suspense and overall fright factor. From the impressive opening scene to the film’s finale, Banos’ score and the sound effects made this film a truly wild ride of high octane suspense and grueling terror. Thus, we come to the brutality of the film. Being a part of Sam Raimi’s universe, Evil Dead is easily the most brutal horror film to get a wide release in a very long time. However, unlike torture porn films (like Saw or Hostel) that make the horror feel like punishment, this film utilizes gore in a gleeful sense. Although the film oozed with urine, vomit, blood, bone fragments, brains, pus, and other gross things, it never lost its entertainment factor. In fact, throughout the movie, the audience applauded and cheered during certain segments because of these outrageously gruesome moments. This is a factor that will definitely prove effective for diehard fans of the original as well as horror fans in general. Evil Dead is not only an incredibly brutal film, but it is one of the most entertaining brutal horror films to be released in quite some time. Overall, Alvarez truly delivers a diehard horror film that definitely deserves recognition and respect. It shows absolute respect for the original while twisting the story at times to make a whole new movie. It’s a fun, horrifying, and insane cinematic experience that should not be missed, and it definitely deserves multiple viewings. This is the horror film that I have been waiting for, and I could not be happier. Evil Dead is without a doubt one of the best horror experiences to have at the cinema this year. Guaranteed!

Allow Me To Introduce Myself...

Hello Readers, Some of you may not know me very well, so allow me to introduce myself. My name is Corbin Bond, and yes I realize my last name matches that of a famous British agent. Here’s another fun fact, my first name comes from the Latin term “Corvus,” which means raven, hence my obsession with Poe and the word “nevermore.” Trust me that will explain a lot in the future. Anyways, I’m just your average student. That is if you like to use surface level analysis to truly understand people. In actuality, I like to consider myself many things other than average. In fact, once you get to know me, you might realize that I tend to find being “average,” or “normal,” to be vastly overrated. Now that that ice is broken, let me just say that one of my main goals is to converse with all of you over a few interests that you and I might share. First of all, I am a complete movie and book addict. I like escaping either into the celluloid of cinematic art or between the lines of a great work of literature. Furthermore, I love talking with people about them and sharing my reactions. Meanwhile, besides the books and films, I love to travel and find retreats all over the world. With so many people and wonders in the world, I cannot successfully deny myself from seeing them and telling everyone I meet all about these adventures. In addition, there are times where I definitely feel a necessity to speak my mind about specific happenings in the world. From the media and popular culture to random factoids about daily life, I have no hesitation with giving my honest opinion about things I witness in life. Finally, as I said earlier, I want to talk with you. I want to answer whatever questions you may have for me, and I would love to give whatever advice I can to help you. Here is where the fun begins. Not only do I want to converse with you, but I want to hear from you as well. You may want to read my reaction to a specific book or film. Then feel free let me know. If you know of a location that you think I should visit and experience, then by all means tell me so. Furthermore, if you want to discuss something going on in the world or in daily life, then I would love to hear your thoughts. Finally, if you have any questions, I have no problem with providing you with my best possible answers. Essentially, I want to show you how trying to be “normal,” or “average,” is nothing compared to being yourself, no matter how strange or different you are considered by others. Therefore, I am rebelling against the norms to be my full self with all of you. I may not be perfect or the best person. However, I give you my word – “The Word of Bond” – that you will get nothing but the honest opinions and words of a strange, unusual, different, and abnormal individual. In short, I want you to get to know me for me.

Your friend,
Corbin

Email: scb4t@virginia.edu
Youtube: Corbin007



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