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3.1 out of 5 stars
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3.1 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 18 October 2008
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Megan and her friends, Christian, Zoe, Mark and Alicia head to her old family home in Nowell Lake to celebrate the Summer Solstice. The only problem is that Megan is still haunted by the suicide of her twin sister Sofie six months earlier. While shopping at a supply store on the way to the house, Megan befriends Nick who gives her a magazine telling her about communicating with the dead during the Solstice. Whilst in the house, Megan is haunted by what she believes to be the ghost of Sofie which is symbolised by a key chain that Sofie had the night of her death. While investigating the mystery hauntings, she starts to become suspicious of Nick and after finding a photograph of a missing girl named Malin, she starts to unravel an even darker secret that may hold the key to her sisters death. Throughout the film we are given flashbacks of the events leading up to the suicide of Sofie. We are taught that it's not just a girls way of getting out of a tough spot, Sofie is haunted by a curse which she desperately wants to get away from. This ultimately causes her to take a drastic decision that will effect Megan for the months to come.

Now being a straight to DVD movie I didn't expect much, I expected it to be filled with clichés and to be actually, not that scary. I was wrong as this was a film that a lot of the time gave me the creeps. I expected it in some ways to be very in your face with the hauntings from the beginning. It was nothing of the sort as it paced itself well, it didn't seem to want to be a cliché movie where the girl thinks she's going crazy and so does everyone else until they die or something ridiculous like that. It didn't rush it, it didn't treat the viewer like a child with the attention span of a sparrow. It paced the hauntings and built them up brilliantly until the climax.

The cast is strong with the biggest star in it possibly being Shawn Ashmore of X-Men fame. The acting is both solid and believable and the actors manage to draw you into the situation and make you a part of the situation. Elisabeth Harnois during the "six months earlier" scenes is forced to play both Megan and Sofie, which is a true test of acting ability. She does it well and the conversations and interactions between the two seem un-faltered.

I enjoyed the film and I know a lot of horror fans will too. It's not for the faint hearted as it has its genuinely frightening parts. Buy it and enjoy it, you wont be disappointed. I only wish that more straight to DVD movies were as good as this.
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After watching this film, I went to have a look at the certification and was very suprised to see it was a 15 - I am sure this film could have gotten away with a 12!! Like so many reviewers here, I agree that this film just isn't scary. There's a lot of suspense created through the music but hardly any pay off. The evil entity is so poorly created that it just looks like someone's drawn it in after production and added two bits of light for the eyes - very unsophisticated! I wanted to be scared but you're just left there thinking 'is this for real?!'

On a positive note, the quality of acting is good. I recognized plenty of familiar faces from American teen series' - the girl who plays Peyton in One Tree Hill, Jimmy Olsen from Smallville, the ditzy one from Mean Girls and the lead played the devil's daughter in her own series (can't remember what that was called). It's a decent cast and there are so many straight to DVD films of this sort that have a bunch of unknown actors who are just terrible - atleast with Solstice, the acting is credible!

The plot isn't very original as there are many many similar films with a similar set-up and similar outcome! There's no nudity, bad language or any real violence so I think this would be fine for a slightly younger audience. I don't think the film has been targeted well at all though - it's trying to be a supernatural teen horror but just doesn't quite work.

Worth a rent - just don't expect to be scared!
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on 9 October 2008
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The beginning of this film has many things that we have seen so many times in the past and yet there seems to be hardly any attempt to inject even an ounce of originality into the mix. Essentially what we have are stupid stereotypical teenagers, doing stupid stereotypical things.

The brief story is: Kids go on trip to creepy countryside area and think they see a ghost.

The filmmakers even have the kids using the word 'dude'. It's almost like every element of this movie was pinched from the 1980s.

The problem when you fill a film with so many ideas that have been used in famous movies of the past, is that only the most inexperienced and naive of film watchers won't be able to guess what is about to happen next.

Amongst many cliches there are spurting gunky taps, creepy corridor music, a dark old house and its creepy local (played by Lee Ermey), a tiresome girl wandering around outside in the middle of the night to see what the strange noise was and the group of young friends who never believe each other when something wrong or spooky happens.

All of the above made up about 90% of all horror films between 1971 - 1989.

These young fools also decide to stick around despite the mysterious ghostly prints on photos and windows and seeing random incarnations of a dead relative.

On the upside there are three or four reasonably subtle special effect shots that may provoke a shiver or two but these are fleeting and certainly not worth wading through the whole movie for. Also having Lee Ermey show up for a couple of scenes promised so much more than you'd expect given his previous stunning turn as one of the baddies in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake.

It's not that Solstice is technically a bad film, it's just that the story is so unoriginal and has been done far better in far more effective, interesting and enjoyable ways many many times in the past.
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on 19 October 2008
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The term run-of-the-mill was coined for this type of film. A film with no real inventiveness, one that has very little to add to the genre, but which expounds on all the familiar clichés.

It tries, but there in lies the problem. It tries to be too many different things- horror, teen road movie, drama, comedy and the end result is mixed at best. That's not to say it isn't well made or very badly acted, it's neither, but it's just so tediously average and not successful enough with its scare-tactics, or lack there of.

Only if the following things scare you will this film do its job as a horror flick...

Teddy bear key rings
Boxes falling over by themselves
Bad dye jobs
Tree branches swaying in the wind

For a film that's billed primarily as a horror movie it's surprisingly gentle. Granted, the score has all the necessary violin shrieks in all the right places, there's gore (in moderation), there's the array of stock characters (the naïve one, the funny one, the promiscuous one, the creepy one), but there really isn't a great deal of tension cranked up throughout the course of the film and the pay-off is banal to say the least.

'Solstice' also suffers from an incoherent horror premise, one that's based on one of the biggest clichés in movie history- the dead twin. There's only ever going to be one outcome where a twin is concerned, so in waiting for that to happen I found myself irritated rather than intrigued.
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on 1 December 2008
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The first hour or so of this film is very slow moving and tedious, in fact I came very close to giving up on it, but I did persist and the pace and interest levels improve after the first hour. Like the director's better known Blair Witch, this film involves a creepy forest setting. It is another one of those stories where a group of American teenagers go off to spend some holiday time together in the middle of nowhere, and then spooky things happen (you would think the youth of America would have learned it's lesson by now)! The difference here is that one of the teens lost her twin sister the year before and is returning to the house where she spent summers with her. Her dead sister is very much on her mind, even before she suspects that her twin might be trying to tell her something from beyond the grave.

One original feature is that this film does not turn into a bloodbath. All too often the formula is that kids go into the woods for a holiday, meet some weird locals or a something supernatural, and get picked off one-by-one, with the only difference between films being the manner of the gory death. With this film there are some moments to make you jump but everyone survives.
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VINE VOICEon 19 January 2009
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
At first I thought this was going to be a standard tween slasher flick. Sadly its not even that good. Because although there are the requisite cast of moderately attractive tweenagers, culled from various US TV shows (and one former X-man!) in improbably neat clothes there actually isn't a slasher in the film. The closest you get is the living legend that is R.Lee Ermey looking a bit glum.

There's the suggestion of horror for the first hour or so. Then some quick mumbo-jumbo about Cajun black magic (those poor Cajuns - always portrayed badly in American movies) and a couple of semi-shocking flashbacks to explain the whole thing. Basically the heroine of the piece is haunted by her dead sister's keyring and then finds out said sister and sister's boyfriend killed some poor girl and kept it a secret. More in the vein of The Grudge then, than a genuine slasher flick, but sadly The Solstice has nothing novel, shocking, or particularly entertaining to spring on its audience.

The cast get some experience of being in a 'big' movie, R.Lee Ermey gets a paycheck, the rest of us get numb behinds. Pass on this one.
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Directed by one half of the one-hit-wonder Blair Witch Project team who have been stuck in straight-to-video Hell ever since, Daniel Myrick's Solstice turns out to be a better than expected remake of Swedish chiller Midsommer without ever being special enough to go out of your way to see. Set in the Louisiana swamps instead of the Maryland woods, rather than an improvised or semi-documentary approach it opts for a more classical style, shot on film in 2.35:1 widescreen, and rather than ambiguity it offers a resolution to its story of a girl who thinks her dead sister may be trying to communicate with her as the summer solstice approaches. Is she trying to tell her why she committed suicide or that she was actually murdered? And just what was she so afraid of in the days leading to her death? Cue shadows seen out of the corner of the eye and objects that keep on turning up in the wrong place, as things take rather too long to escalate. The shortage of suspects doesn't help the lack of tension despite some very obvious red herrings courtesy of R. Lee Ermey's creepy Cajun (for once not recycling his Full Metal Jacket drill instructor but turning in a good performance). But if the guilty party is obvious, the crime and the nature of the haunting do provide a satisfying twist and while there are no real scares there are a few minor chills along the way. Not great, but a not bad time filler if you're not expecting much. More two-and-a-half stars than three.
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2008
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Hmm, well I suppose I got what I expected from director Daniel Myrick (The Blair Withch Project), and all the non-famous actors from movies like X-Men and Mean Girls.

Which is a run of the mill teen horror flick. As they always do, a bunch of high schoolers decided to take their summer holidays at a remote lakeside house in the Louisiana swamps (!), only to discover that the dead twin sister of one of their party is trying to make contact. Spook! On the plus side, it veers more towards an old fashioned ghost story than it does psycho killer with kitchen equipment.

There isn't much in the way of plot, although the makers do manage to come up with a decent enough twist at the end. There are also some better than average performances from Elizabeth Harnois, Tyler Hoechlin and Amanda Seyfried, all of whom suggest there is potential beyond their teen cuteness.

Not the greatest thing ever, but a decent enough way to pass a winters evening.
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VINE VOICEon 1 October 2008
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was 'lucky' enough to have been given a promo copy of this film. As a consequence I can not comment on how good it sounds as the copy I have only had a Dolby stereo sound track. I can not comment on the picture as I have been lead to believe that promo copy is not in the correct aspect ratio also. Finally there were no extras on the promo.

To the film, a poor remake of a Danish film called `Midsommer'.
The film had all the stock horror movie clichés car stopping on spooky bridge just after comment on running out of fuel etc...
For me the film lacked tension.
The end was a pretty poor series of screams and annoying psycho babble and the usual poppycock.
The acting OK.
The setting Nice.
The directing best left to someone else.
If I never see this film again it will be too soon.

If I never see this film again it will be too soon
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Five high school leavers head off to spent summer solstice in a house in the bayou. After dispensing with the usual cliches (Local old man who stares), the kids get down some drinking - except one girl is haunted by the death of her twin sister and some sort of apparition, manifested in the usual way via clanking pipes, slamming doors, and also a very creepy dark shadow. There is, of course, a dark secret.

This was quite effective - the chills occasionally work, and there a few nervy moments. The characters are surprisingly not the typical teen fodder, which is a pleasant change, and perhaps helps.

It won't win any awards for originality - the final "twist" is a bit of a cliche - but it's an entertaining journey and well worth watching on a dark, cold winter night.
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