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  R’oh, Raggy! The Scooby Gang looks to be doomed before they even get off of the ground! The last episode left off with our intrepid adventurers hopelessly surrounded by vampires. Jesse has been bit, vampires closing in on Xander and Willow, and Buffy is pinned down in a coffin. Luke the vampire goes in for the kill, but Buffy is saved by the deus ex machina of the cross around her neck. Feeling the cross burn his skin, Luke recoils and then flees. She is able to escape and save her friends, however, Jesse is taken by the vampires in all the chaos. This sets in motion the plan for The Harvest.

     Everyone regroups back to the school the next day, unaware of the next step. We understand that going in that the focus of the show is on Buffy and her gang. Even knowing this, how was there no mention of Jesse’s parents worried their son is not home, any police involvement, anything.

All My kids are finally growing up *Sniff*

During this scene where the main gang is in the library, we see character development past the somewhat one-dimensional characters we saw in the first episode. We can see Buffy slowly molding herself as the de facto leader of the gang. Willow quietly becomes the one who is secretly strong and level-headed. Giles becomes the one who makes sure his people are as prepared as much as he can. Xander’s change is a bit more two-sided. While his maturity level may have not changed, he slowly morphs into the one who can take the proverbial bullet.

In the first episode, he came across as somewhat sheepish and almost a background prop. This one, he wants to step up and fight the baddies even with no skills. Now, this does not come across as sexist or misogynistic, more so that he feels he needs to prove himself useful to be a member of the gang.


Leaders on both sides of the coin

     We finally get a bigger taste (no pun intended) of The Leader as he starts the plans of coming back to power. Not only that, we learn about a possible upcoming apocalypse. Darla and Luke bring in Jesse as a meal and sacrifice to The Master. Darla lets it slip that she has already tasted Jesse, offending The Master. He asks her why she would give him scraps. Even though he is visibly and rightfully upset, he gets the idea to use Jesse as bait. He knows that Buffy will come to try to save him, which would make her a much better meal for the Harvest.

Sewer Surfin like a Ninja Turtle

     Back in the library, Willow is able to use her computer skills in acquiring the electrical grids of the city. She cross-references that with the sewer tunnels in the city to find the location of the coven underground. With Buffy realizing that Luke came at her from behind in the mausoleum, the figure out the entrance is in the cemetery. As she goes to slip out of campus, she is caught by the principal. Buffy manages to finagle her way out of school to head to the cemetery. On the way, Buffy is surprised by Xander. who was determined to stay and help, since Jesse was his best friend. After failing to convince him to leave, she agreed to let him tag along.

After having delved into the sewer, they are surrounded by several vampires, before they can find The Master’s chamber. Unfortunately, Jesse is among the vampires. Seemingly surrounded, Buffy and Xander were able to escape. Regrouping back at the library, they realize that the vampires need a massive feeding to bring The Leader to power. This means that they are going back to The Bronze, the scene of the last attack last episode. Unbeknownst to them, however, The Master has marked Luke with the sign of the Vessel, letting him feed to help release The Master, ensuring the Harvest.

Still not the strangest thing in the sewers of Sunnydale (credit:

This party…bites

     Having the gang meet her at The Bronze, Buffy runs home to gear up. Just as Buffy got ready to leave, Joyce stopped her, after being called by the principal about her leaving school on just her second day. The chemistry between Buffy and her mother is amazing, you honestly feel they are really mother and daughter. All Joyce wants is to have a steady home life for her and Buffy. After she left, Buffy snuck to meet everyone at The Bronze, which by now has been locked down and filled with Luke, Darla, Jesse, and many other vampires, ready to begin the Harvest.

Buffy goes in to confront Luke as the others go in the back to help the people trapped inside to escape. After a bit of traditional back and forth banter, Buffy and Luke start a fight which I rather enjoyed. The post-fight event, not so much. Buffy breaks a window and distracts Luke with an outdoor light by telling him it is sunlight so she can kill him. So, if he knew it was night when everyone arrived (around 9-10 pm), why would that be sunlight? And if it was, they would have arrived at like 5 in the morning. This means these kids were out until the early morning on a school night. Anywho, Xander accidentally kills Jesse as someone in the skirmish bumps Jesse into a stake. While this is happening, Willow saves Giles from Darla by dousing her in holy water.

     The next day in school, the gang is relaxing, thinking that they have won. Giles, however, advises them that this is only the beginning. While I did enjoy the first episode, I felt this did a lot to improve on it. The characters were better developed, for the most part, the flow seemed to go at a perfect pace. We also further develop our main BBEG, and also gave nods and hints to future episodes. All in all, a great episode.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Where to get the Harvest?

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Movies n TV

Wheel of Time, Daughter of The Night



We’ve reached episode four of Wheel of Time, which means we’re halfway through the season. While it doesn’t seem like much has happened so far, this is the episode where things start heating up.

The Story

We begin this episode with a flashback. Ishamael is raising something dark and twisted. As we watch, it takes the shape of a woman.

More on that in a bit.

Meanwhile, Nynaeve is healing from her time in the arches. She is quiet and withdrawn. She’s also awkward and uncomfortable around Egwene now that she’s initiated and Egwene is not. Her new friendship with Elayne isn’t helping.


But the three girls come together when Liandrin tells Nynaeve that Perrin has been captured by the Seanchan.

Zoë Robins, Madeleine Madden and Ceara Coveney in Wheel of Time.

However, Perrin is no longer in the clutches of the Seanchan. He was rescued by Elyas and a pack of beautiful wolves. Beautiful and deadly AF by the way. If you have any fear of dogs, this episode might not help that.

Elyas explains to Perrin that he is a Wolf Brother. This means that he can communicate with the wolves, and eventually will gain some of their abilities. While Perrin and Elyas don’t exactly get off on the right foot, he does find a fast friendship with one specific wolf. After a time, he introduces himself by showing Perrin an image of himself jumping up and down. From this, Perrin assumes his name is Hopper.

Finally, we return to Rand. He and Selene have been off in the mountains. They haven’t done much more than each other so far.

And that’s exactly what it appears they’re about to do when Moiraine bursts into the cottage and cuts Selene’s throat.

Rand is surprised and furious until Moiraine explains that the woman he knows as Selene is the Dark Friend Lanfear. With this shocking revelation, the two run off into the night.


What worked

It should be a surprise to no one that I loved the wolves in this episode. Hopper himself was worth an extra Cthulhu. But this is not just because dogs are cute. It’s also because the dog playing Hopper just does a great job.

On a more serious note, I loved how Nynaeve responded upon coming back to the real world. She isn’t okay.

Zoë Robins in Wheel of Time.

And it’s a good thing that she isn’t. Too often in fiction we don’t see the fallout of emotional damage. Hell, we don’t usually see realistic fallout from physical damage.

But she is hurt by what she experienced. And you can tell. That’s realistic character building, and we don’t see that enough.

I also really appreciate the special effects in this episode. The first time we see Lanfear, she’s eerie. She’s frightening. Part of this is thanks to Natasha O’Keeffe, who does a great job. But the effects are what really sells this.

What didn’t work

If Wheel of Time has any fault, it’s that there is far too much sitting about and talking about things. In this case, there’s a lot of standing about and talking about things. Some of this was necessary, and some of it could have been done better. Honestly, there just has to be a better way to convey that characters are struggling.


This was most apparent with Rand and Selene/Lanfear. Honestly, anytime the two of them were on screen it was a great time for me to catch up on Instagram.

This might come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t read the books, but Rand is supposed to be the main character. And here we are, four episodes into an eight-episode season, and so far all he’s done is mess about with his emo girlfriend!

That being said, the story is starting to pick up. With four episodes left, I can’t wait to see how far we go.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Elevator Game, a Film Review

Elevator Game (2023) is directed by Rebekah McKendry and is the first feature-length production of Fearworks.



Elevator Game (2023) is directed by Rebekah McKendry and is the first feature-length production of Fearworks. It adapts the supernatural myth and creepypasta of the same name while providing an original plot. This unrated Shudder exclusive stars Gino Anania, Samantha Halas, and Verity Marks. In full disclosure, I had the opportunity to interview Gino Anania and Stefan Brunner about the film.

Ryan seeks to find answers to his sister’s mysterious disappearance. To do this, he infiltrates a myth-busting web series that seems to have some ties to her final confirmed moments. Desperate to force a confrontation, he encourages them to play the elevator game. Unfortunately, there seems to be more truth to the myth than expected.

A woman bends backward to look over at someone. The street she's on is red and ominous.
ELEVATOR GAME’s Samantha Halas as the 5th Floor Woman

What I Like about Elevator Game & as an Adaptation

I am lucky to have additional insight into the development hell this movie overcame due to COVID. It’s commendable that the film manages to make it of that, even if it requires a lengthy delay of the film.

Usually, I provide a separate section for adaptation quality. However, the source material remains the ritual, which Elevator Game performs accurately. While the myth inspires many creepypastas, Elevator Game doesn’t directly take or adapt any of these works from what I’ve seen. Instead, it makes its own film based on the legend.

As the Fifth Floor Woman, Samantha Halas creates an eerie and disturbing character. While I won’t go so far as to say terrifying, she certainly makes an impression. The revelation that the stunts and performance are all her, as an actual contortionist, I give her more credit.


Gino Anania, given a more complex role than most of his cast members, really does bring a strong performance that creates either friction or synergy with his cast members. I suppose I wanted more of these interactions as some cut sooner than appreciated.

Another amusing element is that the entire motivation for the plot to follow is a forced advertisement from an investor. Something about the chaos being a product of appeasing some investors feels uncomfortably real.

The alternate reality remains surprisingly effective. To be clear, it’s not impressively realistic but stylistic. It genuinely seems like an alternate world with a skewered impression.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes or Trigger Warning

I feel weird mentioning this, but endangering a sister’s life to push the brother’s story forward seems a common trend beyond one form of media.

No discredit to the actors, but the romance feels rushed and unnecessary. Without going into too much detail, to avoid spoilers, there is synergy between the actors but little chemistry in the plot.

A woman holds a man's arm as an elevator door closes.
ELEVATOR GAME – Verity Marks as Chloe Young and Gino Anania as Ryan Keaton

What I Dislike or Considerations

Elevator Game remains set in providing a B-movie experience. Its tight budget leaves little room to surprise the viewer visually. While I am surprised at what it accomplishes, it’s far from overwhelming. This film also remains the first production of Fearworks, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. I’m interested in the future, but Elevator Game leaves much to grow from.

Rebekah McKendry may have a directorial style that influences dialogue, but the line delivery evokes an overexpression that’s common in Lovecraftian films. I say this not as a direct negative, but it remains a required taste best known before viewing. As this isn’t Lovecraftian, I fear it removes some of the reality and tension of those haunting elements.


Many of the characters feel underdeveloped, making me wonder if cutting these roles might lead to more invested characters. While the performances hit their marks, a tighter cast might give each role more to work toward. As this is a tight cast already, it seems an odd issue to rectify.

Final Thoughts

Elevator Game provides an interesting B-movie experience for those who know the legend. For those expecting something different, this film may not work for you. This film overcame a lot to exist but doesn’t break the mold. While I am excited to see Fearworks pursue further ventures toward its ambitious mission statement, I find Elevator Game falling short of its goal.
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

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Movies n TV

My Best Friend’s Exorcism, a Film Review

My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2022) is a R-rated horror comedy directed by Damon Thomas, available on Amazon Prime.



My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2022) is a horror comedy directed by Damon Thomas. Based on Grady Hendrix’s novel of the same name, this R-rated film stars Elsie Fisher, Amiah Miller, Cathay Ang, and Rachel Ogechi Kanu. As of this review, the film is available to Amazon Prime subscribers.

Abby Rivers (Elsie Fisher) and Gretchen Lang (Amiah Miller) seek to escape the monotony of high school drama with their friends. However, in their efforts to have fun, Gretchen Lang encounters a troubling otherworldly demon bent on controlling her body. It’s up to Abby to help her overcome this demonic threat.

A VHS style cover with a girl with red eyes dominating the page. Two girls below here with pink balloons. A clocktower to the right and a field to the left
My Best Friend’s Exorcism Novel Cover

What I Like in My Best Friend’s Exorcism

The effects are surprisingly good. While not overwhelming, these effects never take me out of the film. Even the less realistic scenes fit the overall tone while looking better than expected or required. The 80’s aesthetic strengthens that believability.

Continuing that thought, My Best Friend’s Exorcism oozes the 80’s. Perhaps this comment should set an expectation for the viewer. I can’t exactly comment on the accuracy of the era, but it certainly fits the era of film. If 80’s films don’t interest you, consider looking somewhere else.

While I don’t meet the target audience, the jokes land and provide an enjoyable horror comedy feel. My Best Friend’s Exorcism focuses more on comedy than horror, but this remains a common trend in horror comedies.


The performances remain strong throughout, with leads Elsie Fisher and Amiah Miller pulling off that best-friend chemistry. The cast purposely captures that 80’s nostalgia. Added to the campy nature of the film, one might grow irritated with the acting choices. For me, it certainly fits with the tone and setting.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

Drug use might deserve a mention on this list. While I don’t find this egregious, I imagine this point, or some other technicality, earns the film its undeserved R-rating.

The possession lends itself as a rape allegory, with some characters even believing this to be the trauma Gretchen Lang suffers from. While this isn’t the case, the conversation remains for those who want to avoid such material.

Body horror describes a few scenes of the film, though sparingly. However, one scene convinces me to bring this up for those who get squeamish at the cracking of bones or slimies in the body.

A character is tricked into outing themselves and faces some homophobia because of it. This homophobia is rightfully taken as cruel, not condoned in the slightest, but it remains potentially triggering and deserves mention here.

Two girls sit on a bed, looking at each other. Flower wallpaper in the background.
Elsie Fisher as Abby Rivers (Left) and (Amiah Miller as Gretchen Lang (Right)

What I Dislike, or Food for Thought on My Best Friend’s Exorcism

This film seems to earn its R-rating off some technicality. It is neither raunchy nor gruesome for those expecting that from their R-rated horror films. For me, it’s more an issue of setting expectations. I expect my R-rated horrors to hit hard. My Best Friend’s Exorcism doesn’t.

It would be unfair to expect something like Jennifer’s Body, as this is a lighter and zanier film. There are elements of sisterhood and bodily autonomy that echo the cult classic, but My Best Friend’s Exorcism remains an entirely campier affair.


In terms of performances that lack the intended impact, three over-the-top anti-drug spokesmen outstay their welcome. It’s clearly a jab at D.A.R.E., which certainly works in increments, but then one character becomes an important part of the plot and still keeps his caricature.

Final Thoughts

My Best Friend’s Exorcism fits the taste of an 80’s horror comedy fan. Don’t expect to be frightened at any point, but the comedy lands well enough. The film knows its niche and hits most of its targets. It’s hard to say if the film will stand the test of time, but it certainly earns its runtime.
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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