Director: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka, Jessica Tuck, Joel McKinnon Miller, Ryan Lee, Zach Mills, Gabriel Basso
More info: IMDb
Tagline: Next Summer, It Arrives.
Plot: After witnessing a mysterious train crash, a group of friends in the summer of 1979 begin noticing strange happenings going around in their small town, and begin to investigate into the creepy phenomenon.
My rating: 7/10
Will I watch it again? Nope.
I knew nothing of this movie except it was likened to the vibe of an 80s Spielberg picture. In a way, that's not too far off the mark. The kids feel like they belong in a Spielberg produced film like THE GOONIES (1985), E.T. - THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL (1982) or POLTERGEIST (1982). That's the part I dug the most. Everything else was well-made but not without flaws and some good-sized ones at that.
STEVEN SPIELBERG: I'd like to talk to you about your lens flare.
SASSY UP-AND-COMING-DIRECTOR: Well, I have 15 scenes with lens flare.
STEVEN SPIELBERG: 15 scenes is the minimum. J.J., for example, has 37 scenes with lens flare...and a terrific smile.
SASSY UP-AND-COMING-DIRECTOR: You know what, Stevie, if you want me to have 37 scenes with lens flare, like your pretty boy over there, J.J., why don't you just make the minimum 37 scenes of lens flare?
STEVEN SPIELBERG: Well, I thought I remembered you saying that you wanted to express yourself.
SASSY UP-AND-COMING-DIRECTOR: Yeah. You know what, yeah, I do. I do want to express myself, okay. And I don't need 37 scenes of lens flare to do it.
STEVEN SPIELBERG: Well, I guess I'll just have to get J.J. Abrams to direct this picture then!
SASSY UP-AND-COMING-DIRECTOR: FINE! [flips off Steven Spielberg and is never heard from again]
Does J.J. have a boner for lens flares? THE FUCK, SON! It gets old and fast. Then there's the TREMENDOUS train crash all because a guy drives a pickup truck onto the tracks? And he survives? I don't fucking think so. The ending gets sappy and Hollywood predictable. Other than that I thought it was pretty good but I had a tough time getting past that train derailment that lasted far too long with way too many explosions. Oh, and one more thing, how much impact does a jump scare have when the only thing that creates it is a loud-as-fuck sound that would make Helen Keller flinch? The kids were great, though, and it definitely had some Spielberg touches (who produced it) which was nice but in the end, I couldn't help but want to go home and watch the real thing like CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) or E.T. - THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL (1982).