Get Out Gets into the Frightening Reality of the Black Experience Feb25

Get Out Gets into the Frightening Reality of the B...

Synopsis: A black man goes to visit his white girlfriend’s family for a weekend getaway, but they offer more than he bargained for. Universal Pictures; Rated R; 103 minutes. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: The set-up, the racial minority reluctantly going to meet the family of his/her white significant other, is one that we’ve become accustomed to across media, particularly in film. Played for romance, laughs, and drama, the racial tension created amongst interracial couples has become one of American storytelling’s great stage acts. But none of these racially-loaded meet and greets have been downright horrific. Sure, there have been some...

The Girl With All the Gifts is a Lukewarm Crowd Pleaser Feb24

The Girl With All the Gifts is a Lukewarm Crowd Pl...

Overview: A group of soldiers and scientists transport a girl through a zombie-like wasteland in an effort to save humanity. Saban Films; 2017; R; 111 minutes. Here We Go Again: It’s hard not to let the general malaise about zombies affect a viewing of The Girl With All The Gifts. It’s a subject that’s so tired, people are not just tired of it, they’re tired of talking about how tiring it is. But it wasn’t always this way. The zombie concept has been around since the 8th century (1932 on the silver screen). Most of the influence essentially comes from a bastardization of Haitian Voodoo, witch doctors with a mysterious powder that left...

XX is an Unbalanced Nightmare Feb24

XX is an Unbalanced Nightmare

Anthologies are tricky. How do you cram a full story of content into 15-20 minute segments without sacrificing quality? How do you end them well without leaving too much on the plate? XX is the first all female-directed, female-starred horror anthology that tackles these – and many more – problems. Some players are better at it than others, but it’s almost a guarantee with such a varied assortment of creatives involved every viewer can find something to love and appreciate. XX boasts 4 different horror stories by Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin, and Karyn Kusama, respectively. Tied together with wonderfully...

A Cure For Wellness Pursues Radically Influenced Filmmaking Feb16

A Cure For Wellness ...

Overview: A young corporate executive grows suspicious of the Swiss Alps treatment facility to which he has been sent to retrieve his company’s CEO. 20th Century Fox; 2017; Rated R; 146 Minutes. A Composition: The minute that Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) steps onto the grounds of the strange...

Netflix Hidden Gem #99: Trash Fire

Trash Fire (2016) Director: Richard Bates Jr. Genre: Horror Vertical Entertainment Synopsis: A couple whose relationship is on the rocks try to rebuild old family bonds and conquer personal demons, with violent results. Overview: Trash Fire gets into the garbage right away. Meet Owen (Adrian Grenier) and Isabel (the cat-eyed Angela Trimbur) a couple on the rocks at a juncture in their lives. We see them together through an awkward anniversary argument that lets us know things are not going well and only one of them seems to care. Being a fly on the wall for their disintegrating relationship feels like a guilty pleasure, the kind that has...

It’s OK in Chilling It Comes At Night Teaser Feb08

It’s OK in Chilling It Comes At Night Teaser

To say that A24 has been on a roll would be an understatement. Last year, they released what amounted to enough greatness to fill many of our best of the year picks, including two of the best horror movies of the decade with The Witch and Green Room. A24 looks to continue thier tradition of exceptional horror films with release of It Comes at Night, directed by Trey Edward Shults, who brought us last year’s Krisha. Check out the official plot synopsis below: A man (Joel Edgerton) learns that the evil stalking his family home may be only a prelude to horrors that come from within. Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat...

Still Looking Out For Us: Shyamalan’s Split & Mental Illness Feb06

Still Looking Out For Us: Shyamalan’s Split ...

I knew what we were in for the moment I saw the first trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s new film Split. Critics have long had it out for Shyamalan. Before the release of The Visit in 2015, I wrote about how the cultural consensus has consistently and willfully misunderstood him as an auteur. The Visit ended up opening to the sort of widespread acclaim that had evaded his work for over a decade. But when I saw Split’s trailer, I was sure it was about to come crashing down again, buckling under the weight of (perhaps not unfair) thinkpieces about the stigmatization of mental illness. In Split, James McAvoy plays a man named Kevin with...

Rings Is Terrifyingly Boring Feb06

Rings Is Terrifyingly Boring

Overview: When her boyfriend goes missing at college, a young woman finds out he’s discovered a cursed video tape that kills everyone who views it. Paramount Pictures; 2017; Rated PG-13; 102 minutes. Before the Franchise Dies: It doesn’t matter if you have seen The Ring, Gore Verbinski’s 2002 masterpiece American remake of the Japanese classic, or the forgotten 2005 sequel The Ring Two. Rings, the third installment in the series, tells you everything you need to know to keep up really quickly. In its first cold opening (and there are multiple ones), in which a passenger on a plane meets his fabled seventh-day fate in a...

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Is Exactly What You’d Expect Jan30

Resident Evil: The F...

Overview: Alice must race back to The Hive to stop Umbrella and The Red Queen once and for all. Screen Gems; 2017; Rated R; 106 minutes. Evil Comes Home: If you’re into the Resident Evil film series, at this point nothing should stop you from watching Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. If...

The Twist Is We’ve Always Needed More Movies Like Split Jan21

The Twist Is We’ve Always Needed More Movies...

Overview: Three teenage girls are held captive by a man suffering from Disassociative Personality Disorder which manifests as 23 different personalities. Universal Pictures; 2017; Rated PG-13; 117 Minutes. In the Grand Scheme Of Things: It’s almost impossible to review an M. Night Shyamalan film in a vacuum, separate from the rest of his career. Historically, when it comes to constructional precision, Shyamalan has always been something of a revolutionary, a sort of Kanye West-ian artist who pours finely measured elemental arrangement into a pop-culture cookie sheet. His best work (Unbreakable, Signs, and The Visit) is kind of like cinema’s...

Netflix Hidden Gem #90: The Wailing

The Wailing (2016) Director: Na Hong-jin Genre: Horror 20th Century Fox Synopsis: A mysterious, violent illness descends on a village and impacts a family, testing their spiritual limits. Overview: Korean horror has been sitting deservedly high on its throne for decades. Fans who appreciate its elegant style eagerly anticipate each new release or return to the classics with admiration for the genre that’s well-earned. Creeping through the festival circuit this year was The Wailing, an epic story of the lengths a father will go to save the life of his daughter, and how destructive our fear of “the other” can be. One word that always...

The Best Horror of 2016 Dec28

The Best Horror of 2016

Horror is at a new high, with good new releases, both indie and studio, being released at an unprecedented rate. For the first time in a long while, we are getting delightfully frightening films faster than we can keep track of individually. Luckily for us, two of our top horror afficianados, Richard Newby and Becky Belzile, have kept track of 2016 for us. Below, you’ll find their notes kept from the 2016 horror entries, starting with the ten best horror films of the year. … 2016’s Best Horror Films  10. Ouija Origin of Evil With two entries on our top 10 horror of 2016 list, Mike Flanagan is the horror director of the...

Hysteria & Heartbreak: Possession Will Still Leave You Shaken Dec13

Hysteria & Hear...

Overview: A husband and wife face their own monsters within through a horrifying divorce. Gaumont; 1981; Rated R; 124 minutes. I’ll Be the Way That She Wants: In 1981 Andrzej Żuławski released what would become the most prominent and enduring piece of work in his lifetime. Much like...

Netflix Gem #87: Stake Land

Stake Land (2011) Director: Jim Mickle Genre: Horror Dark Sky Films Synopsis: A vampire hunter and his teen apprentice seek a free life in the wake of a vampiric apocalypse. Overview: The Walking Dead premiered in 2010 amidst a slew of post-apocalyptic scenarios. As an obvious artistic response to culture, audiences were both enthralled with watching the fall of mankind and inspired by the will to survive they saw onscreen. This isn’t a new phenomenon; since humanity was able to comprehend life and death we’ve been fascinated or afraid of our own end. Unfortunately this theme of apocalyptic horror has become well-worn  by now but there is...

Monster Fest 2016: Safe Neighborhood Is The Perfect Movie to Go Into Blind Dec01

Monster Fest 2016: Safe Neighborhood Is The Perfec...

Overview: A babysitter and a 12 year old face an unusual home invasion during the Christmas season. Storm Vision Entertainment; 2016; Not Rated; 85 minutes. Twist: Safe Neighborhood is a tough movie to review because of the twist that occurs at the end of the first act. It is such a good twist that the only way to review it is to talk around it and be as vague as possible. Safe Neighborhood is ostensibly the story of a 17-year old babysitter, Ashley, played by Olivia Dejonge (The Visit), who is tasked with babysitting 12-year old Lucas, played by Levi Miller (Pan). Lucas is lovestruck with the older girl and, as she is leaving for college...

The Love Witch Is A Throwback Genre Tale For The Ages Dec01

The Love Witch Is A Throwback Genre Tale For The A...

Overview: A young witch named Elaine is hellbent on finding a man to love her, making use of her many spells and potions to get the job done. Oscilloscope Laboratories; 2016; Not Rated; 120 minutes. Love Magic: If there is an immediate takeaway from The Love Witch, it’s that Anna Biller has directed the hell out of her latest feature. Stylish to a fault, every inch of each frame in The Love Witch employs a striking Technicolor pastiche that calls to mind early genre filmmaking at its finest. Yes, Biller (who was not only the film’s writer, director, editor, and composer but also designed each set and costume) wears her influences on her...

Book to Box Office: We Have Always Lived in the Ca...

Book to Box Office: We Have Always Lived in the Castle Based On: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson Expected Release Date: TBA 2017 Director: Stacie Passon Summary: Merricat Blackwood lives with her older sister Constance and wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian in isolation from their village after several members of their family died from arsenic poisoning. For years, Merricat’s magic has seemingly protected their family from harm, but the arrival of Cousin Charles threatens their small family and the dark secret they’ve been hiding. Working For It: Shirley Jackson is widely considered to be one of the masters of literary...

The Monster Struggles to Carry Its Ugly Weight Nov30

The Monster Struggle...

Overview: A monster traps a mother and her child in their car after an accident. A24; 2016; Rated R; 91 minutes. Revisitation: We have seen this before. Of course, we have also said that very thing about this filmmaker’s work before. Specifically, Bryan Bertino’s directorial debut The...

Monster Fest 2016: Beyond the Gates Nov25

Monster Fest 2016: B...

Overview: Two brothers find a horror board game that seems a little bit too real. Destroy All Entertainment; 2016; Rated R; 84 minutes. VCR Games: In England in the ‘90s, there was a huge trend for video board games. The premise was that along with the usual dice, pieces, and board, the game...

Monster Fest 2016: Raw Adds To An Already Exceptional Horror Year Nov24

Monster Fest 2016: R...

Overview: A young woman goes to veterinary college and finds the hazing rituals are having an adverse effect on her diet. Focus World; 2016; Rated R; 99 minutes. Horror: The best horror movies often combine two elements, one essentially benign and one dangerous. These movies succeed by making...

Monster Fest 2016: Wake in Fright 45 Years Later Nov23

Monster Fest 2016: Wake in Fright 45 Years Later

Overview: A schoolteacher loses his money and finds himself marooned in a small city in the Australian Outback. Drafthouse Films; 1971; Rated R; 114 minutes. Aussie Classic: Wake in Fright is an incredible piece of Australian cinema. A pinnacle of the Ozploitation genre (a name which Quentin Tarantino claims to have coined, though Aussies disagree), the movie is a dirty, surreal character piece about how a small city in the middle of nowhere degrades and corrupts an English schoolteacher. Wake in Fright offers the story of John Grant, a teacher who has paid his thousand dollar bond to the education services so must take whatever stationing...

Monster Fest Returns to Melbourne! Nov21

Monster Fest Returns to Melbourne!

Monster Fest returns to Melbourne this week for four days of horror, comedy, weirdness, and classics. Running from November 24th-27th at Lido Cinemas in Hawthorne, Monster Fest 2016 boasts a murderers’ row of classic movies, first time showings, short curiosities, and events. Movies on this year’s program include Free Fire, Raw, The Greasy Strangler, Prevenge, A Dark Song, and a quad of Ted Kotcheff movies with Split Image, First Blood, Weekend at Bernie’s, and the seminal Wake in Fright. Kotcheff will also be talking about his career in a special masterclass. Other speakers at the festival include Julia Ducournau (Raw), Elizabeth De...

Demon Takes Effort t...

Overview: On the eve of his wedding, a man discovers a secret that once kept to himself possesses his mind and body. The Orchard; 2015; Rated R; 94 minutes. Tragedy: Any viewing of Demon comes with extra weight when one considers the tragic suicide of its director, Marcin Wrona. The director...

October Was the Scariest Month: How Panic Disorder...

October was the scariest month of my life even though I wasn’t even really watching any horror movies. The reason October was such an unprecedentedly terrifying month and the reason why I avoided horror movies was the same: because in September, I was attacked by a monster. Now, this the second week of November, a new monster is making matters even worse. More about my personal monster momentarily, but first, I think we should measure that damage. For all of my life, I have loved horror. I’ve loved being afraid. October, traditionally, has always been my favorite month largely because I love horror. Anyone paying attention knows that last...

Killbillies is Shameful Nov04

Killbillies is Shame...

Overview: The members of a modeling shoot get captured by a group of Slovenian hillbillies who want to use their brain juices to make moonshine. Artsploitation Films; 2016; Not Rated; 83 minutes. What’s in a Name?: So . . . Killbillies. That certainly is a title that begs to be remembered....