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REVIEW: The Hollow Child

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Last night, I got a chance to check out the horror-flick ‘The Hollow Child’ which received middle-of-the-road reviews and is available on VOD.

Per the movie’s synopsis, A troubled foster teen works to expose a dangerous supernatural impostor in her new family and rescue her foster sister.

The move starts off centered around Samantha (Jessica McLeod), who is a troubled foster teen that is getting a chance at normalcy in the home of, what I assume to be, her foster care worker, her husband, and their daughter, Olivia (Hanna Cheramy).

Samantha is in charge of walking with her new sister as they both head home from school, but constantly allows young Olivia to walk, at least half of the route, home on her own as Samantha parties with her friend.

During one of these instances, Olivia goes missing and Samantha bares the brunt of the blame, rightfully so, and the ire of her foster parents, mainly her foster dad who makes it clear that he is not on board with Samantha staying at the house.

Samantha is dealing with a lot, and is a cutter, and the film focuses on her struggles at various points throughout the film.

Olivia randomly returns to the home, apparently unharmed, but she is obviously different.

Something happened in the woods, something is controlling Olivia, and that something has very evil intentions.

The movie goes on to show Olivia’s evil demeanor, which is played well by the young Cheramy, and the balancing act that Samantha has to do: dealing with blame, guilt, trying to convince others of Olivia’s new demeanor, trying to prevent Olivia from doing harm, and trying to figure out what happened to her sister.

As the movie goes on, Olivia’s evil actions grow more vile. Olivia goes on a killing spree, showing her “other” side forcing Samantha to have to try and protect her friends, and loved ones.

A side-story focuses on the mysterious evil force that inhabits the forest, and it’s history of destruction.

The film is simplistic in it’s delivery,which is effective. There are only a couple of moments that make you look at the film side-eyed, as there are some rather ridiculous moments, but the totality of it, it’s approach, and it’s delivery, are worth a watch.

The ending may leave you guessing, but the movie is definitely worth the rent.

Fright Nerd Score
65 frights
Summary
The film is simplistic in it's delivery,which is effective. There are only a couple of moments that make you look at the film side-eyed, as there are some rather ridiculous moments, but the totality of it, it's approach, and it's delivery, are worth a watch.
Fright Nerd Score65

 

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REVIEW: Halloween

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I got the chance to see the new Halloween movie, and it came with a ton of hype ahead of it’s nationwide release, but did it live up to the lofty expectations?

David Gordon Green’s movie was meant to be a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s original and it was packed with homages to the first classic film, including the opening credits which reminded me of the initial entries into the iconic series.

Michael Myers has been kept in a psychiatric ward for 40 years, ever since that faithful night in Haddonfield, and it set to be transferred to a new facility where he can live out the final days of his life. Myers had been under the care of Dr. Loomis’ successor, Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) who has made Myers is his life’s work and his obsession, wanting to understand the pure evil that exists within Myers.

On the flip side, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been in seclusion since her horrific experience, training herself in arms and combat, and turning her property into a secure battlefield and bunker,  awaiting the day that she encounters Myers again. This life has drove a wedge between her and her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and put she granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) in the middle, at times.

To her family, and most of the community, Strode is a nutcase.

During transport of Myers, the prison bus crashes and Myers is again set loose on Haddonfield, ironically, on Halloween, and immediately picks up where he left off in a brutal killing spree. Myers even reunites with his mask along the way, which seems to only accelerate his psychosis.

The movie starts to go off rails the moment Myers hits the streets of Haddonfield again. The pacing, the subtlety, the build, and the tense moments that made the original so memorable, were absent from this new entry, and it severely hurt the film.

Despite a stellar performance from Curtis, and despite a handful of gruesome kills, Myers lacks the suspense, lacks the terror, and lacks any real volume. He’s just a dude that is hard to kill, that wants to kill everyone in sight, and that’s unfortunate for such an iconic movie character.

Not even a solid twist properly resonated, and brought on laughter more than it’s intended affect.

While Halloween is watchable, it fails to be what it should be, and although it ranks much higher than Rob Zombie’s take on the films, it still falls short of truly bringing back Myers to the forefront of the horror world, and that’s what really holds this film back.

Naturally, there is room for a sequel, but if this same team gives it another try, I suggest they look at the original less for homage scenes and more for structural direction.

Fright Nerd Score
65 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
While Halloween is watchable, it fails to be what it should be, and although it ranks much higher than Rob Zombie's take on the films, it still falls short of truly bringing back Myers to the forefront of the horror world, and that's what really holds this film back.
Fright Nerd Score65
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REVIEW: Knuckleball

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I was pretty excited for the release of ‘Knuckleball’ which seemed to be the perfect twist on the classic ‘Home Alone’ plot, and last week it finally released.

The Michael Peterson film tells the story of, “left alone on an isolated farm, a 12-year-old boy must fight for his life when he becomes the target of a crazed psychopath.”, and stars Munro Chambers, Michael Ironside, Kathleen Munroe, Drew Nelson, and Luca Villacis.

While the film is strong, the lack of any true teeth from Dixon (Chambers) as he tries to hunt and kill Henry (Villacis) really hurts the overall tale of the film. It’s as though the film was too scared to allow Dixon to really hurt Henry, beyond a couple of scratches, in moments that were perfectly setup for more sensible damage. For Henry to walk away from the ordeal practically unharmed really hurt the story’s realness, in my opinion, and maybe a bit more damage, more in line with the unfolding events, could have had a greater impact.

While many films have laid claim to being a “horror version” of the Home Alone tale, this movie really captured it, and the setting of a frozen farm out in the middle of nowhere provides a perfect backdrop for an isolated tale of horror. And, despite it’s lone flaw, the film delivers a good pace, solid acting, and plenty of problematic moments that pit Henry and Dixon one-on-one, and perfectly illustrate the root of Dixon’s psychotic break and motive for targeting Henry in the way that he does.

The pacing allows perfect story building and character development, and the chemistry between Chambers and Villacis really comes through as they play a deadly game of cat and mouse.

 

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REVIEW: Malevolent

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Last week, Netflix kicked off it’s horror spectacular with the release of ‘Malevolent’, which we have been covering leading up to it’s premier.

According to the synopsis:

“Brother and sister team Angela (Pugh) and Jackson (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) are nothing more than scam artists. Preying on the grief-stricken and the vulnerable, they convince the bereaved that Angela has the ability to contact the dead. It’s a simple con, until Mrs. Green (Celia Imrie) summons the pair to her home — the orphanage that was once stage to a string of murders of young girls — and Angela grows less and less certain of what’s actually real. The fake paranormal investigators suffer the ultimate reality check when they are confronted by the true horrors and terrifying past that lie hidden within the haunted orphanage.”

The film’s story is pretty straight forward, a brother and sister, along with their friends, team up to scam people based off the reputation of Angela and Jackson’s mother, who was believed to have powers that Angela has inherited.

As they venture from house to house, and scam to scam, there seems to be no remorse for the course they continue to take, until Angela has a real experience that isn’t for “show” or part of the theatrics that the small team relies on.

Angela starts honing in on her gift, and starts to take a more serious approach despite being dismissed by Jackson, who is in a world of financial trouble and needs the scam to pay off big.

Eventually they are summoned by Mrs. Green, who is complaining about the children who haunt her massive house. What lies beneath the surface is a story much darker, and one that slowly unravels once Mrs. Green smartens up to the scheme.

The movie is slow paced, and lacks scares, drudging on with a monotone story that seems beaten to death by the time the movie moves towards the climax. The story is solid, but loses it’s effect after spending far too much time on dialogue and boring scenes.

While it will surely draw in viewers looking to celebrate a scary month of October, it’s sadly disappointing, causing more boredom than scary moments.

Fright Nerd Score
45.5 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
The movie is slow paced, and lacks scares, drudging on with a monotone story that seems beaten to death by the time the movie moves towards the climax. The story is solid, but loses it's effect after spending far too much time on dialogue and boring scenes.
Fright Nerd Score45.5
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