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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: Along Came The Devil

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Jason DeVan’s ‘Along Came The Devil’ had the makings of a solid horror film, with a solid cast and strong performances across the board.

The premise was intriguing, but was problematic because the story was told in an unorganized manner, accompanied by a cookie-cutter script, and possessed too many plot holes to keep interest afloat as you continue to watch an 88 minute filmed that seemed to drag on.

According to the film’s synopsis:

‘After a troubled childhood, Ashley searches for a connection, and unknowingly invites in a demonic force, which leaves her loved ones fighting for her soul.’

Ashley, who is played by Sydney Sweeney, comes from a rough childhood, dealing with the death of her mother Sarah, and her abusive father, she navigates a brutal upbringing with the support of her sister Jordan, who seems to act more as her mother and protector in the film’s opening sequence.

The film picks up 10 years later and Ashley is now a teenager, and has just started living with her Aunt Tanya (Jessica Barth). The film already stumbles getting to this point with no explanation of what the past 10 years were like, or where Ashley was, or even where her sister Jordan was, which shows the plotline and scripts complete ineptitude.

Ashley is back in the town where she grew up and apparently everyone remembers her, including Heather (Madison Lintz) who just pops up out of nowhere and tells Ashley they’re friends. Despite Ashley not remembering her specifically, she goes along with it. Yay script!

Heather is intrigued by the paranormal, and during a party with friends (because, script) she decides to bust out an EVP app. During this ridiculous “seance” Ashley believes she sees her mother, freaks out, and runs off.

When Heather learns about her experience, she is determined to go to Ashley’s house and hold their own EVP session, in an effort to make contact with Ashley’s mother.

When they do this, they apparently invoke a spirit, who is not Ashley’s mother, but is a demon intent of taking the soul of Ashley.

Ashley slowly becomes possessed and at the end of the movie is completely engulfed by the powerful demon. The church pastor (Matt Dallas) and reverend (Bruce Davison) become involved, and things get chaotic.

The movie is do disconnected from itself, is is just a mess to follow, and when you do make the connections, it’s annoying because it still has holes and confusing points.

Despite the cast’s efforts, they cannot save a train wreck of a film that was written horribly, executed terribly, and seemed like a waste of a good premise on such a lazy approach.

Fright Nerd Score
25 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
An interesting premise with solid performances from a strong cast are ruined by an unorganized, lazily executed presentation.
Fright Nerd Score25
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REVIEW: Extinction

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Extinction is Netflix’s brand new sci-fi thriller about a mass event that sees the world under attack from an alien force.

According to the synopsis:

A man’s home life starts to suffer when he has recurring nightmares about a destructive and unknown force. He must soon find the strength to save his wife and two daughters when extraterrestrials launch a devastating attack on the planet.

The movie is quick moving, for the majority of the run time, and centers on Peter (Michael Pena) and the visions that he continues to have that are wreaking havoc on his life, his work, and his relationship with his wife, Alice (Lizzy Caplan), and their two daughters Hannah (Amelia Crouch) and Lucy (Erica Trembley).

The visions center on the end of the world, and at first Peter is concerned about the re-occurring dreams that awake him at night, but once they start randomly happening during the day, Peter starts thinking that they are premonitions.

As his wife pushes him to seek medical attention, Peter denies her request, believing more and more that what he is seeing in his visions are glimpses into a terrible future.

Before they can debate further an attack reigns down on the luxurious apartment building, proving Peter right, but also thrusting him, his family, friends, and neighbors into a fight for their life as aliens on ground, and in the air, continue their relentless assault.

The movie attempts to work a clever twist, but with terrible acting, a horrible, mundane story, it has zero impact. Special effects and proven sci-fi cliches aren’t enough to make this film the least bit entertaining, and you’ll soon be in a battle of your own, one to stay committed to seeing the film through until the end.

Fright Nerd Score
8.5 frights
Summary
The movie attempts to work a clever twist, but with terrible acting, a horrible, mundane story, it has zero impact. Special effects and proven sci-fi cliches aren't enough to make this film the least bit entertaining, and you'll soon be in a battle of your own, one to stay committed to seeing the film through until the end.
Fright Nerd Score8.5

 

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REVIEW: Dead Night

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Let’s face it, the demonic possession niche in the horror genre will always be viable, but it’s hard to make these films fun in the same way that Evil Dead or Dead Alive did, making those films cult classics.

But, in 2018 writer/director Brad Baruh took a shot at putting some old school fun, and nonsense, into his filmDead Night‘.

What makes this film enjoyable is that it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a campy, fun, and sometimes nonsensical excuse to tell a brutal horror story of murder and demonic possession.

Sprinkle in some possible cult like aspects and sacrifices, and you have yourself Dead Night.

In the movie, James (A.J. Bowen) and his wife Casey (Brea Grant) load up their two teenage kids, along with their daughter Jessica’s (Sophie Dalah) friend (Elise Luthman), and head out to a remote cabin in Oregon for a weekend trip, which turns out to be some sort of healing retreat for those with terminal illnesses (James).

The movie doesn’t do a ton of backstory, nor does it go a long way to develop any background for the characters, but this is why these movies work, because they don’t try to be anything but an excuse to see campy horror.

When the family helps an injured woman, Leslie Bison (Barbara Crampton), who happens to be running for political office, found in the woods, things take a turn for the worse as the woman is somehow tied to a cult and is only interested in impregnating a host with a demon seed.

The movie does a lot of “back and forth” between past, present, and post-murder, which makes it a bit fun to keep up with and shows the clear line between the “reality” and the “assumptions”, but toys with the viewer into deciphering the answer for themselves.

Demons, brutal kills, a group of old women that hang out in the woods killing random folks, and a challenge to viewers to decide what is really going on, is what makes Dead Night fun, campy, and entertaining.

Chances are, if you’re not a horror movie buff, you won’t be too fond of this flick.

But, if you are, this is the kind of entertainment you can appreciate.

Fright Nerd Score
70 frights
Summary
Demons, brutal kills, a group of old women that hang out in the woods killing random folks, and a challenge to viewers to decide what is really going on, is what makes Dead Night fun, campy, and entertaining
Fright Nerd Score70

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