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REVIEW: Demon House

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The premise of Zak Bagans’ ‘Demon House’ seems a bit unnerving, which immediately conjures up interest for the diehard paranormal fan.

Unlike most of the “based on a true story” movies, this one actually has researchable substance. There is plenty of news stories and reports to Google about the origins of the home and all of the lore. This helps provide a solid backdrop to this movie.

Unfortunately, it’s not a movie and I would hardly call it a documentary. ‘Demon House’ is an extended episode of Bagans’ Ghost Adventures, more than a feature film and a bit different from a traditional documentary.

Sure, there are far more interview segments in ‘Demon House’ than in a normal, run of the mill ‘Ghost Adventures’, but it’s still, at it’s core, seemingly the same format.

The film starts off slow and drags a bit as Bagans’ catches the viewers up to speed on all the spooky things going on in the home over the years.

In all honesty I was never a fan of Bagans, nor was I someone who avidly watched his show on a regular basis. I preferred shows such as ‘Ghost Hunters’ and found Bagans’ show a bit “much” in the way of theatrics.

But, this film made me a fan.

Sure, I could so without the corny “re-enactments” and “dramatizations”, but they needed to be there. However, the effort should have been better, at least in using a different way to shoot these scenes. Other paranormal television shows such as ‘A Haunting’ manage to pull this off, this film could have done better.

Not that it particularly pushed me away or drove down my interest, but my wife, who does not normally watch this type of content, was constantly rolling her eyes at these cut scenes.

Which leads me to the overall analysis of this film.

If you’re a fan, you’d be entertained. If you’re new to the genre, Bagans, or Bagans’ show, you’re probably going to find yourself turning it off before things get good.

And Bagans’ film gets very thrilling in the final 45 minutes and ends with Bagans’ experience, that will simply freak you out and stick with you.

Bagans comes across contrite, honest and is dialed back significantly from the over-the-top personality he can exude on his television show.

And Bagan’s demeanor throughout this film helps deliver the theme, helps sell the realness, helps convey the seriousness.

The ending will grip you, but it’s a film for a specific audience, which makes grading it a bit difficult.

Diehard fans will, more than likely, like it. Newcomers or those looking for a true-to-form horror movie will probably be bored.

So, I am trying to balance my grading to reflect both sides.

Bagans did a lot to win me over as an interested viewer, and I have a great interest in chatting with him sometimes about this experience, so, the film resonated with me.

However, I found a lot of the extra-curricular stuff a bit off-putting, and for a film that’s been a few years in the making, I felt more could be put into the dramatization scenes because the non-diehard fan in me found them to be a deterrent.

Fright Nerd Score
65 frights
Summary
I found a lot of the extra-curricular stuff a bit off-putting, and for a film that's been a few years in the making, I felt more could be put into the dramatization scenes because the non-diehard fan in me found them to be a deterrent.
Fright Nerd Score65

Anthony DiMoro is the leader writer and founder of 'Fright Nerd'. DiMoro has written for popular websites such as Forbes and The Huffington Post. DiMoro cites Friday the 13th, A Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween among his favorite horror movies of all time.

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REVIEW: Gaia

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Gaia

Earlier this year, directory Jaco Bouwer dropped his horror/drama ‘Gaia’, which just made it’s arrival on the Hulu streaming platform courtesy of XYZ Films, kykNET Films, and Film Initiative Africa, as part of their Huluween celebration.

According to the official rundown: “A park ranger takes shelter with two survivalists after an attack by mysterious creatures in a primordial forest.”

This film bursts with colorful and detailed imagery that cast ominous tones, diverse moods, and illustrates a hallucinogenic environment that is filled with unique creatures, and plantlife that takes on a life of their own.

Gabi (Monique Rockman) ventures into this forest and is immediately interwoven into the troubling dynamic of a father and son survivalist lifestyle. Barend (Carel Nel) is more of a deranged preacher high off the mushroom dust that is part of his “faith”, and demands that his son Stefan (Alex van Dyk) live a life that he determines to be pure – a secluded one away from society, reliant on the forest and the worshiping of the forest God.

Gabi attempts to convince Stefan of a world outside of the forest, one where he can grow, learn, and thrive, despite his father’s constant obsession on their forest life. As Gabi grows closer to Stefan, with oddly sexual undertones, Barend becomes more detached and intensely obsessed with the big tree in the forest which is where he makes his offerings, and is the altar for which he prays.

As the forest creatures continue to threaten, and as the forest slowly infects and kills those it selects, Gabi rushes to help Stefan escape to the outside world.

Fright Nerd Score
65.5 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
Incredible imagery, and an unsettling tone that really sets the mood for the entire movie. Despite these strengths, Gaia struggles to be nothing more than a scrambled drug-induced "trip" which lacks consistent sense. However, it does enough to deliver a good watch, as long as you can submit to a bit of puzzling storytelling.
Fright Nerd Score65.5
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REVIEW: No One Gets Out Alive

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No One Gets Out Alive

Netflix’s new horror, Santiago Menghini’s ‘No One Gets Out Alive’ hit the ground running in late September as a number of positive reviews rolled in for the film, which is the adaptation of Adam Nevill’s novel.

According to the official synopsis: An immigrant (Cristina Rodlo) in search of the American dream is forced to take a room in a boarding house, where she finds herself in a nightmare she can’t escape.”

Ambar is a struggling immigrant, one who is also undocumented and fighting to hide her identity, who is forced to rent a room in a multi-room home that is undergoing extensive renovations and only houses women.

Ambar struggles at her new job, where she is constantly behind and on the chopping block with her manager, but befriends a co-worker by the name of Kinsi (Moronke Akinola) who promises her an American ID card to help her get situated in the country.

As the home’s dark past continues to bubble up, so does Ambar’s desperation. Aside from the dreams of her mother’s hospitalization leading up to her death, Ambar is also haunted by the ghosts of the home, which seems like a video playback of the murders that took place in the home over the years.

As the movie progresses and the hauntings more intense, Ambar starts suffering loss after loss, and falling deeper into the home’s grasp.

The owners hide a mysterious ancient box in the basement, one that demands to feast on the heads of the living, and provides an ominous power to those who feed it. While the monster that comes out from the box is comical, it doesn’t take too much away from the entire movie.

A dark journey filled with struggle, loss, and fear molds Ambar into considering a darker path than the one she was on.

Fright Nerd Score
68 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
If you can look past the ridiculousness of the "monster" in the box, this movie checks all the boxes that good paranormal horror movie offers. A good story that is paced perfectly and offering many creepy images along the way.
Fright Nerd Score68
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REVIEW: Tragedy Girls

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Tragedy Girls

During this Halloween season there will be a lot of movies available for horror fans, and while a bunch of new releases will be popping up throughout the month of October, I started to dig into some horror movies that have surfaced over the past few years that I had not gotten a chance to check out.

One such movie was Tyler Macintyre’s 2017 horror/comedy ‘Tragedy Girls’, which is now available on Hulu, and stars Brianna Hildebrand, Alexandria Shipp, Craig Robinson, Kevin Durand, Jack Quaid, and Josh Hutcherson.

According to the official synopsis: “Teenage crime reporters Sadie and McKayla are hot on the trail of a crazed serial killer. After capturing the maniac and holding him hostage, they soon realize that the best way to boost their social media stardom is to commit the murders themselves.”

The movie is a fun journey through a number of horror movie tropes, and despite being somewhat hollow at points and drifting away from the finer details in certain scenes, the cast performances and the personality of the movie more than make up for it, providing an entertaining experience.

Sadie and McKayle are obsessed with building a social media presence, while also authoring a memorable killing spree that will go down in history, and the movie hilariously shows their first few murders that, by circumstance, end up looking like accidents, which upsets the girls.

The girls are intensely focused on popularity via social media platforms, and driving viewers to their website, and also socially they go through the motions to fit in, such as cheerleading and prom planning.

But it fails to land in their intended way, which forces the girls to step up their game, and get more brutal with their killings.

As their popularity grows, their mindsets appear to change, especially as a relationship evolves between Sadie and Jordan (Quaid) which drives a wedge between the girls and shifts Sadie from a psychotic killer to a caring, socially engaged student that deviates completely from her destructive path.

The kills are hilariously brutal and the story, aside from some logical bumps in the road, provides plenty to bite into that doesn’t drag the movie down.

 

Fright Nerd Score
71 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
A fun, witty, and humorous ride with two psychopaths hell-bent on gaining social media popularity via a brutal killing spree that will go down in history...they hope.
Fright Nerd Score71
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