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.
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.
REVIEW: Velvet Buzzsaw
According to the synopsis: “After paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.”
Gyllenhaal excels in his role of art critic Morf Vandewalt and the support of performances from his fellow cast mates make this movie watchable, at the very least.
Unfortunately, it takes far too long to get to any real meaty parts, leaving the overall movie kind of hollow.
However, there are enough visually-appealing scenes that will hold your interest to the very end, even if the plot doesn’t do enough to reel you in.
We all know the age-old rhyme; “Lizzie Borden took an axe…”, you know how it goes, but the story is always the same from rhymes, to songs, to films and so on.
Which is why ‘Lizzie’ was so refreshing, because it took a new approach at telling the legendary murder “mystery” story of Lizzie Borden and the murder of her father, and step-mother.
‘Lizzie’ which stars Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart, and produced by Sevigny, Elizabeth Destro, and Naomi Despres, takes a different approach at telling the story of the infamous murders.
” In 1892 Lizzie Borden lives a quiet life in Massachusetts under the strict rules established by her father. Lizzie finds a kindred spirit in the live-in maid, Bridget, and friendship soon blossoms into a secret romance. But tension mounts in the Borden household, leading to a violent breaking point.”
The movie is well paced, with plenty of tense moments and the proper build up to lay the foundation of motive for the murders, but brilliantly opening up the possibility that someone other than Lizzie committed the crime.
Sevigny shines as Lizzie, and her stoic approach with hints of mental illness capture the audience. Her tense relationship with her parents is beautifully rolled out.
Stewart also nails a homerun with her portrayal of Bridget Sullivan, and her budding friendship that developed with Lizzie that spiraled out of control, of sorts.
Lizzie is the perfect re-telling of the 1892 murders, if you’re looking for a fresh take, and packs plenty of emotion, foreshadowing, and pacing to present a refreshing take on one of America’s greatest, real-life, murder stories.
REVIEW: The Dark
I had been waiting quite some time to check out Justin P. Lange and Klemens Hufnagl’s ‘The Dark’, and I finally got my chance to do it this past weekend.
‘The Dark’ tells the story of “A murderous, undead girl haunts the remote stretch of woods where she was killed decades earlier. One night she discovers a blind boy hiding in the trunk of one of her victim’s cars. Her decision to let the boy live throws her solitary existence into upheaval, and ultimately forces her to re-examine just how much of her humanity her murderer was able to destroy.
Nadia Alexander stars a Mina, a half-dead/undead girl who is feasting on victims in an abandoned house in the woods.
Mina has “survived” by feasting on the flesh of those she traps, and she has trapped wanted criminal Josef (Karl Markovics) who is on the run from the law for the abduction of a boy, Alex (Toby Nichols).
After Mina murders Josef, she comes across Alex,who is blind from his eyes being burned shut by Josef, and is amazingly good spirits, lacking any hate for Josef.
Mina and Alex slowly build a bond, as they both flee the law, and Mina’s mercy on his life has led her to now be her caretaker.
The movie hits a lot of elements out of the park, including the tragic story of Mina’s passing, and it delivers one of the better takes on a “zombie” film that I have seen in 2018, with strong cast performances, and proper pacing.
The only issue I had with the film is Mina, and the unknown about what she is. Is she dead? Alive? Undead? Half dead? That question lingers even after the credits roll, but it doesn’t anchor the movie down.
All in all, a strong film that has depth and emotion, that is worth a watch, again and again.
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