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REVIEW: Pyewacket

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‘Pyewacket’ may be the best under-the-radar movie of the year and a flick that I am willing to bet Netflix wishes it got it’s hands on.

‘Pyewacket’ is, hands down, the best horror flick I have seen so far this year.

It resonates. It perfectly weaves a tense, gripping and disturbing story into a beautifully crafted, and well paced, film.

During a time when the “jump scare” is the “go-to” move of every horror movie, ‘Pyewacket’ doesn’t heavily lean on the trend, yet, proves to be scarier than a lot of the flicks that do just that.

In ‘Pyewacket’, a teenage girl who is grieving from the recent death of her father is trying to find herself, as most teens at her age are, while dealing with a myriad of personal issues.

Leah, who is played by Nicole Munoz, is a goth teen that is interested in the Occult and has a rather contentious relationship with her widowed mother, who is visibly battling depression and grief and is prone to emotionally abusive, alcohol fueled outbursts, when arguing with Leah.

Writer-director Adam MacDonald paces the first hour of the move very well, as it is steeped in plenty of story setup, but not too much so that it loses your interest.

It is all relative, it is all important, and it pays off later in the movie in grand fashion.

Leah and her mother (Laurie Holden) continue to ride an emotional roller coaster relationship and, eventually, Leah’s mother abruptly announces that the two are moving out to the country for a “fresh start”.

Leah, being the angst-riddled and depressed teen she is, lashes out in anger, and opts to turn to the occult to cast a spell to kill her mother.

Oh, teens.

MacDonald does a fine job of showing the pure emotion of Leah’s actions, but, also reminds the viewer that, above all else, she is purely acting out as dramatically and irrationally as most teenagers her age may, although maybe not using a death curse as a vehicle of expression.

Leah’s actions, in their entirety, may not be palpable but provide a layer and tone that creates the tense emotion for the rest of the film.

While most films go right to the scares, almost in excess, MacDonald takes a different approach with ‘Pyewacket’, instead denying the viewer the satisfaction of the scare immediately, allowing the movie to draw out, thus demonstrating an astute understanding of pace and timing that craft the real “scare”.

Eventually, the pyewacket comes, and the build is a slow one, but, one that eventually floods out into terror and a gripping and tense sequence that feels rewarding, although brutal, for the viewer.

‘Pyewacket’ may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It demands a dedication to seeing the story through and veers off from the jump scares that films rely on these days, providing a refreshing approach to building a lasting scare.

With that being said, it will hard for movies to top ‘Pyewacket’ for me this year, as it has set the bar, for me, for how films that deal with the occult, demonic hauntings or supernatural should unfold.

Fright Nerd Score
85.5 frights
Summary
it will hard for movies to top 'Pyewacket' for me this year, as it has set the bar, for me, for how films that deal with the occult, demonic hauntings or supernatural should unfold.
Fright Nerd Score85.5

 

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REVIEW: Velvet Buzzsaw

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Netflix recently dropped a promising looking horror/thriller with a star-studded cast called ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ which, according to The Sun, was based on a true story…of sorts.

The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, John Malkovich, Zawe Ashton, Toni Collette, Rene Russo, and Natalie Dyer and while it starts off slow, it evolves into a more sinister movie.

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.

Fright Nerd Score
54.5 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
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.
Fright Nerd Score54.5
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REVIEW: Lizzie

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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.

Fright Nerd Score
82.5 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
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.
Fright Nerd Score82.5
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REVIEW: The Dark

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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.

Review 0
87 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
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.
Fright Nerd Score87
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