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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: Child’s Play

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While we are a bit late to the party, we did get a chance to take in the new ‘Child’s Play’, which dropped on June 21st.

Starring Aubrey Plaza (Karen), Gabriel Bateman (Andy), and Mark Hamill (Chucky) the film tries it’s hand on modernizing the 80s horror classic.

The concept of a modern Buddi doll is brilliant. A walking, interactive, and intelligent AI that can control multiple things in your home, and can help in life, gives a very strong, fresh spin on the tale.

Now, the film starts off by rushing and bumbling it’s way to the reason why Chucky is cursed, and while it’s nice that it didn’t involve any curses, it still fell very flat and seemed rather brushed aside, a big flaw.

Something a bit more detailed, and with some substance to make me care about the process would have benefited this movie in the long-run.

Despite the bumpy start, the rest of the movie plays out smoothly, and although it isn’t anything to write home about, aside from the strong concept, it checks enough boxes to earn a decent rating, basically due to Hamill’s performance, which worked so well.

I just wish there was a bit more meat on the bone.

Fright Nerd Score
52 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
Despite the bumpy start, the rest of the movie plays out smoothly, and although it isn't anything to write home about, aside from the strong concept, it checks enough boxes to earn a decent rating, basically due to Hamill's performance, which worked so well.
Fright Nerd Score52
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REVIEW: Annabelle Comes Home

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Another entry into The Conjuring universe arrived this past weekend with the release of Annabelle Comes Home.

“Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren lock the possessed doll in the artifacts room in their house. But when the doll awakens the room’s evil spirits, it soon becomes an unholy night of terror for the couple’s 10-year-old daughter, her friends and their young baby sitter.”

The movie’s plot is setup by an appearance of the Warrens (Vera Framiga, Patrick Wilson) who remind everyone of the danger that is Annabelle.

The two investigators leave the home, where Annabelle is kept in the infamous Artifacts room, and leave their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) in the care of her babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman), who brings her friend Daniela along (Katie Sarife).

Daniela, who recently lost her father in an automobile accident, pushes her way into the home, and into the Artifacts room, hoping that she can use the room as a way to communicate with her deceased father.

Daniela lets Annabelle out, setting forth a wave of terrifying and horrific events that terrorize the 3 girls.

What the movie may lack in story, is made up for with the scares, which are executed brilliantly. While this is the more far-fetched story in the universe, it delivers on other fronts, where The Nun failed miserably.

All in all, worth a watch…with the lights off!

Fright Nerd Score
65.5 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
What the movie may lack in story, is made up for with the scares, which are executed brilliantly. While this is the more far-fetched story in the universe, it delivers on other fronts, where The Nun failed miserably.
Fright Nerd Score65.5
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REVIEW: Brightburn

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David Yarovesky’s ‘Brightburn’ is an intriguing thriller that puts a unique spin on the classic story of Superman, with the results turning much more sinister.

Dropping on May 24th, the film stars Elizabeth Banks, Jackson A. Dunn, David Denman, Matt L. Jones, and Jennifer Holland.

According to the synopsis:

“What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister? With Brightburn, the visionary filmmaker of Guardians of the Galaxy and Slither presents a startling, subversive take on a radical new genre: superhero horror.”

The chemistry among the characters is immediately evident, as the dialogue flows in a natural manner, helping the film move fluidly along as the story unfolds.

The origins of the Breyer’s son, Brandon, is kept a mystery throughout the film, as is the origin and purpose of the voice(s) he continues to hear as he unravels into an evil entity, which makes the film that much more intriguing and interesting.

Brightburn keeps itself footed in the horror genre with some gory kills and tense moments, such as Brandon stalking a classmate, that really stand out in a movie that seems to perfectly and consistently balance the varying tones of the film.

From start to finish the film delivers and packs plenty to like in it’s 90 minute runtime making Brightburn a must see as we head towards Memorial Day Weekend.

Fright Nerd Score
82.5 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
Brightburn keeps itself footed in the horror genre with some gory kills and tense moments, such as Brandon stalking a classmate, that really stand out in a movie that seems to perfectly and consistently balance the varying tones of the film.
Fright Nerd Score82.5
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