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
REVIEW: 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.
REVIEW: Halloween Kills
David Gordon Green returned with the second installment in his Halloween trilogy when ‘Halloween Kills’ officially arrived on Peacock and in theaters around the country, a perfect fit for the Halloween season.
But the movie, was far from perfect, or anywhere close to it.
“The nightmare isn’t over as unstoppable killer Michael Myers escapes from Laurie Strode’s trap to continue his ritual bloodbath. Injured and taken to the hospital, Laurie fights through the pain as she inspires residents of Haddonfield, Ill., to rise up against Myers. Taking matters into their own hands, the Strode women and other survivors form a vigilante mob to hunt down Michael and end his reign of terror once and for all.”
Green’s ‘Halloween’ in 2018 did plenty good at the box office, despite the movie being so-so. I wrote in my review that the movie went off the rails as soon as Myers made his return to Haddonfield, more specifically when Dr. Sartain went crazy, which I thought was a blip. However, after watching ‘Halloween Kills’ that blip turned into a number of warts that completely sent ‘Halloween Kills’ down the shitter.
Green did a marvelous job with the nostalgia of the 1978 original, as he did in the first film, with the return of Kyle Richards as Lindsey Wallace, and Tommy Doyle’s return (played by Anthony Michael Hall), but really hit it home with the returns of Dr. Loomis (CGI Donald Pleasence), Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens) and Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers) who were all pivotal characters in John Carpenter’s 1978 classic.
Aside from that, the movie was a complete dud.
Lost along the way was the essence of what made Michael Myers, and Halloween, uniquely terrifying. The plodding, stalking, slow build of Myers going after his victims was exchanged for a nothing more than a man in a mask who was capable of taking on entire gangs at once.
Myers stalking was essentially swapped out for Matrix fight scenes. And it was horribly ridiculous.
In Green’s 2018 version, Myers still had elements of his 1978 self (which was where Green’s Halloween picked up from) but were lost entirely in the 2nd entry, leaving Myers a hollow, disappointing shell of what made the character iconic.
When it was all said and done, I found myself just waiting for the movie to end, instead of bracing for how the film would lead into the 3rd and final film.
The ending was horrible, unimaginative, and simply ridiculous, which is hard for me to complain about when reviewing a slasher film.
One can hope that Green’s final entry into his version of Halloween is far superior, which will be needed to save this trilogy from being nothing more than barely memorable and easy to forget over time.
REVIEW: ‘No Man of God’
Over the last couple of years there have been plenty of films centered on infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, but the latest take on the madman from director Amber Sealey and RLJE Films is quite different.
In ‘No Man of God’, Ted Bundy (Luke Kirby) and Bill Hagmaier (Elijah Wood), an FBI profiler who consistently visits Bundy on death row during the late 1980s, engage in extensive discussions that show the multiple layers of the psyche of Bundy as he fearfully approaches his fate.
Void of any of the death scenes or re-enactments of the life that Bundy led, the film focuses squarely on Hagmaier experience, and the direct interactions with Bundy, who was played wonderfully by Kirby.
The film was based on Hagmaier’s recordings and recollections of Bundy, and while it may lack the shock scenes that many may expect from a movie that is centrally focused on a brutal serial killer, it locks you in with a cerebral approach to exploring the mind of a cold-blooded killer.
Kirby’s portrayal of Bundy shows an extreme narcissism and a over-blown arrogance that is buoyed by Bundy’s hollow attempts at coming across sincere, and the projecting of the image that he is some sort of criminal mastermind.
The movie is all about tone and tension, with the apex closing in as Bundy gets closer to closer to his execution day. Things really start boiling over when Bundy’s head is shaved in preparation of his trip to the electric chair, and it continues to a satisfying end to a unique, yet solid movie that stands alone from other Bundy films.
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