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REVIEW: The Devil’s Doorway

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Found footage films have carved out a very specific niche in the horror genre ever since the original Blair Witch Project from the late 1990s, offering a hint of realism to a film.

The Devil’s Doorway‘ is a found footage film that is based in 1960 and centers on two Vatican priests, Father Thomas Riley and Father John Thornton, armed with 16mm film cameras, who are dispatched by the Vatican to investigate reports of a miracle, a statue of the Virgin Mary weeping blood at a Catholic asylum for immoral women.

The initial horrors don’t originate from any statue, but instead at how the nuns are treating the women, who sadistically beat and imprison dozens of the women living in the asylum.

As Father Thomas takes an investigative approach that seems to dismiss any notion of a presence of God, Father John is terrorized by experiences he has at night, when alone in his room.

Sounds of children running, laughing, and visions of a little girl playing with a doll keep Father John up most nights, and the experiences get more vivid, and more intrusive.

Father John tries informing Father Thomas of the phenomena, but, again, Father Thomas is dismissive, steadfast in his belief that nothing peculiar is going on at the asylum, instead stubbornly resigned to his belief that all the activity is the result of a trickster.

Father Thomas and Father John are introduced to Kathleen, a pregnant virgin teen who is shackled in a cell by the nuns and who is apparently possessed by a demon.

The nuns oddly go to great lengths to seclude her and have neglected her so much that they asylum doctor believes that she is going to die from giving birth, stressing the importance of focusing on only saving the baby.

The film falls into the pitfall that most found footage films do, the cliche jump scares are plentiful, but executed well, and the films approach provides a different sense, and a unique feelings.

IFC Midnight has churned out some incredible horror films this year, and it should be noted that they are quietly becoming a powerhouse in the horror genre, when so much attention goes to Netflix.

While ‘The Devil’s Doorway’ isn’t incredible, it is a strong film with plenty of scares, that will creep you out with angles, tone, and execution instead of relying on the tired formula of heavy jump scares that have polluted a majority of the horror films that have come out over the past decade.

The vintage film aspect is also a nice wrinkle.

While the ending doesn’t offer answers of explanations as to what exactly was going on, or is going on, at the asylum, and leaves a lot of questions, it doesn’t deviate from the purpose of what this film is based on. Found footage that is simply played for interpretation, not for specific purpose.

Fright Nerd Score
78 frights
Summary
'The Devil's Doorway' is finely paced and entertaining enough to keep yu engaged, and most importantly, scared.
Fright Nerd Score78

 

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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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REVIEW: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

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Last week, Netflix’s long-awaited film that centered on infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, from the perspective of his long-time girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, premiered and it was met with mixed reviews.

According to the synopsis: “A courtroom frenzy ensues and sweeps 1970s America when a young single mother reluctantly tips the attention of a widespread manhunt toward her longtime boyfriend, Ted Bundy.”

Zac Efron dazzles in his role of Bundy, creating a magnetic like-ability that made the real-life Bundy so appealing in the media. Efron, from angles, even looked eerily similar to Bundy, making his performance that much more powerful.

However, despite the performances of Efron, and Lily Collins (Kloepfer) this film seems “off”, muddying itself into a controversial arena that almost invokes sympathy for Bundy, one of the most evil and brutal killers in America history.

While it’s fair to argue that portraying Bundy this way accurately tells the story, as that is what made him so fascinating and captivating, the film spends too much time on certain events while brushing past others, creating a very odd and confused dynamic..

Directory Joe Berlinger seems to want to do so much in so little time, and although this was told from a certain perspective, it still deviates from that perspective to tell other details and stories, losing grip and direction of the film’s intent in the process.

While it falls flat in certain areas, and it certainly does, it is still a solid movie. But, I cannot help but feel as though Efron, Collins, and performances from Jim Parsons and John Malkovich were cheated out of something that could have been so much bigger, and so much better.

Fright Nerd Score
74 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
While it falls flat in certain areas, and it certainly does, it is still a solid movie. But, I cannot help but feel as though Efron, Collins, and performances from Jim Parsons and John Malkovich were cheated out of something that could have been so much bigger, and so much better.
Fright Nerd Score74
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REVIEW: ‘I Trapped The Devil’

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Josh Lobo’s indie thriller ‘I Trapped the Devil‘ officially hit limited theaters and VOD platforms this weekend and his debut film focuses on a man’s psychological unraveling as he comes to terms with whatever is locked in his basement.

Scott Pothress, Susan Burke, and A.J. Bowen star in the film set in the Christmas season, but centers on what appears to be a demon trapped behind a door in a man’s basement.

The movie is painfully slow to get rolling and takes a rather challenging road of trying to convey terror and suspense without relying on visual scares, jump scares or any real terrifying moments.

For the most part, this terror is implied, and forces the viewer to decide for themselves if this is simply one man’s mental breakdown into insanity, or something paranormal.

The intent of the film is respectable, as it ventures into a creative sector that not many horror films take to, which makes the interest of watching it palpable.

However, the film lacks any “meat” beyond the bones of it’s premise, and when it’s coupled with a slow-developing plot, a tactical slow delivery of dialogue, and is void of any true scares, it stumbles to establish itself as anything significant.

Lobo’s job behind the camera is solid, despite the underwhelming delivery of the story. Solid acting keeps things afloat, but the film simply has an uninteresting script and the story fractures into confusing, and overly boring, scenarios that seem intended to speed up a film to a panicked, frightful conclusion.

Unfortunately, the film didn’t challenge my thinking, but challenged my attention span and an underwhelming impact of an ending was further softened by the weak substance the film consisted of.

Fright Nerd Score
32.5 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
the film lacks any "meat" beyond the bones of it's premise, and when it's coupled with a slow-developing plot, a tactical slow delivery of dialogue, and is void of any true scares, it stumbles to establish itself as anything significant.
Fright Nerd Score32.5
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