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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: 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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