Let’s face it, the demonic possession niche in the horror genre will always be viable, but it’s hard to make these films fun in the same way that Evil Dead or Dead Alive did, making those films cult classics.
Sprinkle in some possible cult like aspects and sacrifices, and you have yourself Dead Night.
In the movie, James (A.J. Bowen) and his wife Casey (Brea Grant) load up their two teenage kids, along with their daughter Jessica’s (Sophie Dalah) friend (Elise Luthman), and head out to a remote cabin in Oregon for a weekend trip, which turns out to be some sort of healing retreat for those with terminal illnesses (James).
The movie doesn’t do a ton of backstory, nor does it go a long way to develop any background for the characters, but this is why these movies work, because they don’t try to be anything but an excuse to see campy horror.
When the family helps an injured woman, Leslie Bison (Barbara Crampton), who happens to be running for political office, found in the woods, things take a turn for the worse as the woman is somehow tied to a cult and is only interested in impregnating a host with a demon seed.
The movie does a lot of “back and forth” between past, present, and post-murder, which makes it a bit fun to keep up with and shows the clear line between the “reality” and the “assumptions”, but toys with the viewer into deciphering the answer for themselves.
Demons, brutal kills, a group of old women that hang out in the woods killing random folks, and a challenge to viewers to decide what is really going on, is what makes Dead Night fun, campy, and entertaining.
Chances are, if you’re not a horror movie buff, you won’t be too fond of this flick.
But, if you are, this is the kind of entertainment you can appreciate.
REVIEW: Velvet Buzzsaw
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.
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.
REVIEW: The Dark
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.
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