Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Door

Director - Patrick McBrearty (Bounty Hunters)
Starring - Sam Kantor (Noah), Winny Clark (See No Evil), and Liv Collins (The Sublet)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The job is very easy. It pays very well.  All you have to do is put on the uniform, sit in the chair, and never let it open"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Some films try to over-complicate things with detailed stories that have more twist and turns than a mountain highway.  Most want to confuse or disorient the viewer with brain-numbing twists and pointless story lines.  I prefer my horror straight forward and simple and if a twist is necessary I prefer when they are obvious and hit the viewer straight in the face.  Simple stories can pull off the twist if they make it subtle enough.  Recently, Black Fawn Distribution released the horror film The Door.  The story seemed simple enough and the artwork looked awesome so I reached out to my friends over at BFD and they were kind enough to hook me with a review copy.  Thanks guys!
      The film follows a young man who finds himself unemployed and broke.  While heading home he comes across two goons mugging a rich Asian business man.  He knows he will not to overpower the muggers so he uses his brains and starts recording them with his phone freaking them both out and forcing them to run.  The business man offers him a job paying $500 a night to just sit and watch a door and to make sure nothing comes out of it.  His first night starts out well with nothing eventful going on but his girlfriend throws a wrench in the gears.  While he is at work his girlfriend is out partying with some friends and decide to take the party to him.  They show up at his work and he tries to make them leave but they hear someone say "help me" through the vents.  The young man, his girlfriend, and their friends open the door and unless what is hiding behind it.
     Simple stories need simplistic twists.  If a film is a straight forward story then the viewer lets their guard down and may not focus on the film as intently as they usually would if they were watching a more detailed and complex film.  The Door was a simple story that flowed very well but did throw an unexpected twist (in a sense) that could confuse the viewer if they look away for a few moments or if you are drinking (like I did the first time I was watching this one).  The acting in this one is great by the entire cast.  They are all on the same level and show tremendous amounts of talent.  They all feed off each other on screen and that results in some amazing performances.  The story for this one is simple enough.  A young man watches a door for a presumed gangster and his curiosity gets the best of him and he opens it.  The film does throw a few things at the viewer in rapid succession which could confuse the viewer slightly if they are not paying close attention.  This happened to me.  I was drinking a bit and a few things sneaked up on me.  Finally, the film does have a few on screen kills but they are nothing spectacular.  We get a few stabs here and there and some dead bodies but not the carnage the blood and guts horror fans are looking for.  Overall, The Door is a solid horror film that has an amazing cast and a fun story that deserves your full attention.  Check it out but if you are looking for gore then remember you will not find it here.

Accidental Incest

Director - Richard Griffin (Exhumed, The Sins of Dracula)
Starring - Johnny Sederquist (Future Justice, Dead Bounty), Elyssa Baldassarri (Murder University, Normal), and Aaron Andrade (Seven Dorms of Death, They Stole the Pope's Blood!)
Release Date - 2015
Genre - Comedy/Musical
Format - Streaming (Online Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Musical comedies are a sub-genre that I rarely venture to because they are usually filled with songs and music that I typically don't care about.  Sure, a few have popped up here and there that were fun but most just don't hold my attention.  Last year director Richard Griffin announced he was going to be working on a musical comedy titled Accidental Incest.  I was curious how one of my favorite filmmakers would turn a story like that into a musical comedy.  I was also concerned.  I was afraid that this would be my first Griffin film that I did not like.  However, I refused to let this style of film prevent me from checking it out so I reached out to Richard and he was nice enough to send me a link to check it out.  Thanks Richard.
      The film follows a young man and a young woman that leave their spouses for a more sex-filled life.  They both meet their guardian angels who inform them that they will meet someone and the child between the two will be special.  They both move into an apartment building where their rooms are free as long as they fulfill the owner's sexual fantasies.  The two finally meet and fall head over heals for each other.  Their sex-capades knows no boundaries and the two plan on becoming life-long partners.  That is until they discover they are actually brother and sister.  This does not stop the two from hitting the sack but the news does make its way back to her family and they kidnap her while he is asleep.  Some time passes and he has become the forced lover of a bigger man until he decides to get up off his ass and look for his one true love, his sister!
     It is no secret by now that I am a huge fan of Richard Griffin and Scorpio Film Releasing.  His horror films are always fun, stylish, well written, sexy, and at times campy.  I was a little nervous about how his musical comedy Accidental Incest would turn out but deep down I knew Griffin would knock it out of the park and I was right.  The acting in this one is phenomenal which is what I would expect from a Griffin film.  The two leads, Johnny Sederquist and Elyssa Baldassarri, were amazing in their roles.  The two of them have amazing chemistry on screen and their interactions are what make this film so damn fun.  Both characters are fun to watch and shows how much talent the two have.  The remainder of the cast did an outstanding job as well and we even get a small role from the always amazing Michael Thurber.  The story for this one is as fun as it is taboo.  The story is one we have seen in a few films before featuring a young couple that fall in love only to discover they are related.  With that being said, there is no film with this same story with Griffin's style and that is what sets this one apart.  Finally, the film does have several funny moments along with just as many "what the fuck" moments.  The film packs the laughs in deep with this one and I'm sure we have playwright Lenny Schwartz to thank for that.   Overall, Accidental Incest is one gutsy film that is full of laughs.  This film is twisted, perverse, and full of fun.  Please do yourself a favor and check this one out!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Something Wicked

Director - Darin Scott (Dark House)
Starring - Shantel VanSanten (The Final Destination), Brittany Murphy (The Dead Girl), and Julian Morris (Cry_Wolf)
Release Date - 2009/2015
Genre - Thriller
Tagline - "A tale of evil deed and doomed love"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     Sometimes a celebrity will agree to do a film and there namesake will become bigger than the film itself.  We see this all the time in the horror genre with legends like Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, Jeffrey Combs, Brink Stevens, and so many others.  These amazing actors and actresses get cast in small roles that last for mere minutes but their names get plastered on everything.  This can be very deceiving for their fans who expect to see amazing performances from each only to see them play a small background character that is insignificant to the story.  Recently, news of the film Something Wicked broke and every horror outlet was sharing the news mostly because it was the late Brittany Murphy's last film.  Murphy was never really an actress that I followed but I wanted to check it out just to show my respects to the deceased.  I requested a copy and they were kind enough to hook me up with one.
     The film follows a young couple as they attend dinner with her parents.  The young man asks her parents for their blessings to marry their daughter.  They tell him no because they are too young and booze it up a bit.  They make their daughter's boyfriend drive them home but on the way their car stalls on the train tracks with a train approaching.  The film picks up a year later and the two are still a happy couple but her parents did not survive the on-coming train.  The young girl lives with her sister and her husband who just happens to be an officer.  He is very protective of his wife's little sister and disapproves of her relationship with the young guy.  The young man works at a saw mill along with an unstable man who obsesses over her.  To make matters worse, the young woman is being harassed by someone wearing a mask.  Her sister starts to think she is making it up but then believes that she is possessed by their dead parents.  The two try to plan for their wedding but something natural or supernatural has conspired against them.
     Sometimes I wish the marketing behind certain films were brutally honest with the viewer so they would know what they were getting themselves into.  At first glance the viewer may think that Something Wicked is a ghost story starring Brittany Murphy when, in actuality, it is far from that.  The acting in this one is top notch by the entire cast with the exception of Murphy as odd as that may seem.  The entire cast gives the film their all and make their characters solid and believable.  Sadly, Murphy was difficult to watch and her character was extremely difficult to like.  The story for this one is tricky.  At first the film wants to think it is a ghost story before mixing it up and giving the viewer generic thriller.  The film actually felt like two different takes on the same story.  The ghost angle seems to focus on Murphy's character and was possibly abandoned with her death.  The later portion of the film feels like a straight forward thriller which makes the film feel out of place.  Finally, the film does have a few on screen kills but they are nothing bloody or amazing.  In fact, they are something you would come to expect from a generic thriller.  Overall, Something Wicked is a supposed supernatural thriller that skips on the supernatural. The film is well acted for the most part and has a decent story once you get past the inconsistency.  The film deserves at least one watch but has no replay value due to the film's flaws.

Monday, April 27, 2015


Director - Geoff Harmer (Hellbent: Hellraiser Chronicle)
Starring - Stacy Hart (A Darker Shade of Red), Poppy Richardson, and Milly Richardson)
Release Date - 2015
Genre - Horror
Format - Streaming (Online Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Social media is the most powerful resources we have available at our fingertips.  Social media has lead to social networking which is a phenomenal tool that many people can use to better themselves and their careers.  Sadly, social media has lead to several countless trends that just seem pointless other than to demonstrate just how arrogant and self-centered people really are.  One of the most narcissistic trends to happen in the last 5 years is the one focusing on taking pictures of yourself.  These have now been dubbed selfies.  Recently, I was asked to check out the supernatural short Selfie.  I love all horror, for the most part, and agreed to check it out.
     The film follows a beautiful young woman who is enjoying an evening home alone watching television.  Her boyfriend starts texting her and over time she starts sending him selfies of herself.  In one of the pictures he notices someone behind her and asks who is in the home with her.  She replies that she is alone and pushes the person in the photo off as an odd shaped shadow.  She takes a few more selfies and she starts to see a figure in the background as well.  She begins to freak out and rushes up stairs snapping selfies along the way.  She soon discovers that she is not alone in her home.
     Ghost stories have always intrigued me but very few are able to deliver anything worth a damn.  Some are unable to deliver on the supernatural angle while others are unable to deliver a story worth watching.  Sadly, Selfie fell in one of the categories with the final product.  The acting in this one is a bit one sided due to the film only having one character.  She mostly sits there playing with her phone until the last few minutes when the threat makes itself more known. The acting does pick up there and you really feel that she is in immediate danger.  For this type of film the acting in great.  The story for this one is lacking.  The film is a ghost story with more ghost than they have story.  A young girl takes a selfie to discover that an apparition is behind her.  The short is very short and the story suffers for it.  Finally, the film has no real on screen kills and practical effects.  Instead, the film relies heavily on the mood and suspense to give the viewer some horror.  Overall, Selfie is a short modern take on the classic ghost story.  Sadly, the running time takes away from the story.  The short is fun and deserves to be checked out.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Volumes of Blood

Director(s) - Jakob Bilinski (Shade of Grey), P.J. Starks (Hallows Eve: Slaughter on Second St.), Lee Vervoort (The Truck), Nathan Thomas Milliner (A Wish for the Dead), and John Kenneth Muir
Starring - Kristine Renee Farley (Kill, Granny, Kill!), Jason Crowe (Easter Casket), and Jim O'Rear (Camp Massacre)
Release Date - 2015
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Some libraries make a killing"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     2015 looks like an amazing year for indie horror with several spectacular releases set to be released sometime this year.  Several films are coming out that span several sub-genres.  This year you can expect to see the films Hunters, Steve: Death Collector, Gutterballs 2, Neon Doom, Her Name was Torment 2: Agony, and Volumes of Blood.  Volumes of Blood is an anthology film featuring segments from 5 different directors.  The film looked fun as hell so I reached out to director P.J. Starks about it and he was kind enough to send me a review copy of the film along with a link to the short film "Preylude" which is, as you might have guessed, a prelude to the film.  Thanks P.J. for allowing me the chance to check it out!
     The film follows four college students who are sitting in the library trying to come up with an urban legend that they can spread across campus.  The four start bouncing ideas off each other.  The first potential urban legend follows a young lady who is spending an all nighter in the library and is approached by a man asking her to check out a brand new energy drink.  She tries and immediately realizes that it tastes horrible but that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Soon she starts to sweat and not long after she explodes.  The second story follows a young man working in the library who keeps finding a strange book on the ground and other places throughout the library.  Every time he puts it up he turns around to find it somewhere else.  After sometime he discovers the supernatural reasons behind it.  The third potential legend follows a young woman who is studying in the library and is approached by her sleazy boyfriend.  He convinces her to have a shot and moments later passes out.  She awakens to find herself in the library but she is not alone. A beast is lurking down each isle and has it's sights turned to her.  The fourth tale follows another librarian who finds a strange book on the occult and decides to use it to resurrect her ex-boyfriend who recently killed himself after she dumped his ass.  The spell works and he comes back from the dead with vengeance on his mind.  The four reflect on all the stories told before one decides to make his own in their blood and we are given an even bigger twist with an unexpected turn.
     I have seen so many anthologies in my day with some having amazing concepts while others fail to deliver anything other than random shitty stories strung together with random idea.  However, I feel the perfect way to make an anthology fun is to tie all the stories together in some aspect.  Creepshow had the Creep, V/H/S has the VHS angle, Hi-8 used a similar fashion with 8mm, and Volumes of Blood used a very unique angle offering up hypothetical situations before actually unleashing the real horror.  They also used an amazing way of tying all the segments together that works very well for an anthology.  The acting in this one is superb by the entire cast. It is common for an indie production to have cast consisting of members with various degrees of experience and backgrounds making for a film that is inconsistent.  However, VoB has an amazing cast that delivers amazing performances from beginning to end.  I honestly believe this film would not have been this fun if it did not include this cast.  The stories for this one is nothing new with the exception of the wrap around story.  Each segment features your standard horror fairs with nothing new to offer. With that being said, they are done in a different style giving them a rather different approach to something we have already seen countless times before in horror.  What each segment lacks in originality they more than make up for with delivery.  Finally, the film is filled with beautiful on screen kills that are bloody and gory.  The kills are not that original but they are brutal and relentless.  The film also has some great practical effects that make the kills even more sweeter.  Overall, Volumes of Blood is one fine indie film.  It has some real bite which is rare when it comes to an anthology.  This is how a fucking anthology film should be so check it out and take note.  I recommend this one over and over.