Movie Review: MARY

MARY movie poster | ©2019 RLJE Films

Rating: R Stars: Gary Oldman, Emily Mortimer, Jennifer Esposito, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Owen Teague, Stefanie Scott, Chloe Perrin Writer: Anthony Jaswinski Director: Michael Goi Distributor: RLJE Films Release Date (theatrical and On Demand): October 11, 2019 MARY in many respects resembles a lot of other modest horror films, with two big differences. One, it’s shot on actual film, which gives it a much crisper, richer look than many of its peers. This makes sense, as its director, Michael Goi, is an award-winning cinematographer, who also serves in that capacity here. Two, MARY stars Gary Oldman and Emily Mortimer, actors whose big-name […]Read On »

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Movie Review: HAUNT

HAUNT movie poster | ©2019 Momentum Pictures

Rating: R Stars: Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Lauryn Alisa McClain, Andrew Caldwell, Shazi Raja, Schuyler Helford, Chaney Morrow, Justin Marxen, Samuel Hunt Writers: Scott Beck & Bryan Woods Directors: Scott Beck & Bryan Woods Distributor: Momentum Pictures Release Date: September 13, 2019 HAUNT arrives a little early for Halloween, but has an appropriate Friday the 13th opening. The title does not refer to an actual haunted house, but rather to those independent Halloween mazes called “haunts.” Set in the real college town of Carbondale, Illinois and shot in Kentucky, HAUNT introduces us to student Harper (Katie Stevens), who as we […]Read On »

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Movie Review: BRIGHTBURN

BRIGHTBURN teaser poster | ©2019 Screen Gems

Rating: R Stars: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn Writers: Brian Gunn & Mark Gunn Director: David Yarovesky Distributor: Sony/Screen Gems Release Date: May 23, 2019 While BRIGHTBURN touches on various mythologies, it is most closely linked to that of Superman. Like SUPERMAN, BRIGHTBURN deals with a human-looking baby, found in what is clearly a (very small) spacecraft by a sweet, childless couple, Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman), who raise the boy as their own. The title of BRIGHTBURN turns out to be the name of one of those towns that figure in super origin stories, […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA

THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA movie poster | ©2019 Warner Bros.

Rating: R Stars: Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, Tony Amendola, Marisol Ramirez, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas Writers: Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis Director: Michael Chaves Distributor: Warner Bros. Release Date: April 19, 2019 THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA is rated R. At first, this is surprising. There’s no nudity, no swearing, and not a whole lot of bloodshed. However, since THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA is, start to finish, about young children in supernatural jeopardy, the R rating is probably warranted. This is despite the film’s tone, which is more movie of the week than bone-chilling. […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE WIND

THE WIND movie poster | ©2019 IFC Midnight

Rating: R Stars: Caitin Gerard, Ashley Zukerman, Julia Goldani Telles, Dylan McTee Writer: Teresa Sutherland Director: Emma Tammi Distributor: IFC Midnight Release Date: April 5, 2019 THE WIND is an effectively creepy and handsome-looking folk horror film, set on the American prairie in the late nineteenth century. It is deliberately paced, beautifully photographed by cinematographer Lyn Moncrief, and makes great, terrifying use of shadows and light. The principal complaint is that it is needlessly disjointed. Lizzie Macklin (Caitlin Gerard) has been living in an isolated cabin on the plains with her husband Isaac (Ashley Zukerman) for eight years when the […]Read On »

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Movie Review: HELL FEST

HELL FEST movie poster | ©2018 CBS Films/Lionsgate

Rating: R Stars: Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Christian James, Matt Mercutio, Roby Attal, Tony Todd Writers: Seth M. Sherwood and Blair Butler and Akela Cooper, story by William Penick & Chris Sey and Stephen Susco Director: Gregory Plotnick Distributor: CBS Films/Lionsgate Release Date: September 28, 2018 HELL FEST belongs to a growing subset of horror movies set in and around Halloween festivals and mazes. (Case in point: HELL FEST should not be confused with the similarly-titled and set but differently plotted BLOOD FEST, released earlier this month.) Its production design, by Michael Perry, is so inventive and entertaining […]Read On »

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Movie Review: UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB

UNFRIENDED DARK WEB poster | ©2018 Universal Pictures

Rating: R Stars: Colin Woodell, Betty Gabriel, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Stephanie Nogueras, Andrew Lees, Savira Windyani, Connor Del Rio, Chelsea Alden, Douglas Tait Writer: Stephen Susco Director: Stephen Susco Distributor: Universal Pictures Release Date: July 20, 2018 UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB shares with 2015’s UNFRIENDED the still fairly novel technique of having the entire movie play out over Facebook, Skype and video camera feeds. The two films also share the Blumhouse horror imprimatur. However, where the original UNFRIENDED was supernatural – literally, about a ghost in the machine – UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB concerns the possibilities of attracting the attention of some very […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER

THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER | © 2017 A23

Rating: R Stars: Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton, Lauren Holly, James Remar Writer: Osgood Perkins Director: Osgood Perkins Distributor: A24 Release Date (theatrical and VOD): March 31, 2017 If a singer holds a note, no matter how beautifully pitched, for too long, it becomes simply sound. The same holds true of ambiguity in a horror movie. If a filmmaker tries to cast doubt over every character and every action, it can be hard to work up suspense, because it’s unclear who is in danger. This is the case with THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER, written and directed by Osgood Perkins. There […]Read On »

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Movie Review: HAVENHURST

HAVENHURST | © 2017 Brainstorm Media/Twisted Pictures

Rating: Unrated Stars: Julie Benz, Fionnula Flanagan, Belle Shouse, Josh Stamberg, Danielle Harris Writers: Andrew C. Erin and Daniel Farrands Director: Andrew C. Erin Distributor: Brainstorm Media/Twisted Pictures Release Date (theatrical and VOD): February 10, 2017  There is, of all things, what seems like a good mystery novel at the heart of HAVENHURST. Because of the movie’s structure, this may not be evident while we’re watching it. However, one of the key clues is ingenious. Unfortunately, the rest of the film, directed by Andrew C. Erin and written by Erin and Daniel Farrands, doesn’t have ideas that rise to this […]Read On »

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Movie Review: LIGHTS OUT

LIGHTS OUT | © 2016 Warner Bros

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello, Alexander DiPersia, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Andi Osho, Billy Burke Writer: Eric Heiserrer, story by David F. Sandberg Director: David F. Sandberg Distributor: Warner Bros./New Line Cinema Release Date: July 22, 2016 Here’s a nice surprise: LIGHTS OUT, a summer horror movie that has consistent and well-earned scares, a modestly novel premise and good story logic. It’s that relative rarity that doesn’t even suffer from its PG-13 rating – the gore is just enough to be jolting, but not so pervasive that it gets an R or holds up the pacing. In LIGHTS […]Read On »

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