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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Movie Review: #HORROR

#HORROR movie poster | ©2015 IFC Midnight

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Chloe Sevigny, Timothy Hutton, Natasha Lyonne, Balthasar Getty, Taryn Manning, Stella Schnabel, Sadie Seelert, Haley Murphy, Bridget McGarry, Blue Lindberg, Mina Sundwall, Emma Adler, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Lydia Hearst Writer: Tara Subkoff Director: Tara Subkoff Distributor: IFC Midnight Release Date (theatrical & VOD): November 20, 2015 #HORROR is rightly likely to cause a stir, partly because its protagonists are twelve-year-old girls and partly because writer/director Tara Subkoff has an ear for what girls of that age sound like, especially when they’re being mean. Subkoff also displays visual style to burn, setting her story in a uniquely-structured house […]Read On »

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Movie Review: POLTERGEIST

POLTERGEIST (2015) | ©2015 20th Century Fox/MGM

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Charbino, Kyle Catlett, Kennedi Clements, Jane Adams, Jared Harris, Susan Heyward, Nicholas Braun Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire, story by Steven Spielberg Director: Gil Kenan Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Release Date: May 22, 2015 In 1982, POLTERGEIST was largely deemed to be scary as hell. A haunted house tale with extra oomph, it incited everything front nightmares to (in especially impressionable viewers) strange TV viewing habits. The film spawned two sequels, a non sequitur TV series, and now, thirty-three years later, it has an official remake. Despite the fact that POLTERGEIST hardly needs a […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE BABADOOK

THE BABADOOK poster | ©2014 IFC Midnight

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Barbara West Writer: Jennifer Kent Director: Jennifer Kent Distributor: IFC Midnight Release Date: theatrical/VOD, November 28, 2014 Writer/director Jennifer Kent’s film THE BABADOOK pulls off the harder-than-hell trick of keeping us guessing whether what we’re seeing is supernatural or psychological all the way through, without ever making us feel cheated. More, the filmmaker keeps us plenty scared throughout, using the kind of storybook imagery that leaves lifelong impressions. Amelia (Essie Davis) is a single Australian mum who has it very rough. Her beloved husband died in a car crash when […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE PACT 2

THE PACT 2 movie poster | ©2014 IFC

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Camille Luddington, Caity Lotz, Scott Michael Forster, Patrick Fischler, Mark Steger Writers: Dallas Richard Hallam & Patrick Horvath Directors: Dallas Richard Hallam & Patrick Horvath Distributor: IFC Midnight Release Date: Theatrical and VOD October 31, 2014 The good and bad news about THE PACT 2 is that it’s a horror sequel that stands perfectly well on its own; there’s no need to have seen the original PACT. The good news is that newcomers will feel up to speed; the bad news is that this means the plot is relatively sparse. June Abbott (Camille Luddington) is a […]Read On »

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Movie Review: INNER DEMONS

INNER DEMONS movie poster | ©2014 IFC Midnight

Rating: R Stars: Lara Vosburgh, Morgan McClellan, Kate Whitney, Brian Flaherty, Colleen McGrann, Christopher Parker, Ashley Sutton, Susan Ateh, Richard Wilkinson Writer: Glenn Gers Director: Seth Grossman Distributor: IFC Midnight Release Date: October 3, 2014 While INNER DEMONS isn’t particularly innovative, it is at least a lot more coherent and thought-out than many in the found-footage horror genre. The acting is good, the progression works, and while the premise has been done before – is the main character addicted, psychotic or actually possessed? – it is handled here with verisimilitude. The premise is that a reality TV show called “Step […]Read On »

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