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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

DON'T BREATHE REVIEW



A group of friends break into the house of a wealthy blind man, thinking they’ll get away with the perfect heist. They’re wrong.

Starring: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, and Daniel Zovatto

Directed by: Fede Alvarez

Written by: Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues

  On the surface, the premiss for “Don’t Breathe” seems pretty simple. As simple as a three friends, Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette), and Money (Daniel Zovatto), trying to rob a blind man (Stephen Lang) in his house. There’s some concern that this is going to turn out to be just another home invasion movie. However, there’s one hell of a twist that puts this movie on the map!
  This well constructed story begins with the friends robbing a house, and displaying that they have done this more than once. Soon after that, the audience gets a glimpse of each character away from the group. It’s here that they’re trying to get the audience to have some sympathy for them, even with knowing what they’re about to do. Rocky, in particular, has a young daughter, and wants some money to move somewhere more beneficial for them.
  It’s interesting how they also build some sympathy for the blind man. It turns out he lost his vision in the war, and more recently lost his daughter in a car accident. The friends have come to steal the money he got in a settlement over his daughter’s death. As the friends break in the house, it’s time to decide who to root for. The friends, who are just looking for a better life, or the blind man, who’s just minding his business in his own home?
  When the friends break in, the camera takes a journey around the house giving the audience a glimpse of what’s to come. It’s just the beginning of many great camera angles used throughout the movie. When the blind man figures out he’s not alone, it doesn’t take long for him to take out one of the thieves. The remaining two find themselves trapped in the house, as the tension quickly builds. The tension builds because of the dark and silent atmosphere of the house, and knowing the blind man isn’t messing around. If there are any doubts about where the sympathy falls, that’s erased once the twist is revealed. The twist for the characters only gets worse as the movie goes on!
  After watching “Don’t Breathe,” it’s clear this isn’t a standard home invasion horror movie. The story is set up well trying to get the audience to be sympathetic to both the friends and the blind man. Great camera work helps build the tension in this dark setting. Stephen Lang does a fantastic job acting as if he's blind, and really brings out the brutality of his character. Most of all, the crazy twist truly separates this movie from the rest. Director Fede Alvarez mentions this movie is like a different version of “Home Alone.” Well I like this version enough to give it 3.5 pools of blood.

  HorrO

Director Fede Alvarez & HorrO

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER REVIEW



In a small Midwestern town, a troubled teen with homicidal tendencies must hunt down a killer whilst keeping his own inner demons at bay.*

Starring: Christopher Lloyd, Max Records, and Laura Fraser

Directed by: Billy O’Brien

Written by: Christopher Hyde, and Billy O’Brien

  Sometimes the beauty of a horror movie isn’t blood, and guts, but more about giving the audience the unexpected. “I Am Not A Serial Killer” does exactly that time after time. The audience is introduced to John (Max Records), who is fighting off the urges to kill someone. Immediately the show “Dexter” comes to mind, and a possible vision of where this story can go. Pleasantly, this doesn’t become “Dexter” the movie!
  Dexter is an interesting character, and so is John. He develops rules to help him fight the urge to kill, and studies famous serial killers. While he’s not a killer, he does get to work with dead bodies while assisting his mother in the town morgue. Business picks up when an apparent serial killer comes to town. Of course, this catches his attention, and he starts his own investigation.
  Max does a great job playing John, but the star of the movie is Christopher Lloyd in his role as Crowley. Don’t expect to see Christopher play a role similar to “Doc Brown” or even the crazy scientist in “Piranha 3D.” Crowley seems like the typical old man next door who’s extremely nice to people, and head over heels in love with his wife. However, he has an secret that completely changes the complexion of the story. It’s here that Christopher shines with everything his character makes him portray.
  As previously stated, this movie is all about the unexpected, so this review isn’t going into much more detail about what unfolds between John and Crowley. Just know that this story has a little something for everyone. It’s a horror story with blood and brutality. It’s a mystery with plenty of gamesmanship played by both characters. Most surprisingly there’s even a love story mixed in. All this ends in a wild and crazy final scene!
  “I Am Not A Serial Killer” is based on a novel by Dan Wells. Having not read the novel, I’m not sure how it compares, but the movie is a must see. It’s has two great characters who are at completely different points in their lives. Max and Christopher nail their roles as John and Crowley. The story is a great mix of genres, and most of all brings the unexpected from beginning to end. I unexpectedly give it 4.5 pools of blood.

  HorrO

*“I Am Not A Serial Killer” was shown at the Popcorn Frights Film Festival
*Slight change in the description to not give away the story

Monday, August 22, 2016

PIGSKIN REVIEW



  A high school cheerleader faces a grisly manifestation of her self-deprecating inner demons.

Starring: Isadora Leiva, Pablo Gonzalez, and Isabella Groff

Directed by: Jake Hammond

Written by: Jake Hammond and Nicola Newton

  In “Pigskin,” a high school cheerleader, Laurie (NAME), appears to be battling an eating disorder because she throws up behind the bleachers before cheerleading practice. The team gets together with the football team, and one of the players has taken an interest in her. They do a little flirting, but it seems like her mind is also on something else. They agree to meet up after cleaning up in the locker room.
  Things get weird when she’s starts massaging her stomach in the shower, and then sees an ugly creature behind her. She doesn’t necessarily fear it, but is running from it figuratively and soon literally. She clearly is trying to hide these scars, which becomes hard when Glenn (Pablo Gonzalez) takes her to the pool for a swim. The creature appears again, causing her to freak out, and run out onto the football field. This is where her insecurities completely take over.
  Horror films come from all sorts of ideas. Sometimes those ideas are born out of real life situations like in “Pigskin.” Credit the filmmakers for creating a simple horror film out of a young girl’s insecurities. The creature is certainly creepy, and film ends nice and bloody. I give it 2.5 pools of blood.

  HorrO 

*This short film was shown at the Popcorn Frights Film Festival

Saturday, August 20, 2016

UNDER THE SHADOW REVIEW



As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home.

Starring: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, and Bobby Naderi

Directed and written by: Babak Anvari

  There are so many things to like about “Under the Shadow” that it’s hard to know where it begin. Lets start with how well the story is set up. The events of the movie take place during the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. It’s an important backdrop to the story, and one that’s never forgotten. Every time the audience might forget that there’s a war going on, something happens to bring it right back into the picture.
  Dealing with the war is just one of the several obstacles Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her family has to deal with. She’s trying to do better for her family by studying to become a doctor, but she has just been kicked out of school. That stresses her out, and she takes it out on her husband. Things aren’t great for them, and it doesn’t help that he gets sent off to fight in the war. This leaves Shideh to take care of their young daughter, Dorsa (Avin Manshadi), by herself in an apartment that’s under constant threat of being bombed.
  As real as this situation is, there is horror in the movie in the form of a supernatural presence. Dorsa has a favorite doll that mysteriously disappears. She continually bugs her mother about the doll, as the mother also has something of hers go missing. The two bump heads over the missing items while Dorsa starts to get sick. 
  It appears the stress of the situation is really getting to Shideh. She thinks she’s having nightmares, but they continue to seem too real. After talking with neighbors, she begins to believe they might be haunted by a Djinn. The scares start rolling, and they really well done. There’s several figures that continue to pop up, and the audience can never get a grasp of what it truly is. What’s most effective about the scare scenes are that there isn't much of the typical build up of sound giving away that a scare is coming. 
  As expected, all the scares lead to a dramatic showdown between Shideh and the Djinn over Dorsa. Like most of the movie, it’s very tense, and even leaves with a little twist. Even though the movie is in subtitles, it doesn’t take away from the terrific job Narges, and Avin do. They are great in handling the emotions in the regular family setting, and when the scares start happening.
  “Under the Shadow” comes on the scene at a perfect time for those horror fans looking for something different. They won’t find many horror movies set during a war, or in the same political and religious atmosphere. The story couldn’t be set up more perfectly, as it draws the audience right in on the struggles of these characters. Once it gets the audience caring, the well executed scares start coming. The acting is great, and the audience won’t be disappointed with the ending. I give it 4 pools of blood.

  HorrO


*Under the Shadows was shown at the PopcornFrights Film Festival

Thursday, August 18, 2016

DE VIJVER (THE POND) REVIEW



Christiane and her ill mother live in a castle together with her strict aunt. On the premises, there's a big pond that hides a secret. Although she is not allowed to come near it, it has a big attraction on Christiane.

Starring: Xenia Borremans, Sara De Bosschere, and Kirsten Pieters

Directed by: Jeroen Dumoulin

Written by: Michel Sabbe

  A young girl named Christiane (Xenia Borremans) has a curiosity with the pond even though she’s not suppose to go near it. Like any child, she can’t help but make her way to the pond, where she feels like she’s being watched. It’s probably just her fears over her aunt (Sara De Bosschere) finding her there. Her aunt seems like the one in charge of the house, while Christiane’s mother (Kirten Pieters) is being heavily medicate by the aunt. 
  This is all the set up because “De Vijver” is all about misdirection. Things quickly change in this strange household, as events of the past come to light in shocking fashion. As expected, there’s a big revelation that centers around the pond, but it ties the story together nicely. This short film does a great job of giving the audience a creepy feel throughout, and moves at a nice pace. With that, I give it 3 pools of blood.

  HorrO

*This short film was shown at the Popcorn Frights Film Festival
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