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5 items from 2015

Monsters: Dark Continent | Review

17 April 2015 9:00 AM, PDT | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

This Time, It’s… Bore: Green’s Debut Piggybacks Indie Sci-Fi

Seeing as the cephalopod shaped extraterrestrials have only managed to move from conquering Mexico in Gareth Edwards’ well received 2010 indie sci-fi Monsters to the arid terrain of an unnamed Middle Eastern country in ten years time to Tom Green’s sequel Monsters: Dark Continent, one wonders just how many installments of these metaphoric, peripheral threats may be in store. Bleeding immediately out into unnecessary territory, its connection to the Edwards’ film may be the launching pad that lends the project relevancy, but this basic marketing ploy is only bound to backfire. Whereas Edwards’ film was a pleasant surprise considering what he was able to accomplish on a limited budget, Green’s follow up may have better special effects but otherwise fails to add anything of note.

With little else to do in their hometown of Detroit, rabble-rousers Michael (Sam »

- Nicholas Bell

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'Now You See Me' Director to Swim 'In The Deep' for Shark Thriller

23 March 2015 4:20 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, it's time for another shark thriller in the vast ocean. After bringing genre flicks like the first two installments of The Transporter franchise and the remake of Clash of the Titans to the big screen, as well as the magician heist crowd-pleaser Now You See Me, Deadline reports director Louis Leterrier has boarded In The Deep. The script by Anthony Jaswinski made the Black List with a story about a lone female surfer attacked by a shark at sea and ends up stranded on a reef, trying to get back to shore before her injuries become fatal. It's Gravity meets Jaws. Shark dramas haven't fared so well, if only because Jaws has made it impossible for many other films with the sharp-toothed ocean killer to measure up. The next best candidate has probably been Open Water while »

- Ethan Anderton

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Film Review: ‘Backcountry’

23 March 2015 9:37 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

“We’ll be lucky to see anything bigger than a chipmunk,” says a weekend-warrior hiker to his skittish girlfriend early on in “Backcountry” — and, if you listen closely, you can hear a chipmunk tittering knowingly at the grisly jackpot to come. A wilderness (mis)adventure of surprising ingenuity and blunt-force trauma, Canadian actor-turned-director Adam MacDonald’s debut feature takes its sweet time building to a startling climax and denouement that are almost impossible to describe without giving the game away. Suffice it to say that if you’re planning dinner and a movie, dinner should definitely wait until after. A fine calling card for both MacDonald and leading lady Missy Peregrym, this IFC Midnight release should do healthy VOD business from genre buffs seeking a few good, old-fashioned scares.

MacDonald has seen enough horror movies of varying kinds to know what audiences expect, and one of the pleasures of “Backcountry »

- Scott Foundas

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Backcountry Is a Subtle, Slow-Burn Thriller

20 March 2015 2:08 PM, PDT | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

The best way to watch Adam MacDonald’s Backcountry is to go in not knowing anything about it. Not because it’s full of surprises and twists, but because it’s a slow-burn backwoods thriller that carefully creates a gathering sense of unease. Wait — have I already said too much?? No, really: Feel free to stop reading anytime, and consider everything from here on to be a spoiler. Go into Backcountry expecting too much and you might be disappointed. But know that it’s beautifully tense and well-acted — the kind of modest genre picture we don’t see enough of these days. It bears some resemblance to previous entries in the people-stuck-in-a-desperate-battle-against-the-elements genre. Think of Adam Green’s Frozen (not the Disney movie), which gave us three people stranded on a ski lift, and Chris Kentis’s Open Water, which had a couple cast out in the open ocean with a bunch of sharks. »

- Bilge Ebiri

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Horror at Sundance: From 'Braindead' to 'The Babadook'

21 January 2015 7:15 PM, PST | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

Sundance may be better known for its serious indie dramas than its bloodsoaked genre fare, but a surprising number of well-known horror films got their start at the annual festival - and we've rounded up a few of the most notable highlights from years past. While the list is far from exhaustive - notable omissions include 2003's "Open Water" and 2005's "Hardy Candy" - it's nevertheless representative of the fest's commitment to spotlighting left-of-center visions, from shockingly smart limb-spewers (Peter Jackson's "Braindead") to verite-style spookfests ("The Blair Witch Project") to body-horror provocations ("Teeth"). Included are discussions of how each film performed with mainstream audiences, whose tastes don't always align with the Park City hype machine. The 2015 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 22-Feb.1. »

- Chris Eggertsen

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