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Grave Intentions (2021)
Intriguing enough if flawed anthology effort
Trying to impose her teachings onto others, a woman who deals in the workings of various forms of magic shares the intricacies of various items she uses involving several clients.
The Good Stor(ies): The Bridge Partner-Simply interested in a fun game, a woman finds herself threatened by a partner's admission that she will eventually kill her which puts a strain on her life. Attempting to uncover the truth about the situation, she realizes too late about the intention behind the friendship. This is a pretty interesting start to the film which is quite enjoyable. The main setup here involving the fateful Bridge club and the intensity of the tournament that makes such a seemingly innocuous statement turn into such a threat is a fine starting point. This is greatly enhanced by the later statements and actions towards her that suggest something far darker than a Bridge game is at the center of it all gives this some chilling scenes here. Still, the abruptness of the ending keeps this one from really overwhelming since there's no clear-cut resolution, and with this one focused more on her belief the threats are real rather than outright targets some can easily be bored since nothing happens which hold this down.
Marian-Tired of being spooked by restless noises in her house, a young girl is told to get through the situation as best she can even though the hauntings continue to happen. Once she realizes the true nature behind the situation, she finds that the real haunting of the house may not be the source she expected. Overall, this one is one of the better segments in the film which has a lot to like about it. The setup with this one is fantastic involving the girl trying to stay out of her aunt's wrath which only incites further acts of violence towards her and fueling a far darker idea of a haunting than a simple ghost story which this easily could've gone down that route. The actual scares of abuse on display are far darker than the actual ghost that comes in later that has some shocking sense of violence towards it offers a lot to like here with the only drawback being the rather brief running time making the final feel rushed and unfinished which isn't that detrimental at all.
Wrap-Around-Trying to impose her teachings onto others, a woman who deals in the workings of various forms of magic shares the intricacies of various items she uses involving several clients. There's a lot to like with this one, as it serves the use of a genre wrap-around quite well. The interludes to show the purpose and intentions behind the various objects to be included in the next segment are far more involved than would be expected which makes it seem more realistic and believable as the ability to dive into their purposes and intentions is best. The warnings and explanations have a highly intriguing setup that appears authentic under the proper teachings and instructions offered which is what makes them so intriguing by setting up the potential to come in the upcoming segment, making this one of the best features of the film.
The Bad Stor(ies): The Disappearance of Willie Bingham-Starting up a new job, a supervisor at a local prison sees it fit to institute a program authorizing the butchering of criminals through surgery to recompense for their crimes. As he continually loses more of his body in the process, the toll of the situation starts to affect both of them. This one really could've been much better than it was. The idea of what's happening here is an exceptionally original and creative way to treat prisoners in a cruel warning matter by dismembering the prisoner for the crimes he committed. Trotting him out to warn others against others following in his footsteps is a great idea and the commentary on the situation is rather nice, but none of it's scary with all the focus on the wrong individual where we see it from the supervisor along for the case rather than the torment of what he's going through in the surgeries which is where the horror comes from. That's what holds this one down somewhat.
Violent Florence-Left with no one else in the world, a young woman and a tormented cat retreat to an abandoned building where she offers it shelter from the group trying to hurt it. Once inside, her behavior and intentions towards the creature offer a darker side to her personality than expected. This was a rather disappointing and underwhelming effort. The main aspect to like here is the sudden shift in behavior she exhibits here, as the shock of going from sweet and nurturing to outright brutal and aggressive is surprising and works rather well. However, the actual scenes of their confrontation are shockingly silly and just showing someone rolling around on the ground with a cat puppet on their face which looks just bad. Plus, the entire realization of her intent behind it is just laughably lame and stupid, and with little connection to the object she showed at the beginning or the rest of the shorts makes its inclusion seem rather curious.
The Son, The Father-Coming home to find his mother dead, a boy learns it's just a joke until he decides to play one himself, which has far darker consequences than he anticipated. This was a highly underwhelming effort that feels entirely out of place in this anthology since, much like the last segment, there's little actual connection to the purpose behind the anthology. Nothing supernatural or even remotely related to scares or even laughs as the premise is just bizarre and confusing without anything setup here. With the later scenes at the prison meeting just being equally underwhelming with the conversation playing off an uninteresting set up and just plain unlikeable situation the entire premise with this one falls flat with very little in terms of twists or excitement to be had here. The gore in the kill is graphic and looks good but that's all that really holds this one up.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Graphic Violence.
Shookum Hills (2021)
Enjoyable enough if somewhat flawed creature feature
Years after a series of disasters closed it off, a team of archeological researchers heads out to a remote mine to investigate the incidents which forced its closure only to find the area is sealed off to prevent the escape from a deadly race of creatures that are now loose and must stop them from running free.
This was a generally enjoyable if somewhat disappointing effort. When this one works best is due to the strong setup in play regarding the dangerous activities surrounding the mine and its eventual closure years earlier. The idea of it being a ghost town following the original events involving a slew of disasters including cave-ins and worker deaths on top of a series of other strange incidents that eventually forced the evacuation and disruption of the town over a single year. Learning about how the town and its residents then completely disappeared over the course of a calendar year and how a few stayed behind to warn others against them getting loose despite being aware all along of the creatures' existence that all forms a rather intriguing premise. That forms the basis for the later creature attacks to be quite fun and exciting. With the creatures preferring a shadowy ambush pattern that basically amounts to leaping out of nowhere to grab an unsuspecting victim and drag them away before anyone knows what's happens, there are some decent shock-jumps when they jump out and grab victims at random intervals leading to some nice tension later on when they try to track the creatures down. These scenes around the campground base of the group ensnaring the beings or down in the underground tunnels with the rest of the creatures have some suspenseful confrontations alongside the hallucinogenic qualities during the encounter with the hive mastermind that's quite trippy. These aspects give the film a lot to like overall while there are some issues to be had with this one. The main problematic factor is the strange behavior by the team that seems to belie their unity together. The mostly faceless group that's been gathered together seems to be on the fringe regarding how much they enjoy working with each other since in-fighting, quarreling religious beliefs and distrust over their roles in the area seem highly at-odds with a team that's been said to be involved in these excursions as much as they're said to. The scenes there trying to reinforce those aspects, from unnecessary philosophical conversations about the nature and creation of the universe to knowing how to get where they're going just seem like padding trying to create some internal drama between the group for no reason. The other issue here concerns the rather curious notion of the group of survivors welling off the creatures from escaping, which is a highly unconventional approach taken here. Rather than be in league with the creatures feeding them strays who wander into the area in exchange for leaving them alone or out trying to discover proof of their existence to share with the rest of the world, they're fully aware of their existence and at war to prevent them from getting out. This makes the curious decision not to alert anyone for help in trying to dispatch them all these years come off highly confusing and somewhat illogical. Alongside the curious lack of blood or gore in the kills since the rapid-fire editing during these makes it hard to see anything and some spotty CGI, these are the only issues featured here.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Violence.
Far better than expected
Taking a road trip through the desert, a woman and her friend trying to make an appointment in the city are stranded by an accident near a supposedly abandoned ghost town where they find a genetically-engineered dinosaur is running loose and must try to outsmart it and get away alive.
Overall, this one turned out to be quite fun for the most part. One of the better features here is the somewhat enjoyable setup that allows them to spend time in the eerie abandoned town. Featuring the roadside accident in the middle of the desert while out on their trip, this part offers a fine initial factor to get them stranded and explore the town. These here are generally eerie and chilling, as their eerieness of being alone in the desert, the fading light, and inability to recognize anyone around them in the creepy location by themselves offer up a great start to this one. With that setup in place, the film's quite enjoyable with a fun series of dinosaur attacks. After the first attack on the worker and the first escape scenes where it tries to take out the others around the town, it all leads perfectly into the fantastic series of cat-and-mouse chases throughout the night as the action picks up nicely. The series of escapes, near-misses, and trap attempts that go alongside the suspense of the creature chasing them throughout the town and the ingenuity of managing to get out of the situation is great fun, and with the incredible effects-work on the creature gives this a lot to like. There isn't much to hold this back, and it all comes in the final half with this one doing a complete turn-around from the kind of film it had been before. After giving the escape and reveal of what's going on, the utterly bizarre twist here revolving around the stand-up comedy routine and resulting dream here is completely ridiculous and feels completely removed from the type of content that was on display before. It's not interesting or exciting, just illogical and nonsensical as well as quite idiotic, and along with the lack of gore at all generates the few flaws on display.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Violence.
Aquarium of the Dead (2021)
A fun and cheesy creature feature undone by a few flaws
Following a series of strange encounters, the workers at an aquarium are forced to realize that the events are caused by a strange virus that has mutated the sea-life into vicious killers trying to hunt them down one by one and must try to find a way to stop them and escape the situation alive.
On the whole, this was a massively fun cheesy creature feature. Among the more enjoyable features here is the early setup about the aquarium that sets up the later fun of the creatures going wild. Getting an early setup of their lives and projects that are being carried out, including the urgency of disposing of the toxic chemicals and the meeting with the public official when everything has to go right when things turn sour is a fantastic start to things. As this is carried out alongside the comic-relief workers unaware of everything but trying to get inside, the early setup here starts off nicely. This leads to the incredibly fun and over-the-top cheesy creature attacks. With the group unaware of the true threat and just operating on the idea of a simple security breach, the early stalking scenes here are far more chilling than anticipated with the unearthly gurgling sounds of the creatures roaring through the air-ducts overheard signaling something going on. These are just as creepy when repeated elsewhere throughout the rest of the encounters as the creatures breaking free and attacking the survivors in various sections of the building leading to potential encounters and having a lot to like here. Those scenes are quite enjoyable as well, featuring quite a few encounters with the reanimated creatures. Since there's a wide swath of creatures that can be featured here, the action is entertaining enough with the first encounter of the octopus getting lose and starting everything is a great start as well as the attacks on the staff checking on everything. As the majority of the films is a race to get out and being unable to get their tasks accomplished without running into a new animal the pace is quite upbeat and frenetic, and alongside the utterly terrible CGI for the creatures which adds to the charm on displays works to make this one rather likable. There isn't much wrong here but it is somewhat flawed at points. One of the few issues with this one is the rather curious decision to include that many survivors of the encounters deep into the film as there's not much of the way of deaths throughout here. Far too often characters hide to avoid the attack altogether or are saved during which keeps way too many alive deep into the film while also preventing much in the way of bloodshed or gore here. On top of this, the other flaw is a rather comical subplot about firefighters investigating the distress calls without any backup which is unlikeable, unrealistic, and intrudes on the action, which all comes to hold this down.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Violence.
Cowgirls vs. Pterodactyls (2021)
A generally fun and enjoyable cheesy creature feature
Living in the Old West, a woman discovers that a series of disappearances and attacks are caused by a breed of pterodactyls running wild in the community, and after failing to find male support gathers a posse of women to track down and kill the creatures to retrieve their kidnapped partners and stop them from spreading.
On the whole, this one was quite cheesy and fun overall. One of the better elements present here is the incredibly fun setup that gets things going. Making their existence known from the very beginning, there's a lot to like here involving the dinosaurs interrupting the daily lives of the other citizens around the town. From the married couple trying to keep their marriage going with some sexual spice, the incompetent sheriff looking for the escaped convict, and the gunslinger getting involved in the traveling prostitute group that eventually brings them all together in the quest to recover her missing husband, the early setup on display here gives the film quite a lot to like as the seemingly disparate storylines here actually come into a cohesive whole. This allows the film to feature a lot of fun creature attacks which is all cheesy fun. The first attack on the jailhouse where the creature sets fire to the building looking for food which sets the outlaw free gives this a great start, while the grabbing of the husband which sets everything off is a goofy enough sequence as it takes him away. The big confrontation with the creatures, where the entire group of girls encounters the dinosaurs flying around and attacking serves as a highlight sequence that's just cheesy enough to come off as a series of encounters full of goofy tactics to fight them off that's quite enjoyable. The explosive finale, where they battle the creatures in their cave lair, contains all the expected over-the-top elements expected in such a wild finale and really works nicely to give this some likable positives. There isn't much to dislike here but there are some flaws featured here. The biggest issue here is the final half where the film pulls off an incredibly bone-headed happy ending that doesn't mesh with anything that's come previously. The idea of killing off the majority of the group in one fell swoop without being done by the creatures is bad enough and feels like a cheat in and of itself yet to turn it around even more so that is completely unnecessary when this finale comes into play. Providing a happy ending that turns everything around and erasing what happened is a real cheat which isn't all that much fun. The other flaw present here is the utterly goofy effects done for the creatures, being either puppets or stop-motion which blend together well but look obvious that they've created in these manners. These are the films' only real issues.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Violence.
Really enjoyable for what it is
Upon the death of her grandfather, a woman and her husband return to her birthplace in Germany's Black Forest to sort out the final details of the situation, but when they discover something sinister is lurking in the woods must sort out the truth about what's going on and try to get out alive.
There's a lot to like with this one. One of the better features here is the great setup here involving the interlocking stories which bring the story together. The arrival of the two at the sacred spot in the forest while attempting to investigate the strange death of her relative and clean out his house offers a fine starting point, which is then enhanced nicely with the stories about the dangerous beings in the area and how the woods hold something quite sinister lurking nearby. That carries on with the unknown opening with the cult performing their sacrificial ritual on the first victim as well as her recollections of the strange events that plagued her growing up to set up an intriguing storyline throughout here. With that fine starting point in place, the series of supernatural action on display is rather enjoyable. The aforementioned opening involving the cult stalking and taunting their victim in the forest before performing a gruesome ceremonial ritual is a fine start to this one, while the encounter with the cult in their house is especially dark and chilling with the methodical manner they overwhelm and kidnap them before taking them and several others into the sacrificial spot in the woods to prepare for the game to follow. The setup involving the creature hunting them down through the woods is fun and offers some decent chasing and action for the most part, offering enough gore and effects-work for the creature to give this some enjoyable features. There are a few problems to be had with this one. The biggest problem is the series of confusing and unnecessary alliance switches that are placed throughout the second half in the middle of the game. So much of the films' second half is based on trying to keep themselves alive in the middle of the forest from the strange creature which is already a problem but to do so while in the middle of a bizarre series of confrontations aimed at making the characters' allegiances seem to switch around for no reason. It just simply endangers people for no reason other than to include these aspects into the story and offers nothing of value to these sequences. That ties into the other big issue on display with the appearance of the game to begin with and the purpose it has within the film. While the simple setup seems chilling involving the creature chasing victims through the woods, the concept of the hunt here makes no sense that the random people gathered here, including those who we've never met that are simply there for cannon-fodder making us completely uninterested in their survival anyway but there's no purpose to gathering them only to then set them loose in the forest to be hunted by a creature that would be better served just by slaughtering them rather than go through the motions here. Overall, these factors are the main drawbacks of this one.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence and Graphic Language.
Return to Horror High (1987)
A little flawed, but acceptable cheesy slasher from the time
Following a grisly murder, filmmakers and their crew rent out the abandoned school where it happened for the shooting of a horror flick but when the production is plagued by accidents and reports of the crimes' original killer on the loose the race to solve both problems is tackled on both ends.
This here was a rather fine slasher with some good parts to it. The main feature about this one is the general humor and cheese that it has which give it most of its watchability. The film has a fair share of jokes and gags in here and most of them actually work, giving this one a really nice level of cheese when this one really decides to let loose. This is mostly featured in the first half where the behind-the-scenes exploits of the film shoot with all the troubles associated with low-budget filmmaking including temperamental actors, sleazy executives, malfunctioning equipment, misconceptions about the project, and delays that go along with the quick kills that play with a cheesy atmosphere throughout this one. From there, it has a bunch of fun from the relatively enjoyable amounts of action that the film has. It features enough blood and gore in the combination of the film shoot deaths and the real killer knocking off victims on the set which helps to make it feel like one of the usual slashers with all of the blood and gore gags within. Featuring enough severed limbs, mutilated body parts, slicing, stabbings, and much more in here, there's enough blood and guts that it manages to feel like an ordinary slasher of the time period. There are even enough good decapitation effects here that manage to get some good fun from it. Mixed together with its incredibly fun last half, with the really good chase sequences coupled with the nudity and ridiculous cheese, give this one the best features. This one here doesn't have a whole lot of flaws, but the ones are pretty big. One of the big ones is that there's a couple of real parts here that don't make any sense at all. There are way too many flashbacks, nightmares, and scenes from the movie-within-the-movie to keep track of the main storyline throughout here. Why there's any need for it to do this is never explained, and why there's nothing to explain what the purpose is. The fact that this one really should've had one that kept the style in check and only used one rather than switching between the three, and even worse is that choosing between them is incredibly hard to do. It uses them at random to stick in plot points but trying to decide which one it actually manages to work into a real headache at times. Another annoying thing about it though is how it constantly jumps between plots. We start out with the police investigation of the murders, then we go back to the horror film production, and then back once more to the murders the film is based on, which turns out to be the movie being made. It sounds confusing and is just incredibly confusing to decide what's going to happen through the different plots that there's nothing at all to determine the order of what's going on in the order of the plot. This is really confusing and manages to get the differences along the way really hard to pick out. The last flaw is the terribly aggravating series of twists at the end that just go on and on without accomplishing anything. It's a series of one lame twist after another, and it ends the film on a sour note. These here work against the film.
Rated R: Graphic Violence, Nudity, and Language.
The Mutilator (1984)
One of the best in the genre
Preparing for summer vacation, a group of friends decides to go to a house out in the middle of nowhere to party but when it suddenly dawns on them that only a couple are left they come face-to-face with a maniacal killer who has gruesome intentions for the group of trespassers and tries to get away.
This here is one of the greatest 80s slashers ever. One of the main points to this is that the film has a fantastic pace to it, always on the move and going somewhere which itself is rather nice. Starting off nicely with the group getting to the house and their exploration of the property which highlights several fun factors that come into play later on, this comes off rather nicely as a build-up of the group and who they are before getting to the fun once the killer arrives on the scene. There's even a few nice suspense scenes in here that get some really nice points as the idea of there being somebody there from the beginning is given seeing the killer hideout around the house sleeping or watching the group waiting for an opportunity to strike but not getting the chance so there's a bit of suspense in the waiting around. Beyond the non-lethal stalking, when the body count starts to pick up this one has a lot to like. The assault in the boathouse is insanely creepy, as the off-screen noises and odd mystery concerning their clothes allow for some nice moments, and wandering through an unfamiliar location with really dim lighting is always a plus, and the game the group plays later in the film through the house with the lights out makes for some fantastic suspense. There's clearly someone stalking them but always manages to get themselves out of danger without doing anything out of the ordinary. Those are always fun scenes, and this one is one of the better examples of that trick. The final half-hour of the film is where it really shines away from the gore, which is non-stop action, chasing, fighting, and several really great scenes that are strewn together, along with some more high-end gore scenes, to make for a fantastic scene that ends the film on a spectacular high note. The last positive is that nearly every single one of the deaths in here is brutal, graphic, gory, and quite fun. This one has a real brutality streak through its killings that are really impressive to see. There are some really great ones in here, from a pitchfork stabbed through the neck with the prongs coming out the back of the neck, having a machete slice open the side of the face, a really wicked gunshot, having a leg sliced off with a funky battle-ax, an outboard motor slicing up the chest and stomach, as well as the most infamous kill, where a large metal fishing hook is shoved into neither regions. The fact that they're all quite realistic and well-done is also great, making their brutality stick out even more as having fake-looking deaths would've made the really bloody and graphic deaths look much better. Mixed together with the film's really nice amount of nudity, this here is a really great slasher. There isn't much to dislike here but there are a few minor flaws. The big one is the utter lack of a body count in this one. It has almost none for most of the film, and itself barely cracks half a dozen by the time it's done since there are barely any extraneous characters knocked off alongside the same group that travels to the house. While they're fine, brutal, and graphic, this here would've benefited from at least two more in the same vein as the ones that transpire which would've broken up the pacing a little bit especially during the antics while they're goofing around on the beach or back at the house. The only other flaw is that the killer is really unknown. The motive and rationale for the rampage aren't given, explored, or even brought up and it all makes little sense as to what's going on. At least a theory would've been nice, but it offers nothing. These two minor points are what keep the film down.
Rated R: Graphic Violence, Nudity, Graphic Language, a mild sex scene, and child abuse.
Bad Moon (1996)
More entertaining than it should be
After returning from a trip in the Amazon, a man visits his sister and her son to have a chance to get back on his feet, but when they start to suspect that something is strange about him connect a slew of animal attacks in the area to a werewolf and battle with the creature for the land they both consider home.
This was a highly underrated and enjoyable genre effort. Among the more likable factors is the films' strong storyline that's one of the more engaging and unique storylines for this kind of genre effort. The idea of the film being much more focused and centered around the dog and his protective nature towards the family, which is a feature that dogs are beloved for, is especially creative where it's aware of what's going on with the stranger from the start and tries to spend the time warning them of what he's doing once he arrives for the visit. Since we know how protective of his clan early on, the way he struggles with his duty to protect them once he knows there's danger, whether anyone else accepts it or not, and realizing the stranger is a potential member of the pack to accept is a fantastic analogy to undertake in this kind of film which is given a slew of fine scenes to establish this fact. The other really impressive factor on display here concerns the creature itself, which has to be one of the creepiest looking werewolves ever filmed. The design seems like a humanoid wolf with a towering frame, a large skull, a massive set of fangs, and an overall color design that creates a werewolf that is both threatening and physically imposing. This is a big part of the film's success, and it does look convincing like a werewolf as well due to the fact that the werewolf is a mechanical creature and not a CGI monster. It's much more realistic because the werewolf is in the shot and is not merely moving about in sync with the recorded footage. The use of its design and creation makes for a great time here, and when given a cheesy CGI-laden transformation sequence mixed with some practical features makes for a fantastic beast overall. There's also the gore on display, which is incredibly strong from several bloody attacks and kills. The first kill, where the girlfriend is killed, is a standout that not only opening with a bang but we also get a very violent thrashing and ripping alongside the fantastic resolution. The rest of the attacks are quite brutal and are very messy with the creature showing up rather unexpectedly to attack the victim whether it's the worker in the woods or the other worker who shows up at the house. Even the final showdown is a bloody feast, with both participants doing major damage on each other, slashing each other, and bloodletting all over the bodies. It is quite a finale indeed; gore hounds are not to be disappointed. Add a few chilly suspense scenes and it has all the makings of a modern werewolf classic. There isn't much to dislike here as it's basically only one main flaw to this one. The one issue is that the movie is so short it's barely an hour and twenty minutes. It did have the potential to be over the hour and a half mark, but it missed somewhere and shortened the film but cutting out several features that could've built up the length somewhat because it did have the potential to be much longer. A few more killings and some suspense scenes showing the chase to hunt down the werewolf would've been very beneficial to the film, as they would've helped the film not only get longer but would've provided an extra scene or three that would've sold the movie. However, this is the only issue and doesn't hold this back too much from the film's other factors.
Rated R: Graphic Violence, Language, violence-against-animals, Nudity, and a sex scene.
The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund (2016)
Overly familiar but still watchable exorcism effort
Approaching an old priest friend of his, a man convinces him that his wife has become possessed once again and needs another exorcism, forcing the priest to turn to a doubting colleague to follow him to the asylum where she's being held and exorcise her before its too late.
This was an underwhelming if still somewhat watchable genre effort. Among the most obvious flaws featured here are the utmost cliche setups that come about in just about every genre feature. The doubting priest who questions his faith and finally comes back to see the light is so common it's an insult, and the confines of the exorcism itself falling into the usual traps of speaking in tongues, the temptation with personal knowledge, and unearthly body contortions are all brought into play. Since everything in the genre utilizes these tactics, to see these at play again is either par for the course or lack of originality for some to sort out for themselves. As well, there's such a dreary and bleak pace on display that can cause this to slow to a crawl at points. This is mainly caused by the first half here going through the usual motions of finding the cause for her to be possessed as worthy of being exorcised so all the fact-gathering aspects have to be featured. From the torment of the staff at the hospital to the backstory about the couples' married life before the possession which includes endless visits with friends and family together, this information while also featuring the cliche doubting priest to further the slow down of the plot. Overall, these are what hold the film down for the most part. The film does have some positive features. Like most genre features, this one gets a lot to like with the painfully obvious storylines and actions here which signal her possessed state. The deformed appearance, with the body full of cuts and scratches, forked tongue, and glassy eyes give enough of a psychical clue but the other scenes here are quite fun. Taunting and tormenting the other nuns, throwing them around the room and all the usual antics commonplace for these films to denote the person's become possessed are all featured here to the point of becoming quite clear of who she is and what's to be done with her. Likewise, the final half here featuring the fun of the exorcism taking place has a lot to like. With the usual standbys including shouting profanity, splashing holy water on everything, and using crosses while quoting the expected Biblical passages, it's no less fun despite these expected qualities which carries over nicely into the final twist. Turning the possession around into a Biblical curse coming to pass and featuring several encounters not usually seen in these kinds of films, this apocalyptic finish has quite a lot to like which does lift this one up somewhat over other exorcism efforts.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Graphic Violence.
Cute Little Buggers (2017)
A wholly enjoyable and cheesy genre effort
Arriving on Planet Earth, a race of aliens looking for Earth-women to repopulate their species initiate a plan to corrupt the bunny population of a small British village into deformed mutations to kidnap the woman and turn them over for the invaders forcing the men to fight back and stop their plan.
This was quite the fun if somewhat flawed creature feature. Among its better aspects is the hilariously cheesy and goofy atmosphere that carries on throughout here. The opening shots of the aliens in their ship discussing their plans start this off rather quickly to fuel that idea, showing the aliens speaking in English about what to expect here which is then expanded upon in the rest of the film. From their plot to infiltrate humanity using bunnies, the constant discussions about how it's going, and the town's police force reacting to everything around them, this one is quite goofy and silly which is for the best here. That gives the films' attack scenes quite a lot to like as it mixes this cheesy aesthetic with more serious attacks. Playing up the running gag with the cute rabbit being the cause, that they can sneak up on everyone and unsuspectingly prepare for either a cheesy capture to be transported back or the ship or a more vicious attack is quite fun. The early wood attacks gather the girls up are fun while the big action scenes involving the escape from the rabbit-filled woods, the wild attack on the town party, or the multi-stage raid on their hideout to rescue everyone offers more of a serious take on everything, holding this one up overall. There are a few minor problems to be had with this one. One of the biggest issues is the overlong running time brought about by the use of several useless subplots to lengthen the running time. The majority of the first half goes overboard making us aware of the various interpersonal relationships, from the town outcast returning home to his estranged father and his former girlfriend who's dating the jerk, their friends who are stuck in their own small-town squabbles, or the lazy police force. These elements are fun enough but played out for far too long, making this seem too long for its own good. The other problem here is the utterly laughable special effects which might be the point based on how cheesy it is but still has some incredibly silly effects work. The rabbits themselves are poorly rendered CGI which makes them look like genuine rabbits but the fur is wrong and their dimensions are off, resulting in too large beasts walking through the scenes in obvious fashion and making you wonder why they never used the real thing. The blood and gore as well as the wounds look even worse, while the aliens didn't need the forked tongues. These are what hold this one down.
Rated Unrated/R: Extreme Graphic Language, Graphic Violence, Nudity, and a sex scene.
Scare Attraction (2019)
Has enough to like but is still somewhat flawed
Preparing for a new presentation, a group of actors at a local scare attraction run through the routine as a special preview for several celebrities to get word-of-mouth going, but as the tour goes on they begin to question the ulterior motive of the trip when they're forced to play a madman's deadly game.
This was a rather enjoyable feature. One of the better aspects on display here is the films' setup and presentation that has a lot to like. Initially doing the backstage preparation video with the performer going around to the other groups of performers in their various assignments which runs the gamut from playful glimpses of their intended performance to realizing that everything hasn't gone according to the script and throwing a fit, which is really enjoyable. Alongside the setup of the influencers coming to watch, this is a fun starting point to everything else that happens. Once this goes into the actual presentation, the cheesiness on display becomes highly enjoyable the more it carries on. Realizing that they're legitimately trying and just coming up a bit short on the realism scale with the boxing match or Mafia encounter gone wrong, it looks genuinely like the actors are doing their best with limiting options here given the way the rooms are set up since several are unconventional attraction scenarios. While this is the case, several others are just that creepy and genuinely unnerving, and with their differing reactions, this one becomes a cheesy good time. As well, the final half carries on a rather fun format of going through several repeated sequences. Alternating between night-camera footage of contestants being scared in the darkened room, jumped at by the female ghost, the killer stalking victims backstage and the game being carried out all taking place at the same time, it's a highly enjoyable sequence of events that take a somewhat surprising turn with the revelations and reveals that come forth. While also detailing some nice aftermath gore effects, these manage to hold the film up over its flaws. There are a few issues here. The main problem is the film's inability to tell what's going on as the lighthearted rooms and performances go against the darker truths of the group being held hostage. It feels quite out-of-character compared to the other events and is genuinely confusing as to how it fits in with the point of the story. That also makes it hard to tell if the slasher is real or not since these are done so late in the film, done without warning, and are shot in slow-motion montages so it's nearly impossible to trust it. These aspects are what hold this one back.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Violence.
The Black Book (2021)
Enjoyable enough but generally flawed indie anthology
Wandering into a book store, a man convinced it's just sprung up overnight goes inside and takes home a book the shopkeeper convinces him is cursed, eventually reading several of the stories within.
The Good Stor(ies): Sorcerer's Finger-Attempting to sneak into an abandoned building, a group of schoolgirls finds the situation complicated by a gangland interrogation gone wrong and must try to get out alive. Overall, this was a far more enjoyable and fun effort. The setup here is quite a cliche with the girls sneaking into them sneaking in and finding the gangland-interrogation going off is a great twist with them torturing the maniacally-laughing victim in increasingly brutal means. The further twist about the identity of the victim and how it all plays out is all pretty decent if not entirely scary or thrilling, but on the whole, this is quite good.
Give Up the Ghost-Looking into a website for research, a student stumbles upon a suspected snuff film site and sets out to prove its existence to the professor at his university. This was a disappointing effort that could've been much better than what it is even with a lot to like. The creepy setup with the site, how it works the type of films being shown there is intriguing enough when given a placement alongside the background information about the nature of the format, gives this a lot to like. Overall, though, it just feels rushed and has no real setup to anything, just running through the motions and not doing much of anything with the brief running time as this one really could've benefitted from a longer running time the most to flesh everything out.
Ocularis-In the middle of a strange viral pandemic, a family tries to come to terms with how to keep themselves safe from the ravenous infected now living in the world around them. This was a rather fun and engaging segment. The intensity of the attacks around them, combined with the chilling rationalization found for what's happening, creates a fun scenario here that is quite chilling with the series of twists employed in the second half. Again, this one really could've benefitted from being stretched out to a longer length given the information gleaned here not being given enough of a stake in the outcome over the creatures.
Man in the Mirror-Trying to follow through on a class project, a woman inadvertently calls upon a local folklore figure and lets it loose on her friends forcing them to solve its riddle to finally stop it. There's a lot to like here, with a fun concept involving the unique urban legend that's perfectly replicated in such a fun way here with the figure appearing and offering the few kills by only appearing in mirrors even though the action is still being carried out. It still needs a bit more time to explain everything involving the way it works featuring the killer specifically and how the separate world works, but otherwise, there's little to dislike.
The Bad Stor(ies): Date Night-Taking a trip into the woods, a couple enjoying themselves on a date find the evening interrupted by the truth behind a series of stories regarding vicious animals in the area. This could've been a much more enjoyable effort than it is had it been longer since this just feels like the setup to something much bigger but is undone by the length. It makes the twist look weak and predictable and just ends so abruptly that it's a shame nothing much else was done with the setup as this feels more like a prologue to a feature film rather than a coherent story on its own.
The Woods-Living in a shack on the Louisiana bayou, a woman and her daughter try to come to terms with the bizarre nature of the dark and mysterious woods surrounding them. This was a rather confusing and rather underwhelming effort. It takes way too long before it starts getting creepy or spooky which is a big mistake in something this short, and there's no idea it's supposed to be creepy at all since it just drops you into this situation without much warning. The atmosphere is nice with the woods and the sense of desperation to keep her safe from what lurks out there, but it's all too short to mean anything.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Violence..
De dødes tjern (1958)
An overall highly enjoyable supernatural thriller
Taking a special trip together, a group of friends heads out to the Norwegian countryside to visit a friend staying at their cabin in the woods and catch up with each other, but the longer they stay the more they come to believe the legends about the area being haunted and try to keep it from continuing.
This was a fantastically chilling and enjoyable effort. Among the films' bright spots is the engaging and fantastic atmosphere that manages to run throughout here. Given that the majority of the film is based on the cabin, with the picturesque lake shimmering in the reflected sunlight that's surrounded by lush trees creates an effectively eerie sense of isolation that takes the films' actions into fine context. It all comes off far more ominously than what it should with the setup employed. As we're also given an effectively eerie and chilling backstory about the origins of the haunted lake and why there are so many tragic accidents that have been present at the lake, the constant conversations about whether there's a supernatural or rational explanation for everything, and a fantastic revelation that puts everything quite nicely into perspective, the atmosphere of the film comes off incredibly well. That this setup gives the film a chance to play with some unsettling and creepy ideas to further those aspects also comes across rather nicely. With the main venture at first are the group seeing strange reflections in the lake and their strange desire to be near it while in a trance-like state, this one starts off quite nicely with its action scenes helping to enhance the supernatural themes within the story. As it progresses and the supernatural antics are more overt, this one has a lot to like with the recreation of the legend around the lake intercut with the story about what happened to the brother which creates a rather fine sense of menace to go along with the storyline features on display. These features make the film incredibly fun and hold it up overall. There isn't much that brings this down but it does have some minor drawbacks. The main flaw here is the sudden abrupt ending that just comes out of nowhere with the wholly underwhelming way it finishes. When the plan is put into motion to trap the guilty party and it plays out as they expected, the fact that we're just as in the dark about these factors as the participant makes the whole scene just feel quite chaotic and confusing. The whole thing is taken up even further with the guilty party seeming to get away with everything by disappearing into the forest without incident and taking the route of escaping the incident without getting any true comeuppance for what's going on. That also causes the secondary issue where the reveal at the end manages to make the earlier incidents and disappearances around the lake seem that much more curious about what's going on which all manage to bring this down slightly.
Today's Rating-Unrated/PG: Violence.
Incredibly chilling slow-burn genre effort
Growing up isolated with her mother, a teenager who spends her time playing in a metal band with her or exploring the woods away from others meets a friend where she discovers the real reason behind them living alone together and must race to stop her deadly heritage from engulfing her and her friends.
There was quite a lot to like with this one. What really works nicely here is the impeccably strong setup that offers quite a fun immersive experience. Since we spend so much time getting an idea of the relationship between the mother and her daughter that becomes far more of a kidnapping/human trafficking experience due to the harshness of the living conditions forced upon her by expressly forbidding any contact with the outside world despite the daughter's objections, this lays an intriguing groundwork for the film to follow. The idea is quite chilling and becomes much more so when the true intent beyond their living condition is presented that offers hints at a deadly family legacy and heritage which is a stark contrast to the rest of the film. With this in place, the films' shift into the supernatural comes off incredibly well with the friendship that blossoms and how it turns into the revelation involving witchcraft. Knowing the reason why her mother kept her hidden was due to the history of witchcraft involved within the family, including all sorts of dark spells and deadly incantations that have been passed down for generations, adds immensely to the first half of the film with the result taking on a far more sinister connotation with the immersion into teaching the ways of witchcraft. This montage of the two of them going through the motions of learning how to craft trinkets and other ornaments that are useful to their studies while being offset by the flash psychedelic images of witches and other incredibly strange images that are quite disorienting. These aspects, along with the strong supernatural sequences showing the witchcraft taking hold as the spells and powers on display are quite fun and exciting producing some great gore as well, to give the film quite a bit of likable qualities. There isn't much to dislike here but it does have some minor issues. The main drawback is the slightly sluggish pacing which isn't bad at all but could potentially be an issue for some out there. Since the majority of the film alternates between either the mother/daughter relationship out in the woods or the journey to understanding the truth about her witchcraft heritage including the learning of the ingredients to prepare her powers, those expecting more straightforward action and bloodletting might lose interest in the film by the point it gets to that. This is especially true after the exceptionally strong beginning that signals something far darker and more action-packed is going to come but it never does and that can be somewhat disappointing. Some of the other factors involving the weak CGI for their powers aren't that impressive either, but for the most part, it plays into the charm and doesn't hold it back too much.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence and Graphic Language.
Jack Be Nimble (1993)
Barely watchable genre effort
Growing up separated as young kids, a boy and his sister eventually find themselves years later as teens having been adopted into vastly different families, but when his psychotic upbringing eventually causes him to snap they go on the run to help him while avoiding his family members out to seek revenge.
Overall, this one was pretty disappointing and underwhelming. The only good factors here really stem from the series of scenes that revolve around setting up the revenge later on. His life on the farm and the abuse he suffered is all a great setup for the hypnosis-fueled series of accidents that are passed off as his parents' deaths create a rather strong first-half while generating the proper build-up required for the scenes later on featuring the girls coming back for revenge. This offers some decent scenes with them chasing the two around the area leading to the finale that brings about some fun chases around the property and getting some solid gore once her powers are finally brought to the forefront. It's really some of the only factors that make this one likable. There were quite a few issues with this one. One of the biggest problems with this one is the idea of this one being so heavy-handed with its setup that there's so little interest in what's happening. Despite the creation of an intriguing setup involving their vastly different lives and the quest to get back together, very little here becomes interesting due to the way this all becomes presented. As the differences with their lies growing up are immediately clear and don't stand up to the kind of fascination it thinks it has. The discrepancies in their upbringing and how different it was for them to be brought up is all a tired cliche anyway and don't generate much in the way of excitement for a genre film. Most of it is all played in a serene and maudlin approach that comes about through their reunion and the troubled nature of everything, failing to make any kind of genuine impression overall. This lack of interest also applies to the films' attempt at scares which are incredibly troubling and just plain uninteresting. Since he's such an unsocial psychotic nutcase that snaps at everything and everyone around him in the most unrealistic manner possible, it's not at all feasible to look at him as a sympathetic figure during his attempts to kill off the people around him for what happened in his life. This causes a series of utterly underwhelming and forgettable scenes that despite the attempt at raising the energy featured within the film make no sense as to why they would play out as they do with her helping him perform these actions in front of her or driving away everyone in her life just because he's too unstable to be around. Frankly, these really hold this one down the most.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language, Violence, Brief Nudity, and a mild sex scene.
Alison's Birthday (1981)
A highly enjoyable and chilling folk-horror effort
Just before her nineteenth birthday, a woman and her boyfriend head to her grandparents' house to prepare for the celebrations, but as they spend time at the house realize that something might not be right with the party and must get her to safety when the truth about everything is finally revealed.
There was quite a lot to like with this one. Among the more likable factors here is the intriguing and enjoyable setup here surrounding the mysteriousness of her upcoming birthday. The fact that everything that happens one she and her boyfriend arrive, from the overly touchy-feely manner they tend to her and ensure that nothing upsets or disturbs her, including the obvious attempts at brushing aside any questions or queries she has about the objects found around a house she grew up in or being spooked by the sudden appearance of her great-grandmother she never knew she had suddenly sitting beside her bed in a wheelchair. These factors all create a highly enjoyable setup that plays quite nicely with the unraveling mystery investigation into the history of the cult in the area. As well, there's also a lot to like with how these elements combine together with the series of supernatural attacks throughout here that build up quite nicely. Starting with the ominously creepy and chilling seance that features their friend getting possessed and warning her away from the party before the shocking ending, this one features some rather enjoyable aspects to the main storyline on display. As their malicious intent is slowly unraveled including holding her against their will, drugging and hypnotizing her into submission for their plans, the film picks up quite nicely as the time-table to save her grows near resulting in the group becoming more and more intent on keeping him out of the area and letting their plans fall through. That all comes to a head with the fantastic finale which is incredibly fun and chilling. Realizing what the cult is actually trying to accomplish and barely surviving the cult's attempts to wipe him out and prevent his stopping the ceremony, the film's high-energy race to interrupt the final ceremony offers quite a lot to like. There's a nice counter to get into the house and then sneak into the ceremony to rescue her which also includes the film's main shining grace with the fantastic twist ending which is dark, chilling, and utterly unexpected which is rather intriguing how it all plays out. Given that this all works incredibly well despite the absolute lack of anything resembling blood, gore, or even sleaze is a fun testament to the film and how great it is. There isn't much to dislike with this one as the few flaws aren't that detrimental. There's basically only the film's slow-going pace that holds this one back, as this one takes so long to get going that some might lose interest in what's happening. Since there are no deaths or anything of that sort happening at all here, all the films' attempts at trying to throw him off their scent come mainly from dialogue rather than action so it never develops the kind of intensity that would be expected from this kind of storyline. The lack of action isn't detrimental here with the stellar quality of the build-up to the finale and what's potentially going on but that still remains a possibility, along with the aforementioned lack of blood or sleaze here which are the only issues here.
Rated Unrated/PG-13: Language and Mild Violence.
The Secret of Sinchanee (2021)
Fun but overlong supernatural effort
After his father's death, a man returns to his old house to put the finishing touches on the property when he starts to experience a series of strange events that keep him up late into the night and start affecting his work, eventually discovering the cause to be a Native American curse attached to the land.
Overall, this was a highly enjoyable if slightly flawed genre effort. Among the more impressive aspects to be had here is the intricate and complex web of storylines present here involving the numerous plot points brought up. With the central story involving a tribe of peaceful Indians that were supposedly immune to diseases and somehow turned into a cult of pagan practitioners, an Indian curse featuring a generational abuse on its people for several centuries and finally resorting to possession, mental illness, and involvement in a slew of mysterious accidents spread throughout the town all being investigated by a detective assigned to the small town from a major city. This is an incredibly strong storyline that gives this one the potential to have something intriguing going on and the film works quite nicely because of it which sets up the idea of these things happening in a location like this. That also leads into the films' series of supernatural scares once these various elements have been fully explored. The idea of the house he's living in being haunted by a malevolent spirit dominates the first half, causing some short shock jump-scares that further the idea of something going on involving the family curse that was brought up at the beginning of the film. Other scenes, including the idea of something out in the woods serving as a physical representation of the supernatural entity they're fighting generate some solid sequences here or featuring the possessed individual speaking in demonic tones to himself about the strange curse about to be wrought. With a solid finale offering some supernatural action and a fun resolution to everything, there are some rather likable factors at play here. There isn't much really wrong here, but it's a big issue and is quite detrimental. That is the films' obviously overlong and unnecessary running time that has no business being as long as it is, with the intricate storyline coming into play with several issues here. Not only is it all way too complex and overbearing for something of this nature, but there's also way too much going on here that is never explained or overexplained leading to several other side issues from its length. Since way too much is going on here, the film also desperately needs an editor to trim this down as the film's a good twenty-thirty minutes too long as it is with scenes here coming off as unnecessary and need to be removed or scenes that go on way past their usefulness, including many of the interactions between the detective and her daughter which play into the film's storyline but are just overlong. It's the one issue with the film and holds it back the most.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Violence.
XXX Dark Web (2019)
An enjoyable extreme anthology effort
Desperate for a fix, a man logs onto the dark web and begins browsing the various uploaded videos on a favorite website
The Good Stor(ies): The Prosperity of Vice-Awakening in a horrific dungeon, a bound-and-gagged man realizes he's the plaything for several unscrupulous degenerates willing to go to extreme lengths for their perverse desires. This is an enjoyable if formulaic extreme anthology. While giving this a brutality and demented attitudes that will be present throughout the rest of the segments involving the frequent nudity, body mutilations, perverse sexuality, and tormented agony of the participant involved here leaves a strong impression on what's to come, especially with the idea presented here for the willingness to engage in such explicit scenes featured here which becomes somewhat more uncomfortable the longer it goes on. It's a great proper start to the anthology which overcomes its repetitive nature.
Dolls-A masked butcher decides to take apart a young woman and turn her into a living doll. The longest segment in the anthology, there's a lot to like here. This one comes off well with the brutality of the deconstructing and mutilation present here, offering both physical attacks on her body and the concurrent mutilations on the plastic mannequin he's using to refill the parts of her anatomy. It all has quite a lot of graphic and over-the-top carnage that is impressively utilized but does drag on a bit with the repetitive nature of everything with very little variation to things. While the visuals are indeed graphic and disturbing which carries a lot of weight overall it still needed a bit more to occur here.
Deconstructing Roberto-Agreeing to participate in a series of experiments, a man finds himself tested to his sexual and psychological limits. Overall this is a decent if a rather bland segment. The perverse nature of the experiment requiring extreme electrical and sexual stimulation to see what produces arousal in the male body is a dark thought, especially as it goes on implicating the idea of numerous such devices and tactics strapped or performed on him in order to generate the desired reaction is a creepy and disturbing idea that takes place here. That it comes complete with a collection of images and concepts to accomplish that is a great touch, if only for the low-key nature and singular setting featured here to make it feel somewhat bland if none of the ideas are that shocking.
The Bad Stor(ies): TeknoBarbie-A woman with an affinity for scratching herself with her nails to the point of drawing blood dances and gesticulates for the camera. This was a brief and uninviting burst of flashing red strobe lightings disguising the point of anything really happening. Since this one tends to subliminally hint at what's going on with the glimpses of herself drawing blood and what's going on with her body, there's a different atmosphere to the rest of the segments that's quite enjoyable but severely hampered by the brief running time that's over before you realize this was actually a segment in the film.
Allison's Mouth Fills Up with Blood and S*men-A man gathers his followers together in an apartment complex and begins mutilating each other. Under most circumstances, there's going to be a lot to like here with the real-life mutilation and bloodletting that goes on here. Since this is genuine and actually shows the group members cutting, stabbing, and slicing themselves to produce real blood fits incredibly well into the format and setup of the anthology. However, it eventually just becomes dull after a while with very little in terms of production values or a purposeful storyline rendering it a one-note piece repeating over and over.
Curiosity Killed the Cat-Desperate for a fix, a man logs onto the dark web and begins browsing the various uploaded videos on a favorite site As the setup to an over-the-top anthology it serves itself well but really needed a bit more going on. The brief glimpses in his room showing him scrolling around trying to find the next video are okay in theory but that's all it has going for it. It's all just so blandly presented here that there's little about the segments that make sense, with no dialogue and entry point into the segments it's hard to tell if this is the wrap-around setup or the shorts themselves and becomes part of the confusion over what's happening.
Rated Unrated/NC-17: Extreme and Graphic Full Male and Female Nudity, Extreme Sexual Situations and Extreme Graphic Violence.
The Wild Man: Skunk Ape (2021)
A generally fun creature feature
Desperate to prove the creatures' existence, a group of documentary filmmakers heads out into the Florida Everglades to prove the existence of the Skunk Ape in the area, but when they stumble across the truth behind the creature realize there's something far more sinister than they expected as the source.
Overall, this was a pretty solid and enjoyable effort. One of the better factors involved here is the strong setup that gives this one a strong start. With the initial documentary approach that announces the history of the creature, the connection with the residents in town, and their desire to head off to film nicely in getting the main story set up rather quickly. With their documentary approach focusing on the investigation of the locals and the information gleaned from these scenes, the film comes off pretty well as the group going through town being intimidated into leaving or confronting crazed locals offering bizarre and over-the-top explanations for the most simplistic of events creates a nice start to things. Once the group hits the woods trying to follow through with their expedition, this one has plenty to like about it with the collection of scenes out in the middle of the woods hiking through the underbrush or getting a chance to lay their guards down to catch up on the different personalities involved. The few instances of finding something out there with the animal growling in the distance, the craziness of the trap being sprung, and then the twist involving the government agents being involved that leads to the somewhat enjoyable finale featuring them sneaking onto a military base to complete their mission. While the general action in the finale is fun in principal with the creature rampaging and running loose that makes for a fun time here, these are what hold this up overall. There are some issues with this one. The biggest drawback to the film is the utterly bizarre notion of the group going through the series of intimidation tactics and break-ins that are supposed to drive them away not doing much to advance the story. While the group rightfully decides to press on in the face of the adversity, the central idea present here doesn't do the film any favors with the need for including it over the interactions with the creature. With no logical reason for forsaking the police to investigate the events beyond hear-say and just going forward with the investigation is somewhat foolhardy especially with the revelations later on, this is quite difficult to figure out the point behind including it when the rest of the film makes no mention of this aspect. The last flaw to be had with the film is the highly underwhelming third act that goes off the rails and into some interesting if not necessarily exciting territory. Rather than being a straightforward creature-on-the-loose-in-the-woods genre effort, the sudden turn into a series of political manipulation and government conspiracy theories is incredibly underwhelming. It's the exact opposite of what this kind of film should've been and could've been with the concept having been working fine beforehand. This just comes out of nowhere and takes the creature out of the film as a result since the focus is now on unraveling this bizarre government cover-up rather than having this murderous creature involved in the film which hurts this one a lot.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Violence.
The Amityville Moon (2021)
Generally fun indie werewolf feature
Agreeing to take on a case to reduce his suspension, a troubled cop arrives in a church home looking for a couple of missing residents that no one else can find, but the more he stays around the troubled girls he discovers the true source of the disappearances to be a bloodthirsty werewolf and sets out to stop it.
This one wasn't that bad of a genre feature. Among the more enjoyable features here is the fun setup that brings the film together and offers up the kind of indie charm in this kind of feature. With the cop on his last legs due to the incidents in his past being assigned to what should've been an easy assignment looking into the strange disappearance of the girls from the church home, this is a fantastic setup for this kind of genre feature and really generates a nice mystery involving what's really going on. As the lives of the girls at the home and various backstories, jealousy, and interpersonal history going on there combines together into a highly engaging setup in play here. As well, once the film decides to focus on its creature attacks there's some fun to be had. Generating some cheesy fun with the werewolf popping up out of nowhere and viciously attacking anyone it comes across is all quite charming, and several of the brief attack ambushes also manage to bring about some solid gore effects in the generally graphic kills. That becomes most apparent in the final half with a lot to like here, as the full reveal of the creature in the church and its resulting rampage on the girls left there provides some chilling suspense scenes and some solid action-packed encounters in the various rooms of the church that offer up some solid chases and suspense in addition to even more fun gore. The other solid aspect to this one is the central creature as the design for the creature is quite impressive, focusing on the more upright werewolf-styled beast as the snarling mouth, frizzled fur and demonic appearance give this a lot to like as well. That is especially more so given the connection that gets unraveled throughout the film that ties in the mysterious disappearances, the odd behavior of the church officials, and the ensuing investigation rather nicely. The reveal of the creature's true nature might be obvious enough but there's still a lot to like about it as this brings about some nice suspense once it becomes clear to the potential victim that's the case, and with a fantastic transformation sequence thrown in as well for the old-school fans this has a lot to like about it that holds it up overall. There isn't much to dislike here as the few flaws aren't that detrimental. The main factor on display is the somewhat slow pace at the beginning of the film, featuring enough of a sluggish start that it's rather easy to lose interest at times. The films' focus on the lives of the girls at the house is at the forefront of things with only minor deviations to the officers' investigation which both combined takes centerstage for such a large portion of time that the brief attacks are simply just brief ambushes of the victim stumbling upon the werewolf and being dispatched moments later. As mentioned, the other flaw here is the somewhat obvious identity of the werewolf that isn't hidden too well at all, which just like the low-budget indie nature of the film is noticeable but not as distracting overall.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence and Graphic Language.
Incredibly troubling Christian genre fare
After a series of strange attacks in their town, a group of students discovers that their college campus is being invaded by a swarm of vicious insects, but when the attacks lead to something far more sinister going on they learn the situation has ties to one of their own's past and must try to stop it.
This was a highly troubled genre effort. When this one works best is when there's a series of strong supernatural attacks that are quite prominent throughout here. The concept of the curse at play, ushering in the Biblical concept of speaking things into existence the way God offers his bounty to those who offer it to the world, takes a pretty unique and creative concept and runs with it. That causes the few attacks of the creatures jumping on victims and biting at them resulting in the bystanders being forced into action to remove the creatures and then engage in massive stomping parties to kill off the ones left around which has some fun creature feature action throughout. Even with the later scenes showing the effect the curse has over them and how it brings out the various body-morphing that looks somewhat creepy in concept, these here are really all that hold this one up. There are some big issues at stake with this one. The main drawback on display here is the films' rather obvious Christian message that overwhelms the horror aspects present. The fact that the entire film is spent trying to moralize the concept of goodness overcoming darkness through actions and words that this preachifying interrupts the overall genre attributes. The film stops itself cold to focus on the positivity expressed through religious teachings and how she especially tries to get something remotely resembling intensity or thrills in the scene it drops this entirely to focus on some moral principle or religious teaching that doesn't have any impact on the film as a whole. Some scenes stop dead in the middle of their horror attack to reference some kind of religious teaching or moral and there's very little that's frightening about the film due to that. On top of that, there are some problematic areas within the film's structure itself. The idea of the demonic entity attacking them because of their words is never explored in-depth since most of that is just inference without concrete proof, much like the true identity of the female spirit controlling everything that has very little explained about it. The whole concept of the students going crazy in quarantine and questioning everything is such an irrational jump to conclusions that making some of the accusations they do offers absolutely illogical statements that are hard to make us fall in line with their line of thinking, while the whole idea of the random students being interviewed on a national television service without the cooperation and presence of the school during the experience is just laughably incorrect and unrealistic. Which just makes the film look amateurish more than anything. The other factor to be had with the film is the utterly obvious low-budget quality that runs throughout here. The fact that it was filmed during a pandemic with the occasional masked student while others are on their own yet are clearly not following the kind of mandates that would be in place for such events creates a highly disjointed and distracting experience. That carries over into the special effects work which is laughably poor, ranging from bargain-basement CGI that doesn't have any sense of realism or connection to reality with their inability to connect with anything around them, further destroying the impact of the horror scenes in this one. With blood splatter flashing on the walls that look no better and dream sequences that feature ludicrous computer-graphic imagery that makes this look even cheaper, these issues hold this one back overall.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Graphic Violence.
Beasts of the Field (2019)
Solid enough but flawed indie effort
After getting rejected for their pilot, a team of desperate producers trying to get their cryptozoology show off the ground con a group of individuals to travel out into the woods to find a legendary creature only for something more dangerous to affect their show and threaten their lives.
This was a pretty solid genre effort. Among the films' better qualities come from the enjoyable first half that gives everything an intriguing and engaging start. Starting with the groups' rejection of their show and the desire to get it filmed as well as the duplicity they use to procure the crew for the shoot is a great way of starting this off, focusing on the desire to get their dream project together but being way out of their element since the obviousness of their sketchy business practices is never noticed or questioned by anyone. The more it carries on with their improper behavior and meltdowns that showcase the incompetent nature of their mission even more and just makes the upcoming encounters that much more fun. Once the film moves into the final half and their struggles in the forest to get out alive, there's a nice bit of energy that carries this one along quite nicely. Their single-minded determination to keep pressing on deeper into the creatures' hunting zone makes for a fun time as their sense of inexperience and incompetence kills off a group member and turns the action around nicely when a new, unexpected threat emerges which is rather fun. This leads to some intriguing cat-and-mouse chases that are quite surprising and unexpected as the series of confrontations by the various members of the group throughout the area provides some thrills and brutal action in the graphic kills included, making fine use of the forest surroundings. These here give the film some likable qualities. This one did have some minor issues involved here. The main drawback is the fact that the film spends the majority of the first half on that build-up about their incompetence about filming this kind of show that it never brings the creature into focus. Rather than do something simple like seeing it in the background without their knowledge or seeing it hunt animals or other people in the woods to break up those kinds of sequences can make for a rather dull time if viewers are looking for a straightforward creature feature. This lack of attention to the creature makes this one somewhat underwhelming at the beginning of the film when it matters and impacts our lack of knowledge about the creature overall since there's nothing about what it is, where it's been living, or anything else. The other slight factor is the somewhat confusing series of actions that carry out through the final half of the film. Regardless of the fun nature involved or the deserving nature of the scenes, the way it twists and turns around on itself comes off rather confusing. The shift in focus from the creature they're tracking to a different killer entirely is a bit out of nowhere with the change being somewhat out-of-nowhere and relies on inference more than anything else to explain what's going on as the series of scenes and chases that emerge here is never really explained. While some might be somewhat turned off by the finale which becomes quite cliched yet doesn't provide the kind of payoff some would want, these here are the main factors that drag this down.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Graphic Violence.
Star Vehicle (2010)
An enjoyable and dark genre effort
Tasked with driving stars to and from movie sets, a driver taking the cast and crew of a low-budget horror shoot to and from their lodgings discovers his favorite actress is involved and tries to win her over, but when his actions anger and upset the crew takes out his anger in graphic ways.
Overall, this was quite an intriguing and enjoyable genre effort. Among the films' better features is the strong setup that gives us an intriguing psychological character study on the guy throughout here. Giving this one an incredibly thorough take on his obsession and demented attraction to the genre and the art of movie-making from the very start with the amount of trivia and knowledge about the industry he provides that should send off clues about who he is but doesn't, there's a very strong grip on his character and personality quite earlier on that works quite well here. Even the later scenes of him trying to worm his way into her life, while perhaps done innocently with the attempts to initiate a conversation about her career and the resulting shoot, go even further towards enhancing that factor of the film. Since this all manages to provide a sense of who he is and what he's all about, the longer the shoot carries on and the more time he spends around her the eventual snap becomes all the more obvious and fun. The fact that he spends as much time talking smack about the film and the history of the girls' work to anyone and everyone on set gives this a perfect point to bring about how his instability eventually leads to the deranged rampage he carries out in the second half where he goes crazy through the cast and crew killing them one-by-one before finally abducting the main group that upset him which results in a psychotic spree torturing and killing them which is quite over-the-top and features tons of great splattery gore overall. These here give this one a lot to like that holds it up overall. There isn't much to dislike here with the film. The main drawback is the seemingly bizarre manner in which his antics go unreprimanded for as long as he is as the kind of interaction he provides on a film set would've gotten him kicked off far earlier than what he did. Picking fights with anyone on the set of a film shoot, openly calling the director's work trash and uninspired, or just generally giving off a creeper's vibe is all questionable that would automatically make any crew suspicious of him and there's little he does to fix it so why he lasted as long as he did before the snap is a little questionable. As well, there's the random reveal of the stalker at the end of the film which just seems thrown in for no reason other than to have a hero's redemption sequence when it would be highly suspicious someone who carry out the plan they do at the point it occurs which isn't realistic. Otherwise, there's quite a lot to like with this one.
Rated Unrated/R: Extreme Graphic Violence, Graphic Language, Full Nudity, and a Rape.
Dogface: A TrapHouse Horror (2021)
Far better than expected genre effort
Troubled by a series of strange dreams, a man decides to join his girlfriend at a party hosted by her sisters at a remote house in the countryside, but as the night continues comes to believe the strange visions and nightmares are waning him of something dangerous inside the house.
On the whole, this one wasn't too bad and had some likable factors to it. One of the films' strongest elements is the highly enjoyable dream setup that grounds the first half in a fun psychological mind-game torture. Since it's almost immediately after the guy moves in, the rather chilling way it escalates from him not remembering where something was placed to the terror at the party where the visions involving his psychotic mother, the dog-faced killer that suddenly shows up and begins gruesomely killing them one-by-one in a series of artfully-lit and shot stalking scenes that showcase some rather graphic kills. Due to the rapid-fire nature of the sequence and how it just piles plenty of different revelations one after another in the scene, it starts the film incredibly well. The middle part of the film centered around the meet-up at the rented house and the various encounters throughout there have some fun moments here. The way the group works out their stay at the place and how it affects their trip regarding the series of weird occurrences involving the weird ghosts or the weird situations that emerge the longer they stay there. Once things really start to heat up in the finale where the twist reveal about what's going on at the house and why the visions have to mean all along and a sacrificial ceremony that provides this with some pretty intriguing supernatural action which gives this a nice bit of action at the end, the film carries quite a few positives that hold it up over its minor flaws. There isn't much that holds this one back but it does have some issues. The main drawback here is the utterly moronic group here that we're supposed to root for to get out that doesn't deserve it. There's no reason for including the list in the first place since the group wantonly disregards everything laid out at every chance they get bringing everything on themselves, there's no sense of urgency or logical reaction to what's going on and there's so little about them that makes them feel like they're aware of the danger around them that never comes off well. Combined with the closed-off nature of their relationships which is explained away in the finale but still stands out quite obviously here. With a finale designed to setup a sequel but not working on its own, these factors bring the film down overall.
Rated Unrated/R: Extreme Graphic Language, Violence, and drug references.