In 50 (or so) Words…
The Hallow (2015)
Directed By: Corin Hardy
Starring: Joseph Mawle, Bojana Novakovic
Occupant Entertainment, IFC Midnight
After a month of living in an old house in the remote Irish countryside, a couple and their young son come under attack from supernatural forces that haunt the woods surrounding their home. The experience becomes dire as the evil entities target the couples infant boy.
I went into my viewing of The Hallow with zero expectations as I had not read too much about the film. In my opinion, it is a pretty well made homage to the old “don’t go into the woods at night” theme. The beautiful Irish landscape makes for a nice atmospheric setting. I was impressed with the creature design, as the forest demons are well crafted and effective. The heavy lifting as far as the acting goes is carried by Joseph Mawle (TV’s Ripper Street) and Bojana Novakovic (TV’s Shameless), and they do an admirable job. There are a few plot holes, and perhaps the writers gave away too much too soon, but nothing that should deter you from viewing the movie. My main complaint is that the film sputtered in some spots, and lost some momentum. All-in-all, this a very decent spin on an old Irish folklore that should have no problem finding an audience. Not perfect, but solid.
3 /5 Bloody Moons
In 50 (or so) Words…
Directed by: Bruce McDonald
Starring: Chloe Rose, Robert Patrick, Rachel Wilson
Whizbang Films, StoryBook Corporation, DHX Media
It is Halloween, and seventeen year old Dora is stunned and distraught after discovering she is four weeks pregnant. Her night gets worse as she is terrorized by a group ghostly trick-or-treaters who are after more than just candy. Halloween becomes surreal and terrifying for the young mother to be.
I was really excited to watch Hellions simply because it is directed by veteran Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald (Hardcore Logo, Pontypool). The first half of the film is very promising, but then things fall apart. The film becomes wishy-washy with too many scenes that left me guessing if what I watching was reality or a fantasy sequence. By the last ten minutes I had lost interest because I wasn’t sure which direction the story went. Not all was lost. There are some very creepy scenes as well as a little bit of tension. Canadian actress Chloe Rose (Degrassi: The Next Generation) is convincing as the tormented protagonist, and Robert Patrick (T2: Judgement Day) is, well, Robert Patrick. It is unfortunate that Hellions did not finish as strong as it started. I really wanted to like it more than I do.
In 50 Words…
What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
Directed By: Jermaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Starring: Jermaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonny Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer
Unison Films, Defender Films, Funny Or Die
Four mates share a flat in New Zealand. They try to get along, share chores and have fun together. Except they are Vampires that are hundreds of years old. Viago, Deacon, Vladislav, and Petyr struggle to fit into modern times but struggle with everyday things; fashion, housework, nightlife, and love. Run-ins with werewolves, police, and other vampires all make for a charming, intelligent, and absolutely hilarious mockumentary. To be honest, this has been the most enjoyable film for me so far in 2015. The writing, physical comedy, and performances are all top notch, with horror elements splattered throughout to compliment the laughs perfectly. Writer/directors Clement (Flight of the Concords) and Waititi (Eagle Vs. Shark) make the characters very engaging and lovable while scoring big laughs. Original and hysterical. If you love cheeky comedy, you will love What We Do In The Shadows.
4.5 / 5 Bloody Moons
In 50 (or so) Words… a tiny review.
Last Shift (2014)
Directed by: Anthony DiBlasi
Starring: Juliana Harkavy, Joshua Mikel
Rookie police officer Jessica Loren is assigned to guard, on her first shift, an old precinct during the building’s last night open. Informed that all she has to do is wait for a clean-up crew to arrive sometime during the night, her maiden shift should be a breeze. During the night, supernatural occurrences happen, which lead Loren to discover the real reason the precinct is being abandoned. Last Shift starts of fairly well, but quickly lost my attention. There are no real scares, some gross out effects, but a few creepy images. A pretty weak and predictable finish left me feeling that the film lost it’s identity. Decent acting from Juliana Harkavy (TV’s The Walking Dead) with the material she is given to work with. For me, Last Shift quickly became Lost Shift.
2/5 Bloody Moons
Bone Tomahawk (2015)
Directed by: S. Craig Zahler
Starring: Kurt Russel, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins
Caliber Media Company, RLJ Entertainment
Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Russell) and three other men set out on a rescue after people from their frontier town are abducted by cave-dwelling savages. As if pioneer life wasn’t hard enough! Bone Tomahawk is more western than horror, but does not lack brutal bloody violence. The cast is wonderful, and the story is simple and original. The cannibalistic kidnappers are almost Predator-like, and a formidable foe for all-round bad ass Kurt Russell. The western/horror genre is sorely under utilized, but this film is a great start. Bone Tomahawk is bound to become a cult favorite, and rightfully so. The film runs at one hundred and thirty two minutes, but does not lag, and kept my attention from start to finish. Awesome movie.
4.5 Bloody Moons / 5
Directed by: Aaron Hann, Mario Miscione
Starring: Julie Benz, Mercy Malik, Carter Jenkins
Taggart Productions, Votiv Films
A group of fifty strangers wake up in a dark chamber, unable to recall how they got there. One by one, they are executed by a bolt of electricity that emanates from a sphere in the center of the room. The victims are not chosen at random, but by the captives themselves through a strange voting system. Strategy and prejudice will determine a lone survivor. Circle is an interesting film and would make a great game show. The concept; How much do we value another persons life in comparison to our own? As the film progresses, it unfortunately becomes somewhat predictable. This is a dialogue driven film, which takes away from the suspense. A little action would have gone far. Pretty well written with some good acting. Tries to keep us guessing but falls a little short, but I do admire the concept. 3/5 Bloody Moons
Ash Vs. Evil Dead (Premier Episode, 2015)
Production Company: Renaissance Pictures, Starz!
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Jill Marie Jones, Ray Santiago
Five minutes into the first episode of Ash Vs. Evil Dead, I had already decided that this was my new favorite television show. Everything you need if you love horror/comedy is packed into this forty minutes of pure joy. Thirty years after the events of Evil Dead 2, Ashley ‘Ash’ J.Williams has been hiding in fear, living in a trailer park. While intoxicated and trying to impress a woman, he reads from the Necronomicon. This summons the Deadites, and they are looking for some revenge. A real ladies man, Bruce Campbell is brilliant as the cheese-ball department store clerk turned Deadite-destroyer. This show is refreshing and nostalgic all at once. If the rest of the series is as good as the pilot, I have one word; Groovy!
Crimson Peak (2015)
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain Legenday Pictures
Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is visually amazing, with great cinematography and set design. The special effects are really well done. If you are looking for something scary, this film will not satisfy. Essentially a love story with ghosts, Crimson Peak lacks the chills, although there are defiantly some cringe worthy violent moments. Tom Hiddleston (Thor) and Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) are great, but for me, the rest of the film fell a little flat. Still not a bad way to kill a couple hours. 3 / 5 Bloody Moons
Late Phases (2014) Directed by: Adrian Garcia Bogliano
Starring: Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Lance Guest
Dark Sky Films
A tough, but blind Vietnam veteran prepares for a month, until the next full moon to get revenge on the werewolf that killed his faithful seeing-eye dog. An original, offbeat horror film. Sometimes far-fetched, but has quality acting and special effects. Damici is convincing as the seeing impaired hero, but some spots he comes across more like Marvel’s Daredevil than a former Marine. A good addition to the werewolf genre. 3/5 Full Moons