90 Sec Review: The Stylist 2021

“We all dream of being someone else… but for Claire (Townsend), that dream goes from an obsession to a living nightmare. Hairstylist by day, serial killer and collector of scalps by night, Claire’s lonely existence is thrown into turmoil when her regular client, Olivia (Grant), asks her to style her hair for her wedding day. Increasingly fixated on Olivia’s seemingly flawless life, Claire vows to lock up her scalp collection and change her ways for good – only to discover that repressing your deadly desires is easier said than done…”

The Players

  • Director:  Jill Gevargizian
  • Writer:  Jill Gevargizian, Eric Havens
  • Cast:  Brea Grant, Najarra Townsend, Laura Kirk, and Sarah McGuire

The Good (non spoiler)

Being a fan of independent filmmaker getting a chance to flesh out their short into a feature length film. Najarra give a great performance as Claire. I would to see more of this character in perhaps in a prequel of sorts and we can see how Clarie came to be. Brea Grant also gave a solid performance and I’m looking for to see more of her work!

The Bad

It would seem as maybe the film didn’t transfer as well from a short to a feature. Unfortunately it feels unfinished in a way of just wanted more story. Which admittedly Ive not seen the short and therefore unaware if there is back story given.

Final Thoughts

The Stylist comes to Arrow Video March 1st and it’s worth a stream for sure.

90 Sec Review: Wrong Turn 2021

“Six friends—Jennifer Shaw, her boyfriend Darius, best friend Milla, her boyfriend Adam who is racist against hillbillys, and gay couple Luis and Gary—are hiking the Appalachian Trail, only to be hunted by the “Foundation”, a self-sufficient community of people who have lived in the mountains for hundreds of years and are very hesitant to outsiders. The friends go off the beaten path and hit traps for animals. They kill one of the foundations members and are wrong in their misunderstanding that they were hunted. But the foundations archaic practices makes them trailed for death and hunted. Her dad rescues her and escape but the foundation finds them and visits home of her, the final girl survivor. The girl gives herself up but its all pretense for her to kill them all except the young girl who she takes home.”

The Players

  • Director:   Mike P. Nelson
  • Writer:  Alan B. McElroy
  • Cast:  Charlotte Vega, Emma Dumont, Daisy Head, Matthew Modine

The Good (non spoiler)

Now last year when I heard of this franchise was getting a reboot. I was wondering what could possibly be left to tell about inbred cannibals living in the hills of West Virginia. Original writer Alan B. McElroy has return with a delightful update to this Franchise! Most notably diverse characters, something I wouldn’t say this franchise is outright known for. Secondly this movie was just flat out great. Charlotte Vega as Jennifer was is someone I don’t think we have seen in quite some time. A heroine that keeps you guessing and wishing you could have move of that character!

The Bad

Once the story gets to where it needs to go it feels a tad rush. However I’m fully aware I’m nitpicking.

Final Thoughts

Wrong Turn 2021 currently in theaters but this is defiantly going in the top 10 list of 2021.

90 Sec Review: Come Play

Oliver, a lonely young boy who feels different from everyone else. Desperate for a friend, he seeks solace and refuge in his ever-present cell phone and tablet.  When a mysterious creature uses Oliver’s devices against him to break into our world, Oliver’s parents (Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher Jr.) must fight to save their son from the monster beyond the screen.

The Players

  • Director:   Jacob Chase
  • Writer:  Jacob Chase
  • Cast: Azhy Robertson, Gillian Jacobs, John Gallagher Jr., Winslow Fegley

The Good (non spoiler)

Come play tackles parenting horror in a creative way. Oliver a seemingly lonely autistic boy who only friends seems to be his electronic devices. Oliver is contacted by Larry, which on the surface you would mistake for an imaginary friend. We quickly find out that Larry is very real! Jacob Chase does great job of telling the story of a parents love for their children no matter where they are in life.

The Bad

it’s impossible to watch this movie and not think about Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook. That being said the movie is far more entertaining from a rewatchability stand point. John Gallagher Jr as Marty is kind of a throw away character. Although he doesn’t seem to be a bad father in any way. His character just doesn’t do anything to drive the story.

Final Thoughts

Come Play is currently available on PVOD and Blu-ray. This one is defiantly a rent first before you purchase.

90 Sec Review: Shook

When Mia, a social media star, becomes the target of an online terror campaign, she has to solve a series
of games to prevent people she cares about from getting murdered. But is it real? Or is it just a game at
her expense?

The Players

  • Director:   Jennifer Harrington
  • Writer:  Jennifer Harrington, Alesia Glidewell 
  • Cast: Daisye Tutor, Emily Goss, Nicola Posener, Octavius J. Johnson

The Good (non spoiler)

The premise of the film is great although very similar to  Eugene Kotlyarenko’s Spree. Not to take anything away from director Jennifer Harrington. Social horror of genre is becoming more and more popular from Jordan Peele’s Get Out to Rob Savage’s Host. In this story we follow Mia (Daiye Tutor) a self involved social media influencer that is only concerned with her public perception. Harrington’s integrations of chats, calls and character development was refreshing!

The Bad

The movie starts off with one narrative that I was on board with. However when we get to the third act we hop on a different ride all together. While I understand what the movie was building to, once I got to villain of the movie I wasn’t vested in the killer in any way shape of form. Finding myself thinking the end it running too long!

Final Thoughts

Shook comes to Shudder on February 18th. It’s a good movie all around and I wouldn’t mind a sequel.

90 Sec Review: A Nightmare Wakes

While composing her famous novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley descends into an opium-fueled fever dream while carrying on a torrid love affair with Percy Shelley. As she writes, the characters of her novel come to life and begin to plague the relationships with those closest to her as the shadow of her monster threatens to overcome her.An unsettlingly intimate portrayal of a brilliant artist at her most troubled, A NIGHTMARE WAKES traces the tortured birth of a timeless masterwork and the rightful ascension of its creator to stand alongside her creation.

The Players

  • Director:   Nora Unkel
  • Writer: Nora Unkel
  • Cast :Alix Wilton Regan, Giullian Yao Gioiello, Philippe Bowgen, Claire Glassford

The Good (non spoiler)

This is defiantly a dark gothic narrative tale that blends Mary Shelley’s personal life and creation of her classic novel. You can tell that Nora Unkel really has a love and understanding for Shelley’s work and it translated perfectly to screen. Unkel has crafted a intimate story that grips you as watch Shelley struggle with love, loss and eventually her sanity. The coloring in the film is also commendable as well!

The Bad

The audio for me(maybe my TV) was really low and at times some words were inaudible for me. There aren’t any scares in the traditional sense but I’m not sure in you need it. Watching Mary Shelley’s unraveling throughout the proved captivating enough.

Final Thoughts

A Nightmare Wakes comes to Shudder on February 4th. It’s a good movie to make your snacks, turn off all the lights, grab a comfy blanket.

Review: Death of Me 2020

A vacationing couple must discover the mystery behind a strange video that shows one of them killing the other. 

The Players

  • Director:  Darren Lynn Bousman
  • Writer: Ari Margolis, James Morley III ,David Tish
  • Cast :Maggie Q, Luke Hemsworth, Alex Essoe, Kat Ingkarat

The Good

Darren Lynn Bousman delivered an unexpected treat for October. Vacation horror a sub genre that we don’t get too often. Death of Me delivers a story follows Christine and Neil, an American couple after a night of partying wake up to an uncomfortable situation recorded from the night before. Maggie Q as Christine is great to watch. The story it self waste zero time getting started.

The Bad (mild spoilers)

Gaslighting, even the principle characters are very aware of what has happened and going on in the city. Still they constantly move forward with staying on the island even though it’s clear they are being lied to. This gets old after the first 5 interactions

Final Thoughts

Death of Me isn’t the best spooky season movie to watch. It is however entertaining and Darren Lyyn Bousman does a good job building a world I would never want to be in! Will this be a movie you revisit countless times. No but it pretty good for what it is!

Review: 32 Malasana Street 2020

It’s 1976. The Olmedo family has left the countryside for a new life in Madrid. But their new home becomes a house of horrors in this hit supernatural thriller based on actual paranormal events. 

The Players

  • Director: Albert Pintó
  • Writer: Ramón Campos, Gema R. Neira,David Orea, Salvador S. Molina
  • Cast : Begoña Vargas, Iván Marcos, Bea Segura, Sergio Castellanos

The Good

if you weren’t fortunate enough to take part at the Night Stream festival. There s new haunting coming to Shudder. Just in time to round out the spooky season. If you’re looking for something to get you in the holiday spirit I think it works tonality.

The Bad (mild spoilers)

This may be a case where maybe I’m just too far removed for the culture to think anything special of this film. Another “based on true events” baiting for audience members. I’m not saying that it’s a false claim, I just don’t bother to fact check anymore. Whether it’s actually based on true events or not doesn’t make a movie better for me. It’s seemingly a brand new ghost story with all the old set ups. Disappointed to say the least, everyone does a good job acting a the story itself seemed interesting until the 3rd act.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a big fan of Spanish horror. This may be the film for you, at times it’s did give me Verónica 2017 vibes. I wouldn’t be excited to give this film a second watch myself. However, I know this movie will find a fanbase. I’m just not sure who that is…

Review: Antebellum 2020

During this pandemic, we have watched the uncertainty of Hollywood unfold. Will theaters open, will people watch if there available, and of course, will movies goers be willing to fork over the cash. Out on PVOD this weekend comes Antebellum with a hefty price tag of $20. Antebellum being the feature film for writer/director duo Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz, and it shows!

The Players

  • Director: Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz
  • Writer: Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz
  • Cast : Janelle Monáe, Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Tongayi Chirisa

The Good

Fans of Janelle Monae will not be disappointed by her stellar performance by her first lead role. Particularly at her portrayal of Eden, the senators favored slave. Audiences also get a fun appearance from Gabourey Sidibe as Dawn. A fierce 30 something that knows exactly what, who and where she wants to spend her energy on. Lending much-needed levity midway through the film. Lastly, the costume design is a sight of marvel. Mary Zophres delivered some impressive work. Admittedly it’s not something I focus on in a film, but it’s 100 percent worth mentioning.

The Bad (mild spoilers)

Antebellum does bring to light social commentary from the past and present. It is unclear why, usually, social commentary can serve as a think piece. Something that might linger in the audience’s mind, however, that’s not the case here. The “twist” is very uninspired. It’s fair to say that all work is derivative at this point. The reveal is a plot device semi perfected by M Night Shyamalan. He has, for lack of better words, mastered the art of the reveal. Not all of his work is perfect by any means and doesn’t have to be. Shyamalan has still managed to make a career out of it and for that deserves the credit.

Let’s call a spade a spade Bush and Renz made adduction thiller, and someone thought it was good to take the beginning of the film and insert it into the middle of the film. The narrative doesn’t support this editing choice. There’s just no way that was a direction they aimed to take from the beginning. If it was, the audience needed a more substantial story complete with an explanation of why!

Final Thoughts

Where are the layers, or the depth? While social comentarty is definitely on trend in horror. This is not a horror film as the marketing may want you to believe! In no way should genre fans rush to see this movie. Save your money for some other release or, at the very least, wait for it to be a cheaper rental. All the actors do their best at carrying film. Even with all that star power, Antebellum isn’t a noteworthy film other than the set pieces and costumes. Perhaps we may get a directors cut one day with a little more substance.

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