Exclusive Review: 88 (2015)

Exclusive Review: 88 (2015) {0}

Katharine Isabelle was so good in Ginger Snaps (2000), and again in the Soska sisters’ American Mary (2012), it’s always worth keeping an eye on what she’s up to, whether it’s on the small screen (Being Human, Hannibal) or the, uh, other small screen (the Soska sisters’ disappointing See No Evil 2). Now, Isabelle gets(…)


Retro Review: CHOP (2011)

Retro Review: CHOP (2011) {0}

One of the more pleasant surprise of the 2011 horror landscape was the emergence of the “Bloody Disgusting Selects” line of theatrical and video releases. A joint effort between a company known as The Collective and (of course) our friends at Bloody Disgusting, “BD Selects” hit screens of various sizes with solid acquisitions like Yellowbrickroad, Rammbock,(…)


Now Showing: BANSHEE CHAPTER (2013)

Now Showing: BANSHEE CHAPTER (2013) {0}

Found footage warning! The indie sci-fi/horror film known as Banshee Chapter has been classified as “found footage” and is deemed worthy of this warning because apparently some viewers dislike “found footage” even if it’s used in service of a nifty and novel genre conceit like the one found in Banshee Chapter. In other words, if(…)


Exclusive Review: FEAR CLINIC (2015)

Exclusive Review: FEAR CLINIC (2015) {0}

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” Franklin D. Roosevelt once said. Chronic phobics like Sara (Fiona Dourif) couldn’t agree more. But how do you go about effecting a cure for a crippling phobia?



Now Showing: THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS (2012) {0}

Back in 2005 I was lucky to catch a 47-minute Lovecraft adaptation called The Call of Cthulhu, thanks to the Slamdance programmers who liked it enough to book it … even though it’s only 47 minutes long. Easily one of the most faithful Lovecraft adaptations ever produced (the best of the adaptations often take great(…)



Review: WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD (2014) {0}

When it comes to over-the-top and unapologetically insane independent genre films, few nations on this fine planet come close to touching Australia. I knew it the second I saw Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior back in 1983, and nothing I’ve seen in the intervening years has proved my theory wrong: Australians know how to(…)


Exclusive Review: THE VOICES (2015)

Exclusive Review: THE VOICES (2015) {0}

Mental illness is no laughing matter, especially where schizophrenia, paranoid delusions and psychosis are concerned. But that hasn’t stopped screenwriter Michael R. Perry – a veteran of genre TV shows like Eerie, Indiana, American Gothic, Millennium, Stephen King’s Dead Zone and The River, and co-writer of Paranormal Activity 2 – from concocting a supremely weird(…)


Exclusive Review: THE HOUSE OF HIM (2014)

Exclusive Review: THE HOUSE OF HIM (2014) {0}

Now here’s a weird one! Not in a bad way, but “weird” as in “interesting, odd, sometimes even a little frustrating, but also rather fascinating and oddly satisfying once all is said and done.” (It’s a rarely used definition of “weird,” true.)


Exclusive Review: SEVENTH SON (2015)

Exclusive Review: SEVENTH SON (2015) {0}

Imagine you’re at a party with Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges, and for some reason he leans over to you and says, “Want to hear my impersonation of Sean Connery playing Gandalf the wizard?” Obviously you respond with, “Yes! Of course!” and then he virtually explodes with a deep, booming Welsh/British/Dagobah and delivers a drunken soliloquy about evil(…)


Exclusive Review: DIGGING UP THE MARROW (2015)

Exclusive Review: DIGGING UP THE MARROW (2015) {0}

(Full disclosure: the director of this movie is a friend of mine. I have not liked all of his films. Just most of them. Including this one. End of disclosure.)


Exclusive Review: DRACULA UNTOLD (2014)

Exclusive Review: DRACULA UNTOLD (2014) {0}

“Why don’t we re-tell the Dracula myth as sort of a superhero origin story?”


Exclusive Review: PRESERVATION (2015)

Exclusive Review: PRESERVATION (2015) {0}

Here’s a dark horse of a film – or rather, upon closer examination, a Trojan horse. It’s the second film from writer-director Christopher Denham, whom you may recognize from his acting roles in Shutter Island, Argo, TV’s Manhattan and The Sound of My Voice, but who also wrote and directed the underrated found footage horror(…)


Exclusive Review: THE MIRROR (2014)

Exclusive Review: THE MIRROR (2014) {0}

To the cynical or jaded horror viewer, the indie indie called The Mirror may throw up a few red flags right off the bat: It’s about a haunted mirror, obviously, which will immediately draw comparisons to last year’s Oculus, although the films don’t have all that much in common. It’s “based on actual events,” which generally(…)


Review: SUBURBAN GOTHIC (2015)

Review: SUBURBAN GOTHIC (2015) {0}

To strike a “perfect” balance between comedy and horror is an outrageously difficult task, and one that very few filmmakers pull off.


Exclusive Review: THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE (2015)

Exclusive Review: THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE (2015) {0}

Possess the… Possession? Wait, what? The key to a “faux documentary” is sincerity. From brilliantly funny comedies like This is Spinal Tap and Bob Roberts to clever thrillers like Man Bites Dog and The Blair Witch Project, one lesson is clear: your movie only works if everyone keeps a straight face. And that’s part of(…)


BENEATH Emerges in the UK

BENEATH Emerges in the UK {0}

Reliably exciting UK distributor Arrow has set a DVD/VOD release date for Beneath, one of several as yet unreleased films screened at FrightFest 2013 back in August. Patrick Doody and Chris Valenziano’s trapped-miners tale of terror will be released in the UK on February 23. Read Scott Weinberg’s exclusive review after the jump.


Review: AS ABOVE, SO BELOW (2014)

Review: AS ABOVE, SO BELOW (2014) {0}

Whatever else As Above, So Below has to recommend it, and it has several things that eminently do so, it has breathed a little fresh air into the found-footage genre of horror film. This is a tidy little flick, heavy on mood, light on gore, and bursting with a refreshing originality of story line. Fans of(…)




No matter what happens to be in fashion within the horror genre in any given year, it seems that there will always be room for haunted house stories. Zombie tales, slasher flicks, and biological mayhem seem to wax and wane in their popularity but not haunted house movies: from The Old Dark House (1932) to(…)


Exclusive Review: [REC] 4: APOCALYPSE

Exclusive Review: [REC] 4: APOCALYPSE {0}

Check yourself before you [REC]4 yourself One hates to simply compare a sequel to its predecessors, mainly because it’s a basic and simplistic way to analyze what should be considered its own movie – but in the case of the [REC] franchise it’s worth noting that the first two films are freaking brilliant, and the third one(…)


Review: DARK SUMMER (2015)

Review: DARK SUMMER (2015) {0}

An occult thriller about the repercussions of cyber-stalking seems more than a little timely this year, and when a new indie film seems like it was torn out of a current newspaper, it’s important to figure out if the film is brave and insightful – or if it’s simply tacky and opportunistic. Given that Dark Summer(…)


Review: JESSABELLE (2014)

Review: JESSABELLE (2014) {0}

Blumhouse Productions, the powerhouse horror factory behind the Paranormal Activity, Sinister, The Purge and Insidious franchises, has backed another winner with Jessabelle, which will hopefully become one of those films which every true horror fan has up their sleeve, ready to whip out when anyone asks, “What’s a really good horror film I haven’t seen?”


Review: TUSK (2014)

Review: TUSK (2014) {0}

He Is The Walrus Note: if you already know the story behind Kevin Smith’s Tusk, skip the first two paragraphs.



Review: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2014) {0}

Some Interviews with Some Vampires If you think spending a lifetime in Wellington, New Zealand might be boring, imagine what spending many lifetimes in such a remote place might be like. No wonder 379-year-old vampire Viago (Taika Waititi) is bored enough to invite a documentary crew (from the New Zealand Documentary Board, no less) into(…)


Review: OPEN WINDOWS (2014)

Review: OPEN WINDOWS (2014) {0}

Film criticism can be a dispiriting experience. It’s no fun wading through hours of rubbish, even when it’s well-meaning (or even well made). But nothing makes this critic more dismayed than when bad movies happen to good people. Case in point: Open Windows, the new film from Nacho Vigalondo (well, new-ish – the prolific Spanish(…)


Exclusive Review: A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (2014)

Exclusive Review: A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (2014) {0}

For all the whining and complaining we do about vampire stories that render the creatures as toothless and anemic whiners (my apologies to the fans of Twilight and/or Dracula Untold), there always seem to be a few independent filmmakers who find a new and novel use for the legendary bloodsuckers. This year alone yields films as interesting and(…)


Exclusive Review: LATE PHASES (2014)

Exclusive Review: LATE PHASES (2014) {0}

Whenever it seems like the werewolf movie has been completely forgotten, we get a nice reminder that this immortal legend of horror cinema will always have its fair share of supporters. It was way back in 1981 when The Howling, Wolfen, and An American Werewolf in London hit the screens, and while there was a semi-resurgence with Ginger Snaps (2000), Dog(…)


Review: EXISTS (2014)

Review: EXISTS (2014) {0}

The Bigfoot Project Sometimes it’s really weird how these things work out: Dredd and The Raid came out around the same time, and they had a lot of plot components in common. More recently we saw two cult-related indie horror films (The Sacrament and Children of Sorrow) that were released (and produced) only months apart, and also bear a few striking similarities.(…)


Blu-ray Review: THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE 40th Anniversary Restoration

Blu-ray Review: THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE 40th Anniversary Restoration {0}

The Greatest Horror Movie of All Time? Your mileage, of course, may vary. Whether you’re more of a fan of The Exorcist or a Halloween lover, there’s no denying the impact Tobe Hooper’s backwoods slasher classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has had on the horror scene since its 1974 release. We all know the story, of course: packing into their(…)


Retro Review: SEPARATION (2011)

Retro Review: SEPARATION (2011) {0}

Separation Anxiety While most indie horror films are interested in getting you as much “bang for the buck” as humanly possible, there are always a few filmmakers out there who insist on using the horror genre as a vehicle for plain, simple, and sometimes painfully “relatable” stories about the frank difficulties of normal life. (Check out(…)




The best damned ‘demonic possession’ film since The Exorcist? ‘Found footage’ gets a bad rap these days, which is strange if you think about it: sure, there’s a lot of landfill made using the format, but we shouldn’t let a few bad apples – okay, a few hundred – give the format a bad name. After all,(…)


Exclusive Review: STONEHEARST ASYLUM, aka ELIZA GRAVES (2014)

Exclusive Review: STONEHEARST ASYLUM, aka ELIZA GRAVES (2014) {0}

You don’t have to be mad to work there, but it helps Brad Anderson has made a lot of television since his breakthrough film, The Machinist, a decade ago: a dozen episodes of Fringe, two apiece of The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, Treme and the US remake of The Killing, and the pilot episodes of Almost Human and Forever. He’s also managed to(…)


Exclusive Review: NIGHTBREED: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT (2014)

Exclusive Review: NIGHTBREED: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT (2014) {0}

Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer), bemulletted and dressed as though he just stepped out of a Tom of Finland photograph, has been having dreams, about a place called Midian, “where the monsters live.” His former psychiatrist, Dr. Decker, is most interested to hear about Boone’s nocturnal imaginings, not because of any professional interest, but because Decker(…)




Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder, the 162-page companion book to the BFI’s major science fiction retrospective, arguably has a great deal more Wonder than Fear, but there’s plenty for horror fans to get their teeth into, despite the absence of an essay on the sci-fi/horror subgenre that might best have encapsulated the theme of the(…)


Exclusive Review: EXTRATERRESTRIAL (2014)

Exclusive Review: EXTRATERRESTRIAL (2014) {0}

It’s midnight in the Podunk town of Echo Lake as a terrified woman bangs on the door of a gas station, begging to use the phone. When the clerk refuses to let her in, she calls 911 from an outside payphone, telling the operator “They took my boys.” Moments later, the phone booth is sucked(…)


Exclusive Review: SEE NO EVIL 2 (2014)

Exclusive Review: SEE NO EVIL 2 (2014) {0}

The last time we saw serial killer Jacob Goodnight, in See No Evil (2006), he was as dead as his eight victims: he’d had a pipe stuck in his eye socket (a neat parallel to his own modus operandi, putting out the eyes of his victims), been pushed out of a window, fallen through a glass(…)


Exclusive Review: BIG DRIVER (2014)

Exclusive Review: BIG DRIVER (2014) {0}

“You know you’re no longer at the cutting edge of horror when the Lifetime network starts adapting your stories” would be a facetious way to start a review of Big Driver, Lifetime’s TV movie adaptation of the novella from Stephen King’s 2010 collection “Full Dark, No Stars”. In fact, the TV network aimed at women would(…)


Exclusive Review: HORNS (2014)

Exclusive Review: HORNS (2014) {0}

When Iggy Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) promised to love his girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple) for the rest of his life, she replied “Just love me for the rest of mine.” That life turned out to be cut tragically short when she was brutally murdered. Iggy himself is the chief suspect: hounded day and night by the(…)


Review: THE DEMON’S ROOK (2014)

Review: THE DEMON’S ROOK (2014) {0}

If you grew up as a horror film fanatic in the 1980s, you may have run through most of the American slasher flicks and occult thrillers – and then you rented Lucio Fulci’s 1980 cult favourite Zombie, which hopefully led you to all sorts of gore-laden apocalyptic mayhem from Italian splatter-slingers like Umberto Lenzi (Nightmare(…)




The news that the next Stephen King adaptation, Big Driver, would be for the Lifetime network shows how times have changed: once upon a time, movie adaptations of King’s films were R-rated horrors too gory or disturbing for the mainstream; now one of his stories would debut on the US network which broadcasts Dance Moms,(…)


Review: LET US PREY (2014)

Review: LET US PREY (2014) {0}

The arrival of a new Pollyanna McIntosh movie is generally worthy of note among genre fans, mainly because the fantastic Scottish actress seems to have pretty solid taste in horror scripts (Offspring, The Woman, White Settlers, etc.), but also because she’s a fine lead actor… and super pretty to boot. (Full disclosure: Yes, we’ve met.(…)


Review: THE REAPER (2014)

Review: THE REAPER (2014) {0}

These days, it’s easier to sell a low-budget horror film than a thriller with no ‘stars’, so it’s not uncommon to see a thriller repackaged as a horror film in order to give it a chance in the marketplace. That’s almost the case with Reaper, which bears the hallmarks of a horror film but is(…)


Exclusive Review: SPRING (2015)

Exclusive Review: SPRING (2015) {0}

Not all “horror” movies are about shocks, scares, jolts, and suspense. OK, maybe 99% of them are about that stuff – but there’s a small subdivision that’s tucked deep down in the smarter and perhaps more sensitive section of the genre, and that’s where you find “speculative” horror fiction that’s 1/3 sci-fi, 1/3 drama, and(…)


Review: STARRY EYES (2014)

Review: STARRY EYES (2014) {0}

There are plenty of (usually independently produced) movies that take firm aim on the “chew ‘em up and spit ‘em out” nature of Hollywood. My favourites are Swimming with Sharks, Living in Oblivion, The Player and The Day of the Locust. But while those films are satirical and often very funny deconstructions of The Hollywood Machine, the new(…)


Review: OCULUS (2014)

Review: OCULUS (2014) {0}

Mirrors are sort of fascinating – how they actually work, not just the ways in which mirrors can act as portals, creatures, and harbingers in fantasy and horror stories – but if you ask a horror movie aficionado about “that movie about the killer mirror, you’ll get a response like Mirrors (1995) or (dear lord) one of(…)


Exclusive Review: OPEN GRAVE (2013)

Exclusive Review: OPEN GRAVE (2013) {0}

A man (Sharlto Copley) wakes up in a hole in the ground filled with corpses, with no memory of who he is or how he got there – or how the dead people around him met their grisly fate. Helped out of the hole by a mysterious mute Asian woman, he makes his way to(…)


Review: IT FOLLOWS (2015)

Review: IT FOLLOWS (2015) {0}

Follow That! “Originality is often overrated where horror films are concerned” is an opinion you may recognise if you read a lot of my horror film reviews, and my point is pretty simple: you can make a very good independent horror film if you focus on mood, style, presentation, and simple “quality control.” If your(…)


Exclusive Review: THE ABCs OF DEATH 2 (2014)

Exclusive Review: THE ABCs OF DEATH 2 (2014) {0}

  The common complaint about the first chapter of The ABCs of Death – or, fine, at least my main complaint – is not that the 26 shorts were weird, random, nasty, and sometimes nonsensical; it’s that there wasn’t much in the way of consistency. Yes, ABCs #1 did offer a solid handful of legitimately creative(…)


Exclusive Review: KRISTY (2014)

Exclusive Review: KRISTY (2014) {0}

  When everyone goes home for Thanksgiving, including her boyfriend Aaron (X-Men’s Lucas Till), flame-haired poetry major Justine (The Hole’s Haley Bennett) is left behind on a largely deserted campus, with only a security guard (Mathew St. Patrick) for company. Meanwhile, the search continues for missing teenager Heather Price, whose grisly fate at the hands(…)


Exclusive Review: 7500

Exclusive Review: 7500 {0}

Flightless Turd “Whatever happened to Flight 7500?” It isn’t quite a mystery on the scale of, say, the disappearance of MH370, but horror fans may nevertheless have been wondering what happened to 7500, the CBS Films-produced horror film scripted by Craig Rosenberg (Half Light, The Uninvited, The Quiet Ones) and directed by Takashi Shimizu, best known as the director of Ju-On:(…)


Review: CUB (2014)

Review: CUB (2014) {0}

Be Prepared. Be Very Prepared.


Exclusive Review: V/H/S: VIRAL (2014)

Exclusive Review: V/H/S: VIRAL (2014) {0}

Straight to D/V/D By the time your horror franchise reaches its third chapter, you run the risk of simply repeating yourself. That’s not always a terrible thing (most of the Friday the 13th sequels are virtual remakes of their predecessors, but some of ‘em – like Part 4 and Part 6 – are actually pretty(…)


Review: KIDNAPPED (2010)

Review: KIDNAPPED (2010) {0}

Nihilism can make for a very effective tool when you’re trying to craft a rough, tough, and aggressive horror film. Once you show your audience that “all bets are off,” morally speaking, your film can (sometimes) start to feel like a loose cannon. In a good way. Filmmakers like Michael Haneke, Michael Winterbottom, and Pascal(…)




The Paris, Texas Chain Saw Massacre What happens when the creators of Inside (aka À l’intérieur) decide to combine Stand By Me with a splash of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and big portions of “home invasion” insanity? You’d probably get something that looks a lot like Julian Maury and Alexndre Bustillo’s Among the Living (aka Aux yeux des vivants),(…)


Exclusive Review: THE BABADOOK (2014)

Exclusive Review: THE BABADOOK (2014) {0}

When you’re very young, “being scared” is not an amusing sort of experience. Oh, sure, as soon as we hit about 13 – and hopefully throughout our adult lives – we spend most of our times “playing along” with scary stories. And on the rare occasion when a film or a novel really does scare(…)


Exclusive FrightFest Review: WOLFCOP (2014)

Exclusive FrightFest Review: WOLFCOP (2014) {0}

The potential “problem” with films like WolfCop is not that they’re ridiculous; it’s that they often celebrate being ridiculous, which is sort of lazy way to tell a joke. (And I put “problem” in quotation marks because that’s my issue with broad and silly “grindhouse homage” movies, not necessarily yours.) Fortunately, the plainly ridiculous yet admirably stone-faced WolfCop earns(…)


Review: HOUSEBOUND (2014)

Review: HOUSEBOUND (2014) {0}

“A troubled young woman is convicted of petty felonies and forced to withstand house arrest in the home of her estranged mother, blank slate of a stepfather, and a bunch of evil spirits who make creepy noises…” Yeah, Housebound probably sounds like a mash-up of two or three clunkers you’d probably rent from Redbox and end up(…)


Review: DEAD SNOW 2: RED vs DEAD (2014)

Review: DEAD SNOW 2: RED vs DEAD (2014) {0}

As lazy as this might sound, movies like Dead Snow 2 are particularly easy to review, and the reasons why should be pretty simple: same writer / director, pretty much the same crew, it’s got the same tone, the same style, and the same sense of humour, but given that this is a Part 2,(…)


Review: HONEYMOON (2014)

Review: HONEYMOON (2014) {0}

It’s often pretty interesting when a smart male filmmaker tells a horror story that’s about women. Directors like Eric England (Contracted), Paul Solet (Grace), or Lucky McKee (May, The Woman, etc.) But wouldn’t it be a cool switch to see a horror story about a man that was written and directed by a woman? I(…)


Retro Review: THE WOMAN (2011)

Retro Review: THE WOMAN (2011) {0}

Most horror films offer normalcy that is invaded by something truly scary – or at least that’s how the formula works most often. But leave it to an astute genre guy like Lucky McKee (May, The Woods) to deviate from even the most basic of established genre formula and deliver a ferociously strange new horror(…)


Review: THE QUIET ONES (2014)

Review: THE QUIET ONES (2014) {0}

The recent resurrection of the historical Hammer Films studio was, of course, cause for much celebration among horror fans around the world. The British production company built a name for itself in horror in the 1960s and it’s been great to have them back. (You don’t have to bother with The Resident, but Hammer productions Wake(…)


Retro Review: CARGO (2006)

Retro Review: CARGO (2006) {0}

There’s more than enough doom, gloom, and moody atmosphere in the creaky but engaging maritime thriller Cargo (2006) to help one forgive its more familiar components, and even at its weaker moments it offers a great pair of performances that manage to keep the ship afloat. Yes, that was a very terrible pun. My apologies.


Retro Review: COLD FISH (2010)

Retro Review: COLD FISH (2010) {0}

If you’re familiar with the work of Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono, you already know what to expect from Cold Fish: something entirely unpredictable. The film will not disappoint. A strange, savage, and altogether fascinating slow-burn thriller about a domesticated schlub who gets pushed around by his nasty daughter, his licentious wife, and his latest business partner, Cold Fish feels(…)


Exclusive Review: MINDSCAPE, aka ANNA (2014)

Exclusive Review: MINDSCAPE, aka ANNA (2014) {0}

There are numerous mysteries to be explored in Spanish director Jorge Dorado’s feature debut, released in the UK under its original title Mindscape. Mysteries such as: why was the film retitled with the more prosaic monicker Anna in the US? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that: after all, the film’s star, Mark Strong, was born Marco(…)


Exclusive Review: THE INVOKING (2013)

Exclusive Review: THE INVOKING (2013) {0}

There used to be a TV show with a theme song that went like this: “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have: The Facts of Life.” One could easily remove the word “life” from the end of that lyric and replace it with “world of micro-budget(…)


Exclusive Review: BENEATH (2014)

Exclusive Review: BENEATH (2014) {0}

Most horror movies tell you what you’re in store for right off the bat: it’s a zombie movie, or it’s a haunted house story, or it’s collection of creepy short films, or… you get the point. Good horror films will often offer a literal vs. metaphorical angle to their story. (For example: is that woman(…)


Review: REEL ZOMBIES (2008)

Review: REEL ZOMBIES (2008) {0}

Canadian filmmakers David J. Francis and Mike Masters reunited for this 2008 mockumentary charting the ten-day production of the third in their ‘commercially unsuccessful’ zombie trilogy. Playing themselves, albeit slightly exaggerated versions, Francis and Masters put together a cast and crew, most of whom worked on the first two films, and set about making a(…)


Exclusive Review: THE PURGE: ANARCHY (2014)

Exclusive Review: THE PURGE: ANARCHY (2014) {0}

Anarchy in the USA Despite having a good time with 2012’s The Purge and finding it a bit more satirically compelling than most studio horror flicks, my main “gripe” about the film was simple: why introduce such a clever concept – that all crime is legal in America for 12 hours – and then stick(…)


Retro Review: DEVIL IN THE WOODS (2012)

Retro Review: DEVIL IN THE WOODS (2012) {0}

Darren Bousman loves to take the hard road. The energetic writer/director hit the horror geek jackpot when he was chosen to direct Saw II, and it’s safe to say that he helped keep that franchise focused (and very profitable) through Part 3 and Part 4. A young filmmaker coming off three big hits has some options,(…)


Review: SOULMATE (2014)

Review: SOULMATE (2014) {0}

First-time feature writer/director Axelle Carolyn is certainly no stranger to dark fiction. In addition to her literary career (which includes columns at Fangoria and a book on modern horror cinema called It Lives Again!) to a trio of short films (The Last Post, Hooked, and The Halloween Kid) and a handful of acting gigs in(…)


Review: FOR ELISA (2013)

Review: FOR ELISA (2013) {0}

Lots of horror movies start with a young woman accepting a mysterious offer and living to regret it in seriously unpleasant ways, and here’s an interesting new one from Spain known as For Elisa (aka Para Elisa and For Elise). Not many of the components offered here are all that unique or remarkable on their(…)


Exclusive Review: THE LAST SURVIVORS (2015)

Exclusive Review: THE LAST SURVIVORS (2015) {0}

Genre enthusiasts certainly enjoy a good apocalypse. Zombies are a pretty cool way to end the world, plus we also have some vampire and robot angles worth enjoying, but what’s wrong with a plain old (even eerily banal) sort of apocalypse? No zombies or vampires or robots (oh my) but just a stark and simple(…)


Retro Review: MARIANNE (2011)

Retro Review: MARIANNE (2011) {0}

A good portion of American indie horror flicks deal with an outside (generally malevolent) force that impacts a person or a family unit. Lately I’m noticing a proclivity in smaller foreign genre flicks to go the other way: how a mundane “everyday” tragedy is the impetus for the terrors at hand. That’s a basic way(…)




As more and more independent filmmakers get a taste for “found footage” storytelling, we start to see several common components that always seem to be included, regardless of whether or not the finished film is any good. The half-predictable and half-novel Skinwalkers (aka Skinwalker Ranch), for example, employs several of the faux documentary tropes that are(…)


Review: DEVIL’S DUE (2014)

Review: DEVIL’S DUE (2014) {0}

As usual: what was once the domain of indie filmmakers with more creativity than cash has become dominated by the major distributors. We’re talking about “found footage horror,” a storytelling gimmick that was resurrected by The Blair Witch Project several years ago, and has since become a sort of playground for indie filmmakers all over(…)


Review: HAUNTER (2013)

Review: HAUNTER (2013) {0}

I look forward to a new Vincenzo Natali movie like most movie geeks anticipate the next feature from Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese. Ever since I stumbled across his 1997 debut film Cube, which still stands up (despite its lesser sequels) as a very novel approach to cerebral horror or dark fantasy or violent sci-fi…(…)


Review: THE BATTERY (2013)

Review: THE BATTERY (2013) {0}

When we horror fans take note of a new low-budget zombie movie (and we frequently do), our praise is often directed towards the film’s novel hook, energetic presentation, or impressive splatter effects. (All three if we’re really lucky.) But now comes a new low-budget zombie movie that’s not all that novel (indeed it’s virtually plotless),(…)



Review: ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE (2013) {0}

You Can’t Kill Their Spirit It should come as no surprise to the astute horror fan that Lucky McKee has a knack for creating horrific women. Even a casual glance at his filmography, which includes the underrated The Woods, the shocking The Woman, and the still wonderful May, tells you this is a male filmmaker(…)


Review: JOY RIDE 3, aka ROADKILL 3 (2014)

Review: JOY RIDE 3, aka ROADKILL 3 (2014) {0}

As per usual when we delve into the realm of direct-to-video horror sequels, a brief history lesson is in order. (Or if not required, then at least halfway amusing.) So let’s begin by reminding everyone thatJoy Ride (known in the UK as Roadkill) was a 2001 horror/thriller/neo-noir that actually holds up pretty darn well if(…)


Review: WILLOW CREEK (2014)

Review: WILLOW CREEK (2014) {0}

‘Found footage’ films are like soufflés: anyone can have a go at making one (the ingredients are widely available), but very few come out the way they’re supposed to. They’re generally considered to be an ‘entry level’ choice for filmmakers, so when you hear of one being made by an established filmmaker – such as(…)


Review: BLACKWOOD (2014)

Review: BLACKWOOD (2014) {0}

One notable side effect of Hammer Films’ (very welcome) resurgence is that it seems to have inspired some indie filmmakers to consider “old-fashioned” a viable route. It usually takes a hit zombie film to spawn a lot of imitators, for example, and the same certainly holds true for any of the sub-genres found in the(…)


Review: WOLF CREEK 2 (2014)

Review: WOLF CREEK 2 (2014) {0}

It’s been almost a decade since the rough, tough, and memorably grim Aussie import called Wolf Creek helped to usher in an international wave of graphically intense horror films. (Some people would refer to films like High Tension, Wolf Creek, Hostel, and Saw as “torture porn,” a phrase I find more than a little stupid.) While(…)


Review: WITHER (2014)

Review: WITHER (2014) {0}

It would of course be a massive understatement to say that Sam Raimi’s mid-’80s indie classic horror flick The Evil Dead is a memorable or influential movie. The film inspired a supremely excellent sequel in Evil Dead 2, a widely-adored sorta-sequel in Army of Darkness, and has inspired not only a pretty impressive remake (Evil(…)


Exclusive Review: FAVOR (2014)

Exclusive Review: FAVOR (2014) {0}

What are the “bare essentials” for creating a good thriller? Screenplay, obviously, is priority number one. A few good actors, a decent visual approach, and some editorial skills are essential, but really: the screenplay is the foundation. The low-key and deceptively unassuming indie thriller calledFavor sum my theory up quite nicely. Here we have a(…)


Review: THE PIT (aka JUG FACE)

Review: THE PIT (aka JUG FACE) {0}

With a title like Jug Face, you could get just about anything. Is it a satire? A basic slasher retread? A tale of haunted dishware? The good thing about an offbeat title is that it compels you to approach the film with a touch of caution and a dash of attentiveness. Fortunately Jug Face –(…)




Lots of horror movies take place in the wilderness, and it’s not really hard for a screenwriter to get their characters out there. It could be a rave in the forest, a wrong turn in the desert, or a detour caused by a crazy hitchhiker in the mountains, but in most cases the “WHY” of(…)



Review: CABIN FEVER 3: PATIENT ZERO (2014) {0}

Let’s just get it out of the way from the beginning: it’d be really hard to make a worse Cabin Fever (2002) sequel than Cabin Fever 2 (2009). Arguably the only weak movie in Ti West’s filmography (and he’s not a big fan of it himself), Cabin Fever 2was the victim of endless studio tinkering,(…)



Review: BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD (2014) {0}

Less than a month ago I saw, enjoyed, and reviewed a new documentary called Doc of the Dead. Directed by the man who gave us The People vs. George Lucas – which is more fair-minded than its title suggests – it’s a quick, slick, and entirely enjoyable documentary about the history of zombie cinema. Logically,(…)


Review: DAYLIGHT (2013)

Review: DAYLIGHT (2013) {0}

Clever indie filmmakers just keep coming up with new (and generally legitimate) excuses to position their horror tale as “found footage.” In most cases their film’s premise involves a documentary film crew, which helpfully explains all the extra lighting and the “keep filming no matter what” attitude that keeps the action moving forward, but lately(…)


Review: CHEAP THRILLS (2014)

Review: CHEAP THRILLS (2014) {0}

Are human beings wired to enjoy the suffering of other human beings? Does everything truly have a price? How far would you be willing to go to ensure your family’s peace and prosperity? Does morality work on a sliding scale? These are the questions I pondered while trying to come up with an opening paragraph(…)


Review: THE SACRAMENT (2014)

Review: THE SACRAMENT (2014) {0}

You think you know what to expect from Ti West by now. Like many horror movie nutcases, you saw The Innkeepers and/or House of the Devil, and maybe you went back and dug up The Roost and Trigger Man. Hell, you could have even given Cabin Fever 2 a fair shot. (Big mistake.) But if(…)


Retro Review: STREET TRASH (1987)

Retro Review: STREET TRASH (1987) {0}

Very few films combine horror and slapstick well, but Jim Muro’s body-melt masterpiece ticks all the boxes. The film has been plagued with censorship issues in the UK but finally we can experience the film in its full uncut gory glory, at http://www.TheHorrorShow.TV A beleaguered liquor store owner stumbles upon a case of a beverage called(…)


Review: PROXY (2014)

Review: PROXY (2014) {0}

There are few things more horrifying than a mother causing harm to her own child as a means of seeking attention, yet this particular pathological phenomenon, known as Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP), has only occasionally been explored in horror movies, most famously in M. Night Shyamalan’sThe Sixth Sense, in which the ghost of a(…)



Review: WHITE SETTLERS, aka THE BLOOD LANDS (2014) {0}

Any serious horror fan who focuses on film festivals, VOD listings, limited releases, and DVD dates will feel a deep sense of familiarity as they read the plot synopsis of the new British thriller called White Settlers, now available in the US as The Blood Lands. In other words, if you’re familiar with films like Eden(…)


Exclusive Review: THE PACT II (2014)

Exclusive Review: THE PACT II (2014) {0}

Nicholas McCarthy’s The Pact is one of those horror films that tends to divide audiences: either you think it’s an over-stretched, needlessly complicated snooze-fest with a few decent jump scares and one or two committed performances (step forward Caity Lotz and Haley Hudson), or a quietly effective little horror whose reach, if we’re honest, exceeded its(…)


Exclusive Review: DEAD WITHIN (2014)

Exclusive Review: DEAD WITHIN (2014) {0}

There’s nothing inherently wrong with filmmakers offering audiences a worm’s eye view of the apocalypse, but it’s too often employed as a means to show (or rather not show) the end of the world on a shoestring budget, rather than something required by the story.


Review: ZOMBEAVERS (2014)

Review: ZOMBEAVERS (2014) {0}

With a title, a premise, and a presentation built around the adorably nonsense word “Zombeavers,” one should not approach a film expecting any sort of depth, warmth, humanity, or metaphorical ruminations on the desperately sad nature of man’s existence. All you need to know is if the silly-ass movie is “stupid-bad,” like most (but not(…)


Exclusive Review: THE SIGNAL (2014)

Exclusive Review: THE SIGNAL (2014) {0}

Science fiction cinema is often built directly on the foundations of the films that came before. That’s not to say that sci-fi screenwriters are thieves or plagiarists, but that there are themes, concepts, and messages that seem to pop up in “speculative fiction” since at least the 1930s. Even the best and most recent sci-fi(…)


Exclusive Review: HOME, aka AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR (2014)

Exclusive Review: HOME, aka AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR (2014) {0}

A great many horror films divide critics, but it’s rare that one divides the same critic. Two years ago, writer-director Nicholas McCarthy’s The Pact did just that: expanded from his own short film, it was seen by many as a classic “curate’s egg” movie – some of it was rotten, but parts of it were excellent.(…)


Review: XMOOR (2014)

Review: XMOOR (2014) {0}

Can an entire film be ruined by a bad accent? The answer, it seems, is absolutely – as surely as one can be ruined by a stupid wig (think any recent John Travolta film) or misjudged age makeup (step forward, Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom). Only recently was I decrying the Gahdarfal Amearican airccent sported(…)


Review: STAGE FRIGHT (2014)

Review: STAGE FRIGHT (2014) {0}

At first glance, “horror movie” and “musical” would seem like a terrible mix. Musicals are often a celebration of human emotions whereas horror films frequently try to evoke and provoke those unpleasant things that terrify us all. But of course there is the cult classic granddaddy called The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), which is(…)


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