REVIEW: Extra Ordinary [2019]

The fragrant aroma of purity. When weird, unexplainable happenings occur—it’s probably a ghost. At least that’s what Vincent Dooley (Risteard Cooper) based a career of dealing with the paranormal upon. A producer of VHS tapes that taught audiences about these experiences as a group of phenomena he coined “Talents,” he also spoke with the dead. Alongside his young daughter Rose (who possessed the gifts necessary to deal with the more practical aspects such as incantations and guiding spirits into the afterlife), Vincent toured Ireland with the hope of helping those…

Read More

REVIEW: The Other Lamb [2020]

Do you accept my grace? To be born into a world with set doctrines is to have no choice—often because you don’t realize one exists. That’s the power systemic modes of oppression hold over their victims. We’re told that fighting back makes things worse. Fighting for survival makes those in positions to help facilitate that survival less interested in helping. So we’re asked to remain quiet. Accept our fate and be grateful for what we have and grateful to those who give it with “grace” and not as a salve…

Read More

REVIEW: El hoyo [The Platform] [2019]

Obviously. We say the same thing whenever a new dystopian vision is released: it couldn’t have come at a better time. It was said when Brazil bowed and again with Snowpiercer and High-Rise after. And now it’s director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia‘s turn as El hoyo [The Platform] hits the zeitgeist in the middle of a pandemic that’s revealed empires to be as naked as Hans Christian Andersen’s emperor. Will we band together in the face of widespread adversity and recognize—sometimes for the very first time—that we must protect the most vulnerable…

Read More

REVIEW: The Funhouse [1981]

God is watching you. It wouldn’t surprise me to discover that the pitch Universal Pictures used to court director Tobe Hooper for Lawrence J. Block‘s The Funhouse script was something akin to “think The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but at a carnival.” That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Four kids looking for a good time stumble across a deranged family that has no qualms with killing them if they get in the way of living life way outside of the law. Rather than just be rednecks in the woods,…

Read More

REVIEW: The Invisible Man [2020]

Surprise. After the critical and financial debacle of Universal Studios’ attempted interconnected Dark Universe of “monsters” beginning with The Mummy, the decision to embrace a more independent mindset was inevitable. Considering his collaborations with James Wan (the Saw and Insidious franchises) utilized exactly that, it wasn’t shocking when newly placed producers Blumhouse reached out to Leigh Whannell to lead the charge. I don’t think it was his horror pedigree that earned him a meeting about reimagining H.G. Wells‘ The Invisible Man, though, since his last film Upgrade practically had an…

Read More

REVIEW: The Invisible Man [1933]

There’s a way back, you fool! I’ve never understood how people ask, “Which superpower is best?” as though there isn’t a definitive answer. Some will say flight. Some want x-ray vision. Some desire super-smarts or strength. But don’t all of those objectively pale in comparison to invisibility and the scope of what one can get away with if nobody can prove they were there? Its possibilities are both endless and endlessly terrifying—the latter a major reason why H.G. Wells‘ science fiction creation remains such a seminal figure within the horror…

Read More

REVIEW: Swallow [2020]

I did something unexpected today. Hunter (Haley Bennett) has never had control over her life. She’s tried her hardest to claim some, however, by giving away her love. She gave it to a mother who treated her like an afterthought compared to her siblings, a career in art that always found itself to be just out of reach, and the man (Austin Stowell‘s Richie) she walked down a matrimonial aisle towards despite his only ever seeing her as a prize—a possession for a shelf of conquests someone in his socio-economic…

Read More

REVIEW: The Lodge [2020]

She can’t go to Heaven! It’s almost too perfect. After reading Sergio Casci‘s spec script and wondering who’d be best to steward it towards its next stage, Hammer Films saw Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala as easy marks. Their debut Goodnight Mommy dealt with the psychological strife that occurs when two young children are trapped inside a house with a woman they cannot trust and it does so with ample deflection, half truths, and narrative manipulation. Casci’s The Lodge is so similar that I’m surprised Franz and Fiala chose to…

Read More

REVIEW: The Fall [2019]

Taking from his music video background of surreally nightmarish visions, director Jonathan Glazer delivered a surprise seven-minute short last year entitled The Fall. The description says it all: “a masked mob cruelly punish a lone masked man.” We see them shake the tree to which their victim clings tightly, pick him up off the forest floor, affix a noose around his neck, and let him descend through a seemingly never-ending pit beneath the gallows. The ordeal is off-putting in its lack of context and eerily disturbing in its use of…

Read More

REVIEW: Color Out of Space [2020]

A dreamy dream together is reality. **Potential spoilers** Arkham’s citizens colloquially describe the Gardner family’s farm as “blasted heath” at the start of H.P. Lovecraft‘s short story The Colour Out of Space. Their reasoning stems from the deathly gray dust covering the area as though a fire had wiped everything but a stone well away. That they’re mentioning it at all is the result of Lovecraft’s nameless narrator’s appearance as a surveyor discerning whether or not a water reservoir should be installed atop what’s grown into a legend those who…

Read More

REVIEW: Daniel Isn’t Real [2019]

Not insane. Awake! The title truly says it all: Daniel Isn’t Real. So when a little boy takes his stuffed animal down the street to escape his parents’ screams only to walk by a gruesome murder scene marked by a bloodied body lifeless on the ground, we understand the significance of his also finding a new friend. A young kid unable to process fear, rage, and death, Luke would naturally project his distressed mother’s (Mary Stuart Masterson‘s Claire) visage upon the homicide victim now haunting his memory before creating a…

Read More