FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Most Beautiful Island [2017]

“I’m so tired of the possibilities” It’s easy for Americans to look at a film like Eli Roth‘s Hostel and find themselves afraid of the situation presented as one they could fall prey to if the circumstances arose. We’ve been instilled with that anxiety for decades—the notion that our freedoms at home do not transfer […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Tiere [Animals] [2017]

“Animals don’t kill themselves” Discovering that screenwriter Jörg Kalt committed suicide before bringing his script Tiere [Animals] to life adds a lot of context to how one deciphers Greg Zglinski‘s film. The director had read it the year before Kalt’s death, lauding it while on a Zurich Film Foundation committee in the hopes of helping […]

REVIEW: Annabelle [2014]

“Crazy people do crazy things, ma’am” The story of Annabelle—a possessed Raggedy Ann doll from the 1970s—is a part of Lorraine and Ed Warren’s lore as experts in the occult. It along with the Amityville house are what the couple are most known for “combating” and thus easy fodder to provide audiences an entry point […]

REVIEW: Atomic Blonde [2017]

“This is the game” It’s hard to believe that I was thinking the stylish, punishing action of John Wick was being dismantled upon as its stuntmen-turned-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch deciding to go solo two years ago. Stahelski would helm John Wick 2, the result proving a worthy follow-up both in aesthetic and mythology […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Better Watch Out [2017]

“U LEAVE U DIE” It’s Christmas and songs of carolers are in the air of a quaint suburban neighborhood populated by houses big enough to list four bedrooms yet safe enough to not need alarms. Perfectly imperfect families live inside them like the pulls-no-punches Deandra (Virginia Madsen) and affably self-deprecating Robert (Patrick Warburton) showing how […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: The Honor Farm [2017]

“Make a choice” If Karen Skloss‘ feature narrative debut The Honor Farm possesses anything it’s an abundance of style. This is a gorgeously shot prom night turned mushroom trip romp of millennial excess caught in the throes of dream. We meet Lucy (Olivia Grace Applegate) walking through the woods in her dress—trees covered in toilet […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Replace [2017]

“I thought this was just a painkiller” There’s a captivating science fiction horror concept at the back of director Norbert Keil and co-writer Richard Stanley‘s Replace with the question: how far would you be willing to go for your youth? Do you crave longevity? Vanity? Rebirth? What would you sacrifice for it? Memory? Sanity? Life […]

REVIEW: The Beguiled [1971]

“Old enough for kisses” If you’ve ever wondered what would happen inside a Confederate girls seminary (boarding school) unwittingly thrust into the position of harboring a wounded Union soldier during the Civil War, Don Siegel‘s The Beguiled seeks to provide some dark answers. Based on Thomas Cullinan‘s novel A Painted Devil and adapted by Albert […]

REVIEW: The Book of Henry [2017]

“I want to see the sky” There’s a lot of backlash against director Colin Trevorrow for reasons he didn’t necessarily earn. Most of the vitriol stems from his being scooped up by the Hollywood studio machine after helming just one indie film. That debut was the Sundance award-winning Safety Not Guaranteed, a small-scale sci-fi written […]

REVIEW: 47 Meters Down [2017]

“It’s like you’re going to the zoo only you’re in the cage” There’s this great moment towards the end of 47 Meters Down when a flare ignites to reveal a trio of sharks circling Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt). It’s a beautiful image in its horrific content: warm colors illuminating the cool dark […]

REVIEW: It Comes at Night [2017]

“Are you sick?” Distill any post-apocalyptic, sickness-infested world inhabited by survivors to its core and you receive an unfiltered glimpse at humanity’s desperation. Strip away the artifice and redundant plotlines, tear down labels in the vein of hero or leader or savior, and make sure “hope” becomes an archaic concept lost to distant memory even […]