REVIEW: Maximum Overdrive [1986]

It turned itself on and it bit me! To read Stephen King‘s short story “Trucks” (from the compilation Night Shift) is to get embroiled in a nihilistic nightmare along the lines of a “Twilight Zone” episode. A few people are left stranded at a truck stop while diesel vehicles gain cognizance and begin killing any people they see until fuel stores run low and a truce must be met to acquire their victims’ pumping services. There’s little room for hope as the new order of things appears destined to continue…

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REVIEW: Great White [2021]

We’ll get you there. There’s a legend of sorts about a shipwreck on the island locale most tourists ask Charlie (Aaron Jakubenko) and Kaz (Katrina Bowden) to take them off the Australian coast. Only one man survived the ordeal and natives, like the Captain’s cook (Te Kohe Tuhaka‘s Benny), have never forgotten his name. It therefore means something when the trio’s latest fares (Kimie Tsukakoshi‘s Michelle and Tim Kano‘s Joji) take out an urn of ashes and a photograph of that very same man. He was her grandfather and always…

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REVIEW: The Forever Purge [2021]

Follow the roses. There’s one key fact about the fifth and (apparently) final installment in James DeMonaco‘s Purge series that demands mentioning: it was scheduled to debut July 2020. Whereas a COVID delay doesn’t mean much for F9 or Black Widow, it’s crucial to understanding just how prescient these political horror films are. Why? Because much of what occurs in The Forever Purge is an exact parallel to January 6th, 2021. DeMonaco’s mythology leads his fictional America to the brink of insurrection not to comment on what happened five months…

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REVIEW: Till Death [2021]

It’s time to wake up. Emma (Megan Fox) arrives at her husband’s (Eoin Macken) law office ready for their anniversary dinner only to hear him say he prefers her red dress. Instead of thinking out loud, he’s stating a problem in need of rectifying. A “joke” that there’s time to stop home and change isn’t therefore a joke at all once we cut to the restaurant, see Emma in red, and begin to understand why the first scene of S.K. Dale‘s Till Death showed her in another man’s (Aml Ameen‘s…

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REVIEW: Gaia [2021]

The apes return to the trees. Mankind doesn’t follow God because He’s compassionate. Anyone who’s looked through history at the death and destruction wrought in His name should know this all too well. Man follows Him out of fear—a fear so deeply rooted in our DNA that we cling to a fantasy instead of admitting its crippling hold. Because what’s God really saving us from during the rapture? Evil? Science? Ourselves? If we’re to believe God created everything, the only logical answer as to the orchestrator of our demise is…

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REVIEW: Werewolves Within [2021]

Everyone here is a little … questionable. If not for the Ubisoft logo revealing the game company as a producer of Werewolves Within, I would be wondering what the point of buying licensing rights was since this adaptation isn’t even set in medieval times. I’m not sure if there’s more that sets it apart from other variations on Mafia (the deduction party game created in 1986 by Dimitry Davidoff before getting a fresh spin as Werewolf by Andrew Plotkin in 1997 and more recently appropriated into the online sensation Among…

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REVIEW: Caveat [2021]

There’s got to be more to it than that. Isaac (Jonathan French) doesn’t remember Barret (Ben Caplan), but Barret assures him they are friends. He even visited him at the hospital only to discover Isaac had no recollection of ever having met him before. I guess you have two choices when suffering from partial memory loss: you either decide to trust nobody or accept the help of strangers who say they aren’t strangers at all. Isaac is the latter … albeit skeptical. Whether that skepticism is towards Barret himself or…

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REVIEW: Seance [2021]

Edelvine Ghost, rise up to us. A teenager took her own life two decades ago and the prestigious Edelvine Academy hasn’t yet escaped the cloud formed above its roof as a result. Rumors of the “ghost” run rampant and jokes to scare new students with Candyman-esque rituals bringing her back to haunt them have become a rite of passage. It’s not until the present-day, however, that someone actually conjures her. By speaking the words at the exact time of her death in the exact place she died, Alice (Inanna Sarkis)…

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REVIEW: The Djinn [2021]

You’re perfect just the way you are. There’s a reason young, mute Dylan Jacobs (Ezra Dewey) longs for a voice and it’s not simply an ableist fantasy striving for some misguided ideal of “normalcy.” A bit of that is present (he’s a child seeking friendship and community, after all), but the reality is that he sees his silence as the reason why his mother (Tevy Poe) left. He’s starting over in a new apartment with his radio DJ father (Rob Brownstein‘s Michael) and yet he still can’t forget the night…

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REVIEW: Jakob’s Wife [2021]

Good people just don’t leave their families. The opening scene of Jakob’s Wife sets the stage for what’s to come as Reverend Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden) sermonizes about the love a husband should have for his wife. His partner Anne (Barbara Crampton) is in the front pew listening, but never smiling. She’s not hearing his words and nodding her head in agreement. She’s actually staring daggers at the reality of what his words mean. Because Jakob never says anything about that love being for her benefit. He never says men…

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REVIEW: Honeydew [2021]

Let’s start with the nasties. It’s comforting to see the words “bizarre” and “absurd” in the press notes and director’s statement for Devereux Milburn‘s Honeydew because they prove that he understands what he’s created. When a film exudes such a self-serious tone despite possessing so many odd idiosyncrasies and wild leaps of narrative coincidence, it’s easy to think you’re laughing at the whole rather than with it. Reading those words therefore allows us to know that the artist was fully aware of that incongruous juxtaposition. It might have even been…

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