REVIEW: The Vast of Night [2020]

They don’t stay for long. The world that director Andrew Patterson and writers James Montague and Craig W. Sanger put on-screen for their film The Vast of Night isn’t real. Rather than transport us to 1950s New Mexico, we’re put in front of a TV to watch the latest episode of “Paradox Theater”—a “Twilight Zone” riff promising unexplained wonders—set in 1950s New Mexico. It’s an interesting formal decision since we never interact with the place in which we reside. We can neither look around the living room beyond that television…

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REVIEW: Blood Machines [2020]

She’s between life and death. When a space vessel goes rogue, fleet commander Galdor (Walter Dickerson) tasks Captain Vascan (Anders Heinrichsen) and his co-pilot/mechanic Lago (Christian Erickson) with retrieving it. Shooting it down from space to crash land on an unknown planet proves this story’s beginning rather than its end as we discover the destination was hardly some random accident. No, it’s exactly where the ship was headed because it is the only place with inhabitants who know its plight. Unlike Vascan’s crude sadist who’s all too happy to destroy…

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REVIEW: Proximity [2020]

‘Cause that’s the kind of attention we want. There’s a lot left unsaid within visual effects artist Eric Demeusy‘s directorial debut Proximity. While initially thinking it was a means to create mystery around main character Isaac (Ryan Masson), I eventually saw it was a product of needing narrative context for what’s actually important instead. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you hide those loose threads in the background as the main thrust of your action is born from them, but doing so proves difficult when they’re specifically introduced as…

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REVIEW: Soundwave [2020]

No one’s ever listening. To be as good as Ben Boyles (Hunter Doohan) is with old radios is to inevitably hypothesize about their use beyond our current capacity of understanding. With extensive research into sound waves and their ability to forever remain present around us no matter when or where they originated, he wondered if he could create a device that would amplify those seemingly inert memories in the air and listen to them as though they were happening right now. And while the possibilities and potential profits of such…

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REVIEW: Butt Boy [2020]

I miss everything about it. It was about sixty minutes into Tyler Cornack‘s one hundred-minute feature film Butt Boy when I wondered aloud, “How can there be so much time left?” At this point the culprit behind the disappearance of a child had already been identified as IT professional Chip Gutchell (Cornack) in the prologue. The person positioned to take him down (Tyler Rice‘s Detective Russel Fox) was more than ready to pounce. Both men were heading towards their climactic convergence point as a result of the script’s unabashed use…

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REVIEW: Vivarium [2020]

Raise the child and be released We all like to believe that we have some semblance of control over our lives. Do we, though? How much of our identity is dictated by social conditioning? Maybe it’s explicit indoctrination like that taught by religion, politics, and culture as “superior” than others. Or maybe it’s implicit like the subliminal messaging possibilities of art appropriated by marketing. You might say to yourself that you’re too smart for advertising, but what do you do when confronted by four of the same product consisting of…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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REVIEW: The Wave [2020]

Reality’s a choice, maaaan. The first thing you need to know when entering director Gille Klabin and writer Carl W. Lucas‘ The Wave is that it takes a lot of liberties. The second thing is that doing so doesn’t have to be a problem. So much of what happens on-screen is born from convenience and ultimately has no explanation (if it even needs one) before playing its long-term role within Frank’s (Justin Long) hallucinogenic nightmare of an adventure. Just because he might get a handle on what’s happening to manipulate…

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