REVIEW: The Rental [2020]

Abs-bro-lutely. There’s something to be said about a lack of sentimentality in a horror film. That doesn’t mean we can’t still have sympathy for the victims’ plight—the fact that they’re human beings provides the space for it regardless of who they are or what we know about them. We care because we see ourselves in their shoes. They embody our fear rather than provide an object for us to fear for. Whether or not they suffer when fate’s hand comes down is therefore quite often a moot point. Our sympathy…

Read More

REVIEW: XX [2017]

“Well I have to eat. Don’t I?” The concept is simple: task four female directors to create and film four unrelated shorts in the horror vein—with female-led casts—to be combined into a single compilation in which to show off the talents and voices of artists Hollywood continues to ignore. Tap newcomer Jovanka Vuckovic (whose “The Box” is based on a story by Jack Ketchum), musician Annie ‘St. Vincent’ Clark with her debut behind the camera (“The Birthday Party”), the veteran leadership of V/H/S producer and Southbound helmer Roxanne Benjamin (with…

Read More

REVIEW: Thou Wast Mild & Lovely [2014]

“My lover knows how to love me” She is not kidding when she says: “To those who feel that their cruelty is too cruel, their sadness too sad, I dedicate this film: an embrace.” Writer/director Josephine Decker means every single word because she herself has laid bare her own cruelty and sadness with Thou Wast Mild & Lovely. Her characters are flawed, dangerous, and inviting—animals working the farm yet animals just the same. They each desire, take, and enjoy, suffering the psychological consequences after the fact, unregretful for what they’ve…

Read More

REVIEW: Proxy [2014]

“Cause we all need someone to listen” I learned something while watching Zack Parker‘s horror (psychological thriller is a more apt genre label) film Proxy: Richmond, Indiana is a hotbed for crazy. He and cowriter Kevin Donner inject a little Münchausen syndrome, Prenatal Depression, and some run-of-the-mill psychopathy to round out the quartet of main characters. Each seemingly normal on the surface until a chaotic mind or the potential for psychotic break under tragic circumstances is exposed thanks to carefully unfolding revelations, the people populating this tale are regular folk…

Read More

REVIEW: You’re Next [2013]

“Will you just die already? This is hard enough for me!” Disappointment that the hype surrounding director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett’s film You’re Next was proving impossible to achieve set in about halfway through. I expected what many called an entertainingly fresh horror thriller with comedic flourishes, but all I saw was the usual home invasion tropes and by-the-numbers carnage courtesy of animal-masked predators and their unsuspecting, family weekend attendee prey. Then something happens to change its tone completely as attractive Aussie plus-one Erin (Sharni Vinson) rolls away…

Read More

REVIEW: Drinking Buddies [2013]

“I am a bourgeois pig” I really liked Drinking Buddies and I’ll admit I wasn’t sure that would be the case. The Mumblecore movement has always been one that has eluded me—well, the early stuff at least since I have found myself enjoying what the Duplass Brothers have done post success—and the prolific Joe Swanberg comes off as a “love him or hate him” kind of auteur. But how could this thing go wrong with a cast of Olivia Wilde (Kate), Jake Johnson (Luke), Anna Kendrick (Jill), and Ron Livingston…

Read More