In this anthology inspired by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, producer Staci Layne Wilson brings together a dozen shorts with themes and content about abuses of power, sexual abuse, and issues affecting women in particular. The stories range from a woman in therapy to a ghost attacking men in a public restroom. Here the shorts all contain storylines that will make viewers think with styles that entertain, scare, and even amuse. The talent in this anthology is of high quality and some of the shorts will be familiar those film festival regulars.
I honestly never go in to any movie prepared to hate it. I approach every single movie with even the lowest of expectations and always hope to be surprised and thoroughly entertained. With “Hi-Death” though, this is a movie I had a difficult time finding any redeeming traits for. I love anthology horror, I love throwbacks to classic VHS and SOV days of horror and science fiction, but “Hi-Death” is a confusing mess of an indie horror film that will test the patience of any hardcore horror fan.
Jordan Peele’s ambitious reboot of Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” has managed to become one of the most polarizing series of the year, but it’s definitely inspired people to talk and that’s a good thing. Peele is not settling on merely a tribute, but has managed to retrofit a lot of classic episodes to modern sensibilities. While some episodes were clunkers, most episodes this season have been fantastic. With the season finale airing now on CBS All Access, I thought I’d list the five best episodes of the first season.
I love the idea of indie filmmakers taking their various horror short films and turning them in to anthologies, especially now with the horror anthology hotter than ever with audiences. “Blood Clots” has a lot of great intentions, but in the end it’s just an okay anthology with seven pretty okay horror shorts. I was never blown over by anything I saw here, but I appreciated the effort, and I liked the variety, overall. There are zombies, mutants, monsters, and werewolves, and that’s basically the only overarching theme for audiences.
I’m surprised “Treehouse” ends up being the best episode of Blumhouse and Hulu’s ambitious anthology “Into the Dark,” yet. I have to admit that I hated James Roday’s “Gravy,” so to see him approach “Treehouse” with a very relevant message, an inherent tone of terror, and some darkly comic undertones, was a welcome surprise. “Into the Dark” has been more hit than miss since its introduction in October, but with “Treehouse” it hits right out of the park as an ode to spring that explores hell having no fury like a woman scorned.
I kind of see what Aaron K. Carter is going for with “An Hour to Kill.” What his film tries to be is a basic meshing of the gangster politics of “Pulp Fiction” with the horror tales of “Creepshow.” I don’t begrudge him for trying something completely different and unique, it’s just sad that “An Hour to Kill” never comes together as a coherent or even entertaining horror comedy anthology. Even taken as a silly horror comedy, it’s tough to find any real redeeming aspects here, as Carter seems to work hard in keeping his film together as it falls apart from minute one.
Akeda (The Binding) (2018)
Dan Bronfeld’s drama is a disturbing but fascinating bit of meta-fiction that examines the real life brutality of war and loss of innocence. Bronfeld stages the film initially like an actual confrontation between American soldiers and an Israeli family. When the surviving son of the family emerges from his spot we learn he’s actually making a film. But is he? As we learn more and more about the filmmakers and their inherent tribalism, what we think we’re seeing doesn’t quite seem as absolute anymore. We’re left to wonder if he’s making a movie, or if he’s merely lying to himself to shield from the horrors of the war and violence that’s unfolding all around him. “Akeda” makes a strong statement about the brutality and sensationalism of war, and it’s a gem of a drama.
Now with the easy accessibility of filmmaking technology and more filmmakers stepping forward, we’re getting more horror movies based around Halloween than ever. I’m just fine with that as Halloween was always a very under tapped mood back drop for such a long time in the horror genre. “10/31” is tailor made for Halloween and horror buffs looking for a good time with assorted tales of terror and black comedy. While it isn’t perfect, it’s a damn good treat nonetheless that I can’t wait to put alongside gems like “Tales of Halloween,” 2013’s “Mischief Night,” and “Trick r Treat.”