Director Sara Summa paints “The Last to See Them” as the anti-thriller, it’s the calm before the storm, as four family members living in a remote farm in the Italian countryside are doomed to die horrendous murders in the middle of the night. What we see is the hours leading up to their death as… well nothing happens. Absolutely nothing happens. Director Sara Summa’s “The Last to See Them” has all the ingredients for a brutally creepy, and unsettling thriller but it amounts to a disappointingly empty posturing of the antithesis of the genre.
It’s only a matter of time until everyone begins to compare “Achoura” to “Stephen King’s It” mainly because they’re so thematically similar and share almost identical story beats. On its own, “Achoura” is a fine horror thriller that explores the loss of innocence, how fleeting innocence is for children, and how the past almost always catches up to us. As a symbol of the very heavy commentary is the rather spooky and interesting monster of the film, the Bougatate, that’s less a figment of imagination, and more a living darkness that devours kids’ joy, and fear.
We don’t have nearly enough horror movies about the aftermath and fall out of bullying and how often times bullies can destroy us. We’ve had “Slaughter High” in the past, but we’ve come around to sharp thrillers like “The Gift” and “The Final” which depict the victim less as insane, and more as broken people. “Ma” is kind of that film that approaches the very themes, but never quite knows what to make of its titular villain. “Ma” is a sharp thriller with a killer performance from Octavia Spencer that manages to rise above a narrative that’s very confused about what it’s trying to say.
This year I covered Cinepocalypse’s second shorts block, and for this round the topics included Sex, Blood, and Heavy Metal. Not all of the movies are horror here, nor are they particularly scary, but they’re an interesting variety for the festival.
This week we have seven stellar short films from around the world including Asia, Hungary, and The Ukraine, as well as one from prolific indie filmmaker Patricia Chica. Some of the shorts featured have competed in Cannes this year, and all deal with some kind of interesting and very widely discussed social theme including LGBTQ Pride Month. Look for these excellent films when you can. If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers
With Disney’s acquisition of Fox Studios and many more of their Marvel properties, the Fox Studios “X-Men” franchise is done. It’s over. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. With “Dark Phoenix,” Simon Kinberg tries to exercise the feeling of finality for an era that began in 2000. The problem with “Dark Phoenix” is that while the pieces are all there for a slam bang exciting finale, it’s a sequel that basically takes “The Last Stand” and tries to remake it in to something decent. And it fails, for the most part.