Heavy Trip (Hevi Reissu) (2018)

While “Heavy Trip” may not be what we call horror in the conventional sense, Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio’s dark comedy musical has a lot of the DNA of a horror movie, right down to satanic worship, blood baths, and plenty of vomit. It’s not often you get to see an underdog tale of a band struggling to make it set to the tune of death metal, but Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio tap in to a distinct crowd that’s gone woefully overlooked. “Heavy Trip” will definitely stand out in the memory of their audience who are in the mood for something wholly unconventional but surprisingly crowd pleasing.

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The [REC] Collection [Blu-Ray]

While the rest of the horror community are celebrating the big releases from Scream Factory this year like “Creepshow” and “Trick r Treat,” in comes a somewhat overlooked horror child known as the “[REC] Collection.” Shout! outdoes themselves packing together all four films from the found footage horror series from Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, and it’s a box set that should be explored if you’ve never seen the “[REC]” films or have only ever seen the original.

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Fifteen Years Ago, “28 Days Later” Altered Horror

It wasn’t until 2003 where I was truly introduced to Danny Boyle (I’d seen Shallow Grave in 1994, and admittedly greeted it with a very negative reaction. Hell I was eleven). I fondly recall going to the movies that spring and experience a teaser trailer to Danny Boyle and Alex Garland’s “28 Days Later.” The trailer, like the film, was frantic and horrifying and it piqued my interest to where it was all I thought about for months. In the summer of 2003, I managed to see “28 Days Later” finally. It happened to be an even more interesting experience than I ever imagined because I’d seen it a week before I had to have mandatory open heart surgery. To say that I was in a rollercoaster of emotions while watching “28 Days Later” is an understatement of the highest degree.

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Luciferina (2018) [Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival 2018]

A trainee nun, Natalia, goes home after an accident kills her mother and leaves her father dying. Once home, she discovers family secrets and goes on a self-discovery trip with friends. There she learns even more and puts her own soul at stake.

Writer/director Gonzalo Calzada takes the concepts of good versus bad, god versus evil, Catholic versus pagan, family, legacy, and destiny and plays with them in a dark realm tinged by demonic forces and curiosity. The story here is done in a way that works for its characters, letting them get exposed and built before throwing in the evil/demonic elements. Most of everything here works and goes towards creating a cohesive story and world. Some of the timeline and exposure may feel a bit off as it foes, but it all makes sense by the end. Calzada has a story here that he knows how to tell and he gets it out here on the screen in a way the viewer can easily watch, connect with, and be entertained by.

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Lifechanger (2018) [FrightFest 2018]

A shapeshifter is running through bodies faster and faster and must take extreme measures to keep surviving or let go of his own self.

Written and directed by Justin McConnell, Lifechanger is an exploration of mortality, letting go, love, and what people are willing to do to keep going without changes and what they are willing to accept to keep their lives on their preferred path. While the film is a horror film at its core, the story is about much more than the simple kills and shapeshifting, it’s about taking over lives, making one’s own life. The way this is approached creates a story that is easy to follow even with the switches in lead person and the multiple storylines. The film keeps everything in order and easily understandable. As the story advances and the lead narrates the story, the reasons for it all become clearer and they are not just for survival.

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