It’s really tough to discuss Shin’ichirô Ueda’s excellent horror comedy “One Cut of the Dead” without completely deflating its sheer brilliance for someone that’s never seen it. The less you know about the premise going in to “One Cut of the Dead,” the more you’ll likely be very entertained by what unfolds. I knew almost nothing but the bare essentials and by the time the credits rolled, I was ready to put it in my top ten of 2019. Spoilers ahead.
Stephen King is an author that never goes away even when he’s experienced something of a renaissance in pop culture. King’s “It” remains one of his most iconic and easily digestible novels, but peculiarly a book that needs drastic alterations to make it more palatable for film. Andy Muschietti had a bonafide challenge on his hands to deliver a two part film that confronted the terror of loss of innocence, and confronting the demons of the past. It all invariably comes dropping down on the Losers Club with the help of the mercilessly vile Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
I love John Carpenter. I love John Carpenter just as much as Spielberg, and that’s saying a lot as anyone who knows me knows I’m a big Spielberg nut. In either case, even Carpenter’s lesser efforts in the late nineties to early aughts are somewhat entertaining, if only because even when he never quite sticks the landing, he’s at least going for something different. With “Vampires,” Carpenter tries his best to rethink and remold the modern vampire and make them terrifying again. While the movie isn’t great, its ambition and ability to make Vampires primal monsters again is admirable and worthy of an audience.
The Shipment (2018)
A man who has turned his life around must make hard decision in his quest to become a better man and to protect his daughter at the same time. This short film is one of the most expensive ones we’ve seen in the last few years and the budget shows. The special effects are on point, the score sounds expensive, if a little familiar, and the film as a whole comes off looking and feeling like something that is part of a much bigger universe. The acting in The Shipment is good overall, with a few scenes here and there that feel a bit off. The visuals are fantastic and show how much of a passion project this was for writer/director Bobby Bala. It’s a fun watch with some deeper issues being approached in a way that is perfect to make some think without even knowing it. The issues at hand are very real and timely.
After a series of negative events, a young woman rents a house in the countryside to go clear her mind and get ready for a fresh start. Once at the house, the man renting it gets more and more interested in her for reasons that she cannot possibly guess. His mental state deteriorating, he starts putting into action a plan that will take them both down a dangerous path.
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.