Glimpse (2016)

I don’t know how many audiences will click with “Glimpse” but for folks that can appreciate film as an experimental form of art with no real narrative, John Nicol’s movie is solid. It has no story and no dialogue and often time feels like some kind of music video, but it’s well made. Director Nicol seems to know what kind of movie he’s making, even if it’s never quite clear throughout the eight minute run time.

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Drifter (2016)

Two brothers on the run come afoul of one group after the other until they reach a seemingly abandoned desert village.  There they meet a young woman who helps them and meet with a family of crazy cannibals. Written by Chris von Hoffman and Aria Emory, based on a story by von Hoffman who also directed, Drifter is a film about survival in the desert post apocalypse that shows every character but one as bad people.  The “bad guys”, the cannibalistic family unit, are truly bad, while the brothers come off as being bad people out of necessity and desperation.  Only one character seems mostly good but also a victim of some weird form of Standahl Syndrome.  She’s the one who attempts to help the brothers before things really go to shit for them.

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Bullets, Fangs and Dinner at 8 (2015) [San Diego Film Week 2017]

Following a massacre in a church, a priest who really is a vampire attempts to get funding and new followers as a vampire hunter works to take out as many of his followers as he can. In this ambitious ultra-low budget horror-comedy by writer/director/star Matthew Rocca, a typical story of good versus evil becomes less typical when the bad guys and good guys are not clear-cut with each of them having qualities that make them more complex and thus harder to pigeonhole.  The story has interesting elements and some definitely good ideas.  The dialogue balances between funny and just ok.  The film’s issues in the story are where it seemingly gets lazy.  Rape as a character establisher or changer or even as a shocking method is cliché, overdone, and a lazy plot tool when used the way it is here.  The rest of the film uses a few other overdone plot devices but they are not as annoying and can be forgiven more easily.

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VooDoo (2017)

Dani arrives in California to visit her cousin for a month and have some fun away from her worries and her past.  The two girls do fun tourist things and prank each other, until something goes wrong, very, very wrong.   As things go from bad to worse, the film explores voodoo, the supernatural, and hell, all through a found footage lens.  The story created by writer/director Tom Costabile has a lot of good ideas and some truly unnerving imagery and moments.  The opening with the voodoo curse being put into place goes from interesting to freaky fairly fast.  The film itself then takes a little bit to establish the two cousins and the other players around them (including an unnecessary but not annoying cameo by Ron Jeremy) until one pranks leads to all hell breaking loose.

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XX (2017)

“XX” is yet another horror anthology, this time featuring four horror segments directed by women, all of which revolve around concepts mostly associated with women. While “XX” garners the recurring theme of motherhood, the tales themselves are based around feminine or maternal concepts that are twisted for the genre. “The Box” is a loose allegory for anorexia, “The Birthday Party” is about status, “Don’t Fall” is kind an allegory for menstruation, while “Her Only Living Son” is about a mother’s unwillingness to let go of her son and let him realize his destiny. The four very talented female filmmakers were given complete freedom and as a result we have a pretty stellar horror film, all things considering.

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Skeleton Key 3 Part 2 (2016)

A sequel to the 2011 video release Skeleton Key 3, this new film is in no way shape or form related to the Kate Hudson starring film from 2005.  This film follows a man dealing with the (blue) zombie apocalypse while saddled with a demon sidekick/bully and a ragtag team of helpers. John Johnson, the man credited as the brain behind this film and the star of the film looks to be specialized in the anything goes/what the fuck type of horror films by the looks of his IMDB page.  As this particular film is not listed and this reviewer will not be watching it again to pull the credits, the little bits of credits available on Midnight Releasing’s website are all that will be used to identify the players here.

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