Stray (2016)

In the tradition of films like “The Bad Seed” and “Devil in the Flesh,” Gabrielle Stone stars as Jennifer Stone, a young girl who happens upon a small town one fateful day. Alluring and often enigmatic, Jennifer manages to build the good will of a fellow traveler, and begins establishing herself in the small town of Chestnut Hill. Jennifer will do whatever it takes to build the life she wants, including lying, stealing, and murdering just about anyone. “Stray” is mostly a psychological thriller focusing on this truly complex but twisted antagonist who is oddly alluring but incredibly slimy from the first moment we meet her.

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Guerilla (2017)

Shane Ryan’s “Guerilla” watches more like a proof of concept film more than a short film, but for what it offers I think there’s a ton of potential for a great feature film down the road. With no dialogue and a sweet eighties synth score, “Guerilla” is a mix of “The Goonies” and “Night of the Comet” centering on the apocalypse and an airborne disease that transforms people in to blood soaked maniacs.

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Horror Shorts from the 2nd Final Girls Berlin Film Festival 2017: Part 1

I was lucky enough to be able to review many of the short films that played for audiences at the 2nd 2017 Final Girls Berlin Film Festival. The festival which runs from June 9th to June 11th features a wide array of horror films, horror shorts and horror programs fueled by creative female voices, from writers, and directors alike. This year, they ran the anthology “XX” and a myriad new female powered genre titles, along with a big block of short genre films with specific themes. These are a few of the shorts that played.

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Everlasting (2016)

If there’s any independent film that deserves to take off and be celebrated by movie lovers far and wide, it’s Anthony Stabley’s “Everlasting.” It’s a gripping, emotional, and gut wrenching tale of love, death, and the loss of innocence. Writer, Director and producer Stabley creates a compelling drama with a dash of the supernatural that feels very sincere and genuinely heartfelt right until the final tear jerking scene. Watching like a take on Paul Schrader’s “Hardcore,” director Stabley invokes a unique cautionary tale while successfully building two very flawed but absolutely brilliant protagonists. I cared about everyone involved in “Everlasting” and director Stabley implements every cast member well from his stars to notable supporting players like Pat Healey and Elizabeth Rohm.

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Pickup (2016)

Jeremiah Kipp and Jessica Blank’s “Pickup” is the incredibly uncomfortable portrait of an uneasy relationship where a woman is stuck in a perpetual cycle of self-destruction that promises to become very dangerous, if she isn’t careful. Director Kipp is very wise to lead us in to a final scene that is very ambiguous and leaves the audience wondering what will happen next, and I appreciated that. “Pickup” involves a horrendous situation where once it explodes, everyone will feel the pain. And it likely involves two people that know the explosion is coming and both of them are doing everything in their power to prevent it before they have no choice but to face it.

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Unseen (2017) [San Francisco Documentary Film Festival 2017]

In Cleveland, a murderer and rapist is accumulating victims while people do not seem to care about the missing women.  This documentary explores his victims, through surviving family members and, most importantly, through surviving victims.  This is done with interviews, court footage, and information written on the screen.

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