Dig Two Graves (2014)

Following her brother’s accidental death, a girl gets involved with the local black sheep and learns a thing or two about her family, the past, and revenge.

Written by Hunter Adams and Jeremy Phillips and directed by the former, Dig Two Graves is an ok drama with a few horror elements that goes at a decent pace. The film has decent characters, decent dialogue; it’s all decent, but it’s all a bit bland. The film has some interesting aspects, especially the family that lives in the woods, but it’s not quite enough to make it a stellar film or even a really interesting one, which is too bad as everyone involved is seemingly talented and capable of more.

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Get Out (2017)

Jordan Peele has effectively fired off the starting gun of what I think will become an landscape of cinema filled with social commentary about the racial climate, and division among a certain kind of people. As with all horror movements, Peele expertly crafts a movie that reflects the racial relations of modern America, and how there is a thin line between acceptance and cultural appropriation and fanaticism. Peele is a man who has devoted most of his career to brutally sharp and funny comedy, and here he delivers what is a darkly comedic but very scary tale about cults, the racial dynamic and what is arguably the next movement in the racial hysteria in the country. “Get Out” derives a lot of uncomfortable laughter from the audience, but it has a lot to say about the extremes of racism, and the sheer horror of pure ignorance and naivete.

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Donnie Darko: Meat Suits and Multiverses

Richard Kelly’s “Donnie Darko” has managed to become somewhat mythical among movie buffs, despite being so widely celebrated. It’s a movie with a fairly simplistic tale about time travel and paradoxes, but also has been interpreted by many people and injected with ideas that fit the general frame work of what “Donnie Darko” is. Some people call it a Christ allegory, some people call it a time travel movie, and Kelly himself has called the movieCatcher in the Rye” if it were written by Phillip K. Dick. There is a surefire hint of author Phillip K. Dick in the way that our main character Donnie Darko is stuck in this hazy world of suburban conformity and alarming aggression. It seeps in to the desperation to be accepted and act accordingly by just about everyone.

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Bloodlands (2017) [FrightFest Glasgow 2017]

An Albanian family with inner turmoil finds itself in the middle of a “blood feud” following a clan reputed to be connected to a mountain witch steals from their business.

Written and directed by Steven Kastrissios, Bloodlands’ story is based in the folklore and traditions of the Balkans with a blood feud creating most of the stress to the characters and conflicts. The film develops as a drama for most of its run time with a few bits and pieces rooted in the horror genre until the epilogue which falls directly and completely in the horror genre. His characters feel rooted in reality while going through hell and back. The family is not perfect, they have issues, they argues, they seem to only by together because they have to or because society says they should at times, which all leads to feeling like a lot of dysfunctional families out there and makes the characters feel real. The father is strong headed while the mother is a gossiper who gets a lot of crap for it. Their kids show interest in leaving their country or at least area which is something most teens/young adults go through. The film shows this family in a true light, with their issues, loving each other warts and all. This family is the root of the film and basically the root of the story in every way possible.

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Revolting Rhymes (2016) (New York International Children’s Film Festival 2017)

In the tradition of “Fractured Fairytales,” directors Jakob Schuh & Jan Lachauer create what is pretty much one of the most inventive and creative twists on the fairytale I’ve ever seen. “Revolting Rhymes” takes all of the classic fairytales and manages to create one shared universe that is not only very funny but makes complete sense. The computer animated film, relies on a lot of subtle comedy and great computer animation that almost looks like stop motion upon first glance. The directors realize Roald Dahl’s book series with great success allowing for a fun twist on fairytales that thankfully is never cloying or obnoxious as films like “Shrek” or “Hoodwinked.”

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Channel Zero (2015)

John Nicol’s “Channel Zero” is an unusual but ambitious film that will inspire a lot of avid movie lovers to check out more than once. It’s packed with some heavy ideas and unique themes about reality, and the state of existence, all in the face of what is a pretty vicious prologue and epilogue. Director Nicol has a very striking directorial style that makes “Channel Zero” feel like an absolute nightmare. And though the movie is considerably low budget, director Nicol manages to evoke a world that feels very empty and barren. It’s not very easy to do, especially with independent filmmakers, but director Nicol is able to accomplish that task.

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Drive-In Massacre (1976) [Blu-Ray]

Stu Segall’s attempt at a horror movie is only seventy minute in length but feels like it goes on for an eternity. Resembling a really cheap and gory cop drama, “Drive In Massacre” is painfully paced and poorly plotted with a tone that is literally all over the place. Sometimes it’s a slasher, sometimes a murder mystery, sometime it tries to be a true crime drama, and other times, it opts for comedy. How are we supposed to take our heroes at all seriously when, in an effort to infiltrate the murderer targeting drive in couples, one of the officers decides to dress up as a woman? What is the intent behind “Drive-In Massacre”? Are we supposed to consider it a satire that was way ahead of its time? Was the director aiming for something in the vein of “The Town that Dreaded Sundown,” except it’s all confined to a local drive in?

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