Despite the title which weirdly made me think this was an homage to “Plan 9,” Lance Polland’s science fiction thriller is quite an impressive survival film. Director Polland obviously has great affection for and knowledge of classic science fiction television, thus he creates an interesting character study that feels like a more sophisticated take on the original “Star Trek.” In many cases, so much of the scenes feel like something directly ripped out of “Star Trek” (and I mean that as a compliment).
How do you deliver an action comedy filled with gun fights and car chases on a 30K budget? You be as clever as humanly possible, and add in a bit of suspension of disbelief. “In Action” is a shockingly clever action comedy that takes a unique premise and puts it on film, come hell or high water. Working simultaneously as a proof of concept, directors Eric Silvera, Sean Kenealy, and Jon Warren’s bring to life a premise with potential to be pretty damn good, and they do whatever they can to bring their concepts to life.
Most of my knowledge and experience with “Horrors of Spider Island” (aka “Body in the Web,” aka “A Corpse Hung in the Web” aka “It’s Hot in Paradise”) begins and ends with “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” It was lampooned in easily one of the funniest episodes of the series, and as it was nothing but goofy thinly veiled porn then, it’s goofy thinly veiled porn today. It’s somehow become something of a cult classic today, which is shocking considering the movie has almost nothing to offer. Even in its original uncensored form, the narrative is non-existent, and the movie is teeming with uncomfortable rapey overtones and very obvious lesbian overtones.
I vividly remember watching “The Case of Hana & Alice” for the Fantasia Film Festival in 2015, and it was a movie that managed to stick with me for a while. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but like a lot of its ilk, it’s a movie you have to go in with some knowledge acquired. “The Cast of Hana & Alice” is primarily a prequel, and a loose one at that, but it’s at least charming in its way, and allows a mystery to become the catalyst for an adventure with two best friends one fateful day.
A private eye is hired to help solve a mystery. As he boards a train, truths about himself and his cabin mates start coming to the surface as they discuss a serial killer who hits once per month on the very same train.
With the accessibility of independent filmmaking, often times filmmakers have chosen to pay homage to the Grindhouse era, and with often varying results. It’s not too often we can sit down to watch a genuinely scary film that pays tribute to the atomic age and the classic anthology series from the golden age of television. Andrew Patterson’s “The Vast of Night” is absolute accomplishment. It’s a movie I reviewed during Slamdance 2019 and have yet to quit talking about or boasting about since it was scooped up by Amazon Video. It’s a cinematic gem filled with horror, mystery, science fiction, and pure suspense that will hook audiences the moment the film begins.
I’ve come to appreciate “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” more and more over the years, as it’s managed to separate itself from the other vampire films in the sub-genre. While other of its ilk manage to flaunt the concept of the vampire without much substance, John Hancock and writers Sheridan Le Fanu and Lee Kalchiem take an opportunity here. Here, the monster is brilliant used as a means as a dread filled allegory for paranoia, fear of unraveling sanity, and our latent fear of infidelity.