Stay Alive (2006)

stayaliveThis dry as a bone “horror” entry is part “Dream Warriors”, part “The Ring”, with neither of the characters is developed beyond your basic concepts upon which they’re established. And there are also your usual under-developed back stories that Bell limps along with for no reason. Here’s the hero who has a fear of fire. Why? Well—who cares? Look! A ghost! How can we root for characters whom are basic morons? Perhaps it’s Bell’s allusion that gamers in general, are morons. Not that hard to believe, when you think about it. The characters that are supposed to die die.

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The Shallows (2016) [Blu-Ray/Digital]

shallowsSony and everyone else are probably going to compare “The Shallows” to Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” but oddly enough “The Shallows” is nothing compared to it. In the end after all is said and done, Jaume Collet-Serra’s “The Shallows” is a fairly simple and very tense survival thriller in the vein of “Open Water” and “127 Hours.” Rather than someone stuck in a rock crevice with their arm wedged between rocks, we follow a young surfer whose leg is wounded and is stranded on a rock looking out on to land. She can easily try to swim back to shore, but the predator she’s face, a man eating shark, is so much faster and swifter than she can ever hope to be. Jaume Collet-Serra has really come up in the film world as a director who offers up tense and exciting films. “The Shallows” is very much in his wheelhouse as a film that’s action packed and knuckle biting, also sneaking in contemplative undertones about life and grief.

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The Stylist (2016) [Fantastic Fest 2016]

thestylistLate at the salon, a stylist works on a regular customer.  As she is almost finished, things take a turn for the unusual.  As this film is better enjoyed with as few spoilers as possible, its plot will not be discussed any further. Written by Eric Havens based on a story by Jill Gevargizian and directed by Gevargizian, a stylist herself, the film explores a stylist’s obsession with hair and how far she goes in a beautiful manner.

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Sendero (Path) (2015) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2016]

senderoAna and her friends head on the road for a weekend in the countryside.  After breaking down and getting help from a delivery driver who warns them to not stay in the area, they keep going and come across a bloody, hurt, and scared woman on the side of the road.  As Ana insists on helping the woman, things go very, very wrong. Writer/director Lucio A. Rojas creates a horror story that starts off more than a little reminiscent of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, then as the group of friends are taken to a big country house, it turns into something more reminiscent of “Frontière(s)” with a crazy with crazy family, humans turning into prey if they do not meet a certain series of criteria with many suffering gruesome injuries and deaths.

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Los Parecidos (The Similars) (2015) [FrightFest 2016]

LosParecidosOctober 2nd, 1968, a group of people is stranded in a bus station by a deluge that is hitting around the world.  As tensions rise within the group, something begins to happen to them.  Something odd and possibly supernatural is happened around and to them.  As they become more and more paranoid, they start looking for a culprit, someone to blame, someone to accuse.

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She’s Allergic to Cats (2016) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2016]

allergictocatsLife is hard in Hollywood for a budding filmmaker who works as a dog groomer to make ends meet.  As he struggles to survive and get his career going, Mike Pinkney daydreams and makes experimental videos and meets the girl of his dreams.  As he tries to get his future to be good, he struggles through work, with his dreams, with his rat infested apartment, his landlord, and his possible relationship.

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Session 9 (2001) [Blu-Ray]

Session9Brad Anderson’s supernatural thriller is perhaps one of the most criminally overlooked genre entries of the early aughts. In a time where most audiences are embracing cinema about the supernatural, “Session 9” deserves another look and so much more praise than ever. Director Anderson doesn’t opt for cheap jump scares and shocks, so much as he does a slow boil and uneasy thriller that culminates in a rather disturbing explosion. Upon first viewing “Session 9” it’s safe to say the climax threw me for a loop and kept me thinking about it for days. “Session 9” feels so much like a real life dramatization of actual events, thanks to director Anderson’s digital photography and tendency to film in one setting for the duration of “Session 9.”

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Suicide Squad (2016)

SuicideSquad-2016Viola Davis plays a big muckety-muck named Amanda Waller who works for the government. Much like Bruce Wayne, she saw a lot of the carnage inflicted by Superman and Zod in “Man of Steel,” and now that he’s dead, she wants to ensure there’s never another Superman coming to Earth to cause chaos. So naturally, she goes to Belle Reeve prison to assemble a team of super villains, all of whom have already had their asses handed to them by Batman and The Flash. Her reasoning is that the best way to defeat another potential alien menace is by enlisting a group of super villains on a suicide mission including a man crocodile, boomerang throwing maniac, and a Joker fan girl with an obsession with bats and mallets.

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