After suffering a major identity crisis for the last three seasons, “Fear the Walking Dead” finally finds it footing. By throwing everything it’s established out and keeping only a few main characters here and there. What began as an urban retelling of the zombie apocalypse involving two families, the Manawas and the Clarks, is now really nothing more an immigration allegory with characters basically bumping back and forth. “Fear the Walking Dead” managed to have the opportunity to really unfold an epic tale of a mixed race family, and how they learned to get along with get to know each other. Their mixed and uneasy union would have to be tested. Except, all we get is a lot of goofy switches of the premise, and wastes of some good characters.
At one time One Million BC was considered a real hit at the box office and even earned some Academy Award nominations. Today it’s a pretty clunky albeit ambitious movie that predates Roland Emerich’s “10,000 B.C.” by decades where it tells the tale of a group of cavemen and cavewomen with perfect hair and make up, trying to survive in the wastelands. Said wastelands include dogs dressed as elephants, giant badgers fighting giant snakes, and a lot of stunt animals over a flat screen blown up to look like dinosaurs. Saving the effort of claymation and stop motion, the effect is a major dud most times, as the animals never really look all too menacing.
You could almost attribute the invention of the sub-genre involving travelers trapped in a house with a bunch of demented folks to James Whale. While there are no chainsaws or torture devices anywhere, you could see where the seeds were sewn for films like “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Haunting.” Whale’s film “The Old Dark House” presents glimmers of dark comedy and some pretty funny one-liners but through and through it’s an atmospheric and very creepy tale about a travelers trapped in a house with a psychotic brood. During a horrific rain storm, a group of travelers in the country side of Wales find themselves soaking wet and seeking shelter from the cold water barreling down on them.
When a disease sweeps the area, all parents become crazed killers going after their offspring. In one house, a teenage girl and her little brother try to survive while their parents do all in their powers to kill them.
Brian Taylor’s “Mom and Dad” has a really good idea on its hands and sometimes he doesn’t really know what to do with it. “Mom and Dad” best sums up the whole of its premise in the opening where Taylor stages the film like the opening to Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead.” A mom looks back at her toddler sitting in its seat, gets out of the car and walks away calmly as a train barrels down on it. We then flicker to a small suburb from top view where carnage is about to ensue. Granted, “Mom and Dad” begins very tensely and starts off with a lot of mounting suspense that kept me glued to the screen.
Director Tom De Simone’s “Hell Night” usually gets lumped in together with a lot of the other eighties slashers, but in reality his genre offering is so much more unique than a simple hack and slash. “Hell Night” is a great Halloween horror romp that feels like something pulled out of a haunted house Gothic novel. It’s the perfect fixture for the holiday delivering a relentlessly bleak tone that makes it quite an unnerving experience all the way through. Linda Blair can do these kinds of horror movies in her sleep and she plays final girl Marti quite well, doing her best to battle a deformed monster in its territory.
Like most of Greg McLean’s films, “The Belko Experiment” is just a big excuse to be as sadistic and inexplicably cruel as humanly possible, while taking pages from Koushun Takami’s “Battle Royale.” Coincidentally, another film in the same vein as “The Belko Experiment” came to theaters in 2017, in the form of Joe Lynch’s “Mayhem,” and while both films are insanely violent, at least the latter film had something to say about office culture and corporate politics. There’s a certain point in “The Belko Experiment” where it’s clear that McLean and writer James Gunn have no commentary on office culture and are by no means exploring the idea of fighting for a job through over the top violence, clearly just going for cruel unnecessary violence.