It says a lot about an actor’s abilities and skill to compel an audience in a movie that’s based almost solely around them and on them. Mads Mikkelsen has always been one of the most underrated actors of my generation and in “Arctic” he proves why. Much in the realm of “Castaway,” and “All Is Lost,” director Joe Penna sets down on a man who has lost just about everything and bases much of the dramatic and emotional weight on how he responds non-verbally. Mikkelsen is up to the challenge, suffice to say, and that’s what helps make “Arctic” a worthwhile outing for fans of survival thrillers. “Arctic” surely doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but it’s compelling enough to warrant at least one viewing.
Adam Mason’s “I’m Just Fucking With You” is about business as usual for Hulu’s “Into the Dark,” the anthology horror series that’s given viewers a new episode every month. Like all episodes before this April entry, there’s a slow build up, a very good hour, and a final twenty minutes that drag in to a luke warm climax. All in all it’s another mediocre episode that never quite recovers once the second act is introduced. I think it’s time worth spent, don’t get me wrong, as one of the fun things about anthology films is the ability of the authors to convey social commentary. “Into the Dark” has covered social commentary in droves, whether it’s rabid consumerism (“Pooka!”) or the Me Too movement (“The Treehouse”), they’ve covered some interesting bases for the modern generation.
It was only a matter of time until studios would come along and start trying to duplicate the formula that “A Quiet Place” perfected. Hoping to strike lightning twice after the shocking pop culture success of “The Birdbox,” Netflix adapts yet another novel in to an apocalyptic thriller featuring monsters working on human senses, and a family trying to stick together, doggone it. And it stinks. Director John R. Leonetti’s horror drama has a good idea somewhere buried beneath this hacky often mean spirited mess, but damned if I could find out how to salvage it.
Hal Barwood’s “Warning Sign” is the example of a movie with a great concept and idea, but with almost no really good delivery of said concept. “Warning Sign” is a surprising pre-cursor to films like “28 Days Later” and “Resident Evil” but never quite manages to reach the level of tension as the aforementioned titles. Instead “Warning Sign” garners a great cast with a fairly uneven and sometimes goofy delivery of a premise that could have been wrought with terror and themes about science gone awry.
Jordan Peele has managed to become a strong voice of horror for a new generation, not only delivering chills and thrills for fans alike, but he’s also come to offer us cinema that sets itself apart from typical genre fare. After his brilliant debut “Get Out,” Peele proves he’s here to stay with “Us,” a horror film that can be described as a masterpiece. It’s a movie that’ll be discussed for decades and promises to be one of the most widely debated horror movies of the modern era. “Us” is a scathing indictment on modern society, the idea of how trauma can affect us, and how ghosts of the past can rise to the surface, no matter how hard we try to brush them under the rug.
I know “Kolobos” mainly from late night cable where I was able to watch the final half of it back in 2000 was kind of blown away by it. Granted, this was before I’d seen a ton of movies and I was still young, but I remember loving it. Over the years it’s garnered a pretty loyal fan base and cult following, all of whom love it, warts and all. I mainly know it for being one of the last hurrahs of the video store age where low budget horror fare was reduced to straight to video on shelves, and not Saturday premieres on the Syfy channel.
For horror fans looking for another value pack of horror movies, Mill Creek Entertainment is repackaging some of their more notable titles in to a Triple Feature on Blu-Ray. For folks looking to increase their horror movie collection and save money, this is the perfect launch pad with some up to date formats. This Trio of films come on Blu-Ray and DVD, for folks that still collect and or use the latter format.
When it originally premiered at Fantasia I was very anxious to check out Johnny Kevorkian’s science fiction horror film, and I’m glad I was finally able to view it. “Await Further Instructions” is one of those horror tales in the vein of “They Live” or “V” where it’s a tale about humanity, civilization, and way we can be led like sheep in the face of chaos. While “Await Further Instructions” is a very sharply written and vicious look at a dysfunctional family stuck together in a house, it packs in so many more relevant overtones that ring true in a day where everything on the internet is taken as gospel.