She’s the Man (2006)

Yet another take on “Twelfth Night” (in the current onslaught of Hollywood remaking every movie), it’s not a far off idea that “She’s the Man” sneakily tends to borrow so much more from the 1985 gender switching comedy “Just One of the Guys.” While you could easily make the argument that they’re adapted from the same material thus bound to be similar, it’s undeniable during the big “reveal” in the climax.

It’s something that the aforementioned eighties movie is known for.

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Teenage Emotions (2020) [Slamdance Film Festival 2021]

Director Frederic Da has a knack for adding some appeal to the mumblecore sub-genre. While I normally don’t like the narrative format, “Teenage Emotions” is a great platform for it. A mix of John Hughes and Greta Gerwig, “Teenage Emotions” works hard not to be pigeonholed. It’s a teen drama, but also a candid look at the monotony of high school. It’s a romance but also lacks a clear cut resolution of the various sub-plots. It also wants to be taken as both a narrative and a semi-documentary all at the same time.

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My Summer as a Goth (2020)

Tara Johnson-Medinger’s “My Summer as a Goth” is a lot like “Edge of Seventeen” but with so much less insight and charm than its predecessor. That’s not to say that “My Summer as a Goth” is terrible, but it’s a mostly unpleasant and surface level teen coming of age film that doesn’t re-invent the wheel. It definitely doesn’t seem to want to re-invent the wheel, spending a lot of its time trying to work in the inexplicable, often clumsy plot elements in to the narrative.

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Freaky (2020)

Blumhouse has found a little niche market in taking classic comedies and turning them in to bonafide horror movies. After “Happy Death Day 2 U,” they take the creaky Disney classic “Freaky Friday” and add a slasher twist to it. Shockingly, it works more times than it doesn’t. Christopher Landon doesn’t just embrace the classic narrative, but he tops it off with a gory slasher movie, and even injects so many LGBTQ overtones that it wouldn’t surprise me if it picked up steam as a LGTBQ classic very soon.

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Haunt (2019) [Blu-Ray]

Scott Beck and Bryan Woods’ horror film is like one big Halloween treat that comes at just the right time. It’s a novelty, it’s occasionally silly, but it’s also extra creepy in that it takes much of its menace from the inherent dangers of Halloween that lurk in every corner of the holiday. “Haunt” isn’t particularly original, but when you get down to the meat and potatoes, it’s surely a lot of fun and garners shockingly empathetic protagonists, all of whom are never let off the hook from the moment they enter the danger of this enigmatic haunt.

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Vampires vs. The Bronx (2020)

While many of the influences for SNL are apparent, director-writer Oz Rodriguez has a great eye for unfolding some great horror that’s absolutely entertaining but also socially conscious (like his contemporary Jordan Peele). “Vampires vs. The Bronx” is a surefire amalgam of “The Lost Boys” and “Attack the Block.” It’s a creepy, fun, horror flick with an all Latinx and African American cast that’s also very clear cut condemnation of gentrification.

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Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

The “Slumber Party Massacre” movie series has never really been too much of a straight faced horror movie franchise. The original film is a dark, silly bit of slasher fodder that is famous mainly for its title. The sequel from Deborah Brock basically takes the whole series in a direction that’s bizarre, completely unusual, and borrows very much from 1985’s “Freddy’s Revenge” with its strong and blatant LGBTQ overtones.

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Murder in the Woods (2020)

I love the fact that with the accessibility of filmmaking with modern technology, that more filmmakers are trying to give us different perspectives. With “Murder in the Woods” it’s one in many efforts to give us the classic genre horror fixes with different kinds of characters. This time around the Latinx characters aren’t tokens, but the actual protagonists fighting against the film’s villain.

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