No matter what you think of “The Evil Dead,” every indie filmmaker wants to have their own version of the Sam Raimi classic. At this point you could compile a sub-genre out of movies involving cabin in the woods demon movies. There was even an actual remake, foreign wannabes like the charming “Wither,” and yes, even a movie called “Cabin in the Woods.” Director Alexander Babaev really wants us to know that he was inspired by “The Evil Dead” and even works hard to convince us we’re watching a successor–sans the tree rape, of course. “The Evil Dead” still maintains its glossy appeal and inherent terror, while “The Bornless Ones” is merely a fine attempt with some admirable ambition behind it. The cabin in the woods this time preys on the weakness of the characters, exploiting their fears and insecurities, allowing them to possess them.
Jonathan Straiton’s “Night of Something Strange” seems to exist only to test the audience’s gag reflexes and nothing more. There is no story, no main character, the narrative is a mess, the pacing is uneven, the zombies that Straiton conceives are so poorly fleshed out, and in the end when Straiton throws out the script to deliver a non-ending, the joke falls flat. To prove how inept the movie is, after the prologue we enter in to the main narrative with character Christine delivering a heaping helping of exposition, narrating the set up for the movie as she writes in her journal. The latter portion of the movie reveals that, no, she’s by no means the central character and final girl. It’s just unfocused badly drawn out dreck that makes the movie such a chore to endure.
“BC Butcher” was made by Ms. Bowling when she was seventeen and she poured all of her resources in to making an hour long feature that paid tribute to the B movies of the sixties. Bowling has a clear cut love for drive-in trash like “Teenage Caveman” and “Eegah!” and delivers a schlocky indie film that also doubles as the first slasher film set during the caveman era. Filled with a lot of call backs to the sixties, and absolutely no attention to historical accuracy, Bowling has an obvious goal here, delivering a movie that’s more a practice in tongue in cheek, rather than straight up horror. You really can’t bash a film that features a supporting role by Kato Kaelin, and is narrated by Kadeem Hardison, too heavily.
If you’re looking for some quick action packed reading this weekend, be sure to pick up my newest novel “Orphan Sword.” It took me two years to properly develop, and write, and it’s the first in what I will hope to turn in to a series. It was originally conceived as a web comic book and was turned in to a novella, changed quite drastically.
“When enigmatic young homeless drifter Noah Grey arrives in Centurion City, instead of finding the answers about his past involving being orphaned at a young age, that he so desperately wants, he finds a sinister presence is kidnapping the homeless in the shadows. When his friend Lucinda becomes a victim of the kidnappings, Noah is forced to use the martial arts and lightning quick sword skills he honed throughout his life to bring her tormentors to justice.”
“Orphan Sword” is an action thriller that is heavily influenced by fiims “Zatoichi,” and “The Man with No Name” series, comic books like “Daredevil” and “Shang-Chi,” and a plethora of other movies and TV series I love. I hope you have a good time reading it, and of course, all money for sales goes toward my goal of buying that purple monkey dishwasher.
A filmmaking couple travels with a colleague to the titular island to investigate and document the local history. Soon after their arrival, things start going sideways. Based on true events that happened on Beaver Island, MI, the film written by Fabricio Cerioni and Darrin James with the latter directing it, it tells the events in flashbacks and through the lead characters’ research. Not being familiar with the event that inspired the filmmakers, it is hard to tell if they are well-portrayed, loosely-inspired, or just barely connected as many “based on true events” films are. Nonetheless, the story follows the usual tropes of filmmakers investigating negative events for which they have little to no information.
Director Patrick Rea’s horror thriller “Arbor Demon” (Originally titled “Enclosure”) is a quite compelling and eerie tale of supernatural interference during what can usually be a tumultuous time. As per the usual with Patrick Rea, “Arbor Demon” is a much more human approach to the typical survival horror movie. His movie is set primarily within the closed in quarters of a tent in the deep woods. But he’s able to derive a lot of terror from the surroundings, and derives some great performances from his cast. In particular there’s Fiona Dourif who impresses once again in a role she dives in to and commands with a lot of pathos and charisma.
Mamoru Oshii’s “Ghost in the Shell” is the natural successor to “Blade Runner,” it’s an anime masterpiece that works both as an action film and a very evocative and thought provoking science fiction thriller. Through very engaging characters and still incredibly stunning visuals, “Ghost in the Shell” approaches themes like the idea of consciousness and existence, and what living is, and how it’s fairly impossible to prove what sentience is or isn’t. In 2029, law enforcement has been enhanced to the point where human beings can transport their consciousness and memories in to cybernetic shells that grant them amazing abilities used to keep law and order.
Setting aside that DC pretty much slaps Batman in to their newest film, “Justice League Dark” is actually a fun celebration of the supernatural element from DC Comics. Taking a much needed peek in to the darker universe from DC, “Justice League Dark” is an adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel, involving supernatural characters from DC who team up to take on a threat beyond the capabilities of Superman and Wonder Woman. “Justice League Dark” is a fairly well realized horror take on the DC universe that suffers, sadly, from a short run time. With a group of characters filled with such immense, and complex back stories and amazing powers, it’s sad “Justice League Dark” is only allotted a scant eighty minute run time. John Constantine alone deserves a thirty minute introduction.