I’m not a huge fan of ghost stories but The Conjuring is one of my favorite horror films. This is why I’m genuinely excited to see the next installment and if this trailer is truly capturing the heart of the movie we are in for a treat.
The supernatural thriller brings to the screen another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.
Remeber that NC-17 rating Rob Zombie has been railing about on twitter? Turns out he is able to show some restraint when it comes to blood, guts and gore. Word is the MPAA has finally granted Zombie’s new film 31 an “R” rating. G0od news for all you horror fans who prefer theaters to VOD.
It’s hard enough to get a western made in Hollywood these days, let alone one infused with significant amounts of horror, but thank god someone green lit production on Bone Tomahawk.
Bone Tomahawk is without a doubt one of best movies of 2015. Smart, sophisticated, violent and atmospheric, no only is one of the better western films in the last thirty years but a damn brutal and terrifying horror movie as well.
Set in a small frontier town, the premise follows the Sheriff Hunt (Kurt Russell) as he leads a small group of volunteers (Patrick Wilson, Matthew Hunt, and Richard Jenkins) into the open prairie in pursuit of Troglodytes who’ve kidnapped several of the towns folk.
Writer/director S. Craig Zahler’s screenplay is fantastic, setting a methodical pace for our heroes all the while fleshing out every character with some of the best dialogue I’ve ever heard in a film. The look and feel is immersive to the point that Bone Tomahawk transports the viewer into the time period thoroughly, engaging us with its attention to location and set designs, superior acting and a willingness to show the brutality of the old west.
The horror elements are largely held in reserve until the third act, but when they come they are as brutal as anything seen in more over the top horror films. Bone Tomahawk stands out however because Zahler does such a magnificent job establishing the narrative and context in the first two acts that the crescendo of violence leaves us paralyzed with anticipation and genuine fear for our heroes.
I would be remiss if I failed to emphasize just how impressive Richard Jenkins, who plays Chicory the back-up deputy, is throughout the film. Jenkins performance is far and away the best of any I’ve seen in 2015 and although Bone Tomahawk is unlikely to be short listed for any of the Oscar categories Jenkins deserves a golden statue as much as anyone who receives one next month.
I cannot recommend this film enough. It’s easily in my favorite horror movies of 2015 along with It Follows, Spring, and We Are Still Here. Additionally, it fits in nicely with more mainstream violent films such as Sicario.
And for those hardcore horror fans out there, Bone Tomahawk features a cameo from Sid Hag, in a role that is probably the best he’s ever done.
Here is the official trailer for the upcoming film Anger of the Dead (aka Age of the Dead). Not sure how this one looks but we will probably do a review in the near future. IMDB provides the following synopsis:
In a world ravaged by a virus that turns people into cannibals, a pregnant woman (Alice) manages to survive. Alice, in the company of two other men, strives to reach an island untouched by the plague. Meanwhile, a dangerous individual is on the trail of a mysterious girl, which causes Alice to realize that the Zombies are not her biggest and only threat.
So who will Mads Mikkelsen, formerly Hannibal Lector, play in the upcoming Marvel movie Dr. Strange?
Cinema Blend has a great article on five potential candidates you can read below, but I’m is predicting one particular character who not only would make a fantastic addition to the MCU but is perfect for an actor the caliber of Mads.
One of Strange’s first opponents in the comics, he has the potential of adding a significant amount of danger not only to Dr. Strange but all the characters in the MCU. He has a history with Spider-man, Captain America, Hulk, S.H.E.I.L.D, and Ghost Rider (whom Marvel has the rights to again…) so it wouldn’t be difficult to incorporate him into the MCU all over the place.
Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse isn’t going to get anyone their film-making merit badge.
Scouts is yet another offering in the zom-com genre, one that’s become saturated with lackluster and genuinely terrible films. Scouts doesn’t quite fall into the latter category but lackluster is an apt description for a film that for all purposes could have been much better than it was.
Starring Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan and Sarah Dumont, Scouts vs Zombies (original working title) follows three teenage ‘boy’ scouts who find themselves unknowingly thrown into a zombie outbreak during a camping trip. The film plays all the standard teen comedy, coming-of-age tropes you might expect but it does so half heartedly at best. Director Christopher Landon, whose writing career is prominent with films like Disturbia and all but the first film in the Paranormal Activity franchise, shows his lack of experience in handling Scouts comedy beats which come off silly and flat throughout most of the film. Much the way Cooties failed to hit the mark, Scouts suffers an even worse fate due to the lower caliber of acting from the cast. Tye Sheridan does a decent job, and silly but decent cameo by Cloris Leachman is a nice addition, but a pretty ridiculous recurring role for David Koechner will leave a lot of people scratching their heads.
Zom-com films, when handled poorly, often enough go overboard on either the horror or the comedy. Scouts misses the mark on both, leaving horror fans wanting more fleshing eating zombie scenes and comedy fans stuck with the same ol’ stupid sight gags. I’ll give Landon credit for not relying on toilet humor, which one might expect for a movie of this caliber, but there are several boob and dick gags that do little in the way of laughs and nothing at all for story or character development.
All-in-all, Scouts is a poor addition to the ever growing list zom-com films. For those who enjoy the genre there is little to find here that hasn’t been done exceptionally better in films like Cockney’s vs. Zombies, Shaun of the Dead, Zombeavers, Fido, Zombieland, Dance of the Dead, etc etc.
The 1980s horror craze wasn’t strictly an American phenomenon. Across the pond and to the south a handful of filmmakers were crafting their own vision of gore and mayhem. Their craft, vision and technique set them apart in many ways. Some good, some not so good.
One of the stand-outs is Demons. Released in 1985 it’s possibly the most popular and/or successful (in the U.S.) of Lamberto Bava’s work. Co-wrote and produced by Dario Argento (Suspiria, Deep Red), Demons is a hard rockin horror in which moviegoers at a midnight premire get trapped with an evil force inside the theatre. It’s a zombie survival style movie done with possessed living humans rather than undead corpses.
The American version’s voice over (if in fact it is voiced over) is pretty bad, adding a large dose of campy/silly to an otherwise fun over the top gore fest. Trust me when I say gore fest. It was the 80s and practical effects were cutting edge and horror movies were always trying to push the boundaries. Much like Evil Dead 2, this film has a ton of yellow, green, blue, and red fluids oozing out of every opening, socket, pore and membrane. Some of it’s is silly and some of it is done really well.
Adding to the awesomeness is the soundtrack. Bava those in songs by Motley Crue, Billy Idol, Rick Springfield, and Go West. Then he slathers on even more awesome sauce by having Claudio Simonetti write additional score for the film. Who is he you ask? He’s none other than the keyboard player for Goblin, the band who scored Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Argento’s Suspiria, and more!
This film is universally reviled as poor, but equally loved as a mainstay of 80s horror. When you consider the hero not only hacks away demons with a katana while cruising a dirt bike up and down the aisles how couldn’t this film be a keeper!
Resolution is a fascinating film, having received a lot of credit for being “genre-bending.” I think that’s just a fancy way to say the movie turned out not to be what a lot of people expected. The movie originally wasn’t on my radar. Not until I saw Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead’s superior film Spring did I learned they had a couple other productions under their belts, including Resolution and the extremely enjoyable skateboard segment in V/H/S Viral.
So what’s my opinion of Resolution?
Benson and Moorhead are skilled film makers, there’s no doubt. They have a very good handle on the concepts of suspense, slow-burn storytelling, and creepy undertone. The film really is quite different from conventional thriller-horror films. The primary narrative revolves around Michael Danube (played by Peter Cilella), a professional city dweller who heads off on a last crusade to help his best friend Chris Daniels (played by Vinny Curran) kick a destructive drug habit. Not much to it for sure and in lesser hands the film probably would turn into a moopy commentary on the perils of addiction.
The dynamic between Cilella and Curran is impressive and I had absolutely no problem believing the two were long time friends pit in a life and death struggle over each other’s fates. This is key, considering the supernatural (if that’s in fact the correct way to phrase it) elements throughout the first two acts are extremely subtle. Without a solid piece of acting from our two protagonists this film would have been dead on arrival. Instead, we become engrossed in strange and fucked up house that Chris has come to inhabit on a Native American Reservation. Why does he have so many guns? Why do the local tribesmen warn Michael of helping his friend? Why is everyone obsessed with the idea of a beginning, middle and end? The mystery is compelling and revealed slowly enough to make the ending invoke a “Holy Shit, WTF… that was cool” response.
Don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t going to be for everyone. Countless reviews compare it to Cabin in the Woods, and although I understand the similarities these two movies have regarding subversion of expectations, they really are completely different films. Don’t be expecting an underground complex full of nightmare creatures, campy one liners or Sigourney Weaver to arrive in the final moments with a full explanation of the film. Benson and Moorhead are much more subtle than that, doing a very good job with what must have been a tightly held budget. Resolution is a decent film for anyone interested in thriller with supernatural elements. Good acting, great direction and attention to storytelling pay off.
Anyone who is a fan of Rob Zombie’s films knows they straddle the line between horror and outright torture porn. I’m not saying torture porn is a bad thing, but the more you ratchet up the violence and higher the chance a film won’t be accepted by the masses. Zombie sent out a tweet earlier in the week expressing his frustration on the matter.
Sure the theaters shouldn’t ban a film just because it has the tainted NC-17 branding, but let’s face it, when your entire industry is built on the backs of teenagers working part-time then policing the audience isn’t something theater managers want to get into. Not to mention ‘Bizarre Sexuality/Nudity.’ WTF does that mean?