Tag Archives: thriller

Resolution (2012) – Raw Review

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.

Resolution, Justin Benson. movie review, thriller, horror, mystery, horror movie, raw movie reviews

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.


Not here.

Resolution, Justin Benson. movie review, thriller, horror, mystery, horror movie, raw movie reviews

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.

Resolution, Justin Benson. movie review, thriller, horror, mystery, horror movie, raw movie reviews

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.


Anthony Stabley’s Everlasting will have its World Premiere in London at the Crystal Palace International Film Festival on Nov. 11. The romance-thriller follows a HS Student (Adam David) as he journeys from Colorado to L.A. in order to find the truth behind the murder of his girlfriend (Valentina de Angelis).

Everlasting features a stellar cast, which includes SAG Award Winner Elisabeth Rohm (American Hustle), Pat Healy (Cheap Thrills), Michael Massee (Seven), Robert LaSardo (Nip / Tuck) and Bai Ling (The Crow).

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Songs by Crystal Castles, Cold Cave and L.A. Vampires accent a strong original score composed by Scott Gordon, David Levita of Criminal Minds fame.

Jerry Smith (Icons of Fright) praised Everlasting as… “An honest and heartfelt look at young love, and the darkness that engulfs people at time. It’s a film that stays with you long after it’s over.”

Writer-Director Anthony Stabley, an Art Director for many years, initiated the project in 2011 with the help of Indie Producer / Casting Director Shannon Makhanian and long time collaborator Candi Guterres. “It’s been a long journey, but we are quite thrilled to be premiering in London. For our wonderful cast and the entire Everlasting team here in Los Angeles, this is greatly appreciated,” expressed Stabley.

Jessy Williams (Scream Magazine UK) applauded Everlasting and remarked… “Films like this are far and few between, and it’s refreshing to watch something so genuinely poignant and effective.”

The Crystal Palace International Film Festival, known as the UK’s Coolest film event, runs from Nov. 6 – 28th. For more info visit.. CPIFF



  • Cast: Valentina de Angelis, Adam David, Elisabeth Rohm, Michael Massee, Robert LaSardo, Bai Ling, Molly Tarlov, Guinevere Turner, Yareli Arizmendi, Shayla Beesley, Cortney Palm, Kristina Ellery, Bernardo Pena, Mark Sherman.
  • Writer-Director: Anthony StableyProducers: Shannon Makhanian, Anthony Stabley, Super Grande Films
  • Executive Producers: Penny and David Drucker, Steven Schalk, Barbara and Scott Gordon, Candi Guterres
    Associate Producer: Debra Trevino
  • Cinematographer: Jon Bickford
    Production Design: Candi Guterres
    Editors: Bryan Colvin, Brad McLaughlin
    Costumes: Alycia Belle
  • Sound Mixer: Dana Ferguson
    Composers: Scott Gordon, David Levita

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Everlasting – Raw Review

Crystal Palace International Film Festival.

Icons of Fright

Scream Horror Magazine

Everlasting Main Site, Reviews, etc.




Check Out the New Poster for ‘The Hollow’

The more I hear and see about The Hollow the more excited I get. Having Sadler, Forsythe and Fahey in the same movie is awesome.


Synopsis: From Acclaimed filmmaker Miles Doleac and Academy Award Winning producer Lisa Bruce (The Theory of Everything), The Hollow fixes on a team of F.B.I. agents as they arrive in a small town in Mississippi to investigate the death of a U.S. congressman’s daughter in a mysterious triple homicide.

The ensemble cast includes James Callis (TV’s Battlestar Galactica, TV’s Eureka), Christiane Seidel (Boardwalk Empire), William Sadler (TV’s Hawaii Five-0, Machete Kills), William Forsythe (TV’s Boardwalk Empire, Halloween) and Jeff Fahey (TV’s Lost, TV’s From Dusk Till Dawn : The Series).

The Hollow will be released 2016.

crime, thriller, drama, mystery, The Hollow, William Sadler, Jeff Fahey, William Forsythe

Here are a couple new screenshots:

Sicario (2015) – Raw Review

Sicario is as dark and terrifying as any film you will see this year, proving that sometimes the best horror movies aren’t horror at all.

This review isn’t going to attempt to question or deconstruct the political and social tones associated with the U.S./Mexico relationship. This is a movie review, not an op-ed on U.S. drug policy, economic relations, or immigration. That caveat in place, Sacario is a movie unlike any other we’ve received from the big-budget Hollywood machine in quite awhile. Listed as actor Taylor Sheridan’s (Sons of Anarchy) first writing credit, Sicario is not a horror movie, but only because it’s based in a world that exists. A world is right next door.  

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Emily Blunt plays an idealistic FBI agent who’s brought in to work a special task force dealing with the Mexican drug cartels. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that just as the Cartels don’t play by the rules of law, American assets don’t always play by the rules either. Along with Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro, the cast is a powerhouse. If Oscar buzz isn’t already intensifying it won’t be long till it does.

From the first minute of the film to the last we are exposed to a world where humans dwell, yet humanity has been forgotten. The sheer brutality and graphic nature of the story might be considered hyperbolic if the subject matter wasn’t taken directly from real life. All it takes is a perusal of sites such as Blog del Narco and Wikileaks to see what both the Mexican Cartels and U.S. government are capable of, and while the brutality and inhumanity portrayed in Sicario may be a concentrated dose of the worst aspects of the drug war, the film is grounded in enough realism to be entirely plausible.

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Director Denis Villeneuve, whose previous films include Prisoners and Enemy, does a masterful job using long cinematic shots in conjunction with sharp direct close-ups to throw us deep into the dangers faced by his cast. The American Southwest is presented as a stage upon which a war is raging on both sides of the border. Combined with Johann Johannsson’s amazing score, Sicario establishes a suffocating intensity to every scene. In an article on Noisey by Joseph Yanick, composer Johannsson is quoted as saying:

I wanted to create music that had an underlying tension and a sense of coming from below the earth, like a throbbing pulse that resonates from underground or the pounding heartbeat of a wild beast that is charging at you. I also wanted to evoke the sadness and melancholy of the border, the border fences and the tragedy of the drug war.

Sicario Raw Movie Review, crime, drama, cartel, drugs, drug violence, thriller, movie, Mexico, Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, movie review, FBI, CIA, drug cartel

In many ways Sicario is reminiscent of films like It Follows, Gravity, and Mad Max: Fury Road. The score doesn’t just add background music, it’s an additional member of the cast, giving a powerful and pivotal performance that makes a great film even better.

Sicario is the dark, visceral horror crime-drama we’ve waited and hoped for all year. Take an opportunity and see this film. It shows what the perfect arrangement of writer, director and composer can accomplish in Hollywood.

Sicario Raw Movie Review, crime, drama, cartel, drugs, drug violence, thriller, movie, Mexico, Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, movie review, FBI, CIA, drug cartel

These Final Hours (2014) – Raw Review

Audiences across the world never seem the slake their thirst for the apocalypse. Movie after movie after movie are made depicting the end of the world, or nearly on the brink. You’d think given the abundance of world ending tales of woe we (the audience) would become hardened to its tropes, accustomed to the standard conventions of finite time on Earth, that filmmakers would give up on trying to create a new feeling or impression of the end.


They don’t. They don’t because zombies and vampires and supernatural calamities are an entertaining way to visit terrible ends to our species, without the underlying reality of possibility. We love our apocalyptic tales dressed up in monsters and otherworldly themes that stand no chance of happening in the real. When we do get a tale of the end that tries to stay grounded it’s usually tempered with hope and light. A little cream added to cut down the bitterness of our beverage. Something to take the edge off. Dull the blade so to speak.

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Not in this review. These Final Hours is a razor sharp depiction of life at the end. A beautiful and smartly rendered snapshot of how people might react in the face of complete destruction and devastation. A film that shows the hidden nature of humanity. Exposes the fragility of societal bonds. Shows just how quickly the social contract becomes null and void in the face of extinction. Makes you ask the question – If the world were coming to end, what would my priorities be?


The story follows a young man (Nathan Phillips) as those around prepare for an Extinction Level Event to reach Australia. In his quest for a friend’s end of the world party (so he can drug out and enjoy his final hours) he is set on a road of redemption after saving the life of a little girl (Angourie Rice) who has become separated from her father.

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These Final Hours is a tour de force. Writer/director Zak Hilditch does a masterful job depicting Perth during the final twelve hours of it’s existence, creating a landscape that is all at once eerie, haunting, deadly, and fascinating. So many filmmakers are tempted to dilute the atmosphere with endless carnage and action; over the top spectacle from beginning to end, as if to constantly remind the audience that things are horrible. That hell on Earth has come.


Hilditch does it right. Relying mostly on subtle set pieces depicting people at their best and worst. Images of what people have left behind. Messages written on sidewalks, cars and garage doors. The occasional remains of those who’ve either succumb to violence or their own self inflicted fate. The subtle environment makes all the more effective those moments when brutality and insanity take center stage for necessity of a scene. The entire landscape is so masterfully staged I found myself wanting to walk among the streets as a ghost, observing, glimpsing the most realistic depiction of the apocalypse I’ve ever seen on screen.

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Adding to the canvas are the performances of an amazing cast of characters living out their time in Hilditch’s tragedy. Nathan Phillips is simply amazing. Playing James, a man who’s never really grown up or taken responsibility for himself. A character who isn’t a hero, isn’t an anti-hero, but just a normal man. Scared, lonely, unsure of himself from beginning to end. His uneasiness and uncertainty is so believable in the context of this film that you feel everything he feels as he’s torn between doing the right thing and doing nothing. After all, if the world is ending why does the right thing matter?


Balancing out Phillips performance is Angourie Rice, playing Rose the little girl whose fate is altered by a chance encounter. Seeing the end of the world through the eyes of child, she provides a counterbalance in perspective that is powerful, emotional, and devastating.


These Final Hours pulls no punches. It’s an end of the world story from beginning to end. It doesn’t cheat. It shows the best of people in the worst of times and it does it extremely well. With grace, beauty and brutality.
This is now my favorite movie in it’s genre and the best Australian film I’ve seen to date. I truly hope those filmmakers from down under keep at it because they are blowing Hollywood out of the water.

Poster Art From the 1960s

Sushi Girl – Raw Review

Sushi? Crime? Mystery? Naked Woman? Sounds Delicious!

Crime mystery thriller where sushi blood and death is available.

Sushi Girl is a crime thriller done ‘locked door’ style. When Fish is released from prison, after serving six years, he sits down with his old crew to clear the air, eat some sushi and spill some blood.

This film is inevitably going to be compared to Tarantino due to it’s dialogue driven screenplay, intermittent flashbacks and over the top violence. The characterizations are strong and well handled. Tony Todd (Candyman himself) leads the cast which includes Noah Hathaway (Neverending Story), Mark Hamill (who we didn’t even recognize!), James Duval (Go,  Donnie Darko), Courtney Palm (Zombeavers), Sonny Chiba, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, Danny Trejo, etc etc. Lot’s of people in this film.

Things quickly get ugly and violent and crazy. The violence isn’t pervasive through the whole film but it is ugly when it happens. What do you expect, you’re watching a Tarantino-esque crime thriller.

sushi crime mystery tony todd mark hamill james duval noah hathaway

The story isn’t bad for the most part. The beats are well placed and it never gets uninteresting or flat out boring. The ending is interesting and rather unexpected, however it seems like there was more to the original story that may not have made it out of the editing room. The payoff at the end is lessened because it’s not set-up as well as possible. It’s almost as if the filmmakers wanted to ensure the ending would be a surprise so they remove as many of the clues as possible.

Does it mean the ending sucks? 

No, it’s just feels a little hollow because they didn’t truly earn it.

Do you recommend this movie?

Yes. It’s got enough intrigue, actors and story to make it fun and watchable.

Is it truly like a Tarantino film?

Sure. Look Tarantino created an entire subgenre of crime/gangster movies. Popular culture like to quantify and categorize. This movie is a crime/gangster/mystery/thriller with a lot of swearing, blood, death, etc. It’s an appropriate descriptor.

Why didn’t you recognize Mark Hamill?

Maybe he’s just such a good actor all we saw was the character…  Seriously, the character is interesting and wacky enough that we never once saw Luke Skywalker.

We didn't recognize Mark Hamill in his role of Crow in the movie Sushi Girl
“I don’t need the force, I’m a badass." – spoken in Joker voice from Batman cartoon.

Huge cast, do they all have decent roles?

There are six main roles, the rest are bit parts but everyone is great. Seasoned actors filling in the walk-on roles is one of the reasons the movie is better than it should be.

revenge is a dish best served raw sushi girl crime thriller

Date movie?

Eh…tread lightly. If you date enjoys this type of movie then so be it, but there’s nudity and torture. The torture isn’t overdone but it’s kinda gross.

Norway – Green, beautiful, terrifying.

Dark Woods 2 trailer is finally here… 12 years later. 

Looks interesting. Can’t go too wrong with biohazard suits, an abandon asylum and creepy night vision hand-cam shots.

One Dark Night (1982) – Telekinetic Undead Horror!

Elizabeth Daily Makes Every Movie Better.

Terror In The Aisles (1984) – Raw Review

Terror Movie Montage

The ultimate collage of popular horror films narrated by scream stars Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen. 

Terror horror documentary featuring donald pleasance, nancy allen and more. Jaws, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw massacre, the birds, movies.
Terror in the Aisles is a fun commentary on why people find scary movies so fun and fulfilling. Featuring scenes from some the most popular and infamous movies from the 60s, 70s, and early 80s the movie deftly edits them together into a thrilling tapestry of murder, mayhem, and madness. 

“Why make up horrible things when there is already so much real terror in the world? Perhaps we invent artificial horror, to help us cope with the real ones.” – Donald Pleasance 

We love this movie. It certainly has a lot of nostalgia value  but also is a fantastic repository of clips from some of the best and most misremembered horror films from the pre-VHS age. How many of these have YOU seen?