Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Residents Disappear in this Official Trailer for Havenhurst

Havenhurst is an upcoming haunted house thriller. From director Andrew C. Erin, the film stars: Julie Benz ("Dexter") and Danielle Harris (Hatchet, 2006). In the film, a troubled former addict is given a second chance. Housed in the Havenhurst tenement, Jackie (Benz) is drawn into the mysteries of the apartment and into the disappearance of a young woman. This horror title will release through Video-on-demand this February. The film's official trailer and early stills are hosted here.

The film's trailer focuses on protagonist Jackie. She wonders where several former residents have gone. Jackie partners with Sarah (Belle Shoushe), to uncover the apartment's mystery. But, it is "too late for them!"

The film will be available in various forms, in just a few weeks. Havenhurst will have its World Premiere in Los Angeles, California, at the Laemmle Music Hall. It will also debut in several more cities, including: San Francisco, Denver, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Kansas City and Phoenix. Also soon to be available on Cable VOD and Digital HD, Havenhurst will spread its evil, across the United States, very shortly!

Release Date: February 10th, 2017 (VOD, Limited Theatrical).

Director: Andrew C. Erin.

Writers: Andrew C. Erin, Daniel Farrands.

Cast: Julie Benz, Danielle Harris, Josh Stamberg, Belle Shouse and Jennifer Blanc.

The film's official trailer:

Havenhurst will be available on these platforms and possibly more: Charter Spectrum, Comcast, DirecTV Cinema, Dish, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and Vudu.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Spanish Thriller Borderline Brings Sibling Rivalry to the Screen

Tagline: "The Past Never Forgets.”

Director Pau Masó has completed production on the mysterious thriller Borderline. The film, shot in Spain, deals with two sisters and their journey into the local woods. They hope to scatter their mother's ashes, but find terror instead. The film stars: Paula Ortiz, Mireia Vallès, and Txema Lorente. A trailer and poster for Borderline are hosted here.

The trailer shows Maria (Vallès) and Silvia (Ortiz), together. They are lost and alone in the forest, while one of the sisters becomes unhinged. Now, it is a fight to stay alive as this sibling rivalry turns deadly.

Borderline is a micro-budget project, shot in Spanish. The film is expected to release soon, with more details on the way.

Release Date: TBA.

Director: Pau Masó.

Writers: Dolors Coromina, Pau Masó.

Cast: Paula Ortiz, Mireia Vallès, Txema Lorente, Jordia Pujolras, Iona Castanyer and Mariangels Punyet.

The film's trailer is hosted here:

The film's fan page: Borderline on Facebook

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Monster is Not an AA Meeting: A Film Review.

*full disclosure: a Blu-ray copy of this film was provided by Lionsgate.

Director: Bryan Bertino.

Writer: Bryan Bertino.

Cast: Zoe Kazan, Ella Ballentine and Aaron Douglas.

Tagline: "Fear Can Kill You!"

The Monster is a creature feature from The Strangers' (2008) director Bryan Bertino. Bertino has admitted that he likes writing "dark dramas" and The Monster is a blend of drama with horror. The film's central plot involves a mother and daughter road trip. But, this trip crosses the lair of a bat-like monstrosity. The mother-daughter relationship is a strange one, with the younger Lizzy (Ella Ballentine) parenting the not much older Kathy (Zoe Kazan). There is no meta-level here as stated by the director. Instead, this is a "monster movie." And, this is an enjoyable creature feature, that will draw many horror viewers into the dark abyss.

Much of the film is told via a backstory. The backstories show Kathy and her struggle with alcoholism and other self-destructive behaviour. A good mother, Kathy is not. Lizzy must pick up after her passed out mother, or comfort her when sick. These are not appropriate roles for a child. However, once on the road, this duo put their conflicts aside, in order to survive an accident. An animal lies wounded in the road and its killer is lurking just out of camera range. Trapped, Lizzy and Kathy call for help, only for a couple of minor characters to be offed, in grisly fashion. How much meat can fit into this creature's gullet?

It was interesting to see how well director and writer has developed his characters and their roles. Lizzy is often the one forced into the role of a parent. Kathy is often too drunk to be responsible. For instance, after an alcohol fueled night, the child is picking up after her mother. She is the housekeeper, when it is Kathy who should be. After Kathy passes out near a toilet, Lizzy is there to comfort her. This horror fan was raised by a single mom and it is interesting to see how Bertino has written this role reversal, so effectively. Sometimes, immature parents will expect their children to raise themselves; this is an impossibility. And, it interesting to see Bertino bring so much believability to these characters.

This critic has read several comments, in reviews and on forums, about the metaphorical role of the monster; there is none. Even after a second viewing, there is no meta-level of storytelling, here. There is no symbolism and no repetition of a theme. As well, the monster does not appear in any of the flashbacks. There is no connecting the main story, to the earlier ones. Some have suggested that the monster represents addiction. But, this viewer saw no evidence of this. After all, the monster is not spouting phrases from Alcoholic's Anonymous; it is simply trying to eat them. If viewers' are seeing a secondary lair here, it is likely a bias, being projected onto the film.

The Monster is simply a creature feature. It is also a well produced one. This is no 1950s' monster movie, with plastic creatures hung from a string. Instead, the creature has been well developed. It looks like something born in a cave, with its whitish eyes. It also has these wide bat-like wings, which it encloses around some of its victims. It lurks around in the shadows, until the victim's final moments. And, its gurgling throat breaks the silence, in some of the scenes. And, its presence on-screen is consistently horrifying.

The Monster was already released in theatres, this past October. This creature feature will now see a home entertainment release in late January. The Monster is a fairly straight-forward horror film. Though, its characters are well-developed and the conflicts, they have, are believable. The monster effects are practical and also realistic. Time, thought and effort were put into this blackish foe. It just would have been interesting to see a second meta-narrative incorporated into the feature, or a clearer moral message. As it is, The Monster offers thrills on a darkened road, but there is no strong reason to take the journey.

Overall: 6.25 out of 10.

Recommended release:

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Stake Land II aka Stakelander Invites You into a Dire Vampiric World One Week Earlier!

More details are emerging for the sequel Stake Land II. A trailer for this film was released in mid-December, when it was announced that the film would release on February 14th, via DVD and Blu-ray. Now, it has just been revealed that the film will be available through Video-on-demand, one week before this date. Written by Nick Damici, Stake Land II reteams Mister (Damici) and Martin (Connor Paolo) to fight a new foe. The film also stars: Laura Abramsen (Wolfcop, 2014), A.C. Peterson and Steven Williams. And, the film's alternate poster is hosted here, along with more VOD details.

From a longer synopsis, Martin finds himself alone, after the destruction of New Eden. The Brotherhood has a new vampiric leader and they are hunting Martin, across the apocalyptic wasteland. But, Martin has found Mister, a legendary vampire killer, and together they have a chance to rid this blood-thirsty plague, once and for all.

An alternate movie poster has been released for Stake Land II aka Stakelander; it can be found above. However, the official DVD artwork has already been released and it is available here: Stake Land II Official DVD Artwork. Both graphics show Martin, in a horrifying landscape.

Release Date: February 7th, 2017 (VOD) and February 14th (DVD, Blu-ray).

Directors: Dan Berk, Robert Olsen.

Writer: Nick Damici.

Cast: Connor Paolo, Nick Damici, Laura Abramsen.

The film's official trailer:

VOD platforms hosting the release include: iTunesMovies, Amazon Video, Google Play, VuDu, Vimeo, Xbox Entertainment and the PlayStation Network.

On Blu-ray:

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Blackburn is Opening the Asylum for Horror Fans in the United States

Blackburn, from director Lauro Chartrand and writer Nastasha Baron, is now available in the United States. Tombstone, a subdivision of Archstone Distribution, has released this asylum-set feature, on various Video-on-demand platforms. The film stars: Sarah Lind, Zack Peladeau, Emilie Ullerup, Calum Worthy, Alexander Calvert and many more. Already released in the United Kingdom and Canada, the film is now available on Amazon and many more platforms. A preview of the film's US launch is hosted here.

The story begins with a rockslide. Several friends are then trapped in the Blackburn Asylum, after the event. Inside, they find that some of the asylum's former residents are still roaming the closed rooms. Now, they must face the blackened remnants of the institution and the burned former patients.

Blackburn is or is soon to be available on several VOD platforms. Outside of Amazon, the film will also be available on: iTunes, Google Play, VuDu and the Playstation Network. This title has already been removed on 28DLA, here: A Blackburn Review. And, this horror fan invites US macabre film viewers to see this outstanding film, for themselves. More details below.

Release Date: January 9th, 2017 (VOD: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, VuDu, Playstation).

Director: Lauro Chartrand.

Writer: Nastasha Baron.

Cast: Lochlyn Munro, Calum Worthy, Alexander Calvert, Emilie Ullerup and Sarah Lind.

A trailer for Blackburn is available here:

Available here:

A fan page for the film: Blackburn on Facebook

On Twitter: Blackburn Twitter

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Friday, January 06, 2017

Bornless Ones Could Have Used a Little More Gauze: A Film Review

*an online screener of this film was provided by Uncork'd Entertainment.

Director/writer: Alexander Babaev.

Cast: Margaret Judson, Devin Goodsell, Michael Johnston, Mark Furze and Bobby T.

Bornless Ones is an upcoming indie horror release from Uncork'd Entertainment. The film is a demonic possession thriller, which admits its influences, specifically Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981). The film could easily be used as a "What Not to Do" in regards to first-aid. These characters take a lot of damage, with friends causing a lot of the pain. The acting is also decent, despite some of the cast lacking extensive acting experience. The actors sell the film, especially the grimmer parts. This film viewer had only one major complaint, involving demonic possession. The characters's free will is removed, when the demons just takeover their bodies. As it is, Bornless Ones is an enjoyable time spent with a number of bloody scenarios.

Horror films are all about the story. In Bornless Ones, Emily (Margaret Judson) has lost her parents, in a tragic car accident. She is left with her brother, Zach (Michael Johnston), who has cerebral palsy. If that was not enough tragedy, Emily has just bought a new, demonic-infused cabin.

The cabin is the central setting of the story. The cabin's previous owner has summoned a number of demons, into the loghouse. A great example of why you should not purchase a home over the internet, Emily must now do her best, with a number of sigils, to expel these uninvited guests. A lot of blood will be shed before Emily can hope to escape this hell house.

Horror films are never meant to instill much first-aid knowledge; however, there is something that can be learned within Bornless Ones, how not to do first-aid! If someone has a knife, a piece of rebar, or a fire poker sticking out of them, just leave it in. Unless you don't like the person, sharp pointy things should always be left in the body, until a hospital is reached. But, in the film, no one wants to go to the hospital? None of the characters even mention the hospital. Meanwhile, Emily is doing her best to kill her boyfriend, Jesse (Devin Goodsell), by pulling a knitting needle out of his eye, or a fire poker out of his stomach. As an aside, this critic works in a field where first-aid knowledge is necessary and many a dire situation has been seen, by this worker. So, it always cringe-worthy to see characters treating other characters so dreadfully. But, if characters acted smartly, in horror films, there would be a whole lot less horror.

This avid film viewer also enjoyed much of the acting in Bornless Ones. Mark Furze was great in D.J. Viola's Tell Me How I Die (2016). In this horror film, Furze delivers a naturalness to many of his scenes, keeping the film moving ahead, believably. From party guy to possessed demon, Furze also adds energy to the film and possibly an improvised line or two. This watcher only had one criticism, regarding another actor. Margaret Judson has only starred in a few roles and she must anchor the film here as the protagonist. She is too soft spoken in some of her earlier scenes and not expressive enough. For instance, she sits in a vehicle as Jesse goes about helping her brother, Zach. Passivity is not appropriate here. An interaction between Emily and Jesse, over a wheelchair, also comes across as inauthentic. In later scenes, involving more horror, Judson improves with the material. A scene involving Emily and a demonic mother is especially well done, with tears enhancing the emotion onscreen. And, it is interesting to see an actress adapt to the more action oriented scenes versus the early, more relational ones. Overall, the veil of realism holds steady, through much of the film.

In the writing, this viewer only had one criticism; the characters should have been given the choice of demonic possession. As it is, the summoned demons simply take over the host, with little effort. In reality, people have free will. Free will puts the responsibility of choices on the shoulders of the person, making them and they must live with any consequences, from those choices. But, the film and the writing remove any free will from the characters. They cannot be seduced by evil, only succumb to it. It would have been more compelling to see characters struggle more with these demons, internally. As an example, the character Zach is crippled by cerebral palsy and the demon's can repair his defect. It would have been interesting to see Zach say "yes," before a demon possessed him. Their is a reward, for Zach, when possessed - the ability to walk. But, Zach is never given the choice, diminishing his free will. Threats can come from outside, but they can also come from within, through internal struggles.

Bornless Ones also wants to possess you. The film will have a Video-on-demand release in early February. And, Bornless Ones might be a very disturbing, but romantic Valentine's gift. The film offers a number of hair-raising and blood-curdling scenarios. Also, the interplay between the cast is often believable, increasing the film's realism (outside of the medical attention). The demonic takeover is a little too quick, diminishing the characters' efficacy. However, director Alexander Babaev has created an enjoyable demonic world, here. This film viewer recommends you say "yes" to Bornless Ones, on February 10th!

Overall: 7.5 out of 10.

A trailer for the film is available here: A Bornless Ones Trailer on 28DLA

Recommended release:

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Thursday, January 05, 2017

The Girl with All the Gifts Lunges at United States' Home Theatre Systems this January

The Girl with All the Gifts is one zombie/infected film to look out for. This title, based on M.R. Carey best selling novel, envisions a chaotic world, lived behind the walls. The fences and walls keep the zombie hordes at bay, or do they? Inside one bunker, an infected girl has the gift of speech, making her the most dangerous infected person ever. The Girl with All the Gifts has already released in the United Kingdom, in 2016. Now, the film is slated to reach the United States, via DirecTV and a few theatres. The film stars: Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close and Paddy Considine. The film's US trailer is hosted here.

The US trailer is slightly different from the UK one. In the UK version, the young character Melanie talks of her teacher and the monsters. Meanwhile, the US trailer shows more of actress Glenn Close as Dr. Caroline Caldwell and a medical facility. Both trailers show characters escaping a military compound and their flight to an abandoned tenement.

US horror film fans will be pleased to note that The Girl with All the Gifts will have a wide release. It will premiere, in the US on January 26th, via DirecTV. Then, this release will be followed up by another, through Video-on-demand, on February 24th. This title is on this viewer's must-see list and here is one vote for a future Canadian release. All of the details on the US launch of The Girl with All the Gifts are below.

Release Date: January 26, 2017 (TV, Satellite, DirecTV) and February 24th, 2017 (VOD).

Director: Colm McCarthy.

Writer: Mike Carey.

Cast: Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close, Anamaria Marinca, Dominique Tipper and Paddy Considine.

The US trailer for The Girl with All the Gifts:

A fan page for the film: The Girl with All the Gifts on Facebook

The UK trailer, on 28DLA: The Girl with All the Gifts UK Trailer with Voice Over

The best zombie film since 28 Days Later?

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Tuesday, January 03, 2017

These Bornless Ones Resent the Living in this Official Trailer

Uncork'd Entertainment is set to release Alexander Babaev's Bornless Ones. The film unleashes evil, in a haunted cabin. The first official trailer shows characters and their demonic possession. Bornless Ones stars: Margaret Judson, Devin Goodsell, Michael Johnston, Mark Furze and Bobby T. The film is scheduled for an early February launch. All of the Bornless Ones' release details are hosted here.

The film's central story focuses on Emily (Judson). She is set to institutionalize her brother, Zach (Johnston). In a new home, Emily and her friends find strange etchings on the walls, leading to a grave situation. Now, an evil force is emerging from this cursed home's floorboards.

The film is influenced by The Evil Dead. Truly disturbing, the film promises scares this February 10th, through Video-on-demand and in a few theatres. Let the demonic possession begin, in just a few weeks!

Release Date: February 10th, 2017 (VOD, Limited Theatrical).

Directors: Alexander Babaev.

Cast: Michael Johnston, Margaret Judson, Devin Goodsell and Mark Furze.

The film's official trailer:

The film's official website: The Bornless Ones Homepage

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