Thursday, September 03, 2015

More Corpses are Promised in this Preview for the Body

A trailer for the thriller the Body was released in early January. Now, an official poster is available, for this mysterious film. The graphic shows three women as the three wise monkeys (hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil). Each hovers above a corpse. And, the film will see release, in the United Kingdom, in October. As well, the film stars: Helen Rogers, Alexanadra Turshen and Lauren Molina. A preview for the film's looming launch is hosted here.

The film takes place on Christmas Eve. On this day, three young women break into a wide estate. They enjoy everything the property has to offer, until a groundskeeper comes to investigate. Now, the mistletoe and eggnog is forgotten in favour of a brutal club and blood. Arthur (Larry Fessenden) likes his lawns well manicured and undisturbed.

A North American release is scheduled for the Winter, Q4. A more specific date will be announced by Oscilloscope Laboratories as the weather cools. Fans of indie horror or of thrillers can find the trailer for the Body below.

Release Date: October 2015 (UK) and Q4 (North America).

Directors/writers: Dan Berk and Robert Olsen.

Cast: Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen, Lauren Molina and Larry Fessenden.

The film's official trailer is hosted here:



Source:

The Body at Twitch Film


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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Z for Zachariah and the Fall of Man: A Film Review

Director: Craig Zobel.

Writers: Nissar Modi and Robert C. O'Brien.

Cast: Margot Robbie, Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Z for Zachariah is a novel adaptation. The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic Christian paradise, in which a young religious woman struggles with loneliness. Loneliness is the least of her problems when two men enter her life. Here, the film's Christian themes become predominant and an Adam an Eve storyline is brought into the play. The Devil wins again and one character is tempted into murder, while another is tempted by lust. This dramatic film offers a sombre tone and very strong performances. Z for Zachariah is a compelling film and recommended to fans of the genre.

The film begins with Ann (Margot Robbie). Lilith, Eve or Ann is busy farming and looking after herself, in a remote valley. An undefined catastrophic nuclear event has irradiated everything outside of this idyllic setting a la Cormac McCarthy's The Road (2006). However, another character is quickly introduced, John Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor). He is a scientist and almost a foil to Ann; one character is religious and the other is atheist. Still, they find common ground as they work to ensure their own survival. Events are muddied with the introduction of another character, Caleb (Chris Pine). While a romance is burgeoning between Ann and Loomis, it is circumvented by Caleb. The delicate interplay between all three characters is complex and it eventually leads to murder.

An Adam and Eve plotline is at the center of the film. Yet, the film is not set in the past, but in the future. One character's beliefs are challenged with the introduction of a non-believer. Though, God does not boom done from above, commanding Ann and Loomis not to eat from the forbidden fruit. A church, which might symbolically represent the forbidden fruit, is torn down. From here, the fall takes place, in which Ann is tempted from love into lust. Her fall is not made alone, however. Loomis also falls when his jealousy leads to murder. Satan makes his way into the middle part of the picture and Ann cannot resist.

The film's one theme, of Christianity versus Atheism, is only partly developed. As well, it is quite apparent that the writer of the source material, Robert O'Brien, is heavily influenced by the former, rather than the latter. Christian themes are primarily introduced through Ann's character. She worships at a small church that her father built. She is reluctant to destroy this structure, despite necessity. She also prays during meals and talks with Caleb about her beliefs. Caleb shares her Christian devotion and he believes that a higher force helped him survive dangerous events. Atheist beliefs are less strong, with Loomis on his own. He is a scientist and promotes action, initiated by need. Need always wins when faced with irrational belief, in this viewer's opinion. The church's destruction shows the decline of spirituality and the rise of a more rational and violent mind. But, rationality and violence combine like oil and water, in reality.

Still, a conflict is needed and the climax involves more than just a clash of beliefs; Caleb is murdered by Loomis. Some reviews and discussions have thrown some doubt on whether Caleb is actually murdered as his disappearance occurs off-screen. Still, there is a great deal of film evidence to prove that Caleb dies not by accident, nor does he simply just leave the valley. In an earlier scene, after becoming intimate with Ann, he has given up on his desire to leave the valley: "there is nothing down there [south], anyway." Loomis appears disappointed by this exchange. In the next scene, Caleb struggles with a pulley, which Loomis is holding steady, with bright, blood-red gloves. The two men look at each other, with Caleb set to fall. And, Loomis has a guilty look on his face as if he is about to do something that he will be ashamed off. The scene fades and the camera tilts skywards, towards the heavens. It is as if another soul has entered the great beyond. Bright sunlight shines downwards on the viewer. Still, there is further metaphorical evidence. Ann is alone at a table. She pushes a glass off of it. The action is very similar to what would have happened, if the camera had stuck with the action between Loomis and Caleb. The camera would have shown Caleb falling down the falls and over an edge, much like the glass fell off the table. Finally, the film ends with a sombre song and the scene plays out much like a eulogy, with Ann playing an organ; this is a eulogy for Caleb. There is no counter-evidence to suggest this character survived this final encounter with Loomis, at the waterfall.

A great deal of the film is told through physical acting. Dialogue cannot always be trusted as two men fight for Ann's affections. So, the film requires and delivers strong performances from all of the actors. The story is equally compelling, despite the replay of a well worn plotline - Adam and Eve, the supposed start of humankind. The climax is developed appropriately and the final conflict is not hand delivered to the audience. Instead, viewers must find film evidence to discern what actually happened, the murder of Caleb. Very dramatic, Z for Zachariah is a great mix of a sombre tone with that of a consistent human experience - aloneness. It is what we do with that aloneness, which matters.

Overall: 8 out of 10.

An extended trailer for the film is available here:

A Z for Zachariah Trailer is Hosted Here - on 28DLA



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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

This Wasteland is a Waste of Time: A Film Review


Director/writer: Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell.

Cast: Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Aaron Jeffrey and Michael Ironside.

Turbo Kid is an action-packed gory retro-future adventure from Canada-New Zealand directing team RKSS (Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell). Don't let the lively description fool you, though; this film tries to do way too much and, in doing so, accomplishes very little. Set in the year 1997, the film claims that “this is the future.” While the opening sequence includes high energy '80s music, throwing back to 1986's bicycle-motocross movie, Rad, and fun video game-inspired credits, once the story lifts off, the entertainment value comes crashing down. As a tribute to past '80s flicks, Turbo Kid does too much looking back when the story needed to be pushed forward. Aside from the campy gore, nifty backdrop and a couple strong supporting actors, the film had this viewer wanting to blast off in another direction.

The Kid (Munro Chambers) is a comic book loving teenage boy trying to survive in a '90s post-apocalyptic wasteland. This scavenger collects relics from the past, particularly '80s toys, pink flamingo lawn ornaments and comic books featuring his beloved superhero, Turbo Rider. One day, while hanging out at a playground, flipping through an issue of Turbo Rider, the Kid meets his leading lady. Apple (Laurence Leboeuf) is an irritating, quirky, fun-loving character with energy to burn who warms her way into the Kid's heart. Unfortunately, it turns out that Apple is a robot. At this time, humans and robots have been pinned against each other in Terminator fashion. Luckily for the Kid, Apple is a friendly robot, meant to provide companionship to lonely human beings. Despite their differences, the two end up becoming fast friends, and more.

Turbo Kid and Apple share a swinging moment.

Sadly for this duo, their relationship is doomed, much like the state of the world, as a lack of resources leads to violence and mayhem. This wasteland is being run by a gang of nasty thugs, headed by super villain, Zeus (Michael Ironside, Total Recall). Zeus has created a gladiator-type fighting ring where the loser's blood is harvested and repurposed. Along with their cowboy friend, Frederic (Aaron Jeffrey, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Apple and the Kid get mixed up with Zeus and his gang, and find themselves in an all-out bloody battle that ends up being more of a personal vendetta. Thankfully, the Kid comes across a secret weapon, courtesy of Turbo Rider himself, that turns this teen into a force to be reckoned with.

While the concept sounds exciting, the execution is uninspired. The film ends up coming across as a goofy, low-grade tribute to Mad Max, overstuffed with '80s pop culture references. The music from Montreal based electronic group LE MATOS gives life to the story at first but, by the end, it's overdone, becoming intrusive. On the plus side, the film looks pretty cool. The gory B-movie style violence is thrilling, and the setting is incredibly effective. Filmed in Quebec, the rainy weather prompted a story transformation from a desert plain to a toxic acid rain-drenched wasteland. In turn, a perfect backdrop for the tale was born. This production is all about style, unfortunately at the expense of some other key elements including story structure and character development.

Michael Ironside plays the main villain - Zeus.

As mentioned, the story takes place in 1997. Dating a film is always tricky; not too many pull it off with great success. In this case, the filmmakers should have taken a cue from the much better apocalyptic film, Donnie Darko, allowing the story to reveal the time period rather than announcing it. This rookie move shows a lack of trust in the audience and a lack of confidence in storytelling. Also, the year 1997 isn't even significant to the plot or story. It seems that the filmmakers are simply making a case for using toys and gadgets that were popular in the '80s, like the Rubik's Cube, Walkman and  View-Master.

Another unfortunate aspect of the story is the two main characters, Apple and the Kid. These two lack chemistry, making the romantic part of the tale very bland. Also, Apple is extremely annoying. Upon the realization that she's a robot, that annoyance makes sense, but it's still painful to endure. The only real female characters in the film are a robot, a tough-looking villain who says nothing, and the Kid's dead mother who only appears in dreams. The story emphasizes the importance of a “man's personal bubble” so maybe they're trying to say something there. Even so, it was rather off-putting. Thankfully, strong performances from Michael Ironside and Aaron Jeffrey make the film more tolerable, adding both dramatic and comedic elements. That said, it still falls short of being entertaining.

Turbo Kid is one of those films you really want to like, but it just doesn't deliver. For the most part, the characters are uninteresting and underdeveloped, and the story leaves much to be desired. While the film's gory elements may attract some horror and/or action fans, those looking for something intelligent and exciting will not be satisfied. The film is too busy stealing magic from other films and objects that they fail to create some magic of their own. There's something inauthentic about it. While Turbo Kid has aesthetic appeal, and possesses some nostalgic charm, the story simply lifts off, then touches down, without really going anywhere.

Rating: 6/10 (a passing grade, based on cool effects, an awesome location and some solid acting).

Kenna's personal blog, where she talks about life and horror, is available here:

Kenna at Hey Kenna Rae!

You can also Tweet with or at Kenna, here:

Kenna on Twitter

Recommended release: Donnie Darko at Amazon


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Monday, August 31, 2015

Your Next Call for Help Might Be Your Last in this Trailer for Old 37

Tagline: "Don't worry. He's a paramedic."

A trailer for the slasher film Old 37 has been released. The film stars Kane Hodder and Bill Moseley. Together, they play two brothers who haunt dark highways, in search of unwary female victims. The film has recently won several awards, including "Best Film" and "Best Kill," at Montreal's Horrorfest. The film's trailer is hosted below and indie horror fans are encouraged to take a look.

The clip shows a roaming ambulance and an investigating detective. The detective is exploring a series of disappearances. But, two scrapyard workers know nothing. However, they are working together to seek revenge on careless teen drivers. Their revenge involves ripped and torn flesh.

It is strange to see the name Alan Smithee as director. The name Adam Smithee is often used, by directors, when they want to separate themselves from a film. There is an unreliable source or two that does state the actual director's name, but they cannot be verified and the name will not be mentioned here. On the plus side, early reviews are positive for Old 37. So, it is not likely that the director removed himself from the film, because of quality. There may have simply been creative differences. More on the film's September release, including film festival showings, are available below.

Release Date: September 29th, 2015 (VOD) and October 6th, 2015 (DVD).

Director: Alan Smithee.

Writers: Joe Landes and Paul Travers.

Cast: Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Jake Robinson, Sascha Knopf and Brandi Cyrus.

The film's official trailer is hosted here:




UPCOMING FILM FESTIVALS

Festival Name - Toronto's Fan Expo
Festival Date - September 3-6
Festival City - Toronto, CA
Festival Website - http://fanexpocanada.com/

Festival Name - HorrorHound Weekend Indianapolis
Festival Date - September 11-13
Festival City - Indianapolis, IN
Festival Website - http://www.horrorhoundweekend.com

A fan page for the film is hosted here:

Old 37 on Facebook


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Friday, August 28, 2015

It is Time to Raise Hell with this Trailer for Baskin

Tagline: "Four cops go to hell."

The first trailer for Turkish horror film Baskin is a disturbing one. Hellish in nature, the clip shows an underground world, which is full of macabre creations. Four cops must attempt to survive this dangerous world. As well, Baskin will have its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Here, the film will debut in September. A preview of Baskin and its upcoming release is hosted here.

From the storyline, four cops respond to a disturbance, on the edge of town. A labyrinth awaits their arrival. And here, a creature roams beneath the Earth, waiting for a blood sacrifice. But first, they must be tortured with their deepest fears.

As well, a movie poster and several stills have been released for Baskin. The movie poster looks nostalgic and an homage to '70s grindhouse thrillers. Body parts hang from the ceiling and blood fills a bucket. The image is haunting. Also, one of the better stills, from the film, is hosted below. The photo shows a figure, machete in hand. Toothless, the visage is one which only a mother could love. More news on Baskin will come about, after its premiere!












Release Date: September 2015 (Limited Theatrical).

Director: Can Evrenol.

Writers: Ogulcan Eren Akay, Can Evrenol, Cem Ozuduru and Ercin Sadikoglu.

Cast: Muharrem Bayrak, Mehmet Akif Budak and Fadik Bülbül.

The film's first trailer is hosted here:



The film's homepage is hosted here:

The Baskin Official Website

Recommended release: Event Horizon at Amazon



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Thursday, August 27, 2015

This Goddess of Love is Borne Below: A Film Review


*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by Dalia Films Production.

Tagline: "Be careful who you get close to."

Director: Jon Knautz.

Writers: Alexis Kendra and Jon Knautz.

Cast: Alexis Kendra, Woody Naismith, Elizabeth Sandy and Monda Scott.

Goddess of Love is a bit of misnomer. The film's protagonist, Venus (Alexis Kendra), is more of a black widow or a female preying mantis. She bites the heads off of those she loves, figuratively. This film, from Canadian director Jon Knautz (The Shrine), is a very fascinating look at a delusional character. She appears normal and average at first, but her mask comes off at a prominent transition point. Here, the film changes from an erotic thriller into more of a psychological one. The transition is jarring and from here on out the film is a bumpy ride. The steep ups and downs come from the protagonist, whose own perceptions cannot be trusted. The outcome is an unpredictable story, which is thoroughly affective and equally exciting.

The film begins with ordinary routines. Venus moves about her apartment, often with a glass of wine in hand. The film transitions quickly to a new setting. At a strip club, she is given some advice on how to handle the customers, before finding herself in the lap of a male client. There is an attraction with this customer and the relationship moves into a romantic realm, with speed. But, when her mask comes off, Venus reveals herself to be plagued with hallucinations and jealousy. The combination of these two internal elements create for a volatile cocktail and few will survive the explosion!

There are two prominent genres in Goddess of Love: the erotic and psychological thriller. Eros can be seen in the dark reds, which symbolize passion and love. These reds turn into something more sinister, later in the picture. Also, the film begins with a seduction. Venus is charming and attractive. Brian (Woody Naismith) is domineering and aggressive. The interactions between these two characters turns into something sexual and there are a number of sex scenes throughout the film. However, after a prominent transition point (which will be discussed below), Venus' psychological dysfunction becomes disturbingly apparent. She sees maggots in her sink, or strange characters walking down the street. It is obvious that she is becoming psychologically unhinged. And, the film studies Venus' descent into delusion. Suffering from a bi-polar condition, a broken statue is symbolic of the protagonist's damaged inner workings. The psychological tone is more dominant than the erotic one, with the initial genre only lasting late into the first act and into a few later scenes.

Venus begins to turn into a black widow during a photo shoot. Her new lover, Brian, takes her pictures with a masquerade mask. But, he asks her to remove it "let's lose the mask." After the mask falls, Venus' own psychological mask is also removed. From here on in, Venus' delusions are more strongly shown to the viewer. She sees a snake under a couch. As well, her coping methods are also shown. She reaches for a pipeful of marijuana whenever her neighbour's music grows too loud. But, the strong bass is coming from within her own mind as seen in the shaking screen. It is also at this transition point when one genre, the erotic, changes into the next, the psychological. As well, the amount of conflict increases, with Venus losing her grip on reality. She lashes out at Brian. First, she writes a note on his car, in pink lipstick. But, her actions might be more violent, than what is actually shown onscreen. This transition point, near the thirty minute mark, will signal to the viewer of what is to come.

Viewers cannot trust what Venus sees. Venus cannot even trust what she sees. Therefore, the main character is untrustworthy. Her mental illness distorts whatever she views. Entire scenes may not be real, with characters disappearing in a late sequence of scenes. When the central viewpoint is untrustworthy, events can only be seen figuratively, or on a surface level. The scenes in the final two acts are meant to show Venus' descent into delusion. But, what is delusion and what is real? Events, interactions and conflicts all become confusing. Thankfully, the writing team of: Alexis Kendra and Jon Knautz, show what is actually real, in the last few scenes. Venus' viewpoint is changed for a more rational one and the film's journey In the Mouth of Madness finally slows down. In the end, it is disconcerting to see a central character devolve in such a violent and confusing fashion.

Goddess of Love is an unpredictable ride through one person's damaged psyche. Venus is a complex and intriguing character, whose actions become more and more erratic. The film is difficult to look away from and it is thoroughly engrossing; this viewer was completely entertained. Also, film elements, from lighting to set design, are consistently top notch. This critic has very little to say negatively about the film. And, most viewers will enjoy the film's many twist and turns. Goddess of Love is not the right title for the film, but it is the starting point from which Venus descends into more and more irrational darkness.

Overall: 8 out of 10.

*there are scenes in the film in which Venus sees a vision of herself, with blood red hands. These scenes represent the guilt she feels, for a violent act. However, another scene shows Venus with a bloodied nose, in a mirror. This critic would be curious if others have a hypothesis on what this blood stands for, if anything.

**the film will have its World Premiere in London, at Film4Frightfest, this August 31st.

A fan page for the film is available here:

Goddess of Love on Facebook


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

You Can Get Your Zombie Merit Badge in this Preview for Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

A red band trailer for Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse was released recently. Now, a new poster has also been revealed, from Paramount Pictures. The film shows a burning pair of zombie legs and a group of misfits. The tagline is a sexual innuendo: "always bring protection" and the film is set to see theatres in late October. Also, the film stars Tye Sheridan (Dark Places), Logan Miller (Night Moves), Joey Morgan, David Koechner, Halston Sage, Sarah Dumont and Patrick Schwarzenegger. A preview of the zombie apocalypse is hosted here.

The film's latest trailer develops the story, visually. In the clip, a group of scouts are hell bent on getting into the local strip club. But, things are different inside. The strippers are bloodthirsty and the bouncer is hungry for flesh. Now, this troupe will have use everything in their arsenal to beat the zeds back. Though, they might not be prepared for undead, feral cats!

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is a blend of horror and comedy. To be released with a restricted rating, the film focuses on what is important in life: blood and bloods. More details on the film are hosted below.

Release Date: October 30, 2015 (US, Theatrical) and November 27th (Theatrical).

Director: Christopher Landon.

Writers: Lona Williams, Emi Mochizuki and Carrie Evans.

Cast: Tye Sheridan, Joey Morgan, Logan Miller, David Koechner, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Halston Sage.

A Red Band trailer for the film is hosted here (mature):



A fan page for the film is hosted here:

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse on Facebook


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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

There are No Lucky Bastards in this Second Trailer - Just Bodies

After Dark Films' has revealed their seventh film for the 8 Films to Die For theatrical series. The film is titled Bastard and it has been developed by both Powell Robinson and Patrick Robert Young. A NSFW trailer for Bastard was released earlier this year. Now, a second trailer tells more of the film's story. An homage to '80s slasher films of the past, the clip also shows a masked killer. The fun begins October 16th, in theatres. A preview for the wide screen launch is hosted here.

The synopsis is short and sweet. Five strangers converge on an isolated mountain town. Here, newlywed serial killers, a suicidal cop and two runaways must face their worst nemesis - a demented bloodletter. They will have to work together, if they want to survive this hellish encounter.

As well, a new poster has been released for Bastard (above). The graphic shows red eyes, a white mask and more of the blood that will flow. The tagline "the lucky ones die first," adds to the tortuous tone. Finally, the directors say of the mood: "we wanted to give our fellow horror lovers the 80's cult flick they never got to see in theaters." Horror fans can see the film for themselves, in just a couple of months!

Release Date: October 16th, 2015 (Theatrical, VOD).

Directors: Powell Robinson and Patrick Robert Young.

Writer: Patrick Robert Young.

Cast: Rebekah Kennedy, Ellis Greer, Dan Creed, Will Tranfo and Tonya Kay.

A second trailer for Bastard is hosted here:



A fan page for the film is hosted here:

A Bastard Fan Page

A bloodier trailer for the film is available here:

A Bastard NSFW Trailer


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