Sunday, May 01, 2016

The Horde Never Stood a Chance: A Film Review

*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by an anonymous source.

Direct: Jared Cohn.

Writer: Paul Logan.

Cast: Paul Logan, Bill Moseley, Vernon Wells and Costas Mandylor.

From the director of Bikini Spring Break (2012) and Hulk Blood Tapes (2015) comes Jared Cohn's The Horde. The screenplay, via first time scriptwriter Paul Logan, is steeped in action and horror elements. Set for a coming-soon release through Video-on-demand, The Horde is a blend of other cannibals films, from the past. The film is also heavily focused on martial arts action elements. Meanwhile, one's gag reflex might be provoked by all of the limb and tongue cutting. The Horde is one horrifying camping and photography adventure gone very awry.

The Horde is reminiscent of a number of other films. This film viewer was most reminded of The Hills Have Eyes II (2007) as the military confronts a family of inbreeding cannibals. In The Horde, the protagonist, John (Paul Logan), is an ex-Navy Seal. Similarly, he faces off with another group of irradiated once human creatures, in a militaristic fashion. In both films, the villains hunger for human flesh. As well, one cannot help but notice the references to Rambo (1985), through the film's final act. John, trying to protect a group of students, uses his bow and arrow against more and more monsters. The score even sounds similar to this earlier George P. Cosmatos movie as John leaps out of a group of leaves. Another cannibal gets his just desserts. The Horde most resembles the Wrong Turn series of films, specifically Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009). In both films, convicts escape their prison bus. This time the convicts team up with the local creatures, in the woods, to tear the cast apart. Cannibals incite the action. The Horde wears its inspiration on its sleeve and somewhat proudly.

Gorehounds might rejoice once the film is released. There are a host of disturbing and gut-wrenching scenes. After John proposes to his fiance, Selina (Tiffany Brouwer), the crap hits the fan. One minor character has his Achilles tendon cut. Another character is strangled. Still, another has his tongue cut out, while others are turned into human jerky. Though, the cannibals drying techniques are a little primitive. The film is not done there. One character has all of his limbs removed as Earl, played by Vernon Wells (The Road Warrior), reminisces about the prime cuts, of the human body. This viewer clutched his stomach, but others might celebrate all of the bloodshed found here.

Finally, this film knows its strengths - martial arts actions scenes! The screenwriter and protagonist, Paul Logan, is a martial arts and stunts expert. Many of the film's conflicts revolve around John's ability to punch and kick his way out of trouble. When in doubt, it is best to start kicking the locals in the gonads or punching them in the ribs. There is very little hospitality in the local mountain towns, on both sides of the fence. John is also not interested in hostage negotiation. Instead, he puts arrows in almost anyone who crosses his path. Even three foot cripples are not safe from John's fuselage of raining arrow death. John is both hero and anti-hero in one. Who even needs villains?

The Horde is ready to punch its way into your living room this May 6th, 2016. Gravitas Ventures is handling the video-on-demand release and action or horror fans will want to take notice. Cannibals have never been treated so brutally. Still, the script lacks a number of elements. Missing are subplots, misdirections, surprises, character arcs, deep characterizations and authentic, believable interactions. In its place are a lot of brutal high flying punches and kicks, which streak blindingly fast across the screen. John is not someone you would want to go on a camping trip with; but, he is one hero who you would want watching your back in a town full of blood-thirsty cannibals.

Overall: 6.5 out of 10.

A trailer for the film is available here, on 28DLA: The Horde Trailer on 28DLA

Recommended release: Wrong Turn 3 at Amazon

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Friday, April 29, 2016

A Fender Bender with a Serial Killer in this Preview

Tagline: "A Crash Course in Terror."

Fender Bender is a horror film from Mark Pavia (The Night Flier). To be shown on Chiller TV this Summer, a tale of tragedy begins with a small car accident. Soon, a silent, imposing driver is chasing one woman around the neighbourhood, while killing most of her friends. Makenzie Vega, Dre Davis and Cassidy Freeman star in this film. As well, a television spot for the film is available here.

The story mentions an oncoming storm. A high school girl gives her address and other personal details to a bad driver. Then, this driver takes it upon himself to validate her address. But, this is no ordinary man. A wandering serial killer, this stalker is out for blood!

Fender Bender is set for a Summer launch. The film will be shown on Chiller TV this June 3rd. Afterwards, it is possible that the film will be available on further home entertainment platforms. For now, an official clip is available for the film.

Release Date: June 3rd, 2016 (Television).

Director/writer: Mark Pavia.

Cast: Makenzie Vega, Dre Davis, Cassidy Freeman, Kelsey Leos Montoya, Harrison Sim and Bill Sage.

A television spot for Fender Bender is hosted here:

A homepage for the film is available here: A Fender Bender Homepage

Source: Fender Bender at the UHM

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Observance Brings Madness this Summer to Horror Audiences

Observance is self-described as "a surrealist horror art film." To be distributed by Artsploitation Films, Observance is also an indie horror production; it was shot for approximately 11K. And, this film, from Sydney, Australia, will shock the senses. The film's official trailer focuses on a Parker, a man under the grip of enormous stress, while experiencing grief over the recent death of his son. The film is scheduled to be released this Summer and a preview of the film's launch is available here.

The synopsis begins with Parker (Lindsay Farris). He has lost his young son and his marriage is falling apart. With bankruptcy on the horizon, Parker returns to his work as a private investigator. But, his latest contract involves bizarre incidents, in an abandoned apartment. A supernatural presence begins to make itself known to Parker and it promises madness.

Reviews for Observance have been mixed. Some have mentioned the convoluted plot, which is mixed with the protagonist's growing madness. While other reviews have talked about the great performance from Lindsay Farris. Still, indie horror fans might want to keep this one on their calendar as Observance releases August 2nd, 2016, via various formats. More on the film's release is hosted below.

Release Date: August 2nd, 2016 (DVD).

Director: Joseph Sims-Dennett.

Writers: Joseph Sims-Dennett and Josh Zammit.

Cast: Lindsay Farris, Stephanie King, Brendan Cowell, John Jarratt, Benedict Hardie, Tom O'Sullivan, Roger Ward.

The official trailer for Observance:

Source: Observance at Artsploitation

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Survivalist's Worst-case Scenario in this Trailer for Here Alone

Here Alone is a survivalist style film, set in a viral pandemic. From director Rob Blackhurst and writer David Ebeltoft, the film recently won a narrative feature audience award, at Tribeca, in New York. The film is indie in nature and produced by a large cadre of production companies, including Gentile Entertainment Group. The film stars Lucy Walters, Gina Piersanti, Adam David Thompson and Shane West. Recently, a trailer has been released for the film. That clip can be seen here.

The film's story begins with Ann (Walters). She finds herself lost, alone and afraid. A virus is infecting everything living and turning most into raging creatures, with the hunger for human flesh. Eventually, Ann meets two other survivors: Chris (Thompson) and Olivia (Piersanti). Together, they try to start a new community, despite Ann's reluctance to re-enter the remnants of society.

The trailer shows Ann in various scenarios. In one scene, she is looting, or utilizing supplies in a home. In another scene, she receives a signal, on her radio - in French. Ann must struggle to stay alive in this slightly sombre trailer for Here Alone.

Release Date: 2016.

Director: Rod Blackhurst.

Writer: David Ebeltoft.

Cast: Lucy Walters, Gina Piersanti, Adam David Thompson and Shane West.

The official trailer for Here Alone:

Recommended release: Z for Zachariah at Amazon

Source: Here Alone at the UHM

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Signal for Cell Grows Stronger in this First Trailer

Actors Samuel L. Jackson (1408) and John Cusack re-team for another Stephen King written film endeavour - Cell. Published as an apocalyptic novel in 2006, Cell has been completed by director Tod Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) and many others. Now, the film will be released this summer through Video-on-demand and in a few theatres, one month later. The film's first trailer shows dire scenarios as a virus spreads from cellphone to cellphone. The exciting trailer for Cell is hosted here.

For more on the story, Cell focuses on Clay (Cusack). He witnesses a viral pandemic in a over-populated airport. Escaping to an underground railway, Clay is determined to return to his family. But, thousands of rabid, hive-minded killers stand in the way. This father and husband will have to find others in order to fight his way back to his family as the "phoners" home in on their position.

Director Tod Williams is no stranger to horror. He directed 2010's Paranormal Activity 2. As well, writer Adam Alleca wrote the screenplay for The Last House on the Left (2009). With these filmmakers steeped in the genre, Cell is sure to offer lots of terrifying scenarios and situations this Summer!

Release date: June 10, 2016 (US)(VOD) July 8, 2016 (Limited).

Directed by: Tod Williams.

Writers: Stephen King and Adam Alleca.

Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman and Stacy Keach.

The film's first trailer is hosted here:

Recommended release: The Cell at Amazon

Source: Cell at the UHM YT Page

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Hailee Needs a Priest not a Midwife in this Preview for Abyzou: Taker of Children

Abyzou: Taker of Children is an upcoming indie horror title. From both Grimbridge Productions and Lock it Down Productions, Abyzou focuses on a Hebrew demon of lore. This mythological entity inhabits the womb of the unfortunate. Recently, a trailer for the film was released; it can be found below. As well, the film is moving through post-production, with a Kickstarter campaign in full swing. Fans of smaller horror productions can find more on the film here.

The film's official synopsis focuses on a couple. Hailee (Zeeva Halpern) and Dylan (Topher Hansson) have returned from a vacation, in Israel. Unknowingly, Hailee's womb has become possessed by an infernal offspring. Now, Hailee is experiencing the worst morning sickness ever as Abyzou burrows its way deeper into her stomach.

Grimbridge Productions might be best known for the horror comedy "The Horrors of Autocorrect." This short film was shown on Eli Roth's very own Crypt TV. Now, this production company is moving into more serious material, which will shock horror fans. All of the available details on Abyzou: Taker of Children are hosted below.

Release Date: TBA.

Director/writer: Jordan Pacheco.

Cast: Topher Hansson and Jaquelyn Fabian.

The film's proof-of-concept trailer is hosted here:

"The Horrors of Autocorrect" can be seen, in its entirety, here:

Grimbridge Productions on Facebook

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Terror Films Launches the Limited Release of Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary

Terror Films has released the documentary Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary. The film was released on April 21st. The film celebrates the 27th Anniversary release of the groundbreaking horror film Pet Sematary (1989). This documentary looks at the path the film took in production and afterwards. The documentary is available now, at the Terror Films website. And, the release trailer and poster art are hosted here.

Documentarians John Campopiano and Justin White took five years to develop the film. They say of their filmmaking journey: “when we first set out for Maine nearly six years ago we thought, at most, we would take some photographs of the filming locations from Stephen King's Pet Sematary and post them to social media. But upon that very first visit we knew that we had stumbled upon something special -- stories, people, and places." Those stories are now available in Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary, in this very limited release of the film. More details on this exclusive launch, from Terror Films, are available below.

Release Date: April 21st, 2016 (DVD/Blu-ray Combo).

Directors/writers: John Campopiano and Justin White.

Cast: Blaze Berdahl, Susan Blommaert, Sean Clark and Denise Crosby.

A release trailer for the documentary is available here:

A fan page for Terror Films: Terror Films on Facebook

The Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary fan page: Unearthed & Untold on Facebook

The film can be ordered here: Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary at Terror Films

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Rise of Action in Daylight's End: A Film Review

*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by director William Kaufman.

Director: William Kaufman.

Writer: Chad Law.

Cast: Johnny Strong, Lance Henriksen, Louis Mandylor and Chelsea Edmundson.

Daylight's End is another collaboration between director William Kaufman (Sinners and Saints) and actor Johnny Strong. This time, events take place in a future world, where a devastating pandemic has turned the world into a haven for murderous cannibals. The film blends a number of genres, with action elements forefront. Meanwhile, Strong's score helps amplify the violent events onscreen. However, the film, admittedly, borrows from several films in the genre. Daylight's End is an exciting feature, in which the focus is on action and less on dramatic characterizations.

The story begins with the character Rourke (Strong). Three years after a virus has decimated the world, Rourke is searching for revenge. He seeks the Alpha, a vampiric strongman. His hunt leads him into one small western town and eventually into Dallas. Here, he temporarily teams up with a group of militarized survivors. Their plan is escape. But, hundreds of sun-phobic cannibals lay in wait.

There are at least three genres in the film; though, the action genre is most prevalent. The popularity of zombie films and television series has influenced this production. Somewhat like Jim Mickle's Stakeland (2010) and even like John Carpenter's western influenced Vampires (1998), monsters dominate the land. The zombie sub-genre menaces the screen, also. Hundreds of villains run down city streets. As well, horror influences can be seen in the dark settings and jump scares. Much of the film takes place at night. And, around every corner, another creature is ready to grab one of the characters. Still, this is really an action film. Writer Chad Law's background is heavily steeped in the action genre. Law knows how to create intense, bullet flying scenes. The quick action focused pacing keeps the film's energy in an up tempo state. The blend of genres will draw a wide gamut of viewers to the film.

This film fan was wowed by the original soundtrack, from the central actor - Strong. The musical selections are almost of a western as Rourke battles one demon, on his own. A shootout, in a remote town, also brings in more gunslinger chimes. As the film transitions into a second act, the soundtrack becomes more dramatic. The music takes a back seat as the characters develop an escape plan. In action sequences, the musical tracks amplify the battles as the tempo increases. Even the ending offers a surprise as vocals are introduced, possibly by the composer himself. The soundtrack consistently drives and amplifies the emotional content of the film.

Film fans will notice the influences of several other films in Daylight's End. In a brief discussion, Kaufman has mentioned how films such as The Omega Man (1971), Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), and the The Road Warrior (1982) have seeped into the story. These influences can be seen in Rourke's vehicle and costume choices. As well, plot points from The Omega Man, related to survival and enclosed environments can be seen in a viewing. Though, this viewer was reminded of another - Jeff Renfroe's The Colony (2013). Both The Colony and Daylight's End involve survivors housed in near impenetrable settings as cannibals abound outside. A large brooding cannibal leader drives the conflict and action in each film. Fans of the post-apocalyptic film genre will see how films of the past are continuing to influence new films in the post-apocalyptic film genre.

Daylight's End rolls onwards via a film festival run. This title recently had its World Premiere - in Dallas. Another appearance is slated for the Texas Frightmare Weekend. And, film fans are encouraged to get down to Dallas, for this second showing. Though light in theme and characterizations, Daylight's End and the creators know what their strong points are: action sequences and terrifying scenarios. Consistently uptempo and full of great musical selections, the film creates a compelling and thrilling atmosphere. And, this viewer will be first in line, when the film is released in home entertainment formats; this tense film is not to be missed.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10.

*the film also stars Gairy Cairns (Malignant) and MMA fighter Krzysztof Soszynski.

A trailer for the film is available here, on 28DLA: A Daylight's End Trailer on 28DLA

A fan page for the film is available here: Daylight's End on Facebook

Recommended release: I Am Legend at Amazon

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