Friday, November 27, 2015

How to Hide a Body and a Lie: A Film Review

*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by Oscilloscope Laboratories.

**there are major spoilers in this review.

Directors/writers: Dan Berk and Robert Olsen.

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

Directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen's Body is set for an upcoming December release. The film involves a girl's night out, that leads to violence. Full of tension and conflict, Body is a decent thriller, which asks a few moral questions. Unfortunately, the mostly amoral trio of female characters are unwilling to make the right decisions. This lack of morality leads to bigger and bigger problems. And, Body has some connections with recent news stories, at American universities. Here, feminist delusions over rape culture and false rape accusations seep into the film's narrative. Relevant and controversial, Body is an entertaining watch, with the film asking viewers how they would act.

Parties often go wrong in the horror and thriller genre. That is the case here to as three girlfriends head out for a night of drinking. Unbeknownst to two of the young women, Cali (Alexandra Turshen) does not know the owner of the house, in which they have just entered. Holly (Helen Rogers) discovers the deception and so does a nearby groundskeeper. A brief scuffle leads to a brutal injury, with none of the girls ready to help the latest guest. From here, Cali does her best to cover-up an accident, by worsening the situation. She encourages the others to lie. But, events quickly move towards murder, with the victims not revealed here.

The film creates tension through its McGuffin. The groundskeeper's accident, at the hands of the characters is pulled off with believability. Arthur (Larry Fessenden) is simply doing his job and the girl's are break-and-entering. Arthur searches for them within the house and girl's are forced to react. But, they act without much thought. Instead of exiting through the nearest door, they confront the groundskeeper, leading to a brutal accident. The tension from here on out is developed between the three girls and how they look at the situation, differently.

And, each girl has a different way at looking at the moral dilemma (offering the groundskeeper help). Though, it is not really a dilemma, in reality. If someone is injured, you get help. This responsive reaction would not make for much of a movie, however. Instead of acting justly, each of the three women acts very differently in response to the central tragedy. Mel (Lauren Molina) is a bit of a marshmallow as she looks to others to make decisions for her. She is in the middle of the moral compass. Cali, who gets the amoral ball rolling, is the least honest of the bunch. She does not even empathize with the injured groundskeeper, nor consider his position and desire for help. She is the villain in this picture. The third character, Holly, is the most moral of all three characters, but still amoral overall. This protagonist is conflicted by the groundskeeper's position; she has a conscience. But, she never actually acts morally, by telling the truth or acting non-violently. While Holly has a conscience, she is almost just as evil as the other two.

Body is very relevant to events that are overemphasized in the modern media. There have been several recent cases involving false rape accusations, at American universities. At the University of Virginia, an entire fraternity was accused of gang rape. This accusation was picked up by the Rolling Stone magazine, in a sensational article. The accusations led to career detriments for those in the fraternity. And, over time, it was brought to light that the accusations were brought about by an attention seeking female student. Now, a multi-million dollar lawsuit has been brought by Phi Kappa Psi against Rolling Stone. In another recent case, another girl brought rape accusations against another male student, despite her provocative, sexual messages to this man. This so-called "mattress girl" who showed serious signs of mental illness was still able to attend Columbia University, despite lying to university officials. Universities are becoming less about education and more about sensationalism as time goes on.

These cases are relevant to the Body. The girls choose to accuse the groundskeeper of rape, in order to save their own skins. Understandably, the groundskeeper is less happy with this strategy. And, with the recent cases in the media of false rape accusations, it is not a great leap to see three women using this same lie, to save themselves from any repercussions. The relevancy helps improve the film's believability and this viewer was completely drawn into the narrative. It is just slightly despicable to see how lying has become the norm in many institutions and in cinema, in modern times. Now, this growing amorality is being poked at by the Body, leading to a compelling story.

Body begins a run in theatres this December. A Video-on-demand release will follow shortly thereafter. This reviewer would encourage fans of thrillers to seek this title out. The film asks all sorts of questions, many of which are intriguing. How would you act in such a dire situation? Would you do the right thing? This viewer hopes your answer would be yes. Regardless of your response, the film forces you to think deeply of your own moral code and if it would survive such a stressful situation. The three girls fail, but this film fan is hopeful that most people would act more honestly and compassionately.

Overall: 7.25 out of 10.

More on the Columbia University case can be found here:

False Rape Accusations at Columbia University

A trailer for Body is hosted here:

A Body Trailer on 28DLA

Recommended release: Brotherhood at Amazon

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What Lies on The Other Side of the Door in this Trailer?

The first trailer for The Other Side of the Door has been released. To be distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film has been shot, partially, within India. In this country, there is an ancient ritual, which allows the living to communicate with the dead. But, there are deadly rules that must be followed. The Other Side of the Door stars Sarah Wayne Callies ("The Walking Dead") as a grieving mother. Jeremy Sisto and Javier Botet also star. The full trailer is hosted here.

The trailer, courtesy of MTV, shows Maria (Callies) in a devastating car accident. She loses her child, but she is unwilling to let go. Maria contacts a spiritual guide, who leads her to a mysterious door. Something lays on the other side, possibly her child. However, Maria must never open the door, or she will face dire consequences. Curiosity kills the cat, or, in this case, possibly Maria in this exciting clip.

The Other Side of the Door will see theatres in 2016. The film is slated for a wide release on March 11th, 2016. Fans of the supernatural or of mythology can view more on the film below.

Release Date: March 11th, 2016 (Theatrical).

Director: Johannes Roberts.

Writers: Johannes Roberts and Ernest Riera.

Cast: Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto and Javier Botet.

The film's first trailer is here:

A fan page for the film is available here:

The Other Side of the Door on Facebook


The Other Side of the Door at Horror Society

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Scare Campaign Sprays the Screen with this Teaser Trailer

Scare Campaign is an upcoming horror film from directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes (100 Bloody Acres). The film was shot in Victoria, Australia. In the outback, a new web series is creating brutal and disturbing life-like snuff videos. Scare Campaign stars Meegan Warner, Ian Meadows and Olivia DeJonge. Now, a teaser trailer has been released as the film moves towards its World Premiere.

The film's story focuses on a competition. A television show and a web series are trying to draw the biggest crowds. Both deal with brutal or horrifying pranks. But, one show has stepped over the line and it is turning its contestants into bloody hulks. At this point, there is no turning back.

The film's World Premiere takes place on November 26th, 2015. Monster Fest takes place in Melbourne. And, the film's first showing is sold out, but tickets for a second showing are still available. This would not be a showing to be missed as the first teaser trailer shows a bloody good time.

Release Details: November 26th, 2015 (Limited Theatrical).

Director: Cameron and Colin Cairnes.

Cast: Meegan Warner, Ian Meadows, Olivia DeJonge, Josh Quong Tart, Patrick Harvey, Cassandra Magrath, Steve Mouzakis, John Brumpton, Jason Geary, Sigrid Thornton and Kaiting Yap.

A teaser trailer for Scare Campaign is hosted here:

A fan page for the film is hosted here:

Scare Campaign on Facebook

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Trace this Source to Hell: A Film Review

*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by Terror Films. This reviewer has worked with Terror Films on some online marketing for this film.

Director/writer: Ryan Brookhart.

Cast: Jeremiah Benjamin, Mike Capozzi, Nick Fink, Patrick Giraudi and Samantha Lee.

Trace is an indie film from Terror Films and first time feature director Ryan Brookhart. The film deals with the supernatural and a demon, who likes to devour the many alcoholic characters. It uses electronic devices to make its presence known. At the one hour mark, Abigor (Patrick Giraudi) finally confronts the characters, on whom it wants to add to its murder list. Trace is a well paced feature, with a decent story. Though, Abigor needed to create a more physical presence. Few people believe in the supernatural, nowadays and this summoned demon needed to step out of hell into the real world, a little more. Still, Trace offers lots of tension, during its runtime and many horror film fans will find some great thrills here.

What happens when you summon a demon? Nick (Nick Fink), the protagonist, and his friends soon find out that the underworld does not like to be disturbed. When it is stirred up, at a late night drinking party, evil likes to terrify the guests with a distorted voice. Or, it likes to haunt a radio, or a computer. It only creates scares indirectly, until late in the picture. In the meantime, Nick tries his best to stop the demon's killing spree. The bodies pile up, but Nick is too busy drinking his latest whisky shot to offer much resistance; Abigor has not met its match. And soon, darkness descends on the characters and onto the screen.

Trace offers decent productions values. Much of the film has been shot on a closed set. This use of interior sets keeps the peripheral, external chaos to a minimum. These controlled environments also allow the actors to develop and deliver believable characterizations. All of the characters help bring the terror to the screen. Also, the film has been shot, with what looks like, high quality digital. The screen is not stretched, nor does it look drained of colour. All of the action is picked up with detail. As well, there are a few exterior scenes, which help break up the claustrophobic feeling, which is created by the many interiors. The exteriors are often shot in the day, adding a brighter quality to the feature. Overall, Ryan Brookhart brings a competent production here, especially through the visuals.

The story is also slightly novel. Though the supernatural has been re-used in horror often, this time around the spirit uses a proxy to terrorize the characters - electronics. Abigor is not much of a music fan. Instead, it prefers to reside in static. Still, its voice can be heard, via electronic recordings. Later, it alters a television so that it shows snow. In another scene, it reaches out through the screen, to haunt two characters. Abigor is reluctant to face the characters head-on. But, this demon does increase in power as the film winds down. Still, it would have been interesting to learn more of this ancient demon's past. As it is, Abigor never really becomes a full, terrifying character.

Trace does move along at a decent clip. Characters are introduced and developed appropriately. The more innocuous or minor characters depart first. The protagonist does his best to save his friends. In the meantime, several of the other characters disperse into their own lives. But, Abigor unifies them all as Nick searches for a counter to this demon's murderous instincts. Dialogue, between the characters Nick and Duffy (August Roads), keeps the story grounded. Other characters are slightly more disposable. Though, every character is moving the plot along, in a goretastic fashion.

Trace recently released through video-on-demand formats and this reviewer would recommend the film, despite any biases. The film is a bit of an underdog, but it should not be. The film really stands on its own. From a high production value, to the development of the plot, Trace will draw many viewers into its mostly unique story. Most of the characters are well drawn. Although, Abigor is the most shallow of all of the characters and it should not be. Villains have a reason for their existence. But, this malefactor is only a shadow of what it could be. And, true horror is developed with believable motivations, not just supernatural ones. A few more compelling appearances from the demon could have helped the film reach true terrifying heights.

Overall: 7 out of 10.

A trailer for the film is hosted here, on 28DLA:

A Trace Trailer on 28DLA

Recommended release: White Noise at Amazon

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Little Dead Rotting Hood Reawakens from a Dark Grave in this Trailer

The Asylum has produced a new horror, based on an ancient fairy tale. The tale of Little Red Riding Hood gets an update, from long time Asylum director Jared Cohn (Born Bad) and writer Gabriel Campisi. This time, a women has kept a pack of wolves at bay. When she dies, the wolves attack a small, isolated town. Little Dead Rotting Hood stars Bianca A. Santos (Ouija), Eric Balfour (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and Romeo Miller aka Lil’ Romeo and Marina Sirtis. A trailer for the film has just been released.

The trailer shows local sheriffs dealing with a series of animal attacks. As well, a woman is injured and then awoken from a dusty grave. She begins to change into something more bloodthirsty. Now, it is up to everyone to keep the locals safe.

Little Dead Rotting Hood releases in early 2016. A DVD release is slated for January 5th. Also, the special features will include: a featurette, a gag reel and various trailers. Fans of The Asylum productions or of indie horror can view more on the film below.

Release Date: January 5th, 2016 (DVD).

Director: Jared Cohn.

Writer: Gabriel Campisi.

Cast: Eric Balfour, Bianca A. Santos and Patrick Muldoon.

The first trailer for Little Dead Rotting Hood:


Little Dead Rotting Hood at the Asylum

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Windmill Massacre Has Some Human Wheat to Thresh

An extended clip for The Windmill Massacre was released in 2013. Now, several horrifying stills are available for this film, from the Netherlands. Though a release date has been announced, this title has moved into production. The Windmill Massacre involves a serial killer, who lives in an old, rundown mill. From here, he lays waste to all who come into his water-logged territory. A preview for the film is hosted here.

The synopsis begins with Jennifer (Charlotte Beaumont). She is running away from her past and she decides to hide in the local countryside. Unfortunately, her tour bus runs into the ground. And, Jennifer is forced to take shelter near a Devil-worshipping miller. Two forces will collide as Jennifer does her best to warn the other tourists and to save her own life.

Two stills are available for the film below. The first photo shows one character with a brutal leg injury. His days of walking are over. The second photo shows Jennifer in a wooded shed. The killer is just nearby. More on this film will be announced as The Windmill Massacre completes principal production.

Release Date: TBA.

Director/writer: Nick Jongerius.

Cast: Bart Klever, Charlotte Beaumont, Tanroh Ishida, Fiona Hampton, Ben Batt and Adam Thomas Wright.

A trailer for the film is available here:


The Windmill Massacre at the UHM

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Blackburn Offers a Return Trip with this Second Trailer

A second trailer for British Columbian shot Blackburn is here. The second trailer is longer than the first and this clip develops more of the film's story. Posted by sales agent Archstone Distribution, fans of indie horror can view the trailer here, with the film starring: Lochlyn Munro (Poker Night), Jen Soska ("Hellevator") and Sylvia Soska. A second preview for Blackburn is hosted here.

The film begins with a forest fire and a rock slide. If that was not enough, five friends are not only trapped in an Alaskan ghost town, they are chased by a group of deformed hillbillies. More hells await underground, in a rundown mine. These characters' survival rate drops as more and more terrors are introduced in this terrifying story.

Fans of the Soska sisters can see them in this second trailer. They appear at the 1:04 mark as two psychopaths. They speak very little, but look to inflict pain on the film's central characters. Other horrors await just inside the shadows, with a release date expected soon for Blackburn.

Release Date: TBA.

Director: Lauro Chartrand.

Writer: Nastasha Baron.

Cast: Calum Worthy, Emilie Ullerup, Sarah Lind, Zack Peladeau, Alexander Calvert, Brandi Alexander, Maja Aro, Lochlyn Munro, Brad Loree and Ken Kirzinger.

The second trailer for Blackburn is hosted here:

A fan page for the film is hosted here:

Blackburn on Facebook

The film's first trailer is hosted here:

Blackburn Trailer #1 on 28DLA

Recommended release: Wrong Turn at Amazon

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

UK Based Director Jason Brown Brings Ghostly Terror with Dark Vale

Within indie horror, all you need is passion and a camera. United Kingdom based director Jason M.J Brown has completed his second film in the genre. His first feature was titled A Date with Ghosts; this feature was completed and distributed in 2015. The film is a ghost story, involving a couple and a jealous spirit. The film stars Darren Whitfield and Cara Middleton. And, a trailer for the film is hosted here.

The trailer develops the story more. Tom (Darren Randall) and Leah (Middleton) enter the English countryside. They soon encounter an apparition, which hounds them. It beckons them deeper into the forest, until there is no escape.

Dark Vale is currently in post-production. The film will see distribution, once post-production is complete. For now, fans of micro-budget indie horror can view the film's trailer below.

Director/writer: Jason M.J Brown.

Cast: Darren Whitfield, Cara Middleton and Chloe Clarke.

A trailer for Dark Vale is hosted here:

A fan page for the film is hosted here:

Dark Vale on Facebook

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