Slasher flick centers on a group of sex workers at a remote truck stop. Their days and nights are filled with slobs, drug addicts, religious fanatics and a pervert of a local sheriff (William Baldwin). None of those are their biggest problem, though, as they are now being stalked by a vicious killer brutally offing them one by one.
Horror is written and directed by John Swab who creates a very unsettling slasher. This grindhouse style flick is filled with a bunch of eccentric and oddball characters, some likable and some not. There are some vicious kills, and some disturbing sexual situations, as the line of work these folks are in is rarely pleasant. Swab surprisingly lets us know who our killer is very early on, and it works, as now we know to be afraid for characters when they are in the killer’s presence. We know who they are, but the inhabitants of this den of iniquity do not…and we have come to like or feel sorry for most of them. The bloody violence has impact, is well rendered and Swab gets pretty good work out of most of the cast. Not a classic but a solid slasher and worth a watch, especially if you like grindhouse era stuff. Also stars Olivia (It Follows) Luccardi and Owen (X) Campbell.
INDIE HORROR “MEDUSA’S VENOM” GETS A POSTER AND TRAILER
From the official press release…
“The follow up to the provocative snake horror Medusa will release across the US & Canada February 14th, 2023, with a home entertainment release, day-and-date DVD and Premium TVOD, followed by a full digital release.
Medusa’s Venom tells the story of newcomer Lola, who is welcomed into Medusa’s circle and endures a powerful ritual that will bring her closer to her new sisters; however, what awaits is more influential and dangerous than she ever imagined, awakening the serpent within her.
Starring Becca Hirani (Rise of the Loch Ness, It Came from Below) May Kelly (Dark Portal, Alien Invasion, Sky Monster) Connor Powles (The Lost Island) Ella Starbuck (As Strange as Angels).
Directed by Chase Martins and written by Craig McLearie, Medusa’s Venom was co-produced by Jagged Edge Productions and Proportion Productions.
Devilworks and New Era Entertainment were executive producers on the film.”
“Acclaimed actor Julia Sands stars in THE GHOSTS OF MONDAY, an unnerving new horror experience from filmmaker Francesco Cinquemani (Eye For An Eye).
Mark Huberman (Vikings Valhalla) stars as a television director who becomes embroiled in a supernatural conspiracy after traveling to Cyprus to make a tv pilot about a haunted hotel. Julian Sands (Warlock), Marianna Rosset (Survive or Sacrifice), Elva Trill (Jurassic World: Dominion) and Anthony Skordi (Onassis) also appear in the frightening profusion of suspense and scares.
ON DIGITAL, BLU-RAY, AND DVD JAN 23, 2023 FROM CLEOPATRA ENTERTAINMENT”
Couple Margaret (Alisha Wainwright) and Ben (Zach Gilford) go on a camping trip with their friends Ellie (Amanda Crew) and Thomas (Carlos Santos) who bring their children Lucy (Briella Guiza) and Spencer (David Mattle). While hiking, the couples and kids discover some ruins. Within the ruins is a deep pit, one that seems to immediately get the kid’s attention. Soon the children begin to behave strangely and more aggressively and Ben, who is on medication, claims he saw the two of them fall into the pit and are now not who they appear to be. Tensions rise between the couples as the children manipulate them and pit them against each other. Is Ben right and are the children something other than they appear?
Bad kids horror is well directed by Roxanne Benjamin from a script by T. J. Cimfel and David White. She gives the familiar story a very strong atmosphere of dread and foreboding, as well as some nice tension and suspense. The story of kids turned evil and of folks being replaced as sinister doppelgangers has been done many times, but Benjamin makes it entertaining even if we already know that There’s Something Wrong with The Children long before the adults do. Once all is revealed…or heavily implied…it’s a bloody cat and mouse game with creepy kids vs the remaining adults. The cast all do good work, including young Briella Guiza and David Mattle…and the film does an efficient job of setting up potential conflicts between the adults that the kids later exploit. There is some bloody violence and not everything is spelled out so there is some spooky ambiguity to the proceedings. Like M3gan it is another example of a director and writers making good use of a familiar concept. The cool and atmospheric score by The Gifted is also worth mentioning.
Young Cady (Violet McGraw) has lost both her parents in a tragic car accident. Her Aunt Gemma (Allison Williams) gets custody and is overwhelmed by the prospect of being a parent to the emotionally wounded little girl. Gemma works for the Funki toy company that makes high tech toys. She is currently working on the Model 3 Generative Android…or M3gan for short…and thinks the artificial intelligence equipped doll would be the perfect companion for Cady. At first, she is, but soon M3gan (played by Amie Donald; voiced by Jenna Davis) starts to take her programming to protect Cady a bit too seriously and people start dying. Now Gemma needs to find a way to stop her, but the android’s ability to learn and adapt may have created a very intelligent and quite devious opponent.
Robot run amok flick is well directed by Gerard Johnstone from a script and story by Akela Cooper and James Wan. There is nothing original here. We have seen the killer toy or domestic robot gone awry many times before. M3gan, however, is not trying to reinvent the wheel, just have a little fun with it, and fun it is. The film takes itself seriously, but with tongue planted firmly in cheek, as the overprotective and self-aware android turns to deadly methods to protect Cady and then herself, when Gemma’s Dr. Frankenstein realizes she has created a monster. There are some violent scenes, and the last act in particular really delivers as Me3an goes all Terminator after they try to pull the plug on her. The cast here are good, especially young Violet McGraw whose onscreen bond with the android comes across as sincere. Sure, it’s predictable, but it’s an entertaining enough flick and utilizes the clichés and tropes quite well. A good example of a filmmaker using an oft told tale and all its familiar accoutrements and using them to good effect. A fun and sometimes twistedly entertaining flick.
Film opens with the tragic passing of King T’Challa/The Black Panther (Chadwick Bosman) from an undisclosed illness that Shuri (Letitia Wright) tries desperately to save him from. As Wakanda mourns, the world begins to turn against the once hidden land for not sharing their precious vibranium. This leads to nations trying to either steal it or find their own. When a vibranium detecting device invented by a brilliant teenager (Dominique Thorne) locates some deep on the ocean floor, it incurs the wrath of the undersea kingdom of Talokan and its powerful mutant king Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía). Wrath that soon turns towards Wakanda.
Superhero sequel is again directed by Ryan Coogler from his script with Joe Robert Cole. It pays heartfelt and emotional tribute to the late Chadwick Bosman, while trying to continue the story of Wakanda and The Black Panther without him. It is a heavy task, but one that is handled quite well, all things considered. It also makes it a very somber film as loss, mourning and the handling of one’s grief become major currents running through its 161-minute runtime. Even the film’s villain Namor is motivated by his own loss and his anger at the constant injustices committed by the surface world. It makes for a very serious and somewhat heavy superhero flick, though Coogler still balances it well with plenty of action and some epic battles. The cast all do strong work with Basset truly deserving of her recently won awards, almost carrying the film on her regal shoulders. Tenoch Huerta Mejía also gives us a strong villain, but one who’s motivations are not atypically sinister. Namor is trying to protect his people, by any means necessary. Yes, we do get a new Black Panther and Coogler leaves things with the series definitely having a direction to go in, with T’Challa’s legacy carrying on and further villainy lurking in the shadows. As with the first film there is a heavy influx of cultural background and visuals as Talokan is based on ancient Mayan culture just as Wakanda is on African. Overall, it may be a bit too solemn to be the fun ride that the first Black Panther film was, and the final confrontation with Namor was a bit lackluster, but considering they tragically lost their star and main character, Coogler keeps the series going and with some emotional resonance to go with it.
COVID era slasher finds selfish party girl Parker Mason (Gideon Adlon) taking her friend Miri (Bethlehem Million) to a lake house to quarantine in the middle of the COVID pandemic. Her quasi-boyfriend DJ (Dylan Sprayberry) follows them up there to confront Parker about a social media broadcasted dalliance with another guy. That is the least of their worries as Parker is getting cryptic texts and calls, and soon it is obvious the trio is not alone.
Slasher is well directed by John Hyams (the son of director Peter Hyams) from a script by Scream scribe Kevin Williamson and Katelyn Crabb. It is a routine slasher, but gets the job done well enough. It is basically Scream meets any recent quarantine film, and as such it can get a bit preachy at times when touching on the subject of those who carelessly spread the virus due to negligence or selfishness. There are some vicious kills, though the body count is small and there are also some brutal fight sequences. The reveal in the last act is borderline silly, but it does lead to a welcome shift from slasher to survival thriller and it is a vicious and bloody one, with Parker and Miri proving themselves tough and resilient against their opponents. The cast are good, and overall, it is an effective horror despite being somewhat derivative. Sick is currently streaming on Peacock and is worth a watch if you like a solid slasher that doesn’t overstay its welcome at under 90 minutes.
HAPPY 75th BIRTHDAY TO THE LEGENDARY JOHN CARPENTER!
The man, the myth, the legend!
Today legendary genre director John Carpenter turns 75! As he has directed so many classics and is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers, who’s created some of my all-time favorite films, MonsterZero NJ’s Movie Madhouse wishes him a very happy, healthy 75th birthday!