BARE BONES: DITCHED (2022)

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DITCHED (2022)

Flick finds a dangerous prisoner transfer crashing in the middle of nowhere stranding EMT Melina (Marika Sila) in the middle of the woods with her surviving crew members, two police officers and a pair of psychotic killers. Their homicidal passengers are the least of her worries, though, as there is something else in the woods stalking them that is far more dangerous.

Written and directed by Christopher Donaldson, this horror starts out spooky and effective, until we get our reveal. Once that happens it becomes a long, drawn-out villain pontification showcase that stops any momentum the film had, dead in its tracks. What started out being something headed in a bloody fun direction, nosedives into a tedious talk fest by a boring, boastful villain (Mackenzie Gray). It was much more interesting when the threat was left in mystery and shadows. The plot also gets far too convoluted for its own good once the nefarious plot is tediously revealed. The action finally does resume, with about ten minutes left in the movie, but by then it’s too little and far too late. There is some abundant and well-orchestrated gore, but the film way overuses the 80s neon lighting style that has become popular again with a new generation of filmmakers weaned on the films of that era. At least Marika Sila made a solid heroine, who was sadly in need of a better movie. A disappointing example of a film that starts out headed in a good direction and takes a wrong turn into boring and forgettable.

-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: OLD STRANGERS (2022)

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OLD STRANGERS (2022)

Three friends, Michael (Ted Evans), Sarah (Madeleine Humphries) and Danny (Colton Eschief Mastro) get together for a post quarantine reunion at a remote cabin in the woods. As with any cabin in the woods scenario, there is something not right going on in those woods and this vacation may turn into a nightmare.
 
Flick is written and directed by Nick Gregorio and is an economical 62 minutes long. The movie works the contemporary pandemic themes of isolation and fear, as it deals with the subject of infection, when a strange substance in the woods starts to contaminate those that come in contact with it. Obviously, one of the trio becomes infected and begins to act strangely. The film isn’t big on action, but Gregorio does give the proceedings some tension, a spooky scene or two and an atmosphere of dread, while his small cast does fine in their roles. Technically it is shot well and doesn’t rely on too many FX, choosing to work within the means of its small budget. There are a few weak CGI shots, but otherwise the film remains light on FX reliance. There is also a bit of a science fiction twist in the last act that pays fun homage to a classic sci-fi tale, that won’t be spoiled here. Not a bad effort from Nick Gregorio and shows some potential from the filmmaker. 

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JAN 14-16

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JAN 14-16

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “Scream” $30.6 Million

2. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” $20.8 Million

3. “Sing 2” $8.3 Million

4. “The 355” $2.3 Million

5. “The King’s Man” $2.3 Million

6. “Belle” $1.6 Million

7. “American Underdog” $1.6 Million

8. “West Side Story” $948,000

9. “Licorice Pizza” $883,000

10. “The Matrix Resurrections” $815,000

-MonsterZero NJ

source: Box Office Mojo

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HAPPY 74th BIRTHDAY TO THE LEGENDARY JOHN CARPENTER!

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HAPPY 74th BIRTHDAY TO THE LEGENDARY JOHN CARPENTER!

The_10_best_movie_soundtracks_according_John_Carpenter_photo_by_Kyle_Cassidy_750_501_75_sThe man, the myth, the legend!

Today legendary genre director John Carpenter turns 74! 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 74th birthday!

-MonsterZero NJ

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NEW TI WEST FLICK “X” GETS A POSTER AND TRAILER!

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NEW TI WEST FLICK “X” GETS A POSTER AND TRAILER!

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Indie director Ti West (House of the Devil, Innkeepers) has a new film coming out and now we have a trailer and poster! It looks like Boogie Nights meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre and we couldn’t be more excited! The flick opens on March 18th, 2022, and stars Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, and Scott Mescudi!

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: A24; Youtube

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BARE BONES: EVIL AT THE DOOR (2022)

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EVIL AT THE DOOR (2022)

Home invasion flick has a secret society called The Locusts staging violent incursions into people’s homes. Their members have exactly three hours to terrorize their targets. Tonight, they descend on the home of unsuspecting couple Daniel (Matt O’Neill) and Jessica (Sunny Doench). Things hit a snag for The Locusts, however, as they are unaware that Jessica’s sister Liz (Andrea Sweeney Blanco) is hiding in the house and that one of their own is not what they seem.

Bland thriller is written and directed by Kipp Tribble, who also stars. For an 80-minute film there is very little action, and little or no suspense for a home invasion flick. There are long scenes with characters standing around talking, and one lengthy scene of one of the Locust members lying on a bed waiting for the unsuspecting Jessica to exit the bathroom. Literally just lying there. That’s how you use your 80-minute runtime? After the initial invasion, most of the movie is The Locust members hanging around talking while Liz hides under the bed and Jessica takes a long luxurious bath, unaware for a good while of her uninvited guests. A brief, ill-fated delivery person sequence is the only real, action we get. A movie with very little actual activity and even less point. Flick also stars veteran actor Bruce Davison in a few sporadic Skype-esque sequences as the mystery man behind this incursion.

-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: SEE FOR ME (2022)

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SEE FOR ME (2022)

IFC Midnight flick finds blind Sophie (Skyler Davenport) cat sitting in a luxurious house and planning a little thievery while she’s there. The tables are turned, however, when professional thieves break into the home. Now Sophie’s only ally is an app called See for Me where an operator visually guides her via her smart phone. Lucky for Sophie, her guide is Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy) an armed forces veteran who acts as her eyes and helps her go on the offensive.

Crime thriller is directed by Randall Okita from a script by Matthew Gouveia and Drew Tyce. It’s a moderately engaging movie that never really feels like it takes full advantage of a clever premise. There are some tense moments and a few violent ones, too, but the film never really gets the firm grip on the viewer that it needs to. Maybe it’s because it’s heroine isn’t the most likable person to endear to, or that home invasion flicks are fairly one-note to begin with, and the Sophie/Kelly app gimmick is the only new wrinkle here. Other than that, it’s fairly routine with a very predictable outcome. Performances are good with Jessica Parker Kennedy being a standout as the tough but caring Kelly. Also stars Sons of Anarchy veteran Kim Coates as one of the invaders.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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BARE BONES: THE WASTELAND aka El PÁRAMO (2022)

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THE WASTELAND aka El PÁRAMO (2022)

Netflix streaming horror finds a family, husband Salvador (Roberto Álamo), wife Lucia (Inma Cuesta) and their young son Diego (Asier Flores), living on an isolated farm far from wars and the evils that men do. When Salvador leaves and doesn’t return, the loneliness and isolation start to embrace Lucia and Diego. Worse still, they have told Diego about a beast that roams the wasteland between their farm and the rest of the world and Diego believes it is now stalking his fragmenting mother.

Spanish film is directed by David Casademunt from his script with Martí Lucas and Fran Menchón. As such, it is a bleak and depressing film as we watch the loneliness and hopelessness set in on the mother and son, as the days drag on and Salvador does not return. It’s also heartbreaking to watch as Lucia starts to go mad and becomes suicidal, with little Diego having a terrified front seat to it all. The film looks great, as Casademunt has an effective visual eye, but The Wasteland is more tedious than scary, as the scenes with the stalking beast are few and far between. Is it real?…or just the specter of death pursuing the desperate Lucia and her frightened son Diego? Overall, it is a somewhat effective movie with some gruesome gore, spooky visuals and very good performances, especially from young Flores and his screen mom Cuesta. Overall, though, the film is far too bleak to be truly engaging or to be considered entertaining.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JAN 7-9

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JAN 7-9

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” $33 Million

2. “Sing 2” $11.95 Million

3. “The 355” $4.8 Million

4. “The King’s Man” $3.3 Million

5. “American Underdog” $2.4 Million

6. “The Matrix Resurrections” $1.9 Million

7. “West Side Story” $1.4 Million

8. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” $1.1 Million

9. “Licorice Pizza” $1 Million

10. “House of Gucci” $632,348

-MonsterZero NJ

source: Box Office Mojo

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BARE BONES: LAST RADIO CALL (2022)

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LAST RADIO CALL (2022)

Flick has police officer David Serling (Jason Scarbrough) disappearing after a routine call at an abandoned hospital. A year later, his wife Sarah (Sarah Froelich) is frustrated with the lack of answers and decides to look into it herself, using a documentary crew to record her investigation. Sarah soon finds an ancient and sinister force may be behind David’s disappearance and, worse still, may now be focusing on her.

Found footage horror is written and directed by Isaac Rodriguez and one can appreciate his effort, especially in trying to do something a little different by adding some Native American folklore to his supernatural story. Unfortunately, the film falters with some performances that takes us out of the illusion that this is real footage of real people, as does his use of some very familiar tropes that come across as far too theatrical to be found footage. The abandoned hospital that serves as a setting for the beginning and end segments is a creepy location, but Rodriguez doesn’t conjure up too many scares of his own, otherwise. Despite the original story, the film follows horror formulas far too closely to really scare us. Flick is available January 14th on the Terror Films Channel before becoming available on VOD on January 21st.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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