BARE BONES: LET HER OUT (2017)

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LET HER OUT (2017)

Helen (Alanna LeVierge) is a young woman lucky to be alive, as her mother committed suicide while she was pregnant with her. Working her job as a bike courier, Helen has a severe accident that seems to trigger blackouts and strange behavior. As her condition gets worse, she finds out there is a mass inside her head caused by an unborn twin. Soon Helen comes to believe this is not just leftover genetic material, but another person living inside her body who finally wants control—a person who is vicious, insane and very dangerous.

Flick is directed by Vicious Fun director Cody Calahan, from his script with Adam Seybold. It is an effective horror thriller, as the emerging consciousness of her unborn and unhinged twin, fights to take over Helen’s body. It puts those around her at risk and there are some very violent moments when the evil personality gains control. Lead Alanna LeVierge does a good job being likable and sympathetic as Helen and coming across as dangerous when the other takes control. She also plays well the scenes of she and her deranged twin sister battling each other for dominance. A lot of this stuff could have gotten silly, but director Cody Calahan keeps it creepy and unsettling. It also comes to an effective and blood-soaked conclusion, with well-done practical make-up FX throughout. Not a bad 90 minutes, especially as it is now streaming free on Tubi.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: EJECTA (2014)

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EJECTA (2014)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

This Sci-Fi thriller is written by Tony Burgess, who wrote the book the film Pontypool was based on, and tells the story of William Cassidy (Julian Richings) who allegedly had an encounter with extraterrestrials 39 years earlier and hasn’t lived in peace since. He asks amateur filmmaker and conspiracy theorist Joe Sullivan (Adam Seybold) to come to his secluded home, on the eve of a historic sun storm, to document his story. Nothing can prepare either of them, though, as the solar storm brings not only the return of William’s alien abductors, but a sinister government organization that will go to any lengths to find out what William knows.

As directed by the pair of Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele, Ejecta is a film filled with a lot of interesting ideas that are not quite successfully carried out in the execution. The story opens with Cassidy’s abduction by the unnamed government organization and brought before the ruthless Dr. Tobin (Lisa Houle) for interrogation and torture. The footage shot by Sullivan detailing what happened during the night, is intercut with Cassidy’s incarceration as we and Dr. Tobin slowly review the footage to see the evening’s events unfold. It gives the film an odd fractured narrative as we cut back and forth with the found footage format serving as flashbacks and the cameras of soldiers on the scene with the straight forward style for the lab interrogation. The film also takes a while before it really gets interesting, but there are some spooky sequences in the found footage flashbacks and some surprising gory violence in it’s last act. The interrogation stuff is less effective as Tobin comes across as some cheesy movie villain just short of rubbing her hands together and maniacally cackling as she gleefully tells Cassidy of what horror she has in store for him. It takes what is supposed to be a serious thriller and brings it down a few notches as the character and the actress’ overacting make Tobin more of a stereotypical movie villain who seems unnecessarily cruel. It strips away the realism as does the character’s more outlandish torture methods and habit of killing her own people when not satisfied. It’s corny and cliché when the rest of the film is trying to be believable and interesting. On a production level, the film looks good on what was probably a modest budget and the FX work is very well done with some surprising and effective bloodshed at times.

Aside from the over-acting from Houle, Richings is effective as Cassidy. He’s plays a man who has been tormented for decades in seclusion from what he has experienced, only to have it return and then be tortured by his own kind to be given the details. He does evoke sympathy and gives the appearance of a haunted man. Adam Seybold is fine as the conspiracy theorist Sullivan, who jumps at the chance to meet Cassidy and get the truth he believes exists. His part is smaller, but he does fine as a young man who gets more than he bargained for. There are also a bunch of supporting scientists and soldier types who are all adequate in their parts.

To wrap it up, Ejecta is an interesting and sometimes spooky mixed bag. While it’s flashback found footage scenes work well and provide most of the chills, it’s sequences of torment and interrogation fall short due to an overacting and very over-the-top, cliché villain. There are some interesting ideas throughout and there are a few surprises, secrets revealed and gruesome moments, too, especially in it’s last act. Worth a look, but not quite what it had the potential to be.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1/2 haunted abductees.

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