BARE BONES: STEPHANIE (2017)

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

STEPHANIE (2017)

Something strange is happening in the world and it has left little Stephanie (Shree Crooks) all alone in her house. She’s surviving the best she can and is trying to stay clear of what she believes is a monster living in the woods outside. When her military parents (Frank Grillo and Anna Torv) suddenly return home, dad starts building an immense wall in the backyard and mom starts doing research on a strange phenomena affecting the brain. What are her parents trying to protect Stephanie from?…or is it Stephanie from whom they need protection?

Flick starts out like Home Alone meets A Quiet Place, but evolves into something different, though not totally unexpected. It is effectively directed by Akiva Goldsman from a script by Luke Piotrowski and Ben Collins that has some clever spins on situations we’ve seen before. The opening of a little girl trying to raise herself in a house with only her stuffed turtle, Francis and the corpse of her dead brother, Paul (Jonah Beres) to keep her company, is unsettling enough. When her folks mysteriously show up, things starts to really get strange. Sure, ultimately it’s just a variation of the creepy kid sub-genre, but a fairly clever one and it has some very disturbing sequences, especially in the last act when we finally discover what is actually going on. The small cast are very good, especially young Miss Crooks as Stephanie, who can be quite cute, or quite chilling, depending on the situation. At it’s core it may not be all that original, but it presents it’s premise with some interesting and creepy touches and ends on a chilling note. Definitely worth a look!

 

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars

BARE BONES: SUPER DARK TIMES (2017)

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

SUPER DARK TIMES (2017)

Off-beat thriller has four teens smoking pot and goofing around and when the roughhousing gets a little out of hand, one of the teens (Max Talisman) is accidentally killed. The story then focuses on best friends Josh (Charlie Tahan) and Zach (Owen Campbell) as the emotional strain of covering up the boy’s death starts to tear their friendship apart and change the youths drastically. Add in the presence of a pretty mutual love interest (Elizabeth Cappuccino) and the situation may once again become deadly.

Film is directed with a refreshing low-key style by Kevin Phillips from a script by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, who wrote Siren. It’s a tense little movie that portrays not only the awkwardness of teen emotions very well, but the unraveling of not being able to handle something tragic. Josh and Zach react in different ways which pushes them toward a volatile situation. It’s a slow burn, but one worth watching. The last act violence seems s little over-the-top compared to the quieter nature of the rest of the film, but works in the context of teenagers dealing with emotions that would challenge most adults. The young cast of mostly unknowns (Tahan was in The Harvest) are very good and the leads in particular show potential. An atmospheric and occasionally disturbing thriller. Also stars Sawyer Barth as the fourth teen in the scenario, Charlie.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars

BARE BONES: HONEYMOON (Luna de miel) and SIREN

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

luna-de-miel

HONEYMOON (Luna de miel) (2015)

Spanish language horror/thriller finds lonely, odd doctor Jorge (Hector Kotsifakis), kidnapping and holding prisoner his pretty married neighbor Isabel (Paulina Ahmed). The more Jorge tries to convince Isabel they are made for each other, the more his behavior becomes cruel and sadistic towards her.

Awful flick is directed by Diego Cohen from a script by Marco Tarditi Ortega. It is a mean-spirited, cruel and misogynistic movie that quickly degenerates into a torture show…all in the name of love? The more Jorge tries to make Isabel see things his way, the crueler and more uncomfortable to watch this ugly flick gets. As Isabel resists, this demented doctor does increasingly sadistic things to the terrified woman, like spraying acid in her mouth and surgically removing the skin on some of her fingers. Worst part, it’s all directed with a slight tone of whimsy like we’re supposed to be endeared to Jorge’s horrid attempts to woo his tormented captive. It’s not an easy watch nor one that I would recommend anyone attempt. A cruel, heartless and unpleasant movie without a purpose or a point.

-MonsterZero NJ

one star rating

Humerus-Bone1

siren

SIREN (2016)

Siren is a feature film based on the V/H/S/ segment Amateur Night revolving around Hannah Fierman’s “Lily” character from that film’s story. Here she is discovered by a group of annoying bachelor partiers at a remote backwoods brothel, who discover her locked up in the building’s basement. They set her free and escape with her and now the demoness is loosed to commit carnage and murder with her handlers in hot pursuit of demon and dullards alike.

Boring movie is lamely directed by Gregg Bishop from a weak script by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski. No surprise original segment director David Bruckner chose not to be involved, as this is simply a really awful movie trying to squeeze a few more bucks out of one of that 2012 horror’s more effective sequences. It’s amateurishly made, badly acted and has basically little more story than the short anthology segment it’s based on. Director Bishop even doesn’t get the disturbing performance and use out of Fierman and her character that the original V/H/S/ utilized so well. The characters are dull and annoying, there are random sequences in slow motion for no reason or effect and the guy playing the villain (Justin Welborn) comes across as someone’s creepy uncle, not the badass he’s supposed to be. Epic fail on all levels.

-MonsterZero NJ

one star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars