MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 NATURE RUN AMOK FLICKS TO WATCH!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 NATURE RUN AMOK FLICKS TO WATCH!

Similar to Crawl, Burning Bright has a tiger, instead of gators, loose in a house during a hurricane!

Crawl has brought the nature run amok flick back into the limelight, so, while everyone is in the mood for critters and carnage, here are a dozen fun nature run amok flicks, old and new, to satisfy your creature cravings! You’re going to need a bigger couch!

Cutie Missy Peregrym has a problem with the local wildlife in Backcountry!

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(To get to the reviews of the titles listed that were covered here at the Movie Madhouse, just type the title in the search engine to find the corresponding critique!)

-MonsterZero NJ

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HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: BRIANA EVIGAN

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BRIANA EVIGAN

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This Halloween Hottie is an actress, singer and dancer as well as a heartbreaker!

This newest installment of Halloween Hotties features an unsung Scream Queen who isn’t immediately recognized for her horror genre work but, has certainly done enough for her to more than qualify… the lovely and multi-talented Briana Evigan! More renown for her appearances in the dance-fueled Step Up flicks, Ms. Evigan is the daughter of actor Greg Evigan and seems to be following in her famous father’s footsteps having already put together quite a prolific resume’ of film, music video and TV work. But, it is her forays into the horror genre that we are focusing on here and Briana has graced quite a few fright fests with her charms, talents and that sexy voice. And this is one feisty final girl we’d like to see return to the genre as soon as possible!

(Click on the highlighted links or on the movie posters to read a review of her horror film’s that I’ve covered here previously. )

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Briana had her first acting role alongside her hard working dad in the 1996 film Spectre aka House Of The Damned, at the young age of 10. This horror had a family moving into an ancestral estate not only to find it haunted but, with a dark past as well. Briana played the couple’s young daughter Aubrey.

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Much like Scream Queen legend Danielle Harris… A precocious 10 year-old, Briana begins her acting career in a horror flick!

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Years later in 2008, a full grown Briana would return to the horror genre in an episode of the TV horror series Fear Itself. Directed by Saw’s Darren Lynn Bousman, the episode, entitled New Years Day, told the spooky tale of Helen (Evigan) a young woman who wakes up on New Years Day with not only a hangover but, in the middle of a full blown zombie outbreak in progress. What a way to start the year!

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As Helen, a woman who has far more to worry about than a hangover.

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Briana followed up her first Step Up movie appearance with the 2009 horror sequel S. Darko. The film was a misguided attempt at sequelizing the cult classic, one-of-a-kind Donnie Darko, not a great flick but, at least Evigan got to shine in the important role of best friend to Samantha Darko, Corey… and as usual, the actress outshines the material.

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As best friend Corey to Daveigh Chase’s Samantha Darko in S. Darko.

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That same year Evigan got the lead part in the slasher remake Sorority Row which cast her as one member of a high profile sorority that is forced to keep a terrible secret when a prank goes awry. As with the 1983 film House On Sorority Row, which this film is a redo of, that secret will come back to haunt them in the form of a vicious and vengeful killer. Briana’s Cassidy proves to be one resourceful and feisty final girl, as well as, one of the more morally sound members of the group!

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Cassidy takes charge when a killer targets her sorority sisters.

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Cassidy is one sorority sister who isn’t going down without a fight!

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In 2010, Briana Evigan really got to show us her stuff when she played Kelly in Burning Bright. The story has a greedy stepfather locking Kelly and her autistic brother in a house with a hungry tiger in an effort to collect money on the insurance policies he took out on his stepchildren’s lives. Briana strongly carries the film on her petite shoulders and really impressed us as the resourceful yet, caring young woman who takes on the massive jungle predator to save herself and her little brother. A really underrated thriller which showed that Evigan is leading lady material and then some!
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Trapped in a house with a fierce, hungry predator…

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…but, who is hunting who?

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Also in 2010, Evigan re-teamed with director Bousman for his loose remake of the 1980 cult classic Mother’s Day (review of the original). Briana’a Annette becomes trapped with friends when a psychotic woman, and her equally crazed offspring, invade what is now their former home and make hostages of the current occupants during a party. A horrifying night of torment and violence ensues. Evigan also co-wrote and sang the end credits tune ‘Better Than Yesterday’. Talented young woman!

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Sexy party girl Annette.

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Annette ‘quietly’ ponders her nightmarish situation.

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In 2011 Briana found herself in peril again as the hostage of a psychotic Native American-obsessed nut in the oddball horror/thriller Rites Of Passage. Her role is not a big one but, her feisty attempt to escape her crazed captor is the best sequence in this sadly convoluted flick. No surprise there, that she’s a scene stealer too!

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Poor party girl Penelope catches a ride with the wrong guy!

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Making a daring escape that is clearly the most exciting scene in this otherwise forgettable flick.

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and finally… for now… Briana teamed with Darren Lynn Bousman once again in his twisted vaudevillian short film, The Devil’s Carnival. Here the talented vixen got to play dual roles and sing for us, as both Ms. Merrywood… a young woman whose embrace of the term ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ lands her in this hellish side show… and a devilish mirror of herself when ‘The Twin’ teases Merrywood in her own image. Her ‘Beautiful Stranger’ is the best musical number in the flick.
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As the greedy Ms. Merrywood…

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…and The Twin mocking the doomed woman in her own guise.

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Briana Evigan as her beautiful, playful (it’s so HOT when a pretty girl makes funny faces, isn’t it!) and multi-talented self who we can’t wait to see more of, whether it be in horror, or dancing her heart out in her latest, Step Up All In. She’s filming Devil’s Carnival 2 right now, so, it won’t be long before she’s enchanting us once more in our favorite genre!

PERSONAL NOTE: With some recent talk of the X-Files possibly being revived for TV, I personally think Briana Evigan would be a perfect addition to the cast as a new young agent recruited for the team. I think her buoyant personality and quiet strength would make a good fit and she can play tough as we’ve seen her take on Dolph Lundgren (Stash House) and a Bengal tiger, too. It’s a fanboy dream but, love to see it happen. Hey, as long as we get to see this charming young actress again, soon!

And don’t forget to check out our Halloween Hotties focusing on Melanie PapaliaKatrina BowdenAlexandra DaddarioKatie FeatherstonKatharine IsabelleAmber Heard and Danielle Harris! (just click on their names to go to their pages!)

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: BURNING BRIGHT (2010)

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BURNING BRIGHT (2010)

Burning Bright is named after a verse in a poem by William Blake titled The Tyger and as this film is about a young woman and her little brother tapped inside a house with such a beast, it is quite appropriate for this surprisingly effective horror/thriller.

The film takes place in Florida and opens with the purchase of a Bengal tiger by John Gaveneau (Garret Dillahunt) from a shady individual (Meatloaf) for a safari exhibit he plans to open. We then cut to pretty Kelly (Briana Evigan) trying to find care for her 12 year old autistic brother Thomas (Charlie Tahan), so she can take advantage of a scholarship she’s been offered. But The money from her recently deceased mother’s account is gone, taken by her step-father, the predator purchasing John. An argument ensues when she returns to the house, but that is nothing compared to waking up the next morning to find the home boarded up for an approaching category 3 hurricane and… that she and Thomas have a very large feline guest sealed inside with them. It seems John needs all the cash he can to turn the family property into that little safari attraction and he’s not above taking out life insurance policies on Kelly and Thomas and locking them inside the house with his latest and very hungry acquisition to ensure their demise and an insurance check. Now Kelly must somehow fend for her life and her little brother’s against one of the world’s most dangerous predators with nowhere to run and no way out.

While the story might be a little convoluted, director Carlos Brooks gives us some really intense action sequences and some nail-biting suspense scenes as Kelly tries to outwit and escape the hungry predator in a limited space. A laundry chute scene is one of the film’s highlights. He makes really good use of the isolated setting of Christine Coyle Johnson, Julie Prendiville Roux and David Higgins’ script and successfully creates the atmosphere of being trapped, isolated and in constant danger. The plot device of there being a raging hurricane outside adds to the tension, but also provides a legitimate excuse for the windows to be boarded up well before Kelly and Thomas go to bed for the night, eliminating the implausibility of it being done without waking them. The director establishes the layout of the house quickly and thus we know where Kelly is going and yet, also where the tiger might be coming from…might. The house is small enough to be claustrophobic yet, large enough so the stalking cat can uncomfortably disappear at times. Brooks creates a true game of cat and mouse between the beast and the very resourceful Kelly, who not only has to deal with the tiger, but an uncooperative autistic brother who tends to wander off or get difficult at the worst possible moments. It’s a plot device that works very well. The use of real tigers in the production also adds to realism and thus the suspense, and the film looks very good on what was probably a modest budget.

Also helping Brooks make this work and so well, is a really strong performance by young Briana Evigan. The daughter of TV actor Greg Evigan, does a great job carrying the film on her shoulders and really sells the character of a woman who is terrified but resourceful and determined enough to fight to survive. She also comes across very genuine, early on, as a young woman who loves her brother very much yet, needs to make difficult decisions concerning him, so she can move forward in her own life. I can’t stress how this movie would not have worked as well without Miss Evigan nailing the feisty, intelligent, strong-willed and compassionate Kelly. Young New Jersey native Charlie Tahan does a really good job of portraying the mentally challenged Thomas and his realistic portrayal makes it work when, the boy ignores immediate danger to get difficult. The character is also treated with respect to the condition portrayed, so it never veers into exploitation territory or appears insensitive. Gaveneau has very little screen time, but you get the impression that the guy is a weenie and a douche, so he makes a successful villain even though he is absent through most of the flick. A good cast with a very impressive leading lady and three very effective feline actors portraying our creature in question.

Overall, this is a very suspenseful and entertaining movie and a very underrated and unappreciated horror. Sure the plot to kill Kelly and Thomas seems a bit extravagant, though it earns points for inventiveness. The film has some flaws, such as the plot element of Kelly feeding the animal raw hamburger with sleeping (?) pills mixed in that goes nowhere, but skilled direction from Carlos Brooks and a dynamite performance from our leading lady turn this into a first rate thriller that never lets up. Recommended for a fun and nail-biting 90 minutes that is a bit of a change from the usual horror! The DVD also has a nice documentary about the making of the film and we get to meet our three feline actors and see how they were cleverly composited into the scenes with Evigan, who is also interviewed.

3 very big kittys.

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