“THE HERETICS” GETS A POSTER and TRAILER!

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The Heretics is an interesting looking upcoming occult horror directed by Chad Archibald (Bite) from a script by Bite scribe Jayme LaForest. The spooky looking flick now has a trailer and poster to intrigue us, though no U.S. release date as of yet. It does look like it has some creepy potential. Right now it’s making the rounds at festivals and hopefully this Canadian chiller finds a distributor soon!

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source: Youtube/ Arrow in the head.com

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: BITE (2015)

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BITE (2015)

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

Flick starts out with three pretty friends Casey (Elma Begovic), Jill (Annette Wozniak) and Kristen (Denise Yuen) traveling to a tropical island to celebrate Casey’s engagement. The girls are coerced into to going to a secluded spot deep in the jungle by a stranger and while in this little spot of paradise, Casey is bitten by something while swimming in a pool of water. Once home, as Casey starts to have cold feet about her wedding, she starts to feel sick and thinks the bite is infected. But each day Casey appears sicker and starts to change physically. Worse still, she discovers she’s pregnant…but with what?

Basically this is a female version of David Cronenberg’s The Fly, but with the female lead there is an the added caveat that she is also pregnant. As directed by Chad Archibald from a script by Jayme Laforest, it is still an effective little movie despite the obvious comparisons with Cronenberg’s classic. The film has similar elements, as Casey starts to physically degenerate like loosing her hair and pulling her own nails off. She also can spit corrosive digestive fluids like Brundle-Fly and uses it against people who piss her off like he did. It still works well enough, especially as Casey starts turning her apartment into a nest/nursery with thousands of gelatinous eggs all over the floor, walls and ceiling with Casey herself starting to look like some slimy otherworldly creature. We feel for her and even if we didn’t, Archibald, gives the film a very unsettling look and atmosphere and it is consistently grotesque without going too over-the-top. And that’s where it really works, as this touch of restraint keeps it from getting laughably disgusting and instead remains effectively disturbing. There are some flaws. Casey, even in her more creature-like form, has a jealous spat with Jill over attention towards her fiancé Jared (Jordan Grey). It’s a tad silly and obviously doesn’t bode well for Jill, though does lead to the violent final confrontation between Jared and insectiod future wife. Also, as numerous characters remark about the smell coming from Casey’s apartment, why aren’t the authorities ever called? For a low budget film, though, the make-up effects are well done. Not up to Chris Walas’ standards on The Fly but still very effective. Keeping most of the action confined to Casey’s apartment also serves the budget and works in putting us in there with the gruesomely transforming woman on a more personal level.

A small cast and they are all pretty good for fairly unknowns. Elma Begovic does really well as Casey and is actually stronger once in make-up and having to wade around in thousands of slimy eggs. She’s fairly likable as the uncertain fiancé to start, but seems to really rise to the challenge of acting out this grotesque situation that gets increasingly worse. A real trooper considering all she does. Wozniak plays the scheming bitch part well as Jill and Denise Yuen’s Kristen is solid as the more compassionate and caring of Casey’s two friends. Finally, Jordan Grey rounds out as the workaholic Jared, who is a bit too involved in his own life to notice something is really wrong with Casey…until it’s too late. An efficient cast to help make the flick work.

Despite the glaring similarity to David Cronenberg’s classic The Fly this film still remains an effective little horror. Director Chad Archibald, whose story Laforest’s script is based on, keeps the film creepy and icky enough to make it still work. He gets help from a solid performance from his leading lady, who rises to the challenge of acting from under prosthetics and slime for most of the movie. The film has atmosphere and is solid on a production level for a low budget film with high aspirations. Derivative…yes, but still effective and entertaining.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 slimy eggs

bite 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 cliche’ 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, cliche’ 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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