BARE BONES: WRONG TURN (2021)

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WRONG TURN (2021)

Flick is less a remake, reboot or re-imagining than basically just a woods set movie using a familiar title. The story opens with a concerned father (Matthew Modine) entering a small, rural, mountain town to find his daughter Jen (Charlotte Vega), who has gone missing. We then travel back six weeks to find Jen and her five friends (Adain Bradley, Emma Dumont, Dylan McTee, Adrian Favela and Vardaan Arora) in that same town and having a bit of a problem with some locals in a bar. While camping the next day, the group fatally encounter traps in the woods and soon a group of animal pelt and skull wearing people. In a mistake of intent, they kill one and now they are taken prisoner by “The Foundation” a society of pagan-like mountain folk who don’t tolerate intruders and want to put them on trial for their crime…and then it gets weird.

New franchise flick is directed by Mike P. Nelson (The Domestics) from a script by original Wrong Turn writer Alan B. McElroy. To sum it up, it’s as if M Night Shyamalan directed a backwoods set The Hills Have Eyes only with weird Nordic Pagans instead of redneck cannibals. Those expecting our obnoxious city folk to become happy meals, will themselves be a bit unhappy. There is still some very gruesome violence, as some of the group pay dearly for their transgressions on Foundation land. This is also where it takes a Shyamalan twist…and looses it’s grip…as the survivors are forced to make a choice of a horrible fate called “darkness” or join The Foundation. We then travel forward six weeks with Jen’s dad (Modine) going after The Foundation to rescue his daughter. It gets even weirder here, but also falls apart, as it’s just too ridiculous for it’s own good. There is a lot of bloodshed and it comes to a screwed up ending, that extends into the end credits. After what we’ve sat through, though, why not? Overall, there is an appreciation for trying something new and there are some effective moments and some disturbing ones. The cast perform well and Vega makes a solid heroine, but maybe it’s a bit too M. Night (circa The Village) when it could should have stayed more Tobe Hooper (circa Chainsaw).

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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BARE BONES: THE WIND (2019)

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THE WIND (2019)

Old West set horror finds frontier wife Lizzy (Smiley’s Caitlin Gerard) left by herself after the tragic death of her neighbor Emma (Jukia Goldani Telles) during childbirth. While her husband (Ashley Zuckerman) is away and she’s secluded in their home, Lizzy reflects on recent events and the loss of her own child as a sinister supernatural force closes in on her.

Moody supernatural horror is directed by Emma Tammi from a script by Theresa Sutherland and focuses more on Lizzy’s decaying state of mind than supernatural events. There are scenes of paranormal activity, especially in the last act, when it appears Lizzy is unraveling, but there is a greater focus on telling the story in flashbacks as we learn this “presence” may have been haunting Lizzy for some time. It’s far more somber than scary, but worth a look for Caitlin Gerard’s performance of a woman isolated, slowly coming apart and possibly haunted by a sinister force. The film does try to keep you guessing if Lizzy is simply cracking under the pressures of frontier life, or is there actually a demonic force roaming these lands. The pace is deliberately moderate and the last act has some disturbing events and reveals. Not for everyone, but a bit of a different perspective on the traditional supernatural/demonic haunting flick. Also stars Miles Anderson as a traveling preacher and Dylan McTee (Midnighters) as Emma’s devastated husband Gideon.

 

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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REVIEW: MIDNIGHTERS (2018)

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MIDNIGHTERS (2018)

Thriller opens with pretty Lindsay Pittman (Alex Essoe from Starry Eyes and The Neighbor) tied to a chair and gagged with duct tape. Then we go back a few hours to find out how and why she’s there. Driving home from a New Years Eve party, down-on-their-luck couple Lindsay and Jeff (Dylan McTee) hit a man on a remote road in the woods. The man appears to die before they can get help and the couple take the body home, concerned with the consequences of the man being dead and that they both were drinking. That’s when things start to go wrong. The man is not dead, has a gun and after surprising Lindsay’s sister Hannah (Perla Haney-Jardine), is really killed when she gets hold of his weapon. Even worse, when going through his things, Jeff, Lindsay and Hannah find their home was the gunman’s objective all along. And thus begins a tale of hidden money, betrayal, double-crossing and murder.

Flick is well directed by Julius Ramsay from a script by Alston Ramsay and is a solid thriller. Film sets up a tense enough situation with a couple already facing hard times, thinking they killed a man and not wanting to deal with the consequences. Things get worse as they find the man had a gun and their address in his wallet. Who was he and why was he heading to their home? The story slowly unfolds, as thrillers like this traditionally do, as Police come knocking at their door, a mysterious detective (Ward Horton) shows up soon after and a cache of cash has everyone turning guns, duct tape and other household torture devices on each other. It’s well done and while not quite as gripping as hoped, it is still solid entertainment that offers up some nice betrayals, twists and some horror movie level violence, murder and bloodshed. By it’s satisfying conclusion all secrets are revealed, questions answered and a fitting trail of bodies left. To say anymore would be to spoil some deviously entertaining moments.

The Ramsays have a fairly good cast to support their script and direction. Alex Essoe once again proves she’s an actress to watch with a solid performances as Lindsay. Mrs. Pittman seems to be caught in the middle of all this and Essoe gives her some life, depth and resourcefulness as we watch a woman toughen up and try to turn things in her favor in an increasingly disturbing situation. She’s a good actress and can play both sympathetic and strong very well. Dylan McTee was efficient as Jeff, but could have used a bit more intensity. Maybe it’s just that his character is not at his best when our story begins and is, when all is said and done, not as strong as his wife. He’s not a wuss, but his character could have used a bit stronger presence. Perla Haney-Jardine is solid as Hannah. She’s not new to trouble and it’s no surprise that some of the Pittman’s current woes might have Hannah’s fingerprints on them. Finally we have a malice laced performances by Morristown, N.J. native Ward Horton as the mysterious Detective “Smith”. Let’s just say he’s not a nice guy and his being a detective may be questionable, too. Horton makes for a slimy and charismatic villain which always benefits movies like this.

Overall, this was a solid and entertaining thriller that rolled out the story nicely and deviously. It could have used a bit more intensity, but was still a well done movie with some nice backstabbing and other kinds of stabbing to keep us in our seats. There were some good performances, especially from lead actress Alex Essoe, which enhanced the characters and thus the effectiveness of this blood-soaked thriller. Recommend for a night of noir-ish thrills and entertainment on the couch.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 rolls of duct tape.

 

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SUSPENSE THRILLER “MIDNIGHTERS” GETS A TRAILER!

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As a big fan of actress Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes, Tales Of Halloween, The Neighbor) we’re always happy around here to see she’s got another flick coming out. This looks like it could be another impressive role for the actress, as well as, a solid feature debut for director Julius Ramsay from Alston Ramsey’s script. Flick premiers at The Los Angeles Film Festival on 6/19/17 and hopefully a more mainstream release of some kind soon after!

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source: internet

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