REVIEW: FREAKY (2020)

MZNJ_New_review

now playing

bars

FREAKY (2020)

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

Blumhouse’s latest is a slasher twist on the classic body switch scenario. While the town of Blissfield is being stalked by a serial killer, misfit high school teen Millie (Kathryn Newton) has her own problems to deal with. She is still mourning the death of her father, her mother (Katie Finneran) has turned to drinking, her crush Booker (Uriah Shelton) doesn’t even notice her and she is not exactly the most popular girl in school. The paths of she and The Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn) are fated to cross and when they do, the use of an ancient Aztec dagger, procured from a previous victim, causes Millie and her attacker to switch bodies. Now, on Friday the 13th, of all days, Millie, in the Butcher’s body, has till midnight to fix things before the switch becomes permanent. She has to convince her best friends Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich) that it’s really her, avoid her cop sister (Dana Drori) and stop The Butcher, who is using Millie’s body to stalk new prey in her high school’s very halls. It’s going to be a freaky Friday the 13th indeed!

Flick is directed by Christopher Landon from his script with Michael Kennedy. Landon is responsible for writing a number of Paranormal Activity sequels and directing that series’ The Marked Ones installment, as well as, directing and writing the fun Happy Death Day movies. It’s an entertaining mash-up of slasher meets Freaky Friday, though not quite the energetic fun that was his previous slasher meets Groundhog Day flicks. It is a lot more gruesome than Happy Death Day, though, and earns it’s “R” rating, while still being filled with some fun dialogue and generous movie references. The script is fairly clever with getting the Aztec dagger “La Dola” into The Butcher’s hands quickly, to get the story rolling, and using web savvy teens to give us the exposition we and Millie need, as to how the dagger works and what needs to be done. This sets in motion the race to regain possession of La Dola, before midnight passes and Millie is trapped forever in the body of a middle aged murderer…which The Butcher realizes may not be a bad thing. The film only falters a little when a few sentimental dialogue scenes go on for a bit too long and the filmmaker’s desire to be politically correct becomes a little too obvious in spots. The last act could have been a bit punchier, too, with it’s teen filled party in a warehouse setting. Otherwise, it’s a fun slasher/high school flick homage with some witty banter, some bloody carnage and a hip sense of humor.

The flick wouldn’t have worked nearly as well, if it wasn’t for our two leads having a blast playing each other’s parts. Kathryn Newton is very good, first as the awkward, likable and sympathetic Millie, and then as the sadistic serial killer. Newton is very successful at oozing evil and malice from within a high school girl’s veneer and has a threatening presence despite being a very pretty young girl. It’s Vince Vaughn, however, that really has a chance to take the ball and run with it as Millie in The Butcher’s body. Vaughn is hilarious as the awkward high school girl in the body of a middle aged serial killer and his mannerisms and body language are just as funny as his line delivery. He is even very threatening when he is The Blissfield Butcher back in his own body, in case you forgot he was a sadistic killer. Supporting cast is solid, too. Celeste O’Connor and Misha Osherovich as Nyla and the flamboyantly gay Josh are a fun duo. They play off Vaughn very well and have some amusing dialogue and comic bits as they race to help get Millie back in her own body. Katie Finneran is good as Millie’s lonely, mourning mother, as is Dana Drori as Millie’s tough, sarcastic cop sister. Uriah Shelton is likable as Millie’s crush, Booker, who is dragged into this mess and Ferris Bueller star Alan Ruck appears as a harsh wood shop teacher.

Overall, this flick was fun and was a nice mash-up of two types of film’s one wouldn’t immediately think of mixing up. The cast are really good, especially our body swopping leads, who have a blast playing each other. It can be gruesome, but is very witty and clever as well. It does drag in a few parts, due to some lengthy attempts at adding some sentimentality to the proceedings, but otherwise is an entertaining homage, though not quite the infectious fun of Landon’s Happy Death Day flicks…which Landon recently conceded take place in the same universe. Freaky Death Day someday maybe?

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) chainsaws which pretty Kathryn Newton wields quite well.

**************************************************

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: THEY LIVE INSIDE US (2020)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

bars

THEY LIVE INSIDE US (2020)

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

Flick from the makers of the The Witching Season web anthology takes one of those tales and expands it to feature length. The story is simple. Writer Jake (James Morris) is looking for inspiration, so he and his daughter Dani (Emily Broschinsky) stay in a haunted house on Halloween. The Booth House has a past filled with witches, madmen and murder and Jake may get more inspiration than he bargained for.

They Live Inside Us is written and directed by Michael Ballif and acts as both stand alone film and an anthology film in itself, as we visualize Jake’s various story ideas as he writes them. These segments are filled with Halloween imagery and many of the popular tropes, such as masked killers, living scarecrows and killer clowns (each played by lead Morris) all chasing a pretty woman (Hailey Nebeker). In between the segments, we see writer Jake slowly feeling and seeing the effects of staying in an allegedly cursed house with a terrible past. It’s not quite as fun as the bits born of his writing ideas, but it certainly has it’s spooky moments as the house brings Jake’s tales and it’s own story to life. A Halloween horror would not be complete without some spooky reveals and Baliff provides them in a chilling last act. It’s moderately paced, but that suits the type of story it is. On a production level, the film looks good. Ballif has a really strong visual eye, especially for the All Hallow’s Eve inspired stuff and his cinematography gives this some nice atmosphere and Halloween spirit. There is also a really cool house location and a very atmospheric score by the aptly named Randin Graves.

The cast is solid. James Morris is good as Jake. He could have been livelier in a few scenes, but nails it when it counts, such as his scenes with dead wife Cynthia (Stevie Dutson). He also has fun playing all the film’s Halloween creepers. Emily Broschinsky is good as Jake’s precocious, paraplegic daughter Dani. The two actors have a nice chemistry together and sell being father and daughter well. Hailey Nebeker gets to show various degrees of fear as the “Woman in White” in Jake’s stories. The actress does however, get to do a bit more once Jake’s stories and the house’s history collide.

This movie shows a lot of love for the spooky season and of horror films in general from Michael Baliff. It’s not perfect, but one can really see the labor of love put into it and Baliff’s passion for all things Halloween and horror, show through. Baliff knows the tropes well and knows how to use them effectively. It’s certainly worth a look and has enough spooky moments to make it a nice new flick for watching during The Witching Season. Available to rent on streaming networks such as Amazon Prime and on blu-ray.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) pumpkins.

**************************************************

bars

BARE BONES: LET’S SCARE JULIE (2020)

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

LET’S SCARE JULIE (2020)

Flick finds troubled Emma (Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson) having lost her parents and now living with her cousin Taylor (Isabel May). Taylor and her friends Madison (Odessa A’zion), Paige (Jessica Sarah Flaum) and Jess (Brooke Sorenson) decide to prank the new girl across the street, Julie. The mysterious Julie and her family have moved into a house that already has a spooky reputation, due to a creepy woman who used to live there. Something goes terribly wrong for the girls while in the house and now Emma soon finds herself alone and feeling something is after her.

Let’s Scare Julie is written and directed by Jud Cremata and allegedly filmed in one long take. It is impressive for that alone, especially considering some scenes feature up to five actors performing at a time. Add to that it’s actually a very spooky and intense flick, once things get going and we have a pleasant and creepy little surprise. It achieves it’s effectiveness without showing us very much at all, instead relying on character reactions and Chuck Ozeas’ atmospheric and creepy cinematography to establish a feeling of dread and danger. A scene between Emma and her drunk uncle (Blake Robbins) is as unsettling as anything supernatural. The acting is quite good, from a cast of young unknowns, including little Dakota Baccelli as Emma’s little sister Lily. We know eventually Emma will wind up in Julie’s house, but it is still scary when she finally heads across the street. It’s not perfect. Sometimes the girls’ chatter overlaps and it’s hard to follow everything they are saying and the film does kinda just end after a very spooky middle and last act. Otherwise, this is a chilling little movie about a prank that goes terribly wrong, right in time for the Halloween season. Available to rent on Amazon and Google Play.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars

BARE BONES: THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT-ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY (2011)

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT-ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY (2011)

Bobby Roe’s fun 2014 found footage horror, The Houses October Built, had five friends deciding to take an RV road trip to seek out and find the most extreme and scary Halloween attractions…they got more than they bargained for. The film was actually inspired by a documentary Roe made three years earlier with the same premise. He, Brandy Schaefer, Mikey Roe, Jeff Larson, and Zack Andrews, all pile into an RV and seek out the scariest Halloween haunts they can find. The five friends take us through a tour of quite a few halloween haunts, focusing on the pretty and energetic Schaefer going inside, experiencing the haunts and then interviewing owners, employees and attendees. It’s fun and as Roe pursues the notion that some haunts employ real deviates and use actual corpses in their exhibits, one can see where the 2014 film idea grew from. This leads to tracking down the elusive Blue Skeleton Inn haunt which closes this amusing documentary in theatrical fashion, foreshadowing the movies to come.

If you are a fan of the 2014 film, and it’s 2017 sequel, this is actually a must see, that gives you some nice background on how those film’s came about. It is also a good way to get to know the real people behind the movie characters…who aren’t that much different…and some of the real haunts that made it into Roe’s found footage films. It’s also a fun look at Halloween haunts and the pursuit of the scariest way to spend All Hallow’s Eve. The documentary is currently found as an extra on the Houses October Built blu-ray, making the disc a real bargain, if you are a fan.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars

BARE BONES: THE DWELLING (2016) aka BED OF THE DEAD

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

THE DWELLING (2016) aka BED OF THE DEAD

Flick opens with a group of hooded figures dragging a man towards an ominous tree, hanging him from it and murdering him. We then see another man, presumably sometime later, chop down that tree and make a large and ornate bed out of it. Cut to modern day, the bed is now in a room at a sex club where a group of four friends, Sandy (Alysa King), Nancy (Gwenlyn Cumyn), Ren (Dennis Andres) and Fred (George Krissa) have apparently just died horribly. An alcoholic and guilt-ridden detective (Colin Price) is on the case and not only finds out that there is something very wrong in that room, which has a sordid history, but that he might actually be able to save at least some of those who perished.

Horror is well directed by Jeff Maher from his script with Cody Calahan. Despite a plot that could have been very silly, Maher actually crafts a spooky story from it. He flashes back and forth from the four friends bribing their way into the supposedly off limits, and only empty room, to the investigation of their very nasty deaths by a cop with more than a few issues of his own. The director gives the room and bed a good sense of malevolence and as the film proceeds, we learn that each character has their own secrets that the entity emanating from the bed is preying upon. We also get to see how a couple of them gruesomely died. There is some clever communication between cop in the present and Sandy, who died a few hours earlier, that adds an interesting element to the story, too. The cast play it all seriously, as does Maher and it’s actually a creepy and gory flick at times, despite a premise that could have been laughable in the wrong hands. Alysa King makes a strong and sympathetic heroine as Sandy and Colin Price makes a sufficient lead as the troubled detective with his own inner pains. At an economical 85 minutes, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, or give you enough time to consider how goofy the idea of a demonic possessed bed, made from the wood of a hanging tree, really is. Not perfect, but as good as a movie about a killer bed is going to get. Flick is streaming free on Tubi under it’s current title The Dwelling, but it is still referred to under it’s former title of Bed of the Dead on Black Fawn Distribution’s Instagram page.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars

BARE BONES: THE PALE DOOR (2020)

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

THE PALE DOOR (2020)

Horror/western has the outlaw Dalton Gang robbing a heavily armed train with youngest Dalton Jake (Devin Druid) on his first job. After a bloody shoot out, the gang secure the cash box only to find out it holds no money or gold, but a bound pretty young girl. Pearl (Natasha Bassett) begs the gang take her home and there will be a reward for their troubles. This brings them to a ghost town where the only occupants there are the women of the local brothel. Soon to their horror, they find the brothel is a coven of evil witches and the gang now must fight for their lives.

Flick is directed by Aaron B. Koontz (Camera Obscura) from his script with Cameron Burns and Keith Lansdale. It’s an entertaining little movie that doesn’t try to be more than it is. The witches are after the virginal Jake, who has also yet to kill anyone, and will decimate the gang to get to him. The make-up and gore are abundant and very well done and the witches are fearsome creatures, though seem to be easily gunned down by the dwindling numbers of the gang. There are a few moments when the action stops dead for characters to bear their souls, but otherwise this is an amusing 90+ minutes of blood and bullets. Pale Door also gets extra points for effort, with Koontz’s effective visuals and settings being impressive on a small budget. An entertaining little movie now streaming on Amazon. Also stars low budget horror vets Noah Segan and Pat Healy as Dalton Gang members.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars

BARE BONES: OPEN 24 HOURS (2018)

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

OPEN 24 HOURS (2018)

Mary (Leatherface’s Vanessa Grasse) is on probation and suffering from paranoid delusions after setting her serial killer boyfriend James (Cole Vigue) on fire. Trying to get her life back together, Mary lands a job on the night shift of a 24 hour gas station convenience store in the middle of nowhere. Strange things starts to occur and Mary starts to think someone is stalking her on her first night. Is it her hallucinations acting up? Has a scarred and vengeful James somehow gotten out of prison?…or has someone else indeed targeted the young woman?

Flick is written and directed by Padraig Reynolds (Rites of Spring, Dark Light) and if you can overlook a few plot-holes, like a police officer’s death, and thus disappearance, not alerting anyone at the PD to send more cops, this is an intense, suspenseful and sometimes bloody violent flick. Reynolds establishes Mary’s tendency to hallucinate very well and then plays with the concept, so even we aren’t sure what Mary is really seeing, even though we know someone dangerous is indeed out there. There are some red herrings as to who that someone may be and once things really get going, there is a nasty and intense last act, as Mary confronts the individual who has targeted her and has been killing anyone near the gas station. There is some nice atmosphere and intensity and when the gore comes, it’s very effective. Vanessa Grasse makes a very likable heroine as the troubled Mary and the remote gas station location works to establish isolation…even if it all does evoke John Carpenter’s The Gas Station episode from the anthology flick Body Bags. A solid and entertaining slasher/horror from Padraig Reynolds. Now streaming on Amazon Prime.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars

REVIEW: DOCTOR SLEEP (2019)

MZNJ_New_review

now playing

bars

DOCTOR SLEEP (2019)

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

Doctor Sleep is an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel which in itself is a sequel to The Shining. The film picks up in 1980 shortly after the events of the first film/book with Danny (Roger Dale Floyd) and his mother Wendy (Alex Essoe), who are both still traumatized from their stay at the Overlook Hotel. Danny is especially troubled because of his psychic abilities and what they attract. It then moves forward to 2011 where Danny is now an adult (Ewan McGregor) and an alcoholic mess of one at that, still trying to get over his emotional scars. He joins AA and gets a job at a hospice where he finds he can bring solace to the terminally ill residents. The film finally settles in presented day, with Dan now clean and sober, but being contacted by a girl with similar abilities named Abra (Kyliegh Curran). Unknown, at first, to Dan and Abra, a sinister group called the True Knot, who feed upon the powers of people with such abilities, are hunting Abra down. This eventually leads Dan and Abra back to the dreaded Overlook Hotel for a showdown with True Knot’s powerful leader Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and the spirits that still linger there.

Adaptation is written and directed by Mike Flanagan, who did the brilliant Gerald’s Game adaptation for Netflix and is one of the most innovative writer/directors in horror right now. Here he creates what is more of a dark fantasy than straight up horror with some clever representations of the various abilities of both those with Shining and the True Knot. The recreations of events, places and characters from Stanley Kubrick’s film are really on point, too and a lot of fun with some inspired casting, such as Starry Eyes’ Alex Essoe as Wendy and Carl Lumbly as Hallorann. If anything holds this intriguing and entertaining film back a bit, it’s that it feels like one must have read both Stephen King’s books to really appreciate the mythos being created here. Maybe this flick needed to be in two parts like the It adaptation, as it feels like certain things needed more attention, such as who or what really are the True Knot, and Abra and Dan’s friendship could have been fleshed out a bit more for it to resonate. Still, Flanagan has a solid script and is a good editor in cutting his own material, but here it just feels like there wasn’t enough of certain elements to really emotionally involve the uninitiated viewer not familiar with King’s books. The audience in attendance was very quiet and seemed a bit detached from the film. The flick does earn it’s R rating. There is graphic violence and some disturbing sequences, especially when the True Knot kidnap and murder a young boy (Jacob Trembly), and the final conflict had intensity and chills. It’s just, overall, the flick didn’t inspire a strong emotional investment to really get one involved in what was going on…unless there was already an invested interest in the material going in. A first for a Flanagan film, which are usually emotionally gripping and intense like Gerald’s Game and Hush. The FX are very well done and there are some really wild sequences, like Abra taking on Rose who’s not used to being challenged. At 152 minutes it’s not boring, there is an atmospheric score by the Newton Brothers and Flanagan’s visual style is well represented by Michael Fimognari’s cinematography. It just it wasn’t as gripping as it needed to be, despite all that Flanagan gets right…and he gets a lot right, here.

Flanagan has a great cast and the characters are well written. Ewan McGregor is very good as the adult Danny, who becomes a reluctant hero, of sorts, when the True Knot come after Abra. His downward spiral as an alcoholic and eventual recovery to the point where he is selfless enough to combat Rose, is well played by the veteran actor. As Rose, Rebecca Furguson steals the film as the sinister yet smolderingly sexy True Knot leader. A devious yet powerful woman and one who will commit horrible acts without question, to keep she and her followers “fed.” Kyliegh Curran is very good as Abra, a powerful young teen in her own right. The actress gives her the strength needed to believe in her abilities, yet still keeps her a relatable teen. Cliff Curtis is also very good as Dan’s only friend and AA support, Billy. There are some familiar faces in the supporting cast, such as House of the Devil’s Jocelin Donahue as Abra’s mom, the before mentioned Alex Essoe as Wendy, Henry Thomas in a role not to be spoiled here and Bruce Greenwood as Dan’s AA group leader. Sadly, Greenwood’s likable Dr. John Dalton character just disappears and one questions his inclusion at all.

Overall, this was an entertaining film, though not as engrossing as it should have been. Flanagan directs solidly with a clever and innovative script, but doesn’t quite get the emotional investment needed from those not already familiar with King’s material and characters. There are some intense and disturbing sequences and the dark fantasy element works so very well, but something was still missing for those of us who haven’t read the books. It did have a strong villainess and it was spooky fun to revisit the Overlook Hotel again. A good movie, but as the end credits roll, one feels it should have been more.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) hats.

**************************************************

bars

BARE BONES: DON’T LOOK (2018)

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

DON’T LOOK (2018)

Routine backwoods horror has five friends, Lorena (Luciana Faulhaber), Ted (Jeff Berg), Sebastian (Javier E. Gómez), Nicole (Lindsay Eshelman) and Alex (Curtis K Case) traveling to a remote house in the country for a holiday getaway. There are some twisted redneck neighbors (Jarrod Robbins and Hailey Heisick) they cross paths with and a masked psycho soon starts stalking and killing them one by one. You’d think, at this point, city folk would stop vacationing in rural farmhouses or cabins in the woods, but…nope.

Low budget horror is produced, directed and co-written, with Jessica Boucher and Danielle Killay, by star Luciana Faulhaber (The Night Crew). Story-wise there is definitely nothing new here, though following a classic horror storyline did seem more like the point. Film is low budget and has a bit of an amateur production feel, though Faulhaber does direct well enough and makes good use of the rural Plowville, Pennsylvania locations. The cast are fine, performances vary with Faulhaber giving her fiery Lorena some sex appeal and strength, though oddly Lorena takes a backseat to another character in the last few scenes. Robbins and Heisick are also amusing as the twisted rednecks who live on the property and the flick does take a while to let us know if they are the killers, or a red herring (redneck herring?). There is a last act twist that isn’t totally unexpected, but fits in with the familiar tropes this film embraces. Not a lot of suspense, but there is some intensity in the last act. There are some decent kills with a sufficient amount of gore and the flick doesn’t overstay it’s welcome at a scant 71 minutes long. Overall, it’s an amusing enough watch for the spooky season on Amazon Prime and if Luciana Faulhaber continues to hone her craft she might turn into a director to keep an eye on.

Personal Note: I always support independent horror filmmaking and love the fact that Faulhaber didn’t sit around waiting for a movie role, she made her own movie! You can get your movies made, filmmakers!-MZNJ

 

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: TRICK (2019)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

bars

TRICK (2019)

In 2015 at a Halloween party in the town of Benton, N.Y., Patrick Weaver (Thom Niemann) or “Trick” goes crazy, killing five of his high school classmates and injuring several others, until stopped by pretty schoolmate Cheryl (Kristina Reyes). At the hospital, Trick makes a daring escape attempt while being questioned by Det. Mike Denver (Omar Epps) and Sheriff Lisa Jayne (Ellen Adair). He’s shot several times, falls out a second story window and wanders off collapsing into a nearby river. He’s presumed dead, but the body is never found and each Halloween after, a masked killer shows up in a nearby town on the river and kills a number of people before vanishing. As Trick starts to become famous as an internet Halloween boogeyman, Denver vows to hunt him down and stop him. With evidence leading to Trick’s return to Benton for Halloween 2019, Denver, Sheriff Jayne and Cheryl prepare to meet the killer head on.

Trick is written by My Bloody Valentine 2009 and Drive Angry duo Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier and directed by Lussier. The two were once involved with an official Halloween sequel that never got made and maybe this is the result of that disappointment. And Trick is a bit of a disappointment, as it is kind of a mixed bag of Halloween candy. The script has a number of plot holes and while most horror flicks do, these are a bit jarring, such as why no one in school remembers what Patrick Weaver looked like. It’s a weak contrivance so no one recognizes him when he’s among them and to try to add an air of mystery to him. Lussier directs this flick very by-the-numbers, too and the first hour of the flick seems rushed and devoid of any atmosphere as the story tries to quickly establish Trick as the new boogeyman of All Hallow’s Eve. In fact, it tries way too hard and that forced approach doesn’t make Trick click. It follows the formula a bit too closely and thus seems more like a copy of Carpenter’s classic, early on, than a sincere effort. Things do settle down and Lussier does start to generate some tension and atmosphere once Halloween and Trick arrive in Benton, especially in a scene set in a haunted maze attraction. The last act goes a bit off the rails as the writers try to add a few twists during it’s hospital set conclusion and it takes the flick in a bit of a different direction, which may divide viewers as to whether it works or not. There is some really good gore along the way, though the film looses some points for some awful CGI blood for gunshot hits. The upstate New York settings were a refreshing change from the usual small Midwestern town and it’s too bad they couldn’t have infused the film with more of the Halloween spirit that the upstate New York area has this time of year. It’s a little flat in that department. Again, it tries too hard. Trick’s initial double-sided pumpkin mask and freaky knife are kinda cool, but the new Michael Myers, he sadly is not.

Cast is Good. Omar Epps actually does very well in the Dr. Loomis by way of Fox Mulder role. A veteran detective who is forced into retirement due to his obsession with Trick. Ellen Adair is Scully to Epps’ Mulder as the town sheriff that refuses, at first, to believe Trick is still alive and that this is anything more than a copycat killer. Kristina Reyes makes for a really solid heroine/final girl and it’s too bad it takes the film so long to focus on her. She’s strong, resilient and the actress has an endearing screen charm. Rounding out are supporting roles from Scream’s Jamie Kennedy as a doctor at the town hospital and the legendary Tom Atkins (Halloween III) as a diner owner.

Overall, Not sure what happened, as My Bloody Valentine 2009 is gory, intense and fun, while Drive Angry is simply an all-out hoot. This flick could have used more of those movies’ intensity and over-the-top fun. Trick is not the new Halloween classic one hoped for, though is not a completely smashed pumpkin. It’s attempts to create a new horror icon are rushed and forced, though once Halloween night hits, Trick is an effective killer and there is some really gruesome carnage. The film follows the formula possibly too closely to start, then veers off in a different direction in it’s climactic scenes that may, or may not, work depending on the viewer. There are some bigger than usual plot holes, though it does have it’s moments. A bit of a disappointment from a duo who have made some bloody fun flicks, but certainly not the worst Halloween set horror out there. Might be the type of flick that grows on one with repeat viewings during the spooky season.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) Trick masks.

**************************************************

bars