MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 RECENT HORRORS/THRILLERS WITH ASS-KICKING HEROINES!

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Haley Bennett alone against a vicious cult in Kristy

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 RECENT HORRORS/THRILLERS WITH ASS-KICKING HEROINES!

Who doesn’t love a good final girl!? Most horror fans do! So, here are twelve recent horrors/thrillers where our heroines made an especially strong impact kicking the ass of evil!

 

Click on the titles here to go to the review page for the corresponding movie!

1. Kristy

2.Hush

3.Bound To Vengeance

4.Hellions

5.Final Girl

6.Don’t Breathe

7.The Guest

8.All I Need

9.Carnage Park

10.The Monster

11.Curve

12.Girlhouse

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Tina Ivlev turns the tables on female traffickers in Bound To Vengeance

-MonsterZero NJbars

HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: HALLOWEEN HOTTIE OF 2016…DANA DeLORENZO!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S HALLOWEEN HOTTIE OF 2016…DANA DeLORENZO!

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This newest installment of Halloween Hotties features our Halloween Hottie Of 2016, the beautiful and very talented Dana DeLorenzo (her hilarious and dead-on celebrity impressions can be seen here in her Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbuMPeuUZlM ), who easily earns this title by appearing in the hit horror/comedy series Ash vs. Evil Dead. Lorenzo plays Ash sidekick and kick-ass Deadite fighter Kelly Maxwell, whose smoldering intensity and sexy sarcasm makes it easy to see she was chosen this year. Kelly gets drawn into the Deadite drama when she comes to work with Ash (Bruce Campbell) and his bud Pablo (Ray Santiago) at the Value Stop, just as Ash foolishly releases the Deadite’s again. When the Evil Dead menace hits too close to home, Kelly vows to smash the ancient evil alongside her neighbor Pablo and our chainsaw-handed hero. The show premiered on October 31st, 2015, just after we announced last year’s winner Maika Monroe, and her work in the first season and the now in-progress season 2, by far earns the versatile Ohio-born actress the title Halloween Hottie Of 2016!

(Click on the highlighted links or on the show poster to read a review of the hit horror series that have earned Dana Halloween Hottie of 2016!)

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ASH vs. EVIL DEAD seasons 1 & 2

with Dana DeLorenzo as sexy Deadite fighting sidekick, Kelly Maxwell!

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Ash vs. Evil Dead Key Art and Marketing Shoot 2015

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Gotta love a Deadite fighting babe with attitude!

HALLOWEEN HOTTIE OF 2016 RUNNER UP, KATE SIEGAL!

This year, like last, I also have a runner-up who made a memorable impression. Kate Siegal portrayed quite a resourceful and strong-willed heroine as Maddie Young, a deaf writer whose secluded home in the woods comes under siege by a homicidal psychopath in Mike Flanagan’s intense suspense thriller Hush. The actress (who is also co-writer and Mrs. Flanagan) got our attention as her sexy girl-next-door Maddie tries to outwit her stronger and more well-armed opponent, even using her disability against him. Kate created an intelligent and resourceful character to root for and we definitely want to see more of this writer/actress in future fright flicks!…and she just appeared in a small role in her husband’s Ouija: Origin Of Evil!

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And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties including Addison TimlinMelanie PapaliaBriana EviganKatrina BowdenAlexandra DaddarioKatie FeatherstonKatharine IsabelleAmber Heard and Danielle Harris! (just click on their names to go to their pages or simply go to our Halloween Hotties main page!)

-MonsterZero NJ

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (2016)

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OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (2016)

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

Flick is a prequel to the 2014 Ouija, a much criticized, but extremely successful teen centric horror. New chapter takes us back to 1967 and tells the story of Doris Zander (Lulu Wilson) who was the malevolent entity in the first installment. The story opens with pretty widow Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) who is trying to support her two daughters, nine year-old Doris and teen Lina (Annalise Basso), as a fraudulent fortune teller. Upon hearing Lina used a Ouija board at a party, Alice decides to add one to her act. This brings a presence into the house that fixates on Doris and claims to be her father. As they use the board more and more and Doris’ behavior starts to change, it appears something malevolent has entered their home…and Doris.

Origin of Evil is directed by Mike (Absentia, HushOculus) Flanagan from a script he co-wrote with Oculus co-writer Jeff Howard. While it is an improvement over the silly but amusing original, it is Flanagan’s most routine and familiar movie yet. Perhaps having to follow-up an established property without alienating it’s core audience put restrictions on just how much the usually inventive writer/director could do with it, but aside from a few interesting touches, we get a story that is extremely familiar with an evil entity entering a home and targeting a child. The use of Mrs. Zander as a phony medium does work well and there was some nice depth to the characters, which is one of Flanagan’s strengths. It’s just that the core story has been done before and the film rarely gets scary because it’s all so familiar. Flanagan does deliver some spooky moments, but far fewer than in his previous films, which is surprising as spooky is something he does well. It’s the character drama that is more involving than the supernatural elements, which at least keeps our attention, if not slightly disappoints those looking for something with a far steadier scare factor for the Halloween season which it was released. His visual style is strong as always, but here he relies a bit too much on tired CGI creations that resemble every other PG-13 horror film manifestation thrown at teenagers today. It’s not a bad movie, just far too ‘been there, done that’ for a director who got our attention with some very original takes on his supernatural tales.

As with previous Flanagan flicks he gets strong work out of his cast. He is a director that works well with actors. Little Lulu Wilson is really good as Doris. She can be really creepy at times and very sweet and precocious at others. She is asked to handle a lot of strong material for a kid and does so very well. Elizabeth Reaser is solid as a loving mother just trying to provide for her daughters. She’s not trying to scam people, but sees her services as a way to help those suffering from loss. When Doris’ ouija use seems to be genuine, she jumps at the chance to do some real good. Annalise Basso is also very good as Doris’ caring teenage sister. She plays the character that was played by the incomparable Lin Shaye in the original and we see the journey that got her to that point and essayed very well by the young actress. There is also E.T.’s Henry Thomas all grown up and playing a widowed priest who is the principal at the girls’ Catholic school and has an interest in Alice. He obviously gets involved when it appears there is something sinister going on. The cast also features a small appearance in the opening sequence played by Hush star and co-writer Kate Siegal, who is also Mrs. Flanagan. A good cast that helps keep the flick interesting and our attention.

This wasn’t a bad flick just a surprisingly familiar one coming from Flanagan who has been very innovative with his use of traditional story elements, like in Hush. This movie could have used some of that thriller’s intensity as the scare level was fairly low and despite a more mature story than the first installment, we got a lot of elements that we have seen often and recently. Maybe picking up someone else’s franchise didn’t fit Flanagan all that well, or possibly having to follow up a previous film he wasn’t involved in, handcuffed him a bit. It passed the time, had a few spooky moments and was an improvement over it’s 2014 predecessor, but coming from one of the brightest new director’s to hit the genre in some time, it was a little bit of a disappointment.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 planchettes as the solid cast earns some extra points.

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: HUSH (2016)

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HUSH (2016)

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

Hush is a perfect example of a talented filmmaker taking a very familiar story and using it in a clever and fresh manner. Maddie (Kate Siegel, who also co-wrote) is an author who moves into a remote house in the woods to write and live a more secluded life away from the city and her ex-boyfriend. Maddie also lost her hearing and speech when she was thirteen to a sever case of meningitis. One night, as Maddie tries to work on her next book, a deranged crossbow-wielding individual (John Gallagher, Jr.) lays siege to her home, cutting off her communications and power with the intent of her not living out the night. Now Maddie, alone and trapped inside her own home, must defend herself against a foe she can’t hear coming.

Directed and co-written by Mike Flanagan (Absentia, Oculus), this flick gives new life to the scenario of a sole individual trapped by some evil force or persons in a secluded house. By giving it’s heroine/intended victim a disability that puts her at a disadvantage, it ups the ante in the suspense and intensity department. It also gives our Maddie the resourcefulness of a woman who has had to make do without the benefit of hearing and speech for over half of her life. And that’s what really made this thriller click, was Maddie’s ingenuity in outwitting and communicating with her attacker and her tenacious will to survive and fight back. The film also gives Maddie’s inner monologue a voice, her own, as we hear her thoughts as she’s trying to outthink the unnamed invader and even moments where she plays her own inner monologue in person, as she tries to convince herself not to give up. It’s very clever and really works so well under Mike Flanagan’s skilled direction. It also worked that her mysterious attacker is unmasked quite early and we get someone who is not only a psychopath, but is quite full of personality himself. It makes him so much more than a cliché masked bad guy that he is basically just a person, though a decidedly demented and sick one. We never get an explanation for his attack, though there are clues that this is not his first rodeo. On a more basic level there is some surprisingly brutal violence and some intense action and nail-biting suspense to go along with two opposing characters with surprising depth for what could have been a routine thriller in lesser hands. Routine it is far from, as Flanagan and leading lady/co-writer Kate Siegel deliver this oft-told tale with a freshness, cleverness and tension that make this such an enjoyably nail-bitting thrill ride.

While there are brief appearances from supporting players Samantha Sloyan and Michael Trucco as neighbors, Sarah and John, it is a two person play and we get really strong work from both actors. Co-scribe Kate Siegel is really good as Maddie and makes her extremely likable without saying a word. She wonderfully conveys the woman’s personality with her facial expressions, phrasing in sign language and her reactions when spending time with her neighbor Sarah. She endears to you quickly. Once she comes under siege, we get a strong-willed and very clever woman who, despite her handicap, stays one step ahead of the vicious man outside her door. As that man, 10 Cloverfield Lane’s John Gallagher, Jr. plays his stalker with a surprisingly offbeat and almost down-to-earth personality. He is a killer, no doubt, as he brutally murders anyone who gets in his way and has a not too pleasant fate in-store for his quarry…a quarry he enjoys toying with. He is, however, never over-the-top or theatrical, as many stories feel their villains need to be. The script and Gallagher, make him more than just a simple, deranged monster, he is a very human one. There is a person under the killer’s mask, though certainly a twisted and cruel one. Avoiding a cliché film fiend portrayal makes him scarier, as you literally feel like you could pass him on the street and not notice him…or even work with him and never know he’s homicidal. Great cast to compliment the clever script.

This was one top-notch thriller. It was intense, smart, suspenseful and had some brutal moments that really caught one off-guard. It had a solid leading lady who conveyed a lot of personality and resourcefulness, despite her handicaps and used the resourcefulness born of those handicaps to battle her opponent. We got a villain who was surprisingly human, which made him all the more frightening as he could be anyone you meet and not some generic, hulking, over-the-top madman that exists only in a movie. It was a delightfully gripping game of cat and mouse with a clever script by star Siegal and director Mike Flanagan, who also skillfully and inventively presents a fresh slant on a familiar story. Highly recommended! Almost certainly will be on my list for best horror flicks of the year!

-MonsterZero NJ

3 and 1/2 crossbow bolts.

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