BARE BONES: KNIVES OUT (2019)

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KNIVES OUT (2019)

Flick finds best selling mystery writer and millionaire, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) dead with his throat cut. It’s ruled a suicide, but an anonymous someone has hired private detective Benoit Blanc (a wonderful Daniel Craig) to take on the case. Blanc finds the game is afoot with a family cut out of Harlan’s will at his 85th birthday the night of his death and his personal care nurse Marta (Ana de Armas) now the sole inheritor of his fortune and assets. With a house filled with those who would benefit from Harlan’s demise, can the unwelcome detective unravel the tangled web that has been woven.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) this is a near perfect flick. It’s a delightfully old fashioned murder(?) mystery with a dozen or so suspects, all with a motive, and an intricately woven plot that our detective must unravel. It’s easy to follow, but like Craig’s Blanc we must find and interpret the clues, while the web keeps getting more and more complex around him…and us. The film has a darkly comic tone, which suits the story perfectly and an absolutely fabulous cast to play our suspects including, de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson and Toni Collette, not to forget the legendary Christopher Plummer as Harlan. It keeps you guessing and smiling, never confuses you, but doesn’t make it easy for you either. When the time comes, there are some fun surprises and reveals and you also realize that for the last two hours you’ve been spectacularly entertained. A near perfect movie that has a perfect cast. Also stars Katherine Langford, Lakeith Stanfield and Noah Segan.

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 REASONS NOAH SEGAN IS AN UNSUNG HERO OF HORROR!

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Noah Segan

Photo by Kate Romero – © http://www.kateromero.com

MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 REASONS NOAH SEGAN IS AN UNSUNG HERO OF HORROR!

Noah Segan may not be the first name that comes that comes to mind when thinking of Halloween, much like Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi, George Romeo, John Carpenter and Barbara Crampton, to name a few, but you’ll probably watch at least one, if not more, of his movie roles during the spooky season. A fixture in recent horrors like Tales of Halloween, Some Kind of Hate, Deadgirl and Starry Eyes, he’s definitely a familiar face in contemporary fright flicks. The versatile actor is also a regular performer for director Rian Johnson with a cameo in The Last Jedi and roles in BrickLooper and the upcoming Knives Out. So, hit the couch, open a brew and check out 10 reasons Noah Segan is an unsung hero of horror!

Noah Segan as Krauss, trying to run from Some Kind of Hate, a film he also produced.

Segan as a gang member about to meet retribution for past deeds in Tales of Halloween.

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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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BARE BONES: MOHAWK (2017)

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MOHAWK (2017)

Flick takes place in 1814 with America once again at war with the British and both sides trying to win the allegiance of the local Native American tribes. A British soldier (Eamon Farren) becomes personally involved with Mohawk woman Okwaho (Kaniehtiio Horn) and her lover Calvin (Justin Rain) while on just such a mission. When Calvin murders a group of American soldiers in their sleep, this brings the surviving platoon members out for revenge and they ruthlessly pursue the trio through the wilderness.

Film is directed by Ted Geoghegan (We Are Still Here) from a script by he and Grady Hendrix and not only does he cast Native American actors in Native American roles, but audaciously paints the American soldiers clearly as the bad guys. Low budget film has a very raw feel to it, shot in Upstate New York and with minimal sets. The acting is a bit uneven at times, but the casting, costumes and settings give atmosphere to this very violent and brutal period flick. It has a deliberately methodical pace and there is a slight supernatural edge to it, especially in the last act. Add to that a very effective electronic score by Wojciech Golczewski and you have an interesting and effective little movie from Ted Geoghegan. Also stars horror film familiar face Noah Segan (Some Kind of Hate, Starry Eyes) and WWE Superstar Luke Harper under his real name of Jonathan Huber. Recommended for something a little different.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: GET THE GIRL (2017)

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GET THE GIRL (2017)

Dumb and dull flick has love-struck Clarence (Justin Dobies) falling in love with sexy bartender Alex (Elizabeth Whitson) and hiring lowlife Patrick (Noah Segan) to kidnap her, so he can rescue her and become her hero to win her heart. Things go awry and soon blood and bullets are flying instead of cupid’s arrows.

Writer director Eric England has shown some potential with his horror flicks like Contracted and Madison County, but fails as a Tarantino wannabe. It’s a silly movie with a story that gets dumber and dumber as it goes along, even though it’s trying to be clever. It also tries way too hard to be hip and the characters are annoying and the attempts at slick humor fall flat. England has proven he can make a good movie, especially in the horror genre and it’s hard to give a filmmaker a hard time for trying something different, but maybe the hip, ultra-violent comedy thing is not for him. Also stars Scout Taylor-Compton as Patrick’s dim-witted girlfriend.

-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: FOLLOW (2015)

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FOLLOW (2015)

Offbeat and unsettling little flick has Quinn (Noah Segan) waking up a few days before Christmas and finding a gun in his hand, his girlfriend (Olivia Grace Applegate) dead and not remembering a thing. Quinn panics and as he tries to remember what happened, keeps the body hidden and doesn’t call authorities. Adding fuel to the fire, his cute co-worker with a crush, Viv (Haley Lu Richardson) comes to the house looking for him when he doesn’t show up for work…and finds the corpse. Now Quinn’s life starts to really spin out of control with a dead girl upstairs and and a live witness held captive in the cellar.

Written and directed by Owen Egerton, this is an interesting and twisted little movie. Quinn starts to slowly lose his mind and make increasingly bad decisions upon finding the death obsessed Thana (Applegate) actually dead after some unsettling foreplay with a gun the night before. We are along for the ride as he unravels, as the fact that he can’t remember what happened starts to panic him. Did he kill her? Things start to snowball when Viv discovers the body and gets locked up in the basement by the unglued Quinn, who is starting to talk to the dead Thana to get some answers. Egerton delivers an unsettling downward spiral and mixes a little warped humor in with the delirium. The good performances from Segan, Richardson and Applegate also help make the eccentric story work, too. Not everything always clicks but at under 80 minutes it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and is a disturbing and sometimes weirdly amusing flick.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: THE MIND’S EYE (2015)

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THE MIND’S EYE (2015)

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

In Almost Human writer/director Joe Begos gave us a horror/sci-fi with some nice homages to flicks like Fire In The Sky and John Carpenter’s The Thing in a gore wrapped story of alien abduction and a creature within stalking a small rural town. Here Begos returns to pay tribute to David Cronenberg’s Scanners with a story of individuals with powerful psychic abilities, even setting his flick in the early 90s. The story tells of Zack (Graham Skipper) and Rachel (Jug Face and Darling’s Lauren Ashley Carter) who are two people with incredible psychokinetic abilities and are being held by Dr. Michael Slovak (John Speredakos) for his own nefarious purposes. The two escape and thus begins a tale of pursuit and revenge that leaves a trail of bodies in it’s wake.

Joe Begos certainly knows his influences and his affection for that which he pays homage is certainly apparent through his past two films. That being said, the same applies here even more so than Almost Human in that, while it is entertaining, the film is a little too close to it’s source material to really have it’s own identity. Almost Human was, at least, a bit of a mash-up within it’s own story. Here the flick is basically just a stripped down version of Cronenberg’s classic, right down to exploding heads…a tribute, we get that…to the climactic duel between good and evil psychokinetic powered individuals. Again, it is a fun tribute, that while it spares us the more complicated conspiracy aspects of Scanners, ups the gore and violence quotient in it’s place. As with Begos’ last flick, the film is moderately paced, which to be fair, is much like the films it purposely evokes. Also like Almost Human, the acting is again a bit wooden especially from the overacting Speredakos, who might have been a bit more threatening bad guy with some moderation and less eye-rolling. The gore FX are quite good, Begos has a good visual eye and style and there is a wonderfully nostalgic electronic score by Steve Moore to give it that 80s/early 90s feel.

Overall, this was an enjoyable tribute to a classic flick from a filmmaker who has an eye for what made those flicks work. As with Almost HumanBegos shows potential as a good low budget filmmaker who certainly has some classic influences and his heart in the right place. Now it’s time for him to take what he has learned from the films he grew up with and do his own thing…and looking forward to it when he does. A fun Cronenberg love letter that while isn’t overly original, successfully evokes what it is giving homage to. Also stars indie horror flick icon Larry Fessenden as Zack’s dad and Noah Segan who is racking up quite the horror resume.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 beers lifted cinematically to David Cronenberg.

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