HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: ROOKIE OF THE YEAR 2018!

MZNJ_halloween_hotties

HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: ROOKIE OF THE YEAR 2018!

This newest installment of Halloween Hotties features a new final girl on the block who appeared in her first horror flick in 2018 and made quite an impression! With the release of Stevan Mena’s long awaited Malevolence 3: Killer, we were introduced to this fresh face in the role of the film’s heroine, Ellie!…And this actress got our attention! Without further ado…MonsterZero NJ’s Halloween Hotties rookie of the year 2018 is…

KATIE GIBSON!

Katie Gibson is new to the horror movie scene, making her final girl debut in Stevan Mena’s Malevolence 3: Killer. While she had a vocal part in Mena’s Bereavement, this is her first starring role and she made a strong impression. Her Ellie was a very likable character, resilient, smart, compassionate and when serial killer Martin Bristol comes knocking, she responds with some knocks of her own. We can only hope that if Mena continues the franchise, Katie is along for the next installment…or Malevolence 3: Killer gets her enough attention for future roles in other projects. Attention she deserves! We can’t wait to see more of this talented and beautiful young actress!

KATIE GIBSON as ELLIE in MALEVOLENCE 3: KILLER!

Malevolence 3: Killer‘s brave and strong-willed Ellie, unaware evil lurks close by!

Katie Gibson gets to try on a classic slasher trope as she watches her young neighbor!

Ellie finds out something is very wrong as Martin Bristol returns to his former home.

Ellie risking her own life to protect her young neighbor, Victoria (Victoria Mena).

Can Ellie turn the tables on a killer?

Katie’s got talent and a girl-next-door presence that made her a natural for this type of role. Mena has a gift for picking good final girls, as Alexandra Daddario served final girl duties in Bereavement and hot mom type Samantha Dark was a strong heroine in the original Malevolence. Hopefully actress Katie Gibson and director Stevan Mena will both be working on new projects soon!

-MonsterZero NJ

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

And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties!

Head over to the Halloween Hotties listings! to read them all!)

bars

Advertisements

5 DIRECTORS BRINGING NEW BLOOD TO HORROR!

MZNJ_new_views

now playing

5 DIRECTORS BRINGING NEW BLOOD TO HORROR!

At Halloween 🎃 time it is when we most think about scary movies, even those of us who watch them all year round. So why not take a look at five individuals who are bringing their own distinct vision to the genre and whom horror fans should be talking more about!…and no, I didn’t forget the ladies, they deserve their own installment, forthcoming!

(To get to the full reviews of the films mentioned, just hit the highlighted titles that link to the corresponding page!)

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

Adam MacDonald

 

Adam MacDonald is a Canadian actor and filmmaker who has written and directed two features, thus far, that have made quite an impression. His first film Backcountry is a survival thriller that followed a couple (Jeff Roop and Missy Peregrym) who go camping in the woods. Jealous of his girlfriend’s success, her beau chooses a lesser traveled route to prove himself to her. This puts them within the feeding ground of a massive and very hungry grizzly bear and thus sets up an intense and sometimes brutal last act. His second film Pyewacket is a supernatural thriller which finds a mother and daughter (Laurie Holden and Nicole Muñoz) in conflict over their methods of mourning the death of their husband/father. This propels the occult fascinated teen Leah (Muñoz) to evoke the dark entity Pyewacket to kill her mother. Leah soon learns to be careful what you wish for. Both films use troubled relationships as a catalyst for their stories and Pyewacket especially has some good old fashion scares and chills supported by a strong emotional center. MacDonald is showing a versatility and a depth to his filmmaking. Adam currently wrapped filming on Slasher season 3, so look out for more from this talented new voice in horror!

Nicole Muñoz conjures the wrong spirit in Adam MacDonald’s Pyewacket

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

Stevan Mena

 

Stevan Mena is a New York born filmmaker who is a one man production company, writing ,editing, directing, producing and even scoring his own films. He made a splash in 2003 with his low budget slasher Malevolence, which was an old-fashioned horror throwback that echoed both Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Set in and around an abandoned slaughterhouse, it told the chilling story of some bank robbers and their hostages meeting up with serial killer Martin Bristol (Jay Cohen). He followed that up with a horror icon filled horror/comedy called Brutal Massacre, before returning to the saga of Bristol in 2010 with the brutal and intense Bereavement. The second Malevolence film was a prequel telling the story of how serial killer Graham Sutter (Brett Rickaby) kidnapped Martin (Spencer List ) as a child and trained him to be his successor. It’s one of the best horrors of the decade IMO. Recently Mena overcame some tragic events to complete his Malevolence trilogy with the independently financed Malevolence 3: Killer. Sequel has an adult Martin (a returning Jay Cohen) leaving a blood soaked trail on the way back to his home town. Mena’s work evokes that of John Carpenter himself and one hopes he returns to the director’s chair sooner than later.

A killer (Jay Cohen) returns home in Stevan Mena’s Malevolence 3: Killer

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

Colin Minihan

 

Colin Minihan started out as part of the writing/directing duo known as The Vicious Brothers along with collaborator Stuart Ortiz. Their first film was the fun and spooky found footage paranormal show send up Grave Encounters in 2011. They followed that up with the entertaining and chilling cabin in the woods/alien invasion hybrid Extraterrestrial in 2014. Though co-written with Ortiz, Minihan took the director’s chair solo for the next film It Stains The Sands Red. This was an amusing, bloody and offbeat tale of a lone woman (Brittany Allen) being followed across the desert by a lone zombie. An interesting relationship forms as she fights brutal heat, dehydration and her relentless undead pursuer. Minihan wrote and directed his fourth film on his own with the brutal and intense What Keeps You Alive. One of the years best, it finds a married lesbian couple (Brittany Allen and Hanna Emily Anderson) celebrating their anniversary in a remote cabin in the woods. Soon romantic bliss becomes a battle for survival as one of the women is not who she seems. This flick proves Minihan is a force to be reckoned with, armed with a great script, taunt direction and brilliant work by his lead actresses. Minihan is a filmmaker fans need to be talking more about.

Lover vs lover in Colin Minihan’s brutal and intense What Keeps You Alive

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

Anthony Diblasi

 

Boston born Anthony Diblasi is another filmmaker showing great versatility and a mastery of horror while also providing some emotional depth to his films. His first film Dread was a chilling tale of a college documentary project about fear, spinning horribly out of control. His next film Cassadaga, found deaf art teacher Lily (Kelen Coleman) being haunted by the spirit of a murdered young woman whose killer may have his sights set next on the pretty teacher. Diblasi worked on some non-genre projects and the horror anthology The Profane Exhibit before co-writing and directing The Last Shift in 2014. One of his scariest flicks, the story found a young policewoman being given the final shift in a haunted police precinct closing it’s doors in the morning…but can she survive the night? Diblasi returned to horror again in 2015 with Most Likely To Die, an old fashioned slasher about a high school reunion turned deadly, and again in 2018 with Extremity. His latest finds an emotionally troubled woman turning to an extreme haunt to make her face her fears…bad idea. The film was not only disturbing and scary, but had a strong emotional lining with multi-dimensional characters and commentary about abuse and the lives it effects. Another filmmaker that is bringing a distinct voice to the horror genre.

Emotionally troubled Allison (Dana Christina) turns to an extreme haunt to face her fears in Anthony Diblasi’s Extremity

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

Oz Perkins

 

Just because one is the son of legendary actor Anthony (Psycho) Perkins, one should not assume actor/director Oz Perkins knows horror…but he does! One of the most interesting filmmakers out there, Perkins has a unique vision and a strong ability to chill to the bone. His first film The Blackcoat’s Daughter finds Rose (Lucy Boynton), a student at a Catholic girls school, given charge of new student Kat (Kiernan Shipka) at break. With almost everyone else gone, Rose starts to realize there is something very wrong with Kat and that she may be in danger. Perkins followed that up with a very atmospheric ghost story I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House. Perkins writes and directs a subtle, yet chilling tale of care nurse Lily (Ruth Wilson) coming to live with ailing horror novelist Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss). Soon timid Lily starts to find out that Iris Blum’s inspirations may be far more real than she’d like. It’s a creepy and very effective film. Word has it his next film may be entitled A Head Full Of Ghosts and as he is bringing a very unique style to the genre, he sounds like the right man for the job!

Care nurse Lily (Ruth Wilson) finds her charge may have had all too real inspiration for her horror novels in Oz Perkins’ I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House

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

So these are five creative forces bringing new blood to horror. Each one is worth screaming about and their films are certainly worth checking out!

…and stay tuned for our second installment taking a look at the creative ladies bringing their unique voices to the genre!

-MonsterZero NJ

 

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: MALEVOLENCE 3: KILLER (2018)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

bars

MALEVOLENCE 3: KILLER (2018)

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

After Bereavement, writer/director/editor Stevan Mena decided to go back to basics with the third installment of his Malevolence franchise by not only returning to a more classic slasher format, but by independently financing the film. Tragedy struck his production, though, with only 75% of the movie finished, when actor Scott Decker sadly took his own life. With little money for re-shoots, the film went on hiatus for two years until Mena’s passion and perseverance found a way to finally finish it. Malevolence 3 now sees it’s release on home media and video streaming right in time for Halloween! 🎃

Malevolence 3: Killer opens with the final scenes of the first film…remember, Bereavement was a prequel…with serial killer Martin Bristol (Jay Cohen) escaping into the woods. Martin, in true Michael Myers fashion, returns to his childhood home town and begins a killing spree. He leaves a trail of bodies as he returns to the house he was born in, which is now home to pretty student and musician Ellie (Katie Gibson) and her roommates Tara (Kelsey Deanne) and the vivacious Lynn (Alli Caudle). Drawn to the three girls, Martin begins stalking them, killing anyone who crosses his path. All the while Agent Perkins (Kevin McKelvey) is hot on his trail in hopes to stop Martin before he kills again.

Malevolence was a solid slasher homage giving us elements that evoked both Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Bereavement was something all it’s own with a portrait of a deranged killer (Brett Rickaby) teaching his grim trade to kidnapped little boy, Martin (Spencer List). With the third installment, Stevan Mena returns to a more traditional slasher film with the adult Martin paying his home town a bloody visit and a trio of young girls picking the wrong house to preside in. As such, Mena crafts another solid slasher flick much on par with his original. The film doesn’t quite have the emotional resonance of his creation of a serial killer prequel, though there are some scenes with Martin’s grieving mother (Ashley Wolfe) and grandmother (the legendary Adrienne Barbeau), which work nicely on that level. In most slashers if the killer’s mother is still alive, she’s usually portrayed as equally deranged, so this was a nice change and added some depth. Most importantly, the film does do what it’s supposed to do and does it well. It’s paced much like the slashers of the early 80s with a moderate burn till the last act. There is some traditional skin shown by it’s lovely cast and the kills are bloody and brutal, yet grounded, so they keep their impact and avoid the outlandishness of many other slasher franchises. Mena’s killer is effective and needs no mask to elicit chills and his prey are a likable group of girls and neighbors, so we feel for them. When that last act comes and Martin and Ellie throw down, it’s intense and bloody as Agent Perkins closes in…but will it be in time? On a technical level Mena’s shots are excellently framed, that and his cinematography evokes Carpenter and Dean Cundey in the very best way. The film looks very good for a low budget flick and except for a few shots of Katie Gibson’s hair changing length a bit, there is really no evidence the film had such a troubled production. Again, a filmmaker’s passion and perseverance found a way to complete his vision.

Cast-wise Mena hits a home run with the casting of Katie Gibson as Ellie. Her Ellie is sweet, strong and a very likable young lady. She is also tough and resilient when Martin finally moves in for the kill. She’s a great final girl in every sense of the word and even gets to play a variation of the traditional babysitter, when, thanks to Martin, her young neighbor Victoria (Victoria Mena) finds herself all alone. If Stevan Mena continues this franchise or makes another horror film, I hope he brings Gibson along. As Martin, Jay Cohen is an imposing figure. He doesn’t speak, but isn’t hidden behind a mask, so the actor has to display his cold blooded-ness with only his eyes and facial expression and he does so very well…and remember, Martin also has congenital analgesia, so he can’t feel pain. Kevin McKelvey returns for his third go as Perkins and fits the mold of the “Dr. Loomis” of the film. He’s tough and strong, yet there is also compassion, as he recognizes that in some ways Martin is just as much a victim as he is a killer. This touch helps Perkins avoid being a stereotype. Barbeau is effective in her few scenes as Martin’s grandmother, as is Ashley Wolfe returning as Martin long-suffering mom. In support, Alli Caudle and Kelsey Deanne are likable as the saucy Lynn and studious Tara, respectively and it is sad Scott Decker was not able to complete his role, as Agent Roland is a likable character with, unavoidably, too little screen time. RIP.

Overall, this was a solid slasher and another example of Stevan Mena’s love of the genre. IMO Bereavement is one of the best horror films in the last ten years and Mena wisely doesn’t try to replicate it. Sequel instead returns to basics to display the results of Graham Sutter’s (Rickaby) work in Martin. It has a moderate pace echoing it’s influences and delivers the goods from some bloody kills to a resilient and very endearing final girl. Mena overcame some heavy obstacles to complete his trilogy and one hopes the trilogy becomes a series and Malevolence 4 will be a smoother production and come sooner than the eight years between these films. Mena is yet another filmmaker people need to be talking more about and another example that you can get your film made!

F.Y.I. Malevolence 3: Killer is available for streaming on Amazon and iTunes, or you can order the complete trilogy on Blu-Ray from Amazon.com and Walmart.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 and 1/2 knives!

 

 

 

 

 

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: VICTOR CROWLEY (2017)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2now playing

bars

VICTOR CROWLEY (2017)

Fourth installment of Adam Green’s slasher homage series takes place ten years after the last one with survivor Andrew Yong (Parry Shen) becoming a bit of a cult celebrity after writing a book about his encounter with Victor Crowley. On route to an interview, his plane crashes right into Crowley’s killing ground, Honey Island Swamp. At the same time, a group of amateur filmmakers head into the swamp to make a trailer for a proposed film on Crowley. The plane survivors and the filmmakers soon find out that Crowley’s legend is all too true.

Adam Green returns to the director’s chair…after abdicating it to B.J. McDonnell for part III…and again writes. The result is a lazy, by-the-numbers sequel with a few laughs and gory moments here and there, but the “been there done that” is heavily setting in. Green doesn’t offer anything we haven’t seen before in this series and delivers a fourth dose of the same gory kills and goofy humor in the same setting. Fans of this series will probably enjoy the familiarity, but if you are looking for Green to do something innovative to freshen up his franchise, you’ll be extremely disappointed. The gore FX are well done, but the film otherwise looks cheap and restricts a good two-thirds of the action to the wrecked plane interior and the immediate grounds surrounding it. The film centers on the whiny Andrew Yong and the likes of Danielle Harris’ vengeful Marybeth Dunston are sadly missed.

Kane Hodder returns as Crowley and stomping around and grunting is basically all the role requires him to do. Shen tries hard, but Yong is a supporting character and promoting him to lead really doesn’t help. Laura Ortiz shows a bit more spunk as movie make-up artist Rose and Dave Sheridan is fine as wannabe actor turned hero, Dillon. We also get horror vets Felissa Rose and Tiffany Shepis as Yong’s agent and ill-fated passenger, Casey, respectively. The cast get the material and go with it.

Overall, this is basically just more of the same and not very effectively at that. Adam Green doesn’t do anything to freshen up his slasher homage series and falls back on the same ole, same ole for his latest chapter in the Victor Crowley saga. It just comes across as lazy. The first film was amusing and the two sequels had their moments, but this fourth flick shows a franchise definitely running out of swamp gas.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 hatchets.

 

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: HATCHET (2006)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2now playing

bars

HATCHET (2006)

With word coming today that Adam Green secretly filmed a fourth Hatchet flick entitled Victor Crowley, I thought I ‘d drag out my original Hatchet review written pre-blog -MZNJ

Hatchet is both a homage and a spoof of the slasher films of the 80s and it’s obvious director Adam Green has a love for the films he playfully has fun with. Hatchet is a gory but silly story of Victor Crowley, a deformed boogie man legend claims stalks the New Orleans bayou. When a group of tourists on a haunted swamp tour become shipwrecked in Crowley’s backyard, they soon learn this is one urban legend with a lot of truth to it.
While Green does a good job recreating one of those 80s slasher flicks, he’s not as totally successful at juggling the gory horror with the comedy elements. Green is not subtle here and the film jarringly changes tone between scenes where one minute it’s being a comedy, and the next it’s trying to be seriously spooky. It’s this back and forth that keeps one from completely settling into his tribute to all things Jason. Green is also hindered here from his inner film geek seeing his vision not as a story, but as a movie. This gives Hatchet a staged look, it looks like a movie filmed on sets whether it was or wasn’t. This robs us of the illusion of watching his story unfold and instead constantly reminds us that this is only a movie and these are not characters but actors. Even in a playful homage like this, we still need that illusion.
But, there is still fun to be had as Adam Green does both skewer and stroke the slasher genre. The gore is over the top and top notch and he points out with a wink the absurdities of some of the films it references…Crowley finding a hand sander in the middle of a swamp, rain at a most crucial and inappropriate time…and the film geek in us knows exactly where he’s coming from. Despite the flaws in his method we still get his madness. Stars horror legends Tony Todd, Robert Englund and Kane Hodder as Crowley.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 hatchets.

 

 

 

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: LAST GIRL STANDING (2015)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

last-girl-standing

bars

LAST GIRL STANDING (2015)

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

Interesting little movie takes a look at the traditional slasher film, but from a different direction…what happens to the final girl after the massacre is over. Pretty young Camryn (Akasha Banks Villalobos) is the only survivor when a masked serial killer called “The Hunter” (Jason Vines) murders all her friends. Camryn barely escaped with her life, but managed to kill the maniac before he killed her. Four years later, her life is a mess. She works a minimum wage dry cleaning job and is a shy introvert still haunted by the memories of what befell her on that terrible night in the woods. When new guy Nick (Brian Villalobos, Akasha’s real-life husband) starts working at the dry cleaners, Camryn starts to slowly open up and join Nick and his group of friends. But the closer she gets to them, the more she starts seeing The Hunter again. Has the killer somehow returned from the dead to stalk her new friends, or is Camryn far more haunted by that fateful night than she imagined?

Written and directed by Benjamin R. Moody, this is an intriguing look at what happens in a slasher movie to the victim’s life, after the events of the movie are over. He opens his film with the gruesome final moments of Camryn fighting for her life against the masked madman and then barely surviving as she kills the fiend trying to save herself. He then takes us four years later with the scars, both physical and mental still apparent. He presents a young women in emotional and social withdrawal who is haunted by the memories of the murder of her friends. We then get a glimmer of hope for her, as Nick arrives and introduces her to a new group of people. Obviously, the fear of losing her new friends takes it’s toll and she begins to see the killer and evidence of his return…or does she? Moody keeps us guessing a bit as to if the killer truly has returned, as so many in slasher sequels do, or is Camryn far more damaged that even she suspects. Just as the premise starts to wear out it’s welcome, the blood starts to spatter again…but who is spilling it? If the film falters a bit, it’s that it does remain mostly a drama till it’s last act and it’s not always as gripping as we’d like, but the director/writer balances that with some interesting and effective scenes such as one of Camryn being taken to The Hunter’s grave by new friend Danielle (Danielle Evon Ploeger) to try and give her closure. Emotionally the scene is one of the best in the film. For those wanting a horror movie here, your patience pays off and there is a quite bloody finale to go along with the gruesome beginning and “The Hunter” is effective enough to work as the character needs to. We may see the end coming, but it still ironic, still works and very well.

As for our actors, Akasha Banks Villalobos does a very good job evoking our sympathy as Camryn. The role is wisely played low key, as over-the-top would have taken the film in a more theatrical direction and keeping it grounded makes it work nicely. Villalobos is effective as both final girl and presenting the effects of a victim haunted by dire events. She also shines in the climactic last act where Moody turns this back into a slasher movie. The actress’ husband Brian Villalobos is also good as Nick. He portrays a likable guy who is interested in his shy co-worker and portrays well a character who is trying to be patient with someone he is starting to care about, but who has issues he doesn’t fully understand. Danielle Evon Ploeger really makes an impression as Nick’s friend Danielle, who takes a sympathetic liking to Camryn. The actress creates a very likable and sweet girl-next-door type and she has some really nice scenes together with Villalobos as she tries to help Camryn heal. Ploeger and her character are final girl material in themselves and that may not be unintentional.

I liked this movie. Maybe it was a bit too low key at times and there are a few questions, like why Camryn isn’t in therapy, but it tells a side of a beloved horror mainstay that we rarely see…what happens to the final girl’s life long after the killer is gone. Director Benjamin R. Moody gives us a sad and sympathetic portrayal of a young women whose life has been tragically damaged by horrific events and then makes us watch as the prospect of new friends to care about both entices and terrifies her. And just as the film starts to wear out it’s welcome, Moody turns it back into the horror flick it started out as, but with a twist. The acting is effective and the gore is surprisingly abundant once it does get bloody. Definitely a flick worth taking a look at if you are a horror/slasher fan.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 hand axes.

last-girl-standing-rating

 

 

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: FENDER BENDER (2016)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

fender-bender

bars

FENDER BENDER (2016)

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

Co-produced by Chiller TV and Shout! Factory this is an entertaining little slasher flick that has teen driver Hilary Diaz (Makenzie Vega) getting into a fender bender with a strange guy (Bill Sage) who may have caused the accident on purpose. Grounded by her parents for the accident and taking the car without permission, this leaves the young girl home all alone when they go away. Now Hilary and two of her friends (Dre Davis and The Guest’s Kelsey Leos Montoya) are at the mercy of the deranged masked individual who is apparently making a career out of stalking his fender bender victims.

Written and directed by Mark (The Night Flier) Pavia, this is actually an effective and fun slasher that also has it’s share of brutal moments. Pavia builds some nice suspense, especially when Hilary is alone in the house early on and Sage’s “Driver” is an effective enough stalker/slasher whose viciousness is demonstrated in the opening scene. The film is modestly budgeted and works well within it’s limited framework, confining most of the action to Hilary’s home and yard…despite the poster giving expectations for a more Mad Max-esque thriller. There are some plot holes, such as Hilary’s parents unrealistically making a 17 year-old stay home alone while they’re away and the teen being a little too quick to trade texts with a complete stranger she had an accident with…don’t even get me started on her not being creeped out when he leaves a cake on her car. But the film entertains where most important and Vega makes for a very likable and resilient heroine. While it’s body count is limited and the gore is basically just spurting blood, the kills have impact and there is some intensity to the cat and mouse chases through and around Hilary’s house. There is also a really cool and atmospheric electronic score by Nightrunner that oozes John Carpenter and overall the film does play nostalgically like an 80s slasher.

I liked this little horror flick. It isn’t perfect, but was effective when it needed to be and had a killer who had some menace. The characters are likable, especially lead Makenzie Vega, who gives us a cute and gutsy heroine to cheer. And while there were some flaws and plot holes, there was also tension and suspense and a nice 80s vibe to boot. A fun little movie that smartly doesn’t try to be any more than it is.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 creepy masks.

fender-bender-rating

 

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: MOST LIKELY TO DIE (2015)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

most likely to die

bars

MOST LIKELY TO DIE (2015)

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

Old school slasher flick tells the story of an approaching ten year high school reunion being attended by a group of friends who meet beforehand at a remote house in the California hills. Obviously, by our opening scene, there is a killer stalking them and killing them in ways that reference their yearbook’s ‘most likely’ quotes about them. Is it the student they teased and tormented in school now back for revenge?…or does someone else have a grudge against these ill-fated alumni?

Flick is directed by Anthony DiBlasi (Cassadaga, Last Shift) who gives the proceedings a sense of grisly fun despite not having the strongest script from Laura Brennan. It’s hard to tell sometimes if Brennan is deliberately trying to pay homage to the 80s era slashers by having characters do dumb things, like separate individually to check the rooms of the house once they know a killer is at large, or stopping to bare each other’s souls while that killer is at large, who could attack at any minute. Some of the dialogue is a bit clunky and a few of the kills would have required the killer knowing exactly where someone is going beforehand for things to be set up and waiting. It’s just hard to tell if some of this is done on purpose, or just out of lack of imagination, as sometimes the script follows the classic 80s slasher formula and sometimes it seems like it wants to be it’s own thing. There is some cleverness, too, such as the killer’s yearbook based MO and his weapon of choice, a razor edged graduation cap. The script, thankfully, also avoids going the smarmy, pop culture reference imbued post-Scream route, which has been done to death. We also get a fairly surprising reveal and the film does have a bit of a twisted sense of humor. On a production level, DiBlasi again proves he is a talent to watch. He makes the most out of the script and turns this into an enjoyable slasher with some suspenseful scenes, intense action and some inventively gory kills with that razor edged graduation cap, a box cutter and some other handy items. Some of the demises are quite vicious and gives our killer some solid menace. As for the killer, they are very effective with graduation gown and spooky homemade mask and they seem quite giddy when they slaughter their victims. The gore is quite abundant and well done and DiBlasi’s visual style works well with the story. Not his strongest film, but still very entertaining.

Except for Glee alumni Heather Morris, Jake Busey and a part played by internet gossip Perez Hilton, the cast are fairly unfamiliar faces. Morris shows the makings for a good heroine here and is solid as good girl Gaby. Busey is suitably creepy as the groundskeeper..always gotta have a creepy groundskeeper…and Hilton is actually good as a cowardly, ex-alcoholic returning to old habits once things get intense. The rest of the cast are all fine in their roles with Tess Christiansen showing some final girl potential herself as Gaby’s friend Jade.

I had fun with this despite it’s flaws. The script could have been tighter, but it’s heart is in the right place and it did follow the slasher formula well enough to entertain. There are some nice touches and Anthony DiBlasi guides things well, gives us some nice suspense, some outrageous and brutal kills and keeps the atmosphere going from the opening scenes. Not as intense as Last Shift but a fun slasher flick with an effective killer.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 graduation caps

most likely to die rating

 

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: BLOOD RUNS COLD (2011)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

kinopoisk.ru

bars

BLOOD RUNS COLD (2011)

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

When recording artist Winona (cute Hanna Oldenburg) needs a getaway, her manager books her a large secluded house near her hometown. Hanna hooks up with her ex-boyfriend and some of his pals at a bar and they return to the house to party. But in the hidden crawlspaces and rooms in the home lurks a killer, who soon starts to thin the group’s numbers and quite gruesomely.

Swedish horror is an odd slasher as directed by Sonny Laguna and co-written by he, David Liljeblad and Tommy Wiklund. There is literally no backstory on the creepy killer, not even the traditional local legend and he even seems to be some sort of zombie as he bleeds dust and eats his victims. The film has some very good and abundant gore as a result, but we are still left a bit cold as we never know who or what exactly Winona is dealing with. The film also is light on suspense and only whips up some tension when Winona is left for final girl duty and battles her attacker within the hidden walls, rooms and tunnels of the house. There are definitely some questions raised here by some very obvious plot holes. Why has no one heard of this killer, or resulting disappearances, as he seems to have been in this house for some time? As the killer seems to remain in and around the house, why doesn’t Hanna simply run for it when given the chance, she didn’t seem that far from town. Does Hanna not know blood when she sees it in large puddles? And where the hell did that fully loaded machine gun come from? The film may also get the award for most gratuitous nose drool in film history. Suffice to say, this is not the most solidly scripted slasher and a bit too much is left to our imaginations. It does deliver some really well-done gore, there is some nice nudity from Hanna Oldenburg and Elin Hugoson and Oldenburg does show some spunk as our heroine and is not the virginal type usually given final girl duty. The rest of the cast are generic and unremarkable with the killer himself looking creepy and is effective, despite no backstory or exposition. The snowy scenery also worked in the film’s favor and the house setting was fairly spooky. The film is also less than 80 minutes, so is economically short, which works in it’s favor.

This flick certainly was a mixed bag. There was plenty of gore, a creepy killer and a cute and feisty final girl in Hanna Oldenburg. On the other hand, the rest of the cast was bland, the script underdeveloped and some crucial plot points were left unaddressed. Director Laguna delivered very little tension or suspense and the atmosphere the film had was provided by the snowy Swedish locations and the spooky old house it was filmed it. Passed the time inoffensively, but nothing remarkable or memorable about it. Nice effort on certain levels considering a reported budget of only about $5,000.

-MonsterZero NJ

A generous 2 and 1/2 pick axes, mostly for the gore, locations and cute heroine.

blood runs cold rating

 

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: SOME KIND OF HATE (2015)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

some kind of hate

bars

SOME KIND OF HATE (2015)

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

Some Kind Of Hate is a vicious, vengeful and yet, sometimes heartfelt slasher about bullying and the effect it can have on those bullied.

Lincoln (Ronen Rubenstein) is an emotionally troubled young man who is bullied by his father (Andrew Bryniarski) and bullied at school for his quiet and withdrawn ways. When he finally strikes back viciously at one such bully, he is sent to the cult-like Mind’s Eye Academy for troubled youths. Nothing is different as the academy has it’s own bullies, such as Willie (Maestro Harrell), who, along with his thugs, starts to victimize Lincoln like back in high school. Lincoln has found some allies, though, one is the beautiful but troubled, Kaitlin (Grace Phipps) and the other is the vengeful spirit, Moira (Sierra McCormick) who died as a result of her cruel treatment at the academy. Now Moira begins to exact gruesome revenge on those who hurt her, using Lincoln’s hate as a driving force…but does Lincoln’s hate run deep enough to want to see his tormentors slaughtered?

Directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer who co-wrote with Brian DeLeeuw, this is a nasty tale of revenge from beyond the grave that is also a hard look at bullying and the effects it has on the victims. The hate and anger of those bullied towards their tormentors and themselves, for not being able to fight back, is personified in the cruel and vengeful spirit of Moira, who uses Lincoln’s fury (like Freddy Krueger used fear) to fuel her gruesome acts of revenge…and it is quite brutal. This is an angry movie at times and a nasty one, as not only are we treated to watching the mean Willie (Harrell) relentlessly provoke Lincoln, but the payback of the razor wearing and wielding Moira. Moira is not a wise-cracking gremlin like Freddy Krueger, but a deeply hurt and angry spirit filled with rage and hatred, yet still wanting the friendship of kindred souls like Lincoln and Kaitlin. It was a bit bold for Mortimer and DeLeeuw to give their ‘boogeyman’ such complex emotions, but she is symbolic, after all, of the victims of bullying and the turmoil they suffer. Making her a main character is also risky and sometimes the ‘rules’ of her appearance vary. At times she seems quite coporeal and can be touched and yet she can appear out of nowhere. To harm her victims, she has to inflict the wound on herself and it transfers to them without physically being touched by her razor blades. It all works most of the time, though and effectively creates a vicious slasher with some important issues felt with under all the blood and gore. Despite tackling the bully issues head on, the film never felt preachy and is very satisfying as the horror flick it’s meant to be.

We have a good cast here. Ronen Rubenstein is solid as the soft spoken, introvert Lincoln. He conveys not only the youth’s sadness at being the target of the abuse of others, but the anger and rage both at them and at himself for not being able to fight back…till pushed. Grace Phipps is not only beautiful, but gives her Kaitlin a sexy mischievousness on the outside and also her own inner pain, which draws her to the troubled Lincoln. Maestro Harrell is very effective as the bully Willie and the role is quite the contrast to his lovable Malik on Suburgatory. It shows the actors versatility and his Willie is certainly far from lovable. Sierra McCormick is very effective as Moira. She can make her cruel and hateful one moment but sad and sympathetic the next. It’s never quite clear if she was the ‘evil girl’ her victimizers make her out to be, or if that is just a defense they created to hide their guilt. McCormick does certainly gives her a maliciousness that makes one wonder if she isn’t as much a victim as Moira herself would have you believe. Also stars Lexi Atkins from Zombeavers, former child actor Spencer Breslin as Issac, who bonds with Lincoln and is his only friend at academy other than Kaitlin and Andrew “Leatherface” Bryniarski as Lincoln’s abusive biker father.

I really liked this slasher. It was nasty and vicious, but with an important message at it’s core…but one that is never obtrusive or preachy despite it’s weight. It has some very emotionally troubled characters as both protagonists and antagonists including it’s vengeful slasher spirit, Moira. The cast are all solid in their roles and there is a lot of gruesome carnage, though not enough to wash away the film’s anti-bullying theme. This horror is certainly offbeat and may not appeal to everyone, but it does provide the slasher goods and gives us a vengeful spirit who can hold her own amongst the more time-honored horror characters.

…and don’t forget to watch through the credits…

-MonsterZero NJ

3 and 1/2 razors.

some kind of hate_rating

bars