BARE BONES: THE PRODIGY (2019)

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THE PRODIGY (2019)

At the same moment that serial killer Edward Scarka (Paul Fauteux) is gunned down by police, Sarah Blume (Taylor Schilling) gives birth to her son Miles. As this is a horror movie, that kind of coincidence is never a good thing. Growing up, the boy starts to show a remarkable intelligence. As he reaches his eighth year, Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) also starts to show a propensity towards violent behavior. Soon Sarah and husband John (Peter Mooney) start to believe that there is something very wrong with their son…and they may not live to tell about it.

Very familiar tale is also very well directed by Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact) from a derivative script by Jeff Buhler. We’ve seen the bad seed/possessed kid story so many times that this movie has an uphill battle all the way trying to do something effective with this often used scenario. That being said, McCarthy succeeds in making this a very creepy and sometimes downright disturbing movie, despite having seen it all before. He is also helped by a truly chilling performance from young Jackson Robert Scott, as the serial killer in a little boy’s body and Taylor Schilling does strong work as a woman terrified of her own child. While it’s hard to give the flick any points for originality, it is easy to give Nicholas McCarthy big time kudos for making this well-worn scenario as effective as it is. A great example of a skilled filmmaker taking a lemon and making lemonade. Also stars Colm Feore as a reincarnation expert and Brittany Allen (What Keeps You Alive, Extraterrestrial) as the Scarka victim that got away.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: THE HEAD HUNTER (2018)

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THE HEAD HUNTER (2018)

Minimalist horror/fantasy tells the tale of a warrior (Christopher Rygh) who hunts monsters for a living and saves their heads as trophies. The head he is determined to add to his collection, is the one of the creature that killed his little girl (Cora Kaufman). As in all tales of revenge, be careful what you wish for.

Dark and somber tale is directed by Jordan Downey (Thankskilling and it’s sequel) from his script with Kevin Stewart and is more about grief and the desire to sate it with revenge than action. Those expecting epic battles will be disappointed as the film focuses on the aftermath and effect on “Father”, returning from battle with gory scars and wounds and in obvious pain, as he works his way towards his target. We do get a final confrontation, but it happens in a way you may not expect and concludes in an equally unexpected and unsettling finale. Downey’s film is a far cry from his silly Thankskilling and ironically this film could have been silly in parts if not for Downey’s deft handing of the subject. Instead the last act is quite intense and has some scary moments, as Father hunts and is hunted by the creature. The film reportedly only cost around $30,000 and the director creates a visually impressive film both in the detailed sets, costumes and creature heads and utilizing the Portuguese locations very effectively. The flick has atmosphere, portrays some intriguingly subtle uses of dark magic and features a good performance from Rygh as the grieving warrior. Not for everyone, but an interesting and very effective little movie from Jordan Downey.

Flick is available on Amazon Prime and iTunes.

 

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: TAKE ME (2017)

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TAKE ME (2017)

Indie comedy has the interesting premise of a man named Ray (Pat Healy) who performs kidnap scenarios at a client’s request. He has recently relocated to his family home in California and is quite down on his luck. He gets an opportunity for financial redemption when a client named Anna St. Blair (Taylor Schilling) contacts him for a $5,000 weekend scenario with all the trimmings. But once Ray has Anna in his clutches, he starts to get the impression that something is very wrong and this kidnapping may be far more real than even he bargained for, as the lines between fantasy and reality start to blur.

Flick is directed by star Healy from a fairly clever script by Mike Makowsky. Actor Healy is a first time director here, who also has to star in the production and maybe this was a bit much as his first flick could have used a bit more spark. It does have an intriguing premise and does throw us some fun twists that make one wonder if Ray has the right victim, or if she is far too into her own fantasy than even he can handle. With this novel plot, though, we do feel Makowsky could have gotten more use out of some elements of the scenario, such as a police visit that could have taken things a bit further. And while it’s amusing to see it all play out, we do wish the flick had just a touch more fun with it’s story. Healy and Schilling work well together and have a nice chemistry. Healy keeps Ray somewhat likable despite being a bit of a creep and Schilling has a blast keeping us guessing if she is a real victim or way too into what’s going on. It’s amusing to watch her turn the tables on a man who is used to being in control. Not a great movie, but entertaining enough thanks to an amusing premise and a good cast.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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