BARE BONES: COLD SKIN (2017)

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BARE BONES: COLD SKIN (2017)

Period piece is set in 1914 with a young man named Friend (David Oakes) traveling to a secluded island as a Weather Official. There he finds the man he’s replacing is missing and cantankerous lighthouse keeper Gruner (Ray Stevenson) has fortified the lighthouse against something he won’t speak of. Soon Friend finds out that he and Gruner are not alone, as the surrounding waters are home to a society of aquatic humanoids that aren’t happy about the island’s human occupants.

Flick is atmospherically directed by Xavier Gens (Frontier(s),The Divide) and is a Lovecraftian tale of man against monster…or so we first believe. The script by Jesús Olmo and Eron Sheean hints that these creatures are quite intelligent, though and may simply be acting in self defense, as Gruner hasn’t been exactly treating them nicely. There is a lot of action, fierce battles and plenty of bloodshed as Gruner and Friend fend off their attackers. As with many flicks of this type, we soon begin to question just who are the bad guys and who are the victims. Gens proves again he has a solid visual style and delivers an old fashioned and entertaining tale of man discovering things yet undreamt of. Also stars Aura Garrido as a female creature that Gruner has captured and been mistreating in some questionable ways.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: THE DIVIDE (2011)

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THE DIVIDE (2011)

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

Xavier Gens (Frontier(s), Hitman) weaves this grim and violent tale of a group of survivors who are trapped together in a bomb shelter after a nuclear attack on New York City. The longer they stay cooped up in the shelter together, the more civilized behavior collapses and the worst in human nature comes out.

Divide is a well made film and Gans gets really good performances out of his cast, including Michael Biehn, Lauren German and Rosanna Arquette. He crafts a lot of tension and takes us and his characters through some very disturbing sequences as savagery takes over and atrocities are committed with growing ease. But despite how well Gans’ film is made, it is the nature of the story and the filmmaker’s willingness to indulge in it that weighs it down. The problem is we’ve seen this kind of civilization breakdown many times before and Gans spends a little too much time on the horrible acts that the characters commit on each other. After a while we start to become numb and a bit bored as a good portion of the two hour running time is a journey through the evils that men do. The constant bombardment of vulgar and repulsive behavior looses it’s effect and the last act is spent just wanting it to come to some sort of conclusion. And when that conclusion comes, we are already too weary to fully feel it’s bleak impact. There are some interesting segments too, including one that gives us an idea of just who has perpetrated the attack, which is quite chilling and we do have to give Gans credit for such a brutally realistic portrayal of such an event. The production value is high and the scenes of a nuclear devastated NYC are extremely vivid and horrifying which adds to the emotionally dark tone of the film.

A well done movie, but a bit too bleak and depressing for it’s own good. The film makes it’s point over and over and it is emotionally draining. Certainly was worth seeing, but not the kind of movie I’d want to watch again.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 cans of lye…gotta keep that bomb shelter toilet fresh!

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