Tuesday, September 17, 2019

3 From Hell (2019)


Directed by: Rob Zombie
Notable cast: Sherri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Richard Brake

3 From Hell is a movie that requires some context to fully understand, so it’s necessary to briefly summarize how we got here first. Rob Zombie’s first movie, House of 1000 Corpses, tells us of the Firefly clan, a family of Texas psychopaths who trap tourists searching for the local spooky legend, an ex-Nazi scientist named Dr. Satan. In 1978, seven months after the killings depicted in the first filmSheriff Quincy Wydell leads a raid on the Firefly house. This kicks off the second film, The Devil’s Rejects, and the ensuing firefight kills most of the serial killing family and leads to the capture of the family matriarch who’s subsequently tortured to death by Wydell. Two members escape and act as our effective franchise protagonists. The first is Otis Driftwood, played by Bill Moseley (who’s own genre star-making performance in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 made him a natural fit in Zombie’s TCM inspired world) who is a murderer, rapist, and self-aggrandizing taxidermist with a nihilist streak. The other is Baby, played by the director’s wife, Sherri Moon Zombie in her signature role, who is a deranged, dangerous, childish, and a game playing killer with a tenuous grip on reality at best. The two are joined eventually by Captain Spaulding (Haig), an evil clown and purveyor of “The Museum of Monsters and Madmen”, who sent victims to the Firefly’s by spreading the legend of Dr. Satan and, as we also find out, is Baby’s father. After The Devil’s Rejects (a self-branded moniker) are finally captured and confronted by Sheriff Wydell, they escape again just to drive straight into a wall of police, and the firefight (set, reasonably on the nose, to ‘Freebird’) ends the violent, terrible lives of the three human monsters. It’s a neat, perfect capper to what is a horrid, unblinking examination of the human capacity for evil. There are no heroes in this story, only bad people and worse people, and most couldn’t imagine we would ever revisit anyone from the family.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Freaks (2019)


Directors: Zach Lipovsky, Adam B. Stein
Notable Cast: Lexy Kolker, Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Amanda Crew, Grace Park, Ava Telek, Michelle Harrison, Matty Finochio

The mystery box film has been something I’ve always enjoyed. Even when M. Night Shyamalan essentially claimed the entire genre as his own for a while, I’ve always appreciated a film that toys with its audience on what it’s doing or where it’s going. With the way that modern marketing has gone though, these are a style choice that’s a gimmick more than anything else. Thinking back to how JJ Abrams has maneuvered the Cloverfield franchise or his own Super 8, the way that the film industry makes the questions such a punchline can ultimately undercut the experience of the film. Audiences are immediately looking for the twist. This is what makes Freaks relatively special. Even the trailer that Well Go USA released gave us just enough about the basics of the film, but the final product plays with the details throughout so that it takes two acts before the audience even starts to put things together. It’s an incredible and powerful experience of cinema. The film ultimately ends up going into some familiar territory, but the manner that it gets there is riveting and incredibly well executed. For a mystery box film, it’s a wallop.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Haunt (2019)


Directors: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Notable Cast: Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Lauryn Alisa McClain, Andrew Caldwell, Shazi Raja, Schuyler Helford, Phillip Johnson Richardson

If you were to judge it based on its overall marketing, Haunt is the kind of film that should have dwindled away on VOD. There is a strong movement for “haunted house” horror films. Not the ones about ghosts, but the theme-park style haunted houses that people love to visit around Halloween time. Some of these have been good, Hell House LLC for example, and some have been less than good. Either way, there seem to be more and more lately as the genre continues to grow. When Haunt was announced it didn’t make much of a splash overall in most of my circles. It was getting a limited theatrical release which was the same day as VOD. Even though horror fans were most likely to see it, it’s the kind of film that to get a release without much fanfare.

There is one angle that made it a fascinating addition to that subgenre. Haunt was written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods and it’s produced by Eli Roth. The directors/writers proved they could modernize old school horror to a very successful extent with their written material for A Quiet Place and Eli Roth is relatively smart in the producer’s chair in bringing up talent. Fortunately, the combination proves to be very effective and Haunt ends up being one of the best films for the haunt movement and one of the best finds of the year.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Eerie (2019)


Director: Mikhail Red
Notable Cast: Bea Alonzo, Charo Santos-Concio, Jake Cuenca, Maxene Magalona, Mary Joy Apostol, Gabby Padilla, Gillian Vicencio

Initial trailers made me relatively excited for Eerie, the Filipino horror film that was recently picked up and released via Netflix in the US, but then the weird publications started to get a hold of it. Headlines that claimed it was too scary for regular audiences and how people had to sleep with the lights on started to make their way across social media and it immediately turned me off of it. Not that those kinds of claims indicate a film is good or bad – another Netflix release, Veronica, was a film I quite enjoyed that received the same treatment, but clickbait articles like those sour me a little. Having a bit of free time to review a few films for the year that I had not seen was the main reason I decided to partake in Eerie after some of that overzealous hype had worn down. Although there are certainly some creepy set pieces to be enjoyed in the film, the overly predictable nature of the plot and its adherence to so many tropes of the ‘ghostly girl’ sub-genre make it a rather mixed effort. For every interesting piece of execution, it follows it up with a mediocre one. For young horror fans, more casual film watchers, or those simply not versed in the sect of Asian ghost stories, Eerie might be appealing. For the rest of us, it’s a rather hum-drum addition to the genre.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

It: Chapter Two (2019)


Directed by: Andy Mucshietti
Notable cast: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Bill Skarsgård, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean

It: Chapter Two serves as a really good reminder of why people remember and celebrate the childhood half of the story. That may seem harsh, but if anything, this movie does deserve praise for making the material as interesting as it’s possible to make it. The adaptation of the story and some of its more esoteric elements are at the very least bold and interesting. I’m a long-time devoted King reader, and I grew up with the Tim Curry miniseries, but I’m going to take this film strictly on its own merit. For a record of my potential bias, the miniseries doesn’t really hold up, and probably wasn’t that good in the first place, and the book is definitely upper tier King but admittedly kind of a mess. Especially the ending…

Itsy Bitsy (2019)

Director: Micah Gallo
Notable Cast: Bruce Davison, Elizabeth Roberts, Arman Darbo, Chloe Perrin, Denise Crosby, Treva Etienne

Maybe it was just fate. Perhaps there's the snapback of quality that is happening right now that comes every decade or so, but the creature feature genre is getting a hefty dose of ‘hell yeah’ in the booming horror scene. Earlier this year Aja and Raimi dropped a fantastic and efficient killer gator flick to theaters with Crawl and just last month saw the release of the Kickstarter funded and Shout!/Scream Factory distributed killer spider flick, Itsy Bitsy. It’s the latter film that’s the focus of this piece and, quite frankly, it deserves the praise. Although the film has certainly been on my radar for most of the year, particularly after the very effective trailer dropped a few months ago, Itsy Bitsy hasn’t had the word of mouth response in my circles that it rightfully deserves since it’s release on VOD last week. The fact remains, Itsy Bitsy is an efficient and effective throwback creature feature that pours on the tension, spikes it with some grotesque moments, and delivers on its simplistic and intimate premise. In a world where the stupidity and self-awareness of SyFy original monster films reigns, Itsy Bitsy is a serious and well-crafted piece of genre cinema aiming to take back the sub-genre.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Don't Let Go (2019)


Directed by: Jacob Estas
Notable cast: David Oyelowo, Storm Reid, Byron Mann, Mykelti Williamson

Don’t Let Go is a Blumhouse Tilt movie that snuck into theaters last week to little fanfare. Much like other movies released under the Tilt name, this film has a lot of bold ideas and a reasonably young, fresh talent expressing those ideas. Like a couple of other BH Tilt movies, namely The Belko Experiment, The Green Inferno, and Upgrade before it, this plot is well navigated territory with a slight genre tint to help it stand out. Does it work as well this time as it did for those? Not quite and that’s too bad.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Red Peony Gambler 4: Second Generation Ceremony (1969)


Director: Shigehiro Ozawa
Notable Cast: Junko Fuji (Sumiko Fuji), Hiroyuki Nagato, Kyosuke Machida, Bin Amatsu, Hosei Komatsu, Shunya Wazaki, Tatsuo Endo, Shoji Nakayama, Hitoshi Omae, Kenji Takamiya, Misa Toki

“I wish you good luck from the shadows.”

By now the formula is established. The first three Red Peony Gambler films share a common structure and narrative that solidifies the identity of the series, but by the third film it was starting to wear thin – even if that film ends up being quite the impressive little period yakuza film. For the fourth film of this franchise, with the subtitle Second Generation Ceremony, the series takes a somewhat unique direction that differentiates it from its predecessors. One part of me enjoys the film for a relatively refreshing approach to telling the next chapter of Oryu’s saga as a wandering yakuza gambler. The other part of me found the film somewhat of a chore to sit through with its sluggish pacing and occasionally overbaked plot. Although it’s a flawed film, Red Peony Gambler 4 is still a decent film, but it doesn’t find the balance and effective thematic depth of the three films prior.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Ne Zha (2019)


Director: Jiao Zi
Notable Cast: Lyu Yanting, Cao Yalong, Wang Zheng, Chen Hao, Zeng Hongru, Yang Wei, Zhang Jiaming

One of the more fascinating pieces about the rise of the Chinese film industry over the last five to ten years is how incredibly unpredictable the entire thing is as a whole. Films that would seem to check off all of the boxes to soar in the box office flounder and yet other films come out as massive surprises. Of the latter category, Ne Zha might be one of the most astounding. China has been slowly putting together an animation film plan over the last few years to build an audience there and recent foreign box office successes like Disney’s Coco and a re-release of Spirited Away have laid the groundwork for a domestic giant to arise. As it turns out, that film is Ne Zha. Ne Zha took China by storm, generating astronomical box office numbers and becoming something of a legend seemingly overnight, enough so that international distribution label Well Go USA took notice and quickly generated a theatrical release for the film in the US. A surprising move since, well, it’s a foreign language animated family film. Still, now that the film his been unleashed on the unsuspecting US market, it’s safe to say that, yes, Ne Zha is a blast. The animation is fun and tight, balancing traditional cartoon choices with lush CGI detailing, and the story and narrative find a strong balance between the family-friendly moments and key fantasy action set pieces. This landmark animated film takes the best of the blockbuster formulas that China has learned from Hollywood and given it a delightful and distinctly Chinese spin. The results are a rip-roaring ride of laughs, action, and bigger than life fantasy morals.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)


Director: Alfred Sole
Notable Cast: Linda Miller, Paula Sheppard, Niles McMaster, Jane Lowry, Rudolph Willrich, Mildred Clinton, Michael Hardstark, Brooke Shields

The first time that Alice, Sweet Alice came into my awareness was probably a decade or so ago when a painting of the masked villain of the film popped up on my social media feed. The painting itself was fantastic, a modern exaggeration of the characteristics with bold yellows, reds, and blues. If I could remember the artist, they deserve some credit and I spent a good deal of time trying to find that picture again to very little luck. The message was clear though, I needed to see the film. At the time, there was only a shoddy version of the film available via Amazon Prime streaming and this is where I first experienced it. Too often Alice, Sweet Alice gets thrown into the lot of “forgotten slashers” on a variety of internet lists and, despite its fair share of cult cinephiles that champion the film, it tends to be despairingly overlooked. It doesn’t deserve to be. Alice, Sweet Alice is one of the true diamonds to be found in the genre. It toys with the expectations of the viewer, delivers on its off-beat quirks, and still manages to layer in a lot of thoughtful material both in the visuals and narrative to give the film punch on multiple watches. On top of all of that, this latest (and greatest) Arrow Video Blu Ray release lives up the strength of the film itself.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Ready or Not (2019)


Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Notable Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny

Horror and comedy are two great tastes that taste great together. In a broad sense, it’s because they rely on the same psychological concepts to play out. They’re both about the building of tension and lean on resolving that stress in a surprising way. Ready Or Not enters a long lineage of this sub-genre and does so in a fun way. Perhaps not wholly unique, but it’s fun and it has style. It draws a specific line juxtaposing a gore heavy, violent and hard “R” slasher sensibility with a sardonic, low-key, borderline disaffected sense of humor and then rides that line for nearly all its worth before getting out and walking away. In other words, it’s a pretty perfect movie for the end of the summer and wonderful counter-programming to the standard August dumping ground fare.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)


Directed by: Johannes Roberts
Notable cast: Sophie Nélisse, Corinne Foxx, Brianne Tju, Sistine Stallone

Shark movies have a long and storied history in the world of horror. Arguably the first-ever blockbuster was Jaws, the most famous of them, and our fine finned friends have remained a popular film antagonist since. I never saw the original 47 Meters Down, so I really had no idea what I should be expecting in this film, plus the marketing has been a bit on the underwhelming side, so I went into this film with deeply lowered expectations, and apparently that’s the way to see it, because I really had quite a good time with this. Shark films tend to either be silly and campy or attempt something a bit more serious and grounded… though damned if I can think of a shark movie that used the latter approach and was worth watching, post-Jaws. This movie definitely doesn’t attempt anything in the vicinity of serious, luckily.

Critters Attack! (2019)


Director: Bobby Miller
Notable Cast: Tashiana Washington, Ava Preston, Jack Fulton, Jaeden Noel, Dee Wallace

For years, one of the things I clamored for was a revival of the Critters franchise. Growing up with the original two films and being there for the releases of the generally dismissed third and fourth entries, there has been a soft spot in my heart for the series and their strange blend of humor, horror, and science fiction. Imagine my surprise when it was announced that not only were we getting a new limited series called Critters: A New Binge that was going direct to Shudder, but there was also going to be a new film. I was ecstatic. Was this going to be the revival that I had wanted for so long?

I suppose you can call it a revival. There was both a new series and a new film, but, alas, neither are particularly good. For this review though, the focus will be on the new film, Critters Attack!, but make no mistake – both A New Binge and Attack are worse than anything the previous four had to offer. What are the chances that would happen? Pretty fuckin’ good now that both are released.

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Kitchen (2019)


Director: Andrea Berloff
Notable cast: Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss, Domhnall Gleeson

What does one do hot off of a writing Oscar, especially after writing something as instantly seminal as Straight Outta Compton? Writing and directing a female-centric period mob drama based on a DC/Vertigo comic would not have been my first guess, personally, but I do respect the unexpected move. Bold in its casting, The Kitchen exists as a dramatic acting showcase for both McCarthy and Haddish, typically better known for their comedic chops. The setting is interesting, and the concept of the story is infinitely engaging, potentially… with so much lined up in The Kitchen’s favor, it seems strange that it just never quite comes together.  

The Brink (2017/2019)


Director: Jonathan Li
Notable Cast: Max Zhang, Shawn Yue, Yue Wu, Janice Man, Tai Bo, Cecilia So, Yasuaki Kurata, Gordon Lam, Derek Tsang

One of the bigger names erupting from Hong Kong in the last handful of years has been Max Zhang. Although he goes by a few iterations of his name, his face and his talent are unmistakable. Earlier this year, his character from Ip Man 3 was spun off in Master Z and before that, smaller roles in films like SPL2 (aka Kill Zone 2), Rise of the Legend, and The Grandmaster solidified him as one of the HK’s next big stars. Fortunately, one of his more recent starring vehicles, the focus of this review, is finally receiving its US debut on Blu Ray and DVD. The Brink is a classic HK story told with modern flair and a choice for drenching its cast and sets in water and balancing brutal action sequences with the tried and true plot of a wild rogue cop on the trail of a gangster. The action is dynamic and entertaining, the performances are delightfully old school, and the choice of setting is inspired. Action fans will not want to miss this martial arts gem.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Line Walker 2: Invisible Spy (2019)


Director: Jazz Boon
Notable Cast: Nick Cheung, Louis Koo, Francis Ng, Huang Zhizhong, Jiang Peiyao, Zhang Yichi, Yuning Liu, Hui Siu-Hung

Who out there remembers Line Walker? Anyone? Despite being – from my understanding – based a popular TV show and an outright box office success in China, the film made relatively no impact in the US. Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember Line Walker. In the US, the film made one of those ninja quiet debuts on Netflix and essentially ceased to exist for western audiences. It’s not a huge issue because let’s be honest, Line Walker was enigmatically ‘meh.’ With the talent, it should have been a rip-roaring time. It’s not. Since it was a huge hit in China though, that only meant a sequel was coming. Naturally, it’s a “name only” sequel featuring most of the same cast and the same director, but it’s a brand-new film. If you’re like most of the US, don’t worry if you haven’t seen Line Walker because you’ll be able to jump right into Line Walker 2: Invisible Spy with no preparation. Fortunately, it’s also a film that’s an overall step up in quality. It’s still an outlandishly convoluted film, hammering down on its modern spin of heroic bloodshed themes, but it’s sprinting pace, fantastic cast, and outright astoundingly fun action make it worth the watch.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Divine Fury (2019)


Director: Kim Joo-hwan
Notable Cast: Park Seo-joon, Ahn Sung-ki, Woo Do-hwan, Jo Eun-hyung, Choi Woo-sik, Kim Si-eun

Had The Divine Fury been made in any other country besides South Korea and been made in any other time, the film would have been a hokey genre affair with a tagline like “First he brought the fight to the octagon, now he brings the fight to Satan!” To be fair, that is essentially what this film is in a nutshell. At the basics, it’s about a star MMA fighter who finds himself side by side with a Vatican priest fighting off a horde of demons possessing a bunch of people in Seoul. The brilliant maneuver that The Divine Fury brings to the floor is that it takes itself shockingly seriously and it’s impeccably executed. It’s stylish as hell (pun intended), packs one hell of a genre-bending punch (pun also intended), and still manages to deliver a story with soul (is that three for three?). Perhaps it’s because my expectations were tempered by the idea of an action horror film with MMA and exorcisms, but The Divine Fury achieves its tasks with far more excitement and impressiveness then it has any right to accomplish.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Bravest (2019)


Director: Tony Chan
Notable Cast: Xiaoming Huang, Jiang Du, Zhuo Tan, Zi Yang, Hao Ou, Yong Hou, Xiaotian Yin, Jason Gu, Zhehan Zhang, Ge Gao

As the push in the Chinese industry draws closer and closer to that of Hollywood, so does their approach to film making. The latest big-budget blockbuster-style film to make it to the US is The Bravest, a large spectacle film that attempts to find that perfect balance between action and dramatic heft. For those more familiar with Hollywood style films, the best comparison for The Bravest is combining the mass destruction and disaster films of Roland Emmerich and the “true story” action films of Peter Berg. For better or worse, depending on the scene, the film sways heavily between the two and it makes for both a highly entertaining film – occasionally from unintentional humor – and one that is perplexing in how poorly developed it is.

The Nightingale (2019)


Director: Jennifer Kent
Notable cast: Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr, Damon Harriman

Jennifer Kent set the horror world aflame for a moment in 2014 with The Babadook, a movie that made a children’s book beyond scary and made parenthood seem like the most real horror show in history. In the intervening years, it’s grown into an LGBTQ+ icon movie, and seen a second life in that symbolic way. No matter your take on it, the movie garnered an unusual amount of attention for a small, foreign, indie horror film. In a similar way, I do expect The Nightingale will have an unexpected and far reach, though as the film is less metaphorical and more about our current culture through a mirror darkly, I won’t even guess what that reach will entail. I certainly feel like I know what the intended effect is, and by that measure The Nightingale is an extremely effectively made film. It’s also one that’s impossible to properly talk about without just talking about it, so although I will make every effort to avoid spoiling many specific story beats, it would do the film an equal disservice to completely avoid talking about the themes and message present here.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Shadow (2019)


Director: Zhang Yimou
Notable Cast: Deng Chao, Betty Sun Li, Ryan Zheng Kai, Wang Qian-Yuan, Hu Jun, Wang Jing-Chun, Guan Xiao-Tong, Wu Lei, Feng Bai

Zhang Yimou made a bold choice to deviate away from his usual artistic ways to make The Great Wall. Now, I’m not sure I’m to the point where I want to fully defend what he was attempting to do in creating a popcorn flick, but it was a bold choice to make that film. It alienated most people and many of his fans were ready to throw him under the bus almost immediately. With that in mind, it’s not shocking that he would try to make amends to his fans and supporters by making another film that’s relatively consumable for a worldwide audience and still heavy on the artistic and symbolic side. One that could easily be sold as “from the director of Hero and House of Flying Daggers.”

The result is his latest artsy wuxia, Shadow. Yimou gets to once again struts his knack for visual flair and dynamic storytelling in this high brow genre flick and he once again plays around with the nuances of right versus wrong within its narrative. Shadow is a film that establishes a slow build for most of its run time, methodically placing its characters and plot in ways to create a sense of unease in the audience. By the time it reaches its finale, Shadow swiftly and elegantly pierces through the narrative with heavy questions and weighty themes. It’s not his most exciting film from a thrills and spectacle stand point, nor does it quite hit the emotional character strides of many of his early films, but Shadow has a rather unique balance that provides an entertaining conspiracy film, a wuxia epic, and an intimate character study.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)


Director: André Øvredal
Notable Cast: Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Austin Abrams, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn, Javier Botet, Mark Steger

I was quite hyped for this one. The source material for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was a cornerstone of my horror media upbringing, del Toro is sitting in the producer's chair, and director André Øvredal has proven to be something of a master in genre cinema with back to back classics in Troll Hunter and The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Naturally, that means it's bound to be generally underwhelming based on expectations versus the actual execution of the film. Even with that, the film ends up being a highly entertaining time for both kids and adults. It never quite finds the right balance, but strong set pieces and efficient pacing make it a solid fall film.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Cruising (1980)


Director: William Friedkin
Notable Cast: Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Don Scardino, Richard Cox, Joe Spinell, Karen Allen, Jay Acovone

Cruising is one of those fascinating films that, in the grand scheme of things, has had a strange existence. Although this review of the film is not meant to be a full analysis of the film’s history which a viewer can get a fantastic exploration of from the various features on this latest Arrow Video release, the film’s journey does lay context for the rest of this review. From the heavy protesting of the film by the gay community during its pre-production and through most of its original run to a pocket of reclamation that has come about in recent years, the film is one that is surrounded by controversy. When a film that is made in the late 70s to be released in 1980 concerns a serial killer stalking the S&M clubs of New York, it was bound to be abrasive to most viewers. Thus, it’s a prime film to earn its own cult following. With the bold combination of star Al Pacino and director William Friedkin, Cruising has the talent to be a fantastic film. Can it rise above its controversial status to do so?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)


Director: David Leitch
Notable Cast: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby

The Fast & Furious films have basically settled into being a superhero franchise that takes place in a universe where cars are a superpower. Ever since Fast Five I have said and believed this. It’s not even an insult to me. I love superhero cinema, I love cars, and I love The Fast and The Furious… which is why Hobbs & Shaw, the first F&F spin-off, surprises me with how well it worked. I’m a total mark for this franchise already, so I went in expecting to like this, but I was pleasantly surprised anyway when I came away realizing that, furthering my metaphor, Hobbs & Shaw is what a Bond or Mission Impossible-like spy plot taking place in a superhero universe where cars are a superpower would look like. This movie has cracked the formula that xXx wanted to so badly, and I hope this sub-franchise really gets some legs under it. One or two more iterations, and we may actually get a modern Goldfinger. Or at least a post-modern one.

The Good, the Bad, the Weird, and the Wild: Dario Argento


*The Good, the Bad, the Weird, and the Wild is a series of articles that will focus on one particular person, for example, directors, actors, producers, etc., that have had a strong career in genre, cult, and arthouse cinema. In these articles, our writers are asked to choose four films from their filmography. They will choose one of their favorites (the good,) one of their least favorites (the bad,) their choice for the oddest film (the weird,) and a fourth film which will be their ‘wild card’ pick. These articles are meant to be a way of discussing the work of these directors in perhaps a new and fun way for our readers - and our writers. Please keep an open mind, discuss, share, and send in your own suggestions for directors for us to cover. 


To say that Dario Argento is the godfather to much of modern horror cinema is an understatement. Not only does it make an obvious reach for an Italian film joke (see what I did there) but it also limits his influence, as Argento's lush color palette, experimental scores, and surreal scripts laid the groundwork for James Wan's surrealistic grit and Mandy's (Panos Cosmatos) neon-pastel colorscape, along with numerous other modern classics that we don't have time to discuss here. Would this have been better if I had written it at the time of the new Suspiria release? Absolutely. Did I do that? Not at all. You see, I have an embarrassing confession for you, the reader: I only had a cursory understanding of Argento prior to starting this exercise. I considered myself a horror critic but hadn't yet paid homage to the giallo infused blood god that is Argento. When Matt (our EIC) assigned this to me, I had no idea what I was about to get into. 

With that said; here are my picks for the directorial review of Dario Argento, master of neon and surrealism. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Swindlers (2017) and The Island (2018) - BLU RAY REVIEW


THE SWINDLERS (2017)

The Swindlers was a film that took a little while to finally drop on Blu Ray. Blood Brothers originally ran a review for its theatrical release back in 2017. This is rather unfortunate because The Swindlers is a fun movie. It’s out there. It’s silly. It’s a popcorn flick that South Korea loves to make about charming characters doing outrageous things in a plot that is more inspired by Hollywood than anything else. Its charms do tend to wear off when the plot relentlessly pummels its audience with twists and turns that rarely make sense. The Swindlers hopes that its viewers are willing to take things with a grain of salt as the story unravels and that they not worry too much about the detailing or potential plot holes that arise. It does have a lot of fun set pieces and characters though which makes it entertaining enough for people who enjoy films like Mission: Impossible. For a more in-depth analysis of the film, please see our full review HERE.

Unfortunately, the latest Blu Ray release of The Swindlers doesn’t have any special features on it to speak of to entice viewers. The film itself, like most releases from Well Go USA, is presented impressively with great audio and visual aspects that will keep Korean movie fans happy. There is a slick Hollywood flair to it that is helped by the Blu Ray high definition which is how I would suggest watching the film, but overall the release itself isn’t spectacular. For those Korean movie fans though, it’s nice that The Swindlers did finally get that home video release and if you enjoy entertaining con man/heist mystery action flicks, it comes recommended. Plus, the release itself gets some brownie points for featuring a pull quote from our review on the cover artwork.


BLU RAY DISC RATING:


THE ISLAND (2018)

Of many of the recent films that Well Go USA has licensed for distribution in the United States, The Island was one that I was perhaps most excited to add to my collection. Although all of the writers here at BB tend to be franchise fools, The Island not only garnered some great word of mouth from critics, but the film looked like it was going to have tons of re-watchability. I can now verify this. The Island is a fantastic genre spinning film. It’s a wild mix of drama, comedy, adventure, romance, and whatever else director Huang Bo wanted to throw into the stew is just a strange and impressive concoction. It has strong visuals, great performances, varieties of style, and – like our previous review of the film for its theatrical release said (which you can read HERE) it deserves the love.

Despite some fantastic new artwork to grace the recently released Blu Ray of the film which does weirdly embrace the somewhat fantastical adventure tones of the film, the Blu Ray itself is not nearly as adventurous. Like the other portion of this review, this latest release is a movie only kind of release. That’s okay though. It might have been fun to have something to dig into the behind-the-scenes or conception of The Island, but the film itself is layered enough that it deserves a purchase to watch and tease out all of the great material here.


BLU RAY DISC RATING:

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Party Hard, Die Young (2019)


Director: Dominik Hartl
Notable Cast: Elisabeth Wabitsch, Michael Glantschnig, Marlon Boess, Markus Freistatter, Valerie Huber, Antonia Moretti, Hisham Morscher, Thomas Ortrok, Chantal Pausch, Alexandra Schmidt, Nikolaas Von Schrader, Ferdinand Seebacher, Fabian Unger, Michael Ostrowski

Slashers are probably the one genre that will never die. Once it was established, whether you want to argue that it was the late 70s or early 80s, the genre formula has been a cornerstone of the horror market. Even in the late 90s, when the horror genre started to waiver in the mainstream it was the slashers that took over. They are always there. As of lately, slashers are starting to garner steam again and so a part of me braces for the new wave. One of the first that intrigued me lately though was the Austrian film, Party Hard, Die Young which premiered on Shudder. Although the film has some issues foundationally, there is a lot of intriguing elements and style that should perk the interest of its viewers and fans of the genre. 

Mojin: The Worm Valley (2019) - BLU RAY REVIEW


The first Mojin film was a surprise to me. It was fun, it was a dynamic mixture of genres, and the chemistry of its cast carried it through some of the rough patches of the script. The sequel, Mojin: The Worm Valley, was less than impressive. Although I will not spend nearly as much time digging into the film for this brief update (you can read my thoughts on it in full HERE) it should be mentioned that I went in with high hopes, only to find some disappointment in the resulting film.

Now that Mojin: The Worm Valley has dropped on Blu Ray; it was worth taking another gander at it. Fortunately, with tempered expectations, it’s easier to enjoy what The Worm Valley has to offer is popcorn fantasy-driven adventure entertainment. The blend of genres isn’t quite as smooth and re-casting the film strips it of much of its chemistry, but some of the unintentional humor makes for a fun watch that I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt on a second viewing. The Blu Ray release itself is a barebones one in terms of features. It just features the film itself, presented in Mandarin with English subtitles, and no special features. In a distribution world where foreign films rarely get US releases, thanks to a general audience that refuses to support films that are not in English, it’s nice for fans of the source material or those with an open mind to be able to add this to their collection. In particular, I'm a franchise guy and having this side by side with the original gives me joy, even fi the film isn't one of my favorites. The picture, sound, and execution of the film on Blu is worthy of seeing it on Blu instead of DVD (The Worm Valley is special effects and spectacle heavy – even if the CGI itself in the film is spotty) and for that, it gets a recommendation.


BLU RAY DISC RATING:

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Akira (1988)


Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Notable cast: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyoma

What does one even say about Akira, that could possibly replicate the feeling of watching it for the first time? I saw this movie, like many nerds in my age range, in my early teens. Fascinated by the idea of a cartoon that very loudly proclaimed that it was for adults. Lured by the twin sirens’ calls of violence and sex (because what else could “adult” possibly mean?), I don’t think any of us were quite prepared for what we were going to get. Violent, certainly, but adult in a way I certainly wasn’t expecting; philosophical, meaningful sci-fi, with a dash of body horror (a Japanese specialty), sharp political and social commentary, and stunning visuals, all while maintaining an undeniably punk sensibility. There is a reasonable contingent of people for whom Akira is the literal definition of cyberpunk. It was undeniably in the vanguard of the sub-genre, along with Blade Runner and books like Neuromancer and Snow Crash. It was defiantly not the hopeful retro-futurism of the 50s and 60s where technology exists solely for mankind’s benefit and our troubles came in the form of aliens, or worse, Russians. (pause for laughter) Instead, cyberpunk paints a future of giant mega-corporations and corrupt governments. Of technology run rampant and the devaluation of human life. It also deals with the next stage of humanity, be it psychics or transhumanistic technology. But more than anything, they tend to deal with trying to exist at the street level in such a horrorscape and looking for a little remaining humanity.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Crawl (2019)


Director: Alexandre Aja
Notable cast: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark

This may not be news to anyone, but Crawl is not a movie that exists in any kind of objective reality. It’s definitely within the director’s heightened sensibilities. Alexandre Aja exploded onto the scene in 2003 with the much, much-lauded High Tension, one of the movies that kicked off the French New Extreme Cinema movement, the same one that eventually brought us Inside, Martyrs, Frontier(s) and more. He has both helmed and produced a fair number of genre gems, if not a lot of classics (The Hills Have Eyes {2006}, Piranha 3D, Mirrors) and much in that same vein, we have Crawl, a serviceable, fun but ultimately forgettable creature feature.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Dark Phoenix (2019)


Director: Simon Kinberg
Notable cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Jessica Chastain, Sophie Turner

As a lifelong comic book nerd, and Marvel zombie specifically, I cannot understate the importance of the Dark Phoenix Saga to the landscape of my youth, especially the animated series’ take. Now, that doesn’t necessarily color my review the way you might think, as I’m also a deep believer in adaptation and some of the hidden beauty that can be drawn out of it. Say what you will about Constantine, for example, as a translation? Not even a little bit close. I mean… damn. They cast Keanu as a Brit. Again. At least he didn’t even try the accent this time, instead, they adapted it. And for my money, one of the finer action films of the aughts. So, what about Dark Phoenix, the deeply delayed swan song for Fox’s X-Men franchise? In a strange way, it serves as a great backdrop for a general post-mortem on the series as a whole. It’s extremely shaky with high highs, and low lows, and is better at the time than you remember it, albeit not necessarily good. There are less absolutely bad films in the franchise than you remember (X3, Origins: Wolverine, and Apocalypse being the only actually irredeemable ones).

Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)


Director: Jon Watts
Notable cast: Tom Holland, Samuel L Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei

In a way, Spider-Man has always been the perfect superhero. He’s relatable in a lot of ways. Granted, most of us couldn’t have invented web fluid and shooters in high school… but we’ve all been a day late and a dollar short in our real lives, and that’s the thing that’s made him so endearing. He’s kind of a sad sack. For every success, something must go terribly wrong. As our third “Spider-Man 2” in twenty years, this accidentally proves true for the franchise. Again.

Getting out of the way immediately that Spider-Man: Far From Home is not actually a bad movie, especially in comparison to either of the “Amazing Spider-Man” movies, it is lacking a certain something. And I believe that ‘something’ is a fundamental misunderstanding of the character’s strength.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Darlin' (2019)


Director: Pollyanna McIntosh
Notable Cast: Lauryn Canny, Pollyanna McIntosh, Nora-Jane Noone, Cooper Andrews, Bryan Batt

Darlin’ was one of the films that I was most excited to see in 2019. Not necessarily because it was going to be the best film of the year, but the concept of the film as a follow up the incredibly dynamic and provocative The Woman was enticing. Add to the fact that the actress from the predecessor, Pollyanna McIntosh was both writing and directing the film made it even more fascinating. Although McIntosh does not quite have the steady hand and directorial skills that Ketchum and McKee brought to the table to make The Woman such a vicious film, Darlin’ is, indeed, a bold follow up that extends some of the themes of the original into new territory while still delivering the same kind of abrasive material expected. It’s also a film that struggles with some of its structure and getting over its budgetary restraints, but it makes some big swings and that’s worthy of praise.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Double Face (1969)


Director: Riccardo Freda
Notable Cast: Klaus Kinski, Christiane Kruger, Gunther Stoll, Annabella Incontrera, Sydney Chaplin, Barbara Nelli, Margaret Lee

When Arrow Video announced that they would be releasing Double Face, I really had no reaction. There is a sense of trust from the cult cinema community concerning what Arrow aims to accomplish with their releases and I share in that trust, but Double Face was a film I had never come across previously. Thus, I had no expectations for it prior to watching the film. I saw the cover, but I even refrained from reading the synopsis to go in with as fresh eyes and mind as possible. Not everyone will be able to see the film that way, but it made for a very different experience for me. Double Face is a strange and stylish spin on the usual murder mystery film. The narrative tends to get muddled underneath what it feels is a relatively clever premise, but the style is effective and a couple of key performances make it an interesting film even if its foundations start to crack under the weight.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Andromeda Strain (1971)

Director: Robert Wise
Notable Cast: Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson, Kate Reid, Paula Kelly, George Mitchell, Ramon Bieri, Kermit Murdock, Richard O’Brien, Peter Hobbs

The Andromeda Strain has always held a special place for me as a film. Growing up I was obsessed with the author Michael Crichton. After seeing Jurassic Park and I went back and read all of his books. His ability to be completely scientific within the realms of fiction writing was a style of writing and thoughtfulness I had never experienced before. The Andromeda Strain was one of my favorite novels. It was intense and detailed. Even though the book was well over 30 years old at the time I read it, it shook me with its realistic approach to apocalyptic procedures and space contagions. When I first saw the film, I couldn’t finish it. I wanted to, but ten-year-old me just wasn’t able to do so because I would fall asleep every time. I wanted to love the film, but the translation from the book to the silver screen was not necessarily the most exciting thing in the world.

Now it’s 2019 and Arrow Video has decided to tackle the infamous 1970s science fiction “thriller” with the usual gusto that they approach all of their titles with. It was a prime moment for me to revisit the film that defied me so long ago and see if, as an adult, I could at least finish it in one sitting.

I did but 10-year-old me wasn’t too off the mark on this one.

Starfish (2019)


Director: A.T. White
Notable Cast: Virginia Gardner, Christina Masterson, Eric Beecroft, Natalie Mitchell

 A random "best of the year in horror" list on social media from an acquaintance of mine is the reason Starfish ended up in my review queue. The author listed Starfish as his #2 slot. This is how I came to watch this film. If I had heard of the film in my previous excursions around the genre internet, it never made an impact on me to remember to keep an eye out for it. Even though it recently dropped on VOD, Starfish had almost no marketing and hype to it in my world. Partner that with the rather intriguing, but bland poster and I'm not sure I would have watched this film. Shame, really. Starfish is fantastic and it deserves so much more hype and discussion that I’m seeing it receive.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Red Peony Gambler 3: The Flower Cards Game (1969)


Director: Tai Kato
Notable Cast: Junko Fuji, Ken Takakura, Kanjuro Arashi, Teruo Ishiyama, Tomisaburo Wakayama

Although this was briefly discussed in my franchise reviews for both the incredible Zatoichi and fan favorite Sleepy Eyes of Death series, but the manner that the Japanese film industry would shotgun the release of entries into a popular series is something to be admired. The admiration extends to, but particularly includes, when it comes to maintaining a sense of quality while entries are both within the formula and giving each one its own identity. For the topic of this review, the next installment in the requested franchise coverage of the Red Peony Gambler called The Flower Cards Game is the third film of the series released within six months. Let that sink in for a second. Three films. Six months. Impressive? What’s even more impressive is the relatively minimal drop in quality over these three films. Although The Flower Cards Game is perhaps the weakest of the three, the film has its own unique tone that sets it aside from the previous two and still manages to maintain a strong narrative and solid execution.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Midsommar (2019)


Director: Ari Aster
Notable Cast: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, Will Poulter, Ellora Torchia, Archie Madekwe

When the first film someone makes is one that comes down with a massive splash for both the genre and the cultural mainstream, the follow-up film needs to be something special. This is the situation that Ari Aster found himself in after the release of Hereditary. While his previous film tended to divide more casual audiences, it’s instant resonating impact with the horror community and critics could not be ignored. It’s not often that a director and writer is thrown into the category as a genre genius with one film, but that’s what happened. The instant success of that film allows Aster even more leeway in his second feature and distributor A24 is game to back it. This is where Aster’s sophomore effort, Midsommar, comes into play. The film might be bigger and brighter, but is that always better in horror? That’s the challenge that Midsommar attempts to hit straight on. Despite some of the brilliance that is being displayed here in the film, Midsommar also feels like a film that is trying to be that next step for the director and doesn’t quite hit its mark in the same amazing ways that Hereditary does (and still does). It’s bold and epic for what constitutes a relatively intimate horror film. There are things that Aster brings to the game that continues to impress in its execution and concept. However, the lacking balance to the art, horror, and set up/pay off makes Midsommar ambitiously flawed too.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Ghost of the Golden Groves (2019)

Directors: Aniket Dutta & Roshni Sen (Harun-Al-Rashid)

Notable Cast: Joyraj Bhattacharjee, Soumyajit Majumdar

Admittedly my knowledge of Indian cinema as a whole is almost non-existent in the grand scheme of things. I cannot speak to the overall state of Indian movies as a whole, however, I can say out the couple of handfuls that I have watched, both mainstream and more independent in nature, I have never quite seen a work like Ghost of the Golden Grove surface from the region. It's not just refreshing as a film confined within the scope of its own native cinema but a fresh new stroke of paint on the pallet of film, as a whole, making for one of 2019's greatest artistic offerings.

Directors Aniket Dutta and Roshni Sen have paired up to make their directorial debut collectively under the moniker Harun-Al-Rashid, a unified and singular voice that really does reflect their vision as a whole onscreen. A truly accomplished blend of artistic ideals that makes for not only one of the most thought-provoking works of the year but one of the most entertaining too. I don't wish to delve too much into the plot here, as going in blind is very beneficial in the end, but the film follows two separate characters, one during the first half and the other in the remaining time.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)


Director: Gary Dauberman
Notable Cast: Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Michael Cimino, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Samara Lee

Annabelle Comes Home is a fascinating occurrence. The Conjuring franchise is only two films long and it has inspired five theatrically released spin-offs. The latest is the third of its own franchise and the focus of this review. How many theatrically released films can make that claim? There are many franchises where the spin-off series has more entries than the originator, but most of those are relegated to direct to home video with the Scorpion King/Mummy series being the first to come to mind. Here we are with the latest Conjuring-verse film and while none of the spin-offs have held a candle to the roaring fire of horror quality that is the main films, Annabelle Comes Home, weirdly, might be the best. That’s not saying a whole lot, honestly. Although I am quite the fan of most of the films, the quality of the spin-offs has been middling at best with mediocre scripts uplifted by solid directorial choices. Oddly enough it was the last Annabelle film, Annabelle Creation, that was my favorite of the spin-offs and after seeing Annabelle Comes Home with a packed audience, this one just might top it. Barely.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

American Horror Project Vol. 2 [Dream No Evil, Dark August, The Child] (2019)


Over three years ago, Arrow Video unleashed the first volume of American Horror Project. Three films were selected as representations of obscure or seemingly lost slices of American horror history and they were given the same red-carpet treatment that the label gives all of their cult cinema releases. New restorations, a slew of new features, and a package that put the films on the pedestal they never received. Although the quality of the films could be argued, the love and intriguing choices for the titles were enough to perk the interest of any horror fan looking to expand their collection and dig into the deep cuts.

Now it’s 2019 and Arrow Video is finally releasing the next volume. American Horror Project Vol. 2 once again features three deep cut horror films from the wild wild west of America’s cinematic past. Titles included within this box set are Dream No Evil, Dark August, and The Child. This review will do a brief overview of each title and list the expansive features at the bottom for fans to look over. Rest assured, Arrow has once again unleashed the bells and whistles for this set with brand new 2K restorations, tons of features like film appreciations by author Stephen Thrower and interviews, and brilliant packaging that matches the first set.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The New York Ripper (1982)


Director: Lucio Fulci
Notable Cast: Jack Hedley, Almanta Suska, Howard Ross, Andrea Occhipinti, Alexandra Delli Colli, Paolo Malco, Cinzia de Ponti, Daniela Doria, Cosimo Cinieri

One of the problems about being a critic that focuses on cult and genre cinema is navigating the often overzealous fanbases. There are ravenous fans out there that even refuse to acknowledge the idea that a film (or films) have flaws despite their love for the film. This is fine. An emotional attachment to a film or some part of it is the essence of what makes cinema so fantastic. I love films that don’t deserve my unadorned appreciation. However, as a critic, it becomes problematic when reviewing a film that has an incredibly dedicated fanbase and the film is significantly flawed. Such is the case with Lucio Fulci’s brutal and sleazy giallo-esque The New York Ripper. Although the film has its own rabid fanbase, enough so that Blue Underground felt comfortable enough to re-release the film in a stunning new 3-disc 4K restoration, it’s hardly the perfect film. A patchy script is somewhat reclaimed by Fulci’s intense style and intention to push horror cinema at the time to some new extremes, but it’s a film where some of the bold choices feel awkward. This latest release is a stunner though, so fans of the film will more than likely – if they already haven’t – pick up this Blu Ray for the sheer effort that went into delivering the best version of this film.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Child's Play (2019)


Director: Lars Klevberg
Notable Cast: Gabriel Bateman, Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Brian Tyree Henry, Tim Matheson, David Lewis, Beatrice Kitsos, Ty Consiglio, Carlease Burke, Trent Redekop, Marlon Kazadi

Honestly, the Child’s Play series has always been a favorite of mine. The original terrified me as a kid and growing up with the series through its ups and downs has been a pleasure to follow. When it hits its lows (Child’s Play 3) it bottoms out, but the series has always somehow found a way to reinvent itself in bold and intriguing ways. Enough so that Mancini’s last two entries, Curse and Cult of Chucky respectively, have been two of the best of the franchise and downright fascinating films in their own regards. It’s the love for the franchise and fantastic last couple of entries that lead me to be completely baffled by Orion’s choice with a remake of the original film. The Chucky series isn’t done and the upcoming TV show by Mancini is easily on my top list of awesome things that I am looking forward to in the future. An unnecessary reboot/remake certainly wasn’t something that was also on that list.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Red Peony Gambler 2: Gambler's Obligation (1968)


Director: Norifumi Suzuki
Notable Cast: Junko Fuji, Bin Amatsu, Koji Tsuruta, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Bunta Sugawara, Junpei Arishima, Daisuke Awaji, Shogo Egami, Tatsuo Endo, Michitaro Mizushima, Yuki Shirono

After the impressive debut of Oryu in Red Peony Gambler, the first film of this decently long classic yakuza franchise, there was a sense that it could be all downhill from there. The first film made such a massive impression, through performances and a sly script that added its own thematic weight to the usual ninkyo eiga, that a sequel was bound to disappoint in comparison. Well, maybe not. Red Peony Gamber 2: Gambler's Obligation is, on its own merits, an impressive follow up. The film starts off in a more traditional manner, often doubling down on the tropes of the yakuza film of the time period, but as it moves its way towards its conclusion the film continually picks up speed and delivers a third act that is both incredibly emotional and highly entertaining.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Trapped Alive (1988)


Director: Leszek Burzynski
Notable Cast: Sullivan Hester, Laura Kallison, Mark Witsken, Alex Kubik, Randy Powell, Michael Nash, Elizabeth Kent, Paul Dean, Cameron Mitchell
Also known as: Trapped

‘Never judge a book by its cover’ is an overused phrase that too many people like to spout as if it’s an epiphany to all the questions in life. Still, it’s best to keep that in mind that often times the cover is not representative of the substance inside. Usually, this is a reference to how an ugly cover can hide beautiful content. In the case of Trapped Alive, it’s the opposite. When Arrow Video announced the film, they revealed this badass cover art (which is posted here at the beginning of this review) and I was sold. This just had to be some kind of glorious forgotten 80s slasher gem that I had somehow overlooked. Maybe it was a monster cult flick that deserved a second appraisal in a similar way that I found The Slayer a fun surprise? Unfortunately not. Despite an intriguing premise, Trapped Alive is a relatively slow and generic film that struggles to find its tone as it meanders around its narrative aimlessly for most of its runtime. With the cover art and fantastic set that Arrow Video put together, it’s a wonder if this film deserves the treatment it received.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

BYRON WILHELM von BELGERSTEIN REVIEW: Us (2019)

Blood Brothers is proud to announce that we have struck a questionable deal with the eclectic and controversial director Byron Wilhelm von Belgerstein to be our guest reviewer for a short time here on the site as he preps for filming of his new film The Last Mutation of Christ.

If you would like to help Mr. von Belgerstein out with his latest "passion" project, please check out the Kickstarter for his new film at the link below.


You can also follow him on Twitter for some fantastic ramblings on all things film and all things von Belgerstein.



Without further ado, please enjoy his soon to be iconic review of Jordan Peele's modern horror classic, Us. Thank you.