Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Void ~ Review

If you get down to the nitty gritty, there's two things I love in a horror movie: wild ideas and a respectable execution, with extra credit if it attempts a 70s or 80s pastiche. The Void is unhinged, unabashedly weird, and audaciously retro. While it's not a screaming success across the board, there's so much great stuff here that fans of John Carpenter's early work, Stephen King, and H.P. Lovecraft should run to find this. It's easily one of the best horror films this year.

For starters, understand The Void is an indie with no-name actors (unfortunately only one or two notable performances) and while it's a low-budget film, it makes the most of every aspect. Every dollar of it's budget ends up on the screen. This is a hardcore 80s throwback with a deliberate slow pace, solemn tone, and epic cosmic horror that echo classic films like The Thing, From Beyond, and Hellraiser. It is also a messy, gory film with horrific monsters done with practical effects (almost unheard of in the digital age) that evoke Lovecraft's minions.

The film starts in the lazy outskirts of a small town, then escalates quickly with some monstrous action in a nearly abandoned hospital, then shifts again into an unraveling mystery that seems familiar yet the dread keeps building, and then there's just utter madness in the third act. Ultimately, this movie is all about the trip and not the destination, and like much of Lovecraft's work, is more about the feelings the movie evokes and the big ideas at the periphery. It won't please everyone, but given the right frame of mind, this is one will move you. Where it moves you is beyond explanation.






Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Now THIS is the spirit of Halloween!

A young boy with a terrible disease got a birthday to remember when his family and neighborhood celebrated his favorite holiday five months early. Thank you to the Castaic, CA community for making sure this boy didn’t miss Halloween! (Read more at ABC News)




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Alien: Covenant ~ Review

The Alien universe continues to confound. I was on the side of loving the big ideas of Prometheus and its last minute reveal that puts it firmly in the canon. However, I'm not really sure what to make of Alien: Covenant. It's much less ambitious and more of a middling effort that adds little to the lore... but is more gory and has more monsters (yay)... but has little story or character development (ney). I wish I had cared more about these characters and felt greater sympathy for their truly chilling screaming death fits. It's more of a plodding horror film (like Alien) that has some fleeting terrifying moments, when it's not backsliding into being overtly contemplative or slow moving (like Prometheus). Looking at it plainly, Covenant is more of a "spin-off" with a cast of unknowns and its own story than a true sequel or prequel. And finally, if you're going to have a "twist ending" make sure the audience doesn't see it coming an hour before the reveal. I was entertained and temporarily satiated, but this diehard Alien fan wanted either more significance, more substance, OR more horror. I dare not ask for all three at this point.




Side Notes:

1. There's a fully produced short-film called The Crossing and that reveals what happened to Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and the synthetic David (Michael Fassbender) immediately after the events of Prometheus. It bridges the two films and is much better opening that what we got in the Covenant film.


2. Director Ridley Scott revealed in an interview that the next film is called Alien: Awakening and it takes place between Prometheus and Covenant. Oh, boy. Here we go again with what might be the first ever prequel sequel prequel.