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  • “THE X-FILES: Season 10, Episode 2” (TV Review)

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    When THE X-FILES was announced to return for a six-episode revival in early 2015, fans didn’t quite know what those six episodes would entail. Due to the limited number of installments, some automatically assumed the reboot would be akin to a mini-series with one storyline that would warrant the return of Mulder and Scully. Yet in the reboot’s second episode, entitled “Founder’s Mutation,” fans learned that wouldn’t necessarily be the case, even though the episode did present pertinent information about our heroes. Rather, the “monster of the week” framework would return this week after the mythology-building first episode, offering a nostalgic return-to-form whilst continuing the revival series’ noted mean-streak.

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  • “JACK’S BACK” (Blu-ray Review)

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    At face value, JACK’S BACK has all the trademarks of an ’80s horror/thriller: a charming lead, supernaturally-connected twins, prostitute murder and a melodramatic rock ballad kicking off both credit sequences. Hell, even the stylistic flourishes from director Rowdy Herrington (of ROAD HOUSE fame) are unmistakably representative of the era and genre. However, in spite of those timely details, JACK’S BACK is a bit more effective than it’s unassuming reputation may hold, taking advantage of its L.A. setting, high-concept narrative and solid ensemble, lead by an excellent James Spader in a rare dual role.

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  • “31” (Sundance Movie Review)

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    If one were to just compare Rob Zombie’s 31, a world premiere at the current Sundance Film Festival, to other films in the “grindhouse” genre, there is no doubt it would hold its own. It is violent and campy, with the requisite sex, blood, profanity and gore. But ultimately, it feels rushed and leaves one with the sense of an unfinished idea.

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  • “THE X-FILES: Season 10, Episode 1” (TV Review)

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    During the nine-season original run of THE X-FILES, much could be said about the men behind the curtain, but more often than not, there was a seeming benign nature to them. As monsters and extraterrestrials would encounter Mulder, Scully and Co. week after week, the casualties of the investigations often were rarely targeted; rather, they were often innocent victims via chance encounters or government agents whose lives were cost via incompetence. Yet now, in this six-episode mini-series events, THE X-FILES asserts a different perspective on the puppet masters, and one that is much more misanthropic than ever before. And while few could have guessed that THE X-FILES would return with a mean-streak, fewer can deny that it works for the show, raising the stakes for our heroes while reminding the audience that in this limited run, the truth is closer than ever before… and those who discover it are not safe.

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  • “THE GUARDIAN” (Blu-ray Review)

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    Although William Friedkin’s relationship to suspenseful and intense storytelling goes far beyond the horror genre, many of his strictly genre titles tend to be overshadowed by the macabre masterpiece that is THE EXORCIST. For the most part, that tends to be a real shame considering some of the truly transgressive, insane and unique properties William Friedkin has directed within the horror genre. And firmly within that camp would be Friedkin’s 1990 effort THE GUARDIAN, a bloody and erotic tale mixture of domestic horror and supernatural madness that shows brilliant craftsmanship paired with a reckless abandonment of logic.

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  • The Year in Horror, 2015: Fantasia’s Small Gauge Trauma Shorts

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    As we continue to look back at the year recently concluded, attention must be paid to the short films that made their way around the fest circuit. And there’s no better sampler than a look at those minimovies that played in the Small Gauge Trauma lineup at last summer’s Fantasia festival in Montreal, many of them making world or international premieres.

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  • “CHERRY TREE” (Film Review)

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    After collaborating on the superb and creepy WAKE WOOD, one would think that the combination of director David Keating and writer/producer Brendan McCarthy might be able to replicate that same magic (no pun intended) for an equally wicked follow-up, CHERRY TREE. Yet, when all is said and done, CHERRY TREE is a simply frustrating experience, often times pushing and pulling between what the story wants and what the genre demands. That’s not to say the film is outright terrible; in fact, the third act is rather ironclad, save for the final stinger of it all. But that’s also to say that CHERRY TREE feels unfocused, going for cheap scares and uncomfortably familiar imagery over anything truly terrifying or even exceptionally entertaining.

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