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  • “ROAR” (FANTASTICA Film Review)

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    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” A simple yet effective phrase that not so subtly implies that bad ideas that lead to worse consequences are often rooted in a generally positive thought. And while that phrase is often applied to more dire situations, the phrase can also be applied to Noel Marshall (and friends…)’s ROAR, especially if your idea of hell is an isolated house filled and surrounded by wild, untrained lions and tigers.

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  • “JUDAS GHOST” (Film Review)

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    In the surge of haunting films coming out of the independent horror landscape as of the past few years, the struggle for originality has become harder and harder. Of course, many of these films have become reliant of jump scares, familiar imagery and a wealth of off-screen demises to mask the unfortunate limitations of their budget. However, a rare few of these films are approached with ambitious stories with genuinely unique scares, and the filmmakers are so enamored with those tales that they tackle them head on, despite their budgetary restrictions. And in that experience lies something much more gripping, imaginative and chilling, and is what makes Simon Pearce’s JUDAS GHOST such a welcome addition to the haunting film canon.

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  • “BODY” (Stanley Film Festival Review)

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    With contemporary horror, the approach by many filmmakers in the independent and studio system is that to please hardcore fright fans, they have to go for broke. By heightening so many aspects of a film, from gory SFX to the body count to the stylized visuals of the film, these filmmakers guarantee somewhat of a target audience to appreciate their film, even if the story can’t stand on its own merit. But there’s almost an equal amount of filmmakers who subscribe to the “less is more” mentality, although many find this as a way to pad out their budgets and push the limitations of the term “slow burn.” Yet for some horror filmmakers, simplicity is a weapon: by cutting out the bullshit, you keep the options of the filmmakers and the characters limited, which creates an intense, almost claustrophobic atmosphere to the film and leads to some incredibly intimate interpersonal drama.

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  • “Salem: Season 2, Episode 4” (TV Review)

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    I must admit that with a show like SALEM, the repeated efforts to be bolder and brasher beyond the limits of taste are motions to be respected. Whether it’s graphic foreplay, gore or just uncomfortable thematic material, SALEM caters to its audiences love of the taboo while crafting their own unique brand of horror. This is largely effective of an approach, yet with 13 episodes to service per season, that balance doesn’t always equal a narrative home run. And while the pacing of this episode is a bit rocky at times, SALEM still has many admirable moments in the latest episode, bluntly entitled “Book of Shadows.”

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  • “SCHERZO DIABOLICO” (Tribeca Movie Review)

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    After his first experience working in English with LATE PHASES, Latin American filmmaker Adrián García Bogliano has returned to his native language and home turf. SCHERZO DIABOLICO, world-premiering at the current Tribeca Film Festival, brings Bogliano back to not only geographically familiar territory, but thematic; the werewolves have been traded in for human horrors and a blood-drenched moral conundrum.

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  • “THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH” (Blu-ray Review)

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    It’s not easy being a sequel, especially when you’re the sequel to an acclaimed remake of an acclaimed film based off an acclaimed novel and produced by the grandaddy of horror houses, Hammer. But in any case, being a sequel such as THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 is even harder considering the nature of the first film, which took stock in hard-to-replicate environmental scares instead of cheap jump scares. And while THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH isn’t quite as effective as it should be, the film still makes an admirable and classy attempt at capturing the literal and figurative spirit of the first film.

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  • “EVERLY” (FANTASTICA Blu-Ray Review)

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    For genre fans, EVERLY is, on many levels, Joe Lynch’s time to shine without lingering in any specific shadow. While the Troma graduate has made good over the years and developed his skills as a filmmaker, his previous feature films, WRONG TURN 2 and KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM, have largely operated against the reputation of a franchise or, in case of the latter, behind the scenes problems. But with EVERLY, Lynch had the chance to create a bloody and badass tale in a universe of his own design, and while the film hits peaks and valleys narratively, the sense of passion in Lynch’s cinematic voice is unmistakable.

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  • “BATES MOTEL: Season 3, Episode 7” (TV Review)

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    After last week’s intense and demented hour of BATES MOTEL, one of the series’ highlights to date, this week provides a much more low key affair. Tending to the interpersonal drama with only glimpses of brooding horror, the ominously titled “The Last Supper” follows the immediate recourse of last week’s episode and is much slower paced. However, in this rather ho-hum episode lies some necessary developments for both characters and subplots, and with the show ending on a high note for Norma and Co., one can’t help but feel that fate has carved a deep, dark valley for the Bates family.

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  • “ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK” (Blu-ray Review)

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    Of all the releases from beloved specialty distributor Scream Factory, it’s hard to argue that there was nothing on their 2015 slate as exciting as their reissue of John Carpenter’s ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. Sporting a brand new 2K transfer and a full second disc loaded with new features, Scream offered Carpenter completists the definitive ESCAPE Blu-ray, superior to previous releases in every way. Luckily, Scream has put their money where their mouth is, constructing an in-depth and gorgeous package that is guaranteed to impress even the most jaded Carpenter fanatic.

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  • “SALEM: Season 2, Episode 3” (TV Review)

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    With the third episode in the second season of SALEM, the narrative of the series is now running full steam ahead, with character development jumping leaps and bounds in directions we may not have necessarily expected. Such boldness is nothing new for the horror series, which often revels in unpredictability and misdirection, but rarely does a TV series add subversion on so many layers as the show begins to mix it’s trademark brand of edgy melodrama with in-story politics. And while those dynamics definitely make this episode, entitled “From Within,” a less action-packed affair than the previous two episodes, it certainly is equally as compelling.

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