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  • “ANGST” (Blu-ray/DVD Review)

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    We are gathered here today to celebrate an event that is difficult to truly “celebrate” in any jovial sense. Widely unreleased or banned since its debut, ANGST is the one and only film from director/co-writer Gerald Kargl, and has long been one of the most sought-after flicks on the bootleg circuit.

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  • “THE HIVE” (Film Review)

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    THE HIVE is a bit of a difficult film to review, at least for this writer. Not because it’s a difficult movie to understand- which it’s not- nor is it because it’s bad- which it’s definitely not. In fact, THE HIVE is, for the most part, an excellent film, and the kind horror audiences should be embracing considering that it’s an original, R-rated contagion movie that has some genuinely interesting and scary concepts at play. But the reason THE HIVE is difficult to review is because the film treads very lightly with its originality, as the film gets concerningly close to many of its very apparent influences.

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  • “AQUARIUS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON” (Blu-ray Review)

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    When AQUARIUS debuted earlier this year, positing itself as a genre-friendly lead-in to HANNIBAL’s third season, this writer took a shine to the show. It wasn’t the greatest procedural on television, but the characters were interesting, the writing went into curious directions and the Manson element brought a sense of perpetual horror to the show. But nevertheless, there always felt something off about AQUARIUS upon broadcast, almost as if the show was struggling to find its voice even though there appeared to be a great amount of creative freedom on display. However, upon revisiting the show on Blu-ray, where every episode is now offered in extended, unrated editions, and suddenly, it’s almost like watching an entirely new show, as AQUARIUS is clearly a premium cable show stuck in the format of a broadcast network program.

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  • “HIGH-RISE” (TIFF Film Review)

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    Through his work in films like KILL LIST, SIGHTSEERS, and A FIELD IN ENGLAND, director Ben Wheatley has established himself as a twisted cinematic force. Armed with a distinctly cynical outlook, a dark wit, and a knack for unexpectedly graphic gut-punches, Wheatley delivers comedies and dramas that have the visceral shock impact of horror. Thus far, Wheatley has typically played in the realist realm that earned him comparisons to the likes of Mike Leigh (only with a blood-soaked streak); however, his latest feature is a different beast entirely. Based on a novel by CRASH’s J.G. Ballard, HIGH-RISE unfolds like a cinematic nightmare. It’s a deliberately alienating experience designed to thrust audiences into a nastily satirical vision of society and leave them in a state of disturbed awe.

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  • “THE PERFECT GUY” (Movie Review)

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    As encouraging as the recent successes of STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON and WAR ROOM have been for racial diversity on screen, the fact that the stalker saga THE PERFECT GUY looks to win this weekend’s box office is even more positive, in a sense: It proves that an African-American cast can draw crowds to a film that otherwise has nothing else to offer.

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  • “GREEN ROOM” (TIFF Film Review)

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    Following up his award-winning grimy art house thriller BLUE RUIN, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier returns with an even more intense and satisfying film that goes straight for the jugular (at times, rather literally). Pitched somewhere between siege and survival horror, this punks vs. neo-Nazis tale (you know, that old chestnut), is a harsh and vicious little genre effort laced with just enough cynical humor to qualify as sterling entertainment. It’s a nasty movie that, above all else, confirms Saulnier’s versatile talents and provides genre fans with enough raucous entertainment to likely earn itself a bit of a cult status somewhere down the road.

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  • “THE WITCH” (TIFF Movie Review)

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    Set in the paranoid and devotedly religious period New England and told in a manner that blurs the line between the imagined and the supernatural, Robert Eggers’ THE WITCH is one of the more remarkable horror debuts in recent years. Eggers takes the material and period detail quite seriously, so a romp this is not as terrifying as it might be. Perched somewhere between the art house and gore lore, the film is an ideal genre entry in film festivals that will worm its way under the weathered skin of film snobs and genre aficionados alike. It’s not an easy horror ride, but an enjoyable one worth taking, especially for those with a longstanding fear of goats.

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  • “THE CURSE OF DOWNERS GROVE” (Film Review)

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    Bret Easton Ellis is such a curious case when it comes to his art, especially considering his admirable consistency when it comes to his content. Ellis is an expert purveyor of brilliant trash, most of which exist somewhere between questionably tasteful melodrama and flat-out misanthropic exploitation. But Ellis, even through his peaks and valleys, remains steadfast in his refusal to compromise his envelope-pushing work, even if it were for his own good, such as in the case of Derick Martini’s THE CURSE OF DOWNERS GROVE.

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  • “THE EDITOR” (Blu-ray Review)

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    A fan favorite among the indie filmmakers in the Canadian horror scene, the irreverent, retro-friendly guys at Astron-6 know their audience just as well as they know their influences. Following their transgressive, splattery work on MANBORG and FATHER’S DAY, many were excited to hear that they’d be taking on the giallo subgenre for their next film. However, even as absurd and insane as the Astron-6 guys have been in the past, the filmmaking collective has surprisingly turned out a slightly more mature and narratively constructed effort with THE EDITOR, even if the film maintains their trademark ultraviolence, excessive nudity and hysterical world-building.

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  • “CONTRACTED: PHASE II” (Film Review)

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    When it comes to sequels, there’s always an inherent concern about the film’s relationship to its predecessor. Sometimes, we worry if it’s going to be too familiar, whether there are too many wedged-in winks-and-nods or if the film is simply just a rehash of the original. Other times, we worry if it’s simply going to be radically undermining its predecessor, offering something that ultimately goes against what made the first film work at all or hastily rewrites the first film’s canon for its own purposes. And then there’s the overall concern that the film will be faithful to the first film and different enough in its own way, but be just a poor example of filmmaking.

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