The Standoff at Sparrow Creek Review

Henry Dunham’s The Standoff At Sparrow Creek will split a furious political divide like most, if not all, of production company Cinestate’s as-now-released slate. Gun rights, civilian militarization, police corruption – unquestionably blurred ethics, but spectacularly intensified nonetheless. On-edge interrogations and stonefaced deceit. Reservoir Dogs in lumber safehouse. Every second tiptoes over pins-and-needles as the slightest slip-up might land you in a hangman’s noose, each character planted in their defense like a 300-pound lineman who wouldn’t budge for a wrecking ball. A chess game complete with pawns, time-clocks, and strategy – with martyrdom on the line. Read More »

Overlord Review

Julius Avery’s Overlord – fatigue-green pulp torn from Wolfenstein video games and sinister sci-fi abominations – delivers *almost* exactly what the words “WWII Nazi Zombie Movie” dare to suggest. Shades of The Thing, Re-Animator, and countless hardcore horror influences mystify sledgehammer-heavy “grunts and grit” military warfare. No sacrificing “one or the other” when it comes to Saving Private Ryan tactics vs. slobbering 28 Days Later speed chases once Bill Ray and Mark L. Smith’s screenplay faces its ultimate breaking point. A massive, bloodcurdling, mangled-faces-and-exploding-heads reach to boil that’s always building. Always seething. Always ready to jump headfirst into (heavy) action.

For a movie that promises Nazi mad scientists and their creations lurking the halls of some creeptacular abandoned church, Overlord packs a superhuman punch that’ll leave a gaping cavity in your chest. Read More »

You Might Be the Killer Review

Brett SimmonsYou Might Be The Killer is not Cabin In The Woods 2.0, but that doesn’t stop stay-up-late genre manipulation from scoring uptempo playground thrills. Remember Fran Kranz? Drew Goddard’s lovable cabin stoner with an extendable, collapsing bong? Travel seven years into our future (from the 2011 release), and he’s lambasting horror norms once again thanks to a massively viral Twitter thread turned feature. Dead serious.

You Might Be The Killer lifts from a satirical tweet exchange between online personalities/authors Sam Sykes and Chuck Wendig. That sounds like the makings of a cinematic disaster, but fret not. Simmons controls a splattery, wildly witty, elbow-your-horror-buddy-because-this-’ish-hilarious meta flick focused on sleepaway excitement. Friday The 13th from *maybe* the killer’s view? Inside man, style?

Find out more in our You Might Be the Killer review. Read More »

Tumbbad Review

While oceans may divide us, horror brings the haunts of countless upbringings together with harmonious understanding. Cry genre staleness? You’re not searching hard enough. Take India’s Tumbbad, a gorgeously unleashed tale of greed, pulsating womb chambers, and disgraced demon gods. As Joko Anwar’s Satan’s Slaves does for Indonesian representation in a James Wan paranormal scenario, Tumbbad sears char-blackened folklore into a supernatural bake that sizzles and steams and hardens over with a crispy bite.

Directors Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi, and Adesh Prasad lead viewers through three significant periods in a foolish-but-prospering man’s life, as cinematographer Pankaj Kumar prestigiously beautifies landscape-luscious visual photogenics in what might stand as the year’s most striking artistic display of catastrophic temptations of fate.

Find out more in our Tumbbad review below. Read More »

Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights brings the party hard to Orlando, Florida in 2018. Welcome to the ’80s, where extraterrestrial invaders suck out townspeople’s insides and material-girl vamps celebrate New Year’s Eve in glitter-bomb fashion. It’s not a hard-set theme, but with mazes and scare zones honoring Stranger Things, Child’s Play, Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and other “old-school” riot material, there’s no escape from titillating terrors of yesteryear’s most amusement-filled classics.

Senior Director of Entertainment Creative Development Mike Aiello echoed the same observation in our pre-festival interview, stating “There’s an energy this year that’s just different. I think the ’80s vibe infested the rest of the event.”

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Another week, another horror film festival in the books. It’s barely been 14 days since my Fantasia Film Festival recap highlighted the scariest and most splendid programming notes of Montreal’s three-week-long shindig, but that didn’t stop New York City’s Scary Movies XI from happening. Each August, the Film Society of Lincoln Center spooks Manhattan with a week-long curation of Halloween season holdovers as a gift to genre fans. It’s not as flashy or up-all-night as such all-encompassing events like Fantastic Fest, but it provides noteworthy screenings in an accessible after-work style for even a Brooklynite like myself. When has more horror content ever been a bad thing?

As we do here at /Film, I’ve come up with various superlatives that hit upon trends and highs from Scary Movies XI. “Best Actor,” “Worst (Best) Breakup,” a “THANK ODEN THIS GOT DISTRIBUTION” award, etc. And there were no shortage of nominees, either. With titles like Anna and the Apocalypse, Lords of Chaos, The Witch in the Window and more, Scary Movies XI exhibits the wide interpretations of horror that creators envision and act on. Luckily for you, most films already have release dates scheduled for 2018, so let’s find out what you’ve got to look forward to.

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tigers are not afraid review

With 2018’s Fantasia Film Festival officially in the books – Montreal’s cologne of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy still wafting into my dreams – let us reflect on some highlights before time brings yet another genre celebration worth covering. Gangster crime-thrillers from South Korea, despicable exploitation slashers from America, magnificent pitch-black fairy tales from Mexico – Fantasia always does well to spice their program with varied flavors. What a trip, what a festival. So many sleepers you should keep highlighted for later.

As a means of acknowledging my favorite golden nuggets from Fantasia 2018, let’s have some fun with superlatives. I know the festival elects its own judging committee and categories, but why do they get to have all the fun? I’ve assembled my own little “Best Of” list in the form of unique awards outside the normal realms of “Best Picture,” “Best Acting,” and so on. Where’s the excitement? Where’s “Best Kill Sequence” or “Best Usage Of A Severed Head?!” Who am I to deny the people what they want?

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the meg review

In a time when modern summer blockbusters have become predominantly defined by superpowers and spacecrafts, The Meg bites back hard. A gigantic 70-foot shark? White wave crests over glassy exotic waters? Jason Statham facing off against a prehistoric aqua-foe capable of swallowing fishing boats whole? That, my friends, is what summer blockbuster dreams are made of and director Jon Turteltaub reels us in. Not without some lax hitches between 30 Meg-less minutes and soapy dramatic gristle, but when danger’s dorsal fin surfaces, it’s bloody good fun in the sun.

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Pledge Movie Review

As a college attendee who never participated in Greek life myself, fraternal thrillers are always something of an outside-looking-in affair. My behind-closed-doors knowledge comes only from friends who recall their “elephant walks” or 24-hour drinking binges, always uttered with an air of unbelievableness. That’s what makes this subgenre so difficult. Can a movie sell sorority babes and fraternity bros getting away with literal murder? Yes, because Daniel Robbins’ film Pledge does. A cleanly shot, aggressively-spanked story of hazing torture outside collegiate regulation that makes you beg for each and every round of punishment. Read More »

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Tokyo Vampire Hotel Review

Tokyo Vampire Hotel is a 142-minute bloodsucker royal rumble – cut down from roughly 390 minutes of Amazon’s original Japanese series – almost entirely located inside an almighty princess’ “nether region.” Are you tuning out after that sentence? Don’t. Writer and director Sion Sono’s (kinda) got this. The man behind Why Don’t You Play In Hell?, Cold Fish and Tokyo Tribe (to name only a few) knows his way around extended runtimes and maximum discombobulation. The weirder, grander, and zanier, the better suited to Sono’s methodologies (Tokyo Vampire Hotel is no different). Prepare yourself for warfare carnage sticky enough to make Blade blush. Mr. Sono, are there no boundaries you’d consider setting ablaze? Read More »