Drunk Bus Review

(The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.)

John Carlucci and Brandon LaGanke’s Drunk Bus is an anti-road-trip comedy with plenty of mileage. Where Seann William Scott and DJ Qualls once learned salacious lessons while crossing state borders, this is a story about retracing the same college-town loop day after month after year. Steering the wheel but electing to venture nowhere. Yes, metaphors run heavy in this public transit dramedy about dulling innermost pains with “safe” routines – but that doesn’t make (supposed) “real 2006 shit” any less resonant. Annoying dispatch operators, bean burrito firing squads and all.

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She Dies Tomorrow Review

(The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.)

When writer and director Amy Seimetz conceptualized She Dies Tomorrow, I doubt anyone channeled Coronavirus premonitions – and yet, current events prevail. Life imitating art, art imitating life as the prophecies foretell. Her unconventional outbreak thriller absorbs urgency amidst 2020’s ongoing worldwide pandemic, spotlighting an all-too-relevant viral subplot. No, don’t expect some indie rehash of Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. Instead, bear the weight of humanity’s numbing disease as Seimetz challenges our mortal value by weaponizing its historical antithesis: death. Freeing, paralyzing, and most of all, inescapable.

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Into the Dark Crawlers Review

(Blumhouse Television and Hulu have partnered for a monthly horror anthology series titled Into The Dark, set to release a full holiday-themed feature every month. Horror anthology expert Matt Donato will be tackling the series one-by-one, stacking up the entries as they become streamable.)

This is an unpopular opinion, but Blumhouse and Hulu’s Into The Dark series reached one of its pinnacles last March with Treehouse. The maddened “Ides” unleashed pissed-off brujas in an attack against toxic masculinity, which is thematically relevant once again but hardly a tonal comparison point. Brandon Zuck’s Crawlers attempts an extraterrestrial doppelganger riff that takes place during a St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl, hopeful to rattle collegiate gender horrors. Very reminiscent of Dennis Iliadis’ +1 (Plus One) in terms of using the guise of substance fogginess to cover abnormal occurrences, if a bit more dimwitted and comparable to another anemic SYFY special.

Where Uncanny Annie found success in emphasizing teen-gauged sleepover screams, Crawlers struggles to be anything more than mediocre meteorite-bred panic. Not exactly something worth toasting.

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Disappearance at Clifton Hill Clip

Albert Shin’s Disappearance At Clifton Hill is a curious Canadian case of kidnapping, repressed memories, and the maddening effects of Niagra Falls. IFC Midnight nabbed distribution rights after positive reactions came out of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, praising the film’s nu-noir aesthetic. I’ve yet to watch it myself, but an earlier trailer paints an underbelly small-town vibe as one woman attempts to make sense of questions from her childhood. The answers, I can only assume, are neither easy to suss out or particularly reassuring given the tragic nature of her haunting recollections.

Today on /Film, we have an exclusive clip from Shin’s film, which features David Cronenberg in a rare spot acting in front of the camera. Check out the scene below.

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Blood on Her Name Review

Matthew Pope’s Blood On Her Name is a blue-collar revenge thriller with one helluva hard nose compared to other glamorized action spectacles where consequences don’t matter. It’s homestyle, nasty survival storytelling rooted with family at its core and despair weighing heavy on the viewer’s chest. Jeremy Saulnier comparisons are apt, even if the brutality isn’t as gruesome. I was lucky enough to catch the film at last year’s Fantasia International Film Festival where Pope’s title played to much acclaim, including my full review that praises everything from the film’s unwashable grime to Bethany Anne Lind’s pain-stricken performance.

Today on /Film, we have an exclusive clip that gives you a taste of the kind of cyclical backwoods gut-punchery that awaits Lind’s independent mother.

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Graham Denman’s feature debut has all the makings of contemporary commentary on the filmmaking industry with a murderous twist. Horror fans always rave about well-executed practical effects, but why stop with warehouse replicas of exploding heads? Greenlight is about a director’s dream opportunity, except the last death in his picture – according to producers – must be a real execution. Are you willing to extinguish human life as a trade for your start in an already cutthroat and ruthless industry? Can’t make an omelet without tossing aside a few corpses as they say (or something along those lines).

Today on /Film we have an exclusive clip that features filmmaker Jack Archer (played by Chase Williamson) as he gets the bizarre news.

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M.O.M. Mothers of Monsters Trailer

Many perceive found footage cinema as “easy” to execute based on technical merits and equipment usage, foolishly discrediting the difficulties of execution. Audiences have been burned time after time by handheld “nightmares” that misunderstand why The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity became such huge successes. Perspective is everything when it comes to these horror home movies, requiring a proper hook to ensure footage keeps rolling. Tucia Lyman’s M.O.M. Mothers Of Monsters, in my opinion, tackles the kind of fresh narrative that makes proper usage of hidden camera tactics and first-person viewpoints.

Before we discuss the heavy themes at play, check out an exclusive trailer reveal right here on /Film.

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Into the Dark My Valentine Review

(Blumhouse Television and Hulu have partnered for a monthly horror anthology series titled Into The Dark, set to release a full holiday-themed feature the first Friday of every month. Horror anthology expert Matt Donato will be tackling the series one-by-one, stacking up the entries as they become streamable.)

For Into The Dark’s second dysfunctional Valentine’s Day, writer/director Maggie Levin delivers a pop-glammy ode to loving one’s self. My Valentine warns against the horrors of obsessive control, codependent erasure, and how predators hide behind the guise of romance. Levin takes relationship trauma deathly serious, set to a playlist of shout-in-your-shower electropop anthems. Green Room by way of dangerous attractions; costumes doubling as blatant metaphors for the lives that are stolen from us by the most undeserving sources. 

Nowhere near the intensity of Green Room, mind you, but there’s performative power behind rhythms and lyrics that highlight the more psychotic theatrics of crueler intentions.

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In the mood for a low-fi X-Men riff that mixes superpowers with Bloodsport aesthetics and some Morgan vibes for good measure? Matthew Ninaber’s Transference looks to be all that on a budget, as comic book influences tease a darker story of discovering powers within. 

Actually, “comic book influences” is even a stretch as Ninaber isn’t going for colorful or bombastic. Everything about Transference plays to the mysterious subtitle’s description: dark. As more mainstream productions shy away from pure horror storytelling that involves these types of superhuman characters, there’s plenty of room for smaller projects attempting just that. and Epic Pictures hopes to fill that void with their latest release.

As an exclusive treat today here on /Film, we have the debut trailer, stills, and poster art for Transference. Check out the footage below to see what it’s all about.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Life doesn’t include an instruction manual when it comes to handling grief. We all process loss and cope in our own ways. For me? I’ve taken to expression through written words, most recently about how The Farewell helped me say goodbye to a loved one. For the prolific indie producer Ant Timpson? He conceptualized and directed a violent, offbeat, absolutely gonzo in memoriam starring Elijah Wood titled Come To Daddy.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mr. Timpson last year at Fantastic Fest, having viewed Come To Daddy at its Tribeca premiere (the first of 25 festival appearances). Visions of criminal brutality and Wood’s hipster haircut were still vivid months later, if that’s any indication of the film’s more memorable attributes. We chatted about an array of topics, from hopping into the director’s chair to actor Michael Smiley’s self-provided fake teeth. You’d never assume such an off-kilter narrative to emerge from such a personal place, but then again, what did you expect from the man who backed such films as Deathgasm and The Greasy Strangler?

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