Into the Dark Blood Moon Review

There’s no luck of the Irish this March from Into The Dark, since Emma Tammi’s second directorial invitation is about shapeshifter folklore—St. Patrick’s Day was last year’s edition. With season 2 wrapping its slate, Hulu’s holiday horror anthology avoids any serious double-dipping by ignoring inebriated March madness for a second thematic instance. Adam Mason’s screenplay is more in line with last May’s Delivered (also Tammi), once again jeopardizing a mother-child relationship that’s consciously more heartfelt than other months doused in gore, humor, or approaches less dramatically dire. It’s Tammi’s wheelhouse dating back to The Wind, so why deviate? After a string of franchise lows, Blood Moon brings a little bite back into Blumhouse’s monthly program.

Read More »

The Feast Review

Why do international filmmakers seem to more frequently turn horror lenses on environmental subjects while domestic creators care more about boogeymen and slashers? If Jaco Bouwer‘s Gaia wasn’t proof enough, what about its SXSW Midnighter counterpart, Lee Haven JonesThe Feast? The Welsh thriller penned by Roger Williams merges woodland folklore and bloodthirsty revenge with Mother Earth as its reaper. It’s vastly more ruminative than Gaia since fairytale lyrics separate chapters throughout an elitist supper soiree. However, structure remains an issue that boasts gnarlier killing sprees upon a third act that sees and seethes the reddest of reds. Slow, still slow, slower, CARNAGE-CRAZY-RETRIBUTION, finito.

Read More »

Offseason Review

Where Mickey Keating’s filmography has often lent itself to easily identifiable cinematic inspirations, Offseason carries more of a literary mood while fitting into a persistent coastal horror trend of late. Somewhere between the McManus’ The Block Island Sound, Andy Collier and Tor Mian’s Sacrifice, and an even quieter Silent Hill is this Florida-shot call to the sea’s mysteries. While it still fits Keating’s enthusiastic jumping about genre history with every project, this particular delusion feeling akin to radio drama spookiness. Something you’d hear read through adjustable static, as your imagination might conjure the same inescapable mistiness that chokes Keating’s abandoned township shuttered until spring.

Read More »

Jacob Gentry‘s evolution as a filmmaker remains fixated on electromagnetic waves (outside MTV’s My Super Psycho Sweet 16 franchise) in the SXSW premiere Broadcast Signal Intrusion. It’s a clash of science fiction imagery and novice sleuthing, as Possessor-reminiscent masked interruptions splice between ’90s television programming until narrative beats transform into something more tensely true crime. At the core of Phil Drinkwater and Tim Woodall‘s screenplay? A ponderous assessment of media corruption and fame-chasing criminals. However, their means of subgenre hybridization sometimes fails the overall intrigue of a widower’s grief-sullen inquisition. There are camcorder moments that unsettle, almost as The Poughkeepsie Tapes accomplishes with its evidence footage, and yet clue-seeking thrills sell desired excitement short.

As Gentry pushes audiences into the unknown of FCC regulations and “narrowcasting” rebels who hijack affiliate airtime, that “unknown” stays a bit too far out of reach once narrative motivations clarify through tracking fuzz.

Read More »

Gaia Review

With shades of Annihilation, The Last Of Us, and The Ruins, Jaco Bouwer‘s Gaia is a welcome addition to the environmental horror canon. South Africa’s Tsitsikamma forest stages a warning from our universe’s mother; a scolding finger pointed towards humankind’s treatment of Earth. When Gaia bleeds, Gaia gets pissed. Tertius Kapp’s screenplay is contemplative horror that’s as substantially frustrated as it is enthrallingly tense. Creature elements emphasize costumed contortions, devastation is a colorful bouquet, and consequences are so righteously earned—and yet, we can still sympathize with opposing characters.

It’s never adversely preachy or obnoxiously intentioned, either. Bouwer succeeds in responsible exploitation that slithers roots under your skin with the creepiest of crawly sensations.

Read More »

Into the Dark Tentacles 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.)

After a pandemic-forced hiatus, Blumhouse and Hulu’s Into The Dark series returns and, to quote Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale, “I miss the misery.” This February, Clara Aranovich’s Tentacles marks the first holiday horror feature-segment since July’s politically paranoid The Current Occupant. Into The Dark offers a tentacular Valentine’s Day tale of lust, mistrust, and rushing into romantic entanglement, written by Channel Zero scribe Alexandra Pechman with a co-story credit to Channel Zero and beyond’s Nick Antosca. So is it a welcome return to streamable monthly frights?

As I said, I miss the misery. Interpret accordingly.

Read More »

The Food That Defined Film and Television in 2020

Food in 2020 Movies and tv

I love to eat. I love to cook. I love to stuff myself into restaurant booths surrounded by companions, boozy creations, and another kitchen’s signature nibbles. I love to write about how filmmakers utilize food, whether it’s to set a mood, spark a connection, or layer a sense of comfort atop an otherwise deceptively tense standoff. Dinner tables alone set a stage for dysfunction, disillusion, and disappointment as homestyle perfection crumbles around honey-baked hams while nuclear families go, well, nuclear.

Since I’m always a hungry boy, allow me to highlight my favorite instances in 2020 where films found ways to repurpose culinary arts as visual storytelling devices. Whether that’s provoking a character’s traits, or doubling as classist allegories, or instigating internet users into a backlash frenzy. No morsel left uncontextualized, nor plate cleaned of its message. This article is the cherry atop my 2020 wrap-up coverage, so let’s dig into the goods that beat out other notables such as industrial deli slicers in Cadaver and SpaghettiOs Jell-O molds in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy Vs. The Reverend).

Read More »

The 10 Biggest Movie Scares of 2020

It’s been a deceptive 12 months, depending on where you get your information. Some narratives might suggest that 2020 is the year movies vanished, but I’d suggest quite the opposite by my view count. I bested my reigning new-release record in the horror genre alone by roughly thirty titles, noting how streaming and VOD dominated the genre. This made it relatively easy to assemble best-of recap lists since, well, there were so many options. Crazy to admit while theaters still have their lights switched off across the country.

Below, let’s dig into my favorite scares of the year. The freakish, the fiendish, and the forever stuck in my noggin. Horrors never subsided for a second, and what a saving grace their distractions remain. Without further keystrokes, let’s get to the goshdang point.

Read More »

Minoru Kawasaki, the connoisseur behind such Japanese absurdism as The Calamari Wrestler and Executive Koala, is resurrecting Kaiju cinema with his new culinary invention called “Monster Gourmet.” Monster SeaFood Wars dares to dream of a world where skyscraper-tall mollusks can eradicate world hunger, but when unleashed, cause havoc with Toho-inspired dangers. What looks like Godzilla’s B-squad enemies stroll into Tokyo for some demolition redecorations as genetically enlarged heavyweights rowdily rumble. Creature costumes are fantastically detailed, green screen backgrounds comically lackluster, and spirits maintain their zany heights throughout this killer comfort food riot.

I agree with one of the special forces agents when he remarks about how “Monster Meat” gives him the craving for a beer. Monster SeaFood Wars will have the same effect on viewers (both a warning and invitation).

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

I reckon there won’t be many good things that come out of our country’s current pandemic reality. Maybe only one good thing, if we’re honest. Luckily for horror fans, that one good thing is a terrifying Zoom-based horror movie that the Shudder streaming service commissioned and dropped rather rapidly. Rob Savage’s Host has been the talk of Horror Twitter these last few weeks, and with fantastic reason. It’ll undoubtedly be one of my favorite horror films of the year once 2020 finally releases us from its unforgiving grasp.

After the credits rolled, I knew I had to talk to Mr. Savage about his experience. He created an authentic, scream-worthy screen life horror film, but he did so while battling lockdown stipulations. How do you make a movie when no one should be within six feet of each other, let alone trapped inside flats and houses? There are seventeen-thousand reasons why Host shouldn’t work, but it does. Too well. 

Let’s dive into all the challenges that couldn’t stop Rob Savage from delivering above-and-beyond what I’m sure even Shudder expected.

Read More »