As aquatic horror further dominates 2019’s slate, Rob Grant’s Harpoon flashes sharpened fangs despite a lack of predatory creatures. No sharks, no crocodiles, just three “friends” airing their grievances while stranded at sea. After catching the film in Montreal at the Fantasia Film Festival, I’m still waiting for a rival title to dethrone Harpoon’s signature mean spirit and hostility. As per my full review back in August, you’re in for a devastatingly dark good time. Yellow Veil Pictures and Dread continue to rep challenging, out of the norm genre cinema (Luz, y’all), with this “psychos at sea” title confirming no such change.
The film opened in limited cinemas on October 4, but fret not – Harpoon hits Video On Demand platforms today! In honor of Grant’s cruise into madness hitting wider audiences, here’s an exclusive clip that shows desperation in its bloodiest form.
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Back in 2016, Raphaël Hernandez and Savitri Joly-Gonfard (under the pseudonym “Seth Ickerman”) became internet sensations after directing Carpenter Brut’s “Turbo Killer” music video. Some seven million views and three years later, “Ickerman” returns with more hyper-stylized synthwave sensationalism in the fiftyish-minute sequel Blood Machines. More intergalactic trance-pop imperialism, more Carpenter Brut nightline bass thumping, and way more crucifixion babes. Having now seen the music video and sequel, there’s little to credit by way of narrative tissue – but that doesn’t mean a damn thing. Cue the cyberpunk femme fatales and heavy saturation of red color filtration.
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J.D. Dillard’s Sweetheart is fierce aquatic horror without any frills. Think Cast Away, but instead of a volleyball companion named “Wilson,” it’s a man-eating sea monster who hunts by moonlight. There’s your plot. A marooned survivor with no immediate escape and her fishman rival. Simplicity can be a beautiful thing, and Dillard’s waterlogged grudge match is one such occasion. Many thanks to Fantastic Fest’s programmers for granting Sweetheart’s alluring intensity one last theatrical screening before Blumhouse releases Dillard’s latest straight to VOD in late October. Read More »
Fangoria’s production banner is becoming a tell-all for cinematic expectations, minimum requirements including gore, violence, and oh, more gore. Joe Begos’ VFW is the latest outrageous splatter flick to promote the iconic horror brand, and let me tell you – it delivers as suggested. That’s both a positive and negative depending on which filmmaking aspect is being magnified, but we’ll get there soon. As an introduction, understand that VFW is all about Assault On Precinct 13 anarchy, horror-grotesque violence, and enough booze to take down Wade Boggs on a cross-country flight.
Think of it as the action massacre midnighter your parents never wanted you to see, but you snuck into the VHS player at way too young an age after they went to sleep. Oh, the power of grindhouse corruption. Read More »
It’s no secret how collective audiences view cinema, any genre, as an escape. This leads to “Hollywoodized” representations of fantastical storybook livelihoods and blind eyes turned to inescapable hardships. Foreign filmmakers like Mattie Do aren’t beholden to such candy-coating at this year’s Fantastic Fest, which allows movies like The Long Walk to express more honesty and earnestness. Do stares death in the face and refuses to look away when ugliness or depression rears forward. Mortality is a blessing and a curse, which should be embraced on both fronts. Bless expressionism that tips the scale both ways, making for a haunting meditation on loss that’s blunt, bleak, and so much better for acknowledging – nay, waltzing step-for-step with – the darkness of finality. Read More »
Alexandra Daddario in a heavy metal horror movie? All those incantations and offerings to our Dark Lord have finally paid off my fellow – er, I mean, how lucky are we! Marc Meyers’ satanic panic headbanger flips the script on evil intentions and assembles a kickass girl gang decked out in studded leather. Daddario so often plays the adoring love interest, and I’ve been yearning to see someone twist her rom-com-ready talents into pitch-black realms. We Summon The Darkness kickstarts Satan’s heart in the name of bedeviled slayings, and every actor relishes their wild-child performative opportunities. I think I may have a new favorite Daddario persona. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, September 26th, 2019 by Matt Donato
The Pool is a pro-life crocodile attack flick set in a drained Olympic-sized swimming pool that is incredibly mean-spirited towards its main character, improbably audacious…and sponsored by Pizza Hut? Ping Lumpraploeng’s Thai creature feature is cheesily melodramatic and has it out for the few characters on screen with such meanness, which ensures a cackle-worthy “WTF” brand of riotous watching experience. Cultural nuances shape a comically overdramatic “monster” movie of questionable circumstances, always sold with the proper level of head-scratching entertainment. It’s “a lot” in all the weirdest, most unexpected ways.
Oh, also, any dog and animal lovers should be warned: The Pool will tear your heart out, stomp it into mush, and stuff the gunk back down your throat. Read More »
“Jallikattu: A traditional spectacle in which a bull is released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to grab the large hump on the bull’s back with both arms and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape.”
There’s one thing for certain: you’ve never seen a film like Jallikattu. Partly because director Lijo Jose Pellissery struggles to have his movies promoted stateside, equally because culturally representative filmmaking on this level doesn’t typically work as well in the U.S. market. Communist politics with tribal undertones as a bull runs rampant through wooden village architectures? This is primal storytelling at its rawest. It’s a descent into barbarism that’s vividly unique, no doubt divisive, and the most extravagant sensory overload you’ll either applaud or detest.
Jallikattu is corralled calamity on an unseen level. Whether or not it’s your vibe is a completely different story. Read More »
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Posted on Saturday, September 21st, 2019 by Matt Donato
Tammy And The T-Rex is a tale as old as prehistoric time. Boy meets girl. Girl falls in love with boy. Girl’s punk ex-boyfriend kidnaps her new crush and leaves him to be mauled by lions in a wildlife park. Wounded boy is stolen by a crazed genius, has his brain removed, then implanted into an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex. Boy, now a Jurassic Park prop, goes on a deadly rampage in order to win back his lover and reclaim a new body. Shakespear meets Mary Shelley meets 90s slapstick comedy.
Stewart Raffill, what have you done. Read More »
Mariano Cohn’s 4×4, which sadly is not a lumberjacked themed slasher, brings fresh conceptualization to the single-setting thriller format. Those suffering from “Amaxophobia,” peel off in the opposite direction. Ever get stuck in highway traffic, roasting on the interstate with no air conditioning and mounting frustrations? Cohn constructs a far scarier transportation lock-in scenario where moral quandaries rev all the right engines. Maximum tension without burning any rubber. Read More »