Culture Shock 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.)

Cue the celebratory fireworks and break out grandma’s potato salad recipe, because Gigi Saul Guerrero’s Culture Shock takes advantage of Into The Dark’s full conceptual potential. Her July 4th treatment has been earning praise from critics and festival audiences as the franchise’s most accomplished title to date, which it certainly is. Guerrero’s American-bred nightmare vaults over March’s Treehouse as my favorite Into The Dark tale yet, brimming with patriotic anxiety and tragic relevance. Life inspires art in an explosive display of hatred under the guise of nationalism, drawing inspiration from the most obvious places: our backyards. 

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They Come Knocking 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.)

Hulu and Blumhouse’s Into The Dark series has, as critics and audiences seem to agree, somewhat of a “sustainability” problem per episode. November’s Flesh & Blood and October’s The Body might fare better at a tight sixty minutes, but drawn out between eighty and ninety minutes, feature lengths do no favors. Adam Mason’s They Come Knocking, alternatively, is a meatier, more complete tale of Father’s Day and folklore. Every minute feels earned, as sympathetic notes of grief tie into a larger supernatural story centering around the “Black Eyed Kids” urban legend spoken around campfires.

Anthony Scott Burns may have cornered the market on Father’s Day horror with his haunting Holidays segment, but Into The Dark follows with a strong counterpunch of compassionate storytelling and creepy-as-hell kiddo horrors.

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All That We Destroy 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.)

Chelsea Stardust’s All That We Destroy is the antithesis Mother’s Day feature to Troma’s splattery, schlocky exploitation (Mother’s Day) that once dominated May’s most honorable Sunday (for genre fans). Where Charles Kaufman favors shock and awe, Stardust brings method and layered trauma to this month’s Into The Dark segment. It’s a portrait of a serial killer under mama’s containment, but not in a mentor/trainee scenario. Screenwriters Sean Keller and Jim Agnew splice scientific reinvention, parent/child complications, and the unanswerable constants of human nature into a true crime podcast’s next subject. Making a murderer, Into The Dark style.

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I’m Just F*cking With You 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.)

Those (not so secret sociopaths) who cite “April Fools” as their favorite holiday are in for a treat thanks to Into The Dark’s April offering I’m Just F*cking With You. Director Adam Mason blends serial killings with “practical jokes” and creates Hayes MacArthur’s Chester Conklin – a sleazy motel manager/bartender/Hawaiian shirt enthusiast with a demented funnybone. He may be one of the series’ most memorable villains yet, but I’m Just F*cking With You is a one-note gag drawn out with elongated delivery. Solid novelty, even if a little more workshopping would have helped.

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Into the Dark Treehouse 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.)

Blumhouse and Hulu’s Into The Dark series strategically kicked off with a string of prominent holidays – Halloween clear through Valentine’s Day – but March poses a definition-less challenge. One met by filmmaker James Roday, who (rather responsibly) adapts “Ides of March” betrayal for the “#MeToo” era. Treehouse bleeds modern relevance and promotes endless discussion. Shockingly poignant, deeply enraged, and flaunts a hard stance – both legs braced – without needing undignified rape-revenge to make a point. A theme I bring up because this (often cheap, manipulative) crutch is leaned upon by too many similar but lesser tales.

Treehouse is appropriately angry, repurposes rhetoric such as “draining the swamp” and “bad hombre,” but most importantly shows how reprogramming is an option: a counterbalance to the “Cancel First” generation that still so expressively voices this seismic need for change while still honoring the most complicated folds of our human condition.

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into the dark down 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.)

When outsiders generalize “horror,” most minds zip to Romero zombies or Craven icons. Slash ‘em ups or creature features. Base preconceptions hone on grotesqueries thanks to such a narrow-minded definition of the word “horror,” but February’s lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day gush sets a perfect stage for broadening how novices view genre content. As I’ve once argued here on /Film, love is the secret ingredient when it comes to horror. Into The Dark’s Down accepts the task of dipping Cupid’s arrow into venomous toxins, stripping away Hollywood meet-cute hallmarks for a sickening display of blind dating gone psychopathic.

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new year new you review

Blumhouse’s 2019 starts by taking one companywide step forward with their latest Into The Dark chapter. After critical reports identified a striking gender differential between The House Of Toby’s horror director hires, after Jason Blum’s interesting-at-best response, Sophia Takal becomes the brand’s first female filmmaker (*on a horror title*) with New Year, New You. In this entry: Instagram celebrity culture roasted on a spit and stuffed with false personality rage that mocks the charades some enact to seek mass marketed attention.

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into the dark clips

Hulu and Blumhouse’s holiday-horror film series Into the Dark continues today with New Year, New You, a New Year’s Eve-themed tale of terror from director Sophia Takal. In honor of the film hitting Hulu today (just in time for New Year’s weekend), we have two exclusive Into the Dark clips that go behind the scenes of New Year, New You.

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pooka 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.)

As /Film’s resident Christmas Horror nutcase, is it any surprise that Into The Dark’s December chapter would be my most anticipated? Enter Nacho Vigalondo’s Pooka!, a consumerism purgatory where struggling actor Wilson Clowes (Nyasha Hatendi) finds himself inexplicably connected to his latest gig’s oversized costume. No psycho Santa, no Krampus lashings, no murder-obsessed snowmen. Gerald Olson’s script is one of scorched innocence and the idea that children’s toys can be impossibly terrifying when seasonal corporate greed is the only thing driving motivation. An obvious holiday theme, yet one that barely scratches the surface on Pooka!.

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Blumhouse Female Director Sophia Takal

With all the horror movies Blumhouse has released, they’ve never had a female director for a horror film. Until now. Sophia Takal, director of the amazing indie horror film Always Shine, will become the first female Blumhouse director with New Year New You, a feature-length entry in the Blumhouse/Hulu anthology series, Into the Dark. News of Takal’s hiring comes shortly after Blumhouse president Jason Blum offered a tone-deaf explanation regarding the lack of female Blumhouse directors – but the filmmaker was actually hired before those statements were made.

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