Ok, this review is definitely LONG overdue. We first reached out to evil masterminds David Banks and David Rountree (writer and director respectively) about their uber-meta-slasher indie horror Cut! last month and they were more than willing to let ol’ ReelBloody take a crack at it. They graciously hooked us up so that we may also enjoy the thrill of the hunt! Roll cameras!
In short, the film is about 2 friends who attempt to capture the ultimate in reality-based horror films by putting people in seemingly authentic scary situations and recording their reaction. What starts out innocently and innovatively enough soon spirals out of control until an innocent participant dies. It is only then that we truly find out what these two gents are willing to do to bring the ultimate scare to the masses.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I also enjoyed the movie within the movie, so there…double whammy. Just as entertaining was Rountree’s character Travis and Banks’ character Lane playing off of each other down to the last detail. It was definitely a solid balance between sometimes outlandishly rude and inexplicable behavior (Banks) and quiet thought-provoking actions (Rountree). Honestly, it took me a little patience to get past Banks’ over the top, IDGAF attitude, but when I retroactively thought about the film in its entirety, it definitely plays its part.
Anytime I review a film, I do try to make sure I question everything….you know, like I did growing up around the church. I figure it’s a grave disservice to omit that step otherwise. I have to say, as I pointed out flaws or questions to myself during the movie, it’s as if The Davids (I really tried gents…but I could NOT avoid at some point handing out that moniker just once...) were right behind me, making sure to tuck me neatly and snugly into bed, even fluffing my pillow at times with fantastic and cutthroat dialogue between the two. Needless to say (which I guess is why I’m saying it?), I was glad to see that they almost immediately addressed what I thought were some pretty obvious WTF moments.
I can definitely sum up the effectiveness of Cut! by telling you that this film is just about the slowest burn of any horror film I’ve seen in recent history…yes, even slower than a Ti West film. That said, it still fit into the story perfectly and I couldn’t have imagined it any other way. It also has some absolutely clever and devilish twists towards the end, setting the film up to branch out into franchise fodder if ever the opportunity presented itself. Another thing that I enjoyed, as mentioned before, was the meta angle. Usually highly misused and overrated, in this film it most certainly is not. It is the 24 oz. med-rare porterhouse of the film no doubt, and even equally as mouth-watering was the found footage film snuggled tastefully and appropriately inside the warm trappings of a scripted narrative. Very well thought out AND executed, only one of which lesser-versed writers & directors are usually capable . It was an original, entertaining, and very fun watch and easily earns a 6.5 in my book.
Kudos to both David Banks and David Rountree for scheming up this blood covered cornucopia of cunning and cult.
Check out the film’s imdb page here, and click here to buy this bad boy on DVD!
"Good things come to those who wait." We have all heard that saying before. It’s origins date all the way back to the late 1800's and we have also heard it pretty much on a daily basis since the 1980's when the Heinz ketchup company began using it in its advertising. Why are you talking about this quote, you ask? Well, it is exactly what I thought when watching the film Cut! this past week.
Cut! is directed by David Rountree and written by David Banks and David Rountree. Banks and Rountree star in this film as well. IMDB describes Cut! like this: “Nothing is as it seems as an ex-con and aspirant filmmaker set out to manufacture a horror film by scaring real people; however, when it goes too far and someone actually dies, the pair decide that killing for real on film is the way to make a truly terrifying movie.” That pretty much sums it up perfectly.
So I started the movie and was immediately engaged in the story. I loved it. The cast did a great job, even though at times I felt that David Banks’ character Lane was a little too much. If you are not sure what I mean, just watch the film and you will want to slap him within the first 15 minutes. Other than that, the cast was top notch. As the film progressed, I found myself wanting more action. It got very slow in my opinion, but again, just in my opinion. I ended up texting Bruce, my business partner and other writer here at ReelBloody and he told me... "Just wait man, the end is worth it. It is a slow burn." Well, I dug deep and endured the pain.
Now Bruce described it as a slow burn with an amazing ending. He was right! When the film got to the meat and potatoes of the ending, I was blown away. It was a twist that I never saw coming and I am glad I kept on with the film.
Now to my grading:
ACTING - 7 out of 10. Good job and I cannot complain.
STORY - I give it a 6 of 10, but only because of the moments where I needed more action and something to happen, but overall the story was still very good.
ENDING - 8 of 10!! Great twist and well worth the wait!
So there you have it...7/6/8 which would give you a 7 of 10 rating. I cannot quite give it a 7, because it is rare that I rate a film so high, but I will give it a very solid 6.5 out of 10 cleavers!!
Find a way to see the movie, Cut! I promise you will not be let down!
When we joined Slasher Marketing at Days of the Dead in Atlanta back in February, we had no idea what awaited us. Oh sure, we got to see tons of horror genre…everything: shirts, posters, comics, figures, dvd’s, makeup, CELEBRITIES!!! I have to say though one of the most memorable things about our trip was meeting the crew at MonsterBuster Entertainment. They had a vendor table across from us and were promoting their newest full length feature Invasion of the Undead, an 80’s throwback adventure/horror/comedy/mishmashmelee-of-absolute-adolescent-joy about a young college grad who discovers her house is well, invaded…by….undead. Straight forward, and it owned balls. The movie was abso-frickin-lutely awesome. From the special effects to the acting and catchy script; even the production value…Invasion of the Undead was EXACTLY the film I had so desperately hoped it would be.
No more plot summary necessary. I’d rather talk about all the reasons why I loved this movie. So you know what this calls for, right? BULLET LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!
· Production value. For the budget this movie was made for, the production value and effects were absolutely top notch and fit the film’s atmosphere properly. Nothing seemed out of place or done for no reason at all. Also, can you say stop motion?!
· The acting was actually far better than I anticipated, and that’s not because I didn’t believe the cast was capable. The thing with indie films is you just flat out never know what you’re going to get, but main cast members Marie Barker (college grad Allison), Greg Garrison and D. Dylan Schettina (Paranormal Exterminators Desmond and Jake, respectively) were a smash. The chemistry was there like a champ. I’ll get into it a bit later, but Greg Garrison played the Jack Burton/Indiana Jones hybrid perfectly. Just as impressive was interpreting Marie’s character Allison as a strong, charming, capable female lead role as opposed to your standard boobs-popping-out-omgliketotally helpless female faux pas. Jesus was it refreshing.
· The story was extremely well conceived and executed. It was original, easy to follow, and catchy…you know, the exact opposite of every modern country music song out there for the last 10 years? In other words, and to emphasize, it was fun, imaginative, and enjoyable enough that you don’t take it too seriously
· I engaged in IMMEDIATE 80’s nostalgic reminiscing as I watched the film. I’m an 80’s fanboy, and always will be. This movie took me straight back to those simpler times. It’s 100% the movie you watched as a child, then grew to love as an adult…except it’s new. I’m impressed…did you get that feeling yet?
So what’s left, now? How else can I drone on and on and on ad nauseam as to how and why I enjoyed the film? Ooooh ok, here are a list of films that I was reminded of as I watched:
Big Trouble in Little China, Satan’s Little Helper, Spaceballs, Explorers, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (even down to the leather jacket and witty banter between Desmond and Allison, and yes….I’m going to say it. I even caught notes of Shaun of the Dead in there. Yep….i went there.
Bottom line, this is a movie you need to see. It’s fun, light-hearted, and masterfully done for the genre and budget. Oh and did I mention you can play Invasion of the Undead THE VIDEO GAME?!?!?! Click here to play now!!
My notes to myself the other day said “If ending doesn’t suck, it’s an 8…maybe 7.5…” Well, it’s an 8. It was EASILY one of my favorite movies to watch and review this year…by a mile.
Click here for the imdb film details, but more importantly, click here to rent or buy the film for as little as $2.99. Seriously, if you Redbox’d it, you’d just forget it in your trunk for a week anyway. This is too easy and cheap to not check out now!
I am going to be honest. I have never been so excited to write a review after watching a film as I am to write this one! The film of choice this week is an independent horror/comedy/fantasy titled Invasion of the Undead.
This film was written and directed by Torey Haas and stars Marie Barker, Greg Garrison, and D. Dylan Schettina. I actually had the opportunity to meet this entire group at Days of the Dead Atlanta just a couple of months ago and let me say this, they are a fun bunch. Not only are they amazingly talented, but they are just good solid people, which is why I was so excited to view this film and write this review.
Invasion of the Undead is the story of a young girl, Allison Hillstead (Barker) that awakens to a call for a much needed job since she is an unemployed college grad. Before being able to go into her new place of employment, she happens to find a zombie, or what she thinks is a zombie of some sort, in her home. She calls a couple of freelance paranormal exterminators to come take care of her problem. Let’s just say that these exterminators were not exactly the most "professional" of guys, which makes this even more of a dilemma for Allison.
That is all the information you will get from me on the plot at this time, so if you want to know more, you need to check this film out. Now, onto my breakdown!!
This was a good film for what it is: low budget, independent, horror/comedy/fantasy. This is the kind of film you need to go into saying to yourself: "This is going to be fun" because that is exactly what it is...fun. For the budget in which this film was made, the cinematography was amazing as were the effects. The cast did a great job. Was the acting Oscar worthy? No, but I love how they interacted with one another, it was extremely entertaining. Overall, the entire cast and crew get an A+ in my book!
Have you ever wanted to support a friend in something whether it be a sport, singing, or something and you just prayed to yourself, "Please be good please be good" so you would not have to lie to them to make them feel better? Well, that was me before watching Invasion of the Undead. I truly love these guys…they are fun, supportive of the art, and like I mentioned earlier, just good people and I wanted so bad for this film to be good....and it was! It was actually much better and much more than I even expected. An absolute job well done on this film!!!
I cannot give Invasion of the Undead a 7, but I tell you what, I will give them 6.8 cleavers out of 10 and tell you guys that if you ever get the chance to check out this film, please do so. You will have a blast!!!
After being let down by a few supernatural horror movies lately, I have to say that The Babadook was much better than I expected it to be. If you can get over the Australian accents (I stopped noticing after about 20 minutes), and be patient during the slow intro, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the meat and potatoes of the movie. There are those key elements of a horror movie you have to have – gripping mystery, creepy voices, glimpses of sinister evil, and a little kid who looks at his mom and calmly says, “I don’t want you to die.” Goosebumps.
The story starts with a haggard looking single mother (Amelia) dealing with her son’s (Samuel) misbehavior at school, and it soon spirals into a series of screaming temper tantrums that would make any person rethink if they should have kids. The beginning of this movie is total birth control, but don’t double up on your condoms yet… you’re gonna love this kid by the end of the movie.
Samuel, like most kids, doesn’t want to go to bed until his mom checks under the bed and in the closet for “monsters” which she does dutifully. Probably just a phase, right? It seems like typical childhood nonsense, until the strange appearance of an ominous book called “The Babadook.” Listen up to this part parents: If you find a book in your house that no one bought and it’s full of super creepy shit - don’t read it to your kids, and don’t keep it in the house. But if Amelia were a smarter mom, we wouldn’t have this movie. And THIS is the point in the movie where it starts to get really interesting.
It soon becomes apparent that the book is related to Samuel’s “monsters” and that he has some connection to what evil abounds. The audience soon starts to see the connection between Samuel, The Babadook book, and the monsters, and Amelia. No spoiler alerts here. You’re going to have to watch the movie yourself if you want to see all of the horrific delights that await you in The Babadook.
But I will say this: the ending left me standing at the altar. This movie and I started with a very slow moving relationship, but then it grew into something beautiful. I thought there was magic between us. And then, The Babadook broke my heart. The ending of the movie was bad. Like, Jar Jar Binks bad. Howard. The. Duck. Bad. Babadook’s saving grace is that first ¾ of the movie is good enough to make up for the horrible ending. They almost scored a home run, but fell just short and had to settle for a triple. To quote Tiffany, “It could have been so beautiful…” Still though, one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in quite a while, even if they didn’t quite hit it out of the park. It’s worth the watch, and bonus for us subscribers, it’s Netflixy.
***POTENTIAL SPOILERS** Then again, it’s on NF. Deal.
So FINALLY we have arrived at The Babadook this week. Sure, it took Netflix to slap that puppy on Instant for us to watch, but I’m sorta kinda pretty maybe happy we waited and took the plunge now after all the hoopla settled. Shall we?
The Babadook was written and directed by Jennifer Kent, you know…of Babe: Pig in the City fame (duh), and focuses on a mother desperately trying to move past the untimely death of her husband on the day their son was born. This proves pretty challenging as now the boy is 7 or 8-ish and is fully aware of his father’s death. Honestly, the mother and son are just hot bowls of mess over it. Mom Amelia is a walking basketcase, unable to sleep or regain any sense of normalcy, and her son Samuel is a little hellion. He is seemingly causing trouble at every turn. It isn’t until one day that a mysterious book appears in their house that really sets the film ablaze. The book is essentially about a monster..uh yeah…a monster named The Babadook that infests itself in their everyday life only to raise unholy hell. Apparently he is a devious sunuvagun. Regardless, the mother (who has now manifested some version of the monster in her own life) and son have no choice but to join forces through the struggle of their loss in order to reign supreme over Mr. Dook.
I suppose on the surface that’s all the movie is really about. I mean it does mostly everything right. It begins with tragedy, Amelia and Samuel are both horrifyingly scary individually and interacting together, and who isn’t afraid of a monster hiding in the shadows? I’m sure every one of us can look back and think to a time when we were young and scared to death of every shift of light and every peep of sound. The whole idea of the film is quite good actually. So why am I so blah about it? The ending left much to be desired, so yeah I guess I’m left with a foul taste in my mouth. Now let’s talk about what the movie was really about, cool?
I don’t normally dive into symbolism and metaphors. I like horror films to just be all superficial and treat me like a one-night stand, as if after the film is over I’ll be doing the walk of shame back to my dorm wearing the same dress as the night before, one broken heel in tow. The Babadook though. I just really have no creative segue on this. It appears obvious to ME that this nasty narrative nuisance was really a metaphor for the mother and son both dealing with the blame they put on each other for the death of their husband/father. Throughout the whole movie it’s glaringly obvious at times that the two wish nothing but ill will towards one another. In my highly amateur estimation, they both blamed each other and that blame and grief manifested itself in the form of a monster from a book that never really existed in the physical world to begin with. Yeah, that sounds kinda smart, right?!
So those are my thoughts, plain and simple. Someone please chime in and tell me if I’m off my rocker or can you get behind that as well? Either way, I absolutely commend the film for what message I took from it, and for that reason I gave it a 6.5 out of 10. In closing, The Babadook: neither Baba, nor dook. Discuss amongst ya’selves…
Hello Reel Bloody readers!! Well, once I got my Netflix back up and running this week, I took the time to check out the movie, The Babadook. I had heard many great reviews on it, and I have been excited to see it for some time. So, here we go...
The Babadook is written and directed by Jennifer Kent and stars Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman. The story revolves around a single mother Amelia, played by Davis, and her son, Samuel, who is played by Noah Wiseman. The two are mourning the tragic death of their husband/father, while an evil presence begins to surround the mother after her son claims to have seen a monster.
In my opinion, the movie started out rather slow, and not only that, I found myself wanted to punch the son Samuel in his face within the first 10-15 minutes due to his constant whining and bitching. However, that soon went away, probably because I grew numb to it, not because he stopped. I am not a parent, so that probably had something to do with it too...lol. Okay, moving along. The movie took a while to get rolling, but as it went on, I did catch myself becoming more and more into this plot and finding myself engaged in the film, which is a good thing. When I actually want to finish a film, it’s automatic that the review will be decent and I overall "liked" the movie.
I said earlier the film started rather "slow," but let me back it up a tad. As the film continued, I began to respect what Jennifer Kent was doing. She was showing us the slow progression, or transformation, of what The Babadook was doing to this family. You cannot just jump right into these things so for that, job well done Ms. Kent!
As always, I give you a review without giving away too much, if any, of the plot or story. That is for you to do on your own, but let me break down this film in the areas that are most important to me.
- Story: I give The Babadook a B+ on the story. I had seen similar films in the past that this reminded me of, but Jennifer Kent did a great job adding her own personal twist to this one.
- Acting: The cast was absolutely amazing! Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman both nailed their roles. The supporting cast did a great job as well. An A+ all around for the cast and the acting in this film.
- Ending: Ehhhhhh. I don't know about this one. I am not saying the ending was completely terrible but to me, I just needed something more or something different. This is where opinion comes into play however. Some of you may think that Jennifer Kent wrapped this up nicely, where I think it needed something more. I will give the ending of this film a C-.
So there we have it; a good story that was rather slow moving at times, amazing cast, and a so-so ending. With all that being said, I do recommend seeing The Babadook. It is an overall good film. I probably will not find myself watching this one over and over, but I promise you, that it is worth viewing at least once.
I give The Babadook a 6 of 10 cleavers. Not bad....not bad!
I LOVE repeat business, receiving or giving…no matter to me. Whether it’s the place around the corner where I get all my Funko treasures or my local bbq joint, there is something wonderfully comfortable and heart-warming about repeat business. What better sign is there to let you know you’re doing something fantastically correct, right? I say all this because last week I had a much needed chance to catch up with Michael Coulombe about some upcoming projects (you may remember him from our review of the great short film Ax several months ago). It was during this brief chat that we were extended an opportunity to review his latest completed short, The Wrong Profile. We obviously didn’t let him complete his sentence before accepting the invite. We know a good thing when we see one, so it was no surprise as to our excitement for this impromptu offer. So now here we are with a 2nd great short film in the books and an even greater understanding of just how splendidly Michael directs. It’s a quick and furiously paced short film, so let’s dive in.
The Wrong Profile (TWP) wastes no time in setting up the perfect isolated environment for which terror to ensue. I suppose it stands to reason. I’ve said before that if you’re going to shoot a short film, you better make damn sure you can get in and get out with an effective quickness, a la ye ole’ spare bedroom quickie at your in-law’s place. There’s absolutely no time for pleasantries, and thankfully Michael and writer Kenny Kurtkan knew it, and did it the right way.
The set-up is straight forward and modest: two detectives are on a stakeout following a lead on a suspected serial killer’s whereabouts. Senior detective Vincent “Ute” Gant bolts to the restroom and after several minutes of not returning, rookie cop John Parker takes note. Within minutes we find that the killer has captured Ute and will use him to complete his macabre mission of murder.
TWP does a fantastic job of building quick tension from a simple and direct plot, and the chemistry between Ute (Paul Stroili) and Parker (Kyler Porche) is fantastic; so much so that I never once doubted its validity. In my books, that’s a HUGE accomplishment. I could go on and on about details, but in the end it’s about overall entertainment and effectiveness, right? Coulombe and Kurtkan have certainly achieved both of those with this short film.
All in all, The Wrong Profile is a complete win and I would LOVE to see it as a feature length film. The creators left plenty of room for this and a little bird may have mentioned to me that it’s definitely an interest of theirs in the future. Click here for the IMDB details on the film and here for Bear Claw Films’ website. Be on the lookout as they take to the festival circuit, showcasing their brilliance with this gem of a horror short! It’s a definite 7 of 10 for me!
This morning my job was to watch a short film called The Wrong Profile which was written by Kenny Kurtkan and directed by Michael Coulombe. If you remember, we previously reviewed a short titled, Ax, that was also directed by Coulombe so this is not our first rodeo with Michael.
Well, this again was a short that lasted not even fifteen minutes, but let me tell you...it was good. The Wrong Profile is the story of two detectives that appear to be on a stakeout to get some leads or clues involving a sting of murders. John Parker (played by Kyler Porche) is a young, new to the game "kid" while Vincent Gant (who is played by Paul Stroili) is the seasoned vet in the game showing John the ropes. Not to give much away about the story, Vincent decides it is time to go find a restroom so for safety he takes his radio/walkie talkie with him. Within moments, John begins getting messages over the radio from someone who has taken Vincent hostage. The suspect over the radio is played by Todd James Jackson, and he does an amazing job portraying someone with some serious issues. I will leave you with that.
So for a final breakdown you get kidnapping, murder, and some cryptic biblical messages all in a fourteen minute short film. The cast and crew did a great job on this film in every aspect. From the cinematography all the way to the acting, this was a very well made film. I could easily see this becoming a feature film not only because of the ending that left me asking many questions, but from the fact that it is just a very solid work.
For a short film, which I am usually not a fan of, I give The Wrong Profile a 7 of 10 cleavers. Job well done!
Don’t get mad, get even. Revenge is a dish best served cold. Hell, even Shakespeare said “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?” On and on I could read quotes like these. More often than not though, people try to trick themselves into believing that they will “take the high road” and forgive and forget and blah blah blah blah. Ugh. Forgiving and forgetting is for people who aren’t smart enough to right the wrong that’s been done. This is one of the reasons I love revenge films. Almost immediately films like Friday the 13th, The Crow, and of course I Spit on Your Grave comes to mind. Well horror fans at home, you can add one more to your list, and it’s called Sorrow. The film is written and directed by Millie Loredo out of Houston, TX, and it’s a real doozy.
“Back up the truth train Bruce! You telling me Sorrow is as good as I Spit on Your Grave?!” Hell no, I’m not saying that. Those revenge films I rattled off have spent years growing a fan base and a cult following. Sorrow hasn’t even seen the public light of day yet. What I AM saying is that it is 100% along the same vein as the aforementioned fantastical films of frightful anti-forgiveness, and if given enough time, it may join the ranks of other notable revenge horrors.
Among a very talented cast are names like Vannessa Vasquez (Hulu Original East Los High) and Eric Martinez (most recently from Better Call Saul as Francisco). Mary Etuk also makes her feature film debut as Hersey, one half of the crazy couple. The director sets up a perfect story line, working backwards from the scene of a horrific crime. For the most part, the viewer follows two sadistic killers Dale and Hersey (Martinez and Etuk) as they kidnap and torture several random victims while on the lam. Careful, though! Hot on their trail is young, smokin’ hot detective Salinas (played by Melissa Mars).
What started out as an emotionally charged afternoon drive turns into faulty vehicle mechanics and Mila (Vasquez) is forced to seek help on foot. As we all know, that is NOT the way to get shit done in a horror film. This can’t be good. It’s not long after that Mila is captured by Dale and Hersey and subjected to all sorts of grotesque torture (the likes of which we very regrettably never really get to see). Through it all though, Mila maintains her strength and will to survive. Mayhem subsides and the two killers soon get complacent. This does not bode well for them, as complacency isn’t exactly the safest means to carry out brutal torturing and general misconduct. Mila successfully escapes their diabolical clutches and is eventually faced with the decision to seek retribution or accept forgiveness. What on earth shall she choose?!
As I see fit to comment on, I’m a fan of juicy blood and gore, and I just didn’t get hardly any of that here, so that was also a little disappointing for me (more nitpicking than anything else really). SuperGore USA is just a personal preference, not at all a catalyst for branding a movie as a success or failure. There was also a noticeable and obvious absence of some of what I felt were crucial scenes. Instances where I felt it visually beneficial here and there to show what was actually taking place were just flat out omitted entirely with a fade in/fade out effect. Not that my imagination lacks the ability to fill in the blanks, but dammit, sometimes baby bird just wants mama bird to throw up in his mouth, ya know?
Nevertheless, nearly all of my in-my-head-horror-checklist boxes of what I look for were checked (in some cases just barely), and that means that undoubtedly Sorrow was an overall great effort. Chiming in at a genre-perfect 90 minutes, Sorrow is a brave and enthusiastic debut effort by film seamstress Millie Loredo, whom I’m certain we shall see more of in the future. The vision she had for her story shone brightly the entire way through, and what the film may have lacked in pacing, visual stimulation, and a more thoroughly executed story was more than made up for with the raw potential she displayed.
I give Millie Loredo’s Sorrow a 5.5 out of 10 cleavers, but I know I’ll have my eyes on her work henceforth.
Click here for the IMDB info on the movie and click here for the FB goings-on!