Category Archives: Horror

Lucky (2021) Movie Review

May (Brea Grant), the protagonist of Lucky, suffers the condescending disinterest of the police, reductionist head-shrinking of social workers, and emotional manipulation and gaslighting of her partner (Dhruv Uday Singh). Oh, and she also gets attacked by a masked man every night of her life.

Lucky, written by Grant and directed by Natasha Kermani, is a lean (perhaps too lean) horror satire that imagines society’s patriarchy, microaggressions, and trauma as a surreal nightmare cycling again and again with no end in sight. As far as “social horror” goes, it’s a pretty perfect premise.

The film starts as a fresh twist on an old favorite. May and her husband Ted are attacked in their home by an intruder in the middle of the night. Only, Ted is shockingly nonplussed by the situation. In fact, Continue reading Lucky (2021) Movie Review

Freaky (2020) Movie Review

Writer-director Christopher Landon has a long history working with Blumhouse, first with the Paranormal Activity sequels then with the duo of Happy Death Day horror-comedies. The latter—Happy Death Day 2U in particular—present an intriguing twist on familiar generic ground which I enjoyed quite a bit. It would only make sense, then, that his latest, Freaky, a body-swap horror farce, would tickle my fancy just the same. That was my first thought.

Then, I recalled that Landon also co-wrote and directed Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, a similarly self-aware horror comedy that I found Continue reading Freaky (2020) Movie Review

Psycho Goreman (2021) Movie Review

It isn’t often when a movie with the singular perfect title comes along; just the best movie title of all time. Studios might as well not title new movies from here on out. They just will not be as good. The ghost of Orsen Welles wishes that he would have thought of the name Psycho Goreman when he shot Citizen Kane. Citizen Psycho Goreman might have actually won the Oscar for Best Picture.

But I digress. Steven Kostanski’s Psycho Goreman is not quite the movie that its name suggests. Yes, there is a Psycho Goreman (PG, for short), and he does Continue reading Psycho Goreman (2021) Movie Review

The Reckoning (2020) Movie Review

Neil Marshall’s The Descent holds special weight in my mind. I can recall being extraordinarily tense throughout watching that film, cementing it in my head as a distinctly effective horror film. That film is an intensely close-quarters survival thriller turned creature feature that has its cult fanbase, of which I guess I am a part. But after watching The Reckoning, I question whether it was simply a claustrophobia I did not know I had that made that film so effective.
 
 
The Reckoning, Marshall’s follow-up to the similar dud Hellboy, is a substantial disappointment. The premise of the film holds promise: during the time of the Great Plague, a woman is accused of dealing with the devil while trying to save her homestead following the untimely death of her husband. Setting a witch trial narrative on the backdrop of the Plague is intriguing. The Witch by way of Contagion, perhaps? Not quite.
Continue reading The Reckoning (2020) Movie Review

Review: The Dark and the Wicked — Fantasia Festival 2020

The Dark and the Wicked is screening as part of the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival program.

Bryan Bertino’s The Dark and the Wicked, his first feature film since 2016’s The Monster, is in one sense a story of grief and loss. Two siblings, Louise (Marin Ireland) and Michael (Michael Abbott Jr.), return to their parents’ Texas farmhouse, as it has become clear that their mother (Julie Oliver-Touchstone) is struggling to care for their ailing father (Michael Zagst). Following an untimely death, Louise and Michael have to maneuver grief, while also contending with an evil presence that is haunting the farm.

It is certainly a workable premise for a moody horror flick, but the film ultimately fails to Continue reading Review: The Dark and the Wicked — Fantasia Festival 2020

Fantasia Festival 2020 Movie Reviews — Special Actors, Fried Barry, Patrick

Continuing our coverage of this year’s virtual Fantasia Festival, here are reviews of a few more titles playing at the fest: Shinichiro Ueda’s Special Actors, Ryan Kruger’s Fried Barry, and Tim Mielants’ Patrick.

 

Special Actors

Shinichiro Ueda’s follow-up to the great horror experiment One Cut of the Dead is not a horror film, but an oddball comedy about Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2020 Movie Reviews — Special Actors, Fried Barry, Patrick

Fantasia Festival 2020 Movie Reviews — Sleep, Yummy, The Columnist

The 2020, online-only edition of Fantasia Festival is less than a week away, and this year’s lineup is filled with intriguing genre films from around the world. Over the next few weeks, CineFiles will be bringing you coverage of the event, with both feature and roundup reviews from the fest.

Today, we look at three on-demand titles that are coming down the pike: Sleep, Yummy, and The Columnist.

 

Sleep

Marlene (Sandra Hüller) is plagued by nightmares of Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2020 Movie Reviews — Sleep, Yummy, The Columnist

The Rental (2020) Movie Review

In The Rental, two couples (Alison Brie, Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand, and Jeremy Allen White) rent an idyllic vacation home on the ocean. Staying nearby is the brother of the homeowner (Toby Huss), who reveals himself early on to be slightly creepy and potentially racist. He leaves them be for the weekend, but the four lodgers cannot help but think he is up to something. Then things, as they often do in movies of this sort, quickly start going awry for the four vacationers.

Stills courtesy of IFC Films

It is a recognizable premise for a low-rent thriller, something which could be Continue reading The Rental (2020) Movie Review

Is The Oregonian (2011) an “Unknown Masterpiece?” — Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough (DitR, /dɪ’tər/) takes some of the most derided, divisive, controversial, financially catastrophic, and meme-worthy movies and tries to find the silver lining. Bad movies don’t always start as bad ideas, and flops aren’t always flop-worthy. DitR seeks to find the good within the bad, because the world could use some positivity. And when all else fails, making fun of bad movies is oh-so satisfying.

In this installment, we look at The Oregonian from director Calvin Lee Reeder (The Procedure). [Caution: Spoilers Ahead]

 

The Oregonian

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 44% (9 reviews)
  • Metacritic: 46 (4 reviews)
  • IMDb: 4.2/10 (617 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 2.7/5 (436 ratings)

 

Calvin Lee Reader made the fart movie. Two of them, as a matter of fact. Perhaps this is worth mentioning. I dunno.

The second most popular review for The Oregonian on Letterboxd is Continue reading Is The Oregonian (2011) an “Unknown Masterpiece?” — Diamonds in the Rough

Is Flying Lotus’s Kuso (2017) a Misunderstood Masterpiece? — Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough (DitR, /dɪ’tər/) takes some of the most derided, divisive, controversial, financially catastrophic, and meme-worthy movies and tries to find the silver lining. Bad movies don’t always start as bad ideas, and flops aren’t always flop-worthy. DitR seeks to find the good within the bad, because the world could use some positivity. And when all else fails, making fun of bad movies is oh-so satisfying.

In this installment, we look at the film debut of Steven Ellison (aka Flying Lotus), Kuso (2017). [Caution: Spoilers Ahead]

Kuso

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 36% (22 reviews)
  • Metacritic: 51 (11 reviews)
  • IMDb: 5.0/10 (1,283 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 2.8/5 (2,126 ratings)

kuso-2017-movie-review-flying-lotus-gross-out-body-horror

Critical Reception:
Dennis Harvey, Variety

“That it took a small army of animators and other craftspersons to realize Ellison’s vision only underlines the stupefying nature of its gist, which is pretty much Continue reading Is Flying Lotus’s Kuso (2017) a Misunderstood Masterpiece? — Diamonds in the Rough