Category Archives: Horror

They’re coming to get you, Barbera.

Review: The Sadness — Fantasia Festival 2021

Robert Jabbaz’s debut feature film, The Sadness, takes place in the midst of a pandemic. In particular, it takes place during a point in a pandemic where people have stopped worrying about mutations and have largely gone back to their normal day-to-days. Against this backdrop, young couple Kat (Regina Lei) and Jim (Berant Zhu) have planned a vacation. They begin the movie arguing over Jim needing to take on a job during the same week Kat has taken time off of work. Given where this film eventually goes, it is a somewhat banal place to begin the film.

There are many who will turn on this movie. It certainly gives you plenty of chances to turn as events in this Taiwanese city shift from Continue reading Review: The Sadness — Fantasia Festival 2021

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Glasshouse, Sweetie You Won’t Believe It, The Last Thing Mary Saw

Glasshouse; The Last Thing Mary Saw; and Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival that runs Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Glasshouse

Glasshouse is an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller. It explores  Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Glasshouse, Sweetie You Won’t Believe It, The Last Thing Mary Saw

NYAFF 2021 Movie Reviews — A Leg, The Prayer

A Leg and The Prayer are screening as part of the 2021 New York Asian Film Festival that runs Aug. 6 to Aug. 22.

A Leg

A Leg is a story of dance, romance, heartbreak, mourning, and a lost amputated leg. When her husband (Tony Yang) dies following surgery to amputate his foot, Qian Yu-Ying (Qwei Lun-mei) goes on a days-long search throughout the hospital to find  Continue reading NYAFF 2021 Movie Reviews — A Leg, The Prayer

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Brain Freeze, Agnes, Seobok

Brain Freeze, Seobok, and Agnes are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival that runs Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Brain Freeze

The opening night film at this year’s Fantasia festival is Julian Knafo’s Brain Freeze, a  Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Brain Freeze, Agnes, Seobok

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — We’re All Going to The World’s Fair, Tin Can

Tin Can and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival taking place Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Tin Can

Tin Can sets up a vaguely intriguing premise about a pandemic which is ravaging the population and a scientist working on the treatment. It appears like it may be a Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — We’re All Going to The World’s Fair, Tin Can

Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (2021) Movie Review

Fear Street Part Three: 1666 marks the conclusion of Leigh Janiak’s trilogy of horror pastiche films, which have been releasing weekly on Netflix. The trilogy’s release strategy has perhaps received as much attention as the films. Netflix adopts the weekly programming schedule that it actively helped to dissemble with its OTT service which gave rise to the binge-watching model. It’s not so much an innovation as a throwback, just like the movies themselves.

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Part One: 1994 was a broad throwback to the slasher, specifically taking cards from the self-aware era popularized by Scream. Part Two: 1978 was a pure Continue reading Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (2021) Movie Review

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (2021) Movie Review

Adam Robitel’s Escape Room was dumped. It was shoveled off to January, the month where genre movies go to die. The first month of the year has become somewhat notorious for having poor new movie releases. To be fair to the studios, it is an awkward area of the release calendar. There is not as much foot traffic in the theaters as there is during the summer months or the November-December holiday weekends. At the same time, January is a time when prestige movies are starting to do the rounds for awards season consideration. It just isn’t a month for blockbusters.

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So studios dump their genre films there—the genre films they don’t have too much faith in, it appears. Sony released Escape Room on the first weekend of January 2019. And it did a shocking amount of business. 16 weeks later, the film had accumulated over $57 million domestic. Given the film ends on a Continue reading Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (2021) Movie Review

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 (2021) Movie Review

Fear Street: 1978, the second in a trilogy of horror pastiches for Netflix, is a Friday the 13th riff. Following the events of the first film in 1994, the survivors seek the aid of the survivor of a similar incident, C. Berman (Gillian Jacobs). The connective tissue between 1978 and 1994: the legacy of an accused witch by the name of Sarah Fier.

Flashback to a late-’70s summer camp, where Ziggy Berman (Sadie Sink) is being pursued through the woods. She is caught and strung up by her pursuers, bullies who accuse her of embodying the spirit of Fier and causing havoc in the camp. In truth, someone else at the camp is interested in the history of the alleged witch, someone who believes Fier will bring death to the campers that very night.

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Leigh Janiak directs the Fear Street trilogy, and she does a good job Continue reading Fear Street Part Two: 1978 (2021) Movie Review

Fear Street Part One: 1994 (2021) Movie Review

R.L. Stine’s young adult book series Fear Street was the “grown up” Goosebumps. Books about teens for teens, which allowed for slightly more suggestive horror content. If Goosebumps was a G, Fear Street was a hard-PG. Leigh Janiak’s Fear Street: 1994, the first in a trilogy of adaptations for Netflix, is firmly R-rated.

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I was a Goosebumps obsessive as a kid. I wanted to join the Goosebumps fan club (a real thing), in which I would receive a book every month and updates on all new things Goosebumps. Alas, the club was defunct by the time I signed up—it probably had been for years, considering Stine concluded writing the original series of books when I was three. Fear Street, on the other hand, completely Continue reading Fear Street Part One: 1994 (2021) Movie Review

A Quiet Place Part II (2021) Movie Review

John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place was a massive success in 2018, when it was met with a large box office cume and critical appreciation. In part, this critical fascination was due to the sheer silence the film conjured in its theatrical audience. With the sound design so deliberate (and so dedicated to being quiet), idle chatter and candy wrapper rustling in the theater was tacitly discouraged.

A Quiet Place has its moments, showcasing Krasinski’s ability to plant overt seeds in suspenseful sequences which (at their best) conjure delightful tension. Perhaps not the most groundbreaking horror-thriller, but it is not hard to see why it was such a crowd-pleaser.

A Quiet Place Part II—which is now being discussed as one of the first resuscitative heartbeats at the domestic box office since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic—has the Continue reading A Quiet Place Part II (2021) Movie Review