Category Archives: Horror

They’re coming to get you, Barbera.

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

The Invisible Man (2020) Movie Review

Universal’s 2017 re-interpretation of The Mummy, directed by Alex Kurtzman and starring Tom Cruise, went for a frivolous, action-oriented romp. It appeared to be searching for something akin to yet distinct from the Stephen Sommers-directed The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns—distinguished enough in its choreography to suit Cruise’s devil-may-care persona yet narratively grounded enough to kick off a multi-IP franchise worthy of crossovers and event films.

This latter conceit was dead on arrival. While The Mummy did Continue reading The Invisible Man (2020) Movie Review

Gretel & Hansel (2020) Movie Review

Osgood Perkins’ Gretel & Hansel, produced by Orion Pictures and Bron Studios, reverses the names in the title of the classic Grimm’s fairy tale. This is an intentional choice. Not only is Gretel arguably the protagonist of every major iteration of this story, but this version makes a concerted effort to address the gender differences between its title characters.

It is an interesting direction to take a familiar fairy tale, one that could bear rich thematic fruit. Unfortunately, Rob Hayes’ script makes statements toward this theme without much elaboration and with only a cursory connection to the fairy tale text. The film begins with Continue reading Gretel & Hansel (2020) Movie Review

The Grudge (2020) Movie Review

Following the huge success of Gore Verbinski’s The Ring in 2002, The J-horror franchise Ju-on was remade in the United States as The Grudge in 2004. It was also a success. In the first weekend of 2020, another remake of Ju-on appeared in theaters to little fanfare. To Sony, it seemed like a good idea. The time gap is big enough. The January market is (while a notorious dumping ground) not a moneyless area for horror.

And the premise of Ju-on, like any good myth, is worth retelling. The concept of a house whose primary tenant is a spiritual curse is (while by no means wholly original) intriguing. The story moves from Continue reading The Grudge (2020) Movie Review

The Gallows Act II (2019) Movie Review

I have to admit: I can’t remember a whole lot about The Gallows, the micro-budget horror film from 2015 that found a massive ROI despite strong negative reaction from audiences and critics. What I do remember is being unimpressed. But the film was financially impressive enough, shoring up almost $43 million on a reportedly $100,000 budget. Certainly enough to warrant the greenlight for a sequel.

From what I can tell, there is no plan for a national rollout of this sequel. The Gallows Act II, directed by the same duo as the first film (Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing), is playing in Continue reading The Gallows Act II (2019) Movie Review