Tag Archives: horror movie

Saw (2004) Movie Review

This review of Saw is part of the Saw Franchise Retrospective series in anticipation of this month’s release of Jigsaw.

The first image we see in James Wan’s Saw, now somewhat of a perennial torture porn classic, sets up the illogical world that this series is grounded in. A fitting introduction, one might say. We see Adam (Leigh Whannell, who also serves as screenwriter) underwater in a tub with a key dangling in front of his face. He is holding his breath, but also unconscious. When he wakes, he yanks open the drain and the key disappears forever.

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How long was he out? How could he be alive after Continue reading Saw (2004) Movie Review

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The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) Movie Review

Over the past decade, The Poughkeepsie Tapes has become an artifact of horror fandom lore. Initially set for a 2007 release, John Erick Dowdle’s mockumentary profiling of a serial killer was pulled from the release slate and faded away.  In 2014, the film received a light VOD release and vanished again.

On October 10, 2017, The Poughkeepsie Tapes was given, for the first time, a proper release. It is currently available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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In retrospect, the film feels like the found footage love child of The Blair Witch Project and V/H/S. Talking head interviews frame the story of a serial killer who Continue reading The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) Movie Review

Sheitan (2006) Movie Review

This review of Kim Chapiron’s Sheitan is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

The abrupt open to Sheitan is an utter delight. The first image is a closeup on a man’s shocked face. He asks if we’re ready. There is indistinct noise, perhaps in protest, from outside of the frame. He asks again. Then, he begins scratching a turntable, and we are introduced to a rowdy night club that presents us with the energy of the film. Text appears on the screen that reads: “Do not forgive them, for they know what they do.”

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In this night club are three men who are quickly thrown out for one of their transgressions against patrons. The transgressor, Bart (Olivier Barthelemy), has some issues with anger and sexual aggression toward women (and apparently bad breath).

Before being kicked out, however, they meet Eve (Roxane Mesquida), who invites the three men and Yasmine (Leila Bekhti) to her eccentric home in the country, which is filled with Continue reading Sheitan (2006) Movie Review

Frontier(s) (2008) Movie Review

This review of Xavier Gens’ Frontier(s) is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

Xavier Gens’ Frontier(s) begins similarly to Mathieu Kassovitz’ 1995 drama La Haine. Both begin by mixing real and documentary footage of riots in the streets of France. In both cases they are riots over an intense distrust of the government. For Frontier(s) it is a distrust over a newly elected right-wing government.

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In a way, it feels like Gens is trying to pick up where Kassovitz left off, beginning with an Continue reading Frontier(s) (2008) Movie Review

Inside (2007) Movie Review

This review of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s Inside is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

Inside begins, as its title suggests, in utero, with the image of a fetus that is about to be ruptured by an unseen car wreck. Four months later, the survivors Sarah (Alysson Paradis) and her unborn child are ready for the impending birth. It is Christmas Eve, and the newly widowed Sarah is despondent about the prospect of her first baby.

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An understandable apathy, to be certain. The cruelty of having one of the Continue reading Inside (2007) Movie Review

Kuso (2017) Movie Review

“No one will ever save you,” begins the man (Regan Farquhar aka Busdriver) who hijacks a newscast at the beginning of Steve Ellison’s (aka Flying Lotus) cinematic debut Kuso. “Once you’re dead / you’re dead / There’s no coming back.”

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Thus is a fitting prologue into the world of Kuso, the warped, hallucinogenic vision of its musical creator. No one can save you from Continue reading Kuso (2017) Movie Review

Wish Upon (2017) Movie Review

In Wish Upon, endlessly picked-on teenager Clare (Joey King) is gifted a music box with Ancient Chinese lettering on it that her dad (Ryan Phillipe) found in a dumpster. The box allows her seven wishes, at the cost of seven lives.

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And it is not good. Continue reading Wish Upon (2017) Movie Review