söndag 23 augusti 2020

Blood Quantum

When you look back at your past, do you remember anything specific that you especially remember ? I am sure that most of you do. Some of you might remember your first Traci Lords VHS film, where you did not care about the title, and you just wanted to watch her in action. And some of you might remember that Falcon Crest actor Lorenzo Lamas actually recorded an album called Fingerprints, released in 1984. 

Wait, none of you remember that ? 

Oh man, i thought everyone remember how good that album was. I guess i better play that more often in my car from now on, so more fans can discover one of the greatest albums of all time. Anyway, one of my memories that i cherish is from 1991, when my school friend Jonas managed to get his hands on a VHS tape from England, with the film Day Of The Dead. This was not my first zombie film ( i believe Zombie Flesh Eaters was my first ), but it was one of the best films i have seen in this genre during that time. Directed by legendary director George A. Romero, this film offered some really gory practical effects, a lot of zombies, and even some comedy scenes as well. I remember seeing this film for the first time, and i was shocked of how brutal this film was. And i loved it of course, and i ended up borrowing this film from Jonas several times. Day Of The Dead is one of those films i can still Watch today, and enjoy for a number of reasons. Considering that this film was released in 1985, i think the practical effects still look pretty good. Another detail is that the cast of this film also does a good job, especially legendary actor Joseph Pilato as the bad dude Rhodes. A must buy on Blu Ray, and get the Arrow Video release, and you get some really nice special features. Speaking of zombies, every year we get different kinds of films in the genre. Some are actually pretty good, while some feels pretty boring. And as i was going through a list of horror films that looked interesting, i came across the title of Blood Quantum. I have read some Reviews online, and this seemed to be an interesting zombie film, especially considering what time period this film takes place. Is it possible that Blood Quantum is one of the better zombie films in recent years, or is it as bad as Cuba Gooding Jr´s 2007 comedy Daddy Day Camp ?

In 1981, on the Red Crow Indian Reservation in Quebec, Canada, fisherman Gisigu ( Stonehorse Lone Goeman ) catches a number of Salmon, and observes that they move after they are gutted. Elsewhere that morning, Gisigu´s son, sheriff Traylor ( Michael Greyeyes ) gets a call of a dying dog that belongs to his ex-wife, nurse Joss ( Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers ) and kill the dog. Traylor goes to visit Joss, and learn that their son Joseph ( Forrest Goodluck ) have been arrested for vandalism. Traylor then visits Gisigu, who show him the gutted yet moving salmon. Joss dead dog wakes up back to life suddenly, and Traylor shoots it. Something very strange is clearly going on in town, and as Traylor and Joss heads to town to free Joseph from jail, chaos breaks loose as one of the violent men in jail attacks Joseph and bites in his arm. This is just the beginning of the real hell that awaits everyone.

One of the things that caught my attention with Blood Quantum, is that this film is supposed to be in the early 80´s. And for those who know me, you know i love horror films that tries to capture this time period in new films. And i have to say, they have managed to capture that 80´s feeling with the police cars, costume design and some of the characters as well. I also think the music score fits well with the time period, that gives you a feeling of the 80´s. The biggest highlight of Blood Quantum is without a doubt the practical effects. There are some really gory scenes in here, where the zombies feed on body parts, limbs and much more, and you see it pretty close. This is exactly what a film like this needed to work, since if you are going to make a zombie film, make sure you have some fun practical effects included to please the fans of this genre. My biggest problem with Blood Quantum is that this film has a lot of characters, but only a few of them are interesting. You don´t really get to know some of the characters that well, when you know they are stuck in an impossible situation of a zombie invasion. But let´s get into the characters that i do feel work. Joss, played by wonderful actress Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, is a woman who clearly had a rough life, and she´s trying to do her best to deal with this difficult moment. Lysol ( played by actor Kiowa Gordon, who i guarantee you will recognize from the Twilight franchise ) is a character who clearly don´t take shit from anyone, and Kiowa delivers a performance that fits well with the character. Actress Devery Jacobs is really cool as the character James, who is clearly a survivor with a big heart. As a zombie film, Blood Quantum does not bring anything new to the table, but that´s ok. The construction of this film, set in the 80´s, makes it feel like a cool nostalgic trip to a different version of Day Of The Dead, in an odd way. Director Jeff Barnaby knows how to show respect for this genre, and he does hit the right spot with this effort to make a practical effect feast. If you got no plans this week, give Blood Quantum a chance on VOD, and who knows, you might feel inspired to try your own zombie battle.

Rating: DDD

The Wretched

Folklore stories can be found worldwide, in many different shapes and told in different ways. In some countries they take folklore stories very seriously. Let´s bring up one example of Hungarian folklore, where they believe in ghosts of the forest in Middle World, where you can find female sellö ( mermaid ) who lives in water, and has a human torso with the tail of a fish. Sounds pretty interesting right ? The movie industry loves folklore stories, and have told several different stories from different countries. One of the films that i personally feel did a good job, telling a story based on a folklore, is the 2002 film known as The Mothman Prophecies. Directed by Mark Pellington ( who also directed the short film Destination Anywhere, inspired by the Jon Bon Jovi solo album of the same name ), this film tells the story of reporter John Klein ( played by legendary actor Richard Gere ), who researches the legend of the Mothman ( a West Virgina folklore, a creature that was reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area from November 12, 1966, to December 15, 1967 ). He is sent to cover a news piece and ends up in Point Pleasant, where there have been sightings of an unexplained phenomena. The Mothman Prophecies is actually one of my personal favourite Richard Gere films, since this is a very different film in his career, and he actually works well in a horror film. And as a horror film based on a folklore story, this film actually manage to combine this into the story. If you want to see Richard Gere in one of his better films from the early 2000´s, then i suggest you pick up The Mothman Prophecies on DVD or Blu Ray. Earlier this year i saw the trailer for the horror film The Wretched, that seemed to have folklore vibes. And this film also seemed to have practical effects, something that i really love. I finally got a chance to check out this film on Blu Ray, so is The Wretched better than i expected, or is this another horror release that you might as well avoid and see The Mothman Prophecies instead ?

in 1985, Megan ( Sydney Mikelle ) arrives at her home of the Gambels to babysit their daughter. In the basement, she finds a creature feeding on the little girl. Terrified, she tries to escape, but Mr. Gambel ( Tug Coker ) purposely shuts the door on her. A strange sign is shown on the door. In the present, Ben ( John-Paul Howard ) comes to live with his father Liam ( Jamison Jones ) as his parents are in the middle of a divorce. Liam gives Ben a jon working at the marina, where he befriends Mallory. He notices Liam kissing a co-worker Sara ( Azie Tesfai ). In the woods, Dillon ( Blane Crockarell ), the son of Liam´s neighbor Abbie ( Zarah Maller ) finds a tree with the same symbol seen at the Gambel house. Dillon hears a voice that sounds like Abby´s voice coming from a tree, Calling to him before Abbie appears. They bring a buck home that they hit, as Abbie try to butcher it. That night something crawls out of the buck, that no one have seen before....

There is especially one thing that i have to say to the film crew of The Wretched, and that is that they have done a wonderful job with this film, on a technical level. This film looks good considering the budget, and the creature is actually effective from a horror perspective. I have to say that the folklore connection in this film, is also one detail that i especially appreciate. It helps you understand the creature, and what it is that she wants. One thing that surprised me about The Wretched, is that i felt that this film might have been inspired by the 1985 horror classic Fright Night. Not that there are any vampires in The Wretched, but the scenes where the character Ben ( played by actor John-Paul Howard ) watch one of his neighbors known as Abbie ( played by actress Zarah Mahler ), definetely feels inspired by Tom Holland´s 1985 classic. I could be wrong, but i do appreciate the effort. Speaking of characters, i feel that there is a mixed bag here. The most interesting characters, are actually the female characters Mallory ( played by actress Piper Curda ) and Abbie ( who i mentioned earlier ). Especially the character of Abbie, who is one bad ass mother from the beginning, who clearly knows how to handle herself. Mallory is charming in her own way, as she helps kids in a sort of a sailing school. As the film starts to go deeper into the mystery, surrounding this creature, you get a bigger picture of the folklore story. The creepy sound effects, with the moving creature, is something that i actually felt worked better than i expected. Is this a perfect horror film ? No, but with everything that The Wretched have to offer, i feel that you can´t be dissappointed. If you are a fan of creature horror films, then you simply have to check this film out. Directors Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce, also known as The Pierce Brothers, delivers a horror film that not only looks good, but brings back the creature effects back on it´s feet, in a positive way. The Wretched is a great choice this autumn, if you are thinking about getting a DVD or Blu Ray, and i guarantee that you will have a cozy evening.

Rating: DDD

fredag 21 augusti 2020

Da 5 Bloods

War is a shit hole. no matter how you turn it around, no war has never ended without a lot of pain, suffering and sadness. And even if some people might consider themselves as winners in a war, was it worth it all when innocent victims are taken away from their loved ones ? Wars portrayed in films have been done for so many years. and there are some really good titles to choose between. But if you ask me personally, one of the most powerful and well made war films of all time, i would choose the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, from director Francis Ford Coppola. If you ever wanted to see an epic war film about the Vietnam War, this is the perfect film to choose. This film does not only show the Vietnam war in a very powerful way, but this film also have some really powerful performances from the whole cast. Especially from legendary actors Martin Sheen, Dennis Hopper and of course Marlon Brando. For those of you who have not seen this film, i suggest you see Apocalypse Now Redux, a much longer version of this film. The biggest reason why this extended version is better, is that you get a bigger understanding about the story surrounding the soldiers and their mission. Pick up the Blu Ray release of Apocalypse Now Redux this autumn, and i guarantee you will have a nice cozy September weekend. Speaking of the Vietnam War, and films that takes place during that time, most of you probably remember the Oscar winner Platoon. Best war movie of the 80´s and directed by Oliver Stone, who worked really hard to capture the mentality and the look of the Vietnam War. The most interesting detail about Platoon, is that this film is actually based on director Oliver Stone´s own experiences in the Vietnam War. This is also one of those films that you need to see, so i suggest you pick up Platoon on DVD or Blu Ray as well. If i say the name Spike Lee, most of you will probably think about his classic films such as Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X or perhaps Clockers. He have made a lot of good films, so when i got the news earlier this year that his latest film Da 5 Bloods is heading to Netflix, i just had to check this film out. Is it possible that Spike Lee still have more powerful stories to tell, or is he only repeating himself with his latest film ?

During the Vietnam War, a squad of black US Army soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division, Paul ( Delroy Lindo ), Otis ( Clarke Peters ), Eddie ( Norm Lewis ), Melvin ( Isiah Withlock ) and their squad leader Norman ( Chadwick Boseman ), who dub themselves the " Bloods ", secure the site of a CIA airplane crash and recover its cargo, a locker of gold bars intended as payment for the Lahu people for their help fighting the Viet Cong. The bloods decides to take the gold and bury it themselves, so they can retrieve it later. However, Norman is killed by Vietnam Soldiers, and the Bloods can not locate the buried gold. In present day, Paul, Otis, Eddie, Melvin and Paul´s son. They have returned to Vietnam to get the gold, and find the body of their friend Norman.

Since i really enjoy a lot of Spike Lee´s films in the past, i had pretty high expectations for Da 5 Bloods. And there are parts of this film where you can still sense the power of a Spike Lee film, where he still hit some high notes. However, this film is very long. And this is one of my issues with this film, since this film is over 2 hours and 30 minutes. There are films that can work, even if they are this long. And this film is good, but the story feels drawn out a bit too long. With that said, we do have some positive things to say about Da 5 Bloods. I enjoy the story of the old Vietnam veterans, going back to Vietnam, and most of all the actors who do a great job with their characters. One of my personal favourite characters in this film, is the character known as Paul, played by legendary actor Delroy Lindo ( who played Colonel Max Wilkins in the 90´s action classic Broken Arrow, from legendary director John Woo ). Delroy have no problem making his character Paul interesting, being a broken war veteran who have remorse over certain details in his life. Legendary actor Clarke Peters ( who i especially remember from the fantastic TV series The Wire ) plays the character Otis, and he is one of those men that you like right from the start. He cares about everyone, and he knows how to treat everyone with respect. I have to mention actor Isiah Whitlock Jr. who have been Spike Lee films 25th Hour and BlacKkKlansman. He is also in this film as the character Melvin, who clearly take this mission seriously. If there is one thing that Da 5 Bloods manage to do, is to show us that no matter how many years have passed by, the memories will always haunt the soldiers for the rest of their lives. The hunt for the gold is not really interesting to me, but i do feel that the characters in this film is the biggest reason why you should see Da 5 Bloods. Director Spike Lee still have his own unique way to tell a story, and he still manage to do so with his latest film. It may not be one of his best films in recent years, but i stil feel that there is an important subject to be told about war veterans, and this is something that Da 5 Bloods manage to do well. Have no idea what to watch on Netflix ? Give this film a chance, especially if you enjoy the films from Spike Lee.

Rating: DDD

tisdag 18 augusti 2020

25 Years Anniversary Review Of Demon Knight

I don´t know about you, but the summer of 1995 was magical for me for a number of different reasons. I was 18 years old at that time ( i had my first serious relationship that summer with Maria, that luckily ended because she slept with 2 of my friends ). The magical part about this is that this relationship ended, and i could just do what i wanted, after what happened. Some of the other good things about the summer of 1995, is that this was the summer when the movie adaptation of Mortal Kombat came out in cinemas. Based on the very popular video game, this film is a fun martial arts action movie that kicked ass, in a very positive way. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, this is a 90´s delight for fans of classic video games, and who appreciate martial art films. I do think the characters in this film ( based on characters from the video game ), are actually working with the tone of this film. I would still say that this is one of the better films based on a video games, in the action genre. Some of the special effects may look a bit cheesy today, but if you can accept that i still believe you would have a good time with Mortal Kombat. The next thing that came to my mind about the summer of 1995, was that this was the summer when American rock band Garbage released their debut album Garbage, that is according to me their best album. There are so many great songs on this album such as Stupid Girl, I´m Only Happy When It Rains, Milk, and many others. Garbage singer Shirley Manson looks fantastic ( and she still does, i saw her and Garbage live in London back in September, 2018 ), and she have a very powerful singing voice. If you have not heard Garbage debut album, you have to listen to it. It is one of the best albums of 1995, no doubt about that. But there was one more magical moment of this year, and that was the release of Demon Knight, based on the comic book known as Tales From The Crypt. Back in the day, this used to be one of my favourite horror films during this time. And to be honest, i probably have not seen this film since 2007 ( don´t ask me why, i know it sounds strange ). But as i noticed this year that Demon Knight is turning 25 years, i just had tp pick up the Blu Ray release from Shout! Factory and see how i felt about this film after so many years. Is this still one of the best horror films of the 90´s, or has Demon Knight aged a lot and lost some of that magic we felt back in 1995?

On a desert road in New Mexico, The Collector ( Billy Zane ) pursues drifter Frank Brayker ( William Sadler ). The veichles crash and Brayker flees. Local drunk Uncle Willy ( Dick Miller ) takes him to a decomisshioned Church converted into a boarding house. In this boarding house you have the owner Irene ( CHH Pounder ), prostitue Cordelia ( Brendan Bakke ), postal clerk Walle ( Charles Fleischer ) and a convict on work release named Jeryline ( Jada Pinkett ). Frank Drayker warns everyone not to let The Collector in, even if they don´t really believe him at first. As the night goes on, they are about to see that their nightmare is just about to begin.

If you love the TV series of Tales From The Crypt ( just like myself ), i guarantee that you will love this film as well. Demon Knight does not only capture the right tone of the comic books, but this film also deliver some really solid horror entertainment, with a lot of violence and wonderful make up effects. You could say that Demon Knight is actually one of the better horror comic book films made, since Creepshow came out. And this is one thing that i am so proud of this film, that it actually takes the source material serious and still manage to be entertaining as well. There are so many great characters in this film, that i could easily discuss. But let us begin with my personal favourite character, and that is the evil The Collector, played by wonderful actor Billy Zane. The biggest reason why this is one of the best characters in this film, is because of the performance of Billy Zane. I would easily say that this is one of his best acting performances of the 90´s, because he really went all in for this crazy character. The Collector may be a very disturbed personality, but for some reason you can´t help to like this maniac. He is such a powerful character in a film like this, that every scene that he is in feels like a wonderful walk in a park, on a sunny day. Legendary actor William Sadler who plays the drifter Frank Brayker, is a character you feel connected with right from the very beginning. His mission to stop the evil The Collector, and the devotion he have to protect the innocent becomes very clear. William Sadler have done a wonderful job with his character, and he matches really well with the plot of this film. I have to mention actress Jada Pinkett as the bad ass character Jeryline. She may not seem so tough from the beginning, but as the film goes on she really show female empowerment on a high level. The Cryptkeeper is of course here, and does what he do best, entertain the audience in his own unique way. The make up effects of the demons looks really effective, and they do match well with the look of this film. I would say that the make up effects in general works really well with the other actors as well, as some of them become demons themselves. I also think that the story of evil vs good is one detail that works better than i expected, especially with the history influences of the past. Director Ernest Dickerson is clearly inspired by the horror comic books, and he shows that with this horror feast, as he brings out the right tone for a film, right out of The Tales From The Crypt stories. This film is brutal, fun, and most of all a great tribute to 90´s horror. Demon Knight will forever be one of those horror films that will live on with a legacy of great characters, and horror entertainment that could only have been made in this magical time of the 90´s. If you don´t own this film on DVD or Blu Ray yet, let me give you a home school lesson that says:

You shall buy Demon Knight on a physical copy, or you will regret it for the rest of your life.

I think that pretty much says it all, you now know what you must do. A wonderful film for the whole family to enjoy.

Rating: DDDD

The Other Lamb

I am against many things in this world, especially pedophiles and men who abuse women. I can honestly say that i would not mind burning all pedophiles alive, and feel no shame in saying that. If you sexually abuse a child, you should suffer with pain, and have no legal rights. Some might say i am cruel saying so, that they should die in pain. But in my eyes they don´t deserve anything at all, just to be burned alive. With that said there is especially one issue that i have studied a lot about over the years, through books, documentary films and newspaper stories. And that is religious cults, that we can find all over the world. There are a lot of religious cults out there in history, and i could easily talk about many of them. But i decided to pick out especially one religious cult that made world news when President Warren Jeffs of the FLDS Church, was arrested in 2006, after the truth came out about him having sexually abused children. In 2011, Warren Jeffs was convicted of two felony counts of child sexual assaults, wich he is currently serving a life sentence plus twenty years. Warren Jeffs is a perfect example of a religious cult leader, who sexually abused children and manipulated church members to do what he wanted. There are several interesting documentaries about FLDS, where they also talk about Warren Jeffs. One that you can watch for free is on this link below, to the FLDS documentary Damned To Heaven, so you get to hear both members, and former members talk about the church and their leaders.


When it comes to films that tells the story of religious cults, i have a couple of films that i could easily mention. But there is one film i feel that not many people have seen, or heard about, that people should see. And that is the independent drama film Holy Ghost People, directed by Mitchel Altieri. This film tells the story of Charlotte ( played really well by actress Emma Greenwell ) who is looking for her missing sister, that joined a religious cult church up on Sugar Mountain. She ask her new friend Wayne ( Brendan McCarthy ) to help her find her sister, by pretending to join the church. They meet reverend Brother Billy ( with a fantastic performance by Joe Egender ), who welcome them both. But there is clearly something going on in this church, as Charlotte keep looking for her sister. Holy Ghost People is an effective drama film, of how dangerous cult members can be, and they are willing to do anything for their lord. I personally feel that this is the best film from director Mitchel Altieri. I suggest you buy the DVD and support this film, it is worth having in your movie collection. During this spring i was reading some articles online about a film called The Other Lamb, a film that brings up the subject of a religious cult, that takes place in the countryside. I saw the trailer, and this looked exactly like my cup of tea, and independent film that digs deep into religion. Is this one of the better independent films to see during this season of late summer, or is The Other Lamb a film that you don´t need to waste your time on ?

Selah ( Raffey Cassidy ) is a member of a religious group, run by their leader Shepherd ( Michiel Huisman ). Shepherd have several wives, and every child he have with them are women, as they live in a very closed society with no technology. The sisterhood tries to please their master, in every way that he needs to be pleased, since he is the connection to their creator. But when the sisterhood are having issues with Selah, they are forced to try and deal with the situation, no matter what needs to be done.

I had a feeling that this could be an interesting film, for many different reasons. And i am happy to say that The Other Lamb is a film that clearly shows the danger of religious cults, and the damage that they can cause to human beings. But there is so much more that is important to dig into in a story like this, how these women give up their whole lives, to be told what they should do. Can you imagine not being able to go anywhere you want, not eat the food you want, or not even have a soda you love, because someone will tell you what is ok or not ok ? I personally feel that religious cults such as this one are really dangerous, because the ones who run these cults are very disturbed personalities. This is where we should talk about some of the interesting characters. Let us begin with the cult leader Shepherd, played by actor Michiel Huisman. Shepherd is that kind of character that will piss you off, because he is clearly taking advantage of all of these women in this religious cult. Every woman is supposed to be avaible to him, and be breeded by him, because he is their Shepherd. I have to say though that Michiel does a powerful performance of this sick individual, and for that i applaude him. Actress Raffey Cassidy ( who most of you will recognize from Tomorrowland: A World Beyond ) gives the strongest acting performance in this film as the character Selah, who starts to question things in the sisterhood, as well as what Shepherd is doing. Raffey clearly wanted to give her performance a realistic look, of how it could be when you start to doubt what you believe in, and remember your life from the past. And she does this in a powerful way, that you will feel through her performance. The one thing i especially appreciate about The Other Land, is how beautiful this film is to look at. It is made with a passion to tell a story, especially from a female perspective. Director Malgorzata Szumowska ( who directed the powerful drama film Ine The Name Of ) bring us a film that not only show the pattern of manipulation, but also the power of fighting back, when you feel that something is wrong. The Other Lamb is an independent film with many lairs of important subjects, that needs to be told. Especially that there is a lot of abuse towards women in society, something we can not accept. A film you need to see, especially if you are interested in religious cults, just like myself.

Rating: DDD

måndag 17 augusti 2020

Penance Lane

Back in the 80´s, i used to watch a lot of wrestling on TV. Everytime i watched Hulk Hogan strike down any wrestler, i felt a lot of joy. The same thing when you watched The Ultimate Warrior, or even " Macho Man " Randy Savage do their special tricks, i would cheer infront of the TV. The 80´s, up until the 90´s had a lot of fun wrestlers such as The Bushwackers, the only ones during that time who looked like Redneck Alabama folks, with a very unique walk. WWE used to be one of the things i always watched on weekends. As the 90´s went on, a lot of wrestling stars would show up in Hollywood films, and especially Hulk Hogan. Who has not seen his films Surburban Commando or Mr Nanny? He did do some other acting in such films as No Holds Barred back in 1989, that actually felt more like a connection to his wrestling career. Speaking earlier about Randy Savage, you might remember seeing him in the comedy film Ready To Rumble from 2000. This film really tried to bring in a lot of wrestlers such as Sting, Bam Bam Bigelow, Disco Inferno and many more. But the wrestling industry realised the potential that wrestling stars had on the big screen, so WWE Films produced a lot of action, and horror films as well. One of the films i remember especially is the 2006 horror film See No Evil, directed by Gregory Dark. This is a slasher film that used a lot of classic ingredients from similar films, and the most fun part of See No Evil is to see wrestler Kane as the killer character Jacob Goodnight, killing anyone who gets in his way. See No Evil may not bring anything new to the table, but that´s not the point either. If you enjoy slasher films with a lot of brutality, then See No Evil is Worth checking out. There is a sequel, but i personally prefer the first film. During spring this year i was hearing some buzz online about an independent horror film that would have wrestlers in a film called Penance Lane. This caught my attention of course, and i decided to pick up the film on DVD. Is this one of the better horror films i have seen this summer, or is Penance Lane as forgettable as Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1?

Crimson Matthews ( Tyler Mane ) arrives in a small American town, looking for a job and to start a new life after being in prison. As he gets a lift to town, he helps local girl Sherry Roddick ( Scott Taylor-Compton ) from being avused by her boyfriend. She thanks him personally, when he goes in to have dinner at Sherry´s mother Jan Roddick´s ( April Bogenschutz ) diner. Since Crimson is looking for a new job, he ask Jan about the note outside her diner. It turns out that local pastor Father John ( John Schneider ) needs an old house to be fixed, and she helps him set up a meeting with Crimson. Father John hires Crimson right away, and there is a lot of work to be done. But this house have some secrets hidden, that Crimson is about to find, as he begins to fix up the place.

One of the biggest surprises for me personally, is how well this film have captured the American small town society. You have characters here that i bet a lot of Americans will say that they have seen, in small towns. And i appreciate that this film does not try and and add clichés of typical American people, and make them look like ordinary people instead. I think this helps the characters of this film become more interesting, since you can feel that they are just as ordinary as the people we all meet in smaller towns. But there is a secret about this small town, and that is one interesting twist that i especially appreciate, that i did not expect. In the beginning of this film, you might think that this is another paranormal horror film, that we have seen so many times before. But the plot actually becomes more clear, as the film goes on, and feels more like a mixture of Wes Craven infuences. Let us get into the characters for a bit. Lead actor Tyler Mane ( retired professional wrestler ) actually fit well with his character Crimson Matthew, who just got out of prison. At first you might think that Crimosn is leaving everything behind his past, but is he really ? Wonderful actress Scout Taylor-Compton ( who i guarantee you recognize from Rob Zombie´s 2007 horror film Halloween ) plays the female character Sherry. She may not be seen a lot, but Scout knows how to make her character fit in with the plot. Legendary actor John Schneider ( who most of you remember from the classic TV series The Dukes Of Hazard ) is one of the big surprises for me with this film. He is actually better than i expected, so that is without a doubt positive. I have to mention wrestler and actor Booker Huffman, with his character Shooter. He nails his performance right on target. Penance Lane is a horror film that is not groundbreaking in any way, but this is a good looking film and also have a clever twist into the story. I also have to mention that i enjoy the secret that this town holds, that helps the plot become more interesting. Director Péter Engert shares his passion for Wes Craven with Penance Lane, and do it with a effective combination of old school horror ingredients. Worth picking up on DVD, if you appreciate this genre, and wrestling stars as well of course.

Rating: DDD

tisdag 4 augusti 2020

The Lodge

I am a big city guy. I love the big houses, restaurants, pubs, cinemas, shops, strip clubs, everything that is supposed to be in a big city. All the years that i have travelled across Europe i appreciate everything that every city has to offer. But there are moments, when i just need a relaxing weekend, away from the big city. Just to go swimming in a lake, go fishing or just enjoy a barbecue outside a cabin. Just to wake up hearing the sound of nature, while having breakfast on the porch, is a great combination. What if your stay inside a cabin, does not turn out the way you thought ? This is something that British horror film Dog Soldiers clearly proved, that i consider to be a cabin horror classic. If you have not seen Dog Soldiers so far, there are only 2 reasons why you have not seen this film:

* You are a Minecraft addict, who never leave your computer screen for 65 hours ( pee bottle included of course, we need to be realistic )
* You play the banjo, on your Alabama porch, hoping to marry anyone who travel across your road, no matter if they are male of female, just as tradition goes in Alabama.

Dog Soldiers is directed by Neil Marshal, and the story is about a group of British soldiers who carry out a training exercise against a Special Air Unit, in the Scottish highlands. The following morning they find SAS unit´s savaged remains. As the Special Air Unit see themselves being attacked, they are helped by zoologist Megan, who take them to an abandoned cabin. It is here that the real fight begins, when they realise that they are surrounded by werewolves. If you did not think there is no really good werewolf film that takes place near a cabin, then you have to see Dog Soldiers. There are so many details that i enjoy about this film, but i especially love the make up effects. The werewolves are some of the best looking in this genre, and i have to say that they managed to make these werewolves very effective as they attack. And i have to mention that the cast does a really good job as well, with their characters. It feels like these people are real soldiers, and this is of course important to the storyline. If you have not seen Dog Soldiers, make sure to get it on DVD or Blu Ray. Speaking of Blu Ray, i actually picked up a film i was supposed to see in cinema this spring, but since the pandemic came along i skipped that chance. The film i wanted to see is called The Lodge, that have film critics very divided worldwide. If you do want to hear one interesting review of this film, i suggest you check out Sinister Cinema Reviews and his review of The Lodge on the link belown:


A family in a lodge in winter time ? Sounds like my kind of film, since no one loves snow more than me. Is this one of the better films i have seen this year, or is The Lodge just as bad as former professional boxer Oscar De La Hoya´s latino pop album from the year 2000 ?

Laura Hall ( Alicia Silverstone ), seperated from her husand Richard Hall ( Richard Armitage ), dies by suicide after he informs her he plans to marry Grace Marshall ( Riley Keough ), a woman he met while researching a book about an extremist Christian cult. Raised in the cult, Grace was the sole survivor of their mass suicide, led by her father. Laura´s Death devastates her and Richard´s children Aiden Hall ( Jaeden Martell ) and Mia Hall ( Lia McHugh ). Six months later, Richard announces that they will spend christmas with Grace at the family´s remote Massachusetts lodge to get to know each other. Aiden and Mia uncover Grace´s past, including video footage of the cult, showing the deceased followers draped in pure silk with duct tape across their mouths reading " sin ". At the lodge, the children are hostile toward Grace and refuse efforts to bond with her, as Richard is forced to go back to the city for a work obligation. Grace is determined to get closer to the children, by letting them participate in decorating for Christmas. But her plans to make this family become closer, are about to get even worse, for each day that goes by.

I tried going into this film knowing as little as possible, since the review of The Lodge from Sinister Cinema Reviews did not go into too many details on the plot, and i appreciate that. This is a very dark film, that feels inspired by director Ari Aster´s horror film Hereditary. I want to make it clear though, that these films are not connected in any way, but you can sense that the directors of The Lodge, who´s name is Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, must have enjoyed Hereditary, since it feels like they have managed to find inspiration from director Ari Aster. The Lodge is a pshycological horror film with a religious cult undertone, that clearly shows how you can be affected by living in a cult, even if you are no longer a member. But that´s not all, this film also digs deep into the struggle of losing a very close family member in a suicide. One of the things that makes The Lodge such a powerful film, is thanks to the acting. And this is especially where we get 2 really powerful performances. Let us begin with actress Riley Keough ( who i guarantee some of you will recognize from the 2016 drama film American Honey ) as the character Grace. Riley really goes all in to her character, and considering her character´s past as a former member of a religious cult, i feel that she gives the strongest acting performance in this film. This becomes especially clear as the film goes on, and her mental statement is completely out of control. Riley manage to show this, both through facial expressions, but also through her body language. The next actor i feel did a really good job in this film, is Jaeden Martell ( who i guarantee you will recognize from Stephen King´s IT ). His character Aiden Hall, is clearly struggling with the loss of his mother, and Jaeden is so good at acting out these emotions, that you can tell that he has a lot more to offer the audience in the future. The location for this film, matches really well with the plot. A lodge that is secluded from any smaller community, makes everything a bit more difficult, since there is no one near them. One detail that you will notice, is that the doll house that Jaeden´s sister Mia have, almost looks like a copy of the lodge. There is a connection with the doll house, and this is an interesting detail that will make you think for a moment. The Lodge is actually a clever film, that digs especially deep on an emotional level. Directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz knows exactly how to tell a story of a family in crisis, and how wrong things can go when you can´t deal with your own mental issues. If you are a fan of really effective psychological horror films, The Lodge is a must see.

Rating: DDDD

365 Days

One moment can change your life forverer, when you least expect it. And i am a perfect example of that, as i am about to tell you about something that happened. In the autumn of 2014, i got a call from my friend Tony. He sounded horrible and i asked him:- What´s wrong Tony, i never heard you sounding this depressed ? He said:- Daniel, i just watched the trailer for Fifty Shades Of Grey, and it felt like the end of days is here, we can not survive this. I first thought that he was taking this too serious, so i decided to check it out. The trailer did give me a feeling that something is not ok, that this might actually be the film that could start the clock for the end of times. But it was not until my wife asked me to watch the film with her, when things got out of control. The last thing i remembered from that day, is that i ended up on the floor, crawling out of spasm attacks, and i felt completely drained. It would take weeks until i realised what has happened, when i finally started eating again. I even had to book therapy sessions, where the psychiatrist understood right away, that i was a victim of seeing Fifty Shades Of Grey. On one of these sessions, i was asked :- How did this film affect you Daniel ? I looked at the psychiatrist and said:- It felt like Fifty Shades took away any kind of joy i have ever felt, and threw it down a meat grinder, to make sure i would never feel any joy again. Ever since the therapy sessions, i made a decision, that i will not see the Fifty Shades sequels, no matter how much people wanted me to review these films. It did take a long time to get back to a normal life after seeing Fifty Shades Of Grey, and even to this day i knew that i should have listened to Tony, that he was right. I am happy to say that now i am in a good place, where i do feel hope. Looking back at 2015 now, it feels like i was stuck in the Fifty Shades universe, as many other people became victims of the same experience. Since i have not seen the Fifty Shades sequels, i thought we would be over this in 2020. But for some reason, Netflix decided to release a film called 365 Days, that reminded me of Fifty Shades Of Grey in the trailer. I was asked if i could review this film. At first i thought, is there a chance i will be back in therapy sessions again. But i decided to give this film a chance, because who knows, it might be as good as Dear John. Based on the novel 365 Dni, by author Blanka Lipinska, is the Netflix film 365 Days the masterpiece that i wish everyone would see, or is this a film that never should have been made at all ?

After a meeting between the Torrcelli Sicilan Mafia crime family and black market dealers Massimo Torricelli ( Michele Morrone ) watches a beautiful woman on a beach. His father, leader of the Sicilian Mafia family, is shot dead. Five years later, Massimo is now the leader of the Torricelli crime family. In Warsawa, Laura Biel ( Anna-Maria Sieklucka ), a fiery executive, is unhappy with her relationship with her boyfriend Martin ( Mateusz Lasowski ). Laura celebrates her 29th birthday in Italy but after Martin embarrasses her, she goes off for a walk and runs into Massimo, who kidnaps her. At his villa, Massimo reveals to Laura that she was the woman at the beach. He have thought about her all the time, so he lay out his plan to Laura. She have 365 Days to fall in love with him, as she will be his prisoner during this time. Will Laura try and escape, or is she really falling in love with Massimo ?

Imagine if you would do a remake of the 2010 film Letters To Juliet, with influneces of Fifty Shades Of Grey, and you would pretty much have 365 Days in a nut shell. The biggest difference is of course that 365 Days have much more erotic scenes to offer. Now, some might say that i can´t compare this film to Fifty Shades Of Grey, because it is not the same story. And that is true, there are some differences. But at the end of the day, it does not really matter. 365 Days is a perfect example when you take actors who are not professional, and try and make them feel realistic. And this is one of the big problems, you don´t actually believe in any of these characters. Imagine if you would pick some really bad porn actors from Poland, give them a bad English accent, and you have the characters of 365 Days. Let´s discuss the actors for a while, and let us begin with Italian actor Michele Morrone. This is the first time i have seen him in a film, and especially acting. Let´s just say that when he tries to deliver dialogue, it feels just as exciting as looking at a wall for 6 hours, just to see if you can find anything interesting to see there, and you realise that there is nothing there. Polish actress Anna-Maria Sieklucka is great to look at, but when she starts acting, you realise that she have ( a lot ) of work to do before she can become a serious actress. The chemistry between their characters Don Massino and Laura feels forced, and not natural at all. When we do get to the sex scenes, i have lost all hope. This does not feel sexy, or erotic. If i wanted to see something sexy i just watch Freddy Got Fingered with Tom Green on DVD. I just don´t see the point with 365 Days. Is this film supposed to spice up marriages, or let couples fantasies become more exciting ? Who cares, this is a stupid film that shows that this film wants to show the power of male fantasies, and that the man is in control. Directors Barbara Bialowas and Tomasz Mandes ( they needed two director´s to make this film ? ) have tried to make a film that is supposed to get you horny. Instead, this film won´t even get it up even with the help of a Viagra pill. My suggestion, if you want to get in the right mood for some fun in bed, just watch the 90´s TV series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers instead, and i guarantee you will find the G spot much faster.

Rating: D