★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Incredible performances from Stephen Lang and Marc Senter are reason enough to check out Lucky McKee’s latest, but the wringer this jaw-dropper puts you through is icing on the cake.
Directed by Lucky McKee
Stephen Lang and Marc Senter put on an absolute acting clinic in Lucky McKee’s (May, The Woman, All Cheerleaders Die) latest feature, Old Man. Lang plays an elderly recluse who lives in a cabin deep in the woods with a dog that likes to roam. His hermit-like existence is interrupted one day when a young man (Senter) knocks on his door, claiming to have gotten lost while hiking in the surrounding forest. The old man is paranoid and holds the young hiker at gunpoint while he interrogates him, and as the two try to figure each other out as a stormy night approaches, the undercurrent of danger rises steadily. Go in knowing no more than that, and you’ll be treated to a mesmerizing thriller that you won’t be able to take your eyes off of. McKee, working from a screenplay by first-time feature screenwriter Joel Veach, has crafted a powder keg of a story wonderfully. Alex Vindler’s cinematography marvelously captures the gripping proceedings. Although quite a different film from last year’s Nocturna, Side A: The Great Old Man’s Night , both motion pictures beautifully capture the ruminations of aging and the results of past occurrences. Do yourself a favor and catch Old Man when it becomes available from October 14 in theaters and on digital from RLJE Films.
★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
It’s gore galore and pandemonium aplenty as an all-female rock group battles multiple monsters in this Argentinian mind blower.
Directed by Pablo Parés
Argentina, you’ve done it again with Pussycake (AKA Emesis). You’ve delivered another splatter-filled fear fest, as you have done recently with the likes of The Last Matinee and Apps. This time around, the victims and villains include, respectively, members and entourage of the titular female rock band and — well, multiple mind-blowing entities. If you require sense and explanations in your fright fare, this one is probably not for you, but if you are in the mood for mayhem, gallons of gore and mouth-to-mouth regurgitation, and little to no back story about whatever it is that is endangering our hard rocking heroines, Pussycake delivers the goods in spades. The practical effects and makeup are impressive, and how they made all that massive vomiting look as realistic as it does is sheer movie magic (obviously, this is not a “popcorn movie”!). Lead singer Elle (Macarena Suárez) is traumatized after being the victim of domestic violence, which affects both her career and her band’s battle with reanimated bodies bent on further propagating a mutant species of some sort, brain-attaching parasites, and a Yautja-style beast who evidently has some sort of problem with those first two entities (I told you things aren’t fully explained!). Luckily, Elle has her bandmates Sara (Aldano Ruberto) — who is also her girlfriend — Juli (Sofia Rossi), and Sofi (Anahi Politi), along with manager Pato (Florencia Moreno) to help out . . . but for how long? Invite some friends over when PussyCake is released on VOD and Cinedigm’s horror streaming service Screambox on August 30. This is a party horror movie chock full of midnight-movie madness and cult-movie kicks that runs at full throttle.
Reviews by Joseph Perry
Old Man and Pussycake screened as part of Popcorn Frights, which took place as a hybrid event, in person in Miami and Fort Lauderdale and with a virtual program online, from August 11–August 22, 2022. For more information, visit https://popcornfrights.com/.