fbpx

Tag Archive for ‘horror review’

Mike’s Review: The Last Matinee (Popcorn Frights 2021)

Mike’s Review: The Last Matinee (Popcorn Frights 2021)

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

The Last Matinee is a loving homage to film. More to the point it’s a loving homage and exploitation of Argento, Fulchi, grindhouse cinema, slashers, grimy movie theaters, and quite possibly the great Lamberto Bava film Demons. Don’t be fooled though. While The Last Matinee pulls from many of the classics, it’s got its own unique style and flavor, and it’s cram-packed with EYEBALLS. 

Mike’s Review: Army of the Dead (2021)

Mike’s Review: Army of the Dead (2021)

★★ out of ★★★★★ Gone are the days of Bub from Day of the Dead. Gone are the days of the zombie nurse, the fat guy, and the Hare Krishna from Dawn of the Dead. Gone are the half-dogs and headless zombies from Return of the Living Dead. Most importantly, gone is a fun but serious dissection of societal woes and man’s modern day pitfalls. IInstead we’re now being fed a pile of ghastly super-hero zombies, that shriek like space aliens, set inside a hyper-realized video game construct. It’s a sad state of affairs to be sure. One might even say that the zombie genre has jumped the shark, or in this case the albino zombie tiger.

Mike’s Review: Grizzly II (2021)

Mike’s Review: Grizzly II (2021)

★★ out of ★★★★★ It’s everything you’ve ever wanted! It contains film footage likely derived from 10 different film shoots over the course of nearly 40 years. It’s got Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (Louise Fletcher). It’s got Indiana Jones pal Salah (John Rhys-Davies). It’s got the super crooked hillbilly cop from Rambo, Galt (Jack Starrett). It’s sort of got a couple scenes with a grizzly bear. But just don’t be fooled, there’s not a whole heck of a lot of Charlie Sheen, Laura Dern, and George Clooney.

Mike’s Review: Images (1972)

Mike’s Review: Images (1972)

★★★★ out of ★★★★★ When true film auteurs wander outside of their staid and classical lines and in to the horror genre there’s always the potential for some serious magic. Kubrick with the Shining, Freidkin with the Exorcist, Spielberg with Jaws, and even Danny Boyle with 28 Days Later. All these major film think-o-logists had a crack at horror and walked away proud at what they had accomplished, or so ashamed at the terror they had brought to the cineplex, they never came back to the genre. One of the greatest film auteurs of all time, Robert Altman, wandered in to horror with aplomb, but sadly his seminal effort has been forgotten in the sands of time.

Mike’s Review: As Above So Below (2014)

Mike’s Review: As Above So Below (2014)

★★★ out of ★★★★★ Found footage films can be a tricky business. You really have to sell the conceit that someone, or in this case multiple people, are going to be carrying around camera and recording every single move they make — and they might even inadvertently catch a freaky apparition in the background. A tall task made even more grand by the sheer number of found footage films that have made their way to the bottom of the bargin bin at Best Buy.

Mike’s Nightstream Review: The Queen of Black Magic (2020)

Mike’s Nightstream Review: The Queen of Black Magic (2020)

★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ In the latest installment of “If you’re not watching Indonesian horror movies, you’re blowing it,” brings us 2020’s The Queen of Black Magic. It’s true. Indonesia is the new incubator for the creepiest crawlies that the horror genre has to offer. Every country has had their day in the sun. The UK plastered us with Hammer and Amicus throughout the 1960s. The US reimagined the genre with slashers and super killers throughout the 1970s and 80s. And Japan brought a whole new slate of water and hair-borne frights in the late 1990s and in to the early 2000s. Now it’s Indonesia time to shine.

Mike’s Nightstream Review: Leap of Faith William Friedkin on the Exorcist (2020)

Mike’s Nightstream Review: Leap of Faith William Friedkin on the Exorcist (2020)

★★★★ out of ★★★★★ There exists that great space in documentaries that take place decades after the event occurred. It’s this beautiful melange of revisionist history, lucid thoughts, purposeful sleepwalking, and repressed memories. All answers are correct and infallible when the documentary is filtered through the iconic lens of a single and thoughtful directorial darling. THE William Friedkin is the ultimate bridge between Hollywood’s glorious beginnings and the revolutionary young guns of the 1970s. It should come as no surprise the Friedkin has some rather insightful things to say about one of the greatest films of the 1970s, possibly the greatest horror film of all time, and in some camps, THE greatest film ever put down on celluloid — the Exorcist.

Mike’s Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

Mike’s Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

★★★ out of ★★★★★ I mean, really, who are we to ever question the greatness of the great Charlie Kaufman. A visionary. A cinematic poet. A deep thinker that throws head-scratchers our way every chance he gets. A repertoire filled with unimpeachable films. One after another. BUT, he’s never really dabbled in the horror genre, nor has he dealt with a storyline so chilling, unnerving, and downright baffling. And it kind of shows.

Mike’s Review: Beyond the Woods (2018)

Mike’s Review: Beyond the Woods (2018)

★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Not all horror films need to be over-wrought. They needn’t be filled with hyper-complex multi-layered lore. CGI has its time and place, but that time in place is not in every time and every place. On occasion horror is able to lean simply on human emotions, quaint spaces, and languid settings. If you need a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of 21st century horror then Beyond the Woods is waiting for you…just beyond the woods.

Mike’s Review: Z (2019)

Mike’s Review: Z (2019)

★★★ out of ★★★★★ With an increasing number of horror films eschewing the well-trodden path of gore, gags, and scream queens, there’s always the risk of re-calibrating too far to the other end of the scare spectrum. Over the last 20 years there’s been a trend towards melancholy and family trauma — Shudder calls it parental terror, we’re calling it melancholy horror. Sometimes the quiet and somber affairs work and sometimes they’re just weighty, boring, and devoid of scares. The Shudder original Z certainly ran that risk, but effectively shook itself off the melancholy mantle.

Mike’s Review: The Isolation Horrors (2020)

Mike’s Review: The Isolation Horrors (2020)

★★★★ out of ★★★★★ More often than not the horror story teller is beset with complex stories, radical exposition, and meandering narrative. The horror fan and the horror filmmaker so desperately want to hear and tell a compelling and multi-layered story. But as we all know too well, these stories are overtaken by this well-meaning desire and evolve in to a product so complex that they forget their intended purpose — the SCARES! The prescient and timely The Isolation Horrors is superbly aware of this exposition trap and manages to create an exquisite economy of horror story telling.