During the final years of the conflict now known as “The War of 1812” between the United States and the United Kingdom, we see that in the woods of New York, the Mohawk tribe still stays neutral in the war, despite having suffered several casualties at the hands of the American soldiers. Oak and Calvin Two Rivers, a couple of young Mohawk warriors, try to convince their elders to accept the offer made by Joshua, an emissary from England and to side with the British army. Seeing that the elders maintain their decision to stay neutral in the conflict, Calvin decides to attack on his own an American camp while the soldiers sleeps, but a small group of soldiers survive and begin to hunt him down. This puts not only Oak and Joshua in immediate danger, but also the whole tribe, since under the excuse of seeking justice the American soldiers will not hesitate to kill any native they can find in their path.
“Mohawk” is the new film directed by Ted Geoghegan (“We Are Still Here”) and this time he leaves the ghost stories on the side to bring us a cruel and violent revenge story, set in a part of the history of the United States that most Americans prefer not to talk about too often. Seeing the political environment that we live in today, and with racism and intolerance still very present, “Mohawk” makes us wonder if we have really advanced that much in the last 200 years, or if at least are we treating the native American communities any better. (BTW, the film makes an honorable mention to the Standing Rock’s resistance movement).
Blood, Drama, Guts, Action and Comedy are just some of the elements that “Lowlife”, the directorial debut from Ryan Prows, balances for more than an hour and half to bring us a story that pull no punches in order to show us the worst of the people, and that it could be happening everyday in the lower class neighborhoods of Los Angeles without anybody noticing. Told in a way that will remind us of Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction”, this film has also interesting characters, a fast steady pace, and several details that will warrant a second viewing.
First me meet “Monstruo”, a disgraced Mexican Luchador that woks as an enforcer for “Teddy Bear”, a dangerous, ruthless criminal, and besides having a problem controlling his murderous rage, he is also obsessed with protecting the family legacy that his wrestler mask represents. We then meet Crystal, an obsessive hoarder and owner of a little rundown hotel, that trying to save his alcoholic husband’s life, accepts an organ from a unexpected donor. Lastly we meet Randy, a convict just released from prison, that besides wearing a problematic tattoo (to say the least) on his face, gets unwillingly pulled into a new crime, risking going back to prison, or something worse.
Leah Reyes is a teenager coping with the recent death of her father, finding solace in literature, more specifically, in books dealing with the occult arts. While her friends are there for moral support, her mother is an emotional mess. To make matters worse, not only her mother seems unable to accept her husband’s death and move on, but also at moments seems that she feels that Leah is to blame for her loss. One night, after a very heated discussion, Leah performs a ritual that puts a deadly curse on her mother. Quickly regretting what she did, the girl starts to look for a way to revert the invocation in order to prevent that the witch known as “Pyewacket” fulfills the curse. The moral of this story: “Be careful what you wish for, someone might be listening”
“Pyewacket” is a film that I enjoyed A LOT, and although is clear that it had some limitations due its budget, it delivers an excellent story with a very scary atmosphere. The main characters are very well written, and far from being the usual stereotypes in this kind of movies, they feel like actual people that we may see every day on our lives. From the beginning we can sympathize and side with Leah, because contrary to what we normally see in these movies, she is not a cynical teenager that complains about everything just to get attention, nor plays the role of a tortured martyr moaning that life does not give her what she believes she deserves. Leah is someone that besides dealing with the usual crap that comes with growing up, she tries very hard to cope with the loss of her father and even tries to emotionally support her mother, showing in several occasions to be even more mature that her.
This Thursday, March 15th, “Cold Hell”, the new revenge thriller from Oscar-winning director Stefan Ruzowitzky debuts exclusively for streaming on Shudder.
On “Cold Hell” (Die Hölle) we meet Özge, an immigrant working in Vienna as a taxi driver. Besides dealing with the troubles that come with the job (drunken passengers, harassment and A-holes drivers), Özge also struggles to keep her sanity: Her family is practically non existent, her cousin/best friend constantly uses her as an alibi so she can keep cheating on her husband, and due a (justified) moment of rage she is expelled from the sport club where she practices Thai Boxing. To make matters worse, one night coming home she accidentally witnesses a brutal murder, and while she can’t clearly see the face of the murderer, she knows he had a good look at her.
Despite being a key witness in the crime that was committed, the detective in charge of the case pretty much dismisses Özge’s testimony, apparently due her being a immigrant with a previous criminal record. Knowing that her life is in danger and the killer won’t rest until she is forever silenced, Özge decides to deal with him on her own, and on her terms, since neither the police or her family seems to be able to help her (or even want to).
Taking place in Vietnam, in 1953, “The Housemaid” tells the story of Linh, a young girl looking for work after loosing everything in the bombings in the Indochinese War. After talking with some of the local folk, Linh arrives at the rubber plantation called “Sa-Cat”, after applying for the housemaid position, she barely ends up been hired on a trial basis.
Since her arrival at Sa-Cat, Linh starts to hear strange whispers on the mansion, and her eyes seems to be playing tricks on her, since she believes to see someone roaming the corridors, when nobody is supposed be around. Soon after that, Linh learns the dark story of the plantation, and that most of the locals tend to avoid it due rumors that many workers in the past died of torture and abuse at the hands of previous owners of the plantation. However, is only after Linh meets Captain Sebastian, the french owner of Sa-Cat, that her life starts to be in danger, since Madame Camille, Sebastian’s deceased wife, has returned from the grave, infuriated by the attention the girl has been receiving.
“The Housemaid” is interesting and entertaining, specially for a film coming from a country that does not release that many horror titles at all (In contrast with China and Japan, where horror fans are most used to get their Asian horror fix) Still I would label this movie as more of a Drama with a supernatural tones than horror (Think more of “Crimson Peak” and not so much of “Insidious”), but still manages to create a tense atmosphere and to give us a couple of scares. Unfortunately, it also has some moments that feel tired and too common because we have seen it too much recently in occidental films: as you might guess, I am talking about the over use of jump scares, some of them lead to nothing, others do not even have any reason to be there.
After doing a tour around the U.S. “Victor Crowley”, the new entry in the “Hatchet” saga is finally available on VOD and Bluray. The film, written and directed by Adam Green was filmed completely in secret (something that sounds almost impossible in the days of the Internet) and was first shown on August 2017, being announced as a remastered version of the original “Hatchet” film, celebrating the 10th anniversary of its release, and needless to say, it took all of us in attendance by surprise.
Taking place 10 years after the bloody weekend shown on the Hatchet trilogy, we see Andrew Yong (the only known survivor of the massacre) trying to promote his book retelling the events of what is now known as “the Honey Island Massacre”. To his dismay, most of the public still believes that he was the killer, and that Victor Crowley, the alleged supernatural entity responsible for the murders, never existed, this is mostly because after that day, there has been not a single report of people missing or being murdered on the swamps of Honey Island. Tired of the people’s mistreatment, but also in need of cash, Andrew accepts to do an interview in the place of the murders, taking a private plane with the production crew.
At the same time, a group of aspiring filmmakers try to film a mock trailer in that same location in order lure investors for their film, which will be based on Victor Crowley’s murders. Trying to be as authentic as possible, the crew starts to play a compilation of videos where the spell said to be used to curse Crowley is recited over and over, causing the plane where Andrew and the production crew were traveling to crash, and bringing Victor Crowley from beyond once more to fill the swamp with blood and guts.
Drugs, hipsters, lousy paying jobs and expensive rents; is not easy to be an artist on Brooklyn. To make matters worse, there is a killer lurking the streets known as the Bushwick Party Killer. This is the setting of “PSYCHOTIC! the new film directed by Derek Gibbons and Maxwell Frey.
This film clearly has love for the Giallo genre and the 80’s slasher films, and I am sure that fans of those genres are going to like this movie a lot. I dare to even say that this could become a cult film, however, I had some issues with it. Mostly the acting, which varies from “not that good” to really bad, (as in “Not even funny” bad) I honestly wondered at times if the creators were trying to go full parody mode or not… Just to be clear, I am not talking about the titular killer’s design, which while it might look weird and silly, I dug it.
Another issue that I had was that most of the characters were horrible persons and annoying, something that you normally like in the slasher movies, specially when those characters get killed really fast (or when you can have fun trying to guess the order in which they will bite the dust), but here we have to wait A LOT for the murders to happen after a very good kill in the opening of the film, if you like stoner humor you might not care, though, because there is plenty of that here!