From CFF : «Skull The Mask». A nice bloody slasher from Brazil.

This last weekend the world met the new version of the Chattanooga Film Festival, that due the Covid-19 situation the world is going, delivered its new rendition on a online version, bringing panels, films and other nice events for those who seek daring, weird and bizarre stories on film.

Lucky us, we had the opportunity of check a very interesting films from Brazil that really deserves your attention:

Let’s talk about «Skull: The Mask of Anhangá»

From the official synopsis: «In the year 1944, an artifact is used in a military experiment. The artifact is the Mask of Anhangá, the executioner of Tahawantinsupay, a Pre-Columbian God. The experience fails. Nowadays, the Mask arrives at Sao Paulo. The Mask possesses a body and starts to commit visceral sacrifices on vengeance for the incarnation of its God, initiating a blood bath. The policewoman Beatriz Obdias is in charge of the crimes, challenging her beliefs. A true mystical slasher film in the city of Sao Paulo.»

I’ll go to the point, I honestly was very pleased with this film, it has a lot going on, and never misses a beat. it has action, it has gore, a cool mithology , nice practical especial effects and a killer creature that easily can earn its place on the Slasher pantheon. I for one would love to see more of this character, and I think that the story can go to a lot of places on future films.

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«Dementer»: The horror of the good intentions

Trying to restart a life after escaping a cult, Kathie finds employment in a care center for adults with special needs. Little by little seems like Kathie will be able to find peace with herself by helping others at the center, until she meets Stephanie, a woman with Down syndrome, and their encounter seems to trigger in Kathie flashbacks and hallucinations about the cult she just hoped had left behind.

After seeing that Stephanie falls very ill and doesn’t get better even when she is getting medical attention, Kathie starts to suspect that she might be being targeted by an evil presence, therefore Kathie decides to perform protection rituals taken from an strange notebook and the things she learned on the cult, but the evil spirit lurking around Stephanie might be too powerful, as the poor woman keeps getting sicker by the day.

«Dementer» has several things that I enjoyed, and clearly this is a very personal film for writer/director Chad Crawford Kinkle (who previously brought us another excellent film called «Jug Face»). This time Kinkle brings to the screen his own sister, Stephanie Kinkle, who in real life has Down Syndrome, as one of the leads to tell us a very powerful thriller. Contrary to what we might have feared, Stephanie and the rest of the adults with mental disabilities appearing on the film are not used as a emotional blackmail, nor are they made fun of, or being portrayed as monsters or someone who we should fear; What we see are ordinary people that go around with their lives everyday like the rest of us, but sadly, with one of them ending up as the target of an evil spirit, although she is not aware of it at all..

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Stop dreaming or get killed: «The Curse Of Buckout Road» is on, September 27th

While investigating several local legends that for years have been passed around in a little town called White Plains, a trio of students begin to suffer grisly nightmares that not only put their sanity in danger, but also their lives, as if their efforts to disprove the legends had awaken a fury that had been dormant until now. This tragedy ends up involving Aaron, a soldier on leave that was visiting his grandfather and now will have to dig into the little town’s past to stop the nightmares and save himself of being another victim of the Curse of Buckout Road.

I’ll confess that after reading the official synopsis (and my own previous description, I admit) «The Curse of Buckout Road» sounds like so many films that we have watched recently (the only thing missing was «This is a found footage!!») but this film turned out to be a very nice surprise, it delivered an interesting story, had several twists that i liked, and besides showing nice camerawork ( and not using those annoying shaky camera shots where you can’t frigging tell what is happening) it used several film styles to give the story a very distinctive taste when we, along with the characters experiment the nightmares that are tormenting them.

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Finally on theaters! «One Cut Of the Dead», the zombie comedy that you didn’t know you wanted to see!

Is not easy to make a horror film nowadays, and Director Takayuki Higurashi knows that all too well; The budgets gets smaller and smaller, the main lead actors tend to be picky and annoying, the producers constantly complicate the filming, and sometimes you get an actress that can’t deliver the lines even if her life depended on it. To make matters worse, you could even end up in a real zombie apocalypses in the middle of the shoot, meaning you could find yourself without a cast or crew in a matter of minutes.

What can you do then?

Film everything!

The show must go on! Pain is temporary, but film is forever!

Just as the director starts yelling «Action» instead of «Let’s get out of here!» the cast realizes that they will have to make use of all their talents in order to survive, not only in the show business, but this new set with unexpected visitors…

…Although, maybe, just maybe, not everything is what it seems.

All right, that’s it, Now go watch the movie, don’t ask any more questions, you can thank me later..

What? You really want more details?

Ok, But I still think that the less you know beforehand, the better, let that be on the record.

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Now playing on theaters: «Kingdom», the new film by Shinsuke Sato

Presented by Funimation and now playing on several theaters in United States, we have «Kingdom», the new live action adaptation of the manga of the same name created by Yasuhisa Hara.

Set in what is now known as The Warring States Period in China, we met Xin, a boy orphaned by the constant wars, and after being sold as a slave, he meets another slave boy called Piao, together they began to dream by leaving their lives as slaves and becoming the greatest war generals in China. Years go by and the boys have ben training very hard in the mastery of the sword, until one day, a Chinese nobleman visits their village decided to buy Piao’s freedom and offers him a job at the king’s palace.

Although this will separate the boys that until that day have grown as brothers, Piao takes the opportunity, leaving behind Xin, who instead of holding a grudge, decides to keep training even harder to achieve their dreams and one day reunite with Piao.

Some time later, Piao comes back to the village mortally wounded, explaining to Xin that Cheng Jiao, the king’s younger brother, has staged a coup, and before dying Piao gives Xin a mission. Motivated for Piao’s death and looking for answers, Xin travels to a remote hideout, where he finds Ying Zhen, the dethroned king, to who Xin now holds responsible for Piao’s death.

After dealing with his grief and rage, Xin decides to put his need for vengeance aside and to help the king to recover his throne, knowing very well that the odds are greatly against them, since they don’t have an army and Chen Jiao has thousands of soldiers at his service. This will put the pair on a dangerous journey where they will find enemies and allies alike in the most unexpected places.

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«Bad Samaritan»: No good deed while doing crime goes unpunished

In this new film by Dean Devlin called «Bad Samaritan» we meet Sean, an Irish immigrant that dabbles in photography with artistic aspirations, and that also uses his job as a parking valet at a restaurant with his friend Derek to break into the houses of some of their customers. Using an interesting system to pick their targets and stealing only things that can go unnoticed for some time, Sean decides to break into the house of Cael Erendreich, a snobbish customer that also owns a luxurious Maserati. Being guided by his friend Derek on the phone, Sean finds several objects that could allow him to quit this side job, but his plans get smashed when Sean accidentally discovers that Erendreich has a girl captive, and that he might be even torturing her. Trying to not get caught by the house’s owner, but noticing some scary tools that makes clear that the girl might not have much time left to live, Sean flees the place, promising her to come back with help.

Feeling awful for leaving the girl at the house, but aware that he might go to jail or even being deported due his criminal activities, Sean makes an anonymous call to the police hoping that the girl will be found and rescued, but as you might guess Erendreich not only has a good alibi to avoid any suspicion by the police, but also when Sean and Derek get into his house again, there is no trace of the girl ever being there. Here is when a dangerous game of cat an mouse starts, since Erendreich is not only aware that someone is meddling with his fun, but also learns about the young men identities and decides to mess up their lives little by little, putting them in danger also their loved ones, knowing very well that the police won’t believe them if they ask for help.

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«Mohawk»: A review about Pride, Blood and Revenge

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).

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«Ghost Stories»: An Spectral Anthology

For several years Professor Phillip Goodman has been dedicated to debunk scammers claiming to be psychics and to expose supposed supernatural incidents. One day Professor Goodman is contacted by a renown psychologist and paranormal investigator called Charles Cameron, who has been missing for decades and also inspired Goodman to choose his profession. Cameron, now very old and sick, ask Goodman to investigate three cases that even he can’t explain and that has caused him to questions his own life’s work.

At first Goodman believes that there is nothing in the cases that he can’t explain with science and logic. but as he keeps interviewing the people involved, the professor starts to believe there is something odd behind their stories… Could it be that their madness is contagious? Or maybe… Just maybe, their stories are true? And what about the shadow that he keeps seeing in the corner of his eye?

«Ghost Stories» is a very interesting anthology film. Even when the stories are very different from each other, and the tone can feel uneven, I think they work very well together, each one of the segments managing to create a very tense atmosphere on their own. The first story could be considered a slow burn, where a night watchman shares the events of a very particular night in the abandoned asylum where he worked. This is the segment where we need to be very patient, but at the end it pays very well and sets the tone for the following stories.

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«Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds»: Trials, Hells and Adventure.

After dying saving a girl from a building on fire, Kim Ja-hong is taken by 3 guardian spirits to the realm of the afterlife, where for 49 days he will judged in 7 trials, each one in the hell corresponding to the crimes of Betrayal, Violence, Filial impiety, Murder, Indolence, Deceit and Injustice in order for Kim Ja-hong achieve a chance for reincarnation. At first the guardians are confident that Kim Ja-hong, being considered a Paragon, will pass the trials without problems, but just as the first trial concludes, the guardians start to realize that Kim Ja-hong has made some questionable choices in life, which could make his journey a lot harder than expected, and destroy the chances for the guardians themselves to

«Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds» is the first of two movies adapting the webcomic of the same name created by Joo Ho-min, and personally, I thought it was a very good film. From the get-go I would advise to not see this movie expecting an action film, but a great supernatural drama with several cool action scenes in the mix. Being that I am not an expert on Korean culture or religious philosophy, I will base my review on the story itself.

From the start I liked a lot the story and the characters, both the humans and the guardians. At first Kim Ja-hong might seem like a simple plain character, but as the movie advances we can appreciate that there is a lot more of him, and how his acts could be not always done with the best intentions, therefore making us wonder if he can be redeemed at all. I though the guardians were very well written and developed: The wise and calm Gang-rim, the cocky and impulsive Haewonmak, and the diligent (and charmingly enthusiastic) Deok-choon. The work of the main cast bringing their characters to life was great, and each one of them had their time to shine in the screen, although I felt that Deok-choon fades a little bit on the third act.

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Our review of «Lowlife»: A cool mix of Guts, Bandits and crazy Luchadores.

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.

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