On Friday 9th on this June, you will have the chance to see on Shudder «Brooklyn 45», the new film directed and written by Ted Geoghegan («We Are Still Here» and «Mohawk»).
«Brooklyn 45» brings us the story of a group of friends that served and survived WWII, just a few months after returning home, they gather to bring moral support for one of their own, the Colonel Clive «Hock» Hockstatter, who has recently lost Susan, his wife, in a very tragic manner.
Hock, who clearly is loosing his battle with the loneliness and despair, convinces his friends Marla, Arch and Paul DiFranco (and Marla’s husband Bob) to humor him and perform a seance, in a effort to find closure or at least have some proof of an afterlife.
Contrary of we might expect, the seance actually works. All too well in fact.
And that is when the trouble starts.
Very quickly Marla and his friends (ok, also her husband) discover that they are now locked in Hock’s parlor, and a supernatural force won’t let them go home until one of them spills the blood of someone in that room that could (or not) be responsible of Susan’s death.
Secrets will be revealed, loyalties will be questioned and friendships will be tested.
Full Disclosure : I am big fan of Ted Geoghegan’s two previous films «We Are Still Here» and «Mohawk» (the first one being my favorite), but I tried my best to put that aside and judge this new project for itself.
Fortunately, I can say without any guilt that I found «Brooklyn 45» to be a very good film and I highly recommend it, but is also a film that you might need to see twice to fully appreciate the strong emotional punch that carries.
To be honest, I was afraid to see yet another take on the films about a seance gone wrong where an evil entity («the wrong one») comes from beyond and torture our main cast for days, but this is a very different story. This is a story where the evil ghosts were already there with our protagonists, long before this dreadful night and apparently they just needed a locked room to start to destroy the friendship and bond that until that night, seemed indestructible.
On December 1st, 2022, we will have the chance to see in theaters and V.O.D. «The Harbinger», the new movie written and directed by Andy Mitton, where we see that in the middle of a world crisis when people has to stay at home and avoid physical contact as much as possible due a virus that took humankind by surprise, a woman called Monique decides to leave the relatively safe environment she has created with her family, and risk her well being in order to help a friend that she has not seen in many years and is clearly at the end of her rope.
Mavis (Monique’s friend) has developed an increasing trouble with her sleep, but not because she suffers from insomnia and is always staying awake, on the contrary; as days passes, her body is having more and more trouble waking up, and her dreams are nothing but nightmares that get increasingly longer. It’s then when Monique discovers that something very sinister is stalking and torturing her friend Mavis, something that has found the perfect occasion to attack unnoticed and to grow its hunting grounds, while the people in the world are trying to cope with what is being called “The New normal”. It is something that is not happy just by torturing you and driving you to madness, but it also enjoys to take you to its realm and erase literally all evidence that you ever existed.
October is here, and with that, Screamfest is having its annual festival! We were lucky enough to be able to check an interesting Psychological thriller called “Follow Her”, which was screened on October 14th.
In order to go deep to the good stuff right away, let me copy paste the official synopsis:
“Struggling actress and live-streamer Jess Peters (Dani Barker), known to her online followers as J-PEEPS, has finally found her hook: Secretly filming creepy interactions she encounters via online job listings, and using the kinks of others to fuel her streaming success. For her next episode, she’s been hired to write the ending of a screenplay in a remote, lavish cabin. Once there, Tom (Luke Cook), the alluring self-proclaimed screenwriter, hands her a script in which the two of them are the main characters. This client isn’t what he seems, and even though the money’s great… the real payment here could cost her life.”
All right, let’s dig in!
“Follow her” brings a premise that you might believe you know what is going on, and you probably will be HALF right. However, the story never pretends to be too clever nor does it hide clues to rack your brains (on a second viewing you will note some hints that we might have understandably missed). The script has a message, but it does not beat your head with it, like unfortunately too many films do these days. It is not shaming you nor lecturing you, instead it lets you have your own analysis on several themes, but mainly poses the question about going too far just for the sake of fame and likes without being accountable for the damage you might be causing to others. The script does not shy away of pointing out double standards, while poking fun about thriller movies cliches and other troupes, it does a good job managing to integrate all those opinions without stopping the plot from being fun, coy, and yes, at moments, scary.
All of this is very enjoyable thanks to a good pacing, but also due the chemistry between the leads Dani Barker (Who also wrote the script) and Luke Cook.
Jess (Barker) at first looks at “Tom” as a new target for the web show, but later on, she seems to loose her focus and starts to be interested on her new employer/writing partner, but can it be that she is just THAT good at pretending?
And how about Tom (Cook)? Is he really interested on creating a written masterpiece, or he would rather go for something more on the vein of a “reality show”?
With the excuse of brainstorming the script with the use of an improvisation exercise, we see them flirt, dance and smile, but deep down we can see that inside of both of them, there might be an ulterior motive for them to be there. You can try to guess the ending and the twist and turns, but I really would suggest to just let yourself go and enjoy the ride.
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.
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..
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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).