The Babadook (Review)

From the Toronto After Dark Film Festival

“Jennifer Kent has delivered a wonderfully crafted psychological horror movie full of atmosphere and suspense. If you’re growing tired of jump scares and torture porn, have a look at The Babadook.”

 
 
by C. Rachel Katz

The Babadook has been making waves all over the place. So much so, that I feel the film has become a victim of over-hype. That’s not to say The Babadook isn’t any any good, but the glowing press creates expectations that can’t ever be met. I even heard it said this was a top-notch possession film, which it isn’t. A possession film, I mean. The Babadook is a psychological musing on grief.

Nearly seven years have passed since her husband’s death, but time holds little meaning for Amelia. She lives day-to-day, nursing the raw, open wound left by Oskar’s unexpected and violent passing. Her young son, Sam, reminds her too much of Oskar and Amelia has a difficult time loving her child. Into this unhappy home enters Mr. Babadook, a shadowy monster brought to life in a pop-up book. Sam insists the Babadook is real, which only angers Amelia, but even she can’t explain or deny the strange voice she hears or the dread she feels at night.

The Babadook
Written & Directed by
Jennifer Kent
Cast
Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Tiffany Lyndall-Knight
Release Date
28 November 2014
Rachel’s Grade: A-

The film is set mostly within the suffocating space of Amelia’s house. As Sam is taken out of school, and Amelia looses her job, the movie turns inward cutting itself off from the rest of the world to focus on Sam and Amelia’s growing psychosis. Journeys outside the home end badly for everyone and so the film takes on an enclosed feeling as Amelia becomes more withdrawn, shutting herself and her son inside their home.

The Babadook is a slow burn and, like Poltergeist, endings don’t come easy. As a manifestation of her grief, the Babadook has power of Amelia, and she will be haunted by her husband’s ghost until she can find it within herself to move on. More to the point, Amelia’s tragic inability to let go is having a negative effect on Sam. If she can’t get it together soon, she risks losing her son. But Amelia revels in her grief, identifies herself through her suffering, and letting go is scary for her. Scary like the Babadook.

The Babadook is more atmospheric than it is outright terrifying, although the film does reward the audience with a few glimpses of the monster. Most of the runtime is held over for exploring Amelia’s and Sam’s fractured psyches. Visual cues remind us of the ever-present threat of Mr. Babadook, while the look and feel of Amelia’s home pays homage to the German Expressionism cinema of the early 20th century. There’s no intensified continuity here, no fast-paced editing or shakycam. The Babadook trades on stable camerawork, some clever effects, and a brooding pace that leaves time to think and worry about what will happen next.

The film’s warm reception and glowing reviews earned it a special place on the Toronto After Dark programme: the closing gala. Having sold out in record time, the festival added a second late-night screening to accommodate disappointed horror fans. Most sold-out shows have one or two empty seats, but The Babadook played to a full house, which included the grandparents of Noah Wiseman, the boy who plays Sam. I hope they’re proud of him.

The Babadook‘s praise is well-deserved but audience members should be cautioned against falling victim to the hype. I hesitate to suggest part of that hype has to do with The Babadook being helmed by a first-time female director, but the fact of the matter is there are few women out there making horror movies and so we tend to give special attention to those who are.

All caveats aside, Jennifer Kent has delivered a wonderfully crafted psychological horror movie full of atmosphere and suspense. If you’re growing tired of jump scares and torture porn, have a look at The Babadook.

American Horror Story: Season 4, Ep 3 (Recap)

Edward Mordrake: Part 1   (Spoiler Warning)

Last week saw Meep’s dead and broken body being thrown from a truck, courtesy of the sheriff’s department. (You can watch an interesting short video as Meep actor Ben Woolf, who suffers from pituitary dwarfism, talks about his character, here.) We also saw Jimmy blaming himself for Meep’s death, because it was Jimmy who tried to frame Dell for the cops’ disappearance. But of course, it backfired thanks to Dell spotting Jimmy sneaking out of his trailer, resulting in Dell finding the badge, then hiding it in Meep’s trailer for the cops to find. Jimmy now needs help and support more than ever, and because of the news Ethel receives from her doctor near the start of the show, this is what Ethel plans to do for her son.

American Horror Story: Freak Show
Created by
Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk
Cast
Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Frances Conroy, Lily Rabe
Episode Release Date
22 October 2014
Ed’s Grade: B

We open on Maggie Esmerelda (Emma Roberts) and Stanley “Dr. Mansfield” (Denis O’Hare) trying to unsuccessfully palm-off a fake freak embryo to a collector. Although the collector doesn’t fall for the ruse, she does explain to the conning couple that she desperately needs new legitimate exhibits, for which she’ll pay a great deal of money. This sets the pair on a hunt for the ideal specimen; Dot and Bette Tattler.

Maggie arrives at the freakshow pretending to be a clairvoyant, and by using simple observational skills, she easily convinces a high-on-opium Elsa she’s the real deal. Maggie convinces Elsa that she’s about to get a visit from someone who’ll help get her singing career on track, and because this is exactly what Elsa wants to hear, she’s too quick at hiring the young attractive conwoman. It looks as though Jimmy has an eye for Maggie, with a jealous Bette clearly unhappy at the new arrival.


It turns out there’s carny lore that prevents them from performing on Halloween. Ethel tells the tale of Edward Mordrake to Bette and Dot after they ask why no one is performing that night. Edward Mordrake was a freak like them only his disfigurement was exactly like that of “he who shall not be named” in the first Harry Potter film. Remember Professor Quirrell had Lord Voldemort’s face stuck on the back of his noggin? (If you need a refresher you can watch it here.)

Well, that’s what Edward Mordrake has; a face on the back of his head that’s driving him mad because it whispers evil things to him, keeping him awake. After the aristocrat is finally locked up in a loony bin, Mordrake escapes and joins a freakshow, where he’s an instant hit. One night he murders all the freaks then hangs himself, and ever since, if any other freak show plays on Halloween, his ghost returns to claim a freak’s life. Wes Bentley plays Mordrake using a questionable British accent, although, thanks to Bentley camping it up so well, one can forgive him on that score.

Then, there was a particularly touching scene with Ethel and her doctor when she’s given the news she has a year at the very most live, providing she refrains from drinking, which she doesn’t. Ethel starts crying, then explains to the doctor the tears aren’t about her imminent death but because he was the first doctor to ever treat her with respect. There’s a reason Kathy Bates has two nominations and one win at the Academy Awards, and that brilliant scene was just a glimpse of why.

There was also an intriguing scene with Denis O’Hare’s character Stanley, where he hires a male hooker to visit him at his motel room. When the young man removes Stanley’s pants it’s clear there’s something extraordinary between his legs. Could this be the penis-leg that’s on display during the titles? It could also explain Stanley’s odd fascination with freaks. There wasn’t much Twisty the Clown action this week, although Dandy Mott decided to try and emulate Twisty by making a clown suit. When Dandy puts on the mask then sneaks up on Dora, the POV shot as we see through the mask, was very familiar but effective. It looks like Dandy might end up getting the courage to finally kill someone, although I think he’ll end up just another of Twisty’s victims.

A decent episode that felt like it was laying the groundwork for some real action later on.

by Ed Blackadder

An Interview with Actress Barbara Crampton

If you grew up on 1980’s horror films, as I certainly did (but, don’t tell my mother – unless you feel comfortable with the concept of ruining a mother/son relationship, which just makes you weird), then you are definitely familiar with the concept of the Scream Queen.  When you saw that a film would be starring Linnea Quigley or Brinke Stevens or Michelle Bauer, you knew exactly what you were getting into and you knew that you would be having a blast.  One of my personal favorites, and one that always appears on any ‘Greatest Scream Queen’ list would have to be Barbara Crampton.  In films like Re-Animator, From Beyond, Castle Freak, and Chopping Mall, she was beautiful, possessed genuine acting skills, and had a bona fide horror movie scream – she was the real deal.  If you saw the more recent You’re Next, you discovered that she is STILL all of those things today.  She also proved to be very gracious and open as we discussed her career, home life, and state of the horror industry.  Stay tuned at the end of the article to find out how you can actually meet Barbara in person and watch a few horror flicks with her at an upcoming event in Houston, TX.  I’ll know if you just skipped through to the end without reading – the smug, victorious look on your face gives you away every time.

by Jason Howard

Jason Howard:  How long did it take for you to embrace the title of ‘scream queen,’ or is it a label that you’ve ever been comfortable with?

Barbara Crampton:  Nothing about it bothered me at all.  I know that there are some people, Jamie Lee Curtis for example, that have an issue being called a ‘scream queen.’  But, as long as people call me, I don’t care what they label me.  If I’m working and I’m entertaining people, you can call me whatever you want!

JHWhat do you think it is about the horror genre that resonates so deeply with fans?  Nobody’s holding annual conventions for comedy or drama films.

BCThe world is driven by fear.  It’s been shown in psychology that we make most of our decisions based upon fear, instead of love, unfortunately.  So, it’s our deepest fears that resonate with us.  I think to become comfortable with your fears, if you can experience them outside of yourself and allow your body to go through the feelings of a certain amount of fear, then you become a little more comfortable with potential danger that might happen in your life, like your impending death and doom, which will surely come at one point or another.  Also, you can be entertained and titillated by something which shows your fears in an exciting situation as most of the films which we all love and tend to live the test of time do for us.

JHAlong those lines, many of your films such as Re-Animator, Chopping Mall, and You’re Next, mix in a good dose of humor with the horror.  As a horror fan yourself, do you enjoy that sense of humor thrown in to help cut through the potential terror?

BCI certainly do.  Films that are just dark and plodding in that way tend to really put me off.  I definitely enjoy the moments when I’m given a little bit of relief in a horror movie.  And, it’s certainly more fun to play that, too.  I’ve been involved in some films where there’s been very little humor.  I’m a very positive person, so they do, for me, tend to make me even more depressed.  I know there are people that really like the darkness and the blood and the gore and all that – well, blood and gore can be funny, too – but, something without that relief in any way really turns me off.  Sometimes, I think, when movies are particularly dark, there might be one character or a few scenes that could be your comic relief.  Or, there could be jump scares, which are fun and could be your comic relief.  I think there’s a real value in that because, we’re not only making horror movies, but we’re also trying to entertain people.  For me, that’s an important element of the horror genre.

JHNow, I don’t know if this was intentional or planned, but in the 80’s, you seemed to form a partnership with Stuart Gordon (director) and Jeffrey Combs (actor) that lasted for several films.  Is that group dynamic and familiarity something that helps spark your own creativity and performance?

BCWith the three of us working together several times, it wasn’t something that was planned.  We did Re-Animator and Stuart really liked working with us.  So, he asked us a few more times, even more frequently with Jeffrey, to work with him again.  I was kind of surprised that he never asked Bruce Abbot to work with him again.  I’m not sure why that is – Stuart and I have mentioned it a few times and even he doesn’t know why that is.

Jeff and I have a really good rapport, we really like each other, and on screen we have a really good chemistry, so Stuart just kept writing stories that we would be involved in.  One of the films that he was writing even before we did From Beyond was Dagon.  He wanted myself and Jeffrey to play the lead parts in that, but he had a very difficult time getting the money for that because, at the time, the people he was talking to didn’t believe that fish could be scary.  He proved them wrong when you see the movie.  We became too old for the roles, so we weren’t able to do that one, but he decided to do From Beyond with us.

I think that working together like that brings a certain level of comfort and when you’re comfortable, it does spark a certain amount of creativity because you all trust one another and know how one another works.  And, you can work more quickly and efficiently.  I’ve said this before – Stuart is the kind of director that really has a vision for everything he does and he makes it quite clear to everybody who’s working on the movie.  He’s the gentlest soul ever and the kindest man, but he’s very particular in what he wants.  So, we worked with his vision quite succinctly together to provide that for him.  We just got along so well, that we just kept working together.

JHAbsolutely.  For the fans it obviously worked out great!  You’ve also worked with several filmmakers who work quickly and with small budgets – guys like Jim Wynorski and Charles Band.  As an actress, do you find that working within those limitations helps the creative process, as opposed to a bigger budgeted film that can throw money at any problems that come up?

BCWell, that’s a very interesting question.  I haven’t worked on too many big budget films, so I’m not sure how that works.  I know that people say there is always money wasted on a big budget movie, but when you have a small budget, a lot of times you have to think quickly and on your feet.  You have to try to make things work that may not have been the original intention of the writer.  It does force you into figuring out what you can do for the least amount of money.  I think that’s important, going forward, with movies and filmmaking today.  Budgets are shrinking.  People are making movies for $100,000 and $200,000.  When I was working in the 1980’s, a low-budget movie was $1,000,000.  Now, if you’ve got $1,000,000 for a movie, that’s considered a medium budget in the independent world.  That’s a lot of money.

People are focusing more on doing one location movies with a smaller cast.  Heavy on relationships, no CGI, doing practical effects…  Filmmakers today are much more savvy with the $200,000 or less that they have to spend.  It’s a little bit easier for them to manager that money in a productive and creative way.  I think the young directors working today seem, to me, to really be very knowledgeable about what’s possible and how to make the most of a modest budget.

JHIt seemed that you didn’t particularly shy away from nudity in your films.  Is that something that just kind of came with the territory with horror films of that period, as long as everyone was having fun and trusted one another?

BCAnything I did was always part of the film and part of the story.  I don’t think that anything I ever did felt like, “I should be doing this” or “I’m scared to do it,” or that it would hurt my career if I do it.  There are a lot of people who are movie viewers who have very varying degrees on what they think and how they feel about sexuality and nudity.  There’s a lot of social and moral issues involved in people’s minds and their upbringing.  But, for me, as an actor, if it’s part of the story, I’ll do it and I’ll probably continue to do it.  I don’t know if anybody’s going to see a ‘wrinkled-old grandmother’ Barbara Crampton, but if it’s part of the story, I’ll do it (laughs).

JHYou took a bit of a break from acting before You’re Next came along.  What was it about that particular script or project that made you want to get back into it?

BCWhen I was hitting my late 30’s, I wasn’t working quite as much and I also wasn’t married.  I really wanted to have a family, so I took a couple of years and really focused on finding somebody that I wanted to be with and exploring potentially why it hadn’t worked out for me in the past.  I met my husband a couple of years after I decided that and everything was going so well for us that I made a conscious choice in my mind that I was going to focus on our marriage.  I really wasn’t going to focus on my career at all.  Then, he told me he was being transferred with his job from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  Because I had already made that decision, I said, “okay, when do we leave?”  I knew this was important for him and would mean better things for our family financially and for his job security, so we moved to San Francisco more than ten years ago.  I really wanted to have children.  Right away, we got pregnant.  Once my son was a year old, we got pregnant again right away.  I definitely focused on my family.  Living in San Francisco, I realized I may not have a career anymore, and that was okay.  I worked for over 20 years and did some films and television projects I could be proud of, so I thought it was time for the next phase.  I was happily working at their school, and volunteering and becoming a gardener.

The call for You’re Next came out of the blue.  I read the script and I really liked it very much.  I had numerous conversations with Keith Calder (producer), Simon Barrett (writer/producer) and Adam Wingard (director) and I wanted to do it – it really sounded like fun.  I did pretty much just for that reason; not to think that I was going to get back into acting again.  One more little movie.  But, it turned out to be an awesome movie and would up being bought by Lionsgate after our TIFF premiere.  After that whole experience, and then going to Fantastic Fest and being at the Alamo Drafthouse, I had the best time of my life, you know?  So, I thought that maybe this was something I wanted to do again.  And, it wasn’t that difficult – my kids, at that point, were 9 and 11, and I had some help watching them while my husband was working and it seemed doable.  So, I talked to my agent and said, “if there’s anything else that comes up, I’d be interested.”  Since that time, I’ve worked on, I think, five different things.  It’s been really nice for me.  I feel, now, like I’ve got a good balance between my home life and working a little bit here and there.  I think this is my new normal – to be a mom, taking care of my family, and work some and really enjoying myself.  This is probably the best time of my life I’ve had in recent memory.

JHYou mentioned Alamo Drafthouse – how did you become involved in the upcoming Dismember The Alamo event next weekend in Houston (details below)?

BC:    I’ve been down to Fantastic Fest twice now.  Once was for the You’re Next premiere and the other time, I was on the jury for Best Horror Feature.  I had an incredible time there and met so many incredible people there that work with the Alamo Drafthouse and Badass Digest, along with filmmakers that live down there or from around the world that come to Fantastic Fest.  I’ve made a lot of friends who are horror movie critics and who have websites.  One of the gals I met was Meredith Borders, who is the managing editor of Badass Digest.  There’s just certain people that you really click with and you really like, and I just have a fond feeling for her.  She asked me to come to Houston to help be the Mistress of Ceremonies for Dismember the Alamo, and, without hesitation, I said, “anything for you guys.”  I’m really happy to help her and promote horror films and celebrate my favorite time of year – Halloween by coming to Houston to show some rockin’ horror movies.

JHI’ll be there myself – I can’t wait!  Lastly, are there any upcoming films that our readers should keep an eye out for?

BCBecause I’m in this independent horror world, there are a few films that I’ve done that are now being submitted to film festivals.  I’m really looking forward to the earliest one I did this past year, which is probably in the best shape to be submitted to festivals.  It’s called We Are Still Here and was written and directed by my very good friend Ted Geoghegan and produced by Travis Stevens, with cinematography by Karim Hussain.  I haven’t seen the movie, because they won’t show it to me!  But, I have a really good feeling about it, and I know all these guys are at the top of their game in the horror genre.  I can’t wait to sit alongside all of them and some of you and watch this movie at an upcoming film festival.

That’s right – on Saturday, October 25th, 2014, come out to the Alamo Drafthouse in Vintage Park for Dismember the Alamo.  Watch a four movie horror marathon with Barbara in person, including a pick or two she chose herself.  The titles will remain a mystery until they pop up on screen, but it promises to be an incredibly fun event.   Perhaps, more importantly, I will be there as well – so, that opportunity to meet me that you never even realized that you wanted can finally come true.  Barbara will be happy to sign your stuff (within reason, of course), and I’ll be happy to point you in the direction of where she will be happy to sign your stuff (within reason, of course).  Get your tickets here: http://drafthouse.com/  If you don’t happen to live in the Houston area, all Drafthouse markets will be throwing their own Dismember the Alamo party with a different celebrity guest.  See Ya then!


SoCal Film Festival 2014 – Year #10 – Part 2

SoCal Film Festival turns 10!

Oct. 1st-5th Huntington Beach Library (Theater)

Oct. 5th-12th Online screening room

Visit the SoCal Film Festival website for screening and film details www.socalfilmfestival.com

 

 

And the good films keep on rolling…

Minimum Max  4 min.  (Youth Showcase)

Award-winning student film, manages to achieve a small social commentary about kids, illness and medication. The editing carries this piece and the premise is not only thought-provoking, but is quite imaginative for a student. The next generation of filmmakers, will always be students, so be sure to support this showcase.

———–

Love Sick Lonnie 8 min. (Short)

Hilarious, creative and brilliant. This short shows us why a “guy” who is in love with boy bands, well may not have great luck with the ladies. Many times, reviews are too wordy like a film with too many scenes. This highly original concept is sure to please and provide some big laughs. Sorry, no plot spoiling here.

Grade A

———–

Time to Kill  10 min. (Short) 

A hit-man must wait for his victim, so what does he do to pass the time? Look at pictures in his victim’s home? Take phone calls that lead to great comedic movie moments? Or maybe he will attempt to put his life back in order in this genuinely funny short film. Superb cinematography for digital and the director made great use of one location. This one is in the top three of the best shorts in the festival.

Grade B

———–

Rains in L.A. 11 min.  (Short)

For every relationship and especially break-up, there is two sides. We have all been there or heard stories. This beautiful and poignant short examines the issues between a boyfriend and a girlfriend, but also intertwines music. The trend of short films being part movie, part music video is a great idea. This film pulls it off perfectly. May be harsh for those of you that have lived this film’s story. Good movie, all good film’s touch on universal truth’s.

Grade A

———–

Wanderlust 5 min. (Short Doc)

This movie is completely outside-the-box. The premise is unique, a small handful of people interviewed a about what they want to take with them on a life-changing trip? Set to a good score, the short documentary does not follow a set path or linear editing. In no way is it a music video, but in five minutes the film did find a conclusion. However, like any decent to good art-house style movie, the conclusion is yours (the audience). They did not over-kill with the use of time-lapse photography, hard filmmaking tool to get right. Kudos to Wanderlust.

Grade B

———–

Mestizo  10 min. (Short Doc)

Unique and brilliant are an understatement. This film left no choice but to put in some of the synopsis and not hack it up with an attempt to say what “it might be”. The film is so good, authentic and full of soul. It plays like a song or poem and as a short film is near perfect. There is no such idea, entity or work that is perfect; but this walked the line. Supremely original and important to our times, we need to stop judging race (one of the few themes in this work of art).

Multiethnic individuals express the complexity of identity when confronted with the question ‘What are you?’ Through spoken word performance and interviews, subjects share their experiences of growing up mixed-race in the twenty-first century. Graphic animation helps visualize the existential dynamics of this growing demographic. This film confronts the viewer’s preconceived notions of ethnic and racial identity by presenting the complex perspectives of globalized identities.

Grade A+

Stan 6 min. (Animation)

Dark but interesting, and not for everyone as the movie has adult themes. The great over-looked art-form of animation is superb in this wonderful little gem. Stan walks the line of “is it your taste or not?”, but it does deliver a strong technical quality that made it a great entry for SoCal Film Festival excellent program of films.

Grade B

———–

Terror Strikes 5 min. (Short) 

Excellent lighting and a wonderful score set a tone that grabs you from the opening frame.  The filmmakers managed to avoid most horror film cliches. Nice special FX for a low-budget short and the girl was especially good in thins film, because she did not play it over-the-top, which most actresses do in Horror films (and directors allow it). Great vision for such a short piece.

Grade B

———–

The Conversation 8 min.  (Short) 

It is rare that a story can serve as a feature film or a short. This eight minute gem could have expanded into a decent 90 minute film full of subplots and flashbacks. It managed to be dramatic and scary and did not pamper to the fact it had a child as one of the lead’s. The premise is simple: A mother is faced with the awful truth that she may not be a good mom anymore. As the film unfolds, we realize she has good reason to question herself. The film never cheapened itself, although it easily could have.

Grade A

———–

Mulligan’s Island  4 min. (Music Video) 

Five young travelers embark on a journey to find buried treasure and the fabled Mulligan’s Island Part homage to silent films with a great flare for visuals. This is what a music video should be. The perfect marriage of audio/visual that gets all your senses moving. Groovy song, well directed, the cinematography will light up the theater come show time.

Grade A

———–

Oh! StarGazer  6 min.  (Music Video) 

Oh! StarGazer may not for everyone, as electronic music is an acquired taste. However this video had excellent visuals and the director really knew how to tie the elements of editing, animation, visual effects, and images of science-history-mythology into one cohesive piece of music video magic. Unfortunately, music videos are supposed to be 50/50 song/visual; this was more like 70 visual/30 music. But you be the judge, nothing on this film list will disappoint.

Grade C

———–

Moving Out 5 min. (Music Video)   

A young girl reflecting on love and if she should take a chance on relationships again, was brilliantly laid it in this spectacular eye-candy of a music video. It was fantastic and innovative use of editing (the idea might have been borrowed from an Elton John video where Robert Downey Jr. walks for through a house, an art gallery etc…) for this girl as she moved through different frames in the hall/gallery; an obvious (yet poignant metaphor for life. If you are not a big fan of music videos, this will leave you pleased. It is great art, regardless of the genre.

Grade A+ 

Sins of the Father (10 min. USA)

Always good to see movies with a social message. In a film that stands out for its simplicity while really diving into a tough subject matter, Sins of the Father makes you think. This film was a nice surprise because it separated itself by being all about the character. It was not about editing, lighting or Visual FX. This was a human story about a man and his mistakes. How can any of us not relate?

Grade A 

Seahorses – Grade A – The full review can be found here.

Cassandra – Grade A – The full review can be found here.

———–

The Hideout (Short) 15-mins (Review by Nav Qateel)

From first-time narrative writer-director Daniel Wahlen, short film The Hideout bravely tackles that most taboo of subjects, child molestation. When Holly (Christa Beth Campbell, Hall Pass) becomes victim to her peadophile teacher Mr. Williams (Jim E Chandler), upon noticing Holly’s sudden odd behaviour, best friend Sam (Brogan Hall, Cold in July) helps raise the alarm.

Wahlen’s The Hideout packs quite an emotional punch in its 15-minutes of runtime. And this is in no small part thanks to some truly wonderful and convincing acting from two gifted children. It would be fair to say their performances carried The Hideout to heights it may not otherwise have reached. Wahlen shows a remarkable talent for working with children, and helping them convey the right amount of emotion, which was crucial for a film of this nature to be effective. Wahlen has handled this difficult subject particularly well, and in such a way that young children should be comfortable with seeing the film and understanding what’s going on. A film all parents should make mandatory viewing.

Grade: B+

Festival article by Paul Booth

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Grace: The Possession (Review)

Grace I

  “While there are one or two clichés in the mix, with the biggest and most obvious coming from the ending of Blatty’s The Exorcist no less, there’s more than enough new material and skill involved in Grace: The Possession to make this a worthy [...]

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V/H/S: Viral (Review)

VHS Viral NQ4XYMn4ukM

  “If V/H/S: Viral turns out not to be the conclusion of the franchise as a whole, the future will need to see more quality control for the franchise to remain admirable.”     by Steve Pulaski V/H/S: Viral marks the third film in the [...]

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American Horror Story: Season 4, Ep 3 (Recap)

Freak Show

Edward Mordrake: Part 1   (Spoiler Warning) Last week saw Meep’s dead and broken body being thrown from a truck, courtesy of the sheriff’s department. (You can watch an interesting short video as Meep actor Ben Woolf, who suffers from pituitary dwarfism, talks about his character, [...]

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The Golden Era of Pre-Code Films Part 5

Precode5

The Pre-Code Gangster Films. Of all the excessive Pre-Code films, perhaps the most ‘normal’ of these when you see them today are the gangster flicks. They don’t seem all that violent or salacious today and are actually pretty entertaining. However, back in the early 30s, [...]

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Wyrmwood (Review)

Wyrmwood UATTi6u440o

From the Toronto After Dark Film Festival “I hesitate to call Wyrmwood a mad-cap thrill ride through the zompocalypse, but it does present us with some fun, new ideas about the zombie uprising.”     by C. Rachel Katz Remember when zombie movies were about [...]

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An Interview with Actress Barbara Crampton

barbara-crampton 7PnlcOIi2Rk

If you grew up on 1980’s horror films, as I certainly did (but, don’t tell my mother – unless you feel comfortable with the concept of ruining a mother/son relationship, which just makes you weird), then you are definitely familiar with the concept of the [...]

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Wolves (Review)

Wolves gR3kiOgNNkA

From the Toronto After Dark Film Festival “As a YA genre tale, Wolves checks all the boxes and will certainly delight young horror fans. Whether the film will resonate with the old school monster crowd remains to be seen.”   by C. Rachel Katz I’m [...]

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An Interview with Vic Armstrong & Paul LaLonde

Vic

Left Behind follows Rayford Steele (Nicolas Cage) who is piloting a commercial airliner just hours after the Rapture when millions of people around the globe simply vanish. Thirty thousand feet over the Atlantic, Rayford is faced with a damaged plane, terrified passengers, and a desperate desire to [...]

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Fury (Review)

Fury FymIXRr3HF0

  “Comparing Fury to the other war-release this year, Lone Survivor, it’s strange to say how much more Fury achieves in the way of combat realism and depiction than the latter did.”     by Steve Pulaski Brad Pitt deserved to be in one very [...]

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Open Windows (Review)

Windows

From the Toronto After Dark Film Festival “With its themes of voyeurism, control, and connectedness all relayed through a first-person POV, Open Windows is a cyber-thriller for the 21st century.”     by C. Rachel Katz I have a fondness for cyber thrillers. 1990s cyber [...]

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The Town That Dreaded Sundown (Review)

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) y4kcl_kwxJU

  “Even with all the violence and gruesomeness occurring, The Town That Dreaded Sundown still slows down to adhere to the story’s history, even expanding beyond it in subjective realms that we truly question to be true or not.”   by Steve Pulaski The original [...]

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Extraterrestrial (Review)

Extraterrestrial (2014) wSY9Her4u3A

  “Extraterrestrial was guilty of using almost every cliché in the book, although, thanks to a committed cast and some nice direction, I feel the Brothers managed to pull it off, if only just.”     by Nav Qateel A group of cabin-in-the-wooders witness a [...]

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John Wick (Review)

John Wick

  “Reeves’ Wick is deadly, violent and acts without remorse, but throughout the film, we find ourselves rooting for him and wish him success as he singlehandedly takes out half of the underworld to get to his target.  Heaven help anyone who gets in his [...]

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Housebound (Review)

Housebound (2014) aWCt3ywH5nc

From the Toronto After Dark Film Festival “It’s refreshing to watch a movie that finishes well, that has the ending it deserves. And in much the same way that Kylie enjoys a feeling of closure and accomplishment, so do I in knowing that Housebound will [...]

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Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (Review)

Dead Snow 2 glIoXwTcG60

From the Toronto After Dark Film Festival “Not satisfied to just sit back and let the fight play out, the movie briefly cuts away to a zombie triage unit where we get to experience zombie battlefield medicine. This kind of care and attention to detail [...]

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The Shoot (Review)

The Shoot VtXhF_5WD9s

  “Even the film’s title worked on different levels.  The Shoot referring to the fashion photo shoot around where the story revolves, or to the accidental shooting that erupts a simple robbery into the ordeal that would change lives forever.”   by Randy Krinsky Tommy [...]

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Another Me (Review)

Another Me (2013) ctUuovA2eUw

  “I find it difficult to point to any one thing and claim that to be the cause of Another Me not working, but at the end of the day, the majority of blame must be placed at the feet of the director herself.”   [...]

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