Alexandre Bustillo and Julian Maury – the duo who delivered the gut-punch that is Inside and the atmospheric Livid – make an exciting, vicious return with a film that channels the magic of child adventure-driven ’80s fare and guts it with the savagery of an early Wes Craven film like The Hills Have Eyes. And although parallels can be drawn to Stephen King and Steven Spielberg, Among the Living has the spirit of a story by Richard Laymon, an author who, to this day, has not been tapped by Hollywood for a film adaptation. This may be the closest thing to a Laymon film you’ll get, save for the movie’s lack of intense eroticism that can sometimes permeate his works.
If there is one thing to be learned from In Fear, it is always check out the reviews of a hotel before booking a room. The British import is a case study in how to bring a tense, atmospheric horror thriller to film in a good way. And in a genre that is filled with loads of movies lacking originality and a complete absence of any tension or even the development of tension, it is a welcome addition.
Most of the entire first half of the movie is a slow burn to the back half that turns into a question of how scared does one person have to be to turn to violence?
Meet the big genre surprise of SXSW 2014. Until my arrival in Austin, I knew very little – if anything – about Housebound, a film hailing from New Zealand under the direction of Gerard Johnstone and starring Morgana O’Reilly. What you, dear reader, need to know is this is one to look out for. Housebound is a pleasing blend of scares and laughs wrapped in a Tales from the Crypt-like package that doesn’t sacrifice character for thrills. It may run a few minutes too long, but Johnstone clearly knows what it takes to make a horror-comedy work.
If you’ve played the original From Software’s Dark Souls, then you know that it’s a rough ride. I like to think of it as a D & D game run by Quentin Tarantino. It runs a pace that allows you to savior the world but also when it’s time to throw down, it delivers brutality and horror. Does Dark Souls II deliver on that original promise? Absolutely!
From the very beginning, the game is about story. Getting to know who you are and what you can do. Your mission is to search for a cure to the curse that makes you undead. Each ability is introduced to you as it becomes relevant which allows you to truly take in the various moves available. And trust me, you will need everything at your disposal. This game will kick your ass again and again no matter how seasoned a gamer you are.
Werewolves have been used in the past to sink their teeth into themes of puberty, teenage angst, infidelity and sexuality, and fears of alienation and uncontrollable power. Save for John Carradine’s old werewolf in the The Howling – who laments his existence and threatens to end it – never has lycanthropy been applied to the elderly. It’s usually a young pup’s game. That changes with the Late Phases, Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s English language feature debut, a genuine wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Apparently, there is a holy war happening in the back woods of some backwater small town deep in the South in order to unleash the ultimate evil on the world. But for some reason the ultimate evil likes to speak through air conditioner vents in a strange hidden identity voice to influence little boys’ art projects.
Because using the Internet or phone is so impersonal.
Dark House is a confused movie. It doesn’t really know what it wants to be. Nick has a troubling supernatural ability. He can sense if someone is going to die violently. If they just fade to black, nothing happens.
Without sound too hyperbolic, I genuinely believe writer-director Mike Flanagan is one of the genre’s most promising directors today. Absentia was a quiet, dramatic burn with a unique concept that outweighed any imperfections this 2011 indie film shouldered. Oculus, which played at SXSW and opens April 11th, more than demonstrates he won’t be contained to a sub-genre and is eager to push the narrative boundaries of horror in more ways than one.
There’s something pitch black, oily and gross flowing through the veins of Starry Eyes. It betrays the optimism evoked by the title and it trickles out through the pores of this impressive and sinister feature about deleterious ambition from directors Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch. This lifeblood is paramount to Starry Eyes’ success. It makes this angry indie effort about Hollywood a truthful, grotesque and flat-out disturbing piece.
Juggling both that aforementioned ambition and the film’s grotesque nature is Alex Essoe who turns in finely-tuned performance as the anxious and slightly unhinged Sarah.