Review: ‘The Mind’s Eye’, an unapologetic homage to David Cronenberg.

THE-MINDS-EYE_THEATRICAL_HICWritten and directed by Joe Begos (Almost Human), The Mind’s Eye reunites him with his Almost Human film star Graham Skipper along with cast members Lauren Ashley Carter (Premium Rush, The Woman), John Speredakos (The House of the Devil), and Noah Segan (Some Kind of Hate, Looper). THE MIND’S EYE is undeniably an homage to  David Cronenberg‘s Scanners. Low budget and over the top schlock are at it’s best and tailored for the midnight audience.

(L-R) John Speredakos as Dr. Michael Slovak and Graham Skipper as Zack Connors in the horror film “THE MIND’S EYE” an RLJ Entertainment release. Photo credit Joe Begos.

(L-R) John Speredakos as Dr. Michael Slovak and Graham Skipper as Zack Connors in the horror film “THE MIND’S EYE” an RLJ Entertainment release. Photo credit Joe Begos.

Here’s the skinny on the plot: A couple with psychokinetic capabilities are held hostage by a whacked out doctor who wants to harness their energy for his own personal uses. If you didn’t know what you were signing up for when sitting down, you might be turned off by the acting, the better for tv cinematography, and a final act that resembles something more akin to a constipation battle than a mind-melding fight to see you who eff up the other person first with their overexerted brain power. But, if you know what you’re in for, you’ve come to the right place.

(L-R) Lauren Ashley Carter as Rachel Meadows and Graham Skipper as Zack Connors in the horror film “THE MIND’S EYE” an RLJ Entertainment release. Photo credit Joe Begos.

(L-R) Lauren Ashley Carter as Rachel Meadows and Graham Skipper as Zack Connors in the horror film “THE MIND’S EYE” an RLJ Entertainment release. Photo credit Joe Begos.

Graham Skipper‘s Zack connors sounds a bit too green in his line readings for my taste, but his look is awesome. His chemistry with Carter is spot on. John Speredakos as the mad Dr. Slovak is so over the top that I’m surprised his character didn’t appear in the Buffy series (which in a strange way is a compliment, I loves me some Whedonverse). The shining star of this film is hands down the performance of Lauren Ashley Carter as Rachel.  Every moment is actually believable, filled with panic, and immensely effective. The entire cast is slotted with actors who are no strangers to the genre. It’s kind of cool to see a little indie horror love-fest going on here.

Lauren Ashley Carter as Rachel Meadows in the horror film “THE MIND’S EYE”an RLJ Entertainment release. Photo credit Joe Begos.

Lauren Ashley Carter as Rachel Meadows in the horror film “THE MIND’S EYE”an RLJ Entertainment release. Photo credit Joe Begos.

The practical effects are on point. This is where The Mind’s Eye excels. Heavy handed with the splatter and some truly sick prosthetic casts, these are the shining moments. In a time where Netflix‘s Stranger Things is blowing up, the release could not be more perfectly timed. Check out the trailer below. The Mind’s Eye arrives in theater today and is available on iTunes and VOD.

THE MIND’S EYE – RLJ Entertainment

IN THEATERS AND AVAILABLE ON VOD AND iTUNES: August 5, 2016
DIRECTED BY: Joe Begos
WRITTEN BY: Joe Begos
CAST: Graham Skipper, Lauren Ashley Carter, John Speredakos, Noah Segan
SYNOPSIS: Zack Connors and Rachel Meadows were born with incredible psychokinetic capabilities. When word of their supernatural talents gets out, they find themselves the prisoners of Michael Slovak, a deranged doctor intent on harvesting their powers. After a daring escape, they are free from his sinister institution, but the corrupt doctor will stop at nothing to track them down so that he may continue to siphon their gifts for his own use.
GENRE: Horror, Thriller
DISTRIBUTOR: RLJ Entertainment

Review: EMELIE is a parent’s worst nightmare.

Dark Sky Films Logopresents

EMELIE

Directed by: Michael Thelin

Starring: Sarah Bolger (ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” AMC’s “Into the Badlands” )

EMELIE poster

 In Theaters and On Demand March 4, 2016 

As a parent, all you want is for your family babysitter to care for your kids like you would.. When you do find a reliable sitter, you hold onto then for dear life. But what happens when, once in a  while, your beloved child care provider is unavailable? You might panic and start calling other parents for recommendations, but if you’re really lucky, your babysitter has an alternative option already in the pipe line. Evening saved, right? What if the kids don’t like them? They’re probably just overreacting. What if it’s for a good reason? EMELIE is a parent’s worst nightmare.

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As their parents head out for a date in the city, the three young Thompson children immediately take to their new babysitter, Anna (Sarah Bolger, Into the Badlands, Once Upon a Time), who seems like a dream come true: she’s sweet, fun, and lets them do things that break all of their parents’ rules. But as Anna’s interactions with them take on a more sinister tone, the kids realize that their caretaker may not be who she claims to be. Soon it’s up to big brother Jacob to protect his siblings from the increasingly nefarious intentions of a very disturbed woman whose weapon is trust, and whose target is innocence.

Featuring tour-de-force performances from Bolger and its three young leads, EMELIE is a multidimensional, nail-biting thriller that asks the question: how can you put an end to horror after you’ve already let it in?

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Sarah Bolger stuns as the babysitter from Hell. Soft and cool one minute and downright sociopathic the next. Her backstory makes her motives all the more incredible. Never is there a moment when you don’t feel beyond uncomfortable. You never know what she’ll do with the constant passive aggressive look in her eyes. It is completely terrifying. Scene stealer award goes to Bolger’s foil, Joshua Rush, as Jacob. He is perfect from beat to beat. It’s a complex role for any actor, let alone someone so young. Think a slightly older Jacob Tremblay from ROOM. That’s the quality Rush gives in Emelie. He deserves much more attention and I look forward to SEEING more of him in the future, as the majority of his current body of work has been voice. Director Michael Thelin has created a quite a roller coaster of  fear. I was off my game from the first frame to the very last. EMELIE will make any parent think twice about who’s really watching their children.

 In Theaters and On Demand March 4, 2016 

#EmelieMovie
@DarkSkyFilms

‘CABIN FEVER’ reboot leaves a familiar taste in your mouth.

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Presents

CABIN FEVER

A Film By Travis Zariwny

Executive Produced By Eli Roth

IN THEATERS FEBRUARY 12TH NEW YORK & LOS ANGELEScabin fever poster

In 2002, Writer/Director/Producer, Eli Roth, brought us the original Cabin Fever. I happened to be in college at the time and just finishing college. Already questioning the cleanliness of city dwelling, this film did not help. I  just kept hearing  Dave Matthews Band, “Don’t Drink The Water” over and over. Now, I know better. I tell out-of-towners that we have the best tap water in the country. In the wake of the Flint, Michigan disaster currently playing out in the national media, the release of Travis Zarwiny‘s reboot (With Roth as Exec. Prod) is both terrifying and timely. CABINFEVER2016REVFEAT

The set up is exactly the same. Five friends head to a remote cabin, man with flesh-eating disease contaminates the drinking water, people start to die. With a cast including Gage  Golightly (Teen Wolf) and Dustin Ingram (Paranormal Activity 3), the acting is strong. Shot over the course of 20 days in Oregon, this incarnation is pretty much the exact same script, save a few minor details; updated technology, weaponry, social media shout references, and some gender bending in a role. I was impressed with the practical effects in the original. Seeing how closely the reboot stayed true, oftentimes with shot for shot symmetry, there is one big uptake; gore factor. I thought you couldn’t possibly get any grosser than the first, and boy was I wrong. As a horror vet, even I had to look away for one moment in particular that I had been anticipating having to do with the character of Karen. I might just prefer the 2002 ending as I admit this version had me scratching my head a bit after the credits begin to roll. Anyhow, the reboot is a pretty good splatter-fest for those who weren’t treated to the original.

Executive producer Eli Roth presents this reboot of his instant classic gorefest, which features all new characters and all new kills. This story is familiar: fresh out of college, a group of five friends retreat to a remote cabin in the woods for one last week of partying- only to become snacks for a gruesome, flesh-eating virus. What’s surprising are the ingenious new deaths, which offer a fresh spin on a horror-comedy milestone. With Gage Golightly (Teen Wolf) and Dustin Ingram (Paranormal Activity 3).

Directed by: Travis Zariwny

Executive Produced by: Eli Roth

Starring: Gage Golightly, Dustin Ingram, Nadine Crocker, Matthew Daddario & Samuel Davis

IN THEATERS FEBRUARY 12TH NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES

Review: ‘I Spit On Your Grave 3 Vengeance Is Mine’

ISOYG posterWhen I was a high school Junior, I sat in a sexual assault seminar. The woman leading the talk asked us to take out a piece of paper, write down our name at the top, and then write down the names of our three closest friends. The she proceeded to say, “Statistics say that three out of the four of you on this list will be sexually assaulted in the four years you are at university.” As terrifying as that sounded, it ended up being true. How is one supposed to act after such horrific things happen to them? Don’t you wish that you could take matters into your own hands? The struggle between power and healing is greater than most can understand. In the newest installment of a franchise I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3 VENGEANCE IS MINE tackles just such subjects in a way that is extreme but not necessarily unwarranted._MG_9874

Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) is still tormented by the brutal sexual assault she endured years ago (I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2010). She’s changed identities and cities, reluctantly joining a support group where she begins to piece together a new life. But when her new friend’s murderer goes free and the tales of serial rapists haunt her, Jennifer will hunt down the men responsible and do what the system won’t – make them pay for their crimes in the most horrific ways imaginable. Only this time, no jury may be able to save her. Jennifer Landon (“The Young and the Restless”), Doug McKeon (ON GOLDEN POND) and Gabriel Hogan (“Heartland”) co-star in this unforgiving, unmerciful and uncut new chapter of one of the most notorious franchises in movie history.

Anchor Bay Entertainment released I Spit on Your Grave in 2010 and I Spit On Your Grave 2 in 2013 to critical acclaim.  Based on Meir Zarchi’s 1978 version, the franchise has gained the respect of both mainstream and genre critics. This latest installment is a continuation of the 2010 film’s storyline._MG_7009This particular film is a real departure from the tried and true formula of the first two films. Utilizing flashbacks to connect with the former, ISOYG 3, is intense and twisted in the revenge game. Sarah Butler once again nails this role. She captures the screen, never unassuming, Butler is relatable and engrossing. Sidekick of sorts in the plot is actress Jennifer Landon as Marla (pictured above) as an ass-kicking, no mercy, take back the night kinda chick. She shines just as brightly as Butler. The other performance that absolutely deserves mention is that of Doug McKeon, as distraught father whose daughter was a victim of rape. Throwing caution to the  wind, his performance gets better and better as the film progresses. He gains your sympathy, support, and finally cheers. _MG_7136While the plot is quite the structural departure, it almost works wonders, almost. Strong performances save the plot that seems so far from the first two. It’s an interesting look into the emotional damage of such acts, and don’t be mistaken, it is a victim’s fantasy. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3 will entertain genre fans with its heightened gore factor and practical effects, no doubt. There is no shortage of cringe worthy moments… massively cringe worthy. The film opens today in LA (October 9) and will be available on DVD, Blu, Ray, VOD October 20.