‘COTTONTAIL’ (2024) A beautiful portrait of grief and redemption

COTTONTAIL


Cottontail_KeyArt_10_2x3Filmmaker Patrick Dickinson brings audiences a nuanced tale of loss and love in COTTONTAIL. Following the death of his wife, Kenzaburo travels with his son and his young family to fulfill his late wife’s last wish, to scatter her ashes at Lake Windemere in England. The film flashes back in time, giving us intimate details of the love story between Kenzaburo and Akiko.

COTTONTAIN Final Platform Stills - Dropbox - www.dropbox.comTae Kimura gives an award-worthy performance as Akiko. The depth is mesmerizing. You will remember it. Lily Franky delivers a stunning complexity in Kenzaburo. Dickinson skillfully draws out the rift between him and his son Toshi (a fantastic Ryo Nishikido). The built-up guilt and regret flow off the screen as Franky moves from scene to scene. So, too, does the fierce adoration for his wife. COTTONTAIL

Cottontail_Still06_1920x1080.jpg - www.dropbox.comDickinson places the audience in a precarious emotional state once we witness the hardships of Akiko’s progressing condition and Kenzaburo’s increasing frustrations with losing the wife he vowed to love through thick and thin. The discussion of the impact of acting as a primary caregiver hangs above the film like a dark cloud, allowing the redemption narrative to hold your heart. COTTONTAIL is about the individuality of grief, keeping secrets, and human connection. It is an undeniably beautiful and affecting film.

TRAILER

COTTONTAIL will be released exclusively IN THEATERS on June 7th and On Demand July 9th thereafter

 

Cottontail_Still11_1920x1080.jpg - www.dropbox.comStarring Academy Award® Nominee CIARÁN HINDS (Belfast, First Man, “Game of Thrones”), LILY FRANKY (Analog, “The Naked Director”), AOIFE HINDS (Belfast, The Commuter), RYÔ NISHIKIDO (A Boy and His Samurai, Eight Rangers), TAE KIMURA ( “House of Ninjas,” “The Unbroken,”  “24 Japan”), RIN TAKANASHI (Love for Beginners, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger Movies), YURI TSUNEMATSU ( “Tokyo Vice,” The Pink Panther 2, Letters from Iwo Jima).

Cottontail_Still03_1920x1080.jpg - www.dropbox.com

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‘MURDER COMPANY ‘ (2024) Based on an untold true story

MURDER COMPANY

Murder Company Poster -

During the D-Day invasion, a group of U.S. soldiers must smuggle a member of the French resistance behind enemy lines to assassinate a high-value Nazi target.


Murder Company 2 (2024) - www.imdb.comShane Dax Taylor‘s WWII drama imagines the never-before-told story of a secret mission. While all the elements of greatness are there, MURDER COMPANY delivers a rather average film. I never found myself emotionally invested in the characters, which is unfortunate because performances from the entire ensemble deliver solid work. I found myself drifting. The battle scenes felt noticeably repetitive as if a few days had been spent in the same wooded location and shot from only a few different angles. The dialogue suffered the same fate. I couldn’t repeat a single line after watching. The FX were similarly subpar. Bullet holes were glaringly CG, and it was frankly distracting. War films are immense undertakings. Tackling an untold story adds extra scrutiny. Filmmakers should have taken more advantage of Kelsey Grammer‘s abilities. Ultimately, Murder Company waves the white flag.

Murder Company (2024) - www.imdb.com

Here’s the trailer: 

MURDER COMPANY comes to theaters, on Demand and Digital, today.

Buy Tickets here: https://www.fandango.com/murder-company-2024-236335/movie-overview?cmp=Indie_YouTube_Desc


Murder Company 3 (2024) - www.imdb.comIt stars William Moseley (The Chronicles of Narnia trilogy, “The Royals”), Pooch Hall (“Ray Donovan,” “The Game”), Gilles Marini (Sex and the City, “Switched at Birth”), Joe Anderson (Across the Universe, The Crazies), and Kelsey Grammer (“Cheers,” “Frasier”).

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‘COLD BLOWS THE WIND’ (2024) Fresh meat on a bone in this indie horror from Eric Williford

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COLD BLOWS THE WIND

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When a husband and wife (Victoria Vertuga and Danell Leyva) find their night blown wildly off-course, they’re forced to band together in order to survive in the most extreme of circumstances.

Cold Blows The Wind-Dean&Tasha

COLD BLOWS THE WIND finds Tasha and Dean in a moral predicament. After drunk driving, striking a jogger with their car, a stranger makes things even more complicated. Teamwork makes the dream work. Too bad this husband and wife can’t agree on a damn thing.

Cold Blows The Wind -VictoriaVertugaDanell Leyva does a great job of being entirely unlikeable. Victoria Vertuga gives Tasha a fierce presence. She is very watchable. It is Jamie Bernadette who steals the show playing Briar. Everything from her blunt haircut to her unsettling delivery is star quality. I want a prequel where she and Torrey Lawrence lead.

cold blows the wind jamie bernadetteFilmmaker Eric Williford starts his new film off with a bang. The editing by Timothy Widmann is effective. Practical FX are solid and in your face. Cold Blows The Wind is a mysterious story of body-snatching possession on unholy ground. So much of the film feels inspired by the Evil Dead franchise, with a few other classic homages mixed in. Williford offers bits and pieces of backstory. Even though we are left to fill in the blanks, the potential is clear. There is enough meat on the bone (pun intended) to keep audiences hungry.

Watch the trailer to COLD BLOWS THE WIND here

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Written and directed by Eric Williford, COLD BLOWS THE WIND stars Victoria Vertuga (LEXI), Danell Leyva (CLOCKED), Jamie Bernadette (I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE: DEJA VU), and Torrey Lawrence (THE HARDER THEY FALL).


Horror / Crime Thriller
Color
85 Minutes
English Language
Unrated

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‘WHAT REMAINS’ (2024) Based on a true story and unresolved trauma

WHAT REMAINS

What Remains PosterUpon his upcoming release from a specialized mental hospital in Scandinavia, a man suddenly reveals his connection to a string of murders. His therapist and the police officer on the case go down the rabbit hole, putting all three of them in a precarious relationship.

Stellan Skarsgård plays Officer Soren Rank. He is always a solid actor. This role is another notch on his vast resume. Andrea Riseborough gives Dr. Anna Rudebeck a staunch determination. Yet again, she climbs into the skin of a self-sabotaging and flawed woman who would rather help others than confront her childhood trauma.

What Remains still 1Gustaf Skarsgård is Mads a deep sadness. His gentle nature is at odds with his confessions, although his true motivations feel evident from the beginning. Nevertheless, Skarsgård delivers an emotionally wrought performance.

The script comes from director Ran Huang and Megan Everett-Skarsgard, wife of Stellan and stepmother of Gustaf. WHAT REMAINS is Huang’s feature debut. The characters are so lush that I might suggest expanding this into a miniseries.

What-RemainsHaunting takes in the gloomy natural light of a rainstorm or afternoon in an unlit room, capturing the dark essence of the narrative. The true story behind the film is one of the most unusual in criminal history. In the 1990s, Sture Ragnar Bergwall (later known as Thomas Quicke ) confessed to 20 unsolved murders (convicted of 5). Years later, he rescinded his statements.

It is an intriguing commentary about mental health systems worldwide. The film takes place in Scandinavia, and Mads undergoes rehabilitation treatment. The stark difference between the US industrial prison complex is shocking. The human desire to heal inmates versus for-profit prisons is eye-opening. WHAT REMAINS speaks to the unrelenting consequences of unresolved trauma.

In Theaters & On Demand June 21st
 
** Locarno Film Festival **
** Warsaw International Film Festival **
** Beijing International Film Festival **
** Fantasy FilmFest **

Starring:
Gustaf Skarsgård (“Vikings”),
Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie)
and Stellan Skarsgård (Dune: Part Two)
 
Directed by: Ran Huang
 
Written by: Ran Huang and Megan Everett-Skarsgard 


LOGLINE
In a psychiatric hospital, an alleged serial killer, his therapist, and a police detective seek to solve a brutal cold case before their obsessive quest for the truth consumes them all.

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‘TRIM SEASON’ (2024) High dread and witchy realness.

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presents

TRIM SEASON

Trim Season poster

Filmmaker Ariel Vida brings a femme-centric horror to screens today with TRIM SEASON. When a group of young women takes a two-week gig on a remote mountain marijuana farm, breaking the rules of the job leads to a more sinister plot.

The script overflows with well-developed characters with unique traits and eclectic personalities. Playing Mona’s vastly different sons are Cory Hart and Ryan Donowho. Each gives it their all, with Hart as the aggressor and Donowho as the gentle innocent.

trim season 3Beth’s protective best friend Julia, played by Alex Essoe, balances Emma’s anxiety-ridden nature. Essoe’s level-headed portrayal feels authentically grounded. Juliette Kenn de Balinthazy as Lex is extra cool as writers David Blair and Vida give her character a rare disease, making her unable to sense physical pain. Juliette Kenn de Balinthazy is a star.

Bex Taylor-Klaus gives Dusty an apprehensive aura. Taylor-Klaus is incredible in every role they tackle, and this is no exception. Their physical performance is exceptional. Ally Ioannides is a firecracker as Harriet. She is a button pusher with no boundaries. Ioannides owns every second of screen time. You love to hate her.

Trim-SeasonJane Badler plays Mona with an eccentric personality, fully tapping into her career toolbox. Wise and mesmerizing, curious and terrifying, Badler delivers an intriguing villain like the pro she is. Beth Million is Emma. She is timid, paranoid, and desperate for cash. Million is relatable and quietly powerful.

Quick visual homages to Texas Chainsaw and the supernatural mingle in this genre crowd pleaser. Bravo to the FX team for some gruesome visuals. Perhaps a bit inspired by Ari Aster’s films, the legend of Elizabeth Bathory, and witchy feminism, TRIM SEASON gives audiences a unique and disturbing fare. Stay for the credits.

https://youtu.be/L66PVuAToAg?si=XjpQejTHw9Wd1mFg

In Theaters and On Demand June 7th, 2024



Directed by Ariel Vida (“Vide Noir”)
Written by David Blair, Sean E. DeMott,
Cullen Poythress, Megan Sutherland, & Ariel Vida
Produced by Aaron B. Koontz, Sean E. DeMott, Paul Holbrook, & Jane Badler
Executive Produced by Leal Naim & Jake Hearns
Co-produced by Cameron Burns

Starring:
Jane Badler (“V”, Ricky Stanicky)
Bex Taylor-Klaus (“Scream”)
Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes, “Midnight Mass”)
Bethlehem Million (Sick, “And Just Like That…”)
Ally Ioannides (Synchronic)
Cory Hart (“Fear the Walking Dead”)

RT: 100 Minutes

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SYNOPSIS: Jobless and searching for purpose, Emma and a group of young people from Los Angeles drive up the coast to make quick cash trimming marijuana on a secluded farm in Northern California. Cut off from the rest of the world, they soon realize that Mona – the seemingly amiable owner of the estate – is harboring secrets darker than any of them could imagine. It becomes a race against time for Emma and her friends to escape the dense woods with their lives.


About Ariel Vida
Ariel Vida is a director and writer of the strange and fantastical, who has also production designed over a hundred shorts, music videos, and feature films. Her design work has received high honors, including ‘Best Production Design’ at Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival for Moorhead & Benson’s THE ENDLESS. Her music video directorial debut -Lord Huron’s The World Ender-was selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick and awarded ‘Best Music Video’ at several festivals. The videos for Lord Huron’s The Night We Met, which Ariel produced, and Childish Gambino’s Sober, which she art directed, have both been viewed over 100 million times on YouTube.
 
A frequent collaborator with Rustic Films, Ariel’s most recent design work includes Amy Seimetz’s Neon Release SHE DIES TOMORROW, Spectrevision and Adam Egypt Mortimer’s ARCHENEMY, Alma Har’el and Bob Dylan’s SHADOW KINGDOM, and Moorhead & Benson’s SYNCHRONIC as well as their Sundance 2022 premiere SOMETHING IN THE DIRT, which Ariel also second unit directed. 
 
Ariel’s feature directorial debut, VIDE NOIR – written and scored by the band Lord Huron – released in November 2022 through 1091 Pictures. Her first published short fiction will be printed in the upcoming genre anthology HAUNTED REELS alongside fellow filmmakers C. Robert Cargill, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Brea Grant, Owen Egerton, Gary Sherman, and more. TRIM SEASON marks Ariel’s second feature as director, and she’s currently developing many of her own scripts imbuing stylized action within vivid, fantastical worlds from dystopian sea-faring tales to warped, surrealist westerns.

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‘FOR SALE’ (2024) The Good, Bad, and Haunted

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FOR SALE

For Sale (2024) - www.imdb.com

Christopher Schrack‘s FOR SALE finds Mason, a shady salesman who gets the opportunity to score big if he can sell a murder house. Can his relentless determination drive a sale and the spirits away?

For saleCorrine Britti gives Psychic Claire a great quirkiness. Schrack and co-writer Jordan Friedber‘s screenplay allows her to play a dual role. Her commitment is applause-worthy. Andrew Roth does a fantastic job at filling the screen with his presence. His optimism and generally ridiculous “always be selling” persona keep the film in the horror comedy subgenre. Once again, Friedberg and Schrack mix it up in the final act so Roth can show off his acting chops.

For sale 5The soundtrack is fun. A handful of sharp jump scares had my heart racing. I wish Schrack and Friedberg had leaned into Mason’s unresolved trauma earlier in the film. That emotional pull hits another level, heightening the dark threats, but I respect them for introducing a redemption arc. While the pacing is uneven, the visuals and sound editing are phenomenal. Essentially, what is good is extremely good. FOR SALE ends with one final genuine gafaw.

https://youtu.be/8ii0G23fnJ4

NOW AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS

FOR SALE is a handmade film in the truest sense – a crew of three, a cast of ten, and produced by director CHRISTOPHER SCHRACK and lead actor ANDREW ROTH. Despite its humble budget, the film went on to receive multiple awards on the festival circuit, including BEST FILM (Magic of Horror 2023), BEST COMEDY FEATURE (International Comedy Film Festival 2024), BEST ACTOR and BEST DROP DEAD FUNNY (Haunted House FearFest 2023), as well as receiving numerous other nominations.

Mason McGinness has always been good at two things: selling himself, and finding ways to cheat people into buying when they shouldn’t. One day, his brazen swindling catches up with him and he finds himself fired from his job and kicked to the curb by his ex-girlfriend. Mason finds a small realty company that needs someone to sell a piece of property that is considered “unsellable.” The catch? It is the infamous Scarlett Clay house — a haunted house where anyone who inhabits it ends up dead. Now, with the help of a quirky psychic, Mason must find his humanity to get his life back… or die trying.

PRE-ORDER TODAY ON APPLETV: https://apple.co/3xtjZR8

PRE-ORDER TODAY ON AMAZON: https://www.primevideo.com/detail/For…

SOCIAL HANDLES:

IG: @forsalemovieofficial

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‘ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH’ (2024) delves into love, lust, and dark Irish lore

XYZ logoALL YOU NEED IS DEATH

All You need Is Death poster

In ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH, an ambitious couple discovers the all-consuming origin of an ancient folk song. Anna and Aleks search for a particular melody that might end in a big payday for particular collectors. They will learn that power is intoxicating, but curses come with rules.

All You Need Is Death still 2The script builds a vibrating anticipation. The audience has little information. Filmmaker Paul Duane slowly reveals our protagonists’ what, but the why remains a mystery. Based on dark Irish lore passed down through the maternal lineage and some ancient cursed story, the song drips with agony, even if the audience cannot initially understand a single word. All parties are consumed by its power the moment it is heard.

All You Need Is Death 2024Only one character appears to coherently recall the film’s secretive canon, but only to a point. Rita’s son reveals the unspoken, generational seriousness of their circumstances. The drastic measures he takes to protect the legend are shocking. He must find Anna and her cohorts.

These ancient songs act like spells or incantations. Themes of love, obsession, yearning, and control blur with each passing scene. Eoin McDonagh‘s intriguing editing includes flashes from the song’s origin, spliced with moments of Anna showing the interconnectedness of the women charged with the secret’s protection.

All You Need Is Death still- Olwen Fouere photo by Ishmael ClaxtonQuick visual and dialogue genre homages pop up from time to time. Horror fans will find a sly smirk spread across their lips while intently trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Cast members Simone Collins, Charlie Maher, Catherine Wiggins, and Nigel O’Neill are captivating. One performance in particular, while short-lived, is mesmerizing. Olwen Fouéré plays songstress Rita Concannon. Her presence is unmatched by anyone else in the film. It’s a chilling turn.

The makeup FX are wonderful. Both opening and closing credits lend to a disquieting feeling. The script has massive expansion potential. You cannot begin to predict what comes next. ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH boasts a disturbing finale. Paul Duane delivers an unsettling story that burrows into your brain and will leave your mouth agape in horror. 

The nightmarish Irish folktale arrives on VOD and in select U.S. cinemas on April 11th

 

ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH stars Olwen Fouéré (Mandy, Sally Hardesty from 2022’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Charlie Maher (Blue Lights), Simone Collins (The Last Duel), and Gary Whelan (The Contract). The film had its World Premiere at Beyond Fest in Los Angeles, followed by an Irish Premiere at Cork International Film Festival.

Not Rated
Color
91 Minutes
English Language



 About XYZ Films 
XYZ Films is an independent studio whose mission is to empower visionary storytellers from every corner of the planet. XYZ was founded in 2008 by Nate Bolotin, Nick Spicer, and Aram Tertzakian and has expanded in recent years into documentary, talent management, and distribution. Some of the company’s classic titles include THE RAID franchise, 2017 Sundance winner I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE, and Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic revenge thriller MANDY.

 

For more XYZ films, click here!

‘CAMP PLEASANT LAKE’ (2024) an ode to genre fans

Best Synthetic Urine Tests to Pass a Drug Test

In the contemporary landscape of drug testing, synthetic urine has become a popular solution for individuals facing scrutiny over their substance use. Whether it’s for employment, legal, or personal reasons, synthetic urine offers a way to pass a drug test with confidence. This article delves into the realm of synthetic urine tests, exploring their efficacy, usage, and the best products available on the market.

Understanding Synthetic Urine
Synthetic urine, also known as fake urine, is a laboratory-made liquid designed to mimic the chemical composition, color, odor, and even temperature of human urine. It’s typically composed of water, urea, creatinine, pH balancers, and other compounds found in natural urine.

Why People Use Synthetic Urine
Employment Drug Tests
One of the most common reasons individuals turn to synthetic urine is to pass pre-employment drug screenings. Many employers require prospective employees to undergo urine tests to ensure a drug-free workplace.

Probation or Legal Reasons
Individuals on probation or facing legal consequences due to drug-related offenses may resort to synthetic urine to comply with court-mandated drug tests and avoid further penalties.

Personal Preference
Some people simply prefer using synthetic urine as a precautionary measure or as a means of maintaining privacy regarding their substance use habits.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Synthetic Urine
When selecting a synthetic urine product, several factors come into play to ensure its effectiveness and reliability.

Reliability
The most crucial aspect of synthetic urine is its ability to produce accurate results consistently. Reliable brands offer formulations that closely resemble natural urine and are less likely to trigger suspicion during testing.

Ingredients
High-quality synthetic urine should contain a balanced blend of ingredients that mimic the chemical composition of real urine, including urea, creatinine, uric acid, and specific gravity.

Temperature Requirements
Maintaining the correct temperature is crucial for passing a urine drug test successfully. Synthetic urine should be heated to body temperature (around 98-100°F or 36-37°C) before submission to prevent detection.

Ease of Use
The synthetic urine kit should come with clear instructions and all the necessary components for easy preparation and submission.

Deskpop Entertainment logoCAMP PLEASANT LAKE

Camp Pleasant Lake poster

In CAMP PLEASANT LAKE, Rick and Darlene Rutherford breathe life into the eerie remnants of an old campsite, unaware of its dark past. Strange occurrences haunt the area, mirroring the tragedies of the old camp, where two decades earlier, a young girl was kidnapped and her parents brutally murdered. Amidst chilling atmospheres and long-forgotten secrets, the couple grapples with a horrifying revelation—they are entwined in the camp’s history. And as the shadows of the past collide with the present, the Rutherfords must confront the haunting histories of a sinister crime.


Camp Pleasant Lake group stillThomas Walton‘s CAMP PLEASANT LAKE centers around a horror camp created based on a 20-year-old legend of a missing child and the brutal murder of her family on their way to the very same camp.

Michael Paré is magnificent playing camp owner Mr Rutherford. Bonnie Aarons plays Esmeralda with a perfectly sinister air. The audience deserved so much more of her. Brainwashed son Lou gets the proper treatment from Mike Ferguson.

Camp Pleasant Lake_Still5Christopher Sky is the former vile camper turned Camp of Terror counselor, Mike. He is a sufficient asshole and you will revel in his inevitable demise. Jonathan Lipnicki is hands down the best part of CAMP PLEASANT LAKE. His unfettered commitment to the role is genuinely awesome.

Camp Pleasant Lake Jonathan LipnickiIt is evident the film is made by genre fans. Practical fx are bloody good, even if the pace and dialogue drag. The kills get better as the plot rolls along. I did wish the variety of attendees had been more eclectic. At $10k each, I was looking for fewer numbers and more development of these characters because the possibilities were endless.
The final scenes are seriously satisfying. Lipnicki earns the chance to reprise his role.

DeskPop Entertainment will release Thomas Walton’s refreshingly indie new horror film CAMP PLEASANT LAKE in select cinemas and on VOD February 27th!
The picture, which stars 90s screen icon Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry MaguireStuart Little) alongside a bevvy of genre film icons, is a loving throwback to the thrilling, violent summer camp slasher films of the 1980s.

 

Written and directed by Thomas Walton, Camp Pleasant Lake stars Lipnicki alongside Bonnie Aarons (The Nun 1 and 2Jakob’s Wife), Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster 1 and 2), Michael Paré (Eddie and the CruisersStreets of Fire), Kelly Lynn Reiter, Robert LaSardo (Death Race), Maritza Brikisak, and Greg Tally.

Jared Safier produces the film alongside Walton, with Jeremy Hirsch, Matthew Macur, Damien Douglas, Lenny Vitulli, Jackson Everest, and Michael Mahal acting as its executive producers. Production companies on the picture are Safier Entertainment, PhilaDreams Films, Lux Angeles Studios, Stag Mountain Films, RMR Productions, and Movies By Misfits.


For more Horror film reviews, Click Here!

‘BLEEDING LOVE’ (2024) a beautiful journey through cyclical addiction

Bleeding Love 2024 poster

Director Emma Westenberg takes an estranged father-daughter duo on an impromptu road trip to reconciliation in BLEEDING LOVE.
Ewan McGregor and Clare McGregor

Clare MacGregor (who also contributed to the story alongside screenwriter Ruby Caster) is spectacular. Her unfiltered and vulnerable aura immediately reels you in. Her resentment is palpable and entirely earned. Clare owns the character’s beautifully written arc, capturing the yearning to connect. Ewan MacGregor is a man on a mission. He is gentle, patient, and kind in his quest to break cyclical addiction. Coming to terms with his past mistakes, his earnest attempts at redemption are messy, brave, and relatable. He is fantastic. Clare and Ewan have magic chemistry on screen. Read More →

Review: ‘THE SEEDING’ is disturbing.

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THE SEEDING

The Seeding Poster

 A man comes upon a lost boy in the desert. In his efforts to assist, he becomes trapped alongside a woman held captive by a group of feral boys. The film opens with a disturbing image thrusting you into a slow-burn den of madness. Barnaby Clay‘s Tribeca 2023 film THE SEEDING is finally in theaters and on VOD today.

the-seeding-kate-lyn-sheilKate Lyn Sheil (She Dies Tomorrow) is spectacular as our mystery woman. Questions swirl about her complicity throughout the film, but Sheil is perfection, playing coy, never giving us answers until the end. She has a magnetic presence on screen and somehow manages not to age.

the-seeding-scott-hazeMy love for Scott Haze knows no bounds. From his breakout performance in Child of God to his work in Old Henry and What Josiah Saw, he is one of those actors who live in the skin of his characters. As Stone, his swings into toxic masculinity mirror the feral behavior of the boys above. He is undeniably compelling.

the_seeding_the_boysThe ominous score by Tristan Bechet sometimes grates in a way that makes you subconsciously cringe. The continuous low din instills pure fear. Stay through the entire end credits for more eerie ear candy. THE SEEDING has echoes of The Hills Have Eyes horror and Midsommer folklore. All said it is an upsetting watch, and that’s what genre fans show up for.

In theaters and on VOD nationwide January 26th!

 

Written and Directed by Barnaby Clay
Produced by Brian Etting
Starring Scott Haze and Kate Lyn Sheil

In THE SEEDING, a hiker lost in the desert takes refuge with a woman living alone, and soon discovers that she might not be there willingly. Directed by music video legend Barnaby Clay (SHOT! THE PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL MANTRA OF ROCK), the picture stars Scott Haze (VENOM, JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION) and Kate Lyn Sheil of the horror hits YOU’RE NEXT and V/H/S.

94 minutes
#TheSeeding 

Review: Dark Star’s genre-bending ‘TROPIC’ shoots for the stars. Now on VOD & DVD

TROPIC

Twin brothers Tristan and Làzaro are aspiring astronauts. During a late-night swim, Tristan becomes infected with a mysterious physical and mental ailment when a bright green asteroid plummets into the water. Lazaro must understand his brother’s drastic changes as he tries to maintain an elite physical and psychological state.

Marta Nieto plays the twin’s mother, Mayra. Her performance is like a gut punch. Writers nail the invisible labor and isolation in motherhood and its inevitable breaking point. Nieto lives in the skin of Mayra and earns a standing ovation. Pablo Cobo and Loius Peres are magnificent. Cobo’s brooding anger equally matches his deep adoration for his twin. His performance as Làzaro is an emotional roller coaster, riddled with survivor’s guilt. Peres leans into palpable fear and trauma, giving audiences a complete 180 in physicality. TROPIC’s costume and makeup departments lend a hand here as they switch gears for Tristan from tailored clothes to ill-fitting outfits, as well as his elaborate facial fx. He is spectacular.

As a special needs parent, this is a brutal but honest watch. Feeling “othered” as an individual and a family is viscerally devastating. The cinematography, particularly the underwater footage, is mesmerizing. The sci-fi elements combined with a perfect synth score create a timeless feel. TROPIC defies a single genre category. The volatility of this unique story is riveting, but its gravity lies within its intimacy.


TROPIC.
Following its world premiere at Fantastic Fest, in competition play at Sitges, and theatrical release earlier this month, the film hits VOD and DVD on December 19.

Distribution Company: Dark Star Pictures
Theatrical Release Date: December 1, 2023
VOD/DVD Release Date: December 19, 2023
Director: Edouard Salier
Writers: Edouard Salier, Mauricio Carrasco
Starring: Pablo Cobo, Louis Peres, Marta Nieto
Synopsis: Lázaro and Tristán (19), twin brothers and best friends are training together for the Astronaut Academy entrance tests. One day, Tristán is contaminated with some mysterious residue which makes him monstrous physically and weakened mentally. This disaster forces Lázaro to let go of how he remembers his brother and learn to love him as he is now, in a world where there is no room for monsters.


Review: ‘MERRY GOOD ENOUGH’ marries mental health and holiday hijinks in the most grounded fashion

MERRY GOOD ENOUGH

Ah, the holidays. Lucy Raulie (Raye Levine Spielberg) has always had a complicated relationship with her dysfunctional family, but when her mother disappears on Christmas Eve (and it’s maybe Lucy’s fault…) it’s going to be up to Lucy to bring her family back together again, whether she knows it or not.


Joined in forces (sort of…) by her older brother Tim (Daniel Desmarais) and younger sister Cynthia (Comfort Clinton) the Raulie kids may get more than they all bargained for when their eccentric father George (Joel Murray) shows up to “help” in the search. Featuring vintage songs and a stand-out ensemble cast that also includes Sawyer Spielberg, Marcia DeBonis, Neil Casey and Sophie von Haselberg, Merry Good Enough is at once warm-hearted and sharp, a new holiday classic in the making.


Coming home for the holidays is always wrought with complex emotions. Directors Caroline Keene and Dan Kennedy give audiences much to ponder in MERRY GOOD ENOUGH. A film about familial chaos across generations, this enjoyable small-town film is sure to strike a chord this holiday season.

Joel Murray is George, the absent but immensely excitable father figure. Writer-director Caroline Keene drops early hints of his toxic masculinity, and Murray eases into the skin of a pretty loathsome man. Daniel Desmarais plays Tim. His sardonic wit meshes perfectly with this cast of fantastic misfits. Comfort Clinton is Cynthia. She is uptight and controlling. Clinton owns the role with her evident daddy issues and needs for approval.

Sawyer Spielberg is charming as neighbor Sam. His chemistry with Levine is magic, which makes sense since they’ve been married since 2018. Susan Gallagher‘s performance is spectacular. Keene’s script nails the mother of adult children vibe with running errands, asking if we’ve eaten, awkwardly using technology, grabbing coffee, and the overly stocked fridge. Gallagher captivates with her vulnerability. Raye Levine gives Lucy a tangible relatability. She’s funny, a little lost, and yet entirely grounded.

At the heart of MERRY GOOD ENOUGH, this script delves into unresolved childhood trauma, emotional isolation, mental health, and forgiveness. It’s a breezy watch about finding bliss and connection in the imperfect.


Available on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube Movies, Cable and Satellite On Demand on December 19th! 

 

CO-DIRECTORS:

Caroline Keene

Dan Kennedy

 

 WRITER: 

Caroline Keene

 

PRODUCERS:

Shawn Gauvain 

Dan Kennedy

Krista Minto

 Jamieson Shea

Genevieve Skehan

 

CAST:

Raye Levine Spielberg

Joel Murray

Comfort Clinton

Sawyer Spielberg

Susan Gallagher

Daniel Desmarais

Neil Casey

 

 

RUNNING TIME:

97 Minutes


 

Now streaming and out on Blu-ray today, Shem Bitterman’s ‘DISTANT TALES’ tackles the good, the bad, and the ugly of humanity and isolation

DISTANT TALES

In a near-future dystopia, when a worldwide event means people can no longer meet face to face, four stories — PLACEBO, PLEASE LOG ON, TOUCH, and R NOUGHT — unfold with unexpected revelations as the screens through which they connect hide the twisted reality of their lives.


Writer-director Shem Bitterman

Writer-director Shem Bitterman taps into human nature with four stories that capture the echoes of the Covid lockdown. The dialogue is theatrical. DISTANT TALES could easily transition from screen to stage. The real-time, intensely intimate vulnerability would be electric. It already pours off the screen.


TOUCHCo-workers surreptitiously connect over late-night Zoom calls. Once discovered by their partners, Ben and Seraphina show their true colors. Samuel Martin Lewis gives Ben a relatable longing. The performance from Tiffany Wolff is chilling.


PLEASE LOG ON
A job interview goes off the rails when the effects of prolonged isolation rear their ugly head. Liz Fenning gives Beth an irritable edge and desperation we all recognized during lockdown. Rupak Ginn is Rohit, a character in the opposite headspace. This segment presents the viewer with an awkward moral dilemma.


PLACEBOThe head of a clinical trial and one of her subjects find common ground through culture and shameless flirting but clash over social distancing protocols and the trial’s progress. Amen Igbinosun plays Ese as a jovial spirit. His physical and emotional journey is heartbreaking. Carolyn Michelle Smith balances skepticism and kindness. It is a nuanced turn.


R NOUGHTThis intense piece explores online extremism and conspiracy theories with phenomenal performances from Ben Bowen and Christoper Curry. An online talking head pushes a grieving husband to take up arms against the government. Can he battle his emotions and resist the influences in his life?


As a whole, DISTANT TALES tackles all the chaos of lockdown in complex ways. Each story gets under the audience’s skin for vastly different reasons. If nothing else, Bitterman’s keen observation of human desperation will undoubtedly have people talking.


“Distant Tales” trailer:


 
IS NOW AVAILABLE ON iTunes, AMAZON.COM, and VUDU
COMING OUT ON BLU-RAY ON DECEMBER 12


The dark psychological thriller, DISTANT TALES, a 4-part anthology from writer/director, award-winning playwright, Shem Bitterman (who, as a young screenwriter, wrote HALLOWEEN 5) and executive produced by Oscar-winner, Tom Schulman (Academy Award – Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen “Dead Poet’s Society”), will be released on Blu-ray December 12.


What’s Your Story?



Los Angeles, CA (November 30, 2023) – After a two-month exclusive run on Cable TV OnDemand with Xfinity, Spectrum, and Contour, DISTANT TALES, from acclaimed playwright and screenwriter writer/director Shem Bitterman and executive producer and Oscar-winner Tom Schulman (“Dead Poet’s Society”), is now available on iTunes, Amazon.com, and Vudu. The film will be available on additional streaming platforms later in December. Pre-orders are now available for the December 12 Blu-Ray release on Amazon.com.


DISTANT TALES, a dark, four-part dramatic anthology where desire, madness and a struggle for love erupt in a dystopic future after a worldwide event prevents people from meeting face to face, was filmed in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.


In DISTANT TALES four individual stories set during a worldwide pandemic unfold with unexpected twists and revelations: an extramarital affair, cut short by a pandemic and continued online; a mysterious job interview, overseen by an unseen judge; a vaccine trial, where a burgeoning love leads to some bad decisions; a grieving dad who finds sympathy from an online advocate for violence.


 

Review: ‘THE PORTRAIT’ succeeds in its psychological trickery

THE PORTRAIT

After her husband is devastated by a tragic accident, a devoted wife obsesses over a mysterious portrait that resembles him as he was; but when it starts to terrorize her, she must decide if it’s possessed or if she’s losing her mind.

Immersive editing and camera work immediately draw you into Simon RossTHE PORTRAIT. Fipsi Seilern creates stunning paintings that captivate and disturb. David Griffiths‘s screenplay leads us down a path that appears to be bit Dorian Gray, but the joke’s on us in the end.

Mark-Paul Gosselar plays Brookes, the groundskeeper. His dominant physical presence and the fact that he bears a resemblance to Alex make him an intriguing addition to the narrative. Virginia Madsen plays cousin Mags, a woman who knows more about the family history than Sofia wants to hear. She delivers a precise amount of eerie mystery. Ryan Kwanten is Alex, Sofia’s husband. Kwanten gives the role a frightening aura while simultaneously settling into the physical trauma left behind by the accident. These dual traits allow his acting chops to shine bright, especially considering the little dialogue Alex has. Natalia Cordova-Buckley gives Sofia a perfect balance of determination, frustration, and emotional trauma to keep you perched on the edge of your seat. Her raw vulnerability takes you on a journey that most women will find surprisingly relatable.

THE PORTRAIT pits hope against grief and science against the supernatural in a psychologically menacing manner.


Check out a clip below:


 

The Official Trailer for

THE PORTRAIT

 

Distributed By:

Saban Films

On VOD & Digital:

December 8, 2023

Directed By:

Simon Ross

Written By:

David Griffiths

Produced By:

Christian de Gallegos , David Griffiths

Starring:

Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Ryan Kwanten, Isidora Goreshter with Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Virginia Madsen

Rating:

R for violence, some sexual content, language and brief drug use

Run Time:

86 Minutes

Review: No one gets a silent night in Damien LeVeck’s ‘A CREATURE WAS STIRRING’

A CREATURE WAS STIRRING

Damien LeVeck gives audiences a clever and nasty addition to the holiday horror subgenre with A CREATURE WAS STIRRING. It’s the Christmas season and a typical evening at home until a home invasion interrupts the care of Faith’s daughter. The undo stress causes her past to rear its ugly head. Those complicated secrets are killer.

Scout Taylor-Compton is Liz, a religious fanatic drifter. Alongside Connor Paolo playing her brother Kory, they seek shelter by breaking into Faith and Charm’s house. These two deliver solid chemistry and provide a weighty anchor that completely counters the energy of Metz and Basso. You will love to hate them for vastly different reasons, but it’s much deeper than you can imagine.

Annalise Basso is Charm. An isolated and soulful take on the role, Basso takes late teen angst and manifests it into a physical performance that wows. Chrissy Metz confidently tackles the role of Faith, a nurse, and mother of a daughter who has a deadly condition. A former addict, her nuanced navigation of an impossible scenario is astonishing. Riddled with guilt and endless determination, Metz brings a fearlessly badass Mama to life.

The lighting and camera work are fantastic. The film’s opening shot pacts an emotional punch. The dialogue is slick and dripping with innuendo. The volley between religion and science intertwined with comic book and horror canon. Don’t even attempt to guess where Shannon Wells‘ script is going because it is increasingly batshit by the minute. The practical FX made me audibly yelp over and over. When you see it, you won’t be able to remain silent. With quick homages to IT and POLTERGEIST, this creature feature meets addiction metaphor boasts a twisted ending darker than you are ready for.

IN SELECT THEATERS DECEMBER 8, 2023

RELEASING ON VOD DECEMBER 12, 2023

 



SYNOPSIS:

Faith (Chrissy Metz) keeps her troubled teenage daughter (Annalise Basso) on a tightly controlled regimen of experimental drugs, their only means of fending off a mysterious, terrifying affliction. But after two burglars (Scout Taylor-Compton, Connor Paolo) attempt to rob the home on Christmas, they stumble upon a long-kept family secret—with monstrous consequences.



DIRECTOR:

Damien LeVeck



WRITER:

Shannon Wells


PRODUCERS:

Natalie Leveck & Aaron B. Koontz



CAST:

Chrissy Metz

Annalise Basso

Scout Taylor-Compton

Connor Paolo



RUNNING TIME:

100 Minutes


 

Review: ‘DON’T SUCK’ – *sigh* If only.

PRESENTS THE NEW VAMPIRE COMEDY

DON’T SUCK

SYNOPSIS

Pete (Jamie Kennedy) believes that he has seen it all in his years as a road comic, that is until he meets his new killer opening act, a struggling comic qua vampire named Ethan (Matt Rife). During their time on the road, Pete fulfills his dream of becoming a comic’s comic.


DON’T SUCK follows a washed-up headliner and the newbie he agrees to mentor, who just so happens to be a vampire.

The film takes a solid 25 minutes for a genuine laugh, then weaves in and out of funny. Elyssa Mai is the perky and badass radio producer Carrie. She is a refreshing addition, as her delicious dialogue contrasts most of the script. Honestly, other than the following scene in the booth itself, the moments between Kennedy and Rife are the only watchable parts of the film. The numerous stand-up bits, some by well-known comics, are downright awful. Most of the jokes feel dated, misogynistic, and unfunny.

Jamie Kennedy plays Pete Brennan with a burnt-out, has-been energy, but there is an underlying reason for that. Listen closely for a perfect SCREAM reference. It’s probably the best joke in the script. Matt Rife is undeniably the best part of the film. Setting aside the controversy surrounding him as of late, DON’T SUCK would have been more enjoyable had they leaned more into Ethan’s history. Rife genuinely kills it in this role, even putting on a wonky affected accent. Somehow, it perfectly captures the oddly dour tone of the plot. You cannot take your eyes off him. His level of commitment deserves applause. The script needed vampire buddy comedy shenanigans in earnest. The possibilities were endless. As is, you might as well drive a stake through the heart of this film.


In Theaters & On Demand/Digital December 1, 2023

 

Distributor
VMI Worldwide

Starring
Jamie Kennedy, Matt Rife, Ellen Hollman, Russell Peters, Lauren Compton, Jimmie Walker, Jimmy Shubert, Scott ‘Carrot Top’ Thompson

Directed by
RJ Collins

Written by
Rick D’Elia

Run Time: 100 min  | Genre: Comedy, Horror


 

Review: ‘THIN SKIN’ is an original look at stress and family dynamics.

presents

Synopsis: Ahamefule Joe Oluo’s days are spent at a soul-deadening corporate job and his nights come alive behind a trumpet at Seattle jazz clubs. As he struggles to climb out of the ruins of his broken marriage, Aham has to deal with endless bureaucracy, a boss trying to lead him to the Lord, and his mother who won’t cut ties with his ex. Aham is living with his entire family once again in his sister’s cramped one-bedroom apartment. The one person missing from this living situation is Aham’s estranged Nigerian father. His brief reappearance sends the family into a tailspin and a search for meaning. Pressed together in this vise of a home, the family struggles with adult life and the meaning of family.


Stress can do things to you. In THIN SKIN, Aham’s life is falling apart around him. Circumstances, some of his own doing and others out of left field, throw his days, health, and sanity into chaos.

Aham is a recently divorced musician forced to live with his sister and flighty mother. When his estranged Nigerian father calls them out of the blue, childhood trauma bubbles to the surface, and Aham must confront his life in all its messy glory.

The family dynamics are fascinating. Navigating guilt, disappointment, financial realities, parenthood, and passion feels palpable. Audiences will relate to this film in more than one way. It’s stunningly shot, and the screenplay is hilarious.

This cast, in general, is wonderfully put together. Some of the most memorable moments revolve around the ancillary characters. The chemistry is remarkable. Annette Toutonghi plays the disillusioned mother, eccentric, caring, and complete flake Susan. She is darling to watch. I want to put her in my pocket.

There is a whole lot of dialogue that happens at Ahamefule J. Oluo (who stars, co-writes, executive produces, and scores the film.) The way he responds is delightful to watch. He has a naturally grounded tone, especially up against the weighty issues of abandonment and getting your shit together. And, boy, can he wail on the trumpet. Oluo manages to conquer the progressively bizarre plot, as his stress physically manifests in graphic ways.

The film is genuinely funny and captivating. It’s an unexpected story with universal themes, pushing the boundaries of genre storytelling.


IN SELECT THEATERS

Bayview Entertainment NY Theatrical Release 11.30 and Wide VOD Release 11.28

Directed by

Charles Mudede
 

Written by

Charles Mudede

Lindy West

Ahamefule J. Oluo
 

Produced by

Jennessa West

Michael Seiwerath

Jonathan Caso


Starring

Ahamefule J. Olou

Annette Toutonghi

Dwayne Kennedy

Hari Kondabolu

Ijeoma Olou

Jennifer Lanier



Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thinskinmovie

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/thinskinmovie

Film Website: www.thinskinmovie.com

Review: ‘LIBERTY’ is a slick, genre-bending environmental thriller that burrows into your brain.

LIBERTY

A young park ranger with a soulful connection to animals locks a group of eclectic strangers in a cage, forcing them to confront the realities that innocent creatures face daily.

The clever dialogue juxtaposes the fragility of animals in captivity as Matt assigns an animal to each human prisoner. The underlying theme of Matt’s bullying slyly mirrors the psychological torture of animals and the imprisonment of his captives.

Nicholas Michael McGovern delivers a mesmerizing performance through narration and chilling direct-to-camera fourth wall breaks. His steady voice soothes the audience. It is melodic and informative, making his intentions more frightening. He is magnificent.

The unit set lends itself to a stage play. I would pay good money to witness this on Broadway. It’s immersive enough to captivate a live audience even more. LIBERTY could be a unique opportunity for Gravitas to enter the theatre world. If I were producing a screen-to-stage adaptation, I would edit live audience reactions during each performance, creating a curated, visceral experience for each ticket holder.

Philippe De Witte‘s clever allegory about animal rights takes the audience on an unexpected moral journey. Akin to the strangling anxiety of Saw without the gore, LIBERTY is a one-of-a-kind entry into the psychological horror/ environmental thriller subgenre. LIBERTY is dark and daring. It is an emotional roller coaster that twists and turns, loops and lurches with a quiet, raw intensity. De Witte unlocks a primal fear surrounded by poetic madness. You are not ready for this film.


Available on VOD November 21st, 2023

*Winner of Best Foreign Feature Film, Best Music Score – Musical Composition for a Feature Film, and nominee for Best Feature Film – 2022 Burbank International Film Festival 

*Winner of Best Thriller – 2022 Montreal Independent Film Festival

*Winner of Best Feature Film, Best Thriller, Best Cast Ensemble, and Outstanding Achievement in Production Design – 2022 Lonely Wolf International Film Festival*

*Semi-finalist – 2022 Dumbo Film Festival*

*Official selection – 2022 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival*

Written and Directed by Philippe De Witte 

Produced by Michel Gouzée de Harven, Jean-Christophe Van den Berg, Yves Merlin, and Michael Whalen 

Featuring a breakout performance by Nicholas Michael McGovern  and Starring Alice Barrett (“Another World”), Olan Montgomery (“Stranger Things”), Denny Dale Bess (“Law & Order: SVU”), Samantha Smart (“Katy Keene”), Jonathan Kirkland (“Tulsa King”) and Andrea McKinnon (Boyhood)

In the environmental thriller Libertyan idealistic park guide holds six strangers captive, treating them like caged animals, to deliver his chilling message of freedom to the world. As his hostages run the gamut from confusion and disbelief to anger and hostility to grief and despair, our anti-hero compares their mental and physical breakdown to those of wild animals struggling in captivity.

RT: 103 minutes


 

Review: Ira Rosensweig’s ‘SHARE?’ is one of the smartest genre films of the year

SHARE?

Disturbing, funny, and undeniably thrilling, SHARE? is an intriguing human experiment. The premise is slick, a mix of social commentary, the dystopian role of influencer culture, and the disease of instant gratification. The film opens with a man (Melvin Gregg), dubbed #14, in an empty room wearing nothing but a pair of underwear. Once he hears the ping of a rudimentary computer interface, SHARE? unfolds like gangbusters. 

Bradley Whitford is a veteran “participant” craving interaction. Each man gains knowledge from the other’s vastly different strategies for survival. Gregg discovers rewards flow when he either embarrasses or hurts himself. As one coaches the other, a mutually beneficial relationship develops. Alice Braga enters the scene as a woman on a mission, determined to find a way out. Her fiery passion counters Whitford’s stubbornness and Gregg’s growing popularity. When best intentions backfire, and another very influential participant butt heads with her, the consequences prove unthinkable. 

The performances are magnificent. Whitford’s energy is manic. It is like hypnotic live theatre. Alice Braga brings her usual fierceness, rattling the day-to-day flow of events. Melvin Gregg is a one-man show that gets better and better by the minute. His flawed vulnerability pulls you into this mesmerizing plot. He is magnificent. 

The first feature film to be shot entirely from one fixed camera angle, SHARE? is a wonder. The structure demands your undivided attention, as each captive, like Pavlov’s Dog, learns and responds to obtain food, water, clothing, nonessentials, and social interaction. Desperation, cancel culture, isolation, and voyeurism drive SHARE? headlong like a freight train and with a finale so fitting it’s breathtaking. You’ll scream at the screen.


ARRIVING IN SELECT THEATERS & ON DIGITAL AND VOD

NOVEMBER 10, 2023

 

SHARE?

Directed by: Ira Rosensweig

Screenplay by: Benjamin Sutor

Story by: Ira Rosensweig & Benjamin Sutor

Producers: Carissa Buffel, Kevin Matusow, Ira Rosensweig

Country of Origin: USA

Language: English

Genre: Sci-fi Mystery

Distributor: XYZ Films

Cast: Melvin Gregg (The Way Back, The Blackening), Bradley Whitford (Get Out, The Handmaid’s Tale), Alice Braga (The Suicide Squad, Hypnotic), 

Danielle Campbell (Tell Me a Story)

 

OPENING IN SELECT THEATERS ON NOVEMBER 10th

AND NATIONWIDE ON DIGITAL / VOD

NYC: Alamo Drafthouse, Lower Manhattan, November 6th (one night only)

Philadelphia: PFS Bourse Theater – November 7th (one night only)

Chicago: Alamo Drafthouse, November 8th (one night only)

Austin: Alamo Drafthouse, November 9th (one night only)

San Francisco: Alamo Drafthouse, November 10th

Los Angeles: Arena Cinelounge November 10th (full week run)

Los Angeles: Alamo Drafthouse DTLA, November 11th

Richmond, VA: BTM Movieland at Boulevard Sq, Richmond, VA, November 10th

Columbia, SC: BTM Dutch Square Cinema 14, Columbia, SC, November 10th

Oaks, PA: Oaks Center Cinema, November 10th


 

Review: Murder mystery romp ‘HELEN’S DEAD’ opens to Theaters and On Demand today!

HELEN’S DEAD

Helen’s Dead follows the story of Addie (Dylan Gelula). After a terrible breakup with her boyfriend, Addie goes to confront her best friend about cheating allegations and accidentally steps into a murder scene.


HELEN’S DEAD is an ensemble comedy filled with familiar faces. Several uninvited guests throw Leila’s curated entertainment plans out the window. HELEN’S DEAD turns a whirlwind of lies and a spoiled dinner party into a chaotic murder mystery. 

Tyrese Gibson plays Helen’s vengeful boyfriend on the hunt for his lady and some loot. Gibson is equal parts scary and charming. Beth Dover, whom I feel is simultaneously everywhere and not enough places, plays Girl Boss journalist and Leila’s supposed ticket back into the mainstream. Dover is as great as ever. Annabelle Dexter-Jones is our ambitious Leila, looking for the perfect dinner party to weave a small-town comeback tale for the masses. Her nightmarish perfection-driven micromanaging is everything you’d hope for. Brian Huskey plays Leila’s partner, but more importantly, her therapist. His turtleneck-wearing, effected speech character work is fantastic. 

Emile Hirsh is a manic misogynist and one catalyst in the chaos. Matilda Lutz plays the titular Helen. She is a star. Her presence is magnetic, and you cannot take your eyes off of her. Dylan Gelula, whom I adored in Cooper Raiff‘s Shithouse, gives us high millennial manicness for the gods. Gelula embodies Addie to a tea. Oliver Cooper steals the show with his portrayal of Cameron, a local theatre actor smitten with Helen and roped into an elaborate charade by Leila. Cooper is a joy to watch. If you aren’t smirking at his every syllable, check your pulse. 

While the film goes slightly off the rails an hour in, what remains of HELEN’S DEAD is a revenge plot gone awry and a twisted tale of reconciliation. 



In Theaters & On Demand November 3, 2023

Directed by K. Asher Levin
Written by Amy Brown Carver
Story by K. Asher Levin and Amy Brown Carver

Produced by Levin, Daniel Cummings, Robert Dean, Roy Scott MacFarland & Todd Lundbohm