Fantastic Fest 2022 review: ‘EVERYONE WILL BURN’ melds religion and revenge for one hell of a reckoning.

EVERYONE WILL BURN

María José has lost her will to live following the tragic death of her son and the constant reminders of her cruel small town. When the mysterious little Lucía appears out of nowhere, calling her “Mommy,” María José initiates a reckoning fit for the gods or maybe the devil.

The townspeople are religious fanatics, believing María José triggered the apocalypse years ago with the birth of her son. Exacerbated by nosy neighbors, weak church figureheads, and zealots with a modicum of power, fear takes hold when little Lucía appears to use supernatural powers in gruesome acts of revenge. Everyone Will Burn culminates in a violent confrontation that’s intensely rewarding as a genre fan. Do not move a muscle when the credits roll. The best moment is yet to come.

Macarena Gómez brings a manic energy to the films. Warranted by the emotional torture of everyone in her life, her deliberate descent into pure red hot chaos is glorious. As Lucía, Sofía García skillfully walks the line between vulnerable and terrifying. She is nothing short of captivating. Her chemistry with Macarena Gómez is perfection.

Bravo to the costume and lighting teams. The no holds bar fight choreography is shocking and applause-worthy. EVERYONE WILL BURN harkens back to classic European horror and still manages to remain fresh and fantastic.


 

  • Year:
    2021
  • Runtime:
    120 minutes
  • Language:
    Spanish
  • Country:
    Spain
  • Premiere:
    North American
  • Director:
    David Hebrero
Release date: November 11, 2021 (Spain)


Official trailer drop: A bloody cool concept, ‘SAWED OFF’ arrives on digital and DVD October 11th.

SAWED OFF is coming to digital and DVD on October 11th. The synopsis reads as follows “In the vein of “THE EVIL DEAD meets GROUNDHOG DAY,” the movie centers on two hunters, friends for years and vying for the affections of the same woman, who find themselves on cursed land and keep killing each other and coming back to life.” From what I can make out from the trailer, the concept is really cool. Whether it translates into production remains to be seen. Color me intrigued. Stay tuned for coverage.

Uncork’d Entertainment has acquired SAWED OFF, a new supernatural horror feature based on a comic anthology story and starring Eva Hamilton (RUIN ME, DEATH KISS), Jody Barton (UGLY SWEATER PARTY), and Trae Ireland (13/13/13).

Hunter Johnson (IRRATIONAL FEAR) produces and directs.  The screenplay is by Barton, Johnson, and Chuck Wagner, based on Wagner’s Eclipse Comics story “Bag Limit,” published in TALES OF TERROR in 1986.

SAWED OFF will be released on digital platforms and on DVD on October 11.


Found-footage horror-comedy ‘DEADSTREAM’ is coming to Shudder October 6th! Check out the newest trailer.

One of my favorite SXSW 22 films, DEADSTREAM is making its way to Shudder audiences on October 6th. Zero surprise the horror platform picked up the film. I know their audience will eat it up. Filmmaker couple Vanessa Winter & Joseph Winter gives up laughs and jump scares galore, taking advantage of internet narcissism. The duo’s work can next be seen in a segment from Shudder’s hotly-anticipated V/H/S/99, the latest installment in the celebrated found-footage horror series, which premieres out of TIFF’s Midnight Madness later this month. Deadstream is produced by Joseph and Vanessa Winters, alongside cinematographer Jared Cook and actress Melanie Stone, who also star in the film. The Winters co-edited the film, with Joseph contributing to music for the project as well.

Check out the newest trailer for the film and our original SXSW22 coverage below. Put this one on your calendar for sure. 

DEADSTREAM

Directed byJoseph and Vanessa Winter (V/H/S/99)  DEADSTREAM Streams Exclusively on Shudder Thursday, October 6, 2022

Available on Shudder U.S., Shudder CA, Shudder UKI, and Shudder ANZ


Film lovers unite! TIFF 2022 is upon us. Here’s what we’re excited to see. #TIFF22

TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022 has arrived! This year there is a little bit (or a lot) for everyone, from In Conversation With Taylor Swift and a screening of All Too Well: The Short Film on 35mm, Viola Davis in The Woman King, to the Midnight Madness world premiere of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. TIFF never disappoints and this year, in its 47th edition, the stars come out to entertain the masses. With so many options, here are a few titles we’re keeping our eyes on.


CHARCOAL (PLATFORM SECTION–WORLD PREMIERE)

Brazil, 2022. In a remote area in São Paulo’s countryside, a rural family who lives beside a charcoal factory accepts a proposal to host a mysterious foreigner. The home soon becomes a hideout as the so-called guest happens to be a highly wanted drug lord. The mother, her husband and child will have to learn how to share the same roof with this stranger, while keeping up appearances of an unchanged peasant routine.

Writer-director Carolina Markowicz has had many of her short films play the festival. This will be her feature debut and I cannot wait to experience her storytelling in long form.


BONES OF CROWS (Contemporary World Cinema, World Premiere)

 

Unfolding over 100 years, BONES OF CROWS is a feature film told through the eyes of Cree Matriarch Aline Spears as she survives a childhood in Canada’s residential school system to continue her family’s generational fight in the face of systemic starvation, racism, and sexual abuse.

We’re all aware by now of the horror stories of the children forced to live in Canada’s residential schools. So much so that the Pope apologized for the abuse the children endured after innumerable graves were discovered on the former grounds. Bones of Crows is a vastly important story.

*This program contains scenes that may distress some viewers, especially those who have experienced harm, abuse, violence, and/or intergenerational trauma due to colonial practices.

Support is available 24 hours a day for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools and for those who may be triggered by content dealing with residential schools, child abuse, emotional trauma, and racism. The national Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available at 1-866-925-4419.


BROTHER (Special Presentations, World Premiere)
Propelled by the pulsing beats of Toronto’s early hip hop scene, BROTHER is the story of Francis (Aaron Pierre) and Michael (Lamar Johnson), sons of Caribbean immigrants maturing into young men. Director Clement Virgo expertly tackles themes of masculinity, identity and family as a mystery unfolds during the sweltering summer of 1991, and escalating tensions set off a series of events that change the course of the brothers’ lives forever.

Writer-director Clement Virgo brings TIFF audiences a tale more relevant today than ever. A study in grief, Brother is bound to impact viewers is a visceral manner.


DALÍLAND (Gala Presentation, World Premiere, **Closing Night**)
Mary Harron’s DALÍLAND is both a coming of age story and a searing, funny and sympathetic portrait of crisis in the late life of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. Experienced through the eyes of young gallery assistant James Linton (Christopher Briney) as he is invited into a glamorous new world, audiences will uncover the true Dalí (Sir Ben Kingsley) – the complex, flawed, and deeply human man behind the brilliant paintings, wild theatrics, and iconic mustache and explore his especially tempestuous relationship with Gala (Barbara Sukowa), his wife and muse.\

Sir Ben Kingsley releases Dali from an enigmatic caricature and humanizes the genius, his life, and his work.


THE PEOPLE’S JOKER (Midnight Madness, World Premiere)
After years numbing herself with irony and an inhalant called Smylex, an unfunny aspiring clown grapples with gender identity, first love, and old foes all while founding an illegal comedy theater in Gotham City. It’s a queer coming-of-age Joker Origin story. Completely unlicensed by DC and Warner Brothers. Starring and directed by Vera Drew (“Beef House,” “Who Is America”) and featuring the work of 200 independent artists on three separate continents, all made during a global pandemic!

A queer coming-of-age satire and multi-media extravaganza, this mashup of fandoms I never knew I needed.


MY SAILOR, MY LOVE (Contemporary World Cinema, World Premiere)
MY SAILOR, MY LOVE is a heart-warming drama on timeless love and forgiveness. Howard (James Cosmo) is a retired sailor and widower, his daughter Grace (Catherine Walker) hires a caregiver Annie (Bríd Brennan). Reclusive and stubborn, Howard rejects Annie’s company, but eventually opens his heart and gives final love a chance.

A raw and compelling family drama, My Sailor, My Love is teeming with complexity and outstanding performances.


THE WOMAN KING  (World Premiere — Gala Presentations)

Synopsis: The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, The Woman King follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Oscar®-winner Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. Some things are worth fighting for…

Listen, if you tell me that Viola Davis is starring in a film, my butt is in a seat. Based on a true story? Well, that’s solidly in Davis’ wheelhouse, but really what isn’t? This is one highly anticipated film already.


ALLELUJAH (SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS)

This glorious reunion of Oscar winner Judi Dench and director Richard Eyre (Notes on a Scandal) is a spirited homage to the idiosyncrasies of old age and the noble fortitude of health-care workers everywhere. Adapted by Heidi Thomas from Alan Bennett’s stage play, Allelujah assembles a stunning ensemble of veteran British actors, including Jennifer Saunders, David Bradley, and Derek Jacobi.

There is every chance this will be an absolute crowd pleaser. The premise alone has me making up scenarios in my head of pure shenanigans. With a hell of a cast, Allelujah cannot go wrong.


FIXATION (Contemporary World Cinema)

Maddie Hasson (Malignant) plays a young woman committed to an unorthodox institution by a pair of enigmatic doctors (Genesis Rodriguez and Stephen McHattie).

Another feature debut from a female filmmaker, Mercedes Bryce Morgan brings to life an ambitious physiological thriller that will mesmerize with wild production design. I don’t think any of us are ready for such treatment. (pun intended)


LIVING (CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA)

In this exquisitely realized remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru, director Oliver Hermanus teams with Nobel- and Booker Prize–winning author Kazuo Ishiguro to renew a classic. LIVING is the story of an ordinary man, reduced by years of oppressive office routine to a shadow existence, who at the eleventh hour makes a supreme effort to turn his dull life into something wonderful – into one he can say has been lived to the full

The magnificent Bill Nighy helms this film about humanity and mortality. With Mothering Sunday vets, cinematographer Jamie Ramsay and production designer Helen Scott, Living will undoubtedly be a feast for the eyes.

THE LOST KING (SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS)

Synopsis: In the archaeological find of a century, the remains of King Richard III — presumed scattered over 500 years ago — were discovered beneath a parking lot in Leicester in 2012. The search had been conceived and motivated by an amateur historian, Philippa Langley, whose passion and unrelenting research were met with skepticism. THE LOST KING is the inspiring true story of a woman who refused to be ignored and who took on Britain’s most eminent historians, forcing them to rethink the legacy of one of the most controversial kings in England’s history. A tale of discovery, obsession, and stolen glory (both then and now), THE LOST KING is a magical adventure illuminated by one woman’s growing sense of purpose.

My husband and I are history nerds. We’ve seen the documentary of this very story and it was nothing short of fascinating. For those who may not know the vile things said about King Richard III, it’s rather shocking. Sally Hawkins is the perfect choice to capture Philippa Langley‘s determined journey to uncover the truth.

MOVING ON (GALA PRESENTATIONS)

Synopsis: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star in this fusion of audacious comedy and bracing drama about estranged pals who are reunited when a beloved mutual friend dies, leaving her widower the target of a revenge plan.

Perhaps some of the most notable chemistry we’ve seen between two women in years bounds off the screen when Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda work together. These two powerhouse ladies bring heart and humor to a story much more complex than at first sight. TIFF audiences are bound to cheer for Moving On.


ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE (Discovery)

Based on the book by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, two teenage Mexican-American loners in 1987 El Paso explore a new, unusual friendship and the difficult road to self-discovery.

Another female director’s feature debut (in case anyone is counting and cheering along with me), Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is more than a queer coming-of-age story. You’d never guess Max Pelayo and Reese Gonzales were first-time leads. Lin-Manuel Miranda joins a powerhouse team of producers after narrating Sáenz‘s audiobook in 2013 and then reading writer-director Aitch Alberto’s screenplay. He knows a little something about quality writing, so his seal of approval is huge.


TIFF 2022 runs from September 8th to the 18th.

For more information on the fest, visit tiff.net


Review: ‘Orphan: First Kill’ is shocking and twisted prequel.

Leena, a murderous sociopath who looks like a child due to a medical condition, escapes from an Estonian psychiatric facility. Leena impersonates the missing daughter of a wealthy family but becomes pitted against a determined mother.


Performances sell this film. Matthew Finlan at Gunnar with a slimy rich kid flair that makes him supremely punchable. Rossif Sutherland‘s genuine vulnerability in grounds the chaos. With the audience’s knowledge, his performance is one of the most important in the film. Julia Stiles is mind-blowing as Tricia. I’ll only reveal that the rollercoaster of this role is delicious, and I did not see it coming.

Isabelle Fuhrman plays the audience like a fiddle in what might seem like a tricky undertaking years later. The final reveal in Orphan was a game-changing moment that sticks in genre fans’ minds. For Fuhrman to nail this performance, knowing the audience is in on the secret this time speaks volumes about her skills. The use of body doubles ensured that she remained in the role. Had she been recast, we might have had a very different conversation about this franchise.

The use of mirrors is a noticeable and effective trope. Growing up in Connecticut, I can attest that the costume department gets an A+ for their work. Now, we need to discuss the screenplay. A total WTF twist keeps Orphan: First Kill fresh and engaging. The terror tables overturn with an unexpected villainous turn from multiple characters in the film. The unpredictability of this prequel manages to be creepy and cringe all at once. There’s a deliberate white privilege that is chef’s kiss. I wasn’t sure whom to root for. It was a ping-pong match of vile behavior. That made me all the more invested in the madness. When I tell you that I reveled in a particular kill, you’d be hard-pressed to disagree upon viewing. Orphan: First Kill is a wild ride genre fans will happily stay on if only to see how this chapter plays out.


Paramount Pictures will release the horror/thriller film ORPHAN: FIRST KILL in Theaters, on Digital, and streaming on Paramount+ on August 19, 2022. The film is the highly anticipated prequel to the 2009 horror classic film ORPHAN.

ORPHAN: FIRST KILL stars Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan), Rossif Sutherland (Possessor) and Golden Globe Nominee Julia Stiles (10 Things I Hate About You). The film was written by David Coggeshall (Prey) and directed by William Brent Bell (The Boy).


Fantasia 2022 review: ‘The Breach’ is gooey and gruesome.

The Breach

Just before he leaves for the big city, Chief of Police John Hawkins (Allan Hawco) is asked to consult on a strange case. A body is found in a boat on the Porcupine River with unsettling wounds.


Director Rodrigo Gudiño brings the gross and engrossing to Fantasia 2022 with The Breach. A genre mash-up of sorts that’s as gooey as it is mindboggling. When a body washes up on shore, the small-town Chief of Police follows the clues that lead him to an isolated house in the woods. With his pseudo-girlfriend and her ex in tow, the mystery grows deeper (and weirder) with strange writings, the home in shambles, mutilated bodies, and supernatural happenings. 

The film begins with a bang. Sweeping shots of a seemingly abandoned canoe quietly floating down the river. The title is reminiscent of classic horror films like The Blob. We become familiar with the townspeople pulled into this bizarre case. Suddenly the pace feels like it goes off a cliff. 

Here is where I struggled. In the film’s final third, the screenplay takes three very different concepts and tries to mash them together. It was a real head-scratcher for me, as I was all in with the body horror ala The Fly idea. Everything sort of implodes from there. Ian Weir and Craig Davidson‘s screenplay is based on an audible original of the same name by Nick Cutter. (Cutter is Davidson, Davidson is Cutter) It makes me want to go back to the source material to compare the work. 

The best performance comes from Natalie Brown as Laura. She is a mother mired in grief and desperate for answers from her physicist ex-husband. Her vulnerability, anguish, and badassery should be applauded.

Yes, that kickass music you hear is by executive producer and rick legend, Slash. It’s nothing short of epic. Arguably the best aspect of The Breach is the design team. The main set is a spectacularly dressed mess with peeling wallpaper and inches of dust. Practical FX and makeup are literally gag-worthy. These are the things Fantasia audiences eat for breakfast.


Click here for all things Fantasia 2022!


Fantasia 2022 review: ‘Moloch’ brings unique folklore horror to viewers.

MOLOCH

A sinister score from Ella Van Der Woude and sweeping cinematography by Emo Weemhoff immediately let us know we’re in for something truly frightening. Perhaps cyclical in nature, unresolved trauma rears its ugly head in the form of a supernatural creature and a celebrated legend. Moloch is a keenly written and beautifully performed horror.

Sallie Harmsen plays Betriek with an unbridled nuance. Existing in a caretaker role for her mother and young daughter, we are privy to childhood trauma that everyone in town seems to know more about than Betriek. Harmsen is raw and determined. She encapsulates a woman mired in distress.

It’s not an exaggeration to say my mouth was agape at the final reveal. So many seemingly minute details in the script came rushing into my brain. Writer-director Nico Van Den Brink and writer Daan Bakker have given Fantasia 2022 audiences a moody, atmospheric folklore horror. Lucky for Shudder fans, Moloch is now available to stream.


38-year-old Betriek lives at the edge of a peat bog in the North of the Netherlands. When she and her family are attacked by a random stranger one night, Betriek sets out to find an explanation. The more she digs, the more she becomes convinced that she is being hunted by something ancient.

Premieres July 21 on Shudder


Click here for more info on Fantasia 2022!


Review: ‘NOPE’ showcases sights just as much as frights.

NOPE

With Nope, Jordan Peele further solidifies his standing as the modern horror auteur. Who else is making movies like Peele right now? A better question might be, who else do the studios trust to make big budget, non-franchise films like this? (the list is very short.) With his third feature, Peele again delivers on that trust with another compelling narrative that pairs thrills with dazzling cinematography, as well as a willingness to subvert the expectations of his audience.

Siblings OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer) Haywood are co-owners of Haywood’s Hollywood Horses, horse trainers serving the entertainment industry and descendants of a proud legacy. They are struggling to keep their heads above water in a competitive, dwindling industry (after all, a CGI horse is way easier to train, right?) They also have to contend with the long reputational shadow of their late father (Keith David), as well as the pressures of their family’s place in cinematic history (legend has it that they are direct decedents of the jockey featured in one of the very first motion pictures.)  When OJ thinks he may have discovered UFO on the edges of their family ranch, he seizes on an opportunity to capture (and profit from) photographic evidence of their discovery.

The cinematography and performances in this film are top-notch. Hoyte Van Hoytema will receive Oscar consideration for his enthralling cinematography. The visuals are equally inspired by westerns and classical blockbuster thrillers. They are the foundation upon which the film’s success is built – especially the last 20 minutes (an absolute white-knuckle thrill ride.)

Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer give tremendous lead performances. Working with Peele for the second time (after 2017’s prolific Get Out), Kaluuya gives a subtle showcase. I can’t get enough of this pairing – I hope they work together 20 more times. Kaluuya’s  OJ is quieter and more introverted than Palmer’s Emerald. Given his screen-time, he has minimal dialogue in the film – most of his performance comes from his eyes, his facial expressions, and his body language. I was reminded of Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name character – someone who listened more than he spoke but was deliberate (and often lethal) in his action. Palmer’s Emerald is a ball of kinetic energy but also delivers poignant moments as well (especially in the film’s final act.) The two siblings have an easy, unfussy chemistry with each other.

Steven Yeun is phenomenal in the supporting role of former child star turned ranch/amusement park owner Ricky “Jupe” Park. When he was younger, Ricky was part of a TV sitcom co-starring a chimpanzee named Gordy. A tragedy occurred on set, and Ricky has spent his adulthood profiting off the memory of this trauma. While this incident fits with the film’s overall theme of spectacle (and the ways that humanity tries, and fail, to contain nature) it is an awkward fit. There are some haunting images associated with Ricky’s story (especially a moment where Gordy looks directly into the camera lens), but the resolution of this sub-plot doesn’t fit seamlessly with the action occurring on the Haywood ranch. Perhaps there is a larger intention here from Peele, but it just didn’t connect with me.

Ultimately, Nope showcases Peele delivering on another compelling and thoughtful entry. You’ll be staring at the sky when you walk out of the theater.


NOPE – Only in Theaters 7.22.22

https://www.nope.movie/

“What’s a bad miracle?”

Oscar® winner Jordan Peele disrupted and redefined modern horror with Get Out and then Us. Now, he reimagines the summer movie with a new pop nightmare: the expansive horror epic, Nope.

The film reunites Peele with Oscar® winner Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Judas and the Black Messiah), who is joined by Keke Palmer (Hustlers, Alice) and Oscar® nominee Steven Yeun (Minari, Okja) as residents in a lonely gulch of inland California who bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.

Nope, which co-stars Michael Wincott (Hitchcock, Westworld) and Brandon Perea (The OA, American Insurrection), is written and directed by Jordan Peele and is produced by Ian Cooper (Us, Candyman) and Jordan Peele for Monkeypaw Productions. The film will be released by Universal Pictures worldwide.


Fantasia 2022 review: The brutality of ‘Megalomaniac’ is burned into my brain.

MEGALOMANIAC

Offspring of the most notorious and elusive serial killer in Belgium’s history, Martha must navigate her brother taking up the family mantle, working a job where she is the victim of sexual abuse, and the fragility of her sanity. Writer-director Karim Ouelhaj gives Fantasia 2022 audiences one of the most brutal and brilliant films of the year.

The sumptuous score from Gary Moonboots and Simon Fransquet is a push and pull between heaven and hell. The production design and camera work will haunt your nightmares. Simultaneously hideous and magnificent, the vast family mansion Felix and Martha reside in has cracking plaster walls, carved mahogany structures, and a plethora of aggressively posed taxidermy creatures. It’s Dracula’s wet dream.

Actress Eline Schumacher leaves her soul on the screen. The slow, deliberate fracturing of the human psyche is breathtaking. It’s a brave, emotionally wrought, and award-worthy performance.

It’s an understatement to say that the imagery in Megalomaniac made my blood run cold. I winced as I witnessed unapologetic violence on women’s bodies. The fear Martha experiences had a visceral effect on me. The film examines the patriarchal power structure in a heartbreaking and infuriating way. Ouelhaj nails it. The term “triggering” is not one I use often, but Megalomaniac encompasses that word from start to finish. The cyclical nature of evil cannot be denied.


To find out more about Fantasia 2022 click here!


Fantasia 2022 review: Zombies, comedy, remakes, Oh My! ‘Coupez!’ brings bloodbath and laughs.

COUPEZ!

*Full disclosure, I have not seen Shinichiro Ueda‘s One Cut of The Dead (Fantasia 2018). This review is solely my take on COUPEZ!*

An eccentric director who activated a curse in order to get the best film possible? Sounds more like an industry documentary than a horror comedy to me. Coupez! turns filmmaking on its head with a structure that keeps on giving. Do not get comfortable because you’re about to enter the world of money, fame, indulgence, and the ridiculous in three distinct acts. 

Coupez! is unafraid to make fun of the collective zombie/ horror genre. At times, it’s like watching Film Twitter arguing with itself. This meta take on the industry will delight to no end. The handheld camera puts the audience into the action in a one-take, real-time unfolding of hilarious chaos. One can only imagine the amount of rehearsal it required to coordinate. The practical FX are cleverly achieved just out of sight. 

These actors give 200% in this splatterfest. The cast’s unwavering commitment sells this film. Romain Duris as Remi is just trying his best to make the movie he created on the page. But, like Hollywood, everyone has their hand/opinion in the proverbial pot. Duris has an upbeat energy that pulls you into his story. In truth, Coupez! is a masterful ensemble film. The double entendre dialogue never misses. It’s kind of like an amped-up version of Shawn of the Dead meets Noises Off. It was a risky move for writer-director Michel Hazanavicius to bring Coupez! to Fantasia 2022, but a massively successful one.


Click here for all things Fantasia 2022!


Fantasia 2022 review: ‘The Harbinger’ is a waking nightmare.

THE HARBINGER

Mo is taking every precaution possible in lockdown with her father and brother. When summoned to the city by an old friend, Mo’s loyalty takes precedent over her protesting family. She arrives to find a strung-out Mavis claiming something is controlling her dreams. When Mo then begins to have her dreams invaded by a hooded figure in a plague mask, things go from bad to downright terrifying. Writer-director Andy Mitton, who brought The Witch In The Window to Fantasia in 2018, dives headfirst into his new supernatural horror and extra creepy Fantasia 2022 entry, The Harbinger

The script slickly combines historic iconography from the plague to mirror current events and builds upon the concept of mass hysteria and mental health. Mitton introduces demonology and then mixes in the idea of viral internet posts, an issue directly addressed in Jane Schoenbrun‘s brilliant film, We’re All Going To The World’s Fair. Combined with the rapid spread of misinformation, internet challenges like Momo, and urban legends like Slenderman, the spread of evil becomes exponential. But this is really simplifying the fear in The Harbinger

Gabby Beans gives us every ounce of herself as Mo. She is the heartbeat of this plot. Beans brings a grounded vulnerability, and I cannot imagine any other performer in this role. The film has everything and then some. Jarring imagery, thoughtful camera work, cool-as-hell production design, and meticulously placed jump scares keep your pulse pounding as this story unfolds. On top of the authentic terror we all experienced at the beginning of the covid lockdown, The Harbinger is a masterfully crafted, waking nightmare. 


DIRECTOR

Andy Mitton

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Cassidy Freeman, Clark Freeman

PRODUCER

Jay Dunn, Richard W. King

WRITER

Andy Mitton

CAST

Gabby Beans, Cody Braverman, Emily Davis, Ray Anthony Thomas, Myles Walker

CINEMATOGRAPHER

Ludovica Isidori

COMPOSER

Andy Mitton

EDITOR

Andy Mitton

For all things Fantasia 2022 click here!


Fantasia 2022 review: ‘Swallowed’ is any LGBTQ person’s nightmare… and then some.

SWALLOWED

Cooper Koch and Jose Colon play best friends, Benjamin and Dom. In order to send Benjamin off to L.A. with some extra cash, Dom coordinates a drug mule operation that complicates everything. When the packages turn out to be something far more sinister, things get much darker than anyone imagined.

Swallowed is a genre-obliterating film with fantastic performances. Jena Malone adds gritty believability. To no one’s surprise, she manages to bring charm and intensity. Koch and Colon have spectacular chemistry, and you 100 percent buy their relationship. Koch possesses an accessible vulnerability. Colon’s honesty feels grounded. Bravo for their openness to go full frontal nude. We all know how rare that is, and it makes complete sense given the plot. The film also features a solid villainous turn from Mark Patton, a genre legend from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2. One line, in particular, is slyly redemptive given his status in the horror canon.

The camera work has visceral intimacy. Writer-director Carter Smith (The Ruins) gives audiences a unique genre entry, with the leads being LGBTQ male characters in scenarios we usually see female characters tackle. Swallowed is part crime thriller, part coming-of-age, and body horror. This film is an LGBTQ scenario of nightmares. Fantasia 2022 audiences, get ready to squirm.


Click here for all things Fantasia 2022


Fantasia 2022 review: ‘All Jacked Up and Full Of Worms’ is gagworthy arthouse horror.

ALL JACKED UP AND FULL OF WORMS

Writer-director Alex Phillips brings a special kind of WTF to Fantasia 2022 with micro-budget arthouse horror, All Jacked Up and Full of Worms. In a wicked multiple narrative of some seriously messed up people, we are party to some of the sickest storylines we never signed up for. Roscoe, a motel maintenance man in a creepy, sexually adventurous throuple, a mentally ill man named Benny looking to be a father, a violent addict couple, the former pagan member giving an endless interview, and his sex worker daughter all collide. The throughline of these stories is that the characters ingest worms like drugs. The consequences will make you as queasy as you think. If David Cronenberg and Requiem for a Dream had a baby, you might get All Jacked Up and Full of Worms in the bassinet. The likelihood that you’ll be looking around the theatre to check if everyone else is just as horrified as you are incredibly high. Would I recommend you watch high? I’m not not saying it’s a good idea. Films like this bring audiences to Fantasia in the first place. Am I jacked up to see what Alex Phillips does next? Yup.

All Jacked Up and Full of Worms also stars Eva Fellows, Mike Lopez, Carol Rhyu, and Sammy Arechar. The film was produced by Phillips, Georgia Bernstein, and Ben Gojer.


Click here for more information about Fantasia 2022


Review: ‘She Will’ spells witchy revenge for Alice Krige.

SHE WILL

Dario Argento executive produces Charlotte Colbert‘s IFC Midnight title SHE WILL, starring Alice Krige is a role to die for. With the aid of her nurse, Krige plays an aging movie star seeking solitude post-surgery in the Scottish countryside. Following her arrival, spirits from the past take hold, intent on revenge.

Kota Eberhardt, as Desi, holds her own against Krige. Her presence is equally as fierce as her costar. Something about her performance demands your attention. Eberhardt could easily carry a film on her own. Alice Krige is the epitome of genius as Veronica Ghent. The nuance she radiates is breathtaking.

The film possesses a mesmerizing score from Clint Mansell. Something Argento would approve. Jaime Ramsay‘s camera work is dizzying and invasive. The juxtaposition of striking visuals and memory fragments represents unresolved trauma, new and ancient. She Will feels like a victory cry for the #MeToo movement. Slick editing heightens the film’s themes of nature, instinct, suppression of power, and interconnected female experience. Charlotte Colbert‘s debut with co-writer Kitty Percy is a rage-shedding catharsis. She Will is the witchy stuff of dreams.


*IN SELECT THEATERS AND ON DEMAND FRIDAY, JULY 15*
From Executive Producer Dario Argento
Directed by Charlotte Colbert
Written by Kitty Percy & Charlotte Colbert
Starring Alice Krige, Kota Eberhardt, Malcolm McDowell, Rupert Everett


Fantasia International Film Festival is back with its 26th edition to rescue us from reality. Here’s what we’re excited to see! #Fantasia2022

It’s no secret that all the best genre films come through Fantasia Film Festival. 2022’s fest comes just in time to distract us from all the actual horrible things happening in the world.

Welcome to a list of things we’re excited about playing this year. Some are already on our best of the year lists and some we anticipate adding. Check out our picks below.

For all things Fantasia Film Festival 2022 stay tuned to Reel News Daily with some special posts from our friends at Unseen Films


Six films we’ve seen at previous festivals and their reviews can be found below. Highly recommend each of them for a myriad of reasons.

Next Exit
Legions
Sissy


Honeycomb
Hypochondriac
Speak No Evil (One of the year’s most brutal films)



FREAKS OUT (Italy)

– Dir: Gabriele Mainetti

Rome, 1943. A pack of sideshow performers with supernatural powers face off against occupying Nazis in the most unusual superhero film you will ever see. This fantastical and gutsy celebration of the different that walks an electrifying tightrope between blockbuster filmmaking and edgier, more subversive genre work. From the director of THEY CALL ME JEEG. Winner of the Leoncino d’Oro at last fall’s Venice Film Festival. Canadian Premiere. 

Sounding like a genre fan’s wet dream, FreaksOut is a priority watch this year.



Princesse Dragon

Bristle is a little girl raised by dragons. But when her father, Dragon, has to pay the Sorcerog using his second most valuable asset, he offers her Bristle – Throwing her into an infinite sadness and forcing her to flee the family cave. Bristle then embarks on a journey to discover the world of men.

Feminist anime? Give it to me all day, every day.


Polaris

Set in 2144 against the harsh backdrop of a frozen wasteland, Sumi, a human child raised by Mama Polar Bear, narrowly escapes capture from a brutal Morad hunting party and sets out across the vast winter landscape. When Sumi stumbles across Frozen Girl, an unlikely friendship is forged and together they race ahead of the vindictive hunters towards the only guiding light Sumi knows, the Polaris star.

All female-led opening film. Sold.


One Cut of the Dead

(French remake of the cult classic)

After opening this year’s Cannes, FINAL CUT (Coupez!), Michel Hazanavicius’s riotous remake of Shinichirou Ueda’s ONE CUT OF THE DEAD, is coming to North America. Starring Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield, Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, and Yoshiko Takehara reprising her beloved role from the original film as a producer, this hilarious ode to the do-or-die spirit of filmmaking is a joy to behold. It is especially noteworthy for the film’s North American journey to be starting at Fantasia, as the festival was among the first to popularize the original Audience Award-winning ONE CUT OF THE DEAD in the West. Poetically, Ueda’s latest, POPRAN, will also be having its North American Premiere at the festival this year. Bet your viewfinder that FINAL CUT is going to bring the house down in cheers. North American Premiere.

Without knowing the original, the buzz around this remake is out of this world. Will it live up to its predecessor? I guess we’ll all find out together.

Huesera

Pregnant with her first child and consumed by terrifying visions, Valeria (Natalia Solián) believes that she may be cursed by a supernatural entity. A brilliant and frightening breakout debut as important as Jennifer Kent’s THE BABADOOK, HUESERA firmly announces Mexico’s Michelle Garza Cervera as one of the leading new voices of the genre. A scorching personal vision that asks complex questions with ferocious honesty, this profound, nightmarish blessing comes to Fantasia hot off its award-winning Tribeca launch and is already one of the most talked-about genre works of the year.  Canadian Premiere. 

A big winner out of Tribeca 22, this is a slick film tackling identity and motherhood in a surprising way. If you’ve ever been pregnant and didn’t love every single second of it, this one will cut extra deep.



Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

Also screening as part of Fantasia’s closing night events will be Halina Reijn’s wildly entertaining and gloriously twisted BODIES BODIES BODIES. A party game leads to murder when young and wealthy friends gather at a remote family mansion in this instant classic comedy horror joyride that maintains a taut balance of uneasy tension and wicked humor. Starring Amandla Stenberg (THE HATE U GIVE), Maria Bakalova (BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM), Myha’la Herrold (INDUSTRY), Rachel Sennott (SHIVA BABY) and comedy superstar Pete Davidson. Special Screening.

When people cannot stop talking about a film, you know you have to see it. Coming to theaters August 5th.

 DIRECTOR: Halina Reijn CAST: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, with Lee Pace and Pete Davidson


Piggy

Laura Galán appears in PIGGY by Carlota Pereda

During the sweltering summertime of rural Spain, Sara carries an extra load of teenage agony due to the perpetual bullying from her peers. She’s also an outsider at home—her parents and little brother just don’t understand her—so, feelings internalized, she’s often found buried in her headphones, drowning out her surroundings. One day, Sara’s usual solo dip at the local pool is disrupted by the presence of a mysterious stranger in the water and an exceptionally grueling bout of abuse at the hands of three girls. But, in a strange twist of fate, along the way home Sara witnesses her bloodied tormentors being kidnapped in the back of the stranger’s van.

Another buzzy title, this one focusing on mean girls and morality is a star vehicle for actress Laura Galán.


The Pez Outlaw

Steve Glew spent the 1990s smuggling rare pez dispensers into the USA from Eastern Europe, making millions of dollars. It was all magical until his arch-nemesis, The Pezident decided to destroy him.

Who wouldn’t want to watch a film about rival pez dispenser smugglers is really the question.


Everybody Goes To The Hosptial (short film)


Based on a true story, EVERYBODY GOES TO THE HOSPITAL is a stop motion animated exploration of physical, psychological, and familial trauma, telling the tale of 4-year-old Little Mata (writer/director Tiffany Kimmel’s mother) as she’s taken to the hospital in late 1963 with appendicitis.

This is s personal pick for me, as someone traumatized by hospitals more than once in my life. The first time was when I was diagnosed with appendicitis. Check out a teaser here.


For all things Fantasia 2022 stay tuned to Reel News Daily with some special posts from our friends at Unseen Films.


 

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 capsule reviews: ‘January,’ ‘The Year Between,’ and short film ‘Girls Night In’

January

The visual aesthetic of Tribeca 2022 film JANUARY feels like it was actually filmed in 1991, using a mixture of super 8 footage, archival footage, and inspired cinematography. Performances are solid. The soundtrack is outstanding, highlighting gorgeous framing. The lack of urgency overall was challenging to overcome. I wasn’t sure if I felt connected enough to give a damn. This is from an arts academy grad. It was refreshing to see young female ambition in the character of Anna.

At the 52-minute mark, I was suddenly at attention. I wish this had come sooner in both the narrative and the score. Ultimately, January keeps your attention with its unique editing and intriguing, sometimes dizzying, cinematography. At times, I could not decern who was filming, whether it was archival or handheld footage from the cast. It’s a weirdly meta experience in that way. JANUARY is a coming-of-age story of a life torn between art and war.


The Year Between

Alex Heller wears all the hats in Tribeca 2022 film The Year Between. As a writer, director, producer, and star, she’s a spectacular nightmare. As Clemence, she is perfectly punchable. Even if it doesn’t sound like it, this is a compliment. As Clemence, she is a hellacious person. An entitled brat with zero social graces. Come to find out that she is undiagnosed bipolar. Through horrible life choices, Clemence slowly climbs her way out of her pity party to ingratiate herself into her family’s hearts. Navigating jobs, drugs, therapy, medication, relationships, and self-actualization, The Year Between goes hard in every aspect. Heller is unapologetic in style. The voice is loud and clear, and I look forward to what comes next.


Girls Night In

When a masked man threatens to ruin a girls’ night, Becca and Delaney attempt to best the intruder against all logic. This satirical short is an ode to the Bechdel Test and horror fans everywhere. Skylan Benton, as Delaney, is dressed similarly to Drew Barrymore in Scream and has an unmissable Alexis from Schitt’s Creek vibe going on in her tone. Becca (Jess Adams) is the more overtly cautious of the two girls, but everything changes, including her wardrobe, once challenged. Spot the cliché and hilarious quick-change by removing her glasses, a classic 90s reference. This is another example of how writer Landon LaRue and director Alison Roberto are true genre fans, beyond the lighting shifts and Davey Oberlin‘s throwback score. The addition of unapologetic Gen Z chatter infuses another layer of funny. Girls Night In will be a hit with not only horror fans but all Tribeca 2022 short film enthusiasts this year. 


 

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 capsule review: Midnight section ‘Attachment’ dazzles with its smart script.

ATTACHMENT

New couple Maja and Leah battle terror and tradition when they move back into the same house as Leah’s Hasidic mother, Chana. Jewish mysticism takes center stage in this unique entry for Tribeca 2022 Midnight section. Is Chana an overprotective parent, or is something more sinister happening? Enter writer-director Gabriel Bier Gislason‘s Attachment

The writing is perfectly genius, as it disguises the mystery within the secretive nature of the religion. I watch a lot of horror, and Attachment had me on the ropes. I had no idea where this script would land. The language barrier raises the stakes, as important revelations become lost in translation, literally. Performances are spectacular and nuanced. The emotional journeys are lush. Their pasts slowly revealed create a genuine and curious bond. I could not take my eyes off the screen while watching Attachment, fearing I’d miss the smallest detail. Audiences will be hypnotized. 


FEATURE | DENMARK | 105 MINUTES | DANISH, ENGLISH | ENGLISH SUBTITLES
DIRECTOR
Gabriel Bier Gislason
PRODUCER
Thomas Heinesen
SCREENWRITER
Gabriel Bier Gislason
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Valdemar Winge Leisner
EDITOR
Nikoline Løgstrup
KEY CAST
David Dencik
US DISTRIBUTOR
Shudder
CAST
Josephine Park, Ellie Kendrick, Sofie Gråbøl, David Dencik

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: Travis Stevens’ latest genre fare ‘A Wounded Fawn’ is… different.

A WOUNDED FAWN

I must admit that I might be one of the biggest Travis Stevens fans. His aesthetic gets me every time. The boundary-pushing in sound editing, practical FX, and color saturation are things of beauty. The man knows how to write iconic feminist leads. Understanding how much I love Girl On The Third Floor and Jakob’s Wife is paramount. His latest film premiering at Tribeca 2022 is called A Wounded Fawn, and it pains me to say it confounds me. Let me explain.

The first half, or Act One, as indicated by a dramatic and beautiful bright red title card, is classic throwback magic, dirt filter included. Going into the film, we understand the setup. Bruce is a suave art dealer who invites gallery curator Meredith away for the weekend at his secluded cabin. From the second scene, we know that Bruce is also a serial killer, and poor Meredith is about to be added to his “special” collection. The opening of the film features a specific sculpture of Greek mythology. That piece will come to haunt our characters in a very literal way. 

First, let’s talk about the best parts of the film; the performances. Sarah Lind (Jakob’s Wife) and Josh Ruben knock it out of the park. Lind navigates the cringe and slyly aggressive overtures of Ruben’s Bruce. She walks an incredible line between submissive and badass. Her fight or flight instincts will have you yelling at the screen. Ruben, whose film Werewolves Within is one of my favorites from last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, owns this role. He’s creepy as fuck. There’s no other way to describe his nature. Bruce is peak Stevens’ calling card. Ruben doesn’t play the over-the-top premise for laughs but lives in the madness. I sat through the credits and relished in his endurance of that take. When you see it, you’ll understand what I mean. 

Now, let’s discuss Act Two. I found myself confused during this act. I thought maybe I was missing something, or it was over my head somehow. But, no, it’s meant to be a Greek tragedy akin to Agamemnon or Hippolytus. The film is such a departure from Stevens’ first two films that it’s hard to believe they’re by the same person. Can I respect that he’s trying something new? Yes. Did I love the dozen or so specific visuals in red? Absolutely. Was the hyper-augmented sound editing fucking stellar. You’re goddamn right. The payoff of the final laugh-out-loud line of dialogue wasn’t enough to make up for the second half of the film. A Wounded Fawn most definitely lives up to its Midnight section category. It’s the type of film you’d find in the late 70s at a theatre that exclusively shows cult films in the wee hours of the morning. Yet, here I am, needing to talk about the film ad nauseum. For that reason, Travis Stevens has, sort of, done it again. 


The find out more about Tribeca Film Festival 2022 click here!


DIRECTOR
Travis Stevens
PRODUCER
Joe Barbagallo, Laurence Gendron, Travis Stevens
SCREENWRITER
Travis Stevens, Nathan Faudree
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Ksusha Genenfeld
EDITOR
Zach Clark, Travis Stevens
COMPOSER
Vaaal
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Melissa Rossaki, Emily Gotto
CO-PRODUCER
Jonathan Hsu
US DISTRIBUTOR
Shudder
CAST
Josh Ruben, Sarah Lind, Malin Barr, Katie Kuang, Laksmi Hedemark, Tanya Everett, Marshall Taylor Thurman, Leandro Taub, and Neal Mayer

Tribeca 2022 review: ‘FAMILY DINNER’ is a recipe for disaster, and that’s what makes it delicious.

FAMILY DINNER

One of Tribeca 2022 Midnight selections features the sickest fad diet you could ever imagine. When Simi joins her famous nutritionist aunt for the Easter holiday, the tension in the house boils over almost immediately. Simi, an overweight 15-year-old girl, seeks approval and guidance, but things do not go according to plan. Family Dinner is a film that slowly and deliberately crawls under your skin.

Michael Pink creates a lecherous character arc for Stefan. His presence made me shudder with each appearance. Alexander Sladek gives relentless nuance to the role of Filipp. Displaying all the characteristics of a serial killer, what lies beneath the surface is even more disturbing. Sladek is unnerving.

Pia Hierzegger plays Auntie Claudia with an energy that is powerful and scary. The head of the household in every way possible, Hierzegger is astounding. Nina Katlein is spectacular as Simi. Despite every red flag, the bravery in Katliein’s eyes is shocking. Writer-director Peter Hengl’s script allows Simi to be a feminist icon.

The complexity of this script kept me guessing from beginning to end. Just when I thought I’d figured out what was going on, another twist. Much like in the films A Banquet and Honeydew, the preparation and consumption of food become weaponized. The infantilization between mother and son sent shivers down my spine. It is an added layer that compounded my unending distress. If you follow the proverbial breadcrumbs, the finale feels like a natural endpoint to a series of microaggressions that become exponentially more horrendous. Family Dinner had my heart in my throat with bona fide fear. Tribeca audiences are in for a frightful treat.


For more information on Family Dinner and the full Tribeca 2022 experience, click here:

https://tribecafilm.com/films/family-dinner-2022


Review: ‘Tales From The Other Side’ is spooky fun for horror lovers.

I love a good horror anthology. With a classic Halloween trope of three kids getting pulled into the town legend’s Victorian mansion, Tales From The Other Side finds Scary Mary spinning tales of terror for her eager guests. Six separate stories send shivers down their spines and sweets into their bellies. 

“Petrified Boy”

A ringmaster takes advantage of a tragedy.

“Flicker”

An aspiring filmmaker takes a job making memorial videos for a funeral home. 

“Crystal Ball”

A couple in turmoil steals the coveted object of a fortune teller. 

“Either / Or”

Trae Ireland, Tonya Cornelisse, and James Duval pack a punch in a story about a mental facility patient claiming to be the prophet, Elijah. This segment is the epitome of masterful performance. The finale will blow you away. 

“Blood Red”

An artist’s triste gets bloody complicated. 

“Krampus Vs. Elf”

A visually jarring stop motion battle between good and evil. It’s pretty disgusting, but the ending is chef’s kiss. 

Our three young leads are fantastic. Brooklyn Anne Miller, in particular, is flawless. Get that girl a show on Nickelodeon ASAP. Roslyn Gentle, as Mary, is a superstar. I’d watch an entire franchise with her as the center. 

Tales From The Other Side has a solid “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” vibes. It’s tricky to stand out amongst hits like The Mortuary Collection and the VHS franchise, but Tales From The Other Side gives it an honest-to-goodness try. The filmmakers are clear classic genre fans working on a micro-budget. The makeup and scores are great additions. The opening title sequence from Sean Wyn is creative and disturbing. What more could you ask for setting up scary stories with anything but horrifying drawings from children? It’s not as if you don’t know where the overarching narrative around Scary Mary is going. Tales From The Other Side is still a gruesome delight.


ON DIGITAL AND DVD JUNE 7


Directors: Pablo Macho Maysonet IV, Jamaal Burden, Scotty Baker, Jacob Cooney, Lucas Heyne, Kern Saxton, Frank Merle

Cast: Ros Gentle, Michael Broderick, Rafael Delgado Jr., James Duval, Chelsea Vale, Vernon Wells, Andreas Rodriguez