‘HOUSE OF SCREAMING GLASS’ (2024) is a wild exploration of dark legacy

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HOUSE OF SCREAMING GLASS

HOUSE OF SCREAMING GLASS poster

After inheriting an old schoolhouse, Elizabeth begins to lose time and experience visions of evil in her isolation and exploration of her familial connections.

Success lies within the use of a go-pro and the out-of-focus visuals. The set might be some artist commune or quirky AirBnB listing. It delivers jewel-toned decor choices and creepy corners, echoing loneliness. Elizabeth discovers a trunk filled with dark objects, including a book with sketches right out of Guillermo del Toro’s imagination. 

HOUSE OF SCREAMING GLASS Lani CallLani Call gives Elizabeth a dour and macabre personality. Bravo for her commitment to the role. The screenplay from director Richard R. Williams, Costanza Bongiorni, and Tom Jolliffe does not give her a moment of ease. HOUSE OF SCREAMING GLASS is a one-woman show that gets weirder and grosser by the minute. 

The film opens with a gruesome shot, transitioning to the world’s slowest upward pan. The pacing, while artistically intentional, remains an issue. Call’s narration deserved a pop shield in front of her microphone. Elizabeth makes questionable choices that defy logic as she plunges into her dark legacy. No doubt the practical FX team will make you gag as her physical appearance rapidly deteriorates. The film is out there. What’s good is great, but HOUSE OF SCREAMING GLASS ultimately suffers from the length. 

This otherworldly thriller arrives on VOD and DVD on May 21st

 

Directed and co-written by Williams (RUST BELT DRILLER) with a script co-authored by Costanza Bongiorni and Tom Jolliffe, HOUSE OF SCREAMING GLASS stars Lani Call.

Elizabeth Cadosia has lived a life of isolation under the shadow of her mentally fractured mother. On the day her mother dies, Elizabeth receives an unexpected inheritance—a timeworn schoolhouse from her grandmother—whom she has never met. Within the schoolhouse, Elizabeth finds herself entwined in a tapestry of unsettling visions and harrowing nightmares.

An incredibly surreal, ultra-low budget experiment in minimalist horror – inspired by classic horror, witchcraft legends, the Cthulhu mythos, and Tarkovsky and Antonioni’s “slow cinema” – the film was made by a very small group of close friends and is anchored by a powerful performance from actor Lani Call.

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DeskPop Entertainment was created to offer a dynamic scope of original content ranging from light-hearted genre entertainment to thought-provoking, mission-driven cinema designed to stir up engaging conversation.


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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.

 

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‘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.


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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

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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



Huge Genre News: NIGHTSTREAM is back in new form!

Digital Genre Film Fest NIGHTSTREAM Relaunched Yesterday as Year Round Curated TVOD Platform, Ft. Exclusive Title SUMMONERS, Films from Distros Including Oscilloscope, Utopia, Dark Sky & More


Christine Nyland and Larry Fessenden from Nightstream Exclusive SUMMONERS


(Brooklyn, NY | October 31, 2023) The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, in association with the Boston Underground Film Festival and the Overlook Film Festival, announces today the re-launch of Nightstream. The former virtual film festival will re-launch as a transactional VOD platform that will showcase acclaimed genre films. Nightstream enables at-home audiences to have a one-stop-shop for their favorite (and new discovery) genre indies in lieu of scrolling through offerings buried in other more overarching platforms. Viewers can expect the lineup to continue to grow over time but always remain curated by the festival programmers.

Nightstream was initially launched in 2020 when film festivals were shuttered at the height of the pandemic. These major horror festivals joined forces to satiate their audiences’ appetites for new, exciting titles even while they were stuck at home. Despite the fact that the world is back in action, Nightstream will give genre fans the curated festival experience 24/7.

Terence Krey and Christine Nyland, the filmmaking team behind 2020’s indie gem An Unquiet Grave, unveil Summoners as the very first Nightstream Exclusive. The film made its world premiere at Brooklyn Horror Festival last year and debuts exclusively on the platform as a launch title. Co-starring indie icon Larry Fessenden, the film focuses on a former witch who is plunged back into a world of witchcraft far more dangerous than ever before after her childhood friend seeks her help in performing a dark spell.

Spearheading the relaunch is Justin Timms, Director of Brooklyn Horror Film Festival. “Finding a way to support new indie films along with keeping our collective festivals afloat during the pandemic was our priority and I’m thrilled that we can continue that for the long term,” says Timms. “Not only will we be sharing revenue with the films on the channel but a portion of the proceeds will also be split among the other founding festivals. We hope audiences around the country will see the value in supporting this effort and choose Nightstream when renting one of these standout titles.”

As of today’s Halloween launch day, the platform will feature over thirty titles, including those from indie distributors Oscilloscope, Dark Star, Dark Sky, Dekanalog, Utopia, Yellow Veil Pictures, and others. Titles include Jane Schoenbrun’s We’re All Going to World’s Fair (Utopia), Gaspar Noe’s Lux Aeterna (Yellow Veil), Joel PotrykusBuzzard (Oscilloscope), and much more. The full listing of film offerings is available at nightstream.org.

Prices will vary per title, and users will have the option to rent or buy most titles with a default pricing of $4.99 to rent and $12.99 to buy.

Full information is available at:
https://nightstream.org/

About Nightstream
In response to the many challenges impacting the film community amid the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing concerns of safety and security associated with physical exhibition and festivals in 2020 and 2021, the collaborative online event NIGHTSTREAM was launched by organizers of a number of American genre festivals across the country to present a dynamic and accessible virtual film festival.

NIGHTSTREAM will live on, continuing as a curated hub for genre films where audiences across the US will be able to rent, buy and discover the latest indie films.

About Brooklyn Horror Film Festival
Bringing the best of domestic and international genre cinema to New York City since 2016, the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival is a premier East Coast genre festival that embodies the eclectic spirit of its namesake.

Brooklyn Horror not only provides the nightmare fuel that audiences expect but also prides itself on challenging those expectations, spotlighting films that push the boundaries of what is normally deemed horror.

Taking place in venues throughout the borough every October, BHFF compliments its ambitious features and shorts programming with exciting and unique live events, crafting a must-attend festival experience for industry members and film fans alike.


 

Review: Jeremy Pion-Berlin’s ‘Failure To Protect’ exposes a very flawed CPS system.

FAILURE TO PROTECT

FAILURE TO PROTECT follows five parents – Anna, Trish, Rheta, Ernst, and Rosa – as they fight desperately to reunify with their children taken by Child Protective Services (CPS). It’s an unwavering and nuanced look at the child welfare system where criminals have more rights than parents.

 The families’ stories showcase the variety of circumstance that can lead to a child’s removal from the home, as well as the trials and tribulations that inevitably follow. The cases are as complex as they are tragic. They include histories of mental illness, as well as allegations of abuse, neglect, and trauma. Parents are pitted against their own children and each other. Along the way, the parents fight to clear their names, and prove their fitness as guardians.

Through these highly personal stories, we explore many tough questions, such as do parents whose personal struggles compromised their children’s safety deserve a second chance? Is the CPS system biased against minorities, LGBTQIA+ couples, and the economically disadvantaged? To avoid leaving a child in an abusive or dangerous environment, do social workers remove children first and ask questions later?  The film offers an unprecedented, in-depth window into the grim realities of the child welfare system through the often ignored perspective of parents.

The families are eclectic. All shapes, sizes, races, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds face the challenges of reuniting parents and children. Allegations range from neglect to sexual abuse. Each case is unique, and the system does not exist to react to those nuances.

The film features interviews with parents recounting the circumstances/allegations that caused their children’s removal and social workers explaining how the system functions. Civil rights lawyers and judges speak to the lessened burden of proof concerning children. The film illuminates the parent’s rights, most of whom have no idea they exist. Bodycam footage of children’s removal and news clips of the death of kids in foster care tear your heart out.

The amount of unresolved and generational trauma involved in these cases will not surprise you, but the manufacturing of “facts” by social workers will. When you hear “The Right To Lie” case, your jaw will drop to the floor. Or expletives come bursting forth. *raises hand* Netflix‘s TAKE CARE OF MAYA is a terrific companion film to FAILURE TO PROTECT. Each film shines a light on the faults in the family services system. While the film features a variety of families, the racial biases are pervasive. This eye-opening doc pulls no punches. It puts everyone in the hot seat.

FAILURE TO PROTECT l Official Trailer l from Jeremy Pion-Berlin on Vimeo.


OPENING ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS ON OCTOBER 17

FAILURE TO PROTECT was directed, produced, and edited by Jeremy Pion-Berlin.  It was executive-produced by Jordan Savage, Devon CollinsLisa Pion-Berlin, Jeff Porter, and Sgt. Major Keith L. Craig.  It has a running time of 98 minutes and will not be rated by the MPAA.  The film has screened at numerous prestigious film festivals including Phoenix Film Festival, Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, Atlanta Docufest, and Doc Boston, and has won numerous awards includingBest of Fest“ at Frozen River Film Festival, “Best Documentary” and “Best Director” at Oceanside International Film Festival, “Audience Choice Award” at Atlanta Docufest, “Best Director Documentary” and “Audience Choice Award” at First Glance Film Festival Los Angeles, “Best US Documentary Film” at Doc. Boston, among other awards. FAILURE TO PROTECT will be released on digital platforms by Porter+Craig Film & Media on October 17.

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES

@failure_to_protect


 

Review: Adam Ellis’ viral Twitter thread moves from phone screens to movie screens in John McPhail’s ‘DEAR DAVID.’

SYNOPSIS: Shortly after comic artist Adam (Augustus Prew) responds to Internet trolls, he begins experiencing sleep paralysis — while an empty rocking chair moves in the corner of his apartment. As he chronicles increasingly malevolent occurrences in a series of tweets, Adam begins to believe he is being haunted by the ghost of a dead child named David. Encouraged by his boss to continue the “Dear David” thread, Adam starts to lose his grip on what is online…and what is real. Based on the viral Twitter thread by BuzzFeed comic artist Adam Ellis.

Director John McPhail and screenwriter Mike Van Waes had the tricky job of taking Adam Ellis‘ real-life viral Twitter feed and translating it for the big screen. If you don’t know the “Dear David” story, let me sum it up. Cartoonist Adam Ellis starts to document the haunting of his apartment. Things get weirder each night, culminating in photographs of this little boy with a caved-in skull dropping onto Adam’s bed. It was truly terrifying reading the thread. I remember sweating as the incidents became creepier and more intense. It was an honest-to-goodness viral moment. This week, DEAR DAVID moves from small screens to movie screens, and the results are mostly comparable.

In his supporting role, scream king Justin Long is Buzzfeed’s deliciously douchey editor. You love to hate him. But the film hinges on the likeability and overall effectiveness of Augustus Prew as Adam. Prew does a fantastic job of charming us. He is relatable in a way that caught me off guard. I can only imagine Adam Ellis being proud of his portrayal regardless of how accurate it is to real life.

The film boasts amazingly timed jump scares. Let’s give a brilliant slow clap for editors David Arthur and Glenn Garland. The script is especially relevant in our ongoing age of vitriolic online engagement. It is also a mystery wrapped in a horror movie, using a personal connection about self-worth. If you know the Dear David canon, it might be better to separate the two. Did I shout with glee when the original “David” drawing appeared? Yup. If I’m being entirely honest, the climax feels a touch hokey, but the final scene brings some redemption. DEAR DAVID is inarguably intriguing. I needed to know how McPhail would expand upon the genuinely disturbing origin material, so there’s no denying I was along for the ride. Genre fans will eat this up.

Terror Goes Viral

 

Lionsgate will distribute the horror film DEAR DAVID in select Theaters, On Digital and On Demand on October 13th which is a co-production by Lionsgate and Buzzfeed Studios.

 

The film stars Augustus Prew (“The Morning Show”), Andrea Bang (“A Million Little Things”), Rene Escobar Jr. (Neon Lights), Cameron Nicoll (Slumberland) and Justin Long (Barbarian). The film was co-produced by BuzzFeed Studios and directed by John McPhail (Anna and the Apocalypse). The film was written by Mike Van Waes in his feature film debut based on a story by Waes and Evan Turner (The Out-Laws). 


Merry and murderous holiday horror ‘THE MEAN ONE’ hits VOD, DVD, and Blu-Ray Today!

THE MEAN ONE

Hokey Hallmark meets children’s classic in the new holiday horror THE MEAN ONE. Director Stephen LaMorte and writers Flip and Finn Kobler tell a twisted tale of trauma and small-town secrets through one of our most beloved and iconic holiday villains. A familiar story, but make it merry and murderous.

Twenty years after the Xmas Eve death of her mother in 2009, Cindy returns to her hometown to face the demons of her childhood. When history begins repeating itself, she vows to take back the night and the holiday spirit, no matter how much blood she has to spill.

Clever Seussian signage appears throughout the film, as do homage character names. The sometimes quippy dialogue works around what I can only assume would be a massive copyright infringement case.
The noteworthy turn comes from Cindy’s neighbor Doc Zuess. John Bingham, whose character is reminiscent of Roberts Blossom from Home Alone, is brilliant. His performance legitimizes The Mean One, bringing it out of its Hallmark moments.

Krystle Martin is Cindy. Her professional stunt work shines. From traumatized to trigger-happy, Cindy’s exposure therapy becomes a plot for revenge. Let us not forget our titular character brought to life by none other than “Art The Clown” himself, David Howard Thornton. His mannerisms are glorious. The film would be less memorable without him.

Christopher Sanders‘ narration adds a fantastic touch. The CG blood is straight up over the top. Is The Mean One ridiculously tropey? Yes. Will it be appearing on our eccentric holiday viewing list next week? Also, yes.


The film hits VOD, DVD, and Blu-Ray Today!

 

You can watch the film here, on its watch page: www.themeanonemovie.com/watch

 

Directed by LaMorte with a script by Flip and Finn Kobler, THE MEAN ONE stars David Howard Thornton, Krystle Martin, Chase Mullins, John Bigham, Erik Baker, Flip Kobler, and Amy Schumacher. A co-production between A Sleight of Hand Productions, Amy Rose Productions, and Kali Pictures, the feature is Produced by Schumacher, LaMorte, and Martine Melloul. Executive Producers are Jordan Rosner, Gato Scatena, and Zach Stampone.


 

Review: ‘BRIGHTWOOD’ is a dizzying nightmare, and that’s a compliment.

BRIGHTWOOD

Filmmaker Dane Elcar‘s BRIGHTWOOD follows Jen and Dan down a path of terror over and over, literally. Trapped together in a time loop that shifts from moment to moment, the audience gets dragged onto an unpredictably demented ride into the depths of relationship survival. No matter how fast they run or which direction they travel, Dan and Jenn end up back in the same spot they began, a lakeside running path next to a “No Swimming” sign. Things get weirder when they run into a shadowy figure who ignores their pleas for help with intent to harm.

Dana Berger plays Jenn with an exasperated aura. She is a woman who has decided that this relationship is over. Berger’s emotional journey is vastly different from her co-star Max Woertendyke, playing Dan. He has some fight left in him as to their marriage. That comes with a caveat of information as the film rolls on. Woertendyke nails the comedy and the horror. Their remarkable chemistry and Elcar’s writing earn a second viewing. The editing is impressive. I wish I could have been in the room while Elcar was storyboarding. The coordinated chaos is delicious. The dialogue is honest and biting, even set against the mysterious goings-on. It’s undeniably ballsy.

A therapy session from hell, BRIGHTWOOD taunts our protagonists and the audience with macabre twists and turns, dizzying us with theories. Its shocking final reveal (which is a double doozy) seemingly suggests that, in this environment, compromise and teamwork are the only way forward, for better or for worse. No spoilers from me. It’s dark as hell.

BRIGHTWOOD
ARRIVES ON AUGUST 22ND on VOD and DVD

Written and directed by Dane Elcar, BRIGHTWOOD stars Dana Berger and Max Woertendyke.

Color

English Language

84 minutes

Not Rated

 

Review: ‘KING ON SCREEN’ is a treat for all horror fans.

KING ON SCREEN

King On Screen Poster


Filmmaker Daphné Baiwir taps into our love of horror through the lens and pages of Stephen King. Her new documentary KING ON SCREEN gives audiences all the insider goodies, things we heard through the grapevine and never before explored details from relationships with King and some of our favorite filmmakers who dared to translate his words for cinephiles.

The number of King’s books that jumped from page to screen is astounding. As a kid in the 80s, like many of the filmmakers in the doc, I grew up seeing King’s books on my family’s shelf but immersed myself in the films first. The kids in Stand By Me and IT became my peers. I rented The Shining, Creepshow, and Pet Sementary ad nauseum. By the time 1996 rolled around, I remembered the glee I experienced when I discovered The Green Mile in the grocery store checkout aisle.

While we don’t hear from King directly, we see stills and videos of Stephen on the sets of his adaptations. Filmmakers like Greg Nicotero, Mike Flanagan, David Carson, Taylor Hackford, Tom Holland, John Harrison, Mick Garris, and Frank Darabont share how King’s books inspired their work. They speak to the overwhelming readability of small-town horror. King singlehandedly made Maine an unlikely horror destination. I love that everyone addresses The Shining controversy. Behind-the-scenes footage and anecdotes explain the breakdown between the book and the film. Kubrick obliterates Jack Torrance’s humanity that fans of the book (King, most of all) hate.

King’s deep dive into the political landscape has always existed. The film explores his ability to explore universal truths, whether religion, race, or greed, and make characters lovable or loathsome based on their moral compass. In the same way, we joke about The Simpsons‘ writers predicting the future, Stephen King uses the global landscape to create villains and heroes that shake us to our core. Translating that from page to screen sometimes takes a slight adjustment. The best filmmakers always ask Steve first.

For horror fans, KING ON SCREEN is like a kid coming home with a Halloween candy haul that would put you in a coma. For fans of his books, it’s like changing costumes and going out for round two. It’s delicious fun, no matter how cliche you might find the Easter egg-filled bookend scenes. They play like a Where’s Waldo for readers and genre fans alike. (I loved it.) So, turn the lights down and make popcorn. KING ON SCREEN scares up our nostalgia and celebrates a storytelling master.

 

The horror documentary KING ON SCREEN will be in Theaters on August 11th

and available On Demand and Blu-Ray on September 8th.

 

The film is directed by Daphné Baiwir (Deauville and the American dream) and features interviews with Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Walking Dead), Mick Garris (The Stand, Sleepwalkers), Mike Flanagan (“Midnight Mass,” Doctor Sleep), Tom Holland (The Langoliers, Chucky), Vincenzo Natali (Cube, In the Tall Grass), Greg Nicotero (“The Walking Dead,” “Creepshow”), Mark L. Lester (Commando, Firestarter), Taylor Hackford (Dolores Claiborne, Ray), Dee Wallace (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Cujo), Tim Curry (Congo, The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and James Caan (The Godfather, Misery).