Fantasia International Film Festival 2021 review: ‘KRATT’ brings life to lore and plenty of gore.

KRATT

Ah, children. The source of much joy, hope and innocence for many, but truth be told the little monsters are out to kill us all. Let’s be honest, they’re all selfish wretches who do nothing but drive you crazy and suck up your will to live. And now, in a small Estonian village, two narcissistic little brats (Nora and Harri Merivoo, the director’s kids!), dropped off at their Grandmother’s (Mari Lili) farm for a few weeks while their parents attend a self-help retreat, may bring about the end of human existence as we know it. Complaining about the actual work they’re expected to do, these little snot-nosed pests bring the local legend of the Kratt – a Terminator-like demonic spirit that must always be fed work, or else – to life just so they can take it easy, but in doing so they may have set in motion the destruction of Grandma, her village and perhaps the world with it. And all because they couldn’t get internet access.


A delicious mix of absurdity and folklore, Kratt is everything Fantasia International Film Festival 2021 audiences want in a single film. There’s a plethora of practical FX and gore, but the best moments come from actress Mari Lill as Grandma. Her commitment to the slapstick and over-the-top character changes makes Kratt one of the best films from this year’s fest.

You cannot miss the mockery of government, technology, religion, extremist politics, and everything in between. The score is wonderful and the cinematography is sharp. The script has one of the most brilliant and whip-smart final moments, cranking up the social commentary to 11. Kratt will have Fantasia Fest 2021 audiences doubled over. Whether that’s from gross-out moments or the laughs us up to the individual.



Shudder exclusive: ‘Boys From County Hell’ working hard or hardly working?

Strange events unfold in Six Mile Hill – a sleepy Irish town that claims to have been traveled by the famed author Bram Stoker – when construction on a new road disrupts the alleged grave of Abhartach, a legendary Irish vampire said to have inspired Dracula. Deadly and sinister forces terrorize the work crew led by Francie Moffat and his son Eugene, a free-spirited young man who prefers pints to pickaxes, and they’re forced to fight to survive the night while exposing the true horror that resides in the town’s local myth.

When anyone moves a relic, I can’t help but think of the words of Martha Plimpton in The Goonies, “Brand, God put that rock there for a purpose and um, I’m not so sure you should um move it.” She’s always right, of course. But then we might not have fun horror films like Boys From County Hell on Shudder. The opening scene is jarring as hell. With a plot that revolves around a legend and the locals that are tasked to bring the modern world into small-town life, starting with a bang was a perfect choice. The score is truly something. Mixed with ominous string and kickass local rock songs. The script is funny and has a bit of a Shawn of the Dead vibe minus the heavy-handed camp. Take your vampire tropes and shove them, because this is altogether new. The comic timing of this cast combined with the writing gives you equal belly laughs and fright. I would watch an entire series about this town! The makeup and practical fx are phenomenal. For me, the biggest visual impact was the blood CGI. There’s something so unsettling about this that creeps under your skin. It’s incredibly effective. Boys From County Hell also touches on community. Respecting where you come from and being unafraid to expand your horizons. It’s a rollicking good time.

BOYS FROM COUNTY HELL comes to Shudder in the US and Canada on April 22nd

Starring Jack Rowan (Peaky Blinders), Nigel O’Neill (The Bookshop), Louisa Harland (Derry Girls), Fra Fee (Animals, the upcoming Hawkeye series) and John Lynch (The Terror, The Banishing) and Michael Hough (the upcoming Chapelwaite series), and written and directed by Chris Baugh (Bad Day for the Cut).

Fantasia 2020 review: ‘Yummy’ is a gory treat.

The young woman wants a breast reduction. … Wandering through an abandoned ward the boyfriend stumbles upon a young woman, gagged and strapped to an operating table; she is the result of an experimental rejuvenation treatment.

All guts, all glory in this splatterfest zombie comedy. Fantasia 2020’s audiences will know what kind of film they’re in for by the tagline alone: “Facelifts, Boobjobs… and Zombies”. Yummy is a hilarious look at vanity through the zombie lense. I especially liked the when the female doctor traverses across a plank in what might be referred to as “f*ck me” heels. I’d love to know how many gallons of fake blood they had on set. I’m a sucker for great practical FX, so the added element of blood hitting the camera clutch. If 3D was still a popular fad, Yummy would be a perfect choice. The rest of the gag-inducing makeup will not be missed. My best guess would be Kensington Gore recipe… because, not poisonous and all. There are scenes that will make you wince because they are that gross. But that’s what we show up for.

Performances are all incredible. Everyone has the perfect balance of whatever personality trait needs to be pushed just a touch too far. While it does feel about 15 minutes too long, the kills keep coming and they’re entertaining as hell. Writers Lars Damoiseaux (who also directs) and Eveline Hagenbeek give us a ton to hold onto. Like many zombie films, it highlights ingenuity. But there is a lot more going on. Yummy dives into misogyny and the patriarchy, by both men and women. But I will say that when the worst offending characters get what’s coming to them your smirk will widen. Not only do we have that aspect, but we also have a genuine love story. On that note, major props for choices made in ending this film. Perhaps the ultimate moral of the story, you’re beautiful just the way you are? But it’s a zombie movie so who needs a moral, anyhow.

Find out more about Fantasia 2020 and how you can watch Yummy

Review: ‘THEY’RE WATCHING’ and so are we.

THEY’RE WATCHING

A New Horror Comedy from Micah Wright and Jay Lender 

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Every Saturday, my husband and I sleep in as long as we can enjoying the bed and the mattress we got with one of those coupons for Nolah Mattress, wander out of bed after an hour of silent phone checking, and finally, migrating to the couch we turn on what we call “real estate porn”; international house hunting stories, flipping crappy property series, and how to buy a damn island in the middle of nowhere weirdness. We always make fun of the couples. One of them is usually a royal pain in the ass and the other is overly excited about a total piece a shit. Now that we’re getting into the Manhattan real estate game, we know the harsh reality of trying to purchase property in an impossible market. We’ve seen some real horror shows. But, nothing like in the new horror comedy THEY’RE WATCHINGtheyrewatchingstill2

When an American home improvement TV show visits a remote Eastern European village, the young crew thinks the lack of mocha lattés and free wifi will be the worst of their problems because they were going to teach these fixes you can do yourself. But after their filming interrupts the superstitious villagers’ private religious ritual, the situation takes a turn for the homicidal… and when the blood starts flowing, that’s when things get really weird. With THEY’RE WATCHING, noted graphic novelists and animators Micah Wright and Jay Lender turn a classic horror premise upside down to create a fresh, funny, eye-popping twist on the genre.

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The script is funny and absolutely tongue-in-cheek with both the premise and the FX. The performances from the ensemble cast are pretty tight all around. Think Blair Witch meets any of those programs on HGTV. The story kicks off during the mock series episode and picks up when the crew returns 6 months later to film the owner’s flip results. All hell breaks loose when the locals don’t take kindly to American attitude and accidental cultural disrespect. While I pretty much knew what was coming as the story rolled along, that didn’t take away from the unapologetic schlock/ blood filled ending that seemed to go on and on. If you’re an Evil Dead fan, They’re Watching will speak to your sense of comedy and visual carnage. Wright and Lender‘s backgrounds as graphic novelists and animators make this film what it is. By the time the film comes full tilt, I sort of felt like I was playing a first person video game with it’s cinematography style and true B-Horror classic slaughter-fest.  You can check out THEY’RE WATCHING today in theater and on VOD. Feast your eyes on the trailer below:

In Theaters and On Demand March 25, 2016

THEY’RE WATCHING from filmmakers Micah Wright and Jay Lender.  Starring David Alpay (“The Tudors”), Brigid Brannagh (“Army Wives”), Kris Lemche (Haven”), Carrie Genzel (“All My Children”) and Mia Faith (“Dracano”)

Runtime:95mins

Not Rated

Social Media:
Twitter: @theybewatching
Facebook: They’re Watching

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

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Presents

CABIN FEVER

A Film By Travis Zariwny

Executive Produced By Eli Roth

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

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

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

Directed by: Travis Zariwny

Executive Produced by: Eli Roth

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

IN THEATERS FEBRUARY 12TH NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES

Review: ‘COOTIES’ is infectiously delicious.

Cooties poster“Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot, Now you have your cootie shot!” Let’s be real. We’ve all had our cootie shot at some point in elementary school. It was necessary  to survive the playground territory wars and/or avoid a horrible disease ridden classmate. Oh wait, that’s not what it was used for back then. The disease ridden classmate part, I mean. That’s the premise of the new horror-comedy COOTIES. Well, sort of.Cooties_image

Quick run down. Kid eats infected chicken nugget and becomes a cannibalistic zombie, infects other children, trapping a band of misfit teachers inside the school. Cooties‘ cast in kind of unreal. Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad, Ian Brennan and Jorgé Garcia. Wood plays Clint, a summer school teacher and aspiring writer of horror (from a fanboy’s influence). Wilson plays testosterone, jockhead gym teacher and I have to say, kinda of a badass. Pill is the ultra upbeat, former classmate of Clint and present 4th grade teacher. Pedrad kills it as the faculty bitch with a cutting sense of humor and lack of filter. Garcia, while we don’t see a whole lot of him, his presence always make me smile. He lights up the screen. McBrayer, plays a “confused” teacher with a gentle heart and a scaredy cat head. Brennan is Vice Principal Simms, a lovable weirdo. Finally, Leigh Whannnell, is what I can only assume is a science teacher, due to his lack of social skills and knowledge of things that you just have to accept as cannon as the plot rolls along. Totally forgiven as it adds to the absurdity of the storyline. Great casting choices… Mayhaps a sequel is in order? Please?Cooties 2nd image

The dialogue is hilarious and I am betting that at least 50%  of some of the best lines were improvised. I am really looking forward to a DVD release already, in hopes that there is a huge outtake reel. The practical effects are downright disgusting, even for a horror fan such as myself. Bravo for grossing me out. Even the opening title sequence shows the actual creation of a nugget from chicken to child’s mouth. It’s pretty vomit inducing, so you’re already set up for what is about to play out. The editing, both in picture and in sound are top notch. This film is wrought with catch phrases that I will admittedly be stealing. Besides all of these factors, Cooties makes some great statements about what we’re feeding our kids in school and at home. But even greater is the comment on parenting, or  lack there of. Once again, as a former teacher, kids these days can be real dicks. Sorry, but it’s true. Cooties calls out what’s wrong with our youth and throws it into our faces while being completely gross and damn funny all at once. If you’re already a fan of films like Shaun of the Dead, then you’ll love this flick. Cooties is hands down laugh out loud funny start to finish. Go see this film, but just a little advice, maybe don’t eat right beforehand.

COOTIES will be one of the debut releases of the newly-launched Lionsgate Premiere label, which will release the film on September 18th in select theaters and on demand.

Liz’s Review: ‘Dead Snow; Red VS. Dead’… Who would have thought?!

They’re not just zombies. They’re Nazi zombies.

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There may not be a better tag line written for a film in a long time. Fans of the 2009 hit Dead Snow, will immediately latch onto this epic sequel, Dead Snow; Red VS. Dead. This pull no punches zombie flick is a, for the lack of a more eloquent phrase, balls to the walls comedic gore-fest. If you’re a fan of genre flicks like Evil Dead and Shaun of the Dead, you’ll love this. Frankly, you don’t even have to have seen the original to adore the sequel. Dead 2 is almost entirely in English, unlike the first. (subtitles provided in the necessary areas are not distracting at all) Read More →