Review: In theaters today, Eva Green and Chai Fonacia star in ‘NOCEBO,’ a mysterious revenge horror mixing ethics and folk healing.

NOCEBO

In NOCEBO, a fashion designer (Eva Green) suffers from a mysterious illness that confounds her doctors and frustrates her husband (Mark Strong) – until help arrives in the form of a Filipino nanny (Chai Fonacier) who uses traditional folk healing to reveal a horrifying truth.


After a mysterious phone call and a simultaneous encounter with a mangy dog riddled with ticks, Christine’s physical and mental health rapidly declines. Suffering from sleep apnea, nightmares, forgetfulness, and sharp, debilitating pains at any given moment, her already vulnerable marriage and successful fashion design career teeter on the edge of destruction. When Filipina Nanny Diana arrives at her door, Christine does not recall sending for her, but the extra set of hands proves life-changing, for better or worse.

Diana’s integration into the family lands somewhere between awkward and essential. Husband Felix and young daughter Roberta (they call her Bobs) are caught in the middle, allowing for gaslighting from Felix and growing distrust from Bobs. Add in the class distinction with Christine and her family living in a lavish mansion, while Diana arrives with nothing but a single suitcase, mostly filled not with clothing. Writer-director Lorcan Finnegan utilizes flashbacks of Diana’s life to illustrate the glaring contrast. Little by little, the audience begins to piece things together, but not before being disturbed by the effects of Diana’s folk healing methods.

Finnegan uses the color red in many specific instances; lipstick, curtains, and, most impactfully, Christine’s lucky shoes. The color is a sumptuous visual punch set against the mostly jewel-toned house. Finnegan understands the assignment.

As the story progresses and the truth reveals itself, your view of each character shifts. Eva Green plays Chrissy with both a manic and ruthless angle. She is a master at living inside the skin of a character, and Christine is no exception. Chai Fonacier is Diana. This juicy role allows us to see Fonacier’s massive range. I would watch her in all the things, as they say.

Radek Ladczuk‘s cinematography, which I loved in Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook and The Nightingale, is just as emotionally jarring in both overt and subtle forms. The closeups of hands, small objects, and facial features pull the audience into the overall mystery of Christine’s ailment and the impact of her family.

*********The next paragraph has a bit of a spoiler. Skip it to keep the mystery intact!*********

*******SPOILER ALERT*******

In the credits, just after the music tracks, I noticed bold text reading, “Justice for all Kentex workers.” A quick Google search led me to a story from 2015 in Manila in which a factory fire killed 72 factory workers after they were trapped on the second floor. Metal grates on the windows prevented them from escaping a horrifying death. We have heard so many of these same stories of unsafe sweatshop conditions. NOCEBO I pulls directly from the 2015 tragedy, making the film all the more terrorizing.

****** End Of Spoiler Info******

NOCEBO boasts a jaw-dropping and shockingly dark finale. Mixing folklore and revenge horror never miss. The term “nocebo” comes from the Latin to harm. The Oxford definition reads: “a detrimental effect on health produced by psychological or psychosomatic factors such as negative expectations of treatment or prognosis.” Finnegan slickly lulls you into one genre, then pulls the rug out from underneath us. The truth will either set you free or destroy you. NOCEBO is here to remind us all.


RLJE Films will release NOCEBO in theaters on Nov. 4, 2022 and on Demand and Digital on Nov. 22, 2022. The film will stream on Shudder at a later date.



Directed by Lorcan Finnegan (Vivarium) and written by Garret Shanley (Without Name), NOCEBO stars Eva Green (Casino Royale), Mark Strong (1917), Chai Fonacier (Jesus Is Dead) and Billie Gadsdon (Cruella).





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: Mickey Keating’s ‘OFFSEASON’ is selling scary from start to finish.

OFFSEASON

Upon receiving a mysterious letter that her mother’s gravesite has been vandalized, Marie quickly returns to the isolated offshore island where her late mother is buried. When she arrives, she discovers that the island is closing for the offseason with the bridges raised until Spring, leaving her stranded. One strange interaction with the local townspeople after another, Marie soon realizes that something is not quite right in this small town. She must unveil the mystery behind her mother’s troubled past in order to make it out alive.


What makes this film so unsettling is a brilliant mix of Shawn Duffy‘s heightened sound editing, Shayfer James‘ music selection, and isolated locations. If you’re a genre fan, particularly gaming-wise, OffSeason is like watching Marie walk through a new live-action version of Silent Hill, down to the radio, the flashlight, and the fog. As short bursts of information are leaked to us through flashbacks, Marie is trapped in a nightmare.

Melora Walters as Ava is powerful in her manic behavior. She’s such a presence in any role. This casting was perfect. Richard Brake is brilliant. He’s so nonchalantly terrifying you’re just mesmerized by his performance. Jeremy Gardner is one of the best parts of this film. He’s a savior figure cloaked in mystery. His delivery of dialogue drives the greater mystery forward. He is an integral piece to this gothic puzzle. Jocelin Donahue has anxiety written all over her face. She has this throwback horror look from the hair, to the wardrobe, giving the entire film a timeless feel.

Mac Fisken‘s cinematography is amazing. The long lingering shots, the close-ups, and the static camera work are stunning. Watching the actors run into view and away again is such an effective stylistic choice. Writer-director Mickey Keating‘s creation lives and breathes in the audience’s ability to take the ride. I actually went back and watched the beginning again and there is one very Ari Aster moment. Keating smartly gives you a visual reference but it’s tricky to decipher right off the bat. OffSeason is worth multiple viewings. Make sure to have your volume turned up when you do.


In Select Theaters, On Demand and Digital:
 March 11, 2022


Starring: 
Jocelin Donahue, Joe Swanberg, Richard Brake, Melora Walters, Jeremy Gardner
Directed and Written By:
Mickey Keating
Run Time: 83 minutes | Rating: Not Rated


SXSW 2022 is coming. Here are some films to add to your watch list in this year’s hybrid festival.

It’s here and boy is it happening. This year’s hybrid edition of SXSW 2022 has it all. Here are a handful of films we’re excited about this year.


Linoleum

When a satellite falls from orbit and crashes into the home of a dysfunctional family in suburban Ohio, the father seizes the opportunity to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut by re-creating the machine as his own rocket ship. While his wife and daughter believe he is experiencing a midlife crisis, surreal events begin to unfold around him, forcing him to reconsider how interconnected their lives truly are…

We’ve been living through hell these past few years and could all use a bit of whimsy. Linoleum provides us the opportunity to reconnect with our inner child while simultaneously dissecting the family dynamics. Plus, I think a lot of people forget how incredibly talented Jim Gaffigan is as an actor. Look out for this one.


The Cellar

A woman must confront an ancient and powerful entity after her daughter mysteriously vanishes in the cellar of their new home.

Shudder has already picked this title up before its SXSW22 premiere. Becoming the best streaming platform for all things genre-related, when they see potential in a film they snap it up ASAP. An old mansion, a new family, a disappearance, The Cellar has my attention.


DIAMOND HANDS: THE LEGEND OF WALLSTREETBETS

It was the perfect storm. A global pandemic. An app aspiring to democratize trading. A group of Reddit users stuck at home with stimulus dollars to burn. And a video game company on its last legs. DIAMOND HANDS is the incredible true story of how an army of retail traders rallied around GameStop to rock our financial system. This is the legend of r/WallStreetBets.

Everyone watched in awe and confusion as GameStop stock began to skyrocket. The fallout was disastrous, but the idea that a bunch of dudes on Reddit were able to completely disrupt the market is pretty much my favorite (anti)capitalist giggle from 2020.

MSNBC Films and NBC News Studios will premiere “Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets,” on MSNBC Sunday, April 10 at 10:00 p.m. ET, following the global premiere at SXSW on March 13. “Diamond Hands” is produced by NBC News Studios and ZCDC Films. The film is set to stream later this Spring on Peacock. 


Hypochondriac

A young potter’s life devolves into chaos as he loses function of his body while being haunted by the physical manifestation of his childhood trauma.

If you’re looking for some kick-ass casting, look no further than Zach Villa in Hypochondriac. Unrecognizable from his American Horror Story seasons, Villa plays the writer-director Addison Heimann‘s words with care. The film is based on Heiman’s own experience with mental health.


The Cow

Synopsis: Upon arriving at a remote cabin in the redwoods, Kath and her boyfriend find a mysterious younger couple already there — the rental has apparently been double-booked. With nowhere else to go, they decide to share the cabin with these strangers until the next morning. When her boyfriend disappears with the young woman, Kath becomes obsessed with finding an explanation for their sudden breakup— but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined.

If you go to IMDB the plot for the film is still under wraps, so SXSW22 fans are in for a treat. I’ve always been a Winona Ryder fan and with Stranger Things revamping her genre status, I cannot wait to see what is in store in this mysterious-sounding plot.


Mickey: The Story of a Mouse

Mickey Mouse is one of the most enduring symbols in our history. Those three simple circles take on meaning for virtually everyone on the planet. So ubiquitous in our lives that he can seem invisible, Mickey is something we all share, with unique memories and feelings. Over the course of his nearly century-long history, Mickey functions like a mirror, reflecting our personal and cultural values back at us. “Mickey: The Story of a Mouse” explores Mickey’s significance, getting to the core of what Mickey’s cultural impact says about each of us and about our world.

When I was 19 years old, I moved to California on a whim in hopes of working at Disneyland. During my amazing time performing there (those details are top secret via the stack of NDA’s you sign as a cast member), I had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting a special individual. When Walt Disney opened Disneyland he presented the world with Mickey Mouse, live and in person. I met that man backstage and had my photo taken with him. The impact Mickey Mouse has had on generations of children and adults is unfathomable. Mickey: The Story of a Mouse will undoubtedly touch a massive audience. As I share Mickey with my own small children now, I can still picture my first meeting with a character so magical I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement. He never gets old, pun most definitely intended.


The Prank

Synopsis: Ben is your typical high-school overachiever. He’s organized, careful, goal-oriented and extremely dedicated to school. His best friend, Tanner, couldn’t be more opposite. She is a lackadaisical, messy, slacker, who lives in the moment. They aren’t popular, but they don’t seem to care that much because they have each other. Ben has a stern, mean and cruel physics teacher, Mrs. Wheeler. She has been teaching at the school for decades and has a reputation for being the hardest, coldest, strictest faculty member. She fails Ben’s entire class unless a student who cheated comes forward. When no one does, Tanner and Ben hatch a plan to ruin he life and frame her for murder on social media.

Social media is such a catalyst for action, terror, and weirdness these days that anything is possible when it is involved. But, it’s this cast that caught my eye. Rita Moreno, Connor Kalopsis, Ramona Young, Keith David, Kate Flannery, and Meredith Salenger will get my butt in a seat. Also, who didn’t have a teacher in high school everyone loathed?


The Unknown Country

An unexpected invitation launches a grieving young woman on a solitary road trip through the American Midwest as she struggles to reconcile the losses of her past with the dreams of her future.

I was first introduced to Lily Gladstone in Certain Women. Her ability to captivate with but a glance is something that is rare. The Unknown Country tackles a beautiful mix of anxiety, grief, and identity, all in a unique road trip movie. It’s a film we’ll be talking about all year.


Sissy

**WORLD PREMIERE**

WRITERS/DIRECTORS: Hannah Barlow, Kane Senes
STARRING: Aisha Dee, Hannah Barlow, Emily De Margheriti, Daniel Monks, Yerin Ha, Lucy Barrett, Shaun Martindale, Amelia Lule, April Blasdall, Camille Cumpston

Synopsis: Cecilia and Emma were tween-age BFFs who were going to grow old together and never let anything come between them, until Alex arrived on the scene. Twelve years later, Cecilia is a successful social media influencer living the dream of an independent, modern millennial woman… until she runs into Emma for the first time in over a decade. Emma invites Cecilia away on her bachelorette weekend at a remote cabin in the mountains, where Alex proceeds to make Cecilia’s weekend a living hell. #triggered

Listen, girls are mean. We hold grudges and we play dirty, those are just the facts. When friendships are disrupted, those scars last a lifetime. With social media affecting the way we lead our daily lives, SISSY sounds like a perfect storm for great horror.


SOFT & QUIET

Playing out in real time, Soft and Quiet is a runaway train that follows a single afternoon in the life of a female white supremacist as she indoctrinates a group of alt-right women, and together they set out to harass two mixed-raced sisters.

Any film that has the audacity to play out in real time has my attention. I am hardwired to loathe these main characters so I am hoping that some horrible fate befalls them. The plot is socially relevant even if I wish it weren’t. I’ll be paying close attention to how writer-director Beth de Araújo brings her first feature-length film to life.


Radical Honesty

At the tail end of a great date, Jack and Rachel bond over a shared interest in deconstructing traditional relationship structures. When Jack reveals the reality of his “radical” open relationship, things take a turn for the absurd in this short film about the co-option of the language of liberation for means of manipulation and control.

At 41, I cannot imagine navigating a new relationship at this precise moment in time. I remember when Match.com first became a thing and how weird I thought it sounded. Then I recall attending four weddings in the years that followed, each couple had met through Match. RADICAL HONESTY, a 7-minute short film, tackles the complexities that Gen Z and Millenials face day-to-day. I’ll be watching with popcorn in hand knowing that it’s one hell I don’t have to keep in check these days. (*knock on wood) Check out the teaser trailer for the film’s aesthetic.

Radical Honesty Teaser from Bianca Poletti on Vimeo.


Slash/Back

Synopsis: Pangnirtung, Nunavut: A sleepy hamlet nestled in the majestic mountains of Baffin Island in the Arctic Ocean, wakes up to a typical summer day. No School, no cool boys (well… except one), and 24-hour sunlight. But for Maika and her ragtag friends, the usual summer is suddenly not in the cards when they discover an alien invasion threatening Pang. But these teenagers have been underestimated their whole lives, and using makeshift weapons and their horror movie knowledge, they show the aliens you don’t fuck with the girls from Pang.

Slash/Back is an unexpected coming-of-age film. With some Stranger Things vibes, it tackles tradition, boredom, boys, and aliens. Wait until you see this young cast kicking ass and taking names.


Pirates

New Year’s Eve 1999. Three life long friends drive through London in their tiny Peugeot 205, pumping a UK Garage set from the stereo and arguing about their Avirex jackets and Naf Naf imports. As the eighteen-year olds step into adulthood, they know their lives and friendships are on the brink of change. Determined to end the century on a bang, they drive from place to place in a desperate search for tickets for the best millennium party EVER. In their efforts to end up somewhere, they end up closer together.

I know I’m aging myself but I was 19 on New Year’s Eve 1999. I lived this chaos and hopefulness. Anything was possible during the course of one evening. I’m here for the nostalgia and some solid shenanigans.


Jethica

Hiding out in New Mexico after a freak accident, Elena runs into Jessica, an old friend from high school. When Jessica’s stalker suddenly shows up at their door, they must seek help from beyond the grave to get rid of him, for good.

Wild and collaborative filmmaker, Pete Ohs brings an exciting edge to the indie scene with Jethica. Shot during the pandemic in 2021 and edited live on Twitch, SXSW22 audiences are surely in for some unexpected twists and turns.


The Voice Actress

Kingyo, a veteran voice actress working in Tokyo, possesses a unique ability to see the soul in all things, living and inanimate. The voice acting world is changing and she must find a way to reconcile her way of living with the modern industry. As Kingyo prepares for an upcoming audition, she seeks inspiration from the world around her and from her pet goldfish, Asatte. In the face of professional and personal adversity, Kingyo looks decidedly inward for strength through empathy and kindness.

A peek inside the recording booth and inside the mind of a working voice actress. Urara Takano puts a face to the performers we don’t talk enough about. Written, directed, and edited by Anna J. Takayama, we are invited into the world of a veteran voice actress and how she copes with forces beyond her control.


For more information on this year’s SXSW Film Festival click here!

Stayed tuned for Reel News Daily coverage as well as guest posts from Steve Kopian at Unseen Films. We’re making our schedules and doing all we can to bring you everything we’ve got. Stayed tuned!


SHUDDER news: ‘THE SPINE OF NIGHT’ to premiere exclusively on SHUDDER on MARCH 24

Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller, and the supernatural, announced that The Spine of Night will be available exclusively to stream on the platform starting on Thursday, March 24, 2022. As a Shudder exclusive, the platform will be the only subscription service that will carry the film in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

 The Spine of Night stars an all-star cast of Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess”), Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), Betty Gabriel (Get Out), and Joe Manganiello (“True Blood”). The film was co-written and co-directed by Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King.


 In The Spine of Night, an ultra-violent fantasy epic, ancient dark magic falls into sinister hands and unleashes ages of suffering onto mankind. A group of heroes from different eras and cultures must band together in order to defeat it at all costs.

THE SPINE OF NIGHT TO PREMIERE EXCLUSIVELY ON SHUDDER ON MARCH 24


 ABOUT SHUDDER

AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and originals is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. To experience Shudder commitment-free for 7 days, visit www.shudder.com.


 

Sundance (2022) Midnight review: ‘SPEAK NO EVIL’ annihilates the notion of a gracious host.

SPEAK NO EVIL

A Danish family visits a Dutch family they met on a holiday. What was supposed to be an idyllic weekend slowly starts unraveling as the Danes try to stay polite in the face of unpleasantness.


After meeting on an Italian holiday, two young families spend a weekend together in the Dutch countryside. Cultural misunderstanding and language barriers aren’t the only things creating tension, as guests become increasingly uncomfortable with their host family. 

The ominous score puts your frame of mind into peril immediately. Performances across the board will have you hanging on every word. The sly dialogue combined with increasingly cringe-worthy behavior keeps your skin crawling and your pulse elevated every second of the film. You are humming with anticipation of something terrible. Speak No Evil is the epitome of psychological horror. 

These people are not unfamiliar; the manipulation, the overly opinionated, the inappropriate, and overtly abusive. Boundaries are crossed and outright obliterated. As if that weren’t enough, the ultimate reveal of this odd couple will absolutely terrify you. Speak No Evil’s final third had me digging my nails into my palms so hard they almost drew blood. If that is not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.



To find out more about the entire Sundance 2022 lineup, click here!


Shudder original review: ‘THE ADVENT CALENDAR’ is the holiday horror gift that keeps on giving.

THE ADVENT CALENDAR

Eva (Eugénie Derouand, Paris Police 1900), an ex-dancer, is now using a wheelchair, unable to walk. When her friend Sophie (Honorine Magnier, Tomorrow is Ours) gives her an old wooden antique advent calendar before Christmas, she realizes each window contains a surprise that triggers repercussions in real life. Some of them are good, but most of them are bad, really bad. Now Eva will have to choose between getting rid of the calendar or walking again – even if it causes death and destruction to everyone she holds dear around her.


Writer/Director Patrick Ridremont gives Shudder audiences enough horror to rude into the holidays with The Advent Calendar. Think of it as a Christmas-themed Pandora’s box. Eva’s life is pretty sad. Isolated by the insensitivity of people who only see her wheelchair, combined with the declining health of her beloved father, Eva trudges through day-to-day life. When given a unique birthday gift, each day brings the unexpected. For better, and most certainly, for worse.

There’s an immediate and visceral Wow factor that occurs when the box first appears. The design is intricate. It’s simultaneously inviting and terrifying. It also allows for a brilliant screenplay structure as we know there are more surprises to come counting down the days with Eva. The Advent Calendar could have been an entire series on Shudder. 

Eugénie Derouand, as Eva, is outstanding. You can see the gears turning as her moral compass disintegrates. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. Derouand makes it look easy, and you cannot help but root for her. 

The practical fx and makeup are unsettling and grotesque. I found myself unable to look away, quite frankly. The tropes are consuming, and they’ll send a shiver down your spine. They are relentless. Overall, The Advent Calendar is a gift that keeps on giving, whether you like it or not. Add this one to your annual holiday horror lists immediately. 


Shudder, AMC Networks’ streamer for horror, thrillers and the supernatural will premiere writer/director Patrick Ridremont’s ornate and elegant French horror fantasy The Advent Calendar exclusively on Tuesday, December 2nd. Combining Faustian themes and allusions with European folklore and tense, chilling terror, the Shudder Original film provides some highly original holiday season horror.

The Advent Calendar world premiered earlier this year at London’s Frightfest and was produced by Alain Benguigui, Virginie Ogouz, Jean-Yves Roubin, and Cassandre Warnauts.


Shudder original review: New anthology ‘Horror Noire’ features 6 thought-provoking black horror stories.

HORROR NOIRE

Six stories, one film. Experience the next chapter of Black horror. Starring Lesley-Ann Brandt (Lucifer, Spartacus), Luke James (The Chi, Thoughts of a Colored Man), Erica Ash (Survivor’s Remorse, A Black Lady Sketch Show), Brandon Mychal Smith (Four Weddings and a Funeral, You’re the Worst), Sean Patrick Thomas (Macbeth, The Curse of La Llorona), Peter Stormare (American Gods, Fargo,) Malcolm Barrett (Genius: Aretha Franklin, Timeless) and Rachel True (The Craft, Half & Half), among others. With new and adapted stories by Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes, Victor LaValle, Shernold Edwards, Al Letson and Ezra C. Daniels.


‘Brand Of Evil’

I love a good anthology, and Shudder has them in spades. From The Mortuary Collection to Creepshow, Horror Noire is another original notch in subscribers’ belts. Written and directed by black filmmakers featuring black horror stories, this is an expanded follow-up to the 2019 Shudder original documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. Horror Noire (2021) features 6 strikingly different shorts. Each reaches into a different facet of terror. 


The Lake

A woman’s fresh start turns sour when she moves into a lake house that has a checkered past. This script slowly evolves, no pun intended. I did not see this coming. The storytelling is whipsmart, with juxtapositions between past transgressions and present transformation. It’s brilliant. 

Brand of Evil

This selection is an exceptional commentary on black labor, art, and capitalism. Brand of Evil is cultural appropriation in the most literal sense. How much does your soul cost? 

Bride Before You

A newly married woman seeks help conceiving by way of magic. The generational trauma of black women receives a retelling against a Reconstruction-era backdrop. Beautiful sets and costumes help create an eerie environment for a story that’s visually and metaphorically engrossing.

‘Sundown’

Fugue State

The fine line between religion and cult mixed with rogue attacks by individuals with their faces painted red. A prolific writer and his reporter wife bring the story a little too close to home. Is this a MAGA/anti-vaxxer allegory? I don’t think that’s overreaching. 

Daddy

Parenting is terrifying. Your child is your entire world, and at the same time, you can miss the old version of yourself. It will change you, no matter how hard you try. I must mention Miles Mcnicoll as James. He is a natural. So sweet, you’ll want to eat him up. He’s got a bright future in this industry. 

Sundown

This selection is laugh-out-loud and sharp as hell, taking its title, quite literally, into darkness. The “Whites Only” signs are the first (and most brilliant) clue in this short. This cast is perfect. Every single actor knocks it out of the park. The tongue-in-cheek way Sundown overkills tropes is *chef’s kiss. Genre fans are going to love this one. I would watch this one in expanded feature form in a hot minute. It’s delicious.


Premieres October 28 only on Shudder


Starring Lesley-Ann Brandt (Lucifer, Spartacus), Luke James (The Chi, Thoughts of a Colored Man), Erica Ash (Survivor’s Remorse, A Black Lady Sketch Show), Brandon Mychal Smith (Four Weddings and a Funeral, You’re the Worst), Sean Patrick Thomas (Macbeth, The Curse of La Llorona), Peter Stormare (American Gods, Fargo,) Malcolm Barrett (Genius: Aretha Franklin, Timeless) and Rachel True (The Craft, Half & Half), among others. With new and adapted stories by Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes, Victor LaValle, Shernold Edwards, Al Letson, and Ezra C. Daniels.


Review: ‘The Spine Of Night’ is classically epic and ultra-violent adult animation.

Synopsis: Heroes band together to face ancient, dark magic that falls into sinister hands.


Fantasy, folklore, and bloody horror are on full display in this unique animated film. It’s a story of neverending violence and rule. The Spine Of Night is a glorious retelling of past, present, and inevitable futures, as knowledge, magic, and power are on the line. The cast is extraordinary. Two performances, in particular, stand out in my mind. As The Guardian, Richard E Grant‘s performance is exquisite. His voice and rhythm are so iconic. Lucy Lawless is the lifeblood of Tzod. She projects strength and vulnerability through her performance, and it is captivating. 

The Spine Of Night is often a whirlwind of information. Numerous lands and leaders collide through time. Keeping track proved slightly challenging for me, but that does not lessen its epicness. I would watch a live-action version in series form. The hand-drawn rotoscope work is impressive. The physicality of the characters feels organic, which is usually difficult to produce in animation. Some retellings are in the style of black shadow form backed by ever-evolving colors. It’s a nice switch up for that particular section. Even if the amount of information feels overwhelming at times, The Spine of Night is a timeless fantasy. It will stand among the likes of WillowGame of Thrones, and The Hobbit. It’s good versus evil in its most sincere form. 


RLJE Films will release the fantasy horror animated film THE SPINE OF NIGHT in theaters, on-demand and digital October 29, 2021.

Starring: Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt

Directed By: Philip Gelatt, Morgan Galen King


Fantasia International Film Festival 2021 review: ‘MARTYRS LANE’ is one of this year’s best.

MARTYRS LANE

Leah, 10, lives in a large vicarage, full of lost souls and the needy. In the day the house is bustling with people; at night it is dark, empty, a space for Leah’s nightmares to creep into. A small, nightly visitor brings Leah comfort, but soon she will realize that her little visitor offers knowledge that might be very, very dangerous.


I feared this Martyrs Lane would be overlooked among the plethora of gore-filled content. That would have been the biggest shame to befall this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival. Writer-director Ruth Platt‘s carefully crafted tension and mystery should be celebrated. It has a quieter Babadook energy to it that is unmistakable. The film manages to be both a slow burn and a vice grip of tension. The editing puts your head in a spin in that you’re never sure what is real until the very final scene. Performances are outstanding. The fact that the entire premise mostly hinges on the work of two small girls will blow you away. It is no wonder young lead Sienna Sayer won the Special Jury Rising Star award. Martyrs Lane will hit harder for parents. Any story centered around children begets that internal ache from the very getgo and Martyrs Lane is no exception. It’s beautifully shot and elegantly lit. The exquisite progression in makeup heightens the overall dread. It speaks to the consuming power of grief and secrets. I cannot wait for Shudder audiences to experience this film in a few weeks. This one is special. Undoubtedly, one of my favorites from this year’s lineup.


Martyrs Lane Streams Exclusively on Shudder on Thursday, September 9th

North America, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand


Fantasia International Film Festival 2021 review: ‘HELLBENDER’ rocked me to my core.

HELLBENDER

A lonely teen discovers her family’s ties to witchcraft.


Honestly, if I could choose to grow up in another family, it would be the Adams family. I’m not talking about Morticia and Gomez. While I adore that lot, I’m talking about the indie horror filmmaking family. These industrious and smart people consisting of Mom, Toby Poser, dad, John Adams, and daughters, Zelda and Lulu. Fantasia 2019 audiences got their first taste of spooky genius with The Deeper You Dig. It was scary, intense, unique, and then some. This year, Fantasia 2021 audiences got to experience a new tale of terror with Hellbender.

Their cinematography is stunning. They really understand how to fill a frame. Their writing feels collaborative. John Adams’ score is deliberate and insanely effective. The songs are so fantastic I would buy their album! Within the first three minutes of Hellbender, I gasped and rocked out. If that’s not a winning film, I don’t know what is.

Zelda Adams as Izzy is so intriguing in her innocence and curiosity. Her journey from child to adult occurs before our eyes, whether we like it or not. Toby Poser, as Mom, is a force of nature. Often telling an entirely emotional story without words. Their chemistry is never forced. This is not always the case when a family works together. In the case of the Adams family, it’s their biggest strength. Their work is dark and that takes trust and guts. And allow me to assure you both are teeming in Hellbender, quite literally. There is one special effect in particular that blew me away. When you see it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

It’s a mother-daughter relationship film that just so happens to center around a witchy heritage. Predictably, deceit under the guise of protection is bound to backfire. Hellbender is about a secret and sacred family history. But, it’s also about the power of the feminine and a slick takedown of any sort of patriarchal structure. The social commentary between the treatment of witches and any female, ever, is glaringly obvious, but no less genius. Hellbender is undoubtedly one of the most kick-ass films from this year’s festival. It’s no wonder it won Best Score and Best Actress (Zelda) in the CHEVAL NOIR AWARD FOR FEATURE FILMS. I cannot wait for Shudder audiences to join in their fandom.

*PS- The Adams’ have agreed to let me be part of their family via Instagram. I couldn’t possibly be more excited. I’ll run the camera and hold the boom next time. Also, not afraid to get covered in blood.*


 

Review: Streaming exclusively on Shudder, ‘SON’ is a mother’s worst nightmare.

SON

In SONafter a mysterious group breaks into Laura’s home and attempts to abduct her eight-year-old son, David, the two of them flee town in search of safety. But soon after the failed kidnapping, David becomes extremely ill, suffering from increasing psychosis and convulsions. Following her maternal instincts, Laura commits unspeakable acts to keep him alive, but soon she must decide how far she is willing to go to save her son.

The script does an incredible job of ramping up the tension, mystery, and danger. There are solid moments in which the audience experiences Laura’s unique brand of gaslighting. This device makes the viewer question everything being thrown their way. Emile Hirsch’s detective Paul also represents our rollercoaster of uncertainty. His sympathetic approach to Laura and David’s plight is necessary. Writer-director Ivan Kavanagh gives us more gore than I expected. The special effects makeup is outstanding. As a mother, I felt ill watching SON for more reasons than I can explain. It’s a film that Shudder subscribers (especially parents) will eat up.

Luke David Blumm gives one hell of a performance as David. He strikes the perfect balance of innocence and progressively sinister. Emile Hirsch is the grounded point man needed for a story like this to be successful. I enjoy him as a cop and as an indie horror staple. SON hinges entirely on the energy of Andi Matichak as Laura. Her vulnerability and determination drive everything. Matichak never overplays the PTSD card but uses it skillfully. 

SON is an unsettling watch, so to say the least. It is yet another notch in Shudder‘s belt.

“SON” TO PREMIERE EXCLUSIVELY ON SHUDDER 
ON JULY 8, 2021 
 
Written and directed by  Ivan Kavanagh (The Canal, Never Grow Old), SON stars Andi Matichak (Halloween franchise, Assimilate), Emile Hirsch (The Autopsy of Jane Doe), and Luke David Blumm (The King of Staten Island). 
 

 

Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller, and the supernatural, announced that SON will be available exclusively to stream on the platform starting on July 8, 2021. As a Shudder exclusive, the platform will be the only subscription service that will carry the film in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
 
 

Review: ‘PG: Psycho Goreman’ celebrates a genre-bending romp of relentlessly violent, gore-filled, sci-fi weirdness.

Siblings Mimi and Luke unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord who was entombed on Earth millions of years ago after a failed attempt to destroy the universe. They nickname the evil creature Psycho Goreman (or PG for short) and use the magical amulet they discovered to force him to obey their childish whims. It isn’t long before PG’s reappearance draws the attention of intergalactic friends and foes from across the cosmos and a rogues’ gallery of alien combatants converges in small-town suburbia to battle for the fate of the galaxy.

Mimi is me as a kid; overly dramatic, kooky, aggressively brimming with sass. I played with all the boys, digging holes, making forts, playing with stick lightsabers. Am I obsessed with the fact that PG: Psycho Goreman is energized by a truculent little girl?! Hell yes. Do I love the fact that it’s over-the-top in every single way? You betcha. Is this one of the most fun viewing experiences I’ve had in lockdown? 100%.  It’s a genre-bending romp of relentlessly violent, gore-filled, sci-fi weirdness and I am here for it all.

Essentially, if you’ve ever been a genre nerd, you’ll love this film. Think Peter Jackson‘s splatstick trilogy, add a pinch of The Gate, with a side of Saturday morning cartoon realness and you can begin to comprehend what this film is. The costume and creature builds are out of this world fun. Every single detail of Psycho Goreman screams an homage to fans. It feels like it was tailormade for my 40-year-old self, and I will continue to tell myself this lie.

The chemistry between cast members is outstanding. The family dynamics are hilarious. I hope I talk to my kids that way when they get to be Mimi and Luke’s age. The dialogue is delivered with such commitment, it’s magical. The kids interacting with PG will force a grin that just won’t go away. Writer/director Steven Kostanski, who I already knew from his ABC’s of Death 2 segment, really gets it. You can tell from his extensive resume that he’s a fan that not only writes for an audience but for himself and I cannot wait to see what’s next.  PG: Psycho Goreman is destined for cult classic status. If I don’t see this costume pop up at a future Comic-Con, I will be shocked.

RLJE Films will release the Horror/Comedy PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN in Theaters, On Demand and Digital on January 22, 2021.

Written and directed by Steven Kostanski (The Void, The Divide, Father’s Day), PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN stars Matthew Ninaber (Transference), Nita-Josee Hanna (Books of Blood, 4teen), Owen Myre (NOS4A2”, Alternate Ground), Adam Brooks (The Return Father’s Day) and Steven Vlahos (“Alien House”, The Apprentice).

‘Super Dark Times’ now available on Shudder!

Super Dark Times will stun Shudder audiences. Here is a flashback to our review from The Fantasia International Film Festival 2017…

SUPER DARK TIMES

Teenagers Zach and Josh have been best friends their whole lives, but when a gruesome accident leads to a cover-up, the secret drives a wedge between them and propels them down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia and violence.

Set in the early ’90s, before Columbine was an event ingrained in history, a child’s innocence was not as easily spoiled as the kids in Super Dark Times. As someone who grew up at the same time as the main characters, I can attest to the typical dangers that surrounded our childhood. We were affected by the national news when a child was kidnapped, but that was about it. On the first evening of this year’s Fantasia Film Festival, audiences will see a film so brilliantly composed from the colors and textures of the costumes and cinematography to the incredibly disturbing storyline from screenwriters Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski. The power of an act of violence changes a person. Born from that awkward time in our lives comes the idea that fear can control the room, where the older/stronger kids ruled the proverbial schoolyards. Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes made you popular and badass and oftentimes, intimidating. Super Dark Times taps into those ideals in that very specific time in history, and yet it has a creepy timeless factor once you understand the full plot. With elements of the surreal, you will find yourself asking who is showing us the truth at any given moment. Director Kevin Phillips takes us on a sickening journey, one that’s become all too familiar as the years have rolled by.

  • Directed by: Kevin Phillips
  • Written by: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski
  • Cast: Sawyer Barth, Owen Campbell, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Amy Hargreaves, Charlie Tahan, Max Talisman
  • Company: 1091

A Shudder Original review: ‘A Creepshow Holiday Special’ is on the naughty list (and that’s a good thing)

In the holiday themed, hour-long episode, “Shapeshifters Anonymous,” fearing he is a murderer, an anxious man searches for answers for his “unique condition” from an unusual support group. Starring Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect) and Adam Pally (The Mindy Project), the special is written and directed by Creepshow showrunner Greg Nicotero, based on a short story by J.A. Konrath (Last Call).

If you are not laughing your ass off when the breakdown of evil hits both biblical proportions and the origin story of Santa Claus, then you need to check yourself. It will make you suspect of any of Santa’s Helpers all over town. Written and directed by Shudder series showrunner Greg Nicotero, A CREEPSHOW HOLIDAY SPECIAL  is a damn holiday horror treasure. Keeping in traditional Creepshow style, the striking comic book art by Kevin West and Michael Broom appears and dissolves when necessary making you take notice of the spectacular editing. Be sure to keep a sharp eye on the speech bubbles for added hilarity. Based on a story by J.A. Konrath, Nicotero’s episode is titled “Shapeshifters Anonymous”. When we discover that there is more to shapeshifting than the average Lycanthrope, a whole world of possibilities opens up to the viewer.

This cast’s chemistry is unreal. Adam Pally is mostly on the receiving end of tongue in cheek jokes when he’s usually the one dishing them out. Watching him volley with Anna Camp is pure Christmas magic. Accompanied by a phenomenal ensemble featuring Pete Burris, Frank Nicotero, Derek Russo, and perhaps the most spectacular of them all Candy McLellan. You will fall madly in love with her! Cast her in all the things immediately, please and thank you. Of course, the larger makeup FX are masterfully reminiscent of the original series; very 80’s campfest. The final twist gives up an epic showdown that only rings true in the Creepshow realm. While this episode is less frightening than funny, it’s an awesome holiday treat. I for one am looking forward to the release of Creepshow Season 2 in 2021.

A CREEPSHOW HOLIDAY SPECIAL will be available exclusively on Shudder on December 18, 2020. The episode will also be available on Shudder Canada, Shudder UK, and Shudder ANZ.

Shudder original review: ‘LEAP OF FAITH: WILLIAM FRIEDKIN ON THE EXORCIST’

A lyrical and spiritual cinematic essay on The ExorcistLeap of Faith explores the uncharted depths of William Friedkin’s mind’s eye, the nuances of his filmmaking process, and the mysteries of faith and fate that have shaped his life and filmography. The film marks the sixth feature documentary from Philippe (78/52, Memory: The Origins of Alien), continuing his thoughtful analysis of iconic genre films. Starring William Friedkin. Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe. A SHUDDER ORIGINAL. (Also available on Shudder Canada, Shudder UK and Shudder ANZ

This is truly a peek behind the wizard’s curtain. The most shocking part of the in-depth conversation with William Friedkin is where he admits what was planned and, more strikingly, what wasn’t. He was often flying by the seat of his pants, but you can tell by the passionate way he describes his process that there was more planning than we can ever imagine. He uses music as a device in directing. In the doc, side by side juxtaposition from other iconic films and scores make his point perfectly. The editing makes you want to have The Exorcist on another screen to experience the full moments that are being referenced in snippets. The meticulously placed subconscious effects on the audience are profound. Once they’re explained, they will blow your mind.

Friedkin’s believes that every moment surrounding the creation of The Exorcist was fate. From getting the book to casting choices, to existing shooting circumstances in Iraq. He uses art to inspire the look of scenes. Discovering the painting that is responsible for the iconic cover art takes your breath away. The battle over the score is nothing short of epic. For someone who boasts about asking for one or two takes, his obsession with the minute details will astonish you. Friedkin is pretty much a mad genius. He explains how his faith had to be separated from the job. The philosophy behind the story is what solidifies the meaning for him. While this is solely Friedkin’s perspective, and we know the permanent physical and emotional damage on Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn, hearing so much detail from the director’s mouth, his creative process, and the effect the experience had on him is nothing short of fascinating. You don’t have to be a fan of The Exorcist to completely love this documentary. The insight on what goes into making a film come alive is gold unto itself.  For genre fans, in particular, it’s magic.

LEAP OF FAITH: WILLIAM FRIEDKIN ON THE EXORCIST is available today on Shudder

ABOUT SHUDDER:

AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and originals is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. To experience Shudder commitment-free for 7 days, visit ​www.shudder.com​.

 

Review: Shudder original ‘The Pool’ dives head first into the deep end.

A young couple find themselves trapped in a 20’-deep swimming pool with no way out—and that’s only the beginning of their problems. Starring Theeradej Wongpuapan, Ratnamon Ratchiratham, directed by Ping Lumpraploeng.

Relentlessly unnerving, The Pool takes a seemingly simple premise and turns it into an elaborate horror movie. From one moment to the next, this story keeps you on the edge of your seat and rooting for our leading man. Theeradej Wongpuapan must have been so physically drained after each takes, not to mention emotionally. The script highlights how desperation leads to ingenuity. Minus the holier than thou moment around abortion and the sometimes silly looking CGI, The Pool is successful because it’s so frustrating. It’s like watching a slow form of brutal torture, but undeniably entertaining torture. Some moments will be difficult to watch. They may break you. But, damn, this script is strong as hell. I don’t remember the last time I literally gripped the couch and was sweating near the end of a film. This is a film that I grant full permission to yell at the screen. I have no doubt writer-director Ping Lumpraploeng would approve. The visual starkness of (essentially a unit set) that occurs for the majority of the film is in high contrast to the dreamy opening shots that will make you gasp. This allows us to delve into the mindset of the characters, it heightens the panic. The Pool is incredibly unique. Great writing and exceptional performances keep it afloat.

The Pool is now available on SHUDDER

 

Review: ‘Blood Machines’ a cyberpunk fantasy, now available on AMC’s Shudder.

Synopsis:
Two space hunters are tracking down a machine trying to free itself. After taking it down, they witness a mystical phenomenon: the ghost of a young woman pulls itself out of the machine as if the spaceship had a soul. Trying to understand the nature of this entity, they start chasing the woman through space.

Inspired by the spirit of the 80’s films and music, BLOOD MACHINES is a 50-minute, sci-fi horror mind-melter told in three chapters, scored by acclaimed and reclusive French synth-wave artist Carpenter Brut, and expanded from their music video of their track Turbo Killer. Starring Elisa Lasowski, Anders Heinrichsen and Noémie Stevens, written and directed by Seth Ickerman.

 

Chapter One:
Mima

This episode is so visually spectacular from the get-go, I exclaimed, “Whaaaaatttt” as soon as I spotted the first spacecraft. The sets are something akin to Star Wars, a video game, and a graphic novel. Great costumes and props add to this lived-in world. It has a solid 80’s vibe and yet it’s still completely timeless. If you don’t want to keep watching as the screen goes black, I will be flabbergasted.

Chapter Two:
Corey

This episode picks up exactly where Mima left off. The attention to detail in the cinematography is hypnotizing. The color choices are rad as hell. But it’s the plot that sneaks up on you in earnest here. The definition of a soul is prominently questioned, as is the psychosexual dynamic between the characters.

Chapter Three:
Tracy

This episode plays upon the many dimensions of the female psyche. The power of sensuality, protective nature, and empathy, and exploration. The visual juxtaposition between scenes is glorious. Wait until you see the climactic choreography. It will blow your mind.

Blood Machines is something entirely unique. While it is meant to invoke a conversation about “man” meeting machine and all the complexities that come with that ever-expanding A.I. issue, out of context it’s a very feminist film. As a woman viewing this magical creation, it made me feel vindicated and more kickass than usual.  It will rock you and entertain to no end. Writer-director Seth Ickerman has given the audience an intelligent and thoughtful piece of sci-fi. Carpenter Brut’s score is intoxicating. I would play that on a loop if given the chance. Genre fans will beg for more. I’m asking, nay imploring, that this story get expanded (AGAIN) in any form. It’s brilliant.

About SETH ICKERMAN:
Raphaël Hernandez and Savitri Joly-Gonfard are two French directors, working for 10 years under the pseudonym of Seth Ickerman. Known for their production design and art direction skillset, Raphaël and Savitri collaborated on various commercials for companies such as LG, Ubisoft, and Samsung. In 2016, they directed the hit music video Turbo Killer in 2016 for Carpenter Brut. 
About CARPENTER BRUT:
Carpenter Brut draws its influences from 80s TV shows and B-movies loaded with synthesizers. The mysterious and discreet man behind the pentagon – or the Brutagram as his fans would call it – evokes an encounter between Justice beats and the universe of John Carpenter. Listening to his home-made EPs, however, one would rather bet on a metalhead background, a crush for Dario Argento, and a force-fed religious education. This would explain his penchant for the occult, his passion for kitsch sounds, and his adoration for all kinds of enjoyment.
Carpenter Brut pays tribute to the post-hippie/pre-AIDS culture that then set the basis of electro and metal to give us a unique, violent, and crazy 80s revival sound.

 

Review: ‘Blood Quantum’ now available on AMC’s Shudder

The dead are coming back to life outside the isolated Mi’gmaq reserve of Red Crow, except for its Indigenous inhabitants who are immune to the zombie plague. Traylor (Greyeyes), the tribal sheriff, must protect his son’s pregnant girlfriend, apocalyptic refugees, and reserve riffraff from the hordes of walking white corpses. 

Mesmerizing opening cinematography, unsettling imagery, and a stunning bit of animation are all in the first few minutes of Blood Quantum. It’s a hell of a way to begin. All the bloody practical FX, the creative kills, the extraordinary make-up, combined with an awesome plot are just a few reasons why Blood Quantum is an outstanding zombie film. You’re getting 3 distinct acts with the shift in time and a shocking third act you may not see coming. In truth, it is a study of historic irony. While the native American population was decimated by European viruses, in this film they are immune. Even with that advantage, rage from the youngest generation is their ultimate downfall. Writer-director Jeff Barnaby has given us a truly poignant and thoroughly badass film.

The fact that we’re experiencing it now during a world-wide pandemic only makes it more relevant. The exploration of social, economic, and family dynamics are all the more impactful. All of that is a bonus because it’s truly a bloody disgusting zombie flick. Genre fans will live in this film. Extra special mention for the use of Fawn Wood‘s song “Mommy’s Little Guy” at the end. You can watch Blood Quantum now on Shudder.

From writer & director Jeff Barnaby (RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS)

Starring:

Michael Greyeyes (True Detective, Fear the Walking Dead)

Forrest Goodluck (THE REVENANT, THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST)

Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga)

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN)

Olivia Scriven (Degrassi: Next Class & The Next Generation)

Revered MMA trainer Stonehorse Lone Goeman

Brandon Oakes (RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS)

William Belleau (Frontier, SCALPED)

Devery Jacobs (American Gods, The Order, RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS)

Gary Farmer (DEAD MAN, JIMMY P)

Review: ‘PREVENGE’ takes killer kids to the next level.

presents

PREVENGE
Written and Directed by Alice Lowe

**Official Selection: 2016 VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL**
**Official Selection: 2016 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL**
*
*Official Selection: SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2017**

Sometimes, when it’s 3 am and my unborn baby girl decided it’s an awesome time to do a dance instead of letting me sleep, I become, shall we say, a little grumpy. 3 weeks away from my second child, I’m freaking tired and sore and over being pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled for this peanut. My soon to be two children will be less than 16 months apart. Yup, two under two. I shudder to think about the amount of rest I will not be getting for the next 18, nay, 19 years. All that being said, I’ll have my perfect little salt and pepper set, all we need is the dog. There will be days I will want to flee, I’m sure… but I cannot imagine a day where the acts of my kids will compel me to start, let’s say, murdering people. Though, it’s early and who am I to judge. In Alice Lowe‘s directorial debut, PREVENGE, Ruth’s unborn child is telling her to murder a very specific list of people and perhaps for a good reason.

Synopsis:

A pitch black, wryly British horror comedy from the mind of Alice Lowe (“Sightseers,” “Hot Fuzz,” “Paddington”) that’s as funny as it is vicious,  PREVENGE follows Ruth, a pregnant woman on a killing spree. It’s her misanthropic unborn baby dictating Ruth’s actions, holding society responsible for the absence of a father. The child speaks to Ruth from the womb, coaching her to lure and ultimately kill her unsuspecting victims. Struggling with her conscience, loneliness, and a strange strain of prepartum madness, Ruth must ultimately choose between redemption and destruction at the moment of motherhood.

Written, directed and starring Lowe while she was actually 7 1/2 months pregnant, Prevenge is savage and wickedly demented. Sharp British humor heightens this in-your-face rampage. As much as you attempt to figure out the actual reason for the string of murders, you won’t until very late into the film and thus a sign of great writing. Lowe’s portrayal of Ruth is frighteningly grounded and wonderful. The cast is filled with familiar faces and the chemistry between Lowe and her (mostly) victims is perfection. The colors are vibrant and the jarring jump cuts interspersed are incredibly effective. The film is weird and gruesome and unlike anything you’ve seen before. It’s just plain cool.

Check out a clip from the film below.

PREVENGE opens theatrically in New York and Los Angeles and will be available nationwide on Shudder, on March 24th

About SHUDDER:

Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving fans of thrillers, suspense, and horror. Backed by AMC Networks, Shudder has a growing and dynamic selection of thrilling premieres, originals, and exclusives, which complement its impressive library of international and independent films, gripping TV series, and Hollywood blockbuster favorites.

TRT: 88 min
Director: Alice Lowe
Writer: Alice Lowe
Cast: Alice Lowe, Gemma Whelan, Kate Dickie, Jo Hartley
Distributor: Shudder