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

COUPEZ!

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

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

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

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


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Review: ‘WYRMWOOD APOCALYPSE’ screams franchise potential.

WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE

Synopsis: Rhys lives in the zombie-infested wasteland. His job is to capture civilians and deliver them to what’s left of the military. When Rhys captures a half-zombie-half-human named Grace, he comes to believe she is the key to ending the apocalypse.


*Let me begin their review by stating that I have not seen the original Wyrmwood. I can only comment on Wyrmwood: Apocalypse as a stand-alone film.*

I was immediately drawn into the film hearing Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds‘ track “Red Right Hand,” alongside the quick-cut editing. Equal parts quirky and cool, I was committed. The costumes and sets are elaborate eye candy. The special effects makeup and practical FX are deliciously gruesome. The score, combined with the red lighting, makes for the perfect touch of camp. Wyrmwood: Apocalypse has legit legs for a franchise reboot. 

This cast is gold. The commitment to these characters is commendable. The fight sequences and choreography are damn entertaining. These actors go hard into the action. Bravo, to Luke McKensie, Shantae Barnes-Cowan, Jake Ryan, Bianca Brady, Tasia Zalar, Jay Gallagher, and Nick Boshier for their phenomenal chemistry.

The plot possesses a similar concept as Zydrate from one of my all-time favorite films, Repo! The Genetic Opera. There’s revenge, cognisant zombies, mind control, harvesting, and family dynamics. You name it, and it’s in Wyrmwood: Apocalypse. There’s enough meat in this storyline to justify a series development. I could easily see this doing well on the SyFy network. It has to be from writer-director Kiah Roache-Turner and co-writer Tristan Roache-Turner. Consistency is key to maintaining a fandom. The bottom line is Wyrmwood: Apocalypse is a new beginning.


Zombie Action-Horror WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE — OUT DIGITALLY IN THE U.S. APRIL 14!


Genre: Horror

Country: Australia

Runtime: 90 mins

Year: 2022

Language: English

Rated: NA


Review: ‘That Cold Dead Look In Your Eyes’ is genre-destroying madness.

Synopsis

Leonard is about to lose his girlfriend, home, and job. Upon that, he’s having strange hallucinations. Is it stress or an after effect of new technology installed all over the city? He must figure it out or he’ll be trapped in this nightmare forever.


I got the email and all I saw was the director’s name. You had me at Onur Tukel, send me the film. If you aren’t familiar with the genre of weird and wonderful that Tukel has put forth into the world of cinema, you’re seriously missing out. From titles like Applesauce to Black Magic for White Boys, if you ever think you know where one of his scripts is headed, you’re sorely mistaken. Enter his newest creation, That Cold Dead Look In Your Eyes.

Leonard blew up his life by cheating on his girlfriend. She is kicking him out. In the meantime, her photographer father that she so clearly adores is visiting at an inopportune time, leaving Leonard to play an awkward host. Dennis is loathsome. He regards himself very highly and cares little for the opinion of others. He’s brash and his attitude seems to be contagious. Leonard is spiraling in every aspect of life. His cooking skills are garbage, he’s running out of money, what’s left of his personal space has been invaded. The entire film seems to be one bashing extravaganza of Leonard, or is it? There is a sadness that consumes him. Maybe it’s the strange new technology that begins appearing around the city. There’s a 5G joke in here, perhaps, and it isn’t subtle. 

Franck Raharinosy as Leonard is just as helpless as you need him to be. Put this man out of his misery in some form or fashion. That’s probably the oddest compliment I could give him. He plays such a convincing sad sack of a man, you feel bad for him. Alan Ceppos is magnificent in his ability to make you cringe. He just doesn’t give a f*ck, for lack of eloquence. This is a performance akin to watching a car crash. You want to look away but you cannot. You are transfixed by Ceppos’ nonchalance. He’s unreal.

The decision to use color for the past and black and white for the present threw me. It became a revelatory choice. Unsurprising for Tukel, whose films tend to center on relationships. You’ll always be taken aback by whatever comes out of his brain next. Tukel can make the mundane hilarious. In Cold Dead Look, we get everything from gaslighting to buffoonery, cruelty to madness, and depression with a side of hideous hallucinations. The film feels like one lengthy Twilight Zone episode in French. Do I have any inkling of what the hell happened once the credits rolled? No, I do not. But, That Cold Dead Look In Your Eyes is unlike anything you’ve seen before, while simultaneously, very obviously being an Onur Tukel film.


The newest film from acclaimed director Onur Tukel (Catfight, Summer of Blood), and featuring Nora Arnezeder (Army of the DeadUpcoming series “The Offer”) and Max Casella (“The Sopranos”, The Tender Bar), THAT COLD DEAD LOOK IN YOUR EYES will release On Demand 11/9.


Fantasia International Film Festival review: ‘The Night Eats The World’ breathes new life into the zombie genre.

The morning after a party, a young man wakes up to find Paris invaded by zombies.

The Night Eats The World is all about isolation. Sam is alone in his ex’s apartment, walls splattered with blood, and the other floors are not much better. Realizing the outside is even less safe, he begins to use his wits by gathering what he can find, little by little, staying organized but perhaps not sane. Actor Anders Danielsen Lie is in every single scene of the film. His performance is so engrossing that I almost missed his complete physical transformation along the way. He must remain as calm as possible, which is pretty difficult considering the circumstances. Director Dominique Rocher has given us quite the gem here. The Night Eats the World easily sets itself apart from the average zombie film. The film delves into the complexity of human intimacy. This is explored through a relationship with an undead individual trapped inside an elevator (played magnificently by Denis Lavant), an encounter with a fellow survivor, and a cat. An added element of interest that propels the plot is the fact that Sam is a musician. This becomes both an advantage and a misstep along the way. We’ve all watched The Walking Dead for years now but off the top of my head, I’m not sure I would be as methodic in my solitary survival as Sam. While we don’t get any information about the outbreak specifically, it never stopped me from enjoying the film, rooting for Sam to stay alive. Sometimes you don’t need it all spelled out for you, sometimes great storytelling is more than enough.

The Night Eats The World made is Canadian Premiere at this year’s Fantasia International Film festival. The 2018 fest came to a close last night, but we’ll keep you updated on the release dates. As for The Night Eats The World, you can catch it in theaters now and on VOD platforms like Amazon, Google Play, and YouTube.

Tribeca Film Festival Review: Audience Award winner, ‘HERE ALONE’ wrenches a mother’s instinct.

Tribeca Film Festival logo 2016here alone still tribeca

Being a new mom has had it’s toll on my brain. I’ve forgotten to eat. I’ve put the milk carton in the oven. I’ve gone days without showering or changing into socially acceptable attire. Being alone with an almost 4 month old baby all day makes your mind do/think weird things. Stir-craziness is very real. Isolation can ravage the senses. One the up side, this also means I have “a lot of time” (I know, I laughed as I typed that, too) to watch, or at least play films in the background. As a horror buff, I was excited about one film’s description in particular from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival Midnight Section, even if the plot sounded similar to ones that have cone before it. Like The Walking Dead, Rod Blackhurst‘s Tribeca World premiere HERE ALONE, is not about “zombies” but more about the people left behind.

After a terrible virus ravages human civilization, Ann finds herself living alone in a forest, foraging for supplies, and accompanied only by a radio that broadcasts a single transmission in French. Few animals even remain; the only survivors seem to be the roving hordes of infected creatures with a taste for human flesh. One fateful day, Ann crosses paths with two more survivors, Chris and Olivia. But after surviving on her own for so long, she struggles to relate to them and and their desire to settle down and start a new community.

here alone still chris and annAlmost entirely shot in the woods, our lead character Ann has only her vehicle and two small camps on a lake. Screenwriter David Ebeltoft’s immensely effective script, utilizes intermittent flashbacks to show us how Ann came to be on her own. Once traveling with her husband and infant daughter, the audience must allow themselves to be with Ann in the present in order to feel emotionally connected. She is smart and resilient. She has learned that practicality is the only way to survive. Her newly gained skills sometimes fumble, adding to the realism factor. The minute she allows her emotions to control her path, things are bound to go awry. When Ann stumbles upon Chris and his step-daughter Olivia, her motherly instinct may be her undoing. Two mindsets are at play; Stay put or keep moving. Which would you choose? Blackhurst’s use of nudity is never without purpose. There is no glamour factor here, which is much appreciated in the genre in general. Lucy Walters‘ lead performance is breathtaking. It’s not until the very end that we discover what happened to Ann’s daughter. That particular scene, which we know from the very beginning we’ve been building up to, is one of the most gut-wrenching I’ve seen on film. Maybe it’s the new Mommy hormones, maybe it’s Ebeltoft specifically crafted script, or maybe it’s the perfect storm of the two. I don’t think I have ever wept while watching a horror film until now. In a “what would you do?” scenario from hell, HERE ALONE tears your heart out and challenges how you think you’d react in a doomsday situation. When you’re down to your last bullet, it’s life or death.

HERE ALONE is one to catch. It may not necessarily be a new idea, but it is told from a fresh perspective. (Mothers be warned.)

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.

First Trailer for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Zombie Drama ‘Maggie’ Released

Maggie-1

Lionsgate has released the first trailer for the upcoming zombie drama Maggie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin and you can view it below!

The film, directed by Henry Hobson, centers around a teenage girl named Maggie (Breslin), who becomes infected by an outbreak of a disease that slowly turns the infected into cannibalistic zombies. During her transformation, her loving father Wade (Schwarzenegger) tries to come to terms with her affliction and stand by her in her final days.

The film is set to premiere April 22nd at the Tribeca Film Festival and open wide on May 8, 2015