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The Demon House (2018)

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Genre : Documentary
Country : United States
Director: Zak Bagans

Cast:
Zak Bagans
Jay Wasley
Billy Tolley

Summary
“As mass hysteria breaks-out over an alleged demonic possession in an Indiana home, referred to as a “Portal to Hell,” “Ghost Adventures” host and paranormal investigator Zak Bagans buys the house, sight unseen, over the phone. He and his crew then become the next victims of the most documented case of demonic possession in US history…the “house of 200 demons.”

The supernatural always makes for a good story. From horror classics like Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist to more mainstream fare such as 1990’s Ghost and Bedazzled there’s just something about the paranormal that intrigues audiences; both on the silver screen and at home. Reality shows like A Haunting and Destination Truth are not only popular shows but some of the longer running shows on cable. But when it comes to popularity with 15 seasons and spawning multiple spin-offs, Ghost Adventures is the most popular of these types of shows. Now, over a decade since he started Ghost Adventures, host Zak Bagans is up against something he may not be ready for.

Since being profiled by The Indianapolis Star in 2014, the exorcism of Latoya Ammons and “The House of 200 Demons” has become a hot spot for the paranormal community. The legend only grew with write-ups in news outlets such as The Huffington Post and Fox News. Shortly after these phenomenal reports, paranormal investigator Zak Bagans bought the house and intends to get to the bottom of things. Is it all an elaborate hoax or is there something more sinister going on?

Interestingly enough the movie doesn’t really focus on what most people think of when they think of ghost hunting. Instead the focus is more on the stories of people effected by the house. While neither Latoya Ammons nor her children are interviewed family members, police officials, then-child protective services workers and documentary crew who are affected give their own version of what they experienced. Each person giving their own interesting case for why the house is haunted. At the same time Bagans doesn’t focuses solely on the people convinced the property is haunted.

Time is also given to people who don’t think anything supernatural happened such as family members and people who have been to the house. We even briefly hear about an unnamed Hollywood producer gets involved due to interest in the rights to the Demon House story. Not only does it give a complete picture of the Ammons possession but it helps distance the documentary from Bagans’s Ghost Adventures. That said the show’s influence does pop up every now and then.

Sharing a lot of the same cast and crew The Demon House can sometimes feel a bit too much like an episode of Ghost Adventures. It is especially noticeable during the dramatic recreations where costumes and settings tend to look cheap. The generic sets and goat-headed creature feeling more like b-roll from the show instead of something originally filmed for the movie. The tropes that come with the show also effect the documentary’s climax. After nearly two hours of build up the movie ends with Zak investigating the home himself. Certainly, the logical conclusion but the way it’s shot with security cameras and night vision make it feel like an episode of Ghost Adventures that they forgot to edit down. After all of the stories we hear about what went on in the house Bagans sitting in the dark yelling at some unseen entity feels anti-climatic.

Perhaps the most interesting part of The Demon House is its ability to play both sides of the fence. For believers or fans of Ghost Adventures it provides a more extensive look into the research that goes into investigating the paranormal. Its a side of the Ghost Adventures crew that we dont really see on the show. At the same time for skeptics there is an interesting story here with a cast of colorful characters telling their own unique tales of the supernatural.

Will it convince skeptics that there are forces beyond our understanding? Absolutely not. There are way too many holes in the story and hokey TV editing to really convince them. But with a riveting story with such a cool location, The Demon House makes for an intriguing watch nevertheless for believers and non-believers alike.

Rating 6/10
Links : IMDB

Demon House is now available on VOD

Comic Book Movies

Joaquin Phoenix Stares Into Your Soul As The Joker Via “il venerdì di repubblica” Cover

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“Cinematic achievement on a high level.”

Director Todd Phillips has gone on the record stating, his film is going to piss off hardcore comic book fans. The upcoming ‘Joker’ movie will not follow any comic book plot lines or continuity for the villain, and will in fact be its very own stand alone film. With that being said, the movie is already garnering praise from select audiences. Cameron Bailey, co-head and artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, went on record with Toronto Sun, hailing the film as “Cinematic achievement on a high level.” Bailey continued on, saying:

“First of all it’s terrific. So it should play on our largest stage. But it’s a really original take on comic book movies and on the Joker character in particular. It’s not based on an existing story, it has one of the greatest actors in modern cinema, Joaquin Phoenix, in the lead, and Robert De Niro is in it as well, one of the best actors that has ever lived.”

Bailey, also went on to say, the film is “Very cinematic,” for a low budget feature.

“Has an interesting tone and approach to it. It’s set in the late ’70s, early ’80s and it feels like it was made then. It’s gritty in its look, it has references to Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking and it feels like a cinematic achievement on a high level. Although it’s working with very populist material, it has great ambition. That’s why it’s a Gala.”

Check out the newest ‘Joker’ magazine cover via il venerdì di repubblica.

‘Joker’ hits theaters October 4, 2019

 

 

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Featured

Brightburn – This Superhero Parody Peppered With SF And Horror Elements Is Simply Sublime

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Take.. The.. World.
Take the world.

Superhero-movie-haters unite. Run to a nearby movie theater to see this movie. Because “Brightburn” is the ultimate anti-superhero-film of all time. The moment I realized which direction it was going, I cursed myself because after seeing “Avengers: Endgame” I’d decided to have a little sabbatical. I was going to avoid movies with characters in tightly fitting latex suits and superhuman powers. But as it became clear that it wasn’t what I expected, my enthusiasm grew all the more. My enthusiasm for films such as “Deadpool” and “Ant-Man” (because of a touch of whimsy and the originality) was effortlessly overtaken by this highly original anti-superhero film. And if one also mixes the superhero genre (of which they are continuously producing sequels and prequels) with my all-time favorite genre horror, it simply can’t go wrong. I am indeed enthusiastic, yes. Extremely enthusiastic!

 

Brightburn

 

Is it a plane? A bird? Is it Superman? Uh, nope.

It all starts as a sort of Superman parody or reboot (another favorite Hollywood term these days). Here too, we meet a young couple who have been trying to have a child for years. Even spicy lingerie doesn’t do wonders because farmer Kyle Bryer (David Denman) (and yes, the location is again a big farm) is rather clumsy, which means that his watch always gets stuck in his wife’s hair. BANG! Before they realize it, some object out of space crashes nearby. Right in their back yard. And as if it’s the most normal thing, Tori (Elizabeth Banks) finds an innocent, sweet little guy in this comet or spacecraft. They adopt him instantly and call him Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn). All peace and light, you think. Until the boy realizes that something is wrong. Especially when he tries to start the lawnmower and suddenly the thing ends up at the neighbors. A few meadows further.

 

Brightburn

 

An evil superhero with an attitude.

With the well-known figure Superman, the parents didn’t waste any time and told young Superman to keep his growing powers under control and only use it to help humans. In the 70s this fact was acceptable. But after the trillionth superhero movie, that concept really starts to sound boring. And that’s where “Brightburn” starts to deviate substantially. As soon as it seems as if puberty hits Brandon, and no it’s not about hair growth and other side-effects, and he wanders around the farm at night looking for something that seems to call him, it becomes clear that a constructive parent-child conversation is not really useful. When Brandon feels disadvantaged, it’s best to stay away from him. The consequences of a tantrum can be disastrous. You could end up flying into a closet or have a crushed hand as a result. So they are stuck with a teenage son with issues who has superpowers. A “Dennis the Menace” with an attitude. You don’t have to be smart to know what’s going to happen next.

 

Brightburn

 

Not really horror.

Let’s talk about the horror part. For those who are only used to super-hero films, it will be a shock. For a seasoned horror fanatic, it’s all just ordinary. It’s not terrifying or too bloody. There are some excellent gore effects in it, though. I personally found it simply exciting at certain moments. Exciting as in how the story will continue and end. And they even tried to tackle that part in an original and quirky way. The majority of blockbusters always have such a predictable outcome. In a western, the bad guys always eat dust in the end. A romcom has a happy ending in most cases. And even superheroes on the verge of despair will eventually prevail (such as The Avengers, for example). If you expect this to happen here as well, you’re absolutely wrong. But there’s one thing I’m sure of. The marketing department of Marvel already smells money. I bet they are planning a sequel already with The Avengers trying to beat the unstoppable Brandon.

 

Brightburn

 

Excellent acting.

About the acting, I can be brief and concise. Simply excellent. Especially the mother and son bonding was worked out and portrayed in a proper way. The desperation and motherly love that Elizabeth Banks radiates is simply wonderful to see. And even though Brandon seems incomparably innocent at times, the moment his evil ego pops up, he can conjure up a frightening and impressive facial expression. It’s just a shame he didn’t focus his anger on the annoying class bully as well.

 

Brightburn

 

I repeat it once more: a brilliant film.

Brightburn” definitely will end up in my top list this year. The only downside was the duration. Far too short of course. But otherwise, this superhero parody, peppered with SF and horror elements, is simply sublime. The fact this film has a go-against-the-rules attitude and the idea of a superhero who doesn’t care about humanity is a pleasant and refreshing change compared to the commercial one-size-fits-all releases nowadays. Just something as simple as Brandon’s costume. Has anyone ever wondered who actually made the Spiderman suit? Or did Peter Park have a Sewing and knitting diploma? Brandon uses a piece of woolen textile and a bedspread as equipment. Ingenious anyway. As brilliant as the film itself. I keep repeating it. It is hoped that it will stay with this unique film and that they won’t come up with a miserable number of sequels.

 

My rating 9/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Action

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Gets First Motion Poster

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“An action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.”

Christopher Nolan’s 2020  film, ‘Tenet,’ has been shrouded in secrecy for quite some time. Recently a teaser trailer was dropped, slightly lifting the veil as to what we can expect from the highly anticipated thriller. The star studded cast includes John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clemence Poesy and Kenneth Branagh amongst others. The recent teaser trailer only gives a small tidbit for fans to grasp onto, showing the lines: “Time has come for a new protagonist” and “Time has come for a new kind of mission.” The trailer is said to depict Washington’s character seemingly moving in a time loop of some sort.

Many fans are going with the idea that ‘Tenet’ is some sort of ‘Inception’ sequel, which is highly unlikely. But based on the plot description, it sounds as though it could be loosely connected:

“An action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.”

Some have pointed out that Michael Caine is listed amongst the cast but is the only character returning from the original film [Inception], which went on to gross $828.3mill worldwide while being nominated for eight Oscars and bringing home four. ‘Tenet’ is set to arrive in theaters July 17, 2020

 

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