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HORROR

Incident in a Ghostland (2018)

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Jesus Christ.
It’s Rob Zombie’s house.

They came up with the following slogans for “Hereditary“: “The scariest film ever” and “A highlight in horror in the last 50 years“. Well, I wonder what they would say about “Incident in a Ghostland“? I won’t say this is the most masterful horror of all time. And no, it’s not as frightening as “The Exorcist“. That one scared me to death in those days. “Incident in a Ghostland” uses the same concept as in “The seasoning house” and “I spit on your grave“. The sexual abuse of innocent girls and the psychological damage these desperate victims suffer from. It’s not trembling and shaking all the time, but the whole movie you’ll have that uncomfortable feeling.

 

 

An eye for an eye.

Now, the concept of such movies is actually quite simple. In the first instance, they try to shock you with confrontational images so you’ll feel sick with disgust and anger. In such a way that the second part feels like a relief. Just like Jean-Claude Van Damme in his old movies where he fights back and wins, after being beaten up real bad. Or when an almost defeated underdog in a football match can turn the tide. That’s how the second part feels. You are a member of a fan club for the victims who fight back and avenge the injustice done to them. As in “I spit on your grave” where I couldn’t suppress a heartfelt, loud “Yes” with every execution of one of the perpetrators. And the way the victims take revenge should be ruthless and merciless. The more pain, the better. In short, a film that contrasts two opposing feelings frontally. The feeling of destruction, despair and physical pain, versus relief, liberation and a victory.

 

 

The twist was a surprise.

In a way, “Incident in a Ghostland” tries to break this pattern. Yes, there’s that moment of extreme violence and that moment the situation looks desperate. And just when you think it’s going smooth, the film takes a completely new path and the struggle for survival begins again. Further revealing only leads to spoiling the fun for those who haven’t seen the film yet. But the twist in the story also surprised me. To be honest, it’s not often that a film does this to me. Usually, I see it coming a mile away. But not now.

 

 

Is it something like “Martyrs”?

The film was directed by Pascal Laugier who’s best known for his controversial film “Martyrs“. A film that was proclaimed as the mother of all “torture-porn” and apparently rolls over you like a steamroller. An extremely brutal film many found disgusting. I never watched it myself. Deep inside I would like to see this movie but something tells me that the extreme violence will hit me too deeply. That’s why I avoid it. Had I known that Laugier directed this movie as well, I might have ignored it too. And now I’m on the horns of a dilemma. Is this a film where Laugier went soft? Or should I try to watch “Martyrs” anyway?

 

 

Thumbs-up for the make-up department.

Is it worth to watch this movie? Actually yes. And that because it’s beyond simply a brutal “home-invasion movie” with the torture, abuse, and humiliation of young girls. Here Laugier also brings the psychological impact of such a traumatic experience in the picture. He shows how the human psyche works from an individual who experiences something such as this barbaric invasion by two murderous maniacs. It’s not a film for sensitive souls even though the violence isn’t explicitly shown. However, the consequences of these brutal assaults are clearly visible. That’s why I give a thumbs-up for the make-up department.

 

 

Dark and oppressive.

The set-up as a whole is very successful. The house where Pauline (Mylène Farmer) and her two daughters Beth (Emilia Jones Crystal Reed) and Vera (Taylor Hickson Anastasia Phillips) move in, is a real junk house full of rarities and old dolls. Not that it plays a prominent role in the film, but it contributes to the entire oppressive and dark atmosphere. The acting of the two girls is mainly limited to screaming and anxiously waiting for the two halfwits to show up again. Except for Beth who became a successful writer of horror stories. Until she returns to the hell-house and is being confronted with the suffering. Mother Pauline behaves as a soothing and encouraging character. And then finally you have the two assailants. One crazier than the other, in terms of appearance. One is a goth-like person who you’ll only get to see briefly most of the time. The second a colossal, moronic monster who’s inhumanly strong. A drooling and groaning primate who prefers to play with dolls. And he likes it even better when those dolls are alive.

 

 

More frightening because of the realism.

All in all, “Incident in a Ghostland” is fascinating in a way. Even though the level of sadism is quite high and you can’t shake off the feeling of fear and panic during the whole movie. The entire film is an avalanche of hysteria with that constant sense of helplessness. It’s not a horror movie about possessed houses or paranormal phenomena with the familiar jump scares and creepy moments. This is a frightening film about something that can happen in reality and that we see on the news on a regular basis. The story itself seems rather simple, but Beth’s condition creates an extra dimension. In any case, it’s a lot more frightening than “Hereditary“, THE horror from 2018 (sarcastic tone).

 

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

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Action

The New Mutants | First Two Minutes Clip -HD

Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.

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Genre:

Action, Horror, Sci-fi

Release Date:

April 3, 2020

Director:

Josh Boone

Cast:

Anya Taylor- Joy, Maisie Williams, Antonio Banderas, Alice Braga, Charlie Heaton, ably Hunt, Happy Anderson, Henry Zaga, Sarah Bennani

Plot Summary:

Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.

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Comedy

Come to Daddy: A Quirky, Somewhat Strange Thriller With Very Aggressive Scenes

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I once accidentally kicked a guy’s ear off.
I didn’t mean to, but the fucker flew off.
I could see right into his skull.

Elijah Wood always makes for pleasant surprises. In terms of his choice of films, you cannot say that he plays it safe. His choices are always fairly quirky. I kind of compare him to Daniel Radcliffe. Another actor who doesn’t thrive on the worldwide success he achieved by playing one well-known character for most of his life. So too Elijah Wood who will be associated with Frodo forever and ever. Apparently they also have a common interest, namely that of deceased persons. Where Radcliffe played the role of a corpse in “Swiss Army Man“, Wood is stuck in this film with an embalmed corpse. Anyway, “Come to Daddy” is a macabre, dark, and slightly humorous film.

 

Come to Daddy

 

Trendy, fashionable DJ meets foul-mouthed dad.

When I looked at the movie poster, I immediately thought of “Happy birthday to Me”. Not that “Come to Daddy” looks like a purebred slasher. But the fork Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood) is holding on the cover, will be used in an ingenious, yet painful way. Norval is an eccentric, trendy DJ with Elton John in his circle of acquaintances. Stylish, contemporary dressed with artistically and strategically placed tattoos. A trimmed Freddie Mercury mustache. And a hairstyle as if it was styled using a soup tureen. Everything indicates that Norval is used to a high-society life and that the journey through the forest with a thumping wheeled suitcase behind him doesn’t really belong in that life. When he finally arrives at the beach house (which, according to Norval, resembles that of a flying saucer from the 1960s) and meets his father Brian, whom he hasn’t seen for years, it turns out that the latter is completely the opposite. Foul-mouthed, fairly brutal, untidy appearance and persistently topping a glass with liquor or wine. No picnic for Norval who recently renounced alcohol. Before he knows it, his smartphone (a limited edition in gold, designed by Lorde) sinks down to the bottom of the ocean, while his dad tried to take a selfie. The tone has been set.

 

Come to Daddy

 

Comedy-Horror. Not my fav combination.

Come to Daddy” is a difficult movie to place. On the one hand, they tried to add a humorous note here and there. Although subtle black humor that won’t be enjoyed by everyone. On the other hand, there’s indeed a horror vibe that gets quite gory. Again, I’m not really such an avid fan of the combination of horror and comedy, because usually both genres feel incomplete. And to be honest in this movie as well. The humorous part wasn’t really funny (with only a rare chuckle). And I also found the horror part rather light-hearted. There’s no doubt that it has a high thriller content. And it’s certainly not a straightforward story. You could even say that they were a bit too lavish with the number of plot twists. But the absurdity in the story (such as a motel that is fully booked with visitors to a swingers convention. Who comes up with such an idea?) knows no boundaries. The insane and intimidating behavior that slowly evolves into a kind of “Cape Fear” aggression. The officer on duty and his belching. The coroner and the fact that Norval suddenly has a dead man in the house due to lack of space at the morgue. The nightly terrifying sounds. Norval’s discovery and the unveiling of the entire mystery. The motel-happening. It just keeps going on. Fortunately, I love an absurd story now and then.

 

Come to Daddy

 

It surprised me.

Elijah Wood is simply magnificent as the extroverted and fairly arrogant Norval. Someone who doesn’t realize what a dire situation he’s going to find himself in. And also doesn’t know that his entire life story will be shaken thoroughly. That’s how the viewer will feel as well. Shaken up. During the first part of the movie, you wonder which direction the story will go. But once the plot reveals and the story accelerates, both in terms of tempo and frantic action, hold on tight because it’s going to be a wild rollercoaster ride. And it’s worth it. “Come to Daddy” is a quirky, somewhat strange thriller with very aggressive scenes and full of insanity. Revealing too much isn’t recommended. Best to start watching this movie without knowing too much, such that the experience will be decidedly surprising. Recommended.

 

 

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

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HORROR

‘Penance Lane’ Brings The Rob Zombie influence

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I’m gonna get us out of this.
We’re gonna be okay.

 

Penance Lane” is something for the fans of cheaply produced B-horror movies that don’t exactly excel when it comes to the storyline. I was actually very curious about this movie after reading the synopsis on IMDb. And the movie poster also looked interesting. So let me say that I started watching the film with a dose of healthy enthusiasm. Unfortunately, that enthusiasm collapsed halfway through the film like a soufflé that has just come out of the oven. It’s a pity though, because the first half was of a decent level.

 

Penance Lane

 

A dilapidated house.

The prologue in itself made me curious enough and confirmed what I expected. A dilapidated house where some gang members hid after committing a robbery. Such a gang of “badasses” with impressive guns and an attitude as if they can handle the whole world. Unfortunately, they are no match for what is harassing them from dark corners and dark places in this creepy house. Why this was actually the most compelling part of the movie, I don’t really have an explanation for. Maybe because you don’t really know which direction it will go. Is it something demonic or will it be a “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” kind of film?

 

Penance Lane

 

Let’s bring in the handyman.

Time to introduce the protagonist. Crimson Matthews (Tyler Mane) strolls around the town streets. An ex-convict with a rugged appearance. He gets into a fight with the son of the local Police Captain, when it turns out that this son uses his girlfriend (Scout Taylor-Compton) as a punching bag, and then meets the owner (mother of the girl in question) of the local diner. Crimson doesn’t waste any time and almost immediately seeks a job as a handyman. And he ends up at the abandoned house, apparently owned by the local priest (John Schneider) who hires him without further ado. From the start, it’s clear that our tough hero doesn’t intend to demonstrate ingenious handyman-techniques. It’s also evident that it’s no coincidence he ended up in this house. And that his night’s rest would be disturbed by something that wanders through the house like a shadow, was also to be expected. Despite the fact that there’s sometimes a bit of too exaggerated acting and toe-curling, clumsy dialogues are being used, the film remained fascinating. Till this point anyway. Because somewhere in the middle of the film, the plot twist presents itself and the tone of the film changes drastically.

 

Penance Lane

 

Do I sense a Rob Zombie influence?

If you look at “Penance Lane” in its entirety in terms of storyline and overall look and feel, you could say that it belongs to Rob Zombie’s oeuvre (albeit among the less successful creations). Coincidentally, there are a number of actors who also appeared in a Rob Zombie movies before. Like Tyler Mane who played Michael Myers in “Halloween II“. Scout Taylor-Compton also played an important role in that film. And then there’s Daniel Roebuck (the Police Captain) who got a role in almost every Rob Zombie movie. It may not have affected the creators of this film, but the least you can say is that it’s extremely coincidental. I’m not a real Rob Zombie adept but I could appreciate his flick “31”.

 

Penance Lane

 

Ultimately, it was a disappointment.

In the end, “Penance Lane” was a disappointment for me. If the gradation of my enthusiasm were graphed, I’m sure it would resemble any COVID-19 graph. Except that there’s no sign of a “flatten the curve” effect. After its peak, the curve goes very fast to a zero point. Maybe my expectations weren’t met because the concept changed drastically. In the end, it became a kind of thriller without supernatural apparitions. Rather a crime story in which an insane individual has set up a lucrative business activity. The story made no sense and at some point became downright ridiculous. I have learned the following lesson from this. No matter how good a summary sounds or what a movie poster looks like, it’s never a guarantee the movie will be any good. And yet there was, somewhere deeply hidden, an excellent film. Unfortunately, they failed to conjure it.

 

 

My rating 3/10
Links: IMDB

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