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HORROR

What keeps you Alive

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Film Review : What keeps you Alive

She fell off a cliff.
911, my wife, she fell off a cliff.
Oh, my God! Please help me.

Some marriages fail because married people come to realize that their interests are different or because there are too many contradictions that lead to endless quarrels. It hurts when you are going through a divorce. And some divorces turn out to be ugly. The only thing you can say is that, under normal circumstances, both individuals pick up their lives and try to find happiness again. Things are completely different for Jules (Brittany Allen) and Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson). For one of them, divorcing is a hobby. And the divorce happens in a very abrupt and deadly way. The comparison with a black widow is easily made. And the reason is rather lucrative.

 

 

A female serial killer.

What keeps you alive” is a thriller that differs in many ways from similar films. Firstly, this time there’s a female serial killer. You won’t find many women in the “Hall of Fame” of serial killers. The only one I can remember is Aileen Wuornos who was excellently portrayed by Charlize Theron in “Monster” in 2003. It’s mostly men who fill the list of psychopathic, crazy serial killers. And second, they introduce a lesbian couple. The advantage compared with a standard couple is that there’s no question here of the stronger gender dominating the female gender. And before I end up being called a sexist bastard and feminists furiously start to throw with frying pans: I don’t have a problem with sexual orientations whatsoever. I thought it was a unique and interesting starting point and I was curious how the display of power would manifest itself.

 

 

Better run for your life, boy.

From the outset, it’s clear Jules demands the male role in this lesbian relationship. Not only does she look more masculine than Jackie. She also moves and dresses like the stronger woman. Her girlfriend is an attractive young lady who takes care of dinner and afterward plays the guitar just for the fun of it. Only it’s not a cheerful campfire song but a strange kind of mesmerizing song about a demon. The phrase “Better run for your life, boy” sounds rather threatening. And certainly when you see Jackie’s frightening look. A bit like how Eddie Vedder sometimes looks at you in the video clip “Jeremy”. That could be the harbinger of disaster.

 

It didn’t feel like a horror.

What keeps you alive” certainly isn’t a bad film. However, it’s just an average thriller. A film about how some individuals present themselves very differently from who they actually are. So Jules soon comes to the conclusion that there are things she didn’t really know about her lovely wife. When she discovers that Jackie used to have a different name in the past and that she already had several girlfriends, Jules starts asking herself questions. And before they realize it, the romantic get-together turns into a true struggle in which one of them tries to survive after being seriously injured. There are no real surprises. And there are also incredibly stupid moments, such as dinner with Jackie’s childhood friend and husband. An implausible moment where I started to shake my head energetically. The result is murderous and the actions being taken might fit a horror. Still, I didn’t think it was a horror after all.

 

 

Another cabin in the woods.

Well, it’s not really original. Every time it’s about a cabin in the woods, you can assume that terrible things will happen. Admittedly, the film contains some beautiful images. The immense forest and the vast lake are adequately used as a backdrop. And the acting of both Brittany Allen and Hannah Emily Anderson is far from bad. I found Anderson especially convincing. The way her dark side takes over is wonderful to see. But you can’t really call it more than a cat and mouse game. Even though the rowing boat scene can be called nerve-racking. And the final twist is sort of resourceful. However, this doesn’t ensure that this Canadian thriller really exceeds the average.

 

My rating 4/10
Links: IMDB

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Entertainment

Your Guide To Horror Movies This Halloween

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The month of October. Halloween month. That means at the end of this month it’s all about this worldwide celebrated holiday. A tradition with Celtic roots where mass dressing up parties arise and the television stations look through their horror catalog so they can treat their viewers to all kinds of creepy horror flicks. Coincidentally, a Horror Challenge was organized on my favorite Dutch film website. The result is a whole series of horror movies that I’ve watched in the last three weeks. So, if you don’t know what to watch at the end of this month, let me give you an overview of what I have discovered. Obviously, there are some gems in between them. And some films you’d better avoid because they are too crappy. But you have to decide that yourself. Here we go ……

 

1. The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

This one has always been high on my wish list. I myself am not a huge fan of Rob Zombie’s work. This director has movies that tend to push new boundaries on my scale of appreciation. In short, either it’s just plain awful to watch. Or they are simply great. The fact that Rob Zombie’s wife Sheri Moon Zombie plays in most of them, is always a plus. And not because of her acting qualities. I liked this one from the trilogy (a trilogy with “House of 1000 Corpses” and “3 From Hell”). Where the first film came across as totally insane with an overwhelming load of gore and disgusting images, Zombie left out the gore a bit in this one. Not that it has become a film for the sensitive soul. It is and remains to be extremely violent and cruel. Definitely recommended for a fun Halloween evening.

7/10
IMDB

 

2. The babysitter (2017)

To be honest, I’m not really a big fan of movies that mix horror with comedy (that you’ll notice a bit further). But now and then there are some funny films in between. Similarly, this film. A gory version of “Home Alone” with the gorgeous babysitter SamaraReady or notWeaving. And to my shame, I have to admit I hadn’t noticed that the ravishing Bella Thorne was also appearing in here. Unfortunately, it’s only briefly.

6/10
IMDB

 

3. Dead Silence (2007)

I didn’t really expect much from this. I thought it would be a run-of-the-mill horror story. In the end, it managed to surprise me a bit. Creepy dolls. Unexpected denouement.

6/10
IMDB

 

4. Horror Story (2013)

Voila, and here’s the first crap film. No more Bollywood horror for me. This was as scary as “Phantom Manor” in Disneyland Paris. Not scary at all. I could live with that. But the acting was so bad it didn’t even get funny. And those conversations. So stupid and ridiculous (even though they had an endearing English accent). There are plenty of conversations as follows: We have to find the roof.
Yes!
There is a roof on every building, right?

And always the word “Guys” at the beginning of every sentence. Sigh! And also, all of them claim their privileged role as an actor. No key scene passes without clearly depicting every main character. Either in group formation (preferably in a symmetrical triangle arrangement) or systematically one after the other in profile. And all have the same expression on their face of (posed) fear and despair. No, I would avoid this like the plague.

1/10
IMDB

 

5. Leatherface (2017)

Fine movie. An entertaining origin story about “Leatherface“. “The making of” as it were. The atmosphere is very good. Brutally aggressive and with some nice gore scenes. Even though I’m not really a fan of sequels. Or prequels.

6/10
IMDB

 

6. Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1956)

This time I also ventured into old-school horror. Well, it naturally exudes nostalgic value. I don’t think it’s a really scary horror. It’s all too soft for me. I watched it with a smile and tried to imagine how young ladies experienced this in those days long gone. Wearing a petticoat with their hair tucked up, in the arms of their date at the cinema, with their hands over their mouths because of the unbearable tension. To be honest, I’ve been looking more at the shapes of Dana Wynter’s pointy bra. The tension in this film is out of proportion to the overly emotional expressions on the actors’ faces. I understand that fans of films from that period will curse me, but I fear that I cannot be counted among the fan base of 50s films.

4/10
IMDB

 

7. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Gothic ghost story. Something I like once and a while. And the decors and mood are simply fantastic. However, I personally don’t think it’s horror. More fantasy with a supernatural touch. “X-files” meets “Crimson Peak“. And Johnny Depp plays a great leading role again.

6/10
IMDB

 

8. Død Snø (2009)

Another Nazi zombie movie. A bit like “Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies” but with WWII actors in Norway. In short, many bloody situations and sometimes funny in a morbid way.

6/10
IMDB

 

9. Aquaslash (2019)

A High-school movie. That means the 3 B’s: Boobs, Booze & Blood.
It’s just not really a slasher in my opinion. More like a “slash”-movie as it’s limited to one single situation that causes victims. I think the makers used all the fake blood that was available. I dare not guess how many liters came down in the end. Quickly forget this monstrosity!

2/10
IMDB

 

10. The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)

Well, I had to watch this one out of curiosity. And another proof that sequels are usually not worth a watch. “The Babysitter” was enjoyable. But this was just plain bad. The only bright spots were the soundtrack with “The Cramps” and “Dead Kennedys“. And luckily there was a bit more of Bella Thorne here. This way it was more enjoyable to look at the screen. Besides these plus points, I wouldn’t put too much effort into this film.

2/10
IMDB

 

11. Holidays (2016)

I love an anthology movie now and then. And as always, the level fluctuates from story to story. The first 3 weren’t really so good, except “Valentine“. The low point was “Mother’s Day” maybe. Or you are looking for some female nude in a horror. But the next 5 were worth it, with the highlights “Father’s Day” (most creepy) and “Halloween” (very funny in a sadistic way). Recommended for a Halloween movie night.

6/10
IMDB

 

12. The Unborn (2020)

A short horror. Luckily, because this was really a crap movie. The run-up was actually pretty good (despite the amateurish acting) and I was hoping it could get interesting. But to be fair, it didn’t make much sense. I had no idea what it was about ultimately. Didn’t quite understand it. Think I’d better look up the 2009 movie of the same name.

1/10
IMDB

 

13. Maniac (1980)

I couldn’t sleep. And the next day I had a day off. So I thought “Let’s just watch another flick”. I can remember standing in front of this one at the video store several times in the ’80s, wondering whether I would take it with me or not. Apparently I had such a premonition because I didn’t really like it now. Admittedly, it’s a movie from the 80s and quite dated when looking at the visual. But this one is simply too boring in terms of content. The massacres are nothing extraordinary. And there are also some minor flaws in it. For example, you see some people on a subway platform waiting. The next moment they have suddenly vanished. The only positive thing was the lead actor Joe Spinell. This “Silence of the Lambs” -like serial killer looks terrifying by nature.

3/10
IMDB

 

14. The Bye Bye Man (2017)

I don’t get it that this one has a very low score on IMDb. Granted, in “Candyman” and “Slender Man” you had the same concept. But “The Bye Bye Man” was much more exciting and intense than “Slender Man”. In any case, I thought it was a superb movie. Recommended.

7/10
IMDB

 

15. Awoken (2019)

The initial idea behind the demon Iddimu isn’t so bad. The movie reminded me a bit of “The Lazarus Effect“. Mixed with a little “Nightmare on Elm Street“. Well, it’s another movie from the list titled “There-is-someone-possessed-and-an-exorcism-will-help”. Only the denouement I found rather bland. It looked like a wizard duel from a Harry Potter story.

6/10
IMDB

 

16. Sputnik (2020)

Personally, I think it’s more a typical SF and not really horror. Maybe because it’s a bit bloody, it gets that last label. It felt like an “Alien” movie. Not exactly groundbreaking. You already know that when the military gets involved in something like what happens here, they mostly have a hidden agenda. But besides that, the alien’s design and the way it is portrayed, is simply sublime. Breathtaking realistic. Go see it!

7/10
IMDB

 

17. I tre volti della paura (1963)

Another one from the old days. I keep having a hard time watching these movies. However, they do have their charm. The movie poster for instance reminds me of the time when I was 10 to 12 years old and went to the cinema. I remember there were movie posters like that. Those old-fashioned painted posters with photos from the film around them (where white stickers were placed in strategic spots). But it certainly has a high nostalgic value. I thought “Il Telefono” was more of a Hitchcockian thriller. My attention was distracted too much by Michèle Mercier’s negligee. “I Wurdalak” was such an old-fashioned vampire movie that reminded me of those old Dracula movies that I watched late at night on ZDF or ARD (German television channels). With Boris Karloff in a leading role, of course. And “La Goccia D’acqua” is a standard horror story with a really bad looking doll as a ghost phenomenon. The best of the movie was the end with Boris Karloff on a rocking horse while people from the film studio ran in front of the camera with branches. Hilarious.

5/10
IMDB

 

18. American Fright Fest (2018)

The most horribly bad horror ever seen. Seemed like the thesis of students at film school. First of all, the acting is so laughable and amateurish. They should already invent a price for that. The story is rubbish. The practical effects just look awful. Do yourself a favor and skip this one.

1/10
IMDB

 

19. Student Bodies (1981)

Jesus, what a shitty movie. This horror/comedy fails in all areas. It’s certainly not horror. And the humor isn’t that great either. Kind of a “Hot Shots!”, “Police Academy” and “Porky’s” mix. But then with the most dumb and ridiculous jokes. I don’t understand how it gets such a score on IMDb.

1/10
IMDB

 

20. Raw (2016)

A fairly bizarre but at the same time original film in which cannibalism and budding sexuality are the central themes. With an ongoing initiation ritual for fresh students as a common thread. Coincidentally also something controversial these days here in Belgium. By the way, I didn’t know that the entire film was filmed here in Belgium. Ignore reports of people passing out during a screening because of the images. I personally think that’s a bit exaggerated.

6/10
IMDB

 

21. Blood Bags (2018)

Italian horror about I-don’t-know-what. And the ending was completely incomprehensible. Laughable acting. Awful movie.

1/10
IMDB

 

22. Midnight Son (2011)

This is my kind of movie. A reinterpretation of the old vampire concept in a unique way. It’s not really terrifying. But it sure is a neat, little special flick.

7/10
IMDB

 

23. The hole in the ground (2019)

Seemed like a more modern version of “Invasion of the body snatchers“.

6/10
IMDB

 

24. She never died (2019)

Certainly not a bad movie. But compared to its predecessor “He never died”, it was a huge difference (even if there’s only one extra letter in the film title). I missed the humor as a starter. The protagonist has something lugubrious but not the appearance of a Henry Rollins. And in “He never died” it was a little bit clear what it was about and what the person Jack was. If you start watching “She never died” without knowledge of the previous film, you have no idea what it’s about The brief image of the two scars on Lacey’s shoulder blades won’t tell you much.

5/10
IMDB

 

25. Harpoon (2019)

In the beginning, I had the feeling that it was going to be another low-budget horror/comedy. But in the end I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did the footage look great, the acting was far from bad and the story was engaging enough. Fairly black humor was used. And you could cut the atmosphere with a knife at times. Boats are a very popular location for horror nowadays. This movie was definitely a lot better than “The Boat”.

6/10
IMDB

 

26. The Perished (2019)

Uh, what the hell was this. Awful acting (really, that mom was just plain awful). Ridiculous how the monster looked. It looked like an employee in a rubber suit. Nothing terrifying. And a lot of senseless blabbering. I understand it’s about the traumatic nature of an abortion. They should have turned it into a psychological drama. A gallingly low level. Let’s quickly forget about this one.

1/10
IMDB

 

27. 3 From Hell (2019)

Too bad. This was rather disappointing. While the first two films in this trilogy were still full of sadism and senseless violence, I thought this was pretty weak. I didn’t really care what would happen to the illustrious trio. And the voluptuous Mexican ladies weren’t exactly pleasing to the eye either. Regrettable.

4/10
IMDB

 

28. 0.0 Mhz (2019)

A South Korean ghost story with “Exorcist” traits. Not really creepy. No jump-scares. But there’s very good camera work to admire. I thought it was an average story based on a comic apparently. Still something positive. Yoon-young Choi is a delicious looking Korean girl. Well, you know .. a little eye candy won’t hurt …

4/10
IMDB

 

29. The Dark (2018)

What a special movie. Such a quirky take on the zombie genre. I like that. To be honest, I didn’t really think it was horror but more of a drama. The portrait of an exceptional friendship between a murdered girl and an abused, blind boy. Simply beautiful.

7/10
IMDB

 

30. The Axiom (2018)

I don’t understand how this can get a 5.6 score on IMDb. The run-up wasn’t bad. The middle part started to falter a bit. But the denouement was a huge disappointment. And some situations were really too dumb for words. No, it’s not exactly a movie that’ll stay with you. In this and two days I won’t remember anything anymore of it.

4/10
IMDB

 

31. Hubie Halloween (2020)

I had been warned. And yet I couldn’t resist. I’m not a big fan of Adam Sandler anyway. And this movie can be added to the list “Movies-In-Which-Sandler-Isn’t-Really-Funny”. Here the other actors take care of that. Hubie’s mom’s t-shirts, for example. Or that lady who carelessly comments “I’m asexual but that girl’s is making me horny”. Stupid, absurd one-liners and situations. I had to laugh a few times. But towards the end, it was just plain bad. Even the bloopers in the end weren’t really funny. So forget about this one.

3/10
IMDB

 

32. In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

And last but not least, yet another old classic. A surreal horror story (could also have been written by Stephen King) with Doctor Who-Esque creatures emerging from a parallel universe created by a writer. I thought it was entertaining enough.

6/10
IMDB

 

 

Have yourself a fun, scary HALLOWEEN everybody.

Hope the summary will help you in choosing the right Halloween Movie

 

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Drama

The Craft: Legacy | Official Trailer – Sony Pictures

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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Genre:

Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Release Date:

October 27, 2020

Director:

Zoe Lister-Jones

Cast:

Michelle Monaghan, Cailee Spaeny, David Duchovny, Gideon Aldon, Lovie Simone, Hannah Gordon, Nicholas Galitzine

Plot Summary:

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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HORROR

FrightFest 2020 Review: Don’t Look Back

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For the second time in 2020, the Arrow Video FrightFest has gone online after cancelling the physical event that was planned to take place in Leicester Square from October 21-25. Despite not being in person, FrightFest still has plenty of films and scares to be had.

Don’t Look Back is the directorial debut from Jeffrey Reddick who’s best known for creating the Final Destination film franchise. Reddick’s directorial debut has many similarities to Final Destination; in Final Destination, we see a group of people cheat death and so death comes for them. In Don’t Look Back, it’s karma that comes to kill them. Despite the similarities, Reddick manages to show that he’s got a lot to offer in the director’s chair.

Don’t Look Back follows a young woman called Caitlin, played by Kourtney Bell, who is still overcoming her traumatic past when she, and a few others, witness a man being attacked in the park and none of them do anything to stop the attack. The witnesses including Caitlin then start getting targeted by someone, or something out for revenge.

The film begins with phone-footage of witnesses watching people being attacked. Instantly the film starts to make you question what you would do in these situations and if you would just stand and watch or would you be the one to intervene and to help the victims?

Don’t Look Back gets straight into it as very early on we get a scene that gets straight into the action and sets up the trauma that Caitlin then experiences for the rest of the film. Whilst the films does get straight into it at the start, it does go a little quiet for some time. One slightly disappointing thing about the film, particularly when compared to Final Destination, is that there are very few scares in this film. There isn’t much blood or gore or actual horror to it which is a shame, but the film is still entertaining without any of that.

The film plays a lot on the idea of karma ad it’s an interesting concept to play about with although at times it can be a little too on the nose. Sometimes all of this, in particular the film’s opening, and the idea of karma is just waved in the audience’s face far too explicitly and perhaps a slightly more subtle approach would have been better.

Overall, whilst Don’t Look Back isn’t anything too exciting or different and it could do with a few more scares, it’s not bad and fans of Final Destination will definitely enjoy it and have a good time with the film.

2.5/5

Don’t Look Back is in cinemas and available on-demand in the US now

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