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All posts for the month July, 2020

The One Survivor of Conifer

The One Survivor Of Conifer is a post-apocalyptic thriller by Writer/Director Curt Dennis. What was initially intended as a crowd-funded short movie, Dennis and Producer Max Mir opted to make it a feature film after their campaign proved unsuccessful. Filmed in just 5 days and with only 11 crew members (including cast) the movie is a prime example of budget filmmaking.

Synopsis

Survival is tough when you think you’re the last person on Earth. From getting food, to water, to avoiding the Creatures lurking in the forest. But when Austin Biggs finds a child over his radio, he becomes more than just a vocal companion. Because if Austin can’t reach the child first – the Creatures will.

From the outset, the movie gives off some strong Castaway vibes. The main difference is instead of a tropical island, it’s London. Instead of Wilson the volleyball, it’s a teddy. Instead of Tom Hanks, it’s Johnny Maya. Yet, despite being the only actor on screen throughout the movie, Maya’s likeable, charismatic approach keeps us intrigued throughout. Yes, the whole premise is very ambiguous, but we can surmise that there has been some sort of disaster which has killed off the human race and for some reason Austin Biggs is still alive and monsters are lurking.

Admittedly, there are a few issues which can’t go unmentioned. From a storyline perspective, Austin Biggs is certainly no Bear Grylls when it comes to survival. There’s no fire, no sanitisation of water and despite having access to a sheltered building, Biggs opts to sleep outside at the mercy of the elements (and the monsters but we’ll come to that later). There’s also the issue of poor audio at times. Yet, the movie does have a number of great qualities.

Maya’s terrific depiction of loneliness, isolation and wavering mental health is a testament to his versatility as an actor. This, coupled with the vocal contributions of Jonah Paull, is a great incentive to watch the movie to the end. Whilst the storyline has borrowed heavily from the likes of Castaway (talking to an inanimate object) and Bird Box (blindfold requirement to stay alive) the movie does have its own unique elements. The only material proof that there are monsters lurking is the purple goo, but Biggs’ conversations and drawings tease this out further. Director Dennis certainly works within his means. Rather than opting for poor, low budget effects, he utilises these aforementioned traits to convince us of the monster’s presence.

Summary

Overall, The One Survivor Of Conifer is worth a watch. However, if you’re expecting action or jump scares you’ll be severely disappointed. If you enjoy character-driven storylines that require you to use your imagination then definitely check it out!

Check out the movie’s IMDB page here

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Strange Days Anthology

Synopsis

Strange Days Anthology – New extraordinary fiction for extraordinary times. Here are 34 stories and one poem that anticipate possible futures that – with coronavirus currently creating havoc around the world – may not be too far from the truth unless we take our survival as a species far more seriously. The idea for this anthology came to me before the current crisis began and all of the stories published here were written before what would have been considered as science fiction became horrifying science fact.

The range of scenarios depicted here are various, from the fantastic to the frighteningly real, but one thing they all have in common is their quality. These are, to my mind, the best of the best, chosen from about 300 submissions. The 35 authors published in this anthology, spanning a massive 500 pages, represent exceptional talent and ability in the art of the written word. Immerse yourself, if you dare, in frightening worlds that span the extremes of literary horror. Read these extraordinary stories, from some of the most imaginative minds around. There are no reprints here, just outstanding and very relevant fiction. I hope you agree. Trevor Denyer – Editor

Find Out More

At 511 pages the Strange Days Anthology is certainly one that will keep you occupied. Made up of 34 stories, you’d think there’d be some similarities of themes, style or content, but surprisingly there’s none! Each story is a unique portrayal of the writer’s creativity and the themes included range from the bizarre to the down right terrifying!

We’re talking everything from butterflies to monkeys, car journeys to flights. Some contain creepy, sinister plots, whereas others are downright gut-wrenching (literally in the Hungry Mouths story!) There really is something for everyone! Check it out and be sure to let us know your favourites.

You can buy the book here

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Coven Review

I think it’s safe to say that witches have undergone the biggest transformation within the horror genre. Once depicted as ugly, wart-encrusted hags, witches now tend to be portrayed as young, sultry sorceresses. Gone are the pointy hats and broomsticks, with most portrayals focusing primarily on spells, casting and divination. Margaret Malandruccolo‘s Coven is no exception.

Synopsis

Five undergrad witches come together in order to perform a ritual to invoke the ancient powers of the witch Ashura. The leader of the coven gets carried away and accidentally kills one of the witches during the ritual. She needs the strength of a complete coven to invoke Ashura’s powers and sends them out to find a final witch. As she absorbs power, the surviving girls plot to take her down. But the possessed witch unleashes hell on campus with only one young witch left to stop her.

Cited as ‘The Craft meets Suspiria’, Coven certainly shows its influences throughout the movie. However, whilst there are a number of similarities, Malandruccolo adds her own unique take on the genre with spellbinding results. Writer Lizze Gordon also plays the lead role of Sophie, a novice witch trying to contact her deceased mother. Her first encounter with the coven isn’t a pleasant one (involving a magical altercation with an apparition of a snake for good measure) However, feeling that the witches are her only chance of bringing her mother back, she reluctantly agrees to help them invoke Ashura’s power.

With a great supporting cast consisting of Margot Major, Sofya Skya, Jocelyn Saenz, Jennifer Cipolla, Miranda O’Hare and Adam Horner, Coven is a really good movie. With such a low budget there’s some GREAT special effects and, unlike some indie flicks, it isn’t confined to just a few locations. My only issue was the blatant continuity error that occurs just short of the half hour mark. That, coupled with the odd audio blip here and there, is the only reminder that you’re watching an indie movie. Everything else was fantastic.

Summary

If you’re a fan of The Craft, Suspiria and other witchy movies then Coven is definitely one to check out. It’s due to be released on digital and DVD on July 14. Until then, here’s the trailer to enchant you.

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