film review

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Widow's Point

Reviewed by Mike Macabre

Widow’s Point, Gregory Lamberson’s highly-anticipated, award-winning adaptation of the book of the same name, has premiered on DVD and Digital in the USA and Canada via 101 Films. Craig Sheffer (A River Runs Through It, Nightbreed) leads the cast of the film, alongside KateLynn E. Newberry (Homecoming Revenge). Sounds good, right? Let’s check it out.

Synopsis

Widow’s Point follows a writer who spends a weekend locked in a haunted lighthouse to help promote his next book, where he is targeted by Supernatural forces.
 
The film had a successful festival run, including Shawna Shea Film Festival, where it won awards for ‘Beast Feature’ and ‘Best Actor’ for Craig Sheffer, Crimson Scream Horror festival, where Craig also picked up ‘Best Actor’ award; LUSCA Caribbean International Fantastic and Twin Tiers International, where the film picked up the ‘Audience Award’.


Review

After watching the first 15 minutes of Widow’s Point I was genuinely wondering if it was the same award-winning film that had garnered so much positive feedback. The storyline was intriguing enough but the acting at that point had been mediocre at best. I even questioned if it was a comedy following John Renna’s “Start squawking or I’ll paste ya” line! But, I was pleased to see that it did start to improve dramatically once we began to follow Thomas Livingston (Sheffer).

As part of a publicity stunt, Thomas arranges to be locked inside a supposed haunted lighthouse over a weekend. He’s equipped with a coolbox full of refreshments and a camera that is constantly streaming to his team outside. With a dark, disturbing history, the lighthouse is the ideal setting for a horror novel. However, soon after he is locked inside, strange things start to happen resulting in loss of contact from his team, and Thomas being pushed to the brink of insanity!

It’s clear why Sheffer has received so much praise. His performance is absolutely outstanding. His transition from mellow, light-hearted author to deranged, frenzied mad man is a joy to watch. As the movie progresses, Sheffer’s portrayal of insanity intensifies right up until the dramatic conclusion of the story.

The Storyline

Director, Lamberson has done a terrific job in creating a suspense-filled atmosphere, assisted by a creepy soundtrack and effective use of shadows/ lighting. However, you will be disappointed if you love a good old jump scare. While there are creepy moments, they tend to be too obvious, allowing more than enough time to prepare for them. Now, when I say more than enough time, I don’t just mean time to hide behind a pillow. I mean enough time to look for a pillow, and if there isn’t one nearby, you can get one from the next seat along and still find yourself waiting for the ghostly hand to grab the unfortunate victim.

Lamberson also adapted the screenplay from the bestselling novel by Richard and Billy Chizmar. In doing so, he has created an eerie, captivating storyline. However, one thing I found disappointing was the CGI-oriented ending. For me, it detracted massively from the story and, whilst it was a satisfying conclusion, could have been pulled off a little bit cleaner.

Overall

Widow’s Point is definitely one to watch if you like ghostly goings on, haunted buildings and descents into madness. Think Amityville Horror with a nautical twist. If that sounds good, check it out!

Widow’s Point is available on DVD and Digital via 101 Films.

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The Good Things Devils Do

When we were asked to review The Good Things Devils Do I was genuinely surprised at the lack of publicity it had received. Kane Hodder AND Bill Oberst Jr. in the same flick?! A quick skim through the heaps of praise lauded by the few critics who’d reviewed it and I was sold. I couldn’t wait to watch it! Now, I’m left dumbfounded. Did we really watch the same movie? I gotta admit I was disappointed.

I don’t know if there’s a reluctance among some critics to give negative feedback (especially when there’s such big names involved). Indeed, they may well have enjoyed it. But I gotta be honest this one didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

Synopsis

Richard, a small-time gangster is retiring. Before he can, he must take one last job: to steal money from a rival gangster’s house. Miles apart, Melvin (David Rucker III) is a reluctant family man who has dreams of becoming a famous curator for his Museum of the Macabre. His newest acquisition? The remains of the notorious Masquerade, a vampire born from the embers of hell, slain centuries ago. On Halloween Night, their paths will collide and they’ll be forced to work together to fight centuries-old evil with everything on the line.

Directed by Jess Norvisgaard and also starring Linnea Quigley, Mary Katherine O’Donnell, Kelley Wilson Robinson and Veronika Stoykova

The Good Things Devils Do

Acting

Let’s start with the positives first! Hodder, Oberst Jr. and O’Donnell delivered some outstanding performances. Hodder’s portrayal of a sadistic psychopath was spot on. With his hefty frame and menacing glare, the role was perfect for him and he pulled it off with ease. O’Donnell’s quirky, impulsive character offered a feel-good vibe and was able to lighten the mood whenever she was on-screen. Finally, Oberst Jr. delivers yet again in the lead role which he carries flawlessly throughout the entire flick. With another highly convincing performance, he makes the role his own and proves his versatility yet again.

However, I’ve got to say I was disappointed with the role appointed to Linnea Quigley. We’re all aware of her acting prowess from her string of roles in 80’s horror flicks. Yet, there seemed to be little emphasis on her character in The Good Things Devils Do despite her being a constant presence throughout. Another issue is some of the action scenes were way too staged. They didn’t flow well and at times they were painful to watch. Yet, other times they were a joy to behold! The contrast was just bizarre. Almost like two movies spliced into one, but we’ll talk about that later.

The Good Things Devils Do

Effects

Okay, so the makeup and effects in this movie are definitely one of its highlights. The sheer amount of gore is more than enough to satisfy the bloodlust of any horror fiend. Add to that the impressive kills and attention to detail of blood flow, and it’s certainly outstanding from that perspective. John Lauterbach‘s talent is a credit to the movie and pushes The Good Things Devils Do to a whole new level.

The Big Issue

After watching the movie I was genuinely perplexed. Was it supposed to be a comedy? A genuine horror? I couldn’t tell. I was so tormented by Norvisgaard’s apparent indecisiveness that I watched it again. Admittedly, the second time it was a bit better, but the issue was still there. I mentioned earlier that it feels like it’s two movies merged into one. At times it feels like it should be a comedy (albeit some of the ‘comedic’ elements fell flat…) Yet, when it came to Hodder and Oberst Jr’s characters, they were just so intense it felt like a gripping, nail-biting flick.

That being said, it’s still worth a watch. The cast alone make it worthwhile but when you throw in the make-up, gore and effects you’ve got a fairly good flick. With Norvisgaard just starting out it’s definitely a commendable effort and his filmmaking prowess is clearly evident. If he’s able to establish a clear theme for his next movie and stick with that, the end result could be absolutely phenomenal.

Check out the trailer below!

The Good Things Devils Do is available now on digital and DVD.

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