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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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Graveyard Billy Synopsis

Graveyard Billy is a cat with an extra special gift: he can see and communicate with the dead. When the unthinkable happens and Brighton’s “Graveyard Killer” murders Graveyard Billy’s owner, Piper, the small black cat is left alone in the world. Living feral in Woodvale Cemetery with nowhere to go, Graveyard Billy isn’t alone for long. The spirit of a recently deceased girl –Kelly Minter – attaches herself to the cat and makes a deal with him: If he helps her get back home to see her family one last time, she’ll help him find the spirit of Piper – and maybe even discover the creature responsible for her death.

The odd couple embark on their mission, relying on one another to get by: Graveyard Billy, the living cat, planted firmly in reality; Kelly Minter, the human ghost, stuck in that in-between place of life and death, both searching the South Coast of England for the answers they seek in life with the help of the inhabitants of the secret world of the dead. But the “Graveyard Killer” is still at large, and while he lurks no one, living or dead, is safe… ALL proceeds from Graveyard Billy will go to cat rescue charities on the South Coast of the U.K Between Brighton and Worthing

Sounds like a great book for the horror/cat lovers out there. Especially when you consider all proceeds going to cat charities! There’s even a trailer to tempt you…

If you’re interested in buying the book, you can find it on Amazon here

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Well it was only 2 days ago, after reviewing The Dinner Party. I was hyped over how versatile indepdent horror can be. Today I’ve come crashing down hard after being asked to watch/review 8 Graves. Unfortunately, it was a sobering reminder of just how cringe-worthy low budget horror flicks can be.

The storyline states; A college reunion in an old South Carolina house goes horribly wrong. Two vengeful spirits start to pick off the party goers one by one. The survivors have to choose whether to face up to their responsibilities or suffer the wrath of the ghosts.

Now, I know there are a number of restrictions that a lack of budget can bring; poor cgi, low quality camera/equipment, but poor acting doesn’t need to be one of them. The film opens with a title card stating “1865. The War Between The States Is Over. For Tens Of Thousands Now Without Sons, The Family Name Will Die. Unless a Male Child Can Be Found.” Okay, at this point I’m feeling it; nice opening, setting the scene. The filtered sequence gives it that old fashioned feeling That, as well as the dated garb of the couple on screen I’d say its a nice intro. Then the acting happens… oh dear.

Braxton Williams, Jennifer Olympia Bentley, and Andrea Catangay in 8 Graves (2020)

If that entire intro was cut then the film would be a lot better from the outset. But with the poor acting within the first 60 seconds the movie was a write-off before it even started. I’m pleased to say the acting did get slightly better in places and the storyline wasn’t too bad but it was still a massive let down. There was some believable interaction between the characters but the vast majority of the dialogue just felt awkward and corny with no authenticity at all.

Then there was the spirits. What on earth was going on there? I know I’ve mentioned the restrictions that a low budget can bring, but a good filmmaker should be aware of these. What they shouldn’t do is try to incorporate the basic resources they have into a movie which was already struggling. The spirits are depicted by a blue blur which is painful to watch. There is also a first person perspective adopted when the spirits are racing through the landscape which is a brazen knock off of The Evil Dead.

Overall, 8 Graves was a nice idea and the cinematography wasn’t too bad. Nothing special about the plot really but it could have been a lot better without the cringeworthy graphics. Some of the acting was better than others and I hope that the movie is just a learning curve for all involved. If anything, the trailer is probably the best bit. Check it out and decide for yourselves.

You can check out the IMDB page here

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Just a quick s feature on a Sketchbook Pictures short film which is coming your way soon… VERY soon.

‘Bill’ is a British short film directed by the guys at Sketchbook Pictures. It was shot on a limited budget with minimal crew, and do you know what? It shows promise. The camera work and underlying soundtrack help to build tension with a creepy conclusion.

It will premier tomorrow (11th May) so keep an eye on our social media for links

Check out their IMDB link here

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