Movie Review

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Don't Look Back Review

Reviewed by Mike Macabre

Don’t Look Back Review – If you ever encountered an attack in broad daylight, what would you do? Would you rush to help the victim? Watch from a distance to avoid getting hurt? Or would you scramble for your phone to record it? It seems that whenever such an event does happen in real life, all of these reactions tend to occur. In Don’t Look Back, Director Jeffrey Reddick explores the consequences of such actions.

Synopsis

When a young woman overcoming her traumatic past is among several witnesses who see a man fatally assaulted and don’t intervene, they find themselves targeted by someone, or something, out for revenge.

Starring Kourtney Bell, Will Stout, Skyler Hart, Jeremy Holm, Jaqueline Fleming, Amanda Grace Benitez, Damon Lipari and Han Soto.

Don't Look Back Review

Don’t Look Back Review

Caitlin (Bell) is a young woman with a traumatic past. On the day of her birthday, her father was killed by home invaders, and she almost suffered a similar fate. Initially pronounced dead herself, Caitlin was revived and nine months later is still receiving therapy following her harrowing ordeal. However, with the support of her boyfriend (Hart) Caitlin is making great progress. That is, until she witnesses a brutal assault whilst jogging in the park. One of many witnesses to the attack, Caitlin is frozen in fear, whilst others stand and watch, record the incident on their phone and generally do nothing.

What follows is a backlash from the media. The victim was a seemingly upstanding member of society, involved in charity work and providing shelters for the homeless. Despite the assailant still being at large, its the witnesses of the attack who bear the brunt of the public’s rage. To make matters worse, Caitlin is also tormented by visions and hallucinations of the dead guy. Things go from bad to worse for our stricken lead as one by one the witnesses of the attack start to die.

Don't Look Back Review

So how did it do?

Jeffrey Reddick is best known as the creator of Final Destination. With a solid storyline, creative deaths and a terrific cast the movie was a hit with horror fans worldwide. But, whilst that sounds great, it can also be a curse for the writer-turned-director making his directorial debut. There were BIG expectations with this one and, unfortunately, it’s nowhere near on par with his best known work.

That being said, if we disregard his notable connections, the movie is pretty good for a debut. The roles have been cast perfectly with a solid, stand out performance from Kourtney Bell. Her believable portrayal keeps the movie flowing from scene to scene and from the outset her character is one we can all get behind. There are some pretty good effects courtesy of the makeup department and overall its a pretty good storyline.

There are one or two flaws, with the tempo of the movie never really being established. For instance there are some exciting moments followed by prolonged periods of slow burn story development. Whilst this does serve to build tension and suspense at times, it also takes away the immersiveness of the movie to a degree. That being said, once we get into the finale it’s all systems go with a dramatic conclusion and a satisfying twist at the end.

Overall

Overall, the movie is definitely worth a watch. However, despite the unique selling point of linking it to Final Destination, the movie pales in comparison. But, if you go in on the basis of watching a directorial debut from an upcoming filmmaker, you should be in for a pleasant surprise.

From Kamikaze Dogfight and Gravitas Ventures, the movie is scheduled to hit Theatres and On Demand on 16th October.

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The Last Exorcist

Reviewed by Killer Kelly

Synopsis

Internationally-recognized action and horror superstar Danny Trejo (Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn,3 From Hell) stars in The Last Exorcist, scaring up spites this October on DVD and Digital.
 
After every priest trained in exorcisms die in a terrorist attack, Joan Campbell must battle a demon from her past that, this time, possesses her sister.  
 
From writer/director Robin Bain, and starring Terri Ivens (“The Bay”), Danny Trejo, Rachele Brooke Smith (Cold Moon) and Cate Jones (Camp Cold Brook), The Last Exorcist is available on DVD and Digital October 13 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

The Last Exorcist

So, how did it do?

I gotta admit I was surprised by this one. Uncork’d Entertainment are usually the best distributors of indie horror movies (in my opinion). Mainly because they only seem to be involved in the best movies. But this one must’ve got through the net somehow.

There are a few good things about The Last Exorcist, but a whole lot of bad. So much so, that I genuinely don’t know where to start. I guess the beginning is the best bet.

The entire storyline from start to finish was so farfetched that I just couldn’t get on board. A lone bomber blows himself up in a place that just happens to have every single person trained in exorcisms present. I mean, okay, I’ll try roll with it. But then to have our main character try to save her sister by first of all becoming a priest (which I’m sure goes against the Christian faith). Then, perform an exorcism. Neither of which she has any experience of. All the while, Danny Trejo’s character (who is already a priest and seems to know his exorcism stuff quite well) guides her. Really? Then to end up with a martial arts fight scene involving the random dude who keeps popping up everywhere? By that time I was literally shouting at the TV. Where the hell did she learn Kung Fu?!

Acting

The Last Exorcist

The acting was hit and miss. Ivens is becoming more active on the horror scene, recently appearing in Coven (check out our review here). Her role in The Last Exorcist was even more prominent and she did a fairly good job. Similarly, Rachele Brooke Smith did a pretty good job too. There were a few up and down moments but to be honest I’d put that down to the script. Some of the dialogue was cringey as hell and if I did a shot every time they called each other ‘sister’ I wouldn’t be alive writing this! Trejo did an exceptional job in his role. Swapping his macho, action man style for the divine, man of God approach. And it worked! Yet, some of the acting from the supporting cast was atrocious. I’m just gonna leave it there on that note.

What else?

So let’s talk about some of the action scenes. I’ve already mentioned how gobsmacked I was when the movie turned into Enter the Dragon at the end. So we won’t say anything else on that matter. But there were some parts which worked well and others which didn’t. A stabbing scene was painful to watch and I don’t mean due to the graphic nature. It was reminiscent of a sloth trying to crack a walnut. There was no ferocity, no drive and, despite the character being possessed, just looked like a tentative actor scared of hurting her co-star.

Later, an altercation in a bar worked pretty well. Irvine successfully portrayed a character with debilitating mental health and it was a pretty effective scene. So it’s not all doom and gloom. The movie did have its good points. It’s just a shame that these are overshadowed by the greater number of negatives.

The Last Exorcist

Storyline

The storyline confused the hell out of me. Yes, every exorcist being killed at once did put me on the backfoot. But, there was never any real explanation about… anything. I get that the two were orphaned after their crazy mother killed the father and then killed herself. No idea how they ended up in the care of the church and under the guide of a priest (is that a thing?) I have no idea who the random bad guy is that keeps popping up, and I have no idea what the ending is trying to imply.

I mean I could try watching it again to see if it makes sense the second time round. But, honestly, I can’t bring myself to do it any time soon.

Overall, the acting wasn’t bad from the three I’ve mentioned but there was some terrible performances from supporting cast. Storyline was confusing as hell (no pun intended) and it just felt rushed and incomplete. I think if writer/director Bain went back to the drawing board with this one, tightened the storyline, recast some of the lesser parts and did it again, it would be a lot better.

Check out the trailer here

 The Last Exorcist is available on DVD and Digital on October 13th from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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The Dead Ones

Reviewed by Killer Kelly

Synopsis

The Dead Ones – For four outcast teens, summer detention means being assigned to clean their high school after a horrific incident. But they are not alone; a macabre gang wearing guises of The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse – Famine, Pestilence, War and Death – has locked them inside and is hunting them through the school’s ravaged hallways. As the four students battle to survive, each must confront the supernatural echoes of past traumas they have struggled to forget…and may be condemned to relive.

Starring Sarah Rose Harper, Brandon Thane Wilson, Katie Foster, Torey Garza and Clare Kramer, the movie was directed by Jeremy Kasten

The Dead Ones

Review

The storyline was great. It was a good idea and although confusing at the beginning, does get better as it progresses. Soon after The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse show up (which is right at the beginning) their identity becomes pretty clear. Whether their unveiling was meant to be a big dramatic twist at the end, I’m not sure, but the ending DOES have a cool turn of events.

The acting was pretty good too. Mouse (Harper), lives up to her namesake. Timid, non-confrontational and just trying to get through their ordeal without issue, she still proves to be a significant character throughout. Scottie (Wilson) plays the tough guy. He’s hot-headed, but able to use logic when required. Louis (Garza) is the polar opposite. Wild and impulsive, he acts first, thinks later. Yet, he does share Scottie’s short temper which becomes more problematic as the movie progresses. Emily (Foster) is a tiny bit cuckoo and no longer taking her meds. This becomes evident from the outset with her erratic behaviour.

All four play their roles well and, despite the odd eyebrow-raising dialogue choice, are pretty convincing. Clare Kramer, who many will recognise from Buffy, plays the teacher overseeing the students.

What else?

The Dead Ones

There were some continuity errors throughout. The pic above, showing the poor student losing control of her bladder, is a prime example. The scene after this shows her with dry trousers, then again with sodden trousers but wet patches in different places. You might argue I’m being pedantic but I don’t sit there looking out for these errors. It was just too brazen to ignore. Better editing would have identified/remedied this but it’s not something I’d class as a major flaw.

There were some great effects throughout this movie that deserve a mention. Certain injuries and ailments looked real enough and for a low budget flick that’s pretty commendable. There’s also guts, gore and a whole load of firepower which, as you can guess, can produce some pretty nasty-looking injuries. However, in the same breath, there was just way too much CGI for my taste. Call me old fashioned, but I much prefer props and makeup over computer generated stuff, especially when the CGI is painfully obvious. For instance, the ghosts that frequently appear. Their movement and actions are creepy as hell. But, the excessive CGI just curtails the scare factor and takes away the immersiveness of the movie.

Controversial?

The prospect of a school shooting might seem a bit close to the bone for some. However, Director/Writer Kasten has provided the following statement;

“This is my sixth and most personal film: a ghost story about a school shooting. It doesn’t shy away from violence, either emotional or physical. It’s explicit, but not exploitative; instead it takes risks and invites discussion. I was warned that a movie about a school shooting might engender unavoidable reaction, but I’ve always believed it’s important for genre films – despite their often-graphic intensity – to be relevant. I shot The Dead Ones in my hometown of Baltimore where I knew I could capture the gritty quality I wanted. To cast the local teens, I worked closely with Pat Moran,
who produced John Waters’ early films and went on to win multiple Emmys as a casting director.

As our main location, we found a decommissioned public school that had been built in the 1930s. Working with young actors to
elicit emotionally gruelling performances on an ambitious production with a limited budget was the best possible reminder of the challenges – and rewards – of being a genre filmmaker. Although it’s set in the aftermath of a high school shooting, my intention never was – or will be – to trivialize
this real-life horror that increasingly plagues our world. Instead, I wanted to create a disturbing reflection of modern adolescence. The Dead Ones is a film with a message of hope for outsiders.”

— Jeremy Kasten

About the Director

Jeremy Kasten

Jeremy Kasten is an American film director, producer, screenwriter and editor, best known for his visceral, cerebral, and often psychedelic approach to modern horror. His 2001 directorial debut THE ATTIC EXPEDITIONS, starring Seth Green, Alice Cooper, and Ted Raimi, has been hailed by Dread Central as “one of the best mind-f#@k movies ever.” His 2007 neo-noir re-imagining of Herschell Gordon Lewis’ splatter classic THE WIZARD OF GORE starred Crispin Glover, Brad Dourif, and Jeffrey Combs was called “one of the most shocking, entertaining and best horror films of the year” by Film Arcade. Kasten has also contributed to the acclaimed horror anthology films THE THEATRE BIZARRE and THE PROFANE EXHIBIT. His other features include the 2005 zombie thriller ALL SOULS DAY: DIA DE LOS MUERTOS and the 2006 ‘vampirism as addiction’ shocker THE THIRST, which was called “the bloodiest vampire movie ever” (DVD Crypt).

Conclusion

In summary, I’d definitely recommend The Dead Ones. Whilst there are minor elements I wasn’t a fan of, the movie as a whole was pretty good. Great storyline, believable acting and a fair few nice effects. What more could you want? The only thing you need to be conscious of is the sensitive nature of its theme. Other than that, check it out!

Here’s the trailer.

The film will be available on DVD/Blu-ray and VOD/Digital on September 29, 2020 via Artsploitation Films.

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Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

Reviewed by Mike Macabre

Independent horror constantly shows us that it can rival the efforts of its mainstream counterparts. With awesome special effects, great acting and stunning locations, many could easily be mistaken for a big budget flick. In fact, only recently we’ve reviewed such movies. The terrific acting in The Legend of the Muse, the stunning scenery in The Faceless Man and the great effects in both are prime examples. Redwood Massacre: Annihilation literally has all of the above.

Synopsis

A stranger obsessed with the unsolved Redwood murders, convinces a group of bereaved family members to venture into the wilderness in hope of proving the existence of the infamous killer. Their quest for truth sees a sinister turn of events, as the hunters become the hunted. A blood-soaked fight for survival ensues when they find that the tales of the axe-wielding maniac are very real.

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

Review

The movie opens with a massacre. The Burlap Killer strolls amongst a sea of bodies, slicing and dicing survivors amid a cacophony of wails and screams. It’s a solid opening, giving viewers a reminder of the Burlap Killer’s brutal, unrelenting nature. This is then followed with another murder by a different killer! However, he’s just as sadistic as our main antagonist.

After this prologue we’re treated to some great cinematography. It has to be said, Scotland is an absolutely stunning place. With rolling hills, winding streams and endless landscapes, you couldn’t ask for a more picturesque location. Yet, the vast majority of the movie takes place in an underground military bunker. I mean, it makes sense. The beauty of the Scottish countryside would definitely detract from the brutal murders occurring throughout the flick! Director David Ryan Keith certainly made the best decision on that front.

Whilst we’re talking about good decisions, let’s focus on the acting!

Who’s who?

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

The film is made up of a stellar cast each bringing a unique aspect to the storyline. Danielle Harris plays her role as Laura Dempsey superbly. A constant presence throughout the movie, Harris’ convincing portrayal of a kick ass fighter is certainly one to watch. With her confident demeanour and determination it’s easy to fear for the Burlap Killer himself as opposed to his potential victims. This is exacerbated even further when you incorporate Gary Kasper. With his huge, imposing frame and menacing persona you can’t help but yearn for a face off between him and the antagonist. Add to that the huge arsenal he brings with him, it’s not your bog-standard slasher! However, the man-mountain also has a softer side when it comes to his friends. The camaraderie displayed throughout the movie is a joy to behold.

Jon Campling is great in his role as Tom Dempsey, Laura’s father. He’s driven, yet easily swayed and is happy to let his daughter lead the way. Damien Puckler plays Max, the mysterious stranger who convinces the party to go and find the masked killer. His motives are clear from the outset and he lives up to these expectations as the movie goes on. Finally, Tevy Poe‘s portrayal of Jen is the only time the director conforms to stereotype. The flirtatious friend of Laura is a standard mould seen in the vast majority of slashers, yet, she still plays a good part and ultimately I think the movie is perfectly cast.

The Effects

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

As you can probably expect if you saw the first film, Redwood Massacre: Annihilation is rife with blood, gore and great effects. Given the small cast, we do have to wait a considerable amount of time before we get to the brutal killings, however, this just serves to build suspense. There are some great props used throughout and the creative murders are a credit to the makeup department and special effects team. There’s dismemberment, evisceration and, as you can guess, bucket loads of gore!

Overall, this movie is certainly not one to be missed and I would highly recommend it to everyone. Even if you haven’t seen the first one, you can quickly grasp the concept!

Check out the trailer here

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation is coming to DVD and Digital on October 20th from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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A Nightmare of Horror: Nightmare Radio

Reviewed by Mike Macabre

We do love a good anthology series at Erebus Horror. We recently reviewed the Chills Down Your Spine collection and whilst the low-budget effort was commendable, this anthology shows what can be done with an even greater budget. A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio consists of 10 horrifying tales by some of horror’s up and coming filmmakers.

Brothers Luciano and Nicolás Onetti have collaborated with Sergio Morcillo, Joshua Long, Jason Bognacki, Adam O’Brien, Matthew Richards, A.J. Briones, Pablo S. Pastor and Oliver Park.

Synopsis

Rod, radio DJ, hosts a popular horror-themed show packed with tales of terror for eager listeners. When he receives alarming calls from a horrified child things start to feel off. What ensues is a roller-coaster ride of horror stories…

The collection was hugely enjoyable with a multitude of themes and styles. There’s suspense, monsters, body horror and a whole load of gore. What more could you want? Lets see how they did.

A Nightmare of Horror: Nightmare Radio

Review

Post-Mortem Mary – Australian horror with a historic setting. A woman takes her reluctant daughter to a neighbour’s house following the death of a young girl. She’s given the job of preparing the body and making the girl appear ‘alive’ in order to take her photograph. Yet, as the story progresses, it becomes apparent that the corpse has been possessed by something sinister. This is a great supernatural horror with a great twist at the end that sets up the anthology perfectly.

A Little Off The Top – Gruesome torture porn flick. A hair stylist has a conversation with his client about… hair. However, we soon discover that he’s a little bit of a psychopath and his fetish with hair is a tad extreme. This was a really short flick which relies on the gory, shock factor to satisfy horror fans. It’s not bad, with an inventive use of a barber’s chair and a nice bit of gore. Yet, you can probably guess from the title what happens so it wasn’t really a surprise.

It gets better!

The Disappearance of Willie Bingham – Brutal prison reform. Highly imaginative storyline whereby prisoner Willie Bingham is punished for his crimes by having different limbs removed. This is part of a new reform of the justice system. Willie is then paraded around educational establishments to serve as a deterrent from crime. As the movie goes on, Willie loses more body parts (including his namesake) until he is left with not much else. It certainly isn’t a traditional horror story and is more unsettling than scary, but still enjoyable nonetheless.

Drops – Dancer plagued by demonic entity. This creepy Spanish movie follows a young dancer as she tries to balance a relationship, achieving her dreams and dealing with the demon tormenting her. It was slightly confusing in parts but overrall it wasn’t too bad. There were a few creepy bits and if you’re into weird humanoid demon things you’ll probably enjoy it.

There’s more? You bet!

A Nightmare of Horror: Nightmare Radio

The Smiling Man – Creepy.. demonic… man. This is another really short flick which involves a child following a trail of balloons through her house until she reaches The Smiling Man. They have a brief, unsettling interaction before he unveils a sinister secret. It’s a shame this was so short as the premise and great acting could have took this a lot further. However, as it is, it’s a pretty good short.

Into the Mud – Woodland horror with an unexpected twist. A woman regains consciousness in the woods only to find that she is being hunted. Naked, alone and afraid, she flees through the forest with the hunter pursuing her. What starts out as a cat and mouse chase turns into something even more sinister at the dramatic conclusion. With a great twist and some really good makeup/ effects, this one should appeal to a lot of monster fans.

Nearly there…

Vicious – Eerie, British horror with some good jump scares. A woman returns to find there has been at her home. After initially finding nothing untoward, she goes to bed where she is plagued by a demonic entity. This one had the biggest jump scares out of the lot and cranked the creep-factor up to the max. Unsettling and impactive, the only issue for me was the victim’s decision-making. We’ve all done it – watching a horror movie and shouting “Don’t go into the basement!” “Don’t run upstairs!” “The murderer is down, kill him before he gets up!” – you know all the stereotypes that we love/loathe. This one had me wondering why she lay down to reach around the door when she could’ve opened it. You’ll see what I mean when you see it. But apart from that it was a great flick!

Nightmare Radio – Good wraparound story with a satisfying conclusion. So Nightmare Radio is the wraparound story that progresses in between each segment. Towards the end, DJ Rod is tormented by prank callers, noises nearby and paranormal happenings in the next room. The story concludes with a satisfying twist which is a great ending to a great anthology.

Check out A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio trailer below

A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio is available on demand and DVD on now!

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