Paranormal

All posts tagged Paranormal

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 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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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 Redeeming Review

Synopsis

The synopsis for The Redeeming states; ‘A disturbed single mother confronts a mysterious stranger and the echoes of her past to protect her home.’

Vague, ominous and yearning for more. The movie centres around Joyce (Tracey Ann Wood) who lives alone in a secluded country house. From the outset we’re given a glimpse into the woman’s tentative psyche, which is only exacerbated with the introduction of John (Ryan Wichert) The young man has apparently injured his arm and seeks refuge in her home. Joyce obliges and not only lets the man in, but tends to his wounds as well. As the movie progresses it becomes apparent that not all is as it seems. The pair, despite apparently not knowing each other, seem to share a dark bond.

The Redeeming

Review

As far as psychological thrillers go, director Brian Barnes does a great job of building suspense and keeping us on our toes. Personally, I thought from the outset that it was going to be a straightforward, cliche-ridden plot, but as the movie progressed I realised how wrong I was. The movie keeps you guessing throughout, with both characters portraying a secretive, almost sinister side at times. Think Misery with a paranormal twist and you’ll be close to the plot.

The Redeeming

The Redeeming was made with a considerably low budget, yet Barnes managed to overcome this through great casting and good cinematography. The only thing lacking for me was the intensity. There seemed to be a slight reluctance from both parties to be physically assertive when the time came. Whether this was down to the low budget and the subsequent “don’t damage my house” rule, or just an oversight in general, it was the only negative I could really find. However, with a convincing portrayal of diminishing mental health, a decent rapport between the pair, and a satisfying ending, the movie more than makes up for this.

The movie is available on demand from a variety of sources. Click here to find out more

To find out more about Brian Barnes, click here

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Knock Knock

Knock Knock Review

When it comes to genre-mashups, we all have our favourites involving horror. Whether it be Horror/ Sci-fi (Yes!), Horror/ Western (Yeehaw!) or Horror/ Romance (…meh). But my personal favourite is Horror/ Comedy. WHAT A COMBO! There’s just something about these two genres that work well together and I love it! You know what else I love? THE 80’s! Damn that was a good decade for movies. The cheesy soundtracks, the vibrant colours and the hilarious special effects. Imagine my delight when I realised that ‘Knock Knock’ has it all!

Here’s the IMDB Summary; ‘Knock Knock’ tells the story of down-on-his-luck former boxer Sam Grant, who one night finds himself caught in a whirlwind of conjecture and conundrum as his colorful and quirky neighbors come to him with scary tales of their apartment’s mysterious new resident. Inspired by the retro horror classics of VHS days gone by, ‘Knock Knock’, is sure to be a treat for any horror fan and aficionado.

The movie starts with a bizarre ad for a pizza company, complete with the typical visual flickers and sound quality associated with a VHS. The peculiar advertisement stars the dapper Walter D. Zaarke (complete with stick-on muttonchops) as he spends a couple of minutes describing the best, most wondrous, most mysterious pizza out there today. This sets the tone for the entire movie. Sounds ridiculous right? It is! And it’s FANTASTIC!

If the intro isn’t nostalgic enough for you, the opening soundtrack certainly will be. As soon as that synth-tastic, John Carpenter-esque tune hits your ears you’ll be transported back to the time of big hair, spandex and Rubik’s cubes. Once you’re settled, cue the comedy! With a hilarious script and perfectly cast actors you can’t help but laugh. It’s cheesy, goofy and if you imagine a grown up version of Scooby Doo (regrettably without the Great Dane himself) you’ll be pretty close to what Knock Knock is all about.

Knock Knock

When Sam ‘Stonefist’ Grant (Kerry Tartack) returns home, he doesn’t expect his quirky neighbour Olivia (Sisi Berry) waiting for him. Even more surprising is her theory about the newest resident in the building. With him partying all night and sleeping all day he’s just oozing vampiric traits. As a result, she’s invited fellow neighbours round to help; goofball stoner Dragon (Chuk Hell) and super smart Gretchen (Rachel Atterson).

You can easily envisage more movies with this brilliant cast and it’s clear that Director/ Writer Toby Canto Jr. has a flare for filmmaking. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’re looking for an in-depth, story-driven movie with genuine scares, this isn’t the flick for you. However, if you’re looking for a wacky, fun, nostalgic experience, then dust off your old pastel tracksuit and enjoy the trip down memory lane.

If you like what you see then check it out!

Further info

The movie is available on DVD, BluRay, and streaming on Amazon Prime and Tubi. Check out the links below and enjoy!

DVD/ BluRay

Amazon Prime

Tubi

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