Supernatural

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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.

Let us know what you think on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or down in the comments below!

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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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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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The Psychics movie review

The Psychics movie review

One of the great things about Horror is the amount of sub-genres. Slasher, Monster, Paranormal; there really is something for everyone. One sub-genre that tends to divide opinion is ‘Found Footage’. While some favour the rustic, authentic perception that this style can create, others view it as a cheap, easy cop-out. Personally, I don’t mind it and I think it’s a great resource for any new filmmaker faced with budgetary constraints. Providing there’s a decent story and good acting, I’m more than happy to accommodate the shaky camera, questionable audio and inconsistent lighting that tends to come with found footage movies. Thankfully, The Psychics presented hardly any of these issues.

Synopsis

The synopsis for The Psychics states; A woman making a documentary about psychics searches for answers surrounding the disappearance of her sister. Not a lot to go off, but sounds intriguing enough. Cited as ‘the third Norwegian found footage film ever made’ the movie stars Kirsti Lovas in the lead role with support from Oddrun Valestrand and Frank Thomas Holen Andersen. As you may have guessed by now the movie is subtitled. So, yes, you’ll be reading a fair bit (unless you speak Norwegian of course!) Yet, this doesn’t take away from it being quite an intriguing film.

The Psychics movie review

Lovas’ convincing portrayal of main character Camilla was one of the movie’s biggest strengths. This, coupled with the intriguing storyline and effective cinematography throughout the majority of the movie gives it a thumbs up from me. The shaky camera during the first part was a bit off-putting, but I was pleased to see this improve greatly as the story progressed. Writer/Director Tomas Sem Løkke-Sørensen has done a great job in merging crime/mystery with a supernatural twist. He has created a gripping storyline that increases in pace as the movie progresses before reaching a satisfying climax.

The Psychics movie review

In Summary, the movie is pretty good considering the total lack of budget. With a great cast, interesting storyline and a nice mockumentary approach, The Psychics is great showcase of Løkke-Sørensen’s filmmaking abilities. The movie has had a successful festival run and is now available to purchase on DVD and rent from Amazon

Want more?

You can find out more about the movie on its Social Media Channels;

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Still unsure? Check out the trailer below.

If you enjoyed The Psychics movie review you can find more reviews of great horror flicks here