Thursday, 9 July 2020

Devil's Junction: Handy Dandy's Revenge (2019) - Horror Film Review

Devil's Junction: Handy Dandy's Revenge (directed by Jeff Broadstreet) had an interesting premise to it. Having a load of puppets running rampant brought to mind the classic Puppet Master series, the addition of horror icons Bill Oberst Jr. (3 from Hell, Age of the Living Dead) and Bill Moseley (The Devil's Rejects, Repo! The Genetic Opera) meant I just had to check this one out. It didn't live up to my expectations sadly, that is mainly down to the uninspired script and some very bad CG effects.

Steffen (Jake Red - The Right Eye 2) has brought his friends to a creepy old building his rich father, Richard (Moseley) had recently purchased. He has dreams of turning the place into an exclusive club and hopes his friends will both donate money, as well as bring their friends to the place. His friends include among them womaniser Rick (Arthur Marroquin - Santa Jaws) and his model girlfriend Abby, nerdy Doc (Danni Spring - Dr. Horrible's Unofficial Sing-Along Sequel), sporty Rosie (Kyle Anderson), and Josie (KateLynn E. Newberry). It used to be home to a popular children's TV puppet show that took place in the 60's, unknown to the group the host of that show, Mr. Jolly (Oberst Jr.) is still living there. The man not only has ties to Richard, but he also happens to be a legitimate magician, able to control peoples movements, and also able to give life to puppets...

Despite the average acting of the main young cast I started off with high hopes for this. The set-up was perfectly fine. The characters were completely one dimensional stereotypes but for a slasher I didn't think that would be too much of a problem. However it is the script itself that is the worst part here, some characters in particular feel like they didn't really have a strong role in mind for them. Best of the actors here was Oberst Jr. He is someone who seems to get better and better the more lines of dialogue he is given, his voice is made for acting. Luckily, and one thing Devil's Junction does get right is that he has by far the biggest speaking part in the movie. Moseley is truly wasted here, he spends much of the film sat in a chair and his lines sound like they were added as an afterthought. His character hardly gets to do anything other than react to the situation around him. There's only so many times you can have a character protest or exclaim without it starting to feel like there was hardly even a need to have them there due to adding so little.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Choke (2020) - Horror Film Review

Choke is a horror film that comes from director Gregory Hatanaka (Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance). The way the film flows, and the blurring between fiction and reality led to me not entirely 'getting' this movie. It seemed to me like it was over before it had really started, even if it does some interesting things. Things such as having duel protagonists who get equal amounts of screen time yet never meet, united by a girl they both know.

Brandon (Shane Ryan - the Amateur Porn Star Killer series of films) is a serial killer whose method of killing is by strangulation. He is quite a tortured man and seems unable to control himself. One day he meets a 17 year old girl, Jeanie (Sarah Brine - Heartbeat) on a train and forms an immediate connection to her. He sees her as an innocent, someone he is able to be himself around.  Meanwhile, a troubled detective named Robert (Scott Butler - Zombie Night) who has a penchant for teenage girls begins a relationship with Jeanie, and in doing so corrupts her.

I spent much of my time watching Choke wondering how on earth I was going to be able to write a review about it. It is narrated by the character of Jeanie and establishes straight away that Brandon is a killer. You are never shown his serial killer moments as full scenes, instead there are montages of him strangling various girls that pop-up over the course of the film. At times I wasn't sure if any of these were actually real, or just in Brandon's mind as there are plenty of moments of him strangling Jeanie to death when she is obviously very much still alive. Robert, while not a killer is also a very flawed character. He is shown to be obsessed with an ex of his, and constantly contemplates suicide, then of course his strange relationship with a teenage girl. Both these protagonists share abstract dream sequences that have them chasing down people on a beach while naked. Didn't quite understand that part!

Monday, 6 July 2020

The Last of Us Part II (2020) - Zombie Horror Video Game Review (Playstation 4)

The Last of Us is one of my favourite horror video games of all time. It had a mature story, featured some top notch acting, looked and sounded stunning, and of course featured the undead. Many people, me included felt it ended perfectly, that a sequel featuring the same characters could only ever fail. When I heard The Last of Us Part II was in development I took a decision to not read or look at anything about it at all. I saw the teaser trailer many years back, but after that I didn't so much as even look at a screenshot. That has served me very well here as things play out very differently to what I expected, my expectations were surpassed on many occasions. There were even moments during this when I felt for sure it was going to get the top 10/10 score from me. As it was, this is indisputably a stunning game, which has just a few things that stopped it from reaching that top score. Needless to say, there will be spoilers for The Last of Us here, as well as that game's DLC chapter, Left Behind. If you have yet to play that game I implore you to. I will also state that if you have any intention of playing The Last of Us Part II then maybe stop reading here. I don't intend to give any story spoilers away, but I can't write about this without taking away a little bit of what makes playing this so great with virgin eyes.

The game takes place in post-apocalyptic America in which a mutant Cordyceps fungus has mutated much of humanity into violent zombie like creatures. This takes place mainly 5 years after the events of the first game, which itself took place 20 years after the end of civilisation as it was known. Ellie (voiced by Ashley Johnson) and Joel (voiced by Troy Baker) are now living in the settlement of Jackson. One night a group of WLF militia (Washington Liberation Front) infiltrate the defence lines with a singular mission to achieve. They are successful, and their success results in Ellie, as well as a few others heading to the WLF's place of origin, the city of Seattle, to get revenge.
Arriving at the city, Ellie discovers the WLF are deep in the middle of a war with a cult nicknamed the 'Scars'. With her singular mission to achieve, she sets out to kill all those she holds responsible for the atrocity committed at Jackson...

It shouldn't be too much of a surprise, but boy, this is one bleak game! The games opening few hours lull you into a sense of false security. This part of the game had me feeling multiple emotions minute to minute. It even made me laugh out loud at one point. The original game worked well to achieve a balance between the horror of the world and friendship bonding. Ellie and Joel's journey brought with it a legitimate feeling of trust building and respect. Here characters are already established, and with revenge being such a large theme of the game there are not as many simple moments of curiosity and discovery. That first game saw you play as the middle aged Joel for the vast majority of the game, you only got to play as Ellie on a couple of occasions. It was due to that, that I didn't mind this time around Ellie is the main focus. That first game was Joel's, this one is very much Ellie's. The game does a breathtaking job of forcing you to see events from the antagonists point of view, sometimes even complicit in their actions (it isn't much a spoiler to say that nearly immediately you are put in the shoes of the main antagonist during the games opening chapter for a time). These bad guys have hopes and aspirations, they have story-lines going on outside of Ellie and company's quest for retribution. The main plot may be serious and bleak but there are still moments of levity dotted throughout the game, even if these mainly take the form of flashbacks that show what Ellie and Joel had been up to in the five years since the end of The Last of Us.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

The Watcher 2 (2020) - Horror Film Preview

To begin with, I'm not exactly sure what the correct title of this slasher is. I was sent the screener under the name Awakening the Nun, the film itself has The Bad Nun 2 as the title card, but the film's IMDB page has it listed as The Watcher 2. Elsewhere the image used on IMDB for it has it called Bad Nun: Deadly Vows. What I do know for sure is that this was co-directed by Rebecca Matthews (Witches of Amityville Academy) and Scott Jeffrey (The Watcher) and that the screener I received wasn't a complete version of the movie. It appeared that all that was really missing here were visual effects, sound effects and some music, but due to the absence of these I have decided to treat this as a preview. Spoilers of The Watcher to follow.

A family, that includes Pamela (Nicola Wright - Witches of Amityville Academy), her daughter Mandy (Stephanie Lodge - Witches of the Water), and her daughter's daughter Catherine (Sarah T. Cohen - Witches of Amityville Academy also) move into an old farmhouse out in the country to start afresh. It is not long however before they begin to be hassled by a mysterious figure who claims to be a nun. At first this nun leaves threatening messages, but it isn't before long until she starts to resort to murder. Could it be related to a similar situation that took place in the area 4 years previously, or is there a far closer connection to the family's past?

This begins in familiar slasher sequel fashion with the final girl from The Watcher being murdered in the pre-credits intro sequence. Despite not having seen the first film I don't feel like I missed out on much. A couple of characters relate the events of that movie, a policeman in particular goes in depth as to who the killer was, what he did, and why it couldn't possibly be him this time around (during the events of the film he is residing in prison). With the heroine of that movie dead there are no loose ends and so this can tell its own story. The killer looks the part, obviously dressed up as a nun, with a black mask covering their face, and hulking in size. The killers weapon of choice is a large pair of scissors. Reminding me a bit of Scream, as the killer also talks quite a lot. I'm not sure if the voice used in the copy I received is going to be the one in the completed release but it sounded like that of a young woman. By the way the killer speaks she sounds like she sees her victims as sinners, people deserving of death.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Curse of the Blind Dead (2020) - Zombie Horror Film Preview

I originally intended for this to be a review of Curse of the Blind Dead, however the screener I received was a very rough cut. It contained no music, no sound effects, no audio balancing and no VFX. If it were not for the fact that this was both a zombie film and a new entry in the Blind Dead series I would have skipped this. I couldn't in good conscience treat what I saw as something ready for review and so instead I will treat this as a preview. Amando de Ossorio's 1970's series of Italian films are something quite special. Starting off with Tombs of the Blind Dead, we then got Return of the Blind Dead, The Ghost Galleon and finally Night of the Seagulls. While I am not sure how official this new entry is, it still follows many of the rules that the 70's films had.

It is medieval times and a rogue branch of the Knights Templar are planning on sacrificing a baby to a dark entity. They believe the end of the world is coming, and see the sacrifice as the only thing able to stop that from coming to pass. Before they are able to carry out their plan however they get attacked by an angry mob from a nearby village. The knights are blinded and then burned alive. A long time into the future and an unknown apocalypse has decimated the world. A man (Aaron Stielstra - Age of the Dead) and his heavily pregnant daughter are braving the hostile wasteland in order to reach a thriving settlement they heard about on the radio. However before they reach their destination they are attacked by bandits. They end up saved by a religious sect and taken to their compound. The joy of their rescue is short lived as the sect intend to sacrifice the girl's unborn child to the same entity those Templar's tired to all those hundreds and hundreds of years ago. To facilitate this process those same long dead Knights have risen. They are the blind dead, and they will stop at nothing to achieve their masters goal...

First off, despite my hopes, this was so uncompleted that it became hard to follow at times. I thought inserting these zombies into the apocalypse was a great idea. Undead and the apocalypse are natural bed-fellows, but the blind dead are not your typical modern day walking corpses. The blind dead have always looked medieval. They set themselves apart by wielding swords, riding on horseback, wearing medieval hooded robes, and of course being blind. Also, among their weaknesses is sunlight. The original series had them frozen in place when daylight appears, here they evaporate into nothingness. Not a spoiler if you are familiar with the originals as they may be gone, but it is only ever a temporary thing. What was really great about this version of the dead is that they have a supernatural element that makes them near indestructible.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Witches of Amityville Academy (2020) - Horror Film Review

Witches of Amityville Academy is an indie horror that was written by Tom Jolliffe (Party Like It's 1984) and directed by Rebecca Matthews (The Candy Witch). Despite having only seen the first episode of the third season of American Horror Story (American Horror Story: Coven) I felt many similarities with that one. There are good moments, and it was refreshing to see a mainly all female cast yet there wasn't the budget to really sell the story being told.

Jessica (Sarah T. Cohen - Cupid, ClownDoll) has received an invitation to join an exclusive academy run by Dominque (Amanda-Jade Tyler - The Watcher 2), and so the girl jumps at the chance. On her first night there, her and another new arrival are tied up by the other students and Jessica is horrified to see the other newcomer murdered in front of her. It turns out that everyone at the academy are secretly witches, they intend to sacrifice Jessica in order to summon a powerful demon named Botis (Toby Wynn-Davies - Escape from Cannibal Farm, Dogged) to the world. However, before they are able to do so Jessica is able to use some latent magical powers to escape, aided by three friendly witches who include among them Sam (Kira Reed Lorsch - Acts of Desperation) and Lucy (Donna Spangler - American Poltergeist). They decide to teach Jessica how to use her hidden powers, but in the meantime Dominique is intent on recapturing the girl for her sacrifice.

This really was quite an inoffensive movie, and that is a double side comment on it. On the one hand this was very easy to watch, for all that was happening it was a mellow experience with not much peril or danger to it, and with leads who were a likeable bunch. On the other hand though by the time the end credits rolled I had a few tears of boredom literally running down my face. The general idea here is a solid one, sure summoning a demon is hardly an original story line but it is serviceable to build a film around. This falls down with the low budget which meant the magical effects were not only used sparingly, but they also didn't look fantastic. There are some Harry Potter style battles where the two sides have magic-offs with each other, Dominique with evil green lighting coming out her hands, the good witches a more pink lighting. Other than that you get a few floating objects, and quite a few moments where the two sides stand facing each other with the battle seemingly taking place within the mind. The CG might not be the best but some of the practical effects here are actually cool. In particular there are a few nice looking throat slits, that included spurting blood from the wound. I also thought the make-up effects on the demon were fairly decent.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The Rotting Zombie's Round-up of Horror News for June 2020

My inbox seems to be fit for over flowing with news this month and so I will shorten my usual pre-news ramble. Not much really to say other than I am loving The Last of Us II, a review of that will surely follow some point in July. Also, I have recently picked up the DLC killers for Dead by Daylight, is a shame no one ever seems to be playing it when I try to get in a match though! Finally, I picked up The Walking Dead VR game, is meant to be a good one..

The first teaser and stills for time loop slasher 6:45 are out. Hoping to save their troubled relationship Bobby Patterson takes his girlfriend, Jules away to an island resort...where they are promptly brutally murdered. Death is not the end though and the couple find themselves doomed to repeatedly awaken at 6:45 on the morning of their murder and forced to relive the days traumatic events over and over again. I love the idea of time loops and so this one really sounds like one for me. 6:45 is aiming for a release this Autumn.

The new distribution label from Bayview Entertainment and "HNN Presents" has announced its first acquisition, the comedy horror Master Pieces. I said of the film "is a movie you will either love or hate. It tries to be different and succeeds in this".
Sticking with Bayview is the announcement of two Italian horror features. The first is 42-66: The Origin of Evil. This one is about a patient who leaves a prison psychiatric clinic with the hope of restarting his life. Instead he ends up on a path of violence, led by a supernatural demon. The second release is L38: The Face of Evil and sounds more like a crime thriller. Four career criminals start up production of snuff films for their sinister boss. Both films are now out on DVD.

Terror Films have partnered with YouTube AVOD platform, Kings of Horror. This has been described as the 'most visited and subscribed channel for full-length horror movies on YouTube. The partnership begins with ten films added to the library. At a later date Terror Films will premiere four new films exclusively on Kings of Horror for a six week stint.

Indican Pictures are set to release The Transcendents on most major digital platforms on July 21st. This is about a man named Roger who is on the hunt for a defunct indie rock band (titular The Transcendents). This is described as 'a mysterious thriller set in a musical world'. Check out the trailer below.

Paralyzed with Fear has been released as an Amazon Exclusive. This stars Kane Hodder as a demon who goes after a house full of women who accidentally summoned him. This also stars Haidyn Harvey, Andrea Rabold, and Maya Grace, and is directed by Glenn Berggoetz. For more information head here.

A trailer and poster for Quarantine Girl has been released. This stars Nicole D'Angelo and Shane Ryan and is about a woman whose mental state deteriorates after she isolates herself during an epidemic. This film is due for release by months end by Cinema Epoch. It was apparently shot safely during the current pandemic.

A teaser trailer and poster has dropped for the Terry Ross directed social thriller Sweet Taste of Souls. The story here is that four struggling indie band members decide to stop for food at a remote roadside café. Things don't go according to plan as they find themselves trapped in the café owners art collection, facing a demonic force. The idea of being trapped inside art sounds pretty out there, so I hope this film turns out to be a good one!

Welcome to the Circle is a new horror film coming from Artsploitation Films soon. A father and daughter stumble into the realm of a madman worshipping cult while out camping. Also there is a professional cult deprogrammer and his two clients hoping to retrieve a particular cultist. All find themselves on a desperate mission to escape. This comes to DVD/Blu-ray and VOD/streaming later this year.

The Luring was released on digital and DVD on June 16th thanks to Summer Hill Entertainment. This is writer/director Christopher Wells feature debut, and stars Rick Irwin as a young man who returns to the place of his childhood in order to put the constant nightmares he has to rest.

Botox Fiction is the name of a mini series that French director Yoann Kimfoko is hoping to create. This takes place in a dystopian world where parents rear children in order to use their skin to remain forever young! Currently there is a crowdfunding campaign going for this, for more details check out their page here.

We Want to Believe is a new paranormal series and it has released The Demon Jar part 1 and 2. Even better, these episodes are free to watch. This is a reality show that follows writer/director/investigator Jason Hewlett and paranormal investigator Peter Renn and team as they investigate everything from UFO sightings to Bigfoot and hauntings. The show claims to be authentically made with no camera tricks or special effects. The free episodes can be viewed on YouTube or below.

Hex Studios have launched a new publishing wing, its first volume is titled The Book of Beastly Creatures. This is an anthology featuring 18 original stories, each based on original monsters from the Hex universe. Written by Sarah Daly, Thomas Staunton, and Lawrie Brewster, the hardback is also filled with 80's inspired artwork by James Olley as well as a full set of RPG rules for each creature. The book is available to buy from Kickstarter.
Also from Hex Studios - their new YouTube channel; Channel Hex have launched a retro horror talk show called Hex Talks. This features Lawrie Brewster as the host who holds a series of interviews with icons of the horror genre. The first episode has him chatting with Graham Skipper, best known for playing Herbert West in Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator The Musical. He has also starred in Almost Human and Beyond the Gates, as well as directed and starred in Sequence Break.

Puzzle Box Horror are going to be launching a new magazine titled 'Atlas of Lore'. The first issue, 'Oregon' is due for release late July. This will feature five original short stories all based on Oregon's haunted lore. Along with the stories are original art and photography. The five stories in issue 1 include Slice, When The Bandage Man Finds You, Anna Byrne Chronicles Chapters 1 and 2, The Haunting of The White Eagle and Rose. The magazine can be pre-ordered here.

In music news U.S psychedelic country western band Spindrift are due to have a film released on DVD and digital called Spindrift's Haunted West. The film chronicles the band over five weeks where they play exclusively at ghost towns and haunted locations. Indican Pictures will be releasing the documentary in July.

Kissing Candice have released their track Ghosted on all streaming platforms, which is the first time this has been available to stream. This track has never been put on an album and apparently fans saw it as a lost track. The band say this was something to give to the fans as they await the release of their new album.

Finally, and after months of mentioning it on my news post the dystopian turn-based strategy/RPG video game 1971 Project Helios has been released. It has came out on PS4, X-Box One, Nintendo Switch, Steam and GOG.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Gothic Harvest (2019) - Horror Film Review

Appearances can be deceptive, that is both a theme running through Ashley Hamilton's Gothic Harvest (that marks his directorial debut) and a critique of the film itself. With a bunch of familiar faces, and faces that also happen to be good actors I expected something special here, however no amount of good actors can save what is ultimately a film that seemed to lose focus the more it went on.

It is Mardi Gras in New Orleans and four college friends have gone there to party. One night, one of the four, Hope (Abbie Gayle - Scream: The TV Series, Scream Queens) hooks up with a handsome stranger, Gar (Hamilton) and heads off to his house. The remaining friends, who include among them the sensible Benay (Ashton Leigh - Frankenstein vs. the Mummy), Katie (Tanyell Waivers - Ma), and Tina (Mary Alice Risener - Scream Queens) become concerned when they are unable to contact their friend. Eventually the three team up with local cop, Detective Hollis (Bill Moseley - The Devil's Rejects, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) and a local man, Lafitte (Yohance Myles - Containment) in order to find her. It turns out Hope really is in serious trouble, as she has become the latest 'guest' of a family from the 1800's who are cursed to never age, and who require blood to retain their vitality.

The general idea behind this was a decent enough one, but the way the film goes about telling the story is where it falls down. It felt like it didn't really know who it wanted the focus to be on. The story of Hope's abduction should have been the centre of this, yet this falls to the wayside a bit as the immortal family begin to take more and more screen time. They come across as a more civilised version of the Firefly family from House of 1000 Corpses and have a whole bunch of character to their eccentric personalities. They include among them Lin Shaye (the Insidious series) and she is usually great in everything she turns up in, but even she cannot save this one. There are subplots going on with this family but they not only added nothing but they led to dead ends. In particular there is quite a large story going on with the daughter, Amelia (Sofia Mattsson) who has headed out to the city for a night of pleasure. This whole part felt pointless and had nothing to do with the main story. It is finished with in such an abrupt manner that I wondered why it was even included. None of the family have any interesting things going on for them, though I thought Thomas Francis Murphy (The Walking Dead) was wonderfully cast as the father, Justice.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

A Drunk Scorpion Will Sting Itself to Death (2020) - Crime Film Review

I'm a sucker for agreeing to review films that I personally like the look of, even if it is a bit of a stretch to say they really belong on this blog. Such was the case with Denton True's crime drama, A Drunk Scorpion Will Sting Itself to Death. The title alone took my interest and so here I am some 76 minutes later writing a review of it. Thankfully, while it isn't horror it is a good film.

True stars as Dean, a homeless crack addict whose near brush with death after an overdose leads to him wanting to get clean. Luckily for him his path crosses with that of Maria (Chanel Mack). She happens to be a vigilante who murders drug dealers, and in return for Dean using his knowledge of dealers in order for her to hunt them down she offers him a place to stay, as well as the promise to help him achieve his dream of getting clean. However, it may be true that a leopard can't change its spots...

This had a bit of an exploitation grindhouse feel to it, the locations and characters met along the way are all degenerates for the most part. Dean is a character who makes for a flawed protagonist, while he has the best intentions his addiction means it is hard for him to fight against his own nature. Maria on the other hand is more of a mystery in terms of her character. When she is first met she has already been killing people for a while and so she is calm and collected with little background to say why she is doing what she is, or how she has gotten so good at it. The only other characters who get a decent amount of screen time are Dean's homeless girlfriend Diana (Ewa Maria Wojcik) and his homeless friend. Diana serves as the temptress archetype, representing both Dean's past, as well as a mirror to the type of person he once was. Maria on the other hand serves as a role model for Dean, something to aspire to be like (outside of killing people obviously).

Friday, 26 June 2020

Evil Under the Skin (2019) - Horror Film Review

Evil Under the Skin is an odd film to watch. It seemed at first to be trying to be two different genres thrown on top of each other. There would be long scenes of mother and daughter bonding time in brightly lit sunny locations. Then there would be the swiftly edited sequences of horror which appeared totally unrelated and out of place. Thankfully this film gets better as it goes along, and while the obvious twist does come to pass, it is a lot better handled than it initially looked like it would be.

Sophie (Helene Udy - Mrs. Claus, My Bloody Valentine) has gone on vacation with her daughter, Roselee (Angela Barajas) to a lake side house. They are spending time with each other to re-bond as they had had a split in the past. On the surface things are going great, however Sophie is experiencing painful headaches and having recurring hallucinations of strange horrors. While out walking one day she meets a woman, Carla (Donna Hamblin - Hellcat's Revenge) and her brother, Matt (Tim O'Hearn - Johnny Gruesome, Killer Rack) who befriend her, but who may have ulterior motives. She is also visited by the local sheriff, Roy (Carl Bailey - Misfortune) and the local park ranger, Jenny (Pamela Sutch - Paranormal Captivity) who are investigating reports of strange loud noises in the area a few nights back.

I think if Evil Under the Skin had remained as floaty as it first appeared I would not have liked this at all. The first third I thought was weird in a bad way. The horror sequences felt so awkwardly inserted into the plot that they felt abrasive. I know now that that was completely intentional. These moments of horror are meant to feel out of place, and go against the perfect getaway vibe that Sophie and Roselee are having.It was interesting what was going on with some of the side characters. Carla and Matt, the incestuous siblings are very suspicious characters, I didn't trust them one bit. The same almost goes to the sheriff who doesn't seem to be the most trustworthy person. These side character subplots play out almost separately to the main story going on and include one or two red herrings.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

NOS4A2: Season 2 (2020) - Horror TV Show Preview

Until I covered news of the upcoming second season of NOS4A2 I have to admit I had never heard of it. I figured from the title it would be something about vampires, but that is only half right, it is something a little bit different. The show is based on the 2013 book of the same name by Joe Hill (Stephen King's son). Having only read a plot summary of the first season on Wikipedia I went into this new season pretty much blind, and while some of the particulars were a little confusing I quickly picked up where all the characters were now at. Currently I have only seen the first four episodes and so rather than be a full review this will be my thoughts on those. Unavoidable spoilers for that first season will follow.

Season 2 picks up eight years after the events of the first season, in which the supernaturally gifted Vic (Ashleigh Cummings) managed to finally defeat the child soul eating Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto). The seemingly immortal Manx has been in a coma ever since his defeat, but with the help of his lackey, serial killer Bing Partidge (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) Manx has returned, thirsty for revenge.

It didn't take too long to get into the swing of things with season 2. It is quickly established that this is very much a story about a battle between two unlikely foes. Vic and Manx both share the screen time almost equally. Picking things up for myself it seems that Vic's power is that she is able to locate any missing person or object by riding through a certain bridge near her home. This bridge acts as a kind of teleporter taking her instantly to whatever thing she is seeking. This is a problem for Manx as he is a man who doesn't want to be found. I found both characters to be really interesting. With Vic, in the intervening years she has suffered PTSD, obsessed with Manx, and an alcoholic she tries to balance the burden of being the only person able to stop the child killer, as well as care for her young son, Wayne. I expected Quinto to be good here as he is a strong actor, and he seems to relish playing the smooth talking Manx. His character's very life force seems to be tied to the supernaturally charged Wraith that he drives around in, and which allows him to feed on the souls of children. He also has somehow created a unique alternate dimension, a place he calls 'Christmasland'. In this place he leaves his victims, children now altered into a more monstrous form, there they are looked after by his daughter, Millie.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Awesomely Righteous & Radical (2020) - Anthology Horror Film Review

Awesomely Righteous & Radical is an eighties inspired anthology created by Shane Ryan (Autopilot, My Name is 'A' by Anonymous) that brings together an eclectic collection of short films that also includes trailers and archival footage. Many of the ten shorts are horror but being based on the eighties there are also a few more action focused ones. I say this each and every time I review an anthology but I will say it again now, I sure do love anthology films.

The whole anthology is designed to look like an old VHS tape that has had various programs recorded on it and it starts off with a warning about the dangers of crack cocaine using archival footage of Clint Eastwood. A fitting warning as many of the following shorts are very out there in terms of the vibes they create. It starts off with Swamp Buck (written and directed by Jason Ewert) that plays out like a comedy horror. An old man tells a story around a campfire about a hunting trip he went on as a child. It was a decent blend of styles whose silliness almost won me over.
Next was Shane Ryan's Guerrilla, a short which I reviewed back in 2017. This post-apocalyptic film follows a boy in an eighties America which has been contaminated with an air based virus that turns its victims hyper aggressive. The lack of dialogue and the filming techniques make this come across as a music video, especially with the intro montage of everything from that era.
Wallet is the third in the initial trilogy of horror shorts, this was directed by Luc Bernier. Here, a woman staying at a remote motel discovers a wallet full of cash. Despite it containing an address to return it to if it is found the woman decides to keep the money. This turns out to be a very bad mistake. I liked the general idea behind this one, but I didn't feel its execution worked satisfactorily as it ends on a bit of a limp note.

Los Angeles Connection is the first action short here. A man returns home to find his wife murdered. After a classic eighties style training montage the man sets out to get revenge against those responsible. This was directed by Dustin Ferguson and certainly looked like it had been ripped out of the time frame it was aping, but not too much of note really happens here.
Party Like It's 1984 is a comedy from Oliver Jolliffe and was in two parts. The first section has an out of shape bodyguard at a psychiatrist session where he claims to be no longer using drugs. The second part has him waking up in woodland after a drug binge and soon discovers the woman whose bodyguard he is, and a colleague. This was energetic and the characters were a likeable bunch, however it felt a bit unfocused, like the lines and story were being improvised on the spot. Regardless, it still had charm.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Intruder (1989) - Horror Film Review

I had never heard of 80's slasher Intruder until it popped up randomly on the 'Shudder TV' section of Shudder. The brief clip I saw looked so great that I immediately decided that would be the film to watch that evening. Directed by Scott Spiegal (Hostel: Part III, Dusk Till Dawn 2: Blood Money). I was excited to see that not only do Sam Raimi (director of The Evil Dead series and Spider-Man series) playing a character here, but also his brother, Ted (who had roles in everything Evil Dead related), and even the legend Bruce Campbell turns up in a small role here.

The film takes place entirely at a local supermarket and follows the night shift over the course of one night. Cashier, Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox - Night of the Creeps) gets an unexpected visit from an ex-boyfriend, the creepy Craig Peterson (David Byrnes - Witchcraft IX: Bitter Flesh, Witchcraft 7: Judgement Hour). He is obsessed with the girl and says he is determined to do anything to get her back. This leads to an altercation that involves nearly all of the staff and results in Craig getting thrown out the supermarket. Soon after it is revealed by the shops owners, Danny (Eugene Robert Glazer) and Bill (Dan Hicks - Evil Dead II) that they have sold the business and it is going to be closing the very next day. It is to this backdrop that a night of terror begins, one by one the staff begin to get picked off by a crazed killer hiding in the shop...

I loved how of its time this slasher felt. Coming in at the late end of the eighties this nonetheless is a prime example of the style that decade is known for. Over the top death scenes, spirited performances and wonderful practical effects combine to make a horror that at its core is very silly, but it sure does know this. I found the start of this to be the most interesting as it has every character in the same scene, all of them getting in a fight with Craig. I found the contrast between this out in the open fist fight in a brightly lit room and the later dark traditional isolated slayings to be kind of cool. It made a change to have the killer be a known quantity. The acting was never the strongest here, but with a story that never takes itself seriously it works well. Knowing Bruce Campbell was in this I did get a bit distracted waiting for his character to appear, and while his appearance is very brief (I think he gets about two lines) it was still lovely to see him. It was also fun seeing Sam and Ted, both in fun roles.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Tales from Da Ville (2018) - Horror Anthology Show Review

Social thriller anthology Tales from Da Ville is now available to watch for free on YouTube. Originally created in 2018 the three episodes that make up season one were remastered in 2019. The hope was that this would be to horror anthology shows what Get Out was to horror films. Each episode tackles racism in a different way. The third episode especially is very relevant with all that is going on in the world at the moment. The message in each of these episodes is very heavy handed and simplified, but maybe that is what some people need. All three episodes was directed by Christopher Dandre Williams and Mo Rabbani.

Each episode is hosted by Brooklyn rapper, Bam Vito. He plays the count of Brownsville Brooklyn, and it is during his regular visits to three modern day witches that he tells different cautionary tales. The first of these is Unwoke. Odysseus Bailer plays Carl, a black man who has nothing but disdain for his own race, aspiring to be just like a white man. One night he is visited by the spirit of his ancestor, (played by Byron C. Saunders) and given exactly what he wants. Saunders was the highlight of this episode, his demented performance was a joy to watch.

The second episode is Revenge. In this one a black woman is attacked and left for dead by three white supremacist friends. She is then approached by an unlikely source to return to life and pay back those responsible. This had the most blood and gore of the three, and made good use of the limitations of the budget, such as slight blurring effects to hide props that may not have looked as effective in focus.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Agramon's Gate (2019) - Horror Film Review

Agramon's Gate is a film about demonic possession that was written and directed by Harley Wallen, he also plays one of the main characters in it. I usually love me some demonic possession but for whatever reason I found this particular tale to be inexplicably dull.

A spirit medium, Vesna  (Aphrodite Nikolovski - Love Immortal) is invited to a party a group of friends are having, it is hoped she will bring some entertainment to the evening. Richie (Kris Reilly - Enigma) is very sceptical about her, but is shocked when while trying to contact the dead the medium appears to become possessed. As a child Richie was forced to kill his father, Carter (Yan Birch - The People Under the Stairs) who was himself attempting to kill Richie's mum. Now it appears the evil spirit of his father has returned, but Vesna's own research with her friend, Zeb (Wallen) leads them to believe that it is actually the demon, Agramon who has appeared. With all who took part in the seance at risk they must band together to try and find a way to stop this demonic evil.

Initially things looked promising, the film had barely even begun when the seance is held and the horror begins. What follows is nearly two hours of meandering and uneventful pottering around in which it felt like absolutely nothing of note was happening. I can't quite understand just what was so boring about the movie, but dull it was. This is a real shame as a lot of the other things in this film were good. Of special note were the make-up effects. Sure the demonic eyes you see looked a bit cartoon like, but the actual make-up for characters looked really good. The acting also was not bad at all, Vesna and her friends were an interesting bunch, her and Zeb in particular got a lot of screen time. Richie and his friends though were such non characters that I struggled to feel much for them. They were not nasty people, they were not nice people, they just came across as very normal and so there was a lack of personality to any of them outside of Richie and his wife.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

All the Wrong Friends (2016) - Horror Film Review

All the Wrong Friends is a thriller that was co-directed by Ryan Hawkins and Mark Kerins in what was both their feature length directorial debut. Having a look at the credits on IMDB it appears that the story was put together by a whopping 10 different people. Too many cooks spoil the broth? Maybe, but this fits neatly into the tiny sub genre of horror that looks at how people react upon finding a dead body.

A group of former high school friends are on their way to a music festival a year after graduating. Along the way one of the group, Logan (Sean O'Connor) asks for them to visit the remote home of a friend of his, in order to get something off of him. Logan's friend isn't there, but he is so insistent about waiting for him to return that he convinces everyone to stay the night. Both alcohol and drugs are soon found and the friends begin a night of partying. That is until they discover Logan's friend, murdered in one of the upstairs rooms. Due to the illicit partying they take the drastic move of trying to cover their tracks, planning to spend the night and then contact the police about the body in the morning (for some reason no one owns a mobile phone). Not much later there is a knock at the door, two hikers looking for assistance. This begins a night of paranoia and mistrust and an ever rising body count, for it turns out that for these clowns they really did have...All the Wrong Friends.

This is not high brow entertainment but I did find it to be quite entertaining. It helps that every character in this film is an idiot, I couldn't care less about any of them, in fact the opposite, I was happy for them to rip themselves apart. The moronic leader, Logan was a complete bully, hardly surprising his attire is a wife beater vest. Then there is his bitchy girlfriend,  Adam (Tom Gelo - Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) who is a whiny drug addict loser, gormless Simon (Dexter Hostetter - Zombie Love), and Drew (Ricco Fajardo) and his girlfriend Nani (Krishna Smitha). Those last two are given the role of protagonists and are the most level headed of the bunch, however, their willingness to follow the totally moronic plans of the others means they are no better in my eyes. 

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Salient Minus Ten (2017) - Short Horror Film Review

Salient Minus Ten is a sci-fi horror short that was written and directed by Emma Dark (Seize the Night). After a successful festival run, this film has now come to DVD and digital, with its digital release back on 27th May.

Alan Austen (Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back) stars as an every man - Adam, who one day on his way to work is pulled into a demented game. Transported through time and space he finds himself in woodland, along with some other commuters also caught up in the mysterious goings on. The man has a device on his wrist, and a message on his phone telling him he has 'ten minutes to save the world'...

I like time travel in films, that is alluded to here, which is a big plus. The majority of the short has Adam bewildered and forced to participate in deadly games with which he has no clue what he is meant to be doing. Austen portrays the confusion and fear well. I thought the effects on the 'altered' people he comes across to be pretty cool. Events are kept mysterious enough that it isn't clear exactly what is going on. There is very little dialogue, the characters of Adam, and a mysterious woman (Dark) are the only two in the small cast who speak. It ends much as it began on an unclear note. I got a vibe of The Twilight Zone in bitesize form watching this, would have been great to have a Rod Serling style intro and outro for this.

With a 12 minute run time this remains engaging throughout, the resolution left me with more questions than answers, but this was a solid little sci-fi short. Salient Minus Ten was released on DVD, a double pack that also includes Seize the Night. That can be purchased here. The short can also be viewed on Dark's YouTube channel.


Monday, 15 June 2020

We Are the Missing (2020) - Horror Film Review

We Are the Missing is a mockumentary horror film that was directed by Andrew J.D Robinson (Making Faces, The Becky Carmichael Fan Club) in his feature length directorial debut. This came across like a visual transcript, a series of interviews and investigations that come together to form a cohesive whole.

Basically, it all starts with a young woman named Riley Madison vanishing in mysterious circumstances. It goes along like a typical series of interviews until the people the reporter is interviewing also disappear one day without a trace. A snowball effect begins to occur with more and more people in the city of D'Arcadia going missing, with no explanation for just what is going on. The documentary charts the unfolding of this strange terror.

Even with much of the world being in lock-down during the time the film was being made this is full of different characters. The format meant that phone video messages, and audio soundbites are the order of the day. I don't know if this had been mostly completed before the pandemic but it doesn't seem like something that that would cause an issue in terms of getting footage. On the subject of the pandemic, this mocumentary at times brings big contrasts between itself and real world events. Especially towards the films later half when lots of people have locked themselves away from the rest of the world, descriptions of empty streets, of how people are not going to take things for granted again, this all seemed so prescient.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

The Sinking City (2019) - Horror Video Game Review (PS4)

The Silent Hill series of games are some of my all time favourites, and they share some story elements with the literary works of H.P Lovecraft. So hearing there was a third person adventure game based entirely on his works, called The Sinking City my interest was piqued. Coming from a mid-tier games studio (Ukrainian based Frogwares) I expected this to be a tad under polished, and it was, a clunky control scheme, average graphics, and obvious reuse of character models and location assets. Despite these flaws though I found myself deeply absorbed into the atmosphere of this 15 to 20 hour adventure.

The Sinking City takes place in the secluded fishing town of Oakmont, Massachusetts in the 1920s. At some point in the recent past the city suffered a terrible flood, with huge chunks of the city now underwater. Due to its remote location, as well as the strange fact it doesn't appear on many maps, the citizens of Oakmont have been left to fend for themselves. Former U.S Navy sailor Charles Reed (now a private investigator) has been suffering horrific hallucinations and nightmares since an incident back in his Navy days. His investigations into these visions has led to him discovering that not only is his affliction one that plenty of other people in Massachusetts also have, but that Oakmont appears to be the origin point from where the nightmares and visions are spreading from. Not long after arriving at the city you are hired by Robert Throgmorton (one of Oakmont's leading families) to investigate the disappearance of a team of scientists who had headed out to sea believing they had located the exact location of the madness.

This is an open city adventure game that for me felt like a combination of Silent Hill and L.A Noire. After the first chapter the city is open to explore. With many streets flooded a lot of your travel has to be done by motor boat. Unlike the Silent Hill games, this ruined city is still vastly populated, the inhabitants, as well as outsiders (coined 'newcomers' by the locals) wander the streets. Every now and again you will stumble across a boarded off section of streets, which is where the monsters are contained. Combat against these monsters is just one half of the overall whole of The Sinking City, not even that, you spend roughly 30% of the game fighting things. Thankfully there is plenty of world building lore explaining just why these creatures are everywhere, and some side missions you get even go as far to say the exact particulars of how they came to be. There isn't a huge amount of variation to these creatures, with about four or five main types, that have slight variations among them. They are all corrupted humanoid looking things, such as the weakest grunts which resemble a kind of lanky hand crawling about. Others including child like things walking around on legs which shoot projectile bile from their split stomachs, half torso like crawling creatures, and a hulking brute who can easily kill you in just a few hits. Dotted throughout the game also are a few boss monsters, and on occasion there are also human enemies armed with guns to battle against, including the local chapter of the K.K.K.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

The Odd Perspective (2020) - Thriller Film Review

The Odd Perspective is the third film I have seen of Spanish director, Yolanda Torres (The Afterglow, The Forsaken) in the past few weeks. Having enjoyed his previous films I was pretty sure I would also get on well with this thriller. I will readily admit I struggled to make out much of what was going on, but I sure enjoyed the ride.

Christopher Hunter (The 12) stars as Aleix Martin, a synergist with the gift of being able to see patterns in reality. He returns to his home city after some years away, this is due to the recent death of his father, who was a supreme court judge. It isn't long before he has gotten himself involved in the search for a serial killer, Aleix's brother (Arne Gottschling - Suicide Club) is a detective in charge of the case and hopes his brothers unique skill set will help him catch the killer.

I don't know what a synergist is and I was none the wiser by the films end. From what I could tell, Aleix is a troubled genius whose special ability to see numbers and patterns in everything is almost like a curse to him. He spends vast chunks of the film distressed, pacing back and forth repeating phrases and sequences over and over. At times it seems he has a 'mind palace' which is displayed as a swiftly edited series of images and movements, usually while a line a character has previously said plays over and over on repeat. Occasionally the numbers Aleix sees literally appear on screen as floating images. I didn't understand any of this, but then I am not the smartest person out there. Regardless I still found myself caught up in events. From humble beginnings the story opens itself up into something far grander, so that by the films conclusion it felt like this story had only been half told. I'm not sure if a sequel to this was planned, or leaving the story so relatively unresolved was purposeful.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Luz (2018) - Horror Film Review

German horror Luz just might be the best damn horror I have seen all year. I love a good soundtrack, I love memorable visuals, and I love me some demonic possession, so this film which combines all three to glorious effect was exactly my type of movie.

Luz (Luana Velis), a young cabdriver turns up one dark night at a Police station. She is bruised and confused and not making a lot of sense. An Officer there, Bertillon (Nadja Stübiger) calls for a psychiatrist, and soon after Dr. Rossini (Jan Bluthardt) arrives on the scene, his intention to put the girl into a hypnotic state so that she can act out the events that led to her arriving at the station. Unknown however to all involved, the psychiatrist has recently had an encounter with a strange woman (Julia Riedler) at a nearby bar, and that he might actually be under the control of a demonic entity...

By the film's conclusion you might be under the impression the story told here was pretty simple. Despite this the film makes you work for this story. Events start off at around the middle mark. Rather than have a traditional flashback sequence take place to show what happened to Luz this is instead acted out within the film itself. Under hypnosis Luz is convinced she is back in her cab, so while she is shown to the viewer to be sat on a chair in a conference room, her actions, as well as her interactions are as if she wasn't. To help sell this illusion all sound effects, and dialogue play out with authentic sounds. So, you might hear music playing on an imaginary radio, and Luz dancing in her seat to it, but then the camera will cut to show the officers, and Dr. Rossini watching her dancing to silence. Characters who Luz has spoken with in the past then also show up on screen to interact with her, they are physically there for the viewers benefit, but again in reality she is alone. This takes up a huge chunk of the films run time and was so dreamlike, a layer of acting was required to sell this and all the actors just shone.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Autopilot (2020) - Short Horror Film Review

It can't be denied that 2020 has been a terrible year for pretty much everyone, there are silver linings though. One of these is the Corman Quarantine Film Festival. This was created by the prolific film director and producer, Roger Corman. The rules for participating were that the film had to be under two minutes in length, the cast must be from family, or whoever you live with, and that directors are asked to use their mobile phone camera and lighting available from around the house. Autopilot is the entry from Shane Ryan (My name Is 'A' by Anonymous, Oni-gokko) and Kade Tabin.

The story is abstract and plays out in silence with no dialogue or sound effects, just a dramatic score playing over the top of it. From what I could gather this shows a girl alone in lock down, going through repetitive motions of life trapped inside, on autopilot so to speak. As the monotonous days go on and on her mind begins to unravel.

I liked how a story was told without any need for explanation, and for some of the striking images here. The best one, and one the short kept going back to, was the girl, wearing a face mask laying in red water, as the short goes on the girl appears more and more bloody. There is good use of repetition here, the girl going to her freezer, the girl drawing, the girl lying expressionless on her side. There was also great lighting here, a sort of wave effect over many of the images.

Autopilot was a clever use of the time provided and was a short that I found myself watching several times in a row to really soak in the flavour of it. Check it out for yourself below.


Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Child Eater (2016) - Horror Film Review

Child Eater is based on the 2012 short horror film of the same name. When I reviewed that a few years back (here) I commented that I hoped the feature length version would improve upon the lore built up in it. Like the original short, this one too is directed and written by Erlingur Thoroddsen, and this one also stars Cait Bliss who reprises her role as the babysitter, Helen.

A quarter of a century before the events of the film there was an old man named Robert Bowery who lived in the woods near a small town. This man had failing eyesight and believed by consuming the eyeballs of children he would be able to get his sight restored. After a little girl manages to escape from him he is finally caught and believed killed. In present day, Helen (Bliss) is asked by her father to babysit a young boy, Lucas (Colin Critchley). The boy complains of a monster hiding in his cupboard, Helen humours him but when she looks there is nothing there. Later that night she hears a strange noise coming from Lucas's room, she goes there to find he has vanished. She decides to head out into the nearby woods to search for him, unaware that Robert Bowery (Jason Martin - Gotham) has returned in a new supernatural form to once again kidnap children...

I assumed a feature length film would find time to build on the lore and the characters that the original short didn't have time to do. However this seemed far more content to stretch that original short into a feature length with minimal added of any consequence. After a tiny sliver of character development the film soon gets to the original place the short started. Nearly the entire movie takes place over the night Lucas vanishes, and from what my memory told me this goes along in a very similar fashion to the original. I found Lucas to be an annoying character, and there was a bit of a throwback in feel to the early 2000's in how he acts. There was a weird stretch of time in the past where it seemed children were being given scripts for adult characters. This led to child characters speaking and acting with a maturity that came across as creepy rather than realistic. Such is the case with Lucas who the film would lead you to believe is a lot more articulate, rational and intelligent than all the adults around him. This just makes for a creepy character, and so I wasn't that fussed what the titular child eater would do to him. There are a bunch of other characters but there is so little development with any of them that I couldn't care less about them. Bliss was fine as the babysitter but I didn't really understand why she felt the need to rescue Lucas after a certain point in the movie.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Among the Shadows (2019) - Horror Film Review

Why is it that vampires and werewolves are always the main choices when it comes to monsters secretly living amongst humanity? The Tiago Mesquita directed Among the Shadows is a political drama that bizarrely decides to include these creatures woven into its incoherent story. I really was trying my best to follow this, but as the end credits rolled I realised I really didn't have much idea about what I had seen at all. My plot summary will be based on what I assumed the film was about.

Taking place in a city in Belgium - after her uncle (John Flanders) is murdered, P.I Kristy Wolfe (Charlotte Beckett - The Demon Headmaster TV series) sets out on a path of revenge to get those responsible. Both Kristy and her uncle were werewolves, and it is soon revealed that both wolves and vampires live secretly among the humans. Kristy ends up getting hired to look into the murder by the United States of Europe President's vampire wife, Patricia Sherman (Lindsay Lohan - Mean Girls) as the uncle had been working with the President on his upcoming campaign.

I really don't know why the movie even bothered having characters be a mix of vampires and werewolves. As far as I could make out both monster types had the exact same abilities and appearance. People don't turn into wolves, instead they can grow fangs, have the ability to read minds, and have glowing eyes. It seemed the sole difference between the vampires and werewolves was that the vampires eyes didn't glow. This is no Underworld though I'm sure it wants to be. Personally I disliked that series of films so having a budget version didn't fill me with joy. You might expect some decent fight scenes at least, Kristy is a capable fighter. Unfortunately whenever the action begins the editing suddenly increases dramatically. The camerawork in general is fine, but as soon as the fighting starts camera angles start to change at the rate of a few a second, making for really hard to follow and unsatisfying fights. Add in close up shaky hand cam footage, slow-mo, and silly over the top noises and you get a bit of a mess.

Friday, 5 June 2020

Creature in the Dark (2020) - Horror Film Review

Creature in the Dark is the latest film from director/writer Jacob Perrett. His previous films, 2018's Weird Fiction, and 2019's Spine Chiller were both horror anthologies and so I just kind of assumed this one would also fall into that category. Instead this is a straight up apocalypse horror, with the playfulness that would sometimes be present in those previous films missing. One thing is certain, each new film from Perrett brings with it a whole new layer of quality.

This film takes place in a world where one day the sun simply vanished. There was no real chance to really look into exactly what happened as less than 24 hours after this world changing event the creatures arrived. These creatures are attracted to light and before this was understood many people had been killed. Survivors live in isolated settings, with looters a common problem. One such survivor is River (Taylor Rhoades), he has long given up on life after his wife, Emma (Danielle Rhoades) vanished during the start of the apocalypse some six months or so back, but he keeps on going for his daughter, Mya's sake (Mya Rhoades).

At first glance this could be seen as an indie version of A Quiet Place, especially when you see that like with that film, the husband and wife couple here are also married in real life. I see this film instead as falling into a growing sub genre of horror. A Quiet Place had sound being the bringer of destruction, Bird Box had sight being the big no no, and with Creature in the Dark you have light being the thing to avoid. Obviously not having much light means the movie is going to be dark, and that is the case here. The entire film takes place in River's home and so visually there is not much going on. Despite the darkness there are ever present illuminations, such as the lamps and torches River uses, and the ever present glare from the TV with which Mya is kept entertained. This is a slow paced movie, it isn't full of loud dramatic moments, instead events are kept squarely on River, and how he is coping with this dark new world.