Indonesian action star Yayan Ruhian – best known from both The Raid films – toplines Takashi Miike’s Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War of the Underworld, which now has a full trailer that’s just as weird as the teasers.
Hayato Ichihara stars in Miike’s return to hardcore genre filmmaking in what’s being billed as the world’s first yakuza vampire movie.
Scripted by Yoshitaka Yamaguchi, Yakuza Apocalypse stars Ichihara as a yakuza underling who discovers his boss is a bloodsucker, only to get bitten himself before going up against a gang of deadly international assassins.
Akira (Hayato Ichihara) admires Genyo Kamiura who is the most powerful yakuza. Genyo Kamiura has been targeted numerous times, but has never died. He is called the invincible person.
Because of Genyo Kamiura, Akira enters the world of the yakuza. His yakuza colleagues treats him like an idiot, Akira can’t even get tattoos because of his sensitive skin. Akira becomes disappointed in the yakuza world, because it’s not like what he say in the movies. Especially, in terms of loyalty and charity depicted of the yakuza.
An assassin is then sent to take out Genyo Kamiura. The killers know that Genyo Kamiura is a vampire.
The Encounter, from director Robert Conway, makes contact with DVD and VOD this June.
A camping trip goes horribly wrong in the supernatural thriller starring Clint James and Megan Drust, out June 2, 2015 from Uncork’d Entertainment.
“Things start out normal when Colin Bastrow is camping with his wife and friends but an inexplicable event occurs resulting in Colin being found naked and cold in the forest the next day with no sign of his wife and friends. Colin can’t recount these events initially but they come back to him over time in shocking fashion. Can he remember before the same happens to others?“
Focus Features just unleashed the evil in a trio of TV Spots for Insidious Chapter 3, in theaters June 5th, 2015.
“This chilling prequel, set before the haunting of the Lambert family, reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl (Stefanie Scott) who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.”
Leigh Whannell, co-creator of the terrifying horror franchise, directs the third film. Bloody Disgusting was invited to the set and saw a lot of cool stuff.
The full cast of Insidious Chapter 3 includes Dermot Mulroney (August: Osage County) and Stefanie Scott (Jem and the Holograms) starring alongside Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, and Mr. Whannell, with the latter trio reprising their roles from the first two movies in the franchise.
This week on Salem, we had more table-setting as Mary had to deal with sexism in the workplace, Alden continued his plot to destroy all the witches in Salem and Mercy moved forward in her plan to destroy Mary. Oh, and the Countess performed a blood kiss on Mary as well. There weren’t a lot of stand-out moments in “From Within,” but like last week’s episode, it set the stage for some interesting things to occur in future episodes.
Much of “From Within” was spent with Mary, and boy did she have a lot to deal with this week. That pesky Mr. Hawthorne is proving to be a real thorn in her side (you don’t even know how dead you are, sir), but the one good thing that came out of his disagreeable presence is that we actually had a suspenseful scene involving George! Since Hawthorne wants to usurp George as town magistrate, Mary has to let George speak (without giving her up as a witch) and name a replacement for him.
The dinner scene was easily the highlight of the episode, as George could have easily given Mary up as a witch. It was nice to finally see Michael Mulheren get to do something besides look stressed out in a wheelchair. The banter between him and Mary as they made a deal was also very entertaining.
Anyway, Mary’s idea for George’s replacement turns out to be Mr. Corwin, another witch who is easily kidnapped by a Roland Deschain-y John Alden. I admit, I’ve been harping on how boring Alden’s story has been in the previous episodes, but since this episode had Alden directly involved with Mary (without her knowing it), he became immediately more interesting. The fact thathe might actually be a worthy opponent for her is what makes him more interesting. That was the problem with Increase Mather last season: as villainous as he was, it was always obvious he wouldn’t be able to actually overthrow the witches. This isn’t the case with Countess Marburg or, now, John Alden.
Speaking of Marburg, the opening tag with the little girl in the well turns out to be all part of her plan to plant the blood kiss on Mary. It seemed like a “scenic route” plan, as I doubt it would have taken all that effort to perform the blood kiss (based on my extensive knowledge of blood kiss rituals), but I’ll let it slide…this week. Y’all know how I feel about Ms. Lawless.
What isn’t really working is this forced lust Dr. Wainwright has for Mary. After a weird scene where he choked Mary to make her feel closer to death, he got turned on by it 50 Shades of Grey-style and proceeded to make out with her. The writers might feel it necessary to shoehorn in a romance(?) subplot (hopefully one that will not eventually turn into a love triangle with Alden because, ugh), but it’s not needed here. Salem already has so much going on, that a doctor with a BDSM fetish just seems tacked on.
Finally, we have Mercy, who is slowly recovering from her burn wounds inflicted by the townsfolk last week. It was pretty humorous to discover that her father (who used to molest her) has now been turned into her slave via bird penis witchcraft (ha), but unfortunately this led to Isaac’s death. Isaac, who can easily be called the only “good” character on the show, will be dearly missed, though my guess is that he will be resurrected sooner or later.
Overall this was another solid episode of Salem, but it was a lot more setup this week that will ideally lead to more bombastic episodes in the future. Once more storylines start converging, Salem will be all the better for it.
- Anne and Cotton are on their way back to Salem when their carriage gets hijacked, then Anne kills them all using her witch powers. It felt like a bit of wheel-spinning but I guess we needed to check in on them somehow this week.
- Mary’s son has been killing birds. So there’s that.
- “Life with him has been both a pain and a constant temptation to Hell.” Definitely stealing this one for my future insults.
- More frog on thigh-nipple action! I’ve been missing that in my life.
- “George if those tepid men saw me for what I truly am they would soil themselves in fear.” -At least Mary is aware that her reflection looks like a hell beast.
- “You will be reunited with the shriveled remnants of your manhood when you fulfill every errand I demand.” -I like this side of Mercy.
- “Your vigor for the peace and prosperity of Salem is an inspiration.” -You have to actually hear Montgomery’s delivery of this to understand how funny it was. It was very Mean Girls “I love that skirt. Where did you get it?” and it was awesome.
- “I am not your enemy…but make me one and you shall feel my fury.” -Hawthorne is clearly going to die by season’s end, but I can’t wait to see more of his verbal throw-downs with Mary.
- Countess Marburg sure does like bathtubs doesn’t she? Every scene she’s been in as featured one.
LA-based The Solution has optioned film rights and controls the screenplay and plans to produce, finance and sell Burn Site once cast comes together, reports ScreenDaily.
Burn Site, to be helmed by Fernando Coimbra (Wolf At the Door, pictured), “is a psychological thriller about a reformed convict who takes matters into his own hands when his step-daughter is murdered.”
The Solution co-founder Myles Nestel will produce Burn Site alongside Mark Sourian and Chris Pollack.
Wolf At the Door (O Lobo Atrás Da Porta) takes place in a Rio suburb and is based on the infamous Beast of Penha murder-abduction case more than half a century ago.
We love Yam Laranas here on Bloody Disgusting.
The Filipino director quietly makes his indie films – like Sigaw and The Road – before sneakily announcing them.
This morning he sent us both the trailer and one-sheet for his next genre mystery, Abomination, which looks like yet another mind-bending supernatural horror film.
“Abomination follows a young woman who is found unconscious in a city street and claims to be another person who was brutally murdered two months earlier. She escapes from a psychiatric hospital in order to prove her identity and find the truth about her life, her death and her murderer.“
Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World, a new documentary about the internationally acclaimed and controversial painter, sculptor, architect, designer, Oscar winner and Alien creator, will open at Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema in New York, Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles, Opera Plaza Cinemas in San Francisco, and Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley starting on May 15, 2015.
The doc hopes to learn, who is the artist HR Giger? What kind of person is behind such terrifying and disturbing yet aesthetic forms and beings?
What’s so special about this new film is that it features actual interview with the man himself, who we lost this past May.
This could be his final words ever caught on film…
Opening theatrically in the U.S. and Canada in over 30 cities:
May 15-21 – New York, NY – Landmark Sunshine
May 15-21 – Los Angeles, CA – Landmark NuArt
May 15-21 – San Francisco, CA – Landmark Opera Plaza
May 15-21 – Berkeley, CA – Landmark Shattuck
May 15-21 – Providence, RI – Cable Car Cinema
May 22-28 – Long Beach, CA – The Frida Cinema
May 22-28 – San Diego, CA – Landmark Ken
May 22-28 – Dallas, TX – Texas Theatre
May 23-26 – Austin, TX – Alamo Drafthouse
May 23-28 – Houston, TX – Alamo Drafthouse
May 28 – June 4 – Washington, D.C. – Landmark E St
May 28 – June 4 – Vancouver, BC – The Cinematheque
May 29 – June 4 – Denver, CO – Landmark (TBD)
May 28 – June 4 – Columbus, OH – Gateway Film Center
May 29 – June 4 – Philadelphia, PA – Landmark Ritz
May 28 – May 31 – Fort Worth, TX – Fort Worth Museum of Contemporary Art
Surrealist artist H. R. Giger (1940-2014) terrified audiences with his Oscar-winning monsters in Ridley Scott’s ALIEN. Sci-fi, horror, music, album covers, tattoos and fetish art have been influenced by his dark, intricate paintings and sculptures depicting birth, death and sex.
Both a mesmerizing introduction to Giger’s oeuvre and a must-see for Giger devotees, Belinda Sallin’s definitive documentary DARK STAR: H. R. GIGER’S WORLD shares the intimate last years of the artist’s life and reveals how deeply he resided within his own artistic visions.
Behind the shuttered windows and ivy-covered walls of his residence in Zurich, Switzerland, DARK STAR brings viewers into Giger’s mysterious realm: from the first skull he was given by his father at the age of six, to macabre dinner parties with his close-knit team, to the grisly souvenirs from his time spent on the ALIEN set and reminiscences about model Li Tobler, Giger’s one-time muse, whose suicide reverberates throughout his work.
The film also addresses Giger’s complex relationship to the art world, where he defied traditional categories and embraced commercial projects for musicians including Debbie Harry, Korn, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and the Dead Kennedys. Fittingly enshrined in a museum dedicated to his work, Giger’s output includes sculpture, painting, drawing, film and architecture, integrating meticulous technique with a instantly-recognizable sensibility that has inspired generations of nightmares.
Photo Courtesy of Icarus Films
Scooby-Doo is one of those TV shows that can very easily get a kid interested in horror. It’s a mystery series that always features some sort of scary monster causing chaos and mischief, only for the mystery solving quintet of Shaggy, Scooby, Daphne, Fred, and Velma to find out that there’s really some person behind the visage. It’s great for parents because it helps teach their kids that monsters aren’t real, that there’s always something else to explain things. However, it also teaches that the real monsters are people. You win some, you lose some.
Now, Scooby and the gang are heading to the KISS theme park to investigate a series of strange hauntings at the hands of the “Crimson Witch”.
The full synopsis reads:
Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. Gang team up with the one and only KISS in this all-new, out-of-this-world adventure! We join the Gang at KISS World – the all-things-Kiss theme park, as they investigate a series of strange hauntings. With help from KISS, they discover that the Crimson Witch has returned to summon The Destroyer from the alternate dimension of Kissteria! The evil duos ghastly plan, to destroy the earth! Can the Gang’s cunning and KISS’s power of rock save the day?! Tune in to this Rock and Roll Mystery for some thunderous, heavy FUN!
A trailer can be seen below. The film will be released on digital on July 10th and Blu-Ray/DVD on July 21st.
Filmax (the [REC] franchise, Summer Camp) has shared with Bloody Disgusting a full batch of hi-res images from Sweet Home, which has Rafa Martinez at the helm. It will open in Spain on May 8, 2015.
Sweet Home is described as a realistic and claustrophobic film that keeps track of the scariest side.
Here’s a translation of the film’s synopsis: “The plot is situated in a daily environment: a couple decides to spend a romantic evening in a floor of a semi-abandoned building that slip because she works as a consultant for the council house and got the keys. During the evening they discover that a hooded murderer is the only tenant left in the building…and they have become the new target.“
Ingrid Garcia Jonsson (Beautiful Youth) stars with Bruno Sevilla (Mindscape).
Martinez co-wrote the screenplay with Teresa of Rosendo and Ángel Agudo.
The English-language Sweet Home is produced by Julio Fernandez.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? This razor-edged question is the catalyst for a whole lot of horrible things in mad genius Onur Turkel’s new film Applesauce. Last year Turkel’s sardonic vampire film Summer of Blood was a hit and now he’s outdone himself with a morbidly comedic look at the repercussions of infidelity and sins of the past. Through Turkel’s lens these grim issues are presented in a wicked hilarious manner, with the filmmaker’s awkward, literate, “I can’t believe he said that” humor relentlessly attacking the viewer.
Turkel stars as Ron, a high school teacher who presses his students to think about the ethical repercussions of war and to consider its alternatives. These are high school kids though so he’s met with little respect. Him and his wife Nicki (Trieste Kelly Dunn) seem to live a fairly normal existence alongside their best friends Les (Max Casella) and Emmy (Emmy Harrington). One night over dinner, Ron talks about the worst thing he’s ever done. It happened where I’m sure a lot of “worst things” happen, at a frat party.
What Ron reveals was a complete accident, but gruesome nonetheless. His confession sets off a chain of adverse events for the four main characters, as they each then become curious as to the horrible things their spouses did in the past. Provoking one another sends them on a downward spiral that shakes the foundations of their relationships and for Ron, his sanity. Shortly after he confesses, someone starts sending him severed body parts. Ron becomes suspicious of everyone, from his best friends to his students.
A lot of the conflict comes from Ron’s distrust of Les as the two men exchange some gut-busting verbal jabs (and equally hilarious fake-out punches). While a lot of the humor in Summer of Blood came from Turkel’s self-deprecation, his character Ron is more secure in himself. His cockiness this time doesn’t seem as dickheaded. He’s still a sarcastic S.O.B., sure, but way more tolerable of a human being. He is a teacher of conflict resolution, after all. Watching him try to uncomfortably resolve his conflicts with everyone around him would suggest otherwise. It’s a great character dichotomy and Turkel nails it.
When Ron does get to the bottom of who’s sending him body parts (it starts with the most innocent part you can think of and then builds up to, you know), it’s not this big “oh shit” twist. I love that about the film. Where the “reveal” might be treated as a giant hook in another film, Turkel’s conclusion is more organic and commonsense. “Oh, this is the guy behind it? Okay, let’s talk about it.” It’s a very satisfying end.
I should mention that the great character actor Dylan Baker (Trick ‘r Treat, Happiness) has a small role as radio host Stevie Bricks, the man who asks his listeners every Tuesday night about the worst thing they’ve ever done. At first Stevie seems like a background character, but Turkel ties him in wickedly later on.
Applesauce is a wholly singular riot that’s equal parts horror-relationship drama-comedy-mystery about people trying to get their shit together in the face of brutal honesty, betrayal, and detached body parts. It’s certainly not the bloodbath that Summer of Blood is, no. But it’s sure to satisfy anyone with a morbid and suspicious view of the world. Or anyone who likes, you know, laughing.
Applesauce just had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Dark Sky Films already bought the sucker so we’ll keep you updated on an official release.
Fear the cure.
Bleiberg Entertainment’s Compound has us drinking the blood in this exclusive clip from Strange Blood, on VOD April 28th, 2015 and DVD June 9th, 2015 via XLrator Media.
From producer Pearry Teo (Cloud Atlas), Strange Blood is the directorial debut of acclaimed photographer and music video director Chad Michael Ward, who has worked with Marilyn Manson, Slash, and Static-X amongst others.
“When a brilliant but obsessive scientist (Robert Brettenaugh) goes to extremes to develop a universal cure for all disease, he finds himself infected with a bizarre parasite that begins to transform him into a bloodthirsty madman. Time running out, and with the aid of his med student assistant (Alexandra Bard), he must find a way to stop the monster that is growing within and prevent the rest of the world from being “cured.””
Robert Brettenaugh stars alongside Alexandra Bard.
Check out a bunch of exclusive stills here.
“Chicago Fire’s” Taylor Kinney, pictured, is heading into The Forest, the long-gestured Jason Zada-directed thriller for Focus Features and Lava Bear, reports Deadline.
He’ll star alongside “Game Of Thrones’” Natalie Dormer in a film that is based on an original idea by David Goyer (Blade Trinity, The Unborn), and incorporates the mythology of Japan’s Aokigahara Forest.
“Dormer plays an American woman who ventures into Japan’s legendary Aokigahara forest in search of her missing twin sister. She meets a man who changes her life, but he’s not who she thinks he is.”
Scripted by Nick Antosca, the film shoots in Serbia in May.
One of the most terrifying horror films of all time is back on the remake block.
The 1983 horror movie The Entity, about a woman who is tormented and sexually molested by an invisible demon, is getting the remake treatment from the creative team behind The Conjuring, says Heat Vision.
James Wan – best known for directing Saw, Dead Silence, The Conjuring, Insidious and even Fast 7 – will produce the remake with brothers Chad and Carey Hayes on board to pen the script. Roy Lee (The Ring, Godzilla, The Grudge, Poltergeist) will produce Entity with Wan.
Entity purportedly told the true story of Carla Moran, a single mom who was abused physically and sexually by a supernatural demon.
Barbara Hershey played Moran while Ron Silver played a doctor who believes the woman is actually abusing herself and experiencing delusions brought about by a troubled past. Also figuring into the proceedings was a young son, a boyfriend, and two parapsychologists.
Fox Atomic was once attached to release the remake that had Hideo Nakata (Ringu, The Ring Two) lined up to direct (May 30, 2007).
Even though David Duchovny already broke the news earlier this month, Mitch Pileggi took to Twitter to announce that he’ll be returning to “The X-Files”.
Pileggi played FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner in the “The X-Files” series that went on for nine season and was expanded into two feature films.
Duchovny also revealed that William B. Davis will be back as the iconic Cigarette-Smoking Man in the new short-stack order of 6-episodes.
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return as Mulder and Scully, respectively.
Very happy to announce that Walter Skinner will once again be getting all grumpy and bitchy with his two wayward kids. Very happy.
— Mitch Pileggi (@MitchPileggi1) April 20, 2015
Despite half of the movie being ruined for me because of my horrible movie going experience (why can’t people shut the fuck up?) Unfriended managed to turn a pretty bogus setup into a really entertaining film experience. For those of you who may have missed the trailers, Unfriended is a social media-fueled supernatural horror that takes your generic-”6 dead teens” setup to a moderately new environment. As the film begins we learn a former friend, Laura Barns, of our 6 main characters has committed suicide after a humiliating drunken video goes viral at her school. The movie takes place a year later and focuses on Blaire (Shelley Hennig), her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm), friends Jess (Renee Olstead), Adam (Will Peltz), Val (Courtney Halverson), and Ken (Jacob Wysocki) during a Skype chat. While chatting they all begin receiving strange messages from their dead friend Laura and have to play a vicious game of self-preservation to survive.
Let’s get something straight right here, Unfriended is very much a movie that speaks volumes about a society connected by social media. It’s a movie about teenage culture and done in a very teenage way in terms of tone. The entire story is told from the pov of Blaire’s computer screen, we are constantly bouncing from individual chat rooms to Skype videos. As we bounce around we get to know Blaire by the way she talks online and what she browses. I’ll admit that the dialog in this movie grated on me but in all reality that’s how teens talk now. I’m sure adults in the 1980s rolled their eyes at the language used in movies then too. Unfriended is a look into the lives of believable teens and some fans will find it interesting and smart like I did and others it will be just too annoying, and rightly so.
Unfriended isn’t the first to film a movie in such an interpersonal way via a computer screen, 2013′s The Den beat it the punch. That being said, Unfriended takes that initial idea and runs away with the whole goddamned thing. The intricate detail that went into creating this 17-year-old girl’s computer screen is incredible. From the simple tabs of “MTVs Teen Wolf” and “Shopping” to the countless Facebook pages and profiles of people who aren’t in the film at all, I was constantly looking around at the hidden gems. I’m all about details and the more the better, I felt totally immersed. I feel that watching this on the big screen was a great choice but watching this on a computer would have been virtual reality-esque.
In the realm of horror, I was overall affected by its shock value though I will say the trailer does kind of blow one of the better kills. Lingering shots always make me feel on edge, like talking to someone who won’t break eye contact, and there are a few good uses of that. From what I could tell a majority of the effects were practical which is always welcome in the genre. In particular one of the female character’s demises really made my skin crawl. My only beef is the lame final seemed to cheapen the rest of it.
Unfriended isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea and I can see both sides of the coin, but it worked for me. Nelson Greaves’ (FOX’s Sleepy Hollow) clever script mixed with Levan Gabriadze’s innovative directing delivers a satisfyingly creepy cyber horror that is told in a way that many can relate to. It’s also important to note that Unfriended has a very clear message about the dangers of the internet and cyber bullying. Sadly, every day a story of a teen committing suicide pops up and the cause is cyberbullying. The internet is forever.
I’ll be looking forward to the Blu-ray release on this for special features. And yeah, Unfriended isn’t the greatest title but at least they didn’t go with their other choice: Cybernatural.
Last year the sheer epitome of body horror comics hit the stands to meer whispers. This week that can all change with your support. On Wednesday Black Mask Studios is releasing the collected first volume of Ballistic from Adam Egypt Mortimer and Darick Robertson. The comic is basically a trip inside the early mind of David Cronenberg and it’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
You know that garbage island that’s rumored to exist in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, well what if it became the only piece landscape left livable, this is Repo City State. And what if the rapid expansion of technology meant biological fusion. The world of Ballistic recognizes everything that we used to call inanimate as living and breathing with its own unique set of biology. It’s a world where everything is living, and the humans have become detestable criminals. It’s provocatively different, and ushers in a new era for body horror. It’s easily the best collected comic of the last two years, and we don’t drop such praise lightly.
Ballistic follows Butch, a air conditioner repair man who is no stranger to reaching inside the orifice of a breathing machine in order to perform the surgery necessary to keep it living. He’s demented in all the right ways because he wants nothing more than to be a criminal. Butch and his living gun, team up to rob a bank. This is their chance to break big into the royal world of criminals. Except his gun has a story of it’s own. It’s a buddy cop story between a human and his living weapon in a world of body horror. Seriously you’ve never read anything like this.
Mortimer’s script is rock solid throughout. Repo City State is fully realized and exposition flows seamlessly on every page. The world is dense and full of new terms, creatures, and rules. Mortimer manages to communicate these things in clear and interesting ways, while not slowing down the pace of the book. Through all of this Repo City State manages to become the most interesting character on the page.
The entire thing feels very Cronenberg-esque, and is truly own of the most original takes on the future put to print. The tone is serious and funny at the same time. The stylistic use of narration allows for some levity in otherwise very dark moments. Darick Robertson’s art is nothing short of incredible. The depth to which he evokes this world is almost staggering. Robertson’s depiction of these biotechnological creations is so unique and beautiful. Everything has the disgusting feeling that it is real and breathing.
The Ballistic TPB hits comic shops on 04/22/15 for $14.99.
Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with Austin-by-way-of-Tel Aviv hard rock band Seek Irony to bring you the exclusive song premiere of the “Devil In Me (Remix)”. The track was remixed by Mikael Oganes and Seek Irony and takes the original, which had a strong Southern metal groove, and turned it into something else entirely, favoring an EDM approach.
Watch the video for the original track here and then check out our exclusive song premiere below to compare for yourself!
4-18-15 in Austin, TX at Dirty Dog Bar (supporting 9Electric & Orgy)
4-24-15 in Dallas, TX at The Boiler Room
5-03-15 in Red Rock, TX at Dragonz Wylde Ranch (May Day Hay Day Hippie Festival)
5-08-15 in Austin, TX at Red 7
5-09-15 in San Angelo, TX at The Deadhorse
5-25-15 in San Angelo, TX as Concho’s Downtown
Admittedly, I’m not up on my knowledge of crime thrillers. Then again, it’s not one of my favorite genres. But, there are films that do elicit multiple viewings, such as Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Writer/director Gerard Johnson, whose previous work Tony hinted at London’s seedy underground, returns with corrupt-cop thriller Hyena, which made its debut at the 2014 Edinburgh Film Festival, and later made its North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Michael Logan (Peter Ferdinando) is a corrupt cop with a coke habit who leads a special task-force that tackles London’s biggest drug traffickers. The group invariably trades favours and information with the Turkish and Albanian gangs in exchange for drug money, while also partaking in the seized wares themselves. However, things change when the Albanians take out the Turks, and Michael is assigned to investigate the Albanians for sex trafficking. From there, Michael is also now being watched by a Nick Taylor (Richard Dormer) and his group of cops, determined to get him. Things are compounded even more when an old foe of his, undercover cop David Knight (Stephen Graham) resurfaces as Michael’s new boss, and threatens to expose Michael and his unit’s corruption.
Right off the bat, Hyena wastes little time in establishing its mood. Michael and his group descend upon a club and proceed to beat up everyone there. The slow-motion violence and visceral nature of the attack is accentuated and mixed with the pulsating lights, the smoke and driving beats of the music. It’s very much reminiscent of Drive‘s atmosphere with the neon lights and synth music. The electronic score by Matt Johnson is pretty evident of this. The nihilistic tone set by the opening sequence continues throughout the film as people are brutalized and killed, almost nonchalantly at times. It’s a very harsh film, with a multitude of greys for characters that is honestly quite exciting.
As far as our protagonist goes, Peter Ferdinando is excellent. Michael is the anti-hero amongst a film full of anti-heroes. He takes protection money and looks the other way, does the drugs that he confiscates, and worms him way into the good graces of whomever is on top in the criminal underworld. The character is as repulsive as it is fascinating, especially when he finds himself tangled up in his own corruption, looking to save himself. The secondary cast only add to the weighted tension of the film. Elisa Lasowki notably puts in a tough performance as Ariana, a victim of the Albanian sex trafficking system, and who’s rescued by Michael after being raped. It’s also here that Michael develops a bit of humanity, and also throws him further into the corruption that he’s sown. As mentioned, there are no heroes or good guys in this film, which makes for both good and not-so-good times.
At its core, Hyena is a pretty depressing film. The initial fascination of the story, the characters and the brutal violence quickly starts to run thin because of it. All of the characters seem more likely to backstab and cheat their way to the top. Even though Michael himself seemingly starts to redeem himself, he ultimately doesn’t learn anything or improve himself. Furthermore, we’re never really given backstory as to why Michael is the way he is. It’s this dehumanizing of the character that prevents us from really getting attached to him. Coupled with the cliches of police corruption and (sort-of) redemption, and the film’s penchant for not maintaining its seemingly drug-fueled speed throughout its nearly two-hour runtime, Hyena isn’t a film that will be much of a hit with viewers.
Ultimately, while the film deserves praise for its lack of restraint in its sheer visceral atmosphere, the tension and its brutal violence, the excitement wears off when you realize that the film has nothing more to offer. While it’s one thing to have a host of characters with various shades of grey for morality, you quickly lose interest when there’s nothing but grey. See it out of curiosity, but don’t be surprised if you get the feeling to turn it off before the end.
Once again I have to talk about the narrative structure of a Marvel’s Daredevil episode because I am consistently impressed and inspired by the non-traditional form each episode of this episodic series takes. Where other dramas adhere strictly to formulas and three act structures and others seem to flow endlessly through a sprawling story week to week “Daredevil” presents each episode as a finite, digestible, and complete part of the story that completes an arc each time without become predictable or tired. Some episodes are cyclical, others are symmetrical, all of them feel carefully crafted by masters of storytelling. You are encouraged to binge watch: it’s part of the Netflix mission statement. Consider how each episode works on its own and you’ll see a show that gracefully walks a tightrope between the competition. “Daredevil” is greater than the sum of its parts.
I’ve designated the structure of “The Path of The Righteous” as a “greater than” plot structure. The > symbol is the best way I can describe the way this episode starts in two different places and ends at a deadly intersection. If you still aren’t with me I would urge you to rewatch this episode: you will see how obviously we are being led down a path through the entire episode. It is the most brilliant plotting when you can feel so shocked and at the same time realize there were so many clues along the way. The structure of this episode was the greatest clue of all. Before I get to that, Matt had a only a handful of scenes on his own that moved the season arc and his origin story forward in a big way.
Matt’s scenes with Father Lantom offer us the greatest insight into his mind, second if anything to his scenes with Claire Temple (we got both in this episode). After his emotionally charged conversation with Claire, Matt finds himself in front of Father Lantom. He wonders if he will end up alone and bloody, he wonders if he can ever really do any good or make a difference. Matt if afraid that he is merely acting upon the desires of the devil within him, that he his darkness is what drives him, and in the end, as he said, he does it because he likes it. Matt is echoing Claire, who is speaking from the perspective of reason. At this point you may be on her side: as a rational, (hopefully) non-violent person you probably have the same concerns for Matt the Claire does. Then Father Lantom gives his input, and its exactly what you want to hear:
“Nothing drives people to church faster than the thought of the Devil snapping at their heels. Maybe that was God’s plan all along, why he created him, allowed him the fall from grace. To become a symbol to be feared. Warning to us all, to tread the path of the righteous.”
This is indescribably huge for Matt, in my opinion he became Daredevil in this moment. Sure of his purpose, he will never again doubt what it is he is meant to do. He is on a mission from God to scare all bad men to tread the path of the righteous. “The Devil of Hell Kitchen” is the name he was given, now he can embrace it.
It is only fitting that Matt then decides its time to put his costume together. Fans will enjoy the first appearance of Melvin Potter (Gladiator) who has a pretty memorable fight scene with Matt and eventually agrees to Make his costume.
There are a few other stray moments in this episode, one particularly powerful moment between Fisk and Coma-Vanessa, and one of Foggy mixing up with the “meat grinder in a pencil skirt”, but the bulk of this episode is dedicated to just two characters, whose paths were destined intersect: Karen and Wesley.
If you know Karen’s significance in the books you may have guessed how things would turn out, assuming you saw it coming. Even though not a single long running supporting character has been killed off anywhere in the MCU, I don’t think it is safe to assume that anyone is safe. Not Jane Foster, not Pepper Potts, and certainly not Karen Page (who is dead on the page just for the record). Wesley, more than Karen one might argue, completes his journey in this episode. If you didn’t think he was a goner in the hospital when Fisk gave him his most sincere gratitude, then you must have known it was inevitable when he told Karen how much he hates this city. The writing was on the wall, as blunt and direct as this series always is. How we got there though, was something masterful.