Just one day is all that stands between us and the release of Mortal Kombat X. I haven’t spent enough time with this series to say it definitively, but from what I’ve seen, this game is shaping up to be the best one yet. Even folks who aren’t that interested in the genre and/or lack the skill to play them have reasons to be excited for it, such as the inclusion of Jason Voorhees and the Predator.
Since a purely horror-themed fighting game isn’t something we’re likely to get outside of indie efforts like Terrordrome, the Mortal Kombat series will almost definitely be the only way we can scratch that particular itch.
So far, the crossovers have been limited to scary movie cameos from the likes of Freddy Krueger, who made his big debut in MK9. More stuff like that would be great, as would the occasional horror game crossover. To make things easier, I’ve come up with a list of 20 characters that I’d like to see in really any Mortal Kombat, starting with…
Bethesda has been gradually releasing some screenshots from the second story expansion for The Evil Within — The Consequence — which is scheduled to wrap up Juli Kidman’s story arc when it arrives later this month. The DLC is the second half of a two-part side story following Sebastian’s partner Juli and her dealings with Mobius.
You’ll need to play The Assignment before jumping into this, but you have plenty of time. The Consequence releases on April 21.
The Evil Within: The Consequence releases on April 21 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
YouTube metal cover guitarist 331Erock has released a metal cover of the infamous Mortal Kombat theme song, which was originally written by The Immortals. He’s even dressed as Scorpion throughout the video, which has a backdrop of one of the game’s levels.
The cover goes through the usual 331Erock-formula, which features sees the guitarist add his own little shred-tastic embellishments throughout while still staying true to the feel and style of the original track. Oh, and make sure to stick around to the end for the fiery fatality.
Mortal Kombat X will be coming out for PC, Xbox One, and PS4 tomorrow. Check out all of our coverage here.
AMC has gifted us with a teaser trailer for the upcoming mobile horror game The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land, which they’re calling the official game of the TV series, possibly so we’ll forget how bad Survival Instinct was.
In No Man’s Land, players are tasked with leading a gang of survivors in a zombie apocalypse. Surviving against the undead hordes will require finding suitable shelter for the group, scouring the apocalyptic landscape for precious supplies and defending against ghouls. Since this is a Walking Dead game, I’m sure there will be terrible living people to worry about, too.
Developed by Next Games, No Man’s Land is slated to release this fall for iOS, with an Android version to follow.
If The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land sounds like something you might play on the go, you can subscribe to this newsletter to learn more about it.
A horrible event occurred in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, a suburb of Manchester, England, when a 40-year-old man was assaulted by three men, one of whom was wearing what is reported as a Jason mask from the Friday The 13th series.
The Manchester Evening News explains that on March 23rd at approximately 10pm, the 40-year-old man answered a knock on his door only for the three men to force their way inside and assault him physically, punching him repeatedly and, get this, even attacking him with a machete.
The men were pushed back by the victim and a friend of his, pushing them out of the house. The victim suffered deep lacerations and other injuries and was treated at the hospital, though the wounds were deemed non-life threatening.
Direct from The Manchester Evening News:
The offenders were described as two white men and one of mixed race, all of slim build, ranging from 5ft 5in to 6ft in height.
…the gang…fled in a silver-coloured saloon car parked on Merseybank and drove off towards Waincliffe Avenue.
Detective Constable Chris Clarke stated the following:
he victim has no idea why he was attacked on his own doorstep in such a violent and savage way, so at this stage we have not established any motive for this heinous attack.
What we do know is that the victim suffered deep cuts to his head as a result of being assaulted with a machete and in some ways is fortunate his injuries are not more severe given he was attacked with such a dangerous weapon.
We need to find the offenders and I would appeal to anyone who can help us do that to come forward.
In particular, I would like to hear from anyone who saw a silver car parked on Merseybank and drove off at speed, or anyone who witnessed this gang going into or out of the house.
We recognize that there are plenty of incredible comics every week competing for your cash, but there can be only one horror comic of the week. This week, the designation belongs to Dark Horse’s incredibly strange “Archie Vs Predator” #1.
Archie comics is going through a renaissance of sorts that all began with Afterlife with Archie. Horror and Archie comics never typically went together, and now the fine folks at Dark Horse are throwing something even more strange at us by way of Predator. The first issue is packed with humor and features the regular hijinks of the Riverdale gang headed off on a hot summer holiday. But when a spaceship crash lands in this tropical paradise, the teens learn what it’s like to be hunted. It begins like any typical Archie story but quickly descends into chaos and luckily the deaths are brutal and come on rather quickly. Don’t miss this one of a time crossover.
ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #1
HE’S IN RIVERDALE WITH A FEW DAYS TO KILL!
America’s favorite teen meets the galaxy’s fiercest hunter! Archie and friends hit Costa Rica for Spring Break, where party games and beach games are soon replaced by the Most Dangerous Game! What mysterious attraction does the gang hold for the trophy-collecting Predator, and will the kids even realize they’re in danger before it claims them all?
Writer: Alex de Campi Penciller: Fernando Ruiz
Olivia Munn has been cast as Psylocke in Bryan Singer’s forthcoming X-Men Apocalypse, Singer revealed on Instagram.
Psylocke (Betsy Braddock) was created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Herb Trimpe in 1976, she first appeared in the Marvel UK series Captain Britain. Betsy was initially a supporting character in the adventures of her twin brother, Captain Britain, even briefly substituting for him in the role, before becoming the mutant superheroine and X-Men member Psylocke in 1986.
Originally presented as a precognitive in the pages of Captain Britain and then as a telepath, the character eventually acquired the body, skills and elements of personality of a Japanese female ninja known as Kwannon. Later, Psylocke somehow acquired the telekinesis of Jean Grey.
This fantastic news shows Singer’s superhero sequel will be jammed packed with new mutants.
X-Men Apocalypse hits May 27, 2016 and is directed by Bryan Singer and stars newcomers Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Oscar Isaac as En Sabah Nur / Apocalypse, Ben Hardy as Warren Worthington III / Angel, Tye Sheridan as Scott Summers / Cyclops, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler, Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munroe / Storm, Lana Condor as Jubilation Lee / Jubilee.
A photo posted by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on Apr 13, 2015 at 1:04pm PDT
The original Hotline Miami walloped the gaming industry upside the head upon release in 2012. What, with its fierce, memorable score, insanely bizarre plot, and unrelenting, violent mechanics, it surprised and enthralled people looking for a particular kind of experience with its faux-retro games.
Set against an 80s neon backdrop that was equal parts homage and pure creation, Hotline Miami played like a crazy puzzle game instead of its nominal “action shooter” label. Lots of games operate under the reputation of extreme violence, but Hotline Miami followed through with it. Players could bludgeon, slice, and shoot thousands of enemies in what proved to be one of the most rewardingly challenging games of the last few years.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is the much-anticipated sequel to its predecessor, and it is a more refined but still extraordinarily strange gaming experience.
For the most part, it picks up right where the previous one left off, both narratively and mechanically, and though it manages to be equally (which is to say not) coherent, this game has plenty to offer for fans of the original who just want more violence, pulsing electro tunes, and wild gunfights.
It is impossible to write about Hotline Miami 2 without comparing it, directly and indirectly, to the original. It does what every smart but not necessarily good sequel does: it reprises everything the original did and ramps everything up to an almost comical degree. Even the music seems to go a little bit crazier than the first game, and that’s saying something.
It’s difficult to imagine a soundtrack more indicative of a game’s identity than the original’s, but the music for Hotline Miami 2 ups the ante. It is thematically more keyed up, and the mood and tone couldn’t have been more spot-on. I do miss some of the songs from the first — the ones from Sun Araw, specifically — but this one has plenty to keep players interested.
The sequel’s story is built entirely around the events of the first game, and several plot threads overlap with the overall narrative of Hotline Miami, so it’s not easy to get over the sense that this is a twin instead of the younger sibling. I’m not sure I could totally ruin the game for more casual fans of the first, because I never felt entirely apprised of what was happening in the first place, but for the sake of spoilers, I’ll only discuss plot in the most general of terms.
Structurally, this game plays out in segments that occur before and after the events of the original, and the levels are denoted by VHS cassettes that evoke the time period. It’s a striking but also quite smart way of giving players a sense of who might be telling this part of the story, but I’ll sort of get to that in a second.
There is no Jacket this time around. Instead, Hotline Miami 2 is populated with multiple protagonists, whose own narrative arcs exist in spaces tangential to — and right in the middle of — the original. Still, the spectre of the first game’s “hero” can be felt throughout.
If you pay close attention, you’ll recognize some direct and oblique homages to the first game. In fact, though I never quite caught on to the entirety of the story — I’m mostly obsessed with the controls for this game — even I caught most of what I was supposed to get out of the allusions.
In addition, the rogues gallery of playable characters provides the game with both narrative and gameplay variety. Each of the ostensible narrators is outfitted with a specific mask, which is to say ability, and so the tactic to complete each level is not always “go fast and kill chumps quickly.”
You might be limited to violently punching guys — and the game is almost exclusively guys — or comboing with a chainsaw / gun tandem team, which allows you some amount of freedom for how to proceed.
The mechanics have remained essentially the same, but the difficulty has been ramped way up, especially in the game’s latter half. I would say this one is way more puzzle-y than the previous game, and you’ll probably be less likely to just rip your way through each level than before, due in large part to the game’s difficulty. It is just as unforgiving, but there seem to be more enemies per level, and the levels themselves feel longer than before.
For instance, I was prone to memorizing the levels and character movements, just to be on the safe side, which is not something I remember having to do with the first game. Still, there were points in HM2 where I got pretty stuck doing a slow, calculated run, so I had to go all John Wick on it in order to see how and where I was going wrong.
That’s one of the beautiful things about this game. It can mostly be finished through one method or the other — Rambo or Sam Fisher — but there are points that will force you out of your comfort zone in order to complete a scene.
The last few levels require a thumb-blistering combination of stealth and bullet spraying madness for players to reach the end, and it’s both maddening and exhilarating to stand among the heap of bodies and look down at your accomplishment.
To put a finer point on it: as it progresses, Wrong Number gets insanely difficult. Really, that’s okay, because it manages to train to the player to learn its internal logic and uber-precise mechanics. A problematic outcome of this strategy in designing the game arises when players are asked to perfect increasingly lengthy and challenging levels. Any fan of the series knows the margin for error is laughably low.
Though there’s some iteration on the admittedly great ideas of the first game, part of me thinks this one isn’t quite ambitious enough. It very well could have experienced more growing pains than it does, and though it is certainly pushing the series forward with its interconnected storylines, and beyond some gimmicky touches — dual wielding guns — the mechanics are seemingly undernourished for what could have been a huge statement of this franchise’s legacy.
My complaints are relatively mild, however. What I wanted out of Hotline Miami 2 was more Hotline Miami, and that is precisely what I got. It’s a slightly more complex version of the original, and though it isn’t a huge leap forward, it is certainly not to be discounted, either.
The Final Word: Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number plays to its strengths and is more Hotline Miami, which, if you’re a fan of it, is precisely what you’ll want to hear.
FX is gearing up for the fifth season of “American Horror Story, and co-creater Ryan Murphy has added veteran Sarah Paulson to the cast of “American Horror Story: Hotel”, returning this fall.
Paulson, like the others, is a returning series regular after appearing as ‘Billie Dean Howard’ in the first season, ‘Lana Winters’ in “Asylum”, ‘Cordelia Foxxe’ in “Coven”, and the conjoined twins ‘Bette’ and ‘Dot Tattler’ in “Freak Show”.
Lady Gaga, Chloë Sevigny, Wes Bentley, Matt Bomer and Cheyenne Jackson have previously been cast.
We’ve been trying to figure out what “American Horror Story: Hotel” will be about. We came up with three theories, tagged here. Which do you think it is, if any?
In terms of Lange’s previous exit: “Yes, I’m done,” she told the PaleyFest audience. “We’ve had a great run here. I have absolutely loved doing these four characters that I’ve had the opportunity to play. In all the madness, I’ve loved the writers, my actors, Ryan and the whole, I mean, insanity of it, shooting here, shooting in New Orleans, the stories, everything.”
With the full season of Resident Evil Revelations 2 out now on nearly every major platform, Capcom is (sort of) ready to talk about the Vita.
A recent post on the PlayStation Blog some light was finally shed on the Vita port, which is being handled by Frima Studio. While they’re not yet ready to give us a firm release date, they are far enough along to commit to a “coming digitally this summer” statement.
The Vita version will come with all four episodes, as well as the two bonus episodes, and support for gyroscopic targeting. The Raid mode won’t support co-op at launch, but the plan is to add online co-op sometime after its release. A less nebulous release date is coming “soon.”
I called Resident Evil Revelations 2 a “must-buy” in my review, despite its “stereotypical understanding of what’s scary.” This game is a step in the right direction for the franchise, which has stumbled quite a bit since Resident Evil 5.
The latest addition to the PS4′s growing pantheon of gorgeous games with photo modes is developer Ready at Dawn’s action horror game The Order: 1886.
The Order may very well be one of the most visually impressive games available right now, so a feature that lets players take advantage of that by showing off beautiful screen captures of its stunning Neo-Victorian world makes sense.
The oft-requested feature is available now via a patch that should download automatically the next time you boot up the console.
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you take a look at Tyler’s review of the game.
By Brady Steele / twitter: @mrbradysteele. Marvel’s Daredevil shows us all in this episode, “In The Blood”, how truly desperate and gruesome desperation looks. Everyone’s willingness to do whatever it takes to get what they want. That can be escape, money, revenge and so much more. This is the episode where we see how scary men can be in Hell`s Kitchen.
Broken ribs from dead comrades used for weapons is but one example of how violence permeates throughout this world.
We get good glimpses of Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) and what it takes to legitimately bring down someone as connected and dangerous as Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). Ulrich is a nice touch to the show, that perhaps no one was anticipating. He adds a certain level of real world drama to the idea of living in a city with a crime lord like Fisk.
Every time we see Fisk on screen, there is a weight to his presence. You can feel the rage and inner struggles seething underneath his polished and practiced veneer surface. His soft and civil sides are showcased for a good portion of the episode. All of that comes crashing spectacularly downward when we see Mr. Fisk’s furious rage unloaded. Viewers see The Kingpin is who he really is all the time, no pretending to be a nice, upstanding businessman when he is pushed. D’Onofrio’s performance is utterly entrancing to behold. The special ticks in his demeanor are an extra touch that adds a certain level of empathy for the enigmatic crime lord. With each episode, Kingpin becomes more interesting to watch than Daredevil, which isn’t a complaint but a commendation at the spectacular attention the show’s creative team has paid to their villain.
Claire The Night Nurse (Rosario Dawson) keeps patching up Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and keeps falling for him more and more. It’s amazing to see her in calmer surroundings like a safe apartment and other less…safe environs. Thanks for her help come in the form of the Russian taxi mob kidnapping her to get to Daredevil. Once again, there is no shortage of action and fresh approaches to it. Seeing how realistic they make all this lovely violence, you actually believe the blows and gasps for air.
This show is unrelenting and yet has a spectacular pace to it. All good shows seem to be able to know how to work the throttle of the action, the tension and the dialogue that makes for good television. Daredevil’s showrunners definitely know what they’re doing. It’s an excellently crafted show that grows organically hour by hour. Much like many serialized dramas on cable television, the scope only seems to broaden with each new episode. However, the characters are never difficult to digest or to engage with.
Mr. Steele enjoys all things comics and imagination-based. Using his lifetime of comic-fu-dom for good, he imparts his knowledge for the universe to enjoy and for you, dear readers, to pass it on.
‘Marvel’s Ant-Man’ was victim to some unfortunate behind the scenes shuffling before filming was even underway. The first teaser trailer did little to to quell people’s fears. The film looked to be filled with humor that fell flat, generic action, and little to no heart. But, perhaps Marvel was showing their hand a little earlier than they should have, because this morning they released the full length trailer, to much better results.
The new trailer has plenty of action, and a fantastic gag at the end that should inspire faith. There is a lot here to like. So perhaps all is not lost on Marvel’s smallest hero just yet.
The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man.” Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Marvel’s “Ant-Man” stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne, Corey Stoll as Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket, Bobby Cannavale as Paxton, Michael Peña as Luis, Judy Greer as Maggie, Tip “Ti” Harris as Dave, David Dastmalchian as Kurt, Wood Harris as Gale, Jordi Mollà as Castillo and Michael Douglas as Hank Pym. Directed by Peyton Reed and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s “Ant-Man” delivers a high-stakes, tension-filled adventure on July 17, 2015.
When a young couple embarks on a road trip through the Irish countryside, car trouble lands them in a place that few people would choose to visit, in the new horror film From the Dark.
We have an exclusive clip from the film, available on VOD and Digital Download from Dark Sky Films tomorrow, April 14th.
From the director of the acclaimed Stitches(!), the clip shows a creature, presumably a vampire, turning to dust when it’s hit with light.
While his previous films blended dark, deranged humor with thrills, Conor McMahon’s new film, an original production from genre specialists Dark Sky Films, is said to be pure, relentless horror that never lets viewers catch their breath.
“Sarah (Niamh Algar) and Mark (Stephen Cromwell) are traveling through rural Ireland when car trouble strikes. The couple must head out on foot to find any sign of civilization. Eventually they come upon a lonely house – but the man inside is wounded, and when they try to help him, he attacks. Sarah and Mark manage to escape but soon they are confronted by something even worse.
A sinister being has awakened from a thousand-year sleep and it has set its sights on the stranded young couple. Deep within the dark bog, the two are faced with an unimaginable evil, but they soon realize that there may be one thing that can stop the creature: light. As the sun sets and light sources dwindle, the creature becomes more powerful, and Sarah and Mark find themselves in a fight for their lives where a gas lamp or even just the illumination of a single match may be the only thing that can save them.”
We’ve all been on the receiving end of a bad break up, it sucks. Most of us would love to skip town and start over but unfortunately for Claire (Ashley James), a cheating boyfriend is actually the best of a bad situation. After Claire finds her boyfriend in their bed with another woman she decides to leave L.A. and head cross-country back home to her parents. Along the way, her mental state begins crumbling and she is overwhelmed with anxiety and to make matters worse she finds herself broken down in a small town of odd locals.
As writer/directorial debuts go, Megan Freels shows strong promise with her ability to create fantastically intense atmosphere. I’ll be the first to admit that Claire is not the easiest girl to like at the beginning of this flick, I mean yes she’s the victim of a bad relationship but her constant helplessness grates on you after awhile. But I’ll be damned if I wasn’t on the edge of my seat with her as she drove along into the night.
Opposite Ashley James is Mark Scheibmeir as Eddie the demented mechanic. Both James and Scheibmeir have starred in various short films but Rebound is their first feature length film and both actors put their best efforts in. I know I said Claire is grating, but that is just the beginning of her arc as a fleshed out character; James makes us feel for Claire and identify with the loss of a significant other. As first time antagonists go, Mark Scheibmeir is as peculiar as they come. From the first second, we lay eyes on Eddie the late night mechanic it’s obvious he’s a nutball. What makes his performance truly freakish is his evolution from quiet creepy guy to an outlandish Joker-esque maniac.
My only complaint, and it’s minor, is even at an 84 minute run time I felt it could have been shaven down to a solid 1 hour and 15 minutes. Though the first half of the movie does a great job setting up intense sequences, hell the final act does too, there were times towards the beginning where I was just waiting for them to get on with what was coming. Aside from that, Rebound is a solid first effort from Freels and for that I am ecstatic! This industry needs more female filmmakers like Freeling who aren’t afraid to cross boundaries and write for female horror fans. I won’t spoil the end of Rebound for you but I loved what I saw and I hope that’s the direction Freeling delves into in future projects.
The team behind the Hellraiser doc, “Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II” are back with a new documentary, this time focusing on Fright Night.
“You’re So Cool Brewster!: The Story of Fright Night“ was announced this weekend with the below teaser from Dead Mouse Productions.
Fully supported and produced by original Fright Night writer and director Tom Holland, this documentary is said to be the ultimate insight into the making of this cult classic movie as well as a tribute to the late, great Roddy McDowall.
“The Story of Fright Night” will feature detailed interviews with those who helped shape and create this much loved movie. Guided by Tom Holland the makers of this new documentary will raise the stakes and unearth the behind the scenes stories including footage and images from Tom’s personal archives.
The indie production company DeInstitutionalized has announced the cast for its horror movie Minutes to Midnight which will be led by William Baldwin (Gossip Girl), Bill Moseley (pictured; The Devil’s Rejects), Richard Grieco (21 Jump Street), Dominique Swain (Face/Off), Viva Bianca (Spartacus: Blood and Sand) and Christopher Judge (Stargate SG-1), reports TheWrap.
Set around New Year’s Eve, Minutes to Midnight chronicles what happens when a night of fun turns into a night of horror.
Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray will direct from a script written by Christopher Don and Victoria Dadi.
It’s about time we’re getting a New Year’s Ever horror movie!!
The Times-Herald reports from the now-filming set of Rings, which went behind cameras last Thursday in Grantville.
As teased in the above image, the overcast sky provided an ideal backdrop for filming as Grantville is being depicted a small town in the Pacific Northwest.
The Atlanta location is also used for “The Walking Dead”, which eagle-eyed fans may catch when they see the new The Ring in theaters November 13, 2015.
Directed by F. Javier Gutierrez, Rings stars Johnny Galecki, best known as Leonard in “The Big Bang Theory.”
Galecki will play Gabriel, a handsome, pleasure-seeking professor who mentors and helps boyfriend and girlfriend duo, Holt (Alex Roe) and Julia (Matilda Lutz). Scream 4‘s Aimee Teegarden rounds out the main cast.
Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with VisceraVisions Productions to bring you the exclusive online premiere of Life. Love. Regret., a short film that has been making its rounds internationally throughout the festival circuits. The film was written, directed, and edited by Federico Scargiali and stars Eileen Daly (Razor Blade Smile, Cradle Of Fear).
The synopsis reads:
A woman helps people to solve problems and suffering of a lifetime in a definitive way.
Assisted suicide and anguish of living surrounded by a series of characters overwhelmed by disease, sorrows and even from their own god. A cold and disturbing Eileen Daly (RAZOR BLADE SMILE, CRADLE OF FEAR, KARL THE BUTCHER VS AXE) will be the guide in this journey towards the end of everything.
The short film, along with a gallery of screenshots and the official poster, can all be seen below.
Produced by Viscera Visions
Written, Directed and Edited by Federico Scargiali
Director of Photography Daniele Trani
Special make-up effects and prosthetics Mattia Vignotto, Maresca Gambino, Anna Shalaby
Music and Sound Design Philip Zen
Assistant Director Patrick Casasola
Script Consultant Luca Luisa
Witchcraft and high school girls is one of those cliches that pops up every now and then in films, the most notable being Andrew Fleming’s The Craft. Given how directors have treated the idea of teenage girls dabbling in the occult, it hasn’t had much exploration outside of the typical. Director Caryn Waechter looks to take a different approach with her feature debut film, The Sisterhood of Night, which is based on the short story by Steven Millhauser. But with that status, does The Sisterhood Of Night fall into the ambitious to the point of failure category that new directors are wont to do, or does Waechter play the safe route of predictability?
Mary (Georgie Henley) doesn’t really fit into the typical student body at her high school, but then again, neither do her two friends, Catherine (Willa Cuthrell) and Lavinia (Olivia DeJonge). Mary is the subject of harassment by Emily Parris (Kara Hayward), who steals texts from Mary and posts them online. In response, Mary, Catherine and Lavinia find solace together in the woods late at night, providing a safe place for one another to say those things they’d fear being exposed from any online forum. The trio soon begins to handpick other girls to join the “Sisterhood”, with the understanding that whatever is talked about, remains within the group. Emily isn’t having any of it, and proceeds to make accusations of the group dabbling in witchcraft, lesbianism and so on through her blog. Moral panic increases, and things start to come to a head.
Given that the original short story was written way before the advent of social media and the internet (1994, if you’re wondering), you have to hand it to Marilyn Fu for adapting the screenplay to update the story and bring it into more modern times. As such, what could’ve been a dated story with some relevance to today’s life of high school girls and the challenges they face both at home and at school has been given a facelift. The idea of taking things away from cyberspace and to a more “unplugged” setting, while still incorporating aspects of the online world, has been nicely executed. While the overall theme of the story doesn’t stray far from the familiar “group of girls have a secret club that someone doesn’t have access to, so someone starts rumours” idea, it still works very well and still resonates, especially the feelings of being isolated and left out by your peers/family.
Of course, a big part of making this work comes back to the acting (as always). Luckily, everyone’s on board with this one. Henley stands out as the leader of the group, showcasing a hardened exterior. But like the other girls, at times also shows her vulnerability. This vulnerability is also key in giving the characters their much-needed depth for this type of film. Whether it’s Cuthrell’s character struggling with her mom dying from cancer or DeJonge’s Lavinia dealing with her broken family, to even the film’s antagonist in Hayward feeling the isolation and having to resort to bullying to prop herself up. It all makes for a very authentic-feeling group of characters. It’s not just the four leads, either. Kal Penn, for example, plays the girls’ guidance counselor who is sympathetic to their situation.
Now after reading all of this, I know that some horror fans will be disappointed. No, this is not The Craft. No, there’s no unleashing of unspeakable evil that possesses the girls (witchcraft is really only mentioned as part of the rumours). It’s essentially a modern update to a cautionary tale that has the typical high school drama that spirals into more serious problems that unlike the rumours spread by Emily, are true. So yes, it’s not the escape that some fans will want. But then, this isn’t meant to be that type of film. On the other hand, despite the update to the original story, this is still one that’s predictable and isn’t going to reinvent things. But sometimes you just don’t have to make that kind of a splash.
Really, from reading the synopsis, you’ll decide whether you’re going to like this film or not. What here as a grounded and realistic portrayal of a group of high school girls looking to belong that quickly grows into helicopter parents doing the mob mentality thing while ignoring the real problems. If you’re in the mood for that, this film does it well, complete with some great acting by the principal actors. Those who aren’t will probably pass. Honestly though, film fans would still do well to give this one a viewing, as sometimes, it’s just not all about blood and guts horror.