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The Arrow: Blood Rage Is Awesome Year Round

Fri, 11/27/2015 - 14:29

Blood Rage is often touted as a “Thanksgiving slasher”—mostly because the holiday has never been properly exploited in the slasher canon. It’s set on Thanksgiving, sure, but, turkey dinner aside, it might as well happen on any other night. A reference to pumpkin pie and a running joke about cranberry sauce doesn’t necessarily make this required viewing at November’s end, although we horror fans crave rituals so it’s unsurprising that we’ve put that on Blood Rage. It doesn’t matter that there isn’t so much as a pilgrim decoration to be found—we like tradition!

Blood Rage (on screen title here is Slasher) was released in 1987 but made in 1983, making it one from the subgenre’s “golden age.” It’s briskly paced and wastes almost no time in getting the body count underway. Those who crave splatter will be delighted, and it demonstrates plenty of oddball touches for further distinction.

The 1974 prologue follows young twin brothers sneaking out of their mom’s station wagon at the drive-in. Rather than watch her make out with her resident boyfriend, they peep a young couple having sex in the backseat of another vehicle, which triggers one of them to plant a hatchet in the guy’s face. Before he’s caught, he rubs blood on his innocent brother and blames him for the brutal killing.

Present day finds Todd committed for Terry’s crime. He stages an off camera escape from the institution where he’s committed, heading home to presumably confront his psycho brother (his motive is never made clear). This concerns Todd’s psychiatrist who has a pretty good idea where he’s headed. She follows him to his mother and brother (living in an apartment complex called Shadow Woods) while harboring doubts about his guilt. She’s not exactly Dr. Loomis, though, tempting fate by aggravating the situation and then wandering around the woods without any type of plan other than “he’s gotta be around here somewhere.”

We learn the impetus behind Terry’s “blood rage” pretty quickly: whenever mommy (Louise Lasser) gets serious about men, it’s time to kill. At Thanksgiving dinner she announces her engagement to a recent boyfriend, causing Terry to flip his lid and take his anger out on everyone living at Shadow Woods. The movie’s structure is odd, like the opening 20 minutes of The Toolbox Murders stretched to feature length. Characters come and go while Terry runs around the apartment complex doing his thing. The movie doesn’t really know what to do with its premise of dueling brothers, so the freshly escaped Todd disappears for large stretches for no reason other than to pass the time until the climactic confrontation.

The uncut version of Blood Rage is pretty wet thanks to make-up artist Ed French. Anyone who’s seen that other 1983 slasher classic, Sleepaway Camp, will recall his work and Blood Rage is another showcase for his talents. His severed heads and dead bodies have a distinct style that’s effective even when somewhat unconvincing. Whether we’re talking about a water snake slithering out of a corpse’s mouth at Camp Arawak, or the literal split and severed heads here, French’s FX work packs a punch. At a time when many slashers were diced to pieces at the hands of an overzealous MPAA, it’s a miracle that we’re able to view Blood Rage in all its uncut glory today.

Blood Rage also stands out because of its performances. Louise Lasser’s harried mother is pathetically tragic. You can feel the crushing burden when it comes to her sons, and it’s great to see her become more undone as things progress. Likewise, Mark Soper’s dual role as the crazed brothers gives us two very different psychos. His Terry is one of the most charismatic slashers ever, committing murders with pure relish. The leads know how to go over-the-top without being overdone, understanding the material and knowing just how to milk it. Maybe the quality of the supporting cast ranges, but our leads give this a memorable stamp.

Blood Rage comes to Blu-ray spouting a glorious 2k restoration courtesy of Arrow Video. As a long time fan, this release is a revelation. Arrow gives us a nice, filmic transfer that offers astonishing detail all around. Daytime scenes pop with incredible color and the evening stuff is obviously darker and grainier without sacrificing any beauty. You’ll find a few scattered instances of dirt on the print, but nothing that detracts.

These Arrow releases feel like a horror fan’s dream. Yes, there are a half dozen labels rescuing cult films from the brink of permanent obscurity, but Arrow and Synapse feel like the guys who really deserve the “Criterion of cult cinema” accolade. Not only does Blood Rage look incredible, the host of supplementary material is almost overwhelming.

It should be noted that I’m reviewing a sample disc. As such, this review is missing a critique of the two additional cuts of the movie: the 1987 Nightmare at Shadow Woods home video re-edit, which contains material not seen in the Blood Rage theatrical cut. It also features a composite edit of both versions and includes never-before-seen outtakes. Also excluded from my coverage, artwork and the requisite Arrow booklet.

Moving on to what is included here:

  • Audio commentary with director John Grissmer (and John Daley): Moderated by someone from Arrow, this is a decent commentary that offers good information while occasionally lapsing into silence. The moderator does a great job of ensuring conversational flow, while Grissmer is hilariously over self-congratulatory at times (“she’s wearing all white, that’s exactly what I wanted her to look like”). Differences in the various cuts are well-covered, and nobody has any real illusions about the type of movie they made. We also learn a little about the legal issues spurred by DVD labels selling this illegally in other countries. A diverse conversation and one worth listening to.
  • Both Sides of the Camera – an interview with producer/actress Marianne Kanter: This is a very funny segment, mostly because Kanter pulls no punches with her remembrances. Obviously Blood Rage was filmed on a shoestring budget, and Kanter explains her process for scrounging up money for productions. She also talks about tension between Louise Lasser and director John Grissmer, which led to the director temporarily quitting the production.
  • Double Jeopardy – an interview with actor Mark Soper: Soper reveals a newfound appreciation for this movie, discusses his approach to playing twin brothers, and incorrectly identifies his other genre role as Understudy II (he means The Understudy: Graveyard Shift II).
  • Jeez, Louise! – an interview with actress Louise Lasser: Lasser talks about her history in acting and how it led to Blood Rage. She doesn’t remember why she agreed to make it, but recalls her desire to do something interesting with the character and then wonders aloud if she was successful in doing so.
  • Man Behind the Mayhem – an interview with special make-up effects creator Ed French: A conversation with French that covers his early career leading to Blood Rage. Interestingly, he also touches on the marketing efforts, believing the campaign should’ve focused on this being a turkey day slasher.
  • Three Minutes with Ted Raimi – an interview with actor Ted Raimi: A really quick three minutes that are less about Raimi’s cameo as a drug dealer who dresses like Crazy Ralph and more about how he almost missed a career in acting altogether.
  • Return to Shadow Woods – featurette revisiting the original locations in Jacksonville, Florida: Many supplemental packages include these types of features these days, but this is among the best because the Florida-based film historian gives a brief history of each of Blood Rage’s locations, including when they made their transition to modernity.
  • Alternate opening titles: A full screen VHS sourced version of alternate titles containing the title Blood Rage (perhaps included to prove that yes, this film was actually called Blood Rage somewhere).

Blood Rage is about to be discovered by a slew of new folks, and that’s pretty cool. It’s super entertaining and Arrow’s presentation basks it in a whole new light. Even if this review doesn’t cover all the supplements, what’s here would’ve been plenty. That the final product includes a second disc of alternate cuts (as well as a DVD copy) is just another example of these guys going above and beyond in their pursuit of genre preservation. This marks the first time Blood Rage has been legitimately released in the digital age, and that’s grounds for celebration whether you want to watch it on Thanksgiving or enjoy it any other time of the year. It’s never a bad time to be thankful for Blood Rage and the fantastic work that Arrow has done on it.

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Categories: Horror News

Cassidy Way Finds a Way to Frack You

Fri, 11/27/2015 - 14:00

Releasing next year, Cassidy Way (Facebook) claims to be based on true events, which these days is usually just another way of saying that your film should be considered more important that others. But while it certainly won’t be self-righteous award season Oscar bait, it sure does look like a great killer flick.

Director Harvey Lowry is primarily known as a makeup artist, having worked on such films as Watchmen, X-Men 3, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. According to IMDb, he has no fewer than 11 upcoming directing projects, so expect to be hearing a lot more about him in the future.

Cassidy Way is a gut-wrenching thriller about a college senior, Gina Alexander, and her two friends, Collin and Mitch, who set out to make her thesis documentary film. When the footage is missing a few days before the project is due, they improvise an expedition into an abandoned fracking facility in Kern County. Mitch comes across some highly classified documents, but the doors suddenly lock and the room is filled with lethal gas. Narrowly escaping, the students are found by Jamison Connors, who invite them back to their house where they meet their sister and mother. When Donald, the father, comes home, he insists they stay over for dinner before he takes them to their car. Donald accidentally finds the classified documents Mitch took from the bunker that contains an old newspaper clipping of his older son’s tragic death. This leads Donald to believe the three of them are involved in a conspiracy plot against him and his family, which sends him into a psychopathic killing spree.

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Categories: Horror News

Survival Knife Trailer Cuts Deep

Fri, 11/27/2015 - 13:00

Have you ever watched a slasher film and found yourself wondering at the end what happens to the lone survivor? Do they become plagued by nightmares and consumed with survivor’s guilt? Are they able to get on with their lives, or do the memories of what they lived through haunt them forever?

Mike McKown, director of the aptly named horror Stiff, attempts to answer these questions with his new film, Survival Knife (official website). It’s hitting DVD on January 26, 2016, so we don’t have long to wait until we find out what really happens after the credits for a slasher movie roll.

SURVIVAL KNIFE picks up where the typical Hollywood slasher film ends. Penny (Danielle Donahue) is the sole survivor of a vicious attack that killed five of her closest friends. To escape, she was forced to brutally kill her would-be murderer. As she begins the slow process of recovering both physically and mentally, she struggles to deal with the violence that happened to her – and the violence she committed herself – and worries that the same killer instinct that helped her survive is slowly turning her into something else.

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Categories: Horror News

First Set Images from Sherlock Holmes vs. Frankenstein

Fri, 11/27/2015 - 12:00

When it comes to epic horror crossovers, we sure do have some pretty awesome flicks. King Kong vs. Godzilla, Freddy vs. JasonDracula vs. Frankenstein, to name but a few. Now we can add another to that list in the form of Sherlock Holmes vs. Frankenstein, which recently began filming.

Director Gautier Cazenave actually conceived the idea for this truly incredible sounding film some time ago and is now thrilled that he’s finally at the stage where it’s becoming a reality:

“When I started writing Sherlock Holmes vs. Frankenstein, my wife and I were expecting our first daughter. Now she’s five, and she plays little Maria in the scenes that we’ve shot! This film has become a part of my life, and vice versa, so it means a lot to be finally capturing the images that have been floating in my head for so long. The team is great, and we’re all very eager to move on to principal photography.”

Take a look at some of the first images from the set below. “The game is a foot” is clearly a classic tagline in the making, and you can stay ahead of the game by following Sherlock Holmes vs. Frankenstein on Facebook.

1898. Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson travel to Germany to investigate a strange case in the village of Darmstadt. Who is the mysterious figure who digs up corpses and steals their limbs? Could these events be related to the nearby presence of Castle Frankenstein, whose name is closely associated to Mary Shelley’s horror novel ? Everyone is a suspect…

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Categories: Horror News

Monsters Unleashed Online

Fri, 11/27/2015 - 11:00

Who doesn’t love monster movies? Short form, long form, we cannot get enough of ’em! The next one to hit our radar is a short film called, simply enough, Monsters.

Steve Desmond directs from a script he wrote with Michael Sherman. Caitlin Carmichael, Ione Skye, Christopher Wiehl, and Joey Luthman star. Check out the goods below.

Jenn lives in an underground bunker with her family, protected from the monsters that now ravage the world. This is the day that she goes outside…

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Categories: Horror News

Exclusive Preview of Vertigo’s Survivors’ Club Issue #3

Fri, 11/27/2015 - 10:00

If you’re reading this site, you obviously have a love for horror films, and Vertigo has a new comic book series for you!  Survivors’ Club, co-written by Lauren Beukes and Dale Halvorsen, is based on those who made it out of the horror films from the 80’s alive.

Intrigued?  Check out our exclusive sneak peek of Survivors’ Club Issue #3, available December 2nd, below! Pre-orders are available from TFAW.

Halvorsen lays out the foundation of the comic as follows:  “For many the ‘80s, along with the ‘70s, was a golden era for horror films. A lot of those films from then are deeply ingrained in pop culture. We all know the story of The Exorcist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and so on. They have almost become our generation’s fairy tales. We draw a lot on that mythology in Survivors’ Club, but we take it in unexpected directions.”  

Issue #3 Synopsis:
Six kids who lived through unbelievable terror in the ‘80s are somehow united in LA. Alice and Simon continue their lusty game of cat and mouse as Chenzira and Kiri resort to illegal measures to find more information about the cursed game Akheron. And Harvey’s psychotic imaginary Mr. Empty goes from the voice inside his head to fully realized horror right in front of his face.

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Categories: Horror News

Jessica Cameron’s Mania Goes International! New Stills!

Thu, 11/26/2015 - 14:00

Director Jessica Cameron wrote in to let us know about some cool stuff that’s happening with her latest film, Mania, and share some new stills from the flick! Eat ’em up!

From the Press Release:
Jessica Cameron’s sophomore film Mania continues to rack up festival awards and screenings with three new dates announced.

Jessica Cameron’s first film, Truth or Dare, won 34 awards throughout the course of a long and successful festival run. Mania is still fresh off its September launch at The Arizona Underground Film Festival, but it’s already snagged two best picture awards at Arizona and The RIP Film Festival in Hollywood and a best actress award at RIP for Ellie Church. Mania is set to receive its fourth award at The Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival when it wins best narrative feature at the end of November.

If you are in Los Angeles on Thanksgiving weekend, make sure to check out Mania’s second LA screening at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival. Mania had its LA premiere on Halloween night at the RIP Film Festival to a large and enthusiastic crowd. Mania screens at the LAUFF on Saturday, November 28th, at The Complex Theater, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90036. Get your tickets here.

Then, on December 5th, Mania is set to have its Sydney premiere at the Dendy Cinema Newtown as part of A Night of Horror Film Festival, the longest running horror film festival in Australia. If you are going to be in Sydney in early December, you can buy your tickets here.

Finally, Mania is set to screen at The Portland Underground Film Festival December 4th at 8:00 PM. A full festival pass is only $30, and there are a lot of other great films playing as well as Mania. Get you tickets for The Portland Underground Film Festival here or call 1 (865) 985-3123.

Mania is produced by Mem Ferda, who also brought us Jessica Cameron’s debut, Truth or Dare, which shocked audiences worldwide with its extreme, relentless violence. Mania is just as uncompromising as its predecessor, but the violence of Cameron’s first film is replaced with a lesbian sexuality that is just as relentless and just as shocking as Truth or Dare’s extreme gore. Viewer discretion is advised.

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Categories: Horror News

Serial Kaller Phones Up A Trailer

Thu, 11/26/2015 - 13:00

After premiering last year at the Horror on Sea Film Festival, the UK horror Serial Kaller is finally heading to DVD Stateside on January 26, 2016.

Starring Danni Thompson, Debbie Rochon, and Suzi Lorraine, with Bear Scary director Dan Brownlie at the helm, the slasher flick sets out to prove once and for all that there’s more to life than looks, as a bunch of beautiful models learn by literally losing their lives.

A group of beautiful Internet models are trapped inside their recording studio and hunted down by a mentally unstable fan they insulted live on the air. Now the girls must join together to escape and face their murderous stalker or be picked of one by one. Beauty may only be skin deep, but revenge cuts to the bone.

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Categories: Horror News

Killer Waves… Buy a T-Shirt and Suggest a Kill!

Thu, 11/26/2015 - 12:00

Indie filmmaker James Balsamo just wrote in with a pretty unique promotion for his new flick Killer Waves. Read on for details.

“Imagine if you could have came up with an idea for a kill for the original Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street. CEO of Acid Bath Productions James Balsamo is giving you the chance of a lifetime to suggest a kill for his new movie! When you order a Killer Waves t-shirt off of, you can suggest a kill that might be featured in the film. One winner will be picked each week to have their idea for an onscreen murder to be featured in the movie! The kill will be released at the end of each week. This way you don’t have to wait till the film comes out for the blood and guts!! Help support the budget and make your sick fantasies come true on the big screen!”

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Categories: Horror News

Nightmare Fuel: The 15 Creepiest Images Captured on Google Street View

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 20:39

As if Google Maps and Google Earth weren’t already impressive enough, allowing you to see your home from satellites in the sky, the introduction of Street View took those technologies to new levels. Now, simply by entering an address, you can virtually visit almost any location in the world.

Google sends out specially designed cars with cameras affixed to them that literally take snapshots of each individual street the vehicles drive past, and in doing so they’ve managed to capture our day to day lives like never before. It’s pretty crazy, and when you think about it, kind of scary.

Not surprisingly, some pretty strange shit has been captured by Google Street View over the years, and we set out to find the creepiest of the creepy. The images range from obvious glitches to genuinely unexplainable doses of pure nightmare fuel, so strap in and get ready for the chills.

Here are the 15 creepiest images that have been documented by Google Street View!







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Categories: Horror News

It Follows and Bone Tomahawk Receive 2016 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 14:17

Film Independent has announced its nominees for the 31st Independent Spirit Awards, which will take place Saturday, February 27, 2016; and a couple of films we’ve been championing here on Dread Central made the cut!

In the Best Director category, David Robert Mitchell received a nomination for It Follows, which also garnered nominations in the Best Cinematography (for Michael Gioulakis) and Best Editing (for Julo C. Perez IV) categories.

Also receiving multiple nods is Bone Tomahawk.  It’s nominated for Best Screenplay (for S. Craig Zahler) and Best Supporting Male (for Richard Jenkins).

Lastly, Robin Bartlett from the sci-fi thriller H. was recognized in the Best Supporting Female category.

In the “not quite horror but we’re still interested” category is Anomalisa, which scored four nods:  Best Feature, Best Director (for Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson), Best Screenplay (for Charlie Kaufman), and Best Supporting Female (for Jennifer Jason Leigh).

For the full list of nominees, visit IndieWire, and also be sure to keep an eye on the Spirit Awards website.  The 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards will be broadcast exclusively on IFC on February 27th LIVE at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET.



at 2:00pm PT / 5:00pm ET.

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Categories: Horror News

NECA Drives Aliens Home with Cinemachines

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 14:00

Anyone who’s ever played a video game or watched a sci-fi or horror movie since the release of James Cameron’s Aliens can attest to the impact that film had on vehicle designs. Recognizing this, NECA has decided to release a new line entitled “Cinemachines” celebrating these futuristic wonders.

From the Press Release:
Introducing a brand new line of die-cast collectibles celebrating some of the most iconic vehicles from film and television!

CINEMACHINES brings these supporting cast members to life in exceptional detail, ready to add to your collection. Each measures 5″-6″ long and is made from die-cast metal and plastic that’s carefully hand-painted.

Series 1 highlights vehicles and vessels from the Alien universe and includes:

  • UD-4L Cheyenne Dropship, with miniature Armored Personnel Carrier that fits inside the bay (Aliens)
  • M577 Armored Personnel Carrier (Aliens)
  • “Origin” Derelict Ship with display stand (Alien)
  • Fossilized Space Jockey (Alien)

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Categories: Horror News

New Images Crying Wolf

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 13:00

Uncork’d Entertainment will bring the horror comedy Crying Wolf to VOD on December 12th, and right now we have some brand new stills for you to sink your teeth into.

Caroline Munro, Joe Egan, Kristofer Dayne, Gabriela Hersham, and Ian Donnelly star. Tony Jopia directs.

From the director of Deadtime and Zombie Harvest comes Crying Wolf! They’re hungry, hairy, and ready to hunt you down!

The comedy horror Crying Wolf tells the story of strange and weird goings-on in a little English village called Deddington. The gruesome death of local girl Charlotte by a rabid monster causes alarm and revulsion – before desperate reporters, crazy detectives, and revenge-seeking hunters descend on the scene.

Crying Wolf is a fast-paced British comedy horror that will keep you howling for more!

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Categories: Horror News

Porn Stars Go Down in the Wet and Wild Serial Killer Thriller The Valley Drowner

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 12:00

Certain serial killers have become media sensations based solely on their particular method of killing. Look no further than the notorious “Hillside Strangler(s).” Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley is about to get its own serial killer with a specialty m.o., The Valley Drowner, and the press is going to love him.

Randy Wayne (“The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning,” Android Cop) stars as Johnny Taylor, a serial killer with a fetish for drowning hot girls. After killing his sexually-abusive babysitter in a swimming pool when he was younger, Taylor grows up to be a deeply troubled young man fighting a particularly deadly trigger: When he sees water and attractive young women together, his natural inclination is to drown them. Making matters worse, the only job he can get is that of a pool cleaner. This mass murderer doesn’t just rest with fatal swimming pool baptisms; give him a sink, a bath tub, a toilet – even a bucket of water will suffice. His killing spree sparks a media frenzy that turns him into a pop cultural phenomenon amid the seedier side of L.A.

Sara Malakul Lane (Kickboxer, Shark Lake), Shawn C. Philips, and a bevy of porn stars co-star in Jared Cohn’s (Atlantic Rim, Bound) twisted thriller inspired by true events about what happens when lust for fame meets the urge to kill.

Considering the film is set against the backdrop of the drug-fueled porn industry, The Valley Drowner looks to be the worst thing to happen to the adult film biz since Charlie Sheen.

Too soon?

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Categories: Horror News

Watch the Snapchat Horror Short Film!

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 11:00

We always found it kind of funny that the logo for the Snapchat app is a ghost. Filmmaker Roberto Raad takes that friendly little specter and the communication app and adds a good amount of chills to it with his short film Snapchat Horror.

The film poses a unique question: What happens when you receive a Snapchat from beyond the grave? Check out the short below for the answer.

Snapchat Horror stars Courtney Leone and was written and directed by Raad, whose last short, OCD, made our 10 Short Horror Films That Kick Ass list.


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Categories: Horror News

Submerged (2015)

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 10:30

Starring Jonathan Bennett, Talulah Riley, Rosa Salazar

Directed by Steven C. Miller

I have sat through more than my fair share of truly awful films in the horror and thriller genres, but I have come to find that there is something far more flagrant in a decently made film rife with missed opportunities over an outright display of filmmaking ineptitude. It is especially frustrating to see a movie lay out all of the components for an engaging and driving plot or surefire suspense-laden set pieces, but instead decide to bypass the obvious road signs to success for questionable attempts at narrative subversion and drab emotional conflicts.

Such is the case with Steven C. Miller’s latest independent thriller Submerged, which sees Mean Girls heartthrob Jonathan Bennett making his first foray into hero territory. Unfortunately, Miller’s underwhelming film will not be the catalyst for Bennett’s rise to leading man status.

The film follows Matt (Bennett), a former Army Ranger turned private driver who works for much maligned businessman Hank Searles (Tim Daly, “Madame Secretary”). Matt’s main task is to look after Hank’s college-age daughter, Jessie (Riley), while she is home during a break from NYU, even if it means chauffeuring Jessie and her friends around for a drunken night on the town. One such night takes a turn for the worst as a handful of kidnappers set their sights on Jessie in a grander plan to strike back at Searles. Though Matt attempts to keep Jessie and her friends safe in the midst of the ensuing high-speed chase, their pursuers ultimately send the limo crashing off of a bridge into a lake. As the limo sinks and the oxygen slowly runs out, Matt and the others must work fast to find a way out of the vehicle before it’s too late.

While the premise of Submerged lends itself to an expectantly claustrophobic experience high on tension, neither Miller nor screenwriter Scott Milam make proper use of the underwater setting to its full potential. You would think that a film set up on such grounds would see Matt utilizing his Army background to find an inventive way to freedom; instead, he spends much of his time in the driver’s seat reflecting on what got him to this point, guiding the film with flashbacks while the folks in the back shriek and holler.

The particularly uninspired banter among Jessie’s friends  — most of whom become insufferably obnoxious after about ten minutes — does nothing for the film’s thriller aspirations. They spend their time inexplicably arguing about who fooled around with whom and what other largely unrelated personal secrets are being kept within their midst, and none of this ultimately forwards any aspect of the plot along. By the end, not one of their petulant rants has inspired the kind of sympathy that Milam’s script may have hoped for, a major misstep in a film that keeps its characters in such tight quarters for so long. The attempts at meaningful character development here ultimately fail in comparison to what we have seen in other more effective single-setting survival films like Adam Green’s Frozen or Neil Marshall’s The Descent. All the while, Jessie spends just about the entirety of the underwater scenes knocked out in the passenger seat — and she is by far the luckiest person in the limo for it.

For the bulk of the film in the present, Matt himself remains stuck in the driver’s seat with his leg impaled by an unspecified object, tortured by the fact that he feels he has failed Jessie and his own family. Most of the flashback scenes that are inter-cut with the moments in the limo center on his relationship with his younger brother, Dylan (Cody Christian, “Teen Wolf”). While the backstory between the siblings is on the whole quite unrelated to the greater mystery behind the attack on Jessie, it proves to be the most emotionally resonant aspect of the film. The performances from Bennett and Christian as brothers are refreshingly genuine in the midst of a film that so heavily wants to sell itself through pseudo-realized action and suspense. It’s hard not to wonder what the movie would have been like had it found a way to more prominently focus on their connection as a significant catalyst for the greater turns in the film. Unfortunately, such notable dramatic moments are sparse overall.

Submerged ultimately wants to focus on shaping Matt as a hero, but it doesn’t seem to know how to do so. Milam’s script very counter-productively sees Matt often doing literally nothing in the face of peril; at one point, he even rolls up the partition and turns off the speaker to the back of the limo so that he doesn’t have to listen to the bickering, although we don’t really blame him for this. By the film’s end, he is relegated to a sad punching bag scrapping to save Jessie’s life — and that’s not an understatement, as he really does get beat on a lot in the final act. At that point, it’s truly confounding that Miller and co. thought this was a fitting way to wrap up the character’s journey. To his credit, Bennett does his best to rise to the occasion with what he has been given, but that doesn’t stop the blows from coming: Even after escaping his underwater prison and tracking down the bad guys, Matt doesn’t get to deliver the final blow of death to the mastermind in the end. Talk about twisting the knife.

On the note of Miller’s final act, it is surprisingly entertaining when all is said and done, but only because of how incredibly silly it gets. The final showdown is a big, ridiculous hodgepodge of double-crosses and scenery-chewing monologues (we see no fewer than three “twists” take place, two of which are straight out of left field). In its tonal shift to unapologetic, corny action film, Submerged starts working in a very different way, but this over-the-top enjoyment is brief and comes all too late in the game.

Submerged is not an outright terrible film, but it is a very forgettable one that, to its greatest disadvantage, makes little use of a set piece that should have been wielded to tap into some real phobic terror. The initial premise promises much more intrigue than it actually delivers, and the troubled script presents far too many flat characters, which makes for a tedious ride that is suffocating in its banality. There is indeed an interesting level of commentary on the disparity between social classes hiding somewhere here, but ultimately the film is all too mired in its half-realized aspirations to make any kind of greater statement on society. For a more enjoyable set of chills and thrills, you would do better to check out 2012’s Silent Night, Miller’s loose remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night that showcases the kind of fun the director can have when properly motivated.

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Categories: Horror News

House of Afflictions Coughs Up A Trailer

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 10:00

The British horror flick House of Afflictions will be hitting DVD Stateside on February 23, 2016, and we have a new trailer to share.

Michelle Darkin Price and Stefan Boehm star. Director Anthony M. Winson has built up quite a name for himself in the realm of low-budget supernatural flicks, having also helmed The Witching Hour and The Haunting of Baylock Residence.

Kate Beckley was once a best-selling crime author, but it’s been years since her last novel following the disappearance of her daughter, Julia. While attempting to write again in a new home, Kate finds herself haunted by strange visions and paranormal occurrences – which become worse each night. Has Julia returned, or is something more sinister preying on this grieving mother’

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Categories: Horror News

More Victor Frankenstein TV Spots Explain the Natural Order

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 20:57

Planning to head out this weekend to see “Victor Frankenstein”?  It is, after all, the last big horror release of the year, and here to get you ready for it are three more TV spots.

Victor Frankenstein stars James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, Jessica Brown Findlay, Freddie Fox, and Callum Turner.

Directed by Paul McGuigan, this adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel was written by Max Landis.  It arrives in US theaters on November 25th and in the UK on December 4th from 20th Century Fox.

Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his equally brilliant protégé, Igor Strausman (Radcliffe), share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor’s experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.

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Categories: Horror News

Bone Tomahawk Scalps Blu-ray and DVD in December

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 20:49

Thanksgiving is in a few days, and the DVD and Blu-ray release news for S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk (review) has just been revealed! Better sharpen your teeth because you’ve gotta be ready when the goods arrive!

Look for the flick in stores and online December 29th. Kurt Russell (Tombstone, Hateful Eight), Patrick Wilson (Insidious, TV’s “Fargo”), Matthew Fox (Alex Cross, TV’S “Lost”), Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects, Spider Baby), Lili Simmons (“True Detective,” “Banshee”), and Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, Olive Kitteridge) all star.

The film is produced by Dallas Sonnier, Jack Heller, and Gregory Zuk of Caliber Media (Dark Was the Night, Some Kind of Hate) and executive produced by the Fyzz Facility’s Wayne Marc Godfrey (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), Robert Jones (The Usual Suspects), and David Gilbrey (Red vs. Dead).

When a group of cannibal savages kidnaps settlers from the small town of Bright Hope, an unlikely team of gunslingers, led by Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Russell), sets out to bring them home. But their enemy is more ruthless than anyone could have imagined, putting their mission – and survival itself – in serious jeopardy.

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Categories: Horror News

The Wave Crashes U.S. Shores in March

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 20:38

We told you in September that Magnolia Pictures acquired U.S. rights to the Nordic disaster movie The Wave on the eve of its screening at the Toronto Film Festival, and now we can tell you that the flick will arrive in theatres and on VOD March 4, 2016.

Directed by Norwegian Roar Uthaug, The Wave is Norway’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Academy Award this year.

The film is based on the 1934 real-life tsunami in Norway’s Tafjord, which left 40 people dead. The Wave opened last month’s Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund and posted the third-best opening in Norway for a local film during the final weekend of August.

The screenplay, written by John Kåre Raake and Harald Rosenløw Eeg, is set at Geiranger Fjord, one of Norway’s top tourist attractions. It takes place in contemporary Norway and centers around a geologist who realizes the inferno is about to hit.

Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro, and Fritjof Saheim star in Uthaug’s fourth feature, which was produced by Martin Sundland and Are Heidenstrom for Fantefilm Fiksjon.

The Wave is an incredibly accomplished action spectacular with phenomenal special effects,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles, “but it’s also beautiful filmmaking with multi-dimensional characters and terrific acting.

There are more than 300 unstable mountainsides in Norway–one of the largest is Åkerneset, a system of expanding cracks 800 meter long. It is accepted fact that one day it will fall, and when it does, the resulting rockslide of rock will create an 80-meter high tsunami that will hit the local community of Geiranger after just 10 minutes. This is the premise of THE WAVE, a pulse-pounding adventure about a family racing to survive the oncoming catastrophe.

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Categories: Horror News