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.
By Brady Steele / twitter: @mrbradysteele. This revelation happened last episode so this is not really a spoiler. Foggy finds out and he is not happy. The episode “Nelson v. Murdock” was so good at adding layers upon the relationship between Matt Murdock / Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) that I had to watch it again right after it ended. In an episode all about dishonesty there is something brilliantly honest about the early interactions of these two. Even the small moment where Matt almost reveals his secret feels natural and trusting. Foggy was always meant to know, but Matt never knew how to tell him. Now that it’s been a secret for so long it has destroyed them. Communication, people, it’s the only way to have a healthy relationship.
You can feel a best friend’s betrayal throughout the scenes with Henson and Cox so much. Marvel’s Daredevil continues to impress with his sophistication and mature approach to a superhero story. There are so many great moments in flashbacks between Matt and Foggy where their friendship is re-evaluated as to whether any of it was real to Matt at all. The times they were in law school together, interning, deciding to start their own law firm together are some key moments seen in a new light. Foggy’s anger is justified and he doesn’t know what to do with it.
Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) and Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) finally catch a break in finding something stick to the elusive Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). It’s a combination of tender and poignant moments that culminate with a great payoff. These two actors really work well together and you can see some of that chemistry this episode from the way they banter with one another. Ben is pushing Karen to be something more than a innocent bystander, but Karen is far too ambitious for her own good.
Fisk has a crossroads moment with Lady Goa (whom I think may have a connection to The Steel Serpent of K’un L’un). That may give us some more easter eggs for other Netflix Marvel shows down the line. The hope that she’ll appear in an Iron Fist episode or two is VERY VERY real. The reference to Roxxon, the nefariously notorious corporation that keeps popping up in the back of Iron Man films, the inclusion of the future Mrs. Fisk, Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer) and Leland Owlsley aka The Owl (Bob Gunton) are plenty for uber-fans to enjoy this time out.
Daredevil hears too much all the time. That’s why he does what he does. Matt feels so much rage against the injustice all around him that he feels compelled to stop as much as he can on his own. Foggy’s trust in his best friend is gone and now so is he. Murdock’s crusade has put not only himself but Foggy and Karen in danger. Without that trust, can Daredevil continue on? It’s an intelligent approach to the secret identity revealed storyline on every good hero’s journey. I can’t wait to see how the resolution affects them both down the road.
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.
It’s being reported by Deadline that horror legend Wes Craven (A Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream, The Last House On the Left) has signed a first-look deal with Universal Cable Productions to bring two new TV series’ to cable, something we exclusively reported back in September.
Both shows will be projects for Syfy, with the first based upon Daryl Gregory’s book “We Are All Completely Fine”. It tells the story of, “…enigmatic psychologist, Dr. Jan Sayer, who gathers survivors of five horror movie scenarios in a support group – and unwittingly unlocks the evils of her patients’ pasts. As their traumas are brought back to the surface, they uncover which monsters they face are within… and which are lurking in plain sight.”
Craven will write the script and direct the pilot episode!
In even cooler news, the second project is a series based upon Craven’s 1991 movie The People Under The Stairs that began, “When a young woman goes missing at the grand Robeson Family Manor, her search unveils the centuries-old horrors that lie deep within the estate.” Craven will be the executive producer on this show.
In addition to these two shows, Craven will be executively producing “Disciple”, a sci-fi horror based upon an upcoming graphic novel from Steve Niles. The show is set, “…in the near future where the ultra-wealthy have become true Masters of the Universe colonizing moons throughout the solar system. One colonist, McCauley Richmond, has built a new society on Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter, where his flocks of cultists worship him. Three “deep-space” private eyes have been hired by a high-ranking Senator to venture out to Ganymede and retrieve his teenage daughter who’s been brainwashed into joining Richmond’s cult.”
Alright everyone, which of these sounds the most interest to you?
Thrash metal legends Slayer have released some new information regarding their new album, which will be the first collection of new music since 2009′s World Painted Blood.
According to the band, they have finished recording their 11th studio album, which was produced by Terry Date (Slipknot, Deftones, Soundgarden) and they will be aiming for a release date this year.
Talking about the new music, vocalist/bassist Tom Araya stated:
Jeff had always been writing and demoing songs, even up until shortly before he passed. You can tell by the quality of his songwriting that this was his passion. There will be a song written by Jeff on the new album. Everything but the vocals had been completed, so we did the vocals and it’s done. And there are a few more of Jeff’s songs that we might record and release in the future.
Guitarist Kerry King adds:
With this new album Tom, Paul and I put all of our ideas out on to the table, working in a more collaborative way toward the ultimate heavy outcome. And I’ve got to give big props to Gary who played lead on several of the new songs. I think he got all of his leads done in one day – he’s a maniac!
Said Nuclear Blast America’s General Manager Gerardo Martinez:
The new songs have that iconic Slayer feel. Tom’s vocals are probably the best I’ve heard in two decades, and Kerry, Paul and Gary are playing their asses of with powerful, intense performances and riffs and beats that are absolutely lethal.
Below is a list of confirmed tour dates that sees them hitting the road starting in a few days and culminating in early August.
Confirmed tour dates:
24 Iron City, Birmingham, AL*
25 Monter Energy Welcome to Rockfille, Metropolitian Park, Jacksonville, FL
26 Civic Theatre, New Orleans, LA*
1 Lunatic Luau, Farm Bureau Live, Virginia Beach, VA
3 Carolina Rebellion, Charlotte, NC
22 Rocklahoma, Pryor, OK
23 Socorro Casino, El Paso, TX*
13 Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN
16 Paramount, Huntington, Long Island NY*
17 Paramount, Huntington, Long Island NY*
19 State Theatre, Portland, ME
20 Amnesia Rock, Montebello, Montreal
(Mayhem headline dates):
26 Sleep Train Amphitheatre, San Diego, CA
27 San Manual Amphitheatre, San Bernardino, CA
28 Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
30 White River Amphitheatre, Seattle, WA
1 Idaho Center Amphitheatre, Boise, ID
3 Ak-Chin Amphitheatre, Phoenix, AZ
4 Isleta Amphitheatre, Albuquerque, NM
5 Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver, CO
7 Harrah’s Council Bluffs, Council Bluffs, IA
8 Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI
10 Kilpsch Amphitheatre, Indianapolis, IN
11 DTE Energy Amphitheatre, Detroit, MI
12 First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, Chicago, IL
15 Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto, ON CANADA
17 Susquehanna Bank Arts Center, Camden, NJ
18 First Niagara Pavilion, Pittsburgh, PA
19 Xfinity Theatre, Hartford, CT
21 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
22 Meadowbrook (Bank of NH Pavilion), Gilford, NH
24 Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA
25 Xfinity Center, Boston, MA
26 Nikon at Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY
29 Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta, GA
31 Whitewater Amphitheatre, San Antonio, TX
1 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Houston, TX
2 Gexa Energy Amphitheatre, Dallas, TX
* “An Evening with…” headline dates
In an episode sure to be flagged: Adult Wednesday Addams gets pulled, Star Wars is everywhere, David Hasselhoff is a True Survivor, and bad games with great soundtracks!
The list of films that are both terrifying and tell a great story at the same time is admittedly pretty short. And if you’ve been paying attention to anything other than what Hollywood’s been churning out in recent years, you’d know that The Babadook definitely qualifies. Directed by Jennifer Kent, The Babadook made quite the noise at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and it wasn’t long before it was announced that genre fave Shout Factory had secured the home video rights in North America. But enough about the sizzle, you say. What about the steak?
Amelia Vannick (Essie Davis) is an orderly and single mother, raising her 6-year-old son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), by herself after the death of her husband. Like many kids his age, Samuel is afraid of monsters hiding in his room. So much so, that his behaviour has resulted in Amelia taking Samuel out of school. One night, Samuel asks Amelia to read him a story before bed. Samuel chooses a strange pop-up book he finds on his shelf called Mister Babadook. The book tells the story of a supernatural creature that once someone is made aware of its existence, endlessly torments the person. Amelia is understandably disturbed by the book, while Samuel claims that The Babadook is stalking them in their house. Soon Amelia begins to hear strange noises and finds strange occurrences happening throughout the house. As Samuel’s behaviour becomes more erratic, and the strange happenings increase, Amelia begins to wonder if The Babadook is real.
Understandably, the above synopsis seems silly, but that initial impression goes out the window in a hurry thanks to the actors. Essie Davis is amazing in this film as Amelia. Not only do you empathize with her as a mother to a troubled child, but also as someone who is still haunted by the traumatic experience of losing her husband. Amelia obviously isn’t stupid, and immediately dismisses Samuel’s claims of The Babadook with rationality and understandable frustration in the fact that her son frankly gets on her nerves. Speaking of which, Noah is bang-on in this role. Normally, I detest child actors and the directors using them simply for vehicles to advance the plot. Not here, as Kent manages to get a believable performance out of Noah, both as a child being scared of what goes bump in the night, but also as a child who fears for his mom. The supporting actors also chime in, bringing concern for Amelia’s wellbeing, as well as highlighting the underlying trauma with which Amelia just hasn’t been able to make peace.
And then there’s the story. In case you missed it, the film revolves around unresolved grief and loss. Some of us deal with it better than others. And in Amelia’s case, she has resolved to just ignore and bury the grief of losing her husband. Compounding things is the fact that her husband died on the same day that Samuel was born, making Samuel’s upcoming birthday in the film difficult, to say the least. Without giving much away, it’s safe to say that The Babadook itself isn’t just your typical boogeyman. It represents something deeper. Nonetheless, he’s still a creepy as hell character. Kent goes with the less-is-more approach that almost all great horror films use to some degree, and it most definitely works here. The guttural call of The Babadook is one of those moments that has you wishing you could hide under the covers just like Amelia. Bottom line: You will be scared.
Any drawbacks? At first glance, the character of Samuel can and will get on your nerves with his constant annoying screaming and calls for attention. You know, like a kid who hasn’t been properly disciplined. This is genius on Kent’s part, as you end up being put in Amelia’s shoes with having to deal with this constant source of aggravation on a daily basis. It’s a very smart move. I’m not going to lie: I wanted to throw this kid doused in gasoline into moving traffic and flick a match at him. But again, that’s the whole idea. By the end of the film, you end up sympathizing for Samuel over having to be an accessory to Amelia’s unresolved grief. The ending itself is also symbolic, but at the same time one of those “Huh?” moments. It works, but it does open up a whole other set of problems once the story has been told. But again, it’s very much a symbol for what happens after the grieving process that shouldn’t be ignored.
I had mentioned on Twitter that The Babadook is probably one of the best horror films to have come along in the past five years. And I’m not kidding. Kent has crafted a smart, scary and deceptively deep film. Davis is amazing in her performance along with Wiseman, as is everyone else. The character of The Babadook is sinister and terrifying, despite being so simplistic in appearance. Fans of horror should definitely make this a must-watch if they haven’t already seen it. And if you have, see it again. Just burn your pop-up books, beforehand.
Sporting a 2.39:1 1080p AVC-encoded transfer, The Babadook looks excellent. Details such as skin and fabric come through nicely, while colours are consistent with their muted look, particularly in the house. The darker scenes are also quite good, and although there are a few spots where the details are lost in the black, you’re still able to make out a lot of what’s there.
Films like this are why the audio needs to be good. And thankfully, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 delivers. The track easily envelopes the viewer with appropriate creaks, thumps and groans of the house, making for an especially creepy and frightening experience. Dialogue is also clear and free of any distortion, while the score by Jed Kurzel is also nicely represented and balanced with the ambient effects. There’s also a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, but stick with the 5.1 mix for the best experience.
Being that this is the Special Edition, we get a few more goodies than the regular version.
First is Jennifer Kent’s short film “Monster”, which served as the basis for The Babadook. Presented in windowboxed format with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, the short is essentially a condensed version of the film, albeit without colour or the emotion content of the latter. The short is interesting just to see where The Babadook came from.
Following that are three deleted scenes. Though all were cut for time, I wouldn’t have minded if the scene involving Amelia attempting to connect more with Samuel while he was playing around on the keyboard was left in the film.
“Behind-the-Scenes” is B-roll footage of the birthday party scene, and a scene in the living room.
The biggest extra is an hour of Cast and Crew Interviews, featuring actors Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Barbara West, Hayley McElhinney, director Jennifer Kent, costume designer Heather Wallace, producer Kristina Ceyton, and producer Kristian Moliere. The footage is presented unedited, and as such, a couple of the participants end up retelling what the film is about, albeit in their own slight interpretation. Everyone has good things to say about Davis and Wiseman, as well as talking about Kent and her experience as an actor-turned-director. While there’s a few interesting pieces of information, the featurette could have been tightened up (those repeat answers), but it’s still a great piece.
The following four extras are the exclusives. First up is “Creating the Book with Illustrator Alex Juhasz”, which has Juhasz first talking about how Kent first found him through his previous work. Juhasz then goes over the hero book used in the film (with its blue tape on the front), and a couple of the pop-ups movements. It’s a brief but neat little piece.
“A Tour of the House Set” is a walkthrough of the film’s primary location, which was actually built in a studio warehouse. Intersperced with the walkthrough are stills showing how the rooms were used. Again, brief but interesting.
“The Stunts: Jumping the Stairs” is B-roll footage showing the crew trying to work with the wire setups for Amelia’s jump up the stairs.
“Special Effects: The Stabbing Scene” has the crew briefly trying to use a leg of lamb for the scene where Amelia is stabbed.
Lastly, two of the film’s trailers are included.
As a bonus, the Special Edition also includes a sweet slipcover that mimics the look of the book in the film, and also has a pop-up feature when you open it up.
Overall, while the interviews are pretty interesting, I have to say that I’m disappointed in the extras. Granted, many of these extras are all ported over from the UK and Australian Blu-Ray discs, so those of you outside of the US aren’t missing out on much (save for the interviews). But given the brevity of the exclusives, it would’ve been nice to have had a commentary or more detail in some of the extras (such as the special effects). This unfortunately makes the Special Edition not that much more special than the regular edition. Sure, the slipcover is nice, but come on, IFC/Shout Factory.
Nevertheless, this is still a nice (if somewhat lacking) package for an excellent movie.
The online critics haven’t been too kind to Jurassic World, the Jurassic Park sequel opening in theaters June 12th. They’ve been slamming everything from the early trailers to the (unfinished) CGI, the weak poster art, and even an alleged misogynistic clip with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.
With the release only a few months away, Universal Pictures is hoping to silence the critics with this new “world trailer” premiere that boasts a plethora of chaos and dinosaur destruction. There’s a lot of really interesting story plots revealed, one that focuses on the new dinosaur. As we should all know by now, the Jurassic World scientists create a hybrid with DNA from various dinos. The trailer reveals that new dinosaur attractions aren’t enough to keep customers coming (a ridiculous notion by itself), so they are forced to play God and create this Indominous Rex (the elusive D-Rex). What happens, according to the trailer, is that it’s too big, fast, smart and strong for them to contain, so it gets loose on the park. While the visitors are in danger, the trailer also reveals that the Indominous Rex is also killing all of the park’s dinos “for sport”. As this is going on, life repeats itself as a few unlucky humans are trapped in the park, cowering in fear, as the creations are running amoke around them. Apparently, Chris Pratt’s ability to tame Velociraptors is the only way to save the day (gathering this from the trailer).
The footage does look crazy, and the CGI is remarkably better (clearly the work is close to or actually finished), but I’m not impressed. Honestly, I’m feeling disappointed and even a bit worried. First, I think Universal revealed way too much, which is just going to take away from the initial viewing impact. Second, I’m not exactly sure what they’ve done to further the story as it really does feel like a rehash with a new dinosaur (many of the trailer moments even look similar to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Jurassic Park). But the thing that annoys me most of all is the CGI.
We’re talking about dinosaurs here, and while I don’t expect the filmmakers to build life-sized animals, I do expect them to retain some of the spirit of the original. When the first film was made, Spielberg couldn’t utilize CGI the way we can now, but I refuse to believe he would have done things differently. Everything in the trailer, whether it is or not, looks like it’s CGI. It all looks fake. Go back and watch some clips from Jurassic Park. What you’ll notice is that extreme close-ups of various dinosaurs are physical props. There were Raptor claws created for effect right down to a giant T-Rex head that was used for the iconic attack scene when the park’s security is shut down. When I see a movie that’s littered in CGI is looks like a video game to me. Jurassic World looks like a video game to me. And I don’t care how good the CGI is, there’s nothing in the trailer that suggests an ounce of realism. When this happens, my brain checks out, and I’m worried that this is going to happen when I’m in a theater, too…
Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jake Johnson, Katie McGrath, Lauren Lapkus and Nick Robinson all star.
Set to screen at the upcoming Cannes market (May 16 at 4:00PM in the Gray 3 Theater) is John Fallon’s directorial debut, The Shelter, starring Michael Paré (The Lincoln Lawyer, Streets of Fire), Gayle James, Rachel Whittle, Lauren Thomas, Brigette Rose and Amy Wickenheiser.
We now have a brand new trailer for the film that was shot at Holbrook Multi Media in Lafayette, Louisiana.
“On a star filled night, widower and homeless man Thomas (Michael Paré) finds shelter for the night when he falls upon a vast two story house with the lights on and an inviting open front door. He strolls on in thinking he just caught a lucky break and for a while, it would appear as though he did. But soon enough, he realizes that the house won’t let him leave, as its doors are all locked while its windows cannot be opened or broken. Destiny has brought Thomas to this place. What does it want from him? Will he survive the ordeal?“
Fallon directed The Shelter from his own screenplay, Donny Broussard (Little Houses) and Fallon produced the picture, Erin Bennett was the production manager, Shawn Knippelberg and Colby Huvall scored the film and Thomas Wilson (James Wan’s The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2) handled the film’s VFX under his company NULL FX. The film was financed by Bruise Productions and JoBlo Movie Productions.
Article by Jonny Bunning
Hardware and Dust Devil‘s Richard Stanley attended the Belgian Premiere of Lost Soul (review), the documentary about his doomed attempt at making The Island of Dr. Moreau for New Line Cinema back in 1994/95.
During the post screening Q&A he divulged some interesting information on future projects.
The Island of Dr. Moreau: The reception of the doc has put The Island of Dr. Moreau back in pre-production. In two or three years the whole thing will happen again, he said. Since January this year he has completed a new draft of the movie and has also been approached by Humanoids, a French comic company, to adapt the screenplay into a three book graphic novel! This will be hitting shelves next year.
Stanley is now more optimistic in bringing his vision to the screen citing Guardians of the Galaxy the Apes movies as paving the way for dogs with machine guns.
A “R” or “X” rating might be unlikely to attain, but at least the graphic novel will be unrated.
Hardware 2: The script was written the year after Hardware and is something he would like to revisit as advances toward drone soldiers are very timely in the real world. Projects such as DARPA developing robotic dogs and other creatures seem to have caught his attention, and he foresees these beast patrolling hostile zones. Hardware, along with his other film Dust Devil, currently belong to Disney after they took control of the Miramax catalogue. Working with the mouse seems unlikely so a non-direct sequel might be the only option available.
The Colour Out Of Space: Stanley is also set to make the old ones terrifying again for a younger generation. First announced at Fantasia Festival’s Frontiere’s market in 2013 was H.P. Lovecraft’s The Colour Out Of Space, which will be made by Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision. He wants to take the source material and make it scary again, not cute and funny as most translations to screen. He has had talks with Bruce Spaulding Fuller who might be doing the main creatures using a combination of physical and visual effects. Shooting is set to go ahead at the beginning of next year.
The Gardner family move to a remote country locale to leave the hustle of the 21st century. All is well until a meteorite crashes into their front yard. Rapidly the curious qualities of this mysterious visitor from the stars starts to infect the properties of space and time around them. Overnight the water turns brackish containing an oily rainbow sheen. The crops ripen early and new forms of flora sprout from nowhere. Most disturbingly the members of the Gardner family are changing too! Whatever is contaminating their farm is mercilessly transforming them into the living manifestation of their darkest fears.
Farsi-language horror film Under the Shadow, written and directed by BAFTA-nominated Babak Anvari (Two & Two), has begun shooting in Amman, Jordan, reports ScreenDaily.
“Set in post-revolution Tehran, during the Iran-Iraq war, the film a follows a young mother who remains with her six-year-old daughter when others are fleeing local fighting.
The mother soon begins to believe an unexploded missile has carried evil spirits into her home and possessed her daughter.”
Narges Rashidi (Æon Flux) leads the cast, with Bobby Naderi (Argo) and Ray Haratian (pictured; Argo, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) also set to appear.
The film is produced and financed by London-based Wigwam Films, and is supported by the Doha Film Institute, Creativity Capital and MENA Film.
Producers for Wigwam are Lucan Toh, Emily Leo, and Oliver Roskill with Donall McCusker on board as co-producer.
Ahead of its World Premiere at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival, IFC Midnight acquired the campy creature feature Stung, a new horror focusing on two catering staff at a fancy garden party who battle a mutated species of wasp.
Matt O’Leary (Frailty, Death Sentence), Jessica Cook, Peter Stormare and Lance Henriksen (Aliens) all star in the horror comedy.
In Stung, “For catering staffers Paul and Julia, Mrs. Perch’s fancy garden party at her remote country villa is nothing out of the ordinary. A mishap with toxic plant fertilizer leads to the most unwelcome of dinner guests: giant killer wasps. Director Benni Diez takes audiences on a thrilling, gory rollercoaster ride from campy to creepy, in this delightful and dreadful creature-feature.”
Benni Diez directs, and Christian Becker and Benjamin Munz of Munich and Berlin-based Rat Pack Filmproduction produce.
Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with both Dope D.O.D. and Virus Syndicate to bring you the exclusive US premiere of their video for “Battle Royal”! The two groups have come together to release a 4-track EP titled Battle Royal, which will be coming out May 4th.
Virus Syndicate explains:
After ‘The Swarm’ we needed a fresh challenge. We always team up with producers but we rarely find rappers who are in our lane. We wanted a clash, but there wasn’t an obvious choice. We found out about these crazy guys who were putting out the sickest shit we’d heard in years and when we listened to them we knew they would be worthy adversaries.
Dope D.O.D. adds:
We hadn’t heard of Virus Syndicate before… We were familiar with the UK rap scene, mainly the grime sound, but Manchester was pretty new to us as far as the artists that represent it. Once we heard their tracks we were immediately drawn to their flow and we knew this would make for a great clash of styles, their UK sound clashing with our dark boom bap.
Directed by KC Locke, the video shows the two groups battling head-to-head in a cage with a throng of onlookers.
You can pre-order the EP via iTunes.
We wanted to do something that was really gritty and represented the concept behind the EP. Both crews have a really hard and brutal style and the “Battle Royal” video really brings that home. The video was inspired by a few movies. It’s kind of like Fight club meets Book of Eli. Our Director KC Locke had a lot of creative vision with the concept and really brought it to life. Hope you guys like it.
Gamers can be a patient bunch. You wouldn’t know it by looking through what’s said in community forums or the comments section of YouTube or really any gaming blog, but those places also fail to mention the numerous difficult waits we’ve endured or continue to endure today. As much as I’d like to get my hands on another Half-Life game, I can wait for it.
The horror-loving community has had their patience tested, too. When developers first started shoehorning multiplayer components into their horror games, usually at the request of a greedy publisher, the results were almost entirely abysmal. It took a few years and a handful of failures — Resident Evil 5, Dead Space 2, Condemned 2, etc. — before we got to where we are today.
Now, we have innovative twists on multiplayer in games like Bloodborne, or the co-op mode in Dead Space 3 that doesn’t strand players with an incompetent AI.
We’ve gotten over the hump, and now we get to start reaping our rewards. If you’re interested, here are a few upcoming games that I believe could continue this trend of multiplayer modes in horror games that don’t suck.
It may be the unpopular opinion, but I strongly disliked the teaser trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
While I’ll get into that in a second, I first want to share these absolutely badass campaign-like teaser one-sheets for the Warner Bros. pic that hits theaters March 25, 2016.
The posters look city-styled, as if the glue used to stick ‘em on walls has warped the actual paper. On them we see both Batman and Superman, played by Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, respectively, with the opposing character’s logo covering their eyes. They’re the first good thing to come from this movie that looks to be a disaster (although it’s too early to tell for sure).
I love the look, unlike the above linked trailer that feels oddly small. It looks like Zack Snyder can’t get past the stylized Frank Miller look he used in 300 as everything looks like a bunch of green screen sets. I also can’t stand Henry Cavill has Superman, who feels empty and un-relatible. The reason Christopher Reeves was so good as Supes is because we enjoyed Clark Kent. The way Snyder is using Cavill is the opposite, which makes Kent a garbage character.
The thing that hurts the most is that Affleck looks bad ass in his bulky, “Dark Knight Returns”-esque costume – and the voice modulator is something I’ve been screaming for-for years. It’s too bad I’m being told it’s basically a Superman movie, with 20 minutes of Batman. Barf.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Diane Lane, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Scoot McNairy, and Jason Momoa.
Aullidos has the international poster premiere for Extinction (formerly Welcome to Harmony), a new horror film helmed by Kidnapped‘s Miguel Ángel Vivas.
“Nine years after an infection turns most of the humanity into rabid creatures, Patrick, Jack and Lu, a nine-year-old girl, survive in seeming peace and calm in the forgotten snow-covered town of Harmony. We nonetheless sense that something terrible happened between Patrick and Jack because a deep hate keeps them apart. When the infected appear again, Patrick and Jack will have to leave behind all rancor to protect the one being who means more to them than anything else.”
Matthew Fox (World War Z, “Lost”) and Jeffrey Donovan (“Burn Notice”) star with Ahna O’Reilly (The Help), Quinn McColgan (Non-Stop) and Clara Lago (I Want You).
Thanks to E.M. for the tip.