I don’t know what’s going on over the CW- it’s either a renaissance or they’re developing out tons of awful teen-based horror series (from “Tales From the Darkside” to “Colony”, “Dead People” and “Cheerleader Death Squad”).
Sean Cunningham, the creator and director of the 1980 Friday the 13th, attended the Monster Mania convention this weekend in New Jersey where he revealed the CW may be interested in the new “Friday the 13th” television series.
Here’s what F13franchise says:
“Sean Cunningham confirmed interest from the CW in regards to pickup for the tv show. According to him, the basic premise focuses on the REAL city of Crystal Lake, and the effect that the serialized films had on its real life counterpart. This allows them to reimagine Jason in a more grounded reality, as the films would be based off the real life killings that took place at the Camp. (ie, both the Hockey Masked Jason and a more serious backwoods inspired killer will be making appearances throughout).”
The idea that Crystal Lake is a cursed town where there are multiple murderers is a really interesting arc, although does that diminish the lore of Jason Vorhees? I think that, if he’s not the centerpiece of the series, it makes him “just another” serial killer, which is lame. But until I know exactly what they’re developing, it’s impossible to judge. Frankly, just seeing the Voorhees back on TV is enough for me.
After finding the Powers pilot to be a mixed bag, “Like A Power” does very little to quell my fears thanks to uneven pacing, unrelatable characters, and a script that does little to offer much exposition.
Take for example the opening scene of the episode. We pick up exactly where we left off last, with Walker on the rooftop after being saved by Retrogirl. He’s greeted by a spirited old security guard who talks about their past together. The relationship that they hint at is interesting but never clarified. Instead it offers an awkward level of exposition that doesn’t clarify but instead confounds.
I’m feeling a little lost in the world of Powers. Full disclosure, I’m not really acquainted with the comic series in which it shares its namesake, and for what it’s worth that doesn’t really seem to matter. The show is distinctly different after the initial set up. But, after a pilot steeped in over-exposition this episode felt like a complete 180.
The basics of every character’s motivation are offered, and while I understand narratively it makes no sense for Johnny Royale’s plans to be completely revealed, they aren’t eve given any real context. But I digress.
The mystery around Calista deepens. Everyone seems to be playing around her character and in a way it offers a lens on the idea of powers like no other character could. But, even when put against the iconic Retro Girl, Calista just spouts the things we knew about her before. She’s a ball of lies, and Retro Girl is a bitchy alpha female who dismisses anything she says in an effort to get Walker involved. But even when Walker gets involved, Retro Girl then doesn’t want to hand her off.
The history of Retro Girl and Christian Walker is interesting at a glance. But, again we learn nothing new about them in this episode that would otherwise add depth to their interactions.
The one saving grace of “Like A Power” is the developments undergone by Deena Pilgrim’s character. She’s feisty and determined and even takes charge in a powers arrest. Although she doesn’t quite have the necessary powers smarts to be strong in this world yet, teaming with Walker will eventually make her into a dominant member of the powers unit.
I can’t help but feel this show was made on a shoestring budget, and it shows. It has a less than cinematic feel. With an idea like this, the cinematography should be grand and detailed. Instead every single scene feels bland and generic. There are so many concrete walls or smooth “futuristic” settings that nothing seems to stand out. The color correction is nothing to write home about, and visually the show falls flat.
That wouldn’t be such a problem if everything didn’t look so cheap. I’ve personally been on student sets that look better than these. I don’t know if it’s a product of a limited time or what, but the special effects are about one step above The Secret World of Alex Mack.
This causes a rift for me. It ruins my suspension of disbelief and causes me to second guess everything. But more than the budget I can’t shake the idea that Sharlto Copley is miscast as Christian Walker.
I love Copley. I think he’s a tremendous actor with a lot of range, but here he feels trapped in shallow motivation. His character never really moves past the initial ide of losing his powers. He’s not an overly good cop, and he’s not overly charismatic. He’s actually quite loathsome. He doesn’t have much in the way of redeeming qualities, and despite the other characters telling us all the time; we know nothing of his days as a hero. I get it; the antihero is in right now. But, the best antiheros have a shrewd of humanity or vulnerability. Walker doesn’t have either.
Powers for me is a grand experiment, that is stumbling out of the gate. It’s by no means a bad show, but it is tonally inconsistent and narratively a mess. It doesn’t have any visual appeal at all, and somehow doesn’t do anything to define itself outside of bringing gore to the superhero drama. I want this to be good, but it just isn’t there yet.
Let’s hope “Mickey Rooney Cries No More” is a little more focused and begins to address the problems I outlined.
What do you think of Powers so far?
Am I being too hard on it?
For those of you still not watching, here’s what you’re missing:
I love a good console mod, and of the many I’ve seen over the years, this Xbox 360 mod may be one of the best. The only thing that could make it better is if it was a modded Xbox One that I could buy, love and cherish until the end of my days.
This beauty is from the ridiculously talented folks at CS Mods, who took the bloody essence of the Dead Space series and turned it alchemy-like into a work of art that’s as glorious as it is gruesome.
Playing in the upcoming South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival’s Midnighters section is Mickey Keating’s hotly anticipated Pod (trailer), which will World Premiere March 16th at the fest in Austin, Texas.
We caught up with Keating to talk about his new horror film (full interview tomorrow), which details what happens after a family intervention goes horrifically awry within the snowy confines of an isolated lake house. While we’ll get into detail on Pod tomorrow, today we have details on not one, but two new projects from the up-and-coming filmmaker.
While Pod premiere this weekend, Keating is already is post-production on Darling, pictured, which was shot in November with Larry Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix, starring Lauren Carter, Brian Morvant, and Sean Young.
“I wanted to do something on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Pod, so this one’s a black-and-white, 1960s style descent into madness,” Keating exclusively tells Bloody Disgusting. “It’s more experimental, like nightmare or a bad drug trip. A surreal nod to The Innocents, Eraserhead, Diabolique, The Haunting, Repulsion, The Tenant, Altman’s That Cold Day In The Park, and to the works of Hollis Frampton.
“Strangely though, it’s definitely my meanest, goriest film yet,” he adds.
In addition, it was announced in February that Keating is set to get behind the camera for the survival horror Carnage Park.
“It’s going to be a very vicious horror film set entirely during the day, in a cruel stretch of California desert,” explains Keating. “It’s my first period piece – set in 1978 – and it’s about a botched bank heist that quickly spirals into a horrific fight for survival. It’ll be a nod to the legendary Sam Peckinpah and his masterpiece The Getaway, the new French Extremism films of the 2000s, and The Most Dangerous Game.
“We’re locking down a pretty cool cast now and I’m very excited to make a cruel, pulpy horror film,” he excitedly adds.
Hopefully we’ll see Darling hit the festival scene later this year. Pod premieres at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas March 16th.
Here’s another shot from Darling…
Can we all just take a minute to really enjoy that headline? That’s my favorite headline. I’d go so far as to say it justifies not only the six years I’ve been writing about video games, but my entire existence. Thank you, Undead Labs. Thank you.
If you’re wondering what I mean. It’s simple. Back when State of Decay was in development, some contract artists packed it full of hidden penises. Secret penises.
The revelation of this comedic cock-up comes from the fine folks at XBLAFans, who wrung one of my favorite news stories from Undead Labs senior designer Geoffrey Card. “Some of our contractors worked a ridiculous amount of genitalia into the background,” Card explains while simultaneously making today a goddamned holiday for me.
Alas, the copious amounts of covert genitalia have since been removed.
“Undead Labs was not aware of the textures in question until they began the process of exporting textures for State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition, and they are not visible in the original edition of State of Decay,” Microsoft explained in a statement sent to Game Informer. “Undead Labs is no longer working with the contractor in question, and this material will not be present in State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition.”
They sound like they’re angry with this mystery contractor. This person’s a hero. They’re the hero Microsoft deserves, but not the one it needs right now.
In related news, the State of Dickay State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition is slated to hit Xbox One on April 28 for $29.99.
We have some spooky new screenshots from Quadrant: Chapter One, an episodic sci-fi horror game set in the 1970′s that follows a waste disposal team who’s sent in to a NASA lab to investigate a recent… contamination. What ensues involves what appears to be giant alien spiders — the worst kind of spiders, I think we can all agree, aside from giant alien spiders wearing clown makeup.
It’s been awhile since we last heard from the sci-fi horror game Routine. Back in August, developer Lunar Software confirmed the game won’t be coming to Steam Early Access, because they’d like to release the game when it’s finished. I can definitely respect that, especially after fairly recent controversies, like The Stomping Land’s removal from Steam.
The developer recently took to Steam to post an update about the game, which keeps looking better every time it resurfaces from the depths of that freaky abandoned lunar outpost, or wherever it keeps going for months at a time.
We’ll have to wait a bit longer to get another video, but they did offer up some new screenshots.
It looks great, and that’s all Unreal Engine 3. Unfortunately, despite Epic Games’ recent decision to make UE4 free for all, “Routine is far too deep into development for us to switch engines but we can’t bloody wait to get our hands on it for future projects!” That’s too bad, but I get it.
El Rey Network and Miramax announced today that Danny Trejo (Machete, Machete Kills) has joined the sophomore season of Robert Rodriguez’s “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series.”
Trejo has been cast in the roll of “The Regulator,” a horrifying agent of evil who has been summoned to perform a deadly errand. Trejo appeared in the “From Dusk Till Dawn” film franchise as “Razor Charlie.”
Briana Evigan (pictured below; Burning Bright, Sorority Row, Step Up 2) has also joined the cast of “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” as Sonja – an American expatriate working as a tattoo artist in a Mexican Mercado – who also has a sideline forging papers and passports out of her back room.
The returning cast includes: D.J. Cotrona (Dear John, G.I. Joe: Retaliation); Zane Holtz (Holes, The Perks of Being a Wallflower); Jesse Garcia (Quinceañera, Sons of Anarchy); Eiza González (Lola: Érase Una Vez); Wilmer Valderrama (That ’70s Show, To Whom It May Concern); Madison Davenport (Noah, Shameless); and Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic Thunder, Ender’s Game, Incredible Crew).
Season one of “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” centered on bank robber Seth Gecko (Cotrona) and his violent, unpredictable brother, Richard “Richie” Gecko (Holtz), who were on the run to Mexico when they encountered former pastor Jacob Fuller (Robert Patrick) and his family, who were taken hostage. Using the family RV to cross the border, chaos ensued when the group detoured to the Titty Twister, a strip club populated by culebras, snake-like ancient creatures who survive by drinking human blood. They were forced to fight until dawn in order to get out alive.
Season Two explores a new chapter in this supernatural crime saga that travels from Mexico to the edgy, tricked-out Texas of Robert Rodriguez. It also deepens and complicates the core relationships between the characters, while adding new faces and new dynamics. Season Two begins with our characters in their separate worlds – Santanico (Gonzalez) and Richie (Holtz) are outside Houston, living like Bonnie and Clyde; Seth and Kate (Madison Davenport) are scraping by South of the Border; and Freddie Gonzalez (Jessie Garcia) is protecting his wife and young daughter in a Houston suburb. And Carlos Madrigal (Valderrama) and Scott Fuller (Brandon Soo-Hoo) emerge from the Titty Twister, changed men. They will all come together once again – this time facing off against an even bigger threat.
Reviewed By Eric Switzer. Someone realized that “hellbreak” sounds like “Jailbreak” and developed the concept for this series from there. “Hellbreak” #1 is about Project Kerberos, a team of scientists and mercenaries that have developed the means to break into hell and rescue the souls that are trapped there. Its one of those perfect ideas that I can’t believe isn’t already a series. If you’ve ever wanted to take a rocket propelled grenade up against the horrors that lurk in your nightmares, “Hellbreak” will be a cathartic experience for you.
WRITTEN BY: Cullen Bunn
ART BY: Brian Churilla
RELEASE: March 11, 2015
I would describe “Hellbreak” as an experience more on the side of the visceral and carnal rather than theoretical or metaphysical. I make the distinction to let you know that what you are about to get into doesn’t ask a lot of hard questions or present anything especially high concept, but this isn’t my way of saying “Hellbreak” is low brow either. This is a shoot first ask question later kind of book, and its really engaging and fast paced from beginning to end. There aren’t a lot of big ideas here to sink your teeth into, but in the end, thats just fine with me. “Hellbreak” is near the top of my “enjoy it for what it is” pile.
“Hellbreak” has the structure to be an incredibly imaginative and constantly changing book. There are thousands of different hells, and Project Kerberos will have to explore tons of different scenes from demon dinner parties to post-apocalyptic wastelands to “Predator 2” style Los Angeles; you name it and its a potential battleground in this book. The members of the special forces team that infiltrates these hells is introduced “Ocean’s 11” style with a close up, a quip, and their role listed under their name. None of them are particularly memorable or unique in the first issue, but they’re all pretty good at shooting demons in the face and I can get on board with that.
“Hellbreak” #1 is definitely more action than horror, and it will be interesting to see how dark and disturbing they decide to take things as the series progresses. At this point even if its just a hell-of-the-month exploration I’m way into that. You need a balance of light and heavy in your reading stacks, but that doesn’t need you have to sacrifice quality to get your action adventure fix. In that regard, “Hellbreak” delivers
Eric Switzer is an aspiring filmmaker and screenplay writer living in Los Angeles. His work tends to focus on the lighter side of entropy, dystopic futures, and man’s innate struggle with his own mortality. He can be found on twitter @epicswitzer or reached via email at email@example.com.
From developer Rubycone comes Hektor, a first-person psychological game that visually calls to mind titles like Penumbra and Amnesia but features a quite unique little gameplay twist: as players explore the world, the world itself changes dynamically around them.
We have seen plenty of procedurally-generated games over the last few years but few-to-none which feature a system that shifts so dramatically during play, rather than during loading screens, between scenes, or after in-game deaths.
The members of Rubycone sat down for a phone interview all the way from GDC to discuss the particulars of Hektor just before its slated March 13 release.The Jigsaw System
The idea came about when Project Lead Felix Nordanåker and Programmer Michael Notarnicola met on Reddit and began working together on a game idea, which eventually hit a snag and fizzled. The collaboration was re-sparked by a message a few months later, when Nordanåker told Notarnicola about the Hektor project and asked if he could design a system that could rearrange geometry and shift rooms around the player, a prospect that intrigued Notarnicola.
What they came up with is something they call the Jigsaw System, and it is the mechanic at the heart of Hektor. Notarnicola said, “It really is the core building block to the rest of the experience. We like to think of it kind of like the AI Director from Left 4 Dead.”
The Jigsaw System keeps a constant tally on players, as they make their way through the game, and the effect is intensified as players become uncertain or lost or afraid. It actually increases the level of insanity as players come into contact with monsters or other in-game effects.
Notarnicola said, “This insanity value that we are keeping track of over the course of your playthrough is essential, really, to all of the systems that branch off of it, such as the the dynamic music system that Shaun and Felix worked on.”
Players who get lost and lean toward insanity might experience darker, more foreboding environments — basements and so forth — as opposed to more sterile, well-lighted office spaces until they find their emotional footing again. It is sort of a cyclical system: players who get lost act more irrationally, which then drives the player increasingly insane.
It seems like an interesting way to keep players on their toes without relying on scripted jump scares, which only really work once. And for those worried about encountering a Shining-style maze moment, do not fret: the game constantly assesses the player’s location and can nudge the player in the right direction to keep the experience moving forward.The Story
The story is sort of BioShock-ian in nature, since players are trapped in an abandoned, sort of dystopian underground facility in Greenland, and though the narrative came later, after the development of the in-game systems, it fits perfectly with a horror-themed game.
“Felix [Nordanåker] had the core idea of being trapped in this defunct mind control facility in Greenland,” Notarnicola said. “Once we kind of had that idea — we had done some research on it — but we knew from that point that that’s kind of a cool direction that we wanted to head in.” He later added, “At a later point, we did fit other aesthetics — a timeline, a story — that kind of melded into it somewhat naturally after we started with the core concept.”
One of the more compelling bits of pre-release footage was stock footage rendered as a documentary about the underground station where the game takes place, and Composer and SFX Designer Shaun Chasin put the game into perspective by discussing it: “Hektor is a very dystopian world, sort of the worst of the worst it could be, and so with that video, we almost thought about it as if it were a propaganda film, where the government puts it out and they’re like, ‘Look how grand everything is. Like, even the dog is helping out…but then it’s this terrible, terrible thing.’”
In addition to the creepy, ever-changing world in Hektor the game features a monster that will trail, menace, and attack you, but the developers are keeping mum about that particular aspect of the game. “When it comes to the details that haven’t been announced, we’ve kind of kept that under wraps. We don’t want to reveal too much. We want the first experience for every player to have a certain…finesse to it.”
One of those “core set[s] of things” as yet unreleased involves a monster deemed “The Predator.” Notarnicola said, “We’ve been really hesitant to release a lot of information regarding him, because we really are anticipating that first, initial reaction that players will have to seeing it.”
It is apparent, even without the revelation of what, exactly, this monster is, that combat is not in the cards for the protagonist of Hektor. And even though players can run, they are, for obvious reasons, encouraged to avoid any contact whatsoever.The Music
The music, too, is dynamic, as is explained by Composer Shaun Chasin. They used a 40 piece string orchestra to give the soundscape some depth, but they also knew they needed to be able to construct an aural experience as varied as the visual one.
“We created this score that is able to change itself based on your actions and your behavior, as well as your progress into the game and specific events, [like] your insanity level,” said Chasin.
Additionally, each element of the game, including the monsters, possesses an original leitmotif or theme that accompanies an appearance in the game. If a monster looms nearby, its theme might be introduced and blended into the current musical score, and as players proceed into or recede from an encounter, the music changes to fit that experience, too.
To compound the feeling of paranoia within the game, the sound design is also meant to toy with the player’s sense of reality. Chasin said, “We’ve edited the audio in such a way and placed [hallucinations] in the game that you’re unsure, often, if it’s coming from your own mind or if you’re actually hearing that girl crying from behind the door or if you’re just imagining it altogether.”
He added, “You might go looking for a sound, and it gets closer as you get closer to the door, but then it sort of dissipates and some of them are quiet enough that you’re like, ‘Did I hear that at all? Am I actually going crazy while playing this game, or is it just the game?’”
Horror games have traditionally preyed upon the idea of messing with the player’s sense of sanity as a game construct, but until recently, those experiences had to be scripted and choreographed in a cinematic way to create tension. With games like Hektor, the scares will hopefully prove to be more organic and driven by player experience, rather than wrought manipulation.
Hektor is produced by Meridian 4 and will be available on Windows and Mac via Steam next week. You can find the developers online at meridian4.com.
Reviewed by Brady Steele. The Valiant Next movement keeps on rolling with its latest and greatest release: Ninjak #1. This 1990s embodiment is now even cooler in 2015. This book has it all in its debut: international British spy, uber-femme fatale, traumatic childhood and a ninja blowing stuff up.
WRITTEN BY: Matt Kindt
ART BY: Clay Mann and Butch Guice
PUBLISHER: Valiant Entertainment
RELEASE: 11 March 2015
There is so much going on here on many levels that reading it over and over reveals how much effort writer Matt Kindt has put into this book. You can see it all over this initial chapter. Kindt mixes things together so well that it looks effortless. Combining a look at Ninjak’s utility belt with his psychiatric assessment is a prime example. The seeding is rampant everywhere in this issue too. Simple one-off lines and off-center images are leading readers somewhere already down the line.
Kindt and his artists are working darn hard already to make readers feel they are getting value for their money. The main story is being drawn by Clay Mann, who is very capable of showing how fun this character’s world can be. There was one moment I wasn’t exactly sure how Ninjak did what he did to evade exploding bullets but I’ll let that one panel slide. The Lost Files done by former Captain America and current Velvet artist Butch Guice are an excellent addition to flesh out Ninjak’s early spy years when he was simply Colin King, rookie agent. Seeing how he became so smooth and polished will no doubt add to the depth of this character in the future. Both artists are perfectly cast in their respective eras so I’ve no doubt will be a beauty to behold month in and month out.
I really knew nothing of this character other than his cool-killer moments from The Valiant miniseries and all those old 90s hologram / prismatic covers from my formative years. Based on that and now Ninjak #1, I’m interested. The layering of story elements and crisp art tells me this is a solid read worth picking up. Once again, Valiant Entertainment is the all-star team putting out great book one after another.
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.
A more accurate title for “Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return” would be ‘Bill & Ted’s Mostly Triumphant Rehash.’ Filled with recycled ideas of pre-established Bill & Ted conventions, it’s more of the same. That’s not entirely bad, in fact I’d stand by the ‘Triumphant’ part, but more originality could’ve gone a long way.
ART BY: Jerry Gaylord & Ian McGinty
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
RELEASE: March 11, 2015
The beauty of the original films was how totally different Bill & Ted’s experiences were both times. In the first film they have an excellent adventure through time, which is a total blast and sees them completely subvert people’s perceptions of time travel. Twisting it in their own special way. Next they go on a bogus journey through the afterlife, which is super rad and sees them distorting people’s perceptions of heaven, hell & the Reaper himself. They conquer the spiritual plane and in an impeccable pay off use their powers of time travel, learned in the previous film, to defeat the villain. Perfectly tying both films together, while each still has its own specific voice. That is what this comic is missing, it relies too heavily upon what came before instead of forging its own path. Scared or maybe unsure of how to continue on its own too legs, it takes one leg from each of the films and hobbles along on those.
Hardcore Bill & Ted fans will eat this comic up, there’s fun to be had here, especially with all of the self-referential humor. Filled to the brim with numerous little easter eggs that all those true Wyld Stallions can scour each and every page for. For their part Bill & Ted are perfectly on point, they sound and act just like you remember. Lynch & Gaylord have captured their mannerisms expertly and flawlessly transferred them to the page.
For what it’s worth the backup story by Ryan North and Ian Mcginty, ‘Bill & Ted And The Bogus Virus’, is superb. It takes way more chances and from an originality standpoint it’s much stronger than the main story. Focusing on Bill & Ted’s Robot Usses receiving an ‘e-mail’ from the future that mixes up their circuits, making them more apathetic and standoffish towards their masters. It uses time travel in a much more interesting way, having Bill & Ted circa 1991 visit their far off future and our present, 2015.
Bill & Ted are still Bill & Ted, if you love ‘em, you’ll love ‘em here. It’s the framework they are trapped in that truly holds them back. This is only the first issue in a 6 part series so things could totally turn around in the plot department. If you’re not already a fan there’s nothing here for you, but if you are I urge you to give this a read.
Torin Chambers is a rad dude from the nineties who does film stuff or something. Thomas the Tank Engine is his favorite transformer. Find him on Twitter @TorinsChambers
“Escape From New York” #4 delivers an action-packed conclusion to its first exciting story arc. In a surprising twist, readers get a chance to see a different side to the one-eyed anti-hero. It’s a really interesting take on Snake Plissken and It makes me feel the “Escape From New York” series is in really good hands.
ART BY: Diego Barreto
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
RELEASE: March 11, 2015
Th countdown has begun for Snake Plissken to stop the nukes from being launched. There are two sides in this heated battle and each one has enough reason to hate Snake. One half, the national guard, wants Snake dead because he is a wanted fugitive of the states The other half, led by the psycho twins, Romulus and Remus, just wants to see the whole world blow up. Will Snake let Florida get nuked? Or will he stop the child lunatics from pressing the red button?
Writer Christopher Sebela focuses on Snake’s back-story and digs deep into his military background. Snake knows the soldiers in Romulus and Remus’ army are pawns, which is why he won’t kill them. Instead, Snake puts his reluctance aside and leads the charge, giving his troops something to fight for. Snake fights to take back control and become the leader he was trained to be.
Artist Diego Barreto keeps readers close to the action as the battlefield takes place. In detailed wide shots, we see tanks rolling across, missiles being launched, and bullets flying in the air. At the center of the page, Snake is running into battle with purpose. The action flows at an incredibly fast pace as Snake goes one-on-one against MeeMaw.
“Escape From New York” #4 closes on an exciting cliff-hanger. Can’t wait to see what happens in the next story arc.
Reviewed by Jorge Solis
A&E’s “The Returned” is a bit of a puzzling creature. Adapted from the critically acclaimed French series “Les revenants” (all 8 episodes of which are available on Netflix) “The Returned” is nearly an exact replica of the original series. Let’s call it like it is, though: this adaptation exists solely because Americans don’t like to read subtitles. It’s a harsh truth, but a truth nonetheless. I binged the entire original series (which is having a second season premiere later this year) a few weeks ago and I can say that this version does a fairly good job of adapting it. There are only a few minor differences (the score being the main one) but other than that pretty much all of the narrative threads remain intact. Also, the French series was 8 hour-long episodes with no commercials and this version will be 10 hour-long episodes with commercials. Rather than spend my weekly reviews comparing the two versions, I will try my best to refrain from even mentioning the original and treat this version as its own beast (even though it’s not). Also, I will not reveal spoilers from the French version. Let’s recap, shall we?
I’ve debated on how to write the recap, so I think I’ll just group it according to each member of the returned themselves to make it easier, since there are a lot of characters introduced in this pilot.Camille
Most of the episode is spent with Camille (India Ennenga) and her family, which is appropriate considering the episode is named after her. We open on a school bus driving along a hillside road four years ago, where Camille is listening to music. The bus driver slams on the brakes and the bus drives off a cliff. Cut to the present day, and Camille (whom the episode is named after) crawls over the edge of the cliff and starts walking towards her home. Meanwhile, Peter (Jeremy Sisto) is hosting a group therapy meeting for parents of the children lost in the bus crash that opened the episode. Jack (Mark Pellegrino) is standing in the background and makes rude remarks when the memorial to the children is revealed to be quite hideous. Camille’s mother, Claire (Tandi Wright) walks in on Camille eating a sandwich in the kitchen, thinking it is Camille’s now older twin sister Lena. Lena is at a bar getting drunk with her friends. It turns out her father is upstairs above the bar having sex with Kris (Chelah Horsdal) the female bartender. Claire calls Jack to come home (it becomes evident they have separated since Camille’s death) and she re-introduces him to his daughter, who has no recollection of dying. Peter shows up (he is now seeing Claire) and after being informed about Camille, he tries to talk to her.
Jack hightails it out of there to rush back to the bar and have more sex with Kris. It seems as though she had convinced Jack that she could communicate with his dead daughter (but only while he was inside her). He quickly learns that she was lying and he grows violent, so she runs out of the bar. While walking through a tunnel, Kris is attacked by an unknown assailant and stabbed multiple times.
In the climax of the episode, Lena sneaks into her bedroom and Camille hears her. Camille goes to her sister’s room and both girls are understandable shocked to see their sister. Lena because Camille is supposed to be dead and Camille because her twin sister is now four years older than her. The episode then flashes back to the morning of the crash, where it is revealed that Lena faked being sick the day of the crash so she didn’t have to go and then invited her boyfriend over to have sex. While this was happening, Camille somehow felt Lena have sex telepathically.Victor
A nurse named Julie (Sandrine Holt from Resident Evil: Apocalypse) is driving home from the grocery store and sees a young boy (Dylan Kingwell) looking all creepy while waiting on the bus stop. After she gets home, she sees him standing outside the door to her apartment building. Naturally, she brings him inside and her nosy neighbor (THE “SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE” GIRL FROM MEAN GIRLS!!!) asks the boys name. Julie improvises and says his name is Victor. After threatening to call the cops (which she half-heartedly does before giving up) if he doesn’t tell her his name,he eventually just tells her that his real name is Victor (uh-huh…). That’s pretty much all we see of Victor until the final shot of the episode, where it is revealed that Victor was standing in the middle of the road and is the reason the bus swerved off the cliff.Simon
We don’t see much of Simon (Mat Vairo) in this episode and, as a consequence, we don’t see much of Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Rowan either (which will be remedied in next week’s episode since it’s named after her). Simon walks into the bar Lena is drinking at and asks for Rowan, whom he thinks works at the bar. Kris says that she’s never heard of her but Lena tells Simon that she knows where Rowan lives. After taking him there, he sees Rowan trying on a veil. After violently knocking on the door, Rowan has a breakdown and yells at him to go away. After finally leaving Rowan is comforted by her daughter, and then Sheriff Tommy (Kevin Alejandro of Arrow and True Blood), whom I believe is her fiancé, shows up to comfort her some more. That’s all for Rowan and Simon for now!Helen
I only know this character’s name because she’s played by the amazing Michelle Forbes (True Blood, Battlestar Gallactica) and I looked it up on IMDB. We don’t see much of her either in this episode, except that she walks back to what is supposedly her house with her husband who is now an old man. Upon seeing her, the old man panics and later commits suicide by jumping off the dam.
I liked this as a pilot, though I’m curious to know if I liked it more because I know where it is (supposedly) going since I watched the original series. Carlton Cuse wrote the pilot (and serves as executive producer), and this seems to suit him more than “Bates Motel” does (he created that show too), at least when you think about his “Lost” background.
The acting is great all around. I’m a little bummed we didn’t get to spend more time with certain characters (Rowan and Helen), but I’m sure that will be fixed as more episodes air. The standouts are Tandi Wright and India Ennenga, but that’s mostly because they are given the most screen time. I am definitely looking forward to future episodes so we will be able to get to know the other characters.
The filming style is alright for the most part. But that’s the problem with it: it’s just alright. Nothing about it is particularly creative and none of it is that creepy (though maybe I’m a bit desensitized as a horror fan. Save for one bloody shot near the end of the episode, this pilot is filmed like any other network show, and that could work against it in the future if that doesn’t change. Again, trying not to compare it to the source material, but it’s kind of difficult.
There really isn’t a lot to critique about “The Returned” without delving into comparisons with the source material. Hopefully it starts to deviate a bit so it can create its own identity, rather than live in the shadow of “Les revenants.” Ultimately, I am intrigued by “The Returned.” It’s neither as captivating nor as haunting as its French counterpart, but the performances make it worth the watch. I’m not sure if it will be worth it down the road, but you could do a lot worse on a Monday night (i.e., watch “The Following”).
- Much like my “Bates Motel” reviews, these will be half recap and half review. Because of that, they will be a little wordy. The first half of each review will be the recap and the second half will be the review. I’ll split up each of them with an image so if you only want to read one section it’ll be easy to find.
- I probably should have noted in the beginning of the review that the returned have not aged since they’ve died, which is why Helen’s husband is so shocked to see her.
- My favorite moment of the episode was when Claire nonchalantly told Peter “Camille has come back.” It wasn’t even a big moment, but it was so deadpan that I loved it. And Jeremy Sisto’s reaction was priceless.
- While this version isn’t as visually appealing as the French version, I did think the shot of Kris’ blood trickling down the sidewalk was pretty cool.
- Based on the “This Season On ‘The Returned’” teaser at the end, it does look like the series will start to deviate a bit from the French show, which I am very excited about. Actually, I just looked this up as I’m writing this: Carloton Cuse says the show will begin to deviate from the French series midway through the season (so around episode five) and end up in a very different place. YAY!
- If you have watched the French version, please don’t post any possible spoilers in the comments below.
- If you haven’t watched the French version, I’m curious to know your thoughts on this pilot. Did you like it? Or did you find it to be a bit boring? Or did you hate it? Let me know in the comments!
- Thanks for reading everyone! I look forward to our next 9 Mondays together. Here’s a teaser for what’s coming next week:
Oh boy. While this news comes as a shock, it definitely adds to the lore that is Eli Roth’s cannibal horror The Green Inferno.
While the film was slated for release last September/October, it was pulled when the distributor ran into financial issues. Since then, it’s been in release limbo, or maybe even Hell for that matter.
In an interview with IGN, Roth get candid about the pic that sends Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara and Kirby Bliss Blanton into the Amazon jungle to protect a dying tribe, but are taken hostage by the very natives they saved.
“No there’s not [any updates], but I will say this: All I hear on Twitter and Facebook – no matter what I Tweet now, people say ‘Yeah shut up, where’s Green Inferno?’ Trust me when I say there are no less than four lawyers from different companies on conference calls and email chains every single day trying to work this out,” Roth revealed. “I was hoping to have it resolved today or by Monday so we could do something to hopefully have it out this summer. That’s what everyone’s working towards. To have it out August or September. But I was 90 days out from a release, there was a trailer and posters in theatres, and it got pulled. So please don’t hold me to anything, but trust me when I say everybody is all over it working it out.”
The good news, adds Roth, is that it’s close to being resolved.
“We’re at the one-yard line, but I’ve also been there before so I don’t want to say anything, but I just thank everyone for their patience and understanding. And it really helps when people Tweet ‘Please release it, please release it’ – it keeps the fire burning, but everyone is working to resolve it.”
Bloody Disgusting has already reviewed the film, twice. The Wolfman exclaimed that it reflects grimy cannibal movies, while Mike Pereira raved about it out of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, calling it “Triumphant” and Roth’s “move violent movie to date!”
Eli Roth’s 2002 horror comedy Cabin Fever has already been remade. We even exclusively shared the first image (see below) from the film that used Roth and Randy Pearlstein’s exact same shooting script.
Starring Gage Golightly (“Teen Wolf”), Dustin Ingram (Paranormal Activity 3), Samuel Davis (“From Dusk Till Dawn” – TV), Matthew Daddario (Delivery Man) and Nadine Crocker (Deadgirl), Cabin Fever 2.0 is now in post production and could be coming sooner than you expect. In fact Roth has seen it, and was “blown away.”
Promoting his production Clown, out now in the UK, Roth spoke about how much he liked the new Cabin Fever.
“It’s great. And I’m saying that honestly,” exclaims Roth to IGN. “I saw it and I was blown away. I couldn’t believe it. Travis Zariwny the director did a fantastic job.
“They came to me exactly a year ago and said ‘We want to remake Cabin Fever using your original script.’ You’ve got to realise that from an egotistical point-of-view I wrote Cabin Fever when I was 22-years-old. Right out of university. And for six years everyone told me ‘This is an un-makeable piece of shit.’ So the fact that the same script would get made twice and that 20 years later, 20 years after I originally wrote it, it got sent around Hollywood and people were reading the same dialogue. I looked at it as like staging a play – as an experiment I just wanted to see how it would turn out. So I came on as one of the executive producers – I was actually shooting “South of Hell,” the TV show, so I was unable to be there during the shoot.”
And although it’s the exact same screenplay, Roth reveals there are some significant changes he calls “smart”.
“I saw the cut and thought that what Travis did was so smart – he kept the original script, but he changed the deaths, so all the kills are different,” Roth reveals. “You don’t know how they’re going to come. I was watching it, and he didn’t tell me that he did that and I was so happy he did – because nobody wants to see a re-do that’s the same thing that they already know. So he leads you in one direction, with the audience thinking that the know what’s coming, then puts a fantastic spin on it.
“And it looks awesome – it’s a really fun movie. I’m happily surprised at how it’s turned out.”
In this reboot a group of five college graduates rent a remote cabin in the woods and begin to fall victim to a horrifying flesh-eating virus, which attracts the unwanted attention of the homicidal locals. As it spreads among the friends, their true feelings and personalities emerge as they struggle to survive the virus and each other.
Watch for release news as it comes in.
I honestly don’t know where a lot of these people get their ideas. Who seriously sits around and thinks to themselves, “Hmmm, I wonder if these two songs would work together?”
Well, apparently that’s what Swordmaster Bluff does because I can’t fathom any other way for someone to think that Akira Yamaoka‘s “Theme Of Laura” from Silent Hill 2 would work so well with Taylor Swift‘s “22″. But it does. And, damn me for saying so, I like it.
Listen to it below and then drop me a comment with your favorite mashup.
Marking its 22nd year, the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival runs March 13 – 21, 2015 in Austin, Texas. The 2015 slate showcases independent discoveries from emerging directors, auteur-driven comedies and works by master filmmakers.
Today the poster was released for Manson Family Vacation, a crowd-sourced project that comes from writer/director J. Davis.
“The story of two brothers: one who’s devoted to his family, the other who’s obsessed with the Manson Family.”
Jay Duplass, Linas Phillips, Leonora Pitts, Tobin Bell, Adam Chernick and Davie-Blue star in the film World Premiering.
Filming is now underway on The Boy, which stars Lauren Cohan, one of my favorite actors on “The Walking Dead”. Javier Botet and James Russell also star, we learned.
The horror thriller comes from Lakeshore Entertainment and Vertigo Entertainment, and could hit theaters as soon as January 22, 2016.
William Brent Bell, who directed the awful, awful WER, as well as The Devil Inside, is helming the project.
The script, written by Stacey Menear, “centers on a nanny (Cohan) who is tasked with overseeing a lifelike doll by a bizarre couple who treat it as a real child. The couple use the doll as way to cope with the death of their young son, but the nanny becomes increasingly convinced that it is alive.”
The film is not to be confused with Craig William Macneill’s The Boy, which is playing this weekend’s SXSW Film Festival.
It was announced a few weeks back that Rings, the newest incarnation of the J-horror franchise that’s to be directed by F. Javier Gutierrez and stars Italian actress Matilda Lutz, will hit theaters November 13, 2015.
Now, with casting is underway, Bloody Disgusting was able to find out what the 3-D Ring will be about. Our sources tell us that the new The Ring is actually a prequel, and takes place before the 2002 remake that starred Naomi Watts as a woman uncovering the mystery behind a haunted VHS tape. Rings will take place years before the creation of said tape and tell the origin of Samara’s reign of terror.
“Rings” is also the name of the short – directed by TCM 2 and TMNTs’ Jonathan Liebesman – that accompanied the purchase of The Ring 2 on home video in 2005.
Aviva Goldsman, David Loucka and Jacon Aaron Estes all had a hand in writing the script, which is based on the 1991 novel by Koji Suzuki.