Anchor Bay Entertainment has unveiled the first theatrical trailer for Muck, as well as new poster art shown below.
Horror and gore fans alike should feast their eyes on this freshest take yet on the Muck trailer, viewable on the main page of the Muck Kickstarter.
Speaking of Feast, the Muck Kickstarter campaign to fund the prequel, Muck: Feast of Saint Patrick, is still under way, and recently surpassed the $200,000 mark on the way to the goal of raising a quarter of a million dollars. Just like the original, the Muck prequel will “boast death-defying stunts and practical effects, shot without the use of CGI – all in 4K Ultra HD.”
As a production company, WithAnO wanted to give fans and Kickstarter backers alike an insight into what they’re supporting, and so recently released this exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage of one of Muck’s incredible stunts:
The daring stunt-woman in this case is Alexa Marcigliano, and her courage is palpable in the clip, sprinting O.S. through the pitch-black living room before bouncing on a trampoline, then hurling herself through the 4 x 6 picture window, out into the night. To say that hitting her mark was highly important is obviously an understatement. Jump too short, and Alexa would land head-first on the edge of the porch outside; too high, and she would hit window frame; too long, and she would overshoot the padding buried beneath the grass outside. And, since there was only room in the budget for one window, it had to be done in a single take.
These are the kinds of stunts that Steve Wolsh lives to shoot as a writer/director, but these kinds of stunts take time, money, and not least of all, the ultimate creative control that can only be afforded by independent financing. So remember, any mention or write-up on the Muck Kickstarter campaign directly furthers our goal of making another epic, independent horror film for true horror fans. The Muck franchise is so close to this goal – a goal that at one time seemed insurmountable! – and we have all of you, our loyal supporters to thank.
Muck stars horror legend Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th Part VII, VIII, Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X), Lachlan Buchanan (Pretty Little Liars), and Bryce Draper (Bound), and co-stars 2012 Playboy Playmate of the Year Jaclyn Swedberg, Puja Mohindra, and Laura Jacobs. The middle chapter of an independently financed horror trilogy, Muck will be unleashed in theaters on Friday the 13th, March 2015.
A common complaint about this series of editorials is that we are apparently defending movies that don’t need a defense. I would just like to point out that we are writing these “In Defense Of” pieces not because we think they are bad movies, but because we really enjoy them and have had personal experience with people bashing them to our faces (or in the comments section of a message board). So today I will defend Sorority Row, a movie that is not beloved by even those of us in the horror community. It received a slightly above-average review right here on Bloody-Disgusting but it currently stands at a paltry 22% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 24 score on Metacritic. And I love it. So let’s dive right in, shall we?
Sorority Row has a pretty generic plot that has been use several times before (think I Know What You Did Last Summer), but the plot isn’t really the point of the film. This is a funny, bitchy and gory film that exists solely to entertain and I would argue is better than about 80% of the slashers that have come out in the past decade. I know the whole “it’s not trying to be good” is kind of a lame defense but hear me out: if you think of this movie as a cross between Mean Girls and Scream I think you might be able to see it in a different light and really enjoy it. I believe Sorority Row suffers from the same issue that Drag Me to Hell suffered from upon its release earlier that year: being marketed with a trailer that made it look like a legitimate horror film. Also, The Hills alum Audrina Partridge was in it (although she dies about 15 minutes into the film).
I really love the trailer, but it definitely makes it look like more of a straightforward slasher than it actually is. Like I mentioned in my defense of Drag Me to Hell, Sorority Row is a horror comedy that was marketed as a scary movie. Studios need to learn that you cannot do that because, while the horror fans may get it (though clearly they didn’t make it to the theater for this one), the mainstream does not. At least DMTH made some money. Sorority Row only made $11.96 million domestically on a $12.5 million budget (international box office was $15.24 million which is something, I guess).
I only happened to catch Sorority Row in theaters because I got free tickets for it. I took two of my friends and we pretty much all went in with zero expectations. Once the credits started rolling I looked at one of my friends and asked him if he thought it was as much fun as I did. His response was a very reluctant (but equally enthusiastic) “YES. But no one is going to believe me.” True story. The film never caught on and it has yet to become a cult hit (and I don’t think it will).
The cast is mostly great, thanks to all of the female actresses involved (they certainly look the part of sorority girls). The male characters in the film are reduced to horny douchebags but the girls all have their own distinct personalities (or stereotypes if you want to go negative) and none of them got on my nerves (except maybe Rumer Willis’ Ellie, but at least the movie makes fun of her constant whining). I get that self-aware films are not to everyone’s taste but I think it’s better when a movie can take the criticisms that an audience member would throw at it and lampoon them. Sorority Row does just that.
Leah Pipes is a revelation in Sorority Row and I’m kind of bummed she hasn’t gotten more steady work. She channels her inner Heather Chandler/Regina George to play Jessica and delivers most of the film’s acidic one-liners. My personal favorite being this exchange when her and Cassidy (Briana Evigan) are hiding in a bathroom only to find Megan’s (Audrina Partridge) rotting corpse in the shower:
Cassidy: Oh my God it’s Megan!
Jessica: Oh she looks terrible…
That doesn’t really do the scene justice but I busted out laughing the first time I saw that. The dialogue is fantastic in this movie and there are SO MANY biting quips that I don’t know how anyone is not entertained by it. Then again, that may be part of the reason why people weren’t such huge fans. I actually thought the dialogue was really witty and clever, but maybe I’m just easy to please.
One thing I would like to suggest all of you do (if you like the movie) is watch the commentary with director Stewart Hendler and actresses Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis and Margo Harshman (Jamie Chung was unable to attend because she was filming Grown Ups, of all things). It’s very conversational and shows that the crew had a good time working on it. I just think it’s refreshing to see the actresses be so down to earth and really into the film.***SPOILERS***
Oh and the KILLS! One thing that I’ve found in a lot of post-2000 slashers are that the deaths aren’t really that creative (excluding the Final Destination series, of course). While the deaths in Sorority Row aren’t the best ever, they at least show some imagination. Also, since it’s R-rated, they can actually show some gore (though the film isn’t really what I’d call super gory). Sadly, the film does peak early with Chugs’ death, involving a Riesling bottle being shoved down her throat. It’s shame this moment was ruined in the trailer (and that Chugs was the funniest character in the film). That aside, there are flares in mouths, axes in heads and tire irons blades in mouths and shoved up chins. They didn’t hold back on this one.
As for the ending, I can honestly say that I did not see the reveal of the killer coming. The entire time I was in the theater I thought it was going to be Kyle, Jessica’s politically-motivated boyfriend who had clearly been set up to be the killer. Looking back, this was obviously a red herring, but because I went into Sorority Row thinking that it was going to be another dumb slasher I thought that was all the ambition the filmmakers had so they were just going to take the obvious route. They even have a whole bit at the end with Kyle actually having a mental breakdown and chasing Jessica and Cassidy with an ax. When Cassidy’s boyfriend Andy “saves the day” and kills Kyle with said ax, I was really let down and kind of bummed that that was the big reveal I had spent the whole movie waiting for. Then BAM! Andy’s actually the killer and his motive is that he wants to get rid of all the people involved in Megan’s murder so she can have a bright future with him.
It is completely ridiculous makes no sense but I think it’s fantastic. It’s not the best motive or reveal ever but I think that because I was really expecting something predictable, I had the rug pulled out from under me. I read a lot of reviews and comments saying that the movie was predictable and I just didn’t feel that way. But maybe it’s just me? I hope you don’t think I’m a fool for falling for Sorority Row’s trick, but I confess to being taken completely off guard.
So what say you? If you have seen the Sorority Row but weren’t that impressed, feel free to tell me why. And if you saw it and were as surprised as I was at how much fun it was, feel free to offer me some validation in the comments. Let’s try to be nice and avoid any rudeness or sarcasm though, because:
Here’s a really, really cool new poster for The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death, the sequel to the hit 2012 haunted house film that starred Daniel Radcliffe.
The fright sequel, directed by Tom Harper and stars Jeremy Irvine and Helen McCrory, takes place in the same house 40 years later when a group of children who are evacuated from London during World War II come to stay and awaken the house’s darkest inhabitants.
It opens in theaters January 2, 2015.
“During the London bombings of World War II, school teachers Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox) and Jean Hogg (Helen McCrory) lead a group of children in evacuation to Crythin Gifford, a remote village outside of the city. When the group takes up residence at the Eel Marsh House, 40 years after Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) investigated the first haunting, Eve soon realizes they are not alone. The longer they stay in the house, the more the awful past of the residence unravels itself and the evil spirit that lurks around them threatens the well-being of the children. With the help of a pilot (Jeremy Irvine), Eve does all that she can to protect the children and discover the truth behind the Woman in Black.”
Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with LA industrial electronic rocker Blue Eyed Christ to bring you the exclusive music video premiere for “Freakshow”! The video is, “…optical narrative of John Norten’s observation of The Santa Monica Blvd Halloween Party interspersed with fan submitted footage.”
Head below for this exclusive video premiere!
Blue Eyed Christ states:
As to be expected the Feakshow Video Shoots in Los Angeles were Epic and Chaotic. We started at a big Goth Club’s party the week before Halloween shooting renegade style from the inside. The director, Eric Zimmerman (NIN, Ministry, Soundgarden), got kicked out pretty quickly cause someone complained he was shooting up girl’s skirts, which I’d love to say was true but it wasn’t. Then he got attacked by a hipster on drugs in a Jockey costume outside the club.
This was just the beginning cause all the Freaks came out for the Halloween Video Shoot at one of the largest public gatherings in the world, The Santa Monica Blvd Halloween Party. They shut off the streets of Hollywood for the Freaks and we captured it all! Everything from Real Girl Fights, to Fetish Goth Freaks, to Transexuals is packed into this video. Welcome to the Freakshow!
Phobias are a safe go-to for horror films. Capitalizing on people’s irrational fears has worked for a lot of directors in the past, even though the concept has gone by the wayside in favour of other trends. As such, in the case of Rory Douglas Abel’s low-budget Phobia (formerly known as Alone), throwing in a ghost haunting mechanic seems like a smart way to go. The character is essentially trapped inside their own home, which is no longer considered a safe refuge. Sounds like a promising start, but what about the execution?
Jonathan (Michael Jefferson) is a man suffering from agoraphobia brought on by the death of his wife Jane in a car accident. A year on, and he still can’t bring himself to leave the house, forcing his therapist, Dr. Edmondson (Peter Gregus) to make house calls, and his friend Taylor (Andrew Ruth) to bring him groceries. Things aren’t made easier when Jonathan starts seeing visions of his dead wife, mixed with visions of another woman dressed in black (Sandra Palmeri). Things really start getting hairy when Taylor goes on a trip, and leaves him with Bree (Emma Dubery). Bree manages to get Jonathan to open up, but in doing so, causes his visions to become stronger and deadlier.
Having almost the entirety of a film shot within within one location is often a difficult thing to do, especially with very few characters. Of course, it works in the film’s budget, but that’s not why you’re watching the film. The one location not only creates the sense of isolation, restlessness and a sense of going crazy that Jonathan feels, but Abel is also able to impart those same feelings to the viewer. Honestly, the idea is pretty terrifying to not only fear what would happen if you leave your home, but also the fear of going stir-crazy and having no safe place to go. What makes it even better is that we’re not entirely sure if Jonathan’s sane, and if this is all inside his head.
As far as the acting goes, it’s a mix of amateur talents. Admittedly, Michael Jefferson has a lot on his plate to be carrying the film by himself, and he succeeds in being a sympathetic character, even if the delivery is kind of flat. The same can be said for Emma Dubery, who is also suspect with her delivery. Also, Debbie Rochon in a cameo? Bonus. In terms of the gore, there’s a some light blood with a couple of creepy makeup effects, but it’s just ‘meh’, which ultimately describes Phobia.
Despite what seems like the potential to be a good indie horror film, Phobia fails to capitalize on it’s opportunities. Despite the premise, the film just doesn’t bring anything new to the table, and instead just presents all of these elements and hardly does anything with them. The film just has the persons in his apparitions appear at random, with no reason for them popping up. Worse, the tension suffers because of this, and while it isn’t nonexistent, it does dip into the territory when you start thinking of doing the dishes instead. The last swerve is the cover for the film. While it harkens back to those cool 80s VHS covers, it’s all a lie: it has nothing to do with the film at all. It’s a bait and switch that many low-budget movies have gone in order to grab viewers’ attentions, and it’s really annoying when it does happen.
Phobia is not a bad film. It’s not a great film, mind you, but it falls somewhere in the middle of the road. There were some good ingredients for a spooky haunted house/psychological horror film, but Phobia just goes through the motions that we’ve all seen before and from which we’ve all moved on. It’s a fire-and-forget type of film out of which you’ll get some enjoyment, but you won’t be wanting to watch it again.
Presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, the image looks good for a film of this budget. Details are adequate, with the overall colour palette being subdued and not overly bright (a directorial decision). Black levels aren’t as strong, and as a result, details in the lower-lit scenes tend to be swallowed by the background.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is again pretty standard, although there were some instances of the actors’ dialogue not coming through as clear as it did in a previous shot. Surrounds do an adequate job for certain ambient effects and offscreen characters.
First up is an Audio Commentary with Producer Elias Ganster and Director Rory Abel. The duo’s friendship certainly comes through with an energetic track, covering things like the origins of the project, never actually meeting the co-writer of the film, Matthew Barnes (he lives in New Zealand), reshooting specific scenes, how to make your dick bigger when it comes to nude scenes (yeah, I don’t know, either), and other production-related tidbits that make the commentary far more interesting than the actual feature.
Following that is a collection of Deleted Scenes. Nothing too exciting, unless you like watching Emma Dubery’s character making the cliched faux pas of “mistaking ‘x’ for ‘y’ when ‘x’ was dead” routine.
Rounding things out is a gallery of Concept Art, including sketches of effects and photos of the actors and actresses overlaid with sketched-out concepts of their effects makeup with notes.
There’s also a slipcover included that replicates the cover art, with a few embossed areas.
Fan site The Good, the Bad, and Godzilla has been compiling breaking news from the Japanese equivalent of the Wall Street Journal, Nikkei, and the respected movie website, Eiga.com, in which a new Japanese Godzilla movie has been announced!
In the first “Domestic Godzilla” since the 2004 Godzilla Final Wars, Toho Company Ltd. will be producing an all-new Godzilla film to be released in 2016.
“The screenplay is currently in development and we plan to start shooting next summer. We cannot announce cast or staff selections at this time. And we’re still deliberating whether to bring Godzilla to life via CGI or man-in-suit,” said Taiji Ueda (producer of Trick: The Movie ~ Last Stage), who will oversee the new “Godzicon” group – an organization to discuss and decide a wide range of strategies for promoting Godzilla – as Project Leader.
“This resurrection will be the centerpiece for ’16, and this is the force of our words.”
They plan on making something bigger and better than Hollywood’s version.
“The passionate voices of the fans clamored for a resurrection (of the Japanese Godzilla). We will bring the monster back to Japan, with the same high-quality, by bringing together our collective know-how, which we’ve been striving for, so we can’t lose to Hollywood,” he said with confidence.
This shouldn’t be too hard, although I am interested in seeing if they decide to take on Godzilla in digital form.
No matter, this is big news for purists looking for a new Japanese Godzilla film.
There are countless icons that come to mind when thinking of the horror genre. You’ve got the slashers, the aliens, the psychological villains, the supernatural, etc… All of the characters in these subgenres are fantastic because they are memorable, they stand out, they make us smile and, sometimes, we cheer for them rather than for the protagonist.
So let’s take a minute to pay thanks to these icons that make our genre so entertaining! I’ve got a few of my personal choices listed and then I want you to write out yours in the comments below. Let’s hear about your favorites!
Note: The banner art was done by Tedakin. You can see more of his art here.
“You see, Jason was my son, and today is his birthday… ”
“Sex, Drugs, always beautiful people dying, these things do not change. And we can develop more problematic relationship [Jason] with the mother,” they explain.
The statement is massively important as it reveals that the new Friday the 13th will not only feature Jason Voorhees, but also his mother Pamela. It’s also interesting the way that the response is phrased (although, this is a translation), which implies that there will be actual interactions between Jason and his mother.
Does this mean that the filmmakers will be echoing the sequels in which Jason hallucinates his mother’s presence? Or, will we see a living, breathing Pamela Voorhees controlling her son? If she is alive, it definitely changes Jason’s motivation for murdering the campers…
Frankly, all of this artistic chatter is exciting to me as it shows that Platinum Dunes, Paramount Pictures and director David Bruckner (The Signal, V/H/S) are trying to do something new and different with the franchise that’s stuck in quicksand.
Oh, and there’s this little bit of news: Friday the 13th will be rated “R”.
“There is no PG-13 version in the world of Jason Vorhees,” they exclaimed.
Right now the talk of the town is David Robert Mitchell’s indie It Follows, a horror film that’s so goddamn good it’s playing nearly every single festival (next up is Sundance this coming January).
We nearly gave it a perfect score – calling it “a creepy, mesmerizing exercise in minimalist horror” – when reviewed out of the TIFF this past September.
Now, thanks to Bloody reader ‘Alexander B.,’ we have the official French teaser trailer (in English) that’s crazy tense, and shows just how terrifying the film will be. It could possibly be next year’s The Babadook, assuming Radius-TWC (who acquired the film) actually releases it.
Here’s what it’s about:
“For 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), the fall should be about school, boys and weekends at the lake. Yet after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter she suddenly finds herself plagued by nightmarish visions; she can’t shake the sensation that someone, or something, is following her. As the threat closes in, Jay and her friends must somehow escape the horrors that are only a few steps behind.”
Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi and Lili Sepe all star.
If the video doesn’t work click here to view it.
I love unique instruments and the unorthodox sounds that they create. Hearing an instrument that is strange or unusual is something that delights me, simply because I thoroughly enjoy the sensations my ears and body goes through when hearing new sounds. However, nothing could have prepared me for the Aztec Death Whistle.
In the videos below, you can hear the Aztec Death Whistle and how it sounds, no joke, like someone screaming. Imagine hearing hundreds of these, all at once, as though a sea of people were all crying and shrieking in agony. Then imagine that you see an army of Aztec warriors and the screams are coming from them. I’d lay down my weapons, throw my hands up and walk away, no questions asked.
Listen below and prepare to feel chills run up and down your spine.
Games with way more polygons and higher resolutions can be exciting, but it’s seeing the beginning of promising new franchises that I look forward to the most with each new console cycle. There’s a lot of experimentation in that first year after the consoles drop, as developers get familiar with the new tech and see what works and what doesn’t.
Normally, year two is where developers start to realize that potential, and I have a feeling The Order: 1886 could be the first game that really sells next-gen. Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint.
The Order: 1886 hits the PS4 on February 20th.
Because I’m supposed to be a professional writer of the video games news and stuffs, I shouldn’t be as vocal about my love for Bloodborne. Journalistic bias, and all that jazz. The problem is, I am in love with this game. Now, that fact could change once I get my hands on it, but from all of the footage we’ve seen up to this point, I don’t see that happening.
Bloodborne is going to be every bit as cruel and unforgiving as the Dark Souls series, and my body couldn’t be more ready for its uniquely satisfying brand of punishment.
Bloodborne arrives exclusively on the PS4 on February 6.
Scream, Halloween, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th — I grew up watching movies where teens made stupid decisions, eventually getting picked off by a masked murderer. No real effort has been made to bring that formula to video games, but from the looks of it, that’s about to change. One of my favorite film genres is about to make its way to video games, and it’s being led by a small pack of extremely promising games like Until Dawn.
Earlier tonight at The Game Awards we were treated to another look at arguably the most promising game of the bunch. Enjoy.
Capcom isn’t afraid to show off the upcoming Resident Evil HD remaster, and that shows a level of confidence that makes me wonder if this return to a survival horror classic actually will be good enough to join the pantheon of great remakes — there aren’t many of those — when it arrives almost everywhere on January 20.
The future of this franchise rests on the success or failure of this remake and Revelations 2, so it better be good.
And because Resident Evil isn’t Resident Evil without all those doors, here’s a look at the some of the creepy doorways we can expect to walk through slowly when we return to the new-and-improved Spencer Mansion in January.
The Resident Evil HD remaster releases on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One for $19.99.
In case you’re desperate for some entertainment tonight, Spike’s annual video game awards show, now known as The Game Awards, is going on right now. Because it’s unwatchable without them, this year’s show promises even more of the exclusive world premieres we’ve come to expect from the show. Among them is a brand new trailer for Dead Island developer Techland’s open-world zombie apocalypse game, Dying Light. Check it out.
Dying Light releases on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on January 27, 2015.
In an effort to get you to purchase Dead Island 2 on PS4, owners of the console will be getting early access to the game’s beta. According to a discovery made by those who tried to use the code that came with their pre-ordered copy of Escape Dead Island and confirmed by the official FAQ, the beta will go live on PS4 a full month before it hits Xbox One and PC.
Dead Island 2 hits PC, PS4 and Xbox One early next year.
Creative Assembly doesn’t want you to stop playing Alien: Isolation, and they plan on keeping you aboard the Sevastapol through the steady trickling of DLC. The latest addition to the bunch — which also includes Last Survivor, Crew Expendable, Corporate Lockdown — is the Trauma pack.
For $7.99, you can follow Dr. Lingard, the Sevastapol’s Chief Medical Officer, who’s been tasked with destroying research and saving survivors while being hunted by all sorts of horrors, because Alien, across three new maps.
This will be the fourth DLC pack Alien: Isolation has seen since its release. You can watch me play the first, Corporate Lockdown, in the video below.
We already know that 2015 is going to be a great year for horror fans, and Capcom is kicking the year off right with their impressive line-up, starting with the Resident Evil HD remaster, slated to arrive on January 20, and the episodic Resident Evil: Revelations 2, the first episode of which arrives on February 17.
Resident Evil will arrive on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One for $19.99. Check out some new screens taken from the current-gen version in the gallery below.
I suggest you set aside some time after your New Year celebrations to make room for all four episodes of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, which Capcom plans to release starting February 17th. Each of the four episodes that make up the Revelations sequel will arrive drip-feed style each week across PSN, XBLA and PC. Individual episodes will run you $5.99, or they can be purchased all at once for $24.99 digitally/$39.99 at retail.
Episode 1 — Feb 17 (PSN North America), Feb 18 (PSN Europe, XBLA, Steam)
Episode 2 — Feb 24 (PSN North America), Feb 25 (PSN Europe, XBLA, Steam)
Episode 3 — March 3 (PSN North America), March 4 (PSN Europe, XBLA, Steam)
Episode 4 — March 10 (PSN North America), March 11 (PSN Europe, XBLA, Steam)
The retail compilation will be available on March 10 and comes with a playable HUNK for the Raid mode and two additional episodes that will follow Moira Burton and Natalia Korda.
Greg Francis’ Poker Night is a bloody little crime thriller bogged down by its serpentine plot. Its nonlinear narrative throws in numerous twists and turns (some clever, some far-fetched), but somewhere along the way any edge of suspense is trampled, never to be recovered. It’s like an anthology film whose frame story feels like it was ripped from another movie. Luckily, Poker Nights boasts a cast of serious badasses who manage to keep the film afloat as its plot frantically tries to pull it beneath the surface.
Journeyman actor Ron Perlman plays Detective Calabrese, a grizzled lawman who heads a weekly poker game with his cop buddies: Bernard (Giancarlo Esposito), Davis (Corey Large), Cunningham (Ron Eldard, in his first role since his amazing turn on Justified), and Maxwell (Titus Welliver). The new recruit to the table is Jeter (The Grudge 3’s Beau Mirchoff). He’s an ambitious but slightly arrogant rookie who’s yet to earn the respect of the men he’s playing with.
In between raises and folds, the men swap war stories. This is where the anthology vibe seeps in. They take turns telling tales of tough collars, with a nice mixture of humor, violence, and apathy towards the scum in the streets (man, why are cops so awesome in movies but generally suck in real life?). All this yarn spinning serves another purpose besides shits and giggles – they’re meant to educate Jeter. “It’s a time for rookies to listen and learn,” one of the vets tell him.
The stories are so enlightening to Jeter, he inserts himself into each one, ghosting his way through time in a playful, yet wholly distracting manner. The narrators turn and look at the cameras a few times as well, adding extra diversion. This type of stuff is cool sometimes, but in this case took me too far out of the frame narrative. The stories themselves are awesome and really fun (Titus Welliver’s Cruising-like tale is hilarious), but the insertion of Jeter is jarring at times, draining the energy from them.
The horror comes in the form of a masked psycho who viciously attacks and abducts Jeter and his girl (Halston Sage) after the poker game. The psycho’s vibe is half frolicsome, half member of Slipknot. He tilts his head a bunch, like masked killers tend to do in horror, and gets touchy-feely with Jeter at times. What’s it about wearing a mask that makes some guys get all fruity? He brings Jeter to his labyrinthine lair (a place Jigsaw would feel comfortable in), where he brutally taunts Jeter, who’s desperately trying to figure out who this goof is and how to escape with his head (and skin) still attached.
The masked man’s backstory is somewhat revealed through pastel-flavored flashbacks that include a clown and the Easter Bunny. The tone during these recollections is whimsical, clashing with the stark grittiness of the rest of the film. This tonal see-saw didn’t really work for me and sapped all the suspense previously built up.
Th is was my biggest problem. The tension is drained quite a few times in Poker Night. Nearly every time the film jumps back to the poker game then over to Jeter in bloody distress, the film just never manages to recover that feeling of anxiety it establishes early on. There is truly a lot to like in the film, particularly the performances and cop stories, but ultimately it builds itself up only to fizzle out in the end. Writer-director Greg Francis has a sharp-eye for horror, that’s obvious, so it’ll be interesting to see what he comes up with next.