In the indie horror game NightShift, the world has gone dark after the sun mysteriously disappears, I’m guessing, because of smog or Cthulhu. You’re tasked with finding that elusive star, which doesn’t sound too difficult — wait, no, it’s definitely going to be a challenge.
Between you and what might be the location of our solar system’s brightest asset lies miles of haunted roads, cultish landscapes and eerie forests that have been enveloped in this eerie darkness. The only thing that’s keeping you from falling prey to it is the headlights of your car. A limitless fuel supply also helps.
Night Shift has a retro minimalist look to it that I imagine will pair well with a soundtrack that’s comprised of pulsating electronic tracks from Dance With the Dead.
Night Shift is available on Steam for $4.49 (10% off).
Ahhh, American tourists being slaughtered in foreign lands. It’s a scenario recently made wildly popular in Hostel and carried on in films like Turistas, Wolf Creek, and The Human Centipede. These films typically portray visitors from the U.S. as douchebags who party hard and have their sights set on one thing: ravaging the local female population.
Now Pablo Larcuen’s Hooked Up is carrying the torch, only the douches film their debauchery strictly on iPhones. Yes, it boasts to be the first feature film shot entirely on an iPhone (it was shot in 2011). This actually makes sense – two young tourists in Barcelona filming their exploits on their iPhones. This is totally plausible and for the most part, Larcuen’s film works on a lot of levels. There’s a palpable claustrophobic atmosphere, decent acting, and some real terror. It also sinks in many ways, particularly during the first 20 minutes of the film, where I wanted nothing more in the world than to turn the damn thing off.
One minute into the film, I wanted the two guys to be killed off. Tonio (Jona Ehrenreich) and Peter (Stephen Ohl) are best buds. Well I think they’re supposed to be at least. When they’re not arguing over the fallout of Peter’s recent break-up, in which he was dumped for kissing another girl, they’re whining about whether or not “get pussy.” Tonio has got to be one of the most offensive main characters I’ve seen in a long time. There’s a shot that lasts about five minutes in the very beginning, in which Peter is vomiting into a toilet and Tonio is filming him, trying to explain how awesome going to Barcelona to get laid will be. It took a lot of strength to not turn the movie off at this point.
Once the guys do arrive in Barcelona, they party a lot. And it’s obnoxious. Eventually Hooked Up finally gets rolling when Peter meets a girl who’s overly into him at a club. They follow her back to her grandparents’ house – a confined multi-story place with tightly wound staircases and long dark hallways. It’s a terrific set for a haunted house, as the guys soon find out. Larcuen does a great job establishing the geography. When the guys are running for their lives (which they do a lot), we know exactly where they are and what room they’re hiding in. Hooked Up works really well in this aspect. There are wicked long shots in the hallways, where the masked killer could run down any second. The tension ratchets up a great deal during many of these cat and mouse scenes.
As far as the killer goes, I really wish they had dipped into the mythology behind her some more. There are brief moments when they flirt with her past, but these parts come fast and frantic, giving the audience barely any time to digest what was explained. It would’ve been nice to get a better understanding of why she was going berserk on the guys. Because of the frantic pace, a lot of the supernatural elements of the film get jumbled up. I’m honestly not even sure if there were supposed to be supernatural elements, since the killer’s backstory is blazed through so quickly.
While I wanted to throttle Peter and Tonio during the first third of Hooked Up, once the horror kicks in they actually become tolerable characters. Jona Ehrenreich and Stephen Ohl both do a great job maintaining the intensity and terror. They have a natural “bro” chemistry (bromistry?) on screen and through the course of the film, as motivations shift and crumble, we get to see their friendship take on a whole new life and death.
Hooked Up suffers from some of the trappings of found footage, particularly shaky cam. Holy hell there’s a lot of shaky cam. But for the most part, the violence and drama is front and center, with most of the shakiness reserved for running down stairs. I’m sure people who still insist on getting pissed over why characters continue to film while their lives are in danger will be yelling at the screen. I’m over that argument though. They’re still filming because it’s a movie, be cool about it.
There’s some fine set pieces at play and a few inventive moments, but the conclusion was wholly underwhelming. It builds up a lot of steam only to fizzle out. Though it certainly goes in an unexpected direction, Hooked Up‘s end fails to make an impact. If you can make it past the painful first 20 minutes, I’d say it’s definitely worth renting solely for the great middle chunk.
Hooked Up hits VOD and DVD April 7.
We finally have the first official trailer for The Assignment, the first of three planned story expansions for the nightmare fest that is Shinji Mikami’s The Evil Within. The first two add-ons will follow Sebastian’s partner Juli Kidman, as well as “answer some of the questions surrounding her whereabouts” during the main game, while the third will revolve around its hammer-wielding box-headed baddie, The Keeper.
All three The Evil Within expansions — The Assignment, The Consequence and The Executioner — are included in its $19.99 season pass. If that’s too much of a commitment, they can also be purchased individually for $9.99 each.
The Assignment arrives March 10 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Today brings the final entry into our exclusive weekly series of teasing the upcoming My Enemies & I EP Sick World, which comes out March 10th!
For this week’s clip, we’re teasing the track “Toxic”, a track that is as vicious and ferocious as its title. Starting with piercing electronics and aggressively whispered vocals, the teaser builds up to a demonic, monstrous roar. Head below to get a taste.
Tour dates with Arcane Haven and Alaya
Feb 16th | Pittsburgh, PA Keynote Cafe
Feb 17th | Beckley, WV Muncheez Bar & Grill
Feb 18th | Richmond, VA Canal Club
Feb 19th | Fayetteville, NC The Drunk Horse Pub
Feb 20th | Spartanburg, SC @ Ground Zero
Feb 21st | Evansville, IN The Hobo Jungle
Feb 22nd| Sauget, IL @ Pop’s
Genre favorite Richard Stanley, whose failed attempt to bring his dark vision of The Island of Dr. Moreau was recently documented in the brilliant film Lost Soul (our review), was recently interviewed in the LA Weekly. It’s a terrific article, with Stanley detailing the ins and outs of his doomed project. The most exciting aspect of the piece comes when Stanley is asked if there’s a chance he would be attempting to make the film again…
At this stage, it looks very likely. It’s too early for me to name the company involved, but I was actually put under contract in January to write a new draft of The Island of Dr. Moreau, which is already completed and delivered. The project has come back to life, which I think is a side effect of David (Gregory)’s work.
Stanley goes on to talk about his thoughts on Frankenheimer’s finished film, which he says he’s never watched from beginning to end. But the main thing to take away from the interview is that Stanley is one of the most fascinating filmmakers alive and that he needs to get behind the camera more. The fact that he’s been put under contract to draft his Moreau once again? This is exciting as hell.
Be on the look out for Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau, which screens across the U.S. in February and March courtesy of Severin Films. Put it on your “most anticipated” list immediately or go back to the house of pain!
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Demons, the 1985 horror film written by Dario Argento (Suspiria) and directed by Lamberto Bava (Delerium), Rustblade has announced several package deals built around the soundtrack of the film, which was composed by Claudio Simonetti (Goblin).
The big kahuna that they’re offering is a deluxe bag, which includes a bevy of goodies, from the soundtrack on vinyl to an autographed poster. The full list of its contents can be found below.
Rustblade describes the soundtrack:
The lower tones as the main characters move through the dark theater give a distinctly ‘creepy’ air to the movie. A distinctly frightening melody characterizes the ‘transformation’ sequences as the 2nd prostitute slowly becomes a demon. The same melody appears throughout the film in different places.
You can pre-order the package via Rustblade. Shipping begins on May 29th.
Deluxe Ultra Limited Bag (100 Copies Only) Contains:
Blue Transparent Vinyl
Tin Box with CD
Bonus Cd “Soundtrack Remixed”
Autographed Poster by Claudio Simonetti
When I attended a preview event for Killing Floor 2 back in August, we were shown the first teaser for its live-action short film, dubbed Killing Floor: Uncovered. The project is a collaborative effort developer between Tripwire Interactive and film production house Type AB.
Uncovered serves as a prequel to the events in the first Killing Floor. It follows a group of activists who break into a Horzine Biotech facility in an effort to expose the company’s shady dealings in illegal cloning, genetic engineering and secret military contracts.
It’s been a minute since we had any word on Henry Hobson’s zombie drama Maggie. Last we heard, it was acquired by Lionsgate, who promptly pulled it from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival where it was set to have its world premiere. Since then, the whole world has waited with bated breath to find out when we can finally see Schwarzenegger punch zombies in the face. Now we have that answer.
Lionsgate’s partner Roadside Attractions will be releasing Maggie on May 8, only a couple months from now! This will be Hobson’s directorial debut, after working as a title credits designer for years.
“A Midwestern farmer stays by the side of his beloved teenage daughter even as she slowly turns into a cannibalistic zombie, in this daring, genre-bending debut feature.”
The film also stars also stars Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Laura Cayouette and J.D. Evermore.