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Showing posts from October, 2016

Raw (2016) Is A Frenetic & Carefully Intense Coming-Of-Age Cannibal Tale

A first year veterinary student and  staunch vegetarian  awakes a particular hunger after one of her school's hazing practices. Written and directed by  Julia Ducournau The first thing that struck me about Raw was how the meek protagonist Justine (Garance Marillier) reacts in two pertinent scenes; one demonstrating a deep aversion to meat while dining with her parents and the other, a disorienting hazing practice inflicted on all the vet school newcomers that are just settling into their dorms. Seeing the latter educational enclave through Justine's lens is stifling and unpleasant, while those who surround her are fervently enthusiastic and arguably numb. Justine begins smothered, an outsider, challenged, without much support from her indoctrinated older sister Alexia ( Ella Rumpf) who has already passed this school's Stepford test.

Buster's Mal Heart (2016) Will Both Break Your Heart & Rejuvenate It

A hard working family man finds himself distracted by paranoia and a dream which leads to tragedy, infamy, and solitude in the remote forest.  Written and directed by Sarah Adina Smith Buster's Mal Heart was completed long before its star Rami Malek skyrocketed to fame as the complicated Elliot Alderson on USA's Mr. Robot . What is pure and evident from this sad yet endearing narrative is that Malek himself is in this acting game to take on some of the most challenging and fascinating roles we'll ever get to witness. This is what makes the comparisons between Buster's Mal Heart and Mr. Robot so much fun without ruining the film. These are two different characters yet when filmmaker Smith was asked at the Fantastic Fest filmmaker Q&A about the sort-of Mr. Robot nod, she responded, ' Where Mr. Robot is Man vs. The System, Buster's Mal Heart is Man vs. The Universe. '

Dearest Sister (2016) Beautifully Captures Class Conflict In A Ghost Story

A young woman slowly losing her sight receives assistance from a distant relative who discovers that this impairment brings fortune and a connection with the dead. Written by Christopher Larsen Directed by Mattie Do One of the first lines in Dearest Sister is an exchange between our protagonist Nok (Amphaiphun Phommapunya) and her boyfriend in regards to dating someone white, European, in their case, Other. Spoken in their native language yet with that barrier between myself and the players, there was a disdain in that line, a fear. A fear of how whiteness can equal wealth and also a separation from culture and roots and the people who work in Laos everyday to maintain. Dearest Sister uses this as a setup for a story that takes an emotional and ghostly foundation in how values entangle into a mess that class bears.

The Void (2016) Is All Those Creature, Gore, & Cult Scary Movies You Love

A small town patrol officer finds a mysterious man wounded on the road at night and gets him to the local hospital. What follows that man leads to a night of carnage and the unfolding of a bigger mystery. Written and directed by  Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski When I say small town, I mean so small that when Officer Daniel (Aaron Poole) finds the bloody and scared James (Even Stern) on the side of the road, it's much more of a time saver just put him in the car and take him to the hospital himself where maybe only four people seem to work. It's all very Halloween 2 in that dreaded sense so when the shit hits the proverbial fan, it is notably scary yet for horror fans, an additional delight full of nods to horror cinema with monstrosities of the past while still feeling like a fresh story.

Better Watch Out (2016) Is A Darkly Hilarious Holiday Horror Gift

A babysitting gig that becomes a home invasion battle turns even more disastrous. Written by Zack Kahn & Chris Peckover Directed by Chris Peckover Horror loves turning the most sacred and cherished of holidays into something that can also connote terror. Better Watch Out , with all the ambiance of a holly jolly Christmas is interrupted in ways you may not see coming. And above its much more sinister intentions, you're either giggling at the intentional dark humor or laughing your ass off.

The Girl with All The Gifts (2016) Puts The Power Of The World In The Hands Of A Black Girl

A militarized base housing children is home to one particular girl who may hold the key to stopping a deadly outbreak. Original novel & screen play by Mike Carey Directed by Colm McCarthy Many zombie narratives have its origins in an imagined science. Z Nation , 28 Days Later , even going back to Day Of The Dead take on the why factor of undead outbreaks without taking away the allure of what makes the story scary or compelling. This is an effective approach The Girl With All The Gifts takes. The idea of what we have or haven't discovered yet that can turn alarmingly deadly to everyone is cause for panic. It's almost brilliant cinematically for our times where some are purchasing overpriced zombie survival kits in jest while you can watch others on NatGeo as if someone pitched 'Survivalists Cribs' to an executive. The Girl With All The Gifts pricks you with this fear by breaking it down to the ultimatums each character faces.