FILM REVIEW: Pool Party Massacre

Floating Eye Films presents Pool Party Massacre, a 2017 horror-comedy written and directed by Drew Marvick. Runtime: 81 minutes.

The Plot

An unknown killer stalks a group of spoiled, rich girls during their pool party.

The Players

The cast features Kristin Noel McKusick, Margaux Némé, Alexis Adams, Destiny Faith Nelson, Crystal Stoney, and Jenifer Marvick as the pool party girls with Mark Justice and Nick Byer as the two guys who crash the party.

The Review

Pool Party Massacre is a 21st century horror-comedy shamelessly influenced by the raunchy comedies and bloody slashers of the ‘80s. The tagline says it all: Worst Pool Party Ever!

The result is a fun romp packed with cheesy dialogue and practical effects about six teenage girls methodically stalked by a faceless killer whose weapons of choice are literally any tool in the toolshed. The killer uses saws, a screwdriver, hammers, axes, a machete, and a weed trimmer to dispatch his victims.

Writer-director Marvick obviously loves the comedies and slashers of the ‘80s. The point-of-view killer wears a short-sleeve version of Michael Myers’ coveralls. The film’s opening scene is a funny twist on the classic neglected wife-pool boy encounter. There are lots of bikinis and sex talk. The closing credits song, “Pool Party” by Sam & Bill, is a lively ‘80s-sounding retro rocker. There’s even extended discussion about the Ferris BuellerFight Club theory.

Of the six girls at the party, four of them are rich friends of Blair, who’s hosting the party. The other is Blair’s not-so-rich friend Nancy. The girls are a combination of spoiled brats and airheads. The dialogue can be groan-inducing at times but it’s funny.

Troy and his brother Clay crash the girls’-only party. Byer brings the comedic energy, playing the goofy Clay as an overly enthusiastic loser who tries too hard to get the girls in the mood to party.

As for the murder mystery, there are enough red herrings to keep you guessing about the killer’s identity and motivation. I didn’t anticipate the twist ending.

What I liked most about the film are the quirky scenes such as the one when Blair’s parents are giving her the party lecture before they leave town. The conversation digresses into the parents sharing the fact that if it weren’t for threesomes, they would’ve never met. Awkward.

There’s also an odd outdoor tea party scene with an elderly neighbor complaining in German to her creepy doll about the loud music from next door. It’s just weird but in a good way.

Pool Party Massacre is an amusing, entertaining slasher that never takes itself too seriously.

So go ahead and jump in. The water’s fine.

 

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Short Film Review: THE LAST SHOWING

Alone in the Dark Films presents THE LAST SHOWING, a 2018 horror short by writer/director Anthony DeRouen. Running time: 9 minutes, 45 seconds.

THE PLOT

A couple of movie theater employees are terrorized by an apparition after closing time.

THE PLAYERS

The cast features Lara Jean Mummert as Mary, Joseph Camilleri as Michael, and Max Troia as Steven.

THE REVIEW

THE LAST SHOWING opens with the final moviegoers of the night exiting the theater as employee Mary lets them out and locks the door. Mary and Steven are the only two employees left in the theater, and Steven agrees to finish up cleaning while Mary steps off stage to take a nap.

Steven hears a noise and finds a creepy stranger watching a torture film on the screen. When the stranger disappears suddenly, Steven radios Mary to tell her a stranger’s in the theater but assures her he can handle the problem.

The lights wink out, and Steven finds himself handling the problem in the dark with only a flashlight. Where’s the strange man? Steven initially searches the theater with a confidence belying the situation, but it only takes one more encounter for Steven to realize the stranger is not what he appears.

The second half of the story shifts to Mary after she wakes from her nap. The lights are off, and Steven is radio silent. It’s her turn to investigate, but what will she find?

I liked THE LAST SHOWING. Camilleri portrays the creepy stranger quite effectively, and DeRouen uses the empty theater to his advantage, alternating the eerie silence of the setting with the eerier music by Luigi Jannsen.

Check out  Derouen on Vimeo here.

AFTER THE CREDITS: Robert Englund of Freddy Krueger fame starred in a 2014 film titled THE LAST SHOWING.

 

Short Film Review: HE TAKES AND RETURNS

Alone in the Dark Films presents HE TAKES AND RETURNS, a 2018 horror short by writer/director Anthony DeRouen. Running time: 11 minutes.

THE PLOT

A family is terrorized by an intruder the night before its trip to Yosemite National Park.

THE PLAYERS

The cast features Joseph Camilleri as John, Nadia Latifi as Chrissy, Jeanne Young as Helen, and Germaine Gaudet as Kathy.

THE REVIEW

HE TAKES AND RETURNS is classic horror in the vein of HALLOWEEN. Like that seminal film, HE TAKES AND RETURNS portrays average suburbanites inside a normal home within a typical neighborhood and unleashes the horror on them.

DeRouen effectively sets the table, opening with dad John, mom Helen, daughter Chrissy, and family friend Kathy engaged in an intense game of Jenga before going to bed early in preparation for the Yosemite trip.

When Chrissy’s first scream shatters the night, John does what fathers do. He investigates his daughter’s bedroom and calms her rattled nerves.

After the second scream, John repeats the pattern but adds a look outside. However, this time, a strange mark appears on Chrissy’s doll, and the parents allude to a previous intruder incident during a private conversation in the kitchen.

The third scream’s the charm as fear officially escalates to crisis, and John and Helen realize the intruder isn’t in their daughter’s imagination.

DeRouen obviously knows horror, skillfully using shadows and suspense to chilling effect. The music by Michael Rodriguez is a strength of the short, perfectly capturing the building tension.

I enjoyed HE TAKES AND RETURNS. It’s a slice of old-school filmmaking with no special effects. It’s straight horror, no chaser, and scary enough for this Horror Addict to check out more shorts by DeRouen.

Check out the teaser on YouTube for HE TAKES AND RETURNS below.

Movie Review: Apocalypsis

Movie Review: Apocalypsis

Welcome to a world where every conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard seems entirely real.

Apocalypsis introduces a world like our own, but which has followed a much darker path. The American government has implemented an ambitious project of surveillance and control. Most of the population is “chipped”—implanted with RFID devices that allow the government to monitor their activities. Cameras and drones are everywhere and AI tracks the population through facial recognition. Anyone who fights back is a target.

Evelyn and Michael are two such people.

Evelyn (Maria Bruun) is a deeply religious woman who draws her strength from her orthodox faith. She strives to help everyone in need, especially the downtrodden. In her quest for increased enlightenment, she experiences distressing apocalyptic visions while studying the book of Revelation. She sees the End Times in the world around her and becomes determined to act before it’s too late.

Michael (Chris O’Leary), a man with no faith, fights the increasing government control using technology and activism. He seeks to enlighten the populace and save them from themselves if he can. However, Michael knows he’s a hunted man and he wavers between going off the grid to save himself and risking everything to free society.

The film explores the relationship between Evelyn and Michael and their differing approaches to changing the world. Their common goals bring them together, but fundamental differences and deep-seated paranoia threaten to rip the friends apart. All of this take place against a high stakes background that keeps the audience guessing what the heroes can really do and what the final stakes will be.

Apocalypsis takes place in New York, where there are a million places to hide, but no real assurance that any of them are safe. In the city, people are everywhere and it’s impossible to know which ones can be trusted. The setting suggests a near future, where America is a hairsbreadth from martial law and every conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard is taken as absolute fact. You are being watched. You are in danger. The stakes have never been higher.

Michael takes the audience into the nooks and crannies of the city, where he hides like a rat and thinks like one too—survival always foremost on his mind. He showcases the modern side of the city, the underground tunnels and back alleys where he hides from sight, always in the dark, using his computer to fight for him.

Evelyn walks the streets of the most needy, reaching out everywhere she can. The moments of peace that she encounters are within the walls of her orthodox church. There she finds solace in something bigger than herself, a divine benevolent ruler at odds with the paranoid government that rules her on Earth.

Director Eric Leiser takes an artistic approach with the camera. Flashing imagery and overlaying shots create a surreal atmosphere. Evelyn’s visions of the apocalypse are animated, casting a sharp contrast from the rest of the film and heightening the feeling that they are unlike anything that she has seen before.

Apocalypsis delves into the question of religion versus action and what really creates a “good” person. What role does faith play in motivating someone to take action? Evelyn has her faith and good intentions, but is that enough? Does Michael’s single-minded purpose blind him to harm that he may be causing with his zeal?

Apocalypsis is a horror think piece, delving into dystopian and science fiction genres. There isn’t any overt gore or jump scares. Rather, the horror manifests as a lingering sense of dread as you wait to see what happens to the characters and their world. All the while, you question how far Apocalypsis really is from our world right now.

Movie Review: Wastelander

In a post-apocalyptic world, what remains of the human race clings to life in a vast, desert wasteland. A rampant slave trade, gangs of cybernetic bandits, and sinister warlords plague the land. Rhyous (Brendan Guy Murphy), a lone fighter, searches for Eden, where the remnants of civilization are rumored to remain. Taunted by incomplete memories of pre-war society, Rhyous fights the urge to succumb to savagery and greed, even as he must fight to stay alive.

Wastelander follows Rhyous in his search for Eden and takes us through the last dregs of humanity. The movie is an action filled romp, a la Mad Max. The overarching theme about finding humanity—whether by returning to the old or blazing a new way—ties rival groups together and pushes them apart. Greed and survival fuel ganglands style wars where the price of any misstep is death. Still, slivers of humanity peek through scenes of violence, as Rhyous shows the kind of compassion that seems to have gone extinct.

Rhyous is paired with tough-as-nails Neve (Carol Cardenas), a former slave who doesn’t back down in the face of a fight. Neve humanizes Rhyous in a surprising way, bringing out a protective quality, when Neve isn’t exactly a damsel in distress.

The fight scenes are creative and well choreographed, blending seamlessly into the violent landscape. A mixture of weapon types and fighting styles ensure that no battle is quite like the others.

Creators designed a full and engaging world for Wastelander . Pop culture advertisements linger in the most unlikely places long after the end of the world had come and gone, giving a fascinating look into the time before the wastes. The story has some creative high points when examining what it might mean for humanity to lose all knowledge of the world from before (“What’s ‘years’?”). The costumes offer a glimpse of how humanity would make the best of what resources were left. The film had a clear aesthetic style with regard to post-apocalyptic fashion. Creators merged functional items with a unique style that set the stage without saying a word. They did a lot with seemingly very little, using details to distinguish from the everyday.

The cinematography in Wastelander  fits well with the grim world it portrays. The desert landscape and lighting create a vision of stark lights and darks, much like the ‘rule or be ruled’ morality of the world portrayed. Any escape from the environment brings danger because if any resource is available, survivors can bet that someone else found it first. The film makes creative use of sets and props to find interesting ways to show characters interacting with their world.

Wastelander is a great blend of the action and science fiction genres, with elements of horror throughout. It has a violent edge, so it may not be for all viewers, but the concept and world building are worth experiencing.

Award Winning Horror

It’s awards season and, as Horror Addicts, that isn’t much to get excited about.

Film critics usually rank horror somewhere below stale theater popcorn, if they mention it at all. The only horror film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture was The Silence of the Lambs (over 25 years ago) and only four horror films made the cut for the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films (Jaws, Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs, and The Sixth Sense). But the genre pulled in upwards of $983 million last year and was responsible 10% of the market share. Clearly, horror resonates with the public psyche and the lack of credit isn’t from lack of interest.

Perhaps horror gets a bad name from pulp monster flicks created to sell children’s toys or from movies that capitalize on sex at the expense of actual fear. Of course, exploitative movies aren’t exclusive to horror, but it seems that whenever a frightening film is acclaimed, critics are quick to characterize it as a different genre—thriller or science fiction, most often.

Are times changing?

Eliciting true terror is just as difficult as drawing tears and there is great insight achieved through examining cultural roots of fear. Get Out was a box office smash this year, indicating that audiences are ready to use horror to look at the world from a new angle. With the public seeking more than slashers that trade shock for substance, film studios—particularly indie producers—seem poised to push the boundaries of the genre further than ever before. Directors are creating defiant films that plumb the depths of human nature. If you haven’t already, go watch Raw, The Bad Batch, or The Shape of Water for a glimpse at the new frontiers producers are exploring.

Guillermo del Toro just won a Golden Globe for his directing in The Shape of Water. Get Out was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture (as a Comedy, but still… Horror wasn’t a category). Maybe it’s a sign of things to come. We could be looking forward to some nomination nods when the Oscars come around.

Blood and gore movies filled with jump scares will never really go away, (then again, neither will the Transformers franchise). That isn’t bad—those things have their place. But a new generation of movies is emerging, ones that may earn a place among industry greats as the best films of all time.

Press Release: Selfie From Hell

SELFIE FROM HELL
“A film that will make you think twice about being so damn vain!” – IHORROR.COM

 

Since 2015 a Short video titled ‘SELFIE FROM HELL’ has been going viral, scaring literally millions with one well placed, well timed, jump-scare –  the jump-scare heard around the world. Youtube: 

A viral video scares millions, why? Because we are a generation obsessed with our image, we can’t stop even if we tried!  IndustryWorks Studios, the producers behind the horror cult-phenom ‘American Mary’ decided to give first-time director Erdal Ceylan a shot at his first feature film. With his jump scare shared by millions online, from its roots in Germany to Japan to Philippines and across the pond to the USA, seems like anyone between the ages of 13-35 with a cell phone, tablet or computer got a glimpse of what might be beyond our ‘selfies’, what technology has lurking in the dark corners of the internet and what the infamous ‘dark net’ has in store for us…

Enter ‘SELFIE FROM HELL’ the feature film.

 

Youtube Feature Film Trailer

So, this holiday season, as you’re sipping on your eggnog and taking selfies with friends and family members, be aware of what lies beyond that selfie.

‘SELFIE FROM HELL’ feature film to be released in 2018. 

Like our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/selfiefromhellthemovie/)  for more information about the feature film or post your scariest holiday selfie on the page to receive exclusive swag from IndustryWorks Studios.‘SELFIE FROM HELL’ Website: www.selfiefromhell.com

 

 

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