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I imagine THE AMERICAN SCREAM will be an immensely personal
experience for all audiences, but horror/fans of the macabre, especially.
Lit like a Skinemax homage to colorful Eurohorror and Sam
Raimi, MEMORY OF THE DEAD ends up an inept, juvenile sub-Tommy Wirkola bit of
occult horror that only manages to confirm its filmmakers have—much like you—also
seen EVIL DEAD 2.
Merely a few years ago, film festivals were rampant with
home invasion. As escalation is the natural order of things, it makes an odd
sense we’re now living in the year of the high-rise siege (quite possibly
kicked into gear by 2011’s outstanding ATTACK THE BLOCK). THE RAID, CITADEL,
this month’s DREDD and the UK’s TOWER BLOCK all share themes centered around
these concrete monoliths that increasingly populate cities internationally.
Fortunately, each of the aforementioned counts real moments of intensity
amongst their running times, making this contemporary revival of a classic
storytelling device one worth keeping an eye on.
It’s surprising to realize how much of the iconic Tim Burton’s
career has been spent shepherding established properties to his own unique universe.
It’s especially curious, as his greats EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, BEETLEJUICE and ED
WOOD account for a filmmaker whose style we recognize but we haven’t truly seen
operate since those titles. How fortunate then, for kids today and audiences
alike, that a Burton with a personal, reignited passion has seemingly returned
to the tale of the young, ambitious and darkly tinged outsider, hitting many
notes we’ve so longed to hear in the process.
HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET is one of those movies that
seems to have been written backwards—it plays like its creators came up with
their Big Plot Twist first, then struggled to fill the hour beforehand.
Some of the best horror stems from mining the paranoia of
real-life situations. Part of the power of a film like Eli Roth’s HOSTEL stems
from the thought that somebody might actually be sick enough to put something
like the Elite Hunting club together. The background of AFTERSHOCK—which stars
Roth but is not directed by him—lies in truth, specifically the devastating 8.8
earthquake that struck Chile in 2008.
As found footage settles itself in as the new raison d’être
of indie genre filmmakers, we start to see it mold and blend with time-honored
tradition (the anthology, the ghost story, etc). In HOLLOW (available now on VOD from Tribeca Film), director Michael
Axelgaard brings the aesthetic to the historic English countryside where it
gains rich, somber atmosphere in the process.
Dave Wong (Chase Williamson) meets reporter
Arnie Blandstone (Paul Giamatti) late one night in an empty Chinese restaurant.
Dave has a story to tell, about the intravenous ichor nicknamed “soy sauce,”
and how this strange new drug can allow users to see through time and
communicate with the dead.
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