Vengeance thriller ‘Tonight She Comes’ to make festival debut October 9th at UK’s GRIMMFEST

Vengeance thriller ‘Tonight She Comes’ to make festival debut October 9th at UK’s GRIMMFEST

TAGLINE: “Yesterday… she was chosen. At midnight… she was sacrificed. This morning… she was buried. But tonight… Tonight She Comes. Everyone else will die.

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: I really love the bold colors and stark lines of this poster, created especially for the Manchester, UK horror festival GrimmFest (AKA Grimm Up North), where this film debuts early next month. And the stylish, synth-drenched teaser trailer (see below) reveals very little, but sure looks cool as hell.

Here’s the official synopsis:

After a girl goes missing, two of her friends and a mysterious set of strangers find themselves drawn to the cabin in the woods where she disappeared. They will laugh, they will drink, they will kiss, they will make love, and THEY MUST ALL DIE.

Tonight She Comes was written, directed, and edited by Matt Stuertz. He previously directed the feature horror / sci-fi film RWD, created the Sixty Second Slashers anthology series, and directed Mindless, part of Bloody Disgusting’s World of Death horror short film curation.

The film features a pulse pounding synth score composed by Wojciech Golczewski (We Are Still Here, Beyond the Gates, Late Phases) and intense, hard hitting sound design by Shawn Duffy (Darling, Carnage Park). The special festival poster shown above was crreated by Marie Bergeron.

The cast includes Nathan Eswine, Larissa White, Jenna McDonald, Brock Russell, Cameisha Cotton, Dal Nicole, Adam Hartley, and Frankie Ray. Theatrical, DVD, and VOD release dates have not yet been announced.


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The Gourmet Horror Review: ‘Don’t Breathe’ (2016) Master class in white-knuckle, claustrophobic terror

TAGLINE: “This house looked like an easy target. Until they found what was inside.”

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Director Fede Alvarez reunites with his Evil Dead star Jane Levy for a taut, tense exercise in claustrophobic locked-house terror. The premise couldn’t be simpler: A trio of young thieves (Levy as Rocky, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto) break and enter the house of a blind veteran, seeking a rumored fortune he received as a settlement for a devastating loss. It seems like an easy target, virtually risk free. Of course, they couldn’t be more wrong. The house’s location in a derelict neighborhood in Detroit originally seemed like a plus, but once the tables are turned, its remoteness becomes a terrifying liability.

BLUNDERS/GAFFS (caution – spoilers):

  • Money uses his pistol to shoot a padlock off a door, but man, it sure looked like all he needed was a screwdriver. The lockset was screwed down on the outside of the door.
  • Rocky’s pants are slit open by The Blind Man, yet that tear is mysteriously gone when she gets to the car.
  • It’s a neat trick to get an audience to care about a group of young home invaders, especially when one of their targets is a old blind man bearing scars both real and psychological. Alvarez and his co-writer Rodo Sayagues mostly succeed, with the notable exception of Zovatto’s character, Money. He’s repellent in every way, to the point where it has to have been intentional. Sometimes characters in a horror film can’t get killed off fast enough. Money is one of them.
  • I had a hard time figuring out where the outside light that backlights the windows was coming from. From the exterior, the house and neighborhood looked very dark.
  • At one point, Rocky talks about the ladybug tattoo she got on her arm the day before, yet there is no redness or swelling. She must be a very fast healer.
  • Why would you break and enter a house while its owner was home? Even if he was a seemingly harmless blind man, that seems an unnecessary risk.
  • Levy’s character Rocky draws a little too deeply from the “Final Girl” well. It’s executed well enough that I didn’t mind, but there it is.
  • Another trope: Characters suffer traumatic injuries that should by all rights kill or incapacitate them. Yet somehow they just keep going, Energizer Bunny-style.

EVALUATIONDon’t Breathe hits the ground running, with an economical setup, and wastes no time getting to the good parts. It clocks in at a lean, taut 88 minutes, and Alvarez makes every second count.

Levy is excellent. Her part calls for a lot of wild-eyed but silent terror, and she does it as well as anyone. But it is Stephen Lang as The Blind Man who elevates Don’t Breathe to something special. He’s well above your cookie-cutter, garden-variety villain. He’s given a compelling backstory, and even though he makes horrible choices and performs despicable acts, he is still recognizably human – and relatable. He’s damaged goods, a wounded warrior (very different from his Colonel Quaritch in Avatar) whose past compels him to evil doings.

You won’t find a horror film that makes better use of the complete absence of sound. Agonizing stretches play out in complete silence. It compels the viewer to watch in silence, as well, and you really do hesitate to even breathe. The jump scares are well-executed and mostly earned, all the more devastating as they emerge from deathly quiet.

Any review of Don’t Breathe would be remiss without a word on Pedro Luque‘s cinematography. Most of the film takes place in a blind man’s house, much of the time in partial to total darkness. This presents special challenges. How many films have you squinted at, trying to make out details obscured by shadows and dimness? Nothing of the sort here. It’s gorgeously framed and shot throughout, and everything is clear (when it needs to be). You always have a strong sense of the geography of the set. The layout of the house is honored at all times, across all three floors. That’s no easy feat. And when there is gunfire – and there is plenty of gunfire – the muzzle flash and deafening report hit like fists.

It’s a locked-door thriller that tightens the screws relentlessly. The only one who wants out of that godforsaken house more than the three thieves? Us. The viewers. It’s almost unbearably tense and claustrophobic. In short, this is one for the ages. It’s not perfect, but it is perfectly entertaining, and a must-see for any red-blooded genre fan. Catch it in theaters while you still can.


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EFFECTS (1-5): 4
SCORE (1-5): 4
OVERALL (1-5): 4

TITLEDon’t Breathe
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2016
STUDIO: Ghost House Pictures / Sony Pictures Releasing (US)
MPAA RATING: R
LENGTH: 88 mins.
DVD? (Y/N): N
BLU-RAY? (Y/N): N
NETFLIX? (Y/N): Not yet
WIDESCREEN? (Y/N) Y
IN THEATERS? (Y/N) Y
STREAMING DIGITAL/VOD? (Y/N) N

Horror short ‘The Cleansing Hour’ slated for HollyShorts Film Fest showing tomorrow

Horror short ‘The Cleansing Hour’ slated for HollyShorts Film Fest showing tomorrow

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Check out this trailer for Damien LeVeck‘s horror short The Cleansing Hour, starring Sam Jaeger (Parenthood, American Sniper), Heather Morris (Glee, Spring Breakers), and Neil Grayston (Daredevil, Eureka). The short will be featured at the 2016 HollyShorts Film Festival, which kicks off with a closed filmmaker red carpet and press event at 6pm this evening (Thursday, August 11th). The festival is being held at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatre in Hollywood. The Cleansing Hour will screen on Friday, August 12th, at 10pm as part of the Horror Program, presented by Eli Roth’s Crypt TV. Tickets can be purchased online at the festival’s website (see link above). Additionally, for the first time ever, the film will be available for viewing via the streaming service bitpix for the duration of the festival, which concludes Friday, August 19th.

The Cleansing Hour follows Lance (Jaeger) and Drew (Grayston), who run a popular webcast that streams exorcisms staged to look real. When Lance, who plays a priest, unknowingly hires an actress who is actually possessed (Morris), he is forced to reckon with his online charade in front of 20 million viewers worldwide.

“I’m honored that our film is competing in HollyShorts, and I’m excited that we finally get to show off the culmination of over a year’s worth of work,” said LeVeck, who has focused his directing career on telling unique and compelling stories with a message in the horror genre. “The Cleansing Hour is a fresh take on the exorcism genre that is sure to scare and thrill everyone who’s brave enough to watch,” LeVeck said. 

The Cleansing Hour was written by Aaron Horwitz (Roommate Wanted) and also features YouTube star Teala Dunn (Enchanted, Expelled), John Griffin (Priest, Jersey Boys), and Catherine Marin (The Tequila Sisters, Chimera) in supporting roles. Jesse M. Feldman (American Crime Story, Veep) is the director of photography and Marylou Lim (Godzilla, Looper) is the costume designer.

Shirit Bradley, who worked on last year’s summer blockbuster Godzilla and the comedy-horror film Krampus, produced The Cleansing Hour alongside entertainment attorney Natalie LeVeck. “From the moment Damien pitched this project to me, I was in. He has such a fun and clear vision and I was thrilled to be a part of his team and produce something that has a larger message,” Bradley said.

LeVeck raised over $30,000, the majority of The Cleansing Hour’s production budget, via a successful Kickstarter campaign.


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Heather Morris
Sam Jaeger
Neil Grayston
Experience this terrifying scene from ‘Stranger Things’ in 360-degree virtual reality

Experience this terrifying scene from ‘Stranger Things’ in 360-degree virtual reality

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Genre fans got an unexpectedly lovely gift this summer when Netflix debuted its 10-part original series, Stranger Things, an homage to the 1980s sci-fi/horror of Spielberg and King. Now the producers have introduced a new wrinkle: virtual reality.

If you happen to have Google Cardboard, be sure to use it to watch the video above. And then, just for yuks, you can watch the cast of Stranger Things strap on a VR headset and experience truly immersive horror in the video below.


Stranger Things is billed as “a love letter to the supernatural classics of the 80’s.” It’s the story of a young boy who vanishes into thin air. As friends, family, and local police search for answers, they’re drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces – and one very strange little girl.

Stranger Things stars Winona RyderDavid HarbourFinn WolfhardMillie Bobby BrownGaten MatarazzoCaleb McLaughlinNoah SchnappNatalia DyerCara BuonoCharlie Heaton, and Matthew Modine.

Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer (Wayward Pines, Hidden) serve as writer, directors and co-showrunners of the series, and are executive producers along with Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen via their 21 Laps entertainment banner (The Spectacular Now, Night At The Museum, Real Steel, Date Night). Levy also served as director for two of the episodes.


 

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Syrian filmmaker wins CryptTV’s inaugural Emerging Artist Award for intense short ‘Hallway’

Syrian filmmaker wins CryptTV’s inaugural Emerging Artist Award for intense short ‘Hallway’

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Back on June 11th, we ran a story about CryptTV’s very first Emerging Artist Award, to be presented at Texas’ Comicpalooza a week later. 22-year-old Syrian writer/director Issam Rayess won for his harrowing four-minute short Hallway – which you can now enjoy below. Besides bragging rights and elevated visibility in the genre community, the award also brings an exclusive CryptTV distribution deal.

According to Joshua Millican’s article in Horror Freak News,

Rayess, a Syrian national, is currently pursuing his BA at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. He created HALLWAY as part of a multi-media project; the University provided him with the hardware, and the short was filmed in an actual abandoned building without permits. For props and incidentals, Rayess spent about $50. The end result, though, is nothing short of spectacular; a chilling creeper that can go toe-to-toe with anything produced in Hollywood with big bucks.

Congratulations to Rayess, the first of what we expect will be a long line of CryptTV Emerging Artist Award recipients. Now let’s watch what he created:


ABOUT CRYPTTV: Co-founded by Eli Roth, CryptTV creates original genre content guided by its motto #WeirdIsGood. Together we create and share the dark, edgy and different stories that bind us. Follow CryptTV and join the #CryptFamily to be a part of the movement that celebrates who you are.

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