Saturday, October 31, 2015

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: STARRY EYES (2014) from Dark Sky Films-October 31, 2015

STARRY EYES Blu-Ray (2015)
STARRY EYES
Starring: Alexandra Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan, Fabianne Therese, Shane Coffey, Natalie Castillo, Pat Healy, Maria Olsen, Louis Dezseran
Screenwriters: Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer
Cinematographer: Adam Bricker
Director: Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer
Production Companies: Snowfort Pictures, Parallactic Pictures, Title Media, Dark Sky Films
Distributor: Dark Sky Films

In my honest opinion, the best horror films that I've seen in the past decade or so have been from the independent film world. They have originality, complexity, integrity, and bravery to take the horror genre to the next level. While the major studios have been churning out remakes, reboots and new films that lack any kind of creativity or originality (not to mention they aren't even scary anymore), leave it to the indie filmmakers who strive to help save and maybe salvage the genre that we love and adore. Case in point, the newest film to be released from out friends over at Dark Sky Films falls in this discussion. STARRY EYES has all the makings of becoming a true horror classic as well as a cult classic.

The film's official synopsis: Determined to make it as an actress in Hollywood, Sarah Walker (Alexandra Essoe) spends her days working a dead-end job, enduring petty friendships and going on countless casting calls in hopes of catching her big break. After a series of strange auditions, Sarah lands the leading role in a new film from a mysterious production company. But with this opportunity comes bizarre ramifications that will transform her both mentally and physically.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)
This is a perfect example of what I mentioned earlier. Not only do we get an original horror film, but one that is psychological, disturbing, containing social commentary about the great lengths young actors and actresses will do for fame and fortunes, supernatural twists, and quite possibly one of the most disturbing endings I have seen in a long time.

Right off the bat, let me state that actress Alexandra Essoe deserves all the credit and accolades that comes her way. Her portrayal as the young, naive dreamer Sarah is one of the most powerful, gripping, emotionally and horrifying  performances ever captured for the big screen. Essoe went to Hell and back in the film and you can tell she went for it and never held back in her acting in any way. She is one of the bravest actresses I have ever seen and I sincerely hope to see more of her in the future.

The film was written and directed by the team of Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer. Together, they crafted a film that delivers the goods of what a horror film should be! Thoughtful, provoking, and disturbingly beautiful, we fans of the genre were treated to an outstanding work of art! When was the last time you heard something like that about a horror film? Not in a very, very, very long time!

Dark Sky Films have bee one of my favorite distributors in the last few years and I've really been enjoying the films they have been releasing. From Adam Green's HATCHET trilogy to their recent hit DEATHGASM, they know what horror fans want and what we're craving for. And with this film, they prove that they are a name that delivers quality scares, chills, and bloodshed.

STARRY EYES is one of the best horror films I've seen this year! If your tired of the onslaught of crappy horror films coming out of Hollywood, then this horror hounds is a film that you will want to see again and again! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


STARRY EYES is currently available on Blu-Ray and DVD. Visit your local retailer or order directly from Dark Sky Films. You can follow the film on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about Dark Sky Films visit their website at darkskyfilms.com. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: ZOMBEAVERS (2014) from Freestyle Releasing-October 31, 2015

ZOMBEAVERS Blu-Ray  (2015)
ZOMBEAVERS
Starring: Rachel Melvin, Cortney Palm, Lexi Atkins, Hutch Dano, Jake Weary, Peter Gilroy, Rex Linn
Screenwriters: Al Kaplan, Jordan Rubin, Jon Kaplan
Cinematographer: Jonathan Hall
Director: Jordan Rubin
Production Company: Armory Films & BenderSpink
Distributor: Freestyle Releasing

Another horror/comedy I had the utmost pleasure of seeing was a movie that my lovely fiancée bought for me. How sweet of her was that? Now the more ridiculous sounding the title is, the more I want to watch it. Now it's a fact when you hear a title to a movie, that title alone will either make or brake the movie as well as wanting to see it or not. With a title like ZOMBEAVERS, you know you want to see it, right? Of course you do!

The film's official synopsis: A group of college kids staying at a riverside cabin are menaced by a swarm of deadly zombie beavers. A weekend of sex and debauchery soon turns gruesome as the beavers close in on the kids. Riding the line between scary, sexy and funny, the kids are soon fighting for their lives in a desperate attempt to fend off the hoard of beavers that attack them in and around their cabin.

OK now I know what you're thinking. Zombie beavers?!? Really?!? That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard!! Granted, yes you have a point. However the only flaw you have in your argument is that it shows that you're a closed minded individual who won't even bother with viewing this film, nor take a chance on it. That is a crying shame because this film was a laugh riot from beginning to end! Holy crap this film was so much fun to watch! 

Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)
You can't have a laugh-out-loud, gory filled horror/comedy with having a laugh-out-loud, gory filled script. And thanks to both Jon and Al Kaplan and Jordon Rubon, we have one blood drenched comedy that will make us scream with laughter and fright. By combining the right blend of outrageous raunchy comedy with over-the-top kills and deaths, these three individuals were able to craft a story that caters to those you who love their horror films served with a slice of comedy. The story is well executed (no pun intended) and filled with grotesque kills, hysterical scenarios, lovable victims (I mean characters) and zombie beavers. What more could you want in a story? Ok these's a little bit of romance for you ladies out there but still, it's all but the zombie beavers folks.

Director Jordan Rubin keeps the action, scares, laughter and blood flying at you with precise execution. When he set up a joke, you laugh when you're supposed to. When he goes in for the kill, we react with horror and glee. There are no weak points in the film. His style of directing compliments the scripts in perfect harmony. And that's how it should be. Too often I see a film where the story was great but the directing was sloppy and all over the place as well as the opposite. That doesn't happen with this film. The directing matches the tone of the script perfectly and that's something I'd like to see more of in the future.

The whole cast does an incredible job of making the absurd believable! Standouts and shout outs go to our three leading ladies Lexi Atkins, Rachel Melvin and Cortney Palm, who not only deliver the goods when it comes to breathing life into their characters, but doing it while being chased by zombie beavers while in their bikinis! That takes major acting talent to pull that off! Good job ladies!!

ZOMBEAVERS gets my vote for the most psychotic, sick, twisted, laugh riot, feel good, animal zombie, B-film of the year! Make no mistake about it! This is a maniacal persevere tour de force that must be seen to believe!! So look out Jason Vorhees! Beware Cropsy! Because you got some heavy competition out in your neck of the woods! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


ZOMBEAVERS is currently available on both Blu-Ray and DVD. The movie is also available on Netflix. Check out the film's Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram account.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: UNFRIENDED (2014) from Universal Pictures-October 29, 2015

UNFRIENDED Blu-Ray Cover (2015)
UNFRIENDED
Starring: Heather Sossaman, Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson, Shelley Hennig, Moses Storm, Will Peltz, Renee Olstead, Jacob Wysocki
Screenwriter: Nelson Greaves
Cinematographer: Adam Sidman
Director: Leo Gabriadze
Production Company: Blumhouse Productions & Bazelevs Company
Distributor: Universal Pictures

OK I'm sounding redundant! Seriously people I am!! After watching the dismal, piece of crap, sorry excuse of a horror film THE GALLOWS, the next film I decided to watch was UNFRIENDED, another Blumhouse Production. So I'm just asking for punishment this Halloween season! Why do you ask that? Read on and I'll explain it to you!!

The film's official synopsis: While video chatting one night, six high school friends receive a Skype message from a classmate who killed herself exactly one year ago. At first they think it's a prank, but when the girl starts revealing the friends' darkest secrets, they realize they are dealing with something out of this world, something that wants them dead.

Oh dear Lord where do I begin here?!? OK, if you haven't read my review of THE GALLOWS, click here and read it now. I'll wait right here for you when you're done.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)
Dum de dum dum de dum da dum da dum de dum dum de dum da dum da dum de dum dum de dum da dum da dum de dum dum de dum da dum. Dum de dum dum de dum da dum dum de dum dum de dum da dum. Dum de dum dum de dum da dum.......

Oh you're back? Alright then, everything you read in that review applies to this film as well.

Bad directing, bad story, bad characters, acting is so-so, but let me reiterate a statement I said in my last review that really does need repeating: THE FOUND FOOTAGE STYLE IS DEAD!! STOP MAKING THEM!! Horror fans don't want to see that anymore!! It's been done to death!! We're over it and it's time to move on!!

Now on to you Blumhouse Productions. Why?!? For the love of all things evil and unholy why did you make this piece of crap?!? I know I said the same thing about THE GALLOWS but still Jason!! You're freaking killing me over here!! Knock this crap off!!

Again, just like THE GALLOWS, the film got mixed reviews but grossed $62 million against a $1 million budget. So once again Blumhouse Productions makes a profit off us poor horror fans. Shame on you Jason Blum!!

So in conclusion, UNFRIENDED is tied with THE GALLOWS as one of the worst horror films of 2015. Hard to believe this but it's true my fellow horror hounds. There are two horror films that are just awful. Skip this one as well. 1 out of 5 stars! Avoid like the plague!!


UNFRIENDED is available on both DVD, BLU-Ray and on Video On Demand. To learn more about Blumhouse Productions visit their website at www.blumhouse.com.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: THE GALLOWS (2015) from Warner Bros. Pictures-October 29, 2015

THE GALLOWS Blu-Ray (2015)
THE GALLOWS
Starring: Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, Cassidy Gifford
Screenwriters: Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing
Cinematographer: Edd Lukas
Directors: Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing
Production Companies: Blumhouse Productions, New Line Cinema, Management 360, Tremendum Pictures
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

Have you noticed that horror movies aren't very scary anymore? Seriously, when the hell did that happen? The majority of horror films coming out from the major studios have been atrocious. They aren't scary, they're mind numbingly boring, enormously unoriginal and just repeat the same schtick over and over and over again. A perfect example is the found footage style movie. Ever since THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was released back in 1999 (holy crap has it been that long?!?), every Tom, Dick, and Mary have ripped off that style of filmmaking. And for some reason it's still being used to this very day. Want proof of this? Well look no further that the awful and not-so-scary horror film THE GALLOWS from Warner Brothers Pictures.

The film's official synopsis: Twenty years after an accident during a small town high school play results in death, students at the school resurrect the failed stage production in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy - but ultimately find out that some things are better left alone.

Ok where do I start here? I mentioned it wasn't scary, correct? Ok just making sure. Did I mention that it's a stupid found footage style movie? Oh I said that too, huh? Well alright then. Ok how about this: did I mention it was unoriginal, uninspiring and unimaginably boring? Yup, I went there.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)
As you may or may not know, the trailer made it look super scary. You have footage of the film looking like it was made for us horror fanatics. Horrorfyingly creepy, teens screaming for their lives, unseen killer stalking them one by one. It looked genuinely scary. So my question is what the hell happened? How can the trailer be scarier and better than the film itself?!? Good grief Charlie Brown! I was expecting to be entertained and be creeped out and scared and all those fun emotions that we experience when we view a horror film. Instead I was looking at my phone a lot wondering when this sorry excuse of a horror movie was over so I can watch a good horror movie! 

So what was wrong with the movie exactly? Well besides all the good stuff was in the trailer and the found footage look is so over and I wish filmmakers would stop using it, the movie was very predicable, acting was about as good as a high school theater production (which is ironic since it takes place in a high school theater department), characters were so thin I could see through them and they were annoying me to death. Yes, I was cheering on their deaths. You seriously cannot blame me. If you saw the movie you'd do the same. Admit it! Admit it!! You better say yes dammit!!

The movie was "directed" by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing. The reason I mention them is that I blame them for the hour and half I lost when I watched their movie. They also wrote the film as well, so I'm holding them personally responsible for this whole thing being made. Really guys? You two actually thought that you were making a good movie? Let alone a good horror movie? Ok I have not seen the short films you guys have done together but couldn't either one of you come up with a better plot? Or at least fleshed it out more so it reads like an intelligent monkey wrote it? And why the found footage style? Don't you guys know better? Horror fans don't want to see that anymore. It's been done to death. We're over it and it's time to move on.

Now hard to believe that Blumhouse Production helped make this piece of crap. Jason Blum has made some awesome films within the genre like THE PURGE series, the SINISTER series and the last film I reviewed THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN. Despite all the negative reviews, the film grossed a staggering $38.2 million dollars! Consider that fact that the film's budget was only a measly $100,000 so there was a huge profit made from this. But still Jason, please pick better project to greenlight next time!

THE GALLOWS is one of the wort horror films to released in 2015 so far. This movie was so bad I don't even want to rate it, just because it hurt me so damn bad. Literally, watching this movie made me violently ill and I had to vomit. Skip this film all together my fellow horrorhounds! 1 out of 5 stars!! Avoid this like the plague!!


THE GALLOWS is available on both DVD, BLU-Ray and on Video On Demand. To learn more about Blumhouse Productions visit their website at www.blumhouse.com.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (2014) from Image Entertainment-October 29, 2015

THE TOWN THAT DREADED Blu-Ray (2015)
THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN
Starring: Addison Timlin, Veronica Cartwright, Travis Tope, Gary Cole, Edward Herrmann, Anthony Anderson
Screenwriters: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Earl E. Smith
Cinematographer: Michael Goi
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Production Companies: Blumhouse Productions & Ryan Murphy Productions
Distributor: Image Entertainment

Most horror movie remakes are terrible. Just terrible. Absolutely terrible. So terrible to the point I want to gouge out my eyes with an ice cream scooper. But every now and then a remake comes out that captures my interest. For me, it must capture the spirit of the original while simultaneously be able stand on its own. So it was a pleasant surprise to see the remake of THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN which is one of the better remakes that I have seen a very long time.

The film's official synopsis: 65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the so-called 'moonlight murders' begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl named Jami (Addison Timlin), with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching him.

What I found interesting about the film is that while it's been called a reboot, it's more of a sequel. The filmmakers acknowledge the original 1976 film (which was released on Blu-Ray last year by the fine folks at Scream Factory) and also acknowledge that it was based on true events. As a result, the film feels more grounded in the real world while simultaneously reminding us that this is a sequel. Very smart move on their behalf and an element that I was happy with.

Lead actress Addison Timlin is just absolutely incredible as our final girl Jami Lerner, who is seriously having a rough time. Her boyfriend was killed by the infamous masked killer, who seems to be the same one from the first film. While being stalked by him (or her), she goes on a quest to solve the mystery of this mysterious killer. Timlin brings a lot of emotion and integrity to her role and portrays Jami as a strong, smart and brave young heroine. This is something we horror fans don't get to see a lot lately. In Hollywood productions the supposed "final girl" are flat, two-dimensional carachtures of what's they used to be and we are not fully invested in them. Congratulations to Timlin for making a character that we actually care and cheer for!

Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)
The film was the feature length directorial debut by newcomer Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who does a great of creating atmosphere, dread and, of course, gallons and gallons of bloodshed. Most first time directors fail to make their first film entertaining and move at a reasonable pace. Alfonso bypasses this freshman mistake by making a fast paced, entertaining film filled with tension, horror and gore. There is so much gore in this film and I loved it! Definitely keep an eye out for this talented filmmaker as I hope to see more great things to come!

As with all classic horror films, a good script can help elevate a film and make it r commended viewing. What screenwriter Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa did which was smart was that he wrote the film to tie-in to the original Charles B. Pierce 1976 slasher classic. He even went to so far to include the film, Mr. Pierce himself, and cast Denis O'Hara as Charle Pierce Jr. to help make it more believable. Roberto's script again is smart, clever and really takes it to the next level.

Before I forget, I must mention actor Edward Herrmann, who portrays the Reverand Cartwright in the film. Herrmann has been in the business for over forty years, appearing films like THE PAPER CHASE, THE GREAT GASBY, ANNIE, THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO, NIXON, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET and genre classics like THE LOST BOYS and DEATH VALLEY. However he's mostly known as Richard Gilmore from the old WB show Gilmore Girls, which ran from 2000-2007. Recently Netflix announced that they are planning on reviving the show and will be reuniting most of the original cast but unfortunately Mr. Herrmann won't be there. On December 31, 2014, Edward Herrmann passed away at the young age of 71. This was the last film he appeared in.

Blumhouse Productions was one of the production companies that helped make this film a reality. If you're not familiar with them, you should be. They're the ones that helped put the PARANORMAL ACTIVITIES, THE PURGE and SINISTER franchises on the map. So keep that in mind when you see their cool and creepy looking intro before all their films.

Overall THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN is a worthy entry to the slasher genre as well as a sequel to a slasher classic. There's enough scares, blood, action and kills to satisfy event the most hardcore horror fanatic. So make sure you see this film cause you're gonna have a bloody good time watching it! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN is available on both DVD and BLU-Ray. Visit your local retailer to pick up a copy today. The movie is also available on VOD. Also follow the film on Facebook and Blumhouse Productions on Twitter. To learn more about Blumhouse Productions visit their website at www.blumhouse.com.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: THE FINAL GIRLS (2015) from Sony Pictures-October 28, 2015

THE FINAL GIRLS Blu-Ray (2015)
THE FINAL GIRLS
Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman, Alexander Ludwig, Nina Dobrev, Alia Shawkat, Thomas Middleditch, Adam DeVine, Angela Trimbur, Chloe Bridges
Written by M.A. Fortin & Joshua John Miller
Cinematography by Elie Smolkin
Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson
Produced by Groundswell Productions, Studio Solutions & Ulterior Productions
Distributed by Sony Pictures, Vertical Entertainment & Stage 6 Films

With Halloween right around the corner, it means my dear friends that October is almost over. But before we bid this wonderful time of the year goodbye, I have a lot of horror movies to review. First up is the newest entry into the horror/comedy genre and very funny and entertaining one at that. Tonight's movie is the new indie film THE FINAL GIRLS from distributors Sony Pictures.

The film's official synopsis: When Max (Taissa Farmiga) and her friends reluctantly attend a tribute screening of an infamous '80s slasher film that starred Max's late mother (Malin Akerman), they are accidentally sucked into the silver screen. They soon realize they are trapped inside the cult classic movie and must team up with the fictional and ill-fated "Camp Bloodbath" counselors, including Max's mom as the shy scream queen, to battle the film's machete-wielding, masked killer. With the body count rising in scene after iconic scene, who will be THE FINAL GIRLS left standing and live to escape this film?

Let me start off by saying how much fun this movie is to watch. Credit goes out to the entire cast and they give it their all, 80's style. Taissa Farmiga is fanatic as the lonely, teen angst Max and two big thumbs up to Malin Akerman, who really shows off her acting chops. Going from a loving, down on her luck mother to 80's carefree teen character in a slasher movie is no easy task. Farmiga and Akerman have perfect on-screen chemistry as the mother/daughter dynamic is what holds the film together and drives it forward. These two fine actresses truly deserve the spotlight here as they are absolutely amazing in the film!
Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)

Other worthy shout outs need to go to the following: Nina Dobrev as former best friend and all-around bitch Vicki Summers, the girl you just love to hate. Thomas Middleditch's Duncun reminds me of....well...me! The awesome horror nerd who loves watching the classic 80's slasher films and tries so hard to be cool at the same time. Angela Trimbur portrays Tina in classic horror style: hot, blonde, dumb, and sexy as hell! And of course, I cannot forget the man of the hour. Adam DeVine is hilarious as the typical, 80's oversexed misogynistic douchebag Kurt.

The last major film director Todd Strauss-Schulson made was 2011's A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS (which I saw in the cinema and it was funny as hell!), so this a cause for celebration. Mostly making television movies as of late, this film hopefully marks a return to the big screen as he keeps the film moving forward with laughs, scares, and yes some tear shed. But let's not forget screenwriters M.A. Fortin & Joshua John Miller for writing a very funny and clever script. These three talented individuals need to team up on more projects. Together they can be unstoppable!

Overall THE FINAL GIRLS has all the makings of an indie cult classic! It's clever script, great cast, spot-on production values and perfect directing make this a must-see film for fans of the horror genre! Not since TUCKER AND DALE VS EVIL have I had this mush fun watching a movie! Highly original and highly entertaining! Go see this film now! You'll be glad you did my fiends!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


THE FINAL GIRLS is playing in limited engagement in theaters nationwide and is also available on VOD. Look for the Blu-Ray to be released in November by Sony Pictures. You can also follow the film on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!