Awaken the Shadowman (2017)

Dir: J. S. Wilson (pseudonym for James Zimbardi, Skyler Caleb, Woodrow Wilson Hancock III.

Cast: James Zimbardi, Skyler Caleb, Jean Smart, Emily Somers, Andrea Hunt.

Plot: after the disappearance of their mother, estranged brothers reunite and discover an unknown supernatural force.

I could scour through the English dictionary to try and find a word that better describes this movie, but none would compare to this next one; Trash. Realistically I could end this review right there, and I would of accurately described each and every aspect of this so called movie.

However, we are going to continue. The title and description of the movie implies that there is a powerful supernatural force involved, so I kind of expected the shadowman to put a heavy stamp on the movie. This wasn’t the case, we catch a couple glimpses of the creature, his main screen time is in the last 15 minutes of this 1 hour 23 minute long disappointment. From what I can see, shadowman is a rather slender fellow with elongated fingers, in a nutshell its a dude in an all black morphsuit, if you don’t know what they’re are, Google them.

And here we (barely) see the Shadowman in his natural habitat.

With three people at the helm of this slow burner, you would expect at least one of them to have some kind of sense of direction, but sadly this is a classic case of, too many chefs spoil the broth. Two out of three directors acted in the feature, and honestly I’m not sure what was worse, their flat delivery of lines, or their poor direction.

Shadowman had a number of factors that led its ultimate downfall, as previously stated, we have the acting; no one involved in this movie could carry a role, at all. The direction, or rather the lack of it. The music and the storytelling were nowhere near as effective as they should of been.

It seemed to be the simple mistake of too much of one, not enough of the other. The music was so overplayed and over used that it didn’t even fit with the scenes. Douglas Pipes really let the movie down with his bizarre mix of bog standard horror music that has been used since the dawn of the genre, and techno sounding beats! The music tried to be dramatic in all the wrong places, so when it would of actually made a scene appear better, it had no effect because the score played throughout the entire movie! Repetitive and boring, is how I would describe the absolute shit show he put on.

Now onto the storytelling. The boys really tried hard to make this movie more of a mystery/thriller, but the only mystery I uncovered, was how they even found a production company willing to put this out there. The story fell apart at the seams, even after the movie finished, we know very little about the shadowman and his origins, or even the cult that worship the creature. As a group of directors, connecting your own dots in your own movie should be priority number 1! They failed in telling their own story, I wanted less mystery and more big reveals of the creature.

I can’t help but feel that J. S. Wilson ran out of time, or even budget. I can’t dislike this movie more than I already do, it was a pointless 1 hour and 23 whole minutes that I won’t get back. I urge Netflix to remove this movie, do your duty! And guys, do yourselves a favour, give this one a miss, you’ll thank me later.

1 out of 10 from myself. What a shame.


The Strangers: Prey at Night. (2018)

Director: Johannes Roberts

Starring: Christina Hendricks (Cindy), Bailee Madison (Kinsey), Martin Henderson (Mike), Lewis Pullman (Luke).

The Strangers: Emma Bellomy as Dollface, Damien Maffei as the Man in the Mask and Lea Enslin as Pin up Girl.

Plot: A family of four are staying at a secluded mobile home park for the night, but their peace and quiet is soon interrupted by three masked psychopaths.

After the success of the first Strangers movie back in 2008, it’s easy to understand why you would want to make a sequel. With Johannes taking the reigns from the first movies director, Bryan Bertino, did PaN hit the mark?

I definitely think Prey at Night lived up to expectations, Johannes didn’t do a bad job at all, I think this instalment put a nice twist on the first one. It’s not a home invasion movie, but it does have the same kind of vibe as the first one. For instance, it’s set in a nice secluded location with no one around, making our family of four, pretty easy targets for our masked lunatics.

I thoroughly enjoyed the tone of the movie, it was all pretty dark and mysterious, then it all gets flipped around when the strangers appear on screen with their old 80s music blaring out, making their hunt seem more innocent and almost romanticised. I mean what’s more romantic than an axe wielding lunatic with a burlap sack over his face, blasting Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart?! I mean come on!

I think out of all this I would like one thing, and that’s a back story. I feel as though we could be missing out on so many key elements, as well as information regarding who these people are, and an actual insight as to why they kill people. Are they part of a cult? Were they abused as children? The information we have been given so far points to them just downright enjoying killing people, but I would love to be inside their heads, seeing things through their eyes with their knowledge. Maybe it’s an idea for the future, who knows.

So with some cool little action sequences, and some entertaining horror genre clich├ęs, i.e he’s dead, but oh shit he’s back!! This movie kicked ass, the current IMDb rating is 5.5, which, for this movie is relatively low, I’m putting it out there at an 8. Am I being generous? Or did this movie just really rock my world? Watch it and find out!

Kinsey: Why are you doing this?

Dollface:…. Why not?

Also keep an eye out at the end for what I think to be a homage to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you know, the scene at the end where Sally’s in the back of the truck and leatherface is swinging his chainsaw at her? Yeah that one.

Basically if you’re home alone tonight and want to stay awake all night due paranoia induced insomnia, then you need to watch this movie.

Anyway guys, that’s a wrap from me. Stay scary.

Darling (2015)

Writer/Director: Mickey Keating

Starring: Lauren Ashley Carter as Darling, Sean Young as Madame, and Brian Morvant as The Man.

Darling follows a young girl’s descent into madness as she agrees to be a caretaker at a rather large, and rather strange house. The house itself has a history of suicide and occult rituals and practises.

So to get things started I’m going to mention the current IMDb rating for the movie, Keating’s monochrome flick sits on a rather undeserving 5.6 out of a possible 10. I believe that for such a visually pleasing movie this is a pretty shitty score, I understand it’s not some blockbuster starring Dwayne Johnson but damn it, this movie deserves so much more! (I’ll be posting my rating at the end).

So I love the fact that the whole movie is shot in monochrome, it just looks so pleasing, and it’s hugely reminiscent of the classics such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, which I think Keating drew a lot of inspiration from. Carter reminds me heavily of Norman Bates, she is staying in this huge house, all alone, as the loneliness sets in, the graphic history of the house gets inside her head as she begins the descent into madness.

Keating as a director really pulled it out the bag, the camera angles and the shots used, just look so clean; by this I mean something as simple as a shot of a wardrobe looks immaculate, Keating purposely places his subjects in the centre of the shot. The picture of Darling I have included above is another brilliant example of this little technique Keating used, it’s just mesmerising to watch and extremely pleasing to the eye. So the movie only really has one main location, that being the house Darling is looking after, everything is minimal, even the characters and their dialogue, we only really see two characters engaging in proper conversation, Darling and The Man. This makes it extremely easy to follow, there’s no confusing plot to follow and no pointless characters to distract you from the perfect imagery.

By being so minimalist with characters, dialogue, and locations, when we see Darling lose her mind, it creates a better atmosphere because she is the only thing you are focusing on, and Carter pulls the role off perfectly, she goes from a shy, reserved young lady, into a vicious, no holds barred psychopath, the development of the character is just genius, I won’t go into too much detail but there’s a knife and a hacksaw involved, and a whole lotta blood! There is a time when the story is a little unclear but it really doesn’t take anything away from this spectacular movie, and it only lasts for around 1hour 15minutes, so it’s pretty easy to watch in your spare time.

If you haven’t seen it already, go and give it a go, you will definitely be surprised!

My personal rating of Darling definitely has to be a 7.5 out of 10.

Until next time guys. Stay Scary.

Rob Zombies 31

Written and directed by Rob Zombie.

Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Richard Brake, Malcolm Mcdowell, E.G Daily, Meg Foster.

You Jesus freaks are so fucking sensitive, you should be thanking me man, I’m sending you straight to the fucking pearly gates with a first class ticket.

After the Lords of Salem was released it seemed that RZ had some making up to do, after all he’s the man behind the Devils Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses and the Halloween reboots, so the Lords just seemed a bit toned down in comparison. So here we are with the highly anticipated 31.

Five carnival workers are kidnapped the night before Halloween, held in a compound they are forced to fight for their lives in a sick game called 31. Over the course of 12 hours they must survive against a barrage of homicidal maniacs while their captors place bets.

As a huge fan of Zombies movies I was extremely excited when he announced he was working on a new project, armed with a decent cast featured in his older movies I was really expecting the acting to be on point, however that was far from the case.

Only two characters really stood out to me, Malcolm Mcdowell and Richard Brake, they delivered stellar performances, no idea what the other guys were doing which is sad really, as I love all the main cast dearly. The premise of the film is one big game of cat and mouse, until the victims begin knocking off all the killers, which is odd really, a group of people with no real training take on a group of professional killers as if they’re mere pedestrians like you and I. The actual killers are all, well a bit weird, all posing as clown like characters with a few cross dressing tendencies, one of which is a nazi dwarf. Like I said, weird. Not really sure what Zombies angle was, was he trying to a bit offensive, or just plain weird? Death-head is a giant of a man who wears what seems to be a ballerina tutu, Sex-head (E.G Daily) parades around like a lovestruck teenager, then there’s psycho-head and skitzo-head, the most clown like characters who just talk a lot of shit but don’t have the flare. Then there’s Doom-head, the one we see the most of, the only character we actually see grow from a normal man, into his alter ego killer, which impacted his role massively.

I thoroughly enjoy RZ imagery in his films, the flashes of gore and weirdness, the photos of dead bodies plastered on the walls, it shows that he still has the grit and passion that he had in his earlier projects, the dark gritty surroundings of the compound all build up and make this film what it says, a murderous joyride into the mind of a madman. Putting the flat performances from certain characters aside, 31 just worked for me, the simple plot, Richard Brakes presence, and some memorable moments have allowed me to award 3.5 bashed heads out of 5.

I’m not crazy I’m in control – DoomHead.