Director: Mike P Nelson Starring: Matthew Modine, Adain Bradley, Bill Sage, Emma Dumont, Dylan McTee, Charlotte Vega .USA. 1h 30m
Wrong Turn is a franchise that, in my opinion, kinda did what it needed to do, gross out audiences in a blood soaked adventure that ends when there are no more young people to carve up. After the ultimate mutant hillbilly interaction, it took the inevitable path of destruction with numerous sequels getting cheaper as the madness carried on, but for some reason during the height of lockdown, we needed a reboot! Director Mike P Nelson decided to take his off road story further off the beaten track, and attempts to make a high functioning and credible horror from something that’s often watched purely for the body count, made the entire concept weary more than hardcore.
Director: J R Bookwalter Starring: Matthew Jason Walsh, Barbara Katz-Norrod, Thomas Brown, Cherie Petry, Shannon Doyle. USA. 1h 10m
Jeff (Walsh) works in a dead end job, working the night shift in a gas station. The lonely young man doesn’t have any friends and no prospect at anything more lavish in his working life than mopping floors and stacking shelves, but his home life is worse. Each morning Jeff returns home to a domineering mother, a woman.. a vampire hell bent on making her son into a cold blooded killer like herself as she feasts on neighbourhood kids and beats him into submission.
Meeting up with old friends brings back memories of the good ole days, a chance to catch up and congratulate each other and relive old times, and the perfect setting for a rose tinted reunion is a far away cabin in the wilderness , with no distractions and no neighbors to distract or keep a watchful eye. The only problem, having not seen your old school friends for some time there’s no guarantee that everyone still has all their own marbles. Will this weekend in the Alpines be a few beers and burgers or a weekend of psychological meltdowns and digging up buried true feelings?
Director: David Amito, Michael Laicini Starring: Nicole Tompkins, Rowan Smyth. Canada. 1h 35m
I have to admit that before seeing Antrim I had no idea what the word actually meant so I did have to Google it. Turns out that it means, “A nearly closed cavity or chamber…” Well ok, How does one make a movie about a nearly closed cavity? Somehow directors, David Amito and Michael Laicini managed to turn this notion into a retro cursed movie project and argue that the film is (loosely) based on a movie by David B. Earle titled Dining Room or There is Nothing. Believe it or not if you have ever seen any of the creepy movie compilations on YouTube then you probably have seen this short but were unaware of its title, and here is the movie in all of its esoteric glory.
Backwoods horrors seem to have traveled from the deserts of the southern American into the cold forests of the north, incorporating indigenous folklore along the way. The Silencing tries to keep itself in the here and now, offering a grimy armchair detective mystery with icy drama, some daring thrills and a fathers promise to find his missing daughter at all costs.
Director: Corey Grant Starring: Drew Rausch, Rich McDonald, Asheey Wood Garcia, Noah Weisberg, Frank Ashmore, Japheth Gordon .USA. 1h 30m
There has always been a lot to love and hate about this spirited movie. It attempts to open up new possibilities about the Bigfoot, looking at some of the newer theories and along the way it attempts to answer the popular questions, like why don’t we find more bigfoot bodies?. Despite bringing new ideas from conspiracy forums to the big screen, it fails to bring a lot of new ideas to this screen and falls into trope island with annoying characters and expresses some of the worst features of Found Footage. AND despite all of this it has to be seen and is often enjoyed.
Directors: Karin Engman, Klas Persson Starring: Elna Karlsson, Thomas Hedengran, Ralf Beck, Nine Filimoshkina, Urban Bergsten. Sweden. 1h 27m
There’s been a modern trend of directors getting back to their ruddy roots and finding terror in the wood which is the driving force in this potent doom folk horror, as local hero’s search for a missing man of the cloth. Draug keeps a sharp edge through it’s dynamic set up of a foul mouthed beer swigging clan leader Kettil (Hedengran), his highly sensitive and possibly psychic adopted daughter Nanna (Karlsson), his main squeeze and apparently his bravest men.
It feels very “authentic” drab colours, crazy locals and lots of beer; it’s the stereotypical perception of any European pagan infused settlement, while not being historically accurate ,if gives you what you’d expect, and more, there are few whoopie moments, modern clothing being the main culprit, it will be interesting to see how many other goods a professional could pick out!?
After setting out, the rescue team start at the last place where the missionary was seen, a quite neighboring village but all they find there is beer and stories about the creepy woods, the only event is Nanna getting creped out by a demented old woman, signs start to appear that adopted daughter is quite different from the other morals around her and the movie hinges on her discovering her origins and powers.
Draug sits well between scandanivan journey epics like Wolfhound (2006) with touches of the dark mysticism of Sauna (2008), yet it really doesn’t know if it wants to be an action flick or something more supernatural. Without having the massive budget or drive, at times Draug flounders, yet manages to keep a somewhat brooding sense of danger until the final act, when all hell is supposed to break loose but this is where the lack of budget trips the production up and it ends up being an extended episode of Nightmare(1987-1994), the mood changes to some kind of ethereal neon lit world and a new entity finally makes itself known within layers of lightning struck scenery side steps all the good build up that the movie achieved until then.
There could be more character development apart from the ale quaffing kind and his daughter everyone else is just mud soaked Viking some braver than others but there’s no real emphasis on who these characters are. There’s a lot of technical and acting fails, see if you can catch modern clothes, people looking for the camera and lots of focal adjustments.
“Where’s the bloody beer”
It’s great to see the forest being used a home for monsters yet again, it’s certainly nothing new in folk horror sub genre, it happens time and time again but the strength of Draug is firstly with its approach of there being some peace between the religious and pagan people, and then in it’s bitter ending. Engman and Persson make a bold leap into the European fairytale narrative where there are no happy endings. There’s a lot to admire with the approach to feminine strength Nanna has to make some difficult choices, finding her a dark secret within her bloodline is something the film is set up to do from the beginning but the implications are so very damning. Draug is surely one that needs to be seen to encompass modern folk horror but it’s a movie which feels challenged by its own storytelling, it wants to be a dark nightmare but it’s a slightly confusing one at best.
Related: The Witch (2015), Hagasuzza (2017), Sauna (2008),The Ritual (2017), Wolfhound (2006) Lists: Folk Horror, A Witch in the Woods Trailer
Set in Humboldt County, California, and filmed over 5 days, a film now commonly known as the Blairquatch Project emerges from the forest to (not) wow it’s audience with the adventures of a Bigfoot enthusiast who drags his girlfriend into the wild to hunt bigfoot for his birthday treat. Continue reading Willow Creek (2013)→
Director: Joe Begos Starring: Graham Skipper, Josh Ethier, Vanessa Leigh. USA. 1h 20m
For the most part Almost Human has a lot of connections with comedic scifi horror, Altered (2006), and ultimately feels like a blood splattered version of the classic Fire in the Sky (1993) but this indie thriller is way more serious and writhes with brutally dark violence and gore once it builds momentum. Continue reading Almost Human (2013)→
This creepy found footage movie is more homemade than handmade, but delivers an interesting investigation but does it bring anything new to the genre?
Opening with a Birdemic grade intro after a camera lands on the doormat of the local police station the film is put together and replayed for the officers.
A couple of Uni hopefuls, Elliott Mooney (student number 06852105) and Jake Mcintyre (student number 05437921) to be precise, are making a documentary about a terrible crime that happened near their university, back in 2006, a man was found brutally murdered, another man “disappeared” in a case known as the Ribbesford Woods Murders. Sally Edwards was sent down for the murder but over the years a local legend has sprung up about wild beast stalking the forest. With a feverish interest and tons of energy the duo rush to start filming footage for their final degree piece. Continue reading Devils Familiar (2020)→