Director: Ryan Prows Starring:Nicki Micheaux, Ricardo Adam Zarate, Jon Oswald, Shaye Ogbonna, Santana Dempsey, Mark Burnham USA. 1h 36m
From the unusual opening and until it’s bitter ending, everything about Lowlife blew me away! It’s a slow amble through the seedy side of Los Angles, connecting 3 reprobate lives together as they struggle against the same foe but for very different reasons. For some it might take some time to get into the aesthetic and bat shit crazy characters, but don’t fight it just go with the flow and the movie will take you places…. Places you might not want to go..
Lowlife works as a disjointed homage to a few lively characters who each deserve some sort of Folk Hero status. Jumping around through the timeline incorporates each person deeper into it’s whirlwind plot, a black motel keeper Crystal (Micheaux) who’s an ex addict and her drunken partner, a man on the verge of giving up on life but who needs an emergency kidney transplant. Then there’s a sly gangster Teddy ‘Bear’ Haynes (Burnham) who runs a violent gang profiting from immigrants organs, the kinda guy who’s legendary amongst the worst f the worst on the streets and his loveable henchman ,El Monstruo (Zarate) who’s on a mission to protect his heavily pregnant wife Kaylee (also an addict). But the stand out are a couple of best friends Keith (Ogbonna) and Randy (Oswald) a couple of cons whose brotherly bond is spun into contention over Randy’s unusual prison tattoo.
Director: Curtis Hanson Starring: Annabella Sciorra, Rebecca De Mornay, Matt McCoy, Ernie Hudson, Julianne Moore, John de Lancie. USA. 1h 50m
After his humble beginnings with 70’s trashy slashers, Curtis Hanson slowly edged his style from layering blood and gore on young people, into something a little more grown up and psychotically sophisticated. Sometimes with a light or heavy edge of noir, his ability to write an engrossing story around a terrifying theme saw the seduction in The Bedroom Window (1987) he then amped up to his two most intense psychotic characters, first Alex (Rob Lowe) in his hard edged Bad Influence (1990) and then two years later he brought a similar, equally deranged and controlling, feminine character to the plate in, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle showing that hell hath no fury as a woman scorned. Continue reading The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)→
Director: Sean Tretta Starring: Patti Tindall, Mike Marsh, Davina Joy .USA. 1h 47m
An impressive Ghost Hunter is paid to conduct a paranormal investigation of a supposedly haunted home. While she’s accomplished, the patron has insisted a small team work with her including a cameraman and local reporter, then a spiritual advocate from the church turns up, an afterthought but she’s essential to keep balance. Continue reading Death of a Ghost Hunter (2007)→
Director: Brannon Braga Starring: Britt Robertson, Freda Foh Shen, Nicholas Campbell, Anna Friel, Rafi Gavron, Yul Vazquez, Andy McQueen .USA. 1h 47m
It’s been a while since we had a “proper” Clive Barker story ripped from it’s pages and cast on the silver screen. The first handful of movies really blew audiences away, as Clive’s ever watchful eye was able to help redefine his torturous visions from paper to, over the years his involvement dropped off as he was almost excluded from helping future directors and the interest in his adaptations dropped (who would have guessed?) as the unique Barkeresque touch was lost and the films began in blend in with everything else.
I’ve never understood how having the author’s input would ever be cast aside, but Clive is back and writing new material resulting in an extremely better adaptation of the Books of Blood that put the earlier 2009 version to great shame.
Director: Ari Aster Starring:Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, Ellora Torchia, Archie Madekwe, Will Poulter . USA/Sweden. 2h 18m
Ari Aster has a bone to pick with our perceptions of folklore and his method is to scare and intrigue us by old practices which somehow feel familiar to us but also keep us up at night. By his own admission, his own personal demons and fear of germs helped centre him as the central character, something which might have spurred on his need to move away from horror, he loves musicals and rom coms, who’d have thunk it? Despite his love of folky cult themed horrors, he does have a great eye for colour and dramatics, so maybe his distinctive style will happily manifest in other dramatic and loud ways, but I don’t doubt for a second that whatever he dreams up next will be unmistakably Asterish. Continue reading Midsommar (2019)→
Director: Michael Medaglia Starring: Sean McGrath, Anne Sorce, Denise Poirier .USA. 1h 19m
I’m starting to get a feel for Uncork’d Entertainment, they champion the lower budget productions but there is a certain je ne sai qoui, a little element of the risque within each of them, the first one that caught my eye was the romp in the woods with a oily pagan deity in Clawed it was labored at times but provided an interesting viewpoint, the last gem was Dead by Dawn (2020) set in a holiday home in the wilderness, but with a very different cabin siege feel about it, however not as many axe wielding psycho’s as the cover may have suggest, it remains an original story blended with some talent however the effects budget was really spared, but I found a lot of charm in the vicious cabin in the woods thriller. But each movie seems to have an edge of brilliance but without a lavish budget to back it, however they remain really watchable and I’m thrilled to see the numbers growing. Continue reading Deep Dark (2015)→
Frederick Leonard stars as a man who has it all, and this puts him in the front running and he’s hit on daily by many beautiful women, but he’s an honourable man and only has eyes for his darling wife Cindy (Adelana).
His overbearing mother is intent on ending his marriage and for him to marry a girl that she chooses, seeing the current union as going against her will and therefore null and void, she spends her waking hours, actively running schemes behind their backs to shroud their marriage in doubt and fear, and doesn’t think twice about telling Cindy that she would like to see her dead… charming! Continue reading My Wife My Life (2020)→
Director: Lynne Ramsay Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Anna Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandrro Nivola .USA. 1h 35m Writer : You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames.
Sometimes simple is best, and there’s not a lot of pfaffing around in Lynne Ramsay’s hypnotic and sometimes deeply savage drama that follows a few days in the life of a volatile man who lives to protect women. The Scottish director returns from her disturbing cult classic from 2011 We Need to Talk About Kevin, with an equally challenging movie. Ramsay’s ability to tell a straightforward story with incredible backstories, undercurrents that twist and turn really enforces her powerful approach to storytelling.
Joe (Phoenix) is deadly to everyone around them and possibly himself, by day he spends his time comforting his charming mother (Roberts) and being a wonderful upbeat son, there are signs of something more disturbing lingering somewhere behind his cold stare he suffocates himself for kicks when alone in his room and plays with knives in a Damoclesian fashion. When night falls, Joe spends this time smacking bad guys with hammers and rescuing damsels in distress. After picking up a job from a desperate senator, searching for his daughter (Nivola) Joe finds himself tangled in a web of conspiracy and danger, while things spin wildly out of control he might just get his wish for death fulfilled. Continue reading You Were Never Really Here (2017)→
Director: Elliott Goldner. Starring. Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill, Aidan McArdle, Lee Arnold, Patrick Godfrey. UK. 1h 29m.
There are some strange going on in Elliott Goldner’s dark found footage horror set in the beautiful rural Devon landscape. After a miracle at a small church close to being closed down, a team of Vatican expert investigators and a plucky technician head out to prove or disprove the supernatural activity only to discover the truth is harder to believe than the miracle.
Goldner successfully sets up a plausible reason for the cameras and maintains a really good combination of shaky and static cam set up. Starting in South America the camera follows the authorities barging into an abandoned church, Brother Deacon (Kennedy) is screaming into the phone that everyone is missing as the cops find hidden microphones and equipment, it’s an obvious religious scam, “get that camera out of my face” fade to black. Continue reading Borderlands \ Final Prayer (2013)→
Director: Sean Cain Starring: Drew Lindsey Mitchell, Kelcey Watson, Jamie Bernadette, Bo Borroughs, Timothy Muskatell .USA. 1h 15m
I’ve been dying to call this my first zombieless zombie movie! As it has everything lined up to be just that but instead it’s an indie cabin under siege adventure, it doesn’t pack a hard punch but it’s brilliantly accomplished movie with some questionable acting but full on heart and that makes it incredibly watchable.
Sean Cain has wonderful titles under his belt including Jurassic City (2015), Eruption LA (2018) and Terror Birds (2016), but stepping away from crazy apocalyptic b movie trash with an attempt to deliver a credible thriller and he’s really worked hard on a less than convincing plot but a brilliantly entertaining cabin in the wood thriller with a few poignant messages. Continue reading Dead By Dawn (2020)→