Tag Archives: slasher movies

Movie Review: Hush

Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel create weave soundless horror in Hush
© 2016 Blumhouse Productions/Intrepid Pictures

Now Hear This

To date, director Mike Flanagan has helmed two successful horror films. The first is Absentia, a poignant and absorbing yarn in the style of a creepy urban myth. The second is Oculus, a blistering fable about family dysfunction (and haunted mirrors) told in parallel timelines. For his latest film Hush, Flanagan steps off the supernatural plane, applying his visual storytelling prowess to a more straightforward suspense thriller. Straightforward it would seem anyway, but the script by Flanagan and lead actress Kate Siegel (also seen in Oculus) has just as many sneaky tricks without conjuring ghosts or other forces from beyond. Brace for old-fashioned hometown horror with some keen new ideas.

Maddie (Siegel) is a novelist caught in the chasm between publishing a successful first book and the nebulous, looming horror of penning an equally brilliant follow-up. Her main stumbling block is the ending. Early in the film she agonizes over a suitably powerful and satisfying denouement for her new story. Are you getting a prickly feeling about where this narrative might be headed?
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Shoot Me Twice: Friday The 13th

by Dan Fields

Shoot Me Twice by Fields Point Review spends the night with the four original Friday The 13th films and their 2009 remake

Gear up, campers! This week, we salute the ominous convergence of the summer holidays and a real live Friday the 13th. If you are striking out into the wild with your pack and lantern, don’t forget to throw in a snakebite kit, a guitar to ward off bad vibes, and a working knowledge of the following films. Knowing the paths to avoid may save your life. You’ll be fine, of course. Just count your tent stakes and pitchforks before going to bed. And if you were planning for a weekend of fooling around in the woods with someone special, you may want to reconsider. Abstinence and meditation might be better ways of keeping your head attached.

More prolific than Halloween or Hellraiser, or even A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th originated one of the longest-running film series in popular horror. Much credit is due to the creation of Jason Voorhees, an undisputed icon among movie killers. Another probable reason for its longevity is that among well-known movie franchises, its content is the cheapest and easiest kind to mass produce.

Friday The 13th (1980)
directed by Sean S. Cunningham

Kevin Bacon meets early doom in Friday the 13th
Six Degrees Of Mutilation! The Crystal Lake curse makes bacon of Kevin Bacon
© 1980 Paramount Pictures

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Shoot Me Twice: Black Christmas

by Dan Fields

Shoot Me Twice by Fields Point Review dials up the 1974 and 2006 versions of Black Christmas

The original Black Christmas shares 1974 with the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, preceding both Carrie (1976) and Halloween (1978) – films commonly credited with shaping horror movies as we know them today. Black Christmas seldom gets the same acknowledgment, though its structure arguably makes it more influential on the slasher genre than even Chain Saw. At very least, it gave rise to its own distinct branch of the tree. Whereas Chain Saw honed the conventions of the psycho-redneck road saga, Black Christmas made the world unsafe for sorority sisters, babysitters, camp counselors and other teenage miscreants in such milestone movies as Friday The 13th, Prom Night, and once again, John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Black Christmas (1974)
directed by Bob Clark


Classic Billy has an eye on the naughty list
© 1974 Ambassador Film Distributors

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Blu-Ray Review: The Cabin In The Woods

by Dan Fields
First published September 19, 2012 by the California Literary Review

The Cabin In The Woods (2012) Blu-Ray disc

© 2012 Lionsgate

This super-secret brainchild of screenwriters Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon came shrouded as carefully as Super 8, surrounded by many a dark rumor but giving maddeningly little away. Goddard and Whedon began laying it out during their time working on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. Then, in a blaze of energy, they cobbled the labyrinthine script together in a three-day writing session. After a close call with the bankruptcy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (their original studio), the project nearly became a lost legend. However, Lionsgate swept it up and by all accounts urged the writers to make the film exactly as they wished. Lionsgate has done a lot of good by giving such films a fighting chance, and even when they’ve turned out the odd dog, it seems that Lionsheart has been in the right place. All this took three years, and by the time the movie surfaced, some of the people involved were a lot more famous than they were while shooting this film. Chris Hemworth in particular had been picked up by Marvel for Thor, and was months away from his next Whedon-penned release, The Avengers. Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins, a very big part of this movie’s soul, had bolstered his popularity with strong supporting turns in Burn After Reading and Let Me In (still the best film of 2010, no matter what history says).

The Cabin In The Woods opened to great fanfare and a very polarized reaction. Masquerading as a standard-issue slasher (as the title suggests), it soon goes off the rails into a payoff the audience would never even think of expecting. It pays tribute to the legacy of films like Hellraiser, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween and countless others, mainly by turning the horror genre on its grisly head. This pissed a lot of people off, and to them I can only offer my condolences. For those of us who love the movie (full disclosure), we love it down to its black beating heart. Hopefully our multiple trips to the theater made up for those who warned their friends off the experience. Those sad, sad souls… Continue reading

Movie Review: The Cabin In The Woods

by Dan Fields
First published April 14, 2012 by the California Literary Review

A Grim, Giddy, Ghastly Delight

The cabin in the woods is a familiar setting to movie fans. It usually signals hard luck for a group of sexy young people who, after all, just want to get away and have some fun. It seemed unlikely that a visit to such a cabin could offer many surprises, even from a pair of writers as famously inventive as Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon. Well, guess what? They are still inventive – aggressively so – and The Cabin In The Woods has plenty of surprises in store. Continue reading

Movie Review: Haute Tension (High Tension, 2003)

I’ll come right out and say it, from up on my high horse. People owe themselves better than to let this brand of garbage insult them.

All by itself, this movie put me off Alexandre Aja’s remake of The Hills Have Eyes, and to tell the truth he’ll have to put together a pretty compelling project to get my business back.

A sparse percentage of this breed of splattery junk – the first couple of Saw movies, for example – has at least a germ of a promising concept under the terrible performances and miles of brain-dead plot twists. High Tension has not even got that. It is nasty for the sheer fun of it, governed by a singleminded lust for more and more shock value so that any interesting dimensions are left unexplored.

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