Mom and Dad (2017, USA)

Mom and Dad (2017)

“We love you more than anything in the world, but sometimes…” Mom and Dad is the new feature written and directed by Brian Taylor. It proves to be a kinetic, pitch-black horror-comedy – a gleefully wicked story propelled by some crazed characters.

The story develops at a ripping pace and director Taylor and the principal players appear to have a lot of fun with the disturbing premise and the savage lunacy. Despite their violent inclinations, we never really doubt that these parents still love their kids in some bizarrely distorted way.

“Sometimes, they just want to kill you.”



The Shape of Water (2017, USA)

The Shape of Water (2017, USA)

Gaining accolades at film festivals around the world, The Shape of Water, Guillermo Del Toro’s latest feature, is part tribute, part pastiche, of the post-war monster movie. In his recent talk at the London Film Festival, Mr. del Toro affirmed: “Monsters are evangelical creatures for me. When I was a kid, monsters made me feel that I could fit somewhere, even if it was…an imaginary place where the grotesque and the abnormal were celebrated and accepted.”

“Unable to perceive the shape of you, I find you all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with your love. It humbles my heart, for you are everywhere.”



The Gate (1987, Canada / USA) Vestron Video Blu-ray Review

The Gate (1987) Vestron Video

No one can dispute that Tibor Takács’ 1987 Canadian horror film The Gate is a cult – kid-friendly – horror classic. Growing up during the late 1980s and 90s, a fair amount of my spare time was spent watching the countless movies my parents had recorded off cable TV onto long play VHS tapes. We had stacks of them – mostly horror – which I would work my way through each one every weekend; discovering what would become all-time favourites, such as The Evil Dead. It was through these tapes that I discovered The Gate.

“They have opened the gate. Pray it’s not too late.”



Super Dark Times (2017, USA)

Super Dark Times (2017)

Sometimes in film, a mood or feeling transcends the writing, itself. Kevin Philips’ debut feature, Super Dark Times is one of those films. The overall moodiness and aura of this teenage drama/horror film creates a skin-crawling dread that stuck with me long after viewing it. Super Dark Times is a teenage drama film that feels closer to horror at many points, and because of this, may scare off some fans of either genre. It is also extremely well-crafted and wonderfully moody, which is why it is a film that should definitely not be overlooked.

“If anybody asks, we’re already fucked.”


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Beyond Skyline (2017, USA) Signature DVD Review

Beyond Skyline (2017)

Released in 2017, seven years after it’s predecessor Skyline, the aptly titled Beyond Skyline sees Liam O’Donnell take over the directorial reigns from Greg and Colin Strause, in his directional debut.

Beyond Skyline was unwarranted. It is a sequel no one expected, and perhaps, a sequel no one wanted. Even as someone that appreciated the first movie, Beyond Skyline went beyond (pun intended) my expectations entirely. It works because it is so wild…so out there… Beyond Skyline is an experience.

“Survive? We did a hell of a lot more than survive… We evolved.”



Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010, Finland / Norway / France / Sweden)

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

Sometimes during the holiday season, the same nine or ten Christmas movies that appear on television can get quite stale. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale has a very different take on a Santa Claus than your typical holiday film, VERY different. As the film’s young protagonist Pietari says, “The Coca-Cola Santa is just a hoax.” In this movie, being on Santa’s naughty list gets you a far more severe punishment than just a lump of coal in your stocking.

I watched this film on a whim and was pleasantly surprised.

“This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus.”



Trick ‘r Treat (2007, USA)

Trick 'r Treat (2007)

Michael Dougherty’s horror anthology is a Halloween classic that no fan should miss. The film is an anthology composed of four interconnected tales that are all brilliantly shot and suitably scary.

The fact that this film is not derivative in any manner is a near miracle. Each story has a life of its own and fits together seamlessly with the next. The scares, dark comedy and bloody violence are well balanced and I can see watching Trick ‘r Treat each Halloween…

“If you don’t follow the rules tonight, you won’t live to see tomorrow.”



Saturday the 14th (1981, USA)

Saturday the 14th (1981)

Released just one year after 1980’s Friday the 13th, Saturday the 14th attempts to spoof the horror genre; taking reference from ‘haunted house’ tropes of films like The Changeling (1980), and classic Universal monster movies like Dracula (1931) and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), rather than from the slasher sub-genre itself.

Unfortunately Saturday the 14th’s humour feels like it should be more zany, and more madcap than it actually is. Most jokes fall flat against deadpan performances and uninspired direction from Howard R. Cohen.

“Just when you thought it was safe to look at the calendar again.”



The Blair Witch Project (1999, USA)

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Blair Witch Project is ‘The Cardiff Giant’ of modern horror films. The film employed the now common trope of “found footage” to give an authentic and haunting atmosphere to the story. The movie was also one of the first to use the internet to reinforce the found footage concept, going so far as to hire actors to pose as policemen for interviews and post pictures of artifacts found at the crime scene.

“In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary… A year later their footage was found.”



Split (2016, USA)

Split (2016)

Split is a grindhouse film in disguise, particularly repulsive for the cavalier way it blames women for the degeneracy of McAvoy’s character.

What makes Split so frustrating is that it could have been Shyalaman’s best film. Visually the film is perfect and the sound strikes the right balance between serene and scary, much like a Hitchcock film. The tension is palpable in the psychiatrist’s scenes, and the gripping terror of the girls is captured perfectly as their predicament grows worse.

“An individual with multiple personalities can change their body chemistry with their thoughts.”



It Comes at Night (2017, USA)

It Comes at Night (2017)

Deceptively titled and oddly mis-marketed as a horror movie, Trey Edward Shults’s second feature It Comes at Night, might much more appropriately be viewed as a ‘post-apocalyptic psychological family drama’.

I’m often loath to place a movie under a genre classification, because certain movies might straddle several genres and don’t easily fit into pigeonholes.

However, if you go to see It Comes at Night expecting a conventional horror film, you will be disappointed… or perhaps you’ll be surprised.

“You can’t trust anyone but family.”



The Return of the Living Dead (1985, USA)

The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

The attempt to combine humor and horror is a dicey proposition at best, which makes this film all the more extraordinary. The Return of the Living Dead weaves the two genre together seamlessly, each one complimenting the other. The screenplay and cast are perfect, with the always reliable Clu Gallagher holding the action together. A group of attractive young people plays their roles with a combination of believable finesse, terror and hormonal fever interspersed with slapstick style hysteria. Any movie with Linnea Quigley as part of the cast certainly is headed in the right direction.

“They’re back from the grave and ready to party!”