What would you do to bring someone back from the dead? It’s a question at the heart of many horror movies and the characters often go a step too far to accomplish this goal. With Anything for Jackson, grandparents Audrey and Henry Walsh (Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings) go too far in the first five minutes and just dig a deeper hole as the film goes on. Their grandson is dead; the result of a terrible accident, and desperate to bring him back to life, they kidnap a pregnant woman named Shannon (Konstantina Mantelos).
“You can’t indict the cosmos,” a grave-faced cop (Ron Canada) declares about halfway through The Empty Man. No, no you really can’t. But boy, does lead character James Lasombra (James Badge Dale) put up a damn fight. The sense of hopelessness in this film is comparable to films like Aliens simply because of how relentless it is and despite a few problems, we are pulled in to a story where instead of Xenomorphs, characters face a more theological adversary and folk tale that messes with people's minds rather than their lower intestines.
Meet John (Jim Cummings). He’s an officer in a small Utah town, investigating a series of grisly murders. Oh, and he’s an alcoholic. Our first introduction to him in The Wolf of Snow Hollow is at an AA meeting, minutes after the film opens with a woman brutally murdered during a getaway with her boyfriend. John’s out to prove himself, solve the murder, and pull his life together, including his strained relationship with his daughter, Jenna (Chloe East). At the center of this werewolf movie is a family drama with a heavy dose of comedy. In turn, The Wolf of Snow Hollow is one of the most innovative and unique werewolf flicks since Ginger Snaps (2000) and one of the best horror films of the year.
From the opening act to the establishment of a cop sibling, Freaky is a spiritual cousin of Scream that delivers what it promises. A “small town” known as Blissfield has a killer problem when a sadistic jerk (Vince Vaughn) goes around killing teenagers left and right in overly brutal ways that are sure to get the bloodhounds howling. But his reign of terror takes a detour when he accidentally switches bodies with awkward blonde teen Millie (Kathryn Newton). It’s Freaky Friday with a horror skin that, while not really scary, is downright funny and a little bit touching.
Sometimes, we wish we could go back and relive a particular moment in our lives. Either because we were embarrassed or to have unseen knowledge. Antebellum did not have that kindness in mind for Veronica Henley (portrayed by Janelle Monae): a successful author forced to relive her ancestors’ struggles and hardships as a plantation slave. You know, the “normal” stuff. A name change, forgetting where you came from, and no talking. This twisted Thriller hits you with scary, harsh realities that address current societal issues.
Many tales of possession, transformation, and replication of the human form have graced the screen for decades. Prime examples of this would be William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers helmed by Don Siegel in 1958, Philip Kaufman in 1978, and Abel Ferrara in 1993. These films, despite their differences, have one thing in common, the desecration of one’s own identity at the expense of the fragile flesh that is the human body.
Since the beginning of the recent pandemic, we have seen a surge in food deliveries and takeout orders. Stressed out and hungry, more people are turning to takeout and delivery rather than face the prospect of cooking yet another meal. If you’re one of the many people that has found themselves ordering takeout or delivery a little too much lately, perhaps one of these scenes will scare you back into the kitchen.
Kindred isn’t a gory film. There is no masked boogeyman or supernatural monster, either. Rather, the horror comes from a family trying to control a woman’s every single move and action, including her reproductive rights. The result is a film with the type of dread that encapsulates this very moment, when women’s rights are under attack at the global level. Intentional or not, Kindred feels incredibly relevant
Nazi zombies are an easy, novelty trope that has continued to hold traction for over 75 years, and for good reason. If you want easy villains, look no further than the 20th century’s most notorious monsters. You can write them to do horrific, terrifying things, and you don’t have to worry about adding any redeeming qualities. During the heyday of the exploitation film, the trope was solidified in films such as They Saved Hitler’s Brain, Zombie Lake, and the definitive Shock Waves. Of course, the trope has seen a resurgence in the last decade thanks to popular video game franchises like Call of Duty and Wolfenstein. Most recently, the Nazi Zombie trope has had its most mainstream undertaking with 2018’s Overlord, directed by newcomer, Julius Avery, and more notably, produced by J.J. Abrams.
Experimental and uneven, Shortcut is one of those films that keeps hitting bumps just as
it reaches smoother roads. To be sure, the parts that work, really work, with some impressive cinematography by and characters that have a few quirks tucked away. However, at only an hour and a half, the movie is both too short, and too long. What we’re left with is a shell for a much better film.