It’s human nature to want to categorize anything and everything so that it fits into a nice little box. When it comes to film genres, this can be both helpful and incredibly frustrating. Who is to say what’s horror and what’s not horror? What one person might consider a “slasher”, someone else might consider “revenge torture porn”, while there’s always someone willing to call it a “psychological thriller”. When a movie like A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is described as an Iranian vampire western, there will be a lot of people who understandably, but incorrectly, assume that it will be a horror movie. Yes, there’s a vampire, and yes, there are a handful of violent scenes, but to call it a horror movie would be pigeonholing it and forces someone to compare it to things that are more true to the horror genre. The same can be said of Ana Lily Amirpour, who I’ve seen described as a “female filmmaker” as opposed to, oh I don’t know, just a “filmmaker” and leaving it at that. If I don’t consider her film to be a horror movie, then why am I writing about it for a genre-based website? One reason is to try to change people’s opinions of the film and to deter them from approaching A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night as a traditional horror film, and another is to shine some light on an interesting filmmaker who has some heavy genre influences so it will put Amirpour on your radar. READ MORE
Man, I’m way behind on our Sundance covering and about to do some early spring cleaning.
Here we have Ryan Daley’s thoughts on Jim Jarmusch’s indie vampire film, Only Lovers Left Alive, releasing April 11 via Sony Pictures Classic.
“With its meandering tracking shots, laconic montages, and random guitar fetishism, Only Lovers Left Alive is the obvious brainchild of its writer/director, Jim Jarmusch, as eccentric a filmmaker to ever hold a camera,” explains Daley in his review.
“It’s best to walk into Only Lovers Left Alive knowing what you’re in for and willing to submit entirely. The plot is a mere whisper. There’s some conflict, but it’s minimal. But there’s music. And mood. And romance. Jarmusch’s film is like a low, gravelly conversation overheard between two old souls late in the night. Sometimes it’s nice to just spend a quiet evening with an old eccentric friend.”
Click the title for the entire review. READ MORE
Hailed as the first Iranian Vampire Western, Ryan Daley was not a fan of the black and white A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, which premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
“I realize A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is an entry in a category of experimental films, but even experimental films are required to keep the audience engaged in some way or another” explains Daley in his review.
“Perhaps most disappointing is A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night‘s maddeningly unexploited potential. Shot in a evocative black and white, it looks and feels like a vampire movie. A good one. Vand is excellent as ‘The Girl’, putting out a vibe equal parts seductive innocence and knowing menace. With a few more plot points and tighter pacing, Amirpour’s creative endeavor might have earned a rightful place alongside bleak vampire think-pieces like Martin or Midnight Son.”
Click the title for the entire review. Watch for distro news as it comes in. READ MORE
We just now landed the official Sundance Film Festival one-sheet for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, allegedly the first Iranian Vampire Western.
“Strange things are afoot in Bad City. The Iranian ghost town, home to prostitutes, junkies, pimps and other sordid souls, is a bastion of depravity and hopelessness where a lonely vampire stalks its most unsavory inhabitants. But when boy meets girl, an unusual love story begins to blossom… blood red.”
Ana Lily Amirpour’s film stars Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Dominic Rains, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnó and Milad Eghbali. READ MORE
From The Ruins director Carter Smith, Bloody Disgusting has your first look at a clip and official Sundance Film Festival poster for Jamie Marks Is Dead.
In the film starring Cameron Monaghan, Noah Silver, Morgan Saylor, Judy Greer, Madisen Beaty and Liv Tyler, no one seemed to care about Jamie Marks until after his death. Hoping to find the love and friendship he never had in life, Jamie’s ghost visits former classmate Adam McCormick, drawing him into the bleak world between the living and the dead.
Bloody’s Ryan Daley caught the film’s premiere only to leave annoyed by its angst. “Adopting the deliberate, melancholy pace that is a cornerstone of the proud Sundance tradition, Jamie Marks Is Dead wants desperately to be River’s Edge. So bad. In fact, it would probably settle for dinner and drinks with River’s Edge, followed by weepy sex and an in-bed discussion of moody cinematography and teen angst.”
Bummer. Still, I’m curious to see the film once it’s acquired out of the fest. Check out the poster and clip below. READ MORE
One of the most anticipated films at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival is Killers, which pits two psychopaths battling for supremacy. After World Premiering in the “Park City at Midnight” section, Go USA Entertainment acquired the film for release later this year!
Below you can watch the extended trailer for the film directed by The Mo Brothers, who helmed the Bloody Disgusting Selects title Macabre. Timo Tjahjanto co-directed “Safe Haven” in V/H/S/2!
In the film, “Two serial killers post their violent crimes online in a psychotic battle for notoriety. It soon becomes clear that they will square off with one another face to face.”
The thriller stars Kazuki Kitamura, Oka Antara, Rin Takanashi, Luna Maya and Ray Sahetapy. READ MORE
ScreenDaily reports that Icon Film Distribution, which re-launched last autumn with the backing of New Sparta, has announced its comeback slate of seven titles for UK distribution.
Acclaimed Sundance horror The Babadook (trailer below), the directorial debut of writer/director Jennifer Kent starring Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall and Noah Wiseman follows a single mother struggling to cope with her seven-year-old son’s feral temperament. eOne handled sales.
Director Adam Wingard’s thriller The Guest (pictured), sold by HanWay, stars Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens in the story of a family that befriends a man who is not what he claims to be.
Jim Mickle’s thriller Cold in July, acquired from Memento, charts the stories of two fathers pitted against each other in revenge who must band together to uncover a darker truth. Dexter’s Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson star. READ MORE
Jim Jarmusch‘sOnly Lovers Left Alive––a sultry vampire movie in the tradition of The Hunger––is front-loaded with a killer cast. Tom Hiddleston (Thor) is Adam, a centuries-old vampire rocker, living as a Detroit recluse and growing increasingly depressed. Tilda Swinton is Eve, his longtime girlfriend, currently living in Tangiers––one hell of a long-distance relationship. Soon, Adam’s depression runs so deep, he special orders a wooden .38 bullet with thoughts of suicide, and Eve is compelled to fly to Detroit to help him through the darkness. READ MORE
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was featured as part of the 2014 Sundance Film’s Festival’s NEXT slate, a category which claims to celebrate “an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling”. Then why did the movie’s story seem so poorly told? Writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour’s starkly photographed vampire tale crosses the line between languorous and plodding, building up rich veins of mood that are wasted with pretentious pacing that kills any consistency of tone. I realize A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is an entry in a category of experimental films, but even experimental films are required to keep the audience engaged in some way or another. READ MORE
After directing Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters for Paramount Pictures, Tommy Wirkola returned to his roots – and the Sundance Film Festival – with a sequel to his zombie splatterfest that left Ryan Daley soaked in blood.
In Dead now 2: Dead V.s Red, the new film follows the sole survivor of a Nazi zombie attack who battles an even larger army of Zombies with the help of the Zombie Squad, a professional gang of zombie killers from the US.
In Daley’s review he explains that Dead Snow 2 is “a sequel that’s even bigger and badder than the original, an undead smackdown that generated enough audience jeers and cheers to rival early Peter Jackson.”
“Dead Snow 2 is Dead Alive redux,” he adds, “a textbook example of a talented director using extreme violence as a cathartic safety valve.
“Grab the popcorn and a barf bag and prepare to giggle your ass off.”
Click either link above for the entire review. READ MORE
Nazi zombies versus Russian zombies. I mean, with Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, either you’re on board or you aren’t, you know? Director Tommy Wirkola returns to Sundance with a sequel that’s even bigger and badder than the original, an undead smackdown that generated enough audience jeers and cheers to rival early Peter Jackson.
Beginning with a slick recap of the first film, Dead Snow 2 dives right back into the action with Martin (Vegar Hoel)––now missing an arm and on the run from Nazi undead––fleeing the zombies in a totally rad pre-credits car chase. Waking up in a hospital post-chase, Martin is stunned to discover that the doctors have reattached his arm. Well, not his arm. Rather, the arm of Colonel Herzog, the Nazi zombie commander. READ MORE
Carter Smith’s The Ruins is beyond underrated, and for whatever reason was crucified by critics during its 2008 theatrical campaign.
Smith’s been quiet after Paramount’s release, secretly filming a new genre film that would premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this past weekend.
Starring Cameron Monaghan, Noah Silver, Morgan Saylor, Judy Greer, Madisen Beaty and even The Strangers‘ Liv Tyler, Jamie Marks Is Dead follows a ghost named Jamie who visits a former classmate, drawing him into the bleak world between the living and the dead.
Daley caught the film’s premiere only to leave annoyed by its angst. “Adopting the deliberate, melancholy pace that is a cornerstone of the proud Sundance tradition, Jamie Marks Is Dead wants desperately to be River’s Edge. So bad. In fact, it would probably settle for dinner and drinks with River’s Edge, followed by weepy sex and an in-bed discussion of moody cinematography and teen angst.
“There’s a super deep metaphor lurking somewhere in Jamie Marks Is Dead, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what it was,” he adds speaking to the film’s lack of focus and clarity. “Frankly, I have no idea what the point of [the film] was. Too bad, considering how arduous the journey was.”
Click the title for the entire review. READ MORE
Although not heavy genre, Ryan Daley caught the world premiere of William Eubank’s The Signal at the ongoing Sundance Film Festival.
Starring “Bates Motel’s” Olivia Cooke and “Hannibal’s” Laurence Fishburne, the pic is about group of college students are lured to the middle of the desert by a hacker.
“What begins as a techno-thriller about the pursuit of an elusive computer hacker takes a surprising turn into hardcore sci-fi territory,” Daley explains in his review before adding that “there’s also a surprisingly moving human element, and Eubank skillfully manipulates the tone to achieve the best possible result.”
You can read his entire review by clicking the above links. Watch for U.S. distro news as it’s announced. READ MORE
The boogeyman is coming…
The Australian children’s horror tale The Babadook has been acquired out of the Sundance Film Festival by IFC Midnight for release via VOD and limited theaters later this year.
Ryan Daley seemed to really enjoy the flick (read his review), while other reviews out of the fest also have a lot of positive words to share.
Check out the trailer below. READ MORE
What begins as a techno-thriller about the pursuit of an elusive computer hacker takes a surprising turn into hardcore sci-fi territory in co-writer/director William Eubank’s The Signal. The first act begins with a trio of friends taking a road trip to California. When Nick (Brenton Thwaites) and Jonah (Beau Knapp) discover a signal leading to Nomad, their computer hacker arch-nemesis, they decide to take a detour through Nevada to catch his wily ass. Nick’s girlfriend Hailey (Olivia Cooke) isn’t on board with the idea, but the two guys are determined to get revenge for some shenanigans Nomad pulled back when they were students at MIT.
Following “the signal” into rural Nevada and down a dirt road, the friends arrive at a decrepit shack deep in the woods. Director Eubank breaks out the Blair Witch Camera Kit for Nick and Jonah’s exploration of the shack, a scene as tense and eerie as any horror movie. When the boys hear Hailey’s screams coming from their parked car, they rush outside…only to watch in awe as her body is jerked up into the sky like a rag doll. And suddenly The Signal has turned into a different type of movie altogether. READ MORE
A24 is hot on the trail of its third film acquisition of the Sundance Film Festival as Deadline reports that the label is near a deal for U.S. rights to Life After Beth, the Jeff Baena written and directed comedy that stars Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Dan DeHaan, Paul Reiser, and Anna Kendrick.
This is going down as part of a deal for international territories that will bring the price to around $3.5 million for all the deals.
The pic is about, “Zach is devastated by the unexpected death of his girlfriend, Beth. When she mysteriously returns, he gets a second chance at love. Soon his whole world turns upside down…” READ MORE
Adopting the deliberate, melancholy pace that is a cornerstone of the proud Sundance tradition, Jamie Marks Is Dead wants desperately to be River’s Edge. So bad. In fact, it would probably settle for dinner and drinks with River’s Edge, followed by weepy sex and an in-bed discussion of moody cinematography and teen angst.
Jamie Marks is (spoiler alert) dead, his battered body found on a rocky stream bed. As Jamie wasn’t popular in high school, but rather the frequent target of urinating bullies, the student body isn’t necessarily devastated by the loss. The only two people who seem to care are Adam (Cameron Monaghan), a kind-hearted jock, and Gracie (Morgan Saylor; Dana from Homeland), a vodka-swilling rich girl who collects rocks and flares her nostrils a lot. READ MORE
A decade after Saw premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, writer/star Leigh Whannell returns with his latest genre offering, Cooties, a horror flick about a school overtaken with kiddie zombies.
Bloody Disgusting’s Ryan Daley was at the premiere, returning with a mixed review that bends more towards the positive spectrum explaining that the film carries some cult classic-worthy scenes.
“Cooties has got plenty to offer––a few of its scenes are destined to go down as cult classics,” Daley says in his review. “But frustratingly, Milott and Murnion repeatedly follow up a hysterical scene with an incredibly bland one.
He adds: “In Cooties, the horror works, the comedy works, but all that drama keeps getting in the way.”
In the film starring Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson and Leigh Whannell, a mysterious virus hits a small Illinois town, affecting only the prepubescent population, transforming them into violent, feral little monsters. The virus centralizes in the town’s elementary school, and quickly the infected students have the teaching staff under siege, acting out deadly revenge fantasies with an eerie sense of childlike glee. Finally, the teachers band together, led by a hapless substitute who grew up in the town, realizing they must do the unthinkable if they hope to survive. READ MORE
Cooties, a horror/comedy from Saw creator Leigh Whannell, is scatter-shot with enough top-notch moments to almost make you forget that the movie as a whole isn’t nearly as good as it could have been. The high-concept premise has a motley cast of Junior High teachers fighting back against a hoard of zombified tweeners that has infected the school. Directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion run with the premise, resulting in a pleasantly diverting genre exercise that can’t quite take full advantage of its eclectic cast.
Elijah Wood stars is a substitute teacher at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Rainn Wilson, flaunting a handlebar mustache and buttloads of attitude, is an alpha male gym teacher. The reliably adorable Alison Pill plays Wood’s potential love interest. Jorge Garcia, Jack Brayer, and a severely under-utilized Nasim Padrad round out the cast. Most of the players get their moments to shine, but some obvious padding in the second act makes one wonder if the filmmakers knew where their bread was buttered. All of the actors seem game for anything. At first glance, Cooties has the potential to be the next Shaun of the Dead…but it can’t quite get there.
Don’t get me wrong, Cooties has got plenty to offer––a few of its scenes are destined to go down as cult classics. But frustratingly, Milott and Murnion repeatedly follow up a hysterical scene with an incredibly bland one. The horror aspect takes a backseat for entire chunks of the film, and rather than focus on the stronger comedy elements, the filmmakers kill screen time with tedious melodrama. In Cooties, the horror works, the comedy works, but all that drama keeps getting in the way.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Tommy Wirkola’s Dead Snow, but I’ll be damned if I’m not excited for Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead, which just premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Check out this brand new English-subbed trailer featuring a literal a bomb of gore. And as a quick update, THR reports that Well Go USA Entertainment as nabbed U.S. rights. Watch for release news as it comes in.
“The gruesome Nazi Zombies are back to finish their mission, but our hero is not willing to die. He is gathering his own army to give them a final fight”
The film is a sequel to Tommy Wirkola’s Sundance hit Dead Snow, which got him the Hollywood gig Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters.
Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Martin Starr, Ørjan Gamst, Monica Haas, and Jocelyn DeBoer star. READ MORE
There was quite a bit of the Boogeyman in the news yesterday, with the release of the art and trailer for The Babadook.
The creature from under the bed and in the closet took Sundance by storm, allegedly scaring the living shit out of the audience.
Ryan Daley was on hand at one of the screenings, and was impressed as well by Jennifer Kent’s supernatural horror.
“One part boogeyman movie, one part creepy kid movie, and one part Mario Bava homage, The Babadook is like a simple, gap-toothed jack-o-lantern––it has enough love for the horror genre to earn our respect, even if it lacks originality,” says Daley in his review. You can read his entire thoughts by clicking the aforementioned links. READ MORE
The unanimous praise coming out of the Sundance Film Festival is that Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s The Guest is an 80′s homage to classic Cannon films.
Ryan Daley writes in from the ongoing film festival seconding the hype for the flick starring Dan Stevens as an ex-Marine who returns from a tour of duty a changed man and terrorizes a military family whose eldest son recently died.
From the team behind You’re Next, V/H/S, V/H/S/2 and A Horrible Way to Die, Daley raves about the film in his review: “As a straight-up action picture, The Guest is a undeniable success. The crunchy fight scenes are filmed with a confident finesse that highlights Wingard’s progression as an action filmmaker, his reliance on slurpy sound effects notwithstanding. The entire picture sports the quaint, old-school charm of revenge classics like Pale Rider and Walking Tall.” READ MORE
Jim Mickle is becoming a genre icon, having directed Mulberry Street, Stake Land and We Are What We Are.
His latest offering just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and was quickly snatched up by IFC Midnight.
“Hall plays a small town Texas man who kills a home intruder and finds his life unraveling into a dark underworld of corruption and violence when the dead man’s father insists on eye for an eye justice.”
The film premiered last Saturday in the Library Theater, in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. READ MORE
One of the most talked about films out of the Sundance Film Festival is the Australian children’s horror tale The Babadook, which will be released by Entertainment One international.
This morning we shared the trailer for the Boogeyman horror flick that’s scaring the living heck out of audiences, now we have the film’s festival poster that leaves the imprint of said Boogeyman.