Crash Analysis: CRAWL OR DIE (2014)

Panic Time

A phobia-inducing nightmare

I was sold on CRAWL OR DIE nine months ago when I saw the trailer – the best one I’dcrawl-or-die-poster seen in twenty years. Granted, a trailer is a promise that you are going to see something worthwhile and entertaining. As we know, all too often, filmmakers fail to deliver on that promise, but not Oklahoma Ward.

A military unit is on a single-minded mission: protect the package, and get it to safety. Sounds simple, right? But in CRAWL OR DIE, it’s far from easy. Right from the beginning, we find ourselves running for our lives as the group does its best to stave off slaughter from an unseen attacker. To do so, they must go underground into the unknown, and that’s the least of their worries.

What Oklahoma Ward does best is he keeps the audience right in the action with close-up and sometimes extreme close-up camera work. This creates one of the most intimate and oppressive sci-fi horrors. We not only feel the claustrophobia the characters endure, we experience this firsthand as if we’re stuck with them. I have no problem with tight spaces, but while immersing myself in CRAWL OR DIE, I realized my breathing became labored. Twice, I gasped for air. I soon realized I needed a therapist on speed dial, with a chiropractor at the ready, as well as the promise of a hot shower to carry off the dirt and sweat.

The film stars Nicole Alonso as Tank, and what she endured while filming must have left her with dozens of bruises from crawling through one tight space into another one that was even tighter and dirtier. At times, with her gasping and near panic, I wondered if she was acting or feeling the constraint and near hopelessness of her character.

Most films suffer the second act doldrums, but this is truly where the film shines, because fear and trepidation rain down aplenty. It’s easy to watch the characters struggle, to hear them gulp for air and sweat, but there’s no doubt many in the audience will ask if they could handle such an experience.

CRAWL OR DIE could have easily been a shoot ‘em up horror, but writer/director Oklahoma Ward chose to keep us nearly trapped in ultra-close quarters, evoking what any great horror film should do – fear and suspense. The camera angles, editing, and ambient sounds add to the thematic tone. We watch and become crushed under the weight of earth and metal, under the pressure from being trapped below ground, barely able to move while something hunts us with abandon. If that isn’t enough, Tank and company (including the great filmmaker/actor David P. Baker as Sniper) must endure other hardships: lack of food, water, and medical supplies, and low ammunition, and absolutely no roadmap. They are underground, on their own, with only one option: CRAWL OR DIE.

Isolation hasn’t worked this well since 2010’s BURIED (Spain/USA/France), where we watch Ryan Reynolds wallow in a box for ninety minutes. But CRAWL OR DIE graces us with a feeling of hope, which ramps the tension and suspense because we don’t want to see it fall apart. Sure, any of the characters could have taken themselves out due to fear, but what if there is light at the end of tunnel? Maybe this is why Tank pushed on even when she knew the odds were steadfast against her.

The music is minimal, and oftentimes non-existent, and its absence only adds to the oppressive feeling. The lighting is perfect, creating little pockets of possibility in the tight knit abyss thanks to Craig Chartier and Oklahoma Ward. And for a low budget film, the special effects are wonderful.

Dive into CRAWL OR DIE just like the characters and go for the ride. An experience that will plague you long after the credits roll.

In the meantime as you wait for CRAWL OR DIE to arrive in the mail, get yourself ready with THE LAST KNOCK interview of director Oklahoma Ward and star Nicole Alonso right here: http://crashpalaceproductions.com/2013/11/13/crash-discussions-interview-crawl-bitch-crawl-director-oklahoma-ward-star-nicole-alonso/

Definitely don’t miss the most phobia-inducing horror since FINAL DESTINATION’s (USA/Canada, 2000). But where that movie left you off the hook after the first act, CRAWL OR DIE will bury you.

4 out of 5 stars

http://www.crawlordietrilogy.com/

(Photo from Starburst Magazine.)

Crash Discussions: No Exit

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Nothing works in a horror movie like isolation and hopelessness. And we’ll discuss the movies that do that best from THE THING and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, to CUBE and DAY OF THE DEAD. Embrace the fear!

Don’t forget to check us out on iTunes!

Crash Analysis Support Team: True Blood Mid-Season Rant: Do You Feel Lucky Vamp? – Guest Post from Cory Brin

We have arrived at the mid-way mark of the final season of True Blood, and the stakes True-Blood-S5have certainly been raised. See what I did there?  But are raised stakes really a good thing in this show’s send off? The way that the episodes have been playing out, I dare say, “Not so much.”

Warning, there will be spoilers following if you are not current with the show.

Leading up to this year’s premiere, the promotions posed questions such as, “Who’s safe?” and  “Who will survive?” When you couple this with the army of zombie vampires approaching Bon Temps at the end of last year’s finale, it’s easy to see that the show wanted have a conclusion dripping with action and suspense. Of course our main heroes will be in danger, but the fun will be to see what they do to overcome this new threat.

But then the advertising persisted – Facebook promos warning us that, “Everything is at stake,” and “Goodbyes are a bitch.” HBO issued bite-sized blurbs reminding us that this was the last season, and therefore nobody’s safety could be guaranteed. This year was labeled the, “Deadliest season yet,” and hash-tagged #TrueTilTheEnd.

This isn’t anything new. In a dramatic series where violent vampires are openly on the prowl, death is around every corner. This goes without saying, which makes it a little more foreboding that the advertisements were highlighting the potential demise of series favorites.  Why such the emphasis? What was their game?

Then they started dying. Tara went in the first episode, and we didn’t even see it happen.  That was a pretty lame way for a major character to go out.  Next we lost Kevin, the police officer with the slack-jawed dialect, when the Hep V vamps chose him as a midnight snack. Maxine Fortenbury, Hoyt’s over-protective mother, had her stomach ripped out when she threatened to shoot Jessica. Sadly, Alcide went down like a chump – Shot by an unseen supporter of the Anti-Supernatural Justice League. Finally, it was revealed that both poor Eric and Bill have the dreaded sickness that is killing off the vampire population.

And we’ve only hit the halfway point!

How many more will follow? Since we’ve seen them start to bring back other somewhat absent people such as Hoyt and Alcide’s father, in a “True Blood, this is your life,” styling, there is a scary chance that the show’s creators are setting up these characters just to knock them back down. There’s no telling how high the body count and bloody ooze piles will be when all is said and done.

However, what is real cause for the increased knocking off all these characters? From what we know of the plot thus far, it doesn’t seem very clear. Yes, there are the bands of Hep V vamps, but they were only responsible for two of the aforementioned kills. Plus, the A-Team seems to have already eliminated the pack that was tormenting Bon Temps.

Perhaps it’s the mounting tension between the townsfolk and their differing opinions on how to deal with the sick vampires. When citizens take the law into their own hands, there are going to be casualties. This is especially true considering these people are defending their homes and loved one. Two of those casualties were Maxine and Alcide. Though it would also seem as if this splinter group was already dispatched during the assault on Fangtasia.

But, Bon Temps is no stranger to extremely dangerous situations. This goes for humans and supernaturals alike. There have been six previous seasons where our main characters, and secondary town citizens, had to deal with a racist serial killer, a Maenad willing to make sacrifices to Dionysus, a crazed Vampire King bent on making bloodsuckers the dominate species, a Necromancer who could control vampires, and the living incarnation of the Vampire Goddess, Lilith. During all of these encounters, people have died, but they varied greatly in duration and the importance of the characters.

Now, he we are in the final season and some really well known and long lasting characters are signing off. Four important people in Bon Temps are gone after only one vampire raid, and one episode of urban unrest? When those same people survived the past six seasons? I’m about as confused as I was when nothing ever materialized from Jason’s werepanther plot.

So then, does it not seem like the sole reason for the cast list genocide is specifically the fact that the show is in its last season? Any show is of course going to add in some shockers near the end, but still, why so many? We were warned about the bloodshed, and so far they are not backing down. The season’s theme has been set and the town’s coroner will be busy…if he wasn’t already also dead.

Maybe this will all play out well, and I should just give it time. There’s a really good chance I’m jumping the gun. I want to feel like I can trust the team that is responsible for this show. But I have seen the fifth season, so this is not foolproof.

If the show continues on its murderous rampage, it will only work to destroy the legacy that it carved out for itself. True Blood has done a lot in terms of paving the way for dramatic series, special effects, and what you can do on a premium cable channel. Thank goodness it was here to show Twilight fan girls what a real vampire thriller should be.

But to adopt a mentality of being edgy and dark, only because it’s your last season, damages the show’s well-established tone. In the world of True Blood, people do die. Normally those deaths have purpose, such as advancing the plot, or evolving a character. Yet, the show has made it a point not to kill off the Bon Temps rogue’s gallery of citizens, as the town itself is the heart of the series. When everyone is together at Merlotte’s, we feel that charm that was abundant in the first season, which is what made us fall in love with the show initially.

Now, the town is in danger of being staked through said heart, even with its well-document ability to survive. Yes, the writers may be trying to establish a metaphor that the greatest danger to Bon Temps has always been Bon Temps itself, but the last season is not a great time to try this trick. When that final episode concludes, we want to believe that Bon Temps will always be there and continue to go on, even though we’ve seen the end of this particular chapter. We won’t be able to do this if the death toll continues to climb. Based on all the information we have, it seems like this is the most likely trend, with the only catalyst being that the characters are no longer needed after this season.

If this is all true, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, or at the very least seems like very weak storytelling. It would be like if all the employees got fired in the last season of The Office, or if besties started hating each other in the final installment of Friends. Could you even begin to imagine the outrage that would have followed if everyone died in the final season of Lost? These shows kept right on doing business as usual in their concluding chapters and any unique changes they made to tell engaging stories were superbly crafted and well executed.

Tara’s death wasn’t on screen. Kevin’s exit proved that the bloodthirsty vampires were bloodthirsty. Maxine’s murder may have helped bring Hoyt back into the picture, but would it have not been better to let Hoyt have a final growing moment by confronting the over-bearing matron? Alcide’s demise was the clunkiest of them all, and reeked of a slate clearing device so that Sookie would be free for Bill. Let’s be truly honest: Alcide was poorly used this entire season and his passing was more of a mercy kill.

What will this mean if a more prominent person’s number comes up? Without a need to establish a story for any future seasons, it is alarming to consider that we may lose some of our favorite characters for meaningless reasons.

I hope I’m wrong. I wish that they do have some devilish plan in place so that all of this will end well. I have my fingers crossed that need for body bags/buckets dwindles. I pray that if Eric meets the true death, that it will bring him the honor that is befit his Viking heritage. I want to believe that the scripts for the remaining episodes are sharp and purposeful.

But if the gratuitous violence on most HBO dramas in any indication, I have to ask myself one question: Do I feel lucky, punk?

Cory Brin is a Halloween enthusiast, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University, a BA in History from King’s College, and is currently working on projects for the screen, the stage, and for print. Follow him on Twitter@corybrin.

(Photo from Bloody Disgusting.)

Crash Discussions: Guilty Pleasures

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Love that little horror films that everyone else seems to hate? Then this show’s for you! We take a look at STREET TRASH and FINAL DESTINATION 5, to THE HITCHER remake and OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES and much more.

Don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes.

Crash Reports: Special Defects

Special Effects are truly something special. The makeup work from the amazing Lon snapshot20090425163256.jpgChaney in Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, or London After Midnight had audiences reeling as he set a high bar for makeup. But look at what movies like Nosferatu and Faust did for special visual effects, and especially the science fiction Metropolis. These films may have been made in the silent era, but they’re amazing to watch simply because of what they accomplished with but a handful of people and practical effects versus today’s studios and their mega-million dollar effects budgets.

The problem: Money does not equal quality.

If you watch John Carpenter’s The Thing, the practical effects work of Rob Bottin still proves mindblowing over thirty years later. Today, would a major Hollywood studio actually spend time and money on practical effects, or just go with CGI? In the end, CGI is not always cheaper than practical effects, but in the United States, we live in an era where one incident can lead to major lawsuits. Therefore, with insurance contracts and a bevy of lawyers, CGI may be the cheaper deal for Hollywood because there is less risk taking with cast of crew.

Even so, most independent horror filmmakers have no choice but to go the practical route because you do get what you pay for. Absentia is a decent film with great characters and a solid story, but watch for that CGI in the tunnel and you’ll probably guffaw at its cheesiness – a level of pungent Limburger to rival a SyFy production. Writer/director Mike Flanagan should have shelled out more money to a qualified digital artist to fix that mess, or he should have come up with a more practical solution.

Many horror fans know the work of Rick Bottin, Rick Baker, Tom Savini (who often draws upon his experiences in Vietnam to create accurate looking carnage), Ray Harryhausen, John Dykstra, and Stan Winston, but few know CGI effects masters, unless you mention District 9’s Neill Blomkamp. But that will change in time.

During the interim, however, independent horror filmmakers are certainly taking chances with CGI, but like Flanagan, they have to be careful. Within the first five minutes of The Howling Reborn, a computer generated explosion had me laughing – and pressing the fast forward button. Later, two characters jump out a window, and the shattering glass is clearly digital – painfully so. Even the wonderful Japanese horror, Phenomenon got this one wrong with a broken windshield. Yes, this detracted from the movie, but only for a moment. Still, one moment can be enough.

Special effects are not the movie (hear that Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich?), but should help tell the story. We don’t need awful distractions such as fake blood spatter, which is laughable in its own right. The sad part is that more and more low budget films seem to be going the CGI blood route – I guess it beats the muss and fuss of all that fake blood.

Fake blood was used in my short horror Too Many Predators, and it was a nightmare. The “blood” could stain anything permanently and it was hard to control. My script had called for a blood spattered room, but with the product, we could only afford one little spot of blood. Sigh.

Regardless, whether practical or digital, special effects need to work to keep audiences focused on the story. If the effects falter, then the audience is pulled out of the world the filmmakers worked so hard to create. For instance, the CGI work in The Devil’s Advocate is fairly solid. I’m not just talking about the demonic changes in some of the characters: the water outside Milton’s office on top of the building is digital. Yet, as for Blade, once I saw this on cable, I balked because much of the blades, blood, and impalements during a fight scene were clearly “painted on” and that was embarrassing.

What are your favorite special effects laden horror films? Whether practical or digital, let me know what’s impressed you – and what left you cringing.

(Photo for The Thing from All Latest Moviez.)

Crash Reports: Top 13 Most Over-rated Horrors

Whenever we watch a film, we bring our life experiences to the screen. Due to our individuality, background, and belief systems, the movies we indulge in either work, or Aliens-Ripleythey do not. Simple as that.

As for horror, there are iconic films placed on pedestals constructed from bone and sinew that rise up into the bitter darkness of a thunderhead that spews Tesla inspired lightning. However, just because horror fans and/or critics love the hell out of them, doesn’t mean they need to be worshipped by every horror aficionado. After all, in our experienced backgrounds, certain movies, no matter how much appreciated, just don’t work at all for a variety of reasons. In essence, however, “most over-rated” can easily be “movies that irk me.”

What follows is obviously my opinion, like everything else on this site, and nothing more. If you love the movies I don’t particularly care for, then I’m happy for you. Believe me, I sometimes wish I could enjoy these films as much as everyone else, but they simply don’t resonate, and I give my reasons as to why. And no, I’m not trying to change minds, though I hope lovers of these movies can see how others might perceive such works differently.

Enjoy my top thirteen. I set up the list so the very last horror is the number one most over-rated.

 

Ringu (Japan, 1998) – ½ star

Hideo Nakata’s film is highly acclaimed by horror movie buffs. However, if you’re like me, the film is perfect for boring you into a strong and solid slumber. Yes, the Japanese-American co-production remake is phenomenal compared to the original snooze-fest. Nakata’s version, has a gentle hold on a more profound story, and the scares are sorely lacking. The remake’s mystery, atmosphere, and tension, with its exceptional special effects makeup, cinematography, and tone, is far more compelling. My favorite Nakata film: KAIDAN (Japan, 2007).

 

You’re Next (2011) – ½ star

What the hell was all the hype about? We’ve seen this home invasion horror far too many times. Idiocy abounds from those who penetrate a home, and from those who reside there. However, if not for Sharni Vinson and her intelligent “fight or bust” character, this lame attempt at horror wouldn’t even be worthy of a ½ star. Scenes like these really made me roll my eyes: Mom’s been murdered but no one checks for a killer, or I’m going to slam a blender on your head and somehow it will burrow into your brain and kill you, or a moron runs out of the house and gets her neck slashed by a cord though the attackers didn’t know how high to hang the wire. Dumb, comical, and ludicrous. My favorite Wingard film: I’m still waiting…

 

Aliens (USA/UK, 1986) – 1 star

This movie is so loaded with James Cameron’s poor attempts at original storytelling, I almost threw up in the theatre. Decades in the future a ragtag group of Colonial Marines sound like they came right out of Vietnam, slang and all, with an untested lieutenant to boot. And Hudson makes an illegal alien joke? How trite. Ripley’s more like a smarmy Rambo (we called her Rambette at the time) instead of the strong and engaging woman audience’s fell in love with in the phenomenal ALIEN (USA/UK, 1979). Worst still, Newt’s so annoying I couldn’t wait for an alien to rip her to shreds. Surprisingly, even the aliens can figure out how to work an elevator – and even go to the right floor. And poor Lance Henriksen has to hop out of his hole to grasp Newt to the point where we see the lower half of his body. Oh, and I love how strong Ripley is because she can climb up a ladder instead of being thrust into the vacuum of space. And that big reactor explosion that went off like a nuclear detonation? Yes, I could go on and on… My favorite Cameron film: THE TERMINATOR (UK/USA, 1984).

 

Cabin Fever (2002) – 1 star

Why Eli Roth received so many accolades for this one is beyond me. I had such an unpleasant experience, I can’t even remember the damn thing too well, but I remember longing for the credits to roll. There were too many tropes that just got under my skin – like a virus: young people alone in the woods in a remote cabin, some of them are smart, others need to become victims. The best part was seeing the wonderful Jordan Ladd and Rider Strong. (I’ll take the crazy sequel any day.) My favorite Roth film: I’m still waiting…

 

The Last House On the Left (1972) – 1 star

Wes Craven blew it with this one. He had the audience by the throat – but kept allowing them to breathe by cutting to the two bumbling deputies for comic relief. I never saw a filmmaker undermine suspense so often, making this one of the biggest mistakes in all of cinema. This is why I prefer Dennis Iliadis’s version, but only by one more star (both films are ultimately lackluster). Otherwise, it’s the same old sickos on the prowl cliché with some questionable music. My favorite Craven film: SCREAM (1996).

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – 1 star

By the time I saw this Tobe Hooper mainstay, I had seen so much horror that I was bored to tears and completely unimpressed. Sometimes tedious and sometimes silly when it shouldn’t be, only Edwin Neal’s Hitchhiker really impressed me out of the entire picture. Watching characters get caught up in lunacy and not reacting as swiftly as they should have to save themselves unnerves the hell out of me. My favorite Hooper film: LIFEFORCE (UK/USA, 1985).

 

Halloween (1978) – 1.5 stars

I love John Carpenter, but this film didn’t cut it. As always,  I enjoyed Dean Cundey’s cinematography and the great contrasts of color and shadow, but the musical cues detracted from every scare. Although I hate to know what’s coming, the music worked in JAWS (1975) because the shark could come from any angle. Myers was limited by gravity. I even laughed when he pinned a victim to a wall with a knife to the belly – because the guy never fell forward. And the whole “Is the evil bastard really dead?” crap was already old and tired by then. At least I got to see PJ Soles. My favorite Carpenter film: THE THING (1982).

 

Suspiria (Italy, 1977) – 1.5 stars

The bad dubbing and the characters’ over-the-top reactions to stimuli always leave me laughing. The sound effects also have much to be desired. Even so, the story is slow and tedious at times, and the production is completely scare free. However, I do love the lighting and cinematography. Why Dario Argento’s considered a horror master is still a mystery to me. My favorite Argento film: INFERNO (Italy, 1980).

 

Carnival of Souls(1962) – 2 stars

I know people who despise horror movies but love this film with a strange intensity. Regardless, Herk Harvey’s film is long-winded with some questionable acting and lackluster transitions. Worst still, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out in short order how this precursor to the FINAL DESTINATION franchise will end. Regardless, there are some beautiful moments here, especially with Maurice Prather’s camera work, and those netherworld entities roaming about as if patiently waiting for Romero to get his zombie franchise up and running. My favorite Harvey film: This is his only feature.

 

Dawn of the Dead (1978) – 2 stars

Yeah, yeah, blasphemy on my part, I know. Granted, this film has its moments beyond George A. Romero’s thematic commentary regarding consumerism, such as character development and interaction, as well as Tom Savini’s quality special effects makeup. But the film falls back too far into comedy to make it work for me, including one of the silliest caricatures of a motorcycle gang I’ve ever seen. I’ll take Zack Snyder’s serious remake. Regardless, I enjoy Romero’s films, but this one is near the bottom of the list for me. My favorite Romero film: THE CRAZIES (1973).

 

Nosferatu (Germany, 1922) – 2 stars

For many a horror fan, this is gold. But I think some just worship FW Murnau’s film because they feel they have to. Yes, it has its moments and brings the creepiness, but every time I watch this thing, I fall asleep – and I’ve seen many a silent film. This is also the movie that tainted the entire vampire mythology forever. According to the old folktales, a vampire could go out in the sunshine, though they weren’t as powerful. Oh, well. At least Max Schreck is fabulous. My favorite Murnau film: FAUST (1926).

 

The Conjuring (2013) – 2.5 stars

When James Wan’s film came out, people went nuts proclaiming this ho-hum horror as genius as if they’d never seen a horror movie before. Yes, the film had a couple of scares and amazing acting, and Wan proved he can direct kids like George Lucas never could, but the redundant story and anti-climactic end did little to ultimately thrill the soul. Plus, the overdone trailers gave away too much, thus preventing more jolts from the audience. And even though this is a low budget horror, with the stellar cast of Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor, and Patrick Wilson, this definitely had a mainstream feel. And mainstream means: no kids will be harmed in this horror. Sigh. This truly could have been a stellar film but Wan played it safe. And what’s with the title when nothing was ever conjured? My favorite Wan film: DEAD SILENCE (2007).

 

The Exorcist (1973) – 2.5 stars

Yes, this classic is my number one most over-rated film, even though, for many, this Friedkin flick is “the scariest movie of all time.” Yet, from the first moment I saw the movie I just laughed like a crazy person. I even watched it again last week and couldn’t hold back the chortling. After all, the sound editing is weak, the demonic voiceover is off and damned funny, and poor Regan’s antics are a gut splitting riot (though I’m sure Linda Blair wouldn’t think so). The worst of it all is Norman Gay and Evan A. Lottman’s harsh “hack and slice” editing that did little to create a cohesive and seamless story. Overall, their editing was far more jarring than any “fright” in the film. However, I give the re-edited version with the spider crawl scene three stars. My favorite Friedkin film: KILLER JOE (2011).

 

I know some on the list may have you blowing a gasket, but it’s just my perspective, and I’m not attacking anyone for loving these movies. I can certainly see why people would enjoy most if not all of them, but that doesn’t mean I have to play along.

Please leave me a list of the horrors you feel are over-rated in the comments because I’d love to know.

(ALIENS photo from Bloody Disgusting.)

Crash Discussions: DOG SOLDIERS (2002, UK)

PodcastimageFind out why Neil Marshall’s (THE DESCENT and DOOMSDAY) DOG SOLDIERS is one of the very best werewolf movies of all time. DOG SOLDIERS has bite, and will keep every horror fan happy. Hell, it may make you wish you were British.
Don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes if you’ve enjoyed the show!

Crash Reports: Most Under-rated Horrors (Part II)

Here are other fantastic tales sorely overlooked by the horror loving masses. Each film 51ioHzflhFLhas merit, and should be seen at least once by the discerning viewer who is either looking for something different, or at least a great twist on an old theme.

 

Baba Yaga (Italy, 1973) – 4 stars

A cool witch film with rockin’ hipsters of the era without the arrogance.

 

Dolls (1973) – 4 stars

An often overlooked story from RE-ANIMATOR’s Stuart Gordon.

 

Whispering Corridors (South Korea, 1998) – 4 stars

Another ghost revenge film from Asia, but this one is layered and intriguing.

 

Fausto 5.0 (Spain, 2001) – 4 stars

A former patient promises a doctor the moon and stars, and reality falls apart.

 

Maléfique (France, 2002) – 4 stars

Four prisoners find an ancient tome of Black Magic and try to escape jail.

 

Dead End (France/USA, 2003) – 4 stars

Take a “Twilight Zone” road trip with Ray Wise and his family.

 

The Dark Hours (Canada, 2005) – 4 stars

A psychiatrist and her family endures a twisted attack from a sex offender and his protégé.

 

Reincarnation (Japan, 2005) – 4 stars

An actress loses herself when filming a horror about a genuine murder spree.

 

Mad Cowgirl (2006) – 4 stars

A dying woman, played by the great Sarah Lassez, goes through a mind-blowing, surreal trip.

 

Blood Car (2007) – 4 stars

This quirky, over-the-top horror should become the next big cult film.

 

Borderland (2007) – 4 stars

Loaded with foreboding, a cult in Mexico attacks American travelers.

 

The Broken (France/UK, 2008) – 4 stars

A dark tale of one’s reflection starring Lena Headey in the best of the After Dark series.

 

The Ruins (USA/Germany/Australia, 2008) – 4 stars

An interesting premise far removed from traveling college kid triteness.

 

Carriers (2009) – 4 stars

Escaping an infection that’s annihilating humanity is no easy task.

 

Lo (2009) – 4 stars

Sarah Lassez returns in a dramatic tale where her boyfriend takes on demonic forces.

 

The Caller (UK/Puerto Rico, 2011) – 4 stars

Strange phone calls plague a woman, and the uncanny is unleashed in bizarre fashion.

 

Little Deaths (UK, 2011) – 4 stars

A twisted anthology held together by sex, gore, and cinematography.

 

Midnight Son (2011) – 4 stars

An artist with a strange skin condition needs human blood to sustain him.

 

Wake Wood (Ireland/UK, 2011) – 4 stars

A pagan ritual, with strict rules, brings a daughter back from the dead – for now.

 

Mortal Remains (2012) – 4 stars

The dark story of filmmaker Karl Atticus, who supposedly used real corpses in his films.

 

Dark Skies (2013) – 4 stars

A strong presence from above brings hell to a family.

 

Frankenstein’s Army (Netherlands/USA/Czech Republic, 2013) – 4 stars

This is not a campy farce, but a rocking fantasy action horror of demented proportions.

 

Jug Face (2013) – 4 stars

The unique premise, great acting, and stellar music, makes this a future cult fan favorite.

 

Leave a comment about your favorites that seem to be under-appreciated. After all, I haven’t seen every horror film and I’d love to find some great work that may have slipped by me.

(Photo from Movieiwatch77.)