Category: Horror

RIALTO DISTRIBUTION has put horror front and centre in Australian cinemas with 2021’s WRONG TURN, the seventh film in the WRONG TURN franchise. The film has become a box office hit, earning over $600,000 since opening on February 4th (including sneak previews), firmly placing it as the 2nd highest earner per screen of any film in wide release at the moment. 

The film is doing a lot of the heavy lifting at two of the biggest cinema chains in the country. At Hoyts, it’s accounting for 43% of all of the chain’s box office and at Event Cinemas it’s grabbed 25% of their total box office income. Part of the film’s success is the $40,000 haul at just three of the countries Drive-Ins. 

Rialto Distribution’s Kevin Gordon said of the performance “it’s fantastic to see audiences flocking to cinemas to see WRONG TURN, for what is truly an incredible cinema experience. We are hoping to see box office break the $1M box office mark in week two, and if audiences continue to respond as they already have, the film may go on to earn significantly more in the coming weeks.

WRONG TURN is an intense, action-packed horror-thriller, marking a fresh take on the classic “backwoods” horror staple. Twenty-something Jen (Charlotte Vega) and five of her close friends are hiking in the Appalachians in West Virginia, Jen’s boyfriend Darius (Adain Bradley) suggests they head off-trail to visit a Civil War fort. The group stumble upon a community of settlers called the “Foundation” who have been living off the mountain since the mid 1800s when they cut themselves off from the rest of the United States. Led by the imposing John Venable (Bill Sage), the Foundation will do anything to protect their existence from outside influence. Suddenly under siege, Jen and her friends seem headed to the point of no return- unless Jen’s father (Golden Globe nominee Matthew Modine) can reach them in time.

The film sees the team behind the WRONG TURN franchise, producer Robert Kulzer and writer Alan B. McElroy return to the series with director Mike P. Nelson helming his second feature, following THE DOMESTICS in 2018.

Summary: A group of school students welcome a new witch into their coven, but due to her secret legacy the results are not what they predicted.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 20th December 2020 (Australia), 6th November 2020 (Thailand), 28th October 2020 (UK)

VOD Release Dates: 3rd February 2021 (Australia), 28th October 2020 (USA)

Country: USA, Canada

Director: Zoe Lister-Jones

Screenwriter: Zoe Lister-Jones, Peter Filardi (based on characters created by)

Cast: Gideon Adlon (Frankie), Fairuza Balk (Nancy Downs), David Duchovny (Adam), Nicholas Galitzine (Timmy), Hannah Gordon (Ashley), Julian Grey (Abe), Zoey Luna (Lourdes), James Madge (Mr Bly), Donald McLean Jnr. (Isiah), Michelle Monaghan (Helen), Lovie Simone (Tabby), Cailee Spaeny (Lily), Chris Tomassetti (Jeremy), Charles Vandervaart (Jacob)

Running Time: 97 mins

Classification: M (Australia), 13 (Thailand), 15 (UK), PG-13 (USA)

OUR THE CRAFT: LEGACY REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ The Craft: Legacy Review:

Horror film fans are some of the most unforgiving cinephiles there are. They are never afraid to tell a filmmaker what is ‘wrong’ with a film and if someone dares make massive changes to a horror franchise then you better believe that everybody on social media is going to hear about. While many filmmakers have come unstuck through the passion of the genre’s fans one group has managed to avoid any of that fury over the past few years – Blumhouse Studios.

Formed by producer Jason Blum Blumhouse have become one of the most prolific film studios over the past few years and have had no issue with putting their stamp on some of the biggest horror franchises that cinema has ever seen – and the result has been both well received and profitable. Perhaps the jewel in the crown was releasing a Halloween film in 2018 that even the most hardcore fans embraced with open arms.

Now Blumhouse take on a new challenge. Taking the beloved 1996 film supernatural-thriller The Craft and giving it a modern day sequel. Everybody involved with this film went to great lengths to point out that this is not a remake or a rebooting and while I was sceptical to begin with I have to credit – they have created a sequel that works while paying homage to the original.

Written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones (Band Aid) The Craft: Legacy centres around teenager Lily (Cailee Spaeny – Pacific Rim: Uprising) whose life is turned upside down when her mother, Helen (Michelle Monaghan – Source Code) moves them across the country so she can move with her boyfriend Adam (David Duchovny – The X-Files).

While the move originally terrifies Lily it is soon made a little more bearable when she meets three young witches at her High School whom quickly pick up on the fact that she is the powerful fourth that their coven needs.

If the plot does sound a little close to that of the original The Craft you would be right. To their credit though Lister-Jones and Blumhouse do create enough new plot devices to make the film work without being labelled a carbon copy. For starters the film does have a ‘woke’ feeling to it. Instead of the witches simply casting a love spell like in the original this time their ‘victim’ is Timmy (Nicholas Galtizine – High Strung), the school’s resident nasty jock who the witches believe can be improved and made a better  person with a simple personality altering spell.

Whether the events that then follow is the director’s way of making a statement about ‘woke’ culture is in the eyes of the viewer but either way the film does not ever become preachy towards its audience. Lister-Jones is also creative in the way she has the film link back to the original but I cannot tell you too much about that as it is a massive spoiler.

Despite the fact that so many things do work for The Craft: Legacy the film does have some negatives that prevent it from being a great film as well. It does feel that Lister-Jones took the safe route with this film. The story is simple and clearly aimed at a teenage audience but aside from that it seems like the film was afraid to take any big risks. In these days and times we have seen shows like Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina take older ideas and give them a darker twist and to be honest I think The Craft: Legacy could have benefitted from a little darker twist because at times the film felt like it was just a little ‘teenage’ centric.

The other flaw with the film is that a few of the major twists in it are severely sign-posted to the point where the audience can predict what is going to happen next. This alongside the fact that it felt that David Duchovny was under-used does suggest that this film could have been improved with a few risks taken here and there and even a longer runtime could have helped things out a little.

For the most part The Craft: Legacy is a smooth, yet enjoyable watch. You do get a strong feeling that neither Lister-Jones or Blumhouse wanted to rock the boat too much for hardened The Craft fans and the result is a film that possibly plays it a little too safe. Still fans won’t be too disappointed but let’s hope that film number three does have a bit more of an edge to it.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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The Craft: Legacy (2020) on IMDb

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You can read our review of The Craft: Legacy that appeared in The Phuket News here – https://www.thephuketnews.com/holding-true-to-the-craft-legacy-78047.php

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Summary: A female pilot is met with hostility when she joins an all male crew during World War II. However the issues between them soon pale into insignificance when they discover they have a ‘monster’ on board.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 14th January 2021 (Australia)

VOD Release Dates: 1st January 2021 (USA)

Country: New Zealand, USA

Director: Roseanne Liang

Screenwriter: Max Landis, Roseanne Liang

Cast: Byron Coll (Terrence Taggart), Beulah Koale (Anton Williams), Chloe Grace Moretz (Maude Garrett), Callan Mulvey (John Reeves), Nick Robinson (Stu Beckell), Taylor John Smith (Walter Quaid), Benedict Wall (Tommy Dorn), John Witowski (Bradley Finch)

Running Time: 83 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), R (USA)

OUR SHADOW IN THE CLOUD REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Shadow In The Cloud Review:

Shadow In The Cloud is the kind of film that doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up… and I think I like it that way. As a film it is as much a monster horror as it is a war film and it is just as much sci-fi/fantasy as it is a thriller… yes, it is a very hard film to try and pigeon-hole. That all gets even trickier when I point out that three-quarters of the action of the film takes place in a small section of a place that barely gives leads actress Chloe Grace-Moretz (Kick-Ass) room to physically move.

Moretz plays Maude Garrett a young woman who boards an Air Force plane in New Zealand right at the height of World War II. The all male crew which include John Reeves (Callan Mulvey – Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and Anton Williams (Beulah Koale – The Last Saint) are suddenly put out by having a ‘dame’ on their plane. Most make disgusting and degrading comments about what they would like to do to the ‘bird’ with very few making any effort to protect her. The general consensus is that they certainly don’t want a woman on their plane when they are already running such a mundane mission.

Maude’s only saving grace is the mystery surrounding the highly secretive package that she is carrying and the fact that she carries orders from a high ranking officer that the others fear. With very little space on board the flight though they stow Maude away from the rest of the crew and it is only then that secrets start to be revealed as she is one of the first to spot the ‘gremlin’ that is ripping apart the plane and the fact that they are being shadowed by enemy planes.

I am still a little confused at what director Roseanne Liang (My Wedding And Other Secrets) was trying to create with this film? Was she trying to turn Chloe Grace Moretz into an action hero like we recently saw with Milla Jovovich in Monster Hunter or was she trying for something a little more. Certainly there is something that I liked about this film despite some of its weaknesses. I loved the twists and turns that the plot took as secrets started to be revealed – yes they are kind of hard to believe but at the same time I was watching a movie where a winged creature was attacking a plane as well.

What I do know is that the action worked and we saw a new string in the bow of the acting talents of Moretz. At times here she is asked to put in a theatre like performance in a tight space while also playing an action lead – a weird mix that I dare say would not be able to be pulled off by many performers out there. The creature looks amazing, no surprise there seeing it was created by Weta Workshop, but the film is sometimes let down by its cheesy soundtrack and at times dodgy looking CGI which I guess I was supposed to over-look as part of the film’s steam-punk vibe.

Liang also successfully makes her point about sexism in the workplace. What the all male crew (who for a majority of the film are reduced to voices over a radio) say about Maude is disgusting and I am pretty sure it would have even the most hardened chauvinist seeing the errors of his ways. She also reveals aside of history that a lot like to ignore – the role of women during the World Wars… no they were not all at home darning socks.

At the end of the day Shadow In The Cloud does work. The action sequences on board the plane suggest that Liang is a director that we need to be watching in the future while the final battle sequence may have been simple but it is exactly what I felt was needed to finish off the film.

This film once again reminded me of the acting force that is Chloe Grace Moretz and has made me place Roseanne Liang on my list of directors to watch in the future. Shadow In The Cloud might be a mixing of genres but it is certainly worth the admission fee at the box office.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Shadow in the Cloud (2020) on IMDb

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Summary: A young girl finds herself locked up in a medical facility with other mutants after a catastrophic event that kills most of her friends and family.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 3rd September 2020 (Australia), 27th August 2020 (Thailand), 4th September 2020 (UK), 28th August 2020 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 24th December 2020 (Australia)

Country: USA

Director: Josh Boone

Screenwriter: Josh Boone, Knate Lee

Cast: Happy Anderson (Reverend Craig), Alice Braga (Dr. Reyes), Dustin Ceithamer (Smiling Man), Colbi Gannett (Young Illyana), Charlie Heaton (Sam Guthrie), Blu Hunt (Dani Moonstar), Marilyn Manson (Smiling Man (voice)), Jacinta Vega Spiritwolf (Frozen Cheyenne), Anya Taylor-Joy (Illyana Rasputin), Maisie Williams (Rahne Sinclair), Henry Zaga (Roberto da Costa)

Running Time: 94 mins

Classification: M (Australia), G (Thailand), 15 (UK), PG-13 (USA)

OUR THE NEW MUTANTS REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ The New Mutants Review:

I really thought that this was going to be the film that I never ever got to see. It seemed like a lifetime ago when it was announced that Marvel were going to deliver The New Mutants. The film drew me in from the very first trailer. A superhero film with a horror edge, yes this was a film that was right in my strike zone and I just wanted to yell ‘shut up and take my money’ at the screen.

But then of course everything that could go wrong for the latest instalment into the X-Men franchise did go wrong. The studio thought it was too horror orientated and demanded a re-cut and then as horror films started to dominate the box office they suddenly wanted the horror element to be amplified so another re-cut was ordered. Then to top it all off along came the apocalypse known as Covid-19 and once again The New Mutants saw its release date pushed back once again. Well finally it lands and while it is not the masterpiece that I wanted it to be it is good enough that I find myself hoping that it launches a fresh new direction for the X-Men universe.

Directed by Josh Boone (The Fault In Our Stars) The New Mutants centres around Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt – The Originals) a young girl who finds herself in the middle of cataclysmic event that takes the lives of her whole family and a lot of friends.

Traumatised by the events she wakes up in a facility being run by Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga – I Am Legend) who says she is there to help a group of teenagers learn to control their abilities… she just has to discover what Dani’s are.

While taking in that information Dani also finds herself having to get to know the other ‘in-mates’ that include the friendly Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams – Game Of Thrones) and Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton – Stranger Things) while being on her guard around the aloof Roberto da Costa (Henry Zaga – Looking For Alask,), who seems to have only one thing on his mind, and the aggressive Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy – The Witch) who takes an instant disliking to Dani.

Possibly the best way I can describe The New Mutants to you is imagine a supernatural teen drama like Harry Potter and then ramp up the horror aspect of it. The result is a mix of Stranger Things and X-Men and to be honest it works perfectly well.

Director/screenwriter Josh Boone never loses sight of the fact that he needs to build the characteristics of the characters here in a bid to get the audience to like them and even though he manages to make Illyana intimidating and aggressive towards the film’s protagonist he uniquely somehow makes her likable when she needs to be. There are certainly no one dimensional characters here, each characters has layer upon layer that needs to be peeled away for the audience to understand who they are and what they have been through to make them that way.

Any fan of the X-Men universe will easily see where this film is heading but at least Boone does make it a memorable journey to get to that point. He expertly juggles both genres needed to make the film work and his horror sequences work stunningly well with a nod to the Hush episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer which Boone co-incidentally has his characters watching from time to time as well.

The young cast handle everything that is thrown at them and while you would hope that Anya Taylor-Joy works on her Russian accent should the series go forward they all do a pretty decent job. Maisie Williams and Charlie Heaton are stand-outs, which you would expect to be a given due to their television experience, but the whole cast do need to be congratulated on such a fine effort.

The New Mutants is so good that we can now only pray that they decide to go ahead with the series either as films or on TV. Either way this breath of fresh air in the X-Men franchise needs to keep going.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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The New Mutants (2020) on IMDb

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Summary: A young girl has her world turned upside down when she finds herself accidentally swapping bodies with a serial killer.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 12th November 2020 (Australia), 13th November (USA), 25th December 2020 (UK)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Christopher Landon

Screenwriter: Michael Kennedy, Christopher Landon

Cast: Nick Arapoglou (Deputy Jim Hayworth), Melissa Collazo (Ryler), Dave Davenport (Deputy Parsons), Deja Dee (Karla Parsley), Magnus Diehl (Phil), Dana Drori (Charlene Kessler), Katie Finneran (Carol Kessler), Carter W. Glade (Tobin), Charles Green (Frank), Emily Holder (Sandra), Mitchell Hoog (Evan), Tim Johnson (Squi), Kathryn Newton (Millie), Celeste O’Connor (Nyla), Misha Osherovich (Josh Detmer), Alan Ruck (Mr. Bernardi), Maria Sager (Senora Cayenes), Ezra Sexton (Brett), Uriah Shelton (Booer Strode), Zack Shires (Tim Turnipseed), Don Stallings (Cooter Scriggins), Nicholas Stargel (Isaac), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Mrs. Detmer), Vince Vaughn (The Butcher), Alonzo Ward (Mr. Daniels), Kelly Lamor Wilson (Ginny)

Running Time: 102 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)

OUR FREAKY REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Freaky Review:

If you’ve dug deep into some of the movie themed accounts on YouTube then you’ve probably come across a few movie mash-ups during your time. Normally they are short videos put together by obsessed movie fans that have cut scenes or pieces of dialogue together from a number of movies to create a short film. Now a kind of cinematic movie mash-up is about to find its way onto the big screen.

New horror/comedy Freaky sees the world’s busiest film studio, Blumhouse Productions, take the concepts behind cult classics Freaky Friday and Friday The 13th, and mash them together – the result is a surprisingly funny, if not a little gory, film that is a lot better than it has any right to be.

Written and directed by Christopher Landon (the man behind the brilliant Happy Death Day franchise) Freaky sees alternative and unpopular high school student, Millie (Kathryn Newton – Pokemon Detective Pikachu), accidentally swap bodies with a serial killer known in the press as The Butcher (Vince Vaughn – Hacksaw Ridge) after he tries to kill her with an ancient ceremonial knife.

As she tries to get used to being in the body of a middle-aged man the Police are looking for, he is using her innocent look as a way to lure in new victims. While she desperately tries to find out a way to reverse the body swap she also has to convince people including her best friends, Nyla (Celeste O’Connor – Ghostbusters: Afterlife) and Josh (Misha Osherovich The Goldfinch), that she is who she says she is.

Yes, on paper Freaky sounds like a pretty average teenage horror film but in the hands of Landon the film actually becomes something pretty special. While any horror/comedies tend to be let down by one side or the other Freaky seems to work on both levels. The comedy hits the spot providing laugh after laugh and even introduces some classic comedic characters (especially with Josh) while the horror will appeal to the more hardcore horror films as it verges on the creative gory side that Landon is beginning to make a name for himself with.

The general plot of Freaky is also surprisingly believable and while it does poke fun at some of the more clichéd tropes that many horror films are filled with these days it never goes so far that it could be considered a parody like Scary Movie.

Of course a film like this can’t just work because of a pretty decent script and one of the biggest drawcards for Freaky is also its most talented asset – Vince Vaughn. Over the years Vaughn has become known for his outrageous comedies like Wedding Crashers and Couple Retreat and people tend to forget that he has also made some sensational dramas like Dragged Across Concrete and Hacksaw Ridge. To be honest it wouldn’t surprise me if one day Vaughn put in a performance in a serious drama that earned him an Oscar nomination and it that acting ability that makes him stand-out in Freaky. Not only does he have to pull off moments of comedy gold as he has to play a ‘teenage girl’ for a majority of the film there are other scenes where he has to be as menacing as a Jack Nicholson or Anthony Hopkins. The good news is he does both brilliantly.

You could be excused for thinking that Freaky is one of those movies that would never be a must see. But if you like a good, creative horror or are in the mood for a laugh then it is the perfect film. Yes, Freaky is one of the biggest surprises of 2020.

Dave’s Rating Out Of 5:

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Freaky (2020) on IMDb


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You can find our review of Freaky that appeared in The Phuket News right here – https://www.thephuketnews.com/vince-vaughan-does-freaky-in-style-78053.php

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