MovieCriticND's blog

The Honor Farm (Fantasia 2017)

There's a lot of pressure on teenagers to have a perfect prom night, and the kids in The Honor Farm are certainly feeling it. Even if you're one of the relatively cool kids, as Lucy (Olivia Grace Applegate) seems to be, that's still no guarantee of a magical evening. Things start out pretty well, but when boyfriend Jake (Will Brittain) gets falling-down drunk, Lucy flees the prom in tears with best friend Annie (Katie Folger).

Image: 
The kids stare at the moon. They'd forgotten how psychedelic it can be.

The Laplace's Demon (Fantasia 2017)

The Laplace's Demon begins like a classic 1950's monster B-movie, as a group of co-workers led by boss Isaac (Walter Smorti) travel by boat to an isolated island, answering an invitation from a mysterious, reclusive scientist none of them have met. The island is really just a huge pillar of rock, improbably topped by a mansion that takes up every inch of flat surface. Cell service is naturally out of the question. There's even a storm brewing, insists the boat's captain, Alfred (Simone Moscato), who can't wait to dump his passengers and get home.

Image: 
Quick! How many pieces has this glass broken into?

Keres

There's an old saying that you reap what you sow, though unfortunately it's probably just as accurate to say that those around us reap what we sow. Sometimes it's dismissed as 'collateral damage', though in Keres it's described as an 'occupational hazard', even for those who aren't directly involved in that occupation.

Image: 
Movie poster. Not hell, but a reasonable facsimile.

The Wake

There are few things worse than having to attend a child's memorial service. One of those few things is having to attend a child's memorial service knowing that you're the reason said child is dead, as in The Wake. Tyler (Bryan Brewer) drove drunk one night and his car struck and killed young Zach Stevens (Jakob Ulrich). Why an 11-year-old was alone on the streets of southern California after dark is an issue that the movie doesn't get into.

Image: 
Casey and Tyler ponder their next doubtful decision.

The Haunted House on Kirby Road

The summer in between graduating high school and going on to college can be a strange one. Many grand plans are made for one last adventure with the old gang, but face it -- much of the time the old gang ends up hanging around in the usual places doing the usual things until it's time to say goodbye. For a while, it looks like that's what's going to happen in The Haunted House on Kirby Road, with everyone staring at each other until they all fall asleep from sheer lack of excitement.

Image: 
Truggers channels the 80's while Becca sits on his lap.

The Telephone

A deep dark woods has always been a popular setting for thriller / horror movies, but I think there's something even creepier about knowing that you're in a city, surrounded by people, and yet you're still entirely on your own when it comes to fighting the supernatural horror or serial killer that's stalking you. Of course I grew up in the woods and avoid large cities like the plague, so your mileage may vary.

Image: 
Movie poster. Watch out for those calls from "Unknown Caller".

The House of Salem

There's quite a skill set involved in being a cult member. Not only do you have to know all the esoteric details of whatever dark lord your group wants to summon / worship, you've also got to keep on top of the necessary blood offerings without attracting unwanted attention from the authorities. The evil crew in The House of Salem has the perfect solution to the latter problem, however: they outsource the acquisition of their next sacrificial child to a group of criminals who think they're just doing a standard kidnapping-for-hire.

Image: 
Jacob and crew. He really does give a frighteningly good evil clown performance.

Streamer

Technology has made it easier than ever to meet people. A few clicks and a couple of swipes and you can find people looking for friendships, long-term relationships, casual flings -- any sort of connection you can think of. These days, everyone can find love! But don't let the eHarmony ads fool you -- it really isn't that simple. Sometimes all the apps and dating sites in the world won't let you find 'the one'. Sometimes that doesn't happen until you trip over nothing and literally land at the feet of your future significant other in an embarrassing heap.

Image: 
Movie poster. You never know what people online might be thinking.

BnB Hell

A disappearance is such a common plot device it's easy to forget how dreadful the uncertainty must be. Not knowing a loved one's fate is the worst sort of limbo, and to make things even harder, the police aren't always going to have the time or resources to take a given disappearance as seriously as those left behind would like. In BnB Hell Willa (Kimberly Woods) has both those problems, plus the fact that it's her twin, Stacy, who's disappeared.

Image: 
Willa explores the B&B. Plenty of code violations there.

Burn

People talk about things being immortalized on film, but these days that doesn't seem like such a big deal. Thanks to phones and a host of other gadgets, we're so used to taking and deleting video on a whim there doesn't seem anything immortal about it anymore. In Burn, however, video is alarmingly permanent, and you never know when it will come back to change everything.

Image: 
Peter making a video. He's not comfy in front of the camera, but he'll manage.