MovieCriticND's blog

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

To Be Alone

There's something particularly numbing about being alone when you aren't used to it. William (Timothy J. Cox) certainly isn't used to it, as he moves aimlessly about his large, empty house in the woods. He wears a wedding ring but there's no sign of his wife anywhere. He fills his time with sleep, religious television shows, his Bible, and pointless building projects. Or perhaps what he's building isn't so pointless after all.

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William in the lonely, lonely woods.

People

The title might not grab you, but People is about exactly that -- friends, lovers, siblings, acquaintances, and strangers -- and what happens when they all have a bad night at the same time. It seems like a simple concept, but just like your average human being, upon taking a closer look it isn't simple at all.

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The movie poster. It does matter, though.

My Pet Dinosaur

There's not a lot to do in Brightwood, especially if you're a kid. Businesses are closing and people are moving away, because when you live in Brightwood you have a better than average chance of dying of cancer. Jake (Jordan Dulieu) lost his dad that way two years ago, so now it's just him, his rebellious older brother Mike (Harrison Saunders), and their mother Jennifer (Beth Champion). But things are about to change drastically, because the EPA has just ridden into town! Actually, they've sent Dr. Tansy (Christopher Gabardi), who's just arrived with his daughter Abbie (Annabel Wolfe).

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Magnus plays with toilet paper. See, he's part kitten.

Tilt

A few years ago, a filmmaker had a modest success with a documentary called Tilt, about the history of pinball and pinball championships. Now this filmmaker, Joseph Burns (Joseph Cross), is suffering from a sophomore slump as he struggles to finish his next documentary, Golden Age, about the myth of the "good old days" of the fifties. His wife Joanne (Alexia Rasmussen) is pregnant, and after having supported him by working as a nurse, she now wants to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. That means Joe has to step up, but that's going about as well as the documentary.

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Joe's struggle for his sanity begins. Yes, he does look rather like Nick Stahl.

Psychic Murder

Of all the difficult gigs there are in the entertainment world, one of the toughest has to be stand-up comedy. I once heard a comic making fun of his own profession (as many of them do), talking about how people usually don't even know who's performing at the local comedy club; they just go there because they want to go out. You hardly ever see people doing that with movies at the theatre. Granted, I did that once but those were special circumstances, and it really isn't the norm.

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Mickey ready to pounce, while Puma looks faintly amused.