MovieCriticND's blog

Fritz Lang (Fantasia 2017)

First let me state that I cannot get enough of black and white movies. It isn't possible. Of course color had to muscle in and change everything eventually, but well before that was the seismic shift that was the invention of the talkie. The title character in Fritz Lang (Heino Ferch) was already a powerful figure in silent cinema -- Metropolis would have been enough to cement the reputation of any director / screenwriter -- but as 1931 rolled around it was time for him to make the leap and add sound to his next masterpiece, the classic that would be known as M.

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Filmmaker and murderer share the screen, though they haven't met yet.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.