MovieCriticND's blog

The Winemaker

As a man walks the lonely halls of a winery, they soon become less lonely as he catches glimpses of two children. They seem perfectly at home, but it also seems as though they shouldn't be in any of the places where they appear... and perhaps they aren't in those places, not really.

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Yes, it's very trippy in parts.

VooDoo

After a rough couple of years back home in New Orleans, Dani (Samantha Stewart) is taking a much-needed vacation in Los Angeles with her favorite cousin, Stacy (Ruth Reynolds). Stacy ran off to start a rock band, and now shares a house -- a creepy house, according to Dani -- with her fellow bandmates as they struggle to make it big. There's Spencer and Trey (Dominic Matteucci and Daniel Kozul), but the bandmates are mostly interchangeable.

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An arcane symbol. I'm sure it means something, but it's never explained.

Under the Flowers

Jackie (Katie Stahl) has dropped out of college and doesn't quite seem to know what to do with her life. Worse, she's being plagued by a recurring dream that's almost a nightmare. A young boy she doesn't know (Jacob Wilner) beckons her to follow him across a little wooden bridge and down a wooded path, but she's afraid to -- fear always stops her before she reaches the bridge. Best friend Ella (Gabby Huggins) tells her not to get too worked up, but that's easier said than done when Jackie starts seeing the same boy while she's awake.

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Under the Flowers logo

Night Job

Things are starting to look up for James (Jason Torres). He's had to take a break from college, but he's just finished training for his new job, working as a doorman for a New York apartment building. As the title says, though, this is a night job, and he isn't used to working the graveyard shift, plus he was called in at the last minute to cover for someone who was sick, so when he starts his shift he's already been awake all day. And when the very first person you have to deal with is a priest (Robert Youngren) saying he's there for the exorcism, you know you're in for quite a night.

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Local bodega employees initiate James into the bizarro world of the night shift.

Cruel Summer

It's nice to be able to get away from it all once in a while. Teenager Danny Evans (Richard Pawulski) loves camping, for example, and in Cruel Summer he's planning a camping weekend on his own as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award. Everything has to be just so -- he's high-functioning, but he is autistic, and he puts a great deal of effort into being prepared for everything.

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Calvin tries to stand up to Nicholas, with mixed results.

The Forest of Lost Souls

A Floresta das Almas Perdidas -- The Forest of Lost Souls for those of us who don't speak Portuguese -- is aptly named. Most who go there go to commit suicide among the trees or perhaps at the large glacial lake inside the forest. And yes, this particular wood is inspired by Japan's infamous Aokigahara forest where so many go to die. Like its inspiration, it's a beautiful woods despite the sadness of it, and you can almost understand why Ricardo (Jorge Mota) has chosen it as a place to die.

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Carolina and Ricardo on the shores of the glacial lake.

Marvelous Mandy

Harvey Fowler (Jonathan Stottmann) isn't having an easy time of things. His wife left him and he's struggling to look after their young daughter, Clementine (Kenna Hardin), who gets teased at school for not having a mother. She might also get teased for being named Clementine, but that isn't clear. Harvey also tells dubious jokes at a comedy club because he can't afford therapy. Then he meets Mandy Simpkins (Paula Marcenaro Solinger), author of the Marvelous Mandy children's books, and everything changes.

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Note the more than slightly alarmed look on Clementine's face.

The Sublet

The hunt for affordable housing is no fun, especially when you're talking about a young couple with a baby trying to find a place to stay while Daddy works on becoming an actor. This is probably why Joanna (Tianna Nori) and Jeff (Mark Matechuk) are glad to find The Sublet even though the place hasn't been redecorated since at least the early 70's. There are antlers in random places and some of the scariest religious items you've ever seen. But there's plenty of space, nice-sized closets, and the rent must not be bad, because they take it despite some initial misgivings.

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Joanna plays a truly creepy game of dress-up.

Into the Mud

Imagine waking up in the woods and not knowing where you are. You're naked, hurt and bleeding, lying on a plastic sheet. None of these facts are reassuring, but things are about to get even worse. This is where María Forqué's character finds herself in Into the Mud. We'll call her Girl because that's how she's credited on IMDB.

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She's having a very bad day right now.

The Devil Lives Here

Teenagers and twenty-somethings are much the same the world over, at least in horror movies. They stumble into urban legends just the same in South America as they do in the U.S. The Devil Lives Here is a Brazilian offering, based on the tale of the Honey Baron. It isn't a real urban legend, or more precisely not a preexisting urban legend as far as I can tell, but one they made up for the film. Being a Honey Baron doesn't seem all that awful (insert 'sweet' pun here), but this particular Honey Baron (Ivo Müller) is not at all a nice man.

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The creepy headgear is what beekeepers wore back in the day.