A Lonely Mind Plays Evil Tricks. “Visitors” review!


Yachtman Georgia Perry aims to be a part of the best of the best by joining a handful of women who’ve sailed around the world. The rules are simple: don’t step on land, don’t let anyone step on your boat, and don’t turn on your outboard motor. As Perry heads out into the open ocean, the 25-year-old carries with her a burden of lifetime baggage stemming from her mother’s acute depression and gruesome suicide, her father’s accident and deteriorating health, and the bond between her and her boyfriend Luke coming unraveled. Combine all that weight with complete isolation, loneliness, and no wind to push her sails, Georgia quickly spirals downward into a turbulent state with her only traveling companion being her cat with whom she has conversations on her becalmed sloop. All her fears come to fruition, blurring the line between reality and disturbing fantasy that threatens her voyage and, maybe, even her life.

Bayside Pictures presents “Visitors,” the last helmed feature by the late Richard Franklin of “Psycho II” and “F/X2” fame. “Razorback” writer Everett De Roche penned the 2003 psychological thriller and is able to conjure out some wicked mind buckling material of a woman subjected to cabin fever in the form of a volatile, non-linear story. Franklin adds his two-cent charm with impressive visual sets and effects from the early turn of the century, implementing CGI where appropriate, being practical when deemed, and, by golly, the effects resulted didn’t come out too shabby. The ocean has always been beautiful, yet terrifying mystery that has yet to be fully explored, and Franklin’s able to capture the ominous anomaly that associates with the deep blue sea under an overwhelming guise of mental health and severe isolated confinement.

Before she wandered into “Silent Hill,” but after becoming forsaken in “Pitch Black,” Radha Mitchell showed strength in solitary by playing the headstrong, nautically ambitious sailor, Georgia Perry. Mitchell, who was slightly older than her 25-year-old character, fabricates a troubled young woman willing to risk it all, even her life, even if it meant to leave to escape all her woes and that she holds dear at home. The “Rogue” and “The Crazies” remake actress from Melbourne has a sensationalized and systematic dynamic with her on-screen mother, played by the late Susannah York, in what’s considered to be a disturbing role of manipulative motherhood that forced Georgia to be extremely close and clingy to her endearing father, an underrated role bestowed upon Ray Barrett. A young and upcoming Dominic Purcell (“Blade: Trinity” and “Primeval”) costars as Georgia’s lover and business manager who may or may not have other underlying intentions with Georgia’s sponsors. Appearing never together and putting Mitchell at the epicenter of their lives, the foursome played their roles beautifully by stretching the limits of reality without being overly absurd to the point of being unbecoming of a thriller.

By no means is “Visitors” a woman versus nature premise. Yes, Georgia faces any elements that would plague any sailor who ventured into the ocean alone, but nature was only accessorial. “Visitors,” for the sake of being funny, is more of a film about a young girl embarking on a journey of self discovery. Georgia must get away from negativity that has been eating at her zealous spirit ever since the terrible childhood accident that had crippled her father and destroyed her parents’ marriage. Her embattled mother’s constant belittling, berating, and blaming is the brunt of that that has been burdening. At sea, Georgia battles her onshore demons, which also includes her father’s failing health and her failing relationship with Luke, and coinciding is her ever present looming and underlying fears that lurk out into manifestation, or a visitation if you will, during severe cabin fever. The trip around the world won’t kill her, but her inner demons just might which begs the question if “Visitors” is more of a mental health film and the answer is a firm yes without salty doubt.

Umbrella Entertainment releases “Visitors” onto a region 4 home entertainment DVD. The DVD is beyond an upgrade from it’s region 1 counterpart in the image and audio departments. The anamorphic widescreen, 2.35:1 aspect ratio, renders a cleaner image with slightly more natural color tone as well as offering more film flesh on either side from the 35mm negative. The English Dolby 5.1 audio track offers a range of diversity. The dialogue is clear and fine, the ambient track syncs with ample depth, and the brooding and perilous soundtrack from composer Nerida Tyson-Chew (“Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid”) provides a delectable varied score to Georgia’s though process. The extras are thin, not much different from the Stateside release, including a photo gallery, cast and crew bios, and the Palace Film’s theatrical trailer. Considered widely as an Australian ozploitation film, “Visitors” is deep-seeded, mental trench warfare on the high seas set on a course of psychological doom. A fine film for being Richard Franklin’s last hurrah.

It’s in Human Nature to be Evil. “It Comes At Night” review!


Set in an infectious diseased post-apocalypse world, Paul, his wife Sarah, and their son Travis have fortified themselves in a dense forested and isolated house to ride out the easily spreadable disease. Always prepared and ever suspicious, Paul expects everyone to follow a rigorous routine, following procedures in order to avoid becoming infected, but when a young family, seeking supplies and refuge, enters their lives and their home despite Paul’s hesitations. Paul’s family’s routine and order face disruption that opens themselves up to the ever present danger outside and inside their home.

“It Comes at Night” is an intense, heart-pounding mystery thriller set inside the close quartered confines of a desolate house where trust doesn’t come without auspicious interrogation and teeth clinching suspicion. Writer-director Trey Edward Shults’ sophomore feature has layers upon layers of underlying human nature undertones when people are put up against an unsurvivable situation inevitably with their backs against the wall, literally, when confronted to whether to implement the good will nature of their humanity or not, to take that risk to help others or to save their own skin, and to attempt to reconnect with other people or stay separate from the masses. Even the “it” in “It Comes at Night” isn’t as simple as one would first think. Most unfamiliar audiences would assume “it” is a snarling, brooding, oozing, and grotesque creature, or perhaps even a devilishly grinning clown, that comes around when the sun falls; instead, the “it” is an occurrence, an event sparking nightmares inside the human mind that formulates fear and a tall order of exemplary caution.

The Australian born Joel Edgerton (“The Thing” remake) stars as Paul, the father of the family he’s trying to protect at all costs. Edgerton perfectly pitches as a, supposed, American voice, since the story doesn’t exclaim a locality, but the assumption is the setting is nowhere, U.S.A, and plants a firm foot down as a rugged resident of wilderness survival accompanied by his wife Sarah played by Alien: Covenant’s Carmen Ejogo. Ejogo’s offering to her character gives Sarah a powerful will to do what’s necessary and to support Paul in his determination to protect their only son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). Edgerton, Ejogo, and Harrison opposite up well against the foreign element, another family with their performer genetic makeup of Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough, and Griffin Robert Faulkner as Will, Kim, and their just above toddling son, Andrew. Each actor embraces the role in their respective family and at first, the interactions are genuinely jovial, but then the uncomfortable thick tension evolves from the point of an extreme pivot into the folds of deception and fear.

Shults maintains an ominous atmosphere of overwhelming strain amongst the characters and “It Comes at Night” has a unique perspective set inside an already apocalyptic ravaged population despite the lack visual expositions. Yet, the finished project feels incomplete. Pacing is the biggest concern with the timing of events between the introduction of Will’s family and their destined downfall that results in a climax that’s so bellied-up in an sorely anti-climatic fashion that the notion of being cheated out of a more gut-punched ending pulls at the core of the cinematic soul. That’s not to say that the film has one, if not more, interpretations; in fact, Shults’ entire feature is or could be considered open for interpretation, with examples from the duly noted “red door” to the Travis’ child-like personality, and usually those types of heavily subtext films stick around more way after the credits roll, but also, in a slightly bittersweet cause and effect, leaves more of a foggy formulation of events during the unfolding of the story. Also, an aspect that didn’t help the cause was shying away from a powerful scenes that should have left an impact, but R-rated feature delivered no acute moments of remembrance and leaving much to the imagination with only the majority of the rating pie being flavored with tasteless language.

Lionsgate Entertainment presents the Animal Kingdom and A24 produced “It Comes at Night” on a 1080p resolution in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The imagery lavishes in a gritty, woodsy detail that organically defines the sea of trees and natural flesh tones, but as the title suggests, most scenes are shot at night that are moderately blanketed, yet ineffectively intrusive, in digital noise. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix definitely has more girth during the livid nightmares and vigorously tense scenes, but, surprisingly, the dialogue track lacks gusto in the wake of a more lively surround quality. During exchanges of hushed tones, dialogue is rendered nearly inaudible and the option English subtitles had to be deployed. Spanish subtitles are also available. Special features include an audio commentary by writer-director Trey Edward Shults and actor Kelvin Williams Jr and a cast and crew discourse in a segment entitled “Human Nature: Creating ‘It Comes at Night.'” Overall, the psychological and humanity breakdown of the characters of “It Comes at Night” is worth the price of admission along with the teachings that family is key and to never rely on the goodwill of strangers, but finishes with a weak sense of direction that ruptures an unsavory cyst that doesn’t conclude coherently.

Own It Comes at Night on Blu-ray!

Evil Never Breaks, But Your Mind Will! “The ID” review

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Feeling trapped inside her own childhood home, middle-aged Meredith Lane is stuck caring for her elderly and abusive father. Unable to live a life of her own beyond the house’s closing-in walls, Meredith uses her memories of her youth to create a world toward which she can escape. A world involving past loves, spinning them into what could have been, but as the years slip by and her youth fades in stasis, hope for a normal way of life seeps from her grasp…the same with reality. Meredith continues to humor her father’s oppressively verbal and physical mistreatment, sacrificing to his everlasting grip and blackmailed for when she tries to stand up for herself. When her judgement finally breaks down from complete desolation, the lines blur between what’s fantasy and what’s real. When a routine delivery woman starts to suspect Meredith’s instability in the midst of her father’s abrupt absence, Meredith’s real and fantastical world begins to crumble under the first, fine line cracks of psychosis.
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“The ID” is a 2015 psychological narrative thriller from the “Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy” and “His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th” documentarian producer Thommy Hutson. To keep with the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” theme, Amanda Wyss, who portrays Tina in the original Wes Craven film, headlines as the lonely and disturbed Meredith Lane, the sole caretaker of her limit pushing father, played unnervingly by an unkempt and unsympathetic Patrick Peduto. Initially, you have to compassionately feel for Meredith’s situation as her father, whether intentionally or not, absolutely tortures and demeans her to the fullest extent, but when getting down to the brass tax, Meredith has always held her father’s life in her hands. All she needs to do is act.
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When Meredith’s quasi-levelness with reality is finally pushed over the brink, she does act, snapping toward a tone setting second half of the story that’s arguably more disturbing than her combative relationship between Meredith and her father. “The ID” morphs into full blown psychological horror and, not that Hutson’s film wasn’t a terror of the mind before, Meredith completely crosses that thick defined line between her father and her gentlemen caller from the past. These opposition of two worlds are in the beginning stages of a collision in which both can’t exist in the same space that’s familiar to a presentist perspective. Huston works diligently to deliver the inner workings of Meredith’s psyche, lingering her father’s vocal presence throughout the story even if his physical form vacates, and merging her wondrous past into an antagonistic present.
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Amanda Wyss has a multifaceted performance that shouldn’t go without stating and Wyss should be praised for her representation of suffering from a delusional mental disorder, originating either from a family history, in this case her father’s state is quite the example, or from other external influences. Both factors could have contributed and Wyss’ precision in the character makes the result difficult to split the two possible origins for her breakdown. Wyss’s performance becomes overshadowed only by the fierce acting by Patrick Peduto, creating an uncomfortable hostile interaction that’s so alien to a father and daughter relationship, it should be illegal. There’s a lot of hate, disgust, regret, shame, and mistrust from Peduto’s character that one can certainly assume Meredith’s father is a few cards short of a full deck and Meredith’s intentions could have been absolutely sane. Only one character wasn’t impressive in the whole ordeal lies with Tricia played by Jamye Grant. The delivery care character felt overwritten to be the catalyst; her obsessiveness for Meredith and her father, as she notes getting close to the couple, felt right up there at stalker level with unnecessary cause and effect to bring Meredith in more trouble than she’s already in. Grant did what should could to absolve the character from being obscenely forthright, but Tricia’s unable to pull back just enough to allow comfortable separation of a concerned citizen.
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CAV Releasing’s of the 87 minute runtime Blu-ray of “The ID” from the production companies Ranch Media and Panic Ventures is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio on a single BD-25 disc. The presentation doesn’t spin much of a colorful offering that’s slightly dull without a pop or a splash of vivid hues sans the split psychosis scenes that are hefty in blue while overly exposed. Prevalent details are far more unusually blotchy, glossy, and scattered under the lower bitrate encoding that isn’t necessarily noticeable because of the setting being isolated to just Meredith’s childhood home. “The ID” isn’t an action heavy or scenic riddled film that requires much detail. Under the Dolby Digital 5.0 mix, a fair amount of unmistakable clarity and range emits fully through each channel with solid LFE and balanced tracks to level out the video quality woes. An option for a LPCM 2.0 is also available. Plentiful bonus features include a feature length commentary with director Thommy Hutson and star Amanda Wyss, an interview featurette entitled Needs, Wants, & Desires, intercut behind-the-scenes segment, alternate and deleted scenes, audition footage, and official stills and trailer. Thommy Hutson’s “The ID” is far from his usually schtick of horror documentaries, but clearly showcases the director’s talents within the psychological horror subgenre and will be the building blocks of his narrative directorial career.

“The ID” on Blu-ray. It’s cheap psychological horror!

“Blood is Blood” Going into the Family Scrapbook this September!

Multicom Entertainment Group is releasing psychological family horror “Blood is Blood,” the first digital acquisition from under the horror banner channel “ThrillGoreTV.” “Blood is Blood” release will be on digital HD and VOD September 1st! Sooner than you think!

“For privileged siblings Brie, Daniel, Crew and Jess family has always come first. But when Crew (Danile DiTomasso) invites his girlfriend Sara (Kate French) into the family, distrust begins to bubble between the siblings. Seeing Sara as a threat, Brie grows spiteful and suspicious that she is being replaced… That is until the night Crew attempts to murder her in their family house. Traumatized, Brie is sent to a mental facility where she is tormented by hallucinations of Crew from the night of the attack. But when the visions begin to bleed into reality, Brie starts to fear that it’s not just her sanity that’s in danger, and she flees the facility. In a frantic attempt to return to her remaining siblings and warn them, Brie begins to uncover a trail of gory, sinister secrets that leads her to question whether she knows her family as well as she thought.”

Freshman film of writer-director Stuart Sauvarin and stars Fiona Dourif (daughter of iconic Brad Dourif), Kate French, Daniel DiTomassee, Andrew James Allen, Tessa Harnetiaux, and Caitlin Harris. Website: http://www.bloodisblood-movie.com/

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Can Evil Be Thwarted From Plaguing Your Family? “The Hours Till Daylight” review!

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Ever since he was a small child, Marco has been haunted by a malevolent presence inside his family home. The nighttime darkness has become Marco’s most feared adversary, staying up late and sleeping with the lights on has been molded into the normalcy of his life. While recollecting his childhood, a happy and tragic period in his life, Marco tracks downs and locates a Curandero, a Witch doctor of sorts, named Luis Ortiz, hoping for a resolution to the spirit’s relentless torture before Marco’s son becomes the spirit’s next target. The unorthodox Ortiz discloses a self-exorcising ritual that only Marco can perform to ultimately rid Marco’s family’s curse. Armed with ritualistic candles, a barrier of salt, the holiness of water, and a slither of courage, Marco transforms his childhood home into an evil eviction dwelling that will be the last stand.
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Director Jon Garcia’s first step into the horror genre with “The Hours of Daylight,” a ghost film through-and-through, starring Quinn Allen as Marco. Set within the confines and on the outskirts of Corpus Christi, Texas, Garcia’s uses the industrial and river-ridden backdrop to contrast a stark outline between the metal and the nature qualities of the coastal city, a demarcation dividing the otherworldly evil versus the organic man. However, the diverse landscape is only a embellished blanket over a lingering underdeveloped story written by Garcia. Marco spends much of the time wandering the land, pondering the what ifs of his past, and doing a lot of soul searching in order to build courage against a lifelong and unknown force, but the story goes stagnant for a good portion of the first two acts doing nothing to motivate and build upon an established character from early into “The Hours Till Daylight.”
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Interesting aspects of the film such as Curandero Luis Ortiz and the stricken girlfriend of Marco left a befuddled teaser in a Quinn-centered story. Dan Braverman (Dylan Dog: Dead of Night) portrayed the Curandero, a character whose disability, threatening protection, and greedy candor made a highlight when Marco comes calling for unconventional assistance. Braverman’s “gangster” charisma overpowers Quinn Allen’s timid and drab performance of a desperate man on a mission to do and try anything to end his family’s suffering. Marco’s girlfriend, credited to Sarah Jannett Parish, begin to experience the affects of Marco’s torment as the apparition clings onto her and their unborn son, pursuing a legacy of spirit attachment. Again, the scenes are brief and unexplored; these scene would heighten a clear and present danger that provokes Marco.
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I previously read that the slow pace of “The Hours Till Daylight” was well worth the wait at the finale. I disagree. The finale was better with a blue tinted, “not-of-this-Earth” force, naming itself Hate, makes a confrontal appearance when Marco challenges it and though the ghost effect does the job, final bout lets the air whoosh out, deflating any kind of tension and excitement right out of moment. Technical details crash Garcia’s initial horror achievement and its the little things that create an atmosphere. Garcia has an eye for horror, but not the eye it needs to be more defined in it’s training to capture the tiniest of details that makes a scene, or a movie, truly scary. Whether or not Garcia’s intentions we’re to display a blatant ghost thriller or to exhibit Marco’s severe mental distress stemming from the tragic loss of his sister and his emotionless father doesn’t matter if the film isn’t technically and emotionally sound. Garcia’s film isn’t technically sound and borderlines being emotionally there, but falters through the inconsistencies.
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Breaking Glass Pictures distributes the 84 minute not rated DVD of the Jon Garcia’s Lake Productions feature film presented in a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio on a singer-layered disc and the video quality is solid sans some compression artefacts. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix could you some work leveling out of the LFE with the audio tracks. The special features include an in-depth look into the behind the scenes of “The Hours Till Daylight,” the film’s theatrical trailer, photo stills, and other BGP promotional trailers. Overall, “The Hours Till Daylight” atmospheric creepiness bleeds in the conformity of filmmaking, offering nothing new and unique to the psychological horror thrillers. Director Jon Garcia has talent and ambition that needs tweaking and more experience in order to accomplish horror at it’s scariest.

Buy “The House Till Daylight” at Amazon!