An Evil Hog Demon Won’t Let You Escape this Island! “The Forlorned” review!


Just off the rough stormy shores of Nova Scotia is a remote island where American Tom Doherty becomes the newly hired lighthouse caretaker in search for good money. Already overwhelmingly cloaked with the lighthouse’s creepy adjacent housing and being forewarned by the island’s infamous legends, an isolated Tom experiences the abilities of dark force first hand and doesn’t know whether the forces are real or madness has swallowed him from the extreme isolation. As Tom continues the work, he discovers clues along the way that suggest the island holds a nefarious past involving murder, suicide, and cannibalism, but an old bible with a list of names is the key that has the potential to unlock all the island’s mysterious doors and can also be Tom’s unfortunate undoing if he maintains being the lighthouse caretaker.

Based off the Angela Townsend book with the same title, “The Forlorned” is the 2017 silver screen adaptation of Townsend’s mystery-thriller from “Dead Noon” director Andrew Wiest who has helmed a jolting, supernaturally visual and auditory accompaniment to Townsend’s literary work. To maintain authenticity, Townsend co-wrote a script alongside Wiest and Ryan Reed that’s riddle with an ill-omened story leading audiences down a path of insanity-ladened darkness. But what exactly is “The Forlorned?” Forlorn has two definitions: 1) pitifully sad and abandoned or lonely 2) unlikely to succeed; hopelessness. Either of the disparaging definitions, if not both, can be used to described “The Forlorned’s” eerily gloomy story that’s saturated in a motif of burdensome loneliness and relentlessly bashes the concept into our heads in a constant reminder that no one can ever escape the island even in postmortem. The character Tom is the very definition of the forlorned. Whether because of due diligence or a dark force, his role of caretaker is a permanent position allotted to him unwillingly by a sadistic, secret-keeping demon that seeks to swallow more unfortunate souls.

Colton Christensen inarguably shapes the role of Tom Doherty into his own with a solid solitary performance for more than half the film. Christensen also, for much of the last ten minutes of the story, had to systematically break away from his character in order to forge a combative persona to Tom and while Christensen does the job well for one character, shouldering a second didn’t suite the actor’s abilities despite a total embrace of character and a few jabs at his own humility. Wiest has worked with Christensen prior to “The Forlorned” and has seemed to continue the trend of using his own entourage of actors with the casting of Elizabeth Mouton (also from “Dead Noon”). Mouton’s character is briefly mentioned near the beginning as a little girl of a previous caretaker, but her adult version only makes the scene in the latter portion of the story to provide a better clarification and exposition into the demon’s background. Also serving exposition as story bookends and peppered through as emotional support is Cory Dangerfield’s “Murphy,” a sea-salty old bar owner who liaisons with the lighthouse committee and can make a mean clam chowder. Murphy hires Tom to do the restoration and caretaker work and while Murphy initiates Tom existence into the fold, Murphy, for the rest of the film, serves as slight comic relief and, in a bit of disappointment, an unfortunate waste of a character. I also wanted Benjamin Gray, Shawn Nottingham’s priest character, to be built upon and expanded more because the character is a key portion that, in the end, felt rushed with quick, messy brush strokes in order to finish painting the picture.

At first glance, Townsend, Wiest, and Reed’s script screens like a typical, if not slightly above par level, haunting where Tom encounters sportive spirits, ghastly visions, and a slew of ominous noises inside a time-honored lighthouse home, but then a twist is written into play, pitting Tom against a masterminding demon whose conquered many other bygone caretakers and whose the epicenter of all that is sinisterly wrong with the island. The demon, who has taken the form of a man hungry hog, lives only vicariously through the camera’s point of view, never bestowing an appearance upon to Tom or even the audience, but referenced numerous times by island locals and boisterously given hog attributes whenever the demon is near. The concept fascinates with this demon-hog thing kept stowed away deep inside the isle’s bedrock even if the dark entity never makes a materializing appearance, but where that aspect thrives in “The Forlorned,” a pancake thin backstory for the demon goes simply construed with a slapped together account of its languished two-century long past and wilts the demonic character wastefully down with backdropped uncertainly, powerlessness, and puzzlement that’s forlornly misfired. There’s no deal with the devil, no selling of the soul, no medieval rite that gives the demon-hog it’s power; it just turns into an evil spirit out of greed.

Andrew Wiest’s production company, Good Outlaw Studios, presents “The Forlorned” that found a distribution home in Midnight Releasing, the fine folks who released “Blood Punch” and “WTF!” “The Forlorned” is available on DVD and multiple VOD formats such as iTunes, Vimeo, Vudu, Xbox Video, and Google Play. Since a screener was used for this critique, a full review rundown of the technical specs will not be provided and no bonus materials were featured on the disc. Director Andrew Wiest and his cast and crew entourage are able bodied participants in assembling a good, entertaining, and sufficient indie mystery-thriller brought to fruition out of Angela Townsend’s story with the author’s pen ship assistance. With a little tweak here and there on the antagonistic demon-hog, “The Forlorned” might have necessarily escalated into a richly dark territory of a more volatile, blood thirsty spirit that’s scribed to have racked up body after body, century after century; however, the fleeting chronicle of how the demon-hog came to be a malevolent being leaves a bittersweet aftertaste on a premise that started out spooky and strong.

Available on DVD at Amazon.com!

OMG, It’s Evil! Like, “WTF!” review!


Unable to escape her past, Rachel’s unforgettable terrors stem from being the center of a grisly mass murder that involved the death of all her close friends whom were all vacationing at a secluded cabin in the woods. Years later, Rachel, still haunted by the frozen and bloodied faces of her dead friends, reluctantly decides upon attending a spring break getaway with a group of new, still very much alive, school friends; a spring break trip that’s not on a tropical beach, but in a remote cabin. She desperately hopes to face her past and her relentless fear from a killer who was never caught. Through the typical vices that are involved in high schooler hijinks, Rachel tries to cope with not only her fears, but with also her degenerate boyfriend who gawks at any passing woman that makes two second eye contact with him and her superficial stoner friends who relish in their immature partying. As night falls, one-by-one her friends start to die brutally, just like before, and their lifeless bodies vanish, returning Rachel to relive a world of horror that pits her once again against the same maniac as before.

After a brilliant and bloody marketing campaign that involved posters of gore-splattered, half-naked bodies and a slew of “Clue”-esque, whodunit, story characters, “WTF!” has been the Peter Herro directed slasher constantly blipping on my upcoming release radar. “WTF!” is Herro’s breakout feature film debut that lives to tell death in the most formulaic slasher way that’s intentionally campy, persistently raunchy, and keeps you guessing until the end. Despite having character archetypes that genetically makeup the cast in the conventional slasher genre – a stoner, a socialite hottie, a muscular jerk, etc – there is not one single character with redeemable values in the bunch, except for Rachel who constantly shells out her conservative hesitations, and even when faced with their cat-and-mouse induced mortality, Herro, and fellow co-writers Adam Buchalter and Christopher Lawrence Centanni, design an unfortunate bunch of grade-A assholes who could do the world a favor and die a horrible death.

Do you recall my review from last year for the 2015 thriller “The Horror” directed by Jerry J. White III? If you do, you may remember co-star Callie Ott! Ott is back on the scene, starring as Rachel, the traumatized young lady trying to get back on that horse to face her fears, and this leading lady has come a long way to become a scream queen in Herro’s “WTF!” Ott’s joined by two other female co-stars, “Awaken the Shadowman’s” Andrea Hunt and “Hatchet II’s” Sarah Agor, as a pair of girlfriends hellbent to one up each other. When compared to the male characters, Hunt and Agor own their shamelessness and are likable despite their ruthless snobbish attitudes. For the bros, Benjamin Norris, Adam Foster, and Johnny James Fiore are respectively the childish stoner, the ambiguously gay prep, the feverishly perverted jock and, together, they perfectly pitch a tri-force of juvenile incompetence with endless depravities on a continuous repeat cycle. They portray the type of characters you hope, or you pray to God, that they go first and go painfully. Painfully slow, if possible. Nicholas James Reilly rounds out the group of friends as Rachel’s brother, Toby, who tags along to make sure Rachel doesn’t have a mental moment during what should be a fun and relaxed spring break. Oh, and Perez Hilton makes a brief cameo appearance as a pool party host, flavoring his scenes with an exaggerated comedy that’s very similar to his real life and persona.

“WTF!” is a clichéd junket. The over-the-top, stereotypical characters develop like defrosting slabs of beef that are massaged with well-seasoned genre-staple hallmarks, soon to be ready to be filleted into murdered medallions for our viewing pleasure after we’ve suffered the exhaustion over the characters brutal unfiltered banter. Think Perez Hilton and then double the personality. While the characters marinate in moronity, Herro and his crew are able to pull off a back-and-forth of Rachel’s pre- and postmortem experience with interrogation scenes that sweat Rachel to clue in the clueless detectives with the meat of the story. There’s also a competing story involving Rachel at a family wake that’ll become less perplexing when explained in the finale. I found myself not able to grasp entirely who the killer might be until about half the bodies pile up, making “WTF!” an effective slasher with ORLY? capping it off. However, I do grouse with the fact that “WTF!” was suppose to bring that killer mayhem, a tour de force bloodbath, that ultimate gore-soaked slasher as presumably promised in those awesome marketing posters; instead, blood didn’t flow, it merely dripped off into silhouette shadows and the fleeting off-screen moments.

Slathered heavily with many obvious “what the fucks” in the dialogue, Peter Herro does give a fuck with “WTF!” as he lathers his film into an ode to the slasher genre. The Cthulhu Crush Production will be released nationwide on VOD courtesy of Midnight Releasing come August 1st and will be available on Amazon Instant, iTunes, Xbox, Vimeo, Steam, Vudu and Google Play. I was provided with a screener disc so I’m unable to comment on video and audio quality and there were no extras included on the disc aside from a static menu. “WTF!” is a must-see. A definite homage to the butchery of trashy teens with a small gratuitous nudity cherry on top. Make sure to catch it August 1st with your video on demand provider.

“WTF!” Releases Trailer!

Peter Herro and Cthulhu Crush Pictures have released the first trailer for independent slasher “WTF!” A sole survivor of a gruesome massacre attempts to re-enter society with a trip with 6 close friends at an isolated cabin only to be brought back into the nightmare world of mass killings once again.

Herro directed from a script he co-wrote with Christopher Centanni and Adam Buchalter. Callie Ott (The Horror), Sarah Agor (Hatchet II, VH1’s “Scream Queens”), Andrea Hunt, Ben Norris, Johnny James Fiore, Nick Reilly and Adam Foster starred as the unfortunate group of friends.

“WTF” is expected to be released in 2016!

2014 Halloween Commercial #6: Snickers Horseless Headsman.

Another Headless Horseman commercial. Man, this icon is popular this year. I saw this little gem for a Snicker’s commercial while on my way up to Montreal. Short, yet still funny.