Day of the Dead: Bloodline – Review 

While you can get away with calling Day of the Dead: Bloodline a ‘reimagining’ of George Romero’s classic, there’s nothing ‘bold’ about it (in fact, it’s such a loose interpretation that ‘Generic Zombie Thriller’ would work just as well).

Part of what made Romero’s movies so horrific (in the best possible way) was his penchant for slow-moving zombies.

Their speed was irrelevant because they’re so numerous.  They were a creeping horde of inevitability focused entirely on devouring anything living in their path.

It was this inexorable march that made them so terrifying;  no matter how fast you run, no matter how far you go, they’ll eventually catch up to you.

The zombies in ‘Bloodline’ are of the more athletic variety, which may create more immediate gratification in terms of (jump) scares, though the sense of inevitability, of tension, is lessened (If not lost entirely).

Another trait of a Romero zombie movie is what I like to think of as layered storytelling (a tendency that’s effective the less you see if it.  In his later movies he tended to hit you over then head with ‘MEANING!’ and ‘MESSAGE!!’ which made the movie that encased it a lot less interesting)

For instance, you can enjoy Romero’s Dawn of the Dead at face value–as simply a story of humans in a shopping mall facing off against the undead–or as a commentary on consumerism and how our need for stuff is literally devouring us.

Day of the Dead: Bloodline though?  What you see is literally what you get.  There’s nothing in the way of subtext, which isn’t a deal breaker if the action were more engaging or the characterization strong.

Neither of which, for the most part, happens to be the case.  Though the most damning criticism of the movie is that too many characters have more to worry about from catching ‘the stupids’ than a zombie virus.

By which I mean there’re  too many scenes where people die in circumstances where someone with an iota of common sense wouldn’t. If it happens one time you chalk it up to bad luck.

If it happens three or four more times, it’s really bad writing.

Day of the Dead: Bloodline is not by any means a terrible movie, just not particularly noteworthy.

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Cargo – Trailer

CargoIt appears that the zombie genre has greater legs than anyone might have anticipated  (AMC’s The Walking Dead–despite a ratings decline–still shuffles on while spawning a sequel–Fear The Walking Dead–a somewhat unnecessary admonition) and along the way appears to have discovered a legitimacy few horror genres have had prior.

Though that shouldn’t be a surprise in that George Romero has long used the zombie genre to tell tales of class warfare and as metaphors for consumerism, among other things.

The latest example: Cargo, starring Morgan Freeman (Sherlock, Black Panther) which is coming on Netflix (Yay!) May 18.

What–if the trailer is to be believed–separates Cargo from it’s grisly siblings is that Freeman’s character appears to be be infected himself (and in search of a cure among the Aboriginal people of Australia) while the baby he carries (likely the ‘cargo’ of the title)–isn’t.

 

The Strangers: Prey at Night – Official Teaser Trailer

Screenshot 2018-01-09 02.40.12I didn’t particularly like 2008’s The Strangers because it made the same mistake other slasher/home invasion thrillers make, namely imbuing it’s protagonists with almost superhuman/supernatural abilities.

What I recall was that the killers had this almost uncanny knack for getting into places soundlessly and without anyone ever knowing they were there, which was a tendency that got even more irritating when you’d have the killers constantly popping behind characters for maximum shock value, but little else.

Plus there’s the whole ‘Based On True Events’ malarkey, which means it’s going be so loosely so that it’s not worth even mentioning.

That being said, The Strangers: Prey at Night might be really brilliant in the same way the truly excretable Ouija was surpassed by its sequel, Oijua: Origin of Evil, directed by Mike Flanagan (in my humble opinion the best horror director working today)..

Bryan Bertino, who wrote and directed the original movie wrote the screenplay for the sequel, though luckily won’t be returning to direct.

That chair is being filled by Johannes Roberts (Storage 24) , who for my money gives Prey at Night at least a chance of not sucking.

Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare – Trailer

Screenshot 2018-01-05 10.43.44If you recall, I wasn’t terribly unimpressed by the Slender Man trailer, namely because it was too impressionistic for it’s own good.

Now the trailer for Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare–as opposed to the Truth or Dare that documented Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition tour (which depending upon the lens you view it through could be considered a horror movie) looks more like of what I expected from Slender Man.

And speaking of Madonna, if there’s a song by her–any song–in this movie I would do my damnedest to see it the day it premieres because that’s a bit too meta to be ignored.

In any case, Truth or Dare looks like a mix of It Follows and Final Destination–and not to sound particularly morbid but that pool table kill is gnarly, which is why I wonder how it made it’s way in.  It’s particularly shocking–making this trailer Red Band material–and seems like something someone would have the sense to cut because it’s shocking the first time around but (assuming that it ends up in the movie) a little less so every time you see it.

The Midnight Man – Trailer

I want to trust this trailer.  After all, The Midnight Man stars Lin Shaye and Robert England (likely in supporting roles, but still) in a story about teens doing what it is that teens do, which typically (in horror movies, at any rate) is meddle with things that they shouldn’t.

My uncertainty about The Midnight Man is due the title and story being thematically similar to The Bye Bye Man, which is supposed to be a piece of crap according to Half in the Bag, though Variety was infinitely more charitable, essentially calling the movie disposable, but by no means unwatchable.

 

Gerald’s Game – Review

Screenshot 2017-11-27 00.46.08Gerald’s Game, currently on Netflix is a remarkable bit of television because it understands that horror is more than things that go ‘bump’ in the night, but is also a way of working through the most evil of demons, namely those that haunt us in our everyday, waking lives.

And imagine to my surprise to learn that it’s directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil) who understands that the best horror is like a satisfying meal in that it sticks to your ribs.

So when you combine Mike Flanagan’s minimalistic direction (with not a jump scare in literally the entire movie) with a story written by Stephen King, the likelihood is that both auteurs will brew a potent, horrible (in the best possible way) stew.

Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood star as Jessie and Gerald Burlingame, who we meet when they’re preparing for a holiday (though when Gerald packs two pairs of handcuffs we know that whatever is going to go on will be at the very least, very, very interesting).  As the story progresses we learn that much of what we learned about the couple earlier is a facade, revealed by nothing less than a Shakesperean narrative device.

While having more in common with a psychological thriller than outright horror, Gerald’s Game isn’t afraid to scale that fence when it comes to it.

So if you haven’t see Gerald’s Game, consider giving it a spin but keep in mind that some games–once you start playing–are Hell to stop.

‘Flatliners’ Likely to Die at the Box Office

The reboot of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 thriller Flatliners (directed by Niels Arden Oplev) premieres later this month, and is likely to have an uneventful–and short–run in theaters.

Reason being, IT has shown remarkable strength for an R-rated horror movie (and so far is making all the monies) but when you figure in Darren Aronofsky’s mother! (starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) being released two weeks later, it will take more than a shot of adrenaline to save the thriller.

And looking at the second trailer, you’ll likely get an idea why.

It’s not only hard to tell what’s going on and why it’s happening though worse of all there doesn’t seem a particularly–based on the trailer–compelling reason to see it.