Written Reviews

Rideshare (Written Review)

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Rideshare (pic)

Oscar Wilde once said; “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” Only when a man believes he is safe from the repercussions of his actions, will reveal his true nature. “Rideshare” follows the exploits of an Uber driver named Jason. After witnessing the side of Los Angeles from constant bombardment of fake personalities, Jason grows hostile towards those around him and develops a dark, nihilistic view of humanity as a whole. This new outlook soon leads him down the path of murder and violence. Jason converses with each passengers, while secretly judging whether or not that person deserves to live. The passenger continues talking, completely oblivious of the weight his words hold regarding whether they will reach their expected destination or become another victim of the crazed driver. Just as the masked man speaks freely, Jason’s passengers talk to him without reservation and undeterred by typical social conventions. By the end of the drive, the passengers true nature is put on display for Jason pass judgement on. The vapid and distasteful personalities that make up his passengers, serve as a constant reminder of everything Jason despises about the world around him. it’s difficult not to sympathize with his actions to some extent, while simultaneously condemning them as morally reprehensible.

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Strip Club Massacre/Night Club Massacre (Written Review)

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“Strip Club Massacre” or “Night Club Massacre” as it’s called on Amazon Video is a film about a woman, who after facing a series of non stop abuse and betrayal, is pushed beyond her breaking point and chooses to take control of her life by any force necessary.
In a span of less than twenty four hours, protagonist Megan (Alicia Watson) finds herself unemployed and discovers that her boyfriend had been having an affair with her roommate. With her life in shambles, Megan moves out of her apartment and begins living with a a wealthy friend while rebuilds her life.
Soon after moving, Megan is introduced to her friend’s boyfriend. A man named Bobby, who runs a local strip club. He offers Megan a job as a waitress at his club. After some initial hesitation, she accepts the offer. However, soon after starting her new job, Megan discovers the strict hierarchy that exist amongst the employees at the strip club.
Sitting at the top of the food chain is a sadistic stripper named Jazz (Erin Brown/Misty Mundae). She and her cohorts harass the other workers to reinforce their dominance and remind everyone of their place in the hierarchy. Those who Jazz perceives as a threat, or wrong her in any way become subject to her wrath, and are submitted to whatever torture will sate her unquenchable blood lust.
At the core of “Night Club Massacre” are the themes of control and dominance. Megan enters into a world where those willing to take what they want by force set the rules for everyone else.
Eventually Megan catches Jazz’s ire and is subjected to unspeakable acts of violence and humiliation. Robbed of her remaining dignity and fueled by anger, Megan chooses to take revenge against everyone responsible for her suffering and slaughters each person without mercy.
With her enemies vanquished, Megan sets out to continue her revenge against everyone who wronged her in the past. Playing by the rules of her enemies, she is free take any action she wishes.
“Night Club Massacre” initially gives the impression of a simple low budget sexploitation film. However, beneath the surface is a story about the savage nature of humanity and how easily we can make others suffer if free of consequences and fueled by anger.

Unlisted Owner (Written Review)

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Unlisted Owner (pic).jpgDeviating from the typical found footage formula, “Unlisted Owner” focuses primarily around the characters within the story, rather than the super natural occurrences surrounding them. The horror elements, of the film take a back seat to character development and serves primarily as an ever present shadow looming over everyone, subtly influencing events rather dictating their every action taken throughout the story.

This freedom granted the characters a sense of autonomy, which is typically absent from other films within the genre. The film begins through the perspective of a family moving into a new house. The events are recorded on home video by the eldest daughter of the family. The daughter voices her concerns and dissatisfaction regarding the move, while her father attempts to reassure her that everything will be fine.

What initially appears as a typical set up for a haunted house film takes an unexpected deviation when the entire family is slaughtered during their first night at the house. From that point, the perspective shifts towards a new group of characters along with the direction of the film itself. The new group consist of seven teenagers living near the area where the murder took place.

After witnessing the bodies being removed from the house, the group discusses whether or not to proceed with a camping trip they had planned in the woods near by murder location. After discussion the situation, all but one of the teenagers choose to proceed with the trip as planned.

The unofficial leaders of the group are two bombastic young men named Gavin and Tyler. While overall friendly with the others, the duo both impulsive and irresponsible, caring little about the consequences of their actions. Gavin and Tyler decide to take a detour from the trip in order to visit the house where the family was murdered. Despite opposition, the others ultimately decide to follow them to house where violence and death await them. Gavin and Tyler continuously display reckless and potentially dangerous behaviors on their way to the house such as drinking while intoxicated, calling in a fake 911 call and breaking into a crime scene. However, regardless of all misgivings, the rest of the group chooses to follow them anyways. By choosing not to act, even while openly chastising Gavin and Tyler’s actions, the other members of the group continue to follow their lead. By relinquishing control to an outside party, they’ve convinced themselves that they are absolved of any responsibility or repercussions that may result from their actions.

This lack of action underlies a central theme within “Unlisted Owner”. The concept of choice and free will. The movie asks the question of whether or not an individuals actions actually have any impact regarding their final destination. These ideas are explored from different perspectives through the two stories presented; The tragedy of the family murdered in their new house and the events proceeding the six campers entering the same house. The two stories are juxtaposed to each other, showing a family blind sided by a tragic fate and a group whose conscious actions appear to have led them to the same cruel fate.

“Unlisted Owner” takes an unorthodox approach to an over saturated genre and presents a unique and thought provoking film. If you’re a fan of the found footage films and looking for a movie with a different perspective, then “Unlisted Owner” is a film worth your time.

 

Leaf Blower Massacre 2 (Written Review)

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Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 8.21.51 PM.pngI’ve often said that the easiest way to come up with a concept for a B-Movie is to add the word “Massacre” to the end of literally any noun. After watching the the 2016 horror/comedy “Leaf Blower Massacre 2” by T-Nasty Productions, I can now state with absolute certainty that my long held hypothesis was in fact correct.

While I haven’t seen the original “Leaf Blower Massacre”, I had no difficulties following the plot of this sequel and found watching it to be an entertaining and surprisingly brutal experience none the less.

The story follows a detective duo of questionable competence investigating a series of leaf blower related murders. The murders are somehow connected to professor Shaver Jennings and the recent disappearance of his fiancé.

The film teaches the potential dangers a leaf blower can pose in the wrong hands. The killer seemingly has a penchant for creative murders such as blasting victims to death, impaling victims and even converting a leaf blower into a makeshift machine gun, the killer successful turns murder by leaf blower into an art.

Each murder is accompanied by a chorus of heavy metal music which helped accentuate the brutality of these scenes, while turning each murder into a nonsensical music video one can’t help enjoying.

At the climax of the film, Shavar has a final showdown with the murderer, where past mistakes come to light and all dangerous lawn equipment are retired back to the tool shed where they belong.

“Leaf Blower Massacre 2” manages to balance gratuitous violence with absurd humor in a way that never felt forced. The story managed to tie together appropriately, leaving no loose ends or questions unexplained.

If you have an affinity for practical blood effects, murder mysteries, and every day house hold items being converted into deadly weapons, then “Leaf Blower Massacre 2” is definitely worth consideration.

Out of Frame (Requested Review)

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The purpose of art is to awaken the deep seeded emotions that lay dormant within the far reaches of the viewers mind. Through the use of images, both shocking and beautiful, the artist explores the darkest depths of our souls, exposing the carnal nature of the supposedly civilized man.

While art by its very nature is subjective and inevitably provokes different reactions from onlookers, there is a single universal concept that supersedes all personal and cultural boundaries and connects all of humanity (past, present and future). It is the notion of death that manages to blend sheer horror with ephemeral beauty and blurs the distinction between disgust and arousal

The film “Out of Frame” explores the often overlooked connection between violence and beauty, through a story that challenges traditional notions of art.

Damien Drake is a professional photographer, known for his unorthodox line of works known as the “Death Series”. This series of portraits consisted of models covered in artificial blood and strategically posed to resemble murder victims. However, unbeknownst to the public, the secret behind the realistic quality of the death series is that the models portrayed are in fact dead. Hoping to leave his violent past behind him, Damien attempts to reinvent himself by moving away from death and violence and focusing on different themes entirely. Damien’s new direction is met with poor audience reception, leaving him bitter and unfulfilled as an artist.

Damien contemplates the the direction of his art, when his former employer John abruptly re-enters his life. The past and present collide, as John urges Damien to resume his former life as photographer of death. Struggling to rebrand himself, while trying to keep his violent urges suppressed, Damien’s inner turmoil eventually erupts into a violent confrontation with John.

In the aftermath of the fight, Damien ultimately decides to reject both the senseless violence of the death series and the empty, uninspired art from his new life. He instead chooses to follow his own path embracing his murderous nature, to create new works that reflect his appreciation of beauty and desire to create meaningful art.

Typically films with murder and death as central themes explore the motives and psychology of the killer. “Out of Frame” successfully subverts this cliche by presenting the killer as both an individual character as well as a representative of humanity itself. Through Damien’s conflict, we’re presented with both the blood thirst animal and the aspiring artist that make up the contradiction that is mankind.  

Troll Inc. (Review)

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The art of trolling is one that many attempt, but few have mastered. Separate from online harassment, Trolling requires a deep understanding of society combined with a natural thirst for truth and the drive to push the boundaries of acceptable behavior. 

“Troll Inc” chronicles the various endeavors of the notorious internet troll known as Weev. Having received international notoriety from a stunt involving a security breach at Apple, Weev has become a controversial figure, whose eccentric behaviors and lack of decorum has gained him the admiration of some, and the ire of others. 

At first glance, Weev appears as little more than a nihilistic clown, taking pleasure in disrupting the status quo for his own amusement. While this view isn’t entirely off base, it would be dishonest to summarize a character such as Weev by such a simplistic description. 

As any good documentary should, “Troll Inc” explores the mindset of the infamous troll and provides a greater understanding of who he is. Underlying the cheap thrills inherent in trolling, the film presents a man set on challenging the boundaries of social convention and pushing the limits of the first amendment. 

The advent of the internet has led to an age in which the distinction between the personal and public has become nearly undefinable. As society expands to encompass more of the world into the global economy, the individual is reduced to a mere consumer, void of culture and lacking in personal intimacy. The consumer apathetically drifts through life, passively following the latest trends while surrendering his personal autonomy to international corporations and special interest groups.

As a result of an increasingly competitive society, some people choose to disconnect from the world entirely. They drift off into the dark corners of the internet, growing increasingly cynical and hostile towards anyone outside their small circle of compatriots. Others choose a more productive path by utilizing the internet to reach an audience of thousands dedicated followers and exposing them to the truth, while also showing the elites of society that they aren’t as untouchable as they may think. 

At the end of the documentary, the audience is left to make their own judgement about Weev and others like him. Is he just some obnoxious interloper, causing trouble just for laughs (for the lols as many prefer to say)? Or is he a crusader of justice, attempting to return control of society to the masses? I believe the answer lies somewhere in between these two extremes. Modern day internet trolls like Weev are a product of the time period. They’re people looking to expose the fragility of the current system, while laughing at the ensuing chaos.

Attack of the Killer Shrews! (Review)

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Paying tribute to the 1959 classic sci fi Low budget film “The Killer Shrew”, “Attack of the Killer Shrews” by “White Lion Studios” puts a comedic on the story told by it’s spiritual predecessor. The film begins with an extremely well done stop motion summary of the story, following a brief introduction by B-Movie Icon Lloyd Kauffman of “Troma Entertainment”. 

Following this opening, any pretense of seriousness that may have been expected is decisively shattered, ushering in a barrage of nonsensical and random comedy, complete with gratuitous blood played entirely for laughs. 

The film waste no time getting to the point, immediately introducing the cliche mad scientist character, who in typical mad scientist fashion, creates an army of blood thirsty rodents intent on massacring everything in sight. The Shrews themselves resembled the cheap quality of the shrews from the original film, but with enough self awareness to know how ridiculous they appeared. The shrews would randomly pop out of no where and act in manners that defied any logic, but came off as appropriate given the nature of the film. 

The human characters were nearly as ridiculous as the shrews they fought against. They consisted of various cliches and served little purpose other than to move the plot along and as subjects of jokes. It would have been pointless and inappropriate for any of the characters to be taken seriously, or to spend an unnecessary amount of time developing them. Instead, their brief introductions and simple personalities granted the film consistent pacing, with the jokes primarily relating to the plot. 

Overall, “Attack of the Killer Shrews” is a entertaining, low budget comedy that never pretends to be more than it is. If you have an appreciation for classic low budget films and over the top comedy, then “Attack of the Killer Shrews” is definitely a film worth your consideration. Though you may want to check every corner of your house before hand. Just in case something is waiting for you.