A Slice of Fright Film Fest 2019 – Mini Reel Reviews – Pt 2

Back with part 2 of 3!!

Patina

John’s(Matt Kelly) order has finally arrived and he’s beyond excited. He has bought a robot named Patina(Alan Maxson) and can’t wait to show it to his wife, Alexa(Annabel Barrett). Alexa isn’t amused, however, as Patina is malfunctioning and it’s getting worse as the day goes on.

Sci-fi has always been a good companion to horror and Patina, directed by Alan Maxson, is no different. The genres blend together seamlessly with a dash of dark comedy added to the mix. While we’ve seen rouge artificial intelligence stories before it’s the overall execution that pulls Patina together. The acting is exceptional with all three actors playing off each other nicely whether it be for laughs or for scares. The sound design is also terrific with Patina’s movements sounding both prehistoric and futuristic. Patina is fantastic on all fronts and is highly recommended for any lover of the sci-fi/horror genre.

I give Patina 6 out of 6 reels.

The Soul Collector

The hunter(Michael May) is collecting souls when he happens on the home of his next victims. As the hunter approaches a wife(Tierney Michon) is preparing to shower while her husband(Travis Cox) is watching television with their children. A surprise awaits when he finds this family isn’t as helpless as they seem.

With The Soul Collector director Nick Peterson has made a sci-fi/horror short that is absolutely oozing with style. The art direction stands out and it’s this uniqueness that gives The Soul Collector a memorable quality. The story, which begins as a standard slasher movie, goes places that are certainly unexpected. Some may question the use of the art style for the entire film as it creates some mild confusion, but it doesn’t take away from the quality of the film or the excitement it elicits.

I give The Soul Collector 5 out of 6 reels.

Verso

A deranged man(Nicholas Badamo) is attacking the poor patrons of a bar. No. . . wait, now he is dancing seductively with a woman(Christi Perovski). Watch as an intriguing story unfolds that is unlike anything considered normal.

A film difficult to critique due to how it unfolds, Verso is full of charisma, attitude, and mystery. Directors Ryan Russell Steele and Joseph Victor have created Verso in an interesting way that not only progresses the story, but also uniquely shifts the genre of the film. Morphing the genre not just in the moment, but of the film in its entirety. Verso has interesting art house decisions that may turn off some viewers, but the choices made were for the overall vision and enhancement of the film.

I give Verso 5 out of 6 reels.

The Reapers

Razaphel(Tanner Sells) is having terrible dreams. Nightmares of a group that call themselves the reapers. Razaphel tells his grandmother, Marion(Jami Cullen), about the nightly terrors hoping for an explanation. Marion’s sympathy soon turns to excitement as she knows exactly what Razaphel’s dreams are prophesying.

Directed by Gin Wills, The Reapers is a fantasy horror film that is full of rich lore. On the surface, The Reapers is your standard “I’ve had a bad dream” tale where little info is given about what is going on. In The Reapers, however, you receive an explanation for the nightmares. The audience gets answers for many questions, but also leaves enough mystery for future installments. The overall quality of The Reapers is rough, but the imagination and creativity remain unaffected. This should help in the making of future films should they be made.

I give The Reapers 3 out of 6 reels.

Apollyon

After locking up for the evening a janitor(Jimmy Doom) begins the job of cleaning the local church. After a while he finds that he’s not along when he finds a mysterious woman sitting among the pews. Politely asking her to leave proves dangerous when a devastating chain of events begins.

Apollyon, directed by Bret Miller, is a horror story that delivers a strong message about issues in today’s society. It’s a slow burn, but the tension builds perfectly as Apollyon leads to its last act. The story that Apollyon conveys builds nicely, weaving perfectly with the building tension. It’s societal message comes across unobtrusively, not being thrown in the viewers face. The suffocating tension melding with the intense plot leads to a conclusion that is a deafening crescendo of horror.

I give Apollyon 6 out of 6 reels.

Arcanus

Everything is perfectly normal in the household of a father(Jesus Andres De Dios), mother(Virginia Nolting), and their son(Felix Martin Lobato). Sure strange events are occurring in the neighborhood but nothing to be really worried about, right?

Sometimes people are so fixated on daily activities that they don’t notice the world around them. This is especially true of children and in Arcanus, directed by Fernando Ruiz, we get exactly that. A film that is extremely jarring in it’s scary moments, Arcanus has some very unique jump scares. Through the use of electronic music (think Aphex Twin and Squarepusher) and quick camera cuts to disturbing imagery, Arcanus delivers us these creative scares. Though the story could give us a bit more answers about what’s going on, Arcanus still delivers a slick presentation with plenty of style.

I give Arcanus 4 out of 6 reels.

Long Overdue 

The cabal leader(John Creedon) is finally ready to resurrect the long dead king. All he needs to do is recite some phrases from the sacred texts. Now where did he put those stubborn sacred texts?

A micro comedy/horror directed by Emmet O’Brien Long Overdue takes a moment we’ve all had, realizing we’ve lost something, and turns it into a hilarious short. The amount of lore and world building packed into Long Overdue is impressive, seeing as it’s only a minute long. The film relies solely on one premise, however, and it would have been nice to see a few more quick jokes thrown in. This doesn’t distract from Long Overdue’s quality and by the end of the film any audience will be laughing out loud.

I give Long Overdue 5 out of 6 reels.

Bequeathed 

Michael North(Cliff Beverly) is having a very stressful day. He has just skipped his fathers funeral and the reading of his will. Micheal is soon visited by Phil Carter(Steve Ledyard), a representative of his father’s affairs. It seems that Micheal’s father left him an important item. An item that will change Michael’s perspective on life forever.

In the first minutes of Bequeathed we get what many horror movies are unable to do in an hour by establishing a gripping plot that hooks the audience. Both director Michael McCallum and actors Cliff Beverly and Steve Ledyard are able to create a story that is rich with potential. When the scares begin to take hold not only are they terrifying but they also work to further the lore. In the end a few to many questions are left unanswered, which may cause some confusion. A minor criticism though because Bequeathed still leaves the viewer with an eerie sense of suspense and unease.

I give Bequeathed 5 out of 6 reels.

Midnight Visitor

The past few nights a woman(Janissa Saracino) is plagued by a stranger who is attempting to enter her locked apartment. Her doorknob turns back and forth as she is stricken with fear. Upon seeing that her neighbor(Dre Soule) is experiencing the same phenomenon, she lets the stranger inside. . . 

What begins as a straightforward horror concept of attempted home invasion turns toward the mysterious and weird in Midnight Visitor. Directed by Abby Brenker, Midnight Visitor has one of the more interesting ideas you’re like to see for a horror movie antagonist. The film creates a otherworldly setting that imbues a lingering sense of creepiness in the viewer. Questions about the Midnight Visitor will be with the audience long after the film has ended.

I give Midnight Visitor 4 out of 6 reels.

El Bano 3

A woman(Freespirit_Mace) is out for a walk when she stumbles upon some skeletal remains. Instead of contacting the authorities she gets entranced by a jewel that she finds on the body. A jewel that is both precious and deadly.

A horror short directed by Studi Yo Bless, El Bano 3 plays out like a classic fairy tale. Similar to old horror stories told around the campfire, El Bano 3 will send shivers down your spine. Most people have had the urge to take abandoned items of value and in this way El Bano 3 is a cautionary tale. The film is a modern take on this story, done with a style and grace that makes it more approachable for a newer audience. While the low-budget may turn off some viewers El Bano 3 still has a nostalgic old school charm.

I give El Bano 3 3 out of 6 reels.

Stay tuned for PART 3 of 3 – A SLICE OF FRIGHT Film Fest 2019 Mini Reel Reviews!

Suds & Cinema Knoxville – Mini Reel Reviews – Pt 1

CinemaSlice is proud to have showcased so many awesome short films at SUDS & CINEMA – Knoxville! Join Mark Kelly as he writes a mini Reel Review on each of the official film selections for this event.

Hunted

A young woman, who is walking through the woods, suddenly notices that someone is following her. Who is following her and will she be able to escape?

A micro horror film directed by Seth Young, Hunted is an effectively scary thriller. Based on being chased by an ominous danger, it plays on our real fears. Hunted feels lacking in story due to the length but in doing so it leaves the viewer haunted by the questions it leaves unanswered.

I give Hunted 3 out of 6 reels.

Tennis

A game of tennis turns into an epic battle for the ages as Jordan(Chance McDuffy) faces of against his overly eager buddy Nick(Greg Collins).

A comedy directed by Logan Solana, Tennis is a hilarious look at two buddies in a “friendly” competition. Jordan and Nick are instantly likable characters that play well off each other due to their contradicting personalities. The writing is fine, but what really shines here is the physical comedy and timing. The joke delivery is spot on and the level of absurdity is appropriate.

I give Tennis 4 out of 6 reels.

Drop Frame

While working on a nature program a producer(Forrest Ferguson) and an editor(Jamie Hickman) encounter something strange. Is it a glitch in the equipment or is something more otherworldly occurring.

Drop Frame is a suspense/mystery film directed by Philip Tatler IV. Although some might classify this as horror, Drop Frame is different. Instead of bombarding the viewer with jump scares and gore, it leaves the viewer with a sense of unease and dread. You’re never quite sure exactly what is going on and just when you think you do Drop Frame gets even weirder. Playing out like a classic episode of Twilight Zone, Drop Frame doesn’t disappoint.

I give Drop Frame 6 out of 6 reels.

Back to the Drawing Board

Using their newly acquired ability of travel time a group of friends, Hannah(Hannah Riddle), Nicholas(Nicholas Mariano), Justin(Justin Simerly), and James(James Maines) try to change past events for a better future. What actually ends up happening is something more hilarious than heroic.

A sci-fi comedy directed by John Queener & Gabe Hobbs, Back to the Drawing Board is a hilarious look into the world of time travel gone wrong. The comedic writing in Back to the Drawing Board is great with the jokes coming at a fast pace. Even with the unrealistic elements of time travel, the script remains grounded and relatable. Although the delivery and timing could have used some work and we’ve seen time travel done in this way before, Back to the Drawing Board is entertaining nonetheless.

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I give Back to the Drawing Board 4 out of 6 reels.

I Will Not Disappear

Alan(Merrit Brakebill, Paul Smith) is reminiscing of past experiences with his wife Victoria(Heather Arnwine, Sarah Smith). In their golden years, Victoria’s memories are slowly disappearing as she struggles to remember the past.

I Will Not Disappear is a heartfelt and emotional drama directed by Jared Sutton. A relatable film for those with loved ones dealing with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, I Will Not Disappear will tug on the heartstrings. The cinematography and direction are on a top-tier level and the acting is phenomenal. While many films of the past have covered this same topic, I Will Not Disappear is certainly among the greats.

I give I Will Not Disappear 5 out of 6 reels.

The Workout

During a rigorous Zumba session at the local YMCA tragedy strikes when a man goes into cardiac arrest. Never fear as there is somebody magical in the class to save the day. 

An absurdist comedy directed by Chris Rodgers, The Workout is an enjoyable film that relies heavily on its core premise. The writing and acting, while not outstanding, are woven expertly to serve this premise. Though not really relatable in any way to everyday life, The Workout is still a fun and entertaining watch.

I give The Workout 3 out of 6 reels.

Stay Tuned for PART 2!!

Laakekoe (Medicated) Reel Review

Korppainen(Tapio Kauma) is a pretty quirky person. With hobbies that include random shadow boxing, science fiction literature, and chess matches against himself it’s hard not to consider Korppainen unique. However, the cause of Korppainens new problem maybe his odd behavior. Nearby, a doctor named Niklas(Heikki Kauma) is on the verge of unleashing a very dark and powerful entity. An entity that requires a unique individual, just like Korppainen, to arrive on earth. When Korppainens brother, Karsta(Tapio Kauma), asks him to take part in a strange medical experiment, we soon find out how destructive this entity is.

Laakekoe(Medicated) is a sci-fi action adventure directed by Tapio Kauma and Ville Viasanen. For me Laakekoe(Medicated) excelled in a few key areas: awesome special effects and telling a compelling, well paced story. The effects in this movie are extremely well done. The supernatural beings that inhabit the film are dark and ominous. You feel a real sense of danger when Korppainen is going up against them. I have to give Ville Viasanen an applause for a job well done. 

Laakekoe(Medicated)s pacing also kept me engaged all throughout the film. Every scene kept the action moving and I feel that’s important for a movie in this genre. It also helped that each character was distinctive and entertaining. Due to the fast pace of the film it was very important to have impressive character development to avoid any further confusion in the storyline.

Laakekoe(Medicated) – IMDB

This leads me to my one criticism of Laakekoe(Medicated). The story was, for me, fairly confusing. During my first viewing I always felt a bit lost. The awesome characters and action packed pace kept me watching. A second viewing definitely helped to clarify a lot of the plot details that had me lost.

The whole film project took 7 years to complete. Majority of the effort was done by two guys: Tapio Kauma and Ville Väisänen. They had previously done several short movies together but this is the first feature length movie by them. They have not officially studied move making but have instead learned everything they know about film making by trial and error. And of course by watching lots of movies.
The duo have estimated that during the years they spend about 1 300 hours to complete the movie. The movie was done while the film makers studied and/or worked full time. The whole budget for the movie is less than 150 euros.

Laakekoe(Medicated) is a solid sci-fi action adventure. It has a great mix of special effects and interesting, distinctive characters. Also, it has the perfect amount of absurdity sprinkled throughout. Although you may have to give this a second watch to help understand some of the story details, Laakekoe(Medicated) is still a kick ass experience. Look it up on YouTube and give it a watch.

I give Laakekoe(Medicated) 4 out of 6 reels.

Paradise Fear Reel Review

Hello, Slicers! Here we go with another Reel Review and this time we’ll be looking at the short film Paradise Fear. Written and directed by “Zach Deering”, Paradise Fear is a sci-fi, action adventure short. It sticks to the same tense and frantic fun that we’ve come to expect from a Zach Deering original. CinemaSlice.coms Indie Film Spotlight featured two of Zach’s previous films, SAM and Nano Addiction. Both were highly entertaining. You can check out previous Reel Reviews covering SAM and Nano Addiction at CinemaSlice.com.

Two bounty hunters, played by “Michaela Romain” and “Anastasiia Greca”, are exploring the mysterious planet Paradise Sphere. Known only as a vacation destination, the planet is rumored to have some hidden secrets. As the bounty hunters are walking they observe a ship crash land onto Paradise Sphere. Paradise Sphere gunned down the ship. They begin to look for the surviving members of the wreckage. The plan is to capture the ships survivors and receive a huge payday for their bounty’s. They soon end up uncovering the secrets of Paradise Sphere that could affect the universe forever.

Continue reading “Paradise Fear Reel Review”

“SAM” Reel Review

For the month of July CinemaSlice has chosen to highlight the short sci-fi film “SAM” for the Indy Film Spotlight. Directed by Zac Deering, “SAM” follows a seemingly homeless wanderer, named Doc (Jarret Ross), as he scavengers the outer city for parts of an unknown project he seems to be working on. In an abandoned building he soon finds a stack of cardboard boxes where he discovers a powered down android (James Hudson). After getting the android back online we begin to learn more about Sam and find out he may be more than what he seems.

Zach Deering has been featured before in the Indy Film Spotlight with his film “Nano Addiction” and just like this previous film, “SAM” features the same stunning visual effects. It’s always a treat to see indie filmmakers take such care in making special effects believable with such a low budget. A lot of these films end up looking campy or cheesy, while “SAM” maintains its credibility throughout.

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Schlock du Jour: Alien Nightmare X (2018)

directed by Dmitry Chmelyov

runtime: 62 mins

Toxic Filth Video

This review is sponsored by the Illuminati®

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When I was a kid, I had an impressive collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. I would make them perform impossible feats, and they were never truly in danger of the bad guys. They would just punch their stupid faces in after performing some ridiculous quadruple flip pile-driver on Pizzaface or Sergeant Bananas or Rocksteady. What does any of this have to do with Alien Nightmare X?

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It’s the year 2025. Comrades Alex and Victor have just returned from the Illuminati’s own planet, planet Silius. Now they are looking a ravaged Earth in the eye-sockets. Not much is left after the alien invasion. They team with a warrior that goes only by “The Possessed,” and fight to survive the attacks of the alien humanoids and spiders.

Sure there are a few fundamentals that get ignored completely, but this is a GOOD independent film. Continue reading “Schlock du Jour: Alien Nightmare X (2018)”

“Seed” – Reel Review

Welcome to a Reel Review by Mark Kelly!

In the short film “Seed” by Somatoform Films we meet a young man named Ryan (Jeremy Gladen) whose mother dies of cancer.

After her death he is traumatized not only by her passing, but also by an unseen force that could change the course of human history forever. In this sci-fi/drama/horror film written and directed by Josh Kaukl, we are questioned with the idea that maybe some of life’s mysteries have more horrifying answers than we could have ever thought possible.

SEED TRAILER from josh kaukl on Vimeo.

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Expected NonSense – “Avengers: Infinity War”

Hey gang, your friendly neighborhood Momo Pete with you again. This time around folks, we’re looking at Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. However, we’re also going to take a look at how we arrived at this juncture of the Marvel Cinematic Universe…

Let’s consider this: of course this will not be nominated for Best Picture. On it’s face, this is pure spectacle. A gigantic cast, more special effects than you can shake a stick at and corny comic book storytelling is what this film is on the surface. But, there’s a lot more to it. A WHOLE lot.

I’ve heard the snobs who are paid to review movies talk about how they have grown tired of the comic book adaptations. How there’s a lack of originality in Hollywood overall. That’s true.

But not when it comes to my beloved MCU.

Continue reading “Expected NonSense – “Avengers: Infinity War””