Hell’s Half Mile 2018 – Day 2 & 3

What’s up, Slicers!

Mark Kelly here and I’m back with more Reel Reviews from the 13th annual Hells Half Mile in Bay City, MI.

The films we are looking at today were screened during the 2 and 3 days of the festival. They are selections that I felt ranged from challenging and thought provoking– to extremely fun and thrilling. We’ll start off first with “First Reformed”.

First Reformed”, written and directed by Paul Schrader, stars Ethan Hawke as priest Ernst Toller. Early in the film Ernst is asked by one of his parishioners, Mary (Amanda Seyfried), to talk to her husband Micheal (Philip Ettinger). Micheal belongs to an environmentalist group who believes that human life on earth is nearing an end. Micheal also believes that Mary, who is pregnant with his child, should get an abortion. He doesn’t want to bring a child into a world with such a grim future. What follows is a devastating series of events. Events that slowly make the lives of each of these characters spiral out of control. This film is thought provoking and will have you questioning the choices and motives of not only the characters but also yourself long after the highly disturbing final act has ended.

5 out of 6 reels.

Next up is “Summer of 84” made by RKSS (Roadkill Superstars). In Ipswich, OR, during the summer of 1984, a serial killer is on the loose. Teenage boys are disappearing with a disturbing regularity and Davey Armstrong (Graham Verchere) is starting to suspect that his neighbor, Wayne Mackey (Rich Sommer), may have something to do with the disappearances. The only problem is that Davey has very little evidence and Wayne is a respected local police officer. Davey, along with his buddies, begin their own investigation into Mr. Mackey, an investigation that may lead to horrifying discoveries.

I thought “Summer of 84” was fantastic. It checked all the boxes for me when it comes to a horror movie going experience. Frightening moments that are truly suspenseful, hilarious writing to break up the tense moments, and an overall cohesiveness that brings everything together into a tight story. If your a fan of “Stand By Me”, “IT”, or RKSSs previous film “Turbo Kid” then this movie is definitely for you.

6 out of 6 reels.

Last but not least is “Hunting Lands”. Directed by Zach Wilcox “Hunting Lands” is the tale of Frank Olsen (Marshall Cook) who, while hunting on his land, witnesses a disturbing event. He sees what appears to be an individual dumping an object, wrapped in a tarp, out of the back of a pickup truck. An object that appears to have the shape of a human body.

Although I did enjoy “Hunting Lands” I did find it to be slow at times. It is very deliberate and methodical in its storytelling, however, so the buildup isn’t without its merits. The ending is very satisfying and is, in my opinion, the strongest part of the movie.

4 out of 6 reels.

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Mark Kelly

Hello, my name is Mark and I reside in the City by the Bay (Bay City, MI). I enjoy movies (favorite genre: Horror), reading (favorite book: No Country for Old Men), Music (favorite band: Full of Hell), videogames (favorite game: Red Dead Redemption), and eating Taco Bell (favorite menu item: Chipotle Chicken Loaded Griller)

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