Coming Undone

Darkness stretched an unending distance ahead, bearing nothing but dread. Only because she insisted, I found every inch of courage I never knew I had, and began walking down the familiar road again. For the first time, I thought.

“No. Once again,” I heard her soft voice in my ear. “It all happened right here.”

There was no one here but us. Yet she spoke in whispers, as though someone might be listening in on our little secret. Somehow, I could feel its presence too. Afraid of what I might find if I tried, I stared at the vast space ahead instead, unblinking eyes dry as bone.

Serenity emptied my mind in the comforting silence that followed. I let out a scream, letting out the tension in my aching body. The void screamed back, enveloping me with palpable stillness. I wanted to do it again, but I remembered that I was not alone.

You will never be alone again, she reminded me.

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Ravenous

Work has kept me away from writing this week. But I do want to keep my Postaweek series going. So I’m cheating with a story that I wrote a few years ago. In place of trigger warnings for the violence that lies ahead, I will instead quote one of my favourite authors Neil Gaiman:

“What we read as adults should be read, I think, with no warnings or alerts beyond, perhaps: enter at your own risk.”


Rain fell that night. Rafe and I drank from the dark skies for the first time in weeks. We embraced, but our smiles did not last. As comforting as the weather had been, it did put out the last of the fire we built. A makeshift tent was no match for wrathful winds either.

Where we eventually slept, or at least tried to, was on soft mud in a cold cave. Persistent hunger pangs woke me throughout this fitful night. My heart pounded as every brief moment of shuteye ended with dreadful nightmares. Rafe did worse, running a high fever after the downpour.

It had been two long weeks since our last meal – a doe with a pike through its tender neck. What little fighting chance it had against the strength of desperation. As Rafe roasted its flesh over the roaring fire, I mourned. Not for the doe, but for us. Every hunt had since turned up empty, each shorter than the last.

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Short Film Review: Tethered

Abandoned by his mother, a blind boy Solomon lives alone in the forest, abiding by his mother’s three rules of survival. He gives back to the forest that provides for them. He seeks comfort in the song they share. Above all, he never lets go of the rope that he is tethered by.

Clocking in at just around ten minutes, Tethered turns in a well-made and suspenseful horror short, much on par with a good number of full-length features. A dark cloud of foreboding drifts in place from the very start, as his mother warns of danger over her chilling recording.

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Review: Mercy (2016)

Mercy (dir. Chris Sparling, 2016) – Four estranged brothers return home to visit their dying mother, but are thrust into a fight for survival of their own.

Verdict

Bungled execution takes the spark out of an ambitious film, where potential sadly peters out.

2/5

Review

Netflix original Mercy is a risk-taker. Lavish with twist and turns, the film leaves conventions at the door and provides little clue as to where the plot is heading. Such unpredictability can often make a mystery gripping. Frustratingly, unwieldy execution leaves us with nothing but a thoroughly perplexing enigma.

Things start off slow in the familial affair, where four brothers convene in their old home. Their mother Grace is dying. A visitor shows up with a mysterious bag, urging the family to end her suffering. Speculations lead to an ensuing moral dilemma of euthanasia. But that theory comes to naught as masked men intrude and threaten a restless night ahead.

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Review: Let’s Be Evil (2016)

Let’s Be Evil (dir. Martin Owen, 2016) – Three chaperones are hired to supervise some gifted children, who live and learn through augmented reality glasses in an underground controlled facility.

Verdict

An inventive concept starts off strong but ultimately proves embryonic, delivering neither satire nor thrills.

2/5

Review

It is not difficult to believe the future that Let’s Be Evil envisions. After all, the new generation already spends most days wired up to their devices, preferring the screen glare to the sun. Then, it is not difficult to imagine either, the power that big tech corporations wield over youths. It is a scary thought. Google was even once impelled to assure us of their corporate morals in their motto, Don’t Be Evil.

A play on that very slogan, Let’s Be Evil sees these fears realised, as technology is used to cultivate youths into obedient learning machines. In what is known as the Posterity Program, gifted children are raised in a high-tech facility, where their worldview is controlled through artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Automation fully manages their strict regime of study, sleep, repeat.

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Series Review: Slasher

Slasher (dir. Craig David Wallace, 2016) – Sarah Bennett returns to small town Waterbury where her parents were killed, only to find the past re-emerging as a new series of murders begins.

Verdict

A trope-embracing genre tribute by horror fans, for horror fans. Slasher dishes up a bloody good time, all in the name of fun.

3/5

Review

Moving back to the town where your parents were murdered, is a bad idea. Just ask Laurie Strode. But Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath) clearly hasn’t seen enough horror movies to stay away. The youngest victim left alive by The Executioner chooses to move into that very crime scene in Waterbury, Canada, with the support of her loving husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren).

There, Sarah reveals her true intent – to visit Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow), the now-imprisoned killer who orphaned her on Halloween 30 years ago. But closure becomes the least of her worries, when a new Executioner begins enacting copycat murders with a biblical twist. Seven deadly sins guarantee a growing body count. And in this small town where secrets breed and resentment boils, everyone is a suspect.

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