Brightburn (dir. David Yarovesky, 2019) – A ship crash-lands on Earth, bringing with it a child who proves to be something far more sinister.
Brandishing the violence that Superman is capable of, the reimagined mythos however squanders the more interesting questions of the ‘why’ and ‘how’.
Kal-El, an all-powerful hero who can as easily save humanity as he can, destroy. Thank Krypton for Jor-El, who shares his faith in humanity with his son, just as his foster parents Jonathan and Martha Kent showed him every reason to use his powers for good.
His family pushed him upon the path of good, believing that Man deserves salvation and hope. But what if he had chosen different?
Away from Kent Farm in Brightburn is the very antithesis of the Superman we know. Finding out who he truly is, Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) sees himself as superior to mankind, and ravages the planet that he believes to be weak.
Continue reading Review: Brightburn (2019)
Pet Sematary (dir. Mary Lambert, 1989 / Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, 2019) – In rural Maine, Dr. Louis Creed and his family discover the secrets of an old pet cemetery in the woods near their new home.
While Mary Lambert’s adaptation of King’s grotesque terror has long left an indelible mark, the new Pet Sematary cuts commendably deeper into the subject of grief.
Acceptance never comes easy for the bereaved. When the grieving are loath to let go, they become haunted by their guilt and regrets. Proclaiming that dead is sometimes better, Mary Lambert’s film adaptation of Pet Sematary brings these inner demons across the barrier in literal terms.
In rural Maine, Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) learns of a burial ground beyond the pet cemetery. He goes against warning of its dark magic and buries his family cat Church after its passing, only to witness its return. Tragedy soon strikes and takes three-year-old Gage Creed (Miko Hughes). But this time, Louis knows that he no longer has to deal with grief.
Continue reading Review: Pet Sematary (1989 / 2019)
It has been seventeen years since Robert Schwentke’s Tattoo, and due time that we had another proper ink-inspired horror. Clocking in at just under two minutes, The Tattooist fills the void and makes every second count.
Despite a narrative that suffers from the nature of short films, director Michael Wong designs every flash of a moment with brilliant intent and stunning precision. The experimental work sees a woman going prone for ink in ordinary tattoo parlour. Upbeat jazz puts up an inviting façade that soon takes a sharp turn into disquieting orchestration.
Continue reading Short Film Review: The Tattooist
Durante la tormenta / Mirage (dir. Oriol Paulo, 2019) – Two storms connect a woman’s murder and a child’s vanishing, 25 years apart.
Director Oriol Paulo has produced yet another compelling genre film that delivers in suspense and heart, despite predictable turns.
25 years ago, during a 72-hour storm, young Nico (Julio Bohigas-Couto) was killed in a car accident after witnessing a murder. Present day sees another storm occur, during which Vera (Adriana Ugarte) find a way to reach Nico before his death. She prevents his death with a warning, only to be swept up in the butterfly effect of the altered events.
Something a small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a typhoon halfway around the world, so claims the Chaos Theory that rings true for Vera. Her perfect life falls apart when she learns that her child Gloria was never born, and that she is no longer who she believed herself to be.
Continue reading Review: Mirage / Durante la tormenta (2019)
Aterrados (dir. Demián Rugna, 2017) – Strange events occur in a neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, leading to suspicions of the paranormal.
Light on answers but heavy on tension, Aterrados presents some tautly strung scenes of terror that successfully conjure the fear of the dark.
Not many can leave a screening of Aterrados without realising their fear of the dark, and of things that go bump in the night. The paranormal takes on a thickened sheen of terror through the lens of director Demián Rugna, whose survey of the genre has paid off in full.
The tense opening makes clear that the title is its intent. A terrified Clara (Natalia Señoriales) tells her husband Juan (Agustín Rittano) about the threatening voices she hears, coming from the kitchen pipes.
He dismisses her, but soon hears knocking against the walls himself that very night. The sceptic in him would have blamed it on the neighbour. Only that the latter is away, and the noise seems to be coming from inside the house.
Continue reading Review: Aterrados / Terrified (2017)
Velvet Buzzsaw (dir. Dan Gilroy, 2019) – Art is dangerous, more so for those who sell it for greed.
Effective satire elevates the potentially campy slasher Velvet Buzzsaw to an incisive, layered work of art.
For a horror film, Velvet Buzzsaw comes off much more introspective than its company. Its effectively satirical screenplay introduces the obnoxious rulers of its galleries in broad strokes, sharply critiquing the many artists and proprietors who value art solely for money.
There is Morf Vandewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) in the sneakers of the art critic, who believes that a bad review is better than sinking into the great glut of anonymity. Not only does he compromise in ethics by accepting favours. His reviews spit pure vitriol, as one soon hears in voices that manifest from his own guilt.
Continue reading Review: Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)