movies

Devin Reviews Patricia Chica's "Bloody Burlesque"

Good evening boils and ghouls! Tonight I review a glamorously gruesome  short titled “Bloody Burlesque”.

Bloody Burlesque is a Canadian production that was written-directed by award-winning filmmaker Patricia Chica. It was produced by Michelle Romano ofRoman Media and Chica’s Flirt Films; Executive producer London Scott ofExtensions by London; Co-Executive Producer Morris Umali; Associate producers Lily Spencer and Tina Nguyen; Cinematographer Rachel Dunn; First AD Peter Ghabi; Special Effects Makeup by Ivan Sharudo. Makeup by Amira Aranda, Kimberly Shawn Geir, and Steven Royster. Props by Miranda Austin. Latex corset designer Brigitte More. Sound recording by Camille Fadl. Location Manager Jonathan Weichsel. Editing by Patricia Chica and Christopher Alexander. Original score by Kamal John Iskander and David Deïas. StarringTonya Kay, Tiffany Shepis, Carl Crew, Lily Spencer, Michelle Romano,Hinton Harrison, and Frank Califano

-Synopsis-

A primal and sensual dance is performed by a burlesque artist on stage to the delight of a blood thirsty audience, who watch in awe as she makes a splash to cure her ills.

I was sucked in pretty much instantly being a guy and this being a short about a burlesque show and a bloody one at that. This was right up my alley considering I can really appreciate a great gore flick! Plus babes! I really enjoyed how the audience was completely enthralled in what they were watching and wanted more. The music set a unsettling yet slightly sexy vibe throughout the film which went absolutely perfectly. The cinematography and production quality was really great as well! The finally was excellent! Gore galore! The only thing that I did not like was that it was not longer.

Story/Concept: 2
Direction/Style: 2
Scares:1
Atmosphere: 2
Rewatchability: 2
TOTAL: 9/10

Closing my review I want to say I will definitely be looking into more work by Patricia Chica.

Signing off this is Devin! Stay creepy my fiends, lurkers and night stalkers!

Unfriended (2015)

We’ve all seen the trailers for 2015′s Unfriended.  With the rampant issue of cyberbullying today, this film looks like a film targeted to today’s youth; people that grew up in the age where the internet was the center of their universe.  However, after days and days of sitting on how miserable I would be seeing this film, I went in incredibly closed-minded, and emerged pleasantly surprised.  This review is not going to give a lot away other than my opinion of the film.  It’s intentional.  

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the film (IMDB gives too much away, and I want you guys going in open-minded!  I promise it’s worth it!):

“One year before the film’s events, high school student Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman) committed suicide due to ridicule received over an embarrassing video of her passed out at a party.  Six of her classmates, Blaire Lily (Shelley Hennig), Jess Felton (Renee Olstead), Val Rommel (Courtney Halverson), Ken Smith (Jacob Wysocki), Adam Sewell (Will Peltz) and Mitch Roussel (Moses Jacob Storm), were especially horrible in their treatment of her, as they were unpopular and Laura was the most popular girl in school.  A year later, the six classmates decide to get together to talk with one another via Skype, but are ill-prepared when an uninvited seventh person logs onto Laura’s old Skype account and shows that he or she knows quite a bit about the prior year’s events.  The unknown person threatens the group and states that if they log out or stop talking, someone will die.  The person torments the friends, by attacking them in their houses.  As the chat progresses, the truth about who posted the video begins to emerge and other secrets are revealed that test their friendships.”

I know how it sounds, guys.  It sounds like you’re going to be watching someone’s Skype conversation for 2 hours.  Well, you do.  But in the midst of that, so much goes on that is really never touched upon in the trailers.  (To be honest, the trailer makes the film look awful).  But the film has heart, and a message that’s worth watching for anyone and everyone who has ever made fun of someone: the truth will always come back to hurt you. 

I really don’t want to give too much away, because I know how skeptical people are about this film, and I believe everyone should really see it for themselves.  What I can tell you, is that I’m the kind of horror fan that normally can’t stand the films that come out now because they use jump scares over true horror.  Sure, Unfriended has plenty of jump scares.  They’re something I don’t do well with, and I jump every time, and it’s really embarrassing…I guess that’s the point, huh?  But over that, the film has something I didn’t expect: a decent amount of humor.  The film doesn’t hesitate to make fun of itself, and it makes it so much more enjoyable to watch knowing that it wasn’t taken too seriously.  Most of the theater was giggling while watching Blaire type over text or Facebook… something I will give away, is you will definitely be saying “girl, you need lessons in how to send a Facebook message.” It’s awful to watch her try to compose one, and it makes it hilarious.

Is this film gory? Not really.  Is it violent? Absolutely.  Do things happen that you probably wouldn’t expect from a film about Skype and Facebook?  Oh, yes.  There are deaths you probably wouldn’t expect from this kind of film, one of which had me almost cover my eyes, and I don’t really get disturbed by much.  But the deaths are very real; things you probably haven’t seen before.  I would compare them to Final Destination: they’re real in the sense that the deaths come from real things.  It’s hard to explain, but in the same way someone could die in a tanning bed, someone can die straightening their hair…I’ll leave it there so I don’t give too much away.

So, without further ado, I give you my rating of the film.  I know, my review was short and really didn’t tell you much, but that was my point!  Hold off on reading reviews or things that could ruin what goes on in the film and just see it for yourselves, I really believe old and new horror fans alike will enjoy it.

Story/Concept: 2
Direction/Style: 1
Scares: 2
Atmosphere: 1
Rewatchability: 2

TOTAL: 7/10

Until next time, my ghouls, stay spooky!

Taylor Terrible

Ghost from the Machine (2010)

Salutations my screechers, screamers, and scary dreamers,

Tonight’s tale of terror entitled “Ghost from the Machine” concerns contrite Cody’s construction of a current creating contraption to resurrect his recently passed parents.  Problems arise as antagonistic apparitions appear and project partners persecute.  Can Cody conquer his compulsions and keep custody of his surviving sibling? 

Presently paranormal pictures are prevailing and proliferating on odeum screens so should smaller submissions such as “Ghost from the Machine” be noticed or neglected? 

This film focuses heavily on characters and themes, choosing not to bother trying to elicit cheap screams, a refreshing change which makes it stand apart from the rest and rewards patient viewers who are willing to invest.  The sense of loss, grief, and obsession is really intense which creates a mood that feels both melancholy and dense.  I found myself to be emotionally overcome before there was ever even a glimpse of a phantom.

Great ideas can be ruined by poor dissimulation, but the actors here have all earned my full commendation.  Since this film is light on scares the players carry the weight and they deftly made me care about each character’s fate. From the funeral prelude to the haunting closing shot I found myself eager to know these people’s final lot. 

I have not yet mentioned the music or special effects, but have no fear dear reader for those are coming up next.  The soundtrack compliments but it is never distracting so that our focus stays centered on the brilliant acting.  The special effects on offer are kept very subdued a tactic which only serves to further enhance the mood. 

Story/Concept: 2
Direction/Style: 2
Scares: 1
Atmosphere: 2
Rewatchability: 2

TOTAL: 9/10
 

In brief the brooding tenor can feel intimidating and merged with grounded writing proves to be devastating.  To me the horror displayed was an ancillary part to the realistic relationships that formed this film’s heart. If one were to accede to letting this story in it could linger for a while beneath a person’s skin. 

Stick to the shadows my fine friends. 

Sincerely,
Mr. William Nightshade

INDIE HORROR FILM OF THE WEEK: SPAMMER

SYNOPSIS OF SPAMMER VIA IMDB:

Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s stories of the occult, Spammer is the cautionary tale of an Internet scam-artist whose annoying messages hook an unexpected victim.  Be careful what you phish for.

MY REVIEW

If there is one thing you need to know about me (other than my love for horror) its that I’m a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft.  When directors John Iwasz and Sanj Surati approached me about watching their short, Spammer, which is inspired by H.P. Lovecraft I couldn’t say no.  Spammer is an 8 minute short that tells the story of a scam-artist that annoys the one person (or thing?) he shouldn’t annoy.  

Without giving away too much I liked that the directors payed homage to the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” by including Charles Ward and Joseph Curwen.  I also liked that there were tentacles involved. This short doesn’t rely too much on special effects and though some of the simple effects may come off as cheesy to some people, I really enjoyed them - it reminded me of when directors didn’t have the use of CGI and had to rely on creativity and building things from scratch.

Also, this short was able to cram in some good humor.  There were a number of times I caught myself giggling over a scene or something that one of the actors said.  I shouldn’t be surprised, considering the directors of this short also directed the film Zombie Casserole which I loved.  Also, I loved the use of text bubbles that were shown next to the actors when they were texting.  I’ve seen this feature many times (most notably in House of Cards) and I love it, I think it’s a great feature to add.  

All in all I enjoyed this short.  Doing anything Lovecraft related can be tough as many directors have tried to pull it off with not much success.  What makes Spammerwork is that it doesn’t try to hard and it’s casual in it’s approach.  Is it the next great Lovecraft/Cthulhu film?  No.  Does it put a smile on your face and make you wish for a full-length feature?  Yes.

In conclusion, I give Spammer a 4 out of 5 - I really enjoyed seeing a Lovecraftian lore come to life in the midst of all these cookie cutter horror movies.  I look forward to seeing what else John and Sanj have in store for us in the future.  

SM

It Follows (2015)

There are few things that are less surprising to me than disappointing horror films these days.  I’m used to awful films that don’t really make sense, and I’m pretty tired of them.  So when I heard about “It Follows” being “the scariest horror film in decades” and that I shouldn’t see it alone, I jumped at the opportunity to see it with a few of my friends.  My sleep means a lot to me.  Yes, this tidbit of information is important.  Reason being: I worked an 8-hour shift and then went to go see this film.  I worked 2-10:30pm and then went straight to a 12:01 movie because I was so sure that it was going to be the best film I’d seen since The Babadook.  Well, I wasted a night.  

Let me fill you guys in on the biggest disappointment of the year…

I went into the film with absolutely no knowledge of what it was about at all, I didn’t read reviews, I didn’t look for a synopsis.  I was so excited that I just threw myself into it with no doubt in my mind that it was going to be horrifying

Here’s the plot according to the film’s IMDB page:

“After a young girl gets involved in a sexual confrontation, she is followed by an unknown force.”

So, let’s talk about the characters.  The acting is wonderful, I admit that wholeheartedly.  I really enjoyed watching the actors throughout the whole film.  They’re talented and very believable.  The main character, Jay, is a little quirky, but that’s okay.  Aren’t we all?  There’s a little bit of a love-triangle throughout the film which was not painful to watch.  There was only one really unnecessary character who was thrown in and really had no purpose, but I”ll allow you to form an opinion on that one. 

Now, let’s discuss the scare factor: there is none.  I jumped a total of 3 times, because I was taken by surprise by loud noises.  Those were the jump scares.  They were terrible and unnecessary, but I believe they were thrown in because there was nothing else about the film that was really scary or overwhelming.  The concept of this girl being followed by some evil force could have been so terrifying that I would never sleep again.  Instead, it was done awkwardly and uncomfortably.  It would have been better if other people could have seen what was going on.  Do I believe that it made sense that no one else saw them?  Sure.  It was to make sure that Jay looked crazy.  But, the people following her were not scary at all (except the old woman at the school).  They were overly-sexualized and unnecessarily so.  Most of them were naked (or almost naked) complete with open robes to expose breasts and every other body part you could think of, however it added nothing to the film or to the story.  And the other issues was half of them were inappropriately nude and others weren’t.  There was little to no consistency in the people following Jay around.  It just didn’t make any sense. 

Now, here was my biggest pet peeve in the entire film: the mother saw all of this going on.  The screaming. The crying. The window in the house being broken so someone could break in…if your kid was running around your house shrieking while you were there, wouldn’t you try to see what was going on, rather than just call the cops after believing she was raped, or take her to the hospital when she totals a car?  I don’t know, maybe I’m the only person that was annoyed by that. 

So, all in all, this film is easily one of the most overrated horror films of 2015.  I would never watch it again.  You would have to strap me too a wheelchair and wheel me around like they did in the film. 

Concept/Story: 1
Direction/Style: 1
Scares: 0
Atmosphere: 0
Rewatchability: 000000

TOTAL: 2/10

I was so sad to be disappointed by this film.  So, my little ghoulies, please let me know if you completely disagree with my opinion.  

Stay Spooky,

Taylor Terrible

April Fool's Day (1986)

Salutations my screechers, screamers, and scary dreamers,

Tonight’s tale of terror entitled “April Fool’s Day” concerns college
coeds spending Spring Break bumming at bosom buddy Muffy’s mansion.
Safe shenanigans soon sour as someone slays the scholars in
succession.

Given the glut of gory slasher cinema, should “April Fool’s Day” be
removed from remembrance or receive recognition?

The main characters are rowdy college kids who talk about sex all day
which for the nineteen eighties was pretty cliche. Only Muffy seems
to have any range as she goes from self-confident to shy and strange.
The cast has some familiar faces that are easy to root for (and, hey,
was that Biff from “Back to the Future”?).

Common conceits control the commencement creating an atmosphere of
assurance. As it advances, the transparent tale twists towards a
murder mystery. As bodies briskly begin bobbing up, carnage is kept
concealed from viewer’s vision.

I appreciated that the movie was a murder mystery, and the quick
little reference to Agatha Christie, but I found the first act to be
pretty wanting as it focused on sex and a lot of crude taunting.
After the first two acts this movie was destined for a five and then
in the third act it really came alive. The change in the movie was so
extreme that it actually rose in my esteem.

Making mystery matter more than massacres proves a potent principle.
Proficient performances please perceivers while we wait for the final
reckoning. Revelers reap rewards in a rigid and revelatory
resolution.

Story/Concept: 2
Direction/Style: 2
Scares: 0
Atmosphere: 1
Rewatchability: 1
Nightshade’s Notions (extra credit): 1
TOTAL: 7/10

In conclusion, acting and humor carry the first two acts before the
killer(s?) begin their attacks at which point it becomes fun to try to
guess the solution before the film reaches its final conclusion. The
extra point I gave due to the final song, which I have been humming
all day long.

Stick to the shadows my fine friends.

Sincerely,
Mr. William Nightshade

We Are What We Are (2013)

There is a small percentage of horror films that are completely dedicated to cannibalism, each more disturbing than the next.  Once cannibalism-based film, “Cannibal Holocaust” (1980), actually put found-footage on the map.  Then there is the ever-so-classic “Silence of the Lambs” featuring everyone’s favorite Hannibal Lecter…

However, few are as disturbing as We Are What We Are, adapted from the 2010 Mexican horror film of the same name.  

“We Are What We Are” tells the story of the Parker family, who, after suffering a horrific loss in their family, must continue the ancient rituals their family have been practicing for years.  It is up to Iris Parker, the eldest daughter, to continue the tradition…but when their secret practices become threatened, will they keep it hidden, or will it be exposed? 

I went into this film with absolutely no idea what it was about, other than reading the Netflix synopsis.  Typically, I’ll check reviews of films first, just to see what I’m getting myself into, but I promised myself that this time, I would go in completely open-minded.  I should have read the reviews, considering it earned an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes (you know Rotten Tomatoes…they brutally score films, if your film has a mistake, they’ll find it) extracting reviews from viewers like “A rare example of a remake that is as good, if not better, than the original.” and “Who can resist a good cannibal movie?”

At first, I thought I honestly was not going to enjoy the film.  The first scene was gripping, slightly disturbing and strange, and then from there things slowed down.  For the next 45 minutes, I felt like nothing was happening.  To be honest, I was getting very, very bored.  All was quiet, slightly strange with flashbacks to ancient times that are kind of cheesy and not so well done, and I was listening to them mumble, which was making me crazy.  I think I rewound about 4 scenes to turn the volume up because I couldn’t understand a word they were saying.  (Maybe that’s just me, though…)

You begin to see a romance blossom, trust begin to bloom, and then suddenly, with horrific splendor, things start to come to a head.  About an hour into the film, (with a run time of 1 hour and 40 minutes, this is a long time to wait for the plot to really pick up), the gore begins.  For a fan of gore like myself, this was greatly welcomed.  You’ll find entrails, beatings, lots of blood flowing…it’s fantastic. 

The last 40  minutes of the film, I sat with my jaw on the ground.  Gripping my glass of water, I stared at the screen in disgust, terror, and absolute horror.  The twist of the plot at the end absolutely made the film.  It was the best feeling watching a horror film I’ve experienced in awhile.  I wish I could post a reaction where you could all see the face I was making, but I definitely do not want to embarrass myself this early on in our creepy relationship.  I’ll just let you know, it was along the lines of scrunching my nose, my eyebrows were about up to my hairline in surprise, and my lips were curled down into the most disgusted look I could manage.  I’ll let that picture marinate in your pretty little brains.  No pun intended…

I finished the film with that same expression on my face, and found myself saying “well, I wanted pizza…but now I don’t.”  It honestly takes a LOT for me to be turned off by pizza, or any food in general for that matter, but this really left me feeling revolted. 

Concept/Story: 1
Direction/Style: 1
Scares: 2
Atmosphere: 1
Rewatchability: 1

TOTAL:  7/10

If you’re looking for a film to really shock and disgust you, rather than relying on jump scares, “We Are What We Are” is a wonderful film to look into.  Ambyr Childers and Julia Garner are highlights of the film, conjuring up feelings of sadness, disgust, and somehow, sympathy.  Watch this film if you’re a big foodie and want to try something new (it’s kind of like watching Food Network! You know, if you’re crazy) or if you’re trying to really freak yourself out.  The sound effects make it. 

Enjoy, my little ghouls!  I look forward to talking again soon.

Stay spooky,
Taylor Terrible 

The Canal (2014)

SYNOPSIS OF “THE CANAL” via IMDB:

“Film archivist David (Rupert Evans) has been having a rough time lately, as he suspects that his wife Alice (Hannah Hoekstra) has been cheating on him with Alex (Carl Shaaban), one of her work clients.  This stress is compounded when David’s work partner Claire (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) gives him a reel of to-be-archived footage that shows that his house was the setting for a brutal murder in 1902.  Becoming progressively more unsettled and unhinged, David begins to believe that a spectral presence is in his house and ends up following his wife to a nearby canal, where he discovers that she is indeed having an affair with Alex.  When Alice goes missing shortly afterwards, David contacts the police - only to become the prime suspect in her disappearance.  As the police grow more convinced that David has murdered his wife, he struggles to find proof of his growing suspicion that something otherworldly was instead responsible.”

CINDY’S REVIEW

Since this is my first review, I feel I should point out that I’m a massive fan of all things horror.  I’ve seen many, many horror films in my day.  This causes me to be both forgiving and harsh with my opinions.  Yes, they’re two very different adjectives, but they both hold true. 

The Canal (an Irish/Welsh co-production) has a lot of promise.  It has a somber tone (a favorite cinematic quality of mine) and the lead character is dejected and beaten down, from the very beginning.  It has a few creepy images, displayed through scratchy black and white archival footage.  It can be difficult to duplicate the look and sound of genuine archival footage, and the filmmakers succeeded for the most part.  There are also some particularly violent special effects (a brutal stabbing comes to mind). 

The protagonist, David (Rupert Evans), trudges slowly through the movie, meandering from home to work, and back home, always making sure to walk past the titular canal.  And meander he did, as the pace of the movie could be likened to molasses.  Sadly, we’re not talking Carpenter-esque “slow burn” - we’re talking just plain slow.  Trust me, I have a lot of patience when it comes to cinema.  I don’t suffer from ADHD.  The first 40 minutes of this 92-minute movie were all build-up with little payoff.  I can’t say it’s a case of style over substance, because even the style wasn’t that exciting. 

There were several other characters in the film: David’s son, Billy; his wife, Alice: his co-worker/friend, Claire; his nanny, Sophie; and Detective McNamara.  Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with any of them.  The Canal lacks substantial character development which a horror film of this nature - one that attempts to get inside its protagonist’s head - needs to succeed.  I’m not blaming the actors; they did the best they could with what they were given.  I’m not even sure who I should blame, or if I even care enough to try blaming anyone.  

The Canal also comes across as derivative.  I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, this bit reminds me of Sinister!” Or, “This scene was very reminiscent of The Ring.” Or, “Hey, they did that in Paranormal Activity!” I know it’s next to impossible for a screenwriter to create an entirely new story these days, but it was obvious that they’d taken multiple cues from the films I mentioned.

Even though it may seem I’m being harsh, I didn’t hate The Canal.  It certainly has scenes that grabbed my attention.  The aforementioned stabbing is effective - it’s bloody and disturbing, as any good cinematic stabbing should be.  There’s also a dizzying scene in a subterranean tunnel with twists and turns that incited feelings of unease.  Another scene had me wondering what the heck I was even watching, and when it comes to horror, that should be considered a compliment.  Without spoiling the ending - I’ll just say it caught me off guard. 

The Canal did leave me with a few questions.  Were the events of a supernatural nature, or just manifestations of a troubled mind?  Did the movie pull off what it was trying to achieve?  And last but not least, what was it trying to achieve as a whole?  I may never know as the film didn’t manage to convey its intentions clearly.  

Concept/Story: 1
Direction/Style: 2 (although not dripping with any specific style, it has its moments so it gets 1 for direction and 1 for style)
Scares: 1
Atmosphere: 1
Rewatchability: 0

TOTAL:  5/10

Would I recommend this film to horror buffs?  Yes, I would.  It’s not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s also not terrible.  It ticks the horror boxes as far as creepy, bloody, disturbing, and (even) sexy go.  If you’re looking for decent Irish/UK indie horror, I’d suggest a film called Citadel (2012).  I enjoyed that more, and I encourage you to check it out.  Regardless of my 5/10 rating, I always do my very best to support all horror, and I hope anyone reading this will too, so make your own judgement about The Canal. 

Happy Horroring!

Cindy

Black Sheep (2006)

Salutations, my screechers, screamers, and scary dreamers,

Tonight’s tale of terror entitled “Black Sheep” has Henry heading home to settle his estate as nutty naturalists let loose a lethal lamb who quickly communicates its contamination causing usually yielding ewes to transform into tempestuous trotting terrors.  But blocking the brawling bleaters brouhahah is Henry who has to face his fleece phobia, dodge deadly droves of rushing rams, and make mincemeat of the multiplying man-mutton mutants.

Sometimes superb cinema seems to suffer in the shadows of similar silver screen spectacles.  A flurry of forgotten films found their fate forged before bowing on big screens since super star “Shaun of the Dead” delighted devotees of dark comedies.  Consequently commercials convinced consumers that this thoroughly thrilling monster movie made more mention of undead ovis aries.  Obviously a few films fade from audience awareness, but does “Black Sheep” merit more mindfulness?  

The general conceit is a lot of fun and monstrous sheep creatures are something I have never seen done.  It may seem ridiculous for Henry to be scared of sheep, but it is handled so well that it does not feel cheap.  The story may be simple but our main character is not which is helpful in making this a memorable plot.

WETA Workshops worked wondrous magic making monstrous man-sheep and simpler synthetic sheep puppets.  Pairing practical production practices to monster movies is nothing new, but the sheep’s sheer scale remains remarkable.  Simple cinematography and a subdued score keeps crowds contemplating the virtuoso visuals.  

Scares are sadly in short supply, but it is not too hard to see why.  The movie focuses on the ridiculous but plays it all straight which makes it similar to another monster movie great.  I am of course talking about “An American Werewolf in London,” another gory monster movie that proves to be a lot of fun.  “Black Sheep” clearly shows that Landis is their inspiration by aping the famous werewolf transformation.

Story/Concept: 2
Direction/Style:  2
Scares:  0
Atmosphere:  1
Rewatchability:  2

Some films deserve a bit of a skew when the technical factors lower their review so I will use Nightshade’s Notions to voice my conceptions and I promise it will not be in all my dissections.  For the films that are lucky enough to get it, it should be seen as extra credit.  Since other categories have a max of two, NIghtshade’s Notions will keep that practice too. 

Nightshade’s Notions (extra credit): 1

TOTAL:  8/10

In brief, “Black Sheep” has some amazing features like deadpan humor and creative creatures.  While the movie is certainly not complex, it is hard not to be wowed by the amazing effect.

Stick to the shadows, my fine friends.

Sincerely,
Mr. William Nightshade

INDIE HORROR FILM OF THE WEEK: FACES

SYNOPSIS OF FACES VIA IMDB

“Frank lived alone.  He had no job, no friends and no girlfriend.  Then Charlie came along and everything changed.”

MY REVIEW

I’ve been thinking all day about how I would review this movie so that I don’t give away any spoilers. Frank is a down and out guy trying to find a job - we find out early on that he was incarcerated (but it’s something he wishes to not elaborate on) and takes medication (what type of medication we never find out - but I would think it’s to stop the voices in his head). He is extremely socially awkward and doesn’t know how to talk to chicks - or anyone for that matter. We also find out that Frank should never EVER stop taking his medication.  Things begin to change for him when he comes across Charlie, a new friend.  A friend that sticks with him for better or for worse.  A friend who is willing to give him advice - advice that once taken comes with extreme consequences. 

There are a lot of elements to this movie that I really enjoyed.  Thomas Ryan, who plays Frank, is extremely captivating.  He plays his role strong and is solid throughout the entire movie.  There were a few other actors that I thought held their own for the most part, but in my mind Thomas Ryan is what makes this movie.  I really enjoyed his presence on screen, and one of my favorite scenes is with him screaming in a car.  You don’t hear him screaming or yelling but you can see the anger and despair in his character - it was very raw and felt very real.  It made his character more relatable.  I only wish the other characters in the movie were as strong as Frank’s. 

Another aspect of the movie that I really liked was the makeup and special effects.  The makeup wasn’t overly done and wasn’t overly campy.  It had a throwback feel to it - back to a time when CGI wasn’t available and people had to use their own creativity to get whatever desired effect they wanted. I love how the makeup and the special effects weren’t over the top but had a passion and style to it.  When it comes to gore I’m not a huge fan (ironic considering how much horror I watch) and I feel as though a lot of directors miss the makr in walking the fine line with how much gore to use.  What I really really really liked about this movie was in one particular scene in which there was quite a bit of blood, it was executed near perfect! It was believable, the blood wasn’t spraying 3,000 ft away in large clumps, the timing was great.  I was actually really impressed with that scene.  Kudos for pulling off a realistic gore scene.

Lastly, I really enjoyed the music and the soundtrack.  I typically don’t pay too much attention to the score (I know, bad Shannon) but for some reason I was really drawn to it in this movie.  I found it to be fitting for the type of movie this is and it added a somewhat creepy atmosphere to the film.  I’m not sure who did the music but whoever did it they nailed it. 

My only critique of the movie is really in the acting of some of the supportive roles.  As I stated above, Thomas Ryan was great as Frank and the other notable actor for me was Joe Parascand who played Detective Jack Donnelly. I think if the acting had been a bit stronger this indie movie would have been off the charts.  Regardless, Thomas Ryan was still able to hold it together with his performance and his believability. 

In conclusion, I give FACES a 4 out of 5 stars.  Thomas Ryan did a terrific job as Frank and the makeup and special effects gave us a glimpse of classic old school horror in the new school genre.  I enjoyed watching the movie and I enjoyed finding out about the faces and what they meant to Frank, because in the end that is a huge aspect of what drew me into the movie (I would go on but I refuse to give spoilers on this!).  If you are looking for a movie that gives you a clever twist with some dark humor than I suggest picking up FACES.