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  • Long Shot

    Long Shot

    ★★★½

    Charlize Theron is a global treasure. She's funny, she kicks butt, she's a great actor, she's hotter at 48 than she was at 24. Seth Rogen is funny and says fuck a lot. They're definitely an odd couple.

    There are some big laughs to be had here, only some of which come from the ridiculous pairing of the leads. Rogen and Theron actually conjur some real chemistry, too, which contrasts weirdly with some of the more over-the-top moments.

    Over all…

  • Freaks of Nature

    Freaks of Nature

    ★★★½

    This is one of those everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, weird-ass movies that establishes its own comedic world and goes for broke with it. Definitely belongs in a lineage that includes Teen Wolf, Better Off Dead, and modern stuff like Scout's Guide to the Apocalypse.

    The story: In a town where humans, zombies and vampires live and work side-by-side, an alien invasion destroys the status quo. A human, a vampire and a zombie must team up to fight back the invaders and a town…

  • Destination Wedding

    Destination Wedding

    ★★★

    The indiest of indie movies that just happens to have a superstar cast (Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder have the only speaking roles). This thing is essentially an ongoing dialog between the two characters. And it's hyper-stylized, theater-ready dialog, too. These two sourballs speak in great hulking uninterupted paragraphs. In real life they would be insufferably wordy... but nothing in this in any way resembles real life.

    If it sounds like I hated this...weirdly, I kinda didn't. If you're expecting…

  • Await Further Instructions

    Await Further Instructions

    ★★★½

    A claustrophobic, Twilight Zone-esque bottle movie about a dysfunctional family trapped inside a house together, their only window to the world the mysterious instructions on their TV set.

    Could it be that their worst enemy is... each other? Well, no, thankfully, but most of them *are* pretty awful. Still, despite an overabundance of shouting-as-acting, this movie manages to keep the tension up, ratcheting up the stakes at regular intervals. And it all leads up to a final freakout that is definitely worth the price of admission.

  • DeadTectives

    DeadTectives

    ★★★

    This one aims for the horror/comedy tone of The Frighteners, and in some spots it gets close. If any of the characters were likeable or memorable, it would hit the spot. As is, it's a fun diversion, but it never quite gels. Some clever stuff throughout but it's nothing to write the vicar about.

    Still, if you have a Shudder subscription, it's worth a late-night watch.

  • Next of Kin

    Next of Kin

    ★★

    Beautifully shot, super duper dull.

  • Knife+Heart

    Knife+Heart

    ★★★

    This is such a faithful homage to giallo that it copies the good (vivid color, hallucinatory visuals) and the bad (meandering pacing, nonsensical plot).

    The good bits are so good that I wish it were better paced and plotted. Vanessa Paradis is fearless. Our queer-and-proud cast is relatable and heartwarming. The villain, with his dildo knife and animal squeals, is truly unnerving.

    So it's a bummer that it doesn't add up to much by the end of it. Still, if you can stomach the strangeness, it's worth watching.

  • Party Hard, Die Young

    Party Hard, Die Young

    ★★★½

    In a world of 80s slasher throwbacks, this 90s slasher throwback is a breath of fresh air. It's not for nothing that the characters reference "I Know What You Did Last Summer" -- the setup and execution are deeply influenced by 90s teen-in-peril flicks.

    Still, this stays fresh with some outstanding cinematography, a relatable lead, and a not-TOO-obnoxious cast of expendables. The denouement is a little over the top, but that's also par for the course.

    Overall, this has enough energy, wit and originality to justify a watch.

  • Culture Shock

    Culture Shock

    ★★★½

    This is a smart and creepy episode of the Twilight Zone. It doesn't quite add up to a movie film for theaters, but it works great in the anthology format. Definitely the best of the Into the Dark episodes I've seen.

  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★★★½

    Aster takes horror into bright, unflinching daylight in this updated riff on the Wicker Man. His fearless willingness to let scenes play out in unbearable tension is only matched by Florence Pugh's no-holds-barred performance.

    It's a strange mix of arthouse and grindhouse, highbrow and lowbrow, slow burn horror and dark comedy, but somehow it works. Trippy, weirdly fun, and gross in just the right proportions.

  • The Calling

    The Calling

    ★★

    What if we remade The Omen in the year 2000, keeping the 70s look and feel but having it set in present day? What if we framed it in a flashback device that robbed the plot of any tension? What if the evil kid never did much of anything, nor did anyone else?

    The end of this thing is pretty fun, but the rest of it is just gently baffling. Why do it if you're going to do it this dull? Alice Krige and Laura Harris are wasted here.

  • Hell Fest

    Hell Fest

    ★★

    This is a perfectly serviceable slasher with a few fatal flaws. First, the bulk of the runtime is watching people go through a haunted house attraction and yelping at its totally benign scares (see also The Houses October Built). Second, our killer is masked, anonymous, and without any distinguishing M.O. or personality. Who is he? Why does he do what he does? Why should we care?

    There's some fun to be had here, but on the whole there's not a compelling reason for this thing to exist. It lacks a point of view, a consistent tone, and an interesting villain.