Halloween Ends – I know the title says ENDS but is this really the end? I doubt it, especially when you have the producer of Malek Akkad and a box office success in these new sequels but I can say that it is the last ride for lead star Jamie Lee Curtis and her portrait of perpetual final girl Laurie Strode. This film picks up four years after the events of Halloween Kills and the shocking murder of Laurie’s daughter Karen in the final moments at the hands of her uber nemesis, Michael Myers. After this long time away, Michael returns to put Laurie six feet under but she is prepared for the battle and willing to destroy herself in the process in this final battle. I know many had sizeable issues with the middle piece in this legacy trilogy but I personally really liked a lot of what they did and I can’t wait to see how director David Gordon Green closes it out. There is something special as a horror fan in hearing the familiar tones of the terrifying theme music and seeing that iconic movie monster in his blue coveralls that revert me back to the young viewer I was when I started watching these movies, hiding behind my hands.
The Loneliest Boy In The World – It feels like the zombie subgenre within horror has had a lot thrown at it just over the last twenty years or so making it harder and harder to get something original going. The decisive use of dark comedy is really the better route to go now and even that field has a lot of heavyweights in it so you better come out swinging. This film aims to do just that, a film that bills itself as a modern fairy tale and it has the star of the new romantic drama After series, Hero Fiennes Tiffin to lead it. The story follows Oliver, a young, sheltered and unsocialized man who is tasked with making new friends after the sudden and devastating death of his mother. He decides that digging up some new friends might be the easiest route, for some reason, but when he awakens the morning after he discovers that his newly acquired friends have mysteriously come to life overnight. A wild and inventive film with questionable social cues, director Martin Owen proves again that he is not willing to make the easy film in any genre, especially as this is following up the low-budget extravaganza that was Max Cloud as well as his Charles Dickens send up, Twist. Well, this one certainly has a “twist” as well and, although his last one got middling reviews, this movie looks like the continuation of a fun streak from the filmmaker.
Rosaline – I am a little disappointed with the heads at Fox Studios not having the guts to put some of their films in theatres and are instead throwing them to Hulu and Disney+ here in Canada as a film like Prey definitely deserved to see the big screen and I believe this new romantic comedy would have had a bit of success too. It is an odd mishmash of Mean Girls meets Shakespeare in a blending that is effective, charming and thoroughly hilarious. A favourite of mine, Kaitlyn Dever stars as the titular character in a comedic retelling of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” told from the point of view of Romeo’s jilted ex, Rosaline, the woman Romeo first claims to love before he falls for Juliet. Casting and a really snappy script keep this film constantly afloat and I adored seeing Get Out and The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford as Rosaline’s father, in constant frustration of finding a suiter for his brash, opinionated and unpredictable daughter. I do expect that this one will grow in popularity due to word of mouth but not getting a larger release must be a bummer to all involved.
The Curse Of Bridge Hollow – Netflix releases not directly purchased from a studio and made in-house are always a bit tricky and can lead to disaster but this is a Halloween movie in the Halloween month and if a movie like Adam Sandler’s Hubie Halloween can find moderate success then anything can. I have to say that the cast thrown together is an odd one with My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s Nia Vardalos, comedians Lauren Lapkus, Rob Riggle and Marlon Wayans but the fact that Kick Ass 2 director Jeff Wadlow helmed this gives me a bit of pause because I hate what he did to that franchise. The story follows actress Priah Ferguson, Erika on Stranger Things, as a teenage girl, who accidentally releases an ancient and mischievous spirit on Halloween which causes decorations to come alive and wreak havoc, and must team up with the last person she’d want to in order to save their town, her father, not Mike, Dustin and the rest of the Hawkins gang. I feel like this story was probably better told in last week’s Hocus Pocus 2 which may have totally stolen this movie’s thunder but it looks fun and Ferguson is such a seasoned actress already and I’m excited to see her carry something on her own.
Dark Glasses – One of the legends of horror returns with a Shudder original and if you don’t know the name of Dario Argento then you need a full October crash course through his films like Suspiria, Tenebre and Deep Red as soon as possible. Now, to put this in perspective for horror fans in the know, this is Dario’s first film in a decade, following his Dracula film that he perplexedly put in 3D, but it is from a long-gestated script that he wrote twenty years ago before the studio he was working for went bankrupt. Co-starring his daughter Asia, as usual, this film goes back to his Giallo roots as one of the genre’s creators and follows Diana, a young woman who lost her sight and finds a guide in a Chinese boy named Chin. Together they put themselves in immense danger and possible target sights as they track down a dangerous killer through the darkness of Italy. Much like I’ve discussed before about action and western filmmaker Walter Hill, Argento’s style has faltered quite a bit and he isn’t quite as effective as he was before but genre stalwarts will want to pick this up nonetheless just to see the inventive ways of his kills which are usually very effective.
She Will – This was a total surprise to see come up on the release schedule this week as a horror thriller with the great Malcolm McDowell is always something to stop and take note of, one of the greatest character actors of all time and a personal favourite ever since I saw the cinematic glory that is A Clockwork Orange. This also happens to be the debut of writer and director Charlotte Colbert and I’m always so excited to see a new female voice in the genre and, according to the reviews so far, it is a hell of a first film. The film follows former Borg Queen Alice Krige as an aging film star who retreats to the Scottish countryside with her nurse to recover from surgery. While there, mysterious forces of revenge emerge from the land where witches were burned in a story that is reportedly far more bone-chilling than it is jump-scary. I love the atmosphere that is given in the trailer and this addition to Shudder’s lineup just increases the must-have feeling that the streaming app has been gaining for years now. Genre fans are rapidly running out of excuses to not buy in in my opinion.
Drinkwater – This is kind of a cool one to cover for me as it is a Canadian film that features an internationally famous and locally born star in Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack plus it was filmed right here in my backyard of the Okanagan and, more to the point, my current town of Penticton. The movie is also a deep character story and that is always something that will rope me in. The film is a coming-of-age story in the John Hughes tradition and follows a lost young man named Mike Drinkwater. His father, Hank, is hardly the role model Mike deserves which keeps him floundering in his own identity until a young woman moves to town and their friendship gives them the courage to overcome their collective challenges. The film really belongs to Daniel Doheny who does the heavy lifting as Mike, an actor who gets better ad better with each role, the Netflix series Brand New Cherry Flavor being another great indicator of his talent. It’s also really cool to see your small town represented in a motion picture and I really hope to see more productions here.
Sweet Tooth: Season 1 – One of my favourite comic series of the last twenty years and a Canadian-made one to boot, from the mind of creator Jeff Lemire, I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard that this, pun intended, sweetheart of survival tale was picked up for adaptation on Netflix from Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan’s production company with Stakeland filmmaker Jim Mickle overseeing it. The story starts out ten years prior with a pandemic called “The Great Crumble” which wreaked havoc on the world, creating a virus that kills most of the world’s population, and leading to the mysterious emergence of hybrids, babies born part human, part animal. Unsure if hybrids are the cause or result of the virus, many humans fear and hunt them, causing paranoia throughout the survivors still trying to live off the land. The main focus is Gus, a sheltered hybrid deer boy who, after a decade of living safely in his secluded forest home, unexpectedly befriends a wandering loner named Jepperd and together they set out on an extraordinary adventure across what’s left of America in search of answers about Gus’ origins, Jepperd’s past and the true meaning of home. I’m absolutely in love with this show and quickly gobbled up everything that was sent to me in the weeks leading up to its initial release on Netflix and am now just waiting for the follow-up season that reportedly started production in January of this year. This show is so special and beautifully constructed and I wish it hit huge as Stranger Things did. It’s that damn good.
Wire Room – I’m in awe of how many movies Bruce Willis has done in his direct to video side of his career and especially how many of them have been released since his diagnosis of aphasia was revealed earlier this year because I swear I’ve received no less than ten of these this year alone. That being said, this is also the second Kevin Dillon film, more known as Johnny Drama in Entourage, the earlier film being a Mel Gibson action flick. This film has Dillon as a federal agent on wire room duty listening to a target being attacked in his house by a hit squad. Without burning the wire, he must protect the investigation and the target’s life from the confines of a room fifty miles away. The story always sounds way more interesting than the final product as everything is marred by bad effects, haphazard scene blocking and a script that is usually dismal at best so I wouldn’t expect anything different from this one. They are mostly direct to video for a big reason and this also leads to no streaming services picked it up in its first run.
Steve’s Blu-Ray Geek Outs:
Superman & Lois: Season 2 – With Arrow ending its run almost four years ago and Black Lightning and Supergirl both calling it quits last year, I was really surprised to see that we were getting a new Superman series which is actually a spin-off from his cousin Kara-El’s show. With Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch sticking to their titular DC universe roles, the world the mega-producer Greg Berlanti has crafted continues on its path with this show that follows the world’s most famous superhero and comic books’ most famous journalist as they deal with all the stress, pressures, and complexities that come with being working parents in today’s society. Oh, did I not mention that they had a super baby? Well, I guess you should have boned up on Supergirl before starting this one which is not me mocking you, just a real prerequisite to actually being able to enjoy this because following it would be pretty easy. I’m just happy for this to erase Dean Cain from my mind because that dude is a real waste of space these days. I’m also really happy that Warner Bros. had the wherewithal to keep this show going and not cancel it as they did with a wave of other DC Comics-related shows.
The Crazies – Remakes are always tricky and when you put a legend like George A. Romero and his works in the crosshairs you will meet up with some resistance. Given, it all worked out for director Zack Snyder who slowly amazed an army of toxic fanboys to follow every move of his starting with the remake of Dawn Of The Dead, Breck Eisner’s remake of The Crazies was sadly buried and forgotten about which is an absolute cinema crime. Starring Radha Mitchell and Timothy Olyphant, the story is about a small town that must deal with an unusual toxic virus which takes over the area after a plane crash releases it. What results is the urge to maim and kill in an almost zombie-like fashion after ingesting the toxin and the total erasure of the town may be the only fix. Harrowing and effective, Eisner frames this story in a new modern way that really picked up on the current nerve of horror at the time and many that I’ve talked to about the film absolutely love it so why didn’t audiences? This is constantly a question in horror and no matter how big the fan base is, which is vast, these films always seem to be left by the wayside.
The Watcher (Netflix) – After The Midnight Club has totally jump scared you out of your skin and you have taken my recommendation of seeing Watcher on Shudder, this is the next logical choice and the trailer for it looks utterly terrifying in a very real sense. Featuring the genre-weathered star power of Naomi Watts and the always welcome Bobby Cannavale, this limited series has the added draw of being based on a very real story. The story follows a family who moves into their dream home, only to be plagued by ominous letters, strange neighbours and sinister threats. The story this was based on took place in 2014 with the Broaddus family who was spied on, threatened, and ultimately driven to sell their home & leave the town they loved, by a mysterious stalker who identified themselves only as “The Watcher” in the letters sent to Mr. and Mrs. Broaddus. The real horror stories are honestly the most blood-chilling so I have the utmost faith in this series to get the scares done and being a Ryan Murphy production, the guy who did the American Horror Story seasons, it’s in good hands.
The Winchesters (The CW) -After a decade and a half of Sam and Dean Winchester doing their thing, slaying demons and saving the lives of the innocents they could, the origin story of their parents are getting the spotlight now on The CW. It’s huge boots to fill with relative unknown Drake Rodger playing John Winchester, a role originated by the great Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and it could make or break the show for me. The series frames itself as an epic, untold love story of how John Winchester met Mary Campbell and put it all on the line to not only save their love but the entire world. When John returns home from fighting in Vietnam, a mysterious encounter sparks a new mission to trace his father’s past. In his journey, he crosses paths with 19-year-old demon hunter Mary, who is also searching for answers after the disappearance of her own father. Together, the two join forces to uncover the hidden truths about both of their families. Hopefully, this new series can pick up the fanbase of the original and carry that flag through another decade of television and it looks like it will have one of the Supernatural stars to do it as Jensen Acklesis listed in the show’s credits but I assume in a narration sort of way. All the same, I’m still very much looking forward to it.