Tag Archives for " Indie Horror "

April 15, 2020

Review: Behind You (2020)

behind_you_2020

Director: ​Andrew Mecham & Matthew Whedon

Starring:​ Addy Miller, Elizabeth Birkner, Jan Broberg, Philip Brodie, Aimee Lyn Chadwick

​Run Time: 91mins

“Behind You” follows in that school of two word warning horror titles much like an “It Follows” or “Get Out”. However unlike those it has less ominous ring to it sounding more goofy than scary. It also feels like it comes straight from the horror movie title generator.

It may seem unfair to pick on the title in such a way but it also speaks to the film as a whole. Everything here feels like it has come from a how-to-make-a-horror-movie starter kit. Creepy kids? Check. Threats written in blood on the wall? Check. A character running themselves into a dead end in order to escape the demon? Check. A character remembering an important plot point they read in a book at just the right time? Check. The list could go on.

In fairness things don’t start that badly. The film opening with a flashback from 1979 (an Amityville Horror reference, perhaps?) showing this particular families first interaction with the entity haunting the home. This establishing scene is effectively creepy and has a satisfying jump scare. Unfortunately there are not enough of these in the rest of the run-time as most jumps any horror fan will see coming a mile off.

After the flashback we skip forward 40 years to sisters Olivia (Addy Miller) and Claire (Elizabeth Birkner) being dropped off at their Aunt’s (Jan Broberg) after the death of their mother. Of course, because of the previous incident, the aunt is initially reticent to take them in but reluctantly agrees. Without going into spoiler territory suffice to say the relationship between the Aunt and the girls develops in the exact way you would imagine.

Pointing this out may seem like harping on the same point but again and again the reliance on cliché and genre convention is the biggest flaw here. From plot construction to character development to the scares the filmmakers continually take the obvious turn. Even the central conceit of having evil been unleashed via a mirror has been done before and much better elsewhere. All of which would be less of an issue if it played with these cliché’s. Or if co-directors Andrew Mecham and Matthew Whedon managed to really crank up the tension. Or if it was just more out-and-out fun. None of which is true sadly.

Perhaps the most frustrating about all of this is you suspect there might be a good movie in there somewhere. Certainly it is for the most part well directed, from a cinematography point of view it looks good and the performances from Miller and Broberg are pretty solid. Maybe with a few tweaks here and there “Behind You” could have been a fun entry into the haunted house/possession movie sub-genres as it stands though not so much.

Overall: Clunky, generic and predictable. If you have watched much in the way of haunted house or possession based movies you will have effectively seen this ​pedestrian effort.

4/10

​You can purchase "Behind You" on iTunes here

April 13, 2020

Episode 49 – Graham Hughes

Death_of_a_vlogger

Episode 49 – Graham Hughes

 
 
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NHE host Scott Murphy chats to writer/director/actor Graham Hughes about his latest feature “Death of Vlogger.” A movie which takes a unique spin on the found-footage genre and had the rare honour of playing both Frightfest’s (London and Glasgow).

In the interview (interview begins at 2:55), we talk to Graham about how this film came out of the ashes of another project, and despite the number of roles he had on the picture how he conversely found it one of his more relaxing filmmaking experiences. We also get into the themes of the film, in particular the phenomenon of social media shaming.

Plus Graham tells us about his film festival experiences, his thoughts on the upsurge in Scottish horror films, and what he is up to next.

Watch the trailer for “Death of a Vlogger” here

March 27, 2020

Review: Daniel Isn’t Real

Daniel_Isnt_Real

Director: Adam Egypt Mortimer

Starring: ​Patrick Schwarzenegger, Miles Robbins, Sasha Lane, Mary Stuart Masterson, Hannah Marks, Chuk Iwuji

Run Time: 100mins

Adam Egypt Mortimer's second feature arrives on streaming with a lot of hype in horror circles following a successful festival circuit run, even picking up an award at the prestigious Sitges festival. The question does it live up to the hype? The answer is well, sort of.

Certainly, it has an interesting conceit as a violent interaction with his mentally ill mother (Masterson) resurrects our leads Luke (Robbins) childhood imaginary friend Daniel (Schwarzenneger) back into his life. Initially, Daniel seems to spur him but quickly becomes increasingly more malevolent. Of course, while this does end up taking us into some very Fight Club-esque territory, the twist here is Luke always knows Daniel is a product of his mind and a possible symptom of schizophrenia. Or is he? As from the off, there is a suggestion something else is going on. More of which later.

Before we get to that, though, we open with Luke as a boy (Griffin Robert Faulkner) and see how Daniel first came into Luke's life after he witnesses the aftermath of a violent crime. This opening stretch is strong, effectively showing the bond between the two and anchored by Masterson's performance as the mother who at first welcomes her child's imaginary playmate before becoming increasingly more fearful of its influence. It is only a shame we don't have more time with Masterson's character, which is effectively sidelined after the first act.

Masterson's character is not only one to be sidelined, though, as, outside the central pairing of Luke and Daniel, few of the characters really register. This lack of character development is a real shame as it wastes the talents of a decent ensemble. It is particularly egregious in the case of Sasha Lane, who, while doing the best with what she has got, is confined to the generic role of feisty/quirky love interest.

Luckily, given few others are given oxygen, both Robbins and Schwarzenegger are excellent in their respective roles. Robbins is convincing throughout Luke's evolution from college recluse to swaggering intellectual to fearing for his mind. Schwarzenegger is the real show-stealer though initially imbuing Daniel with a toxic oily charm before becoming progressively more unhinged. Sure it is an exercise in scenery-chewing but eminently watchable one.

Another major plus is the horror itself, as there are some decent scares throughout. Mortimer is clearly in his element here. While many of the narrative beats feel generic, the visual horror elements feel unique. Even if some feel reminiscent of "Jacob's Ladder," there are several surreal, nightmarish images here that are likely to linger in the memory long after viewing them. The action in the third act also takes a pleasingly surreal bent that may split audiences but, for this reviewer, really worked. Mortimer should also be commended for his tackling of mental illness, which, largely, avoids feeling exploitative in the way it so often is in horror films.

Overall: A frustrating watch as "Daniel Isn't Real" is a good horror film that feels like it should be a great one. As the movie's compelling lead performances and memorable visuals can't quite overcome generic story elements and two-dimensional characters.

​6/10

​"Daniel Isn't Real" is now available on Shudder

February 17, 2020

Episode 45 – John McPhail

Episode 45 – John McPhail

 
 
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NHE host Scott Murphy chats to director John McPhail about his latest film, the cult smash “Anna and the Apocalypse.” A zom-rom-com-Xmas-musical that is already establishing itself as a seasonal favourite since it was released back in 2018.


In the interview (the interview begins at 2:02), we talk to John about the film’s ever-growing success, some of his top festival experiences with the movie. And the new deluxe Blu-ray release the film has received (where he tells about his excitement on doing his first directors commentary).


We also to John about the production of “Anna and the Apocalypse,” including; how he came on board to the project, the difficulties of shooting some of the musical sequences (not helped by the Scottish weather!), and his favourite songs from the film.


Away from “Anna and the Apocalypse” chat, we get to talk John about what his earliest horror memories are, what ranks among his horror favourites and he gives us his thoughts on the sudden upsurge in horror movies coming out of Scotland.

Watch the trailer for “Anna and the Apocalypse” here

“Anna and the Apocalypse” is available to buy here

December 23, 2019

Episode 41 – The Pierce Brothers

The Wretched-2019

Episode 41 – The Pierce Brothers

 
 
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NHE host Scott Murphy talks to directors Brett and Drew Pierce about their second feature, “The Wretched,” which has been played at a host of festivals since making its debut at this year’s Fantasia Fest and was recently picked up by IFC Midnight for release in 2020.

In the interview, Brett and Drew tell us about some of the challenges of the shoot where they were not only working with children and animals (as the old adage advises you not too) but also had to deal with several night shoots. We also learn why the title changed from “Hag” to the title it has now. The brothers also talk about the research on the occult they did for the film and how they achieved the pictures multiple practical effects on a limited budget. Further on practical effects, we discuss a bit about Brett and Drew’s dad’s effect work on the original “Evil Dead.”

Elsewhere Brett and Drew chat to us about their film festival, horror tropes they don’t like, horror trends and let us in what they are working on next.

You can watch the trailer for “The Wretched” here

September 16, 2019

Episode 34 – Rhett S. Butler Interview

Nefarious (2019)

Episode 34 – Rhett S. Butler Interview

 
 
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NHE host Scott Murphy chats to writer and director Rhett S. Butler about his debut film “Nefarious,” Jamaica’s first locally produced horror movie!


Over the course of the interview, we talk to Rhett extensively about the making of the picture. From how he first came up with the idea to the shoot of the film to the challenges of diving directly into feature filmmaking and some of the lengths he went to make the movie feel authentic.


Away from “Nefarious,” Rhett tells us about how he got into, the type of horror movies he responds to most and how he relates horror to music. Plus, Rhett talks about some of the cultural stereotypes surrounding Jamaica and how he hopes to show it in a different light.

You can watch the trailer for “Nefarious” here

“Nefarious” will be screening at Commffest in Toronto on October 4th and in Antigua on the week of November 2nd.



September 2, 2019

Episode 33 – Eric Liberacki Interview

Episode 33 – Eric Liberacki Interview

 
 
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NHE host Scott Murphy chats to director and cinematographer Eric Liberacki about his feature debut the retro-slasher “The Lurker.” In an interview that was recorded ahead of its World Premiere at Cinepocalpyse. And particularly given the festival is in Eric’s hometown of Chicago we talk a little about his excitement of premiering the movie there.


Also, over the course of the interview, we talk to Eric extensively about the production of “The Lurker.” From how he came on board as director. To the casting of the likes of Scout Taylor Compton (Laurie Strode in Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies) and Naomi Grossman (Pepper in American Horror Story). And some of the challenges of the shoot.


Plus there are loads more in there about Eric’s favourite slashers, how he got into horror himself, how he split his time as a filmmaker and a film lecturer and a whole lot more besides.

August 19, 2019

Episode 32 – Graham Skipper Interview

Episode 32 – Graham Skipper Interview

 
 
00:00 / 01:05:08
 
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NHE host Scott Murphy chats to writer/director/actor and pop-up bar owner Graham Skipper about a range of his projects including his directorial effort “Sequence Break”, one of his latest acting roles in Joe Begos’s “Bliss” and his horror themed bar the Rated R Speakeasy.

Over the course, we particularly deep delve into his “Sequence Break” in terms of how he first got inspired to write/direct the film, the casting of picture (including why he didn’t cast himself), the shoot of the film and also how the deal with Shudder came about.

That is not all as we also chat to Graham about how he came to be involved in the LA horror scene, his thoughts on the current horror landscape and what it was like to work with horror royalty like Barbara Crampton.

Check out the “Sequence Break” trailer here

You can watch “Sequence Break” on Shudder here

Check out the “Bliss” trailer here

Graham Skipper will be in attendance at Arrow’s Frightfest for the UK Premiere of “Bliss” on Friday 23rd August. You can buy tickets here

If you live in the States you can check if the Rated R Speakeasy bar will be swinging by your town soon here

May 13, 2019

Episode 25 – David H. Thornton (AKA Art the Clown) Interview

Episode 25 – David H. Thornton (AKA Art the Clown) Interview

 
 
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NHE host Scott Murphy chats to actor David H Thornton about his role as Art the Clown in “Terrifier” (interview begins at 1:46). Over the course of the conversation David explains how he came to replace Mike Giannelli in the role, tells some fun on-set stories and how he closely worked with director Damien Leone to develop the character. He even chats a little bit about Terrifier 2 although unfortunately, we could not get any plot details out of him. Also, David gives his reaction to how horror fans have taken Art to their hearts, and he also tells us a bit about his horror convention experiences thus far.

Away from “Terrifier,” David tells Scott all about his love for slashers. We also delve into David’s acting background and how his career got started. Plus he also chats a little about his love for the Joker expresses his ambition to play the character on screen one day. Something we would love to see!

You can buy Terrifier on Amazon here
Alternatively you can watch on Prime Video here

January 21, 2019

Episode 17 – J R Park & Daniel Marc Chant Interview

Episode 17 – J R Park & Daniel Marc Chant Interview

 
 

00:00 / 01:17:03
 

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In this latest episode our guests are novelist’s and Sinister Horror Company co-founders JR Park and Daniel Marc Chant . NHE host talks to both Justin and Daniel about how they came to form the Sinister Horror Company (along with Duncan P. Bradshaw), the company’s charity anthology series The Black Room Manuscripts and various projects the company are currently working on. As well as the discussion on their publishing Scott also talks to both Justin and Daniel about their respective writing careers, how they got into horror and more in what is one of the most epic and riotous episodes New Horror Express has had to date!

December 31, 2018

Episode 16 – Rob Grant Interview

Episode 16 – Rob Grant Interview

 
 

00:00 / 00:42:30
 

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In this edition of New Horror Express our guest is Rob Grant. NHE host Scott Murphy talks to Rob about his latest movie “Alive”. In an interview that was sadly cut short as Rob had to take to jump on plane as part of the festival tour for that movie. However we still got Rob to also talk about his previous film “Fake Blood”, the influence horror movies have, his experience on blockbuster films such as Deadpool 2 (In the Editorial Department), the Canadian horror scene and more.

December 17, 2018

Episode 15 – Braden Croft Interview

Episode 15 – Braden Croft Interview

 
 

00:00 / 01:04:05
 

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In this edition of New Horror Express our guest is Braden Croft. NHE host Scott Murphy talks to Braden about his upcoming feature “True Fiction” (expected in late 2019/early 2020) as well his first two features “Hemorrhage” and “Feed the Gods”. Braden tells us about the challenges of filming on a micro-budget and gives tips for any budding DIY filmmakers. As well as this Scott chats to Braden about his film-making philosophy, his influences and the much debated term of “elevated horror”.

December 3, 2018

Episode 14 – Grant McPhee Interview

Episode 14 – Grant McPhee Interview

 
 

00:00 / 00:46:30
 

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In our latest episode, our guest is Scottish director Grant McPhee. The first Scottish for this Edinburgh based podcast yet! NHE host Scott Murphy talks to him about his upcoming movie folk horror “Far from the Apple Tree.” Scott also chats to Grant about how he got into film-making, his documentary work and his work on big features such as “Cloud Atlas,” “Under the Skin” and “Trainspotting 2” plus much, much more…

 

After the episode  and before the release of  “Far from the Apple Tree” early next year why not check out a couple of scene excerpts from the movie here:

Scene Excerpt 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkfNvthS6lQ

Scene Excerpt 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkB5Yu_QkIc

You can also check out some further images from the movie here

November 5, 2018

Episode 12 – Robert Krzykowski Interview

Episode 12 – Robert Krzykowski Interview

 
 

00:00 / 00:52:58
 

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In our latest episode NHE host Scott Murphy talks with writer/director Robert Krzykowski. Scott talks to Robert about his debut feature “The Man who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot” about how he came up with the idea of the movie, the design of the film, how he assembled his all-star cast and how it is very much not the grindhouse picture you would expect from that title. Aside from the film our host also talks to Robert about how he got into filmmaking, his comic “Elsie Hooper,” his possibly unexpected directorial influences and much, much more…

October 22, 2018

Episode 11 – Kevin Chicken Interview

Episode 11 – Kevin Chicken Interview

 
 

00:00 / 00:56:19
 

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In our latest episode NHE host Scott Murphy talks to British director Kevin Chicken about his debut feature film “Perfect Skin.” Scott talks to him about how the idea came about, and it’s long journey from page to screen, the casting, and the films then very recent premiere at Arrow’s Frightfest in London. As well as chatting extensively about the film Kevin tells us about his love of Hitchcock (We mean who doesn’t love a good Hitchcock picture, right?), his other directorial influences, his background in advertising plus much more.