Review – The Night Sitter (2019)

*Spoilers* The Night Sitter is a “bad babysitter gone good” horror flick that is reminiscent of the paranormal-styled slasher films of the 1990’s and early 2000’s.  We are introduced to Amber (played by Elyse Dufour from AMC’s “The Walking Dead”) early on, as she sets out to babysit for down-on-his-luck paranormal investigator Ted Hooper’s (played by Joe Walz) son Kevin (played by Jack Champion).  Ted seems like an easy mark for a petty thief like Amber and her crew (who show up later), but no prize worth winning is easily won.  Ted sets out on his date and leaves his girlfriend’s son Ronnie (played by Bailey Campbell) with Kevin, whom he has assured will break his cardinal rule of “don’t go into the locked, forbidden office”.  Ronnie doesn’t disappoint, as he follows a hint left by Ted (“X marks the spot”) which helps him find the key.  As the office is breached, a horde of demonic entities is unleashed upon Amber’s band of merry robbers and the two boys.  While Ronnie’s fate seems to be sealed, Amber knows she must do whatever it takes to get herself and Kevin out alive. One by one our players fall, and, when Ted finally comes home, he shows only signs of delight that his sinister plan has worked.  Only when he realizes that his own son may fall victim to the ghastly ghouls does he take initiative to try and stop the horde.  In true “final girl’ fashion, Amber is the last survivor of her group and sets out to get Kevin away from danger. If you’re looking for a movie with all the camp and predictability of a “bad babysitter gone good” slasher film, The Night Sitter will not disappoint.

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Review – “Momo: The Missouri Monster” (2019)

     (possible spoiler alert ahead)      Small Town Monsters productions and director Seth Breedlove have graced us with another cryptid adventure, “Momo: The Missouri Monster”.  Narrated by monster legend Lyle Blackburn, Momo is reminiscent of a 70’s b-horror movie with a Grindhouse feel.  I have enjoyed all of Breedlove’s excursions into the search for various monsters including The Bray Road Beast, Boggy Creek Monster, and On the Trail of Bigfoot to name a few.         Momo comes with all the bells and whistles that one would expect from a “search for” type film, including reenactments that are a bit cheesily done, which I would have it no other way.  I am actually a big fan of Lyle Blackburn (you really should check out his band “Ghoultown”), and enjoy his rockabilly style of narration. I grew up with all the old Bigfoot flicks, my favorite being “The Curse of Bigfoot” (1975).  The creature is one I had not heard of, so I had no real expectations preset for this one.  What I did not expect was the monster to look like a guy in a ghillie suit with rubber gloves.  Even still, it was an enjoyable documentary and well done, considering the subject matter.        If you do enjoy these types of monster documentaries, I encourage you to check out the collection of films from Small Town Monsters and Seth Breedlove.  smalltownmonsters.com       (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});         (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

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Review – The Field (2019)

(Spoiler Alert)      The Field (by Found The Ribbon Films, directed and co-written by Tate Bunker) could have been a decent, promising story, if it were not for a poorly executed ending.  Set in rural Wisconsin, The Field is a rendition of the age-old story of city dwellers looking for a fresh start in a small, country town.  Our characters (Ben and Lydia) have bought an abandoned farm house with the hopes of renewing their strained marriage.  As these scenarios go, an abandoned farm usually holds a plethora of terrifying secrets.  This farm is no different.      Years ago a mysterious wormhole opens up on the farm, and a local woman (Edith) disappears only to return (naked) years later.  When our couple run into her (on their property, mind you), the town folk have an over-dramatized, angry reaction, as if our couple did something wrong.  The sheriff is the most hostile, and it plays out in a very awkward manner.  I’ve know small town folk to be cautious, but I’ve never known them to be outraged right from the get go.  Aside from that, the story was well written and well developed.  As Ben and Lydia discover that the farm was the setting for an ancient pagan rite, tensions start to run high with the town folk.        With ancient rights, mysterious wormholes, and a strange woman who seems like she belongs to another world, one would think that a spectacular ending would be an easy feat.  Not in this film.  Sadly, the writers seemed to have rushed off and dropped the ball with this movie’s ending.  There was no explanation of the rite, no explanation of where anyone went, no explanation for anything.  At one point in the film, both Ben’s wife and Edith disappear into a wormhole created by an electric surge, and they return later only to have the film end with that…..they reappear and it’s over.  They give you nothing more.  The film works you up into a vortex of anticipation and then just walk out of the room, leaving you hanging.  It’s like going on a date that is, well, anticlimactic.  Oh, there’s a “magic” windmill, that I am assuming is some kind of electric conduit for the creation of our wormhole, but don’t count on having that explained in any depth either.  In the end, a better ending could have made this a great story.

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Review – The Banana Splits Movie (2019)

As a child, I loved watching all the Hanna -Barbera shows that I could fit in. That included the Banana Splits (I watched in the mid-late 70’s to very early 80’s). You can imagine my delight when I saw that not only were they making a Banana Splits movie, but it would be a HORROR film! Every one of us who grew up in the age of the animatronic animal band era has heard the legend of these things walking around at night, killing anyone who witnesses them doing so. Chucky cheese was an absolutely terrifying place to be when one of their animatronic characters was on the fritz. Well, this movie has taken those fears and run with them! Of course, don’t go in expecting earth shattering performances; do go in with the expectation of a well done, campy horror film. SPOILER ALERT!!!!!! The movie presents the characters (Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky) as fully animatronic puppets that are programed to understand that “the show MUST go on”, at any cost. When the show is cancelled, the Splits are having none of it. A murderous rampage targeting the adults ensues, with the children being kidnapped for a horrific final show. The movie adds a splash of carnival like fun to the ghastly murders, as they take place on various show stages. The Banana Splits Gang carry out one of the most animated draw-and-quarter scenes I’ve seen in a movie. The gore may seem gratuitous and a bit predictable, but it was completely appropriate for the “feel” of the show. The casting choices are pretty staple for this type of film, as campy horror films go. You won’t see Brad Pitt or any other Oscar winner here, but you do get Nick from “Bitten” (Steve Lund). The new, demonically programmed Banana Splits gang successfully amplifies that slightly creepy vibe that most Gen Xers grew up with, while watching the original Banana Splits Show. With a surprise “savior” at the end (which is, perhaps, not so surprising) and no physical harm done to the kids, the Banana Splits Movie is a quaint return to childhood television that i recommend watching at least once.

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“Black Wake” Review – There are worse things in the water than jellyfish….

Jeremiah Kipp (Director), Carlos Keyes (Exec Producer), David Gere (Co-Producer), and Jerry Janda (writer) have breathed new life into the “found footage” phenomenon with their new horror film Black Wake.  A mysterious “sickness” seems to have taken hold on the inhabitants of a coastal area on the Atlantic seaboard.  While professionals struggle to find the origin of this devastating plague, Dr. Luiza Moreira (played by Nana Gouvea) seems to be the only one putting the pieces of this Lovecraftian puzzle together. ***SPOILER ALERT***   I have to admit that I had to watch this a couple of times to truly appreciate the film.  It is a slow-burner, but give it a chance.  It does get better as the story progresses.  I am not a huge fan of “found footage” films, but this one was well done. The creature responsible for the carnage looks to me like a version of Cthulhu, and it isn’t cheesy!  We get a first glimpse of the threatening presence in the beach waters as the film opens, but it isn’t until the end that we see the full beauty of the creature (which, again, was really cool). There are people’s heads are exploding all over, with others becoming mind-controlled zombie-like shells.  I say zombie-like because the “creature” is using parasites to control its minions throughout the film.  This was a nice twist, as I was expecting the mindless, brain-eating usual suspects, which would have been a huge disappointment.  It is only until we meet Tommy (played by Jonny Beauchamp) that we realize there is a much more sinister side to this takeover.  Beauchamp does an amazing job in his role, I must say!  He truly brings the character to life…in a manner of speaking. As Dr. Moreira gets closer to the truth, her true role in this madness is slowly revealed. Gouvea does a terrific job at transforming into her role as the creature’s “Messiah”.  I had to get past her slow form of speaking, but towards the end, you realize that it really does fit the movie.  After my second viewing, I also realized that it actually lent to the seriousness of the situation that she was trying to relay in her video logs.  At the beginning of the film, we get the impression that Dr. Moreira was called in under ulterior motives to study these “zombie” cases, and her transition through the movie was perfectly executed.  The officials in charge of investigating this epic event know that she has a direct link to it.  As she gains her memory back, she too learns of her important part of this mystery. While this was a slow starting movie, the plot was well carried out and the effects were impressive.  My favorite part, however, was getting to see Eric Roberts as Dr. Frank. I have a soft spot for Roberts. While many “found footage” films tend to make one dizzy or really detract from what could have been a great flick, Black wake does none of these.  I suggest that if you get a chance to watch Black Wake, you absolutely should….and not just for Eric Roberts. Cheers, Diana Stack

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