2016 | Jaume Collet-Serra | 86 minutes | USA
Synopsis: After her mother dies of cancer, Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) drops out of med school and heads to a secret beach in Mexico, one her mother used to visit. Surfing alone, she is attacked by a large shark and stranded on a small rock about 200 yards from shore.
One of the handful of big theatrical horror releases of the summer of 2016 (produced by Columbia Pictures), The Shallows is expertly directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who is no stranger to horror. Collet-Serra has helmed House of Wax (2005) and Orphan (2009), as well as directing the first two episodes of ABC’s interesting but finally foundering supernatural found-footage horror series, The River (2012).
The Shallows has inevitably been compared to Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975), which both is and is not an accurate comparison. On the one hand nothing like Jaws, The Shallows does, toward the end in particular, make numerous covert references to it—offering an explicit and interesting re-writing. Read more
TV Movie 2015 | Jim Wynorski | Not Rated | 84 minutes | (USA)
Review: “Sharkansas” takes a bite out of my horror comedy lovin’ heart.
Synopsis: Local fracking shatters the earth’s core, releasing deadly prehistoric sharks with a taste for voluptuous female inmates who recently escaped imprisonment…or did they?
I am going to break this post in to two parts. The first part being a simple review of the film’s pros and cons…the second part unleashes my love of sharks and includes a rant about something really cool that I noticed about this film.
The Nuts and Bolts:
I absolutely loved this movie! The only reason I gave it a B+ instead of an A is because I slightly enjoyed Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012) more so I had to prioritize. I will be clear; this film is a B horror film that incorporates a lofty flavoring of cheese with its horror. If you are looking for super special effects or a really scary plot, then this movie might not be for you (although I still suggest you give it a shot). Read more
NR | 11 min |Brandon Taylor | USA | 2016
A horror short featuring an all-female cast, The Price of Bones stars Summerisa Bell Stevens, Jordan Anton, and Lisa Dennett as two young women, Caprice (Stevens) and Heather (Anton), and Caprice’s unsympathetic mother (Dennett). The film is written by Samantha Kolesnik, directed by Brandon Taylor, and produced by Kolesnik, Melissa Sherry, Michael Sherry, and Hollow Tree Films.
The Price of Bones is about the intense pressure on girls and women to be thin, a pressure that, not least, creates severely disordered eating and exercise habits. Taking the perspective of Caprice, the film focuses both visually and narratively on bodies and food, showing us the constricted world of a woman who can’t see and experience anything that doesn’t have to do with the size of her body. She wakes up and looks at her body; she goes into the kitchen and is confronted with food she doesn’t want to eat and a mother who tries to make her eat it; she exercises with her friend, and they talk about eating and about how thin they are and how much thinner they need to be. Read more
Guest Author: Erin Wilson
R | 87 min | David Farr | UK | 2015
David Farr’s The Ones Below (2015) has much in common with recent parent-horror treasures like The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014) and Goodnight Mommy (Severin Fiala and Veronica Franz, 2014). While viewing each one, I spent much of my time thinking: “This film is doing a great job making parenting look like a terrifying nightmare.” The Ones Below is a film about the myriad of horrors facing modern mothers. With understated intensity, Farr documents the struggles of new parenting, and the potentially horrifying consequences of the persistent scrutiny that mothers endure.
The film follows a woman named Kate (Clémence Poésy) and her husband, Justin (Stephen Campbell Moore), in the last months of her first pregnancy and first months of motherhood. “The Ones Below” are their new downstairs neighbors, Jon (David Morrissey) and Theresa (Laura Birn). Like Kate, Theresa is in the second trimester of pregnancy. In spite of that shared experience, these women could not be more different. Costuming and makeup choices highlight the contrast. Theresa’s appearance is always pristine. Her outfits are bright and coordinated, often complementing her husband’s, and her makeup is always immaculate. She looks more like a model in an ad for maternity clothing than an average pregnant woman. While Kate is certainly beautiful, she seems downright frumpy by comparison. She wears oversized clothes, her hair is usually pulled back in a low bun, and her makeup is minimal. Kate’s experience of pregnancy is uncomfortable, exhausting, and sometimes not very flattering. Theresa is what popular media would have us believe pregnancy is: a beautiful woman joyfully enjoying her pregnancy, glowing at all times. Read more
R | 98 min | Tod Williams | USA | 2016
Cell is a disaster, and I say that as someone who has read (and liked) Stephen King’s novel and was very much looking forward to this adaptation. Moreover, the fact that Cell is directed by Tod Williams, who also directed Paranormal Activity 2 (in my view, the best entry in the franchise), stars John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, and was written in part by Stephen King himself, promised much more than what, unfortunately, has been delivered.
Cell is something of a cross between Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002) and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening (2008), though not nearly as good as either (yes, not as good as The Happening!). Read more