Archive for angels

Portland Horror Film Festival 2017: Short-Length Horror Shorts Part 2

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, horror, Movies, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2017 by aliciamovie

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‘Blackbird’

Country: UK

Director: Tim Fellingham & Charlotte Stente Nielsen

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

What happens when the one you think is your savior, turns out to have been your tormentor all along? Here on a lonely stretch of nowhere, a man with a concussion and severe memory loss, apparently from getting tossed from his motorcycle, goes to save a runaway maiden in a nightgown. The both of them hole up together trying to figure out what they’re running from, and through a series of dreams and flashbacks and one horrible “gotcha!” moment involving a blackbird tattoo, discover they really do know each-other, a little too well for either ones comfort.

The use of Memento-like timelines and flashbacks can be perfectly fine, but I thought a little too much emphasis was placed on atmosphere and not enough on the story itself. If a movie, either short or feature-length, has only two actors in it, it is very likely that the villain is one of them; it kind of lessens the potential shock value. Nevertheless, should the story be expanded, the short could have real potential.

‘The Dark Hunger’

Country: USA

Director: Anthony Williams

Review Rating: 8 out of 10

What to do when one discovers a supernatural cannibal terrorizing your neighborhood? No calling in the CIA or some paranormal equivalent, no, some sort of mafia-like gang kidnaps the man they call Dead Fred and stick him in a cell, to be fed their enemies. Because Dead Fred is a full cannibal and always cleans his plate, so there’s no evidence left behind. And when we meet up with our cannibal hero, it looks like he’s been enduring this setup for awhile.  His Dark Passenger, the actual cannibal vampire in his skull with the awesome deep voice, is content to stay in prison so long as the captors keep feeding it, but Fred has other ideas. Despite that not actually being his real name, Dead Fred decides to embrace the pseudonym and make a deal with his Dark Passenger to get out of this prison and find the man at the top, the real mastermind monster who put Fred here in the first place!

It’s never easy to combine a supernatural element with an attempt at Hannibal Lecter-like characters, and yet somehow The Dark Hunger manages it nicely. The short reads like a trailer for a film that I would certainly watch, and I sincerely wished the short was one of the longer short films, so I could pretend it was a movie. With even some of the better notes of 30 Days of Night thrown in, The Dark Hunger should make Director Williams an up-and-comer worthy of keeping an eye on.

‘Chateau Sauvignon: Terroir’

Country: USA

Director: David E. Munz-Maire

Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10 

If you could ever imagine what a winery run by Children of the Corn would be like, then the Chateau Sauvignon is for you. The stark landscape, dead animal skulls and eerie wine-making equipment that looks suspiciously like butchery pressings all serve to provide an atmosphere that screams Horror. And almost immediately, it turns out, the vitner equipment really does still make wine for the tourists and all, but is also being used in the butchery of at least some of those tourists, to keep Mom alive. (Whether Mom is a zombie, some kind of vampire, cannibal or anything else, is unclear.) But the meat juice is beginning to run out, Son is becoming concerned, and Dad is just trying to hold everything together, despite Moms condition. Two new tourists have come late to the winery and Son wants to give them the full tour, no matter what Dad says – here sample some of our wine, over here is some of the processes we use to make our vintages, and by the way, your son is a jackass, here’s a glass pouring beaker shoved into your skull. Because Mom needs to be fed, and wine isn’t cutting it anymore.

A very fine short, all kinds of atmospheric and moody, though I would have liked to have a bit more to the story. What kind of creature is Mom now, how did she get this way, what happens to all of them when the meat juice finally runs out? Perhaps for the next series of Horror shorts from Director Munz-Maire, or, he could turn the whole thing into a feature-length jaunt – I would watch it.

‘Death Metal’

Country: USA

Director: Chris McInroy

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

Dude man, I get you, hail Satan and Metal is God and all that, you bet. But if you’re handed Grand-dad’s axe (as in guitar), that he supposedly got from the Dark Prince himself, along with three important rules to follow when using it, you’d want to adhere to them and be respectful wouldn’t you? It doesn’t seem as though frustrated metal-head Lars gives two damns about any of that, and immediately goes off to break all three rules jamming in the afternoon at the park on the axe. Is it any wonder that the axe-head breaks off from the rest of the guitar and goes hog-wild?

I saw Lars and his dumbassery at another Horror film festival and thought it was hilarious then, as now. It’s always so cute to see the Metalheads tossing the horns and headbanging for all they’re worth, because of course Satan’s all kinds of into that. Just never forget, Lucifer has a very wicked sense of humor, too.

‘As They Continue to Fall’

Country: USA

Director: Nikhil Bhagat

Review Rating: 8 out of 10

Whether you’re a fan of the Prophecy series, or saw the film Legion and the short-lived Syfy show it spawned, Dominion, Angels are fairly well-known these days as something other than the be-winged halo’d bringers of light and Gods love. What we have here is the somewhat now-familiar trope of the hobo hero hunting bad guys, in this case actual Angels, and it must be said, doing a fair job of it. From the looks of the feather trophies that line his coat, keeping him warm, our hobo hero is no-one to be trifled with. (Because really, depending upon which hierarchy of Angel you’re fighting, you could strap a nuke to the Angelic type and he’d laugh at you.) Our hobo hero has been dealing with Angelic visions all his life, but now after the apparent end of the world, has taken to hunting them down with vim and vigor. And who could blame him? What is an Angel, after all, but another Devil just waiting to fall?

Many of the minds who worked on this short have made major names for themselves elsewhere (Sinister, Deus Ex, The Thing, the NBC TV show Dracula, to name only a few), and they managed to cobble together a short awesome to watch. The future dystopian world where our hobo hero hunts Angels is clear and perfectly understandable, while much is still left open to audience interpretation and judgment, and in building a world like this, that is what we would prefer.

The end of ‘Dominion’: The angels have truly fallen

Posted in Action, drama, Fantasy, horror, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2015 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Creator: Vaun Wilmott

Website: Dominion

Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Based on the movie Legion, the SyFy show Dominion follows a world where God has left us, angels are real and they’ve come down from heaven to terrorize us mortals, plus the one young man reputed to be the savior of humanity!

It would help to have seen the movie before trying to watch the show, but it isn’t a true requirement. The show usually has a preface before each episode, explaining that some 20-odd years ago God up and left the world, and the angels and their hierarchy came down and began an extermination war on humanity. The lesser angels began possessing humans, turning them into a vampire-zombie-like hybrid angel-monster with unnatural speed and strength, black eyes and jagged teeth. The higher angels, most notably archangel Gabriel, led an extermination against humanity, and succeeded by a good margin. From 2013 all the way to 2022, millions of humans were slaughtered by angelic hands, and what was left of humanity banded together in the leftovers of American cities, particularly Vega, New Delphi and nearby Helena. Gabriel (Carl Beukes) leads the angelic armies against the humans, while archangel Michael (Tom Wisdom), believing he was tasked by Father to find the savior and keep him safe, flies off to find his own destiny!

And that is pretty much where we are when the show starts. Inside Vega, the V-System, an occupation-based social class ordering dreamt up and implemented by General Riesen (Alan Dale), has led to all sorts of underground hurt feelings and potential uprisings. The Senate has Lady Claire Riesen (Roxanne McGee), the General’s daughter and Consul David Whele (Anthony Head) constantly at eachothers throats, jockeying for position and control while trying desperately to keep the cities denizens safe from encroaching 8-balls (what they call lower angels who’ve possessed humans) and archangel armies. Nearby female-run city Helena occasionally sends envoys and potential allies, sometimes enemies too, to Vega, usually in the form of Arika (Shivani Ghai) and her minions. New Delphi is another nearby city that not many Vegans know a lot about, but rumor has it their leader Julian (Simon Merrells) has access to all kinds of weapons, supplies, and even an 8-Ball army all his own!

The mythology of what happened to the world, the Extermination war on humanity by the angels, plus the restructuring of cities and the defenses to keep the angels out, the defection of Michael and his attempts to aid the last dregs of humanity and the mighty Savior, are given out piecemeal over the course of the show. The politics of Vega are fairly easy to understand, though one would think that the humans would finally have actually banded together against the angelic horde, rather than continuing to jockey for position and as much power as they can continue to grasp. David Whele is the best example of this, being willing to sacrifice everything he has up to and including his own fractious son, for power against the angels just a little while longer. While the winged monsters are battering against the city gates, Whele is plotting with Arika, or making deals with Gabriel, or talking himself out of execution, yet again. Whele seems to represent the flip side of humanity, our pettiness and greed and selfishness, even in the most dire of situations when we should be coming together against the outside Enemy. Played by the forever-awesome Anthony Head, Whele is the worst kind of character you find things in common with, to your everlasting shame, and serves as a warning against giving in to your darker desires.

Then there’s Alex Lannen (Christopher Egan), the savior himself. Always and forever the reluctant hero, it took Alex several episodes to embrace his newfound powers and tattoos. It did get a shade tiresome, because we’d rather be seeing Alex exorcise 8-balls or fighting armored archangels, then hear him whine about destiny yet again. His little side romance with Lady Riesen and his angelic cohort Noma (Kim Engelbrecht), was more or less fine and demonstrated the better aspects humanity had to offer.

Much ado is made over the long-standing feud between angelic brothers Michael and Gabriel. Gabriel leads the angelic armies against the humans, scoffing at the idea of the Savior until it turns out that the child is very real and those magical tattoos Michael was safely holding for the later use of the Savior have been passed on to his guardian. Michael and Gabriel have been arguing and fighting amongst themselves since, oh, since they both can remember really, which is a very very long time, given the idea that angels live forever. They argue over what happened to Father, what Father would want them to do, but angels were never meant to be without a chaperone of some kind, and so order-less Gabriel leans toward the destruction of all humanity, while Michael searches for any kind of peace, between humans and angels, but also within his own heart. The whole storyline of the town of Mallory and what Michael found there, and also what found him, was interesting, if a little odd. Believe me when I say I really wish they had introduced Lucifer sooner.

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And why is that? Because, my dear crazy angel lovers, Dominion has been cancelled after only its second season. At the very least, the show ended on a very strong note. For those who had been watching the show from the beginning, and they started very strong, being the most-viewed scripted series on Syfy in its first season and all. Season two’s numbers rapidly slid though, and the angels have truly fallen. The last episode really stuck it to several key characters, we could’ve have seen some awesome and horrific actor do Lucifer on the show, we even got to see Lady Riesin’s eyes blacken! We fans will never know the answers to the questions the last episode brought up, and we wanted to know, which is a good feeling for the show to go out on. We’ll miss you, the angels who both loved and hated us, and the humanity that continued to thrive even in the face of angelic extinction!

San Diego Latino Film Festival 2013 presents The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh

Posted in drama, horror, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio:  Someone at the Door Productions

Director: Rodrigo Gudino

Review Rating: 7.5

A son returns to the antiques-filled estate of his estranged mother after her death, only to discover she might not be quite so gone, after all.

There seems to be a trend cropping back up in the Indie Horror film circuit, that of the simplified movie with all of one or two actual actors tops, a fine gripping storyline, and a creeptastic score to round it all out. I for one am overjoyed at such a thing, and Rosalind Leigh follows that trend with a breathtakingly unique style all its own. Director Gudino presents us with a vision of both beauty and hold-your-breath terror.

The film is narrated by Leigh herself (given Vanessa Redgrave’s voice, wow), and though we are informed of her death right at the beginning of the film, as the movie goes on, she seems more alive than ever. Her house, stuffed full of valuable antiques, angels and gargoyles and platitudes oh my, breathes her everywhere. Especially for her estranged son Leon (Aaron Poole), who comes to stay in the house to deal with her estate after her passing. And yet. Memories are haunting the hell out of him, especially in the form of a particular angel statue that evokes a sinister game he and his mother played when he was small. The film brings to mind the flip side of a dark Christianity, like The Prophecy did. Given the order to, angels can actually be very nasty, and so can their followers in fanaticism. Leigh seems to have been involved in an angelic cult and hints darkly as that being the result of Leon’s fathers death without actually coming right out and saying it. All around Leon, as he stays within the manor peopled by nothing but statuary and a dark past, memories are clamoring to be let in whether he likes it or not. And the most prevalent memory of all, of Rosalind Leigh herself and how unbearably lonely she is without him, is the one thing strong enough to keep Leon from leaving, now that he’s finally here. Forever.

I quite liked the ending, actually. It wasn’t abrupt, it wasn’t a Gotcha! moment, it wasn’t two minutes of Saw-style cluex4 recap either. Rather, you take all you’ve learned about Rosalind Leigh and Leon up to this point, and draw your own conclusions. Are the angels real? Is Leon himself even real? The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh will echo through your consciousness, insistent on the sad dark memories, a reminder of just how far a person will go to ease the aching loneliness in their soul.