Here’s The Trailer For The Black Phone!

Not all horror comes out in October!

In fact, just yesterday, a trailer dropped for a horror film that will be coming out in February!  So, happy Valentine’s Day, I guess.

Anyway, the trailer is for The Black Phone, which is the latest film from Scott Derrickson.  It’s a return to his horror roots after his detour into the MCU.  It appears to be about a kidnapping and the kidnapper is Willy Wonka!  Oh, wait a minute …. that’s Ethan Hawke.

The trailer looks kind of creepy.  Derrickson’s Sinister is still one of the scariest films of the past ten years.  Plus, Ethan Hawke should get all the roles that seem like they were originally written for Johnny Depp.  So, I’ll give this one a shot when it comes out next year.

Here’s the trailer:

4 Shots From 4 Films: Dracula 3D, Maniac, Silent House, Sinister

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 2012 Horror Films

Dracula 3D (2012, dir by Dario Argento)

Maniac (2012, dir by Franck Kahlfoun)

Silent House (2012, dir by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau)

Sinister (2012, directed by Scott Derrickson)

Doctor Strange Trailer Arrives At SDCC 2016

Doctor Strange

San Diego Comic-Con for the past decade has always been a major mainstay for Marvel Studios when it comes to releasing their latest news and trailer for their upcoming films. There has been rumors the last couple years that Marvel Studios may skip Comic-Con and it’s venerable Hall H altogether in the near-future. Marvel Studios being owned by Disney means they have access to their parent company’s own D23 event. There’s even talk of just having a yearly Marvel Con to showcase everything Marvel.

Until that occurs many who attend San Diego Comic-Con will stand hours (some even days) to be able to get into Hall H and be the first to see what Marvel Studios has up it’s sleeves. This year we get the latest trailer on their biggest gamble to date: Doctor Strange.

A gamble in that it will delve deeply into the one aspect of the Marvel Universe it has so far avoided: magic.

One cannot make a film about Doctor Strange and not portray the magic and sorcery, the otherworldly dimensions and demons, spells and illusions. This is the bread and butter of the Sorcerer Supreme and if this latest trailer is any indication then filmmaker Scott Derrickson may have just broken the code in how to integrate this aspect of the Marvel Universe into the grounded, albeit hyper-reality, of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Doctor Strange arrives this November 4, 2016.

Doctor Strange Trailer Makes It’s First Visit

Doctor Strange

This coming November sees the arrival of not just another new character from the Marvel Comics pages onto the big-screen, but the parting of the curtains to give the Marvel Cinematic Universe it’s first glimpse at the mystical and magical.

The MCU has been mostly about advanced technology, techno-thrillers and a corner or two of the cosmic, but Feige and company has never truly explored the esoteric and occult side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the release of tonight’s teaser trailer for Doctor Strange we will finally get a glimpse into this unseen corner of the MCU.

Doctor Strange is set for a November 4, 2016 release date.

4 Shots From 4 Films: The Others, The Nun, Insidious, Sinister

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films.  As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Others (2001, directed by Alejandro Amenabar)

The Others (2001, directed by Alejandro Amenabar)

The Nun (2005, directed by Luis De La Madrid)

The Nun (2005, directed by Luis De La Madrid)

Insidious (2011, directed by James Wan)

Insidious (2011, directed by James Wan)

Sinister (2012, directed by Scott Derrickson)

Sinister (2012, directed by Scott Derrickson)

Film Review: Deliver Us From Evil (dir by Scott Derrickson)

Deliver_Us_from_Evil_(2014_film)_posterI had high hopes for Deliver Us From Evil, largely because it was directed by Scott Derrickson who, in 2012, gave us the wonderfully atmospheric and disturbing Sinister.  Unfortunately, having now seen Deliver Us From Evil, I can only call it the anti-Sinister.  Whereas Sinister took the viewers by surprise, Deliver Us From Evil is predictable.  Whereas Sinister was full of genuinely disturbing moments, Deliver Us From Evil is full of jump scenes that are scary for a few seconds but then swiftly vanish from the memory.  Whereas Sinister was fascinating for featuring a morally ambiguous hero, Deliver Us From Evil features a hero who is so mundanely heroic that you find yourself hoping that he’ll fail just as punishment for his smug hubris.

Perhaps the only way that Deliver Us From Evil tops Sinisteris that it features none other than the King of Television Snark, Joel McHale.  As someone who loves both The Soup and Community, I’m always happy to see Joel but he’s oddly cast here, playing a muscle-bound, adrenaline junkie cop.  It’s not that Joel does a bad job.  In fact, he’s probably the most likable and compelling character in the entire film.  It’s just that you can’t look at him on screen without asking, “Joel, why are you here!?”

Anyway, Deliver Us From Evil is pretty much your standard demonic possession/cop thriller hybrid.  Mysterious murders are being committed.  The murderers speak in a weird language and, it soon turns out, all of them are linked both to the discovery of ancient tomb in Iraq and to a painting company that was started by a group of returning veterans.  It’s up to cops Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) and Parker (Joel McHale – why, Joel, why!?) to solve the crime.  Helping them along the way is a former drug addict priest named Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez).  If you’re guessing that the whole thing leads to a violent exorcism on a stormy night – well, you’re definitely on the right track.

Scott Derrickson does the best that he can with the material but he’s hampered by the fact that the film is based on a book that was written by the real-life Ralph Sarchie.  Perhaps as a result, the film’s Ralph is such an upright and moral hero (though he does yell at his daughter in one unpleasant moment but even that is excused as simply being evidence of how personally Ralph takes his job) that he’s also not that interesting of a character.  Eric Bana, who is actually a pretty good comedic actor, struggles to find some sort of depth to Ralph but ultimately, it’s just not there.  And since 90% of horror is psychological, Deliver Us From Evil cannot recover from revolving around such a flat protagonist.

As a result, Derrickson has little option but to fill the film with standard horror movie scenes.  The scenes, as themselves, work well enough but the story is so predictable that they don’t make much of an impact.  The end result is a film that you’ve seen a hundred times before.

The only difference, of course, is that this version features Joel McHale dancing around with a knife.

Horror Film Review: Sinister (dir. by Scott Derrickson)

Sinister is the scariest film of 2012.

That’s not the way that I wanted to start this review because calling any film the best or the worst or the scariest reeks of hyperbole.  But, in the two weeks that since I first saw Sinister, I have not been able to get the film out of my head.  Sinister is not only a horror film.  It’s also a deeply disturbing experience that inspires you to keep an eye out for mysterious shadows while you’re leaving the theater.  As opposed to the similar Paranormal Activity films, Sinister remains scary even after the film itself has ended.  Sinister is like Insidious without that terrible ending.

In short, Sinister is the scariest film of 2012.

Sinister opens with a genuinely disturbing sequence, in which we see a family of four, standing next to a tree.  All of them are wearing bags over their heads, all of them are bound by tape, and all of them have a noose around their neck.  One of the tree’s limbs is sawed off by an unseen person, causing all four of our victims to be lifted up in the air and slowly strangled to death.  The grainy footage has the look of an old home movie and the whole scene has a sickeningly authentic feel to it.

Months later, Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) and his family move into the house where the murders previously occurred.  Ellison is a formerly succesful true crime writer who is desperately trying to come up with the bestseller that can revive his career.  He plans to write about the murders that occurred in the backyard of his new home but he neglects to tell his new family that they’re living in a murder house.

While exploring his new home, Ellison discovers a mysterious box in the attic.  The box contains a film projector and several reels of film.  Late at night, Ellison locks himself in his office and watches the films.  He discovers that each reel of film contains two scenes.  In the first scene, we see a happy family spending time together.  In the 2nd scene, we see that same family being brutally murdered in a way that provides a macabre comment on what they were previously seen doing.  For instance, a film entitled “Pool Party ’66,” starts with a family happily playing in a pool and ends with them being drowned.  “BBQ ’79” opens with a family barbecue and ends with that same family being burned alive in their car.

As Ellison investigates, he finds himself becoming more and more obsessed with the macabre home movies and it starts to become obvious that Ellison is a bit unstable himself.  Meanwhile, his son is having night terrors, his daughter is painting pictures of people hanging from a tree, and the local sheriff (played by Fred Thompson, the former presidential candidate) is encouraging Ellison to abandon his book and just leave town.

Oh, and little pasty-faced children are showing up in the house, standing in darkened corners and scowling at Ellison and his family…

There’s only so much that I can say about Sinister without giving away too much of the film’s plot.  Sinister may start out feeling like the 100th rip-off of Paranormal Activity but, much like last year’s Insidious, it eventually takes off in a direction of its own.  Hawke gives a memorably unhinged performance and, unlike so many other horror films, Sinister actually follows through on all of its dark potential.  Sinister ends with a twist that’s so disturbing and unnerving that I have yet to get out of my head.

If you’re looking for the scariest movie playing in theaters this Halloween, Sinister is it.