I went to the beach that makes you old, and all I got was hotter. Honestly. I’m not even sure what everyone was complaining about. All around me, people were yelling things like, “There’s something wrong with this beach!” and, “Someone, please remove this sudden tumor sticking like a baseball out of the side of my neck!” Meanwhile, I just pulled out my phone, flipped the camera around, and admired the distinguished silver-fox hair that now dusts my temples. …

A review of the new film, at the Chattanooga Film Festival now

One of my favorite overlooked horror subgenres is the psycho-biddy movie, or “Grand Dame Guignol”. These movies feature older actresses hamming it up in roles that both make a spectacle of aging and sometimes, at their best, find some subversive empowerment in it, too. Examples include Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? all the way up through 2019’s Greta, which features Isabelle Huppert preying on Chloe Grace Moretz.

The Lodger (Messe Basse), a new French film from first-time director Baptiste Drapeau, has some delicious elements of Grand Dame Guignol. But it’s more than that; it’s something weirder, something a little sweeter…

A review of the new film, screening at the Chattanooga Film Festival

There’s a tense sequence in David Fincher’s Zodiac where two young lovers having a picnic are startled by the appearance of a black-clad figure holding a pistol. I think of that scene often when I listen to true crime podcasts or watch one of those Investigation Discovery shows about senseless murders, wondering to myself: what must that feeling be like, to look at an utter stranger and think that this will be the end? What goes on in those moments before unimaginable tragedy, between first seeing someone unfamiliar and realizing that they mean to take your life?

I thought about…

A review of the new horror film, showing now at the Chattanooga Film Festival

I confess that I am often ambivalent about the exorcism subgenre. At its best — The Exorcist, of course— exorcism movies can be tense exercises in psycho-religio-sexual insanity, using the genre’s baked-in regular jolts and thematic underpinnings to break down characters. At their worst, though, they rely too much on the formulaic nature of the beast, and they’re… well, The Vatican Tapes, a movie so uninspired and limp that I prayed for it to be the last exorcism movie I’d ever have to sit through.

Thankfully, my prayer went un-answered and it wasn’t, because director Christopher Alender’s new horror feature…

A review of the new horror film, showing now at the Chattanooga Film Festival

I always liked the part in Friday the 13th: Part 3D where the new crop of imminent victims drive past Camp Crystal Lake and see the place swarming with emergency vehicles cleaning up the previous night’s massacre, a.k.a. the events of the previous movie. How awful must it be to find the aftermath of a slasher-movie scenario?

Blood Conscious, the new debut horror film from writer-director Timothy Covell, tackles that very question. In this case, the newcomers to the scene are brother/sister duo Kevin (Oghenero Gbaje) and Brittney (DeShawn White), headed along with Brittney’s fiancé Tony (Lenny Thomas) up to…

A review of the new horror film, on Shudder now

I’ve enjoyed a number of director Neil Marshall’s films in the past. The Descent is, of course, a modern masterpiece of unbearable tension. Centurion looks phenomenal. I even saw Doomsday with a bunch of friends for my 18th birthday; I remember loving its messy, wanton genre-mashing, appreciating its gonzo energy and fun action-horror setpieces in a way my friends very much did not click with.

All that is to say I was interested in his newest film The Reckoning, which has been released on Shudder. I was hoping for a glimmer of the weirdness of Doomsday, but would have certainly…

A review of the new historical drama, on Netflix now

Last week, Netflix quietly released an early contender for my favorite film of 2021. Dance of the Forty One (el Baile de los 41) is a lush, sensual experience, one that uses its luxurious production values to tell a story of painful Queer history exactly the way it should be told: with a focus on the intimacy, the art, and the resilience of a community that refused to let itself be snuffed out by oppression.

Director David Pablos’s film takes place at the dawn of the 20th century and focuses on the double life of Mexican congressman Ignacio de la…

A review of the new horror film, on Netflix Friday, April 30th

Let’s get something straight right away: Things Heard and Seen, Netflix’s new horror movie starring freshly-minted Oscar nominee Amanda Seyfried, is not good. It’s never less than watchable, but clocking in at nearly two hours, the film is overlong and stretches its already-thin story past the breaking point.

However, once the film breaks, Things Heard and Seen is fascinating. Over the course of the final half hour, the film becomes gradually unmoored from narrative concerns, ending as a collage of evocative imagery that takes the pieces of the wreckage of the film’s story and fashions them into something wholly odd.

A review of the new romantic drama, in theaters and on demand March 5th

Sam (Donal Logue) is a man whose life is full of regrets. He carries them around like a literal weight on his shoulders, trudging through the world followed always by the sins of his past. When Sometime Other Than Now begins, Sam is lying unconscious on the beach, the waves gently lapping at his body; his motorcycle lays half-submerged nearby, and we wonder at first if he might be dead and waking up on the shores of some kind of seaside purgatory.

It soon becomes clear, though, that he’s very much still alive and the real purgatory was the life…

A preview of the 24-hour livestreamed film festival… and something extra?

An interesting press release showed up in my inbox today, announcing a virtual film festival taking place in March. The Unnamed Footage Festival, which normally takes place in San Francisco, typically showcases “a unique and often obscure selection of found footage horror, first-person POV cinema, and faux documentary.” This year, though, instead of being held at their typical venues, the Unnamed Footage Festival will be what organizers are calling a “24-hour long webathon.”

UFF24hr will be a live, one-time-only, day-long marathon of weird and exclusive in-world camera features and shorts, alongside Q&As with filmmakers and industry professionals. Beginning on March…

Eric Langberg

Interests: bad horror movies, queering mainstream films, Classic Hollywood.

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