Posted in Movie Reviews, Thriller / Suspense Movies

I Am Not A Serial Killer Review

 

  • August 26th, 2016
  • Thriller
  • 1 Hour 44 Minute Run Time

 

I think my surprise hit for Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Fest was the thriller “I Am Not A Serial Killer”. I went into the film knowing almost knowing but seeing a small clip of the preview and walked away nearly in awe from this film.

We follow sixteen year old John Wayne Cleaver, a diagnosed sociopath by his therapist. He works with his mother and aunt in a morgue with bodies overnight while spending his days in school writing and thinking about serial killers. John even goes as far as to keep a list of rules for himself to help him lead a normal life and not give into his temptations that would lead him down a darker path. Out of nowhere though a string of strange murders start to occur in his small town and John is soon on the hunt suspecting someone close to him while also questioning himself and how he feels along the way.

Christopher Lloyd as Bill Crowley and Max Records as John Cleaver in 'I Am Not a Serial Killer'
Christopher Lloyd as Bill Crowley and Max Records as John Cleaver in ‘I Am Not a Serial Killer’

The film has that dark and gritty feel to it and with the help of the cast makes the film feel dark in the way it should. Max Records as John almost single handedly carries the film. He completely pulls the dark sociopath look and feel off. He is also able to completely portray someone who is mentally struggling almost to not give into his constant temptations and not become someone that he is able prone to turn into. With so much the film focusing around John it is just a great feeling seeing him do so well in it. For a man with so many legendary roles too this may be one of Christopher Llyods best roles yet. He plays the old man in the town, someone everyone seems to know; while being the friendly neighbor. Once his true colors show though Llyod is able to give a much darker character role while still making you feel for his character because of certain situations that happen during the course of the film.

After the film actor Christopher Llyod had a Q&A with the crowd talking about the importance of films such as this as well as answering questions from the fans in attendance.

This is one of those films that the less that is said about it the better. While the ending may take a sudden turn not for the best almost it doesn’t completely hurt what the film has built up. Just don’t watch trailers or read about it (unless you’ve read the book it is based off of ). Go into this one with a open mind and I almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

 

Score : 8/10

 

Film reviewed as part of Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Fest with passes provided by Wizard World and Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Fest.

Posted in Horror Movies, Movie Reviews

Found Footage 3D Review

 

  • August 20th, 2016
  • Horror
  • 1 Hour 48 Minute Run Time

 

The big world premiere for Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Fest was Found Footage 3D, a film years in the making that had gained quite a bit of traction online. Does this film live up to the hype it has created or fall into the same tropes most films of this genre have?

Found Footage 3D follows a small group of people wanting to make the first ever 3D found footage film, to make their place in the genre. When arriving at their film site which is a old cabin with a shady past they soon start to realize that there is something actually happening in that cabin to them turning their movie shoot into a actual horror found footage film.

It’s a simple enough premise and not something I’d call truly groundbreaking but what this film tries to do is almost spoof the found footage genre. They constantly call out the tropes of the genre in a joking or mocking fashion. The problem is that then the film falls right back into said tropes they previously had went after. You can’t mock something so much then make the same mistake the films you are going at do. It’s the case of being too meta for it’s own good. It doesn’t help either that so much of the film is just set ups, character developments, and a good amount of dialog that by the end when the events finally unfold that everything just goes to waste and feels rushed. Now I am not saying character development is a bad thing as this is a very character driven film. It is bad however when most of the characters you are trying to progress towards the film hit the end point where everything decides to go full speed (like most found footage films do) makes it feel a little less worthwhile.

Another big problem is like most 3D films I feel like this was just added so they could claim it as 3D. Only at the beginning when the characters were first toying with their new 3D cameras did any of it actually have a 3D feel to it. Otherwise it just gave the normal 3D effect of giving the film a more circular view instead of looking at it on a flat surface. The film will be able to claim itself as the first 3D film but I feel like it wasn’t truly worth it. I will say as well that this is the only 3D movie ever to make me feel a little nauseous in a few scenes. The shakey cam along with 3D effects can be hard to take in as well as the few scenes involving two go pros.

I will give it to the film however for having a few good gore scenes along with some very funny dialog. The characters banter between each other can be quite entertaining and is by far the biggest highlight of the film. It is humorous to hear them go on about the horrible things other films do and how to make their own better even if you only end up disappointed in the actions they take. I’ll also give them credit for making me truly hate a character that being Derek (played by Carter Roy). (Also bonus points for Scott Weinberg).

Unrelated to the review before the film director Steven DeGennaro did come and speak to a nearly sold out theater for the world premiere of his first full length film. After the movie a full Q&A was held by the director and full cast for the audience to ask about the making of the film.

Overall I really went into this film with high hopes and instead left feeling like this was no better than all the other found footage films being released today. It just boiled down to unnecessary 3D, slow pacing, and being too meta for it’s own good. Not something I could truly recommend.

 

Score : 3/10

 

Film reviewed as part of Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Fest with passes provided by Wizard World and Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Fest.

Posted in Horror Movies, Movie Reviews

Don’t Breathe Review

 

  • August 26th, 2016
  • Horror
  • 1 Hour 28 Minute Runtime

 

As the opening to the 2016 Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Fest a nearly sold out Rosemont, IL theater was treated to the Chicago premiere of Don’t Breathe, a film coming from director Fede Alvarez hot off the success of his Evil Dead reboot. Thankfully just like Evil Dead Fede knocked it out of the park with Don’t Breathe.

Don’t Breathe follows a simple concept, three people break into a house that they know is owned by a blind old war vet who supposedly is sitting on a huge sum of money. The plan is simple, go in, get the money, and get out. Once they are in however it quickly sprawls out of control and they discover the house and the man inside aren’t who they think.

Now one thing that really makes this story so impressive is that while it’s simple enough the intensity of the situations they get into inside that house drive the film forward. For 90% of this taking place inside one house the film never feels like it’s trapped inside a small place. Once the film really gets going it just doesn’t give in. With unrelenting intensity, suspense, and thrills Don’t Breathe really gets you in and takes you for a ride. Just as you think you know what will happen the film throws a huge twist at you never letting you fully know what is going to happen. It ignores the common tropes films like this would give instead giving you a fresh new taste.

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One must give a huge amount of credit to the three stars of the film who single handedly carry Don’t Breathe. Stephen Lang as the unnamed Blind Man, a person who can easily be seen as the victim at times while a brutal villain other times. What is truly amazing though for him is that even at his darkest times you find yourself slightly emphasizing with him for what he had to go through in life that lead him to the predicament he is currently finding himself in. Meanwhile Jane Levy and Dylan Minnette play the roles of thieves who are simply stealing to try to provide for a better life for themselves and loved ones. They have no intent on hurting and even go as far to keep limits (though for criminal reasons). Jane Levy once again (after her leading role in Evil Dead) proves that she has the potential and skills to the be one of / if not the new leading lady in horror while Dylan Minnette proves he can carry his own weight.

Unrelated to the film prior to the screening Bruce Campbell did come out and give a opening ceremony speech along with introducing director Fede Alvarez. After the film a Q&A session was held with Film Festival member Josh Goldbloom along with director Fede Alvarez and lead actor Stephen Lang. They discussed making the film along with their favorite moments, the other actors in the film and more of Fede’s work and thoughts.

Overall Don’t Breathe is the fresh new take the horror genre needed and since this film is getting a wide national release I truly hope it does well and gives studios the incentive to put more money in horror directors hands to create some great new films. Fede along with the cast of this deserve high praise for not only releasing what will be one of the best horror films of the year but one of the years best overall. Don’t Breathe is a must see.

 

Score : 9/10

 

Film reviewed as part of Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Fest with passes provided by Wizard World and Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Fest.