The Latest Movie Reviews
'Lean On Pete' Is The Tragic Opposite Of A Feel-Good Animal Movie
Production: Cinematography: 
A24 has emerged as one of the freshest production and distribution companies in today's Hollywood. The end of last year alone saw the release of brilliant movies like Lady Bird, The Disaster Artist, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and The Florida Project. And the studio is showing no signs of letting up with their...

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'Final Portrait' Wastes A Pair Of Great Performances On The Tedium Of Portrait Modeling
Production: Acting: 
In 1964, American art lover and writer James Lord sat for a painting by his friend, the legendary painter Alberto Giacometti. What initially was supposed to only be a two-hour session wound up stretching out for eighteen days. Lord wrote a book about the sitting the next year called A Giacometti Portrait. And...

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'Rampage' Is Monster Destruction Porn...And Little Else
Production: Action Sequences: 
Rampage might be based on a video game, but it draws its inspirations from the likes of Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island. This is a movie where three mutated animals - in this case an albino gorilla, a wolf, and an alligator - lay waste to the city of Chicago. It's the type of fetishistic, CGI heavy destruction...

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'Blumhouse's Truth Or Dare' Is A Rare Miss For The Titan Horror Studio
Production: Scary Factor: 
In the last few years, horror fans have gotten not one, but two Blumhouse movies about Ouija boards with Ouija and Ouija: Origin of Evil. It was only a matter of time before Blumhouse made a movie about the other big teenage slumber-party game Truth or Dare. And they seem to be so proud of it that they're sticking...

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Lynne Ramsay Gets Dark Again With 'You Were Never Really Here'
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
Writer/director Lynne Ramsay earned a reputation for making thoughtfully dark movies with her brilliant We Need to Talk About Kevin. Her newest movie, You Were Never Really Here, will help cement that legacy. You Were Never Really Here stars Joaquin Phoenix (Irrational Man, Her) as Joe, a Gulf War veteran suffering...

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'Aardvark' Is As Schizophrenic As Its Lead Character
Production: Acting: 
Aardvark is about a schizophrenic man named Josh Norman (Zachary Quinto, better known as Spock from the Star Trek reboots) who goes to see a therapist named Emily Milburton (Obvious Child's Jenny Slate). Josh claims to see his brother, a famous actor named Craig (Jon Hamm from "Mad Men" and Baby Driver), everywhere,...

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'#Screamers' Gets To The Horrifying Bottom Of Those Annoying Screamer Videos
Production: Scary Factor: 
You know those internet videos that tell you to look real closely at part of the screen, and as soon as you're concentrating, you're blasted with a horrifying face (usually a still of Regan from The Exorcist) and an eardrum-shattering scream? Yeah, someone made a horror movie about those videos, and it's called...

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John Krasinski's 'A Quiet Place' Serves Up The Maddeningly Silent Suspense
Production: Sound: 
Scary Factor: 
Last year, Jordan Peele, the "Peele" half of comedy duo Key and Peele, made the socially conscious Get Out, which ended up being one of the best movies of the year, horror or not. This year, John Krasinski, best known as the wisecracking and prank-playing Jim Halpert on "The Office," hopes to duplicate the feat...

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'Blockers' Flips The Script On The Cinematic Rite-Of-Passage Movie
Production: Comedy Factor: 
The losing of one's virginity is a time-tested cinematic rite-of-passage. Usually, though, when the deed (or attempted deed) is depicted in a movie, the focus is on the male gender. Now, Blockers is here to flip that script. Blockers is about three lifelong friends named Julie (Kathryn Newton from Paranormal...

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Samuel Maoz's 'Foxtrot' Is A Mixed Bag Of Cinematic Emotions
Production: Cinematography: 
It's no secret that overseas films take a while to get released in America. The Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film had already been awarded by the time the winner, Chile's A Fantastic Woman, as well as the other favorite, the Russian Loveless, surfaced in the States. And they're still coming; Israel's Academy...

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'Ayla' Is An Effective, Occult-Tinged Tale Of Loss And Grief
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
Scary Factor: 
Kickstarter has changed the way that horror movies get made, for both the better and the worse. The fact that any good idea can get funded is a blessing, but it sometimes takes several months, or even years, for the movies to be completed. Case in point: the new movie from writer/director/producer Elias (no...

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'Ready Player One' Combines Retro-Geek Culture Eye Candy With A Timely Message
Production: Special Effects: 
Score & Soundtrack: 
There's absolutely no doubt that Steven Spielberg is one of the most influential filmmakers of his generation. His filmography includes a healthy mixture of childlike wonder (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), heart-racing adventure (Raiders of the Lost Ark, War of the Worlds), sheer...

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Wes Anderson Is Back To His Old Quirky Tricks With The Charming 'Isle Of Dogs'
Production: Animation: 
Writer/director Wes Anderson has become one of New Hollywood's most distinct voices. From Rushmore and Bottle Rocket to Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, his quirky storytelling and instantly recognizable visual style have gained him both fame and notoriety. As fantastical as his movies are, he's...

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'Against The Night' Is Worse Than Found Footage - It's A Movie About Making Found Footage
Production: Scary Factor: 
The only thing worse than a bad found footage horror movie is a movie about people making a bad found footage horror movie. And that's exactly what Against the Night is. Against the Night is about an amateur filmmaker named Hank (Luke Persiani) who talks his friends into spending the night in an abandoned -...

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John Boyega's Charisma Can't Save the Muddled 'Pacific Rim: Uprising'
Production: Action Sequences: 
With 2013's Pacific Rim, director Guillermo del Toro and writer Travis Beachem delivered a film with a singular vision. Del Toro, a fan of the monster movies of '50s and '60s Japanese cinema, imagined a world where humans pilot giant robots (called Jaegers) to fight equally massive monsters (called Kaiju). It...

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'Unsane' Feels More Like A Rough Draft Than A Finished Movie
Production: Cinematography: 
Scary Factor: 
A couple of years back, Sean Baker made headlines by shooting his brilliant movie Tangerine entirely on iPhones. It was only a matter of time until other, more notable directors followed suit. Never afraid to take a risk, auteur Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Magic Mike) has stepped up to the plate first, using...

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'Midnight Sun' Is A By-The-Numbers Young Adult Tragedy, And Doesn't Pretend To Be Anything More
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
It's not just horror movies that get remade. Even young adult foreign films can be rebooted. Case in point: Midnight Sun. Midnight Sun is about a young girl named Katie Price (The DUFF's Bella Thorne) who suffers from a disease called Xeroderma Pigmentosum, XP for short, which affects her body's ability to...

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Armando Iannucci's 'The Death Of Stalin' Makes Political Backstabbing Fun Again
Production: Comedy Factor: 
Writer/director Armando Iannucci has made a name for himself crafting witty social and political satire in fictional movies like Alan Partridge and television shows like "Veep." Now, he tackles wacky real events and characters in his newest movie, The Death of Stalin. Predictably, The Death of Stalin begins...

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The World Needs More Movies Like 'Love, Simon'
Production: Cinematography: 
Love, Simon is about a high school kid named Simon Spier (Nick Robinson from Jurassic World) who has loving parents (Safe Haven's Josh Duhamel and Dallas Buyers Club's Jennifer Garner), a cool kid sister (Talitha Bateman from Annabelle: Creation), and a tight group of friends that includes Leah (Katherine Langford...

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Frame Of Mind

Don't Go to SleepOver the years, Cinema Fearité has covered plenty of movies that tell their audience what NOT to do, movies such as Don’t Look Now, Don’t Answer the Phone, Don’t Look in the Basement, and Don’t Open Till Christmas.  And that’s not even counting movies like Don’t Breathe and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark that are non-Cinema Fearité, regular section reviews here at FilmFracture.  Well, there’s no shortage of negative commanding horror movies, and this week, we’re going to add another one to the pile – the 1982 television movie Don’t Go to Sleep.

Psychic KillerSeveral years ago, Cinema Fearité covered The Astral Factor, aka Invisible Strangler, which is a 1976 movie about a killer who has mastered the psychic art of astral projection, allowing him to commit his crimes without being detected.  However, a year before The Astral Factor was made, in 1975, another movie beat it to the conceptual punch.  That movie is Psychic Killer.

The CreeperLet’s face it.  Cats are cool animals to have in horror movies.  Whether it’s a classic like The Black Cat or a modern masterpiece like Cat’s Eye, a feline presence adds just the right amount of cuddly creepiness to any fright flick.  Cats are even cute when they turn into the antagonists of the movie, such as in Cat People, because in the end, the cat is not to blame, right?  Director Jean Yarbrough (The Devil Bat, She-Wolf of London) played around with the cat-like villain motif with his aptly named 1948 noir thriller The Creeper.

SpiderEven the slimiest of schlock filmmakers grows up eventually.  Aside from Drag Me to Hell, Sam Raimi hasn’t looked back towards his Evil Dead days since The Quick and the Dead.  Wes Craven took a break from making slasher movies to make his passion project Music of the Heart (with Meryl Streep and Angels Bassett, no less).  John Carpenter also put away the scary stuff long enough in the mid-eighties to direct Starman.  Even the goopiest of the goop directors, David Cronenberg, turned a corner and started making Oscar bait movies.  For Cronenberg, the transition film between the weird eXistenZ and the brilliant A History of Violence came in 2002 with his somewhere-in-between movie Spider.

VertigoTo horror fans, Alfred Hitchcock is best known as the director of Psycho, one of the pioneering movies of the slasher genre.  But to cinema geeks, he is better known for what many consider to be his masterpiece – the 1958 classic Vertigo.

The Amityville HorrorOne of the most tried and tested ways that Hollywood has found to sell horror movies to the public is to bill them as “based on a true story” or “inspired by actual events.”  This piques the interest of moviegoers, no matter how dubious the claim may be.  Case in point: the 1979 classic The Amityville Horror.

The Silence of the LambsHorror fans everywhere are celebrating the Oscar success of Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, which won best picture and best director (among a handful of other honors), and Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which took best original screenplay, at this year’s awards.  Horror(ish) movies at the Oscars are rare, but not unheard of.  The last (and only, until now) horror(ish) movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture was 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs.

Demon WindFueled by the success of the Friday the 13th and the Evil Dead franchises, the cabin-in-the-woods motif has become a staple of the modern horror movie.  Sometimes it’s played for gore, as in Cabin Fever, and sometimes it generates real horror, as in Misery, but the trope itself is one of the most recognizable in cinematic history, even garnering a parody, simply called The Cabin in the Woods, which turned out to be one of the best movies of 2012.  Because of its familiarity, however, the archetype is usually played for laughs, even way back when it was in its infancy in 1990 and Demon Wind was made.

EmbryoSometimes, science fiction horror movies are subtle, like the modern classics Ex Machina and 10 Cloverfield Lane.  Other times, they’re pants-poopingly frightening, like Alien and Event Horizon.  Still other times, however, they walk the line, becoming so crazy that the viewer is unsure as to what to think, like Phase IV and Prophecy.  And then, there are movies like Embryo.

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?What’s in a name?  For movies, it can be a lot.  Would Life have been better if it were called Space Station Massacre?  Would The Spidery Double have made a better title than Enemy?  In the world of B-movies, exploitative titles are almost a badge of honor – just look at Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungles of Death, or Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers for examples.  But, back in 1964, way before any of those movies, the bar was set by The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?

Beyond the 7th DoorCanadian horror, sometimes referred to as “Canuxploitation” movies, are fascinating.  Sometimes, they are cinematic masterpieces like David Cronenberg’s The Brood, Scanners, or Videodrome.  Other times, they are brilliant head-scratchers like Deranged or Cathy’s Curse.  But no amount of Cronenberg classics or low-budget cult flicks can prepare a viewer for the Canadian enigma known as Beyond the 7th Door.

The Green SlimeA few years ago, Cinema Fearité took a look at the legendary science fiction classic The Blob.  Now, we’re doubling down with the less legendary – but equally awesome – science fiction classic The Green Slime.

EscapesHampton Lansdon Fancher.  You may not recognize the name, but you are no doubt familiar with his work.  His biggest claim to fame is that he wrote the first drafts of the script for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, but he also had an extremely prolific career as a b-level character actor.  But even behind the scenes, Fancher has led a fascinating life.  So fascinating, in fact, that his filmmaker pal Michael Almereyda (Experimenter) made a movie about him.  That movie is called Escapes.

GhostwatchIn a post-The Blair Witch Project world, it’s difficult to fool the public with a faux-documentary, but before 1999, people were gullible.  Orson Welles caused panic with his radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds back in 1938.  In 1980, Cannibal Holocaust was so convincing that director Ruggero Deodato was brought up on murder charges.  And in 1992, the BBC scared the hell out of an entire country by broadcasting the simulated news report Ghostwatch.

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