The Open House (Matt Angel/Suzanne Coote, 2018)

Horror movies are popular for first time filmmakers for many reasons. One is that the genre is well suited to low budgets; in many of the best horrors, a little goes a long way. Another reason may be that horror, particularly via sub-genres like the slasher or home invasion thriller, is more prone to template-based filmmaking than most other genres. If you’re just looking to show that you can write and direct something, anything, it’s ostensibly easier to produce a horror movie that hits expected genre beats than it is to, say, write a comedy that actually makes people laugh.

Bringing to the screen a horror movie that simply resembles a horror movie seems to have been the sole mission statement behind The Open House, the feature debut of directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote. It’s a Netflix Original without an ounce of originality…

Full review for VODzilla.co

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The Death Cure (Wes Ball, 2018)

The Death Cure, the final adaptation of James Dashner’s dystopian Maze Runner novels, starts with a combination train robbery/prison break sequence that recalls not one, but two set-pieces from the first act of Fast & Furious 5 – or Fast Five as it’s known outside the UK. The success of that formula-shifting entry in the Fast series is credited with rejuvenating a franchise that had gone stale, bringing aboard lots of new fans who were entertained by the change-up in execution.

Fittingly, considering the possible homage in the opening action scene, The Death Cure is akin to Fast Five in that it’s a noticeable upgrade when compared to prior series instalments…

Full review for SciFiNow

Why I love Nicolas Cage’s performance in ‘Bringing Out the Dead’

Released in 1999 to generally positive reviews but a poor box office, Bringing Out the Dead remains one of Martin Scorsese’s most overlooked films. His fourth collaboration with screenwriter Paul Schrader (here adapting a novel by Joe Connelly) acts as a fusion of the pair’s earlier efforts Taxi Driver and The Last Temptation of Christ. It is a frequently horrific odyssey through nocturnal New York, tinged with a desperate grasp at grace from a man teetering on the line between life and whatever lies beyond.

Instead of Christ, though, Bringing Out the Dead’s hero is Frank Pierce, a graveyard shift paramedic played by Nicolas Cage, an actor who probably qualifies as a deity to certain subsets of online fandom. The film follows Frank over three consecutive nights, at a point where he’s not managed to save any dying patients for months. During these hectic nights, he befriends the daughter (Patricia Arquette) of a heart attack victim he’s brought in and works in a two-man ambulance team with a slew of different partners, each as unhinged as him but in their own ways…

Full feature for Little White Lies

Jupiter’s Moon (Kornél Mundruczó, 2017)

Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó made a bold breakthrough on the arthouse circuit with 2014’s White God, which concerned a mistreated dog leading a canine uprising. With Jupiter’s Moon, he’s back with another high-concept story and back in social allegory mode…

Full review for SciFiNow