Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Familiar Spirit (2016) Review

While Halloween is still three months away, Hectic Films isn’t willing to wait to wet the appetite of the horror fans out there!

A Familiar Spirit is the newest in an ever expanding list of indie film magic that Hectic Films has been putting together while breaking barriers that have long since defined the film industry.

This isn’t your normal cut and paste horror film based on a single style of filming. It bleeds over and oozes through multiple camera uses, movements, and styles. From the security cam footage to the amazing and genius “Jack Dog” shaky cam, you get the emotional pull of being in the scene without that motion sickness side effect when a film tries to use it for the whole movie. 

A Familiar Spirit is based on actual events from Bakersfield, CA. One of the oldest historical areas of Kern County, Oleander has been said to still hold many of the souls that made their lives there, long after their bodies have been returned to the ground and their voices slowly forgotten.

Chris Kovacs plays Jim, a grade 'A' ass-hat of a boyfriend who decides to set up security cameras in the hopes of catching a local thief in the act, even though he should be doing it to get justice for his girlfriend Cynthia who was injured by the vandal hurling a rock through their front window. 

Chelsea Newman absolutely nails the role of Cynthia, the terrified girlfriend who wants nothing more than to leave, but who begrudgingly tries to hold it together in a world where the things of nightmares are slowly starting to seep into the waking world.  

Erica Rey also shines in her role as Samantha, the sexy roommate who is not your cookie cutter horror movie bimbo. She has a dark fire in her eyes and sarcasm that slides off her tongue so perfectly it leaves you wishing she had more lines in the film. 

The story follows the three of them as they each deal with the horrors of a haunting in their own ways. From the denial of Jim, the reluctant acceptance of Cynthia, to the nonchalant “Deal with it” attitude of Samantha we get to see just how the human psyche absorbs and handles reality when everything we have ever known is challenged and ultimately shredded by the whispering of spirits, the playing of poltergeist, and the terror of manifested demons. 

Just remember, Familiar Spirits can be called anywhere, and may show up at any time. So as the lights dim and the screen lights up with the Hectic Films logo, you might not want to concentrate too hard on that shadowy movement you just saw from the corner of your eye. 

A Familiar Spirit will have a Special Screening at Heroes & Horror Con III in Bakersfield, CA on September 10th, 2016

You can check out the event pages by clicking the links above. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Ghostbusters (2016) Review

Should you watch the new Ghostbusters movie? Well, I can’t say for sure, but I can tell you that I felt satisfied when I walked out of the theater.

Sure, I went in with extremely low expectations, but I was glad to have those expectations exceeded because this is a franchise that truly deserves a little glory. Right, I know, the second one was about as bad as you expect the new one to be, but still. Ghostbusters!

So as we all did, I watched the trailers and then shook my head in sadness. All female lead cast? I’m perfectly fine with that, kind of looked forward to it actually. Melissa McCarthy though, you couldn’t find anyone else? Eeek, never been a fan of her style of humor or movies but whatever. The major point that made me question the film from the trailers alone was the lack of any real fright! The original had its humor but it also had its moments of pure scare that made it a great movie. The trailer lacked that for the most part, and I was worried.

Enough about the trailer though, let’s get to the movie review, shall we? If you are a fan of HBO’s Silicon Valley, you will recognize one of the actors from the opening scene of the movie pretty fast and probably grin ear to ear as I did. If you never heard of the HBO show, don’t worry, it doesn’t matter or have anything to do with the movie. 

This opening scene calmed my worry about the lack of any real seriousness in the film, it handled it in true Ghostbusters fashion, setting the scare with just the right amount of fright! 

Is the plot basically the same as the original two films? Sure. Are there enough differences to make it worth watching? Absolutely. For one, the lead cast are not carbon copy versions of the originals, they have a couple similarities, but are quite uniquely their own. Are the special effects a little too brightly neon? Not always, but most of the time, yes.

After watching the movie the only real major complaint I have is with the music. The original Ghostbusters had a perfectly blended mix of music and movie. Where the songs reached out, grabbed you, and pulled you deep into the film itself. The remake has a moment of that towards the end, and just as you start to raise your fist in the air and cheer, it vanishes in a blink, leaving you feeling a little hollow and unsatisfied.

I would recommend seeing it, although I don’t think it will make anyone’s top ten list of favorite films. 

Check out the Trailer below and you may note for the record, I do now have a crush on Kate McKinnon.