A psychological horror tale in the vein of The Witch and Hereditary, The Lodge has the atmospherics — but not the depth or distressing effect — of its contemporaries. It also relies on plot swerves that are underdeveloped, inane (and very hard to accept) attempts to emphasize shallow themes involving faith, grief, familial bonds and emotional programming.
The silliness and starkness don’t mesh, leaving the snowbound slow burn a muddled experience that left me cold but not chilled.
Lucky McKee’s Kindred Spirits is somewhat of a companion piece to the director’s stunning 2002 debut, May, which is one of the best horror films of the 2000s. Both track the
deterioration of a disturbed, wounded character whose shunning, or perceived shunning, leads to disaster. The new film never reaches the highs (or lows) of May, but it has an entrancing
quality that’s never dull.
Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll…and lots and lots of blood — That’s the antidote, and curse, for an artist with painter’s block in Bliss, the third and best film from writer/director Joe Begos (Almost Human, The Mind’s Eye). It feels intensely personal for the filmmaker and is an explosion of raw, pulsating energy from beginning to end. The tone is dark; the pervasive strobes are colorful; and there’s a lot of mad fun to be derived from such a pure display of imagination and gruesome grindhouse sensibilities.
Delivering early shocks and a unique take on the demon out for human blood, Belzebuth eventually falls back on standard, monotonous, uninterestingly lensed fare that neither pays off nor gels with its strong setup.
Emilio Portes wastes no time getting to the supremely upsetting material, cramming two mass murders of children (including newborns) into the first 15 minutes. Portes, the director/co-writer/co-editor (with Luis Carlos Fuentes and Rodrigo Rios, respectively), finesses the disturbing sequences so that they aren’t repellently explicit, but it’s still rough stuff.
Verotika made its wild world premiere at Cinepocalypse 2019.
Glenn Danzig is a rock icon. Verotika, the feature filmmaking debut from the frontman of the legendary bands Misfits and Danzig, is a different kind of radical. It’s an uncommon, confoundingly bad cinematic curiosity that places the writer/director in rarefied air alongside Ed Wood and Tommy Wiseau in the realm of passionate, almost noble ungracefulness. The festival crowd at its world premiere ate it up.