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.
Ostensibly an attempt to subvert the servile “mammy” portrait while folding in some horror tropes to hammer home the point, Ma has very little going on underneath its dime-store thrills and genre maneuvering. Whatever momentum it musters is conjured by the game and great Octavia Spencer, reuniting with The Help director Tate Taylor, but her manic bravura is wasted in awkward storytelling that fails to get to true terrors or even have fun with the tawdriness of it all. Spencer fully commits; Ma does not.
More at Film Pulse: https://filmpulse.net/ma-review-2/
Combining B-movie schlock and black comedy with refined yet raw storytelling, Richard Shepard’s The Perfection cleverly manages wild shifts in tone and tempo. Set in the pressure-filled world of classical music performance, it plays out in four titled movements that, among other influences, mash up Whiplash, Black Swan, Suspiria (circa 2018) and Cronenbergian venereal horrors.
More at Film Pulse: filmpulse.net/the-perfection-review/
The Intruder breaks no new ground in the breaking-in subgenre – which it doesn’t necessarily have to, but its real fatal flaw is not using the recycled tropes to push far enough into either true terror or camp. Even with a serviceably wackadoodle performance from Dennis Quaid, the film plays everything too straight, with little tension or wicked wit, to use his mugging and menace effectively.
Young, successful couple Annie (Meagan Good) and Scott Howard (Michael Ealy) – shout-out to Teen Wolf! – are relocating from their posh San Francisco city home to Napa Valley for that laid-back country life Annie craves to start a family.