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Exclusive: Justine Wachsberger Talks New Moon and Sorority Row

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Justine Wachsberger Talks New Moon and Sorority RowActress Justine Wachsberger might just end up being a talent to watch in the industry. The ingénue scored roles in two of the bigger genre releases of this fall. Wachsberger will make her big screen debut in Sorority Row, which hits theaters on September 11th. Then, in November, Wachsberger will once again grace theaters worldwide with her performance in the second installment of the Twilight saga, New Moon.

I still can’t believe how everything has come together for me in such a short time,” said Wachsberger. “I always worked hard but had no idea just how lucky I’d be so early on in my career.

Wachsberger’s love for acting was born via her study of theater while attending school in France. When the actress moved back to the States, she decided to pursue a degree at USC as her back-up plan, and while there she focused on pushing forward with her acting career.

For her first role, Wachsberger joins a talented group of young actresses including Briana Evigan, Rumer Willis, and Leah Pipes in the House on Sorority Row remake — simply titled Sorority Row this time around. She found her first on-set experience to be both overwhelming and amazing.

Wachsberger explained, “Stewart (Hendler) our director was so incredible to work with. I can’t imagine working with someone else for my first film. What was so great about our cast is that we all are very similar in age so we spent a lot of time together when we weren’t shooting, and it gave me a chance to really bond, kind of like the sorority sisters we were supposed to be. I think that helped for the chemistry on camera.

Even though the girls of Sorority Row got along off-camera, Wachsberger’s character Katie in the film is actually a bit of an outcast compared to everyone else.

Katie definitely isn’t part of the popular crowd. She is sort of the comic relief in the group even though she deep down wants to fit in with everyone else,” Wachsberger added.

It was soon after she landed the part in Sorority Row that Wachsberger auditioned for the next chapter in the Twilight series, New Moon, and scored the role of Gianna, a human who works for a vampire clan called the Volturi (based in Italy). Throughout the Twilight stories, the Volturi play an essential part to the Bella/Edward story – and in a world where humans are not supposed to be aware that vampires exist, Gianna is one character that proves to be the exception.

I actually liked the books but wasn’t a crazy fan of Twilight when I got the role of Gianna,” explained Wachsberger. “I just knew though that I would be lucky to be part of such a huge franchise because I know what these stories mean to the fans.

Wachsberger added, “Gianna was a really interesting character to portray for me. She’s human and has a lot going for her but decides to work for the vampires. You don’t really know much about her motivations and that adds a lot of mystery to her, which I really loved.

In terms of future projects, Wachsberger is keeping her options open and looking at expanding her resume beyond genre films. However, the actress hints that she’d definitely love to return to the world of the Twilight vampires and may get the opportunity.

I know there’s been some talk about having the Volturi spin off into its own film separate from the Twilight series, and I think that would be really cool. I think Gianna definitely has her own story to tell,” Wachsberger said.

Look for Sorority Row and New Moon later this year.

Heather Wixson

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Video: The Shape of Water Q&A with Guillermo del Toro and Doug Jones at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre

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This past weekend at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA betwixt a double screening of The Shape of Water and the classic The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the former’s director Guillermo del Toro (and star Doug Jones) sat down to discuss the latter’s influence on the film, Gill-man sex, “one sock movies,” his career in the genre, and more with moderator Jonah Ray, and we were there to film a portion of it.

Our sincere thanks to American Cinematheque general manager Dennis Bartok for extending the invitation.

For more Cinematheque screenings, visit the official website here.

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The Open House Review – Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here

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Starring Dylan Minnette, Piercey Dalton, Patricia Bethune, Sharif Atkins

Written by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote

Directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote


Mere weeks, even days, after effusively beating Netflix’s original horror content drum (The Babysitter, Before I Wake, Creep 2), I’m here to confirm that The Open House is emptier than an vacant bomb shelter. Cold, unappealing and thoughtlessly plotted to the point where “generic” would have been an improvement. From the moment we’re welcomed into Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote’s scripted imprisonment, it’s nothing but loose floorboards and busted plumbing. The home invasion genre has rarely been navigated with such little attention to detail, asking for our suspension of coherent storytelling early, often, and without earning the right to be deemed mindless genre fun. Not even Ty Pennington could save this extreme renovation disaster.

Dylan Minnette plays Logan Wallace, a track star and student who must find closure after watching his father fall victim to a fatal car accident. It is his mother Naomi’s (Piercey Dalton) idea to spend a little time away from their suburban home – escape those painful memories – so they retreat to her sister’s luxurious mountain getaway. The catch? It’s in the process of being sold and open houses are on the regular, so Naomi and Logan must vacate their temporary premises on certain days. It’s after one of these very showings that Logan begins to notice slight changes around the house, and he fears that an unwanted visitor may be in their midst. Guess what? He’s right.

To understand how little The Open House cares about conscious blueprinting, just read the poster’s tagline. “You can’t lock out what’s already inside” – right, but you could have prevented them from coming in, or checked the house to make sure they weren’t squatting, or explored numerous other possibilities to avoid this scenario. The mansion’s realtor allows prospective buyers to come and go but it’s not her job to make sure no one’s hiding in the basement? Naomi can’t even keep track of the *single* visitor she lets look around the house? It’s infuriating to see so many people neglect safety out of forced coincidence because the script couldn’t rationalize the killer’s entry any other way – a confounding strike one.

This is also a film that admits no reasoning for why its own murderer has targeted the Wallaces, or why he stokes a violent fetish when it comes to open houses. We never actually see his face, just his imposing handyman-looking attire, nor do we savor any kind of tangible backstory (his family died during their own open house and he suffered a psychotic breakdown – just give me *something*). His undefined form never demands curiosity like John Carpenter’s “The Shape” once did, because scripting is nothing more than bullet notes for basic horror movie necessities. Here he is, your bad guy – too bad he’s introduced without fear, handled without originality and unable to characterize beyond torturous kidnapper dotted lines. He’s just, you know, a guy who sneaks into open houses and kills – COMPLETE WITH A FINAL PAN-IN ON AN OPEN HOUSE SIGN WHEN HE MOVES TO HIS NEXT TARGET [eye roll into infinity].

Every scene in The Open House feels like an afterthought. “Ah, we need a way to build tension – how about a senile local woman who lives down the street and wanders aimlessly into frame?” Overplayed and in no way suitable to most her inclusions, but sure. “Oh, and we need inner conflict – what about if the breaker-iner steals Logan’s phone and frames him for later acts?” I mean, didn’t Logan canonically lose his phone even before Naomi’s mid-shower water heater issues – but sure, instant fake tension. “How are people going to believe the killer is always around and never blows his cover – think they’ll just buy it?” No, we don’t. Worse off, his cat-and-mouse game is dully repetitive until a finale that skyrockets intensity with jarring tonal imbalance. This closing, dreadful end without any sort of redemptive quality. More abusive than it is fulfilling.

If there’s anything positive worth conveying, it’s that Minnette does a fine job shuffling around as a character with severe sight impairment. The killer makes a point to remove his contacts as a final “FUCK YOU,” just to toy around a bit more, and Minnette frantically slips or stumbles with nothing more than foggy vision. Otherwise, dialogue finds itself ripped form a billion other straight-to-TV Logo dramas about broken families, no moment ever utilizing horror past a few shadowy forms standing in doorways after oblivious characters turn away. You can’t just take an overused subgenre and sleepwalk through homogenized beats…case and god-forsaken point.

Even as a streamable Netflix watch, The Open House is irredeemable beyond fault. The walls are caving in on this dilapidated excuse for home invasion horror, benefiting not from the star power of a temperamental Dylan Minnette. I have seen most involved players here in far better projects (Minnette’s stock has rightfully been skyrocketing, Matt Angel in The Funhouse Massacre, etc), but this is bargain bin theatrics without a fully formed idea. A nameless villain, doomed nice guy (Sharif Atkins), woefully unaware plot advancement – all the worst cliches found in one rage-quit worthy effort. Anyone who makes it through deserves an award…or a dunce cap.

  • The Open House
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Summary

Unless you’re irrationally afraid of cold showers, The Open House fails to deliver on a premise that can be summed up by no more than two lines of text.

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Michael C. Hall Buried in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary

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Now here’s an audio book we can REALLY get behind! Entertainment Weekly is reporting that former “Dexter” star Michael C. Hall will be narrating the first ever unabridged recording of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Sometime’s audio is better!

Readers have been asking for this audiobook for a very long time,” Stephen King said in a statement. “I know the listening experience will be worth the wait with Michael as narrator.

We’re thrilled to finally bring Pet Sematary to King’s audiobook fans,” Simon & Schuster Audio president and publisher Chris Lynch added. “Michael C. Hall is a perfect match for this timeless story, which has long deserved an unabridged production.

The unabridged audiobook of Pet Sematary will be released by Simon & Schuster Audio on March 27. Speaking of Hall… you know he would make a pretty friggin’ good casting choice to play Victor Pascow in the upcoming Pet Sematary remake. Just sayin’.

BUY IT NOW!

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