Netflix: November 2015 Roundup - Dread Central
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Netflix: November 2015 Roundup

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Netflix

As has become the norm for Netflix, the genre selection in November (and December, for that matter) is a bit thin. Sure, we’re seeing all kinds of fan favorites make a return to the mix, but actual “new” releases seem to be a bit limited. So, while you’re accustomed to seeing a good 10-12 films make this list, November is delivering something of a condensed version of the Netflix Roundup.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any quality films to stream this month; it’s just to say that you’ve probably already seen the bulk of these (The Taking of Deborah Logan, Let Us Prey, Dark Was the Night, and The Canal are but a few of the relatively recent releases featured that you’ve more likely than not already had the chance to tune in to), which leaves us with just a few new recommendations to thrust in your direction.

Bound to Vengeance: If you’re into revenge films with enlightening twists, José Manuel Cravioto’s Bound to Vengeance is going to successfully keep you engaged. Is it a remarkably original film? No. However, it does make an attempt at giving a familiar story a unique spin. The performances are strong, and outside of a few WTF moments, the story feels somewhat plausible, especially in this twisted world we live in. Expect strong performances and fine cinematography from this spirited indie piece.

Last Shift: I’m still torn about Last Shift; I can label it neither amazing nor terrible. There are some very chilling sequences in the movie, but there are also a few embarrassing script points to get beyond. Visually speaking, it is a pretty badass film, but a problem some will run into is the fact that 90 percent of the big scares in the film can be seen in the trailer. That’s a bit of a no-no in my mind. Save the good stuff for the feature, not the two-minute hook we see well in advance of the film’s arrival. There are also a few wooden performances that may leave viewers a tad irked. Regardless of its faults, Last Shift has some fine atmosphere and jarring visuals. It’s definitely a recommended piece from the good folks at DC!

Kristy: Kristy falls victim to a very insulting script. For some odd reason screenwriter Anthony Jaswinski made the decision to treat viewers, as well as the supporting cast, as complete morons who have never seen a horror film. It’s a shame because this Thanksgiving-themed slasher has just about all the tools to be a superb film. We get an awesome heroine, a menacing band of villains, and a cool setting to work with. The film also flies by at alarming speed. If it weren’t for some very poor story choices, this would likely be considered an instant holiday classic. As it is, it’s an engaging watch with one damn hot finale.

Human Centipede 3: If you thought Tom Six took things to gruesome levels with his second Human Centipede film, think again. Everything in The Second Sequence feels astoundingly tame when compared to the stomach-turning visuals and ideas put to work in Six’s franchise finale. Prepare to be thoroughly disgusted time and again… in a strangely welcome way, if that makes much sense!

Harbinger Down: Amalgamated Dynamics had initially been tapped to create all of the practical effects that we were promised to see from the 2011 prequel to The Thing. Universal didn’t feel as though fans would respond favorably to the work provided by AD, so they completely scrapped all of it and motioned for the digital route – which inevitably sunk the film and drew serious ire from fans and critics alike. Well, AD wasn’t about to let all of its hard work go to waste, so the company carried what they’d assembled right on over to another project: Harbinger Down. The movie feels a little cheap, and some of the performances are wooden, but ultimately the special effects are pretty awesome and Lance Henriksen does a great job as the no-nonsense captain of a crabbing vessel. It’s not a groundbreaker, but Harbinger Down is an entertaining monster movie that should touch the hearts of those who cherish films from the 1980s.

Return to Sender: Return to Sender is far more thriller than horror, and it could easily be deemed a “slow” film, but it’s effective. It’s creepy, and it reminds us that we never know exactly whom we’re spending time with. It’s all about a blind date that leads to some disconcerting scenarios, and it succeeds in sending a few chills down the spine. Rosamund Pike (whom you’ll recognize from the goofy but badass Doom) does a fine job and gives us a nice notice that sometimes controlled performances can go a long, long way.

Circle: This isn’t a perfect film. Not by a long shot. However, it does possess a wealth of promise, and for a film that takes place in one single room, with an assortment of personalities to study, it’s a relatively strong and compelling piece. Although the big twist isn’t much of a twist at all, directors Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione do an excellent job of creating tension and mystery. There are some unorthodox decisions made throughout the picture, and that too holds our attention. Circle, though overlooked by many, is worth a watch.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can

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It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis


Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
3.5

Summary

Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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