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Among the Living (2014)

Among the Living (2014)Starring Zacharie Chasseriaud, Théo Fernandez, Damien Ferdel, Francis Renaud, Fabien Jegoudez

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Among the Living (2014)Starring Zacharie Chasseriaud, Théo Fernandez, Damien Ferdel, Francis Renaud, Fabien Jegoudez

Directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury


The latest flick from Inside and Livid co-directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury starts on admirably grim form with a brutal introduction that sees the heavily pregnant Jeanne Faucheur (Béatrice Dalle popping up in a short role) attempt to murder her husband and unseen “monster” of a son. She doesn’t quite manage to complete the deed, however, and so turns the knife on herself, prompting the husband, Isaac (Renaud), to take his son and newly extracted baby on the road.

Flash forward some time – it’s the last day of school before the summer holidays and twelve-year-old tearaway trio Victor (Fernandez), Dan (Ferdel) and Tom (Chasseriaud) decide that they can’t be bothered finishing this particular day in the confines of the classroom and take off at lunch time to pursue their own jollies. Said jollies involve sitting in a field smoking and talking, attempting to burn down a local farmer’s barn, and heading to the nearby abandoned Blackwood Studios film set to break a few windows and generally act like rotten little shits. While there, however, they come across a parked car containing a bound and gagged woman in the trunk who is then dragged off by a hulking figure in a tattered coat and clown mask.

Disbelieved by the authorities due to their rightfully earned reputation, the boys are retired to their respective homes unaware that the malevolent killers who now inhabit Blackwood know where they live and are coming to silence them forever.

What seems set up to be a heavily atmospheric shocker unfortunately does little but tread water from this point, as the monstrous child from the beginning, Klarence (Jegoudez), arrives at each homestead to stalk and murder the occupants. Where both Inside and Livid offered much to elevate them above standard genre fare (Inside in its sheer brutality and Livid its fairytale nightmare aesthetic), Among the Living is marred by a restraint that betrays its earlier promises. The three lead characters are, in the beginning, such insufferable little cretins that it really is difficult not to think that they deserve everything that’s coming to them. This does improve as the story moves on, but they aren’t ever fully redeemed (well, those still alive by the end).

Stalk and kill scenes play out in disappointingly basic style, with directors Bustillo and Maury even resorting to the old urban legend scare story of the babysitter commenting on a clown doll sitting amongst the stuffed animals of a child’s room – “But I don’t have a clown,” is the response. Of course. Much is made in the introduction of the film about the awful hereditary effects of chemical use during warfare – Agent Orange in Vietnam, for example – in a manner that seems to promise the appearance of a heavily mutated, brutal villain. Alas, that is not to be with Klarence instead being revealed as giant, nude albino-like figure. His behaviour is suitably shocking, though, including a rather disturbing placement for a small baby and choking someone to death with his bare foot.

While Among the Living certainly looks and sounds fantastic (though a slight easing up on the blue hues might have been welcome), and delivers some excellent gore when it decides to go that far, it’s simply far too pedestrian an entry to the genre to stand out in any manner. The lead characters are too difficult to connect with – even the adults – and make some seriously absurd decisions, including leaving momentarily incapacitated villains alive when they could have finished them off and had it all done with, on more than one occasion! Similar to Livid, the score is a nicely fitting mix of fairytale wonder and malevolence that complements the images very well.

Among the Living is technically as good as can be expected from two directors with a superior vision but falls over badly with its narrative of unlikeable protagonists, uninventive villains and a reluctance to push the limits as much as it seems to want to. A real misstep for two of the most exciting directors in the genre at the moment.

2 out of 5

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Synapse’s Suspiria 4K Restoration Gets a Release Date

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Earlier this year, we wrote about Synapse Films’ Suspiria 4K restoration and how it was available for pre-order. The weird catch was that there was no release date confirmed and that pre-orders would go out sometime in December 2017. Today that changes as we can confirm that the 3-disc special edition Blu-ray collection will come out December 19th, just in time for Christmas but a little late for Hanukkah. Any chance we can have one extra night this year?

Restored over three years, Synapse has been working tirelessly to create the ultimate version of Dario Argento’s 1977 classic supernatural horror film, which has since gone on to become one of the most recognized and lauded titles in the genre. This cut has been overseen and approved by Luciano Tovoli, the Director of Photography on the film.

Pre-orders are still available via Synapse Films’ website.

Special features:
*Limited edition of only 6000 units produced
*Exclusive Steelbook packaging and collector’s o-card sleeve, featuring artwork from Malleus, Van Orton Design, Juan José Saldarriaga & Chris MacGibbon
*Three disc [Two Blu-rays + One CD] limited collector’s edition (only 6000 units) containing a new 4K restoration of the original uncut, uncensored Italian 35mm camera negative exclusively done by Synapse Films, with color correction supervised and approved by SUSPIRIA Director of Photography, Luciano Tovoli
*Original 4.0 1977 English language LCRS sound mix not heard since the theatrical release in 1977, presented in high-resolution DTS-HD MA 96 Khz/24-bit audio
*Italian 5.1 surround sound mix
*Two audio commentaries by authors and Argento scholars, Derek Botelho, David Del Valle & Troy Howarth
*Do You Know Anything About Witches? – 30 minute SUSPIRIA visual essay written, edited and narrated by Michael Mackenzie
*Suzy in Nazi Germany – Featurette on the German locations from SUSPIRIA
*A Sigh from the Depths: 40 Years of SUSPIRIA – All-new anniversary retrospective on the making of the film and its influence on cinema
*Olga’s Story – Interview with star Barbara Magnolfi
*Original theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots
*Special Collector Edition Booklet containing an American Cinematographer interview with Luciano Tovoli, liner notes by Derek Botelho and restoration notes by Vincent Pereira & Don May, Jr. Cover artwork by Matthew Therrien Illustration
*“International Classics” English “Breathing Letters” opening credit sequence from U.S. release version
*Alternate All-English opening and closing credits sequences, playable via seamless branching
*Newly translated, removable English SDH subtitles for the English language version
*Newly translated, removable English subtitles for the Italian language version
*Exclusive CD remaster of Goblin’s SUSPIRIA motion picture soundtrack, containing additional tracks not included on the original 1977 soundtrack release

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Creep 2 Starring Mark Duplass Hits Netflix This December

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Just the other day we shared with you guys an exclusive interview with Partick Brice, the director of the Mark Duplass-starring found footage flicks Creep and Creep 2.

Today we have the awesome news that the killer sequel Creep 2 (review) will be hitting Netflix streaming on December 23rd.

The original creeptastic motion picture is already streaming on Netflix so if you need to catch up – or just watch the original again – you can do so tonight and get ready for the sequel which, personally, I found to be superior (if even just slightly) to the original.

What did you think of the original film? Are you excited to check out the sequel? Or have you already seen it? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Creep 2 starring Mark Duplass and Desiree Akhavan hits Netflix December 23rd!

Synopsis:

Desiree Akhavan (“Girls”, APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR) stars as Sara, a video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work,” she thinks she may have found the subject of her dreams. She drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer (Mark Duplass, reprising his role from the previous film). Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him. However, as the day goes on she discovers she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.

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Waxwork Records Unveils Phenomenal 2018 Subscription Package

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Our pals over at Waxwork Records have unveiled their 2018 subscription bundle and it’s packed to the brim with some absolutely fantastic titles! Horror fans who enjoy spinning their music on turntables can look forward to two Romero titles, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, and lastly they’ll have Jordan Peele’s smash success title Get Out. On top of getting those five records, those who join the subscription program will also receive a t-shirt, coffee mug, poster, notebook, magnet, enamel pin, calendar, and more.

For Night of the Living Dead, Waxwork Records worked closely with the film’s original creators, including Romero himself prior to his passing, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Criterion Collection so that they could source audio from the 4K restoration. It will be released as a 2xLP package.

Dawn of the Dead will also get a 2xLP release that will include brand new artwork, re-mastered audio, and more. The same kind of treatment is being given to The ‘Burbs. Christopher Young’s Drag Me to Hell soundtrack will be a single LP but will get the same level of attention and quality as the other titles.

As for Peele’s Get Out. Michael Abels; score will be released on a 2xLP vinyl set and will pay tribute to one of the most culturally significant movies of the past several years.

The Waxwork Records subscription package will be $250 ($285 in Canada) and will open up for sale this Friday, the 24th. More information can be found on Waxwork’s website.

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