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Ejecta (2014)

Ejecta (2014)Starring Julian Richings, Lisa Houle, Adam Seybold

Directed by Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele



Ejecta (2014)Starring Julian Richings, Lisa Houle, Adam Seybold

Directed by Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele

Foresight Features doesn’t compromise when it comes to horror, and much of this is due to their partnership with the brilliant madman Tony Burgess. Best known for the philosophical thriller Pontypool and the novel it’s based on, their partnership kicked into high gear with the controversial and surprisingly deep Septic Man (review), a Troma-esque origin story directed by Jesse Thomas Cook that chronicles one man’s transition into a hideous sewer mutant.

Now, a year later, Foresight and Burgess are back with Ejecta, trading in the darkness of the sewers for the unknown of the heavens. Directed by Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele, the film is a grand departure from Septic Man in terms of style and content, yet still retains the unique brand of weirdness that typifies Burgess’ writing.

The film opens with William Cassidy (Richings), a secluded blogger being interviewed about his supposed interactions with an extraterrestrial being that have left him in a constant state of paranoia, fear, and pain for the better part of the past forty years. As he reveals this information to an unseen interviewer, the events of a military operation in a dark forest are played out. Their target? None other than Cassidy himself, who is shot and ultimately awakens in a heavily guarded clandestine facility overseen by the cheerfully sadistic Dr. Tobin (Houle). It seems that whoever Tobin works for has been following the online exploits of Cassidy, who goes by the handle “Spider Nevi,” for some time now, and they’ll stop at nothing to obtain the information lurking deep within his brain.

This is, of course, a very simplistic way to summarize Ejecta’s plot, and I fear that revealing anything more would diminish its more surprising elements. The film goes back and forth between Cassidy’s interrogation and the events that transpired the night before, all caught on camera by Joe Sullivan (Seybold), a conspiracy theorist blogger who views Cassidy’s tale as a “white whale.” These found footage-esque moments, captured in a way that keeps the suspense palpable without straying into cliché, serve as a sort of slow reveal for the events that take place in the underground bunker. While it breaks some of the “rules” of the sub-genre, namely the use of music to underscore the tension, it can easily be dismissed due to the context in which it’s utilized and the fact that Steph Copland’s pounding and tense score does an incredible job of highlighting the film’s more tense moments.

This, combined with Burgess’ tendency to never keep things simple or straightforward, allows the tension and fear to build naturally: We’re learning about the coronal mass ejection and its titular aftermath (both literal and figurative) as the antagonists do, both in the facility and Cassidy’s home where a team of soldiers are exploring the site following his capture. The result is an atypical narrative approach that essentially tells three stories at once. This might seem confusing, but Archibald and Wiele manage to weave them together almost flawlessly, spending enough time on each without forcing the film to become overbearing in one area or suffer from an extreme tonal shift. All of this comes to a head that, unfortunately, becomes a little too fond of generic horror scares before redeeming itself in an emotionally charged and downright fascinating final scene.

One area in which Ejecta truly shines is the acting. Julian Richings, who had a supporting role in Septic Man, plays Cassidy as a broken down husk of a man, his quiet British demeanor lulling you into a sense of security before succumbing to the horror that he’s lived with for the past 79 years. He’s a non-leading man getting a leading role, and he earns every second of it with his performance. On the other end of the spectrum is Lisa Houle, perhaps most well-known to genre fans as Sydney Briar in Pontypool. Utterly commanding in her role as Dr. Tobin, she imbues in the character an incredibly deceptive personality that, upon her initial introduction, makes her feel almost sympathetic to Cassidy’s plight. We quickly discover, however, that her weird, bubbly, and almost overly cheerful first impression is merely a mask for her sadistic desire to get inside Cassidy’s head.

Like Septic Man and Pontypool before it, the work of Tony Burgess demands you put your thinking cap on. On the surface Ejecta is a twisting tale of sci-fi horror involving shadowy figures, terrestrial or otherwise; but Burgess, never one to spoon feed you answers, slides in the subtext in an almost inconspicuous manner, compelling the viewer to truly think about what they just watched. It demands a re-watch, or perhaps several, to fully pick up on the little nuances of the plot and affectations of the characters that help make sense of the film’s true meaning.

There needs to be more pairings like Foresight and Burgess, the former for their do-it-yourself attitude and devotion to the genre and the latter for his brilliant mind. Give me weird and original over safe and derivative any day.

4 out of 5

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Jesper Kyd Returning to Score Vermintide 2



From the cover of Kyd's first Vermintide OST

Get your headphones ready, Warhammer fans because State of Decay and Darksiders 2 composer Jesper Kyd is back to score the upcoming Warhammer title Vermintide 2! The game will be coming to PC and consoles early this year.

Kyd was inspired by Norse mythology, utilizing ancient tribal music as well as dark fantastical elements to build upon the acoustic soundscapes he composed for the first Vermintide game. Channeling his own Scandinavian roots, Kyd will blend Viking and Norse-inspired vocals with ritualistic percussion styles to create a unique soundtrack experience.

Three tracks from the score can be heard below.

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?



Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler

While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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Last Toys on the Left

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



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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