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Brotherhood V, The (2010)



Brotherhood V AlumniReviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Maria Aceves, Preston Davis, Lindsey Landers, Nathan Parsons

Directed by David DeCoteau

In my review of the slasher flick Dead Tone (read it here), I stated that I had seen better slasher movies and I had seen worse. The Brotherhood V: Alumni constitutes the worse. It’s only February, and here I already have a frontrunner for worst direct-to-DVD horror movie of 2010. If I see ten more horror movies bad enough to knock this one out of the top ten, ten more horror movies as devoid of entertainment value as this snoozer, then it is going to be a very long year for me.

This is the fifth installment in the Brotherhood DVD series, only the second that I have seen, and the first that I have reviewed. Having sort of enjoyed David DeCoteau’s satanic boy band flick Ring of Darkness, I decided I would give this one a look, figuring how bad could this movie be? I swear “How bad could this movie be?” is going to be etched on my tombstone.

The movie opens with some high school guy reading a note from the girl he has the hots for to meet her in the girls locker room shower after the prom. We then follow this guy as he wanders around the empty school afterhours for nearly ten intolerable minutes! I clocked it; ten insufferable minutes of this guy wandering about saying and doing absolutely nothing while a mystery person with a knife saying and doing nothing shadows him.

You know you’re in for a crummy time when it appears the director is already working hard to pad out his film in the opening sequence.

The school is named Sunnydale High, by the way. If only Buffy Summers had been around to stake this movie through its heart. At least that would have stopped the incessant sound of a pounding heartbeat DeCoteau permeates the film with, meant to make things suspenseful – I think, but to me it became more like a “Tell-Tale Heart” version of Chinese water torture.

When this guy finally arrives at the girls’ locker room and nobody’s there, instead of thinking he’s been stood up or set up, he strips down and hops in a shower. For the next two minutes we will watch him scrub his perfectly sculptured torso.

David DeCoteau has carved a niche for himself making horror movies with homoerotic overtones. If you are straight like me and rent one of his movies, especially an installment in the Brotherhood franchise, you shouldn’t be shocked or put-off by seeing nearly naked young guys stripped down and frequently wet. But this could have been the girl with the perfect nipple placement from the Friday the 13th remake showering for two minutes and I still would have been checking my watch. No nudity. About as much skin on display as a body wash commercial. Later on two jocks strip down to their underwear and begin making out; their lip locks barely qualify as nibbling; their petting anything but heavy. Straight or gay sex, if you’re going to film a sex scene then deliver the goods. If the concern is turning off the heterosexual audience that might be watching, by the time muscular guys in their boxers are on the floor gently caressing one another any heterosexuals offended or disgusted will have already long since turned the film off after the second extended male shower scene. The same can be said of the lamest ménage-a-trois I have ever witnessed: two guys in their underwear slowly massage a girl in her underwear to the tune of a nauseating love song straight out of the worst Lifetime Network movie ever made. An R-rated exploitation film that refuses to be exploitive is utterly worthless.

Shower dude’s friends are indeed planning to prank him by tricking him into getting naked on camera. Their prank victim becomes a murder victim; they find him stabbed him to death in the locker room and the tape stolen from their hidden camera. The friends all decide that being associated with a homicide will ruin their lives regardless of their innocence and make a pledge to get the hell out of there and never speak of it again.

One year later, those high school graduates are lured back to the school by a mysterious note coercing them into a scavenger hunt for the missing videotape. A skinny person in a ski mask with a switchblade appears infrequently to stabs them to death. Just as the sexual titillation aspects fail to deliver, the horror side also fails to deliver on even the most basic slasher movie level. Generic stabbings, mostly off-camera, negate the point of making a slasher flick.

Not one of these potential victims act like a human being who has ever seen a slasher movie before. None of them act, period. David DeCoteau directs the inaction like a guy who has no comprehension what makes a slasher movie work. Hard to believe given how much how little there is of a plot owes itself to I Know What You Did Last Summer and Sorority Row, not to mention an episode of “Married With Children” in which Tiffani-Amber Thiessen played essentially the same humiliating prank on Bud Bundy.

These dullards wander around the halls doing nothing just like the guy from the opening. They often talk about unrelated subjects. They take long showers. They engage in sexual escapades so chaste they might as well be wearing purity rings. Nothing happening is periodically interrupted by blue-tinted asides visualizing how the murder would have gone down if each character had committed the murder a year earlier, or should I say stand over the victim holding a knife explaining why they might have done it.

Around the 50-minute mark a female character wanders into the science lab full of small caged animals and insects (sounds like a jungle in there going by the soundtrack, kept waiting to hear an elephant trumpet). As she very slowly walks around this classroom looking nervous, DeCoteau uses this opportunity to show us an extensive close-up of every single blasted animal or insect on display. The pay-off for this insufferably long drawn out scene – there is no pay-off! She walks out of the room unmolested. Absolutely nothing happens!

It was at that point I openly rebelled against this useless film and began fast forwarding whenever the action on screen consisted of nothing but people walking around not doing anything, people stripped down to their underwear making sex boring, or nothing was advancing what little there was passing for a plot. Needless to say I got through the rest of it in half the time. Wish I had done so sooner.

Comes up limp on the sexy side, anemic on the horror side, the acting is terrible, the razor thin story is dragged out beyond reason, most of the movie is composed of characters loitering about: what exactly is there about The Brotherhood V: Alumni that I or anyone else is supposed to be entertained by?


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AHS: Cult Review: Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters



Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

Spoiler free.

To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

But let’s backtrack a bit here.

Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

Bring on season 12.

  • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)


The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

User Rating 4 (3 votes)
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The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror




Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

Directed by Nicholas Woods

The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.


  • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
  • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
  • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
  • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
  • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
  • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
  • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
  • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
  • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
  • The Axiom


In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

User Rating 3.86 (7 votes)
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The Dollmaker Short Film Review – Welcome to Heebie Jeebie City!



Starring Perri Lauren, Sean Meehan, Dan Berkey

Directed by Alan Lougher

The loss of a young child drives a mother to take a set of unusual measures to preserve his memory, and all it takes is one call to The Dollmaker.

When the short film by Alan Lougher opens up, we see a rather disturbing image of a little boy inside a casket, and the sound of a grieving mom speaking with an unidentified man in the background – he’s requesting something personal of the child to help “finish” his product, and it’s not before long that mom has her little boy back…well, kind of. What remains of the child is the representation of his former self, although it’s contained within the frame of a not-so-attractive doll, and the boy’s father isn’t a believer in this type of hocus-pocus (or the price to have this constructed, either). The doll comes with a specific set of instructions, but most importantly, you cannot spend more than one hour a day with the doll, or else you’ll go mad thinking that the soul inside of it is actually the person that you lost – sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Well this is just too good to be true for Mommy, and as the short film progresses, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to her mind – it’s ultimately a depressing scenario, but Lougher gives it that creepy feel, almost like visiting a relative’s home and seeing their dearly departed pet stuffed and staring at you over the fireplace – HEEBIE-JEEBIE CITY, if you ask me. All in all, the quickie is gloomy, but ultimately chilling in nature, and is most definitely worth a watch, and if I might use a quote from one of my favorite films to apply to this subject matter: “Sometimes…dead is better.”

  • Film


Ultimately chilling in nature!

User Rating 3.5 (14 votes)
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