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Haunted Boat (DVD)



Haunted Boat DVD (click for larger image)Starring Courtney Scheuerman, Brain Harr, Jon Ericksen and Isis the cat

Directed by Olga Levens

Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Haunted Boat really does exist. We all thought it was a joke Foy made up while we were recording a Dinner For Fiends episode, but he wasn’t lying. When the disc arrived there was a sudden stillness in the air as the cover art was examined. It had all the tell-tale characteristics of a bomb: extreme photo shopping that could in no way match the film, no special features and screen caps that were too generic to reveal plot or quality. The only certain thing was the run time (98 minutes) and the possibility of some nudity. Shall we take the dive?

Goddamnit! Shallow waters!

A half dozen teenage friends set off in a small boat to Catalina Island only to get stuck in a thick fog. While waiting for the air to clear, the six kids encounter ghosts, cats, nipple piercings and strange visions. The teens are picked off one by one, meeting their fate via their worst fears. Will the cliche good girl character be able to escape while all the over-sexed friends die?! Can all this be accomplished with a new camera technique called Vomit-Vision and a directorial styling known as ‘scrapping the bottom of the barrel?!’

Haunted Boat DVD (click for larger image)A woman named Olga Levens is responsible for this mess. Her roll as writer, director, cinematographer, producer and casting director are solely to blame for the Titanic pile of crap that is known as Haunted Boat. This film manages to run through every single thing a filmmaker could possibly do in order to piss off viewers and bore them to tears. Adding talentless characters to play paint-by-numbers characters isn’t a good way to start things. Follow that up with camera work that makes those at home sea sick is quite an accomplishment and almost brings the audience right into the movie. Too bad that isn’t a thing to be proud of.

One can’t be proud of the Haunted Boat‘s plot either. According to the DVD cover each of the characters must face their worst nightmare. But then why do some just disappear, while another person only throws up spaghetti, and finally one kid dies of a bad heart while swimming? Olga must have never seen a Freddy feature before or even had the slightest bit of creativity. Were they facing their worst fears somewhere off camera? Maybe something like, “How the hell am I going to get future work after this?!

The actors may have been the most glaring problem with this DVD, but the real killer is the direction. Haunted Boat skips back and forth from problem to problem and characters the audience is never given a reason to care about. How is one supposed to feel anything for dead teen when we hardly knew his/her name, let alone their personality. There’s not one redeeming minute out of all ninety-eight of them to justify this as a purchase or even a rental.

Haunted Boat DVD (click for larger image)Haunted Boat is not worth the $10.00 used to make it. There are many other teen horror flicks out there that really deliver on scares, boobs and blood. So why even make this in the first place? What is the point of wasting everyone’s time and money if the filmmakers are not even going to put in a real effort to make an entertaining feature?

Speaking of unanswered questions; what has happened to the home video market for the horror genre? Is it really in such desperate need of filler that anyone with a camera a few friends can get a DVD produced? That must be the case because throughout the past year we’ve seen a flood of bare bones, camcorder quality horror flicks hit the store shelves and there’s no end in sight. This rash of bastardized horror is leaving some of us with a sinking feeling …

Too bad that the Haunted Boat didn’t take on water during production. Oh, if only the gods had been watching that day and had foreseen the painful experience this film would put on many unsuspecting horror fans. Was there no way to stop this film from being made? An iceberg or giant squid? ANYTHING?!

Special Features

  • Unrated 16×9 Widescreen! Hot damn!
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    American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review



    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


    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)



    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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    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View



    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento

    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

    • Film


    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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