Shazam! (2019)

Shazam!
Director: David F. Sandberg
Writer: Henry Gayden, Darren Lemke
Based on: C. C. Beck and Bill Parker‘s character
Cast: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody, Djimon Hounsou, Faithe Herman, Meagan Good, Grace Fulton, Michelle Borth, Ian Chen, Ross Butler, Jovan Armand, D.J. Cotrona, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 9.4.2019
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Content Note: ableism, lookism, fat hate

Plot:
Billy (Asher Angel) has been through pretty much everything Child Protective Services have to offer, and still he persists in searching for his parents – which usually involves running away from any home he is put in. He has one last chance with the Vasquez family (Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews) who already foster five children. Billy even becomes friends with one of them, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer). When Freddy is bullied, Billy stands up for him – and that brings him straight to the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) who was looking for someone pure of heart to bestow powers on. Billy finds that he can now transform into a superhero (Zachary Levy). But with being a superhero, supervillains also seem inevitable and Billy has his work cut out for himself.

Shazam! doesn’t pretend to want to be anything but fun and it succeeds in that mission. It is light-hearted and sweet and has some really hilarious moments. Even though I wished that it had shown more diversity with regards to the superhero versions, I had fun.

The film poster showing Shazam (Zachary Levi) leaning against a wall, phone in hand, popping a pink gum bubble.
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Lights Out (2016)

Lights Out
Director: David F. Sandberg
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Based on: Sandberg’s short film
Cast: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Maria Bello, Billy Burke, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Andi Osho, Lotta Losten
Seen on: 22.8.2016

Plot:
After the violent death of his father (Billy Burke), Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is left alone with his mother Sophie (Maria Bello). But Sophie isn’t doing too well and seems to believe that there is somebody in the house with them. When Martin falls asleep in school again, they call his sister Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) who thought that she left her mother behind after a problematic childhood. But when she realizes that Martin is experiencing the same issues she had, she knows she has to step in.

The short film this is based on was creepy as fuck, but it was also build on a single scare, making me wonder how well they’d be able to stretch it into an entire feature film. The answer is that they manage pretty damn well by focusing on what is too often ignored in horror at the moment: the characters.

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Fear is an Option – Short Film Program

Fear is an Option [a play on the VIS motto of Fear is not an Option] was a collection of horror short films curated (among others) by the /slash Filmfestival as part of the VIS Vienna Independent Shorts film festival. They showed the following short films:
The Simpsons Couch Gag [You’re Next] (2015)
Directed and written by: Lee Hardcastle
[Can be watched here.]
The Chickening (2015)
Directed and written by: Nick DenBoer, Davy Force
Based on: The Shining
[Can be watched here.]
Invaders (2014)
Directed and written by: Jason Kupfer
Cast: Ricky Wayne, Jordan Woods-Robinson
[Can be watched here.]
Jack Attack (2013)
Directed and written by: Bryan Norton, Antonio Padovan
Cast: Helen Rogers, Tyler Rossell, Steve Anderson Jr.
Monster (2005)
Directed and written by: Jennifer Kent
Cast: Susan Prior, Luke Ikimis-Healey, Trash Vaudeville
[Can be watched here.]
One Last Dive (2013)
Directed and written by: Jason Eisener
Cast: Catherine Maltais, Peter Allen
[Can be watched here.]
Polaroid (2015)
Directed and written by: Lars Klevberg
Cast: Annika Witt, Thea Sofie Loch Næss, Anne Cloetta
Baskin (2013)
Directed and written by: Can Evrenol, Co-Directed by: Ogulcan Eren Akay
Cast: Muharrem Bayrak, Fadik Bülbül, Gorkem Kasal, Aydin Orak, Remzi Pamukcu
Lights Out (2013)
Directed and written by: David F. Sandberg
Cast: Lotta Losten
[Can be watched here.]
Seen on: 29.5.2016

They put together a strong collection of short films here, some of which were connected to the /slash Filmfestival – where they did show You’re Next, the basis for the Simpsons Couch Gag; both Baskin and Monster were turned into feature films that were also part of the festival program – Baskin and The Babadook respectively; and Jason Eisener had segments in V/H/S 2 and The ABCs of Death, where Lee Hardcastle also made an appearance. The short films ranged from very funny and silly to outright terrifying and most of them were really effective, even if not all worked for me.

fearisanoption

[After the jump I’ll talk about each of the films individually.]

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