The Ranger (2018)

The Ranger
Director: Jenn Wexler
Writer: Giaco Furino, Jenn Wexler
Cast: Chloë Levine, Jeremy Holm, Granit Lahu, Jeremy Pope, Bubba Weiler, Amanda Grace Benitez, Jeté Laurence, Larry Fessenden
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 22.9.2018
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Plot:
Chelsea (Chloë Levine), Garth (Granit Lahu), Abe (Bubba Weiler), Jerk (Jeremy Pope) and Amber (Amanda Grace Benitez) are all at the same punk club when it gets raided by the police. The five of them make their escape together, but not before Garth actually stabs a police man to avoid getting caught with drugs on his person. Hoping to find refuge in the hunting cabin of Chelsea’s family, they set out for the woods. Once there, a Park Ranger (Jeremy Holm) gets on their case.

The Ranger was a bit underwhelming, I have to admit. It just didn’t really come together for me, although I did like the idea.

The film poster showing a man in a hat and with sunglasses in shades of blue and black.
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In a Valley of Violence (2016)

In a Valley of Violence
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Cast: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone, Karen Gillan, Toby Huss, Tommy Nohilly, Larry Fessenden, Burn Gorman
Part of: the surprise movie at the /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 29.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Paul (Ethan Hawke) and his dog are travelling on their own when their paths cross with a drunk priest (Burn Gorman) who tries to rob them. Although Paul gets the better of him, after the encounter he decides to pass through the small town of Denton. But trouble follows him there and he finds himself provoked by deputy Gilly (James Ransone). After a quick fight and a polite visit by the Sheriff (John Travolta), things seem to be resolved. But maybe Paul can’t shake Denton quite as quickly as he thought.

In a Valley of Violence is basically John Wick in the Wild West, but since I’m not much of a Western fan, that transfer didn’t completely work for me, although there is much to enjoy about the film.

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Carnage Park (2016)

Carnage Park
Director: Mickey Keating
Writer: Mickey Keating
Cast: Ashley Bell, Pat HealyAlan Ruck, James Landry Hébert, Michael Villar, Bob Bancroft, Larry Fessenden
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Joe (James Landry Hébert) and Lenny (Michael Villar) just robbed a bank and took Vivian (Ashely Bell) hostage. They are able to lead the police led by Sheriff Moss (Alan Ruck) on a merry chase and finally get away in the desert, where Lenny dies. Joe and Vivian end up on Wyatt’s (Pat Healy) and Wyatt doesn’t take lightly to trespassers. He shoots Joe outright and what should be Vivian’s salvation turns into her biggest nightmare.

Carnage Park starts off really strong, but then it gets rid of everything I liked about it and becomes the most standard of slashers and I just couldn’t get into it. I would have preferred a film about the bank robbery.

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The Transfiguration (2016)

The Transfiguration
Director: Michael O’Shea
Writer: Michael O’Shea
Cast: Eric Ruffin, Chloe LevineAaron Moten, Larry Fessenden
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Milo (Eric Ruffin) leads a rather lonely and quiet life, keeping mostly to himself. His parents are gone, he lives with his older brother Lewis (Aaron Moten). What he spends most of his time with is vampires in all shapes and forms. But his obsession goes a little farther than most’s – Milo is actually trying to become a vampire, and that includes drinking blood. That’s when Sophie (Chloe Levine) shows up in his neighborhood. The two of them slowly build an alliance of outcasts. But will their connection change Milo’s path?

The Transfiguration has a promising concept but it unfolded way too slow for my taste. I think with more speed I would have loved it, but as is, watching it became an exhausting chore.

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Darling (2015)

Darling
Director: Mickey Keating
Writer: Mickey Keating
Cast: Lauren Ashley Carter, Sean Young, Brian Morvant, Larry Fessenden
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Madame (Sean Young) is looking for a caretaker for her house – the oldest house in the city. When prim Darling (Lauren Ashley Carter) arrives, she leaves her to it. Darling does her best to take care of the house, but it’s strange. Something seems to be going on under the surface and Madame is not forthcoming with information. Darling is affected more and more.

Keating’s first outing, Pod, didn’t work for me at all, so when I say that Darling was at least better than Pod, take that for the faint praise it is.

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The Mind’s Eye (2015)

The Mind’s Eye
Director: Joe Begos
Writer: Joe Begos
Cast: Graham SkipperLauren Ashley CarterJohn SperedakosLarry FessendenNoah SeganMatt Mercer
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.5.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Zack Connors (Graham Skipper) and Rachel Meadows (Laura Ashley Carter) are not only in love, they also both share the same gift: they have telekinetic powers. That makes them a target for Dr Michael Slovak (John Speredakos) who wants to harness their powers. After an incident, they had to separate, but they are reunited when Slovak catches them both. Together, they try to make a break for it.

The Mind’s Eye sticks to a straight-to-VHS-80s aesthetic but then it can’t seem to decide whether it wants to reproduce that look and make a serious action film or whether it’s a persiflage of those films and meant to be funny. Thus it outmaneuvers itself: for the former, it’s simply ridiculous, for the latter it’s not funny enough.

themindseye

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Southbound (2015)

Southbound
Segment 1: The Way Out
Director: Radio Silence
Writer: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
Cast: Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
Segment 2: Siren
Director: Roxanne Benjamin
Writer: Roxanne Benjamin, Susan Burke
Cast: Fabianne ThereseNathalie LoveHannah Marks, Susan Burke, Davey Johnson
Segment 3: The Accident
Director: David Bruckner
Writer: David Bruckner
Cast: Mather Zickel
Segment 4: Jailbreak
Director: Patrick Horvath
Writer: Patrick Horvath, Dallas Richard Hallam
Cast: David YowTipper NewtonMatt Peters
Segment 5: The Way In
Director: Radio Silence
Writer: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
Cast: Hassie HarrisonGerald DowneyKate Beahan 
The segments are connected by a radio DJ played by Larry Fessenden.
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.4.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
On the seemingly endless highways of the USAmerican South, several fates cross each other, each set on their own dark path.

There was obviously a lot of thought put into the transition between the segments in Southbound, creating an interesting structure. I certainly appreciated that, though it doesn’t change the usual anthology film problem: some segments are simply better than others. For me, Southbound reached its climax in the middle with The Accident. Overall I wasn’t absolutely enthusiastic about it, but I did enjoy it.

southbound

After the jump I talk about each of the segments individually.

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Body (2015)

Body
Director: Dan Berk, Robert Olsen
Writer: Robert Olsen, Dan Berk
Cast: Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen, Lauren Molina, Larry Fessenden, Adam Cornelius
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 20.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]

Plot:
Holly (Helen Rogers), Cali (Alexandra Turshen) and Mel (Lauren Molina) have been friends forever and are spending Christmas together. Cali is not satisfies with hanging out at Mel’s house though and suggests they go to her uncle’s home, who is out for the Christmas holidays. Reluctantly both Holly and Mel agree. The girls have a good time until Holly realizes that they don’t actually have permission to be in the house, just as somebody is coming to check on it.

Body starts strong and then falls apart once the plot actually gets going. What a waste of nice characters.

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We Are Still Here (2015)

We Are Still Here
Director: Ted Geoghegan
Writer: Ted Geoghegan
Cast: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, Monte MarkhamSusan Gibney, Michael Patrick Nicholson, Kelsea Dakota
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 18.9.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Andrew Sensenig) have lost their son in a car accident and now they’re trying for a new start. They move to the country site into a new home. But weird things are happening in their home, their neighbors make strange insinuations and Anne feels like she can feel the presence of their dead son. She calls her friend May (Lisa Marie) and her husband Jacob (Larry Fessenden) to visit them, because May is a medium. But there seems to be somethign more to the town and the house than they thought at first.

We Are Still Here is a thoroughly enjoyable and rather unusual ghost story that I enjoyed a lot, even though some things did remain unclear to me. But that just means that I’ll have to rewatch the film – which I’ll gladly do.

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Pod (2015)

Pod
Director: Mickey Keating
Writer: Mickey Keating
Cast: Lauren Ashley CarterBrian MorvantDean CatesLarry Fessenden
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 18.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]

Plot:
Ed (Dean Cates) worries about his brother Martin (Brian Morvant). Martin has a history of mental illness and has been living alone in a remote vacation home that belongs to the family. And now, Martin has left a weird message for Ed and can’t really be reached anymore. So Ed picks up their sister Lyla (Lauren Ashley Carter) and they drive up there together, despite a more than tense relationship. But what they find there seems to be more than a psychotic break.

Pod was one hell of a crappy film. I could really find no redeeming feature there whatsoever.

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