It’s fast approaching March and for those crazy folk in Wisconsin it can only mean one thing… the return of the much-anticipated MidWest WierdFest and all the strange mayhem that comes with it.
So it seems fitting that our first film review from the festival line-up should take place in Wisconsin, Attack of the Tattie-Bogle, but first things first, what the fuck is a Tattie-Bogle?
It’s not as the name suggests some kind of potato snot.
No, this is a Scottish term for scarecrow, but although it may bear some similarity to The Town That Dreaded Sundown, this film goes for all out realism with its characters reactions and the ordeal that they are faced with.
Set on Independence Day, where we see a mixed group of patriots, liberalists, and romantics, who gather at a remote cabin to celebrate the festivities only to be forced to use their wits and guile from a rampant and bloody attack.
As the movie winds you in, my first reaction felt a little stifled as the acting and pace felt a little strained and the dialogue, although going for naturalism comes across a little forced at times.
This is all forgiven by the time it reaches the first onslaught, which comes thick and fast, with such brutal savagery it tears apart the senses with stark reality.
Half the group is dispatched with quick severity, which is a good thing as it would have been hard to track who’s who without this swift attack.
From here on in, it’s anyone’s guess who will survive and with each attempt of escape and moment of solidarity quickly snuffed out by the attacker, the tension mounts with incredible unease.
By the films conclusion at just over the hour mark, you certainly feel like you’ve gone through the wringer. And the film satisfies as a result.
Despite some dubious acting and dialogue in places, director Pete Macy offers a delightfully savage look at the slasher genre in which the brutal reality shines through and becomes its champion.
Check this out to see a low budget, bloody film which pits the question of what would you do when confronted with an ambush in a land far removed from your own.
– Saul Muerte
Catch the screening of Attack of the Tattie-Bogle at the MidWest WierdFest.
You can already purchase discounted day or full festival passes to the 2018 festival here, through the festival’s ticketing partner site FilmFreeway. (Tickets to individual films will be available closer to the festival, directly via the website of the Micon Budget Downtown Cinema). Go on. Get weird!
Tragedy Girls invites you on a candy-coloured journey bursting with cheerleaders, glitter, hashtags, and bloody, flinch-worthy slayings.
Yep, the horror comedy genre got a Millennial makeover.
Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse) and Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool) are perversely likeable BFFs obsessed with two things; each other and their ‘Tragedy Girls’ social media page dedicated to all things murder.
To bump up their online cred, the girls kidnap a serial killer, gushing “we’re your biggest fans, dude!” as he struggles against his restraints and spits out a grocery list of heinous threats against them.
Inspired, the girls gleefully go on a killing spree in their hometown with results reminiscent of something from Final Destination with a Heathers twist.
The death scenes themselves never quite hit those horror high notes, but they never sink to beige level either.
One particularly creative murder in a school workshop involving a saw to the face will make you genuinely concerned for the safety of woodworking students everywhere.
Shipp and Hildebrand are believable teen besties and nail the innocent-looking serial killer facade.
But just when you begin to feel comfortable with the casting choices along comes Josh Hutcherson and you’ll spend a good few seconds squinting at the screen; “oh my gosh- is that Peeta from The Hunger Games?”
It is, and he has a fun cameo as a motorcycle-riding, in-tune-with-his-emotions love interest.
Tragedy Girls is bubblegum horror; you’ll enjoy it in the moment but eventually it will close it’s flavour and you’ll forget about it.
While it succeeds as a fun cautionary tale for the evils of social media, but finds the traditional high-school slasher tropes hard to shake.
Essentially, prepare yourself for #cluelesswithknives.
What does this mean to the genre as a whole? It can spell good news as the movie business see success and a money opportunity to exploit this genre to the bone.
This could mean an outpour of horrendous carbon copy movies that will grate to the bone, but it can’t be as bad as Amityville: The Awakening, Leatherface, or Jeepers Creepers 3 right?
But let’s not be too hasty on the negative-front. What does look promising is that we could very well get some fine horror films churning out over the coming years.
So with that in mind, the team stitched our collective minds together and come up with 18 of the most anticipated horror movies coming out that we would love to bring into the operating theatre and splice them wide open.
Directed by Alex Garland and starring Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Oscar Isaac looks off the dial.
The fact that it has been picked up by Netflix for a release some 17 days after its cinematic release has left some people scratching their heads as to whether or not this film has merit, but that’s old school thinking.
We at Surgeons see this at as a bold attempt at a streaming company to make their move onto the big arena.
If the trailer is anything to go by this film could be a massive hit and shape up the distribution method in a big way.
Some may instantly see comparisons with The Autopsy of Jane Doe with this one, but this story of a city cop fresh out of rehab, who takes up a role at the city hospital morgue, could very well be a trippy affair, where sanity is on the line.
You’d be remiss to neglect this one on the list. With the return of Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle in their respective roles, alongside the creative minds of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride, can we finally see Michael Myers rampaging his way that will delight and reignite the franchise once more?
The House With A Clock In Its Walls
Cate Blanchett and Jack Black lead the charge in Eli Roth’s latest feature about a young orphan and his magical uncle who go in search of a clock that could bring about the end of the world.
Could we see a return of fantasy horror on the big screen? Can Roth extend his bloody touch to go beyond the success of Green Inferno?
Whilst this has already been released in the States, the Surgeons team who are based in Australia, need to wait with eager anticipation for Elise Rainer and her team of ghost hunters to delve into the Further once more.
Early reports suggest that Lin Shaye continues to impress in her role, but that the franchise may have run its course. We’ll have to wait and see before we cast our thoughts on the latest addition to the franchise.
2015’s release of The Witch and its success may have reawakened that love of folk horror, which has been embedded in British culture with the likes of The Wicker Man, Witchfinder General, and Blood on Satan’s Claw, has some of our team intrigued by this latest offering.
Set in 1920’s Ireland, a twin brother and sister must endure a sinister presence with a strong hold over them that may result in turning them against one another with drastic circumstances.
Whether you like him or not Jason Statham has a habit of packing a punch when it comes to ‘balls to the wall, testosterone-fuelled action movies.
Now he must come face-to-face come face to face with a 70-foot shark.
“You’re gonna need a bigger air tank.”
The New Mutants
When Logan was released and with the success that followed, Marvel were then faced with the enterprise of a much darker world.
In steps, The New Mutants which sees Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) among the imprisoned young mutants as they discover their new-found abilities and potential salvation.
Speaking of franchises, The Conjuringuniverse continues to expand and haunt in more delectable ways to terrify our souls with the much-anticipated return of Valak.
In this instance, Rome is our setting and Father Burke is sent to investigate the mysterious death of a nun. Burke played by Demian Bichir, who I hope is given more time to flex his acting muscles compared to his under-used performance in Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant.
Gary Dauberman from It, Annabelle:Creation, and The Conjuring 2 is back on board to write the screenplay, so expect similar twists, turns, and scares to arise.
In addition, Corin Hardy steps in to direct, who oversaw the surprisingly decent The Hallow from a few years back and has been given the vote of confidence to resurrect The Crow, starring Jason Mamoa.
Becoming something of the lesser cousin to the Alien franchise, The Predator universe has never managed to really make a dent beyond its original Arnie feature, which surprises as it is ripe full of potential.
One of the original stars Shane Black is on to direct, so you could argue that there isn’t anyone closer to the source to re-capture the magic of the first film, and he has proven success with Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Iron Man 3, but is that enough to win over fans and the many?
The additions of Oliva Munn, and Thomas Jane, who has had a something of a career comeback with Before I Wake, and 1922 of late, could very well help cement this together.
Where some were left aggrieved following the screening of It Comes At Night, (which is probably the best example of false advertising when it comes to luring your audience in – as an aside its actually a pretty decent and intense movie, just not how it was promoted) will no doubt have their needs met in this movie, which promises an intense and horrific ordeal.
John Krasinski directs and stars in his passion project alongside Emily Blunt as part of a family forced to live in silence from an unknown threat that will attack with the slightest noise.
The first film had horror fans divided – a bit like vegemite, you either love it, or hate it. For those that fell into the former category, they can rejoice as the trio of masked psychopaths return to reek havoc on some more prey.
The cast includes Christina Hendricks (Mad Men, The Neon Demon) and Martin Henderson (The Ring, Everest) and is directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down, The Other Side of the Door) but don’t let that sway you as he also helmed the magnificent F, and if he could tap the rage and anarchy unleashed in that movie, we could have a surprise hit on our hands.
Horror production giants, Blumhouse, who have been partly responsible for the rise in recent genre movies will be hoping to keep the trend going and repeat their successes of Get Out, and Happy Death Day.
Truth or Dare follows a group of friends who play a deadly version of said game when those that break the rules start a meet a grisly end.
Critically praised film director, Steven Soderbergh enters the horror arena with his usual approach to exploring different filming techniques, in this instance shooting the entire film on an iPhone camera.
The cast is also impressive with Claire Foy (The Crown), entering a mental institution and once again reality comes into question. Foy is accompanied by Juno Temple (Horns), Aimee Mullins (Stranger Things), Amy Irving (Carrie) and Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project).
If The New Mutants is going to push the boundaires of darkness in the Marvel universe, then Venom will surely rip that apart and enter whole new level of insanity.
With Tom Hardy taking on the titular character, you can expect some hefty weight in the acting department.
It’s a project that is shrouded in secrecy at the moment and just a few screenshots that have been handed out to the media. Lets hope that it will be worth the wait.
Helen Mirren takes on the role of Lady Winchester house, heiress to the Winchester firearms, who becomes obsessed with building a house to trap ghosts with one of the most obscure architecture ever built.
From the creative minds of the Spierig Brothers (Undead, Daybreakers), this movie could be hit or miss.
There are slow burners and then there’s Our Evil, which trucks along at the pace of a clapped out milk float. And yes, I’m fully aware of how old that statement makes me but it’s the only analogy I could come up with that gets anywhere close to describing just how slow the pace of the movie is.
There are average cinema-goers who may cringe at the lack of speed, and it is in fairness, both its weakness and its strength.
The longbow that is being pulled is well worth the payoff in my opinion, and could very well be the reason that the film was recognised for its strength in direction at last years A Night of Horror film festival.
Brazilian filmmaker Samuel Galli would take home the “Best Director” award vision, and would the film would also capture the “Best Male Performance” award to Ademir Esteves for his role of Arthur, a man who oozes coolness from the exterior, but deep down holds a secret, that pains him to the core.
Arthur is a man of spiritual nature, who is warned by his mentor that his daughter will become possessed by a demon hellbent on destroying her soul. What would you do when faced with such a proclamation? Why hire a serial killer to protect her of course.
The beauty of this movie is that it somehow manages to ebb and flow through various styles and story-telling techniques that range from the beauty to the most violent and gruesome scenes set to screen.
The fact that it manages to do this with such ease and simplicity without jarring the audience is a testament to Galli’s ability to guide you through each scene that grips you and keeps you intrigued to know what direction he is taking you in.
Added to this is Galli’s decision to use theatre-trained actors and ask them to pair back the performance to the point that it pulls you in further into the dark world that the film is set in. Once hooked, we’re ensnared and taken on a ride that delivers a hefty punch come the conclusion.
Galli’s vision is what steers this unique tale that utilises subtle performances to intensify the emotions and anguish on display.
There’s a fine line between, good and evil, life and death, and Our Evil manages to walk that line with perfect balance of both these extremes.
In order to answer that question, you need to first look at its creator, Darren Aronofsky and his career to date.
His debut feature Pi, would wow the critics of a man who would be driven by madness and obsession with mathematics as a universal language. This idea of obsession is evident in both Javier Bardem’s character and to a degree Jennifer Lawrence’s too in mother!
Two years later that obsession and dedication for the ultimate thrill would transfer into the deeply disturbing and frightening journey of the central characters In Aronofsky’s sophomore outing, Requiem For A Dream. Only this time it would be in the form of alcohol and drug addiction that would ultimately pull their lives apart in pursuit of said dream.
And then again in The Fountain’s quest for the meaning of life through science and medicine which led one critic to describe as ‘rampant, metaphysical codswallop.’
By this time, Aronofsky was in danger of falling somewhere between genius and insanity with his subject choices.
Arguably, The Wrestler would continue this trend with a fine performance from Mickey Rooney, who struggles to fall from grace, continuously being pulled back into the ring and the fame that comes with it.
Natalie Portman would push the boundaries of brilliance in the next feature, Black Swan, that perfectly tapped into the driven ambition of a ballerina and her search for perfection.
Noticing a theme yet? Noah similarly sees the titular character determined to fulfil his vision in Aronofsky’s first feature to lend itself to biblical matters, so it’s no wonder that he would again try from the ‘good book’ and delve into the story of Genesis for mother!
This re-imagining would be told from the eyes of Mother Earth, (Lawrence) as she will do everything she can to protect her house (the Earth), the man she loves, the creator, Him, or God if you will (Bardem).
Throw in a dash of Man/Adam (Ed Harris), Woman/Eve (Michelle Pfeiffer), their sons, Cain and Abel, and a sprinkle of humanity gone wild, and you have the chaotic, unstable world that is told throughout the movie.
Aronofsky’s world is so infused with biblical images and metaphors that some would argue that it’s laid a little too thick, and its this depiction that could easily sway the viewer away from the movie and in essence drove a lot of people from the auditorium in disgust or displeasure in its initial screenings.
And its this depiction that could easily sway the viewer away from the movie
However, if they chose to stick around to its conclusion, you see a significantly strong performance from Lawrence, who like her character pours her heart and soul into every decision and choices that she makes.
And Bardem’s drive for glory and attention (again not a flattering image of ‘our creator) is one that is truly captivating.
The pain and passion bleeds on every frame and Aronofsky taps once more into this need for humanity to strive no matter what the cost for faith, glory and beyond.
The viewer can be left feeling bruised and battered in the journey on screen, but proves fascinating as a result.
It will be interesting to see where Aronofsky transcends to next in his own quest for spiritual enlightenment and salvation.
Alternate Title: I Know What You Did in the Abandoned Medical Wing
Hollywood loves nothing more than a remake.
In 2017, audiences were subjected to the remake of the 1990 film starring Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon.
Medical students use themselves as guinea pigs in a bold experiment to see what lies beyond death.
By stopping their hearts for a “safe” amount of time to avoid brain damage, they trigger a near-death experience and are then revived to report back about the afterlife. Simples. What could go wrong?
Ellen Page plays a gifted young medical student who is obsessed with finding out what happens after death. (It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why – she is shown in the beginning of the film in a terrible car accident with her sister who does not survive.)
She ropes in four of her fellow students to participate in the experiment – the playboy (James Norton), the beauty queen (Nina Dobrev), the one under her mother’s thumb (Kiersey Clemons) and, clearly playing well outside of his comfort zone, Diego Luna plays the handsome Spaniard who keeps warning them in his charming accent that what they’re doing is a bad idea.
Four of the students flatline and each comes out with apparently more intellectual gifts than they had before such as the ability to recall obscure medical case histories and how to play the piano.
After they have a drunken snowball fight in the street after a near-miss flatline – ain’t it grand to be young and alive again? – they each start to realise that something has followed them back to the land of the living.
This film was brought back to life but clearly flatlined for too long. It is a shell of its former self with none of what made the original so enduringly good.
There were a couple of scares but at its heart, this is really just an expensively produced teen drama with a trailer and poster art that is scarier than any moment in the actual film.
Having mentally flatlined watching the full hour and 49 minutes of this film, I can only report that I saw some terrible, terrible things. Cheesy dialogue.
Terrible acting. A totally gratuitous sex scene. And no, I can’t remember how to play the piano.