Living Among Us (2018) is the second feature-length horror movie by indie writer/director/producer Brian A. Metcalf (The Lost Tree, 2016). It’s a competent production. The film boasts a cast that includes Esmé Bianco (Game of Thrones, 2011-3), James Russo (Donnie Brasco, 1997), William Sadler (The Shawshank Redemption, 1994), and the late John Heard (Home Alone, 1990). Yet, its story is familiar and weak, as is its POV video aesthetic. Its production design and acting also could have been better, even given the limitations of its low budget. The film’s negative aspects outweigh the positives, especially for the seasoned horror fan.
Chris Bickel’s indie film THE THETA GIRL is splatter gore with intelligence and a conscience.
Going back eight years is not much of a throwback in time. Yet writer-director Travis Betz’ “Lo” (2009) is worthy of a Throwback Thursday shout-out anyway. It’s an overlooked and undervalued film that deserves a wider audience. A genre-blending horror comedy musical with romantic drama elements, this indie picture takes a lot of chances and still succeeds.
Ballard creates cold, sterile worlds that are driven by concepts instead of characters, but he’s strong enough a writer that his narratives thrive with intellectual possibility as a result.
HANK BOYD IS DEAD is that most difficult-to-pull-off of genre blends: a horror-comedy. Billed as “a comedy of (t)errors,” its story does, in fact, serve up terror and dark comedy based on a series of social errors. This indie film follows a hapless caterer held hostage by a bickering family of sociopaths who will stop at nothing to protect their darkest secrets.
The dark comedy and crime drama aspects of FAULTS (2014) get a lot of play in reviews. This focus is understandable because the film is excellent in these areas. Yet some reviewers overlook or miss its horror features. In fact, it is a horror movie in subtle disguise. Writer-director Riley Stearns uses psychological and supernatural horror tropes to good effect in the film. Both types of horror come from the beliefs and practices of Faults, a religious cult from which deprogrammer Ansel (Leland Orser) attempts to rescue Claire (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
The common factor of most cults is they don’t appear dangerous at the beginning. They appeal to those looking for guidance and acceptance. They offer understanding and a chance to be part of something important. It is only after the person has been lured in do they realize the price of belonging is the sacrifice of everything they have and their complete subjugation. STARRY EYES is more than a cautionary tale about a naive starlet sucked into the seedy side of show business. It is Hollywood as a cult, feeding on ambition to achieve its demonic ends.
If “Darling” (2015) is any indication, there are exciting times ahead for women in film as well as for fans of independently-produced horror movies.
As part of an inaugural series here on Loud Green Bird, Jonny Numb examines the antecedents to writer-director Mickey Keating’s 2015 horror sleeper, Darling.
Right down to its title cards (done by Kyle Kelly), indie writer-director Cameron McCasland’s THE LASHMAN (2014) is a horror feature made to look like an early-80s, B-movie slasher. Although it has a few glitches, it succeeds in realizing its throwback ambitions while avoiding many of the pitfalls of this type of project.