Sunday, April 27, 2014

Movie Review: Stage Fright (2014)

Stage Fright
STAGE FRIGHT - Poster Image


Written & Directed by Jerome Sable

Kylie Swanson...Minnie Driver
Camilla Swanson...Allie MacDonald
Buddy Swanson...Douglas Smith
Roger McCall...Meat Loaf

"The following is based on true events. While the names have been changed to respect the victims and their families, the musical numbers will be performed exactly as they occurred."

Ten years after would-be Broadway sensation Kylie Swanson is brutally murdered following the opening of the musical The Haunting Of The Opera, the disgraced producer is resurrecting the show. It's off-Broadway, this time. Way, way off. In fact, it's taking place at a summer camp for theater kids known as Center Stage.

STAGE FRIGHT - Camilla and Buddy

But is the show cursed? Just before the revival show's opening night, the director is murdered. The camp is in a panic, but the producer dubs the obvious crime scene an unfortunate accident, and, as you've heard a thousand times before, the show must go on. And for P.R. purposes, it is Kylie's talented but unsure teenage daughter Camilla headlining the marquee.

Like with all good things, this show has a few detractors. One of them, however, just so happens to be wearing a kabuki mask and wielding any number of deadly weapons.

I'm not much of one for standard musicals or Broadway-type shows. Slasher flicks, though, I can get behind with a vengeance, and I'll even support the odd rock opera. This, thankfully, is a fantastic blend of all that kept me rooted in my seat the entire time.

STAGE FRIGHT - Kabuki Killer

The saccharine show tunes actually have a bit of subversive bile beneath the surface, and they are tempered by the shrieking rock numbers that the killer delivers when he's on scene. He is imposing, and yet amusing, and the violence is fast and vicious.

The performances are strong all around, though there is such a large cast that we scarcely get to know many of them. As this is a theater camp, the musical numbers seem at least slightly more organic than they otherwise would. For the genre fan, there are clever nods to other films (including Carrie and Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and enough violent turns to keep you interested through to the end.

Equal parts Glee, Avenue Q, and Sleepaway Camp, I had a hell of a good time with this movie and fully expect it to become a cult favorite within a few years time.

2014
Rated R
89 Minutes
Color
English
Canada

"Isn't it wrong to sing and dance when someone just died?"
--J/Metro

Friday, April 11, 2014

Movie Review: HazMat (2013)

HazMat

Written & Directed by Lou Simon

Jacob...Norbert Velez
Scary Dave...Todd Bruno
Brenda...Aniela McGuinness

Scary Antics is a cable television show along the lines of Scare Tactics, where malicious practical jokes are played on unsuspecting people in an attempt to terrify them and drum up ratings. The latest episode is all set up to take place in an abandoned chemical factory that is rumored to be haunted, and the mark is a disturbed young man whose friends are setting him up in an effort to bitchslap him back to normalcy.

Solid plan, guys.

This being a horror movie, things obviously do not go according to plan. It addresses the question that has always plagued me when watching shows like Scare Tactics: when it comes to the fight or flight response, what happens if the subject chooses fight?

It's not a long way to fall for an already disturbed man to completely lose his grip, and so this little prank quickly devolves into a manic slasher film that should please many fans of the genre.

I wasn't sold on the premise when the film began, and some of the acting at the onset was a bit shaky, but it quickly found its legs. The kills may not be the most original, but they are shocking and surprising enough to keep you guessing. Most slasher flicks are a little light on plot, and this one is no exception, but it's still a fun and memorable entry in the indie killer canon.  Definitely worth a watch.

--J/Metro

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