Monday, November 28, 2016

"Model Hunger" (2016) Review

            I've often said that, with her unparalleled body of genre work, horror legend Debbie Rochon has been in more than a few bad movies, but she's never been bad in a movie. Long a champion of indie/micro budget horror films, it seemed only a matter of time before the talented Ms. Rochon spent some time behind the camera. Well, fright fans, the wait is over with "Model Hunger".

            Featuring a "body image" subtext that's about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the temple, the film follows former model Ginny (fan favorite Lynn Lowery) as she adjusts to "retirement" so to speak. She takes her revenge on the beautiful people of the world by dispatching them in increasingly gruesome ways, and disposing of the bodies in a most practical manner. The always amazing Tiffany Shepis and Carmine Capobianco play Ginny's neighbors who observe to proceedings with a growing suspicion ala "Rear Window".

            Fast paced, and very self aware, "Model Hunger", while at times teetering on the brink of being a little paint-by-numbers (the script gets a little threadbare), nonetheless, it delivers the gory goods at the precise moments it needs to. Lowery is over-the-top batshit crazy as Ginny and seems to relish the sadistic ways she carries out her various atrocities. Suzi Lorraine pops up in some unnerving commercials sprinkled throughout the film that really can't be described in print. In fact, keep your eyes open for all kinds of genre regulars in cameos and small roles, there's plenty of 'em.

            Bottom line, "Model Hunger" is nothing new, it's a little generic and worn, but it's also a lot of fun. Seeing some of your favorite indie horror players chewing up the gory scenery and having a blast working with each other is infectious and makes for a film that, while is wears it's flaws on it's sleeve, is also pretty damned entertaining. Bravo Debbie.

--Scream King Tom

"Dark Cove" (2016) Review

            Any film that opens with some friends burying a tarp wrapped body in the woods and swearing to keep a secret is bound to pique my interest. When "Dark Cove" rewinds to give you the back story, an interesting twist on a familiar sub-genre crawls out of it's shallow grave.

            Canadian lensed (and featuring a lot of BC's natural beauty) "Dark Cove" opens with the old standby--a group of twenty-somethings heading out for a weekend on the beach with plenty of: booze, drugs, and nubile flesh. But once our merry band of youngsters meet a trio of Aussie surfers to party with, things get a teensy bit complicated.

            Some psycho-active drugs, a thwarted assault, and a brutal beating later, and people are soon burying corpses, swinging axes, destroying evidence, and embracing their inner maniac in this taut feature.

            Boasting a gorgeous cast of newcomers (save for writer/director/editor and male lead Rob Willey), "Dark Cove" is a really impressive, beautifully shot and scripted feature. Everything comes off as very authentic, the interplay between the characters, and the dialogue is actually how people talk (at one point they even make fun of American accents)! Something that is often sorely lacking in films at this price point. Montana McNalley and Eliot Bayne particularly stand out as Jen and Ian respectively, and the whole ensemble cast delivers impressive performances.

            Technically, the film is top notch. Great lighting, even sound, crisp edits, and a effective sound design are all present and make for a great viewing experience. The script moves along at a nice pace, never lagging or allowing the viewer's interest to wander while setting up the ultra violent third act.

            There's a few knocks, sure, mostly the nonchalant way everyone agrees to cover up a murder, but other than that, "Dark Cove" is pretty error free.

            "Dark Cove", ultimately, is a violent, gory, original film that, with a great cast and some expert direction, ratchets up a Hitchcock-ian tension before blowing up into an orgy of axe-wielding mayhem. Watch it. Watch it with the lights off.

--Scream King Tom