Last of the Monster Kids

Last of the Monster Kids
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Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Film Preview

The current Hollywood studio system revolves around mega-budgeted blockbusters, the overwhelming majority of them based off of some established property. This constant release calendar of hugely expensive tent poles can be exhausting for we humble film fans. One year’s summer worth of super-flicks sets up the next year’s, on and on until the end of history, one presumes. 2015 is no different. It might actually feature some of the most hotly anticipated new releases in recent memory. To keep up with it all is enough to drive even the staunchest nerd to insanity. 

Insanity, here I come. Yes, the enormity of a new year’s worth of movies can be fucking maddening. But we have to remember, last year was a pretty good year. In particular, it was actually a great year for ye olde summer blockbuster. There’s going to be a lot of bad films. I’ll probably see some of them. There will be disappointments and mediocrity. Chances are good – the history books back me up on this – that there will also be pleasant surprises, unexpected successes, and one or two genuine masterpieces. Big films, little films, and films no one saw coming, all of this and more awaits us in 2015.

I’ve made up a list of the films I’m most excited about in 2015. As has become customary around these parts, there’s ten of them. Because that number can not contain my nerdery, I’ve also written about a number of other films coming out this year that interest, intrigue, or invent further discussion. Let’s look forward to the future.

The Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2015:

1. Crimson Peak

Guillermo del Toro is probably the premier nerd auteur of the current age. Which means putting him at the top of my list feels a bit like a cheat. However, there’s no doubt that “Crimson Peak” is hugely exciting. After the delightful special effects extravagance of “Pacific Rim,” and before more monster-filled crowd-pleasing action in “Pacific Rim 2,” del Toro decided to slow down for some low-key thrills. “Crimson Peak” is a ghost story, a period piece, and a self-described gothic romance. The story, of a crumbling mansion in northern Europe and a young woman discovering her husband is not what he appears to be, seems to owe a debt to the Bronte sisters. del Toro has listed “The Haunting” and “The Innocents” as influences.

Basically, what “Crimson Peak” promises is lots of gothic architecture and old-timey atmosphere. The director has described the film as an intentional throw-back but a hard R, an attempt to reclaim horror as a grown-up genre. And it’s coming in October too, just in time for Halloween. That alone is enough to shoot the film to the top of my list but the cast includes Mia Wasikowka, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses, Tom Tiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and – naturally – Doug Jones. (And, okay, Charlie Hunnam too, but let’s focus on the positive.) Basically, it seems del Toro has made one of his smaller, moodier Spanish-language films but with a Hollywood budget and an A-list cast. Does that get me pumped? Absolutely.

2. The Hateful Eight

The latest from Film Thoughts favorite Quentin Tarantino, “The Hateful Eight” is an especially fascinating project. Infamously, the first draft leaked on-line earlier last year, causing Tarantino to abandon the project, which was about as premature as we all expected it to be. When the film rolled back into production, the director promised that the finished product would differ quite a bit from the leaked script. Having read that script, this is a fascinating proposition for me. What will be different? The general plot outline, of eight travelers blizzard-bound in a haberdashery and slowly turning on each other, and the setting, post-Civil War Colorado, remain the same. Yet some character names and roles have already changed. Though I’m sure Quentin is none too pleased about it, this allows the audience to participate in the creative process, to get a peek into how the director transfers his ideas from the page to the screen.

Tarantino, as usual, has assembled an excellent cast. Seeing as how some of the characters were clearly written with specific actors in mind, it’s been fun to see the pieces roll into place. Sam Jackson, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, Walter Goggins and Michael Madsen could all be assumed from the script. (Though I thought Madsen would be playing the coachman.) Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh are all pleasant surprises though. The director’s continued insistence of shooting in super-wide Panavision is sure to make for some memorable shots, as is the snowy setting. A new Tarantino film is always an event but enough is different about “The Hateful Eight” to make it especially exciting.

3. Green Room

“Blue Ruin” was one of the best films of last year. The gritty, stripped-down, and above all-else smart revenge thriller transformed Jeremy Saulnier from “The guy who did “Murder Party.” Remember that one?” to one of the hottest talents in the indie scene right now. For his follow-up, Saulnier is making a film with an equally colorful title, “Green Room.” Saulnier’s involvement is enough to get my attention but the true selling point of “Green Room” is in its casting. Namely Patrick Stewart – that esteemed, Shakespearean, and always respectful figure of modern cinema – is playing a vicious Neo Nazi. Holy shit, that’s awesome. I think seeing Stewart really lash out in such an intense role is exactly what his post-“Star Trek,” post-“X-Men” career needs right now.

To elaborate on the premise, it involves a young punk band being trapped in a location with Stewart’s villain, after seeing him commit what is described as a “horrific act of violence.” So it seems the film might push up against Saulnier’s horror roots. At the very least, this is going to be a very dark thriller in a similar vein to “Blue Ruin.” As a bonus, Alia Shawkat and Anton Yelchin, who is starting to grow on me even if he remains the 21st century equivalent of Edward Furlong, are also in the movie.

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Naturally, this was going to make my top ten. “The Avengers” remains the high-water mark of the current wave of superhero flicks. Not that this is a revolutionary thing to say but it will be looked back on as a major pop culture event in twenty years, I promise you. The sequel was both inevitable and hotly anticipated. Even though it now seems like you can’t turn a corner without seeing Iron Man or Captain America’s face on a billboard, seeing the whole team together is still a big deal.

When it comes to major nerd events, I always attempt to keep my expectations measured. “What if it sucks?” I’ll say. “Joss Whedon is notorious for dropping the ball on return trips,” I’ll tell myself. This remains a genuine concern, especially since tiresome inter-team strife appears to play a major role in the film. “Who really cares about Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch anyway?” Especially since the former is played by Aaron Taylor-Whatever, the star formally known as Kick-Ass and the worst part of “Godzilla.” His much more talented co-star from that film, Elizabeth Olsen, is a more welcomed addition, even if her presence in a mega-budget superhero flick was something that was going to happen eventually and perhaps not the best use of her talent.

But then that teaser trailer hit and many of my fears dissolved. The Hulkbuster! “I’ve Got No String on Me!” James Spader as Ultron remains inspired casting. Spader’s detached sense of smug superiority will doubtlessly be excellently used as the notorious robotic villain. Am I still apprehensive about Whedon’s tendency to drum up badly written pseudo-drama? Yes. Do I wonder how the superhero team dynamic will function in a post-“Winter Solider” world? Definitely. Is Hawkeye still in the movie? Yep. Do I really want to see what the Vision looks like? Oooh yeah. Wait, did my nerdiness get in the way of my geekiness again? Damn. Okay, I’m excited for “Age of Ultron.”

5. Inside Out

The once infallible Pixar has not exactly been on a roll here of late. “Brave” was underwhelming and the studios insistence on returning to the well for multiple sequels has produced diminished returns, creatively if not financially. The behind-the-scenes problems of the promising “The Good Dinosaur,” also set for a release this year, have been all too public. Moreover, Disney’s main animation branch has been kicking Pixar’s ass, with one inspired and clever new feature after another.

Entering into this fare is a bunch of cuddly personifications of emotions, each equipped with a huggable gummy worm like texture. On the surface, the premise seems a tad gimmicky but, then again, so does “Toy Story” or “Monsters Inc.” When talking about personifications of Joy, Anger, or Disgust, it’s hard to imagine better casting then Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, or Mindy Kaling. And then there’s the prestige that director Pete Doctor brings to the project, considering “Up” is still Pixar’s best film. It’s enough to get me excited for “Inside Out” and almost enough for me to forgive the announcement of “Toy Story 4.”

6. Midnight Special

I’ve been slow to catch up with the Jeff Nichols train. I still haven’t caught up with “Mud” or “Shotgun Stories.” I didn’t see “Take Shelter” until it hit DVD but that didn’t stop me from thinking it was brilliant. Mostly, Nichols continued association with Michael Shannon makes me like both talented men more. Shannon has more-or-less confirmed his status as the New Christopher Walken, that character actor that excels at playing crazies, livens up routine studio stuff, and blows the audience away with his parts in offbeat indies. (Shannon also has “Frank and Lola” coming out this year, which stars him and is set on Halloween, which sold my ticket right there.)

With “Midnight Special,” Nichols seems to be making the gritty, fast-paced, pulpy genre exercise he’s been destined to make from the beginning. The director describes the film as reminiscent of eighties John Carpenter, which caused me to perk my ears up. The plot resolves around a father on the run with his son, who seems to have special abilities. What those abilities are and who is chasing them is currently unknown but the IMDb page provides a few hints. Government agents and religious cultist are in the film? My curiosity is properly piqued. (And since I know you all want my opinion on it, yes, I’m very intrigued to see what Jeff Nichols’ take on “Aquaman” would look like but I’m not holding my breath for it.)

7. The Nightmare

Rodney Ascher is responsible for one of the most divisive films in recent genre memory with “Room 237.” A lot of people thought the film was taking the crackpot theories about “The Shining” seriously, missing that the movie was actually an exploration of what people think about film and the vastly difference things individuals can get out of the same work of art. Hell, Ascher’s contribution to “The ABCs of Death 2” was even pretty good. I’m happy to see that the director isn’t immediately leaping into narrative films but instead sticking with his quirky brand of documentary.

For his follow-up, Ascher is rolling out another horror-centric doc called “The Nightmare.” The film explores sleep paralysis and the various mythological creatures and events thought up over the centuries to explain the condition. If one of the few readers who actually bought and read my book is looking at this, you should know I’m fascinated by that particular topic. From the incubus, the German alp and mare, to modern alien abduction, I’m expecting the movie to look into each one. I’m really interested to see how Ascher’s distinctive style will handle these topics. I also think this might be the first documentary to ever crack my Most Anticipated list, which means either the format is getting better or I’m simply paying more attention to it. Probably the last one.

8. Absolutely Anything

When “Absolutely Anything” was announced a while back, the hoopla that greeted it was mostly thanks to it being the unofficial Monty Python reunion film. That is hugely exciting, especially since, by all accounts from the live shows, the Pythons are still in fine shape. Terry Jones is even behind the camera, as he was for most of the team’s classic movies. Simon Pegg is a fine replacement for Graham Chapman, even if many of his non-Edgar-Wright-directed roles continue to be questionable. Really the plot is what made me question “Absolutely Anything.” Aliens, talking dogs, magical powers? It all sounded a little too wacky, twee, and unfocused.

This was before the untimely passing of Robin Williams and now “Absolutely Anything” carries the weight of being both the Pythons reunion flick and Williams’ last credit. He’s the voice of the talking dog. It’s doubtful the movie will live up to those expectations. I’m not sure any film could. Yet I’m apprehensively anticipating “Absolutely Anything” as the conclusion to two phenomenal comedy legacies. The embedded clip below is fairly delightful so that's promising.

9. The Sea of Trees

Gus Van Sant is infuriating. For every film of his that is an underrated masterpiece, like “To Die For” or “Drugstore Cowboy,” he makes some pretentious up-its-own-ass wandering hipster bullshit. And I’m not even talking about “Psycho,” that misconceived prank/pop art installation. I’m talking about the unwatchable likes of “Gerry” and “Elephant.” These days, Van Sant’s one-for-them mainstream prestige pictures are by far his most watchable.

So why did a filmmaker I feel so contentious about crack my top ten? “The Sea of Trees” is set in Aokigahara, the suicide forest of Japan. The lovely woods where hundreds of people have flocked over the years to end their lives, which is dotted with corpses, bones, and signs begging people not to kill themselves. What an incredible, chilling, otherworldly place to set a movie. That is honestly what interests me most about “The Sea of Trees.” The film has a good cast though. Matthew McConaughey, still riding high on the waves of the McConaissance, and Ken Wantanbe, the only Japanese man in Hollywood, both headline the film as the two men who meet in the forest. The big names have me hoping this will be Van Sant in tolerable, reasonable mode, not pacing free, pretentious mode. Will there be lots of shots of people wandering around, the camera lingering on trees? Probably. I might be willing to endure that if it means a seriously spooky location and an ounce of human pathos.

10. Z for Zachariah

Craig Zobel’s “Compliance” landed like an explosion two years ago, being rightly received as a hugely disturbing, affecting film. For his follow-up, Zobel is leaping on the post-apocalyptic, YA sci-fi band wagon. “Z for Zachariah” even revolves around a love triangle, one girl torn between two guys, which was an element most assuredly not in the original book.

As much as it seems like Zobel might be swallowed up by the studio machine, there’s some pretty important differences about “Z for Zachariah.” First off, it’s not based off a literary trilogy that can be made into four movies. The book is a one-off, the posthumous work of Robert C. O’Brien, and was published back in 1974. Accordingly, it’s far more somber, complicated, and downbeat then the likes of Stephanie Meyer or Veronica Roth. The clinical, focused, and unflinching direction Zobel displayed on “Compliance” seems like a good match for the material. The cast is solid too, with quickly ascending star Margot Robbie as the girl and Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor as her would-be suitors. I’m still not entirely sold on Robbie but she clearly has talent. Ejiofor has been excellent in every thing I’ve seen him in so far. And maybe this part will allow Pine to expand past his cocky public image. My biggest concern is the introduction of the second man but there’s enough promising things about “Z for Zachariah” that I’ll give it a look.

Other Upcoming Films of Note:

Of all the Marvel superheroes to receive a big budget, feature adaptation, Ant-Man is only slightly less likely then D-Man. This is mostly because his superpower, the ability to get really small and psychically control ants, are not the most visually dynamic. More pressingly, Hank Pym is most well-known for smacking the shit out of his wife and generally being the most neurotic Avenger, which is no small feat. Unsurprisingly, that version of the character is not the star of this movie. Like the rest of the nerd universe, I was far more excited for Edgar Wright’s “Ant-Man” and my interest in the project has slipped since his departure. Yet Peyton Reed does seem to have a bead on the material. There’s no doubt that “Ant Man” will continue in the same quirky mold that Marvel started with “Guardians of the Galaxy,” even if it lacks a breakout character like Groot or the raccoon in people’s clothes.

Bone Tomahawk
The western is on its way to something of a mini-revival this year. Aside from “The Hateful Eight,” we also have… The much troubled “Jane Got a Gun” is finally rolling out. Even though it’s increasingly looking like a clusterfuck, I still secretly hope that one will be good. Indie horror maestro Ti West is probably taking a much needed break from that genre with “In the Valley of Violence,” a western starring John Travoltra, of all people. Another western of note is something called “Slow West,” co-starring Michael Fassbender. Out of all the forthcoming cowboy shoot-outs, “Bone Tomahawk” is the most exciting. Not only does it get Kurt Russell back in cowboy mode, it has a killer log line: Cowboys vs. desert dwelling cannibals. Like a really far-back prequel to “The Hills Have Eyes?” Yes please!

Did anyone else want to see a dark and gritty reboot of “Short Circuit?” Neil Blomkamp apparently did. In all seriousness, I hope this is decent, as I like the cast and the trailer is all right, but I’m getting this sinking feeling that Blomkamp is either wasting his potential or didn’t have very much of it to begin with.

A movie in various stages of development for nearly a decade now, “Everly” is the story of a lone woman fighting off an army of thugs invading her apartment home. Originally pitched as a starring vehicle for Kate Bosworth, the film has since upgraded to Salma Hayek, who has been building her entire life towards being an on-screen badass. My positive impression of Joe Lynch’s “Wrong Turn 2” is increasingly seeming like a long ago memory, especially after the disastrous “Knights of Badassdom,” but I’m keeping my hopes up.

Friday the 13th
It’s rather disappointing, and seriously disquieting, that a new “Friday the 13th” movie is months from coming out by we still know so little about it. David Bruckner, co-director of the excellent “The Signal” and the best segment of the first “V/H/S,” is in the director’s chair. It won’t be a sequel to the 2008 reboot, which I liked. Beyond that, we do not know who is in, what it will be about, and from what angle it will approach Jason and Crystal Lake. The oft-mentioned rumor that it will be a found footage film, an idea I can’t fully support, hasn’t even been officially confirmed. I love watching Jason do his thing – you know, killing teenagers – and I don’t want to see him sputtering in development hell for another decade. I mean, why is it so hard to make a new “Friday the 13th” movie? Why can’t we pump these suckers out on a yearly basis anymore? It’s baffling. I fully expect this one to be delayed another year, if it doesn’t completely collapse.

Into the Forest
By now, long time readers should know that I will watch Ellen Page in anything. I saw “Smart People” in the theater, for Christ’s sake. I own “Ghost Cat” and it’s much better then you’d expect! Anyway, “Into the Forest” is yet another post-apocalyptic indie about people trying to survive in a wasteland. Ellen’s presence isn't the only thing elevating this one. She co-stars with Evan Rachel Wood, an underrated actress well overdue for a career revival. A movie about those two hanging out in the woods, quipping off of each other, sounds like a good time to me. I also think the forest setting will help distinguish this one some too. Of Ellen’s upcoming credits, I’m more excited for this one then “Freeheld,” the long developing lesbian-themed docu-drama that might finally get Ellen her Oscar. I fear it will be overly maudlin, given the subject matter.

It Follows
A few months back, two horror films started getting rave reviews on the festival circuit, both being proclaimed some of the scariest films in recent memory. The first of which was “The Babadook,” which was my absolute favorite film of 2014. The second is “It Follows,” awaiting release this year. The plot? A formally virginal teenage girl is doggedly pursued by a malevolent spirit that is passed along like an STD. That set-up is ripe for subtext but most review have focused on just how damn scary the movie is. As an added bonus, the movie stars Maika Monroe, who gave an impressive performance in “The Guest,” another top horror film of last year. All of this is extremely promising.

Knock Knock
I’ve taken to referring to “Knock Knock” as “the next Eli Roth movie.” This is because the enfant terrible of millennial horror ran into some problems with his previous work, “The Green Inferno.” An unpleasant sounding throwback to Italian cannibal flicks, that film ran into some legal troubles during post-production and doesn’t look like it’ll come out any time soon. Roth bounced back quickly. He produced a forthcoming (and massively unnecessary) remake of his “Cabin Fever” and quickly threw together “Knock Knock.” The film, about a middle-age man seduced and then tormented by two comely young women, sounds like an unofficial remake of seventies obscurity “Death Game.” Colleen Camp, star of that film, even has a cameo, seemingly confirming the connection. Keanu Reeves stars as the man and is probably the biggest name to ever appear in a Roth film. The premise certainly sounds like it will continue the director’s problematic attitudes towards women. Who knows. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, we horror fans are stuck with Eli.

The Krampus was a fascinatingly odd holiday tradition mostly unknown outside of Northern Europe. That is until a few years ago when the furry demon of Christmas started popping up on websites like Cracked and Buzzfeed. Since then he’s shown up on “The Venture Bro.,” video games, books, comics, TV commercials, and even erotic novels. And now comes the movie! I think the Krampus is a pretty cool guy so a real horror movie about him interests me. In even better news, the film is a spiritual sequel to Michael Dougerty’s slightly overrated but still good “Trick r’ Treat.” Like that film, it is a series of horror stories set around a holiday. This time, it’s Christmas, instead of Halloween. Hey, I’m always up for more Christmas-related spook show. “Krampus” probably wins the title of “Future 2015 Release Most Likely to Become a Cult Favorite.”

Jurassic World
We shouldn’t be as excited about the fourth “Jurassic Park” movie as we are. The original holds up but neither of the sequels came remotely close to matching it. The newest film, more reboot then sequel, functions on the unlikely scenario that Jurassic Park could be a safe, profitable, probable theme park. Colin Colin Trevorrow, based on mumblecore time travel romcom “Safety Not Guaranteed,” didn’t strike me as an ideal choice for director. Yet the slowly tinkering out teasers and images from Twitter excited. After the first trailer leaped out, my interest skyrocketed. Mosasaurs! Bubble cars! Star-Lord and his team of raptor sidekicks! A genuine sense of wonder and awe! Do the scientists engineering a dangerous super-dinosaur make any sense? Of course not. Who cares! Look at those goddamn dinosaurs, man! I’m seeing it on day one.

Mad Max: Fury Road
A new Mad Max movie has been in development so long that, when first conceived, Mel Gibson was still a viable movie star. After years of false starts and production delays, “Fury Road” is finally ready to thunder into theaters. Tom Hardy stepping into Mad Mel’s leather didn’t phase me. My concern revolved around director George Miller. After spending a decade in “Happy Feet” land, could he still bring the asskickery necessary for a new Mad Max adventure? The trailer did a lot to resolve those fears. Aside from an iffy CGI sandstorm, we’ve got real cars, driven by real people, smashing into other real cars, and really exploding. Also: Crazy dudes in wacky outfits, Nitro Wagons of varying sizes and shapes, and Charlize Theron with a shaved head. Hold the Tina Turner love ballads and we might be good to go.

The Martian
As the years go on, Ridley Scott has proven himself to be less the auteur we all thought he was and more of a work-for-hire guy, pumping out increasingly forgettable epics well into his seventies. Look no further then last year’s all ready forgotten “Exodus” or other joints that quickly faded from memory, like “Robin Hood” or “Body of Lies.” Scott is about as bad as SEGA, where we find ourselves excited for his upcoming project only to be underwhelmed by the finished film. “The Martian,” a hotly coveted literary property, passed through several filmmakers before coming to Scott. Having said that, “The Martian” has a killer premise. A Robinson Crusoe story set on Mars, the book has been praised for its scientific accuracy. The cast, from Matt Damon on down to Donald Glover, is aces. Who knows if the film will live up to that potential and bring the Ridley Scott Cycle to an end but, at the very least, I bet its better then that “Blade Runner” sequel he keeps threatening to make.

For years, I’ve been waiting for the great movie about the Satanic Ritual Abuse hysteria of the seventies, eighties, and early nineties. The topic has always fascinated me, mostly because I lived through it. I remember my grandmother warning me about the Satanists that ran the daycares and Sunday schools. Of course, none of it was true and was long-ago discredited, which only managed to make the urban legend more fascinating. Especially once you realize that those hoping to help children recover from trauma were actually traumatizing them, through the bullshit science of repressed memory theory. A great film is going to be made about this whole mess someday.

“Regression” probably isn’t that movie. Yes, Alejandro Amenabar directing is good news. I can see this story working really well for him, truthfully. However, “Regression” seems to treat the hysteria as fact and a mystery, probably leading up to a lame twist ending. Yes, I know Emma Watson is the internet’s waifu but Ethan Hawke’s starring role and the late summer release date makes me think this will be an unambitious thriller, not a probing expose into one of the most fascinating stages of American history.

In addition to all the other high profile franchise sequels coming this year, there’s also a new James Bond movie. I didn’t love “Skyfall” as much as some people did but it did get Bond back to basics, providing an excellent foundation for future films. The 24th entry in the series continues in that fashion by, as the title indicates, bringing back SPECTRE and, along with it, Bond’s archenemy Blofeld. Christoph Waltz is spot-on casting and I can’t wait to see him fill Donald Pleascene’s Nehru jumpsuit and matching wits with Daniel Craig’s Bond. Monica Bellucci should have been a Bond girl long before now and I like the thought of Bautista as a new henchman, promised to be as iconic as Oddjob or Jaws. Just to guarantee the film continues “Skyfall’s” success, Sam Mendes is back in the director’s chair. This nearly cracked my Top Ten.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
This is the big one. I’m no “Star Wars” fanatic. I still don’t know why J. J. Abrams being handed the keys to the biggest franchise in the world was greeted with such orgasmic applause. Wasn’t his “Star Trek” essentially Abrams’ version of “Star Wars?” And I’m still not sure if I like those movies. Getting back Mark Hamil, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and even Peter Mayhew seems to be enough for most fans. The teaser trailer, while good, didn’t give us much idea of what to expect from the final film. If anything, it seemed to confirm Abrams’ reference-filled, “cool for coolness’ sake” approach. Yet it’s cool that John Boyega is getting a plum role like this. And it can’t be much worst then the prequel trilogy, right? Right?

Terminator: Genesys
Meanwhile, here’s a big sci-fi series I do care about. The goofy title and horrendous photoshop in Entertainment Weekly did plenty of damage to this one. The trailer did little to undo that. The effects look cheap and the film looks less like a proper sequel then a greatest hits collection from previous films. Jai Courtney is in it. But Arnold is back as a Terminator, even if the story has had to go to improbable lengths to justify his casting. He says the line and then jumps out of a helicopter so he can dive bomb another helicopter. I’m not made of stone, guys.

What We Do in the Shadows
Found footage horror films are so prevalent now, parodies of the form must exist for them. “What We Do in the Shadows” can be better described as a goof on vampire mythology. The film is a mockumentary about four ancient vampires attempting to bring a pair of young fratboys into their brood. Hilarity ensues. The trailer is extremely funny, the premise is after my own heart, and Jermaine Clement’s involvement gains my stamp of approval.

Though the “V/H/S” franchise is winding down, and we currently don’t know if there will be a third “ABCs of Death,” the multi-director anthology remains a fixture of the indie horror scene. “XX” has a particularly irresistible, and socially timely, gimmick: All female directors. It’s a cool idea but I do wish the line-up was slightly better. Mary Harron was a given and Jennifer Chambers Lynch was fine. I’ll even give them Kathryn Kasuma, as bad as “Jennifer’s Body” was. Yet ever since Mary Lambert dropped out, I’ve suspected this won’t be as good as it should be. One newcomer for sure but two? Are Jennifer Kent, Marina de Van, Rachel Talalay, Holly Dale, Katt Shea, Angela Bettis, the Soska Sisters, and all of the “Slumber Party Massacre” ladies no longer answering their phones?

Yet more movies I want to see in 2015 but don’t feel like writing about:

The 9th Life of Louis Drax, 31, Aimy in a Cage, Barely Lethal, The Beaver Trilogy Part IV, The Boy, Carol, Cell, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Ex Machina, The Fantastic Four, Hardcore, The Hallow, Hellions, High-Rise, Holland Michigan, The Jungle Book, Jupiter Ascending, The Kitchen Sink, The Lobster, Monsters: Dark Continent, Phantasm V: Ravager, The Revenant, Selfless, Suburban Gothic, Tomorrowland, The Trap, The Tribe, Victor Frankenstein, White God, Wiener-Dog, The Witch, and Yoga Hosers.

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