Not much in the “wide release” department recently (but that’s about to change), so here’s a rundown of some of the more intriguing new releases in the “watch it at home” department. It’s a mixed bag, big time. But hey, sometime those are fun.
Our House — What happens when a brilliant but impatient young scientist (almost) discovers a way to generate wireless electricity just as a mysterious tragedy befalls his parents? Well, if I told you that there’d be no reason to watch this low-key but fairly creepy Canadian import (a remake of the little-seen Ghost from the Machine), which offers some nifty sci-fi and a pair of fantastic kid actor performances by Thomas Mann and Nicola Peltz. (VOD)
The Row — A string of murders strikes a fancy sorority house and the only one who can save the day is … Randy Couture as a detective whose late wife was also in a sorority. Also, so is his daughter. This is not a good horror movie, although it may be fun to try and figure out which bland side character will turn out to be the killer. It took me all of 19 seconds. I did, however, appreciate the weird, fleeting nods to the infamously insane 1983 slasher flick known as Pieces. (DVD & VOD)
Dead Night — We’ve all seem lots of horror films in which a small group of people travel to an isolated house of some sort and then discover something terrifying and deadly. Well, this movie does that too, but it also maintains a strong sense of humor, a few unexpected twists, and a “true crime” framework that’s actually pretty nifty. Plus it features indie horror favorites like Barbara Crampton, Brea Grant, and AJ Bowen, and it’s always nice to have a few familiar faces on hand when horror is afoot. (DVD & VOD)
The Night Eats the World — This slow-burn French import may sound like yet another zombie flick, because it is, but it also earns credit for approaching well-traveled material with a quiet, compelling style. It’s basically about one lonely, resourceful guy who locks himself away inside an abandoned house after the zombies take over, but the movie is more about solitude and isolation than it is a full-bore carnage fest. It’s not all that eventful of a horror film, but it does go to some interesting places, psychologically speaking. (VOD)
Revenge — There are plenty of “rape/revenge” thrillers out there, and most of them are truly sleazy affairs. Leave it to a French (female!) newcomer to flip this controversial sub-genre on its ear and deliver one of the most shocking, gripping, and darkly entertaining horror films of the year. Director Coralie Fargeat dives into the material with visceral intensity, and lead actor Matilda Lutz goes from a pretty young woman to a bloodthirsty force of nature right before our eyes. (now on DVD)
Normally when it comes to Scream Factory’s DVD releases, we’re talking about back catalog titles, like last week’s In the Mouth of Madness Blu-ray (which is awesome). But they also have a distribution deal for IFC Midnight titles, which is why you can now get Blu-rays of Pyewacket and Wildling (those are two separate movies, not a weird cop show). The former is a chiller about a teenage girl who (stupidly) casts a curse on her mother and quickly comes to regret it, while the latter deals with a young girl found in the woods who has a whole lot of trouble acclimating to the civilized world. (And how.)