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Thriller

Reviews

Silent Retreat

By: Addison Wylie I have a bit of history with Silent Retreat. I caught Tricia Lee’s thriller at last year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival where it received its fair amount of warm reception.  Though the filmmaker was clear about the film’s intentions in a post-Q&A, it was a pick at the festival that really rubbed me the wrong way. The flick’s primary problem was that it was dramatically overscored.  It’s smothering music told the…

Reviews

The German Doctor

By: Addison Wylie The German Doctor (or its Spanish title, Wakolda) is a solid slow burn.  It’s also a not-so-slow slow burn.  Allow me to explain. It appears this film about a relocating Argentine family who is followed by an unknown yet concerned doctor would like to move at a more patient rate.  The actors on screen are prepared to show their unease with properly drawn out weariness and filmmaker Lucía Puenzo shows he has the chops to tackle…

Reviews

Oculus

By: Addison Wylie Mike Flanagan’s off-shoot elaboration of his short film Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan turns into a movie where things happen.  Things that aren’t really interesting or thrilling.  Just a lot of stuff that may or may not be real.  This is because Oculus is a horror film with no tension. Oculus is a movie that makes me appreciate Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.  It’s a sequel that…

Reviews

Afflicted

By: Addison Wylie Afflicted isn’t a found footage film, but rather a mockumentary documenting Derek Lee and Clif Prowse’s year long trip around the world.  The film does, however, use the same techniques we’ve seen in previous found footage horrors.  Luckily, the filmmakers in charge of this creature feature know what they’re doing. In fact, there are a lot of things filmmakers/co-stars Lee and Prowse do brilliantly in Afflicted.  Firstly, the duo cover their asses extremely…

Reviews

Out of the Furnace

By: Addison Wylie Why is it that Out of the Furnace has so many accomplishments going for it, yet it’s an impossible recommendation?  Telling someone to watch Out of the Furnace would be like telling someone to hold a bunch of wild snakes and assuring them they won’t get bit. Scott Cooper’s thriller is one of those movies you appreciate a few hours after having watched it.  Viewing Out of the Furnace for the first…

Reviews

In Fear

By: Addison Wylie In Fear marks the first time in a while where a film has really scared me using traditional minimalist tactics. We’re paired with Tom and Lucy – a complicated couple played by Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert – as they head towards a secluded hotel via their tiny vehicle.  The search for the hotel brings them deeper into the woods and directional signs send them on a wild goose chase as the…

Reviews

Solo

By: Addison Wylie Solo starts out on an “A” game, but ends up finishing with a generous “C” grade. Isaac Cravit’s independent thriller is a straight-up campfire story – and, the filmmaker knows it.  Gillian (played by former Degrassi: The Next Generation co-star Annie Clark) needs to prove herself to be a capable camp counsellor in order to obtain a summer job.  The newbie needs to pull a “solo”, a two-night experience on a secluded…

Reviews

Big Bad Wolves

By: Addison Wylie It’s easy to see why Quentin Tarantino named Big Bad Wolves as the best film of 2013.  It’s basically a love letter to the filmmaker’s earlier work – an elaboration on that infamous torture scene in Reservoir Dogs. Filmmakers Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s bottled thriller has three men (a father who’s daughter has been kidnapped and murdered, a renegade cop, and a tied up potential criminal) spar with one another to…

Reviews

Antisocial

By: Addison Wylie Antisocial is middle-of-the-road fare, which I’m sure director/co-writer Cody Calahan doesn’t want to hear. He wants his film to act as a commentary for how immersed we are with technology and social media.  In order to drive home the social satire, he and co-writer Chad Archibald use networking devices as a means to drag the living to a state of infection.  Tech junkies start to hallucinate and graphically bleed out of the…

Reviews

Let the Fire Burn

By: Addison Wylie Jason Osder has taken on an anti-talking heads format with his striking documentary Let the Fire Burn and it pays off big time. The filmmaker chronicles the societal shakes that took place in Philadelphia during the late seventies through to the mid-eighties initiated by MOVE.  Members of MOVE would call the collective an organization inhabiting a peaceful, non-violent state-of-mind.  Others wouldn’t hesitate to call MOVE a cult with harassing methods bordering on…