Office Killer: THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2017) Review

A group of employees stationed at their corporate building in Colombia find themselves under lock down inside the building. They soon become horrified when a mysterious voice orders them to start killing each other. If they fail to comply, he will kill off people himself. Alliances and morals are put to the test as tensions rise along with the stakes.

The Belko Experiment doesn’t exactly boast the most original idea with the kill or be killed concept. However it is an extremely entertaining horror/thriller with some excellent intensity and black humor thrown in. In some ways, the plot itself has some black humor to it. You can’t deny that there’s employees at your job that you think to tell yourself “god I could kill them.” That idea is obviously presented here. The employees are forced to kill their co-workers. Sadly, there weren’t exactly any characters who were wanting to jump at the opportunity to kill someone they work with. All of the characters like each other just fine. Except for the office pervert/creeper and the woman he’s pretty obsessed with. In some instances it’s also a pretty interesting character study. When we first meet these characters they feel familiar and for the most part likable (except for this Selena Gomez look a like who spends the majority of the moving hiding and crying, and obviously the pervy guy). But when the plot gets going, you begin to see some of these characters change for the worst. Some want to comply by the voice’s rules in order to get out, and some refuse because they simply just don’t want to kill people. The setting of the company is used very well in that we see the characters moving from different levels and locations as opposed to being just in one spot the whole time. This helps a lot towards the end of the movie when a huge cats and mice chase scene occurs between the two opposing parties.

I’d be lying if I said there weren’t very intense sequences in the film that had me on edge. A lot of this has to do with the brilliant direction of Greg McLean, and the actors involved really pull of their fear in these scenes. In said chase scene, you get this Spanish version of California Dreaming playing at a very loud level. This is actually a very great touch that makes scene twice as intense and maddening, and the choice of adding red tint to the scene was also a great touch. Easily the best part of the film. However, once the film gets around the final act, it’s all very rushed, and you can really guess how the ending is going to be. Then there’s a final reveal that gives an explanation to the events, but it’s very cheesy and kind of lame. And the final scene was most frustrating because it was really the exact same ending I’ve seen in another “kill or be killed” horror film. But as mentioned above, a lot of the emotions that you feel from the movie are the solid performances from the actors.

John Gallagher, Jr. is our leading male here, and after his pretty solid breakthrough performance in 10 Cloverfield Lane, we see him get to shine as the lead. And he definitely proves he has leading male material. He brings a lot of realism to the character by not making him out to be some tough guy, but a caring guy who is thrown in a shitty situation and now has to decide where his stance is when it come to killing. And Gallagher nails this. Tony Goldwyn also does an excellent job as the head of the team. What’s interesting about his character is how you think he’s going to be the tough guy who will try get everyone out, but it goes in a different direction. Goldwyn does extremely well with the part and comes off as very intimidating at times. John C. McGinley is really brings on the creep factor as the office pervert who really sets his eye on his prey (Gallagher’s characters girlfriend), and he can play creepy really well. We also have Sean Gunn (mostly known for his role as Kirk on Gilmore Girls) who provides the more comedic moments in the film. I could say something about every single actor in the cast, and everything would be positive. Even those with the very small parts do well with their roles.

While it may not have the freshest story, and some weak script points, The Belko Experiment does succeed in entertaining with its intensity, characters, dark humor, performances, and its jabs at office relations.

–Cody Landman

Sinister & Sweet: THE DEVIL’S CANDY (2017) Review

A struggling painter and metal fan moves his wife and daughter (also a metal fan) to a country house. They learn right away that a couple had died in the house prior. But eventually the father begins to hear demonic voices that influence him to paint some sinister artwork. Not only this but they have a past resident of the house who also hears voices that is back to continue his work and take his house back.

The Devil’s Candy sounds like a basic possession/haunted house film. In some moments it comes off as Amityville Horror-ish. But really that’s only because of the simple formula of the moving into the house and the father hearing voices. That’s it. What sets this movie apart from others is that it doesn’t focus on paranormal or supernatural happenings. Instead it focuses on the characters. We see the affects of the voices on the father and the son of the previous dead owners. The voice of demon is enough to give you the chills. But what the movie does is really keeping you engaged in seeing how everything will play out, how these paintings the father is doing will come into play, and what deadly acts the son (who develops an obsession with the teen daughter) will go. I will say though that I feel this movie could have been at least longer. It’s an hour and eighteen minutes long including credits. I felt that there was so much more they could have provided into the script to make things more drawn out, and in all honesty, more clear. For me personally, what I loved about this movie was how stylish and visually great it was. In some cases it was CGI used right, perfectly, and was warranted. The score also goes hand-in-hand with this. It also has a subplot in which playing heavy metal music on a guitar helps keep the voices at bay, and without the music is when all hell (pun possibly intended) breaks lose. But the use of the visuals and score is so damn trippy and psychedelic that it puts Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem to shame in how much better it was used here. We also have well-done performances by the cast.

Ethan Embry stars as the father who really has the heavy metal fan look going on. And despite his intense appearance, he really displays his love and care for his family, and he does a great job of showing the struggle between his obsession with finishing his paintings (and listening to the voices) while also wanting to protect his family. Shiri Appleby (whom I’ve never really been a fan of) really impressed me here. She doesn’t overdo the mom/wife role like most actresses do and make it over-dramatic. She comes off as if she’s really playing a mom in how she behaves, her interactions with her husband and daughter, and then play the defensive mama bear when appropriate. Kiara Glasco plays their daughter and the newcomer really impresses in her role. What she impressed me the most of is how she portrays her fear. Which was excellent. But really, all three of these actors played their respective roles in the most realistic way I’ve seen in a long time in a horror film. More often than not, they’re all the same and over-dramatized. This family feels real, and it’s really all thanks to the three actors. Besides the family there is Pruitt Taylor Vince as the creepy man who also hears the voices. Except this guy isn’t very friendly at all. There’s not much to say about Vince here because every role he plays is the creepy guy, and like those roles he does well with this one too.

The Devil’s Candy is a visually and audibly and stylistically stunning horror movie with some freshness provided to the haunted house/possession genre. The performances are great, but I do wish the script was improved on more to make it feel more complete and have more story given on the demon and music connected to it.

–Cody Landman

New IRRATIONAL FEAR Posters & Casting Announcements

It’s been a busy few weeks for Slasher Studios as we dig into preproduction on our latest slasher feature, IRRATIONAL FEAR. Teaming up with L.A. Horror on this project, we are set to shoot this summer and we have a lot of killer news for you. First, we’d like to share the two awesome new posters created by fellow filmmaker and Slasher Studios friend Noah Nicholas Nelson. Thanks Noah for the incredible art! Secondly, we have a slew of new casting announcements to share with you slasher friends.

Kaleb Shorey will be joining the cast in the role of Jake in Irrational Fear. Jake has a fear of germs but will this fear be the death of him? You’ll have to watch to find out! Welcome back to the Slasher Studios family, Kaleb!

Stephanie Wolff will be playing the role of Julie in Irrational Fear. Stephanie is a huge horror fan (as seen here with the legendary Sid Haig) and is going to bring her charm to the role of Julie. Welcome to the Slasher Studios team, Stephanie!

Cati Glidewell will be playing the role of the waterphobic Helen in our upcoming horror feature. This is Cati’s very first starring role so make sure to give her one killer welcome!

Up-and-coming horror Scream Queen Jenn Nangle will be playing the role of Kelly in Irrational Fear. Welcome to the horror family Jenn, we know you are going to kill in this role!

Tom McCarthy will be playing the role of Nate in our new slasher feature. Jake’s (Kaleb Shorey) father, Nate is an upper-class businessman who is trying to reconnect with his son and get over his own fears. Welcome to the Irrational Fear family, Tom!

Did you miss out on our IRRATIONAL FEAR Kickstarter? Still want to claim some KILLER perks? We are now expanding several of the perk rewards here on Slasher Studios. All money raised will go directly into the filming of IRRATIONAL FEAR. Support indie horror and pick up some killer rewards!

REWARDS AVAILABLE:
Donate $10 (or more): Receive a special link to view the film early & social media shout out!
Donate $25 (or more): Special link to view the film early, social media shout out, & your name in the credits!
Donate $30 (or more): All of the above & IRRATIONAL FEAR on DVD.
Donate $40 (or more): All of the above with IRRATIONAL FEAR on Limited Edition Blu-Ray instead of DVD.
Donate $75 (or more): All of the above (DVD or Bluray) & Slasher Studios two previous films on DVD.

If you are international, please add $10 to donation amount to cover shipping.





Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: New Episodes Now Streaming

Ready for another killer round of episodes from our exclusive Slasher Studios Horror Podcast? Check out our latest episodes below and make sure to like the page on Facebook as well as subscribe on Blogtalkradio so you never have to worry about missing a few episode again!

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Technology Horror Movies
On the second half of our horror double feature, our hosts Kevin Sommerfield and Andrew Beirl tune in to their favorite technology driven horror movies. Get connected or get killed. The fun begins ONLINE.

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: All About the FEARS
On a brand new Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, our hosts Kevin Sommerfield and Andrew Beirl will be discussing their greatest fears in preparation for the newest film from Slasher Studios: IRRATIONAL FEAR. Make sure to listen in to find out what killer fears make their list!

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: The Future of Friday the 13th
On a brand new Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, hosts Kevin Sommerfield & Andrew Beirl discuss the future of the Friday the 13th series including a retrospective of the series as a whole. Where do we go from here? Listen to the latest episode and find out!

Second Opinion: SPLIT (2017) Review

About a week and a half ago I watched “Split (2017)” in theaters with my sister. This movie is directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense). The cast includes James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class), Anya Taylor-Joy (The VVitch), Betty Buckley (Carrie), Haley Lu Richardson (The Edge of Seventeen) and Jessica Sula (Skins). I was excited about this movie ever since I saw the trailer for the first time in theaters during previews. I am familiar with the work of Shyamalan, but so far I had only seen After Earth and I heavily disliked that movie. I definitely need to start watching more of his older work soon. Split was met with terrific reviews from critics and audiences alike. It wouldn’t come as a huge surprise that I ended up loving this movie as well.

Split is one of those films where a lot of things just work. The storyline is fresh, original and full of unexpected twists. The acting performances are top notch. James McAvoy easily delivers his best performance to date and does a fine job by making you feel uneasy with his multiple character portrayals. Anya Taylor-Joy is an absolute trailblazer in this movie. I have yet to watch The VVitch and Morgan, but I can see this being a career defining performance for Taylor-Joy. Her scenes with McAvoy’s multiple personalities were hands down the best scenes. Betty Buckley was tremendous every second and her character offers more insight into the movie. Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula were both impactful during their limited amount of screen time. Shyamalan did outstanding in the writing and directing department. This movie revolved so much around character development and I think 50/50 of that aspect succeeded. I wish more of Kevin’s 23 distinct personalities would’ve “come to the light”.

The back and forth between present and past was a nice touch though and made the story more authentic. I took this movie very seriously unlike most audience members that misinterpreted things and started laughing about a mental disorder. The twist ending came out of nowhere and has left me with some homework to do. Split is a disturbing psychological horror with a message. Highly recommended!

–Ferdi Akkulak

Slasher Sale: DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS DVD & Limited Edition VHS

Who says you can’t celebrate holiday horror all year round? If you love holiday horror, Slasher Studios’ Dismembering Christmas is the movie for you. A tribute to the glory days of holiday horror, Dismembering Christmas can best be described as Friday the 13th meets Black Christmas. Have you ever wanted a Friday the 13th set in the winter? Well..so did Slasher Studios and that’s why they created this movie just for you. Practical effects from beginning to end, likable characters, and a kick ass final girl…what more could you want in a slasher?

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PLOT:
It was supposed to be a holiday vacation they would never forget, not a holiday vacation they would never survive. When Mark and his friends go up to his fathers new vacation home for Christmas vacation, they were ready for a fun time. Out in the middle of nowhere, the house is cheerfully decorated for Christmas. But an unknown visitor is there, and one by one they are murdered. Its Christmas and not a creature is stirring except the killer in the house…

DVD EXTRAS:
Audio commentary with Actor/Director Austin Bosley
Audio commentary with Writer/Producer Kevin Sommerfield
Bloopers
Fly on the Set: Making Of Dismembering Christmas
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer

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Dismembering Christmas DVD




Dismembering Christmas VHS


Dismembering Christmas VHS Options




Don’t forget to also pick up a Dismembering Christmas Limited Edition Tee!
shirt

Artwork by the awesome Garreth Gibson Illustrations.


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Like Dismembering Christmas on Facebook:
Dismembering Christmas Facebook

Limited Edition DON’T GO TO THE REUNION Blu-Ray Almost Gone

Here’s your LAST chance to own our very first slasher feature in HD! Our Don’t Go to the Reunion limited edition blu-rays are now shipping and they are going fast! We started with a limited, hand numbered run of just 200 blurays and now we are down to a mere handful of copies. This is the first time Don’t Go to the Reunion has ever been released in HD and we have a bunch of brand new extras packed on this special edition.

Three options to purchase:
Blu-Ray standalone, with 11×17 limited edition Dismembering Christmas poster, or with poster & Dismembering Christmas DVD. Region free & shipping worldwide, order your limited edition, hand numbered bluray today.

Brand new special features include:
* All three Slasher Studios short films (Teddy, Popularity Killer, and Blood Brothers) in HD for the very first time.
* Filmmakers commentary
* Exclusive cast & crew interviews on the making of Don’t Go to the Reunion
* Don’t Go to the Reunion Video Review
* Don’t Go to the Reunion promo video
* Don’t Go to the Reunion trailer
* Don’t Go to the Reunion teaser trailer
* Dismembering Christmas trailer
* Theatrical World Premiere Interview With Director Steve Goltz & Writer Kevin Sommerfield
* Slasher Studios Horror Podcast audio feature (A Look Back at Don’t Go to the Reunion)
and MUCH MORE!


Don’t Go to the Reunion




Pick Your Perk: IRRATIONAL FEAR Rewards Extended

Did you miss out on our IRRATIONAL FEAR Kickstarter? Still want to claim some KILLER perks? We are now expanding several of the perk rewards here on Slasher Studios. All money raised will go directly into the filming of IRRATIONAL FEAR. Support indie horror and pick up some killer rewards!

What is IRRATIONAL FEAR?
Everyone has something they are afraid of that they know cannot possibly hurt them. With our third horror feature we ask..what if these fears could kill them? Slasher Studios is teaming up with LA Horror to bring you a slasher style feature that is unlike anything Slasher Studios has ever done before. Titled IRRATIONAL FEAR, the film centers around six therapy patients are brought together at a secluded cabin to confront their strangest fears. Little do they know, these fears will certainly be the death for some of them. Who will make it out alive?

REWARDS AVAILABLE:
Donate $10 (or more): Receive a special link to view the film early & social media shout out!
Donate $25 (or more): Special link to view the film early, social media shout out, & your name in the credits!
Donate $30 (or more): All of the above & IRRATIONAL FEAR on DVD.
Donate $40 (or more): All of the above with IRRATIONAL FEAR on Limited Edition Blu-Ray instead of DVD.
Donate $75 (or more): All of the above (DVD or Bluray) & Slasher Studios two previous films on DVD.

If you are international, please add $10 to donation amount to cover shipping.





Found Footage Horror: CREEP (2014) Review

On Friday night I watched “Creep (2014)” on Netflix for the first time. This movie is directed by Patrick Brice (The Overnight). The cast includes Mark Duplass (The League) and Patrick Brice. Brice and Duplass also wrote the screenplay for the movie together. Jason Blum served as co-producer through his BH Tilt division. Creep received a glowing reception from critics and most horror fans alike. It’s a good thing that I managed to avoid watching a trailer for this movie beforehand. After finishing Creep I can definitely agree with the general consensus.

This movie came such a long way with a simple premise. I’ve honestly grown a little tired of the “found footage” subgenre over the past couple of years, but this aspect didn’t bother me at all while watching Creep. The acting performances are great. Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice work wonders with their self-written characters. It also doesn’t hurt that both men are super easy on the eyes. There are plenty of suspenseful moments throughout the movie, but there’s also a surprising amount of comedy hidden in the core. That “Peachfuzz” mask was sheer genius and became ironically iconic. The ending came out of nowhere and left me in a state of shock.

This movie could have benefited from a longer running time and a better motive for our villain. I often wondered what his real story was and what actually happened to him that justified his actions. This movie feels like an experiment that succeeded for most part and I think this was purposely the original idea from the makers. Which brings me to the following good news: Creep is officially becoming a trilogy with two more sequels on the way from Duplass/Brice! I’m curious to see where they’ll take the story, but I’m definitely excited about the news. Creep makes for a clever, creepy and unique viewing experience that isn’t entirely flawless – but is truly a cut above recent found-footage outings. I highly recommend going into this movie as fresh as possible. I might plan on importing the DVD from the United States in the near future – especially for the special features. Check this out on Netflix – if you have a subscription of course!

-Ferdi Akkulak

Terror Runs Skin Deep: GET OUT (2017) Review

A young black man named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) goes home with this white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) to meet her rich, posh family. To his dismay, Rose hasn’t informed her family that he’s white. With that already on his mind he feels nervous. When he meets the family, things start out well-enough, but as the visit furthers and he meets friends of the family, and the unusual family helpers (also black), Chris begins to realize something isn’t right.

I was skeptical of Get Out at first upon seeing the trailers, it caught my attention for sure with how bizarre and weird it was. Though I couldn’t help but think that this was going to be an anti-white/racial film disguised as a horror film. I realize some may not have seen it this way, but that’s just me. That aside, the final result of the movie isn’t anything like the trailer. So major props to that. It only gives a slight idea what the film is about and the film goes a lot farther than that. So the fact that it didn’t linger on the racial themes and beat us over the head with it was a major relief. The racial elements are there but not don’t completely take over the film. I will say that the reveal of the motives for the family is really weird and farfetched, but it’s an idea that’s easy enough to roll with. It’s definitely an original horror film that’s for sure. The flow of the film is really solid in how it begins light-hearted enough, but you gradually become just as uncomfortable as Chris and become more and more unsettled until the completely bonkers final act when all hell breaks loose. Some of the tension is lessened with some of the phone calls Chris makes to his friends back home who works for the TSA who has theories of his own. These moments have just the right amount of comedy to elicit laughs and then the horror pulls you right back in. It’s even better that the friendship between the two feels real. The character of Chris is also really likable, so you are really rooting for him the whole time.

It’s clear the film is having fun with itself, the very few jump scares it has are the cheap ones, but it’s aware how silly they are. But to add more suspense to the film is the excellent and creepy score that lingers through the film and adds to the uneasiness of it. What it also does well is how it makes you think you have a grasp of where the film is going but then it takes some turns and goes somewhere else. Daniel Kaluuya provides an excellent breakthrough performance as Chris as the very rare male lead, and even more rare is the fact that he’s a male lead that’s likable and someone to root for. Even in moments where Chris shows a vulnerable side, Kaluuya conveys very rich and genuine emotions. When you think about it, the components I just mentioned are a rare find for a lead male in a horror film. He’s portrayed as some sexy, CW tough guy, he comes off as real and like your average lead. Allison Williams does fine with the role as Rose, she’s pretty basic, even in the end when everything gets crazy, but she’s far from bad. Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener star as Rose’s parents and both knock it out of the park. Most especially Keener in her one-on-one scenes with Chris as she psychoanalyzes and hypnotizes him. They have this way of making you feel so unsettled and that helps you get put in Chris’ shoes. LilRel Howery plays Chris’ friend Rod who provides much of the comic relief of the movie, but instead of being just the comic relief for the movie he does show concern for his friend when necessary and actually does something to try and help him find out what’s going on.

While I didn’t love Get Out nearly as much as most do (it’s not worth 100% in my opinion on Rotten Tomatoes), but it is a well-done and fresh horror film that offers something new to the genre in terms of how things flow, emotions, the portrayal of the male lead, and great acting.

-Cody Landman