Killer Party: HAPPY DEATH DAY (2017) Review

Bitchy sorority girl Tree wakes up one morning in a boy’s dorm room, it’s her birthday and she dreads every minute of it. It’s established that she and her other sorority sisters are snobs and no one likes her. On her way to a party that night she is killed by a masked killer, she then wakes up the next day and realizes she’s living out the same day she had. Every day she continues to be killed until she makes it her mission to find out who her killer is and break the chain.

Happy Death Day follows the typical formula that Groundhog Day started, living the same day over and over, and ultimately trying to become a better person or change your life in the progress. This film adds a fun slasher to the mix. And it massively succeeds. The repeated day thing may seem tired by this point in time after countless other films. But this twist on it makes it stand out more than other films that take the formula too seriously. In terms of the slasher aspects, there is so much to enjoy here because it plays out like a good old-fashioned slasher film. It even has certain scenes that give slight homages to other slasher films. The fact that our protagonist doesn’t die the same way is a blessing. Each kill scene sets itself up differently and it feels as if we are watching your average slasher film but it’s basically a one-woman show (with a couple of exceptions where an occasional extra person is killed). The chase/kill scenes are also so brilliantly executed, thrilling, and well-done that it almost makes up for lost time with the lack of slashers we’ve had. I also don’t know if this was intentional, but throughout the film Tree begins to change as a person, and it ultimately builds her up to develop a full-on final girl persona. She starts out as your stereotypical bitchy girl in a slasher and goes through several personas along the way. The killer at hand is pretty creepy, and the actor playing the killer nails the physicality. This also isn’t a full-on serious slasher completely, there are several points where it is clearly having fun with itself, and this also works to its advantage. The film is definitely comical at times as well.

Because there is repetitiveness involved, it does an excellent job of keeping the viewer engaged by switching its gears so it’s not a complete retread of everything. And in true slasher formula, we have plenty of suspects to go around, and it succeeded in keeping me guessing, and even when you think you have it, it throws some good curveballs at you. For what it is, it’s actually a very clever and well-written script. Yes, the PG-13 rating can come off as a bummer at times, but you know what, it didn’t bother me because it offered more than enough to make up for a lack of extreme violence and blood. As far as the cast goes, newcomer Jessica Rothe turns in one hell of an excellent breakthrough performance. As I mentioned, Tree goes through different personas through the film on her way to becoming a new person, and Rothe kicks ass at it. Even when she’s playing the bitch at the start you still kind of love her, and she really makes you root for tree along the way. Rothe also shares some pretty great on-screen chemistry with Israel Broussard as Carter, the boy whose room she keeps waking up in. We see their chemistry grow throughout the film and you do find yourself secretly rooting for them to end up together, and Rothe’s and Broussard’s chemistry really sell it. Broussard also turns in a solid and charming performance and brings some life to the film.

Happy Death Day is a fresh take on the slasher genre while still giving us what we love about slasher films. It’s fun, thrilling, well-written and directed, and a lead that goes through one hell of a great arc and is just as well-developed. On top of that we get a great performance from Jessica Rothe as the lead and the charming performance from her male counterpart.

–Cody Landman

Empty House: AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING (2017) Review

A young teen moves with her mother, younger sister, and twin comatose brother into the infamous Amityville house. She’s unaware of the house’s history until two classmates inform her of this. The more she begins to find out about the house, the more similarities she begins to see of the events that are now happening and surrounding her brother.

Plain and simple, this movie is terrible. The script is terribly and thinly written, the dialogue is terrible and laughable as well as the acting. Having said that, it often works as campy fun. The campy dialogue and acting is just so amusing to watch. For a Weinstein produced film, everything just feels so much like an Asylum produced film. Even down to the terribly cheesy music. I will admit though that it does have some occasional creepy images, but nothing that we haven’t seen a million times before. The final act is extremely lackluster and anti-climactic, and actually a little boring. It really is no wonder this never got released because this movie is just so lazy and half-assed. At one point in the movie a character insists on bringing over the original Amityville Horror film for the lead girl and another classmate to watch at 3:15 a.m. Earlier in the film he shows her the DVD case, but when he and the classmate come over he shows the DVD again, the sequel (which he clarifies is a prequel), and then pulls out the remake (to which the lead and their other friend scoff at and respond how remakes suck). Uber and ridiculous meta scene like this were hilariously bad in how on the nose it was trying to be.

As far as the two friends of the lead, they basically don’t serve any real purpose other than to sit around and inform her of the house with references to the movies and book, and then there is the obligatory scene where the lead confesses her sins to her girl friend. As mentioned, the acting is just terrible and campy, especially by Jennifer Jason Leigh and I think even Cameron Monaghan was in on the joke as well. Bella Throne, I have no idea whether she was trying to camp it up or if she was naturally being her terrible acting self, but it’s amusing watching her try. The only two who don’t seem to be camping it up are McKenna Grace (who absolutely shined in this year’s indie drama Gifted), as Bella Thorne’s younger sister. She’s charming and cute in her kid role so you can’t really hate on her. The other is Jennifer Morrison in the small role as Thorne’s aunt. And it’s not that Morrison is taking it seriously, but she seems genuinely bored here, as if this was the worst favor she owed someone. I don’t know if she actually did a owe a favor somewhere, but for an actress who plays THE lead on the hit show Once Upon a Time (and is really good on that), you have to wonder if something is up. Kurtwood “Red Foreman” Smith also turns in some camp in his small role.

Yes, this movie is freaking terrible and I would never genuinely recommend it, but if you want to watch a brutally and hilariously bad movie to make fun of, then this is your movie.

–Cody Landman

Killer Christmas: BETTER WATCH OUT (2017) Review

Better Watch Out tells the story of a young babysitter named Ashley who goes over to babysit 12-year-old Luke one winter night. Eventually the night becomes one of terror when psychopathic home invaders come into the picture. But this isn’t just an average home invasion.

There are many twists and turns that come about during this new winter/Christmas horror film, and many of them are extremely affective. This is thanks to one very clever script. The first half of the movie plays out like a straight up horror film, but then it takes a sudden turn becomes a black comedy horror. Much of the horror that happens in this last half, as well as some of the actions and dialogue from the characters can at times be pretty messed up but you can’t help but find bits of humor in it, usually with how over-the-top it chooses to go. And I don’t mean over-the-top in a bad way. Having said that there are certain moments where it does lose its steam and kind of starts to slow down and often times feel repetitive. The movie is under an hour and a half, but I almost feel like it could have been shorter, or if they had made it longer, at least have had more going on. Another issue I had with it was that there were certain plot and character elements that I wish would have been delved into more. Some things were also brought up but never expanded upon. At least if the script would have covered more of this it would have least given more to go off of instead feeling repetitive or static in some of the scenes. Despite these few things, I had a really fun time with this movie. It brings in the Christmas feel really well, and it offers some great nods to other Christmas classics (Black Christmas and Home Alone in particular), and then the occasional slasher film nods, with some feels of Funny Games and Scream getting thrown in.

More than anything, the film relies entirely on the cast to carry the movie, and their performances are all top-notch. Olivia DeJonge is great as our main girl in how she captures Ashley’s witty and clever personality. She is someone you are rooting for, but I really wish she had been able to do more physically and be able to really boast that final girl strength. Levi Miller is brilliant in this showing Luke’s clever personality, but also showing that he still is a kid despite the tough demeanor he tries to show. Reuniting with DeJonge after playing brother and sister in 2015’s The Visit is Ed Oxenbould as Luke’s best friend Garrett. I wasn’t a fan of him in The Visit because I found him really annoying more than anything, but in this he actually has more to work with than just the annoying kid who raps everything. Even though they are in supporting roles, a huge shout out has to be made to Virginia Madsen and Patrick Warburton who offer some of the more full-on comedic moments in the film as Luke’s parents.

I admit this review was very difficult to write and might come off dry or vague, but really that’s because this movie is so hard to write about without giving away spoilers.

This is a little flawed, but fun and twist-filled movie to add to the winter and Christmas horror inventory. It’s a fresh and original story with great performances by the cast that’s definitely worth checking out.

–Cody Landman


Have you celebrated Christmas in October yet? We are giving away the gifts for you slasher fans all year round! This month, purchase Dismembering Christmas on either DVD or limited edition VHS and receive a FREE 11×17 SIGNED Dismembering Christmas poster with artwork created by Austin Hinderliter. These won’t last long so get pick up your copy with free poster today!

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


Dismembering Christmas DVD

Dismembering Christmas VHS

Dismembering Christmas VHS Options

Like Dismembering Christmas on Facebook:
Dismembering Christmas Facebook

Killer Toys: CULT OF CHUCKY (2017) Review

After being accused of murdering her family in the previous film, Nica is committed to a mental institution where she hopes she can recover from the memories of the murderous doll, Chucky. But when a Good Guy doll gets delivered to the hospital, it’s not too long before Chucky himself returns to wreck havoc on the hospital.

Following the heels of the pretty successful and well-received Curse of Chucky, Cult of Chucky goes in a different direction than the previous films. In the last film, Chucky is back to more of his roots from the original trilogy. In this film it becomes a pretty decent hybrid of those films, along with the comedy of Bride of Chucky. However it doesn’t go as completely over-the-top as Bride. Chucky still works to be terrifying, but he also brings in some good one-liners. Now, the one things that massively sets it apart from the other films is that it’s an extremely strange entry. Throughout most of the film you’ll find yourself wondering what the hell is going on, and possibly even wondering if what you’re seeing is real or some kind of delusion. By the end of the movie, there will be some questions that you’ll have remaining, but nothing terribly plaguing. Don Mancini does his best to make sure you are at least left with enough to occupy your mind until the next film (hopefully) happens.

The final act is just one wild, fun, intense, and crazy ride. In terms of kills, they’re pretty sparse, but when they happen, most are pretty gnarly and well-crafted. There’s one death scene in particular that is kind of a throwback to a kill from one of the past films, but the scene itself is so well-filmed and almost mesmerizing to watch. If anything, one of the film’s biggest flaws is that none of the characters are really well developed at all, and you really don’t care much about them. There are a couple of characters that you do kind of develop a liking for, but again, there isn’t a whole lot to them to where you are hardcore rooting for them to live. Fiona Dourif returns as Nica, and she does one hell of a job in this film, even more so than in Curse. Throughout the movie, Nica questions her sanity, and Dourif nails it. Towards the end is when Dourif gets to a little more fun with her role and it’s actually really fun to watch her relish in those moments. As always Brad Dourif does excellent voice work as Chucky, no surprise there. Besides these two characters, we have a couple of returning characters from the series whom, while not in it a whole lot, still deliver and sell their roles in it and easily provide some of the better scenes.

NOTE: Watch through the credits, there is a bonus scene with another surprise appearance that I’ve been wanting to see happen and got so damn excited when I saw it.

Cult of Chucky will probably be the most polarizing entry in the series. I personally enjoyed it for how different it was, and it definitely ended with me wanting more, so hopefully Mancini will make another one. Despite some pretty uninteresting new characters, it is the returning characters that really sell the film. Along with this, the kills are pretty solid, and it is very well-filmed.

–Cody Landman

A Remake That Isn’t D.O.A.: FLATLINERS (2017) Review

Five medical students begin to experiment with death when they each have their hearts stopped in order to experience the after life and then be brought back to life again. They all see this something incredible, and they suddenly have these heightened abilities. But eventually the group comes to realize there’s more to death than they expect.

I wasn’t a fan of the original film apart from the general concept and the great cast. It was definitely offered more of a thought-provoking drama than thrills. When I saw the remake was coming, I didn’t have very high expectations. I was actually very surprised with this one. The first half of the movie plays out very much like the original with similar scenes and even a bit of dialogue. This first half was fun and it allowed the cast to really let their characters shine and show their chemistry with each other as they celebrate their discovery and their new refreshed lives. But halfway through the movie it pulls an extremely huge plot turn I was actually shocked by and didn’t see coming at all. It’s at this point where the remake suddenly becomes its own thing while still having the essence of the original. Where the original and this one differ most especially is the fact that this one is first and foremost a horror film. Is it a fantastic one? No. There are some very formulaic horror moments, but it’s very clear this is all in fun. Some of these moments and have definitely been done before but they still provide enough thrills and don’t go nearly as over-the-top and jump scare heavy as I was anticipating. For being almost two hours long, it actually moves at a pretty steady pace, and again this is thanks to the mid point turn which helps break up the film and give it a new tone. From a filmmaking standpoint, it’s extremely well-filmed and often has some great visuals, most particularly in the after life sequences. The characters are pretty likable and you do have some care about them. Along with this, the cast does a great job, most especially Ellen Page and Nina Dobrev. And newcomer Kiersey Clemons also turns in a solid performance. If anyone of the cast needed more to do it was Diego Luna, he was painted the sensible one of the group but he wasn’t given enough to really push out a stronger performance.

While I personally much preferred this version of Flatliners to the original (though I will say the performances were stronger in the original), it’s still not a great horror film. But for a Fall/early October horror film it delivers in being fun and entertaining with a great cast and likable characters. The original film may be more of a thought provoking drama, but this version takes the same ideas but puts them in a fun horror film.

–Cody Landman

Eating On Empty: JEEPERS CREEPERS 3 (2017) Review

Taking place between the first and second film, Jeepers Creepers 3 follows Sergeant Tubbs from the first film aiding a sheriff with knowledge of the Creeper. Meanwhile, an elderly woman grieving the death of her son at the hands of the Creeper, learns the Creeper is on his way to take back something stolen from him, and now must protect her granddaughter. These two stories will collide when the Creeper shows up once again to feed.

After going through many re-writes and controversy, Victor Salva’s sequel finally saw the light of day. Unfortunately, it was a very poor sequel. And if anything they should have gone with the original script involving the return of Trish Jenner from the first film. Instead we are given one doozy and mess of a script. For starters, as mentioned, this is a prequel to 2 and a sequel to 1. So basically Jeepers Creepers 1.5. The script is bloated with too many characters, some being extremely pointless, and it’s completely all over the place. If anything it should have just stuck with the cop story line. The storyline with Meg Foster as the grandmother just felt unneeded. I say this because with her storyline she learns much of the background of the Creeper and how to defeat him, but the kicker to that is, they learn it, but we don’t. We don’t even get a smidge of an idea. The film also lacks the thrills and fun of the previous films. The Creeper isn’t even as scary or threatening as he was. However, the infamous truck returns and acts as the new menace of the film as much as it was in the first movie. But this time the truck is shown to be more than just a truck. So even the truck gets developed more than the Creeper. As far as characters, besides Foster’s character, Stubbs, and Sheriff Tashtego are the only characters who are given really anything to do and have some interesting characteristics. The actors playing them also are serviceable. The granddaughter is utterly pointless and boring as all she does is scream and run and act shy around her crush. The actress herself is just as lifeless. The guy who plays her crush just spends the whole movie with a mopey look on his face. Then we are given this group who are aware of the Creeper and have lost loved ones to him that seek out to kill him. These characters could have offered so much to the story but aren’t developed really at all.

The look of the film is pretty dreadful in that many of the night or early morning scenes you can’t hardly see a thing. Not only this but it features some weak editing and some of the most laughable slow motion scenes I’ve seen. There are some creepy moments with the Creeer but nothing that compares to those in the first two films. The film does features some nice connections to the first film including the urban legend of the two prom goers. When it does connect to the 2nd film it raises a certain amount of inconsistency questions, and from there we are lead a final scene as prelude to an actual sequel. And unfortunately even that was tarnished with how tacked on it felt and how horrible the dialogue is in it by the character involved. The whole film is filled with bad dialogue in all honesty. If there was one major saving grace in the film besides the presence of the truck it’s the as always terrific performance by Jonathan Breck as the Creeper, even if the Creeper isn’t as menacing as before. As much as I wasn’t expecting too much going into this, I was really disappointed by just how bad this turned out.

–Cody Landman

FREE Domestic Slasher Studios Shipping Ends 9/30

Ready to have a killer fall? From now until September 30th, we are offering FREE U.S./Canada shipping on our Don’t Go to the Reunion limited edition blu-rays. Only 200 of these have been printed (with only a small handful left) and each one is hand numbered for a special collector’s touch. Featuring exclusive extras not available anywhere else, don’t miss your last chance to down our first slasher feature in glorious HD. Make it a killer bundle and add on a Dismembering Christmas DVD for just $10, simply use the drop down menu below.

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)

Don’t Go to the Reunion

Like, Share, Die: FRIEND REQUEST (2017) Review

As I pulled up to the theater, I was welcomed by a giant, red poster reading “evil is trending”. Solely from that, I assumed I was in for a good time during the new film by Simon Verhoeven (no relation to Paul).

As soon as I was greeted with seemingly hundreds of photos on our protagonist’s Facebook account, my assumption was verified. Boasting a very enthusiastic “Thumbs up!” instead of the world-renowned ‘like’ button, we spend upwards of three minutes staring at a girl’s Facebook account and intercutting with footage of her jogging. I was hooked from the first frame.

Laura Woodson (Alycia Debnam Carey) is a young, hip college student living with her friends in an apartment in the city. She soon receives a friend request (don’t worry, we get our fill of characters saying those two words throughout the film to remind you that you indeed ARE watching a film called “Friend Request”) from a classmate named Marina Mills (Liesl Ahlers). A quiet artist who miraculously has the skills of a Studio Ghibli animator, Marina spends most of her time alone with no friends, and for very good reason.

Soon after Laura politely accepts Marina’s request, she finds herself stalked and followed by the obsessive student. As Marina’s obsession gets out of control, Laura begins to back off. Following an altercation between the two, Marina then takes her own life and begins to haunt and pick off Laura’s group of friends until they can find a way to end her reign.

There is no shortage of hilarity here. With one character’s fate left entirely up in the air (despite being a moderately large plot-point throughout the film), devolving into a psycho-stalker Lifetime film in the last act, a college student who I mistook for a character’s mom when she appeared on screen, some of the most hilariously expository dialogue I’ve heard in years, and apparently a psychic reference to Hillary Clinton’s “delete your account” tweet, you’ll have as good a time as I had.

There is a rating system used by Dave White from Linoleum Knife. There’s the half star movie which you should never see, and the zero star movie that you should run, not walk, to see on the biggest screen possible. Although not quite earning a zero, due to a nice lead performance and some interesting shots, Friend Request would fall into the latter category.

Get a group of friends together to enjoy the hilarity of the situations alongside you. Don’t be Marina sitting alone in the theater.

–Noah Nicholas Nelson

Halloween Horrors: THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 (2017) Review

Picking up where the last film left off, we discover that the thrill-seeking crew have been rescued and were part of a mere ultimate scare. A year later the group is out to explore more of America’s greatest haunted attractions. But they then find that once again they may be stalked by the group known as the Blue Skeleton who stalked them in the last film.

I was a pretty big fan of the original film and it has since become one my must-watch films in October. When the unexpected announcement of the sequel came a mere couple of months ago, I was interested but not expecting much. Thank god my expectations were low. The majority of this movie isn’t even horror, it feels so much more like some kind of fun documentary you’d find on T.V. about different haunted attractions in America, and in that sense it’s pretty fun. Hell, they visited a couple of places in my own state that I hadn’t heard about. Even some of the other ones they visited looked fun. The first film had this aspect sure, but at least it still felt like a movie and had some creepy and horror elements sprinkled throughout. We finally get to the horror in the last 15/20 minutes of the movie, and some of it is a little creepy, but also feels a bit lacking and goes too fast. And then…we are given a stupid, nonsensical ending that makes this feel like such a pointless movie. Hell, not going to a lie I was even a bit confused as to what this purpose was and just left me with a bunch of questions as to how this was all being set-up. The original felt simplistic and left you with no questions about the motivations of the villains or any questions in general that left you aggravated. While the same characters from the first film return, they aren’t as interesting, nor do you care about them, except for maybe the girl, but even she is very one-note the whole time.

As mentioned, this movie works to give you some fun ideas on what to do during the great month of October, but as a horror movie, it doesn’t even feel like that even when the horror does come at the very last minute. Pretty pointless movie in the long run, all the way down to its plot. It should have been left with the creepy ending of the first film.

–Cody Landman