From the Mind of Master Imaginationist Crystal Connor ~"A Trusted Name in Terror."

The Darkness, Artificial Light, In The Valley of Shadows

DVD Pick of the Week Archives

11/12/10: INSIDE
1st up Jeff Mahler’s 2006 Inside

Plot line: The main character in Jeff Mahler’s 2006 Inside is Alex has disturbing hobby. He likes to follow strangers. One night Alex takes things too far when he sneaks into a home and gets caught...instead of calling the police, the couple, fascinated by his resemblance to their dead son Timmy, ask him to stay. As the grieving couple begins to believe that Alex really is Timmy, he finds himself trapped in a horrifying existence of desperation, despair, and insanity--and Josie, suspicious of Alex's sudden disappearance, is his only chance at escape...
Scariness Factor: Is off the fucking chain, this well thought out low budget film is more terrifying than William Goldman’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery
Gross-Out Factor: N/A
Complaints: The only thing I did not like was the graininess of the film but that took nothing away from this little gem.
High Points: Like in Misery Alex is confined to a wheelchair, so he can't just run away. The thing I love this most is how the kidnappers convince 1st a priest and then a doctor that the person they have captive is actually their son and just the horrible realization and hopelessness that Alex feels as he realizes that he may be trapped inside this house forever.
Personal Commentary: One of my favorite scenes is when Alex is in the bath tub and the mother goes into the bathroom and closes the door, she is furious that Alex keeps trying to tell her that he is NOT her dead son Timmy. We don't get to see what she does to punish him, but its easy to guess by Alex's screams, splashing water and gurgling sounds.
Stars: 5 Stars
Where I rented it: Blockbuster

Our next nightmare is courtesy of Alexandre Bustillo’s 2007 À l'intérieur (American translation: Inside)

Plotline: Four months after the death of her husband, a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.
** I don’t think I have ever put a warning disclaimer on a movie that I have reviewed but in this case it’s warranted. **
Scariness Factor: I’m not really sure about what’s happening on the other side of the pond with our UK cousins but this movie is outright brutal. As gut wrenching as writer/director James Watkins’ 2008 Eden Lake is, by far À l'intérieur is far worse. Bustillo uses lighting, shadows, and music to create an atmosphere of terror that is all consuming and it will continue to effect you hours after the movie is over.

Gross-Out Factor: Not really gross but gory because it has to be.
Complaints: N/A
High Points: I love the fast pace and how Bustillo uses the lighting.
Personal Commentary: The main character, Sarah, is nine months pregnant and her baby is due in 3 days. When something bad happens to Sarah we get to see how the baby in the womb is responding to the assault. When Sarah is being pulled thru the hallway by her hair, the camera goes thru Sarah’s stomach to show the baby distressed and crying…it’s really cool.
Stars: 5 Stars
Where I rented it: Blockbuster online
Both of these movies explore the monstrous things parents are capable of for the love of a child


Plotline: Sinister things begin happening to kidnappers who are holding a young boy for ransom in a remote cabin.
Scariness Factor: 41/2 out 5 Stars
Gross-Out Factor: N/A
Complaints: I think the alternative ending should have been the real ending but other than that it was pretty much perfect.
High Points: Christopher Borrelli’s 2007 Whisper creates a lot of tension as he builds the story around the stolen child, from the beginning of the movie you hate the kidnappers but once the story unfolds itself you start to feel sorry for them.
Personal Commentary: I super loved this movie, I watched it 3 times, but I do not want to say too much because I don’t want to give anything away, but if you like the trailer the movie is a thousand times better!
Stars: 5
Where I rented it: Netflix


Plotline: In Germany, two American women and a Japanese man fall victim to a demented surgeon who plans to recreate a horrific operation with humans that he performed on his three beloved dogs: reverse-engineering Siamese triplets by attaching their digestive systems.
Scariness Factor: It’s not too scary, at 1st...
Gross-Out Factor: It’s pretty high on a 1 to 5 scale the gross out factor is a 5
Complaints: The two American girls and the fucking police! 1st of all how in the hell don’t you know how to change a fucking tire and for all of you who are thinking about traveling abroad stay in the fucking city if you don’t know where the hell you are. I don’t know what kinda cops leave a house to come back with a warrant without any kind of back up or radio communication. Do you? Yeah, didn’t think so.
High Points: Once you get past the gross out factor you really start to feel for these people who have found themselves in the most unimaginable horrendous situation and are fighting to survive.
Personal Commentary: Writer & Director Tom Six got it right with the ending because as the ending credits roll the only thing you’ll be left with is hope and despair which are fucked up feelings to have both at the same time and it’s the only time that The Human Centipede is truly frightening.
Stars: 4 Stars out of 5
Where I rented it: Blockbuster

9/5 MAY

Plotline: May (Angela Bettis) is an awkward, lonely young woman who had a troubled childhood due to her "lazy eye" which caused her to feel abnormal and out of place. As a little girl, May's mother takes her to an eye doctor, who suggests that May wear an eye patch to correct her vision. Unfortunately, this only encourages the other children to make fun of her, most notably on their first day of school, when one of her fellow students asks her if she is a pirate. She has very few social interactions with people throughout her life with her only "true friend" being a glass-encased doll named Suzy made by her mother and given to May for her birthday. After presenting her with the gift, her mother tells her, "If you can't find a friend, make one."
Scariness Factor: I’m gonna give it about a 3 ½ or 4. What makes May scary is the things that we do to each other as people and the things we are willing to do for companionship.
Gross-Out Factor: N/A
Complaints: N/A
High Points: What I really liked about this film is that it takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride. At times May is sweet and enduring, it’s funny and stressful, but for the most part it’s frightening and heart wrenching. The soundtrack rocks!
Personal Commentary: May was a movie that was recommended by one of my followers and though I posted somewhere on my blog that I was done taking follower suggestions after being traumatized from watching “The Stoning of Soraya M.” I’m really glad that May was suggested. Actually I'm glad both movies were suggested. I never heard of this movie and if I had seen the cover in a video store I wouldn’t have rented it.
Stars: 5 stars out of 5. I watched it twice.
Where I rented it: Blockbuster Online


Plotline: Alice Spages is a withdrawn 12-year-old girl who lives with her mother, Catherine, and her younger sister, Karen. Karen gets most of the attention from her mother, and Alice is often left out of the spotlight. But when Karen is found brutally murdered in a church before her first holy communion, all suspicions are turned towards Alice. But is a twelve-year-old girl really capable of such savagery? As more people begin to die at the hands of a merciless killer, Alice becomes more and more likely of a suspect.
Scariness Factor: The scariness factor in this movie is amazing. Director Alfred Sole uses lighting, music, the tension between the people in the movie, and suspense to crank up the fear. Another thing that is done really well is what your seeing is really not what’s going on.
Gross-Out Factor: N/A
Complaints: N/A
High Points: Alice is, no doubt a monster, her treatment of other people is alarming. Her tantrums and outburst will have you screaming quotes from Proverbs 23:13-14 and her mother’s denial will make you dizzy…and the thing is Alice knows this about her self. From early in the movie it seems like all Alice desperately wants is to take communion, as if this will be the very thing to save her. It’s extremely painful to watch her denied communion not once but twice. And on top of all we find out that this Alice is not the villain in this movie.
Personal Commentary: Alice Sweet Alice is the kind of horror films I grew up watching, which is why I have no patience sloppy storytelling, half ass directing and remakes of movies that should have never been made in the 1st place.
This is a slasher film but unlike most of the crap that is produced today that heavily relies on blood, gore, and nudity to hide the fact that you’re watching a movie that sucks because there's no plot or storyline…Alice Sweet Alice is a well thought out theatrical movie with excellent character development and compelling plot.

Bravo placed Alice Sweet Alice 89 on their 100 scariest movie moments for this scene…

However I vehemently disagree. The most frightening scene is the last scene, once we fully understand what has happened, once we see how close Alice was to her salvation, and then left to image what the rest of her life has in store for her.
Stars: 5 Stars
here I rented it:


Eden Lake
Plotline: When a young couple goes to a remote wooded lake for a romantic getaway, their quiet weekend is shattered by an aggressive group of local kids. Rowdiness quickly turns to rage as the teens terrorize the couple in unimaginable ways, and a weekend outing quickly becomes a bloody battle for survival.
Scariness Factor: Is cranked way up! This is got to be one of the disturbing & frightening movies I have recently seen because the monsters in this movie are children and the things they’re doing is unbelievable.
Gross-Out Factor: N/A
Complaints: None
High Points: What I liked the most about Eden Lake is that, not your average run-of-the-mill city slickers lost in the woods movies, is that most of Eden is shot during the day. The breath taking beautify of the wilderness offers a stark contracts to these children’s wild and brutal behavior. Another thing that director James Watkins does really well is point out how much Janie (our leading lady) loves kids and when she has to defend herself from them, even though she doesn’t have a choice, it doesn’t sit well with her. One of the closing lines in Eden Lakes is “but they’re just children.” Which they are and that’s what makes Eden Lake all the more chilling.
Stars: 5 Stars
Where I rented it: Blockbuster


House of the Devil
Winner of the 2009 “Best Feature Film” for the Birmingham Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, winner of the 2009 “Festival Trophy” award for Screamfest and winner of the 2010 “Producers Award” Independent Spirit Award.
Plotline: In the 1980s, college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret; they plan to use her in a satanic ritual.
Scariness Factor: Is off the scale! It’s extremely creepy and suspenseful in the way of John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween, the 1st Friday the 13th on Crystal Lake, and Fred Walton’s 1979 When a Stranger Calls! There are some really good “jump” scares and if you’re like me, you’ll be screaming warnings to the babysitter not to go in that damn attic!
Gross-Out Factor: There is only one part in House of the Devil that is kinda gross, it’s towards the end of the movie during the ritual.
Complaints: N/A
High Points: The House of the Devil was filmed in 2009, but watching it you’ll swear it’s an 80’s horror film. To help with the illusion of time travel there are a couple of actor’s that starred in older horror films that we all grew up watching and loved.
Overall: There is a reason why House of the Devil is an award winner, this is a scary film with a well thought out plot and the fact that the film makers takes us back in time a full decade, with feathered hair, high waste jeans, smoking inside restaurants and a tape player walk-man to do so is flawless.
Stars: 5 Stars!
Where I rented it: Blockbuster

As I said when I reviewed a movie called “I Sell the Dead” I do not like my horror & comedy blended together. With that being said David Bruckner’s, Jacob Gentry and Dan Bush’s 2007 The Signal is a phenomenal movie.

What sold me is The Signal is told is within three genres, which they brake-up into “Transmissions” and the end result is three little movies that when put together tell a whole viciously brutal story.

The 1st part of Signal is straight up Horror and it’s told in Horror’s perfect form. The opening scene looks a 70’s horror movie, and just as your about to look at the cover of the DVD to make sure you’ve got the right movie we find out it’s a movie there’re watching because all of a sudden the TV loses its signal.

We’re introduced to Maya & Ben two people who are clearly in love…but we find out the woman is married and Ben is not her husband. After realizing the time Maya tries to call her husband but her phone is dead and so is Ben’s house phone, so she flees from his apartment to race home. On her way she notices that things are “off” somehow and when she gets home we see why she’s having an affair. Her husband Lewis is large, brooding, and has a short temper and it’s clear she is afraid of him. It’s a slow and intense build-up before we’re thrown into full-blown madness and learn the signal on the TV is a transmission and it’s being broadcast over every single TV, radio station, and phone. And it’s turning men into monsters.

The 2nd part of Signal is comedy. It’s so over the top, dark and vulgar it’s disturbing, and it’s also the most violent and gory part of this film. You guys all know that I am not a big fan of gore for gore’s sake but by offsetting the outrageous satire with the excessive violence is what sold me. And sold me in a big way.

The last part of Signal threw me for a loop. It’s scary, suspenseful, and somehow romantic. Actually The Signal’s under current is a love story, the whole movie revolves around Maya and the two men who love her. Her husband’s love has turned dark, obsessive, and dangerous while her lover Ben’s love is pure, patient and romantic. All throughout Signal we watch Maya and Ben have flash backs of each other and we follow their horrific journey as they to try and find each other in a horrific world that has gone utterly mad.

This movie really worked for me. I really like the way Signal break between genres to let you know there is going to be a change of pace so I am giving it 5 Stars

But wait there’s more….

So remember I told you that the opening scene looks like a 70’s horror movie? Well it is…sort of. The movie used in the opening of Signal is a little film called “The Hap Hapgood Story” And it’s featured in the DVD extra’s. It a short film only 10 minutes long but is one of the most frightening movies I have seen in a long time.

Hapgood pays homage to the horror movies of the 70’s it’s the kind of horror I grew up with and it’s the type of horror that I prefer.

“The Hap Hapgood Story” scared me more than The Signal so it also gets 5 Stars

That’s a 40-dollar value!

There are three other short films included on the DVD they are all shorter versions and different perspectives of the feature film and each is called Transmissions. Transmission 14: Technical Difficulties, Transmission 23: The Return and Transmission 37: Crosstown Traffic. My favorite of the three is Transmission 23: The Return but all of them are pretty brutal.

5 Stars for Transmission 23: The Return and 3 ½ Stars for Transmissions 14 & 34

6/26: Made in Hong Kong.

Believe it or not my best friend Star and I spent our beautiful sunny Seattle days last year indoors watching movies imported from Asia. We watched “Old Boy” 5 Stars, “Cello” 5 Stars, “No Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” 5 Stars, “Time” 5 Stars, “A Tale of Two Sisters” 5 Stars…way too many to list here and by far our favorite was a movie called “The Curse of the Golden Flower” 5 Stars.

We were dazzled by the sheer beauty of the film and scandalized by it’s deep and complex plot. We both thought that this would be the be all end all of modern Chinese cinema, but then comes along a little movie called “The Legend of the Black Scorpion” This 2006 Huayi Brothers rendition of Shakespeare’s Hamlet was nominated for seven, count 'em seven Hong Hong Film Awards and there are no words that I can think of to describe its perfection.
5 Stars

Seen it all before.

I can handle indie films with poor lighting and strange “artistic” camera angles. I don’t need an all-star cast, outstanding special effect, or a million dollar production movie to be entertained.

However if I have to watch one more zombie movie with bad acting, a non-existing plot line, and a predictable ending I am going to shoot someone in the face.

Wolf Wolff’s 2008 Virus Undead (The Beast Within) not only gets Zero Stars but two thumbs down as well.

M. Brian King’s 2009 Night Train, not to be confused with Clive Barker’s 2009 The Midnight Meat Train (we’ll talk about that later) is super fun to watch because your not sure which genre your watching and your not even sure what year it is. A man boards a train, and it's apparent that his sick because he’s popping pills like its M&M’s, and another passenger gives him alcohol, and dun dun dun! He dies.

The man who gave him vodka opens the box the dead man is holding and sees diamonds inside. He convinces the other passenger in the car and the conductor to throw the body out of the train so they can keep & split the jewels. We soon find out that every person on that train and even the little Pomeranian have something to do with that damn box. We spend the next very stressful 91 minutes trying to figure out what the hell is going on, and what the hell is inside that box!

5 Stars.

No not the one from the Twilight saga…the other one.

In 2004 Mark Edward Robison released a film called Breaking Dawn. We are introduced to a young medical student who is assigned to psychiatric patient Don Wake as her final exam. At 1st she cannot get through to her patient because he would not speak to her, but when he finally starts talking her tells her about a man named Malachi who is watching them and warns her not to drink the coffee.

She dismisses his claims as delusions until she becomes aware of a man following her, complete strangers start to come up to her to warn her about Malachi, and then she shares his paranoia and stops drinking the coffee. Half way through the movie you can kinda see the ending coming but all and all it’s a decent little indie film that’s worth watching.

3 ½ Stars out of 5


Daniel P. Coughlin’s 2008 Farmhouse is such a kick ass hell of a ride that while I was watching it my neighbor feared for my safety and called the police.

I tend to scream warnings to the people on my TV…things like: NOT to go into the cellar, NOT to open the door, and ask them questions like: “Why are you just standing there, fucking run!

It was in one of these interactive parts of the film my next-door neighbor knew beyond all doubt that my life was in grave danger because I was advising the victim to “just fucking shoot him, you stupid son of a bitch! What the hell is wrong with you fucking shoot him!”

After explaining to the city of Des Moines police officers that yes I was in fact safe and not under the seize of a home invasion, I returned to my DVD.

I was completely (and pleasantly) surprised when Farmhouse did not turn out to be another cliché about travelers breaking down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and spending the night in the home of deranged idiots.

It has an amazing back-story and even if you’re looking thru the Hubble Telescope, you don’t see the ending coming. I haven’t been so pleased and entertained by a DVD since I reviewed The Collector. It’s a hell of a ride and I’m giving it 5 stars
5 out of 5 Stars

I can understand film makers wanting to capitalize on the success of the “docu-drama” style film making of The Blair Witch Project, but it’s been ten years, its time for a new idea.

Drew Goodard’s 2008 Cloverfield is set in New York. A group of friends get together to throw a surprise party for a friend who is taking a job in Japan. The idea is to film the party and give it to him as a going away present.

The festivities are interrupted with a loud explosion in downtown Manhattan, still feeling more than a bit jittery from the events of 2001 they immediately suspect a terrorist attack & their fears are confirmed as large projectiles rain down and began destroying the city! …or so they think.

What follows next is shaky footage and bad camera angles as the party goers flee the bldg to flood the streets w/others in their neighborhood to try and understand what is happening. All hell breaks loose when the head of the Statue of Liberty comes flying thru the air smashing bldgs and crushing cars and people before rolling to a stop in the middle of the street. There is a moment of surrealness as those that are not injured gather around to touch it and snap pix of it with their camera phones.

The group starts to wish that in was in fact a terrorist attack when they hear someone whisper “I saw it.” “It’s alive”, and “It’s huge.” The group attempts to leave Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge and while attempting to do so Rob gets a call from the woman he loves who’s pleading for help because she is trapped in her bldg…and then to make matters worse the bridge is smashed in half by the monsters tail sending countless of people plunging to their death! Including one of their own.

After escaping from the collapsing bridge watching their friend fall to his death, and being attacked by a monster the group is undoubtedly in a state of shock and horror but despite all this, Hud the man behind the camcorder, has the presence of mind to keep filming.

Rob follows a group of looters into an electronics store, his friends follow him and while Hud is trying to convince Rob its time to leave when he sees all the looters watching the news, and when he turns his cam to the flats screens streaming live news feeds everyone sees a giant monster being shot at by soldiers.

As if the idea of the city being attacked by a monster wasn’t hideous enough – its not alone, she’s brought her offspring…and they eat people. Rob finally finds the battery for his phone then charges to save Beth. His entourage chases Rob towards the mayhem trying to show him the errors of his ways when we’re treated to footage that could have be captured by a war correspondent embedded with the 2nd Brigade as the military races in guns blazing to fight the monster and her man eating babies.

The group manages to dodge the monster and bullets long enough to escape underground to the subway stations. Feeling relatively safe the group decides to walk the tracks to reach Beth. But just as the groups starts to feel safe…low and behold the creatures offspring escaped to the track tunnels as well. This is by far the best scene in the entire movie.

While running from the creature and her young, members of their group dropping off like flies, being caught in the crosshairs of a gunfight, in the middle of all the chaos and destruction they just keep filming.

These types of “lost footage” films have been done to death, there is nothing new and the endings are predictable.

I'm giving Cloverfield 1/2 a Star out of 5 and if that's not bad enough there are rumors of a sequel.

Ok guys this one threw me for a loop. Glenn McQuaid’s 2008 I Sell the Dead definitely fits within the Horror genre but it fits with the Comedy one too, actually I think it fits better within the Comedy slot much better. When I watch a horror film I expect the end result to have me be shooting at shadows & scared sleepless…so I was surprised to find myself watching an eerie little horror flick that, at times, had me laughing out loud.

With that being said all n all I Sell the Dead is not a bad movie. In the opening scene we see a Mr. William Grimes being put to death by the guillotine. In the next shot we are introduced to young Arthur Blake who is awaiting the same sentence. In his last hours of life Blake in comforted by Father Duffy, to whom he gives his last confession.

What unfolds is the story of how became to be a grave robber, of how Mr. Grimes was his mentor and friend, and how sometimes the dead are not dead.

There’s something for everyone…vampires, zombies and even an alien. The plot is interesting enough to keep you watching but at times they just go over the top with the slapstick.

This is a hard one to rate because I am not into comedy’s…but I liked it, and there where real moments of uncomfortable eeriness and there’s a nice twist to the identity of Father Duffy so I’m going to give it a 3 ¾ Stars out of Five


Everyone who knows me or anyone who’s surfed around on my blog knows that I am a huge fan of monsters in the traditional sense of the word. But sometimes monsters are men and when these men use and twist religion for their own personal gain these monsters are of the vilest of creatures.

Cyrus & Besty Giffen Nowrasteh’s 2008 The Stoning of Soraya M is based on a true story and extremely difficult to watch. We meet Soraya during a tribal divorce proceedings, her husband requested the divorce after meeting a 14-year girl whose rich father was to be put to death. Soroya’s contested the divorce not for her husband’s love but for child support for her children. Soroya’s aunt tries her best to protect her niece but in the village it’s a man’s world.

Not wanting to pay, her husband trumps up false charges of adultery – a crime punishable by death; by stoning. Her husband and the village spiritual leader force a widower to testify against her by threatening to imprison his mentally ill son.

When the “evidence” is presented to the village mayor he suspects a plot but village law ties his hand. When the village mayor asks God for a sign to show his displeasure of these trumped up charges he receives one…and ignores it. He is given another…and ignores it.

Our director Cyrus Nowrasteh doesn’t give us a break. He makes us watch every single time she is hit but her husband,watch every false accusation,watch every neighbor turn their back, watch her father disown his daughter and watch every…single…stone…thrown.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to stone someone to death?!??

This gets 5 Stars outta 5 but be forewarned this movie is not for the weak and squeamish.

Are you serious? A horror flick for the sake of horror? Thank God.

Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan’s 2009 The Collector takes us back to the nostalgic time when horror movies were really scary. For those of you who like hack and slash there’s something in it for you, for those of you who like a suspenseful plot twist (like me) there’s something in it for you too! But wait there’s more…for those of you who like it when the bad guy gets away and there is no happy ending this movie is for you!

The opening scene hooks you from the start and if you like kind of movie watcher who screams warnings at the people on the screen you’re in for a treat! The film then drops us off at a house under construction, with contractors from every union crawling around. We learn the homeowner are going away for a weekend holiday, and then we find out one of the workers was there to “case the joint” to commit the perfect cat burglary while the owners are way.

Our thief makes the perfect entry, goes right for the safe…and then discovers he is not the only one whose broken in and the other guy isn’t looking for the family jewels. What follows over the next 95 min. is reminisce of the original Friday the 13th and Halloween with just a squeeze of Saw (the 1st one). This movie is well done and a hell of a ride and scary as hell. I just hope they don’t fuck it up with a sequel!5 stars!

Final a kick ass Science Fiction Movie.

Duncan Jones’ 2009 Moon is a surprisingly refreshing Sci-Fi film that tells a haunting story without all the distractions of unnecessary special affects. From the opening scene we’re introduced to astronaut Sam Bell at the end of his three-year solitary contact on the moon, where he has been working as a contractor to harvest resources to help replenish the ones we’ve used up on earth. The entire movie takes place on the moon and the only characters are Sam and his computer that is more like a robot. Moon has a slow start but a powerful finish and paints an unsettling picture of what could happen if we continue to rape our planets resources and allow corporate greed and science exploration to continue unchecked.
This one earns 5 out of 5 stars!

This movie is fucking gross, creepy and downright terrorizing.=D

Mark A. Lewis created the all time monster movie with his 2009 “The Thaw” it comes out of one of my favorite horror film production houses Ghost House Underground. The Thaw is so effective at being unsettling because it deals with things that are happening right now…global warming; and the geological disaster/monster in this movie is not a hurricane, its not a funnel cloud, its not an earthquake – but a bug. For me this movie was extremely hard to watch because I suffer from acute Entomophobia - Fear of insects.

The 90% of this movie was view from between the cracks of my fingers and from behind my pillow but Lewis tells and interesting tale of how far a person will go to prove a point and the sacrifice others are willing to make to save Mother Earth. I’m giving The Thaw 4 1/2 out of 5 stars…only because its super creepy, and almost too scary to watch (for me anyway)

We’ve seen it all before.

And it began with Alejandro Guillermo Arriaga’s 2000 “Amores perros” (Life’s a Bitch), and then again with Christopher Nolan’s “Memento” in the same year. Greg Marcks gives us 11:14 in 2003, the following year Paul Haggis gives is “Crash” and to make sure the dead horse is thoroughly beaten in 2006 we return to Guillermo Arriaga who completes the cycle by giving us “Babel.”

All and All 11:14 is not a bad film. You’ll be asking WTF from the very 1st scene, and Greg Marcks does a really great job at keeping the characters storyline separated until the very end. And the story line is fast paced and at times witty. It gets 3 ½ out of 5 because this is a copycat idea.

1/28: HURT

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned” The quote by William Congreve is amplified a thousand-fold when the female betrayed is an 11 year old girl. Alison Lea Bingeman & Barbara Stepansky’s Hurt erase the line that divides the role of villain and victim while swiftly transitioning through the emotions of love, betrayal, hatred and vengeance.

The 2008 High Treason Productions races between the genres of Horror/ Thriller and Drama with the intensity of a world-class roller coaster but director Barbara Stepansky takes her time getting us there. Hurt is tense and its slow pace is what makes Hurt so sinister.

Hurt drops us off with the Coltrane family that is going thru turmoil after the death of the husband and we watch the mother Helen move her two teenage children Lenore & Conrad from a high-end home to a trailer out in the desert to live with her brother in law Darryl while they wait for the settlement check from the insurance company. It’s extremely hard to watch this family try to make the best of their circumstances.

Out of the blue the late husbands lawyer calls the Helen to explain that her husband was trying to save a foster child from an abusive household and promises a monthly settlement if she’ll take the girl in…but low and behold things start to spiral out of control once they take in 11-year old Sarah.

Because you’re so distracted with the controlling creepiness of Darryl, his obsession of his late brothers wife and the isolation of the desert setting you don’t see it coming so once the plot reveals itself to you it will leave you with the feeling that you’ve just been hit by a speeding truck.

We learn that Helen’s husband was not the knight and shining armor that Helen once believed him to be. Her husband had a second family and Helen is no random foster child, she’s his daughter. And from that revelation we see why it is that Hell has no fury like a woman scored.

Helen put all her hopes and dreams into her husband, her entire world revolved around him; likewise the greatness man on the face of the planet according to Sarah was her father her very one super hero that tucked her in and kissed her goodnight…and he betrayed them both. The disaster that results from this man’s selfish carelessness gives us a front row seat to witness the frightening apocalyptic power of the fury of a woman and girl betrayed.

This DVD gets a 4½ out of 5

The most horrifying and unsettling tale of Postpartum Depression since Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper Lars Jacobson’s Baby Blues is not for the timid.

From the opening scene you can tell something is horribly wrong and just 30 min into the movie you’ll start to feel as if you just slammed 2 Rockstars and chased it down with a 5-hour energy drink.

The 2008 Allumination Film Works production follows the rules of classic horror film shooting but it is clear that directors Lars Jacobson & Amardeep Kaleka graduated from Alfred Hitchcock’s school of suspense. The two beautifully create tangible, dangerous levels of stress and tension and don’t let up, not even after the movie ends.

In this visceral story we follow 10 year old Jimmy, the 1st born of the Williams family, as he tries to warn his father, get help for his mother and save his siblings. The scenes are shot up close –there are graphic and realistic, the acting of the children is heart wrenching and they get you hook, line and sinker.

The most horrendous thing about Jacobson’s Baby Blues is the clueless father who wants his wife barefoot and pregnant despite his son’s warning and regardless of the cost.

This DVD gets 4½ Stars out of 5

I’m not a fan of whodunits but this little gem made a lair outta me!