Film Review: ‘Contracted’

…Already blasted, she’s an easy mark for party crasher B.J. (Simon Barrett), who slips her a roofie and then has vigorous sex with her in a car outside. At first the only consequences of these hijinks are guilt and a monumental hangover, but soon Sam is bleeding (and shedding maggots) from various orifices, and suffering aural hallucinations, cramps, eye discoloration, loss of hair and teeth, et al. Her doctor can’t figure out what’s going on, beyond a certainty that it’s the result of some STD… Nevertheless, it succeeds within its very limited goal of simply chronicling one unfortunate young woman’s body going to hell over a few alarming days’ course, aided by Mayera Abeita’s discomfiting special makeup effects. While her character is never appealing on the inside, either, Townsend gamely throws herself into portraying Sam’s panic (and eventual violent anger) over such external decay. Tech/design contributions to England’s fourth feature are all solid on modest means.

-From the Variety review by Dennis Harvey

Well, we’re still going to see it.

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You’re Next Review

Here’s another You’re Next review for you! We’ve actually seen the movie (as of last night) and will be putting up our own review (short version: Horror Boom gives it a B+) but this is another one we agree with. Sadly, the movie isn’t doing quite as well in the theaters as expected, so if it’s playing locally and you want to see it, try to get that done soon. Plus, the fun factor goes up if you have a crowd… though, at our showing, it was one other couple and a dude by himself, and we all still had a great time.  Jump moments? Nothing that made me (the screamer in the group) scream or yelp, though a few times my hands kind of flew up jerkily in surprise. We didn’t see it for big jump scares, anyway.

 

The Horror Online

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Starring : Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen

Director : Adam Wingard

Writer : Simon Barrett

Released : August 20th

Shot in 2010 and released to the festival circuit in 2011, You’re Next the first feature film from Adam Wingward and Simon Barrett who collaborated for a vignette included in horror anthology V/H/S, has been a long time coming, though it feels as though I have been waiting much longer to find a horror film like this, it feels as though I’ve been waiting all my life – You’re Next is as scary as it is funny and as exciting as it is disturbing, it’s a smart wild ride of a horror movie that ticked all the boxes it needed to, to succeed. In short if I had met this film in a club I would have gone home with it.

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The film introduces us to the Davison Family…

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‘You’re Next’: How a group of indie filmmakers produced one of 2013’s most terrifying movies

…Lionsgate has made up for delaying the film’s release by diligently, and cleverly, promoting the movie… earlier this year posters for Lionsgate offerings were emblazoned with ghostly images of the movie’s masked maniacs. “I thought that was really brilliant,” says Wingard. “Simon and I are really only established filmmakers on the independent scene and by and large our cast is relatively unknown.  So it’s an interesting way for Lionsgate to say, ‘We’ve got a lot of faith in this movie,’ and juxtaposing it with things that do have name value… They’re just trying to find ways to make it something your everyday audience member can comprehend, just like using ‘Perfect Day’ in the trailer. They spent a lot of money putting that song in the trailer. Honestly, I think that trailer cost almost as much as the film.” At the recent Comic-Con in San Diego, Lionsgate distributed replicas of the You’re Next masks and the film received an unexpected publicity boost when Michael Fassbender appeared at the panel for X-Men: Days of Future Past wearing one. “That blew my mind,” says Wingard. “I don’t know what the deal is — or if he’s just passing a hint for You’re Next 2.”  (excerpt from the article)

If Adam Wingard directed it, we might consider seeing a horror movie about a giant, skinless, suburbia-terrorizing dog named Roger… Takashi Miike could probably have lots of fun with it, too. We are, however, going to do our best at pretending we never heard the term ‘Mumblecore‘ (also referred to later in the article as ‘Mumblegore’). Just our opini… ugh.  Other than that? A great, in-depth article that delves deeply not just into the making/producing of You’re Next, but the indie filmmakers behind it, and their background, thoughtfully written by Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly. The EW.com piece also carefully avoids spoilers. Enjoy!

[Simon] Barrett reveals they have a “cool idea” about how to turn You’re Next into a trilogy if the film makes the same impact nationally as it did at SXSW.  “A friend of mine came to see it at SXSW and had to walk out,” says  You’re Next actress Sharni Vinson. “I was completely in shock because this person is an actor themselves, so they know all the tricks of the trade and how this is obviously not real. I just thought ‘Wow, that’s awesome!’” (from the attached ew.com article)

An audience walkout (for the right reasons to a horror buff, i.e. needing to head to the lobby for a break to try to temporarily escape and calm down)? That’s a plus in our book. You’re Next opens August 23rd, and there’s plenty of chances to catch it before then (our piece here with the gallery has a ton of links) –even if you missed the pre-screenings, you can bet your ass there’ll be early showings on August 22nd. You may have much more of a hassle getting tickets and waiting in line, but you can bet the crowd reactions will be worth it, if you’re going because you love seeing a horror movie in a theater packed with like-minded fans who are not shy about expressing their enthusiasm. At Horror Boom, none of us would have an early showing–or an opening night– for a horror movie we’ve been counting the days to any other way.  It’s so fucking worth it!

 

 

Adam Wingard’s “You’re Next” – We Get The Feeling You REALLY Want Spoilers (Spoiler Alert)!

Due to the fact that several variations of “You’re Next spoilers” have been our top Google search term per our WordPress statistics for the past ten days, and the fact that a Variety review that we “Re-Pressed” that simply contained the tag “you’re next spoilers” because there were some mild spoilers in there has been getting top traffic …even over The Conjuring pieces and brand-new American Horror Story Coven details (and even the notorious ‘ Is This The Face of Javier Botet as Mama?’ piece, which is responsible for something like 30% of Horror Boom’s total number of hits over the last year). If those weren’t enough big enough hints, we’ve gotten a flood of actual requests.  So!  We’re guessing people would be happy if we posted some spoilers for Adam Wingard‘s You’re Next, which opens August 23rd.

A 'blink and you'll miss it' shot from the trailer

A ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ shot from the trailer

We had two options after combing online for specific details: either write a long, thoughtful piece that combines every single spoiler into a coherent, elaborate synopsis of the entire film that’s as close as we can get without having seen it, or give you a series of direct links to the pages that contained the most details. For now, we’re going with the latter due to 1. time constraints and using all our energy to find what we already did (going through endless message board threads takes longer then you’d think, and there’s a surprisingly small amount of spoilers for this flick out there) and 2. we already feel sort of vulgar blurting it out.  People have been going nuts to see this (after waiting since 2011, the first Midnight Madness at TIFF premiere) and anticipation is high (despite the really lame TV spots and, sadly, countless instant comparisons to The Strangers and even The Purge that some–sorry–ignorant moviegoers have been assuming from a glance at the posters without doing any further investigation into what the movie is about). Thus, we don’t think it’s gonna flop at the box office due to spoiler spillage. This writer still feels slightly tacky for posting these major spoiler links, even though people have asked repeatedly (and politely).

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OK then! SPOILER ALERT, these links contain SPOILERS! You may have to highlight or mouse over the text for some, but they’re right there. You want spoilers? Here’s the links and what you get.

  • At the end of this thread (if it’s not already, set preferences to ‘flat’ so all the posts in the thread are inline and you don’t have to click a dozen times to get to what you want to read) there is a list of how every character dies, and who survives. Then there’s a newer post that elaborates and clarifies all of them. THEN someone asked for clarification and key plot points late in the movie, and pretty much all the big reveals are… revealed. Maximum spoilage, so tread lightly! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1853739/board/flat/212515132
  • Here’s a funny, good review of the flick I found on Topless Robot (heh) that really sets up the plot and characters in the movie, and contains spoilers (including on kills). It’s good reading (if you don’t mind some spoilers; this is NOT a review I would even think about recommending to anyone who wants to read a review, but also go in as clean as possible before seeing You’re Next). It’s also a handy guide to keeping the characters straight when you’re reading spoilers that name names: http://www.toplessrobot.com/2013/06/laff_review_youre_next.php
  • And last but not least, here’s the IMDB parent’s guide. Several people contributed and wrote  the “violence/gore” spoilers, meaning you’ll see some things repeated. One of the contributors, though, took pains to mention character names and sort of set up the scenario for the act of violence/gore in a very, very spoiler-y way, basically explaining entire scenes. Those red “Spoiler!Spoiler!” areas you need to mouse over, added specifically so that no-one accidentally spoils themselves by merely glancing at some words before they realize it, were inserted by yours truly.  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1853739/parentalguide

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We hope this scratches that spoiler itch for You’re Next. Honestly, we’d advise you to wait till you see the movie–hey, you waited this long, you can make it till opening weekend–to preserve the surprises, but if you really must know… then you’re welcome.

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Oh, and the below photo–shown VERY fast in the trailer–is spoiler-y. It’ll fit right in if you read the IMDB Parent’s Guide we linked to. You’ll know who this chick is…

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“You want to (spoiler) me on top of (spoiler)?”

*I had to actually take a break from researching because I got sick of threads with titles like “Total ripoff of the strangers? U can totally figure it out”. Then I just started to get noticeably depressed when I saw that quite a few groups of people thought that it was about an actual wolf, lamb, and tiger who were hunting humans in their home. (Rant warning) For some reason the ‘actual animals’ in question in this imagined scenario would bother to dress up in people’s clothing and wearing white masks over their real animal faces (I guess, so they’d be incognito),plus be able to operate crossbow mechanisms. When I started seeing arguments about how it was unrealistic to have animals as the masked killers because sheep, big cats, and wolves couldn’t operate doorknobs,  my brain just made a unilateral decision to power down in order to protect itself.  This stupid bullshit wasn’t one or two stupid people or grade-schoolers, but entire fucking  factions.  I guess I was asking for it… but these are the kind of idiots who give real horror fans a bad name, and that pisses me off. (End of rant).

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Is this connected to the “five knives” scene mentioned in those spoilers? We kinda think so…

You’re Next (TIFF 2011) Review – Masked Mayhem from Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett

Yet more kudos from reviewers for You’re Next. We’re concerned this is only going to be a limited theatrical release (August 23rd… for some reason getting to see it in a theater seems to good to be true) , but we’ll keep you posted. We’re also aware several reviews we’ve “(re)pressed” here are from Fall of 2011; the movie debuted on the festival circuit (Midnight Madness at TIFF). We also have yet to find a bad, or even mediocre review, though we’re still sifting through them. In the meantime, here’s another from Entertainment Maven for you to enjoy, and probably get you jones-ing a little to see it, if you’re not already anticipating You’re Next (see our helpful Countdown Clock on the far right sidebar).

 

Entertainment Maven

Standing in line last night at Midnight Madness was a true test of willpower. I was waiting to see You’re Next, the new film from the guys that brought us A Horrible Way to Die, and I was scared out of my mind. I think at some level we are all afraid of the subjects of horror films; zombies, madmen, werewolves, etc., that’s why we watch, to be scared. However, we also have our idiosyncratic fears that will be shared by some, but the suffocating terror that seems to sink into our very bones will be not be experienced by the majority of viewers. My ‘special’ fear just happens to be masked assailants and motiveless killers. How quaint that You’re Next stars men in animal masks wielding crossbows, machetes and axes, who show up uninvited at a family reunion. It also didn’t help that an ingenious graffiti ad…

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You’re Next (Variety Review)

Disclaimer! All we’ve seen as of this writing is the trailer, so we can’t agree or argue with the reviewer on the quality of You’re Next. Oh, we DID, however, have a crucial, shocking twist late in the movie ruined for us by some selfish asshole of a “reviewer” who apparently didn’t feel it was necessary to add spoiler alerts (especially when giving names of specific lead characters. IDIOT!) We’re going to have to look into why the slasher flick was made in 2011 and not released til now. That’s not the kiss of death the average movie-goer thinks it is–see 2012’s Cabin In The Woods, to name one– but if you’re reading this blog, you know that already. Possible minor spoiler in this review, so heads-up… the character who turns out to be the Final Girl is revealed (though that might be something genre fans figure out early on anyway), plus the movie’s press has made it no secret that a character or two turns out not to be your average victim, but take note before reading if you’re really spoiler-conscious that the review does say exactly why.

 

Coming up, we’ve got some more You’re Next coverage (including WELL-MARKED spoilers of our own). The only sentence that may piss you off  in this review–if you also grew up in the horror boom– is: “…with the strong original score undermined only by a brief late foray into self-consciously cheesy 1980s synth sounds.” HEY! WATCH IT THERE, HARVEY! Some of us get nostalgic when we hear 80s synth sounds in a horror soundtrack! Otherwise, enjoy the review. Plus, You’re Next does have Barbara Crampton and a ton of creative gore going for it …and by the way, did you remember to lock the door?

 

Sundance Review! “S-VHS” Is An Uneven, Occasionally Thrilling Sequel To The Horror Anthology “V/H/S”

Oooookay. Now that I’ve read several reviews, I want to see this sequel just for the Indonesian segment (“Safe Haven”) that comes from the makers of The Raid: Redemption  (which I loved so much I could barely still during).  Add horror, gore, what one reviewer called “EC Comics – like” rand batshit-crazy in?  DEAL!   Take a wild guess as to which segment the “featured image” from this post is from.

I found V/H/S  to be uneven (and I totally agree with Drew Taylor about the misogynism; almost every male character was an asshole, and that the whole tone of certain segments dripped of hatred, which was one of my main complaints about the movie as a whole, especially that exceptionally sloppy wrap-around), but …when a piece worked… it fucking worked.

So far, from what I’ve read, everyone agrees that S-VHS is more intense, tighter, scarier, and gorier. That might not mean a bunch when the writer couldn’t stand the first one, but it’s still a recommendation to me!

Doodle Dandy

Sundance Review: ‘S-VHS‘ Is An Uneven, Occasionally Thrilling Sequel To The Horror Anthology

Last year, the indie horror anthology “V/H/S” was released and promised to be chock full of truly in-your-face terror – these were fearless directors, given complete creative freedom, and squeezed together under a tight, blood-soaked package. Of course, the promise of “V/H/S” and the actual movie itself were quite different, and while there were certainly some gems (including entries by Ti West and Joe Swanberg that blurred the line between mumblecore and horror even further), most of them were overlong and uninvolving and (worse yet) reinforced some of the worst traits in the horror genre, including an undercurrent of ugly misogyny that was knotted through almost every section.Well, the conceit seemed too irresistible to leave alone and this year we have “S-VHS” making its grand debut at the Sundance Film Festival

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