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INDIE FILM REVIEW: CLINGER

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First love can be a real pain in the neck, Robert Klingher knows all too well after a gruesome and accidental decapitation.

Clinger starts off as a very innocent tale of first love set in a high school environment. Fearne is a running track star and chemistry whizz looking to get into college. Her unlikely boyfriend Robert is a real sensitive type who enjoys the simple things like playing guitar and cuddling. All seems well until a horrific accident ends with Robert losing his head. However his love is so strong for Fearne that he vows to never leave her side, even in the afterlife.

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A lot of teen comedies rely on the same gags over and over and it can get rather stale. Clinger however used certain character tropes and cliques effectivly, adding horror elements or really clever tweaks just when you thought you knew where a scene was headed. Fearne’s Christian best friend Moe was always spouting unintentional sexual innuendos and it never got old. Coach Kingley also had a darkly comedic secret I wont spoil anything here, but lets just say she’s had a very interesting past!

 All teeny bopper illusions are quickly shattered within the first 15 minutes as the blood starts flowing. This film had some really great gore effects and the ending scene out on the school running track is a treat for any gore hound! The main reason these splatter moments are so effective is down to their timing, Clinger pulls you back in time and time again with it’s innocent teen comedy charms only to splash blood an entrails in your face as soon as you get comfortable. I fell for this time and time again but never once complained.
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Despite all these good points the film does suffer from some quite serious flaws, pacing being one of them. At just 81 minutes (including credits roll) Clinger is criminally short. It almost felt like a TV movie but with a higher budget. While the laughs and the action built up to a steady finale the film felt like it still ended prematurely. The end was far too abrupt and for a film with horror elements it wrapped itself up a little too cleanly. It would have been nice to see how the characters reacted and went about their lives after the ordeal, are there any more potential murderous ghosts out there too? Sadly we will never know.

The Verdict:

Short and far from sweet, Clinger is a great homage to teen comedies with well executed horror elements that come at you hard and fast. Clique breaking characters and nicely incorporated use of practical effects are the real stars of the show. Pacing and a disappointing abrupt end hold Clinger back from being truly great but this is still a thoroughly enjoyable teen horror gem.

3/5

‘Clinger’ stars Vincent Martella, Jennifer Laporte, Alicia Monet Caldwell

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HORROR

Prey | 20th Century Studios | Hulu

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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Genre:

Action, Drama, Horror

Release Date:

20222 (Hulu)

Director:

Dan Trachtenberg

Cast:

Amber Midthunder, Dane DiLiegro, Stefany Mathias

Plot Summary:

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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HORROR

Choose or Die – A Miss For Netflix

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Netflix’s home page suggestions can always be hit or miss, and unfortunately its latest release ‘Choose or Die’ falls into the category of the latter. Captivated by Asa Butterfield on the poster, I was curious to see what this film had to offer and begrudgingly it didn’t have a lot.

We follow Kayla, a broke student who has a lot to deal with in terms of her family situation and being the sole provider for herself and her mum. She then stumbles upon a retro video game from the 80s which forces her to choose and ultimately leads to various chain reactions of horrific events involving people close to her.

Lola Evans as Kayla and Asa Butterfield as Isaac

The premise of the film sounds interesting, however, I think it swings and misses quite early into the film’s first act. Eddie Marsan sets the tone and trail of interest for Choose or Die as we are introduced to this sadistic game and the chain of events it will inevitably pursue. 

Choose or Die doesn’t make it easy to empathise with its characters, finding any connection to Kayla or Isaac was difficult. This ‘are they aren’t they’ subplot lingers throughout the film’s narrative but adds nothing to the overarching story. The supporting characters, such as Thea and Laura, are much more interesting and genuinely have you intrigued as to what decisions they will make.

What stood out to me was the violent and gore-like scenes of 80s horrors, with some pretty good stomach churning special effects make-up. Those intense scenes, one involving a rat, had me genuinely glued to the screen, anticipating what may happen next. Choose or Die’s strongest component are the early moral decisions Kayla has to make and ultimately demonstrate Meakin’s passion for the horror genre.

Ioanna Kimbook as Grace in Choose or Die, seen here in the diner in one of the more grotesque decisive moments for Kayla

The way in which this film is shot, felt very “student-esque” with its lackluster camera movements and setting. The set design lacked little depth, except for Isaac’s room which is full of detail, therefore making the world feel small and less three dimensional. An element which pulled me out of this cinematic experience, was the fact that this was evidently filmed in the United Kingdom, and the cast contained predominantly a lot of British actors doing an American accent so I wasn’t fully immersed into this world. 

Meakins clearly uses his passion for the horror genre to influence this film’s dark tone, from it’s leading characters’ moral compass as well as the gorey visuals that inevitably come with those decisions. The whole world feels cold and derelict, be it the place in which Kayla cleans or the housing estate of which she lives in, this is an unwelcoming world that no-one wants to comfort you in. 

Choose or Die isn’t a film that will stick out as one that defined 2022, however I’m sure someone will take something away from this film, be it’s reference to 80s gaming or the violent and graphic elements that the director is clearly passionate about. 

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HORROR

Off Season – To Premiere Exclusively on Shudder

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Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, announced that OFFSEASON will be available exclusively to stream on the platform starting on Friday, June 10, 2022. As a Shudder exclusive, the platform will be the only subscription service that will carry the film in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Upon receiving a mysterious letter that her mother’s gravesite has been vandalized, in OFFSEASON, Marie (Donahue) quickly returns to the isolated offshore island where her late mother is buried. When she arrives, she discovers that the island is closing for the offseason with the bridges raised until Spring, leaving her stranded. One strange interaction with the local townspeople after another, Marie soon realizes that something is not quite right in this small town. She must unveil the mystery behind her mother’s troubled past in order to make it out alive.

Check out the film’s trailer below and read our review HERE as it debuted during SXSW 2021

Written and directed by Mickey Keating (Psychopaths), OFFSEASON stars Jocelin Donahue (Doctor Sleep), Joe Swanberg (The Rental, “Easy”), Richard Brake (3 From HellMandy), Melora Walters (The Pale Door, “Pen15”) and Jeremy Gardner (After MidnightThe Mind’s Eye).

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