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HORROR

Darren Lynn Bousman’s ‘St. Agatha’ Picked Up By Octane Ent.

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When it comes to the horror genre acclaim can be fickle for directors. Even though names like John Carpenter and George A. Romero have made names for themselves as masters of horror there are plenty more that work tirelessly without such accolades. A perfect example of this is Darren Lynn Bousman. Making a name for himself directing Saw II, III and IV he has gone on to become one of the most unique voices in horror today. More than just blood and guts he has been behind everything from dark musicals like Repo! A Genetic Opera and The Devil’s Carnival to more traditional fare such as Mother’s Day and Tales of Halloween. As 2017 comes to a close it looks like he will continue to push his own boundaries with his next film, St. Agatha.

Currently in post-production St. Agatha takes place in 1950’s Georgia con woman Agatha learns that she is pregnant. Forced into hiding she thinks she is safe when she joins an isolated convent. But the longer she lives there the quicker she learns the dark secrets boiling under the surface of this house of God. Recently acquired by Octane Entertainment at AFM 2017 this female-driver terror looks to be one of the most interesting horror films of 2018.

 

FROM THE PRESS RELEASE:

 

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 1, 2017) – Octane Entertainment acquires worldwide sales rights to the highly anticipated, female-driven psychological horror film ST. AGATHA.  Shot in Madison, Ga. and currently in post-production, the film was written by Andy Demetrio (Star Trek: Into Darkness), Shaun Fletcher (The Road Trip), Sara Sometti Michaels (The Photographer) and Clint Sears (Tales of Halloween). Under the helm of prolific horror director Darren Lynn Bousman, the director behind three installments of the Saw franchise, ST. AGATHA stars Sabrina Kern (The Tension Experience), Carolyn Hennesy (HBO’s “True Blood”), Courtney Halverson (Unfriended) Trin Miller (Captain Fantastic) and Seth Michaels (Pelé: Birth of a Legend).

Octane Entertainment President Jack Campbell made the announcement today.

“We’re very excited to introduce Darren’s latest masterpiece to buyers at the American Film Market this week,” said Campbell.  “This is exactly the type of project our clients have been looking for – a female-driven, elevated genre film with pedigree that is well-crafted throughout. We’ve seen huge successes in this arena lately, most recently with Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”  From the writing to the acting to the directing and execution – ST. AGATHA is a cut above anything that I’ve seen in a long time.”

“I have always been attracted to the dark, sinister, and macabre,” said Bousman.  “But, as I find myself getting older and now being a dad, blood and guts no longer amuse me.  I need something more.  I look for content, character and themes.  ST. AGATHA spoke to me as it takes a look at the unflinching horrors that befell women in the 1950’s and how that parallels to the not so different horrors that are befalling them today.  It was amazing to work with such a strong female cast, and I look forward to pulling back the curtain and letting others glimpse into our sinister world.”

AGATHA is set in the 1950s in small town Georgia, where a pregnant con woman named Agatha is on the run and seeks refuge in a convent hidden in deafening isolation. What first starts out as the perfect place to have a child turns into a dark layer where silence is forced, ghastly secrets are masked, and every bit of will power Agatha has is tested. She soon learns the sick and twisted truth of the convent and the odd people that lurk inside its halls. Agatha must now find a way to discover the unyielding strength needed to escape and save her baby before she’s caged behind these walls forever.

 AGATHA was produced by Sara Sometti Michaels, Srdjan Stakic (The Operative) and Tara Ansley (Tragedy Girls) and was executive produced by Kevin Traier, Rick Le and Seth Michaels.

 

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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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