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HORROR

Look Away: A Fascinating Film That Kept My Attention

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I’m everywhere where you are.
Whenever you see yourself,
what you really see is me.

There are large numbers of films in which mirrors play a crucial role. Just think of “Mirrors“, “Oculus” and “Candyman“. And when someone is standing in front of a mirror in a horror movie, you can be sure there’s something frightening behind him or her when the camera focuses back on that mirror. One of the many tricks that makers of horror films use. And when they properly apply this gimmick, you’ll be avoiding every mirror the next days. But what if your reflection suddenly begins to speak to you and offers you a way out of a hopeless situation you can’t handle anymore? Well, that’s what Maria (India Eisley) is experiencing. Maria’s alter ego Airam (I thought it was smart how they reversed her name. As a mirror image) proposes to switch sides, to put Maria’s adolescent life on the right track again.

 

Look Away

 

Confidence lost.

Maria’s life isn’t exactly rosy. She’s an insecure and frightened little gray mouse. Although she has wealthy parents and radiates a natural beauty, she’s not exactly the happiest person at home. She doesn’t eat, looks pale and in a certain way unkempt. And confidence isn’t her strongest point. The cause is primarily due to her parents, Dan (Jason Isaacs) and Amy (Mira Sorvino). Dan is a successful surgeon who immediately notices any deviation on the scale of aesthetic beauty. Perfectionism is his dada. A terrible person whose disparaging remarks clearly have an impact on his daughter. When he offers some surgery as a gift for Maria’s 18th birthday, you can see Maria’s self-confidence slip away. And Maria’s mother isn’t exactly the person to restore this confidence. Amy is a woman who lives in denial and resolutely refuses to see that “being faithful in a marriage” isn’t a priority for her husband.

 

Look Away

 

Maria’s life is full of sorrow.

And Maria’s school-time isn’t really pleasant either. She’s treated like a pariah. And of course, once again there’s such an annoying smartass who’s bullying her constantly (but well-known folk wisdom says: “Teasing girls, is asking for love”). Her circle of friends is also rather limited. Only Lily (Penelope Mitchell) seems to be a soul mate. Ultimately, this friendship appears to be superficial. In short, Maria’s social network is not really extensive. And despite her rich parents and appearance, social acceptance is nil. So, she doesn’t belong to the favorite girls’ club as known at American colleges. That’s why Mary’s alter ego is only too happy to take over her day-to-day life in such a way that she could correct these worries and injustices.

 

Look away

 

Don’t look away when you discover this film somewhere.

Despite the fact that “Look Away” has many points of contact with existing films and you cannot really call it innovative, I thought it was a fascinating film that kept my attention. The interaction between the two doppelgangers through the mirror is fascinating to see. That the story gets a “Carrie” -like touch after Airam takes matters into her own hands, was of course extremely predictable. However, don’t expect bloody situations. For that, the film is more a thriller than a horror. The only thing that can cause any suspense is the mystery of the bizarre ultrasound picture at the beginning of the film. That provides the necessary guesswork. Is a supernatural entity involved? An evil twin sister? Or is Mary mentally derailed after she discovered this picture? Is it a case of split personality? Well, the denouement won’t make you any wiser. And unfortunately, this ending was no surprise either. “Look away” has some great scenes. Maybe you shouldn’t look away when you come across it and give the film a chance.

 

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

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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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