MOHAWK Delves Into Folklore & the Horror of History

[All images courtesy Dark Sky Films]

American history is full of enough blood, horror, and tragedy to fill countless horror movies. Writer-director David Eggers mined the dark history of Puritan New England for 2016’s The Witch. This year, Mohawk looks to the War of 1812 and Native American folklore for some homegrown Nightmare Fuel.
Mohawk‘s IMDb summary teases a bloodier (and sexier) update of Last of the Mohicans; “Late in the War of 1812, a young Mohawk woman and her two lovers battle a squad of American soldiers hell-bent on revenge.
The official summary from Dark Sky films adds a bit more texture “After one of her tribe sets an American camp ablaze, a young Mohawk warrior finds herself pursued by a contingent of military renegades set on revenge. Fleeing deep into the woods they call home, Oak (Kaniehtiio Horn)  and Calvin (Justin Rain), along with their British companion Joshua (Eamon Farren), must now fight back against the bloodthirsty Colonel Holt (Ezra Buzzington) and his soldiers – using every resource both real and supernatural that the winding forest can offer.”

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Clearly this man never saw Last of the Mohicans or The Witch to learn the dangers in the woods.

Back in July of 2016 I wrote a short piece for SciFi4Me when Mohawk started production. I thought there were three factors making this movie one horror fans should keep an eye on.
First, the production companies involved, Dark Sky Films and Snowfort Productions, have created some of the more interesting and original recent genre releases, including Starry Eyes (2014) and We Are Still Here (2015).
Secondly, the writing and directing talent involved. Ted Geoghegan’s first feature writing/directing credit, We Are Still Here, combined location, story, and genre veterans like Barbara Crampton for a wintry (and terrifying) mediation of loss and grief. Mohawk’s co-writer, author Grady Hendrix, has written novels about the dangers lurking at your local home improvement big box store in Horrorstor (2014), demonic possession of high school teens (My Best Friends Exorcism, 2017), and the hidden history of 80-90’s horror paperbacks (Paperbacks From Hell, 2017). I had a chance to interview Hendrix about Paperbacks From Hell for SciFi4Me’s “Live from the Bunker”.

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Man may not be the most dangerous foe this warrior will face in Mohawk.

Finally, the movie’s historical and geographic setting. Mohawk visits territory previously seen in Sleepy Hollow and The Witch, but switches the focus from colonists and settlers to Native Americans as the new Untied States fights Great Britain in the War of 1812.
Mohawk comes to theaters and iTunes March 2nd, but select screenings (some attended by Geoghegan) are already happening. Check out the trailer, and see if there’s a screening near you.

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via Broke Horror Fan – The Female Cast of Annihilation Is Highlighted in the Featurette… — Broke Horror Fan

The female cast of Annihilation is highlighted in the featurette above. Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy of novels, the sci-fi thriller opens on February 23 via Paramount. Watch the trailer here.Annihilation is written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later). Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva…

via The female cast of Annihilation is highlighted in the featurette… — Broke Horror Fan

Fang & Saucer Review – THE HOUSEMAID

TheHousemaid2018thumnailThe Housemaid (2018)
Written and Directed by Derek Nguyen
Starring Kate Nhung, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kim Xuan, Kien An, Phi Phung, Svitlana Kovalenko and Rosie Fellner
An IFC Midnight Release

(All images courtesy IFC Midnight)

“Sa-Cat is a place of death.”

In 1950’s Vietnam, surrounded by a forest of real and metaphorical death, a beautiful mansion decays. Endless acres of rubber trees literally drip blood as a forgein occupation nears its end. And every person (living or dead) on Sa-Cat plantation is doomed to play their part.
In THE HOUSEMAID, Writer-Director Derek Ngyen grafts the sturdy tropes of Gothic revenge tragedy to the tangled history of French colonialism in Vietnam. While staying true to the blood-splattered tropes of the Gothic, Ngyen’s first feature film  creates a unique environment for these familiar elements to follow their preordained paths.
THE HOUSEMAID begins in 1953, one year before the defeat of French forces at Dien Bien Phu that led to France’s withdrawal from Vietnam. Linh (Nhung Kate) sits in a police station. Questioned by police officers Guy (Leon Bown) and Bao (Linh Son Nguyen), the young woman relates the path that leads to her discovery of the bloody corpse of her employer, Captain Sebastien Laurent (Jean-Michel Richaud).
As she begins her story, we see Linh trudging through driving rain to the gates of a magnificent (albeit decaying) mansion. Once this house was the center of a sprawling rubber plantation. Now Sa-Cat is home to a handful of servants working for the widowed Captain Laurent, reclusively mourning his dead wife and infant son. Driven from her home by war, Linh seeks work as a housemaid.

The Housemaid - Linh and Sebastien
Nhung Kate as Linh, Jean Michel Richaud as Sebastien in THE HOUSEMAID. Directed by Derek Nguyen.

Linh becomes enmeshed in daily life at Sa-Cat. Imperious housekeeper Ms. Han (Kim Xuan), garrulous cook Mrs. Ngo (Phi Phung), and maintenance man Mr. Chau (Kien An) welcome the added labor Linh provides. Like the servants of the House of Usher, they’re fighting a losing battle on multiple fronts in service to the Captain.  But no one can escape the pressures of events in the present – or the demands of the past. Linh may appear to be a simple country girl, but she also is also burdened with fulfilling the obligations and wishes of others.
What Works in THE HOUSEMAID
Sam Chase’s cinematography and production design of Jose Mari Pamintuan create an atmosphere of dust, decay and rot you can almost feel through the screen. The blood-soaked history of the estate and its influence on the present comes to life just by showing a finger sliding along a dusty banister. Visual effects by Thierry Nguyen and the special makeup effects by Brad Greenwood add to the tactile creepiness, and Jerome Leroy’s score is haunting, lush, and wistful.
Director Derek Ngyen does a good job maintaining a plausible sense of misdirection until the final revelations. The viewer knows that whatever haunts Sa-Cat arises from events in the past. But along with the haunted residents, we don’t realize which threat poses the most danger – or its true motives – until the very end.
For me, the revelations at the movie’s end made sense and fit with most of what we’ve seen before. However, we don’t find out enough about some of the characters actions in the past to make sense of their ultimate fates

The Housemaid - Camille
A ghost, dripping with black lace, wearing a tarnished crown – and wielding a very real axe.

This is not the case for Ms. Han and Mr. Chau. Chau is proud to recount his past as an overseer on the estate; Ms. Han’s role in tracking down and punishing escaping workers is illustrated in flashbacks. But for the character who meets the most bloody and gruesome fate, there is too much Tell and not enough Show. We don’t see (or hear) enough about the past to put alongside the present. But we see and understand this dilemma for Linh; she is both a strong character with agency – and a woman acting out of obligation and duty to the desires of others.  We don’t get that insight for another major character.
And on a minor point, I would’ve ditched the subplot involving Sebastien’s fiancée Madeline (Rosie Fellner) . Besides having a French identity mismatched with a British accent, this selfish, one note plot point of a character exists only to create jealously in Linh, then run off and die in a particularly non-terrifying manner. The screen time spent on that story could’ve been used to flesh out the past of Sa-Cat and the characters we spend most of the movie with.
In the end, THE HOUSEMAID is an interesting journey, taking the Vengeful Ghost story along a road I haven’t travelled before. Horror fans will appreciate how it uses the hallmarks of the genre to create a story with style and atmosphere.
THE HOUSEMAID will be available on demand and in select theaters February 16.

For more information, visit IFC Midnight.

Via HORROR MOVIES UNCUTSteven Soderbergh’s ‘Unsane’ casts Joshua Leonard

Actor, filmmaker and writer Joshua Leonard is set to co star opposite Claire Foy in the feature from Steven Soderbergh UNSANE. The film follows a woman in an asylum for the mentally insane who can no longer tell real life from her delusions. UNSANE is scheduled for a theatrical release on March 23rd. Read the […]

via Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Unsane’ casts Joshua Leonard — HORROR MOVIES UNCUT

via Grindhouse Theology – ‘Winchester’ Is Good, Campy Fun

Comparisons are inevitable, but the Spierig brothers’ Winchester is not a poor man’s Army of Darkness. In fact, it’s not a poor man’s anything. We open with an elegiac aerial view, overlaid by the title – Winchester – grainy and somber, like an old Hammer film. The Winchester house is labyrinthine and Mary Ann (Sarah Snook), one […]

via ‘Winchester’ Is Good, Campy Fun — Grindhouse Theology

Via Welcome to Moviz Ark! Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) Review!!!

Synopsis – Young hero Thomas embarks on a mission to find a cure for a deadly disease known as the “Flare”. My Take – Let me start off by saying, I am glad Hollywood is over the whole YA adaption phase, with the Divergent series trailing off so far that it is now turning into […]

via Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) Review!!! — Welcome to Moviz Ark!

via Bloody Disgusting – Lawless Brutality Will Resume in Prequel ‘The First Purge’; Official Poster Makes a Statement

Welcome to the movement that began as a simple experiment. Formerly titled Purge: The Island, this year’s installment in the Purge franchise will be a prequel to all of the previous films, and it now has the fitting title, The First Purge. Behind every tradition lies a revolution in The First Purge, arriving July 4, 2018… […]

via Lawless Brutality Will Resume in Prequel ‘The First Purge’; Official Poster Makes a Statement — Bloody Disgusting!