Thursday 24 August 2023


Written by: Travis Bible

Directed by: Travis Bible, Kemerton Hargrove 

Stars: Spencer Harrison Levin, Michael Bonini, Taneisha Figueroa, Cairo Spencer

Screener copy provided by PR Squad / The Horror Collective

With a title like #Chadsgetstheaxe you will probably be expecting something reasonably light-hearted and a fun - and in many ways you would be right. That's not to say there aren't some scares and shocks to enjoy as well.

The movie works in a similar vein to 2022s brilliant Deadstream - chuck some annoying, self-obsessed people into a dangerous situation and watch them suffer- but both played a lot for laughs as well as terror. Often 'horror-comedy' doesn't work brilliantly because the balance seems impossible to get right. But it IS well done here - maybe because the influencer/live streaming culture is so prominent in our lives these days...maybe because some people find their antics genuinely amusing and then the sadistic horror fans who want to see bad things happen to irritating people. 

Whatever your viewpoint you should find a good time with this film especially as the eerie events begin to ramp up and the characters as well as the audiences commenting are really not so sure whether this is a prank or something much much worse. In fact the audience within the audience element of the movie is just brilliantly observed and quite spot on. The comments veer from supportive to trolling to outright offensive and nasty and its representative of (sadly) a lot of online activity today.

The actors are just great - they really play the influencer roles to the absolute hilt and seem to be having a lot of fun going it. Spencer Harrison Levin in the title role gives it his all - Chad is annoying, fame hungry and in many respects stupid - but you also cant help but admire his audacious ambition. Michael Bonini is also good fun as Steve, a prankster who is suspect in a lot of the odd goings on and wish he had been featured a bit more. Taneisha Figueroa and Cairo Spencer play the adorable couple Jennifer and Jordan and have clear chemistry. The audience seem to be just as much, if not more invested in their love story as they do the expedition into the house of horrors! The ending goes for the jugular so to speak and I thought it was really creepy and fun. Some of the comments and viewpoints of fans and trolls as the credits roll are absolutely jawdropping but again....kind of representative of world we live in!

A great movie that I hope gets some serious attention. I'm looking forward to what Travis might have up his sleeve next! 

#Chadsgetstheaxe is coming out on major VOD and digital platforms on Sept. 1 - get your popcorn ready!

Friday 7 July 2023

Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva

Written and Directed by Dutch Marich

Stars: Suziey Block, Solveig Helene, Brooke Bradshaw, C.R. Brough, Sami Sallaway, David Nichols Jr, Brian McPherson, Christine Martin and Laurie Felix Bass

Available now on VOD!

How do you top the original movie? Ask Dutch Marich...seriously. Horror in The High Desert remains an absolute favourite of mine since I first watched it - and have now watched it at least 5 times. Like many I have been chomping at the bit to see the next film in the HiTHD Universe and it was a great day a few months ago when it became available to rent/purchase.

I am not interested in giving away any spoilers so will be extra careful in this review - its best you see it for yourself. 

In short this movie is set deep in the deserts of Nevada and documents two horrible incidents which occurred on the same stretch of road, on the same night, around one year after the disappearance of experienced hiker Gary Hinge. Those who have watched the original movie know that things took a dark and disturbing turn for Gary (and us as the audience!) when returning to the desert to appease subscribers to his vlog. The trolling he experienced led him to make a final, fateful journey, to locate a mysterious cabin which had already terrified him on a previous hike. 

But back to Minerva

This movie initially covers the mysterious death of Minerva 'Minnie' Sound (Solveig Helene) a student who found herself living alone in a trailer due to an accommodation mix-up. Just looking at the trailer from the outside gave me the chills, imagining living in there alone in the thanks!

Bringing back investigative reporter Gal Roberts (Suziey Block) who finds herself embroiled in the mystery of what happened to Minerva, we the audience are thrust into a nightmare world of haunting images and jarringly scary video footage. 'I want to see my friend' may well be a quote that will haunt me forever. 

It would be a good time to add now that the horror truly kicks off form the get go with this film. I found the original brilliant in its build up, true crime style, to that haunting and horrifying ending but it works just as well here having the full works thrown right at you. There are many moments I could pinpoint here as truly scary but I'll leave these to you to discover. 

If this wasn't enough the movie rounds out with the terrifying encounter a young  mother, Ameliana Brasher (Brooke Bradshaw) had on that very same road, later that evening.  This segment of the film is really upsetting and disturbing - footage of Ameliana out on that road interspersed with commentary with her mother (Christine Martin) makes for a truly gut-wrenching piece of horror. 

Some fantastic acting across the cast - really authentic and natural dialogue here which makes the events get under your skin even more so. Suziey Block is excellent again as the intelligent and insightful Gal Roberts. I hope a future entry sees her out there in the desert as I think she may be a match for the horrors that lurk there. Solveig Helene as the ill-fated Minerva was great and oh so tragic at the same time. Watching her settle in, eager to start her studies is a pleasure but at the same time dread inducing. Sami Sallaway who plays a pivotal role in events after Minerva dies is fantastic as 'Cathy'. Watching her talk, I truly believed she had lost her best friend for real. Both Brooke Bradshaw and Christine Masters as the Brasher family again are brilliant - even if the events depicted leave a truly horrible taste in your mouth. Finally, a shout out to David Nichols Jr for his role as unlucky at work Luke Wells, a man who found himself involved in both incidents that night as an EMT.  It’s disturbing to hear his take on that night, and he plays an important role in the overall finale. 

Dutch's direction is again top notch - the shots covering the desert area are beautiful and eerie in equal measure. Where he excels even more is when he is leading us through a dark room or outside.... its just masterfully scary. 

What I really loved about this sequel is that it doesn't provide all answers but most definitely whets the appetite for more entries in the overall universe. Keep us coming back for more is the right path I believe. People seem to be guessing all kinds of stuff about what is really happening out in that desert and its brilliant to read and join in with the speculation. 

I just cannot wait to see what Horror in The High Desert 3: Firewatch brings later this year. I am not even fully sure I am personally ready to go back to that terrifying cabin out in the desert. But since this movie will revisit what happened to Gary Hinge...I kinda have to. Maybe with a pillow or two for company... 

Go and watch Horror in The High Desert 2: Minerva available on all good streaming platforms NOW - its so worth your attention. 

Monday 27 February 2023

The Outwaters (2022)

 Written & Directed by Robbie Banfitch

Stars: Robbie Banfitch, Angela Basolis, Michelle May, Scott Schamell, Leslie Ann Banfitch 
Screener copy provided by Simply Legendary Publicity

The Outwaters is a film I have been dying to see since I first saw its horribly creepy teaser trailer. The simple premise of a group of friends shooting a music video out in the desert is underpinned with a sense of dread that I haven't seen/felt for a while. 

The move itself is an amped up, delirious nightmare and for this it might be polarising to audiences who want to see everything unfold on screen. But if you can sit back, open your mind, and use your imagination then this movie is a massive trip. 

Opening with a really unsettling 911 call we learn that the movies protagonists have been missing since 2017 after an ill fated trip to the Mojave desert. However, a series of memory cards have since been located which show the crew in the days surrounding their potential fates. 

It is via this footage, we are introduced to Robbie (writer and director Robbie Banfitch) and his brother Scott who are helping their friend Michelle shoot her new music video along with makeup artist Ange. 

Clearly none of this will be plain sailing and as the terrifying booming noises at night begin the crew start to become easily unsettled - who wouldn't be? 

To be clear this group aren't going out of their way to put themselves in danger - the eerie occurrences ae most definitely coming for them. Once a shadowy figure appears late one night things then go absolutely berserk. Its a bit difficult to keep up in places I will be honest but its also absolutely  mesmerising to watch and listen to what sounds like hell on earth raining down on these people. 

The remainder of the movie is like a blood soaked fever dream, with a LOT of activity, screaming and disorientating camera work. There are definite leanings into cosmic horror but also a real psychological angle where a descent into madness is fully felt. 

Excellent acting really enhances the tense narrative - the core characters are really put through their paces across the film and they all deliver outstanding and believable performances. Cant wait to see what's next for all of these guys. 

I am so hyped to watch The Outwaters again as I have a good feeling it will offer more rewards the next tine around. I think Robbie and co did a really fine job in creating an absorbing, not to mention surreal nightmare 

I hope you check this out - its an experience as much as it is movie and I would fully recommend watching with the lights off and the sound way up. 

The Outwaters is currently streaming exclusively on Screambox in the USA - hopefully a wider release is soon to be announced.