Bacurau Smashes Colonialism [Blu-Ray Review]

The film Bacurau opens with the fictional town its named after being erased from the map, literally. In an early scene, Plinio (Wilson Rabelo) asks his students to find Bacurau on Google Maps, but the section where it is is blank. His students are understandably concerned, and he reassures them, “Bacurau has always been on the map.”

The town is facing erasure in the physical world as well as the digital one. The mayor, Tony Jr. (Thardelly Lima), lives elsewhere and has cut off the village’s water supply. He’s seeking reelection, and is attempting to leverage the water for votes. The road into the town is closed to anyone else, but he brings a literal truck full of books when he visits. Before his goons dump them on the steps of the library, he commands the goons to, “Film it.” Along with the books, Tony Jr. also brought food past its expiration date and addictive medicine with dubious benefits. Bacurau is a chilling look at the way fascist regimes abuse the poorest of their people before the mercenaries arrive.

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A Deadly Legend is Legendarily Bad [Review]

As a general rule, good horror movies have simple plots. In Halloween, Michael Myers breaks out of a mental asylum to terrorize Haddonfield and hunts Laurie Strode. In The Shining, Jack Torrance is driven insane by the Overlook Hotel. In The Exorcist, Pazuzu possesses Regan MacNeil to take revenge on Father Merrin. There are exceptions to the rule, but A Deadly Legend isn’t one of them.

There’s no one-sentence (and maybe not even one paragraph) that could sum up all that’s going on in A Deadly Legend’s opening. The Huntar Family is on their way to a summer camp by Pilgrim Lake when a ghost appears in front of their car. They swerve, and the father is killed.

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A Roundtable Discussion with the Director and Cast of “The Bizarrely Beautiful” Relic

Relic is one of the best horror films of the decade. Natalie Erika James’ first feature tells the story of three generations of women: Edna (Robyn Nevin), Kay (Emily Mortimer), and Sam (Bella Heathcoat). Edna, who’s suffering from dementia, has gone missing, prompting Kay and Sam to search for her.

I was lucky enough to attend a roundtable with James and all three of Relic’s principal performers discussing the film with writers from various outlets. The four had a lot to say about their new movie, which has been garnering great responses from critics. It opens to the public on Friday.

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Relic is a Thoroughly Impressive Debut [Review]

I was lucky enough to be born with all four grandparents still alive. I got to know them all, but by the time I reached my teens, old age was ravaging their bodies. Parkinsons. Dementia. Diabetes (along with two below the knee amputations for one grandparent). Macular Degeneration leading to blindness. At times, it was terrifying. It’s that fear—not of the death of a loved one, but of losing the pieces of them that make them who they are—that Natalie Erika James taps into in Relic.

James’s  first feature-length film opens with water spilling over the edge of a bathtub. The camera follows the water downstairs. Rather than a face, James shows a close shot of someone’s bare feet. The music is tense, wringing every bit of suspense out of revealing who it is the audience is looking at. There’s a Christmas tree, lights shining, in front of the person. Slowly, the camera goes up their naked back. As they’re about to turn around, the title card takes over.

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Belzebuth is Not for the Faint of Heart [Review]

If like me, Sandy Hook is one of the worst days you can remember, Belzebuth is going to be a tough watch. In the first thirty minutes or so, there are three massacres, all involving children. The first echoes Sandy Hook closely, with 28 kindergartners being gunned down by an older schoolmate.

Special Agent Emanuel Ritter (Joaquín Cosio), who’s infant child is stabbed to death in the film’s opening, is called on to investigate each of these horrific events. Though there’s no apparent link between the massacres, Emanuel suspects that there is. The mother of the first murderer tells him that a man covered in Satanic tattoos visited her before the shooting.

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