Tuesday, July 19, 2016

100 Words on Ted Geoghegan's We Are Still Here (2015)

By Thomas Puhr

In his feature film debut, Ted Geoghegan essentially delivers two movies for the price of one: a slow-burn haunted house tale about two parents attempting to cope with their son’s death, and a giddy splatter-fest with some of the most over-the-top gore in recent memory. The final half hour’s extreme violence, while more than a bit incongruent, does not detract from the earlier scenes’ reliance on subtler thrills (Geoghegan appreciates the power of both creaking floorboards and arterial spray). Ultimately, these jarring tonal shifts are grounded by the surprisingly-emotional performances of Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig as the grieving parents.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

100 Words on Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room (2015)


By Thomas Puhr

Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier follows up his fantastic Blue Ruin (2013) with what is surely the best genre thriller in a long time. The late Anton Yelchin heads a punk band that becomes trapped in a neo-Nazi concert hall/bar after witnessing a brutal killing; what follows is by turns excruciatingly suspenseful and shockingly graphic. A clever reversal of John Carpenter’s 1976 classic, Assault on Precinct 13 (instead of defending their symbolic home, the band members are essentially held captive within the enemy’s headquarters), Green Room is the cinematic equivalent of a great punk song: short, visceral, angry, exhilarating, and ultimately cathartic.   

Thursday, June 16, 2016

100 Words on Mickey Keating's Darling (2015)


By Thomas Puhr

In this love letter to Roman Polanski’s apartment trilogy, Lauren Ashley Carter plays the titular “Darling,” who is hired by “Madame” (Sean Young) as the caretaker for a (possibly) haunted New York townhouse; shades of Repulsion (Darling wanders the streets, has sexual nightmares, stores a body in a bathtub), The Tenant (the previous occupant jumped to her death from the roof: a fate that will be repeated), and Rosemary’s Baby (hidden doors, rumors of devil worship); Carter conveys a wide-eyed hysteria with aplomb; the lush, black-and-white cinematography cements Darling as an admirable, largely successful attempt at recapturing 60s-era psychological horror.