This week starts off with a controversial new film from Blumhouse Productions, The Hunt. Crystal (Betty Gilpin) wakes up in a clearing with ten strangers and none of them have any idea how they got there. They are gagged but also left with a cache of weapons and keys to their gags. Upon freeing themselves they are suddenly attacked from hidden enemies and soon find themselves fighting against a group of ruthless elitists who gather to hunt humans for sport. But Crystal is more resourceful than her enemies anticipated and their plan may be thwarted when the tables are turned.
The Hunt was pretty much instantly controversial due to the two groups in the film being blatantly and broadly portrayed as Democrats and Republicans killing each other. The film was delayed due to mass shootings in the US but was eventually released and marketed as controversial but for audiences to use their free will to choose to see it. The film did well when it was released as early access on demand and the praise was well deserved. The Hunt is a pitch black comedy with tons of action and some gore thrown in for good measure. There is tons of social commentary present even if it isn’t subtle, but it works and is equally damning of both groups of people ultimately trying to say both sides are messed up. The cast is anchored by a great performance by Gilpin and supported by the likes of Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz, Ethan Suplee, Emma Roberts and Amy Madigan. For loads of twisted fun, The Hunt is highly recommended!
Next up is a brilliant new HBO series based on a Stephen King novel, The Outsider. When a young boy is found murdered in the woods, Detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) finds strong evidence that a local man, Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) committed the crime. But when a private investigator finds evidence that Maitland was out of town at the time, Detective Anderson is faced with an impossible dilemma that leads Anderson to consider possibilities outside the realm of rational thinking in order to solve the murder and stop a killer.
The Outsider is King through and through, but also a brilliant genre blend of police procedural and supernatural thriller. The cast is just phenomenal with Mendelsohn leading the way but Cynthia Erivo as an unorthodox investigator really steals the show. The story is unpredictable and wholly addictive and full of fantastic King-esque characters and situations that really elevate The Outsider to one of the best HBO shows in recent memory. Very highly recommended.
Lastly this week is a super fun retro style horror movie called We Summon the Darkness. Three friends, Alexis (Alexandra Daddario), Val (Maddie Hasson) and Bev (Amy Forsyth) set out on a road trip to a heavy metal concert where they meet up with three aspiring musicians for a night of partying. But the night takes a deadly turn as the bodies start to pile up with word of a satanic cult operating in the area and making everyone question each other’s loyalties.
We Summon the Darkness is very much inspired by 80s horror films and executes its homage well making for a really fun, funny, and violent ride. Daddario is great as the lead friend with a dark streak. Director Marc Meyers (My Friend Dahmer) does a great job of balancing the thrills with laughs and making We Summon the Darkness a fun throwback horror flick with a few solid twists. A great party movie choice.
Also of note this week is The Postcard Killings with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and a new Shout Factory Collector’s Edition of the cult 2001 horror film Thir13en Ghosts.
Until next week movie lovers, stay safe!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday June 9, 2020
An Unmarried Woman (1978)* - Criterion Collection
Anne Frank Remembered (1995)*
Brian's Song (1971)*
Eureka: The Complete Series
Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema III*
Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948)*
Mary, Queen of Scots (1971)*
My 20th Century (1989)*
P.O. Box Tinto Brass (1995)*
Princess Caraboo (1994)*
Red Cow (2018)
The Guyver (1991)*
The H-Man (1958)/Battle in Outer Space (1959) Double Feature*
The Outsider: The Complete First Season
The Postcard Killings
Think Like a Dog
Thir13en Ghosts (2001) - Collector's Edition
Victor and Victoria (1933)*
We Summon the Darkness
Western Classics I (1940-1948)*
WWE: Money in The Bank 2020
*Catalog Blu-ray debut