Scifi horror

REVIEW: South Mill District (2018) (Short)

REVIEW: South Mill District (2018) (Short)

South Mill District is a short film by Joe Meredith. It’s his directorial debut and runs about 25 minutes. He does everything himself including write, film, produce, FX, act, and direct. Simply put: I loved this film. It was an amazing little shocker with tons of class and art.

In a world ravaged by an alien attack, we follow two post-apocalypse survivors Drennan (Joe Meredith) and Luci (Joe’s wife, the lovely Cidney Meredith). After the alien invasion, the EonCorp started experimenting with the havoc virus and used alien DNA in spiders to create a symbiotic relationship between the infected spiders and humans. The infected spiders consume and distort their human hosts until the regeneration process is complete. The EonCorp keeps the infected human hosts and mutant spiders contained in the South Mill District under quarantine.
South Mill District (2018) / Fair use doctrine.
For a first film and an Independent film, South Mill District is an ambitious project. The premise is a bit convoluted, and the film doesn’t have the luxury of a Hollywood budget, but it has a lot of heart. You can see and feel the amount of love that went into the making of this film. It’s beautifully shot in an excellent location that really captures the desolate post-apocalypse feel. The camera work is top-notch, and I adored the use of colored lighting.

What stands out the most is Joe’s artwork and the incredible creatures in this film. The use of stop motion to bring handmade aliens, spiders, fetuses, and other bizarre paper mâché creatures to life in this is gorgeous. Each creature is uniquely detailed, and you can see the painstaking care that went into each one. The crawly, bloody sound effects also help bring them to life, and the creatures definitely have a “Thing” vibe to them that fans will easily recognize.
South Mill District (2018) / Fair use doctrine.
Some of the highlights of South Mill District include Luci puking up her intestines, a walking brain, and many stop-motion spiders eating their hosts or emerging from the human wreckage.

I was really stoked to learn there is an upcoming sequel called Teratomorph, and I will keep everyone posted as I learn the details and watch out for my upcoming interview with Joe Meredith.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Annihilation (2018) [SPOILER FREE]

MOVIE REVIEW: Annihilation (2018) [SPOILER FREE]

Annihilation (2018)Annihilation is adapted from Jeff VanderMeer’s book of the same name, and I had intended on doing a review based on the movie and book comparisons. After having seen Annihilation, I have decided against that because both the book and movie are excellent in their own way and each has a completely different feel. You can love the book and still love the movie separately; the book was cold and dark with almost no character development at all, whereas the movie was beautiful, bright, and mesmerizing, with a ton of character backstory.

Annihilation (2018)Natalie Portman stars as Lena, an ex-soldier turned biology professor who has recently lost her husband. Her husband Kane (Oscar Isaac), also a soldier, went missing during his last expedition. Twelve months later he reappears with almost no memory of where he was or what happened. He becomes very ill and has to be rushed to the hospital by ambulance. On the way, they’re stopped by a military convoy and both Lena and Kane are sedated and taken to a facility. When Lena wakes, Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) immediately begins questioning her about how her husband returned and what he said about where he was. Dr. Ventress then explains that her husband is the only survivor to ever come back from Area X — the area the mysterious “shimmer” covers. The Shimmer began when an unknown force or object crashed into a lighthouse and then began to spread across the land, consuming or taking over everything it touched. The shimmer is beautiful and looks like the inside of a psychedelic soap bubble. It’s at this point in the movie that you’ll start to be sucked in by the beauty.

Annihilation (2018)Expeditions are repeatedly sent into Area X to try and find out what’s happening but no one has ever returned to until Kane, and when he does come back, he’s dying and has no memory. Lena asks to go on the next expedition in order to find a way to save her husband. Less than a week later, Lena, Dr. Ventress, Josie (Tessa Thompson), Anya (Gina Rodriguez), and Shepard (Tuva Novotny) set foot in The Shimmer to try and find some answers.

Annihilation (2018)Annihilation can’t really be put into one box; it’s sci-fi, it’s horror, it’s a modern-day arthouse, a thriller, and a drama. Some of the horror scenes were genuinely terrifying, and the gore was on point. It’s filled with excellent creatures and stunning and imaginative visuals driving a sexy, intelligent storyline. I can honestly say Annihilation is one of the best new films I’ve seen in the last ten years. I highly recommend watching it and I give it an 8.5/10.

Annihilation (2018)

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: Dana Scully

WiHM: Dana Scully

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge this next woman’s contribution to the horror/sci-fi genre. Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Dana Scully simply has to be honored or else I have to turn in my license to practice horror.

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X-Files

If you see Ripley as the mother of the strong female character in horror/sci-fi film (as I do) then it follows that Scully is the continuation and growth of that same standard. The X-Files was already groundbreaking television but Dana Scully kicked the shit out of the way we view women in the law enforcement field.

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X-FilesThe pilot episode of The X-Files aired in September of 1993. I was 11 years old and still remember a young fresh-faced Dana Scully arriving at the FBI. An immediate difference that I noticed as a kid was the amount of respect she commanded from her peers and even superiors. She was a highly intelligent, well-educated doctor and undergraduate of physics – a no-nonsense scientist that wasn’t a second banana or a sidekick to a male lead. Scully always held her own and in many ways was made to look superior to Mulder (David Duchovny). She was sent to essentially babysit him and disprove his work. Although she was never fully convinced and was always the female Spock of logic, she handled the situation with grace. She respected Mulder and acknowledged his intelligence and ideas even though they were counter to her own beliefs. She didn’t scoff or belittle and even grew to have affection for him.

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X-FilesI believe in some ways that Chris Carter the creator of the show went out of his way to make Scully’s importance stand out. At times I almost feel it was reverse sexism and Mulder was made to seem a bit of a mimbo (male bimbo). I’m not complaining because it was successful in shattering previous notions of “the boys club” and that women could only be secretaries and were too delicate to be out in the field. Scully excelled in the field and never shied away from getting her hands dirty – not to mention she was a great shot. Both roles did an excellent job of highlighting a healthy partnership. Mulder was always able to give Scully credit and admit when she was right, and Scully would do the same even if she couldn’t always get on board with his crazy. The other thing I felt was so important to the purity of the Scully character was the fact that she and Mulder refrained from “extracurricular activities” if you know what I’m saying. In case you don’t I mean, they kept it professional instead of getting to sexy time by the end of season one as a lot of other shows did. It created a new formula that is still popular on television today, the “will they won’t they” phenomenon. It makes every touch and every subtle glance all the more exciting for the viewer.

If you loved Scully and can’t get enough Gillian Anderson then I highly recommend checking out some of her other work. Some of my favorites were Bleak House, The Fall, and American Gods. Gillian Anderson is also an accomplished writer having written a trilogy: A Vision of Fire, A Dream of Ice, and The Sound of the Seas. Most recently she co-wrote We: A Manifesto for Modern Women and co-starred in Season 11 of The X-Files.

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X-Files

Posted by Candace Stone in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments