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Movie Probe: Ecstasy of Isabel Mann, Malevolents, Hollows Grove
Reviewed by Joe Crowe, @revolutionsf, © 2014

Format: Movie
By:   Various artists
Genre:   Horror!
Review Date:   October 29, 2014

Movie Probe shows you where to find interesting movies. Links are in the titles. Go there now.

Malevolents

Malevolents translates scary-movie fright right onto a comic book page.

Artist Joe Becci's black-and-white art creeps me out. It's dark and moody and cinematic.

Haunted house and freaky people therein are the subject matter. But the comic book is about young people doing what they do in horror flicks: messing with stuff they shouldn’t.

The comic book has atmosphere and dramatic tension. I could hear ominous music on the soundtrack in my head. After also viewing the trailer – which has ominous music for real, not just in my head – I am even more anxious for Malevolents.

Ecstasy of Isabel Mann

”Your daughter’s hunky-dory. The nine missing children from her school, on the other hand, are not so hot.”

It starts with a heart-to-heart between a dad and his daughter. Honestly, it’s like the movie intended for me, personally, to weep.

It takes a while for the freaky horror to start, but when it does – whoo lordy. The movie bounces between jaded cops investigating disappearances and one distressed young woman being sullen.

One jaded cop is the best thing in the movie. Most of the disappearances are in flashback, but when he meets the villains, it’s harrowing and desperate and real.

I’m not really satisfied with the way the movie turns out. It explains everything with actions instead of words. But I needed more storytelling to put a bow on the whole thing.

On the other hand, the visual story is really good. The gore effects are top-notch.

The movie strips out vampire mythology and leaves in a murder investigation. The strength of the whole thing is that it has no cackling villains doing rotten things. We just see the aftermath with the families the victims leave behind. Horror movies never go there.

The emotional guts of this one are the key. From the stuff with the father at the end to Isabel’s flashbacks at the end, it’s emotionally gripping stuff. The realness of it makes me think about my own kid, who is not a vampire. As far as I know.

Hollows Grove

“Well, feel like an idiot and say the truth.”

Fun stuff. This is a horror flick with a nice chunk of comedy. The story is the point-of-view of a camera guy for a Ghost Hunters-style TV show as they tape an episode in a haunted house. Naturally, haunted hijinks ensue.

It starts with a terrific cameo by Lance Henriksen. Then bear with it, because it goes for a long time getting to know the cast as they prepare for their haunted house shoot.

That’s when everything gets good. Well, good for us, the viewers. The absence of impending-doom music improves the jump-scares immensely.

This is mostly a jump-scare movie. But the scares ramp up so quickly and so mercilessly. The gore effects are realistic and gross. The movie bounces between black comedy and gory horror and makes a top-notch combo plate.



 
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